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.

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member's statement on Season's Greetings
Member's Statement Onseason's Greetings

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I am going to give my colleagues on the other side an early Christmas gift with no statements or no prepared statement and no questions today.

---Applause

I just wanted to take this moment to wish you a Merry Christmas, to wish my constituency assistant Colleen O'Connor a Merry Christmas, the residents of Great Slave, and everybody in the Northwest Territories. I thank the staff for all of the work that they have done for us in helping to educate me on this side of the House. I do want to wish everyone a safe Christmas and to ask the people guard their mental health, that they take care of themselves, they take time for themselves, and not being hard on themselves if they are finding themselves not in that Christmas spirit. I think of all of those that are not with us for this Christmas, including my own mom, and I just want to wish everybody a very Merry Christmas, a safe Christmas, and thank MLA Martselos for my beautiful earrings today. Thank you.

---Applause

member's statement on Season's Greetings
Member's Statement Onseason's Greetings

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife North.

member's statement on Paid Sick Leave and the Employment Standards Act
Member's Statement Onseason's Greetings

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In writing this statement, apparently I missed the memo that it was Christmas day. But what I would like to see for Christmas, Mr. Speaker, is some paid sick days for the working poor, Mr. Speaker. People shouldn't have to pick between staying home while they are sick or being able to afford rent and groceries. In fact, we know presenteeism is one of the reasons COVID is spread in workplaces throughout this pandemic. The feds have recently introduced changes to the Canada Labor Code that guarantees 10 days of paid sick leave to all workers in federally regulated areas. The Ontario government introduced three paid sick leave for the period of the pandemic and have now extended that to July 2022. Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba all introduced paid sick leave as well during the pandemic, Mr. Speaker. BC recently passed legislation that will mandate a minimum of five permanent paid sick leave days that comes into effect January 1st, Mr. Speaker. BC consulted with workers and employers and found that, in general, folks take about zero to five sick days of leave a year, Mr. Speaker. I don't believe we have those stats in the NWT but I would like to see them.

Mr. Speaker, the pandemic has shown how important it is for everyone to have paid sick leave. I believe we owe it to the working poor to mandate some paid sick leave. I would like to know actually how many people don't have paid sick leave. I know all the GNWT workers do, Mr. Speaker, so let's give it to everyone else. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

member's statement on Paid Sick Leave and the Employment Standards Act
Member's Statement Onseason's Greetings

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

member's statement on Season's Greetings
Member's Statement Onseason's Greetings

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Merry Christmas, Mr. Speaker. While 2021 has been a difficult year for our residents in the Northwest Territories and we have faced many challenges over the last year, I can't help but to be optimistic about what 2022 will bring us. While we will enter the new year with many of the challenges we faced this year, like the housing needs, the social issues, the economic issues, and many other issues, I know by working together that we can overcome those challenges, Mr. Speaker. As I mentioned, I am optimistic about what the new year will bring and I think that we have taken steps over this last year to find solutions to issues that so many of our residents face on a daily basis.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to wish all my constituents, my CA Loretta Rogers and her family, which is probably half of the Delta, the staff of the Legislative Assembly, my colleagues here today, and the people of the Northwest Territories, a joyful safe Christmas and a Happy New Year, and I hope that you all spend time with family and friends and surround yourself with the warmth that they bring. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

member's statement on Season's Greetings
Member's Statement Onseason's Greetings

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

member's statement on Environmental Remediation and Economic Recovery
Member's Statement Onseason's Greetings

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. Bah humbug. Sorry, no, honestly I am not Scrooge but there are some more things that I got to talk about.

On April 17, 2020 the federal government announced $1.72 billion in financial assistance for remediation of orphan and inactive oil and gas wells in western Canada as part of Canada's Economic Response Plan for COVID-19. On May 28, October 14, 2020 and February 10, 2021, I made statements in this House about the potential for the NWT to access similar funding, working in partnership with Yukon and Nunavut. As I understand it, the requests from our government keep getting pitched as bailouts for the mining or petroleum sectors, or letting operators off the hook for current liabilities. Clearly this approach is not working as no federal investment has materialized after more than a year and a half.

Despite our fumbling, there are success stories, such as the work done by the Sahtu Secretariat with the federal government on the governance agreement for the Great Bear Lake Remediation Project announced in February 2021. I will keep pushing our government to focus our proposals on an accelerated remediation program for northern contaminated sites, not a bail-out for the resource sector.

To repeat what I've said, the Federal Contaminated Sites Inventory shows 1,661 sites in the Northwest Territories with an estimated remediation cost at $12.375 billion, about six times our total annual budget. The GNWT 2019-20 public accounts show a total of 278 sites under our jurisdiction that may require remediation with a cost of $75 million. This work should be speeded up under a regional accelerated remediation program for the North.

Apart from the potential infusion of federal cash, there are the added benefits of environmental protection and capacity building for other work like Norman Wells and the Polytechnic University. In other words, building a remediation economy. I have offered several times to help Cabinet pitch an accelerated contaminated sites remediation program to the federal government but there's been no uptake. Later today I will have questions for the Minister of ITI on why there has been no visible progress on securing federal investment in an accelerated contaminated sites remediation program. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

member's statement on Environmental Remediation and Economic Recovery
Member's Statement Onseason's Greetings

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

member's statement on Child and Youth Advocate
Member's Statement Onseason's Greetings

December 9th, 2021

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to revive a discussion started in the 14th Assembly about creating a child and youth advocate for the Northwest Territories.

Children and youth need our special attention and support, particularly when they are being cared for by people other than their immediate families. Since the NWT started discussing this issue in 2003, Yukon has created an advocate office and so has Nunavut. In fact, we are the only of two jurisdictions in Canada without an office dedicated to protecting the rights of children on both an individual and systemic basis as well as providing public awareness about those rights.

Mr. Speaker, Yukon has had a child and youth advocate office since 2010. The mission of the advocate in Yukon is to provide services for children and youth up to 18 years of age by protecting and asserting their rights and ensuring their voices are heard in a safe and supported way. The office advocates for children who are receiving, or who are eligible to receive, government services, including help with mental health and addictions, education, and justice. The advocate is also involved in all aspects of child and family services.

In Nunavut, the representative for children and youth was appointed in 2014. This office supports young Nunavummiut by giving voice to concerns and ensures the government protects and advances their rights and interests. And elders council helps guide the work.

Mr. Speaker, I have done my own research since this statement was written in 2019, and I have found that in the last 30 years, politicians have mentioned "child and youth advocate" over 880 times in this House. In addition, the child and youth advocate for the Yukon reported that roughly 20 percent of children and youth who access their services are NWT residents. But Mr. Speaker, I am reassured by the fact that the original author of this statement is now the Minister of Health and Social Services. From this side of the House, the Minister stated "it's time for the GNWT to provide better services to children and youth. Creating a child and youth advocate is a good place to start."

I agree. We do need to ensure that NWT children and youth need our attention and support at a time when child and family services, corrections, and education are transitioning, youth focused care and legislation, it is time for the NWT to define child advocacy in the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

And while I did not wish a Merry Christmas, I hope everyone has a good opportunity to spend time over the holidays with a child of the Northwest Territories. If anybody needs an extra one, I have got some.

member's statement on Child and Youth Advocate
Member's Statement Onseason's Greetings

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

MEMBER'S STATEMENT ON Al Reimer Award Recipient Al Harris
Member's Statement Onseason's Greetings

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Al Reimer Award is given out yearly by Western Canada Water or commonly called WCW, not the wrestling company. This award was established to acknowledge an operator member of an organization who has provided distinguished service to the profession through the association and to the provincial operators association. Recipients have provided faithful and meritorious service to the field of public water and of water waste. Al Harris was recognized for his dedication to the water industry.

Nominations for the award traditionally comes from members of the provincial-territorial water association that works with their members involved in the public water and wastewater field of work. It is my understanding that a past board member and president of the Northern Territories Water and Waste Association (NTWWA) did nominate Mr. Harris. This person currently sits as treasurer for the association.

Al Harris has been a member of NTWWA since 2007 and has sat on the NTWWA board of directors off and on for a total of nine years. He is currently president of the NTWWA and has served five of his nine years on the board in the president's position.

Al has been employed by the Hamlet of Fort Liard for 15 years as a manager of municipal services. Part of his responsibility of his services is overseeing daily operations of the municipal water plant and waste site, including wastewater operations. Al trained in and received his water and wastewater board of certification small systems water treatment operations Class 1 water treatment operations and small systems waste management treatment operation certification in 2008.

Al was honored and feels very privileged to have received this nomination. Knowing his name was put forward by fellow NTWWA board members is a real honour. He thanks his employer, the Hamlet of Fort Liard, for their trust and direction in having involved him in the field of work. The training and knowledge he has received has led to his success in the water and waste field of operation.

Al also says he works with the great people. They work hard in providing municipal services in his own and other communities. He believes it has also led to his success. The water and wastewater services that all of us are involved with WCW provide an instrumental in the strength and health of everybody around us.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank Al for his service to the community of Fort Liard and for receiving this honour award. As well, I would like to wish everybody a Merry Christmas here and my Nahendeh residents in the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MEMBER'S STATEMENT ON Al Reimer Award Recipient Al Harris
Member's Statement Onseason's Greetings

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Nahendeh. Members' statement. Member for Sahtu.

member's statement on Child and Yo member's statement on Deline Gotin'e Preschool Opening
Member's Statement Onseason's Greetings

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I would like to wish yourself and your family a Merry Christmas and also to my colleagues as well. I am happy to say today that my riding, the Deline Got'ine government today is opening up their preschool today, and looking at the education and the culture colliding, it's coming together in that community, and was such a milestone of their self-government agreement, bringing it to surface, and looking at their celebrations and taking education into their own hands and being the driver and an example for the people of the Northwest Territories. I would like congratulate the Deline Got'ine government and also to acknowledge my riding and to awesome work that they have done today. And it is extremely an exciting event and for years to come in looking at how they're going to be striving and looking at education at the community level. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker, and Merry Christmas to everybody and the people in my riding as well too. Mahsi.

member's statement on Child and Yo member's statement on Deline Gotin'e Preschool Opening
Member's Statement Onseason's Greetings

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Members' statements. Member for Hay River North.

member's statement on Recognizing Hay River Organizations
Member's Statement Onseason's Greetings

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, it seems like just yesterday people were counting the days until we were done with 2020, and they thought that 2021 was going to bring nothing but sunny days. While we've seen some great things happen this year, it's been a tough year. People here or their communities have really experienced the effects of COVID and my community as well. It hasn't been all good for all people but a lot of people have stepped up. I have heard my colleagues thank the leadership of their community, and I have to do the same.

We saw people stepping up, businesses stepping up to help out. We saw the leadership like the West Point First Nation, the Hay River Metis Government Council, and the Katlodeeche First Nation. I know they are in my colleague's riding, but their two communities are very close so I have to thank them as well.

It was also a difficult year for a lot of our vulnerable population in Hay River, and there's some organizations that really helped out a lot and I want to thank them for their work too. The Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre and the Hay River committee for Persons with Disabilities, as well as the RCMP.

As an MLA, we do our best to help our constituents but we can't do everything and these are the types of organizations who really step up and fill those gaps that exist, and so we are very thankful for them.

Of course we also had the COVID outbreak in the latter part of the year, and I know that the health authority in Hay River was working overtime nonstop to ensure that contact tracing was happening, that people were kept safe. And I have to thank them; I know the hours they put in and the whole community is very appreciative. The DEA also did a lot of work to ensure that students could remain in schools, remain learning and stay safe as well.

So I want to thank all the organizations, all the businesses, all the people who stepped up in Hay River over this past year, and I want to wish everyone, all of my constituents, everyone in Hay River, a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Happy Holidays. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.