Legislative Assembly photo



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

Challenges Facing The Deh Cho Tourism Industry June 26th, 2000

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to highlight the challenges facing the tourism industry in the Deh Cho riding. I believe that the challenges facing tourism in our riding are shared in large part by the tourism industry in all of the western Arctic.

Mr. Speaker, the Northwest Territories is the only jurisdiction in Canada, besides Nunavut, that does not have either a separate Ministry dedicated to tourism or a major tourism organization that reports directly to a Minister. Mr. Speaker, visitation rates for tourists visiting the NWT are growing at a far lesser rate than these other jurisdictions.

Mr. Speaker, the reorganization of the government-sponsored regional tourism marketing agencies in the mid-1990's into one central sector-oriented agency, NWT Arctic Tourism, has not proven itself to be a success. NWT Arctic Tourism, by focussing on sector-based tourism marketing, has lost a certain degree of regional focus. Mr. Speaker, there is certainly no sense of ownership within our region to NWT Arctic Tourism.

Indeed there is an increasing sentiment that we should return to the regionally focused tourism marketing agencies we used to have. It is essential that this government start to provide meaningful resources to regional tourism agencies, thereby allowing groups such as Big River Tourism Association to resume the valuable work they used to do.

Resumption of funding to the regional tourism agencies does not mean that this government needs to scrap NWT Arctic Tourism. I believe that the efforts of the regional tourism agencies could be complementary in nature, leaving NWT Arctic Tourism to focus on pan-territorial marketing while the regional organizations pursue regional initiatives.

Mr. Speaker, tourism is our second largest industry. Yet, Mr. Speaker, the NWT spends $1.2 million on marketing initiatives, while other territories spend many times that amount. For example, the Yukon spends $2.5 million.

Tourism provides many spin-off jobs in the service sector and has the potential to create valuable highly paid careers for our youth on a year-round basis. It is critical that this government nurtures tourism in our communities and devotes meaningful resources to its development. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

-- Applause

Item 20: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters June 23rd, 2000

To comment on the Mackenzie Valley Development Committee, I just had a round of constituency meetings and none of the communities had ever heard of this plan. I am sure they have not come to any of the communities in the Deh Cho.

One further comment I wanted to make, and the rest of my questions I will save for detail. Under the BIP program, we are running into a couple of problems on the Hay River Reserve. Because the reserve is close to the town of Hay River, it is being lumped in as part of the town of Hay River. So when they go get registered with BIP, they mark the community down and it is marked as Hay River. On the reserve, there is no bank and services.

They cannot use their land as part of the security for loans. So lending agencies will not go on the reserve. Because they are BIP'ed the same as Hay River, they have a hard time getting grants. When they do qualify for a grant, it is always considered market disruption because they are considered part of Hay River, but they are not part of Hay River. They are their own community.

I think that is something that really has got to be looked at. When I did my round of meetings in the communities, there was a real concern of that in the South Slave and the Deh Cho, but in your department it would be considered part of the South Slave.

-- Laughter

When it comes to BDF funding, there is very little for the small communities. Last year, the BDF funding ran out of money. The program ran out of money at the end of June. So when you start looking at it, you say why is this happening? The pot of money that comes to the region was very small, and the money is being gobbled up by the bigger communities. I think that is a problem.

There are two points I am making here: the problem with the reserve and also the BDF funding. There has to be a look at reallocating some of the funds so the smaller communities have a chance to get at it.

Item 20: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters June 23rd, 2000

Thank you. I am glad that you have taken a position that you do not want to issue any more permits. I still have a problem with what you consider consultation. Maybe you could elaborate on that.

I do feel that if it were not for some of the senior staff to go into the Cameron Hills...there are complaints from the communities and actually from some of your own staff. I think there is a problem up there. Maybe it has not gone up as far as your level.

Another area that I am concerned about, and Mr. Krutko has raised it a number of times, is the oil and gas issue and lack of available dollars to do oil and gas training and planning.

In the Deh Cho and the communities that I represent, I am seeing a real push for more oil and gas training. Some of the communities have gone as far as hiring oil and gas coordinators. They are doing a lot of work in the area of planning; developing a land use plan, impact benefits agreements and anything related to oil and gas, but I am not seeing any money flowing from this department. I have seen Mr. Ootes indicate that he is going to be committing, I think, $500,000 to oil and gas training, which is fine but it is not enough, and that is for across the board in the Territories. What is happening in the communities now is we are having to go to your department and dip into the BDF funding, which is not a great amount to start with. It is really taking away from any investment in the areas of small business.

So I am just wondering, what is your department planning to do to try to help and assist the communities with planning and training and preparation for oil and gas, that we know is all coming down the tubes?

Also, the other component that has to be addressed is the education about oil and gas. When you go to the communities and start talking about oil and gas, it is a real foreign issue and people do not understand the process. People do not understand what it is all about. I do not think it is reasonable to expect the community leaders to be able to stand up there and explain the whole process. It is going to take some commitment from this government to do that. Thank you.

Item 20: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters June 23rd, 2000

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have quite a few questions, but I will be asking the majority of them when we go into detail.

I have some general comments and some concerns I wanted to raise. As you know, the Deh Cho is a territory that is working hard to enter into negotiations. There are a lot of problem areas.

One of the big concerns that I have been faced with since my election is dealing with the Cameron Hills. This is an area that the communities in the Deh Cho, in my riding, are still disputing over whose traditional lands it falls under and there is certainly a lot of overlap. But it is part of the Deh Cho proposal and it is an area that is going to be negotiated and there is discussion on a land use process and also land protection in that area.

However, a big problem that we have been having and experiencing has been with your department on issuance of timber permits. Up to recently, there was really no inventory, and yet permits were issued...I think there were six permits issued this year. When I raised a question about consultation, I cannot find any. I think your consultation amounts to putting an ad in the paper.

So I have to get clarification. Is that what it means? Is there really a good measure of what the inventory is in the Deh Cho?

And now that the permits are issued, all of the logging is pretty well done. The complaints that I am getting are that there is no monitoring. The people who are doing the logging are doing whatever they seem to want to do. I want to ask a question regarding the monitoring area. Have you had any reports regarding the abuse and the butchering that is going on in Cameron Hills? Have any one of you gone up to take a look? Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Question 40-14(3): Deh Cho Property Assessments June 23rd, 2000

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, will the Minister undertake to provide me with the information that would indicate how many of those appeals that were reviewed by the independent board of revision have resulted in either an increase or decrease to the property assessment values?

Question 40-14(3): Deh Cho Property Assessments June 23rd, 2000

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the process for property assessment values allows for appeals. I would like to ask the Minister what percentage of property owners in the general taxation area have appealed their 1999 assessment notices?

Question 40-14(3): Deh Cho Property Assessments June 23rd, 2000

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister responsible for the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs, Mr. Antoine. My constituents in the Deh Cho have been shocked by the results of the department's most recent assessment of the property values. For example, in the community of Enterprise, I am told that some of the properties have gone from around $4,000 in assessment to over $20,000. I would like to ask the Minister how his department could justify such huge increases in property assessment values. Thank you.

1999 General Taxation Area Assessment Notices June 23rd, 2000

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This government is responsible for assessing the value of all property in the general taxation area. The general taxation area includes all land in the Northwest Territories, except cities, towns and villages. This responsibility is a legislative activity and the Property Assessment and Taxation Act requires that all property values, both land and improvements, must be updated every ten years.

Property assessment is a process used to assign a value to all property in the Northwest Territories. It is necessary that consistent rules or techniques be used by this government's property assessors to make sure that the values of all similar kinds of properties are consistent and fair.

Land value in the general taxation area is based on land development costs. These development costs include such things as the cost of building new roads or providing services like water, sewer and electricity.

Recently in the Deh Cho region, my constituents have been shocked and have been left feeling helpless by the new assessment values placed on their properties as a result of the 1999 assessment notices.

Yes, Mr. Speaker, they have the option to appeal these assessments and, as we all know here in the North, land development costs are high. However, Mr. Speaker, it is this government's responsibility to find innovative ways to lower these costs. How can it be considered fair and equitable for my constituents to be asked to carry the results of our government's lack of initiative in this area?

I will be asking the Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs later today, how it can be considered fair and equitable for his department and this government to expect my constituency to bear the burden of these increased assessment values which, down the road in all likelihood, will result in increased property taxes. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

-- Applause

Question 31-14(3): Affirmative Action Management Training June 22nd, 2000

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. When Nunavut was planning its workforce for the new Territory, it actively went out and selected individuals to train for senior management positions within the government. These individuals underwent on-the-job training and instruction to help them move into managerial positions. Why has the government not implemented such a program for aboriginal people in the Northwest Territories?

Question 31-14(3): Affirmative Action Management Training June 22nd, 2000

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In my Member's statement I pointed out that aboriginal people occupy less than 15 percent of the management positions in the Government of the Northwest Territories. Other than preferential hiring, I would like to ask the Premier if there are any programs that specifically target aboriginal people and a methodical plan to move them into managerial positions?