Main pushes government to reopen Baker Lake elders’ home; Hickes won’t commit

389

Friday’s session of the legislative assembly was largely devoted to elders’ issues and Arviat North-Whale Cove MLA John Main asked Health Minister George Hickes to reopen the elders’ home in Baker Lake.

Arviat North-Whale Cove MLA John Main urged the minister of health to reopen the Baker Lake elders’ home. photo courtesy of the GN

That location was shut down in April 2018 and “there is no intention of reopening that facility in Baker Lake in that existing (building),” Hickes said.

Hickes and Rankin Inlet South Lorne Kusugak reassured MLAs several times throughout the day that there are no plans to close long-term care centres in Iglulik, Gjoa Haven and Cambridge Bay and an elder’ home in Arviat as the GN establishes 156 new long-term care beds in the coming years.

Main remained suspicious and quoted from a GN document provided to MLAs.

“’This means the current existing facilities, continuing care centres, and elders’ homes will be redundant from a capacity requirement perspective.’ It is stated in here that it seems to be a plan for obsolescence of the existing facilities,” he said.

Main said he hopes the Baker Lake elders’ home closure is not the beginning of a trend.

Hickes refused to discuss the details of what happened in Baker Lake.

“I’m not going to debate in the House here in this forum on why the Baker Lake facility has been closed and why it will remain  closed,” the health minister said. “I can only speak to what this government’s mandate is going to do. I will not be closing any facilities without any contractual issues for the rest of my term here in this mandate.”