Debates of February 9, 2024 (day 5)

20th Assembly, 1st Session
Members Present
Hon. Caitlin Cleveland, Mr. Edjericon, Mr. Hawkins, Hon. Lucy Kuptana, Hon. Jay MacDonald, Hon. Vince McKay, Mr. McNeely, Ms. Morgan, Mr. Morse, Mr. Nerysoo, Ms. Reid, Mr. Rodgers, Hon. Lesa Semmler, Hon. R.J. Simpson, Mr. Testart, Mr. Thompson, Hon. Caroline Wawzonek, Mrs. Weyallon Armstrong, Mrs. Yakelaya


Thank you very much, Annie Goose.

Before we start, I'd just like to recognize a few people in the gallery, Chief Ernest Betsina and Chief Fred Sangris. Thank you very much for attending. As well, you heard little voices here. That would happen to be my grandkids. Avy, or Orilia. Esrah. And then Roy or Rhett. And then my daughter Jacklyn and my soninlaw Brendan Whelle. So thank you and welcome.

Ministers’ Statements

Minister’s Statement 8-20(1): 2023-2024 Winter Road Construction Challenges

Mr. Speaker, destructive events like flooding and wildfire are top of mind when considering how climate change has challenged the Northwest Territories in recent years. There is, however, another climaterelated challenge affecting many of the territory's residents: delayed winter and ice road construction.

Mr. Speaker, our winter road system connects nine Northwest Territories communities that are not accessible by allseason roads, with highway crews building and maintaining approximately 1,400 kilometers of winter roads, ice roads, and ice crossings every year. To put this in perspective, that is roughly the same distance as Yellowknife to Edmonton.

This road system has many benefits, including reducing the cost of living in affected communities and connecting residents to opportunities. Recognizing that delayed construction can have farreaching consequences, the Government of the Northwest Territories is working hard to adapt to unpredictable conditions. We remain committed to building, operating, and maintaining accessible winter roads for all residents.

The Marine Transportation Services resupply of fuel and cargo to northern communities last year brought a new set of challenges, Mr. Speaker. With the last barge of the season to Norman Wells unable to sail due to wildfire delays, much needed fuel and cargo had to get to its destination in other ways. Last year, the total volume of petroleum products delivered by winter roads to six Northwest Territories communities totaled close to 5.2 million litres. This year, we are adding approximately 2 million more litres of jet fuel, as well as extra cargo, doubling the number of trucks on the road to 400. Mr. Speaker, knowing there would be a surge in traffic this year, the Department of Infrastructure has put several measures in place to ensure the safety of travelers as well as the integrity of the highway system.

The Mackenzie Valley Winter Road opened to heavy traffic on January 22nd and is the lifeline to the communities by transport truck. The highway itself has been widened where possible and additional signage has been placed along the route, including kilometre markers and electronic signs reminding drivers of safe driving requirements. Maintenance, patrols, and checkpoints have been increased and we are working with local bylaw and RCMP officers to join in those efforts where possible. We have expanded our maintenance activities, including additional flooding, and having more equipment available on all zones of the road to address maintenance issues in a timely manner. Our highway maintenance vehicles have also been retrofitted with mobile Starlink satellite dishes to improve communication and incident response, and we have staged equipment at critical winter road locations to assist as required.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to encourage road users across the territory to check out the Department of Infrastructure's website which has helpful tips and resources for safe winter driving. Materials targeted at commercial drivers are also being handed out at weigh stations and check stops and have been provided to industry to share with commercial drivers. The safety of winter travelers is our number 1 priority, and we want to equip road users with the information to make safe choices.

Finally, I need to stress that driving on a closed highway can be extremely dangerous and is an offence under the Public Highways Act and can also constitute an offence under the Criminal Code. Road closures and barricades are put in place to prevent access to a potentially hazardous route and are used to keep road users safe and to reduce the risk faced by maintenance crews. I recognize that closures can be frustrating and inconvenient, but they are not put in place if not required or urgent.

Mr. Speaker, the climaterelated impacts we have seen over the past year have shortened our resupply season and challenged winter road construction, further highlighting the need for allseason roads. Crews are working diligently to overcome these challenges, and I want to thank them for their continued dedication. I also want to thank our partners in industry, community governments, and law enforcement for supporting all of these efforts. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Members’ Statements

Member’s Statement 54-20(1): Supreme Court of Canada Ruling regarding the Indigenous Child Welfare Act

Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this morning, the Supreme Court of Canada released its longawaited decision on Indigenous child welfare. As many in this Chamber know, the previous GNWT governments saw fit to challenge in court the rights of Indigenous governments to take care of their own children.

Mr. Speaker, despite being encouraged by lawyers in the region to withdraw their challenge, the previous government persisted, continuing that fight at the Supreme Court. Today, the GNWT lost that fight, and rightly so. Today, the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed the right of Indigenous governments to care for their own children.

Mr. Speaker, I campaigned on the importance of this decision and the need to ensure GNWT worked with Indigenous governments and not against them. With this direction of the Supreme Court today, I want to thank all those who worked so hard to make this possible, including lawyers in my own riding. I also want to commit to ensuring that we, as a responsible government, as a government committed to selfdetermination and the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples in this territory, do everything possible to enable and support Indigenous governments and Indigenous children as we move together towards meaningful reconciliation.

Mr. Speaker, this Court has spoken. The previous government has lost and a brighter for future for Indigenous children in Inuvik and the NWT and across all Canada is now something we must work towards. Thank you.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from Inuvik Boot Lake. Member from the Sahtu.

Member’s Statement 55-20(1): Meeting Housing Needs

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, housing is a huge concern in all NWT communities. Stable and secure homes is the staple of healthy families.

Mr. Speaker, we have recognized a national housing crisis, this followed by a national housing strategy, and most importantly, federal resources made available directly to Indigenous governments to address this crisis. Mr. Speaker, this collaboration is genuine and truly a model to jointly address the core need for homes on the ground, a first and foremost totally true objective.

Mr. Speaker, in our efforts in providing NWT home security brings a variety of essential planning. Some communities have a oneseasonal window approach, which adds to more emphasis on planning. Mr. Speaker, when I reflect in previous Assembly housing assessments and now homes on the ground, addressing the NWT crisis is a both government to government collaboration; one, truly a motivation for this government to move forward. Mr. Speaker, at a later date, I will have questions for the Housing NWT minister. Mahsi.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from the Sahtu. Members' statements. Member from Yellowknife North.

Member’s Statement 56-20(1): Child and Youth Counsellor Initiative

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Department of Education, Culture and Employment released an evaluation report done by an independent third party on the child and youth counsellor initiative, containing 42 recommendations along with the government's response to those recommendations.

Mr. Speaker, mental health supports for our children and youth are perhaps one of the best possible investments this government can make in our future. Mental health is absolutely fundamental to physical health, prevention of addictions, educational success, development of a healthy workforce and strengthening of selfgovernment. We simply cannot afford to mess this up.

What was transformational about the child and youth counsellor initiative, which began to be rolled out in 2018, was the integration of clinical counsellors into the school environment. So instead of having to get the family to make an appointment and take the kid out of school, the child or youth would have direct access to the counsellor right in the school making preventative and ongoing interventions much more possible.

To quote the evaluation report, having CYC services available in the schools has not only improved access but has also increased the identification of mental health disorders that previously would have gone unnoticed and untreated in children and youth. And I believe this kind of integrated model we should be eventually be extending into lots of areas, bringing counsellors and nurses into the schools, into workplaces, into outreach vans assisting people on the street. But that kind of integration requires some tricky collaboration between several departments and agencies, includin HSS, the education authorities, schools. And there were challenges to the extent that the very first recommendation in the evaluation was to hire an external facilitator to help sort out the disagreements between HSS and ECC.

Before the evaluation was even finished, the government moved ahead with a major overhaul last fall. My main concern is that the departments of ECE and HSS seem to have made changes to this program that have resulted in a loss of service to children and youth before anyone was ready to fill that gap. I am also concerned that the department seemed to have made changes based primarily on adult feedback before they got feedback from children and youth. And from reading the report, it appears that students and parents were almost unanimous in their praise of the CYC program and their counsellors. Mr. Speaker, I ask for unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

Unanimous consent granted

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So I understand that there were problems with vacancies and if counsellors rotating through small communities were not able to visit frequently enough, it would make sense to replace these with support people who can be hired locally and the evaluation does in fact provide recommendations on how that can be structured. My concern is that we let go of counsellors who were doing valuable work and instead started spending money on classroom tools, awareness materials, posters, or worse that funding is sitting idle because plans were not yet in place. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from Yellowknife North. Members' statements. Member from Yellowknife Centre.

Member’s Statement 57-20(1): Need for a Seniors’ Secretariat

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the tabled report called GNWT Seniors Strategic Framework sets out a lot of information provided by the department and the government on how to help seniors age in place.

Mr. Speaker, seniors are very important to me, as they are to everyone on this side of the House. I can't speak to that side of the House because they deleted the role for a Minister responsible for seniors but hopefully one day they'll realize their mistake. And it's not too late to change it, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the seniors will tell me different things, and they certainly tell me the same things they tell my community colleagues. So whether you live in Gameti or Wekweeti, they'll tell you about their housing challenges and they'll talk about the lack of community supports to allow them to live there. This is a problem no different here in Yellowknife.

Mr. Speaker, if you were in Deline or Tulita, you have transportation problems as a senior and elder, and those things need to be faced. Mr. Speaker, whether you live in Aklavik, McFoo, or even Tsiigehtchic, you have cultural issues there where we need to keep our seniors alive and connected into our community, Mr. Speaker. Let alone health care and support services that we need to get, whether you live in Inuvik or any other place throughout our great territory, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, knowing Wrigley very well as I do, and certainly as you do, I mean I can appreciate the fact that, you know, accessibility and communication and feeling part of the community is just as integral as anything else is good services. Mr. Speaker, the importance that I'm raising here is we cannot ignore the needs of our seniors in any way.

What's important about this report on one of the last statements on the last page, it points out that seniors need focused integrated. Interdepartmental intercoordination. They need a coordinator for their initiatives, Mr. Speaker. So, again, whether you live you live in Deline, you live in Dettah, you live in Inuvik, you live in Tsiigehtchic, we need a central point for people to work, Mr. Speaker, and if you certainly live in Yellowknife you demand and need these services.

Every one of us on this side of the House deserves the respect for our seniors and elders, and I hope the Premier's listening so he'll take back to his Cabinet colleagues the need and necessity and recognition of the problem of deleting the integral important piece of what it represents, a seniors’ secretariat that is fully funded to support our seniors in need because we care about them deeply and sincerely, Mr. Speaker. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from Yellowknife Centre.

Before we go on to Members' statements, Members, I'd like to welcome the NWT Career Centre CDETNO represented by coordinator Andrea Fowler and participants at the youth employment and skills strategy program. This is a ninth group. Their goal is to assist youth to reach their potential and obtain the skills, tools, and resources to discover or continue along their career paths. So, please, welcome them here today. Thank you.

Members' statements. Member from Monfwi.

Member’s Statement 58-20(1): Expansion of Snare Hydro System to Whatı

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the community of Whati has been facing continuous power outages. The Northwest Territories Power Corporation acknowledges these outages and have listed Whati as a level 1 emergency. NTPC has acknowledged that outages is largely due to aging infrastructure. There is old equipment being used to generate power and to distribute power in the community.

Mr. Speaker, the road to Whati opened in 2021. The NICO Mine project is underway. Whati has beautiful tourism attractions and could be a community ripe for economic development. But in order to develop Whati, a stable consistent supply of power is needed.

The government has identified the extension of Snare hydro distribution system to Whati as a solution to reduce the cost of power and a renewable energy solution. The extension of the Snare hydro system, however, is not estimated to be complete within the life of this Assembly. According to the capital estimate, this project will be completed in 2027 and 2028.

Mr. Speaker, the community of Whati is listed as an emergency level 1 community right now. Something more needs to be done to address the energy needs of Whati.

Mr. Speaker, the Tlicho Highway was one of the first P3 projects in North America with an Indigenous government holding a cashfunded equity stake. It won a national award for innovations and excellence in public/private partnership from the Canadian council for public/private partnerships. Mr. Speaker, we don't have to reinvent things. There are already models of successful major projects in the Tlicho.

Can the GNWT be creative and innovative to secure the funding needed to prioritize and fast track the implementation of the Snare hydro system to support the residents of Whati? I will have questions for the Minister of Infrastructure. Thank you.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from Monfwi. Member from Tu NedheWiilideh.

Member’s Statement 59-20(1): Lutselk’e Winter Road Access

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I recently returned from a constituency meeting in Lutselk'e. And once again, my people there want me to talk about the high cost of living. They are just under 200 kilometres away from the rest of us here in Yellowknife but they pay twice as much as we do on groceries. It's almost like taxing the community just for living on their own land. It's only the community was just accessing by barge or plane. The people there would be under less financial pressure. Lutselk'e could use more barges, more flights to relieve the stress, but what would really take the pressure off the community is a road. With even just a winter road, goods, fuel could be transported into Lutselk'e by struck for several months; a far cheaper and more frequent option than by plane or barge. Building supplies like lumber could also be more accessible transported into the community with road access which could ready aid the construction of a new building and renovation of older houses.

Lutselk'e sees more development on the horizon, and the projects we have in the works could also lower the cost. With the Northwest Territories hoping international investments, a winter road would make Lutselk'e would be far more accessible to tourists from around the world and infrastructure would attract more development. More and more tourists will experience Dene culture and land, and businesses want to be part of the opportunity the region holds.

An ice road of this size is proven possible. In 2021, an ice road was constructed from the Nechalacho Mine projects from Dettah to Thor Lake. If expanded by another hundred kilometres, it could reach Lutselk'e, giving a vital link to the rest of the world.

Lutselk'e needs to become more accessible so that people can thrive. I know the cost of living and economic development are topics for this government, so I look forward to hear what the answers are when I ask the Minister for MACA on the ice road. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from Tu NedheWiilideh. Members' statements. Member from Mackenzie Delta.

Member’s Statement 60-20(1): Housing in Indigenous Communities

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I would like to reflect back on my childhood years before the Housing NWT started building public housing units in our communities. We were a strong and independent people, as were all the Indigenous communities within the Northwest Territories.

Mr. Speaker, I remember when I was four years old, my dad became sick and he was sent to Edmonton where he stayed for a few years and ever since he was confined to a wheelchair until his passing a few years ago. The responsibility of raising seven children fell upon my mother, and two of myself and two of my sisters were not of school age so we were home. And my Mom had to get three of my dad's dogs and we went across the river, she climbed a steep embankment and cut down some firewood and threw it down to us and we loaded it in the sleigh and went back home. And as we went home, she started cooking lunch for my other older siblings. And after lunch, we would get the same three dogs and go down to the river and get ice for water for the day's use of cooking and cleaning.

Mr. Speaker, this is just an example of how strong and independent we were as a people before Housing NWT came into our communities and stripped us of our independence.

Shortly thereafter, we moved into one of the new housing units where Housing NWT stated that our lives would become more easier. Today we are in a crisis with housing as is the rest of the NWT residents. Mind you, my sister still lives in and occupies one of the units that we moved into 50 years ago. With a few BandAid solutions, many of the homes within my community and my riding are in poor conditions. These units are an eyesore to the visitors who come to visit our beloved community.

Mr. Speaker, the Indigenous people of the Northwest Territories need their strength and independence returned to them. Only the Indigenous people of the NWT know their specific needs. Mr. Speaker, I request unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

Unanimous consent granted

Yes, Housing NWT staff who sits in their office in Yellowknife and the regional centres do not know the real conditions of these 50yearold units. Mr. Speaker, it's time to give this responsibility back to the communities and have our own people correct the mistakes that the Housing NWT has imposed on the Indigenous peoples of my community, my riding, and my Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from Mackenzie Delta. Members' statements. Member from Range Lake.

Member’s Statement 61-20(1): 2023 Wildfire Season

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, on the heels of a global pandemic and devastating floods, an unprecedented wildfire season forced more than twothirds of the Northwest Territories to evacuate. The roads were packed with cars while the largest airlift in Canadian history brought residents to cities some had never stepped foot in before. As Northerners, we are still coping with this collective trauma. In this House, we must also cope with the public's loss in faith in our governments and institutions. Communication leading up to and during the crisis was confusing and contradictory. Cooperation between levels of governments was strained. Indigenous governments were left out of the decisionmaking process, and support for evacuees was slow to roll out.

Thankfully, though, there was much to be proud of as well. We were protected by brave firefighters, some from around the world. Dedicated essential workers stayed late or stayed out to maintain order. Volunteers stood up to support those on the frontline. Businesses and nonprofits worked to keep evacuees as comfortable as possible and their homes safe while they were away. This crisis brought out the best in us as Northerners, and there are real heros amongst us, and we recognize their valor in our darkest times.

Fire seasons decades ago foreshadowed this crisis yet plans to cope with an emergency of this scale did not materialize after the fact. Thankfully, we now have the opportunity to learn from our mistakes and develop more comprehensive strategies for future fire seasons.

I thank all who showed such dedication to public service and public safety during the crisis, to the public for enduring such a traumatic moment in our shared history and hope to honour their dedication and perseverance by better preparing this territory for the future. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from Range Lake. Members' statements.

Member’s Statement 62-20(1): Chief John Baptiste Cazon Building

Good morning, Members of the Legislative Assembly. On Friday, January 26th, I had the opportunity to attend the name of the ECE building in Fort Simpson. I would like to thank the regional superintendent for the Department of Infrastructure in the Deh Cho region for organizing and officiating this event.

The event started an opening blessing as I know, a blessing is a beautiful way to invite positive energy and protection in the new space. I can tell you it was a powerful and heartfelt blessing for the building and its inhabitants. I will ask the blessing to be deemed as read and printed in the Hansard.

"Dear God, we ask for your blessings upon this new building and all who enter it. May this space be filled with love, joy, and peace. May it be a place of safety and protection for all who dwell within its walls. We pray that this building be a source of inspiration, creativity, and growth for its in habitants. May it be a space where dreams are realized and goals are achieved. We ask that you bless the foundation of this building and all the materials used in its construction. May they be strong, sturdy, and resilient. We also ask that you bless the workers who helped build this space and their families. Finally, we ask that you bless all who enter this building, whether they come to work, play, or seek refuge. May they be surrounded by your love and light and may this space be a sanctuary for their souls. We offer this prayer in gratitude and humility, knowing that all good things come from you. We ask for your continued blessings and guidance as we begin this new chapter in our lives. Amen.

We were fortunate to have the Deh Cho First Nations grand chief and the mayor provide kind words about the former Chief John Baptiste Cazon. The grand chief spoke about how well chief Cazon was liked by other chiefs up and down the valley. Not only was his wisdom respected but so was his drumming and tea dances that he would do after meetings and celebrations. As well, he shared words from his greatgrandson who is soon to be a lawyer. I will ask that message to be deemed as read and printed into the Hansard.

As we know, Baptiste Cazon was chief from 1955 to 1974, longest serving chief of our Nation in consecutive years. Baptiste loved his Nation, his community, and his family and friends. This love and passion for the people and land made him a fierce advocate for our rights, culture, practices, and preservation of these lands. This advocacy was shown through his many community travels in the Deh Cho and Northwest Territories, his advocacy during the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline years when Thomas Berger was involved, his meetings with then former Minister of Indian Affairs Jean Chretien, and his requested assistance to help Nick Sibbeston run for Northwest Territorial Council in 1970 because of the support he had from the Dene people. These are just some of the many things Baptiste did during his life. Baptiste loved his trap lines, his cabins, living a traditional life, and importantly his family and people. May the naming of this building uphold his legacy in this Nation and our Northwest Territories. Mahsi cho.

The mayor spoke about the family man and how proud he was of his family. He believed in strong families, education and working hard every day. As well, he spoke about how he welcomed son and daughterinlaws to the family and shared with them his teachings.

The building is now named Chief John Baptiste Cazon Building honouring the respect of the Fort Simpson elder and chief of the Liidlii Kue First Nation from 1955 to 1974. He passed away on July 31, 2004. Two of his sons did the unveiling of the new building sign.

The last part of my Member's statement, I would ask that it be deemed as read and printed into the Hansard.

In closing the ceremony, an explanation was provided on how the Government of the Northwest Territories recognizes individuals that reflect the importance of the area, people, culture, and customs.

Naming of GNWT buildings is something relatively new and goes through a public process. Proposals are put forward, then reviewed and recommended by the NWT Honours Advisory Council.

Mr. Clerk, the three recognized are the great great greatgrandkids of Baptiste. The soninlaw was also the grandson of the great Baptiste Cazon, so. Thank you very much.

Members' statements. Member from Frame Lake.

Member’s Statement 63-20(1): Housing Crisis

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I almost hesitated to give this statement today on this subject because it seems so obvious that it almost goes without saying, but I wanted to speak to it ahead of our priority setting session because I have a feeling it is going to be the number 1 priority of this Assembly, and it is definitely the number 1 priority for me.

Mr. Speaker, we are in a housing crisis. I think that everybody in this House is aware of that. Most of the public are aware of it. It was the number 1 election issue in my riding. And I think it was probably the number 1 election issue across the territory. I am strongly of the opinion that we need to prioritize housing, and we need to attach a budget to that priority which will result in actually moving the needle.

We need a longterm plan which lays out how we are going to solve this crisis. It's not going to happen completely in the term of this Assembly; I think that's fair and reasonable to state. But I think that we need to state how long it's going to take, how much resources it's going to take, and how we're going to get there and be very clear about what our plan is for how we're going to get there with a timeline for doing so, with an estimate of how much it's going to cost, no matter how big that is, and seek funding to fund that in the longterm.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that partnerships are going to be important in solving this crisis. This is not something that the GNWT is going to do on their own. We need to take a wholistic approach to this. We need to involve Indigenous governments, NGOs. Private industry is going to play a role. So we can't and shouldn't plan to do this alone.

And with the last remaining time I have, I just want to speak to my personal experience with this, Mr. Speaker.

I served on the Yellowknife Housing Authority for several years prior to coming here, and operations and maintenance are a big part of this. I toured some of Yellowknife's most direly in need of maintenance buildings, and the situation is appalling, Mr. Speaker. It really is. And I know I don't need to say this to the housing Minister. I know the community that she comes from has extremely challenging circumstances as well, but I would just say Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous could be sent to conclude my statement.

Unanimous consent granted

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. What I wanted to say is when I was on the authority, we didn't quite get it together but we were hoping to do a tour of some of the facilities that I'm speaking to here with the Minister, and honestly I think the media should be along for that tour as well. I think people really should see firsthand the situation that we're dealing with so that they understand why this needs to be a priority and how serious of an issue we're facing. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to recognize the Yellowknives Dene First Nation Chief Ernest Betsina, Chief Fred Sangris, and the CEO for YKDFN Gaurav Kaushish. I just want to welcome you. Mahsi. And everybody else in the gallery. Mahsi.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member. Recognition of visitors in the galley. Member from Yellowknife Centre.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I too want to echo the same sediments of my good colleague for the riding of Tu NedheWiilideh by recognizing the two chiefs, Ernest Betsina for N'dilo and Chief Fred Sangris for the oh, I'm sorry, I got them backwards; my apologies. I wrote it down wrong. But the two chiefs in the Akaitcho territory in Yellowknife here. I'll just move on; my apologies.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Member from Range Lake.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I too would like to recognize Chief Ernest Betsina and Chief Fred Sangris and also recognize that we are our proceedings today take place on Chief Drygeese territory. Thank you.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Member from Range Lake. Member from Monfwi.

Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, I would like to acknowledge the Yellowknife Dene First Nation chiefs as well, Ernest Betsina and Fred Sangris. And I would like to acknowledge our young Tlicho citizens sitting in the gallery, Margo Mantla. She is a Tlicho citizen living in Yellowknife. And I would also like to acknowledge Jonas Lafferty of Behchoko and Mary Rose Sundberg, Tlicho interpreters. Thank you.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Recognitions of visitors in the gallery. Premier or from Hay River North.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to recognize the chiefs as the Premier, so I'd like to recognize Chief Betsina and Chief Sangris. We always appreciate when they show up in the House, and I look forward to continuing to work with them over the next four years. Thank you.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you. Recognitions of visitors in the gallery. Member from the Sahtu.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I too would like to recognize Chief Betsina and Chief Sangris. Ernest Betsina and I had some associate meetings in the past, and I look forward to working with him during this term. And also considering it's Friday, I'd like to acknowledge the staff behind the scenes that have helped our proceedings for the last several days. Mahsi.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from the Sahtu. Member from the Mackenzie Delta.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I too would like to acknowledge Mr. Ernest Betsina. I went to high school with Ernest, played some basketball with him. So it's good to see him again. Welcome.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from Mackenzie Delta. Member from Kam Lake.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I'd like to acknowledge and welcome and thank for his very hard work this week, page Maddox Hutchinson who's joined us here for the week and helped us pass notes and fill our water. It's very much appreciated. Thank you.