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Last in the Legislative Assembly November 2003, as MLA for Kam Lake

Won his last election, in 1999, with 80% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Item 4: Returns To Oral Questions December 12th, 1991

Mr. Speaker, I have a return to an oral question asked by Mr. Arvaluk on December 10th, regarding an additional nurse for Chesterfield Inlet. The former Minister of Health, Nellie Cournoyea, discussed this matter with Mayor Kadluk of Chesterfield Inlet and the chairperson of the Keewatin health board, Bette Palfrey, at a meeting during the opening of the new health centre at Chesterfield Inlet this October. That conversation was confirmed in a letter from the Minister to Mayor Kadluk dated October 25, 1991. An agreement was reached that the situation would be addressed in the short term by providing increased casual nursing relief support to the Chesterfield Inlet nursing station from within existing resources. In the longer term, the Keewatin Regional Health Board will review its current budget to determine if an additional full-time nursing position can be created for the Chesterfield Inlet Health Centre through reallocation of salary dollars currently designated for contract nurses and/or overtime.

The honourable Member referred in his question to a letter from the Mayor of Chesterfield Inlet. Department of Health staff received the letter on December 9 and will respond to the mayor before the end of this week. Thank you.

Ministers' Statement 15-12(1): Territorial Disease Control December 12th, 1991

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to brief the House on several infectious diseases that have affected territorial residents during the past few months. I want to update Members on the status of these diseases.

The most serious outbreak was caused by an E-coli bacteria. E-coli can seriously affect the kidneys and, in some cases, other organs of the body. In the recent Keewatin outbreak, which lasted through the summer and into the fall, there were 166 confirmed cases. Most outbreaks of E- coli infection in southern Canada have been traced to a single infected food item. But in the Keewatin, no responsible food was identified, although the disease appeared to spread from person to person. Experts from the federal Laboratory Centre for Disease Control helped in this investigation and control of this illness. A review of this particular outbreak, which now seems to have run its course, is scheduled to take place in January.

Another notable infectious outbreak was caused by the measles virus. It also affected the Keewatin as well as the Baffin Region. Some cases of measles have also occurred elsewhere, and there are currently increasing numbers of affected persons in the Yellowknife area. Mr. Speaker, measles is an illness for which there have been vaccines since the 1960s. Before that, nearly all children got this illness while they were still young. When vaccines were introduced, it was thought that the infection could be wiped out, in the same way smallpox was eliminated. But that has not happened, probably because some people never received the vaccine, or they received one of the earlier types of vaccines that do not have a long-lasting effect.

Measles is highly infectious. It will continue to spread even if only a small number of people are not adequately vaccinated. As a result, territorial doctors and nurses are checking their records and urging people who were inadequately immunized to receive the newer vaccine. Many of those who need the newer vaccine are teenagers. The federal laboratory centre for disease control has also been studying this outbreak in the Northwest Territories, as well as similar outbreaks in Ontario and Quebec, in order to advise on better preventive measures.

Mr. Speaker, the AIDS virus continues to be a serious problem. Twelve cases have been reported, and there is still an urgent need for all community leaders to speak out about this fatal disease and to reinforce the individual message of last year's door-to-door campaign.

On the other hand, tuberculosis is an illness that is coming under better control. The number of identified infections this year is not very different from 1990. While vigilance and rapid intervention is still required, the number of infections has dropped from 56 active cases in 1988 to 22 last year.

Finally, one other infectious disease that has particularly affected territorial children, is haemophilus meningitis. New vaccines will soon be available, and arrangements are under way to provide them to territorial children early in 1992. It is expected the new vaccine will help to reduce the incidence of this disease.

Mr. Speaker, the control of other infectious illnesses depend on the care people take in what they do. One of these is botulism. Several cases of botulism were reported again this past summer. Teaching about the risk that results from preparing country food using plastic bags instead of using the old and safer ways of the elders will need to continue until this unnecessary illness and loss of lives is stopped.

In conclusion, I would like to take this opportunity to commend the efforts made by the staff of the Northwest Territories health system and others who have worked diligently in attempts to control the spread of these infectious diseases. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Question O62-12(1): Custom Adoption December 11th, 1991

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like the opportunity to take that question as notice, and I will get back to the Member with a reply as soon as I can.

Question O58-12(1): Re-use Of Inventory By Departments December 11th, 1991

Mr. Speaker, that is a question that probably would be better answered by the Minister of Finance.

Question O42-12(1): Total Review Of Department Of Social Services December 11th, 1991

We are working together as a team; we are discussing this in cabinet and at this moment we do not have a specific target but we are working toward making these two departments better departments.

Question O42-12(1): Total Review Of Department Of Social Services December 11th, 1991

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, I did make those comments prior to any knowledge I had of the "Strength at Two Levels" report. Since then, I want to have the opportunity to review both of the departments under my direction here before I make any comments on which direction it is going to go. But the direction will be progressive.

Question O42-12(1): Total Review Of Department Of Social Services December 11th, 1991

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The report is giving us some recommendations. I am taking all those recommendations under advisement, in consultation with my colleagues, to see what we can do with the two departments. I want to reserve the opportunity to have a view of all the programs we have and the problems the department faces, before I go ahead with any fine-toothed comb review. I think that some of the things that have been a problem will be addressed in this review we are doing.

Question O20-12(1): Tabling Of Report Re Disturbance At Yellowknife Correctional Centre December 10th, 1991

As I used to say from across the floor, Mr. Speaker, "Good question." I guess we see things differently here. Now we are on the other side, the shoe is on the other foot. The honourable Member will be pleased to know that I have read parts of that report and I will tell you it is pretty dry reading. It is not something that is going to make good news.

---Laughter

There is nothing that you do not already know that the honourable Minister from last year has not already told the House. Maybe the names could be concealed or initialled or something like that to prevent any breach of confidentiality or privacy. I will review that situation and take a look at seeing whether I will table the report in its entirety, but I will tell you it is not that great.

Question O12-12(1): Legislation To Protect Privacy Of Social Assistance Clients December 10th, 1991

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think the House had been moving toward a freedom of information act, and now I hear we want a confidentiality act. I think the Member would recollect my concerns expressed last year when this debate was taking place about the privacy of government and individuals. I hear what she is saying, and I think that the government will take the question seriously and review its necessity.

I do not wish to respond entirely to the Member's allegations of my being related to everybody -- I have a lot of relatives around, but it does not hinder me from doing my work. I will take the question seriously, and I will put it to the government to take a look at and see where this can apply.

Question O9-12(1): Additional Nurse For Chesterfield Inlet December 10th, 1991

Mr. Speaker, I have not seen the letter, and if I could get a copy of that letter, I will endeavour to follow up on the request of the Member for some attention to be paid to that problem he has outlined in Chesterfield Inlet.