Legislative Assembly photo



Last in the Legislative Assembly November 2003, as MLA for Sahtu

Won his last election, in 1999, with 61% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Question 406-14(6): Dismissal Of Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board Member October 8th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, we are concerned with the situation that seems to be arising with the board and the federal Minister. I understand the board had also passed a motion of non-confidence in their chair. This is a concern because the board is dealing with some very, very important projects, and at a time when we need the board to appear independent without suffering interference from any political office, and we have asked for a full briefing. Both Jim Antoine, myself and our officials are preparing that for us so we can deal with it as quickly as possible. Thank you.

Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery October 8th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to recognize Danny McNeely of Fort Good Hope, who's the owner and manager of Sahtu Contracting located in Norman Wells.


Question 382-14(6): Publish And Revisit Procedures For Discretionary Funding Applied By Ministers October 6th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, some resources were allocated to members of the public in Inuvik and in reviewing it we felt that we should have more guidelines in place to govern that and rely less on the Ministerial discretion. We've agreed with the comments made by the Members and we have committed to addressing that. We haven't done any work since the session started. We've asked officials to look at it and they will do their work and we will make it available to Members as soon as it is available. We agree it's an area that needs attention. We've acknowledged that and we said we're going to address it. The Member wants us to share our work so she can understand how it is that we're going to address it and we're prepared to do that. That is what we've agreed to do, so there we are. Thank you.

Question 382-14(6): Publish And Revisit Procedures For Discretionary Funding Applied By Ministers October 6th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think the Member's beating a point to death. As far as I'm concerned the process is working. The Member and Members have identified an instance where Ministerial discretion that was used is being questioned. I shared that, the Minister shares that. We've agreed to address it. There are other areas in legislation where Ministers are allowed to use discretion as they come up and we agree that we should visit the way in which these Ministerial authorities can be exercised. That's a good thing to continue raising it day after day when we've already agreed, we've acknowledged that there's perhaps a deficiency there. The Ministerial discretion area should be reviewed. We've agreed to do that. There's really nothing more to be said. She's asked that we share whatever it is we decide to do and we've agreed with that as well. So let us get on with our work. Thank you.

Question 382-14(6): Publish And Revisit Procedures For Discretionary Funding Applied By Ministers October 6th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As early as a year ago we had alerted Ministers, especially new Ministers, to the fact that a phenomenon visits us starting about six months before the election called "the silly season." It does cause us to act in a way that perhaps is a little different from our usual mode of behaviour. That is because of the proximity to elections and it's not only one that can affect the behaviour of Premiers and Ministers, but also Members of the legislature on the other side as well.

We are aware of that and we've fortified ourselves well in advance of it, but it's still upon us and we try to conduct ourselves with as much dignity and restrained passion as possible at this time. Thank you.

Question 382-14(6): Publish And Revisit Procedures For Discretionary Funding Applied By Ministers October 6th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the controls and guidelines that we have in place that define how decisions are made, resources are allocated, are, I believe, available to Members. As well, the way in which Ministerial discretion is allowed for under the legislation is exercised. I had indicated that Ministerial discretion was used in this instance and following discussions between myself and the Minister we had agreed that we should look at the guidelines that govern how decisions are made and review that and also the parameters given to Ministerial discretion to focus more on using the process rather than the area that allows for Ministerial discretion. We will try to make those available to Members as it becomes available. Thank you.

Recognizing The Passing Of A Respected Elder Of The Sahtu, Isadore Yukon October 6th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, yesterday an elder in Deline, Isadore Yukon, passed away. Isadore Yukon was someone who was known to many people throughout the Northwest Territories. He served for many years as a river pilot with NTCL, and spent many summers on the barges on the river system. He was a recipient of the Order of Canada, as well as the Commissioner's medal. He was also one of my earlier supporters, going back to my days in the Dene Nation. He was there supporting me in 1983 in Fort Resolution when I was elected as president of the Dene Nation.

His many sons and daughters will all miss him. The people of the Sahtu have lost a great elder. I know, because of all the support he's given to many young people and the young leaders, and the role he's played in serving his community and his region. We will all miss him very much. Thank you.

Bill 34: Tlicho Land Claims And Self-government Agreement Act October 3rd, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Tlicho people have invested years of work and literally millions of dollars of their own money to get to where we are today. They have, on their own free will, chosen to be partners with us; partners in a public government. They could have gone exclusively aboriginal, but they chose not to. It's a choice that I think all of us should celebrate. It's an offer that we cannot refuse.

Today, every day for the next few months, the next few years we have to be conscious that we're working with partners and the Tlicho are one of our strongest partners, economically and politically. They are also partners with the Gwich'in, with the Sahtu, with the Deh Cho, with the Akaitcho and the Gwich'in people, with the Metis. They have chosen to work with us on the very same agenda that we're trying to advance, whether it's diamonds, pipeline, oil and gas, devolution or revenue sharing. These are the people that we are partnering with to advance our agendas, and we need them to continue the work that we've started.

Some of us are not as well briefed or haven't taken the time to try to understand the issues of aboriginal people, and some of us haven't taken the time to read the documents that are in front of us, the offers that are made to inform us. We have an obligation as MLAs to be well informed and to make sure that our constituents are informed as well.

I also want to remind Members that every major aboriginal initiative that has come here to this legislature has always been met in the same way. Some were supported, some of us don't know, some of us are afraid and not quite sure what it means. All of us share one need. We need to know what this government, this territory, is going to look at like in two years and in 10 years. That is something singularly lacking with all of us. Some of us think we know. Some of us admit we don't know. It's a need. Unless we develop them, unless we are able to tell our people this government is going to change, there are emerging regional governments, there are aboriginal governments, there are aboriginal people negotiating their rights as part of this aboriginal government and here's how it has changed to date and here's where we are going, people are going to be afraid. People are going to ask for time. People are going to be cautious. So the leadership that we should provide and need to provide can start right here. We can't stop what is going on. Too much has passed away.

The Inuvialuit people, over the objections of this legislature, in fact ignored the Territorial Council of the day when it went ahead and was ratified and implemented. The Gwich'in claim went and there was some caution and concern, but it went ahead and so did the Sahtu claim.

Now the Tlicho claim is in front to us. The Deh Cho process is a process that embraces public government as well. There are a lot of difficult issues to face there, but it's a process that I welcome because they choose to find a way to be part of this government. We have to believe that people out there who want to be governed are saying it's going to be even better. We in this House are part of what goes on in the communities. We have to reflect the will and the aspirations of people out there. Sometimes we do have to take a leap of faith.

We have lawyers and we get advice, we pass legislation all the time. We are not quite sure of what it all means, but we go on the faith of what we are advised. I know that everything is tied together; devolution, revenue sharing, self-government, the Tlicho agreement. People out there are watching us and wondering how we are going to treat it. I have to say I believe that we are going to do it right. This piece of legislation here is one that's gives effect, so it has already been agreed to by the Tlicho, by the Government of Canada and this government. So we do hope that the Members will recognize that people are waiting for us. We are asking the Aboriginal Summit to advance significant issues that are of great concern to revenue sharing, devolution. We are asking them to take a leap of faith. Although we don't know the answers, we don't know the specifics, we are asking to partner with us and take a leap of faith. That's the challenge.

We can't afford to slow things down because we don't know. We can take a reasonable amount of time to inform ourselves and make that judgment. It's a political judgment that may be called on for some of us and I, for one, have no difficulty at all to support and I wish to deal with this as quickly as we can. Thank you.

Motion 18-14(6): Expression Of Gratitude To Clerk David M. Hamilton For Dedicated And Exemplary Service October 3rd, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I'd like to also thank Mr. Hamilton for his service and the dedication he's shown to his job and certainly to this legislature. As the Premier, I'd like to thank him on behalf of the Cabinet for his service and dedication.

I would also like to thank him as the MLA for the Sahtu for the brief few weeks when I was elected in 1987. Because I was new I depended a great deal on, as other Members have, the information and advice that Mr. Hamilton gives to each and every one of us when we're first elected and come into these Chambers. So as the Sahtu MLA, I'd like to thank him for his service and support to not only myself, but to every new MLA that's ever come into this legislature during his time.

Mr. Hamilton has served us during a time in our history when there was a lot of change and excitement going on around him and he's been dedicated to making sure that this machinery of government, the legislature, continued to operate, as onerous as that might be. It's his life work and I'd like to tell him I think he should be proud of it and God bless. Mahsi.


Question 370-14(6): Husky Trailer Park Lot Subsidies October 3rd, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I have taken the lead as a Premier with Ministers on the Con Mine closure in addressing the needs of the employees and the residents. I will be coordinating appropriate responses to all matters relating to this issue including the one that was raised and, of course, those residents can apply to programs that we have. The whole intent was to make sure that we respond positively to the needs that arise out of the closing of Con Mine, and the issue about the residents and the trailer owners that are on Con Mine land is a huge issue and we will try to respond as positively as possible. Thank you.