Roles

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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

Support For Nova Construction June 6th, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is very unusual for me, Mr. Speaker, to ask for consent to continue a statement, but what I want to say I believe has to be said, because I have listened for a long time now and have been tempted to say

something. This man doesn't live in my constituency. However, he is a Yellowknife businessman, and somebody should do something.

Numbers? You want numbers so that you can call this gentleman. I will give you a whole bunch: 873-1910; 873-1577; 873-1505; 873-1602; 920-7121; 920-7131; in area code 819, 979-2554; in area code 403, 920-7141...There are two fax numbers: (819)979-2575; and the one I just referred which was 920-7141.

However, I also have listed on this paper, underlined in green, the personal number of Mr. Mrdjenovich, and because that number is confidential, I will tell the Member what it is if he wants to have it. But since it's an unlisted number, I am not at liberty to give it in this House today.

In fact, that's the problem. The problem is that he's a low bidder, and when you have that kind of competition, other people get upset. I know that in Iqaluit, for example, some people can charge $2,200 for a one-bedroom apartment and this man charges only $1,500, so people get upset by that kind of competition. They don't like it, and it comes to the floor of this House without people being aware of why people are trying to do something to undermine the credentials of this individual.

So, Mr. Speaker, now that we have all the facts on the floor, I hope that this man whose name has been dragged through this House on so many occasions will be allowed to get on with the things that he does well which are to build and build them efficiently and effectively so that the people of the Northwest Territories get value for money. Thank you.

---Applause

Support For Nova Construction June 6th, 1995

I am seeking unanimous consent to continue, Mr. Speaker.

Support For Nova Construction June 6th, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, it's very unusual for an ordinary Member to take issue with comments made by a colleague in the Ordinary Members' Caucus. We try to stay together and work together in harmony. However, the Member for Iqaluit is continuing to question the credentials of a Yellowknife businessman, and I hesitate to use his name because it's been used so many times in this House and he hasn't been able to defend himself.

But, on my initiative, I phoned him yesterday because I'm getting a little tired of hearing his name being batted around in this place with no one rising to defend him. By the way, he doesn't need a defence, but I feel an obligation to point out that Mr. Mike Mrdjenovich, in fact, is a local businessman who has contributed significantly to the progress of this city. I would like to point out, Mr. Speaker, that although piles of information have been given to the Member for Iqaluit about the operation of Nova Construction, I would like to give you a bit more information to show you what this business means to the city of Yellowknife and to the people of the Northwest Territories.

Last year, the company paid municipal taxes, $208,206; land lease, $86,403; the Iqaluit office, $82,981; expenses of the Yellowknife office, $588,032; the economic impact of all the work undertaken by this company - $7,176,079; salaries of eight full-time people in the complement in the offices, $279,000. In other words, roughly $9 million a year is the economic impact of this company in the Northwest Territories.

The total capital investment in the Northwest Territories is $35 million. We are always on about capital. We need capital. We need to grow.

This man, in fact, attracts money and activity. He is revitalizing the downtown core. In fact, the crappy -- I don't know if crappy is a bad word, Mr. Speaker -- but there were two unsightly buildings right next door to the Member for Iqaluit when he lived on that street. They have now been torn down and there are going to be beautiful new buildings right near the old arena. Everybody should be happy to know that.

Question 501-12(7): Reason For Increase In Stumpage Fees June 5th, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I noted that the government has decided that they should impose greater burden on the very small lumber industry in the Northwest Territories by increasing stumpage fees. This, obviously, is a revenue initiative. At the same time the Housing Corporation has decided that they will use northern lumber.

I would like to ask the Minister of Renewable Resources, since the price of lumber has really gone down according to the Madison's Lumber Reporter, from $375 per thousand a year ago for two by four's, to $217 as of two weeks ago and there's been a steady decline in the price of lumber, why is it that the government has decided to impose this burden on the industry when prices have suddenly gone down to half of what they were a year ago?

Question 492-12(7): Funding For Western Arctic Constitutional Negotiations June 5th, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We get mixed messages about how positive the federal government is about the process and the kind of commitment that exists. I would like to ask the Minister, by what date does he expect to get a response on the commitment of the federal government of the $1 million that he has referred to.

Question 492-12(7): Funding For Western Arctic Constitutional Negotiations June 5th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Minister whether this $500,000 identified is contingent upon full cooperation with the federal government.

Question 492-12(7): Funding For Western Arctic Constitutional Negotiations June 5th, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The government has invested considerable amounts of money into the development of a Constitution for the western territory. I would like to ask the Minister responsible for aboriginal rights and constitutional development, in light of the fact that this process is deemed to be on hold at the moment until there is a commitment of funding, whether the Government of the Northwest Territories has committed any money to the process.

Victory In Europe Celebrations June 5th, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. More than 20 years ago, when I moved to Yellowknife from the eastern Arctic, there were half a dozen people who lived in Yellowknife at that time who had fought in the First World War. Four of them had even been at the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Those people are now dead, however we have a generation of people who fought in the Second World War.

Mr. Speaker, I was in Europe just recently during the celebrations of the Victory in Europe Day. More than 20,000 Canadians went to Holland to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Victory in Europe. It reminded me of 1945 when, as a young kid, I remember every street having street parties. There were hundreds and hundreds of kids, races, dances in the streets and so on. I know many veterans in Yellowknife who fought in the Second World War and who were there during that time, realize that although it seems very remote, and such a long, long way away from here, that was the last world war, we hoped. That war -- and Mr. Patterson has just remarked on what democracy is all about -- really, was to try to do something to protect the democratic institutions that we all value. It was a battle against dictatorships and totalitarian systems.

For that reason, many of the veterans from Yellowknife realized, after visiting Europe, that they should be doing something even here, as far away as we are, from where that war took place. It was a world war, it wasn't just a local war. It was something that embraced the whole world. I know very soon, Mr. Speaker, that you will be approached to see if the veterans can't do something to commemorate that anniversary in some form, through Mr. Whitford, in this great hall of ours. I hope that we can give them a positive response, to recognize that that war really was to support and protect democratic institutions such as this, where the people are involved and you aren't pushed around just by one voice. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Motion 17-12(7): Review Of Official Languages Services April 12th, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I was a Member of the ABC committee that reported to this House on the work of the Languages Commissioner. Members will recall that many of the comments that we made in fact substantiated the sentiments just expressed by the Member for Yellowknife North, that this was a very important place and the use of languages in this Chamber was an example to the rest of Canada and to the rest of the world, in many ways.

When I looked at Mr. Patterson's motion asking for a review of all our language programs, he was looking for the seconder of his motion. Being somebody who doesn't always have his feet in concrete and is prepared to look at things or re-examine, I said sure, I don't mind seconding the motion to examine the things we do because I think we should always be reviewing the things we do to see if there is a way of doing them better.

I believe it's in line with the sentiment expressed sometimes that we are very, very quick to impose discipline on all other kinds of people but we never look at ourselves. I thought that the report of the Languages Commissioner never really gave us good, concrete reasons. It wasn't a real review, if you like. It was just a catalogue of sentiments about what went on here and whether it was the best use of money, and whether we could be doing things with that money in other program areas. That's not the purpose of this motion, as it has been amended, Mr. Speaker.

What it does is say that, as a responsible Assembly, where we have new realities to face with regard to our funding and the ways we have to serve people, it is always good to review. In light of the statement just made by our Premier, if you recall when we looked at the main estimates for the executive offices program of the Executive, we were told about the tremendous struggle that is taking place with regard to the Canada/NWT official languages agreement, the fact that we were asked to take a more realistic look at our demands. The $30 million we asked for and the $9 million counter offer made by the federal government has led us to a position now where we don't have the kinds of money that we would like to have to solve all our problems.

I agree with all the sentiments that have been expressed about the importance of language as it is used in this House, but I'm not the kind of individual who says, in light of everything that happens around us with regard to the way we're funded, that we shouldn't always be examining, reviewing and seeing if we can do things better than we do.

It's for that reason that I have no problem in seconding Mr. Patterson's motion and also will be quite happy, in fact, to support it when it comes to a vote. Thank you.

Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery April 12th, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I believe that according to our rules you are only allowed to recognize someone. You are not allowed to stand and not recognize someone.