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Crucial Fact

Last in the Legislative Assembly October 2011, as MLA for Hay River North

Won his last election, in 2007, with 61% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Speaker’s Closing Comments August 25th, 2011

Colleagues, before we proceed with prorogation, I would like to make a few comments. First of all, I’m sorry to inform Mr. Michael McLeod that I have saved the best for the last right now.

---Laughter

Also, a couple of changes that I want to highlight. First of all, the suit that I’m wearing today is the suit that I wore the very first day in the Assembly 12 years ago.

---Applause

But there is a difference. When I wore it 12 years ago I had it buttoned up and now I wear it open.

---Laughter

Also, when I checked in the mirror this morning, I noticed that I have almost as much hair as I had 12 years ago, but the color has changed considerably.

Colleagues, I am sure that you are all acutely aware that this is the last time we will meet formally as the 16th Legislative Assembly. As we leave the

Chamber today, we go in many different directions. The Members of the Executive Council will continue to guide the Government of the Northwest Territories, many of you will begin campaigning for a fall election, and some of us have taken this as an opportunity to begin another chapter in our lives.

I would like to take this occasion, colleagues, to thank you all for the privilege of serving as your Speaker during the 16th Legislative Assembly.

---Applause

I realize that I have had the honour of sitting in this chair for the last seven years and the time seems to have flown by, as some Members have mentioned already today. However, if I dwell on certain question periods, I can make time move an awful lot slower.

It has been both a great honour and a great privilege to guide this House over the last seven years. I have taken very seriously the duties and obligations of Speaker, to protect the privileges of the House collectively and of each individual Member. I have always attempted to preside over this House in a manner which ensures that the rights and privileges of all Members are upheld, while respecting the rules and procedures which this House has adopted. My goal has been to allow and assist each of you to carry out your duties to the very best of your ability, and to collectively serve the people of the Northwest Territories.

I have often thought that we were very fortunate to have such a unique perspective in our Assembly. We maintain a delicate balance between traditional parliamentary processes, and adapting to the ever-changing political landscape that is unique to the Northwest Territories.

I would like to highlight just a few of my greatest pleasures. Firstly, representing the Legislative Assembly and visiting as many communities as possible with the Speaker’s Outreach Program has been an extremely rewarding experience. Visiting both large and small communities, we were greeted with the legendary northern hospitality and warmth everywhere we travelled.

My participation in both the Youth and Elders parliaments have been equally rewarding. Working with the youth of our territory gives me a great hope for our future. I think that we may see some of our young youth parliamentarians back in this House someday.

Our Elders Parliament was also a resounding success. Elders generously shared their wisdom, humour, and fine insight. These events have provided opportunities to inform and educate all Northerners about the structure, role, and function of our government, and to encourage the participation by youth and old alike in our democratic processes.

As some of you are aware, I have been a great supporter of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, and through this organization I have taken every opportunity to inform, share, and promote both our unique system of government and this wonderful territory we call home. I have done this with great pride at provincial, national, and

international levels. I have also worked very closely with all the Speakers from across this great country. Over the last seven years we have become like family, with many great and lasting friendships.

I would like at this time to acknowledge the Speakers from across Canada who, as I, have chosen to end their political careers this year: Peter Milliken, House of Commons; Bill Barrisoff, British Columbia; Roger Fitzgerald, Newfoundland and Labrador; Ted Staffen, Yukon; George Hicks, Manitoba; and Steve Peters, Ontario. I want to thank them for their support and guidance, and wish them well in their future endeavours.

As Speaker, my duties also include chairing the Board of Management, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the board that I have had the pleasure of working with over the last seven years. Being a member of the Board of Management is often an unenviable position for members. They are regularly called upon to make tough decisions, always keeping in mind the principles of fairness and equity while acting in the best interests of the institution. The board members of the 16th Assembly -- Mr. Yakeleya, Mr. Robert C.

McLeod, Mr. Lafferty, Mr. Ramsay, Mr. Beaulieu and Mr. Jacobson -- have worked diligently and with the utmost integrity, and I would like to thank each of them for their valuable contribution.

---Applause

To the Clerk and his staff that serve us here at the Assembly, Tim Mercer, I don’t know how any of us would do our jobs without your guidance and counsel. Your ability to walk a tightrope as you deal with the many issues that come before you each and every day is amazing. Many of the decisions you make when dealing with Members’ issues are oftentimes met with frustration and questions from Members. I know firsthand that some situations have led to accusations that in my view were unfounded. Working very closely with you over the last seven years, seven and a half years, have given me great appreciation for the job that you do and a great admiration for the way you carry out your duties on behalf of all Members.

To the staff of the Legislative Assembly, the important contribution each of you make on a daily basis. When it comes to the staff, I am mindful of the old rule that if you can’t name every person you wish to thank, don’t name any.

Each and every employee of the Legislative Assembly serves an important and vital function. Some work more closely with the Members than others, but I can tell you that they are dedicated to the mission of this institution and to your success as Members. To each of you I express my thanks and gratitude. You can be proud of the work you do.

---Applause

So, Tim, to you and your staff, thank you. You are truly a group of professional individuals, and it has been a pleasure working with you.

To my executive assistant, Sue Tkachuk, I am extremely grateful to her commitment and dedication to the Office of the Speaker. She has been with me for my entire term as Speaker and I truly appreciate the work she had done, not only for me but for all Members of this Assembly.

---Applause

Her ability to separate issues concerning my role as Speaker and as MLA was amazing. Keeping track of her in the building was another matter. I know if the steps on the main staircase ever wear out, Sue will be to blame for that. I don’t think there is anyone in the building that makes as many trips up and down that staircase as Sue.

I would like to make special mention of the Pages who were here to assist us during each sitting of the 16th Legislative Assembly. I can’t say often

enough how important it is for all of us to share this Chamber with the future of the Northwest Territories. Thank you to all the Pages of the 16th Assembly for your services.

---Applause

To the contract staff, PIDO Productions, SecureCheck, Hansard, Thien Huynh Janitorial, and the Ledge Cafe, thank you for your excellent services and your dedication. Your work is appreciated and valued, and allows us as Members to do our job much more efficiently.

---Applause

Members, I leave the largest debt we owe for last: to our families and friends who support us while we do our work in the Assembly, who look after our homes and families while we travel, and who encourage and support us by their very presence. We cannot thank them enough for their love and support.

I wish you all good health and good fortune wherever your lives lead you. My hope is that as you leave this Assembly, you leave proud of what you have accomplished and confident that you have left the Northwest Territories a little better than when you began.

Colleagues, I have very seldom, if ever, spoken from this chair as the MLA for Hay River North, either for or directly to the residents of Hay River North. However, today, with your indulgence or not, I am going to break with tradition and pass on a few personal remarks and thank yous.

First of all I want to thank the residents of Hay River North who have put their confidence and support in me to represent them in this Legislature as their MLA for the past 12 years. It has been an extreme pleasure and honour for me to work on their behalf, and I can say, without hesitation, that the past 12

years have been the most rewarding years of my working life.

To my supporters, nominators, campaign managers, official agents and workers, I want to say thank you for being there for me and for your resounding support and guidance. I know that it is not always easy to openly support someone running for public office, so I want to truly acknowledge your confidence in me.

To my constituency assistants, Deb Mageean, Stephanie Fisher, Diana Yeager -- now Diana Smith -- and Danielle Gillespie, thank you for your hard work and your dedication to the office and to the residents of Hay River North.

---Applause

To Premier Roland all the Cabinet Ministers, I want to express my sincere appreciation for your understanding of this unique position I have been in as Speaker. Your open-door policy and timely responses to my requests and concerns on the many issues I have had to deal with on behalf of my constituents has made my job possible.

I can honestly say that I have never felt that my ability to represent the residents of Hay River North was hampered in any way by my position as Speaker. You are a big reason for that and I thank all of you for it.

To my colleague from Hay River South, Jane Groenewegen, thank you for all the work you have done in helping me do my job. It has been a great 12 years and I leave with the knowledge and confidence that the residents of Hay River collectively have been well represented with government departments, both inside and outside of this Chamber.

To the outgoing Members, I am sure you have been struggling with the same questions as I have over the last few months, but I hope that you are now as comfortable with your decision as I am. It has been a great honour to serve with each one of you, and I wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

Finally, colleagues, I could not leave here without acknowledging my wonderful wife, Davida. Boy, I didn’t think this was going to happen. To my wonderful wife, Davida, who is with us here today, and our four children, Michelle, Monique, D’arcy and Katrina, for their love, inspiration, support and understanding. They have joined me in celebrating the highs of this job, and they have been there for me at the low point when I sometimes questioned, though not often, my ability to give 100 percent at the cost of missing some important family functions and events. Every one of them was there to do whatever it took to help me accomplish the things I have.

To my daughter Monique, I credit you to a great extent for having won the election of December

1999 when I faced stiff competition from six other candidates. Monique composed and recorded a song entitled “The Election Train.” This song was heard many times during the last week of the campaign. It was so popular that kids were singing it at school, and there were even requests for it on the Request Line after the election was over.

I wish I could tell you that my family had a lot to do with my decision not to run, but the best I could get out of any of them is that they would respect whatever decision I made and that they would continue to be there for me.

So, Davida, to you, Michelle, Monique, D’arcy and Katrina, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you all and I look forward to spending more time with you.

To our 10 grandchildren, you are definitely a big reason for my decision, but only in a good way. I look forward to playing a bigger role in your lives, and although I reluctantly give up the title of Honourable Paul Delorey, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, I am fully prepared to respond to my much simpler title of Papa Paul.

Mr. Clerk, would you ascertain whether the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories, the Honourable George L. Tuccaro is prepared to enter the Chamber to assent to bills and prorogue the Sixth Session of the 16th Legislative Assembly.

Committee Motion 39-16(5): Defer Consideration Of Health And Social Services Department Summary, Carried March 1st, 2011

Yes, we can look at doing that. When we met with the Official Languages Commissioner, in presenting her budget there was also concern raised of why there’s a lack of interest. I think that she made it quite clear that she thinks that there’s a lot of room for education and educating the public about what the role of the Official Languages Commissioner is and how the public can issue complaints and that sort of thing. We buy fully into her thoughts about the ability to be able to promote her office and educate the public,

maybe, as to what her office can do for them. But we will commit to getting back to the Member on the plan going forward.

Committee Motion 39-16(5): Defer Consideration Of Health And Social Services Department Summary, Carried March 1st, 2011

Thank you. The Official Languages Commissioner will report to the Assembly, of course, but we can do that once we meet with the Languages Commissioner.

I might just mention that the budget for the Official Languages Commissioner used to be a lot higher but that office was very quiet for a lot of years and we have somebody now in that office that’s really wanting to promote official languages and her role in it. So when she requested the funding, we were more than happy to give her some more money to promote that office and we’d like to see the Languages Commissioner do a lot more with official languages. I will commit, once we get the plan and the initiatives that she’s willing to move forward, to report back to Members.

Committee Motion 39-16(5): Defer Consideration Of Health And Social Services Department Summary, Carried March 1st, 2011

I missed that last question that the honourable Member had.

Committee Motion 39-16(5): Defer Consideration Of Health And Social Services Department Summary, Carried March 1st, 2011

We looked at her whole budget request and identified some areas where we thought that the request that she was wanting to initiate was maybe outside of her mandate, so some of the initiatives that she had -- and I don’t have a list of them right in front of me here -- the initiatives that she had proposed to want to take on, some of them fit clearly within her mandate, so that’s what we want to do, is help her out with the ones that are identified as fitting within her mandate and giving her the money to do it. We had lots of supports from Members that want to give her more money so that she can promote her office and work within the official languages and the other languages board. It’s kind of a definition of where her role fits in with the other language boards in the Territories.

Committee Motion 39-16(5): Defer Consideration Of Health And Social Services Department Summary, Carried March 1st, 2011

We’re working with her. She was hired as an independent Commissioner of the Assembly, but we’re going to work with her and we want to give her the funds to be able to do the work that she should be doing as the Commissioner of Official Languages. We’re going to be working with her; however, it’s her role to take on her own mandate because she’s an independent Commissioner, so we can’t tell her what to do but we want to work with her.

Committee Motion 39-16(5): Defer Consideration Of Health And Social Services Department Summary, Carried March 1st, 2011

Yes. We’re going to go over with her the list of initiatives that she had proposed and maybe try and give her a hand in identifying which ones fit within her mandate and encouraging her to take on a lot of initiatives that promote her office and what she can do for official languages that fit within her mandate.

Committee Motion 39-16(5): Defer Consideration Of Health And Social Services Department Summary, Carried March 1st, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The Official Languages Commissioner had requested a budget for around $300,000 for a number of initiatives that she wanted to get going. We looked at some of the initiatives that she had. Some of them were maybe outside of her mandate. We intend to meet with her shortly after the budget is approved to go over some of the projects that she has lined up. Basically, there has not been a lot of complaints activity in that office and some of the initiatives that we’re encouraging her to do and that she wants to take on are more informing the public of what the role is and, hopefully, to get a lot more business going. We’re going to be going over some of the initiatives that she wants to pursue and make sure that they’re fitting within her mandate.

Committee Motion 39-16(5): Defer Consideration Of Health And Social Services Department Summary, Carried March 1st, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have on my left Mr. Olin Lovely, director of corporate services, and to my right is Tim Mercer, Clerk of the Assembly.