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Last in the Legislative Assembly November 2003, as MLA for Yellowknife Centre

Won his last election, in 1999, with 61% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Question 415-14(6): Support For Special Needs In NWT Classrooms October 9th, 2003

My understanding, Mr. Speaker, is that it is to be dedicated in the area of student support needs. There are a variety of methodologies of using that money, but it is to be in the student support needs area, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

Question 415-14(6): Support For Special Needs In NWT Classrooms October 9th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I don't know the circumstance of the particular individual the Member is speaking about, so I would have to have the details of that before I could comment in return as to whether all of our requirements are being appropriately met. Thank you.

Question 415-14(6): Support For Special Needs In NWT Classrooms October 9th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This may have taken place, Mr. Speaker, at the officials level where there is a working relationship. Mr. Speaker, as I say, the process that we followed here on a policy base has been to increase the funding available for schools, and we do that, of course, through a formula to all jurisdictions. In the case of Inuvik, it would be to the Beaufort-Delta District Education Authority. They, in turn, would allocate funding for this money into the specific areas of need. The specific requirement of this student may have to be addressed by me with a question to the board itself to see whether they have addressed the need of this particular student and how we can address it, Mr. Speaker.

Question 415-14(6): Support For Special Needs In NWT Classrooms October 9th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The effective behaviour support program is dedicated to assisting teachers to develop methodologies by which they can assist students with behavioural problems and to address those in the classrooms as well as in the hallways and the yard. So it's not the type of program whereby the support could be provided for the specific case I believe that the Member is referring to. That is done through the student support initiative we have, Mr. Speaker, whereby we fund it. We used to fund approximately eight percent to schools, and since the year 2000 we've increased that every year to 15 percent of school funding. So there has been an increase to address issues such as Mr. Roland has mentioned. Thank you.

Question 413-14(6): Education And Training For Resource Development Employment October 9th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I don't know what kind of funding is presently allocated to operate the Aklavik Adult Education Centre. I could find out for the Member, if that's the question as to how it is being allocated at the present time. Thank you.

Question 413-14(6): Education And Training For Resource Development Employment October 9th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Any support beyond the programs that we have available, Mr. Speaker, would require additional resources, additional funding. Of course, that's where we're very pleased to hear the announcement last week by the Honourable Ethel Blondin-Andrew in Inuvik on the aboriginal skill development training program. That offers an opportunity for us to access that particular funding, Mr. Speaker. Also for students who are in adult education type programs, we are looking at the possibility of them accessing the university/college entrance preparation program. That would provide them with some funding for two semesters to be able to upgrade themselves to enter higher education programs, Mr. Speaker. Then, of course, for those who are on income support, they can access that program along with their educational levels. Thank you.

Question 413-14(6): Education And Training For Resource Development Employment October 9th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, there have been many programs initiated by this government. We have the literacy strategy to help people who are caught behind in their capabilities, to make them more literate. So that's been a very effective strategy that we've introduced. Additionally we have been working in the apprenticeship area to look at the possibility of providing individuals with more training to write the pre-apprenticeship exams, and that has been developed, Mr. Speaker, so there are a multitude of areas. Additionally we have made application previously to the federal government, Mr. Speaker, for funding support. That was done through the Northwest Territories industrial mining skills strategy and the oil and gas industrial skills strategy. Both programs will probably total approximately...It's $20 million in support we're seeking from the federal government. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 413-14(6): Education And Training For Resource Development Employment October 9th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Member brings forward a very good point that's been on our table for the past three years to look at opportunities for our residents and they are extensive, Mr. Speaker. So for the past three years, Mr. Speaker, we have been working diligently and with the support of the Members from the other side, we have been able to identify programs where we can access further funding. Mr. Speaker, as an example in 2002-2003, some 600 people accessed support to do training in the oil and gas sector. We are spending approximately $1 million a year in that particular end amongst many other programs that are available, Mr. Speaker, our human resource development plans for involving our northern people in the oil and gas sector. Thank you.

Minister's Statement 109-14(6): Release Of GNWT Response To "a Vision For The Arts In The Nwt" October 9th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to announce that later today I will be tabling the Government of the Northwest Territories response to the recommendations of the NWT Arts Strategy panel, "A Vision for the Arts in the NWT."

Mr. Speaker, art and artistic expression, in all its forms, enriches our lives and our communities. It is an important part of life, not only socially and culturally, but also economically.

Recognizing this, Education, Culture and Employment and Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development established an NWT Arts Strategy Advisory Panel in 2002. Made up of representatives from the private and public sectors, as well as non-governmental organizations, its mandate was to identify needs, current opportunities and gaps in support to the creative arts and cultural industries.

Mr. Speaker, we must acknowledge the care, time and efforts of the advisory panel. This group managed to hold consultations in every region across the territory. In addition, Mr. Speaker, we must acknowledge the dedication and commitment to each of the panel's co-chairs, Suzan Marie and Sonny MacDonald. It was, I believe, their passion for the arts that ensured the panel's success.

In advance of tabling our response, I would like to highlight the seven themes identified in the panels report: stakeholders partnership; communication and resources; programs and services; raw materials and equipment; markets and marketing; education and training; and, infrastructure.

Our response to this report identifies actions, both planned and taken, by the departments of Education, Culture and Employment and Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development. Those already taken include:

  • • increased support to the NWT Arts Council by doubling the contribution budget to $280,000;
  • • increased funding to the Support to Northern Performers program by doubling the budget for a total of $71,000;
  • • the creation of an additional seat on the NWT Arts Council;
  • • indication of a process to develop a booklet entitled Jobs in Heritage, Culture and the Arts that will provide labour market information to artists seeking opportunities in the arts;
  • • designation of a headquarters staff person in RWED to focus on arts and crafts development effective September 2003;
  • • initiated the process to develop an arts merchandising system that will ensure that the art of the territory is recognized for its quality and authenticity; and,
  • • reviewing resources in preparation for the development of an NWT arts curriculum for kindergarten to Grade 12.

Mr. Speaker, both departments recognize that a lot of work has yet to be done in this area. One of the first steps is the development of a coordinated implementation plan between the two departments.

With the development of a coordinated implementation plan, it is our hope that the already vibrant arts sector in the Northwest Territories can flourish even more through further GNWT action and supports.

Mr. Speaker, the arts will play an increasingly important role in the cultural and economic health of our territory. We are looking forward to being able to further our support and assist artists, craftspeople and the cultural industries as they work in their communities enriching the lives of all residents of the North. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 106-14(6): Effective Behaviour Support October 9th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, schools are more than books and buildings. Schools are places where students, teachers and staff spend much of their time. Schools are places where children should learn and grow and excel. Schools should be welcoming places. Regrettably, this is not so for some children. Taunting, teasing and bullying damages and can traumatize a child. Just a word can compliment, they can also hurt. I'm sure all Members will agree that this sort of damaging behaviour has no place in our schools.

I would like to speak on some actions that educators from across the Northwest Territories are working on to address this issue.

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, over 100 educators, representing schools from each of the divisional education councils in the NWT, met in Yellowknife to work with Dr. Terry Scott, an internationally-renowned behaviour specialist, to learn about effective behavioral support.

Effective behavioural support is a school-wide system designed to prevent disruptive behaviour by all students, including those who exhibit chronic behaviour problems. EBS is being used in schools throughout Canada and the United States, and since 2001, in a number of schools in the Northwest Territories.

Under the EBS system, teachers provide students clear behavioural expectations, social skill instruction, acknowledgement and corrections. About 90 percent of students respond well to this program, others need additional help and support.

EBS schools have behavioural teams that work with teachers and parents to develop individual action plans for these at-risk students who have repeated behaviour problems. With the school and family working together, the behaviours taught at school can be reinforced at home, providing consistency for the children and support for the families.

Through the EBS system, all staff share responsibility for the behaviour of students in classrooms, as well as in common areas like hallways or the playground.

Mr. Speaker, this system is not a quick fix. It takes three to five years to develop and implement the systems and to see results, but I am pleased to announce, Mr. Speaker, that we are now seeing results.

One example is Mackenzie Mountain School in Norman Wells. Staff members report on the positive behaviours of students and celebrate them through their Gotcha Program. Student behaviour has improved and students feel more content and secure at school. Teachers are proactive and enthusiastic.

We want to build on the current success of EBS in our schools by providing out-of-school support for families and communities through programs like Second-Step Positive Discipline or Restitution, which are also being effectively used.

Schools that have been involved with EBS are in the South Slave, Sahtu and Dehcho divisional boards, Yellowknife Education District No. 1 and Yellowknife Catholic Schools. In addition to teams from these boards, we are pleased that the Dogrib and Beaufort-Delta divisional boards also participated in training this week.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased and proud to bring this positive news to the Assembly. Please join me in acknowledging the efforts of these school teams to make the schools in the Northwest Territories safer, happier, more productive and bully-free. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

----Applause