Legislative Assembly photo



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

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery June 5th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would also like to recognize Mr. Winston Moses and his wife Martha. They went to residential school with my father, and apparently they were pretty good curlers back in the day. Everyone else from the Education Hall of Fame, I'd like to welcome everyone to the gallery today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Motion to Amend Committee Motion 142-18(3), Withdrawn June 5th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Earlier on, we were talking about how appreciative we were of the committee. The committee did a lot of hard work, and I am looking at this and the email that we got earlier today. I was thinking about it all day, thinking, "Well, maybe it's a good thing," but at the same time, this wasn't a recommendation from the committee. It really does undermine the work, and Mr. Chair, when you look at the big picture from a 30,000-foot view, it looks sort of like a greedy motion. This is elections for public office, and we are not here to make amendments for ourselves personally or switch it to something that might look like a party.

I have a really hard time actually looking at this, Mr. Chair. We are public servants. We are here to work for people. We are not here for our own personal benefits, and I think that this kind of sits on the wall of that. I am almost thinking that maybe I would like to request a recorded vote when it comes to this, to show that this is the work that we are here to do. We are here to report and hopefully fulfill moving forward.

Mr. Chair, I will be requesting a recorded vote on this. This does not look good on committee's part. It really doesn't. I have a hard time supporting this. Out of all these reports, this had respect up until now, and I want to keep it respectful. For committee's sake, for all of the hard work that people did and all of the input, I will not support this motion. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

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

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I would like to thank the chair and everybody else on the committee, as well, and the staff. I know they worked hard at arranging travel and enduring times. Being Indigenous myself and the challenges we face in the small communities, I think women do have it a lot harder than we, as men. We have more accessibility to almost anything that we want, and I think naturally that is the way the structure of politics in the Northwest Territories and in a lot of places where we have a lot of Indigenous people and mixed cultures really are. I think we are making steps in the right direction.

I would like to say that this was, out of the reports that have been generated and are being generated, this is the most respectful document, and I think it will be over the term of this Assembly. This is one where there has been fair input from everybody. If you look at some of the other reports where we were actually fighting to put our own personal points on some of these reports and recommendations, I think that is why women sometimes choose not to get into politics, Mr. Chair. Politics can be very dirty, and some of the reports that are coming out are an example of that. This one, I would have to say this is quite a respectful document and has a lot of respectful names along this.

You know, going to Inuvik where we sat, we started off up in my region, in Inuvik, and hearing from the working professionals, the women who are working, some of them are fine where they are; they are community leaders; they are coaches; they are mentors, and they choose to take on responsibility and leadership roles in that manner. I hope that this report will entice, definitely encourage, more women to run during this next upcoming election in all the regions that need equal representation.

In some fields that we struggle much, mental health is one of bigger ones, I think having a female MLA, a female mayor and other leaders in different governments is key to those areas of developing policies, whether it's at the municipal level, the territorial, or the national level, we definitely need that. I see that in some of the Inuit organizations that I work with nationally and internationally. They are definitely strong leaders.

I think we need to use this model as a foundation to develop something that is going to be unique for the Northwest Territories and not follow so much everywhere else around this world but maybe match those numbers by what we can do here. Again, I would just like to say thanks to everybody for their participation and leadership in this. The outcomes, sometimes, the turnouts in some of the communities where they are harvesting this spring is hard to bring out anybody, but it shows that when people want to make a point and show up and share their opinion, there is always time for that. I would just like to say thank you to the chair and all the Members and especially the staff for this. Mr. Chair, thank you.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters June 4th, 2019

Nothing more, Mr. Chair. Thank you.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters June 4th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I am looking at Mangilaluk School renovation and addition in Tuktoyaktuk for $561,000. I just want to hear a little bit on that. Thank you.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters June 4th, 2019

Nothing further, Mr. Chair. Thank you.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters June 4th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I am just looking at the bottom line of -- am I on the right page? I am looking at the Sachs Harbour wind/diesel power plant, $1.85 million. Can the Minister elaborate on that? Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters June 4th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Chair. The Minister probably answered a lot of what I was thinking of during the last speaker. Thinking about contracts and thinking about our government over the last three-and-a-half years, it seems like we are moving towards a lot of social programs. That is great, but we also need to look at climate change, as the previous speaker mentioned. I think we are going to have to develop or become a little bit more agile. Agility within the government is probably a good thing.

Ways to work in that manner is likely partnering with industry. I think that is what we might need to do moving forward. Industry has proven themselves to be capable and sometimes not accountable. It is a hit-and-miss all the time with smaller contractors, but I think, looking forward, we need to try to form ourselves so that we can knock off these projects and look ahead. I am thinking of my region in the next couple of years with all the attention up in the Arctic and all the other Arctic states being more and more prepared, like Russia, building 15, 16 deep-sea ports and all these ice breakers.

We need to align ourselves with the federal government, as well, too, when it comes to deep-sea ports, small-craft harbours, and other infrastructure along the Arctic coast, maybe even dumping stations for ships that are traversing the Northwest Passage. Those are things that we don't see on some of these papers every day in the general public, but I am sure they are in the government's eyes and ears every day. I think that needs to show itself a little bit more and more. I know that it is hard to plan projects.

The Inuvialuit recently had some direct funding from the federal government, but it also takes the GNWT to implement the spending and the control, the maintenance and everything when it comes to that. It is great that we get direct funding, but we need to partner with the GNWT, as well. I think, no matter how much we plan ahead, we are still going to run into ice jams and forest fires and all that stuff. I think the department is doing their best. It is a harsh environment to operate in. It is not like we can jump on a plane or jump in our vehicle and fly out every day. It is actual long-term planning.

I think, when it comes to that, we need to work more closely with maybe the MLAs and maybe the Indigenous governments in the regions to better plan so that we can use our money more effectively and keep ourselves accountable as MLAs and as a government and also Indigenous governments. I think, once we challenge each other, we can become more agile. That is what I was going to say. The previous speaker asked the right questions, so I don't really have much more to say than that, Mr. Chair. Thank you.

Committee Report 17-18(3): Special Committee to Increase the Representation of Women in the Legislative Assembly June 4th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Going Forward

Committee heard from the public that access to role models, mentorship and networking are needed and wanted factors in developing skills and confidence to be successful in politics. Women pointed out that there is a need to increase the opportunities for training in leadership and public speaking. Women mentioned that the creation of local and community discussion groups for women only would be particularly beneficial for women to exchange opinions and develop electoral positions. It was pointed out that these opportunities are currently rare or non-existent and that this gap presents a serious deterrent to female candidacy.

"To have a women-in-leadership course would reinforce a lot of us here to be more confident, and I think by having the course in the community, you will see women come forward." (Joyce McLeod, Public Hearing Fort Providence, 10 January 2019)

NWT Women Lead in Community Leadership

Committee heard that it is not a question of whether or not women have leadership skills. The problem rather is how to encourage women to make the step from local leadership and regional senior positions into the legislature. In addition, it was pointed out that there have been many women deputy ministers in the territorial bureaucracy, raising the question of what it would take to have these women consider and make the move to the legislature and possibly to a role as Cabinet Minister.

Others mentioned that, since there are many women in leadership roles now at the community level, it is support and time that will bring women into the Legislative Assembly. It was stressed that, in addition to and more importantly than Campaign Schools, education is key and it should be part of the dynamic of helping women run. It was mentioned that mentoring and specific training for women, targeted at formalizing leadership skills, would be at least as useful as introducing guaranteed seats.

"Women are as varied in their personal opinions and experience as are men. There should be no assumptions that a "women's issue" impacts or unifies all women in exactly the same way. Strengthen women's advocacy organizations so that the diversity of women's perspectives can be fully represented; including Indigenous women, visible minorities and immigrant women." (Caroline Wawzonek, Written Submission, 1 March 2019)

In 2018, women took many top leadership positions in NWT municipalities; the NWT experienced never before seen numbers of women in leadership at the community level. All four women mayoral candidates in the NWT 2018 fall municipal elections were elected. Committee heard agreement on the need for more promotion to support this change.

A key theme committee heard was that women are comfortable as leaders in their communities but lack connection to formal political spaces. The recent Elect Her report by the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women also found that there is a gap for women between municipal and national politics. Women generally are motivated to create change and to help people and their communities.

Statistics Canada found that women and men participate in politics in different ways; women tend to spend more time on local and civic issues; and women generally vote at higher rates than men, and women are more likely than men to indicate 'feeling uninformed' as their reason for not voting. (Statistics Canada, House of Commons 2019)

"We need more females in politics because they say women are the future but really it is the female youth that are our future. Having different committees or programs that can help spark female youth interest or get their confidence up can help us." (Female Youth, Public Hearing Tuktoyaktuk, 3 April 2019)

Mr. Speaker, I will now pass it on to the honourable Member for Yellowknife Centre.

Question 762-19(3): Fire Disruption Resupply and critical Infrastructure May 30th, 2019

It's good to see that the Minister and the department are working on the fly on issues like this, as sometimes they may get bigger and bigger within a 24- or even 12-hour window as we see the fire growing in the territory. This fire is getting bigger every day, and I'm concerned that this may have negative effects on the communities in the Far North. As we've already experienced phone and fax line issues in remote communities, my question to the Minister: has the Government of the Northwest Territories thought to FireSmart and important infrastructure like communication towers, fibre lines, and other means of communication we rely on in the Northwest Territories on a daily basis?