Last in the Legislative Assembly December 1999, as MLA for Yellowknife North
Lost his last election, in 2015, with 21% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Thank you, Madam Chairperson. Perhaps now that he is not talking to those other two, he will be able to hear me. We had heard earlier, I am sure that the two groups of people that are going to be provided with programs in this project, the youth and the adult people, the way I understood it was that they would be in an overall single building with basically the youth in a separate wing but that would be connected. Are we now hearing that this may not actually be the case, that there would actually be two separate facilities but situated close enough so that the youth can participate in a gym that is probably in the larger facility for the adults?
Which part does he want me to shorten?
Thank you, Madame Chairperson. We are hearing now that these two groups of people who would be served with these facilities may not actually be in a building that is attached, but that is not what we heard earlier. If I remember correctly, it was to be in a building with the youth basically in a separate wing. I would like some clarification on that, please.
Thank you, Madam Chairperson. It is interesting to note that the department has been warehousing inmates for years with no programs and proper space. Now all this whole schemozzle, putting youth together with adults because of a gymnasium. That is it? That is the Minister's reasoning for putting these guys together, so they can share a gym? Very compassionate. I do not agree. We do not have the money. The Premier said the other day that we might have to borrow the money. I am sure that is what he said in this House. If the Premier is saying that we might have to borrow the money to do this project, could I have an explanation of how someone can say that we have the money to do this? How do you reconcile the two statements?
Thank you, Madam Chairperson. Is the Minister offering to go through the proper consultation process?
Thank you, Madam Chairperson. The intent of providing better facilities, better programs to rehabilitate inmates and young offenders is a great one. I have been promoting this for years. We have absolutely no problem with that. We have no problem with the two projects. The problem is putting youth and adults together. We have been told yes, it happens some place, we do not know where. We cannot say where it is, but we do know it happens. Well, we do not know that. We do not know if the general public will accept this even if it has been done someplace else. This project has gone from a seven year project, where you would take $4 million a year out of the budget, to now all of sudden I think it is $35 million or $30 million, whatever, taken out of the budget in two years. Two years from now, this month, that building will be finished. That is a huge, huge change, which the committee structure was put into place to address. We are not saying, kill the project. All we want is a proper consultation with proper processes followed. Read the motion. Maybe you should be able to read a few more words further. It is planning and implementation processes for the adjusted design. The two projects can still proceed, but when you put it together, it is a totally different project. We should be consulted.
The Minister had some problem about my saying that the youth and the adults would be in the same facility. I cannot remember my exact words. Maybe we can get a description of this project. Will these two different groups of people, the youth and the adult inmates, be in a building that is somehow attached?
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Because of this major shift in the way that these collocated facilities are to be, as I understand it, attached to each other, this is a total shift in what was originally proposed. This should have come to the social programs committee, and it did not. The Yellowknife MLAs should have been consulted as well, and we were not. This is
in the government's own policy. Presumably this government makes policies and rules and regulations for a purpose. It is so that things will be done fairly and with input from all of us. This was a major shift in the way things were done in the previous Assemblies. It was done for a purpose, so that the Ordinary Members who sit on the committees would have input and have an opportunity to have public consultation if they wish. This whole process has been circumvented in this situation. Not only that, but we are moving from $4 million a year to something like $15 million a year or whatever in expenditures because this process is going to be increased so quickly.
Getting an apology is nothing, a puff of smoke. The Finance Minister may be taken aback. We would prefer that he take the project back so that we can have the proper consultation done through the standing committee and with the general public to see if this is an acceptable way of dealing with our youth, so that we can see if the general public is ready to have them in such a facility as this. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I too, will be supporting this motion. Although my constituency includes the part of the city of Yellowknife and this project is one that is in Yellowknife, Mr. Chairman, there is no way that I can rationalize such a major shift as putting youth offenders together with adults in the same building. There is no way that I can rationalize that without public consultation to see what the general public of the Northwest Territories thinks about that. It is unprecedented, totally unprecedented.
Thank you, Madam Chairperson. The rationale, as I understand it, to turn the staff housing into social housing is that there is no sense in leaving government houses empty. If you cannot sell these, presumably the same rationale exists. You do not want to sit there paying for these units if they are empty, so we are going to have to do something with them. I am asking, will they go under the same policy?
Madam Chairperson, what I am interested in is, does it follow the same policy as the other units? Does it go into social housing?
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