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A prime reason to visit the capital Premier Bob McLeod visited PrimeMinisterJustinTrudeau in Ottawa last week to com- pare notes on the future of the North. See page 2. The goats that kept on giving Now that all 23 surprise kids have been born at the North- ern Farm Training Institute what are they going to do with them all See page 15. THE FUTURE OF FIGURE SKATING Territorial nals held in Fort Smith. See page 12. Skipping off to the Scotties Skip Kerry Galusha and her rink are headed back to the national womens curling championship - sort of. See page 10. Of power and politics New cabinet minister Wally Schumann has been busy building a career since mov- ing to Hay River more than 30 years ago. See page 3. V IS IT W W W .N O R J.C A A national award winning independent newspaper serving northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories since 1977 1.00 February 17 2016 Vol. 39 No. 39 By CRAIG GILBERT The stage has been set for a clash overhow to xthe GNWTs nances as the rst legislative session of the 18th Assembly begins on Feb. 18. Regular MLAs announced Feb. 15 that they are worried Premier Bob McLeods cabinet would imple- ment austerity measures to close a budget decit projected to balloon to 32 million by 2019-20. All were saying as regular MLAs is that the government has a certain budget and we want to make sure it is spent strategically to improve the economy and doesnt make things worse in the Northwest Ter- ritories Tu Nedh-Wiilideh MLA Tom Beaulieu chair of the Standing Committee on Priorities and Plan- ning SCOPP said. The committee is made up of all regular MLAs and no cabinet ministers. Earlier this month Premier McLeod and Finance Minister Rob- ert C. McLeod stated cabinet was working with regular MLAs to nd solutions to the challenge. Sloweconomicgrowthandweak- ening prices for natural resources means that the GNWTs revenues arenotexpectedtoseemuchgrowth MLAs set stage for NWT budget debate over the next ve to ten years Min- isterMcLeodsaid.Atthesametime governmentexpenditureshavebeen growing due to increased costs and risingexpectationsforprogramsand services. We need to act now while the problem is still manageable so we can ensure the future nancial stability of the GNWT. The finance minister warned projected budget decits which could emerge as soon as 2018-19 would erode the GNWTs ability to sustain programs and services currently required by the people of the Northwest Territories and eliminate the funding needed under the Fiscal Responsibility Policy to invest in infrastructure including participating in the federal Build- ing Canada Plan. That policy requires the GNWT to generate operating surpluses to nance infrastructure investments with at least 50 per cent of the fund- ing for capital projects to come from operating surpluses and a no more thanhalftocomefromdebt.Finance MinisterMcLeodsaidincreasedbor- rowing to fund capital projects or pay for unexpected expenditures like recent record re seasons and low water in the Snare Hydro Sys- tem will bring the GNWT closer to its federally imposed debt limit and make it impossible to absorb further unexpected costs. McLeod said the GNWT will develop proposals and share them with MLAs for input prior to the preparation of business plans later this year. RegularMLAsproposedtheGNWT adopt scal planning priorities that wouldcreatenewsourcesofgovern- ment revenue and would invest im- mediately in the economy through targetedinfrastructureprojectsand economicincentiveprograms.Beau- lieu conrmed cabinet and SCOPP hadmetbutsaidmembersoftheex- ecutive were not sharing everything with regular MLAs. BeaulieusaidtheSCOPPsupports responsiblespendingbutisconcerned austeritymeasureswouldundermine manyofthe18thAssemblyspriorities. Taking seniors as an example Beaulieu said regular MLAs would promote investing in aging-in-place programming such as increased home care over building costly new long-termcarespaces.Spendingthe moneyeitherwaycouldbedescribed as investing in supports for seniors which is an agreed-uponpriority for the18thAssemblybutBeaulieusaid home care would achieve the same goalatafractionofthecost.Henoted otherjurisdictionsincludingOntario are moving in that direction as well. Were not opposed to nding ef- ciencies at all Beaulieu told the Journal.Werejustbeingcautious. Were not opposed to nding eciencies at all. Were just being cautious. Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedh-Wiilideh MLA Brothers Jaxin Coombs 3 left and Kason Coombs 5 from Hay River were among the smallest competitors at the NWT Ski Championships in Fort Smith last weekend. Skiiers competed in a classic race on Saturday with interval starts and a freestyle race with a mass start on Sunday. For more photos turn to page 11. PhotobyDonJaque