This is page numbers 1035 - 1054 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 health.

Topics

Question 299-19(2): Socio-economic Benefits of Giant Mine Remediation
Oral Questions

Page 1047

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Yellowknife North.

Question 300-19(2): Government Transparency and Open Data Portal
Oral Questions

Page 1048

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have no doubt that almost every Member in this House would say they are committed to a more open and transparent government. However, I think there is a bit of disconnect in that open and transparent government doesn't happen without clear intention in changing the systems we operate in. Every single jurisdiction in Canada, except ours and Nunavut, has an open data portal, a place where you go to get all of the departments' data in one place. Right now, this is scattered across various GNWT websites in various different forms. My question for the Minister of Finance is: will she commit to creating an open data portal? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 300-19(2): Government Transparency and Open Data Portal
Oral Questions

Page 1048

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Yellowknife North. Minister of Finance.

Question 300-19(2): Government Transparency and Open Data Portal
Oral Questions

Page 1048

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Yes, Mr. Speaker. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Question 300-19(2): Government Transparency and Open Data Portal
Oral Questions

Page 1048

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Well, that was easy.

---Laughter

Question 300-19(2): Government Transparency and Open Data Portal
Oral Questions

Page 1048

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

When can we expect to see that open data portal operational?

Question 300-19(2): Government Transparency and Open Data Portal
Oral Questions

Page 1048

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

That's a slightly more difficult question to answer. I took note yesterday when the Member gave a very impassioned speech about the importance of being quick, sometimes, with what government does. Certainly, in our COVID-19 response this government has been nimble and quick and responsive, in my view. Taking action with government data that includes personal information, private information, health information, information with all sorts of privacy concerns, privilege concerns, labour relations concerns, that is not something that we're going to be able to rush through quickly. The information shared services unit was created in April of 2019. Yes, we are behind, but we are now taking steps. ISSS resides in Finance. I am very much tuned into the fact that we are behind, and I don't like being behind. While I don't have a timeline now, I intend to have a timeline and not perhaps in this sitting, in the next six days, but I will have a timeline by the time we are back in the fall as to how exactly this is going unfold.

Question 300-19(2): Government Transparency and Open Data Portal
Oral Questions

Page 1048

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

I look forward to hearing that timeline. I think, to me, there are two steps. One is getting the portal, and the second is populating it. I recognize it will take some time to get certain data in there. Right now, there is a simple matter of collection and putting it in one place. I believe we could start that work immediately, and then you will get this user feedback from departments and other people looking for this data. Step one, get the portal to exist. Step two, let's populate it. One of my concerns is the GNWT really loves its PDFs. The problem with that: most recently, we published our budget. It's a 400-page PDF, and I don't know a single accountant who doesn't operate in spreadsheets. What I'm looking for from the Minister of Finance is a commitment that, whenever we publish reports, we will include the open data with them.

Question 300-19(2): Government Transparency and Open Data Portal
Oral Questions

Page 1048

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

There is a steering committee that has been formed, as well, which has led to the ISSS being developed. It is co-chaired by the chief information officer, whose position resides within Finance, as well as executive, the EIA department deputy secretary. While I appreciate that there are a variety of possible views on what the correct process or best process might be, what I would commit to is to bringing forward some reports through to the Member and, if interested, then to a relevant committee about what process is underway, what process has been chosen, and why, and certainly, to take back what information and what response we then get from that.

Question 300-19(2): Government Transparency and Open Data Portal
Oral Questions

Page 1048

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Yellowknife North.

Question 300-19(2): Government Transparency and Open Data Portal
Oral Questions

Page 1048

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate there is a steering committee and there is a process. My concern here is that, if you go look at the budget right now, there are published graphs and reports that no doubt someone created with underlying data. Every time I see one of those, I have to request, "Can I get that underlying data that actually make up this chart?" I'm not asking for information that's not already public. The way that this would be done, in my opinion, is: we have an information management and technological policy manual. It requires all sorts of things: translation, same look and feel. Every single report we have has numerous requests. It would simply have a policy in there that, when data is published in a final format, the underlying data is included. Will the Minister include a policy like that? I know there are some details to it, but I'm looking for a commitment that such a policy will be developed. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 300-19(2): Government Transparency and Open Data Portal
Oral Questions

Page 1048

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

I would love to give another really quick answer. Let me go so far as to say "yes, probably." However, what I'm concerned about is: the example being given is the budget, which is certainly numerical, very quantitative, and in that regard, probably much easier to simply turn around into excel spreadsheets. In speaking about whenever the government puts out information, that opens up a door that I'm not prepared to make that commitment to. In some regard, yes, there should be a policy to make government information more accessible, easier. When it's quantified like a budget, that's not a problem. I'm not going to extend that quite entirely to being every single time there is a report made. Certainly, to a certain degree, I do agree with the position that some of this information needs to be made more accessible. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 300-19(2): Government Transparency and Open Data Portal
Oral Questions

Page 1049

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.

Question 301-19(2): Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Action Plan
Oral Questions

June 4th, 2020

Page 1049

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My questions are for the Minister responsible for the Status of Women. In the fall, I questioned the Minister and the Premier on an action plan for the NWT. Yesterday, it was confirmed that they are waiting for a national action plan. Last night, Crown Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett was questioned in the House of Commons about the inaction of a national action plan. I quote her, "All the provinces and territories are working on their plans that will be lifted up into a national action plan." My question is: I ask again, will the government begin work on an MMIWG NWT action plan? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 301-19(2): Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Action Plan
Oral Questions

Page 1049

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes. Minister responsible for the Status of Women.