This is page numbers 5713 - 5790 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 women. View the webstream of the day's session.

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

Page 5716

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. I'd like to recognize a Frame Lake constituent, Louise Elder. She is also the executive director of the NWT Status of Women, and thank her for the important work that she does. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

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

Page 5716

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 5716

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have the honour today to recognize my parents, Winston and Martha Moses, for coming here today. It's not very often I get family to come to a sitting, so I want to thank them.

Also just very quickly, Mr. Speaker, the jacket that I'm wearing belongs to my father, and this is the first time I've ever worn it in this House over the two terms that I've sat here, so I'm very honoured to wear it. Wearing it, I can feel the strength that it brings, and now I know why he's won so many jigging contests wearing it. I just wanted to say thank you for being here today, and I'd like to ask all Members to recognize my parents for being here today. Mahsi cho. Thank you.

---Applause

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

Page 5717

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery. Member for Range Lake.

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

Page 5717

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a couple of constituents I want to recognize. First, Ms. Genge, the grade six St. Joe's teacher, and then Dexter Edjericon is also in the House. Then I want to recognize a couple of our Pages from our Range Lake constituency, Holly Nguyen, Spence Miller, and Breanna Willis. Welcome to our Legislative Assembly as our Pages, and welcome to all Pages in the Assembly. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

Page 5717

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. If we missed anyone in the gallery, thanks for being here with us today. It's always good to have an audience as part of our proceedings. Item 3, Members' statements. Member for Mackenzie Delta.

Aklavik All-Season Road
Members' Statements

Page 5717

Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker. The flood of tourists has arrived, already in high numbers of vehicles. The Abraham Francis ferry on the Peel opened on Sunday, with a line of up traffic waiting to see the beautiful landscape, the welcoming people of the Delta, bringing with them economic growth to our region.

Mr. Speaker, without a doubt, the Dempster Highway has always been a place to travel, everyone's bucket list, and now the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway will be even busier this summer.

Comments from previous years' tourists show that the tourists traveling to the North want to see our country. They want to experience the highways, meet our people, and engage in community activities that are planned throughout the season. Let's start talking about exposing them to more of our land, our people, and our cultures. How about bringing them to Aklavik?

Mr. Speaker, there is a possibility of getting a road. This government can look at options on how we can get construction under way to build this highway to Aklavik. There is nothing short of a positive outcome from this idea. Think of the reduction in food, home heating fuel, and gasoline costs.

Like all our communities in the Northwest Territories, Aklavik has much to offer. The list goes on, Mr. Speaker. This government should take this very seriously and start lobbying the federal government for funding. We need a road to Aklavik; let's make this a priority. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Aklavik All-Season Road
Members' Statements

Page 5717

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife North.

Fire Ban Beyond Territorial Parks
Members' Statements

June 4th, 2019

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Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The weather of the past few days might not make you think so, but the Northwest Territories is entering the high-risk fire season once again. I know the department is on the case. It's gratifying to see regular fire updates and know that our best folks are on the job, monitoring the situation and ready to take action when required. In fact, some of our fire teams are helping our Alberta neighbours as we speak.

Mr. Speaker, when conditions become dangerous, our system allows authorities to call a fire ban, but it's been brought to my attention by concerned constituents from the Ingraham Trail that there's a loophole in that system. Currently, a fire ban provides authority to ban any open fires inside the boundaries of a territorial park, but not everybody is in the parks, Mr. Speaker. So if there's a fire ban, campers outside a territorial park do not have to abide. My constituents report that frequently, if fires are banned at the Reid Lake campsite, for example, campers just go down the highway along the banks of Cameron River and light a fire there.

Mr. Speaker, the Forest Act was due to be updated during this Assembly, and this loophole may have been addressed, but for good reason that legislation is being delayed until the 19th Assembly. That said, in Alberta, a fire ban means no fires, anywhere. In the Yukon, same thing. So why not here?

Mr. Speaker, people are the leading cause of forest fires. That's the case no matter how much we spend on public education. Just in the past couple of weeks I've seen a handful of reports on social media about people finding abandoned open fires burning at the Yellowknife River Day Use area. Constituents who drive that road every day see this unsafe situation numerous times along the trail. They are deeply concerned about their homes and their family's safety. If people aren't going to be responsible, Mr. Speaker, we need to equip our fire professionals with the tools they need to enforce safety.

Clearly, Mr. Speaker, there must be something we can do before something disastrous happens. Some mechanism is needed to enforce a fire ban on all public lands, not just those within park boundaries. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

Fire Ban Beyond Territorial Parks
Members' Statements

Page 5718

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Kam Lake.

Filipino Heritage Month
Members' Statements

Page 5718

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today to recognize and celebrate the diversity of the Northwest Territories. On October 30, 2018, the House of Commons unanimously passed Motion 155 recognising June as Filipino Heritage Month in Canada. This declaration expresses Canada's recognition of the contribution of Canadians of Filipino heritage from coast to coast to coast. "Filipino Canadians have and continue to make Canada a better place with their recognized hard work, solid family ties, and strong religious grounding."

The Philippines declared their independence from Spain on June 12, 1898, and today recognises 19 official languages. Filipinos are the fastest-growing ethnic group in Canada. Prominent Philipino Canadians include singers like Canadian Idol finalist Elena Juatco and athletes like soccer star Jonathan de Guzman. Canada's first Filipino Canadian Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister Rey Pagtakhan, the late Senator Tobias Enverga, and Yellowknife's own city councillor Rommel Silverio are champions of the Filipino-Canadian community, and I want to thank them for all that they have contributed to the Canadian experience.

As far back as the 1930s, the first wave of Filipinos came to Canada and worked as nurses, garment workers, teachers, and in the health sector. Their stories are often those of enormous sacrifice, leaving their families behind in the Philippines to build a better life for them here in Canada, and hoping one day to be reunited with their families.

Mr. Speaker, building a diverse and inclusive society through promoting and encouraging awareness, understanding, and respect for our many different cultures must remain a paramount priority. The Filipino community is another example of how diversity is our strength. Filipino Heritage Month is a way of showing our country's appreciation of the Filipino community for their important contribution throughout Canadian history and for helping to make our country diverse and vibrant. Filipino Heritage Month will help celebrate these important contributions, and many more, that have enriched Canadian society.

Mr. Speaker I hope that the Members of this House will join me in celebrating and honouring Filipino Heritage Month. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

Filipino Heritage Month
Members' Statements

Page 5718

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Colleagues, I would like to draw your attention to visitors in the gallery here with us. I am pleased to draw your attention to the presence of Ms. Lucia Piazza, Consul-General of the United States to Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the Northwest Territories.

Ms. Piazza joined the State Department in 2001. She has worked extensively in Africa and on Middle East issues, serving in Uganda, Togo, Nigeria, and Tunisia. She has also had multiple tours in Washington.

Members, please join me in welcoming Consul-General Ms. Piazza to our proceedings and to our beautiful Legislative Assembly building. Welcome to the North; and, of course, our very own Carmen Moore, chief of protocol. Thanks for doing an excellent job. Masi. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife Centre.

Final Report on National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Members' Statements

Page 5718

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I watched the closing ceremony for the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls. From the lighting of the quilliq to the families' tearful stories to the Commissioners' grim determination, it took me back to the three days of commission hearings in Yellowknife in January of last year.

In my statement to this House then, I spoke of priority issues I heard from northern women's testimony. Yesterday afternoon I reviewed the 120-page executive summary of the report to see what the recommendations said about those issues in particular. One was the difficulty of accessing counselling in small communities. The Commissioners acknowledged the lack of health and wellness services forcing people to relocate to access care. They recommended government services be accessible where people live, offered in partnership with Indigenous people, and within the context of cultural safety.

Another issue that concerned me was the importance of helping children who had witnessed violence in their families, and once again, the lack of services outside Yellowknife. The Commissioners' general recommendation is to provide continual and accessible support for children.

There is so much more in the report about better housing, the preservation of language and culture as underpinnings of identity, third-party police oversight, and establishing a Child and Youth Advocate, to name a few. These are the specifics, but make no mistake: the report recommends sweeping changes across society to come to terms with the legacy of endemic violence against Indigenous women and girls and to chart a path forward in which women are safe and valued. As the chief commissioner said to families yesterday, "your truth cannot be unheard."

The issue front and center for me is that, given the prevalence of violence against women, governments must put more money into prevention and eradication. The report released yesterday notes that there has been little movement to implement recommendations from previous reports, and most efforts have been reactive, not preventative. This is a significant barrier to addressing the root causes of violence. The report goes on to say, "Insufficient political will continues to be a roadblock across all initiatives. Solutions must be prioritized and resourced in partnership with Indigenous people and support self-determination."

I will have questions for the Minister responsible for the Status of Women about how this government plans to respond to this milestone report. Mahsi.

Final Report on National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Members' Statements

Page 5719

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Deh Cho.

Forest Fire Evacuation
Members' Statements

Page 5719

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. [English translation not provided.] The forest fires of Alberta have impacted the NWT and, as neighbours, we watch in worry for family and friends who live in northern Alberta. The residents of the Deh Cho riding remember all too well the terrible fires of 2014. Thankfully, none of our communities were damaged that year and we pray that the communities in northern Alberta are also spared.

Some evacuees from High Level and surrounding communities were accommodated on the Hay River Reserve, and they were just allowed to go home yesterday, but they have been told that they must be ready to evacuate again at a moment's notice.

Mr. Speaker, here in the NWT, we have 33 communities, and most of them are surrounded by thick forests. We have to ask ourselves: are we prepared to address a potential situation of an out-of-control wildland forest fire threatening our communities?

The recent wet weather has been helpful, and according to ENR, there is only one active fire in the NWT at the moment, but we all know how quickly things can change. Now is the time to prepare and make sure that our communities are as safe as they can be from forest fires.

Mr. Speaker, the 2014 forest fire season was the biggest forest fire season on record in the NWT. The community of Kakisa was evacuated and fortunately no injury or damage was done. Following that fire season, some fire guards around some communities were established. Some communities only have one road going into the community, and others are only accessible by air. A fast-moving fire could cause a catastrophe.

The GNWT has initiatives such as the FireSmart programs that clear low laying combustibles and forest thinning to lessen the spread of wildfire around communities. It is essential for our isolated communities especially to make themselves as safe as possible from wildfires. I will have questions for the Minister at the appropriate time on what is being done to prepare our communities should they be threatened by forest fires. Mahsi Mr. Speaker.