Wednesday, March 30, 1988 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. At this time, we will proceed with Prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.
INTRODUCTION OF PAGES
Speaker: Today it is my pleasure to introduce to the House a new Page from FH Collins High School, Beth Beard, and I welcome her to the House at this time.
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Speaker: I have for tabling a report from the Clerk of the Assembly, made pursuant to section 39 of the Legislative Assembly Act.
Are there any other Returns or Documents for Tabling?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I have for tabling the Annual Report of the Law Foundation.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Are there any Petitions?
Introduction of Bills?
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill No. 77: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Bill No. 77, entitled An Act to Amend the Municipal Finance Act be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Minister of Community and Transportation Services that Bill No. 77, entitled An Act to Amend the Municipal Finance Act be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 88: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Bill No. 88, entitled An Act to Repeal the Dawson City Utilities Replacement Act be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Minister of Community and Transportation Services that Bill No. 88, entitled An Act to Repeal the Dawson City Utilities Replacement Act be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 16: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I move that Bill No. 16, entitled Act to Amend the Motor Vehicles Act be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Minister of Justice that Bill No. 16, entitled Act to Amend the Motor Vehicles Act be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 21: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I move that Bill No. 21, entitled An Act to Amend the Insurance Act be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Minister of Justice that Bill No. 21, entitled An Act to Amend the Insurance Act be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Are there any Notices of Motion?
Are there any Statements by Ministers?
Hon. Mr. Porter:As Members of the Assembly know, we are fast approaching two memorable anniversaries in the Yukons history: the 50th anniversary of construction of the Alaska Highway and the Centennial of the Klondike Gold Rush.
Today, I am pleased to announce the establishment of the Yukon Anniversaries Commission, chaired by Commissioner Ken McKinnon.
The Commission has been registered under the Societies Act and as a matter of policy will operate at arms length from Government.
The Commissions establishment and its structure were recommended by an ad hoc committee formed under the auspices of the Yukon Tourism Department in early 1987.
Under the Commissions constitution, membership will consist of four former commissioners - Mr. Jim Smith, Mr. Art Pearson, Mr. Doug Bell and Mrs. Ione Christensen - representatives of the Yukon Chamber of Commerce, the Council for Yukon Indians, the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon and the Yukon Historical and Museums Association and three members from Yukon communities nominated by the Association of Yukon Communities.
The Commissions objectives are to coordinate activities within the Yukon in connection with celebrations, to set policy regarding criteria governing celebration projects, to approve projects, and to seek and disburse funds in support of projects.
Funding has been approved for the next two years from the Tourism Sub-agreement to enable the Commission to hire staff and to open an office.
It is expected that the Commission will soon establish a workplan and commence planning celebration activities.
The Commission will also establish three standing committees, specifically to deal with the Highway Anniversary, the Goldrush Centennial and with financial matters.
I would like to express my thanks to Commissioner McKinnon for accepting appointment to the Commission and for undertaking its chairmanship as well as to the past commissioners for their acceptance and for the work they have already performed with respect to the ad hoc committee.
I am sure that all members will join me in wishing the Commission well in its deliberations as we look forward to the memorable celebration of these two events of major international historic significance.
Rural Agency Banking
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As this House is aware it has been the consistent policy of this government to support the development and delivery of a basic package of banking services in the Yukon communities. We continue to support the expansion of banking services to individuals and businesses within these communities in order to stimulate local economic development.
Legitimate banking needs of Yukoners have not been met by the financial institutions operating in the north. The banks have limited or withdrawn services in areas where the population base and the size of the loan portfolio is not sufficient to provide a sufficiently profitable operation.
This trend is not limited to the Yukon, of course, but its adverse effects are particularly visible here. Many Yukon communities have been left without financial services. The result is personal inconvenience to the residents and another obstacle to the development of local economies.
In 1986, our government adopted a policy to encourage the expansion of banking services throughout the Yukon and to that end entered into a contract for the provision of banking services with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. This initiative came in response to requests from Yukon communities that the government use its influence on financial institutions to encourage their provision of banking services to rural areas. The need for basic banking services has been reaffirmed throughout the Yukon 2000 process.
As a government we have made a conscientious effort to meet this demand. We have recently renegotiated our contract with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and it now provides for an increase in service to Faro from two to four days per week.
During these recent negotiations, the government obtained from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce a commitment to undertake a pilot agency operation in a Yukon community. This approach would see a private individual in the community act on behalf of the bank to provide basic banking services, such as cheque cashing and deposit service, to the community. Loans could be made available through the agent with periodic visits to the community by a loans officer and the use of a toll free line for discussions with the main bank branch in Whitehorse.
We hope to be able to announce the location chosen for this pilot project in the near future. Management Board has recommended that three of the larger communities without banking services - Ross River, Pelly Crossing and Beaver Creek - be considered. The bank will choose the community and select a suitable agent to deliver the services.
At this point we are also examining other alternatives to achieve our policy objective of providing communities with the banking services so essential to their development. The structure or combination of structures that may result from this review cannot be predicted at the present time. Much will depend upon the degree of success of this first pilot project.
Our government is determined that our citizens and their communities will have access to banking services; our policy remains unchanged in this regard. The recently announced expansion of such services in Faro and the pilot project are merely steps toward that goal.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Lang: I am not really replying to the Ministerial Statement on banking services, because it is actually a policy that has been announced, similar to the opening of the Faro Mine, maybe four or five times over the past couple years. There is no disagreement from this side of the House.
I would like to speak on a Point of Order, and I would like to refer to the rules. Could the Speaker, in his wisdom, give us a ruling? On November 10, 1979, the second report on the Standing Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges was tabled and thence considered by this House. There were two Members of the House at that time, the Member for Whitehorse West as well as myself.
There was a concurrence in that report that dealt with the purpose of the Ministerial Statements. The recommendation, at that time, states as follows: Ministerial Statements be made only on subjects of significance and primarily for the purposes of announcing new government policies.
To substantiate a Point of Order for your consideration, it is important that I table a press release that was put out by the government on January 19, 1988 effectively announcing the same policy. Further to that, in your review, could you also look at the Speech from the Throne because it went on at some length about banking services to rural communities.
The intent of the rules of the House is to ensure that the rules are followed for the purpose of running the Legislature, not to bring up and rehash policies that have been discussed or debated in the past. They are meant to deal with current issues as they arise. In deference to the House, there has perhaps been, unbeknownst by the Government Leader, a little stretching beyond the intent of the present rules. Could you, at your own time, consider my point of order?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: On the point of order. I hesitate to arise in a way that would indicate a conclusion of this discussion in case our friend from Faro or someone from the other side of the House has anything of substance to say about the policy announcement today. On the point of order, I would submit that there are absolutely no grounds for the complaint of the Member opposite.
It is true that the Government of Yukon has previously announced in this House and elsewhere, a policy of providing banking services to rural Yukon. This is a very significant announcement about a very new initiative in terms of the agency concept. It is the first time that it has been outlined in this House. It is the first time that it has been indicated where the pilot project may take place and the first time that the nature of the services that will be provided has been described. It is also the first time that there has been a vehicle described by which they will be delivered.
I do not want to be uncharitable, but I suspect that if we had not made the announcement here in this forum, given the character of this debate in the House, we probably would have been criticized for that, too.
Mr. Lang: On the Point of Order, I would like to correct the record in view of what the Government Leader has said to the Point of Order. The information I tabled for your consideration was a press release by the government. It states as follows, and I will quote, because it does address the issues the Minister has just outlined. This is on January 19.
As a result of negotiations to explore alternatives in regional banking services, the Department of Finance has secured a commitment from CIBC to establish the pilot treasury branch type agency operation in the Yukon, said Penikett. A local business person will be given help as an agent of the bank to set up basic banking facilities for making deposits, withdrawals and accepting loan applications. The agency service will be set up sometime this spring, in a location to be announced.
So, the announcement was made.
Mr. McLachlan: I rise in reply to the Ministerial Statement.
Speaker: I wish to inform the House at this time I will take this Point of Order under advisement.
Mr. McLachlan: It would be my eventual hope that the Government Leader soon will not have to make any further announcements about banking services with regard to Faro, in that there is no doubt in my mind that the move to two days, then on to four days, has been a success. Given the growth of the system, I hope that Faro will soon be on its own, and that whatever costs that would be borne by the government in providing the services there could perhaps go to some of the other rural communities. I have personally asked the bank to begin investigating their cost of doing business without support. Given the size of the operation in Faro and the size of the payroll, we in Faro know that we cannot expect government to provide banking services there forever.
I endorse the principle that the Government Leader has outlined. The only question I know will come up in the minds of the people of Faro and the bank people is that they rely upon the number of people coming from Ross River in order to justify their existence. Should that community be selected as the pilot project, I know it may have a self-defeating effect there.
I do not wish to take away any of the rights of Mr. Speakers constituents to have their own banking, but I know the branch in Faro does rely on a large number coming in from Ross River.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Perhaps I did not provide enough detail about this policy announcement in the Ministerial Statement. I would indicate to the Member, as I am sure he could guess, that there are a number of issues about the selection of the community. One, this is a pilot project, so the location is very important to the success of the project. Those of us who are concerned about the provision of banking services to rural Yukon, and the difficulty of obtaining the same under existing banking arrangements, would very much want the experiment to be successful. That is one dimension.
A second dimension is the problem of identifying, if you like, bondable or reliable agent. The bank is the party that has to be satisfied on that score. The third issue for them is cost. It is also an issue for us, because we will be paying the bill. Ross River is under consideration because of the fact of the convenience of the branch in Faro. It will be relatively easy for them to service the agent in Ross River.
Other communities, such as Beaver Creek and Old Crow, about which we had some discussion would be extremely difficult to service, or relatively more costly. That is a factor for the bank in making a decision about this. I repeat, we very much want this to be a successful experiment and the location of the community and the identification of an agent are, therefore, critical decisions.
Speaker: This then brings us to the Question Period.
Mr. Phelps: Before I ask my question, if I may, I would like to thank the Members for their kind comments about my father in the Legislature in Dawson. I would also like to welcome the new Sergeant-at-Arms, Mr. Ayers, to the Legislature. I look forward to working with him in the future.
Question re: North shore oil and gas
Mr. Phelps: My question is of the Government Leader and is with regard to the negotiating of a northern accord between the federal government and the governments of Yukon and Northwest Territories.
In 1968 the federal government made it known that it would consider negotiating such an accord. In January of 1987, last year, the Government of the Northwest Territories took a lead role and engaged four senior consultants, as everyone knows, and these people have put together a position on behalf of the Northwest Territories with regard to what issues they would like to negotiate with the federal government. That draft position paper of the Northwest Territories was spoken to in public and remarked upon by the Canadian Petroleum Industry in their magazine.
My question of the Government Leader is: has this government prepared a similar position and presented it to the federal government?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We have communicated with the government about our broad objectives. We have not communicated here in the House, committed the same kind of resources to this project as have the Northwest Territories government. Rightly or wrongly we made a judgment. Before we finalize our negotiating position we will want to be satisfied that the present federal government is indeed going to negotiate this issue in the near future and to acquaint ourselves with the particulars of that mandate so that we can do work that fits the requirements of those negotiations.
Mr. Phelps: It is an extremely important issue and I think that the Northwest Territorial Government had the vision to see how important this accord would be to their future of their territory. They took the lead role to push negotiations ahead, and to push the government into such negotiations, and they also prepared a position paper with regard to what area such negotiations should cover. Surely the Government Leader will understand that this government ought to be taking similar steps to encourage, or demand that the federal government initiate such negotiations, and tell the federal government what its position is and what this territory wants from a northern accord. Will the Government Leader not agree with this?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I quite agree, and I would not want the impression left, as it may have been by the inadequate way in which I have answered our friends questions, that we have been doing nothing on the subject.
In addition to retaining the services of Mr. Cotteral - who, I believe, is known to the gentleman opposite - and acquainting ourselves with the public information about the Northwest Territories position and the federal governments inclinations, I have personally met with Mr. McKnight on this subject; and Mr. Banta, his agent, on this question; and Mr. Tom Butters of the Northwest Territories, who was responsible for the negotiations; and various other officials.
Question Period is not an ideal opportunity to make a statement about our broad intentions in this area. If it is the wish of the Leader of the Official Opposition, I would be quite prepared to make a statement about our intentions. My preference would be to wait to make a detailed statement until the federal government adopts a mandate but, if pressed, I would be more than willing to do so next week, if that is the wish of the Member.
Mr. Phelps: Can the Government Leader advise us as to when Mr. Cotteral was hired by this government?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I do not have that date at my fingertips. I took the question as notice, and I will get the information back to the Members as soon as I can.
Question re: North shore oil and gas
Mr. Phelps: The government tends to confuse the distinction between negotiating the mandate of the federal government and having input into what the federal government ought to be putting forward as a mandate to its negotiators when we finally get down to talks on the accord, between that and the negotiations under an established mandate.
What we are talking about is that this government has no said we demand that the federal government negotiate on these various issues, and we demand that they put those issues in the mandate. That is the problem.
Will this government put forward its position with regard to whether or not it seeks responsibility for the disposition and administration of oil and gas rights and regulation of industrial activity in Yukon, as the Northwest Territories has done?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Leader of the Official Opposition and I have a different style. It has not been my experience to take a particularly pugnacious attitude toward the federal government. It rarely produces any results. However, as I said, I am quite prepared to respond to that question in some substance without betraying any potentially compromising particulars on our negotiating position by way of a statement in the House. I am quite willing to do that as early as next week.
Mr. Phelps: Will the Government Leader advise, not only the House, but the federal government as to whether or not the government wants, as does the Northwest Territories in its negotiations, to negotiate about the right to determine and collect resource revenues and manage northern economic benefits?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Yes, we have indicated our interest in that question and our determination will be negotiated.
Mr. Phelps: Would the Government Leader agree that this whole issue is extremely important because of the parallel issue that this impinges upon? That has to do with the jurisdiction of the respected territories in the off shore. Would he agree that this issue is intertwined with the negotiation of Yukons northern boundary?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Yes. I already indicated so in the first question that was put to me on this subject that was put to me earlier in the week.
Question re: Whitehorse Correctional Centre
Mr. McLachlan: In this House last December, I raised with the Minister of Justice, the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the death of an inmate at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. The inquest has since been held. The recommendations have since been made, and the Minister has responded. Why and when was the first aid training for the officers at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre stopped in the first place?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is not accurate to say that first aid training was stopped. I have never seen any public report to that effect, and it is not a fact. There was always substantial first aid training, but there will be a difference in that every single staff member will receive the training in future within a year of their date of their employment.
Mr. McLachlan: Is the Minister also making it a condition of any new hiring that one have had first aid training? If so, will one be required to have both the Standard First Aid training and Industrial First Aid?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No. It will not be a condition of employment. The purpose is to avoid restricting the pool of people who will apply and can be employed. The government will provide the training at the governments expense within the first year of employment.
Mr. McLachlan: The Minister has stated that it is not his intention to employ or to contract the services of a psychiatrist at the prison. What does the Minister plan to do, in light of that decision, to prevent such an unfortunate circumstance from ever happening again?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The question was phrased in light of the particular suicide. It is interesting that in that case the individual involved did receive psychological counselling. The recommendation is a responsible one in that it would be nice to have psychological services everywhere, in all government agencies, and for staff members and the like. The government has set the priority that these services should be established in the school system before they are established for convicted criminals.
Question re: Day care surveillance
Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Minister of Health and Human Resources regarding day home surveillance. This is not a new issue. We have been discussing it for the past couple of days and asking the Minister questions that she has not been able to answer. The issue here is the manner in which the government has been enforcing their law. I would like to ask the Minister if she can tell us today how many complaints were registered with her department about family day homes.
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I have not got that number. There have been official complaints made to the department, and there have been unofficial complaints. I do not have the number of those complaints.
Mrs. Firth: Two days, three days in a row now. Can the Minister tell us, were the complainants notified by the department officials that the day care process was under review? Can she answer that question yet?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: If the question was asked yesterday, then the answer is in Hansard.
Mrs. Firth: The answer from Hansard was, I do not know, which is quite a frequent admission from this Minister.
I would like to ask the Minister if any complaints about licensed day homes have been registered with her department, and are they under surveillance?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: Yesterday, I advised the Members on the other side that there were certain questions that I was not absolutely positive that I could answer in this House. I have been advised by counsel that there are questions that I cannot answer, and that was one of them.
Question re: Day care surveillance
Mr. Nordling: I think that the Minister is probably safe in answering this question, if she knows the answer. I would like to know when the surveillant was hired.
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I am hearing a lot of remarks being made prior to the questions being asked. I do not know whether they enjoy doing them or not, but they are quite humorous.
The contract was signed on December 18, 1987.
Mr. Nordling: Is the Minister prepared to table the contract in this House today?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: Yesterday, I mentioned that the contract was one given by the Day Care Services Board, and I would not make a commitment to do that in this House. I would first of all have to ask the Day Care Services Board if that is possible. I would have to, first of all, find out from the legal counsel whether or not I could do that.
Mr. Nordling: The contract involves a government expenditure. This is a government employee, and I believe the Minister of Health and Human Resources is responsible for that. When she does bring that contract - tomorrow, it is to be hoped - to table, I would also like to know if the job was advertised.
Hon. Mrs. Joe: If it is appropriate to bring that to this House, then I will. I will first of all have to consult with the Day Care Services Board and the legal counsel.
Question re: Day care surveillance
Mr. Nordling: Does the Minister of Community and Transportation Services know whether the Motor Vehicles Branch is providing names of vehicle owners to the Department of Health and Human Resources or the Day Care Board?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Neither the Department of Health and Human Resources nor the board in question has requested the drivers records he mentions of the Motor Vehicles Branch. The Member also asked yesterday what the policy was with respect to the disclosure of driver records. I can inform the Member now that the policy is outlined in the Motor Vehicles Act, section 78, whereby on written request, and at the discretion of the registrar of motor vehicles, an abstract of the driver record can be released to an insurer, a lawyer, an employer or prospective employer, or a parent or guardian of a driver.
Question re: Day care surveillance
Mr. Phillips: With respect to the licence plate numbers and descriptions that are taken down, why is a government employee sitting across the road from a private Riverdale day care and is writing down licence numbers and taking descriptions of innocent adults and children going in and out of these day cares?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I cannot answer that question right now. I have been advised that I should not answer questions regarding an investigation in this House, and I am not doing that.
Mr. Phillips: These innocent people have done nothing to break the law, other than to take their children to a day care centre. Why does this government persist in this type of Big Brother tactic. Surely, if anyone has broken the law, it is not the parents who are taking their children to these centres. Does the Minister of Health not agree that she is violating the civil rights of innocent parents by documenting the licence number and taking descriptions of them as they go in and out of day care centres?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I have continually said in this House that we are investigating some complaints that came to us by individuals. There is a law for day cares and family day homes, and those laws stipulate certain things. If complaints come to us, we cannot ignore them. We have to deal with them, and that is exactly what we are doing.
Mr. Phillips: None of us on this side have argued about the law. We are talking about the way this government is carrying out its investigative procedures to enforce that law. Will any of the parents or the children who have been observed be charged with any offence? If not, why are these innocent people being documented by your government?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: There is a manner in which people do investigations, and I am not privy to the methods they use.
Question re: Day care surveillance
Mr. Lang: Nobody is arguing the fact that there is a law in the book. The question being raised is about the procedure being followed to investigate people when a complaint has been lodged. The information that has been provided in a letter to a Member of this House, as well as by phone calls to Members on this side of the House at least, is that an individual has been hired - and the Minister has admitted this - specifically hired as a surveillant, to sit in a government car across from a private day care, and document licence plates as well as the adults and children going into those homes.
Does the Minister of Health and Human Resources condone that type of investigation? That is the question.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The government investigates many things. The police investigate things every day. It is a clear policy of governments around the world to not publicize details or specifics about investigations. That policy is for very good reason: to protect the people under investigation and people affected by investigations from adverse publicity. The Members opposite are obviously trying to bring adverse publicity to this investigation in an improper and irresponsible way.
Mr. Lang: It reminds me of those irresponsible statements made in this House by this side with respect to the lotteries and what the government was doing. Very irresponsible.
My question to the Minister of Health and Human Resources is: does she, in her capacity as a Minister of the government, condone the method of investigation that is presently taking place where there is a person in a vehicle outside private day homes documenting licence plate numbers, documenting who is going into those homes? The question to the Minister of Health and Human Resources is: does she, by policy, condone that type of method for the purposes of investigation? That is the question.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That is the same question, and I would essentially give the same answer. There are investigations going on. There will be a time to talk about how they were conducted, and that time is at the conclusion of the matter. That time is not while the investigations are underway.
Mr. Lang:The Minister of Health and Human Resources is over the age of 18 and gets paid as much as the Minister of Justice. She has certain responsibilities.
Speaker: Order, please. Could the Member please get to the supplementary question?
Mr. Lang: This is a new question, Mr. Speaker.
Question re: Day care surveillance
Mr. Lang: She has hired an individual at the taxpayers expense to sit out in front of peoples private day homes and take certain information down on parents who are dropping off their children. Does the Minister of Health and Human Resources condone this type of investigation that has been documented by a letter tabled in this House? Could the Minister of Health and Human Resources, who started the investigation, please answer the question instead of the Minister of Justice?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: The Member has asked me a very personal question. It is a question that could be asked of anything that is being done. There is investigation being made. Whether or not I condone it has no bearing on what is happening here. There was a law allegedly broken that we got complaints about, and we are acting on it.
Question re: Day care surveillance
Mr. Phelps: I am following all of this with a great deal of personal concern. The issue here seems to be that there was a law allegedly broken by a party. The government can therefore hire a policeman to snoop in the private lives of private individuals who are not under investigation. There seems to be the implication in the answers that it does not matter what methods are used by the hired snooper, the policeperson, and that no one should concern themselves with this no matter how their privacy is jeopardized, trampled upon and invaded. It does not seem to matter what kinds of civil rights and unethical acts may be performed by the policeperson. It does not seem that we should worry about that because this government has the power and must use any methods, no matter how unethical, to investigate.
Speaker: Order, please. Would the Member please get to the question.
Mr. Phelps: Is the Minister of Health and Human Resources saying that she condones any method of investigation no matter how far the investigator or snooper goes into the snooping of the private affairs of citizens who have done nothing wrong?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: A political motive has shifted, not only improperly and irresponsibly, to bring great attention to an investigation, but the side opposite is making allegations of unethical police acts. If we read Hansard, it is clear that that allegation was made.
A reprehensible political involvement in an investigation is occurring here. An investigation into a complaint ought to occur, and the politicians on the other side ought to stay out of it until the facts are known.
Mr. Phelps: I always read very carefully any answer given by the gentleman opposite, for reasons that he knows and everyone else in the House knows all too well. The point I am making is that I am disagreeing with statements that I have read in Hansard and heard today, that the police or the hired snooper can snoop at will and that this government ought not to concern itself with the level of the snooping or investigation, or the impact upon the civil rights of individuals who have done nothing wrong.
Speaker: Will the Member please get to the supplementary question.
Mr. Phelps: I am simply putting that forward, and I am asking the Minister of Health and Human Resources if that is her position - that there ought to be no concern about the police activities, no matter how bizarre those activities may be.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Opposition Leader has joined this somewhat unseemly debate in which we are publicizing an investigation, which I think he, as a lawyer, would probably agree is entirely improper.
Let me make this point in answer to his question. The law was passed by the previous government governing the number of children in care in day care centres. Surely, how many people are taking their kids into that home is fundamental in any investigation as to whether there is a violation of that provision of the Act. How many kids are in care?
I submit this is the same as if there was a investigation of a common gaming house, that the investigating officers would look at how many people are going in and coming out, to get some evidence of what is going on and how much activity there is there. It seems to me that that is fundamental. It does not matter who they are. The law is there; the investigation is going to try to establish the facts. I do not believe that the honorable gentleman opposite would countenance the advertisement proposed by the Member for Porter Creek West: that we advertise that we are going to be investigating a day care home that may be operating illegally at such and such an address and if anybody wants to investigate this, please apply for a job.
That is ludicrous. Anybody understands that an investigation has to establish facts. Facts. That is what the investigator is doing. Facts as to whether there has been a violation of law that was passed by this House. The kind of interference, the publicity, the fear-mongering that is going on about this investigation - I share the view of the Minister of Justice that it is absolutely irresponsible.
Question re: Day care surveillance
Mr. Phelps: New question, Mr. Speaker.
I am bemused and somewhat saddened at the blind spot that the Members opposite and the Government Leader in particular and his minister of human rights and all those good things - the Minister of Justice - seem to have when it comes to the rights of individuals, the protection of the individual against the powers of the state. An investigation must be carried out if there are alleged breaches of the law.
I do not know whether the Minister of Justice is being a buffoon or simply does not understand the point being made. It is a very serious point and one that goes to the heart of most Yukoners who are very individualistic and often have very good reason to fear the power of the state. What we are getting at here and trying to ascertain is the policy of this government in curtailing its policing of statutes. We are concerned because we are hearing that the policing is overzealous. That is the issue. Let us not try to act befuddled, or act as a buffoon. It is a very clear issue, and I would simply put it once again. Is it the position of the Minister responsible, the Minister of Health and Human Resources, that there is no policy as to the limits to which this hired snooper can go in trying to ascertain whether or not the law has been broken?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: We have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. The Member opposite has conceded that there should be an investigation and he has called what we know of the investigation overzealous. What has occurred is an investigator has approached no individual, has searched no premises, has interfered with no person. How, in the name of fairness, is that overzealous? This is ridiculous.
Mr. Phelps: You do not know how pleased I am that, after several days of questions, the Minister of Justice has finally awakened and has understood the issue. That gives me a great deal of satisfaction, because I really was afraid that he was too thick to understand it. Now we are finally getting to the issue and discussing merits.
Am I to take it that this government does have a policy in place that would correct overzealous policing, or overzealous acts by private snoopers engaged by this government? Is that a fact? Is there such a policy?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There are many policies. The first is contained in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The RCMP have many policies and the investigators of the various branches of the government have several policies. The question is essentially a silly one. There are many policies and Members know full well that there are.
Mr. Phelps: I am very pleased that the Minister, despite his insulting behaviour, has recognized the issue. With respect to the policies in place by this government that place limits on the activities of this snooper who was hired - without advertising the job in the Yukon for others to apply for - would the Minister table those policies in writing that would curtail the activities of this hired snooper?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That is totally unnecessary because they are contained in public documents: the laws, the Charter, the Criminal Code and the published policies of the government.
Question re: Day care surveillance
Mr. Phelps: Am I to take it then that there are no such policies in place for this person, who was hired by the Department of Health and Human Resources? If there are such policies, I would like to see them.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No, that does not logically follow. There is also a factual misinterpretation in the preamble of the question. The investigator was hired by a board.
Question re: Salmon treaty
Mr. Brewster: Due to the fact that the salmon negotiations on the Yukon River apparently broke down, I am rather disappointed that the Ministers statement has not been made to this House on what happened.
Is it true that the two chief negotiators are either resigning or being replaced by other negotiators?
Hon. Mr. Porter: The salmon negotiations clearly have been ongoing for quite some time. We have been pessimistic ever since the day in Quebec City on which Reagan and our Minister signed the agreement that we would be swimming upstream forever and a day to try to reach an equitable agreement on that question. I think the recent negotiations only reinforce our pessimism.
With respect to the question put by the Member, my understanding is that the negotiator for the US government is being replaced, and there is active discussion within the Minister of Fisheries office for replacing our negotiator, Mr. Davis.
Mr. Brewster: What is the reason for the resignation, or discharge, of Dr. John Davis?
Hon. Mr. Porter: The individual in question is supported by this government and is respected by all the parties to the negotiations. In the discussions I had with the federal Minister and his officials, the reasoning that is apparently behind the proposed move is to elevate the discussions further up the bureaucratic ladder. They articulate the reasons as being one way to indicate the greater seriousness that the federal government attaches to the negotiations by bringing the negotiations up to someone else higher up in the echelons of the government.
Mr. Brewster: Well, I always thought that when you went into negotiations that you were there and you did not have to go higher up to get something done, but you apparently do. Could the Minister tell me who will be replacing him?
Hon. Mr. Porter: I do not know the individuals name who will be replacing Dr. John Davis and there has been no formal announcement. I am just reporting to the House the discussions that I have had that led me to the conclusion that there is a potential for a replacement.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed. We will now proceed with Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Mr. Lang: I request unanimous consent to deal with private member motions in the following order: 9, 12, 20, 10, 11, 18, 19, 14, 15, 16.
Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?
All members: Agreed.
Speaker: There is unanimous consent.
MOTIONS FOR THE PRODUCTION OF PAPERS
Motion for the Production of Papers No. 1
Clerk: Item No. 1, standing in the name of Mr. Lang.
Speaker: Is the hon. Member prepared to proceed with Item No. 1.
Mr. Lang: Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Member for Whitehorse Porter Creek East THAT the House do issue an order for a return of information which would provide a listing of all service contracts in the 1987-88 fiscal year.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: On a Point of Order. Our Standing Orders are silent as to certain procedures that are common procedures in the House of Commons. Our Standing Orders provide that the rules of the House of Commons do apply where our Standing Orders are silent, I believe. I must point out citations 385 and 387 in Beauchesne. The point of my Point of Order is that this motion is acceptable to the Government.
We have previously announced that it is acceptable and it is acceptable and there is no need to debate the motion.
Mr. Lang: On the Point of Order, I find the attitude exhibited as arrogant. A Notice for the Production of Papers has been put on to the Order Paper to put my views across as to why I feel that these documents should be tabled and when they should be tabled. However, the Minister says that because he told us previously that they were in agreement, we should not debate the motion.
We have been told a lot of things by the Minister of Justice to find out at a later date that it is not necessarily what has taken place. There is no Point of Order. It is absolutely frivolous, and I should have the right to speak to the motion.
Speaker: On the Point of Order. I find that there is no point of order. It is a conflict between the two Members.
Mr. Lang: I put the Notice of Motion for the Production of Papers on the Order Paper primarily to stress to the Members opposite the importance that we see in respect to receiving this document as soon as possible. Unfortunately, April 1 is a holiday, and it is obviously not going to be tabled by that time. I would expect this information to be made available to us on Tuesday of next week because we will be beginning to debate the Budget. We will also be debating supplementary estimates.
What this document contains is probably $20 million to $30 million of public expenditures, where those dollars have not necessarily gone out to public contract. It is important that we, as Members of the House, have that information to be able to scrutinize, to be able to study , to be able to go through in a careful manner, not to see how the Minister of Justices money is being spent but the taxpayers money.
I was pleased to hear that the government is in concurrence with the motion before us, and I look forward to unanimous consent to the motion that I have tabled. I also look forward to the information being available on Tuesday.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: Are there any Motions other than Government Motions?
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS
Motion No. 9
Clerk: Item No. 1, standing in the name of Mr. Brewster.
Speaker: Is the hon. Member prepared to proceed with Item No. 1.
Mr. Brewster: Yes.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Member for Kluane THAT this House urges the Minister of Renewable Resources and the Minister of Community Affairs and Transportation Services to take such actions as necessary to allow livestock owners until September 1, 1989 to fence in their property as required by the Pounds Act and Highways Act.
Mr. Brewster: I rather regret having to get up and make this motion, however to clear the situation up, I feel that I should speak on it.
I feel this motion speaks very plainly on the problem we, as legislators on both sides of this House, have with the government administrators. First, let me make it very plain that I am fully aware that we, on this side of the House, supported the legislation, even though I personally had grave doubts on what would happen. I believe some of my doubts have already been justified.
If I may quote a little from Hansard, from page 226 and 227, on April 16, where I voice my concerns on this legislation. I said: Number one, you cannot fence in the winter, so you have about three to five months to fence in the summer. Do not let us turn around and have some officious administrator running around within a year-and-a-half starting to pick us up because we have had horses and they have nothing else to do.
The hon. Minister of Renewable Resources, in is reply, said: In specific response to the concerns enumerated by the Member for Kluane regarding the question of a years grace from the time the individual receives his land to the time he should be required to fence, my understanding of the grazing policy is that there is a two year period from when an individual receives land until he is required to fence the necessary land.
I apologize, as I said it would take the government a year or a year-and-a-half before they would react and find loopholes. They took less than a year. I apologize for thinking the administration would take so long to find loopholes. I did not realize the administration would be able to move so fast.
You can imagine my dismay and frustration to spot an advertisement for stock control officers in local papers for all areas of the Yukon placed by the Community and Transportation Services.
I then realized, to my dismay, either the Minister of Renewable Resources did not believe in what he had said in Hansard, or the other branch of government saw the loophole of 30 metres from the centre of the highway. I certainly truthfully believe the Minister of Renewable Resources was very sincere in his statements.
It is very unfair, in fact stupid, to enact this regulation on April 1. There were no press releases and no advance warnings - unless you happened to read the job description that showed up in several papers. Most outside areas get one paper a week. On top of that, some of the people who own horses cannot even read or write.
I have been informed that this will come into effect on April 1. After my Conservative Comment, things appeared to be a little uncertain. I trust that this motion will clear things up once and for all.
I know one grazing lease - and there are others like it - that was issued for a five year period in November and December of last year. How are these people supposed to fence this land by April? That is absolutely stupid. We are almost to April and, in places now, we still have a foot of snow.
There are other people who have had stock for many years, and they still do not have grazing leases. They are either told to wait until land claims is over, or they are told they cannot have their land because it may interfere with land claims. It is not their problem that, ten years ago, they brought stock into the country.
Let us not get into another rhubarb like the stone regulations. Let us make some common sense. Let everybody in this House support this motion and help people out there, and let us show that we can all get together once in a while. Let us use a little common sense in some of these things, instead of making regulations to come into effect on April 1.
It is absolute stupidity, and I ask all Members in this House to support this.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I thank the Member for Kluane for bringing the motion forward to allow the Legislature to discuss the issue and clarify details once and for all. Certainly I will not pass judgment on the information provided in the Conservative Comment article because I have been unable to ascertain the basis for some of the details contained in that article.
Let me say that the debate that the Legislature held last year over the amendments proposed and subsequently passed, the Brands Act, the Highways Act and the Pounds Act, took place at some length and covered issues the Member brought forward this afternoon, plus the issue of safety. Clearly the governments position at that time and at this time is that the safety of the travelling public is of serious concern for us.
Firstly, let me provide Members with my understanding of the issue at stake here so Members can understand the perspective from which the government views the motion. I should say at the outset that the wording of the motion leaves something to be desired. That may have been intentional, but perhaps the Member for Kluane will clarify that when he ends debate. The provisions of the Pounds Act and the Highways Act do not require properties to be fenced. Incidentally, the department is called Community and Transportation Services.
In any case, the provisions that require fencing are within the grazing policy and would be contained within the lease documents for individuals who had applied and been accepted for grazing leases. That is the provision the Member perhaps referred to with respect to the two year waiver on fencing after receipt of the land.
Over the past few years, I believe livestock owners and the public have had ample time to prepare for an important public safety initiative. That was to try to discourage domestic livestock to graze along highway right of ways. The grazing livestock control policies have been under discussion and development for at least three years. I know Members are aware that over the summer of 1986, a number of accidents and a demand by the public for livestock control on the highways was well and highly publicized. The government started responding at that time.
The Minister of Renewable Resources discussed the initiative with the Outfitters Association in November of 1986, and of course, we came forward last spring, a year ago, with provisions to amend the Pounds Act and Highways Act. As the Member mentioned, they were passed in the Legislature and they were supported - I think - by all Members, with some reservations expressed by the Member for Kluane.
At that time, there was a discussion about the need to be sensitive to livestock owners - even though we discussed it for a couple of years - and the government did respond through a fairly liberal - pardon me for using the word - grazing policy, which recognized the cost and the effort that it takes to fence property. The government felt at that time that the full and lengthy consultation that had taken place before the Act was tabled in the Legislature and the recognition in the grazing policy that a further two years from the date of receipt of the lease would be sufficient for livestock owners to contain animals in a reasonable and practical way. Of course, when it came to the time for persons to apply for leases, the leases were explained in great detail to anyone who had trouble understanding, perhaps, the terms of the lease, to ensure, with some security, that the persons understood what they were signing when they signed the leases.
At that time, as well, there was some discussion about when the Act should be proclaimed and, as Members I am sure are aware, the Pounds Act has been proclaimed. As a result, accidents that are caused by livestock roaming on the highways have been reduced by 40 percent, which is, I think, a fairly decent record.
The existing pounds districts, as I am sure the Member for Kluane will know, were activated in June of 1987. The Pounds Act proclamation did not take place last year because there were a number of details to tie down and the enforcement provisions, among other details, had not been established.
The government has budgeted - and had budgeted - funds for livestock control along the highways so that the transportation division of the Department of Community and Transportation Services could carry out the provisions of the Highways Act amendment. Unfortunately, as I am sure the Member is aware, the bids are exceeding the amounts budgeted considerably; therefore, the Department of Community and Transportation Services has to seek, with the cooperation of Renewable Resources, methods of ensuring that the enforcement provisions are carried out properly, but still maintain reasonable expenditures.
One theme that is sometimes conveniently forgotten by some people is that the purpose of the provisions in the first place were to try to ensure that the travelling public, the tourists whom the territory cares very much about, do not face dangerous circumstances when they travel our highways. As we have determined it, one of the greatest dangers is in the Member for Kluanes own riding, the area between Whitehorse and Kluane Lake. A large number of accidents do occur.
It has clearly been the public will over the last few years that the government act decisively to try to control roaming livestock on the highways. The public wants to see the roads clear of livestock. We know that we cannot control wild animals on the highway, but the government can be reasonably worried about domesticated animals that feel comfortable on highways and perhaps even in peoples gardens and things.
The government has an obligation to act, and it has acted through a special will of this Legislature and through the administrative arrangements to carry out the provisions of the legislation.
The government has also recognized that it is necessary to get grazing leases to persons who are not only in an industry that requires livestock to operate as a business, but also to persons who own livestock so that they might have the proper land base to support the livestock. They also need grazing leases that are secure enough that the proper financing to provide fencing can take place.
Over the course of the last few years, a great deal of activity has taken place. Resources have been voted in this Legislature. Civil servants have been working busily to not only convert federal leases to agreements for sale, but also to process grazing applications of which we currently have 55.
The number of grazing leases, at this point, that we expect to be processed by June 30 is in the neighbourhood of 30. There are approximately 33 existing grazing agreements, and there are existing federal leases that are being converted for sale, and federal grazing leases for which there are transfers pending to the Yukon government so that the leases can be either converted for sale or to a lease arrangement.
The government has recognized that a provision of a proper land base base is important and has worked to ensure that the needs of the industry livestock owners are met to the fullest extent possible. I reiterate we have been at this for three years. There are provisions in the grazing policy that do not require fencing for a further two years. There are interim measures that livestock owners might be able to take to keep livestock off the highways or contained within the pounds districts that are known to livestock owners, such as the placement of salt blocks and feeding methods so livestock do not travel on highways or interfere with traffic. We have been assessing this through extensive public consultation for a very long time. We have made our intentions very clear. We have set the safety of the traveling public as priority number one. In my view, we have done our best to ensure that the needs of the livestock industry are met to the fullest extent that is possible and practical.
I am afraid that in the spirit of common sense that the Member spoke about, given the very clearly stated objectives of this government, that the government simply cannot support the motion.
Mr. McLachlan: I have heard a long dissertation for a short flat answer of no. Sometimes when the Minister of Community and Transportation Services speaks, he leaves you guessing until the last three or four minutes.
In the spirit that the Member for Kluane has brought this forward, I have to disagree with the Minister. I think it is a reasonable request to make. A number of livestock owners found themselves having to fence at an awkward time of year. The ground was frozen, and it required a great deal of work. I think its coming in was ill-timed. Most of these people have only their bare-handed resources to put these in and are not well enough off financially to drill the post holes in and put it in by mechanized means. It is a reasonable request that the Member has brought forward to have more time to do the work required under the Act.
I support the Members motion in this regard. I may have had a concern about his time, but it is not important enough to dissuade me from support on the motion, and I will be voting with the other Opposition Members in support of Motion No. 9.
Hon. Mr. Porter: I will be joining my colleague, the Minister of Community and Transportation Services, to vote against the motion. Although there have been some drafting errors in the motion, we understand the intent of the motion, and that is to provide additional time to September 1, 1989, for which a containment of livestock should come into effect.
I think the Members are under a misapprehension with respect to the legislation. The legislation will not be coming into force April 1. That has been made very clear. The Minister of Community and Transportation Services did acknowledge that there were public advertisements put forward calling on tenders for the containment of livestock. Those tenders were received much in excess of the available funding to be able to do the job. So, we cannot act on those tender documents, and we have to reassess our situation to either retender or regionalize the approach that we are taking with respect to this question.
Regarding the question of the Pounds Act, there is no requirement in this Act or the Highways Act for containment of livestock. That particular provision is within the Graze Management Plan. As I told the Member when we originally debated that position, one of the key areas of the grazing policy was the ability of the individuals. Once they had received the grazing leases, they are given a period of time in which to comply - a two year period. That still remains in the grazing policy, and it is still in effect.
With respect to the question of grazing leases, our department has the responsibility to assist in putting together the graze management plans. The Department of Community and Transportation Services will be coordinating the issuance of those grazing titles. Another question that was critical was the 30 year question, so the individual can go to the banks and be able to receive financing. That is still our intention, that when we give those grazing leases out, the 30 year provision to enable the individual to seek for the financing will be in place.
Another question that is being asked is about financial assistance for the livestock holders. The Member for Kluane knows this is an issue that has been talked about. We have not incorporated any particular program of government to directly subsidize livestock owners toward providing fences. I know the Member for Kluane would not be agreeable to such a suggestion. However, we did talk to the Department of Economic Development about the loans program that is offered by this department, and they have agreed that that program should be available to farmers and livestock owners to be able to apply to for a loan, for which to be able to obtain the necessary fencing materials to fence their livestock.
The question has been around for a long time. This has been building and building. It has not been a question that is unique to the history of this government. The question was squarely before the previous government. For some reason or another, the issue was never addressed. The situation kept getting worse. We got to a situation where individuals were being killed on our highways, and people were being maimed for life, as a result of vehicular traffic accidents with animals.
We can look at the numbers. For example, we have created the two pounds districts in Whitehorse in the Takhini and Carcross-Tagish area. Since we have expanded those pounds districts, we found that there have been a total of 39 animals picked up in those pounds areas. Of those 39 animals, 30 animals belonged to six individuals. This is not a question that affects a great deal of people. There are not very many people out there who are allowing their animals to roam at large and create the hazardous conditions on our highways. The situation is limited to very few individuals.
For us to start to back track on this issue, to say that there is a lot of pressure and that we should become hesitant and allow a couple more years to address this issue would be unfair. That is not expected of us. When both the Minister for Community and Transportation Services and myself addressed this issue, we found that there were a great number of questions and a lot of public anxiety. We met with the public. We had numerous public meetings. We contacted various organizations. The clear public will is that the government had to act.
We have done so, and we will continue to do so. It is not a question that falls into the bailiwick of partisan politics. I have had some very active members of the party represented by the Member for Kluane who have thanked me for acting and said that they would support us all the way. They said that we have to stand tough on this issue because the issue, more than anything else is not the question of a few head of horses or a few pounds of beef. It is the lives of the people of the Yukon that is at stake on this point.
With that kind of support, we will be doing everything we can to continue to try and curtail this problem. We will try as much as possible to ensure that the program and the speed with which we develop those programs and implement the legislation is as fair as possible to Yukoners.
Mr. Phelps: I want to support the intent of the motion put forward by the Member for Kluane. Long before the amendments came forward regarding the Pounds Act and the Highways Act, I was on record as being concerned about the issue of safety of motorists and tourists on the highway and residents of the Yukon regarding livestock on the highways. On numerous occasions, I wrote to both the Ministers of Renewable Resources and Community and Transportation Services. I am also on record as raising the issue in the House from time to time in 1985 and 1986.
Let it be understood that this side is at least as concerned about the safety of motorists as are the other Members present.
When the Government finally came forward with the policy and the amendment, I raised certain concerns that I had at the time, and I supported the Bill subject to having voiced the caveats prior to the Act coming to a vote at third reading.
Those concerns had to do with the fair treatment of the people who would be affected in a negative way by a new grazing policy. It is extremely important that they be dealt with fairly, but at the same time livestock must be kept of the roads. Those issues really have to do with the impact of a change in policy, a policy that says you must fence, on farmers or ranchers who developed their herds of livestock prior to this new desire of the government in power to take measures to ensure that there will be safety on the highways. These people bought far too much livestock for the land that they were able to get from the territorial and federal governments. They got far too much livestock because they were allowed to open range their animals. You can talk to an outfitter who has 40 head of horses and two grazing leases that are less than a quarter section or to a farmer who is raising a herd of cattle out in the Haines Junction area and has only been able to purchase or lease enough land to feed ten percent of those animals. Those are the people who are so adversely affected by this change. In order for them to be able to carry on, they have to have enough land to sustain their livestock.
At the time that we were discussing the amendments to the Pounds Act and the Highways Act, we made it very clear that there had to be a great deal of sensitivity employed by the Minister of Renewable Resources and the Minister of Community and Transportation Services about the ramifications of this change in policy on those people. The Pounds Act and the Highways Act put certain measures in place that would really force these farmers and these ranchers to take steps to keep their animals off highways.
The penalty sections are onerous and the cost to them is onerous. So the issue then is, in order to make sure these new laws under those Acts will be a suitable deterrent, will be strong enough to have them take whatever measures are feasible, and I am not speaking as an expert on horses - the only time I rode a horse is when I was young and once with Mr. Brewster when he was young, and I was very young, really young. Various actions can be undertaken by owners of livestock to keep them off the highway, and we talked about various possibilities. The point is that the land will not sustain the amount of livestock that many of these people have. It seems there is a concern about the fairness in the treatment of these people, that they be given the opportunity to be get sufficient land before they start fencing, because otherwise they simply cannot afford to do business with the livestock they presently utilize.
I am of the opinion that proper enforcement of the amendments that we all voted on, without the imposition of the fences until a fair time period lapses, would put us in a situation where the safety of the public would be certainly improved upon and certainly remain improved upon to the extent that it already has. The problem seems to be that the government has come forward and said they are going to spend X number of dollars for pounds keepers to round up horses, and the fines are going to be imposed. We suddenly realize pounds keepers are demanding a lot more money than we ever thought they would. Since we cannot afford to police under the present law and ensure that livestock on the road are picked up and the fines are imposed, since we cannot afford to ensure that the laws will have the deterrent effect they would if there were enough money expended on pound keepers, the government turns around and says they are going to impose huge burdens on people sooner than they originally thought was necessary. That is the problem.
I fully support a provision in the budget. There was an increase in the cost of enforcing the laws that we put on the books and collecting the animals and feeding them and all the stuff that does cost money. I would rather see more money spent on that if it meant that the existing farmers, ranchers and outfitters were treated in a more equitable manner. That is what concerns me about the comments being made by the side opposite.
I really feel that if we put more money into picking up the animals and so on, that we could have a balance that was more lenient and fair to those people in the industry who are so adversely affected - and we know they are affected adversely. There are cases of people leaving the territory because of the fencing requirements and because they are frustrated because they cannot get the land. Most of them would be quite happy to get ample land and fence that land in, but to fence in their existing acreages and then to keep too many horses on there is just absolute economic suicide.
Those are my thoughts on the issue. I take the point made by the Ministers about the technical wording of the motion and accordingly I wish to move an amendment to Motion No. 9.
I move THAT Motion No. 9 be amended by deleting the word Affairs and all words after the word property.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Leader of the Official Opposition THAT Motion No. 9 be amended by deleting the word Affairs and all words after the word property.
Mr. Phelps: I think the amendment is extremely straightforward and does deal with the technical issues raised by the Minister of Community and Transportation Services. Accordingly, then, I will sit down and listen to any remarks forthcoming.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I thank the Member for Hootalinqua for allowing me the opportunity to speak once again. I will not speak at great length but let me just respond to the proposed amendment here.
To satisfy the Member for Faro, who does not want to be kept in suspense, we will agree to this amended motion.
I will explain the reasons why we will. Firstly, I think it is important to reiterate and concur with the Member for Hootalinqua that it is important to consider the ramifications of any policy change that might affect people negatively. It is important in terms of good policy making. Given the fact of open ranging in the territory over the course of years, it is the humane thing to do.
It is the grazing policy that says you must fence; it is not the Acts. It is the policy that says you have two years to fence upon signing the lease. Even though we will agree that livestock owners can have until September 1 to fence in their property, we will, by policy, allow them two years from the time they sign their lease to fence in their property. So, if they signed a lease today, we would not hold them to September 1, 1989. We would give them until the end of March, 1990. If they were to receive a lease at the end of the summer, they would have two years from that point to fence in their property.
There is a misapprehension somewhere that the laws we have passed have prevented open ranging. That is not the case, except insofar as the livestock are not allowed to open range in pounds districts, which are clearly designated, and are not allowed to open range to the extent that they travel on to the highway easements. That should still be the case.
There is no law on our books that I am aware of that prevents open ranging to occur. If there was any law that prevented open ranging, it would be a federal law. To my knowledge, no such law exists.
It is the Pounds Act that limits the ranging within a designated district, and it is the Highways Act that prevents the livestock from travelling on highway easements.
We are certainly prepared to not only accept the change in the name of the Department of Community and Transportation Services - I am sure it is a typo - but we are also prepared to allow livestock owners to fence their property until September 1, 1989, or such period longer as allowed in a grazing lease document. As I say, these documents state a maximum of two years.
The Member for Hootalinqua made the point that it is important that those people who do not want to open range, but who want a lease, should have a land move as quickly as possible, if the land is available. It is something that the government agrees with.
We move leases. We have made the provision of grazing leases a top priority amongst all land transactions for the government. We have tried to demonstrate that those persons who are involved in an industry that requires livestock should be given first consideration in the provision of leases. We have done that, and that is recognized by the outfitting industry with whom we have had contact.
The provisions of the Highways Act, that the Member referred to, says that it is important that a reasonable enforcement procedure should be in place prior to proclamation of the amendment. That is something that we agree with. I feel that the government has to provide for reasonable enforcements that are not onerous and are at reasonable prices. It will be a challenge for the administrators to cut an arrangement that is not only done at a reasonable cost to the taxpayer, but also that does not provide onerous provisions for those persons who might have their livestock picked up for roaming on the highways. We will support the amended motion.
Amendment agreed to
Speaker: Is there any further debate on the main motion as amended?
Mr. Brewster: My hon. colleague from Hootalinqua is right. He has not ridden very many horses. All we did was water the thing down to where it is not practical, and we are playing hypocrites again. The government says that they do not have to fence for two years, but they must keep their livestock off the road. It is time people grew up around this place. There is no argument about people getting hurt on the road. We know that. It has been going on for a long time, and we are very concerned.
Remarks were made by the Minister that the tourists are getting hurt. I would like to see the record on whether or not it is tourists or local people who get hurt. They say that the numbers have dropped by 40 percent. Yes, it has. I can name two groups of cattle that have been shipped out of the country. That took out about one-quarter of the cattle of the Yukon. There were a large number of horses taken out.
The Minister mentioned our area as being the worst, and that is right.
All of a sudden we have got an influx of about 60 or 70 horses that they slipped out of Takhini and put up in our area because they were being chased all over the place down on the Mayo Road. So we are blamed for them. Those horses did not know the country so they stayed in the ditches, where the government had planted grass. It is good grass; the horses are not dumb, they did not know where to find anything else so they stayed there. We are blamed for all those horses that did not even belong in that area. They were forced there. It is absolutely ridiculous. For instance, I can tell you one outfitter who is going to lose all his leases because of land claims. Is he supposed to fence all his land, at $1,000 a mile, and then land claims will tell him to get out? They offered him another place and the trapper said no, you cannot come here. So, here is an outfitter who buys his licence and then he has no place to put his horses. They are going to be running on the road like a lot of other horses.
What you are doing is creating a big problem. Something was mentioned about salt blocks, but I do not know of anybody who put a salt block in the ditch. If they did, they should be shot because it is absolutely stupid. I admit there are some people who do not look after and feed their horses properly. Why not get them and leave some of the other people alone? All we have done by amending that motion is get back to the bureaucratic way where we can sneak in the back door and everybody is going to be caught. Provided your horse stays 30 metres over there it will not be touched. We will get the tape out and when he comes in 29 metres, bingo, he is gone. I know a number of people who have applied for these jobs. They are no more qualified to handle cattle or horses than any man in the moon. They just want a job with a lot of money. Somebody had better be sure these guys are qualified because somebody is going to break some legs of some horses or cattle or something, and I hope they sue the government for just about everything they can get.
We keep getting emotional and people get hurt - I have no problem about this. The Minister knows well what I am talking about: the one big emotional one where a person was crippled. There are still questions whether it would even stop there. Everybody knows in this Legislature that the animals are blamed for it. There are still questions as to whether or not there was any stock in the area.
I am very, very disappointed, and I shall go back to the old Indian people, for instance Mr. Jack Allan who is 73 years of age; he has three horses he keeps right around his house because he does not understand. He thought he would get land in the land claims for his horses. They will stay there now, because he is feeding them oats. Annie Solomon has the horses of Charlie Solomon, who got killed a year ago. She is looking after them now. When the green grass comes, what is she going to do with them? They are going to be running around on the road because they have been running there for years and years and years.
Anyway, these are the people who are going to get hurt. I am glad the Legislature feels this way. I have done my best, and there it is.
Motion No. 9 agreed to as amended
Motion No. 12
Clerk: Item No. 4 standing in the name of Mr. Brewster.
Speaker: Is the hon. Member prepared to deal with Item No. 4?
Mr. Brewster: Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Speaker:It has been moved by the hon. Member for Kluane
THAT this house recognizes the importance of the trapping industry to the economy of Yukon and to traditional Yukon lifestyles; and
THAT this House urges the Government and Parliament of the United Kingdom to cancel the proposed Fur Labelling Program which could seriously harm the livelihood of Yukon trappers.
Mr. Brewster: The trapping industry in the Yukon and all across Canada is under attack. It is under attack by a bunch of conservationist fanatics. I find it unbelievable that a country such as the United Kingdom is starting to dance to their tunes with its proposed fur labelling program. How soon they forget.
It was the Hudson Bay Company and the Government of Great Britain that helped start the trapping industry in Canada. It was all done in the name of the United Kingdom, in the name of the king. This started a long time ago. Here we have our great nation, the father of the Commonwealth, now being the first to kill trapping.
What do Her Majestys red-coated soldiers have on their heads when they change the guard at Buckingham Palace? These are little furry things. They may be grizzly bear, but they are an animal. They killed them. Are they going to be tagged? What about little Fergie who took a fur coat from here. Are they going to tag that coat for her, and are the royal family going to have their furs tagged?
I am really surprised that politicians will not stand up to a thing like this, that they created to start with. It is supposed to be the proud father of our Commonwealth, and they turn around and are the first ones to try to kill it.
We are dealing with hypocracy. These are the same people who killed the seal industry and, now, they are after the trapping industry. They operate on emotion, rather than reason. I have seen some of their propaganda ads. These are designed to turn peoples stomachs. One such ad shows ladies of high fashion wearing fur coats at a fashion show. The coats are dripping blood, and blood is spilled all over. These ads are as revolting as the people who produce them.
These people who criticize the fur industry for inhumane trap methods are the same people who eat meat, wear leather shoes, belts, coats, gloves, and what have you, from domestic animals. How humane is a slaughter house? Are the methods used to kill domestic animals any more humane than a leg-hold trap? When these self-professed humanitarians sit down in the morning and eat their bacon and eggs, do they feel any outrage at what the poor pig had to go through to end up as a piece of bacon? Do they not realize that the eggs they eating come from a chicken that, in the not too distant future, will be put in a circling thing and swung around until all the blood is in their head, and then killed? You can see this on television, if you do not believe it. Is this humane? This is the way we live. We eat meat, and we have no problem.
Is it humane for the farmer, in raising the little calf whose mother has died, to raise it in the house, and this happens all over. They raise this little animal and bring him up. They feed him in a bucket, they name him and the little kids like it. Then, one day, they need $300, so they knock him on the head. We do not see any of these conservationist getting in on that, do we?
Would these people like it if they were eating their breakfast and we threw a bucket of blood on their plate? That is the type of tactic these people use. It is unethical and immoral, yet it works. The general public - be they in Great Britain, France, the United States or Canada - are very gullible and easily fooled.
These groups are really not interested in the well being of the animals they are sworn to protect. They are in it for the media and the money. It is a big industry and getting even bigger. The battle will be even bigger. We are fighting for the hearts and the minds of the people of the world. These fanatic groups do not fight fair, as I have already pointed out. Governments, and I include all governments here, have a responsibility to tell the people the truth and to act responsible.
The Government of the United Kingdom is failing in this duty. I must commend the initiative of the Government of the Northwest Territories. Once again they have beaten us to the punch. This is beginning to happen with alarming regularity. Through the efforts of the Northwest Territories they have at least bought some time and a welcome reprieve.
For the Government of the Yukon, I have both bricks and bouquets. On the plus side I am happy to see that they are involving themselves in the fight as they are doing their bit to help the trapping industry to survive. On the minus side I see they are beginning to utilize the same kind of tactics as the conservation groups in relation to the Alaska and Yukon North Slope in relation to the Porcupine caribou herd and development in that area.
I direct my comments specifically to the Member for Old Crow. For heaven sakes be careful in what you are saying. Use reason and facts rather than emotion to convey your argument because public lobbying can be a very slippery slope.
You may think you are right to protect the Porcupine caribou herd for the people of Old Crow and other natives who utilize this herd. What would happen if one of these fanatical groups should take up the cause and argue, and again based on pure emotion, that there should be no harvesting of the Porcupine caribou herd, period. What would you do then? Remember, the people of Alaska are still your friends and still on your side. Do not think that this cannot happen. Look at the Inuit seal hunters in Alaska and the seal hunters of Newfoundland. Remember, they move from one group to another.
Let us get on with the job and fight these fanatics with one voice. I urge every Member not only to support this but to speak out very, very strongly and not be afraid to stand up.
Hon. Mr. Porter: I would like to begin by thanking the Member for Kluane for bringing forward this motion. Clearly, this is an issue that concerns both sides of this House, as demonstrated by the Motion tabled by the Member for Old Crow while we sat in Dawson. On this particular, issue both sides of the House have been unanimous in the past and will continue to be so.
The anti-fur lobby in its various forms on both sides of the Atlantic continues to pressure the trappers in the Yukon. At one time we were led into a feeling of complacency and thought the battle was finished, but obviously the situation is not so. It is best to describe the efforts of the anti-fur trapping movement as a multi-headed hydra that continues to twist and turn. The latest head we have seen emerge in the debate is the one belonging to the junior Minister of Trade for the British government, and his idea of bringing forward the fur labelling program on garments produced in that particular country.
As Hercules found with the hydra of old, when you cut off one head a new one grows and the newest hydra head, as I have mentioned, happens to belong to a member of the British Cabinet.
Joining the legions of the uninformed and hailing in the name of the so-called animal rights, he is attempting where he can to use the power of the law to identify fur that has been trapped. In doing so, he is ensuring that the sale of such fur will be the direct target of attack by the lobbyists, with their slick TV ads and Madison Avenue brochures, oozing self-righteousness through their designer sweaters and calfskin loafers while their emotional blitzkrieg tactics destroy livelihoods, stress families, break the bonds between generations and strangle cultures of the northern people.
We have seen the devastation wrought on the sealing industry, as mentioned by the Member for Kluane, and we have watched those people who are in the forefront of the European and North American anti-trapping campaigns shut their eyes to the realities of the lifestyles shared by both aboriginal northerners and by non-aboriginal northerners, who have grown to value their chosen occupation as much as they have grown to respect the land that can offer them a living.
We cannot ignore the false messages and inaccurate information that are being spread along city streets in the name of fact and truth. We cannot turn our backs upon the cultural elitism and racism that has been reflected in such bald statements as There are no aboriginal rights, White society owns you, it pays your way!.
We cannot allow well-meaning people to be manipulated by opinion-mongers who are self-important and self-appointed guardians of the biosphere. We will work positively and tirelessly and endlessly to counter the threats to our cultures and to our lifestyles. Our conservation strategies that we are developing, not only in the Yukon but as well in the Northwest Territories, must be part of our arsenal on the battleground of public opinions. They must not be weapons of propaganda, but carefully crafted documents that highlight the human dimensions of sustainable development and that pay as much attention to the legitimacy and value of the cultures, traditions and lifestyles supported by a regions natural resources as they do to the protection, management and use of the resources themselves.
This is a campaign that not only the governments of the Yukon and Canada are involved in, but also the government of the Northwest Territories. Earlier, the Member for Kluane stated that he is disappointed in the fact that we are not following the issue as closely as the government of the Northwest Territories is. I do not want to be caught in the position on this issue of arguing, they are doing more, we are doing more, who is doing more on the issue.
The Department of Renewable Resources, Northwest Territories, and the Department of Renewable Resources, Yukon, have a very close working relationship. On many issues we agree. We do an awful lot of advance work, we do research on questions collectively, we meet as often as we can and as time permits. For example, the Government of the Northwest Territories had planned an initiative to do a lobby campaign in Britain. Unfortunately, the time at which they chose to undertake that lobby was a time that we are sitting in the Legislature. They did invite the Government of the Yukon to participate. We informed them that we would have liked to participate but, by the nature of the fact that the Legislature had been called for the same time, we cannot be in two places at once, and we recognize that their efforts can only benefit the rights and the privileges of the trappers of the Yukon as well.
We encourage the Government of the Northwest Territories in its efforts. We support them, and we will continue to do so.
This government has been very up front on this issue. As soon as we came to power, and we were confronted by this illogical attack on the rights of trappers. We acted very quickly, and Members are aware of the $173,000 program that was initiated by this government that looked at funding a series of groups in the Yukon, as well as national groups, to lead the fight on the fur movement.
Very early in the debate we recognized that the groundwork on this issue must not be done by government alone, but it must involve the users themselves, the people who live in the bush, who rely on the trapping industry, who interact with the animals on a daily basis. Those are the people who we want to try and encourage to become organized and to articulate their rights in the position of being the up front leaders.
We have succeeded to a degree on that question. Over time, two groups in Canada have emerged that have led the fight in the last few years: the Fur Institute of Canada and the Indigenous Survival International. Those two groups continue to organize and see this issue as one of the most critical ones within their mandate. Toward that end, we continue to support them. The budgetary measures that we will be debating later on will indicate to the public that we intend to fund ISI for $25,000 and the FIC for $20,000 as well this year. The extra funding that the ISI is receiving will assist them in bringing Yukon delegates to their annual meeting.
The record of the Yukon government is very clear. It has become more crystallized in these Legislative Chambers in the last day. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to announce a new initiative by the Department of Renewable Resources and the Department of Economic Development toward the facilitation of efforts by the trapping industry. We announced that we continue to support them. We very specifically announced a seven-pronged program that has, as one of its major elements, the whole question of awareness within the Yukon, awareness within the trapping community about trapping related issues.
Another area that is very important in this debate is that many of the conservation groups that are involved in this issue are not philosophically entrenched against the trapping industry. There are groups like LYNX, who fundamentally believe that we do not have the right to carry out the trapping tradition. Then there are other groups in Canada that are not philosophically opposed to trapping but are opposed to the methods by which trapping is undertaken.
Of course, as the Members are aware, I speak principally of the use of the leg-hold trap. In some parts of Canada, it has been recognized as an issue of some importance, to the degree that jurisdictions in Canada have taken the position of banning those traps from use. We, in the Yukon, are not taking that position. We believe to move in that direction would produce more undue hardship on the already beleaguered trappers and that particular industry. What we have advanced in our program is the idea of encouraging trappers to voluntarily change traps. We are telling the trappers that if they bring the leg-hold traps in, we will undertake a program of exchange to ensure that they are in receipt of the more effective quick-kill traps that are now coming on the market and have been proven in terms of their usefulness and their ability in the wild.
I would like to give some background on the main intent of this motion. The public opinion in the United Kingdom generally supports the notion that animals taken in steel-jaw, leg-hold traps are taken in an inhumane and cruel manner. The Government of Great Britain has reacted to public opinion. MPs responses to constituency concerns in the House of Commons early day motion have called for restrictions on imported fur taken in steel-jaw, leg-hold traps.
The hon. Alan Clark - although in the terms of this debate, I do not know if we would use the prefix to his name - the Minister of State for Trade and Industry, has responded with a proposal to require that a label be attached to garments manufactured from such fur. The Trade Description Act required that the government give notice of its intent to make such an order. A 28 day period of consultation is required. After the order is made, the Department of Trade and Industry reviews comments received to date, and no decision has been made yet to proceed.
We have a new development on this particular question. The Danish government has lodged a formal protest through the EEC, the European Economic Council. They have had the courtesy to deliver that to the Canadian High Commission, located at MacDonald House in London, and it is to the attention of Mr. David Hutton. I would like to quote from this particular letter. This is regarding the UK proposal for labelling fur products:
On instruction from the ministry of Foreign Affairs in Copenhagen, the Danish Embassy has today informed the Department of Trade and Industry that the EEC Commission has been requested by the Danish representative to the EEC in Brussels to investigate whether the British proposal on labelling of certain fur products is covered by council directive of March 26, 1983, concerning information procedures on technical standards.
The letter goes on to state, The procedure gives the Commission the possibility within a period of three months to investigate the matter and put forward proposals for possible changes in the British labelling measures as suggested.
During the investigation period, a final decision on measures can be taken by the UK. If the Commission finds that changes in the UK proposal are necessary, then a further three month period starts, during which a final decision can be taken by the UK.
The Department of Trade and Industry has informed the Embassy that they are still considering the contents of the labelling proposal, in light of the various observations made by interest groups in the United Kingdom, as well as representatives from interested countries. Until the final contents are agreed upon, it will not be possible to judge whether the UK proposal is received by - and should be notified under - the EEC Directive 83/189.
Clearly, what is happening is that there is not unanimity within the European community - within the governments of the European parliament - to move on this question, and we seem to have developed an ally with the Danish government toward attempting to try to delay the position of the UK Conservative government.
With respect to efforts that have been undertaken in Canada, letters have been sent to the Trade Minister from the British Fur Trade Association, the Fur Institute of Canada, Indigenous Survival International, and a number of members of Congress of the United States - both Senators and Members of the House of Representatives - as well as a number of other individuals representing the Canadian House of Commons and the Canadian Senate.
Through appeals by the Fur Institute of Canada, letters of support and protest have been forwarded to Queen Elizabeth, Prime Minister Thatcher, Prime Minister Mulroney, Alan Clark, Sir Geoffrey Howe and all UK MPs by Bishop Sperry, the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Arctic. The Aboriginal Hunters and Trappers Federation of Canada and others have sent letters as well. More than 15,000 post cards have been delivered through the FIC information network to enable grassroots participation in making personal protests to the UK members of parliament.
Delegations from ISI, the BFTA, the FIC, and other representatives from the British Fur Trade, have met with Mr. Clark. As well, representations have been made to the UK ministries of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. It appears that there may not have been a full internal consultation on this issue, and that the foreign office is concerned about the degree of international protest brought about as a result of their action.
The Hon. Joe Clark, Secretary of State for External Affairs, has forwarded a strongly worded letter of protest to Sir Geoffrey Howe. Mr. Clark has also supported the fur trade in a statement to the Canadian House of Commons on this issue.
I think it appropriate that Mr. Clark be identified at this point as being one of the most vocal and committed supporters of the fur movement and the protests that have been launched by the pro-fur movement in Canada. We do not hear very many of his other colleagues speaking upon this issue but, in our discussions with Mr. Clark, we have found Mr. Clark to be very fair and very supportive and usually, when he makes a commitment, Mr. Clark has delivered and acted upon his commitments.
The BFTA has pointed out in correspondence to Mr. Clark that he has, in the opinion of legal counsel, acted ultra vires to the powers bestowed on his ministry to make such an order. Information has to relate to the quality of the goods and their effect on the consumer. The label, as proposed, would contain misleading information and, as proposed, goes beyond what parliament envisions as being within the framework of the Act. This is a situation where the British fur trade movement is disputing the legality of Mr. Clark - the British secretary - having the legal power to do what he is proposing to do. That continues to be a point of debate within Britain. In all probability, it will be brought forward through the committee process and argued at length.
Letters of official protest have been put forward from Canada, the US and Denmark. Sweden and other countries are considering such action. Meetings have been held among officials from within the foreign services of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the US, to discuss the implications and the precedent of the proposed law that the British government has brought forward.
At this point, we should concern ourselves with the position of the Canadian government. Canada considers the proposed regulations a serious threat to the livelihood of the 100,000 Canadian trappers from within and outside of the aboriginal sector. In the case of the aboriginal population, it is also a strong cultural and lifestyle component that has endured over many centuries and was a forerunner of the development of this country. Fur represents a major economic pursuit of indigenous peoples living in the Northwest Territories and the Yukon. In terms of our economy, it represents a $1 billion industry in Canada, with 50 percent of the fur culled from wild fur sources.
The Canadian government is supporting the fur industry as they act as their own spokespeople against the animal right activists, as well as through other projects such as the Museum of Mankind exhibit. A financial contribution of $1.4 million has also been made available to an industry-sponsored international fur communications program headed by the Fur Institute of Canada.
As well, the Government of Yukon sent two representatives to the Museum of Mankind exhibit, which opened in London last fall. It is a multi-million dollar exhibit that has been organized by ISI and the curator of the Museum of Mankind. It details both an historical perspective and a present day perspective of aboriginal societies in northern Canada. The whole intent of the exhibit is to show the people of Europe and the people who take the opportunity to visit the Museum in London that aboriginal cultures and lifestyles are alive and well, and they continue to function at this time in our history. They will use that exhibit as a measure to educate the populations of Europe who are ignorant of some of the very basic realities here in northern Canada.
As well, Canada has proposed to the UK and to other countries the development of international humane trapping standards. It has spent several millions of dollars on humane trap research. To sensitize the public on fur related and indigenous concerns in Britain, Canada has sponsored a two year exhibit in London, which I have discussed at length here. The exhibit has been assisted in funding by the Department of External Affairs, involving the Minister of External Affairs, Mr. Clark.
I think it is very clear that this is not only an issue that affects the trappers of the Yukon, the trappers of the Northwest Territories and, for that matter, the trappers of Canada. It has developed into a very serious and major international issue. We have many countries throughout the world now becoming actively engaged in the debate. I think that we, the Government of the Yukon, must continue to play our role. I am proud of the activity that has gone on to date, and I thank the Members opposite for the support they have shown from the outset in assisting this government in forwarding its position.
We cannot be lulled into complacency on this particular question. We have to be consistent. We have to continue to marshal our efforts to speak on behalf of the trappers in some instances, although they speak best for themselves. Unfortunately, they are fairly individualistic. They like their lifestyle and prefer to be left alone out in the bush and doing their business, and that is trapping. Unfortunately, there are other people in the world who take it upon themselves to arbitrarily interfere in those decisions.
Our message to this Legislature is that we will continue our efforts. Our message to the mover of the motion is that we whole heartedly endorse his efforts and will support his motion brought forward today. Our message to the trappers of the Yukon is very simple and very clear, and that is to keep on trapping.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I want to take the opportunity to stand and speak four-square in favour of this motion. It is well known to some Members that there are many trappers in all parts of the territory, including my riding, who depend on the income they receive from trapping for a living. For them, it is a way of life. In fact, it is a $1 billion living Canada-wide.
I would like to support some of the comments made by my colleague, the Minister of Renewable Resources and, also, the Member for Kluane, in suggesting the labelling of fur to indicate how an animal might have met its demise is a truly unjust and unfair action to take against the wild fur trapping industry in this country. As the Member for Kluane correctly pointed out, a brutal or detailed explanation of how much of our food and clothing got to our tables and into our closets would do a great deal of damage, not only to our lifestyle that a vast majority of the worlds population enjoys but, also, to many industries that plug away quite happily in larger centres in this country and elsewhere, including Britain.
The human misery and the loss of livelihood in an industry, like the trapping industry - which was spread out over centuries - is something this Legislature has to lend its voice to avoid.
The average families who depend on trapping are people who are sometimes not as vocal in their individual pursuits as the more organized lobbies in the world, but they have every bit as much right to continue to exist and maintain a livelihood as any other.
I would like to, perhaps in my own inadequate way, voice my support for this motion. I thank the Member for Kluane for bringing it forward, and I hope a unanimous vote today is another voice in support of the trapping industry in the territory.
Mr. Phillips: I rise today in support of the motion introduced by the Member for Kluane. Trapping really is the industry that discovered this country. Without the fur trade, Canada - and especially northern Canada - would not be as developed as it is today.
It not only brought the fur traders to remote areas of our vast country, but it opened up all kinds of exploration and development. For years, and even today, it is the life blood and lifestyle of many Yukoners, especially our indigenous people. Obviously, though, this message has not left our borders.
It is unfortunate that, in some countries, intelligent members of parliament would take steps that could destroy a livelihood. They are obviously very ill-informed about the facts and, unfortunately, only listening to one side of the story. Like the Member for Kluane said, it is kind of ironic that the English company - the Hudson Bay Company - was, in the early days of Canada, one of the biggest promoters of the fur trade.
It seems to me that we have a massive education program that we have to work on. I have a few suggestions that I would like to make that would make these uninformed, responsible politicians - and I say that lightly - sit up and take notice.
Yesterday, the Member for Kluane said that we would be bringing forward a motion to promote a national trapping awareness week. There is nowhere better to start than at home. I would like to encourage the Minister of Education to proceed with the Project Wild. I know they are working on that program. I know it is an excellent program. I am convinced it is so good, because all the anti-trapping people are speaking out against it. When that happens, I know there are some things in there that should be brought to light.
All Canadians and, especially, young Canadians should be aware of not only how trapping has led to the discovery of Canada but, as well, how important it is as a viable renewable resource industry and a way of life today. Then, we can take the results of this program and promote the industry throughout the world. One does not have to go to London, England, to find out that people do not understand the importance of this industry. One just has to go to one of our local schools and ask one of the children about trapping and what their feelings are about trapping. I think we would be fairly surprised at how they, too, are swayed by some of the things they read and see.
We have a lot of work to do and not a lot of time to do it in. I hope when this motion on the trapping week comes to this House, all Members will show their commitment and give it speedy passage.
As well, we should invite some of the opponents of the fur trade in the British Parliament, especially the trade secretary, to come to the Yukon and have a first hand look. Maybe he should go out to Old Crow, Ross River or Mayo and see what trapping is all about, to see that it is a lifestyle for the people in those areas.
We are dealing with fair and reasonable people. I am sure they would be willing to listen to the other side of the story. I am encouraged by the commitment that has been given yesterday to the trapping industry by this government, although I do have problems with some of the methods. I feel that far more resources should be spent educating the public to the importance of trapping. This really is the front line, and I would like to bring to the attention of all the other Members of the House all the things that are happening in southern Canada that I have been made aware of in the last few weeks. What we have to do here is gather together all the groups. It is happening in the Yukon, but we have to do it across Canada. We have to get trappers, local residents, fisherman, hunters, various wilderness guides and outfitters, and we have to work together.
You might be interested to know that a new anti-group has been recently established in our own country, in Toronto. This groups aim is to stop all hunting and fishing in Canada for all Canadians, including aboriginal people. They are not discriminating against anybody, they are saying, Stop hunting and fishing; it is cruel. We have to be aware that these radicals who only listen to only one side of the story and rarely tell the truth are there. I have a word for them, I call them environmental terrorists. These people will use any act, legal or otherwise, to further their cause.
Unfortunately, they always seem to get front page coverage. They always seem to be the headlines in the national news. I have a great concern here. There is a strong responsibility for the media in Canada and the world to seek out both sides of the story. I personally blame the national media in Canada for what happened in a lot of cases to the sealing industry. We saw many repeat pictures of seals being bashed to death on the ice, but we never heard the other side of the story until it was too late, until the industry was dead. The national media in this country has a strong responsibility to stand up and fairly report both sides of the story.
This is not going to be an easy battle, but I believe by speaking out as we are today we are sending a very strong message to our government in Canada. I, too, would like to thank Joe Clark for the work that he has done. We should all encourage the federal government to move as strongly as possible in this area.
I would like to support the motion of the Member for Kluane, and I commend it to all Members of the House.
Ms. Kassi: This motion is very much like the one I wish to sponsor. I filed a motion on this topic last week. I am surprised that the hon. Member, in the interest of cooperation, did not wish to join me in my motion. However, I will join him in his motion, because I believe that we should work together on these kinds of things.
One big difference between this motion and the one I have on the Order Paper is to urge the Government of Canada to continue lobbying with Indigenous Survival International on the fur issue. I hope that the Member for Kluane is not saying that he does not support ISI, because they have done a lot of good work on this issue. There is something of a relationship between indigenous peoples and environmental groups. They can talk to each other where non-native trappers might have a much harder time.
Today, we want to send from this House a message to the parliament in the United Kingdom. This is an important message, because it is not often that we send messages this kind of distance. It shows how far-reaching the fur trade is and how the effects of an action in one country can affect us here in the Yukon.
Many people in my village of Old Crow go trapping every year. We go mainly after muskrat. This is a traditional activity that involves entire families. It is a time of happiness and worthwhile activity for my people, and it is an important part of maintaining our culture and heritage.
The ratting season, as we call it, is one thing that makes Old Crow so famous. Right now, the people in my village are gearing up for the spring hunt and the trapping season. There are also other trapping activities going on in Old Crow that have increased a lot these days. They trap lynx, fox, beaver, marten, mink, these kinds of animals. This is a traditional activity that is almost as important as hunting caribou. As hon. Members know, we rely on the caribou for our survival. In Old Crow we rely on trapping for important cash income. There are not very many jobs in Old Crow, and people need some money to live. Trapping makes a big difference between welfare and self-sufficiency.
Combined with hunting, these are land based activities based on sustainable renewable resources that keep people going in traditional lifestyles. Our culture survives. When we add trapping income to our hunting and some wage work, then people get by. It is not very rich in terms of money, but it is rich in terms of what it offers our people in lifestyle. For the Vuntat Gwichin, this is the best way to live. If we take away the ability for them to earn some income through trapping, then it makes trouble for my people.
What we are discussing here today is the effect on my people of a regulation proposed by the Minister for Trade in Britain, the hon. Alan Clark.
It would force fur clothing manufacturers in that country to sew into each garment a special label that says, Includes fur from animals commonly caught in leghold traps. This is something the anti-fur trapping groups in Europe have been after for a long time. If they succeed in getting their way, they will push for more and more until they have a complete ban on the sale of any fur in the countries altogether just like the seal issue a few years ago.
We cannot let this get out of hand. If it does, the bottom will drop out of the fur market, and there will not be any place to sell furs from Old Crow or anywhere else. This would mean disaster for my village and to aboriginal and non-aboriginal trappers across Canada, Alaska and in other countries as well.
This specific measure by the British government would not automatically restrict the sale of furs. What it would do is put a big damper on sales of many kinds of fur products. It would literally wrongly label many kinds of fur as having come from the wild and having been the skin of an animal caught with a leghold trap. This is the target of all anti-fur groups at the moment. They say they want to end cruel trapping and that the leghold trap is cruel. The British government says these labels would give consumers information on which to make an informed purchase of a fur product. That is not the case but, most of all, it would be the first step of many in a campaign that would mean the ultimate end of trapping, and the end of a lifestyle for the people of Old Crow and many aboriginal people across Canada and around the world.
We have to credit, not just the ISI and Mr. Erasmus for working so hard on this issue on our behalf, but also the federal Minister of External Affairs who made a strong protest through his office as well. Also, a lot of work was done by the Government of Northwest Territories, and we must thank our relatives over there for working so hard on their lobby efforts. The people there suffered a lot when the ban was put on seal products in Europe. Once again, well-intentioned people in far away countries hurt innocent people in ways they did not foresee. The Northwest Territories learned the hard way that time, and want to make sure it does not happen again.
A major point we have to make in this debate is that trapping is a renewable, sustainable resource that supports a lifestyle. We are not over harvesting, and no species are going to be extinct - quite the opposite. Good trapping practices enhance a species and keep it healthy. For example, out on my familys trapline in Crow Flats, my grandfather, who has long since passed on, had set strict guidelines for us to follow for our future use. We have followed those guidelines, and still do today. Now my mother, who is 67 years old, monitors the whole process. When I used to travel with my grandfather, I was about 11 or 12 years old. He would give me direction, like no one is to trap here in this area until your children are old enough. I have since been back to those areas where the beaver and the plant growth have increased.
I have two sons who are of age to trap. They utilize those areas when they get the chance, and trap there now. I have also seen where muskrats have been over populated in specific areas. When we catch them, they are very small in size and very unhealthy due to shortage of special foods for them. Also, I know of areas where they are completely wiped out. We believe that is due to over population and diseases that set in. Our people used to use deadfall of heavy logs in various sizes for different species of animals, and animals were killed instantly.
They would use bone tools and weapons, or our people would use snares made from caribou skins before the leghold traps came from the English fur traders. My grandfather in the early 1960s still trapped with these methods. As time goes on, we are continuously being asked to change our ways. You know, Mr. Speaker, being a trapper yourself, that we share our skills. When an animal is caught or given to us, it is treated with much respect for our spiritual connections and our cultural skills and ways of conservation are practised. The land upon which these animals and our people coexist are well taken care of and kept clean. In the meantime, people are supported by an economic activity that has little or no impact on the natural environment. It does not pollute or waste resources. It makes good use of them. It enhances traditional activities of native people. It works to show that the natural environment is worth protecting and should not be exploited by industrial developments.
I hope these are goals that the anti-fur people can support. I hope that over the long run we can get the message across to these people so they understand what we are talking about and how harmful their actions can be to our trappers and our people. I want to take this opportunity to thank this government and our Minister of Renewable Resources for taking strong action in support of trappers and funding worthwhile organizations such as the ISI. I think that this organization is doing a good job on behalf of many people all over the world. On behalf of the people of Old Crow I commend their efforts. Here at home, the government is working with trappers and the fur enhancement program announced yesterday by the Minister is appropriate. It will help more trappers and assist them to develop more adequate ways of trapping. This is the main thing the anti-fur people are concerned about. If we can take care of that issue, we will have gone a long way in solving this problem.
Mr. Brewster: It is apparent that this will be unanimous. I just have one answer to the Member for Old Crow. When I speak about trappers, I do not get culture mixed in. There are trappers from several different cultures and I think it should stay this way. In closing, I would ask that this resolution and motion be forwarded immediately to the Speaker of the House in Great Britain. As you are a certain clique that stick together, there should be no problem.
Motion No. 12 agreed to
Motion No. 20
Clerk: Item No. 12, standing in the name of Mr. McLachlan.
Speaker: Is the hon. Member prepared to proceed with Item No. 12?
Mr. McLachlan: Yes.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Member for Faro THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Department of Health and Human Resources should address the shortage of medical doctors in rural Yukon by negotiating a fee schedule for the payment of doctors which incorporates an incentive plan for those practitioners who reside in and maintain practices in rural Yukon.
Mr. McLachlan: The motion is worded in a simple and straightforward way that is intended to address the problem that we are aware, at least in my riding, is becoming extremely difficult. The problem is not unique to that area alone and is indeed prevalent in northern parts of the provinces, the Northwest Territories, and the Yukon. In my riding, the doctors do come about one and a half days out of every two weeks and the situation has now gotten to the point where if you get sick during this current visit, you have to wait for the next visit, because the appointments are all booked up.
The reasons, of course, are varied, as to why doctors are or are not practicing in the rural areas. One has to do with supply problems but there are a number of other problems. There are 33 registered, resident physicians in the territory; 26 practice in Whitehorse, 3 at the moment are located in rural Yukon. Others are on leaves of absence or do locums. To the credit of rural Yukon, though, the best of medical practitioners is in rural Yukon and has been comfortably ensconced there for 36 years. That, however, is the exception rather than the rule. Were it the rule, I would not be making this motion today.
If the doctors have the choice of rural Yukon or the city - and oftentimes the fee for service is the same in either location - there are often reasons why they choose the larger, metropolitan area. If it is essentially a private practice that the doctor is going into in a rural area, he will often times find setup costs much more expensive than in the capital city. There are reasons why doctors practice in rural areas and reasons why they do not. I cannot hope to address all of those problems today in this one motion. I believe it relates to family styles, availability of services, preference for the life, but I believe that the problem should be looked at by the government as a way of addressing a problem that we all know exists. Were there a policy or practice or incentive I believe it would be easier to get physicians to go to such places as Elsa, Cassiar, Clinton Creek and Faro.
I am not going to get into the debate and specify whether it should be a four percent premium, 10 percent or 12. I simply want to throw out an idea for the government, for the Minister and his department to consider, that could go, with a little bit of imagination, in designing an innovative idea a long way towards solving the problem.
There will be critics who will say that this type of approach increases the cost of Medicare. I believe that once a resident medical practitioner is established in an area eventually a saving is realized through fewer medical evacuation flights. I would like the government to recognize first that it is a problem and then deal with it in a constructive manner.
The Province of British Columbia at the moment does not issue billing numbers unless those doctors agree to work in a designated area. By definition those are usually underserviced areas. My approach, and I hope one that this Legislature would use, would be to use the carrot rather than the club. I am interested in the responses of others to an idea in this vein.
Hon. Mrs. Joe: We, on this side of the House, believe it is important for all Yukoners to have access to essential health services, including medical services. For that reason, I remain very concerned about the failure to recruit a resident doctor for Faro and worry about the prospect of replacing Dr. Clark when he retires from his practice in Mayo.
While I have taken a number of steps to improve access to doctors services, including instructing the department to ensure that contracts guaranteeing regular clinics are held in all communities are in place, gaps in service do remain. Incentives this government and the federal health authorities have arranged to support communities in the recruitment of doctors have met with only mixed success. That is so for many reasons, including the increasing reluctance of doctors to practice alone, fear of professional isolation, the difficulty in reestablishing a medical practice or regaining a Medicare billing number if a doctor leaves the city.
Unfortunately, the cost of establishing a practice and the fees one can earn once established, the two things government can easily influence, are not the only factors. In fact, money issues have been found to have little influence on the decision of doctors to relocate to rural areas.
Having noted that differential fee schedules and incentive programs tried in the provinces have had limited effect on the distribution of doctors, I do not believe there is nothing more that should be done. I have opened a dialogue with the hon. Peter Dueck to explore options that may be mutually advantageous to the Yukon and British Columbia.
I am willing to support the motion before us today and to instruct my officials to discuss incentive programs with the Yukon Medical Association in the context of fee negotiations. I remain committed to providing relocation allowances and other subsidies to doctors who are prepared to make a commitment to practice in Yukons smaller communities. I also intend to explore other options, such as improving training and support for doctors who choose to practice outside of Whitehorse.
I would also like to take this opportunity to inform Members that a major study on the health needs of the four larger Yukon communities - Dawson, Mayo, Faro and Watson Lake - commenced last week. This study includes a review of the hospital and medical services available to those residents in those communities. Solutions to the chronic problems of obtaining and retaining qualified health care givers will be among the recommendations required of the consultants undertaking this major health program review.
I should also add that MLAs from the ridings mentioned will be approached by the consultants for their views on the issues facing their constituents and for their suggestions on improvements on health care.
I reiterate my support for the motion by the Member for Faro and welcome his suggestions for improving the supply of qualified medical practitioners to Yukon communities.
Mrs. Firth: I rise today to speak to this motion with the intention of supporting the principle of the motion. However, after looking the specific direction that was pointed out in the motion and given to the government, I will be proposing a minor amendment to the motion that will not, in any way, change the intention of the motion.
The medical association has been discussing this issue for some time, and I gather that some communities are receiving more consistent and regular services than other communities. I appreciate the position that the Member for Faro is in. Certainly, he must have quite a concern for his constituents to be without the services of a physician full time.
I want to emphasize that when the consultation process and the incentives that are going to be looked at are discussed, that there is a very clear idea of what the community itself wants when it comes to incentives that they are prepared to offer to the doctors. From any information or experience that I have from having been in the medical profession myself, particularly from experience in other provinces, it has been found that the more attractive the incentives that the community itself could offer, that were community oriented and the more community initiatives, the more successful the programs would be.
I move THAT Motion No. 20 be amended by deleting the expression a fee schedule for the payment of doctors which incorporates.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Member for Whitehorse Riverdale South
THAT Motion No. 20 be amended by deleting the expression a fee schedule for the payment of doctors which incorporates.
Mrs. Firth: I fee that the amendment is uncontroversial. It does not change the intention, the principle or objective of the motion. The reason for bringing the amendment forward is simply not to prejudge the process before it has taken place. It is a very specific direction that a fee schedule is negotiated for the payment of doctors. That may be one of the elements of the incentive program. With it in, we are prejudging that as one of the elements, and I am sure that there will be many more options, such as subsidized housing, educational leave, tickets outside of the remote area, transportation tickets, just to name a few.
I do not think that the amendment is particularly controversial, and I do not think that it changes the intention of the general motion whatsoever, which this side will be supporting.
Mr. McLachlan: On the amendment, my primary objective is to recruit a medical doctor, for our area and other areas, who will stay. One portion of the amendment may raise a philosophical question that the government may want to address, which is how much they, as government, may want to get involved with the idea of recruiting private medical practitioners. One way of doing it, without being accused of using taxpayers dollars that get involved with private medical practices, was through the fee schedule plan.
Once the fee schedule option is removed, it then throws governments into the position of having to use taxpayers dollars to recruit private practitioners to go into areas that are underserviced. I have no problem with the amendment to address the remedy that I am trying to achieve. It may cause a philosophical problem for others who may not see that with the government being involved in it. Myself, as sponsor of the motion, will agree to the amendment and will support it. I do not know if others will wish to speak to the amendment.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: As I see it, the amendment does change the intent of the motion here, although I understand and accept what both the Members for Faro and Riverdale South have said. The wording of the motion, as it originally stated, is not in terms of investigating. It is in terms of stating an opinion that there should be a differential in the fee schedule for rural areas and urban areas. The amendment deletes that entirely. The intent is the same, but the original statement of stating a preference for a fee schedule is removed.
The Member for Faro appears to accept that, and it is his motion, so I will not argue with him. I do rise on the amendment, and I will probably rise again briefly on the main motion, whether the amendment is passed or not. I want to raise another issue here that is related. The Member for Riverdale North spoke of tickets, and housing, and other financial or payments in kind, or inducements, to encourage doctors to move to rural areas. Because it has not been mentioned before, I think it is important to mention another area that is not the area of financial reward, pay, fees or subsidies in the forms of tickets, housing or whatever, but the area of a professional development.
There are the young doctors. I have spoken to one fairly recently in southern Canada who was not particularly concerned about the financial inducements. There are many doctors who are concerned more with things like professional development and support services for their profession than they are with money.
The medical profession is a very rapidly changing one, as are all the professions. In the medical area, the research and advancements are occurring very fast. There is a fear expressed by doctors that, if they isolate themselves from other doctors and from major hospitals, that is not in the best interests of the patients. That is expressed in both an altruistic way and in a way concerning the development of the professional career of that individual doctor. That issue could be mentioned and should be addressed in the context of this kind of negotiation.
In a more concrete way, what we might be thinking about are specific programs to put doctors in touch with other doctors and other hospitals. This could take many forms. For example, the meetings of the medical profession here in Whitehorse could occasionally occur in rural communities. The incentives could be around paying for the transportation, or the upgrading, or the attendance at professional development conferences for rural doctors in Whitehorse and other major centres. That is an example of another issue that I know is a barrier to doctors going to live in smaller towns.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It is worthwhile to discuss the issue that has been raised by the amendment regarding the idea of providing something other than non-monetary options for the attraction of physicians into small communities.
I think the Member for Faro is quite right, in one respect, that monetary incentives, whether through fringe benefits or through a change to the fee schedule, certainly would up the ante when it comes to competition for positions in small communities. I think we can count ourselves as not being unique in the territory in terms of trying to attract qualified medical doctors. Clearly, whenever this has been raised in the past, when I raised the subject as MLA for Mayo and Elsa, it has been driven home to me on numerous occasions that the rural areas of any of the provinces face very much the same problem as we do here.
A bidding war amongst communities can be at times a touchy thing for communities that are not financially well endowed and perhaps cannot compete with other communities. I say that in the context of the fact that, clearly, there is a great deal of money that is put into support for medical schools in this country, by the taxpayer, and there are hundreds of thousands of dollars put into training doctors with certain special services, certainly including the training of general practitioners. It is an expensive proposition for the public and to therefore continue to compete for that doctors services, once you have invested in that doctor - to continue to compete as a taxpayer for the services of that doctor - is something that we should think hard about.
It may be the only practical option for us in the short term. I think that we as a society have to think hard about whether we are going to pursue that option over the long term. It might be something that could be considered, that medical schools might encourage, as part of a young doctors professional development, a tour of duty, as part of their training, to small communities in order that a doctor, fresh out of school and after internship or as a part of their internship, might engage in a small general practice in a small community and learn what it is like to live in a small town atmosphere and work on their own, with a little bit of incentive to get them into the small communities and let them practice in the slow lane, not the fast lane. I think that is what we should pursue.
Another option, which has been voiced by people in at least one of my communities, is the idea that perhaps, if the general practitioners and doctors generally do not want to come to small communities, we should consider that there is a shortage of physicians, for the purposes of considering immigration policies. I realize that that is an unpopular position for the medical associations, or generally has been, but nevertheless, as I have tried to explain in the main motion debate, I think the desire for physicians in small communities is not only justifiable but is very popular in those communities, and I think it is incumbent upon the federal government and provincial/territorial governments to consider the option and consider the ramifications, possibly even in consultation with the medical associations, of allowing, on a short term basis, physicians from other countries, who want to immigrate to Canada, to do a tour of duty where no other would perform such a duty.
The non-monetary options could be pursued. We are duty bound to pursue them because in the long term it would be a mistake to simply up the anti and compete one community against the other, knowing that some communities have less ability to compete than others for doctors that the public has trained in the first place. I hope Members keep that in mind when the matter is discussed at some length.
Amendment agreed to
Speaker: Is there any further discussion on the main motion as amended?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I had a few other points to make that are more properly made on the main motion.
The Minister of Community and Transportation Services has already alluded to some of the points. The first and perhaps most important point I want to make is that it is absolutely clear that this problem of the under supply of doctors is not solely a Yukon problem. It is certainly a problem here, however, it is a national problem. Indeed, it is a worldwide problem.
The problem has increased in the last few decades rather than decreased. It has increased because rural doctors have found it convenient or appropriate to move into the larger urban centres. That is consistent with the movement of the population in Canada generally from a predominantly rural population to now a predominantly urban population.
In any event, as the population has been increasingly urbanized, the medical profession has as well, but even more so. This is, similarly, the case in other professions. It is clear, in light of the general or national perspective, that we are not going to solve our problem here very easily or solve it overnight. The situation now exists that the smaller towns around the world, around Canada and in Yukon will be in a position of competing with each other. Of course, if there were one doctor interested in moving to a small town in Yukon there would be a competition between the communities that want that doctor. Clearly, Faro would put in a bid; I know Elsa would put in a bid; Dawson and Old Crow would be interested. The communities around the territory would all be interested. With only one doctor, that person will only go one place.
In light of that general situation and the fact that we know a short term solution is not appropriate, there should be more long term things that we are looking at. I said that a short term solution is not appropriate. I should have said that there are some things that we can be doing in the short term, however, it will not solve the total problem. The problem obviously will take years to solve.
One of the ways of addressing it, as my colleague has mentioned, is the immigration policy. Canada is a desirable place to live, and there are doctors from elsewhere who would love to be able to immigrate to Canada. That is one area that we can look to in the long term to solve the problem.
There is a more important area. That is in the policies and enrollments of the medical schools in the country. There is an undersupply of doctors from the point of view of patients, especially rural patients. It is not necessarily true that there is an undersupply of doctors from the point of view of the medical profession, especially the medical profession residing in urban areas. I would suggest that the opposite is true.
In this free enterprise world of supply and demand, as long as there is not an oversupply of doctors, the fees will remain higher, and also the status of the medical profession will be greater. The medical profession think, as business people, as do all professions, in this light. There could be, and I submit that there should be, a move in the country to increase, very substantially, the number of places in Canadian medical schools. We should approach the position where there is an oversupply of doctors. That would substantially increase the willingness of doctors to locate in the smaller towns around the country and in the Yukon.
There is another prospect that is a little more short term in the sense that things could be done more immediately.
We are not going to get doctors in all of our small towns and our rural communities in the next three, four or five years. We are going to be faced with the situation where there is a nurse in most of the communities. The policies of the federal government should be amended to allow for and to provide for further training for nurses. The nurses would be trained in addition to their present standards.
We all know, especially those of us who have lived in rural communities, that nurses in these communities are faced with emergency situations fairly constantly and deal with things in the communities that, if those emergencies or crisis existed in a town with a doctor, would be dealt with by a doctor. That is a fact of life. These nurses could be given additional training in the more common things to better serve the patients whom they are now serving.
There is also another dimension to that. Nurses are not allowed to do certain functions without the supervision of a doctor, and there are many other functions that they are simply not allowed to do. Some of those functions are ones that could be done on the spot in a rural community. To illustrate a little, the welfare of the patient may well be better served by a nurse who admittedly is not a trained doctor performing medical functions rather than the patient being medivaced out at a substantial discomfort and probably a substantial delay in time.
I submit that it may be appropriate to look at the kinds of things that nurses in rural communities are authorized to do in the interests of the best possible patient care in the circumstances of rural Yukon and rural Canada.
Not much has been said about the role of municipal governments. It is absolutely clear that in situations that exist in Elsa, Faro and Dawson that municipal governments are vitally interested. I was in agreement with the comments made by the Member for Riverdale South when she briefly mentioned that topic. Municipal governments are offering things like a house or subsidies of some sort. It is most appropriate that the territorial government and municipal governments address these issues in cooperation with each other so that the subsidy packages or the incentive packages that are offered can be coordinated.
It is also interesting that the municipal governments will obviously try and attract doctors with varying degrees of aggressiveness. That will probably represent the needs in the community and municipal governments should certainly be involved in these issues.
There is also the issue that we have seen in the past of union involvement in the sense of the community involvement that has occurred with dentists in Faro and doctors in Elsa, as we all know, and that coordination should certainly occur.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am very familiar with requests by many Yukon communities for the services of a doctor. I have spoken to doctors, nurses and industrial first aid practitioners over the course of the last 10 or 12 years during the period I have been living in Elsa. I am very familiar with the differing opinions among people about the required level of service and what is the most efficient service that can be provided to communities such as my home town.
It is a difficult issue. Despite some handsome benefit packages that have been provided and offered in many cases, doctors do not want to come to rural areas.
As the Member for Faro pointed out, the dean of general practitioners, a long time and respected resident of Mayo, Jim Clarke is an exceptional exception. The enhancements and carrots that have been provided and offered in the past have not proved to have much success. For example, houses, vehicles, fully staffed office, a nurse and cookhouse privileges have all been offered in Elsa without success. This is a serious problem for communities such as the communities I represent.
I have been advised that doctors do not come to small communities because they think they can command big money in many of the larger centres. The amount of activity that is provided in the smaller communities does not turn over enough in the way of revenue to justify an existence in a small community. Others say that doctors who are truly dedicated to the profession often want the experience they can get in a big city hospital or an urban practice with a wide range of complaints that are brought to them for their review. Other doctors want to move into specialities. A doctor cannot move into a speciality as a general practitioner in Elsa or any other community with any speed.
There is also the lifestyle question to be considered as well. Many people feel uncomfortable living in a small community. A doctor, like a mine manager, union leader or teacher, are often considered community leaders and therefore every activity, social or otherwise, is scrutinized in great detail by the residents of the community. This is sometimes uncomfortable for a person in that position. They also fear serving in a situation where it is a 95 percent well-baby clinic and five percent pure terror when nasty accidents occur. Doctors do tend to lose skills and feel uncomfortable dealing with situations where there is blood on the floor and broken bones and panic all around. They feel uncomfortable because they do not deal with this on a regular basis. It is a problem which is common to ambulance attendants in the territory as well.
They also fear a situation where they never take vacations and to always be on call for 24 hours a day. When they take a drink in the local bar, people look at them with some disdain that perhaps they are allowing themselves to slip and that they will not be available when they are needed. There are a variety of reasons why doctors do not want to come to small communities, and that is one thing that we must bear in mind when we talk about incentive programs to encourage doctors to relocate to a small community.
The people in my communities want good services in life-threatening situations. As a miner, I have gone underground for more years than I have been an MLA in this Legislature. I have experienced and have witnessed the aftermath of serious accidents and even one fatality. I do know how miners think and feel when they put their lives on the line to do their jobs. I know how they feel when they think there is not enough support or backup on the surface to take care of them if an accident does occur.
In the community of Elsa, a high level of medical service is something that most miners regard as being essential to their work and life. The general population as well wants a fairly decent level of service when it comes to the normal everyday things that happen to people wherever they live. For example, in Whitehorse if your childs temperature rises and stays high and the temperature cannot be brought down, it is an expected thing that there is immediate access to a doctor at any time.
If a situation happens as with my son who put his arm through a glass door where there was panic and mayhem, people were shouting and screaming, a person wants access to a physician. They want somebody who knows how to deal with situations like that. I know from personal experience what it means to live in a situation where a person must travel 30 miles to get to an airport to get a decent medivac service, if the weather is right, to a hospital 250 miles away. The insecurity is apparent. It is an unbelievable burden that is almost unimaginable.
I do respect the needs expressed by the people of my community. They want informed, detailed, secure, reliable and genuinely respected medical advice in order to feel comfortable. They do not want to rely on a long distance medical system, trying to relay details over the phone about how to undergo a particular procedure. They have to wait for an ambulance to be taken to an airport to be picked up by a plane that takes another hour to get to Whitehorse. There is also every chance that the medivac might have to go even further.
It is obvious that there are many times when a person has to be hardy. It is a part of rural life. Sometimes a doctor cannot help, and we have to learn to accept that nothing short of a first class, big city, emergency hospital team can help.
The best you can hope for, in some emergency medical situations, is to be stabilized until you can get to decent medical services. As others have pointed out, there is a level of service that can be provided, and a sense of security that can be provided, only with a physician present.
I have mentioned that there are non-monetary options that should be pursued. I am very much in favour of pursuing those options aggressively. I have seen some attempts in the past by some communities to provide monetary incentives to encourage physicians to come to the community and have seen those attempts alternately succeed and fail. Perhaps there is a lack of sophistication in the incentives being provided. Perhaps education and professional development leave may be the most appropriate incentive. Certainly, many communities in the territory - Dawson, Elsa, Faro and Watson Lake - have all, at various stages and to varying degrees, offered such benefits as relocation expenses, housing, travel, vehicles, cookhouse privileges and, in one community, Elsa, all of those things have been tried.
Clearly, something has to be done to meet the needs of many small communities. I would certainly be in favour of reviewing the level of medical services in the communities, but I would reiterate once again that the feeling in the communities, after a great deal of discussion and debate, is that nothing short of a physician will be satisfactory. I would like to pursue, along with the Minister of Health and Human Resources, all those options that can be available, or any combination that would encourage a physician to locate to a communities such as the ones I represent.
In my own constituency, the services of Dr. Clark are considered invaluable. We do fear the eventuality that Dr. Clark may decide to move elsewhere. As a group of communities, we want to see a doctor permanently placed in Elsa because of the needs of that particular community. Doctors have survived on a full time basis in both communities simultaneously for years. Clearly, it can and should happen again.
I support the motion and, in the future, I think the work the Minister of Health and Human Resources is going to do is valuable. We have to be very aggressive and firmly resolved to encourage doctors to come in a variety of ways.
I would like to state that within the next couple of weeks, as Minister of Community and Transportation Services, I will be announcing a new ambulance policy for the Yukon that will help address the issue of the ambulance service in the territory and the enhancements that we propose should come to pass in the immediate term for that essential volunteer service in all communities.
Mr. Webster: I will be brief, as everything that could possibly be said on the subject has probably been said.
In her response to this motion, the Minister of Health and Human Resources committed this government to continue providing relocation allowances and other incentives, such as support staff assistance and subsidized office rent space, in an effort to attract doctors to practice in rural Yukon.
We all recognize that such incentives are necessary if we are to improve the quality of medical services delivered to residents of our outlying communities. We welcome this news. However, I believe more benefits must be offered if we are to enhance our ability to not only attract doctors, but also to retain their services, once recruited.
I suggest that there is only so much that the territorial government can do in this regard, and that more must be done by the communities in need of a doctor. This was already suggested by the Minister of Justice. I believe there must be more commitment shown by the community. The City of Dawson has been successful in recruiting and keeping its doctor by offering incentives that demonstrate such commitment.
I do not want to put Faro on the spot right now and ask what they have done to encourage a doctor to come to Faro, but they have to accept some responsibility, as the onus is certainly on the community to provide more incentives that are outside the capabilities of the territorial government.
For example, the City of Dawson has constructed a residence for its doctor, and charged a reasonable monthly rental rate for these accommodations. In addition, the city offers to pay all relocation expenses incurred by the doctor and his family after four years of service in the community. This is a great incentive, as the previous doctor stayed five years. I am certain this present one will stay at least four years.
Having said that, I also believe that incentives, benefits and fee schedules have only so much influence on the decision of doctors to locate to rural areas, not only in the Yukon but, as the Ministers of Justice and Community and Transportation Services have said, throughout Canada. The factors cited earlier by the Minister of Health and Human Resources, such as fear of professional isolation and a reluctance to practice alone and to constantly address the heavy demands expected of them, are real reasons accounting for the difficulty in recruiting doctors.
In our community of Dawson City - a population of about 1,600 full time - we have about 140 children and about the same number of seniors over the age of 55 - people who are classified as being in the high risk category of needing medical attention. Combine that with the summer situation in our community, where our town doubles in size with people involved in the construction and placer mining industries. Both are high accident risk industries. Being a very conscientious individual, our doctor is loathe to even take one day off, let alone a weekend once in a while, for fear of not being able to offer his assistance and medical services. It is a real concern. Doctors are reluctant to go to a situation where they are the only one and are called upon at all hours of the day and night.
Other reasons will be revealed in the study of hospital medical service in my community to be conducted soon. I am looking forward to this studys recommendations, which will offer solutions to the ongoing problems of obtaining and retaining doctors. One such recommendation very well may be placing two doctors in Dawson City to serve not only the extra load that the doctor must attend to in the summer time, but also to serve the surrounding area. Taking into consideration the fact that one day we may have a cottage hospital status, and considering the excellent facilities we have in Dawson City, this is a possibility that will get around some of the problems and fears I just alluded to.
In the interim, the suggestion made by many hon. Members today - to consult the Yukon Medical Association for new ideas to attract doctors to rural Yukon - is an excellent one. In supporting this motion, I expect this recommendation to be acted upon. Thank you.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As someone who, in an indirect way, knows a little bit about this question, I would not want this opportunity to pass without intervening for a couple of minutes.
The question before us is not a new one. In fact, it has been with us for a long time, and it is going to be with us for a long time. I doubt if the solutions are getting easier - in fact, I suspect they are not. There is a lot of evidence that I see that there is a decreasing willingness of physicians to locate in small communities, rather than an increasing willingness.
Many of the things that have been said today have been said before. I was reminded a moment ago by the Member for Klondike of the discussions that I heard in Dawson City, when we were sitting there last week, about the demand for an opening of the cottage hospital. Twenty years ago, when the hospital in Dawson City was closed, I remember my father was a doctor there at that time, and his being challenged by the health authorities of the day that no one would notice and no one would mind, and daring him to see if there would be anybody who would come out to a public meeting and protest. What in fact happened was that every single person in the community came to the meeting. They did not get their hospital, but they made sure that certain officials had a very, very unpleasant evening.
My father practiced medicine in small communities in the Yukon before Medicare. The Member for Mayo has indicated that people look askance when the doctor goes into the bar for a drink. I know my father used to occasionally go into the old Downtown Hotel for a drink. Unfortunately, he used to tell my mother he was going for one drink and, upon arriving at the door, he might get six or seven suddenly presented to him in lieu of payment for various services. He had a great deal of trouble explaining this to my mother and a great deal of trouble keeping the books straight with patients of this sort.
In those days, of course, it was quite common for mining companies everywhere to pay the salaries of doctors, or pay the substantial salaries of doctors, because there was no other way of getting doctors into even very small mining communities. The fact is - and I have talked with my father about this problem - there is a whole range of medical problems, even the kind of terrible emergencies that can happen at mines, spoken of by the Member for Mayo, that cannot adequately even, in this day and age, be dealt with by a doctor on site. Medical knowledge has become so sophisticated, and medical technology so highly advanced now, that there are a very large range of problems that require second opinions, referrals, and evacuation, not only to Whitehorse, but evacuation to southern centres.
The profession of medicine has changed in that period. Various Members have mentioned the reluctance of doctors to locate in small communities. That is a problem. It is a real problem. There is not only professional isolation, but a concern among physicians of their limited capacity to be able to deal with very, very serious problems, a very big emergency. And there is a lack of professional satisfaction and frustration of the prospect of having to be on call 24 hours a day, and, to be frank, very low income expectations under the existing Medicare arrangements. The number of patients they will see, compared with the kind of practice they could have in Whitehorse, is quite small. These are problems we must address.
The options to us are all of those that have been stated today. I have some anxiety about the idea of a split level fee system, a fee schedule for Whitehorse and a fee schedule for rural Yukon. It seems to me that even if that were negotiated that would be fraught with problems. There is some limit to the kind of subsidies that we can provide, but maybe, as some Members have suggested here, there may be some kind of arrangements between both the territory and the local entity, government or mine that may be made.
We will have to recognize, as well, that there are all sorts of medical problems, emergencies these days that can only be addressed by an adequate ambulance service or medivac service. We may have to explore the possibilities raised by the Member for Whitehorse South Centre and others, about nurse practitioners, or improving the level of skills of nurses in communities.
In any case, I would like to conclude by saying that I have given an undertaking in a rural community recently to join with the Minister of Health and Human Resources and meet with the Medical Association to discuss these a number of other issues. I intend to fulfill that undertaking in the very near future and I hope that we will be able to do something, although I am not optimistic that we will in this day and age find a final and perfect solution to this problem.
Mr Phelps: I want to briefly express my support for the motion as amended and thank all Members for the comments they have made. I cannot add anything to them. They have been extremely thorough. I will be very pleased to support the motion.
Mr. McLachlan: I find it interesting to note that we have an Economic Development Agreement with the federal government in the areas of mining, tourism and renewable resources. We have nothing in the area of providing medical doctors in the areas they are needed.
I have no problem with amending immigration regulations to make it more attractive for doctors to come from other areas of the world - frequently those are hot spots, Ireland and South Africa at the moment - as long as the two Ministers who suggested it realize they are not tampering with medical qualifications. I find that is one area the YMA very carefully guards.
I think that the Northwest Territories is miles ahead of this territory in the provision of medical services. One of the solutions for this territory is to have designated regional medical centres - north, south, east and west, and obviously one in the Member for Kluanes riding. The services should be protected and maintained and kept at a very high level in those areas.
I have seen situations in Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet that are far better than this territory has. The method the Minister has suggested in recently starting a regional review is one that may uncover some of these things. We are lagging behind the Territories and we can go a long way toward improving.
I am pleased with the sentiments expressed by all Members of the Legislature. Obviously it is one that is of much concern.
Motion No. 20 agreed to as amended
Speaker: The time being 5:30, I will now leave the Chair until 7:30 p.m. this evening.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
Hon. Mr. Porter: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chairman: The Committee of the Whole will now come to order.
We shall turn to Bill No. 70, Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 1988-89.
Bill No. 70: Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 1988-89
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As I stated in my remarks at second reading, the purpose of this Bill is to seek interim O&M appropriation authority for the month of April because the Main Estimates will not be approved by April 1, to state something which is I am sure perfectly obvious to everybody in the House. I also mentioned at second reading that the amounts being requested in the Bill are based on the 1988-89 O&M Mains, which have been presented, but as is usual with these interim supply bills the individual departmental requests do not necessarily equal one-twelfth of the Main Estimates amounts because the departments expenditure pattern is uneven on a month to month basis. One-twelfth of the Main Estimates is $16.8 million; the amount being requested in the Bill before the House is $21.3 million. The difference is largely accounted for by three departments: $3.1 million additionally in the Department of Community and Transportation Services and Members I am sure are all aware that a significant of municipal grants are paid out in April and this is the principal reason for the extra requirement beyond the one-twelfth portion for this department; over $700,000 in the Department of Government Services, in which the additional funds are required mainly for insurance premium payments made in April; and, $450,000 in the Department of Health and Human Resources, as this department makes a number of large grant payments in April and this explains their need for extra funds over and above a one-twelfth provision.
Beyond that, I am not sure that there is anything I can add by way of general comments. It will suffice to say that I am here to answer any questions Members may have.
Chairman: Is there any further general debate on Clause 1?
Mr. Lang: Is the $200,000 for the public inquiry that has been commissioned for the fuel prices review just strictly transferred to that inquiry, or is it allocated to any other department?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am not sure I understand the Members question. The expenses for the inquiry will be handled through the Department of Economic Development. There is a $1 vote normally carried in ECO. There will be a transfer through that.
In the supplementaries, there is $25,000, which is allocated in this fiscal year for that inquiry and $200,000 of extra money budgeted in this fiscal year. I am sure the Leader of the Official Opposition knows that, while we have an estimate of the cost of the inquiry, we cannot perfectly predict what the expense of the inquiry will be. I expect that when it finishes in a few months, we will have a supplementary either with money lapsing or with extra money to pay.
Chairman: Please turn to Schedule A.
On Schedule A
On Yukon Legislative Assembly
Mr. Lang: It is safe to say that we understand the intent of the bill, and I would deem that the Schedule has been read.
Chairman: Is there unanimous consent?
All Hon. Members: Agreed.
Schedule A agreed to
On Clause 1
On Clause 2
Clause 2 agreed to
On Clause 3
Clause 3 agreed to
Clause 1 agreed to
Title agreed to
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move that you report Bill No. 70, Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 1988-89 without amendment.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 10: Financial Agreement Act, 1988-90
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I expect that at the second reading I added little to what members already knew about formula financing. I would like to make a few short remarks at the opening of general debate on this bill because I think there may be some things I need to advise the House about, following which I will try to answer any questions.
The purpose of the bill, as mentioned in my comments at the second reading, is to permit the Commissioner and Executive Council to formalize an agreement with the federal government to extend, with several modifications, the existing formula financing arrangements for a further two years, to March 31, 1990. Of course, I am very pleased to be able to put this before the House and I am sure that all Members share these views. The formula financing arrangement is extremely important to the Yukon and despite the fact that our locally raised revenues are increasing at a rate in excess of the formulas provincial local escalator, formula financing is still the primary vehicle for financing the operations of our government. Our objectives in the negotiations leading to this formula were to maintain the basic integrity of the formula while keeping in mind that the federal government has a legitimate interest in the termination of our grant and cannot be expected to ignore its own financial situation, and of course to maintain the financial position of the Yukon Government. I think in these objectives we have been successful. I would like to take a moment to expand upon the changes to the agreement that I spoke of in my earlier comments at the second reading.
The several changes are technical in nature, but they are necessary to note. One relates to the line numbers in Statistics Canada publications to be accessed for the purposes of the provincial local escalator. This change is made because of format changes in the Statistics Canada publications. The formula requires adjustments to the grant to be made as more accurate information regarding our revenues becomes available. These adjustments have been made once per year in the past but will now be made once the information becomes available.
None of the modifications just mentioned has any significant potential for financial implications. The remaining change in the agreement is important from a constitutional point of view, in the sense that we are to be treated more closely to the manner in which the provinces are treated.
We have agreed to place a ceiling on the three year moving average of the provincial local escalator that is used to calculate the grant. The ceiling will be the change in the three year moving average of the nominal - in other words, including inflation - of the Canadian gross domestic product. The application of a ceiling is consistent with the practice under the equalization formula and, I think, is therefore a small step on the path to financial maturity.
I should point out, though, that the projections of the gross domestic product for 1988-89 and 1989-90 indicate that it will exceed the provincial local escalator by more than one percent in each year. Therefore, this change will be very unlikely to have any financial impact, but it is important from the point of view of financial responsibility. If the ceiling were to come into play, we will have to bear the consequences, as would any province under the equalization scheme.
Of course, the complexity of the formula and the interdependence of its many components become very apparent during the recent negotiations. In order to be in a position to examine the funding arrangements to be put in place by 1990 and before, both territories and the federal government have agreed to a comprehensive review of formula financing over the course of the next year and a half.
With the current extension, our basic funding is assured for the next two years. We will now be able to continue with the capital program and provide levels of service comparable to those provided in the south.
With that, I will answer any questions that Members may have about this Bill or the arrangements it refers to.
Mr. Phelps: I note with some interest the remarks of the Government Leader with respect to the financial agreement and this Bill. It was anticipated that the federal government would extend the agreement, which was negotiated in 1984-85 with the federal government, as there was that obligation placed upon them.
For the record, it is interesting that the changes to the agreement, and how it is going to operate, are very minor. The second change spoken to by the Minister tonight is one that could become a lost position for the territorial government, depending on the correctness of the predictions with respect to the nominal gross Canadian product, as opposed to the existing formula.
However, it would appear that we are relatively safe in that regard, although there is a bit of risk that the money flowing could be reduced because of that change. The good news is that we are treated more like a province; the bad news is that the provinces are not treated as well as they would like to be. That has to be pointed out.
I am pleased that the federal government has not let partisan politics affect the way in which it treats this jurisdiction and this important region of Canada. It reassures my faith in the democratic process that they are treating us fairly and not insisting on changes to the formula financing agreement that was negotiated in the days of Mr. Pearson and signed by our then MP, the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Nielsen.
Chairman: Any further general debate?
On Clause 1
Clause 1 agreed to
Title agreed to
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move that Bill No. 10, Financial Agreement Act, 1988-1990 be reported without amendment.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Porter: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
May the House have a report from the Chairman of the Committee of the Whole?
Mr. Webster: The Committee has considered Bill No. 70, Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 1988-89 and Bill No. 10, Financial Agreement Act, 1988-1990 and have directed me to report same without amendment.
Speaker: You have heard the report from the Chairman of the Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Bill No. 70: Third reading
Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 70, standing in the name of the hon. Mr. Penikett.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move that Bill No. 70, entitled Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 1988-89 be now read a third time and do pass.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government Leader that Bill No. 70, entitled Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 1988-89 be now read a third time and do pass.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: I declare that Bill No. 70 has passed this House.
Bill No. 10: Third reading
Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 10, standing in the name of the hon. Mr. Penikett.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move that Bill No. 10, entitled Financial Agreement Act, 1988-1990 be now read a third time and do pass.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government Leader that Bill No. 10, entitled Financial Agreement Act, 1988-1990 be now read a third time and do pass.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: I declare that Bill No. 10 has passed this House.
Pursuant to the direction given by the House on March 29, I will now call Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.
ADDRESS IN REPLY TO SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Clerk: Adjourned debate, the hon. Mrs. Joe.
Mr. Phelps: I have already thanked the Members with regard to what was said in Dawson and have enjoyed, since that time, reading the Votes and Proceedings and Hansard and the speeches given by all the Members with regard to the Speech from the Throne.
Normally, of course, I am one of the first to speak, and now I know what it is like to come along having read and listened to the speeches of others and find that most of the things that I was going to say have been said - and a couple of things that I would not have said were said. In fact, quite a few things that I would not have said were said, but, be that as it may, tomorrow we are moving ahead with debate on the main budget. I have decided that I will roll some of my thoughts that I might use tonight into that speech. That way the Members on the side opposite will only have to listen to the same speech once. Thank you.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Porter: I move that the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne be engrossed and presented to the Commissioner in his role as Lieutenant Governor.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader that the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne be engrossed and presented to the Commissioner in his role as Lieutenant Governor.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Porter: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.
The House adjourned at 7:53 p.m.
The following Sessional Papers were tabled March 30, 1988:
Report from Clerk of Assembly on deductions from indemnities of Members pursuant to subsection 39(6) of the Legislative Assembly Act (Speaker-Johnston)
Yukon Law Foundation Annual Report for Fiscal Year ending October 31st, 1987 (Kimmerly)
The following document was filed March 30, 1988:
News Release dated January 19, 1988 - Rural Banking Services Extended (Lang)