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Crucial Fact

Last in the Legislative Assembly September 2019, as MLA for Nunakput

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 19% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Question 777-18(3): 2019 Marine Transportation Services Shipping Season June 6th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate that. Last year, the ice definitely had a big impact on shipping. I understand that trucking fuel is more costly than transporting by rail. Can the Minister tell me what impacts this will have on fuel prices for the communities of the Northwest Territories? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 777-18(3): 2019 Marine Transportation Services Shipping Season June 6th, 2019

I recall last year when we were talking about the cancellation and possibly shipping by truck and what the cost would be, definitely more expensive. Will the change from shipping fuel by rail to trucking fuel cause a delay in the barge departures or deliveries in the Nunakput region this year?

Question 777-18(3): 2019 Marine Transportation Services Shipping Season June 6th, 2019

I appreciate the update. It is good to know what is going on and how the logistics of preparation for shipping. I understand that our only rail line to the Northwest Territories is interrupted. If the rail line is interrupted, how will fuel come north, and what is the department doing about this?

Question 777-18(3): 2019 Marine Transportation Services Shipping Season June 6th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am going to ask questions to the Minister of Infrastructure on MTS, which I didn't get to ask yesterday. I am wondering if MTS is well-prepared for the 2019 shipping season. I know the previous speaker asked about MTS, but I am just wondering if the Minister could provide a brief update on how things are going with Marine Transportation Services for the 2019 shipping season. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Tuktoyaktuk Visitors Centre June 6th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Last summer saw an unprecedented number of tourists taking advantage of the new Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway to drive all the way to the Arctic Ocean. It was estimated that over 5,000 people travelled to Tuktoyaktuk, or five times the population of the community. Mr. Speaker, that's equivalent to over 100,000 people coming to Yellowknife.

There are no campgrounds or RV parks at the end of the highway, so most of those tourists had no choice but to turn back around and return to Inuvik after dipping their toes in the Arctic Ocean. A small visitor's information centre opened in mid-July with funding from the Department of ITI, and I am pleased to note that we recently passed additional funds for a larger tourism facility which will include washroom facilities.

When I raised questions to the Minister last fall, he indicated that he would be continuing to have discussions with the community leadership on areas to be addressed, and on how to build capacity for the community to take advantage of this tourism boom. I look forward to hearing from the Minister on the results of those discussions this summer.

Mr. Speaker, the ferries are now crossing the Mackenzie and Peel rivers and this year's tourist season has started. I hope that the Department of ITI is planning to run tourism workshops in the community and in the region, so that this season sees only positive impacts and long-lasting benefits to the community of Tuktoyaktuk. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Committee Motion 152-18(3): Bill 38: Protected Areas Act - Motion No. 2 to Amend s. 98, Defeated June 5th, 2019

Yes, thank you, Mr. Chair. I appreciate the amendment. Like previous speakers, Mr. Chair, I am just going by examples here. The Inuvialuit Game Council and other parts of Inuvialuit have agreements with the Government of the Northwest Territories in our government-to-government relations. Also, there are impact benefit agreements that are confidential and should remain confidential. Earlier on on this bill, there is talk about a public registry. Things like that should remain confidential for Indigenous groups to negotiate with the Government of the Northwest Territories. I am looking at this. I think it's the fifth line down, and it says, what gets me:

"The Minister may enter into one or more agreements with Indigenous governments or organizations in the Northwest Territories and with relevant renewable resource boards and land use planning boards or bodies, as to how the Commissioner in Executive Council will engage with those parties in exercising the regulation-making powers under this section."

Mr. Chair, Indigenous governments are making regulations with the government. We cannot go all the way. We know that. There is a time and point where the governments and Indigenous governments must lash off so that we can continue making regulations and law, and this is where we sit today.

This has potential to give less power to those Indigenous governments that are advocating not just here in our country but around the globe on wildlife, on ivory, on seal. This has a possibility to impact our rights as Indigenous people to advocate for what we believe in and to protect our way of life. I think this is far too much, and it does not give any room for the governments to move. When there are no margins and we are restricted, it could possibly have a negative impacts for us as we sit around the table at the international maritime organization looking at regulations on marine shipping, on heavy fuel oils, on plastics and that.

So I think we need to respect what's in the document. For those reasons, Mr. Chair, I am not going to support this amendment. Thank you.

Committee Motion 151-18(3): Bill 38: Protected Areas Act - Motion to Amend s. 98, Defeated June 5th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Chair. As I look at this, as I did the other day, I look at the amendment on (3) where it says, "The Minister shall give notice of any proposed or new amended regulations to be made under this section to Indigenous governments or organizations."

Mr. Chair, I believe NGOs do great work. I work a lot with them nationally and internationally. To me, this is very dangerous. Land claims groups have fought and sweat for years, for generations, in negotiating their land claims and to see the possibility of NGOs having the same power as land claims groups that are not even signed yet, to me, that is dangerous, and it is encroaching on the rights of Indigenous people, where this bill is proposing to work with Indigenous people. For me, I do not accept that.

Mr. Chair, I am just going to use an example with the Arctic Council. All of the Arctic states are voters at the Arctic Council, and NGOs and other non-Arctic states are observers at the Arctic Council. That model works effectively, and that is based on consensus government. Here we are with a consensus government. I think that we need to follow suit and continue that.

To me, Mr. Chair, this has too much control, and it is sort of a slap for all of the hard work that Indigenous governments are working towards for their own self-determination today. I will say this and similar things to the next proposed motion, but for those reasons, Mr. Chair, I will not support this amendment. Thank you.

Committee Motion 150-18(3): Bill 38: Protected Areas Act - Motion to Amend s. 10(6), Defeated June 5th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I agree with the previous speakers. It is too restrictive. Ninety days, you know, some protected areas take years and years to develop, and sometimes, some land claims are signed and some are not, so there is still a lot of workings that are outside of all of this that are not captured with this amendment. It would be far too restrictive.

You know, sometimes when you rush things like this, it is hard to get hold of an Indigenous government because they are negotiating a lot with Ottawa and other areas, and sometimes advocating for the wildlife. We always want the best outcome when we look at a possible or an area of interest to become eventually a protected area.

I think we are rushing too much. I have always said, even in other forums, you know, everyone comes to our territory and tries to lock up all of this land for conservation areas, not understanding the whole ecosystem of the people who actually live there, and this is an example of that.

For that reason, I am not going to support that, Mr. Chair. Thank you.

Committee Motion 149-18(3): Bill 38: Protected Areas Act - Motion to Amend s. 10(2), Defeated June 5th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Chair. It feels like we're hitting rewind here for a second time. We went through these motions in committee last week and they were voted down. Today, they're brought up again.

Mr. Chair, this imposes on government-to-government relations, especially with Indigenous governments in my area. Just in my home town alone, there's a national park and there's a marine protected area. That was developed with the community and co-managed between Inuvialuit and the Sahtu, and the territorial and the federal governments. All of these mechanisms are working and they're in place.

To take away the Minister's discretion on this, I think anybody could come from outside the territory and develop an area of interest, and to me, that's kind of scary from what's already working. The biggest thing for me is it imposes on the very things that we do. We're stewards of the land, as Inuvialuit. For other Indigenous people, I see that they are, and this proposed motion would take that away. For that reason, Mr. Chair, I'm not going to support that motion. Thank you.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters June 5th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I would like to recognize the committee's hard work during the travel and also the department with their experts on this, Mr. Chair. I believe Bill 38, as it stands, stands strong, and it's a great example of including Indigenous governments and working with Indigenous governments in the Northwest Territories and setting a good example for developing policy not just in Canada but maybe co-leading projects like this when it comes to protected areas or areas of interest in our waters, in Canadian waters and international waters. I think collaboration and cooperation during this process was some of the best you can see, and, Mr. Chair, I think committee has done some great work and had some great input.

Sometimes, when we travel on bills, we don't travel at the best times. We travel to communities where sometimes harvesters and the people who are actually the ones I would say who have the knowledge of the land rather than some of us sitting outside, who live among the caribou, live in the ecosystem that we are very much building a bill on right here today are the ones who we need to seek input from. I think, looking forward, there may be better practices that we can take on in the next Assembly and moving forward so that we capture the essence of what we are really doing. Looking at the Northwest Territories, Mr. Chair, there are a lot of Indigenous groups in the territories, and they have a lot to say, and I think we need to respect that. This is a document that, for the most part, has done that in a great manner.

Mr. Chair, I look forward to the discussion. We had a discussion during Committee of the Whole earlier this week, and we voiced our concerns. Mr. Chair, I think the bill is ready to go the way it stands right now, and I am a strong believer of that. I come from an Indigenous government. Actually, you know, today, it is Inuvialuit Day, and we are looking at the collaboration and cooperation that has gone on between Inuvialuit. You know, I could only speak for myself, Mr. Chair. I cannot speak for anyone else. The Government of Northwest Territories has a good working relationship, a very progressive one, from managing wildlife to the environment, and as well infrastructure. Infrastructure projects. Housing is one huge one that we are starting to get a handle on, and I believe that the relationship is improving, likely to a point where it has never been before, and I hope that with all Indigenous governments that these relationships continue to improve when we develop bills such as this Mr. Chair.

Once again, I would like to commend the committee for their work and the Minister and his office for their expertise. It is good to keep each other in check, and I think we have done that to the point where we could move forward with this. That is all I have to share now. Thank you.