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Crucial Fact

  • 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

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters September 30th, 2015

I didn’t catch the last part of Mr.

Stewart’s comments. Sorry.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters September 30th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. There’s one other. Princess Alexandra is the other one. I’m not sure if he has that on the list there somewhere.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters September 30th, 2015

I appreciate that commitment to communicate with Members if their projects are getting dumped back. I would recommend that to all the Ministers when they’re coming forward on this discussion. I think that’s going to be a factor I’m going to bring forward, because we’ve seen that in

thi

s deliberation of the capital budget when we’ve

reviewed it, that some of those projects, those dates seems to switch and some Members are saying,

when did that happen, we didn’t hear that, I

didn’t hear that. If we could start to communicate that when that does happen.

Obviously, I’m concerned about, as I mentioned, the two schools in Hay River. I know we just did Diamond Jenness Secondary School, but we have Harry Camsell and Princess Alexandra. Obviously, you guys have the list of all of the schools and where they fit in the mid-

life retrofit, so I’d like to

know exactly if the department has that information of when the two schools in Hay River would be deemed ready for mid-life retrofit.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters September 30th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have some questions and a few comments. First, it’s good to see some of the schools that are getting on there. Obviously, I’ve heard Mr. Menicoche talk about that facility a few times. I guess this department is not much different than all of the other departments that we look at. We’re talking about capital infrastructure and how it’s being assessed and I think the Minister talked a little bit about that, but how the different schools get assessed on when they’re going to be retrofitted or when there’s going to be a new school being built and how is that communicated to Members.

This capital budget for Education is no different than a bunch of other capital budgets that we have where the Members may see that it’s on the ‘16-17 budget, but when Public Works and Services and the department re-evaluate on an annual basis, that number could drop down to 2022, 2021. So, I mean, when we’re evaluating this stuff and when we’re changing the dates of these retrofits, are we notifying the Members of the changes and why? Like, which schools are being bumped ahead and which ones are being bumped back? That would be my first question as far as that discussion.

Are we communicating those changes, when it comes off a red circle list, or when it’s on the red circle list and it gets bumped down or back a year or two, are we communicating that with Members?

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters September 30th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I just have a few quick comments.

I’d like to give some

more updates as we go along and I’ll go through some of the issues that I think are important and that I’d like to see more information on.

I was dealing with the Hay River Woodland Manor and we know that there’s an expansion being planned, being designed as we speak. Obviously, I think there’s going to be some carry-over from that money because we never broke ground this year, and if I could get an update on how that currently stands and when we expect to put the shovels to the ground for that project.

I know we’re completing the Hay River Health Centre. Obviously,

that’s key in that we know that it

seems like we’re ahead of schedule and now we’re kind of back on schedule, so maybe just a quick update where that would be at.

My concern, as well, is we talked about capital and we talked about what’s gone on but what might not be in the budget. We know that the medical clinic is going to be renovated for administration and we know there’s going to be shortage of administration. So I’m just wondering if the department has assessed what they want to do going forward for those admin positions. Some of these are going to need leases or we’re going to need a building. Have we got a cost-analysis for some of that stuff?

I assume something that’s not in the budget and we’ve obviously talked about us getting involved in and trying to commit to some dollars to the dredging. We talked about it in the House that

it’s a

federal responsibility, but we know that it’s been a federal responsibility, as well,

and we’ve gone

ahead and committed 25 percent to that type of project now.

We’re doing that for the Tuk-Inuvik

Highway; we’re trying to do that for the Mackenzie Valley Highway;

so I mean that’s a federal

responsibility and I think we need to commit to some of that money to dredging of the Hay River harbour.

The upgrades to SMCC, South Mackenzie Correctional Centre, obviously I can’t see any major retrofits for tha

t facility and it’s getting to an age

where we should be looking at that and getting that information in the budget.

Some of the Members have already talked about our communities asking for more infrastructure. Hay River is one of those bigger communities that has a deficit in infrastructure and it needs additional funding for that and those levels have been consistent for many years. We need to increase those capital infrastructure dollars so that those communities that are really behind the eight ball on some of that infrastructure need to, you know, finish some of that stuff up, catch up.

Again, some transportation stuff, we see the Transportation Strategy there. Regarding the Build Canada F

und, we’ve seen some of that planning

going forward and the concern would be that we haven’t paid too much attention to the main highway, Highway No. 1, coming into the territory. We’ve talked about Highway No. 1 out toward Simpson but we haven’t talked about keeping the

current roads up to speed. Highway No. 1 has

n’t

been one that has been talked about,

I think. We’d

started a program for widening it. That looks really good and is very effective for the trucking industry. We all know where the majority of our trucking industry comes from. It would be nice if we upgraded more of that road to that standard.

Another area is, obviously, schools are important. We’ve just renovated Diamond Jenness, but there are two schools we have in the regular system that need some upgrades.

They’re starting to get to an

age where they

’re going to need upgrades.

The other one is the French school. I know we have some discussion and we have some court cases going back and forth and we know there’s going to be demand there. In either Yellowknife or Hay River, is there anything in our budgets for capital on that? Instead of planning for some of that stuff, we’re waiting for the courts to just tell us we’re going to have to stroke a cheque to fix this problem. Over that short

period of time, we wouldn’t really

want to.

Why wouldn’t we put this into a budget?

Why wouldn’t we start planning for it? Why wouldn’t we put it into the four- or five-year plan, because we know that we’re going to be responsible for some of it.

Another step that I’m glad to see is the parks upgrades.

We’re seeing more and more parks

upgrades and we’ve been getting nothing but compliments about our parks.

We’ve had some

people in the South Slave and in the Dehcho and the people who are just pleased to see those kinds of facilities and it’s good to see some of that stuff.

The last thing being, you know, some of the health facilities in Yellowknife, we’re upgrading them. Stanton Hospital is going to become a priority here real quick and I think we need a better understanding how that’s going to work, how that’s going to roll out over the next 30 years.

That’s

going to happen, the old facility versus a new facility. What are we doing with that old facility? Is it going to become an empty building that we’re going to have to start to fill? Are we going to look to replace off-site services that we currently have in Yellowknife and put them into the old hospital? Some of that stuff that’s more practical for our government, we should be using that as opposed to just leaving it and letting the market decide what’s going to happen. Our concern from the regional perspective is just like when we built the big tower downtown recently and we called that the devolution building for a while. There are issues that the regions are concerned with, that there’s more and more coming into Yellowknife and that if we built the facilities to that standard and put in a lot of vacancies there, then that’s just promoting it. The GNWT and operations will continue to find space and lease more space in Yellowknife and I’m concerned that that will defer and break down some

of the issues that we’ve been trying to get decentralized.

So, Mr. Chair, those are my main comments. Thank you.

Bill 69: An Act To Amend The Legislative Assembly And Executive Council Act, No. 2 September 30th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I give notice that on Friday, October 2, 2015, I will move that Bill 69, An Act to Amend the Legislative Assembly and Executive Council Act, No. 2, be read for the first time. Thank you.

Question 895-17(5): Student Financial Assistance Policies September 30th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I agree with the Minister; I think we have a great SFA if you fit into the cookie cutter and this is the way you did it: You went to Grade 12, next year you go to school. But if you don’t fit into that cookie cutter system that we have, you’re in trouble. You are going to have to fight and scream for every dollar and you are going to have to fight with your own territorial government to get support. We are looking for flexibility, not a stringent box.

Will the Minister commit to making this SFA flexible for those people who don’t fit into that box?

Question 895-17(5): Student Financial Assistance Policies September 30th, 2015

Again, Mr. Speaker, the comments are “monitor, we’ll look into it.” Let’s just commit to getting Northerners back here. This government has a mandate to get 2,000 more people into the Territories. We need to figure out how to do that.

Whether it’s the legislation or it has

to be brought to this House, let’s bring it to the House. Let’s get that changed. We know it’s an issue. We know students go out and see the world after they are done high school. They are gone for a year. Those are the type of people we are dealing with as well. The Minister is giving the example of one person. We need to be flexible. We need to be able to change the student financial situation for the individual.

Is this Minister prepared to look at individual’s needs for student financial assistance? Thank you.

Question 895-17(5): Student Financial Assistance Policies September 30th, 2015

The Minister has indicated that it’s a policy. The point is you don’t need to evaluate it. We don’t need to monitor it. We need students to come back. We need Northerners to come back to the North.

Why do we need to monitor this? Why not give our staff the ability to change that? The Minister has the power to make that with the swipe of his pen.

Can he commit to changing this policy right here? Don’t monitor it. We are getting Northerners back to the Northwest Territories. It should be a no-brainer. Will he commit to that?

Question 895-17(5): Student Financial Assistance Policies September 30th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My questions will be following my statement about northern students and student financial assistance, questions for ECE. The first question I have is I know we are dealing with students who have lived in the Northwest Territories, grew up in the Northwest Territories, have left their jurisdiction for a period of time and now have to re-establish their residency.

We aren’t talking about some person

coming from the South who has nothing to do with the Northwest Territories; we are talking about Northerners coming back. I want the Minister to commit to changing that residency for those northern students to three months. Will he do that?