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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

Question O106-12(1): Policy Re Hiring Non-canadians In Management Positions December 13th, 1991

Mr. Speaker, I do not think the Member's information is correct. That is not what the question was from the other Member, and that was not what my response was either. Thank you.

Question O97-12(1): Ratification Of Gwich'in Claim December 13th, 1991

Yes. I think all of us on this side have been consistent in saying that we want to conclude the Gwich'in claim as soon as possible and to ratify it. Thank you.

Question O97-12(1): Ratification Of Gwich'in Claim December 13th, 1991

Mr. Speaker, the federal government approaches claims negotiations using the federal claims policy to govern how it approaches it. The claims policy has been changed in recent years to include a requirement that there be an implementation plan developed before claims are ratified by the federal government. We hope that the federal government does not become overly anxious, for political reasons, whatever, and will go on to try to ratify these deals without a clear cut, very precise implementation plan attached to it. As soon as this is done, the claims will be ratified. It could take a week, two weeks, a month, three months. It depends how hard the federal government tries to offload costs on other parties. Thank you.

Question O97-12(1): Ratification Of Gwich'in Claim December 13th, 1991

Mr. Speaker, it is the view of an optimist -- being an optimist -- that the federal government will live up to its constitutional obligations, the obligations it has as the principal party sitting opposite the Gwich'in -- it is the federal government that has that constitutional obligation to not only negotiate claims agreements but to come up with the money to implement these agreements -- and that they will do that in the spirit in which it was negotiated. If we have that, which we hope we will, the claims will be completed, ratified, with the implementation costs very clear, up front, to the satisfaction of the federal government, territorial government and the Gwich'in. Thank you.

Item 4: Returns To Oral Questions December 13th, 1991

Thank you. This is in response to a question asked by Mrs. Marie-Jewell on December 10, 1991, on a directive on breach of confidentiality. As the Minister of Personnel, I am responsible for the management and direction of the territorial public service in accordance with the Public Service Act, so breach of confidentiality concerns fall within that responsibility. When allegations of breach of confidentiality are made to the department, they are investigated by officials of Personnel.

At this time there are no directives in place, of which I am aware, that govern the conduct of employees in relation to the release of confidential material. However, every employee is required to swear an Oath of Office and Secrecy when they are hired. This oath states that an employee shall not release information gained in their employment without proper authority. Thank you.

Question O26-12(1): Directive On Breach Of Confidentiality December 10th, 1991

Mr. Speaker, if there is a directive I am not aware of it and I am not sure of the total parameters the directive would cover. I know that within the Department of Personnel there are certain restrictions placed on members, staff of the department. I am not aware of the directives that would govern the behaviour and conduct of members of the different departments, like Justice, Social Services, Health. I will have to take the question as notice and get back to the Member.

Question O25-12(1): Disciplining Government Employees For Releasing Confidential Information December 10th, 1991

Mr. Speaker, during the summer, as a Member of the last cabinet I was a little involved and interested in the goings on by the media and the union and all the politicking that went on at the expense of certain individuals. I know at the time I had looked at whether or not certain staff may or may not be acting properly in the course of their jobs. It was my view at the time that nothing that was brought to my attention warranted any action on the part of government. I left it at that and there is nothing to suggest it should be revisited at this time.

Ministers' Statement 5-12(1): Community Transfer Initiative December 10th, 1991

Thank you. Yesterday the Government Leader indicated that cabinet agrees with the general direction of the report, "Strength At Two Levels," and in particular the major emphasis the report places on transferring significantly more authority, responsibility and resources to communities. These transfers will give community residents more control over their own lives and will also create more local jobs.

We know that MLAs and communities will judge our performance on this item more than on any other issue and, on behalf of my cabinet colleagues and our Government Leader, I want to state very clearly that community self-government is and will be a major priority. The Ministry of Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs is taking the lead role in implementing community transfer agreements. A community transfer committee, made up of deputy ministers and chaired by my deputy minister, is in place to oversee this process. A full-time working group which will report to the committee is being established, and each department will be instructed to work closely with them. Regional directors will also be closely linked to the process.

However, we know that this project will not succeed if it is shaped and driven by headquarters. Community and aboriginal leaders and Members of this House have a critically important role to play. We have some ideas, but we need your views and your active involvement to make this initiative work.

Our goal is to help interested communities establish much stronger governments at the community level. This is not a simple matter. Each of our communities is unique, and each may have its own problems and priorities. What we must do, together, is develop an approach that has some basic guidelines and consistencies yet is flexible enough to accommodate the differing needs of interested communities.

Some communities may be ready to assume broad responsibilities; others may want to focus on one or two program areas; others may want to start by consolidating, under one roof, the responsibilities being currently exercised in the community before they assume new ones; and still others may want to continue as they are now. I must also stress that we can only deal with a reasonable number of communities at any one time.

One important issue we must come to grips with, especially with the chiefs and band councils in Dene communities, is the role aboriginal self-government should play in this initiative. While this is a question we are willing to address, it is not one for which we have the answers. We will be seeking your advice on this sensitive but important issue.

The community transfer committee is in the process of developing a comprehensive strategy for implementing community transfer agreements. A kick-off phase will give us an opportunity to inform northern residents about our intentions and to seek advice from community and aboriginal leaders, and MLAs, on the major elements of the strategy. A somewhat longer pre-negotiation phase will provide the government and interested communities with time to properly prepare themselves for negotiations.

We are serious about making community self-government a major focus of our term of office. We are prepared to go one step further and commit this government to making every effort possible to incorporate aspirations for aboriginal self-government into policies and a process for implementing community self-government.

Implementing community transfer agreements will be no simple task. The lack of success in past years bears this out. However, with the advice and active participation of MLAs, aboriginal and community leaders, I am certain that important changes in the areas of community and aboriginal self-government will be realized during the term of this government. Thank you.

Motion 17-12(1): Establishment Of The Special Committee On Constitutional Reform, Carried December 9th, 1991

Mr. Speaker:

WHEREAS the Government of Canada tabled proposals in Parliament on September 24, 1991 for a reform of the Constitution of Canada and certain federal institutions;

AND WHEREAS this Legislative Assembly has to ensure that the desires and aspirations of the Northwest Territories are considered and reflected in any process of reform of the Constitution of Canada or any federal institutions;

NOW THEREFORE, I move, seconded by the honourable Member for Nahendeh, that this Assembly establish a special committee to be named the special committee on constitutional reform;

AND FURTHER, that the terms of reference for the special committee on constitutional reform be prepared in consultation with all Members of the House and presented to the Assembly for approval in accordance with Rule 95(2).