Debates of May 31, 2023 (day 158)

19th Assembly, 2nd Session
Members Present
Hon. Diane Archie, Hon. Frederick Blake Jr., Mr. Bonnetrouge, Hon. Paulie Chinna, Ms. Cleveland, Hon. Caroline Cochrane, Mr. Edjericon, Hon. Julie Green, Mr. Jacobson, Mr. Johnson, Ms. Martselos, Ms. Nokleby, Mr. O’Reilly, Hon. R.J. Simpson, Ms. Semmler, Hon. Shane Thompson, Hon. Caroline Wawzonek


Ministers’ Statements

Minister’s Statement 366-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories Homelessness Strategy

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, homelessness is a complex, multifaceted tragedy experienced by many individuals and families in the Northwest Territories and is an epidemic across Canada. It was my desire to see our government do more for our most vulnerable residents, including those who experience homelessness, that led me into politics. I am very proud to say that later today I will table A Way Home: A Comprehensive Strategy to Address Homelessness in the Northwest Territories.

Mr. Speaker, the factors that lead to homelessness are often complicated and nuanced, as are the supports needed to prevent it and help those living in it. Our government recognizes the need for a more integrated approach to addressing homelessness. This is why we have committed to developing a wholeofgovernment strategy to address homelessness in the NWT.

Mr. Speaker, there is no onesizefitsall solution that will prevent and end all homelessness in the Northwest Territories. To develop and implement personcentered solutions, we must commit to working together with multiple GNWT departments and with Indigenous and community partners. We have the knowledge and the expertise, and many of the programs and services needed, to significantly reduce homelessness by addressing the factors that lead to homelessness.

Mr. Speaker, this document incorporates the feedback received on the draft homelessness strategy tabled on March 30th, 2023. I would like to thank the Indigenous governments, community governments, nongovernmental organizations, private industry stakeholders, and members of the public for their contributions to this longawaited strategy. I would also like to thank the Standing Committee on Social Development for their thoughtful feedback on the draft strategy and for their recent report on homelessness prevention which helped inform the action areas outlined in this strategy.

This strategy sets the path towards strengthening our collective efforts to addressing homelessness and to providing better support to individuals and families experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, homelessness. The strategy identifies actions that we can take to practically address homelessness in all its forms, including enhancing supports for those at risk of becoming homeless and improving personcentered services for those experiencing chronic homelessness. The ultimate goal proposed by the strategy is to support all communities in the territory to achieve "functional zero" homelessness.

A functional zero objective recognizes that, while we cannot expect homelessness to be fully eradicated, we can take action to ensure that homelessness is prevented wherever possible, and when individuals and families do experience homelessness it is brief, rare, and nonrecurring.

Mr. Speaker, our continued collaboration with community partners is essential for achieving these goals. The actions identified in the strategy recognize the important contributions of Indigenous, community, and nongovernmental partners in implementing peoplecentered solutions. The Government of the Northwest Territories has an important role in supporting these partners across the territory as they continue to identify and implement local solutions that address homelessness.

In addition to identifying a need for better collaboration with partners, this strategy acknowledges the need for improved coordination of the Government of the Northwest Territories' programs and services. It outlines the importance of ensuring that these programs and services align with the needs of the territorial residents and communities. The Government of the Northwest Territories program design and service delivery should not be a barrier to access.

Mr. Speaker, a home is more than just a roof over your head. It is a connection to the land and the water, culture and family. This strategy recognizes the need to honour individuals' agency, dignity, and strengths, and to connect them with the culturallysafe support they need. I would like to once again express thanks to Indigenous governments and organizations, community governments, nongovernmental partners, and the public for their contributions in developing this strategy. I look forward to continuing to work alongside all of you to make meaningful change through our collective efforts to address homelessness in the Northwest Territories. Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Madam Premier. Ministers' statements. Minister responsible for Housing NWT.

Minister’s Statement 367-19(2): Habitat for Humanity

Mr. Speaker, we know that no single government can effectively address housing issues in the Northwest Territories on their own; therefore, in order to be successful our government continues to build partnerships with Indigenous governments, community governments, private companies, the Government of Canada, and nongovernmental organizations. One of our partnerships with a prominent nongovernmental organization is with Habitat for Humanity. Habitat for Humanity is a global organization that works towards stable, affordable housing with the help of sweat equity.

Mr. Speaker, Housing NWT's partnership began with them in 2013 and has so far resulted in six completed houses located in the communities of Hay River, Dettah, and Yellowknife. Three more are currently being under construction in Yellowknife, and a plan for an additional four over the remainder of our current arrangement will ideally be in other communities.

In addition to financial support, Housing NWT is donating a residential lot to the nonprofit organization, with a plan to build two duplexes. As Habitat for Humanity expands beyond Yellowknife, Housing NWT staff have supported them by working with partners to identify land and possible partners for inkind donations since the NGO relies heavily on support from businesses and communities. Housing NWT has contributed $450,000 to habitat builds to date and will continue to support other builds that are being planned.

Mr. Speaker, the most recent Habitat for Humanity project was completed in Hay River where a deserving family moved into their new home earlier this month. I had hoped I would have been able to officially welcome them into their new home in June as part of a key ceremony, however due to the fire situation the ceremony is now delayed. Therefore, today I am happy to congratulate the family on their new home and hope to be able to participate in a rescheduled key ceremony once the date is chosen. Additional ceremonies will be held for clients when the three homes that are under construction are completed. These key ceremonies are an exciting opportunity and mark a huge milestone for the clients to take ownership to a brandnew home.

In order to be eligible for Habitat for Humanity home program, families must be in core need housing and paying 30 percent or more of their household income on their current housing and are able to make affordable housing payments based on their income. Habitat for Humanity works closely with each family to ensure they are ready for homeownership and provides guidance and referrals on budgeting, home maintenance, and other housing-related subjects. Housing NWT also provides homeownership education courses to help set up families for success.

Mr. Speaker, Habitat for Humanity relies on other partnerships as well, including annual funding from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Yellowknife Elks Lodge No. 314, as well as land donations from community governments. Donations of land are especially important because they make these projects affordable without the key factor to build into the cost of their project. Habitat for Humanity is currently seeking applications from families for the two new homes that are under construction in Yellowknife with applications closing on Friday. I hope that families continue to take advantage of this program as they work towards homeownership.

Mr. Speaker, Housing NWT's partnership with Habitat for Humanity is of critical importance and is one of the many different and effective ways our government is addressing housing needs in our territory. We will continue to increase the wellbeing of residents and communities by providing fair access to quality housing supports for the ones that are most in need. Together, we look forward to helping more families achieve homeownership in the years to come. I would like to thank Housing NWT for their continuous work with Habitat for Humanity. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Minister. Ministers' statements. Minister responsible for MACA.

Minister’s Statement 368-19(2): 2023 North American Indigenous Games

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I would like to recognize the athletes, coaches, managers, and mission staff who will represent Team NT at the 2023 North American Indigenous Games that will be held in Halifax, Nova Scotia from July 15th to the 23rd. The North American Indigenous Games’ mission is to improve the quality of life for Indigenous people by supporting a well selfdetermined approach to sports and cultural activities. The goal is to encourage equal access to participation in the social, cultural, and spiritual fibre of the community in which they reside. This event also promotes and respects Indigenous diversity.

Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories has endorsed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, including Recommendations 87 through 91 which are specific to Indigenous sport.

Recommendation 88 calls upon all governments to take action to ensure longterm Aboriginal athlete development and growth and continue to support the North American Indigenous Games, including funding to host the games, and for provincial and territorial team preparation and travel. This year I can confirm that just over $1 million of funds has been provided to the Aboriginal Sport Circle NT for the purpose of team preparation and travel. This includes contributions from Sports Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories.

Mr. Speaker, enhancing capacity and longterm development of Indigenous athletes are a priority for our government. To support longterm Indigenous athlete development, I am engaged with my ministerial colleagues in the Yukon and Nunavut on how we can work more effectively with Sport Canada to further develop and improve Indigenous sport in the North. This July, Team NT will be represented by more than 200 coaches, managers and athletes, mission staff, and cultural performers at the 2023 North American Indigenous Games competing in 11 different sports. I would like to thank the Team NT leaders: chef de mission Mr. Carson Roche and assistant chef de missions Ms. Cheyenne Lafferty and Mr. Damon Crossman. And thank you also to all the mission staff for your support.

In addition to Team NT, the GNWT is pleased to support the NWT Youth Ambassadors Program at these games. This program offers a wonderful volunteer experience for youth at major territorial, national, and international events in which participants work to develop life and job skills. There are 11 youth volunteers in the NWT Youth Ambassador Program, ranging from 16 to 23 years old, from nine different communities across the territory.

The Government of the Northwest Territories is extremely proud to support our teams at the North American Indigenous Games through financial assistance and a range of other programs that support the development of coaches and athletes at the local, regional, territorial, and national levels. I would also like to thank the Aboriginal Sports Circle of the Northwest Territories and all other territorial sport organizations who are responsible for selecting and managing teams. Their contribution plays a significant and important part in sustaining a healthy and strong Northwest Territories.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the many volunteers and sponsors for their time and donations. Whether a coach, an organizer, or somebody who provides meals, these contributions to Team NT are very much appreciated. I sincerely hope all participants enjoy this wonderful experience. Play fair and, most importantly, have fun. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Members’ Statements

Member’s Statement 1547-19(2): Marine Transportation Services in Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today, Mr. Speaker, it's Marine Transportation Services. Barging season is upon us, Mr. Speaker. Today I rise on the issue of the services in my riding of Nunakput.

I have spoken on this issue many times in the House. The sealift is an essential lifeline to my constituents. It brings the fuel, food, vehicles, and building materials for the year. This depends on the rest of the whole year, so it saves them from flying in goods.

Mr. Speaker, I look at the sailing schedule and I'm concerned. Last year MTS stopped accepting cargo July 14th. This year it is accepting cargo until July 20th. It seems to me the season will be one week shorter, even though the season is already so short in my riding due to weather. It's easy for bad weather and iceberg delay in light of shipping schedule into the communities. And, of course, Mr. Speaker, last year's barge into Sachs Harbour did not make it into the community due to high winds on the Beaufort Sea that turned the ship around.

So, Mr. Speaker, why after last year's failure, this season starting even later. We can't afford ourselves in the same situation as we had last year. And I'm really concerned, Mr. Speaker, in regards to the shipping season in my riding. So many people rely on it and the high cost of everything that's gone up since the carbon tax kicked in, it's affecting all families right across the North, and I'm wondering if the I'll have questions for the Minister at the appropriate time on enlightening us in regards to the schedule and making sure that services are met in the communities I represent. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member for Nunakput. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife North.

Member’s Statement 1548-19(2): Fort Good Hope Seniors’ Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The last few months of a session are a series of mixed emotions. Projects you've been yelling about for years all of a sudden finish and you find yourself sighing in relief but also wondering why was that so hard? And then, Mr. Speaker, projects that you were really hoping would get done, well it turns out they're not going to get done and another Assembly will have to yell about them for more years. And, Mr. Speaker, there's one project above all that I would like to see completed before I leave this session, not removing Walmart from BIP or opening the DMV on Saturday, Mr. Speaker, and I believe the Minister of housing might share this priority, and that is opening the Fort Good Hope Seniors Centre, Mr. Speaker, because in March 2021, we had an official grand opening of the seniors centre in Fort Good Hope and the Minister cut the ribbon but did not open. And so in the fall of 2021, the Minister said, well, it should be completed by March 2022. March 2022 came and went, and it became April 2023, Mr. Speaker. And then last month the Minister said it would open in June 2023. Well, Mr. Speaker, June is tomorrow, so I'll have questions for the Minister of housing about whether we are finally going to open the Fort Good Hope Seniors Centre. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member for Yellowknife North. Members' statements. Member for Thebacha.

Member’s Statement 1549-19(2): Addressing Homelessness

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I have spoken numerous times in this House about the issue of homelessness and the fact that Fort Smith, despite being the fourth largest community in the NWT, is without a homeless shelter. Mr. Speaker, preventing and reducing homelessness in the NWT is an extremely important issue, and it is something that not only the capital has to deal with but the regional centres are also increasingly feeling the pressures of rising homelessness as well, which is a very troubling trend that must be understood and addressed.

Mr. Speaker, wait lists for public housing are always sky high, and it's the exact same way for every community in the Northwest Territories. I've heard of stories of some people living in tents waiting for months and years on end to get a home. I've heard of people living in territorial parks at campsites during the summer months waiting to get a home. And I've even heard some people who were so desperate to get a home that they're willing to literally camp outside of a Housing NWT office just to raise some attention to their dire situation. I've always heard of countless people who are couch surfing, and sometimes the small families who are doing that, who stay under any roof they can just to get by. And it is people like that who I just described is what we will call "invisible homelessness", which is a type of homelessness that is not often considered as being homeless.

Mr. Speaker, homelessness no matter who it is, whether it be a young, a youth, a single parent, a whole family is a major issue that this Assembly has not properly addressed. I also know there have even been some very well thought out proposals given to Housing NWT from groups in Fort Smith which contain some great solutions in addressing homelessness. The Tiny Home Pilot Project from Salt River First Nation did not receive support from Housing NWT, which I am still unsure why.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I know that in the supplementary appropriation bills that the House is passing this week has $2 million for emergency homeless shelters. So I hope that some of those funds will be used in Fort Smith to help address some of the need in my community on this issue. I will have questions for the Premier at the appropriate time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member for Thebacha. Members' statements. Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.

Member’s Statement 1550-19(2): Access to Dental Services

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, dental services in the Northwest Territories is very different depending on where you live. It also depends on what dental coverage you have. For example, if you work for a business with benefits or with the GNWT, you get dental insurance to cover you and your family. If you're a First Nations and hold a status card or if you're Inuit and registered with your Inuit organization, you are covered under noninsured health benefits. If you're a Metis Indigenous to the NWT and living in the NWT, then you're covered by the GNWT program Metis benefits which is equivalent to NIHB. But, Mr. Speaker, if you're nonIndigenous and you have no dental coverage, it's at your own cost. But recently the federal government has made a program where you can apply to Canada for the Interim Canada Dental Benefit for families earning less than $90,000 a year. Although this is great, again, this is Ottawa doing a great thing, but not realizing the struggles that we have in the North, this doesn't cover travel to the nearest dentist, especially when you have no dentist or dental services in your community.

Mr. Speaker, years ago most schools all had dental therapists or regional dental therapists that travelled to the communities and that was the main dental prevention provider outside the capital and some regional centres that had private clinics. I'm very glad that they were there because I still have my teeth thanks to them.

Mr. Speaker, even before COVID, dental prevention has been a struggle in the Northwest Territories. And since COVID, dental services have been nonexistent in many communities. Mr. Speaker, we as a government need to do better in dental prevention services. We need to be working closely with the federal government. We need to come up with a better plan to provide these basic services, especially to all our children, youth, and adults in the NWT. And I will have questions for the Minister of Health and Social Services. Thank you.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes. Members' statements. Member for Deh Cho.

Member’s Statement 1551-19(2): Skilled Trades Safety Certifications

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I want to speak about skilled trades safety certifications. This is a topic I hear about frequently from my constituents and employers. The skilled trades and construction work come under a number of safety hazards that could be seriously harmful. Employers like local construction companies look for and often require specific safety certifications to hire employees. Generally, training for safety certifications provides knowledge of basic procedures and processes to ensure that an individual can competently and safely perform a work duty or activity. For example, fall protection training teaches proper use of equipment to keep a person safe while working at heights. This is important in my region as more and more communities are building homes and have construction projects they are working on. I understand why employees need safety certifications. I do not understand why safety certificates need to be renewed as quickly as one, two, or three years.

Mr. Speaker, in small communities, safety training and employment opportunities are few and far between. The lack of safety training available either through Aurora College or employer training is a barrier to residents in the small communities from becoming certified or renewing certification. This means that people cannot access training and therefore do not have the safety certification requirements for employment.

Mr. Speaker, I know that different safety certifications are directed in different ways, including by legislation, regulation, sometimes by industry, or even by company. What role does the Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission have in ensuring that these safety certification expiry dates reflect the unique northern context that I just outlined, that people in small communities do not have the same access to training through Aurora College or other training institutes or employee training and many people do not have the financial resources to travel and enroll in a program on their own.

Mr. Speaker, people want to retain their safety certificates and be employed. WSCC needs to review safety certifications within the unique context of the Northwest Territories and the small communities and use its discretion to increase the length of time that a safety certificate is valid. I will have questions for the Minister responsible for the Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission at the appropriate time. Mahsi.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member for Deh Cho. Members' statements. Member for Great Slave.

Member’s Statement 1552-19(2): Northwest Territories Flood Mitigation and Response

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, flooding in the territory continues to be a real threat to residents' homes, livelihoods, and critical infrastructure in the Northwest Territories communities. In March, I spoke about the need to relocate and upgrade the Fort Simpson diesel plant to a liquified natural gas, or LNG, project, and the government's general lack of vision and longterm planning regarding infrastructure. Two weeks ago, the Peel River flooded in Fort McPherson, cutting off roadways, access to the airport, and water and sewer services. In other words, Mr. Speaker, the community's most critical infrastructure. I am worried that this government is not acting safely and is not moving quickly enough to protect residents. The flood in Fort Simpson was over two years ago but ice jams caused water levels on the Mackenzie River to rise to 11 metres at the start of May again this year. Luckily, the river broke in favour of the community; however, the risk remains, and I ask what is the government doing to protect the community's power infrastructure? Both LKFN Chief Antoine and Fort Simpson Mayor Whelly have repeatedly called for the need to move key infrastructure such as the power plant and water treatment facility off the floodprone island and onto higher ground. The Minister of Infrastructure stated in March that a location had been found for the new power plant off the island. The Minister also said that the power corporation would hold a board meeting on March 10th to confirm the scoping required for the construction of a new power project with complete cost estimates and relocation plans for the new plant by the summer.

Well, Mr. Speaker, summer is here. What has been done? The power solution in Fort Simpson needs to be more comprehensive than moving power poles and lines away from areas affected by riverbank erosion. Expanding small scale LNG in the NWT could play a key role in bridging the gap between our current high carbon intensive infrastructure and completely renewable energy in the future while helping to achieve the goal of reduced carbon emission.

Mr. Speaker, where LNG makes sense, we must use it in our territory, and in Fort Simpson it makes sense. So let's get it done now. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member for Great Slave. Members' statements. Member for Frame Lake.

Member’s Statement 1553-19(2): Project Assessment Policy Review

Merci, Monsieur le President. I've raised this government's faulty Project Assessment Policy many times as an MLA, and here I go again. Cabinet approved the Project Assessment Policy on April 13th, 2017. The Project Assessment Policy requires "any technical advice and evidence provided to boards by their respective staff is in line with legislation, Cabinet direction and ministerial policies established under this policy."

This policy grants Cabinet immense power and reads like a way of muzzling our scientists and preventing presentation of evidence that may not be consistent with Cabinet's way of thinking. My concerns were borne out by the review board in its March 29, 2018, report on the Tlicho AllSeason Road. The board found that the socalled wholeofgovernment approach "has limited the ability of evidence and expertise from GNWT departments about potential impacts, concerns, and mitigations on issues within their respective mandates and jurisdictions."

As a result of this harsh criticism of GNWT, the Department of Lands commissioned a "lessons learned" report on the Tlicho AllSeason Road Environmental Assessment. That report concluded that "a whole of government approach is not necessarily best suited to all projects where the GNWT is the proponent and should not be the default approach for future projects where the GNWT is a proponent."

It also said "a wholeofgovernment approach, particularly in the context of a public review process, cannot be successful without an explicit commitment to greater transparency and evidencebased decisionmaking."

The formal response from the Department of Lands committed to reviewing that Project Assessment Policy by the end of the 19th Assembly. I'm still waiting and there's not much time left. This work is increasingly important as GNWT is likely to become a proponent for larger infrastructure projects that will require very careful scrutiny.

I asked written questions on this topic in March 2022, over a year ago. I was told that there would be no public engagement or work with Indigenous governments in revising the policy. Mr. Speaker, that's a big disappointment. I will have questions for the Minister of Environment and Climate Change on whether this work is really going to get done in the 19th Assembly. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member for Frame Lake. Members' statements. Member for Kam Lake.

Member’s Statement 1554-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories Procurement Review

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, two years ago, this government tabled a procurement review report published by an independent review panel. The report highlighted the concerns of northern business about communication and procedural fairness of how bids are administered, advertised, or requested, and how the government is evaluating value for dollar. Businesses identified concerns about being shut out of opportunities to apply on bids and do not believe their BIP status is giving them the intended advantage.

Mr. Speaker, we have yet to see a response from the GNWT to the procurement review report and as we wait, I want to remind the GNWT of the still relevant procurement recommendations put forward by the 18th Assembly.

The 18th Assembly Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment worked with the business community to develop a report identifying what is keeping northern businesses out of government procurement. The report identified a need for consistency, clarity, and transparency in the procurement process. Northern businesses need to know what the government wants and where and when to access that information. These are questions I am still getting from NWT businesses.

The second theme identified the need to attract northern business more effectively. Committee found that multiple local businesses felt disadvantaged competing for government contracts because the invitations to tender reflected a limited understanding of the unique situation of northern businesses, and that there is a disconnect between the intent of a policy and reality on the ground. An example of how this is happening today is brand name specific procurement rather than functionfocused procurement.

The committee suggested the GNWT include northern hire requirements in contracts, ensure local businesses know about opportunities under $25,000, divide large projects into smaller ones, and adopt solutions to increase competitiveness of northern businesses.

The third theme identified a need for the GNWT to better understand NWT business capacities. I've spoken with northern businesses passed over for work after being told they did not have the capacity to execute the contract only to be hired in turn by southern businesses chosen by the NWT. This is just giving NWT dollars to southern businesses to allow NWT businesses the honour of working in their own territory.

The fourth theme is support related. We need to ensure the government is supporting the growth and success of northern business through mechanisms that support prompt payment and the importance of shop local that I spoke to last week.

Mr. Speaker, it's been four years since this report was tabled, three years since I originally delivered this Member's statement, and two years since the procurement review was complete. It is time we see the response and results of these efforts. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member for Kam Lake. Members' statements. Member for Tu NedheWiilideh.

Member’s Statement 1555-19(2): Indian Day School Survivors

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is with heavy heart that I address this Chamber, not only as an Indigenous MLA representing the people of Tu NedheWiilideh, but also as a voice for the countless survivors of the unfathomable suffering experienced by our people in the Indian Day School institutions, the lasting impacts of which continues to reverberate through our communities.

After the transfer of responsibility for the Indian Day School to the Government of the Northwest Territories on April 1st, 1969, the hope was that a new era of education practices would begin, one that would foster a sense of culture, pride, and providing a nurturing environment for our children to thrive. However, what transpired within the walls of these institutions was a betrayal of trust as an insult of our dignity and the systematic insurance of our culture.

For far too long, the horrors inflicted upon our children had been buried beneath the weight of silence and secrecy. Today we must shatter this silence to confront the painful truth. Our children were subjected to physical, emotional, and sexual abuse at the hands of those entrusted in their care. They were stripped of their language, culture, identity, and forbidden from speaking their own native tongue and forced to adopt a foreign custom that left scars on their souls.

The devastating consequences of this abuse are visible in the intergenerational trauma that plague our communities to this day. We have witnessed the shattered lives, the loss of selfworth, and the struggles to heal from the wounds that never truly fade. The resistance of our people is awe inspiring, but we must acknowledge that healing cannot occur without justice, accountability, and meaningful redress.

I call upon this Assembly to lend unwavering support to the survivors of the federal day school system. We must see that the GNWT acknowledge the abuse that took place on its watch after April 1st, 1969, and take full responsibility for the harm that was caused by the Catholic and Anglican Church who were on contract to the GNWT for 16 years before the Catholic Church and Anglican Church contract expired with the GNWT. There can be no more excuses, no more attempts to evade culpability today. We must hold these institutions and our own government accountable for their actions, or lack thereof, in protecting our children and preserving their culture and heritage.

Furthermore, it is imperative that we advocate for a robust comprehensive support services for survivors and their families here in the NWT today. This includes culturallyappropriate mental health services, counselling, financial assistance to aid in their healing journey. We must ensure the necessary resources are made available to those in need in the community level, allowing survivors to reclaim their lives and regain a sense of agency and selfdetermination as followed of taking over the responsibilities for the federal day school of April 1st, 1969. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my Members statement.

Unanimous consent granted

Mahsi. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you, colleagues. In addition, we must prioritize the inclusion of Indigenous history, culture, and language in our educational curriculum. Our children deserve an education that embraces and celebrates their heritage, that foster culture, pride, and that empowers them to succeed while maintaining a strong connection to their roots. By investing in our youth, we invest in a brighter and more equitable future for all Indigenous here in the NWT. As a representative of the people of the legislature, we have a moral obligation to address the painful legacy of the federal Indian Day School system prior to April 1st, 1969, and after April 1st, 1969, when the GNWT took over the education portfolio from the federal Government of Canada. We must work together to dismantle the structure that perpetuated the marginalization of oppression of our people.

Let us join in hands and solidarity to commit a meaningful change and ensure the voice of survivors are at the forefront of every decision we make going forward. The road to healing will be long and arduous, but I have faith in the resilience and strength of our communities. Let us honour the survivors' courage by taking the swift decisive action. Together, we can pave the way to a future where justice, truth, and reconciliations prevail. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I have questions for the Premier at the appropriate time. Mahsi.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member for Tu NedheWiilideh. Members' statements. Member for Nahendeh.

Member’s Statement 1556-19(2): Judo in the Deh Cho Region

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to speak about an amazing opportunity for youth in the Deh Cho thanks to NWT Judo Association and the DDEC. As I witnessed in a couple of the schools in the Nahendeh, there is a great deal of excitement growing around this program for the youth. I can say the youth get so excited when they see the instructor in the school.

With the incredible support of the DDEC, the NWT Judo Association has created a judo program for the entire region with fulltime coaches currently in Fort Simpson and Fort Liard with a third on the way for the community of Fort Providence. The goal of this program is to provide kids with physical literacy, build their selfconfidence and, more importantly, have fun. Judo teaches important life skills like how to fall safely and creates a safe environment to physically interact with your peers.

One of the principles of judo is jita kyoei meaning mutual welfare and benefit, and the students are very quick to help each other when learning a particular skill when it is challenging. Not only have we witnessed excitement from the students but numerous teachers in the schools are excited to watch the children participate in class and in many classes, they have participated in classes themselves. To watch the students help their teacher learn to perform a break fall is amazing as they quickly beam with pride getting to play the role of teacher briefly.

The participation in the program is not only free during school hours but the extracurricular programs are as well and is not limited to schoolaged children. Providing children with more than just something to do, but a program with purpose and professional guidance has been a breath of fresh air and creates a lot of happy faces.

In the past year, the NWT Judo Association held regional gatherings in Yellowknife, Fort Simpson and Inuvik from the DDEC taking part in all of these events at no cost to the families of the participants. They also brought two students, one from Yellowknife and one from Fort Liard, to the first ever outside of the territory even. The Edmonton international was the largest judo tournament in Canada in the 20222023 season and the NWT athletes performed incredibly well, returning home with a silver medal. The success and enthusiasm that has been created in the southwest region of the territory is something they hope to recreate in other regions. Mr. Speaker, I would like to seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement. Thank you.

Unanimous consent granted

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you, colleagues. The regions with eventual goal of having this program territory wide. They believe strongly that the confidence built in learning judo is transferable, becomes confidence in one area often builds confidence in other aspects of life. As an individual sport, you do not require a team of talented athletes to be successful but the success of one athlete can no doubt inspire the belief in others that can achieve their goals as well, and these goals do not have to be limited to sports.

Mr. Speaker, with the threetime world champion and a twotime Olympic medalist, Yuri Alvear joined the coaching staff this summer, there should be a lot more excitement and headlines in the near future. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to recognize former city councillor Julian Morse here in the gallery watching the proceedings today. Welcome.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Recognition visitors in the gallery. Once again, I'd like to recognize Sharlene Blake, Kenton Blake, and Carol Ross who now lives in Yellowknife. It's always good to see people from Little Hollywood they call it, Tsiigehtchic.

Oral Questions

Question 1543-19(2): Marine Transportation Services in Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my Member's statement today was in regards to shipping with MTS in regards to servicing Nunakput communities. Last year shipment, again, Mr. Speaker, did not make it to Sachs Harbour and the goods were left in Paulatuk. Many of the goods were flown into the community at no cost to the residents, which I'm really grateful for the department for doing that. But, Mr. Speaker, there's still goods sitting in Paulatuk that was so it's an unfinished delivery.

Can the Minister tell the House when all the goods from last year will make it into Sachs Harbour? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member for Nunakput. Minister responsible for Infrastructure.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Member is correct; we had a delay in shipping some of the goods to Sachs Harbour. We did that for the reason to prepare our sailing season for this year, so we had a pause, and now we're continuing to deliver some of these supplies back. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The sailing schedule for this year for the communities is extended by a week. I'm really worried in regards to are the goods going to be able to make it into the communities this year and will they be brought in earlier, and then trying to service contracts and putting our people first? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I just want to share a few updates with some of the work that's underway to get ready. Engineers have been brought back early to be able to perform routine maintenance, as well as reactivate the vessels in Cambridge Bay and Paulatuk. Engineers and other workers in Tuktoyaktuk are also preparing Nunakput for reactivation. Mr. Speaker, we are set on our targets for sailing season. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.