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 507-19(2): Women in Trades and Universal Child Care for Aurora College Staff
Oral Questions

Page 1785

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

No. I don't have those numbers now because part of those numbers would involve capital infrastructure costs, because it's hard to call something universal childcare if it's only a subsidy for the lucky few who can access it. We need more infrastructure. We need more trained individuals before we can say that we are providing universal childcare. I don't have those numbers.

That being said, the federal government has expressed an interest in some sort of a national universal childcare program. I will be meeting with the federal Minister next week to be discussing this to see exactly what that vision is. I have had a number of conversations with him already and expressed to him that this government and this Assembly are very interested in advancing this. It's in our mandate, and there is a lot of support for it. I really look forward to that and seeing how we can move forward for universal childcare, not just for the college, but for everyone.

Question 507-19(2): Women in Trades and Universal Child Care for Aurora College Staff
Oral Questions

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The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Question 507-19(2): Women in Trades and Universal Child Care for Aurora College Staff
Oral Questions

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Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I am very happy to hear about this conversation that will happen next week, and I will be sure to come and visit the Minister after that phone call. I would love to know what the cost would be. If the Minister or the department is prepared to look into that, I think it would be valuable information going forward, as we are in a budgeting exercise, and we will be doing the same for every year that we are privileged to be in this House.

Given the conversation that the Minister is having next week with the federal government, the Yukon government just announced yesterday that they are doing $11 a day childcare, and they have an average cost of childcare on a daily basis of $43. Here in the Northwest Territories, in Yellowknife, in my days of paying for childcare, it was about $55 a day. Speaking to other parents in places like the Beaufort-Delta, it can go upwards of $70 a day for childcare. $11 a day would be pretty amazing to have in the Northwest Territories. I am wondering: Can we be more like the Yukon? Thank you.

Question 507-19(2): Women in Trades and Universal Child Care for Aurora College Staff
Oral Questions

Page 1785

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

The Northwest Territories is unique. The Yukon is unique. I don't know if we are going to be more like the Yukon, but I think that we do share the goal of eventually providing some sort of universal childcare. The Yukon just announced this yesterday. We reached out to them immediately this morning. We don't really have any details on what exactly their plan is, how much it's going to cost, or anything like that, but we are going to have those conversations. Once we get that information, I want to give the Minister in the Yukon a call and see how things are rolling out, what led them to this, and any concerns like that. I also want to point out that the Yukon does not have a junior kindergarten program, so any of the four-year-olds who aren't in care have the opportunity here for at least some sort of childcare during the day, some sort of enriched environment.

This is an exciting time when it comes to this topic. I am open to hearing all of the ideas that come forward, and over the next few years, we might be able to make some big strides if we can get the support of the federal government and the Assembly. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 507-19(2): Women in Trades and Universal Child Care for Aurora College Staff
Oral Questions

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The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Oral questions. Member for Yellowknife North.

Question 508-19(2): United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Oral Questions

February 5th, 2021

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Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Our mandate commits to a United Nations declaration terms of reference working group being created by summer 2020. My question for the Premier is: Have those terms of reference been created, and can they be released? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 508-19(2): United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Oral Questions

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The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Yellowknife North. Honourable Premier.

Question 508-19(2): United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Oral Questions

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Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, within the mandate, we did have timelines for this work. However, I learned quite quickly, being the Premier, that it is not appropriate for this government to push our agenda onto Indigenous governments. They backed me up quite quickly. What I can say, though, is that we have initial meetings. We are agreeing to meet after session is over again. We have had an initial meeting. There were questions that came up. Some of the Indigenous governments quoted article 37, which states that the concluded agreements and treaties must be honoured and respected. Within that article, they asked for a separate table, and I honoured that request. They will be having a table with the modern treaty groups; there are five of them. Then we will also be having a larger group with all Indigenous governments on it, as well.

Although it might take a little bit of time, Mr. Speaker, about the terms of reference, what I can say is that I do try to listen. There was a previous Indigenous leader who said to me, "You might have to give them some ideas. You might have to push a bit." What we are committed to doing in March is that we will actually be bringing forward the BC legislation to them so that they can review that and see if that's where they want to go. We have had the first meeting with the modern treaty groups. At that meeting, they had talked about wanting to go through each section individually one-by-one.

Mr. Speaker, what I can say is that I do believe in self-determination. The United Nations declaration speaks about self-determination all through it. Respectfully, Mr. Speaker, I will take the time that the Indigenous governments need to define what this looks like for themselves. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 508-19(2): United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Oral Questions

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Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

I look forward to seeing the progress of that work, and I think that bringing forward what the other jurisdictions have done to the working group is a good first step, although I believe that working group is only half of this work. The other half of this work is looking at our own internal processes and looking at our own departments and the over 5,000 civil servants we have and directing those departments to change their processes to make sure that they are implementing the declaration and truly being a government living reconciliation. Each department was directed in their mandate letter to develop declaration priorities. Can I have an update on whether that work has been done and how that fits into the overall implementation plan?

Question 508-19(2): United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Oral Questions

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Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Absolutely. Like I said earlier, there will be two groups of Indigenous governments, one with all of the Indigenous governments and one with the modern treaty Indigenous governments. We also are forming a GNWT working group that will encompass these departments, so that work is beginning, as well.

Question 508-19(2): United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Oral Questions

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Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

I am concerned about the timing of all of this. If we are waiting for the working group and the terms of reference in each department, here we sit in another session without a meaningful piece of legislation to actually implement this, without any significant legislation which has devolved powers or changed the system of laws. I believe that we are behind on our legislative agenda. Has any legislation been identified that will bring forward declaration changes?

Question 508-19(2): United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Oral Questions

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Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

The purpose of the Legislative Assembly is to develop legislation. However, the purpose of the Legislative Assembly is also to oversee programs and services throughout the government. It's bigger than just legislation.

I know that the honourable Member would love to have the legislation proposal now and get it done in this government. I would love to have this done. However, I feel, respectfully, Mr. Speaker, that that is a little bit colonistic in its statement. I have a commitment that I will work with the Indigenous governments. They shall define the process; they shall define the timing. I have said in this House that, in the first meeting after this session, I will be bringing forward the BC legislation to them to review, but I will not stand there and say that this needs to be done by a certain date. They will tell me. We will work together on it.

In Article 38, "states shall work in cooperation." There is a statement made that "what does consultation mean?" Article 38 says, "States in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous people shall take the appropriate measures, including legislative measures, to achieve the ends of this declaration." Again, if we are to honour what I believe is consultation and cooperation, then we will not push our agenda on them. We will work in cooperation together to define this.

Question 508-19(2): United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Oral Questions

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The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Madam Premier. Final supplementary. Member for Yellowknife North.

Question 508-19(2): United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Oral Questions

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Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I still am concerned about the GNWT's own role in this. What I am envisioning is each department being directed to identify their legislation and gaps; each piece of legislation having clauses that allow self-government to happen; each department looking at service standards such that self-government can happen. I think that there is a lot of work to be done within our own government, and I am not seeing that work be done. I have not heard any updates from that. Mr. Speaker, what I am looking for is: Are the departments developing action plans for their own areas of mandate and how they would devolve those? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 508-19(2): United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Oral Questions

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Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

I am sure that departments would love to be able to take the pen and write it out and say, "This is what it shall be." However, again, I have stated earlier that that, in my opinion, would not be appropriate to do. I have heard from the first meeting with the modern treaties that they wanted to go through each article individually to define that. That may take time, Mr. Speaker, but out of respect, it is their process. This is United Nations Declaration for Indigenous Peoples is for Indigenous people, and they have asked me to hold back and go through each article. There are articles about education, about healthcare; there are articles all over the place. Respectfully, Mr. Speaker, I would like to do this work in consultation and cooperation with the Indigenous governments, which is the intent of the declaration. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.