This is page numbers 6089 - 6140 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

Lesa Semmler

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Mr. Speaker, as this is our last day of this sitting, it's been a long two months. We'll be back in the May-June sitting, but I hope all my colleagues get a good couple days of rest before you get back to all the other work that you do as MLAs and Ministers.

I want to end this session on a good note. So this weekend is the beginning of many communities' spring celebrations in my region, and I would like to point out that in my community of Inuvik, we'll be celebrating the 65th Inuvik Muskrat Jamboree on April 21st to 24th, 2023. And I hope that we have some beautiful weather and that everybody enjoys their time visiting friends, family, taking part in all the community events. And I thank at the volunteers that make this happen every year.

I also want to wish those heading out to their camps for the annual spring hunt over the next two months, safe travels to them and their families.

I'd like to thank my CA Brenda Bernhardt for holding down the fort over the last two months and the reminder to my constituents that the coffee is always on. And, Mr. Speaker, I too want to wish Mr. Clerk, Mr. Tim Mercer, on your retirement, and it was great work working with you; it was great to meet you, to know you, and I wish you'd come back to visit us before the end of our term, and I wish you nothing but the best. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, anybody that was either present or listening to Committee of the Whole yesterday may have noticed that it was basically an extension of a Standing Committee on Social Development meeting here for most of the day. And two of the things that we covered in Committee of the Whole yesterday were reports that were done by the standing committee, but those reports could not have been in the way that they were done without the participation of the residents of the Northwest Territories. They really are the voices of the residents of the Northwest Territories. And one of the things that we have tried to do different this term in the Standing Committee of Social Development is ensure that we really elevate the voices of youth from around the Northwest Territories.

Mr. Speaker, one of the things that we've done in order to do that work through our priorities with the youth of the Northwest Territories is to step outside of this building and to meet youth in spaces that they find or feel are safe for them. So the work that we have largely done with youth has not happened in the Legislative Assembly. It has happened in places like a youth centre. Those are places that youth have identified are more comfortable for them. So it found committee members sitting on couches, eating doughnuts, drinking hot chocolate, and being able to hear true, valid, lived experiences from youth from across the territory, not just youth from Yellowknife.

The reason that committee has done this is to capture voices that are incredibly powerful to the work that we do and incredibly insightful and important to the work that is done by our committee.

Mr. Speaker, the voices of youth give our work more strength and more depth and the stories and lived experiences that they have so bravely shared with committee members have truly captivated committee members because they have been honest, and they have been brave. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the youth who have shared their stories and lived experiences with committee members in the work that we have done, but I also want to extend a huge thank you to the staff and the executive director of the Foster Family Coalition of the Northwest Territories and Home Base YK. Those staff members have created a lot of those safe spaces through their existing relationships with youth from across the territory. And I'd like to thank youth for participating and look forward to one day seeing them sitting in these seats here. 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, today I rise in the House to recognize and share some, I repeat some, amazing things about Ms. Joanne Deneron during her public life. I can say I have the pleasure of knowing her and have had some very amazing conversations with her since moving to Fort Simpson in 1992.

Mr. Speaker, Joanne is a resident of Fort Liard, is nominated for work and community leadership. Joanne has been selected for or elected to many positions in the community of Fort Liard where she served with distinction and gained recognition for her community, whether it was on the band or hamlet council, or local DEA. For an NWT perspective, Joanne has served and held many board and community positions. These include chairperson of the Aurora College, chairperson of the Workman's Compensation Board, board Member of the NWT Science Institution, board Member of the Canadian Polar Commission, president of the Literacy Council of the NWT, board Member of the Business Development Investment Corporation, executive Member of the Deh Cho First Nation, and board Member of the Development Bank. Currently, Joanne is on the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board, serving her third term as a chairperson.

Mr. Speaker, when you ask Joanne why she took on these roles throughout her life, she explained it was about wanting to learn good new things, meet new people, and have the desire to make her home a community region and the NWT a better place to live.

Mr. Speaker, Joanne has been and always will be a very dedicated and humble person. When she heard that she won the award, her first thought was they must be talking about somebody else; they can't be talking about me. Well, Joanne, they were talking about you.

Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that Joanne is known throughout the NWT for -- or Northwest Territories -- North, for her strong commitment to her family. Just ask her kids, who had the opportunity to make a number of those trips with her throughout the years so she could attend and be with them.

To her community and to the NWT and Nunavut, I can tell you that Joanne's contributions have been recognized by the Government of the Northwest Territories, First Nations governments, and related organizations who continue to request her participation at high level boards and committees.

Mr. Speaker, when you ask what message she would like the next generation on why it's important to get involved, she would say it's about making a difference in the community, improving the life of your family, friends and residents. It is also a great time to get to know the issues and meet new people.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the nominators and the committee for selecting and honouring her as part of the Order of the Northwest Territories. She is a well-deserving recipient of this award. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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 Inuvik Boot Lake.

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

Page 6093

Diane Archie

Diane Archie Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize the former Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes Mr. R.C. McLeod as well as his wife Judy, and they are now constituents of mine in Inuvik Boot Lake. I'm told it's his first time back in this building since he ran screaming out of here almost four years ago. Mahsi, quyananni, welcome back. Mr. Speaker, I'm going to take this opportunity now to also recognize our Inuvialuktun interpreters Lillian Elias and Valerie Steffanson. Quyananni, thank you for all the work that you do for us. Mahsi.

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

Page 6093

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Inuvik Boot Lake. That was actually Mr. McLeod's chair in the last Assembly, same seat.

Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Honourable Premier.

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

Page 6093

Caroline Cochrane

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I also want to take a moment to recognize Mr. R.C. McLeod. He foolishly took on in the last Assembly trying to be my mentor, realized I was the wild child, and still kept trying. I have a lot of respect for the Member; couldn't have done it without him. But I also want to say, Mr. Speaker, behind every good man is a good partner. So I also want to recognize his wife Judy. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

Page 6093

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.

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

Page 6093

Lesa Semmler

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Yeah, it wouldn't be proper of me if I didn't recognize my predecessor, past honourable R.C. McLeod, and welcome you back, and to his wife Judy. I used to work with Judy. We ran all of the health centres and the hospital nurses. We were pretty busy back then. She kept herself busy while Robert was down here working. So I'd like to welcome them here.

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

Page 6093

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

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

Page 6093

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you. I guess I'm going to jump on the bandwagon and recognize my former boss. He was my Minister when I worked for the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs. And his great leadership for the stuff that we're able to do during that time working from them. And as an advisor and -- I say somebody that would be able to give you sound advice throughout the time of my first four years as a Member, and his wife for putting up with him being gone for so long, Judy; thank you for much for being here today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

Page 6093

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Nahendeh. Recognition of visitors in the gallery.

Oh since it's his first time back, we'll do this again. I'd like to welcome back Robert C. McLeod, former Member of the 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th Assemblies, former Minister and deputy premier, also his wife Judy. Thank you for all the support you've given Robert over the years. I know he needed it, kind of a stressful job at times and, you know, it's always good to have somebody to talk to and thank you for all our service, Robert. You're greatly missed here, and I know you're enjoying retirement. I see all the pictures building cabins and on the land. Never seen you smile so much I always tell myself. I hope you enjoy your retirement and, you know, like I said, thank you very much.

And also Mr. David Brock. I haven't seen him for a number of years. He was the chief electoral officer at the time when I ran. Welcome back to Northwest Territories, or the Chamber anyway. And I hope all is well.

If we've missed anybody in the gallery today, I'd like to welcome everyone and hope you're enjoying the proceedings. Today is day last, as Doug Schauerte would say.

Okay, recognition of visitors in the gallery. Acknowledgements. Oral questions. Member for Yellowknife North.

Rylund Johnson

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Yeah, thank you, Mr. Speaker. As I said in my statement, it was my understanding that as we proceed on unauthorized rights, it was essentially if it was an Indigenous person and there was a potential rights case, we weren't going to evaluate it; we were just going to put it in a box and to the side. I've recently learned that that is not the case and there are cases where we will go forward with eviction for Indigenous peoples unauthorized using public land.

My question is for the Minister of Lands. Can he just tell me what exactly is the test being used? Are there some sort of hard limits here for when we are using a test for when an Indigenous person has a right to be on public land? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Yellowknife North. Minister responsible for Lands.

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the department is not taking enforcement actions on potential rights-based cabins at this time. The department is working with Indigenous governments on an approach to manage rights-based cabins on public land. The department won't be defining Aboriginal rights through this process.

Mr. Speaker, it's about also self-identifying. The individuals need to self-identify. There was a process that's explained on the post, please come into the office and self-identify. If they don't do that, then we do not know if it's a rights-based cabin. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Rylund Johnson

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Yeah, thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I think that may be where this problem lies in that there's a lack of trust and some people are not talking into a Department of Lands office any time soon, Mr. Speaker.

Can the Minister tell me whether Indigenous fishermen have a right to set up harvesting camps on the shores of Great Slave Lake, and what exactly that right would look like? Is there a limit to it? Are they allowed to set up a fish harvesting camp, but they're not allowed to do any commercial activity? Are they allowed to set up a fish harvesting camp, but they can't leave an ice shack there over time? Can the Minister tell me what the department's current interpretation of that right is? Thank you.

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, first and foremost, if the individuals do not want to talk to us and come into our lands, they can go in, talk to the Indigenous governments, and they can reach out to us. So we do have a process there.

In regards to his question, commercial operators occupying public land are required to have tenders. So they need to apply through a process. The department currently approached our -- the department's current approach to managing rights-based cabins is not considering commercial harvesting or operations. So thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Rylund Johnson

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Yeah, thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would really encourage the department to take a look at that. I think our Indigenous harvesters have a right to commit some sort of commercial activity on the lake. I know that's a complicated question, but I think it's a very kind of similar case to Miqmaq fishers with the lobster fishery, where the Supreme Court gave them essentially a moderate livelihood test. They were allowed to go out and do as was their tradition. I've spoken to many fishers on the lake. They will get licensed, they will go through the commercial applications, but they do view it as their rights.

Mr. Speaker, a couple years ago, the Department of Lands kicked commercial fishermen's boats off of the Giant Mine dock as being remediated but now there are commercial fishers who have nowhere to store their boats. And these aren't small boats, Mr. Speaker, they're 40-foot boats. Can the Department of Lands look for somewhere that commercial fishermen can store their boats legally in Yellowknife? You know, I note on this side of the lake we don't have a fishermen's wharf; we don't have a fish plant -- well, we have a fish plant but it's a houseboat, Mr. Speaker. So my question is can we find somewhere for the commercial fishermen to legally store their boats in Yellowknife, which is pretty essential to make sure the fishery survives on this side of the lake. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And, Mr. Speaker, I can honestly say we've had this conversation with the Member, and I greatly appreciate him asking this question in the House.

All available public land can be viewed on Atlas, the department website management system. If that's a problem, they can go into the department and talk to the staff there and check the website itself and we are more than willing to help there. Commercial operations interested in public lands may work with land administration to determine the land availability as well. An application may submit lease applications for any available land to, you know, if it's available in the lease. But also what we need to be aware that we still have to go through the review and consultation process that we follow. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Hay River South.

Question 1495-19(2): Carbon Tax
Oral Questions

March 30th, 2023

Page 6094

Rocky Simpson

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, will the Minister of Finance confirm if she plans to meet with the federal government to relay this government's opposition and concerns around the carbon tax. Thank you.

Question 1495-19(2): Carbon Tax
Oral Questions

Page 6094

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Hay River South. Minister responsible for Finance.

Question 1495-19(2): Carbon Tax
Oral Questions

Page 6094

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Yes, Mr. Speaker. In fact, Mr. Speaker, I've already conveyed that message today to one minister, Minister Vandal. I intend to convey that message to Minister Guilbeault. I will hopefully convey that message to Minister Wilkinson. And it's my hope that it's not only about the opposition; it's time for them to help us find solutions. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.