This is page numbers 1 - 28 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 --.

Topics

Minister's Statement 177-19(2): Dene National Memorial Walk
Ministers' Statements

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Speaker

Thank you, honourable Premier. Ministers' statements. Members' statements. Member for Nunakput.

Current Events and End of Session
Members' Statements

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Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I'd like to thank what Madam Premier just brought up about the Dené Nation walk for the 215 that we lost there in Kamloops. Our thoughts and prayers are with them from Nunakput. And, you know, as a third generation survivor as yourself, myself, Diane and Paulie, we're all in residential school in Inuvik and it's just like a sister- and brotherhood, you know, when you see them. It's a special thing, that bond you have with them. And we'll get through it. And we're still standing.

Mr. Speaker, I'd also like to -- let people, you know, up since the last month for the flooding and, you know, from Jean Marie River to Simpson everything, our thoughts and prayers are with them and hope everything works out. I know our government will work hard to get you where you have to get to get your lives sorted out. I know it's a mess now but we'll get -- you'll get through it. And I know our government is there for you.

Mr. Speaker, also, again yesterday I brought up my graduates and, you know, I'm really excited for them, and I'd really like to make sure that graduation day, be safe, make sure you're letting your parents know what's happening. And I'm pretty proud of them for Nunakput.

Mr. Speaker, also people hunting and fishing back home because winter just doesn't want to let go. And people are out fishing in Husky Lake and hunting on the coast right now, getting our geese for the summer and that, and harvesting so just be safe. In Ulukhaktok, they're hunting on the floe edge for ducks so just be safe out there and look forward to seeing everybody.

And, Mr. Speaker, I'd like to thank our frontline staff, all the hard work that they're doing in our small communities and thank them for all the hard work that they do.

For all those who lost loved ones this past few months, again, Mr. Speaker, thoughts and prayers for you and all your families. And to the Members, you know, it's -- summer's coming and spend a little bit of time with your family and enjoy it, and look forward to seeing my family here shortly. To my constituents, have a safe spring. And when summer starts, fishing and whaling will be safe and God bless you all. And thank the mayor and councils in our communities for all what they do for us in our community corps and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation. Thank you for what you do for our communities.

And I'd like to just say to Mr. Lafferty, who left the House today. 16 years service, he did so much for the Tlicho people and I'm proud to call him a colleague of mine. And he's been not only a colleague but a good friend and a big support of Nunakput, and I know his future endeavors, whatever he's going to do, he's going to do a good job. I just want to thank him for his service and a lot of good memories with that. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Current Events and End of Session
Members' Statements

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Speaker

Thank you, Member for Nunakput. Members' statements. Member for Hay River South.

Graduation in Hay River
Members' Statements

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Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate each of those students from Hay River, Enterprise and Katlodeeche First Nation who are graduating from Ecole Boreale, Diamond Jennesse Secondary School, Chief Sunrise Education Centre and Aurora College. I know that each of these graduates will not forget the year they graduated, nor will they forget the unique events of the COVID-19 pandemic surrounding their graduation. Nor will they forget that they are posed to be the last to ride a school bus in Hay River.

Mr. Speaker, we all appreciate and the bounds of commitment, sacrifice, and hard work these students put in to achieve their status as graduates. These students started their educational journey as young children and now have finished as young adults. That chapter has now closed, and it is time to take that next step, whether it is to further their education, join the work force, or, pending travel restrictions, travel the world. It is only the beginning of life's journey.

Mr. Speaker, the only advice I would offer each student is show respect and compassion for others, always be open to new ideas; and, most importantly, follow your dreams and your passions. This is your time.

Mr. Speaker, for the graduates to achieve the success each celebrates today, we must recognize the parents, caregivers, family, and those teachers who supported and encouraged them to succeed. One day, each graduate will look back and understand the importance of this achievement and hopefully convey that importance to their children and others.

I will also ask each student, as they walk across the stage to accept their diploma, to remember and never forget the suffering of those young students who were taken from their homes and now lay in unmarked graves.

Mr. Speaker, in closing, I congratulate the graduates of 2021 and wish them all success for the future. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Graduation in Hay River
Members' Statements

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Speaker

Thank you, Member for Hay River South. Members' statements. Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.

2021 Graduating Class
Members' Statements

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Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I would like to recognize the East Three Secondary graduating class of 2021, and all the graduates of Class 2021 in the Northwest Territories on achieving this milestone through a pandemic, as they had to spend their entire final school year under COVID restrictions. I wish you luck on the next chapter of your lives.

I would also like to congratulate the college, university, and trade students from my community and the Northwest Territories who will or have graduated this year. Like I said, the pandemic has put a real twist on learning in not just in the Northwest Territories but the entire country, you know, and possibly the world.

Mr. Speaker, you know, I'm very afraid of how this will be in the future. Our students have missed many days of school. Our attendance rates are lower than they have been, and this was already a problem. I'm just -- I just wish that, you know, that when we move forward after with all the restrictions that there is going to be a plan in place, Mr. Speaker, for our students to be able to be supported to be caught up so that this last 15 months was not a waste of their schooling, because we all know that moving forward, you know, you want to move on with your students, you want to move on with your classes, you want to graduate, you have future goals. I'm sure these grade 12 students have future goals but are all going to be put on hold whether or not they can attend university, whether or not they can, you know -- these are all things that we're going to be facing in the fall. So I just wanted to recognize that and congratulate all the hard work of all the students in the Northwest Territories, right from all the little junior kindergartens right up to our post-secondary.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to recognize that June is National Indigenous History Month, and Saturday is the 37th year of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement when it was signed, and there will be some COVID-restricted celebrations going on in my community, and I'm sure throughout the Inuvialuit Region. So I just wanted to recognize and hope to be -- to make it home to celebrate with them. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

2021 Graduating Class
Members' Statements

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Speaker

Thank you, Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes. Members' statements. Member for Great Slave.

Intimate Partner Violence
Members' Statements

June 4th, 2021

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Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, according to StatsCan's 2019 Family Violence Report, the Northwest Territories has the second-highest rate of all types of family and domestic violence amongst Canadian territories and provinces. Many Northerners have experienced or know someone who has been a victim of domestic violence. The NWT also has the highest rates of sexual violence in the country. Females comprise the majority of those experiencing sexual violence and males represent the majority of perpetrators. Family-related sexual violence is more than five times higher for women and girls than men and boys.

In the Northwest Territories, the rate of family violence reported to the police in 2019 was 9.9 times the national rate and was the second highest in Canada only to Nunavut. We also saw a 28 percent increase in the rate of intimate-partner violence in the Northwest Territories from 2018 to 2019, and I can only imagine that due to the stress from the pandemic, this rate is continuing to rise. Family violence is a crime. While many vital supports are in place, I believe we could take it one step further by adopting Clare's Law in the NWT.

Clare's Law provides people who feel at risk of domestic violence a way to access information about their partners so they can make informed choices about their safety. Clare's Law is named after a young woman in England, Clare Wood, who was murdered by her ex-partner who had a history of intimate-partner violence and was known to police. Clare's Law has been adopted by many provinces in Canada, and most recently came into effect in Alberta.

Clare's Law, generally known as the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, provides several ways for police officers to disclose a person's history of abusive behaviour to those who may be at risk. It is intended to reduce intimate-partner violence and could prove a useful tool here towards increasing safety for our people.

In the NWT, domestic violence situations are compounded by the remote location and lack of services in many of our communities; unaffordable, substandard housing; socioeconomic conditions; and a harsh climate where mental health issues, like Seasonal Affective Disorder, are aggravated. When I think of myself and the women I know in the North, it's rare to know someone who hasn't experienced some form of family or domestic partner violence. It is unacceptable that this has become the norm in the Northwest Territories therefore I urge this government to work harder on improving this situation for our people and they can start by adopting Clare's Law. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Intimate Partner Violence
Members' Statements

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Speaker

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

Graduation and Session Reflections
Members' Statements

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Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I'd like to take a moment and wish all the graduates from PWK High School in Fort Smith a big congratulations for concluding their high school studies. I was not able to attend the grad ceremony in person due to our session taking place here at the legislature. I did send some remarks which were read at the ceremony last Thursday. I want to thank all the parents, the teachers, the families and friends of the students, and the entire community for helping our students achieve their goals.

In addition, Mr. Speaker, I'd like to wish all the graduates of Aurora College Thebacha Campus, and all the colleges in the North, a big congratulations as well. The convocation ceremonies this year will include graduates from both the class of 2020 and 2021. I know these last 15 months have been difficult. But these challenges will only help you make -- make them stronger before the better. I wish all graduates of both schools all the best with their future endeavors.

I want to thank the staff for their resilience knowing that we are now the headquarters of the future polytechnic university. And I want to welcome all future students who attend school in Fort Smith.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to acknowledge and thank all front line and essential workers, teachers, and of course all of my amazing constituents of Fort Smith. I wish all the Indigenous leaders and the municipal governments, and all the peoples of the Northwest Territories, a safe and great summer. I want to wish a safe summer for all my colleagues and for you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

Graduation and Session Reflections
Members' Statements

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Speaker

Thank you, Member for Thebacha. Members' statement. Member for Yellowknife North.

Staffing Appeal Process
Members' Statements

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Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Before I bring up my concerns about human resources today, I want to acknowledge that the vast majority of GNWT hiring is fair, it succeeds in getting the best candidate for the job, and that our HR staff are hard working and do care about increasing -- creating an inclusive public service. Human resources is not an easy profession, and I thank the staff for their work. However, Mr. Speaker, as an MLA, people don't complain to me about successful hiring. They come to me with HR processes that fail. And, Mr. Speaker, our human resources program must be about building trust. It must be about building trust within the public service, and to the public, that we continually run a fair, open, and transparent process.

Mr. Speaker, I have some suggestions on how we can improve HR processes.

Mr. Speaker, we have to stop advertising jobs for less than one week. When a job is posted on a Friday and closed on a Monday, it is sending a message that we already know who we're intending to hire, and we're not giving the public a fair chance to apply on it.

Mr. Speaker, we need to stop coming up with excuses on why we want to screen people out. HR looks for key words and doesn't use common sense when looking at the descriptions. Mr. Speaker, I've heard all sorts of experiences -- complaints from people. And instead of saying they have human resource experience in the process, they said they managed a team and HR applied the process too strictly. It's as if they are training people to speak in bureaucratic doublespeak because they know that's how the GNWT operates.

Next, Mr. Speaker, please stop using the Star interview technique, especially for P1s. The STAR technique, which requires a person to first talk about a situation, then a task, then an action, and then a result, and if you fail to do that in that precise order, you do not get full scored on that question, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, this is not how people talk. It is a way that we all have to learn how to interview for government jobs. How about we set up our interviews for people, Mr. Speaker?

Mr. Speaker, people have stopped appealing HR jobs because they know there is no point to it. This week in the House, the Minister admitted that the appeals process is not about competencies. It is not about reviewing the job description. It is about making sure the collective bargaining and the processes are followed.

Mr. Speaker, consistent complaints have been made that the staffing appeals process leads to no hope of getting a clear answer of why you did not get the job. I'll have questions for the Minister. Thank you.

Staffing Appeal Process
Members' Statements

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Speaker

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

Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre
Members' Statements

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Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. The Prince of Whales Northern Heritage Centre, now, that's the old English name for the museum or heritage centre, has been the NWT's flagship cultural showcase and artifact repository since opening in 1979. Its mandate has been established through various strategies and reviews, most recently formalized in the culture inherent strategic framework 2015 to 2025. That framework clearly states that the centre's central role in, quote, "safeguarding the heritage", end of quote, of the Northwest Territories through object and records preservation, maintenance of an archive, the mounting of exhibits in collaboration with other heritage organizations and centres. The centres -- the museum's physical ability to carry out those tasks has been questioned in reviews of the state of the facility, the most recent in 2018. That assessment identified a large array of physical deficiencies, including the -- impeding the museum's ability to fulfill its mandate functions. Key deficiencies include the lack of an elevator or adequate storage space, poor heating and air conditioning hampering artifact preservation, lack of space for teaching, for hosting travelling exhibits, and poor energy efficiency. Last summer, there was a flooding of the basement that luckily did not result in major damage. Some of us have had tours of the facility and can attest firsthand to the shortcomings and immediate need for expansion and remediation.

Most recently, the department has embarked upon a, quote, "analysis of charging admission to the museum, an analysis of current revenue streams, and the identification of potential sources of revenue", end of quote. With no significant action on the physical defects and the ten-year strategic framework approaching its end, the narrow focus on revenue seems a wasted effort. We need to roll all this work up, stop studying the problems, and act. We can't even do something as basic as changing the name of this facility to reflect its northern reality.

A recently completed tourism 2025 road map to recovery clearly states that when COVID-19 travel restrictions are lifted, we need to concentrate on product development activities. To me, that's exactly what the museum also represents for visitors. We need to start making those investments in this facility now. I'll have questions for the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment on the future of the museum, how we can give it a modern name, and protect our heritage for future generations while ensuring tourists have something more to do and learn. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre
Members' Statements

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Speaker

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