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Crucial Fact

Last in the Legislative Assembly September 2019, as MLA for Inuvik Boot Lake

Won his last election, in 2015, with 89% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Question 34-17(1): Mental Health Programs And Infrastructure December 9th, 2011

I’m glad to hear that the department is taking a proactive approach in education for prevention and awareness. However, right now, as I mentioned earlier in my two questions, we do have a waiting list, especially in Inuvik. The waiting list for anyone to get counselling is about three months and it is something that needs to be done now to address those issues. We will be coming to a new fiscal year in 2012-13. I was wondering if there was anything on the horizon in the fiscal operations O and M budget within the Department of Health and Social Services to offset those issues of our workers right now that are being over-exhausted dealing with counselling. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 34-17(1): Mental Health Programs And Infrastructure December 9th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, I don’t think we need a Mental Health Act or see a report to know what is happening in the communities and the neglect that we are having on people who really need the services for these mental health issues. Once again, I would like to ask: Is the Department of Health and Social Services, not only them but there are other departments that are involved in this, how we can work together to address the issue right now?

It is Christmastime. It is a tough time for anybody that is not getting the services they need. I think it is something that needs to be addressed now rather than later, when we have to review some documents to tell us what we already know. I would like to ask the Minister again, is there a plan in place that can identify these situations or offset the lack of services in our communities right now. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 34-17(1): Mental Health Programs And Infrastructure December 9th, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question today is dealing with my Member’s statement that I gave yesterday in dealing with mental health and addictions. We have had a lot of discussion here today on infrastructure and some new capital projects that are coming to the Northwest Territories. Alongside with that, unfortunately, we do get a lot of health and social issues that do come with these big capital projects.

My question is for the Minister of Health and Social Services and deals with mental health programs and infrastructure. What is the plan to fix the lack of services that we have in some of our communities, especially in our regions, and the lack of human resources to address these mental health concerns? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 29-17(1): Moratorium On Evictions Due To Rental Arrears December 9th, 2011

: Thank you for that information, Minister of Housing. My final question is: We do have some tenants that have really high arrears. Is there an action plan to assist those that feel they don’t have a chance to get out of those arrears? Is there a program or some kind of policy in place that will help those that are beyond what they can pay? Thank you.

Question 29-17(1): Moratorium On Evictions Due To Rental Arrears December 9th, 2011

My next question is: Come April 1

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the end of the fiscal year, any tenants across the Northwest Territories who have not taken that initiative to get on a payment plan, what is the course of action that the Housing Corporation is going to take for those who have not honoured this agreement that the Minister has put forth? Thank you.

Question 29-17(1): Moratorium On Evictions Due To Rental Arrears December 9th, 2011

That sounds like a good plan in the broad scope of things. However, we do know that some tenants will not go and speak to their LHOs. Is there a plan in place for the LHOs? I know they do a lot of work and we don’t want to overburden them, but is there a plan in place to go and speak to the tenants in their home, especially the ones that might be mobile enough or also with some language barriers? Is there a plan in place to do an outreach program to go and speak with the tenants? Thank you.

Question 29-17(1): Moratorium On Evictions Due To Rental Arrears December 9th, 2011

: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today my question is dealing with the moratorium that the Minister of Housing released earlier this week. It is a good program and I think it’s a great opportunity to educate the people in the communities on how to get back and educated into the housing programs, as well as getting them back on track with a payment plan. In the four months that we have from now until the end of the fiscal year, I wanted to ask the Minister of Housing what is the plan to work with these people in the communities to get back on a payment plan. Thank you.

“not Us” Anti-Drug Campaign December 9th, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today to talk about a great program that’s been initiated by a few departments through the Healthy Choices Framework a couple of years ago that did result from some tragic incidents throughout the Northwest Territories and that we still see today, and that is dealing with drugs in our communities.

The Not Us! Campaign is a very successful campaign initiated through the Department of Justice. It has partners of the RCMP, Health and Social Services, Education, Culture and Employment, MACA and the Executive. It is a program that fights the drugs in our communities. It gives an opportunity for people at the community level to take a stand and say no, we don’t want these drugs in our communities and we want the drug dealers out.

In Inuvik I’ve been part of that committee for the last two years and what that entails is you get a $10,000 grant for your first year to run programs. Having a very concerned group of individuals in Inuvik, as well as in the communities of Hay River and Yellowknife, and I think most recently Fort McPherson, it is taking a really strong stand and we are seeing some really positive outcomes of this. There are a lot more drug busts in the communities and incarcerations of some of the drug dealers that are doing harm to our people in the communities as well.

Today I just want to thank all those throughout the Northwest Territories who have taken that stand against drugs, who have taken that stand to put these initiatives in their communities and for the great work that this government is doing in supporting all the departments and this program. I do hope to see more funding going to prevention programs like this so that we don’t have to band-aid the situation in years to come.

Mental Health And Addictions Programs December 8th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, we cannot continue to band-aid the issue. We need to identify the underlying issues and fix them now in this government. Our greatest resource in the NWT is our people. It is time that we take the appropriate actions and invest in the future of the North by investing in our people in our communities. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mental Health And Addictions Programs December 8th, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I would like to address an issue that is prominent within the Northwest Territories: mental health and addictions.

At the beginning of this Assembly, Members received a transition presentation from the Department of Health and Social Services. It was presented that their number one key strategic health status driver was, indeed, mental health and addictions. During my campaign I was asked what I thought was the number one concern in the Northwest Territories and in Inuvik, and after considerable thinking about what it would be, the conclusion was mental health and addictions. All the issues that we do face in the Northwest Territories all lead to some type of mental instability that can lead to further issues within our communities. It is no surprise that this is the number one concern within our communities across the North and contributes to the largest department budget within our government.

Currently, in the community of Inuvik, the waiting list to get into counselling is very long. Although I cannot speak for other communities, I’m sure it is the same. In some cases, individuals who need the counselling are put on a waiting list that can take up to three months. In that time most people will give up on themselves, give up on the process and give up on the government. Mr. Speaker, this needs to change.

With program requirements through Housing and ECE, clients are asked to seek counselling in order to be eligible for certain programs. However, not all people who need that counselling are going through the process just to access assistance. This puts a backlog on the people who truly need those services. When people are not getting the counselling that they need at an appropriate time, often it results in addiction use, increased mental health issues in the home and in the community, and in most cases, more serious cases, it can lead to suicide. With the Truth and Reconciliation Commission coming to the North there also has been an increase in counselling services that, honestly, are already being over exhausted. We, as a government, cannot continue to neglect those needing counselling services and, at the same time, burning out our own human resources.

The government needs to take a collaborative approach that includes Health and Social Services, Justice, Housing and ECE to address this problem.

Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted