Last in the Legislative Assembly December 1999, as MLA for Tu Nedhe
Won his last election, in 1995, with 68% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. There was a decision made to locate a young offenders facility in Yellowknife, a stand-alone facility. There was a decision made to fix up the old correctional facility in Yellowknife. That decision was driven and sold in this House by a fire marshal's ruling or whatever. That is basically what drove the decision of us spending the money in fixing up that facility. Once that was changed to a new project, it changed everything because now it should be looked at seriously. Is that the right place for it? I do not know. Is it proper to have young offenders attached to adult offenders in the same facility? What am I supposed to do? Trust Kakfwi's word because he went on a little tour down south and looked at a few facilities? I do not think so.
We have a lot of people in the Northwest Territories who would be able to give us some good advice on that. We have a lot of people that work with people in the correctional centres, who work on programs. Maybe there are other ways of doing things. Maybe there are ways of doing it so you have better results in the end. You not only end up with new facilities housing people properly, but maybe there is a way of doing it in such a way that once they are there, they do not come back if you have something different. I do not know. None of us has been given that opportunity to look into that because the process was not followed. Once you are going to build a new facility, then that is what it is, a new facility. It is no longer a renovation. No matter how much you want to slip and slide around this one, Mr. Dent, you are dead wrong. This is new. It is new. It is as simple as that.
What is this motion saying? This motion is saying to consult with the standing committee. What does it hurt? What ramifications has it for the government to go back and consult with the committee? Maybe the decision will be the same. I do not know, but at least you have consulted and have given other people an opportunity to make comments on this. The first time the public in the Northwest Territories heard about this combination of this facility is just recently, since this House opened its doors this week. That was the first time. You have even given the people of Toronto more notice than you have given the people in the Northwest Territories. That is true, because I have looked in the northern newspapers, and I never saw anything. When you look in the Globe and Mail, we made our intention quite clear down there. Is this what this government has come to? You do not have the ability to consult anymore? That is not asking too much. That is being realistic, and that is being reasonable. Have you the answers for everything now? You do not need to consult anymore? Are you the supreme people in the North now? Only your decisions are the right ones and you cannot consult or ask for second opinions? That is what it is starting to sound like to me.
The Justice Minister had an opportunity to consult with people. The Justice Minister of the day had an opportunity. Once the scope of work had changed, he had that opportunity. He chose not to consult with people. He chose not to consult with the Members of the Legislative Assembly. He chose not to consult with the proper standing committee because he went south and saw a couple of facilities, and he is the expert now. I urge Members to vote in favour of this motion so that we can take a second look at this facility before you commit millions and millions of dollars into building a brand new correctional centre for Yellowknife and also to put adults and youth together. It will be interesting what people have to say that work with youth. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The reason I put this
motion on the floor is to help the government. The government has already said through the Premier, through the Minister responsible and through the Minister of Finance, that they did not follow the proper process to move the Yellowknife Correctional Centre renovation to a combined new facility. What this motion does and they have written to us and apologized and I thank them for that, but what this motion does, Mr. Chairman, it enables the government to do the proper consultation through the proper standing committees and MLAs and again come and move ahead so all the concerns that Members have raised about this facility should be addressed. It enables the government to follow their own guidelines, their own processes, that is all it does. This capital project is not an emergency, so all this motion does is it allows the government to follow a process that we all agreed on we would do. Once again, we are trying to help the government to follow the proper process. Thank you.
I move that this committee recommends that the Executive Council take immediate steps to terminate its planning and implementation process for the adjusted design and construction phases for the replacement of the Yellowknife Correctional Facility and the collocated Young Offenders Facility and further that the Executive Council initiate correctional facilities planning in consultation with the appropriate standing committee and Members of the Legislative Assembly.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. There is also, I believe, a difference between the word notifying and the word consultation. I believe there is different meanings to those two things. Even in your own government you have a process of changing capital projects and I know that this government and this 13th Legislative Assembly has already put a motion of censure in the government for not following the proper process. According to your process no new capital projects over $250,000 are to be established until the responsible Minister, that would have been Mr. Kakfwi, has consulted in writing with the affected MLAs and appropriate standing committee. If the standing committee or MLAs do not support the proposed project, the responsible Minister, that is Mr. Kakfwi again, should advise the chairman, yourself, of FMB in writing if he/she intends to proceed with the project. The requirement for consultation will be waived if the new project is necessary due to an emergency. I never ever heard of this project being an emergency, in which case notice will be provided as described in "b" below when a department proposes to delete a capital project of significant concern to a community, the appropriate standing committee and affected MLAs will be advised. Those are the consultation guidelines. That is one part of them. There was never any consultation taking place with the standing committee that is responsible for this as well as MLAs, because it affects all MLAs, not just Yellowknife MLAs. Mr. Chairman, I would like to move a motion.
Thank you. What Minister is responsible to consult on this change with the appropriate committee and MLAs?
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just so we are thinking the same and using the same words, maybe the Minister can help me. Is there any difference between the word renovation and the word new? Is there a difference, just so I understand?
When you change the scope of work of a project, does it go to FMBS? Is that where it goes for a change?
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Who is the Minister
responsible for this project?
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Members do not have recourse or much recourse when it comes to the system we work in. The only thing that Members are allowed to do is recommend and delete from the budgets, if they can carry a motion. Hearing what the Minister said, I think he truly understands what the concern is, and he is taking action. He is going to do something about it. When Mr. Roland spoke just recently, what Mr. Roland said was that they are doing a new housing needs survey this year. This may create an imbalance at this present time of how housing units are allocated, and it may have created an imbalance before. I do not know. The government is moving to rectify it, because Mr. Roland, through the Housing Corporation, is doing a new needs survey, so these houses will be dispatched in those communities and they will be taken into consideration during the needs survey. That is how it is going to happen so I have no problem with it. The other thing the two of you should address is how those two policies should work together, that is it, and you have committed to that so it is straightforward. I thank them.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. There is only so much money in the Housing Corporation's budget to meet the housing need of the community. In community A you have staff houses out on the market that cannot sell. In community B you have staff housing out on the market that cannot sell. In both cases they transfer the staff housing to the Housing Corporation. In community A they renovate that housing with their housing program dollars and sell it to the homeowner who can afford to pay $32 a month plus operations and maintenance. Their public housing need stays the same. The list stays the same. That is what their allocation was based on, a combination of their public housing need and the housing need survey. In community B they allocated to the housing authority, and they keep it for public housing stock. They do not have to spend any of their program money to renovate it or meet a need. It increases the needs that are met. I agree with your Staff Housing Policy. It is a good policy to get rid of them. I agree with how you allocate units. It is fair. It has always been fair.
When you look at them both and you combine them, then all of a sudden it becomes unfair. One is from FMBS and one is from the Housing Corporation, but when you combine the two, you are meeting extra needs in the community on your social housing programs. All of them are social housing programs. Whether it is a public house, EDAP, down payment assistance or whatever program it is, they are there. That has happened. I know it. When our government goes to sell those units, the price is at one price. It is from their appraiser plus ten percent below, and that is the price they pay. When they cannot sell it then, they turn it over to the Housing Corporation, and they can meet the community's need by renovating it to bring it up to standards because it is 20-some years old, so that it is energy efficient and people can afford to run. They use their money that is allocated to that community to meet housing needs, because they have met a housing need by renovating that unit. Then they give it to the client on that program where they go to the bank and get so much and make payments of only what they can afford. That is how it is met, and that is all Housing Corporation money.
You see how the two policies should work hand in hand. They are both good policies, but they should work hand in hand to ensure that no community gets extra social housing needs met where other communities are not given equal access or fair access to that same thing. Do you understand the concern, Mr. Minister?
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