The 4th Session of the 17th Legislative Assembly reconvened on October 17, 2013. The principal business of the House included the introduction and passage of the capital budget for the fiscal year 2014-2015, as well as four supplementary appropriation bills. The House also considered a total of 17 pieces of legislation, all receiving assent from George Tuccaro, Commissioner of the Northwest Territories, before prorogation on November 1, 2013. The following bills are of particular interest:
Bill 3: The Wildlife Act was reviewed and debated during this sitting. The bill replaces the existing wildlife legislation, dating back to 1978, and is a unique and collaborative effort between the Government of the Northwest Territories and Aboriginal governments to jointly draft legislation that upholds the constitutionally enshrined treaty and Aboriginal rights and provisions in land claim agreements, as well as recognizing the fundamental value of wildlife to all Northwest Territory residents.
The Standing Committee on Economic Development and Infrastructure, chaired by Robert Hawkins, also carried out extensive consultation on the bill. During the committee review, on September 24, four motions were moved, adopted and concurred with by the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Michael Miltenberger.
The debate in the House took place on October 29, 2013, with nine motions adopted to further amend the bill. The amended bill received third reading on October 31, and assent on November 1.
Bill 12: An Act to Amend the Education Act was referred to the Standing Committee on Social Programs for consideration on June 3, 2013. This amendment to the Education Act deals with bullying and cyberbullying in schools. In September the committee held public meetings throughout the territory to receive submissions. For the first time, a Legislative Assembly committee held special meetings in schools to engage students and hear first-hand about bullying in NWT schools. The committee met with students in Yellowknife and three regional centres, in addition to connecting with students in a remote northern community via e-learning technology. To facilitate discussion and openness, the format of the meetings was much less formal than a typical public hearing.
During the committee's consideration, three amendments were introduced, adopted by committee and concurred with by the Minister. Following consideration in Committee of the Whole, and third reading, the bill...