This is page numbers 6289 - 6352 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 assembly.

Topics

Committee Motion 260-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Consistency in Public Information, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6343

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I move that this committee recommends that the Government of the Northwest Territories develop greater consistency in making information public, including looking at how to make the various public registries enacted by law consistent, coherent, and comprehensive. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 260-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Consistency in Public Information, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6343

The Chair Daniel McNeely

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

Committee Motion 260-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Consistency in Public Information, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6343

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

I am sometimes confused with the Member for Yellowknife North. It is not a bad thing.

What we were getting was different approaches to public registries in different bills. Committee worked hard to try to make more information publicly accessible through the creation of registries. That was at the request of the public and even industry in some cases and Indigenous governments. We have different approaches to registries that have now emerged in some different bills. I guess we had understood that some of the early discussions around the Environmental Rights Act was about having a consistent, government-wide approach to something like registries where our government is making decisions about land, resources, or the environment.

Guess what? Ontario actually has that kind of a system through their Bill of Rights. They have an environmental registry. It is available online. I have looked at it. I have spoken to colleagues in Ontario who use it. They find it very, very helpful. It may actually save our government money. I am looking at our Finance Minister because I know that he is always interested in saving money.

Maybe this is a way to get this more consistent approach and put all of this in a common platform that makes it easier for our public to access this kind of information and maybe save us some money, as well. I think this is a helpful recommendation. I look forward to Cabinet considering this very carefully in the future. Thanks, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 260-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Consistency in Public Information, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6344

The Chair Daniel McNeely

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

Committee Motion 260-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Consistency in Public Information, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6344

Some Hon. Members

Question.

Committee Motion 260-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Consistency in Public Information, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6344

The Chair Daniel McNeely

Question has been called. All those in favour? All those opposed?

---Carried

Mr. Vanthuyne.

Committee Motion 261-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Preamble or Purpose Statement, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

August 21st, 2019

Page 6344

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I move that this committee recommends that for each legislative initiative, the Government of the Northwest Territories consider the need for the inclusion of preamble or purpose statement in the proposed bill and determine whether or not either is warranted, advising the standing committee of its decision and rationale at the legislative proposal stage. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 261-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Preamble or Purpose Statement, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6344

The Chair Daniel McNeely

Thank you, Mr. Vanthuyne. Mr. Testart.

Committee Motion 261-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Preamble or Purpose Statement, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6344

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Of the many pieces of devolution-related legislation that came forward, only a few contain preambles. Others contain purpose statements. Some contain both, and some contained nothing. Some Indigenous governments who provided evidence before the committee and some members of civil society, as well, expressed a desire to see a preamble or to see a stronger purpose statement or those kind of features to the bill.

Curiously enough, members of another committee worked on a bill that didn't have a preamble. There was some discussion about adding one. Ultimately, the committee learned that that was not admissible under the rules of amendment, which I spoke to earlier. There are formal rules for what can be added to a bill, and a preamble is not one of them. We also learned from our hearings that there seems to be a policy amongst the drafters of the Department of Justice that preambles should not be used. Apparently, the reason why we did seek preambles to some of these bills is they emerged from the co-drafting process.

This created a kind of state of confusion for the committee because sometimes it felt like a preamble would be helpful to lead into the legislation with an aspirational statement. There are merits and drawbacks to that approach. Other times, it felt like a purpose statement was really needed. If the act needs to be interpreted by a court of law, it is pretty clear what the purpose of the entire act is and that is how those clauses are interpreted.

These are important features of the bill. As they are quite difficult to change after they reach the committee stage, what this motion calls for or contemplates is: in our process in the consensus government, committees receive a legislative proposal from the government before a bill is brought forward. Committee is allowed to review that proposal, make comment on it, and provide that to the government. When those legislative proposals come forward, or LPs, to include a section that just says whether or not there will be a preamble proposed or a purpose statement proposed, at that point, the committee can say whether or not it needs one, whether or not the purpose or preamble is sufficient, and those kind of details. Once the bill is brought forward, those parts of the bill are much harder to change.

We don't want to be put into a situation again where we have a great deal of public interest on adding a preamble and our only option is that committee is to say, "Unfortunately, we can't because the rules of amendment don't allow us to add a preamble." That is not the situation committee wants to find itself in.

That was a lengthy explanation. Putting it upfront, I think, will greatly ease the ability of committee to assess that issue. Also, if committee members feel like these features are required for legislation, they can ask for it and have some say over purpose statements and preambles. I think that is a better process, ultimately. It is one that I don't think you would think of if you were just eyeballing the legislative process in our institutions. It is one the committee noted. I think this would be a really good improvement moving forward into the 19th Assembly. Thank you.

Committee Motion 261-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Preamble or Purpose Statement, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6345

The Chair Daniel McNeely

Thank you, Mr. Testart. To the motion. Mr. Nakimayak.

Committee Motion 261-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Preamble or Purpose Statement, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6345

Herbert Nakimayak Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Adding preambles into every bill, I don't know if that is the right thing to do. Some of them involve many different countries, and sometimes, it is useful. In this case, there are a lot of different Indigenous groups that have differences. I don't know if they would want to see this, myself, coming from one. Just for the record, Mr. Chair, I come from the Inuvialuit settlement region. A lot of these motions are made not from Indigenous recommendation or interactions. I think they mostly come out of the capital. I see this, and I am worried about this.

I would like to assure you, Mr. Chair, that I believe in the work that the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation does, and their relationship with the GNWT is improving as well as it is improving with the federal government. I think we need to look at those and ask them how that is really working. For interpretation for us in our committees, I think some of these are just low-lying fruit, and it may cause some confusion to some Indigenous governments who are actually working hard with the government. I just wanted to share that, Mr. Chair. Thank you.

Committee Motion 261-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Preamble or Purpose Statement, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6345

The Chair Daniel McNeely

Thank you, Mr. Nakimayak. Mr. O'Reilly.

Committee Motion 261-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Preamble or Purpose Statement, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6345

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Mr. Chair. I don't want to get into a debate here, but I want to provide the Assembly and the public with reassurance that committee considered these recommendations very carefully. From my recollection, actually, the majority of them came from Indigenous governments, certainly the ones around technical working groups wanting to be involved in regulation-making, resourcing of technical working groups. These actually are very reflective of what we heard from Indigenous governments themselves, so I don't think it's really quite fair to say that these came from Yellowknife, and that just needs to be very clearly stated on the record. In fact, business, industry, actually raised a number of these issues, as well, so I just don't think that the comments from the honourable Member for Nunakput are really fair or correct. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 261-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Preamble or Purpose Statement, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6345

The Chair Daniel McNeely

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

Committee Motion 261-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Preamble or Purpose Statement, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6345

Some Hon. Members

Question.