Last in the Legislative Assembly September 1995, as MLA for Iqaluit

Won his last election, in 1991, with 60% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Question 579-12(7): Lqaluit Airport Emergency Response Services June 12th, 1995

I appreciate the Minister's intentions but I. guess what I would like to ask is, have the necessary funds been negotiated and built into the budget, sufficient to allow the present level of emergency response services at the lqaluit Airport to continue without reductions? Thank you.

Question 579-12(7): Lqaluit Airport Emergency Response Services June 12th, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Transportation, and I'm pleased to hear his very upbeat announcement today about the completion of the agreement with the federal government for the transfer of Arctic A airports, specifically that current levels of service will be maintained. The Minister knows that I have been concerned about the vital emergency response services at the lqaluit Airport and, for that matter, other airports in the territories.

With reference to the lqaluit Airport, I would like to ask the Minister, Mr. Speaker, does this agreement and his announcement today mean that the emergency response services now in place at the lqaluit Airport will be maintained and funded at the same level under the agreement that has been negotiated? Thank you.

Bill 33: An Act To Amend The Legislative Assembly And Executive Council Act, No. 3 June 9th, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the chance to give my views on this. I, too, have spoken on this matter as it has been considered in previous Assemblies and I'm going to remain consistent. I've had the difficult job of being Government Leader and I would like to think that I'm adding that experience to my consideration of this bill.

I want to say that I strongly support the bill. I think if we want to have a strong Premier, a Premier who is a leader, and if we are going to continue to demand accountability of the Premier for the actions and decisions of Cabinet and from Ministers and departments of the government, we must find ways to strengthen the accountability of Ministers to the Premier. We must find a way to ensure that Cabinet Ministers are loyal to the Premier.

Mr. Speaker, it's a tough job and I recall seeing a wonderful cartoon during the life of the 10th Assembly that appeared in News/North. They used to have good cartoonists, then. It showed the Government Leader as a chuck wagon driver. Unfortunately, although the Government Leader had the reins, had a whip and was seated in the driver's seat of the chuck wagon, the horses -- and there were seven horses, each with the name of a Cabinet Minister of the day on their saddles -- were all galloping at full tilt, each one in a different direction.

Mr. Speaker, I think that -- and that was, of course, an extreme illustration -- the problem that we are trying to guard against with this bill is simply that a Minister who is challenged by the Premier for not following government policy, for not being loyal to a Cabinet decision, for undermining a colleague, may say to the Premier and can say to the Premier under the present system: "Well, you are challenging me but I don't have to listen to you; I was put in this job by MLAs and I know who they are, and if you are going to challenge me then I am going to take it to the people who put me here, and your job, Madam Premier, your job, Mr. Premier, is going to be on the line, because I don't owe my job to you. I owe it to the people who supported me in the Caucus." That is the danger, Mr. Speaker, and the weakness in our system.

Now, I would like to say, and I think I agree with the honourable Member for Thebacha, I have grave reservations about the party system and it being applied in the Northwest Territories. I think we already have, with our huge geography, our many languages and cultures, our many geopolitical interests within the Northwest territories, more than enough divisions and reasons for not working together in the territories. I feel that party politics would add to an already complicated political mix in our consensus system. So I don't believe that party politics would help.

I don't agree, however, Mr. Speaker, with the Member when she says, this will take us on the road to party politics. In fact, I agree with Mr. Ballantyne that by putting this extra measure of accountability into the office of the Premier, we will be avoiding that step to party politics. Party politics will guarantee loyalty and discipline of Ministers, and if we don't put this measure in which I think will guarantee that Minister will be loyal to the Premier, then the next alternative is going to be that we will have to create a party system and the party whip will make sure that there's loyalty.

So I see this as a safeguard against party politics rather than taking us inexorably towards party politics, Mr. Speaker. In fact, I want to say that, although I personally think there is a lot of merit in the idea of going further and electing the Premier at large, that procedure certainly will not flow from this bill and should not be confused with this bill. That is another issue and another step, and that might take us perilously close to party politics. This measure need not do so.

Basically, what we are proposing with this bill is something we have considered in Caucus seriously the last two times we have selected a Premier, and that is, we've considered having the Premier select the Cabinet rather than having Members of Caucus select the Cabinet. I know Members like to sometimes have their voice, but I would agree with Mr. Ballantyne: ordinary Members have an awful lot of power in this Assembly, mainly because, Mr. Speaker, there are 15 of us and eight Cabinet Ministers. So, at any time, the ordinary Members can choose to remove a Minister; indeed, the whole Cabinet. They have a lot of power and a lot of ability to demand accountability without insisting that they vote on secret ballot to select Cabinet Ministers.

There is one thing that I would like to point out, Mr. Speaker, and I intend no criticism whatsoever of the current Cabinet, but I do believe that having the Premier select Ministers could ensure a better balance geographically, in terms of gender and those things that are important in a government.

Right now, with Cabinet Ministers being elected by secret ballot, there is nobody really there to ensure that the result is balanced. So, for example, and again I don't intend to criticize the current Cabinet Ministers who are all discharging their responsibilities across the territories, but right now, we have a Cabinet that has three Ministers from one region of the Northwest Territories out of eight, and the largest region in the Northwest Territories doesn't happen to have any representation on Cabinet.

So, Mr. Speaker, I cite this not because it was anyone's strategy or plot but because when you have the present selection of Ministers occurring by secret ballot, it's a bit of a lottery. No one really knows what the outcome is going to be. So one advantage of having the Premier select Cabinet Ministers is that there is, I think, more likelihood that there would be a better balance, geographically and otherwise, within the Cabinet.

So, Mr. Speaker, for those reasons, I am going to vote for team politics. I think that's what we are voting on here, to ensure that there's a team and that the Premier selects that team and that team has loyalty to the Premier. I think that what we are voting for here today; team politics, not party politics. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Item 13: Tabling Of Documents June 9th, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Without Mr. Kakfwi being here, I have decided not to proceed with my motion today. I understand that it will die on the order paper, but I may have the opportunity to reintroduce it. Thank you.

Item 13: Tabling Of Documents June 9th, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to table Tabled Document 116-12(7), an article from yesterday's Globe and Mail entitled, "Rock Ignoring Gun Control Figures, Critics Say, difficult to Find Relation Between Firearms Control and Homicide Rates, Studies Show." Thank you.

Written Question 30-12(7): Purchase Of Services From Northern Municipal Corporations June 9th, 1995

If I may, Mr. Speaker, another separate question is to the Minister of Public Works and Services.

Would the Minister responsible for the Department of Public Works and Services confirm that: Occasionally, when certain services or materials are not available in the private sector, contractors must purchase materials or supplies, services, or rent equipment from municipalities in the Northwest Territories.

Why do these purchases and rentals from northern municipal corporations not qualify as northern purchases under the business incentive policy?

Since our municipalities employ local people and obviously contribute to the local economy, will the Minister work with his colleague, the Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs, whether there is an appropriate method allowing such purchases to become qualified under the business incentive policy.

Thank you.

Written Question 29-12(7): Proposal Call For Orthodontic Services June 9th, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have two written questions. The first one is to the Minister of Health and Social Services.

Would the Minister for the Department of Health and Social Services please advise the House of the following:

What is the status of the proposal call to provide orthodontic services in the Baffin region?

Will it be possible to utilize the facilities of the existing private dental clinic in Iqaluit rather than going to the expense of constructing or renovating duplicate facilities to examine orthodontic patients in the regional hospital?

Question 570-12(7): Bip Status Of Northern Municipalities June 9th, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs. Ordinarily, Mr. Speaker, I like to give notice of questions to Ministers, but today I would like to ask the Minister -- I know he is now familiar with his portfolio, having occupied it for some time and having been very diligent -- if he knows if northern municipalities, from whom contractors purchase or rent services or purchase materials qualify as northern purchasers under the business incentive policy? Thank you.

Question 558-12(7): Financial Assistance For Liberal Fund-raising Dinner June 9th, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Speaking of limited fiscal resources, I would like to ask the Minister, just out of curiosity, what task and activity within the department would be employed to fund such important lobbying activities at political party functions? Thank you.

Question 558-12(7): Financial Assistance For Liberal Fund-raising Dinner June 9th, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am very impressed with the Minister's generosity. But I don't think they'll get a trip out of that one because I think the Prime Minister is coming to Iqaluit. I understand that there's going to be an important fund-raiser in Ottawa later this year which will feature the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, the Honourable Jean Charest. I would like to ask the Minister if he would be prepared to fund two prominent members of the Conservative Party -- there are two of them in Iqaluit that I know of -- to take a trip to this fund-raising dinner in Ottawa.