Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut October 25, 2016 - 7:00 am

MLA needles Nunavut health minister over blown deadline

GN was ordered to report by October 2015 on management board for Qikiqtani General Hospital

JIM BELL
Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu MLA Pat Angnakak continues to press for a report the GN promised to do on the creation of a board of management for the Qikiqtani Regional Hospital. (FILE PHOTO)
Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu MLA Pat Angnakak continues to press for a report the GN promised to do on the creation of a board of management for the Qikiqtani Regional Hospital. (FILE PHOTO)

Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu MLA Pat Angnakak poked some good-natured fun at Health Minister George Hickes this past Oct. 19, but on behalf of a serious cause: the creation of a board of management for the Qikiqtani General Hospital in Iqaluit.

Back on Nov. 6, 2014, when he still served as a regular MLA for Iqaluit-Tasiluk, Hickes seconded a motion by Angnakak that called on the Government of Nunavut to review the idea of creating a board of management for the QGH.

The Angnakak-Hickes motion, which MLAs passed unanimously, ordered the GN to submit a report on that review by Oct. 19, 2015.

But the GN never made the deadline—and Angnakak is still waiting.

Peering at Hickes across the floor of the chamber, Angnakak—one year to the day after that blown deadline—stuck a good-natured needle into the health minister that provoked laughter from other members.

“For the benefit of my colleagues and the listening public, can the minister remind this house who seconded that motion?”

Hickes stood up, smiled, and after a long pause, coughed up the obvious answer.

“I am sure that the member and all of my colleagues and anyone who can read Hansard can find that information out, Mr. Speaker. I was the member that seconded that motion,” Hickes said, provoking more laughter.

In her next question, Angnakak asked Hickes to promise that he would table the report by the end of this current fall sitting.

But Hickes said he can’t do that, because, within the limits of their capacity, his officials need more time.

“Mr. Speaker, we have had a number of initiatives through the Department of Health that have had higher priority obligations from the department to utilize the capacity that we have,” Hickes said.

But he did say the GN will eventually do such a report.

“It is not a topic that is going to die on the order paper,” he said.

At the same time, he could not commit to a definite deadline, saying he wants the issue to be thoroughly researched.

“When I bring forward a report on something, it’s something that I have looked at, I have analyzed, and I can support. Until such time as I have a report of that nature in my hands to present to this assembly, that’s when it will come,” Hickes said.

A 2011 report by Ken Lovely of the Millenium Partners consulting firm, which Nunatsiaq News obtained through an access to information request in 2015,recommended the GN create a management board for the Qikiqtani hospital.

“The accepted mechanism for governing and operating hospitals across the country and in most developed nations is through a board of management,” Lovely said in that report.

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