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.

Topics

Tabled Document 505-18(3): ommunity Access Program 2018-2019 Results Report, Department of Infrastructure
Tabling Of Documents

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Wally Schumann Hay River South

Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the following document entitled "Community Access Program 2018-2019 Results Report, Department of Infrastructure." Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Tabled Document 505-18(3): ommunity Access Program 2018-2019 Results Report, Department of Infrastructure
Tabling Of Documents

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Tabling of documents. Minister of Education, Culture and Employment.

Tabled Document 506-18(3): Supporting Access to Child Care in the NWT 2019-2020 Supplementary Action Plan
Tabling Of Documents

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Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the following document entitled "Supporting Access to Child Care in the NWT 2019-2020 Supplementary Action Plan." Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Tabled Document 506-18(3): Supporting Access to Child Care in the NWT 2019-2020 Supplementary Action Plan
Tabling Of Documents

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Tabling of documents. Minister of Health and Social Services.

Tabled Document 507-18(3): Government of the Northwest Territories Response to Committee Report 23-18(3): Report on the Review of Bill 40: Smoking Control and Reduction Act and Bill 41: Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act
Tabling Of Documents

August 20th, 2019

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Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the following document entitled "Government of the Northwest Territories Response to Committee Report 23-18(3): Report on the Review of Bill 40: Smoking Control and Reduction Act and Bill 41: Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act." Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Tabled Document 508-18(3): Legislative Assembly Retiring Allowance Fund Financial Statement for the Year Ended March 31, 2019
Tabling Of Documents

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Tabling of documents. Pursuant to section 21 of the Legislative Assembly Retiring Allowances Act, I wish to table "Legislative Assembly Retiring Allowance Fund Financial Statement for the Year Ended March 31, 2019."

Item 15, notices of motion. Item 16, notices of motion for first reading of bills. Item 17, motions. Item 18, first reading of bills. Item 19, second reading of bills. Item 20, consideration in Committee of the Whole of bills and other matters: Bill 34, Mineral Resources Act; Bill 45, Corrections Act; Committee Report 29-18(3), Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Perceptions Held by Northern Businesses toward the Government of the Northwest Territories' Procurement Processes; Committee Report 32-18(3), Standing Committee on Economic Development Committee Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives; Committee Report 33-18(3), Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on Bill 34, Mineral Resources Act; Committee Report 34-18(3), Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 45, Corrections Act; Minister's Statement 151-18(3), New Federal Infrastructure Agreement; Minister's Statement 158-18(3), Developments in Early Childhood Programs and Services; Minister's Statement 211-18(3), Addressing the Caribou Crisis; Tabled Document 442-18(3), 2030 NWT Climate Change Strategic Framework 2019-2023 Action Plan. By the authority given to me as Speaker by Motion 7-18(3), I hereby authorize the House to sit beyond the daily hour of adjournment to consider the business before the House, with the Member for Hay River North in the chair.

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

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The Chair R.J. Simpson

I now call Committee of the Whole to order. What is the wish of committee? Mr. Vanthuyne.

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

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Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Committee would like to review Committee Report 33-18(3), Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on Review of Bill 34, Mineral Resources Act; and Bill 34, Mineral Resources Act. 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

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The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you, Mr. Vanthuyne. Does committee agree?

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

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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

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

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The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you, committee. We will consider the documents, but first, a brief recess.

---SHORT RECESS

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

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The Chair R.J. Simpson

I will now call Committee of the Whole back to order. Committee, we have agreed to first consider Committee Report 33-18(3), Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on Bill 34, Mineral Resources Act. I will turn to the chair of the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment for opening comments. Mr. Vanthuyne.

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

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Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Bill 34, Mineral Resources Act, was referred to the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment on February 12, 2019. On August 12, 2019, the committee was granted an extension to continue its review. The committee sent letters inviting input from an extensive list of stakeholders, including municipal and Indigenous governments in the Northwest Territories, as well as a number of non-governmental organizations and stakeholders.

The committee travelled throughout the territory and held public hearings in Inuvik, Norman Wells, and Yellowknife. The committee thanks everyone who attended these meetings or provided written submissions sharing their views on Bill 34. The committee concluded its review of Bill 34, Mineral Resources Act, on August 15, 2019 with a public clause-by-clause review held in the Great Hall of the Legislative Assembly building.

The committee carried 46 motions to amend Bill 34, of which 40 received concurrence from the Minister. The Minister also concurred with an individual Member's motion that was moved at the clause-by-clause review and carried by the committee. The committee thanks Minister Schumann and his officials for their collaboration in the development of those motions. I will have committee motions to move with regard to recommendations in the report at the appropriate time. Individual Members may have additional comments or questions on the report. 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

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The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Committee, I will open the floor to general comments on the report on Bill 34. This is not the bill. This is the report on the bill. We will be considering the bill after consideration of the report. General comments on the report on Bill 34. Mr. O'Reilly.

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

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Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Mr. Chair. As many Members know, I am a committee meeting junkie. I go to all of the different committee meetings that I can, so I had the privilege of attending many of the social envelope reviews of bills, participated in the SCEDE reviews of environmental resources legislation, as well, or bills. I think it would be fair to say that my impression, my takeaway, was that, on the social envelope side, it was often easier to work with Ministers and departments in making progress on improving bills, and I think it was a very difficult process on the resource and environmental side with the bills that SCEDE had to deal with. Of course, this all culminated in the four-and-a-half-hour, monumental clause-by-clause review of this bill that took place last Thursday evening. It's now available for viewing on the YouTube channel for anybody who wants to relive that great event.

You know, I think it's fair to say that committee spent a very significant amount of time reviewing this bill and working very, very hard to improve it. There is obviously a lot of strong public interest in this bill. There were very detailed submissions from Indigenous governments, industry, and NGOs. I don't think that I have seen that level of interest in another bill before this Legislative Assembly, so I want to thank everyone for their very detailed and helpful input.

I also want to note that, at the beginning of the process, there was a lot promised with this legislation, and not all of those promises have been delivered on. Things that were promised included a review of royalties, map staking, all kinds of things, some of which just have not been delivered on, and I think that we probably bit off too much to chew, really. One of the key things that I think did cause some differences between the Minister and the committee when we were undertaking the review was the mixed roles of Industry, Tourism and Investment. Clearly they have a role in promoting mining resource development, and I have always given the department and the staff a lot of credit for the work that they have done. They are very good promoters of resource development, as they can and should be, but they also have a role, under this bill, to regulate mineral rights, and that is what this bill is about. It is not about promoting mining; it is about mineral rights administration, to try to reach a fair compromise in terms of the public interest and the interest of the industry, and I'm not sure that we always achieved the right balance.

This was the kind of mixed roles and responsibilities that the department often brought to the bill in trying to understand the vision that people have with regard to where they want to go with mineral rights and administration management. It was difficult to understand at times, and I think that sometimes there are differences of what that vision can and should look like, and how the balance between the public and private interests should be achieved.

A lot has been promised. There are some things that have been delivered on, and I do want to go over some of the good things and some of the things that I think still need a lot more work. A lot of the work has been left to details. A lot of the very important policy work decisions are left to future regulations. This will take years to roll out. This is not going to be everybody's solution, and it can't even be brought into force right away, because a bunch of other changes need to be made. There needs to be a detailed implementation plan, and we are going to talk a little bit more about that.

There are some good things that this bill does. This is the kind of lens that I think that committee, and certainly myself, have always brought to this legislation: how can we improve transparency and accountability? There will be a public registry or at least portions of a registry that is available to the public. There will be detailed annual reporting. There is some clarification on how dispute resolution is going to be handled; instead of through a panel, it is now going to be a mining rights review board. I think that there have been some improvements made in the bill as a result of committee's review, but I think that there are also some very key sticking areas that have not received the consideration that they deserve. If we had had more time, I think that we, perhaps, could have reached some compromise on a number of areas.

As hard as committee tried, we were not able to reach any agreement with the Minister and the department over what role municipal governments can play and how they can be informed so that we can encourage good working relationships and treat them with the recognition and respect that they deserve. Committee was not able to reach any kind of a compromise or agreement with the Minister on that matter, and that is a huge disappointment to me personally.

I think that there are some issues, still, around zones and whether these are in the public interest and represent good public policy. Royalties haven't been dealt with; that has been punted off to the 19th Assembly. We have some bad actor provisions in the bill, and I think that they are quite weak, quite frankly. We could have done more work to improve them. Montana actually has much stronger provisions based on a whole series of abandoned mines in that jurisdiction. We are not that far different from what is happening in Montana in some ways, and I think that we can and should have done a lot more on that to make them stronger provisions.

I am not going to say a lot about benefits, because I think that that is going to be a big part of the discussion as we move all the way through the bill, but I do think that the benefits provisions, particularly in terms of public benefits, are very vague and uncertain and create not the kind of clarity that this bill had promised. I think that that can and should have received a lot more attention and work to try to fix that up.

I think that those are all the remarks that I have for now, Mr. Chair, but I do want to congratulate the committee for the fine work that they undertook in reviewing this bill, and particularly the chair, who had to deal with an unruly mob at times amongst the committee Members alone. His chairing of the monumental clause-by-clause review meeting was much appreciated and helped to keep things moving along, so I do want to recognize his efforts and thank him personally for that. Thank you, Mr. Chair.