This is page numbers 1197 - 1220 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

Congratulations to Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh High School Graduates
Members' Statements

Page 1203

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

Thank you, Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh. Members' statements. Member for Monfwi.

Congratulations to Tlicho High School and Post-Secondary Graduates
Members' Statements

Page 1203

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Masi, Mr. Speaker. [Translation] I would like to send out a huge congratulations to grads in the Tlicho region, some of them have graduated. There are quite a number of people who have graduated in my community. They will be on their way to post-secondary. Also, for post-secondary, there were quite a number of students who have graduated from post-secondary education. I am very thankful for that [translation ends].

Congratulations to my Tlicho high school graduates and, also, the post-secondary graduates class of 2020. We are very proud of their accomplishments, especially during the whole COVID pandemic crisis. You have set a lifelong goal and achieved your dream. Well done.

Mr. Speaker, I have three of my own kids graduating this year. I must say I am a very proud father standing before you.

To highlight some of their achievements, Mr. Speaker, my youngster daughter is Denae Madai Lafferty, graduating from St. Pat's High School in grade 12 and looking forward to continuing her educational dream of one day working with kids, possibly in a pediatric area.

Mr. Speaker, my second daughter, Sahara Sadeh Lafferty, completed her post-secondary diploma in the Outdoor Education Program in Pembroke, Ontario. She is preparing to further her education in a kinesiology degree this fall.

Mr. Speaker, last but not least, my oldest son, Jayde Edzo Lafferty, completed his red seal journeyman ticket as an electrician. As you can see, I am proud of my children and all NWT graduates for these amazing accomplishments, and I encourage them to continue on their educational and professional journeys, whatever that might be. Once again, congratulations to the class of 2020. God bless. Masi.

Congratulations to Tlicho High School and Post-Secondary Graduates
Members' Statements

Page 1203

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

Thank you, Member for Monfwi. Members' statements. Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.

Dempster Highway
Members' Statements

Page 1203

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Dempster Highway plays an important role for Inuvik. In fact, it's the lifeline to the Beaufort-Delta. Over the years, we have seen many upgrades and improvements to the Dempster, and most of the hazardous sections have been corrected or widened. Mr. Speaker, you are aware that the widening of the highway usually consists of four kilometres per year and started at the NWT border and is working its way north to Inuvik. Mr. Speaker, residents in my community also use the Dempster Highway from Inuvik south to access fishing, camping, recreation sites south of Inuvik and around close proximity to my community. Mr. Speaker, the 50 kilometres south of Inuvik are used not only by Inuvik residents, but now residents coming in from Tuktoyaktuk. We have seen them come in and come camping, as well, and head out to places like the Gwich'in Territorial Park. On this section of road, we have had many accidents on certain corners of the Dempster Highway just outside of Inuvik. Mr. Speaker, at our current rate of widening the Dempster from just one end, Inuvik won't see some of the last remaining hazardous sections widen just outside Inuvik for at least 30 years. Mr. Speaker, Inuvik residents also deserve to have this section outside of Inuvik widened, as well, and not have to wait 30 years to reach us. Today, I will have questions for the Minister of Infrastructure regarding widening the road south of Inuvik. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Dempster Highway
Members' Statements

Page 1203

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

Thank you, Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes. Members' statements. Member for Frame Lake.

Bathurst Caribou Emergency
Members' Statements

Page 1204

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. I would like to provide an update on the state of the Bathurst caribou herd since we last sat in March. March 13, 2020, the Wek'eezhii Renewable Resources Board decided that the proposed 2020 wolf cull could proceed as a pilot project. The board will conduct a more rigorous review of the remaining four years of the proposed program beginning in August of this year. This revised proposal should also include "lesson learned" from the implementation of the 2020 management actions. The board said that "it is clear that communication in advance of the submission of wildlife management proposals needs to be improved. Future submissions of wildlife management proposals should not leave the board in a position where it must choose the best of two bad options. The board encourages early and frequent communication amongst our respective staffs with respect to both proposed wildlife management actions and process and timelines." Aerial shooting of wolves was to start in mid-April and run through until mid-May. I will have questions for the Minister later today.

On April 3rd, the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources issued a joint news release with Indigenous leaders condemning the illegal harvest of 80 Bathurst caribou and wasted meat from 12 more animals. ENR officers seized meat and issued tickets to hunters that were caught. On May 6th, we were informed that ENR is postponing the Bathurst and Bluenose-East calving ground photo surveys planned for June 2020 until next year as a result of the pandemic. Mr. Speaker, it is wildlife that is also suffering. The frequency of these surveys was recently changed from every three to two years due to the precarious state of the herds. Wolf harvest incentives did not seem to work, illegal caribou harvesting appears to have increased, and one of our key tools to assess the health of the herds has been delayed for a year. All of this is sad and bad news for the Bathurst caribou herd at a time our government continues to push ahead with a road that will cause irreversible harm.

I will have questions later today for the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources about details on some of these developments and when we can expect to see a comprehensive and balanced approach to the Bathurst caribou emergency that includes habitat protection. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Bathurst Caribou Emergency
Members' Statements

Page 1204

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

Thank you, Member for Frame Lake. Members' statements. Member for Thebacha.

Northwest Territories Metis Nation Final Agreement Negotiations
Members' Statements

Page 1204

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In my reply to the Commissioner's opening address, I mentioned my support of the NWT Metis Nation's Land, Resource, and Self-Government Agreement, as they are my constituents. The parties of this agreement include the NWT Metis Nation, which represents the Fort Smith, Hay River, and Fort Resolution Metis Councils, along with the Government of Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories. In 1996, these parties agreed to have negotiations take place in two phases. As of July 29, 2015, the NWT Metis Nation Agreement-in-Principle was signed, which officially began phase 2 of negotiations. Phase 2 will address self-government and the move towards a Final Agreement.

Mr. Speaker, as MLA for Thebacha, I consider it a priority of mine to support the NWT Metis Nation in advancing their Claim into the final stages of its implementation. As MLA, I will do my best work to work with the territorial government and help advocate for the NWT Metis Nation as they continue to negotiate. Moreover, there is one aspect of these ongoing negotiations that I would like to comment on. Over the years, in talking with various Metis leaders, I've heard numerous times of people describing the territorial negotiating team as a very difficult team to work with, particularly after devolution came into effect on April 1, 2014. I'm told that the territorial negotiating team became much more adversarial rather than conciliatory than before Devolution. Also, the chief negotiator of the federal government is no better. It seems that both the federal and territorial chief negotiators always hide behind the excuse of having "no mandate," thus the inability to say "yes" or "no" for a decision on anything at the negotiating table. Because of this, negotiations are always stalled and nothing gets done. This has got to change.

Mr. Speaker, during the life of this 19th Assembly I would like to see this Land, Resource, and Self-Government Agreement make good headway with positive outcomes for the NWT Metis Nation. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent for my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

Northwest Territories Metis Nation Final Agreement Negotiations
Members' Statements

June 12th, 2020

Page 1204

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

I urge our government, along with the federal government, to negotiate this agreement fairly and in good faith, as both of those parties carry a fiduciary responsibility to do so.

Also, Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the class of Paul W. Kaeser High School graduates of 2020. Your graduation is going to go down as unique because of the pandemic. It will also make each and every one of you stronger. Your journey is just beginning. Thank you again to all of the educators who made this possible, the parents, and the larger community of Fort Smith.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to thank my colleagues of the 19th Assembly, all the staff who work here for making my job easier, bearable, and enjoyable. I am grateful, and I wish they all have a great summer. I would also like to thank my constituents of Thebacha for their continued support, and I look forward to the caucus retreat in Fort Smith. I know that the all the peoples of Fort Smith, including the NWT Metis Nation, the Salt River First Nation, and the Town of Fort Smith will welcome our caucus retreat with open arms. I know my constituents will be great hosts. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Northwest Territories Metis Nation Final Agreement Negotiations
Members' Statements

Page 1204

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

Thank you, Member for Thebacha. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife Centre.

Greenhouse Gas Reductions Due to COVID-19 Pandemic
Members' Statements

Page 1205

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. There has been an unexpected silver lining resulting from the pandemic lockdown, and that's a significant decrease in greenhouse gas emissions. Flying, commuting, power generation, and industrial production have all fallen dramatically. A study in the journal "Nature" estimates global emissions have decreased by 17 percent and, in Canada, by 20 per cent. That reduction puts Canada almost halfway to meeting its Paris Accord targets that will hold global warming at 1.5 degrees.

Mr. Speaker, experts warn this change is likely going to be short-lived. When work and travel resume, greenhouse gas emissions will go right back up again. In fact, they may climb even higher than they were pre-lockdown. That's been the pattern of other economic slowdowns. What if this time is different?

Mr. Speaker, we have an historic opportunity to restart our economy with the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions front and centre. The sudden transition from fossil fuels has shown us what is possible. Industry, government, and individuals must now investigate how to prolong and entrench these reductions. One place to start is to continue to replace diesel with renewable energy. GNWT has done some good work in this area already by installing biomass heat in public buildings. We have also invested in solar and wind power pilot projects and replaced old diesel generators with more efficient variable-speed models.

The next logical step is to invest in building retrofits. A report from Ecology North released in April last year makes the case for building a northern retrofit economy. The authors estimate an impressive 9-percent return on investments on retrofits over 10 years because of reduced utility costs. That means a reduction in the cost of living, a move every Northerner would welcome, but that's not all. Investment in a retrofit economy where people install better insulation and windows, for example, would create 123 jobs and add $15 million to the GDP of the Northwest Territories over the next 10 years. These gains are modest, but the effects are far-reaching. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement. Thank you.

---Unanimous consent granted

Greenhouse Gas Reductions Due to COVID-19 Pandemic
Members' Statements

Page 1205

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

The authors of the paper suggest that we could begin this retrofit work right now, by scaling up programs offered by organizations like the Arctic Energy Alliance. What we need to kick-start the process is an investment in rebates that will encourage homeowners to make these upgrades sooner rather than later. If not now, then when? Thank you Mr. Speaker.

Greenhouse Gas Reductions Due to COVID-19 Pandemic
Members' Statements

Page 1205

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

Thank you, Member for Yellowknife Centre. Members' statements. Member for Kam Lake.

Congratulations to the Class of 2020
Members' Statements

Page 1205

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I've heard the class of 2020 referred to as the "Chosen Ones." We have all seen the cartoon that takes us month by month through 2020, including threats of World War III, murder hornets, and the very real and world-changing COVID-19. I'm not sure what it means to be a "Chosen One" in the wake of the craziness that has been 2020 so far, but I do know this: the graduates of 2020 have had to overcome some significant hurdles to complete their schooling during the upheaval of a pandemic.

Throughout history, there have always been events of significant change that have marked time, and most change events bring human suffering. We often hear people say, "When bad things happen, look for the good." There are always good people. While COVID-19 has brought with it human suffering around the world, we haven't had to look long or hard for the good. The good has been loud; the good has been visible, and the graduates of 2020 have been part of that good. They give me hope for a future where divisiveness and racism are replaced by civility and kindness and where we are united by our common humanity.

The graduates of 2020 will not let us down. They have shown us that they are able to face uncertainty and roll with the punches. They have shown determination to deal with what life has put in front of them and to keep going. They have arrived at this huge life milestone resilient and ready to take on tomorrow, and we are proud, Mr. Speaker. The graduates of 2020 are globally united as the "Pandemic Class." The whole world is watching and cheering them on as they step into their future resilient, driven, passionate, and also hopeful. As they step into their future, Mr. Speaker, the class of 2020 stands in a global battle against a worldwide pandemic, climate change, racism, and massive income disparities. They stand at a fork in the road that challenges unity and strength of character and which demands advocating for the greater good.

To each of our graduates, I want to encourage you to enter the world with an open mind and a caring heart; be compassionate; help find ways to serve others, not run away from them; help to unite, not divide; help to build, not tear down; help support, not demean. If you do you, you'll find your own path to fulfillment and happiness, and, in doing so, your example will inspire the rest. Lend your unique voice and talents to your community and find a path that allows you to be fulfilled while uplifting others at the same time. It is hard to stand up against the flow of the masses and be brave through kindness, but it is possible. It feels good, and good breeds good, and, class of 2020, you are, oh, so good.

"Good" doesn't mean you have to do what people expect of you. "Good" means you have integrity. "Good" means you know your truth and your truth inspires those around you to share their own honest selves. So, as you begin to find your way in this world, know that you have the power and presence to drive change. You are the greater good, and you have within you the power to change this world for the better. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Congratulations to the Class of 2020
Members' Statements

Page 1206

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

Thank you, Member for Kam Lake. Members' statements. Member for Sahtu.