Legislative Assembly photo



Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was know.

Last in the Legislative Assembly November 2015, as MLA for Yellowknife Centre

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 23% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Question 957-17(5): RCMP Prisoner Transport Policy October 8th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have questions for the Minister of Justice. It’s regarding RCMP and their side job, if I may describe it that way, in transporting prisoners back and forth between the jails. It’s been brought to my attention that the RCMP do this activity regularly. The question came as why doesn’t the sheriff’s office either use their existing resources or bolster their resources to do that particular job?

Frankly, we all know that a member of the RCMP, when you do what’s called the all-in cost, runs in the range of $175,000 to $200,000. It’s much more cost effective to have the sheriff’s office doing those duties between their other ones if they are shuffling prisoners back and forth between the jail and the courthouse. The point is I think it’s better use of RCMP time to put their service in the community, responding to crime and investigating crime.

Has the department investigated this idea and what consideration have they put to it? If they haven’t, will they?

Question 954-17(5): Secondary Diamond Industry October 8th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. While the Minister says we don’t have people banging our doors down, but the last three years when this deal had been made, nothing has been cut. He said maybe we’ll get lease money, but my understanding is the lease has been in arrears. Reading in the Yellowknifer a number of weeks ago, you could see they weren’t even paying property taxes. We weren’t the only ones fooled in this deal. Callidus is a lending agency and they were sold a bill of goods about how great things would be. So, what is the Minister willing to do to help revoke their authority of having the polar bear logo on diamonds, because I don’t know what they’re doing outside the Northwest Territories, and furthermore, is the Minister willing to step in and give the department direction so they can end any type of informal or formal agreement they may have with diamond companies where they are guaranteed a supply of rough? We don’t know what they’re getting and what they’re doing with it. This is very concerning. This has never emerged to result in anything positive. Thank you.

Question 954-17(5): Secondary Diamond Industry October 8th, 2015

Three years ago this Minister talked about this being the rebirth of the industry and I even brought it up not that long ago about what’s happening, because clearly the gestation of this first cycle is a very long one. But the point, in a serious note, is if the department continues to work with them to cut diamonds and get our polar bear logo on diamonds, in three years how many diamonds have been cut using this cut and how many diamonds have the NWT polar bear logo on it that the government holds and certainly tried to market? A lot of dollars went into marketing diamonds, a lot of effort, we have a diamond division. I mean, a lot of focus from this government has been to promote diamonds, and if we have one that we’ve given all the rights to, frankly my concern is we don’t know where we’re going and the public won’t know either. So, will the Minister be willing to answer that? Thank you.

Question 954-17(5): Secondary Diamond Industry October 8th, 2015

I’m not getting into his private, personal matter, but it is a matter of public record out there. So it’s not a secret, but where it really matters to the people of the Northwest Territories is a particular issue of concern about where diamonds are going and that’s certainly it. You cannot have one without the other. So the Government of the Northwest Territories gave this person the ability to have sole, exclusive rights on the polar bear logo and I want to know what the next steps are.

Is the government going to retract that offer, suspend it? I don’t even know what they take back for goodness sakes.

So, is the government in a position to take back his sole, exclusive right to use the polar bear logo on diamonds? Thank you.

Question 954-17(5): Secondary Diamond Industry October 8th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have recently learned that the Bower Group is a trustee out of Vancouver and they’ve come to Yellowknife to take possession of the two diamond cutting plants owned by Deepak Kumar, and he’s also known as Deepak International. Now, the actual possession itself is not the concern of this Assembly, and certainly the people of the Northwest Territories, but it’s more about the message of what’s happening with our diamond cutting industry that is of great concern.

To set the questions up properly, some time ago the government agreed to give Mr. Deepak Kumar the ability to have the polar bear logo and to provide access for rough, and of course, they took almost three years to get through this process so he’d finally end up with the buildings, which is part of the issue. I’m going to start my first set of questions off to the Minister of ITI. Knowing that he’s in receivership and they’re now liquidating his assets, what happens to the polar bear logo and what type of messaging are we getting out there as a government to say which way our diamond industry is going? Because, frankly, it appears more that it’s a fledgling industry and we had someone who came in, we gave them whatever they wanted and they’ve been unable to succeed. I’m concerned, as well as many others are, where our diamond industry is going. Thank you.

Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery October 8th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I don’t think I have any constituents left in the gallery. They came and then they went, as previously mentioned by colleagues. But I do want to take a second to mention and certainly pass on my kindest regards to Melody McLeod. She’s the Premier’s wife. Every time I see her I’m reminded of an anecdote that Ms. Barbara Bush once said when they asked her what’s it like being her, and she said, “Well, I’ve been married to the President of the United States and my son’s the President of the United States and another son is the Governor of Florida,” and she goes, “I’m the most powerful person in the world.” Every man knows there’s some truth to that story, if your wife knows that. But I first met Melody back in 1987 when I was stolen from the clutches of the warm embrace of Fort Simpson to go to Akaitcho Hall, and I’ll say I’m a better man for it, knowing her there. She had been there for me many times, and I hope sometimes in the future too. Even though I pick on her husband from time to time as the McLeod government, hopefully she’ll still have a warm spot for me in her heart. Thank you very much.

Appreciation For Constituents, Colleagues And Supporters October 8th, 2015

The last four years have seen the troubling brick of the high cost of living weighing down on our northern families, struggling with the power rates or even the cost of fuel. Within this great vice, there is also a huge opportunity. There are the renewable areas such as biomass and solar, which our government hopefully will be looking forward to in the near future. We must not forget, we must look towards population growth.

Everywhere I look around, I’ve seen people struggle trying to get jobs, whether they are summer students, people with disabilities or even seniors. Even the public service jobs that constantly get funded but sit empty is a struggle.

The last few years my favourite people to work with are certainly youth and seniors. To that, I have loved every opportunity to get out to the schools and talk to the kids or even at Avens and visiting. That has brought great enjoyment to my life and sometimes it reminds us how important the work we do here is.

Speaking of which, I was glad to be part of the missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls motion. I was very excited this House could support that. As a matter of fact, it still stands to the test that this is such an important issue that more work needs to get done. Interestingly enough, no other Legislature, to my knowledge, has passed a similar motion. I think that’s a statement of the type of Legislature we are and the issues we care about. It was an important message and it certainly is an important motion.

The days ahead will see many opportunities for us, and I’m always concerned about the working family. I’m always worried that our government can’t seem to find consumer protection on its agenda. But worrying about our citizens under the context of 911, we finally took the first step this year to say we’re going to do it. I guess, as my colleague said, we’ve devolved and now we will evolve on that issue.

One of the neat things about downtown is the Yellowknife Day Shelter will continue to strive forward. More importantly, I am so excited to see that this term, under Minister Abernethy, they finally heeded some of the goals and concerns of trying to provide proactive programming. I thank him for that. I’m glad. If you could do a little more on the Aurora College file, it would be greatly appreciated.

As I bring this to a close – I know time is running out – I just want to say thank you very much to my wife. If I’m allowed a second or two more, Mr. Speaker, I’m not allowed to hold up props, but in the 12 years I’ve been an MLA, I have always had a picture of my children here as a reminder of why we’re here.

May I leave this thought with each and every one of us: Of course, we are all excited to get on the campaign trail and, obviously, we all hope for the best. But always remind yourself about what’s important. Each day I come here as a Member of the Legislative Assembly, I’ve always had the picture of my two children sit in front of me to remind me about the values we are supposed to represent here. It doesn’t mean we’re perfect. It doesn’t mean we haven’t had troubled days, we’ve moved along, but we always have to ask ourselves what is the touchstone and it always has to have family and friends.

To my constituents, once again, I say thank you; and to my family, it’s always been an honour to have your help and support through this process. Thank you.

Appreciation For Constituents, Colleagues And Supporters October 8th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I first want to start off saying it’s been an incredible honour to be here for the last 12 years. The journey as being the MLA for Yellowknife Centre has always been an exciting one. Some days have been more fun than others, but I can tell you, all Members of this House can agree it’s a passionate challenge we all do.

Most of my colleagues – except for the two lucky ones here – we will all be putting their case to the constituents once again, hoping for another mandate, if their support thinks I’m worthy.

I have to stress wholeheartedly that I’m grateful for my supportive home. I couldn’t do this job, like my colleagues have said, without my wife and my two sons, McKinley and Hudson. When I was first elected 12 years ago, I had one wife. I didn’t get 12 family members like the Minister just said, but I had one wife and a two-year-old son. We used to come here every day and I’d be tripping over Thomas the Train and little cars and things. It evolved into two sons and we were playing trains on the weekends sometimes, as I’m supposed to be reading my briefing stuff, but we always found family time. That’s what we did and we evolved, not quite how Mr. Nadli described it, but we devolved and evolved our relationship here and I brought my kids into it from the start. It’s interesting, as they continue to be some of my most passionate and greatest supporters.

Like my two colleagues next to me, I do want to talk about some of the reflections and highlights over this last term. I think it’s important to talk about devolution. I will start with devolution. Devolution was certainly an incredible first step on the journey and the aspirations of the people of the Northwest Territories. It was a rough ride, but by all means, as I have described it before, Home Rule was an important step for this territory to take and I’m glad we took it. I’m glad we took it in this Assembly so we can look back and say we finally did it. How many successful Assemblies previous to us tried to get it done? This is the first one that we can actually say we have the key to the cars, the keys to our own destiny and we’re driving forward.

Over the last four years, we’ve continued to see challenges with addictions and it does bother me seriously. I wish our territory could do more. I know, no matter how much money we throw at the problem, it may be challenging. We need to address these problems. I have to admit that I was very glad to see, the other day, that the Mental Health Act has finally gotten through. It will make a difference in people’s lives and saving lives.

Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery (Reversion) October 7th, 2015

It gives me great pleasure to recognize April Taylor. She’s an employee here at the Legislative Assembly and she’s there with her very young, very bright, hardworking student and daughter named Kiera. Thank you, and may everyone give them a warm welcome. Thank you.

Report of the Committee of the Whole October 7th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I seek unanimous consent to return to item 5, recognition of visitors in the gallery.

---Unanimous consent granted