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Elsewhere

Crucial Fact

  • 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

Committee Motion 141-17(5): Concurrence Of Tabled Document 325-17(5): Supplementary Estimates (Infrastructure Expenditures), No. 3, 2015-2016, Carried October 5th, 2015

I appreciate the offer of the Minister, but the Minister clearly is aware. the sands of the hour glass are dissipating quite quickly. What he’s asking for in terms of number of days left is not feasible, it’s not going to happen in time. This is going to fall on deaf ears once again. It will be picked up by the 18th Assembly, hopefully, and

through some stewardship that we are going to become better people at doing this job.

This is not the responsibility of a Member. This is not the responsibility of a committee to ask the government to provide information. It should be provided willingly. This information should be provided in an accounting methodology framework which is subject to the right type of scrutiny for the amount that’s being asked on behalf of us to approve.

Again I will turn it back to the Minister: Will he commit his department before the 18th Assembly to

provide a complete listing of accounting breakdown for money spent, not only for this past calendar year but go back to last year’s $55 million, and provide some level of accounting other than three or four large numbers to make up that which is really, at this stage, close to $80 million of taxpayers’ money spent on fire suppression? Yet, I can tell you on one hand, Madam Chair, how many numbers I got to approve that spending.

Will the Minister commit to provide Members of this House and also commit that there is a transition piece for the 18th Legislative Assembly so this

question does not need to be asked by future Members of the 18th Assembly?

Committee Motion 141-17(5): Concurrence Of Tabled Document 325-17(5): Supplementary Estimates (Infrastructure Expenditures), No. 3, 2015-2016, Carried October 5th, 2015

Thank you, Madam Chair. Again, I’d like to welcome the department here today. I guess, first and foremost, I want to extend my congratulations to the fire suppression teams that work with us, that work alongside us through our MARS agreements for doing an outstanding job this fire season. In the wake of what we’re continuously hearing as some of the heaviest drought years that this t

erritory has seen for many years, decades, I’m

very pleased that there was no loss of life and that there was very little loss in terms of buildings and dwellings.

The reason why I’m leading into that is I want to make it perfectly clear that any comments we have with respect to any money spent in this area isn’t a reflection of the people working for us or working under us. That is distant to the question at hand. The question before us is the amount of money spent in order to provide these services to protect the public and the Northwest Territories as a whole.

We know that special warrants fall under a certain category in terms of being spent, and with it should come the explanation in due course or to follow with respect to how those monies were spent. Point in question, last year when we spent well over $55 million in fire suppression as a special warrant, and we waited, as a committee and as Members, very diligently to find out what exactly was the breakdown of that over $55 million. We all waited very patiently for five or six months, only to see a fire suppression support that really talked at a very high level in terms of a bureaucratic level for policy change and performance change and the fact that we needed maybe better equipment and more sophistication to deal with the science of fire. But that report only broke down three significant numbers to literally entail the spending of an amount far greater than we would provide detail for other appropriations that this committee has reviewed.

So, many of us, including myself, were very disheartened that very little emphasis was given on writing backup as to what we actually spent our mo

ney on. It was taken by default. It was a “trust

us, don’t worry.” It’s a $55 million trust us program. We can’t continue to go along this same course of action as Members of this House. We have a responsibility and a due diligence to protect the

public purse and it provides a level of transparency and accountability that every one of us here has taken oath to four years ago.

That being said, I’m still a bit perplexed that we have a warrant in front of us for a number of dollars with respect to forest management and fire suppression yet very little information with respect to where that money was spent, not how it was spent or any type of breakdown.

I know there was some dialogue going on behind the scenes with the department and myself, as a Member. We had some discussions in the backroom P and P, Priorities and Planning, with respect to how can we better do this. The onus was put on the Members of that committee to come up with a list of areas of opportunity. I find that to be a bit problematic that I, as a Member, or even a committee is expected to come up with the parameters of how the money is spent. This is something that should be provided to us by the purveyors and stewards of the people’s spending. So I will throw this back into the department here today in terms of how can they provide, and in what way can they provide, a better and more fulsome approach to breaking down these numbers and providing more of a public discourse in how the money was spent and have a certain standard we can use from year to year so we can completely understand how efficient or inefficient, as it may be, in terms of we are spending hard-earned tax dollars to fight the fires of the Northwest Territories.

Again, to the Minister and to the department: Is there a list of measurables, in terms of accounting measurable, that we can use to clearly articulate the volume of money that we spend? Thank you.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters October 5th, 2015

Does the landlord receive an accounting of the money being spent in terms of, again, back to the proof of performance? Do we supply receipts as to contractor payments or of that nature? By which way does the contractor provide that information either through us, who is possibly doing our work for us, back to the landlord to make sure that we actually are following through to the T and I that we have in relationship to this agreement.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters October 5th, 2015

Were there any caveats to that $2.5 million in total in terms of performance, if we weren’t able to perform our duties to use that money wisely or efficiently or effectively to the betterment of the YK Centre improvement? Were there any caveats that that money would go back to the landlord?

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters October 5th, 2015

Thank you, Madam Chair. I appreciate the answer. It was more the accounting aspect of the question. I guess the real question is: By what mechanism do we have to guarantee that those monies that we have are given to us, $2.5 million in total, will be spent at the YK Centre building itself and not be used for any other project or projects within our Public Works and Services? Again, by what way are we able to guarantee that this money is being spent where the money was given to?

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters October 5th, 2015

Because I may not be here to see the completion of this project, by what proof or performance guaranteed where 18th Assembly

Regular Members are able to follow this spending and making sure that indeed the government is compliant with all the terms and conditions to the overall $2.5 million given to us? Thank you.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters October 5th, 2015

Thank you, Madam Chair. When is the anticipated date of completion for these renovations pursuant to the $1.5 million we have before us today? Thank you.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters October 5th, 2015

So, with the $1.5 million that we have before us right now, what is the intention of this money to be spent on during this fiscal year? Thank you.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters October 5th, 2015

Now the story is starting to be a little bit clearer. So we’ve got $1 million that’s destined to be spent next year, we’re trying to spend

$1.5

million

this

year

for

tenant

improvements. This is money that we’ve had in our public coffers since May of 2014. Is this money accruing any type of interest? Where is it parked exactly? Thank you.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters October 5th, 2015

So now we’ve got $1 million that

won’t be spent until next year and we’re looking at an appropriation for the remaining $1.5 million to be spent in that same year. Is that the understanding? Thank you.