The territorial health minister joined several MLAs for a tour of the addictions facilities with which the GNWT is partnered, to get a better understanding of what NWT residents experience going south for addictions treatment and what they need when they come back home.
Making carbon pricing work for Northerners – Michael Miltenberger
May 18, 2017
The national carbon price is coming.
The new, federally mandated levy on greenhouse gas emissions comes into effect next year, setting a minimum $10 per tonne of emissions beginning in 2018 and rising $10 each year to reach $50 per tonne in 2022.
Sahtu beneficiaries ‘are deeply concerned’ bringing lawyers in to challenge leaders
May 18, 2017
Some beneficiaries of the Sahtu Trust have retained lawyers and written a letter to Premier Bob McLeod, the latest development in a conflict that has included allegations of mismanagement of the trust by the board that oversees it.
Homeless individuals will no longer be able to seek shelter in the lobby of Stanton Territorial Hospital starting May 21, although health officials say they are working on “next steps” for supporting those people.
“In anticipation of warmer weather, Stanton Territorial Hospital is planning for the closure of the pilot warming initiative,” stated David Maguire, spokesperson for the NWT Health and Social Services Authority, in an email to Yellowknifer.
Maguire said the decision was made by Stanton’s chief operating officer – currently Les Harrison – and added the program was always intended as a pilot initiative during the winter months.
“It is our hope that the establishment of a safe ride and sobering centre program in the near future will help to ease the pressure created when clients who are intoxicated or seeking shelter from the cold weather present at the emergency department,” stated Maguire.
But the GNWT still has yet to establish a sobering centre.
Health and Social Services Minister Glen Abernethy said in March his department was having trouble finding a suitable location downtown for the facility.
It is still unclear how close the GNWT is to securing a space.
In March, the city also announced it was putting the brakes on a safe-ride program until it has access to a van and the sobering centre was up and running.
Stanton hospital began allowing homeless individuals to seek shelter in its registration area last November after Colin Goodfellow, the hospital’s chief operating officer at the time, sent an e-mail to staff about the idea.
He said the hospital would provide food and water to people who are not in need of medical care, but who have nowhere to go after homeless shelters have closed or are full for the night.
Homeless individuals were allowed to stay in the registration area as long as there was no fighting, no bothering of patients and no begging.
Intoxication would not be tolerated either, the e-mail stated.
Goodfellow is no longer the chief operating officer at the hospital as of April, although the reasons for his departure are unclear.
The lobby policy caused frustration among some people represented by the Union of Northern Workers (UNW).
In January, UNW second vice-president Marie Buchanan expressed concern about staff and patient security.
Frank Walsh, UNW Local 11 president representing more than 500 union members at Stanton, said some staff brought concerns forward about the lobby policy over the winter, but the employer, union and labour relations dealt with them.
“We talked through the problems that were brought forward in a meaningful fashion and everyone seemed to agree … this is a good thing for the homeless in Yellowknife,” Walsh said. “But I can’t emphasize enough that it probably could have been rolled out a little better.”
He said there could have been more involvement from the union and employees before the policy was implemented.
“But I think overall, if we’re reaching out, we’re helping people – particularly people in our own community – I don’t think it could be deemed a failure by any means,” he said, adding hospitals are in the business of helping people. “Nobody froze to death.”
Walsh said the policy served its purpose over the cold winter months, but understands the policy could be revisited in the future.
“It’ll be on our agenda certainly to discuss for the future,” he said.
Young, passionate and well-spoken, students from across the territory took their seats at the legislative assembly on Thursday, May 11 for a Youth Parliament session.
Thursday was the culmination of a week of drafting and discussing motions, meeting with MLAs and getting a firsthand look at the democratic process. Nineteen youth in grades nine and 10, each representing one region of the territory, took part in the 15th annual Youth Parliament.
For many of them, the issues they advocated for hit close to home. Angus James Capot-Blanc from Fort Liard, representing Nahendeh, gave an impassioned speech on the mental health crisis in his community.
“It is spreading fast and it’s affecting mainly the youth in the communities, which is pretty sad because that’s our next generation,” he said during a break in Thursday’s session.
Myha Martin, a resident of Inuvik representing Inuvik Twin Lakes, described how elders are suffering from cultural loss and addictions, something she wants to solve by creating more work and travel opportunities throughout the region.
The effects of travel costs for remote communities was a huge concern for many of the youth, including Kyran Alikamik from Ulukhaktok. “I just think it’s very unreasonable,” he said of the $4,000 cost of airfare from his community to the territory’s capital. Another danger Alikamik warned about is drug trafficking and consumption, in particular substances laced with fentanyl .
For Alikmak, the experience of territorial politics weighed heavily on him. “I’m experiencing it right now and I’m sitting on the chairs and I feel like there’s a lot of pressure. I can make a decision but that can also influence others decisions, right?” he said. “Me making decisions for a quite large population is too much pressure for me, a little too much.”
While Alikmak said Youth Parliament has made him realize politics is not for him, others plan to continue after this experience. Capot-Blanc said politics is one of his passions, along with playing music, singing and repairing things.
At the legislative assembly on Thursday, May 11, were in the front row, from left, legislative officer Heather Riviere, committee clerk Michael Ball and Danielle Mager, manager of public affairs and communications for the legislative assembly of the NWT. In the back row, from left, are MLA Kam Lake Kieron Tesart, Speaker for the Youth Parliament Rianna Camsell and Yellowknife Centre’s Julie Green. Emelie Peacock/NNSL Photo
Angus James Capot-Blanc, left, representing Nahendeh and Robert Paddock representing Frame Lake listen as Ivan Ceria, representing Yellowknife Centre, speaks about the problem of homelessness on the streets Yellowknife on Thursday, May 11 at the legislative assembly. Emelie Peacock/NNSL Photo
Nicole Biggs, left, Allana Zettler and Alvin Kollannoor listen as Anusha Sivakumar, right, speaks on the dangerous effects of arsenic on her constituency Kam Lake on Thursday, May 11 at the GNWT legislative assembly. The delegates spent a week researching, meeting with their MLAs and discussing issues of concern for the constituencies they represented at the week-long Youth Parliament. Emelie Peacock/NNSL Photo
Victoria Tweedie-Pitre, right, respresenting Hay River North, Nicole Biggs, representing Mackenzie Delta, Allana Zettler representing Sahtu, and Alvin Kollannoor representing Yellowknife North, in a model sitting at the GNWT legislative assembly on Thursday, May 11. Tweedie-Pitre
speaks about how the cost of air travel is stunting the growth of her community Hay River, in her statement to the 18 delegates of the 15th Youth Parliament. Emelie Peacock/NNSL Photo
Speaker for the Youth Parliament Rianna Camsell keeps her 17 MLAs on task and following protocol, during the 15th Youth Parliament on Thursday, May 11 at the legislative assembly. Emelie Peacock/NNSL Photo
Emma Willoughby, left, representing Great Slave, Aidan Allan, representing Yellowknife South and Myha Martin, representing Inuvik Twin Lakes, listen as delegates debate on a motion to regulate the sale of marijuana in the GNWT legislative assembly on Thursday, May 11. Emelie Peacock/NNSL Photo
Victoria Tweedie-Pitre, top, representing Hay River North, Nicole Biggs, representing Mackenzie Delta, Allana Zettler representing Sahtu, and Alvin Kollannoor representing Yellowknife North, listen to a debate on mandatory indigenous language learning at the GNWT legislative assembly on Thursday, May 11 for the 15th Youth Parliament in the Northwest Territories. Emelie Peacock/NNSL Photo
Myha Martin, right, representing Inuvik Twin Lakes, Lisa Boutilier, representing Hay River South, and Macayla Flett-DaCorte, representing Thebacha, during a sitting in the Youth Parliament at the Government of the Northwest Territories legislative assembly on May 11. Boutilier responded to a motion to regulate marijuana across the territory, which passed with 14 votes for, three against and one abstention. Emelie Peacock/NNSL Photo
Emma Willoughby, left, representing Great Slave, Aidan Allan representing Yellowknife South, Myha Martin representing Inuvik Twin Lakes and Lisa Boutilier representing Hay River South stand during a vote for a motion to train teachers across the territory on youth mental health on Thursday, May 11 at the Government of the Northwest Territories legislative assembly. Emelie Peacock/NNSL Photo