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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

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

Okay, Mr. Speaker. Thanks very much for the answer from the Minister. But my information, and I think it's been quite well noted in the media, is that the camp housing proposals that they were looking at for building the pipeline have changed from building I believe it was five major permanent or semi-permanent camps to ones that are far more mobile, smaller and less sophisticated. So that was the point of my question. Maybe we need to compare some notes on it. But regardless, we put a lot of our eggs in that Novel basket, potentially a lot of money had been talked about from this government, the federal government; some $300 million at one point. What are we doing if this proposal is not going to be coming forward? What are we doing, Mr. Speaker, to replace this plan and continue on to look at the several hundred housing units that our people tell us we need?

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

But we learned a little while ago that due to changes in the project that the Mackenzie Valley pipeline people might not or it's not likely they'll be using this particular idea and it takes off our list of options, Mr. Speaker, potentially several hundred housing units that we had thought could be put into place over the next few years. So my question, Mr. Speaker, to the Premier is, does the Novel housing project remain a viable option for our housing situation in the foreseeable future? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for Mr. Handley as the Minister responsible for the NWT Housing Corporation. As I referenced in my statement, this Assembly has been very busy with one of the potential outcomes of the Mackenzie Valley pipeline, and that being a chance to use the Novel housing approach which is a design put forward by ATCO to potentially convert some camp housing into permanent housing in the NWT.

Item 6: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery August 16th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to recognize a family friend, Mr. Wayne Sweeney, from Yellowknife, and visiting from Richmond, B.C., Alison Fraser. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Core Housing Needs In The Nwt August 16th, 2007

Thank you, colleagues, Mr. Speaker. The NWT continues to have a dramatic housing need. Of course, demonstrated by that information, it amplifies other social problems, but we face considerable constraints in solving this issue, Mr. Speaker. Developments, red hot economies all across western Canada, labour shortages increasing, materials supply costs have added pressures on how we are going to solve this problem.

So what I am looking for, Mr. Speaker, what we should all be looking for, are answers on how we are going to meet our housing needs, current and future. What are the options our government is going to be looking at to ensure affordable and adequate housing? I am going to have some questions for the Minister responsible later this afternoon, Mr. Speaker.

Core Housing Needs In The Nwt August 16th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Housing in the NWT, in terms of availability, quality and affordability for renters and owners, continues to be a major barrier to personal, community and economic progress across the NWT. Here in Yellowknife, Mr. Speaker, the YWCA Transitional Housing Program and the Yellowknife Housing Authority continue to see demand for their housing stock well beyond the supply. The housing authority has seen a waiting list of over 100 families in need over the past three years, with a significant number of those on the waiting list being seniors and persons with disabilities.

Affordability is an issue. Mr. Speaker, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation tells us a typical residence in Yellowknife will sell for close to $300,000 this year. That's up 7 percent in each of the past two years. Vacancy rates for this year will be about 2.5 percent, tightening up from last year. The average two-bedroom apartment in Yellowknife rents for about $70 more than it did in the past year.

At the territorial level, Mr. Speaker, we previously have seen in this House vigorous discussion on the merits of the ATCO Novel housing project. This is an innovative project, Mr. Speaker, that will have seen several hundred housing units converted from a construction camp to the pipeline project and the permanent housing in virtually every community in the NWT.

This would have been, I believe, a very viable part of our housing needs. Mr. Speaker, it seems that this is going to be something that's not going to be on our radar screen because of changes in the way the pipeline project is going to be constructed.

The NWT community housing needs survey in 2004, Mr. Speaker, showed that 2,260 households in the NWT are in core need. That means they need some kind of adjustment, change or replacement, or opportunity to move into something that is more appropriate.

Mr. Speaker, the Bureau of Statistics indicates that about 1,600 new homes will be needed to satisfy population growth and overcrowding between now and 2014. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

Question 126-15(6): Devolution And Resource Revenue Sharing Agreement August 15th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to ask the Premier a question to continue in the area of the agreement-in-principle on resource sharing and devolution. Last May, the Premier told us that an agreement-in-principle on resource revenue and devolution had been signed between four aboriginal governments and the GNWT. Mr. Speaker, public access, familiarity with the terms and conditions of this kind of agreement I think are essential to transparency in our government and to the confidence that they have in the commitments that we are making on their behalf. Mr. Speaker, would the Premier commit to making this agreement public by either tabling it here in this session or by making it a public release at his earliest possible opportunity? Thank you.

Question 120-15(6): Devolution And Resource Revenue Sharing Agreement August 15th, 2007

The Premier has cast one other aspect to this relating to the uncertainty and the frustration of dealing with Canada when he had just indicated that while we have, for some 24 hours now, a new Minister, Mr. Chuck Strahl, I wish the new Minister luck. The Premier has indicated that he doesn't know, as of today, who is the lead Minister for the North. This is a rather disturbing situation. Could the Premier outline what is the source of this confusion? If Mr. Strahl does not carry this mandate as the Minister of Northern Affairs, who does and under

what authority? Just where does that place us in terms of knowing who is in charge, Mr. Speaker?

Question 120-15(6): Devolution And Resource Revenue Sharing Agreement August 15th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, the timing of potentially achieving this deal, while we all, in this Assembly, certainly desire to be able to put this checkmark beside our performance and our legacy here, Mr. Speaker, the life of this Assembly technically and legally ends at the end of August. The government, of course through the Ministers, continue until the new government is signed on, probably sometime in mid-October. That leaves really only days in which an agreement may be finalized. Mr. Speaker, is it really appropriate? Is it really practical? Is it realistic? But the government is going to continue to pursue this AIP in the life of this Assembly, considering the extremely limited time that we have before the next Assembly would be coming on board.

Question 120-15(6): Devolution And Resource Revenue Sharing Agreement August 15th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A condition that has always been before us, and I referenced it in my statement, is that while I think it was in the words of Minister Nault, a former Minister of Northern Affairs, that we do not need to see absolutely all northern governments signing off on the agreement, but there needs to be a very strong majority of northern governments ready to participate in this kind of deal. Without, as we unfortunately experienced in May, without the Tlicho, the Akaitcho or the Dehcho on board, is it feasible that we will still see Canada signing off even though these three governments, at least to my knowledge, Mr. Speaker, have not indicated their willingness to join into this AIP, Mr. Speaker?