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

Encouraging Voters in the Territorial Election
Members' Statements

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Speaker

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife Centre.

Women in Leadership
Members' Statements

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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

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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

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Speaker

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Frame Lake.

French First-Language Education
Members' Statements

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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

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Speaker

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Range Lake.

Reflections on the 18th Assembly
Members' Statements

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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

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Speaker

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

Reflections on the 18th Assembly
Members' Statements

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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

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Speaker

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

Reflections on the 18th Assembly
Members' Statements

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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

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Speaker

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Thebacha.

Reflections on the 18th Assembly
Members' Statements

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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

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Speaker

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife South.

Reflections on the 18th Assembly
Members' Statements

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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.