Mahsi, Mr. Speaker and Mr. Lafferty. The committee expects that the environment and sustainability will be some of the leading concerns of the 16th Assembly as resource development continues to grow within the NWT, demand for water by upstream industries increases and the impacts of climate change continue. Earlier this year, committee members initiated formal motions to recognize water as a human right, to recommend the government adopt a comprehensive strategy to address climate change and the important work of the Inuvik Caribou Summit. We encourage the Regular Members of the next Assembly to pursue these issues with the government.
Implementation Of Land Claims Agreements
The Government of the Northwest Territories has many outstanding obligations under land claims agreements, some dating as far back as the Inuvialuit Final Agreement which was signed over 20 years ago in 1984. We strongly encourage the next Assembly to make it a priority to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the government's outstanding land claim obligations and to develop a firm plan and timeline for fulfilling these responsibilities.
NWT Housing Corporation Audit
In early 2006, Mr. Speaker, committee members initiated a request for the Auditor General of Canada to conduct a performance audit of the NWT Housing Corporation. A request was made as a result of several serious concerns with the corporation, many of which were documented in our 2006 Report on Pre-budget Consultations. Unfortunately, the audit was not completed during our term. However, we expect the report will be submitted early in the life of the next Assembly. We have found the reports of the Auditor General to be insightful and extremely useful in pointing to areas requiring action and hope that Regular Members of the next Assembly will find likewise.
At the committee's urging, the Department of Human Resources has recently issued a public discussion paper to explore the options for implementing whistleblower protection. We encourage the Regular Members of the next Assembly to pursue this matter with the government to ensure the work on this issue progresses and public consultations are undertaken.
Review Of Power Rates And Subsidies
Over our term, Mr. Speaker, we have seen both increases in power rates and continuous unsustainable growth in a Territorial Power Subsidy Program. A review of rates and subsidies by the government is underway. We expect that this matter will require the attention of the 16th Assembly early in its mandate.
Auditor General Investigations
Mr. Speaker, further to Auditor General investigations, the Auditor General for Canada is also the auditor for all GNWT accounts. The Auditor General's office is also well versed in audits and investigations of other matters as demonstrated, for example, by its 2006 audit of the Workers' Compensation Board. However, in any given four-year term of the Assembly, perhaps only two of these in-depth audits can be undertaken. Committees of the 16th Assembly might carefully consider which departments or agencies will benefit from compliance, performance and value-for-money audits by our reviews by the Auditor General.
Further, Mr. Speaker, provinces and the federal government are also trending toward automatic five-year performance and compliance audits, especially of their Crown corporations in addition to the annual fiscal audits. With the exception of the NWT Power Corporation, which is covered under the Public Utilities Act, no NWT Crown corporation is subject to this kind of review. It will be well worth considering.
Access To Information And Protection Of Privacy
Every year, Mr. Speaker, the committee meets with the Information and Privacy Commissioner to review her annual reports and has made recommendations to the government as a result of these meetings. The government has yet to move on several of these recommendations, some of which date back to the 14th Assembly. Of particular concern to committee are the gaps in information in privacy legislation for community governments and for the local private sector. The committee encourages Regular Members of the next Assembly to pursue these and other information and privacy issues with the government to ensure they are addressed.
Throughout our mandate, this committee has voiced concerns about the need to direct more resources to the prevention and treatment of addictions. Earlier this year, committee members initiated a motion recommending the government implement a strategy to denormalize alcohol abuse, building on the success of its tobacco action plan. The need for such a strategy was most recently confirmed for us as we undertook public consultations throughout the NWT on the Liquor Act and again heard firsthand about the devastating impact of alcohol abuse on individuals, families and communities. We encourage the Regular Members of the next Assembly to press the government to make the denormalization of alcohol abuse a strategic priority.
Mr. Speaker, to conclude the committee's report, I will return it to the chair, Mr. Lafferty. Thank you.