This is page numbers 6721 - 6786 of the Hansard for the 19th Assembly, 2nd Session. The original version can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly's website or by contacting the Legislative Assembly Library. The word of the day was know.

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Richard Edjericon

Richard Edjericon Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I rise to bring a serious concern before the House. It has been over three months since the Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs dissolved the elected Fort Resolution council and then appointed an administrator to oversee the local government.

Mr. Speaker, at this time MACA Minister said that this appointment was a significant step to the hamlet of Fort Resolution towards having a strong and stable community government. But, Mr. Speaker, isn't it ironic that the Minister's actions have done just the opposite? Instead of a stable community government with local leaders chosen by local people, the community has been totally uninformed about this decision and is awash with rumors, instability, and serious concerns about the future.

Mr. Speaker, when MACA Minister invoked section 159.2 of the Hamlet Act on June 5th, 2023, the purpose was to appoint an administrator who shall perform the duties of the council. The Hamlet Act is very specific about the duties of the council and core elements of the council administration is that it is business to be carried out in the public. This is why this is in clear rules about public meetings, for example.

Section 25, 27, and 28 state that notice to a public must be posted in advance. Agendas must also be posted in advance. Public meetings must be scheduled at least on a monthly basis. All bylaws must be passed in public meetings. Mr. Speaker, all these public meetings, the residents of Fort Resolution would have the opportunity to be informed about the business of their community. Normally, the meeting would include various reports such as public safety, financial reports, and operational reports. So why have there been no public meetings since Fort Resolution was placed under an administration by the Minister?

The statute requires public meetings and public disclosure of the hamlet documents but despite the legislative imperative, Fort Resolution's currently under the shroud of secrecy with the community unaware of even basic decisions that have been made on their behalf. Mr. Speaker, this must change immediately, and I'm calling on the MACA Minister to direct his administrator to follow the Hamlet Act and initiate a public meeting that the community originally deserves. This is an unacceptable situation and is continuing to hold the Fort Resolution back from the path to full self-government. It is time. It is time that the Minister corrects this issue and ensure that all our communities are made to follow the laws of the Assembly. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Katrina Nokleby

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you. Mr. Speaker, the abuses and violations committed and condoned by the Government of Canada against Indigenous people and, in particular, women, girls, and 2SLGBTQIPA+ people, is genocide. These abuses and violations have resulted in the denial of safety, security, and human dignity for Indigenous people and are the root causes of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQIPA+ people. Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBFQIPA+ people are forced to confront violence on a daily basis and live in a world where perpetrators act with impunity. The steps to end and redress this genocide must be no less monumental than the combination of systems and actions that has worked to maintain colonial violence for generations. We must address the historical, multigenerational, and intergenerational trauma, and social and economic marginalization of Indigenous people. We must break the status quo and stop ignoring the agency and expertise of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQIPA+ people.

The Calls for Justice arise from international and domestic human and Indigenous rights laws, including the Charter, the Constitution, and the honour of the Crown. As such, Canada has a legal obligation to fully implement these Calls for Justice and to ensure Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBFQIPA+ people live in dignity. First Nations, Inuit, and Metis families can raise their children with the same safety, security, and human rights that non-Indigenous families do.

Mr. Speaker, past efforts in this area have been reactive rather than preventative, which is a significant barrier to addressing the root causes of violence. Further, insufficient political will continues to be a roadblock. Proper prioritization and resourcing of solutions by governments must come with real partnerships with Indigenous peoples that support self-determination in a decolonizing way. The Calls for Justice represent a path forward towards ending Canada's genocide and to transforming the systemic and societal values that have worked to maintain colonial violence. The Calls for Justice aren't just about institutions or governments, although they do have foundational obligations to uphold. There is a role for everyone, both in the short and long-term. Individuals, institutions, and governments must all play a part. I encourage everyone to read the Calls to Action and to understand and, most importantly, to act on their roles in them."

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Rylund Johnson

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think we can all agree we hoped that progress on land claim and self-government agreements went differently in the life of this Assembly. Even in our own mandate, we weren't all that inspiring, hoping to settle two of those agreements. And here we find ourselves four years later with zero agreements concluded and many outstanding implementation agreements in ones that were settled over 20 years ago, Mr. Speaker.

Last time I asked these questions, Mr. Speaker, the Premier said she was hopeful that perhaps in the life of this government, a Norman Wells self-government agreement could be signed and an Akaitcho AIP agreement was out for consultation and, pending any issues, the AIP could be signed. I'm still hopeful. We got a one-month extension on this Assembly so perhaps some signatures were reached. I'll have questions for the Premier about whether there has been any progress on outstanding land claims and self-government agreements. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, homelessness prevention is not a passive process. It needs aspiration, and it needs action. Today is the National Day of Action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. On this Day of Action, where better to start than safe and secure housing.

Lack of housing and lack of affordable housing has an accumulative impact on the health and safety of Northerners, especially women and especially women with children. Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirited people experience disproportionately higher rates of violence, marital assault, familial violence, and sexual assault. Persistent gaps in living standards between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada, along with disparities in education, transportation, and employment, contribute to high rates of violence against Indigenous women and girls.

Across this country, women living off reserves are more likely to live in poverty even more so than women of visible minorities, women with disabilities, single parent women, and single senior women. Many women have shared with me that they are one missed paycheque away from homelessness.

If housing truly is a human right, and we mean no more stolen sisters, this government needs to actively increase the number of, and access to, affordable housing, promote strong social networks for women, increase efforts to prevent family violence through healing, recognize and address intersectionality of women experiencing or at high risk of experiencing homelessness, and expand and enhance social support systems.

Mr. Speaker, too many NWT residents find that to gain support they need to fall through the cracks at the right time to the right depth and ask the right questions to the right person to access social supports. This year, after a five-year wait, this government tabled its homelessness strategy. Members on this side of the House demanded accountability and eventually used tabling this strategy as a bargaining chip. The strategy we did get was a framework. It lacked data to inform who was being impacted and in which NWT communities to inform policy and budgetary decisions. It was silent on the funding deficit to maintain a fleet of aging assets and the influx of dollars needed to address housing in core need and lack of housing.

Mr. Speaker, we need aspirational goals that address the housing needs specifically of those Northerners experiencing or on the brink of experiencing homelessness, especially our youth who continue to put themselves in vulnerable situations in exchange for a roof over their heads. Mr. Speaker, if this territory is to reach zero homelessness, bold, aspirational, targeted, funded, actions specific to those who need it is required because all of us know someone who depends on it. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to attend part of the previous NWTAC and LGANT AGM. Part of the agenda was their awards ceremony. NWTAC was pleased to present the first of two 2022 community service awards. The first award winner was Soham Srimani. They spoke about his commitment, drive, and creative skills that has nurtured the community of Nahanni Butte. Through his administrative efforts and drive, the community has received funding for various projects, some which include housing projects, infrastructure projects, tourism, and marketing projects. All of this has benefited the community of Nahanni Butte. He has also done a commendable job in conducting mental health and youth development programs in the community. Nominated by several members of the Nahanni Butte's council, the NWTAC was pleased to present the community service award to Soham.

Mr. Speaker, LGANT presented the 2021 and 2022 Band Manager Mentor Award winner to Soham, the band manager from Nahanni Butte Dene Band. This award was given out by the band managers working group and encourages professional learning and peer support among First Nation administrators in the Northwest Territories. The award goes to the band manager that has exemplified the spirit of the band managers working group by offering support and advice to their colleagues in the past year.

Mr. Speaker, I realize that I am not going to do justice to Soham's nomination, but I did take a few paragraphs from many of the letters of support for him from the community and their leadership.

Before Soham took the job, they had six band managers over a four-year span. This resulted in a lot of administrative issues for the community. Thanks to Soham, he managed these issues well, created a proper record management system in both offline and online module and took care of past due reports for various funding received, even pending reports dated back to 2014. He has proved his administrative, managerial, and reporting skills and the community is very fond of him.

Apart from his regular band management duties, he is also involved in the community youth training, conducting seminars, and helping out community members in various capacities. His involvement in housing projects, infrastructure projects, tourism and marketing projects, coordinating with various government departments for funding proposals, approvals, implementation, and team management have been commendable and the community is very happy to have him.

Mr. Speaker, I realize my time and I would like to thank Soham for great work and ask that the rest of this statement be deemed as read. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Soham was instrumental in securing funding for a 4-plex residential construction project (funded by NWT Housing Corporation), a 10-plex residential construction project (SEED funding approved by CMHC), Arbor construction project (funded by CanNor), an all-weather stage construction project (funding approved from Infrastructure Canada), a new boat ramp project (funded by Department of Infrastructure, GNWT) and getting a Canada Post office in community with a dedicated postal code. He has done commendable job in conducting mental health programs and youth development programs in the community. He had helped to restructure our development corporation this year and getting approval from Nutrition North for our general store. Apart from being one of the best band managers Nahanni Butte ever had, Soham has been instrumental in restructuring the Naha Dehe Development Corporation. He has hired people to operate the corporation from community and training them in-person. The development corporation, under his guidance, started generating income in less than three months. In previous years, the corporation was suffering loss after loss, but thanks to Soham, we have taken the necessary actions to make the corporation operational and profitable.

Mr. Speaker, as I said previously, the nominations and letters of support came in from members of council, their employees, and residents of the community. One of the key themes in all the letters of support were Soham's willingness and eagerness to help people. He is patient and willing to invest the time in training and involving himself as part of the training process. He has made a great impact on the community in many various ways including financial, mentoring, teaching and learning from the community.

Mr. Speaker, Soham was a worthy winner for the awards by both organizations. As the MLA for the riding, I am very proud to recognize him here today. Mashi cho, Soham.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Nahendeh. Members' statements. Returns to oral questions. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Yellowknife North.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

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Rylund Johnson

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to recognize a former co-worker of mine, as well as a candidate for Great Slave in the upcoming election, and as well as president of the YWCA, Ms. Kate Reid. Thank you.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

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The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Yellowknife North. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Acknowledgements. Oral questions. Member for Nunakput.

Jackie Jacobson

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I brought up homelessness in my riding in Nunakput and water delivery in public housing because they both intertwine. The stresses on the family and elder abuse in regards to homelessness and people not having a safe place to live.

Mr. Speaker, can the Minister provide the House today, in my riding, how many safe houses that we have and if they're furnished in the communities? Thank you.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Nunakput. Minister responsible for Homelessness.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And thank you to the Member for the question. I don't have the number of safe homes we do have in Nunakput. But housing is available and ready to be working with Indigenous governments and with community membership. If this is something that -- a project that we'd like to work towards, I'm more than open to having those conversations with the community leaders if this is something that they'd want to accomplish. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Jackie Jacobson

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Just in regards to that, you know, I asked this question about, I think it was two years ago in regards to housing numbers. I need a House number and if it's furnished and they're ready to go in the community for safe housing. I have two individuals in, say for instance Tuktoyaktuk. One's living in a tent and one's living in a shack. I had another one in Paulatuk that was living in a trailer. All I need to know is this Minister, who's in charge of homelessness and housing, do we have units available for the community? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I was quickly trying to go through my material here to see if we have any vacancies in Nunakput. I don't have those numbers in front of me. But like I had said before, if the leadership is willing to work with us and if this is a project that they want to work towards, I'm more than open to be working towards addressing homelessness. I've done a similar project throughout the Northwest Territories. We recently worked with Hay River. We worked with Fort Simpson. We have ongoing communication with Inuvik and also with K'asho Got'ine Housing Society, so this is something that has been addressed throughout the Northwest Territories. But I'm willing to work in partnership. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Jackie Jacobson

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You know, the -- under the homelessness strategy, we were told in this House that they do have units available in the community. And I'd like to make the Minister -- if she could get -- provide that information to me, not here today. If she could get that information so I could provide it to my leadership and to the people that are homelessness in the communities that I represent.

Also, Mr. Speaker, with the water shortage that we have in our communities in public housing, you know as well as I do that we have communities with overallocated with their children because we don't have new houses because the CMHC has a certain number of houses in the community. There's -- when a new House gets built, they take an old one out of the system. So there's no growth. We have a lot of young families, and you know it as well as I do, that need a place to live. And we're not going to let them go on to the street; we're going to take them in. So say, for instance, we have a family with four kids, four children, and they bring -- they move in with mom and dad and they're not going to get kicked out. So water delivery is so important. Is there increase in the community; is it possible for local LHOs to get an increase for water delivery to daily if there's a certain number of people that's overallocated in the unit? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And yes, we do have an increase of our housing delivery for the Northwest Territories. And I just have the numbers here.

We have four units going to be constructed in Paulatuk. We've got two that would be constructed in Ulukhaktok. And we've got four in Tuk. I don't see anything for Sachs Harbour, but I have to get back to the Member; I'm just trying to look at this very quickly.

And also for the increase of water delivery, the Member -- the client should be able to contact the local housing authority. I know they are budgeted according to what they receive for their utilities and services in each of the communities and if there's anything that's above and beyond that, that it would be at the charge of the client. But that's a file I can follow up on as well because I do understand there is overcrowding in each of the communities. There is couch surfing in the communities so the occupancy of these units might have increased. But I'd have to get that detail from the Member. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Jackie Jacobson

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I really want to thank the Minister for that, for the update for the new houses in the communities. But I really urge her and her staff to make sure that we do have units available for homelessness, and we do have extra funding going in for the LHOs, local LHOs, because it's not their fault that they don't have a House and a roof over their head. And under the United Nations Act, it's like -- Mr. O'Reilly told me it's 12 cups of water for a man and nine cups for a woman; I don't know what's the difference there. But we have to make this a priority for this government because the communities are hurting, and the ones that are taking the brunt of it in this situation. It's not a question. It's just I'm urging the Minister to do -- to do right here. Thank you.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Nunakput. Taken as a comment. Oral questions. Member for Thebacha.

Frieda Martselos

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, will the Minister of NTPC commit to have bilateral meetings with the First Nation who has reserve lands right beside the Taltson dam and come to an agreement? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Thebacha. Minister responsible for Northwest Territories Power Corporation.

Diane Archie

Diane Archie Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the GNWT departments of both infrastructure and finance are working with interested Indigenous partners to be able to advance the Taltson Hydro Expansion Project. We remain open to working on a business partnership with all the NWT-based Indigenous groups that have traditional territory in the Taltson watershed. This includes those that are on reserve lands. We'll also consult with Indigenous groups, governments, as the project advances. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.