Masi, Mr. Speaker. [Translation] We now have COVID-19, but since there will be a secretariat created with 150 employees at the cost of $86 million, and I want to say a few things regarding that. [Translation ends].
The Premier's allowance of COVID secretariat with 150 new positions at a cost of approximately $87 million to date to the people of the Northwest Territories. Contrary to a sphere of consensus government, the Premier has done so without consulting with Members on this side at the initial stage, Indigenous governments nor the general public, and also the business sector, as well.
Mr. Speaker, the secretariat that averts scarce resources from the 22 former priorities of the 19th Assembly, including such major directives such as universal childcare, increasing student educational outcomes, increasing affordable housing, expanding the economy, reducing the cost of living in the Northwest Territories, increasing economic diversification by supporting growth in non-extraction sectors, reducing the cost of power, and increasing the use of alternative or renewable resource energy.
Mr. Speaker, the NWT's initial pandemic response right from the get-go, which utilized existing GNWT personnel working within the home departments, has proven very effective. The government's new COVID secretariat abandons this proven cost-effective approach in favour of a new burdensome bureaucracy that promises no improvement, Mr. Speaker, at a vastly increased expense. Mr. Speaker, with that in mind, I will have questions for the Premier at a later time. Masi.