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Roles

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Last in the Legislative Assembly September 2007, as MLA for Weledeh

Won his last election, in 2003, by acclaimation.

Statements in the House

Question 166-15(6): Deh Cho Bridge Project August 21st, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I'll answer in a general way. Up to now and including the time when the financing is in place for the bridge for the bridge corporation, then the GNWT has been up-fronting the costs. We have taken out a loan in advance of it, but that will be recouped once the bridge is built. All of the costs are to be borne by the operation of the bridge, and, Mr. Speaker, I'd venture to say that includes any liabilities, would be borne by the Bridge Corporation and would be paid for out of their profits from operating the bridge. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 166-15(6): Deh Cho Bridge Project August 21st, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We don't have to go back to the trucking companies or the industry again. It's still the same amount as we said it was in 2002 indexed. So that $6 is now $6.75 or so. By the time the bridge is built in 2010 it will be something different. That's the same deal that was offered to the industry and trucking companies in 2002. It's still the same deal. Mr. Speaker, it's very simple. It's not hard to figure out.

What has the cost of the total project gone up? Well, there was a presentation done to the committee on it. I can give the Member another copy of it if he wants to take another look. If he wants to come to my office, I'll lead him through it. Mr. Speaker, if the whole committee wants to come to my office, I'll do it with the whole committee, but, Mr. Speaker, we know the cost has gone up. We also know that the population's gone up; we know that there are now soon to be three diamond mines operating north of the river; they've gone underground; they're using more fuel. There's lots of reasons why or how there's going to be the dollars to pay for the bridge. There's more tonnage going over that bridge than we ever expected. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 166-15(6): Deh Cho Bridge Project August 21st, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm glad to hear the Member has a sense of humour and I certainly hopes he takes up the offer to come to the opening.

Mr. Speaker, I don't know what happened. I think the Member has convinced himself that there's some devious plan here and that the cost to consumers has gone up. Well, he's listening to himself too much.

---Laughter

Mr. Speaker, let me say again, let me say the cost to consumers, the cost to industry, is $6 a tonne based on 2002 dollars, or $6.75 per tonne. It doesn't matter what the total cost of the bridge is. That's how much it's going to cost those who use it. It's $6.75. It doesn't matter what the total cost is. Mr. Speaker, the balance is paid for by others. Let me explain that again. It's $6.75 a tonne to consumers. There was a report done by the co-op stores and others in 2002 saying this is a savings. That remains.

Mr. Speaker, the other money that goes into it, we, as a government, are putting the costs for operating the ferry and the costs for building and maintaining the ice road into the pool of money to pay for this bridge. That will go in annually. That is indexed, as is the $6.75.

Mr. Speaker, in addition to that, the federal government are putting a little bit of money right now through the Aboriginal Business Development Corporation. They are also considering the P3 money and we hope they provide that. In the event that they don't provide that, the government, out of our increased fiscal resources, are putting up to $2 million in to pay for our additional costs to balance it out. So this doesn't go directly on the backs of consumers. Mr. Speaker, how much is that $2 million worth? Well, if you took 25,000 people living north of the river, then that's roughly $80 a person per year, but you can't do it that simply because there's also the benefit to the mines. So that $2 million could be argued it costs somebody something, but it's going to be marginal, Mr. Speaker, but that's the only piece that's in addition to what was there in 2002. It's still the $6 in 2002 dollars, Mr. Speaker. It's very simple. It's easy. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 165-15(6): Sidedoor Proposal For Youth Programming August 21st, 2007

Mr. Speaker, yes, she can take my answer to mean that we will not let this one drop. We will see if there's another way of helping this group. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 165-15(6): Sidedoor Proposal For Youth Programming August 21st, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, we will take a look at it. As I said, it is a good program. I like what they're doing with young people. Mr. Speaker, I don't think the government warehouse is the only space. We do have other space in the GNWT. We might be able to look at something else or work out a deal with the city somehow. I don't know and without knowing too much about what's out there, you know, we have facilities out at the airport, we've got something that we would like to work with this group on. But, Mr. Speaker, unfortunately there's no easy answer to this one right now. Thank you.

Question 165-15(6): Sidedoor Proposal For Youth Programming August 21st, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have taken this issue up with the Department of Public Works who are responsible for the government warehouse, which is the facility the ministry was interested in. I want to acknowledge first the good work that the ministry does with young people and the efforts they've made on this skateboard park idea and King of Kings competition that they're putting on. Mr. Speaker, it's all good work for young people.

Unfortunately, when we took a look at the government warehouse then, there were several issues; the primary one being just space. There just was not the space to be able to accommodate what they were wanting to do there. There were also issues that could have been overcome; things like security and safety and liability and insurance and so on. Those are all things we could resolve, but the problem was with space. Having said that, Mr. Speaker, we don't want to let this drop. I want to see if there are ways that we can encourage the city to make more space available. Mr. Speaker, I just signed a letter to the proponents of this proposal just before noon saying that we would not be able to make space available in the warehouse. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 163-15(6): Status Of Staff Housing Initiative In Behchoko August 21st, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I will undertake to have a report, an update to the Member, before the end of the month from the regional director on where we're at with the discussions on the transfer of positions, the creation of more job opportunities in Behchoko. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 163-15(6): Status Of Staff Housing Initiative In Behchoko August 21st, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am sure that the regional director is working with the Behchoko leadership on this one. I'm not sure exactly what the Member is asking. When it comes to housing, then, yes, we definitely are working through the local housing authority, community services agency and also with the Behchoko government on that. Mr. Speaker, there are a number of units going into each of the communities. In Behchoko there are 33 units that will be going in there over the next couple of years. On office space, I'm not sure of any specific discussions that are happening on that front. Thank you.

Question 163-15(6): Status Of Staff Housing Initiative In Behchoko August 21st, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We are continuing to build houses in all of the regions through the affordable housing initiative. We don't build housing specifically for staff but we're building affordable housing that people can either rent...We also build public housing that people could continue to rent. Mr. Speaker, I can give the breakdown of where we are with the whole North Slave and possibly by community. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 163-15(6): Status Of Staff Housing Initiative In Behchoko August 21st, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The regional director has been dealing with this issue; he has been looking at which staff positions can be transferred, the availability of staff housing and the availability of office space. Mr. Speaker, I don't have an up-to-date report on exactly where that's at. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.