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 19-16(5): Affordable Power Rates For Nahendeh Residents
Oral Questions

Kevin A. Menicoche Nahendeh

As I had said the last few days, it’s our small businesses that own buildings that are really impacted by the high power rates. If we are looking at changes to the system, can the Minister explain how the impacts will be for the commercial rates, Mr. Speaker?

Question 19-16(5): Affordable Power Rates For Nahendeh Residents
Oral Questions

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Our objective is to reduce the power rates for commercial businesses so they can also, in turn, pass on these rates to help reduce the cost of living in communities. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 19-16(5): Affordable Power Rates For Nahendeh Residents
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. Final supplementary, Mr. Menicoche.

Question 19-16(5): Affordable Power Rates For Nahendeh Residents
Oral Questions

Kevin A. Menicoche Nahendeh

I’d like to thank the Minister for his answer, Mr. Speaker, as well as passing on the savings to the customers. Are the planned rates commercial or residential? Are we still going to be looking at some type of territorial power support for the smaller communities?

Question 19-16(5): Affordable Power Rates For Nahendeh Residents
Oral Questions

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The electricity review is a public document and recommended that we look at a three-rate system for power. The TPSP would apply to thermal communities. That was the recommendation. My expectation, subject to working with the committee or all Members of the Legislative Assembly, is that the TPSP would still apply to residential.

Question 19-16(5): Affordable Power Rates For Nahendeh Residents
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. The honourable Member for Yellowknife Centre, Mr. Hawkins.

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

March 2nd, 2010

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The manifesto is crystal clear. The Health Minister’s ambition to trim health benefits is obvious. Raising the cost of living for our constituents is obvious. Creating consultation that appears more like shoehorning the public into a direction by their design is certainly clear.

Can the Minister of Health and Social Services explain to me how this does not look like a predetermined process that has a predetermined, scripted outcome?

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

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Hawkins. The honourable Minister responsible for Health and Social Services, Ms. Lee.

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

Sandy Lee Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Member stated that he read the document on the website, but I don’t believe he understood what he read.

---Interjection

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

Sandy Lee Range Lake

We’re not dictating anything. We’re asking questions like number 2: Would assistance with co-payment costs based on income make a difference to your preference? Yes or no? If no, why not? What are your concerns? Which income brackets do you think should pay a co-payment? Under $30,000, $40,000 to $49,999, $50,000 to $69,999, all the way up to $150,000 and over?

We have at least 10 questions. We are most open. We are most willing. We’re most engaging. We’re just presenting the public with the basic facts about what the Supp Health Program is as opposed to the core Canadian health care. It’s a program that in the rest of the country that are income tested and that very few people get. I say once again, we are going to have the most generous Supp Health Program anywhere still. Right now we have a group of people who don’t have access and we are engaging the public as to how to improve this program.

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

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

I guess I’ll have to spell it out a little slower so that the Minister picks it up this time. A predetermined process does not start out with an automatic implementation date. It has a closing, a consultation date, and allows the consultation discussion to drive the implementation date. The last point on this issue is when you tell people what income level it should start at, it tells me that the department has already decided that income testing is going to be a factor. It doesn’t say should it be, period, no questions asked.

What has this mysterious group that exists out there, what has this Minister done in terms of health regulation, ministerial directive, Cabinet directive, to pass any direction to provide immediate services to this mystery group we keep hearing about? Because that could be done. What work has been done on that issue?

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

Sandy Lee Range Lake

Number 3 tells that answer. So I would encourage the Member and everybody else to look at this questionnaire that we posted on the website. The Member is suggesting, and others are suggesting, that we have a predetermined course of action and that we have a date in place and that we’re shoehorning the public into a decision, which is absolutely not true.

Number 3: Knowing what we know now about the costs and needs of the various existing uninsured health benefits programs, the Department of Health

and Social Services is considering rolling the three programs this paper has discussed into a single program that is available to all Northerners not eligible for another program. Eligibility will be determined by your income, instead of age or specific condition. Do you agree?

I cannot think of another example of a more open, better designed, better evidenced, more of a two-way dialogue than this consultation process. I ask the Members to give it a chance. Give our public the benefit of the doubt that they have the intelligence and the knowledge and the interest that they will come out, even if it is the Easter weekend. Or if they don’t have time, they will respond to us on the website. I have faith in the people. I ask the Members to have faith in our public as well.

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

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

The ones with the shoehorn of course don’t feel shoehorned. Try being on the side of the shoehorn, not the ones with it. The reality is the Minister is blaming Members of the House -- this side of the House, we have to be very clear -- for not supporting that group of people who don’t have benefits. This Minister immediately could pass a ministerial directive that says this number of people need to be covered and this is how much it costs. How much money would it be to provide coverage to this mysterious group of people, as well as how many people? They can’t seem to answer that. Can the Minister answer that officially in this House?

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

Sandy Lee Range Lake

I blame no one. I am just asking to let us have that dialogue. This is a very important conversation that we need to have. We need people to understand what supp health programs are, who they are provided to, what they cover, what the other jurisdictions do, and how do we go forward in terms of sustainability and protecting the integrity of this program. I believe at the end of the day that we will have the information that we need from the public.

In terms of, say, how much will this cost, I have said a thousand times in this House that health care services are demand driven. We pay what people need. Once the policies are set, we pay for whoever gets the service. For anybody to say how much it will cost, if anybody knew that answer, I think they would be a lot richer than I am at the moment.

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

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Ms. Lee. Final supplementary, Mr. Hawkins.