Oct 31 2014

GNWT and GTC sign Mackenzie Valley Fibre Line agreement

YELLOWKNIFE (October 31, 2014) – The Mackenzie Valley Fibre Link took another positive step today with the announcement by Finance Minister J. Michael Miltenberger that the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) and the Gwich’in Tribal Council (GTC) have signed an agreement to allow for the construction and operation of the project on Gwich’in Settlement Lands.

The fibre link will provide state of the art communication infrastructure through the Mackenzie Valley; it will provide new opportunities for businesses, including in the e-commerce and high-tech sectors, and allow for the expansion of the Inuvik Satellite Station Facility, a leader in remote data sensing with international clients. The MVFL will also support more efficient and effective delivery of government services and programs such as tele-health and education to the communities it will connect.

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Oct 30 2014

Japanese tourism in the NWT

YELLOWKNIFE (October 30, 2014) – In response to media interest about Japanese tourism statistics and activities in the Northwest Territories, the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment is providing the attached information.

Questions related to ongoing search efforts for missing Japanese tourist, Atsumi Yoshikubo, should be directed to the Yellowknife RCMP.

Backgrounder – Japanese Tourism

Media inquiries:

Leslie Campbell
Senior Communications Officer
Industry, Tourism and Investment
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: (867) 920-3343

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Oct 30 2014

Tom Beaulieu – Update on Public Works and Services Energy Conservation Projects

Tom Beaulieu - Official PortraitMr. Speaker, as we head into this year’s heating season, I would like to take this opportunity to update Members on the energy conservation work that the Department of Public Works and Services has been doing.

As Members know, with our northern environment, energy conservation and management are important elements in controlling costs and supporting effective and efficient program delivery in all communities of the Northwest Territories. Our government’s investments in energy efficiency and alternative energy solutions are reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, lowering our operating costs and are helping us meet our greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. Public Works and Services helps the GNWT achieve its energy efficiency goals by leading the adoption of energy conservation and renewable energy technologies.

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Oct 30 2014

David Ramsay – Support for Trappers Heading into the 2014-15 Harvesting Season

Dave Ramsay - Official PortraitMr. Speaker, wild fur from the NWT, branded and sold under our Genuine Mackenzie Valley Fur Label, is world-renowned for its high quality and obtains top prices at auction. Our trappers are experts in proper fur handling and preparation and have earned a reputation as some of the best in their trade.

I would like to congratulate the recipients of this year’s Trappers Awards.  These awards include four categories: highest sales, most pelts, and the senior and junior trappers of the year. I would like to recognize the talents of the trappers who received the awards for the highest number of pelts in each region: Mr. Sheldon Boucher in the South Slave, Mr. Jimmy Pierre Mantla in the North Slave, Mr. Mark Kochon in the Sahtu, Mr. Alfred Nande in the Dehcho, and Mr. Jim Elias in the Beaufort Delta. I am also happy to share that this year we have also introduced a Return to Roots Award, which is presented to someone who is reentering the trapping industry.  The award recipient has not yet been notified and we look forward to making this presentation at a later date.

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Oct 30 2014

Bob McLeod – Junior Kindergarten Implementation

Premier Bob McLeodMr. Speaker, I rise today to advise this House that the government has listened to the feedback we have received to date from Members about Junior Kindergarten.

In an effort to respond to what Members have told us, while at the same time not wanting to disrupt parents and schools that are in the midst of delivering Junior Kindergarten we have made the following decision.

Without changing the current funding approach to Junior Kindergarten, it will be completely voluntary for any of the 23 communities now offering Junior Kindergarten to continue with the program this year.  If they choose, they will also be able to offer it in the next school year.  Any of the 23 communities could stop offering the program now if they so choose.

The government will undertake a thorough review of the implementation of Junior Kindergarten in the 23 communities.   The government will also reach out to all other education authorities, Aboriginal Head Start, licensed daycare and day home operators, parents and the general public to hear their views about whether Junior Kindergarten should be offered in the future and, if so, how.

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Oct 29 2014

Minister’s Culture and Heritage Circle celebrates 2014 recipients

YELLOWKNIFE (October 29, 2014) – Northerners were recognized for promoting and preserving NWT culture and heritage atthe 2014 Minister’s Culture and Heritage Circle awards ceremony hosted by Minister of Education, Culture and Employment Jackson Lafferty today.

“The annual Culture and Heritage Circle awards celebrate the role Northerners play in promoting and preserving the arts, culture and heritage of the NWT,” said Minister Lafferty. “As northerners, our cultures and heritage wrap around everything we do. Hunting and trapping, artwork and craftsmanship, and traditional values and languages are all part of who we are as individuals and as a territory and it is important that we promote, preserve and celebrate them.”

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Oct 29 2014

Jackson Lafferty – 10-Year Culture and Heritage Strategic Framework

Jackson Lafferty - Official PortraitMr. Speaker, I am very proud of the Department of Education, Culture and Employment’s work to promote and preserve the culture, heritage and languages of the NWT.

As a northern people, our culture is rooted in the land and created in the places where we live and practice our daily lives.  Northern culture is unique, woven together from our diverse experiences and incorporates our heritage, stories, spirituality, traditional knowledge, languages and creativity.

Mr. Speaker, ECE is entrusted with the crucial role of ensuring our languages, culture and heritage are transmitted to future generations.

To ensure we fulfill that trust, ECE is developing a government-wide, 10-year Culture and Heritage Strategic Framework. This initiative will focus the GNWT’s work around a set of common culture and heritage priorities for the next decade and was mandated by the Premier. Aboriginal Governments, multicultural and heritage organizations, youth, Elders, artists and many other partners will be involved in helping us develop the framework.   A draft Framework is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2015, followed by an action plan.    

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Oct 29 2014

Tom Beaulieu – NWT Transportation Strategy

Tom Beaulieu - Official PortraitMr. Speaker, building a safe and effective transportation system is vital to support the development of a sustainable economy and meeting the social needs of NWT residents.  Goals identified by Members of the 17th Assembly express the significance of improving transportation services across the NWT to reduce the cost of living in communities and to create employment and business opportunities for residents.

To this end, the Department of Transportation is updating its NWT Transportation Strategy to guide further development of our integrated air, road, rail, and marine systems over the next 25 years.  I am pleased to report that we have made significant progress on this initiative.

The new Strategy will update the first territory-wide multi-modal transportation strategy completed in 1990.  Much has been accomplished in the 25 years since the first strategy was released and we know that our transportation system will continue to evolve significantly over the next 25 years.  We are preparing for the future by considering what challenges and opportunities lay ahead of us and where our priorities are best placed to benefit all northerners.

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Oct 29 2014

David Ramsay – NWT Wellness Court

Dave Ramsay - Official PortraitMr. Speaker:  I am pleased to report that earlier this month the Territorial Court of the Northwest Territories launched the Wellness Court, supported by a new Department of Justice Wellness Court Program.

The Wellness Court is an alternative to conventional court that focuses on the offender rather than the offence.  This court, and the supporting program, provides intensive supervision and targeted programing for chronic offenders who have mental health issues, addictions or cognitive challenges that contribute to their criminal behaviour.  With this program we hope to help offenders develop a healthier life and move away from re-offending.

In a conventional court, a person who is charged comes before a judge who will look at the offence, listen to all the evidence and make a ruling based on the case and information before them.

In the Wellness Court, a person who is charged also comes before a judge, but their sentencing is delayed so that they can participate in the Wellness Court Program.  In this program, a case manager and team provide intensive support and supervision to the offender as they work to make positive changes.  The team helps them access services such as housing and income support, as well as mental health and addiction programs.

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Oct 28 2014

GNWT responds to inaccurate figures from Yellowknife school boards

YELLOWKNIFE (October 28, 2014) – The Government of the Northwest Territories is responding to numbers released by Yellowknife Catholic Schools (YCS) and the Yellowknife Education District No. 1 (YK1) last week showing the apparent cost of Junior Kindergarten (JK) and its impact on their schools. The boards’ press release contained critical factual errors that risk adding to the existing confusion about the implementation of JK in Yellowknife.

“While I welcome continuing public debate on something as important as public education, I am troubled by the erroneous numbers used in YK1’s and YCS’s press release,” said Minister of Education, Culture and Employment Jackson Lafferty. “I think it is our collective responsibility to ensure we support a well-informed debate about who should have access to education and how it should be funded by providing objective and correct facts,” said Minister Lafferty.

The department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) and YK1 and YCS staff agreed some time ago to the financial impacts of JK in Yellowknife and signed off on the correct figures. In a follow-up meeting between department officials and board staff today, boards agreed that there were errors in their release.

Where the error occurred in YK1 and YCS’s conservative enrolment scenario calculations

ECE continues to work with the boards and remains confident that reductions can be absorbed by YK1 and YCS without notable negative impacts on K-12 programs.


Media inquiries:

Jacqueline McKinnon
Manager, Communications and Public Affairs
Department of Education, Culture and Employment
Tel: (867) 920-6222
Email: jacqueline_mckinnon@gov.nt.ca


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