This is page numbers 2819 - 2866 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 mrspeaker.

Topics

Oral Question 757-19(2): Taltson Hydro Expansion Project
Oral Questions

Page 2823

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Mr. Speaker, to conclude, the Taltson Hydro Expansion will be and should be one of the major priorities in our recovery plan for the Government of the Northwest Territories after the pandemic. The Minister should be asking the federal government to fund this project 100 percent to stimulate the economy of the North and to ensure our Indigenous shareholders will benefit from this project. Does the Minister agree with that? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 757-19(2): Taltson Hydro Expansion Project
Oral Questions

Page 2824

Diane Archie Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, we are pleased to be operating right now at 100 percent funding for all eight -- for $18million from the Government of Canada to be able to support a feasibility stage of the project. Funding is being used to define the commercial structure, including costs, risk to the nature of public sector and our private sector to support that is required to make this project a reality. We expect that various levels of public sector support will be required, including the GNWT to be able to unlock the benefits of a long-term potential of this Taltson Hydro Expansion. So, again, Mr. Speaker, I'm happy to be able to agree with the Member on this subject, because sometimes we don't always agree on other subjects. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 757-19(2): Taltson Hydro Expansion Project
Oral Questions

Page 2824

The Speaker (Honourable Frederick Blake Jr.)

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Hay River South.

Oral Question 758-19(2): Public Health Emergency Orders
Oral Questions

Page 2824

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, COVID-19 has created much anxiety and this has affected the mental wellness of the population. We're at a crossroads where it is possible to expect court challenges based on the premise that the public health emergency declared does no longer meet the test for "significant risk" and therefore the orders may be fine and reasonable.

Mr. Speaker, can the Minister of Justice confirm his department's participation in reviewing those public health records created due to the current public health emergency to ensure they meet all legal requirements, and how far does that participation go with the Department of Health? Thank you.

Oral Question 758-19(2): Public Health Emergency Orders
Oral Questions

Page 2824

The Speaker (Honourable Frederick Blake Jr.)

Thank you, Member for Hay River South. Minister responsible for Justice.

Oral Question 758-19(2): Public Health Emergency Orders
Oral Questions

Page 2824

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Department of Justice has a division called legal division and that is essentially the GNWT's in-house law firm, and legal division provides legal advice and services to GNWT departments and entities such as the Office of the chief public health officer. And since the beginning of the pandemic, the legal division has been working with the chief public health officer to provide advice in respect of the drafting of-- they will suggest wording. There's probably, I'm sure there's been some back and forths to ensure that, you know, the wording is what it should be. With that said, ultimately the final say on what an order says is that of the chief public health officer. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 758-19(2): Public Health Emergency Orders
Oral Questions

Page 2824

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, can the Minister speak to whether or not the department has reviewed the relevant sections of the Public Health Act to determine what constitute and is the legal definition of "significant risk" as it relates to the current COVID-19 public health emergency. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 758-19(2): Public Health Emergency Orders
Oral Questions

Page 2824

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So in the Public Health Act, a public health emergency is defined as something that presents a significant risk to public health, and determining whether there's a significant risk to public health is the determination of the CPHO. The Department of Justice's lawyers do what they can but ultimately, they are not medical professionals and there's a lot of science involved in determining risk and so ultimately they of course have to defer to the chief public health officer. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 758-19(2): Public Health Emergency Orders
Oral Questions

Page 2824

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, can the Minister speak to whether or not the department's reviewed the relevant section of the Act to determine the legal definition of "reasonable measures" as it relates to the current COVID-19 orders. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 758-19(2): Public Health Emergency Orders
Oral Questions

Page 2824

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As you can imagine, this has been a focus of the department for over a year now and the Public Health Act has been reviewed, other pieces of the relevant legislation, the ever-evolving case law, Charter of Rights and Freedoms. So, yes, all of these have been reviewed. And, again, this is similar to the "significant risk," the definition, this determination is made by the chief public health officer.

The department does provide advice on the risks associated with specific measures and orders, that is to say the legal risks. But in terms of the risks and what is reasonable in response to those risks in terms of the public health orders, that is, again, under the authority of the chief public health officer. But Justice does examine those and provide advice and opinion. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 758-19(2): Public Health Emergency Orders
Oral Questions

Page 2824

The Speaker (Honourable Frederick Blake Jr.)

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Hay River South.

Oral Question 758-19(2): Public Health Emergency Orders
Oral Questions

Page 2824

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, it appears the risk of COVID-19 and variants have subsided due to the introduction of vaccines along with the health safety measures in place. Can the Minister confirm if his department has considered the possibility that a rights infringement court challenge may be forthcoming that seeks to have the court vacate the public health emergency and on all related CPHO orders? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 758-19(2): Public Health Emergency Orders
Oral Questions

Page 2824

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm sure government lawyers are always worried about court challenges coming and so, yes, they have definitely considered the possibility of a court challenge since day one. You know, this is a very unique situation and no one knew how far orders could go at the beginning. There has been case law around Canada, not necessarily in the territory, that has tackled some of these issues and the department is watching that. But it's always on the radar. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 758-19(2): Public Health Emergency Orders
Oral Questions

Page 2824

The Speaker (Honourable Frederick Blake Jr.)

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Great Slave.

Oral Question 759-19(2): Con Mine Dock
Oral Questions

June 3rd, 2021

Page 2824

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my questions are for the Minister of ITI. Can the Minister confirm whether ITI has applied for a reserve on the lease containing the Con dock?