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 work.

Topics

oral question 868-19(2): Government Procurement
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So going down that same path, can the Minister also commit to the same mechanism when doing negotiated contracts because we need to ensure that the work is going to NWT residents and businesses, whether it's local businesses, contractors, and/or with Indigenous governments. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

oral question 868-19(2): Government Procurement
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the more specific we get the less I'm probably able to make commitments here on the floor. The negotiated contracts policy right now, which is actually a policy of EIA, not Finance, not ITI, not Infrastructure, not procurement shared services, is one that is meant to provide a tool or a mechanism by which we could go directly to an Indigenous government. But, of course, as soon as there's more than one business that comes and requests a contract under a negotiated contract policy, the assumption is it goes to public tender. The result of that being that we often wind up not being able to use that tool in the way that it was perhaps intended. So it is certainly one of the things that I think has been identified as, again, would be beneficial to have under one umbrella. It would be beneficial to have a unified sense of the objectives and purpose, namely, to ensure that we are keeping benefits in the North, and to make sure that the tool is actually achieving that. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

oral question 868-19(2): Government Procurement
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I'm also concerned that the GNWT provides significant amounts of public funding to Crown corporations, and we've heard in this House in the capital budget of the millions and millions of dollars that flow through to our Crown corporations yet those corporations are not held by the same procurement policies of the GNWT.

So will the Minister commit to include consideration of Crown corporations, or speak with our Cabinet colleagues, to commit to this consideration of Crown corporation procurement policies in the GNWT's procurement review? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

oral question 868-19(2): Government Procurement
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I am not a Minister responsible for one of the Crown corporations so I certainly want to be cautious in that regard. Now, that said, we are certainly operating on a whole-of-government approach, and I am able to work closely with my colleague, the Minister who is responsible, and I think perhaps here the messaging is really -- lies largely around the Northwest Territories Power Corporation. So they are not right now subject to the same procurement policies just as they are not subject to the same human resources policies. And as to whether or not they might then want to look at what we're doing with our procurement, that would be up to them. It would require amendments. So, Mr. Speaker I can certainly say I would take it up with my colleague, but I suspect that the Minister has already heard the question and might know that it may well be coming her way some day soon. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

oral question 868-19(2): Government Procurement
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary, Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.

oral question 868-19(2): Government Procurement
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. There's another Minister who has a huge Crown corporation with huge dollars too. So, you know, it's not just one Member. And also the other thing, too, is that this is where the deputy ministers, there's deputy ministers, there's board members, to control these Crown corporations. They know our mandate. They know what we're trying to achieve here. They know that these Crown corporations are fully funded majority by everything that's approved through this House.

So I ask, again, to the Minister of Finance, as I'm only directing to one Minister, that they take a look at committing that they look at the Crown corporations in this review and looking at the policies that they do have to make sure that they're applicable to what we stand for as this 19 Assembly and ensuring that this money and the work is staying in the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

oral question 868-19(2): Government Procurement
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, Mr. Speaker, this is now definitely probably outside the realm of anything I have the expertise to speak to. I mean, again though, in terms of procurement in the Northwest Territories and achieving the goal of maximizing benefits to residents and to businesses, maximizing keeping dollars circulating in the North, that is a mandate for the whole-of-government. It's a mandate that applies to every one of the Ministers, not just to me, and I am quite confident that the working group that we have set up to do procurement review for the GNWT can, and I'm sure has, but can certainly engage with Crown corporations to see, in fact, perhaps they have their own best practices that might be beneficial to us or vice versa, that we can in turn share with them the work that we're doing. So that much there I can certainly commit to, that we ensure that that sharing is happening. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

oral question 868-19(2): Government Procurement
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Frame Lake.

oral question 869-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories and Chamber of Mines COVID‐19 Workign group
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

December 7th, 2021

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. I would like to go back to the Minister of ITI about the secret meetings of the GNWT-Chamber of Mines working group. The meeting summaries appear to show that a draft list of critical minerals and proposed actions on critical minerals has already been shared with the Chamber. ITI indicates that "we won't engage on it much when it is released."

Can the Minister explain what is going on here with critical minerals and what commitments may have already been made? Merci, Mr. Speaker.

oral question 869-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories and Chamber of Mines COVID‐19 Workign group
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Frame Lake. Minister responsible for Industry, Tourism and Investment.

oral question 869-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories and Chamber of Mines COVID‐19 Workign group
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, again, I don't like to get into a battle of somebody's notes that they might have taken that weren't a transcript. But just to give some context here about what that says is that the first steps are glossy high-level goals, and it does says that these will be short and high level, emphasizing, again, that that's the rationale, that this isn't something we were engaging in strategic planning or framework or an action plan. It really is meant to be a discussion.

Mr. Speaker, the critical minerals workshop, in a lot of ways, was something that started because a year and some ago, when I assumed this portfolio, I started talking about critical minerals as something that we needed to be looking at, that we were going to be behind the 8 ball if we, in the Northwest Territories, weren't looking at this. It's happening elsewhere. Canada and the United States already has a joint action strategy on critical minerals whereas the Northwest Territories given the methods we have on the mineral resource industries. So with that in mind, the department moved forward, had the workshop, and there's been no talk at this stage certainly that we're going to go off and develop our own list. Canada already has a list. The department's officials are working with Canada on their strategies and on their actions, and certainly bringing everyone into that fold to see what's on Canada's list, to see what's on the shared list with the United States, and to see where we would fit in, that's the level of engagement that's been had thus far. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

oral question 869-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories and Chamber of Mines COVID‐19 Workign group
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. I want to thank the Minister for trying to explain those notes to me.

But in the meeting summaries, there's also some sort of a pan-territorial investment study underway to support subsidies or grants to the mining industry. The chamber appears to have changed the terms of reference, influenced who was interviewed, and has been given advance drafts of the study.

Can the Minister explain what is going on with this study and when the public, and even regular MLAs, may get a say in this work? Merci, Mr. Speaker.

oral question 869-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories and Chamber of Mines COVID‐19 Workign group
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this is work that was done by the three territories jointly, along with the federal government, and funding was provided accordingly. The statement of work, requirement of work was drafted jointly by the three territories. I think that was a working group in fact, and then with funding. So as the project went underway, has already -- and was already conceptualized, most certainly they did go and ask industry who should be participating. The purpose of the study was to determine how to increase investment in exploration and the mineral resource sector in the three territories.

Mr. Speaker, this is, of course, also not the first time that we've had the opportunity to speak about this, the Member and I, and I have been going back to see when we can get this document available. The delay was not on our end. We had three partners involved as well as funders from the federal government.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to say I think I am going to be able to bring that matter and may in fact be able to table it this -- that report and be able to table it this session. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

oral question 869-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories and Chamber of Mines COVID‐19 Workign group
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. I want to thank the Minister for that commitment to table the report.

So it's evident from the meeting summaries that the Chamber of Mines is pressing both the federal and NWT governments to provide legally binding policy direction to co-management bodies to "fix the grassroots exploration investment identified in the audit."

Can the Minister explain what sort of policy direction is being sought by the chamber and whether our government is going to do that to these independent co-management bodies? Merci, Mr. Speaker.

oral question 869-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories and Chamber of Mines COVID‐19 Workign group
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, Mr. Speaker, the perception that the regulatory framework of the Northwest Territories is complex is also not new, but the regulatory framework we have here is one that's developed through co-management. It's one that once a company gets through it, the process is clear and certain and they know that they will have gone through a process that involves involvement with Indigenous governments, and it's one that really meets very high ESG standard - environmental, social, and government standards.

So we're alive to the concerns that are being raised and may want to try to support and assist industry to get through our regulatory systems so that they have a good product once they do. There is, Mr. Speaker, one thing: Mackenzie Valley operational dialog. It is something on which the Government of the Northwest Territories participates, the board participates, industry participates. And this is not policy change, Mr. Speaker. It's looking at ways that we can already use what we're doing today, that the board can use, their tools that they have at their disposal, to ensure that when decisions are made or that when processes are underway that they're being done in a way that's respectful and that makes sense for small scale projects. But it's not policy change, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.