This is page numbers 2439 - 2492 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 652-19(2): Changes at the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation
Oral Questions

Page 2442

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Question 652-19(2): Changes at the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation
Oral Questions

Page 2442

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to start by saying, and I have said it many times and I believe it to the core of my whole entity: Maslow's hierarchy says food, clothing, and shelter are the most basic needs. If you don't actualize those, you cannot prosper. I believe that to the core of my being.

Mr. Speaker, I came into politics because of working 20 years with low-income families and homeless women. I came in with a cause for housing, and I haven't dropped that cause. I was the housing Minister in the last Assembly for a couple of years, and then, when I got "promoted," they called it, to education, which also needs a huge amount of work, I didn't see it as a promotion. I saw it as a loss. Housing has always been my passion.

Mr. Speaker, I am not going to consider a shuffle at this time. I know that every single Minister here is compassionate. They care about their files, and they are doing a great job. I know that the Minister of housing has so much passion for housing, but I know that housing is an issue. I did meet with the housing team, and I met with the Minister in December. We talked about the changes that needed to happen to the Housing Corporation. We talked about the change of policies that were needed and the change of focus that has to happen.

Mr. Speaker, it would be not okay for me to go through this Assembly and not address housing. It is a priority. It was my priority when I came, and it's still my priority. I will do what is necessary to make sure, before the end of this Assembly, that we have more houses on the ground and that we address -- not all, I'm not naive, but that we start addressing the housing needs of the Northwest Territories. That is my commitment. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 652-19(2): Changes at the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation
Oral Questions

Page 2442

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Honourable Premier. Oral questions. Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.

Question 653-19(2): New Housing Units in Inuvik
Oral Questions

March 10th, 2021

Page 2442

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My questions are for the Minister of housing. How many units will be built in Inuvik, other than the RCMP housing, in the 2021-2022 fiscal year? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 653-19(2): New Housing Units in Inuvik
Oral Questions

Page 2442

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes. Minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation.

Question 653-19(2): New Housing Units in Inuvik
Oral Questions

Page 2443

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. For the construction season throughout the Northwest Territories and specifically for the Member's questioning of how many units are going to be constructed in her riding, I don't have that number on my right now. We are looking at the co-investment fund applications going forward. We are looking at Indigenous partnerships, and I am engaging with the federal government and yet to hear an announcement provided by them about being able to put houses on the ground throughout the Northwest Territories. Going forward, I am very confident in an announcement that will be coming forward. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 653-19(2): New Housing Units in Inuvik
Oral Questions

Page 2443

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you to the Minister. I know I didn't give you the questions ahead of time, so I know some of the details you probably don't have. As the Minister of housing, you know that you have four years here. How many houses will be built in Inuvik for the residents of Inuvik by the end of this government?

Question 653-19(2): New Housing Units in Inuvik
Oral Questions

Page 2443

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Right now, the Housing Corporation is going through a lot of changes with the old units that we do have. All of the single-family dwelling units across the Northwest Territories are up for sale. We are bringing that back to the table to discover and to find out a considerable, meaningful sale amount on each of those units and taking a lot of consideration into the occupancy of those units, as well. Like I had said, we are really weighing in on Indigenous partnership and federal engagement, as well. I don't have the numbers specifically for everybody in the Northwest Territories here to look and update that construction build for this year. I will provide that to the Members.

Question 653-19(2): New Housing Units in Inuvik
Oral Questions

Page 2443

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

I have heard the Premier and I have heard the Minister talk about the resale of these older units, and my constituents, some of them, that is just not what they are looking for. They want to be able to access low-cost housing because of the economy and because there are not enough jobs to keep people working. To manage a home, as my other colleague said, it's not always what everyone is looking for, so how many additional units will be added by leases if not built from private market in Inuvik to increase the stock?

Question 653-19(2): New Housing Units in Inuvik
Oral Questions

Page 2443

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

I would like to inform the Member of the number of units being distributed out through the Northwest Territories. Once again, specifically for her region, I don't have those numbers on me right now. I just look at the old builds that are there. I know that throughout the territory that that is not a significant response for housing, looking at what we already have on the ground and not being able to have those new builds. I am confident, Mr. Speaker, that an announcement coming forward will honestly address this issue going forward. Right now, I am just not able to provide that information.

Question 653-19(2): New Housing Units in Inuvik
Oral Questions

Page 2443

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.

Question 653-19(2): New Housing Units in Inuvik
Oral Questions

Page 2443

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I did ask a lot of questions and did not get a lot of answers. Will I get a commitment from this Minister that she would be willing to look into more leases in my community to decrease that list in my community, not just in my community? That's the thing. If there is this great announcement that we are going to get more units, then I look forward to it, but will I see it in the life of this government? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 653-19(2): New Housing Units in Inuvik
Oral Questions

Page 2443

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Absolutely. We are going to be able to meet the needs of a portion of what we are to be building, 100 units on the ground. We are supposed to be looking at home ownership, as well, but also looking at more leases for the Member's riding. I am interested in doing things differently. I am interested in investing into the local regions, as well. If there is something that is unique about that region, if there is an opportunity for the Housing Corporation to enter into new leases that are available in those specific regions and in those specific ridings, I would be interested in looking at that. Being able to work with the MLAs, as well, to identify opportunities within their ridings, I would definitely want to entertain that and be able to look at where we could go with that conversation. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 653-19(2): New Housing Units in Inuvik
Oral Questions

Page 2443

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Nunakput.

Question 654-19(2): Medevac Services and Medical Escorts
Oral Questions

Page 2443

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today, I was talking about medevacs in our communities. I brought it up last week. It is really concerning to me, regarding how everything is happening. We are either short of planes, or staff are timing out during these medevacs and spare planes. Where do we get the service required to support our people in our small communities? Mr. Speaker, how many patients have been medevaced from Nunakput to communities, to Inuvik, Yellowknife, or Edmonton, in the last year? How many of the escorts have been approved to go with them at that time? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.