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 604-19(2): Internet Access for Learning
Oral Questions

Page 2168

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Already done.

Question 604-19(2): Internet Access for Learning
Oral Questions

Page 2168

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

I want to thank the Minister. I'm on a roll here. I better keep going. As bad as the situation may be here in Yellowknife, I'm sure it's much worse in other regions and communities, and it creates a real digital divide here. Can the Minister explain what his department is doing to ensure accessible and affordable Internet access for all of our students?

Question 604-19(2): Internet Access for Learning
Oral Questions

Page 2168

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

This is a topic discussed frequently around the Cabinet table. ECE doesn't have responsibility over this. Of course, the Minister of Finance is often answering questions about this in the House. The Minister of Infrastructure is responsible for the government infrastructure, but I have conversations with both of them. At the national level, I have conversations with the other Ministers of education of Canada, and we've approached the federal government about the need for investments in broadband infrastructure. The Student Financial Assistance program has provided a monthly technology grant of $100 to help students access funding. Students who attend Aurora College were eligible for a one-time grant to help set up Internet.

There's a number of different things that we're doing. We also need to look at how Internet is being used in schools. We need to monitor it. There is hardware in place for that, and I think we can be more effective with using that. We also understand that you don't need Internet for everything in schools. Yes, it's great, but I think most people in here got through school without using the Internet in every single class, for better or for worse, but it can be done. Through blended learning, we can also mitigate some of those challenges.

Question 604-19(2): Internet Access for Learning
Oral Questions

Page 2168

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Question 604-19(2): Internet Access for Learning
Oral Questions

Page 2169

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. I want to thank the Minister for that. Sure. I recognize that this issue cuts across many departments, but this is becoming a real issue for low-income families and post-secondary students. Unless our students have access and affordable Internet, education is not universal. I want to ask the Minister, within his authority, what is he doing to remove barriers related to Internet accessibility and affordability for families and students? Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Question 604-19(2): Internet Access for Learning
Oral Questions

Page 2169

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

I would just be repeating everything I said. Maybe I jumped the gun and answered the question too early, but the Member can refer to my last answer. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 604-19(2): Internet Access for Learning
Oral Questions

Page 2169

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Yellowknife North.

Question 605-19(2): Lowering Voting Age for Municipal Elections
Oral Questions

February 26th, 2021

Page 2169

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think I got a bit of a win from the Minister of ECE about looking into lowering the voting age for the Education Act, which covers our school boards, but I think this step is also appropriate at the community level. My question is for the Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs. Is she willing to support our youth and lower the voting age for municipal elections? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 605-19(2): Lowering Voting Age for Municipal Elections
Oral Questions

Page 2169

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Yellowknife North. Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs.

Question 605-19(2): Lowering Voting Age for Municipal Elections
Oral Questions

Page 2169

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Since the voting age was reduced in Canada in 1970 from age 21 to 18, there have been many attempts to lower the age voting group, including recent discussions nationally about the federal elections. In the Northwest Territories, this has not been brought to us as a concern from NWTAC, but it doesn't stop us from having that discussion. I will be meeting with NWTAC this weekend. We will be discussing topics around elections in the Northwest Territories, and I will bring this up at that table. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 605-19(2): Lowering Voting Age for Municipal Elections
Oral Questions

Page 2169

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Yes, I have canvassed this with a few mayors and a few communities, and I think there is a mixed response. I think one of the solutions there is just simply give our municipalities more control over their elections and more control over residency requirements, age requirements, or how they want to run their own elections. As part of bringing this forward to the NWTAC, and I'm happy to hear that from the Minister, can the Minister also bring forward lowering the voting age to 16 or at least giving municipalities an option to make that choice themselves?

Question 605-19(2): Lowering Voting Age for Municipal Elections
Oral Questions

Page 2169

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

I will bring this up at the table, looking at lowering the voting age to 16, but I also want to just inform the Member that, as the Northwest Territories, we do recognize northern youth in politics. We do have the Northern Youth Parliament program here at the Legislative Assembly, and also MACA does provide leadership opportunities for our surrounding communities. Not only that, we do also get into the schools, as well, and look at how we can further support our young people and encourage them into career choices and also looking at the appropriate programming. I am open to looking at innovative, different ideas and looking at pursuing that. Should our youth want to pursue further education in political science, maybe that could be something that our department could possibly work with stakeholders throughout the territory on and possibly look at some opportunities for our young people in the Northwest Territories.

Question 605-19(2): Lowering Voting Age for Municipal Elections
Oral Questions

Page 2169

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. 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. My questions are for the Minister of Infrastructure. I just want to follow up on questions I had for the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment about access to the Internet for students. In my statement, I mentioned the low bandwidth that is shared between four educational facilities in Yellowknife. Can the Minister confirm that she is aware of this problem and what is she doing about it? Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

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

Page 2169

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Frame Lake. Minister of Infrastructure.