This is page numbers 1689 - 1724 of the Hansard for the 19th Assembly, 2nd 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 work.

Topics

Question 480-19(2): Addressing Systemic Racism
Oral Questions

Page 1704

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

I'd like to start by saying that, when I heard the story from the Member about how another jurisdiction had kind of slipped in, I've always said that, throughout my term, that I'm really glad that we're a consensus government because we have a different way of bringing legislation. It's not just if you have a majority government or you have to work more if you're a minority government. Within our consensus government, it means that all Members have a say on how we move forward with that. Again, it's another example how I'm really proud that we are a consensus government in the NWT.

The other thing, too, is that, within our mandate, we committed this government to work with our Indigenous governments to create and implement an action plan that identifies the changes required in the GNWT legislation and policies to best reflect the principles set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We're still committed to doing this work. Again, it's going to take a lot of work, but if we're going to do this, we need to do it right. It is a commitment of this government as we move forward.

Question 480-19(2): Addressing Systemic Racism
Oral Questions

Page 1704

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Madam Premier. Final supplementary. Member for Kam Lake.

Question 480-19(2): Addressing Systemic Racism
Oral Questions

Page 1704

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. As an MLA, a lot of times, we have specific, case-by-case issues that come to our desks from constituents. Sometimes, we solve that problem at face value without looking at the bigger picture of what's going in on with the constituent and how we sometimes are able to change that situation for our territory as a whole. What I'm wondering from the Premier today is: what does she recommend that people, say, living in Tulita or living in Fort Providence or living in Ulukhaktok, do when they find a policy or a legislation that has a route of systemic racism in it? How do they reach out, and what's the best way that they make change from their communities? Thank you.

Question 480-19(2): Addressing Systemic Racism
Oral Questions

Page 1704

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

I also see that a lot in various portfolios I've had with this program and also as being a Regular MLA. The most effective way of reaching out is to work through your MLA. Your MLAs, that is their job to bring concerns of the constituents to the government but also work with the Ministers. Every Minister here cares about the people. There are some things we can't change easily. If it's something in legislation, that takes a longer process, but if it's a policy, all Ministers care. I've heard the comments behind, and they want to work. If they can change policies, I know that they look at doing that.

Again, Madam Speaker, it's important that, when people feel that, they do reach out, they do call for help. It's not okay to just ignore it. If it's ignored, it will be ignored. Bring forward the issues if you see the systemic racism. Work through your MLAs. Work through Ministers. We will do our best to help. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Question 480-19(2): Addressing Systemic Racism
Oral Questions

Page 1704

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Madam Premier. Oral questions. Member for Monfwi.

Question 481-19(2): Elders Housing
Oral Questions

November 5th, 2020

Page 1704

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Masi, Madam Speaker. [Translation] When I talked about the Member's statement, I talked about the elders who are living at home, how they are taken care of. A lot times, our elders are not well taken care of at home. I have a question for the Minister responsible for the NWT Housing Corporation. [End of translation] [Microphone turned off] ...issues in my region. In my Tlicho way or Dene way of life, we always, always take care of our elders. Allowing elders to remain in their own home is a win-win all around; for our elders, for our families, the community, and also for this government. We allow family members to live with their parents or grandparents, to look after them, and to care for them. These caretakers' income should not be considered or impacted when it comes to elders' household income in order to qualify for this program.

My first question to the Minister responsible for the Housing Corporation is: that being said, why doesn't the NWT Housing Corporation and this government use common sense and assist these elders with their housing needs without all the red tape that is before them? We need to step up, be proactive, and do a better job of caring for our elders, and it's also part of our mandate. Madam Speaker, masi.

Question 481-19(2): Elders Housing
Oral Questions

Page 1705

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation.

Question 481-19(2): Elders Housing
Oral Questions

Page 1705

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I hear the Member's comment. I resonate with this very clearly because we have a lot of elders who do reside in our smaller communities. We do have a limited number of elders' facilities, as well. The Northwest Territories Housing Corporation has constructed nine nine-plexes throughout the Northwest Territories to work with our elders and to have them age in place. The other thing I hear the Member speaking about is the household income, where they're disqualified for programming based on the number of people who are living within that public housing unit or within their private unit, as well. This is something that I really take seriously. If elders are coming forward to apply for housing programs within the Housing Corporation, we are looking at how we are going to be calculating, how we are going to better serve our elders in the smaller communities who are residing in private homes, to try to alleviate those barriers so our programming is more adequate and it's more accessible to our people in our smaller communities.

To the Member, I will follow up with him on solutions that we are working on within the Housing Corporation to try to alleviate the number of barriers that we do have for the elders in the smaller communities to access our elders' programming. Mahsi.

Question 481-19(2): Elders Housing
Oral Questions

Page 1705

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

We forwarded that information just the other day with pictures, and it's a real issue. Obviously, the screwdriver has been in place for a number of years, as you can tell. It's all rotten away, and it's unacceptable. The couple applied out of Whati. I'm not going into specific detail with their names. The couple applied, and the daughter is living with them, looking after them. Because of the daughter, they didn't qualify. That is due to the red tape that is before us. When can we see that red tape lifted? It's getting cold. It's almost minus 20, minus 30 in our communities now, and these elders are struggling. They can't fix the issue themselves, so we need the Housing Corporation and local housing authorities to come in, fix that simple issue. Again, it's all the paper, the red tape, "You don't qualify," and just leave it alone for a number of years. How long are we going to leave it alone? Change that red tape now.

Question 481-19(2): Elders Housing
Oral Questions

Page 1705

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

In the Tlicho area, we do have a housing working group that opens the door for us as the Housing Corporation, us as a government, to come in and work with the Indigenous groups. This is something I want to bring back. I am looking at maybe a partnership or some sort of programming that we could work with the community, where they could identify these areas and this programming that would adequately fit the specific communities. Also, I just wanted to say that it's really disheartening and unfortunate that a member of our elders' community in the Tlicho area is experiencing this right now. I have received the email, and my department has acted on it. I know this is one of several cases throughout the Northwest Territories, and as the Minister responsible for the Housing Corporation, we are going to be working and addressing these issues as we go forward, because one is too many of them.

Question 481-19(2): Elders Housing
Oral Questions

Page 1705

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

The Minister is correct: there are quite a few elders who cannot speak for themselves. In my region, they speak the Tlicho language. It's very difficult for them to access the NWT housing program. We always say there are online programs, but they can't access online programs. I am glad the Minister and her department are working with the local housing authority to establish some sort of mechanism to deal with these elders, and I certainly do not want to stand here in February or March addressing the same issue that is before us today. I am certainly hoping that it will be resolved by then. Just to continue on with my next question: what progress, and I raised this issue in the House before, has been made in creating a program under the NWT Housing Corporation so that qualified journeymen ticket holders can go into isolated communities such as my community to do this critical servicing of furnaces? We need permanent technicians in our isolated communities now, before it gets too cold.

Question 481-19(2): Elders Housing
Oral Questions

Page 1705

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Also, just in regard to the list of programs, I want to advise the Member that I will provide a list in February to the Member of the elders' programs that we did offer and the number of clients that we did serve within these next months coming up. Also, looking at the journeymen, entrance in trades programming is a challenge for us in the Northwest Territories but also for the Housing Corporation. We are working with the Tlicho Housing Working Group. I will identify this with our Housing Corporation staff to bring this back to the working group, that this is something we need to partner up on and we need to address, to make sure that we are working toward certified journeymen within the Tlicho area to start delivering this programming on our behalf or else in partnership to work with the Tlicho government.

Question 481-19(2): Elders Housing
Oral Questions

Page 1705

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Monfwi.

Question 481-19(2): Elders Housing
Oral Questions

Page 1706

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Masi, Madam Speaker. An elder once told me, "Enough talking. Do the action now. Fix the problem." There is an issue here, a real challenge for this elderly couple, and I would like to know from the Minister: could we have a dedicated person to deal with these issues? I understand she is dealing with the Tlicho government, the agency, and so forth. There is lots of talk happening, but elders want to see somebody who can service the furnaces, somebody who can service the plumbing. Could we have a dedicated service person, technician, in the community to deal with those during the winter months? Masi, Madam Speaker.

Question 481-19(2): Elders Housing
Oral Questions

Page 1706

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

The Northwest Territories Housing Corporation is really very strong and adamant about Indigenous partnership. I looked at this as an opportunity as I have worked with other communities throughout the territory where we had a similar issue such as this, and the Housing Corporation was able to enter into a community initiative program with the Indigenous groups. With looking at the issue for servicing the furnaces and looking at offering programming for the seniors in the Tlicho area, I will follow up with the Member and look at a possible opportunity that we could access additional funding to look at how we are going to have a representative in his riding. Thank you, Madam Speaker.