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

Minister's Statement 80-14(6): Premier's Sessional Statement October 1st, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. With limited capacity, facing some of the most powerful mining and oil and gas corporations in the world, together we staked out an agenda for ourselves for non-renewable resource development.

We were the first in Canada to recognize the magnitude and impact that Northwest Territories' diamonds would have on the world diamond trade and to push for a Canadian diamond policy and a secondary diamond industry in the Northwest Territories and Canada. We are also sharing our expertise now with other governments through initiatives such as the national diamond strategy.

We were clear that development in the North would not occur at the expense of the environment. We supported the implementation of the Kyoto Accord and support Mr. Krutko in bringing his message about the protection of the Porcupine Caribou to Washington and the U.S. government.

We were committed to ensuring that development of northern resources be determined by market forces and that Canadian gas in the Beaufort and Mackenzie Delta and in the Liard Valley is not stranded.

We have been relentless in our demand for northern long-term benefits flowing from our development and our resources.

We have collaborated with other northern governments and the private sector through the Northwest Territories Business Coalition on the need for investments in infrastructure and training to make sure that our residents in our territory manage and benefit from development.

The heavy load of all these files was primarily carried by Minister Antoine who worked closely with our business community and the representatives of industry, like Imperial Oil's K.C. Williams, who truly wants to see the Northwest Territories realize its economic, social and political agenda.

We should be proud that we have, along with our 42,000 people, unified together, agreed on a common purpose, and have together made such incredible results and progress.

At this time, I want to acknowledge the contributions made by my colleagues in Cabinet and all of you as Members of the legislature for the past four years.

While the role of seasoned politicians is critical to the momentum and stability of our governments, the energy and new ideas injected by new Members such as Mr. Bell, Mr. McLeod and Mr. Delorey are important and essential to the success and future of our territory.

I want to encourage all young people in the Northwest Territories, especially aboriginal youth and young women, to look to a career in politics whether it is at the territorial government level or with aboriginal governments.

Whatever direction they choose, we must keep focused on the need for our youth to be raised in strong families and communities. We must encourage them to remain in the North, to take advantage of the opportunities and quality of life that we all have to offer, and to get them to help us build a better future for our territory.

As our term draws to a conclusion, it is only fitting that I thank all our employees, the territorial administration, here at the Yellowknife level, in the regions and communities. All of you out there should be proud of your collective accomplishments during this term and your contribution to the amazing future of our territory and its people.

In particular, we have benefited from an outstanding group of deputy ministers who take seriously their responsibilities for implementing our agenda. As a key source of advice, some of which sometimes we don't want to hear, but which is necessary, they have made for an effective operation as a team with us for our government.

I also want to thank personally the contributions of my staff in my office, in the Cabinet office and in the Department of Executive. All of those who have helped me, you have helped me immensely on a daily basis with my responsibilities during the past four years.

I also want to acknowledge your role, Mr. Speaker, in overseeing the operations and the work of this House and this Assembly. I want to thank you on behalf of all Members. Mr. Speaker, I also acknowledge outgoing Clerk David Hamilton for his long service in support of this Assembly and all the other ones I have served on and even before my time.

Minister's Statement 79-14(6): Premier's Award For Excellence October 1st, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to take this opportunity to announce this year's recipients of the Premier's Award for Excellence. The Award for Excellence was recently created to recognize our employees who have distinguished themselves through work-related achievements and contributions. Today I honour the following employees and teams for their accomplishments:

  • • Dr. Anne Gunn, a biologist with the Department of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development who has made a significant contribution to our understanding of caribou ecology;
  • • Keith Hickling, manager of fish and wildlife with the Department of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development, who has undertaken many initiatives to help the youth of the Northwest Territories through programs such as the Youth at Risk Trapper Training Program;
  • • Karen Hicks, a program advisor with the Financial Management Board Secretariat, who had the lead in developing and implementing the government's performance measurement system;
  • • John Nishi, a bison ecologist with the Department of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development, who has represented our government on all fronts regarding the control of bison disease;
  • • Raymond Tuccaro, traditional counsellor at the Yellowknife Correctional Centre for the Department of Justice, who has played an important role in assisting inmates, families and their community in the process of rehabilitation;
  • • Al Woods, who is the interim chief executive officer of the Stanton Territorial Health Authority, as well as the Yellowknife Health and Social Services Authority. Through a period of great transition, Mr. Woods has provided the necessary leadership to ensure that the region's health care system was maintained at an effective level.
  • • The equal pay team of the Financial Management Board Secretariat was instrumental in reaching a settlement of the long outstanding pay equity complaint and was responsible for the smooth implementation of the settlement. The team members include Shaleen Woodward, Andy Bevan, Daniel Grant, Vishni Peeris, Jami Semenoff, Jeff Barichello, Tracey Rumig, Alexandra Robles and Colette Perry.
  • • The territorial biomedical engineering team from the Stanton Territorial Health Authority also introduced innovative processes to improve their liability and operations of biomedical equipment across the Northwest Territories, and this team has shown an extraordinary commitment to the development of a homegrown biomedical engineering workplace. The members of this team include Kevin Taylor, Christine Roemer, Phil Borer, Erwin Sumcad, Keith Deans and Doug Osmond.
  • • The Tlicho GNWT negotiating team is also recognized, having worked diligently towards the Tlicho agreement, now seen as an historic and unique agreement that was ratified in June and signed by the Prime Minister of Canada in August. The Tlicho negotiating team includes Paul Beauchamp, John T'Seleie, Steve Iveson, Mark Warren, Kevin Campbell, Lorraine Whiteman, Jim Cunningham, Fred Chambers, Joe La Ferla, Mike Kalnay.
  • • As well, today we recognize the Idaa Trail project team who were successful in developing an innovative program that invites people to learn about the Dogrib culture and heritage as they embark on a virtual journey through a traditional Dogrib travel route. The members of this team include Tom Andrews, Richard Valpy, Mark Heyck, Wendy Stephenson, Barbara Cameron, Lucy Lafferty, Gerriann Donahue, Kyle Kelly and Rosa Mantla.
  • • We also recognize the Inuvik Regional Health and Social Services Centre project team who was responsible for the construction of a new health centre in Inuvik which is the largest, most complex project carried out in the Inuvik region to date. Members of this team include Brent Rausch, Ted McLeod and Len MacDonald.

Mr. Speaker, all teams and employees who have been chosen to receive this award were nominated because they demonstrated excellence, innovation and dedication to their work. They have provided a valuable contribution and it is my great pleasure to honour them. Please help me congratulate them on their achievements. Thank you.


Question 340-14(6): Changes To The Business Incentive Policy September 30th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We will be discussing this in Cabinet in the morning and reviewing the history of this issue. We will respond at that time, so we will take the question as notice.

Question 337-14(6): Passage Of Tlicho Settlement Legislation September 30th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Members of the legislature have a duty to consider all legislation and initiatives by this government and legislation requires due diligence. There's a process set out for considering bills, including public consultation. So we have to take that into account. The Cabinet is fully aware of it. We would like to see that respected, as well as the political will of the Tlicho people to see this government act as quickly and as fairly as possible in response to the need for legislation and for the public to be informed about what these agreements mean and to have some opportunity to be informed and to have some discussion.

The intent is to proceed, taking into account everybody's interest and to make sure that everybody is onside and we act in the way that we all like to think we are, which is the consensus system of government. Thank you.

Question 337-14(6): Passage Of Tlicho Settlement Legislation September 30th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, that question was put to, I think, all Members of the legislature this morning. I think Members are considering those possibilities and over the course of today they will be considering it. There's probably an interest to discuss it again tomorrow. We hope there's some positive outcome from that. Thank you.

Question 337-14(6): Passage Of Tlicho Settlement Legislation September 30th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, there has been some discussion with Members of the legislature about business that is before this House that requires our attention. The Members of the legislature and the Standing Committee on Accountability and Oversight, I believe, and the Cabinet are all aware of the concern by the Tlicho to give some attention and due consideration to their legislation. I believe there will be some discussions today and possibly tomorrow that could provide hopefully a positive response to the Member's question. So probably tomorrow you will get an appropriate or positive response. Thank you.

Item 4: Returns To Oral Questions September 30th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a return to an oral question asked by Mrs. Groenewegen on June 12, 2003, with regard to government sponsored insurance programs.

The Government of the Northwest Territories regulates insurance companies operating in the Northwest Territories through the NWT Insurance Act. The Department of Finance, through the superintendent of finance, is responsible for administering the act.

The superintendent of insurance does not approve rates charged by insurers or standard risks. Automobile insurance premiums charged to the residents of the NWT are significantly below premiums charged to residents of Alberta.

For example, for high risk drivers, property damage and public liability coverage of $1 million costs $1,979 annually in Alberta, but only $569 a year in the NWT.

Accident benefits coverage costs $132 a year in Alberta, but only $46 annually in the NWT. Low automobile rates charged to residents of the NWT are due to the low risk road system and dry weather. NWT automobile insurance premiums are lower than those charged in any province.

The office of the superintendent of insurance continues to review rate changes filed by the Facility Association, an association of insurance companies which insures all high risk applicants and to monitor premium rate changes in the standard insurance market. Insurance brokerages and the superintendent of insurance have received some complaints regarding the availability of insurance, but relatively few complaints with respect to increases in premiums. The superintendent of insurance has not received any complaints regarding the level of insurance premiums.

Given the small population of the Northwest Territories, a government-run insurance program would not be economically feasible. Thank you.

Minister's Statement 78-14(6): Minister Absent From The House September 30th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wish to advise Members that the Honourable Jim Antoine will be absent from the House today and tomorrow, attending the Ministers of Energy and Mines meeting in Halifax. Thank you.

Tabled Document 77-14(6): Ministerial Travel Reports - October 2002 To March 2003 June 13th, 2003

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I wish to table two documents entitled Ministerial Travel Report - Minister and Staff Travel for October 2002 to March 2003 and Ministerial Travel Report from Travel for October 2002 to March 2003. Thank you.

Tabled Document 76-14(6): Report On The Staff Retention Policy, Year Ending March 31, 2003 June 13th, 2003

I would like to also table the document entitled Report on the Staff Retention Policy for the Year Ending March 31st, 2003.