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Crucial Fact

Last in the Legislative Assembly October 2011, as MLA for Mackenzie Delta

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 13% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery February 21st, 1996

I would like to recognize Mr. Gary Bohnet, president of the Metis Nation and the vice-president, Mr. Mike Paulette.

---Applause

Importance Of Self-government Negotiations February 21st, 1996

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. With regard to community wellness and income support, these are all initiatives that are presently being negotiated at the table between the aboriginal groups and the federal government. So the question is, does the government seriously feel these issues will be looked at through self-government negotiations or will these transfers empower the communities to take over these programs through the transfers.

Looking at the possibility of restructuring government with regard to empowering communities and transferring more initiatives to the regional governments, will that pose a problem in these negotiations? Later on, I will also be asking the Premier questions with regard to his sessional statement. Thank you.

Importance Of Self-government Negotiations February 21st, 1996

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As we are aware, in the last few years with regard to aboriginal communities,

self-government has been high on their agenda. We have had the opportunity to start negotiations in settlement areas, particularly in the area that I represent with the Gwich'in and Irruvialuit negotiation process.

In the last few weeks, there have been statements made regarding the Premier's statement, as well as on events happening in this House. It is not clear how those changes will affect the aboriginal negotiations for self-government. In the past, negotiations between the Government of the Northwest Territories and the aboriginal communities have been strained with regard to the relationship between this government and the federal government. The majority of aboriginal communities are represented by band councils, as well as aboriginal groups such as the Gwich'in Tribal Council and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation.

The current status as to the process with this new Assembly has been changed with the new Premier, Cabinet and Members of this House. There is now dialogue between the aboriginal groups and the regional summit that has been established for the aboriginal forum. In the Premier's statement, there were no comments made about self- government and the importance of it in the North. There has been restructuring of the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio. Does that mean the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs will no longer be the key person in those discussions?

The Government of the Northwest Territories has also talked about community transfers and community empowerment. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to continue my statement.

Question 70-13(2): Purchase Of Hap Houses By Housing Corporation February 20th, 1996

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to have the Minister make an attempt to have something come back to this House with regard to the possibility of a review of this process, the policy that you guys are following. You're saying this thing has been in effect for a number of years, and I believe it should be reviewed with the financial restraints that we're under and also the need for housing by other clients. We have a large number of individuals in a lot of communities where there are long waiting lists. In some cases, there are 70 people waiting to get a house, and I believe this is not fair to the other clients in the Northwest Territories. Thank you.

Question 70-13(2): Purchase Of Hap Houses By Housing Corporation February 20th, 1996

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. With regard to a HAP unit, I believe there's a residential time period in which you have to live within the community for so many years in order to acquire these things. You stated that the individuals have moved into the community, got a house, and then they had to leave. I wonder if that element could also be look at. If that's the case of people moving in, getting a HAP unit, selling it and leave, I think there's a time frame that they have to fall within.

Question 70-13(2): Purchase Of Hap Houses By Housing Corporation February 20th, 1996

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minister of the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation, Mr. Ng. In my opening statement, I mentioned the Supplementary Appropriation, No. 2. Special warrants were given for $414,500 for a purchase of individuals' houses in Tuktoyaktuk of $166,400; in Arctic Bay, Broughton Island and Norman Wells for $248,000. My question is with regard to the practice of this government, in the case of Tuktoyaktuk, apparently the unit that was purchased by the government which was a HAP unit which was given to the individual from the Housing Corporation of the Northwest Territories at a cost of whatever. With the intention of purchasing it back for $166,000, basically you could have built yourself two houses. I think at that cost, for the shortage of housing, I would like to know how long this practice has been going on and how many other units which were HAP units are being purchased back by the Government of the Northwest Territories.

Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery February 20th, 1996

I would like to recognize a pool shark in the gallery, Mr. Pete Liske.

---Applause

Purchase Of Hap Houses By Housing Corporation February 20th, 1996

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to note that yesterday, going through the Supplementary Appropriation, No. 2, I was amazed at my colleague from Tuktoyaktuk when he stated that the Housing Corporation are presently still in the process of purchasing units that have been given to individuals as HAP units and buying them back at possibly twice as much as what it cost to build. If that practise is being continued, this government should seriously look at it. In this time of restraint, we are short of a lot of houses in the Northwest Territories.

The previous government announced that they were in the process of selling off government units to employees and getting out of the housing market. I find it awful that this practice is continuing. With the need of housing for individuals and the cutback with regard to the funding for housing from the federal government, we should seriously look at individuals who receive HAP units as a house which is given to them, versus the existing program of access where a person has to qualify and pay into that program. This should be looked at, especially if this government is purchasing units that have been given by this government by individuals and then buying them back. That practice doesn't make sense. I will be asking the Minister question on this later on. Thank you.

Bill 1: Supplementary Appropriation Act, No. 2, 1995-96 February 19th, 1996

Thank you, Madam Chair. I would like to congratulate this government for having the initiative to establish such a program with regard to this and with regard to the situation we are in. If we earl double the money we are investing, it is getting double the bang for your buck. For investing $18 million in the economy, we are getting $36 million out of it. I think that is a good investment.

For people to realize, especially from the aboriginal communities, the battles we have fought at the negotiating table to establish something like this because it is being established through the James Bay agreement, now through the Inuit agreement and the western aboriginal groups, there are certain tax initiatives in the land claim agreements which address this. I find it personally offensive that it seems like it is always earmarked when anything is associated with an aboriginal initiative such as this to be picked at like we are a welfare state. Anything they do to try to get ahead seems to be picked on by groups that seem to have it all.

It is the same thing with the $900,000 of buffalo burgers. More power to the community. Thank you.

---Applause

Bill 1: Supplementary Appropriation Act, No. 2, 1995-96 February 19th, 1996

Thank you, Madam Chair. In reviewing Supplementary Appropriation Act, No. 2, 1995-96, the Standing Committee on Resource Management and Development noted a number of concerns. The most significant was the apparent misuse of special warrants and a previous lack of planning on behalf of the department. Special warrants allow the government to make emergency expenditures without the approval of the Legislative Assembly. Committee Members were concerned and noted that most, if not all, the special warrant items brought forward were not of a particularly urgent nature.

The committee noted three special warrant items totalling $455,000 was spent in the Department of Renewable Resources. The committee was disappointed that the department could not justify why these expenditures, under the western NWT harvesters' assistance program, required the urgency of a special warrant. Committee Members were in strong support of this program, but disagreed with the way in which it was currently funded.

Committee Members were also concerned with a $500,000 special warrant issued to the Department of Economic Development and Tourism for the continued development of the Mortgage Investment Corporation. Again, no justification was presented as to why a special warrant was used to fund this expenditure.

Committee Members viewed these types of items as a misuse of special warrants. The committee, therefore, recommends that the government not approve future special warrants unless a true emergency situation exists and substantiation can be brought forward to the committee. Members would like to remind the government that the current fiscal situation does not leave room for supplemental appropriations and that, in the future, such additional funds will not be readily approved by the committee.

The committee recognizes that planning, at the best of times, is a difficult exercise. Nevertheless, Members expressed their concern that this and future supplemental appropriations not be used in an attempt to conceal poor budget planning practices. Tighter controls will be required in this area and will force departments to more accurately plan for expenditures.

And now, Madam Chair, I would like to ask the chairman of the Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Mr. Ed Picco, to continue.

Standing Committee On Infrastructure Comments