Legislative Assembly photo



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

Question 54-13(2): Time Frame For Construction Of New School In Fort Mcpherson February 19th, 1996

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment. As I mentioned earlier in my statement, in the early morning of January 9th, the Chief Julius School in Fort McPherson was destroyed by a fire at a loss of $7 million to $8 million. Since the time of the blaze, the community of Fort McPherson has rallied amongst themselves in various community buildings, which now double as classrooms and offices --the hamlet office; band council; Gwich'in Tribal Council office; the youth hall; the church; and the nursing station --which house approximately 240 students.

At this time, I would like to ask the Minister what the status is with regard to the building of a new school and what kind of time frames we are looking at.

Equipment Donations For Chief Julius School February 19th, 1996

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rose in the House last week and made a statement with regard to the school in Fort McPherson. In consultation with members of the school, teachers and students, there seems to be a real loss in losing such a facility. Things that a lot of us take for granted with regard to having to cope without a gymnasium, regular classrooms and recreation equipment such as cross country skis, hockey equipment and recreation equipment; especially at this time, students don't have the opportunities that most people take for granted.

At this time, I would like to inform all the Members of the House and people in other northern communities that they can contribute to the school in Fort McPherson through the Beaufort Divisional Board of Education and give any equipment they may have by way of skis, hockey equipment, broomball equipment, et cetera. The only facility we have use of at the present time is the recreation complex which is a hockey arena and a small community hall. So anything that can be donated at this time will be greatly appreciated.

Later I will be asking questions to the Minister with regard to the progress of the new renovations. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 40-13(2): Status Of Mackenzie Delta/arctic Coast Fuel Resupply February 16th, 1996

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minister responsible for NTPC regarding the proposed fuel supply for the Mackenzie Delta/Arctic coast fuel resupply. I would like to know the status on that. Exactly when will the decision be made on that proposal?

Amalgamation Of Renewable Resources And Ed&t February 16th, 1996

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My statement is with regard to the Honourable Donnie Morin's statement on amalgamating the departments of Renewable Resources and Economic Development and Tourism. It's with regard to natural resource development, especially in my region, the Delta, where we have a long, great history of trapping in the Delta except for the downturn of the trapping industry.

In order for us to proceed with that process of amalgamating these departments, we have to take into account the interest groups that are out there. We have land claims groups in the Delta, we have hunters' and trappers' associations. When it comes to commercializing anything, especially what we've seen with regard to commercial harvesting of muskox and caribou and also the history of big game hunting, especially what we've seen in the Mackenzie Mountains, it has to be taken into account that the local hunters and trappers have to be involved with how that amalgamation takes place, also with regard to how the NWT Act will be amended to streamline the commercial harvesting and also allow people to get back to a wage economy.

Also keeping in mind that there are some clear obligations which are under land claims agreements that we have to adhere to with regard to the wildlife sections of the Inuvialuit agreement, the Gwich'in agreement and also the commercial harvesting sectors that are in there when we look at amending any of these acts to allow for this amalgamation to take place. There are also economic factors that we have to consider.

In closing, I would like the Ministers to keep in mind that when these amalgamations do take place that there are interest groups in the communities and in the regions with regard to land claims settlements. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 1-13(2): Sessional Statement February 15th, 1996

Thank you, Madam Chair. With regard to the Premier's statement, I support a large majority of what was said. There are comments in there that I basically feel have to be supported fully by everyone here, especially with regard to the question about not cutting in only one area. I think in the larger centres looking at the smaller communities that have not had the opportunity to manage themselves in the past, they have always been sort of dictated to from the top down. I think it's now time through this process of empowering communities and allowing them more responsibility, to say how those communities operate by ways of block funding and streamlining government. We need to allow the administration of a lot of these programs and services to be done at the community level, not from the top down. I think that's what we're looking at here to save revenues and consider cutting the deficit. But we have to look at it in the context of how we can save, not in the context of what am I going to lose. I think we have to look at it in the context of not winners and losers, but looking at a new way of governing the Northwest Territories.

We've had a system in the North for the last 30 years which was brought from Ottawa and imposed on people in the North who lived up here all their lives. We have been stuck in a situation especially from the smaller communities where you have band councils, settlement councils and hamlet councils. But there seems to have always been the clash between the aboriginal groups; the imposed government structure within those communities. I think this gives us the opportunity now to work collectively in the community formulating one central government system so that everything basically flows from one level; that your administration costs will be down with regard to how they conduct the meetings in the community without have to run through three or four different agencies. You'll be basically dealing with one group.

The same thing with the northern accord and the other issues that relate to aboriginal people. I think you have to look at that in the context that we have always had two levels of government here. We had a government that was in charge of band councils -- basically, Indian Affairs out of Ottawa -- and we had another government which was in charge of municipal affairs and communities. I think we have to look at a way of dealing with problems in the communities which always seem to be handed off from one responsible authority to another, especially if it's a federal issue such as a health issue in which basically the individual is usually stuck in the middle wondering where to go from here. With regard to what was imposed by the Premier in his presentation, I support it fully but I think people have to also realize that we cannot get back into the mould of saying well, if I'm going to lose, I'm not going to support this. I think we have to look at it in the context that this is change and change is basically for the betterment of all people in the North; we can't just look at the larger centres versus the smaller centres but have to look at it in the context of how government is going to be moulded to operate in the North for the betterment of everybody. Thank you.

Question 28-13(2): Streamlining Ui And Social Assistance To Assist In Upgrading February 15th, 1996

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minister of Education with regard to the problem of individuals receiving UI and then they want to better themselves by attending programs through Arctic College. There seems that there is a problem when you try to move ahead to get the skills to go into other areas and get off UI/social assistance. It seems like there is a real barrier there for individuals who want to move ahead. They either get cut off of UI or they are put in the situation where they have to go back to Social Services and go through that system. There is no clear direction that has been spelled out to simplify a lot of these problems that we have a lot of our clients running into. They make an attempt to better their lives by getting educated and moving into a sector in the workforce. Unemployment is high in the smaller communities and usually the UI process takes so long to get to begin with, by the time you are in the system, you are looking at a few months down the road.

I wonder if the department has made an attempt to look at streamlining with the federal government with regard to social assistance, UI and the Department of Education so it isn't so difficult. That way they wouldn't be penalized for making an attempt to proceed to move ahead in life. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 13-13(2): Transporting Deceased Registered Indians From Southern Canada To Home Communities February 14th, 1996

The question I was looking at, Mr. Speaker, is with regard to people who are deceased due to cancer, a disease or what not. I think that was what I was basically relating my question to.

Question 13-13(2): Transporting Deceased Registered Indians From Southern Canada To Home Communities February 14th, 1996

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is with regard to the whole question not of residency, but the question about bands, being a registered Indian based on a band list. If you're registered anywhere in Canada, you have to be associated with a band. I think it may not have been taken into consideration when that program was cut out because we do have a lot of people who are registered, either through land claim agreements or through a band list, as registered Indians to a band in Arctic Red River or Tsiigehtchic or Fort McPherson or Aklavik. I'm saying that I think that should be seriously considered when we make the statement that these people are not residents of the Northwest Territories, but technically they are because they are registered under a band list. I think that has to be seriously looked at.

Question 13-13(2): Transporting Deceased Registered Indians From Southern Canada To Home Communities February 14th, 1996

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minister of Health and Social Services with regard to the matter of members of bands who are registered Indians under the band list may live in southern Canada for educational reasons, health reasons or what not who may have passed on. Basically, the cost of transferring people back to their communities for burials seem to be a real concern to a lot of my members, especially in the Mackenzie Delta. A lot of people have been moved to southern institutions with TB and other things in the past; in which, they may reside there, but the family is originally from places like Arctic Red, Fort McPherson or Aklavik. We would like to know if the Minister can look into revisiting this issue with regard to transferring people's bodies from southern Canada for burial in the North who are registered Indians.

Fire At Fort Mcpherson School February 14th, 1996

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In the early morning hours of January 9th, the Chief Julius School in Fort McPherson was destroyed by fire. The Fort McPherson RCMP and volunteer firefighters were called to the scene immediately but could do little to stop the blaze. Apart from being the community's only school, this building also housed the museum. It had a number of Dene artifacts, some dating back to the 1800s. The total loss has been estimated at between $7 million and $8 million.

Since the time of the blaze, the community of Fort McPherson has rallied amongst themselves. Various community buildings now double as classrooms; such as, the hamlet office, band council, Gwich'in tribal office, the youth hall and the church. The school housed approximately 240 students of which, 220 students are presently attending school in Fort McPherson and 20 of the students are presently attending school in Inuvik.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the communities across the Northwest Territories and southern Canada that have offered their assistance. And I would like to congratulate the residents of Fort McPherson for their ability to mobilize during a time of crisis.

Although the community and the school system have done an excellent job dealing with this crisis, I'm sure the Minster and Members of the House are as eager as I am to see a new facility up and running as soon as possible. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.