In the Legislative Assembly


Historical Information Nellie Cournoyea is no longer a member of the Legislative Assembly.

Last in the Legislative Assembly September 1995, as MLA for Nunakput

Won her last election, in 1991, by acclaimation.

Statements in the House

Question 688-12(7): Funding For Medical Interpreting Services June 21st, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I'll take the question as notice. Thank you.

Question 679-12(7): Medical Travel Costs For Seniors June 21st, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I've made a commitment to the seniors and I will make a commitment to this House that we will move on the matter as quickly as possible to ensure that when changes are made, communications get out early. I can make that commitment, Mr. Speaker.

Question 679-12(7): Medical Travel Costs For Seniors June 21st, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I have recently received a series of questions from seniors on this matter. There are a number of issues they have raised and want clarification on, but I have not been able to look at all the issues they've identified or to get an analysis of the impact of the changes we are making on seniors. We're presently working on that and I will be in a better situation to answer, once I've made the analysis on the impacts, if there are any. Mr. Speaker, there are some changes that have been made and we will try to address the number of issues the seniors have presented. Therefore, I'm not in a position to answer in detail whether all the issues are legitimate and to what extent there will be impacts on seniors, but I will make a commitment to deal with it as quickly as possible. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 674-12(7): Review Of Non-insured Health Benefits June 21st, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I can answer that in the affirmative. It has been because of the Department of Health and Social Services, from the time the Government of the Northwest Territories has taken over the responsibility of the management of health, that the aboriginal organizations have been informed on a continual basis on what we are doing and what our plans are. They are also informed of any recent information that we receive.

Question 674-12(7): Review Of Non-insured Health Benefits June 21st, 1995

Mr. Speaker, the meeting is being arranged. It is being set as soon as we can find an appropriate time for Ms. Marleau. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Item 4: Returns To Oral Questions June 21st, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, my apologies. Mr. Speaker, I have a return to an oral question asked by Mrs. Marie-Jewell on June 9th regarding the aircraft services used in fighting the Sahtu forest fire.

Mr. Speaker, depending on the smoke, wind and other conditions, the following resources were used to suppress the forest fire near Fort Norman and Norman Wells: four CL-215s, one DC-4, up to five helicopters, nine caterpillar tractors, nine fire crews and up to 40 extra firefighters. Mr. Speaker, in our opinion, this was the maximum number of resources we could safely deploy on this fire at one time. At one point, when conditions allowed aircraft to fly, we were circling about 3,000 feet above the fire. We watched as the five air tankers dropped a load on the fire every three minutes, helicopters moved men and equipment back and forth, and crews and caterpillars worked on the ground. This is a tremendous amount of activity to coordinate under difficult and dangerous conditions and I supported the decision not to bring in more resources.

Since the forest fire risk was extreme in other parts of the territories, we also needed to keep some resources in these areas. Fire crews were not moved out of those areas and one DC-4 remained in Hay River. As well, we issued a request for two CL-215s under the mutual aid resources sharing agreement. Since Quebec's were not available, Newfoundland agreed to provide the air tankers and they arrived in Fort Smith on June 11th. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Item 13: Tabling Of Documents June 20th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I wish to table Tabled Document 148-12(7), Proposed Amendments to the Territorial Court Act. Thank you.

Minister's Statement 106-12(7): 1950s North Baffin Bombing Incident Investigations June 20th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I wish to update Members on the government's investigations into concerns raised by Mr. Pudluk and Mr. Allooloo about alleged bombing incidents that occurred in the High Arctic during the 1950s. This update will outline the nature of the incidents and address Members' concerns about the relationship between these incidents and illnesses among North Baffin Inuit during this period.

During the past year, the government has conducted extensive investigations, including written and oral communications, including senior federal government officials involved with the issue during the 1950s and Inuit, or the relatives of Inuit, who witnessed or experienced the alleged bombings.

Mr. Speaker, individuals from the federal Department of National Defence and the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development have confirmed that military exercises, involving low-level "thunderflash bombing runs" were conducted by the United States Air Force near the Admiralty Inlet region of Baffin Island. These exercises only occurred in this area during the winter of 1955-56.

According to federal officials, these low-level exercises involved dropping magnesium flares by parachute to light up the earth for purposes of photographing targets. Military sources say that the exercises involved no explosions, concussions or shocks. Inuit who witnessed and experienced the exercises said the opposite.

Prior to the thunderflash testing over the Baffin, the United States Armed Forces received the necessary approval from Canadian authorities to conduct exercises in the Admiralty Inlet area.

From the evidence gathered by the government, it is apparent that neither Canada nor the United States were aware of Inuit camping in this area. It is also apparent from the government's interviews with Inuit hunters and/or their relatives that neither the families camped in the Admiralty Inlet area, nor Hudson Bay officials at Arctic Bay, wore given any advance notice that the tests would be conducted. As a consequence, Inuit camped in the Admiralty Inlet area were naturally terrified by the thunderflash bomb tests.

After being advised that Inuit were camping in the Admiralty Inlet area, military authorities relocated the testing to an unoccupied region of the High Arctic.

Mr. Speaker, the government's investigation, including a review of relevant medical records, has provided no evidence of injury or illness that could be directly linked to the thunderflash tests.

I should also note that during the course of the GNWT's investigation, evidence concerning unrelated biological warfare tests in different regions of the United States, including Minnesota and Alaska, as well as Canadian tests in Manitoba, were examined.

Although the United States Armed Forces has admitted to biological testing in these areas, there is no evidence indicating that the thunderflash exercises in the North Baffin region involved biological agents.

Mr. Speaker, I noted earlier in my remarks that Inuit who witnessed or experienced the thunderflash exercises have different memories of their impact, which may mean that other types of testing took place in the Admiralty Inlet area. The government will continue its investigations to determine if there is any proof to this statement.

In conclusion, the nature and conduct of this type of military activity is as unacceptable now as it was at the time the tests were conducted.

In the 1990s, while we still have to encourage the Department of National Defence to provide NWT residents with plans for military activities, procedures are now in place to ensure that these activities are no longer conducted without proper consultation with the government and communities.

Finally, the government has made representations to federal committees on national defence and foreign affairs to ensure that the views of NWT residents are part of the public record in establishing new federal defence policies.

Our success in having cruise missile testing stopped is a case in point. Thank you.


Question 661-12(7): Standards For Air Medevac Carriers June 19th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, the issue of medevac services deals with services that will be required in extreme cases where the type of aircraft probably would be more centralized because of use and the requirement of highly sophisticated medevac technology. So, therefore, in general, the use of airlines or travel still rests with regional decision-makers. However, in terms of the intensive care part of the operation, when there is a need that is fairly sophisticated, this is what we're dealing with. But, it does not change the use of regional carriers. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 661-12(7): Standards For Air Medevac Carriers June 19th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, the document that we're dealing with talks about the standards for a certain type of medical travel. It doesn't not take away any of the decisions at the regional level. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.