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

Land Use Planning Co-Management Processes
Members' Statements

Page 5686

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. My educational background includes a planning degree, and that is what brought me to the Northwest Territories on December 15, 1985, to become the land-use planning coordinator for the Dene Nation. I had the privilege of working directly with some great Northerners, including David Krutko, George Barnaby, Gina Bayha, Violet Camsell-Blondin, Raymond Jones, and Michael Nadli. I have maintained a keen interest in land-use planning and looked over the document "Finding Common Ground" tabled in the House a couple of days ago by the Minister of Lands.

The Tlicho Government completed a detailed land-use plan for their own lands in 2013, and it is very well done. The Tlicho Land Claims and Self-Government Agreement provides for land-use planning on other lands within the Wek'eezhii management area that are not owned by the Tlicho Government. Section 22.5.1 states: "Government may establish a mechanism for the preparation, approval, and implementation of a land-use plan that applies to all parts of Wek'eezhii, other than Tlicho lands, national parks, and lands in a community." Section 22.5.3 says, "The Parties may, by agreement, establish a land-use planning body and a mechanism for the preparation, approval, and implementation of a land-use plan that applies to all of Wek'eezhii other than national parks."

The GNWT Department of Lands, Tlicho Department of Culture and Lands Protection, and the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada agreed to work together to design, cost, and develop a terms of reference to implement a land-use planning approach for public lands in Wek'eezhii. As a part of this collaboration the parties are proceeding on a government-to-government basis to establish a joint planning office in Behchoko and to carry out a land-use planning process for Wek'eezhii. This House approved a contribution of $726,000 towards this effort in 2019-2020.

It is my understanding that a committee is being established to develop their land-use plan and that it will be legally-binding. The deputy minister of Lands confirmed this in Committee of the Whole on March 7, 2019, when he said: "At the end of the day, it will be legally binding, signed off by the Tlicho government, the Government of the Northwest Territories, and the federal government will sign it, and it will be a legal document. As to legislation, I would have to get back to you on exactly how to see that going forward." I am still waiting for that response and will have some questions later today for the Minister of Lands. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Land Use Planning Co-Management Processes
Members' Statements

Page 5686

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Hay River North.

Forest Fire Highway Closure Effects on the Northwest Territories
Members' Statements

May 30th, 2019

Page 5687

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As we all know, the highway between High Level and Enterprise was closed two days ago because of a fire near Steam River. The only rail line into the territory has been shut down for a week because of the fire by High Level. Many of my constituents, myself included, are concerned about the situation. I want to bring those concerns to this House so that the government knows that, even though the source of the problem is in Alberta, that highway is a lifeline for the entire territory and this issue has consequences for all of our residents.

If this closure goes on for any length of time, it will begin to have an effect on the cost of living. The vast majority of goods that come into the NWT come right up that stretch of highway. It is about 1,100 kilometres from Edmonton to Hay River through Alberta. The alternate route through BC is almost 1,900 kilometres. While it is a scenic drive, it basically doubles the driving time, which means doubling the cost of shipping, leading to higher prices on nearly everything. It is also going to be a hit for small businesses, who will have to absorb the cost of those increase, at least in the short term, and who may not be able to work and generate income if there is a disruption in their supply chain. That is the last thing we need in this economy.

Every day that highway is closed also cuts into our tourist season, which, in the South Slave, isn't that long, so every single day is important. The economic effects won't just be limited to the South Slave or even to just communities on the highway system. All the fuel that MTS ships into the communities up through Mackenzie and in the Arctic is transported to the terminal in Hay River by rail. These fires have the potential to once again delay the marine resupply or, at the very least, cause the cost of shipping to rise.

Mr. Speaker, this isn't just an economic issue. It's a serious public safety issue, as well. Conditions in the South Slave are dry. The fire danger is high or extreme in every community. We are only a three-hour drive from High Level and half that to Steam River. If the worst happens and the resident of Hay River need to evacuate, that highway closure means one of our main routes, really our primary route out of town, is cut off.

I have spoken with the Town of Hay River, and I am happy to hear that they are convening a meeting of the Community Emergency Management Committee tomorrow to figure out how they are going to address this issue. I will have questions for our Minister to find out what the GNWT is doing to deal with this situation. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Forest Fire Highway Closure Effects on the Northwest Territories
Members' Statements

Page 5687

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.

Compulsory Attendance for Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten
Members' Statements

Page 5687

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Marsi cho, Mr. Speaker. I am going to make a Member's statement on some of the work that we were doing in Committee of the Whole last Tuesday. Last Tuesday, I felt I was unable to communicate clearly enough to be able to get some answers. I am going to talk a bit about what I saw on Tuesday, much to my surprise and shock, the way that the mandatory or compulsory attendance for junior kindergarten and kindergarten works in the schools. My understanding, initially, before Tuesday, was that once a five-year-old, four-year-old student got to go to junior kindergarten and they had enrolled, at the point that they enrolled, it was mandatory for them to attend school on a daily basis like any other student who was enrolled in the school.

My understanding from the Committee of the Whole meeting that we had was that students can come and go as they please, whether they are enrolled or not. If they are enrolled in school and they choose not to go to school, then they don't have to go to school, but the numbers of enrolment mean that there could potentially be games being played where people could enroll a lot of four-year-olds and five-year-olds into the school and just concern themselves with students attending for the first couple of years until the numbers are counted, and then the kids no longer have to attend school. It also sets up a possibility that people are just using junior kindergarten as a childcare drop-off.

I became a bit concerned about that and started to think about all of the possibilities of our education development instrument, how all the time were working on the numbers, and the numbers were increasing, the vulnerabilities were increasing for the junior kindergarten and kindergarten students.

I will have questions for the Minister today, but I guess my understanding was that, if they are in school, then they are in school, but if they don't have to attend, then how are they going to increase the numbers? Maybe we should pick a different school to apply the education development instrument if kindergarten kids don't have to be there and, at any given day, they can wish to stay home. I am going to have some questions for the Minister on that today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Compulsory Attendance for Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten
Members' Statements

Page 5687

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Item 4, returns to oral questions. Item 5, recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Great Slave.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 5687

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Mr. Speaker, I wish to recognize Fernanda Martins, the health policy analyst from the Canadian Cancer Society, in the gallery today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 5687

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Inuvik Boot Lake.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 5688

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is my pleasure to welcome to the House and to the North Mr. Michael Roberts, who is an author and motivational speaker. I just want to thank him personally for reaching out to our youth and giving some very strong positive messages, as well as to the residents and communities that he has visited. We do welcome him back up in the future. At this time, I would also like to thank the RCMP and the supportive staff for accompanying Mr. Roberts and getting him into our communities. Mahsi cho. Thank you.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 5688

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Yellowknife North.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 5688

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to recognize a Page from Yellowknife North, Lea Schwarz, who is also a student at Ecole St-Cyr. I want to thank all of our Pages for the tremendous work that they do for us. We wouldn't be able do what we do without them. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 5688

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Kam Lake.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 5688

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to introduce two Pages from the Kam Lake riding, Ms. Katrina Butt and Ms. Belinda Formaniuk. It is great to have them in the Chamber helping us out, and all of the Pages. The youth are our future, and it is great to see them taking an interest on our procedures. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 5688

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Recognition of the visitors in the gallery. Member for Thebacha.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 5688

Louis Sebert Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to recognize two Pages from Thebacha, students at P.W. Kaeser School, Anais Aubrey-Smith and Sarah Porter. Thank you.