Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank my colleagues for their previous statement on the nursing situation in our territory. I think it's clear that our nurses are not having a good time in our territory, and many of these problems existed even before COVID-19 arrived in the territory.
Mr. Speaker, I sense that, you know, we are in a bit of a downward spiral and morale, and I don't want management or the department or the nurses to get defensive. I really want to find a solution so that we can all get through this.
I've heard many complaints from nurses about management, and then they are told to take those complaints to the very same people they're complaining about. I contrast to this House, Mr. Speaker, where we have a very rigorous complaint process we just went through.
Mr. Speaker, COVID arrived, and the nurses are now joined by all health care workers in the stress of a hospital and health care facilities across the North and Canada. They have been put in a high-demand position. I've heard reports of some of them are leaving indeterminate jobs so that they can be treated better as locums. I've heard of reports of other nurses taking benefits advantage of the signing bonuses that numerous provinces are now entering.
Mr. Speaker, I don't believe that, you know, this is just a problem of throwing money at it. I believe there is some cultural issues in management. I believe this is some flexibility needed. And I know there is a survey out. I encourage all nurses to take that. And more importantly, I encourage the department to take everything that is said in that survey very seriously.
I worry that we know what many of the asks are going to be. If they're going to be difficult and if we ignore them once again, we are going to find ourselves in an even worse situation.
Mr. Speaker, lastly, the reality is the nursing profession has found itself in extreme demand throughout this pandemic. Other provinces are competing. We are losing that competition. I have heard nurses requesting signing bonuses, requesting increases in pay. And I've heard that for whatever reason, collective bargaining, and the way we do that does not allow us to do that.
Mr. Speaker, I do not accept that. We need to work with the union. We need to work with the nurses. And we need to find a way to be competitive in this field. And I know that is hard. I know that it is a different form of bargaining than we are used to. I know our finances are tight. But that is at least step one in solving this problem. I'll have questions for the Minister of Health, Mr. Speaker.