Debates of June 13, 2024 (day 27)


I am honoured to stand before this House, whom I consider a family, to speak to the Creator in my Dene Suline language. I will humble myself as I ask the Creator for special blessings for all the interpreters from across our territory and Nunavut; for my Inuktitut interpreting sisters, for my Inuvialuktun interpreting sisters, for my Gwich'in interpreting sisters, and my Dene Suline interpreting sisters, and my sisters that interpret in the Slavey language, and myself as a Dene Suline interpreter.



Have a good workday and have a good summer. Merci.

Please be seated. Colleagues, I'd like to thank Marc Casaway for his opening guiding words.

Ministers’ Statements

Minister’s Statement 56-20(1): Western Premier’s Conference 2024

Mr. Speaker, earlier this week I attended the Western Premiers' Conference in Whitehorse, along with the Premiers of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut, and Yukon. The conference is a forum to discuss issues that are of interest or concern to all seven western provinces and territories.

This year, we started our informal discussions with Deputy Chief Darla Jean Lindstrom, of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation. She had a very simple message for Premiers: If we work together, we are stronger together. She also spoke of the importance of working together with Indigenous communities to achieve the goal of economic reconciliation. The deputy chief's comments provided an excellent foundation for our meetings, and we kept her words in mind as we tackled some difficult issues facing western jurisdictions. We spoke about the cost of living, disaster preparedness and response, economic prosperity, economic corridors, economic reconciliation, electrification and energy security, Canada-US relations, public safety, and Arctic security.

During our public safety discussions, I highlighted the need for more actions to be taken to address increased crime, particularly drug trafficking, and Premiers agreed that more must be done to strengthen the bail system to keep drug traffickers off the streets. We also recognized that we must continue to find innovative ways to address the root causes of crime and addiction, which are often based in trauma.

We spoke extensively about the economy, including the fact that Western Canada should be a major force in the mining and processing of critical minerals. By collaborating in this area, we can help reduce dependency on those countries seeking to dominate the world market. We discussed how we can work together across our supply chain, with investment from the Government of Canada and other democratic countries, to mobilize this opportunity together.

I made sure to note, that in addition to western provinces and territories, Indigenous governments must be considered key partners in advancing this potential. It was agreed by all that Indigenous engagement and participation is fundamental to unlocking economic opportunities across a wide range of sectors and vital to advancing strategic infrastructure projects in Western Canada.

We also found common ground on Arctic security and agreed the path to strengthening the Arctic requires investment in critical transportation, energy, and telecommunications infrastructure that supports healthy, vibrant communities, and economic growth. Western Premiers welcomed the federal government's announcement of the defence policy update, noting that new defence investments and working towards meeting the NATO target of defence spending equal to 2 percent of GDP are an opportunity to strengthen the military presence in the North, support multi-use infrastructure, and protect Canadian sovereignty across the Arctic and northern regions.

Mr. Speaker, I appreciated the support the Western Premiers expressed for investment in the North, and their willingness to work with the Northwest Territories on areas of common interest. I look forward to continuing to work with my provincial and territorial counterparts at the Council of Federation, which includes all 13 of Canada's Premiers, when we meet in July. I also look forward to hosting the Western Premiers Conference here in the Northwest Territories in 2025. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

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

Minister’s Statement 57-20(1): Maintenance and Repairs

Mr. Speaker, under the 1997 social housing agreement with the federal government, Housing NWT assumed responsibility for the ongoing operations and maintenance of the territory's public housing units. Many of these units remain in service and need significant renovation or replacement. Housing NWT continues to invest in maintenance and renovation on an annual basis to keep assets in good working condition. I would like to speak today on how Housing NWT manages its assets and the ways we are finding efficiencies and partnerships to improve the state of our units.

Housing NWT plans to invest over $12 million in major repairs and upgrades on over 245 units this year. Plans also include various minor unit repairs, such as repairs to heating and plumbing systems, across the Northwest Territories. Through partnership agreements with local housing organizations, an additional $13 million is invested annually in maintenance activities for both general repairs and preventative maintenance.

Housing NWT is committed to the health and safety of our tenants through completing preventative and on-demand maintenance activities. Preventative maintenance is scheduled and performed to prevent unexpected failure of building systems, such as servicing a heating system. Simply put, Mr. Speaker, it is about fixing things before they break.

On-demand maintenance involves repairing something that has already been broken, such as repairing a leaky tap. Both preventative and on-demand maintenance ensures that housing remains healthy and safe for tenants and plays a key role in extending the life of housing in our harsh climate.

Housing NWT, through its local housing organizations, regularly conducts maintenance on all its housing and facilities. To illustrate the scope of this annual activity, in 2023-2024 our 23 local housing organizations completed approximately 30,000 work orders. Approximately one-third of those involved health and safety preventative maintenance work orders.

Housing NWT regularly completes assessments on housing units with a unit condition rating system, commonly referred to as a UCR. A unit condition rating assesses the condition, repair priority, and planned replacement activity for the building components and systems for each housing unit. These assessments report on the overall condition of the unit and provide the basis for capital investment and maintenance programming. Housing NWT considers a housing unit with a rating of 70 percent, or higher, is in fair condition, and does not typically require major investment. Units under 70 percent are a priority for renovations. 92 percent of public housing units, owned and operated by Housing NWT, have a unit condition rating above 70 percent. Assessment training is provided by Housing NWT to all local housing organization maintenance staff and district staff.

Following the Residential Tenancies Act, Housing NWT is responsible for maintenance and repairs on our buildings. Tenants are responsible for paying for damages that they, or their visitors, cause. Housing NWT encourages public housing tenants to contact their local housing organization if there are any maintenance issues in their public housing unit. The local housing organizations have staff available to respond to maintenance issues and if required, they can hire contractors to assist in repairs.

Housing NWT is in the process of upgrading our asset management program to document and guide the process to improve assessments for capital planning and maintenance. Repairs are prioritized with a health and safety focus, considering the available budget. A fuel leak or lack of heat are priority work orders that receive a response as quickly as possible, not only for the health and safety of the tenant but also to protect the asset from damage. Housing NWT works with local contractors to deliver services as quickly as possible in emergencies but can sometimes experience delays due to contractor availability.

Typically, contracted repair and renovation work on public housing units is completed by local or northern companies. This renovation and repair work provides opportunities for smaller companies in the North to gain and build experience and capacity in the residential construction sector. This is why Housing NWT is committed to building capacity in communities and continues to support local housing organizations in their role of delivering suitable, affordable housing. Supply-chain disruptions and labour shortages have impacted contractor capacity in the Northwest Territories. Despite this, Housing NWT continues to plan to maximize and build capacity.

Housing NWT also provides support for residents who own their own homes and who meet some of the basic program eligibility requirements. Funding up to $10,000 is available to support emergency repairs, like freeze-ups and furnace failures, and $5,000 a year is available for preventative maintenance activities. Last year, Housing NWT supported 441 homeowners across the NWT through the preventative maintenance program with the aim of reducing core housing need indicators. Homeowners can contact their local district office to apply for this program.

Housing NWT will continue to support maintenance and repairs on its units across the NWT to improve the suitability and extend the life of housing units. Quyananni, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Minister responsible for Housing NWT. Ministers' statements. Minister for Education, Culture and Employment.

Minister’s Statement 58-20(1): School Support Assistant Pilot Program

[Translation] [Translation Ends]. Mahsi.

Today, I am proud to share our progress in addressing these recommendations. To make the support assistant role more effective and supported, the Department of Education, Culture and Employment updated both job descriptions and the Inclusive Schooling Handbook. The Government of the Northwest Territories also forged a partnership with Douglas College to pilot an Education Assistance and Inclusion Certificate.

This virtually-delivered program was tailored to the needs of NWT support assistants in several ways. Participants followed a cohort-based model that fostered a collaborative learning environment to share learning and experiences. Program material was customized for our NWT context, ensuring relevant and practical learning. While participants undertook course work, they continued their important work in schools where they could apply what they learned in real-time. The courses and practicums equipped NWT support assistants with specialized skills to promote student well-being, development, and educational success. They also grew as leaders in inclusive education.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud that the Government of the Northwest Territories covered the costs of tuition, fees, and materials, helping to remove financial barriers for our support assistants to access this program.

Since launching in January 2022, the program has had admirable results. This month, we celebrate 24 graduates. This achievement is a personal milestone for each participant, and it promises enhanced support to our students.

I want to share the inspiring words of Tena Blake, a support assistant at Chief Julius School in Fort McPherson. She described the program as "life changing" and saying it has "given me the confidence to look at furthering my education and taking more post-secondary courses that will benefit the work that I do with students."

Mr. Speaker, stories like Tena's fuel our commitment to build on this success. I want to express my pride in each participant of the School Support Assistant Pilot Program. Their hard work and commitment to professional growth are commendable. I offer my sincere congratulations and best wishes for the future. To the NWT's valued support assistants, we are grateful for the work you do. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Members’ Statements

Member’s Statement 306-20(1): Accessing Lab Work

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, recently, all outpatient laboratory services in Yellowknife have been moved to the Stanton Hospital. Along with this change, came a new protocol for accessing lab work. Mr. Speaker, a constituent of mine visited the hospital to try this new process and didn't have the most positive experience.

They first tried the method of just showing up at the lab as suggested on the website. They were told that this was not actually an option, and they had to call to book an appointment or come back the next day for a same-day appointment. They called and were told the next available appointment was three and a half weeks from now. They couldn't wait that long, so they asked for the same-day appointment process and heeded that advice. They accordingly showed up at Stanton Hospital at 6:30 a.m. in the morning to ensure they got a spot. At 7:00 a.m., the front reception desk opened up, and they registered. By 7:30 a.m. when the lab opened, there were already 18 people in line for the 20 available same-day appointments. After getting their appointment time, they left to return later on and thankfully did eventually get the blood work done that they needed.

However, Mr. Speaker, I cannot imagine many people having the time or ability to engage in the process I just detailed whenever they have lab work to be done. My constituent had to wait for their partner to come back from work travel to be able to go to the early morning lineup because they can't leave their kids alone for the entire morning in advance of school. I am concerned this new process is going to be a barrier for a single mother, elderly person, someone with ability challenges, or any other person with vulnerabilities or life demands that are going to override their capacity to engage in this process. I suspect there were a number of people who were already struggling to go directly to the labs after the medical appointment. This additional barrier is going to make things more challenging for them.

Mr. Speaker, MLAs often make statements fighting for change in our health care system but in this case, I think we have an example where change has caused new problems rather than solving one. I hope we can quickly work through the growing pains on this one and get to a place where people are receiving medical service in a reasonable and, most importantly, accessible way. That is one of our priorities after all. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will have questions for the Minister later today.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

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

Member’s Statement 307-20(1): Supports for Tourism

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the world is coming North. Global interest in experiencing all the Northwest Territories has to offer continues to skyrocket. Year after year, we welcome tourists at a record-breaking pace who come to experience the beauty of this land to the inspiration of its people. Prior to the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, annual visitor spending has soared past the $200 million mark, and since then the industry has little trouble roaring back to life. However, we cannot expect to take advantage of this massive increase in demand if we do not have the capacity.

We've known for some time that hotels across the North often operate at their maximum, especially during peak tourist seasons. We also expect this demand to continue to grow. If the industry does not increase its own infrastructure and welcome new businesses, particularly those operated by Indigenous entrepreneurs that showcase traditional culture and knowledge. The territorial government has a big role to play here to signal to investors that the NWT hospitality industry is open for business.

In recent years, we have also witnessed climate crisis after climate crisis, the effects of which have created new problems for the tourism industry. As water levels dropped to historic lows, this impacts businesses who own remote lodges which rely on access by boats and float planes. Many docks and piers are sitting high and dry, while rivers and streams are too shallow for canoe trips. Worsening wildfire seasons also increase the importance of communication between the government and businesses to ensure tourism is part of the conversation when precautionary actions are taken to protect lives and property. The GNWT is responsible for the well-being of visitors too.

Mr. Speaker, we need a Minister that partners with this industry to ensure its capacity continues to meet demand. This industry is key to both diversifying our economy and promoting traditional knowledge and Indigenous culture. Let's have a government that ensures as many tourists from around the world visit the North, as many of them as possible, and make the NWT the top tourist destination in Canada. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

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

Member’s Statement 308-20(1): Gratitude

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I'm going to use my Member's statement time today for gratitude, Mr. Speaker. First and foremost, to our staff and their families. We've put some serious hours in here these past few weeks, and I know it's -- you know, the time that requires staff to be in here, it's a stress on their families. I know we all appreciate it but often it goes unsaid.

I'd also like to thank our tireless interpreters who, again, you know, we put some serious hours in. They always have a smile. And I know that, again, thank them and their families for the work they do.

And I would just like to say to everyone I'd like to thank my colleagues at AOC of course, my colleagues across the House in Cabinet for the hard work we've done these past few weeks. I say to everyone have a great summer, take a breath, hug your families, get some rest, and then get cracking on the issues for your constituents because, after all, they are the people who put us here. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

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

Member’s Statement 309-20(1): Mackenzie Valley Highway

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Mackenzie Valley Highway has been in the plans for decades. With today's low water levels and the inability to transport goods using the barge services into the Sahtu, the highway is the only climate change adaptation solution.

Mr. Speaker, October 2023, the Government of the Northwest Territories released the developer's assessment report for the proposed Mackenzie Valley Highway. This comprehensive report assesses the potential environmental, socio-economic impacts of constructing an all-season highway. Mr. Speaker, this report triggers the environmental assessment, a 16-month schedule by legislation.

Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Sahtu Secretariat signed an MOU dated back April 2019 to work in collaboration to address adverse environmental socioeconomic impacts through the regulatory process. The MOU creates a steering committee with the Minister of Infrastructure, the Sahtu MLA, the SSI chair. Several meetings went by. Progress continues.

Mr. Speaker, the 20th Assembly has developed priorities in its mandate to strengthen Indigenous relations through meaningful alliances and partnerships for economic reconciliation integral to the Sahtu initiative. Mr. Speaker, critical to any project large or small is funding. Mr. Speaker, as we all depart for the summer and invitations to gatherings, assemblies, Sahtu will continue exploring the necessary options on assurances of funding sources. This includes the development of the business case.

Mr. Speaker, in closing, a significant amount of capital investments has already been made on this project, cost of many studies, 2011 PDR publication at a cost of $8 million, prior in-place materials, bridges, and the 2018 $140 million announcement.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Member from the Sahtu, your time...

Mr. Speaker, I request unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

Thank you, colleagues. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to ensure this government's mandate and the SSI MOU maintains the Mackenzie Valley Highway as a priority for the current and future generations. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

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

Member’s Statement 310-20(1): Wellness and Addictions

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, in 2013 a Ministers' forum on addictions and community wellness conducted four months of consultations in communities across the territory and produced a report with recommendations that I have been reflecting on personally this week.

It's encouraging to see that some of the recommendations from that forum are finally coming to life. The top priority identified then was community-based and operated on the land programming, and now it's a key priority in this government's mandate. The forum recommended that those coming back from residential treatment get proper aftercare, and now we finally see in this budget money for transitional housing. The forum recommended more cultural awareness and antiracism training for health care providers, and now we see that as part of the way we work.

Now some of the recommendations are ongoing, and we need to continue to return and advocate for these things, such as better recreation and arts programs and on-the-land programs for youth, multi-year core funding for community level programming.

The forum's final recommendation was to turn negative conversations around substance abuse into positive celebrations of individuals who break free from addictions. I want to quote at length from the introductory message by the forum's chair Paul Andrew, who is a wise Shuta Got'ine elder, and I'm very fortunate to have him as a Yellowknife North constituent. Quote: An older man reminded the forum we come from strong people, and we need to return to traditional values that make us strong. Many people, young and old, agreed far too often we in the North keep doing the same things over and over again hoping things will change. More than one community said sending people to jail has not helped the individual, and communities want to be involved in the justice system. Others said trying to sober up a person in isolation is not working, so if a community has addictions issues all should be involved in recovery. People say addictions are everyone's problem, and we must all do our part. They want elders to speak out more often. They want young people to learn about addictions in schools. They are demanding more sober events and want more opportunities to share the beauty of working on healing and wellness. If there's one hope I have, it's that we will never stop talking about healing. We must continue to share, to cry, and to give each other hope. Success belongs to those who dare.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Member from Yellowknife North, your time is up.

I ask for unanimous consent to conclude my statement, Mr. Speaker.

---Unanimous consent granted

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just wanted to conclude by saying mahsi cho to Paul for his work and his inspiration and thank you to everyone here. Mahsi cho for everyone's work during this session. I hope we will continue to strive and to dare to make the North a better place. Thank you.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from Yellowknife North. Members' statements. Member from Great Slave.

Member’s Statement 311-20(1): Thank You

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Like my colleague from Inuvik Boot Lake, I would also like to thank all of the interpreters, pages, and staff who have put up with us very well for the last three and a half weeks, or however long it's been; I'm not quite sure anymore. And I would also like to thank you, Mr. Speaker, for coming out to the Taste of Palestine last weekend. Over 200 Yellowknifers took part in a community dinner for over 200 people.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, limited resources are available for the children and families of Gaza, and Yellowknife raised $11,115 at that dinner and auction on last weekend. And I believe there are plans again for another event in the future and, of course, I will invite yourself and all Members to that next event. It's good that we do not forget the families in the NWT who are affected by this ongoing tragedy. And thank you for participating, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from Great Slave. Members' statements. Member from Monfwi.

Member’s Statement 312-20(1): Improving Indigenous Student Outcomes in the Northwest Territories

Mahsi. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

[Translation] I'd like to -- I'd like to, but still what I'm going to be talking about of how the kids that are in school, the kids that are in school, what is it that we can -- how we can improve the education for the young people at this time. [Translation Ends].

Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories has jurisdiction over educating all students in the NWT. The GNWT must provide access to the same quality of education regardless of the location or size of their communities.

Mr. Speaker, we have an excellent student financial assistance program. It is among the best in the country. Yet, Indigenous students are grossly underrepresented in education outcome. Mr. Speaker, there is a privilege in the education system. The results show who is succeeding and who is struggling.

Recent statistics show 6.1 percent of Indigenous students complete a university degree compared to 36.6 percent of non-Indigenous students. The improvement to the SFA program in the last Assembly supported Indigenous students by removing the semester limit. Now Indigenous students can access SFA for as long as they need to pursue post-secondary education. This is positive.

Mr. Speaker, if we are raising the student loan limit, how many students from small communities will benefit from this? How many Indigenous students in the NWT are even near the $60,000 loan limit? Mr. Speaker, who will benefit from this increase student loan limit? And how will we pay for this?

The 2023 public accounts show the GNWT is running a $2.7 million operating deficit from granting more student loans than is available in the revolving loan limit, and now we have a bill to provide larger loans.

The 2020 Auditor General report on education in the NWT highlighted the gap in graduation rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. The gap in support for students in small communities and that the department is unable to confirm equitable access to education programs and services in small communities and whether students' outcome were improving. Mr. Speaker, this bill will mostly improve access to --

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

-- Member from Monfwi, your time is up. Your time is up.

Mr. Speaker, can I have unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

Mr. Speaker, this Bill will mostly improve access to education for non-Indigenous students. The role of the GNWT is to close the gap in education outcome. We know students in small communities need more support to succeed in post-secondary education. We need focus and attention on improving the education outcomes from students in small communities. They should remain the focus for the student finance assistance program. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from Monfwi.

Before we get on to the next Member's statement, I'd like to recognize Grand Chief Jackson Lafferty back to this Chamber. Mr. Lafferty was a Member of the 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th Assembly. He is a former Minister, Member, and Speaker of the House. Welcome back to your House, Mr. Lafferty.

Members' statements. Member from Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.

Member’s Statement 313-20(1): Thank You

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I just want to take this opportunity as my Member's statement to thank the Members, my colleagues around the table here. It's been a busy almost four weeks. I also wanted to thank, Mr. Speaker, your staff. Also the ledge staff as well that work behind the scenes for us. I know there's a lot of work that happens behind the scenes that people don't see. I want to say thank you to my CA, Taylor Pagotto, and also Warren Delorme of Fort Resolution. Also, I want to thank all the translators that are here. I want to say mahsi. If it wasn't for you that we wouldn't be able to get these messages back home to our communities. Also, we got to say thank you to the technical people that provide all the sound equipment and translation, everything else. I just want to say a big mahsi cho to everybody.

Mr. Speaker, while all the MLAs come here, we leave our home communities. You know, we have to come here and do the work to hold this government to account. But while we're here, our families are back home taking care of the family. Like, my wife in my case. And I got a daughter that just got honors at Sir John Franklin High School and I just found out, so I just want to mention that.

But, Mr. Speaker, the reason why we're here is that we represent the people in our small communities and throughout the Northwest Territories, and we bring their issues here. And by working together collectively, we look for solutions. So I just want to say thank you to everybody and enjoy your summer, and let's have a safe summer as well. Mahsi.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

Thank you, Member from Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh. Members' statements. Member from the Deh Cho.

Member’s Statement 314-20(1): Federal Top-Up Funding for Enterprise

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. [Translation] [Translation Ends].

Mr. Speaker, for my Member's statement today, I want to speak about the motion that I gave notice on two days ago regarding federal top-up funding for Enterprise. Mr. Speaker, the motion in question will be voted on later today and it's all about getting more support for the people of Enterprise who lost everything during last summer's wildfire. Ultimately, Mr. Speaker, the displaced residents of Enterprise need practical and viable solutions right now as soon as possible. We all have known the devastating loss that the community sustained, which was 80 percent of all structures, including many homes. These residents need help. As the MLA representing this community, I am willing and prepared to take all the help we can to provide further assistance to them during this difficult time.

That is why, Mr. Speaker, I brought this motion forward, because right now the federal government is prepared to offer a significant aid package to the community in the form of several temporary housing units for displaced residents. However, for this to occur our territorial government must work with the federal government on the cost sharing aspect of this assistance. Our government must be willing to pay for 10 percent of the cost of these temporary housing units.

Mr. Speaker, I know that temporary housing units may not sound like a perfect solution to this situation, but it's much better than nothing at all. It would be a huge mistake for our government not to accept this offer from the federal government. This solution is better than no solution. The alternative would be to do nothing and provide no temporary housing to the displaced residents of Enterprise. And I cannot stand for that, Mr. Speaker.

Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I'm urging all my colleagues on both sides of the House to vote in favour of this motion later today. As a government, let's work together and give some hope to these residents for a brighter tomorrow. Let's do the right thing. Action this immediately and move forward. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

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

Member’s Statement 315-20(1): Wedding Congratulations

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I would like to congratulate Hay River residents and a couple from my riding. They are newlyweds, after 47 years of living together, two children, four grandchildren, one great grandchild - David Gauthier and Sheryl Maurice decided to tie the knot yesterday, and I would like to wish them all the best as the newlywed married couple. And for their honeymoon, they spent it at the ballpark involved in a slowpitch game.

I'd also like to take the time to wish all the Members here in the House, all the Legislative Assembly staff, all the staff that we don't normally see hiding in the background, including the interpreters, a safe summer and looking forward to seeing everybody back here again in the fall. Thank you.

Speaker: MR. SPEAKER

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