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Last in the Legislative Assembly September 2007, as MLA for Nunakput

Lost his last election, in 2007, with 12% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Committee Motion 6-15(6): Placement Of Apprehended Children With Extended Families In Home Communities, Carried May 17th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I agree with my colleagues here. I sort of agree with Mrs. Groenewegen with regard to remuneration of extended family members. I also think that it is important. I know that child welfare workers work really closely with families to investigate the homes all the time. That is one of the responsibilities, to make sure that wherever you take the child, apprehend the child, you have to place them in a safe home whether that is extended family or a foster care home. One of the difficulties in small communities, though, is trying to get foster homes, because a lot of the people are afraid that, if the family members know where the child is, they will come knocking on the door. That is one of the reasons why it is very hard to allocate foster homes in the home community. One of the best options is to use extended families in cases like that. In extreme cases, I strongly believe that, if the child's welfare is at stake, if the department has no other choice but to send them outside of the community, do it as a last resort. That is all I have to say, Mr. Chair. Thank you.

Motion To Amend Motion 8-15(6), Carried May 17th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I, too, will stand up to support this motion as amended. When the Premier made his sessional statement it became clear that he announced that the project will move ahead. I did get some calls from back home on why this government should invest $130 million in this Deh Cho Bridge.

Sometimes, Mr. Speaker, I think that this government at times would think that Ottawa is not listening to us when we do talk about issues that affect us. What's more important I think in my riding back in the Sahtu and Beaufort-Delta, we really feel left out in terms of projects that we think are important. To go ahead and decide, you know, let's go ahead with the Deh Cho Bridge, it really causes disappointment back home in terms of infrastructure that's required.

In regard to the amount of time down here that people have to be without, or what you call a certain link from south to north, you're only looking at four weeks in a year. Take a look at back home. Once the ice road goes in in mid-May, we have to rely on the airlines right until mid-December when the ice road is open again. When you take a look at the time span, it's costly for us.

So I like the motion that's put forward because, like Mr. Ramsay said, we're not trying to stop this bridge, but all we want is more information with regard to the total costing of the bridge and I really think it's important that the Members on that side really take consideration of this motion. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Motion To Amend Motion 8-15(6), Carried May 17th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In regards to the amendment to add include the general public, I think it's important that adding the amendment will include transparency not only to our Members on this side and to Members on that side, but also to all the people in the Northwest Territories with regard to the Deh Cho Bridge project. So I think, Mr. Speaker, that adding this amendment will give transparency, like I say. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Item 7: Acknowledgements May 17th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today to recognize and acknowledge the accomplishment of Ms. Liz Kuptana of Paulatuk. I understand Liz Kuptana, language and culture instructor at Angik School in Paulatuk, will be retiring as the language and culture instructor after 20 years of service.

Today, on behalf of the students and parents of Paulatuk, I would like to thank Ms. Kuptana on her dedication and keeping the strong tradition and instruction of the Inuvialuit language alive to the students of Angik School. I know she will be missed by the students of Angik School. In closing, I wish her well in her retirement, because she deserves it. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Committee Report 3-15(6): Standing Committee On Social Programs Report On Matters Related To Child And Family Services Act May 17th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Committee members are convinced that the Department of Health and Social Services, and its authorities, could be doing more to promote the formation of child and family services committees in the communities and that a more coordinated approach should be undertaken.

In reviewing material provided by the Minister, there appeared to be a push in 2003 to establish child and family services committees, with three communities expressing interest. Of those three communities, only the community of Fort McPherson went past the initial presentation and consultation and formed a child and family services committee in conjunction with the Tl'oondih Healing Society.

Since that time, there have been expressions of interest in the northern part of territory, and information has been supplied to the community of Paulatuk and to the Sahtu Health and Social Services Authority.

Mr. Speaker, Members also wondered if, because the responsibility for administering the Child and Family Services Act is with the regional health and social services authorities, there might be some reluctance on their part to promote a process that may end up contributing to the overall debt that many of our health authorities face.

Regardless of any speculation on the part of committee as to the reasons there has been no uptake at the community level for forming child and family services committees, it is important to note that, as the Minister outlined in briefing notes provided to committee, the ability of communities to participate directly in decision-making regarding the protection of children is unique to the Northwest Territories. As far as the department knows, no other jurisdiction in the world allows community input in child protection matters.

The tools exist in legislation and regulation. It is clear to the committee that there is a need for the department and the authorities to allocate resources to develop and foster community empowerment through the development of child and family services committees.

Recommendation

The committee recommends the Minister direct the department and authorities to continue with ongoing activities and to design an adequately resourced plan to develop child and family services committees in the communities and that this plan be presented to the Standing Committee on Social Programs as part of the 2009-2010 business plan review.

At this time, Mr. Speaker, I'd like to turn it over to my honourable colleague Mr. Robert McLeod. Thank you.

Relocation Of Tuktoyaktuk Municipal Infrastructure Due To Coastal Erosion May 17th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this morning, I had an opportunity to meet with the Premier and some of his colleagues and also the mayor and deputy mayor of Tuktoyaktuk. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to raise a concern in regard to the important need to identify immediate funding dollars for relocation of municipal infrastructure requirements for the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk. I say this, Mr. Speaker, because the shorelines in the community of Tuktoyaktuk are rapidly deteriorating because of permafrost melting which causes erosion along the west and north end of the community.

Mr. Speaker, the hamlet council has raised this issue with MACA officials from Inuvik on numerous occasions during the review of their five-year capital plan. As an example, the gravesite is full to capacity. The location of the landfill site causes concern for potential health problems, and the point on the north end of town is eroding rapidly to a point where someday the houses located inside the harbour may eventually flood if protection to the sandpit is not protected.

Mr. Speaker, the hamlet council is very concerned and would like this government to immediately direct and discuss with MACA in implementing a plan to provide emergency funding to address the erosion problem in the location of the landfill site, gravesite and the need for gravel requirements.

The hamlet has already identified, in their capital plan, for the relocation of these municipal services. The proposed services are identified on the east side of the harbour and are in close proximity to the proposed access road to source 177.

Mr. Speaker, if these services are not addressed immediately by MACA and discussions with the hamlet, the community, as I said, may be flooded in the near future.

Therefore, I am requesting MACA to immediately meet with the hamlet council of Tuktoyaktuk to discuss and provide emergency funding to address the relocation of the gravesite, a landfill site, and gravel requirements and the ocean problem. In closing, Mr. Speaker, I will have questions for the Minister of MACA at the appropriate time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Committee Motion 3-15(6): To Amend Clause 36 Of Bill 4, NWT Hydro Corporation Act, Carried May 16th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just for the record, at this present time regarding Bill 16, I don't think I will support this. Personally, I think it's coming in at sort of a late stage in the game when we're almost completing the 15th Assembly. I understand the intent of the bill but, again, we've only got four months to go for the 15th Assembly and I think something like this would be more entitled for the 16th Assembly. So I'd just like to let you know, Mr. Chairman, that I will not support this bill. Thank you.

Question 98-15(6): Driver's Licensing Services In Small Communities May 16th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would just like to follow up with the Minister. Can the Minister direct his department in Inuvik at least to try to make a scheduled service to these communities, not only Paulatuk but to Sachs Harbour and Ulukhaktok? Thank you.

Question 98-15(6): Driver's Licensing Services In Small Communities May 16th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to thank the Minister for that, but I still think, Mr. Speaker, that these people looking for employment in the local hamlet of Paulatuk, in order for them to find work, like I said earlier, they have to travel to Inuvik to get that done. Had the department been able to send someone to Paulatuk, they wouldn't have to pay the cost of flying to Inuvik, so I understand when the Minister said no, but can he at least look at...If I can give the names to the Minister at this point in time, will he at least contact these individuals and see what kind of reimbursement they can get for their travel expenses? Thank you.

Question 98-15(6): Driver's Licensing Services In Small Communities May 16th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, earlier in my Member's statement today, I talked about the issuance of a driver's licence. In a larger community, it is pretty simple to go into the office and write their exam and road test, but the example I gave is in Paulatuk where a few residents have to fly to Inuvik just to write and get their road test to get their driver's licence so that they can find employment, especially with the hamlets. I would like to ask the Minister of Transportation on whether these people that travel to Inuvik at their own expense for accommodation, for the airfare and for meals, to see if the department can reimburse these individuals once I give him the names. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.