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Last in the Legislative Assembly March 1999, as MLA for Baffin South

Won his last election, in 1995, with 33% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Member's Statement 60-13(7): Acknowledgement Of Support March 25th, 1999

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I too, would like to join this little group hug on the last day of some of our Nunavut colleagues. I hate to disappoint some of you, but Mr. Todd and I are remaining here until Monday when we are replaced. I know it is my intention and it could be Mr. Todd's intention too, to speak more at length on Monday during reply. I did want to say that I have enjoyed, when all is said and done, the time I have spent here. I have learned more than I ever thought I could during this, what is now a very brief time it appears. I would like to thank you, Mr. Speaker, and everyone in this House.

On Monday I will say more appropriate things on all of my colleagues, but at this point I want to, like Mr. Ningark, thank my spouse, Dorothy Zoe, and our three children and in my office, Nicole Camphaug and Kelley Merilees who have worked very, very hard for me. Finally, Mr. Speaker, I want to acknowledge and congratulate Mr. Olayuk Akeshuk, who will be taking over as MLA for the constituency of Baffin South. I wish him the best of luck and offer him my full support and to let him know that I will be there if ever he needs some advice. With that, Mr. Speaker, I thank you and I wish my Nunavut colleagues who are leaving tomorrow morning a safe trip to Nunavut. Thank you.

--Applause

Minister's Statement 25-13(7): Ministers Absent From The House March 25th, 1999

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I wish to advise Members that the Honourable Jim Antoine and the Honourable John Todd will be absent from the House today to attend a meeting with the Honourable Jane Stewart, Minister of DIAND, and the Honourable Paul Martin, Minister of Finance in Ottawa, Ontario. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 21-13(7): Northwest Territories Electoral Boundaries March 25th, 1999

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yesterday, Members of this House passed a motion recommending that the government appeal the recent court decision on electoral boundaries. My Cabinet colleagues and I feel it is only right that we respond to the views expressed here yesterday. Mr. Speaker, when he presented his motion, Mr. Morin stated that it was imperative that this issue be resolved by a political decision, not by a court order. And Cabinet agrees that a political solution is necessary.

It is clear, from the statements in this House and from the various comments that have been made publicly, that no one likes the short time period we have been given by the court to resolve this issue, because we believe it will preclude a political solution.

I think we can all agree that everyone wants more time to deal with this. Mr. Speaker, our opinions differ only when it comes to finding a way to get more time. Some of the Members of this House, and some of the people outside the government, believe an appeal of the court decision is the right way to go.

Mr. Speaker, Cabinet has thought very carefully about this option. We have reviewed legal advice and we have come to the conclusion that the government does not have grounds to appeal the decision. Others may think differently, but that is the advice we have received and we trust in that advice. Therefore, we do not see any point in appealing the case only to be turned down by the Court of Appeal. That would be a waste of precious time and resources. In addition, Mr. Speaker, appealing the ruling puts us in the position of accepting a court order rather than working out a political solution.

That is not to say that other groups involved with this case should not appeal, if they think they have grounds to do so. The Aboriginal Summit, for example, may have a good legal argument that should be heard by the Court of Appeal. If the Summit wishes to take that argument to an appeal court, then the government will support their application to be heard and will assist them with legal costs. The government will do the same for the other intervenors.

Some people may ask why the government does not appeal on behalf of the Aboriginal Summit. Mr. Speaker, part of the Summit's argument to the court was that the territorial government is illegitimate. As the government that represents the interests of all Northwest Territories residents, how could we agree with that?

Mr. Speaker, after careful consideration of all our options, Cabinet concluded that the best course of action was to introduce legislation to amend the electoral boundaries, and then to apply to the court for more time.

We have introduced Bill 15 and it has been referred to committee for consideration. Mr. Speaker, Cabinet has absolutely no desire to ram legislation through this House just to meet a court-ordered deadline. The extension we are requesting would allow Bill 15 to be reviewed in the same way as any other piece of legislation. We think it is only fair that the politicians and the residents of the Northwest Territories be given the normal amount of time to review and comment on this extremely important bill.

Our application for an extension will be heard on Monday morning at approximately 11:00 a.m. in open court. Everyone is welcome to come listen to the case. I would also like to advise this House that, if application on Monday is not successful, we will immediately go to the Court of Appeal to ask it to grant an extension.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, it seems clear that there is a desire for more time to deal with the electoral boundaries issue. There are differences of opinion in how to get more time and the Cabinet respects those different opinions. We are proceeding, based on sound legal advice and serious reflection, in the way we believe is best. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Item 1: Prayer March 25th, 1999

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am very honoured in joining you in recognising our Clerk and our friend, Mr. David Hamilton, who has served us so well for so many years. One thought that did occur to me when you were talking about Mr. Hamilton being our father and mother and grandfather and uncle, et cetera, was that it is not a well-known fact that my father's father was a Scotsman. He was a Hudson Bay trader who now rests peacefully behind the beautiful church in Fort Good Hope, but he was born very near where Mr. Hamilton was born. So we could be cousins.

--Laughter

I have been here for three and a half years as a Member, but before that I worked as one of the clerk's and Members' assistants for a number of years in the old Assembly and I have much to thank Mr. Hamilton for, for his guidance and for his honesty. I also wish to pay tribute to his lovely wife, Kate, who has been a nurse in the north for many, many years, and who has also recently been taking care of my children in the health area where she works, and we are very fond of her also. So with that, Mr. Speaker, I have many stories to tell about our little adventures, but many of them are not suitable for this House. I would like to join you, Mr. Speaker, in thanking Mr. Hamilton as well. Thank you.

--Applause

Bill 7: Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 1999 March 24th, 1999

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move, seconded by the honourable Member for Yellowknife Frame Lake, that Bill 7, Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 1999, be read for the third time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 35-13(7): Administration Of Federal Gun Law March 24th, 1999

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Once again, that will be the type of information that I will be only to happy to provide. Thank you.

Question 35-13(7): Administration Of Federal Gun Law March 24th, 1999

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Again, I do not have that information right in front of me, but I can confirm to the Member that there are specific programs that the federal government does in partnership with the territorial government in the policing program, different training and enforcement programs that are cost-shared and some that we charge back to the federal government. I would think that this would be one area, but once again, I will have to confirm that and provide it to the Member.

Question 35-13(7): Administration Of Federal Gun Law March 24th, 1999

Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would be very pleased to provide the Member and all Members of the House with the latest information on the exact administration procedures occurring in the communities presently. What I can pass on also right now is that the Government of the Northwest Territories has joined as we announced during the last session the Government of Alberta, who was taking the issue to the Supreme Court. We have joined

the Yukon Territory, the provinces of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario in supporting Alberta in opposing certain parts of the gun law as it relates to the division of powers and responsibilities in administering such a law, and that this issue will be going to the Supreme Court in the not too distant future. Unfortunately, on the administrative areas I do not have that information on hand, but I will be more than pleased to fax it to all Members of the House.

Bill 5: Nunavut Power Utilities Statutes Amendment Act March 23rd, 1999

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the honourable Member for Sahtu, that Bill 2, Nunavut Power Utilities Statutes Amendment Act, be read for the third time.

Bill 3: Legal Registries Division Measures Act, 1999 March 23rd, 1999

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the honourable Member for Aivilik, that Bill 3, Legal Registries Division Measures Act, 1999, be read for the third time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.