Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More Wisecracks

It is, as I've said many times, a target rich environment. I don't mean to pick on Gomphus clavatus, but these rhetorical nuggets just jumped off the computer screen.

Here are extracts from yesterday's Hansard, in response to questions from the Opposition. To be fair to the ministers, I've copied their entire responses, with the quotable bits in bold:

MR. WISEMAN: Mr. Speaker, what I said yesterday in the media was in response to some questions around dialysis services in Labrador West. What I indicated clearly was that as a health department, as a minister, we had not had any representation from the community at large or from the health authority. We have four health authorities in this Province, I say, Mr. Speaker, and they have a really significant purpose in the delivery of health services in the respective parts of the Province.
The Labrador Grenfell Authority has a responsibility in Labrador and the Northern part of the Island portion of the Province. They, as a part of their planning exercise and a part of their exercise in putting forward to government requests for either funding or support for program initiatives, have not approached our department or me, as the minister, or government in any way, about having dialysis services in Lab City.
You may recall, Mr. Speaker, about a year or so ago I joined my colleague and we opened a new dialysis service in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!
I ask the hon. minister to complete his answer.
MR. WISEMAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Dialysis services, as a range of other programs that we introduce in a variety of areas of the Province, come about as a result of local regional planning from our health authorities who, in turn, make representation to government.

MR. WISEMAN: Mr. Speaker, it is interesting, you know, the question got framed initially in what I knew as a minister. What was interesting is she referenced the Cameron Inquiry. What was really interesting, one of the pivotal turning points identified by Justice Cameron was a Dr. Ejeckam letter in 2003. That 2003 letter happened on their watch, I say, Mr. Speaker. We weren’t in government at that time.
When we start talking about what ministers know and what ministers do not know, at an operational level, as a minister, we would not necessarily have any idea what is happening on a day-to-day basis at an operational level at many of our authorities, so it is a natural, normal process for us to rely on health authorities to identify health needs in respective areas of the Province.
Now, with respect to the issue of Port aux Basques, I met with the council in Port aux Basques last year in Corner Brook. We had a discussion around the issue as I understand it now, some representation of the community as well as the health authority –

MR. WISEMAN: Mr. Speaker, I can report that we are making great progress. We have done a lot of work. There have been a number of people who have been involved in this exercise, and I would like to be in a position in the very near future to make some further announcements to the House. I am sure the people of Newfoundland and Labrador will be quite impressed with the work that we have done and the future direction that we are mapping out for long-term care and community supports in this Province, and in particular the whole home support piece.

MR. WISEMAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
As we have gone through this process – well, I can only speak for the time that I have been minister - during the last two years since I have been in my portfolio, I have had numerous discussions with a variety of not just individuals but organizations who are involved in health services in this Province, whether it is the Regional Health Authorities, agencies who are involved in the direct delivery of services, or individuals themselves who are involved in the direct delivery of services; but, most importantly, numerous individual families and individuals who are receiving home supports themselves have been very much engaged in the discussion.
I make reference particularly to the consultations we have done on healthy aging a few years ago, where we spoke to about 1,000 people, over seventeen communities. I suspect that is probably the most extensive consultation any government has ever done in this Province on any one single issue.

Not to be outdone, here is Digitaria cruciata Burkeia's response to the following question: Would government act to change the existing legislation governing Memorial University such as to accept those recommendations and can we expect such legislation changes taking place before a new president is selected?

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, with regards to the selection for a President of Memorial University, the Chair of the Board of Regents outlined a process that will be followed to select the chair at this time and he laid it out in a very clear, concise manner. It is a very open and transparent process and it is certainly one that government agrees with. So, that process will continue. What I had been asked and I want to clarify, based on the report from the ad hoc committee that came into government, we were asked to engage in discussions and we will certainly do that. As I said, I met with the Board of Regents as recently as yesterday and they will get back to us about how they want to proceed with discussions. That has been the request that came with that report from the Board of Regents and we certainly will follow up with the Board of Regents.

Here's the link:

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