This is page numbers 1779 - 1798 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 housing.

Topics

Question 503-19(2): Housing Shortage in Nunakput
Oral Questions

Page 1782

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

I hear the Member's comments, as well, because we do have similar concerns brought throughout the Northwest Territories, but we do have a certain amount of units that are available. I'm not going to comment on the individual, but I do want to really express the importance of the pandemic that we are currently in and looking at these units and setting them aside. I will have to follow-up with the Member and furthermore provide more information as to what is available at the ground level in the specific community and also looking at the waitlist, as well, because we do have families that are in need of housing. We do have overcrowding, and I would have to follow-up with the Member.

Question 503-19(2): Housing Shortage in Nunakput
Oral Questions

Page 1783

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Nunakput.

Question 503-19(2): Housing Shortage in Nunakput
Oral Questions

Page 1783

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Will the Minister commit to working with ECE and the Housing Corporation because we are lack of housing in the community? Like I said before, the teachers are being -- one was evicted. She came home. She got a letter. She was evicted. Then, the next thing you know, we had to rush and try to find her a place in the community. The hamlet did that for her, but we need more houses for teachers, for professionals, to draw them in because if you don't have housing, you're not going to draw the quality of people in because you're worrying about stuff like that. That's the last thing they should be worrying about. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 503-19(2): Housing Shortage in Nunakput
Oral Questions

Page 1783

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

I will be working with my colleagues from the department of education, as well, and looking at the significant need throughout the Northwest Territories for teachers. I just wanted to reiterate and clarify that we did not evict the teacher out of the unit. We did work with that individual, and we did provide options for the individual, as well. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 503-19(2): Housing Shortage in Nunakput
Oral Questions

Page 1783

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Deh Cho.

Question 504-19(2): Tar Sands Monitoring
Oral Questions

Page 1783

Ronald Bonnetrouge Deh Cho

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. I'm following up to my Member's statement regarding the high water levels and its potential impact on the tar sands tailings ponds upstream from us. Can the Minister enlighten the residents of the Northwest Territories as to the type of agreement the GNWT has with the Alberta government in water monitoring, especially the monitoring of the tar sands tailings ponds? Mahsi.

Question 504-19(2): Tar Sands Monitoring
Oral Questions

Page 1783

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Deh Cho. Minister of Environment and Natural Resources.

Question 504-19(2): Tar Sands Monitoring
Oral Questions

Page 1783

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The GNWT has a transboundary agreement with the Government of Alberta to ensure the ecological integrity of our shared waters is maintained. The Alberta-NWT and BC-NWT bilateral water agreements are the most comprehensive agreements of their kind. The agreements require the Government of Alberta to consult with the GNWT on any projects that could impact waters that enter the Northwest Territories, provide notification of changes to the monitoring sites, conduct ongoing monitoring, review the monitoring data, prepare annual reporting on commitments of the agreement, and include mechanisms for dispute resolution. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 504-19(2): Tar Sands Monitoring
Oral Questions

Page 1783

Ronald Bonnetrouge Deh Cho

I thank the Minister for that. I note the department information is not readily forthcoming regarding issues of concern with the tar sands tailings ponds. Can the Minister explain why that would be, considering this all-important matter?

Question 504-19(2): Tar Sands Monitoring
Oral Questions

Page 1783

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

I thank the Member. The GNWT is confident, and when I say "GNWT," the department of ENR and myself are confident that the Alberta and NWT bilateral water management agreement remains the best tool to address transboundary concerns related to water management and to protect the interests of the Northwest Territories. Water quality results are available on the ENR site and are updated in a timely manner. Results of the monitoring are released in annual reports, which are required under our agreement, and the last annual report was tabled in the Legislative Assembly this past fall.

Question 504-19(2): Tar Sands Monitoring
Oral Questions

Page 1783

Ronald Bonnetrouge Deh Cho

I thank the Minister for that, but we can't find that detailed information. Maybe my next question may dig something out. I have concern with the disclosure of any relevant information regarding any leakage from the tar sands tailings ponds. The biggest concern with the leakage is the high level of contaminants in the tailings ponds. There has been news that these contaminants may be attributed to a host of health problems. Most, if not all, of the news in this regard has been brushed off as a figment of people's imagination. I think we have heard lots of news in the past around the Fort Chip area. Does the department have any concerns with the contaminants in the tailings ponds and the possible effects on human health?

Question 504-19(2): Tar Sands Monitoring
Oral Questions

Page 1783

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Both the government of Alberta and the federal government monitor the water quality in the oil sands regions, both upstream and downstream of the oil sands. The GNWT also conducts water quality monitoring on the Slave River at Fort Smith and has done so for many years. As confirmed in the recent release of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation report on the Alberta tailings ponds, the Athabasca River shows no evidence of tailings ponds input downstream.

Question 504-19(2): Tar Sands Monitoring
Oral Questions

Page 1783

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Deh Cho.

Question 504-19(2): Tar Sands Monitoring
Oral Questions

Page 1783

Ronald Bonnetrouge Deh Cho

Mahsi for that. I am very leery about the monitoring, that agreement we have with the Alberta government in terms of that. I am not sure if we are privy to firsthand information. We are not on the site, per se. What I would like the department to do is to update the residents of the Northwest Territories on the contaminants stored in the tailings ponds and possible effects on human health. Can the Minister commit to providing that information widely? Mahsi.

Question 504-19(2): Tar Sands Monitoring
Oral Questions

Page 1783

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources assesses water quality and quantity, including the health of aquatics ecosystems. Unfortunately, the department does not assess the human risk. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.