This is page numbers 5431 - 5456 of the Hansard for the 16th 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

The House met at 1:42 p.m.

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Prayer
Prayer

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Good afternoon, colleagues. Welcome back to the Chamber. Orders of the day. Item 2, Ministers’ statements. The honourable Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, Mr. Bob McLeod.

Minister’s Statement 81-16(5): Northwest Territories Tourism
Ministers’ Statements

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Mr. Speaker, the Northwest Territories tourism industry has great potential to help us realize the 16th Legislative Assembly’s

goals of creating a diversified economy that provides all communities and regions with opportunities and choices.

With the right idea, proper support and an ample amount of elbow grease, tourism businesses can be successful in every one of our 33 communities.

To support the growth of this important industry, Tourism 2010 was approved five years ago. The plan has served us well and we must now look at how we will build on tourism opportunities in the next five years and beyond.

The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment is consulting with tourism stakeholders and the public on what a new strategy would look like. We have held open houses across the Territory, from the Beaufort-Delta to the South Slave, to hear what people have to say about where the Government of the Northwest Territories should be investing its tourism dollars in the future.

Mr. Speaker, based on the lessons we have learned in the last five years and the needs of the stakeholders, this new plan must reflect the current realities of the tourism industry.

The first reality is that there is a growing demand for authentic cultural experiences. This suggests we should provide support to develop our aboriginal tourism sector. Later today I will be tabling Industry, Tourism and Investment’s response to the consultation work done last year that examined

expanding aboriginal tourism in the Northwest Territories.

Secondly, our strategy must take into account that tourism is highly sensitive to global events. The recent recession is just one example of an event that has affected tourism in the Northwest Territories. In order to quickly adapt to these external forces, our tourism industry must be diversified. Any new tourism strategy we develop must be geared towards assisting our tourism industry to offer a variety of products and visitor experiences.

Finally, a new strategy must recognize that in order for our tourism industry to grow, it must maintain its reputation for excellence in the marketplace. We are committed to working with the Northwest Territories Tourism to identify options to enhance consumer confidence and provide our operations with increased opportunities to deliver an excellent tourism product.

This reputation depends on offering quality products that match the demands of travelers, and a skilled labour force that offers excellence in service. The new strategy will have an increased emphasis on providing training to our operators so they can enhance their business performance and skills.

Mr. Speaker, we have a wonderful Territory, full of unique, authentic experiences for visitors to discover. We have dedicated operators that provide world-class products and services for the people who come north to discover them.

Through the Government of the Northwest Territories’ efforts to promote the tourism industry, including the development of a strategy that will succeed Tourism 2010, we continue to work towards diversifying our economy and supporting the development of sustainable local economies through community-based industries like tourism. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 81-16(5): Northwest Territories Tourism
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. The honourable Minister of Transportation, Mr. Michael McLeod.

Minister’s Statement 82-16(5): Mackenzie Valley Highway
Ministers’ Statements

Deh Cho

Michael McLeod Minister of Transportation

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to provide Members and the public an update on the current status of the future Mackenzie Valley Highway to Tuktoyaktuk. Since I last updated this Assembly on the future highway, we have made great progress.

With the funding agreement between the Government of the Northwest Territories and the federal government announced this past January, we have been hard at work securing agreement with aboriginal groups along the proposed alignment. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to note that we have now successfully signed MOUs with the Town of Inuvik, the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk, the Gwich’in Tribal Council, the Tulita Land Corporations and the Tulita Dene Band, the Kahsho Gotine District of the Sahtu and the Pehdzeh Ki First Nation for the Dehcho First Nations. These MOUs enable us to work with local aboriginal and community groups to complete project description reports (PDR) for the section of the highway from Wrigley to the coast. We hope to have the PDR work for the portion from Wrigley to the Dempster completed within the next two years.

While we make progress on these project description reports, Mr. Speaker, we are still making improvements to the winter road that will be used as part of the all-weather highway. One considerable accomplishment this year was the completion of the 300-metre Blackwater Bridge. This bridge will extend the winter road season and is one of the larger bridges that would be required for an all-weather highway.

At the same time, Mr. Speaker, this summer, in partnership with the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk, we completed the construction of a gravel access road from Tuk to source 177. This road has been built on the eventual alignment for an all-weather highway and will in the end become the northern-most section of the future highway. While this access road was under construction, a PDR for the section of the highway from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk was also completed. This PDR has been submitted to the Environmental Impact Review Board for their consideration.

Mr. Speaker, the all-weather Mackenzie Valley Highway has been a dream of our residents for many years. The important progress we have made in the last years has brought us closer to realizing this dream than ever before. The partnerships that are being built today with Canada and aboriginal groups to undertake the engineering and environmental work are the partnerships that will get this highway built. Mr. Speaker, to keep building on these important partnerships, at the end of this session I will be travelling to Ottawa to meet with Ministers Strahl and Aglukkaq to discuss

infrastructure needs, including the Mackenzie Valley Highway.

Mr. Speaker, as this project moves forward I will continue to update this Assembly on new developments. Like many of you here, I hope to one day soon drive from Wrigley through the Mackenzie Valley and north along the Arctic Coast to Tuktoyaktuk. Mahsi cho.

Minister’s Statement 82-16(5): Mackenzie Valley Highway
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

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

Minister’s Statement 83-16(5): NWT Healthnet
Ministers’ Statements

Range Lake

Sandy Lee Minister of Health and Social Services

Mr. Speaker, investment in HealthNet tools such as the interoperable Electronic Health Record (or iEHR), the Diagnostic Imaging/Picture Archiving Communication System (or DI/PACS), and Telehealth are critical to delivery of health care services for residents of the Northwest Territories.

These tools are resulting in better access and outcomes across the Northwest Territories. In the words of a local clinician, “This is transforming how we deliver care.” In the words of one patient, “For 10 seconds, everything went terribly wrong. Then for the next four days, everything went very right. The hospital in Inuvik...X-rayed my leg and using the new DI/PACS system, sent images to the orthopaedic surgeon in Yellowknife. I got to see the technology and how health professionals use it in real-time. They decided the break was bad enough to airlift me by medevac to Yellowknife. At Stanton Territorial Hospital I received first-class care. Excellent people, excellent facilities and excellent technologies.”

Mr. Speaker, patients are receiving access to services in communities we could not reach before and this is resulting in safer, earlier, better patient care and resulting in more positive health outcomes. For example, we recently brought computed radiography to 13 communities, including Deline, Fort Good Hope, Fort Liard, Fort Providence, Fort Resolution, Fort Simpson, Wha Ti, Tulita, Lutselk’e, Norman Wells, Paulatuk, Behchoko and Gameti. We will continue to roll out to Aklavik, Ulukhaktok, Sachs Harbour, Tuktoyaktuk and Fort McPherson over the next two months. This allows community health centres to send digital diagnostic images to specialists in minutes for faster and, in some cases, lifesaving consultation. Prior to this it took up to two weeks to physically mail X-ray film and get paper results back from a radiologist at another site. Alternatively, the patient had to travel away from home and family at a high cost.

Patients benefit from improved service delivery through these investments. Recently, this was seen

in Deline with the speed of results during the TB outbreak. TB results were available in two days, where in the past we would have waited two weeks and the outbreak would have continued to grow.

Investments in eHealth are essential to delivery of health care now and for the future. We know that our current system is growing at a faster pace than we can support. HealthNet tools enable greater efficiencies and innovation to support patient safety and delivery of care.

These investments are making a real difference to our people. A snowmobile accident patient in Inuvik got lifesaving treatment for their injuries as a result of Telehealth intervention. To date, we have successfully brought service delivery through Telehealth to 34 health centres and eight schools.

In another case, the DI/PACS system in Hay River allowed a physician to get a specialist at Stanton to urgently review an ultrasound image within minutes. The patient remained in the community and received immediate treatment from the specialist. Without DI/PACS, the patient would have been medevaced. Worse, upon getting to the specialist, it would have been discovered that the trip was unnecessary and the treatment could have been done in the home community.

Mr. Speaker, eHealth is about access to care. Our iEHR rollout continues to be successful, with approximately 200 clinical users across the NWT. Lab information is available on-line, instead of the past paper records. There are currently over half a million results and diagnostic reports available instantaneously, enabling better care.

Mr. Speaker, I know that Members share my excitement over the possibilities of eHealth. These are not just “nice to have” tools. They are essential for access and service delivery for residents we could not reach before. Patients are getting better care by connecting to a virtual team of providers that would normally be hundreds of thousands of miles away. Mr. Speaker, these tools are saving lives. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 83-16(5): NWT Healthnet
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Ms. Lee. Item 3, Members’ statements. The honourable Member for Weledeh, Mr. Bromley.

Value Of Civil Society And The Voluntary Sector
Members’ Statements

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’d like to speak today on the value of civil society and the voluntary sector. One of the definitive characteristics of civil society is social capital, which refers to the values and networks that enable coordination and cooperation. This contrasts with economic capital, such as money and tools, and

human capital, which are trained individuals. Government and market are not enough to make a civilization. There also must be a healthy, robust civil centre; a space in which the bonds of community can flourish.

There are two key elements in civil society. One is the need for inclusive participation to enhance civil society and the primacy of the grassroots as the locus of long-term social change. Civil society is the people, and the people know what needs to be done.

The voluntary sector is essential to the democratic process. It is all about citizen participation and engagement in the community betterment, by advancing human well-being and the health of our land.

I would like to mention just a number of the non-government organizations, volunteer organizations that I’m aware of in thinking about this for just a few minutes:

Centre for Northern Families

YWCA

Native Women’s Association

Hepatitis C/HIV Society

Alternatives

North

The

Salvation

Army

SideDoor Youth Centre

Ecology

North

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society

NWT Recreation and Parks Association

Pembina

Institute

We could all go on and on. These are a fundamental part of the backbone of our society. I’d like to express appreciation for the thousands of hours of volunteer and often very poorly compensated efforts through individuals, families and non-government organizations.

This includes the domestic economy, which is a huge economy that dwarfs the market economy but is so difficult to measure that it’s almost never reported on or recognized. This is when we care for our own elderly, our own people that are having challenges.

A big tip of the hat to all those people out there working on behalf of us and our society.

Value Of Civil Society And The Voluntary Sector
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Bromley. The honourable Member for Kam Lake, Mr. Ramsay.

Proposed Realignment Of Highway No. 4 (Ingraham Trail)
Members’ Statements

David Ramsay Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’d like to speak today about the proposed realignment of

Highway No. 4, more commonly known as the Ingraham Trail. A portion of that road passes through Giant Mine and needs to be moved to accommodate the remediation process.

The Department of Transportation came up with three corridor options and shopped them around to the public. That was back in 2007. A newspaper article notes an official saying the work is scheduled to begin next summer. That would have been the summer of 2008, two years ago.

Public comments on the corridors are noted on the DOT website. I believe the department was keen on doing more public consultation, but we haven’t seen or heard anything. It’s been exactly three years this month. I’m sure the folks working on the Giant Mine remediation project would like to see some movement on this and so would the people of Yellowknife.

The three realignment options naturally have their pros and cons. One corridor bypasses most of the mine infrastructure and would cost the most; another attempts to use the best ground possible along the current infrastructure, costing less than the previous option; and the third plan makes minimal changes to the road and so costs the least, but requires existing buildings to be removed; notably buildings belonging to the NWT Mining Heritage Society. Whichever option is selected, it will be incumbent upon the department to select a route that will be the safest and best fit for the Giant Mine remediation process, as well as beneficial for the city of Yellowknife.

Much like the city of Yellowknife bypass road, the right route could open up access to new land for development for the city of Yellowknife. This could benefit our residents, our businesses and our tourism industry. I would hope that the Department of Transportation is actively working this file, but since three years have lapsed, I have to wonder what is exactly happening.

While the cost should be a factor, we must also consider that the federal government will be paying the majority of the cost of this road realignment. We have to look at maximizing benefits to our residents. Later I will have questions for the Minister of Transportation.

Proposed Realignment Of Highway No. 4 (Ingraham Trail)
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Ramsay. The honourable Member for Nahendeh, Mr. Menicoche.

Sustainable Economic Development For The Community Of Wrigley
Members’ Statements

Kevin A. Menicoche Nahendeh

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. The community of Wrigley, or Pehdzeh Ki, is a strong community and has a long history of being independent and taking care of the community and their land. Currently there are many different barriers that are in their way as they look for

opportunities to improve and increase their sustainability and develop their human resource capacity. It is critical that our government work with them as they strive for more and more independence.

I do want to provide an example of how the community is moving forward for the benefit of the community. This summer and fall, a mining company called Devonian Metals worked with the community as they completed a small drilling program outside their community. Through a mutual agreement, they were able to leverage many benefits for their community. There were employment opportunities, support for the band business, Pehdzeh Ki Contracting, and a contribution to the community for a youth cultural and traditional camp. The youth camp was the pride of the community and they created a vibrant community video as a result of this. They also had time to reflect on their future, Mr. Speaker. To continue building on their foundation, they have identified some needs such as training by Aurora College delivered locally, as well as the need to work with the GNWT for as many contracts as they can support.

I applaud their efforts and ask our government to continue working with Pehdzeh Ki as they build a strong and vibrant community. Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker.

Sustainable Economic Development For The Community Of Wrigley
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Menicoche. The honourable Member for Nunakput, Mr. Jacobson.