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Last in the Legislative Assembly November 2003, as MLA for Yellowknife Centre

Won his last election, in 1999, with 61% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Motion 21-14(6): Censure Of The Minister Of Health And Social Services, Defeated October 10th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, from my experience of being Cabinet Minister and also having served on the other side of the House, it's my opinion that the most difficult department to run in this government is the Department of Health and Social Services. There are lots and lots and lots of challenges out there for us to address, and I appreciate what the Members are saying. There's no question that we have to tackle them. But you know, Mr. Speaker, the issues out there, we need to do more than just be a government addressing these issues. We need community governments to address this, we need community leaders to address this issue. Because the issues out there, the expenditures are being made in many areas, such as have been referenced because of smoking, because of alcohol. We've got children raising children, and obesity and people not exercising. Those are the issues, Mr. Speaker, and there needs to be more and more debate.

You know in my eight years in this House, I can probably check Hansard and count maybe two or three times when we've seriously discussed this issue, the issue of social lifestyles. That's what's at the bottom of this. How do we address the expenditure that's being made in the whole area of health? Because it's getting out of control, Mr. Speaker, and it always will until we change our lifestyles and address that whole area.

The system is, no doubt, under stress. We know we have a large territory with many, many communities, and that's expensive to operate. Therefore, it's hard to place proper facilities in each community to the extent that's being requested. That creates a tremendous difficulty, Mr. Speaker. This is the largest government for dollars, however, Mr. Speaker, while I appreciate what the Members are saying who moved this motion, I feel the condemnation of the Minister and his department are totally misdirected in this. But for the grace of God, there go I. It could be any one of us here if that attitude is taken at the moment that something isn't provided, okay, put a motion before the House of non-confidence in the Minister. I understand the frustrations and I compliment the Members for at least saying that they're frustrated, but I don't think condemning the Minister is the answer for that, Mr. Speaker, and I will definitely vote against it. Thank you.

Question 428-14(6): Subsidy Payments To Daycare Operators October 10th, 2003

You know, this is great, Mr. Speaker. I have to go back and check my facts. I think my facts were fairly accurate, but we'll certainly do a bit of homework on this so that the Member has a lot of information on her side to be able to respond to her constituent, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

Question 428-14(6): Subsidy Payments To Daycare Operators October 10th, 2003

Yes, I will, Mr. Speaker. I'll put that all in writing and provide some excellent detail that I feel would be helpful for the Member. There was reference earlier to the $28 a day child subsidy. Mr. Speaker, we do pay $32 a day, but that's to a licensed daycare facility. A day home receives $28 a day and the reasons for the difference, Mr. Speaker, just to put it on the record, are that you know a licensed daycare centre has greater fixed overhead costs, they have staff, they have facility costs, maintenance and so forth, taxation on their property that they need to pay, safety measures and they have to comply very diligently to the legislation, Mr. Speaker, all of which adds a tremendous amount of cost. Thank you.

Question 428-14(6): Subsidy Payments To Daycare Operators October 10th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I'm not sure of the process that's followed now. It's my understanding that the organizations notify the department that there are delinquent individuals attending and when that transpires, based on attendance, Mr. Speaker, then the payments are withheld. However, I can look into this further and provide further detail to the Member and if there are complications for that we can look to see if we can streamline that even further, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

Question 428-14(6): Subsidy Payments To Daycare Operators October 10th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Well, interestingly enough, I compliment the Member for pursuing this issue because she raised the issue in June and it gave us an opportunity to follow up on what we had put into plans already to introduce in September, Mr. Speaker. First of all, I'd like to say that over the past two or three years we've substantially increased our support for daycare funding. The issues that remained on the table, Mr. Speaker, were the administrative processes. They were cumbersome and difficult for individuals applying. So we did make some changes, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the question that was asked was regarding payment after the fact. Today, Mr. Speaker, we pay in advance and both individuals and organizations can apply to be paid four months in advance, Mr. Speaker. That's really good governing. Thank you.

Question 426-14(6): Aurora College Academic Appeal Process For Students October 10th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, it will be of value for us to do some research as to how this is treated in other institutions, universities and colleges in other jurisdictions. That will be easy for us to find out and to follow. Mr. Speaker, even though other jurisdictions may have a particular system, that doesn't mean we have to follow that particular case in this instance. I think there's value to establishing an external review board outside of college staff and so forth, Mr. Speaker, and I believe we should pursue that. Thank you.

---Applause

Question 426-14(6): Aurora College Academic Appeal Process For Students October 10th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, we, early on in the term of this government, decided that we would establish an independent appeal board for student financial assistance and we followed that up with an independent appeal board for income support clients that includes the areas of income support and senior fuel subsidy or any of those particular areas. That's working wonderfully, Mr. Speaker. That provides an avenue for an independent look for decisions that are made by the public service on decisions and it gives the applicant an opportunity to get a decision. There may be cases, Mr. Speaker, where decisions are made that overturn the decisions made by the appeals done by the original individuals, but we found that this works tremendously well and it is an area to get on to the question the Member is asking we should pursue, Mr. Speaker.

Question 425-14(6): Clawback Of Impact Benefit Agreement Payments October 10th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I think that's the primary question being asked. The legal opinion is always for Ministers' eyes only and it's such stated on legal opinions. We've been through this debate before, Mr. Speaker, but it really doesn't provide a definite answer either.

Question 425-14(6): Clawback Of Impact Benefit Agreement Payments October 10th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You know I hear reference to other parts of Canada, but other parts of Canada don't recognize treaty payments either, Mr. Speaker. It depends on the jurisdiction you go to. So what I am saying with this, Mr. Speaker, is we need more work done on this. For us to step in and say we'll do this, I am looking at a total policy change here, Mr. Speaker. That's the role of all of us here, not just me, Mr. Speaker. We have to take into account the legal basis for IBAs. As I say, not even the federal government has defined the IBA situation of how to treat that, tax-wise, et cetera. So there are complications, Mr. Speaker, in many ways. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 425-14(6): Clawback Of Impact Benefit Agreement Payments October 10th, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As I say, I go back to the principles in the program, Mr. Speaker. That's a program that meets the basic needs of individuals, but the program is intended to let individuals help themselves. We've also introduced for many years and applied the productive choice component. Really it comes into question of how far we can go providing support for people from public money and then not take into account other monies received, Mr. Speaker, especially in cases where we haven't completely outlined and know the parameters of an IBA. I personally don't know what the content of an IBA agreement is, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.