Marsi cho, Mr. Speaker. On September 3, 2020, the GNWT announced their intention to create a brand-new department called the COVID-19 secretariat. In all honesty, right from the start, I remain skeptical of the purpose and efficacy of this proposed secretariat. For starters, Mr. Speaker, since this initial announcement, there have been minimal updates as to the status of the secretariat. I feel like the Department of Health and Social Services could do better, and in my opinion, they've dropped the ball in terms of updating the NWT regarding new cases of COVID-19 in a timely manner and putting the whole NWT at risk.
Mr. Speaker, small communities remain most at risk against this pandemic, and many people are travelling to and from Yellowknife for medical visits, shopping, et cetera. Without up-to-date information, we could seriously be putting these communities at risk. An example would be LKDFM. They have their own COVID response, and they'd have to be waiting on our government to respond. Again, that's something that we should look at, and I think it's an issue. Mr. Speaker, at this time, in terms of COVID, funds are being appropriated, or what the Premier wants to put towards this secretariat are absolutely being wasted. Fancy bar graphs once in a while is not effective and not worth our already inflated deficit.
On that note, something that I don't think any of us in this House have really heard is fiscal restraint. It's not been part of this government's vernacular. I think we need to do that. We need to really -- it should come across mind when we do our business here. We are at $1.8 billion in debt and counting. We, the North, since time immemorial, have always made the most with the resources we had, right from Thebacha all the way up to Ulukhaktok. That's how we've always done it. We've always made the most of what we have, and I think that's an example that this government could follow. With that, marsi cho, Mr. Speaker. I'll have some questions for the Minister of health.