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. View the webstream of the day's session.

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Question 757-18(3): Ferry Landing Infrastructure
Oral Questions

May 30th, 2019

Page 5693

Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In follow-up to my Member's statement, I have a few questions for the Minister of Infrastructure. As I mentioned, over the last couple of years here, we have been reusing the material in our river system to be used for our landings. I would like to ask the Minister: why is the department reusing the gravel, even though it is mostly mud and clay? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 757-18(3): Ferry Landing Infrastructure
Oral Questions

Page 5693

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Minister of Infrastructure.

Question 757-18(3): Ferry Landing Infrastructure
Oral Questions

Page 5693

Wally Schumann Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. There are a couple of things around this, and we have talked about the river levels in, particularly, the MLA's riding, how it has fluctuated, and then some flooding, then it's not flooding. We have low water.

The gravel landings are closely monitored to keep an eye on the situation, but to update this House, so that all Members know, we have to be in compliance, mostly, with our water licence use, which is given out by the Gwich'in Land and Water Board. We have to comply by that licence. That is the Member's riding; that's his people, the GTC, their land and water board, and we have to be in compliance with this. We tried to minimize the impact on the ferry landings, and we will continue to reuse the gravel for as long as it is still good to use, and then, when it is not, we will be replacing that. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 757-18(3): Ferry Landing Infrastructure
Oral Questions

Page 5693

Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

The Minister answered my next question, so I will just move on to my third. Is the real reason why we are not using pit-run on our ferry landings because we now have to pay for this material?

Question 757-18(3): Ferry Landing Infrastructure
Oral Questions

Page 5693

Wally Schumann Hay River South

The department makes every effort to do what we can. If we have to reuse this gravel to save money, that is what we are doing, making sure that we are not wasting our money, but like I said, we have to follow the provisions in the land and water board's licence. We are trying to minimize the effect on this.

We had questions last year from people who live close to the ferry landing about the disturbances that are taking place there. We realize that people are making a living in that area, they are fishing in that area, and we have to minimize the use of gravel and reuse the gravel as much as we can and try to do the best that we can to comply with our licence.

Question 757-18(3): Ferry Landing Infrastructure
Oral Questions

Page 5693

Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

Over the last couple of years here, my constituents in Tsiigehtchic are getting frustrated because we now have to wait for the water to drop, like, over a matter of two to three days, or more, in some cases. That is because we don't have the material to build these landings like we did in the past. When I used to be a heavy equipment operator, for example, on the Fort McPherson landing, I have seen it where they have built out the landing about 100 to 150 metres, and that was just to get the operations going in the spring; so I know it could be done. Will the department go back to the practice that we have always done, using the best quality gravel for our ferry landings?

Question 757-18(3): Ferry Landing Infrastructure
Oral Questions

Page 5693

Wally Schumann Hay River South

I will have to find out exactly what spec of gravel we are using here, but I suspect that it is probably the same stuff that we are crushing and using at a lot of different locations around the ferry system. Another thing in our licence through the Gwich'in Land and Water Board is that they told us to keep the gravel to a minimum, and that is part of our licence. That is one of the reasons that we aren't stockpiling gravel in that region.

Question 757-18(3): Ferry Landing Infrastructure
Oral Questions

Page 5694

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Mackenzie Delta.

Question 757-18(3): Ferry Landing Infrastructure
Oral Questions

Page 5694

Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Now I will probably have to go and deal with the communities to talk to the RRCs; I know this was one of the concerns that came up there. We realized that it is having an impact on our community residents. Will the department, if the Gwich'in Land and Water Board say that it is okay to use this material, will they go back to that practice that we have always had? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 757-18(3): Ferry Landing Infrastructure
Oral Questions

Page 5694

Wally Schumann Hay River South

I could certainly have a discussion with the department to find out the history of this. As I have said in this House now, we are compliant with our water licence. That is what we have to follow, and if the Gwich'in come back with something different, then we can certainly look at the situation and make accommodations where it is fiscally responsible. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 757-18(3): Ferry Landing Infrastructure
Oral Questions

Page 5694

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Deh Cho.

Question 758-18(3): Update on Education Initiatives
Oral Questions

Page 5694

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. My questions today are for the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment. This time of the year is time for graduations, and this department, the Department of Education, Culture and Employment, aside from the Department of Health and Social Services, is the second-biggest department in the GNWT. Can the Minister please inform us of the results of the various education initiatives undertaken over the past few years to renew our education system and motivate our students? Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Question 758-18(3): Update on Education Initiatives
Oral Questions

Page 5694

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Minister of Education, Culture and Employment.

Question 758-18(3): Update on Education Initiatives
Oral Questions

Page 5694

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We are just in the process, actually, of doing a review of our education renewal, all of the initiatives, but I can talk about a few that have been successful, not based on statistics, but just on what we are seeing.

Our Northern Distance Learning, huge success. Again, I don't have the stats to show that. We are just reviewing it now. I will use Ulukhaktok as one of my examples. I know there are other communities. Three students who graduated from Grade 12 in that community who would have normally had to take upgrading have now got the credentials that they can actually go to post-secondary. Two of them, I believe, went straight into post-secondary. That is a huge success, in my opinion, without the statistical background. Other communities are seeing the same.

Our six career and education advisors who we are just bringing in now, that won't be a part of the evaluation now. I think that is critical. These positions are just piloting the six. They are piloting our new pathways. Their whole job is to help get kids engaged, to keep them going forward, to actually help them pick out what career, what courses they need to get into the career that they do.

It is not limited to high school, which is another thing I like. It is actually up to age 24, so a part of that is getting kids back. Sorry. Anyone under 30 is, to me, a kid because I am old. Getting these students back in school is important. I think that is a huge success. Again, that won't be reviewed now because it is just starting, but I think that is a missing piece.

The other thing that I really think that we are working on and I am really proud of is Indigenizing our curriculum. We have seen that in the MLA's own riding, how it can be an advantage to students who have their language. It is part of self-esteem. It is part of giving us pride. I always say, as a social worker, when people feel good about themselves, they make better, not the best sometimes, but better decisions in their life. Indigenizing our education is part of that, and I am a huge proponent of that. Again, we will have to wait to see the results of that, but I think that most Members can say that that is a good step.

The other thing that I really want to focus on, too, is the partnership with Health and Social Services in bringing youth mental health workers into our schools. Again, it is a new initiative; it hasn't been tested yet. The rates of suicide, the rates of children dropping out of schools, the rates of kids developmentally, teenage-hood is a horrible time. When kids are teenagers, it is known, it is researched that they switch. They go from being that beautiful little child to, "Oh my goodness. There is a pimple on my nose, and everybody is going to be picking on me." Often with that, they need extra help. Sometimes, parents don't have that capacity, or the teachers, so having mental health teacher supports in the schools, I think, is going to be critical.

As well, we are doing things like looking at our Literacy in the Disciplines initiative. We are trying to get more literacy. We are trying to get more numeracy into the lower grades. I think those are some of the initiatives that we are working on that, personally, Mr. Speaker, I am quite proud of. This wasn't all my work. I know this was from Ministers before, but whoever brought them in, it was a great idea. I am hoping that we will continue them into the future.

Question 758-18(3): Update on Education Initiatives
Oral Questions

Page 5695

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Some very good initiative in that. I actually ran out of space in terms of writing about seven key initiatives that the Minister has undertaken. There are some challenges. One of the challenges that we are well aware of is attendance rates in small communities. Can the Minister please tell us why attendance rates are not improving?