This is page numbers 861 - 906 of the Hansard for the 15th 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 health.

Topics

Members Present

Honourable Brendan Bell, Mr. Braden, Honourable Paul Delorey, Honourable Charles Dent, Mrs. Groenewegen, Honourable Joe Handley, Mr. Hawkins, Honourable David Krutko, Mr. Lafferty, Ms. Lee, Hon. Michael McLeod, Mr. McLeod, Hon. Kevin Menicoche, Mr. Miltenberger, Mr. Pokiak, Mr. Ramsay, Honourable Floyd Roland, Mr. Villeneuve, Mr. Yakeleya

---Prayer

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

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The Speaker Paul Delorey

Good morning, colleagues. Welcome back to the House. Before we begin, I would like to wish everyone in the Northwest Territories a Happy Valentine's Day.

---Applause

Orders of the day. Ministers' statements. The honourable Minister of Health and Social Services, Mr. Roland.

Minister's Statement 67-15(5): Dialysis Treatment In The Northwest Territories
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Floyd Roland Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I am present...

---Laughter

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased to announce that the Department of Health and Social Services in partnership with the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority, has established dialysis treatment services at the H.H. Williams Memorial Hospital.

---Applause

This new Hay River dialysis service is part of the territorial Dialysis Program also available in Fort Smith and Yellowknife. The new dialysis service in Hay River began in January 2007. This is the result of a strong partnership between the Department of Health and Social Services Authority, the Department of Public Works and Services and medical staff. I would like to thank both Hay River MLAs for their ongoing interest and support of this project.

Community partnerships on this project should also be recognized. One of the three new dialysis machines was purchased with the support of the Royal Canadian Legion, the Elks and the Hay River Community Health Board Foundation.

This project demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the primary community approach of the integrated services delivery model. Providing this service for clients closer to their home community improves timely access for people living with kidney failure. Another important factor is patients now have the support of family and friends. Overall, this proximity of treatment greatly reduces stress on clients and their families.

The new dialysis treatment now offered in Hay River is timely as the need for this treatment is growing, in part as a result of increasing diabetes rates. Dialysis treatment is directed toward this growing need as an effective

treatment for people with kidney failure associated with diabetes. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 67-15(5): Dialysis Treatment In The Northwest Territories
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Roland. Ministers' statements. The honourable Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, Mr. Bell.

Minister's Statement 68-15(5): Doi T'oh Territorial Park And Canol Heritage Trail Park Management Plan
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Brendan Bell Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, after careful deliberation by all parties, I am pleased to announce the completion of a management plan for the Doi T'oh Territorial Park and Canol Heritage Trail.

---Applause

As agreed to in the Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement, a joint committee consisting of representatives of the three local land corps and the GNWT prepared the plan.

This plan describes initiatives which will guide the conservation and management of a proposed territorial park along the Canol Trail and Dodo Canyon in the Sahtu region, the mighty Sahtu region, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

The plan also includes a protected areas agreement that articulates the impacts and benefits of the park for claimants.

An internationally known hiking challenge for the extreme enthusiast, park visitors will continue to enjoy:

  • • dramatic wilderness scenery and watching wildlife such as sheep, grizzly bears, moose and wolves;
  • • extreme wilderness hiking in the summer and snowmobiling in the winter along the Canol Trail's roadbed;
  • • heritage interpretation of Canol trail remnants, and
  • • cultural interpretation of the Mountain Dene.

The park is accessed by road from Yukon in the southwest and, Mr. Speaker, by air from Norman Wells in the northeast. The plan calls for partnerships with the private sector to develop additional aircraft landing sites. Summer ground transportation will be limited to organizations associated with the park.

Mr. Speaker, improved visitor safety is a priority of the plan. Safer river crossings will be introduced where needed along with proper trail signage and bear safety

information. The venture will offer opportunity for direct/indirect employment, business development for local people and organizations.

On the formal transfer of these Crown lands by DIAND, ITI will present a proposal to this Assembly for formal park designation and a new claimant corporation will formed to develop, operate and manage a new park under new contract to ITI. Mr. Speaker, at the appropriate point later today, I will be proud to table the management plan for the Doi T'oh Heritage Park and Canol Heritage Trail. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 68-15(5): Doi T'oh Territorial Park And Canol Heritage Trail Park Management Plan
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Bell. Ministers' statements. Members' statements. The honourable Member for Hay River South, Mrs. Groenewegen.

Socio-economic Agreements With Diamond Mines
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today being Valentine's Day, I thought it would be a good day to talk about diamonds. They say that diamonds are a girl's best friend. However, I would like to say that the diamond mining companies that produce them in the Northwest Territories are quickly becoming the Northwest Territories' best friend.

My committee recently had an opportunity to sit down with the diamond mines to talk about the provisions of their socio-economic agreements. Mr. Speaker, these agreements are required of the mine by the GNWT. They stipulate conditions such as targets for training, employment and business opportunities.

The diamond mines have come up under a lot of scrutiny in this House for various reasons in the past, Mr. Speaker, but I have to tell you I was very impressed with how much the mines are doing to attract people to the North, have them open businesses, buy homes and raise their families. This is over and above the corporate contributions that they make to the communities.

Mr. Speaker, the diamond mines are offering various significant incentives to southern employees if they will live in the North. Northern resident employees are also offered enhancements and incentives, which recognize their residency in the North. Some of the mining companies have helped start businesses and joint venture with northern companies, plus, Mr. Speaker, they actively encourage their southern suppliers to move north.

Mr. Speaker, the mines are meeting the terms of the socio-economic agreements and adding millions of dollars to our northern economy while they do that. Mr. Speaker, who is ultimately responsible for recruiting and retaining professionals in our communities? Where is the campaign? Where is the information about that effort? Who is going out and saying have you ever thought about living in the Northwest Territories and here are some of the advantages and some of the pluses. I don't know if we are actually fulfilling that role in an organized way and we do need to do that. We need an organized, overarching effort between industry, communities and the GNWT. Everyone has their role to play in this.

Mr. Speaker, the mines are doing their part for the economy of the Northwest Territories, but they do face challenges in terms of meeting their socio-economic agreement because of the nationwide labour shortages. I would encourage this government to work closely with all industry to attract a qualified labour force to the Territories and to keep working on and supporting the initiative in support of our northern workforce.

Mr. Speaker, I will just close by saying that I think that these diamond mining companies, BHP Billiton, Diavik and De Beers Canada, are very good corporate citizens and I look forward to working with them more closely in the future. I very much look forward to our meeting with De Beers in Hay River to acquaint them with our community in the next few weeks. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Socio-economic Agreements With Diamond Mines
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Ms. Groenewegen. Members' statements. The honourable Member for Kam Lake, Mr. Ramsay.

Construction Of A Dementia Facility In Yellowknife
Item 3: Members' Statements

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David Ramsay Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to wish a Happy Valentine's Day to my wife Amanda, and to my constituents.

On January 6th, Mr. Speaker, I lost my grandmother, Mary Donovan, to a disease that is not entirely new to my family. It's a condition that affects one in every 13 people in Canada over the age of 65. That disease is Alzheimer's. I say it's not entirely new because just last year my uncle, Edward Johnson, died of Alzheimer's, and four years before that another uncle, his brother, Robert Johnson, also died from Alzheimer's disease. This disease has hit my family full on and I'm very scared that my parents, my brothers or other family members may also be at risk of being afflicted with this horrendous disease. Fortunately, for my grandmother and my uncles, they were able to get the care and the services that they required at a dedicated facility in New Brunswick. The ability to get help and care for the disease was so very, very important to their families who loved them dearly.

This dreaded affliction is a progressive, degenerative disease that affects the brain and eventually all aspects of a person's life, from mental abilities, emotions and moods, to behaviour and physical abilities. If my grandmother and my uncles were residents of our territory, they would not have received the same level of care or service that Alzheimer's and dementia patients require. That, Mr. Speaker, is the sad truth.

In the Northwest Territories, sufferers are housed in hospitals and other facilities that do not meet their needs. Our residents deserve to have a facility like the proposed dementia facility currently being undertaken by the Yellowknife Association for Concerned Citizens for Seniors. This much needed care facility is long overdue, Mr. Speaker. Today I will stand again in this House and encourage this government to do whatever it can that's necessary to move the plans forward to build a dementia facility here in Yellowknife. There is obvious need for this facility as it will specifically cater to those affected with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. The facility will also give much needed relief to the caregivers

who are in desperate, desperate need of respite programs during the day. Please, Mr. Speaker, I am implore the government today to again move this project forward and get it built sooner rather than later. Mahsi.

---Applause

Construction Of A Dementia Facility In Yellowknife
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Ramsay. Members' statements. The honourable Member for Monfwi, Mr. Lafferty.

Repayment Plan For Tenants With Rental Arrears
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Jackson Lafferty North Slave

(Translation) Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about the Behchoko housing review. It is clear from the number of questions I get from my constituents in...I will be talking about the views of my people. Later on, it would be good if they can clarify this. (Translation ends)

From the number of questions that I get from my constituents in Behchoko, there is not a clear understanding of the programs available through the NWT Housing Corporation. Mr. Speaker, there is also confusion over roles between the local housing authority, the North Slave District office, and also the headquarters in Yellowknife. There is also a need for the corporation and the Department of Education, Culture and Employment to work with the people with rental arrears. Some people with arrears are in this situation because their rent was recalculated higher at some point and was not recalculated when their income dropped, Mr. Speaker. We need to identify a fair amount that people in this situation owe and work out a repayment plan for all clients with rental arrears.

Mr. Speaker, I will be seeking a commitment from the Minister that he and his officials work with the families who have rental arrears, to work out a reasonable repayment plan based on what should have been charged for the rent over the years.

There is also a need to provide plain language summaries in English and in Tlicho so that people can figure out whether they should be talking to a local housing authority, the North Slave District office, or the headquarters to resolve these outstanding issues and housing problems, Mr. Speaker. The Minister has announced a program redesigned for the NWT Housing Corporation that is supposed to make it less complicated for residents to access housing programs. This is great news, Mr. Speaker. Let's work with it. This is a new beginning that can be used as a starting point to address the housing problems in Behchoko, and improve communication and clearly define the roles. I ask the help of the Minister and the corporation in accomplishing this issue. Mahsi.

---Applause

Repayment Plan For Tenants With Rental Arrears
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Lafferty. Members' statements. The honourable Member for Thebacha, Mr. Miltenberger.

Benefits Of Midwifery Services
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, for many years babies were born only in Inuvik and Yellowknife. After over 10 years of lobbying and pushing and encouraging of government by many of the women in Fort Smith, and support by the department, and support across the North for this service outside of Yellowknife, in 2005, midwifery legislation was passed and was made an insured service. We've had the benefit of two very skilled, dedicated and committed midwifes: Ms. Leslie Paulette and Ms. Gisela Becker, who were part of the initiative over the years to get this service provided outside of Yellowknife and Inuvik.

This is a very good news story, Mr. Speaker. In 2005, when the service first started, five births took place in the community. In 2006, that number was 14. As of today, the midwifery program provides care for the majority of childbearing families in the community, and the number of community births continues to rise. In 2006, 41 babies were born to Fort Smith families and the projections are that this number could increase to as much as 48 babies in 2007.

Currently, 32, or 70 percent, of the 41 babies born, and their mothers, are followed by the midwives. Prenatal visits average 16 visits per client, or 512 visits per year. Postpartum visits average 13 visits per client, or 416 visits per year. Newborn visits average 11 per client, or 352 visits per year. This averages out to 40 scheduled visits per baby and mother per year, or a total of 1,280 visits. Mr. Speaker, these are quality time visits and average about 45 minutes per visit; a type of care that mothers are very appreciative of, and doesn't happen through the normal course of events where no midwives are involved.

Mr. Speaker, three-quarters of the world use midwife services. We know that there is an obstetrics crisis in the country where there are not enough doctors around. The Northwest Territories had the foresight to pass this legislation. Fort Smith played the key role in pushing this because of the women and the midwives in the community. However, Mr. Speaker, I would submit that this is a service that every community and every region in the territory would benefit from. I would like to thank the department and the government for their support. This is a case of money well spent. Thank you.

---Applause

Benefits Of Midwifery Services
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Miltenberger. Members' statements. The honourable Member for Tu Nedhe, Mr. Villeneuve.