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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

Ministers' Statement 18-12(2): Sale Of Staff Housing February 27th, 1992

Mr. Speaker, cabinet has made a decision to sell government-owned staff houses in Yellowknife, Hay River and Fort Smith. The homes will be appraised and sold to the occupants at market rates.

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There are 113 of these units. The potential revenue to government will be about $12 million.

---Applause

Occupants who are not able to arrange conventional mortgages through the banks will be able to enter into a lease-purchase plan with the government. The lease-purchase plan will be based on current mortgage rates and conditions. There will be no special deals.

This initiative comes at a time of low mortgage rates and 95 per cent financing. The federal government's announcement of allowing up to $20,000 in RRSP savings to be used toward payment of the purchase price may be another incentive to some people to buy the home they presently occupy.

The initiative is the first phase of a long-term staff housing strategy. That strategy will outline a plan for providing staff housing where it is needed most and eliminating it in communities where employee needs can be looked after by the private sector. It will consider overall housing needs in the Northwest Territories and will integrate our reduced staff housing needs with other government housing programs.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, employees living in government-owned housing in Yellowknife, Hay River and Fort Smith will have four months to arrange financing and make a formal offer to purchase. After that period, the units will be subject to the terms and conditions of the long-term housing strategy which is scheduled to be finalized in June of this year. Thank you.

Question O169-12(2): Allocation Of Staff Houses In Communities February 26th, 1992

I will take the question as notice.

Question O169-12(2): Allocation Of Staff Houses In Communities February 26th, 1992

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if it might be more appropriate if we deferred this question until we get into the estimates of the budget.

Tabled Document 9-12(2): "strength At Two Levels" February 25th, 1992

I was in Inuvik about a month ago meeting with the Gwich'in Tribal Council. I had a draft presentation which my staff prepared for me. It was one of those drafts that I never used. There is a real problem. The Member picked it up, but I was kind of late in trying to change my wording when I said this thing about how we fit into each other, the sort of phrasing. It was unfortunate, and I am glad the Member picked it up because I am quite aware of what he is raising, and I think everybody else on this side, in cabinet, is aware of it as well. The problem is in trying to finesse a presentation. We are doing it on the fly, so to speak, and it is difficult to come out with a definite presentation that we use all the time, because we are just sort of going at it and it changes, you know, my own particular style of making presentations. I think the many words of advice and caution that the staff and other people give us about how we should say things, what we should not say, is there.

Anyway, that presentation was made, and we had some discussion with the tribal council about how to basically make the presentation that it is done for a lot of reasons, some of them being that this is what the Dene and Metis communities have asked for starting as far back as 1975, that we think whether or not aboriginal self-government is the constitutional right, the inherent right, and whether it is put into the Canadian constitution or not, that we are talking about giving communities real power, real resources, real responsibility to do things themselves, and that is going to be the way to get stronger people, stronger communities, healthier communities, where we can begin to see a better return for our dollars in the areas of education, where we would get a lesser drain on the resources we have.

Going into social problems, we believe that we have to do things immediately in terms of addressing our deficit; that we cannot wait until next year; that we have to begin right now; that we have to reduce the cost of running government. It means looking at consolidating departments. It means looking at reducing the levels of bureaucracy, and it means streamlining and reorganizing government, reshaping government so that we can put more support, more dollars into communities so they can get on with assuming the responsibility they should have had in the first place.

These talks should not alarm people. We are offering to give to communities those things that they can handle. We are offering to help communities get ready to get into meaningful discussions by making sure that they have adequate resources in terms of staff, in terms of administrative and financial support systems, so that they can get on to doing some of these things and not just talking about it and not being afraid about it. If communities are afraid they do not have the human resources available to do some of these things, then that is part of the discussions.

Everything To Be On The Table

As far as I am concerned, we are going to put everything on the table. Some things we know cannot be readily done at the community level, but we are willing to discuss everything that the territorial government does so that there are no hidden agendas. We try to do things as above board as possible. That was generally the approach that I took to the presentation in Inuvik, and the response was generally good. There were a couple of jaundiced members in the audience that said we were not sincere, but other than that I think the presentation went over well. There was interest from places like Aklavik and McPherson and Arctic Red and Inuvik to look at setting up some further meetings where we can have more in-depth, longer sessions to continue the discussions. Thank you.

Tabled Document 9-12(2): "strength At Two Levels" February 25th, 1992

Mr. Chairman, the approach we have indicated to the communities we have communicated and met with is that we are going to try to lay out everything that the government does in terms of programs and services for communities to consider. Whether or not they are practical for communities to take on or whether it is possible for them to have the capability to take these on would be decided through the course of their looking at it. We are not trying to set the stage in deciding what communities can or cannot do. What we have indicated is that we will lay it all out, and the communities can make these decisions. The communities will decide what they are interested in, and under which terms and conditions they will be willing to assume any work that the territorial government does now, as well as the type of agreements they may want.

It is very clear in this report that the idea is to give more support to the communities so that they can develop the capability and strength to assume much more responsibility and authority. It is not to transfer and reduce resources and costs. I want Members to know that we have said we are willing to start meeting with communities now to discuss the general intent and give them some examples of what they can assume. We can talk with them about how aboriginal self-government may be seen as part of this scenario. The process will slowly develop from there. Communities will let us know what it is they want, and how they want to get this process under way.

We have set certain target dates. We have said that we hope the first transfer agreements come into effect by March 1994. Other than that, we do not have a document that lays out the process and items in detail. We indicated to the communities that we are working on this. As soon as this document is available, we will commence in-depth discussions. Thank you.

Tabled Document 9-12(2): "strength At Two Levels" February 25th, 1992

Mr. Chairman, I think that if we get on with this report page by page, a lot of the comments, concerns and perceptions can either be substantiated or unsubstantiated. We had this discussion in 1991, and I think we should get on with it. People should remember that the report, Strength at Two Levels, is titled this way for a very particular reason. We know there is going to be a deficit. One of the first tasks identified is dealing with this deficit. There is the perception that there is, in effect, strength at one level. We have to develop real strength at the community level. We also have to consolidate, simplify and streamline strength at the territorial level as well.

I think we should get into the report so that we can get on to identifying which jobs will be done and what will not be done. From there, once we decide what the jobs are, we can talk about what should be done, when, and by whom. Once we get into this, we should have the development of a real implementation plan. Thank you.

Question O164-12(2): Tabling Report Of Constitutional Development Commission February 25th, 1992

Yes, Mr. Speaker, whenever the translation is completed.

Question O136-12(2): Status Of GNWT Hiring Freeze February 24th, 1992

Mr. Speaker, when we implemented this freeze, we indicated that exceptions would be allowed, and departments were given the provision that they could come forward and make a case to fill jobs and go to advertising, where they felt it was essential. That was the way we approached this. Thank you.

Question O136-12(2): Status Of GNWT Hiring Freeze February 24th, 1992

Mr. Speaker, I think the freeze will be on until this government and this Legislature have made certain definite decisions about what is going to be spent by this government and what is not going to be spent. Following that, when it becomes more clear what our financial situation would be and when things have stabilized, I think we will return to this question. Thank you.

Question O136-12(2): Status Of GNWT Hiring Freeze February 24th, 1992

Mr. Speaker, the freeze was in effect except for certain designated jobs that the government felt were essential and should not be included in this freeze. Thank you.