Members, by the order of the Commissioner of the Legislative Assembly, this sitting outside the capital in Inuvik. I thank mayor Clarence Wood and the town of Inuvik for the use of their chambers.
The Assembly last sat outside of Yellowknife in 1989 in Norman Wells. Under Rule 10.1, this sitting is a hybrid one. Members are here in person and virtually and is due to the state of emergency in the Northwest Territories. All Members are concerned for residents displaced by wildfires. Many Members are displaced themselves. Like you, we fear for the safety of your homes, businesses, and communities. On behalf of the Assembly, thank you to everyone working to keep our communities safe, the firefighters, military personnel, municipal staff and leaders, civil servants, contractors, and volunteers. We see your work and sacrifice.
At this moment, I want to acknowledge Northwest Territories firefighter Adam Yeadon. Adam died fighting wildfires near Fort Liard on July 15th, 2023. Adam was a young man who lost his life protecting others. I ask Members to join me in a moment of silence in his honour.
Thank you, Members.
Members, today's sitting will be different. Under Rule 10.5(2), I have issued special orders of the day to ensure the efficient operation of the Chamber. These orders reflect Members' desire for a business-focused sitting. We are here to deal with the timing of the election. We are also here to authorize additional spending to respond to these wildfires.
This is the largest hybrid sitting we have done. It is on short notice. We are in a community and not in the Chamber. There will be technical difficulties, technical challenges. This includes the live stream. Be patient, stay focused on why we are here. If we do, we will get through this together.
Members, I have received a letter from the Commissioner, the Honourable Margaret Thom. It reads:
Dear Mr. Speaker. I wish to advise that I recommend to the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories the passage of Appropriation Act (Infrastructure Expenditures) 2024-2025; Supplementary Appropriation Act (Operations Expenditures) No. 2, 2023-2024, during the second session of the 19th Assembly.
Members, the Member for Monfwi has provided me with notice that, pursuant to Rule 3.5(1), she wishes to move a motion for emergency debate calling upon the Government of the Northwest Territories to ensure that Indigenous governments are involved in the GNWT's response to end the current wildfire emergency. Under that rule, the Member would move the motion for an emergency debate at the conclusion of oral questions but those are not on the orders today. That means Rule 10.5(2) applies. That rule relates to remote sittings.
It states where the rules in this section are silent on a matter covered elsewhere in the rules, the Speaker may amend any rule or procedure as required to allow for the effective participation of Members appearing remotely. In the efficient operation of the Chamber under Rule 10.5 (2), I direct special orders of the day for today to ensure the efficient operation of the Chamber. This sitting could be characterized as an emergency sitting. The orders were issued to allow for a business-focused sitting, focused on dealing with two pressing matters:
- Changing the date of the election; and,
- Approving additional funding for wildfire response.
The Northwest Territories is under a state of emergency. We must be focused on the pressing matters at hand; however, Members will have their individual privileges. When a motion is made for an emergency debate, if it passes all of the remaining business of the day is set aside. That would mean dealing with the timing of the election and authorizing spending for wildfire response would not be dealt with today.
I am concerned that the Member's motion may not get fair consideration if Members are worried that the matter we were called together would be put aside. As a result, under Rule 10.5(2), I will amend Rule 3.5(1) such that at the end of third reading of bills, the Member may move to set aside the original business of the House to discuss a matter of urgent public importance requiring immediate consideration.
Members, I believe this balances the privileges of the Member and the Assembly and ensures the efficient operation of the Chamber. Thank you.
Tabling of documents. Minister responsible for Finance.