This is page numbers 1563 - 1592 of the Hansard for the 19th Assembly, 2nd 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 450-19(2): Illicit Drug Use
Oral Questions

Page 1577

Steve Norn Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Marsi cho, Madam Speaker. Just going back to my Member's statement on illicit drugs, I wanted to specifically target those hard drugs, such as crack cocaine, cocaine, and fentanyl. I actually looked up some weight measurements for what a pinch of salt is. When you pick a pinch of salt and you are cooking with it, there are about 60 milligrams there. That is how heavy that is. To put things in perspective, I looked up the lethal dose for fentanyl, and that is 2 to 3 milligrams. That is not very much. These are the kinds of drugs that are killing our people. There is an opioid crisis going on in western Canada now, and we need to really start addressing this issue. Going back to my questions, my first question to the Minister of Justice, Madam Speaker, is: can the Minister share with us if his department is aware of any increase in the amount of drug-related crimes in the NWT since COVID-19 began compared to pre-COVID times? Thank you.

Question 450-19(2): Illicit Drug Use
Oral Questions

Page 1577

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister of Justice.

Question 450-19(2): Illicit Drug Use
Oral Questions

Page 1577

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Madam Speaker. The RCMP monitor the calls they get and what type of calls they get. Unfortunately, I do not have the data right now to compare the pandemic times to the pre-pandemic time, but when I have that data, I am as interested as the Member to see what it says. Anecdotally, we have all heard that there has been an increase in illicit drug use across Canada. I think, last time I checked, there was just over $100 million in surpayments that made its way into the territory. Just that amount of money, I would assume that there would be an uptick in all sorts of different sales, including illicit drugs. Thank you, Madam Chair.

Question 450-19(2): Illicit Drug Use
Oral Questions

Page 1577

Steve Norn Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

In my notes here, I have "Madam Speaker" underlined quite clearly so I don't make that mistake. Thank you to the Minister for that response. Like I said, we have got to get ahead of this. I agree with surpayments. I think his department, as well, needs to look at ways to make sure that the money gets to where it's needed because there are a lot of these payments that are meant for food, rent, and make sure we get those out to those areas and not get out to the bootleggers and out to these other drug dealers. That is what we want to see. My second question, Madam Speaker, is: can the Minister tell us what sort of antidrug initiatives are currently in place by the Department of Justice within the NWT?

Question 450-19(2): Illicit Drug Use
Oral Questions

Page 1577

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

The antidrug initiatives are across government. It's not just the Department of Justice, of course. There are things with the department of education, things that are taught in school. Health has proactive antidrug campaigns. In terms of the Department of Justice, we're part of the opioid task force along with the RCMP. We work closely to try to avoid, and we have been lucky so far, the type of opioid crisis that we have seen in the South. We are also partners in the GNWT's alcohol strategy. We have seen a lot of drug seizures over the last number of months. Every time you turn on the news, it seems like there is a significant drug seizure.

I just want to point out that we see those, and yet, they still keep coming. It's an enormous market. If we do not stop people from buying, they are just going to keep coming, no matter how many seizures you have. It's a demand issue. The RCMP are also working to work more within the community, so training and having better collaboration with communities. If they can become part of the community, you get that inside intelligence, and you are not just the RCMP officer; you are part of the community. There is also, of course, the gun and gangs strategy that is being funded by the federal government, and that is an ongoing program that, unfortunately, is relevant now, with organized crime in the territory.

Question 450-19(2): Illicit Drug Use
Oral Questions

Page 1577

Steve Norn Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Thank you again for that response. It's good to hear there are some initiatives in place. There are so many of our people with addictions who are susceptible, and we still have to keep fighting for them. My other question is: can the Minister explain whether or not there have been any changes regarding antidrug procedures, protocols, or initiatives within the NWT since the COVID-19 pandemic has begun?

Question 450-19(2): Illicit Drug Use
Oral Questions

Page 1577

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Changes, not really changes over the past six months. However, as I mentioned, the gun and gangs strategy is under development, and I think that lessons learned during the pandemic will inform that.

Question 450-19(2): Illicit Drug Use
Oral Questions

Page 1577

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Kam Lake.

Question 451-19(2): Family Violence Prevention and COVID-19
Oral Questions

Page 1577

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you, Madam Speaker. If we are to restore momentum in our efforts to bring about gender equality in Canada, social, economic, and recovery efforts must take a feminist approach and, more so in the North, an Indigenous feminist approach. How does the Premier intend to ensure that economic and social recovery takes an Indigenous feminist approach in the Northwest Territories, and what will that look like in terms of changes on the ground? Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Question 451-19(2): Family Violence Prevention and COVID-19
Oral Questions

November 2nd, 2020

Page 1577

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Madam Speaker. When I hear that economic recovery has to take a feminist approach and it has to take an Indigenous feminist approach, as well, basically, that is saying to me that one size doesn't fit all. There is lots of research that says that once size doesn't fit all when we talk about many things in life. What does that look like? I think that the Department of Finance was one of the first ones to come out of the gate and say that they were starting to do a gender-based analysis of all of their work, and I think that that should go across all departments. Like I said, one size does not fit all, and we do need to look, whenever we do our programs, at how that impacts on the most marginalized of our societies. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Question 451-19(2): Family Violence Prevention and COVID-19
Oral Questions

Page 1578

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Recognizing COVID's negative impacts on mental health and family dynamics, has this government put any special measures in place to assist women who are experiencing family violence during the middle of the pandemic?

Question 451-19(2): Family Violence Prevention and COVID-19
Oral Questions

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Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

I would like to defer that to the Minister responsible for the Status of Women.

Question 451-19(2): Family Violence Prevention and COVID-19
Oral Questions

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The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Minister responsible for the Status of Women.

Question 451-19(2): Family Violence Prevention and COVID-19
Oral Questions

Page 1578

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. This is an item where there are a number of different things happening that are specific to women in the North and the response under COVID. There certainly has been funding that has been under specific pots of the relief funding that we received from the federal government that is required to go toward supporting vulnerable populations. That would be particularly people fleeing relationships of violence, certainly, the majority of which do tend to be women. There has also been funding that has been directed toward supporting women who would be more vulnerable, for example, by the provision of cell phones for women who would be in relationships that put them at particular risk, in a context where they would have less access to outside sources during the course of the pandemic in a lockdown. Staff who are involved with status of women are continuing to engage because we are actively doing the work around preparing for the national inquiry in our action plan. That has also been continuing to happen throughout the course of the pandemic, and that gives a further opportunity to speak to women in the context of the pandemic, as well. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Question 451-19(2): Family Violence Prevention and COVID-19
Oral Questions

Page 1578

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

We have long heard of the efforts of the NWT to introduce third-party reporting of sexual assaults. What is the status of this work within the Northwest Territories, and what changes can we expect to see this fiscal year?