Delta House rescue defeated
MLA Roland's attempt to restore funding to centre turned down

by Glenn Taylor
Northern News Services

INUVIK (Feb 27/97) - A motion by Inuvik MLA Floyd Roland to save Delta House has been defeated in the legislative assembly.

RolandRoland (left) raised the motion Feb. 20, asking the committee of the whole to "strongly recommend that the executive council reconsiders its decision to eliminate funding for ... Delta House."

The motion also included a request to restore the $650,000 in funding in time for the 1997-98 funding year.

The Department of Health and Social Services announced last month it would terminate the funding of the drug and alcohol centre in March, because the territories has too many facilities and not enough clients to fill the beds.

The voting results were mixed, but only three of 16 members voted in favor of Roland's motion. The vast majority of members abstained.

Three members -- Roland, Natilikmiot MLA John Ningark and North Slave MLA James Rabesca -- voted in favor of the motion. Voting against it were three members, including Yellowknife Centre MLA Jake Ootes, Yellowknife South MLA Seamus Henry and Iqaluit MLA Ed Picco.

Henry said he voted against the motion because he felt confident in the "expertise" at Health and Social Services in making the decision to close the facility. "They have looked at the situation, made a recommendation, and I can certainly sympathize."

But Henry said "I believe the department has presented information to tell me we have an oversupply of beds in this particular area. Some place has to go. We do not have the money any more to keep all of the facilities."

Ten other members, including Health and Social Services Minister Kelvin Ng, abstained from the vote.

Roland questioned before raising the motion why the government had not consulted with the community and the staff and board of Delta House before it decided to close the facility. He also questioned whether it was more cost-efficient to transport Inuvik-area clients to southern NWT facilities, as will be the case in future.

"My main concern (is) we need to provide for the people who are having problems to better themselves in their lives," said Roland. "You have heard me speak in this House on many occasions about fairness and equity and how we do things, how we build things, and how we reduce.

"The community of Inuvik feels we have done our share and this is going well beyond it."