This is page numbers 3795 – 3814 of the Hansard for the 18th Assembly, 3rd 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 work.

Topics

Question 240-18(3): Non-Medical Escorts Travel Policy
Oral Questions

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

We do have a number of revisions to the medical travel policy currently under development. I hope to share those proposed revisions with the standing committee in the next couple of weeks, if not next month for sure.

I can tell you that increasing financial supports for non-medical escorts is not one of the proposed changes, so compensating them for time away from work is not one of the changes that we are proposing. As part of our work, Mr. Speaker, we have reviewed medical travel programs from across the country as well as other jurisdictions. Except for Nunavut, the benefits that we are providing here are far greater than most other jurisdictions. We are basically on par with Nunavut. Our system needs to rely on friends and family supporting patients who are required to travel. Further, Mr. Speaker, our system is designed to help offset the costs, not cover the costs or cover all costs. If patients aren't able to find an escort to support them in their medical travel journey, the authority will work with patients to help develop solutions.

I should also note, Mr. Speaker, that in 2016-2017 we had over 5,500 medical travel cases where an escort was involved. Increasing benefits or compensating escorts for their time away from work would have a significant impact on system costs. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 240-18(3): Non-Medical Escorts Travel Policy
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Yellowknife North.

Question 241-18(3): Providing Power For Future Mines
Oral Questions

March 12th, 2018

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My questions today are for the Minister responsible for the Power Corporation, and they are with regard to the future development of mines in the territory, and in particular in the North Slave region.

Mr. Speaker, we know that energy is, of course, one of the largest costs to running a mine. Hard rock mines, in particular, use nearly twice the energy that diamond mines do, but at the same time we are trying to attract global investment to come here. We know that other jurisdictions around the country have power and energy at a fraction of the cost of what we can charge here.

The Yellowknife area, for example, is 37 cents a kilowatt hour. Other regions, it is 8 cents a kilowatt hour. I would like to ask the Minister: what is the Minister going to do to make the cost of power in the NWT competitive in the world marketplace? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 241-18(3): Providing Power For Future Mines
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Minister responsible for the NWT Power Corporation.

Question 241-18(3): Providing Power For Future Mines
Oral Questions

Louis Sebert Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Of course, we are interested in these types of developments. We do realize that the cost of power is quite high in the Northwest Territories, particularly in comparison with some other jurisdictions, such as Quebec and Manitoba. We are in discussions with mining companies because we do hope that we will have additional customers, because the only way really of keeping prices down is to find new customers, either here in the Northwest Territories or by exporting power to the south. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 241-18(3): Providing Power For Future Mines
Oral Questions

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

I appreciate what the Minister has to say in that the territorial government certainly does recognize mining as a large part and a central part of our economy. Frankly, mines currently have no option but to rely on carbon fuels for their operations. Unfortunately, they also happen to be some of our largest emitters, followed by the transportation industry, which also is primarily because they, too, support the mines.

The GNWT, we are proposing that we need to significantly reduce our carbon emissions. I would like to ask the Minister: how does the Power Corporation intend to help the Government of the Northwest Territories meet our greenhouse gas targets while promoting mining?

Question 241-18(3): Providing Power For Future Mines
Oral Questions

Louis Sebert Thebacha

The Member opposite is quite correct. The mining companies are some of our largest emitters. In the future, it would seem to me likely that the only way to radically reduce those levels of emission would be by supplying a hydro power. We would have to look and we would be prepared to look at hydro expansion, whether Taltson or otherwise.

Question 241-18(3): Providing Power For Future Mines
Oral Questions

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

I appreciate that reply. That all leads me into my last question: does the Minister see any realistic options other than the large-scale hydro dams or transmitting power from the Canadian grid to provide reliable environmental sustainability? Does the Minister see, other than big mega projects, what are the other alternatives that mines have in order to produce affordable energy?

Question 241-18(3): Providing Power For Future Mines
Oral Questions

Louis Sebert Thebacha

As I mentioned, the Power Corporation has been in discussion with several mining companies, looking at other alternatives such as LNG. However, as I said, long-term, it seems to me that the most efficacious way of reducing the greenhouse emissions would likely be by hydro expansion, whether a large project like Taltson or a smaller expansion of other hydro projects.

Question 241-18(3): Providing Power For Future Mines
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Yellowknife North.

Question 241-18(3): Providing Power For Future Mines
Oral Questions

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you for your indulgence for one more question. I appreciate that I said the last question was my last question, but in fact I would like to know if the Minister is having any discussions around the idea of nuclear, in particular, molten-salt reactors and mini nuclear reactors, and is that a power option that the Minister is considering? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 241-18(3): Providing Power For Future Mines
Oral Questions

Louis Sebert Thebacha

I think we would be prepared to look at any options, though nuclear wouldn't seem to be the top of the list. It is a controversial form of supplying power. Thank you.

Question 241-18(3): Providing Power For Future Mines
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.

Question 242-18(3): Dialysis Services
Oral Questions

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On Friday I made a Member's statement about dialysis in the NWT. I would like to Minister of Health and Social Services some questions on that. I would like to know if the Minister could possibly commit to looking at providing accommodation in locations where individuals go for dialysis. At this point, I am thinking that the majority of the patients come to either Yellowknife, Hay River, or into Alberta to get their dialysis. Dialysis is something that happens three times a week for approximately four to five hours per session. The travel on top of that is a bit much. I would like to ask the Minister: would the Department themselves look at accommodation in those communities? Thank you.

Question 242-18(3): Dialysis Services
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Minister of Health and Social Services.