Debates of May 24, 2024 (day 15)

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


I'd like to thank Karen Mitchell for the opening guiding words for us today.

Colleagues, yesterday I was a very bad grandpa. I forgot to wish my grandson Freddie Vanderheyden a Happy 12th Birthday yesterday. So I would like to wish him a Happy Belated 12th Birthday. As well, tomorrow my better half's grandson and Danielle her daughter's Danielle son Scott Eggen is also turning 12. So we have two boys that have birthdays really close together, and they both live in Calgary. So wishing him a happy birthday.

On behalf of the Members from Hay River South and Hay River North, I'd like to welcome the grade 6 class from Ms. Hoss' class at Princess Alexandra School in Hay River to the gallery today, and welcome. Thank you very much for being here.

Budget Address

Mr. Speaker, with this first budget of the 20th Legislative Assembly, we are changing how we deliver on priorities in a way that is realistic, responsible, and always with an eye on being financially ready for whatever the future might bring.

In February, we released a fiscal strategy for this government to help restore longterm stability in our budgets. This first budget is step one in the drive for fiscal improvement. What’s new in 20242025 are a series of simple but measurable changes to ensure solid fiscal fundamentals today, while we help the Northwest Territories build for the future through this Assembly’s vision to support people in how they want to live, work, and grow with priorities focused on housing, a strong economic foundation, accessible health care, healing from trauma, and safe residents and communities. This vision will be achieved with good governance and collaboration with Northwest Territories residents, Indigenous governments, and all communities.

The recent flooding and wildfire events have strained our fiscal capacity, one where expenditures already historically exceeded government revenues. The Government of the Northwest Territories has a responsibility to ensure that it can always respond to emergencies and provide support in times of emergency events. That responsibility rests on leadership today, not with our children who will be the leadership of tomorrow. We must move forward responsibly now to sustain an environment where our future generations can enjoy a healthy and safe North.

As a whole of government, we must also work to achieve the priorities established by the Assembly. In many cases, we can do so through existing department budgets and positions rather than by adding new expenditures or growth to the size of the future public service. As such, this is not a ribboncutting budget. This is a practical and realistic budget aimed at reducing our overall expenditures in 20242025 to help meet the benchmarks we set to both restore balance and increase our fiscal capacity to deal with unexpected events. In this budget address, I will review our economic and fiscal situation, describe what we have done to set ourselves on a path towards stronger fiscal responsibility, and highlight work being done this year to deliver on the government's mandate.

Overall, we are delivering a $2.2billion budget that represents difficult choices to achieve targets included in the government's fiscal strategy. We are not meeting our full target of $150 million in savings this year because this was never intended to be an austerity budget or cuts for the sake of cuts. We will need to continue to work towards that ongoing target in 20252026. This budget is about value and efficiency, not just reductions, and always mindful of the responsibility to achieve the priorities set by the Assembly. We have reduced funding for some programs and, in many cases, added the savings elsewhere so that we are delivering on these priorities faster and smarter.

[Translation] in our budget, we need not ignore the economic situation of the government, nor the government's role in establishing a solid basis for the economy. Once again, the government has a role to play in provide a solid economic basis for each resident, business, and other organization within the territory. [Translation ends].

...potential across the territory. We are all aware that the economy will soon be going through a significant change as the first closure of our worldclass diamond mines is expected in less than two years, and this will have a noticeable effect on the economy. These mines are at the center of many of the economic relationships that exist throughout the territory. How we respond to the first closure is a key point of discussion for the territory. This closure should be a call to action to motivate collective efforts to support a strong economic foundation.

When the diamond mines opened some 25 years ago, there was much talk about training and capacity building and yet we are still struggling with a resident labour workforce that is statistically at full employment even though some communities have high unemployment, and opportunities continue to leak outside our borders or cannot be seized for lack of workers to support business expansion. But we are not short of opportunities.

The imminent closure of one large diamond mine is concerning, but the other two have socioeconomic agreements that set targets for northern hires that the mines struggle to meet. This suggests that the other mines should be well placed to receive northern workers.

More good news is that the Northwest Territories has a wealth of mineral deposits that are gaining attention as the world seeks new technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and which rely on critical minerals and metals. Mineral exploration in the territory has increased every year since the pandemic and 2023 investments were at their highest level in 15 years. Based on the survey of exploration intentions, we are expecting that 2024 spending will exceed 2023. We need to ready our workforce, enhance transportation and energy corridors, and shore up our business environment to turn this exploration into production.

We now have some of the largest remediation projects in the history of this country happening in the Northwest Territories, nationbuilding scale infrastructure projects in transportation and energy are advancing, and opportunities rising across a diversity of economic sectors.

A strong economic foundation requires a diversified economy to reduce the risks created by outside events beyond our control. We all want a territory where people are supported in how they want to live and work and, in this budget, we are answering the call to deliver on our role and responsibilities such as less red tape, transparent processes to create land access, education and training for the current and future labour force, supporting increased housing, and providing good health care for a productive workforce. We are focusing on strengthening our collaborative approach to economic development, such as working with Indigenous governments on landuse planning and community partners on regional economic plans so that residents, businesses, and industry can take the lead finding opportunities that are in demand and creating rewarding jobs.

Through the Government Renewal Initiative and strengthened adherence to a renewed Macroeconomic Policy Framework, we can ensure we find the best value for public funds including supporting entrepreneurship and risktaking in the private sector.

The Northwest Territories job market already has a low unemployment rate and a high level of job vacancies. The Department of Education, Culture and Employment budget supports its 20212025 Skills 4 Success action plan and is working towards an annual target of 75 net new child care spaces to increase the availability of licensed spaces to give more child caregivers the choice to participate in the workforce.

The pandemic is further in the past for the tourism industry as the number of operators and aircraft movements are back up to prepandemic levels. With government support, the commercial fishery sector looks poised for growth under the revitalization strategy and with higher prices and more people fishing commercially in 2023.

[Translation] households continue to lead in the country per capital and household savings rates remain higher than any province. Recent capital investments have rejuvenated the infrastructure asset base across industries, making improvements in energy, health facilities, public works and utilities, and transportation infrastructure. Underpinning these economic strengths will be a fiscally sustainable territorial government that helps provide people and businesses confidence to invest in the Northwest Territories. [Translation ends].

The territory continues to have a solid economic base to build on. Income, savings, and investments that are fundamental to economic sustainability and prosperity are present. The Northwest Territories is a great place to live and the resilience and creativity of residents and businesses will help capitalize on opportunities. However, the Government needs to get fiscal house in order and keep it that way to continue to remain a supportive economic partner with the capacity to deliver quality programs and investments in infrastructure.

Mr. Speaker, the Government has fiscal resources, but we do not want to be using public revenues to pay $30 million a year servicing debt. Our budget is based on the fundamental principle that we do not borrow for programs and services offered today and push those expenditures to future taxpayers. That is why the Fiscal Responsibility Policy makes it clear that we will not borrow for the operating budget but only borrow for investments in capital assets that benefit future generations.

With this budget, we are projecting a $294million operating surplus for 20242025, which includes $110 million in federal disaster relief assistance for recent flooding and fire costs. This surplus is the largest projected operating surplus in 25 years, however, to get us on track to have our longterm fiscal house in order, this projected surplus must fund the 20242025 capital plan of $268 million as well as start to allocate money towards paying down our debt. This means that as we go through the fiscal year, when new needs or opportunities arise, we will be asking departments to find funding from within existing budgets instead of asking for new money. Departments are also being asked to carefully evaluate what they can do without or, put another way, to budget within what they already have.

Our revenue forecast is increased two percent from 20232024 to reach $2.6 billion. Keeping to our fiscal strategy, we are holding the growth in departmental expenditures below that of revenues. The 20242025 operating budget is $2.2 billion, which is only $24 million higher than last year's budget and growth of one percent. If we combine the operating and capital budgets, we will spend almost $2.6 billion.

For this year, we are proposing $7.7 million in initiatives, including $3.1 million carried over from initiatives started in the previous Assembly.

Barring a repeat of last year's expenditure shocks, the projected 20242025 operating surplus will fund the entire capital plan this year, and we are expecting to reduce shortterm borrowing by $34 million by March 31, 2025. We are not done yet. We stay committed to reach our target of a $150million reduction in shortterm debt by the end of the Assembly. The 20242025 Budget exceeds the guidelines in the Fiscal Responsibility Policy, keeping debt affordable and below the federallyimposed borrowing limit.

As we embarked on our efforts for fiscal sustainability, we asked departments to review and categorize all of their programs, including those required by legislation, for public safety, or core to the department's mandates. We asked who benefitted from various programs and whether a program is connected to this Assembly’s priorities. From this exercise, we have accepted $100 million in combined revenue increases and expenditure adjustments for this budget.

[Translation] Mr. Speaker, Budget 20242025 shows our commitment to restoring balance to our finances by ensuring our resources are used in a manner that is efficient and directed towards policies and programs that are achieving the objectives set by the Assembly. Our focus is on managing spending growth and now, more than ever, reinforcing the cultural shift started through the Government Renewal Initiative to ensure that we get value for every dollar we invest in delivering programs and services. [Translation ends].

Expenditure management that is not done in a thoughtful way can have implications for future program and service delivery. That is why we are proposing to add $42 million in additional program spending to support increased program costs.

Key cost pressures that we need to address in the fiscal strategy are related to spending pressures in health and the low water levels that are challenging for the Northwest Territories Power Corporation and Marine Transportation Services.

Over the next year, we will put shared efforts to ensure health spending remains within its budget. Health spending is a third of our operating budget and consistently requires topups throughout the year. In 20232024 alone, health spending is projected to be $64 million higher than budgeted. We are proposing to add $37 million to the Department of Health and Social Services' 20242025 Budget that reflects the additional needs identified over the past year and to identify a rightsized budget that will help provide stability to our health care services.

We are mitigating the high cost of living with $30 million to help keep power rates stable. As a regulated utility, the Northwest Territories Power Corporation has little room to avoid passing the increased costs resulting from unprecedented low water to ratepayers, and so the government will step in to help fill this emergency gap. This is an example of why we must maintain fiscal capacity into the future to be able to support residents through extreme or unprecedented events.

Managing expenditure growth also means that we have the resources to focus on the government's priorities. Operating expenditures are being reduced by $156 million this year, including $48 million in savings through the fiscal strategy measures. These savings are offset by $168 million in program enhancements and adjustments. Since much of the program increases reflect past flood and wildfire recovery costs, this spending will be eliminated in future years.

The public service has grown far faster than the private sector over the past few years. This means not only significantly increased public cost but also has implications for the availability of labour to the private sector. We need to look carefully at this growth. That said, the programs and services that we are expected to deliver across the geographic expanse of the territory rely on a strong public service; and therefore, any fiscal sustainability efforts that considered eliminating positions looked first at vacant positions or opportunities for attrition. For positions that may be affected, the government is fully committed to the retention of any affected employees and every effort will be made to retain employees within the public service. We have been very effective at placing affected employees in the past, and we are confident we will have similar results this time. Our public service is the government's greatest asset, and we will continue to ensure that the Government of the Northwest Territories is a welcoming and attractive workplace.

As noted, the fiscal sustainability actions proposed in this budget will not be enough to achieve the fiscal strategy we set out. We have deliberately not forced immediate cost neutrality in program and service delivery, particularly in health services delivery, because we are realistic about the challenges involved in doing a fulsome review of spending and are determined that we will accomplish this task by seeking efficiencies, avoiding duplication, and redeploying what is not working to that which does provide value.

Mr. Speaker, I take pride that this budget is not about what we are spending more on but, rather, how we are spending smarter. Departments are finding savings and innovating services within their existing budgets.

We currently spend millions of dollars to run the Fort Smith Correctional Complex that has capacity for 21 inmates but on average only has ten. We are planning to close it but not simply walk away from a valuable asset with well trained staff. Over the coming months, the government will examine how this asset could be repurposed into a wellness centre. To do so might ultimately require some reinvestment for renovations but, to not do so, leaves us spending money that is not effective or efficient. This is an example of connecting the dots between an inefficient use of public funds to areas of need that reflect the priorities of the Assembly. The Department of Justice, in collaboration with other departments, will begin this work immediately and we will be seeking out other opportunities to redeploy existing infrastructure to better meet the needs of the Northwest Territories.

Justice is also using technology to enhance policing services, save money, and reduce risk. For example, Justice will complete its project to provide 19 RCMP detachments with the capability to hold bail appearances online. This will allow RCMP members to spend more time in their home communities and make more effective use of their time and resources.

Through the Department of Finance, we are using technology to save almost $700,000 each year by upgrading the phone system, simplifying video conferencing equipment and software with less expensive options, and taking advantage of our scale for other types of software that was used in one department and is now applied in another. Finance is home to the Northwest Territories Centre of Geomatics, which is working with other departments and communities to provide flood mapping data, geospatial data for landuse planning, and operational tools for emergency management and response.

Mr. Speaker, we will be the first government in the country to partner with the federal IT Apprenticeship Program for Indigenous peoples, with Finance spearheading a memorandum of understanding with Employment and Social Development Canada, to provide opportunities for Indigenous candidates to participate from their home communities and gain meaningful employment with the government while taking advantage of training and support resources offered through this federal program.

Drug therapies and their unit costs are substantial sources of spending pressure, and the Department of Health and Social Services has been working with counterparts across Canada to secure product listing agreements with drug manufacturers for rebates under the Extended Health Benefits program. This approach has proven a successful costsaving measure and in this past year, the department has secured several drug agreements using the chemotherapy program, giving us access to most drugs used in the treatment at a lower cost. With treatment therapies continuing to change and new drugs coming to market regularly, these efforts help keep pace with growing demand. Health and social services will be seeking further drug agreements for other treatments and services this year.

The Department of Environment and Climate Change is successful in this budget to fund innovative programs and projects without requesting new funding by securing $20 million in federal funds. Most of these agreements are multiyear and will be used for programs related to wildlife, conservation, wildfire prevention and mitigation, emergency management, climate change, and waters. Partnering with the departments of Finance and Municipal and Community Affairs, the department is implementing the Land Operations Tenure System, which is an integrated database for delivering land tenure and property assessment and tax services to reduce the administrative burden for clients. The department will also be optimizing its recent merger to ensure it is yielding efficiency gains.

The departments of Executive and Indigenous Affairs and Education, Culture and Employment are committed to advancing integrated service delivery for improved coordination and information sharing among different strategies for homelessness, antipoverty, reduced alcohol abuse, and improving food security.

The Department of Municipal and Community Affairs has found resources within its existing budget to create a junior property assessor program to encourage individuals interested in assessment to join the workforce and learn on the job. By 20272028, the department aims to fill three junior assessor jobs that will help ensure that properties are accurately assessed for property tax purposes.

I want to give a special thank you to the over 900 public servants who sent in over 1,800 individual suggestions to help deliver better value with public funds. We are already acting on many of these suggestions in this budget.

For example, we will be consolidating immigration policy into Education, Culture and Employment, which will improve accessibility to the Northwest Territories nominee program. The various programs offering support to the arts sector will be consolidated into the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment. Both of these actions bring government services under one department for a single point of contact rather than spread between staff in different departments and is expected to result in a better service experience. Similarly, there were many suggestions about reviewing assistance provided to businesses and nongovernment organizations to ensure they are consistent. Industry, Tourism and Investment will act on these ideas by centralizing business supports. The Department of Executive and Indigenous Affairs will lead streamlining assistance for nongovernmental organization funding for ease of access to user groups and ease of reporting for transparency.

Another example is Infrastructure's Technology Service Centre merger with Finance's Information Systems Shared Services Client Care desk. Bringing together employees working within similar spheres is expected to increase productivity and help improve the quality of program delivery.

Based on employee suggestions, we will also be examining our portfolio of assets, specifically leases and vehicles, to maximize use of our governmentwide resources this fiscal year. This will include a review of existing leased space to make better use of that space, reduce our overall footprint, and ultimately reduce costs. Alongside this work will be an evaluation of the remote work policy to assess its effectiveness in support of employee productivity and morale because changing the spaces we work in needs to be a positive opportunity for flexibility. We will be charting a path towards centralized mobile fleet management. This work will take some time and likely involve some cost to initially set up but will ultimately replace an inefficient and expensive approach of underused vehicles and poor economies of scale for procurement.

Again, there is no ribbon cutting in those changes, but we are committed to listening to those delivering programs and services and committed to making programs and services more responsive and effective in achieving the goals of the Assembly without new dollars needed.

While we are indeed curtailing spending growth, the good news is that we are confident that future expenditure management will justify adding $4.6 million in new spending in 20242025.

The new spending in this budget reflects the government's mandate to achieve the priorities set by the 20th Assembly. We propose an additional $793,000 to support the transition to a green economy with resources dedicated to the Energy Action Plan and building a fastcharging network for electric vehicles in the territory.

The government continues the collaborative work to complete the Mineral Resources Act regulations with a proposed $393,000 to finish the final step in bringing the legislation into force. We are collaborating with the Intergovernmental Council to ensure the regulations under development are comprehensive and are reaching out to other Indigenous governments for their participation.

We want to build on the success of the territory as a destination for filmmakers to embrace the opportunities, that the evergrowing global demand for video and media content offers, to showcase the territory's nature and beauty. We propose to add $529,000 to increase the Northwest Territories Film and Media Strategy's Film Rebate Program. This program helps with high production costs and supports the Northwest Territories Film Commission. Since 2015, every dollar spent under the rebate program has been associated with almost nine dollars spent in the territory on production.

We are also proposing in this budget to contribute a new one million dollars to Housing Northwest Territories to continue the costsharing agreement for the CanadaNWT Housing Benefit that provides rental affordability assistance to lowincome households. We expect to continue this for two more years and enable a total of $9.6 million in federal and territorial support over three years to help keep rents affordable for Northwest Territories residents.

Housing is also a key element to support success in addictions. We are proposing to spend $1.6 million on the Transitional Housing Addictions Recovery Program that is administered through the departments of Health and Social Services and Infrastructure in partnership with Housing NWT. The program is expected to have locations open this year in Yellowknife and Inuvik, in collaboration with nonprofit organizations, to ensure units are available for people returning from treatment to have a safe and supported place to continue a journey towards health and wellness.

These additional funds support an operating budget of over $121 million for Housing NWT. However, we recognize that no one entity or government will be able to solve the housing crisis alone. As a result, Housing NWT is focusing on the various levels of partnership required to ensure that there is funding available to leverage but also coordination across governments on all aspects of the housing continuum without unnecessary duplication. For example, Housing NWT has now signed four agreements with Indigenous governments to signal not only our commitment to working with each Indigenous government but also to identify the key areas of focus on our work with each individual government. Another example is a partnership with Habitat for Humanity which will result in over 10 builds completed by 2028, and this model is being expanded to more and more communities.

With a more focused fiscal approach, every department can direct their core work towards shared priorities without requiring new funding. Housing is a prime example. Executive and Indigenous Affairs is supporting the delivery of the homelessness strategy, Environment and Climate Change is working to support access to land for housing development, and Municipal and Community Affairs is supporting landuse planning for housing development. As well, the Department of Finance is supporting a housing market needs assessment using existing internal resources to provide territorial data on the type and sizes of homes required to meet the needs for all residents in the Northwest Territories. The assessment will rely on a model used by other jurisdictions which will support not only our federal engagement strategy but also other work with partner organizations in addressing the various needs across the housing continuum in the Northwest Territories.

[Translation] In this budget, in support of the priority for safe residents and communities, we propose the budget put a total $815,000 more into public safety for more relief staffing in the 911 program and dedicated specialists in highrisk areas, including emergency management. These positions will directly help keep residents and communities informed during emergencies and ensure that there is an adequate complement of staff at the receiving end of an emergency call. [Translation ends].

In addition, this budget also includes funds to improve the ability of the RCMP to support public safety. We are proposing to create a $1.3 million Territorial Crime Reduction Unit that will serve the entire territory with specialized resources to support investigations and proactive enforcement aimed at disrupting illicit drug supply and enhancing enforcement of targeting criminal networks. We are proposing to add $372,000 this budget and $744,000 annually in future budgets to enhance the RCMP Emergency Response Team, comprising officers with advanced training and equipment, who will assist in the successful resolution of dangerous situations. This budget will also add four new officer positions in regions across the Northwest Territories through the First Nations and Inuit Policing Program, and two additional general duty officer positions at the Fort Providence detachment.

Directly after this budget, departments will start the process to develop next year's budget and the 20252026 Capital Budget this fall. Year two of this Assembly will require more work to restore balance to our fiscal situation. We are looking to continue the drive for fiscal improvement and encourage the culture of continuous evaluation that will give us confidence that we are getting value for dollars spent.

Mr. Speaker, it takes imagination to answer our need for fiscal sustainability while still delivering on the government's mandate responsibilities. With all certainty, we are stronger together. It is beyond doubt that Northerners can pull together for whatever challenges they face.

The response by the public service to the call for making changes is all the evidence we need to be confident that we have a culture of creativity, determination to embrace change, and a spirit of continual improvement.

I want to thank all the Members of the Assembly for the work we have done together to provide a set of priorities that is focused and clear, as well as for all of the discussions had to date about this budget as a step towards achieving those priorities. I am also grateful for the correspondence and discussions from residents, governments, organizations, and our civil service that have helped shape a budget that delivers in a fiscally responsible way.

Mr. Speaker, we have set a foundation to effect change. We must ensure that the Northwest Territories is positioned to take advantage of opportunities while we continue to build upon our successes. Fiscal policies and strategies designed to manage debt and risks effectively ensure the longevity of our programs, build these foundations. We are dedicated to doing things the right way, with positive relationships, seizing our economic advantages, and embracing opportunities. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Minister of Finance. We will take a brief recess, and then we will come back to deal with our daily business. So thank you very much and thank you to the Office of the Executive Finance Minister. And the interpreters thank you for slowing down a little bit, thank you.


Members’ Statements

Member’s Statement 167-20(1): Recognition of Grace Mackenzie


Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I would like to recognize and celebrate the achievement of the Tlicho women. As women, we face more barriers when building our careers. Most often, it is the woman who balances the needs of children and family with the demands of work. And for women who pursue employment in mining, there are even more challenges as they navigate a maledominated field.

Mr. Speaker, Indigenous employees at NWT mines represent between 16 and 18 percent of the total employees. Women represent 15.3 percent of the mining industry in the NWT. Mr. Speaker, every Indigenous woman working at the NWT mine has overcome challenges to be there. So when an Indigenous woman achieves success and is recognized with an award from the mining sector, we can all celebrate.

Today I want to recognize Ms. Grace Mackenzie. Grace is a mine liaison with the Tlicho government, and she was given the 2023 Award for Women in Mining NWT. Grace began her career in mining in 1998 in human resources with Diavik Diamond Mine and then Ekati Mine. She later joined De Beers Gahcho Kue Mine as a community liaison before moving into her current position with the Tlicho government. Grace is acknowledged as having a big impact on raising cultural awareness within the mining sector. She holds a warm and honest approach that encourage positive relationships between the government and Indigenous communities. She was recognized for her role with De Beers' Books in Homes program where she visited schools for more than a decade. She is passionate about her culture and people, has decades of experience in mining, and holds a commitment to cultural respect and equity. Grace is a role model to women and youth in the Tlicho and across the NWT. Grace has shown that you can work in the mining sector, have a rewarding successful career, and promote your culture.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate Grace Mackenzie on her years of work promoting positive relationship in the mining sector and promoting Tlicho culture. She is a positive role model to our communities, and I hope to see more women achieve success in mining as Grace has done. Thank you.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from Monfwi.

Member from Monfwi, Grace Mackenzie is upstairs. And thank you very much and congratulations on your award.

Member’s Statement 168-20(1): 60th Wedding Anniversary of Henry and Alina McKay


Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to take a moment today to congratulate two of my constituents, Alina and Henry McKay of Fort Resolution, for celebrating 60 years of marriage. Their lives first crossed path on the ice rink in Peter Pond School in 1961 where Alina skated as often as she could. On that day, on April 9th to be exact, Henry happened by and the two met for the first time. She fondly remembered how his skates were too big. From that point on, their both bonds grew, and they were married three years later. At first, they spent years on the land trapping before working at Pine Point. Alina got her GED after moving back to Fort Resolution. And after her children grew up, she worked as a cook in many different capacities in town and most recently opened her own takeout business with Henry. Henry retired in 2009. Henry, meanwhile, was a firefighter and worked at the sawmill until it burnt down. Now, after many struggles and hard times, they have six children together though the oldest, Henry Junior, is sadly deceased. They are also gifted with 19 grandchildren, though two have passed away, and 12 grandchildren.

I join my colleagues in wishing this entire the entire best and know that Henry still has yet to own a pair of skates that fits. Throughout their lives, they remained active hunters and trappers. They have won Senior Trappers awards, both together and separately, multiple times. Together, they won the Active Elders award in 2019, and Henry also received, later on the award from Deninu Kue First Nation recognition of his contribution and dedication and preservation of a betterment of the Treaty 8 community for the Akaitcho territory government.

Here's to their loving marriage and if anyone has a spare size spare skates, size 10, please let me know and I'll get it to him. Mr. Speaker, I just want to wish Henry and Alina a Happy 60th Anniversary. Mahsi.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from Tu NedheWiilideh. My best to them, 60th Anniversary.

Members' statements. Member from Slave Lake.

Member’s Statement 169-20(1): Waterfront Access in yellowknife

Speaker: MS. REID

Sorry, the sun is shining, Mr. Speaker; I'm not sorry for that, though. Thank you.

Today I'm pleased to read my Youth Parliamentarian for 2024, Ms. Noa Jackson Grau's Member's statement.

I rise today to make a Member's statement on the lack issue of lack of water access in the Great Slave riding area and, generally, in the City of Yellowknife. There are not enough safe public access areas in and around the waterfront of our city, a city that is on the shore of one of our most beautiful, natural, and pristine lakes in the country. It is sad the beauty has always been concealed by private development and underdeveloped public access areas. In my riding, there are many waterfronts that are difficult to access for boaters, citizens, seniors, swimmers, and for anyone in general who would like to use these areas. Think about it. We could have things like food and drink vendors, live music, and Aurora viewing on the waterfront. There are so many cities like this in Canada that we can learn from. Capital cities and municipalities that have access to waterfronts make it a priority to showcase these areas. Why doesn't this capital city do the same? Although it would cost money to implement these improvements, these improvements could attract more tourism to these areas and generate revenue for our city. Some activities that could be implemented are water trampolines, boardwalks, docks for mooring boats, waterfront cafes, and several additional recreational activities that could be enhanced by having safer public access to the water. I'm calling on the Minister of Infrastructure and the Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment to consider working with me to make this happen for the improvement of territorial waterfronts. Let's make a splash. Thanks, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

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

Member’s Statement 170-20(1): Long-Term Care in Inuvik

Speaker: MR. RODGERS

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories' longterm care review program was completed way back in 2015, and it identified the overall need for longterm care in the Northwest Territories at 115 beds per thousand people aged 70 years and older.

The Inuvik area services 3,200 people, Mr. Speaker, of which 11.6 percent are over the age of 70. This equates to a need for 43 beds. As such, the GNWT determined that a 48bed facility would address the short and longterm needs of the Inuvik area.

Mr. Speaker, in 2018 the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation and the Gwich'in Tribal Council jointly developed and submitted an operational plan based on the best practices of longterm residential care. It was created in alignment with key GNWT documents, including the integrated service delivery model, continuing care framework and action plan Our Elders Our Community, Northwest Territories longterm care program review, Northwest Territories continuing care standards, and other relevant documents.

Mr. Speaker, the government has filed a proposal to establish a board of directors for the facility that is comprised of representatives appointed by the Gwich'in Tribal Council, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, and Government of the Northwest Territories, including community members to reflect the region's population and expected clients. Mr. Speaker, while community representation is paramount, the exact governance structure would depend on the ownership model chosen for the facility and the operations.

Three basic alternatives were proposed. Alternative 1 would be GNWTowned and the Indigenous government operates. This alternative would see GNWT go to tender, design, and build or design/build a facility and would continue to own/maintain a facility but enter into a longterm operations contract with the Indigenous governments providing the ongoing health care.

Alternative 2, Mr. Speaker, would be that the Indigenous governments would own, and the GNWT would operate. This alternative would see the Indigenous governments design, build, own, maintain the facility through a sole source negotiated contract, and then lease the facility to GNWT for longterm care operations. The Indigenous governments will work to supplement reasonable shortfalls in federal and territorial capital health funding through a combination of equity and commercial financing and would partner with an industry leading design build contractor to construct the facility and use its internal resources to maintain the facility.

Mr. Speaker, alternative number 3 Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to continue my statement.

Unanimous consent granted

Colleagues, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, alternative 3 would be the Indigenous governments would own and operate. This alternative would see the Indigenous governments design, build, own, maintain the facilities through a sole source negotiated contract and enter into a longterm operations contract with the government to provide the ongoing health care. The Indigenous governments would, again, work to support reasonable shortfalls of federal and territorial capital health funding through a combination of equity and commercial financing.

Mr. Speaker, this is a much-needed facility in Inuvik, and I look forward to hearing what health and social services plans to do to make this a reality. Thank you.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

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

Member’s Statement 171-20(1): Youth Parliament 2024

Speaker: MR. TESTART

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge this year's wonderful session of Youth Parliament, which you presided over, and I thank you for that, Mr. Speaker. And I also want to recognize my young counterpart, JC Mareoneau of St. Patrick's High School for his excellent work as Range Lake's MLA. I know his words continue to resonate with me as we resume our session here in the Legislative Assembly.

JC spoke passionately to his principles of dignity and respect for all when he addressed the Youth Assembly on the topic of homelessness and poverty, speaking of how his family only recently immigrated from the Philippines. It was powerful to hear him contrast his idea of Canada with the reality he encountered when he arrived. Why is one of the wealthiest countries in the world still having so many issues struggling to feed struggling to support people feeding their families and putting a roof on their heads? When JC highlighted the work his school does to give back to the community, particularly through the interact club, he proved that young people are engaged in their communities and make a real difference, which is why we need to continue to support youth volunteerism, school clubs, and other after school programs so that young Northerners have the opportunity to learn early on how rewarding it is to support their friends and neighbours.

What starts with volunteering and organizing at a young age can set the next generation on their way into the Legislative Assembly and beyond, Mr. Speaker. We rely on raising a new generation of leaders like JC to provide us with fresh perspectives and often harsh truths knowing one day they will take our place. I am proud JC has already proven he can really shake things up in this Assembly, just like his MLA. He is surely well on his way to changing our future for the better. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from Range Lake. I can honestly vouch he was very much like you.

Members' statements. And it was a compliment. Members' statements. Member from Frame Lake.

Member’s Statement 172-20(1): Child and Youth Counselling

Speaker: MR. MORSE

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In 2018, the departments of ECE and health collaborated to deliver the child and youth counselling initiative which brought counsellors into NWT schools to better connect children and youth to mental health support. In 2023, a contractor was hired to review the initiative and found that when it came to delivering services for youth, the program was largely a success. The contractor noted that 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. Notably, the few problems identified with the program were primarily issues associated with interdepartmental collaboration and understanding.

The report's top two recommendations were that health and ECE's working relationship be better defined and strengthened and that the CYC initiative continue to be delivered in schools. Perplexingly, the government responded that they agreed with the recommendation to continue the initiative but then proceeded to completely dismantle it, reducing the number of counsellors, removing them from the schools, and then replacing the initiative with a fundamentally different program.

The changes have been communicated as an improvement to the program, but it's very difficult to see them as positive or remotely aligned with the report's recommendations when they are resulting in counsellors being pulled from schools and mental health services being reduced.

In response to concerns raised by one of my constituents about these changes, the health Minister reassured that counselling would still be available through the community counselling program but also noted that the changes have reduced access to the program and children may be put on waiting lists who were previously receiving service.

Something isn't adding up here, Mr. Speaker. We had a program which was meeting kids where they are and succeeding in helping them, and it appears the program has been dismantled because our departments were struggling to work together effectively and felt it would be easier to change the program to avoid this problem rather than work to address it. Problems like this are why I advocated in my priority speech that we need to make governmentwide changes to shift to more collaborative models of working, and I am tentatively pleased to see the government strongly emphasize the importance of interdepartmental collaboration in their freshlytabled mandate. My hope is this shift will result in staff being given the tools to constructively manage conflict so situations like what's happened with the CYC program don't continue to occur. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

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

Member’s Statement 173-20(1): Seniors’ home Heating Subsidy

Speaker: MR. NERYSOO

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In our communities, we recognize our elders as our most prized resources. They guide us and give us strength to do the best we can in helping others to live a productive life. In return, we make sure that they are looked after and cared for during their golden years. But this government is taking a totally different approach. This government is looking out for the young and able, while the elders are left to fend for themselves with the limited assistance that they receive for home heating fuel while being on a fixed income. In total, we have 52 recipients who take advantage of this program within the Mackenzie Delta region. That is not very much to accommodate.

Mr. Speaker, not too long ago, the elders were struggling to survive on $1,000 per month for heating fuel. Then this government decided that this was too much, so they cut the seniors fuel subsidy to $750 per month. In Aklavik, the price of heating fuel is $2.68 per litre. The seniors on fuel subsidy are given a modest discount of 5 cents per litre. With a price set at $2.63, most, if not all the seniors, have to pay up to $2,000 out of their fixed income just to make sure that they have fuel to make it to the next month.

Mr. Speaker, let's put this into perspective. Given the amount allocated to the seniors for heating fuel to keep their homes from freezing up in the colder months of the year, the amount of fuel is less than two 45gallon barrels of fuel for the whole month. Again, the elders have to ensure that they have enough fuel for the entire month. They have to pay out of their own pockets. To me, there is something wrong with this picture.

Mr. Speaker, it is time for this government to step up and start looking after the elders of the Northwest Territories. This government has to do the honourable thing and recalculate how they allocate the seniors fuel subsidy program based on the steadily increase in price of heating fuel. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

Unanimous consent granted

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you, colleagues. Increasing price of heating fuel, high cost of living, and the harsh environment that we live in.

Mr. Speaker, in closing, our greatest resources that we have is our elders. It is time that we as government start to look out for the elders more seriously and make sure that they are living in a secure home. The elders truly deserve to live in a comfortable life because they are the ones who paved the road that we walk on today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

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

Member’s Statement 174-20(1): All-season Road

Speaker: MR. McNEELY

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Part 2: Sahtu climate change and unprecedented low water levels at Mackenzie River.

Mr. Speaker, the historic water levels in the Mackenzie River basin has raised endless stressful concerns. Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this moment to once again address the allseason road connection Wrigley to Norman Wells, a project in regulatory process.

This vital infrastructure project is crucial in addressing the current resupply crisis. I welcome the discount air barge submitted by Buffalo Airways. What about larger project materials? Yes, Mr. Speaker, the Sahtu will benefit from this yearround access, lower the northern market basket measurement, and this infrastructure will also become a provider to the NWT and national GDP. The allseason road cannot be overstated. It will provide improved access to health care, education, open the doors to economic opportunities for government, industry, commercial, and residents.

Mr. Speaker, critical to this project's fruition is capital security and funding. Without adequate financial resources, even the most thoughtout planned projects can quickly fall apart. Mr. Speaker, it is essential that we secure the necessary capital and recognize the inplace permits to this allseason road project. And, Mr. Speaker, we are also on the crossroads to this mandate by this and previous Assemblies.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I highlight the funding model within our capacity, 26 percent in project equity, capital commitments, amendments to the existing funds for expense, June 2018 funding announcement, and the existing bilateral agreement capital we possess. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

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

Member’s Statement 175-20(1): Lack of Cell Phone Service on Northwest Territories Highways


Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I want to speak about the lack of cell service across the NWT.

Mr. Speaker, I have heard from numerous Deh Cho constituents who have voiced their concerns about the lack of cell service when travelling on the NWT highway system. People have safety concerns regarding the inability to call for help if something were to happen while travelling on our highways, especially women travelling alone with their children. Mr. Speaker, some people have told me that this is an issue that affects them so much that they fear driving alone, especially to do business in other communities or even visit family. This issue affects all residents and businesses as well, and it must be improved as well.

Mr. Speaker, this is an NWTwide problem that all highways have, and all regions are dealing with. All ten highways across the NWT have this problem, and this problem is especially dangerous for people in the event of natural disasters and emergencies, such as wildfires as we've seen throughout last summer, when telecommunications went down in multiple regions.

Mr. Speaker, I know that many MLAs in many Assemblies have spoken about this issue, and since improving public safety is part of the mandate of the 20th Assembly I believe improving cell service across our highway system should be part of our government's plan. I will have questions for the Premier later today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

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

Member’s Statement 176-20(1): Territory’s Challenges with Literacy and Numeracy

Speaker: MS. MORGAN

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, continuing on from my statement yesterday, I want to speak about our territory's challenges with basic literacy and numeracy, what is at stake, and how this Assembly might help.

In 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada released a unanimous decision recognizing that literacy sorry, recognizing that learning to read is not a privilege but a basic and essential human right. The case involved a British Columbia student with dyslexia. The Court ruled that he had a right to receive the intensive supports and interventions he needed to learn how to read.

Within the last five years, the Ontario Human Rights Commission conducted a public inquiry into the right to read. Ontario's public inquiry found that we have decades of extensive research on the most effective methods for teaching students early reading skills, and yet Ontario is still failing to consistently use those proven methods, like phonics. I am worried that the NWT is similarly failing.

Ontario's inquiry found that students who don't develop good early reading skills will go on to struggle in nearly every aspect of school. They start to believe that they're stupid, even though reading disabilities have nothing to do with intelligence. They're more likely to develop low selfesteem, mental health problems like depression and anxiety, likely to act out through bullying and sometimes selfharm or even attempt suicide. Over the longterm, it's easy to see how this can lead to unemployment, substance use issues, homelessness, and higher involvement in crime and incarceration.

There are a significant number of children in our school system who have not yet learned to speak, others who do not know enough words to even begin to learn to read. So consider the consequences of that. If there are concerns about abuse or mistreatment, these children are unable to explain what happened to them because they don't have the words. This inability to communicate puts them at extreme risk. That is when the assistance of a speech language pathologist in each school is crucial, and yet only some of our students have access to these kinds of professionals. Mr. Speaker, I ask for unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

Unanimous consent granted

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So there is evidence that many learning disabilities can actually be prevented with the right early interventions and support, so a learning disability does not need to become a lifelong disability. According to the Human Rights Commission of Ontario, we should not be using student accommodations as a substitute for teaching them how to read. We cannot give up on the expectation that every child can and will become literate. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

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

Member’s Statement 177-20(1): E-Scooters

Speaker: MR. HAWKINS

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, it's time to have that unfortunate and uncomfortable conversation about Escooters. It is time to ask the government to start looking into regulations.

Now, if Dr. Suess was here today, he might say about Escooters something along the lines of, I see them zip. I see them zag. On the sidewalks, on the roads, everywhere, who knows. Between cars, between people, eek. The next time I see them laying flat under a steeple. No brake lights for me as they glide through the intersection. Fools only stop. Helmets, signals, intersection stops. Nary a one as they flip their top. Mr. Speaker, it's time to say stop, stop, stop.

Mr. Speaker, some will argue scooters Escooters are a toy. And, you know, to an MLA like me, they may say hey, take it easy, relax. You know, fair enough. However, Mr. Speaker, when you're driving over 30 kilometers an hour on a sidewalk, it's no longer a Nerf gun, Mr. Speaker. On average, Escooters range between 15 and 30 miles an hour. That's 24 to 48 kilometers an hour. Similarly, do you know another toy that goes that fast through intersections with people? What about we regulate drones? So it's not unheard of to find ways that the public can still enjoy their novelties safely.

Mr. Speaker, looking through the Motor Vehicle Act, there's more regulations on pedestrians than there are on Escooters. Pedestrians are told they must look both ways as they cross the intersection. But, again, it's silent on scooters. So we, unfortunately, do that.

Mr. Speaker, what about bicycles, for example? It even says bicycles, under section 26(1)(a), shall not ride on a sidewalk, Mr. Speaker.

So my point being is then we have these motorized vehicles, public safety at risk, and it's time to have this uncomfortable conversation. Cities like Toronto have banned them. Mr. Speaker, the Ontario government has done an opt in process by saying all scooters are banned unless you come up with regulations in your own way. And they're running a test period. Mr. Speaker, my point is is it's time to address this through public safety because the last thing we want to do is be looking backwards to say what could we have done or what should we have done for safety. And it doesn't apply perfectly across the continuum of municipalities, and we'll discuss that during question period. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member for Yellowknife Centre. Members' statements. Member from Hay River South.

Member’s Statement 178-20(1): Commending Floyd Powder’s Dedication to Last Post Fund

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to take a moment to recognize one of our esteemed colleagues. During my previous engagements, I've been involved actively involved with the local Hay River Legion in Hay River, and I was on the executive. I was able to do lots of work with this individual in regards to his commitments.

The one I speak of is none other than our sergeantatarms of the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Floyd Powder. Today I stand in the House to commend Mr. Powder for his outstanding contribution to our nation's veterans, a commitment that has gained federal recognition with the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation. This award celebrates his exemplary service, particularly his dedication to the Last Post Fund. Under Mr. Powder's stewardship, the Last Post Fund has made significant strides as evidenced by the federal government's acknowledgement for his efforts in identifying 27 unmarked graves, many of which have belonged to Indigenous veterans. His unwavering commitment is further underscored by his initiative to provide proper recognition having placed headstones on graves in Hay River and other communities in the Northwest Territories.

Considering these remarkable achievements, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to Mr. Floyd Powder. His tireless efforts and selfless service exemplifies the highest models of public duty. We are truly fortunate to have such a dedicated individual amongst us. Thank you, Floyd, for your invaluable contributions. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from Hay River South. Members' statements.

Member’s Statement 179-20(1): Leo Ehrlich – Youth Parliament 2024

Colleagues, yesterday I talked about our Youth Parliament and the great job the youth did. In keeping in the theme with some of my colleagues today, I did ask the youth person if I could do their statement in the House. Leo Ehrlich represented the Nahendeh region. Here is his statement:

Kids tend not to like school. The reason we look forward to breaks, the weekend and such, is because we don't want to spend all day, every day, in a dark room memorizing complex formulas and grammatical rules that, unless speaking to an English teacher, will most likely never get used in daytoday life. Now, I'm not saying that we should abolish the current school system or anything, but I believe that there need to be some changes. Major changes. The most important and easiest thing we can change is escape that dark classroom and take learning outside. Taking learning outside will make students more engaged, improve mental health and wellbeing, and teach new and valuable lessons. There are countless studies that show that the students tend to be in better more receptive moods outside, are more open to learning, and have boosted creativity, problem solving, and critical thinking. There are tons of things to learn from being outside and not just things like building forts, berrypicking, or climbing. Things like patience and learning to truly appreciate the beauty of life all come best from being outside on top of whatever lessons might have been planned. Many students aren't engaged enough in school, zoning out midclass, getting in the way of learning. Being outside could make learning way more engaging for most students because children like being outside, too. There're tons of physical benefits as well as, as previously mentioned, mental and emotional ones. We aren't talking about dragging kids outside when it's freezing cold, or pouring rain, but in the spring, summer and fall when it's nice. I believe that it is pivotal for the new generations to take care of the environment, and you can't care about something if you don't know about it. With the wildfires, permafrost thawing, and floods, climate change is playing a bigger part than ever in our lives but, eventually, those currently in power will be too old to fight it. That responsibility falls to the next generation, and we need them to care. The best way to get somebody to care about something is by knowing that thing. And right now, not enough kids care about the land that we live on because they don't spend enough time on the land to truly care about it. And schools without question sometimes to blame.

Being respectful of the time, I would like the rest of the statement be deemed as read.

In closing, I would like to thank Leo for being the Nahendeh representative, willing to share his speech with us today and, more importantly, I would like to wish him and his team all the best at the national debate championship in Vancouver where he is right now. Thank you.

Indigenous peoples have traditionally spent a lot of time outside. The government has been trying to blend Indigenous and new world cultures for a while, yet the school system has stayed for the most part the same as anywhere else. Only 56 percent of kids in the NWT graduate high school, and many of them drop out because they aren't engaged in their work. Taking school outside would probably boost initiative and make the kids more interested in school, because it's not the miserable slog that we know it as today.

There are countless jobs out there, and they don't all happen in cramped, stagnant offices. This is even more so the case in the NWT. The current learning style isn't doing anything to help with any of these jobs and is if anything getting in the way of people approaching any jobs that take place outside by not preparing kids for them. Changing the environment of the classroom to a more fluid one would better prepare kids for jobs that are needed in the NWT, encouraging them to stay. In short, I believe that the economy, wellbeing of students and land would all benefit greatly from taking classes outside, traditions would be better preserved, dropout rates would lessen, and kids and the adults they would grow up to be would all be better off.

Indigenous peoples have traditionally spent a lot of time outside. The government has been trying to blend Indigenous and new world cultures for a while, yet the school system has stayed for the most part the same as anywhere else. Only 56 percent of kids in the NWT graduate high school, and many of them drop out because they aren't engaged in their work. Taking school outside would probably boost initiative and make the kids more interested in school, because it's not the miserable slog that we know it as today.

There are countless jobs out there, and they don't all happen in cramped, stagnant offices. This is even more so the case in the NWT. The current learning style isn't doing anything to help with any of these jobs and is if anything getting in the way of people approaching any jobs that take place outside by not preparing kids for them. Changing the environment of the classroom to a more fluid one would better prepare kids for jobs that are needed in the NWT, encouraging them to stay.

In short, I believe that the economy, wellbeing of students and land would all benefit greatly from taking classes outside, traditions would be better preserved, dropout rates would lessen, and kids and the adults they would grow up to be would all be better off.

Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery

Speaker: MS. REID

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to recognize two pages from Great Slave riding, Oscar Mifflin, who is here with us today, and Oliver Barrieau, who paged for us yesterday. Both are students at Ecole Allain StCyr, and I'm proud to have them here to watch the proceedings. I was also pleased to meet and speak with their parents prior to this sitting, and I know they're very proud of you both.

I would also like to welcome to the Chamber union members from health care and corrections, many of whom who have had to leave to go back to work. Also, Sarah Jane Dempster, president of the NTFL; Chris Parsons, director of membership services for the UNW, and Adrienne Cartwright, communications officer for the UNW. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member from Hay River North.

Mr. Speaker, every year the grade 6 class from Princess Alexandra School in Hay River travels to Yellowknife, and they visit the ledge. For the last four years they weren't able to do that, but this year, Mr. Speaker, they came back. And so I want to recognize Ms. Hoss' grade 6 class from Princess Alexandra who joined us today. We have Maliki Beaulieu, Skylar Cayen, Katanna McArthur, Noel Peters, Jager Walsh, Blakely Beck, Abigail Belanger, Kennedy Bolt, Shelby Cofwell, Shane Delorey, Nash Fraser, Olivia Frais, Sawyer Hurst, Charlotte Hinesruggles, Michele Longwey, AnnaLee Bunkin, Braden Morrisey, and there's more names that my colleague from Hay River South will be reading. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from Hay River North. Member from Hay River South.

I'll add to that list. Linda Dungar, Kevin Webb, Natalie Boucher, Chloe Campbell, Artise Cardinal, Brendan Flett, Zachriah Snellgrove. Chaperones Stephanie Hoss, Therese Bouchard, Alayah Femelcan, Kyler Krunke, Brian Hannah, Clayton Jamieson, and Jennifer Webb.