In the Legislative Assembly


Historical Information Kevin O'Brien is no longer a member of the Legislative Assembly.

Last in the Legislative Assembly March 1999, as MLA for Kivallivik

Won his last election, in 1995, with 54% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Motion 14-13(6): To Rescind Resolution 12-13(6), To Adopt The Recommendations Of The Conflict Of Interest Commissioner In Td 37-13(6) And, To Establish A Review Panel On Conflict Of Interest Legislation, Policies And Guidelines December 6th, 1998

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, in reference to this motion, I do not think that any Member of this House takes any joy in supporting this motion. On the same token, what are we to do. Mr. Speaker, I believe that the general public expects us to deal with this motion as it was put forward and our constituents believe that we must review what has been presented to us and act accordingly. As a result, Mr. Speaker, I will be supporting this motion. Thank you.

Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters December 6th, 1998

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, some of the comments that we have heard in this House since the debate on this issue has started, would beg one to ask the question as to what Assembly some of the Members of this House have been sitting in for the past few years, in reference to their comments regarding the report.

Mr. Chairman, it appears to me that some Members in this Assembly are in denial regarding this report and are busy with their little brooms, trying to sweep the conclusions of it under the rug. Mr. Chairman, this is not acceptable and it is not in the public interest. Mr. Chairman, it should be noted that many long and hard hours have gone into this document, as a result of the 17,000 pages of testimony and evidence and the appearance of some 50 subpoenaed witnesses. Mr. Chairman, before I comment further, I want to qualify my preceding comments by saying that, although I have had disagreements and differences of opinion in this House with Mr. Morin, I have blocked these discussions and disagreements out of my mind and I assure you that my comments are made in an objective, fair, honest and impartial manner.

Mr. Chairman, when the decision was made by the Conflict of Interest Commissioner to move forward with the public hearings on these complaints made by the Member from Hay River, Jane Groenewegen, I made a decision to stand up in this House with Mr. Krutko and Mr. Ootes to support a motion that would have the Premier take a leave of his duties as Premier while this investigation was being conducted. My reasons for this, to me, Mr. Chairman, were obvious. I thought it would be unfair for Members of the Premier's staff, whether they be directly or indirectly related or working with the Premier's office, I thought it would be unfair that they would be put under this pressure in the event that they may have to testify regarding this issue and in reference to the Premier. After all, Mr. Chairman, the Premier is their boss.

I feel very strongly that the former Premier, Mr. Morin, did not act alone and for this reason I feel that he should not be ladened with the consequences of this report solely. If, as it appears, Ministers, senior bureaucrats and deputy ministers played a role in misleading or misrepresenting the truth in this inquiry, then it stands to reason that Mr. Morin should not bear the consequences of his actions alone.

Mr. Chairman, another issue that stands out in my mind is that of the public. Is the fact that some Members of this Legislature have in a direct or indirect manner refused to accept this report in its entirety. Some have inferred that the report was unfair and biased. Mr. Chairman, when I look at this report, and I spent a fair bit of time reviewing it, I made a decision to remove Mr. Morin's name from the report and Ms. Crawford's. I replaced them with Mr. X and Mrs. Y. Mr. Chairman, when you do this, you can see very quickly that the report and its conclusive testimony and recommendations would be reasonable for any average person to accept. It would be very difficult, Mr. Chairman, for the average person to not agree with this report. This report was further complicated by the conflicting statements that were made, in many cases, and Mr. Chairman, the very poor selective memory of certain witnesses and certain government officials, in reference to their testimony.

Mr. Chairman, on the weekend I had the opportunity to speak with a former Minister of this Assembly. This individual commented to me and stated that as far as he was concerned some Members of this House, some Members of Cabinet, are not in touch with reality, they are not in touch with the public and their concerns and that they will be demanding that corrective measures be taken in reference to the conclusions of this report.

Mr. Chairman, the corrective measures that they speak of will be decided later on in this Chamber. The comment was also made by this former Minister that we must ensure that this sort of behaviour does not resurface again in the new Nunavut government or the western government.

Mr. Chairman, the Premier has gone on record in this Assembly to state that he did not have the opportunity to defend himself regarding the allegations. I find that statement difficult to comprehend, given the fact that he testified at a public hearing regarding the various complaints made against him. He had plenty of opportunity to defend himself, with the help of a number of lawyers that were paid for by this government.

Mr. Chairman, I will now move forward on some specific details in conflicting statements that are found in this report. Mr. Chairman, it was stated in this Assembly by the Minister responsible for the FMBS that Mr. Bailey did not violate the post-employment policy, that Mr. Bailey had no knowledge that would relate to any contracts that he was bidding on. This, Mr. Chairman, is extremely difficult to believe as Mr. Bailey was the highest ranking deputy minister in this government and sat in on numerous meetings that would involve contract discussions, sole contracts and numerous other issues.

Mr. Chairman, this comment was made in this House as late as last week, that Mr. Bailey did not violate this government's post-employment policy. Mr. Chairman, in the records, in the testimony given by Mr. Bailey, he, himself, indicated that he was privy to inside information that related to various contracts. One in particular, Mr. Chairman, is the information for the contract that relates to Mr. Bailey obtaining a petroleum consulting contract that he, himself, states that he was privy to inside information and discussions prior to receiving this contract. Still, there are Members in this House, honourable Members that state that Mr. Bailey did not violate the post-employment policy.

I ask you, how can this be? Does Mr. Bailey have a twin? Mr. Bailey would also have been aware of the office space plan that was being studied prior to being awarded an $8 million long-term lease by this government that nobody else could even get close to. Is this a coincidence? I think not. This lease arrangement blatantly ignored the policy of this government, a policy that was put on hold, that would see no long-term leases for any individual or company, until division.

There are many issues, Mr. Chairman, that have not been totally resolved in this report. The most critical one, I believe, is the land issue regarding the Deninu Ku'e Band. This issue, Mr. Chairman, the band was given a long-term lease by this government. The land in question was supposedly sold to the band by Mr. Morin. The issue was further confused by the fact that Mr. Morin indicated that he removed himself from the meeting after declaring a conflict of interest. The records of that Cabinet meeting, the minutes of the meeting, show no support of this declaration. As a result, the issue on the agenda of that day was passed and that being that a lease would be given to the band on the completion or the construction of this office complex that they were contemplating. Once again, Mr. Chairman, the issue was further confused and complicated, if I read this right in the Commissioner's report, that states that the reference to the land that was being sold was not referenced to Mr. Morin, but was being referenced to the land that was owned by the Northern Store Company. One has to look at this and say, what action did the Cabinet vote on? Was the land owned by Mr. Morin or was the land owned by the Northern Store? The inference is there that land that was identified in the documents during that Cabinet meeting was land that was owned by the Northern Store Company.

Mr. Chairman, that in itself, to me, would be very misleading to the Members of Cabinet that voted on this motion. I guess more damage would be the fact that how did this information get to Cabinet? Who prepared this document? Why is it so duplistic? Mr. Chairman, there are many questions unanswered here and I believe what really has to be done is the review of this inquiry should be widened to incorporate any individual, whether from this House or from this government, that in some way inferred or passed on information that was inaccurate, false, and misleading. This, Mr. Chairman, is unacceptable.

Mr. Chairman, even as I speak here today there are honourable Members across the floor who find my comments or statements unimportant or funny. I assure you, Mr. Chairman, that is not my intent. My statements and my comments are very serious and they were brought forward by the general public and the people of my riding.

Mr. Chairman, I am going to forgo the rest of my prepared text and just briefly speak about what has happened here over the last number of years. Mr. Chairman, there have been many occasions when questions were asked by Members from this side of the House, by myself, Mr. Picco, Mr. Ootes, Mr. Krutko, and these questions were treated with disdain almost to the point of poisonous. Mr. Chairman, my feeling is that, just maybe, if some of these questions and comments were treated in a fair, open and honest manner that we would not be in this mess we are in today with this very embarrassing situation. Still, Mr. Chairman, Members across the floor still act in the same manner. Have we not learned anything about the recommendations, the testimony and conclusions of the Commissioner's report? That concerns me, Mr. Chairman. I am aware that some people from this side of the House may even have been threatened, Mr. Chairman, with reference to how they speak and what they speak of regarding the outcome of this conflict report.

Mr. Chairman, it would make one think that we are living in third world conditions here. I believe, Mr. Chairman, that we have to take the Commissioner's report very seriously and deal with it accordingly. I strongly believe that Mr. Morin should not wear this alone. If anybody, any individual that is connected with this House or this government, if they provided false information they should be dealt with. We are moving toward division, the creation of a new territory, Nunavut, and the Western Territory, and I think we want to ensure the people that this sort of behaviour and these sorts of decisions will not be tolerated in the future. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


Member's Statement 236-13(6): Passing Of David Tagoona December 6th, 1998

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I raise on a very sad note. I would like to acknowledge and I know this may come as a shock to you and some of the Members here, acknowledge the death of Mayor David Tagoona of Baker Lake. Mayor Tagoona was in town this weekend on meetings and while here passed away. Mayor Tagoona was a well respected community leader who gave much of himself to the community and his family. He will be greatly missed. Mr. Speaker, I would ask that you join with me to offer your condolences and prayers for the family. Thank you.

Question 256-13(6): Nunavut And Manitoba Land Dispute December 3rd, 1998

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, following up to my earlier question, I wonder if Minister Antoine, the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, will provide the update I was seeking regarding the land dispute between the Dene band in northern Manitoba regarding the land that is encompassed in Nunavut? Thank you.

Question 254-13(6): Update On Land And Resources Dispute December 3rd, 1998

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister responsible for RWED, Mr. Kakfwi. Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the Minister could give the House an update as to the status of the dispute that centres around the Dene band in northern Manitoba and also Saskatchewan regarding the land rights, fishing and hunting rights. My understanding, Mr. Speaker, is that there is a dispute regarding the land that is currently to be encompassed in Nunavut and the Dene band are saying that this land actually belongs to them. I wonder if the Minister could give us an update on the situation.

Member's Statement 217-13(6): Passing Of Elizabeth Owlijoot December 3rd, 1998

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the death of Mrs. Elizabeth Nutaraluk Owlijoot. Mrs. Owlijoot passed away last week at the elders' centre in Arviat at the age of 84 years. Elizabeth was a well respected elder, a talented carver and artist. Mr. Speaker, I would ask my honourable colleagues to join me in offering our sincere condolences to the family and friends back home in Arviat. Thank you.

Question 241-13(6): Contracting With Former Employees December 2nd, 1998

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, Mr. Todd indicated that he answered the question yesterday in his address. I wonder if the Minister would refresh my memory and repeat his answer as of yesterday? Thank you.

Question 241-13(6): Contracting With Former Employees December 2nd, 1998

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, again in reference to the opting-out policy as it relates to Mr. Bailey. Is Mr. Todd confirming that Mr. Bailey had no inside information, was not privy to any information relating to contracts he may have bid on? Thank you.

Question 241-13(6): Contracting With Former Employees December 2nd, 1998

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I believe Mr. Todd is saying that each department is in charge of policing the policy. Is that correct?

Question 241-13(6): Contracting With Former Employees December 2nd, 1998

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister responsible for FMBS, Mr. Todd. It is in reference to the opting-out policy. Mr. Speaker, I heard the Minister indicate that there were no requests from employees to be waived, or to opt out of this policy. Can the Minister tell me what type of enforcement is being done or are the employees self-policing themselves? How do we know what is going on? Thank you.