News November 17, 2011

Caucus Identifies Priorities for the 17th Legislative Assembly

YELLOWKNIFE (November 17, 2011) The Caucus of the 17th Legislative Assembly concluded a significant phase of its strategic planning exercise today by reaching agreement on its vision, goals, and priorities for action under the theme of Believing in People and Building on the Strengths of Northerners; however, the caucus cautions that expectations must be tempered in light of the Government’s fiscal reality.

“We have taken a different approach to strategic planning from past Assemblies,” said Deputy Chair of Caucus Alfred Moses. “We recognize that the vision and goals set by the 16th Assembly are broad and long term and we did not see a need to make major changes to them. Instead we wanted to focus on setting a small number of priorities that we think we can achieve or make progress on during our four-year mandate, provided we can find the resources needed. This is going to be a challenge.”

“People should not be alarmed that they do not see everything in this strategic plan that we have included in past strategic plans,” said Chair of the Standing Committee on Priorities and Planning Kevin Menicoche. “In the past we have set out a job description for government, including many activities like education and land claims and self-government negotiations that are part of the core business of government and are ongoing. We want to reassure people that core government programs and services will continue. At the same time, we realize that if everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority, and we need to focus our efforts in a few key areas to make our time here count. We are going to be challenged to achieve even this smaller set of priorities given our fiscal reality, and will have some tough decisions ahead of us.”

The achievement of some priorities, in particular large infrastructure projects, will be contingent on federal government support and private sector involvement. Many of the other major investments identified will have to be delayed or may not be able to proceed at all if additional funds cannot be found. “We have rolled up our sleeves and tried to come up with the priority areas where we can make the most impact. At the same time, we do not have the resources to allocate to new strategic initiatives that we did in the past,” said Government House Leader Michael Miltenberger.  “We all need to temper our expectations in keeping with the fiscal situation.”

The Believing in People and Building on the Strengths of Northerners document will form the basis for the government business plans and budgets that will be prepared over the course of the Assembly. The Legislative Assembly’s Standing Committees anticipate reviewing the first draft of the four year business plan in March 2012.

For more information, please contact:

Mr. Alfred Moses, Deputy Chair of Caucus
MLA Inuvik Boot Lake
Legislative Assembly of the NWT
P: 867-669-2282 or 1-800-661-0784

Attached document:



Our Vision 
Strong individuals, families and communities sharing the benefits and responsibilities of a unified, environmentally sustainable and prosperous Northwest Territories 

Our Goals 
A strong and independent north built on partnerships 
An environment that will sustain present and future generations 
Healthy, educated people free from poverty 
A diversified economy that provides all communities and regions with opportunities and choices 
Sustainable, vibrant, safe communities 
Effective and efficient government 

Our Priorities 

Build a strong and sustainable future for our Territory by strengthening our relationships with Aboriginal and other northern governments, negotiating and implementing a devolution final agreement, achieving an increase to our borrowing limit, and working with our partners to ensure responsible stewardship through our land and resource management regime 

Increase employment opportunities where they are most needed by decentralizing more GNWT positions, reducing dependency on government by encouraging people who are able to enter or remain in the workforce, and supporting child care programs to help parents become or stay employed 

Strengthen and diversify our economy by making strategic infrastructure investments such as the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk highway, the Mackenzie Fiberoptic Link, and hydro initiatives, supporting the Mackenzie Gas Pipeline project, developing a socially responsible and environmentally sustainable economic development and mining strategy, supporting the traditional economy, and improving our regulatory processes 

Address housing needs by completing and implementing the Shelter Policy Review including fair and sustainable public housing rent scales, selling our public housing stock where this makes sense, and putting higher density housing units in small communities 

Ensure a fair and sustainable health care system by investing in prevention, education and awareness and early childhood development, enhancing addictions treatment programs using existing infrastructure, and addressing our health facilities deficit