This is page numbers 5877 - 5944 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 report.

Topics

Programs and Services in the Sahtu Region
Members' Statements

Page 5882

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Thank you. Mr. Speaker and colleagues, welcome back. As we conclude our last sitting of the 18th Assembly and as a first term MLA representing Sahtu, consensus government has provided me with a broader perspective on collaboration and partnerships. These are fundamental principles of engagements in achieving political support for economic sustainable growth, principles to enhancing and improving the Sahtu residents to overcome challenges for improved programs and services, residents who supported my presence here in this Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, our students and residents in Colville Lake will receive a new school designed through a joint collaborative approach with the Department of Infrastructure. The Deline Got'ine Government has seen the biosphere recognition of Great Bear Lake, a pristine freshwater lake, a bilateral agreement between the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Deline Got'ine Government. Norman Wells has seen the establishment of a new infrastructure department, with jobs and self-responsibilities that come with it. Fort Good Hope has seen the housing homeless program. With legislation of our Protected Areas Act, the community will see a guardianship initiative.

The region has seen 37 percent funding for the Wrigley Norman Wells sectional Mackenzie Valley Highway, a legacy long desired by the residents. Tulita will see a new health facility, providing the latest in modern care. The staff will see a new housing unit. This is the true meaning of consensus, collaboration between the Government of the Northwest Territories and our residents and however, more importantly, the transitional ambitions into the 19th Assembly.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I look forward to these guiding principles towards our legislation initiatives and our capital plan. Mahsi.

Programs and Services in the Sahtu Region
Members' Statements

Page 5882

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Deh Cho.

Affirmative Action Policy
Members' Statements

Page 5882

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. During the spring sitting, I asked the Finance Minister, who is responsible for human resources, to make a commitment to update the GNWT's Affirmative Action Policy. As you may recall, the policy is so outdated that it still contains a commitment to do a policy review in 1994.

As I said in the House back in May, according to the GNWT's 2018 Public Service Annual Report, only 30.5 percent of the territorial government's workforce is made up of Indigenous Aboriginal people. The Minister pointed out that this number is higher in the regions, where 46 percent of the GNWT workforce is Indigenous Aboriginals, and I am glad to hear that.

Unfortunately, I also hear too many stories from people in my riding who are unsuccessful at getting GNWT jobs. If these people are willing and interested in working for the GNWT, we need to do everything we can to get them into jobs. If we are not doing that, then the Affirmative Action Policy is just lip service to helping Aboriginal people to get government jobs, if any.

I want to repeat some of the suggestions I made. First, we need to resurrect this government's commitment to decentralize more jobs out to the regions. It may be more expedient and cost-effective to put jobs in headquarters, but cost and convenience to government should not always outweigh the economic and social benefits of putting jobs in the communities. I also suggested that a department's affirmative action statistics should be an important criterion for assessing a deputy minister's performance.

In his response to my earlier questions, the Minister talked a lot about merit. I want to be clear that I support this principle, too. Believe me, if I need open heart surgery, I want to know that the most qualified surgeon is the one holding the scalpel, but, as we know, institutions like the GNWT also have a responsibility to be committed to reconciliation and should be willing to go the extra mile to overcome the past abuses of the residential school system, which deprived native children of educational opportunities and left a bitter legacy of substance abuse and family and social problems.

People need to be able to get a foot in the door so that they can build the experience to qualify them to compete for better paying jobs based on merit. One way to do this would be to put in place an advocate for Indigenous employment candidates. Mr. Speaker, I speak unanimous consent to conclude my statement. Mahsi.

---Unanimous consent granted

Affirmative Action Policy
Members' Statements

Page 5883

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

This person could work with Indigenous people seeking GNWT jobs, to help them prepare for their hiring process, to help them get their applications in, and to help connect departments with the right candidate.

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides for the creation of policies designed to provide an even playing field for disadvantaged groups. I understand that the concerns about the legitimacy of the GNWT's Affirmative Action Policy for certain groups may be at the root of why this policy has remained untouched for 30-plus years. If this is the case, I would like the Minister to explain precisely what the concern is. I would like also for him to consider creating a stand-alone Affirmative Action Policy for Indigenous people so that they do not get left behind by a policy that is outdated for unrelated reasons. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Affirmative Action Policy
Members' Statements

Page 5883

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Nunakput.

Tuktoyaktuk Shoreline Erosion Mitigation Project
Members' Statements

Page 5883

Herbert Nakimayak Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Climate change has affected many countries around this world. Our NWT communities are seeing the effects on the land and in our coastlines. There are global commitments being made to help mitigate and deal with climate change. However, Tuktoyaktuk residents are facing those challenges today, Mr. Speaker. Homes, community infrastructure, and the cemetery are at immediate risk, with several metres of shoreline disappearing completely each year.

In this 18th Assembly, the Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs made the announcement that the Government of Canada provided $800,000 to fund adaptation initiatives to deal with the eroding shoreline in Tuktoyaktuk. This funding announcement was good news for the community, which is bearing some of the worst effects of climate change. Specifically, the homes most at risk were to be moved inland, away from the storm surges that are becoming increasingly common and destructive. CBC reported last week that work has been under way to prepare to move homes further inland but that the foundations may not be ready, which could result in damage to the homes. Many social media videos were posted stressing the need for attention and action to help protect the homes.

Mr. Speaker, the homeowners are stuck: move the homes inland and risk shifting foundations damaging the home, or stay where they are and risk the ocean carving out the land underneath their homes. My constituents do not want to lose their homes, but neither should they bear the expense of repairs to any damage caused during this ongoing project.

Mr. Speaker, homeowners are now taking matters into their own hands and building makeshift storm barriers, trying to keep the shoreline underneath their homes intact. According to the story on CBC, there does not appear to be any funding to protect these homes until the foundations inland are ready for them. I have spoken to the hamlet, and they are concerned that the funding process has too much red tape to get this project and homes move sooner. The homeowners want to be assured their homes will be moved safely to a stable and safe location. Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories must step in and encourage our federal counterparts to work more closely with both the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk and with Municipal and Community Affairs and also the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation.

I know the community has been working hard with both the federal and territorial governments to address this challenge. We must continue to support their efforts to mitigate this important issue. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Tuktoyaktuk Shoreline Erosion Mitigation Project
Members' Statements

Page 5883

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

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

Housing Issues in the Northwest Territories
Members' Statements

Page 5884

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Mr. Speaker, 12 years ago, when I first campaigned to be elected as MLA for Tu Nedhe, every second household I attended had a housing issue. In my first term as MLA for Tu Nedhe, I brought over 300 housing issues to the government. That was quite an accomplishment, Mr. Speaker, considering I was representing 295 households.

In any event, over the years, many of us as MLAs have all worked on housing issues and, for the past 12 years that I have been an MLA and we have had a full House in this Assembly, the core need for housing has never changed, from what I could see. I think that the last documentation we have is 2014, Mr. Speaker, but, for the most part, the core need for social housing across the NWT has remained the same.

For the next government, Mr. Speaker, I would recommend that the NWT Housing Corporation or the government revamp the NWT Housing Corporation. If we are spending $100 million a year towards addressing social housing issues across the Northwest Territories and the core need remains the same, then there must be something wrong because the core need is growing as fast as the core needs that we are repairing. I am not saying that the Housing Corporation isn't doing hard work or isn't working for the people, but what I am saying, Mr. Speaker, is that I think it is time to change the way the Housing Corporation is working for the people of the Northwest Territories.

We must begin to lower core needs, and we must begin to start working in housing, actively working on houses to address the housing issues in the Northwest Territories.

Mr. Speaker, there are any economic spin-off benefits to housing and improving housing markets. There are huge potential for employment in small communities by repairing houses and eliminating core need across the Northwest Territories. We also see many economic spin-offs. I hope that the next government takes a look at the Housing Corporation. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Housing Issues in the Northwest Territories
Members' Statements

Page 5884

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Nahendeh.

Eulogy for Phillip Gargan
Members' Statements

Page 5884

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker. Philip Maurice Gargan was born to his parents Celine and Charles Gargan, March 1, 1943. Phillip was born during a time when his parents lived at Redknife, but his birth certificate his place of birth as being Fort Providence. It is therefore unclear as to whether he was born at Redknife or in Fort Providence.

Phillip grew up at Jean Marie River, and it was there he was sent to residential school in Fort Providence. When Jean Marie River Federal Day School opened in the early 1950s, he returned home to attend school there. To finish his schooling, he went to Akaitcho Hall in Yellowknife.

After attending school in Yellowknife, he attended NAIT and became a certified carpenter. He worked as a carpenter in many northern communities, including Cambridge Bay, Norman Wells, and a number of places in the Yukon. He worked for the Government of the Northwest Territories for 27 years before retiring on March 28, 2009, in Fort Simpson.

It was while he was in school, he met his wife, Helen Sikyea, who he married a few years later on December 19, 1964. Together they had two daughters, Diane and Sandra, and lost an infant son named Michael. As well, he had son Ralph and a daughter Celine from two separate relationships after his marriage to Helen ended.

Many of us who knew Phillip will remember him as a person who liked to laugh and joke with people. Family members and friends had fond memories of him as being a kind and loving person who helped people in whatever way he could. Many community members will remember him for his kindness during their time of grief. Today, many of the crosses we see in the gravesites of our loved ones were made by him. This is something he did for the community while he was a foreman at the carpentry shop. Andy Norwegian remembered, when he worked for the government, when something required fixing, they would call Phil, and he would soon show up to assess the situation and make repairs. It is for that reason people called him Dr. Phil. The saying was, "If it was broken, Dr. Phil will fix it."

Family members will also remember him as a man who liked to laugh and joke around with people. Phillip was a loved great grandfather, grandfather, father, stepdad, an uncle, and a brother. He will be dearly missed. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Eulogy for Phillip Gargan
Members' Statements

Page 5884

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Our condolences and prayers for that family as well in the community. Members' statement. Member for Frame Lake.

Eulogy for Rene Fumoleau
Members' Statements

August 12th, 2019

Page 5884

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. It is my privilege to commemorate Father Rene Fumoleau who passed away peacefully on his 93rd birthday here in Yellowknife on August 6th. Rene was born in Chantonnay, France. He came to Canada in 1953 as an Oblate priest to Radeyli Ko. He also served in Deline and Fort Liard before moving to Yellowknife in 1970. Rene retired to Lutselk'e in 1994, and then returned to Yellowknife in 2015.

Rene's groundbreaking archival research about Treaties 8 and 11 published in 1975 in his book, As Long as This Land Shall Last, changed the course of history for the Northwest Territories. He also made films about the struggle for self-determination for the Indigenous peoples of the Northwest Territories: I was Born Here, in 1987; and Dene Nation, in 1979.

He was an accomplished photographer, poet, and storyteller, a true renaissance man. His legacy documents a critical period of social, culture, and political transition. Rene spent years identifying the people and places in the over 15,000 photos he took.

Rene also undertook extensive work to educate southerners and build solidarity for Indigenous rights through his annual Denendeh Seminars in the 1980s.

On a personal note, my first job in the Northwest Territories was with the Dene Nation, where I met Rene in 1986. He was that little French guy who was always taking photos at Dene Assemblies and leadership meetings. Our bond grew when we had an opportunity to visit him in France with his family in 1991. We remember those long dinners filled with laughter and deep conversations about life, love, and purpose. Rene became part of our family in Yellowknife, and we named our son after him.

Rene was totally fearless, independent but compassionate. Let's face it. He had issues with authority and hierarchy. Years before anyone had defined colonization, Rene was promoting the concept and truly lived it. He found joy in the simplest things in life. Good friends, family, food, and the natural world. Rene shunned recognition and accolades. He would usually bring gifts for everyone at his birthday dinners. He should all inspire us to the path of social justice and service.

Rene is survived by his brother, Marcel; nieces, nephews, and their children in France; as well as many, many friends. Rene appreciated the care and love shown at Avens and the Jimmy Erasmus Seniors Home in Behchoko. I wish to especially recognize and thank Aggie Brockman and Terry Woolf, who cared for Rene in his final years.

There will be a celebration of Rene's life on Friday, August 30th, at 2:00 p.m. at the Yellowknives Dene First Nation Willideh site of Yellowknife River. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Eulogy for Rene Fumoleau
Members' Statements

Page 5885

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Our condolences, prayers to the family, and also to the communities. Members' statements. Item 4, returns to oral questions. Minister of Finance.

Return to Oral Question 771-18(3): NWT Carbon Tax Implementation Plan
Returns To Oral Questions

Page 5885

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a return to oral question asked by the Member for Kam Lake on June 4, 2019, regarding the NWT Carbon Tax Implementation Plan.

On June 5, 2019, I provided a statement to the House stating that the Implementation of the NWT carbon tax would be postponed from the original date of July 1, 2019, to September 1, 2019, as the Standing Committee on Government Operations required more time to review the legislation. Based on the legislative calendar, we expect the legislation will be ready for consideration during this August session. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Return to Oral Question 771-18(3): NWT Carbon Tax Implementation Plan
Returns To Oral Questions

Page 5885

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Returns to oral questions. Item 5, recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.