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Roles

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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

Driver's Licensing Services In Small Communities May 16th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak on the issuance of driver's licences in smaller communities outside of larger regional centres. I raise this issue today because on a constituency tour on March 24, 2007, in Paulatuk, the hamlet foreman raised an issue with me regarding local residents having a difficult and hard time to take a written exam or take a road test or just upgrade their driver's licences. This makes it difficult for the hamlet to hire local people to operate the hamlet and municipal services vehicles.

We know that to operate a water or sewage truck would require at least a class 1, or to drive a bus would require a class 4 licence.

Mr. Speaker, in the smaller communities, except in the larger regional centres such as Inuvik, there are no driver examiners available to take written or road tests in Paulatuk and in the Nunakput communities. As an example, Mr. Speaker, for someone in Paulatuk to travel to Inuvik is very costly, especially if they want to write and take the road test to get their driver's licence. The cost associated to travel to Inuvik includes airfare, accommodation and meals. The local airline only travels to Paulatuk on certain scheduled days, and this means staying for a minimum of three days. The costs add up for the individuals and this is out-of-pocket expenses if they want to get their driver's licence. Mr. Speaker, will these people be able to be reimbursed for their expenses for having to travel to Inuvik to take the driver's examination?

Mr. Speaker, the smaller communities will need some kind of assurance that the driver's examiner can travel to these small communities so they can take both the written and road test. In closing, I will have questions for the Minister responsible for Transportation. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Item 21: Report Of Committee Of The Whole May 15th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, your committee has been considering Bill 8, Supplementary Appropriation Act, No. 1, 2007-2008, and would like to report progress with one motion being adopted, and that Bill 8 is ready for third reading. Mr. Speaker, I move that the report of Committee of the Whole be concurred with.

Motion To Extend Sitting Hours, Carried May 15th, 2007

Thank you, Madam Chair. I just have one question regarding Mildred Hall in Yellowknife for $1.076 million. I thought at that time last year that all the renovations were completed. Can the Minister explain?

Motion 7-15(6): Denormalizing Alcohol And Enforcing Restrictions, Carried May 15th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I, too, stand up today to support this motion. I thank my colleague Mrs. Groenewegen for putting it forward.

I think, Mr. Speaker, you have to remember -- I'm going back 50 or 60 years ago -- we were introduced to this substance alcohol by westerners and it's a well-known fact that back in the United Kingdom and Europe it's normal for them to do that. Whereas, in the short time, over the last 50 or 60 years, we were introduced to something that we weren't used to before. As I indicated in my Member's statement earlier, I grew up with my parents where they made homebrew and that was normal because that's all they had. I heard some of my colleagues here talking about going to high school in Inuvik. I never really got to try alcohol until I went to the high school in Inuvik where I ran into my peers, the same age, 16, 17 and 18 year olds that wanted to try it. Because you're at a young age, you want a challenge

because you're trying to defeat what's enforceable by government. I mean they have laws that if you're underage, you're not allowed to drink, but that's the kind of little things that I tried when I was growing up. It also came to a point when I started working for Imperial Oil out at Bar "C" two weeks on two weeks off. Being the youngest person at that time, my two weeks' paycheque went right to, you know, what became normal at the time, buying alcohol with my peers. That's how I saw myself spending my money. Working two weeks on and two weeks off and spending it in a place where it should never have been spent before, but it was just normal because we were growing up. We were learning the life of maybe the older people that were able to drink.

Following that, Mr. Speaker, I made one of the wisest choices when I went back home to go live with my parents again. That's where I came to realize that this alcohol is something that affects a lot of people. That's when some of the elders came up to me at that time and said look, you just got out of high school, you're young, why don't you get involved with local politics? That was one of the best, best choices that the elders ever told me. So I think from going back from 1978 on to today, I think I've learned a lot. Alcohol is there, you can have it as a social drink, but don't get it to a point where you're obsessed with it.

Like I say, I've been involved with politics now since 1978. I've gone through a lot of things before. I think having my parents behind me to show me the right path and also when I met my wife, Lucille, in 1978, she's the one that really made me smarten up after we had our first son. With affects like that it's important because if you have family to back you up when you need them most, you know, they're there. I appreciate my whole family for that and I'm glad to stand here today to say that although I drink once in a while, not to the excess where it's affecting me, but I would like to say, though, that there are ways that we can do it. But I really support this motion in terms of hoping the government can do something about it.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I think when we talk about alcohol I think government is one of the biggest factors that plays the big role because we are the ones that support it through government services sales, either government or privatized. So we're the ones that are supplying it to the communities and yet we're talking about how can we denormalize alcohol. Again, that's something that maybe, as government, we should look at. So I think, Mr. Speaker, that I will support this motion. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Recognition Of Positive Lifestyle Role Models May 15th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I, too, would like to join in regard to the discussion today about alcohol. However, Mr. Speaker, today I would like to recognize role models in communities who have shown leadership and to promote alcohol-free lifestyles.

Mr. Speaker, alcohol and abuse that stems from alcohol always seems to overshadow the work of community leaders and front-line workers such as alcohol and drug counsellors do in both large and small communities. Front-line workers and community leaders are role models in communities because they are trying to promote and educate our young people in the communities of the ill effects of alcohol.

Mr. Speaker, growing up in a small community and eventually having to leave home to complete high school, I was fortunate enough to have two loving and caring people to direct me to the right path. I am speaking of my late father and mother. I remember my dad travelling in the dark of winter by dog team to tend to his daily trap line and would be gone for at least two weeks at a time. On his return home from the trap line, my mother would occasionally make what we called home brew because, Mr. Speaker, during those days alcohol wasn't a commodity like it is today.

Although my parents drank occasionally, they did not turn violent like in today's society. They were responsible drinkers, but, more importantly, they were caring parents who raised 16 children. Parents in those days cared for their children by showing them the values to respect their elders and all the members of the community. Mr. Speaker, by having such caring parents in those days, my brothers and sisters today are able to become educated and eventually respect the people who live and work in today's society. My parents were my role models as I was growing up. I appreciate all they did for me.

Mr. Speaker, we are seeing community leaders and alcohol and drug counsellors and they have shown leadership by being alcohol free but, more importantly, leading by example and communicating to young people that we can live life by being alcohol free in today's society.

In closing, I would like to thank those parents who have shown leadership, community leaders and front-line workers across the Northwest Territories promoting alcohol-free lifestyle, and they respect the communities and show them they are the real role models in today's society. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Item 21: Report Of Committee Of The Whole May 14th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the committee has been considering Bill 8, Supplementary Appropriation Act, No. 1, 2007-2008, and would like to report progress. Mr. Speaker, I move that report of the Committee of the Whole be concurred with. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Item 20: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters May 14th, 2007

Thank you, Madam Chair. Thanks for that information, Mr. Minister. Again, I feel very confident that putting $195,000 for the front-line workers so that they can do education and all that prevention of all these things, I think that would be utilized a lot better than doing a survey and a conference. Thank you, Madam Chair.

Item 20: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters May 14th, 2007

Thank you, Madam Chair. I would like to follow up. I heard what the Premier had to say regarding the survey and the conference. There were about 750 respondents and 120 participants for these two items. I would like to ask the Minister with regard to surveys. I am pretty sure that all the shelters that are across the Territories have intakes that they work with. Can they take those intakes from the region and the communities and say, look, if there are numbers there, it tells us that there is a problem. I am sure that, while the intakes that

they have, it will show that without doing a survey. We could put that money for the front-line workers. Thank you, Madam Chair.

Motion 4-15(6): Territorial Power Subsidy Program, Carried May 14th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to thank my colleague Mr. Yakeleya for putting forward this motion. I think the motion is straightforward in terms of what we're expecting the government to do. A lot of private people appreciate the 700 kilowatt subsidy in the small communities...(inaudible)... Although it's not enough, I think we can live with it, but to a certain point. Also it's the small businesses in the communities. One hundred kilowatts, maybe that's not enough for them also. So I think that motion that we're putting forward today is important for both private and residential users and also the small businesspeople. I just hope that the government can listen on that side of the House that we do have a recommendation or motion in place here that they consider very seriously. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Motion 5-15(6): Criminal Records Check, Carried May 14th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to thank my colleagues Mrs. Groenewegen and Mr. Hawkins for putting forward this motion. I, too, will support this motion; however, Mr. Speaker, I think it takes incidents like what happened in Hay River to bring something like this. I really appreciate that my colleagues are standing up here today to support this motion. I think the intent of the motion is well to do. We have people that we have to trust

with our children, like teachers, doctors, nurses, RCMP and lawyers. These are the people that we put our trust in with our family, with our children. So I think it's important, especially on the government side, that we're requesting the government implement something like this for our employees but even go further to ask the private sector to do that. I think just by standing up today I hope that all people that are out there, whether they're employees or contractors, will implement something like this to everybody. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause