Candidate in the Frame Lake Yellowknife race.
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April 17, 2021
CBC North - Canada's Liberal government is set to release a highly anticipated federal budget on Monday, leaving leaders across the N.W.T. Since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau formed a minority government in the fall of 2019, the government has only released one federal budget. Reducing inequalityThe first federal budget since the start of the pandemic is expected to tackle inequality. Erwin Elias is the mayor of Tuktoyaktuk, a community where the impacts of climate change are in plain sight. (Mario De Ciccio/Radio-Canada)O'Reilly reiterated a sense of urgency when it comes to adapting and mitigating climate change as well.
April 15, 2021
CBC North - K-12 curriculum is out of date and in need of renewal," said Shannon Barnett-Aikman, the assistant deputy minister of Education and CultureN.W.T.-made curriculum ruled outRight now, the N.W.T. For example, the high school curriculum is adopted entirely from Alberta for Grades 10,11 and 12. Jessica Brace, the director of curriculum development with Education, Culture and Employment, confirmed they'd be maintaining this approach and ruled out the possibility of a curriculum designed completely by the N.W.T. Regardless, the curriculum needs to be reflective of cultures, languages and identities of students in the N.W.T., Brace added. curriculum is "closely aligned" with what the department is looking for in a curriculum, they are still considering all options, including Alberta.
April 14, 2021
Cabin Radio - The NWT government on Tuesday strongly hinted a move toward adopting much of British Columbia’s school curriculum is likely in the coming two years. Education officials presenting an update to NWT MLAs said the BC curriculum was easily the best fit for the territory across four key criteria. The territory currently uses Alberta’s curriculum but has been unnerved by that province’s recently announced update, which was panned by experts and not developed with the NWT’s input. A decision on the source of the next NWT curriculum is due in August or September this year, for implementation across the territory at the start of the 2022-23 academic year. “It’s hard to imagine Alberta’s [new curriculum] is going to come out any better,” deadpanned Frame Lake MLA Kevin O’Reilly in response.
April 5, 2021
NNSL Media - The GNWT recently funded suicide prevention programs but questions remain over supports for after-care among people who have attempted suicide. The person reached out after Health Minister Julie Green announced on March 9 that her department had allocated $225,000 for a community suicide prevention fund. The fund will provide $45,000 per project for Indigenous governments and non-governmental organizations to develop and deliver community-based suicide prevention activities. NWT suicide rate higher than CanadaHowever, even with all of those programs the NWT “suffers rates of suicide at alarming levels compared to other territories and provinces,” O’Reilly said. Community suicide prevention fundThe minister said there has already been a lot interest in the community suicide prevention fund in the three weeks since it was launched and groups have finalized proposals.
April 2, 2021
NNSL Media - image courtesy of the GNWTThe Revolution unit includes a heat pump and a combined heat and power (CHP) plant that replaces a conventional furnace. Ventilation system prevents mouldThe housing system aims to solve another problem that plagues many Arctic homes: mould growth. The housing system avoids the “siloed” style of conventional homes where aspects such as energy, the electrical grid and the house itself are separate. Housing easier to build with fewer labourersA third solution the inclusive housing units provide is faster construction using fewer workers. And I think the biggest thing for me is the time frame (Revolution) units could be built in.
April 1, 2021
CBC North - government does not have a "coherent" public registry detailing who holds an oil and gas licence, or what area a licence covers — and that erodes government transparency, according to Frame Lake MLA Kevin O'Reilly. It is "virtually impossible to get any coherent information on specific oil and gas holdings," he said, after raising concerns about a significant discovery licence being issued in the Sahtu without conditions. "While attempting to drill down into the Husky Oil significant discovery licence, I was astounded at how difficult it is to find any useful or accessible information about how our government actually administers oil and gas rights," he said. Two weeks after the territorial government converted Cenovus Energy's exploration licence to a significant discovery licence, that information has not been updated online. (Mario De Ciccio/Radio-Canada)Wawzonek responded to more questions in the Legislative Assembly Wednesday on the issuance of a significant discovery licence to Cenovus Energy on March 16.
March 30, 2021
CBC North - Before the legislation came into effect, former Industry Minister Wally Schumann issued ten significant discovery licences covering 2,200 square kilometres. "Companies that had rights adjacent to [a significant discovery], were able to ask for and receive a significant discovery licence…. In total, there are now more than 90 significant discovery licenses covering more than 4,760 square kilometres of the N.W.T., said O'Reilly. But [Minister Wawzonek] seems to think that it ties her hands and it doesn't allow her to require benefits." Conditions 'not legally appropriate'The company could reasonably expect to move into an significant discovery licence without any long-term requirements, she said.
March 30, 2021
Cabin Radio - The territorial government will inject an extra $600,000 to expand its midwifery program ahead of schedule following consultation with regular MLAs. More: Midwives and moms make case for prioritizing midwiferyThe announcement met with acclaim from regular MLAs. $130,000 for tourism in Fort Smith and a commitment to fund seven community tourism positions across the NWT, up from the previous four. Wawzonek said the GNWT would ensure a “fiscally responsible” approach by reducing departmental travel budgets by a total of $4.03 million. Kevin O’Reilly, the MLA for Frame Lake, said the changes were the result of a dialogue between regular MLAs and cabinet that had not existed under the government of prior premier Bob McLeod.
March 26, 2021
Cabin Radio - A Yellowknife lawyer and several MLAs say not enough has been done to replace the NWT’s former law library, harming residents’ access to legal resources and, ultimately, justice. The NWT’s Department of Justice closed the law library in 2016, making the territory the only jurisdiction in Canada without one. Comparatively, in 2015, the government spent $467,000 to operate the law library, far outspending its $244,000 budget. Testart said the lack of a law library or more fulsome resource centre impedes the public’s access to quality justice resources. O’Reilly said he’d also like the law library to reopen with a librarian, but he feels that’s unlikely to happen.
May 8, 2020
NNSL Media - But the backbone of the Northern economy was almost overlooked completely. Frame Lake MLA Kevin O’Reilly actually attempted to steer his colleagues away from trying to aid the mining industry because the GNWT doesn’t have “deep enough pockets” and cannot control commodity prices or financing. That’s what mining has done. He’s also an advocate for the Taltson Hydroelectricity Expansion Project, the Slave Geological Province Corridor Project and the Mackenzie Valley Highway. Premier Caroline Cochrane told reporters that mining industry representatives will be consulted as the economic plan evolves.