In the Legislative Assembly


Historical Information Steven Nitah is no longer a member of the Legislative Assembly.

Last in the Legislative Assembly November 2003, as MLA for Tu Nedhe

Lost his last election, in 2003, with 18% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Committee Motion 144-14(6): To Amend Clause 13 Of Bill 34, Carried October 10th, 2003

Mahsi cho, Mr. Chairman. I, too, will support third reading of this bill. I supported it throughout and my questions concerning the North Slave Metis and their opportunities to come to terms with the federal and territorial government with something similar to this satisfied my concern, the ability of the Deh Cho and Akaitcho to finalize their agreement with the federal and territorial governments in this area. It also satisfied my questions.

Mr. Chairman, this is truly an historic day. We are one more agreement realizing a new relationship between aboriginal and public governments in Canada. I look forward to working with the other aboriginal groups that are still negotiating, the Metis, the Akaitcho and the Deh Cho and finalizing their agreement, so we could create more certainty in the Northwest Territories.

Our economy, our political and socio-economic conditions are dependent upon those things. Mr. Chairman, I would like to congratulate the Tlicho people, their leaders for a job well done and look forward to the new partnership we have with them as governments. It's been a long day, Mr. Speaker, and we still have a ways to go, so I will keep my comments to that. Once again, I congratulate the Tlicho people on their new agreement. Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker.


Motion 21-14(6): Censure Of The Minister Of Health And Social Services, Defeated October 9th, 2003

Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I, too, will be supporting this motion. I support it for the very simple reason that universality of health care delivery is important and we don't have universality in the Northwest Territories. We need to standardize all our health centres. We don't have that. We had four years and the Minister of Health and Social Services has been very good at public campaigns and putting out commercials telling people to stop smoking.

Mr. Speaker, I'm not arguing the fact that smoking does cause health problems. Mr. Speaker, that's not the only reason why people have health problems in the Northwest Territories. It seems, since the Minister got elected to the position, that's been the core message coming out of the department. You clean up your own act before we'll help you, seems to be the message.

Mr. Speaker, I, as a representative of the people who elected me, don't agree with that message and only that message. I know we put a lot of money into the Department of Health and Social Services. That budget has risen by a considerable amount since we got elected to this House, but the standard of delivery hasn't seemed to improve. We put a lot of money into the administration, but we're not putting nearly enough into the programs and services and frontline delivery systems.

For that reason I'll support this motion because I want to send a message not only to the Minister, but the whole department. Over the next four years they have to clean up their act. Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker.

Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery October 9th, 2003

Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker. I would like to recognize my constituency assistant Caroline Sanderson and I would like to recognize my constituents of Lutselk'e who are in the House and are always with me in the House in spirit. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


Passing Of Elders In Tu Nedhe October 9th, 2003

Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my riding has lost quite a bit this past week. Yesterday, Marie Casaway - known as Marie-Louise, but better known as Granny - passed away in Lutselk'e. I spoke earlier in the week about a lady passing away in Deninu Kue. Combined, Mr. Speaker, we lost 195 years of life experience.

Marie was born in 1908 and when I was born, Mr. Speaker, just to give you an idea of how old this lady was, she was just collecting the old age pension. That was 36 years ago. She was a woman who had many children and many grandchildren and many more great-great-grandchildren. A woman who is known to our government because our government has been helping to pay for her care in the community. Members of my community in Lutselk'e did not want to send her to an old age home in Yellowknife or anyplace else. In that sense, Mr. Speaker, she became everyone's granny in Lutselk'e.

I'd like to celebrate her life with the Members. I will be going home tomorrow and celebrating in mourning her life with my community as well. A woman that stays with you that long has an effect on everybody in the community. Everybody called her Granny and it's not too often that you find a woman that lives long enough for everyone to adopt as their granny. It's a sad day for the community, for the region and, again, Mr. Speaker, we lost a wise old lady who helped many peoples, including many generations.

I'd like to officially thank her on behalf of my constituents in the people's House here today. Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker.


Bill 34: Tlicho Land Claims And Self-government Agreement Act October 9th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, specific to the North Slave Metis Alliance again, I know the Powley decision was recent. We don't understand the full magnitude of that decision yet, but it is a Supreme Court decision and normally it's been demonstrated through history that any Supreme Court decision has a national implication. Would the North Slave Metis have the same ability without a formal agreement with the Tlicho, similar to that of the Deh Cho and Akaitcho have with the Tlicho, have the same ability to come to terms with Canada and the Northwest Territories on a similar agreement within the settlement area? Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Bill 34: Tlicho Land Claims And Self-government Agreement Act October 9th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, outside of the individual rights of the people who are non-Tlicho citizens, the question I am referring to is specific to land. I represent a constituency that is Treaty 8. I know Treaty 8 has negotiated their boundary agreements with the Tlicho citizens. I just want to get reassurance from the Minister that this agreement would recognize and honour that overlap agreement. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Bill 34: Tlicho Land Claims And Self-government Agreement Act October 9th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, clause 4(3) speaks to third parties. I know this question has been asked already, but I would like to get more certainty. I would like to ask the Minister what effect will this agreement have on other aboriginal governments who want to come to similar arrangements with the federal and territorial governments within the Tlicho settlement area? Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Bill 34: Tlicho Land Claims And Self-government Agreement Act October 8th, 2003

Mahsi cho, Mr. Chairman. I spoke earlier in support of the principle of this bill. My position has not changed. It's well-known, Mr. Chairman, that for thousands of years prior to European immigration, North America was inhabited by many different self-government and aboriginal peoples speaking many languages and having widely differing cultures and economies. The royal proclamation of 1763 was formalized British colonial policy for North America recognized the situation. The First Nations paid no part in negotiating confederation or in drafting the British North America Act of 1867, under which section 91(24) signed legislative authority with respect to Indians and lands reserved to Indians to the federal government. The government assumed increasing legislative control over First Nations communities leading to the passage of the Indian Act in 1876 which, with modern modifications, remain in effect today. The result over the years has been the steady erosion of First Nations governmental powers. It was the decision of 1873, Mr. Chairman, which established that aboriginal title was a reality that could be understood in terms of British jurisprudence that led Prime Minister Trudeau to settle aboriginal land claims. That policy opened the door for the commencement of negotiations of those claims.

Since 1973, Mr. Chairman, that's exactly 30 years ago today. It took the Tlicho more than 30 years to get back to 1763. It's recognized it's a constitutional development role that the Tlicho, Canada and the Northwest Territories embarked upon when they started negotiations.

My colleagues are not happy because of the lack of consultation. In my mind, this being a constitutional development process, negotiating something between three levels of government, a final agreement that's been initialed and signed, should not be taken to the public for consultation. It should be debated in this House, like we are today, recognizing it as constitutional development. First Nations have the right to do so. Prime Minister Brian Mulroney spoke in the House of Commons on September 8, 1992, and emphasized that true recognition in our Constitution of the aboriginal inherent right to self-government, a simple justice long overdue, could be achieved. He spoke of creating a new partnership in the federation that was formed in 1867 without the participation of aboriginal peoples. That's what the Tlicho people have managed to do on behalf of their people. They've come to terms with a new treaty of Canada and partnered with the Government of the Northwest Territories that their people find acceptable.

It's a final agreement. I have some concerns, like everybody else, concerning other people's rights within the settlement area and I will be asking questions in that regard, but this is constitutional development and it's a partnership development. Our government represented the public of the Northwest Territories throughout the negotiations. I have confidence in our government and its negotiators. They made sure that the general public's rights were protected. I am confident the Tlicho people will negotiate on their people's behalves and make sure their people's rights in the Constitution and the Charter is entrenched.

Mr. Chairman, you, as a former negotiator, are familiar with the difficulty of negotiations. I, being 36-years-old, have been in perpetual limbo waiting for these negotiations to settle. Like I said, Mr. Chairman, it is constitutional development that is an exciting development opportunity for other First Nations and governments in the Northwest Territories to follow this as a model. I look forward to seeing it pass by our government, the 14th Legislative Assembly. I will have some questions during clause by clause for the Minister responsible. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Question 412-14(6): Main Street Paving For Dust Control October 8th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the community of Fort Resolution is currently doing road upgrades so they can see chip sealing done next summer, but the community of Lutselk'e has not been contacted at all. One of the greatest concerns that was brought to my attention as their MLA is the dust levels of the community. Would the Minister ensure that Lutselk'e is mentioned in that transition document? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 412-14(6): Main Street Paving For Dust Control October 8th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, recognizing that during the current Assembly we will not be going through another business plan session, I would like to ask the Minister if he would put it as part of his transition document for the next government to review to make sure the next government and the bureaucracy of the next government clearly understands the urgency of this matter for the people in the communities? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.