This is page numbers 607 - 658 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 housing.

Topics

Question 185-19(2): City of Yellowknife Charter
Oral Questions

Page 615

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

One of my concerns regarding this is that there are no plans currently to bring the City, Towns and Villages Act forward during this Assembly. I know the department has a lot of work to do regarding the Property Assessment and Taxation Act, which ultimately ties into the city charter issue. My concern is that the municipalities have been asking for the Property Assessment and Taxation Act to be brought forward for over a decade, and the department has been very slow to do so. I don't want to be standing here in a decade, asking about a Yellowknife city charter. Would the Minister be willing to reach out to the City of Yellowknife and get them to provide what they would see as a process going forward for a Yellowknife city charter?

Question 185-19(2): City of Yellowknife Charter
Oral Questions

Page 615

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

MACA is prepared to receive information for city and the charter proposed. We are open to be meeting with them and discuss concepts. We will also of course need to gather other relevant information. I really want to see why the city would want to change their status and adapt the charters act. It is available in other jurisdictions, but it does not exist in the Northwest Territories. Going forward, yes, I am available to be meeting with the City of Yellowknife.

Question 185-19(2): City of Yellowknife Charter
Oral Questions

Page 615

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

I will convey that information to the city, and I look forward to asking about those discussions. I can tell you the reason that the City of Yellowknife has asked for this is because they find dealing with the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs extremely frustrating. I am happy to finally see the Property Assessment and Taxation Act coming forward. There is a number of unique things that we can do in Yellowknife, whether it be municipal bonds, local services, vacancy taxes, that simply just would not make sense in the smaller communities and may not even make sense in the other tax-based communities. So, during the development of the Property Assessment and Taxation Act, is the Minister willing to reach out to the City of Yellowknife and hear some of their concerns around property assessment and the unique needs of the City of Yellowknife?

Question 185-19(2): City of Yellowknife Charter
Oral Questions

Page 615

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Yes, I will be wanting to hear and elaborate a little bit more on the approach that the City of Yellowknife is taking. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 185-19(2): City of Yellowknife Charter
Oral Questions

Page 615

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr) Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Item 8, returns to written questions. Member for Kam Lake.

Written Question 8-19(2): Repatriation of Northwest Territories Residents with Disabilities
Written Questions

Page 615

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. My question today is for the Minister of Health and Social Services in regard to repatriating Northwest Territories residents with disabilities living in southern residential placements:

  1. How many people are living in southern residential placements?
  2. What is the total cost the Government of the Northwest Territories is spending to support Northwest Territories residents with disabilities living in southern residential placements?
  3. What region-specific support services would be required to support people with disabilities to live in their home communities?
  4. What would a phased repatriation plan look like to support people with disabilities living in their home communities?

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Written Question 8-19(2): Repatriation of Northwest Territories Residents with Disabilities
Written Questions

Page 615

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr) Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Kam Lake. Correction, that was item 8, written questions. Item 9, returns to written questions. Item 10, replies to Commissioner's address. Item 11, petitions. Item 12, reports of committees on the review of bills. Item 13, reports of standing and special committees. Item 14, tabling of documents. Government House Leader.

Tabled Document 57-19(2): Follow-up Letter for Oral Question 31-19(2): Response to Progress of Government Tabled Document 58-19(2): Follow-up Letter for Oral Question 92-19(2): Fort Providence Dental Care Services
Tabling Of Documents

Page 615

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the following two documents: "Follow-up Letter for Oral Question 31-19(2), Response to Progress of Government;" and "Follow-up Letter for Oral Question 92-19(2), Fort Providence Dental Care Services." Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Tabled Document 57-19(2): Follow-up Letter for Oral Question 31-19(2): Response to Progress of Government Tabled Document 58-19(2): Follow-up Letter for Oral Question 92-19(2): Fort Providence Dental Care Services
Tabling Of Documents

Page 615

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr) Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Government House Leader. Tabling of documents. Member for Yellowknife Centre.

Tabled Document 59-19(2): What we heard: Sexual Assault Investigations Stakeholder Engagement Session, June 11-12, 2019
Tabling Of Documents

Page 615

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wish to table the report "What we heard: Sexual Assault Investigations Stakeholder Engagement Session, June 11-12, 2019." Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Tabled Document 59-19(2): What we heard: Sexual Assault Investigations Stakeholder Engagement Session, June 11-12, 2019
Tabling Of Documents

Page 615

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr) Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Yellowknife Centre. Tabling of documents. Item 15, notices of motion. Item 16, motions. Member for Thebacha.

Motion 4-19(2): Request for Special Audit by the Auditor General of Canada on the Stanton Territorial Hospital Renewal Project, Carried
Motions(reversion)

March 11th, 2020

Page 615

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. WHEREAS Members of this and previous Assemblies have expressed numerous concerns about the Stanton Territorial Renewal Project and the impacts it may have on the long-term fiscal well-being of the Government of the Northwest Territories and the people it serves;

AND WHEREAS, at a cost of $750 million over 34 years, the Stanton Territorial Hospital Renewal Project is reportedly the largest capital project ever undertaken by the Government of the Northwest Territories;

AND WHEREAS the Government of the Northwest Territories reportedly overlooked to include in the project costs a grant-in-lieu of property tax payment to the City of Yellowknife, valued at $4.5 million annually, pushing the total project cost to an estimated $900 million;

AND WHEREAS the Stanton Territorial Hospital Renewal Project has been described as a public/private partnership between the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Boreal Health Partnership;

AND WHEREAS the fundamental features of this partnership, including the long-term liabilities and obligations of the Government of the Northwest Territories, are included in a project agreement that was executed in the final days of the 17th Legislative Assembly;

AND WHEREAS there have been, and remain, numerous deficiencies with the Stanton Territorial Hospital Renewal Project that may affect the long-term operation and costs of the project;

NOW THEREFORE I MOVE, seconded by the honourable Member for Frame Lake, that the Legislative Assembly requests the Office of the Auditor General of Canada to undertake a special audit of the Stanton Territorial Hospital Renewal Project, and report thereon to the Legislative Assembly;

AND FURTHER, that this special audit investigate the actual project costs and long-term financial implications of the partnership arrangement, compliance with the Financial Administration Act and the financial policies of the Government of the Northwest Territories, value for money considerations, appropriation authority, reporting, and adherence to standard public procurement practices and processes;

AND FURTHERMORE, that the Auditor General investigate and consider any other factors that, in their opinion, is relevant;

AND FURTHERMORE, that all employees and officials, respecting the broad powers of investigation granted to the Auditor General under the Auditor General Act and confirmed under the Northwest Territories Act, actively cooperate with the Auditor General in providing all appropriate documents, papers, and information requested by the Office of the Auditor General;

AND FURTHERMORE, that the Government inform the Boreal Health Partnership and all relevant contractors of the nature and purpose of the special audit;

AND FURTHERMORE, that the Office of the Auditor General is requested to complete the special audit as soon as practicable and provide a report to the Legislative Assembly;

AND FURTHERMORE, that the Speaker formally transmit this motion and the content of our proceedings in relation to this motion to the Office of the Auditor General of Canada for their consideration.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Motion 4-19(2): Request for Special Audit by the Auditor General of Canada on the Stanton Territorial Hospital Renewal Project, Carried
Motions(reversion)

Page 616

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr) Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Motion 4-19(2): Request for Special Audit by the Auditor General of Canada on the Stanton Territorial Hospital Renewal Project, Carried
Motions(reversion)

Page 616

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Mr. Speaker, my motion today on the P3 Stanton Renewal Project is about ensuring that public funds are being used for the right reasons. In speaking to this motion, I would like to reiterate my previous statement on the Stanton P3 project, which I spoke about a couple of weeks ago in a Member's statement.

Following the public technical briefing on the new Stanton Hospital, which took place on February 11, 2020, officials within the Departments of Health and Social Services and Infrastructure confirmed a series of pervading issues that have been plaguing the new building since it opened in May of 2019.

Mr. Speaker, for clarification, the initial amount designated for the new hospital was $350 million as of October 1, 2015, which was one month before the 2015 territorial election. This project over a 34-year period, which includes the old Stanton Legacy building, will now cost $750 million-plus. The operating and maintenance contract is also included in this P3. Boreal Health Partnership and Dexterra are the main proponents in this agreement. According to officials of the Departments of Health and Social Services and Infrastructure, this agreement/contract is being defended as a good agreement despite it putting our future governance and the people of the NWT in a crucial financial deficit because of a very dysfunctional agreement, decisions and final signoffs being done improperly on behalf of the people of the NWT. However, as an MLA who is concerned about P3s, I think the figure that the Department of Finance provided is neither concrete nor precise and it will cost much more than that. As all MLAs have experienced, we have had a couple of supplementaries in this 19th Assembly already.

Moreover, Mr. Speaker, the terms and conditions of the Stanton project are not clear, either. Once again, not enough attention was paid to the details of this agreement. When detail is not properly taken into account and politicians sign off on these types of agreements, these projects can and will have a major impact, both on the people of the NWT as well as the future of our government. This is exactly what happened with the P3 agreement of the new Stanton hospital along with the legacy building of the old Stanton hospital.

Mr. Speaker, accountability and transparency are extremely important when dealing with public money. The money that is being used belongs with the people of the NWT. Most of the P3s are contracted with southern companies, and the money flows south with little benefit to the NWT. P3s can be a positive way of doing business if we're dealing with northern companies or Indigenous groups and the detailed agreements are firm, signed off properly, and all monies stay in the North. Mr. Speaker, an objective overview by the Auditor General's office of this P3 project will be appreciated by the people of the NWT and the Ordinary MLAs of this 19th Assembly.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, public-private partnerships are an option if the Government of Northwest Territories management team follows the rules, options were looked at properly, and it understands that the money that is being spent belongs to people of the Northwest Territories. Accountability and transparency of public monies is paramount. Managing public monies is a privilege, not a right. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Motion 4-19(2): Request for Special Audit by the Auditor General of Canada on the Stanton Territorial Hospital Renewal Project, Carried
Motions(reversion)

Page 616

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr) Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Thebacha. To the motion. Member for Frame Lake.