Mr. Speaker, today, I'm going to talk about the need for more addictions and after-care services for the people of Fort Smith and the NWT. The NWT has been without an addiction treatment centre since June 2013. As an MLA, I firmly believe that each and every family has experienced a family member, a friend, or has been privy to information about a problem of being addicted to some form of drug, alcohol, or other substances. We are a small territory, and we have some excellent workers who are very committed to the problem and to the clients they serve, but there are gaps in the system that we should be addressing, and I feel, at times, there has been a lack of political will from successive governments to fund the gaps that will really make a difference.
As the MLA for Thebacha, and having been involved on the addiction scene for over 10 years with Salt River and the community of Fort Smith, I feel that addiction treatments have to be expanded to other treatment centres in the South so that more choices are available to the client. The treatment centres themselves have complete teams, which have psychologists, psychiatrists, addiction doctors, and counsellors who also have traditional knowledge and training to counsel all types of addiction abuse and trauma.
However, Mr. Speaker, I would argue that there are other options which our government could explore. In fact, when I was chief of Salt River, we had partnered with the Poundmaker's treatment centre, which is based out of Edmonton, along with the territorial government, and conducted a mobile community-based addiction six-week pilot project, which featured strong cultural and on-the-land components in its programming. That programming was very well received by both participants and the community members alike, plus two follow-up after-care sessions with a complete training team from Poundmaker's treatment centre.
Therefore, Mr. Speaker, there are other options that could be available to the people of the NWT in the areas of addiction treatment, but this can only be made possible by all levels of government working together, which includes our territorial, federal, as well as the municipal and Indigenous governments. The South River and the community of Fort Smith were able to achieve this type of pilot project with a more northern-focused treatment option. I don't see why any other community in the Northwest Territories couldn't do so either.
Lastly, Mr. Speaker, I want to address another aspect of addiction services that are lacking in the NWT, which are inadequate levels of after-care supports that are offered to people who return home from treatment centres. After-care is an extremely important component for people who struggle with addictions; yet, our territory is lagging behind --