Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I hope she's still here because I do really struggle sitting where I sit -- yeah, okay, excellent. I'd like to recognize my constituent Kate Reid. Kate is the president of the YWCA, and I'm super excited for the opening of the family centre. Welcome, Kate.
In the Legislative Assembly
- Her favourite word was know.
Last in the Legislative Assembly October 2023, as MLA for Great Slave
Lost her last election, in 2023, with 26% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery(reversion) October 4th, 2023
Question 1619-19(2): Homelessness October 4th, 2023
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I speak unanimous consent to return to recognition of visitors in the gallery. Thank you.
Thank you. Mr. Speaker, the abuses and violations committed and condoned by the Government of Canada against Indigenous people and, in particular, women, girls, and 2SLGBTQIPA+ people, is genocide. These abuses and violations have resulted in the denial of safety, security, and human dignity for Indigenous people and are the root causes of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQIPA+ people. Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBFQIPA+ people are forced to confront violence on a daily basis and live in a world where perpetrators act with impunity. The steps to end and redress this genocide must be no less monumental than the combination of systems and actions that has worked to maintain colonial violence for generations. We must address the historical, multigenerational, and intergenerational trauma, and social and economic marginalization of Indigenous people. We must break the status quo and stop ignoring the agency and expertise of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQIPA+ people.
The Calls for Justice arise from international and domestic human and Indigenous rights laws, including the Charter, the Constitution, and the honour of the Crown. As such, Canada has a legal obligation to fully implement these Calls for Justice and to ensure Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBFQIPA+ people live in dignity. First Nations, Inuit, and Metis families can raise their children with the same safety, security, and human rights that non-Indigenous families do.
Mr. Speaker, past efforts in this area have been reactive rather than preventative, which is a significant barrier to addressing the root causes of violence. Further, insufficient political will continues to be a roadblock. Proper prioritization and resourcing of solutions by governments must come with real partnerships with Indigenous peoples that support self-determination in a decolonizing way. The Calls for Justice represent a path forward towards ending Canada's genocide and to transforming the systemic and societal values that have worked to maintain colonial violence. The Calls for Justice aren't just about institutions or governments, although they do have foundational obligations to uphold. There is a role for everyone, both in the short and long-term. Individuals, institutions, and governments must all play a part. I encourage everyone to read the Calls to Action and to understand and, most importantly, to act on their roles in them."
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, and my colleagues, indulge me for a few minutes here. I did have to speak to this bill as I have been contacted by a couple constituents, as well as an association, to express their concerns.
So the Association of Technologists out of Alberta are concerned with this bill going forward and the lack of -- I'm not going to say this word right -- autonomy. That's not the right word. But the separation for the technicians themselves from the technologists under the act.
While at this point, Mr. Speaker, it is too late to -- and even when we were in Committee of the Whole to change this act, I did want to speak a little bit to some of the concerns that they have and maybe perhaps give them a little bit of reassurance that this is not going to be an issue.
So, first of all, Mr. Speaker, the Northwest Territories population in this area cannot support two organizations. We already struggle from a volunteer perspective and to have people employed and engaged in this type of work, the industry cannot support having two separate distinct organizations.
Within the proposal or within this law, the technicians and technologists would actually be full NAPEG members. So they would be no different within the organization than any other engineer or geoscientist, geophysicist, and they would have the same voting rights. They would be able to sit on council. They could be the president. And they would be able to act and participate in any manner that any engineer or any geoscientist would be able to do so.
Unfortunately, the concerns were raised with us at the very last minute, the 11th hour, and it was too late for us to do anything with respect to the bill. However, a lot of the concerns that have been raised by my constituents and others will be fleshed out in the regulations. And the good thing about this bill, Mr. Speaker, is that nothing can go ahead without the say so of the technicians and the technologists. So they will be involved with creating the regulations for themselves. And if they don't agree to it, then it doesn't happen. So I think that should give some reassurance to those in the territory, and I believe there's 37 of them registered currently under ASET in Alberta that, you know, they are going to have a say. This isn't a matter of engineers regulating them and directing and controlling them. Really, there are too many public safety and modernization items in this act to lose it now, things like limited licenses as well as the mandatory continuing professional development.
So I just felt that it was necessary that we speak to that, that those concerns were heard. However, at this point, the good of this bill needs to happen, and I want to say that as one of the last weeks of this sitting and, as an engineer, I'm proud to be part of having this bill be modernized and brought in. So thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Thank you, Madam Chair. And first of all, I just want to say I appreciate there's a lot of nuances to this bill, and there's been a lot of things that are needed and a long time coming, but I am going to belabour a little bit of a point on the bottle depot as well with my colleague. And I do recognize that it is not the sole intent of what we are here today to do.
But that being said, the entire reason to create a second bottle depot in the downtown area was to serve the vulnerable population that is using this as a source of income. And so for it to have a five-day delay -- and, really, the reason we've been told in the past was due to security and such. I just can't find that to be an acceptable answer. I second what my colleague said about looking for more of an automated way now that we're passed pandemics and evacuations and are finding staffing to be an issue for a lot of lower paying jobs in the city and territory. I'm excited that this potentially could go to other communities besides Yellowknife. But I just don't see how we could put in a second depot without having them be able to pay cash out. It just then makes things easier for someone like myself, and it's kind of defeating or not really hitting the purpose, which was to create a space downtown where people could get this money quickly.
I understand, yeah, the department's reasons for that. But, anyway, I just wanted to throw my support behind trying to find out some other solution to this besides what is being currently proposed.
That being said, I'm very happy to hear that we're moving towards more of a streamlined and sustainable waste industry sector, however you want to call it. I don't really have a lot of questions about this, other than I support this bill and just hope that maybe we could be innovative and creative here and come up with something different so that people aren't trekking across town to get $5 and change. Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you, Madam Chair. I just want to echo what my colleague from Yellowknife North said. I want to respect the process of the intergovernmental working group in this. I think this is the exact example of where we did run out of the time at the end. I know that the Minister was open to having it go back, but we were just not able to have that fulsome conversation. It does speak to some of the motions we made -- or recommendations we made to have the conversations start sooner with the standing committee and having that be a lot more sort of fluid in that conversation back and forth between the three groups. And I think in the next one, we'll see that be even smoother and, as such, I won't be supporting this motion either. Thank you.
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters October 3rd, 2023
Thank you, Madam Chair. I agree with the things that were brought forward by my colleague for Frame Lake. It was quite an interesting process back and forth with the department and the and the working group, the technical working group, the Indigenous governments and representatives. I had the pleasure of being able to chair a few of the meetings which was -- helped me to stretch my legislative muscles and work through that kind of a process. And as you can see, the number of motions that we brought forward as a result of just how much back and forth there really had been. I agree that we likely ran out of time to do anything further and to really tease out a lot of the nuances that perhaps committee was really excited to do so.
Given that the information we had heard from communities when we travelled was, for me, really thought provoking and along a whole different sort of line of thinking than maybe I would have thought before, and a big piece of that that I want to speak to here even though it does come up in motions, was the piece around the Indigenous science and knowledge and that incorporation into each community or area's ability to fight their own fires and to be in charge or control of their own fire management and forestry management plans.
A lot of the elders spoke to us about in the past how fire would be dealt with, that they would come with shovels and buckets and put out every sort of area that they found and in such manner they cared for the land.
Over the years, in the last decades, fire science has changed. I mentioned in the past that I grew up in British Columbia which was a huge forestry province. I remember when the government decided to stop fighting the forest fires for fear that it was changing the ecosystems of the forests in BC. The example given was the pine beetle that destroyed a lot of BC's timber industry. And at that time, a decision was made from what they said was an ecological perspective but also financial perspective because it was costly to go out into the forests and fight each and every single one of them. But what BC has that we don't have is that BC has fortified and built up municipalities.
They have municipalities with fire departments. They have resources within their own municipal governments to deal with fires when they do arrive on their doorstep. We don't have any of that in the Northwest Territories save maybe the capital city and a couple of the regional centres. And even then, it's clear that they were woefully underprepared and understaffed, under capacity for any of what's happened in the past while.
In 2014, ENR did lessons learned on the fire season that year in which we saw unprecedented amounts of our forests burn. At the time, ENR presented to the government -- or sorry, to the engineers and geoscientists on the fires and, quote, and said, that the regeneration of the fire of the forest was not the same any longer because the intensity of the fires in 2014 was so great that the regenerative seeds that were needed to come and bring back the forest and the plant life were all scalded or scorched and were not able to come back in the same manner.
So the fires in 2014, the department was aware that they had altered the landscape and the climate and the vegetation of the territory irrevocably at that time. So now fast forward, we're sitting here in 2023, nine years later, and we didn't seem to learn any lessons from that and instead we've allowed fires to burn. My colleague has spoken often to the resources that her people rely on that are in the -- sorry, in the forest and how decisions made by this government has basically wiped out huge areas of their resources because they're not considered to have the same value as a building or a structure.
So I understand there's a large complexity around fire science and things are evolving. However, it appeared to me, and going out on this act and being part of this committee, that this department did not bring in the general public of the Indigenous people in the communities. I do appreciate that the working group had a lot of input here, and that for me was the only saving grace of this act that gives me any faith, that it was done at least with some degree of ability to be successful. And I know a lot of the back and forth we had was around varying nuanced conversation raising the issue of the fact that people are not going to be carrying ID into the bush necessarily. So if they're stopped by an officer and need to prove indigeneity, you know, they may not have that card with them. And then I found out even that some of the communities don't even -- or Indigenous organizations don't even use a card. They know who their people are. They have a list, and it's just a matter of a confirmation. So that was really something new to me.
So that being said, I think what gives me assurance, though, is that many of these details will be fleshed out in the regulations and that the assurances from the department that the same collaborative approach with the technical working group will be held when the regulations are developed. It is what gives me the faith, at the very least, that this act will go forward with Indigenous people and their use of the land in mind. And I really want to urge and hope that the people that are on that group and the people in the department really look at what has happened here this year and really start to analyze whether or not this idea of letting everything burn until it's on our doorstep is really a smart one. Thank you, Madam Chair.
Question 1604-19(2): Agricultual Growth October 3rd, 2023
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It's not often that Cabinet proves my point, so I do appreciate that there is a third department that is now involved in this.
I think, again, it just speaks a little bit to what I was saying before, that there needs to be a sole direction, there needs to be a plan. We really need to be tackling this and especially given the food insecurity that people are facing. And, Mr. Speaker, I'm sure you're not immune to this. I am on a weekly basis hit up by residents of this territory for money to buy groceries for their children. And I know from speaking with my colleagues that I'm not the only one that this happens to. So when I look at this from a standpoint of mental health and getting young people involved and connecting them back to the land and, as well, even just things like food wastage is minimized when you're actually growing your own food. That one tomato I grew this season, I am going to eat that with gusto, I'll tell you, so.
So can the Minister speak a little bit further about sort of the impacts of the last few years on the agri-food industry. I'm glad to hear there's been some growth but the biggest complaint I heard was around heating the greenhouses, fuel costs, those types of problems or issues that are common across all of our industries. So could the Minister speak to that a little bit, given that we now also don't have the heating fuel rebate any longer. Thank you.
Question 1604-19(2): Agricultual Growth October 3rd, 2023
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I appreciate the Minister's response. But it did reiterate one of the concerns I raised in my statement, which is that this is an area where it does bounce between departments, or it's split over two, and like the immigration file we see that that does not generally work. You know, and if anyone is listening that will be around in the 20th, I do think there needs to be a Minister responsible for food security. I don't think we can go any longer without having somebody solely responsible for that who has to answer questions for it.
So next, can the Minister advise if there's been any grant programs that are available to residents or communities in those harder areas to grow? So I'm talking more about my colleague, say from Nunakput, or areas where they're not known to be agriculturally-minded in the past. What kind of programs or initiatives are being taken by the department to increase growing food in those areas? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Question 1604-19(2): Agricultual Growth October 3rd, 2023
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Well, for once, that's great news to hear in this House. I'm always glad to hear that we're getting more federal money than less. I guess given that we've had these back to back years of quite terrible environmental conditions for our growers who are predominantly in the South Slave, you know, I just want to sort of reiterate that it is becoming quite concerning. So can the Minister or the department -- do they track the amount of, say, community gardens and greenhouses that are present throughout the territory? Like, how is the department supporting that initiative? Under food security, it's a little bit of a different one because each little bit of money could make a huge amount of impact so I'm just curious to know what way is the department kind of keeping track of that impact? Thank you.