Legislative Assembly photo

Roles

Elsewhere

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 O145-12(1): Criteria For Filling A Position December 17th, 1991

Mr. Speaker, the nature is whoever does the best in the interview and has the edge in terms of experience and academic background. The most competent person in the interview is usually given the job.

Item 4: Returns To Oral Questions December 17th, 1991

This is in response to a question asked by Mrs. Marie-Jewell on December 13, 1991. On all competitions the affirmative action policy is applied in considering the applications. Non-Canadians with landed immigrant status applying on Government of the NWT competitions are treated as any other Canadian citizen. The rules are clearly outlined in the personnel manual. There is no need to develop any additional policies or guidelines regarding the hiring of non-Canadians for management positions.

The affirmative action policy provides hiring preference for qualified members of designated groups. Therefore, as long as there are qualified applicants on a competition who are eligible for preference under the affirmative action policy, they will get the job. Only in circumstances where there are no applicants who are qualified and who are eligible under the policy will other applicants, including non-Canadians, be considered.

Item 4: Returns To Oral Questions December 17th, 1991

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This is a return to Question O95-12(1) asked by Mr. Bernhardt on December 13, 1991, regarding the hiring of non-Canadians for management positions. The rules regarding the hiring of non-Canadian citizens apply to all positions in the Government of the NWT. As specified in the personnel manual, all potential employees are asked to indicate their citizenship on the application form. Personnel officers are responsible for verifying with the nearest immigration office that non-Canadians applying on GNWT competitions have landed immigrant status.

The Government of the NWT complies with federal legislation regarding landed immigrants. Those with landed immigrant status are temporary citizens and are entitled to the rights of a Canadian citizen, including the right to obtain work anywhere in the country.

Brian Lewis' Role In "dreams And Visions" December 17th, 1991

Mr. Speaker, I wish to give some special recognition to the MLA for Yellowknife Centre, Brian Lewis. It should be noted that if it was not for his urging and pushing and constant, persistent and frequent requests for status reports, the book "Dreams and Visions" probably would not have been published by the Department of Education. It would have continued to sit on the shelf gathering dust.

Members should know that the book "Dreams and Visions" is a recollection of the NWT education system from the mission schools of the 1800s until 1984. As a result of Mr. Lewis' persistence, one of the last things I did as the former Minister of Education was to publish and subsequently release the book. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that someone finally took the honourable Member's advice.

Nice letters of appreciation from those who were close to Norm McPherson, the researcher and principal writer of the manuscript, have come recently, applauding the book and the government for finally releasing it. Thank you.

---Applause

Ministers' Statement 21-12(1): Aboriginal Peoples' Inherent Right To Self-government December 17th, 1991

Mr. Speaker, efforts to determine the meaning of aboriginal self-government in the Northwest Territories will require the participation and co-operation of Dene, Metis, Inuvialuit, Inuit and non-aboriginal people, as well as the federal and territorial governments. These efforts will be essential if we are to find solutions which fulfill aboriginal peoples' right to self-government, yet are suitable and practical in our unique environment.

Past Legislative Assemblies took the position that aboriginal self-government in the North should be realized within the context of public government. By public government we simply mean a government that represents and serves all residents in the North, whether they be aboriginal or non-aboriginal. Our government continues to hold this view. While no one can predict with certainty what this concept will become in practice, the self-government framework agreement in the Gwich'in final claim agreement indicates the direction we think aboriginal self-government negotiations could take.

Clearly, aboriginal self-government within a public government system does not just mean participation in public government institutions. However, the overall structure of government, including aboriginal and public bodies, must be a practical and fiscally responsible system protecting aboriginal rights while, at the same time, respecting the rights and needs of all its citizens.

We have stated very clearly during this session that our government is committed to transferring significant levels of authority and resources to communities to enable them to set priorities and make the very best possible use of the moneys available. We are also prepared to make every effort to incorporate aspirations for aboriginal self-government into policies and a process for implementing community self-government.

There is no point in our pursuing an approach to community self-government that ignores aboriginal self-government only to find we have to revisit the entire process in the wake of a newly entrenched constitutional right. It makes far more sense for us to assume that such a right will be entrenched in the near future and to incorporate aspirations for aboriginal self-government into the development of the community transfer strategy which we will be presenting to the Legislative Assembly in March.

Last week, this House passed a motion to establish a special committee on constitutional reform to deal with the upcoming round of national constitutional discussions. One of the most important elements of the federal proposals for amending the Canadian Constitution is a call for the entrenchment of an aboriginal right to self-government. Many aboriginal groups argue strongly that the amendment should state aboriginal people have an inherent right to self-government, which is to say that the right pre-dates the Constitution of Canada and is not dependent upon the constitution for its validity.

The Government of the Northwest Territories accepts this view. Aboriginal peoples of the North practised self-government long before there was a country called Canada, and they continue to hold an aboriginal right to exercise self-government to this day. In this sense, aboriginal peoples have a natural or inherent right to self-government which must be recognized in the Constitution of Canada. However, a simple statement that aboriginal people have such a right still begs the question of exactly what that right means.

In the view of this government, an inherent right to self-government does not mean a sovereign, independent nation state. Aboriginal groups are nations within a nation, and aboriginal people are citizens of Canada. Nor do we see a right to self-government as meaning that each aboriginal group has the ability to determine unilaterally what powers it will exercise over which peoples living on which lands. We all live too close together and depend on each other too much for this approach to be practical.

It is a fairly straightforward proposition for this government and the Legislative Assembly to support the entrenching in the Canadian Constitution of an inherent aboriginal right to self-government. Our challenge will be to figure out how aboriginal self-government will be exercised here at home. I am confident that we can meet the test. Mahsi.

---Applause

Motion 38-12(1): Terms Of Reference For The Special Committee On Constitutional Reform, Carried December 16th, 1991

Mr. Speaker, I should just go back and make a correction. The motion was to have been seconded by the honourable Member for the Kitikmeot. Sorry.

Motion 38-12(1): Terms Of Reference For The Special Committee On Constitutional Reform, Carried December 16th, 1991

Mr. Speaker:

WHEREAS the Legislative Assembly has established by Motion 17-12(1) the special committee on constitutional reform;

AND WHEREAS, after consultation, the special committee has prepared its terms of reference;

AND WHEREAS it is required by Rule 95(2) that the terms of reference of all special committees shall be approved by the Assembly;

NOW THEREFORE, I move, seconded by the honourable Member for Tu Nedhe, that the following terms of reference for the special committee on constitutional reform be approved:

The special committee on constitutional reform may on its own authority:

1) review proposals for constitutional and institutional reform as outlined in the Government of Canada's document entitled "Shaping Canada's Future Together" and any additional national, federal, provincial, territorial and non-governmental materials, and any other related matters;

2) undertake or request any legal or economic analysis necessary to assist this committee in the development of recommendations for the Legislative Assembly on matters relating to the substance and processes for constitutional and institutional reform;

3) undertake such consultations, discussions or meetings that are necessary with such national, federal, provincial or territorial bodies that have responsibility to consider constitutional and institutional reform in Canada;

4) Undertake such consultations, discussions or meetings that are necessary with national, federal, provincial or territorial bodies that have responsibility to consider constitutional and institutional reform in Canada;

5) make presentations on behalf of the Legislative Assembly and the Government of the Northwest Territories to such bodies as the committee agrees appropriate;

6) prepare reports at times to be decided by the committee and as appropriate to the progress of the national unity debate;

7) review and recommend on any related matter referred to it by the Legislative Assembly; and

8) establish a quorum to be three Members, including the Chair.

Thank you.

Motion 39-12(1): Appointment Of Languages Commissioner December 16th, 1991

Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to proceed with my motion today concerning the terms of reference of the special committee on constitutional reform.

Motion 39-12(1): Appointment Of Languages Commissioner December 16th, 1991

Mr. Speaker, I should say a few words, as well. I want the other Members to know, and the public as well, that I was one of the MLAs who, for the past two years, have been quietly, sometimes loudly, promoting their own candidates for this position. And through the months and years I had my heart set on my own candidate. We had a session in caucus where we had interviews and discussions amongst ourselves last week to finally make a decision. I want the Members and the public and my own constituents to know that I am in full support of the decision that the caucus had made, and I will be giving my full support to Betty Harnum in carrying out her duties on behalf of the Legislature. I want to make that known. A decision has been made, and I am not going to be dwelling on my own personal agenda that I have been carrying around for the last couple of years. I will be pushing ahead to see what we can do in this very important field. Thank you.

Notice Of Motion 38-12(1): Terms Of Reference For The Special Committee On Constitutional Reform December 16th, 1991

Mr. Speaker, I give notice that on Wednesday, December 18, 1991, I will move the following motion: I move, seconded by the honourable Member for Kitikmeot, that the following terms of reference for the special committee on constitutional reform be approved:

The special committee on constitutional reform may on its own authority:

1) review proposals for constitutional and institutional reform as outlined in the Government of Canada's document entitled "Shaping Canada's Future Together" and any additional national, federal, provincial, territorial and non-governmental materials and any other related matters;

2) undertake or request any legal or economic analysis necessary to assist this committee in the development of recommendations for the Legislative Assembly on matters relating to the substance and processes for constitutional and institutional reform;

3) undertake such consultations, discussions or meetings that are necessary with national aboriginal organizations that have responsibility to consider national constitutional and institutional reform in Canada;

4) undertake such consultations, discussions or meetings that are necessary with such national, federal, provincial or territorial bodies that have responsibility to consider constitutional and institutional reform in Canada.

5) make presentations on behalf of the Legislative Assembly and the GNWT to such bodies that the committee agrees appropriate;

6) prepare reports at times to be decided by the committee and as appropriate to the progress of the national unity debate;

7) review and recommend on any related matter referred to it by the Legislative Assembly;

8) establish a quorum to be three Members, including the Chair.

Mr. Speaker, at the appropriate time I will be seeking unanimous consent to proceed with this motion today.