Yellowknife Centre Constituency Meeting
Tuesday October 13 - 7 PM
Join Me On Zoom
Meeting Code: 860 9924 8205

To ensure I maintain Covid-19 gathering size protocols, my fall constituency meeting is taking place virtually on Zoom. Click the Zoom link, which should take you directly to the meeting. Or, enter the meeting code 860 9924 8205 if your device prompts you to.

It's a good idea to download zoom to your computer or mobile device in advance of the meeting, so you can join the meeting right away.
New Direction For Yellowknife Centre
COVID has inspired many changes in communications. Before COVID, I produced a newsletter three times a year, usually before the next sitting of the Legislative Assembly. In previous years, right about now, someone would be delivering a paper newsletter to your door. Not this year. I have decided to switch to an electronic newsletter at least once a month, delivered by email and posted to my website. The newsletters will be shorter but delivered more frequently, and with more up-to-date content.

I have created a mailing list from people who have emailed me in the past. If don’t want to be on this newsletter list, please reply to this email with the word “unsubscribe” and your name will be removed. If there is information you would find helpful in the newsletter, please let me know.

Same MLA as ever--but now Minister of Health and Social Services
I began a full orientation discussing the Health and Social Services business plan with senior management of the department.
And that’s not all! I’m the Minister Responsible for Seniors and for Persons with Disabilities. I am honoured that the Premier has trusted me with these portfolios. I requested these responsibilities because I have some pre-existing knowledge to offer from my previous term as an MLA and from my work life. And they reflect my greatest passions.
The Premier created Mandate Letters for each minister and they were made public on September 17 (see the link below). The Premier gave me the opportunity to add two personal priorities to the mandate agreed by all 19 MLAs at the beginning of the 19th Assembly. My first priority is to expedite the recommendations of the Home and Community Care Review to standardize and expand this service to meet the mandate commitment to assist Elders to age in place. My second priority is to develop more robust aftercare for residents returning from facility-based addiction treatment. Providing housing and other supports is essential to their success. Link here to read my Mandate letter.
COVID Secretariat brings existing work together
Several constituents have reached out to me about the Premier’s announcement on September 3 about creating a COVID Secretariat. To recap some key points:
  • over 160 people have been working in five different government departments to respond to the pandemic since March
  • the list of roles required has now been refined to 150 people; only 10 of these jobs are brand new
  • the incremental cost of setting up the Secretariat is $2.6 million for 2020-21
  • people currently working in other government departments have the choice to take a transfer assignment to the Secretariat or to return to their original roles
  • at this point about 44 per cent are choosing to take a transfer assignment. Their original jobs will be held for them. It is the host department’s decision about whether to backfill the vacancies.
  • GNWT has already spent at least $20 million on the response to COVID, including implementing the Chief Public Health Officer’s orders.
  • The biggest expense to date is paying for isolation centres, followed by enforcement and border controls, followed by ProtectNWT and the 8-1-1 phone line. 
  • These expenses are now being paid from department budgets, mostly by Municipal and Community Affairs and by Health and Social Services. A supplementary appropriation for funding will ensure that departmental budgets remains in tact along with the current suite of programs and services.
Caucus met for its annual business retreat at the Salt River First Nation Business and Conference Centre August 28 to September 1.  Members discussed ways to improve collaboration, and reviewed such matters as GNWT’s response to COVID-19; our consensus government protocols; and next steps in devolution.