Legislative Assembly photo



Crucial Fact

Last in the Legislative Assembly September 2019, as MLA for Inuvik Boot Lake

Won his last election, in 2015, with 89% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Question 828-18(3): Transitional Housing August 19th, 2019

I have chatted with the staff and talked about putting a transitional document. I know we do have a transitional committee here within the next government, but I really wanted to make sure that, with something as important as housing, that I would sit down with my staff and we would look at creating some type of a transitional document moving into the next government. Over the past two governments, we have made some really big strides and we have had some great leadership from our past Ministers who were responsible for housing, and I just want to carry that forward and make sure that we continue the continuity of the programs, the services, the partnerships, and promoting the programs that we have, and continuing to work with the federal government, our Indigenous governments and making sure that they are prepared for housing issues moving into the 19th Assembly. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 828-18(3): Transitional Housing August 19th, 2019

The community housing plans, as I've said, are going to be a game changer for our communities across the Northwest Territories on how we address housing. Every community has their own special needs, and when we develop these community housing plans, it's going to be the communities that are going to tell us what their priorities are, rather than us telling the communities what they need. This past weekend was also the first time that we just had a meeting with all of our district offices across the territory, on Saturday, as well as our board chairs. It was the first time that we sat down and listened to what the concerns were in all of the regions across the NWT and how do we address them. I want to let the MLAs know that I did let the board chairs know as well as the district office managers know that all MLAs have been bringing up these concerns to me and the office, and we are working on addressing those issues. The community housing plans are going to be a game changer moving forward to addressing our housing needs.

Question 828-18(3): Transitional Housing August 19th, 2019

One of the biggest things that we have done through the NWT Housing Corporation is we have been really advocating on behalf of the Indigenous governments in all of our communities across the Northwest Territories with the federal government. The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation is one of the communities that have been able to access funding dollars through ITK, and one of the things that came out of that was we started the housing summit, first housing summit, where we had all our leadership in attendance, and working on trying to build a one voice to take to our NIOs, our National Indigenous Organizations, as well as the federal government to ensure that we get the funding that the federal government has given to the NIOs to meet the needs throughout the territories. The housing summit that we had earlier this year is a good indication that we are getting that information out to our leadership and our non-governmental organizations.

Question 828-18(3): Transitional Housing August 19th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We have been working with a lot of our community governments as well as NGOs. At the same time, we are working, as the Member has known, as I've made statements in the House, on the Northern Pathways to Housing Program. Those have been successful. They have been pilot projects. In Simpson and Aklavik, we have seen some really good things moving forward, as well as in Behchoko. Moving forward from this program, I think we can work with our community governments to possibly access some of our co-investment dollars or the community housing support initiative dollars to address some of these transitional needs in housing. It is a big issue across the territory, and we will encourage our leadership to work with us to address those needs.

Minister's Statement 231-18(3): Western Canada Summer Games August 19th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I would like to recognize the athletes, coaches, and mission staff who represented Team Northwest Territories at the 2019 Western Canada Summer Games held in Swift Current, Saskatchewan from August 9th to the 18th. This year, Team NT fielded 167 participants in seven different sports, including soccer, swimming, athletics, tennis, volleyball, and wrestling.

I am happy to report that this year's results at the games ended with more medals than the Northwest Territories has ever seen in 20 years. Good job to the athletes and the coaches. As Members may recall, during the first half of competition, Team NT had some great results, particularly in swimming, where Leo Konge won a gold and two bronze medals. Our basketball and soccer teams also had great performances, standing up well against the larger provinces and our friends from the Yukon.

In the second half, athletes from volleyball, wrestling, and athletics accomplished some great results, including three bronze medals:

  • in tennis, women's doubles, Ofira Duru and Monika Kunderlik;
  • in athletics, our male medley relay team, Struden Hult-Griffin, Bryce Smith, Zackary Horton, Nicolas Bennett; and
  • in wrestling, Cameron Courtorellie.

There were other noteworthy results and achievements in the second half:

  • Katie Hart broke three Northwest Territories records to finish fifth overall in javelin; and
  • Nick Rivet of Yellowknife was also the first-ever on-field official from the Northwest Territories to adjudicate soccer matches at this level.

Mr. Speaker, I am also proud to recognize Team NT for their efforts to make all sport more inclusive. On August 15th, the team launched its "You Can Play" program promoting inclusivity and respect in sport.

The Western Canada Summer Games included teams from Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nunavut, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. There were nearly 1,700 athletes, coaches, managers, and staff and approximately 2,000 volunteers engaged in the 2019 Western Canada Summer Games. The Western Canada Summer Games are an incredible event because not only do they combine athletic competition, they also provide an opportunity for building lifetime friendships with fellow Canadian athletes.

The Government of the Northwest Territories was extremely proud to promote our team at the Western Canada Summer Games through direct financial support and indirectly through a range of other programs that encourage the development of athletes, coaches, and officials at the local, regional, territorial, and national levels.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize Rita Mercredi, chef de mission for Team NT; Damon Crossman, assistant chef de mission for Team NT; and all of their mission staff. I would also like to acknowledge and thank the many volunteers who were responsible for supporting Team NT, including the Sport North Federation and all of the territorial sport organizations who were responsible for selecting and managing the team. Their contributions play an important role in helping create a healthier Northwest Territories.

I would like to make special mention of all the parents and caregivers who supported children and youth in their athletic pursuits. Their dedication to the development of all our youth is evident through the number of parents and care-givers who attended these games in person, and it is appreciated.

Mr. Speaker, we have much to be proud of in our sport and recreation system, and these Western Canada Summer Games were a great example of the good that can come from supporting these endeavours. I am sure all Members of this House will join me in thanking all our volunteers at the 2019 Western Canada Summer Games and congratulations to all who participated. Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker.

Committee Motion 184-18(3): Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures Report on the Review of Bill 56: An Act to Amend the Legislative Assembly and Executive Council Act, No. 2 - 19th Assembly Review of Code of Conduct, Carried August 16th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I just want to reiterate some of the comments that were made by committee when we just passed the committee report. I know it was last-minute that we did have to make some changes to the legislation, and when we do legislation that's cross-jurisdictional, such as with Nunavut, as one of the Members had mentioned earlier, we do have to come up with a protocol and process when we look at it, working with Nunavut especially because we have a lot of legislation that we have done with them in the past. I would like to thank the Members and the staff for the work that they have done getting to this point in our legislation as we near the end of the 18th Legislative Assembly.

Once again, I would like to thank Kim for stepping up and being the acting president for WSCC in the last little while here, and if I can just let Members know, up in the gallery, we do have our newly I wouldn't say "elected" but our new president, Debbie Malloy, if you wouldn't mind raising your hand. Welcome to the Northwest Territories and working with us at WSCC, along with Elise Scott, our senior advisor for the president's office, and I look forward to the work that you will be doing with our staff moving forward. With that, I just want to thank committee again and the staff for adjusting issues that needed to be adjusted, and moving into the next government, I do believe there needs to be a protocol and a process when we're looking at a legislation that affects across jurisdictions. With that, thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 184-18(3): Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures Report on the Review of Bill 56: An Act to Amend the Legislative Assembly and Executive Council Act, No. 2 - 19th Assembly Review of Code of Conduct, Carried August 16th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Chair. On my right is Miss Kim Collins Riffel the vice president of stakeholder services for WSCC, and on my left is Christina Brownlee, legislative counsel with Justice. I just would also say that I would like to thank Kim for the work that she has done just recently as the acting president for WSCC.

Committee Motion 184-18(3): Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures Report on the Review of Bill 56: An Act to Amend the Legislative Assembly and Executive Council Act, No. 2 - 19th Assembly Review of Code of Conduct, Carried August 16th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I am pleased to introduce Bill 25, An Act to Amend the Workers' Compensation Act. I would like to thank the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment for their review of this bill.

The purpose of the amendments to the Workers Compensation Act is to ensure certain provisions are in compliance with past court decisions. It further protects workers with mandatory reporting of industrial exposures, removes restrictions for workers who are seeking medical attention, modernizes the language for clarity and transparency, and aids the commission to ensure the sustainability of the Workers' Protection Fund. The amendments strike a balance between privacy and confidentiality of health information, and providing case management services to injured workers.

The Workers Compensation Act provides dual legislation to the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Our counterparts in Nunavut are reviewing the legislation as Bill 8, and while there has been interaction between the Northwest Territories and Nunavut at the Minister and committee on a legislation level, Nunavut has not had input into the final version of Bill 25. Bill 8 is expected to be reviewed in the near future. The coming into force date of the amendments will need to be linked to the passing of Bill 8 by Nunavut.

Mr. Chair, that concludes my opening remarks, and I would be pleased to answer any questions that Members may have regarding Bill 25. Thank you.

Question 821-18(3): Housing Needs in Mackenzie Delta August 16th, 2019

One of the bright sides of the co-investment fund was that we were able to negotiate a $60 million carve-out that the NWT can use, and we are working with Indigenous organizations, as well as NGOs and our stakeholders that address housing needs in the Northwest Territories. Above and beyond that, we can still work with our partners to put in applications federally to that co-investment fund.

As we work on that, I think that we are going to see some good head way moving forward, but there is not a limit, and I encourage all organizations, Indigenous governments, to come and meet with our headquarters or even send an email to myself or through your MLA to see how we can put in an application as well as working with the CMHC to possibly seek some of their seed funding to get a proposal proposed.