- His favourite word was going.
Last in the Legislative Assembly November 2015, as MLA for Hay River North
Lost his last election, in 2015, with 35% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery October 7th, 2015
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’d like to recognize Germaine Michel, a Hay River resident; and former resident Lisa Balmer, who’s here doing schooling. I’m sure we’re going to get her back in Hay River in our new health centre, get her and Ben back in Hay River.
Support For Consensus Government In The NWT October 7th, 2015
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As we’ve come to the last couple days of this session, I thought I’d make a statement here. I’d like to speak on consensus government.
I support consensus government. As a new MLA here, I was able to get involved in the budget process, involved in committee, involved in everything in the government right from the get-go. I support consensus government. I know we need to improve it, but I’ve been part of the Transition Committee this summer on ways that we can improve consensus government, the way we can make it better for the public, for the Regular Members and for the Cabinet.
In consensus government I don’t have to tow a party line. It’s easy. My mandate is Hay River. I represent Hay River on a number of issues. Whenever I have a question, I just need to go home; I’ll get my mandate again. I just need to talk to people, have a constituency meeting and put it out to the people as a question. Whether that topic is dredging, fishing industry, northern manufacturing, Mental Health Act changes, whether it’s a school swap, that’s an example, Mr. Speaker. We had a discussion about school swap. We went home. Both groups told us no, we don’t want a school swap. That’s an example of consensus government. We’re given back our mandate; don’t accept that. We didn’t accept it. We’re dealing with the issue going forward.
We do need to improve consensus government and I think the key to that is communication. We need the government to communicate with Regular Members how things are being done and when things are being done, not just on the minimum amount of time but through the whole process.
Communication is a two-way street. Regular Members here need to be trusted with that information. We’re given that information early, so we need to rebuild that trust. We need to rebuild the trust that Regular Members get that information and it’s not going to end up on social media; it’s not going to end up on some press release right after it’s given.
For some reason, like I said, when I first got here, people talked about how the hallways had mikes in them, because as soon as we had a conversation, everybody seemed to know about it in the building. So, in order to improve consensus government, we need to improve our communication. We need to improve trust.
Consensus works for us in a small jurisdiction. It’s easy. If we had party politics, eventually somewhere down the line some community may be left out. If my community isn’t represented by the government, then I’m going to be left out in the cold. Consensus government works in the Northwest Territories and is strong and is alive. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Report of Committee of the Whole October 6th, 2015
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, your committee has been considering Tabled Document 324-17(5), Supplementary Estimates (Operations Expenditures), No. 2, 2015-2016; Bill 56, Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act, 2015; Bill 59, Estate Administration Law Amendment Act; Bill 62, An Act to Amend the Coroners Act; Bill 63, An Act to Amend the Victims of Crime Act; Bill 64, An Act to Amend the Co-operative Associations Act; Bill 69, An Act to Amend the Legislative Assembly and Executive Council Act, No. 2; Bill 45, An Act to Amend the Workers’ Compensation Act; Bill 49, An Act to Amend the Deh Cho Bridge Act; Bill 60, An Act to Amend the Motor Vehicles Act, No. 2; Bill 61, An Act to Amend the Public Airports Act; Bill 65, An Act to Amend the Safety Act; Bill 68, An Act to Amend the Child and Family Services Act, No. 2, and would like to report progress with five motions being adopted and that Bills 56, 62, 63, 69, 45, 49, 60, 61, 65 and 68 are ready for third reading and that Bill 59 and 64 are now ready for third reading as amended and that consideration of Tabled Document 324-17(5) is concluded and that the House concur in those estimates and that an appropriation bill to be based thereon be introduced without delay. Mr. Speaker, I move that the report of Committee of the Whole be concurred with. Thank you.
I’m not disagreeable to this process. I think we need to take distracted driving out of the hands of the drivers in the Northwest Territories. My question to the department is how do we expect this to roll out and do we have a campaign or an advertising campaign to go with this so that people understand and know that there is more severity to the program than we currently have? I know we rolled it out when we doubled the fines. There was a bit of an advertising campaign and it got a little bit of play. Are we expecting that with this type of increase in the suspension area?
The Minister indicated in his opening remarks about school zones and construction zones. If it was my second offence and I was doing texting or distracted driving for the second time, would that be more than a 24-hour suspension or would it be bumped up to the three-day suspension because I was in a school zone, for example?
I am just wondering: if it is like a demerit system, after you have done it for so long a period then it doesn’t… If I get one every five years then the second one doesn’t affect me after two years. Just like the demerits, it would come off the system, or can the Minister clarify that?
Thank you. So, if you got pulled over with your second offence in two years, you are basically given a 24-hour suspension and the officer would tell you that you have to go home. I guess some of the questions I would have if that was me and I was in Yellowknife, obviously going home is a little shorter distance than someone driving back to Hay River. Would I have a day or two to get back home before I serve my 24-hour suspension or not? How does some of that practicality side of it work?
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I would like to discuss some of the distracted driving enforcement and kinds of distracted driving. I know we are talking about increasing the penalties for driving distracted, if the Minister could even maybe just talk a little bit more about that. I think we are talking about even suspending licences for periods of time, how that would work as far as if you got pulled over with distracted driving and you are getting suspended for your licence, how you would basically get that vehicle back home. Some of the practical parts of the enforcement of distracted driving.
Thank you, Mr. Chair. To my right I have Tim Mercer, Clerk of the Legislative Assembly. To my left I have the director of legislation division, Ms. Kelly McLaughlin.
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