Legislative Assembly photo



Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was going.

Last in the Legislative Assembly September 2019, as MLA for Yellowknife North

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 36% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Petition 3-18(3): Child and Youth Advocate August 23rd, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today to present a petition supporting the matter of a children's advocate. The petition contains 359 electronic signatures, including 31 electronic signatures of Northwest Territories residents. The petition's request is that the Government of the Northwest Territories create a children's advocate position with the Department of Health and Social Services, providing a voice for the decisions affecting children and giving direction in the best interest of children.

Further, Mr. Speaker, this petition was originated by Mr. Andy Young of Yellowknife, who is a foster parent. Mr. Young's petition is calling for the establishment of a children and youth advocate. The Child and Family Services Act is very clear that decisions regarding children must be made in accordance with the best interests of the children. This petition recognizes that there may be many reasons why decisions need to be made for our children's protection, but emphasizes that decisions need to place the best interests of children first.

As a foster parent, Mr. Young understands the difficult challenges that the department faces regarding children needing protection. Nevertheless, he has seen instances where decisions place the interests of the children second to other considerations. Such instances are confirmed in the 2018 Auditor General's Report on Child and Family Services, which states, in part, that the authorities did not meet key responsibilities for the protection and well-being of children, youth, and their families.

The department has now responded with its Quality Improvement Plan, which is a very detailed and ambitious document. However, the conclusions of the Auditor General report emphasize the need for oversight. To achieve that, this petition calls for the creation of a child and youth advocate for the NWT. The advocate would review departmental decisions affecting children and, if necessary, provide direction, ensuring that decisions reflect the best interests of the children.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Young is committed to this issue, and I want to thank him for bringing this petition forward. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 852-18(3): Small-Scale Hydroelectricity for Communities August 23rd, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I seek unanimous consent to move to item 11 on the orders of the day. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Unanimous consented granted

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery August 23rd, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I would like to recognize four constituents from the riding of Yellowknife North. Earlier today, providing our prayer song, was the Member and former Premier, Stephen Kakfwi. I also want to recognize and welcome Andy Young, a former fellow city councillor when I was on City Council, and the returning officer now is Amanda Mallon. We also have in the House today the constituency assistant to Frame Lake and Yellowknife Centre, Craig Yeo. Thank you, and welcome. Thank you for being here.

Reflections on the 18th Assembly August 23rd, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As we wrap up the 18th Assembly, it is my privilege to confirm what most folks already know: that I will be running for a second term, and I am excited and energized to hit the campaign trail.

To the constituents of Yellowknife North, Yellowknife has never failed me. Being entrusted as your representative and decision-maker at this level has been an incredible honour. It's been a dream come true to be your MLA for this unique, stunning, and diverse riding.

Mr. Speaker, I have enjoyed so much about this experience and being a part of this consensus government. I especially enjoyed my role as the chair of the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment.

To all of my MLA colleagues, I applaud you for your commitment and thank you for your dedication to our territory.

To the amazing Assembly staff who supports us, it's been a tremendous pleasure working with all of you. We, as Regular Members, all Members, would be lost without your tremendous effort and dedication.

To my constituent assistant, Keith McNeil, you carried a lot of the weight of my day-to-day workload and you did a fine job of it. I can't thank you enough.

Outside government, we work with Indigenous leaders, community leaders, NGOs, and business leaders. Their knowledge and insight has helped me to understand my role and the importance of collaboration and respect. You have my utmost respect, and I thank you for your wisdom.

I came to the Assembly with experience in municipal government. My views may have been somewhat narrow, but the many Northerners I have met and worked with have helped me to understand our territory much better. I am proud to be a part of this great territory, and appreciate what it has to offer, which is a lot.

Mr. Speaker, our form of government is evaluated by our citizens, and also people throughout Canada and around the world. I have always believed I have an obligation as an MLA to stay focused on the long-term benefits of our territory. We are doing great things, but there is plenty of work to be done. I will continually pursue the best interests of my riding, and all the citizens of this great territory.

It has been an honour and a privilege to serve the city and territory that have given so much to me over the years, and I am thrilled to continue on this journey. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters August 22nd, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Chair. For clarification, I believe it was similar work or boat docks or boat slips or what have you that we're being built at Prelude Lake.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters August 22nd, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I just wanted to see if this is where I can get a little bit of certainty about some projects that I already know were under way, but I received some notice that they were being deferred or that some of their budget was being taken away and moving to another project and that sort of thing.

I would just like to, while I can, given that this is going to be the last opportunity, maybe get an update through the Minister of Finance, an update from the Minister of ITI, what is the status of the Prosperous Lake boat launch and the Prelude Lake main docks expansion or boat launch project? Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters August 22nd, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I appreciate the Minister presenting this capital budget here today. In my time here in the Assembly, this is the largest capital budget that we've put forward. The previous speaker, my colleague from Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh, already spoke about some of the challenges as it relates to carry-overs. I know there are many facets to the challenges of carry-over. I, certainly, want to hope that the next government, we'd like to see maybe a bit of a call it a government-wide approach to try and overcome some of those challenges. I know a lot of them have to do with our relationship with the federal government as it relates to funding, and then, of course, there are capacity issues and many other types of concerns that are the root cause of carry-overs.

I do feel that we're putting out another $400 million capital budget. In our last year's budget, we had a tough time in delivering almost half of it. We don't want to see a continued build-up of carry-overs. The reason why I am very supportive of capital budgets by principle is that this is a lot of money that gets out into the communities, and this creates lots of opportunity in the communities and creates jobs and, of course, the dollars themselves result in building health centres and schools and roads and the like that support reducing the cost of living and lift up the standards of living. I'm always supportive of a capital budget.

Maybe more at the appropriate time, well, I'll make some general comments. I see in here that the Legislative Assembly, of course, is putting in $3 million to replace the water line, and that's long overdue. I would also hope that we could collaborate with our friends at the City of Yellowknife, the RCMP, and the DND to maybe have an opportunity that, while we are replacing that water line, there might be the opportunity to create a district energy system between ourselves and, say, the museum, city hall, RCMP, and DTFN building. I think that that would be a positive step, and I believe that the wheels are possibly in motion to start that undertaking. I hope that that can happen.

One thing that I will express a little bit of frustration about, that I was hoping I would be able to see in here, is a number of Members, and I'm quite sure another Member is going to raise this at some point, I wanted to see some form of investment in daycare infrastructure. I think, while it might have been just in these last six months to a year that we've really raised that as a higher priority, it wasn't necessarily brought in as a high priority for the mandate of this government. Although daycare in terms of supporting and funding daycare for allowing people to afford daycare has been in our mandate, but the actual investment in infrastructure for daycare has not. I would like to see that change in the future. I think that, when we start talking about building new schools or making major renovations to schools, we should be thinking about the design and development of daycares into those schools.

Community funding transfer gap, I won't speak to that too much because my honourable colleague from Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh already spoke to that. I know the Minister respects and appreciates the challenges there, and that again, in the 19th Assembly, we're going to have to do some serious work. If that means advocating more at the federal level to get extra funds, then that might be what we might have to do. Even to go so far as to tying into the TFF or something like that; I don't know. There has got to be some way that we can get over this gap.

I do want to speak positively: I really like, again, what I've seen in here as it relates to the investments on Highway No. 4, which is Ingraham Trail. I'm always appreciative of the investments that go on out there. The residents of Ingraham Trail keep me well-attuned to any issues, and the Department of Infrastructure and this government have been fairly responsive in the four years that I've been the MLA for Yellowknife North in terms of making the right investments in Highway No. 4.

The one thing that I will say for the record, though, and I know that the Department of Infrastructure is aware of this and they have verbally given indication that they are working on this, but, in this particular capital budget, you don't see, for certainty's sake, an investment in the roadside pull-off at Big Hill Lake. I am aware that there is some work being undertaken. There's some pre-design stuff. There's some interdepartmental stuff being looked at. The government recognizes that this is a public safety issue. We're not supposed to be parking on Ingraham Trail, but a lot of people are in order to go to this new popular hiking area, so we've got to make sure that we're taking care of the public safety issue there.

For opening comments, Mr. Chair, that's about all I have, and then I will have a couple of questions as we move through the document. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Report 36-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on Transition Matters August 22nd, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move, seconded by the honourable Member for Sahtu, that Committee Report 36-18(3), Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on Transition Matters, be received and adopted by the Assembly. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Reports Of Standing And Special Committees August 22nd, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Your Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment is pleased to provide its Report on Transition Matters and commends it to the House. I move, seconded by the honourable Member for Sahtu, that Committee Report 36-18(3) be deemed read and printed in Hansard in its entirety. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 845-18(3): Polytechnic University August 22nd, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you to the Minister for her reply. I appreciate that. Many of the benefits of a post-secondary institution exist beyond the academic content of courses but, instead, come through networking and social connections among students and faculty from different backgrounds. That is some of the importance of coming together at a place, at a centre. Would the Minister agree that these are important qualities supported by a physical campus? If there is to be a physical polytechnic campus, does it make sense that such a campus would be located in the capital, in Yellowknife? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.