This is page numbers 4497 - 4544 of the Hansard for the 19th Assembly, 2nd Session. The original version can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly's website or by contacting the Legislative Assembly Library. The word of the day was know.

Topics

Oral Question 1148-19(2): Functions of Local Housing Authorities
Oral Questions

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The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Yellowknife North. Minister responsible for Housing NWT.

Oral Question 1148-19(2): Functions of Local Housing Authorities
Oral Questions

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Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You know, I could read off of my notes, but, you know, coming from a smaller community and looking at the actions of the local housing authorities and the boards, the chairpersons that are active at the ground level, they do provide a significant service. But it is identified there needs to be huge improvement. We need to look at those service agreements. We need to update them. We need to have more collaboration and more communication with them as well. And since having the portfolio, I recognize the gaps that are there as well.

Looking at the policies that are there and that they operate under, this is what I would like to do as a Minister: I brought the policies to the Council of Leaders. Myself and the Premier have identified that there is a need to have the Council of Leaders throughout the Northwest Territories look and review our policies, and also that I recognize that we need to give a lot more understanding and a lot more power back to the LHOs so they can challenge us with those policies and challenge us with those changes that are required. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 1148-19(2): Functions of Local Housing Authorities
Oral Questions

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Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm glad to hear that answer from the Minister that we're looking at this. One of the issues that I've heard from Yellowknife's LHO is that they would like a little bit more autonomy to apply for federal funding, and they've been approached by Indigenous governments who have asked if they would maintain and operate their buildings, something that, you know, would be doing work outside of the purview of their agency agreement with the NWT Housing Corporation.

So I think we're kind of in the worst possible situation where the LHOs do not have autonomy to go out and get money, but they are also not centralized so we are not having any of those economies of scale.

So I think we have to go one way or the other. And I'm wondering if we were reviewing areas to increase their autonomy such as applying for funding.

Oral Question 1148-19(2): Functions of Local Housing Authorities
Oral Questions

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Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The local housing authorities are a contracted arm of Housing NWT. And looking at those authorities and, I guess, organizations that are wanting to apply for funding, we apply for funding on their behalf. This year we have a 90-unit housing delivery throughout the Northwest Territories. And not only that, we are looking at increasing the -- increasing the education and training as well too for our maintenance as well. I've recognized that the units that we are building are not -- I want to say they don't -- they don't compare with the amount of -- the type of training we have at the ground level with the type of furnaces, the type of boilers that we are putting in. So there is a lot of changes that are happening. I am recognizing that we need to support them in many different ways. So I'm bringing that back to the department. But I want to reassure the Member that that work is taking place. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 1148-19(2): Functions of Local Housing Authorities
Oral Questions

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Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I think we have to be conscientious here that there is a cost to the local housing organizations. Each one has its own buildings, its own board, its own executive directors, which means that they are not providing housing; they're providing administration.

And, you know, I know in Yellowknife, there's a great maintenance staff, but they're not allowed to go do work in Behchoko. They just do work for the Yellowknife local housing authority. There's no territorial coordination of maintenance contracts.

And so I'm wondering if any analysis has been done that could be shared that speaks to some of the efficiency or centralization that could happen or what is the cost of having LHOs, you know, all be operating independently from each other. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 1148-19(2): Functions of Local Housing Authorities
Oral Questions

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Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Right now I'm looking at opportunities for the LHOs as well too. I recognize throughout the Northwest Territories that we do have Indigenous governments that are entering into self-government as well. I'm looking at those opportunities, whether they would be able to operate on our behalf, but also looking -- going back to looking at the maintenance, that what the Member had expressed as well too. This is something -- this is an area that strongly needs to be recognized, and we need to work within this area differently.

And I hear the Member where we do have maintenance staff in Yellowknife, and we need work done in Behchoko. Right now the Housing Corporation is operating and maintaining 2,600 units in the Northwest Territories. But when you're in a smaller community and you're a homeowner, the LHOs are expected to come, and they're expected to provide that service as well too.

So I hear where the Member is coming from. I will bring that back to my department. And like I have said, it's encouraging to hear these questions come forward because it really drives change within how we do business within Housing. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 1148-19(2): Functions of Local Housing Authorities
Oral Questions

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The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Oral Question 1149-19(2): Reconciliation and Completion of Rights Agreements
Oral Questions

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Richard Edjericon Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I also would like to recognize the former Premier Bob McLeod and his wife Melody McLeod, also Brenda Gauthier and everybody else in the gallery.

Mr. Speaker, in recent years both the courts and political leaders have recognized the need for reconciliation between Indigenous people and the Crown. Generally in the First Nations Treaty 8s and Treaty 11s, it says that their aboriginal rights and titles were not affected by making those treaties. Unfinished treaty business has yet remained a cloud over much of our territory while the treaty First Nations are deprived of the benefits and recognition they deserve.

Mr. Speaker, is the Premier prepared to commit the resources and mandate necessary to complete the outstanding business with our treaty partners in the Deh Cho, Akaitcho, and Indigenous governments? Mahsi.

Oral Question 1149-19(2): Reconciliation and Completion of Rights Agreements
Oral Questions

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The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh. Honourable Premier.

Oral Question 1149-19(2): Reconciliation and Completion of Rights Agreements
Oral Questions

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Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The finalization of self-government agreements and land claim agreements are a trilateral agreement. It's done with the federal government, the Government of the Northwest Territories, and the Indigenous governments. We are dedicated, though, Mr. Speaker, to doing our best to make sure that the agreements are finalized; however, I'm respectful of the Indigenous governments, and the work shall be done on time on their time as well as -- so that everyone feels that they got a fair shake of it.

So it's not about rushing the agreements. It's about doing them right. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 1149-19(2): Reconciliation and Completion of Rights Agreements
Oral Questions

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Richard Edjericon Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you Mr. Premier -- I mean Madam Premier. Does the Premier recognize the treaties as the reconciliation of pre-existing sovereignty of Indigenous people on this territory and the Crown. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 1149-19(2): Reconciliation and Completion of Rights Agreements
Oral Questions

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Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Absolutely, within the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous People, which is a priority of this government, there is a recognition of Modern Treaties and self-government agreements, and so I will continue to uphold that agreement. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 1149-19(2): Reconciliation and Completion of Rights Agreements
Oral Questions

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Richard Edjericon Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Does the Premier agree that our laws and policies need to respect the inherent sovereignty of the treaty First Nations and to reconcile our authority with that of First Nations and Indigenous governments. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 1149-19(2): Reconciliation and Completion of Rights Agreements
Oral Questions

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Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We wouldn't call them self-government agreements if we didn't believe in the concept of them being able to self-govern. Within all self-government agreements, there is clauses within each chapter that identify the paramountcy of laws. And many of those chapters, Mr. Speaker, the Indigenous government has paramountcy over the territorial government. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 1149-19(2): Reconciliation and Completion of Rights Agreements
Oral Questions

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The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Honourable Premier. Final supplementary, Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.