Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise to advise Members of the Legislative Assembly that the Honourable George Tuccaro, Commissioner of the Northwest Territories has been reappointed to his position for another one-year term. The appointment was announced by the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada the Honourable Bernard Valcourt last week. Commissioner Tuccaro’s second term will begin on May 11, 2015 and end on May 10, 2016.
The role and relationship of the Commissioner’s Office and the Government of the Northwest Territories has always been a close one. Only 30 years ago, the Commissioner would have been directly involved in the day-to-day running of government and would have had many of the same responsibilities the Premier now has.
As our people and territory have evolved, so has our political system. Today, elected representatives serving the people of the Northwest Territories have the responsibility for the daily direction and control of the government.
At the same time, the role of the Commissioner has evolved into a more ceremonial and symbolic office similar to that of a provincial lieutenant governor. In this role, the Commissioner symbolizes and expresses the values and aspirations of all residents of the Northwest Territories. In representing the interests we all share, the Commissioner is a powerful symbol of the things that unite us as Northerners.
The Commissioner is also an important symbol of our belief in our democratic institutions of government, both in Canada and the Northwest Territories. Through his relationship with the Governor General, Lieutenant Governors and other Commissioners, the Commissioner symbolizes our participation in the Canadian federation.
The demands of being Commissioner require a person with unique characteristics. To represent and reflect their interests, the Commissioner needs to know and be in touch with people all across the Northwest Territories. A Commissioner needs dignity and tact to help foster respect for the institutions of government, despite political controversy and human error. Also a Commissioner needs selflessness to rise above personal interest and represent the interests of all Northwest Territories residents.
I think everyone will agree that Mr. George Tuccaro has demonstrated all those characteristics in private life and in his term as Commissioner. Mr. Tuccaro is well known across the North, both as a broadcaster and through his travels. His support for Northern arts and culture is well known. He has served on the NWT Arts Council, promoted Aboriginal language programming at CBC North, served on the Legislative Assembly’s Cultural Enhancement Committee and been involved in many cultural events throughout the years. His more recent work before becoming Commissioner involving issues like healthy lifestyles, drug and alcohol abuse prevention and residential schools, proved that he is still in touch with the issues that affect so many Northerners today.
Mr. Speaker, it has been an honour to have worked with Mr. Tuccaro during his term as Commissioner. He is traveling in the Mackenzie Delta this week promoting the anniversary of the Canadian flag, but I would like to invite all Members to join me in congratulating him for his reappointment.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.