- 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
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would encourage the department to investigate certainly the right approach and certainly I would say contact someone who understands good communication when we consider an updated campaign on distracted driving.
One of the issues I notice with people is that they still tend to hold their phone in their hand, and really what I think is a bit of an issue here is people are misinterpreting, in some cases, probably a very small percentage in all honesty, but misinterpreting what distracted driving really is.
Where people have learnt that using your cell phone is certainly holding it to your ear and talking on it normally while you’re driving and you still see people doing that, but occasionally what you do, if not more often, I see people drive around and they’re holding their cell phone in front of them while they’re talking. I can only assume they have it on speaker phone as they’re driving along and having it in front of them is best to describe it as maybe holding it in front of them in a manner that it’s just above the steering wheel.
I think, really, what my suggestion would be to the department is to take these types of things into consideration and explaining and maybe through some type of advertisement on saying, well, this is what distracting is, the cell phone in your hand, type of thing, and helping folks understand that this doesn’t change the argument that, well, I’m not holding it to your head now, it doesn’t apply. There are a fair bit of things they need to consider that folks need to be updated and I think it could be a case of misinterpretation, the fact that they don’t appreciate the complexity of it, or they don’t appreciate how simple, really, that message is, which is once you have the cell phone in your hand you now fall under the umbrella of distracted driving.
I just wanted to provide some thoughts on that.
Thank you, Mr. Chair. The Standing Committee on Economic Development and Infrastructure held its public review on Bill 60, An Act to Amend the Motor Vehicles Act, No. 2, on September 16, 2015.
Bill 60 amends the Motor Vehicles Act to eliminate references to validation stickers which are no longer used and enable the registrar to apply terms and conditions when reinstating a licence and to suspend or cancel a licence if medical examination requirements are not met, strengthen distracted driving legislation, establish unique offences for each kilometre by which a driver exceeds the maximum speed limit, create a new offence respecting parking in interference with the fighting of a fire, address the valuation and disposal of worthless vehicles, and address grammatical translation and reference errors.
One of the amendments proposed in Bill 60 would see speeding fines increase incrementally for each kilometre over the speed limit. During the public hearing, the committee expressed its concern that the proposed provision provided for drivers to be charged with multiple offenses. For example, 15 offenses for driving 15 kilometres above the speed limit; however, Members are confident of the department’s assurance that the matter will be clarified in the regulations and look forward to such amendments.
The committee also welcomed amendments to respecting abandoned vehicles, a matter of continuing interest to residents and local businesses as well as the Members.
Finally, the committee wishes to briefly comment on the proposed amendments respecting distracted driving. Despite advances in legislation, enforcement and public awareness, both in the Northwest Territories and across Canada, distracted driving continues to claim lives and to be a cause of injury and damage to property. The committee commends the department’s alternatives to this important road safety issue.
Members emphasized the need for consistent enforcement of the new rules also anticipate new educational initiatives. Following a clause-by-clause review, a motion was carried to report Bill 60 to the Assembly as ready for consideration in Committee of the Whole.
This concludes the committee’s comments on Bill 60. Individual Members may have additional questions or comments as we proceed. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The Standing Committee on Economic Development and Infrastructure held its public review on Bill 49, An Act to Amend the Deh Cho Bridge Act, on September 16, 2015. Bill 49 amends the Deh Cho Bridge Act to streamline rules and requirements currently present in the act, clarifying enforcement powers and reducing red tape.
The committee is satisfied that the legal and fiscal responsibilities of the GNWT are satisfied by including toll reporting under the main estimates, in compliance with the Financial Administration Act.
Members were pleased that tolling revenue will continue to be clearly identified within the public accounts. Similarly, Members recognize that toll adjustments, according to the Consumer Price Index, CPI, will be undertaken in keeping with the GNWT-wide direction of the Financial Management Board.
Nevertheless, Members expect that the GNWT will continue to engage residents respecting any and all changes to the management of the Deh Cho Bridge.
Finally, while the committee agrees with the department that tolling enforcement is a matter of fairness, Members also wish to express their concern respecting individuals crossing the bridge for non-business purposes, but who may be tolled due to their classification of licence plate and/or vehicle’s weight. Following the clause-by-clause review, a motion was carried to report Bill 49 to the Assembly as ready for consideration in Committee of the Whole.
This concludes the committee’s general comments on Bill 49. Individual Members may have additional questions or comments as we proceed. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I am pretty confident this will be my last question, which is the underlying cost of this situation. I’ve been around for some time and I’ve yet to hear an employer say how they enjoy paying WSCC premiums and they always say they pay too much. Whether that’s true or not is not necessarily for me to say; the actuary folks make those types of decisions. They have a science behind it. Again, I’m not in the right position to say agree or whatnot. I just find it confusing and let them deal with that.
That said, I’m curious on the change and that projected cost. What is the big change right now, because obviously you can’t be adding more coverage without adding a financial component to it. So, the main question really is built around how much is changing in a sense of the rates? How does this financially change the industry? Do we foresee – and I’m hopeful, but first knock on wood – that we don’t get a call upon this, but what type of liability does WSCC foresee in this particular problem going forward? I think you kind of understand where I’m going so I’ll leave it to you, and that’s really my last area, is how much this is going to cost those who pay and certainly what does the system expect to be considered normal.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I guess the last area was concerned about timing and, again, like I say, I’m not criticizing how fast it is, it’s just exceptionally unusual how swiftly it moved. Was there any particular liability issues on why it had to move so quickly? Was there a legal movement swell elsewhere across Canada or some type of mechanisms of a similar nature? Again, I just find it extremely pleasing but unusual that it moved so quickly. To hear the firefighters route an important issue is not to downplay the importance of the issue or certainly the organization. I hear all the time how things are critical and important, but it’s like a millstone wrapped around its neck; it just drags and moves and time goes by. So, I’m just trying to understand now any type of legal pressure or liability pressure, groundswell of some type of organization that change in the paradigm for this. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It’s unusual to hear a criticism of timing in this regard, but that was pretty fast. It doesn’t usually work that fast. Maybe more for me, as opposed to the public, but that said, it would probably help the public as well. Why so fast? It’s unusual to have an amendment brought forward so quickly. Was it because it’s a trend across Canada or is it because it was something you had been eyeing before or something else that came into play? I mean, to be honest, it’s quite remarkable to have something proposed in March, unless it’s the gravest emergency that we have to make some quick and swift changes to, so maybe someone can highlight that. Because, like I said, it’s extremely unusual for us to move this quickly. Thank you.
The last question I have is, obviously, it was a collective push, certainly by the Yellowknife firefighters and the Association of Firefighters of Canada and certainly they worked, well, obviously with WSCC in order to get this on the government’s agenda in order to make the amendments. My question would be when we were initially approached by this initiative. I’m just trying to get a sense of how well things worked and rolled out in the sense from the original contact we can do this and the amendment we have before us today. I’m just trying to get a sense of how responsive the WSCC had been to the particular issues presented by the firefighters. Thank you.
I thank the Minister for that answer. Were there any requested issues, such as disease, ailments, asked for by the firefighters that did not make the final cut of the lists of amendments proposed by the department? Thank you.
Thanks, Mr. Chair. I just want to use the occasion to ask a similar question I posed to the Minister and certainly the department on the list of diseases that I used in committee. During Committee of the Whole I had asked and I thought it would be important to put it on the official record as well as how comprehensive or updated is this new changing to our listing of diseases for the workers’ compensation to cover for full-time firefighters? I do have another couple of quick questions, but we’ll start with that particular one. The reason I ask now as I asked then was to ensure that we’re fully up to date with the most current sort of knowledge or understanding of the challenges that the organization, the WSCC, may face, as well as the challenges and impacts that firefighters may be facing in the perceived reasonable future.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The Standing Committee on Economic Development and Infrastructure held its public review of Bill 45, An Act to Amend the Workers’ Compensation Act, on September 17, 2015. The committee thanks the Minister and his staff for presenting the bill.
Bill 45 amends the definition of listed diseases specific to firefighters to identify five additional forms of cancer. The committee initiated one amendment of the bill which was adopted during the public hearing with the Minister’s concurrence. This amendment changes the coming into force clause of the bill to March 17, 2015, to coordinate with Nunavut’s equivalent bill which was enacted in March 2015.
Following the clause-by-clause review, a motion was carried to report Bill 45 to the Assembly as ready for consideration in Committee of the Whole as amended and reprinted.
This concludes the committee’s general comments on Bill 45. Individual Members may have additional questions and comments as we proceed.
Help us improve OpenNWT
Please only include contact information if you would like to hear back.