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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 133-18(2): Elders’ Housing Needs In Ulukhaktok June 1st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, my second question: what activities does the department take in 2016-17 to support Ulukhaktok elders?

Question 133-18(2): Elders’ Housing Needs In Ulukhaktok June 1st, 2016

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, earlier I spoke about elders’ care and I have some questions for the Minister of Health and Social Services. Mr. Speaker, my first question: what care facilities and services are currently available to Ulukhaktok elders? Quyanainni, Mr. Speaker.

Recognition of Visitors on the Gallery June 1st, 2016

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I wanted to recognize Mr. Ernest Pokiak, who is one of my constituents and also a member of the Stanton Elders’ Council. Also my high school buddy, Mr. Dolphus Nitsiza. Welcome.

Facilities And Services Available For Elders’ Housing Needs In Uluhaktok June 1st, 2016

Quyanainni, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, let's talk about elders’ housing in Ulukhaktok. Mr. Speaker, one of my colleagues pointed out today is the first day of Senior Citizens' Month in the Northwest Territories. The NWT Seniors' Society encourages us to recognize and celebrate the seniors and elders in our lives. This could be easily done by visiting your grandparents or volunteering to help your neighbours with yard work.

Supporting our elders also demands more serious work. June 15thwill be World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and I encourage everyone to wear purple to show their support and work together with seniors and elders and make our communities better. But it's not only about awareness, Mr. Speaker. Where NWT elders and seniors are concerned, we also have clear infrastructure needs and today, I want to call attention to the need for an elders' home in Ulukhaktok. This community has always been ready to support their elders. To celebrate Senior Citizens' Month, the Ulukhaktok Elders’ Committee organized on‑the‑land activities for elders, and the community also hosted a summer picnic at Jack's Bay. Mr. Speaker, the number of seniors and elders in Ulukhaktok is growing. Just five years ago, only 30 were 60 years of age or older. Since then, the number has increased steadily in 2015 to 50 people were 60 years of age and older. With other age brackets growing as well, Mr. Speaker, that not may only sound like a big change to people in Yellowknife, but Ulukhaktok is a small, close‑knit community.

In its mandate, the government committed to taking action so that the seniors can age in place. I hope to see that in action on the ground in Ulukhaktok. Mr. Speaker, later on I will have questions for the Minister of Health and Social Services. Quyanainni, Mr. Speaker.

Question 126-18(2): United Nations Declaration On The Rights Of Indigenous Peoples May 31st, 2016

My final question is: what is the GNWT doing to ensure that the interests of its northern Aboriginal residents are being represented as the federal government moves to adopt and implement the UN declaration?

Question 126-18(2): United Nations Declaration On The Rights Of Indigenous Peoples May 31st, 2016

The Premier answered partial of my second questions. Does the GNWT have a formal position on the UN declaration or does it plan to develop one?

Question 126-18(2): United Nations Declaration On The Rights Of Indigenous Peoples May 31st, 2016

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I spoke earlier on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and my questions are for the honourable Premier McLeod. My question is: has the GNWT here received any formal correspondence from the federal government respecting its announcement to the UN declaration? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

United Nations Declaration On The Rights Of Indigenous Peoples May 31st, 2016

Quyanainni, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I'm going to talk about the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Mr. Speaker, on May 10th, just three short weeks ago, the Government of Canada announced that it would be removing its objections to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a decision applauded by Aboriginal leaders across Canada. The declaration was first adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007, recognizing the basic human rights of Indigenous peoples around the world, as well as rights to language, land, equality, and self-determination, among others. More than 140 nations passed the declaration but Canada, which had a hand in drafting the declaration initially, voted against it, with Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.

The Conservative government of the day expressed their concerns of the declaration's wording and provisions addressing the land and resources, saying it was overly broad and could lead to a re-opening of previously settled land claims. Mr. Speaker, as well, a provision calling the countries to obtain the informed consent of Indigenous peoples prior to passing new laws was also viewed as contentious. Nonetheless, in a 2010 Speech from the Throne, the Conservative government said it wanted to take steps to endorse this aspirational document in a manner fully consistent to Canada's Constitution and laws. On May 10thof this year, the current Liberal government, represented by Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett, announced that Canada is now a full supporter of the declaration, without qualification. This news, for which Minister Bennett received a standing ovation, was largely greeted as a positive development by Canadian Aboriginal leaders. However, the Minister went on to add, "We intend nothing less than to adopt the implementation of the declaration, in accordance with the Canadian Constitution," thereby breathing life into Section 35. This means, in the Minister's own words, that our constitutional obligations serve to fulfill all of the principles of the declaration, including free, prior, and informed consent. Mr. Speaker, this raises a number of questions in my mind, including exactly how Canada interprets Section 35, and whether or not Canada intends to consider constitutional amendments to give immediate effect to the declaration.

I also wonder what Canada's endorsement means for processes such as implementing the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and for incorporating free and prior-informed consent into the federal environmental-assessment process. Mr. Speaker, for us to remain who we are, we must continue to do what we do, maintain our culture, speak our language, and be recognized at the regional, territorial, national, and international level to maintain our identity as Indigenous people.

Mr. Speaker, I recently travelled to Nairobi, Kenya to attend UNEA-2 to ensure Canada’s commitment to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Later today I will have questions for the Premier regarding the GNWT’s response to Canada’s endorsement of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Quyanainni, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause.

Question 113-18(2): Cost Of Living In Nunakput March 3rd, 2016

Can the Minister of Finance outline what other plans this government has to lower the costs of living for residents of the Northwest Territories, especially residents of Nunakput who face the highest costs?

Question 113-18(2): Cost Of Living In Nunakput March 3rd, 2016

In my Member's statement today I also spoke of the high cost of fuel to heat our homes and to pursue traditional on-the-land activities like hunting and fishing, activities which can help residents lower the cost of living and eat healthy. Can the Minister tell us what the government is doing to lower the cost of fuel in our communities that are represented?