This is page numbers 5457 - 5492 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 care.

Topics

Members Present

Mr. Abernethy, Mr. Beaulieu, Ms. Bisaro, Mr. Bromley, Hon. Paul Delorey, Mrs. Groenewegen, Mr. Hawkins, Mr. Jacobson, Mr. Krutko, Hon. Jackson Lafferty, Hon. Sandy Lee, Hon. Bob McLeod, Hon. Michael McLeod, Hon. Robert McLeod, Mr. Menicoche, Hon. Michael Miltenberger, Mr. Ramsay, Hon. Floyd Roland, Mr. Yakeleya

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 Member for Environment and Natural Resources, Mr. Miltenberger.

Minister’s Statement 84-16(5): Barren-Ground Caribou Management
Ministers’ Statements

Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Mr. Speaker, barren-ground caribou management has been a major priority for the past five years. In a time when caribou herds around the circumpolar world are declining, we have spent considerable time, effort and resources to conserve our herds.

This work has been done over the years with our partners, including aboriginal governments and wildlife co-management boards. I want to commend all our partners and harvesters for their ongoing actions to help conserve these herds.

Last week Environment and Natural Resources staff participated in the 13th North American Caribou Workshop in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The workshop focussed on aboriginal issues and co-management as well as scientific and technical issues regarding caribou management. The experiences gained here will be useful as we prepare to host the 14th Arctic Ungulates Conference in Yellowknife in August 2011.

Recently we signed an agreement with the Yellowknives Dene First Nation on joint management actions to conserve the Bathurst caribou herd, including harvest limits. The Wek’eezhii Renewable Resources Board has released its recommendations on caribou management in Wek’eezhii.

Results from surveys last year confirmed that management actions taken from the Cape Bathurst and Bluenose-West herds seem to be working and both populations have stabilized.

Mr. Speaker, I have more encouraging news to report this year regarding the Bluenose-East herd.

Based on results from photo-census surveys done this past summer, this herd has stabilized and the population has recovered to 2000 levels at an estimated 98,600 animals.

Two different survey methods were used this summer to obtain the new estimate of the size of the Bluenose-East herd. The post-calving and calving ground surveys produced very similar estimates of the herd. The new herd estimate is based on the post-calving ground survey. The last survey was done in 2006.

The recovery of this herd is most likely due to good calf survival in the last four years and lower harvest pressure on the cows. The herd did not come close to winter roads or communities in the past several years.

Mr. Speaker, while the increase of the Bluenose-East herd is good news, this herd is shared with harvesters from many regions and we must still exercise caution when recommending management actions for the herd, so it can continue to increase.

The next step will be taken by the appropriate wildlife co-management boards and aboriginal governments. These groups will meet to discuss the harvest target proposed for the Bluenose-East caribou herd by the WRRB in its recommendations report. They will also determine what harvest limitations should be recommended, if any, and how these would be allocated before making recommendations to this government.

We are working with the Tlicho Government to develop a response to the WRRB recommendations. The response will be submitted to the board by the end of December.

With regards to other barren-ground herds, the Porcupine caribou herd, which was estimated to be 123,000 animals in 2001, has been slowly declining for the past 20 years. A new population estimate is expected in the next few weeks.

The Porcupine Caribou Management Board is implementing the management plan and the recently approved Harvest Management Strategy for this herd.

Recent surveys have indicated a rapid and massive decline in the Beverly caribou herd. Early indications from surveys done this year seem to suggest the Ahiak herd is stabilizing. New estimate and trend analysis for both the Ahiak and Beverly herds will be available by the end of December and a joint Nunavut/Saskatchewan/NWT population survey of the Ahiak herd is planned for the summer of 2011.

Mr. Speaker, given the transboundary nature of these herds, management actions must be done in conjunction with a number of parties. The Advisory Committee for Cooperation on Wildlife Management, consisting of wildlife co-management boards established under the Inuvialuit, Gwich’in, Sahtu, Tlicho and Nunavut land claims agreements, is working on management plans for the Bluenose-East, Bluenose-West and Cape Bathurst herds. These plans will be available in 2011.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources will release the 2011-2015 NWT Barren-ground Caribou Management Strategy for public review in the next few weeks.

Mr. Speaker, we have made progress in working together in conserving our barren-ground caribou herds during the past five years. This has not been without sacrifice. But the management actions and considerable investments are making a difference. However, we still have more work to do to build capacity for aboriginal involvement and to continue monitoring recovery. By continuing cooperative management approaches that respect and support traditional values, we will be able to make sure the herds are available for the use of current and future generations and can maximize benefits for everyone from this precious resource. Mahsi.

Minister’s Statement 84-16(5): Barren-Ground Caribou Management
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Minister Miltenberger. The honourable Minister responsible for Education, Culture and Employment, Mr. Lafferty.

Minister’s Statement 85-16(5): Literacy Strategy Update 2009-2010
Ministers’ Statements

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Education, Culture and Employment recognizes the importance of literacy in fulfilling our vision of healthy, educated citizens participating in a strong and prosperous society. In 2009, we renewed our commitment to literacy by implementing the second Northwest Territories Literacy Strategy. The strategy describes how we will increase the literacy levels of Northerners of all ages, in all official languages. Today I am pleased to provide you with highlights of the new strategy.

Mr. Speaker, in the area of early childhood literacy development, we support family literacy training for practitioners, numerous community-based family literacy workshops and programs, and the development of family literacy resources and promotional materials through a partnership with the NWT Literacy Council. We also funded 19 early childhood programs to develop aboriginal language immersion settings.

In literacy development we funded the Northwest Territories Seniors’ Society and youth centres to host 13 events that brought youth and seniors together to learn from each other. We also held a literacy proposal writing workshop for youth centre staff from 12 communities. In literacy development for seniors, Education Culture and Employment supported seven seniors’ literacy projects in different regions of the Territory.

Mr. Speaker, in the area of literacy development for working-age adults, we funded learning supports for disabled adults, literacy outreach centres at Aurora College campuses, and numerous community-based projects and programs, such as drop-in classes in the Beaufort-Delta, one-on-one tutoring in the Deh Cho, and the development of audio books for the visually impaired in the North Slave.

We funded Aurora College to facilitate distance learning opportunities and to deliver adult basic education at college campuses and community learning centres throughout the Territory. The department also coordinated the ongoing development of adult basic education curricula and resources.

In the area of literacy in the official languages of the Northwest Territories, local organizations developed books and resources in South Slavey, Tlicho and North Slavey. As well, we supported an aboriginal language writers’ workshop.

Finally, in the area of building community capacity to meet literacy needs, increased funding to community libraries permitted an increase in hours of service and the purchase of additional materials.

I want to acknowledge the important work of the Literacy Strategy Advisory Committee. The committee, which represents many of our literacy partners, meets annually to guide our staff in implementing the strategy.

The Northwest Territories faces many challenges in the area of literacy. We still have much work to do but we are on track this year to meet our objectives and carry out the actions of the Literacy Strategy according to the goals of this Assembly. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 85-16(5): Literacy Strategy Update 2009-2010
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Lafferty. Item 3, Members’ statements. The honourable Member for Tu Nedhe, Mr. Beaulieu.

Importance Of Respite Care Services
Members’ Statements

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe

Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker. Today I wish to talk about the importance of respite care in the small communities. Mr. Speaker, in many instances, young couples often take the responsibility for caring for aged senior family members or an ailing family member. This is the same for many grandchildren who live with their grandparents. They too are given the responsibility of caring and doing everything for the aging grandparents.

Mr. Speaker, over the last few days of this sitting, we have heard the Minister talk about changes to the way the government delivers health care, including funding of health services. It is good to hear the Minister responding to feedback, but this has left some confusion with my constituents that I’m hoping to clear up today.

Mr. Speaker, I understand the Minister and her department are doing what they think is best for the interests of the Northwest Territories. However, I am here today to talk about the interests of the people in Lutselk'e and Fort Resolution. Mr. Speaker, we know caring for aged and disabled family members can be a tremendous burden on families and family members. Without the necessary supports, it’s only a matter of time before family members are overcome with burnout or family resources are drained, and then ultimately the family members in need are placed in long-term care facilities and then become an added cost to the government.

Mr. Speaker, last year the Minister stated that we are expanding the program for children and youth through respite care in the communities outside of Yellowknife. Respite care provides planned relief for caregivers, families and people with disabilities. Relief is necessary to decrease burnout and stress and allow caregivers to provide the best possible support, and thereby the best quality of life for those with disabilities. This action focuses on improving outcomes and opportunities for children and youth. Mr. Speaker, my constituents want to know if the plans have changed or the funding for respite for communities outside of Yellowknife will also be cut.

Mr. Speaker, as I speak today, there are families that are doing what they can to ease the day-to-day living of disabled and aged family members in all the communities across the North. These families need parity on what this government is doing. These families need support. These families need help. Thank you.

Importance Of Respite Care Services
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Beaulieu. The honourable Member for Great Slave, Mr. Abernethy.

Importance Of Respite Care Services
Members’ Statements

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’ll be talking about respite services today as well.

Respite services are an incredibly valuable program through the Northwest Territories. Parents who are asking for respite help are not asking because they are incapable of caring for their children, but because while caring so much for their children, they are challenged to care for themselves.

This Assembly and previous Assemblies, the 14th and 15th, have acknowledged the importance of respite. So much so that in March 2005, the current Minister, while she was a Member, made a statement, and I quote directly from the March 2005 Hansard, where the Minister indicated:

“I would like to speak today in support of the Yellowknife Association for Community Living respite services currently funded by the GNWT Department of Health and Social Services. Mr. Speaker, the goal of respite services is to provide safe individual lives and flexible respite support to disabilities, more opportunities for inclusion in community activities. It is an essential support service that provides planned relief for parents, families and the people with disabilities that they care for. Such relief is necessary in order to decrease burnout, stress and family breakdown. It also helps families provide the best possible support and care to their loved ones with disabilities, and it ensures that people with disabilities experience a high quality of life.”

Mr. Speaker, the Member, at the time, went further to urge the Minister-of-the-day to not only maintain services but to expand those services to people on waiting lists as well as communities throughout the Northwest Territories.

I was pleased earlier in the year when I saw the report on the Foundation for Change, where the department indicated that respite services or respite care services for families with special needs and disabled children would be expanded through the Northwest Territories. This was fantastic news. Unfortunately, we all know now that the Yellowknife Association for Community Living program that was funded by Yellowknife Health and Social Services has been cancelled as of April 1, 2011. What I am concerned about, Mr. Speaker, is that the actions aren’t consistent with the words.

Later today I will be asking the Minister of Health and Social Services some questions on respite and what we are going to do to expand as outlined in the Foundation for Change. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Importance Of Respite Care Services
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

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

Health Care Services For Fort Liard Residents
Members’ Statements

Kevin A. Menicoche Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Fort Liard medical needs. I have stood up many times in this House to request on behalf of the residents of Fort Liard to have their health needs taken care of in Fort Nelson, B.C. This makes sense to them as it is only a two hour drive for them.

In many previous negative responses from the Minister of Health and Social Services, the main reason for not allowing this is that we have a health agreement with the Capital Health Authority of Alberta. Now, recently, it was brought to my attention that there is no longer a Capital Health Authority in Alberta, so I believe that we now have a good opportunity to provide a better and more efficient health service to the residents of Fort Liard.

The way we can do this, Mr. Speaker, is by contacting the Province of British Columbia’s ministry of Health to begin preliminary discussions with their northern health authority as how they can service the needs of the population of Fort Liard. The agreement does not have to be overly complicated. Residents are confused as to why they have to travel down Highway No. 7 for three hours then a one-and-a-half-hour plane ride to Yellowknife, overnight, and experience another lengthy trip home. These medical visits are for tests, exams and minor day surgery, if necessary. This can be accomplished, as I said, with a simple two hour drive on a very good road over to Fort Nelson and they can be home the same day.

Many of the travellers are elderly and youth that require escorts. I really feel that this will even be a cost savings for our health care system. Also with the implementation of the electronic health system, I would say it would be easier to share health records, thereby addressing another concern that the Minister of Health and Social Services has had with working with the B.C. ministry of Health.

Mr. Speaker, I look forward to a discussion on this during question period later today. Mahsi cho.

Health Care Services For Fort Liard Residents
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

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

Provision Of Health Care Services In Nunakput
Members’ Statements

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We see some very sad things happening in our communities. Today I am going to talk about the young man in Tuktoyaktuk who suffered for no good reason.

A few weeks ago he was badly beaten, was taken to the nursing station complaining that he couldn’t breathe, mainly because he was drinking, but they looked at him quickly and took him to the RCMP cells. All night he begged for help and he was ignored. After he was released, he went back to the nursing station on his own and was flown to Inuvik. In the two days that he was in Inuvik, no X-rays were taken and he was flown back home to Tuk but he was still having trouble breathing. The nurse in Tuk sent him back into Inuvik. It turned out, Mr. Speaker, that he had a punctured lung. They had to put a tube in him to drain the blood from his lungs.

This young man is now recovering, but that is more good luck than good work by our health services. He should have not been put in police cells the first night. He could have died. His condition should also have been identified in the first visit to the hospital in Inuvik. Instead he endured five flights between Tuk and Inuvik in a week, Mr. Speaker, before he was properly cared for in the Inuvik hospital. I am not sure how this happened and how such bad decisions were made.

I will be helping this young man and his family to file written complaints to the appropriate authorities. In the meantime, I want to stress to the Ministers of Health and Justice that sometimes citizens are treated more like animals than people, Mr. Speaker. We are lucky to have this young man that lived through this ordeal. Instances like this should never happen again. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Provision Of Health Care Services In Nunakput
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Jacobson. The honourable Member for Weledeh, Mr. Bromley.