Well, the Premier being forced to apologize in the House today for what his Liberal predecessor, Robert Ghiz’s government did to three women who blew the whistle on PNP corruption years ago was certainly the highlight of the Legislative Assembly Question Period. Nonetheless – as they say – “the show must go on” so welcome back to “Great Question – No Answer.”

The award for “Great Question” goes to Sidney MacEwen who deserves special recognition for his dedicated and persistent call for the government to do something about the terrible mental health crisis in PEI, especially among youth. Conversely, the level of disdain for Sidney’s line of questioning displayed by the Minister of Health, Robert Henderson, given such a heart-breaking and serious situation, not only wins him the “No Answer” award today….it warrants having him removed from his portfolio as Health Minister.

Sidney’s question (repeated several times) was whether the government felt responsible for doing more to address the mental health crisis tearing so many young people apart, along with their families. He read several very sad letters he received from desperate parents unable to get help for their children, then posed his question after each story.

Henderson not only didn’t provide any reasonable answers, but minimized the government’s responsibility for the situation; provided lame excuses; compared PEI with other jurisdictions apparently doing an even worse job, and at one point, “mocked” Sidney as he babbled on about trusting doctors (the whole point…. being that the doctors sending young people in crisis home without proper treatment is happening because they’re not trained to provide adequate mental health diagnosis and treatment… seeming to totally escape Henderson).

However, Henderson cinched the award when he pretended to “answer” Sidney’s question: “Do you think the time is now for delivering on government’s promise to build a dedicated youth mental health inpatient unit?” by saying that he had already presented a “Plan” to the Standing Committee on Health and Wellness, which kind of sounded like such a unit must be part of that “Plan,” but Sidney was all over that, and immediately pointed out that the ‘”Plan” the Minister had submitted to the committee only confirmed that the government was indeed going to break it’s promise to build the in-patient youth mental health unit….BECAUSE THERE WASN’T ENOUGH MONEY!

Then Henderson – feigning a ridiculous attempt to show empathy with mental health suffering – responded by saying that mental health treatment “wasn’t just about money”

Unbelievable…..the lack of money was exactly the reason he gave for not honouring a Liberal election promise that would have most certainly provided a significant improvement for young Islanders suffering from mental health issues. His answer wasn’t just a “no answer” response, it was a disingenuous and senseless answer with one part of what he said totally contradicting another part of what he said. You wouldn’t believe it if there wasn’t a video…but there is!