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.

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Motion 44-18(3): Dissolution of the 18th Legislative Assembly
Notices Of Motion

Page 6317

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Mr. Speaker, I give notice that, on Friday, August 23, 2019, I will move the following motion: Now therefore I move, seconded by the honourable Member for Great Slave, that this Legislative Assembly request the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories to dissolve the 18th Assembly of the Northwest Territories on August 31, 2019, to permit polling day for a general election to be held on October 1, 2019;

And further, that the Speaker transmit this resolution to the Commissioner. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Motion 44-18(3): Dissolution of the 18th Legislative Assembly
Notices Of Motion

Page 6318

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. 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 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 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; and Tabled Document 51-18(3): Follow-Up Letter for Oral Question 819-18(2) Yellowknife Airport Hours of Operation. 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 Sahtu 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

August 21st, 2019

Page 6318

The Chair Daniel McNeely

I now call committee to order. What is the wish of committee? 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 6318

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Committee would like to consider Committee Report 34-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 45: Corrections 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; and Committee Report 32-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development Committee Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives. 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 6318

The Chair Daniel McNeely

Thank you, Mr. Testart. Committee, at this point, we will call a short break. 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

Page 6318

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 Daniel McNeely

Thank you, committee. We will take a break and resume later at the call of the chair. Mahsi.

---SHORT RECESS

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

Page 6318

The Chair Daniel McNeely

I call committee back to order. Committee, we have agreed to next consider Committee Report 34-18(3), Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 45, Corrections Act. I will go to the chair of the Standing Committee on Social Development for any opening comments. Mr. Thompson.

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

Page 6318

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I will be really brief. First of all, I would like to thank the department and their staff. As we move forward, it was a really good effort from the department and the Minister to work with the committee and our Legislative Assembly staff. There were a lot of hours on Saturdays and Sundays and late evenings that they worked hard through to improve this bill.

When we were talking about it, we were concerned that we may not be able to bring this bill forward, but I have to thank the Minister and his staff and the Legislative Assembly staff and committee, again, for the hard work. It was about consensus and working together, and it was amazing, the product that we were able to come out with. As we talk to some of the other people, we feel that this bill is something that is even better than if we had waited until the 19th Assembly.

Again, I would like to thank the Minister for his work and his commitment with his staff and the Legislative Assembly staff and committee staff for their work to make this a better bill for the residents of the Northwest Territories. Other committee Members may have other comments at this time, but those are my comments. 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 6318

The Chair Daniel McNeely

Thank you, Mr. Thompson. I will now open the floor to general comments on Committee Report 34-18(3). Members? Mr. Vanthuyne.

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

Page 6318

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Mr. Chair, I just wanted to take this opportunity to really extend my appreciation to the committee for the work that they have undertaken. I do want to recognize that they have kept other Members informed as they were moving along through the process. At one point in time, there was genuine concern about this particular bill and its content, so I wanted to commend the committee for the work that they have done to reach out to particular stakeholders that provided some critical feedback and critical information that I think helped the committee moved this bill forward in a more progressive fashion that got it where it is today.

Again, I just really wanted to take this opportunity to extend my thanks and appreciation to the efforts of the committee and, of course, to the department for appreciating what concerns the committee had brought forward and working collaboratively to get it to where it is today. 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 6318

The Chair Daniel McNeely

Thank you, Mr. Vanthuyne. Ms. Green.

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

Page 6319

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Chair. It has been a real journey with the Corrections Act. The committee was a little dismayed, I think it is fair to say, by the bill in its original form, and we didn't find that there was a huge amount of public interest in it when we did our public hearings, but we really benefited from the expert advice that I was able to round up through the BC Civil Liberties Association; Mary Campbell, who is the former Director General of Corrections for Canada; the Canadian Bar Association NWT Chapter; Lydia Bardak, who, as you may know, was the ED of the John Howard Society for many years; as well as the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

With all those inputs, we were able to refocus the bill away from a primary focus on the administration of corrections and to make it more inmate-centric; so how exactly do we take care of inmates when they are in one of our correctional centres, and how can we assist them in turning their lives around so that there is hope for a better future?

It was really beneficial to us that the Minister of Justice and his staff and our staff worked so well together to accomplish very extensive and useful changes to this bill, which makes it now equivalent to Corrections Acts anywhere across the country. I would really like to thank the Minister and his staff, our staff here at the Legislative Assembly, and my colleagues on the Social Development Committee for the many hours of work that they did on this bill to bring it to where it is now.

I used to say to people while this was going on that this was the bill that kept me up at night. After waiting 43 years for it to be thoroughly overhauled, we needed to do a really good job, so that it would last another 43 years. While I was initially doubtful that that could be done, it was done, and I am very proud of the result. Thank you.

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 Daniel McNeely

Thank you, Ms. Green. Mr. Nadli.

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

Page 6319

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I wanted to highlight some comments. First of all, I wanted to thank the Members of the Standing Committee on Social Development, my colleagues, and of course, our committee was led by my colleague, Mr. Shane Thompson, the Member for Nahendeh. Also, recognizing the members of the public that attended the public meetings and wrote to the committee. Of course, last but not least is the Minister and the department and their staff, for working collaboratively with the committee. This discussion would not be possible without their cooperation and assistance.

In short, we received the draft LP that was referred to this committee. We did the public rounds of consultations, and what we found is that, if the department and committees work together collaboratively, things can happen. Good things can happen. Such was the case when we went through this stuff at the clause-by-clause and then doing the report, and here we are.

As my colleague pointed out, Bill 45, when it was first proposed, was an old legislation that needed to be updated, and my initial thoughts on that were that, basically, it will be a cut-and-paste exercise and that, in the end, the status quo will prevail. My expectations were such.

I am realizing, too, that being aware that most of the correctional institutions that we have, not only here in northern Canada, but all over Canada, the majority that are housed in those institutions are Indigenous people. With that in mind, too, I think, last winter, we also received letters of grievances and concerns from inmates. I think that we had to listen to those issues and bring them to the forefront and try to, at least, make a difference. That being said, we also are reminded of the Auditor General of Canada's report on the lack of programs and services for inmates in these institutions.

Juxtaposed with that, of course, we have the Truth and Reconciliation report that highlighted the sad and tragic legacy of residential schools and, at the same time, highlighting the whole tragedy of missing and murdered women. Largely so, if we observe the history of Indigenous people with justice, the system that we have now is very punitive. It takes a punitive approach with people who take on deviant behaviour or non-conformist behaviour that goes against society and basic law. They are incarcerated and experience the whole idea of shame. That is basically how we deal with criminals in society generally.

I am encouraged that this legislation, the exercise that I have seen with my own eyes, offered me a glimpse of hope that reconciliation indeed could happen with this government. What we have achieved to some degree is a level of public oversight on how inmates are treated, and it also offers some elements of regulations to ensure that we have a fair and transparent system in place for inmates, but most importantly, it is a model of collaboration between the committee and the department, and we worked together. There's a commitment and passion on both sides, and if you have that, some good things happen. I think some good things happened during this exercise, and I'm glad that I was part of this process, and I could proudly say that I think we have come up with a good draft that would shine a light on possibilities and hope for inmates who are incarcerated in all these institutions. Mahsi.