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

member's statement on Home Base Yellowknife
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Great Slave. Members' statements. Member for Nunakput.

Member's statement on Health Advocate for Medical Travel and Nunakput Residents
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my constituents travel medical appointments either to Inuvik or they're travelling in from Inuvik to Yellowknife if they can't be serviced, and if we can't do the servicing for medical here, we're sending them to Edmonton. My constituents fly all the way from their home communities who it probably take five days in return to going to the community. They wait for their appointment especially, you know, some of our cancer patients. We've lost so many people this year due to cancer. We do need a health advocate Mr. Speaker, in the Inuvik Regional Hospital to assist our communities, to making sure that the people are getting to their appointments, information is shared on the patient, and so likely what's happening. This means that the travel dates in the right place for the right times for their appointments, to be on time, because there's a little bit of -- I got a couple of concerns from my mayor from Ulukhaktok that patients are traveling and they're not having an escort; they're getting to their appointment, there's no appointments.

Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, sometimes things get missed, appointments, but they don't book the flights, book the travel. This means sometimes residents need treatment and they don't get it at the right time. And this has to stop, Mr. Speaker.

We need a patients advocate, again. We need somebody to help the patients in the communities that are at nursing stations to help them because they're overworked already. Our nursing staff, our health staff, they're overworked and they need their patient advocate out of Inuvik to help assist them to do their job. You know, sometimes they get calls at one in the morning or a text message and they're saying I travel at 9 o'clock, I never got no travel yet. I'm not going to wake up the Health Minister, Mr. Speaker, at 2 o'clock in the morning saying I need travel done for somebody. I'll send her a text message, and Julie's been good about it, the Minister has been good about it, get back to me first thing in the morning and we try to get it sorted out and try and do good for the patient. But Mr. Speaker, we do need a health advocate in Inuvik. I will have questions for the Minister on where that health advocate is for the community, to assist the communities out of the Inuvik Regional Hospital. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Member's statement on Health Advocate for Medical Travel and Nunakput Residents
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

member's statement on Community‐Based Education Programs in Small Communities
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

Weyallon-Armstrong

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today, my Member's statement is for the Minister of Education on community-based programs. Mr. Speaker, we cannot wait for polytechnic university. Bring the program to the communities rather than having students leave their communities, families, culture, and language. They will get the same education as students attending post-secondary education in the south.

The GNWT is too dependent on workers from the south. These workers often don't stay in our small communities very long. We have many young people in our communities, with Grade 12 education, either unemployed or underemployed with others having to go on Income Support. Mr. Speaker, the community labor force survey shows that the Tlicho region has the highest rate of unemployment in the NWT at 28 percent; the lowest participation rate in the workforce at 60 percent; and lowest employment rate at 43.6 percent.

Mr. Speaker, if the Aurora College Campus is based in Tlicho communities were fully utilized to deliver community-based program, we would have local people trained to fill the need for local jobs in communities. The challenge to promote post-secondary education in the Tlicho region is that not everyone wants to leave their communities or be away for long periods of time without the support of the families and culture. Further, with housing shortage in the NWT young families do not want to leave their home as there is no guarantee they will be able to access housing upon their return.

Mr. Speaker, times have changed, technologies are improving -- Can I have a unanimous consent to conclude my statement, please?

---Unanimous consent granted

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, times have changed, technologies are improving. It should be possible to deliver Aurora College programs like education, social work, nursing, remotely in the communities and/or if the Aurora College does not have the capacity, perhaps another college or university can come and deliver the program. Who delivers the program is not as important as the fact that they must be delivered and based in small communities.

Facilitating the delivery of college programs in Tlicho region is a good opportunity to train young people to get the jobs they want and to find work to better their communities. The government can also save money on relocation costs for southern employees and reduce dependence on outside workforce. We need to invest more money in the younger generations.

Government leaders at every level say that the youth are the future but, Mr. Speaker, we seem to be failing to make the necessary investments in their future. The people that live in the NWT are not going anywhere. They are going to stay in their communities and work for the benefit for all Northerners. If the government can make the necessary investment in young people, the government can take a person dependent on the government for Income Support and social housing and turn them into a taxpayer. These savings, and the savings from relocation costs, should help to pay for those programs.

Our community people, with the right training, will do a better job as they know their communities, the people, the culture and language. The graduates will be part of northern economies. Masi, Mr. Speaker, I will have questions for the Minister of Education.

---Applause

member's statement on Community‐Based Education Programs in Small Communities
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Monfwi. Members' statements. Member for Hay River South.

member's statement on Safe Shelters in Regional Centre and Small Communities
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that a new long-term day shelter has been made available to those in Yellowknife that have no other means of staying warm, staying fed, and staying safe during these cold winter days.

Mr. Speaker, it used to shock me how fast projects in Yellowknife, like the day shelter or others, can happen and how quickly funds can be found. Not anymore. I soon realized that when you are city with a population of some 20,000 plus; when you have the Premier; the Minister of Health; and the Minister of Finance, all being from Yellowknife, it will increase the pace at how fast funds can be secured and how quick an idea can be put into action.

Mr. Speaker, I now want to quote a portion of the statement made yesterday in a press release by the Minister of Health, which reads: "As part of our commitment to reconciliation and to ensure that everyone can access safe shelter facilities..."

Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to hear the Minister refer to reconciliation and by further stating that everyone should have access to safe shelters. However, our regional centres and smaller communities are also struggling with the same issues but we do not have the population of Yellowknife, nor do we have the Premier, nor the Minister of Health, nor the Minister of Finance living in our communities to support something similar.

Our communities desperately need something in place for the longer term. Addressing the need for a day and night shelter every fall is not sufficient. It is not fair to NGO's that provide that service. It is not fair to the communities. And most importantly, it is not fair to those who require the service.

Mr. Speaker, I believe this government is on the right path with respect to supporting those finding themselves living on the street by providing long-term shelter options. For those in regional and smaller communities, they must have equal and equitable access to supports that those in Yellowknife take for granted. We need to identify local infrastructure that is being underutilized or sitting empty and repurpose it for long-term shelters and programming in our communities. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

member's statement on Safe Shelters in Regional Centre and Small Communities
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Hay River South. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife North.

member's statement on Arts Community in the Northwest Territories
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A diverse and committed arts community exists in the Northwest Territories, with literally dozens of groups in the areas of dance, theatre, music, film, visual arts, crafts, and many more. Organizations may be small but they are big on hard work, enthusiasm, commitment, and inclusive programs that reach across our communities. Artists understand and acknowledge how the arts function to support our social strengths, our human health and well-being. Hill Strategies Research Reports reveal the link between the arts and student engagement in education, positive economic impact, and cultural tourism, improved quality of life, importance in aboriginal health and well-being, and the lists goes on. Beyond these at a time when social changes and challenges are many, the arts provide a valid way to engage community learning, exploration, idea exchange, and critical dialogue that ground our culture and identity. These same artists are seeing gaps, key gaps that are limiting the role the arts can play in diversifying and strengthening our territorial economy. One is the lack of a properly funded arts hub typically found in every other capital in Canada.

Mr. Speaker, we currently have a surge in vacant space in downtown Yellowknife, the Bellanca Building, and with other government offices being vacated as they move to new buildings. We have an opportunity to now to take action. Many of that space is in Weledeh, an ideal location for an institution.

Wait a minute, Mr. Speaker. I apologize; I just read a statement from my predecessor Bob Bromley from over a decade ago, Mr. Speaker, because nothing has changed in this focus, Mr. Speaker. And now we have released an art strategy and still nothing has changed, Mr. Speaker.

I do not believe this art strategy is taking this issue seriously. I do not believe we are capturing the federal money that is out there. There are numerous funding pots across numerous organizations in the federal government, and if we had a proper art strategy maybe we could actually make some progress on this issue. I will have questions for the Minister of E, C and E. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

member's statement on Arts Community in the Northwest Territories
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

member's statement on Procurement Decisions by Government and Crown Corporations
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, GNWT spending is a key economic driver for the NWT. We know through the pandemic how much we rely on GNWT spending. And, Mr. Speaker, the impact of GNWT spending extends to the procurement decisions made just by this government but for the Crown corporations supported by our public funds.

Mr. Speaker, I want to recognize that the GNWT has undertaken a review of procurement and has made a commitment towards an Indigenous procurement policy, which is very positive. Local NWT-based businesses, NWT Indigenous businesses that are based in our communities hire local employees and contribute wealth back to the community, and we hear often of them falling through the gaps of the NWT spending.

I am concerned, Mr. Speaker, the procurement review will address the gaps that we see with the NWT businesses today as they compete on bids.

Mr. Speaker, the procurement review needs to recognize full impact of GNWT spending and include a review of how at its arm's length Crown corporations who spend of hundreds of millions of dollars every year and are procuring NWT goods and services. Will the GNWT hold Crown corporations accountable to the value of the NWT-based spending?

Mr. Speaker, the GNWT also needs to improve the directory of the NWT-based businesses to ensure that it is comprehensive and reflects local business registries. An updated and current NWT business registration will improve procurement decisions for GNWT and its Crown corporations.

Mr. Speaker, public money should be leveraged to grow our local economy through the NWT-owned businesses. NWT-owned businesses need to be prioritized for all GNWT spending, including the extension of GNWT spending through its Crown corporations. GNWT needs to ensure that local Indigenous business are considered first and that companies who do business in the GNWT or GNWT Crown corporations are required to demonstrate local ownership and local employment.

Mr. Speaker, the strategy behind the GNWT spending right now is essential to build back our economy and ensuring our communities have an economic chance. I will have questions for the Minister of Finance later today. Thank you.

---Applause

member's statement on Procurement Decisions by Government and Crown Corporations
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

December 7th, 2021

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

member's statement on Needs of Arts Community in the Northwest Territories
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, as a child I have vivid memories, as my mother's sidekick, as artists discussed the needs of the NWT arts community. Many of the faces that advocated then are the same in today's fabric of arts activists, but they're tired of asking for the same things: core funding, independence, and infrastructure.

Mr. Speaker, the GNWT released the next ten-year art strategy. Despite several suggestions to improve the strategy from standing committees on both economic development and environment and social development, not one suggestion was considered or incorporated in to the final draft.

I have shared my gratitude for a strategy focused on art many times but I am disappointed that this strategy does not clearly capitalize on the opportunity to grow NWT arts now.

In 2020, the Government of Canada announced $181.5 million in additional funding for Heritage Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts. These dollars cannot fund the GNWT and are exclusive to independent arts organizations.

The Ministers of ITI and ECE recognize this. Yet, we still have no path to transition to an independent NWT arts council and continue to miss out on funding, economic development, and growth for northern artists. The board of the NWT Arts Council has been recently filled yet the GNWT states in the art strategy that the GNWT will "support the arts community to explore the feasibility or interest in creating an arm's length entity that would support and strengthen the NWT creative sector."

But independent arts councils aren't a new idea. Arts councils of most jurisdictions administer the majority of government art funds which, in turn, provide core funding for other regional arts organizations, key festivals, and events. So why is the GNWT dragging its feet and putting this work on to artists in volunteer roles to explore the feasibility of such an organization?

Mr. Speaker, in addition to legislation, an arts council needs core funding. The art strategy does not identify commitment for core funding. Most public funding initiatives are project or program specific and do not keep the lights on or staff working. If we want a robust arts strategy supported by experienced staff, the council needs the capacity to go after significant pots of private and public funding.

A solution to truly propel the NWT arts is before the GNWT, significant federal funding is available, COVID has given a boost to the arts on the global stage, and the time for change is now so that hopefully the Member for Yellowknife North won't be reading my statement three terms from now. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

member's statement on Needs of Arts Community in the Northwest Territories
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

member's statement on Eulogy for Mary Bernadine (Bernie) MacKinnon
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, Mary Bernadine MacKinnon, formerly known Petrie, known to us as Bernie, peacefully passed away in the arms of her partner, Terry Arnold, on August 23 in Happy Valley Labrador-Newfoundland at the age of 62 from a heroic battle with cancer.

Born on the west side of PEI, she worked hard all her life. She was a cook in many seafood restaurants, she was a co-captain on a lobster boat, and a general manager of Subways. She and her husband ended up coming north to work for the Northwest Company, known as the Northern Store. They moved from Hay River to Fort Smith and on to Fort Simpson.

Bernie excelled in every position she was placed in. I got to meet her when she was the food service manager in Fort Simpson. Because of her hard work, she received the Food Service Manager of the Year.

Bernie made friends with people very quickly as she was very thoughtful, caring, and a sincere person. It was Bernie's friendliness that made her a very special person to her co-workers and customers alike, making lifelong friends from all the stores she worked in. A perfect example was when she convinced a young man with some substance abuse problems to go out for help at a rehab place. He turned his life around, became a councillor, married a beautiful woman. Previously he and Bernie still played Scrabble online until her passing. The amazing thing was that he did not get a chance to beat her.

The family would like to thank the Northern Store for helping them move closer to Bernie's home province as she was recovering with her first battle with cancer. Bernie always spoke about her five children and grandchildren. They, along with Terry, were her life.

Bernie will be sadly missed by her partner of 17 years, her children and grandchildren. God bless her and may she have peace with the Lord. As well, both her parents who are in Heaven.

Terry and the family would like to thank all the medical staff that help Bernie during the battle, especially the medical staff in Fort Simpson and the Stanton Hospital and the hospital in Edmonton. They made sure she and her honey were treated well. She will be sadly missed. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

member's statement on Eulogy for Mary Bernadine (Bernie) MacKinnon
Members' Statementsmember's Statement Onunity In The Legislative Assembly

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 committees on review of bills. Reports of standing and special committees. Returns to oral questions. Acknowledgements.

Colleagues, before we begin with oral questions, I will just ask everyone to please respect one another. I know sometimes we have a lot of heated discussions on whether you're asking questions or answering and sometimes we don't always like the answers we're given, I've been there, and sometimes I get heated but just, please, respect one another. Thank you. Oral questions. Member for Nunakput.


ORAL QUESTIONS