(PUBLISHER’S NOTE: All the MLA candidates were asked to comment on the best way forward for the sobering centre in Yellowknife. Go here to see the full question and context.)
How are you going to convince the GNWT bureaucracy to admit it doesn’t have the inherent capacity to do the job properly, that the goal should be to ensure Indigenous involvement in healing the trauma and addictions plaguing their population? Would that not be a true act of reconciliation? There is the Tree of Peace, the Dene Nation, the Native Women’s Association, the North Slave Métis Alliance and the Wellness Camp for starters. There are Indigenous governments from the Beaufort Delta to Fort Smith.
The evidence speaks for itself and you have laid it out in a very forthright way. “In the face of such overwhelming evidence, it seems misguided to expect the institutions that served up these failed policies to fix the very problems they caused. No matter how hard they may try, even how much money they may spend, how much they care, three levels of non-indigenous governments cannot heal what they don’t understand.
How would I address the inherent blindness the GNWT has toward its own dismal record when it comes to addressing mental health and addictions challenges? I would facilitate a discussion with those who are most impacted by those programs and with Indigenous governments and organizations who are best positioned to design and implement culturally rooted trauma recovery programs. It would not be a cost reduction exercise, but an investment in the health of the people and our future. I would make Ministers accountable for fulfill their leadership role, not grandstand with a diatribe on their failings and then declare you have confidence in their ability to do the job – I would keep it real and I experienced that reality for decades.