Debates of February 29, 2024 (day 13)

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, Mrs. Weyallon Armstrong, Hon. Caroline Wawzonek, Mrs. Yakeleya


Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to thank our elder that has come back, Member from the 18th and 19th Assembly. As we have done with our traditional, our opening, you know, guiding words, the blessings, I'd like to thank Mr. O'Reilly for actually being here today. You know, being an elder, he left us, but we still appreciate all his work that he's done for us in the 18th and 19th Assembly. So thank you very much, Kevin.

Ministers’ Statements

Minister’s Statement 30-20(1): 2022 and 2023 Outstanding Volunteer Awards

Mr. Speaker, I want to start by congratulating everyone who was nominated for the 2022 and 2023 NWT Outstanding Volunteer Awards. This program was introduced in 1991 to recognize the exceptional volunteers and highlight the importance of volunteerism in the Northwest Territories. I am proud to say that over 1,000 individuals and groups have been nominated for these awards since that time.

Mr. Speaker, this year volunteers are being recognized for 2022 and 2023. Every nomination is noteworthy on their own, and I want to thank everyone who took the time to submit one.

The 2022 Award Program received a total of nine nominations from five communities. Of these, two were in the elder category, four were in the group category, and three were in the individual category. I am pleased to announce that the recipients of the NWT Outstanding Volunteer Awards for 2022 are:

Diane Hache in the category of outstanding elder;

Nicole Spencer in the category of outstanding individual, and,

The Yellowknife Ultimate Club Board in the category of outstanding group.

The 2023 Award Program received a total of 29 nominations from 11 communities. Of those, ten were in the elder category, four were in the group category, 14 were in the individual category, and one was in the youth category. I am pleased to announce that the recipients of the NWT Outstanding Volunteer Awards for 2023 are:

Louie Beaulieu in the category of outstanding elder;

Katelinne Ruben in the category of outstanding youth;

Tania Hercun in the category of outstanding individual; and,

The Slide Zone Shredders in the category of outstanding group.

Mr. Speaker, I was honoured to recognize all of these individuals and groups in the Legislative Assembly earlier today. Volunteers help build and support our communities, and I am excited to acknowledge their efforts. The Northwest Territories is more vibrant and resilient with the important contributions from volunteers.

To our 2022 and 2023 outstanding volunteers, thank you for your contribution to your neighbours, your communities, and the Northwest Territories. I hope that your stories inspire other NWT residents to consider volunteerism and give back to their communities like you have. Your tireless efforts to make life better for those around you help make the Northwest Territories such a great place to live. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs. Ministers' statements. Minister for ITI.

Minister’s Statement 31-20(1): Additional Investment to Bolster Digital Adoption by Businesses

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, earlier this month the 20th Legislative Assembly affirmed its commitment to building a strong economic foundation. We live in a digital world where so much economic potential exists in digital economies because, for starters, that is where consumers are. Today, consumers purchase more goods and services online, looking for more convenience through ecommerce and expecting more personalized offerings. Today, there is a much greater need for businesses to have a strong online presence and tap into market spaces into living rooms down the street, beyond our territory, to other areas of Canada, and even internationally.

Prosper NWT, formerly the Northwest Territories Business Development and Investment Corporation, plays a lead role in helping NWT businesses pursue these opportunities and adopt new and emerging digital technologies to increase their competitiveness. Prosper NWT has partnered with the Government of Canada to deliver the Canada Digital Adoption Program and revamped its contribution program to offer matching funds with the Accelerate Digital Adoption Projects for Tomorrow Fund, aptly known as ADAPT. Through these two initiatives, NWT businesses can apply for up to $5,000 in grants and contributions for their digital projects and have access to digital advisors who provide expertise, guidance, and support along the way. These programs have already helped over 50 NWT businesses expand their digital footprint.

Mr. Speaker, today I am thrilled to announce that Prosper NWT has secured an additional $534,000 over three years from the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency to bolster digital adoption. This additional investment will continue to help businesses with their digital transformation as they can now apply for up to $12,500 for their digital projects. This additional funding is not just an investment in technology; it is an investment that strengthens our economic foundation, supports NWT northern business to evolve to consumer expectations, and makes it easier for NWT businesses to access global markets. We are supporting businesses to lay down the infrastructure needed for a more connected, innovative, and competitive economic presence. Let us continue to support local, encourage NWT businesses to build their web presence, and celebrate them as they work to thrive. I look forward to working together to help build a stronger, more prosperous Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Members’ Statements

Member’s Statement 143-20(1): Recreational Land Leases

Mr. Speaker, land is life. There's nothing quite like living out on the land, especially up here in the North's pristine, rugged environment. It should be no surprise that the demand for recreational land leases in the Northwest Territories is relentless. Some Northerners build cabins so they can pursue their traditional lifestyles of hunting and trapping. Others come to the North to build a vacation spot where they can experience a land that's much different from the cities and suburbs they call home. I know in my riding, there are plenty of folks who look to obtain these leases so they can provide a weekend getaway from their busy lives for their friend and family. I've spoken to many of those cabinseeking constituents during my campaign last fall, and they are all dealing with the same frustrating circumstances. They follow the rules and applied for a recreational land lease, and then heard nothing. Months would turn into years without hearing back anything from the department regarding the status of their leases. Eager to build a cabin of their own and optimistic in the green light they had initially received, they bought essential construction supplies that now sit rotting and warping in their backyards. Meanwhile, cabins have sprung up in the lots next to them as those leases for those neighboring plots of land sailed through the department's processes.

Mr. Speaker, we know there are complex circumstances behind recreational land leasing in the Northwest Territories. There are still land claims to be signed and impacts from development to be studied; however, the politics are for us to debate and the policies are for the government to work out. Regular folks just want a cabin to call their own. They should not have to go through a political process when applying for a recreational land lease. They should not need the advocacy of their MLA to get updates on the leases they applied for. The GNWT needs to get its House in order when it comes to the leasing process so there's a set of rules to play by and a transparent reasonable process that follows. Let's get the work done here so our constituents can get out there and enjoy the land we call home. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

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

Member’s Statement 144-20(1): Gaza

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, earlier this week I brought forward a petition from 645 NWT residents calling upon this Assembly to direct the Premier to ask the Canadian government for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Mr. Speaker, I will also be calling a motion for the Assembly to direct the Premier to do just that later today.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Premier for his last commitment on this topic to me in this House. We did, indeed, meet with a member of the Palestinian here in Yellowknife, a resident who has family and ties to Gaza in Palestine.

Mr. Speaker, although I can't speak for the Premier, in that meeting I heard him say that he had heard things that he hadn't before, and I believe that he was deeply moved by those conversations.

Mr. Speaker, I'm uncertain that this petition or motion will be met in the full spectrum of what is being requested, such as the nature of politics and the levers we have at our disposal as Regular Members. But, Mr. Speaker, you don't have to be an expert to know that what's happening in Gaza is wrong. Mr. Speaker, I will have questions for the Premier at the appropriate time. Thank you.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from Great Slave. Members' statements. Member from the Sahtu.

Member’s Statement 145-20(1): Nachalecho Project

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, decisionmaking is a critical and fundamental principle in business and leadership capacity. In some communities and regions of the Northwest Territories, decisionmaking is mandatory and immediate to meet seasonal resupply and public and, private project scheduling. Mr. Speaker, these actions are sound, prudent, and necessary to support logistics, client planning, satisfaction, and security.

Mr. Speaker, the Leap Year tradition arrives on our calendar every four years. Information through research and informed decisionmaking will allow us to progress during this 20th Assembly. Since the November 2023 elections, the newlyelected MLAs focus on decisions. This process is working to fill our government's vacancies to boost our concerning economy. The potential is both real and imminent, Mr. Speaker.

The discovery and production of the NWT's Nechalacho project is a game changer. This is a clear example of our potential in becoming a raw material supplier. Accordingly, Mr. Speaker, should we tackle our own and ultimate reward to a green energy participation?

Mr. Speaker, let us not overlook this thoughtful process but take an ambitious aggressive position to continue the momentum. The next approaching Leap Year is four years away. Hint, hint. We need decisionmaking to meet targets, priorities, departmental objectives during the term of this Assembly, and I look forward to moving the envelope for a more prosperous one. Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from the Sahtu. Members' statements. Member from Mackenzie Delta.

Member’s Statement 146-20(1): Recognition of 100th Birthdays of Mr. Neyando and Ms. Rose Potts

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today it is very important that we look after our elders, more importantly that we recognize their accomplishments. When we lose an elder, we lose a wealth of knowledge.

Mr. Speaker, today I'd like to bring your attention to two Gwich'in elders who have reached a milestone in their lives. First, Mr. Andrew Neyando who lives in Fort McPherson. On December 5th of 2023, he celebrated his 100th birthday.


Mr. Speaker, Mr. Neyando was very active out on the land. He spent most of his life living a traditional lifestyle. Only up until a few months ago, you can see him walking up to the local store with his cane, walking at a fast pace, or going to the local radio station to pick up his lucky bingo cards. In 1966, Mr. Neyando participated in a canoe race across Canada which ended in New York and back across Canada again, participated with his friends from Fort McPherson who were William Teya and Philip Blake, and Team NWT was captained by Tommy Ross of Aklavik. Mr. Neyando was a big Edmonton Oilers fan. You could see him sporting his Edmonton Oiler jersey.

Mr. Speaker, the second Gwich'in elder that I would like to recognize is Rose Potts who lives in Pincher Creek, Alberta. Ms. Potts was born on the Peel River on March 4th, 1923. Rose is the daughter of William and Gary Firth; her grandparents were John and Margaret Firth. Rose moved away from Fort McPherson at a young age and soon thereafter married. She gave her life to service the people. She was a nurse, life skills coach, and served on many councils and boards across Canada. Mrs. Potts' greatest quote is you have to care about people to work with people. Ms. Potts is fluent in the Gwich'in language.

Mr. Speaker, I would like my colleagues to join me in wishing these two beautiful Gwich'in elders a very happy 100th birthday and that the good Lord continue to bless them both with continued good health. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from Mackenzie Delta. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife North.

Member’s Statement 147-20(1): Regional Study of Slave Geological

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, what we refer to as the Slave Geological Province is a large area that's mostly within traditional Tlicho territory. On June 7th, 2021, the Tlicho government wrote to the federal government requesting a regional study, and I'll quote from that letter to explain because they said it best.

The health of barrenground caribou and the ecological integrity of this region are critical for Tlicho wellbeing. We recognize that the region has great value for cultural wellbeing, way of life and caribou, and the region has great value and potential for economic development. The Tlicho government's view is that in order to reconcile these values, we need an independent assessment of options, impacts, and benefits before permanent infrastructure is built. Permanent infrastructure, such as the Slave Geological Province Road proposed by GNWT, would irreversibly change the region. Starting to build a road or major infrastructure without working together to develop a common vision, and without the information needed to inform wise decisions, means long delays, lost time and money, severe impacts on wildlife and the environment and missed economic opportunities. There is only one chance to get it right. End of quote.

So it took nearly two years, but the federal Minister finally responded in February of 2023 agreeing to set up the regional studies. Since then there have been discussions about a governance structure but no work on the study has yet started. Meanwhile, the GNWT has been going ahead with planning work for the Slave Geological Province Road. Last December, the Department of Infrastructure got a land use permit for geotechnical work to help determine routing. The previous Infrastructure Minister from the 19th Assembly indicated that the GNWT intended to push forward with the SGP Road Project even if it meant triggering a separate environmental assessment to be conducted at the same time as the regional environmental assessment is underway.

Mr. Speaker, like the phrase death by a thousand cuts, the integrity of our land and our caribou is weakened by one little cut at a time, and we don't see the overall cost when we look at each cut in isolation. There's tremendous value in looking at the region more holistically and waiting for the recommendations from the regional study before we irreversibly change such an important region. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from Yellowknife North. Members' statements. Member from Inuvik Boot Lake.

Member’s Statement 148-20(1): Indigenous Governments

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, to quote my friend from Yellowknife Centre, in the 84 days I have been in office, Mr. Speaker, it's clear to me that there's much work to be done.

We are dealing with addictions in every region of our territory. Mr. Speaker, our health system is strained. A shortage of nurses, doctors, and a medical travel department that has become increasingly overburdened, a housing crisis that continues to plague each region with long waitlists for public housing and lack of available market rental units. We have an economy that is stagnant and an industry across all sectors that needs our support.

Mr. Speaker, I'm fortunate to work with an amazing group of passionate MLAs who are willing to take on all the issues that we are facing. We have a Cabinet that has a mix of experience and new creative energy that see collaborative approach to solve all the issues that we face. Mr. Speaker, we must look to our Indigenous governments to partner and to find a way to collaborate and work together.

Mr. Speaker, in my region alone, the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation are building homes, they're purchasing land, they're building homes on the land they own, they're hiring their own dental hygienists and coordinators for dental care, Mr. Speaker. They're developing a major gas project for the region as we speak, Mr. Speaker. Just recently, they have piloted a program where they will provide medical escorts for beneficiaries who have been denied by medical travel for that service to ensure that patients have the important cultural support when making these trips.

The Gwich'in Tribal Council in Inuvik are developing renewable energy projects in the region. They recently hired a director of infrastructure and are also in the process of building homes on GTC owned land as well as looking to purchase other lots to develop homes, Mr. Speaker. The Indigenous governments are leading the way.

During my campaign, I spoke of a wholeofcommunity approach to deal with the important issues we face. We need to look at a wholeofgovernment approach, Mr. Speaker, to work together with NGOs, Indigenous governments, municipal governments, to find a way to effectively face these challenges as a whole, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from Boot Lake. Members' statements. Member from Tu NedheWiilideh.

Member’s Statement 149-20(1): Taxing Treaty People

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission strongly recommends that the full and meaningful implementation of the United Nation Declaration of Rights of Indigenous People in order to achieve reconciliation. Last year the previous Assembly passed a bill to implement UNDRIP and ensure all future laws were consist with those principles. UNDRIP complements the rights of Indigenous people as set out in section 35 of the Canadian Constitution which upholds treaty rights. Under both UNDRIP and section 35, Canada, and by extension the GNWT, now have federal and international laws that demand their compliance with these treaty rights. During negotiations over a hundred years ago, my people were assured that the treaty would not lead to any forced interference with their mode of life and that it did not open the way to the imposition of any tax and that there were no fear and forced military services. Since then, especially since the creation of the GNWT, many taxes have been forced upon my people that are not in compliance with Treaty 8, the rights of which are upheld by section 35 and UNDRIP.

Some of these taxes are very obvious, like the payroll tax or the carbon tax, but there are also many other hidden taxes and fees. Today we have a new government that promises a future of collaboration and cooperation, strong close relationships between them and Indigenous governments. This is a government that now must only abide by section 35 of the Constitution but is also obligated by United Nation Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. This is why today I'm calling upon the new government to bring itself in compliance with Treaty 8 and cease in committing new taxes on my people. I look forward to hearing from the Premier today on his plans to bring the GNWT in compliance with my people's rights. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from Tu NedheWiilideh. Members' statements. Member from Monfwi.

Member’s Statement 150-20(1): Police Brutality of Indigenous Women

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, for my statement today I want to be a voice for Indigenous women. This is nothing new. I am hearing from women in my from women about their experiences with the police and want to raise it publicly.

Mr. Speaker, we know Indigenous women are far more likely to be violently victimized. According to a 2018 Statistics Canada survey, about 63 percent of Indigenous women have experienced physical or sexual assault in their lifetime compared to about 33 percent of nonIndigenous women. Indigenous women face sexism, racism, and discrimination. Many live in violent situations at home and face acts of violence in society.

Mr. Speaker, according to the 2019 general social survey, Indigenous women were twice as likely to report having very little or no confidence in the police compared to nonIndigenous women. In fact, it's common knowledge that much of the crime experienced by Indigenous women goes unreported because Indigenous women are either scared of or don't trust the police or they don't believe the police will help them.

Mr. Speaker, this violence is rooted in Canada's history of colonialism and residential schools. Many Indigenous women are intergenerational survivors of residential school.

Mr. Speaker, Indigenous women are overpoliced and underprotected. Whatever the reason the Indigenous women find themselves involved with the police does not matter. What matters is that they are treated with respect and that police officers recognize the trauma Indigenous women have lived through and to not perpetuate this. Mr. Speaker, the general public lacks any data on RCMP misconduct. There is a long history of a culture within police of them covering up for each other in the face of any wrongdoings. This need to change.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I hear of women having their hair pulled, hair wrists fractured by excessive of force of the police. These kinds of physical acts can trigger Indigenous women. Many women are fighting for their own survival in life, and they shouldn't have to do that with the police. This use of force is unacceptable, Mr. Speaker. We need to ensure that the police in the NWT build trust with Indigenous women and protect them. Mahsi.

Member’s Statement 151-20(1): Respecting our Elders

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I want to speak about the importance of elders and seniors within our community, families, culture, and our overall society.

Mr. Speaker, the generations of today stand on the shoulders of those that came before us. In Dene culture, Mr. Speaker, and in many other cultures, elders have historically been our knowledgeholders, our knowledgekeepers, and they provide guidance on the cultural ways and protocols.

Those who respect the elderly pave their own road to success. That is an African proverb. An elderly person at home is like a living golden treasure. That is a Chinese proverb. A youth that does not cultivate friendship with the elderly is like a tree without roots. That is a Central African proverb. We all can't walk on one path but we can all work together as our people for our children and for the future. That is a Dene proverb from a Dene elder in Lutselk'e.

It's like the old adage goes, Mr. Speaker, that if we do not want to repeat the same mistakes of our history, then we must learn from our past, and who better to learn from regarding our history than our elders of today who have lived, breathed, and experienced so much in their life times, especially for Indigenous people who traditionally use oral history to transmit knowledge, culture, customs to their successive generations.

Mr. Speaker, it was with utmost importance that we take care of and engage with our elders in a good way and that we protect them from being forgotten or undermined of their inherent value because they hold a vast, diverse, and invaluable knowledge that has contributed to the North that we call home. Without the elders who came before us, we would not be here today. At least I know that, for me, without my elders I myself might not be standing in this House as an elected official today. And for that I owe them a debt of gratitude and respect for helping pave the way before us. Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from the Deh Cho. Members' statements. Member from Yellowknife Centre.

Member’s Statement 152-20(1): Ode to Premier Simpson’s Government

Mr. Speaker, my loving wife is extremely clear on this next point. I cannot carry a tune, and for that I may even end up calling a Point of Order on myself, Mr. Speaker, so I in advance apologize unreservedly of what may come next. Mr. Speaker, I shall begin.

Mr. Speaker, first I was afraid. I was petrified. I kept thinking I could never live without the Members on my side. I spent so many sleepless nights thinking about the Simpson government and how it could go so wrong, but that's just wrong, Mr. Speaker, because we're all here to get along. Mr. Speaker, we're back in this great place, and we're here to do the people's business on their behalf. And so when I look to the finance Minister and as she comes along, we worry who's cutting and going to get short on their budgets oh so so wrong. Did she cut? Did she slash? Is she stealing the meager pittance from my neighbourhood's ridings? Oh no, that's a slash. Oh, Mr. Speaker, is there furry, is it kindness? We don't know. But we're nervous but our communities, they will survive. Mr. Speaker, so many of us as we worked hard to support our communities, they know they can trust as we all agreed all our communities, they must be strong and free. And with that, Mr. Speaker, I'm shutting it down because we must survive even from my statement.

Mr. Speaker, I try to bring a little levity even though I cannot sing, and I assure you by doubling down, my wife is right as most cases she is, I've never carried a tune but I love her deeply, but I think that our Assembly from time to time, as you can poorly see, needs a little smile just to get along and with that, in our kindest of ways trying to work together, we need each other to get through these long days, and it is the last day, and I think even the Members inside in the Cabinet that I do I may be tough on them from time to time, but I do respect their work and the fact that they have to say no a lot to us. I wish it would be a lot less than they do but that said, thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you to the Assembly for their indulgence. Oh look at that, my wife's calling on me.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from Yellowknife Centre. Members' statements. Member from Frame Lake.

Member’s Statement 153-20(1): Eulogy for Greg Pratt

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I am both proud and deeply saddened to rise today to speak to the memory of my dear friend Greg Pratt whose recent passing deeply impacted many residents of our community, his hometown of Victoria, and the various lives he touched in between. Greg was the kind of person you remember when you meet them. He struck an imposing figure at well over 6 feet tall, was extensively tattooed, had a boisterous laugh, and approached everything he did with notable confidence, dedication, and skill. Frankly, he was one of those people who was frustratingly good at everything he did. I've never felt as inferior as I did try to play crib against him and being decisively humiliated at it or attempting to help out with a simple home renovation project and quickly demonstrating I was totally useless alongside his journeyman skill set.

But Greg was also unflinchingly kind and patient and relentlessly funny. He was quick to tease and kid around but never made you feel excluded, and he was incredibly generous with his time and knowledge.

In his time in Yellowknife, Greg became best known for his work as a firefighter and paramedic, his chosen dream jobs, which he excelled at and quickly became both a mentor and close friend among his tightknit group of colleagues.

Greg was married to Crissie Carrigan, his partner of ten years, and their two dogs, Buster and Fonzie, completed their family. Together, they were constant hosts to large groups of friends at their home on Taylor Road, and I have been incredibly privileged to count myself as one of them.

Greg was diagnosed with terminal cancer two years ago, devastating news which hit his family and those of us close to him incredibly hard. What stood out to me in the years that followed, however, and what I'll remember most, was not sadness but the incredible courage and positivity he and Crissie showed in the face of the impossible. I also watched the community rally around them, eager to help in any way they could, as Yellowknife tends to do in such times.

During those years, I also somehow found myself in constant deficit to the favours they would do for me. Despite everything they were going through, Crissie and Greg made a point of going out of their way to celebrate a friend's birthday, continued to host parties and games nights with friends, or went completely out of their way to do a favour without expecting anything in return.

One of my favorite memories of Greg is when my partner Rhiana's parents were visiting last summer, and he made a point of taking us out to the East Arm in his boat so her dad could experience our legendary fishing. We had an incredible time with him and his brother on the water, and you could tell he was so happy to be out there with us. That generosity and kindness is something I will always cherish and look up to, and it also helps sum up what Greg meant to me as a person.

Put simply, Greg showed me what being a good person looks like in the simplest but most fundamental ways possible. He was a dedicated, supportive, and loving partner. He was a generous, kind, and hilarious friend. He is deeply missed by the many friends and loved ones he has left behind, including me, and he lived a full and meaningful life. Greg's passing has left a big hole in our community but all of us whose lives he touched are better for having known him. We love you, and we'll always miss you, Greg. Thank you for being a part of our lives.

Member’s Statement 154-20(1): Eulogy for Isadore Simon

Today is going to be very hard for me, as I do a celebration of life for Isadore Simon. I was very fortunate to call him and Lucy, mom and dad. He was born on November 7, 1945, in Rocher River, NWT to Charlotte Simon and David King. Isadore was raised in Rocher River by Joseph Jerome and Charlotte. Isadore had TB at a young age and when he was released from the hospital, he lived with the Dumels who took care of him. Isadore lived there until he was forced to relocate to Fort Resolution after the school burnt down.

Isadore was taught his tradition skills of hunting and trapping by his stepdad Joseph Jerome. Isadore was a traditional and humbled man who loved being on the land. He was at his best being close to Mother Nature. He was proud of his lineage.

As a young man, he enlisted in the navy and was away for a few years. Isadore always worked hard and had many jobs over the years. His last job was with the power corp in Jean Marie River as a plant supervisor/operator. Even after he retired in 2004, Isadore continued doing odd jobs to make ends meet.

Like some people, he had an addiction problem with alcohol, but he decided to address his addictions head on. He attended a treatment centre in Bonnyville, Alberta. After completing the program, he spent his remaining days sober. During his sobriety, Isadore would often go to the bar to visit with his friends that he always kept close, and it never bothered him. As a strong resilient man, Isadore won his battle with addictions.

Isadore had two children, Christina and Milly, from a previous relationship. Several years later, he met the love of his life Lucy Sanguez. At this time, Lucy had three children, Ralph, Boris and Stephanie. In Isadore fashion, he took them all in as his own and raised them as such. To date, they all consider Isadore as their dad. In 1979, Isadore and Lucy got married by the Justice of the Peace. They had two more children, Paul and James. In 2007 Isadore decided that he had remarry Lucy and have it done by a priest.

When his granddaughter Brittany Sanguez was born, Isadore fell in love her and called her his queen, and they had a strong bond. Britt considered Isadore as her dad. He had many grandchildren whom he loved dearly. He was a family man who never turned away from his family. He taught his children and his grandchildren to be responsible and respectful on the land. Later in life, his boys would always ensure that their parents had traditional food in their freezer. Isadore had many longterm friends throughout his life span. It did not matter where Isadore went, he always ran into friends and would like to take time to converse with them in his Dene language. He was proud of his knowledge of Chipewyan and Slavey language.

In the end, Isadore battle with throat cancer and his treatment took a toll on him. In the end, he caught pneumonia which ended his life at 9:30 a.m. on November 25th, 2023, in the community of Jean Marie in the loving arms of his beloved wife Lucy. Dad was the backbone of the family, and he will always be deeply missed by all of us that knew him.

Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I'd like to recognize my constituents Jason Lepine, the general manager from the Fort Smith Metis Council, and Cameron Walterhouse, the youth representative for the Fort Smith Metis Council. Welcome to the Assembly.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member from Great Slave.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to recognize folks who are joining us today for the proceedings from the YK Group for Ceasefire. They are the reason for the petition that you saw earlier this week and the motion you will see later today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member. Member from Frame Lake.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to recognize my most vocal constituent, Mr. Kevin O’Reilly. And, also, I note his son Rene O’Reilly is in the audience. And if there's anyone else from Frame Lake up there I missed, I do apologize; I just can't see you here. But thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member from the Sahtu.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I too would like to recognize Kevin O’Reilly. I had the privilege of working with him together here during the 18th Assembly. Welcome back to the House there, Kevin. Mahsi.