This is page numbers 431 - 469 of the Hansard for the 13th Assembly, 7th Session. The original version can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly's website or by contacting the Legislative Assembly Library. The word of the day was chairman.

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Further Return To Question 157-13(7): Funds Spent On Travel By The Government
Question 157-13(7): Funds Spent On Travel By The Government
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 440

The Deputy Speaker David Krutko

Oral questions. Mrs. Groenewegen.

Question 158-13(7): Cost-savings Measures
Item 6: Oral Questions

April 29th, 1999

Page 440

Jane Groenewegen Hay River

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I hear what my colleague is saying here. He has identified travel as an area where he believes this government could save substantial amounts of money. I know this is not the budget process, this is question period. Mr. Speaker, I also have a suggestion and I would like to find out if the Premier would be willing to pursue my idea. Mr. Speaker, each and every day, as MLAs and I am sure people throughout the bureaucracy of this government, receive probably about (Mr. Erasmus would not mind if I borrow his desk) this much paper almost on a daily, if not every second day, basis, that we live in a modern age of technology. We do not all need hard copies of every document that this government produces, which I am sure we spend hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars on to produce, not to mention the fact that it is environmentally not a good idea. Any and all of these documents could be downloaded onto computers that Members and the public could access once they become available as tabled documents. We have a real subculture of paper in the bureaucracy and in the government. This is another area of potential savings. Is this an area the Premier would be prepared to look at as a cost-saving measure? Thank you.

Question 158-13(7): Cost-savings Measures
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 440

The Deputy Speaker David Krutko

Mr. Premier.

Return To Question 158-13(7): Cost-savings Measures
Question 158-13(7): Cost-savings Measures
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 440

Jim Antoine Nahendeh

We will do what we can. Thank you.

Return To Question 158-13(7): Cost-savings Measures
Question 158-13(7): Cost-savings Measures
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 440

The Deputy Speaker David Krutko

Oral questions. Supplementary, Mrs. Groenewegen.

Return To Question 158-13(7): Cost-savings Measures
Question 158-13(7): Cost-savings Measures
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 440

Jane Groenewegen Hay River

Thank you, if I could continue on the ideas to save money because, as Mr. Henry says, this is something we get thrown back at us all the time. Where can we save money? Mr. Speaker, I want to say, for the record, that if we were to be asked, does this government waste money, I am sure we would have to honestly answer that, in fact, it does. We have a library over here that is full of strategies, reviews and documents. Yesterday's studies are today's dust collectors. All of these things have a shelf life, and before we have even had a chance to really read the last one, we are embarking on a new one. Would the Premier agree to look at the possibility of...right now we are heading into another Ministerial Forum on Health, and we just spent $350,000 on the Ministerial Forum on Education. Would the Premier agree to try and put a stop to this insatiable desire this government seems to have to review and study? Thank you.

--Applause

Return To Question 158-13(7): Cost-savings Measures
Question 158-13(7): Cost-savings Measures
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 440

The Deputy Speaker David Krutko

Mr. Premier.

Further Return To Question 158-13(7): Cost-savings Measures
Question 158-13(7): Cost-savings Measures
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 440

Jim Antoine Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, yes there are strategic plans in place to refocus and relook at what we are doing and how things are getting done. We have a consensus government here, and every time we want to do something, everybody out there, the communities, want to have a say. In this whole area, in the area of let us say, Health and Social Services, there was a request for a public inquiry into Health and Social Services, let us say, into the Inuvik area. That causes a heck of a lot more dollars than doing the strategic plan. Again, we in the Western Territory here, we are a smaller territory and like the Minister of Health and Social Services is saying, we have nine Health and Social Services Boards. We have nine administrations that are running the Health and Social Services Boards in the west. When we were together with Nunavut, perhaps we were functioning for a bigger area and more people. Now that we are smaller, we have to refocus and recharge.

Perhaps the Health and Social Services Minister's Forum will make some suggestions on how to cut some costs and save dollars. Perhaps that could be a way of finding more dollars, but it might also be a way of saying the arrangements on how to streamline some operations and have better health and social services care. Yes, you are asking that we should stop doing strategic plans and I think that there is a need for it, especially with this consensus style of government we have, and every time we want to do something, people want to have a say. So there is a need for it, I think, but I agree that perhaps before any other strategic plan gets struck up that we take a real close look whether there is a need for it before we undertake the next strategy. I do not see anything coming down the line here on that, but if anything is suggested, we have to take a real close look at it. Thank you.

Further Return To Question 158-13(7): Cost-savings Measures
Question 158-13(7): Cost-savings Measures
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 440

The Deputy Speaker David Krutko

Oral questions. Supplementary, Mrs. Groenewegen.

Supplementary To Question 158-13(7): Cost-savings Measures
Question 158-13(7): Cost-savings Measures
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 440

Jane Groenewegen Hay River

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, I know that the study or the inquiry into Health and Social Services was requested, but the Premier says that people want to have a say and that with our consensus style of government, we have to consult the people. Well, we are here representing those people and what we are saying is that this government spends too much money soliciting input from people, which it may or may not act upon, and too often probably does not act upon anyway. I had called for a couple of documents from the library here the other day on deficit-cutting ideas that was conducted in late 1995. A lot of the comments from the public in there would be the same as if you went out and asked them again today, but probably would not read that,

we would probably file it some place.

Mr. Speaker, we are here to represent the people. We are a part of this consensus government too. Perhaps the Cabinet could consult with us when they want to know where we could save money or different ways that we could find of doing things. It is possible to say no to consultation as well. Everybody wants to be a consultant. It does not mean we can afford, as a government, to consult everybody. Just say no. That is what Cabinet says to us all the time when we ask for more money for education. Mr. Speaker, would the Premier agree to consider putting a moratorium on this next ministerial forum which will probably cost another third or quarter of a million dollars on Health and Social Services and look for a cheaper way to solicit information and input on the way this department conducts its business? Thank you.

Supplementary To Question 158-13(7): Cost-savings Measures
Question 158-13(7): Cost-savings Measures
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 441

The Deputy Speaker David Krutko

Mr. Premier.

Further Return To Question 158-13(7): Cost-savings Measures
Question 158-13(7): Cost-savings Measures
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 441

Jim Antoine Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I think it will be very difficult for me to put a moratorium on this next forum here on Health and Social Services. I think there was a request from different communities, I understand, and we had committed to do it. I think some Members in the House had asked us to do it as well, so we are going to carry on with it. Thank you.

Further Return To Question 158-13(7): Cost-savings Measures
Question 158-13(7): Cost-savings Measures
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 441

The Deputy Speaker David Krutko

Oral questions. Mr. Ootes.

Question 159-13(7): GNWT Purchasing Power
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 441

Seamus Henry Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This is an interesting subject for us to be able to ask questions on. We have to remember that this government controls, in the coming year, $750 million, and, as such, we have tremendous purchasing power. That needs to be taken into consideration. We have a lot of southern suppliers coming into the north, a lot of southern-owned businesses doing business in the north, we purchase from. There is no reason why we cannot hardball and be tough with these people and say, if you want our business, you give us a better deal. Sharpen your pencils.

I know that we as a government are probably saying what does it cost, pay the bill. I think it is time we said we can do that. I have every confidence in our Cabinet here, and Cabinet Members. They are very capable, very sharp, have a lot of experience behind them, and some of the Members. I think we can put our heads together and say, we can probably, out of $750 million, come up with $10 to $15 million by sharpening other people's pencils and I believe that is possible in terms of freight supplies, in terms of telephone service....

--Hear! Hear!

we have to be the biggest purchasers. So my question is, will the Premier look at this particular end, of purchasing power in the Territory, and can we improve that? Thank you.

Question 159-13(7): GNWT Purchasing Power
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 441

The Deputy Speaker David Krutko

Mr. Premier.