Legislative Briefs
Diamond training assistance available

Jeff Colbourne
Northern News Services

NNSL (May 27/98) - Northern businesses looking to tap into secondary diamond industries can turn to the GNWT for help.

A diamond review committee is accepting applications from businesses looking for financial assistance to set up operations and training programs to meet the growing demands of secondary diamond industries in the NWT.

One application has been received so far.

"The proposals are to be reviewed and handled as expeditiously as possible," said Economic Development Minister Stephen Kakfwi.

Living allowance review

Finance Minister John Todd is prepared to re-examine the cost-of-living index in the NWT.

Yellowknife South MLA Seamus Henry raised concerns about Northern living allowances earlier this month after discovering that Yellowknife and Rae-Edzo were the only communities where GNWT employees would not see increases in the allowances. Hay River, one of the less expensive places to live would see an increase.

Henry said in all fairness to GNWT employees he is asking Todd to look at the name of the particular program, Northern Living Allowance, and ensure it reflects Northern living allowances and not Northern travel allowances.

NLAs are based on a cost-of-living index in each community and a seven-day advance airfare out of a community. Yellowknife is used as a base for the indexes.

Western training strategy

Education Minister Charles Dent wants to help build a competent qualified public service by the year 2004. He plans to do this through a Western Resource Development Strategy with funding from the federal government.

"A commitment of about $3.6 million a year over a six-year period has been proposed in the supplemental report on transition costs," said Dent.

The report has been sent to Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Jane Stewart, who has already given a verbal commitment to provide help with staff retraining and office space rationalization.

Strike watch

The territorial government set up a task force to monitor developments in the strike at Miramar Con Mine.

"Don Cooper is the deputy minister of justice. He's chairing that task force. Joe Handley as well as Penny Ballantyne, Ron Williams and Judy Langford are on that task force to keep us appraised of the issues of the strike," said Premier Don Morin, referring to other senior members of the bureaucracy.