Question Period: Midwifery – 18 December 2015

The following is the preliminary Hansard transcript of the Question Period on December 18, 2015 recorded in the language it was originally spoken.

Mr. Coon: Last May, the Minister of Health addressed some questions that I had during question period regarding the integration of midwives into our health care system. At that time, he said, “it is very clear that we are committed to including midwives and making sure that they participate to the full of their scope”. That is his quote. Can the Minister of Health tell this House when he is going to make good on this commitment?

Hon. Mr. Boudreau: I thank the member opposite for the question. It is a file that is still very active within the department. We are working to move this file forward. In our platform, we committed to broaden the scope and to get more health care professionals involved in primary care and we specifically talked about midwives. The project is making its way through. It is a file that is somewhat complicated because it is totally new to our system. There are a lot of regulations to be changed, legislation that needs to be adjusted, and policies that need to be either adjusted or put in place. It is an ongoing file. It is something that we are working on very
actively, and I certainly hope to have some positive news in the new year.

Mr. Coon: This sounds like a long and difficult labour. Women in New Brunswick want to be able to access midwives today. We passed the needed legislation in 2008, and we developed the essential regulations in 2012. Is it simply a question of the minister being too posh to push the integration of midwives into our health care system?

Hon. Mr. Boudreau: I am not quite sure what that expression means, but I can tell you that I am in favour of including midwives in our health care system. It is something that we, as a party, committed to very clearly. They are specifically mentioned in our platform. It is one of 24 platform commitments that, as the Minister of Health, I am responsible for. There is work being done on all these platform commitments. However, we were elected for a four-year mandate, and some of these will come in due time and after due process. It is very much an active file. I have reached out, and I have had many conversations over the past year with different midwives and representatives of the Midwives Association of New Brunswick. It is an active file that we are working on. As I said, I am very confident that we will have some positive news in the new year.

Mr. Coon: I am sure that families in New Brunswick would hope for this file to be birthed sooner rather than later. Research has shown that midwives improve the well-being of moms and babies in a variety of ways. In fact, implementing midwifery in New Brunswick could also save $1.1 million per year. Given that information and given that the legislation and regulations are in place, will the minister ensure that women in New Brunswick will be able to access midwifery in 2016?

L’hon. M. Gallant : Comme l’a indiqué le ministre, nous sommes d’accord avec les propos dudéputé de Fredericton-Sud. Il s’agit d’un bon projet, et ce dossier va avancer au cours de l’année 2016.

I just have to point out to New Brunswickers—more so to the opposition members—that since we came here in December, approximately 130 questions have been asked in this Legislature during question period. Of those, approximately 5 questions have been asked about our Choices report. I do not know whether the opposition members took the time—it would probably take about 20 minutes—to read this report. This report is incredibly important for the future of our province.

We have financial challenges, and we have to overcome these challenges if we want to invest in our priorities of creating jobs, investing in education, and improving health care in our province.That approximately 4% of the questions in the Legislature have been asked about this important document, which the Globe and Mail commented on today, I think, is unfortunate. We need the opposition members to step up in the new year in terms of the right discussion.


Mr. Speaker: Order. The time for oral questions has expired.