Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am confused here, because my understanding was that this territorial government took over education dollars from the federal government to enhance learning, especially for the aboriginals. Most of our people in our communities would not be able to afford to pay fees charged even if they wanted their children to enter any of these programs identified in (k). My concern is that, although this is well intended, I don't believe the majority of parents will be able to afford whatever fees are set for their children to enter into programs identified in (k). How are we going to do that?
Last in the Legislative Assembly September 1995, as MLA for Baffin Central
Lost her last election, in 1995, with 6% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. On 118(k), in addition to the school program, develop and deliver early childhood development, adult education, cultural, religious or other programs to enhance learning and charge fees for the programs; Mr. Chairman, I don't understand, because this government took over education from the federal government that was geared towards aboriginal education. I want to know why we would want to charge fees to teach cultural programs?
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The reason I have some concerns about this is because the Minister's staff, especially the one sitting behind him, were in the Baffin when the Baffin Divisional Board of Education was established. They were told the importance of -- by the professors from universities in, I think, Montreal -- teaching the Inuktitut language, which is the language most spoken in the homes of Nunavut communities. The importance of it was that if the children whose first language is Inuktitut develop their Inuktitut language first, then they have a better chance of learning English as a second language, as opposed to introducing English right away from kindergarten to grade 3.
I'm wondering if, for the Dene communities in the west, whether that is being considered in schools.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In Nunavut communities, from kindergarten to grade 3, instruction is all in Inuktitut, but I'm not sure whether that is the case in western communities, especially in aboriginal communities. That's why I asked if the department still assists in program development by providing learning materials, and if they still do evaluations on production of materials in aboriginal languages. To my understanding, some of the Dene languages, some of the Dene learning materials, are not as progressed as ones in Nunavut. I'm wondering what kind of protection they have under this act.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I used to work with the Department of Education, doing evaluations of aboriginal languages, including all the dialects. What is the department doing now to assist in producing relevant materials in aboriginal languages?
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Minister indicated earlier in his response to Mr. Allooloo's question that instruction shall be provided in schools only if the materials are available. Is that what he said?
Item 9: Replies To Opening Address June 21st, 1995
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity, through a reply to the Commissioner's opening address, to say a few things on behalf of my constituents and to express some of my views about our government and the programs it delivers.
Mr. Speaker, this is my first term as an elected Member of this Assembly, and I must say that the last four years has been a very enjoyable learning experience for me. First of all, I would like to pass on some compliments on some of this government's initiatives, that I think went fairly well. One is the community transfer initiative. Although this did not get off as we had expected, I think the next four years will see more communities taking on more responsibility from this government. I hope that this government will continue to fine-tune this initiative. I say this because I still see room for that, if we are going to be giving our communities more control.
One of the problems I see in the communities, Mr. Speaker, is we are missing control over our government staff whose supervisors are usually situated in regional offices. And I think there is room for municipal governments to be part of the protocol of our government in overseeing the improvement of some of the programs delivered at the community level, such as using community-elected officials to act as monitors of employees in the communities. I hope that this government will continue to improve the community transfer initiative. I must say that I was very happy to hear that this government started a pilot project in the Baffin to include the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs and that MACA was to be the implementing department.
As well, there is the buy-north policy. I think it is working well for the private business sector in our communities, but I must caution this government that this policy not be abused. I have learned that in some communities of the NWT, local businesses that are using this policy sometimes overcharge the government. We must make sure that we are getting good value for our dollar. The private sector should know that as long as this policy is in place, their sector will thrive on some of the government dollars we have.
Regarding the income support program, I think the Premier and Mr. Nerysoo have done well on this, since the time when I had the Social Services portfolio and had asked my deputy minister to bring forward the already-written document of the previous government, when Mrs. Marie-Jewell was Minister of Social Services. There are really no limits to this program, if this government is going to succeed in implementing this program. I hope all the communities can tap into it so our "employables" can continue their education and, hopefully, find employment; if not, start their own businesses through the education they have received. On the community wellness strategy, I was impressed when our Premier tabled that strategy. I must say she did a good job. When I was Minister of Social Services, the document I brought to Cabinet was only a wellness strategy. She has done a great job in expanding it and getting the other departments involved as well.
So, Mr. Speaker, on our political development, as you know and everyone knows, Nunavut is only four years away and in 1999, this government will divide. I do have some concerns on the western part because there are so many different interest groups that are almost totally independent. I do wish them well in achieving their political goals, especially their Constitution. I do wish they could work interdependently so they can achieve the goals they would like to see.
Mr. Speaker, I would also like to take the time to thank the government on behalf of the community of Clyde River; since I was elected, they are now enjoying their new community hall. I think this year the new nursing station will be completed and an addition for the school was completed earlier this year. It is already in use. This addition was very much needed because some of the classes were held in the library and any other room that was available.
On behalf of Pangnirtung, I would like to thank the NWT Development Corporation for building a nice fish plant, which was opened last summer. Although the turbot fishery is very new to Pangnirtung residents, the well-experienced hunters have certainly been out in the Cumberland Sound fishing. This has created income of some much-needed dollars to some families.
I would like to thank the Department of Education for putting in a gymnasium in Alookie School, which also gave more room for much-needed classrooms in that school.
I would like to thank the Department of Transportation for the breakwater. This was much needed for the small marine vessel owners. As you know, we get severe storms in Pangnirtung and some boat owners have been losing thousands of dollars during the storms. So this is much appreciated, Mr. Todd. by the tourism operators, fishermen and hunters.
Also, we appreciate the new air terminal. We don't have to crowd any more, trying to check in our luggage in that little room. There is lots of room now and it is very much appreciated. This year, there is going to be a renovation to Attagoyuk School, which the students and parents have been waiting for a long time. This school is old and the heating has been causing a lot of problems to the community. Some of the high school students would sit in the classrooms with their parkas on, it would be so cold. I can assure the government that the renovation to Attagoyuk School is very much appreciated.
I also would like to thank my constituents for having supported me throughout some ordeals that I have gone through when I was on Cabinet. I want to thank my family, who supported me in every way, especially my dad, Jamasie Mike, who looks after my daughter while I am here doing work on behalf of my constituents. Also, I would like to thank my sister, Rita, who has been a great help in looking after my daughter, Nadia. I want to thank my sisters, Eena and Lucy Mike.
I also would like to thank some of the NWT residents who used to call me when I was a Cabinet Member to show their support and not to give up in this Assembly. The majority of those people have been women who called in to say we are behind you, hang in there. I would like to thank those people who have shown great support to me during my four years in this Assembly. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
Manufacturing Of Northern Products June 21st, 1995
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and my colleagues. As I was saying, Mr. Speaker, it doesn't make any sense to me that this government spends considerable amounts of money on the fur incentive program and other renewable resource and economic development programs and, yet, when an opportunity comes along, our northern processors are left out in the cold. More must be done, Mr. Speaker, to ensure that this government and agents of this government continue to pursue economic development initiatives within the Northwest Territories, we should continue to market our products nationally and internationally, but they must be made in the north by northerners and all the benefits must flow to northerners. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Manufacturing Of Northern Products June 21st, 1995
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Two weeks ago, I asked a question in this House about the origin of the sealskin products passed out by the Minister of Renewable Resources during his department's O and M budget presentation last March. In his opening comments on the Renewable Resources budget on March 3, 1995, the Minister stated, and I quote from page 1064 of the unedited Hansard:
"In the eastern Arctic, we have been working hard to promote the sealing and fishing industry. This past year, in cooperation with Economic Development and Tourism, we researched consumer interest in seal and sealskin products. In 1995-96, we are working with the Broughton Island tannery and residents on the pilot project to produce and market these examples of high quality products. Mr. Chairman, if I may, I would like to pass out some samples of products that are being produced. Mr. Chairman, we are providing seal pelts to the tannery through the fur pricing program." This all sounds very promising, Mr. Speaker, but I am concerned that it does not seem to be consistent with what the Minister was telling me in response to my question of two weeks ago. He indicated he was aware that the sealskin products were merely prototypes made by a southern company as a demonstration of the kinds of products that could be made in the NWT. However, the prototypes have Minnguq Sewing Group labels on them, despite the fact that Minnguq was not aware of their existence.
In addition, Mr. Speaker, despite the fact that the Minister assures us that there is active promotion of sealskin products and even a pilot project involving the Broughton Island tannery, the information I have indicates this is not the case. I have heard that there are plans being made to initiate a production line of products under the Minnguq name but the Broughton Island tannery, which is in dire need of work, is not a part of the picture.
Mr. Speaker, it doesn't make any sense to me that this government spends considerable amounts of money on the fur incentive program and other renewable resource...Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to continue by Member's statement.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Further to the Nunavut leaders' summit in Gjoa Haven on January 19 to 21, 1995, could the Minister responsible for the Department of Education, Culture and Employment please advise this House on any progress to date regarding:
- a resolution requesting that the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment review the adequacy of the present student financial assistance program for Inuit students;
- a resolution recommending that the Minister collaborate with the Nunavut Implementation Training Commission and Arctic College to review the feasibility of relocating the Sivuniksavut program to Nunavut and delivering it through Arctic College;
- a resolution recommending that the Minister implement new strategies and programs to achieve greater success in graduating grade 12 students in Nunavut; - a resolution recommending that the Minister implement a strategy to ensure adult training programs meet the needs of Nunavut?
Would the Minister indicate whether a detailed response to Nunavut leaders on each of the recommendations and their components can be expected in the near future?