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Crucial Fact

Last in the Legislative Assembly October 2011, as MLA for Deh Cho

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 36% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Question 64-16(6): Federal Resources For NWT Highway Between Tuktoyaktuk And Inuvik May 12th, 2011

As the Minister I can’t only focus on a certain part of the Northwest Territories. I have other responsibilities. I would not be doing justice if I didn’t speak about long-term stable funding for infrastructure, and Mr. Menicoche would be very disappointed if I didn’t raise Highway No. 7, Highway No. 6, other highways, the Bear River Bridge, the Peel River Bridge and those initiatives that need attention. I think we have to be able to address all the different needs across the Territories, and at the same time focusing on some of the areas that have moved forward.

It’s been very exciting in the life of this government to be able to move discussions on the Mackenzie Valley Highway forward. We’ve managed to get the federal government to come onside and invest jointly with us on the work that needs to be done, the PDRs, and more specifically now, some indication that they’re willing to put dollars up for construction. We need to know what the long-term plan is; we need to be able to work around it if it’s going to be still an investment they’re willing to move forward. So there’s lots of work that has to be done, Mr. Speaker, and we certainly can commit that we’ll continue to push it forward. Thank you.

Question 64-16(6): Federal Resources For NWT Highway Between Tuktoyaktuk And Inuvik May 12th, 2011

We’re very eager to travel to Ottawa. There are a lot of issues we want to talk about. There is still an application from the Northwest Territories to the Green Fund. The City of Yellowknife had a submission on behalf of the Northland Trailer Court. There was a hydro line applied for that we haven’t received any response. There are many issues that we need to tackle. There are issues about infrastructure, ongoing stable funding for long-term investment, and there’s also the Mackenzie Valley Highway, and more specifically now, the $150 million that was flagged in the last budget. We want to carry that forward and we fully intend to travel to Ottawa.

Of course, if there’s an opportunity to bring any additional delegates or additional people that are involved in this project with us, we’ll do so. Having said that, at the end of the day, the Minister usually dictates who he is willing to meet with. However, we’ll put in the request. Thank you.

Question 64-16(6): Federal Resources For NWT Highway Between Tuktoyaktuk And Inuvik May 12th, 2011

I think the Members of this House did a very good job over the last while

about raising the profile of our infrastructure needs across the Territories. We have a motion in this House indicating that the Mackenzie Valley Highway is very important to us, and we want to see that flagged as one of our top priorities. Our government has put together a Federal Engagement Strategy that lays out a number of areas where we’d like to see investment. The Mackenzie Valley Highway is very high on this list. We’ve shared that information with the federal government. We’ve had private meetings with the different Ministers. I’ve had the opportunity to talk with Mr. Lawrence Canon at the time when he was Transportation and Infrastructure Minister. We’ve talked with Chuck Strahl, John Baird, and we’ve had very good support from Minister Leona Aglukkaq over the last while and we expect we’ll have good support from her ongoing.

We have drafted our documents, we have our letters ready. We just need to know who is the person that will be working with us on this as the new Minister, and I fully intend to engage as soon as possible. Thank you.

Question 64-16(6): Federal Resources For NWT Highway Between Tuktoyaktuk And Inuvik May 12th, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The news for the $150 million was very exciting indeed. I think it took a lot of work, and of course the work wasn’t only carried out by myself. We had the mayors of Tuktoyaktuk and Inuvik very involved with presenting the case and building up the arguments why this road needed to be done. We had the Inuvialuit government onside. Of course, the MLAs raised the profile of this issue many times in this House. We had our Premier meeting with the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers across the floor here, or on this side of the House, that met with the different Cabinet Ministers to raise the issue. The Department of Transportation played a role and this resulted in some dollars being flagged. Unfortunately, this process was never completely ratified.

We certainly don’t want to lose momentum on this initiative. We have already talked with the working group; as recently as this morning there was a meeting. We fully intend to engage with the federal Minister as soon as we know who the appointment will be. That’s going to happen in the next little while, we understand, and the folks in Ottawa will be getting back together in June. We have our documents drafted. We want to indicate that this initiative should carry forward. We want to be able to meet with the new Minister. We will, of course, be extending an invitation to the Minister and we will look how we can fully engage, keep everybody involved, and keep this whole initiative moving forward. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Committee Motion 1-16(6): Concurrence Of Td 7-16(6), Supplementary Estimates (Infrastructure Expenditures), No. 6, 2010-2011, Carried May 11th, 2011

Yes, we do have contracts that state time frames and penalties. However, we do allow for consideration if there are unforeseen circumstances. A lot these companies are local companies. A lot of them are Aboriginal companies. A lot of them are development corporations. The dollar amount that Mr. Krutko has identified is a number of highways that have been packaged up. There is work here that is part of Highway No. 7. Most of these contracts were deferred for some reason or other, usually at no fault of the contractor.

Committee Motion 1-16(6): Concurrence Of Td 7-16(6), Supplementary Estimates (Infrastructure Expenditures), No. 6, 2010-2011, Carried May 11th, 2011

The investment for Highway No. 7 is in place. It’s been approved in our capital. We have roughly $6 million, or around $5.5 million, earmarked for Highway No. 7.

Highway No. 7 has some serious challenges as the type of construction that was utilized by the federal government back when it was constructed and because of the place it is in its lifecycle, it does require significant investment. We have identified five areas that have really become deteriorated. We have assigned engineers and we have assigned staff and have contract crews focused on this area of work.

In all reality, the road has to be reconstructed. It needed a new design that has been undertaken. It needs proper drainage. When the road was constructed there was very little that was done in terms of proper drainage, aside from building ditches. It’s becoming very apparent that it needs investment.

The road to completely get under construction would probably cost about $200 million. Right now we are addressing portions of it and it will require continual investment for the long term. We are challenged, of course, as we commit to reconstruction of portions while other areas are failing. So it’s really becoming difficult to keep up with it and the next government is going to have to really look at addressing this in a serious way.

Committee Motion 1-16(6): Concurrence Of Td 7-16(6), Supplementary Estimates (Infrastructure Expenditures), No. 6, 2010-2011, Carried May 11th, 2011

This is a project that was initiated to move away from a culvert type of arrangement to a box bridge type facility. This would provide us with longer term reliability and better drainage as a result.

Committee Motion 1-16(6): Concurrence Of Td 7-16(6), Supplementary Estimates (Infrastructure Expenditures), No. 6, 2010-2011, Carried May 11th, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Shale Creek is located in Nahendeh outside of Fort Simpson. The contract is being done by a combination of companies under Fort Simpson Dene Council. The contract company is called Ti K’endeh and I believe it’s a Wrigley and Fort Simpson partnership arrangement.

Committee Motion 1-16(6): Concurrence Of Td 7-16(6), Supplementary Estimates (Infrastructure Expenditures), No. 6, 2010-2011, Carried May 11th, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The decision to convert a number of our facilities in Norman Wells is part of the long-term plan to reduce some of the stress that is being placed on the community and the availability of natural gas. Our plan is to move away from natural gas to leave an adequate supply to the end of the four years that were committed to by Imperial Oil. Right now the decision is to convert to an alternate energy source. We’re trying to decide what is our best route.

As I indicated in responding to questions to Mr. Yakeleya, there isn’t a formal decision on what would be the best type of fuel to use, whether it would be propane in the community, which would require a huge capital investment, or to go into fuel, diesel fuel. The community’s pondering that question. We’re involved in the discussion. We’re looking at what is the best way to go. That’s why this did not move forward. Public Works wanted to get a better handle on what is the fuel type that we need to use, or alternate energy, or both. That’s what we are deciding. We’ll have that decision made and convert this facility over before the end of the summer.

Committee Motion 1-16(6): Concurrence Of Td 7-16(6), Supplementary Estimates (Infrastructure Expenditures), No. 6, 2010-2011, Carried May 11th, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think I just answered that in my last

response. I’ll respond again. The combined services building is substantially complete. We anticipate we’re going to have an official opening by sometime maybe in August. These dollars are to address some of the ongoing work and to rectify some of the deficiencies. The carry-over is required to meet our commitment. It’s not new money, it’s not additional money, it’s dollars that were identified that were not expended in last year’s budget. This is separate dollars not earmarked for the alternate energy system, it’s to complete the actual facility.