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 48-16(3) Territorial Women’s Correctional Facility
Oral Questions (Reversion)

David Ramsay Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Again, in the news earlier this week there was a story about two women who had escaped from the women’s jail in Fort Smith. It caused a great deal of concern, especially here in Yellowknife. It wasn’t too long ago that we had a fire that left eight families out in the cold at Bison Estates, and the person who committed that crime was in this facility and escaped. This was a very serious crime, and I’d like to ask the Minister how it is that an individual who commits a crime like that ends up in a jail where she can basically walk out the door.

Question 48-16(3) Territorial Women’s Correctional Facility
Oral Questions (Reversion)

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Ramsay. The honourable Minister of Justice, Mr. Lafferty.

Question 48-16(3) Territorial Women’s Correctional Facility
Oral Questions (Reversion)

Monfwi

Jackson Lafferty Minister of Justice

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. This certainly has been an issue within our department. That particular individual had been placed in the Fort Smith facility in remand. They were waiting for their court hearing. That is part of the reason they were stationed out of the Fort Smith facility.

Question 48-16(3) Territorial Women’s Correctional Facility
Oral Questions (Reversion)

David Ramsay Kam Lake

Again, I think having individuals in remand for an extended period of time and in locations where they’re not secure…. If they can just walk out the door, that causes me a great deal of concern, and it should cause the public some concern. Why would an individual like this be remanded in a facility where she could basically walk out the door?

Question 48-16(3) Territorial Women’s Correctional Facility
Oral Questions (Reversion)

Monfwi

Jackson Lafferty Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, as the Members would know, we have a women’s corrections facility in Fort Smith, the one and only in the North. We’re limited to holding our inmates, depending on their cases…. If they’re charged and going through a process where they’re before court proceedings, we have to hold on to them in a particular facility. That’s the only facility we can hold our inmates in. We have no other options.

Question 48-16(3) Territorial Women’s Correctional Facility
Oral Questions (Reversion)

David Ramsay Kam Lake

Mr. Speaker, I hear the Minister on this: it’s the only women’s facility we have in the Northwest Territories. But for persons who are in remand, who are charged with serious and heinous crimes, why would you keep them locked up in a facility where they could climb out the window or walk out the front door? That doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s not good from a public safety standpoint. Why wouldn’t an individual like this be sent to the South into remand at a secure location where they couldn’t walk out the door or escape through a window that’s unlocked?

Question 48-16(3) Territorial Women’s Correctional Facility
Oral Questions (Reversion)

Monfwi

Jackson Lafferty Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, when this whole incident occurred, they had to go through the court proceedings, and they had to be remanded because there was a court appearance that was coming up. There was a need to hold this individual

in the North because of the court proceedings. That is part of the reason why we had to.... We do have the facility in the North, although it may not be fully secured. Because of the safety factor of the facility, that’s part of the reason why we had to have these ladies in remand.

Question 48-16(3) Territorial Women’s Correctional Facility
Oral Questions (Reversion)

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Lafferty. Final supplementary, Mr. Ramsay.

Question 48-16(3) Territorial Women’s Correctional Facility
Oral Questions (Reversion)

David Ramsay Kam Lake

Mr. Speaker, it doesn’t leave me with a great deal of confidence in our justice system if, when a woman in the Northwest Territories committed a very serious offence and was remanded, we would put her in a facility where she could escape out the window or she could walk out the front door. That’s what I heard the Minister say. That’s not good enough from a public safety standpoint.

In this case it’s a woman charged with a very serious offence. It’s lucky people didn’t die that night when that fire was set. Why is she remanded in a facility where she could walk out the door or climb out an unlocked window? That’s what I’d like to know, and that’s what the public deserves to know.

Question 48-16(3) Territorial Women’s Correctional Facility
Oral Questions (Reversion)

Monfwi

Jackson Lafferty Minister of Justice

This particular issue is of great concern to us, as well, at the Department of Justice. We are doing what we can. We have brought forward a proposal for a new facility in Fort Smith to deal specifically with a secure facility. We are in the process of having a truly secure facility in the River Ridge area that’s across from the women’s corrections. We’re doing what we can at the present time to expedite the process so that we do have a secure facility to store these female inmates. Mahsi.

Question 48-16(3) Territorial Women’s Correctional Facility
Oral Questions (Reversion)

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Lafferty. The honourable Member for Mackenzie Delta, Mr. Krutko.

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

October 24th, 2008

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Social Services. When we have a dysfunctional system and it starts to break down, as government we usually try to intervene and basically bring it back up on its footings. I’ll use the Stanton hospital, where they hired a public trustee to intervene with the major deficit that’s being handled by the Stanton hospital.

Presently there are some 45 vacancies in the Inuvik hospital, yet they’ve been running deficits year after year. In this House we’ve been passing supplementary appropriations to bail them out. When you have 45 vacancies in a health system, that tells me there’s something wrong.

I’d like to ask the Minister of Health: what is she doing to intervene like she did at the Stanton hospital, where she appointed a public trustee? How soon can we see the appointment of a public trustee to the Inuvik hospital?

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

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Krutko. The honourable Minister of Health and Social Services, Ms. Lee.

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

The Stanton Territorial Health Authority has been under the management of a public administrator since 2002, I believe. What I did was appoint a new public administrator in May of this year.

With respect to Beaufort-Delta, there is no plan to dissolve that board and appoint a new public administrator. As the Member is aware, the Strategic Initiative Committee on Refocusing Government is reviewing the work of all the boards under Health and Social Services; Housing; and Education, Culture and Employment. We will have to wait to see the outcome of that work.

I do take the Member’s point that it is my job to make sure the boards are functioning at their optimum level, and we are doing a lot of work with Beaufort-Delta in that regard.

Mr. Speaker, I should also note that vacancies don’t usually save us money. Often vacancies cost us money. Having vacancies does not mean we don’t deliver the work. We do deliver the work by locums, staff-fills, floating nurses or doctors. So often vacancies do cost money. The boards try to fill vacancies as much as possible. But there is a lot of pressure in getting health care professionals into our communities.

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

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Mr. Speaker, to have 45 vacancies in a health system is not healthy. Someone is paying for 45 positions in a system that…. Basically, it was passed in a budget in this House to cover the costs of 45 individuals to fill those positions. If they are bringing locums and whatnot in, again that tells me there is really something wrong here.

I’d like to ask the Minister again: not waiting for a review of a committee, will she seriously take a look at the health crisis we have at Inuvik hospital, realizing that it’s running a deficit, it has 45 vacancies, and basically it’s not doing what it should be doing? Why are you not intervening in regard to finding a way to improve the system by approving a public trustee to oversee the problem at Inuvik hospital?