Last in the Legislative Assembly December 1999, as MLA for Deh Cho

Lost his last election, in 1999, with 37% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Motion 6-12(7): Election Of Speaker, Carried February 15th, 1995

Honourable Members, I beg to return my humble acknowledgements to the House for the great honour you have been pleased to confer on me by choosing me to be your Speaker.

If these words sound familiar, they have been said not only here in this House by my predecessors, but also for the last 100 years or so in Canada and for over 700 years in the British House of Commons and many other parliamentary democracies. Perhaps this is an appropriate way for every Speaker to begin because, in my experience, if you start to tinker and tamper with the traditional way of doing things, the lesson you learn is that no matter how you try to modify or improve tradition, it has certain integral values which perhaps you did not at first fully appreciate. I tried to put it into my own words, but it did not come out as well, no matter how I tried to change it. So, perhaps the lesson is that some traditions are more that just simple convention and have other, more important, values attached to them.

Traditions are important in any culture, and nowhere is this truer than in the Northwest Territories. I will do my best to uphold the many procedural and cultural traditions that have been established throughout the years and be respectful of the traditions that all Members bring with them when they are elected to serve the people of the Northwest Territories.

Sometimes the work we do here appears to be a battle for individuals' advantage, but all of us realize, I trust, that what is done here is extremely important work on behalf of all the people of the Northwest Territories; not only for the individual rights but, in addition, as an example to all that change must be brought about through the process of law and order in a proper, democratic way. Thus, every meeting we hold here should be an example to our people.

With the honour you have bestowed upon me by electing me as your Speaker, of course, goes an obligation to do the job to the best of my ability. It goes without saying that I will give it my best effort at all times. I would like to assure all Members that I place the fulfilment of this obligation ahead of every other consideration. Whether it be a question of individual or collective politics, personal considerations, friendships or otherwise, this obligation at all times comes first, and I will fulfil this role the best I can. I will not always make everybody happy, however, if I can carry out this role to the best of my ability without losing the respect and the goodwill that you have extended to me at the start, I will feel that I have done a good job.

On a personal note, since this may be the last time I will get a chance to make a personal comment, I would like to thank my wife, Alphonsine, for her understanding and patience as, yet again, I take on a new challenge. I know that her support and that of my children, which I cannot do without, will make the months ahead bearable and pleasurable.

Once again, I respectfully thank you for the honour of being named your Speaker, and now I would suggest we get on with the business before us today. Mahsi cho.


Item 2, Ministers' statements. Point of privilege, Mrs. Marie-Jewell.

Point Of Privilege

Committee Motion 17-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 17, Carried November 16th, 1994

I'm not too clear on this. What is this with the time of the 1995 federal Cabinet submission on Nunavut? Is that legislation that we're talking about?

Committee Motion 16-12(7): To Adopt Recommendation 16, Carried November 16th, 1994

Mr. Chairman, I have problems with that. I think we should have at least two for the east and two for the west. If we get one in each territory, that's good, but we should at least try to...

Committee Motion 16-12(7): To Adopt Recommendation 16, Carried November 16th, 1994

Is that one in the west and one in Nunavut or can we look at more than one?

Bill 10: An Act To Amend The Liquor Act November 16th, 1994

Mr. Chairman, not all communities have by-law officers nor can afford to have by-law officers. I don't know if having by-law officers stop and search vehicles without the proper training would put these people in a situation that is really the authority of police officers, so I can't support the principle of this bill.

Question 40-12(7): Status Of Pcb Storage In Pine Point November 16th, 1994

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the Minister of Renewable Resources, but he isn't here, so I would like to redirect my question to the Premier. In 1992, there was a PCB storage facility in Pine Point that had oil, PCBs and contaminated oil from transformers stored there. The department was made aware of it in April of 1992. Since the two-year period, has there been anything done with regard to the PCBs that were stored in Pine Point?

Relationship Between Justice System And Residents Of Small Communities November 16th, 1994

Thank you, Mr. Speaker and honourable Members. Most of the smaller communities in the north do not have a lawyer a person can call if they get into trouble. However, the government has made an effort to provide services to anyone who needs them. Legal aid is only a phone call away. In fact, a list of lawyers is posted in every police detachment in the Northwest Territories. As a condition of their duties, these lawyers are required to accept all collect calls. Legal aid also pays for telephone calls necessary to allow the lawyers to become familiar with the case.

Instead of calling a lawyer, a person can contact a regional legal aid clinic or a local community representative of the regional office. These representatives are members of the community who are able to steer citizens through the legal system.

I would like to note the ongoing commitment of this government to improving northern justice through aboriginal and community justice initiatives. I encourage future governments to continue to pursue these goals. Every effort must always be made to ensure that residents, especially those in smaller communities, are granted all their rights and privileges under the law. Every effort must also be made to ensure that justice is done.

Mr. Speaker, under aboriginal initiatives, the community of Fort Providence has, during the last year, worked on creating the possibility of an aboriginal correctional facility in the community of Fort Providence. Unfortunately, to my disappointment, there is no money allocated for that initiative. And I'm truly disappointed that whether it's the government's fault or the Standing Committee on Finance's fault, I would like to say that it is a step for my constituency with regard to aboriginal justice initiatives. Mahsi cho.


Relationship Between Justice System And Residents Of Small Communities November 16th, 1994

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

Relationship Between Justice System And Residents Of Small Communities November 16th, 1994

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, for the last few years, one issue that has received a lot of attention and discussion is the relationship between aboriginal people and the justice system. Today I would like to talk about the relationship between the justice system in the Northwest Territories and the residents of smaller communities, both aboriginal and non-aboriginal.

In Canada, when a person comes into conflict with the law, they have the right to legal representation. This right is entrenched under section 10 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. If a person is detained by authorities, the exercising of this right poses certain duties on the police. The first is that they must give the person the opportunity to retain and discuss the situation with a lawyer without delay. The second is that the police must not attempt to extract information from the detained person until the person has had reasonable opportunity to retain a lawyer.

These two conditions, Mr. Speaker, place additional duties on the authorities. They must inform the person of the reason they are being detained, or arrested so that the person can exercise his or her right to counsel in a meaningful way. The accused must have a reasonable understanding of the trouble they are in. This understanding is even more important if a person should choose not to retain a lawyer.

From time to time, usually in the south, we hear of these basic rights being violated for one reason or another. Usually they are just honest mistakes that can sometimes have very serious consequences. We face a unique situation here in the north that could also have serious consequences. As an important part of their obligation, the authorities must, as a matter of routine, inform the detained person of an existence and availability of legal aid in that jurisdiction. But, here in the north, Mr. Speaker, resident lawyers are few and far between outside major centres. In addition, Mr. Speaker, the unfortunate fact of life in the Northwest Territories is that the majority of crimes are committed under the influence of alcohol. This fact, coupled with the communication problems due to the many different languages in the north, requires policemen in the Northwest Territories to be especially diligent in ensuring that no one's rights are violated.

Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters November 15th, 1994

Mr. Chairman, in the recommendations it says they will encourage all the higher income people to move out within the next two years. When I look at the scale that was done by your department and it says out of 98 households, 45 of them will see a decrease, 23 of them won't see a change and 30 of them will see an increase. The breakdown of increases is: we have six people paying up to $100; seven people will be paying up to $250; six people will be paying up to $500; 10 people will be paying up to $1,000; and, one person will be paying over $1,000. So I would anticipate that if he is to encourage those people to move out of those houses, that would be the category; the people who are paying up to $1,000 and over. Based on that, Providence would probably need to get about five and five each year to get those people moved out. That is what I was looking at.

I am not referring to the needs assessment that is going to be done. If there is going to be a needs assessment, it will be for next year's allocation, so I don't see what that has to do with this. I am just asking, based on the recommendations, how we hope to address people who have a higher income.