This is page numbers 597 - 648 of the Hansard for the 14th Assembly, 5th 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.

Topics

Members Present

Honourable Roger Allen, Honourable Jim Antoine, Mr. Bell, Mr. Braden, Mr. Delorey, Mr. Dent, Mrs. Groenewegen, Honourable Joe Handley, Mr. Krutko, Mr. Lafferty, Ms. Lee, Mr. McLeod, Honourable Michael Miltenberger, Mr. Nitah, Honourable Jake Ootes, Mr. Roland, Honourable Vince Steen, Honourable Tony Whitford.

-- Prayer

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

March 13th, 2002

Page 597

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Allen. Please be seated. Good afternoon, colleagues. Before we begin today's agenda, I wish to provide my ruling on the point of order raised on March 12, 2002 by the honourable Member for Weledeh, Mr. Handley.

Speaker's Ruling

Prior to addressing this specific point of order I would like to make some comment on the purpose of a point of order, since we have had a number of those points of order in the last session and again in this session. A point of order is a question raised by a Member who believes that the rules or customary procedures of the House have been incorrectly applied or overlooked during the proceedings. Members may rise on points of order to bring to the attention of the Chair any breach of the relevance or repetition of the rules, unparliamentary remarks or any of our rules. Members are able to do so at virtually any time in the proceedings, provided the point of order is raised and concisely argued as soon as the irregularity occurs or as soon as practicable thereafter.

As a point of order concerns the interpretation of the rules, it is the responsibility of the Speaker, or Chair in committee of the whole, to determine its merits and to resolve the issue. Although Members frequently rise claiming a point of order, genuine points of order rarely occur. Indeed, points of order are often used by Members in an attempt to gain the floor to participate in debate, and in such cases, the Speaker will not allow the Member intervening to continue. This is the reason that when a Member is recognized on a point of order, you should only state which rule or practice you consider has been breached.

Our rules provide for brief debate on the point of order at the Speaker or Chair's discretion. I wish to advise that the Chairs have a responsibility to ensure impartiality and fairness when considering a point of order and will hear from Members if it is not clear whether a breach has occurred. When a point of order is raised, the Speaker attempts to rule on the matter immediately. However, if necessary, the matter may be taken under advisement and the Chair will come back to the House later with a formal ruling. As has been the case, there are occasions that when hearing the point of order, I do not need to reserve on my decision but can rule at the time of the occurrence. When this happens, I am of the view that this assists the House in dealing with its deliberations without being hampered by debate on points of order and waiting for a ruling. Once the Speaker's decision is rendered, the matter is no longer open to debate or discussion and the ruling cannot be appealed to the House.

I would now like to provide my ruling on the point of order raised by the honourable Member for Weledeh, Mr. Handley, with respect to remarks made by the honourable Member for Range Lake, Ms. Lee, on March 11, 2002. The statements in question are, referring to unedited Hansard, page 1229:

The point that I was making is that -- and I have stated in there that I am not saying that the Minister did any wrong-doing or anything like that -- but it is the Minister who put this into the supplementary appropriation, and the headline on Friday said $500,000 for the pay out. That came from a public document, which is Supp 3.

If it is true, as he has been saying, that he knows his obligations under this contract and that he was not to do anything that would reveal it, for him to have put into a supplementary appropriation is a ground for questioning his conduct.

In raising the point of order, the honourable Member referred to Rules 23(h) and 23(i), which state:

23 In debate, a Member will be called to order by the Speaker if the Member:

(h) makes allegations against another Member, a House officer or a witness;

(i) imputes false or hidden motives to another Member.

The Member for Weledeh, in making his point of order, stated that the information put forward by the Member for Range Lake was both factually incorrect, in that the Supp 3 was not for $500,000 but for $695,000 or so, and that he had a statutory obligation as Minister of Finance to put into the supplementary appropriations anything that is going to require additional spending. That appropriation is put in there because the Department of the Executive does not have the money to handle it.

Mr. Handley also stated in speaking to the point of order, and I quote from page 1239 of unedited Hansard, "She (Ms. Lee) is clearly imputing motives to me and second, is questioning my integrity."

I find that the statement of the Member for Range Lake does question the integrity and motives of Mr. Handley, and further suggests that in bringing forward the Supplementary Appropriation No. 3, he was doing so in a manner which breached confidential agreements.

I reviewed the comments of the honourable Member for Range Lake, Ms. Lee, in speaking to the point of order and found she did not offer any comment that would convince me to rule otherwise.

Therefore I rule that the honourable Member for Weledeh has a point of order; the statements made by the Member for Range Lake, Ms. Lee, being a contravention of Rules 23(h) and (i) of the Rules of the Legislative Assembly. Such questioning of integrity is a serious matter with respect to any Member of this House, but it is particularly serious to level such allegations at the Minister of Finance, who has specific and statutory duties to this House. I therefore ask the Member for Range Lake whether she is prepared to retract the offending statements. Ms. Lee.

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

Page 598

Sandy Lee Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I have no problem with retracting the offending statement. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

Page 598

The Speaker Tony Whitford

The House will then consider that statement retracted. This ends the matter. Item 2, Ministers' statements. The honourable Deputy Premier, Mr. Antoine.

Minister's Statement 38-14(5): Premier Absent From The House
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 598

Jim Antoine Nahendeh

Mr. Speaker, I wish to advise Members that the honourable Stephen Kakfwi will be absent from the House for the remainder of this week to participate in the GLOBE 2002 Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 38-14(5): Premier Absent From The House
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 598

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Antoine. Item 2, Ministers' statements. The honourable Minister responsible for Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development, Mr. Antoine.

Minister's Statement 39-14(5): Northern Mines Ministers Conference
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 598

Jim Antoine Nahendeh

Mr. Speaker, on April 4th, I will be co-chairing the first Northern Mines Ministers Conference in Yellowknife with Robert Nault, the federal Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

My counterparts in the Yukon and Nunavut agree there is a need to develop a healthy northern mining industry that will strengthen business and employment opportunities for northern communities and aboriginal people. This conference will provide an opportunity to review the key issues facing the northern mining industry in the North and to develop a plan to encourage northern mineral investment.

The conference will include a morning session with presentations from key stakeholders. Representatives from aboriginal economic development corporations, the National Round Table on the Environment and Economy, and mining companies such as BHP Billiton and Diavik have been invited to attend the session. A closed session in the afternoon will allow the Ministers to hold government-to-government discussions.

Mr. Speaker, the mining industry has been an important sector of our economy for many years. The Northwest Territories has the potential for new mineral discoveries. This government supports the responsible development of our mineral resources. We know key policy and investment initiatives are needed for balanced development to occur. I believe the Northern Mines Ministers Conference is a first step in ensuring this occurs. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

-- Applause

Minister's Statement 39-14(5): Northern Mines Ministers Conference
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 598

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Minister. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Range Lake, Ms. Lee.

Operation Of The Stanton Regional Hospital Ct Scan Machine
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 598

Sandy Lee Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today, I would like to talk about the tremendous contribution being made by the CT scan machine at the Stanton hospital in serving every resident in the Northwest Territories, as well as the hundreds of thousands of dollars it is saving the Government of the Northwest Territories and the taxpayers.

As you are well aware, Mr. Speaker, this machine was purchased with the $2.3 million raised by the Stanton Hospital Foundation about three years ago. We were also fortunate to obtain a mammography and two colour ultrasound machines at the same time.

In its very short life, the statistics on the performance of this machine are absolutely astounding. I have learned that the machine has seen about 3,000 people and has taken approximately 1.2 million images. I am also advised that the cost of each visit, or a person seen by this machine, is calculated at between $500 and $800.

Mr. Speaker, before we had this machine, we had to send out residents to Edmonton or other centres to get the CT scans done. The simple math will tell us that just in cost savings for the actual procedure of taking the images, we have saved upwards of $1.5 million. If we added the cost of travel, accommodations and incidentals that Health would have paid to send all these people south, we are talking about millions in savings. This machine has paid for itself over and over again. It is the money from the private residents and corporate donors that has made this possible.

Mr. Speaker, I have also learned that about 10 to 15 percent of the work being done with this scan machine is done on behalf of the Government of Nunavut, which is billed back to the Government of Nunavut. All in all, this has become a cash cow for the government, probably adding to its current surplus.

Mr. Speaker, I am afraid I must report the less than perfect ending to this story. I have also learned there is only one person funded to run this machine, and only one person has been doing it since its inception. I do not know of any other position in the Territories that places such a burden on one person.

Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, I have learned that there is no program or resources in place at the moment that would provide for training of additional people to operate this machine, other than the very basic...

Operation Of The Stanton Regional Hospital Ct Scan Machine
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 599

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Ms. Lee, your time for your Member's statement has ended. Ms. Lee.

Operation Of The Stanton Regional Hospital Ct Scan Machine
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 599

Sandy Lee Range Lake

Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

Operation Of The Stanton Regional Hospital Ct Scan Machine
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 599

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you. The honourable Member is seeking unanimous consent to conclude her statement. Are there any nays? There are no nays. You may conclude your statement, Ms. Lee.

Operation Of The Stanton Regional Hospital Ct Scan Machine
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 599

Sandy Lee Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you, colleagues. Mr. Speaker, lack of training and resources for training means that when this person has to be absent for any reason, this machine is not being used at optimal capacity. This should raise serious questions in our mind. Why is the government not funding more money to find more people to run this machine? There is a waiting list for the procedure, so it cannot be that there is no demand. Besides, the machine is capable of running more than eight hours per day, but having one person staffed to operate the machine and do all the paperwork, we are really not recognizing the value of this machine or the person who operates it. Most of all, the tremendous cost savings that this machine is accruing to the government and our health system.

Mr. Speaker, I urge the Minister to look at this situation. The residents and corporate donors have done their part. It is now time for the Minister and the government to do their share. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will be pursuing questions on this matter later. Thank you.

-- Applause

Operation Of The Stanton Regional Hospital Ct Scan Machine
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 599

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Ms. Lee. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Inuvik Boot Lake, Mr. Roland.