This is page numbers 2163 - 2198 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 services.

Topics

Question 606-19(2): Access to Internet for Students
Oral Questions

Page 2169

Diane Archie Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, I was made aware of this probably about 40 minutes ago. It is something that the Department of Infrastructure, as well as the Minister of Finance, as she is responsible for the bandwidth, we heard concerns from the Member regarding Education, Culture and Employment and the need for online schooling. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 606-19(2): Access to Internet for Students
Oral Questions

Page 2169

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

I'm glad that the Minister became aware of this problem 40 minutes ago. It's a long-standing issue, and I'm surprised that it has taken her this long to recognize that it is an issue. I mentioned earlier that there is dissatisfaction amongst some of the teachers with regard to Internet and technology issues that GNWT should be helping with. Is the Minister aware of these issues and what is she going to do to help speed up service calls related to educational needs?

Question 606-19(2): Access to Internet for Students
Oral Questions

Page 2169

Diane Archie Inuvik Boot Lake

Yes, I am aware. That was his question, so yes, I am aware. Network capacity and Internet access is the responsibility of the Department of Infrastructure, that is correct, our Technology Service Centre. We've been working closely with the TSC throughout the year to facilitate the exchange of information and support between TSC and the department of education. To this end, we have shared concerns from some of the schools in the territory and provided updates on the work to address some of the connectivity issues, which, in turn, we have passed along, where appropriate.

Question 606-19(2): Access to Internet for Students
Oral Questions

Page 2169

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

I want to thank the Minister for that. I think I heard an explanation of the problem, but I didn't actually hear any solutions. As bad as the situation is here in Yellowknife, I'm sure it's much worse in the regions and communities, which creates a digital divide. Can the Minister explain what her department is doing to ensure accessible and affordable Internet access for all of our students?

Question 606-19(2): Access to Internet for Students
Oral Questions

Page 2169

Diane Archie Inuvik Boot Lake

As a longer-term solution, TSC has been working on an RFP for increased Internet services for some of the education bodies, and perhaps some of the other departments in the GNWT.

Question 606-19(2): Access to Internet for Students
Oral Questions

Page 2169

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Frame Lake.

Question 606-19(2): Access to Internet for Students
Oral Questions

Page 2169

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. That's great. That's a solution. The RFP is out there, but I'd like to know when the RFP is going to close and when the Minister is going to report back to the House on progress on this issue. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Question 606-19(2): Access to Internet for Students
Oral Questions

Page 2169

Diane Archie Inuvik Boot Lake

Like I said, I was made aware of this 42 minutes ago. I don't have much of the details on the RFP or let alone some of the timelines on where we're at with this RFP. However, I will commit to getting back to the Member with further information on where we're at with this. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 606-19(2): Access to Internet for Students
Oral Questions

Page 2169

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Hay River South.

Question 607-19(2): Addition of Michif as Official Language of the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

February 26th, 2021

Page 2169

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to talk about language, and specifically the Michif language. We have recognized languages here in the Northwest Territories, and Michif isn't one of them. I'd like to ask the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment if it's something that we are considering including as an official language because I understand that the Minister's grandfather was a speaker of Michif and he didn't pass it down to the Minister's father, who could then not pass it on to him. I would just ask the Minister if he has considered, and if this government has considered, if Michif could be a language that could be included as an official language in the Northwest Territories because I have also had the concerns that it's not from other constituents in Hay River and throughout the Northwest Territories. Thank you.

Question 607-19(2): Addition of Michif as Official Language of the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 2169

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Hay River South. Minister of Education, Culture and Employment.

Question 607-19(2): Addition of Michif as Official Language of the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 2169

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So far, there hasn't been a movement toward making Michif an official language. I think I actually had these same questions in the last Assembly. From my understanding, there is a relatively small number of speakers in the Northwest Territories, and I think there are some speakers who might be speaking Michif who identify as speaking a different language. Perhaps there needs to be more research around this. I know that the Standing Committee on Government Operations is undertaking a review of the Official Languages Act, and so this is something that can be pursued in there. I'm happy to look further into this and have further conversations. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 607-19(2): Addition of Michif as Official Language of the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 2169

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

I'm pleased to hear that he is willing to look at it, because there are approximately 300 Michif speakers in the Northwest Territories, while some of the other official languages have only 500 or 600. I think it's an important part of the Northwest Territories because it's language that helps identify who we are. That's more of a comment than anything. I will bring this issue up in the House at a later date, and I just wanted to give notice that I would.

Question 607-19(2): Addition of Michif as Official Language of the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 2169

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

I am happy to have the conversation, like I said. I know that there are people who are very passionate about Michif language in the territory, and they are working to revitalize it. While there may be two- or three-hundred speakers now, that does not mean that, in the future, that number is not going to grow. I would love to see it grow, and I would love to see more than just a few vibrant Indigenous languages. I am happy to have that conversation and move forward.

Question 607-19(2): Addition of Michif as Official Language of the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 2169

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Item 8, written questions. Item 9, returns to written questions. Item 10, replies to Commissioner's address. Item 11, petitions. Item 12, reports of committees on the review of bills. Member for Kam Lake.