Marsi cho, Mr. Speaker. Colleagues, I am sure you appreciate how difficult today's motion is for many Members of this House. We are only nine months into the life of this government, and I can almost guarantee that none of our colleagues could imagine we would be considering a motion like this at this time.
When we were first elected, it was a hopeful time, enthusiasm for change and fresh ideas, and I still think we can go in that direction. I know that many people may think that we have let them down, but I am forever an optimist, and I remain committed to the strong ideals that I championed during my election last year, and I am sure my fellow MLAs feel the same way.
This moment will pass, and the future, what really matters and what we as Members choose to do, is to ensure the NWT is on the right track to recover and go stronger than ever was before.
Mr. Speaker, it would be disingenuous for me to pretend that the Member for Great Slave and I have not been involved in a personal matter that had reached the public's attention. Despite the highly personal nature of this incident, I want to ensure this House and all members of the public that my consideration of this motion is based solely on the Minister's performance in the execution of her responsibilities to this House.
I will say, however, this is 2020, Mr. Speaker, and all Northerners understand the need for a respectful workplace, where people feel safe and feel free from harassment and intimidation. In whatever workplace you work in, one should always feel safe and free from being verbally abused and insulted. Industries from across the country and throughout the world have taken steps in light of serious scandals to improve on harassment-free workplaces and better support employees who are subject to poor treatment by their colleagues and, more importantly, to those positions with power over them.
Democratic institutions like our Legislative Assembly are no stranger to these issues, and, in many cases, the pressures to politics and the very nature of our particular profession means we're often seeing worse behaviour behind closed doors in parliaments and in legislatures. We must all strive to do better, to ensure we treat each other with utmost respect and civility, and act as role models to the people who are placing their trust in us to represent them.
As I have said, Mr. Speaker, this is still a new government, but it is also a government that inherits some bad habits from previous Assemblies. One only needs to look at to how the public is reacting to this week's sitting to see what we have done. We have done a bad job in explaining our processes to our residents. That has hurt the trust people place in all of us to represent them openly and honestly, and not with the familiar in-fighting that has so defined our predecessors. I have nothing but respect for those who have served here in the past. Times have changed, and we must change with the times.
We cannot continue to govern from the shadows of confidential meetings and expect the public can understand how we come to our decisions and what factors led to those decisions. We have to let some sunlight in and be willing to trust that the public will view our work fairly. I believe it is the best way forward, and it is clearly what we are being told by the majority of our constituents. I know I have heard it all, and I know you have heard it all, as well. To make this change, it will require us to change how we do our business in this Assembly, and I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. When we were first elected here, people expected the most of us, to make bold decisions -- there are fresh faces here -- and to move forward. Change is good. There are quite a few, all elected here to do. I have a couple of examples here. Like, for one, we need to open up our standing committees opened to the public a little bit more, make sure there is a record of all decisions made and all documents relating to our proceedings are accessible, readable, easy to find online.
Mr. Speaker, it is so true that consensus government is very unique and a valuable institution that we are right to be proud of, but, if we don't make the kind of changes people are asking us by asking for, we risk losing it, and that's not something I want to be remembered for. I hope we can all learn and grow from this experience, and to work collaboratively to ensure our constituents are never left again waiting for answers that we can readily provide, and get to the real work that we're here elected to do. We've still got housing; we've still got jobs; we've still got an economy to worry about. I'd rather be talking to that than to dealing with these types of matters.
Mr. Speaker, I feel this context is important to our debate of this motion. This motion to revoke the Minister's appointment has become much more than a procedural matter or an accountability exercise. It is going to embody our track record as an Assembly, and we are being judged on how we handle things today. I am very proud to serve this House as a Regular Member, and we all have an important job to do. We work to both collaborate with our Cabinet colleagues and policy initiatives, legislation, and other important decisions, while also scrutinizing Ministers for their performance as leaders of this government. Does it mean we all agree? No, of course not. That would be unhealthy for our democracy. It does mean we should always try to do our best to work together for the good of the people of the Northwest Territories. It also means that there are clear issues with the government that we are not doing the best job we can. It is our job as Regular Members to call out Ministers and get them to fix the problems. We all understand it's not an easy job. Now, in the vast majority of cases during our brief life of this government, most of the Ministers have acted promptly to address these concerns, but there are exceptions. Unfortunately, the performance of the Member for Great Slave as Minister for Infrastructure and for ITI has been lacking.
Mr. Speaker, out of respect for the Minister and the seriousness of this motion, I want to provide some specific examples where I find her lacking in her abilities. Relying on broad statements of "performance" and "professionalism" I don't feel are adequate to address the public's concerns.
Mr. Speaker, I have great concerns regarding the Minster's attention to the interests of our Indigenous partners. Indigenous governments, our Indigenous partners, are woven into the fabric of modern NWT, and it is impossible to govern without understanding and respecting the unique role they play as partners to the GNWT. We have seen both the Tlicho and the Akaitcho governments condemn the inaction of the GNWT on addressing serious economic concerns related to the Minister's portfolios.
The Rae Access Road, Mr. Speaker, and the Slave Geological Province Road are both key infrastructure projects vital to our economic recovery. It goes without saying that these projects need the full participation of the Indigenous governments in question. That the Minister could not see that and defended the decision not to involve them has forced the government to backtrack significantly in these procurement deals. There is, no doubt, lasting damage to our relationship with the Tlicho and Akaitcho governments and more likely to other Indigenous governments, as well, who now look to the GNWT with skepticism, and I am hoping that we can still move in the right direction.
Mr. Speaker, another important point to make is that we must always honour our treaties and do whatever we can to ensure that Indigenous peoples are full participants in our economy. If it were not for the Premier stepping in to address the concerns of Indigenous leaders that were left unresolved by the Member for Great Slave, this situation might have grown far worse.
Mr. Speaker, the economies of small communities work differently than in regional centres and here in Yellowknife. That should be obvious, but I have seen the Minister blatantly ignore the economic realities of small communities despite Members flagging these concerns and asking for actions to resolve them. For example, in April of this year, the Minister signed off on a directive for vehicles and equipment belonging to the Department of Infrastructure to discontinue using Deninu Kue fuel products. This decision was made without consultation and had devastating consequences for the local economy of Fort Resolution.
Mr. Speaker, my constituents don't have the luxury of a robust economy like Yellowknife. Every dollar that is spent by the GNWT is a direct investment in the well-being of the community. I still firmly believe that this is a discriminatory business practice, and yet there is little to no action for a Member to address my concerns and restore prosperity to a community.
Something I have also noticed is, when other Members speak, I try to stay off our devices and listen intently. To make matters worse, it took five months to the Minister to get back to me with a response to these very serious concerns. That kind of response time is completely unacceptable and contrary to our communications convention of Cabinet and Regular Members, that state Regular Members should receive response time within five days. For a constituent worried about the future during a terrible pandemic in a rural and remote community, five months might seem like a lifetime. This was not the first time there was an unreasonable delay in the Minister's responses to my inquiries. Sadly, Mr. Speaker, it has become a regular occurrence for me and many of my colleagues.
Mr. Speaker, I could go on with further examples, but I believe I clearly provided grounds for serious concerns of the Minister's performance. Months ago, I hoped we would see improvement from the Minister, that together we could move forward and together support stronger government. It is very regrettable that this is not the case, and I have an obligation to my constituents to take action to ensure that their needs are addressed by this government in both a timely and effective manner. I do not believe that the Minister is capable of delivering on results that we so desperately need in the state of national and international emergency.
Mr. Speaker, I said earlier that I wish we were not in this place, but, nevertheless, we are. We must act according to what is best for the people that we serve. Therefore, I will be supporting this motion, and I hope we could all move forward towards a stronger government in the time that remains ahead of us.
In closing, Mr. Speaker, I don't think that Minister Nokleby has anything to be ashamed of. She has a lot of accomplishments. She has a lot of supporters. I think she should hold her head high through this after it's all said and done. With that, I have nothing further to say, and I would say thank you, Mr. Speaker. Marsi cho.