Legislative Assembly photo


In the Legislative Assembly


Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was health.
Historical Information Sandy Lee is no longer a member of the Legislative Assembly.

Last in the Legislative Assembly March 2011, as MLA for Range Lake

Won her last election, in 2007, with 73% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Question 41-16(6): Auditor General’s Report On Northwest Territories Health Programs And Services March 9th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I’d like to answer by reading her the department’s response to the

AG’s recommendation on developing performance agreements. We stated that we agree improving governance and accountability to ensure that delivery of quality programs and services and consistent financial management is a priority in the Foundation for Change, which the Auditor General likes. “The Department of Health and Social Services system action plan for 2009-12 key actions identified under this priority include the implementation of a new funding methodology and development of performance and service agreements with the health and social services authorities.” The Member knows, as she is a member of the Standing Committee on Social Programs, that we are working very hard to do the right size and right budget for all of the authorities.

Mr. Speaker, we’re on our way. We accept the Auditor General’s recommendation and we also accept the pat on the back we received. Thank you.

Question 41-16(6): Auditor General’s Report On Northwest Territories Health Programs And Services March 9th, 2011

We have responded to all of the recommendations from the Auditor General. We accept those recommendations and we take that as on top as a pat on the back, these are the things that you could do to do even better. I just need to make that point clear, because our department and our staff and the management all across the Territories are working so hard to get the evaluation that we received from the Auditor General.

Mr. Speaker, on paragraph 24 of the Auditor General’s report she says, “Finally...” in the contribution agreement “they identify some performance indicators to assess the success of their activities. The plans are consistent with discussions of the Joint Senior Management Committee and reflect the intention on the part of all parties for greater system thinking.”

Mr. Speaker, I just say that, again, the Member can choose to read what is not there and what we are not doing and always looking at the glass as half empty, but I just want to say that the Auditor General told us that the financial contribution agreements do include performance indicators, that we are working very closely with the authorities, that we do a good job following up with them, and that the next step to get even better is to follow up on her recommendations, and we have accepted them. Thank you.

Question 41-16(6): Auditor General’s Report On Northwest Territories Health Programs And Services March 9th, 2011

It’s good to know that the Member agrees that we’re doing a good job, I just never heard her saying that. On page 11 of the Auditor General’s report, paragraph 29, the Auditor General said, “We found that contribution agreements between the department and the authorities included basic financial terms and conditions and corresponding reporting requirements. Current agreements specify that authorities shall use their contribution funds for categories of expenditures, including hospital services, physician services, medical equipment…” Basically the Auditor General is saying that our financial contribution agreements do talk about performance indicators, it lays out what they’re supposed to do, that we keep close contact, that we follow up with them. In fact, she also said in reviewing the strategic plans of the three authorities in comparison with the Foundation for Change Action Plan, that we are very, very closely allied in terms of getting the clear direction, looking at the programs they’re providing, and that overall we’re doing a really, really great job.

As an extra point, the Auditor General indicated that we could strengthen that, but she also recognized the fact that we have contribution agreements is a great start and that we are on our way.

Question 41-16(6): Auditor General’s Report On Northwest Territories Health Programs And Services March 9th, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In the understated language of the Auditor General, the report that we received from Sheila Fraser is a Gold Medal Performance Report. I am so proud of the way she recognized the great work that we are doing. She’s told us that the Foundation for Change

Action Plan lays out clear direction and goals and action plans to the authorities. She’s also indicated that we consult regularly and well with the authorities and it is due to the management and the staff of the department and the front-line authorities that we were able to achieve such a glowing report from the Auditor General.

Question 35-16(6): Expansion Of Midwifery Services In The NWT March 9th, 2011

We have lots of anecdotal statements from those who use midwives to tell us how well that works, but we also believe that the Midwifery Program we have right now is too heavily medically-based, so we are going to be looking at the experience and examples of Nunavut, where they have come up with a model that is less medically based.

We also, as the Minister and the department, would like to see the Midwifery Program expand outside of

Yellowknife, because Yellowknife has a lot more service from physicians and health care providers, but we would like to explore a model in regional settings where we could do more traditional and less medically-based midwifery programs. I can assure the Member that we will consult with the clients who have used the system as well as the midwives, but we are going to look beyond that because we want to come up with an original NWT-based and community-based Midwifery Program. Thank you.

Question 35-16(6): Expansion Of Midwifery Services In The NWT March 9th, 2011

I hope the young debaters watching us in the House can carry their debates without using a word like “pitiful” and some silly words like that, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, we take this work of reviewing the Midwifery Program very, very seriously. We only fund two positions in Fort Smith, which is not an ideal situation. We also have a situation in Yellowknife where we have one midwife. Mr. Speaker, I can assure the House that we are doing an in-depth review of this and we believe that we need a comprehensive, wide-ranging program to make a real business case for real dollars. We believe that we need at least four midwives in a program, for example.

Mr. Speaker, we’re doing a full review and, yes, we will consult with groups outside of the department. I would also like to advise the Members that we have a lot of knowledge in-house, as well. Thank you.

Question 35-16(6): Expansion Of Midwifery Services In The NWT March 9th, 2011

Because, Mr. Speaker, we have to be serious about the complexities of the budgeting process, the business plan process and the work required to give birth to a full-fledged Midwifery Program. As that letter indicated, we are reviewing the Midwifery Program and analyzing the cost requirements for 2011 and 2012 with a view to putting it into the fiscal year 2013-14.

Mr. Speaker, our department is doing the work that’s required to see what kind of resource requirements that we need to undertake in order expand the Midwifery Program we have. Thank you.

Question 35-16(6): Expansion Of Midwifery Services In The NWT March 9th, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Member is quoting two different letters and without knowing the specific context of what we were speaking to in 2009 and 2011, I think it’s unfortunate that he’s making such a generalization.

I want to just state for the record that I, as the Minister, and the department have been very clear that we support expansion of the Midwifery Program in the Northwest Territories. The program has been under stress because we had to go through renewing the THAF funding, which is from the money that we fund the Midwifery Program now. The next phase that we are working on for 2011 and 2012, we are doing an in-depth analysis to see how much money will be required to expand the Midwifery Program and what the accepted standard is in the industry.

Mr. Speaker, the work that we did in 2009 is different than the work that we are doing in 2011 and 2012. I believe 2009 has to do with finding the money immediately to fund the positions in Fort Smith. Thank you.

Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery March 9th, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’d like to take this opportunity to recognize a Page from Range Lake. Her name is Kathleen Gordon and she’s been here for a number of days and I’d like to thank her for her wonderful work.

Question 25-16(6): Inquiries On Licensing Of Naturopaths In The NWT March 8th, 2011

Thank you. I can tell you right now he’s not going to like this answer, but perhaps he might understand if I tell him that I can’t necessarily write to everybody who writes to my office. There are some people who write to my office that has to do with operational and administrative issues. When it has to do with the regulating practice, often on many issues I write personally to all the MLAs that write to me, I respond to constituents, but there are issues where it’s operational and it is within my responsibility to assign staff to meet with them. So in this situation I assigned the staff to meet with her and that meeting took place in December, whereby she was given technical background about the state of affairs, which I believe was the right thing to do. Thank you.