Legislative Assembly photo



Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was work.

Last in the Legislative Assembly October 2011, as MLA for Inuvik Boot Lake

Won his last election, in 2007, by acclaimation.

Statements in the House

Committee Motion 23-16(6): Concurrence Of Td 53-16(6), Supplementary Estimates (Infrastructure Expenditures), No. 2, 2011-2012, Carried August 19th, 2011

The funding we’re asking for incorporates all groups being involved. It’s their choice to come to the table. The invite is there to become part of the process we have built into the budget looking at all groups being part of this discussion.

Earlier the question was about a side table reprofiling dollars for a different process. We don’t have dollars identified for a different process. This budget amount has been built on the AIP in preparation for negotiations and getting ready for that, as well as incorporation of contributions that would go to Aboriginal governments for their role as we go forward. The sooner they come to the table and sign up, the sooner they are able to tap into the funds that help them do that work as we progress for this work. This amount does include every region and if they decide to come to the table, it’s there. If they don’t, we’ll have to look at year end how the government used those additional resources if groups did not sign up. That would be up to it. We built this on participation of all the groups in the Northwest Territories and we continue to do that and hope that they will come to the table. The funds will be there for them to be full participants and our invite is there.

Committee Motion 23-16(6): Concurrence Of Td 53-16(6), Supplementary Estimates (Infrastructure Expenditures), No. 2, 2011-2012, Carried August 19th, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The process used incorporated Aboriginal groups across the Northwest Territories, all Aboriginal groups. We have fulfilled our obligations under claims. We have provided funds. They have been at the table. In fact, the agreement-in-principle, as it sits, has the handprint of Aboriginal groups on it, the majority of Aboriginal groups.

Now, Mr. Krutko has pointed out there are two Aboriginal groups that have signed this. One group has a settled claim and one group doesn’t have a settled claim. So there are differences there

between that, but they both saw fit to decide to move forward, because when you look at this agreement compared to anything else across this country, it is by far one of the best agreements and I think will be a landmark process for future discussions of Aboriginal groups across the country.

Aside from that, the door remains open. This funding, the budget that’s been developed here has looked very closely at the Yukon process of what was required and learning from them about their negotiations process, preparations for negotiations. Much of the dollars identified here also come out from the obligations of the AIP itself in preparation for negotiations. The only people being left on the sideline -- and I wish there would be none -- is made by a choice of their own. The door remains open, the invite is there, the dollars are waiting to be flowed and this would add to that as we go forward. The door remains open and we would rather have everybody in the tent working together on this just like we did through the majority of the process in development of the AIP.

This money identified here has been built on our preparation and obligations under the AIP for negotiations looking forward, and as I stated, the future years’ budget is built on that same principle. Thank you.

Committee Motion 23-16(6): Concurrence Of Td 53-16(6), Supplementary Estimates (Infrastructure Expenditures), No. 2, 2011-2012, Carried August 19th, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I guess, for the record, I have to say this for the record -- and Mr. Miltenberger touched on it a bit -- supp one had some dollars identified for participation in preparation of the AIP. The Department of Executive also used internal funds to support the work leading up to the protocol that was discussed by the Member. We worked that right through until late January where we brought all the leadership in and provided meeting space and tried to come to a conclusion on that protocol. Unfortunately, the protocol was another negotiation tool, not a protocol on how we work together. It basically stated that we would not sign an agreement-in-principle on devolution unless we negotiated a government-to-government relationship and revenue sharing structure, which is included in the AIP which is to be negotiated. So, in a sense, it was don’t sign the AIP but sign this protocol which deals with the subject matters that were being discussed in that protocol.

That aside, we agreed and told all the organizations to come with their budgets and the money they’ve expended towards that protocol work and we would look at helping them offset those costs. That, as I said in this Assembly, remains open and we continue to look at that.

Aside from what’s being asked to deal with the negotiation process in preparation for implementation, as well, as stated earlier, over the years the majority of groups, aside from one group that did not take any funds in this and that was the Dehcho. All other regions tapped into over $8 million in preparations and actual AIP development, agreement-in-principle development, the devolution

package. The groups were involved and that helped build and strengthen the agreement-in-principle.

Secondly, the door remains open for the groups to come to the table and be full participants. It’s of their choice and we continue to urge that to happen, and that way they’ll be able to tap into the resources that are available to them. This amount, as I stated earlier, does not have a portion to have a side discussion. That would have to be dealt with through a different process and budget request. Thank you.

Committee Motion 23-16(6): Concurrence Of Td 53-16(6), Supplementary Estimates (Infrastructure Expenditures), No. 2, 2011-2012, Carried August 19th, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The second part of the question is the approach we are using to stay engaged with all the Aboriginal groups throughout the territory. We’ve done a number of things. One, first and foremost, is the door remains open, and the funds we are requesting, these are prorated amounts for the

remainder of this fiscal year. The future year includes an amount that would incorporate a full year’s approach and contributions for Aboriginal groups. That we budgeted to have all Aboriginal groups take part if they decide to sign on to the AIP. That’s the first door and avenue of being at the table to begin and do the negotiations.

We are hopeful that as we continue to have discussions and as the new government comes back, they will continue to keep that door open to groups. I know they’ve had a number of discussions. I’ve seen the discussions that have happened at the assemblies as well as being at the assemblies myself, a number of them throughout the summer. We continue to urge them coming to the table and being participants.

So the budget has been built so they could be at the table. The federal budget, as well, has the resources that are attached to those who decide to sign and join the process. Further to that, we continue to engage all groups through our correspondence and, like the assemblies that I was able to attend, to inform them of all the progress that is happening and the plans for the work and, again, continue to invite them to the table. So those are there. The money I asked for through this process is to deal with the existing process we have in place. There are no funds for additional processes out there. Thank you.

Tabled Document 58-16(6): Forging The Future, Anchored In The Past, Building On Our Present, Youth Conference Report, July 7-8, 2011 August 19th, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wish to table the following document entitled Forging the Future, Anchored in Our Past, Building on Our Present, Youth Conference Report, July 7 to 8, 2011.

Question 166-16(6): Financial Assistance For Town Of Norman Wells In Natural Gas Emergency August 19th, 2011

We have limited opportunity left in the life of our Assembly to make approaches to the federal government. As I stated, this is of national significance and importance when you look at what happened to the natural disasters that did occur in Alberta and the prairie provinces for the flooding, and other disaster areas in Ontario, for example. The idea of dealing with the issues before they become disasters is being discussed and will continue to be discussed. There seems to be some favourable language coming from the federal government.

Specific to our communities, we will have a challenge. Thankfully, as the Member pointed out, the financial health of the community was well and they were able to deal with the initial costs of that. We as the GNWT will continue to have to look at how we deal with those emerging situations that face our communities. Ultimately we know we have to support our communities at one level or another, and our approaches to the federal government are one of those ways and we’ll continue to try to do that as much as possible.

Question 166-16(6): Financial Assistance For Town Of Norman Wells In Natural Gas Emergency August 19th, 2011

I believe that the situation as we find ourselves in Norman Wells also is being felt in another community supplied by natural gas, Inuvik. There the utility provider is looking at their options and approaching the federal government.

We know that throughout the territory we have to come up with a process that works.

This is such a large issue that in fact at the Western Premiers’ Conference that we held here in the Northwest Territories the idea of disasters and disaster mitigation was discussed and then brought to the larger table at the Council of Federation to address this, and we’re hoping that through that work we work with the federal government to look at preparation and dealing with matters before they become an emergency. So there is an avenue there. It is at the larger tables, as I mentioned. Hopefully the 17th Assembly will be able to continue

on with that type of work and looking at disaster mitigation and the efforts of prevention as well.

Question 166-16(6): Financial Assistance For Town Of Norman Wells In Natural Gas Emergency August 19th, 2011

We have -- and I must say the Member has been consistent on that -- raised the issue, invited us to meet with the community leadership. We’ve done that on a couple of occasions. We’ve come up with an approach to

help the community looking at the actual conversion that has to happen as gas supplies run out. I believe the target for residential customers is 2014. We’ve started working on that. We as departments have started conversion of our own assets to ensure that we reduce the demand for natural gas to try to extend that gas season, I guess we can call it.

The ongoing work, and I know the community has recently made a decision to look at our offer of this project management process of conversions. The existing situation that the community found itself in, declared this emergency, again didn’t fit the criteria both for ourselves and the federal government. We’re trying to find a way of addressing that as we go forward, because there’s a number of communities that find themselves in a similar situation. I think the Norman Wells situation can be compared in some degree to what the Northland Trailer Court faces.

The community itself is a utility provider, for example, to Norman Wells, and that’s somewhat different. That is one of the issues that the community faces. I understand the community council is looking at removing itself as a utility provider. That will have to open. We’re hoping that we’ll be able to come up with something. Clearly, it doesn’t fit under the existing policies. Future governments will have to look at that policy and approach the federal government.

Question 166-16(6): Financial Assistance For Town Of Norman Wells In Natural Gas Emergency August 19th, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The issue of Norman Wells, one, the gas supply has seized our attention. In fact, a number of departments -- Municipal and Community Affairs, Public Works and Services, and our Power Corporation -- are working with the community to deal with the issue that we were all notified that the gas supply would be coming to an end in two years.

The additional pressure that mounted in the spring was the issue of the pipeline, and thereby a reduction in natural gas supply. The community has done their work. They approached us, through the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs, to offset their expenditures through our Extraordinary Funding Policy, as they declared a state of emergency. As we looked at the policy as it is, that did not qualify, it did not fit our programming. We have since worked with the community to try to come up with another solution. But ultimately, as Minister Robert C. McLeod has responded to the community, that they had to use their own resources first and then we would have to then look at it overall. So that is the policy in place.

I’m not aware of any additional work going on with that policy at this time. Thank you.

Minister’s Statement 39-16(6): ‘forging The Future’ Youth Conference August 19th, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In July 2009 the Northern Leaders’ Forum was created as a means for all leaders in the NWT to work collectively to advance the interest of our territory and its residents.

We set ourselves a task of developing a common vision and road map for the future of the NWT with input from northern residents, industry, NGOs, and youth. We accomplished what we set out to do, concluding the initiative with the release and tabling of the report in May entitled “Forging the Future - Anchored in our Past, Building on our Present.”

One of the most rewarding experiences throughout this process was the engagement of people from various walks of life, especially our youth. It was inspiring to hear about their hopes and dreams, their commitment to this place we call home, and their willingness to participate as citizens to make things better in all our communities.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to advise that I recently had the pleasure and privilege of hosting, along with Minister Robert C. McLeod, the Forging the Future Youth Conference here in Yellowknife.

In total, 42 youth delegates from all regions and backgrounds came together in Yellowknife on July 7th and 8th . Their task was very specific and

intended to build on progress made so far, which had been captured in the previously tabled Northern Leaders’ Forum report. Guided by the vision statement and the youth wish list contained in that report, youth were asked to develop two priorities in support of the overall vision.

I am proud to say that the attending youth were very focussed and targeted in their efforts. They worked cooperatively and diligently over the course of the two days. They talked openly about their

hopes for our people, our territory and our future, and agreed on two specific recommendations.

Their first recommendation stresses the need for people to be healthy and addiction free, a prerequisite for unlocking a bright future and taking advantage of all the opportunities that are available.

Attending youth were troubled by the high rates of addiction and the perceived lack of treatment facilities in all regions. The recommendation speaks to the need to conduct consultations for regional treatment centres to hear how best to put in place treatment centres with culturally sensitive and multicultural staff. This would lead to the development of unique treatment and recovery support plans for youth, adults, and elders.

Their second recommendation speaks to the importance of youth assigned to school counsellors, and mentors providing support and assistance to students throughout high school. The recommendation is to place a qualified youth counsellor/mentor in every school who would be well versed in cultural traditions as well as modern education and would focus on supporting student/teacher partnerships.

In addition to providing these recommendations, youth delegates also discussed the importance of enhanced youth participation in political discussions and decision-making. Delegates provided insightful and concrete suggestions, including their key proposal for the creation of a territorial youth council that is run by youth for youth communicating regularly with leaders of the government.

Mr. Speaker, in order to realize the vision and goals contained in Forging the Future, we must translate ideals into action. This task rests with each and every one of us - leaders, government workers, business people, community volunteers, parents and youth. We must all be part of the solution.

Mr. Speaker, later today I will be tabling the summary of the Forging the Future Youth Conference which will provide more information about the discussions that took place at the conference, and I would encourage all Members, present and future, to read the report and listen to what youth have said about the Northwest Territories and their expectations of what should

happen in order to reach our full potential as a people and territory. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.