Colleagues, before we begin today, seeing this is our last day, I have a statement or two.
I would just like to start off by saying it was a pleasure and honour to serve with you all in the 19th Assembly. You know, we had a huge turnover and, you know, there's no shortage of challenges we faced in Assembly but at the end of the day, we worked through it together and here we are. I'll touch on that a bit more later.
I would like to start off by thanking the people of the Mackenzie Delta. You know, in 2011, even up until August, I wasn't even planning to run as MLA. It was until two former Members came to the community of Tsiigehtchic. At the time, we were having our Gwich'in Assembly and, at that time, a couple Ministers were at the Assembly taking questions, and that was R.C. McLeod and Michael McLeod. And at the end, after we were finished, they took a break and they pulled me aside and asked what I was up to because before that I was chief for four years. And they're like, so what's your plans? And I was like oh, no plans, just see what comes up. And they're like you should run for MLA. I was like oh,no, no, David's doing that. And they said oh no, he's not running. I said yeah, I'll think about it. And after a couple weeks there, I talked to a few people and decided to run and here we are today.
But, you know, it's so important, I think, like, a lot of times we, you know, because over the last 12 -- well, it's 16 years in leadership. It seems like most of the time we thank people is when it's too late, you know, because I've been to, oh I can't even keep track of the amount of funerals I've attended over the years, you know, paying respects. But I think it's so important to thank people, you know. Thank all those that gave me solid advice over the years and, you know, gave me their support. You know, people of the Mackenzie Delta, it started with the community of Tsiigehtchic as their chief. There, too, I wasn't planning on ever getting into politics but, you know, we don't know what our path holds in store for us because I'm a firm believer that the Lord shows us the way. You know, growing up in Tsiigehtchic, even back then religion was big in school and even to this day, I have my bible with me and something to protect me, and that was from our new Member from Monfwi. Thank you for that. It's got me over the last couple years here, but mahsi.
Like I said, it's so important to thank all those that stood by you. My wife and my children, my mom, who is here this week. She's flying home today, but. Also my constituency assistant for ten years, Ms. Wright, thank you for your service and, you know, I hope you're doing with as a chief in Fort McPherson. I know you are, but I'd just like to thank you. And also my new constituency assistant, Diane Koe, thank you for all the work you've been doing. And also Manny Arey, Dean, is my contact in Aklavik. And before that was Eugene Pascal. Thank you very much for your service.
For the people of the Mackenzie Delta. You know, I have so many friends and constituents in the communities and family members, you know, they -- that's one thing I learned in leadership is you'll never get a hundred percent support but it's usually 85 percent are behind you, and that's what you focus on. Nowadays, especially with Facebook, there's 15 percent -- you know, they say -- and this was told to me by a former leader in the band centre, you know, 15 percent, you could move mountains for them but it's never enough but they're the loudest. But just don't focus on that, just focus on your 85 percent and keep doing what you're doing, and that's one thing I learned -- or since that day, that's what I try to do. And, you know, just moving forward, like I said, I thank the people of the Mackenzie Delta because without them, I wouldn't be here.
And one more thing is, you know, growing up, my mother was a chief before me and even back then, they always said, you know, our younger generation, it's time for them to take over. And look at our Assembly today, you couldn't tell but Mr. Simpson is the youngest one here is I think -- or no, Rylund is now. But, you know, if you look around the room today, and about 30, 40 years ago, it was almost all our older -- the old school. But, you know, but it goes to show that, you know, what our elders wanted back then is happening here today and it's an honour working with some of the people I went to school with, Ms. Archie, Ms. Semmler, Jackie was before my time, but Paulie as well.
But before I move on to the speakers, I'd just like to thank Jackie. When I first got in, all the hotel rooms in the city were full and I had to spend two or three weeks with Jackie in his apartment. It was the longest two or three weeks of my life. No. Just kidding. I'm just kidding. But I never forget that. I'd like to thank Jackie. We had a lot of good conversations over the years.
And, you know, one thing that we were told in this Assembly was you can't become friends with anybody, like staff. You know 12 years in this facility with a lot of these staff, you know, you can't help but become friends with them, most of them. But, you know, it's almost impossible.
Even Members here, four years, and I feel like we've become good friends even though I never met you before, but that's just how it goes. And, yeah, it's challenging but, you know, end of the day, I think a lot of us have become good friends and stay friends.
So I'll just move on to some of the things in the Speaker's office. Every Speaker before me had a free ride up here. Oh boy. It was nothing but trips before I showed up. But, Members, I want to begin today's final sitting day of the 19th Assembly by sharing a few words on the challenges the Assembly faced.
As the 19th Legislative Assembly, we started strong, electing a record number of women to the legislature and to Cabinet. However, it was not long before we faced our first challenge - the arrival of COVID-19. As an Assembly, we had to stop our business mid sitting, resume sitting for a day to pass an interim budget, and then return home. The Assembly had to find a new way to work, including remote work, a new layout in the Chamber, and hybrid sittings. The challenges we faced were not only external but also internal. Allegations were made and investigations were conducted. It was a difficult and challenging time for all.
The Assembly belongs to the people and, for the first time, was closed to the public for extended periods of time during COVID-19 and the wildfire evacuations.
The 19th Assembly was the first with a binding Kindergarten. It was a learning opportunity for us all, and this Assembly made changes to the process based on what we learned.
Wildfires and evacuations on our final sitting, and on short notice we held the sitting outside of Yellowknife for the first time since 1989. Not only was this sitting held in Inuvik, it was our largest hybrid sitting.
The membership of our Assembly changed during our term with two by-elections and the election of a new Member for Monfwi and Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh. The election of the election for Monfwi made our Assembly the first elected Assembly in Canada to a majority of female Members. I believe this is the first Assembly where the mace was transported by skidoo when the road to Tsiigehtchic was blocked and we had to haul the mace and staff by skidoo and sled into the community.
The Office of the Clerk saw significant changes. The clerk, sergeant-at-arms, and manager of finance retired taking with them more than 80 years of experience and service. However, we are moving forward with the new people in these key roles. We have made significant changes and progress in our office and the clerk works with it, development and implementation of the workplace review and action plan. We may have had some rough time, but we started and will finish strong. Just this week, unveiling a new permanent memorial of the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls and 2SLGBTQIA people.
Colleagues, once again, it was a pleasure serving with you all, and I thank again the people of the Mackenzie Delta. You know, like I said, we don't know what's in store for us and if it's the Lord's will,I will be here again in the 20th, and I will just wish everybody good luck in the elections. And those that are retiring, I wish you well. Kevin, Caroline, Julie, and Rylund, you know, we had some good times -- well, retire from politics. But you never know you might come back. We had some great committee meetings in the last Assembly with Ms. Green and Kevin.
Kevin, I think R.C. McLeod said it best. Yeah Kevin. Kevin. But he said, it's one thing about Kevin, you know, he's got his ways but he is a man of his word. He usually tells you what he is going to do, and he does it and stands up for what he believes in, and there is a lot of people that really appreciate that. I would like to thank you you all for the work that you have done. Some of you have been here only four years but made a good impact.
One thing about -- that I learned from territorial politics is things take time so maybe in eight years, you might see the DMV opened on a Saturday. Fingers crossed. But once again, thank you all very much, and I can't help but thank the people in the Mackenzie Delta as well for putting your trust in me. And just thank you very much. Mahsi.
Ministers' statements. Minister responsible for Education, Culture and Employment.