Debates of May 27, 2024 (day 16)

20th Assembly, 1st Session
Members Present
Hon. Caitlin Cleveland, Mr. Edjericon, Mr. Hawkins, Hon. Lucy Kuptana, Hon. Jay Macdonald, Hon. Vince McKay, 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


Colleagues, I'd like to thank Annie Goose for the opening guiding words and the blessing today. I hope everybody had a good weekend and prepared to get to work for the next four days.

Ministers’ Statements

Minister’s Statement 34-20(1): Indigenous Government Partnerships and Capacity Building

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the only way this government can effectively address the territory's housing crisis is through true partnership with Indigenous governments. As stated in this government's mandate, Indigenous governments play an important role in advancing housing initiatives that meet the unique needs of NWT communities, and we must work closely with them to ensure we are implementing housing solutions that have a real, positive impact on residents.

In this spirit of true partnership, Housing NWT has signed four formal agreements with Indigenous governments that support collaboration on housing projects. Mr. Speaker, agreements have been signed with the Tlicho government, Sahtu Secretariat, Deline Got'ine government and, most recently, I proudly signed the collaborative agreement on housing with the Gwich'in Tribal Council.

Building on the GNWT's existing partnership with the Gwich'in Tribal Council, this agreement provides a formal framework for intergovernmental collaboration on housingrelated matters in Aklavik, Inuvik, Tetlit Zheh, and Tsiigehtchic, which will primarily happen through the housing working group. Together we will prioritize community housing planning, coordinated program delivery, and joint housing delivery. Together, we will improve housingrelated programs and services in Gwich'in communities.

Mr. Speaker, the GNWT's formal housing agreements, memorandums of understanding and memorandums of agreement, are tailored to each Indigenous government and build on existing intergovernmental agreements currently in place, acknowledging the relationships that have already been built and work that has already been advanced. We look forward to signing more agreements with interested Indigenous governments over the lifetime of this Legislative Assembly.

With that said, Mr. Speaker, even where no formal agreement is signed, the GNWT has made it its priority to engage and work with Indigenous governments across the territory. The NWT Housing Forum, for example, is a body cochaired by Housing NWT and an Indigenous government, currently the Yellowknives Dene First Nation. Established in early 2023, this forum promotes coordination and collaboration among participating NWT governments in the housing sphere and plays an important role in promoting information exchange and cooperation between NWT governments on housing priorities. I appreciate having an ongoing venue to discuss housing priorities with Housing NWT and Indigenous governments as we work together to improve housing outcomes.

Mr. Speaker, being from a small community myself and having travelled to communities across the NWT, I have seen firsthand the territory's unique housing challenges and how they range from community to community. By collaborating with Indigenous governments, we can maximize funding, provide more training opportunities to residents, increase economic activity and build the capacities of Indigenous governments. Through partnership, we can implement housing solutions that meet the unique needs of the communities and build a stronger, healthier NWT where residents are truly set up to thrive. Quyananni, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Minister of Housing NWT. Ministers' statements. Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs.

Minister’s Statement 35-20(1): Emergency Management Preparation

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As we're faced with another season of floods and wildfires, I understand that many communities and residents are concerned about the potential for disaster events. We have experienced a series of unprecedented disasters over the past four years, and as the snow melts, we are seeing dramatic changes in our landscape as a result of record low water levels. In light of this, I strongly encourage residents to check with family, friends, and neighbours, and especially the elderly who may not have access to the internet, to collectively take action to prepare for this year's highrisk season. We have learned time and time again, including during last year's historic wildfire season, that we are stronger together and that NWT residents will be there for each other during time of need.

Mr. Speaker, we learned many lessons from last year's disasters, and we are not waiting to make further improvements to our emergency management system. Ahead of this year's highrisk season, the NWT Emergency Plan was updated to better reflect its purpose and to make it easier to understand. We also clarified roles and responsibilities of communities as the leads for coordinating local emergency management in their communities, as well as how the Government of the Northwest Territories, Indigenous governments, and nongovernment organizations work within the NWT emergency management system.

As lead for the emergency management, community governments should have a local emergency management organization with participation of Indigenous governments and other community partners. We also want community governments to be empowered to involve Indigenous governments, nongovernment organizations, and private industry in the development of emergency plans knowing that updates to the NWT Emergency Plan identify what costs may be reimbursed to those should the Disaster Assistance Policy be applied.

Mr. Speaker, community governments should have community emergency plans that are reviewed periodically and practiced annually. The Department of Municipal and Community Affairs has contacted all community governments to offer assistance with planning activities and provide workshops to support this important work. The department has also provided tailored supports to the community governments, including presentations, meetings, and practice exercises since the 2023 highrisk season. The department has facilitated emergency planning workshops in 12 communities. Our government has also been proactive with improving our preparedness and capacity to respond to emergency events.

The Department of Municipal and Community Affairs' emergency management division, the emergency management organization, and all departments reviewed their procedures ahead of this years' highrisk season. We also issued a call for surge staff to support all the departments and agencies when faced with emergencies, compiled a database of available staff, and have proactively provided training.

Each department is also responsible for updating their own business continuity plan for a wide range of emergencies that may occur and impact departmental business.

As part of this work, the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs has developed a shared resource on business continuity planning, including scenarios to assist with departments in identifying essential staff. An interdepartmental working group led by the Department of Executive and Indigenous Affairs is currently working to coordinate these plans.

In advance of this year's highrisk season, the department has also rolled out its annual Emergency Preparedness Week and Be Ready campaigns to promote the importance of personal and family preparedness. This year, the focus is on the importance of having insurance and making sure that people know that proof of insurance or prior refusal is required to be eligible for the assistance of the Disaster Assistance Policy is applied after an event. While overland flood insurance may be difficult to obtain in some communities, fire insurance is usually included in general insurance for residents and businesses, and all homeowners, tenants, business owners, and organizations should check their insurance coverage with their provider.

As Northerners, we know all too well that emergency events can be stressful, disruptive, costly, and potentially devastating. We also know that with better preparation, we can mitigate some of the damages, stress, and financial impact. Community governments can do their part by ensuring emergency and business continuity plans are up to date and thoroughly addressing potential risks. Similarly, private businesses, nongovernment organizations, and residents are all encouraged to develop business continuity plans and emergency plans that consider their specific circumstances.

I urge all residents to be prepared as the 2024 highrisk season approaches. Practical things that we can all do to protect ourselves including developing workplace and household emergency plans that include plans for pets, preparing emergency kits, and a grabandgo bag, and also getting insurance where it is available. I also strongly encourage residents to access information from trusted sources when emergencies occur, including your local authority leads and the Government of the Northwest Territories' public safety website where residents can find information and other trusted sources of information for more detail. Using this website, residents can quickly access all relevant safety information, including the latest wildfire updates, highway conditions, and information about outages, air quality, and much much more.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize all of the good work that our staff have been doing since last summer and extend my sincere appreciation to all emergency responders who keep the NWT communities and residents safe. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Members’ Statements

Member’s Statement 180-20(1): Midwifery Services

Speaker: MS. REID

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. During my campaign last fall, I took time out from door knocking to attend the Yellowknife International Film Festival to support local NWT filmmakers. I personally love film shorts and was pleased to attend the northern shorts program, which was world class.

One of the shorts screened that night was "She Gives Birth", a film that lays bare the antiIndigenous racism in health services faced by many smaller communities across the North. When MLAs were briefed on the budget and told the midwifery program expansion was coming to a close, to better support our smaller communities and their needs for birth work, I was excited, Mr. Speaker. What was not relayed is that the program expansion coming to a close means the whole program in Yellowknife is theoretically done.

While this funding is targeted to provide services in the Yellowknife area, it ultimately makes midwifery services stronger across the territory by stabilizing a system that is currently fragile and offering viable options for local NWT midwives to be trained in a center with many births and to retain them over the long term. Midwifery services in Yellowknife were planned out for the next three years to provide outreach to small communities and support opportunities for Northerners to pursue midwifery education.

Mr. Speaker, no midwives were consulted on this decision. The program currently has two summer students, both of who are studying outside the territory to become midwives and desire to return to Yellowknife to practice. They told me on the weekend, quote, "if this program is cancelled, I'll have to work elsewhere and likely leave the NWT", end quote. They're also concerned that this means that they will have to pay back the funds they received from the NWT Health and Social Services bursary program.

Mr. Speaker, in less than 24 hours, the NWT Midwives Association had close to 70 responses to their survey seeking feedback from Northerners on midwifery services.

Mr. Speaker, why are we making shortsighted decisions that reduce service to folks who are giving birth and reducing options for students who began their studies in good faith that their work would help their fellow Northerners? I will have questions for the Minister of Health and Social Services at the appropriate time.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

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

Member’s Statement 181-20(1): Marine Transportation Services

Speaker: MR. RODGERS

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, as you're aware, the Department of Infrastructure are currently reviewing the operations of MTS. Mr. Speaker, the issues with low water and problems with our current transportation corridor are likely not to go away anytime soon. Mr. Speaker, I think it's time we started to look outside the box.

Logistically, it is the time, Mr. Speaker, to look at locating a significant portion of our MTS operations in a more northern region of our territory. The base of operations in Inuvik or Tuk could service upriver to Fort Good Hope and of course the communities in the Beaufort Delta region. Mr. Speaker, while as a government we are good at governing, that doesn't necessarily mean we're good at managing businesses. And, Mr. Speaker, this is by no way means a statement disparaging the important work we do, or our bureaucracy does, but it is my hope that as part of this review an analysis will be completed to the merits of privatizing this essential service. Maybe, Mr. Speaker, there are private or Indigenous companies out there that may have some of the outsideofthebox solutions to ensure that this important transportation infrastructure continues to serve our residents that rely heavily, Mr. Speaker, on its ability to deliver goods and services to our communities. Thank you.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

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

Member’s Statement 182-20(1): Erosion along Aklavik Access Road

Speaker: MR. NERYSOO

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Every community within the Northwest Territories should be accommodated at the same rate. Aklavik is no different. For years, the community has been left out in major projects. The community of Aklavik and its residents are isolated from the rest of the region during the spring and fall months of the year. Due to climate change, the opening of the ice road is happening much later, and the closing stages are earlier than previous years. The only access the residents have to the outskirts of the community is Bickish Road. Bickish Road access gives the residents the opportunity to go harvest wildlife and firewood for their subsistence use. Due to climate change, the shoreline to the access road is eroding at a rapid pace.

Mr. Speaker, not too long ago, maybe around 15 years ago, the shoreline was around 20 feet from the road. Today it is less than 10 feet. The community and its residents would like to ensure that this road is kept safe and in good use for many more years to come.

Mr. Speaker, in other regions of the Northwest Territories, most notably the Hamlet ofTuktoyaktuk, have been given assistance to save their shoreline from erosion. The community of Aklavik requires the same assistance because there's no room for expansion and once the access road is gone, so will some of the lakes that are adjacent to this road and that will have a negative impact on the aging infrastructure.

Mr. Speaker, the community's water source comes from the river that runs along the access road and when, not if, the road collapses into the river, it will have a detrimental effect on the quality of water. If we can save the road from collapsing into the river, the community and its residents may have the opportunity to continue with subsistence use and the health of the residents, maybe safe for the foreseeable future. The infrastructure of the community has to be looked at for the longterm impacts that climate change is having on the community of Aklavik and its residents.

Mr. Speaker, the community of Aklavik and its residents have been left out of the government's major projects for a number of years compared to the rest of the Northwest Territories. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

Unanimous consent granted

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The community of Aklavik and its residents have been left out of the government's major projects for a number of years compared to the rest of the Northwest Territories. Let us, the government, continue to let the communities survive and strive for many years to come as the model of Aklavik is Never Say Die, and only with the collaboration of this government and the community of Aklavik, that we can keep this community safe. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

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

Member’s Statement 183-20(1): healthcare Staffing Taskforce

Speaker: MS. MORGAN

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, it's clear that at our territorial hospital, Stanton, we have a crisis on our hands. Particularly since COVID, we've demanded more and more from our frontline health workers, staff have quit due to inadequate supports, services have been closed and relocated to Alberta, and we have increasingly relied on expensive agency nurses to keep services open. The staff that remain feeling increasingly taken for granted and undersupported. There's been a downward spiral in morale alongside an upward spiral in costs and inefficiencies.

Mr. Speaker, in my discussions with health care workers at Stanton, we have come up with an idea for a cost-effective solution that I want to present now for consideration during these budget deliberations. While it doesn't fix everything, it could help release some of the immediate pressure and set us on a path towards better staff retention.

The idea is to establish a task force. The task force could be staffed by two to three people who would act as navigators and brokers of solutions for frontline staff to address the low hanging fruit causing the greatest frustrations amongst health care workers, especially when it comes to workplace policies and procedures and labour relations. Who makes decisions about what can be exceedingly confusing within our health care system? A task force would direct staff to the person with the authority to address their issue and support concrete actions to address it.

Now, we currently have an office of client experience and a cancer navigator program focusing on advocating for patients and helping patients navigate the system. The task force I'm proposing would have a similar purpose, except it's for staff. It could eventually become a more permanent fixture in our system. Perhaps an office of provider experience.

The task force would need to be independent from management but with access to leadership in order to to be able to broker solutions. It should have similar authority as a senior advisor. Importantly, we need to choose members with expertise about our particular NWT health care system but not pull existing staff out of other essential positions. The task force needs to be action orientated and, on top of addressing individual cases, it should identify common problems and recommend systemic improvements both in the short and long term. Mr. Speaker, I ask for unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

Unanimous consent granted

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So establishment of this task force should be accompanied by a commitment by the Minister and NTHSSA to take actions wherever possible to show that we truly value our health care workers and are responsive to their needs. I will be asking questions of the Minister at the proper time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

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

Member’s Statement 184-20(1): Deterioration of Frontline Healthcare Services

Speaker: MR. TESTART

Mr. Speaker, when I stood in response to the finance Minister's budget last week, my criticism focused on the government's failure to take decisive action on the priorities of our Assembly. One of the most urgent of those priorities, especially for my constituents in Range Lake, is the dire state of our frontline health care services, especially at Stanton Territorial Hospital.

The deterioration of our frontline health care services is rapidly becoming a full-blown crisis. Our nurses are increasingly burdened with astronomical workloads as they try to provide adequate care in the face of staff cuts and unfilled positions. They often find themselves working short, and it is alleged that they are asked to take unsafe patient assignments that do not meet internal policies and the Canadian standards of practice. The ability for the hospital to manage at surge capacity is coming into question. The government's solution so far has only been to increasingly rely on private outofterritory agency nurses, but this is only doing more harm than good.

Relying on agency nurses is incredibly expensive. These private agencies undermine the public nature of our health care system, and the agency nurses themselves come with little cultural sensitivity or training. Worst of all, they make our local nurses feel replaceable and undervalued at a time when their morale is already suffering.

Mr. Speaker, nobody knows health care better than the frontline professionals. They are speaking loud and clear. If the government wants to maintain quality patient care, they need to treat nurses and physicians with respect, they need to implement management structures that are flexible and responsive to their needs and, mostly urgently, they need to restore the competitive hiring edge the North once enjoyed so providing nurses with wages and benefits necessary to live in a region with such a high cost of living.

Nobody wants to imagine a North where these circumstances continue to spiral out of control, but we are quickly running out of time needed to turn this situation around. I have been meeting with nurses, physicians, and union officials for many weeks now, and many of my colleagues on this side of the House are on the same page united on what needs to get done. The question now is when will this government get on the same page as us, nurses, doctors, and other health care professionals? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

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

Member’s Statement 185-20(1): Fort Resolution Emergency Services


Mr. Speaker, when MACA pulled the trigger last year to dissolve the elected government of Fort Resolution, they did so on their own accord. They put the responsibility on themselves to maintain the community emergency services and carry out all emergency planning. They have many policies and procedures designed to ensure that their department could follow through on an effective and responsible local government. The community was told everything would be done by the book through appointed officials who would uphold the law and respond to the community needs. For a full year, I tried to work with the department to help them follow through on their policies promptly, respond to their needs of Fort Resolution. I understood that the department took over the community as one territorial government was replaced by another and was patiently and optimistic that their new government would get stronger and grasp the situation. It has also been my goal to see MACA follow the law and provide the best local government they can for the community until Fort Resolution can return to normal elected administration.

Mr. Speaker, I'm disappointed to say that my constituents in Fort Resolution have been frustrated every step of the way, and so am I.

Fort Resolution still has no emergency plan for proper emergency services. There are consequences to this inaction. This weekend's fire destroyed four homes early Saturday morning. Emergency responders stepped up, but they were forced to rely on helicopters with backup buckets because their own intake lines no longer could reach the lake. For their efforts, several firefighters were also unfortunately injured with a broken hip and smoke inhalation. This is the second time in the recent months that the fires severely damaged homes in a community already suffering from a housing crisis.

I made the department aware of the fact that the receding shoreline has left the water intake lines high and dry long ago. The fire department has also been vocal about the lack of training that could lead to an unsafe situation. Now I hear that there's a wildfire burning 75 kilometers away from Fort Resolution. Time is running out for the community, and it's also running out for the families who saw their homes burn down this weekend.

What will it take for MACA to get its administration of Fort Resolution in order before more lives are put at risk? The community is anxious to avoid the fate of Enterprise, which is now full of burnt down homes that the territorial government has no ability to rebuild for uninsured homes. Mr. Speaker, I will have more questions for the Minister at the appropriate time. Thank you.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

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

Member’s Statement 186-20(1): Affordable Housing for Elders


Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I have spoken in this House several times about my concern for elders and the hardship they face to pay for their house. I am concerned, Mr. Speaker, that the elders in my region have signed into agreements with housing that, in many cases, they did not fully understand. People signed into agreements with housing as this was the only option they had to maintain their home. What is happening in my region is that as people age and are no longer in the workforce, they struggle to make their housing payments on the limited income they have.

Mr. Speaker, I value the work of Housing NWT to assess people to enter a mortgage so they can own their own homes, but there needs to be more care taken to ensure that people are not being tied into mortgages they cannot afford. Mr. Speaker, I know elders in my region whose wages are being garnished through the Court to pay for housing arrears, housing arrears that have been sent to collections.

My concern, Mr. Speaker, is that GNWT could be doing more to support our elders. For elders who cannot make housing payments or fallen behind on payments, who are on fixed income and can demonstrate financial hardship, there should be some relief, whether it's a pause on collections, a forgiveness of all or some of the debt, the GNWT has the tools to ensure our elders live in dignity. We want our elders to remain in their communities surrounded by their loved ones and not living in poverty. The Housing NWT collection policy state "arrears should be forgiven where collection is not possible", end quote.

The Minister of housing has stated that work is underway with the Department of Finance to address mortgage or rental debt on a casebycase basis. Mr. Speaker, we need to see the GNWT come up with creative solutions. I will have questions for the Minister of housing. Thank you.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from Monfwi. Members' statements. Returns to oral questions. Member from Yellowknife Centre. For three; is that what you're asking for?

Speaker: MR. HAWKINS

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, I'd like to go back to item No. 3 on the agenda. I guess in this case, I seek unanimous consent for doing this. Thank you.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Member from Yellowknife Centre has asked to go back to number 3, seeking unanimous consent.

Member, seeing no nays, you may go back to your Member's statement.

Member’s Statement 187-20(1): Future of Polytechnic University

Speaker: MR. HAWKINS

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And thank you, colleagues. And just for that, I'll be a little extra nice to Cabinet who didn't nay me today.

Mr. Speaker, De Beers might have said a diamond is forever, but I can tell you a diamond mine isn't, which leads to the question of what are we doing next to spur on our economy? The real question is and many Northerners are curious is what is the future of the NWT polytech?

Mr. Speaker, I support education. I believe we must work to support Northerners as we deserve the opportunities to teach our own, to train our own, to welcome the world. Mr. Speaker, higher education is a true investment into our economy. And as we all know, education can be one of the greatest equalizers of people. It can help raise families from poverty to prosperity, Mr. Speaker. But like many things, let us not forget a diversified economy needs to be foremost on our mind, and we can't just assume it'll show up here on its own.

Mr. Speaker, here is an unclear situation. Is the GNWT truly behind the polytech? If you ask Aurora College, it looks strangely unclear, because they have a different perspective on where the polytech initiative is going. So when you hear the government say it wants to do this, it needs to do this, all I see is it dragging its feet in terms of financial investment. They can talk all they want but where is the money?

Mr. Speaker, I've been here long enough to know that when we hear vague statements that go nowhere, it's simply just daydreaming at best. Mr. Speaker, this government needs to put some momentum behind the polytech initiative before it becomes too late. Mr. Speaker, we cannot stand by bureaucratic leadership. Do not let that be the hallmark of this Assembly. Mr. Speaker, we need clear commitments from this government saying we will do this by when. We want to do this by now. Mr. Speaker, we are going to get behind this. We will, we will, we will.

If this government had courage, it would say something to the effect that we will create a hundred new social housing units. If this government had courage, it would say Mackenzie Valley Highway would advance by 150 kilometers, Mr. Speaker, or we'll raise graduation rates by 65 percent in four years. Mr. Speaker, my point being is that we need to see bold and courageous leadership, and we need to see the money in the budget. Mr. Speaker, in talking to Aurora College, they are investing themselves to create this transition. They are marching ahead because this government is not leading. So I'll tell you, this is the opportunity for this government to get out of the way or get behind, but somebody must make bold action. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

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

Member’s Statement 188-20(1): Housing Needs


Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, in February, I brought forward two motions on housing. The first motion moved that the Legislative Assembly acknowledge and affirm housing as a fundamental human right and that the GNWT align its existing laws and policies to be consistent with international human rights' principles and obligations.

The second motion called upon the GNWT to enact a series of specific concrete actions that would effectively codify housing as a human right in our government. The second motion calls for amendments to the Housing NWT Act to enshrine the right into legislation, establishing the NWT housing forum, establishing a territorial housing advocate review, and evaluate the outcomes of the Housing NWT Act, and that the GNWT work with the new housing forum to implement culturally appropriate housing solutions in collaboration with Indigenous governments.

Mr. Speaker, the state of housing in the North right now is in peril. Core housing need is at an alltime high, and it's much higher than the national average. And homelessness is a growing challenge for all communities. Addressing inadequacies of our housing stock and the increasing homelessness population are issues that every level of government must work on together. Our government must work closer with Indigenous governments and organizations, such as the Dene Nation and other regional community Indigenous governments, to get better results for our residents.

Overall, Mr. Speaker, our government must establish stronger wraparound supports for housing because it is important that we recognize the plaguing legacy of residential schools which drove many Indigenous people into getting stuck in a vicious cycle of being reliant on public housing and income assistance. People are trapped, and they can't get out. We must work to change these outcomes as our present housing programs and income support system is not resulting in the outcomes we want. We need an overhaul of our service to help people break free of being dependent on public housing and welfare. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this morning I had the opportunity to meet with three individuals from the Canadian Cancer Society, and I'd like to recognize Andrea Sealy, the CEO, Angeline Webb and Fernanda Martens. Welcome.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member from Great Slave.

Speaker: MS. REID

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to recognize my page who is here today from the district of Great Slave. That would be Oscar Mifflin. He is a student at Allain StCyr. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from Great Slave. Member from Dehcho.


Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I too would like to recognize three pages I have from Kakisa School, Peyton Simba, Presley Simba, and Leah Simba; all from the Kakisa School. Welcome. Thank you.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Recognition of visitors in the gallery.

For those other special guests that are up in the audience there, welcome. Thank you very much for coming here. Welcome to your House, and we appreciate having visitors here. Thank you.

Oral Questions

Question 178-20(1): Aurora College Transformation

Speaker: MR. HAWKINS

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that. And, as I said, I'd be nice, getting the chance for unanimous consent, so I'll be nice to this Cabinet.

Mr. Speaker, I want to know what this government's doing about funding the transition of the college to a polytech university, and that specifically goes to the Minister of education. Where is the money and how much is the money? Thank you.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from Yellowknife Centre. Minister of Education, Culture and Employment.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. And thank you to the Member for the question. So in the life of transformation, Education, Culture and Employment has funded an Aurora College transformation team of eight public servants who helped do a lot of the work in conjunction with Aurora College getting ready for this transformation of which has three phases, and there are roughly 80 milestones in that project and 66 of those were completed by the transformation team. The federal government kicked in $8 million for transformation, and, in addition to that, this government also put in $1 million a year for approximately the last five years, specifically for transformation. And I know as well that Aurora College has been able to use their dollars for the Bachelor of Education program as well as the Bachelor of Social Work program towards transformation as well. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. HAWKINS

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, where's the money to Aurora College specifically? They were before committee just over a week ago, and it sounds like they're selffunding the transition plan, and it would be nice to know that they were getting that money to do the work themselves, or is this strictly a paper exercise by the department of education, and they're going it alone? Please clarify. Thank you.