Last in the Legislative Assembly September 1995, as MLA for Baffin South

Lost his last election, in 1995, with 10% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Question 214-12(7): Training For Aboriginal People March 2nd, 1995

(Translation) This is a question to the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment. We know that the Government Leader said that employment and training is being planned at the present time. I would like to know how long it is going to take to get the program to train the people for employment. Thank you.

Question 213-12(7): Training For Aboriginal People March 2nd, 1995

(Translation) Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Under Members' statements, I made a brief statement this afternoon. The question I have is to the Government Leader. I am not in conflict with the people from the south who are employed in the Northwest Territories at the present time, but there have been a lot of contractors who have come to the communities in the north to work. I know that the aboriginal people have the first priority for employment in their communities. Has there been any training given to the aboriginal people to have more jobs in their own communities and in the north? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Training For Northerners March 2nd, 1995

(Translation) I rise today to speak about employment. As we are all aware, we are having more and more difficulty receiving more money from Ottawa for various programs and government operations.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I would like to say that there have been a lot of comments made here during this session at the Legislative Assembly. Mr. Speaker, I will use myself as an example; even though I don't speak English at all, I have been able to operate heavy equipment for many years. Mr. Speaker, right now, there are so many more requirements that have been placed upon people, in terms of education, certification, et cetera. Even though many of us have never received any formal education or training programs, we were able to operate various mechanical equipment.

Mr. Speaker, we are becoming very concerned as there are more government cutbacks. There are people who are already residents in the NWT; I think that if we are going to increase employment for these people, they have to receive training. Then there will be more local people taking on jobs that open up in the communities. I think that we should be pursuing this with more vigour in the future, so that our young people and our local residents are receiving the training and are being given the first priority to be hired when jobs open up in their communities and in the north. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


Bill 1: Appropriation Act, No. 2, 1995-96Committee Report 4-12(7): Report On The Review Of The March 1st, 1995

(Translation) For some time now we have been putting in this request. It was said that in 1997 we would get our upgrading and we kept getting responses to that effect. Recently, when the Baffin Regional Council was still in existence, this was brought to the attention of the department. People are expecting to see some activity regarding their airstrip. The MLA before my time also brought this up as an issue.

For the people from Lake Harbour who I represent, this is a continuing problem. Like I said in my Member's statement, this continues to be a problem because, as I stated earlier, transportation occurs in our region by air. We are in a mountainous region and the weather is often quite windy. We are dependent on air flights and air activities for transportation. So, like I said, for people to have safe passageways of transportation, particularly those who have to travel on medical leave, our airstrips are very important.

Before something drastic happens, I want you to consider this seriously and hopefully we can get something done with the same goals in 1997 to become a reality in your main estimates. We hope that you keep this as a priority because studies were done on Lake Harbour to see if a new airstrip could be built. So this has been an ongoing issue, and we continue to make the same request even though we realize it would consume quite a bit of funding.

Another factor is that the population continues to grow and the number of people travelling back and forth grows, and we will be expecting to see this become a reality. I realize at this point that it's difficult to commit to the upgrading of our airport, but please consider this seriously. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Bill 1: Appropriation Act, No. 2, 1995-96Committee Report 4-12(7): Report On The Review Of The March 1st, 1995

(Translation) Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just a comment. I was saying that in the east there is a big problem. As you are aware, we live in a mountainous region and tourism is a big part of our economy. In 1997, there were plans to upgrade our airport but it seems to me that there is no money for upgrading under the current plans. Is it true that in 1997 our airport in Lake Harbour will be upgraded? Is that in the plans still? Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Bill 1: Appropriation Act, No. 2, 1995-96Committee Report 4-12(7): Report On The Review Of The March 1st, 1995

(Translation) Mr. Chairman, I have a question with regard to what we were dealing with yesterday. This is going to be directed to the Minister of Transportation. I would like to thank him for the excellent job he has done up to today. I would like to point out that the communities are different, in size and population. Some of the communities have more people, some have fewer people. The smaller communities do not have larger scheduled flights going in to these communities as often as they have in the larger communities. For instance, in my community the airport is very small and because the airport is small only smaller aircraft can utilize the airstrip. We have larger scheduled flights going in on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Another concern I wanted to raise with the Minister of Transportation; of the aircraft going in to Lake Harbour and smaller communities like Lake Harbour, a lot of aircraft that are being used are older models. I would like some consideration put into upgrading airports and airstrips.

I understand that part of this is the responsibility of the federal government, under the Arctic airports, but I would like to convey this message to the Department of Transportation. I want to know if our airport can be upgraded. We have asked for this before, for the future. I understand that in 1997 they are going to be upgrading the airport in Lake Harbour. But we have a lot of problems in our community now. When trying to get extra food for the community store; a lot of times the plane is not able to make it on time. As well, other goods are needed in the community, but because aircraft are too small, they are not able to carry all the goods and supplies that are needed for the community.

It is fortunate that we have not had any major accidents on our airstrip. Mr. Chairman, I will be asking for support to upgrade our airstrip in the near future. Sometimes, because, of the funding being cut, we think that we might not be able to get this airport and other airports in the communities upgraded. There is also the problem of passengers trying to make it home; sometimes they are not able to make it home on a certain flight because of the airstrip being too small.

I am concerned with Lake Harbour in particular and I just wanted to bring this up, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.

Question 205-12(7): Increase To Gasoline Tax March 1st, 1995

(Translation) Thank you, Mr. Speaker. For those of us who live in the smaller isolated communities, there is very little income and there is very little means of transportation. Unless you use barges to supply the communities, this is going to be a concern. When do you figure the gasoline prices will go up? We need the gasoline for transportation and it is difficult for people, as it is, to obtain gasoline. So when will these gasoline rates increase, Mr. Speaker?

Question 205-12(7): Increase To Gasoline Tax March 1st, 1995

(Translation) Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Finance. Here in the north inflation continues to rise, prices continue to increase. Mr. Speaker, now we are aware that gasoline prices are going up. This is very important to the easterners who don't have other ways of transportation and depend on gasoline. With the price increase along with the rental increases becoming effective April 1st, it seems that the federal government is out to get the people in the north.

Mr. Speaker, it was through the federal government that the communities in the north were eventually organized and formed. But it seems to me that inflation is never-ending and forever increasing. My question to the Minister of Finance is concerning inflation and cutbacks. Are these cutbacks and inflation rates set by the federal government or do you also decide in making the cutbacks and inflation rates go up? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery March 1st, 1995

(Translation) Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to recognize one of the former students in Lake Harbour who is now one of the interpreters, Ooleepika Ikkidluak.


New Rent Scale March 1st, 1995

(Translation) Thank you, Mr. Speaker and honourable Members. Because of the things that are happening, people both unemployed and employed, are bound to face more hardship, especially those who are working. Now, Mr. Speaker, we have a growing number of students who are leaving their communities to attend school. We have people entering the workforce. We understand there will be a 30 per cent increase and this is phase I. While this is being discussed, we're also aware across Canada that people are interested in home ownership and it is very difficult to buy your own property.

The rent increases are set to begin April 1st, with a rent increase to 30 per cent. In the following year, this will be increased to 60 per cent and in the third year, it will change to 90 per cent. Mr. Speaker, my last comment is that it will eventually become 100 per cent. With these things happening, people are thinking about the deadline of April 1st. Is there no other solution you can come up with before implementing this on that date? This is a concern for our constituents and we also heard on the news that there was some discussion on TVNC about it. People talked about how many people will have to start looking into buying or moving into other units as long as they have a steady income.

Elders will be paying $2.00 a month for their rent. While that might be the case, people in the workforce still have to deal with the paperwork and deal with a 30 per cent increase on top of everyday utilities such as telephones and oil. This will take a big chip out of people's incomes. On behalf of my constituents, I want to express the need to look for other solutions before you implement the rental increase as of April 1st.

Mr. Speaker, we are not simply against this idea. It is not that we just want to stop the implementation. We need more time to be able to look at other possible options. For those of us who have a good income and who can obtain our own housing, it is not too much of a problem but there are many people who are actually considering quitting their employment to remain in their own housing, to avoid the higher costs. I speak on behalf of the people who rent these units from the housing association. Be reminded that we do not just plan to put an end to this, we want to have some time to look at other options. Mr. Speaker, please give us more time for the people who are renting to see if we cannot look at other options. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.