Qikiqtaaluk’s hospital offer was never explained to health board: Ell


Nunatsiaq News

IQALUIT Baffin residents could still have a new hospital by 1999, if the regional health board would reconsider Qikiqtaaluk Corporation’s offer of a partnership.

But it’s up to the Baffin Regional Health and Social Services Board to ask, Qikiqtaaluk Corp. president Jerry Ell says.

“For QC, it’s dead in the water,” Ell said.

Although the corporation had no formal financing offer on the table when it presented its proposal to the health board last week, Ell said, he had expected instant approval to put one together.

That’s because he says Qikiqtaaluk Corp. had reached an agreement-in-principle with health board chair Ann Hanson, Finance Minister John Todd and health officials during a meeting in Iqaluit on August 7.

“All the indications we had were that we were moving ahead and developing a partnership,” Ell said. “There was no indication that they changed their minds.”

Last week the health board rejected an offer by the Inuit birthright corporation to finance construction of a new $25 million regional hospital. Board members cited fears that the deal would lead to the privatization of health care.

Ell said Qikiqtaaluk Corp. was prepared to submit a complete financing proposal to the board between March and July next year.

The proposal would have included a conditional lease between the GNWT, the health board and Qikiqtaaluk Corp. It would also have detailed the leasing arrangement and included an operations and maintenance plan for the life of the lease.

Ell said he now believes health board members never understood what was proposed.

“After talking to the members, some weren’t aware of what was being offered,” he said. “I know they weren’t informed.”

Ell and Hanson had met with GNWT Finance Minister John Todd and Health and Social Services Minister Kelvin Ng on several occasions to discuss the financing deal. Both Todd and Ng approved the plan to seek private funding.

Ell said Hanson was repeatedly told that Qikiqtaaluk Corp. had no intention of becoming involved in the delivery of health care.

In a letter to Helath Minister Kelvin Ng, dated August 6, Ell said he made his position on privatization clear.

“Delivery of health care must rest with the health boards,” Ell wrote.

A copy of that letter was sent to Hanson.

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