- His favourite word was know.
Last in the Legislative Assembly November 2015, as MLA for Range Lake
Lost his last election, in 2015, with 50% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Not that I want to get into specifics, but if we deal with it in general comments it will make the clause-by-clause here a lot more efficient. In Section 14 it talks about the coroner examining and cross-examining witnesses, which is basically a fairly high judicial capacity. When that occurs, are witnesses able to have, or are they offered any legal counsel? Do we supply that? Is there any type of memorandum of rights given to witnesses to have a legal counsel without delay in a cross-examination? Thank you.
Thank you, Madam Chair. I appreciate that response. I know we’ve had that high-level discussion already in committee.
Just for the sake of reminding me, we talked about six jurisdictions that were investigated. If we were to pass this act as is, we would probably be the sixth jurisdiction in Canada to basically appease this warrantless seizure of information.
Where are the other five jurisdictions in Canada? Which ones are they? Thank you.
Thank you, Madam Chair. Again, I’d like to welcome the department here today proposing a bill. I want to say, first and foremost, I have utmost respect for the chief coroner’s office and all the people who work in the coroners division. I’m glad to see we have some stronger legislation before us to make their jobs much more enriched and much more powerful for the people that they serve.
As we heard earlier here from Madam Bisaro, this new bill expands the coroner’s ability to collect information without a warrant, or what we like to call warrantless access. I know that the Information and Privacy Commissioner did have some concern. She wrote to the committee about those concerns. I know we discussed them in committee. I know there’s a fine line between when a coroner ceases collecting information and notifies the appropriate authorities. But right now in the current system, in order for a coroner to satisfy a warrant, they need to go to a justice of the peace and have reasonable probable grounds to do so. So this act is going to be speeding up that process and allow a lot more wider powers of enforcement.
Again, I’m comfortable as it’s written, but I think a lot of Members were still a little bit concerned that we were giving the coroner and the coroner’s office high power or greater powers than that of a peace officer, so I will ask that question today here in the House.
Is this act in any way, shape or form giving the coroner’s office any higher power for a warrantless seizure? Thank you.
So what we’re saying here is if there is a dispute, I have to take my dispute to the courts. I may have to go even as high as the Supreme Court of the NWT to lodge a complaint, which could be very costly to the plaintiff in the event of a dispute.
Does the department consider or will they consider anything that will actually assist a dispute resolution with respect to probate?
Probates become very complicated. They become very emotional and sometimes you have to have safeguards to protect the estate, family members are usually involved and a public trustee is put in a position of power. Again, has there been thought about putting safeguards as some type of resolution or dispute resolution mechanisms to support this act?
Finally, any time we change laws with respect if there’s controversy, the issue of dispute resolution is always something I look at. Where are the powers in here for someone who has a problem with a public trustee in terms of their power or the management of an estate? What is the dispute resolution that is being offered to family members who may feel that the estate is not being managed in the appropriate manner?
When we reviewed the estate administration rules, within the legislative proposal there was a component where exercise of that power could be subject to court supervision. The question is: How does this act empower the court to exercise that supervisory role where the public trustee has to intervene with their authority?
In the event of a family dispute over an estate, how does this act change the perspective of the public trustee gaining a higher priority in the administration of that said estate?
Thank you, Madam Chair. The reason why I brought up the Seniors’ Society is committee has been well versed and has indicated also to the department that we have a number of seniors out there that, for whatever reason, whether it’s cost or not understanding, whether it’s language barriers, a lot of our seniors and elders do not have wills in place. So, some of these changes could have an impact to them. Again, the more we talk about this when we look at legislation, it brings the overarching question of will preparation and preparation for estate planning.
Again, we felt that the Seniors’ Society would have been a great opportunity for the department to consult in preparation for this bill and hence my question.
We know that within the confines of this legislation it proposes different actions between two different types of estates, and these estates are put in values. One value, estates under $35,000 where there is no will, and estates under $75,000 where there is no will.
How are these two sections, as amended in the act, how are they going to work together and is it going to be difficult to establish evaluation of estates given very small thresholds here between $75,000 and $35,000?
Thank you, Madam Chair. When committee was first brought forward this bill, committee did write, at that time, to the Government House Leader to indicate in terms of the type of information and consultation that went on behind the scenes in preparation for this. The committee was led to believe that there was very little consultation with the Law Society or the Supreme Court of Canada or the Seniors’ Society. Since then, I know there has been some communication back and forth, but maybe the Minister can give us an update to make sure those three entities have had some input and we have a clear conscience that we have the blessing of, again, the Law Society, the Supreme Court and the Seniors’ Society. Thank you.
Thank you, Madam Chair. I’d like to welcome the Minister here today, and the witnesses. Just some points of clarification here so I can understand fully about the ramifications of the changes that we have before us on estate administration.
In the Minister’s opening comments, he claims that these will replace current probate rules and then there’s much reference to the new probate rules that are in the bill. It’s an issue of cost.
Is there going to be a huge cost to the court system to administer these new rules in terms of finding judgment, or person power, investigative powers, use of people and lawyers’ times to rectify estates that have no wills? Thank you.
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