This is page numbers 6869 - 6942 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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Julie Green

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I'm going to quote the section of the Member's Code of Conduct which applies in this case. Members must act lawfully and in a manner that will with withstand the closest public scrutiny, upholding the integrity and honour of the Legislative Assembly and its Members. Members shall ensure their conduct does not bring the integrity of their office, or of the Legislative Assembly, into disrepute.

And as you know, Mr. Speaker, there's commentary that goes with this. And I think the most important paragraph in the commentary says the Legislative Assembly will not generally be interested in the personal or private affairs of a Member; however, if a Member's conduct is such that knowledge of it would likely to impair the public's trust in the institution of the Legislative Assembly, the Legislative Assembly may be justified in taking action. This is particularly so where the conduct in question is unlawful.

Mr. Speaker, there's no question that the Member for Great Slave has broken the Code of Conduct and that has been affirmed by the Integrity Commissioner.

I want to say as a Yellowknife MLA, when I was evacuated, and the news broke that the MLA for Great Slave had returned that the reaction from Yellowknife residents was anger. People were angry. They were also in a place that they didn't find comforting. They were in a place that wasn't home to them. Even though they may have been in a place that was safe and secure, they would rather have been in their own beds. And they were angry, I think, because there was no shared sense of anxiety and hardship, which all of us experienced to some extent or another.

There was no compelling reason for the MLA to be in Yellowknife, and there was no reason for her to stay after the YKDFN made it clear that they did not need her -- they did not need her services. So in summary, this was a selfish decision with no benefit to the community. And the fact that she's not here today tells us that she has nothing but disdain for this House. Those are my comments.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Yellowknife Centre. The motion is in order. To the motion. Member for Range Lake.

Caroline Cochrane

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Mr. Speaker, on October 2nd, Minister Thompson and I attended an event held to recognize the hard work of GNWT employees who went above and beyond to keep our residents and communities safe during our horrible fire season. At this event, I spoke about how employees kissed their families good-bye, how they worried about their own safety, as well as the safety of their loved ones, as thousands of people evacuated. I also asked everyone to remember the firefighter who this summer lost his life. These employees are heroes, Mr. Speaker. They took on additional responsibilities and stepped up to support efforts when and where needed. But they were not the only residents to step forward. People also volunteered to stay behind to protect communities and support those working on the front lines. I want to thank those people as well. Their efforts assisted in ensuring we had homes and communities to return to.

In saying that, Mr. Speaker, not everyone who stayed behind in evacuated communities was authorized to do so. I stated many times through the evacuation it is critical for residents abide by the emergency orders so as not to put firefighters and other frontline workers at risk, nor to jeopardize the effectiveness of our emergency response. Mr. Speaker, most residents left, traumatizing to all.

Mr. Speaker, MLAs are expected to be role models for their constituents and for all residents. While we all make mistakes, it's critical to acknowledge those errors and commit to improving going forward. When the MLA for Great Slave entered Yellowknife during the evacuation, she states she believed that she had permission to do so. However, when it became clear that the Member was not authorized to support the fire efforts, by remaining in Yellowknife she undermined the hard work of many people and brought her office into disrepute. No MLA is above the law, and all Members must abide by emergency orders in place to protect residents. That is our work.

This should come as no surprise to anyone as we dealt with breaching of orders previously in this Legislative Assembly. It is clear to me, Mr. Speaker, that the MLA breached the Code of Conduct by choosing to remain in Yellowknife. And as such, I will be supporting this motion. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

The motion is in order. To the motion. Member for Nahendeh.

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I stand here to support the motion. Mr. Speaker, I was struggling on what to say here, especially after what's been going on the last little while. However, I'm going to stick to what we're here to talk about today.

We came up with a tool that was -- to deal with MLA's Code of Conduct issues without having to spend tons and tons of money and doing an inquiry. We used that tool. I used that tool.

Mr. Speaker, when you look at the rule of law and order, MLAs are not above anybody else. We need to lead by example. That is our role. Mr. Speaker, we have two choices: accept or reject integrity Commissioner's report. That's it, Mr. Speaker. And with that in mind, Mr. Speaker, I will therefore support the recommendations provided by the Integrity Commissioner. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Nahendeh. The motion is in order. To the motion. Member for Yellowknife South.

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I want to speak to an aspect of the motion I haven't heard as much attention on, and so I wanted to take this opportunity. It comes at page 11 of the -- or I'm sorry, at page 11 of the Integrity Commissioner's decision. And he says, In reaching this determination, I have considered Ms. Nokleby's explanation that she did not leave Yellowknife after the YKDFN made it clear that she was not an essential worker because she was in, quote, emotional tailspin.

He continues on to say, The whole situation was no doubt stressful, as it was for everyone who evacuated as required. However, Ms. Nokleby was able to participate remotely in the Legislative Assembly session in Inuvik three days later.

Mr. Speaker, mental illness does not discriminate. It affects many residents of the Northwest Territories as we all know. Mr. Speaker, it affects many of my constituents, and it affected many of my constituents who were evacuated and who abided by the order. Many of those residents, Mr. Speaker, were in contact with me or their MLAs asking, in many cases, to be allowed back. I was specifically asked by someone who was in a difficult situation if they could be added to the essential workers list so that they could return. Mr. Speaker, I had to decline. Mr. Speaker, there was a number of people who were in extremely similar circumstances. It was difficult, it was stressful, and it was emotional, and they abided by the order that they were under and they did not return.

Mr. Speaker, it was difficult to answer questions to those residents who were struggling, who were struggling in difficult circumstances and who were struggling with emotional well-being, but they did abide by the order and they continued to abide by the order for the duration of the order. The Member chose not to do that, chose not to abide by the order, chose to return and chose to stay returned even after she had been asked to leave. And she blames that on her emotional state. But, Mr. Speaker, again, that was no different from any of my constituents who went through very difficult circumstances for the entire duration of time.

Mr. Speaker, meanwhile, we are elected leaders. And leadership is uncomfortable, and it requires sacrifice. Mr. Speaker, I accept the Commissioner's recommendation, and I'll be accepting this motion. Thank you.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Yellowknife South. The motion is in order. To the motion. Member for Frame Lake.

Kevin O'Reilly

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. I request a recorded vote.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Frame Lake. Member for Nunakput.

Jackie Jacobson

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Just listen to all the comments said here today. Like, mental health issues in regards to that, the stress and duress that Member's under. She's been through a lot. For myself, I do accept the Integrity Commissioner's report and as is rules, I do -- I have no choice but to support it. But at the end of the day, this is a question I have is the time that it went in, the first complaint, second complaint with the fires and not staying. It's just like for myself, you know, she's not here to defend herself and that and everybody wants to take shots. She's here. But at the end of the day, we're wasting the House time. I'm wasting the House time right now. Let's just put it to the vote, and we go from there. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Nunakput. The motion is in order. To the motion. Member for Monfwi.

Jane Weyallon Armstrong

Jane Weyallon Armstrong Monfwi

Okay, I support this motion too. I just want, you know, to close this and move forward. And I know that, Mr. Speaker, there was a process in place, and I know there was a lot of people that were stressed from the fire and, you know, like when I mentioned earlier, there was three people that were affected by the whole forest fires that was -- took place for about three weeks, or two months for some, the business people, people left behind, and the most vulnerable. So I know that had a lot of impact on us, the one that were left behind, the one that were abandoned. So there was a process in place; I know that, I understand that. But only after the MLA for Great Slave start inquiring, then the policy was changed. It was strengthened. There was a loophole, and she used that. I know that for a fact. So I will support this motion and get it over and done and just move on. Thank you.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Monfwi. The motion is in order. To the motion.

Some Hon. Members

Question.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Question has been called. The Member has requested a recorded vote. All those in favour, please rise.

Recorded Vote
Motions

Page 6901

Clerk Of The House Mr. Glen Rutland

The Member for Frame Lake. The Member for Nunakput. The Member for Yellowknife North. The Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh. The Member for Monfwi. The Member for Nahendeh. The Member for Yellowknife South. The Member for Sahtu. The Member for Range Lake. The Member for Inuvik Boot Lake. The Member for Yellowknife Centre. The Member for Hay River North. The Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes. The Member for Deh Cho. The Member for Hay River South. The Member for Kam Lake.

Recorded Vote
Motions

Page 6901

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

All those opposed, please rise. All those abstaining, please rise. The results of the recorded vote: 16 in favour, zero opposed, zero abstentions. The motion is carried.

---Carried

Motions. Member for Kam Lake.

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, dissolution of the 19th Legislative Assembly.

WHEREAS under section 11(1) of the Northwest Territories Act (Canada), the Commissioner may dissolve the Legislative Assembly;

AND WHEREAS under section 11(2) of the Northwest Territories Act (Canada), writs for the election of Members of the Legislative Assembly are to be issued on the Commissioner's instructions;

AND WHEREAS under section 2 of an act to Postpone Polling Day for the 2023 General Election, notwithstanding subsection 39(5) of the Elections and Plebiscites Act, polling day for the 2023 general election must be on November 14, 2023.

NOW THEREFORE I MOVE, seconded by the honourable Member for Hay River North, that the Legislative Assembly request the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories to dissolve the 19th Assembly of the Northwest Territories on October 15th, 2023, to permit polling day for a general election to be held on November 14th, 2023;

AND FURTHER that the Speaker transmit this resolution to the Commissioner.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Kam Lake. The motion is in order. To the motion.

Some Hon. Members

Question.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Question has been called. All those in favour? All those opposed? Any abstentions? The motion is carried.

---Carried

Notices of motion for the first reading of bills. First reading of bills. Minister responsible for Finance.

Bill 100: Appropriation Act (Infrastructure Expenditures) 2024-2025
First Reading Of Bills

October 6th, 2023

Page 6902

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Mr. Speaker, I wish to present to the House Bill 100, Appropriation Act (Infrastructure Expenditures) 2024-2025, to be read for the first time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Pursuant to Rule 8.2(3), Bill 100 is deemed to have first reading and is ready for second reading.

First reading of bills. Minister responsible for Finance.

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Cracking 100, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I wish to present to the House Bill 101, Supplementary Appropriation Act (Operations Expenditures and Borrowing Authorization), No. 3, 2023-2024, to be read for the first time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.