This is page numbers 6187 - 6288 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 public.

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Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6220

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Mr. Testart.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6220

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I am going to try to confine my comments as much as possible to the substance of the report and the committee's experience in reviewing the bill.

Not getting into the substantive merits, flaws, or concerns around the actual piece of legislation, committee's process was, I think, an interesting one, where the steps were taken to collaborate with the sponsoring Minister on how we could find common ground on improvements to the bill, but there were some very hard lines that were established in our process. That kind of intransigence is very difficult to deal with in a system of government where the Minister is ultimately the gatekeeper of changes made to the bill.

Oftentimes, the lack of certainty and clarity were really the fundamental concerns of committee, and it took a lot of public engagement to address some of those concerns with substantive changes to the bill and the necessary improvements. I think that should be a reminder of how important public engagement is and how important public views are in shaping the legislative process in this House. We have to constantly endeavour to ensure that that takes place, because sometimes both governments and Members can miss the point of things that are important to Northerners and to our partner governments and, of course, in this case, to industry as well.

I still think that we could have had a smoother process if committee had been more engaged and involved with the drafting of the bill and had a better understanding of how that was managed. The committee will be bringing forward a more comprehensive report on this, but in the case of this bill, in particular, the co-drafting exercise, which I think is a necessary step in the evolution of governance in the Northwest Territories and establishing a very clear role for Indigenous partnership in drafting public laws, there still needs to be a role of legislative oversight and the ability of both the public and of Members of this House and appropriate standing committees to alter, change, improve, or otherwise make amendments to sections that have been previously agreed-upon at the drafting level.

I think that that needs to be a very clear part of our process that intransigence and hard lines drawn on changes to bills really have to be carefully considered. The viewpoints that are shared with the committee need to be carefully considered by government Ministers as well, because, again, they are the ultimate gatekeepers on what can be changed at the committee stage, and if the committee feels very strongly that changes need to be made and that is backed up by public viewpoints, it can be a very frustrating experience to not be allowed to make those changes, even when your convictions say that they ought to be made.

That being said, there were plenty of other areas of common ground that the committee was able to find with the sponsoring Minister and direct relationships with staff on both ends of the table, that helped make some of those compromise adjustments to the bill. It's not all bad, but certainly the largest concerns I do not think really found the cooperation necessary to address them in a timely fashion, which is one of the reasons by the clause-by-clause was a four-hour review, late into the night. I hope we can avoid this in the future, especially around pivotal pieces of legislation like the Mineral Resources Act, and I hope we can broaden our engagement at all times when we are passing laws like this, that are fundamental to our economy, fundamental to our territory, that involve as much public input and stakeholder engagement as possible.

That should be an important lesson learned for all Members of the House, but in particular governments who are bringing forward legislation: do it early; don't do it late; give time for committee to request extensions when needed to do their due diligence; and make sure that bills are ready to go forward so that we are not in a situation where we have to go back later on and make improvements after all of this process has gone by and that the public feels like there is actual opportunity for this House to change bills in a way that the public supports because that fundamentally is our role. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6221

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Further? Mr. McNeely.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6221

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I will reserve my opening comments once we get into the actual bill itself, not the report. I just want to put that on the record. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6221

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you, Mr. McNeely. A bit of a teaser there from Mr. McNeely. Anything further? Mr. Vanthuyne.

Committee Motion 206-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and environment Report on the Review of Bill 34: Mineral Resources Act - Curriculum for Prospector Training, carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

August 20th, 2019

Page 6221

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I move that this committee recommends that the Government of the Northwest Territories develop the curriculum for prospector training, working with Aurora College, the Mine Training Society, and in consultation with industry experts who can offer expertise in the applied content subject matter. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 206-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and environment Report on the Review of Bill 34: Mineral Resources Act - Curriculum for Prospector Training, carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6221

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you. There is a motion on the floor. It is being distributed. The motion has been distributed. To the motion. Mr. Vanthuyne.

Committee Motion 206-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and environment Report on the Review of Bill 34: Mineral Resources Act - Curriculum for Prospector Training, carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6222

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This is a motion where we felt that part of what the government will be undertaking is that, when prospectors or potential prospectors and explorers are applying for a prospector's licence, part of that process now will include that they take some courses that have to do with providing some degree of awareness so that prospectors and explorers can and will be informed with regard to the activities that would be taking place, and especially if they are not from around the Northwest Territories, that they receive some degree of awareness as it relates to certain sensitivities, let's say, with regard to prospecting and exploring in the Northwest Territories. So that is the intention behind this. The Mine Training Society, Aurora College, and others, and in particular industry do have a history here in the Northwest Territories of working collaboratively to put forward programs that are relevant to exploration and mining. We have seen in the past some prospector programs. We have seen a geoscience field technician-type program. We believe that this is a good motion to support. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 206-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and environment Report on the Review of Bill 34: Mineral Resources Act - Curriculum for Prospector Training, carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6222

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you. To the motion. Mr. O'Reilly.

Committee Motion 206-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and environment Report on the Review of Bill 34: Mineral Resources Act - Curriculum for Prospector Training, carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6222

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Mr. Chair. While I support the motion, I think it needs to be clearly stated on the record that there were others who felt that they had expertise to offer in terms of prospector training. I think Indigenous governments, Indigenous elders, would have some perspective, some expert knowledge that they could share in terms of cultural awareness and awareness of the land rights agreements and our co-management system that mining is required to operate within. I know NGOs also expressed an interest in having an opportunity to look at whatever kind of curriculum was developed.

I note that, in Ontario, there are already online training modules that people have to walk through and pass a test, essentially. I have looked at that information myself, and I think we can and should adopt some of the ideas that Ontario already has in place. However, it's not just industry experts that I think have something to offer here. There are other parties that can and should be engaged in the development of training materials, and they have asked for that opportunity, so I am sure the Minister will ensure that they have an opportunity to get engaged in the development of this information, as well. Thanks, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 206-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and environment Report on the Review of Bill 34: Mineral Resources Act - Curriculum for Prospector Training, carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6222

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Further general comments on the report or, rather, sorry, we are on a motion here. To the motion.

Committee Motion 206-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and environment Report on the Review of Bill 34: Mineral Resources Act - Curriculum for Prospector Training, carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6222

Some Hon. Members

Question.

Committee Motion 206-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and environment Report on the Review of Bill 34: Mineral Resources Act - Curriculum for Prospector Training, carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6222

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Question has been called. All those in favour? All those opposed? The motion is carried.

---Carried

Thank you. Mr. Vanthuyne.

Committee Motion 207-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and environment Report on the Review of Bill 34: Mineral Resources Act - Solutions for Rights Issuance Overlapping Municipal boundaries, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6222

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I move that this committee recommends that the Government of the Northwest Territories work with the NWT Association of Communities and municipal governments in the Northwest Territories to develop solutions to resolve the challenges of rights issuance that overlaps with municipal boundaries, in order to better protect municipal infrastructure and ensure public interest is protected; and further, efforts should also be directed at protection of lands and waters where critical municipal infrastructure is located or planned. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 207-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and environment Report on the Review of Bill 34: Mineral Resources Act - Solutions for Rights Issuance Overlapping Municipal boundaries, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6222

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you. There is a motion. The motion is on the floor and in order. To the motion. Mr. Vanthuyne.