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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

Question 549-15(3): Expansion Of Rcmp Dare Program March 4th, 2005

Thank you. I hope my answers aren't like the ones that have been given to my colleague. Mr. Speaker, if I may, maybe I can kill two birds with one stone. My question is going to be for the Minister of Justice, who is also the Minister of Education. Yesterday, Mr. Speaker, in my Member's statement, I talked about crack cocaine and the programs that are being provided here in Yellowknife, which is called the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program. My question to the Minister is, in the larger centres, they have programs like DARE, like in Yellowknife. Could I ask the Minister, in the smaller communities, what is the RCMP doing in terms of this type of program that is being offered in Yellowknife, in the smaller communities such as Gameti, Wekweti or Wha Ti? Thank you.

Condolences To Families Of Slain Rcmp Officers March 4th, 2005

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In light of the news that we heard yesterday about the senseless killing of the four RCMP officers in Northern Alberta, I just want to offer my condolences, and also from my constituents, to the families, friends and co-workers of these four brave men who were killed in the line of duty.

Mr. Speaker, we have said a lot of things in this House over the last couple of days about the services offered to us by the RCMP. I am sure that my colleagues would join me in saying that we support and appreciate the work that they do and I hope that they do their jobs under the safest circumstances possible.

We do a lot of complaining about the safety of our communities. It is not only in the hands of the police, Mr. Speaker, it is also in the hands of the community and our community leaders to help the RCMP to make sure that our communities remain crime-free so that we can avoid the tragedy like the one in Northern Alberta.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I hope we can all learn something from this tragedy and volunteer to help our RCMP and our local police when our help is asked for. Mahsi.

---Applause

Committee Motion 26-15(3): Recommendation To Evaluate And Restructure The Market Housing Initiative, Carried March 3rd, 2005

Well, as you know, Mr. Chairman, they have been lagging behind for a number of years, and I still feel that the corporation should reconsider for at least 2006-07 and bump up from 2007-08. Thank you.

Committee Motion 26-15(3): Recommendation To Evaluate And Restructure The Market Housing Initiative, Carried March 3rd, 2005

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The assessment that the Housing Corporation does pertaining to the infrastructure acquisition plan, there's a great need, at least I thought, based on that report. On page 8-43, for Rae-Edzo, they're not getting anything for the next two years, until 2007-08. Can I ask the Minister why that

particular community is not getting anything for the next couple of years?

Committee Motion 26-15(3): Recommendation To Evaluate And Restructure The Market Housing Initiative, Carried March 3rd, 2005

Just one more suggestion or recommendation to the Minister on district operations. Mr. Chairman, a lot of the clients in my area raise a big concern where the district people when they are there, they communicate verbally, but there's nothing put on paper of the discussion that has taken place. Then once the district people have gone back home, the clients receive a letter totally different than what was discussed or agreed to and they're frustrated by these type of things. I wonder if the Minister would make sure when he's reviewing this, that this type of documentation takes place so both parties know exactly what was agreed to or what the process is going to be or the amount of their application, or whatever the need may be. I mean, that was one of the frustrations the clients were encountering. The Minister is well aware of it because there are a couple of clients that raised it with him when we met with the Minister. So if that type of thing would be resolved, I'm sure we can go a long way. Thank you.

Committee Motion 26-15(3): Recommendation To Evaluate And Restructure The Market Housing Initiative, Carried March 3rd, 2005

Once again, thank you, Mr. Chairman. Because of the previous problems we experienced, even if the district office personnel have to stay there a couple of nights or rather than just going in, especially in Rae, Mr. Chairman, because we're on a road system the tendency for the staff is they go in in the morning after they go to their office and then come back at 5:00. It doesn't leave that much time to deal with the clients. There are services available to accommodate them in those types of facilities and they could stay to do a good chunk of their workload. If they could at least notify the LHO that they're coming in way ahead of time so that they could line up the various clients they have to see. If we could make these types of improvements, I'm sure that your office would not have that many headaches. Thank you.

Committee Motion 26-15(3): Recommendation To Evaluate And Restructure The Market Housing Initiative, Carried March 3rd, 2005

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Under district operations I think the Minister knows, but I want to reiterate the need for the district personnel to do frequent visits to the communities that they serve on a more scheduled manner. I would like to see this. Right now most of the programs are administered out of the district office and the level of consultation and meetings with clients is sporadic right now and I'm hoping the district office will improve on that. As the Minister may know, we ran into that particular problem, especially in Rae, where the clients were dissatisfied with the services coming out of the district office. Thank you.

Committee Motion 26-15(3): Recommendation To Evaluate And Restructure The Market Housing Initiative, Carried March 3rd, 2005

Thank you, Madam Chairperson. I sort of have difficultly with the language that is being used in the motion. I realize that phase two is going to go ahead, but my understanding was that we were going to ask the government to evaluate after phase two to fix up all the problems that they had in phase one, so that they don't repeat the errors that they have done. After they do phase two, then we want the government to do an evaluation on those phases and then do a report and hopefully during the business deliberations in the fall, we will have some sort of report pertaining to this on the evaluation to say how good of a job has been done and then we will take it from there for the following year. That was my understanding.

The way the motion reads, I don't know what the mover means by restructuring the current market housing initiative. I don't think we need to restructure it. Maybe improve the current market housing Initiative pertaining to, rather than amortizing it over a number of 20 years, maybe to 25 years, so that it is more affordable for the clients. Those are the types of things that this evaluation would take into consideration, is stuff like that, to make improvements on it, not to restructure. I don't know what he means by restructuring. I have difficulty with the wording of it.

We want to see the results and to be more efficient. I am in favour of phase two and I am in favour of an evaluation at the end of phase two. I am not sure if I am going to support this or not, because the wording is not really what the intent was. Thank you.

Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters March 3rd, 2005

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The Minister is correct; prior to Christmas, the Minister's staff had a public meeting with the residents, especially with regard to the rent scale increase. There was a lot of media attention brought forward, particularly on arrears in Rae-Edzo and how we can try to resolve that particular issue. The Minister will recall that we had a delegation of people meeting with you pertaining to their own individual needs for their own cases that they wanted to discuss with you.

I know that the Housing Corporation is doing as much as they can to try to resolve as many cases as they can, but I think more emphasis from the regional office, more resources and more meetings with individuals that are in this predicament have to be dealt with right away. The sooner we deal with these issues, the fewer problems you will have. I think it is very critical now because, as you said, the need in Rae-Edzo particularly is really high and if we wait any longer, the demand for housing is going to go higher and higher and higher and we will never catch up. That is my big concern, Mr. Chairman, in regard to those six units the Minister spoke of. I hope he will move on it as soon as possible. We are on the road system and I hope that as soon as this budget gets passed, as to what the corporation's plans are pertaining to those six units...I have eight coming to my area, but I am more worried with Rae because the Dogrib Community Services Board has been waiting for the last few months because things haven't been done to date pertaining to affordable housing for our community workers that we want to hire, but we have no housing. I would like to ask the Minister what are the future plans after April 1st, for those six units going to Rae? Thank you.

Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters March 3rd, 2005

Thank you. Mr. Chairman, just a few comments. First of all I want to follow up on Mr. Hawkins' line of questioning. My concern is in regard to the new mandate that the Minister is working on. I understand that it's going to go forward to Cabinet, et cetera, but this current year, 2005-06, the money for social housing is going to be transferred over to ECE so they can administer housing they have, from my understanding. Part of the thinking is to make the social programs one-window shopping, that your department was considering moving the social housing component of your budget over to ECE. Am I correct? But if that happens, Mr. Chairman, how will the local housing authority manage ECE having the money? Are things going to drastically change, because we do have a number of agreements with the Housing Corporation and our local housing authorities and I am wondering if there's going to be any glitches by us going in that direction? We know for a fact, Mr. Chairman, even with it being in the Housing Corporation, we still have a lot of glitches that still have to be worked out. We have a number of our local housing associations administering the various programs, especially the Social Housing Program.

On the second phase of the market housing initiative, affordable housing, I, too, am in support of this initiative. I hope the Minister goes ahead with phase two. As I said earlier in my Member's statement in the House, Mr. Chairman, in my view, my region should have been considered in phase one. Right now we're currently behind. We can't hire our staff now because there's no housing available. We're waiting for the budget to be

approved so we can continue on with the work, but it has to be fast-tracked; I hope right after April 1st. I know there are concerns from the Housing Corporation in terms of our new land claims and self-government agreement that has been passed, particularly in relation to land, and I know his department has been working closely with MACA and the other affected departments so that there are going to be issues surrounding the land issue. Nevertheless, Mr. Chairman, I think those issues can be dealt with at a later date. The effective date is not going to be until some time this summer and I think we have to move on the second phase and put affordable housing for our workers at the community level. That's critical right now because we can't hire any new people in my region. That's why I am in support of phase two. I think at a later date we can work out all these other legal things that we have to do pertaining to our land issues at our community level in the North Slave, in the Tlicho region.

Another point I wanted to make was that if we transfer all the social housing to ECE, would that also incorporate the elders and the disabled peoples' type of housing also over there? Overall, Mr. Chairman, there are also issues right now that the Housing Corporation is dealing with pertaining to social housing. I mentioned in my Member's statement also, that we have to find new ways to try to get these people who are in social housing into homeownership and we have to look at what we're going to do with their arrears. If they are going into homeownership, can we incorporate them into their mortgage or what other method do we have to help these individuals that want to get into their own homes? That seems to be a problem and, because of their arrears, they can't get bank financing and so forth. That's why it's a big issue in my riding, particularly in Rae-Edzo and a lot of people want to get out of social housing so they can own their own unit.

Those are just a few of my general comments pertaining to housing, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.