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Roles

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Crucial Fact

Last in the Legislative Assembly September 2019, as MLA for Great Slave

Won his last election, in 2015, with 79% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Question 846-18(3): Continuing Care Facilities Legislation August 22nd, 2019

I have gone one step further than that. I have actually asked them to include it in transition materials coming from this department to the committees and to all new elected Members so that they can make an informed decision. As far as the LP, we have a process and protocols on how LPs work. It will come from a Minister, and it will go to committee, who have an opportunity to suggest amendments, changes, or reject or accept. There will be definite interaction moving this LP forward, as any. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 846-18(3): Continuing Care Facilities Legislation August 22nd, 2019

Prior to the last election, the Seniors' Society did put out some information on the creation offer a seniors' advocate. The continuing care action plan or the "what we heard" document is more than just seniors, as I have indicated. It's special care homes; it's all these situations where somebody might have to live within an institution. There is no reference to an advocate in there, but once again, that is something that the next Assembly will have to discuss as they are reviewing the LP and trying to figure out how to move this initiative forward.

Question 846-18(3): Continuing Care Facilities Legislation August 22nd, 2019

No. At the end of the day, it's going to be the next Assembly that makes the decisions as to whether they even want to move forward with an LP on this initiative. I personally believe that it needs to be done. I think that it is necessary and incredibly important, because we do have a legislative gap. As I have said, I have asked the department to put together the materials so that the new Minister, regardless of who he or she is, can make some informed decisions and work with committee, who can also receive this information during their technical briefings in the life of the new Assembly, so that they can make informed decisions, and hopefully, they will see this as a priority.

Question 846-18(3): Continuing Care Facilities Legislation August 22nd, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. There is currently a legislative gap for residential community care services in the Northwest Territories. That includes long-term care facilities that are run by not-for-profit organizations, supported living facilities, as well as group homes. It is more than just long-term care facilities that we are talking about now. The "What We Heard" document is what we heard from a wide range of stakeholders throughout the Northwest Territories.

The next step is to develop an LP. These are the dying days of this Legislative Assembly, so I have asked the department to put together materials that could be shared with the new Minister, so that he or she can work with committees to finalize and put forward an LP that will meet the needs of the people of the Northwest Territories.

It is not going to be super straightforward, Mr. Speaker, as you can see in the "what we heard" document. There are a lot of varied opinions on how we need to move forward on this, and those will be discussions and debates that will need to be had in the next Assembly. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Tabled Document 514-18(3): Report on Seniors Access to Government of the Northwest Territories Programs and Services Tabled Document 515-18(3): What We Heard Report - Continuing Care Facilities Legislation for the Northwest Territories August 21st, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the following two documents entitled "Report on Senior's Access to Government of the Northwest Territories Programs and Services"; and "What We Heard Report - Continued Care Facilities Legislation for the Northwest Territories." Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 843-18(3): National Pharmacare and the NWT August 21st, 2019

Canadian patent medicine prices are among the highest in the world, here in Canada. In fact, I think we're the third highest, behind Switzerland and the United States. That's not something I think Canadians should be super proud of. On August 9th, Health Canada did announce, as the Member said, amendments to the Patented Medicine Regulations. The Patented Medicine Prices Review Board is reviewing and examining the newly released amendments to the Patented Medicine Regulations and will identify any changes that may warrant an adjustment to its proposed guidelines framework and further considers.

Currently, it is difficult to speculate how the regulatory tools available to the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board may be changed; however, the NWT is supportive of reducing the cost of patented medicines for its residents and all Canadians, and we will continue to work at the Federal-Provincial-Territorial table to ensure that the voices of the Northwest Territories, the provinces, and Canadians are heard. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 843-18(3): National Pharmacare and the NWT August 21st, 2019

It is kind of difficult to answer that question because we aren't actually sure what the federal government is going to do in this particular area. The question may, unfortunately, be a little premature, but what I can say is that we are watching this very closely. Regardless of which government makes up the federal government in the next term, I am hopeful and optimistic that they will continue to work on pharmacare, and we as a government should and must continue to make sure that our voice is heard during those discussions, but frankly I think it's a little early to speculate on what it might look like. It might be a hypothetical response, and I'm not prepared to do that at this point.

Question 843-18(3): National Pharmacare and the NWT August 21st, 2019

The national Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare Report actually did include some recommendations as to what measures that the federal government should take with respect to a formulary. This advice, obviously, is going to be considered by the Government of Canada on how best to implement national pharmacare. If it does move ahead, and if there is a national formulary list, the NWT will have an option to maintain a regional supplementary formulary to address any of the specific needs that exist.

However, it is my understanding that, if we do have a secondary supplementary list, the costs associated with that secondary supplementary list would be the responsibility of the provincial or territorial government that has that list and not the federal government, because they will be moving forward with their list.

Question 843-18(3): National Pharmacare and the NWT August 21st, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. With respect to the national Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare, we did have an opportunity to make presentation to the council, and we outlined the challenges of providing healthcare in the Northwest Territories. We outlined the different public benefit plans that we administer here in the Government of the Northwest Territories, our Extended Health Benefits. We talked about the trends over the last ten years so that they could see where some of the usage is or uptake in some of the prescription drugs that are being utilized here in the Northwest Territories. We also had an opportunity to share some observations of what we would like to see in a pharmacare plan for Canada.

We also had an opportunity, through the federal-provincial-territorial Ministers of Health meetings, to identify an FTP working group of staff that also had an opportunity to compile more information and make sure that the NWT perspective was included and share that with the advisory council through that means, as well.

I imagine that pharmacare is going to become an election issue at a federal level in this upcoming election. There is no pharmacare plan in place today. The federal government did get the report. We are watching very closely to see how they proceed with that. Regardless, Mr. Speaker, at the same time, the GNWT does actually participate in the Pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance, which basically conducts joint provincial, territorial, and federal negotiations for brand name and generic drugs in Canada to achieve greater value. We are trying to do things to help control and reduce costs of drugs.

I look forward, personally, to seeing a pharmacare plan in Canada. We are the only first-world country with a medicare plan that doesn't have pharmacare, and I think that it is time that the federal government in this country stood up and moved forward with pharmacare. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 841-18(3): Child and Family Services Quality Improvement Plan August 21st, 2019

As the Member for Yellowknife Centre has already pointed out, we do have a significantly large action plan with 70 items, and our staff have been quite busy. As a result, we have not done that additional research on a child advocate at this point. However, I would like to note that I was a member of the committee that did a review of the implementation of child and family services in the 16th Assembly, and, at that time, I and my colleagues had an opportunity to go and meet with child advocates from other jurisdictions and learn about the roles that they provide. A child advocate tends to be an officer of the Legislature in most of the other jurisdictions. That is not unlike an ombud that we have recently created here in the Northwest Territories. They are usually not singularly focused on child and family services, but instead focus on children's issues that may be through education or justice or other government functions, questions pertaining to the machinery of government offices such as an ombud or Legislature.

If a child advocate were to be created, it would likely be an office of the Legislature. We are all part of that, but it just is not a Health and Social Services pursuit. I would also note that the mandate of child advocates, if you look at what's happening in other jurisdictions and granted this information might be a little dated because it's based on the review we did in the 16th Assembly, but a lot of those services are done by positions we have already created here in the Northwest Territories, like a children's lawyer, the territorial director, the ombud that we have recently created, so some of these positions can do some that work. However, I am also optimistic that, as we get more involved in Building Stronger Families and with a better focus on prevention, some of the reasons that people want a child advocate ombud today might not be as strong if we are more successful with the work that we intend to do. We already know that an ombud is very expensive, and I think that money may be better spent on front-line delivery of services to families. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.