Questions By Members, 2 December 2016
Source: Legislative Assembly of PEI

Mental health strategy and Native Council

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

Mental health and addiction issues are seen in all corners of our society. The new Mental Health and Addictions Strategy addresses some of the needs of many Islanders and it certainly identifies gaps within our current system. It fails, however, to address the needs and concerns of Indigenous people living off-reserve.

The Native Council of Prince Edward Island represents status, non-status, Inuit, and Métis people living off-reserve.

A question to the Minister of Health and Wellness: Did government consult the Native Council specifically for input on the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Health and Wellness.

Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, obviously, we take mental health very seriously in this province and we have implemented or are in the process of implementing this recent strategy on mental health and addiction in this province.

We have consulted many different organizations and organizations out there, including the Canadian Mental Health Association. I do believe we did speak with some of the Aboriginal organizations, but I can clarify that with the minister and get back to him on that.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party, first supplementary.

Indigenous Islanders living off-reserve

Dr. Bevan-Baker: I look forward to that prompt reply, minister.

As far as I am aware you did not consult with the Native Council for this strategy, and to me that’s an unacceptable oversight.

A question to the minister: What does government plan to do to address the needs and concerns of Indigenous Islanders living off-reserve?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Health and Wellness.

Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, to my knowledge, once again, Aboriginals, on-reserve or off-reserve, are welcome to attend any of our particular facilities in this province, whether it’s our emergency rooms, whether it’s accessing Canadian Mental Health services, of which we provide significant funding to that organization to provide and deliver mental health services to Islanders.

We will continue to have all of the services that are out there accessible by anybody that’s an Islander on Prince Edward Island.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party, second supplementary.

Indigenous Islanders alcohol and drug abuse program

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

Two years ago federal funding cuts caused the native alcohol and drug abuse program to be cancelled. Since that time the Native Council has met with government, our provincial government, on several occasions inquiring what will be done to address this issue. The Premier assured them that funding would indeed be available, but their recent application for funding was denied.

Would this government be prepared to fund a specific program for off-reserve indigenous people even without a federal partner so that Indigenous Islanders can get the help that they need and deserve?

Speaker: The hon. Premier.

Premier MacLauchlan: Mr. Speaker, as minister for Aboriginal Affairs, I have met on four occasions, and our officials have met on additional occasions, with the leadership representatives of the Native Council, and on this very question of the program for mental health and addictions or drug abuse.

We encouraged the Native Council to put in a submission to the program where the previous funding had, in fact, been discontinued. That was not successful.

I met a week ago Thursday with the leadership of the Native Council, and followed up with a letter on Monday to indicate and to offer that the senior public servants responsible for mental health and addictions would work with them and offer to help in the preparation of a submission to that program.

In August of this year we provided a modest amount of funding for work in this area.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

 

Leave a Reply