This is page numbers 2525 - 2568 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 going.

Topics

Members Present

Hon. Diane Archie, Hon. Frederick Blake Jr., Mr. Bonnetrouge, Hon. Paulie Chinna, Ms. Cleveland, Hon. Caroline Cochrane, Hon. Julie Green, Mr. Jacobson, Mr. Johnson, Ms. Martselos, Ms. Nokleby, Mr. Norn, Mr. O'Reilly, Ms. Semmler, Hon. R.J. Simpson, Mr. Rocky Simpson, Hon. Shane Thompson, Hon. Caroline Wawzonek

The House met at 10:01 a.m.

---Prayer

Prayer
Prayer

Page 2525

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Item 2, Ministers' statements. Minister of Infrastructure.

Minister's Statement 141-19(2): Improvements to Driver and Vehicle Services
Ministers' Statements

Page 2525

Diane Archie Inuvik Boot Lake

Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories understands how important it is for residents to have reliable and efficient access to driver and vehicle services. For this reason, we are committed to delivering and improving these services for the public, even during a global pandemic. I would like to thank the employees working at driver and vehicle offices across the territory, including our regional contractors and online support staff.

The GNWT knows that our residents need to have access to services. Because of the pandemic, Driver and Motor Vehicle office, or DMV, have had to change how they operate. To ensure the safety of our staff and the public, our offices were closed from March to July, 2020. DMV employees and contractors had to quickly adapt to accommodate the public by phone and email. Once reopened to the public, our offices had to implement new health and safety measures, which impacted capacity in waiting areas.

Despite these challenges, in the past year, our government has provided almost 63,000 in-person service requests and over 68,000 online service transactions across the territory. These services included issuing new driver's licence and general identification cards, providing residents with driver abstracts, updating and renewing existing licences, and registering vehicles.

Mr. Speaker, we do recognize we need to improve further. We have heard some concerns, particularly from Yellowknife residents around the booking process for in-person visits to our issuing office. We value feedback from the public and are always looking at ways to improve our customer service delivery. That is why the Yellowknife DMV office is distributing anonymous exit surveys to clients, asking them to share their thoughts around the GNWT's booking process. These surveys will help guide decision-making around client service processes in the future.

On the digital side of things, work is underway to improve the driver and vehicle website, also known as iDMV. The iDMV provides residents with several online services, such as renewing a driver's licence or vehicle registration. While this website has been very useful for residents, we have also heard from many people about how challenging it can be to use at times. We hear and value your feedback. We are committed to doing better. Clients can expect an improved, more user-friendly iDMV web experience in the coming months.

Mr. Speaker, one of our core functions are issuing driver's licenses and general identification cards. This past year, we have made some exciting upgrades to these documents. The new cards offer more security features, meaning they are more difficult to alter or replicate, keep unlicensed and suspended drivers off the road so that we can protect our residents from fraud. We also introduced facial recognition technology. Images for driver's licences and general identification cards that are taken at driver and vehicle offices will be used for a facial recognition system. This will provide residents with greater protection from identity theft and make it harder to obtain a driver's license when banned in driving in another jurisdiction.

Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories will continue to prioritize resident safety, while delivering driver and vehicle services to residents across the territory. We will continue to listen to our clients' feedback so we can improve on the delivery of these important services. Quyanainni, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 141-19(2): Improvements to Driver and Vehicle Services
Ministers' Statements

Page 2525

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Ministers' statements. Honourable Premier.

Minister's Statement 142-19(2): Intergovernmental Council Legislative Development Protocol
Ministers' Statements

Page 2525

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Mr. Speaker, a fundamental part of our success as a government, and the future prosperity of our territory, depends on a productive and collaborative partnership with Indigenous governments. We must foster constructive and respective relationships with our Indigenous leaders and, to seek ways to advance reconciliation, recognize and affirm Indigenous rights and support expanded program and service delivery.

It gives me great pleasure to update Members of the 19th Legislative Assembly on the Intergovernmental Council's recent adoption of the legislative development protocol for lands and resources legislation. In 2014, the Government of the Northwest Territories committed to working collaboratively with our devolution partners to review and develop any proposed changes, including legislative changes, to our land and resource management systems. The Northwest Territories Intergovernmental Agreement on Lands and Resource Management is an important part of this commitment, and our work through the Intergovernmental Council shows how we can work together while also recognizing the rights, jurisdiction, and authority of each individual council member.

Mr. Speaker, the legislative development protocol was adopted by the Intergovernmental Council on December 2, 2020, and provides for the collaborative development of lands and resource legislation. Consistent with the Northwest Territories Intergovernmental Agreement on Lands and Resources Management, the protocol respects the jurisdictions and authorities of Indigenous governments and the Government of the Northwest Territories and preserves the important role of the elected leaders while also providing a mechanism for collaboration and consensus-building. The protocol is the first agreement of its kind in Canada and supports the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by respecting, consulting, and collaborating with Indigenous governments on land and resource management.

The Intergovernmental Council's shared commitment to work together has been a hallmark of the GNWT approach to the devolution of land and resource management in 2014. The protocol is a step toward realizing the mutual promises we made with our devolution partners. The protocol also supports this governments ongoing efforts to collaborate with Indigenous governments to meet mandate priorities, including the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The protocol has already attracted positive attention from other parts of Canada and reinforces this government's reputation as a nationwide leader in this area.

Make no mistake, there will be times when unanimous agreement cannot be reached at the Intergovernmental Council. The protocol recognizes that unanimous support is not required and decisions that balance different interests will still be required as the Government of the Northwest Territories' legislation is developed. Further, to help promote harmonization and collaboration, the protocol provides a mechanism for notification of Indigenous governments' own legislation regarding lands and resources.

I would like to express my gratitude to my colleagues on the Intergovernmental Council for their commitment and collaborative spirit and congratulate them all by recognizing each member and their officials for this historic undertaking. The members of the Intergovernmental Council, along with the Government of the Northwest Territories, include:

  • Acho Dene Koe First Nation;
  • Deninu Kue First Nation;
  • Gwich'in Tribal Council;
  • Inuvialuit Regional Corporation;
  • K'atlodeeche First Nation;
  • Northwest Territory Metis Nation;
  • Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated;
  • Salt River First Nation; and
  • the Tlicho Government.

The promise of devolution included a commitment to work collaboratively as governments on the management of lands and resources in the Northwest Territories. The members of the Intergovernmental Council are delivering on this promise.

The protocol will result in stronger and more effective land and resource management legislation. It will also better position the GNWT to collaborate on any new legislative authority it obtains through ongoing discussions to bring elements of the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act home to the Northwest Territories.

For Indigenous governments that are not yet members of the Intergovernmental Council, we will continue to consult and engage, to ensure that they also have an opportunity to provide input on the development of lands and resources legislation. I will also continue to invite Indigenous governments not yet partners in devolution to join and work directly through the Intergovernmental Council.

Mr. Speaker, I look forward to working together with the Intergovernmental Council to make decisions for the responsible and sustainable management of lands, waters, and natural resources of the Northwest Territories for the benefit of current and future generations. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 142-19(2): Intergovernmental Council Legislative Development Protocol
Ministers' Statements

Page 2526

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Honourable Premier. Ministers' statements. Minister of Environment and Natural Resources.

Minister's Statement 143-19(2): Respectful Caribou Hunting
Ministers' Statements

Page 2526

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Caribou have sustained generations of Northerners across the Northwest Territories. They are deeply tied to the NWT's society and culture. Communities have always relied on them for food, hides, and traditional practices, but today, some herds have seen major declines. They continue to face challenges, including climate change, habitat change, predators, and human activity. Illegal and disrespectful hunting practices are also real concerns.

Our government continues to work with Indigenous governments and organizations, and other co-management partners, to put rules in place to protect the herds and support recovery and has done so for decades. We continue to work with our partners to support people in following traditional harvesting practices and showing respect for the caribou. But still, there is a problem.

We see it on the ground and from the air, as officers patrol for illegal hunting, wastage, and garbage left on the land; we hear it from Indigenous governments and organizations, when they tell us if traditional practices are being broken by people looking to sell harvested caribou for profit, which is also against the Wildlife Act; and we feel it when fellow hunters share stories and images of wounded animals left unharvested and suffering by others.

Mr. Speaker, while most hunters do things the right way, we continue to see others who haven't this year. We have documented more than 50 instances of illegal hunting in the no-harvest zone to protect the Bathurst herd, and many cases of meat wastage across the winter road this season. That is much higher than this point last year. These actions have real consequences, and I do not just mean charges. Every illegally hunted animal hurts efforts towards recovery of the Bathurst herd. Every piece of meat wasted means families and communities do not get the most out of the harvest. Every time people take more than they need, they put the herd at risk and set back shared efforts towards recovery.

Mr. Speaker, when I talk to elders and leaders, there is a real fear that these practices are pushing us towards a future no one wants to see: one where caribou aren't there; one where their children do not get to bring meat home for their kids. Our government is listening. We are working with Indigenous governments and organizations. We are taking action as partners so future generations will be able to harvest. We have increased the enforcement presence along the winter road by truck, snowmobile, and helicopter. We are looking out for illegal meat sales online and in our communities. We are asking people to follow the law and laying charges against those who do not.

We are supporting our wolf harvesters and the NWT traditional economy to help reduce the impact wolves have on our caribou herds, and we are working with co-management partners to continuously improve our wolf management efforts. We are working with governments and organizations spanning the NWT, Nunavut, and two provinces on management plans with real action to move threatened caribou herds towards recovery. We are investing in programs to increase harvesting knowledge across our territory, like hunter education, take a family trapping, and site-in-your-rifle events. We are targeting our communication and outreach to change behaviours, bringing voices together from our communities, elders, and leaders to join the effort.

Mr. Speaker, regulations and plans alone aren't going to get us to recovery. It also comes down to individuals making good decisions. Please, if you are exercising your right to hunt or harvest, remember:

  • Do not harvest any caribou where you aren't allowed to, including the mobile zone;
  • Use everything from the animals you harvest;
  • Take bulls to protect future generations of the herd;
  • Harvest only what you need; and
  • Respect the land and water while you are out there.

Make these choices today so future generations can enjoy the harvest. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 143-19(2): Respectful Caribou Hunting
Ministers' Statements

Page 2526

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Ministers' statements. Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment.

Minister's Statement 144-19(2): Rolling - Action! NWT Film and Media
Ministers' Statements

Page 2526

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Mr. Speaker, while 2020 was a very different year for film and media in the Northwest Territories, we have continued to work behind the scenes to ensure we are supporting the sector so they are ready to welcome new opportunities when border restrictions are eased.

As we all know, the pandemic has impacted economic and social sectors around the world. The Northwest Territories film and media sector was no exception. Several guest film companies postponed their productions as a result of border restrictions. Since that time, the Northwest Territories Film Commission has worked with stakeholders to look for innovative ways to support the industry with a focus on future development. For example, the film commission offered support through the territorial Creative Industries Economic Recovery Fund, providing $341,873 for both film- and arts-related projects. It supported Western Arctic Moving Pictures to present a virtual film production script-to-screen training series delivered by established Northwest Territories film producers at the 13th annual virtual Yellowknife International Film Festival. Members from the Professional Media Association received complimentary festival passes to attend the virtual 2020 Banff Media Festival and Whistler Film Festival and Summit and were also supported to deliver a virtual screenwriting workshop to its members, led by a professional screenwriter based in Los Angeles. As well, the Film Rebate Program, begun in 2015, has committed approximately $511,000 to 14 different productions, leveraging an additional $5 million in funding into the NWT. To date, the total direct Northwest Territories spend is approximately $5.5 million.

Supporting this sector is something that our government remains committed to, especially as we look to post-COVID-19 recovery. The film industry is an important driver of both economic activity and cultural development. According to the most recent 2019 report from the national Culture Satellite Account, film and associated activities contribute $9.27 million to the Northwest Territories' gross domestic product, $15.5 million to the Northwest Territories' economic output, and supports 58 jobs. Less tangibly but perhaps more important, home-grown films help tell and show stories of the land and people of the Northwest Territories.

Mr. Speaker, while we will still face challenges associated with the pandemic for the foreseeable future, we are also preparing for the easing of border and travel restrictions. The first Northwest Territories film strategy, Take One, was focused on growth, for in-territory productions and creating partnerships out of territory. Over the past 10 years, the film and media sector has grown substantially and is now in the position of leveraging partnerships toward greater projects and opportunities. Over the past year, the Let's Talk Film and Media campaign was launched to gather feedback on the next phase of film and media growth. We engaged community leaders, municipalities, and stakeholders across the North for their input.

The result is "Rolling, Action: The Next Five Years," the film and media sector strategy and action plan, currently being finalized for launch this spring. The focus to 2026 is continued growth with an emphasis on becoming nationally competitive and solidifying a sustainable industry in the Northwest Territories. The strategy and action plan will demonstrate our government's commitment to further develop the film and media sector, market and promote productions made in the NWT, attract commercial productions from outside the NWT, and build the capacity of the local industry and organizations. This is only a teaser. An announcement on the first initiative from the new strategy, will be made this spring.

Mr. Speaker, as we look to what we will do to support this sector, it is also important to recognize the achievements that have been made to this point. Last evening was a celebration marking the 10th formal year of the Northwest Territories film and media sector. The NWT Film Commission hosted what I note was a COVID-directive-compliant event with sector stakeholders from across the territory. To commemorate 10 years of film in the Northwest Territories, milestone awards were presented to some of the groups and partners that have helped to grow the film and media sector. Representatives from the Inuvialuit Communications Society, the Native Communications Society, the Northwest Territories Professional Media Association, Western Arctic Moving Pictures, and the Dead North Film Festival accepted awards for their contributions to northern film and media.

Of special note, I will highlight the work of Artless Collective's Pablo Saravanja and Jay Bulckaert on the Dead North Film Festival. Since 2012, this homegrown festival has encouraged hundreds of film teams of all ages and experience to participate. Over the last nine years, more than 220 films were produced and showcased at the festival. Some went beyond, to other festivals and screenings, with others leading to feature projects or earning a screen in world-renowned film festivals. The Northwest Territories Film Commission in the Department of Industry, Tourism, and Investment has been a supporter and sponsor of the festival from its outset. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

Minister's Statement 144-19(2): Rolling - Action! NWT Film and Media
Ministers' Statements

Page 2527

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

One of the key pieces of Dead North has been the industry training and workshops afforded to participants, at which the writers and producers of films received tips and feedback from more experienced professionals in the industry. This component of the festival marks a true investment in not only the film and media sector but in the people working to expand and grow NWT film into a significant contributor of the northern economy. Congratulations to all of last night's recipients. Thank you for your dedication to the growing film and media sector in the Northwest Territories.

Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories recognizes the economic and cultural benefits of developing the Northwest Territories film and media sector by supporting local capacity building, promoting made-in-the-NWT film projects, and attracting commercial productions from outside the NWT. These actions contribute to the mandate commitment of increasing economic diversification by supporting growth in non-extractive sectors and setting regional diversification targets. ITI continues to promote investments and unique opportunities in the film and media sector, recognizing not only the benefits it generates across other sectors of the Northwest Territories economy but the importance of continuing to celebrate industry and partner achievements over the next 10 years. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 144-19(2): Rolling - Action! NWT Film and Media
Ministers' Statements

Page 2527

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. Member for Great Slave.

Rainbow Coalition
Members' Statements

March 12th, 2021

Page 2527

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Rainbow: a spectrum; all the colours in the universe. Coalition: a group of people joined together for a common purpose. When you put these two words together, I can't think of a more fitting name for the amazing non-profit organization I want to highlight today, the Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife. The Rainbow Coalition is an outreach organization based in Yellowknife, dedicated to creating a safer space in the Northwest Territories for 2SLGBTQQIPAA+ youth, which stands for two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-plus, queer, questioning, intersex, pansexual, asexual, and agender persons, and also includes non-binary, genderfluid, genderqueer, and demisexual.

2SLGBTQQIPAA+ students experience more mental health issues, a higher risk of suicide, and higher drop-out rates than hetero-cis-gender students. The coalition's mission is to raise awareness about issues and identities; to help these youth build confidence; to support their parents and families in accepting, understanding, and loving them; to provide advice and support to community agencies and organizations about relevant issues; to advocate for a safer and more equitable territory for these youth; and, in addition to all of this hard work, they operate a youth centre in Yellowknife.

The coalition offers programming and training for all people. However, they do have a particular focus on youth. Programming includes topics such as health concerns, examining and processing experiences, sexual health, and self-identity. All programming is offered free of charge, and the Rainbow Coalition has an event calendar full of activities. In the way of community resources, they offer workshops and training in inclusive workspaces and 2SLGBTQQIPAA+ awareness. At the Rainbow Youth Centre, programming offered includes literature and peer-support appointments as well as mentorship, art, and networking opportunities.

In March of 2017 the coalition held the first NWT Rainbow Youth Conference, and feedback from the proceedings led to the development of guidelines. This resulted in inclusive dress codes, literature on how to support a student-led gay-straight alliance, and a safe social space for kids to gather and discuss relevant issues for them. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement. Thank you.

---Unanimous consent granted

Rainbow Coalition
Members' Statements

Page 2527

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have no questions today. It also includes guidelines for working with students who have gender-fluid identities and resulted in several collaborative art projects expressing a message of inclusiveness. Like many non-governmental agencies in the Northwest Territories, the Rainbow Coalition is doing amazing work to reach out to marginalized students who may be falling through the cracks of governmental services. Recently, their work was recognized through a donation from Women and Gender Equality Canada as one of 76 organizations receiving funding to further the amazing work they do. The coalition will be using this money to expand their work outside the capital and into all 33 communities in the NWT, and I can't wait to support them in that endeavour and thank them wholeheartedly for the work they do. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Rainbow Coalition
Members' Statements

Page 2527

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Great Slave. Memberships. Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.