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.

Topics

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my parting Member's statement is a gift to interpreters. It is going to be both slowly spoken, and it is going to be brief.

To the next Assembly, I wish you a long and uncomfortable priority setting exercise because that will hopefully mean that you land with less priorities than this and previous Assemblies. We often get lost in the weeds thinking that priority setting is an exercise to outline what the government does for every single item we want to see some form of growth on. But it isn't. It is a question of what you want your collective legacy to be.

Mr. Speaker, you've heard it said in this House before, you are better off to choose a few things and actually make marketable change than to choose many things and change nothing. So if you end up with a long list, stop, take a breath, take an extra day, and get uncomfortable, have hard conversations. Remember, this is your term and you, 20th Assembly, define the priorities and ultimately your legacy. And so to the 20th Assembly, I wish you a long and uncomfortable priority setting exercise. Thank you.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Jane Weyallon Armstrong

Jane Weyallon Armstrong Monfwi

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, on August 16th, 2023, the GNWT issued an evacuation notice for Yellowknife, N'dilo, Dettah, and Ingraham Trail residents to leave by noon on Friday, August 18th. This decision was made without consultation with Indigenous government and without even involving all MLAs. Left out were MLA for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh and Monfwi.

After August 18th, the four Tlicho communities were the only ones left in the North Slave. It became clear very fast that the GNWT had no plans on how they were going to provide basic necessities for our communities. There was a huge gap in services across the NWT for shipment of food, access to health and social services, and medical prescriptions. It was like the remaining 15,000 people inside the NWT were just abandoned.

Thankfully, Mr. Speaker, the Tlicho region is self-governing and has capacity to fill some of the gaps in services. I want to thank Tlicho government for establishing evacuation centres in the south. They worked hard to find and look after Tlicho citizens who were evacuated, especially the most vulnerable.

I also want to thank the community government, Tlicho Community Services Agency, the friendship centre, and all our local business. The Tlicho Investment Corporation flew groceries out of Edmonton to support the Tlicho communities.

Finally, I want to thank Sutherland Drugs in Yellowknife who stayed open so they could continue to fill people's prescriptions.

Mr. Speaker, over the past few years, I have spoken many times about the need for a Tlicho region separate from North Slave. Creating a separate region would allow us to make better decisions on behalf of our residents and more authority to support our residents' needs, especially during times of emergency. It took days before the GNWT had any meaningful discussions with this region and its leaders. This is the reason why I brought forward Bill 98. We need to move away from the centralized decision-making structures that fail to consider the needs of residents outside of Yellowknife.

God willing, I will be part of next Legislative Assembly where I will continue to work for amendments to the Emergency Management Act and the Tlicho region to be established as its own administrative region. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Kevin O'Reilly

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. I am saving my mushy stuff for a little bit later.

The Department of Education, Culture and Employment has released a report Jobs in Demand - 20 Year Forecast on May 1st. It is full of interesting and information. The report is primarily broken up into categories of educational attainment that will be needed for projected types and numbers of jobs. These could be current jobs that need to be refilled because of turnover, retirement or death, or newly created jobs. By far the largest demand for new workers is for elementary school teachers, at 5 percent of new hires; nurses and secondary school teachers following closely at 3 percent each.

Examples of other leading occupations include doctors, lawyers, engineers, and financial managers. 27 percent of new hires will require university graduation. Trades make up 11 percent of future needs, with customer service occupations such as cooks, automotive mechanics, carpenters, and electricians leading the field. It is notable that it appears not many jobs are needed or will be created directly in the resource sector. The positions requiring college diplomas will make up 24 percent of total new jobs, and jobs requiring high school education or less comprise 38 percent of projected new hires. Now, compare these totals to current levels of educational attainment, and we are faced some unpleasant facts.

New jobs requiring university, college, and/or a trade certification will make up 62 percent of new demand. Today, only 49 percent of workers have attained this educational level, a spread of 13 percent whereas today, 27 percent of the workforce has trades, certificates or diplomas, the projected demand will be 35 percent of candidates to hold these credentials.

In all job categories requiring post-secondary education, Indigenous peoples' educational attainment is lower than non-Indigenous, sometimes dramatically so. Several conclusions come to mind.

First, we are not going to have enough NWT residents to fill occupations requiring advanced education. Many of these jobs will go to new hires from the south or will stand vacant thwarting well-being and provision of services for our residents. I'll have questions for the Minister of Education later today on this topic. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Caroline Cochrane

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Mr. Speaker, one of the unique features of our governance system in the Northwest Territories is the importance of Indigenous governments. Indigenous governments deliver programs and services to their members, run businesses, and engage in a range of intergovernmental activities. Being a leader is challenging, and today I want to acknowledge former Chief Eddie Sangris.

Chief Sangris was born and raised in Dettah. I remember him as a child coming to Yellowknife by dog team. He spent 23 years as a heavy equipment mechanic. I wish I had known that; I could have used some of that service over the time. He was elected as a councillor for the Yellowknife First Nation, a role that he held for 12 years.

In 2007, Mr. Speaker, he was elected as the Dettah chief, a role he remained in for four terms, 16 years. During this time, Det'on Cho companies have flourished. The Yellowknife Dene First Nation housing strategy was developed, and the community has weathered many challenges from COVID-19 to this year's wildfires.

Being a leader frequently means being away from family. Today, his family is here with us today as we recognize his 26 years of service to his communities. Eddie, we wish you all the best, and we thank you for your tireless advocacy for your community members. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, yesterday in my reply to the Commissioner's address, I thanked people, but I left these ones out specifically for today, the last day.

Again, I would like to thank the Legislative Assembly staff. Clerks -- sorry, I'm reading my writing -- researchers, librarians, and support staff. I ended up in Cabinet this time, but I was able to still work with you on a number of projects as being part of the rules committee and in the transition matters. Your advice and support through this time was greatly appreciated, and I thank you for that.

To the MSAs and CAs or EACs of the Ministers, thank you very much for taking my thousand briefing notes and having to deal with them as we moved forward. I greatly appreciate your work, frankness, and compassion for the residents of the Northwest Territories.

To the CAs of our Regular Members, or all our MLAs, thank you very much for the work you did for the residents of the Northwest Territories. You are our frontline people that our constituents get to come into and talk to and, nine times out of ten, tell their stories, and there were some heartbreaking stories that you got to share it, so thank you for that.

And finally, to the translators, you've done an amazing job. Sometimes some of us spoke a little fast. We have a number of speaking notes here. It says slow, and I bet you appreciate it when we were using those. So I would again like to thank everybody.

And to the Regular MLAs, again, thank you for the work you've done for the residents of the Northwest Territories.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Nahendeh. Members' statements. Member for Hay River North.

R.J. Simpson

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, later today, residents of Hay River will gather, as they do every October 6th, to remember the life and honour the sacrifice of Constable Christopher Worden.

Sixteen years ago today, on October 6, 2007, at 5:03 a.m., Constable Chris Worden of the Hay River RCMP detachment responded to a call for service. In the tragic events that followed, Constable Worden lost his life in the line of duty. He was just 30 years old, with a wife and 8-month-old daughter at home.

According to his wife, Constable Worden would often say that he loved being a Mountie, and there was nothing else he'd rather do. He was described as a sheepdog, fearless when it came to protecting those who could not protect themselves. Mr. Speaker, for his sacrifice he proved his commitment to protecting others and serving his community. His commitment, as he proved, was unwavering and unquestionable.

Constable Worden was posted to Hay River in 2005. He was very community-minded and quickly became a member of the community, not just somebody passing through town. The impact he made on the community in the two years he was in Hay River is undeniable. This is evidenced by that fact that 16 years later, dozens of residents still gather for an annual vigil.

This year, the vigil will commence at the community centre at 12:30 p.m. and make its way to the Hay River RCMP detachment where there will be a brief dedication of a new plaque. Unfortunately, the House is sitting today so myself and the MLA for Hay River South are unable to attend, but on behalf of both of us I want to extend our condolences to Constable Worden's family, his friends, the RCMP, and the community. We thank and honour Constable Worden for his sacrifice. It will never be forgotten. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Hay River North. Our continued thoughts and prayers with the family and all RCMP throughout our territory for the work they do. Mahsi.

Members' statements. Returns to oral questions. Minister responsible for Environment and Climate Change.

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I have a return to oral question asked by the Member for Monfwi on September 27th, 2023, regarding fire management policies effect on Indigenous culture.

The Department of Municipal and Community Affairs is in the process of gathering information from departments, community governments, and other jurisdictions on the actual costs to date. Anticipated projections of the evacuation and fire mitigation measures will be reported to the finance management board in the Standing Committee on Government Operations on a quarterly basis. Until this information is gathered, I cannot confidently provide an estimate at this time.

The cost of actions taken to protect communities and infrastructures during an emergency response is separate and distinct from the work that is done on a yearly basis to prevent and mitigate the risk of wildfires to protect communities or wildlife habitat from wildfires.

The Department of Environment and Climate Change, or ECC, works closely with communities on an ongoing basis to provide advice and recommendations on wildfire hazard assessments and risk mitigations, which can include firebreaks, FireSmarting, and other measures to help protect their communities from wildfires.

Officials from ECC recently worked with all 29 forested communities in the NWT to update their community wildfire protection plan and the department regularly provides advice on implementation of their plans, including local fuel breaks or firebreaks.

Fuel breaks are one of the many tools used in wildfire prevention, mitigation, and response. It is important to note that they are not intended to stop the direct spread of wildfire. Rather, fuel breaks are intended to slow fires and can also provide fire personnel a control line to safely initiate forms and then possibly to remove fuel between the community and the remaining fire, or the main fire.

It is also important to note that with many groups and organizations involved, this work needs to be planned and coordinated. Local emergency management and community protection is a responsibility of community governments and those costs should be included in the community budget. It is also important to engage with ECC to ensure that any fire prevention work is consistent with the community wild protection plan.

Community government funding is provided annually and may be used for fire protection. The NWT, under the Northwest Territories Association of Communities, supported by ECC, was successful in obtaining federal funding to create firebreaks in the NWT communities.

2023 was an unprecedented wildfire season in the NWT and many places across Canada. The NWT saw record temperatures, severe droughts, extreme wind events that resulted in extreme fire behaviour. This resulted in many aggressive fires that burnt deeper, hotter, faster than we have seen in the past and where we -- and were very challenged -- challenging to manage. I'm proud of all the dedicated experience and well-trained firefighters who worked so hard to protect our communities and critical infrastructure. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Returns to oral questions. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Frame Lake.

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

Page 6875

Kevin O'Reilly

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. I have some family in the gallery today. Renee O'Reilly, my wife Suzette; they've had to put up with my ravings over eight years. So thanks for being here today, I and couldn't have done it without you. Thank you.

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

Page 6875

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Frame Lake. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.

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

Page 6875

Lesa Semmler

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I'd like to recognize my son, Jozef Semmler, my husband Jozef Carnogursky, my sister Krista Carnogursky, and my grandmother Esther Semmler in the gallery today. Thank you.

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

Page 6875

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Nunakput.

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

Page 6875

Jackie Jacobson

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Mr. Speaker, it's not too often I get visitors here but I'm so honoured to have my wife, my rock, in regards to what I've been able to do in this House. She's so steadfast. And I just love her to -- I love her to pieces. But welcome to the House. And to my CA Vince Teddy. It's been an honour and a privilege to work with him and been really blessed. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

Page 6875

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Nunakput. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.

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

Page 6875

Richard Edjericon

Richard Edjericon Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to recognize my beautiful wife Elina Edjericon. She's here today and I didn't know she was going to be here, so I just want to recognize her. And I want to say I love you, my wife. I'm also -- I want to recognize the former MLA Steve Norn, who is also here. Welcome. And your daughters, Cynea and Deliah. Also, I want to recognize former chief Eddie Sangris as well and his wife Beatrice and family. I want to say welcome. Also the newly elected chief for Lutselk'e is Chief James Marlowe. I want to say welcome, mahsi. And I also want to -- I see at the back Manuel and Marta Jorge. I want to say welcome. I want to recognize you. And everybody else in the gallery, mahsi for being here. And also, Mr. Speaker, I want to say thank you to all the translators for being here today and all the ledge staff. Mahsi.

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

Page 6875

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Hay River South.

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

Page 6875

Rocky Simpson

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I've got the names of everyone up there, and I want to go through them one by one. No, seriously, Mr. Speaker, I'd like to recognize my wife Bette and my daughter Kayln who are in the gallery today. Thank you.

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

Page 6875

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Hay River South. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Yellowknife Centre.

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

October 6th, 2023

Page 6875

Julie Green

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank Many White who has been filling in as my ministerial special advisor for the last two weeks. I'd like to thank Shaleen Woodward, Martin Goldney, and James Tulley, for all the work they do to support the executive council. There are a lot of people here who support the executive council. Thank you for everything that you've done.

Kenzi, you're here today. Thank you for being a page; I really appreciate it. And I would also like to thank Craig Yeo, my constituency assistant through most of my time in the Legislative Assembly. He's done a wonderful job of helping constituents. And finally to my friend Kevin O'Reilly, who I've known since before I moved to Yellowknife because he was talking about mining reclamation in Labrador when I lived there. So Kevin, thank you for this journey that we've taken together.