Northwest Territories

Article excerpt

The Third session of the 17th Legislative Assembly reconvened on Wednesday, October 17, 2012. The focus of the Session was the introduction and passage of Bill 14: Appropriations Act (Infrastructure Expenditures), 2013-2014. This is in keeping with the changes which the Assembly adopted in 2008 to introduce the capital budget in the fall, rather than as part of the Main Estimates, which are introduced in the spring. In addition, two supplementary appropriation bills, addressing both operations and infrastructure, were introduced and considered during the sitting.

Alfred Moses, Chair of the Standing Committee on Social Programs, reported back to the Assembly on the consideration of four bills which were referred to Committee during the spring sitting. The Standing Committee held public hearings in the capital on Bill: 5, Legal Aid Act, on August 23, 2012 and October 29, 2012. Based on substantive public input, the Committee proposed twelve amendments to the bill. The Minister concurred with all but one of the amendments during the public clause-by-clause review. The remaining amendment was introduced during the Committee of the Whole consideration of the Bill in the House and was subsequently defeated. The Standing Committe on Social Programs considered and reported on a total of six bills during the sitting.

Committee Reports

Two Committee reports were presented during the sitting. Robert Hawkins, Chair of the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Infrastructure, presented the Report on August 2012 Hydraulic Fracturing Study Tour: Toward a Policy Framework for Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northwest Territories. In its report, the Standing Committee provided eight recommendations to the government, most relating to the establishment of policy and regulations with respect to hydraulic fracturing in the Northwest Territories. During its review of the report in Committee of the Whole, the Assembly adopted all eight committee motions.

Bob Bromley, Chair of the Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures presented the Report on the Use of Tablet Computers in Formal Session of the Legislative Assembly. This report recommended that Members be permitted to use tablet computers during all proceedings in the Chamber, with the exception of the following: during the prayer, when the Commissioner is present in the Chamber, during the Speaker's opening and dosing remarks and rulings, during votes and at any other time designated pursuant to instruction of the Speaker. Tablet computers are also subject to the existing convention that any electronic device used in the Chamber must be on silent mode at all times. The report further recommended that the Rules of the Legislative Assembly be amended to reflect this decision and that the changes be effective for the February 2013 sitting of the Assembly. During consideration of the report in Committee of the Whole, three motions were introduced and adopted by the Assembly.

Business Plan Reivew

Working within the consensus government framework, the Standing Committees of the Legislative Assembly devoted three weeks in September to the review of departmental business plans. The business plans are developed by the government departments in accordance with the Assembly's vision and goals, as established collaboratively at the beginning of each Assembly. …