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Last in the Legislative Assembly September 2007, as MLA for Great Slave

Won his last election, in 2003, with 65% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Motion 10-15(6): Socio-economic Impacts And Benefits Of The Deh Cho Bridge, Carried August 22nd, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Earlier today I spoke in some detail in my Member's statement about some of the factors that have caused considerable concern about the affordability of the project. Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, not based on information I know but information I do not have access to even if it exists, because in this round of business arrangements to actually get this project underway, unlike the process that we all had benefit of four years ago, the government has not repeated to update the same kind of information that was available in extensive reports of this four years ago and this is a great disappointment, Mr. Speaker. As I said, I would really like to endorse this project but I need to be confident in what we are getting into for the next 35 years, which amounts to potentially eight more Legislative Assemblies, if you want to look at it that way, that will still be carrying the can for a project that this government wants to start.

I think it's the kind of thing people in the Northwest Territories, when they are talking about big new ideas or big projects, we have a thirst, hunger, appetite, maybe an addiction for consultation and information. Witness the process we are going through right now with the Mackenzie Valley pipeline almost to the point of exhaustion, but this one, in contrast, we are starved for information that is willingly provided and yet is not before us now.

Mr. Speaker, going through some of the information that was provided back in 2002, I am looking at a press release that was issued on November 15 entitled the MOU, signed for construction for the Deh Cho Bridge. At that time, of course, Premier Handley was the Minister of Transportation and did a really good job of getting the project to this point. I would like to quote from that press release, Mr. Speaker. The release goes on to say that: "The president of the Fort Providence Metis Council and a member of the alliance's bridge committee, Alfred Lafferty, says public consultation is now the most important task facing the alliance." This is November 15th of that year. He said there will be a commercial vehicle toll on the bridge. We need to ensure the people understand the proposal and know that it's a good deal for them. Why don't we have the information now?

The other aspect of this that has been a major...

Written Question 13-15(6): Benefits Provided To Income Support Clients And Persons With Disabilities August 22nd, 2007

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment.

  1. Income support clients are covered for some benefits such as ambulance, dental and vision services, but some people with disabilities who cannot work and who collect CPP/disability pensions are not covered. Why does this discrepancy exist? Has or will this issue be addressed in the income support review?
  2. Our government provides supported living for persons with mental health and intellectual challenges, but not for those with physical disabilities. Enhanced home care services and other suggested living programs are needed. Has or will this discrepancy be resolved in the income support review?

Thank you.

Question 180-15(6): Rockhill Apartment Lease Renewal August 22nd, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I know that one of the conditions that is outstanding is that of ongoing maintenance. On the YWCA for instance, this year alone is covering almost $70,000 in unfunded maintenance.

This is everything from broken windows to fixing toilets and the kind of things that happen in a high traffic, high use building. Mr. Speaker, will any department or which department be looking at covering the Y for this very substantive and unfunded cost of operating that building? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 180-15(6): Rockhill Apartment Lease Renewal August 22nd, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the answer and the information. I must admit, I am not hearing anything that really substantively moves this along. I do appreciate that when a lot of departments get involved, things get a little less straightforward. Is the lead department the Department of Health and Social Services? Is that who is taking the reigns on this one on behalf of the rest of our government, Mr. Speaker?

Question 180-15(6): Rockhill Apartment Lease Renewal August 22nd, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to ask a couple of questions of the Minister responsible for FMBS, Mr. Roland. This regards the lease that our government supplies for the Rockhill Apartment building with the YWCA organization here in Yellowknife. The Y puts this building through very good use. It is part of a front-line social services infrastructure for families in need, emergency housing and transitional housing.

Mr. Speaker, the lease for this -- I believe it is a 10-year lease -- expires in May of 2008. The Y has been engaged for some time now in discussions with as many as five different departments of this government on the terms for renewing this lease. I brought it up in this House since June of 2005 with Ministers Dent and Roland and have, at various times, been assured that there is a process underway.

Mr. Speaker, with less than a year to go now before this lease does expire, could the Minister advise just what is happening in terms of the process to renegotiate this lease and give the Y the certainty that they and this community needs for the Rockhill Apartment? Thank you.

Item 6: Acknowledgements August 22nd, 2007

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. In two world wars, more than 7,000 Canadian aboriginal people enlisted to fight for Canada and an estimated 500 gave their lives in the service of their country. However, upon returning to Canada, the surviving aboriginal veterans did not get the equal treatment from the Canadian government in terms of grants and other assistance.

Mr. Speaker, a tireless champion to right this injustice has been Mr. Tom Eagle, a 25-year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, a constituent of Great Slave, and a respected elder and leader in the NWT for many years. I would like to acknowledge the presentation this July by the National Minister of Veterans Affairs of a commendation to Mr. Eagle in recognition of his advocacy. He continues to work for aboriginal and, indeed, all veterans. He's also chairman of the NWT/Nunavut Aboriginal Veterans Association and president of the Army Cadet League of Canada for our two territories. Mr. Speaker, congratulations to Mr. Eagle and, on behalf of all Canadians, our appreciation for his leadership. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery August 22nd, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to recognize Mr. Glen Abernethy, a lifelong resident of the NWT and Nunavut and a constituent of Great Slave. Thank you.

---Applause

Deh Cho Bridge Project August 22nd, 2007

What a difference that would make. Disclosure is what we really need to know and Canada's commitment. Those are what remain the barriers to public confidence and the affordability of this project and I sincerely hope that both will be delivered soon, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

---Applause

Deh Cho Bridge Project August 22nd, 2007

...to help build this important piece of infrastructure. Mr. Speaker, if Canada were to come in with $50 million, that's roughly the equivalent of only 66 days, barely three months, of the taxes and royalties they are now collecting from our resources.

Deh Cho Bridge Project August 22nd, 2007

Thank you, colleagues and Mr. Speaker. One thing is the same and that is the federal government's silence on whether to come in with a serious contribution and do its part...