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

Con Mine Dock
Members' Statements

Page 2821

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, call me biased but I believe the community of Great Slave is lucky to have some of the most beautiful spots in all of Yellowknife. Residents of Great Slave enjoy an abundance of nature at our doorstep. Tin Can Hill, Rotary Park, and the former Con Mine site are all great places to walk your dog, launch your canoe, go skiing, or just allow nature's beauty to soothe your soul.

Over the past few months, I have been trying to get information on what is happening at the former mine site and, specifically, at the dock. I've approached different levels of government, as well as different departments, and from what I've been able to ascertain is that there will be no building developments happening on the mine site proper in the short term. However, there appears to be a lot of interest in what is going on at the end of Robertson Drive; in particular, by the Department of ITI as part of their Great Slave fisheries revitalization program.

Once the snow had melted, I visited the dock to see what my constituents had been contacting me about. The dock is badly in need of repair and ongoing maintenance. Rebar tie-offs are twisted, sinkholes are forming, and sediment is eroding into the lake, something that could lead to environmental damage. The approach down to the dock is steep and rutted, also showing signs of sediment migration into the lake.

It is clear that the dock is routinely used by the public as a boat launch, for my constituents accessing their houseboats, and as an entry point onto the lake for recreational enjoyment year-round.

If plans are being made to change this site, it's imperative that area residents be given a say and their needs be incorporated into any design. Will there be energized stalls and parking available for the house-boaters? Will the dock be widened and commerce areas set up for farmers markets or the like? Will there be areas for picnicking or trails established? What I'm really getting at, Mr. Speaker, is will the public be able to continue to utilize and enjoy this area unfettered and will the final design meet their needs? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Con Mine Dock
Members' Statements

Page 2821

The Speaker (Honourable Frederick Blake Jr.)

Thank you, Member for Great Slave. Members' statements. Member for Nunakput.

2021 Nunakput Graduates
Members' Statements

Page 2821

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, graduation's across the territory and my communities in Nunakput. With the end of the school year approaching I would like to extend congratulations to Nunakput's class of 2021 graduates in our communities. I'd also like to give a special thanks to the teachers and the school staff and our local DEAs, family members, and other role models in our communities who assist our youth to succeed and achieve their goals.

Graduating is a monumental achievement and dedication to study and perseverance in graduation in the North. This year is a bigger deal because we had to deal with so much in our small communities, such as COVID-19. Through the pandemic, they had such a -- to go through quite the process. But they did it.

Mangilaluk School in Tuktoyaktuk has seven graduates this year: Cassandra Kuptana, Brennan Wolki,, Savannah Beaulieu, Janelle Pokiak, Medric Lavallee, Natasha Ross, and my daughter Mikayla Jacobson. I'm really proud today, in regards to that. She did it.

---Applause

Yeah, my daughter, she's really special to me, because that's my youngest daughter. Now I only got one more to go.

---Laughter

He's eight years old but I got a few more years.

Mr. Speaker, in Ulukhaktok at Helen Kalvak Elihakvik School in Ulu, we have one graduate, Tyrell Kuptana. His graduation ceremony will be held on June 11th.

Angik School in Paulatuk is celebrating their graduation. We would like to congratulate Figgues Krengnektak, Grace Nakimayak, Shannon Green, and Jorgan Ruben.

Graduation is a significant milestone in a young person's life and it marks their entire entry into the adult world to pursue bigger dreams and pursuing trades, move to post-secondary education and entering the workforce. The sky's the limit, Mr. Speaker.

Our grads represent the future leaders in our communities and address the complex challenges we face as a territory. To all graduates across the territory, we are all very proud of you and we wish you the best in your future endeavors. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

2021 Nunakput Graduates
Members' Statements

Page 2821

The Speaker (Honourable Frederick Blake Jr.)

Thank you, Member for Nunakput. Members' statements. Member for Thebacha.

Taltson Hydro Expansion Project
Members' Statements

Page 2821

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Mr. Speaker, I've spoken several times about the importance of what the Taltson Hydro Expansion represents for the future of the NWT. I speak passionately and frequently about this issue for a number of reasons. Primarily, it is a great opportunity for the NWT economy and all people of the NWT. This project is of great importance because it will bring the NWT into a prime state of development for the future growth of the diamond industry, mineral industry, non-renewable and renewable industry, and is a green energy project at the highest level.

Mr. Speaker, in the eyes of some, this project is either considered too big or not good enough to address our territory's needs. Well, that all depends on which needs we're addressing first. For me, my focus is the economy and helping people to better themselves and not just to survive, but to thrive. Right now businesses are hurting which means that people are hurting. I want to see people with stable jobs, a steady income, and that people are fed and housed appropriately. However, in order to achieve those things, we need to have a strong economic base with a variety of jobs available for people to work.

Mr. Speaker, I know the Taltson Expansion has the potential to spur further economic growth for the people of the NWT. I'm confident that this project can and will create spinoff industries within the NWT. Let's also address the elephant in the room. This project is crucial if the NWT has any intention to advance any future mining exploration projects. We all know the cost of living is going up every year for everything we buy but so is the cost of doing business in the NWT.

Mr. Speaker, we need to start creating the right conditions to attract and retain business and investments in the NWT once again. Our economy is on life support right now and is in dire need of a kick start. For example, in January, Statistics Canada published a report on economic activity in Canada for 2020, which found out that NWT experienced a decline of economic activity by 12 percent in 2020. Moreover, another recent Stats Canada report from last month states that the NWT experienced the highest decline in gross domestic product of any jurisdiction in Canada for 2020. In total, GDP fell by 10.4 percent in the NWT for 2020, amounting to the most severe economic decline for the NWT in 40 years.

Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, as our territory and country moves toward an economic recovery in the post-pandemic world, our government needs to seize this moment and secure permanent funding for the Taltson Hydro Expansion Project. The federal government has been investing hundreds of millions of dollars in programs, services, and in key economic sectors hardest hit by the pandemic. This is a ripe time to work with the levels of government to finally get this project off the ground with permanent funding.

In times of economic decline, we must think big and long term, and the Taltson Hydro Expansion must be included with that discussion. I will have questions for the Minister of Infrastructure later today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Taltson Hydro Expansion Project
Members' Statements

Page 2822

The Speaker (Honourable Frederick Blake Jr.)

Thank you, Member for Thebacha. Members' statements. Member for Kam Lake.

National Infrastructure Assessment
Members' Statements

Page 2822

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Mr. Speaker, given the GNWT's strategic potential to the rest of Canada, our infrastructure deficit is truly shocking. We sit on top of some of the country's most valuable resources, but many can barely put food on the table, and our assets from roads to ports to community social infrastructure, do not reflect the needs of the 21st century economy or of the quality of life we aspire to.

In this House, one of the infrastructure deficits we speak of the most is housing. Housing needs bold leadership as it struggles between affording its legacy while figuring out how to pay for its future. Declining CMHC contributions make the government's need for real action imperative. By 2038, CMHC's contribution to the operations of public housing will be zero, and the value of today's GNWT contribution to the Housing Corporation will barely cover the operations and maintenance of NWT public housing, let alone fund new housing stock in the Northwest Territories.

Mr. Speaker, the world is in the cross-hairs of crisis - pandemic crisis, mental health crisis, and climate crisis. We need to transition to greater resilience in our economic systems, social institutions, modern wellness practices, and industrial technologies. The transition we face is a trillion dollar economic opportunity for northern and Indigenous businesses or a relapse to obsolete ways of solving problems. In short, Mr. Speaker, we are at a point of transformative opportunity.

The federal government is doing its first nation-wide infrastructure assessment called Building the Canada we Want in 2050. The national engagement sets out three main priorities: assessing Canada's infrastructure needs and establishing a long term vision, improving coordination among infrastructure owners and funders, and determining the best ways to fund and finance infrastructure.

Mr. Speaker, there isn't only a potential to, again, signal desperate need for housing infrastructure; it is an opportunity to transform the definition of nation building infrastructure to include forward-looking social infrastructure that the North needs. This includes public transit, high speed broadband, freedom from diesel dependancy using clean energy to power homes and businesses, waste management, child care, community, cultural, and recreational centres that build more inclusive and liveable communities, and housing that supports and empower a meaningful life.

This is an opportunity for stable, predictable, long-term infrastructure investments that train people in 21st century skills, create jobs, grow the economy, and build cleaner, more equitable inclusive communities.

Mr. Speaker, the deadline for this initial submission to this assessment is June30th. I will have questions for the Premier to ensure this government is ready to meet that deadline. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

National Infrastructure Assessment
Members' Statements

Page 2822

The Speaker (Honourable Frederick Blake Jr.)

Thank you, Member for Kam Lake. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife North.

Yellowknife Motor Vehicles Office
Members' Statements

Page 2822

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like the Yellowknife department of motor vehicles to be open a few extra hours a week on either evenings or weekends. I believe this would make life a little easier for those who can't get time off to make an appointment.

Mr. Speaker, I brought this up in this House before. I made statements and questions. I made statements to two different Infrastructure Ministers through two different deputy ministers. Let's see if today is the day.

Yellowknife Motor Vehicles Office
Members' Statements

Page 2822

The Speaker (Honourable Frederick Blake Jr.)

Thank you, Member for Yellowknife North. Members' statements. Member for Nahendeh.

Recognizing Flood Response Support from Businesses and Individuals
Members' Statements

Page 2822

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, as you are aware, two of the communities from the Nahendeh Region are hurting right now. Our people are heartbroken and displaced, and many have lost everything they own. While we are dealing with the flood, I was amazed and awed of the residents and businesses inside and outside of our two communities who made donations of funding, food and services, cleaning supplies, and clothing during this difficult time.

Mr. Speaker, this is my way of reaching out to those who helped us in their own way. I want to tell you how much we appreciate your kindness and willingness to come to our aide, so please accept this Member's statement from all of us in these two communities as I say "thank you”.

Mr. Speaker, I am going to try to keep my thank you short. There will be appendixes in the statement which I would like to have deemed as read.

On Sunday, May 9th, I received a call from a friend in Yellowknife saying that he had spoke to Walmart and Walmart Canada, both Independent grocery stores (Rochi and Glen), YK Motors, Shoppers Drug Mart and Northern Food Services. Working with a logistics coordinator, there were four planes of food and water during the flood period. The two airlines, Air Tindi and Buffalo, helped get the food and supplies to Fort Simpson.

The Gwich'in Tribal Council purchased four brand new 14-cubic foot freezers and stocked them with meat supplies for the residents of Jean Marie and a similar amount to the community of Fort Simpson. The community of Deline had a fishing derby and shipped the caught fish to Fort Simpson for the residents of Fort Simpson and Jean Marie River to enjoy. As well, they provided two deep freezers, tarps and four coolers.

We had over 800 pounds of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pepsi and chips shipped to Fort Simpson. Talk about lifting the spirits of the community. 101 buckets of chicken fed over 300 families.

We saw groups, such as the Jean Marie River support group and the Fort Simpson support group formed to hold auctions to help raise funds. Thanks to the businesses and individuals who donated products to bid on. There was GoFundMe page that was also set up. We saw an anonymous donor donate 55,000 pounds of food and water for the community of Fort Simpson. The Dene Nation provided supplies to both communities as well as other communities.

I realize I have missed businesses and individuals, and I am sorry for this. However, please realize my praise goes out to all of you and I thank all donors for their generosity and kindness that was shown to both communities. God bless you all.

Recognizing Flood Response Support from Businesses and Individuals
Members' Statements

Page 2822

The Speaker (Honourable Frederick Blake Jr.)

Thank you, Member for Nahendeh. Members' statements. Returns to oral questions. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Acknowledgements. Oral questions. Member for Frame Lake.

Oral Question 756-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories - NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines Working Group
Oral Questions

June 3rd, 2021

Page 2822

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. My question is for the Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment.

Yesterday, I tabled meeting summaries from the GNWT-Chamber of Mines COVID-19 recovery working group. Can the Minister tell us whether she was aware of and authorized the full scope of discussions being held between senior ITI officials and the Chamber of Mines throughout these meetings. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 756-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories - NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines Working Group
Oral Questions

Page 2822

The Speaker (Honourable Frederick Blake Jr.)

Thank you, Member for FrameLake. Minister responsible for Industry, Tourism and Investment.

Oral Question 756-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories - NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines Working Group
Oral Questions

Page 2822

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this group was set up, if you can think back now a long 12 months back to June, when we were still just fresh coming out of the lockdown and we were still a long way from having the Business Advisory Council or Emerging Stronger or any other type of document, when the Department of ITI then reached out to the industry representatives that represent almost a third of our GDP to start to talk about COVID recovery, COVID relief, and, really, economic recovery and economic relief more generally.

So I can't take credit for the decision to get that going at that time and to get that work moving, but I've certainly have been aware that that working group exists. And I have often asked, you know, what the reaction of the group has been and what work they're at. I have certainly received briefing notes, which I think were included in this some-hundred page document that I received yesterday. And, again, you know, certainly well aware that that work is ongoing and intended to look at where industry and private industry can come together with government to find overlap to discuss efforts for economic recovery and regrowth of the mineral resource sector in keeping with the mandate of this government. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.