This is page numbers 5839 - 16 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 work. View the webstream of the day's session.

Topics

Deh Cho Health Care Service Issues
Members' Statements

Page 5847

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Masi, Mr. Speaker. [Translation] The government has done many things to improve the healthcare system for the residents of the Northwest Territories. [Translation ends]

In recent years, the management regime for our healthcare system was restructured in the NWT Health and Social Services Authority. This structure includes regional wellness councils that provide advice and support for the delivery of programs and services by listening to community residents and bringing forward ideas, suggestions, and concerns to a leadership council for the territory. Only time will tell if this new structure will result in better healthcare for residents in small communities, but my hope is that it will.

When it comes to health, the focus of the Department of Health and Social Services is on prevention, including the promotion of healthy living as a lifestyle. There are high rates of diabetes and smoking across the NWT, and we know that our dietary habits are not changing for the better. Further, we have high rates of alcohol and drug abuse, a well-known legacy of residential schools. Experience tells me that small communities are disproportionately affected by these issues.

In small communities like in my riding, we have health centres providing health and mental wellness programs, and services to help our residents heal and stay healthy. More specialized treatments like surgery and chemotherapy are delivered elsewhere, including at a brand new territorial hospital in Yellowknife. Other positive initiatives worth noting include screenings for colorectal cancers, immunization programs, and mental health counselling services.

Despite these positive developments for the NWT, healthcare services continue to be a concern in my riding. I continually hear concerns from my constituents about how they are treated at the local health centres. On occasion, people experiencing health issues do not even want to go to these facilities for help. Unfortunately, I regularly have to encourage my constituents to be persistent in their quest for proper medical treatment, and even to seek a second opinion elsewhere.

Constituents want to be treated with care and understanding. They want to work alongside healthcare professionals to get their health concerns addressed early, not later, when timing may be critical.

Mr. Speaker, a person experiencing health ailments knows their body, and if they feel something is wrong, they should have somewhere to turn to ask for medical assistance. It is important that a resident's concerns are heard and taken seriously by the professionals we entrust and pay to help them. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Deh Cho Health Care Service Issues
Members' Statements

Page 5848

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Members' statements. Member for Nunakput.

Tuktoyaktuk Visitors Centre
Members' Statements

Page 5848

Herbert Nakimayak Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Last summer saw an unprecedented number of tourists taking advantage of the new Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway to drive all the way to the Arctic Ocean. It was estimated that over 5,000 people travelled to Tuktoyaktuk, or five times the population of the community. Mr. Speaker, that's equivalent to over 100,000 people coming to Yellowknife.

There are no campgrounds or RV parks at the end of the highway, so most of those tourists had no choice but to turn back around and return to Inuvik after dipping their toes in the Arctic Ocean. A small visitor's information centre opened in mid-July with funding from the Department of ITI, and I am pleased to note that we recently passed additional funds for a larger tourism facility which will include washroom facilities.

When I raised questions to the Minister last fall, he indicated that he would be continuing to have discussions with the community leadership on areas to be addressed, and on how to build capacity for the community to take advantage of this tourism boom. I look forward to hearing from the Minister on the results of those discussions this summer.

Mr. Speaker, the ferries are now crossing the Mackenzie and Peel rivers and this year's tourist season has started. I hope that the Department of ITI is planning to run tourism workshops in the community and in the region, so that this season sees only positive impacts and long-lasting benefits to the community of Tuktoyaktuk. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Tuktoyaktuk Visitors Centre
Members' Statements

Page 5848

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Members' statements. Member for Sahtu.

Mining Week
Members' Statements

Page 5848

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. June the 1st to the 8th is NWT Mining Week, an industry that is vibrant and a provider of benefits to many NWT residents, community donation recipients, workers, trainees, the business community, and government.

Mr. Speaker, mining is still key to the northern economy. In the earlier days, mineral potential began in the Sahtu along the shores of Great Bear Lake. Today's signs and exploration preliminary results show evidence of that continued potential in the region. There is a possibility this area can become a major player in contributions to the post-devolution GDP.

Through the mineral, oil, and gas strategies, it's comfortable to share by attendance of the annual AME Vancouver mining roundup conference and many other events that stakeholders of the North are open for business. Additional continued support I can see is our post-devolution legislation reviews and modernization. When witnessing this, I feel comfortable our government is taking our inherited devolution responsibilities seriously.

Advancing forward, Mr. Speaker, a recent report by the Fraser Institute ranked the Northwest Territories as the 10th most attractive global jurisdiction for mining investment. Allow us not to lose focus on government responsibilities such as building schools, hospitals, infrastructure, and designing supporting an economy for diversification. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Later, I will have questions for the Minister of ITI.

Mining Week
Members' Statements

Page 5848

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Thank you, Member. Members' statements. Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.

Protected Areas Act
Members' Statements

June 6th, 2019

Page 5848

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today, we will read the Protected Areas Act for the third time. Should this bill pass, it will undoubtedly be a huge step towards creating a conservation economy unlike anything we have seen before.

The federal government over the last several years has budgeted large amounts of money for the conservation economy across Canada. This decision by the federal government demonstrates a desire to expand the amount of protected areas in our country. In fact, the federal government hopes to protect at least 17 percent of all lands and waters in Canada over the next few years. Our Protected Areas Act will give the NWT the ability to substantially participate in this initiative.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to see all communities in the riding of Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh develop plans for protection of traditional and culturally significant areas. Lutselk'e has Thaidene Nene, YK Dene may want to protect the shoreline from Detah to Francois Bay, and Fort Resolution may want to protect the lower Taltson River and the lower Slave River. Furthermore, each community should have an option to employ their own people as guardians of the land and water. For example, in Lutselk'e, there already exists an established group of guardians called Ni hat'ni Dene, which means "watchers of the land." These guardians are out on the land and ready to engage environmental organizations and industry alike.

Mr. Speaker, in addition to the environmental benefits of protecting land and water, the protection of land and water will provide many social benefits that come along with protecting those lands. This includes employment for local people, and I have said many times in the House there are plenty of good socio-economic impacts that come with employing people. I will say it again. For every dollar spent on employing guardians of the land, you will see returns of $2.50 in social spending reductions.

Mr. Speaker, people who are employed are better equipped to support their school-age children both financially and as positive role models for giving them a better chance in life and a more employable future. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

Protected Areas Act
Members' Statements

Page 5849

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Mr. Speaker, in our small communities, our graduation rates are low. There are too many youth unemployed and uneducated. We need to employ more youth, and the Protected Areas Act has the potential to provide more opportunities in the area of a conservation economy.

Mr. Speaker, I look forward to the day of seeing our guardians protecting our cultural and traditional areas in all communities of the NWT. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Protected Areas Act
Members' Statements

Page 5849

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Members' statements. Member for Great Slave.

Brenda Johnson - NWT Education Hall of Fame Inductee
Members' Statements

Page 5849

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to congratulate my constituent Brenda Johnson who was indicated into the 2019 Education Hall of Fame yesterday morning. Brenda spent 31 years working at Mildred Hall School as a program support teacher, eventually moving into coaching roles at Range Lake North as well as NJ McPherson schools. She is currently the curriculum coordinator at the district level and continues to be a role model for others on how to work with diverse groups and students.

Her priority has always been building an inclusive environment for students. She develops and supports teaching practices that create an optimal environment for success for all of her students, but most importantly, Mr. Speaker, for those with diverse learning needs. Brenda is an extraordinary teacher, an excellent mentor, and a curriculum and assessment expert. Her true passion is making a difference not only in the learning experiences of the students she teaches, but in their lives, as well.

Brenda's education career demonstrates integrity, compassion, enthusiasm, and commitment. The only thing that surpasses her education philosophy is her passion for all the students and staff who she loves to work with. Thousands of children and youth have benefitted from her work over the years, and she is well-known throughout the city of Yellowknife, having taught many people as well as their children, even their grandchildren.

Congratulations, Brenda. We all value your hard work and dedication. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Brenda Johnson - NWT Education Hall of Fame Inductee
Members' Statements

Page 5849

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Members' statements. Member for Hay River South.

Sheila Cook - NWT Education Hall of Fame Inductee
Members' Statements

Page 5849

Wally Schumann Hay River South

[Microphone turned off] to speak today about Sheila Cook, who got inducted into the Education Hall of Fame yesterday. Sheila Cook was born in the nursing station on the K'atlodeeche First Nation outside Hay River. She attended the Hay River Federal Day School, followed by Sir John Franklin High School for grades 10 and 11, and then completed her high school diploma at Victoria Composite in Edmonton.

She realized that she wanted to become a teacher when she was working as a tutorial assistant for speech and language therapy with children and working as a classroom assistant. She began her studies in Fort Smith in the teacher education program, with two children and her husband at home. She graduated in 1985, while expecting her third child. Teaching young students at Princess Alexandra and Harry Camsell schools became the focus for Sheila, focusing on providing a safe and caring learning environment for all her students every day. After 10 years of teaching, she headed to Saskatoon, where she graduated with distinction with her Bachelor of Education degree. Her northern values continued to mould and shape her teaching for two more decades until she retired in 2010.

Sheila continues serving others through her volunteer work preserving Hay River's rich history as a director at the Hay River Museum, where she continues to promote and educate visitors on the northern heritage and culture in the Hay River area. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Sheila Cook - NWT Education Hall of Fame Inductee
Members' Statements

Page 5850

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Members' statements. Item 4, returns to oral questions. Minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Power Corporation.

Return to Oral Question 675-18(3): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Generator Procurement Costs
Returns To Oral Questions

Page 5850

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a return to oral question asked by Mr. Testart on March, 11, 2019, regarding the Northwest Territories Power Corporation generator procurement cost.

NTPC recognized that Members have been interested in this project. The corporation is pleased to report that the project is nearing completion, with final commissioning under way for the last two generators. It was necessary to switch vendors for the final two units because the original vendor was unable to meet the required delivery schedule, even after multiple renegotiations. This vendor's bid was originally selected because it provided the lowest cost overall and met all other project requirements. The cancelled contract resulted in approximately $750,000 in additional costs. Included in this total are additional costs to mobilize contractors, install the units from a new vendor, interest associated with the schedule delays, as well as some additional designing and engineering. By changing vendors, the corporation was able to install larger units with better insulation and saving $170,000 of depreciation, partially offsetting these costs.

As a result of the challenges associated with this project, NTPC has strengthened its project management practices and procedures to be more industry standard, including adjustments to procurement practices. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Return to Oral Question 675-18(3): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Generator Procurement Costs
Returns To Oral Questions

Page 5850

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Returns to oral questions. Members, I am pleased to draw Members' attention to the presence of Mr. David Jones, the Conflict of Interest Commissioner for the Northwest Territories, who has once again joined us in the gallery today. Welcome. Item 5, recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Yellowknife Centre.