This is page numbers 6413 - 6444 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

Reflections on the 18th Assembly
Members' Statements

Page 6421

Michael Nadli

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. [Translation] Today is good. It seems like a new day for us. [Translation ends] [Microphone turned off] to stand in this House many times on behalf of the people of the Deh Cho riding. This truly is a special place of united people for the good of the NWT.

Four years have quickly passed. I have to say a few words of gratitude to some people I am blessed to have in my life. I must say that I am blessed with my children and my grandson. Yes, winter is dawning. I am grateful and appreciative from the support of my relatives and extended families throughout Deh Cho and Denendeh.

Mr. Speaker, I represent the most beautiful riding of the Deh Cho. The people and communities of K'atlodeeche, Enterprise, Kakisa, and Fort Providence are one of a kind, the Dene, Metis, and Mola. Thank you for your engagement and talks. Whether we agreed or not or just chit chat, mahsi for those moments.

I would like to thank my friends and colleagues of this House. Mahsi. I would like to thank Premier McLeod for his leadership and the Cabinet and the Ministers and the departments and the staff that make the wheels go around.

Yes, last but not least, my constituency assistant, Trisha Landry, and her family and the rest of the staff who worked behind the scene. Thank you to yourself, Mr. Speaker. Mahsi.

Reflections on the 18th Assembly
Members' Statements

Page 6421

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Nunakput.

Reflections on the 18th Assembly
Members' Statements

Page 6421

Herbert Nakimayak

Herbert Nakimayak Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to just start off by looking back on the last four years. We have learned a lot. We have learned a lot as Regular MLAs working with Cabinet. It is not an us-versus-them system. It is consensus government.

Mr. Speaker, this past week, when we passed all of these bills, it showed how consensus government works. I am proud of that, actually. Coming from a small community, it really did voice my concerns from my region coming from the most expensive region in the territory, maybe in Canada, maybe in this world. When you think about it, the cost of living in the North is higher than anywhere else. For myself to be able to express the concerns, whether it is health, the cost of fuel.

Mr. Speaker, working with our Cabinet colleagues, I think the relationships that we have built during this time, these four years, is such a short time when you think about it. I am grateful for the conversations. I have learned a lot. I have learned tremendously from people like Mr. R.C. McLeod, sitting there in his office, whether it is having a conversation. We learn more when we talk about our family. It is a fact. We ground ourselves and remind ourselves that we are here to do a job. Representing our region is key in what we do.

Anyways, Mr. Speaker, getting down to it, I would like thank my constituents from Tuktoyaktuk, Ulukhaktok, Paulatuk, Sachs Harbour. In my constituency, I have four CAs. Maybe we need to focus on them and look in the next Assembly. Maybe we need an office in every region, in every community in this territory. We have GSO offices in most of the communities in the territory. Think about that. We can represent the government better. It is not always just about us. It is about the people that we work with.

Mr. Speaker, I would just like to close in saying thank you for being the amazing human being that you are yourself. To other MLAs on this side from Tu Nedhe Wiilideh and from the Deh Cho, for keeping the language strong and alive in this Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, I hope, looking forward, that we all can work together and whoever is here next can do a better job than we did because we can always do better. We did a lot during this Assembly. I would like to congratulate everybody here and the staff for being the people that they are to make the Northwest Territories as great as it is. It is an amazing place. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Reflections on the 18th Assembly
Members' Statements

Page 6422

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Hay River North.

R.J. Simpson

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today is the last day that these Members will gather together on the floor of this House. Like everyone else here, I'm thankful to have had the opportunity to be a Member of the 18th Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories and to represent the people of Hay River.

To say it has been an honour is an understatement. When I speak at high school graduations, I always tell the graduates it is okay if they don't yet know what they want to be when they grow up. It wasn't until I was 35 and was elected to this position that I really figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up. If I don't get re-elected, I guess I'll have figure it out all over again, but that is okay.

However, if I am not re-elected because people think that's what's best for Hay River, then, even though I love doing this, I can't complain, because that is democracy in action. It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time, and I have to agree. We're extremely lucky to be able to vote for the people who represent us and make decisions on our behalf.

Everyone who wants a shot at being an MLA is about to go through a very public, four-week long job interview, and at the end of it, we, the people, each get to have a say on who gets the job. As long as you're at least 18 years old, a Canadian citizen, and have been a resident of the territory for six consecutive months as of October 1st, it doesn't matter how much money you have, it doesn't matter what you do for a living, it doesn't matter what your gender is, it doesn't matter what your ethnicity is, or anything else. Your vote counts as much as every other person's vote.

Now, Mr. Speaker, there is no reason not to vote because Elections NWT and all the returning officers who we have here in the gallery today have made voting easier than ever.

The first thing you should do is go on the Elections NWT website and check to see whether or not you're registered. The process to check and to register if needed is ridiculously easy. I just did it yesterday.

In Hay River, you can vote on the ordinary polling day, on October 1st, at the Community Hall in the rec centre. I assume that once again, there will also be a number of opportunities prior to October 1st to vote in the office of the returning officers who I know from the last election are very helpful and accommodating.

If you aren't going to be in the NWT during the election like most college and university students you can still vote by signing up for an absentee ballot on the Elections NWT website and chose whether you want to vote by mail or, for the first time ever, Mr. Speaker, online.

Like I said, Mr. Speaker, there is no reason not to vote, so I encourage everyone to get out there and exercise their right to have a direct say in our democracy. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife Centre.

Women in Leadership
Members' Statements

Page 6422

Julie Green

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. We are about to make history here in the Northwest Territories. I am hopeful and I believe that voters will elect the largest number of women Members ever. I don't think we will reach gender parity, but I think we will surpass the goals that all of us set for ourselves for the 20th Assembly this fall.

The reason for my optimism is this: in 2007, 10 women ran and three were elected. In 2011, nine women ran and two were elected. In 2015, 10 women ran, and two of us were elected. By my count, 20 women have announced their intention to run in this fall's election, double the number of candidates we have ever had and in one fell swoop. These are 20 well-qualified women; a lawyer, a corporate vice-president, an engineer, a community development officer, a land claim negotiator. It is an impressive list. These women have a lot to offer all residents of the Northwest Territories if they are elected. Some of them will be elected. I am predicting four based on the historic ratio of those who run and those who are successful in winning a seat.

Mr. Speaker, this change has been the result of leadership and hard work. I would like to thank you for championing the idea of temporary special measures to bring more women into the Assembly. Even though the idea didn't gain traction, it sparked a conversation and interest in other solutions. I would like to thank the clerk, as well, for his work on the discussion paper and for his help in creating the Special Committee to Increase the Representation of Women here.

I would also like to thank all of the Members of the committee, including the Minister responsible for the Status of Women, the Member for Range Lake, my colleague and friend, who has worked tirelessly with me every step of the way to figure out how to address the barriers to women's representation. Thanks, as well, to the committee staff, Jennifer Franki-Smith and Cathleen Knotsch, for their help planning our travel and writing our reports. We can all be proud of the seat change that we are about to witness.

Mr. Speaker, I am going to take a few moments to thank a few more people, starting with my constituency assistant Craig Yeo, whose unfailing support and hard work has enabled me to do so much good work for my constituents and the people of the Northwest Territories. Mr. Speaker, I would like to seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement. Thank you.

---Unanimous consent granted

Women in Leadership
Members' Statements

Page 6423

Julie Green

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, colleagues. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to thank my family and friends for their support, especially my partner, Janice McKenna, and my mom, the late, great Ann Little. I will miss her even more during the forthcoming campaign, along with my friend and mentor, the late Ruth Spence.

Finally, thank you, colleagues, for helping me to appreciate the diversity of the Northwest Territories and the people who we represent. Best wishes for your campaign. I look forward to returning to this House to continue to represent the constituents of Yellowknife Centre and further their aspirations for a safe, happy, and productive life. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Women in Leadership
Members' Statements

Page 6423

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Frame Lake.

French First-Language Education
Members' Statements

August 23rd, 2019

Page 6423

Kevin O'Reilly

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. [No translation provided.]

Mr. Speaker, I am going to save my reflections and thanks for the replies to the Commissioner's address a little later. I have spoken several times, though, in this House about the often strained relationship between the Department of Education, Culture and Employment and the NWT francophone community.

On October 16, 2016, the then-Minister said, "That's where we don't want to end up, is in the courthouse, and then have a court order against the government." Unfortunately, that is where this government has gone again on the issue of the directive on French First Language School Non-Rights Holder Admission Policy.

On July 2, 2019, the NWT Supreme Court ruled against this government in relation to constitutionally entrenched French language rights. The Minister did not properly apply the policy on admission of non-rights holder. The Minister was directed to reconsider her decision while paying attention to the need for a restorative approach to French first language education.

I am disappointed with the Minister's decision, again, to go to court. Many of my constituents do not understand why our government would continue to spend money on adversarial court proceedings rather than fixing the problem of a faulty ministerial directive that is out-of-date and too narrow.

I will have questions later today for the Minister on why we continue to devote resources to court proceedings rather than working with the francophone community and families to ensure that our children have access to an adequate francophone first language school system. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

French First-Language Education
Members' Statements

Page 6423

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Range Lake.

Reflections on the 18th Assembly
Members' Statements

Page 6423

Caroline Cochrane

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Mr. Speaker, I want to take a moment to thank everyone in this Assembly. It has been an interesting process. I think that most people know that, when I came in, I was pretty street-knowledged, knew a lot about programs with my background, and knew nothing about politics.

I have learned over the four years. I thank the people who have brought that to me and provided that knowledge. I think that we have done some great jobs working this Assembly, and not everyone, but I think that I have also made some great friendships in this Assembly as well, and that is something that I will carry with me, as well, throughout that.

I want to thank the many women who have stood behind me in my work. I want to start with my staff, Brenda Fowler, Mira Dunn, Sabet Biscaye, all wonderful women who have stood by me and put up with my little antics, but were there for me.

I want to thank the hundreds of women in the GNWT. Although I only had the one worker who was actually allocated to me for women in politics, women in leadership, women came out from every single department all over the place to help with the cause, and those are the unsung heroes. Thank you all for all of the support that you provided to that.

I also want to, of course, thank my family, who put up with many late nights. There were not many cooked dinners and lots of sinks full of dishes. Thanks for sticking by me through all of that.

As my colleague, MLA Green stated, we are seeing more women come up and I am hoping that there will be more of an awareness of the representation that is needed in this House, and we will see more women in this Assembly for the 19th Assembly. I will be putting my name forward, and I am hoping that I will be, and my colleague will be, part of that wave that is coming.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you to everyone for the work that we have done. Thank you.

Reflections on the 18th Assembly
Members' Statements

Page 6424

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Inuvik Boot Lake.

Reflections on the 18th Assembly
Members' Statements

Page 6424

Alfred Moses

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It has been an honour to serve in this Assembly two terms. I think that my colleague on the other side said it well yesterday, that we only average about four years. I am lucky that I was able to do two terms, and I think that anybody who goes above the four years shows the work that they do for the people of the Northwest Territories. I just wanted to say, if you're doing 12 years, you have been doing a good job.

I just wanted to recognize Tom Beaulieu, Glen Abernethy, and R. C. McLeod. You look at the years that they have put in, the experience, and the work that they have done for people, not only serving in this House, but serving the territory. That is something that needs to be recognized. I just want to thank all of them for giving me the advice to do the job that I did and get over that four years.

Before that, I also want to say that the legislative staff, for anybody who doesn't know the work that we do in this House, they are the backbone. They are the backbone that holds this government, this House, the committees, and our Cabinet together. I know that there have been a lot of people who have come and gone, and I did recognize some of them last night, but we do have some of them in the House today. I know that there is probably going to be a passing of the torch at some point, but a lot of responsibility, looking at you, and I know that you guys are going to be doing a good job. I just want to thank the clerks whom I have had the opportunity to work with over these last two terms, as I said last night, giving me sound advice to do the job that I did.

I have worked in public service for about 14 years, Mr. Speaker, and behind the scenes, outside of the Legislative Assembly, we have a lot of great people who work at the deputy minister's level, senior level, and I just want to thank them. I want to say that I have been honoured to be a Minister working with the departments that I have had the opportunity to work with.

I know that we are going to get into recognition of the visitors in the gallery later, but at this point, Mr. Speaker, if you will allow me, I would like to recognize some people in the gallery at this point. Ronna Sharegan. Long history. We worked together in the industry, and I'm glad that she had the opportunity to come and work with me in my office and learn about government. Sheila. Strong supporter. She has worked for you, Mr. Speaker, worked for me, and I just want to say thank you, Sheila, for all the support that you've given over these years.

Mr. Speaker, I've always recognized Judy McLeod, a constituent of mine, and I want to recognize her again; and also Hilda Camirand. We've chatted about this many times, where, as the Delta Boys who would walk down the hall, Hilda would always ask how you were doing and always say hi and good morning.

Reflections on the 18th Assembly
Members' Statements

Page 6424

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Member for Inuvik Boot Lake, there will be an opportunity to address those areas, as well.

Reflections on the 18th Assembly
Members' Statements

Page 6424

Alfred Moses

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

[Microphone turned off] then I'll be finished. In the last eight years, Mr. Speaker, I've never recognized one constituent of Inuvik Boot Lake, and I'd like to recognize him today and thank him for all the work that he's done, and it's my constituent Mr. Robertson McLeod. Thank you.

Reflections on the 18th Assembly
Members' Statements

Page 6425

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Thebacha.

Reflections on the 18th Assembly
Members' Statements

Page 6425

Louis Sebert

Louis Sebert Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It's been an honour and a pleasure to serve with all of you over the last four years. The Premier has outlined many of the things that we've accomplished, and I'd like to, at this stage, thank all of you, and also the staff who has worked with us over the years. I think in particular of Stephen Dunbar and Heather Riviere, my MSAs over the last few years.

We have accomplished much, and I am particularly proud of some of the legislation, in particular the Ombud Act, ATIP, Corrections Act. These were either new acts or improved acts. The Public Land Act. Progress has been made, but there is clearly much, much more to do. I attempted to resolve the thorny issue of equity leases over the last few years, and some progress, fortunately, has been made.

I was particularly happy, over the years, to hear from you, Mr. Speaker, and others who spoke languages in this Assembly other than English. I apologize to the French community for my stumbles today. It seemed easier when I was preparing upstairs than it did down here. When I was referring to the launch of the land titles system, I think I used a rather strange date. It should have been "vingt-et-un deux-mille-dix-neuf," not some strange date that I think I might have mentioned. Clearly I need more work. I undertake, should I be returned, to take more classes at College nordique.

Many years and many roads have led me to this position. I was a lawyer in my former life. I worked on the Main Street, and I also worked on Bay Street. This is the best job I've ever had, and I want to thank all of you. You know, we may disagree, but I hope we're not disagreeable, because there is much we've done, much more to accomplish, and I've been very proud to work with all of you. Thank you.

Reflections on the 18th Assembly
Members' Statements

Page 6425

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife South.

Reflections on the 18th Assembly
Members' Statements

Page 6425

Bob McLeod

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I was going to go last, but my colleague to the left of me pulled rank on me. I just want to take this opportunity to thank the Members of Cabinet who will not be running again. I want to thank Minister McLeod, Minister Abernethy, and Minister Moses, thank them for all their support; and, of course, Tom Baulieu. We both got elected at the same time; we were colleagues in the civil service, so I wish him the best.

I want to recognize some people in my office, and all of these people work very hard to have a very smooth-running machine. Some of them are here, some of them are watching, but I want to recognize Gary Bohnet, Melissa Cyr, Jennifer Dallman-Sanders, Contessa Stead, Trista Haugland, and, of course, Shaun Dean, Eileen Marlowe, and Krystal Pidborochynski, and my constituency assistant Darlene Mandeville.

If I may, Mr. Speaker, I have a couple of Yellowknife South constituents. A lot of people don't know that I had royalty working in my office for many years. I want to recognize a constituent of Yellowknife South, Hilda Camirand, and also another constituent of Yellowknife South, Pat Thagard, who is up there. There she is. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I want to thank everybody else, all the Members. I wish them all the best, especially the ones who are running again. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Reflections on the 18th Assembly
Members' Statements

Page 6425

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Inuvik Twin lakes.

Reflections on the 18th Assembly
Members' Statements

Page 6425

Robert C. McLeod

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I did give a long retirement speech back in march, but I think I want to use this two minutes and 23 seconds left to thank the constituents of Inuvik Twin Lakes for allowing me to be their representative. I hope that I've represented them well. I hope I've conducted myself well in this Assembly. I know we've had our differences, but I would expect nothing less. Some of my biggest debates, arguments if you want to call them, were with people who I consider friends of mine, and that's what we do. So you're doing your job, I'm doing mine, but at the end of the day I hope we decided what's best for the people of the Northwest Territories.

To prospective candidates and those who are running again, bring that attitude when you go hit the campaign trail. Don't just tell them that you're going to do something for them; show them that you're going to do something for them. You may even last 15 years; and I think that's been one of my trademarks. I'd like to believe that is faith that allowed me to come down and work on their behalf.

We've been thanking a lot of people today, and I think I should, as well. Tim Mercer and the Legislative Assembly staff, thank you. I always recall our first conversation --I won't tell you exactly how it went -- back in 2004, but I've always appreciated you and your counsel, so thank you.

Thank you to the staff that I've had over the years. I've had the privilege of having good people. If you surround yourself with good people, that allows you to do yourself better. My current executive secretary, Rachel, up in the gallery. Mr. Ralph Collinson, who has been with me for my whole 11 years as a Minister. He provided me with a lot of good counsel. I bug him a lot, but he knows. You started out as an employee; I consider you a friend, now, and remember I said that at Christmastime.

I've had the opportunity to work with a number of deputies over the years, from Jeff and Mike and Willard, Tom Williams. I'm going to give him the "C" now, because he's the captain. In this Assembly, I've had Erin, Kelly, Joe Dragon, David Stewart; I actually remembered his name. A lot of you don't realize that I was at a meeting with David Stewart one time; I'm going to go a little over, so I should seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Unanimous consent granted

Reflections on the 18th Assembly
Members' Statements

Page 6426

Robert C. McLeod

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you, colleagues. I was a little worried there for a second that it might not happen. I was at a meeting with David; I don't know if he's up here, but he's probably listening. I was sitting there and I was introducing my staff, and for the life of me I forgot his name. He was sitting right here, and I'm thinking, "I should know his name." So I don't know if committee realizes, a lot times we come before committee. Whenever I introduce David Stewart, him and I, we have a little smile; that's where that story comes from.

Colleagues, it's been an experience with all of you. Like I said before, we haven't always agreed on everything, but I would expect nothing less. You're doing your job, and you do it well, and I have nothing but respect for those who put their name forward, because we do put ourselves out there for criticism. We are criticized, but we take that criticism because we believe in what we're doing and we have to continue.

Lastly, and most importantly, Mr. Speaker, I need to thank my family. I've been fortunate; you've only had to tolerate me for 14, 15 years; some of you just four years. My wife Judy has had to tolerate me for 40 years. We just celebrated our 40th anniversary in July, so she's had to tolerate me for a long time. I appreciate the support that she gives me, and as I have said so many times, and I am sure that you all have heard about my grandchildren too many times, but one more time: I am looking forward to spending the rest of my life with them. Thank you.

Reflections on the 18th Assembly
Members' Statements

Page 6426

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Item 4, returns to oral questions. Minister of Health and Social Services.

Glen Abernethy

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Mr. Speaker, I have a return to oral question asked by Mr. O'Reilly on August 16, 2019, regarding Food Establishment Safety Regulations.

The Food Establishment Safety Regulations were amended as part of the Department of Health and Social Services' efforts to advance the GNWT Agricultural Strategy and better support the sale of locally produced, low-risk foods, as well as to reflect current best practices and standards for food safety.

These amendments reflect engagement with the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment, Environment and Natural Resources, and Lands, in order to support the NWT's emerging agricultural and food production sector. Feedback was also received from food establishment operators during routine work of the environmental health unit with permit holders, including active engagement with Yellowknife and Inuvik Farmers' Market operators. For example, the amendments address some of the concerns brought forward to the department earlier this year in Inuvik, around permitting, durations, and restrictions.

Supporting resources, such as an event coordinator forum, were also developed to assist emerging community market requirements. A version of this forum was piloted with the Yellowknife market prior to being finalized for implementation with these new regulations. These amendments are just one step in developing a comprehensive regulatory framework for safe agriculture and food production practices in the Northwest Territories.

Looking forward, the department had begun work on meat inspection regulations under the Public Health Act to provide the necessary regulatory framework for abattoirs and meat sales. As this work progresses, the department will participate in work to advance an overall regulatory framework for safe food production and sales in the Northwest Territories.

This work will be a partnership with ITI, ENR, and Lands in order to ensure that the regulatory framework addresses human health, animal health, environmental protection, as well as land use management. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.