This is page numbers 5601 - 5648 of the Hansard for the 18th Assembly, 3rd Session. The original version can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly's website or by contacting the Legislative Assembly Library. The word of the day was public. View the webstream of the day's session.

Topics

Pay it Forward Program in Fort Simpson
Members' Statements

Page 5604

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. There are often community members who make great contributions to a community who go unrecognized, mainly because these individuals seek results rather than recognition. They humbly and selflessly serve others. Today, I would like to recognize a few of these individuals from the Nahendeh region.

Currently, the Northern Store in Fort Simpson is operating a pay it forward program. This program started six years ago, when resident Mrs. Pat Waugh heard of a homeless resident having to be medevac'd because he consumed discarded food.

Pat started the program at the local Northern Gas Bar in Fort Simpson, simply by donating enough for a sandwich and coffee for some of the homeless residents or residents who could not afford adequate nutrition. Soon the program was off and running. Within a short amount of time, the donations began to increase to a pace that tracking of funds became difficult to manage. The Northern Store manager decided it was best to put all donations on a gift card. This would make tracking the funds easier. Once the program was established, the Northern Store managers felt it was important to match the donations.

There are a few programs in Fort Simpson that offer food to those in need. Currently, there are numerous individuals who access and rely on this essential pay it forward program, helping to meet their nutritional needs.

The most important proponent of this program is the fact that the funds on the gift card are not exhausting. It appears that Ms. Waugh instinctively knows when the card is running low on funds, and drops into the Northern Store to stock it up.

Mr. Speaker, this pay it forward program is an excellent way for members of the community to look out for and take care of one another. This program further enhances a culture, people caring for people, and in doing so, making them feel loved and appreciated.

I would like to take this opportunity to recognize Betty Ann Nayelle and Chevon Kellman, who were instrumental in delivering the program and management of this program. I would like to thank them for doing this great job for the residents of Nahendeh. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Pay it Forward Program in Fort Simpson
Members' Statements

Page 5605

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Sahtu.

Boreal Caribou in the Sahtu
Members' Statements

Page 5605

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. CFC, or Caribou Framework and Collaboration, planning is essential to sound management, consultation, and an important element to achieving goals set by the stakeholders. Last year's caribou survey showed alarming and very concerning decline in caribou numbers, or herd numbers for the barren-land caribou. Range planning and consultations followed.

Mr. Speaker, Canada labelled, in the Boreal Forest jurisdiction, the boreal caribou as a species at risk. However, in the NWT, and more specifically in the Sahtu, boreal caribou are not deemed species at risk in support of this caption. It is very common for hunters to view these animals, larger and darker in size on the east side of the Mackenzie River. To take notice of this potential risk scenario would only be a proactive measure on the principals of conservation and preservation.

Mr. Speaker, advancing forward in the spirit of principles of engagement, collaboration, data collection, recovery strategies, framework, and action plans, I am very pleased to hear the Department of ENR is scheduling a meaningful session with the Sahtu land claim parties planned for the summer. It is paramount to the multiple caribou herds within our territory, conservation and recovery, growth, stabilization and growth would only mean sound management for the next generation's food and clothing security.

In summary, Mr. Speaker, the bilateral engagements between the stakeholders, the Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated, and the Government of the Northwest Territories works. In this case, both groups realize the cooperative need for environmental wildlife and resource land management. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Boreal Caribou in the Sahtu
Members' Statements

Page 5605

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife North.

Producers Incentive Program
Members' Statements

May 28th, 2019

Page 5605

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I'd like to talk about the film and TV production industry in the NWT. It is one of our economic success stories. Our production industry has grown substantially in recent years, with feature films, international festival screenings, and TV series gaining attention across Canada and around the world.

Mr. Speaker, our government support for film production has grown from virtually nothing a few years ago, but our funding model is not consistent with any other jurisdiction, and it has gaps that are preventing the industry from moving to the next level.

Northern filmmakers have access to funding through ITI's SEED Program, but SEED is not designed for media producers. SEED is a start-up program designed for small businesses and entrepreneurs. SEED has allowed many productions to get started, and we need to recognize that, but it does not recognize the unique qualities of the production business.

One model for funding film and television is our very successful Mining Incentive Program. The Mining Incentive Program offers two streams of funding; one for prospectors who are exploring and developing new projects, and one for production to actually bring a project into being. The MIP model could be designed to fit the needs of the production community very well. The prospector fund would be more like a development fund for producers, funding scriptwriting, production planning, or location scouting. The corporate fund would be more like the film sponsorship, for actually going into production on a big show or movie.

Mr. Speaker, northern producers already have an incentive to develop projects in the North. They live here. They know the people and the places, and have northern stories to tell. All they need is access to sufficient resources to tell those stories.

Some recent successful northern productions have been made with just a tiny fraction of the funding coming from our government. Greater homegrown support and incentives would help our filmmakers gain higher-level experience, and our industry to grow to the next level. That means changing the rules so they're specific to the needs of production, making rules that support northern producers, and it means there needs to be more funds on the table.

Mr. Speaker, let's consider modernizing and updating our system to provide stronger support for this important, growing, diversified industry. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Producers Incentive Program
Members' Statements

Page 5606

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife Centre.

Good Neighbour Agreements
Members' Statements

Page 5606

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. In early May, CBC North ran a story about how a day shelter and sobering centre in Calgary's downtown has succeeded in working with its neighbours and clients to minimize negative behaviours in the neighbourhood. Experiences there and in other places such as Vancouver and Quesnel, BC, have shown the benefits of creating a type of social license called a "Good Neighbour Agreement." These agreements share common features relevant to our experience here, all aimed at ensuring safe and hospitable experiences by shelter clients, area residents, businesses, and downtown visitors alike.

I met recently with the owner of the building next to Yellowknife's sobering and day centre to discuss concerns with the street activity surrounding the facility. We discussed the Good Neighbour Agreement approach, and I came away with a slew of positive suggestions for features to include. First is the vision of a centre as a positive force supported by the community with an agreement setting out concrete steps to maintain services to clients as well as the safety and liveability of the neighbourhood. Key stakeholders include clients, the contractor operating the facility, resident and business neighbours, the City of Yellowknife, territorial governments who provide the funding, and the RCMP. The agreement defines the parties' expectations to their rights, and commits the partners to responsibilities in issues of safety, conduct, and communication. A recommended feature found in other communities' agreements is the creation of a formal liaison committee as a meeting place for actions and concerns. The Good Neighbour Committee would meet regularly to check in, and ensure the parties are living up to their commitments and brainstorm for solutions to emerging issues.

All of these suggestions originate from a proactive and constructive attitude towards making the centre work for everyone. Creation of the centre and its supporting services, including the Street Outreach Program, have gone a long way to alleviating concerns with conditions in our downtown. A Good Neighbour Agreement should be the next improvement. I'll have questions for the Minister of Health and Social Services. Mahsi.

Good Neighbour Agreements
Members' Statements

Page 5606

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Frame Lake.

Giant Mine Long-Term Funding Study
Members' Statements

Page 5606

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. I attended a public meeting by the Giant Mine Oversight Board on May 1st. This was a very well-attended event, with over a hundred members of the public. The main issues included the ongoing research and development into a permanent solution to the toxic arsenic stored underground, and ensuring economic benefits to the NWT from the 10-year, $1-billion active remediation phase.

Lots of questions were raised about the ongoing research program. The board recently signed an agreement with TERRE-NET, which brings together leading experts from Canadian universities in a variety of relevant fields. The board has signed contracts with the University of Waterloo for TERRE-NET to engage in a formal document review and attended the GMOB Research Workshop, where the results and initial focus of the joint research program were explored.

Some progress has been made on securing northern benefits from the Giant Mine Remediation Project in that a couple of collaborative advisory bodies have been established to develop a real strategy, but more needs to be done.

Another simmering issue is the unresolved work required to fulfill measure 6 of the environmental assessment of the Giant Mine Remediation Project. The federal government is required to investigate long-term funding options for the project and for contingencies, including a trust fund with multi-year, up-front funding, and to involve the public in discussing the options. Two drafts of the report were prepared by an accounting firm, but not much has been achieved. A scathing letter was recently issued by the board on the latest draft of the study that I tabled last week. The board says that the study lacks a conceptual framework for what is meant by "long-term funding" in relation to project requirements for ongoing maintenance and management, monitoring security, and public communications. Alternative delivery models for provision of these services have yet to be developed. Case studies from other jurisdictions have not been identified or considered in a faulty analysis of options. The so-called comparative analysis concludes that the current system of annual appropriations is the best option for long-term funding. This study is now almost two years late and will potentially jeopardize the current water licence proceeding.

An annual appropriations model for funding perpetual care of Giant Mine does not build any public confidence in this project and was one of the main reasons it was referred for an environment assessment in the first place. I will have questions for the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources later today on what our government is doing to make sure this study is finished properly. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Giant Mine Long-Term Funding Study
Members' Statements

Page 5607

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Kam Lake.

2019 Youth Parliament
Members' Statements

Page 5607

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Earlier this month, youth from across the territory came together here in the Chamber for the annual Youth Parliament. Model parliaments such as the one recently hosted by this Legislative Assembly are incredibly important in not only ensuring continued democratic participation of future generations, but as also integral to passing on the knowledge of how our system works to the next generation of leaders.

Our young parliamentarians showed us that they already have a strong grasp of the issues which face our territory today and made compelling arguments for increasing mental health support for youth while also acknowledging the complexities implementing such legislation would have. This discussion was informed by personal experiences and the observed experiences of their peers. I want to thank the young members who so openly discussed their experiences on the floor of the House and commend them for their courage.

Mr. Speaker, these young people remind us of how important it is to invest time, energy, and resources into the next generation of northern leaders. I was also impressed that the majority of the youth parliamentarians were young women, and I hope this is an indicator that interest in politics is alive and well with our youth and that young women will continue to make their voices heard as they move from schooling into the work force and, for some, I hope, a seat in this House.

I was thoroughly impressed by the work of our young parliamentarian for Kam Lake, Ms. Stella Smyslo, and her skills in debate, her enthusiasm, and her hard work in putting together her Member's statement and her performance in the debate throughout the week of Youth Parliament.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to thank all Members of this Assembly and the staff of the institution who worked tirelessly to make this event a reality for our youth, and I offer particular recognition of yourself, Mr. Speaker, as host of the Youth Parliament. The behind-the-scenes work often goes unnoticed, but I know that the participants learned a great deal from your guidance and instruction.

It is great to see young people given an opportunity to speak in this Chamber, and they in no way wasted that opportunity. I am also impressed with the young parliamentarians, and this year was no different. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

2019 Youth Parliament
Members' Statements

Page 5607

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Colleagues, I would like to draw your attention to visitors in the gallery. With us here today is the Consul-General of India, Ms. Abhilasha Joshi. She joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1995 and, over the years, she has been posted in Lisbon, Portugal; New Delhi, India; and Sao Paulo, Brazil. As of August 2017, she assumed charge of the Consul-General of India in Vancouver. Colleagues, please join me in welcoming the Consul-General to our proceedings and to our beautiful Legislative Assembly, and to the North, as well. Of course, with her is our very own Carmen Moore, chief of protocol. Thanks for doing a great job. Masi. Members' statements. Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.

Affirmative Action Policy
Members' Statements

Page 5607

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Marsi cho, Mr. Speaker. On June 1, 2018, I made a Member's statement on the Affirmative Action Policy. Today, I will be making a similar statement.

Over the years, I have seen, both as a Regular Member and a former Minister of Human Resources, that our government has failed numerous Priority 1 candidates trying to get employment with the GNWT. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I am not convinced that our government is committed to increasing the number of Priority 1 employees that we employ in our departments, as per the Affirmative Action Policy.

Mr. Speaker, we need to have more Priority 1 candidates in management positions in order to increase the volume of P1 employees across the board. I have not seen any departments with a solid human-resource plan that advances their Priority 1 employees into positions that have greater say in hiring Indigenous employees.

Mr. Speaker, in our small communities, we encourage our students by telling them to go to school every day and graduate from high school, in order to provide themselves with an opportunity to take post-secondary studies. However, we cannot in good faith tell them they have opportunities with the GNWT, because the actions of various departments do not project a welcoming environment for Indigenous people.

This government has not developed proper plans to increase the Priority 1 numbers in all departments, boards, and agencies. I think it's time our government starts the process of allowing small communities to deliver their own programs and services, similar to how the municipalities are funded. This will allow the communities themselves to decide who can do the best job for their residents.

Mr. Speaker, I have said to most people who have asked, "I will be retiring at the end of this term." So, after all of these years in the House, I can firmly say that the Affirmative Action Policy does not work, because it is not the will of our government to make it work.

Mr. Speaker, this is witnessed by amalgamating the Departments of Finance and Human Resources, as human resources has no standing in the GNWT structure. In order to make affirmative action work, more attention must be paid to it. Otherwise, Mr. Speaker, the government should scrap the Affirmative Action Policy and replace it with something that does work. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Affirmative Action Policy
Members' Statements

Page 5608

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Nunakput.

Mental Health Services in Regions
Members' Statements

Page 5608

Herbert Nakimayak Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Recently, there were two adults who passed away from suicide in my region. The rates in the Northwest Territories continue to be high, despite the various programs provided by Health and Social Services. Although the programs we have, such as the group phone session, Facebook chat, and funds for on-the-land healing, the underlying causes of suicide, such as unemployment, lack of housing, poverty, colonization, mental illness, and addictions remain.

Mr. Speaker, I am going to share a quote from my friend, Gabe Nurlugatuk, who lost his son to suicide. He says: "Depression is hard to diagnose, but, with all of us, we can make a difference. We all need someone. We all need to live. Tomorrow is another day."

Mr. Speaker, the new Stanton Territorial Hospital shows promise for better mental health. It has a therapeutic garden with a ceremonial fire pit, a playground, sleeping couches for family and friends, and a sacred space for prayer with ventilation to allow smudging. It's efforts like these that give me hope, Mr. Speaker. It shows that the Government of the Northwest Territories is focusing on the well-being of our Indigenous people. However, these features are located in Yellowknife, which is a far reach from Nunakput's constituents. The Minister shows commitment to treating and preventing suicide. It's also important that we engage the underlying causes for suicide in order to lower the rates in the Northwest Territories. The negative effects suicide has on families and communities are at times unheard. This issue is compounded and triggers multiple issues that can be prevented with help, such as interventions and continuous support from our friends, family, and coworkers.

Mr. Speaker, an example also to think about are the benefits that we get from employment as a Government of the Northwest Territories employee. In the communities, on paper, the benefits are great, but most times don't physically reach our communities when it comes to mental health and issues that affect our well-being.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Later on, I will have questions for the Minister of Health and Social Services.