Legislative Assembly photo

Roles

Elsewhere

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

Item 20: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters August 16th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am very pleased to see this initiative coming forward and to give it my support. As a matter of fact, I may be in a position in the next little while to experience its benefits. I am very happy to see that when we do this, it's something that works for a lot of people. I think this is one of the, unfortunately, little known secrets and advantages of living in the Northwest Territories and raising a family. Whenever I get the chance, I promote this as an enormous benefit that we have that makes us almost unique in Canada. So it is one worth defending, promoting and enhancing whenever we get the chance to and I am happy to see it.

Today I have just one question. It applies to the coming into force of this. Will this be something that students enrolling in the coming school year be able to take advantage of or is this going to be dependent on the next budget cycle, Mr. Chairman?

Item 20: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters August 16th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Finally, in the area of the appeals process under this bill, we are proposing a fairly substantive change there and that is going from a panel to a sole adjudicator model. I wanted to ask the Minister of our ability or intention to ask those people who are currently serving on the appeals panel to gauge their interest in taking on the job as a sole adjudicator and, more specifically, Mr. Chairman, what kinds of training and expertise we would be offering or expecting these people to have before taking them on as sole adjudicators. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Item 20: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters August 16th, 2007

Mr. Chairman, I wanted to ask in another area a little bit about the minimum wage provisions. This bill proposes that minimum wage from now on could be set by the Minister in regulation, which is a change. It takes it out of the legislative realm. On occasion, legislatures do go in and amend minimum wage to accommodate for things like the activity or lack of it in the economy or rates of inflation. It's not done very often. I think I remember in the last eight years, I don't know that it's come up more than once in my term here, but I wanted to, and I have no objection to it becoming more or less than an administrative change rather than a political one, but I wanted to ask what kind of indicators or triggers or thresholds the department would use in deciding when it was time to go in and change the minimum wage? What would be the indicators that would bring this about in this closed process, Mr. Chairman?

Item 20: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters August 16th, 2007

The department engaged in quite a considerable consultation process already leading up to this bill and from everything I saw, it was a pretty good process, Mr. Chairman. Will there be further consultation or attempts to see what the general public thinks should be brought in for defining family for this bereavement leave aspect? Is there going to be another round of discussions, Mr. Chairman?

Item 20: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters August 16th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. There are a couple of provisions here that I wanted to see a bit more information on this otherwise very progressive bill. Mr. Chairman, the bill brings in a couple of areas that provides for more clarification. This is specifically in the areas of compassionate and bereavement leave. The question that I wanted to pose regarded the definition of family, as these two provisions would allow and there is contained in the act a definition of it and I understand also that this is consistent with federal labour legislation. Of course, it's spouses and children of employees and other persons. There was a member of a class of persons described by federal enactment, etcetera, but provision (e) in the definition says any other person who is a member of a class of persons described by regulation. Regulations, Mr. Chairman, as we know, tend to be written after an act is passed or a bill is passed by this Assembly. So I was wondering if the Minister is contemplating that there will be additional definitions of family allowed in this area in terms of bereavement and compassionate leave. I know that this has some special application here in the North, Mr. Chairman, where our definition or our consideration of family has different cultural circumstances attached to it. So how does the Minister propose to be handling a definition of family as regards to the regulations, Mr. Chairman?

Question 138-15(6): Restrictions On Kakisa River Bridge August 16th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, is the replacement project on time and on budget? Thank you.

Question 138-15(6): Restrictions On Kakisa River Bridge August 16th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, the advisory that the department put out said that these measures will be in effect until the new bridge is in place. Now, I am anticipating that this is going to be some time potentially through the winter traffic months. I don't need to remind the Minister that there is, for a very short period of time, an incredibly high volume of traffic that needs to use that bridge. Having to slow traffic to a crawl is not only an inconvenience, but I think that the degree of hazard grows in the winter months. Could the Minister advise, then, just when are we going to anticipate that either these restrictions can be lifted or the new bridge will be in place, Mr. Speaker?

Question 138-15(6): Restrictions On Kakisa River Bridge August 16th, 2007

Okay. I guess I am just trying to understand just what is the specific nature of the damage that was discovered. Are we just reacting to things that have gone wrong in other places? I appreciate that we want to take a surplus of caution, but just what is the exact nature of the problem? Just what is it, then, that we should be really concerned for a danger to the travelling public or complete failure or closure of the bridge? I think the public deserves to know just what is going on there, Mr. Speaker.

Question 138-15(6): Restrictions On Kakisa River Bridge August 16th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question this afternoon is for Mr. Menicoche, the Minister for Transportation. It regards a notification that went out about two weeks ago now, a fairly major restriction on the Kakisa River Bridge near the junction of Highways No. 1 and No. 3. Mr. Speaker, we voted just over $9 million over last year and this year to replace the bridge, but the department advised on August 3rd that a considerable restriction was being put on traffic. Truck traffic was being forced down to a five kilometre single-lane use of that bridge. According to a press release issued that day, this was to minimize vibrations that are a principal cause of stress-related impacts to the bridge. Mr. Speaker, this is a fairly severe restriction on traffic flow. Just what kind of damage was discovered that caused the department to impose this fairly major restriction on traffic on the Kakisa River Bridge?

Question 131-15(6): Core Housing Needs Of The Nwt August 16th, 2007

Thank you for the update, Mr. Speaker, on the affordable housing project. One of the aspects of the Novel plan that had come under some discussion was that we would be, in effect, exporting a lot of jobs and a lot of value to factories in southern Canada that would be prefabbing this, and it caused some of us ask, well, why couldn't we create that kind of an industry here in the NWT for ourselves, knowing that housing is, of course, a perpetual need. So I'm wondering to what extent the Housing Corporation is looking at enabling the creation of a viable housing manufacturing facility here in the NWT that we know is going to be something that we will need

all the time every year and it looks like in an increasing way, Mr. Speaker?