This is page numbers 1921 to 1954 of the Hansard for the 16th Assembly, 3rd 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 honourable.

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Question 49-16(3) Issues Related To The Beaufort Delta Health Authorities
Oral Questions (Reversion)

Range Lake

Sandy Lee Minister of Health and Social Services

Mr. Speaker, all of our health authorities are under pressure in terms of the capacity and the ability to recruit and retain health care professionals, especially in areas of physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners. We as a government are working to encourage as many as

possible of our northern trained nurses and nurse practitioners, midwives and whoever to be able to go to the regional centres. At the same time, the Department of Health and Social Services and Beaufort-Delta are working closely together to look at our operations and numbers and finances to see what is causing the deficit and what we can do to ameliorate that situation going forward.

Question 49-16(3) Issues Related To The Beaufort Delta Health Authorities
Oral Questions (Reversion)

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

All health boards in the Northwest Territories are not running deficits. There are two health systems in the Northwest Territories: the Stanton hospital and the Inuvik health system. There are only two places that have been running deficits for the last number of years. The other three systems have — and in some cases, had — surpluses, and good surpluses.

For me to stand here and hear the Minister say that it’s a problem right across the board…. It’s not a problem right across the board. The problem is in two locations: the Stanton health centre and the Inuvik regional board of health. I’d like to ask the Minister: why is it that you continue to allow this practice to continue, knowing that services aren’t being delivered and that you have 45 vacancies and they’re running a deficit?

Question 49-16(3) Issues Related To The Beaufort Delta Health Authorities
Oral Questions (Reversion)

Range Lake

Sandy Lee Minister of Health and Social Services

Mr. Speaker, I think it’s important to note that the two authorities that are under the most pressure and having a significant deficit are the ones with a hospital. Stanton has a hospital and Inuvik has a hospital. Hay River and Deh Cho have hospitals too, but it’s a different level of hospital care. I think there’s unique pressure in running these hospitals that causes deficits.

The second thing is, whether there’s a board or not or a public trustee doesn’t seem to…. That’s not a factor that helps or doesn’t help deficit situations.

I do want to assure the Member that I am working closely and paying attention and am involved to help the Beaufort-Delta authority figure out and get to the bottom of what is causing the deficit and deal with that issue. I will be working closely with the Member to look at all options.

Question 49-16(3) Issues Related To The Beaufort Delta Health Authorities
Oral Questions (Reversion)

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Ms. Lee. Final supplementary, Mr. Krutko.

Question 49-16(3) Issues Related To The Beaufort Delta Health Authorities
Oral Questions (Reversion)

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Mr. Speaker, the problem that I see happening, especially in the Inuvik region, is that what’s going on at the Inuvik hospital is having a direct impact on services outside the Inuvik hospital in other communities. It’s affecting the delivery in the communities I represent, where we’re seeing health centre closures. We have seen notices posted throughout our community, and that is because of the major problem that is happening at the Inuvik hospital.

I’d like to ask the Minister: exactly why is it that you’re telling our communities, “Sorry; we can’t

provide you services, because we don’t have the resources to allow you to operate”? Where you’re closing down health centres, now we find out you’ve got 45 vacancies that aren’t filled in the Inuvik hospital. That, for me, is exactly what the problem is. What are you doing to ensure that this does not have a direct effect on the services that are being provided to our communities when our health centres are being told that they’re being closed for non-emergency patients?

Question 49-16(3) Issues Related To The Beaufort Delta Health Authorities
Oral Questions (Reversion)

Range Lake

Sandy Lee Minister of Health and Social Services

Mr. Speaker, as the Member is aware, there are a variety of reasons why some of these health centres had to reduce their services to core services. None of the health centres have been closed; it’s just that on certain occasions they have to reduce the services to core level. There could be anything from nurses having to travel for training or an HR issue or somebody who was to show up for new employment did not, or sometimes we have pumps breaking down. There are various reasons why some of these units have to be closed.

I think the situation here is that we do have a significant issue with recruiting and retaining health care professionals. I believe the Beaufort-Delta, under its board leadership, is doing everything it can to address that. I’m committed to working closely with the Member and the board, and I have made a commitment to come back with some proposals that we could consider to address that situation.

Question 49-16(3) Issues Related To The Beaufort Delta Health Authorities
Oral Questions (Reversion)

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Ms. Lee. The honourable Member for Weledeh, Mr. Bromley.

Question 50-16(3) Government Initiatives In Response To Current Economic Climate
Oral Questions (Reversion)

October 24th, 2008

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. It’s on the condition of our economy and what the potential for problems might be in the Northwest Territories.

I know the Premier did not attend the national round table of Premiers and leaders, but it’s recently been announced that the Yukon is taking action to at least monitor the situation. They are developing a round table themselves, for that jurisdiction, to give them an early alert and try and come up with some solutions. What is this government doing to monitor this situation and come up with a plan before it’s too late?

Question 50-16(3) Government Initiatives In Response To Current Economic Climate
Oral Questions (Reversion)

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Bromley. The Hon. Premier, Mr. Roland.

Question 50-16(3) Government Initiatives In Response To Current Economic Climate
Oral Questions (Reversion)

Inuvik Boot Lake

Floyd Roland Premier

Mr. Speaker, earlier today there was a similar question, and my response was that the Department of Finance is involved in monitoring, looking at the environment we are in and preparing to make a presentation on the status that we are in here in the Northwest Territories. For

the record, the Yukon is putting a deputies’ committee together to do their work, not a round table — a deputies’ committee to do the monitoring. Our Department of Finance is doing that work for us.

Question 50-16(3) Government Initiatives In Response To Current Economic Climate
Oral Questions (Reversion)

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Mr. Speaker, given the situation that we are becoming more and more reliant on the export economy — diamonds and oil and gas — what’s the expectation of the Premier, having heard the situation on the market again this morning getting quite serious: global concerns and national concerns about recession…? What’s the expectation in terms of the diamond industry and the oil and gas industry for the Northwest Territories?

Question 50-16(3) Government Initiatives In Response To Current Economic Climate
Oral Questions (Reversion)

Inuvik Boot Lake

Floyd Roland Premier

Mr. Speaker, we had an opportunity to meet with the presidents of the diamond mines over a week ago to touch base with them and look at setting up a cooperative agreement on further initiatives we can jointly work on; for example, establishing the workforce in the Northwest Territories by reducing the fly in/fly out component, looking at additional training areas. That’s something we’re working on.

The other area with the mines that they’ve shared with us is that the cost of fuel has a big impact. They’ve been watching the markets and shared with us their concerns. We know, as well, the rate of return that some of the oil and gas areas of development are producing right now; there’d be an impact with that. That would mainly be felt, along with the federal government, on the royalties side as well as by the companies themselves. We’ve been working with the industry and, again from our side specifically, working through the Department of Finance to look at our numbers to ensure we’re still in a healthy situation.

I must remind Members that during the budget we had in June, we talked about the dangers that were potentially out there — that we must look to living within our means. That was the budget we presented to Members, and the Finance Minister is continuing along that path.

Question 50-16(3) Government Initiatives In Response To Current Economic Climate
Oral Questions (Reversion)

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Thank you for those comments from the Premier. I know that our public is acutely aware of this issue and also acutely concerned.

We apparently purchased fuel near the peak of the cost — the bump we went through — to resupply our communities. There’s a potential for some serious downturns in our industries. Will this government be preparing a thorough update and response to this, at least for discussion in the business plans or certainly at our next session?

Question 50-16(3) Government Initiatives In Response To Current Economic Climate
Oral Questions (Reversion)

Inuvik Boot Lake

Floyd Roland Premier

Mr. Speaker, as we go through our process, first and foremost between me and the Finance Minister, we’ll be making presentations to the standing committees as we go

into the business plan process. Following that, departments themselves, specifically as the Member has touched on…. On the petroleum side the Department of Public Works and Services would have all the information on how they’ve had to deal with the pressures they’ve had to look at.

Part of the problem — and the Member has touched on it, in a sense — is that when we purchase our product, we are purchasing it off the market. At the point when it was delivered to our communities, the prices were significantly higher than they are now. We won’t be able to adjust those until the next refuelling cycle, which in some communities may be through winter roads and in other communities the next barging season. That’s the difficulty the Department of Public Works and Services’ Petroleum Products Division faces when it comes to providing a level of service in our communities. But that will all be available to Members when we sit down and go through the process in the next business planning cycle.

Question 50-16(3) Government Initiatives In Response To Current Economic Climate
Oral Questions (Reversion)

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Roland. Final supplementary, Mr. Bromley.