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Last in the Legislative Assembly May 2005, as MLA for North Slave

Lost his last election, in 2007, with 46% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Item 6: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery March 10th, 2005

Thank you. Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to recognize a former resident of my constituency of Rae Lakes, Ms. Betty Quitte. Thank you.

---Applause

Appointment Of The Mackenzie Valley Land And Water Board Chairperson March 10th, 2005

Thank you, colleagues. Mr. Speaker, what kind of message does this send to the NWT residents, to the Sahtu people, to the Gwich'in people and the Tlicho people, not to mention the groups out there who are still negotiating?

I don't know what to think anymore, Mr. Speaker. With the ratification of the Tlicho agreement and the recent progress on devolution talks, I was feeling very optimistic about our future. Finally, it seems like we are getting somewhere in our struggle to take back control of our lands and resources, and then the federal government comes out with this colonialism action, putting someone who doesn't even live here in charge of a board that is going to make some critical decisions for the Northwest Territories in the next few years; decisions that will affect many generations of northerners, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, Minister Scott will be in the North next week, and I will urge the Premier to tell him how strongly we object to his decision and ask him to rescind the chair's appointment and appoint one of the board's nominees. It is what he should have done in the first place. If the Minister can't or won't fix this, then maybe the Premier needs to go over his head to the Deputy Prime Minister or even to the Prime Minister himself. Mr. Speaker, we can't just stand by and let the federal government drag us back to the 19th century. This colonialism has to end. We need to send a strong message that these are our lands, our resources and our future. We live here and we know what is best for ourselves and for our territory. Mahsi.

---Applause

Appointment Of The Mackenzie Valley Land And Water Board Chairperson March 10th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

Appointment Of The Mackenzie Valley Land And Water Board Chairperson March 10th, 2005

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. (English not provided)

Mr. Speaker, after my previous statements and statements by my colleagues over the past few days, it was with great disappointment that we heard on the 5:30 news last night that the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs has gone ahead and named a British Columbia resident who was not nominated by board members as the new chair of the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board.

Mr. Speaker, the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act says very clearly that the Minister shall appoint the board chairs from among persons nominated by the board members unless the board members failed to nominate someone acceptable to the Minister within a reasonable time. In this case, the board did nominate three people, Mr. Speaker. Is the DIAND Minister going to explain to the board and to the people of the Northwest Territories why, in his opinion, none of these three nominees, all northern residents, were acceptable? Where is the accountability, Mr. Speaker?

Mr. Speaker, this entire Mackenzie Valley Resource Management regime was set up as part of the implementation of the Sahtu and Gwich'in land claim agreements. The federal government just finished ratifying the Tlicho agreement, which will make us part of that regime too. These agreements were signed in good faith by our people with the understanding that the federal government would honour the spirit of its own laws and respect wishes of board members.

Mr. Speaker, the board structure was carefully designed so the interest of aboriginal people, the Government of the Northwest Territories and Canada were all balanced. The fallback provision allowing the Minister to appoint a chair who was not nominated by the board is the exception, not the rule. I don't believe it was ever intended, at least from our side, that this would be used except in extreme cases; for example, if the board was unable to come up with any nominations at all. Yet the Minister has gone ahead and appointed a chair who doesn't even live in the Northwest Territories. Is this the kind of total disregard and the wishes of the board and northerners what we have to look forward to?

What kind of message...

Committee Motion 40-15(3) To Amend Bill 17 To Come Into Force On The Earlier Of The Prorogation Of The First Session Of The 38th Parliament And The Coming Into Force Of The Civil Marriage Act (canada), Defeated March 9th, 2005

Thank you. Madam Chair, I can't see why other Members can't support this type of motion that we're putting forward. It doesn't take away from the intent of the bill. If this motion gets passed, I'm sure the bill will get passed and coming into force is on either of these two dates that are there. So no matter what happens, the bill is going to come, but it will be on the later date. This motion, if passed, also gives comfort to Members on this side of the House that haven't had an opportunity to explain to their constituents as to why this bill is being passed. So an explanation can be given to them. By not doing this, Madam Chair, the current bill will come into force as soon as the Commissioner gives it assent. It doesn't give the opportunity to Members on this side of the House to go back to their communities and explain why they didn't vote against this bill. So I think it's fair. In my view, by supporting this motion, by putting this motion forward it will give more comfort to some of us on this side of the House so that we can have an opportunity to talk to our constituents. On top of that, Madam Chair, maybe the whole issue of the Civil Marriage Act is going to be dealt with before they prorogue the Parliament. So one or the other, no matter what happens, we're just buying a little bit of time and I can't see why the government would go against this type of thing. It's not an urgency and, like I said earlier, I don't understand why this was put as a top priority for government, but, nevertheless, I encourage all the Members to support this motion. Mahsi.

Committee Motion 40-15(3) To Amend Bill 17 To Come Into Force On The Earlier Of The Prorogation Of The First Session Of The 38th Parliament And The Coming Into Force Of The Civil Marriage Act (canada), Defeated March 9th, 2005

Just for clarity for the Members, it gives us an opportunity to...The way it reads now, it will come into force as soon as we give it assent in this House. So what this amendment does is to delay it to a day certain. Day certain meaning either the first session of the 38th Parliament when they prorogue, or when the Civil Marriage Act comes into force. So whatever happens with the Civil Marriage Act, if it dies or gets passed, our legislation will continue to come into force at either of those two times. This is what the motion is saying. It will give more comfort to most of us on this side of the House who feel strongly about the type of things we talked about today. This is a compromise with the government. I hope this amendment will be carried. Thank you.

Committee Motion 40-15(3) To Amend Bill 17 To Come Into Force On The Earlier Of The Prorogation Of The First Session Of The 38th Parliament And The Coming Into Force Of The Civil Marriage Act (canada), Defeated March 9th, 2005

I move that the following be added after section 10 of Bill 17:

Commencement

11. This Act comes into force on the earlier of:

a) the day the First Session of the 38th Parliament of Canada is prorogued; and

b) the day the Civil Marriage Act (Canada) comes into force.

Committee Motion 39-15(3) To Amend Bill 17 To Come Into Force On The Day The Civil Marriage Act (canada) Comes Into Force, Withdrawn March 9th, 2005

Madam Chair, I would like to withdraw that motion and I would like to move another one.

---Withdrawn

Committee Motion 39-15(3) To Amend Bill 17 To Come Into Force On The Day The Civil Marriage Act (canada) Comes Into Force, Withdrawn March 9th, 2005

Madam Chair, I move that Bill 17 be amended by -- how am I going to put this now -- by inserting:

11. This act comes into force on the day the Civil Marriage Act (Canada) comes into force.