This is page numbers 1111 - 1152 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 going.

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Question 318-19(2): Replacement of Chief Jimmy Bruneau School
Oral Questions

Page 1122

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Just moving on, my next questions is about feasibility. What has the Minister's done to determine the feasibility of replacing Chief Jimmy Bruneau School with a new modern school today?

Question 318-19(2): Replacement of Chief Jimmy Bruneau School
Oral Questions

Page 1122

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

There was a technical evaluation done on Chief Jimmy Bruneau. It's a big school, and part of it is still good. What the technical evaluation showed is that the bones of the school are in great shape. There is part of it, the residence, which can't be retrofitted, and there is work to be done on the bus garage. Other than that, the Department of Infrastructure has looked into it, and the technical evaluation says that the school is in good shape and would last another few decades, I believe, with a retrofit.

Question 318-19(2): Replacement of Chief Jimmy Bruneau School
Oral Questions

Page 1123

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

In the next few decades, it will be a 100-year-old school. This is not acceptable. The school is deteriorating. We may not see it on the surface, but it is. The maintenance crew obviously has been telling us, as well, but I'll move on to my next question because this is a question from my leadership and my community members of Behchoko. The education department has no problem promising to replace J.H. Sissons in Yellowknife with a brand new school. Why is Chief Jimmy Bruneau School, which is five years older, not receiving the same treatment or consideration?

Question 318-19(2): Replacement of Chief Jimmy Bruneau School
Oral Questions

Page 1123

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Just like people, the age of buildings isn't always necessarily the best indicator of what kind of shape their in. J.H. Sissons was in a shape where it needed to be replaced, whereas Chief Jimmy Bruneau is in much better condition. The Member is correct that there have been conversations with the Tlicho government. He accompanied me to Edzo, and we sat in the school and spoke with the Tlicho leadership. They made very clear what their preference would be. I made some commitments to them, and I followed through on those commitments. I am almost at the point where I am going to be reaching back out to the leadership.

Question 318-19(2): Replacement of Chief Jimmy Bruneau School
Oral Questions

Page 1123

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

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Monfwi.

Question 318-19(2): Replacement of Chief Jimmy Bruneau School
Oral Questions

Page 1123

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Masi, Mr. Speaker. Obviously, my leadership has demanded a new school. I am glad that the Minister is following through with that. This is a very serious issue that is before us, a 50-plus-years-old school. It requires, obviously, demand from the school that they replace it with a new school. The next question I have to the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, obviously, is a decision. Which of the two options, school replacement or renovation of the existing school, is the Minister leaning towards? This is a question from my leadership, Mr. Speaker. Masi.

Question 318-19(2): Replacement of Chief Jimmy Bruneau School
Oral Questions

Page 1123

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Like I just said, I travelled with the Member to Edzo, and we sat in the school and had a conversation with the leadership. I am going to go back to the leadership, and we are going to have a discussion. I don't think that it's appropriate to have that discussion here on the floor of the House before I speak with the leadership. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 318-19(2): Replacement of Chief Jimmy Bruneau School
Oral Questions

Page 1123

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

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.

Question 319-19(2): Affirmative Action Policy
Oral Questions

Page 1123

Steve Norn Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Marsi cho, Mr. Speaker. Just to go back to what I said in my Member's statement earlier, it is always good to have more inclusion. I tried tying my Member's statement into how we should go forward with the GNWT and stuff. When I looked at the Affirmative Action Policy, there was a line here I thought that I should quote. I thought it was important. It says here, "No individual seeking employment, training, or career advancement opportunities in the public service should be disadvantaged or discouraged by attitudinal or systemic barriers." I thought that was an important statement because it had to be said, and it still has to be said now; we're still talking about it now.

Going forward, we are still seeing this problem of disproportionately Indigenous people in jails, Aboriginal people in jails, low graduation rates, and stuff. I still get calls about hires. We're still getting all those people from down south who are getting our jobs, taking our jobs away. That's what I am hearing, but it would be nice to get some questions here. My first question to the Minister of Finance is: what is the current status of our Affirmative Action Policy, and when was the last time that this policy was reviewed? Marsi cho, Mr. Speaker.

Question 319-19(2): Affirmative Action Policy
Oral Questions

Page 1123

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

Thank you, Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh. Minister of Finance.

Question 319-19(2): Affirmative Action Policy
Oral Questions

Page 1123

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Affirmative Action Policy, in some form or other, has certainly been around for quite a long time, and it does indeed aim for exactly as the Member noted, which is to ensure that we have a representative workforce. It does provide an opportunity to give preferential access to certain target groups. As far as the reviews, Mr. Speaker, there have been some efforts towards a review as early as 1997. Standing committee was involved in the production of a review in 2000 and again in 2005, and there has certainly been work since then looking at the policy over the last 10 years. It has never actually made it to the point of a full and final review. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 319-19(2): Affirmative Action Policy
Oral Questions

Page 1123

Steve Norn Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Thank you to the Minister for that response. Like I said before in this House, as well, for any working population, it should always be representative of the population served, and we are still not seeing that. With what the Minister just said, are there going to be any policy reviews within the life of this Assembly?

Question 319-19(2): Affirmative Action Policy
Oral Questions

Page 1123

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

The opportunity for review and the opportunity for change certainly comes with risks. I can certainly say that it is my intention to look at that policy and move it forward to determine if a review is really in the best interests and achieves the goals that we have for it. Where I am going with that is that it's figuring out what we want to get out of the Affirmative Action Policy that we are not getting. What is it that we are not getting that we would like to see changed?

I suppose, in a sense, that would be a review, Mr. Speaker, but as far as that will look like, where it will go, and what the end result will be, certainly, I can't say. I acknowledge that I have had many questions about the Affirmative Action Policy already. It doesn't seem to be achieving the things that people want it to achieve, the things that people think it should achieve, whether or not it is achieving its actual content or not. It is time to look at whether or not there are better ways of achieving those goals.

Question 319-19(2): Affirmative Action Policy
Oral Questions

Page 1124

Steve Norn Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Again, thank you for that response. I think, going forward, it's always good to know where we sit and get a baseline of how all the policies are going from its inception until present. My next question is: can the Minister provide me with some statistics on how much success or perceived success this policy has had since its inception?

Question 319-19(2): Affirmative Action Policy
Oral Questions

Page 1124

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

As soon as I am hearing that there is a request for statistics, I do have human resources numbers in front of me over the last year. I don't have all of the numbers since the inception of the policy, and I am not sure that I will be able to go all the way back into the 1990s, but I certainly will have statistics available over time. As I understand it, Mr. Speaker, right now, we actually do fairly well at the GNWT in terms of hiring individuals able and available and interested in the positions. That doesn't mean that, every time, the process goes smoothly or that, every time, someone is satisfied with the process, but that's exactly the challenge that I think we have is that, right now, we're not achieving the goals that people perceive us to have or the goals that people would like us to have. I will certainly commit that I will get some numbers going back a reasonable period of time so that we can identify and see those trends. Hopefully, that will help go forward as to where we should take this.