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Legislative Assembly briefs
Dolynny says premier holds cards too close

Elaine Anselmi
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Yellowknife MLA took issue with a number of announcements released in the past month by the premier which he says came as a surprise to members.

"Some escaped the due process of the house and others were never properly vetted by standing committees," said Range Lake MLA Daryl Dolynny.

Dolynny pointed out the premier's mention of an all-weather road to the Slave Geologic Province, which he says was never discussed by the legislative assembly.

"In keeping with surprises, the executive office announced the GNWT is exploring the feasibility of an energy, transportation and communication corridor study along the Mackenzie Valley.

"This was not for any specific infrastructure project but a new bold direction that did escape the vetting process of the assembly."

Turning attention to Premier Bob McLeod, he asked for an explanation of announcements regarding the development of a Mining Industry Advisory Board to advise government on environmental and social issues and mining regulations.

McLeod said Dolynny is new to the legislative assembly but that these projects had in fact been discussed in the previous assemblies. He added that once more details of these projects were clarified, they would be fully described to the assembly.

"I don't know if we can continue to dredge up old priorities and squeeze them into the 17th Assembly," Dolynny said.

"We know the members opposite read every piece of paper that we present and it was prominently identified in the Mineral Development Strategy," McLeod sharply responded.

GNWT 'dragging feet' on drug plan

Territorial Pharmacare and Health Minister Glen Abernethy came under fire at last Friday's meeting of the legislative assembly.

"The honourable Minister Abernethy, in his former capacity as a regular member, recommended that the GNWT create a benefits plan for low-income families that do not have prescription drug coverage," said Range Lake MLA Daryl Dolynny, a position Dolynny said Abernethy held in 2010.

"The minister responsible has been acting in this capacity for the past 585 days. Can he inform the House if he has made good on his very own recommendation?"

The department is developing an Extended Health Program, Abernethy said, that would include catastrophic drug coverage and cover the cost of expensive drugs for rare diseases.

"The department has actually hired an expert consultant on pharmaceuticals to assist in the guiding of the understanding of this complex issue," he said.

Members highlight climate change

The government's actions toward reducing climate change were defended by Premier Bob McLeod in response to pressuring questions from Weledeh MLA Bob Bromley.

"I think I heard the premier say he will respond to my recommendations and get us out of the fossil fuel business," Bromley said during the oral question period on Feb. 6, garnering laughs from his fellow members.

The premier responded that words were being put in his mouth but clarified that it was established through a November energy conference that the territory would need to continue to burn fossil fuels for energy.

The topic of climate change and environmental action was brought forward both by Bromley and Deh Cho MLA Michael Nadli.

Miltenberger said the government's greenhouse gas strategy is up for renewal this year and that the initial targets would be met and they would be looking to updating that strategy.

"We don't argue with the science," Miltenberger said.

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