This is page numbers 4577 - 4596 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 need.

Topics

Question 15-16(5): Northland Trailer Park Water And Sewer Replacement Project
Oral Questions

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

Thanks to the Premier. I would have to disagree with his description that it’s a scenario. It’s, unfortunately, not at all a figment of anybody’s imagination. It’s real. There is a very likely huge collapse of sewer infrastructure in the very near future.

I mentioned in my statement that Yellowknife is the only NWT community that does not receive water and sewer funding through the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs. I’d like to know from the Premier whether or not there would be any consideration to changing that formula for a period of years to allow some of that funding to flow through the city and, therefore, through to the residents.

Question 15-16(5): Northland Trailer Park Water And Sewer Replacement Project
Oral Questions

Inuvik Boot Lake

Floyd Roland Premier

The formula situation that’s been set up for communities has been designed for the level of support and the ability for a municipality to be able to raise revenue for its own repairs. But the City of Yellowknife does get O and M funding as well as capital funding, as well as they’re eligible for some of federal initiatives that are out there that could help assist and offset this type of work.

Question 15-16(5): Northland Trailer Park Water And Sewer Replacement Project
Oral Questions

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

I won’t thank the Premier because I didn’t like that answer at all. I guess I would have to say to the Premier that the capital funding that goes to the city, the gas tax money that goes to the city, that’s like asking the city to give me, for my personal home, some of the gas tax funding which the city gets. This is private property. This is a group of homeowners who happen to be on a private piece of land. So it’s very unlikely that the residents of this city are going to approve gas tax money going to an individual homeowner.

I really feel that the funding that the Premier is referencing is incorrect. I do appreciate his commitment to sit down and look at that funding. I feel that this Assembly designates an executive to manage the government finances and to manage emergence and emergency situations, so I’d like to ask the Premier what kind of funding exists in this government to deal with emergency funding issues that arise. Thank you.

Question 15-16(5): Northland Trailer Park Water And Sewer Replacement Project
Oral Questions

Inuvik Boot Lake

Floyd Roland Premier

There are a number of emergency funds that are out there; again, depending on the department, the initiative or the emergency itself. For a community, Municipal and Community Affairs, again, holds that area and the commitment, as I was stating, is a commitment on behalf of Municipal and Community Affairs to sit down with the City of Yellowknife to look at alternative funding areas that might be looked at.

As to the area of the Condominium Act, if this was to be in any community in the Northwest Territories, they would be faced with the same situation and having to have a reserve fund established.

As I stated, I am aware the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs is prepared to sit down with the City of Yellowknife and explore alternative solutions. Thank you.

Question 15-16(5): Northland Trailer Park Water And Sewer Replacement Project
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Roland. Final, short supplementary, Ms. Bisaro.

Question 15-16(5): Northland Trailer Park Water And Sewer Replacement Project
Oral Questions

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just have to say to the Premier that I have previously asked the question of whether or not there are funds available from the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs and was advised that there’s not. So I’m very happy to hear that there is some and that they can be discussed and I take his commitment with thanks.

Question 15-16(5): Northland Trailer Park Water And Sewer Replacement Project
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Ms. Bisaro. I didn’t hear a question there. The honourable Member for Weledeh, Mr. Bromley.

Question 16-16(5): Proposed Changes To Supplementary Health Benefits Program
Oral Questions

March 2nd, 2010

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’d like to acknowledge the Minister of Health is not seeking to reduce the cost of supplementary health benefits, but costs are clearly rising. So I assume, at a minimum, she’s strongly motivated to control future costs whole providing the best benefits possible. I think that is what she was saying yesterday.

However, pharmaceuticals are clearly the single biggest driver of increasing costs. My question, Mr. Speaker: will the Minister commit to bringing back detailed options for reducing drug costs, including information on the proposed western province’s drug buying plan our Premier discussed at the last Western Premiers’ Meeting? Thank you.

Question 16-16(5): Proposed Changes To Supplementary Health Benefits Program
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

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

Question 16-16(5): Proposed Changes To Supplementary Health Benefits Program
Oral Questions

Range Lake

Sandy Lee Minister of Health and Social Services

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, yes, the drug cost is a key part of the landscape of health care spending going forward. In the Globe and Mail on Saturday, there was a two page spread about health care issues and drug costs being one of the biggest items. I think we are much more advanced in the North in terms of this issue than most other jurisdictions.

To answer the Member’s question, the department is right now working on a formal strategy. It is highly complex. It has lots of stakeholders, but we have undertaken to do that work. Thank you.

Question 16-16(5): Proposed Changes To Supplementary Health Benefits Program
Oral Questions

Bob Bromley Weledeh

I assume the results of that will be brought forward in a timely fashion to the House or at least to Members.

On the question of affordability, I don’t see any analysis of the impact of different means thresholds or consideration of how our high cost of living, which is crucial for the great majority of low-income people who use these benefits, as being considered. Will the Minister commit to doing these detailed analyses and bring them forward as part of our consultation? Thank you.

Question 16-16(5): Proposed Changes To Supplementary Health Benefits Program
Oral Questions

Range Lake

Sandy Lee Minister of Health and Social Services

We are asking that very question to our general public. In the material that we put into the website -- and that will go out to every household -- we do ask people about at what income level, if we were to consider co-payments, that we should begin to do that, instead of coming out and saying X, Y, Z and asking people whether they say yes or no. We are asking the people. We are explaining to the people what this program is, how it differs from the rest of Canada, who’s using it, and we are asking whether or not income thresholds should be used for a criteria for accessing information, whereas right now it’s whether you have a condition or your age is the determining factor. So we are opening that up to the public to tell us. Thank you.

Question 16-16(5): Proposed Changes To Supplementary Health Benefits Program
Oral Questions

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Thanks for those comments from the Minister. I assume, then, she will be doing a second and third round of consultation taking that back with the implications of different selected thresholds.

On what basis does the Minister take a year -- that’s 12 months, Mr. Speaker -- to start producing the basic research into what should have been provided in the original effort 18 months ago, and then expect the public consultation to be done in six weeks? Thank you.

Question 16-16(5): Proposed Changes To Supplementary Health Benefits Program
Oral Questions

Range Lake

Sandy Lee Minister of Health and Social Services

As the Member knows, these changes were done and announced in 2007, as a result of what I know because I was here for about seven years’ work. Those were announced in 2007. The motion was passed in 2008…no, 2009, last year, to go back and do the work. We have done that. We have done a lot of intense research on who this program is serving right now. We feel we have an excellent set of information to go out to the public to engage public discussion on. I think that we should be applauded, actually, for going out to the public with the information we have and asking the public to give us input.

Mr. Speaker, we’re not going to be engaged in paralysis by analysis and have every t crossed, every i dotted, and have an answer to those who would like nothing changed. I think, Mr. Speaker, it is important that we look at this and engage in public debate. Thank you.

Question 16-16(5): Proposed Changes To Supplementary Health Benefits Program
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Ms. Lee. Your final, short supplementary, Mr. Bromley.