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.

Topics

Question 754-18(3): Student Financial Assistance
Oral Questions

Page 5691

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

I don't think anywhere in my comments did I say anything about how bad our system was. Our system is one of the best in Canada, so let's get that straight. I understand that system. It works well. However, it's about a student loan that they have to pay back. It's right in there. It says how much you get. You get a maximum of this, so all of a sudden the student is put on the spot. We're talking about Northerners, and when we talk about income assistance and assessments and that, we're having struggles.

To streamline the process, can the department have a monthly amount students can access in loans instead of having an assessment process done?

Question 754-18(3): Student Financial Assistance
Oral Questions

Page 5691

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

As stated before, at this point, it isn't just a monthly amount that anyone can access. It is based on the needs, so we do do an assessment, and I think at this point we'll be staying with that because we just don't have the money to support everybody to do anything. I think that it should be income tested. I think that, if people can afford it, then they should help supplement. Like I said, it's something that we try to supplement, but we have to make sure the money goes across as many people as possible.

Question 754-18(3): Student Financial Assistance
Oral Questions

Page 5691

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

I guess we should just tell our students to quit going to school, or go down south and don't come back, because that's what some of the students are saying, is that they cannot afford what they're getting with this assessment. When we do these assessments, as I said, I had a student who got $120. It's not that she has an elaborate rent, or anything like that; it's not because she's eating five-star meals. This is what her struggle was. She was looking at about $850, then it went down to $120. So this is the problem.

If the department is going to do calculations, then a minimum amount needs to be identified in the policy so that students are aware of this and don't plan on things that will not be available to them. Will the Minister direct the department to add this information to the policy or website?

Question 754-18(3): Student Financial Assistance
Oral Questions

Page 5691

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Yes, we will absolutely look at our policy and add the minimum amount, because, in some cases, people might even qualify. If we don't have that in, we should have that in, so I will commit to actually having that information in our policy.

Question 754-18(3): Student Financial Assistance
Oral Questions

Page 5691

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Nahendeh.

Question 754-18(3): Student Financial Assistance
Oral Questions

Page 5691

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the Minister's commitment on that. During my research, I noticed that Form F has to be filled out each time a student applies for SFA. Can they Minister explain why this has to be done? Once it's done, shouldn't it be good enough? I mean, their status is not going to change, so can the Minister explain that? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 754-18(3): Student Financial Assistance
Oral Questions

Page 5691

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

The Form F is actually a form that is signed to show either you have a status number, or if you're Metis, actually you're signed by your band or your Metis association. In fact, I don't see any reason why, once someone has been acknowledged as falling within the Form F that they have Indigenous rights based on being from the Territories, that we should be asking, so if we're doing that, I'm hoping it's a mistake. If we're doing that purposely, it should be fixed, and we will make sure that we look at that. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 754-18(3): Student Financial Assistance
Oral Questions

Page 5691

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Kam Lake.

Question 755-18(3): Cannabis Retail Privatization
Oral Questions

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Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As the Members heard from my Member's statement, there is some concern around the commitment to privatize retail opportunities for cannabis in the Northwest Territories. Can the Minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Liquor and Cannabis Commission give the House an update as to the privatization process to date? Thank you.

Question 755-18(3): Cannabis Retail Privatization
Oral Questions

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Minister of Finance.

Question 755-18(3): Cannabis Retail Privatization
Oral Questions

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Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As we all know, cannabis has been legal for just going on seven months now. We did make a commitment that we were going to look at privatizing the sale of cannabis. It is a very long, lengthy process, and we make those who are interested aware of that. The Member was correct in his Member's statement before, I think he mentioned the date May 29th, that has been extended to June 30th. Part of that is at their request, because there was a criminal record check that was required, and rather than sticking to a hard date and possibly eliminating someone who might be potential retailers, we thought we'd extend the date and give them the opportunity to get that work done. So it is a lengthy process. Those who applied are made aware of that, and they understand that, and it's something that we're going to commit that we're going to do this right and make sure we have the proper people out there who would be retailers for cannabis. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 755-18(3): Cannabis Retail Privatization
Oral Questions

Page 5691

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

That explanation is greatly appreciated and, again, sometimes investors are looking at these changes and don't quite understand them, so I appreciate the Minister coming forward with that information. To my knowledge, there are around 20 applications in. How many retail opportunities is the GNWT considering through their assessment so far? Are we looking at multiple stores in Yellowknife? Are we looking at single stores in Inuvik, where they do not have a cannabis retail outlet? Can the Minister provide any new content to that point?

Question 755-18(3): Cannabis Retail Privatization
Oral Questions

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Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

As the Department of Finance, I don't believe we have a set number of the amount of stores that we might allow in each district or each community. We would work closely with the municipal governments. Obviously, they would have a very important say as to how many of these outlets they might want to have in their community, so we would work with them and see if we can come up with an agreeable solution. So, again, it's not one that we're going to decide, we're going to make the decision when it's final; we'll work with those who would be directly impacted by the number of retailers in their community.

Question 755-18(3): Cannabis Retail Privatization
Oral Questions

Page 5692

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

I know that the Yellowknife City Council, for example, has had some debate around how this is going to operate, so it's good to hear that the Minister is working directly with distributors. There has been some movement on the production side of cannabis in Canada, with a number of boutique cannabis strains being approved by Health Canada, et cetera. Is the NWT Cannabis Commission considering expanding its inventory and bringing more strains and entering into more supply agreements so we can diversify our product base and give consumers more choice?

Question 755-18(3): Cannabis Retail Privatization
Oral Questions

Page 5692

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

It is something that we would consider. If the consumers are looking for a particular type of product or if there is a particular type of product that is more popular than others, then obviously I think the commission would look at having that readily available. So, again, it's a new process. We've been going through it for a while now. We ran into some issues at the start with supply; those issues seem to have been resolved, and we're starting to move forward. Just for the record, I think that we've had about $1.6 or $1.7 million in sales so far; $1.6, I believe, in sales so far. Again, as to consumer demands and consumer choices, we will work and try to make sure we have those types of products available for consumers who are interested.