Roles

Elsewhere

Last in the Legislative Assembly November 2003, as MLA for North Slave

Lost his last election, in 2003, with 25% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Question 401-14(6): Community Infrastructure Needs In Rae October 8th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to ask the Minister if he could give me the dates of these meetings and will it be in the lifetime of this Assembly or will it be with the next Assembly? Thank you.

Question 401-14(6): Community Infrastructure Needs In Rae October 8th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs, the Honourable Vince Steen. During my travels with government officials through the community of Gameti, we had the impression that they would return in the summer to give them the answers to the capital projects they asked for. I'd like to ask the Minister if his department is still going to be going to the community to give them the answers for their needs. Thank you.

Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery October 8th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to recognize Ernie Smith, band councillor and member of the Business Development Corporation. Thank you.

---Applause

Community Consultations On GNWT Capital Planning Process October 8th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Last week, I received a letter from the Premier outlining how a deputy ministers' task team has been created on meeting infrastructure requirements. The point of this team is to clarify the GNWT capital planning process between the GNWT and the communities in the North. Mr. Speaker, I was discouraged when I read this. To me, it is more busy work created by the upper levels of government which won't address the real issues.

There is a huge communication gap between the department heads deciding which projects go in which community and what the community actually wants or needs. There is also a lack of coordination between departments which results in delays and cost overruns on projects.

Last spring I travelled with officials from the GNWT into the communities in my region. Meetings were held with the people of the communities to hear what projects they felt would be of most benefit. The minutes of these meetings were sent to the communities and to my office. To date, no action has been taken. Mr. Speaker, I don't think this government realizes how frustrating this is.

What has been happening and what continues to happen is that projects and equipment are selected for communities without input from the community. For example, I've heard how a community was given the choice of either having a grader or a cat. The community really wanted a bobcat, but wasn't allowed to choose what would be best for the community. They had to choose between a grader or a cat, which wasn't their choice.

Mr. Speaker, how can we empower communities when we are still directing their choices? I have heard numerous examples of how government officials have come into the communities and told community members what the community needs, whether it be a new arena, fire hall or other such building. There is no dialogue between the people deciding the projects and the people who will use the projects. It is a top-down approach and it doesn't meet the community needs.

I'm sure you can understand how difficult it is for communities to do long-range planning when consultation is only given lip service. Instead of studying the problem, I encourage the government to open its ears, become involved in the actual communities and listen to the residents. Only then will useful decisions be made about which projects to fund in order to meet the needs of the communities. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Bill 32: Supplementary Appropriation Act, No. 2, 2003-2004 October 7th, 2003

I just want to give the Minister advice that maybe he should be looking at it and giving them the funding that they need, whatever the problem is. It makes the authorities look bad when they have to come back to the House all the time for extra funding. There are a lot of responsible boards out there and when they come back for extra funding, at the fault of the department because they under-fund them, it looks bad for them. So we shouldn't be looking at this every year. We have people in place that should be able to help them with this funding. We are accurate to almost a penny when we see information here, but still we can't see the picture that we are under-funding them. It's hard to believe. Thank you.

Bill 32: Supplementary Appropriation Act, No. 2, 2003-2004 October 7th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I didn't ask the Minister if he could do one blanket plan for everybody because we know the regions are different. The cost of providing services are different everywhere. Not everyone has low costs to go to the hospital for services like they do in the larger centres. So there is, of course, a big cost. We've identified that in 2000, ambulance services cost a lot for Rae-Edzo and the Dogrib Community Services Board. We knew that then. Why didn't we budget for that? Why three years later are we using the same excuse for supplementary funding? We should have dealt with that. Thank you.

Bill 32: Supplementary Appropriation Act, No. 2, 2003-2004 October 7th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I guess they will never know once the agreement is signed, it will be out of their hands. Will the department be looking at all these issues, so this doesn't happen to other authorities that we create like the Sahtu board or a new board in Hay River or wherever? Shouldn't we be looking in the future, so that we fund these boards the right amount of money? Thank you.

Bill 32: Supplementary Appropriation Act, No. 2, 2003-2004 October 7th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We seem to be seeing this amount every year. There is a trend now. We know it's under-funded. They are still playing catch-up because they are a new board. Why don't we start budgeting them for what they actually spend? We've seen that three years in a row, how much they are going over-budget. Somebody should have seen the light by now that they are under-budgeted and we should have made allowances for that in the business plans instead of seeing it in a supp. Why wasn't this done?

Bill 32: Supplementary Appropriation Act, No. 2, 2003-2004 October 7th, 2003

Thank you. So we don't have all the information, but we know we need $1.8 million. How does that work? You don't know what you're getting for revenues, but you know how much you're going to need to off-set the cost for the supplementary. That's amazing. You said, may be included. It puzzles me. Is it included or is it not included? Maybe doesn't assure me that it is in there.

Bill 32: Supplementary Appropriation Act, No. 2, 2003-2004 October 7th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. As the reports are not completed, are we expecting any revenues to this government from fire suppression for the summer? Thank you.