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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

Question 740-18(3): Naming of Government Buildings May 28th, 2019

Each nomination will be considered based on how the proposed building name reflects historical, cultural, and geographic significance. The submissions have been referred to the Northwest Territories Honours Advisory Council to provide a recommendation to the Executive Council on a name for each of the three government office buildings. Executive Council will consider the recommendations once they are received.

Question 740-18(3): Naming of Government Buildings May 28th, 2019

Twenty-two submissions were for the Inuvik government building, three submissions were received for the Fort Simpson government building, and 64 submissions were received for the Yellowknife government building. The campaign to name these buildings was launched with a website, in the newspaper, and on social media platforms. Letters were also sent to the Standing Committee on Priorities and Planning as well as Indigenous governments and municipal heritage committees. The guidelines for selecting names for Government of the Northwest Territories-owned office buildings sets out how the nominations will be evaluated. Nominations received in honour of deceased persons who have made significant contributions to public life and the well-being of residents are also eligible for consideration.

Question 740-18(3): Naming of Government Buildings May 28th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Northwest Territories residents were invited to submit their ideas for naming the Government of the Northwest Territories-owned buildings through an ad campaign that started the week of February 18th. Nominations were open until the 15th of March. I am pleased to advise the Member and this House that the Government of the Northwest Territories has received a total of 89 naming ideas from the public for the naming of three government office buildings located in Fort Simpson, Inuvik, and Yellowknife.

Question 726-18(3): Reconciliation and Co-Drafting Legislation May 27th, 2019

Yes, we did hear that lack of capacity and requests for more resources very loud and clear. I should point out, as the Member has said, we have been engaged in collaborative legislative development with the Northwest Territories' Indigenous governments as part of the evolution of the devolution-related legislation, and this has included early discussions to inform key elements of legislation and sharing drafts to ensure that their perspectives are understood and incorporated.

Collaborative development, when we are doing that work, we have to remember that, although we work collaboratively with Indigenous governments, we also consult with those same Indigenous governments to ensure that their Aboriginal rights are not being adversely impacted. At the end of the day, the final decisions on NWT legislation rest with this Legislative Assembly, so, with what the Member is suggesting, that is an area that we have to innovate to make it happen. In the past, when we put into effect land claims legislation, we have had to work with the Aboriginal governments who primarily wrote their legislation, and we had to make some special arrangements in this Legislative Assembly so that it would go through. However, we have and will continue to bring to the table the perspective of Indigenous governments in this area. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 726-18(3): Reconciliation and Co-Drafting Legislation May 27th, 2019

It's getting kind of late in the day for this Legislative Assembly. We have been participating with the federal government on the development of their Indigenous rights framework, which we are now aware that that will be pushed back until the next federal government. We are in a situation where we are now doing a review of our Indigenous government relations, and the purpose of this review will be to identify best practices and areas where we can improve our Indigenous relations across the government. Our expectation is that we will complete it before the 18th Assembly, and our expectation is the findings will be made available to the 19th Assembly to further shape and strengthen the Government of the Northwest Territories' Indigenous government relations.

Question 726-18(3): Reconciliation and Co-Drafting Legislation May 27th, 2019

As with many things, this has been an evolving process. At one time, government did all of the drafting of legislation, and then we got into settlement of land claims and self-government. In those cases, we had Aboriginal governments that participated in the drafting of legislation. I think it was further advanced where, as a condition of devolution, we agreed to an intergovernmental process whereby we would work with Aboriginal governments that signed on to devolution for specific legislation or, as we called it, "mirror legislation" to develop made-in-the-North legislation.

Also, in specific cases, specific legislation, for example the Wildlife Act, which took about 25 years to develop and bring to fruition, and also Species at Risk, where we started out with consultation, at the end, it involved all of the Aboriginal governments and their lawyers. I think it's still evolving. With a lot of the changes that are happening in the federal government, I think we are also taking a wait-and-see where they are going with a lot of their initiatives, as well.

Question 726-18(3): Reconciliation and Co-Drafting Legislation May 27th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. What I have been hearing is it's been working quite well. The intergovernmental forum, we are in kind of a push-pull situation, where our Aboriginal government partners are saying that we are having too much legislation or it's going too fast on the one hand and, on the other hand, our colleagues here in this House have been asking for more and more legislation. We are kind of in a unique push-pull situation, where I guess we all have to manage it to get things done.

Question 714-18(3): Climate Change Action Plan May 24th, 2019

Addressing climate change is a priority of the 18th Legislative Assembly. Within the life of this government, we have developed both a Climate Change Strategic Framework and Action Plan, which is linked to our work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the energy plan. The Government of the Northwest Territories is now poised to take real action over the next five years and make progress on our transition to a lower-carbon economy, improving our knowledge of climate change impacts, and building resilience in adapting to climate change. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 714-18(3): Climate Change Action Plan May 24th, 2019

Our government went through a very long consultative process and responded to what we heard. Through a review of climate change programs in Canadian jurisdictions, it was evident that the most important factors in the success of these programs were leadership and the authority to act.

Addressing climate change is a priority of this government. We have developed both a Climate Change Strategic Framework and Action Plan, which is linked to our work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the energy plan. Further, we have organized ourselves so that climate change is considered in all programs and at all levels of authority; director-level, ADM, deputy minister, and ministerial committees have been established. This leadership structure will focus government efforts as we move into the implementation phase of these strategies and plans.

Question 714-18(3): Climate Change Action Plan May 24th, 2019

I just want to correct the Member, as what he stated isn't quite accurate. The approach announced in July 2018 only applied to non-motive fuel, not the carbon tax that the large emitters would pay on motive fuels. I wouldn't want the public to be under the impression that the large emitters wouldn't be paying carbon tax. However, as the Member would be aware, the approach to carbon tax that we developed needs to be consistent with the federal backstop. The federal backstop has an approach to large emitters that charges the carbon price on their output. I think that we would want to make sure that our approach aligns generally with the approach that Canada has taken, but reflects our northern realities.

We have always said that we want to mitigate the impact of the carbon tax on the cost of living. That is why we are exempting aviation fuel, rebating the carbon tax on heating fuel, and introducing the cost-of-living offset benefit when we implement the carbon tax. Our made-in-the-Northwest-Territories approach will help mitigate the impacts of the carbon tax on residents, on small business, and on those larger industries that are classified as large emitters.