The territorial health minister joined several MLAs for a tour of the addictions facilities with which the GNWT is partnered, to get a better understanding of what NWT residents experience going south for addictions treatment and what they need when they come back home.
Young, passionate and well-spoken, students from across the territory took their seats at the legislative assembly on Thursday, May 11 for a Youth Parliament session.
Thursday was the culmination of a week of drafting and discussing motions, meeting with MLAs and getting a firsthand look at the democratic process. Nineteen youth in grades nine and 10, each representing one region of the territory, took part in the 15th annual Youth Parliament.
For many of them, the issues they advocated for hit close to home. Angus James Capot-Blanc from Fort Liard, representing Nahendeh, gave an impassioned speech on the mental health crisis in his community.
“It is spreading fast and it’s affecting mainly the youth in the communities, which is pretty sad because that’s our next generation,” he said during a break in Thursday’s session.
Myha Martin, a resident of Inuvik representing Inuvik Twin Lakes, described how elders are suffering from cultural loss and addictions, something she wants to solve by creating more work and travel opportunities throughout the region.
The effects of travel costs for remote communities was a huge concern for many of the youth, including Kyran Alikamik from Ulukhaktok. “I just think it’s very unreasonable,” he said of the $4,000 cost of airfare from his community to the territory’s capital. Another danger Alikamik warned about is drug trafficking and consumption, in particular substances laced with fentanyl .
For Alikmak, the experience of territorial politics weighed heavily on him. “I’m experiencing it right now and I’m sitting on the chairs and I feel like there’s a lot of pressure. I can make a decision but that can also influence others decisions, right?” he said. “Me making decisions for a quite large population is too much pressure for me, a little too much.”
While Alikmak said Youth Parliament has made him realize politics is not for him, others plan to continue after this experience. Capot-Blanc said politics is one of his passions, along with playing music, singing and repairing things.
At the legislative assembly on Thursday, May 11, were in the front row, from left, legislative officer Heather Riviere, committee clerk Michael Ball and Danielle Mager, manager of public affairs and communications for the legislative assembly of the NWT. In the back row, from left, are MLA Kam Lake Kieron Tesart, Speaker for the Youth Parliament Rianna Camsell and Yellowknife Centre’s Julie Green. Emelie Peacock/NNSL Photo
Angus James Capot-Blanc, left, representing Nahendeh and Robert Paddock representing Frame Lake listen as Ivan Ceria, representing Yellowknife Centre, speaks about the problem of homelessness on the streets Yellowknife on Thursday, May 11 at the legislative assembly. Emelie Peacock/NNSL Photo
Nicole Biggs, left, Allana Zettler and Alvin Kollannoor listen as Anusha Sivakumar, right, speaks on the dangerous effects of arsenic on her constituency Kam Lake on Thursday, May 11 at the GNWT legislative assembly. The delegates spent a week researching, meeting with their MLAs and discussing issues of concern for the constituencies they represented at the week-long Youth Parliament. Emelie Peacock/NNSL Photo
Victoria Tweedie-Pitre, right, respresenting Hay River North, Nicole Biggs, representing Mackenzie Delta, Allana Zettler representing Sahtu, and Alvin Kollannoor representing Yellowknife North, in a model sitting at the GNWT legislative assembly on Thursday, May 11. Tweedie-Pitre
speaks about how the cost of air travel is stunting the growth of her community Hay River, in her statement to the 18 delegates of the 15th Youth Parliament. Emelie Peacock/NNSL Photo
Speaker for the Youth Parliament Rianna Camsell keeps her 17 MLAs on task and following protocol, during the 15th Youth Parliament on Thursday, May 11 at the legislative assembly. Emelie Peacock/NNSL Photo
Emma Willoughby, left, representing Great Slave, Aidan Allan, representing Yellowknife South and Myha Martin, representing Inuvik Twin Lakes, listen as delegates debate on a motion to regulate the sale of marijuana in the GNWT legislative assembly on Thursday, May 11. Emelie Peacock/NNSL Photo
Victoria Tweedie-Pitre, top, representing Hay River North, Nicole Biggs, representing Mackenzie Delta, Allana Zettler representing Sahtu, and Alvin Kollannoor representing Yellowknife North, listen to a debate on mandatory indigenous language learning at the GNWT legislative assembly on Thursday, May 11 for the 15th Youth Parliament in the Northwest Territories. Emelie Peacock/NNSL Photo
Myha Martin, right, representing Inuvik Twin Lakes, Lisa Boutilier, representing Hay River South, and Macayla Flett-DaCorte, representing Thebacha, during a sitting in the Youth Parliament at the Government of the Northwest Territories legislative assembly on May 11. Boutilier responded to a motion to regulate marijuana across the territory, which passed with 14 votes for, three against and one abstention. Emelie Peacock/NNSL Photo
Emma Willoughby, left, representing Great Slave, Aidan Allan representing Yellowknife South, Myha Martin representing Inuvik Twin Lakes and Lisa Boutilier representing Hay River South stand during a vote for a motion to train teachers across the territory on youth mental health on Thursday, May 11 at the Government of the Northwest Territories legislative assembly. Emelie Peacock/NNSL Photo
The city should get full marks for its innovative approach to sparking business growth downtown.
A contest is being held awarding one year of free downtown commercial space to the first place winner.
The city has witnessed a business flight from the downtown core in recent years as retailers struggled with high rents, competition from online sales, and social problems related to loitering and public intoxication.
National air show coming to most NWT communities this summer
May 12, 2017
A celebration of Northern aviation is bringing pilots and performers from across the country to tour 97 communities this summer.
The Canadian Arctic Aviation Tour spans all three territories as well as a few communities in Manitoba, Quebec and Newfoundland.
Thirty-one communities in the Northwest Territories are scheduled to have shows over their communities, with 11 receiving a “wheels-down” event where the airplanes will land and community members can meet the performers.
The show kicks off in Fort Liard on June 2 with a wheels-down stop. Fort Liard Mayor Steven Steeves said the hamlet already has plans to give performers a true Northern welcome.
“We’ve got our kids putting up legends and stories … We’re giving them a big drum dance and everything, too,” Steeves said. “We want to show Canada, the world, what we’re all about.”
Hamlet recreation co-ordinator Sophie Kirby said community members are excited about the event.
The hamlet will be putting on a feast before the drum dance, both of which will take place June 1 the evening before the airshow is scheduled to start.
Kirby said the plan is for the show to be done over the Liard River, adding the hamlet plans to have lifeguards on hand as well. “Hopefully the entire community will be there for the event,” she stated in an e-mail. Some members of the show’s crew are already in the community for the tour’s education component. Nancy McClure, executive director for the Canadian Arctic Aviation Tour, said that segment is geared toward encouraging young people to pursue dreams of a career in aviation. “The education piece is all literacy-based. A lot of it will be conversations our pilots have on the ground with kids as they talk about the possible career choices they might be looking at,” she said. She and her team sees aviation as a career that could bring Northern youth back to their home communities to work and live. “We’re really focusing on the fact that if you look at Northern people (in) these careers, they’re going to come back home hopefully,” she said.Some of the challenges the team has faced include how to bring in proper aviation gas to some of the smaller communities, securing accommodations and finding sponsors to help cover the cost of the tour. Most of the project has been driven by volunteers. McClure said the team is still fundraising, and is also crowdfunding with an initiative that allows people to purchase their own personal kilometre of the tour for $25. The airshow itself is free of charge, unlike many of its southern counterparts. McClure said when she signed on as executive director, she decided the show needed to something everyone could come to see – despite any financial implications of running a free show. “We did not compromise on our original vision. That was what was really important to me, because the point of the project was that we would bring this to everyone,” she said. “We could have solved some of our problems by making this a paid airshow … but we didn’t want people to be excluded because they couldn’t pay.” The tour will also be carbon-neutral, McClure said. The team partnered with Carbonzero, a Canadian carbon offset firm, by purchasing “carbon credits” to be re-invested elsewhere in the country. “We made it a priority,” McClure said. “We’re not only carbon-sensitive, we’re actually net zero on this project.
“The show was developed partly as a way to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, but also as a way to celebrate the tradition of aviation in the North. “We really wanted this to have more of a legacy approach,” McClure said. “The North-south corridor was built with airplanes, not trains, and that continues to be the case. So how would we bring an event to many of these locations? We’d have to fly an event in. The airshow grew from that.” Communities will have up to nine aerobatic performances. The team’s Yellowknife stop will include a demonstration jet as well. Among the performers are Anna Serbinenko, who McClure said is the only performing female airshow pilot in Canada, as well as Bud and Ross Granley. “In airshow circles in North America, (Bud) is kind of the grandpa of air show performers. He is a legacy,” McClure said.
Fact File NWT tour dates June 2 – Fort Liard June 7 – Fort McPherson, Tsiigehtchic June 8 – Inuvik June 9 – Sachs Harbour, Ulukhaktok, Paulatuk June 10 – Aklavik June 11 – Tuktoyaktuk June 12 – Fort Good Hope, Colville Lake June 13 – Norman Wells, Deline, Tulita June 14 – Fort Simpson, Jean Marie River, Wrigley, Nahanni Butte, Sambaa K’e, Fort Providence June 17 – Fort Smith June 18 – Kakisa, Enterprise, Fort Resolution, Lutsel K’e, Wekweeti, Behchoko, Whati, Gameti June 19 – Ulukhaktok July 8 – Hay River July 9 – Yellowknife
Read 1,000 books to win a basket of books from literacy council
May 11, 2017
In an effort to inspire parents to read books to their young children, the NWT Literacy Council is encouraging them to break out their cameras. On May 9, the council announced it is holding a photo contest to help promote its initiative to have families read 1,000 books before their child enters Kindergarten. The contest, which asks for a photo of the entrant’s child reading a book, runs until May 31 and features a basket of books as a prize.
With graduation around the corner, a team of counsellors and administrators at Sir John Franklin High School are working with students who may not be able to walk across the stage and claim their diplomas this year.
One of the biggest safety issues facing workers in the NWT is the Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission’s (WSCC) inability to use a telephone. Or email. Or any other way to communicate with the families of those killed on the job effectively.
Earlier this month, the Vinnicombe family traveled to Yellowknife to take part int he National Day of Mourning, on behalf of their son, 19-year-old David Vinnicombe. He died in a heavy machinery accident in Inuvik last June.
His father, Robbie, says there’s “lots of room for improvement” when it comes to how the WSCC keeps families in the loop. He told Yellowknifer his family had little information about the investigation into his son’s accident, leading them to believe it wasn’t effective.
That poses a risk for future workers too: as Robbie explained, a “shoddy” job investigating his son’s death could lead to another fatality down the track. If the WSCC can’t even explain adequately to the family, how can the public trust they’re doing everything they can to safeguard workers on the job?
The family has encouraged the minister of justice and the minister responsible for the WSCC to hire an ombudsman. Currently, there is no ombudsman– who investigates and reports on whether government agencies have followed policies and procedures– in the NWT.
But almost more importantly, the WSCC must keep families in the loop. The families and loved ones of workers killed on the job suffer. While the system grinds on, the families are left in the dark, not knowing why their loved one died, if anyone is to blame, and what’s being done to make sure no other families are shoved in the dark with them. If the WSCC isn’t keeping those lines of communication constantly open and flowing with families, it is suffering a public relations failure.
And there’s no reason this should be happening: the WSCC is a well-funded body. As David’s aunt Jacqui Vinnicombe told Yellowknifer, just because we’re in the North doesn’t mean we should expect anything less.
The Canadian Arctic Aviation Tour, which will see pilots perform airshows in Northern communities throughout the summer, is preparing to take off. “Each one of us who created this project carries a love for aviation,” stated Nancy McClure, executive director of the project, in a news release.Not every show will be the same, with some places getting major shows and other getting only flybys.The show will take off June 2. Inuvik will be one of the first stops. It is scheduled to perform overhead in town on June 8.
Krish Sharma and Myha Martin, both students at East Three Secondary School, were set to take part in youth parliament in Yellowknife this week. Sharma was the representative from Inuvik Boot Lake, with Martin representing Inuvik Twin Lakes. Nineteen high school students from across the territory take part in the annual program, which has students assume the role of their respected member of the legislative assembly and participate in three days of meetings and briefings before the youth parliament model session Thursday, May 11.