This is page numbers 4687 - 4726 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 know.

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Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Frieda Martselos

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Thank you, Madam Chair. I just believe that a balanced approach to budgeting is important. You can't have it all one way, though. It has to be kind of balanced because your outputs when you're doing business with people within the territory and you're working for the members of the NWT, there's so much lack of infrastructure in the tiny communities and regional centres that those cannot be ignored. And if there is not enough staff that are qualified to make sure those deadlines and those projects are completed, then what is happening? You know, we have all this staff per capita, with bureaucratic staff in the territories per capita, to other individuals in the territories, it's phenomenal. So actually, you know, you wonder how is this -- how is the thinking going -- you think about it, and in a business world that would never happen.

One of the things that I am very concerned about is the homelessness in Fort Smith. And it must be addressed. You know, we came up with an innovative idea of tiny homes for a pilot project so the person actually would have a small home, that are homeless, and they take care of it and they look after it themselves. And those kind of ideas have got to be taken seriously. If you're just going to put them in another place where it's another burden to someone else, that's not going to build their esteem; that's not going to build them up to be a better person; it's not going to -- it's a really not a win-win situation. And I want the Cabinet and the Minister of Finance to rethink some of these issues.

And I think -- you know, and we talk about housing across the territories. I was able to visit a couple of communities this summer. You know, we went to a few and even in Lutselk'e, you know, you look around the community and, you know, you find the people very happy but, you know -- and with what -- with what they have. And, you know, compared to everywhere else, it's not enough. It's -- you know, you wonder how anyone could actually survive in a community where you don't have choices. And, you know, so we have to think a little bit differently because we serve a different population in the North. Where, you know, cost is phenomenal; you know, there's not a lot of infrastructure and people look forward to projects in their communities and in the regional centres, you know. And I am trying not to take away from Yellowknife. We're not trying to take away anything from here. Nothing shuts down here. But many times there are things that do shut down in our areas for lack of persistence from people who do not do their jobs in some offices. So I just want to make sure that, you know -- I like the balanced approach, but we also got to be very aware that in the business world, this would not take place, that you have the money, you spend the money, and you make money. You know, and if you don't start thinking in that way -- and, you know, I don't agree with some of my colleagues' aspects with regards to the Taltson Hydro Expansion. Yellowknife needs that Taltson Hydro Expansion; that's probably why it's going ahead. You know, Fort Smith is fine. But, you know, I'm very happy and I supported it 100 percent, 150 percent, 200 percent, because that's the way things are going in this world. And for greener energy, it's the perfect energy. Thank you, Madam Chair.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member for Thebacha. General comments, Member for Deh Cho.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Ronald Bonnetrouge

Ronald Bonnetrouge Deh Cho

Mahsi, Madam Chair. Madam Minister, it is noted here that highways and roads take up 30 percent, the largest chunk of the budget. I'm not sure what work this all entails but every year, we're fixing up pretty much maybe same sections every year or every two years. I'm wondering -- you know, the reason I'm looking at this and if we -- and, you know, if someone could live with, if there were potholes for several years. Because the hamlet of Enterprise, it is the only community in the whole of the Northwest Territories, without a school. They've been asking, requesting for a school I think for over 15 years, 20 years, and recently, over the last couple years, year or so, all the documentation was lost. Enterprise is the first community coming into the Northwest Territories. And there's not much attention being given to the community -- the hamlet of Enterprise in terms of infrastructure. And a school is much needed in the community of this size to draw people to the community, you know, and then you can build capacity within. All they're asking for is an elementary school. You know, they have very many concerns about the extreme weather conditions that are happening lately, probably due to climate change, and they have a lot of young children, and mothers have to wake up early, you know, to prepare them for the bus. So there's a safety concern in all this.

The hamlet of Enterprise, we need to help them to grow, and that begins with a school. You know, I'm not -- we're not asking for much here. We're asking for consideration to get the groundwork going and maybe preplanning at this stage, which is not a lot. Like I say, somebody could live with a little bit of potholes for a year or two longer and we could make this a reality for the hamlet of Enterprise. And together as a government, we can see, watch as the community grows. So I really hope that you would make consideration for that as the Minister of Finance. Mahsi.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Are there any further general comments? So we'll move on to the detail. We'll proceed to the detail tabled document beginning with the Legislative Assembly. Speaker, does the Speaker wish to bring witnesses into the Chamber?

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Frederick Blake Jr.

Madam Chair.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Sergeant-at-arms, please escort the witnesses into the Chamber.

Welcome. Mr. Speaker, would you please introduce your witnesses.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Madam Chair. With me today we have our sergeant-at-arms, Brian Thagard. Also Kim Wickens, our deputy clerk, Members and precinct services.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Committee has agreed to forego general comments on this section. Is the committee agreed to proceed to the detail in the tabled document?

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Okay, thank you. Committee, the Legislative Assembly begins on page 14, and we'll defer the Legislative Assembly totals and review the estimates by activity summary beginning at page 15, with the Office of the Clerk with information items on page 16. And I'm just going to remind Members that you have ten minutes to speak to the item if you wish to speak and to use your ten minutes if you're going to -- because I will not go back to the Member. So thank you.

Any questions on the Legislative Assembly? Member for Frame Lake.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Kevin O'Reilly

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Madam Chair, and thanks to our valued guests. So the information we've got here in the capital estimates are that this allocation of $200,000 is for building accessibility upgrades. Can we just get some details of what's expected here? Thanks, Madam Chair.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member for Frame Lake. Mr. Speaker.

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Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Madam Chair. Good question there, Member for Frame Lake. The proposed upgrade is to ensure that accessibility for employees and members of the public is a priority in creating barrier-free washrooms. Thank you.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Member for Frame Lake.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Kevin O'Reilly

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Madam Chair, and thanks to the Speaker for that information. So when we say "barrier-free washrooms" is that just on this main floor, or is it throughout the building? And is it, like widening of doors, stalls; generally what kind of work is going to be done? Thanks, Madam Chair.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Mr. Speaker.

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Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Madam Chair. Some of the improvements that will be conducted are actually on both floors, which includes design features that convert the two existing non-accessible washrooms at the end of the executive hallway into full accessibility -- accessible facilities and to ensure sufficient space for the upgrades, two additional rooms in the immediate area, janitor's closet, and Committee Room A storage room will be configured into new washroom spaces. Thank you.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Member for Frame Lake.

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Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Kevin O'Reilly

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

No, thanks. I want to thank the Speaker and our staff for doing the work to plan for this. I support this expenditure money to make the building more accessible, and I think the Speaker's going to get off a little easy today. But appreciate the work, thank you. Thank you, Madam Chair.

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Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Are there any further questions, comments under Legislative Assembly? Seeing no further questions. I'll call it.

Legislative Assembly, office of the clerk, infrastructure investments, $200,000. Does committee agree?

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Members. Please return now to the legislative summary found at page 14, Legislative Assembly, 2023-2024 Capital Estimates, $200,000. Member for Frame Lake.

Kevin O'Reilly

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Madam Chair. Nothing about our guests at the table here, but I move that this committee defer further consideration of the estimates for the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly at this time. Thank you, Madam Chair.

The Chair

The Chair Lesa Semmler

The motion is on the floor and being distributed. The motion is in order. To the motion.

Some Hon. Members

Question.