Last in the Legislative Assembly March 1999, as MLA for Kitikmeot

Won his last election, in 1995, with 71% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Question 21-13(7): Western Health And Social Services Review March 23rd, 1999

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, as I had indicated, the terms of reference are currently being drafted and they have not been finalized to date. Thank you.

Question 21-13(7): Western Health And Social Services Review March 23rd, 1999

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I can foresee that we would want to get it up and running as soon as possible. The plan is now to finalize the terms of reference, to identify some individuals possibly that could sit on the panel or the forum or whatever you would like to call it, and send them off to address some of these concerns by having some public input throughout the Western Territories. I would think from a timeline prospective, probably by the middle of April, late April at the latest, in respect of having it up and running, but obviously there are going to be factors in getting to that point. Thank you.

Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery March 23rd, 1999

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize Commissioner Helen Maksagak; her eldest son Harry, who is accompanying her; two constituents have been pointed out by my honourable colleague, Mr. Ningark, Agnes Aklok from Kugluktuk and Jean Kuneyuna from Cambridge Bay; and also I would like to recognize Deputy Commissioner Dan Marion. Thank you.


Minister's Statement 15-13(7): Social Union Framework Agreement March 23rd, 1999

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, social programs like medicare and education are the most significant identifying aspect characterizing Canadian society from coast to coast to coast. On February 4, 1999, the Premier of the Northwest Territories, the Honourable Jim Antoine, signed an important intergovernmental agreement, addressing the future of social programs in this country. This agreement is called, A Framework to Improve The Social Union For Canadians. As Minister responsible for social union negotiations, I wish to provide Members of this Assembly with details of the social union framework.

Mr. Speaker, the social union is an agreement between the federal government and all the provinces and territories, with the exception of the province of Quebec. By signing this document, governments agreed to a new set of rules which set out the roles and responsibilities and the manner in which new Canada-wide social programs are funded and developed. The agreement addresses social policy and funding for new national programs in the areas of health, post-secondary education, labour market training and social services.

Mr. Speaker, the agreement is made up of six key elements. These elements include

- a set of national social policy principles,

- provisions to address the issue of mobility of Canadians, - provisions to develop a greater level of accountability for social programs in jurisdictions across the country,

- guidelines which will provide for a more cooperative development of social policy and programs,

- a set of rules which will guide the use of the federal spending power, and, finally,

- a mechanism to deal with disputes in social policy sectors.

Mr. Speaker, the agreement also recognizes the constitutionality of the rights of aboriginal peoples. The Social Union Agreement is positive for the Northwest Territories in a number of ways.

- First, it gives certainty to residents of the Northwest Territories, in matters that involve new national social programs, northern residents will be treated with the same fairness as all residents of Canada.

- Second, Mr. Speaker, under the terms of the social union, all governments have agreed to share information and best practices and to consult with each other prior to changing existing programming.

- The federal government has also agreed to provide notice and to consult with the territorial government when it intends to introduce any new social transfer.

- Flexibility is built into these arrangements, providing for equitable treatment by taking into account the diverse circumstances of the Northwest Territories.

- Mr. Speaker, the federal government has also agreed to put any disputes arising in social policy and funding arrangements into a dispute avoidance forum, something that currently does not exist. This is a positive step for social policy in Canada.

Mr. Speaker, under the agreement, all governments are committed to ensuring that Canadians, wherever they reside, can access social programs which are of a consistent nature across the country. As well, governments have agreed to monitor and measure social program outcomes, and to publicly account for the results they intend to achieve in their social programs. In this manner, Mr. Speaker, the residents of the NWT will be informed of the results and goals of northern public social programs.

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have become concerned about the state of their social programs. The Social Union Agreement will provide greater certainty to all Canadians that governments are committed to delivering the best social programs in an affordable manner. The Government of the Northwest Territories is committed to delivering high quality programs and to ensuring that social programs for northern residents are affordable and on par with those delivered by all governments in Canada. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery March 22nd, 1999

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I too would like to recognize Mr. Bill Lyall, a long-time resident and prominent individual from the community of Cambridge Bay. Thank you.

Member's Statement 38-13(7): Acknowledgement Of Constituents And Colleagues' Support March 22nd, 1999

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to also recognize and thank first the residents of Kugluktuk who since May of 1993 up until next week, have given me the mandate to serve as their MLA. I would like to also, by the same token, recognize and thank the residents of Cambridge Bay, Umingmaktok and Bathurst Inlet for their support over the past six years and particularly, more recently for the February 15th decisive mandate that they gave me to once again have the honour of representing them.

To my Nunavut Caucus colleagues who chose to run and were elected to the first Nunavut Assembly, I look forward to working with you. To those of my Nunavut Caucus colleagues who chose not to run or who were not successful in their election bid, I wish them all the best wishes as they go on to other pursuits. To all Members elected in the historic first Nunavut Assembly, to Premier Elect, Paul Ookalik, my Cabinet elect colleagues, I congratulate all of them. I look forward to working with all as we embark on our important task of guiding the establishment of the new Nunavut territory. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


Minister's Statement 10-13(7): Western Health And Social Services Review March 22nd, 1999

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, with the creation of two new territories in just a few days, many changes will take place at an accelerated pace. In both new territories we will need to position ourselves to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the rapidly changing political landscape.

Today I am focusing my comments on the new Northwest Territories where these political changes will have significant implications for the management of the healthcare system.

Mr. Speaker, arising out of these changes will be a need to review existing service delivery structures and make adjustments as required to ensure that an affordable, sustainable health and social services system remains in place.

Under the current model of governance, there will be nine health and social services boards in the new Northwest Territories. These boards deliver health and social services to specific regions and communities. Some boards also provide services on a territorial basis. There is a need to review the size and number of boards to ensure efficiency and to reflect the size and makeup of the population while still maintaining effective community and regional governance over program delivery. There is also a need to review and evaluate the working relationship between the department and the boards.

Mr. Speaker, we must ensure that we use all available resources as efficiently as possible while continuing to provide the best care possible. The Department of Health and Social Services has recognized these needs and is developing a framework to guide the review of Health and Social Services in the new Northwest Territories. The review will respond to concerns about the health and social services system that have been raised in different parts of the territory.

Mr. Speaker, while considering clients' concerns, the review will take into consideration the larger context in which Health and Social Services board and the department work. The review will offer the opportunity to consult with northerners on the challenges they face and to hear their recommendations for achieving health and wellness for all residents. It will provide a forum for frank dialogue with our clients about their priorities and the kind of services they need.

Mr. Speaker, we see an opportunity here to structure a review that will provide input from the public, professional associations, non-government organizations, health and social service providers, boards and department staff. There will be an opportunity to build on health reform initiatives currently underway. The new Northwest Territories will be challenged to chart a course that meets the interests and needs of all its citizens and provide opportunities for them to take greater control of their future and more responsibility for their well-being.

The review will be the basis for the development of an updated strategic plan for health and wellness and will allow the territorial government to make informed decisions based on peoples' needs and on best practices. Mr. Speaker, in closing I note that there are many people who are working long and hard to ensure that people of the north receive the best possible health and social services. I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the important contribution that the staff of health and social services boards across the territories make on a daily basis. This year promises historic change and new opportunities. Our challenge is to manage the change and to focus on providing stability. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 5-13(7): Forming A Child Advocacy Group December 11th, 1998

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I cannot speak to that now, not knowing what bill is maybe contemplated. It is not before this House. We would be willing to look at, as I have indicated, ways to improve the system if that means bringing in legislation or making legislative changes, we would take a look at that. One must recognize the time frames that we are dealing with here and possible looking at something post April 1, 1999, for both new territories. Thank you.

Question 5-13(7): Forming A Child Advocacy Group December 11th, 1998

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, it has not come to the agenda of any Health Ministers or Social Services Ministers at our annual meetings or at meetings outside of those. I can say that, it is something we can take a look at without the other jurisdictions doing it. If there is a way to improve things to make it more efficient or effective, we would have no problems with trying to support anything along those lines, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

Question 5-13(7): Forming A Child Advocacy Group December 11th, 1998

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, not to my knowledge have we looked at anything along those lines. I know that it has been brought up by the honourable Member in

the past, but quite frankly, we have been working with trying to implement the new child welfare acts that have been passed by this Assembly, child and family services legislation and the workshops to train health care and social service care professionals in the field; and trying to meet the needs of that new legislation in preparing for communities to become more involved in the whole aspect of child welfare matters within their communities, through plan and care committees and direct involvement at the community level, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.