This is page numbers 5051 - 5086 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 housing.

Topics

Members Present

Hon. Diane Archie, Mr. Bonnetrouge, Hon. Paulie Chinna, Ms. Cleveland, Hon. Caroline Cochrane, Mr. Edjericon Hon. Julie Green, Mr. Jacobson, Mr. Johnson, Ms. Martselos, Ms. Nokleby, Ms. Semmler, Hon. R.J. Simpson, Mr. Rocky Simpson, Hon. Shane Thompson, Hon. Caroline Wawzonek, Ms. Weyallon-Armstrong.

The House met at 1:31 p.m.

---Prayer

Prayer
Prayer

Page 5051

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Welcome, everybody. Ministers' statements. Minister for Municipal and Community Affairs.

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs continues to be engaged in flood recovery, and I am pleased to provide Members with an overview of the efforts taken to date and the status of the ongoing work. Flood recovery is communities driven and supported by the territorial and federal governments. There are many actions to be coordinated:

  • address local concerns and impacts;.
  • provide territorial supports and processes;
  • working with the federal government; and,
  • The Government of the Northwest Territories continues to work with impacted community governments to ensure that they are safe and that their residents have the support they need.

The Government of the Northwest Territories will continue to support communities with emergency planning and flood recovery efforts, along with long-term work to address the climate change impacts we are experiencing with more frequent and serious natural disasters.

The 2021 flood directly impacted 91 residents and 35 businesses across five communities and costs approximately $38 million. The GNWT repaired and replaced homes and undertook mitigation measures to protect houses from future flood impacts. And in some cases, this meant rebuilding in a new location; while in others houses could be lifted.

The 2021 flood recovery project is in its final stages. There is one additional home to relocate and a small number of claims to be completed. Municipal and Community Affairs is working with Public Safety Canada on a reimbursement claim under the federal Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements.

The scope and impact of the 2022 flood is significantly larger than in 2021. As of September 15, 2022, the flood recovery cost for Hay River and the K'atlodeeche First Nation is $174 million, which may change as the recovery work continues. There have been 484 applications for disaster assistance, and 416 damage assessments completed. While many claims have been finalized, the department is working through the remainder as quickly as possible.

Madam Speaker, we continue to learn from the 2021 Flood Recovery Project and have made significant changes to how the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs supports communities and residents following a natural disaster. This includes:

  • creating a more efficient process for residents and businesses to apply for assistance;
  • improvements to the Disaster Assistance Program, and,
  • an increase in the amount of available disaster assistance.

Municipal and Community Affairs is finalizing the 2021 After Action Review, a standard practice after large scale emergencies. The 2021 Review is scheduled for completion in early 2023. The 2022 Review is currently being planned and details will be publicly available soon.

The difficult work of mitigation planning is also underway. The Department of Municipal and Community Affairs is engaged closely with the Town of Hay River and the federal government to investigate federal funding opportunities for mitigation projects identified by the town. Arrangements have also been made for a community-level mitigation assessment for the K'atlodeeche First Nation. Mitigation planning is complex, and it will take time before decisions are made about which community-level mitigation projects are available for federal funding.

Madam Speaker, I want to assure residents that although we cannot control how or when natural disasters may occur, we are focusing efforts to ensure we are as prepared as possible. These preparations include completing a flood survey report with input from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Town of Hay River, and the K'atlodeeche First Nation. This is essential to flood preparation and developing mitigation measures.

We are advocating with the federal government for the development of funding programs. These programs would support long-term planning to address the impact of climate change on northern communities, from the increasing risk of floods and wildfires to permafrost degradation and shoreline erosion.

Madam Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you, first and foremost, to the tireless efforts of all the volunteers who showed up for their friends, neighbours, and for their fellow residents. Thank you to community governments and their staff for the spirit of cooperation and collaboration. Thank you to the frontline staff who have been on the ground through all the response and recovery work over the last two years.

I have said that the 2021 and 2022 floods were unprecedented. The time, effort, and complexity of the recovery has been unprecedented and has meant a tremendous amount of work for everybody involved. We are stronger when working together and we should all be proud of the resilience, generosity, and determination of Northerners when faced with emergencies. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Ministers' statements. Minister of Finance.

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Madam Speaker, as the Minister responsible for the public service I can say without question that the employees are the GNWT's most important resource. An engaged workforce that is committed to its work is critical to the delivery of quality programs and services to residents across the territory. This is why the Government of the Northwest Territories, like many other public and private sector employers in Canada, wants to ensure that public servants are engaged and satisfied at work.

This past year, the GNWT completed the first Employee Engagement and Satisfaction Survey since 2016. This survey is conducted by jurisdictions across Canada. It measures employee commitment and satisfaction across all government departments and regions and serves as an important pulse check so that we can understand and respond to any areas needing improvement. The results of the survey guide dialogue between management, employees, and human resource specialists. The 2021 Employee Engagement and Satisfaction Survey response rate was 48.0 percent.

Madam Speaker, the majority of this year's survey indices remained relatively unchanged from the GNWT's 2016 scores. The three categories where the GNWT aggregate scored above the previous survey were development, leadership, and diversity and inclusion, with diversity and inclusion having the highest increase, 5.8 percentage points, as compared to the 2016 score. In comparison to other jurisdictions, the GNWT scored above the interjurisdictional average in over half of the questions, including for all statements under the capacity, development and excellence and innovation categories, and for two-thirds of statements under the culture category. Most notably, the GNWT scored 11.4 percentage points higher than the interjurisdictional average on the statement "my organization supports my work-related learning and development."

Madam Speaker, although we scored better in some categories than other jurisdictions, there are areas of improvement that need to be addressed, one being employee morale. Since the last 2016 survey, employee morale has gone down by 3.4 percent. While some of that decline is likely the result of running this survey in the midst of a pandemic that affected work-life balance, limited travel, and contributed to higher turnover rates; I do not consider this to be the only challenge we face, and it does not alter the need to take action.
There are also some notable disparities in scores between departments. Appropriately, departments have received individual guides with detailed results to help them interpret the survey results so that they can take the appropriate steps to address some of the challenges identified by their employees.

In addition, Madam Speaker, the Department of Finance is also establishing an interdepartmental working group with the aim of improving workplace satisfaction across the GNWT. This working group will provide concrete meaningful actions and resources for departments and agencies to adapt.

I want to thank all employees who took the time to complete the Employee Engagement and Satisfaction Survey. The GNWT values your input and will do everything it can to ensure you are working in a safe, healthy environment that contributes to your success and the overall success of the communities in which you serve.

Our employees' outlook, priorities and expectations are changing, Madam Speaker, and we need to remain live to these changes and adapt accordingly. I look forward to seeing the good work that will come from these survey results. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Ministers' statements. Minister for Housing NWT.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Madam Speaker, Housing Northwest Territories marks the 50th year. With our strategic renewal underway, Housing NWT is seeking to make improvements to the way we do business; and, in particular, focus on building and establishing stronger partnerships. Leading up to the National Housing Day on November 22, I would like to share with you some exciting things happening as well as we celebrate the people who have made a difference in supporting Housing's work over the years.

Madam Speaker, in previous statements I have shared with this House changes that we are making to improve our approach under the renewal, including our focus on collaboration with Indigenous governments. With our new mandate and a commitment to reconciliation and collaboration with Indigenous governments on their own housing priorities, we believe we are positioned to work together into the future for the benefit of all NWT residents who require housing supports.

Madam Speaker, as I have said many times in this House, the housing crisis cannot be solved by Housing alone. While recent federal funding announcements have led to many new and exciting projects, I also want to recognize the many community-based organizations that have worked with Housing NWT over the years to address unique needs in their community.

Housing has a small program called the Community Housing Initiative Program, and through that program we have supported organizations with engaging support to develop their community housing plans. We have seen organizations work to create housing solutions for their staff housing needs, and we have seen organizations work to support the homeowners in their communities by doing much needed furnace servicing and building ramps for seniors in need. These local organizations, with support from Housing NWT, have supported the local needs and priorities in their communities. Now with the significant amount of federal funding flowing to Indigenous governments across the Northwest Territories, I only see opportunities for these partnerships and supports to grow and multiply.

While the renewal is about positioning ourselves for the future, it is also important to recognize our history. In the past 50 years the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation, now Housing NWT, has existed, it has been supporting Northerners with housing needs. To do this, there have always been dedicated and passionate employees behind the scenes, working for the residents of our communities.

On National Housing Day, I want to celebrate the hard work and perseverance of so many individuals, past and present, who have worked for our local housing organizations, our district offices, and our offices here in Yellowknife. There are so many board members and contractors who have been involved in housing at the local level. Many of these individuals have gone above and beyond in carrying out their duties. I have heard stories about employees helping flood victims safely evacuating from their homes, helping fire victims find a safe place to spend the night, and helping clients navigate government programs and services. Housing NWT is composed of dedicated individuals whose hard work changes lives and improves communities. As we mark our 50th anniversary, we will be highlighting some of these incredible employees.

Madam Speaker, we want residents of the Northwest Territories to mark this anniversary with us. Housing NWT is encouraging our local housing offices to have community-based celebrations to mark National Housing Day on November 22 and acknowledge the 50th Anniversary of Housing NWT. Whether they hold open houses, throw a feast, hold a skating event at their arena, we are hopeful that these community events will provide an opportunity to celebrate all the local housing boards and organizations do to support housing programs in their communities.

I am pleased to announce that Housing NWT is working towards developing an educational grant that will be awarded annually to NWT students entering a field related to housing. Housing NWT already strongly supports the development of apprenticeships across the Northwest Territories in the maintenance trades. These scholarships will provide additional support for those who are entering into the field of study related to housing services. Details for this initiative are currently being developed, such as how students will be able to apply and how the recipients will be selected. I look forward to sharing these details in advance as we launch of the application process.

Madam Speaker, Housing NWT feels strongly that it has, and will continue to, play a significant role in the development of housing capacity across many fields in the Northwest Territories like maintenance, architectural, engineering, property management, and board development. It is our hope that these new educational grants encourage future generations to follow their passion and pursue excellence.

As Housing NWT advances its renewal strategy, I will continue to work with the federal partners, Indigenous governments, Indigenous organizations, community governments, and stakeholders to make housing across the Northwest Territories more affordable and accessible to those most in need.
Mahsi, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Ministers' statements. Members' statements. Member for Thebacha.

Member's Statement 1281-19(2): Housing
Members' Statements

Page 5054

Frieda Martselos

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, today I feel I must continue to share my frustration and disappointment with the overall state of Housing NWT and its service delivery to all people in the NWT.

Madam Speaker, throughout this entire term, all Regular MLAs have shared stories about their constituents' negative experiences with Housing NWT, and I don't blame them. The overall state of the housing units across the NWT are several decades old and are in severe disrepair. Most of the required repairs in public housing go unaddressed for many weeks, months, or even years by housing staff. So in cases where significant repairs to a public housing unit are required but housing staff fail to examine or repair said damages, is the onus on the tenant to cover all the damages? At what point does Housing NWT take responsibility for negligence towards the maintenance of housing units? Where is the line drawn?

Moreover, Madam Speaker, several of my colleagues have recently highlighted the issue of housing arrears, particularly for low income people and the difficulty for many in paying off their housing arrears. I agree with my colleagues that there is a real need for this government to examine all policies around housing arrears. Everyone's situation is different, but often it is low income or vulnerable people who owe housing arrears in public housing and it takes them considerable time to pay that off. There has got to be a mechanism of relief or additional support provided to these types of people in situations who are indebted with mounting housing arrears.

In addition, Madam Speaker, I support the idea of having a competent and dedicated board of local housing authorities because they provide a local perspective and a voice on all housing matters within our communities. At least, they're supposed to. However, it's been brought to my attention that the local housing authority in Fort Smith does not have a full slate of members right now, which is concerning. The reasons for vacancies are varied. But it is my understanding that once a board member is chosen by the local housing authority, it takes three months to get approval out of Yellowknife from Housing NWT to confirm any new board members. That is not acceptable. It is a bureaucracy like which disempowers local housing --

Member's Statement 1281-19(2): Housing
Members' Statements

Page 5054

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Member for Thebacha, your Member's statement has expired.

Member's Statement 1281-19(2): Housing
Members' Statements

Page 5054

Frieda Martselos

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

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

---Unanimous consent granted

That is not acceptable. It is bureaucracy like that which disempowers local housing boards and gives greater power to Housing NWT to dictate local housing decisions.

In closing, Madam Speaker, I really don't like ending a session like this, but I hope the housing Minister will take note of all the concerns we have on this side of the House and will enact some positive concrete changes within Housing NWT as soon as possible. And I hope to see more houses built and more retrofits done in Fort Smith because there hasn't been anything new on this for this year. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Member's Statement 1281-19(2): Housing
Members' Statements

Page 5055

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

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

Rocky Simpson

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, this past four weeks my Member's statements focused on those issues residents of Hay River have concerns with and that have implications for the continued existence of our community.

Madam Speaker, one must realize, and as long as I can remember, the community of Hay River has relied on the presence of marine transportation infrastructure, whether for commercial fishing or the transportation of goods and equipment. Without a navigable harbour and channel, we may well lose our ability to provide a service that, for decades, has sustained our community and provided services to northern communities and regions accessible only by marine vessels and air.

Madam Speaker, losing the harbour could result in:

  • losing marine infrastructure;
  • losing the coast guard base;
  • losing fisheries and oceans; and,
  • the demise of the commercial fishing industry.

That, Madam Speaker, would further impact other Hay River infrastructure, business, and jobs. It may also result in an exodus of residents who find themselves unemployed and with no employment opportunities within the community. We are already seeing a decline in our population, and we must do something to reverse that before it becomes a trend.

Madam Speaker, if access to the harbour is lost, where would that leave Hay River and the Northwest Territories? Currently, we all know that the railhead terminates in Hay River, and we all know that highway freight destined for those isolated and remote communities, or resource development projects, ends up at Island C where it is transferred to barges.

Madam Speaker, we have Cheetah Resources on the east side of Great Slave Lake needing access to our harbour for marshalling of their rare earth mineral concentrate. We have Osisko Metals needing the railhead to transport ore from the old Pine Point mine site to processing facilities in the south. We have projects, such as Sabina Gold in Nunavut, relying on our harbour to get material and equipment to site.

Madam Speaker, as this House does not resume sitting until February next year, then going forward and at every opportunity between now and then, I expect this government to relay a strong message to the federal government and that message being that the revitalization of the Hay River Harbour is a priority for the stakeholders, for the town of Hay River, and for the Northwest Territories, and that we need their support. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Members' statements. Member for Monfwi.

Jane Weyallon Armstrong

Jane Weyallon Armstrong Monfwi

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I want to talk about access to electrical power for Tlicho residents living on Highway No. 3.

Madam Speaker, the Tlicho people have historically lived in small encampments and have come together for special events such as weddings, funerals, successful hunt, and other celebrations. Some Tlicho residents still live in encampments, cabins, and houses along Highway No. 3. Madam Speaker, in the House on June 3rd of this year, the Minister of Infrastructure called the Whati Transmission Line, quote, "a key initiative under our 2030 Energy Strategy," end quote. But what is the plan for getting these homes along Highway No. 3 off diesel power?

Madam Speaker, the Minister told the House the Whati Transmission Line will occur 100 percent on Tlicho lands, and she said that the Department of Infrastructure and Tlicho government were working together, quote, "to determine an acceptable routing corridor for the transmission line between the Snare Forks hydroelectricity facility and Whati." When the authorities came to Behchoko to request access through Tlicho lands for the power lines from Snare hydro to Yellowknife, they promised Behchoko residents would have free access to the power on Tlicho lands. Madam Speaker, residents along the highway cannot always depend on portable generators to power their homes and their freezers after a successful hunt. We already have a fibre optic line along the highway and the addition of electrical lines might be accomplished at reasonable price. I will have question for the Minister of Infrastructure at the appropriate time. Thank you, or Finance.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

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

Katrina Nokleby

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, November is Indigenous Disability Month. According to the most recent data, in 2012, there were over 2700 persons with disabilities in the NWT. Of those, 62 percent were Indigenous yet the total Indigenous population of the NWT in 2012 was only 48 percent.

Vital Abel was a former NWT Legislative Assembly employee who left behind a legacy of strength and inspiration. Vital Manuel Abel would have been familiar to MLAs in the '90s as the former assistant to Premier Stephen Kakfwi. Vital was from Fort Good Hope, where he was born with developmental disabilities caused by spina bifida. He spent his life in a wheelchair but was taught from a young age to not let his challenges limit him.

Vital's parents taught him to never depend on anyone. He arrived in Yellowknife in Grade 10 and attended Sir John Franklin High School in my riding. After graduating, he worked in MLA Stephen Kakfwi's office for over ten years. Premier Kakfwi referred to Vital as a good worker, who was faithful and positive and always on time. Vital was an avid churchgoer who never missed a service and was always the first to show up for worship. His parents were so proud of him and all he accomplished in his short life. Vital died in 2006 at the age of 32. Spiritually, he was incredibly strong and continues to be a source of inspiration to people in our territory.

Persons with disabilities in the North face many challenges, including having to relocate to Yellowknife to access supports. Often this means entire families move with children, as is the case of the family in Lanky Court I spoke of yesterday. As winter sets in, we must remember that what many of us take for granted, the ability to walk through the freshly fallen snow, poses great challenges for others. For people with disabilities, this means they can no longer go to school, no longer easily pick up groceries, no longer run other small errands. They fear fire because the simple act of leaving their apartment is no longer possible.

Madam Speaker, REITs, landlords, and Housing NWT all have a responsibility to ensure that the entrances and walkways of all the buildings in Yellowknife are free of snow and ice such that every person in our territory can move about freely, without barriers. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

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

Rylund Johnson

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Our government's open government policy commits to our public service being open by design to build a government that is open by default. And Madam Speaker, it is my experience that the exact opposite is true - that, in fact, we are closed by design and closed by default. And this is shown, Madam Speaker, in the repeated requests that myself and committees have made for information that is inevitably either marked confidential or not provided at all. Every year when the capital budget comes forward, I give the same speech about wanting to see the same documents made public. And to date, none of them have been made public. I am going to just summarize a few of those documents that I believe should be public and if ATIPP would certainly be made public, the government should proactively disclose.

One is the GNWT's 20-year capital needs assessment. This is a document that shows the GNWT what it thinks it needs to build over the next 20 years. I think this would be very helpful for residents to look in their community and maybe they could see when their school or health centre was due to be replaced. Additionally, the government has a five-year needs assessment. This one is a little more particular and has actually had some financial input put into it whereas the 20-year needs assessment is more of a wish list, and we know things are going to change. It doesn't necessarily mean. But five years out, quite a bit of financial work has been done and it's actually more likely we're going to build that. This document exists. I think it would be great public information. Once again, a five-year capital plan of any sort we have should be made public. Right now we have a one-year snapshot of what's being built with no timeline of what is actually occurring, whether things are on time, whether something was completed, and it takes repeated questions in this House to actually figure out when a project was finished on budget and on time, as many are not.

Additionally, Madam Speaker, you can see in our capital budget a number of just one-line descriptions of projects but we know there is a briefing note describing each of those projects in a little bit more detail. I think this would be great public information. Perhaps someone is interested to know why the student records module replacement completion date moves up every single year it is presented in the capital budget. And I'd rather not waste all of my committee's time and all of Cabinet Members' time asking year after year if we could simply disclose that information in the briefing note which already exists. I'll have questions for the Minister of Finance, who presently holds all of these documents, whether she will make them public. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Members' statements. Member for Deh Cho.

Ronald Bonnetrouge

Ronald Bonnetrouge Deh Cho

Mahsi, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, as this is the final day of the fall session, I would like to commend my colleagues on both sides of the floor for understanding each other. We all come here to make a difference and to make life easier and better for the residents of this vast territory. It is very trying in our efforts when having to deal with limited and challenging budgets for all departments. The staff who put up with us day in and day out, you're all loved, and we appreciate everything that you do for us.

To the ones who live with deep depression and feel there is no other way out, believe me you are loved, and we are all here for you. Your life doesn't have to fall to pieces as there most likely is a better day. That could be later in the day, it could be tomorrow, or it could be the next day, and perhaps all the other days of your life. Please do not give up; we care.

I would like to commend the housing Minister for providing assistance to the young family with the baby in Paulatuk by providing them a warm house that gives them comfort from the cold environment of our North. Mahsi to the Minister.

Madam Speaker, in closing, I would like to wish everyone who may be struggling with addictions and chronic diseases the best of health and the warm embrace of our Creator. We don't ask for anything more than the simplest things that life has to offer. Mahsi.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Members' statements. Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.

Edjericon

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Today marks 266 days since I was elected to this House to represent the constituents of Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh and the communities of N'dilo, Dettah, Lutselk'e, and Fort Resolution. It's also 333 days until the next election. I want to reflect on my experience to date we had right into the final year of this Assembly.

Madam Speaker, as soon as I arrived here, I couldn't help but feel that the GNWT train already left the station and I and my constituents had been left out -- left behind. No matter what I do or try to catch up, it seems like there isn't anything that I could do to slow down this train. And what I mean by that, Madam Speaker, is that anytime I bring up issues of housing or anything like that, I put that into the train, it gets thrown out, because it bounces off the door because the policies that hinder our people from trying to improve their lives.

So Madam Speaker, this year's budget was $2.2 billion. My riding got $3.4 million, 1.7 of a percent. So that's concerning to me. And housing got $30 million for CIRNAC this year and next year, but yet we're fixing the public housing. And that doesn't make sense when we have a housing crisis here in the Northwest Territories.

Yesterday the Finance Minister said, in response to my questions around fiscal deficits, "I do not believe there are any political pressure on us to do or not do anything as a department are not tied to the political whims of any particular administration."

Madam Speaker, I respectfully disagree with the Minister on this point. I reject the notion that the priorities of elected Members are whims to be discarded when they don't fit into the planning cycles of the GNWT departments or the priorities of the deputy minister. Political priorities should be the most important consideration to everything the GNWT does.

The priorities don't come from political parties or lobbyists like down south. They come from our people, Madam Speaker. Your job as Cabinet is to deliver out the priorities of all 19 elected Members. Our residents expect results, and sadly progress has been barely filled on the most pressing issues of the day. If this is the foundation of our consensus system, then we are deep in trouble. Madam Speaker, I would have some questions at appropriate time. Mahsi.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

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

Jackie Jacobson

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Today, Madam Speaker, I just want to say thank you to all the Members here in the House, both sides that we worked the last three weeks together to try do good for our territory, and I think we did a good job and we'll just keep moving ahead and working together. There's some issues that need to be dealt with but we'll get them dealt with. And just by saying that, my colleague Mr. Bonnetrouge really said it well in regards to thanking the staff and really we're able to do our jobs because of them, all the research that goes into some of the stuff that we deal with.

I'd really like to thank all my community, my mayors, my councillors, my community corp chairs, the board of directors for the community corporations, the elders committees, my local DEAs, and especially, these days, is our recreation staff and the hamlet staff that are doing so much in all our communities to provide service for our constituents.

I'd also like to say thank you to my CA Vince Teddy. Thank you for all the hard work that you do for me. And I wouldn't be able to do what I do without my wife Jenny. I'd like to thank my wife Jenny because I wouldn't be able to do what I do without her support back home. And also would like to make sure that on November 11th, making sure that we keep that special day and all Members make sure, if possible, to make it to the Remembrance Day ceremonies wherever we are at the time. Make sure to do so in our great territory. Also I would like to thank our veterans for their service, our active members, 1 CRPG, and all my Ranger brothers and sisters, to have that day close at hand. And everybody, we'll see you in two weeks. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

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

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, health system researchers identify two potential ways to reduce health system costs - prevention through public health education and ensuring people take their medication. When I was a university student, our high school English teacher and his wife were sent to Edmonton where their baby was born premature. I went up to U of A Hospital where they sat teary eyed waiting for their tiny baby to finish her first surgery. Their baby Katie survived her surgery, persevered through childhood, set territorial records at this year's Canada Summer Games, and is now a third year university science student with a 3.95 GPA. Today, Katie is the NWT's only resident with cystic fibrosis.

Katie, who's sights are set on speech pathology, is deciding where to accept a job offer on graduation. But the cost of her medication plays a key role in deciding where to call home. Katie takes two medications - a nationally publicly-funded Trikafta at $300,000 per year and a second one that the GNWT helps support at $12,000 per year. If proposed changes to the specified disease program move forward, Katie will no longer receive GNWT support for her medication. Ironically, half of the Canadian provinces, also desperate for speech pathologists, will cover Katie's second medication.

Madam Speaker, Katie's story is one of many. I also serve single parents who exceed the income threshold but live on the poverty line with the North's high cost of living. NWT residents who sit above the income threshold but whose medications would cost roughly $20,000 a year, and others who would choose more opportunities for family and reduce medications for themselves.

The income threshold chosen by the GNWT are below liveable wages, and liveable wages do not account for high costs of life saving medications. Beyond the strain this will put on northern residents, this also stands to further strain our healthcare system.

With this change, many Northerners will join other Canadians who face decisions to not fill their prescriptions, take smaller doses than ordered, or cut back on food, heat, and family expenses to try to cover drug costs that, for some, will be suffocating, and mismanaging medications ultimately drives up hospitalization.

Hospitals now dominate all healthcare systems in high income countries. Canadian annual hospital care is roughly $77 billion. The average hospital stay in the NWT is almost twice the national average at just over, ironically, $12,000. Madam Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement for the first time this sitting.

---Unanimous consent granted

Very big thank you, colleagues. Madam Speaker, this is not a whole-of-system thinking policy change. This is a quick fix that looks at one budgetary line item in a vacuum with potentially harmful impacts to the health of other Northerners and the health of the system's collective bottom line. I urge this government to reconsider. They do not have a grasp on how many people will no longer qualify for support and, ultimately, what the cost will be to the system. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

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

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, with COVID pandemic moving to an endemic we are seeing the closure of events moving to opening of events. I'm happy to advise the House that Open Sky hosted its 20th festival at the beginning of September. I was able to partake in some of the events during the September long weekend. The festival is usually celebrated annually, and this was the first festival since 2019 and the beginning of the COVID pandemic.

They celebrated with a weekend full of workshops, vendors, and music. For this special festival they chose the theme of "Deh Cho Boogie" with a logo designed of a guitar playing kiwi bird. This year was special to them and the community as it was their 20th anniversary and to remember the late founding member Lindsey "Kiwi" Waugh.

Throughout the festival, they counted about 95 to 120 visitors per day, which was a great turnout for them. Visitors were able to participate in one or more of the 15 different workshops offered during the weekend, such as soapstone carving, earring making, or painting, Listen to some music, meeting with friends, and enjoy some of the local bakery and seeing what the other eight vendors had to offer in locally made arts and crafts.

One of the highlights was the cake cutting on Saturday. The hosts were lucky to have Pat Waugh, her daughter and grandchildren, do the cake cutting. This event attracted lots of people to stop by which then enjoyed other activities being offered.

Organizers would like to thank everybody who joined them in celebrating the 20th anniversary, participating in the workshops, and Fort Simpson for being such a welcoming community. As well, a huge shout out to all the sponsors without whom they wouldn't be able to offer such an amazing event.

Madam Speaker, we are already looking forward to next years festival. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife South.

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, as MLAs, one of the platforms that we use to raise support for causes is here in the Chamber. Younger generations, meanwhile, are often very effective on platforms like TikTok and YouTube to get their voices out to those who will listen. One of my young constituents is one of those youths using social media platforms very effectively, and I want her to know that people are listening.

She had recently posted to Facebook a video sharing the reality of what too many young people are still facing every day at school. The video showed, for example, what it feels like to be someone who doesn't look athletic, as in relatively thin in stature, let's say, and so may be the last person chosen to participate on a team and yet also faces negative judgmental comments along the way. It showed an example of the kinds of stereotyping that happens based on a person's experience and appearance.

For another example, that a female who might not dress in what is a traditionally feminine manner can be judged for not being female enough. But if she dresses in a manner that magazine or pop culture tells us is feminine, they too can then be labelled for a variety of derogatory comments and ways. As if one's choice of clothing implies some kind of commitment about our values, our morals, our aspirations, or our desires.

Madam Speaker, what my young constituent had to say about that, I quote, "it sucks." I remember to this day comments made about my clothing that had, by necessity, to be inexpensive. I remember to this day comments about my body shape because it didn't portray the athleticism that was underneath it. I don't carry any hurt from that any longer, but I do carry an awareness of the importance of kindness and the need for courage to ask why we say such things to one another in the first place.

Madam Speaker, I see so much strength in young people today, particularly women and gender-diverse people. I see people wearing clothing that is about style and not necessarily conforming to rigid or narrow norms of beauty. And I see people enjoying activities because of the joy that they bring and not only because it is something they are supposed to do, or worse, not to. Clearly, we are not yet where we should be in terms of being the truly inclusive, respectful, or equitable society. But I'm very proud for my young constituent for getting this message out. I would not have had the courage to call out this kind of negativity when I was her age. But I do have the opportunity now to support and raise her voice from where I stand today. With youth like her and her friends out there, I can see and do believe we are on a good path to accelerate social change. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Members' statements. Member for Range Lake.

Caroline Cochrane

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Madam Speaker. This week I've delivered Member statements on the theme of Remembrance Day. As Remembrance Day approaches, I want to take some time to honour those who aren't always talked about when it comes to the sacrifices made by the men and women who represent our nation and help defend democracy so people around the world can live free of oppression.

Madam Speaker, when someone is asked to defend our nation, they leave behind family, friends, children, parents, and loved ones. These people continue to go to work, take care of their home and children, they live their lives while wondering if their loved one will ever come home again. The wounds of war stretch far beyond the battle fields where men and women have fought valiantly in the name of their country. The lives of many have been impacted by war. It's important we remember and honour those who continue to live with the tragic impacts of combat and peacekeeping missions that Canada has been involved with during its existence. Many of us will hopefully never have to experience the dread of hugging a loved one as they get shipped off to war. Many of us will never have to experience that knock on the door when they find out their loved one won't be coming home. Many of us will never have to fill that hole left by a husband, wife, partner, child, or friend, who gave their life in the name of freedom.

To all those who have experienced the challenges of having someone close to you serve their country, we see you. We appreciate all that you have sacrificed. As a nation, we are here for you. Madam Speaker, on behalf of all my family who are watching, I want to say that we love you, Mom. Tally ho, Dad. Madam Speaker, Lest we Forget.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Members' statements. Returns to oral questions. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Great Slave.

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Katrina Nokleby

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Madam Speaker. There are a lot of people before -- first, I'd like to acknowledge Tom McLennan who is one of our newly elected Yellowknife city councillors. Welcome to the Chamber.

I also have a group -- there's a group here from -- I believe it's pronounced Videa. And in that group we have Kate Herchak, Taleetha Tait, Diane Anawak-Dunford, Ruth Kaviok, Delaney Drachenberg, and Twyla Etchinelle. I'm not sure if I'm saying everyone's name right, I apologize, but as a Nokleby I feel that pain. So thank you, and welcome to the Chamber.

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The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Thebacha.

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Frieda Martselos

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Madam Speaker, I'd like to recognize a constituent of Thebacha, Ms. Sheila Sharp, who has come to Yellowknife today to accept an award that she will be receiving tonight. I will share more about that during acknowledgements. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

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The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Nunakput.

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Jackie Jacobson

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Today I'd like to welcome CEO of Arctic Research Foundation, Mr. Adrian Schimnowski, in the House. And then we have my CA Vince Teddy. Thank you, and welcome to the House.

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The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.

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Edjericon

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I'd just like to welcome everybody in the gallery into the House. I also want to recognize our translators that are here today. I want to say mahsi to you all. In particular, I want to recognize Dennis Drygeese, Tom Unka, Mary Rose Sundberg. Lena Drygeese, she was here at the beginning of the session; I just want to recognize her as well. And Jonas Lafferty. Again, all to the translators, mahsi.

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The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Yellowknife North.

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Rylund Johnson

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I'd just like to recognize two of our Yellowknife North pages who are here this week - Willem Kanigan and Cole Avery. Thank you, guys.

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The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you. I'd like to welcome -- if we have missed anyone in the gallery today, welcome to the chamber and I hope you're enjoying the proceedings. It's always nice to have an audience.

Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Acknowledgements. Member for Thebacha.

Frieda Martselos

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Madam Speaker, I would like to acknowledge Thebacha constituent Sheila Sharp, who received a life saving award from the Order of St. John. Sheila was recognized for her heroic efforts in saving three individuals from a fatal car crash in 2018 along the Fort Smith Highway.

The mission of the order of St. John is to prevent and relieve sickness and injury and to act to enhance the health and well-being of people anywhere in the world. Congratulations, Sheila.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Acknowledgements. Oral questions. Member for Hay River South.

Rocky Simpson

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, can the Minister responsible for MACA confirm if his department has or is considering funding the Kole Crook Fiddle Association proposal to host a fiddle jamboree in his home community coming this January in Fort Simpson? Thank you.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Minister of MACA.

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you. I'm going to embarrass the a Member a bit here. I'd like to thank him very much for his advocacy for the youth, especially when it comes to something as important as recreation opportunities for our youth. He's been very good at getting across the message, whether it's with his riding or other ridings, so I'd like to thank him for that.

What I can do is I can confirm the department is working closely with the Kole Crook Fiddle Association to support their upcoming fiddle jamboree in January and MACA and Kole Crook Fiddle Association has entered into a one-year funding agreement to support the fiddle jamboree this year. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Rocky Simpson

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, this is a little more personal I guess. Will the Minister let us know how proficient he is in the art of playing the fiddle and if he will be taking part in the fiddle jamboree? Thank you.

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, and I thank the Member for that. I'm really good at TV control, the stereo. I can play the fiddle perfectly that way. I can actually find it on YouTube. I started out very young trying the fiddle, and I was told to go play sports. So I enjoy it. I enjoy the fiddle, but yeah, that's all I can say. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Rocky Simpson

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, will the Minister confirm if his department is aware of all the excellent work the Kole Crook Fiddle Association provides to youth throughout the NWT, which includes

  • Fiddling music lessons for children and youth of all ages;
  • Having young advanced fiddlers teach the beginners;
  • Lending and gifting instruments to those that may not be able to afford them;
  • Conducting work shops in communities throughout the NWT; and,
  • Providing students an opportunity to participate in music and music festival and events.

Thank you.

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I get to proudly say I was part of the first Kole Crook Fiddle organization when one of the cofounders, Lewis Beck, reached out to the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs and said hey, I got this great idea, we'd like to recognize Kole Crook for all his great work and this is what we're trying to do. So the Member explained perfectly what the Kole Crook Fiddle Association does. But I think the most important thing it's the love that they're able to provide our youth. This has made a huge impact on a number of youth across the Northwest Territories. So I can again say that the department is well aware of the work that this organization is doing, and we're very happy to be coworkers working with them moving forward. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

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

Rocky Simpson

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, the Kole Crook Fiddle Association is committed to teaching not only youth but people of all ages the art of playing the fiddle and other musical instruments. It is important that this government support not only sports but the arts as well.

Therefore, Madam Speaker, will the Minister commit to considering a proposal from the Kole Crook Fiddle Association for a three-year funding agreement that would provide longevity and support for the excellent work they do for our youth in the NWT? Thank you.

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, again, it just reverts to the first question. When the Member reached out to me, we had a conversation and we looked at their one-year proposal. And one of the things we talked about was we need to expand it. We can expand it for up to three years. So I guess I can commit to a new multi-three-year agreement with the Kole Crook Fiddle Association on top of the one year we already got right now. The association submitted a proposal. We're going back and forth to fix up the second and third year again. So again, I would like to confirm that we are working on a multiyear agreement with them. And, again, I thank the Member for keeping us on our toes and advocating for this organization moving forward. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Monfwi.

Jane Weyallon Armstrong

Jane Weyallon Armstrong Monfwi

Thank you, Madam Speaker. On October 25th, 2022, the Minister brought her assistant deputy minister for energy into the House to talk about pre-feasibility work in June of this year for hydro projects such as the one in Gameti. They said they would be working with the Tlicho government on technical studies in next fiscal year.

Can the Minister commit to completing a feasibility study to see what the cost would be to connect residents along Highway No. 3 to the new electrical grid? Thank you.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister for Infrastructure.

Diane Archie

Diane Archie Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, the Member is correct. We did have a meeting with the Tlicho government to advance the project. The phase that we're working on right now is to be advanced, which includes some of the preliminary planning. There is design, consultation, engagement activities, environmental baseline studies, and also development of a refined capital costs estimate. And I think that's really important, Madam Speaker, as we advance these projects. We need to ensure that the cost estimates are correct so when we go to the federal government looking for some support, that we have up-to-date cost estimates. And, yes, I will work with the government and continue to work with the government as I believe that's what we're doing now. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Jane Weyallon Armstrong

Jane Weyallon Armstrong Monfwi

Thank you. On October 31st, I asked the Minister of Finance about the charging station for electrical vehicles coming to Behchoko in 2024. Who are these charging stations for? Is the government more concerned with seeing electrical vehicles on the road along Highway No. 3 over hydro lines connecting Highway No. 3 homes and cabins to the grid? Tlicho residents do not drive electric vehicles because many of us are still using diesel to power our homes. Thank you.

Diane Archie

Diane Archie Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I'm not sure if I heard a question in there. But I will respond to the Member's comments in saying that, yes, the Minister of Finance did talk about the budget and the electrical vehicles. This is part of our 2030 Energy Strategy, Madam Speaker. These are some of the projects that we need to start doing now to be able to meet targets, meet federal targets. So, I mean, yes, the electrical vehicles will be situated in Behchoko, and our hope is that it would be used for anybody that needs to connect to the corridor to Alberta. So those are our plans right now. Thank you.

Jane Weyallon Armstrong

Jane Weyallon Armstrong Monfwi

Yeah, I did ask who are these charging stations for, but I'll go on to next questions.

The Minister previously told the House in June her department would finalize the routing corridor for the Whati Transmission Line by fall 2022. Did the department meet this target? Thank you.

Diane Archie

Diane Archie Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, that was our hope. We did look at some of the options on the routing. We're trying to connect the Whati to the North Slave hydro system, to go along the existing winter road roughly about the east -- to the west side to be able to connect to our current hydro facility directly. So I can get back to the Member in terms of timeline for when we will have it done. Thanks.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Monfwi.

Jane Weyallon Armstrong

Jane Weyallon Armstrong Monfwi

Thank you. The Minister said the Department of Infrastructure would collaborate with the Tlicho government on the routing corridor. Can the Minister explain in detail what input the Tlicho government have on the project and how they participated? Thank you.

Diane Archie

Diane Archie Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, how much time do we have? Because we've been doing a lot of -- having a lot of conversation and if she wants me to go in detail, I can. It'll take some time but I won't. Actually, I will speak a little more about some of the meetings we had the Tlicho government to be able to discuss this project, including the Tlicho government's suggested use of a progressive design build approach. We also -- which consisted with the GNWT, Tlicho government, Infrastructure cooperation agreement. So we have that agreement in place so that we can work with the Tlicho government and, you know, be able to determine who should lead the different aspects of this project, and I think that's important to involve Tlicho government in this. They provided the GNWT with the proposal to initiate some of the technical refresh study to identify an acceptable routing corridor for the project, also update the cost estimate as I mentioned. So the GNWT and Tlicho are working together in a partnership to do this study, which started in May. And fall is not over. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Thebacha.

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Frieda Martselos

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, yesterday I received a very negative response from the housing Minister on behalf of some constituents. In short, there is now an Indigenous elderly woman, along with her daughter, who are now homeless and couch surfing. It is moments like these that I feel demoralized, defeated, and disgusted at the system.

Can the Minister explain if her department supports reconciliation despite putting more vulnerable Indigenous people onto the street with some of her decisions? Thank you, Madam Speaker.

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The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister of Housing NWT.

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Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and thank you to the Member for her question. And just commenting on this specific file, we have seen a lot of situations like this occur throughout the Northwest Territories. We are currently under a policy review. We are looking at establishing and working with the renewal document that we have completed this year. Throughout the success of Housing NWT, we are concentrated on putting units on the ground, working with people productively, and looking for positive outcomes. We have a number of programs that are suitable for each of the residents of the Northwest Territories, and Housing NWT does work diligently with each of the clients throughout the Northwest Territories. We do support our local housing authorities in them establishing work on our behalf. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

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Frieda Martselos

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Madam Speaker, defeating a person who is trying to make things right is not okay. My constituent is correcting herself and is trying to better her life. Rather than working with other departments in an integrated case management approach to support this person, the housing Minister is choosing instead to shut the door on her and have her to be homeless. Is the Minister okay with that? Thank you, Madam Speaker.

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Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And I want to correct that - Housing is not here to completely say "no" to each of our clients and we do find problematic situations with our tenants. We are here to work with them fairly throughout the Northwest Territories. I have identified a number of programming that is available to the individual, and we are there to support each of our tenants fairly throughout the Northwest Territories and through a collaboration with the Indigenous governments as well. We look forward to successes in each of our communities. Mahsi, Madam Speaker.

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Frieda Martselos

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Madam Speaker, since the Minister is also the Minister of Homelessness, the unfairness of another constituent case is not okay either. Defending staff who make wrong decisions is not okay. My constituent who lost his house to a tornado has to crawl onto an airplane every time he flies because of his mobility issues. This is a man who worked 35 years for the Government of the Northwest Territories and trusted the system to be fair with him but was failed. Is the Minister okay with that? Thank you, Madam Speaker.

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Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I know it is inappropriate to be speaking about individual client files on the floor of this House, but I do want to remind the Member as well that housing does react and does provide adequate services when we are looking at residents that have extreme conditions that have suffered extraordinary circumstances - fires, evacuations, floods. We have been there to provide assistance to the people of the Northwest Territories in trying to accommodate them as quickly as possible. Some of these residents did not have to wait on the waitlist. Some of them did not even have an application, and we were there to provide fair and adequate client service to each of these individuals. Mahsi, Madam Speaker.

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The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Thebacha.

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Frieda Martselos

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Madam Speaker, will the Minister admit that her department made a mistake and also commit to compensate my constituent for lost funds that he should have never spent on market rental housing because he should have been moved to public housing? Thank you, Madam Speaker.

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Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Housing NWT is currently in the role right now of looking at our policy changes. We are speaking with the Indigenous groups, stakeholders at the ground level. When we're providing adequate services, we're looking at the threshold that is provided. Unfortunately, at this time, the individual was only able to access market housing. But we were able to efficiently provide housing in such an unusual circumstance and in such an emergency. Housing and the local housing authority as well did provide that adequate assistance. And right now, Madam Speaker, we are looking at putting more houses on the ground in each of these communities. And I want to just confirm right now that Housing is going to be constructing two units under our co-investment fund and also through our CIRNAC allocation of federal funding, we're putting in additional four units in the Member's riding, Madam Speaker. I feel that Housing has done a fair and adequate client service throughout the Northwest Territories, and I continue to support my department. Mahsi, Madam Speaker.

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The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

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

Katrina Nokleby

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, before I ask my questions, it's been a very long session and I appear to have mixed up two very strong men in my Member's statement, Chief Vital Abel and Vital Manuel. So I would like to apologize to Mr. Manuel's parents. I did mix that up, and it has been a really long session. So my apologies there.

My questions are for the Minister of Housing. As I mentioned yesterday, there were issues with accessibility for some of the residents in the Lanky Court Apartments. Can the Minister speak to whether or not the snow clearing of the boardwalk has been done? Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister of Housing NWT.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and thank you to the Member too. This is such an important question as well too when we're working with people with disabilities and trying to provide adequate services. The snow removal, according to the last update that I was given, has been completed. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Katrina Nokleby

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And I do appreciate the Minister's office responding quite quickly and having that done so that the student can return to school this week.

Can the Minister speak to -- we are going to have a greater snowfall this year. That has been predicted and such. And it just does seem to happen that we're getting these greater and greater sort of weather events. Can the Minister speak to how this is going to go moving forward? I do understand that it is the owner of the property's responsibility to clear and keep the accesses and entrances clear of snow and ice; however, there is an obligation from the Housing NWT to do this as well. So can the Minister speak to how she's going to ensure that the snow removal continues through this winter? Thank you.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Madam Speaker, as well. And just putting on my workers' safety and compensation hat as well too, that this is a priority within our government in Housing facilities. I will follow up with the department to making sure that we have adequate safe entrances in our buildings that we either lease or that we either own. Mahsi, Madam Speaker.

Katrina Nokleby

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I'm going to segue a little bit on the housing minister. And could she provide us with an update on what's happening with the Inuvik shelter and whether or not a contractor has been found there? Thank you.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Oral questions. Member for Yellowknife North.

Rylund Johnson

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Presently through the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs, we require every single municipality to have an asset management plan. This essentially lists every single asset and piece of infrastructure they own, its operation and maintenance, and then a life cycle replacement cost. And obviously we would require this to be public because we don't let municipalities do things in-camera. But the GNWT, as far as I know, doesn't have any asset management plan. The closest thing we have is a 20-year capital needs assessment which lists the assets we own and what we could relatively expect to replace over 20 years. This is not -- I must admit I haven't seen a recent version of this, and it's not a public document. So my question for the Minister of Finance is whether that is something she would be willing to publish? Thank you.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister of Finance.

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I think this question actually came up, or a version of it, during Committee of the Whole. And the Members were assured there is an asset management plan, and there is a very thorough process by which we are keeping track of all of the assets of the government and the capital needs and any, you know, needs for maintenance, etcetera, through all the departments, particularly the Department of Infrastructure.

Now with respect to where the question actually got to, which is whether or not we'll be publishing a 20-year capital -- or the 20-year capital needs assessment, Madam Speaker, again as I think I said earlier in COW this session, that's a snapshot in time. It's not a detailed document. Actually, we did do a bit of a scan -- because this conversation does come up every session, did do a bit of a jurisdictional scan and we were sitting quite nicely in the middle of the pack. Most of the other jurisdictions we looked at provide similarly high-level documents. Member gave me a heads up on Alberta, for example. Not a single dollar figure is in that, Madam Speaker. It's really just meant to be a snapshot. And in appendix B of the capital plan, you can actually look there and see exactly how we developed that capital plan and the priorities therein. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Rylund Johnson

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

I think I'll have to ask Infrastructure whether they have an asset management plan and will make it public. I'll put them on notice there.

Okay, so my understanding is then we have a five-year needs assessment as well which is a bit less of a snapshot in time and that it -- perhaps some financial thinking has actually gone into it, and if you've made it into the five-year needs assessment, probably much more likely to actually be funded. Is this document something the Minister is willing to publish?

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, Members of the House do receive the five-year plan. Again, consensus government's a little bit different. This isn't necessarily how it would happen in a lot of governments elsewhere in Canada. But we do have that opportunity here to do things a bit differently. So Members do receive that. The public doesn't get a copy of the five-year plan, and the real and simple reason for that is the concern around ensuring fairness in the procurement process. If a total budget is put forward on a project, then there is a live concern amongst procurement that, in fact, every bid's going to bid to the project price rather than ensuring a competitive process in tendering. So that's the reason the plan doesn't get published, Madam Speaker. We have tried to put some more information out this year. There was a graphic included, for example, in the capital plan that was provided. So, you know, again trying to get a bit more information out and make it more user friendly. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Rylund Johnson

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Yeah, thank you, Madam Speaker. The other document which I would like to see, which I'm actually not sure exists -- I know we have a five-year needs assessment showing what we need. But whether we have a multiyear capital plan? I note I can go to the infrastructure acquisition plan and it shows we are currently planning to spend $1.4 billion in the future years. But there's certainly nothing that shows what we've already spent, the listing projects, whether things are on time, whether things are completed, if something gets completed -- well, we don't ever actually know that and we certainly never see a final cost of any project publicly listed anywhere. So I think some sort of planning document would be very helpful. Is the Minister willing to create a multiyear capital plan? Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I'm going to take a bit from my colleague down the way here and the Minister of Infrastructure. The Department of Infrastructure really does have the lead for a large portion of the capital projects that go through, and that department, in response to concerns like this, is actually developing a dashboard. It will be a public dashboard and will be providing exactly the kind of synopsis that the Member's describing. And I can certainly commit to keep him updated as to the progress on that dashboard, or I'm sure my colleague will. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Find supplementary. Member for Yellowknife North.

Rylund Johnson

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Yeah, thank you, Madam Speaker. Yeah, and I'd be very interested to know whether Infrastructure is going to include the projects that don't fall under it. You know, I know we're building quite a number of long-term care facilities under Health and Social Services that -- not under Infrastructure, as an example.

And lastly, in our capital plan, we get one sentence description of projects, and then what happens is Members kind of ask, you know, what's going on with this playground fencing? Or we just ask these tedious questions that takes us hours and hours of review to get any information out there publicly. But I know that the departments have some sort of brief description more than one sentence. And I'm just wondering if those descriptions would be something the Minister would be willing to publish with future capital plans. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. So, again, Madam Speaker, that unusual consensus government process is that Members who would be on these sort of, quote unquote, "other side of the House" do get what are called substantiation sheets. That does give a fair bit of detail about upcoming projects. And it does include the budgetary detail that, again, right now most governments would consider to be not part of good procurement practice to be sharing publicly. So that's why those don't go out. But the point of the dashboard -- a part of the dashboard, the purpose of the dashboard I was just describing, is exactly that, to give that snapshot of where projects are at and what has been spent on them. So, again, looking forward to having that out in public so that hopefully there will come a year where we don't have to have this conversation during the capital session. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Oral questions. Member for Kam Lake.

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, my questions today are for the Minister responsible for integrated service delivery, the Minister of Justice. The GNWT committed to integrated service delivery as a whole-of-government approach at the onset of the government. Is shifting the entire system of the GNWT, the whole-of-government integrated service delivery, still within the short or long-term focus of the government? Thank you.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister of Justice.

R.J. Simpson

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Yes, it is. I would have liked to see more progress on this during the life of this government, but we had quite an ambitious mandate. We dealt with COVID. And we weren't able to put the time into working on integrating services the way I would have liked to see. But it is definitely still a priority for us and for me personally. Thank you.

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I completely agree with the Minister that it needs to be a priority and that it stands to not only better serve Northerners, but it stands to actually save the government quite a bit of money on their bottom line every year.

Earlier this year, the Minister spoke about the challenges associated with privacy laws when trying to provide residents with a multi-departmental approach to service delivery. How is the GNWT addressing this and on what timeline? Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.

R.J. Simpson

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Recently there was a report done that looked at our attempts to integrate services and some of the barriers. And out of that report there were things identified such as these privacy issues. And so from that steps have been taken. Departments are working on addressing those issues. So that work is happening, and it is ongoing. Thank you.

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, Recommendation No. 9 of the Report of the Review of the 2022 Audit of Addictions, Prevention and Recovery Services that was tabled by the Standing Committee on Government Operations recommended that the Department of Health and Social Services and the health and social services authorities set up a distinct method for frontline staff to identify barriers to care and cultural safety or propose better practices and policies on an ongoing basis and provide a timeline for implementation.

So will the Minister responsible for integrated service delivery ensure that a similar frontline feedback loop exists for all frontline staff within the government? Thank you.

R.J. Simpson

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And I wish I could commit to that. You know, I've spoken about that for years. But that's another area that we are working on. And I wish I had better answers. This is a work in progress. When you have something that includes all of government, it is -- it's a big project. You have a number of departments. Everyone needs to be on the same page. Everyone needs to be on the same timelines. Everyone needs to be available for the same meetings and there's only so many people to go around. So we are plugging away at it, and we are taking steps in that direction. Thank you.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Final supplementary. Member for Kam Lake.

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I must admit that I do find this very frustrating. It's something that we as Members have been talking about on both sides of the House for the life of this Assembly, but it doesn't seem to be something that really we can move the bar on. And it's very frustrating given how reliant our constituents are on more than one service in order to be able to address their basic needs of life.

So in March of this year, Madam Speaker, the Minister indicated that before income assistance and Housing NWT could provide integrated service delivery that they needed to first agree on principles and standards of practice. Can the Minister confirm if these principles and standards of practice have been agreed on and when integrated service delivery between housing and income assistance will be visible for residents? Thank you.

R.J. Simpson

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I'll have to get back to the Member on that. But as we are doing reviews of different programs, for example in ECE, we are taking steps to try and adjust the programs so that we can move towards something like this so that, you know, whether you are an ECE representative or, you know, you worked in the housing frontline, you will have perhaps -- we're trying to free up time, streamline processes, so that departments can work more closely together. But for the Member's specific question, I will get back to her. Thank you.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Monfwi.

Jane Weyallon Armstrong

Jane Weyallon Armstrong Monfwi

A question for the Minister of Housing. Madam Speaker, increasingly the federal government is providing housing funding directly to Indigenous government. It is critical for Housing NWT to develop relationships with Indigenous government and support the capacity of Indigenous government to deliver housing to NWT residents. What services or support is Housing NWT providing to Indigenous government? Thank you.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister of Housing NWT.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and thank you to the Member for the question. Developing these relationships with the Indigenous government, for me, is crucial. I myself come from a smaller community. I come from a settled land claim area and also with self-government within my riding as well too. And I feel that these partnerships are crucial. This is the way that we need to be addressing housing together. In the Member's riding, we do have an established working group with Indigenous governments as well. We do have an active community housing plan throughout her riding as well. And with Whati being the first community housing plan to be completed, this plan identifies crucial housing needs coming right from the grassroots level. I would like to see this document as a lobbying document to the federal government. And with the Member's success in her riding that her Indigenous government received a significant amount through the distinction-based funding that was distributed throughout the Northwest Territories. And I continue to be working with those positive working relationships and developing them with the Indigenous governments throughout the Northwest Territories. Mahsi, Madam Speaker.

Jane Weyallon Armstrong

Jane Weyallon Armstrong Monfwi

Thank you. What capacity building initiatives are being developed by Housing NWT to support Indigenous government? Thank you.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And I just wanted to apologize to the interpreters that, you know, I'm quite passionate about the portfolio and I was speaking probably a little bit too quickly.

So with the renewal, we are looking at the policy reviews throughout the Northwest Territories. And right now, we are looking at 42 of them that have been submitted to the council of leaders housing working group where each of the Indigenous governments throughout the Northwest Territories have the opportunity to challenge us on how we do business throughout the territory, whether it's working or not. In the Member's riding as well too, the close working relationship that Housing has with the Tlicho government, they do meet periodically as well. There are a number of visits that Housing has done within the Member's riding as well and to address housing -- crucial housing concerns at the community level. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Jane Weyallon Armstrong

Jane Weyallon Armstrong Monfwi

Many Indigenous governments want to directly operate and manage their own rental properties but lack territorial or federal funding to subsidize these units so they are affordable to NWT residents. To increase housing options and support affordable housing, can Housing NWT commit to subsidizing Indigenous government owned rental properties as a part of their service provisions with Indigenous government? Thank you.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And I just want to comment on the distinction-based funding that the Member's riding had received. It was announced that they did receive $42 million. I think it's over a consecutive seven years. And they're coming forward with different plans of what it is that they want to address within their communities as well too. I just want to say that looking at subsidizing housing in the Member's riding, we already do have public housing units within her communities as well that are significantly subsidized already. We are in the process now of lobbying the federal government for operation and maintenance funding for our own units. But we do continue to work very strategically with the Tlicho government as well. It's a partnership that I'm very proud of. We just recently signed an MOU as well which really brings us to the table to be working collaboratively when it comes to addressing housing issues within the Member's riding. Mahsi, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Monfwi.

Jane Weyallon Armstrong

Jane Weyallon Armstrong Monfwi

Well, I want to say something else, but I'll just -- I'll go and talk to her after because I don't think she really answered my questions, but. So if not, can Housing NWT commit to asking the federal government for additional funding to subsidize Indigenous government-owned rental properties? Thank you.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Madam Speaker. The Member's riding is a settled land claim area and is a self-government area -- land claim area as well too. I'm not a part of those federal conversations that they have directly with the federal government. And looking at the housing allocation and the funding that they had for housing and infrastructure funding, I feel that we can meet together; we can work together. But the reality is, is that this is a settled land claim area and whether they want us at the table, they will invite us. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

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

Rocky Simpson

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. These questions are for the Minister of MACA. Madam Speaker, this government has to empower youth. To do that, we need to hear their voices; we need their support; and we need their guidance to determine their needs and wants. Madam Speaker, we talk about engaging youth. Will the Minister responsible for MACA commit to a departmental increase in funding for all sports, recreation, and youth programs that will specifically target those youth that are identified as being at risk? Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Minister of MACA.

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, the value and benefits of sport and recreation of youth opportunities sits really deeply with me. When I was 12 years old, my mother got me involved to become a volunteer and I've been volunteering ever since. I also spent 28 years in the field of sport,rbc recreation and youth. And some of the programs that we developed are still here today. And it's been very beneficial. However -- and I can commit that MACA is continuing to work closely with organizations who work with youth to help develop broad programming including cultural program so that we have positive opportunities. But in regards to what the Member has asked, I can commit to work with the department and committee during the main review to consider future funding because, again, this hasn't been done in a long time. So we need to look at this and see how we collaboratively can work together. And this addresses some of the challenges that I've heard on the floor here this past session. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Rocky Simpson

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, the Children and Youth Resiliency Program is a meaningful program but it's severely underfunded. Will the Minister commit to look at the current funding allocation and potentially increase it to an acceptable level? Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, this program continues to support children, primarily from the age of 0 to 5, for program opportunities to support physical literacy, an important part of development in long -- you know, lifelong active lifestyles. As I said previous in the other question, I can commit to work with the department and committee during the main review to consider future funding for this program. It is very important. It does some really good benefits. It starts at a young age and the work that's done in the community. So, yes, I will work with committee to review this program as well. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Rocky Simpson

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. You know, Madam Speaker, we talk about NGOs and all the good work that they do throughout the years year after year. So, Madam Speaker, as with most NGOs year to year funding is an issue when what is needed is multiyear funding that allows for stability.

Madam Speaker, will the Minister commit to establishing multiyear funding through the NGO Stabilization Fund for organizations such as the Hay River Ski Club? Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Wow, I think he's just trying to go on a run here. I don't know if I can keep on saying yes because it's starting to hurt me here.

Madam Speaker, I understand that NGOs are seeking multiyear agreements for their organizations. I recognize these agreements support long-term planning and provide security that organizations require to hire and maintain staff. The NGO Stabilization Fund, however, has never provided core funding. It exists solely to provide short-term support to organizations who require assistance to stabilize management or operations or address extraordinary costs. Contributions are intended only to address the stabilization or extraordinary needs rather than core long-term funding. I know that previously that EIAs working on some stuff on this, and as a Cabinet we're looking at this. So with the stabilization fund, it's, again, short-term, but I think we are looking as a whole-of-government on that very issue. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

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

Rocky Simpson

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. You know, it's good to hear that because, you know, here in the last few weeks, you know, we've been talking about youth and all the things that we should do for youth, and so it's time for us to, you know, walk the talk and step up to the plate and that's providing them the services that they require.

So the other issue -- another issue here is -- and I've talked to youth in -- and parents also in Hay River, about access to facilities. And I'm finding that some of the Indigenous children, and maybe some that are at risk, don't feel like they're being served. So, Madam Speaker, will the Minister commit to working with other departments and community youth to identify the need for a youth facility in communities where none exist and find ways to establish one? Thank you.

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Municipal and Community Affairs does provide funding for 36 youth centres across the Northwest Territories under the Youth Initiative Program. We contribute about $14,000 to each facility to support their operations. MACA is committed to establishing an interdepartmental working group on youth to provide the GNWT a forum that will be able to coordinate youth programs and services to support local community priorities. And that's part of the youth strategy that we're working on.

However, the question that the Member asked, if there's a community that wishes to establish a new facility dedicated to youth, there are MACA staff that can support the government -- their community government with their plans both to establish a facility and to coordinate youth-based programming. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.

Edjericon

Yeah, thank you, Madam Speaker. I believe the reason so many First Nation governments don't recognize the GNWT as a system -- of our system faults when constitutionally protected self-government agreements are being established through the modern claim process. Why would anyone want to make space for a territorial government that is so out of step with priorities of its residents and struggling to deliver their most fundamental rights?

Madam Speaker, I said it before and why am I here? If political priorities can't influence decision-making, why are many of us here as MLAs if consensus is really about the stability of GNWT departments rather than meeting the needs of our residents? My question to the Premier is what can we do to work together so that my luggage can be put on the train even though it left the station? Thank you.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Honourable Premier.

Caroline Cochrane

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Madam Speaker. The question is really difficult. I mean, I'm going to start with the last part of it that says what I can do to make sure my luggage is put on the train that's already left, I'm guessing you kind of wait for the train to come back. But, really, and seriously, in seriousness, Madam Speaker, I hear the Member, and I do agree with him that we can't be working in silos anymore. We've done that for too long. And so I think that that's recognized by this government. And so we're trying to look at ways that we can work better with the Indigenous governments. You know, we've always had the intergovernmental council meetings with devolution groups. But this government brought forward the council of leaders so that all Indigenous governments would have a chance to have a voice. And we're working on serious issues at that table, like climate change. Like the Minister said, 42 policies that were brought forward to the council of leaders for housing policies and looked at. That was their number one goal at that council of leaders when we defined the agenda and so that's what they're working on first, and we'll move from that. We also brought the modern treaty groups so that groups that have settled claims can actually look at the implementation. So I think the best thing we can do to make sure the priorities are -- all priorities are addressed is that we continue to meet together. We don't -- even though the discussions are hard, we need to sit there. It's only when we work together and listen to each other, be willing to compromise and be able to understand each other, that we'll actually serve the best for residents all throughout the NWT. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Edjericon

Yeah, thank you, Madam Speaker. I was going to say that, she made a comment about the council of leaders etcetera. But not long ago there was an article put out by Herb Norweigian talking about settled claims and unsettled claims as to how they're treated. So my question to the Premier is how can we build new relationships so that we are able to make sure that we're all on the same page? Thank you.

Caroline Cochrane

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Madam Speaker. That is, again, one of the reasons that we brought together the council of leaders, because it's not only land claims and self-governments that we need to work with, we need to work with all Indigenous governments. So that was the focus of the council of leaders. We also meet with bilaterals with all Indigenous governments across the Northwest Territories - some twice a year, some once a year, sometimes three times a year. But, again, the whole key is to be able to sit at the table together to address the issues together. And that's what we're trying to do in this government. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Edjericon

Yeah, thank you, Madam Speaker. This dialogue "government for the sake of government" can't continue. We have one year left to change our system, to make real change happen for our people. So, Madam Speaker, in all -- it's a concern for me to say that, you know, yes, we got one year left in our term. How can we fix the problems we're having? Right now as it is for me to address any issue in my riding, I got to deal with policy and government. And right now it's really concerning. So we're going to have to do better as a government. We got one year left to change it because otherwise if we don't do it, then why am I here? I'm saying that if it's -- if we can't fix it, then consensus is not working. What I'm saying by that is that we all got to work together but it seems like we're not doing it. Thank you, Madam Speaker. I'd like to know what the Premier can do to improve this relationship. Thank you.

Caroline Cochrane

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I agree 100 percent that we all need to work together to actually address the issues. And we try to do that. There will be times that we don't agree, but it's not a matter of just one person trying to get their way. And I think that we have to recognize that in relationships. We all make commitments at the beginning of this government to work on relationships. But it can't be one person. It can't be the Premier alone. So every single Member here has to try to work on the relationships. We're not going to get everything we want. We don't have enough money. I've already said that. If we had billions and billions of dollars, I'd give every single person here billions of dollars but we don't have it. So we need to be able to, all of us, be really conscious in how we work together, listen to each other. A wise chief told me it's not only listening, you have to hear each other. And so that's what we all need to work on. I'm going to try to do my part, Madam Speaker, but I can't do it alone. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh. Final supplementary.

Edjericon

Yeah, thank you. Thank you, Madam Speaker. Yeah, I'm glad that -- you know, I hear that. And, you know, we got a year left and we got to make sure that we deliver what we say we're going to deliver. And we got two land claims that's outstanding. That should really be given top priority. And as it is right now, I also have a constituent member that was turned down for medical travel to fly back from Edmonton to get her treatment in Hay River tomorrow. Again, the system, its policies are broken. It's not working for the people in my riding. And so I often wonder, you know, yes, I'm glad that we want to work together but the policies of government needs to change because the MLAs here, we're elected by the people. Why is it that we can't make decisions when policies dictate? Why am I here? And so changes need to happen. Thank you. The question to the Premier is what can we continue to improve this relationship? Thank you.

Caroline Cochrane

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Yes, we recognize that there is no government system that's 100 percent perfect. I haven't met one government out there yet that should be able to say that they have everything down and they're doing everything right, and not even one person. I'm 62 years old pretty soon here, Madam Speaker, and I've said when I was 50 years old that I can either sit and just curl up, or I can keep continuing to learn. So all of us have to continue to learn and continue to grow and government departments also. So I think that's why we made the commitment at the council of leaders that the housing, all of the policies would be looked at within that. I think that's why the Minister of Health and Social Services is doing a review of the medical services that are being provided. So it's not that we're not trying to support each other; it's that we're limited as well within the compliance. Not only policies but financially as well and we have to live within that.

But, Madam Speaker, I'd like to also address the reason that the MLA is here, hopefully is because he does have an important role in the Legislative Assembly. If we don't have representatives from every single riding, then we are not listening to the words of the people. And so I know sometimes we don't get what we want but it's critical that every person has a voice in the NWT, and that means that MLAs have to be here to be able to carry forward those voices. As tough as they can be and as mean as they can be some days, Madam Speaker, we're here to hear. Thank you.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Oral questions. Member for Nunakput.

Jackie Jacobson

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, you know, earlier in this session I spoke about the importance of regional sporting events in our region of Beaufort Delta and Nunakput. So, Madam Speaker, can the Minister advise me what's the state of the potential of regional sport in the Beaufort Delta and where he's at with it since last I spoke about it? Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Is that for Minister of MACA?

Jackie Jacobson

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Yes.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Okay, just to make sure. Minister of MACA.

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

I was hoping it was for the Minister of Lands but I guess that's me too, so. I thank the Member for this. I've had conversations with the Member, and he's very passionate about giving that opportunity for the youth in the Beau-Del. There used to be an organization called the Beaufort Delta Recreation Association. And they would be able to get together with the communities and have these conversations about how they would be able to offer regional events, working with the schools, and whether it was winter/summer and that there. So unfortunately I've been advised that this organization doesn't exist right now but the funding still does. So, again, it works with -- on a reimbursement with the communities. So that's where that is right now. But I'm more than willing to talk to the Member further on this. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Jackie Jacobson

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Madam Speaker. What's the process, Madam Speaker, that we could get these organizations back up and running because I really feel that my students in the outlying communities of Sachs Harbour, Paulatuk, and Ulukhaktok are really shortchanged on being able to travel and do sports, especially when we have some really talented youth up there. So what's the process, and is the Minister willing to come on a tour with me to visit with our leadership and let them know the good news that there's funding available? Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

No. I'm just joking. Yes, so the process is very much community-driven. The community needs to reach out to the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs, the sport and recreation and youth coordinators. They do work out to them. And start working on it, working together. The staff is available. I can tell you from my experience in 1994 when I became the recreation development officer, I started working on the Mackenzie Rec Association, and it is a very valid organization, and so is the BDSRA. It was a very valid organization. It addressed some of the things that the Member talked about. Give them the opportunity to provide regional and community events, training and that. So that there is what I will do is, is I'll make sure that the regional from the Inuvik and Sahtu reach out to the Member and the communities and start working on that process.

In regards to the tour, I'm more than willing to work with the Member, and we'll try to set up a time realizing all our schedules are really busy right now. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Jackie Jacobson

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Madam Speaker, that was a long time ago. I was 21 years old. I just graduated from high school. I graduated at 17 but I was 21. Still young. I think I had one or two children by then. So, Madam Speaker, you know, I realize the Member from the HR in the south asked about increasing funding, and I thank him for that for saying we're looking into this. But can the Minister provide us with a list of programs when it was developed and how much was in that budget for that? Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I'm going to age Jackie a bit here -- or the Member from Nunakput. I've actually known Jackie since when he was in high school in Inuvik so we had that opportunity to meet him and his mother, and it was great, that opportunity. And by 1994, I had seven children so, you know, it's very active, you know, getting stuff done. So in regards to making that commitment, yes, I'll make that commitment to get that information, you know, making sure that I give him the data that, you know, what programs are out there, when they were developed, and how much is there so we can get that information to the committee. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Nunakput.

Jackie Jacobson

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Madam Speaker. No, I thank the Minister for that. So he still never said "yes" for me tour with his staff, with MACA staff going into the communities in regards to letting us trying to work together for the youth of Sachs Harbour, Ulukhaktok, and Paulatuk for our tournaments, regional tournaments in the Beaufort Delta, where we bring all our youth together where it used to be a lot of fun in those days that we don't have that going on anymore. Our youth need that. So, Madam Speaker, would the Minister commit to working with us to coming up north to Beaufort Delta to help me help him. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

So I got two minutes and five seconds to go here? Just joking. I'm make a commitment again. I thought I made a commitment to the second question. But, yes, I will go to the Member's -- I'll go with the other Ministers as well. I think the Member is doing a great job, and I'm more than willing to work with his communities on this. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

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

Katrina Nokleby

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I should not have used the word "segue" in my last time and tipped you off that I was changing topic.

Can the Minister of Housing please provide us with an update on the Inuvik shelter and whether or not a contractor has been found? Thank you.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister of Housing NWT.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And thank you to the Member for the question because this is such an important issue in the Beaufort Delta, addressing homelessness. We did have some issues with the contractor and the delivery of the programming there as well too. We did have the request for proposal that did go out, and we did not receive a submission. And we had some nonprofit organizations that we were trying to work with. We soon identified that we need to further look at the training that we need to provide to the NGOs in the region and throughout the Northwest Territories as well, that we will be working with the NGOs addressing homelessness differently because we do need to provide adequate training and look for further funding for these program initiatives. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Katrina Nokleby

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I do understand the trouble of trying to get an NGO in a community to run something when there aren't really any NGOs in that community that would want to take that on. And as a result of that, you know, and given the sensitive nature of this type of work, you know, hiring minimum wage workers here and that are not going to be adequately trained, as the Minister said, is not the solution. So can the Minister speak to whether or not the department is considering running the shelter themselves and having workers there be GNWT employees? Thank you.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And this is something that we did try in the past as well too, and bringing on the shelter and employing them as GNWT employees. It was for a temporary period of time to give us some time to be working with the community, with the Indigenous governments, and try to come up with a solution. And also addressing the urgency in Inuvik as well too, we have been working with the NGOs that were potentially running the program previously. But I will have to get back to the Member as well to find what the current status is for Inuvik and looking at whether we're going to be keeping on the employees as GNWT employees. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Katrina Nokleby

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Madam Speaker. So from listening to that, then it's my understanding that the GNWT is still running the shelter itself with GNWT employees. And that going forward, I'm just wondering how do we afford that? We all know that the GNWT is the most lucrative employer in the North for the most part, and we know that we -- when we want the NGOs to do it, we don't give them any money for it. So I'm curious to know how we're going to afford to run the shelter with GNWT employees over the wintertime. Are you going to be coming back for more money from us? Thank you.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And thank you to the Member for the question because this is quite crucial in the Beaufort Delta, addressing homelessness looking at the severe weather conditions as well too, and trying to keep those shelters open. The program right now is internally funded. We will have to come back -- I would have to follow up with the Member on looking at when are we going to be doing forecasting into the future as well too. And one of the things I would like to -- I wanted to do is to encourage the NGOs at that time that we work with them to submit a co-investment application. But unfortunately that NGO had fallen apart. But it doesn't stop us from trying to work with the community and trying to come up with solutions to addressing homelessness in the Beaufort Delta. Mahsi, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Great Slave.

Katrina Nokleby

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Yeah, thank you, Madam Speaker. And again, I guess I just really struggle with the idea that we have to rely on NGOs who are notoriously underfunded in order to take care of our most vulnerable people. I just really find that to be unacceptable, and I do hope that the department is looking and considering that they do need to continue on being the operator of the shelter. My question, though, is around -- I know that when we were in Inuvik with social development, that there was a lot of conversation around even just proper food for people at the shelter. You know, we brought in some fruit and things and gave it to them. So my question is has the Minister reached out to any national organizations such as the Red Cross to talk with them about perhaps, you know, supplementing the shelter, either with workers or from a food security standpoint? Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Madam Speaker. The Housing NWT looks at the maintenance and the program delivery of homelessness more looking at operating of the shelter and the building but not necessarily the programming. But it could be something -- I'll bring this back to the department as well too, because I'm always looking for innovative and different approaches and ideas that we could be doing differently within the portfolio. I will have to get back to the Member. Mahsi, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Time for oral questions has expired. Written questions. Member for Nunakput.

Jackie Jacobson

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Carbon Tax and the Cost of Living

My questions are for the Minister of Finance regarding the proposed increase in the carbon tax, impacts on residents in the small communities, and the efforts to mitigate those impacts. Can the Minister provide a cost estimates on how much home heating fuel bills are anticipated to go up for the average households in the Nunakput riding?

  1. Can the Minister provide further cost estimates on the anticipated average increases to household in all NWT communities;
  2. Can the Minister provide information on how the government's proposed carbon tax rates will affect households in each community for each year between 2023 and 2030;
  3. Can the Minister provide the above information, can the Minister break down the cost impacts on higher home heating costs and higher prices for the goods and services;
  4. The Minister stated in the House on November 1st, 2022, "unfortunately the communities in the riding of Nunakput are likely to be facing some of the highest impacts from the change to the federal carbon tax rate." Can the Minister alleviate the extra financial pressure facing Nunakput residents on carbon tax, please include any GNWT analysis to establish a tiered cost of living offset payments to the territory.

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Written questions. Returns to written questions. Replies to the Commissioner's address. Petitions. Reports of committees on the review of bills. Reports of standing and special committees. Tabling of documents. Minister of Justice.

R.J. Simpson

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Madam Speaker, I wish to table the following three documents: Plain Language Summary for Bill 65, Builder's Lien Act; Plain Language Summary for Bill 68, An Act to Amend the Child Daycare Act; and, Northwest Territories Coroner Service 2021 Annual Report. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Tabling of documents. Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs.

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I wish to table the following three documents: Plain Language Summary for Bill 66, An Act to Amend the Property Assessment and Taxation Act; Plain Language Summary for Bill 67, An Act to Amend the Fire Prevention Act; and, Northwest Territories 9-1-1 2021-2022 Annual Report. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Tabling of documents. Minister of Housing NWT.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I wish to table the following document: Housing NWT 2021-2022 Annual Report. Mahsi, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Tabling of documents. Minister for Health and Social Services.

Julie Green

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I wish to table the following document: Follow-up Letter for Oral Questions 1210, 1232, and 1255-19(2): Addictions Treatment. Thank you.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Tabling of documents. Member for Kam Lake.

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, yesterday November 2nd was World Fertility Day. Today I wish to table the following document: A Letter from Fertility Matters. Thank you.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Tabling of documents. Member for Yellowknife North.

Rylund Johnson

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Madam Speaker, I wish to table the following document: Redacted Reports for the Department of Health and Social Services from the Internal Audit Bureau obtained under Access to Information. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Tabling of documents. Member for Great Slave.