This is page numbers 6757 – 6826 of the Hansard for the 17th 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 health.


Members Present

Hon. Glen Abernethy, Hon. Tom Beaulieu, Ms. Bisaro, Mr. Blake, Mr. Bouchard, Mr. Bromley, Mr. Dolynny, Mrs. Groenewegen, Mr. Hawkins, Hon. Jackie Jacobson, Hon. Jackson Lafferty, Hon. Bob McLeod, Hon. Robert McLeod, Mr. Menicoche, Hon. Michael Miltenberger, Mr. Moses, Mr. Nadli, Hon. David Ramsay, Mr. Yakeleya

The House met at 1:32 p.m.


The Speaker

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Good afternoon, colleagues. Item 2, Ministers’ statements. Minister of Human Resources, Mr. Beaulieu.

Minister's Statement 239-17(5): NWT Public Service
Ministers’ Statements

October 6th, 2015

Tom Beaulieu

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe

Mr. Speaker, throughout the term of the 17th Legislative Assembly and guided by 20/20: A Brilliant North, the NWT Public Service Strategic Plan, this government has made it a priority to ensure that the public service is prepared to meet the needs of Northerners now and in the future.

Residents of the NWT want to share in the benefits of an economically stable, well-governed territory. They want a healthy, educated population able to participate fully in a diversified, sustainable economy. They want an independent North built on partnerships and responsible stewardship that will sustain present and future generations. The GNWT is committed to helping our residents achieve these aspirations for themselves, their families and their communities by providing the right support, programs and services to the public.

Northerners are now exercising devolved authorities and responsibilities for public lands, water and resources. A public service with the capacity to meet our growing role in our own development is more important now than ever before.

Later today, at the appropriate time, I will table the 2014 Public Service Annual Report. This report, the last during the term of the 17th Assembly, provides information on the management, composition and development of the public service and highlights some significant achievements of the 2014 calendar year.

It was an important year in the political development of the NWT. The GNWT underwent considerable reorganization as we assumed new authorities and responsibilities for the management of public lands, water and resources, and the public service was engaged to meet the challenges. We also saw the

successful completion of initiatives to standardize GNWT transactional processes improving consistency and efficiency.

Mr. Speaker, we continue to focus on the recruitment, retention and development of an effective, responsive workforce representative of the people it serves. Human resource management accountability is taking on an increasingly important role as we seek to align personnel management with service outcomes and modern global best practices.

We are developing a home-grown labour force to support our economic development. Through the Regional Recruitment Program, 16 residents have been appointed to trainee positions throughout the NWT in the communities of Inuvik, Fort Simpson, Fort Liard, Fort Providence and Fort Smith.

We are also preparing the next generation of employees by supporting northern youth in their transition from school to the workplace and the beginning of their professional careers. The GNWT had another successful Summer Student Employment Program with departments and agencies hiring 341 students in 2015. Of the 341 summer students hired, 55 percent were indigenous Aboriginal and 44 percent were indigenous non-Aboriginal. We have also hired 22 northern graduates as interns.

The continued development and prosperity of the NWT depends on educated youth, and our hopes that they return home to the North when their studies are complete to meet our current and future occupational shortages and to become role models for future generations.

Mr. Speaker, we reaffirm learning and development of our employees as an ongoing priority. We work to ensure occupational health and safety in our workplaces. We promote understanding and awareness of diversity and an appreciation of the rich cultures upon which our territory is founded and which inform our programs and services.

The GNWT’s efforts towards an inclusive and representative workplace and our strong support for youth employment led to our repeat national recognition as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers and Canada’s Top Employers for Young People for 2015.

Mr. Speaker, it has been a busy and productive four years. The members of the public service, who work so hard to support the priorities of this House, have constantly impressed me. There is still much work to do but I know that, with a stable, engaged public service dedicated to the people of the NWT, future Assemblies will be just as successful. Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Beaulieu. Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, Mr. Lafferty.

Jackson Lafferty

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Mr. Speaker, later today I will be tabling the Skills 4 Success 10-Year Strategic Framework. This framework capitalizes on the skills, knowledge and talents of the people of the Northwest Territories, the number one resource behind our economy and sustainable communities.

Over the past year, we engaged with many stakeholders for input and feedback on the development of the framework. We met with business, industry, Aboriginal governments, the federal government, non-governmental organizations, youth, job seekers, communities and education partners. Their collective knowledge helped identify new strategic directions for adult and post-secondary education programs, supports and pathways in the NWT.

In the spring we held the first Skills 4 Success symposium. Nearly 170 labour market, education and training partners attended. We heard a collective call for change and the need to build a strong culture of education and employment. It was extremely productive, with robust discussions, feedback, shared experiences and a commitment to demonstrate leadership for change. A full results report from the symposium is available online.

Mr. Speaker, this government also partnered with the Conference Board of Canada to examine the NWT’s forecasted labour demands over the coming years. We have learned that over the next 15 years, approximately 75 percent of job opportunities will require college, apprenticeship or university education. Job opportunities open to people with less than a high school education is forecasted to be less than 10 percent.

This is a challenge for the NWT, as some residents require training and further education to be considered for an available job. The demand for skilled labour will only intensify in the coming years when more people retire from the labour market.

Skill development starts at the earliest ages. The GNWT is making progress with comprehensive early childhood development initiatives and improvements to the K to 12 education system. The Skills 4 Success Framework will build on these efforts and drive change to improve student transitions and pathways to advanced education and careers aligning with labour market demands and opportunities.

The four goals of the framework provide a solid foundation for what we have to do: increase skill levels through relevant education and training; bridge education and employment gaps through targeted supports; grow the NWT workforce through partnerships; and improve decision-making with relevant labour market information. Placing priority on skill development and closing education and employment gaps will help drive positive social and economic outcomes across the North.

Mr. Speaker, making generational change will require strong leadership at all levels. The framework is the first step in a 10-year process. Leading into the 18th Legislative Assembly, we will develop concrete actions on how we plan to achieve our vision, goals and priorities.

We want everyone to have opportunities to succeed in life, whether it is advancing their education, gaining employment, or seizing a business opportunity. Providing these opportunities through partnership, comprehensive information and strategically developed programs is critical to our overall success as a territory, and we are acting on the call to create those opportunities. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Lafferty. Minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Power Corporation, Mr. Miltenberger.

Michael Miltenberger

Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Mr. Speaker, the Northwest Territories Power Corporation, or NTPC, continues to adapt and manage its resources to meet the needs of the ever-changing environment of power generation in the North.

For the second year in a row, NTPC is addressing low water on the Snare hydro system; however, extremely low water at Bluefish this year has added to the challenge. While NTPC is effectively managing the use of water and diesel to ensure a stable power supply to the North Slave, this government, with the support of the Legislative Assembly, contributed $20 million to ensure that additional diesel costs were not incurred by the customer.

Mr. Speaker, looking to develop long-term solutions, NTPC is issuing an expression of interest, for both solar and wind installations, possibly at the Snare Lake hydro facility in the North Slave to determine if there is the possibility of economically adding these alternative energy sources to the generation mix to help offset some of the diesel, should this drought persist.

The 2015 Energy Charrette provided direction, and NTPC continues to make decisions and move forward with initiatives that are aligned with the charrette’s outcomes. Specifically, a power purchase agreement has been signed with the community of

Lutselk’e to purchase the power from a community-owned solar installation and surplus power generated at the Taltson hydro plant is being used to supply interruptible heat to community-owned buildings. NTPC continues to partner with the newly formed Department of Public Works and Services along with the Arctic Energy Alliance to promote the PowerWise conservation campaign acting in the best interest of the customer by helping them lower their power bills, ultimately lowering the cost of living in the territory.

Mr. Speaker, Colville Lake had phase one of its solar array installed in 2014, which peaked in May 2015 at 54 kilowatts of solar energy. The completion of the second array occurred in June 2015. These two installations, in conjunction with the new Colville Lake power plant, including battery energy storage, will provide the community with a higher level of reliable power and is an innovative project that has drawn considerable attention from power generation experts outside the territory.

Introducing additional alternative renewables into the thermal communities includes the research of two potential wind sites in the Beaufort-Delta region. At this time, research continues to determine which of the two sites – Storm Hills or High Point – has the best business case based on amount of wind recorded and the distance of the site from town; the further away from the community, the more expensive to transmit.

Mr. Speaker, NTPC will also complete the conversion from high pressure sodium, or HPS, to LED streetlights in all thermal communities by the end of this fiscal year. LED streetlights cost, on average, $40 per month per light, less than HPS, which will result in a significant savings for community governments.

Mr. Speaker, in the first 14 months of the Inuvik liquid natural gas, or LNG, plant operation, $1.1 million was saved as compared to the diesel-only alternative and the use of LNG displaced 2,300 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in the community. With a showing this strong, NTPC and the Department of Public Works and Services are completing a business case and design feasibility for a new LNG storage and generation facility in the town of Fort Simpson. However, to ensure it is the best solution for that community, the business case will include a comparison against other alternatives such as biomass combined heat and power solutions.

Mr. Speaker, to assist the GNWT, Natural Resources Canada and Arctic Energy Alliance to track energy consumption of their commercial buildings in Jean Marie River, NTPC is piloting an Advanced Metering System, or AMS, in that community before the end of this fiscal year. All 42 customers will have new AMS meters installed that provide usage at various intervals for tracking purposes. However, there are other beyond-the-meter benefits that can be used in the future to provide customers with two-way meter communications to manage other household appliances and alarms.

Continuing to look for ways to lower the cost of living and the cost of power, NTPC bid on the Town of Hay River’s power distribution request for proposals and will continue to work with the community to look at lowering its costs. Hay River is looking for an asset valuation before they make a decision.

Under normal circumstances, I would be tabling the fiscal 2015 annual reports for NT Hydro and NTPC during this session of the Legislative Assembly. However, this year NT Hydro and NTPC are converting to the Public Sector Accounting Standard, and as a result of the additional work required to report under this new standard, the year-end audit is taking longer than previous years. For fiscal 2015 and going forward, NT Hydro will now be consolidated within the GNWT public accounts on a line-by-line basis, increasing the disclosure related to this Crown corporation.

NTPC will continue to operate as efficiently as possible, concentrating on providing safe, affordable and reliable power generation. NTPC will also continue to support the GNWT energy and solar strategy by working together with the Department of Public Works and Services energy division to incorporate more renewables into the Territories’ power generation. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Miltenberger. Minister of Transportation, Mr. Beaulieu.

Tom Beaulieu

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe

Mr. Speaker, in June 2015 the Department of Transportation tabled our multi-modal Transportation Strategy, entitled “Connecting Us.” The strategy defines the challenges and opportunities related to improving road, air, marine and rail services for residents, communities and businesses across the NWT over the next 25 years. I am pleased to report that the department is implementing the updated Transportation Strategy and making substantial progress under the three key strategic initiatives: strengthening connections, capturing opportunities, and embracing innovation.

The department is strengthening connections by rehabilitating sections of the existing highway system and improving air infrastructure. This work to rehabilitate highway embankments, road surfaces and drainage structures will increase the reliability and safety of our highway system, create employment, training and business opportunities for Northerners, and will reduce long-term maintenance costs. We have also delivered several improvements to our community airport assets, including runway repairs, installation of new runway lighting systems, and improvements to several air terminal buildings and passenger shelters.

Work continues to capture new sustainable economic opportunities for the Territories by advancing planning work and building strong business cases for three potential new all-weather highway corridors: the Mackenzie Valley Highway from Wrigley to Norman Wells; an all-season road into the Tlicho region; and improving road access into the Slave Geological Province.

Should these new corridors advance, they will substantially improve mobility and employment opportunities for Northerners and enable public and Aboriginal governments to capture new revenues associated with sustainable economic development across the NWT. This will be a critical investment when resource activity is predicted to decline. Extension of our all-weather highway system will also increase reliability over our current public winter road system, which is challenged by the effects of climate change.

The department continues to embrace innovation by testing new adaptation strategies for construction and maintenance of our highways and winter roads, improving our online services to residents, and seeking innovative public and private sector partnerships to improve road, air, marine and rail services in the Northwest Territories.

Mr. Speaker, the department has made significant progress since its inception 25 years ago. Despite these successes, we still have substantial work to do to support our residents, businesses and visitors. By measuring our progress, we can set new and greater goals to bring our transportation system to the next level. At the appropriate time today, I will table the 2015 Transportation Report Card. This document is directly linked to Connecting Us and provides up-to-date metrics and performance measures for each mode of transportation in the NWT. This will be followed by a four-year action plan tabled during the first session of each new Legislative Assembly such as the one anticipated to be held in February 2016.

I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the success of the Department of Transportation over the past 25 years. I especially want to acknowledge the dedicated work of our employees, contractors, our policing partners, federal regulators and transportation service providers who work night and day to ensure transportation services are provided across the NWT.

The next 25 years hold significant opportunity for our territory and for the Department of Transportation to continue connecting Northerners to opportunities. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Beaulieu. Item 3, Members’ statements. Member for Frame Lake, Ms. Bisaro.

Wendy Bisaro

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. When we discussed the NWT Housing Corporation during the capital budget deliberations last week, I expressed concern about the number of public housing units available in the NWT, especially in Yellowknife. Not only do we need public housing but there’s a well-documented need for transition housing, seniors housing and disabled persons housing.

Last year the YWCA in Yellowknife, a provider of transition housing in Yellowknife, reported a lengthy waiting list for their units. This year, in spite of an addition of 18 new units at Lynn’s Place and 55 places moved from Education, Culture and Employment to the NWT Housing Corporation public housing, there’s been little change in those long waiting lists.

As we heard yesterday from Mr. Bromley, the Y’s Rockhill Family Housing Facility has 100 families on their waiting list. That’s families, Mr. Speaker, not people. Lynn’s Place has 50 people on their waiting list and Yellowknife Housing Authority has a list of 152 singles or families looking to get into a public housing unit.

It’s not just individuals and families who need housing help. The need for seniors housing in Yellowknife and the NWT is well known and acknowledged by both the Yellowknife NGO Avens and the GNWT Health and Social Services. The government is taking some action to alleviate the need for seniors housing outside of Yellowknife, but as we’ve heard many times over the last year, it’s not enough.

The number of homeless people in Yellowknife is estimated at 150 and I have no idea of the extent of the problem in other communities, but I know that it’s there. As we heard yesterday many times, the housing needs of NWT disabled persons are urgent.

If we want productive, effective, contributing NWT residents, we need to ensure that housing is available, affordable and accessible to all. Increasing the accessibility of housing to all NWT residents is a huge need in our territory. It must be made a priority for the 18th Assembly as it was for the 17th. We have made some progress in this Assembly in meeting housing needs, but not nearly enough. We need a coordinated across-government strategy to deal with housing needs across the continuum of housing. I hope Members here returning in the 18th Assembly will see that that happens. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Ms. Bisaro. Member for Hay River South, Mrs. Groenewegen.

Jane Groenewegen

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to recognize a Hay River constituent, Bruce Green. He has been chosen as the recipient of the 2015 Order of the Northwest Territories. It is the highest honour of the Northwest Territories and takes precedence over all the orders, decorations and medals conferred by the government and the Legislative Assembly of the NWT.

A member of the Order is entitled to wear the insignia of the Order as a decoration and to use ONWT after his/her name, and membership is for life.

Bruce Green has devoted his life to teaching. He began teaching in 1967 and took up teaching in Hay River in 1974 with his wife, Marilyn. Bruce has a wealth of knowledge and experience in many fields, but most people know him as a northern science guy. His passion is science. He has shared his expertise in northern biology and archeology, and he was involved in promoting the Northern Tundra Science Camp offered to Grade 11 students from across the NWT.

Bruce has represented the Territorial Farmers’ Association and the GNWT at the 5th Circumpolar Conference in Sweden where he did a presentation on cold weather composting. Bruce provided his expertise in providing the Resource Manual of Practical Ideas, developed to include traditional and cultural learning in science curriculum at the primary level.

Through the years, Bruce has been a mentor, coach and active member of several clubs and associations, such as Biathlon Canada, the NWT Biathlon Association, NWT Wrestling, the Hay River Ski Club, the Territorial Farmers’ Association and the NWT Literacy Council.

Bruce has twice received the Hilroy Scholarship Award for Innovative Teaching and Programs. He has received Sport North awards for instructing and coaching wrestling and has been recognized as Hay River’s Citizen of the Year. Most recently, Bruce was inducted into the NWT Education Hall of Fame for his dedication to teaching in the Northwest Territories.

Bruce remains involved in the community and is instrumental in volunteering and planning programs, such as the Christmas Bird Count, beaver watching, owling, search for fossils, and many other educational, interesting meetings. Bruce also has musical talents and is often seen to be playing the organ in the Catholic Church.

Bruce and his wife, Marilyn, who is also a teacher, have lived in Hay River for over 38 years, raised their six children in a loving, caring and educational home. Bruce is also the proud parent of Olympic athlete, Brendan Green. We are thankful that Bruce and his family have decided to stay in the North, where I’m sure he will continue to contribute to the well-being of our community.

I’m pleased today to congratulate Bruce Green on this honourable recognition. On behalf of Hay River, thank you, Bruce, for all that you do for others and for Hay River and for the North. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mrs. Groenewegen. Member for Weledeh, Mr. Bromley.

Bob Bromley

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. During my penultimate day in the House, I note that governments all over the world are facing huge challenges. Some are responding responsibly, others not. I believe this government is failing our people and our land at a critical time when we can ill afford to be led down the wrong path.

Eight years ago, during my first Member’s statement, I read from the 2000 Earth Charter that says, “We stand at a critical moment in the Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward, we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms, we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice and a culture of peace.”

I went on to note that I was excited about the possibilities and the promise that’s offered in the solutions to these challenges, but that it would take new thinking and new ways of doing things. But instead, we are frantically trying to do the same old things in the same old ways and are rather insanely expecting other results.

I noted then that how we do things can be a big part of the solution, benefitting all our residents and our northern and global environments, but where decisive action was required, we’ve taken only timid steps. While we could do the usual government things in new beneficial ways, we haven’t. Is it us? Is it consensus government, under which decisive action is unlikely? Is it our Premier, federally trained and with 30 years as a bureaucrat under his belt, unable to change course when evidence demands it? Possibly. Leadership is important. But under our model of government, every MLA plays a key role in helping us move forward or holding us back.

To me the biggest bottleneck is the lack of evidence-based decision-making, the degree to which an uninformed statement made with supreme confidence can undermine decisions that could and should be based on solid evidence is astounding.

We leave many great challenges for the 18th Assembly to wrestle with. We leave huge costs of living in an economy which favours a few. We remain unprepared for soaring climate change impacts. We leave burgeoning debt and dwindling revenues.

Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

Bob Bromley

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Yet, while some costs are unavoidable, it is possible to address these issues in progressive ways that can benefit our people and our land if we choose. I wish this 18th Assembly the very best for finding the best path forward.

Later today I will speak about opportunities they may wish to consider. Mahsi.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Bromley. Member for Mackenzie Delta, Mr. Blake.

Frederick Blake Jr.

Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Over the last four years, I’ve brought up growing concerns of the services in Tsiigehtchic, whether it be nursing, or RCMP. At this time of year, the residents feel a little better because we have a nurse on hand in the community, and with the growing number of elders we have in the community and the needs, people feel much safer.

With the RCMP, we had the department committing to having an RCMP overnighting in the community of Tsiigehtchic this summer and in place by this fall. But yet today there is still no action on this.

With all the technology today, whether it be campers, that’s all the department needs to have to offer this service in the community. You know, whether they have to pitch the tents, I mean, we have to find some solution here to provide these services in our communities, especially when we have commitments.

I’ll be asking the Minister questions later today. Thank you.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Blake. Member for Hay River North, Mr. Bouchard.

Robert Bouchard

Robert Bouchard Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As we’ve come to the last couple days of this session, I thought I’d make a statement here. I’d like to speak on consensus government.

I support consensus government. As a new MLA here, I was able to get involved in the budget process, involved in committee, involved in everything in the government right from the get-go. I support consensus government. I know we need to improve it, but I’ve been part of the Transition Committee this summer on ways that we can improve consensus government, the way we can make it better for the public, for the Regular Members and for the Cabinet.

In consensus government I don’t have to tow a party line. It’s easy. My mandate is Hay River. I represent Hay River on a number of issues. Whenever I have a question, I just need to go home; I’ll get my mandate again. I just need to talk to people, have a constituency meeting and put it out to the people as a question. Whether that topic is dredging, fishing industry, northern manufacturing, Mental Health Act changes, whether it’s a school swap, that’s an example, Mr. Speaker. We had a discussion about school swap. We went home. Both groups told us no, we don’t want a school swap. That’s an example of consensus government. We’re given back our mandate; don’t accept that. We didn’t accept it. We’re dealing with the issue going forward.

We do need to improve consensus government and I think the key to that is communication. We need the government to communicate with Regular Members how things are being done and when things are being done, not just on the minimum amount of time but through the whole process.

Communication is a two-way street. Regular Members here need to be trusted with that information. We’re given that information early, so we need to rebuild that trust. We need to rebuild the trust that Regular Members get that information and it’s not going to end up on social media; it’s not going to end up on some press release right after it’s given.

For some reason, like I said, when I first got here, people talked about how the hallways had mikes in them, because as soon as we had a conversation, everybody seemed to know about it in the building. So, in order to improve consensus government, we need to improve our communication. We need to improve trust.

Consensus works for us in a small jurisdiction. It’s easy. If we had party politics, eventually somewhere down the line some community may be left out. If my community isn’t represented by the government, then I’m going to be left out in the cold. Consensus government works in the Northwest Territories and is strong and is alive. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Bouchard. Member for Inuvik Boot Lake, Mr. Moses.

Alfred Moses

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. October 4th to 10th is Mental Illness Awareness Week, and the theme for this year is I am Stigma Free. It’s an opportunity to learn about and educate others on mental illness, but more importantly, it’s an opportunity to take action on mental health issues.

Taking action is exactly what this government has done. The Standing Committee on Social Programs, in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Services, over the course of the summer and this fall did a very strong review and consultations with people of the Northwest Territories. We travelled to nine communities and had about 17 written submissions. We had consulted with a lot of professional organizations on updating our Mental Health Act, which was outdated for about 30 years.

The families across the Northwest Territories, residents of the Northwest Territories told us how they felt, told us about experiences that they’ve been dealing with in terms of issues that they’ve been dealing with and the Mental Health Act, let us know what the gaps in services were and what was needed.

It was a great opportunity, and later today committee will be reading in a report from all those findings. I hope people in the Northwest Territories who gave information, who gave us direction to update this Mental Health Act will be listening in and will be seeing what we have to offer and what we have to bring to the table.

With that said, I just wanted to take this opportunity. We have two days left in the House. The Mental Health Act and addictions has been strong on my agenda. I’m really glad to see that the Mental Health Act has had its due course, has had its respect in this House and is getting updated for the first time in about 30 years.

I just want to thank everybody who contributed to what we are going to be passing here later on today in Committee of the Whole, and also who attended the meetings in the communities. I’d like to thank the Members whose communities we visited for setting up those meetings. We’d like to thank all the front-line staff as well as family and friends who have been affected by mental health illness, coming out and showing us your support, if not giving us information.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

Alfred Moses

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

I just want to take one final opportunity here to thank all members of the Standing Committee on Social Programs, who had a lot of late nights going through the reports, doing the follow-up; the staff who helped us along the way as well as getting up early mornings, putting on all those kilometres to ensure that we listened to as many residents as possible to update this Mental Health Act.

I just want to also let family, friends and people who have been affected know that today we represent all those who have been affected by mental illness, whether it’s acute to severe, or tragic or fatal, that it’s not going to happen again and that this government is taking the first steps to make sure that, in fact, is true. We’re going to start fighting to support, to get the services in your communities, to get the services for the front-line workers and the staff so that we can help people who are affected by mental illness.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Moses. The Member for the Sahtu, Mr. Yakeleya.