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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was hay.

Last in the Legislative Assembly November 2015, as MLA for Hay River South

Lost her last election, in 2015, with 35% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Committee Report 18-17(5): Report On The Review Of Bill 47: An Act To Amend The Child And Family Services Act June 3rd, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Recommended Actions

The Standing Committee on Social Programs recommends the following courses of action:

1. that the Department of Health and Social Services completely rewrite the Child and Family Services Act in the 18th Assembly, with renewed emphasis on kinship care and strategies oriented toward mediation, prevention, early intervention and family preservation;

2. that the Department of Health and Social Services take stronger measures to keep children within their families and communities of origin, including devoting additional funding for prevention, early intervention and family-preservation strategies;

3. that the Department of Health and Social Services move swiftly and assertively to build capacity in the area of mediation across the Northwest Territories;

4. that the Department of Health and Social Services cover the cost of hiring and training mediators in order to facilitate more collaborative and favourable outcomes;

5. that the Department of Health and Social Services establish a protocol with Aboriginal organizations for handling sensitive information, striking a balance between the rights of Aboriginal organizations to know what is happening to their children and the privacy rights of children and family members;

6. that the Department of Health and Social Services act immediately to introduce a bill to remove all provisions pertaining to child and family services committees in the act;

7. that the Department of Health and Social Services investigate viable alternatives to child and family services committees that will promote community involvement in the child protection process;

8. that the Department of Health and Social Services investigate the approach whereby the problem parent is removed from the home instead of apprehending the child;

9. that the Department of Health and Social Services provide community-based workshops and healing camps to parents and families as a cost-effective alternative to sending people out for treatment or counselling;

10. that the Department of Health and Social Services work toward building people’s capacity to parent effectively and competently; and

11. that the Government of the Northwest Territories engage in discussions with UNICEF to examine whether this jurisdiction is doing to enough to recognize and promote children’s human rights.

Recommendations

Recommendation 1

That the Government of the Northwest Territories provide a comprehensive response to this report within 120 days.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I pass the reading of the report over to Mr. Moses.

Private Sector Aerial Fire Suppression Fleet June 3rd, 2015

I want to ask if anyone else sees a trend here. This disregard for a private sector company with years of experience and knowledge to bring to the costly and complicated science of fighting fires. This is the mindset of a government bent on increasing government while throwing out the private sector with potentially dire and irreversible consequences.

I pose the question: How does that jibe with the GNWT is open for business? The Northwest Territories is open for business investment and we travel all over the world with that message. How do these actions jibe with that? Mr. Speaker, there’s only 173 days left in this Assembly and all I can say is thank God.

Private Sector Aerial Fire Suppression Fleet June 3rd, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In follow-up to my statement yesterday, my theory about trends coming forward in this government, the private sector is taking a hit at the hands of this government. Yesterday I talked about including stakeholders in private industry who have been on the front line of these sectors for years. Today I want to offer my observations about our government’s latest direction in fighting forest fires.

Buffalo Airways has been involved in that industry for 45 years. Twenty of those 45 years with the CL-215s, named the ducks, and you only have to see them parked on the tarmac to see why they are called the ducks.

Over those 45 years, Buffalo Joe has done everything from smoke patrol, Single Otter water bombing, helicopter water bombing, 10 years of birddogging and 20 years with the 215s. Based on that history, let me go out on a limb here and suggest this is a person and a company that may know a bit about aircraft and a bit about fighting fires.

We heard in Committee of the Whole, the last time we considered the capital infrastructure, all of the things that are wrong with the 215s such as access to avgas, an aging fleet, the turnaround time if they’re too far from a sufficiently sized body of water. We heard that the new proposed fleet of 802s would be the ideal solution for fighting fires here in the North.

A government-owned solution grounding a fleet of privately owned aircraft, we made every argument we could think of to dissuade this government and this Minister from dismantling this tried and proven fleet in our northern arsenal from fighting fire. We even suggested a hybrid approach: add the 802s but keep the 215s, as each aircraft has a very different capability and application. But no, this Minister will hear nothing of it.

Fast forward one year and already Alberta has lost two 802s. Two accidents, two planes down. One fatality in these single-manned 802s with floats that were never intended for the task of fighting a big fire with smoke updrafts and the restricted maneuverability of adding floats to an aircraft designed for fair-weather crop dusting, short hauls and small fires. But the 215s, like the DC3s and DC4s, are flying tanks meant for heavy payload and can fly into the kind of atmospheric conditions that are created by a large fire.

I want to ask if anyone else sees a trend here, Mr. Speaker.

I’d like to seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement, please.

---Unanimous consent granted

Ministerial Performance On The Energy Strategy June 2nd, 2015

We all know what the definition of a dictatorship is, so I invite you to stay tuned. I say that personal vendettas and agendas are going to come out. You are going to see them in the next six months. I cannot stop it. The only power that can stop it is this side of the House. I personally can’t alone do anything about it, but I ask you to stay tuned.

When we were meeting in Caucus this morning, when we decided on our schedules and what we’re going to do, I personally, with my own ears – and I do not make this up – heard Mr. Miltenberger talk about the fact that we are leaving here Thursday and not coming back until September 29th . These

were the words: “Four months of no oversight.” Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Ministerial Performance On The Energy Strategy June 2nd, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today not to speak on the theme day today of hydraulic fracturing that has been very eloquently and adequately covered by my colleagues. I stand today on a matter that I consider very, very serious. I have said in the past, when we have considered leadership debates, that I am not a proponent of midterm reviews. If I have something to say, I will stand up and say it at the appropriate time. Today I’m going to do that. I am going to make commentary of one of my colleagues who sits in the Cabinet, a colleague who, like myself, is serving in his fifth term in this Legislature.

The level and degree of disrespect and contempt for this side of the House recently has risen to an all new level. It wasn’t until today, after we were departing the Caucus meeting, that it finally occurred to me what was going on. This is in relationship to a specific concern that we have had about developing an energy policy, a global energy policy for this government so that everybody would know where they fit into that plan.

This government, vis a vis this Minister, has refused to sit down and communicate with a private sector company that’s been in the Northwest Territories for 60 years, to see what they might bring to that discussion in developing an energy plan. Not only has he refused to sit down with them, he has refused to sit down with us.

Point in case is this: We were going to have a discussion. We were going to have a briefing. One week before we had a briefing, the government made a major decision which is now water under the bridge. It’s a moot point. The night before we were going to have a briefing, this Cabinet released a press release and then comes the next day to this all-wonderful anticipated briefing with absolutely nothing to share. Now, add to that the fact that they are actually going to table their response to the

energy charrette in this House on Thursday. What a coincidence. The last day of session.

Now, if Members cannot see a pattern and trend here, I’m sorry. If I am the only one who is going to stand up and say this, I will still call a spade a spade. This is an affront and an insult to consensus government and the Members on this side of the House. I spoke to it briefly last week. I said it’s a fail.

What also baffles me even more than that is how did Mr. Miltenberger convince all his Cabinet colleagues that this was an okay way to do business, because it certainly is not.

I’m sorry if I seem a little emotional about this, but I take great pride in consensus government and this institution, and I do get offended and I do get passionate and I get upset when it is confronted in the way that it has been most recently in this matter.

I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

Question 833-17(5): Morel Mushroom Harvesting Concerns May 29th, 2015

I agree with all that. Thank you to the department for all of the workshops and all the awareness they’ve brought to this potential remarkable industry for the Northwest Territories, renewable resource industry. But the fact is, we have many, many non-residents who have come to the Northwest Territories. It’s like a mushroom rush out there. There is no registry. There is no place to sign in. We don’t know their names. We don’t know where they’re from. We don’t know who their next of kin are. There are all kinds of dangers in the bush and that’s where these people are going to be operating and hanging out and camping.

You can’t come into the Northwest Territories and take one fish out of our rivers or lakes without a

non-resident fishing licence. You can’t hunt, you can’t kill an animal, yet you can come in here and be part of what is being touted as come and make $500 or $1,000 a day.

Why can’t there be a registry of some kind set up at the border where they are all coming in on rubber tire traffic? Why can’t there be some kind of a registry that the RCMP could have access to, to see who these folks are? So we could contact families if they went missing, just like you do when you are going on a canoe trip somewhere. You register with somebody, at least. It would be really nice to know who they are and where they are.

Question 833-17(5): Morel Mushroom Harvesting Concerns May 29th, 2015

I would like to ask the Minister of ITI to share with the Assembly the risk-benefit analysis that the department has undertaken to determine how this territory would gain from allowing hundreds of non-resident harvesters to pick mushrooms on the land who will not pay income tax to the GNWT and, at the same time, will put the territory at great risk either for rescuing them or dealing with their emergencies or, as I said, starting fires that we know costs millions of dollars to suppress. What is the cost-benefit analysis of that being done? It’s a great idea. Come

on up here and pick mushrooms, but it’s worrisome. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 833-17(5): Morel Mushroom Harvesting Concerns May 29th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In response to Minister Ramsay’s statement today on morel mushrooms, I have a few questions. We have seen the morel mushroom pickers converge on Hay River. It’s an interesting group, the ones who are from outside of the Northwest Territories. You can recognize them readily. “Hi. You must be here to pick mushrooms.” That’s what I usually say to them. I can’t tell you why I recognize them, but anyway, they are coming in and the Minister has

indicated that this is an industry that could result in millions of dollars for harvesters. They say the department has offered on-site workshops.

I guess I have some concerns. It sounds like even from the Minister’s statement it’s creating a little tourism because there’s no rain, so there are no mushrooms to pick. So we’ve got all these people hanging around. So, good on Kakisa for taking an opportunity to do a little cultural awareness. That’s really great.

But anybody coming into the Northwest Territories who wants to fish, harvest firewood, transport goods into our territory, be a vendor in our territory, or even wants to go on a trip on the land, they generally have to check in with somebody. So here’s my concern. You have a lot of people from down south. No doubt the Northerners may be aware of some of the dangers of being in the bush, but these people say they’ve got camps set up all over the place. I say, “Where’s your camp?” “Oh, it’s 150 miles down, you know, the Kakisa River, or wherever.” I’m concerned that, yes, this may generate a lot of money, but how much is it going to cost us when one campfire or one cigarette butt goes into our extremely dry forest and burns the Northwest Territories down? Thank you.

Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery May 29th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I missed the name of the young man for whom we applauded, but I just want to say there is a leader. As soon as Minister Ramsay started calling out the names, he pointed at every single person that was being introduced. They maybe were shy to introduce themselves, but he did that. Hey, you need one in every crowd. Way to go. Welcome.

25th Annual Territorial Track And Field Championships May 29th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I’d like to talk about what is coming up next week in Hay River, the 25th Annual Track and Field

Championships in Hay River, territorial championships.

This Territorial Track and Field Championship always takes place during our session at this time of year. Every year the Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs charters an airplane to take Members who wish to attend the opening ceremony down to Hay River for this event. I’d like to thank the Minister for making that opportunity available again this year.

I would encourage Members to attend. If you have never attended the opening ceremonies of the Track and Field Championships, it is very hard to describe to you how exciting it is as those school teams parade into the arena under the banner of their school. Small schools, big schools, little people, seniors who are participating in the Track and Field Championships, it is a very exciting time for everyone. Those children are very pleased to see their MLAs and a face from home on that stage as they parade by.

This year, already the weather has been beautiful in Hay River. It’s been very warm. We’ve seen the little people out practising on the track. Every time I drive by, I want to stop and take a picture. Also, we’ve seen the loyal volunteers who prepare the track and make it ready for the events. They’ve been out in force this year as well. I don’t want to name them for fear of missing someone. It is that core group of volunteers which we will build on which gives you confidence because of their commitment for the bigger event that we will be hosting in Hay River and Fort Smith later.

I would like to say that I will be going home to the opening ceremony. I probably won’t be coming back for the last day of session next week. It’s really too bad that we couldn’t just all stay down there because right after the Track and Field Championships, they have a masters or seniors or corporate challenge. Some year wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could enter a team of MLAs in that event and we could show them we don’t just talk, but we can walk the talk? That would be really exciting. Unfortunately, I know business will take most Members back to the Chamber here on Thursday.

Mr. Speaker, all the best to all the athletes. Hundreds of them will converge on Hay River, athletes, chaperones, coaches, parents. We welcome them all and are looking forward to a wonderful week and we hope the weather holds. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.