This is page numbers 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 indigenous.

Topics

member's statement on Regulation of Resource Development in the Northwest Territories
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Oncovid-19 Safety In The Workplace

Nockleby`

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, The NWT has always been a resource-based economy. Even before the onset of colonial settlement, the Yellowknives Dené made tools from copper mined on the banks of the very lake that my district is named for. Later today, we will hear SCEDE's report, and my opinion, on the GNWT's approach to the Mining Regime Fiscal Review. In my dissenting opinion, I lay out what I see as the reasons why this has not been a good use of committee resources. One area upon which I touch is exploration.

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to expand upon this point further as I feel that at times residents, and my colleagues, miss the point when it comes to how important exploration is to our resource sector and therefore our economy.

In the NWT, it might be 15 years from deposit discovery to the onset of mine development, a sad fact that has been pushed to the extreme by our robust permitting system. Mr. Speaker, I fully support this regulatory system and the people that participate in it. I'm proud of our efforts towards social and economic responsibility that puts us at the forefront of responsible sustainable mining globally. Our agreements with First Nations and Inuit people are unparalleled to none. However, we must now acknowledge that we have developed a regulatory system so complex that it is expensive to get through, making it extremely difficult for new explorers that may want to come here.

None of this is new. It's been discussed for years; however, the effects of COVID have decimated this already struggling industry. The diamond mines, which in 2020 still accounted for 21 percent of our direct GDP despite COVID, will be sunsetting over the next decade. Add in the indirect economic impact as they leave, and we have a territory that is quickly becoming a welfare state. Currently, NWT exploration expenditures are mainly for advanced exploration projects and deposits, with very few grassroots projects on the horizon. These deposits are generally metallic, and metal mines do not have the same economic impact as diamond mining, contributing one-sixth to one-tenth economically in comparison.

The future of exploration, and therefore mining, in this territory is critically dependent on the partnership between industry and Indigenous governments and businesses, ensuring Indigenous voices are leading the conversation, not bureaucrats or legislators whose ancestors did not walk this land.

I encourage my colleagues on the other side to ensure that this engagement occurs at all opportunities and they actually listen to the people when it comes to the future of this sector. ---Applause

member's statement on Regulation of Resource Development in the Northwest Territories
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Oncovid-19 Safety In The Workplace

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Great Slave. Members' statements. Member for Frame Lake.

Member's statement on Canada-Northwest Territories Childcare Agreement
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Oncovid-19 Safety In The Workplace

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. One of the federal government's major promises of recent years has been the creation of a national affordable childcare system in partnership with provinces and territories. While other jurisdictions have completed agreements, the Yukon signed its $10-a-day deal in July, parents here are still waiting. Media reports quote our childcare Minister as saying our deal with done by the end of the year although problems exist. One major obstacle being reported is lack of suitable buildings for new childcare spaces. Presumably creation of new spaces has to be a feature of any new agreement with the federal government.

Likewise, trained and quality staff are also a challenge. To provide the staff needed for the NWT to offer a truly universal childcare scheme, we will have to train a lot more staff we will hire outside the Northwest Territories. As we see with nurses, that can be expensive but without staff an agreement with the federal government is not a solution.

Then there is the issue of how any new childcare programs are going to be coordinated with existing programs, much of them offered by regional Indigenous governments.

These problems - space, staff, and flexible rollout - may be big but the need for affordable and universal childcare is the bigger problem by far. As I have been calling for since the last Assembly, we still need a new costed plan that deals with all these issues of space, staffing, and coordination, not some vague priority such as "advanced universal childcare by increasing availability and affordability". We need a costed plan for universal childcare and an agreement with the federal government to implement it now.

I will have questions for the Minister of childcare about when universal affordable child care is coming to the Northwest Territories and how an agreement with the federal government will make that happen. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Member's statement on Canada-Northwest Territories Childcare Agreement
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Oncovid-19 Safety In The Workplace

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

member's statement on Changes to Runway at Fort Smith Airport
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Oncovid-19 Safety In The Workplace

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to once again -- I would like to speak once again about the change in runway width at the Fort Smith Regional Airport. At this point, it is well known that I am deeply disappointed with the Department of Infrastructure's decision to reduce the size of the Fort Smith airport runway. And I am not feeling alone in this decision otherwise I wouldn't have had the support of 550 people, or the entire Fort Smith leadership, on side on this issue.

member's statement on Changes to Runway at Fort Smith Airport
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Oncovid-19 Safety In The Workplace

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

I just want to reiterate that leadership must prevail over bureaucracy. Government decisions need to be re-evaluated when a wrong has been done, and they need to know how to correct and respond to those decisions, especially when it has to do with public funds. Rational, reasonable, and financially responsible decisions that affect regional centres, such as Fort Smith, must be a priority.

Mr. Speaker, no matter how the Minister wants to spin it, there's a fundamental difference with how my constituents see the runway width changes compared to that of the perception of the Department of Infrastructure.

So the department sees no evil, hears no evil. Despite the will of the people rejecting these airport runway changes, apparently that doesn't matter. Apparently the department can do as it pleases to Government of the Northwest Territories infrastructure, despite any public outcry against any such decisions. I will have questions for the Minister of Infrastructure later today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

member's statement on Changes to Runway at Fort Smith Airport
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Oncovid-19 Safety In The Workplace

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Thebacha. Members' statements. Member for Monfwi.

member's statement on Housing Situation in Tłı̨chǫ Region
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Oncovid-19 Safety In The Workplace

November 30th, 2021

Wayallon-Armstrong

Mr. Speaker, thank you. I've been talking about housing since the beginning of session, and I will continue do so because we need real solution for our communities in the Tlicho region and NWT.

Every person has the right to live in a safe and secure home. The well-being of our children, youth, families and communities depends on that. Canada has recognized housing as a human right in international law but here in the NWT we are struggling to provide housing. Each home should be a place of togetherness where our families have enough bedrooms and space for peace and privacy.

We all know in the communities how stressful overcrowding is in the home. It impacts our community members' mental wellness and makes things worse for those who are struggling with addictions. The spread of COVID-19 has shown how dire the housing situation is here in the North. When COVID-19 got into Tlicho region, many of our families were defenceless because they did not have room to isolate. COVID-19 spread quickly because of overcrowding. We had to send our own community members to the gym and other places in order to isolate safely and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Mr. Speaker, the Northwest Territories has been failing to provide adequate housing for years and years. This is not a new problem.

Mr. Speaker, the NWT Housing Corporation has a homeownership initiative that gives people the opportunity to go into a loan agreement with the Housing Corporation. Yesterday, I asked the Minister of Housing how many of the new housing units in the Tlicho region would be allocated for private ownership. She said none. How can people own homes in the NWT if the NWT Housing Corporation is more invested in maintaining a rental portfolios than making homes available for people to own?

Mr. Speaker, can I have consent -- can I have unanimous consent to conclude my statement?

---Unanimous consent granted.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Many of my constituents have lived in their home for years and years and have paid as renters. When they want to purchase their home, they are often -- they are often being asked to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars on homes that have not been maintained and have little market resale value. The programs available to assist our constituent buy a home is not working. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. I will have question for the Minister responsible for the Housing Corporation.

---Applause

member's statement on Housing Situation in Tłı̨chǫ Region
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Oncovid-19 Safety In The Workplace

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Monfwi. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife North.

Office of the Fire Marshall
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Oncovid-19 Safety In The Workplace

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In February of this year, to much celebration, Minister Green and Minister Chinna opened an Elders complex in Fort Good Hope. They went and cut the ribbon. And then, Mr. Speaker, we were even going to hire some people and then the complex never opened. The Office of the Fire Marshal would not give them their occupancy permit. That community then flooded, Mr. Speaker, and many people were evacuated and I'm sure they would have liked to have nine units to house people. But we never opened it. The GNWT said that they'd get it done by the end of summer, Mr. Speaker, and then they never opened the facility, Mr. Speaker. I'm still unsure if the facility is opened. That community then got hit with COVID. It was one of the first communities to experience a death, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the Office of the Fire Marshal does not look at these other risks. It does not look at Fort Good Hope and see that it is a community with overcrowded housing. It does not see a community with 65 households in inadequate condition. It looks at one building and disagrees with the GNWT's engineers and architects.

Now, Mr. Speaker, you can say this is a one-off debate between one hand of GNWT experts and another hand of GNWT experts. But just two years previously, in Norman Wells, where many of the Fort Good Hope Elders go, we built a $40 million facility with long-term care housing, and the GNWT actually took the GNWT to court in that facility because they would not let it open, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, these are just the fights that the GNWT is having with itself. I repeatedly get reports from my constituents, from the construction association, from people building in this territory, that it is much easier to deal with the Office of the Fire Marshal in either Yukon or Nunavut. Plan reviews there can take a matter of days. Here they take a matter of weeks and emails continue to go unresponded to, Mr. Speaker. We are one of the only jurisdictions -- we are the only jurisdiction in Canada without a Building Standards Act, Mr. Speaker. There are legislative changes that need to be made, but in the interim there a lot of little things we did do to make sure that we are housing our Elders. And when we build a facility, it actually provides some housing to people, not just sits there empty, Mr. Speaker.

I'll have questions for the Minister of MACA about what we are doing to get the service standards at the Office of the Fire Marshal up to date and to make sure that we don't have GNWT's engineers, architects, and fire inspectors all fighting each other anymore, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Office of the Fire Marshall
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Oncovid-19 Safety In The Workplace

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Yellowknife North. Members' statements. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Oh sorry, Member for Nahendeh.

Celebration of Life for (Cazon) Allen
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Oncovid-19 Safety In The Workplace

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, Bertha Allen was born to Alphonsine and Baptiste Cazon on October 27, 1962. She was one of the seventeen children. Two brothers, two sisters and her parents predeceased her.

Bertha spent her childhood in Fort Simpson and often spent the summer months on the land with her family. Bertha loved to talk, especially when she was younger, and her siblings used to tease her about it. She attended school in Fort Simpson and made a lot of friends. This was one of her many attributes. She made friends with everyone. Even if the person was unkind in the beginning, she was nice to that person and the next thing you know she was friends with them, sharing stories and enjoying each other's company.

Bertha was known for her meticulous housekeeping, her cooking skills, and her passion for family. She especially loved talking about her children and grandchildren. They were her pride and joy. She loved entertaining family and friends in her home. And that was her place of -- that's the place love of her life (Joey Allen) and their children were raised. Bertha loved it when people come to visit and entertain her, especially when the guys played guitar and jammed in her living room.

Bertha knew her time was coming after she was told that she had lung cancer and that it was so bad and was not treatable. Some of the family was able to be with her in the last weeks of her life, Holding her hands and sharing memories and making a more time during this difficult period. As well, the doctors in Edmonton helped her to set up where she was able to Facetime other family members and friends to say their goodbyes.

On August 25, Bertha passed on to be with her family and friends that have gone before her. On September 1, they laid her to rest with the sweet, kind, and smart stubborn Bertha Allen.

The family would like to take the time to thank the staff in Edmonton, Stanton Hospital, and the health staff in Fort Simpson. As well, to all the people who provided support during this difficult time. She will be sadly missed by her family and friends. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Celebration of Life for (Cazon) Allen
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Oncovid-19 Safety In The Workplace

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Nahendeh. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and community at this time. Members' statements. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Reports of committee on the review of bills. Reports of standing and special committees. Member for Kam Lake.

Committee Report 20-19(2): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on Bill 30: An Act to Amend the Aurora College Act
Reports Of Committee On The Review Of Bills

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, your Standing Committee on Social Development is pleased to provide its report on Bill 30, an Act to Amend the Aurora College Act and commends it to the House.

Introductionbill 30, An Act To Amend The Aurora College Act Was First Introduced By The Department Of Education, Culture And Employment On June 2nd, 2021, And Then Referred To The Standing Committee On Social Development For Review.
Introductionbill 30, An Act To Amend The Aurora College Act Was First Introduced By The Department Of Education, Culture And Employment On June 2nd, 2021, And Then Referred To The Standing Committee On Social Development For Review.

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Bill 30 proposes changes to the Aurora College Act (the Act) to:

  • Create a new public governance system for Aurora College;
  • Move the college to an arm's length relationship with the Government of the Northwest Territories;
  • Meet the requirements of a quality assurance review; and,
  • Support the gradual transition to a changed way of working between Aurora College, the government, and other partners and stakeholders.

The proposed amendments are part of the broader GNWT initiative to transform Aurora College into a polytechnic university. The process for changing the college into a university began in the 18th Assembly and is scheduled to continue through three governments into the 20th Assembly.

The 19th Legislative Assembly prioritizes the creation of a polytechnic university. In the mandate, the GNWT commits to change Aurora College into an accredited and independent polytechnic university within six years. The GNWT's lead department maintains a website publicly tracking the progress of 106 activities related to the transformation.