Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
Page 8
Page 9
Page 10
Page 11
Page 12
Page 13
Page 14
Page 15
Page 16
Wednesday December 2 2015 7 Fort Smith CONSTRUCTION NT Ltd. CONGRATULATIONS to Thebachas newly elected MLA LOU SEBERT on behalf of all those who supported you. By DALI CARMICHAEL Finally election season in the Northwest Territories is over. No more municipal territorial or federal votes to count - aside from several cases where a recount is needed. The ballot boxes have been stored away for another four years candidates have packed up their buttons and signs and Facebook pages calling for votes have been converted into permanent means of communication with the members-elect. So now what In a Ledge Talk speaker series event at the Legislative Assembly LA on Nov. 25 members of the GNWT held a presentation on Consensus Government in Transition The Next 100 Days explaining how the new government will hit the ground running. Tim Mercer LA clerk since 2003 and David Brock recently appointed as the deputy secretary to the Cabinet Priorities and Planning shared their experience with past transitions while outlining the upcom- ing agenda. When the 17th Assembly established a special committee of MLAs on gov- ernment transition one of the things that came out of that committee process was the need to communicate more fre- quently and more effectively with the public about how consensus government works Mercer said. In a party-based system like weve just seen at the federal The first 100 days back to school for new MLAs Parliament the parties articulate their priorities and their platforms before the election so when people go to vote theyre voting on what was committed to before the election. In our system that agreed- upon platform and priorities are set after the election so its important to hit the ground running because theres a lot to get done right up front even in terms of agreeing or priorities let alone starting to implement them. Brock described this as an inverted process. Months ahead of the election a special committee on transition matters - made up of MLAs and government staff - created a docu- ment called Passing The Mace intended to help guide the new and returning members as they settle into their roles. That report will very much serve as one of the sources of information to brief members of the legislative assembly and facilitate them in thinking about what they think should be the priorities for the 18th Assembly Brock said. This will be the first time that there has been some advice from the previous assembly for the next on both how priorities should be set as well as perhaps what those priorities might be. Again its entirely up to members of the 18th both in terms of process as well as the substance. For those who couldnt attend the Yellow- knife event the Northern Journal has a guide to what the newly-elected MLAs will be up to over the next three months. Important dates subject to change The document outlining the transition process proposes a series of milestones that the 18th assembly should hit and the dates they should be completed by however all dates are subject to change as they are ultimately set by the incom- ing government. Dec. 1 Orientation for new MLAs begins Dec. 4 The 18th Legislative Assembly has its rst meeting as a full group Dec. 8 Members are formally sworn in Dec. 14 A public roundtable is held on the oor of the Legislative Assembly to be televised and recorded on Hansard. Here members will begin to articulate their pri- orities in the upcoming term. Dec. 16 The territorial leadership com- mittee unique meeting of all duly elected MLAs will select the premier cabinet and speaker. These appointments will be nalized on Dec. 17. At this time mem- bers will start working on business of the house. Standing committees and regular members will be briefed on their duties as will cabinet. Jan. 2016 As recommended in Passing the Mace cabinet will come forward to the caucus - all regular members - with a mandate a detailed plan of action for the 18th Assembly. Once agreed upon the mandate will form the basis of what is essentially a speech from the throne that will be delivered when the house convenes again in mid-February. This will set the nal stage for the rst budget session in the spring. MLAs doing their homework I certainly have a steep learning curve but I am doing lots of reading talking to people and look forward to the challenge said MLA- elect Kevin OReilly representing the Frame Lake riding. He was the only member of the 18th Assembly to attend the presentation. Throughout his campaign one of OReillys priorities was to make the GN- WTs operations more transparent a goal he believes the new transition period helps to achieve. That process has been proposed to re- place the way that it was done in the past where all of the MLAs would go away for a retreat for a little while and come back with some usually very high-level sets of priorities and objectives and so on he said. I think this will probably give us something more concrete and measur- able and allow for the public to also assess progress thats been made on a mandate. I think thats a very interesting approach and I like it. ENVIRONMENT OBED SPILL BY DALI CARMICHAEL Chief Ronald Kreutzer of the Fort McMur- ray First Nation led a 16 million class ac- tion lawsuit against an Alberta coal company after it leaked 670 million litres of wastewa- ter into the Athabasca River. The suit was filed in response to a con- taminated water and sediment spill which took place on Oct. 31 2013. Wastewater from the Obed Mountain Mine near Hin- ton - operated by Coal Valley Resources Inc. CVRI - flowed out of a broken tail- ing pond through creeks connected to the Athabasca River. CVR operated the mine as a subsidiary of Sherritt International. Following the spill Westmoreland Canada Holding obtained a controlling interest in CVRI. All three com- panies are named in the lawsuit. According to legal counsel for the First Nation the lawsuit is intended for anyone who lives near or has used the Athabasca River Plante Creek Apetowun Creek or Peace-Athabasca Delta since the spill took place. The case is really on behalf of anybody who has been affected by the spill Ed- monton lawyer Rick Mallat said. A lot of times it will be the First Nations groups and individual members that have been affected in some way and it could also include farmers who may have been af- fected or even just recreation users who couldnt use the river to fish or boat on for a period of time. The lawsuit is only the most recent legal action taken regarding the spill. In October Coal Valley Resources and Sherritt Interna- tional were hit with six charges each led under Albertas Environmental Protection Act Public Lands Act and Water Act add- ing up to a maximum of about 2 million in potential nes. Its an important case from an environ- mental perspective because it relates to one of the largest spills ever in North America Mallat said. The allegation is that there was an improper containment procedure that happened in terms of the tailing pond and that the contaminated water should not have been allowed to spill into the river and it should have been prevented on a reason- able basis. In the weeks following the spill the prov- ince issued advisories warning people living along the impacted waterways to avoid draw- ing from the contaminated water. Subsequent downstream monitoring efforts have found elevated levels of Ar- senic uranium and selenium in concen- trations below levels expected to lead to a hazard. Fort McMurray First Nation sues over Obed coal waste spill POLITICS TERRITORIAL