This is page numbers 1989 - 2018 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 need.

Topics

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2000

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Madam Premier.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2000

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Madam Chair. I do remember this. It was in the last Assembly, and I was part of that Assembly. The original intent of the $250,000 was to actually build capacity for the friendship centres so that they could access other sustainable funding. The goal was that they would hire a coordinator, and that person's job would be to actually solidify funding. Sadly, Madam Chair, I am not sure if that happened as much, but what I can say is that the friendship centre has met with Cabinet, has presented to us on their needs. My worry is that that it's more than just throwing money. We need to work with these friendship centres, too. If we gave them $250,000 to develop a position so that they could actually build the capacity for fundraising, and that didn't work, Madam Chair, then I think we need to reach out to them as well and see what other support we can give them. Perhaps it's proposal writing. Perhaps it's business. It's more than just money. Thank you, Madam Chair.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2000

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Madam Premier. Member for Great Slave.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2000

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you for that. I agree that we don't want to just give people money and set them up for failure. However, to go from such a large amount to nothing, and then just from the conversation that I have had with them, it sounds like this is hurting them and their bottom line and their ability to deliver services. While maybe that $250,000 was a one-time thing to do a certain role, they are crying out for money and funding. They provide good services, so I would like to encourage the Cabinet to think about adding a line here at least to give them some additional funds, particularly in light of COVID.

This will probably be a pretty self-explanatory question, but I'm looking at the special events funding to Indigenous organizations. We have always been at what looks like typical budget of $50,000 a year and obviously was less in 2019-2020, and I'm guessing that has to do with the cancellation of certain events. Is the department looking at any way to increase this past the $50,000 or to help the communities adapt or change their events to a virtual form or to make them more social distant? We have seen adaptations to drive-thru type scenarios, although that does increase greenhouse gases, so I don't know if that's our solution. I am just curious to know if the department is looking at anything like that. Thank you.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2000

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Madam Premier.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2000

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Madam Chair. There are two events that we usually support. One is the Aboriginal Days, and the other one is Treaty Days. The Member is absolutely right, Madam Chair. Things are different, and it might be different this summer, but the budget is there. We need to be flexible. I will reach out to them. If they are looking at other methods, then absolutely, we need to be flexible to be able to work with them. If they are looking at virtual, we will still provide it. The funding does not say, "This is what thou shalt do." The funding is to support the event, and if they are doing the event anyway, then I don't see any reason that we would say no. Thank you, Madam Chair.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2000

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Madam Premier. Member for Great Slave.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2000

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Madam Chair. I would actually even ask maybe a little bit further, if this funding is not accessed for specifically National Indigenous Peoples Day or the Treaty Days, that you do just open it up as a general pot to the communities to put on well-being events or high spirits type of events. I can't get my language right after five days of this. I really do think that the more the government can do to raise the spirits of our people by funding events in communities, that will not only put dollars into those communities, they have an effect of raising people's spirits, and I think that we are going to need to see that more and more over the next few months. I am already hearing people fatigued with winter, and we are only at February 12th, so I think it's only going to get worse. More of a comment than anything. That's all, Madam Chair.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2000

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Madam Premier.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2000

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Madam Chair. Again, COVID-19 is a time of exceptional situations. I do agree with the Member that we need to be flexible. If the organizations that don't traditionally access this don't need all of the funding, then yes, I think that we should be able to do other wellness events. Indigenous rights and treaties, et cetera, are critically important, but if they are not going to access it all, we should be looking at other events. Cultural events, I'll call them, so that they fit within my line budget. Thank you, Madam Chair.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2000

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Member for Hay River South.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Madam Chair. I want to talk about the funding, or lack of funding, I guess, for the NWT friendship centres. They have also reached out to me, and I expect that they have reached out to other MLAs. They were provided the money, $250,000, for capacity building. In reality, we know the issues that they have to deal with on a daily basis with the limited amount of funds that they have, and they try and stretch those dollars. When I hear that we don't want to set them up for failure, those terms are usually used when we are talking about Aboriginal organizations or people. With COVID, I think the friendship centres have actually proved their worth. The $250,000 that they received is minimal. One person once told me that if you want money, ask for lots, and people will probably give it to you. If you ask for too little, they won't give it to you, or they will drag it out, because a little amount, they can wrap their head around. A big amount, they can't.

We have to look at the organization for what it is, and that's to provide services to not only Aboriginal people, but people in the community. I don't think it's incumbent upon us to tell them how to use that money. I know they have to put in a proposal, and it's government money, but it's not like they go out there and waste that money. The money that they spend and the funds they get are important to the communities and to the people. I would just ask the Premier to have the department just take a real hard look at this. It's $250,000. We just knocked $300,000 off of Aboriginal consultation and relations. I think the funds are there, and they will go to good use. I have no doubt about that. I think the Premier realizes that, as well, and the rest of the Members here. I would ask that the department make a commitment to providing something to them. We need some good news stories out there, especially to organizations that are doing good for the people in the North. I would just like the Premier to comment on that and say, "Yes, we'll give them some money." Thank you.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2000

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Madam Premier.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2001

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Madam Chair. Absolutely. There is no doubt that friendship centres provide a valuable service. All of our NGOs out there are providing exceptional services and usually more cost-effective than the GNWT. No disrespect to our own GNWT. They usually don't have as many unions and cost, et cetera. We do have an exceptional funding pot. I don't remember what it's called. Perhaps I can look within that. We are still trying to do up a policy, but I believe that there is still some funding in that. Madam Chair, I am not making a solid commitment, but I make a commitment that I will certainly look into it and see if there are areas that I can find to support the friendship centres. Thank you, Madam Chair.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2001

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Madam Premier. Member for Hay River South.