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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

Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery August 20th, 2007

(English not provided)

---Applause

Bill 19: An Act To Amend The Student Financial Assistance Act August 17th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move, seconded by the honourable Member for Deh Cho, that Bill 19, An Act to Amend the Student Financial Assistance Act, be read for the third time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Bill 14: Employment Standards Act August 17th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move, seconded by the honourable Member for Weledeh, that Bill 14, Employment Standards Act, be read for the third time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 148-15(6): Assessment Of Social Housing Subsidy Program August 17th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. No. Before the transfer of the subsidy, I can't tell you how many times, in my 16 years in this House, I have heard Members stand up opposite and go after the Minister of Housing for problems with assessments. So it isn't something that is new. There are always going to be people who are having difficulty with how their assessments are done or how they are dealt with, but what we have now is a process where we are moving towards more consistency in how our program is being applied across the Northwest Territories. After the transfer, we discovered all sorts of different inconsistencies. Now we are making sure that people across the Territories are receiving fair and equitable supports. Yes, it has meant a change. Yes, people resist change, but in the long run, this is going to be a better program because of this change. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 148-15(6): Assessment Of Social Housing Subsidy Program August 17th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the reason we did this is, as Members in this House know, we have $120 million that goes out every year as direct subsidies to people in the Northwest Territories. That is before we add the $6 million that we are putting into the Income Support Program next year. We were in a situation where we had 17 programs run by seven different departments that did not mesh. We had situations where a person would earn, or a family would earn, an extra dollar and have $200 clawed back by either the housing authority or by income support. We need to find a way to make sure that our programs work better together. We have families living side by side who are getting different levels of support right now because one family went to the housing authority and one family went to income support. It is not reasonable that governments provide two levels of support to two families in exactly the same circumstances. But that is what has happened because we haven't had programs that are coordinated and designed to help people effectively, efficiently and fairly. We need to make sure that we are properly targeting the people who need government assistance the most and that we are doing it in the right way. We think that the best way to do that is to ensure that we have a comprehensive and cohesive program. You can't do that if all of our subsidy programs are divided up among different departments. So we think that we have taken the best approach here. We know that we have resolved issues. We think that putting the subsidies together into one department will eventually mean that we will have a much better articulated program and one that is more supportive for all Members in this House. Thank you.

Question 148-15(6): Assessment Of Social Housing Subsidy Program August 17th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In fact, we do deal with local housing authorities and LHOs. We bring people together who are working on the front line to tell us the problems they are running into. The numbers of complaints that we are hearing have diminished tremendously. We are not getting very many complaints at all. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 148-15(6): Assessment Of Social Housing Subsidy Program August 17th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As I have said several times in this House, the assessment of how the program is working is done on a continual basis. The senior management get together regularly. The deputies from the departments get together regularly. The Minister of the Housing Corporation and I discuss issues as they arise, as well. So we are satisfied that we have found ways to deal with all of the issues that have come up, up to this point. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Members' Statements On Legislative Assembly Page Program August 17th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker and honourable colleagues. I am also pleased that it has given Tyler an opportunity to experience our schedule and help him understand why I have missed so many of his hockey and little league baseball games and parent/teacher meetings over the years.

As I am moving on to other pursuits, not retiring, as was reported in the newspaper, I expect to make more of those events. I know that Tyler looks forward to me being able to get to more of his games, but I am not sure he is looking forward to me being around more to make sure that his homework is done every night.

---Laughter

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank all of the Pages for their work in this House. It is a great program, and I hope that subsequent assemblies continue the program. Thank you.

---Applause

Members' Statements On Legislative Assembly Page Program August 17th, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In our Assembly, we rely on Pages for much of the efficiency we achieve, such as it is, in the conduct of our business. They deliver copies of motions and statements, and they make sure we have fresh water always available. But, Mr. Speaker, probably the most important function for Pages in our Assembly is carrying notes between Members in the House.

Mr. Speaker, I doubt the public has any idea how much is done by way of notes between Members while we are in session. When we are at work here in the House, decorum requires we spend most of our time in our seats. So we use notes to conduct business, and, Mr. Speaker, though none of us would admit to authoring one, like conversations, not all of our notes would stand to public reading very well. I was reminded of that at the last session when I asked a Page what she thought of the job. She said she really enjoyed it but was surprised at how many notes were passed between Members. She went on to tell me that when her teacher saw a note being passed in class, she would take it and then read it in front of the whole class.

Mr. Speaker, I am sure I speak for all Members here when I thank you for not taking a similar approach.

---Laughter

Mr. Speaker, our Page Program is a tremendous way to expose young northerners to how our consensus government system works. Most jurisdictions use older

students than we do. I suspect those who are interested in the job in the South are already politically aware. Here in the Northwest Territories, we get young people in often before they even think of politics and, most importantly, before the cynicism that has become prevalent about the political process is entrenched in our minds.

Mr. Speaker, from talking to Pages after they have worked here, I know that many have had their eyes opened to politics as a possibility for their future. I have been surprised by how many young people have told me that, after being a Page, they were fascinated by what we do here and even how they thought politics might be in their future. Some have come back as youth parliamentarians. It is a good program.

On a more personal note, Mr. Speaker, I have been pleased for the past couple of days that our son, Tyler, could be a Page in this House.

---Applause

It has given him an opportunity to see some of my job and for him to gain perspective around politics. He has come to understand that when people discuss issues, their disagreeing with one another doesn't mean that they really dislike each other, just that they have different points of view.

I am also pleased that it has given him an opportunity to experience our schedule, to help him understand...Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.