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Crucial Fact

Last in the Legislative Assembly November 2015, as MLA for Sahtu

Won his last election, in 2011, with 60% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Motion 54-17(5): Climate Change Planning, Carried October 8th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I do want to thank the mover, Mr. Bromley, and seconder, Ms. Bisaro, for this motion here. I’m going to just make a few points.

I had an earlier conversation with Mr. Bromley and I wanted to say to the House that, certainly, this issue is up in front in a lot of people’s minds in our communities, and at points of our discussion that Mr. Bromley and I agreed to disagree in how we looked at these issues. I’ve mentioned to Mr. Bromley that I probably needed some more time to understand what the issues are, and I appreciate his openness and willingness to hear me out.

I disagree with the fossil fuels. It’s something that we depend on in our region, and until I see some real dollars coming into our region that would offset the fossil fuels, that is our workforce, that is the fuel that drives our economy, those are areas that we know that fossil fuels could be something that we do not want to get away from until we start seeing some areas where we could look at changing it over. Gas emissions, that’s something that we’ve got to study.

So this would be a good motion to bring to our region to look at the long-term effects of our weather and our land. I’ve stated that there are areas where there is a dry area and our region has suffered that somewhat; however, I have to make sure that we specifically ask and make statements that some areas being affected. Water is one, and in our region there seems to be different opinions. So I just want to say that I will not be voting against this motion, I’ll be abstaining from this motion. I think that there are some pretty good points in here but I’m not there yet to lend my support until I bring this back to the region to look at this and study it. Certainly, it will be on the radar for the 18th Assembly and I wish we had more time to look at something like this in our region. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Motion 53-17(5): Language Training For Senior GNWT Managers, Carried October 8th, 2015

WHEREAS the Northwest Territories Official Languages Act recognizes 11 official languages;

AND WHEREAS, under the Official Languages Act, residents of the Northwest Territories have the right to communicate and receive services from any regional, area or community GNWT office in any official language spoken in the area, other than English or French, where there is a significant demand for service in that language or where, due to the nature of the office, it is reasonable to provide service in that language;

AND WHEREAS GNWT Policy 71.10, Official Languages, states that a government’s ability to communicate in the official languages of the public it serves is an important part of the operation of good government;

AND WHEREAS GNWT Policy 71.10 further states that a government’s provision of services in its official languages recognizes and supports the efforts of communities in maintaining and developing these languages;

AND WHEREAS the GNWT supports a competent and well-trained public service and provision of training and development opportunities that support employees’ ability to effectively and efficiently deliver department and agency mandates to serve the residents of the Northwest Territories;

AND WHEREAS the GNWT programs and policies support government employees in pursuing relevant training and skill enhancement;

AND WHEREAS our fellow northern jurisdictions, Nunavut and Yukon, offer official language and cultural training to their employees, thereby improving public service delivery and supporting the continued health of minority languages;

NOW THEREFORE I MOVE, seconded by the honourable member for Range Lake, that the Legislative Assembly strongly recommends that the GNWT consider development and coordination of government-wide programs to teach official languages of the Northwest Territories to senior managers of GNWT departments, as appropriate to the regions for which they are responsible;

AND FURTHER, that the government provide a comprehensive response to this motion to the 18th Legislative Assembly by June 2016.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 956-17(5): Sahtu Mineral Strategy October 8th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I enjoyed the tour with the Premier when we had that visit into the Sahtu. I know other areas in the Northwest Territories are rich in minerals. When we look at the Sahtu mineral strategy, we are looking at also the types of infrastructure that can help us with our mineral strategy. One of them is the Mackenzie Valley Highway.

Is that something we can look at in all aspects of the mineral strategy, so we can get our people to look at the area, look at the environment, look at the infrastructure and say we have a plan for the Sahtu to extract, develop and produce some of our rich minerals?

Question 956-17(5): Sahtu Mineral Strategy October 8th, 2015

What the Premier is saying is indeed good news. We can get the motion in gear and have some discussion with our leadership, land corporations, and look at some maps and see what needs to happen in terms of a good conference to get a good, accurate assessment of what is in the Sahtu and what areas we can look at to improve the development of a mineral strategy that the Sahtu region can work towards in five or 10 years as to how to extract or develop a mineral strategy and something like the Selwyn-Chihong operation that is expected to go into a billion dollar production sometime in the future.

Question 956-17(5): Sahtu Mineral Strategy October 8th, 2015

The Premier is dead on with this exchange. Within the realm of our government, an election will be happening soon, and something the government can look forward towards, and maybe put together, is a Sahtu mineral strategy conference in region so we can have a good, accurate assessment of what is there in the Sahtu with regard to a mineral strategy.

Question 956-17(5): Sahtu Mineral Strategy October 8th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My questions are for the Minister of ITI. I want to ask a question to the Premier in light of our economic opportunities in the North.

Knowing that oil and gas is not going to be looked at for a while due to the global world prices, has the Premier’s colleagues looked at a mineral assessment strategy in the Sahtu given that Selwyn-Chihong is going to be racking up their business with their mine close to the Yukon/Northwest Territories border? There are other areas in the Sahtu we haven’t looked at with regard to a Sahtu mineral strategy.

Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery October 8th, 2015

Thank you Mr. Speaker. I want to also recognize the family members that have come today to support the Members in this House here. It’s very nice to have them come. I know the sacrifice they have to do so that we can do our work with the fullest attention to our constituents.

I also want to recognize Chief Sangris, Mr. Bromley’s constituent, with the Akaitcho. The Yellowknives people here wanted their ancestors here so we can stand here and do this work.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to recognize Geraldine with Mrs. McLeod here. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Geraldine. I had to ask the Premier, “Is that Geraldine?” I wanted to say that. Sometimes it’s good to see old friends come back still in good spirits.

I want to also recognize my constituency assistant, Ms. Lorraine Bezha, and the other constituency assistants who have been with me. For Ms. Bezha’s hard work and commitment and dedication to the people of the Sahtu, I’d like to say thank you so much to her and all the other constituency assistants that our Members here have to make sure that we do our job effectively and efficiently. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

“i Don’t Need Your Rocking Chair” October 8th, 2015

This being the last session of our Assembly, I want to thank the people in the Sahtu for the privilege of serving them for these number of years. I also want to thank the support and staff through my role as a Member of the Legislative Assembly, Ms. Lorraine Bezha, who has been there to support me through thick and thin. I also want to thank Mr. Andrew John Kenny, my confidant and elder who stood by me through some very hard times in my personal life.

Mr. Speaker, I do want to thank my two colleagues who are leaving us and taking on a different role in their lives. Although Mr. Bromley and I at times do not agree on points of issues, I respect the gentleman and I wish him well. After all, we all want the same thing, but we’re just coming from a different process of how to get it. So, I thank him for the opportunity of working with him.

I also want to wish well my colleague Ms. Bisaro for her work and her steady eyes that were not off task. When we’re off task, she gets us back. So, I ask Ms. Bisaro to take care of herself and look after herself. It’s been an honour to sit and work with you.

Also, with our staff that we have before us that guide us through this whole process through our office. Number one, number one people to work in the books. Number one to work with us.

Lastly, to my family, my wife and my son and my family members, I really appreciate what they have done for me so I could do this work here. They made sacrifices, whatever it took them, so I could stand here and work on behalf of my people.

I do want to say to my people in the Sahtu, they have allowed me to be their voice for the last 12 years and it’s a very sacred privilege I hold for them.

I want to wish, as my colleague Mr. Menicoche said, all the other Members around here well in your life. Look after yourself. I got a little tear coming down because when I first became elected – Mr. Speaker, I know I’m running out of time – my mom said, “I never thought in my dreams my little baby boy would become an MLA. Never in my wildest dreams,” she said, “I’ll see my son be in a situation like this.” That’s why I think about her and this is why I wear this coat. She made it along with my aunties, to honour her for the love that she’s given us. With strict discipline, she brought us up to live a good life and sometimes we don’t listen to our parents.

So, I just want to say that to my colleagues here across the table, it’s an honour. We had a lot of work and, you know, you’re like us. I want to say good luck to the people who are going to put their names into this row here. May God bless you. You are called and I wish you well. It’s an honour, Mr. Speaker, to stand here and to say that.

To my wife and to my son Chase, I love you. Like some of the Members said, in my heart you walk with me. I want to say to the elders in the Sahtu, thank you so much for allowing me to carry your voice in the last four years. Mahsi.

“i Don’t Need Your Rocking Chair” October 8th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today my Member’s statement is going to be consistent with my Member’s statements in the last 12 years. I’m going to do a Member’s song following the song from the legend George “Awesome” Jones. The title is “I Don’t Need Your Rocking Chair.”

Mr. Speaker, I don’t need your rocking chair, but it would be nice to get medicare, such escorts for our seniors’ care. No questions asked, our health care. I’ve still got politics in my veins. So does Michael and Jane.

---Laughter

This grey hair doesn’t mean a thing. I do my rocking in the hills, mile 222 to Norman Wells. My body is old, but it’s not frail. I ain’t seen you on the Canol Trail. Retirement don’t fit my plans just yet. I’m getting on, but I don’t project. They make rules on how to frack. Sounds good to me, I might just come back.

I don’t need your rocking chair, but it would be nice to get medicare, such as escorts for our seniors’ care. Until we get a road to the Sahtu, I’ll see you and you’ll see me before someone releases it to CBC.

I ain’t ready for retirement yet, and I don’t need unanimous consent. It may take a little longer, but I’ll get there.

One more verse, Mr. Chair.

At the liquor store in Norman Wells, no restrictions on how much they can sell. We wrote a bill and got it through and it’s in the books. Hey, no more dirty looks.

Now, no, I don’t need your rocking chair. It would be nice to get medicare, such as escorts for our seniors’ care. My eyes are good, and so are my ears. I’m coming back for four more years.

---Applause

Mr. Speaker, an Inuit needs a Frigidaire like I need your rocking chair.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank some people, so I would seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

Motion 50-17(5): Medical Travel Policy, Carried October 7th, 2015

Thank you, colleagues, for allowing this motion to be brought forward and have your views on it. I certainly know that this motion here, as Mr. Abernethy so eloquently laid out, is going to die. This motion may die here in this Assembly but this issue is still alive and will be still alive in our communities, with our elders that come and talk to us. I have a list of people who have e-mailed me on their experience with the Medical Travel Policy. It may sound that there’s not an issue, but in our small communities and our larger centres, regional centres, it’s an issue, so I hope that our constituents are listening all across the North.

We have a communication gap, big time, with the Medical Travel Policy. I want to let them know that since 2011, four years ago, the Auditor General – the Auditor General – stated clearly, “We’ve got a problem here.” It’s only now, at the dying end of this Assembly, that the Minister is saying we’re going to fix it, be patient with us. For one thousand four hundred some-odd days we had to let people go through this and…(inaudible)…their experiences, especially the elders. Shame on this government for allowing senior people, elders…and I witnessed personally elders in our community travelling without an escort. Shame on them. Shame on them. Our most precious persons in our community.

You know what? This motion says to the government we’re not going to take it. Give some flexibility to our people in the health centre. We’re not asking them. But there should be some common sense questions, common sense questions by the health practitioners, and some of them are not always nice people. I know that.

I’m really wanting to thank the people here to look at this issue here. People have cancer. They need to have someone to look after them, to care. That’s just common sense.

I know that there are lots of dollars spent on it. But we’re in the Sahtu. We’ve got to fly. We don’t have these large centres where we can just jump in a car and go and drive over there with a bunch of family members. Come on. Build us a highway and then maybe.

But I want to say that this motion is passionate, and I want to say that I look forward to the next government and this government looking forward to seeing what we can do to change it. We’ve got to change it now. There aren’t many elders left in our regions here.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I ask for a recorded vote.