This is page numbers 5679 - 5712 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 going.

Topics

Members Present

Hon. Glen Abernethy, Mr. Beaulieu, Mr. Blake, Hon. Caroline Cochrane, Ms. Green, Hon. Jackson Lafferty, Hon. Bob McLeod, Hon. Robert McLeod, Mr. McNeely, Hon. Alfred Moses, Mr. Nadli, Mr. Nakimayak, Mr. O'Reilly, Hon. Wally Schumann, Hon. Louis Sebert, Mr. Simpson, Mr. Testart, Mr. Thompson, Mr. Vanthuyne

The House met at 1:30 p.m.

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Page 5679

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Member for Frame Lake.

Prayer
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Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. I rise pursuant to Rule 21(1) of the Rules of the Legislative Assembly to make a personal explanation. In my Member's statement and oral questions of May 24, 2019, I said that large emitters of greenhouse gasses, the diamond mines, will get all their carbon tax back under the July 2018 proposal released by the Minister of Finance. The Premier corrected this statement in his response to my questions by stating that large emitters would be paying a carbon tax on any motive fuels purchased.

Double-checking the publicly available information from the Department of Finance, this is indeed the case that large emitters, the diamond mines, will receive rebates and individualized grants for investments that reduce greenhouse gas emissions covering all of the carbon tax paid on non-motive diesel. Carbon taxes paid by large emitters on motive diesel and gasoline will not be rebated or granted back.

I apologize unreservedly to anyone who may have taken offence with my error and wish to correct the public record. It was not my intention to mislead the House or to make incorrect statements. I wish to thank the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines for bringing this matter to my attention. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to correct the record.

Prayer
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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Item 2, Ministers' statements. The Honourable Premier.

Minister's Statement 193-18(3): Offshore Oil and Gas Negotiations
Ministers' Statements

Page 5679

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to update this Assembly on negotiations toward the shared management of oil and gas resources in the Northwest Territories offshore.

Mr. Speaker, beginning in the late 1980s, the Government of Canada committed to negotiating a Government of the Northwest Territories role in the management of oil and gas in the Northwest Territories offshore. More recently, the Devolution Agreement of 2013 committed Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories, with the participation of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, to commence negotiations within 60 days for the management of oil and gas resources and the sharing of revenues in the offshore. Suffice it to say, the Northwest Territories has been waiting a long time, more than a generation, for these negotiations to start.

Despite previous commitments for negotiations, in 2016, Canada's unilateral federal moratorium on offshore oil and gas activity was imposed without any consultation. This action underscored the importance of the Government of the Northwest Territories seizing a role in decisions about Northwest Territories offshore oil and gas resources.

Mr. Speaker, the shared management regime that will result from these negotiations will ensure that decisions about offshore oil and gas are no longer made unilaterally. It will ensure that unilateral decisions like the one made in 2016 become a thing of the past. The negotiation of the management of offshore oil and gas resources and the sharing of revenues will also ensure that important decisions that directly impact the lives of Northwest Territories residents will include Northwest Territories decision-makers who have direct knowledge of northern circumstances.

Offshore agreements elsewhere in Canada have ensured these decisions are no longer driven solely by federal politics. These negotiations will provide the jurisdictional authority for the Northwest Territories to have a stay in how and when offshore development will occur.

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to report that, earlier this year, all four parties, Canada, the Government of the Northwest Territories, the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, and the Government of Yukon identified negotiators and readied themselves to begin negotiations. On April 12th to14th, the first negotiating session occurred in Inuvik.

Mr. Speaker, it is both significant and appropriate that negotiations began in Inuvik. Historically, Inuvik has been a service center for oil and gas activity in the Beaufort Sea. Many residents of Inuvik have a great deal of experience in the oil and gas sector, and have also worked alongside industry to ensure that our Arctic coast and waters aren't put at risk. They have experienced the benefits, and borne the impacts, particularly, as is the case now, during periods of low activity. It is important to remember that oil and gas activity in the Northwest Territories offshore is not new; these activities have been occurring in the Beaufort offshore for more than 40 years.

An offshore agreement is one of the final missing pieces from the complete devolution of province-like authority over natural resources. It will give us decision-making authority with respect to the offshore comparable to what our fellow Canadians in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador have been enjoying for decades. Further, that these negotiations include the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation as a party at the table is certainly a first for these kinds of negotiations in Canada.

Mr. Speaker, we are in the very early stages of these negotiations, but that they have commenced is important and we are committed to keeping the Assembly up to date as progress occurs. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 193-18(3): Offshore Oil and Gas Negotiations
Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Minister for Health and Social Services.

Minister's Statement 194-18(3): World No Tobacco Day, May 31, 2019
Ministers' Statements

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Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the World Health Organization's World No Tobacco Day, which is tomorrow, on May 31, 2019. This day provides us with an opportunity to acknowledge the efforts that the Government of the Northwest Territories is taking to promote the prevention of tobacco use and its cessation.

This year's theme is Tobacco and Lung Health. Having a healthy set of lungs is vital for living a healthy and active lifestyle. Our lungs play a major role in our body's overall health. Exposure to tobacco, both in its primary and second-hand form, can result in multiple chronic disorders, such as respiratory disease and lung cancer.

Mr. Speaker, the smoking rate in the Northwest Territories continues to be higher than the national average. In 2018, the Northwest Territories smoking rate was 33 percent, while the national average was 16 percent in 2017. In the NWT, lung cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and women and is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women.

Nation-wide efforts to prevent tobacco-related cancer are in full swing. The recently published ComPARe study, supported by the Canadian Cancer Society, is the most comprehensive, up-to-date study on the prevention of cancer and the first of its kind in Canada. This ground-breaking study predicts the current and future burden of cancer in Canada that will ultimately impact future cancer prevention decision-making.

The ComPARe study, based on 2015 data, found that smoking tobacco is the leading cause of cancer in Canada, with 32,700 new cancer cases per year due to smoking tobacco. If the trend continues, there will be a projected increase to 46,900 in 2042.

The facts and figures don't lie, Mr. Speaker. Taking action to curb tobacco smoking is one of the greatest things that we can do as individuals, as communities, and as a government to promote healthy, active living in the NWT.

The Department of Health and Social Services' Strategic Plan 2017-2020, Caring for Our People, has made its goal to support tobacco cessation through promotion and prevention efforts, to reduce disparities.

Mr. Speaker, I want to take a moment to reflect on the recent progress we have made towards our goal of creating a smoke-free society. In February of this year, the government proposed both Bill 41, the Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act, and Bill 40, Smoking Control Reduction Act. We also continue to provide the NWT Quitline, a 24 hour/seven-days-a-week confidential toll-free number providing NWT residents with support for quitting smoking. The Quitline is a useful tool for those ready to quit smoking, but who need guidance and support to achieve their goal.

We have developed additional resources to support NWT residents in their quit journeys. An example would be our Quitting Podcasts, where we hear NWT Quitline quit coaches discuss the important steps in creating a quit plan, as well as common triggers and barriers that prevent individuals from quitting. We also developed a series called Look Who's Quit Stories where local community champions answer questions regarding the challenges and triumphs that they face or have faced as part of their quit journey.

Additionally, we provide Tobacco Quit Kits across the territory for those who are looking to make every day a no-tobacco day. These kits include information on prescription medications, on-the-land programming, counselling, acupuncture, and Nicotine Replacement Therapy offered through the department's Health Services Administration.

Mr. Speaker, we know that promoting the prevention of tobacco use and supporting our residents who want to quit is one of the greatest things that we can do to support the health and wellness of our people. On this year's World No Tobacco Day, I want to encourage everyone to take a moment and consider how tobacco use affects their health and the health of their loved ones, and to take advantage of the supports to help us achieve our goal of a healthy NWT. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 194-18(3): World No Tobacco Day, May 31, 2019
Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs.

Minister's Statement 195-18(3): The 62nd Annual Mine Rescue Competition
Ministers' Statements

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Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Mine Rescue Competition has a strong history in the Northwest Territories. The first event took place in 1957, and the competition has been growing every year.

This weekend marks the 62nd Annual Mine Rescue Competition. Teams will come together from mines all across the Territories to test their skills.

There are six teams competing this year. The teams are from Rio Tinto's Diavik Diamond Mine; the Gahcho Kue Diamond Mine, owned by DeBeers Canada; TMAC Resources' Hope Bay Gold Mine; the Meadowbank Gold Mine and the Meliadine Gold Project, both owned by Agnico Eagle Mines; and the Baffinland Iron Mine, owned by Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation. They will be testing their skills in firefighting, rope rescue, and First Aid, among other events.

As Minister responsible for the Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission, I invite you all to join me in wishing good luck to those brave men and women who volunteer their time and risk their lives for the safety of others. The whole territory walks away a winner, knowing that our friends and our families at the mine sites are in the hands of safe, skilled, and tested leaders.

I also invite you and your families to come out to the Fieldhouse parking lot on June 1st from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to watch and cheer on the teams as they compete. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 195-18(3): The 62nd Annual Mine Rescue Competition
Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Minister of Education, Culture and Employment.

Minister's Statement 196-18(3): Post-secondary Education Update
Ministers' Statements

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Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Mr. Speaker, these are exciting times in post-secondary education in the Northwest Territories. This government is meeting its commitment to expand opportunities for post-secondary education, trades-oriented learning, and northern educational institutions, while fostering the knowledge economy. This work is essential to ensuring that Northerners have access to quality post-secondary programs and supports.

Mr. Speaker, we have introduced new legislation to regulate post-secondary institutions, and we have engaged with residents, campus communities, and municipal and Indigenous governments to establish the first overarching vision and goals for post-secondary education in our territory.

Developing the vision and goals for post-secondary education will focus our efforts as we strengthen our system. It will also support our work with partner institutions and organizations to ensure that students have increased access to excellent programs. Together, we will ensure that Northwest Territories residents can get the skills and training they need to access meaningful employment today and in the future.

Our vision and goals must be rooted in the dreams, aspirations, and needs of our territory. To this end, I am pleased to say that 743 surveys from all regions of the territory were submitted during the engagement phase of the vision process. Nearly 200 of the submissions were from residents especially important to the future of our labour market, people under the age of 29.

I thank those who took the time to complete the survey and the organizations and institutions who took part in the Speaker Series on Post-Secondary Education throughout the month of March. I look forward to sharing the Post-Secondary Education Framework, including the final vision and goals, with Members of this House and the public in the coming months.

Mr. Speaker, over the past three months, the first steps in the transformation of Aurora College to a polytechnic university have been taken. Since assuming the role in March, the associate deputy minister of Post-Secondary Education Renewal has been working diligently to develop the terms of reference for the Academic Advisory Council. Initial contact has been made with individuals who have significant academic and administrative expertise to help support the transformation to a polytechnic university. The Academic Advisory Council will provide guidance to the associate deputy minister throughout the transformation. The terms of reference will be forwarded to Members of this House and posted on the Education, Culture and Employment website within the next month.

As well, a plain-language summary of Bill 48 is currently available on our website for those interested in learning about our proposed post-secondary education legislation that is currently before the House. This legislation is crucial to meeting our objectives to expand high-quality education programming and provide a variety of post-secondary opportunities for students. Quality assurance legislation is a key step in building a strong post-secondary education system for Northerners.

Mr. Speaker, strengthening the post-secondary education system is part of our larger plan to improve outcomes for students and help them reach their highest potential over the course of their lives. From early childhood through elementary and high school and all the way to post-secondary, we want to reduce barriers and empower residents to achieve their goals and aspirations.

A healthy, happy kindergarten student should become a well-educated high school student looking for challenging post-secondary opportunities. Education, Culture and Employment's new career and education advisors will help students to make decisions about their education and give them information on jobs in demand in the Northwest Territories. This government will continue to support post-secondary students, as it does now, through Student Financial Assistance, apprenticeship and trades programs, and labour market programs. All of these initiatives support the development of our economy and our people.

I am confident that the steps we are taking now to strengthen our post-secondary education system will provide increased opportunities for both in the near term and for generations to come. Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 196-18(3): Post-secondary Education Update
Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. Member for Mackenzie Delta.

Ferry Landing Infrastructure
Members' Statements

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Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My constituents wants to know why the Department of Infrastructure keeps trying to recycle the gravel they use on the ferry landings.

A couple of days ago, my colleague was asking for dredging, and was told we don't dredge. Well, Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what is happening in Tsiigehtchic with the use of a backhoe. I've seen this personally, and to have that same material being used to make the landing ramps, this mixture of gravel, mud, and clay is making a mess of our ferry landings.

Just a few short years ago, the department used to stockpile 500 to 1,000 cubic metres of pit run. To be used on each landing, usually, that would last a couple of years, and we never had to wait until the water dropped to have ferry services in the spring like we now have to do. We have to go back to how we used to operate.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I'll have questions later today.

Ferry Landing Infrastructure
Members' Statements

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Kam Lake.