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Legislative Briefs
Psych help at jail

Tim Edwards
Northern News Services
Published Friday, February 11, 2011

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - The Department of Justice is training someone to provide psychologist services to inmates at the North Slave Correctional Centre, according to Justice Minister Jackson Lafferty.

"That individual completed her degree program and also needs to complete one year under supervision before she can be registered," said Lafferty in the legislative assembly on Feb. 8, adding it will be complete in a few more months. "It is in the works and it's going to be happening this summer."

Currently there is just a physician on contract to provide mental health services to the inmates, and Kam Lake MLA Dave Ramsay said the current lack of a clinical psychologist in the jail is a "gaping hole in the services that are available to violent offenders here in the Northwest Territories."

Are hunters being heard?

An MLA laid out concerns that non-aboriginal voices will not play a role in the proposed amendments to the Wildlife Act in the legislative assembly on Feb. 2.

At a Jan. 15 public hearing on the amendments, Great Slave MLA Glen Abernethy said he heard, from director of wildlife Susan Fleck, that no big changes will be made at this point - only minor grammatical and wording changes.

"How can we have confidence that this consultation that's been going on since before Christmas is open and real and genuine when the director is saying clearly that they're not planning to make any substantive changes, only editorial changes?" asked Abernethy.

He did praise the government for spending a lot of time consulting aboriginal people in the creation of the amendments, but said the other half of the hunting population - non-aboriginal resident hunters - need to be represented in the amendments too.

In response, Environment Minister Michael Miltenberger said it was a "strong assertion" that the legislation is biased, and called it "categorically and unequivocally false."

"We've drafted this document and it's going to reflect what we think is in the best interests of all Northerners," said Miltenberger.

Some changes under the proposed amendments lower the residency requirements for a resident hunters license from two years to one, and aboriginal hunters would no longer need a license to hunt or report the number of animals they harvest.

Lighting is good, but is it energy efficient?

After the speed limit to the entrance to the Niven subdivision at Highway 4 to 60 km/h from 70 km/h, the area's MLA said there needs to be lighting - and energy efficient lighting, at that.

"What I'd like to request to the (Minister of Transportation, Michael McLeod) is would he consider, would he put in place lighting that would take care of that safety issue?" asked Weledeh MLA Bob Bromley in the legislative assembly on Tuesday. "During a large part of our year it's dark, it's very unsafe for people walking along there."

McLeod said he would definitely consider it, though if lights were going to be installed it probably wouldn't happen this year.

"We have plans to put in more guard rails, signs, and things of that nature, and that includes also looking at putting in lighting where we have some intersections," said McLeod, adding his department would be consulting the City of Yellowknife on this issue first and foremost. As well, he said his department has budgeted to put lighting in at the airport intersection on Highway 3.

Bromley, a prominent speaker on environmental issues in the territory, followed up by thanking McLeod for considering the lighting, but added "can we expect this to include the most energy efficient LED lighting with the appropriate shading to make use of the lighting?"

McLeod responded, laughing, by asking if he'd misheard Bromley asking if his department would use the "cheapest" lighting available, but added in a serious tone that his department tries to use energy efficient technology whenever it can.

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