Arlooktoo shrugs off calls for Ng’s resignation
IQALUIT Deputy Premier Goo Arlooktoo says there’s no reason for Health Minister Kelvin Ng to resign his portfolio.
Responding to questions in the legislative assembly last week from Mackenzie Delta MLA David Krutko, Arlooktoo said the cabinet has full confidence in Ng and his abilities.
Arlooktoo was standing in for Premier Don Morin, who was bouncing around Latin America last week with Prime Minister Jean Chretien’s “Team Canada” junket.
Referring to demands made by Nunavut Tunngavik and the Kivalliq Inuit Association that Ng resign the health and social services portfolio over the recent Keewatin health care crisis, Krutko asked if the premier had discussed the issue with Ng.
But Arlooktoo as acting premier said he believes Ng has done a good job.
“I must have been asked to resign several times and so have other ministers,” Arlooktoo said, provoking laughter from some members.
“[A]nd to tell you the truth in listening to members and others speak about it and raising questions and in talking to the minister of health and social services I really believe that the minister of health and social services, Mr. Ng, has done an excellent job in dealing with a very difficult situation and the government has all the confidence in his abilities in the way he has handled the situation.”
Krutko then asked if there might be a cabinet shuffle in the near future, but Speaker Sam Gargan ruled his question out of order, since the question dealt with a matter governed by cabinet secrecy.
Arlooktoo also said it’s unlikely that the government would issue any special statements on the matter.
Also last week, Krutko made a member’s statment saying that the health care situation in his Mackenzie Delta region is also in a mess.
He said serious cancers have been misdiagnosed by inexperienced doctors and that, because of high staff turnovers, medical staff new to the North are having trouble communicating effectively with aboriginal patients.