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.

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Question 20-16(5): Proposed Changes To The Supplementary Health Benefits Program
Oral Questions

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yet again the side of this House that has the shoehorn seems to be proceeding with blinders. They have no idea how much this will cost to cover this group that is mysteriously not covered. It doesn’t sound like they even have a clue how many people need to be covered. Will this Minister commit, before any decision is made, that we will identify the costs associated with this and with the number of people

who need this assistance? Because we could do it immediately, we could provide support if the Minister could provide that cost, which she refuses to.

Question 20-16(5): Proposed Changes To The Supplementary Health Benefits Program
Oral Questions

Sandy Lee Range Lake

The other side of that is the money is voted in this House. We could, as a House, decide that we would provide supplementary health benefits to anybody; we pay for dental, we pay for drugs, we pay for homecare, we pay for anything, just because we want to. Then the Member will just need to pass the budget on that.

That’s not how we do our business here. Supp health benefits programs are very generous in this jurisdiction. We will continue to keep it that way. We have a group of people who are excluded from it and it is very important for us to have a very informed, evidence-based discussion with the public about what it is and how do we protect it and how do we make the access fair and equitable. We’re going to do that by the end of this consultation process.

Question 20-16(5): Proposed Changes To The Supplementary Health Benefits Program
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Ms. Lee. The honourable Member for Sahtu, Mr. Yakeleya.

Question 21-16(5): Revenues From Sahtu Oil And Gas Developments
Oral Questions

March 2nd, 2010

Norman Yakeleya Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Since 1921 to 2010 it’s about 89 years since we’ve had oilfields in the Northwest Territories. In 1998, the oilfields started to develop and earn some profit and revenue from the Norman Wells oilfield through the pipeline that’s going to Zama. I want to ask the Minister of ITI what has been done to ensure that some of those revenues being generated from the development of the pipeline through the Sahtu region, that these revenues will reach the people in the North and the people in the Sahtu.

Question 21-16(5): Revenues From Sahtu Oil And Gas Developments
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Yakeleya. The honourable Minister responsible for Industry, Tourism and Investment, Mr. Bob McLeod.

Question 21-16(5): Revenues From Sahtu Oil And Gas Developments
Oral Questions

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Norman Wells oilfield revenues have been a longstanding issue and irritant for this government. I guess it started when the land claims were negotiated for both the Gwich’in and Sahtu, which had provisions for the sharing of royalty revenues. As the Member knows, the Norman Wells oilfield revenues were deemed to be, or understood to be, royalties, but we took the federal government to court to get them to formally agree that those were royalties. The federal government went to court and lost and in order to pay the outstanding royalties to the Gwich’in and the Sahtu, the federal government said they could only get the money if they signed a cease and desist order whereby they would no longer recognize Norman Wells royalties as revenue. So

they are saying it’s equity and we’ve been stuck ever since.

Question 21-16(5): Revenues From Sahtu Oil And Gas Developments
Oral Questions

Norman Yakeleya Sahtu

I want to ask this Minister why this government has not pursued an equity position with the Mackenzie Gas Project.

Question 21-16(5): Revenues From Sahtu Oil And Gas Developments
Oral Questions

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

We haven’t pursued it because we don’t have the money. To put it bluntly, the royalties keep accruing to the federal government. We’ve been pursuing, collecting it through the devolution and resource revenue sharing negotiations.

Question 21-16(5): Revenues From Sahtu Oil And Gas Developments
Oral Questions

Norman Yakeleya Sahtu

Okay, well, that opens up a whole bunch of questions, but I will stay on this one here. Is the Government of the Northwest Territories working to negotiate some type of agreement with Ottawa in relation to the Mackenzie Gas Project in terms of receiving some money through equity or royalties or some regime?

Question 21-16(5): Revenues From Sahtu Oil And Gas Developments
Oral Questions

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

We are supporting the Aboriginal Pipeline Group, who have negotiated a one-third interest in the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline. That involves, as far as I understand it, aboriginal governments of all the land claimant groups.

Question 21-16(5): Revenues From Sahtu Oil And Gas Developments
Oral Questions

Norman Yakeleya Sahtu

In terms of the whole issue of the oilfields and the pipeline, I want to ask the Minister if his Cabinet has ever looked at the issue of dealing with the ownership of the oilfields. I know the federal government has one-third ownership of the oilfields as part of the terms of the GNWT asking if they can have a percentage of that share of the oilfields.

Question 21-16(5): Revenues From Sahtu Oil And Gas Developments
Oral Questions

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

My understanding is that has been on the negotiating table from day one, with regard to devolution and resource revenue sharing. The federal government has different views on how the Norman Wells revenues or equity position should be dealt with, but it’s something that will have to be negotiated as part of devolution and resource revenue sharing.

Question 21-16(5): Revenues From Sahtu Oil And Gas Developments
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. The honourable Member for Hay River South, Mrs. Groenewegen.

Question 22-16(5): Proposed Changes To The Supplementary Health Benefits Program
Oral Questions

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’ve been waiting on the supplementary health benefits issue because I’m sitting here listening to the debate and dialogue. It is very easy to sit on this side of the House and ask for the world. It’s kind of a little bit irresponsible, though, because we know that it is not sustainable to give seniors over a certain age unlimited, unfettered, non-means-tested access to supplementary health benefits. We know that. We know it cannot be done. So where is the

creativity in the Department of Health and Social Services to look at things?

If we want to address the working poor, as we coin the phrase, those who do not work for the government, those who are not covered by other types of plans, when we look at that group, as Mr. Hawkins refers to them, the mysterious group, it’s not mysterious. I know who those people are. I’ve been standing up talking about them in this House for the last 15 years. Why could we not look at an insurance program that would be affordable? We could even cost share the premium to access something through an insurance program so that those folks could access supplementary health benefits in that way.

When it comes to seniors, rather than saying when you get to a certain age or a certain income bracket there’s nothing, why couldn’t we come up with something creative, something graduated where we say if you are in this income bracket, you are fully covered; if you are in this income bracket, we will cost share with you; and when you’re in this income bracket, darn it, you’ve got enough money you can pay for your own stuff unless it’s catastrophic and completely unaffordable. Where is the creativity in a plan that addresses this issue? Because we know, I mean, there’s nothing worse than ingratitude, and, Mr. Speaker, the people of the Northwest Territories should be very grateful for the services provided by this government through the Department of Health. But where is the ability of this department to look at some creative solutions? Thank you.

Question 22-16(5): Proposed Changes To The Supplementary Health Benefits Program
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mrs. Groenewegen. The honourable Minister responsible for Health and Social Services, Ms. Lee.