This is page numbers 6965 - 7000 of the Hansard for the 16th Assembly, 6th 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 assembly.

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The House met at 1:36 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 Premier, Michael McLeod.

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Minister’s Statement 53-16(6): 16th Legislative Assembly Results Report
Ministers’ Statements

August 25th, 2011

Michael McLeod Deh Cho

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’d like to read this statement on behalf of the Premier who is currently attending a government business matter.

Mr. Speaker, later today the chair of Caucus will be tabling a results report for the 16th Legislative

Assembly. It highlights activities this government has taken to support strong individuals, families and communities sharing the benefits and responsibilities of a unified, environmentally sustainable and prosperous Northwest Territories.

I will not try to list all these activities, but rather would note that we all should take some pride in the achievements of this Assembly. There have been considerable investments and strategic actions that have been undertaken to support our goals of:

• healthy, educated people;

• sustainable, vibrant, safe communities;

• an environment that will sustain present and

future generations;

• a diversified economy that provides all

communities and regions with opportunities and choices;

• a strong and independent North built on

partnerships; and

• effective and efficient government.

We were able to make significant progress on these goals, while managing our way through a major global economic recession that significantly impacted our economy and the government’s fiscal capacity.

Mr. Speaker, the work of government is not always easy, and as Members we do not always agree on the best approach to move the Northwest Territories forward. However, I would like to thank all Members of the 16th Legislative Assembly for

their contributions over the past four years. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mahsi cho.

Minister’s Statement 53-16(6): 16th Legislative Assembly Results Report
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. The honourable Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, Mr. Bob McLeod.

Minister’s Statement 54-16(6): Energy Overview
Ministers’ Statements

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of this Legislative Assembly, Members clearly signalled energy policy and programming as priorities and directed this government to pursue initiatives that reduce the cost of living and, in particular, energy costs.

Our government responded by an unprecedented $60 million multi-year commitment towards energy programs and initiatives. This investment was geared toward reducing imported fossil fuels, mitigating the environmental impacts of our energy use, and reducing the cost of living in the Northwest Territories.

We reported on the results of this investment in the Northwest Territories Energy Report that I tabled during the May session of this Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, consider the following results of these investments:

• The Northwest Territories leads the country in

the installation of commercial-sized wood pellet boilers;

• The Arctic Energy Alliance now has more

resources than ever before and has established three regional offices;

• Energy use by the Government of the Northwest

Territories has declined considerably. We have met our target established in the 2007 Greenhouse Gas Strategy, a 10 percent reduction in emissions;

• There are many ongoing projects aimed at

using local sources of energy. These include wind, geothermal, hydrokinetic, biomass, and solar. For example, the Northwest Territories

Hydro Corporation has just issued a request for proposals for the installation of up to 70 kilowatts of solar panels in Fort Simpson. This will provide a source of renewable energy for the local grid for the next 30 years; and

• We have made more significant changes to our

electricity system than had been made in the past 20 years. Working together, this Legislative Assembly was able to bring about real change that benefitted families as well as local businesses. We cut electricity rates in many communities while increasing the level of support for affordable electricity for our residents.

This Legislative Assembly has provided a solid foundation for the future. There has been a tremendous amount of work accomplished and capacity established that will serve the people of the Northwest Territories well.

Where could the future take us? Ideally towards:

• a future where every community is using, to

some degree, local, renewable sources of energy;

• a future where our homes and businesses use

as little energy as possible, reducing costs as well as our environmental footprint;

• a future that includes the Mackenzie Gas

Project, which will provide our northern communities and industry with a secure source of clean and cost-effective energy. This project has the potential to reduce greenhouse gases by up to 30 percent in communities now consuming diesel fuel as their main source of energy. It can also supply southern markets with the natural gas that will be required in the transition to a low carbon economy; and

• a future where we have developed our

hydroelectric resources, in partnership with Aboriginal governments, for our own use as well as for export, contributing to the national effort on climate change.

In short, we envision a future that includes very little, if any, imported oil. That is the challenge for the future. I am confident that we have provided the foundation for the 17th Legislative Assembly to work

towards this goal for the benefit of our economy, our environment, and for future generations.

Minister’s Statement 54-16(6): Energy Overview
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. The honourable Minister responsible for Justice, Mr. Lafferty.

Minister’s Statement 55-16(6): Proposed Legal Aid Act
Ministers’ Statements

Monfwi

Jackson Lafferty Minister of Justice

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Later today I will table a draft Legal Aid Act and consultation paper. The Department of

Justice is developing a new Legal Aid Act and is seeking comments from the public.

The proposed new Legal Aid Act will provide greater clarity on governance and processes, and a more client-focused, service-oriented approach to our legal aid system.

Feedback from consultation will help to create legislation that strengthens service for all clients and ensures independence, accountability, and transparency in the delivery of legal aid services in the Northwest Territories.

The draft legislation and consultation paper are also available on the Department of Justice website.

Minister’s Statement 55-16(6): Proposed Legal Aid Act
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Lafferty. The Honourable Bob McLeod on behalf of the honourable Minister responsible for Health and Social Services, Mr. Miltenberger.

Minister’s Statement 56-16(6): System Pressures And Strategic Directions
Ministers’ Statements

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to read this statement on behalf of the Minister of Health and Social Services who is currently attending to a personal matter.

This Assembly has heard repeatedly that the cost of delivering health and social services programs are rising and that sustainability and funding are a continued and growing issue for all jurisdictions.

We all know that the delivery of health and social services is complex. The system and the people that work within it must consistently respond appropriately to and balance the needs of individuals, families, communities and the overall population against the resources available.

Mr. Speaker, the people of the Northwest Territories receive excellent health and social services. We continue to provide a range of programs and services either close to home or through medical travel. However, we must strive for better services, greater efficiencies, and make appropriate use of new technologies to improve our services.

Our health and social services system is challenged by issues that other jurisdictions do not even contemplate. We have worked hard to meet these challenges and build on our successes to improve the quality of services to people, families, communities, and strengthen our health and social services system to achieve efficiencies. Some of the successes achieved over the past four years under the Foundation for Change include:

• adding telehealth sites across 29 communities.

The final seven telehealth units have been installed and will go live by this fall. Telehealth is one of our HealthNet solutions.

• the successful management of the first

pandemic flu outbreak in decades. Our joint GNWT response received a Premiers Award, as well as being the envy of other jurisdictions.

• reducing our reliance on agency nurses. We

have a float pool of NWT nurses and are hiring as many Northwest Territories nursing graduates as our system can absorb.

• moving to a team-based, client-focused

approach. This approach ensures people across the Northwest Territories will have better services and more equitable access. We’re also looking at finding ways to incorporate virtual teams to better support clients and staff in communities. This is consistent with our Integrated Service Delivery Model.

Mr. Speaker, in an effort to build on our work done to date, a renewed strategic plan has been developed. This plan clearly lays out the key goals, objectives and actions the health and social services system will follow to ensure the effective and efficient delivery of health and social services.

We have worked closely with the Joint Leadership Council and the CEOs from the Health and Social Services Authority, and we appreciate their valuable input into the design of a new 2011-2016 strategic plan for the health and social Services system.

Later today the Minister of Health and Social Services will table the 2011-2016 Strategic Plan: Building on Our Foundation.

This strategic plan builds on actions established under A Foundation for Change and our commitment to improve the health and well-being of all Northerners. Leadership and commitment to achieve the goals of the plan comes from the Minister and the Joint Leadership Council who are the stewards of the system.

Mr. Speaker, one of our top priorities will be to strengthen the primary community care system by ensuring community providers are making progress on managing chronic conditions in the community and also by integrating mental health and addiction services into existing community services and the larger health system.

Providing services to remote communities requires a medical travel system that provides people with access to appropriate services not available in their community and acts as an air ambulance in emergencies. This is a significant cost driver to the system and we all need to ensure it is used properly. This requires both system and user responsibility. The plan will identify ways to improve the system to ensure patients receive appropriate services in an efficient and effective manner.

Mr. Speaker, new technologies such as telehealth, digital imaging and picture archiving systems and

an on-line patient’s record system will also assist in strengthening our service delivery. All of these initiatives are intended to provide a higher quality service while reducing the overall system cost.

We have also been challenged to ensure we have the right staff in place to provide services. We now have trained northern nurses, social workers, home care workers, mental health workers and other allied health professionals. We must continue to train Northerners and encourage our youth to enter into health and social services careers. We face the ongoing challenge of provider shortages in a global market and all of us need to ensure a safe and desirable work place for health care and social services staff.

This strategic plan will be our roadmap for the next five years. It provides high-level actions that will be supported through the annual business plan and budget cycle, and includes actions, deliverables and targets that hold the Minister, the Joint Leadership Council, and every person in the health and social services system accountable to deliver.

Mr. Speaker, we recognize that change cannot happen quickly. In some instances it will take years to see the effects of these changes. Government alone cannot improve health and social outcomes. We all have a role to play when it comes to our health and wellness. This includes accepting responsibility as individuals for maintaining our own good health through actions like proper diet and exercise or by stopping smoking and excessive use of alcohol.

The next few years are sure to bring significant challenges to the process of service delivery. We have every confidence that we can respond to these challenges and continue to provide quality health care and social services consistent with GNWT priorities and the needs of the population.

The health and social services system is also facing significant capital and operations needs that will continue to represent the largest part of the GNWT budget. Health care costs are continuing to increase and there are concerns about the long-term sustainability of health care systems across Canada, including the Northwest Territories.

The 17th Legislative Assembly will be faced with

significant real and immediate fiscal pressures for the NWT health and social services system. Some are non-controllable -- external price/volume pressures -- some are the result of policy decisions and public demand and expectations. Adding to those pressures, the lifespan of most of our health and social services facilities is running its course.

As a result, our current and future capital needs for hospitals and health centres will more than likely outstrip our capital resources and yet are a necessity.

However, planning in response to these fiscal challenges provides an opportunity for innovation and collaboration. Today’s announcement by Prime Minister Harper to extend the Territorial Health Systems Sustainability Initiative funding to Canada’s territories is a welcome first step.

The road ahead, as outlined in this strategic plan, Building on our Foundation, will require innovation, flexibility, adaption and continued support for change and for making the best use of our limited resources. This is our commitment and we invite all Northerners to join us in building healthy communities and a healthy Northwest Territories.

Minister’s Statement 56-16(6): System Pressures And Strategic Directions
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. The honourable Minister responsible for the Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission, Mr. Robert McLeod.

Minister’s Statement 57-16(6): New President And Ceo
Ministers’ Statements

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission’s mission is to promote workplace safety and care for injured workers. This mission is more than a statement. It is the foundation for commission employees’ work; building on the belief that through prevention, we can eliminate workplace injuries.

To achieve its mission, the commission requires solid leadership. Earlier this summer the Governance Council of the Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission selected a new president and CEO. As of July 25, 2011, Mr. Dave Grundy accepted the position of WSCC president and CEO. Working with the commission for nine years, Mr. Grundy enhanced its focus on stakeholder service. His strong leadership skills and northern experience will assist the commission as it moves forward helping northern employers build strong safety cultures.

I extend my congratulations to Mr. Grundy on his new position and to the commission for its continued efforts to improve workplace safety for all Northerners. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 57-16(6): New President And Ceo
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. Item 3, Members’ statements. The honourable Member for Mackenzie Delta, Mr. Krutko.

Poverty In The Northwest Territories
Members’ Statements

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We hear a lot about the riches of the Northwest Territories by way of our resources, but we are poor by way of the people that live in poverty in the Northwest Territories.

The social and economic standards of people throughout the Northwest Territories, regardless if it’s native people who live in the North with an average income of $18,000 or people in the North who are having health issues because of their diabetes or liver disease or ailments by way of poor health care or the lack of health care services in a lot of our communities. The challenges we have by mental health and addiction challenges all stem from poverty.

I believe that as a government we have to realize that poverty is a man-made element. It is man-made and can be prevented by man. Poverty in the Northwest Territories can be overcome by ensuring that the levels of services to people in the Northwest Territories who are in poverty by increasing the cost of living and increasing the services that’s being provided regardless if it’s health care or in the area of education, ensuring that the services that we are providing is getting them out of poverty and keeping them out of poverty and not continue to put them into a justice system that they continue with the revolving door scenario in which they get into jail, they get out of jail, they end up at Salvation Army or they end up on the streets or being homeless.

All I ask of the 17th Assembly is to make poverty

one of their top priorities and ensure the next Assembly really deals with the problem in northern Canada and get the potential that we have, who are the people. One of the most valuable assets we have as a society is people. Everyone has the right to housing, to food, and to dignity. Only then will we see the richness of the Northwest Territories by way of the richness in our people.

With that, I would like to leave by stating I would like to thank yourself, Mr. Speaker, and Mr. Roland. I look forward to seeing you on the golf course. More importantly, thanking the other Members for serving with you over the last number of years, and I wish you all the best in the future.

Poverty In The Northwest Territories
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

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