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FinanceministerresignationleavesNWThangingHayRiverbattleoverschoolswapunitescommunityMinisterdisappointedinunanimousrejectionbyschoolboardsEducationSchoolsPoliticsFinance9TuesdayMarch252014MaryQappaaqOkheenaInuinnaqtunMaryQappaqOkheenawasbornatKingsBayUlukhaktok.HerparentsareJimmyMemoranaandNoraHayulak.HerrstspokenlanguagewasInuinnaqtunasEnglishwasnotspokeninherparentshomeatthattime.Maryneverforgotherlanguageevenwhenshewenttoresidentialschool.ShesaysthelanguageissobeautifuleverythinghasmoremeaningwhenitsspokeninInuinnaqtun.MaryQappaaqOkheenainuuhimayuqKingsBaymiUlukhaktuungmi.AappaJimmyMemoranaAmaanaNoraHayulak.Inuinnaqtunuqauhiqatukqablunaatunuqayuitun.Qappaaquqauhinnipuiguyuitaaillihagaliahuniresidentialillihaqviani.InuinnaquqauhiqallianaqtukuqalligangnunInuinnaqtunuqauhiqhakugiktuk.NORTHERNVOICESIntheNorthwestTerritoriesournorthernvoicesareimportant.ThroughoutourvastterritorynineofcialAboriginallanguagesarespokenwithpride.Tocelebratethisdiversityregionallanguagecommunitiesnominatedindividualscommittedtocultivatingournorthernvoices.ThesechampionsareleadersinourAboriginallanguagescommunityandwethankthemfortheireffortsandcontributionstothesurvivalofourlanguages.ByMARIACHURCHAunanimousdecisionbyHayRiversFrenchandEng-lishschoolboardstorefusetheGNWTsproposedschoolswaphasunitedthecommu-nityagainstthegovernmentaccordingtothepresidentoftheCommissionscolairefrancophoneCSF.SuzetteMontreuiltoldTheJournallastweekthatHayRiversghtwiththeGNWThasfosteredcom-municationandcoopera-tionbetweenthetwoschoolboardsandincreasedthelevelofsolidarityintermsoftheneedformoreinfra-structureforourboardandcoleBoraleinHayRiverandthatsagoodthing.TheGNWTproposalwhichwouldseecoleBoralestudentsusespe-cialtyclassroomsandthegymnasiumattheEnglishHarryCamsellschoolwasmadeearlierthisyearinresponsetoacourtorderin2012toprovideFrenchschoolsinHayRiverandYellowknifewithequalservices.ByMEAGANWOHLBERGNWTFinanceMinisterMichaelMiltenbergerhadexpectedaresponsefromCanadaonhisrequestforaraiseddebtceilingof1bil-lionbynextmonth.ThatwasuntillastTuesdaywhenfederalFinanceMin-isterJimFlahertysteppeddownaftereightyearsintheposition.NowMiltenbergerwon-derswhatwillhappenwiththeterritorysrequestforanincreasedfederalborrowinglimit-aprizeonwhichhangseveralmassivelegacyin-frastructureprojectsfromhighwaystohydrotransmis-sionlines.WhilewewishhimwellwehadntconcludedthispieceofunnishedbusinessthatnowisgoingtohavetowaitforthenewministerMiltenbergersharedwithTheJournalfollowingTuesdaysannouncement.Thefinishlinewasinsight.Wewereprettywellatthenishlineweweregoingtogetitdone.Nowwejusthavetoworkthroughanewminister...Thesethingshappeninpoliticsandnowwehavetoadjust.FormerNaturalResourcesMinisterJoeOliverwasappointedthenewheadofFi-nanceonWednesdayduringaprivateceremonymarkingthesmallcabinetshufethathasseenGregRickfordtakeOliversoldportfolioandMPEdHolderstepintocabinetasministerofSciencetore-placeRickford.Miltenbergersaidcon-versationswillhavetobere-startedwithOliveralongwiththenewpoliticalstaffhewillbebringingwithhimtotheposition.Hesgoingtobeaverybusymaninthenextfewdaysbutweregoingtobefollowingupveryquicklyherewithhisofcetogetinlinetohaveapersonaldis-cussionjusttotalkabouttheissueshesaid.Weretry-ingtokeepasactiveonthisaspossible.HesaidhelooksforwardtobuildingarelationshipwithOliveroverthecomingweeksandmonthsandisoptimisticmovingforward.HesaveryapproachablefellowandhardworkingguyandImlookingforwardtothesamekindofqualityre-lationshipthatIhadwithMinisterFlaherty.MiltenbergersaidFlahertyhadbeensupportiveofanin-creasedborrowinglimitandthatthefederalgovernmentunderstandsaraiseddebtceilingisabsolutelycriti-caltotheGNWTsabilitytogrowandmakeinfrastruc-tureinvestments.CurrentlytheborrowinglimitfortheGNWTiscappedat800millionandterritoriallegislationrequiresatleasthalfthecostofinfrastruc-tureprojectstobepaidforoutoftheterritorysoper-atingsurpluswhichlimitshowmuchthegovernmentcanspend.Miltenbergerhopesthefederalbureaucracywillre-maininfavourofkeepingtherequestapriorityduringtheministerialtransitionthoughhedoesexpectdelays.Itsgoingtobeabiglearn-ingcurve.Mr.Flahertysbeenaxture-oneofthelongestservingnanceministersinthecountryever-sohesgotahugeamountofcorporateknowledge.HissuccessorsgoingtohavetocomeinandtrytopickuptheoperationwithallitscomplexityatadeadrunMiltenbergersaid.Sowewillworkwiththemandseehowfastwecangetthisdone.Thisisabigissueforussoweregoingtobeonitassoonaswecan.TheGNWTisarguingastudentswapwouldbeben-ecialtobothschoolsinHayRiverwheretheEnglishschoolhasbeenfacingde-cliningstudentenrollment.IamdisappointedthatwewereunabletocometoanagreementinHayRiverJack-sonLaffertyministerofEduca-tionCultureandEmploymentsaidinastatementlastweek.Wefelttheschoolswapapproachwouldmeettheneedsofallpartiesmakebetteruseofexistingschoolsandavoidhavingtospendanestimated13milliononnewinfrastructurewhenuti-lizationratesandenrolmentshavebeendecliningoverthelast10years.InapublicmeetingtheweekbeforeHayRiverres-identsexpressedunanimousoutrageattheGNWTspro-posedschoolswap.BothCFSandtheHayRiverEducationAuthoritychosetorefusetheproposalafterhearingcon-cernsatthemeeting.Theparentsthoughtitwouldcreatealotoftensioninthecommunityandintheirperspectivewouldsimplytransfertheproblemofinade-quatefacilitiesfromoneboardtotheotherMontreuilsaid.Ifyouaregoingtoleadyoucantleadinadirectionyourpeoplereallydonotwanttogo.Thatswhyitwasim-portantforustohearfromtheparentsandtotaketheirperspectiveintoconsider-ationshesaid.Montreuilsaidtheboardslegalfeeshavealreadyamountedtomorethan1mil-lionwhichismoneythatcouldbegoingdirectlytostudentsatcoleBoraletoprovidethemwithanupdatedgymnasiumandspecialtyclassrooms.Thatswhereourmajorconcernrestsisitsmoneythatcouldhavebeenspenttowardsgivingbetterser-vicestotheyouthsothatsaregretshesaid.MontreuilsaidthecourtcasewilldeneFrenchlan-guagerightsintheNWT.SimilarbattlesarebeingwagedacrossthecountryincludinginYukonwheretheFrenchschoolboardrecentlyannounceditwouldbetak-ingitscasetotheSupremeCourtofCanada.Itsnotanewphenome-nonshesaid.ItallcomesoutofArticle23andArticle24oftheConstitutionthattalksabouttherighttoFrenchrstlanguageeducation.TheGNWThaschosentoappealthe2012courtorderandwasheardbyajudgeMonday.Lawyersareex-pectedtomakeastatementinthefollowingdays.PhotocourtesyofSuzetteMontreuilTheparentsthoughtitwouldcreatealotoftensioninthecommunityandintheirperspectivewouldsimplytransfertheproblemofinadequatefacilitiesfromoneboardtotheother.SuzetteMontreuilCommissionscolairefrancophoneSuzetteMontreuilsaysHayRiversFrenchandEnglishschoolboardshaveunitedintheirghtagainsttheGNWT.