Last in the Legislative Assembly December 1999, as MLA for Yellowknife South
Won his last election, in 1995, with 42% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Question 255-13(7): Dogrib Agreement-in-principle July 29th, 1999
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I have some questions for the Premier on statements that were made in the House today in regard to the Dogrib Agreement-In-Principle. Also, the Minister of Finance made a statement on the same topic as regards funding for that agreement-in-principle. My first question, Mr. Speaker, is to the Premier. He noted in his statement today, and I quote, that the Dogrib Agreement-in-Principle will become a public document after it is initialled on August 9. I encourage Members of this House and all citizens of the Northwest Territories with an interest in this matter to take some time to review it.
My question to the Premier is, what process will be used to receive the response from the public of the Northwest Territories to this document? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery July 29th, 1999
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, it gives me please to recognize three gentlemen from Burlington, Ontario, presently working in Yellowknife, Mr. Michael Lieber, Steven Dzivy, and Adam Korber. Hopefully we will convince them maybe to move North and live in the great constituency of Yellowknife South. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Thank you, Madam Chairperson. Madam Chairperson, I will not be able to support this motion. This recommendation has been available for just a few days and the mover of the motion has suggested that he has talked to all the aboriginal leaders or a number of aboriginal leaders and they all agree, I would like the same courtesy extended to talk to my constituents to see how they feel about the rather large spectrum that this motion would encompass. I believe that it has wide-ranging implications and I feel all people in the Northwest Territories should have input into it and not be making a decision on something that has been before this House or committee for less than a week now. I thank you for that, Madam Chairperson.
Thank you, Madam Chairperson and thank you, Mr. Krutko. Madam Chairperson, I will not be able to support this motion. As I look across the room presently, I see Mr. Kakfwi, who is from Sahtu, Mr. Steen from Nunakput, and Mr. Roland from Inuvik. I believe these gentlemen have represented their constituents and all people of the Northwest Territories fairly and equally. I think under the present situation it would be wrong to not have these people in the government just because three of them happen to be from an area where it says by legislation we can only have two. I think they have represented the people of the Northwest Territories fairly and equally. From that perspective, I would be more interested in the Members of this Legislature electing the best people they can, the fairest people they can to represent all people in the Northwest Territories. From that perspective, I understand where some of the committee Members are coming from. It is a lot more difficult to change legislation than it is to convention, but in the situation where there may be a requirement for an increase to cabinet, I think it ties the hands of future governments to have some flexibility in this regard. So from that perspective, I will not be supporting the motion. Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
Thank you, Madam Chairperson. Madam Chairperson, the Chairman of Government Operations in his opening comments, I believe, stated that for most of the motions there would not be a cost involved. I believe that the Government of the Northwest Territories has spent a considerable number of dollars on court cases, especially over this particular issue. If the mover of the motion could clarify in his closing comments on this particular motion that indeed he is not intending the Government of the Northwest Territories to be spending money on this, I certainly could find the will to support this motion, and I do believe it would add clarity to the issue. If there is a stone unturned to ensure that democratic rights and each person's rights are made known to them, I certainly have no problem in encouraging that. If the mover of the motion could clarify that the expenditures on behalf of this motion would be federally incurred, I would appreciate that. Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In the recent hearings on Bill 15, I also chose not to participate or to participate in the writing of the report that is before us today. I would apologize to anyone who is offended by that, by my refusal to participate. However, Mr. Chairman, I still believe that my refusal to participate was a correct decision. I believe that the Standing Committee on Government Operations made a decision to have public hearings and tried to do the impossible. The simple fact is, Mr. Chairman, the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories made a decision that we as a legally constituted Legislative Assembly of all peoples of the Northwest Territories had to comply with. The government, based on its own legal advice, decided not to appeal that decision. We knew this before the committee started the public hearings into Bill 15. Once the NWT Court of Appeal refused to grant intervenors the leave to appeal, the options available to the committee to effect change to Bill 15 were minimal.
Mr. Chairman, we have no choice but to comply with Justice de Weerdt's ruling. I understood that then and I understand it now, so that is why I chose not to participate. I did not see any merit in going to public hearings to receive input and ideas into something that we could not change, and I could not in good conscience spend tax dollars on public hearings which, as I said, would not influence the outcome of the decision. I sat in this Legislative Assembly for close to four years, and what I hear from the leaders in the communities, what I hear from people in the Northwest Territories, are more concerns about having financial and personnel resources available to take care of their medical needs and their educational needs. That is where I hear community leaders talking about putting resources.
The democratic principles that led Justice de Weerdt to make his decision are based on the model of one person, one vote, with all votes being equal in value. This principle is fundamental to democracies throughout the world. These same democratic principles are used to elect leaders in the communities in aboriginal organizations. Mr. Chairman, as an MLA, I have learned to listen to both sides of an argument and make realistic decisions based on the information provided. I will still continue to do that. Mr. Chairman, I believe that I have more faith in residents of the Northwest Territories than some of my colleagues do. I believe that people in the territories understand the democratic principles and the rights that are granted to all citizens with the passage of this bill are also granted to people who are complaining about a power shift. These democratic principles are tried and proven, and they will protect each and every person in the Northwest Territories.
Regarding a political solution, Mr. Chairman, I believe that this House had the opportunity to provide a political solution and chose not to do so. I personally am not interested in receiving any criticism for a court decision doing something that this House was not able to do, and I share a part of that responsibility as should every Member of this Legislative Assembly share the responsibility in the court having to do what this House was not able to do. I will have further comments as the debate continues. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Question 248-13(7): Correctional Agreement With Nunavut July 28th, 1999
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I was taking my time. I was not prepared for such a concise answer, but I thank the Minister for that. The present facility, Mr. Speaker, is called the Yellowknife Correctional Centre. I was wondering if the Minister, now that the new facility is going to be built here, would consider changing the name of the new facility to reflect a more territorial institution? Thank you.
Question 248-13(7): Correctional Agreement With Nunavut July 28th, 1999
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minister of Justice, Mr. Kakfwi, regarding the new facility that is going to be built in Yellowknife. The Minister informed us that the present Yellowknife centre is overcrowded. He also mentioned that we have a contract with Nunavut to provide services to inmates from Nunavut. Also, he talked about repatriation of some of the inmates from federal penitentiaries back to the North. I understand these are lucrative contracts. Could the Minister advise me if the contract with Nunavut is called a service agreement, or is it called another type of agreement? The reason I ask this question, Mr. Speaker, is I have a copy - I believe it is complete - of all the service agreements between the Government of Nunavut and the Government of the Northwest Territories, and it is laid out by department. I do not see a contract to provide inmate housing services to the Government of Nunavut, so could the Minister tell me if the agreement with Nunavut is registered under a different name other than a service agreement? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the Minister could tell us the rationale for building a new facility when we have a facility such as the Laing Building, built in the same era with the same mechanical, electrical and insulation requirements. Why does it make more sense to build a new facility and, in the case of the Laing Building, decide to renovate it? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I apologize to the Minister if my question was not clear. I will certainly try again. There was a decision made that it was cheaper to build a new facility. The Department of Public Works has a tender out for an expression of interest to build a new facility. My question is, who provided the department with the information to say that it was cheaper to build a new facility than to do repairs to the present one? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
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