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This is from 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 report.

Topics

Question 273-18(3): Travel For Elders With Health Issues During Freeze-Up And Break-Up
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Minister of Health and Social Services.

Question 273-18(3): Travel For Elders With Health Issues During Freeze-Up And Break-Up
Oral Questions

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, Tsiigehtchic is unique in the fact that it doesn't have an airport. If we did have an issue, medevacs are certainly more complicated. They certainly would be more expensive as a result of having to use a helicopter.

We do try to provide additional support during freeze-up or break-up by having a nurse in the community during those periods of time, but I do hear the Member. I would say that anything that we do would have to be on a case-by-case basis, and it would have to be determined based on risk, the issue that the senior has. I wouldn't say that every senior would have to be removed, but those with complicated conditions who are at risk, we may want to consider that.

Frankly, I don't know enough about the patients that the Member is referring to. I don't know enough about the conditions. I would love to have a sit-down with the Member to discuss this to see whether or not this is something that would be appropriate, and recognizing that we are trying to provide other supports during freeze-up and break-up. I'm certainly interested in learning more and having a discussion with the Member. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 273-18(3): Travel For Elders With Health Issues During Freeze-Up And Break-Up
Oral Questions

Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

At the moment, we have about 10 elders in the community. Of that, two or three have a serious health issue. Would the Minister and his department be willing to, well, if two out of those three were identified as having serious issues and wanted to go to Inuvik, would the Minister house elders in Inuvik, whether it's long-term care or other means by that?

Question 273-18(3): Travel For Elders With Health Issues During Freeze-Up And Break-Up
Oral Questions

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

As I said, I know that there are some unique situations in Tsiigehtchic, given, like I said, that they don't have an airport. During freeze-up and break-up, they are truly isolated. There is no road. There is no airport.

I would be happy to sit down with the Member and talk about options that we might be able to deploy here, but every situation is going to have to be unique. We have to make sure, you know, what level of service we can provide during freeze-up and break-up to the individual, and if that is something that there is a big concern about, an individual, and their particular care. I'm open to having this conversation. I'll try to find some solutions, but until we look at them case-by-case, I'm not sure what we can do other than explore options. It may mean bringing somebody in. It may not. It may depend on what we can provide. I'm happy to have that conversation with the Member in order to support the community.

Question 273-18(3): Travel For Elders With Health Issues During Freeze-Up And Break-Up
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Kam Lake.

Question 274-18(3): Report Card On The Criminal Justice System
Oral Questions

March 15th, 2018

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On March 5 the Macdonald-Laurier Institute released its report on the state of justice in Canada, with the Northwest Territories ranking 12th in the rankings of Canadian jurisdictions. I would like to ask the Minister of Justice what his comments are on the findings of this report, and whether or not he agrees with them. Thank you.

Question 274-18(3): Report Card On The Criminal Justice System
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Minister of Justice.

Question 274-18(3): Report Card On The Criminal Justice System
Oral Questions

Louis Sebert Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have not yet had an opportunity to review the Macdonald-Laurier report, but I think we have been concerned over the last two years about some of the methodology. We don't think, in many ways, it correctly reflected our situation where we have vast distances and have a very small population. I do note that with respect to some of the more objective findings, such as the time required to get to court, we were near the top. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 274-18(3): Report Card On The Criminal Justice System
Oral Questions

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

It's somewhat unfortunate the Minister hasn't had time to look at this report. It was released earlier this month. I would assume it would be of interest to him and his department, but some of the findings do address what the Minister's just spoke of. The report mentions the challenges the North face, but we also have the second highest rate of violent crime in Canada and the highest rate of property crime. The report also found that the Northwest Territories funds little on legal aid compared to other jurisdictions. We received an F in support for victims, according to this report, with the lowest proportion of restitution orders in Canada. I would like to ask the Minister of the state of programs that support victims in the Northwest Territories, if he could speak to those.

Question 274-18(3): Report Card On The Criminal Justice System
Oral Questions

Louis Sebert Thebacha

The Victims Service Program is a fundamental component of how we provide support for victims in the Northwest Territories. There are 11 community-based victim services in eight different communities. They service those communities, and they also travel often with the courts to other communities to assist with victims, not necessarily with the courts, so I think they sometimes travel with the courts, but they do act in all the communities, including not only the larger ones. So there is victim assistance coverage for the whole of the Northwest Territories. Admittedly, there are victim assistance workers only in eight communities, but they do serve the whole of the North.

We are always concerned about these programs. We are always seeking to improve them. I think we have come a long way. Perhaps we have further to go.

Question 274-18(3): Report Card On The Criminal Justice System
Oral Questions

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

The report also gave the Northwest Territories an F in costs and resources, and found that, even though we are the most policed jurisdiction in Canada, it's an expensive system. The corrections system was also found to be very expensive. It doesn't seem to be lowering our rates of crime or lowering the number of people who are incarcerated. What is the Minister doing to address the high cost for our justice system, that doesn't seem to be getting us the results moving up the list rather than moving down?

Question 274-18(3): Report Card On The Criminal Justice System
Oral Questions

Louis Sebert Thebacha

Of course, costs are always a concern. As I mentioned earlier, one of our problems is we are serving a vast territory with a very small population, so on a per capita basis, yes, our costs do seem very high. We are always looking at ways to reduce costs and reduce also the amount of criminal activity in the Northwest Territories through such initiatives as DVTO Court and Wellness Court.

Question 274-18(3): Report Card On The Criminal Justice System
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Kam Lake.

Question 274-18(3): Report Card On The Criminal Justice System
Oral Questions

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I think, when reports like this come out, they shake the public's confidence around our justice system. I'm wondering if the Minister can commit to reviewing the report and providing a response or some sort of public statement on what he sees as the strength of our system, if he does in fact disagree with these reports? Can he commit to read the report? Thank you.

Question 274-18(3): Report Card On The Criminal Justice System
Oral Questions

Louis Sebert Thebacha

Yes, I will undertake to read the report, and certainly I would be prepared to answer questions in the future about the report, or perhaps make a statement with respect to it.

I do want to say something about the legal aid system. I was a long time working in that system and so worked often with lawyers from other jurisdictions. They found it to be the gold standard generally of legal aid systems. We had quite a bit of coverage, so there were not people who were unrepresented in court. I think it's very easy to defend the legal aid system itself. I will look at the report and certainly be happy to answer questions or make statements if required with respect to the findings of the report and our response to those findings. Thank you.