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

Yes, the freeze that we set in 1991 is still in effect. Thank you.

Question O130-12(2): Not Recognizing Tfn As Legitimate Organization February 24th, 1992

Mr. Speaker, I think as a Minister I could make note of the comments and the concerns that have been raised here and simply pass them on to TFN, in light of some of the very immediate and significant decisions and issues that we all have to face and which this government and other people of the North have to face that are being initiated and carried out by the TFN leadership. So I can take that step and pass it on to the TFN. Thank you.

Question O130-12(2): Not Recognizing Tfn As Legitimate Organization February 24th, 1992

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the government I am responsible for dealing with quite a number of aboriginal organizations in the NWT as well as across this country. It would be difficult for me to start making conditions as to under what terms and conditions I would recognize the different executives and representatives from these organizations. While I understand the comments that are being made by the various Members about what they perceive the issues to be, as far as I am concerned as a Minister, I believe that the TFN is responsible for their own executive. The board is managing the affairs of the organization. There is an executive that is in place to carry out their direction on a day-to-day basis, and I believe it is really an internal matter that I have very little power or authority to do anything about; ultimately, I think it is the Inuit, the constituents of TFN and other public leaders that have to deal with it and make a decision on it, not this Minister. Thank you.

Question O129-12(2): Demand For Demonstrated Confidence In Paul Quassa February 24th, 1992

Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that I think it is the board of the TFN that would be handling an issue of this nature and not this government. It would be seen as unduly interfering in the affairs of an organization that we have no business getting ourselves involved in. Thank you.

Question O114-12(2): Shortage Of Staff Housing, Baffin February 21st, 1992

Mr. Speaker, it is well known that the number of staff houses that the territorial government has available in the Baffin has not been sufficient to meet their requirements; they have teachers and other government employees. Having said that, I do not know the exact number of units that are going to be going into those communities at this time. I would have to provide that to the Member, and I will do that in writing. Thank you.

Ministers' Statement 12-12(2): Interim Report On The Commission For Constitutional Development February 20th, 1992

Thank you. Mr. Speaker, last spring, a committee of political leaders developed terms of reference for a commission to develop a comprehensive constitutional proposal for a western territory in the event of the division of the Northwest Territories. Last July, this House affirmed the commission's terms of reference, appointed an additional member and appropriated funds to enable the commission to fulfill the first phase of its mandate.

The commission, chaired by Jim Bourque, with members Bertha Allen, George Braden, Les Carpenter, Richard Hardy and Francois Paulette, is making every effort to complete its complex and difficult task in a thorough, co-operative and timely fashion.

It has funded interested parties to facilitate their participation, conducted a round of community consultations, done research and expert consultation, and, above all, struggled together as a group to reconcile strongly held and sometimes contradictory views on what principles could form the basis of a constitution to serve all residents of a new western territory.

This morning, the commission released its interim report. The commission will now embark on a second round of community hearings to seek reactions from the public. Armed with this advice, it will complete a final and more detailed report by April 27. This will signal the end of the first phase of the commission's mandate.

I want to commend each commissioner for his and her effort, and I encourage them to maintain the goodwill and energy that they have displayed to see the project to completion. However, the commissioners are not alone in shouldering responsibility for success. The challenge now is for all of us --western MLAs, political leaders, and citizens of every community -- to examine carefully the recommendations of the commission, to discuss them openly and frankly but without rancour, and to help guide the commission toward a final report which could form the basis of a consensus among residents of the West for a constitution for a new territory. Thank you.

Absolute Discharge For Individual Convicted Of Sexual Assault February 20th, 1992

Mr. Speaker, I would like to seek unanimous consent to go back to Ministers' statements.

Ministers' Statement 11-12(2): Plebiscite Question February 19th, 1992

Mr. Speaker, I would like to clarify information about the plebiscite question and the process for developing that question. This government is moving forward on a process and commitments made by a succession of Legislative Assemblies, including specific directions provided by the last Assembly in their spring session.

The Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories over the last 10 years has continuously indicated its support for the creation of Nunavut. A plebiscite was held in 1982 showing popular support for division. Residents over the years have also been involved in discussions about division, through processes such as the Western Constitutional Forum and Nunavut Constitutional Forum, which resulted in the 1987 Iqaluit Agreement. As Members of this Assembly will remember, Mr. Speaker, agreement was achieved through the work of the constitutional forum on certain principles, and it was agreed that the political boundary for division should be the same as the land claim boundaries.

Article 4 of the TFN final agreement requires that a Territories-wide plebiscite be held on the boundary between the eastern and western territories. This is not a vote on division, only a vote on the boundary. I have maps here that show the boundary which will be the subject of that plebiscite vote. It corresponds to the land claims' boundaries separating the Inuvialuit and Dene/Metis areas from the Eastern Arctic Inuit claim. If this boundary is accepted by the residents of the NWT, it will be the political boundary dividing the future western and eastern territories.

Agreement was also reached, as a result of Article 4, on a process for the creation of Nunavut and for the development of a constitution for the western territory.

Mr. Speaker, Members of the previous Legislative Assembly, in the spring session, discussed division, the plebiscite date and the plebiscite question. Directions were provided to government, and three motions were passed by the Assembly:

1) to establish a Western Constitutional Commission;

2) to develop, with TFN, a public consultation process for the East;

3) to amend the Plebiscite Act to hold the plebiscite vote.

Because the proposed timing for the plebiscite did not allow for a full discussion again in the Legislative Assembly, the caucus as a whole assigned responsibility to the Executive Council to set the date for the plebiscite vote and to finalize the plebiscite question.

Mr. Speaker, I want to clarify for the Members of the Legislative Assembly and for residents of the Northwest Territories that if we are to divide, it will not happen the day after the plebiscite votes are counted. The process and commitments for division of the Northwest Territories will allow some seven years for the elected leaders and residents of the East and West to work out their concerns and to shape the framework for the two new governments. Thank you.

Ministers' Statement 9-12(2): Public Service February 19th, 1992

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. All of us have heard a great deal over the last few days about the need to save money and our commitment to develop more effective forms of government. We have not heard much about government employees who are already doing their best to provide programs and services to the people of the Northwest Territories, despite budget limitations and impossible deadlines.

Over the past few years our public service has been asked to respond to increasing demands for expansion of services without a corresponding increase in the resources to deliver them. I believe they have done an excellent job, and it will be important to maintain these work habits as we deal with consolidating departments, transferring responsibilities to community governments, and streamlining our decision-making processes.

Maintaining a stable and professional public service is essential if we want to meet the challenges facing us over the next four years, and I want to assure staff at all levels of the organization that their abilities and their ideas are needed.

We intend to provide our employees with many opportunities to contribute to decision-making. They will be involved and consulted in each phase of implementation within their own departments. They will also be asked to share their ideas for change affecting other departments. Our employee suggestion awards program will be expanded to provide awards to employees who make positive suggestions resulting in more effective and efficient programs, services and organizational structures. Some of our staff will also have the chance of working on project teams that will make recommendations directly to senior management. This will provide them with experience to advance their careers. We need their skills to get this job done.

Mr. Speaker, I know there is a lot of anxiety among our staff about how the changes we are considering will affect them personally. Cabinet and senior management recognizes this fact. As a result, we are now finalizing a work force adjustment strategy to provide options for workers who are affected by departmental consolidations. This strategy will help employees find other opportunities when certain jobs become redundant because of organizational change. Hiring preference, retraining, counselling and placement assistance will be the main elements of the strategy. The processes used will be explained through personal contact and in a staff publication dedicated to providing updates on the progress of implementation along with information on human resource issues in general. By taking this approach we will contribute to a reasonably secure public service with all the necessary tools to get the job done. Thank you.

Question O64-l2(2): Wording Of Plebiscite Question February 18th, 1992

Mr. Speaker, I believe that it would be advisable for us politically to get the full involvement of all the MLAs on this exercise. I believe we would be trying to get the MLAs involved in this exercise through the formulation of it, but through legislation it is not required because it is done under regulation of the Elections Act. Thank you.