This is page numbers 5413 - 5452 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. View the webstream of the day's session.

Topics

Appreciation for Hospital Care
Members' Statements

Page 5414

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Mr. Speaker, when family members or you require medical care, it is often a very stressful and pressure-filled time of uncertainty. During these times, we are required to place our complete trust and confidence on our physicians and/or the staff at our local health centres in the various hospitals that we use. Once health has been restored, many forget the long hours the medical staff work and the amount of commitment it takes to care for us and our loved ones.

All medical staff appreciate a letter of thanks. This is favourably received, as it expresses appreciation and gratitude for the excellent care given to us and our loved ones. A letter of appreciation depicts the confidence in the medical staff's service, expertise, and professionalism as your complete care provider.

In many communities, healthcare is reinstated; however, there are many sad occasions when a loved one may have passed away despite the tremendous effort put forth by medical staff. During these times of extreme sadness, a thank-you card to the medical staff is most appreciated, as death affects us all, professionally and non-professionally alike. Taking a moment to write a thank you honours respect loved ones who have passed, and particularly honours those who were committed to their comfort and care right to the end.

Thanking the name and specific individuals as doctors, nurses, and specialists are essential, but equally essential are the individuals who work behind the scenes to ensure you and your loved ones are well cared for. Many medical centres have a team-centred approach to caring, and for this reason, a collective acknowledgment to all members of the team is advisable. Writing a thank you letter of this nature is gratefully received and often holds a deeper meaning when receiving sooner than later, as the team likely recall caring for you and your loved ones.

I have been approached by a number of residents in the past few months asking me to publicly thank the staff at the Stanton Hospital for all the care, compassion, and support provided to them and their loved ones. Some expressed the care that they received have made a remarkable difference in their health and wellness. On behalf of the Nahendeh residents, I would like to say thank you to all the staff in the Northwest Territories and down south. The medical teams encompassing all team members are equally important and essential, and we deeply thank you. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Appreciation for Hospital Care
Members' Statements

Page 5415

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Colleagues, I'd like to draw your attention to visitors in the gallery. We have with us here students from an adult education class from Tree of Peace Friendship Centre. I'd like to welcome them. Also, our staff, Jennie Ayres, public affairs intern. Welcome to our Assembly. Masi. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife Centre.

Alcohol Harm Reduction Policy Changes
Members' Statements

Page 5415

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Standing Committee on Social lunch hour reviewing the Mental Health and Addictions Recovery Plan. These are issues the committee has been engaged with because we are well aware of the tremendous amount of harm alcohol causes. Today I want to talk about a relatively simple intervention that may help stream people with alcohol dependency into the treatment they need.

The report from the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research offers a powerful major conclusion: "The current levels of alcohol-related harm in Canada are not inevitable. There is now substantial international evidence identifying policies that can powerfully impact levels of alcohol consumption and related harm." One of those policies is the use of a screening tool for risky alcohol use, a brief intervention with advice to reduce consumption and/or referral to treatment. That's the policy I'm going to focus on today.

Mr. Speaker, research has shown that screening brief intervention and referral is a cost-effective method of harm reduction around the consumption of alcohol which, in turn, reduces demands on healthcare resources. The report concludes there is little to no activity in this area in the NWT, and the implementation is low nationwide.

There are a variety of barriers. One is that only five jurisdictions across the country have created guidelines for screening brief intervention and referral, or adopted those guidelines created by the National College of Family Physicians. Another barrier is getting practitioners to do the screening even where guidelines are in place. I think all of us understand that a conversation that begins with the sentence "let's talk about your drinking" is often unwelcome, and that's why so few happen in any jurisdiction. My hope is that the new cultural safety initiative will assist medical staff in having this conversation.

Mr. Speaker, as I've said at the beginning, alcohol dependence and alcoholism are not inevitable. The report's authors conclude the majority of evidence-based prevention policies and strategies are currently being implemented in at least one Canadian jurisdiction. They encourage sharing of best practices between jurisdictions in order to reverse current trends of increasing alcohol-related harms and costs in Canada. I will have questions for the Minister of Health and Social Services. Mahsi.

Alcohol Harm Reduction Policy Changes
Members' Statements

Page 5415

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Member for Mackenzie Delta.

Staffing for Small Community Health Centres
Members' Statements

Page 5415

Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Residents of our smallest communities know all too well about the struggles to staff our health centres. It is common for services to be unavailable when they are needed. Unplanned trips to Inuvik can be the result, as well as delays and care or treatment. In Fort McPherson recently, the health centre was only able to provide essential services for emergencies and urgent cases for a whole week. The news gets around the community, and it makes people reluctant to seek the care they need.

I am concerned about the safety of this system. Sometimes, the first symptoms of something serious may be minor. I do not like to see people discouraged to seek care. We have enough problems in our healthcare system without adding this to the list. I realize that the Beaufort-Delta Health and Social Services Authority tries to keep these staff shortages to a minimum. There was a short service gap in Aklavik earlier this month that lasted just a day.

Mr. Speaker, I am concerned that our health system is not well enough prepared to keep our community health centres staffed properly. We should not see these service gaps, and I do not think most Canadians would consider this acceptable service. It may be a question of priority of where we send the nurses who we do hire. In my opinion, the priority should be staffing community health centres where there are no other options for seeking medical care. I'll have questions for the Minister later. Thank you.

Staffing for Small Community Health Centres
Members' Statements

Page 5415

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Hay River North.

Legislative Review Process
Members' Statements

Page 5415

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I love being able to represent the people as a Member of this Assembly. I absolutely love it, and I'm passionate about it, so even though I'm usually pretty even-keeled I sometimes get frustrated with decisions that are made or when I think we should be doing a better job.

That's why I've been a little cranky lately, because I'm sure you could tell from some of the statements I've made in this House over the past sitting or two sittings. I know that the Ministers have noticed, because I've been taking my frustrations out on them. However, Mr. Speaker, in the end, we're all on the same team, we all have the same goal, and we all have to work together.

That's why I want to start off this statement, at least start it, by giving Cabinet a compliment. As a member of the Standing Committee on Government Operations, I've had the ability to review a few pieces of legislation that the government has brought forward. Depending on the bill, the review process can be quite a bit of work. When it's all said and done, the committee will recommend changes to help the government improve the bill. I have to compliment Cabinet on being open to accepting the changes, or working with the committee to craft a change that works for everyone. In pretty much all the legislation we have reviewed, I can point to places where this cooperation has improved things and made things better. It highlights the best of consensus government, Mr. Speaker.

I wish that this cooperation would have extended to the timing of the introduction of the nine bills that the Standing Committee on Economic Development will now how to review over the summer. However, it is what it is. While I don't speak on behalf of committee, I think it is safe to say that we will do our best. While there is always a dump of legislation at the end of every Assembly, being tasked with reviewing this many highly technical bills with this level of complexity and with this little time is unprecedented. In order to do our job effectively, we essentially have to become subject-matter experts, and we just don't have time.

Because of the importance and long-lasting effect of these bills, every resident in the NWT deserves to have an opportunity to provide input, input that becomes the basis for the committee's recommendations. Again, it is unfortunate that these bills weren't staggered, because there is no way we are going to have enough time to visit all of the communities that we would like to. I apologize in advance to those communities who won't have an opportunity to provide input in person.

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the role of the public servants, and I appreciate the work they put into these bills. I know they do a good job, but the committee's work really does improve these bills. I am upset that we won't have the time or the resources to wind up with the world-class legislation the Northerners deserve. I hope, if anything comes of this, that future assemblies recognize the situation that we are in and they learn from this. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Legislative Review Process
Members' Statements

Page 5415

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.

Retirement as Member of the Legislative Assembly
Members' Statements

Page 5415

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As we come to the end of the 18th Legislative Assembly, there is a lot of talk going on about the future, what your decisions are going to be. I have been asked by a number of people what I plan on doing going forward. It is a decision that I take very seriously. I have come back and told them that I am going to give it some thought and I will let them know six months prior to the election. That has led me to a decision that I made just recently, that I will not let my name stand for re-election on October 1st.

I have come to realize I have more years behind me than ahead of me. It is very important where I spend those years ahead of me. I have been a Member of this Assembly since 2004. Rats. I said I wasn't going to do that. I was trying to find something amusing to say, like I normally do when I am stuck, but there's nothing amusing about this. I have been elected as a Member of this Assembly since 2004. There are some people who would like to run, I know. Out of respect for me and the work that I have done, they are waiting to hear my decision.

I have a lot of good, loyal supporters out there. The folks of Inuvik Twin Lakes have been fantastic supporters. I appreciate that. There are times where I said that the fact that they supported me is more important than the victory itself, that the people who I grew up admiring came on and supported me. I appreciate that. I hope I have represented them well.

I hope I have represented this institution well. This institution is extremely important to me. I think all of you are aware of that. I have said that a number of times in the past. It is important to me. Who is in here is important to me. Who is coming in here is important to me. The work we do is important to me.

I will do my darndest to encourage those out there who would like to run. Come in here with a good attitude. The common denominator that I know we all have is trying to make things good for the people of the Northwest Territories. We go about it different ways, sure, but at the end of the day, that is our common denominator.

I have been privileged to travel across the Northwest Territories. I got to meet a lot of folks. There are a lot of good people out there, a lot of good young leaders out there who we should be encouraging to come in here. I have talked to some of you, and I will talk to some of you. I will be brutally honest in the advice that I give. I think I have demonstrated that just recently. I will be honest because, as I said before, this is a very important institution to me.

Like I said before, it will be 15 years at the end of this Assembly. I think Inuvik deserves a new energy. They need to have a new energy come in. I know for a fact that there are a lot of good folks in the community who would like to come down here. I think they will bring a lot of value to this institution, and I respect that. My supporters, the support that they have given me is just unbelievable.

I will be the MLA for Inuvik Twin Lakes until September 1st. I will conduct myself accordingly. I will be a Minister of this Cabinet until TLC, which on the schedule I believe is October 23, 2019. I will conduct myself accordingly.

Family is very important. You could never do this without the support of your family. When I first got sworn in, I had my daughter, my son, my other daughter, future son-in-law, and my wife. Fourteen years later, I have six grandchildren. As I said before, that goes back to where I want to spend my remaining time. Much as I like you guys, some of you, I don't want to spend it with you.

I don't know what is behind the door for me on October 2nd, but I will have six grandchildren in tow. I am excited as heck. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Retirement as Member of the Legislative Assembly
Members' Statements

Page 5416

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes, thank you for all the services over the years. You have contributed a lot to the Northwest Territories and to this House, to former Members and to current Members, as well. Masi for all your contributions over the years. You have been a mentor, as well. Masi.

Members' statements. Item 4, returns to oral questions. Item 5, recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

March 13th, 2019

Page 5416

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My apologies, colleagues. I would like to recognize my family up in the gallery; my three grandchildren, Rylan, Reese, Kullen, and my wife, Judy. Today is kind of a special day, because my daughter Kimberly, it is her birthday, turns a year older today. This is one of the reasons that I chose this particular day to do this because it is an important day for me. It is a day two years ago that changed my life forever. Thank you.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 5416

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi to Judy for all the years of dedication and also patience with us. Masi. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Range Lake.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 5416

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize Madame Josee Clermont of College nordique, who was the recipient of the 2019 Employer Award for Newcomer Employment. This was given in recognition of her tremendous support to people from the francophone countries coming to the Northwest Territories. [English translation not provided.] Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 5416

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. [English translation not provided.] Member for Yellowknife North.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 5416

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to take this opportunity to recognize a good friend and former colleague from the NWT Housing Corporation, Mr. Curtis Coleman. I also want to take this opportunity to, as well, acknowledge Yellowknife North constituent Josee Clermont and congratulate her again on the College nordique's recent award. Thank you, and welcome for being here.