This Hansard has not been finalized - this is the "Blues" in Parliamentary speak, or unedited transcript in regular speak.

This Hansard is the unedited transcript and will be replaced by the final copy soon (generally within 5 business days). In the meantime, direct quotes should not be used, when the final is published it will seamlessly replace this unedited copy and any existing links should still work.

This is from 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

Member's Statement 1410-19(2): Energy Strategy
Members' Statements

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The GNWT's energy strategy, that the GNWT will partner with communities and stakeholders, Mr. Speaker, I have not seen the GNWT partner on energy projects in my riding of Nunakput. In Nunakput, we face the coldest and darkest winters. We use diesel to heat our homes, our businesses. We pay the highest price of fuel in the territory set by the GNWT, is to do this. Not only is this diesel is a source of energy to operate our communities, we pay carbon tax on that fuel. In my riding, we are already facing the highest cost of living, three and a half times more than Yellowknife, with some of the lowest employment opportunities across the Northwest Territories.

Mr. Speaker, how are our people to pay our bills, pay their heat, keep the lights on in their house? The government says they want to partner with our communities to implement an energy strategy, the government is partnered with Nunakput communities.

Mr. Speaker, the GNWT is partnering with Nunakput to make our homes more energy efficient, to help us establish local sources of energy. Mr. Speaker, M18, the project that is in Inuvialuit settlement region, we are already ready to develop a source of natural gas there, to have security for diesel fuel and compressed gas for Inuvik. And all I could think of is jobs.

Mr. Speaker, we have a solution in the ISR to promote energy security, stability, but the project continues to be put under review by the federal government. Which I remind them, the Inuvialuit settlement region is a settled land claim, for 39 years, on Tuk 7(1)(a) lands. The territorial government has to come and support us in regards to this project, Mr. Speaker.

What can the GNWT do to support the residents, to meet the rising costs of energy? If this is the case, the effective costs will go right across the board. The biggest increase is the cost of feeding our families. My communities need to secure affordable sustainable energy systems. I don't see the GNWT making headway to achieve this in my riding of Nunakput. The GNWT has to support M18. Mr. Speaker, I will have questions for the appropriate Minister of Infrastructure at the appropriate time, thank you.

Member's Statement 1410-19(2): Energy Strategy
Members' Statements

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Member's Statement 1411-19(2): Operating Businesses in Public Housing
Members' Statements

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Entrepreneurship accelerates economic growth, spurs innovation, instigates social change, promotes research and development, and improves and grows existing sectors. Global business owners have been instrumental in spurring social change and improving the way people live and work around the world.

Mr. Speaker, entrepreneurship is a good thing for every NWT community. While some business ventures are large operations, so many more are small home-based businesses expanding our workforce and economic and social health. But Housing NWT is standing in the way.

People in public housing work and their rent is based on their income through their T4 but Housing NWT prohibits home-based business in public housing due, quote, "to the fact that these homes are provided with subsidized rent." But the rent, Mr. Speaker, is subsidized according to a person's income. I think of a writer, a bookkeeper, a consultant, a baker, an artist or crafter, or maybe a labourer, wanting to start their own business but putting their housing in jeopardy by doing so.

Business startup for some NWT residents is a viable economic tool to access opportunity and pull themselves out of poverty. Building a business takes time. There is a time where a business owner grows their brand and reputation, to build their clientele as they grow their annual income. But to say public housing tenants with self-generated income are not welcome removes a very viable sector of opportunity from NWT residents, particularly those living in public housing dominated communities.

As a business owner, I followed the home-based business and zoning bylaws established in my community and income tax rules established by Revenue Canada that required me to submit GST quarterly and file my taxes annually. Zoning bylaws established what type of home-based business I could operate in my home and home-based business bylaws established rules around parking, people traffic, and signage. At this point, Mr. Speaker, it seems the only business operators protected in public housing are drug dealers.

I urge Housing NWT to create a home-based business framework for public housing to support economic diversification and growth across the NWT, especially in small communities. Entrepreneurship is a viable and much needed form of employment in our territory. Given the time and dollars ECE and ITI invest in skill development, building employment in small communities and entrepreneurial growth, I kindly ask Housing NWT to be part of the solution. Thank you.

Member's Statement 1411-19(2): Operating Businesses in Public Housing
Members' Statements

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Kam Lake. Members' statements. Member for Deh Cho.

Member's Statement 1412-19(2): Deh Gah Gotie School Trip to Mexico
Members' Statements

Ronald Bonnetrouge Deh Cho

Mashi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Ambassadors of Deh Gah Elementary and Secondary School have returned home safely from a recent trip to Mexico. The Fort Providence contingent made up of 11 students and seven chaperons made the trip February 4th to the 12th. The trip was spearheaded by the school's child, youth and care counsellor Daphne Blanco-Sarlay. Daphne's idea is to create at cultural exchange between two Indigenous communities impacted by colonialism in what's called Connecting through Kindness. The city of Tulum, Mexico has a population of under 20,000 residents and is one hour south of the resort town of Playa del Carmen. Tulum has a history of Indigenous Mayan culture. The students fundraised for the past three years to help the small community rebuild their secondary school and loved getting their hands dirty for a great cause. The students raised $10,000 and were beaming with pride as they understood this will benefit the education and future of the Mayan youth that hosted them.

Although there was language barrier, the students immediately made friends with their counterparts and managed to communicate in their own ways. Together they jumped rope, played hopscotch, hide and seek, tug of war, and shared many moments together cementing their friendship. Students toured various places of interest but most of all enjoyed the walks on the beach, the water park, snorkeling through underwater caves, and swam in the ocean where the water was so crystal clear they could see the bottom of the sandy ocean, the ocean floor.

This was trip they will never forget as they never imagined they would be in sandals, short-sleeved shirts and shorts, especially in the month in the February and are reminded of the temperatures back home in the North.

The students of Deh Gah School look forward to hosting the Mayan students this coming summer. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Member's Statement 1412-19(2): Deh Gah Gotie School Trip to Mexico
Members' Statements

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Deh Cho. Members' statements. Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.

Member's Statement 1413-19(2): Public Corporate Structures
Members' Statements

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, Crown corporations are hybrid entities that walk the line between a government body and a private enterprise. Generally their goal is to operate at arm's length from the public government. They provide programs and services to residents in a variety of ways, and have government support, with a goal of creating a more streamline approach to program delivery. However, in the Northwest Territories, we do not appear to have a concrete plan or a consistent governance model for our Crown corporations.

I recognize that no two issues are the same, Mr. Speaker, and that our Crown corporations provide different services. What I cannot determine is if our public government puts any effort into truly examining and evaluating how our Crown corporations operate.

The government stepped forward when it needed to purchase MTS; however, it is unclear to me how the government plans to look at this model moving forward. What is the current business plan and structure option for MTS? We have a board of deputy ministers for the NTPC right now. There is no independence in this structure, Mr. Speaker. The connection to government is not at all arm's length with government operation.

Additionally, there is the NWT Housing Corporation. The board structure was removed decades ago for a president who reports to a Minister. Now there is a working group with our Indigenous governments on the implementation of this work. But, again, Mr. Speaker, we have no consistency for vision for our Crown corporation.

Mr. Speaker, it is not lost on me that we require collaboration with government in many of these areas. We need shipping on to our communities, we need sustainable power rates, and we need to collaborate on housing. However, what we also need is a clear and consistent governance model for these Crown corporations. They cannot succeed without government support, but we can benefit from flexibility and independence from government if process is established appropriately. Mr. Speaker, I will have questions for the Premier later today. Thank you.

Member's Statement 1413-19(2): Public Corporate Structures
Members' Statements

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes. Members' statements. Member for Frame Lake.

Member's Statement 1414-19(2): Mining Royalties Modelling
Members' Statements

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. Yesterday I spoke on attempts by this government to engage the public and mining industry on mining royalties. Other work on mining royalties came to my attention when there was a presentation at the November 2022 geoscience forum by a consultant apparently hired by ITI. This consultant is the same one who conducted a nine-page peer review of the Price Waterhouse Coopers benchmarking study that found that GNWT is doing just fine with royalties and taxes from mining. That peer review was in agreement with the benchmarking study and its conclusion that the NWT is competitive with other jurisdictions - at least the ones that were included - and that public investment in infrastructure and technology is the best way to get more mining revenues. That study though focused on competitiveness and not fair return or maximizing benefits.

In any event, the same peer reviewer from Vancouver has been hired by ITI, again, through a $75,000 sole source contract to conduct some sort of modeling of mining royalties. Given that this consultant has already concluded that the NWT is doing fine in terms of competitiveness and mining revenues, I'm not sure what kind of modeling is going to be done. I will have questions for the Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment on this modeling, whether the public will get to have a say on what is done, and whether any of this work will be released publicly. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Member's Statement 1414-19(2): Mining Royalties Modelling
Members' Statements

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Member's Statement 1415-19(2): Eulogy for Diane Edwards
Members' Statements

March 2nd, 2023

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I rise in the House to speak about a respected elder who passed away in Fort Simpson. I am lucky to be able to use the eulogy provided by the family. Those close to her knew her as Dinah.

Mr. Speaker, Diane Edwards made a difference to the people she touched, loved, and worked with. Diane Mary Edwards was born on November 1st, 1946, in Fort Liard. Her parents were William and Marguerite Edwards. After finishing high school at Akaitcho Hall in Yellowknife in 1968, Diane moved back to Fort Simpson. She was an active member of the community. Sports were her venue especially curling and softball which were very popular and well organized at the time. In the days without internet or cell phones, the whole community would be involved with special events such as tournaments, a source of entertainment and a common place to meet for everyone. Diane was very active as a participant or in the crowd cheering loudly for the teams.

Diane started her government career 1970 at early age. She has one of the single longest public service career in the NWT, with over 40 years of meritorious employment as a member of the public service of the GNWT. This is quite an achievement. Diane would always go the extra mile performing her duties at health and social services with a focus on excellence.

Diane is the definition of a working-class unsung hero who didn't look for accolades and acknowledgements. She would find comfort in humility, charity, and performing her duties at an above par.

Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to meet and know Diane. She was an amazing person who could help you with whatever task you asked. When Diane retired from the government, they were hard pressed to find an award for 45 plus years of service. HR had to create a special plaque just for her as no one had ever retired with 48 years of service. What an accomplishment.

Diane was always a treasure trove of information and when HQ needed something, Diane was their go-to and always found what they were looking for. If somebody from HQ came to Simpson, they always wanted to put the face to the voice.

Diane Mary Edwards passed on Saturday, February 18, 2023 at 1:49 p.m., surrounded by family and friends who loved her dearly. Her heavenly journey began, and she is now free from the bonds that held her back on earth. She's taking her place with our ancestors, and she will live in our memories forever.

Mr. Speaker, I have several messages that were shared at the service from people from the region, and I have added them to my statement here. I would like to have them deemed as read. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. She'll be sadly missed.

Member's Statement 1415-19(2): Eulogy for Diane Edwards
Members' Statements

Family Stories

When Ama passed in Oct 1999, Diane became very close with her sister Madeline, who also lived in Fort Simpson. And over time the two sisters became inseparable. Two peas in a pod, as Diane was the provider and protector for Ama in a supportive role throughout her life. It was a natural transition for Diane to provide that same support for her older sister Madeline, a widow living independently in her own home.

The two had many adventures together - Greyhound bus trips to Edmonton, gardening, berry picking, camping, and fishing were high on the list of things to do. They always found time for some "entertainment" and very well respected from all diverse groups of people in the community.

I went on a few road trips with Diane as well. She loved to travel but kept her routine simple and exact. She was a creature of habit. She only liked to shop at Army and Navy, stay in fancy hotels like the Macdonald Hotel in Edmonton. And later, after the Army and Navy store closed down on 97th Street, she would go to Kingsway. We went to Klondike Days together with my kids'. Boy, she watched out for them at all times, especially her favorite Brendan.

After Madeline passed in Oct 2018, it was a transitional moment for Diane. Her health started to wane, and her memory lapses became more frequent. Unfortunately this was foretelling her future.

With a series of ailments and accidents, Diane became bedridden and could no longer communicate normally. The fact that Diane was able to survive for as long is a true testament to stubbornness and love of life.

Kathy Tsetso shared about the first time she met Diane was at a curling tournament at the old community hall, way back in 1975. Diane asked her to curl on her team, so she did. Kathy never curled before and was shy since she had only been in Simpson for three months. They won the women's event. She was so pumped and grateful for being asked to curl by Diane. Side fact, this was when she met Albert at the Saturday night curling dance for the first time and they never looked back. Kathy credits Diane for getting her to come out and for Diane being a bit of a matchmaker too.

Member's Statement 1415-19(2): Eulogy for Diane Edwards
Members' Statements

Amy

Diane... Lady Di as we would call her. Di was one of the kindest people I worked with who would bend over backwards for those she genuinely cared about, and I consider myself one of the lucky ones who got to be a part of her journey. I valued our special friendship, from our little break cruises around town, lengthy talks about when she was a little girl, berry picking in Liard, her love for curling, her travels with her sister, the special gifts she would bring in for me whether it be her niece's fresh bannock bread to share with me, or a new pair of socks or mitts she just finished. If I am honest, she was pretty choosy when it came to picking friends or people gave her time and trust to.

She would always make me laugh. Daily I would find myself in stitches with her spicy demeaned as she did not hide her true feelings well when she was not fond of someone. But if she was fond of you, she would give her shirt right off her back. I will cherish all the moments. Di is loved beyond measure and will be missed deeply by all those who had the pleasure of knowing her.

Member's Statement 1415-19(2): Eulogy for Diane Edwards
Members' Statements

Cindy

I wish we were home a day earlier so that I can pay my respects to Diane. Diane was the sweetest and also could be a little feisty if she did not like you, lol.

I still have two pairs of knitted slippers that she made me. When we worked together, our office would do a gift exchange and if she did not get my name, she would always tell me to stop by, she had something for me, and I would get a pair of slippers. I loved exchanging gifts with her. Use to enjoy our Saturday outings with Sandra. Rest in Peace.

Member's Statement 1415-19(2): Eulogy for Diane Edwards
Members' Statements

Deb

I am honoured and privileged to have had the years spent with Diane in my life. They were filled with adventure, our many trips to Fort Liard. Great stories. She was an amazing source of knowledge and always willing to share. Her sense of humour brought tears of laughter. Her heart was big enough to offer individual attention to every person that came to her for help through her role with health and social services. Diane made a difference in the lives of many. Her kindness and positivity will leave an in-wavering legacy in the community of Fort Simpson and many others whose lives she touched. Always missed, never forgotten. Go rest on that high mountain.

Diane's niece Shirley Ann Bertrand of Fort Liard sent me the following about Diane and her life in Fort Liard and she spoke with elders who remembered her.

The elders in Fort Liard remember Dinah. Here are some words they shared. "Dinah knew who we were" one said. Another shared a short story. "I trapped with Dinah's Dad (William Edwards). We used to trap beyond Fisherman Lake in the mountains. Dinah was born in Fort Liard and raised there until she was maybe eight or nine years old. Dinah's mom and Dinah lived in a house her dad built. After his passing, Dinah and her mom moved to Fort Simpson. Where her mom had family.

Even after she left to attend school, Dinah would return to Fort Liard time and time again. Dinah kept in touch with the elders, relatives, friends, including her sister Vera Bertrand and her family. Although a private person, Dinah would be known for working many years for Fort Simpson Social Services.

She also had a collection of photos. Dinah loved to go fishing and would be seen fishing at the mouth of the Petitot River. Dinah also liked to pick berries. Mahsi for sharing your life with us Dinah. Rest in Peace.

These are our memories of her from people of Fort Liard.

Diane loved Fort Liard and her family members there. So many times, she talked about going back and building a house on the lot she owned there but always something else came first. She was a devoted daughter, sister, auntie, friend, and co-worker to many.

When Diane's father passed away, they moved to Fort Simpson to be closer to her family William, Alice, and Johnny Tanche. The Tanche family have fond memories of their Auntie Diane. Diane was one special person in our lives, and she watched our children and grandchildren grow up. They all have memories, which I'm sure they will cherish. There is not one person in our family who did not call her Auntie. She touched their hearts in her own witty, kind-hearted person way. Auntie Diane will be missed.

She was so close to our family; she was Auntie to everyone.

She loved spoiling the kids and often bought them treats if she saw them in the store. One of the grandchildren said that their best memories of Diane were watching Animal Kingdom at Diane's while mom and my aunties played bingo. Diane and her mom looked after Cathy when she was young and loved her like their own. Later Diane would often tell Cathy that if she didn't let her go, she would have never married Tod.

She will be sadly missed but not forgotten.