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Crucial Fact

Last in the Legislative Assembly September 2019, as MLA for Yellowknife South

Won his last election, in 2015, with 70% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Return To Question 78-16(1): Human Resource Issues In GNWT November 30th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the Member for the question. The government has a workplace conflict resolution policy. That outlines how we would deal with those toxic environment situations that he described. Generally we depend on our management and the employees in question to report on those types of situations. We take them very seriously because the safety of our employees is our first priority. If we do become aware of any such situation, we take immediate action in a variety of different ways. If we feel that there is an immediate danger, we will take steps to remove the employees in question or send them home or take some action so that there is no possibility of something more serious occurring. Thank you.

Further Return To Question 73-16(1): Memorandum Of Understanding With Gwich’in Tribal Council November 30th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We have had that issue clarified in the past and have discussed it before. We are quite prepared to discuss it in light of the Auditor General’s recommendations. Certainly I’m not looking at renegotiating the land claims agreement, but certainly we’ll clarify the arrangements. Thank you.

Further Return To Question 73-16(1): Memorandum Of Understanding With Gwich’in Tribal Council November 30th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We are prepared to meet with the Gwich’in leadership early in the new year to discuss the MOU. Thank you.

Further Return To Question 73-16(1): Memorandum Of Understanding With Gwich’in Tribal Council November 30th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just wanted to point out that the MOU and contracting wasn’t set up as a requirement of the land claim, but it was set up as a policy decision by this government. Having said that, we are prepared to include those recommendations by the Auditor General and include it in the evaluation.

Return To Question 73-16(1): Memorandum Of Understanding With Gwich’in Tribal Council November 30th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It was unfortunate that the meeting that the Member is referring to, that we were unable to attend because of a conflict in scheduling with some other commitments that we had here in Yellowknife. But we did rectify that by having the Premier and myself attend the meeting with all of the Gwich’in leadership and the president of the Gwich’in Tribal Council on Monday. We did have an opportunity to discuss the Gwich’in MOU, and I believe at the meeting all parties indicated they were very pleased with the performance of the MOU. There is a requirement for an evaluation of the MOU, which ends on March 31st , 2008.

There are provisions for renewal. We have been working with the Gwich’in to finalize the evaluation requirements. We expect to have that evaluation done shortly. Thank you.

Youth Leadership Development Initiatives November 30th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I’d like to use my two and half minutes today as an opportunity to speak about the youth, and to the youth, of the Northwest Territories. We have some of the best programs as far as education goes and post-secondary education. I encourage the youth to take advantage of these opportunities. There’s a whole world out there, that a lot of us didn’t see when we were growing up, of opportunity and it’s a chance for youth to get some education and contribute to the leadership of the Northwest Territories. I’d also like to see, in all the regions, youth camps, dedicated youth leadership camps. I would like this government to take not a lead role, but partner up with the aboriginal governments in supporting getting the youth out on the land. Take the elders with them, have them tell them about when they were growing up and all the hardships that they faced. Have a veteran go out with them and talk to the veterans about some of the sacrifices they made. A lot of veterans that didn’t come back, Mr. Speaker, are younger than a lot of our youth today. Those would be the proper role models to have, Mr. Speaker.

If we use this as an opportunity to get the youth out in the camps and the leaderships camps, then it would give them an opportunity to stay out of town, stay away from TV. Too many times today the youth are using the wrong

people for role models and they’re starting to imitate them and that’s leading to a lot of the trouble that we face today with our youth. If they can go to the camps with elders, if they can talk to veterans and use them as their role models, use people who have overcome hardship as their role models and not people that they see on TV.

I think this government should undertake to support a lot of the regions that want to have camps, get the youth out on the land. I remember as a young man, as a kid, actually, we had, we called them opportunity for youth camps where you would go into the camps all summer and stay with the elders and just….It kept your summers occupied, Mr. Speaker. Then you would go back to school again in the fall. I think we have to have a look at supporting all these initiatives that are trying to come forward and I’m not saying take the lead from the whole thing, but we should, as a government and as MLAs, support any opportunities we can for our youth as possible. Thank you.

---Applause

Item 20: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters November 29th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I am reading some of the comments made in the sessional statement and there are two things that I would like to comment on today. I first came into the Assembly three years ago today and I had come down here three years ago to the day. I got in in a by-election…

---Applause

…so you can all drop your presents off in my office later.

---Laughter

I came down here and I said before that I spent 22 or 23 years working on the front line, living with the decisions that were made not only in this Assembly, but more so from what we called the Ivory Tower where the decisions were made. Now since being here, I have been in a position where I am part of the decision-making process. I have told people many times that I don’t always like what I see. I feel it’s my obligation to speak to what I don’t like and one I always refer to was reviewing the budget a few years ago. I see where $1.4 million was cut from the regional housing corporations and the next line I saw the budget in headquarters going up by $1.4 million and that caused me a lot of concern.

We have spoken to the condition of the highway so many times and we talk about the safety and the well-being of people in the Northwest Territories and I want to get us to a point where we don’t just talk about doing things, putting nice words to a piece of paper and coming up with this grand vision. I think it’s time we actually have to start putting it into practice and I am not all negative here. I see the government does a lot of good things. One of the things I think they are too good at though is giving too much money away. I say that because you see people who are able to work sometimes choose not to because they make more on income support than they do going out and actually getting a job. That’s something we actually have to look at. I have said before there are people who need it. There is a difference between wanting, deserving, needing and there is a lot of people who need it. Those are the people these programs were designed for.

So it’s just like raising a spoiled child. You give, give, give and then you try to wean them off and you end up with some push back. I think that’s where we are getting at

right now. They have to realize that there is a whole world of opportunity today that many of us as we were growing up didn’t see. In our day, in our father’s day, our grandfather’s day, to be the custodians at the school, they were the well paid ones. They had the nice 16-foot fiberglass speedboats with the 60 horse Johnsons. As our age group came into the workforce, you could get apprenticeships and that’s where a lot of us started, was with the apprenticeships. As more and more of our people became trained to start looking at some of the positions that they brought people up from down south, they start cutting all the benefits and that from bringing them up here.

I still have concerns with that and I hear it from constituents who are qualified and are trained to take over a lot of these positions, but for some reasons they are still being left out in the cold and not getting the positions they are trained for, even though they are born, raised and committed to the Northwest Territories. I think that’s something that I will continue to address.

Then I go back to some of the infrastructure and I think Tom made mention of it before. We have to take, in my opinion, a common sense approach to everything. I think common sense sometimes is the best attribute you could bring to the table. If something is not working, common sense says it needs to be fixed. If something is working, like the rental assessment at ECE, Housing Corporation, common sense says to leave it alone because it’s working. Let’s just leave it be. If there are improvements that have to be made, let’s improve them. Common sense will bring us a long way, I believe.

I am looking forward to the next four years. I think we can, in my opinion, these are probably the most important four years in our history coming up. We talk devolution, resource revenue sharing and I was discouraged at one of our briefings where we were told by a member of the public service, don’t expect to see any progress during these next four years. That’s not a fair comment. That’s coming from our public service. Maybe it’s not going to happen and part of the reason it’s not going to happen is a lack of the will of the people of the Northwest Territories, the leadership of the Northwest Territories should all get on the same page. That’s been our problem. What’s good for one area of the Northwest Territories may not be good for another. We will do what we can to slow down the process. In the meantime, we continue to have our pockets picked. We have had our pockets picked since 1986 to the tune of a few billion dollars now. That’s money that’s taken out of pockets; that’s money taken out of residents’ of the Northwest Territories pockets; that’s money taken away from our children, grandchildren. As leadership of the Northwest Territories, not just us in this room, there are so many different governments in the Northwest Territories and, as leaders, I think we all have to stand back and have a serious look at that and say we can’t allow ourselves to be -- I am not going to use the word -- having stuff taken away without our permission. We can’t allow that. You have to band together. That’s a challenge. It really is a challenge. It’s been tried before. I know there are some that do try and get everybody on the same page and go for a common goal.

So the next four years, we have a lot of work to do, but I think the best approach we can take to the next four years is a very common sense approach. Common sense is a good attribute to have. It helps you through a lot of things. When you look at things with a common sense approach,

I think you make more progress. We, Cabinet, and I have said new attitude, new government should have a new attitude. If some of the people that are taking our direction, taking your direction, are trying to steer you in a different direction, then I think it’s time to change the captains and get people in there that are willing to work for the people of the Northwest Territories following your direction, our direction. If you have people out there that aren’t willing to do that, then we have to change them because if we don’t change them, we will go through the next four years like the last four years where -- and it’s been said a few times and I have said it before -- the tail is wagging the dog. We can’t allow that to happen. We have to give them direction and we have the best interest of the people we represent in mind. I am sure the last thing the government wants to hear is we want more money, we want more money. We have a lot of money, but it’s just leaving the Northwest Territories and we should try to see what we can do to keep that here.

So, Mr. Chair, I just thought I would add my few comments to comments that had already gone around the room. I am looking forward to the next four years and seeing what we can accomplish. I think if we all put our minds to it, use some good common sense, we can accomplish quite a bit in the next four years. Quanami.

---Applause

Item 17: Motions November 29th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

WHEREAS section 48(1) of the Human Rights Act provides for the establishment of an adjudication panel composed of at least three persons, appointed by the Commissioner on the recommendation of the Legislative Assembly;

AND WHEREAS section 48(5) of the Human Rights Act provides that members of the panel hold office, during good behaviour, for a term of four years, with the exception of the first members appointed;

AND WHEREAS the appointments of two of the adjudication panel members expired on October 31, 2007;

AND WHEREAS the Board of Management has considered a number of qualified individuals for appointment as adjudication panel members;

AND WHEREAS the Board of Management is tasked with recommending individuals to the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Assembly is prepared to make a recommendation to the Commissioner;

NOW THEREFORE I MOVE, seconded by the honourable Member for Tu Nedhe, that the following persons be recommended to the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories for appointment as members of the Human Rights Adjudication Panel, effective on December 1, 2007, for a term of four years: Ms. Joan Mercredi of Fort Smith and Mr. Adrian Wright of Yellowknife.

Motion 17-16(1): Appointment Of Two Members To The Human Rights Adjudication Panel November 29th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to deal with the motion I gave notice of earlier today.

Motion 17-16(1): Appointment Of Two Members To The Human Rights Adjudication Panel November 29th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I give notice that on Monday, December 5, 2007, I will move the following motion: I move, seconded by the honourable Member for Tu Nedhe, that the following persons be recommended to the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories for appointment as members of the Human Rights Adjudication Panel, effective on December 1, 2007, for a term of four years: Ms. Joan Mercredi of Fort Smith and Mr. Adrian Wright of Yellowknife. Mr. Speaker, at the appropriate time, I will be seeking unanimous consent to deal with this motion today.