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

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

Page 6439

Alfred Moses

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

I want to reiterate, thank you. The Members' comments, you've done a tremendous job over the last four years in your role as chair, as well as the other deputy chairs. I just want to thank you for what you've done. Thank you.

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

Page 6439

The Chair

The Chair R.J. Simpson

All those in favour? All those opposed?

---Carried

I will rise and report progress.

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

Page 6439

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

May I have the report, Member for Hay River North?

Report Of Committee Of The Whole
Report Of Committee Of The Whole

Page 6439

R.J. Simpson

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Your committee would like to report progress, and Mr. Speaker, I move that the report of the Committee of the Whole be concurred with.

Report Of Committee Of The Whole
Report Of Committee Of The Whole

Page 6439

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Do we have a seconder? Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes. The motion is in order. All those in favour? All those opposed? The motion is carried.

---Carried

Third reading of bills. Minister of Finance.

Robert C. McLeod

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move, seconded by the honourable Member for Inuvik Boot Lake, that Bill 61, Appropriations Act (Infrastructure Expenditures), 2020-2021, be read for the third time, and Mr. Speaker, I would request a recorded vote. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. The Member has requested a recorded vote. The motion is in order. To the motion. Member for Kam Lake.

Bill 61: Appropriations Act (Infrastructure Expenditures), 2020-2021
Third Reading Of Bills

August 23rd, 2019

Page 6439

Kieron Testart

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise to speak to this appropriation bill. I acknowledge that there is a bit of levity in the air today, but the business of the House still must get done, and in this case, it is passing a very large capital budget.

I do not stand in support of this budget on principle, because one of the most important issues to my constituency and to my constituents is the issue of municipal funding and the funding gap that has remained stubbornly unclosed since the start of this Assembly, despite repeated calls for it to be addressed. This budget was last opportunity to add some additional and much-needed funds to our municipalities, and it was not delivered.

After tireless advocating on this side of the House, through business plans, through reviewing budget documents, nothing has still been done, and I told myself that eventually a line would be crossed, and for me, that line is this lack of attention to detail.

The Members on this side of the House and the House itself is not here to rubber-stamp government decisions. It is here to advise government on how to make the right decisions. In this case, there were a number of projects, and this one was very important to me and my community, that were left on the cutting room floor. This has happened time and time again. At this point, I cannot bring myself to support a bill that has essentially been rubber-stamped. It is important that the Ministers are not just there to explain government decisions to this side of the House, but to hear this side of the House, and to incorporate our recommendations into their plans, and especially into their budgets.

Although there are a lot of great projects in this budget, that fundamental issue, which is so important to not just Yellowknife, not just Kam Lake, but to every community in the Northwest Territories, and it is still unaddressed? That is something that I cannot stand for, and I will not stand for this budget as a result. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. To the motion. Member for Frame Lake.

Kevin O'Reilly

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. I, too, will not be supporting this bill and the appropriation. We have had a great last day here, and I do appreciate the sentiments from everybody. We have accomplished a lot together, but I still need to do my job as an MLA.

In my view, the review of the capital budget was rushed. I wish that we had had more time to carefully consider it and go through it. I did note that there were, I think, opportunities for the Regular MLAs to get input into it, but that didn't happen. I would hope that that changes in the next Assembly, Mr. Speaker.

I know that this is the largest-ever infrastructure acquisition plan by our government, and I am all in favour of investment and creating jobs, but it is a matter of priorities, and sometimes our priorities differ. I guess that is why I have to get up and say this today, Mr. Speaker.

I am concerned about the potential to increase our debt as a government. As I said, I don't agree with some of the priorities set out in this budget. There is a very large portion of it, around 34 percent, that is dedicated to roads. Some of those are winter roads and so on, Mr. Speaker, but when I see a decline in spending or expenditures or money to the NWT Housing Corporation at the same time, I wonder about our priorities, Mr. Speaker.

There are a number of other issues, I believe, with the capital budget. The City of Yellowknife had requested assistance with a water line replacement. It asked for $8 million. That support is not contained in the budget. I had hoped to see some progress with the Mackenzie Valley fibre link, to ensure that all of our communities are connected and that the promised benefits accrue to our communities down the valley, but that's not to be found in here. I question why there is no funding for visitors' services in three communities, Tuktoyaktuk, Whati, and Yellowknife. I think that there is a missed opportunity there.

Lastly, I am very concerned about some of the energy project investments in this capital budget. In particular, there is a replacement of the diesel plant in Lutselk'e. I just hope that that includes high-efficiency turbines or variable-speed turbines so that we get the best value for that. There is also a river, Snowdrift River, right next to the community that has, I think, great potential for mini hydro. I wonder whether the money spent on the diesel replacement might be better used for a mini hydro project in that community.

Then there is the Whati transmission line that I raised earlier today, Mr. Speaker. I am not convinced that there has been a thorough evaluation of all of the options for the Tlicho communities. Earlier today I tabled some information about the costs of mini hydro projects in three of the communities, and I wonder whether we are getting good value for money and whether the money that might be spent on the Whati transmission line might actually fund mini hydro projects in three Tlicho communities, allow them to get off diesel, allow them to use electricity for home heating, commercial space heating, make a more significant reduction in greenhouse gas reductions, and lower the cost of living in those communities, all at a cheaper price than the Whati transmission line.

I challenge the Minister to make more information available about the options and make sure that the public understands what the real purpose of this project is, whether NICO is making a contribution, the NICO project by Fortune, whether they are making a financial contribution towards this line, and to really look at who benefits, as well.

For all of these reasons, Mr. Speaker, I cannot support the capital budget today. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. To the motion. Member for Sahtu.

Daniel McNeely

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I support this bill, as mentioned in our vetting yesterday in Committee of the Whole, looking at the bill. I mentioned yesterday, and I'll mention today, and I'll just give one example. I don't want to go through the whole document.

There is a capital cost allowance for a new school in Colville Lake. You have two buildings. This government is supporting education by establishing a new institution there, a new building, with the help of the community leaders, who will help design and agree on the colour of the building. Right now, you have bookshelves dividing classrooms, and the students are told that they have to whisper, so that they are not interrupting their neighbouring classes. Those are just examples that I have witnessed there.

There are many allowances. We have acts, we have policies, and I have every confidence than this government has scrutinized, balanced, and put forward a legitimate, sound capital plan. I agree with the capital plan. I agree with all of the benefits that it is going to produce, as the Minister said yesterday. Building the school, for example, in Colville, the community will prosper by the paycheques of the father hammering the nails on the building that will house education for their students.

I support this bill. Mahsi cho. I think that we can carry on and conclude. Thank you.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. To the motion. Minister of Finance.

Robert C. McLeod

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is unfortunate; I didn't want to have to stand up and speak and have to defend a $410 million capital budget that provides opportunities for folks across the Northwest Territories, especially in a lot of the smaller communities.

I have heard some of the concerns. I do recall sitting before committee on a number of occasions with this particular appropriation, plus others that we had been working on. To say that there was no input from committee I think is misleading the public. To say that this is a budget that doesn't seem to address the municipal gap, it is good fodder for the campaign brochures, but Members know as well as I do that that is an O and M issue. There has been money put into the capital side of the budget for communities.

Mr. Speaker, I apologize for having to stand up and do this. I have always thought, what we do in here, we need to bring our concern to the floor. At the end of the day, we take our blinders off and look big picture and see that this is a budget that is good for the people of the Northwest Territories because it allows a lot of projects to get done. Respect to those who see big picture and realize that we need to try to do what we can.

I know I am supposed to speak to the motion. That is exactly what I am doing. I will say, for those who are running and want to come back, I have said when I didn't run that I wanted to see some new energy for Inuvik, which is true. I also want to see some positive energy from people across the Northwest Territories, because we have important work to do. Appropriation budgets like this are part of that important work we do. We may not disagree on everything. At the end of the day, we have to look big picture, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. To the motion.

Some Hon. Members

Question.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Question has been called. All those in favour, please stand.

Recorded Vote
Third Reading Of Bills

Page 6441

Clerk Of The House

The Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes, the Member for Hay River South, the Member for Thebacha, the Member for Hay River North, the Member for Sahtu, the Member for Yellowknife North, the Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh, the Member for Nahendeh, the Member for Yellowknife Centre, the Member for Deh Cho, the Member for Nunakput, the Member for Inuvik Boot Lake, the Member for Range Lake, the Member for Great Slave, the Member for Yellowknife South.

Recorded Vote
Third Reading Of Bills

Page 6441

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. All those opposed, please stand.

Recorded Vote
Third Reading Of Bills

Page 6441

Clerk Of The House

The Member for Kam Lake, the Member for Frame Lake.

Recorded Vote
Third Reading Of Bills

Page 6441

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. All those abstaining, please stand. The results of the recorded vote: 15 in favour, two opposed, zero abstentions. The motion is carried.

---Carried

Bill 61 has had its third reading. Third reading of bills. Mr. Clerk, would you ascertain if the Honourable Commissioner Margaret Thom is ready to enter the Chamber?

Recorded Vote
Third Reading Of Bills

Page 6441

Commissioner Of The Northwest Territories Hon. Margaret Thom

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly, good afternoon. [English translation not provided.] Mahsi.

I am pleased and honoured to once again sit with you in this Chamber. I will assent to the bills that you all have worked hard and deliberated upon so carefully. Today marks the day that I imagine is mixed with many emotions as well as much personal and public planning for each of you. As Members of this 18th Legislative Assembly, each of you has become an instrument of change and enhancement within this government. You have acted on the wishes and concerns of the people of our vast territory during your elected term. For that, I applaud you with huge mahsi cho. Know that we owe you a debt of gratitude, and we have much to be thankful for.

Being in politics is difficult, not only for the politician, but for your families, as well. As difficult as it is, we must remember the sacrifices of your families who contribute immensely to how you function as individuals, as a team player, and as a member of our great consensus form of government. On behalf of the people of the Northwest Territories, I extend my deep admiration and gratitude to your families.

Some of you have already announced your intention to seek re-election. I wish you well and every success in your platforms and in your campaigns. If you are elected again and return to this House, know that it was meant to be. If you do not get re-elected, close this chapter of your life knowing that you have done your very best in representing your constituents and the people of the Northwest Territories.

Some of you have announced your intention to not seek re-election. Rather, you have chosen to pursue new adventures and perhaps to rest and relax. I applaud you with sincere appreciation for your commitment and dedication in the service to your constituents and to all the people of our territory. I sincerely wish all of you success, good health, and happiness in the next chapter of your journey you will embark on, take on from here.

In closing, I am deeply honoured to have been part of your political journey. I will keep your kindness and how you welcomed me to my role as Commissioner close to my heart. Mahsi cho.

Assent To Bills
Assent To Bills

Page 6441

Commissioner Of The Northwest Territories Hon. Margaret Thom

Now, as Commissioner of the Northwest Territories, I am pleased to assent to the following bills:

  • Bill 34, Mineral Resources Act
  • Bill 45, Corrections Act
  • Bill 61, Appropriations Act (Infrastructure Expenditures), 2020-2021

Mahsi cho. Thank you. Quyanainni. Merci beaucoup. Quana.

Assent To Bills
Assent To Bills

Page 6442

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Please be seated. Well, it's that time of our term. I would first like to extend the appreciation of this House to the Commissioner, Margaret M. Thom. As always, it was a pleasure to have her in the House today.

Colleagues, this is our last day together in the Chamber as Members of the Legislative Assembly. For those who are not seeking to return as Members of the 19th Assembly, I would like to thank you for all of the services that you have provided to this institution and to the people of the Northwest Territories.

We have previously had the opportunity to recognize the contributions of the Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes and the Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh. Today, I wish to take a moment to recognize two other Members who will be ending their time in the Assembly.

First, I would like to recognize the Member for Inuvik Boot Lake. He was first elected in 2011 and has served two terms. In the 17th Assembly, he served at the chair of the Standing Committee on Social Programs, work which I know he took very seriously.

In the 18th Assembly, he was elected by Members to serve on the Executive Council and has served as the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment and the Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs. He has also served as the Minister responsible for Youth, Homelessness, and the Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission.

Few can dispute the Member's commitment to the young people of the Northwest Territories or his passionate delivery of replies to questions in this Chamber. Masi for that.

Next, I would like to recognize the Member for Great Slave. First elected in 2007, the Member has served in three Assemblies, three terms.

In the 16th Assembly, he served as the deputy chair of the Standing Committee on Social Programs, which foreshadowed the important role he would play in the 17th and 18th Assemblies.

The Member was elected to the Executive Council in 2011 and has served as a Minister since that time. He has served as the Minister of Health and Social Services, as well as the Minister of Justice, Public Works and Services, and the Minister responsible for Seniors and Persons With Disabilities.

He has also served as the Minister responsible for the Public Utilities Board, Human Resources, and as Government House Leader, where he had the chance to work collaboratively with the Speaker, myself. The Member and I go way back, so it kind of gets emotional at times.

The Member for Great Slave will be remembered for his approach on various initiatives and his passion for consensus-style government. The Member will be taking time to enjoy life with his young son, David, and his wife, Caroline.

Members, join me in wishing both of these Members all of the happiness that they richly deserve.

---Applause

For Members seeking to return to this Assembly, and all those residents who have or will be putting their names forward to serve as a Member of this Assembly, these departures leave big shoes to fill. However, I am confident that the Members of the 19th Assembly will rise to the challenge.

As we reach the end of the Assembly here today, it is a time that reminds all of us of an important truth: this building that we are in. This Assembly is about more than the people of the Northwest Territories, who come and go over time. It is about the people whom we come here to serve. We are the trustees of responsible government, not the holders.

While not all Members of the 18th Assembly may return, your work here will be remembered as the Commissioner has indicated. A common misunderstanding of a consensus-style government is that we must all agree, but that is simply simply not the case. We work together.

Consensus government is all about voices, voices of the North that we hear as we move forward with the decisions that we had to make in this House, in this Chamber. While we may not always agree on certain issues or certain demands, we will always listen. As Members, each one of you has brought a distinct voice to this Assembly and to our proceedings. That will not be forgotten or lost.

I want to thank the interpreters who ensure that distinct voices are heard by residents in our official languages. Your work is greatly appreciated.

I also want to thank those pages who have been with us throughout our journey the last four years. They have done a tremendous job. They provided us lots of patience, dedication, and simply for being here with us. Thank you. Masi.

I also want to thank those contractors who help us out with our jobs: Pido Productions, Tinwin Janitorial, Twilite Security, and ASAP Reporting Services.

Finally, I have to do this again: the Pages. They are the young leaders of the future, and they have been here with us. Your presence in the Chamber is much more important. Your presence here reminds us that the decisions we make today will certainly and definitely affect your future. Thank you for your services, particularly in the last few days of our session here.

I would like to thank all the Members again for being part of this Assembly and remind Members to refrain from leaving the Chamber. There is a special surprise after I come back. Mr. Clerk, orders of the day.

Orders Of The Day
Orders Of The Day

Page 6443

Clerk Of The House Mr. Tim Mercer

Orders of the day for Thursday, October 24, 2019, at 1:30 p.m.:

  1. Prayer
  2. Ministers' Statements
  3. Members' Statements
  4. Returns to Oral Questions
  5. Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery
  6. Acknowledgements
  7. Oral Questions
  8. Written Questions
  9. Returns to Written Questions
  10. Replies to the Commissioner's Opening Address
  11. Petitions
  12. Reports of Standing and Special Committees
  13. Reports of Committees on the Review of Bills
  14. Tabling of Documents
  15. Notices of Motion
  16. Notices of Motion for First Reading of Bills
  17. Motions
  18. First Reading of Bills
  19. Second Reading of Bills
  20. Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

- 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

  1. Report of Committee of the Whole
  2. Third Reading of Bills
  3. Orders of the Day