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Roles

Elsewhere

Last in the Legislative Assembly September 2007, as MLA for Frame Lake

Won his last election, in 2003, with 63% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Question 184-15(6): GNWT Human Resources Information System August 22nd, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In fact, everybody did get a paycheque so there isn't a situation where people haven't been paid. In fact, everybody got a paycheque by the next banking day. That happened because of the work that people put in at the Department of Human Resources. I'm quite proud of the fact that people worked 23, 24 hours straight in order to ensure that the paycheques went out. Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, in our opinion, the reason that there was a problem stems back to the contractor. This government does not have the expertise to buy a program off the shelf and install it; that's why that was done through a contractor. We had a contract for a program to be delivered. In our opinion, it wasn't delivered in a working fashion. Thank you.

Question 184-15(6): GNWT Human Resources Information System August 22nd, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Again, because that relates to a previous government, I can't answer that question. As the Member is quite aware, in our system of government it is the Minister that is responsible for decisions that are made by their departments. Therefore, the Minister, if the question had come up in this House at the time, then that Minister could have been held responsible. But we have a situation where...It's like in Ottawa when we have the Liberals in power, they blame the party that was there first; when the Conservatives come in, they blame the Liberals. Well, it's the same situation in here in that we're not able to go back and say that such and such should have happened. At the time that some of these decisions were made, I certainly wasn't on Cabinet. It's a situation where it's a ministerial responsibility and the person who is responsible may not ever be found. Sorry.

Question 184-15(6): GNWT Human Resources Information System August 22nd, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, that was a decision that was made by previous governments, so it's not one I can specifically say that was a previous Premier or Minister responsible for HR because that department is new. However, it was done prior to this government coming into place in 2003. Thank you.

Question 184-15(6): GNWT Human Resources Information System August 22nd, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The issue of the cost of the PeopleSoft program shouldn't be a surprise to the Member. If you look at the Grant Thornton report which was done in the year 2000, it predicted that the annual cost for PeopleSoft would be about $1.8 million including licensing, software support, hardware acquisition and so on. So there is an ongoing cost to having any program that the government runs, because it has to continually update that and pay for its support and licensing.

Mr. Speaker, it is also important for me to state that the programs, all of the modules that are used right now, are working as expected. So there is one module which would have been a new module over and above what the government had in place before that is not working, but everything else is working as expected. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 183-15(6): Social Housing Rent Assessment August 22nd, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Certainly, I will ensure there are staff that get together to follow up with the concern in the community immediately. We will work to ensure that the supports that are available right now are being provided to family members. The other thing that is important, Mr. Speaker, as I said in my statement today, the next program that we are hoping to see some work on redesign is the public housing rental subsidy. So we are expecting that that program will also now, over the course of the next year, be modified to reflect the new policy that we have in this government. That policy clearly is set up to ensure that it is flexible and it brings people the supports they need to become more independent.

Question 183-15(6): Social Housing Rent Assessment August 22nd, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As the Member is aware, it is the Housing Corporation that sets the rents for units in the North. Education, Culture and Employment calculates what subsidy a family might qualify for. That rent is then taken into account. We can certainly sit down with our partners at the Housing Corporation, as I said earlier, to make sure that we are available to work with members of the community to ensure that they are aware of all the programs. The Housing Corporation has a number of programs that are geared to income to help people get into better housing situations. We are now tasked with both ECE, Housing Corporation and Health and Social Services staff trying to work more together. I can make that commitment to the Member that we will look to see what we can do. Thank you.

Question 179-15(6): Cost Of Living Component To Student Financial Assistance Program August 22nd, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Well, if the Department of Education, Culture and Employment had an independent source of revenue, it wouldn't take very long at all. But since we have to look at all of our initiatives across government and work together to try and find which ones are the ones that are going to be funded, it is one that has to be done through the budget process. So the earliest that that is going to happen is going to be the budget that is considered in the spring of 2008. I have no doubt that the next government will look at this as a very important initiative and that the Members who are here in 2008 will be able to approve it for the next year. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 179-15(6): Cost Of Living Component To Student Financial Assistance Program August 22nd, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I guess I can sign off on it as long as I ignored the wrath of the Minister of Finance, clearly because there would be some financial costs for us to make changes to the program. It is an issue that will have to be proposed as an initiative that would be considered as part of the budget process. The Member talked about not necessarily looking at other examples. What we are doing is trying to look for examples of how this has been done in other jurisdictions rather than trying to reinvent the wheel. So

we agree that it is a good idea. We want to find ways to ensure that northern students are encouraged to attend the northern colleges that we have such an investment in. So we are very seriously looking at how we can accommodate this idea.

Question 179-15(6): Cost Of Living Component To Student Financial Assistance Program August 22nd, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This is an issue that has been brought up a few times over the last year. It is something that I have promised that the department will have a look at and try to move forward on. At this point though, we have not been able to propose any changes to our system.

We have reviewed what other jurisdictions are doing. Notably, British Columbia does have a system that recognizes the higher costs of the northern part of the province. So our intent is to, after finishing that review, looking for other examples across Canada and looking at the cost of living differentials, come back over the course of the next year and propose some changes. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 176-15(6): GNWT Human Resources Information System August 22nd, 2007

Again, Mr. Speaker, I'm not sure where the Member is getting his misinformation, but Answerthink was asked on two specific occasions just before the go live date, "Are you confident that this system will run? Has it run in tests? Will it actually perform as it's expected to run or should we wait until September?" On two separate occasions the Answerthink officials said, "No problem, this is going to work, we've run it in tests, we know that it works perfectly, we will see that it will run without any problems." So, Mr. Speaker, the question was put to the company. The contractor said that they had a product that was going to work without any problems, that they had seen it work in tests and that it would work; but when it went live, clearly, it didn't. So, Mr. Speaker, again, it comes back to Answerthink as having given the department the wrong information. Thank you.