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 190-16(6): Devolution Agreement August 24th, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’d like to reverse the statement made by the Premier. That’s exactly how the Dene people are feeling today. They are feeling they’re sitting outside the room and they’re waiting to be invited in, and technically they don’t have to be. I think that is the problem with this process and I think the Premier nailed it right on the head. How we felt when we’re basically sitting on the sidelines of the federation of the governments across Canada is how the Dene people feel today because of this Devolution Agreement.

I’d like to ask the Premier, prior to signing off the agreement there was an attempt made for a protocol agreement to try to work out these arrangements through a workable situation moving forward, and also those sections of the land claim agreements you noted, they have to be implemented by way of whatever legislation we come forward with. I’d like to ask the Premier exactly what are we doing as government to find a way to get those groups back into the tent, to the table, and allow them to raise issues and concerns that are going to affect them through resource development into the future?

Question 190-16(6): Devolution Agreement August 24th, 2011

The only group in the Northwest Territories that really have real ownership of land in the Northwest Territories is the Dene people. They have been here for countless generations. They have Treaty 8 and Treaty 11. They have a fundamental right to the land in the Northwest Territories, regardless if it’s lands through treaties or lands through modern land claims. They have the right to those lands that you’re talking about. If you’re imposing legislative decisions on those groups on their land without them at the table, to me that’s a fundamental flaw of where you’re going as a government.

I’d like to ask the Minister how you can state that you are willing to continue to race full speed ahead

and not include those groups that have a fundamental right to lands in the Northwest Territories and have a proven track record to those lands, regardless through the Paulette court case or the land claim agreements.

Question 190-16(6): Devolution Agreement August 24th, 2011

I believe the concern that the Dene have is the way the approach has been taking place, in which I quoted the comment made by the Premier in the Globe and Mail where he stated that he worries he may have been too heavy-handed in ramming it through. I believe you were heavy-handed and you continue to be heavy-handed by not trying to find a workable solution to get these parties involved in the process, but more importantly, how they’re going to be affected through these negotiations and not being party to those talks. I’d like to ask the Premier what you meant that you have been too heavy-handed by ramming it through.

Question 190-16(6): Devolution Agreement August 24th, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In regard to the statement made by the Premier on devolution, I asked a few questions regarding the Dene leadership, regardless it’s the Gwich’in, Sahtu, Tlicho, Akaitcho, or Dehcho, which make up a large part of the Northwest Territories land mass which encompasses some of the riches like oil and gas and minerals. The devolution process, the whole reason it got to where it was is because of

the Dene/Metis claim which was signed in 1988 in what is now Behchoko and was back then Rae-Edzo, in which they signed it with the idea that the Northern Accord was part and parcel of the Dene/Metis land claim because the Dene/Metis could not negotiate participation agreements like they negotiated the Inuvialuit Agreement and the agreement in Nunavut. That’s why they demanded that “shall consult” and “shall include” the Dene/Metis in the Northern Accord process was fundamental to the Dene/Metis Agreement back then and it is today.

The Gwich’in have similar wording, and the Sahtu have similar wording, and the Tlicho have the same wording. It says the Government of the Northwest Territories shall involve the Gwich’in in development and implementation of the Northern Accord for oil and gas development in the Northwest Territories and which negotiations between the enabling agreement dated September 5, 1988, between Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories.

I’d like to ask the Premier, noting from your statement, you make reference that you’re inviting the participants back to the table. Like I noted, the Dene/Metis have the right to be at the table, especially the Dene groups that basically were part and parcel to the land claims, but more importantly, to the rights they have. I’d like to ask the Minister why there is such an inconsistency between your statement and what’s in the land claim agreements.

Devolution Agreement August 24th, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Again, after hearing the Minister’s statement on devolution, I have to sort of cringe, knowing that the Dene aren’t part of the process. They make up almost 45 percent of the NWT population consisting of five regions in the Northwest Territories. They’re the region most impacted by resource development in the Northwest Territories.

I believe the Dene/Metis claim clearly stipulated that they shall be involved in the process. They didn’t have to ask to be invited, as has been suggested in the Premier’s comments. They have the right to be at these tables. Yet I quote in regard to a Globe and Mail article which states that Mr. Roland now worries that he may have been heavy-handed in ramming it through. Well, you definitely were heavy-handed and it’s definitely something that shows here today, that the Dene people are again being trampled on by a government that has no say on Dene lands without their consent and involvement.

I know we heard from a lot of Dene leaders when the Devolution Agreement was being signed, directed at a lot of the Aboriginal MLAs to resign and step down. For myself as an MLA being here for 16 years, that is one of my reasons for leaving. I think it’s important to realize that this government’s approach to Aboriginal people, especially the Dene people up and down the Mackenzie Valley, is totally unacceptable on how we deal with our First Nations people in the Northwest Territories. More importantly, those people who have constitutional rights, whether it’s under Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution or treaties under Treaty 8 and Treaty 11 and modern-day treaties.

I, for one, take offence from the comments in the Minister’s statement that the members are being invited back to the table. To be invited to a party

means you basically send out an invitation and say come to the party. The Dene do not have to be invited to the party. They have the right to be there.

I will question the Premier on this later.

Report of Committee of the Whole August 23rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, your committee has been considering Committee Report 6-16(6), Report on Review of Bill 10, Northwest Territories Heritage Fund Act; Bill 10, NWT Heritage Fund Act; Bill 22, An Act to Amend the Territorial Court Act; and Bill 23, Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act, and would like to report progress with four motions being adopted, and that Committee Report 6-16(6) is concluded, and that Bills 22 and 23 are ready for third reading, and that Bill 10 is ready for third reading as amended. Mr. Speaker, I move that the report of Committee of the Whole be concurred with.

Committee Motion 27-16(6): 17th Legislative Assembly Process Convention Referral Of Limited Category Of Regulations To Standing Committee, Carried August 23rd, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Again I think we’ve got the cart before the horse on this one, especially with the comments from the Minister with the recent conclusion of the Devolution Agreement-in-Principle. It’s the first step but I don’t think we’re even close to concluding the devolution agreement without all the parties at the table. I think, for myself, that is a total miscarriage of justice in regard to how Aboriginal people are being treated especially up and down the valley when it comes to devolution. Now we’re here in the House talking about a Heritage Fund to put all this cash, supposedly, that’s going to flow to the Government of the Northwest Territories and spend it every which way it feels fit.

I have to agree with my colleagues from the smaller communities that we have some varying demands on issues that people just take for granted such as the delivery of programs, regardless if it’s health care, education, infrastructure, capacity challenges, regardless if it’s human resource capacity, or even

the simple means to have the financial ability to build infrastructure in a lot of our communities.

I think it’s this type of legislation that makes people wonder exactly what is the priority of this government, knowing that we have more demands than resources but we are considering having a piggybank that we can put money away for a rainy day, but yet in most cases we don’t have money for mental health and addiction workers in all our communities, we don’t have police in 10 communities, we don’t have nursing services in 10 communities. I think, as government, before we start having these elaborate dream of exactly all this cash falling from the sky, that we should solve today’s problems and make sure that we have the means to take care of ourselves today and realize that the only way you’re going to move ahead is to have a healthy, vibrant Northwest Territories which includes 33 communities.

Again, I also think that I have to note that we are getting ripped off from the mining companies and the oil and gas companies in regard to our royalty systems, our way of basically allowing for diamonds to leave the Northwest Territories with a simple payroll tax, which is the only revenue that we have flowing from that industry, but yet in other parts of the world they basically have mineral taxes so that we retain a portion of the resources in the North or in the jurisdiction it comes from, in some cases up to 35 percent taxes on those products that leave the country, regardless if it’s South Africa or looking at other countries where the same types of businesses are taken care of.

I’d just like to ask the Minister exactly have we considered those other types of taxes, regardless if it’s by way of mineral leases, rentals, royalties, like a mineral tax, a sales tax of some sort so when the diamond or precious metals leave the Northwest Territories there’s going to be a tax attached to it so we retain our tax and it can go wherever it wants in the world, but at least that tax will be paid before it leaves the Northwest Territories. That was one of the options that had been thrown around, and I’d just like to know how are we going to be able to collect enough resources and revenues to make this idea work, and more importantly, have the revenue flowing to ensure that we have enough revenues to make this thing do what everybody is hoping it will do.

I have to agree the Alaska model is great. People don’t pay taxes in Alaska, but they definitely pay their share of royalties and basically mineral taxes that flow in that jurisdiction. I think that it’s that type of an idea that’s out there, but, again, we have to be conscious that we have to have the resources and we can’t simply consider taking money out of existing programs and services and having the means to do that.

With that, I’d like to ask the Minister exactly what are we going to do to ensure that wherever those resources come from and wherever the impact’s taking place, can you guarantee those communities and those regions that are going to be impacted by these developments will retain a portion of those royalties in those regions where those resources are being exploited. Thank you.

Tabled Document 69-16(6): Aboriginal Sport Circle – Proposal To Enhance The Promotion And Delivery Of Sport And Recreation Activities To The Aboriginal Population August 23rd, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to table a document entitled Proposal to Enhance the Promotion and Delivery of Sport and Recreation Activities to the Aboriginal Population in the Northwest Territories.

Question 178-16(6): Proposed Amendments To The Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act August 23rd, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As I noted earlier in my comments, the government is suggesting looking at three additional issues for consideration. Can the Minister elaborate on those three particular areas for consideration for changes in the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act?

Question 178-16(6): Proposed Amendments To The Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act August 23rd, 2011

Another area I think has to be clarified is the whole area of inspection and enforcement. That’s the part that falls below the waistline when it comes to actually getting the work done. A lot of times the blame goes to the

regulatory boards, which they don’t have that authority. That authority is with Indian and Northern Affairs. I’d again like to ask the Minister, with regard to the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act, that’s another area I feel has to be concluded and fulfilled. I’d like to ask the Minister if he’s had discussions to ensure that component is looked at in regard to the government’s suggested amendments.