Yellowknife MLA Julie Green apologizes, retracts comment that drew ire from Nokleby

·2 min read

The N.W.T.'s minister of health has withdrawn a point of order she raised against Great Slave Lake MLA Katrina Nokleby Tuesday during an exchange that grew heated.

At the opening of the legislature Wednesday, Julie Green apologized to the house and withdrew the remarks.

"Upon further reflection," Green said, "I acknowledge that my comments went beyond the ordinary and healthy level of communications between regular members and cabinet that is practised in this chamber. I would like to withdraw my remarks and apologize to the members."

During a discussion Tuesday on mental health supports for children and youth and medical detox for people seeking addictions treatment, Green charged that Nokleby had "been soliciting horror stories on Facebook and apparently has been very gratified with that."

That raised the anger of Nokleby.

"I find it disgusting and I find it disgusting that the minister does not accept that she is in the middle of a crisis," Nokleby said.

In the legislature Wednesday, Speaker Frederick Blake Jr. accepted Green's apology.

"Heated debates and strong words are expected in this place," he said. "Thank you for the respect you have shown to your colleagues this afternoon and to this institution."

"Events of the last year have taken their toll on all of us, both in this chamber and in the communities we represent," he added. "Our words and actions matter. As MLAs we need to show leadership through these challenging times."

With Green's point of order against Nokleby now withdrawn, the matter is now closed.

Green again denies 'crisis'

In followup remarks on Facebook posted just after her statement in the house, Green added further comments on the issue.

She repeated that she is a long-time advocate for mental health and addictions recovery. "I know there are people who are in crisis right now and need help."

However, she repeated her claim in the legislature Tuesday that she does not believe the health and social services system is in crisis.

"It is ready to respond," she said in the post. "The NWT Help Line, child and youth care counsellors in the schools and the Community Counselling Program (which serves 900 clients a month), stand ready to help."

Green also addressed the hot button issue of addictions treatment. In Tuesday's debate, Nokleby had talked about a constituent who could not find a way to access the detoxification treatment required for addictions treatment.

Green said she's working on a model that is "community-based."

She also said feedback from users is welcome via client satisfaction surveys and elsewhere.

"We don't want anyone to fall through the cracks."