Hay River South
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that a new long-term day shelter has been made available to those in Yellowknife that have no other means of staying warm, staying fed, and staying safe during these cold winter days.
Mr. Speaker, it used to shock me how fast projects in Yellowknife, like the day shelter or others, can happen and how quickly funds can be found. Not anymore. I soon realized that when you are city with a population of some 20,000 plus; when you have the Premier; the Minister of Health; and the Minister of Finance, all being from Yellowknife, it will increase the pace at how fast funds can be secured and how quick an idea can be put into action.
Mr. Speaker, I now want to quote a portion of the statement made yesterday in a press release by the Minister of Health, which reads: "As part of our commitment to reconciliation and to ensure that everyone can access safe shelter facilities..."
Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to hear the Minister refer to reconciliation and by further stating that everyone should have access to safe shelters. However, our regional centres and smaller communities are also struggling with the same issues but we do not have the population of Yellowknife, nor do we have the Premier, nor the Minister of Health, nor the Minister of Finance living in our communities to support something similar.
Our communities desperately need something in place for the longer term. Addressing the need for a day and night shelter every fall is not sufficient. It is not fair to NGO's that provide that service. It is not fair to the communities. And most importantly, it is not fair to those who require the service.
Mr. Speaker, I believe this government is on the right path with respect to supporting those finding themselves living on the street by providing long-term shelter options. For those in regional and smaller communities, they must have equal and equitable access to supports that those in Yellowknife take for granted. We need to identify local infrastructure that is being underutilized or sitting empty and repurpose it for long-term shelters and programming in our communities. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.