Last in the Legislative Assembly September 1995, as MLA for Yellowknife Centre
Won his last election, in 1991, with 32% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Question O57-12(1): Cost-saving Guidelines For Departments December 11th, 1991
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to ask the Government Leader, in addition to all the cuts that she has announced to the House, has the Leader also asked each Minister to provide guidelines for departments on different ways in which they can conserve or save money? Has there been some kind of guideline given throughout the administration so that they can tighten up a little bit for the next few months?
Question O50-12(1): Dismantling Of Western Constitutional Commission December 11th, 1991
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The 11th Assembly did many stupid things, in my opinion: We set up new departments that we decide we do not need any more. That is one of them. We decided we wanted to confirm in the public's mind that we were kind of a Third World country with a Cadillac government in a Third World economy. We set up more work so that all our people -- all they were going to do is go to meetings and consult. A perfect example of this is the constitutional commission we have set up. It has a three-year life, and according to my arithmetic it is going to cost us $5.334 million so people can go around talking to people.
Mr. Speaker, we did many, many things in the 11th Assembly that many of us thought were stupid, and we have a new report now that is going to tell us how we can undo all those things. Since there is a tremendous amount of criticism of all these things we did in the last Assembly which have proven not to be right, will the government, in addition to more of this restructuring that is going on, close down the commission? Because it is as exciting as watching paint dry. And look at all the other things we did in the last four years, which many of us thought were rather crazy, and we are now having to revisit. Will they look at all those things that are costing us money for the next few years and see if we cannot get rid of them?
Work Of Volunteers December 11th, 1991
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I want to talk about the public service. I worked in the public service for many, many years and one gets a little bit tired of hearing all this criticism of people who have dedicated their lives to being of use to the public.
Today, Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that much of the voluntary work done throughout the Territories, worth millions and millions of dollars out of peoples' pockets and their time, is done by people who really believe they want to serve their community. However, it is very rare that I get up and try to retain a serious note all the way through, because people get a little bit down and become critical of those people who are always critical of those individuals who believe that in their lives they can do something useful with their time.
I would like to point out, Mr. Speaker, that there are many people in this community and throughout the communities in the Northwest Territories who do give up their time without payment so that they can be useful citizens. At 6:00 p.m. tonight there will be a turkey bingo at the Elks for the NWT Council for Disabled Persons. There are many people who are out of town, and the Council for Disabled Persons, in fact, serves a territorial function as an advocacy group for those people throughout the Territories who throughout their lives live with some degree of misfortune.
It is because of the work of many volunteers that do this work that those people get the support and assistance that they have come to expect over the many years. Many Yellowknife people give up their time so that this kind of service can be provided, not only for the people in Yellowknife, but for people throughout the Northwest Territories. However, in the flyer that went throughout the city over the last few days there was a mistake. The bingo is not a $35,000 bingo; it is a $3500 bingo. It begins at 6:00 p.m., with the doors opening at this time, and the bingo starts at 7:00 p.m.
Ministers' Statement 2-12(1): And Tabled Document 3-12(1) December 10th, 1991
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would just like to ask the Government Leader, does she recognize that this report, in fact, takes us all the way back to the very beginning when this government was set up, and the very first department that was set up by this government, which was given a priority when it was set up, was the Department of Local Government. The decision was made that that would be a priority in setting up this government, right from the floor up, and since then we have lost control completely because consensus government has taken us all over the place. At the beginning we had this focus. Did she realize that we are back to where we started more than 20 years ago?
Ministers' Statement 2-12(1): And Tabled Document 3-12(1) December 10th, 1991
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This report, "Strength at Two Levels," is really the platform of the government. If you recall four years ago when the last government was formed and Mr. Patterson took everybody off into the bush somewhere, and they came up with the "Direction for the 1990s," nine or 10 principles, if you like, that would guide the government for the next four years. I will not bore people with going through that list of that particular platform. What we have here is something similar, in a sense, that was set up for the last government and inherited by this government, and it represents the platform, if you like, of where this government really wants to go. This is the priority of the government because it is the first bit of business that we are dealing with here. It represents the government plan during the term of this Assembly.
Having said that, what makes this a little bit different is in keeping with our commitment to consensus government, the Government Leader has said this really is where the government wants to go and before we even talk about it and discuss it, we have had a statement from the Minister indicating the strength of the commitment of our government to the report by indicating what things are going to happen.
I am going to be very brief today, Mr. Chairman. One of the strengths of consensus, of course, is that you are obviously involved with an awful lot of people and people have a feeling that they have a sense of ownership of whatever it is they are involved in, because when you make something and there are all kinds of hands on the tools that create it, then you think, "Boy I made that. I helped to polish that up and it looks good and I am proud of it." The problem when you do that, and that is the weakness of it, is that it can take forever. I remember years ago there was -- I am talking about my own field now in education, many years ago, everybody was committed to the idea of discovery learning. Kids were going to really have a sense of owning their knowledge because some boring person was not going to tell them anything. They were going to find out for themselves. All these young people were going to discover everything, every mechanical principle, every principle of mathematics. They would discover it, but we found out after awhile if you go about things in that fashion, you are going to still be there when you are 90. You still do not know your multiplication tables because you have not found it; you have not discovered it yet. That is one of the weaknesses, if you like, of taking that approach that you are going to discover everything for yourself.
It is similar with consensus. The weakness of it is that you have to look at all the ways in people in which people want to contribute to making something work so they have this feeling that they own this particular program or this particular process. The Minister has realized this, obviously, by setting a fast pace, saying, "Look, we have to get on with it and if we allow consensus to drag this down. it is not going to go anywhere." It is the same with everything we have ever tried to do. Suddenly, with everybody being involved and everybody having his two bits worth in, slowly the momentum gets dragged down and gets dragged down.
I have seen Mr. Kakfwi, for example, demonstrate his impatience about trying to get things done and he has mentioned it in this House. I will not quote him today, but he has mentioned several times the frustration, because he is a person who wants to get things done.
If you are going to involve everybody in trying to get things done, then I will guarantee that although you want to start off at this fast pace to get an agenda accomplished within a certain time frame, then it will only be done if things are absolutely clear, how far we can go, what the deadlines are, what is reasonable. I can tell you now, Mr. Chairman, that it is not simply just a matter of saying, "This is what communities want; let us just do it." Just one simple thing and I will leave it at this. I know that in developing legislation, some of those bits of legislation have taken years and years and years just to get a simple piece of legislation done, because of the process that you have to go through so that everybody feels comfortable about that legislation, that really does what we want that legislation to do. We have committed ourselves in this chamber to an even greater and more open process of involvement in the creation of legislation. We have said that we are not going to just simply get a piece of legislation and say that is it; we are going to just sit down here and pass it. What we have said, is that there is going to be a process in which the public is going to be involved in legislation. If all you are going to do in this follow up to this report, is say, "Well we will have a contribution agreement and we will just make a deal if you like and you have it for this week or for next week. We will not worry about legislation; we will just ignore all that. We will just make a few deals here and there to get things going." Then that really does not give you the degree of stability and certainty and a sense of development that we have always felt ourselves committed to in this chamber.
So Mr. Chairman, what I am trying to tell the government, I suppose, is that in order to do all these things -- because this is a massive undertaking, a complete restructuring of things really -- we cannot really make it work unless it is hand in glove with some kind of legislative program. You simply cannot just sit down and make deals and agreements; that is just not good enough.
Everything we have done over the past 20 years, I suppose, has been on the basis of recognizing that this is a Legislative Assembly. What we do basically is to work as legislators; we make laws for the people that we represent. So everything that goes on in the Territories is done on the basis of law, not on deals, and if we are going to make this work we have to be sure that we have some kind of legislative framework so that we can, in fact, make this happen. It has been my experience to date that laws, if they are going to be workable and successful, cannot just be made at the snap of a finger or at the drop of a hat. It involves an awful lot of painstaking hard work, very, very time consuming, and from what I have been able to gather so far, the things that we have heard in just a few days indicate that we would like things to be done with speed so that momentum will not be lost; but at the same time we are told that we are going to operate even more by consensus by involving more and more people, and when you do that you are automatically going to slow things down at a pace that people can manage and feel comfortable with.
I could go on at length, but I appreciate the Ministers' long experience in government, their understanding of it, the nature of the problem that has to be overcome, but it is the weakness of consensus that things we really want to do, very often will take a long, long time, and you cannot do it overnight; it is not in the nature of our system. Thank you.
Thank you. Mr. Speaker:
WHEREAS the striking committee did not name all the Members to compose the standing committee on rules, procedures and privileges;
AND WHEREAS the cabinet has normally suggested a Minister to sit on this committee;
AND WHEREAS it is desirable to have a cabinet Member as a Member of the standing committee on rules, procedures and privileges;
NOW THEREFORE, I move, seconded by the honourable Member for North Slave, that the Hon. Dennis Patterson be appointed as a Member of the standing committee on rules, procedures and privileges;
AND FURTHER, that not withstanding Rule 88(2), the Hon. Tony Whitford may attend as an alternate Member only in the absence of the Hon. Dennis Patterson.
Item 14: Motions December 10th, 1991
Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to deal with my motion on the appointments to the standing committee on rules, procedures and privileges.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I give notice that on Thursday, December 12, 1991, I will move the following motion, and it has to do with appointments to the standing committee on rules, procedures and privileges: Whereas it is
desirable to have a cabinet Minister as a Member of the standing committee on rules, procedures and privileges; now therefore, I move, seconded by the honourable Member for North Slave, that the Hon. Dennis Patterson be appointed as a Member of the standing committee on rules, procedures and privileges; and further, that not withstanding Rule 88(2), the Hon. Tony Whitford may attend as an alternate Member only in the absence of the Hon. Dennis Patterson.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Will the Government Leader commit to this House today that she will not move toward the allocation of powers which could have a constitutional impact, before we have had a chance to see
what it is that this commission recommends to this House about constitutional arrangements in the Western Arctic?
Since the commission has yet to report to this Assembly indicating how, in fact, arrangements will be made for the delivery of government in the Western Arctic, on what basis has the Government Leader assumed that this commission will have no impact on what the government is proposing in the Beatty report which talks about two levels of government? On what basis has she made that assumption?
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