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Results: 1 - 30 of 1360
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'm pleased to have the opportunity to question you on this bill. It's something I have put forward in good faith to give our territory a chance to assert itself in terms of its fiscal capacity, its responsible nature, and its plans for the future. Of course, all of those come together for any government in this country, and I certainly believe that our government is a government.
Over the years we have needed to rely on federal financing through a process similar to equalization to ensure our government can protect the interests of our citizens over 1.4 million square kilometres of a vast land that has very expensive infrastructure requirements and very expensive requirements for its citizens as well. You know that.
When we talk about the 76%, that includes all of what Mrs. Melhorn has spoken to. Is that not correct? In terms of the royalties you accrued on behalf of the people of the Northwest Territories, the federal government collects all those. On the Normal Wells field, you collect between $100 million and $150 million a year. On the diamond fields, which you are totally responsible for, you set the royalty rate. You collect the money. That's a $2 billion industry.
You talked about the relative rates of royalties and taxation. In terms of the 76%, does that also include the dollars you collect in taxation?
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
Does it take into account the moneys you collect in the Northwest Territories?
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
Are the taxes you collect in the Northwest Territories for the territorial government included in that 76%?
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
I find your presentation very paternalistic. You talk about the problems with the bill and you say you're very concerned that somehow this Government of the Northwest Territories won't be able to manage its expenditures within a percentage it set for itself. Does this Government of the Northwest Territories now project its own estimates of revenues and expenditures? What has its record been on that?
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
To the Government of the Northwest Territories, with the formula you're working on with the federal government now, are you not concerned that if you have to identify projects that are self-financing you'll run into the same situation that he's proposed here, where the revenues that are accruing to particular investments that you make will not perhaps match up every year to your requirements, and then those debts would not be self-financing?
Are you going to be engaged in a process that will mean that every debt you incur will be reviewed every year by this federal government to determine whether you are matching the debt to the revenues you're collecting?
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
So you're comfortable that you know your fiscal capacity to manage debt and to manage payments is adequate to cover these situations, which also could be quite variable?
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
Do you really think this federal government has any need to oversee your borrowing capacity in any fashion at all?
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
I, too, have that confidence, having been close to this for most of my life. I see that as being something that wasn't an issue, and I'm very pleased to hear what you've had to say about the relationship, because in my conversations with the finance minister of your government we always talked about these two processes going on separate tracks, because they are up there.
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
Before I brought this bill forward for consideration by the House, I certainly did. Before I brought it forward for first reading...well, private member's bills are—
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
Here's a response in Hansard from the finance minister:
The Member of Parliament is elected by the people of the Northwest Territories in a general election. He doesn't answer to this Assembly, he answers to the people of the Northwest Territories.
This is the Minister of Finance in our government:
He has tools at his disposal to advance causes that he sees as important to the development of the Northwest Territories, some that we share in common with him. The Member of Parliament had the good grace to contact us, to consult with us, to indicate to us what he was doing, ask for our feedback and our thoughts, which we gave him. But it should be very clear in this House, he doesn't answer to us, we don't answer to him, and he's doing what he thinks is necessary as a Member of Parliament.
That is the Minister of Finance of our government speaking on November 4, 2010.
Yes, of course, I have. In terms of formal consultation, I live in the north and I consult with people in my way. I'm a politician. I reserve the right to consult with people in my way. I consult with people at every election as well, and I represent all the people in the Northwest Territories. For anyone to doubt that is to doubt our basic democratic principles in this country.
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
Quite clearly, this presentation that was made today explains very clearly what's going on. Perhaps, even to me, that wasn't as clear as it has been today, and the guidance I have received from the Minister of Finance has been to carry on “as you see fit”, so in that sense, I haven't had any instructions not to do what I'm doing.
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
I'd be very pleased to do that. The copy of the letter is there.
Do you want me to comment on your statement, or do you want to continue with your questioning?
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
If I could speak to the course of events in regard to the premier's statement, when I quoted from his letter--
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
What I realize is that you have made a promise for $150 million for a road. Any money that would come on that particular promise would only come in 2012-13. I don't see that there's any money in the budget for that promise. I like the promise. I hope the promise is kept by the government, but if it's like many of the other promises you've made on capital infrastructure--
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
Any effort to provide information on this subject I would welcome. I would absolutely welcome that information. If it is the Auditor General or people off the street, I would accept any witnesses you would have on this because I think this is a very important bill.
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
That is a different question from what was asked me, and it's something that of course the committee could make a determination on, and that is, whether there was any requirement for the Auditor General. I don't think so. We have the main players who are engaged in this particular issue.
I feel this is a political issue. This is an issue of regional sovereignty. It's an issue of responsible government. It's an issue of the right of the people of the Northwest Territory for equality based under the political rights that we have under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in this country. What's the Auditor General going to say to that? What's she going to say to the basic political message that needs to be delivered here? I don't see that it's so important. But if the committee made the decision to see more witnesses, I would respect that. I would respect what the committee wants to do with this because this is a very important issue for my constituents.
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
Well, we saw the case in Yellowknife where the aboriginal groups that weren't included in the AIP asked for the INAC minister to consult with them in Yellowknife, and he wouldn't meet with them. That was a matter of months ago.
That's something that was in the press. There was a lot of negative reaction to that in the Northwest Territories, the fact that the consultation between the INAC minister and the aboriginal groups that he has a fiduciary responsibility with didn't take place.
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
What I have done is try to address as many of those issues as possible. We gave opportunities in terms of press releases on this as early as June of last year. It certainly had a great deal of discussion in the media. Certainly with the important players we needed to talk to about this particular bill, that has happened.
I can't answer for members of the legislative assembly who don't read the newspapers and come to me. We offered all MLAs a meeting with Jack Layton and me on September 2 to discuss that issue. If they chose to come, that could have happened. I know that Mr. Ramsay, who lives in Yellowknife, chose not to come, for whatever reason.
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
Thank you, Mr. Minister, for joining us here with your staff. I'm glad to have you here.
On this particular issue--and I don't want to belabour it too much here today because there are other things to go on to--quite clearly, if unions agreed to changes in management, it was with the understanding that their jobs would remain here in Canada. They would remain as part of the agreed-upon act of Parliament that made this happen. I don't see it being a particularly important point that the unions went along with the merger, because they were under the understanding that these laws would remain in place and that these operational centres would remain.
Basically what they're looking for is that the Canada Industrial Relations Board's decision concerning the transition of Air Canada employees to a subcontractor be set aside until the government takes a position on this act. Do you support the act? With that, this relationship will remain. Two years is not a long contract when you're talking about highly skilled professional workers who are in the field right now in the numbers they are. Where is the assurance these people can have, moving forward, on their benefits and their relationships?
This is something that has great importance in the Canadian economy as well.
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
Well, I'd say that one thing industry and unions want is consistency from the government. If this is the law, then the spirit and intent of the law are going to be upheld.
You mentioned the need to improve the economics of our airline industries. I see that in the main estimates you have a $334 million increase for aviation security. How much of that is going to be taken up with the new charges that are going in place?
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
What's your plan to reduce the cost of aviation security? Whether it's from two years ago or from this year, what's your plan to reduce these costs so that we're competitive with many of the other countries in the world?
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
If it's security, then wouldn't it be in the hands of the government rather than in the hands of the passenger? If it's simply a question of security, then should that not be part of the expense of all of us rather than the expense of the travelling public?
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
On the green infrastructure fund, you see a $70 million reduction. What's the process there? Has there been consultation with the provinces and territories, your partners, in this to see that reduction?
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
So this is money that wasn't taken up this year.
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
Why is that? Why in this day and age should we not be getting the green infrastructure fund?
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
Thanks. I have a question in that same vein.
Does your department have a definition for what you would consider to be an operational facility, a maintenance facility, under the Air Canada Public Participation Act? Do you have a firm definition of what that is, so we can compare it to see whether Air Canada is meeting your expectations for a maintenance centre?
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
You have no definition of what a maintenance centre is. How do we then determine whether Air Canada is providing a maintenance centre in those locations?
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
Thank you.
I have a question on aviation safety inspectors. How are we doing with the hiring of new inspectors for our aviation safety program?
View Dennis Bevington Profile
NDP (NT)
So you don't really have a number; you can give that number to the committee later.
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