This is page numbers 6353 - 6412 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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Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

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Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I, too, would like to recognize Yvonne Nakimayak, beneficiary of the Sahtu land claim, and recognize Chief Ed Sangris on his recent election victory and a mentor to my son, Arnold. Mahsi.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. If we missed anyone in the gallery, thanks for being here with us. It is always great to have an audience as part of our proceedings. Mahsi. Item 6, acknowledgements. Item 7, oral questions. Member for Yellowknife North.

Question 845-18(3): Polytechnic University
Oral Questions

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Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In my statement today I spoke about one of the most exciting things in the NWT's future. Of course, that is the transformation of Aurora College into a polytechnic university. My questions are for the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment. I would like to ask the Minister: the post-secondary strategic framework refers to a strategic plan for Aurora College to be followed by an implementation plan for its transformation into a polytechnic university. Can the Minister tell us what the timeline is for these next important steps? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 845-18(3): Polytechnic University
Oral Questions

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Minister Education, Culture and Employment.

Question 845-18(3): Polytechnic University
Oral Questions

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Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Initially, when we did the review and we talked about becoming a polytechnic university, I am always trying to be optimistic. I have learned, being a Cabinet Minister. "Under-commit and over-perform" is my motto. I had five, six years probably. We are moving. We are getting this gung-ho. We are going forward.

We do have a tentative timeline for the strategic framework for the Aurora College. That will be beginning in the fall. Then, when it will be done will be a little bit difficult to say. I am assuming that, in the fall, there will be a new Cabinet. At that point, a new Minister will be overseeing it. I can say that the work has been started, and the process will begin this fall. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 845-18(3): Polytechnic University
Oral Questions

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Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you to the Minister for her response. I appreciate that the Minister is feeling more positive about this and that we are beginning soon. I appreciate that. In news reports about the government's post-secondary strategic framework, the Minister referred to the idea of having a bricks-and-mortar campus as being, let's call it, old. Some people are concerned that that means she is backing away from the idea of a polytechnic institution. Can the Minister clarify or shed some light on what she intended?

Question 845-18(3): Polytechnic University
Oral Questions

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Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Yes. I would love to actually clarify because sometimes my mouth goes a little bit faster than my brain, or vice versa. Sometimes, things don't get out there the way they should. I will start by saying that, when I said that the idea of bricks-and-mortar is old, I did clarify and say that, as an old woman, sometimes our old perceptions are that post-secondary education has to be bricks and mortar.

The question came up in regards to where is the headquarters going to be, the age-old question that has come up. I said maybe it is time to stop thinking about where the headquarters will be. In fact, the whole idea of bricks-and-mortar and that is kind of an old concept, maybe from old people like me. We are in an age of technology. We are in an age of the future. Technology, where it has come in the last 20, 30 years, where it is going to be in the next five, 10 years is incredible, the strides we are making.

If we don't include technology as a reality and we don't also consider the feedback from students when I went to the communities who said, "I want to stay in my own community." I am talking about students who are young, students who might be single parents, students who financial resources might be an issue, social isolation, they are not used to big cities, all those factors.

When I said that "We need to look at bricks and mortars. Is that the right way?" it wasn't meant to say we are throwing it out. There will always be a need for campuses. We have programs such as one of our most successful, the nursing program, that will always need labs. Some programs will always need tools within a bricks-and-mortar setting. We also need to look at programs that we can access students via technology, utilizing, for example, our 21 community learning centres in the communities. Can we access them? When we give up programs because there is not enough attendance and we could have accessed students via the internet, then we need to look at that.

Again, my statement of old was an analogy about my age, as well. The intention was that we will not have any campuses. It means we need to be inclusive and flexible and look at all modes of providing education for our students.

Question 845-18(3): Polytechnic University
Oral Questions

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Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you to the Minister for that lengthy reply and for providing that clarification. I mean, we all know that sometimes, when we are paraphrased in articles, it can be seen in a different light. I appreciate the clarification. With that said, I would like to learn a little bit more from the Minister. If there is this intention, not intention but let's say this less emphasis on a physical location and more, call it Internet access and communication, online access, how would a polytechnic attract business investment, let's say, and scientific research and partnerships with other institutions if we don't have the physical asset?

Question 845-18(3): Polytechnic University
Oral Questions

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Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Again, in clarifying, we will always need bricks and mortar. Maybe not. Maybe I am again thinking narrowly. Maybe another 50 or 100 years, we won't. At this point in society, we still need those bricks-and-mortar. We are making money at our college/university institute in Inuvik. I mean, it is renting out spaces to and being utilized by scientists internationally. Why would we give that up? It is necessary. There is potential. Like I said, we need programs that will have access to tools and labs that you need in a brick-and-mortar setting. Those will bring investments.

The whole point is that we need to reach our students. Every student in the Northwest Territories needs to have an option, an opportunity to actually become educated. For Indigenous people, that is even more important. Education took our culture away, and education is the key to bringing it back. We need to look at how we can get our education system into every single community in the Northwest Territories.

Question 845-18(3): Polytechnic University
Oral Questions

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Yellowknife North.

Question 845-18(3): Polytechnic University
Oral Questions

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Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you to the Minister for her reply. I appreciate that. Many of the benefits of a post-secondary institution exist beyond the academic content of courses but, instead, come through networking and social connections among students and faculty from different backgrounds. That is some of the importance of coming together at a place, at a centre. Would the Minister agree that these are important qualities supported by a physical campus? If there is to be a physical polytechnic campus, does it make sense that such a campus would be located in the capital, in Yellowknife? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 845-18(3): Polytechnic University
Oral Questions

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Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Absolutely. It makes sense that we have supports for students. One of the best things about remembering when I was back in university, again, I am old so it was quite a long time ago. When I was back in university, some of the best supports I had were from my peers. I am assuming that that is still relevant. I have been to the campus in Yellowknife. They are meeting in the stairwell. It is not even a space. I wouldn't even call that a student area. It is not the campus's fault. It is not Yellowknife's fault. It is the fault that we have outgrown it. Yellowknife is bulging at the seams.

Would I say that we need to consider that? Absolutely. What I would say is that we made a commitment that we would have three strong campuses in three strong communities and 21 strong community learning centres. That means that Inuvik, Fort Smith, and Yellowknife all need to be looked at. Currently, though, the one that needs the campus right away is the Yellowknife one.

I am not going to say, "Does it make sense for it to be in Yellowknife?" What I will say is that Yellowknife needs a campus. All three communities need to be sustainable, promoted, and not only the three communities, the 21 community learning centres. Again, the goals within our foundational framework said student-focused, increased access, local, regional needs, amongst others. Our commitment is to maintaining that. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 845-18(3): Polytechnic University
Oral Questions

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

I would like to remind the House that it has been almost 10 minutes, and we have only had one question. Both sides' preamble, answering questions, if it can be shortened, because this can lead to written statements, written questions. I have to remind Members it has been 10 minutes, only one question period. Just a reminder to Members. Oral questions. Member for Nahendeh.

Question 846-18(3): Continuing Care Facilities Legislation
Oral Questions

August 22nd, 2019

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Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Earlier today I spoke about seniors and elders. Today my questions are for the Minister of Health and Social Services. My first question: what are the next steps for the department with respect to the continuing care facility legislative initiative? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 846-18(3): Continuing Care Facilities Legislation
Oral Questions

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Minister of Health and Social Services.