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

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

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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

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

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The Chair Rocky Simpson

We'll take a short recess.

---SHORT RECESS

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

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The Chair Rocky Simpson

Okay. We will call the committee back to order. Committee, we have agreed to consider Committee Report 6-19(2), Report on Remote Sittings. I will go to the chair of the Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures for any opening comments. Member for Frame Lake.

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

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Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Mr. Chair. I do have a few comments here. In June, Members will recall that we passed changes to The Legislative Assembly and Executive Council Act that now provide us with the authority to conduct remote sittings of the House. The Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures was tasked with providing some guidance to the Speaker on how and why the Assembly might sit remotely and when it would appropriate for a Member to take part remotely and what changes or amendments to rules might be needed to enable all of that. The committee reviewed emerging best practices from Parliament, provincial legislatures, and some international examples as this is an issue that has emerged, of course, in many countries around the world with the ongoing pandemic.

The committee discussed each question from the Speaker at length. We debated various scenarios to come up with a set of recommendations in this report that tried to find the right balance and make sure that Members' rights to participate in the Assembly are protected, with making sure that we can try to do all of that efficiently.

The committee also reviewed the orders of the day and proposed a number of changes in the event of a remote sitting. Of course, these recommendations will basically serve as drafting instructions for actual rule changes. Those rule changes will come back to the House in the new year for review and approval, and then we can start to meet remotely as the Assembly. There is also a provision for these changes to be reviewed after each remote sitting to see if we can make improvements.

I would like to thank my fellow committee members for their diligence and thoughtful review of our rules and procedures that led to the recommendations I am going to present shortly, and I look forward to hearing from all of our colleagues as we work our way through. Those are my opening remarks, Mr. Chair.

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

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The Chair Rocky Simpson

I will now open the floor to general comments on Committee Report 6-19(2), Report on Remote Sittings. Do any Members have general comments? Member for Yellowknife Centre.

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

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Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Chair. My general comment is: I would like to express appreciation to the committee for undertaking this work. We do not know when we will need it, but what we have here is a very comprehensive road map of what a virtual sitting could look like. No doubt, there are things that we have not considered, but I thank the committee for getting us off to a good start. Thank you.

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

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The Chair Rocky Simpson

Do Members have any other general comments? Member for Yellowknife North.

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

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Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Yes. First, I would also like to thank the committee. I just want to make a note to not downplay the historical significance of this. There are lots of assemblies around the world that have been struggling with how to sit online, and committee has gone and come up with some very comprehensive notions of how we can do that. This institution and legislative assemblies in general are not institutions that are quick to change or adapt, but I think committee really went there. I am excited at the possibility of being able to pass laws digitally. It's truly a step for democracy, so I just do not want to downplay the significance of this. Thank you, committee.

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

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The Chair Rocky Simpson

Thank you, Member. Are there any further general comments? Seeing no further comments, Member for Frame Lake.

Committee Motion 59-19(2): Committee Report 6-19(2): Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures Report on Remote Sittings - Authorizing Speaker to Conduct Remote Session, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

November 5th, 2020

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Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Mr. Chair. I appreciate the comments from my colleagues.

Mr. Chair, I move that this committee recommends that the rules of the Legislative Assembly authorize the Speaker to conduct part or all of a session remotely, using an approved platform, in the event of a state of emergency declared for the entire territory under the Emergency Measures Act or a public health emergency declared under the Public Health Act; and further, that the rules authorize the Speaker to convene part or all of a session remotely if the Speaker is satisfied after consultation with the Executive Council and Members of the Legislative Assembly that the health, safety, or well-being of Members would be at risk by meeting in person. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 59-19(2): Committee Report 6-19(2): Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures Report on Remote Sittings - Authorizing Speaker to Conduct Remote Session, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Rocky Simpson

Thank you, Member. The motion is in order. To the motion.

Committee Motion 59-19(2): Committee Report 6-19(2): Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures Report on Remote Sittings - Authorizing Speaker to Conduct Remote Session, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Some Hon. Members

Question.

Committee Motion 59-19(2): Committee Report 6-19(2): Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures Report on Remote Sittings - Authorizing Speaker to Conduct Remote Session, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Rocky Simpson

All those in favour? Oppose? Abstentions? The motion is carried.

---Carried

Member for Frame Lake.

Committee Motion 60-19(2): Committee Report 6-19(2): Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures Report on Remote Sittings - Display of Mace during Remote Sittings, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Mr. Chair. I move this committee recommends that the Mace, as a symbol of the authority of the people of the Northwest Territories, should be placed in the Chamber on its normal stand if possible and, if not, displayed in another manner in keeping with its symbolic significance during any remote sitting of the Assembly. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 60-19(2): Committee Report 6-19(2): Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures Report on Remote Sittings - Display of Mace during Remote Sittings, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Rocky Simpson

Thank you, Member. The motion is in order. To the motion.