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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

Tabled Document 342-17(5): Education, Culture And Employment Advertisements October 6th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In my Member’s statement I pointed out that I had a couple documents that I would table, pictures of the Minister smiling with kids. The first document is Northern Journal, dated Tuesday, August 26, 2014, and the second item is from the NWT Literacy Week 2015, September 21-28, and the Minister again is smiling with kids. Thank you.

Question 937-17(5): Yellowknife Day Care Association October 6th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Minister has done nothing but cause frustration with me. That is because all he’s talked about is, sure, we’ve met with them and I can provide you the dates and good things like that. I keep wanting to know what are you going to do. The daycare, yesterday, I believe, sent out an e-mail to all their parents. I believe they, as they do in daycare, they put the letter in the bag for the kids to make sure they take it home so the parents aren’t surprised. All those parents have been informed. Fifty-five parents have been informed that this daycare’s history, life story and journey is coming to an end.

I want to hear what the Minister is going to do, not talk about meeting, meeting, meeting. I think we are all getting tired of that answer.

Is the Minister working to provide a location, money, lease guarantees, mortgage guarantees, to help these kids out? Mr. Speaker, two daycares are the same. We have to make sure this doesn’t hit a crisis. Thank you.

Question 937-17(5): Yellowknife Day Care Association October 6th, 2015

I could go on at length how the president of the association had told me how the old DM and the present DM met with them and told them they’re out the door and they have to figure it out on their own. But you know what? If all we’re going to do here is point fingers, we haven’t solved a darn thing about the daycare spaces that will be in serious crisis about it.

Let’s go to the next problem, which is what is the department really going to do to help them? Can they help them in the same way we helped the folks in Inuvik, who deserved and needed good help? This government has been known to provide lease money. It’s been known to provide mortgage money. Heck, we could even extend the building lease or we could even give them the building lease. Wait a minute. I’m doing all the job for the Minister here. Somebody on that side of the House needs to provide solutions to the daycare. Please, give me some solutions.

Question 937-17(5): Yellowknife Day Care Association October 6th, 2015

Well, let’s go down that little path about his office diligently working with them. They only received formal notice a couple days ago on this particular initiative. They’ve been approached even not that long ago to say, well, let’s kick them out in March, but I think someone understood that little kids walking with small lunch bags and suitcases and maybe boxes that are probably bigger than them looking for a place to go is probably not the right public image they want.

In short, the daycare says no one from ECE is working with them. They’ve said, “Hey, July 31, there’s the door, be out, find your own place.” What is the department really doing when he says they’re doing something, because they don’t know, nobody there knows. We need real facts, not just platitudes about we care about kids, we’ll do stuff about kids. I want to see actions and results.

Question 937-17(5): Yellowknife Day Care Association October 6th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In my Member’s statement today, I raised the issue of the Yellowknife Day Care situation here that’s in a GNWT-owned building. I want to ask the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment about why he’s forcing them out of that particular building by July 31stof next year. Furthermore, what is in there in terms of flexibility considering the circumstance of the single point that 55 children have nowhere to go? That also means it impacts the parents

as well as the more than dozen staff that work there. I want to first start off with why is the department forcing this daycare to find somewhere else to operate?

Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery October 6th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Minister Beaulieu did a good job introducing the SADD group we have here in the gallery and I, too, wish to add my support and accolades to the work they do. MLA Dolynny and I have spent many a cold morning waving with them, bringing in hot chocolate and donuts, and they always have our full support anytime the school needs. As well as with the SADD group is the ever-amazing Michelle Thoms. She’s the teacher/advisor to the group. I know she doesn’t do it alone, but she certainly deserves a great pat on the back. She’s certainly the driving force of this organization, I’m sure, and I want to thank the school and the school district.

I also want to recognize, forgive me, I’m not going to recognize every student up there, but if the House would allow me to recognize my own son, who is a Member of the SADD group. So, McKinley Hawkins, thanks for coming along, buddy, glad you joined SADD.

Just to finish off the SADD issue before I recognize the other constituents, I just want to say that the Minister mentioned 30 constituents. That’s a demonstration of great leadership. Under Mildred Hall we have two Pages here today, Carter Yakeleya and Ryan Lafferty. I want to thank them both for participating here today, and from my hometown of Fort Simpson I want to acknowledge the students who are participating here today. So, thank you very much.

Yellowknife Day Care Association October 6th, 2015

What I was trying to say is this daycare has 12 out of the 24 licenced allotted spaces for children in Yellowknife between the ages of one and two years old. Those are precious spaces because they’re critical so parents can go back to work, otherwise what would they do? So I’m asking the Minister to stop and think about what they’re doing before they kick the kids to the street.

There are solutions. This government has given money to other daycares. A couple years ago, our government gave $1 million to one that needed it desperately. So the fact is there are solutions out there and we have to stop trying to make them all fit the same mold.

In closing, the solution would be less than half a kilometre of highway, and I choose the kids over the highway. The last thing I’ll say is the Minister knows how much he loves his picture in the paper with kids each and every time. Perhaps we should get a picture of the kids from this daycare on the street with their lunch bags and their little suitcases with nowhere to go and we can shame this Minister into doing something. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yellowknife Day Care Association October 6th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I was just trying and squeeze in the last couple of words before I asked. I seek unanimous consent to conclude my Member’s statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

Yellowknife Day Care Association October 6th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. For the past 35 years, the Yellowknife Day Care Association has been providing quality daycare services in a downtown GNWT-owned building, but now they’ve reached the absolute critical impasse and they need our help more than ever.

ECE has come to the strange decision that it is now time that the daycare has to go, and they’ve given them their notice. That’s right. Minister Jackson Lafferty is telling these kids it’s time to go. So, as each kid, as the daycare starts the day by turning on the lights and they get the important services of child care up and running for 55 kids, those kids will now have to find a new home.

The Yellowknife Day Care Association is a treasure to the downtown. They provide quality, reliable, affordable options for parents. But Minister Lafferty has determined as of July 31, 2016, that’ll be their last day. That’s right, Mr. Speaker. Next summer these kids will be kicked to the streets. Why? Well, I can only speculate as to why, but the truth is we haven’t really heard a solid or honest answer why they need to be rushed out the door. To be fair, the YK Day Care knows and certainly agrees that the building that they’re in is coming to the end of its useful life.

So while the smiles and laughter may be singing away in the air of the daycare each and every day, it’s true that building may be tired, but there are no, and I repeat there are no health and safety issues with that particular building, even the GNWT’s own studies say that that’s true. Yes, it has gone along and its useful life may be coming near the end, and the building may be older, true, but by seniors’ standards, it barely is a senior. It’s not that old. So why now? Why rush the daycare out the door before it’s ready to take the plunge in the open market and buy their own building?

They have been saving money for years, but they don’t quite have enough yet to do it on their own. So, if Minister Lafferty would support this daycare so they could get set up right, they would be in a position to succeed, but not just that, they could also expand a desperately needed area such as a daycare our community needs.

Let me remind Minister Lafferty that this daycare offers 55 child care spaces each and every day. The Minister personally knows about children and how important they are. He’s got a lot of kids, for goodness sakes. He should know. All I can tell you is that we have 12 out of the 24 licenced spaces allotted for children between the ages of one and…

Motion 48-17(5): Northwest Territories Disabilities Services, Carried October 5th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The detailed plan, the NWT Action Plan for Disabilities, has certainly come forward in 2008 and it’s a shame that it wasn’t received with better enthusiasm. During the day, of course, it probably was. It got its own nudge, but of course, like many great reports, they find themselves on the way quickly to that shelf or certainly holding that table up from wobbling.

Seniors and disabilities are my two favourite areas I’m working on and I certainly dedicate myself, any

time I’m ever asked, to these particular issues and I’m always looking for ways to see what I can do more. This NWT Action Plan for Disabilities certainly was a brilliant step forward, but as we can see, it didn’t go any further than that. It wasn’t necessarily a false start, but the reality is it just didn’t go anywhere. The executive director of the Disabilities Council, in her research, was shocked to find many departments weren’t even familiar with the plan, let alone understanding it. So, with those five actions that we’ve already heard, it sort of makes you wonder about, you know, one, education, what are we doing, be it in our schools, departments, et cetera; employment, how we’re creating initiatives to get people with disabilities involved; income, which helps balance out in their troubling times and ensures they have the ability

…(inaudible)…disability access, supports and

certainly housing. I mean, these are certainly very important and critical facts when it comes to quality of life.

Any improvement to disabilities and the struggle they have goes a long way. But by chance, and certainly circumstances, this report, for a lot of reasons, di

dn’t go past being a report.

The Disabilities Council, in the absence of any follow through on this, took the initiative on their own and they certainly need to be applauded for this. Even on page 3 of the NWT Action Plan it clearly states that the NWT Health Minister needs to play a lead role in this plan, that they are to lead the Disabilities Steering Committee. The problem here we’re facing is what progress has been made, what action has been taken? Why hasn’t the Minister leaned forward into this report and done more?

Through the NWT Disabilities Council, the survey work has estimated approximately 6,000 people here in the Northwest Territories have a disability, and as my colleague Mr. Dolynny has said, that’s more than our public service. Mr. Speaker, could you imagine if everyone who had a disability was unionized and lobbied the government? My goodness, that would certainly be a force to be reckoned with.

I’ve come to the realization that the government seems to have what I sometimes call a sense of seven stages of procrastination. The McLeod government suffers from this. What do I mean by that? I’ve actually looked at this quite clearly and we see that we get reports and this is what happens.

Stage one in the procrastination: unfounded motivation and confidence. That is where the Heal

th Minister of the day says, “We’re excited, we

have an action plan. We’re going to do something. This is great. We are going to do wonderful things.”

Stage two: productive distractions. That is where the Health Minister of the day says, “We should

really do something about the Disabilities Council and the action plan to help people with disabilities, but let’s just take a step back, take a look at the issue. Maybe we’ll get to it pretty soon, but we’ll get right back to them.”

Stage three of the procrastination of the government, they defined it as definitely not productive distractions. That is where the Health Minister of the day says, “We know what the problem is and our action plan tells us what the problem is and it tells us how to implement and do som

ething about it.” But that’s where the Minister

says, “Let’s run the numbers again and we’ll take a look at it again in a couple of months, but don’t worry, we’re totally in and we’ll get back to you.”

Stage four of the seven-stage procrastination problem of the government is where they do false starts. That’s where the Minister of the day says, “I want to get to know my problem just a little better before I do something.” That’s where they stand back and the Minister will say, “Wow, this is a serious probl

em. We’ve really got to do something.”

Stage five of the seven stages of procrastination is where the McLeod government and the Minister of the day whip around and say, “You know, nothing helps seeing the bigger picture than putting an action plan on the shelf, putting it back, taking a serious look at it later and then we’ll see how big it is. But don’t worry, the action plan will still be there when we need to get to it. By the way, does anyone want to go and get a pizza and do something else in the meant

ime?”

Stage six, this is where the seven stages gets to skewed perception on minimum progress. This is where the Minister of Health and certainly the McLeod government say, “Wow. Well, we’ve agreed to health and that was tough. We should congratulate ourselves. Besides, this is a pretty big step by saying we’re going to help, by golly. We’ve really moved the problem forward.” This is where they also say, “We should grab another snack.”

The seventh stage of the seven stages of procrastination I see the government going through what is called the panic mode, when they really decide that they have to get the work done at the last minute. That’s where they finally say, years later

– in this case, eight years later – this is where

the Minister of the day and certainly the Premier of the day and the government of the day says, “My golly, we haven’t done much but we have an action plan and that sure looks nice. Let’s dust it off and say we accomplished that at least. Wait a minute, we can blame this government… Nah, let’s not. Let’s blame the last government, or we can say it’s not

this

government’s

problem,

it’s

that

government’s problem.” Mr. Speaker, as I wrap this up, I’m just going to point out that this whole action plan is faced with

procrastination. People went into it with good intentions. The results, I think, show for themselves.

In closing, I want to point out that the quality of life and the determination is something we should be relentless

with

when

helping

people

with

disabilities. They want to be part of life and they want to contribute to life in the Northwest Territories. Many are active citizens and they deserve our full support.

Obviously, we aren’t able to do everything on every problem, whether it’s disabilities, seniors, housing or education, but what’s so important is it’s not lip service that’s paid, it’s about showing efforts of the results. A lot of people take it quite to heart when they see how much people try. The problem is they aren’t seeing the results of those efforts in this action plan. It’s easy to say you will do it, but it goes so much further when you show some results of those efforts.

In closing, I just want to say that I believe our government has greatly missed a window of opportunity here. I thank the NWT Council for Disabilities for all the work that they regularly do to improve the lives of many Northerners. I know that they care deeply, and each and every day they go through the struggle of either trying to get funding for programs or help the needs of individuals who are using those programs, providing education to those who have problems and need help and certainly helping every family who struggles, Mr. Speaker. They certainly give 100 percent each and e

very day. I’ve seen the work that they do and I

know many Northerners have benefitted from the work that they have done, and to that, I thank you and the House. Thank you.