Last in the Legislative Assembly December 1999, as MLA for North Slave
Lost his last election, in 1999, with 7% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today, Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform this House of a meeting that will take place this afternoon, here in the Legislative Assembly. This meeting is very unique because it has members of the Rae-Edzo Hamlet and the Band Council together with the city of Yellowknife, the N'dilo Band Council, Dettah Council, myself and my colleagues from Yellowknife.
The main focus of this historic event will be discussions on how we as a group can help our government in accelerating the highway 3 construction. I believe this is a very important issue and by having this unique group coming together as one united body is a testament of the importance of this highway. This is the first time ever that this group has assembled and I am hoping to have very positive discussions on this and other important items that have our combined interests. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The mandate of the Department of Public Works and Services is to design, construct, acquire, operate and maintain buildings, works and equipment and implement energy efficient projects in buildings and works required for the government to deliver its programs and services, provide a system of specialist services that enhance the efficiency of government departments and make essential petroleum products available for sale to the public where these are not provided by the private sector.
The Standing Committee on Resource Management and Infrastructure reviewed the department's 1999-2002 business plan on November 24, 1998, and the department's draft 1999-2000 Main Estimates on March 21, 1999. Committee concerns during review of the department's business plan centred on the government's contract awarding process, competition with the private sector, proposed retention of the Laing Building, Year 2000 compliance and Nunavut service contracts, incorporation of full cost recovery and a cost-plus in all contracts. These issues continued to concern committee Members during their review of the department's draft Main Estimates.
The draft 1999-2000 Main Estimates showed proposed declines in most programs and activities in comparison to the 1999-2000 business plan projections with the exception of a $5,000 increase in funding for systems and communications. Capital expenditures remain essentially flat with a projected $7,000 or a 0.48 percent decrease from the business plan.
Committee Members noted during the review of the department's draft Main Estimates that a significant portion of the department's overall revenues is the result of computer charge back services to Nunavut. This $2.2 million in projected revenue represents a major portion, or 59.77 percent of the department's projected revenues of $3,681 million. Eventually, the Government of Nunavut will be able to service its own computer needs.
Awarded contracts. Committee Members expressed concern during the business plan review that some contracts were awarded to southern contractors over equally qualified northern contractors. As a result, the committee recommended that clear-cut explanations be given to unsuccessful bidders, and as with the federal government, GNWT officials should be made available to bidders for further discussion. A description of this process and related items were provided to the committee prior to the review of the Main Estimates.
However, in the business plan review exercise, Members were also concerned about the number of contracts that were awarded under the different awarding processes. The committee looked forward to receiving a summary report that details the number and amount of contracts that were awarded as the result of a tender, request for proposal, sole source, or negotiated award process in the past year. This item was addressed prior to review of Main Estimates. In an effort to bring a greater degree of clarity to the contracting issue committee Members requested a briefing on contracting methodology used by this department and other departments.
Competition with the private sector. The committee noted that the government is already competing or is proposing to compete with the private sector in areas of petroleum products, ongoing and real estate development, ongoing and anticipated to escalate. Members pointed out the Laing Building, originally scheduled for sale or demolition, will now be renovated and retained by the government for its own offices. This is likely to contribute to the oversupply of office space in Yellowknife. The committee looks forward to receiving a confidential briefing by the Minister that will answer the Members' concerns regarding the Laing Building and the Yellowknife Office Space Plan.
Conflict of interest guidelines. The committee noted during its review of the department's business plan that many employees are not covered under the current conflict of interest guideline. The current guideline only applies to high-level employees. The committee requested further information about conflict of interest guidelines for all employees. This concern arose from the Inuvik arena project where a non-management PWS employee resigned from the arena project management committee, comprised of municipal, MACA and PWS personnel, to take a managerial position with the consulting firm for the project. The department has addressed the Inuvik arena project issue and suggested that general conflict of interest concerns may be more appropriately redirected to the Financial Management Board Secretariat.
Year 2000 compliance. The committee expressed its concern that year 2000 compliance may entail unforeseen consequences despite the ongoing efforts by the government to minimize its effects. Further, committee Members noted that technical personnel should be available during the changeover period to rectify any unanticipated events. The department replied that there would be staff on standby during the changeover period.
Nunavut service contracts. Committee Members were concerned whether full cost recovery plus the standard service fee of 6.5 percent has been and will continue to be incorporated into each Nunavut contract. Further, the committee was concerned about the lengths of the contracts and potential layoffs due to the completion of Nunavut contracts. The department has advised that cost recovery plus a standard service fee of 6.5 percent is incorporated into each Nunavut contract, and the contracts range from six months to two years. As well, there will be no layoffs due to the completion of Nunavut contracts and any staff reductions will be the result of natural attrition. That concludes the committee's report. Thank you.
Budget Reply 5-13(7) April 27th, 1999
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As we now start our journey in this new territory of ours we find many challenges facing us. Through my review of the Budget Address presented by the Honourable Minister of Finance, I can see many of my concerns are being addressed, however, the main problem that I see is we still need additional funding.
Although we are spending additional dollars in education which will help assist in solving some of the problems of overcrowding in classrooms, I feel this is far below what we should be allocating. We have many areas within education that must be addressed and this budget does not go far enough.
I am rather disheartened that the Working Together Program will only be extended for one more year, even though this has proven to be a very good program with a good number of young northerners employed. I think this should be extended for future years as well. We do have some very good programs within the education, culture and employment portfolio, however, the one thing that is needed and we have heard over again is the need for more dollars to be allocated.
As I continued to review this Budget Address, it was good to see a focus to increased funding for recruitment and training local residents for careers in the health and social services area. We have heard many times how the nursing staff in any community are over worked and are constantly under pressure, which does result in burnout and relocation to the south. I hope for the good of our residents that these initiatives will help relieve the stress and pressures that our staff currently face. We must also look at ways that we can assist residents with the many social problems that our communities face. Spousal assault, alcohol and drug abuse are all becoming very prevalent in today's society and we must react to these problems now.
Every year across this country we lose loved ones and property as a result of fire. Over the last number of years we have witnessed many terrible tragedies, communities losing their schools, their stores and houses. We acknowledge the need for a well-trained fire department and good equipment for all communities. Through this Budget Address it looks like we may be heading in the right direction. It is very important to allow communities the ability to protect against fire. I hope future budgets will continue to stress the need for further fire prevention and support.
I have heard that the Down Payment Assistance Program has been a success and it is good to see many residents are taking advantage of this, however, I wonder how many residents in the smaller communities were able to take advantage of this. We must also look for ways to increase housing units within our communities. We need affordable housing for all residents across our territory.
Throughout the next year we have many important issues to deal with. If we can get our people trained as we are attempting to do with the continuation of some programs, we must also be in the position to have jobs available. By supporting and developing local economies within all our communities of the NWT our people will find jobs and will create business opportunities. It is important that we realize everything does not have to be diamond related. We have many areas that local people can create and develop successful businesses within all communities. It is good to see the lustre of diamonds as it is an important part of our lives for many years to come, but there is much more to develop.
Our territory is vast and we are blessed with renewable and non-renewable resources that are waiting for us to utilize and develop. We must work together, to ensure the NWT as a whole prospers not just the large centres. I feel an economic strategy for the territory is essential to a better economic future, however, I also feel this is more important at the local community level and the communities should be encouraged to develop their own strategy, for it is at the community level that most of our economic activities take place.
In closing, I am hopeful that this year's Budget Address covers a good number of solid initiatives and programs that we need to provide for our residents and businesses. However, the one main problem that this government still faces is the lack of dollars to continue to upgrade our infrastructure, rebuild our sagging economy, provide training at all levels. I continue to believe that our government will be able to negotiate a win-win situation with the federal government over the royalties issue. I would also like to congratulate the Honourable Minister of Finance for this year's first, truly, NWT budget. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery April 27th, 1999
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I, too would like to recognize some long-time associates with some of the elders in Yellowknife, such members as Dusty Miller and a long-time resident of Yellowknife, and no stranger to this Assembly, Mr. Pete Fraser from Yellowknife. Thank you, Mr. Speaker
Member's Statement 133-13(7): Passing Of Harry Koyina April 27th, 1999
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This morning we had the honour to share lunch with elders from Yellowknife and area in celebrating the International Year of Older Persons. I would like to welcome all that attended the luncheon and who are also sitting in the gallery today. Today, Mr. Speaker, the Dogrib Nation lost one of its traditional statesman who also happened to be my father-in-law. Mr. Harry Koyina was born on December 10, 1910, and was raised by his father because his mother died when he was born. He lived with his family on the land where they travelled vast distances by birchbark canoes and dog teams up to the Great Bear Lake area. He also hunted and trapped within the Dogrib area travelling up to Snare Lakes, Wha Ti, Rae Lakes and as far as Fort Simpson and Lutselk'e. Mr. Koyina married Laiza Mantla on July 31, 1936, an arranged marriage by the old chief, traditional name was Kw'ahitzo. Together they had 13 children and all were raised on the land. They taught their children the ways of both cultures, strong like two people.
Mr. Koyina worked for Rae Rock Mine when it first opened and were the last family to leave the site after the mine shut down. In the late 1950's Mr. Koyina was a band counsellor and worked very hard to meet and serve the needs of the people for 13 years. Mr. Koyina was a man who strongly supported and saw the importance of education. He also took great pride in looking after his family and was a good provider. He was always there to help his friends, families and those who needed his help. His wife and children as well as 35 grandchildren and 8eight great-grandchildren survived Mr. Koyina All were touched by his love and his traditional knowledge and the skills he had to teach and pass on his knowledge. To this day people called him Kw'ahti. He was a very spiritual elder and will be missed by all. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Member's Statement 126-13(7): Super Soccer Tournament April 26th, 1999
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today, Mr. Speaker, I would like to mention a great event that will take place over this coming weekend in the City of Yellowknife, this of course is the annual Super Soccer Tournament. As we all know this tournament has grown from a few local and regional teams to include teams from all across the two territories. This is a great event that brings many young people together for the purpose of having fun, visiting old friends and making new ones and
participating in the sport they love.
For the past many years the teams to beat have been the Rae-Edzo teams, and I would suspect that this year will be much the same. Rae-Edzo has a very active indoor soccer organization. The youth start playing at a very early age and continue into adulthood. In fact, during the month of May, a team will travel to Germany to compete in a number of tournaments and hopefully come home victorious. It takes great dedication from the coaches and players to continually provide such a good calibre of players.
The community of Rae-Edzo has very good coaches that are very dedicated. These I would like to thank. Without their support and the support of others across our territory we would not have this type of competition, and our youth would not have these types of opportunities. In closing, I encourage all the parents to make an effort to attend this weekend's tournament and show support for our children. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today, Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the ten students that took part in the Aurora College Jewellery and Metalwork Program. Yesterday they showed the public what they have achieved. Unfortunately I was not able to attend their show, I do understand that it was a great success and a few items they made were sold. This alone would make these students feel proud of their accomplishments.
They have worked very hard over the last few months learning this very interesting and rewarding skill. As the Minister stated yesterday, if funding is available this program will continue. I certainly hope that we can find the dollars needed for this as it seems to be a very good program and I am sure the students would like to work with diamonds in the near future.
In closing, I would again like to congratulate these ten students for their hard work and dedication. I am positive they are proud of their work and dedication. I am positive they are proud of their work, as we all are. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This additional $100,000, what is it used for then if out of $400,000 you said you use $300,000 for training? The additional $100,000, where does it go to?
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The Minister's statement on page four and five regarding the strength in the community fire protection service by $400,000, additional funding of $300,000 for firefighting training, I was wondering what type of training he is referring to because when firefighting training comes to mind, to me I always think of forest fire training or something like that. What capacity is the Minster referring to when that kind of money is allocated for firefighting training? Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate the community of Wekweti and their newly formed company Dechi Laot'l Holdings Limited for the successful bid that was award recently to build the Wekweti fire hall. This newly formed company was able to successfully compete against six other contractors. The total contract price for the completion of the Wekweti fire hall came in at $470,137 and the interesting thing about this contract is the fact that the Dechi Laot'l Holdings Limited won it. This is very good news for the community of Wekweti as it will give a number of residents in the community employment and also will provide a boost in the local economy. I again would like to congratulate the community and its company for a job well done. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
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