Legislative Assembly photo



Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was know.

Last in the Legislative Assembly November 2015, as MLA for Yellowknife Centre

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 23% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters October 2nd, 2015

Thank you very much. Sorry to compare the two projects, but of course the Inuvik- Tuk Highway had a hard number, as well, and we’re having a hard time swallowing that one too. So I fully agree and think it’s fair that if we change the scope midway through where circumstances beyond control gives us the chance, but again, those are things

we’ll have to deal with, or

somebody will have to deal with as time goes on.

The only thing I want to say is I want to reiterate the two comments I made at the very beginning of the statement, which were the new building, I’m very glad with the process. I

t’s the one I wanted. I was

worried we would get a renovation while patients were trying to be served. I thought from the start it was impractical.

The last part I want to point out is that the old building will have a service life. It’s an iconic figure in this community and certainly the territory, and it would be a shame to see it bulldozed over, so I’m glad to hear that it will have a life beyond the opening of the new hospital, a life that doesn’t carry any risk on the GNWT.

My understanding is Minister Miltenberger may have had a role in playing that no risk part in, so if he did, I hope he’s still here as an MLA serving in 30 years to evaluate the contract to see if it worked out. I have no doubt he’ll be here in another 30 years if given the chance, assuming his wife lets

him. Of course, that probably means Mrs. Groenewegen will be wanting to keep running too.

In all seriousness, the new building is excellent news. The old building risk taken off is fantastic.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters October 2nd, 2015

It was reported on CBC North, and I thought it was an interesting comment, and not just a plug for CBC North on at six o’clock with Randy Henderson

– Randy can thank me later; I’m

waiting for his Tweet. That said, in all seriousness, the Ontario Auditor General had pointed out performance problems with the contractor as basically the lead of this initiative. I mean, in essence it really talked about probably cost creep. Although I haven’t had a chance to read the report, I certainly will be looking towards it later on. In essence, the performance of these two hospitals that were built in Ontario went well and above the original cost scope and predicted budget and of course it looked like, from the story that I read, that the size of the hospital was compromised probably in a manner to keep the costs from growing well beyond reach.

That said, has the department had a chance to go through these Auditor General reports? I mean, these contractors would have, of course, put their best case forward by saying, oh, we’re the greatest contractor, we can build hospitals day in and day out any day of the week and deliver a great product, but if they have a history of running into cost overruns and there’s lack of oversight on the performance of these particular contracts, how does the department plan to mitigate this? It’s easy to say, well, th

at’s Public Works’ problem, but

ultimately it’s somebody’s problem and it runs through the Department of Health who is asking for money. Thank you.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters October 2nd, 2015

Thank you. Anything new almost sounded exactly as what’s been said before. So, I guess there’s really nothing new per se.

What is the change to our complement of the staffing levels that we will experience in the new

facility? Could the Minister, maybe not this present second per se give me the exact number, but what’s the ballpark number we’re working with at Stanton and what is the ballpark staffing complement number we’ll need for the updated facility? Thank you.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters October 2nd, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I’m going to

maybe touch base on some of the earlier questions, only more so for clarity and so I can get the fullness of the detail provided.

First off let me say that I want to applaud the decision-makers on going forward with the new building. Part of the issue I had was I was speaking with two of the bidders when it came to three preferred folks to make a final proposal. Two of them told me it would be a lot cheaper and a lot faster to build a new building. I know a lot of emotion is probably attached to Stanton, and rightly so, but I think it’s important to ask ourselves was it the right choice, and I think it is at this particular time. I also find it really interesting, the clause of the old building will not become a burden on the territorial government or the taxpayer and I think that that was quite an interesting initiative that certainly years down the road that it’s going to play out in a way that I certainly hope it will, but the idea of having the proponent manage, take all the risk and the GNWT shares in some revenues, it’s really an interesting concept. So I hope in 34 years or whenever that contract is done that they look back and say that that decision wasn’t just a good one, it was an incredible one. Like anything, only time will tell.

My first area of questioning is going to be in the area somewhat as Mr. Moses had just pointed out. I’m curious about what new services are being identified. I did hear the Minister say about they’re thinking ahead with things like space for an MRI if that becomes the issue of the day that we need to now offer that service. I also heard him say the

possibility of allowing more room for dialysis machines.

Can he maybe speak to the types of programs the hospital will be in a position to expand towards on day one? New changes that is. I’m not talking about floor space and an ER that’s bigger than it was before. What I’m talking about is what will be new and what is it preparing for. I’d like to know what programs we’ll offer new, as well as the staffing component that must have been examined when they considered this, because no designer worth their salt would have just drawn a hospital and said okay, we’ll figure it out from here. They would have had to have known exactly what program areas we needed and where we were going and they also need to know the complement of the staff required in this. So, that said, I look forward to that first set of questions. Thank you.

Question 913-17(5): Expansion Of Avens Seniors’ Facility October 2nd, 2015

Territorial-wide, territorial-wide, the growth in five years in seniors is going to be at 150 percent. All the beds that have been created today and all the beds they think that they’re going to create tomorrow still won’t meet that demand. The Minister

can say we’re going to shuffle seniors

around the room, around the territory to solve the problem. It is not meeting the challenge.

Will the Minister just be honest in this House to say are they going to make an agreement with Avens and when, because they cannot wait any longer. I can’t wait any longer. The seniors can’t wait any longer. As I started, and I’m going to finish, this tsunami of seniors is on our doorstep and they’re crashing away because they’ve got nowhere else to go. They demand their government to act.

Question 913-17(5): Expansion Of Avens Seniors’ Facility October 2nd, 2015

Avens presently has 29 beds. They want to extend it to 60, and of course, they have bigger plans than that. But you know what? They see what’s in the near future. They’ve got over 50 on their waiting list. I won’t go on at length, but our population is growing to 184 percent in five more years. We’re not meeting the demands. We couldn’t start the planning, reviewing and building and meet that challenge that’s presented to us in five years if we did something today.

Again, I’m going to ask the Minister, when is the government going to make a formal commitment so

Avens can march forward on this particular project? We cannot wait anymore. Catastrophe is on the doorstep of seniors. Who is going to take responsibility for this tragic end?

Question 913-17(5): Expansion Of Avens Seniors’ Facility October 2nd, 2015

It couldn’t be said better than by

the Canadian Medical Association president, Cindy Forbes. She talks about the growing rate of seniors. She also references the cost, where it costs $1,000 a day, on average, in Canada to hospitalize and hold seniors. Whereas if you find partners like Avens, it comes at a fraction of that price. She estimates average cost in Canada at fifty. Now, I know these are southern costs, but the ratio is the point, not the actual dollar number. Why is the government not realizing that?

My next question is: When will this government be willing to finally step up and address the Avens problem, which is an NWT problem because there are a lot of seniors there from the Northwest Territories, not just Yellowknife. In other words, when will this government be willing to step forward to make that final commitment to address the overpopulation of seniors and the inability to meet those needs?

Question 913-17(5): Expansion Of Avens Seniors’ Facility October 2nd, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As I said in my Member’s statement today – and I gave the facts and the numbers, and even the GNWT’s numbers through their partnership with the researcher on Avens

– the study Where to Go and

What to Do, one thing is clear: a tsunami of seniors is coming and there’s nowhere for them to run.

As I said in my statement, if the capacity was similar to a school, where once a school hit 75 percent full, it triggers a renewal of the school whether through renovation or a building of a new school, but yet we have no policy or solution for the seniors. Avens is 100 percent full right now, at least 50 on their waiting list with nowhere to go.

I want to ask the Minister of Health and Social Services, what are the delays that are stopping this government from making a formal commitment to address the seniors population problem and provide Avens with the necessary tools so they can provide the solutions for those seniors who need places to go?

Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery October 2nd, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. They’ve

been recognized a few times, but I certainly wouldn’t mind underscoring it just one more time at least a little further. I’d like to recognize Deputy Minister Arsenault. I’ve gotten to know him over the last few years. I really admire his hard work. He’s had a great relationship with the Northwest Territories and I’m very thankful that we have someone in the Yukon who understands our problems as we learn about theirs. I couldn’t think of a better team to take on the challenges in Ottawa than our good folks in the gallery here today, so thank you for your presence and, also, thank you for being a partner on our side, because we’re certainly on your side too when we challenge Ottawa.

Expansion Of NWT Seniors Facilities October 2nd, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Well, we all heard the other day that the population in Canada is aging. No surprise, of course, and the NWT is certainly not immune to those pressures. That’s right. Stats Canada says one out of every six persons in Canada are over the age of 64. Heck, take the statistics in this room. Twenty percent of the MLAs are over the age of 60. Stats Canada can see this, why can’t the GNWT see this?

So, while the problem keeps getting ignored, Avens continues to be bursting at the seams when it comes to capacity, and as time goes on, it marches on, more seniors are on the waiting list at Avens,


nocking on the door when there’s nowhere else to

turn. But what happens? They get turned away. Why does this keep being ignored?

Avens is maxed out, Mr. Speaker. I cannot keep telling you this, because everyone knows it, and if something doesn’t change, who knows what will happen?

We need more extended care beds because Stanton isn’t going to cover them. Avens is offering a solution.

If this was a school, for goodness sake, we have policies to start looking at renovation plans or extension plans once they reach 75 percent, so why do they just pay lip service to our seniors? So, where are they to go? To the street, I wonder? I don’t know. I could tell you about the 50 or more seniors on the waiting list, but no, the government already knows this, so there’s nothing that seems to want to motivate them into action.

Typically finding a single partner is the biggest problem to these things, but no, they’ve got a partner, a partner that’s competent, that can do the job and wants to do the job. So, what’s the proble

m? Procrastination. I think that’s all it is.

So, while the delays continue, and of course our elders population keeps growing and growing, and the need for 173 residential long-term beds is still at zero capacity because they’re all full and we need more, well, this government, what do they do? They hire an expert, Dr. Hollander, who says in his report – the government’s expert, by the way – “Yellowknife is expected to grow by 287 percent in the next 16 years.” Oh, but that’s too far away to talk about, le

t’s go to 11 years away, 248 percent.

Oh, 11 years is too far away to think about? Well, let’s just get it down to five years from now, 184 percent growth in seniors.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Bromley couldn’t be more right; it was a shame the way Ms. Lemay had been treated in her nineties. She’s given her life, heart and soul to this community and she’s shown the street, with no options. They’re giving her temporary care but there is no solution.

To sum up, it can’t go on any longer. This government needs to wake u

p to the seniors’

problem. We must do something to the demand that’s on our doorstep now. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.