Whitehorse, Yukon

Wednesday, April 19, 1989 - 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.

Are there any Introduction of Visitors?


Hon. Ms. Joe: I would like to introduce to the House today some people in the gallery: Albert James, Rosemarie Blair-Smith, Sharon Jacobs and Linda MacDonald and Bob Coves. Welcome to the House.


Speaker: Are there any Returns or Documents for Tabling?


Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have a legislative return in answer to a question asked in Committee.

Hon. Ms. Joe: I have two legislative returns for tabling.

Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?


Introduction of Bills?

Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?

Notices of Motion?


Ms. Kassi: I give notice of the following motion

THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Government of Yukon should support the Assembly of First Nations of Canada in their struggle for reconsideration of the cutbacks in funding for Indian education;

THAT the most recent federal government cutbacks to funding for post-secondary education are yet another affront to the aboriginal peoples of Canada;

THAT education is regarded as an important route for aboriginal peoples to climb off the poverty cycle;

THAT cuts in funding for single parents will cause great hardship and a great number of people taking post-secondary education programs are in fact single parents;

THAT proposed changes do not reflect the needs of northern aboriginal peoples;

THAT access to post-secondary education is an aboriginal right and limiting funding for post-secondary education abrogates these rights;

THAT without access to post-secondary education, the aboriginal peoples of Canada are sentenced to a life of poverty in which their only support will be government social assistance programs; and

THAT the Government of Yukon should urge the federal government to re-establish full post-secondary education funding levels.

Speaker: Are there any Statements by Ministers?

This then brings us to the Question Period.


Question re: Operation Falcon

Mr. Phelps: I have some follow-up questions for the Minister of Justice regarding Operation Falcon and the motion about having an inquiry into that operation. That motion was passed in this House in December, 1987 and the motion was sent to the federal government in December, 1987 as well. Last week the new Minister of Justice said she would not do anything about holding an inquiry here until she hears from the federal government.

Has the Minister communicated with the federal government subsequent to this matter being raised in the House on April 11, 1989?

Hon. Ms. Joe: I have not communicated with the new Minister of Justice. He is aware of the motion and the questions in the House. Some information has been received with regard to the federal government looking at the matter and I have been advised that the federal Minister will make that information known to me very shortly.

Mr. Phelps: Can the Minister tell us how long she is willing to wait before she pushes this and we will have an inquiry into that operation?

Hon. Ms. Joe: One of the things we have been doing is trying to find out the extent of the cost. The information is that it is going to cause a great deal of financial difficulties, as well as difficulties in trying to subpoena some of those individuals to the Yukon. I will not make that big a financial commitment until I am sure that the federal government has reacted and at least given a response.

Mr. Phelps: I am worried that the longer it drags on the more it will cost. Will the Minister communicate with her counterpart in Ottawa and tell that Minister that if we do not hear from him in the affirmative about the federal government starting an inquiry by a certain date then we will initiate our own inquiry?

Hon. Ms. Joe: I am not entirely sure I could make a commitment for a certain date for an inquiry. I have just mentioned it is going to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. It could be in the range of $500,000, and that is a lot of money. I realize the seriousness of the situation. Right now, the federal government has the file, and it is being reviewed. I am expecting a response from the federal Minister.

Question re: Operation Falcon

Mr. Phelps: In December, 1987, why did the Minister and her colleagues not express this underlying concern about costs during debate on the motion? Why did they not use that as their excuse for not supporting it? They did support the amended motion.

Hon. Ms. Joe: The motion was much more complex than anybody realized. The Leader of the Official Opposition knows the extent of the cost of such an inquiry. That is something that has to be taken into consideration. I am still waiting for word from the federal Minister. I know the file is being reviewed. That is a fact. I could write him a letter asking him to speed things up because I would like to have an answer as soon as possible, but there is a lot of information that has to be gathered. The review is being done.

Mr. Phelps: There is no slight intended to the Minister personally. People do become cynical about due process of justice when all the Members in this House support a motion and then there seems to be a great reluctance to follow through.

On April 11, I asked the Minister a question about what kind of planning had been done by her department, aside from the costing. She was going to get back to me on that. Does the Minister have anything to report with regard to the planning the department has done about instituting the inquiry?

Hon. Ms. Joe: As I said before, we are in contact with people in Ottawa about this, and we are trying to gather the information we would need in order to determine what the costs might be. The cost is a very important thing. We have to know exactly how much that is going to be. We do not have $500,000 to throw around, although I have taken the motion very seriously and the concerns of the people involved.

Mr. Phelps: This is nothing personal to do with the Minister, but is she really saying that the government is going to use cost as an excuse to never launch an inquiry?

Hon. Ms. Joe: I did say that we have to take into consideration what the cost would be. I am also still waiting for word from the federal government. I have been informed that I will be getting a response from the Minister very shortly. When I get that response then I will know what he is saying.

Question re: Thomson inquiry

Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Minister of Justice also regarding a long outstanding issue. It is with respect to the Justice of the Peace who was fired because of his age. It has been many months now since this issue was discussed and there still remains the outstanding question of who was responsible for the dismissal of the Justice of the Peace. I would like to ask the Minister if the issue has been resolved yet; does she have a satisfactory answer regarding this issue?

Hon. Ms. Joe: I do not have a satisfactory response to date, but I understand there is also a great deal of difficulty in subpoenaing these individuals who might have to come back to the Yukon.

I keep hearing little echoes in the background, and I am not sure if they want to speak.

I do not have a satisfactory answer, but when I do, I will bring it back to the House.

Mrs. Firth: The Judicial Council was asking for subpoena powers. In light of what the Minister has said this afternoon, do I conclude that they were given subpoena powers when they were going to investigate this issue?

Hon. Ms. Joe: I do not think that that was the intention. As I understand it, they do not have subpoena powers at this time.

Mrs. Firth: The Minister should not use subpoena powers as an excuse in response to the question. If she does not know the answer, she should just tell us she does not know and she can bring the information back.

I would like to ask the Minister when she expects to hear from the council regarding this issue. I believe there is a report due. Has the report come, or is the Minister expecting that within the near future?

Hon. Ms. Joe: I am expecting the report; I do not have it yet. I have asked for it.

Question re: Thomson inquiry

Mrs. Firth: I would like to ask the Minister if she would be prepared to give a commitment that when she does get the report that it will be made available to the Members of the Legislative Assembly. I believe there was kind of a half-hearted commitment by the previous Minister, and I would like to know if that follows through with this Minister.

Hon. Ms. Joe: I would have to take that question as notice.

Question re: Petitioner, re Spirit Lake

Mr. Nordling: I have a question for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services. There has been an elderly gentleman picketing outside of this building for the past several months. My understanding is that he has been trying for a number of years to obtain a strip of land to expand his lot near Spirit Lake. I would like to know if the Minister has resolved the issue yet?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am familiar with the case, as the Member is fully aware. I have communicated with the gentleman. The most recent communication suggests a number of options for resolution and I expect to be meeting with the gentleman shortly.

I might raise the question: is the Member speaking as a Member of this Legislature or as the lawyer for the party in question?

Mr. Nordling: In answer to the Government Leader’s question, put through his Minister - he often gives instructions to his Minister and so I am sure that is his question - I am asking the question as a Member of the Legislative Assembly and not as the gentleman’s lawyer.

The last time I spoke to Mr. Oblak he was very pleased with Minister and with the fact that the Minister had written back to him. He was encouraged. I would like to ask the Minister if he expects that the issue can be resolved in the next few weeks?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I look forward to meeting with Mr. Oblak and we will be discussing the options that have been laid out. The Member is fully aware that there are a number of complications related to the case because it involves the jurisdiction of the federal government in land matters and it involves the rights and responsibilities of other property owners. I cannot advise the Member anything further other than to say that we have undertaken very seriously to look at the gentleman’s problem, and I will attempt to the best of my ability to resolve the issue.

Mr. Nordling: Has the Minister been in touch with the gentleman and has he set up a meeting, or would he like that done? I do speak with him from time to time and if the Minister would like I will ask him to contact the Minister to set up a personal meeting.

Hon. Mr. Byblow: It escapes me at this moment whether or not the meeting has actually been set up. I know that I had directed that it take place.

Question re: Skagway dock

Mr. Phillips: I have a question for the Government Leader regarding the Yukon government plans for the Skagway dock facilities. I understand the Government of Yukon has had several meetings with Alaskan officials regarding participation in a new dock at Skagway. A meeting was held in Juneau on March 20, 1989, where the future of the possible dock was discussed. Another meeting was set up for Whitehorse in April.

Can the Government Leader tell the House if the meeting that was set up for April has taken place?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: No.

Mr. Phillips: Can the Government Leader tell us when that meeting is to take place and what individuals or groups will be invited to that meeting?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I cannot answer either of the questions asked by the Member precisely yet. The meeting in Juneau was the first at which the Yukon Territory, State of Alaska and the Municipality of Skagway were all present to discuss their various interests. Some of the private interests in that community and in that facility were also present but not participants in that meeting. At this moment the City of Skagway is in a dialogue with the State about a proposal that the state development agency has for the development of that port. It is my understanding that following further informal communications between those two bodies and us there would either be a subsequent meeting here in Whitehorse or in Juneau. Although we have had recent correspondence about the general willingness of the parties to have such a meeting no date has been scheduled to my knowledge.

Mr. Phillips: There is an Alaskan law called the open meeting pact that provides that interested persons can observe or take part in a meeting held in Alaska. If the government moves the meeting to Whitehorse will they provide that same access to individuals who are extremely interested in attending the meeting either to observe or to take part?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: If we are having intergovernmental negotiations, that is not the Canadian tradition nor Canadian custom. I know that would not be the case. If we are having a general discussion about the particular port facility where it would be appropriate to involve the private interests, we would certainly be open to that suggestion.

Question re: Arts Canada North

Mr. Devries: My question is for the Minister of Education.

Last evening I attended a meeting of Arts Canada North. Since neither the Minister nor department staff were in attendance I would like to raise a few questions. If the sod is not turned this spring is the government withdrawing funding since the funding is budgeted for this year?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: I do not think it was ever intended that sod would be turned this spring. Firstly, the detailed design of the arts centre has not been initiated so I think it would be rather a difficult proposition for contractors to start construction immediately.

The Arts Canada North people have been informed that the $7 million commitment by the government is in effect. Should there be any change of plans with respect to the arts centre, such as the federal government not coming through with its commitment, and I understand that is the case, then the government will reassess the situation at that time. Since the meeting the Member mentioned, we have not had communications with Arts Canada North in written form, and I would be unable to comment on the government’s position until we have heard from them.

Mr. Devries: There were a lot of concerns raised concerning O&M once the facility is completed. Is the government making any commitments towards the Yukon Arts Centre once it is completed?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: As I indicated before, the basic O&M for the facility would be borne by the government. The street lights, water and sewer is a commitment that is on the table. Anything further to that, which might support the Arts Centre Corporation, such as who would manage the facility, would have to be a matter for negotiation and those negotiations have not been initiated.

Question re: Ta’an Gwich’in

Mr. Phelps: I have a question for the Government Leader relating to the Ta’an Gwich’in people of Lake Laberge. As the Government Leader is, I am sure, aware, these people are attempting at this time to re-establish their band as a separate band from the Kwanlin Dun. They have been doing a lot of work in this regard.

My question for the Government Leader is whether or not this government has taken an official position on this movement, and firstly, whether this government supports the Ta’an Gwich’in people as being recognized as a separate entity in land claims?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I appreciate the importance of the question posed by the Leader of the Official Opposition. I must be careful in my response. I do not know that we have had occasion as a government, and particularly as a Cabinet, to express an opinion as to the legitimacy of the Ta’an Dun to separate band status. We have of course observed the discussion between the band members and the Kwanlin Dun band members and the Department of Indian Affairs.

It may satisfy the Member to know that for all practical purposes in the land claims negotiations, we are assuming the existence of 13 bands, not 12, to date.

Mr. Phelps: I take it the thirteenth band will be the Ta’an Gwich’in. I am wondering whether or not the government has been doing anything in terms of communicating with the federal government in support of the band to acquire official band status under the federal jurisdiction.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I cannot say exactly what subliminal messages may have been conveyed at the land claims negotiating table but I can tell the Member that we have not been asked by the petitioners, neither band members nor the federal government, to take a position on this question, and I am not at all sure that the Ta’an Dun band members or Kwanlin Dun members would not take the position that it was none of our business.

Question re: Renewable Resources studies

Mr. Lang: I have a question for the Minister of Renewable Resources and it has to do with the various studies that have been undertaken in this past year, primarily wolf studies. In the Budget in this past year over $100,000 has been identified for such studies. I would like to ask the Minister if he could report today to the House the results of the studies that have been undertaken over the past year?

Hon. Mr. Webster: No, at this time I would not be able to report the results of those studies to the House, but I could make them available to the Member opposite as soon as they become available.

Mr. Lang: I take it that the studies were done primarily for game management in order to determine what steps would be taken if the predators outnumber the big game animals in the areas being studied.

When will the Minister and the government be in a position to announce what steps will be taken in those areas that are in need of some sort of predator control program?

Hon. Mr. Webster: I would think that, sometime this spring, the information would be available to the department. It will then be submitted to Cabinet for review and assessment of a logical program.

Mr. Lang: We look forward to that. Since the results of the study will be made available to me, I am assuming they will also be made available to the public. Is that correct?

Hon. Mr. Webster: I will have to take that question under advisement.

Question re: Kluane Park, photo shoot

Mr. Brewster: In the contracts tabled in the Legislature, I noticed a contract entitled “Photo Shoot Kluane Lake Park”. Could the Minister of Renewable Resources and Tourism please tell me where this new park is?

Hon. Mr. Webster: I am not familiar with the contract, but I would hope it is a mistake in the listing of the contracts that were awarded last year. Perhaps it is just Kluane Park.

Mr. Brewster: At least the Minister is admitting the government makes mistakes. Can the Minister assure me there is not a new park being put around Kluane Lake?

Hon. Mr. Webster: I would be the first to admit that the government does, on occasion, make mistakes. I can assure the Member there are no plans afoot to create a new park.

Mr. Brewster: Has the National Parks ever approached this government to take over the rest of the Kluane Game Sanctuary and put it into the national park?

Hon. Mr. Webster: Not to my knowledge, but I will research that question and come back with an answer for the Member.

Question re: Judges’ salaries

Mrs. Firth: The present process for reviewing the judges’ salaries is an annual negotiation between the Minister of Justice and the chief judge. There has been some concern expressed about the practicality of this legislative situation. Does the Minister intend to change this process?

Hon. Ms. Joe: There have been discussions in regard to the way in which salaries are reviewed. It is under discussion right now.

Mrs. Firth: With whom is it under discussion? Is it the Judicial Council or the chief judge who is involved in the discussions?

Hon. Ms. Joe: I have talked to the chief judge about it. I am not about to say what those discussions entailed, but I have been in discussion with him and a number of other people.

Mrs. Firth: I am not asking for the details of the discussion; I am simply asking who was involved in the discussion. I would like to know if it involved the Judicial Council, the chief judge, the Minister? I would like to know who is involved and who is going to make the final decision. Is the Minister going to make the decision on her own, or is it going to be a recommendation that comes from the Judicial Council, if it is consulted?

Hon. Ms. Joe: We are in the beginning stages of these discussions in regard to how the judges’ salaries are determined and who determines them. My discussions have been with the chief judge.

Question re: Judges’ salaries

Mrs. Firth: If I could just follow up on this issue regarding the review of the judges’ salaries, has the Minister asked the Judicial Council specifically to review that process and bring recommendations forward to her?

Hon. Ms. Joe: I have not done that. I have not asked it to bring recommendations to me. As I have said, we are in the beginning of our discussions.

Mrs. Firth: Is the Minister going to ask the Judicial Council to look at that?

Hon. Ms. Joe: It is a bit difficult for me to answer her questions because there has not been a lot of time to sit down and have very serious discussions with regard to that. When we come to an agreement of some kind, then that will be known.

Mrs. Firth: I am just trying to establish the Minister’s policy and see if she is giving direction. I am simply asking her: is it going to be her intention to ask the Judicial Council to review this process? It is a very serious matter. It is going to require legislative changes to the Territorial Court Act, and I feel that perhaps the council should be consulted in this matter. Is that going to be her policy also?

Hon. Ms. Joe: The Judicial Council is being consulted through my process of discussions with the chief judge. That is what is taking place right now. I realize that if changes are made they would entail a legislative change. Certain things are being taken into consideration and consultations, of course, are through the chief judge.

Question re: Capital city commission

Mr. Nordling: I have a question to the Government Leader. The Throne Speech mentions that this government is going to work on setting up a capital city commission. The Government Leader has recently discussed this in the media. Have any meetings taken place as yet with other levels of government, business, or community groups on when the commission will be set up? Will the Member answer this question as a former night clerk or as a Member of this Legislative Assembly?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: With respect to the Member, I will answer the question as the Minister responsible. The capital city commission is under the responsibility of Community and Transportation Services as the lead department. As the Member knows, a proposal has gone forward to the city. At this point in time we are waiting for the official response from the city. It was touched on briefly at the last meeting that I had with city council and I expect that once a formal response on the various options is received from the city, we will proceed with an evaluation and will go ahead from there.

Mr. Nordling: Is the Minister saying that it is possible that we may not have a capital city commission or is it a commitment of this government that we do have one?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: The commitment is that we do try to establish one. We have put forward several options of how that commission should be structured. We are awaiting the City of Whitehorse’s response, telling us its preference of the options. It is our intention to proceed to the establishment of a capital city commission.

Mr. Nordling: In the Throne Speech, the government assigns the commission its first task and that is to oversee the development of the waterfront. I would like to know how much independence this commission will have from the government?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: As the Member is aware, at the same time that we are proposing to set up the capital city commission, we are also involved in some preliminary stages of preparation for waterfront development. I expect that once the commission is established that it will assume the responsibility for the waterfront development, and that will simply take place.

Question re: Tool shed demonstration project

Mr. Phillips: I have a question for the Minister responsible for the most famous tool shed in the Yukon, the one that is sitting out beside the government building here and has been for a month or more now. I understand from the Minister’s statements last night that the shed was going to go down the road today. Obviously, somebody has gone down the road, but it was not the shed. It is still sitting there. Last night he told us the actual cost of the shed was not $15,000, it was $11,000. I would like to ask the Minister if the products used in that shed were products that were obtained from the Hyland Forest Products mill in Watson Lake?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: It is my understanding that the products were obtained from sawmills in the immediate area of Whitehorse.

Mr. Phillips: There were no products obtained from the Watson Lake sawmill in the construction of that building?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: Not to my knowledge.

Mr. Phillips: When will the actual date be when this building is going to make its trek from here to wherever it ends up?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: As I pointed out to the Members yesterday, the facility is going to be used for storage. At the same time, it can be fully monitored for its original purpose, which was to demonstrate local products and be tested on how they stand up to various conditions in the Yukon. Now that the facility is clearly destined for a purpose within Government Services, it will be moved this week to the Marwell area.

Question re: Tourism marketing courses, Yukon College

Mr. Devries: I have a question for the Minister of Education. With tourism being a major industry in the Yukon, I find it rather disturbing that Yukon College does not offer any courses directed toward tourism advertising and marketing and the promotion of this viable industry. Does Yukon College have any plans to do more to train Yukoners to fill those important areas in our economy in the near future?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: It was precisely because the government considered the tourism industry to be of such significant value to the territory that a tourism program was arranged between the Yukon College and the Tourism Industry Association to ensure the training was appropriate to the needs of the industry and could enhance a very valuable industry.

The Yukon College has been involved in not only establishing directly related tourism courses at the college but, also, courses that are peripheral but of importance to the tourism industry. I suspect those initiatives will continue. The discussions we have had so far indicate there are some useful projects that can be undertaken between the college, as a delivery agent, and the tourism industry, and those will be pursued.

Mr. Devries: I picked up a calendar yesterday, and I could not find anything directed toward advertising and marketing in it. I do not feel the advertising and marketing that is done down south particularly applies to northern marketing, as it is a different system. Do we have any programs specifically directed toward advertising and marketing in northern tourism?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: This is the first I have heard of a request for tourism marketing, per se. I would suspect the clientele would be rather small. However, if the tourism industry regarded the undertaking of an advertising course as being a high priority, then that would be considered by the college. I would ensure the appropriate analysis was done. To my knowledge, no member of the industry has approached me or my office to indicate the desire for tourism marketing courses.

Question re: Wildlife Management Board

Mr. Lang: Over a month ago, I had the opportunity to attend a Wildlife Management Board public meeting. Quite a number of significant recommendations were discussed by the board at that time. My understanding is that the board gave to the Minister of Renewable Resources its recommended changes to the regulations.

Have the regulations been changed? If so, has that been done by Cabinet?

Hon. Mr. Webster: No, those regulations have not been considered by Cabinet yet.

Mr. Lang: The concern that was expressed to me was that time is passing us by, and people planning spring bear hunts, as well as outfitters who are planning for this fall season, are looking to see if there are going to be any significant changes from last year in order to plan accordingly. Why is it taking so long to make decisions, in view of the fact that the recommendations were sent to the Minister some time ago?

Hon. Mr. Webster: There seems to be some confusion over the recommendations concerning the matter he has raised, that being bear quotas. The matter was raised at the Yukon Outfitters Association annual general meeting two weeks ago and, again, at a meeting last week between the Outfitters Association and officials of my department. Some progress was made on the matter and, from that meeting, some recommendations will be coming forth in time for this year’s hunt.

Mr. Lang: I am not trying to be difficult. Time is passing and there are private hunters who are concerned as well. If there are going to be changes, they would like to know what they are so they can make plans accordingly, whether it be in the spring or in the fall. When are the decisions going to be made, and when are they going to be made public?

Hon. Mr. Webster: I cannot make a definite commitment but I would like to have the matter settled within the next two weeks.

Speaker: Time for Question Period has now lapsed we will now proceed with the Orders of the Day.


Mr. Phillips: Based on an agreement between the House Leaders I would request unanimous consent of the House to proceed directly into Motions Other Than Government Motions rather than calling for Motions for the Production of Papers. I would also request the unanimous consent of the House for motions to be called in the following order: Item No. 16, Motion No. 37; Item No. 15, Motion No. 36; Item No. 12, Motion No. 32; Item No. 13, Motion No. 34; Item No. 9, Motion No. 29.

I would note that it is understood that we will proceed to Bills Other Than Government Bills at either 4:30 or at the conclusion of the consideration of Motion No. 29 on the Order Paper, whichever is earlier.

Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?

All Members: Yes.

Speaker: There is unanimous consent.


Motion No. 37

Clerk: Item No. 16 standing in the name of Mr. Devries.

Speaker: Is the hon. Member prepared to proceed with Item No. 16?

Mr. Devries: Yes, I am Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Member for Watson Lake

THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Government of Yukon should implement the Deloitte Haskins and Sells Report, Viability Assessment Section, regarding the use of Yukon Pacific waste products to generate power for the southern Yukon and that small electrification projects throughout the Yukon should be encouraged with technical assistance and low interest loans.

Mr. Devries: I appreciate the opportunity to rise to this motion. For clarification of those who are not aware of it, the Deloitte Haskins and Sells Report was a viability study done for the Yukon government when it was considering the purchase of Cattermole Timber in Watson Lake. One of the things that this report indicated was that there are alternate ways to provide power to the mill. The approach I am talking about here would be the base case, which suggests the sale of accessed power to a local utility company to help offset the cost of operating the power plant. This is actually the only case where there was a handsome profit figure shown in the sawmill operation. I realize that the government no longer owns the mill, but it has retained a 15 percent share and is financing the majority of the operation through YDC, so it still would be in their interest to make sure the new company is viable and profitable.

It is a little difficult to speak to this not knowing the fine print involved in the deal. I can only hope that the government may enlighten us on whether it is still feasible or being considered.

Watson Lake appreciates the recent reduction in power rates, but it has a concern. With fuel prices being so volatile, it is important to develop an alternate source of energy to maintain a more stable economic base in that community.

Watson Lake does not like to see the smoke and ash from the burner adding to the greenhouse effect. The potential exists for the utilization of this wasted heat to produce power. It can be done through private enterprise and would eliminate the need to run both the diesel plant and boiler in tandem and thereby reduce emissions being expelled into the atmosphere.

If the company, Yukon Pacific, along with government approval, indicates that it is still considering the sale of excess power to Yukon Electric, it would help promote Yukon Pacific’s image of being a good corporate citizen and show people that it has serious environmental concerns high on its priority list.

There are some new innovative ideas floating around Watson Lake regarding the forest industry. One of the requirements will be a reasonably priced power source. I realize the governent is already contributing towards the Alternate Energy Program. The second portion of this motion gives the government the opportunity to show the public that it is  truly committed to finding and promoting alternate energy sources.

Once the hydro sites are developed, they will give the highway lodges, mining camps and other isolated sites across the territory access to much needed power. Having access to this clean power, it will no longer be necessary to keep huge volumes of fuel in tanks often stored near rivers and lakes waiting for an accident to happen.

When the tourists stop at the lodges, they will be able to experience the quiet of the forests and the roar of the rivers as opposed to the rat-tat-tat of the diesel power plants. The lodges will have access to the cash they usually spend on power for much needed upgrading and maintenance of the facilities.

It is, without question, important that the hydro installation be done in an environmentally sound manner. We must ensure that adequate spillages, capable of handling fish migration, are installed where necessary.

Watson Lake takes pride in its resources. One of these is the potential for an alternate energy source development. Let us not let Watson Lakers and other potential developers down. Vote “agreed” for a safe, clean and affordable power source. Vote “agreed” for economic expansion for both tourism and mining.

I am prepared to accept the following friendly amendment to my motion: that after the words, “Government of Yukon”, we should add the words, “encourage Yukon Pacific to...”, so it would read “THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Government of Yukon should encourage Yukon Pacific to implement the Deloitte Haskins and Sells Report”.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am pleased to debate the motion before us. I take it that we do not have a formal amendment before us and are debating the main motion. Like the Member who moved the motion and who just spoke, I think there is some problem with wording of the motion as it is before us.

I want to take the intent of the motion seriously. I believe the intent is to discuss ultimate energy proposals, including the initiatives that have been proposed for Watson Lake and, as the second part the proposed motion addresses alternate electrical energy projects throughout the territory, not just in Watson Lake. I will have an amendment to propose, without substantially altering the intent of the motion - I think, to improve the wording.

Firstly, I want to tell you what wonderful irony it is for me in the second half of this sitting, to be rising to speak again to the recommendations of a certain consulting firm, after having, for several weeks, been abused in this House for acting upon recommendations of the same firm and the same report. Nonetheless, as the Member opposite is probably aware, the 15 percent share the Yukon Development Corporation now owns of the mill in Watson Lake, which will shortly devolve to the employees, does not put us in a position to make management decisions for that company.

Amendment proposed

Accordingly, I would like to move

THAT Motion No. 37 be amended by deleting all the words after the words “Government of Yukon” and substituting for them the following:

“Should continue to promote energy conservation and alternative energy projects such as the use of waste products to generate power and the development of small electrification projects; and

THAT the government should continue to give consideration to the methods, such as provision of low-interest loans and technical assistance, by which such activities should be promoted."

Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government Leader

THAT Motion No. 37 be amended by deleting all the words after the words “Government of Yukon” and substituting for them the following:

“Should continue to promote energy conservation and alternative energy projects such as the use of waste products to generate power and the development of small electrification projects; and,

THAT the Government should continue to give consideration to the methods, such as provision of low interest loans and technical assistance, by which such activities should be promoted."

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am sure that Members who have been in the House for some time will be aware that for several years, through the Government of Yukon’s energy branch and the Department of Economic Development and, more recently, through the Yukon Energy Corporation, we have been encouraging in a number of significant ways the development of affordable and reliable energy alternatives throughout the territory.

The reason this has been such a central policy consideration for us is the fact that the Yukon economy and society is remarkably dependent upon imported energy. We are a small community, in terms of our population, in a very large piece of geography. We have a very extensive road system. We live in one of the colder climates on the continent. The cost of energy for each household, for each business in this territory is very very high. The cost of importing energy makes the Yukon economy extremely vulnerable to changes in energy markets, to changes in energy prices, and indeed, oil price shocks.

Members know that initiatives that we have taken, not only to lower power rates but to pursue energy alternatives, have been a very important part of this government’s program in the last four years. Indeed, the fact in recent months that we had a fuel price inquiry was driven, in part, by questions asked by all three parties in this House, including the Member for Riverdale North, about the time when fossil fuel prices were dropping on the continent but the savings were not being passed on to local consumers in this community.

The cost and availability of energy is absolutely critical to life and to the economy in this society. The fact that it was costing us, in 1985, an incredible amount of money every day for imported fuel, was also something that was, in many ways, crippling our development. When we looked at some figures in 1985, we discovered that if you put a dollar into the Yukon economy, almost 25 cents was instantly flowing south for imported fuel. That kind of hemorrhage, that kind of leakage in our economy, made sustainable development extremely difficult to achieve.

As Members will know, the Yukon Economic Strategy and a number of other documents, including the Yukon Conservation Strategy, and indeed this House, have spoken to the wisdom of sustainable development strategies. It is also true that the rising consciousness of people in the western world about matters of conservation and the environment has caused them to think again about the wisdom of burning fossil fuels in the way that we do. For the dozen or so communities in the Yukon Territory - small communities in which people live far apart - there probably are not that many transportation options other than cars, so it in inevitable that we, as individuals and as households and as businesses, will spend a lot more money than perhaps our counterparts in southern Canada on fossil fuels for transportation.

Even here there are opportunities for conservation and many organizations and individuals in recent years have been purchasing smaller vehicles or more energy-efficient vehicles in an attempt to achieve some fuel savings and to, in fact, make a personal statements toward limiting the impact on the environment.

I was at a conference of energy ministers last summer where we were told by a very well established Canadian consultant that there was a report soon to appear, which indicates that the average automobile produces every year its own weight in carbon dioxide emissions. That is quite a dramatic finding and indicates the kind of impact on the environment that the gasoline-burning vehicles we all depend on has.

The initiatives that we have taken to try to reduce the cost of electricity to homes and businesses recently, since the acquisition of NCPC by the Yukon Energy Corporation, are, of course, a matter of record. We have not left it at that. The cutting of rates for electrical use throughout the territory is well known. This month, the rate reductions came into effect throughout the territory and that is part of our continuing effort to reduce the cost of energy and the securing of long-term, low-cost hydro power.

Members will be pleased to know, I am sure, that the energy corporation is, at this point, in association with its manager and with its consultants, investigating the hydro potential of various locations throughout the Yukon Territory, and I might say, specifically, sites that may be developed in the Watson Lake area. All these investigations and developments must, of course, be appraised on the basis of their affordability, reliability and, of course, they must be environmentally appropriate. We are anticipating, of course, that we will have a final settlement of land claims before we have a major hydro project proceed in the territory.

We have, indeed, been developing a long-range energy plan for the territory. We did eliminate, to produce some savings and an incentive to people operating, particularly in the renewable resources sector as well as the mining sector, the off-road fuel taxes very early in our administration.

I think it is also important to note that the energy branch in the Yukon government - a small branch but one that has, I think, done some very important work - has a number of programs. The Yukon Energy Alternatives Program and internal management projects have done a lot to encourage the development of local energy resources, including coal, wood fuels, oil and gas and geothermal energy, and there are also a variety of district heating projects that are in place or being assessed.

As well, there is the Yukon Economic Strategy, which addresses what steps we can be taking on the energy front there.

We are, at this moment, encouraging development of small electrification projects throughout the Yukon where they are technically viable and cost effective. The Energy Alternatives Program provides financial assistance, nonrepayable contributions toward studies to determine the viability of projects and, as this motion addresses, has already in place low-interest loans to assist with the implementation of viable projects.

The energy branch has been involved in several projects. Funding was approved for a project to examine the heat recovery possibility from the Watson Lake diesel generators - the Department of Education, the Town of Watson Lake and Energy, Mines and Resources were involved in this project - it was put on hold at the point when the Development Corporation was pursuing the idea of connecting the wood-waste fired generators at the mill to provide local electricity. That is a matter of record.

Members know from discussions in the House that a wide variety of projects have been examined, including the possibility of wind power in the Destruction Bay area. There was originally a study in the 1980s that was commissioned by Canada that showed that a 50 kilowatt wind generator would not be economic. Government Services subsequently studied the possibility of smaller-sized wind generators. Unfortunately the viability and reliability of that alternative compared to diesel power is not yet demonstrated.

Members will also know that we have commissioned a study by a company called New ERA Engineering for the installation of a micro hydro project at one of our highway camps. This was the idea of having a private contractor build and operate a small, water-driven generator to sell power to this highway camp, a customer that would demand and require power year round. If this project proves successful, it will be proceeding this summer.

We have funded proposals for a district heating plant by the Champagne-Aishihik Band in the community of Haines Junction. The idea is for a wood-fired heating plant for the seven-unit elders complex and community centre. That is now under construction. The study for the plant and the construction was funded by the territorial government through the Yukon Energy Alternatives Program that I described earlier that provides funding not only for feasibility but also low-interest loans.

The Mayo geothermal unit is a project where the village is reconstructing a district heating plant for some buildings and heat to keep the water supply from freezing. Again, the funding came from the Yukon government and the Government of Canada through the Department of Energy, Mines & Resources.

The potential for district heating, again an energy alternative, has been examined for Watson Lake and the results of that are now being studied.

I understand there is also at least one other highway camp where the feasibility of a micro-hydro project is being assessed.

We have a district heating project involving the law centre downtown and a local hotel. I understand that service could commence shortly. We have looked at other district heating projects in communities as far away as Faro.

I want to take the time to outline these projects because we do, as a government, recognize the burden to Yukoners of high energy expenditures. We also recognize the environmental wisdom of finding alternatives to the burning of fossil fuels, or at least the appropriateness of trying to conserve energy, or through energy conservation techniques, reducing the unnecessary consumption of fossil fuels where possible.

We are currently assisting in improving the energy efficiency in residential, commercial and other buildings through the SEAL program and through our own internal energy management program in this government. The roof on this building was reinsulated in the last several months, and that has made quite a significant impact on fuel consumption.

The SEAL program was initially introduced in this House by the former Member for Tatchun, Mr. Tracey, during his days as the responsible Minister.

Excuse me, Mr. Speaker, I have erred. I could have sworn it was the Member for Tatchun who introduced that bill but, in fact, it was another Member whom I am not permitted to name, because that would be a violation of the rules. I understand he represents a suburban Whitehorse constituency and is still present. I love and admire the people of Porter Creek East, but I continue to be puzzled by their political judgment. They do indeed know what is right, and they could not have anybody more right than the Member who now occupies the seat, and has occupied the seat forever, it seems.

To continue with my discussion of the SEAL program, as excellent as the program was, it was clear that, in order to really promote energy conservation and the kind of retrofitting that is necessary to avoid energy wastage, the SEAL program had to be expanded so it was available to commercial buildings. The scope of the program was quite substantially expanded by this government and by this Minister. When the Member for Porter Creek East rises to his feet, I am sure he would want to pay compliments to the Member for Whitehorse West, who took this important initiative during his time as the Minister responsible for the department.

The long-term importance of not only energy conservation but, also, energy alternatives, is important to us. It is important to Watson Lake; it is important to Dawson; it is important to Faro; it is important to Haines Junction, and to every community where we have initiatives going on that have been funded by this government, and they will continue. We have made commitments in our efforts to negotiate a Northern Accord. We made commitments in the adoption of the Yukon Economic Strategy. We made commitments to cleaner air and better energy consumption in the funding assistance we provided to the City of Whitehorse in its woodsmoke control program. We have continued to work with and encourage the federal government in its energy-related programs.

The study referred to by the Member in the original motion was tabled in this House in January 1987. As I have been reminded many times in the last few weeks, it declared that the Watson Lake sawmill was viable, that it could not possibly lose more than $18,000 in its first year of operations, and that the power sales were going to bring in $500,000 in the first year.

As we noted after the first year of operations, the absence of power sales was a major contributing factor. The reason that we could not produce power for sale was because the plant took much longer to recondition than our consultants had anticipated.

As I mentioned at the beginning of my remarks, the power plant and the waste product, the fuel, are now the property of a private company. We are prepared to encourage them to continue to look to utilizing the surplus power from the mill for the benefit of the people. We are quite happy to work with Yukon Electrical, which have the franchise to distribute power in Watson Lake, to achieve this end. We will continue to make available the programs of the Department of Economic Development and the good offices of the much abused Yukon Energy Corporation to achieve this end for the continuing benefit of the people of Watson Lake, because we believe in energy conservation, in developing energy alternatives and, need we say it again, we believe in Watson Lake.

Mr. Lang: As a Member of this House who is not only the Member for Porter Creek East, but one who also recognizes the responsibility of each MLA for all areas of the Yukon, I want to speak specifically of the community of Watson Lake. I perhaps have closer ties to that community than some Members in this House for one reason or another. Also, it is an area that sometimes seems to be forgotten due to its location right next to the British Columbia border.

I want to begin by commending my colleague, the Member for Watson Lake, who took it upon himself to bring a motion forward that would force the government to deal with the issue of alternate energy sources for that particular community. It has been a continuous battle for those people, both residents and businesses, to be able to meet their daily expenses as well as pay their monthly electricity bills.

I want to say that I give the government credit for the rate equalization move that was made as of April 1. I would say that it was not the largesse of the Government of Yukon that permitted the Yukon Energy Corporation to do that,  it was part of the transfer arrangement of NCPC that effectively had some of those debts written off, which gave them excess funds with which to implement such a program. I think credit should be given where credit is due, but the historic ramifications of these particular moves must be explained. I would also give the Government of Canada credit for the transfer of NCPC and the writing off of the debts. They should be recognized because they were prepared to do that as part of the transfer although the Government Leader conveniently forgets to mention that when he talks about his largesse and his ability to cope with the financial ramifications of various moves made.

I see the Government Leader saying that he mentioned the Government of Canada three times, but he does not mention the Government of Canada when he speaks of rate equalization. The reason he is able to put rate equalization into play is because of the largesse of the Government of Canada. We cannot argue facts. That is true.

I want to make a point. It is an overview. I realize that the government has made some moves in the area of alternate energy uses. I commend the government in respect to some of the steps that were taken with respect to reinsulation of buildings and such things. The SEAL program, which the Minister spoke of earlier, has, to some degree, been successful. But there is also an overview of the territory that has to be taken into account.

I want to express my disappointment. In the past four years, the Government of Yukon has spent over a billion dollars. That is a “b” for billion, not million. The only substantive project undertaken in the area of electrical generation was the refurbishing of the Mayo dam, which was announced some six months ago. I feel that we, in this House, have been derelict in our duties when all we can talk about is a number of government facilities and not being able to speak in broader terms with respect to what we can do for communities such as Dawson City or Watson Lake. These communities are presently being served by fossil fuels. We can talk about all the studies in the world, but the fact is that it is there.

A motion has been brought forward by the Member for Watson Lake in reference to the Deloitte Haskins and Sells study that was done in December of 1986. A major recommendation in that particular executive summary was number 4 on page 5: The sale of electricity at realistic but competitive rates. The sale of electricity would also provide a stabilizing cash flow that would assist the company to ride temporary market price fluctuations or adverse operational circumstances.

This was not done in respect to Hyland Forest Products. Why was it not done? The Government Leader said he just explained it. He did not explain it to my satisfaction. That should have been one of the highest priorities within that operation in order to see that it would be successful. We may not have been in the situation where we are discussing a $6 million deficit.

The concern that we have on this side of the House is that the amendment is too general. Anyone reading it could not discuss or debate it, as all they would be talking about would be apple pie and motherhood.

We want to ensure that the motion we pass today deals with the issue embodied in the main motion, that being the question of the Yukon Pacific and the use of the waste heat from that particular mill. The other variable here is the fact that the plans are now going to the point where we are going to do five times the volume through that particular plant. You can see that there is going to be that much more waste that could be utilized if properly managed.

In order to go along with the spirit of cooperation exhibited by the Government Leader, I would like to propose an amendment to the amendment.

Subamendment proposed

Mr. Lang:  THAT the amendment to Motion No. 37 be amended by deleting the expression “such as the use of waste products to generate power” and by substituting for it “through encouraging companies such as Yukon Pacific to use waste products to generate power”.

Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Member for Whitehorse Porter Creek East

THAT the amendment to Motion No. 37 be amended by deleting the expression “such as the use of waste products to generate power” and by substituting for it the expression “through encouraging companies such as Yukon Pacific to use waste products to generate power”.

Mr. Lang: I support a friendly amendment to the amendment. We wanted to ensure that the essence of the motion passed through this House did not lose the major intent of the motion, and that was to specifically refer to the situation in Watson Lake. We feel that this amendment to the amendment will reflect, at least in part, the intent of the MLA from Watson Lake in his genuine concern that steps be taken to ensure that, if possible, the waste being generated through the running of the mill can be used to generate power in that community. That would make it a very much more financially-viable operation. This relates to the viability study that the government presented to us as the basis of the investment that the government initially made in Hyland Forest Products. Although some things may have changed, if we are, as I said earlier, going to expand the mill, then it may be that much more viable and can be supported within the community. I hope that the government sees fit to support Watson Lake in the manner that they would like to, and I would to say that we view it as a friendly amendment, and we are looking forward to their support.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: My colleagues may want to speak to the amendment, so I will not commit myself to it. It seems, at first blush, a somewhat poorly-worded amendment if it wishes to achieve the objective of the Member opposite. The specific proposal here is that instead of having a general proposition that would deal with multi-energy projects, such as the use of waste products to generate power, including such worthy initiatives as the one at the Yukon College, which can burn waste wood, and other projects that we have going on around the territory that have the public sector burning wood, the proposal by the Member for Porter Creek East is that we would only encourage companies, such as Yukon Pacific - not in fact the public sector or Yukon College or other people. The other problem I have with the particular text...

An hon. Member: (Inaudible.)

Hon. Mr. Penikett: ... Now the Member for Riverdale North is talking about a hydro project in Watson Lake.

The other problem that I see with the text of this motion is that it refers about using waste products to generate power, which of course this mill I am sure is going to be doing for the foreseeable future, if not longer. The point is that we are talking about generating surplus power, which I understand is the real purpose of the Member’s motion.

The Member claimed that he did not have an adequate explanation of why we were not producing $500,000 worth of power. I did explain that. If the mill has a greatly increased capacity it will be interesting to know how much surplus power will be available, and that is something that we are not in a position to determine at this moment. Those are just some comments on the Member’s sub-amendment.

It is a poorly worded amendment, but we will accept the spirit in which it is moved and support it.

Amendment to the amendment agreed to

Speaker: Is there any further debate on the amendment to the motion?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: The amendment to the motion before us, as amended the third time, is a little disappointing, even though I think we have shown great largesse in considering the spirit in which it was moved. We are assuming it was friendly.

To reiterate what the Government Leader had to say with respect to the potential for the generation of power by groups or organizations other than private companies, there are some interesting projects that are being pursued now. For example, Yukon College has a boiler that can burn a variety of fuels such as waste wood, garbage and other things. In many respects, this is a model of the sort of power plant that is the wave of the future. In the decision making that went into developing this power plant, thought was given to adhering to the principles of energy conservation and the search for alternative energy systems, as well as serious consideration for the development of a plant that could be used as a training centre for people who would require some understanding and training in managing plants of that sort.

There are some rather remarkable public sector projects that have been sponsored in the last while. I would hate to think that the amendment to the amendment was done to consider the exclusion of those projects in the future. That is a whole field of endeavour that should be encouraged as well as that support we can provide to private companies who might want to achieve the same goals.

I am happy about the general nature of the proposed amendment, even with the specific citation of Yukon Pacific, because I believe there are many exciting things currently happening in the territory that we should note. The Government Leader has taken note of some of them, but there are a number of other points I would like to make at this time, which I think will add something useful to the debate.

All three Members who have spoken have referred to the dependency the Yukon has on imported energy, and they have spoken of the vulnerability of Yukoners, businesses, governments, and individuals alike to the decision-making that may be made elsewhere with respect to fuel prices, the transportation of fuels, and the kinds of fuels that will be available to people in the Yukon.

One of the first tasks the new government undertook in 1985, and one of the efforts I was personally involved in, was to encourage better transportation routes to the Yukon. This effort was to encourage a more competitive transportation environment to ensure that fuel we sought elsewhere was coming to the Yukon in the most cost-effective way possible. From that point onward, the government has been making great effort to encourage the development of alternative energy supply and, also, the more efficient use of the energy plans we currently have, in order to ensure that a most cost-effective and efficient supply is provided to Yukoners.

I think it is illustrative to discuss Elsa once again. It is important to remember that a community like Elsa, which has been the backbone of the territorial economy for well nigh a half century now, has been quite dependent upon efficient, low-cost energy. In the past, it has even financially contributed to energy projects that were quite novel in their day, in particular the Mayo Dam and hydro-generation on the Mayo River. The costs associated with keeping that community alive, and the costs associated with ensuring that community could provide a significant contribution to the territorial economy, were significant in terms of power.

For example, it is important to note that when the Husky southwest hoist starts up, it uses as much power as the entire community of Teslin or Mayo. When the mill starts up, it uses as much hydro power as the city of Dawson. The mining industry has great dependency on affordable power, and it is absolutely essential that energy alternatives are considered in order to encourage the mining industry to continue to provide the necessary wealthy economy on which we all depend.

This subject matter could be the basis for very long discussions with respect to determining more efficient uses of power and the development of new energy alternatives, whether it be wind generation, microhydro installations, or the more efficient use of diesel generating stations and waste heat from those generators.

The remarks made by the Member for Porter Creek East, with respect to what the government has done, were slightly understated. From his perspective, I take it he is not one to give the government too much credit in recognizing the significant efforts the government has undertaken. His remarks, and those of others, illustrate that the proper direction has been and is currently being taken to encourage energy efficiency, the development of energy production alternatives, the more efficient transportation of energy, and a more competitive environment within the energy sector with respect to the lowering of rates and the rate equalization programs that have been adopted by the government. Given the remarks of the Members in this Legislature, the general direction is one that has been adopted by all sides and, therefore, is one that is headed for significant success.

Having said that, I would hate to continue. I would more than likely be repeating some of the remarks Members have made. I think the direction the government has taken and is taking is valuable. The potential for better use of energy in Watson Lake is great, and I was happy to have been involved in encouraging the use of alternative energy sources for the new school in Watson Lake. I feel that it is through that kind of cooperation, however clumsy it might be from time to time, that major, innovative projects can come to be and produce the kind of results that MLAs expect in our new direction.

Mr. Devries: I find some irony in the fact that the Government Leader wants to forget the name of the company by deleting it from the motion. I would also like to go on record as never having stated that I was not in agreement with the Deloitte, Haskins and Sells report, as far as the feasibility study was concerned. The report I often referred to was the Carroll-Hatch operating report. I feel that if the feasibility study had been managed properly, its projections could have been that in the second year of operations, and Hyland would not have been in the dire circumstances it found itself in later. We have high hopes of better things to come with the sale to the new company.

I appreciate everyone’s support on this motion, and I am sure the people of Watson Lake and the Yukon, as well as anyone who is considering an electrification waste product energy project, also appreciate it.

Amendment agreed to as amended

Speaker: Is there any further debate on the motion, as amended?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I wanted to enter the debate and not be restricted by the amendment or the subamendment. We now have an entirely new motion before us, and it speaks not only to the issue of whether Yukon Pacific should be encouraged to use alternate energy sources, but it speaks also to all communities and all agencies being encouraged to use alternate energy sources.

The original intent of the motion is still being respected and is being expanded upon and substantially improved overall. The encouragement and implementation of various energy projects that would contribute to any kind of reduction in energy cost to the territory are worthwhile efforts. Members on both sides have indicated the general support for that intention, and I would like to echo it. It makes sound economic sense to encourage alternate energy sources for our use. What we have had demonstrated to us in the last number of years is that energy has become a large cost component of everyday living, whether that is for companies, government or private citizens. It makes extremely good sense to build small-scale energy projects, which is encouraged by this motion, and it would speak to the very interests that Watson Lake has stated.

There have been efforts to tap water resources on a small-scale level in the Watson Lake area, just as there have been studies and efforts to examine those kinds of small-scale projects elsewhere in the territory. Speaking for my community, we have a water source near us that also lends itself to small-scale development. I believe Watson Lake and Faro often have many things in common besides a highway. The efforts that have been made in Watson Lake to reduce energy costs for the community have already been mentioned by my colleagues.

Certainly there was some effort in the Member’s community put into heat recovery from diesel generators. I understand that project has stalled, but it may well be reactivated. Part of the problem is that the federal government has pulled out of the project. I believe the Minister of Education and the Government Leader have cited the Watson Lake High School plant that is being put in. I am sure all Members are looking forward to seeing how well the effort on that front progresses. I look forward to seeing how the feasibility of that heating plant will contribute to the reduction of energy costs in that  facility.

The Minister of Education has already mentioned a number of projects that the government is involved with, and I want to lend my support to the continuation of that approach to reducing energy costs and examining alternatives for energy consumption. We definitely want to see more of that. If it includes the encouragement of Yukon Pacific to use waste products to generate power, that should be part of an effort that is extended well beyond the borders of Watson Lake. As many companies as possible should be encouraged to minimize energy costs by looking at alternative sources.

The Yukon Housing Corporation has taken on a major initiative in the business of reducing energy costs to residents. Certainly their very active promotion of the R2000 Program has been a useful exercise, and a number of communities in the territory have received the benefits of that effort.

As we progress through budget estimates, we see many dollars being spent on various energy retrofits to a number of facilities by government as well as by corporations of the government. Certainly we have a number of improvement programs in housing that contribute to that where residents can do that themselves. The entire business of energy cost reduction is something that has to be examined on a massive scale.

The Member for Mayo talked about what happens in his community when certain commercial activities are taking place at the mine site when certain equipment kicks in. I can assure Members I have first-hand experience of what happens when a Curragh Resources shovel kicks in. There is an energy reflection throughout the town. In some cases it reflects on the rest of the territory.

The business of examining alternate energy is very relevant to the community of Faro, and I certainly look forward to any examination of alternate energy sources. We have had a feasibility study in the community to look at alternate wood heat for the town. If that feasibility proceeds to fruition, it is something I am sure will provide extreme benefit to the community.

I am not going to belabour the general issue other than to express my general support of the efforts of various agencies, including the government, to examine the numerous alternate energy sources. Communities such as Watson Lake, Faro and Elsa, will all benefit from any effort expended in that area. I would like to lend my general support to the motion and see these efforts continue.

Speaker: The question before the House is

THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Government of Yukon should continue to promote energy conservation and alternative energy projects through encouraging companies such as Yukon Pacific to use waste products to generate power and development of small electrification projects; and

THAT the Government should continue to give consideration to the methods, such as provision of low-interest loans and technical assistance, by which such activities should be promoted.

Motion No. 37 agreed to as amended

Motion No. 36

Clerk: Item No. 15, standing in the name of Mr. Phillips.

Speaker: Is the hon. Member prepared to proceed with Item No. 15?

Mr. Phillips: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Member for Whitehorse Riverdale North

THAT it is the opinion of this that littering is a major problem throughout Yukon;

THAT this House urges the Government of Yukon in conjunction with municipalities, Indian bands, groups, and individuals to implement a year-round, antilitter program entitled “Yukon Pride” which should comprise of the following initiatives:

(1) development of environmental awareness and antilitter educational programs for use in Yukon schools;

(2) establishment of year-round antilitter advertising and promotional campaigns;

(3) development of an assistance program to help individuals, groups and communities carry out cleanup campaigns in specific areas;

(4) creation of a “Yukon Pride” awards program to recognize individuals, groups, business and communities who have contributed to a litter-free Yukon; and

(5) preparation of a feasibility study regarding the establishment of a recycling depot in Yukon.

Mr. Phillips: I am pleased to be able to present this motion to the House today. In the past few weeks, and through the recent territorial election, many of the MLAs present here today expressed strong concerns over the protection of our environment. I hope that each MLA in this House can put their words into action.

Yukoners pride themselves in having our pristine wilderness at our fingertips. Most of us in Yukon can be just a stone’s throw away from the Yukon wilderness. Almost everyone in Yukon will tell you they came here partly because of our reputation for clean air, clean water and the undisturbed wilderness. Unfortunately this is fine to say, but it is hard to believe when spring arrives and garbage starts turning up everywhere.

One could just take a short walk around this building today or go down by the river and see what I mean. It is really quite disgusting. Unfortunately, Whitehorse is not unique. Almost every other community in the Yukon has a similar problem.

It seems that we feel if we address this problem once a year, we are doing our duty. Setting aside one week a year, or even one month a year to clean up litter just simply does not work. An anti-litter campaign must work for 52 weeks of every year. Yukoners take a great deal of pride in Yukon’s beauty and it is time that we take measures to clean up our environment and then keep it that way.

Some Yukoners seem to have the idea that when they roll down their car window and throw out a small piece of paper they are not part of the problem. It is always the other guy. It is important, I think, to make a point here. I am sure that everyone agrees that it is much easier to litter when you are hiking or driving anywhere and you look around and there is garbage. Most people will think twice before littering if everything is neat and tidy and in its natural state.

I think, as well, that many Members of this House last year who took part in the challenge that I issued to Members in the House to go around and clean up the river bank can appreciate exactly what I am saying. I think that in about an hour or two we filled a dozen bags of garbage. In fact, one of the Members took the opportunity to go out before even coming to work and I thank the Member from Mayo for doing that. When I got to work there was a large bag of garbage sitting on my desk with a note attached to it. I wish I had saved the note because the note expressed astonishment over the amount of garbage on the riverfront and I think the Minister has a very clear appreciation of the magnitude of the problem.

I would like to talk for a moment about the first point of the motion, which deals with education in our schools. I would surely believe that in educating our children to see that littering is bad we will solve a great many of our problems. But, at the same time, I want to make it clear that I am not saying that it is the youth that contribute to all of the problem. I think though, if you went to our local schools and took a walk around in the spring as the snow started to melt, there is an enormous amount of litter surrounding most of the schools in the Yukon.

Many of our children are much more environmentally conscious that we were at their age and I feel that is good, but we simply need to do more to educate them on the importance of a good clean environment.

What I would like to see with respect to education is that anti-litter and environment awareness would become a mandatory part of the school curriculum. Students could be and should be involved in organizing clean-up projects. Again, I point back to where we went outside last year with all the MLAs who attended and we cleaned up around the river. Each of those MLAs remembers that well, and I think by involving the students in similar programs they too will see how big the problem is out there and will maybe think twice the next time before they throw their gum wrapper or lunch bag away.

There is no better steward of the environment than your 10 or 11 year old son or daughter who will say to you, “Dad or Mom, why are you throwing that out? Don’t you know that that is bad, that that is littering?” I think that will happen, if we educate our children in schools that it is wrong to litter.

Thirdly, we could teach our children in schools the merits of recycling. We could teach them what products are recyclable. We could show them how to sort these products and we could teach them, as well, what type of products on the market are biodegradable and what that means to future generations. I am sure that if we taught that kind of thing to our children they would go home and teach their own parents what is right and what is wrong.

I think that would be an interesting approach and one that would work very well. It is pretty hard to argue with a young child when they talk about common sense and the protection of the environment when you know they are right. We must start now, and I think the education system is one of the main areas we could approach to try and solve this problem.

I should not leave this area without complimenting the students and teachers who have made strong efforts in the past to try and correct the problem in and around the schools. I think all of us have seen it in the past week. There have been some students going in and around some schools cleaning up and I think they should be commended for their efforts.

I would like now to move on to my second point of establishing a year-round, anti-litter advertising and promotional campaign. Again, we only seem to hear about this in anti-litter week in the spring. That is not good enough. As I said before, you do not stop litter by addressing it one week or even one month of the year. It has to be on our minds 365 days of the year.

I see a “Yukon Pride” logo being developed with a slogan, and perhaps being developed by some of our schoolchildren, that Yukoners could recognize as a symbol of pride in the cleanliness of our territory. Ads could be run on our local radio stations, including our new tourist-oriented radio station. Small ads could be placed in the local newspapers reminding people of the program. Local stores could be encouraged to print the logo and slogan on shopping bags, again encouraging people to take pride in the Yukon and not to litter. We could design and construct picturesque billboards at entry points in the Yukon stressing the “Yukon Pride” program.

I would like to ask all Members who have had a chance to travel anywhere in the world what is one of the main things one always remembers? It is cleanliness. Tourists, travel magazines and travel documentaries always mention the fact that they were impressed with how neat, tidy and clean an area is. Tourism is one of our largest industries and our litter problem is not giving us a very good reputation at this time.

A third point in this motion is to develop an assistance program to help individuals, groups and communities to carry out clean-up campaigns in specific areas. Let me give you a couple of examples. I could see various school classes in Whitehorse, for example, targeting an area around Whitehorse, possibly Schwatka Lake. They could go to the lake, be provided with garbage bags through this program and could clean up the shores of Schwatka Lake. Another area is up behind my riding of Riverdale North. I am sure if anyone has ever hiked up into the area on any of the trails and roads, one can see what a mess it is. Many people have gone down some old roads and created little dumps. Everything from mattresses to old car bodies are laying beside the trails. These areas could be identified and financial assistance could be made available through the Yukon government to remove the debris. Again, the actual work could be carried out by a local girl guide group, cub scout group or a conservation organization.

I might add that all of the points I have made so far will cost money. It will be expensive in the first year or two, but as we identify the major areas and clean them up, and as Yukon students gain a greater appreciation of the environment and as Yukoners in general become involved in the “Yukon Pride” program, the benefits will far exceed the costs. I am convinced that the spin-offs in tourism alone will more than offset any costs of this program.

Now that we have many Yukoners involved in the program, it is most important that we recognize their contribution. I mean publicly recognize the reference. I believe the setting up of the Yukon Pride Award Program is a major step toward achieving this goal. I might add that the Member for Old Crow, in her speech yesterday, alluded to this. I would like to quote from page 233 in Hansard, “There is much that each of us can do. Right now I want to point out that the local Super Valu, for example, promotes the use of biodegradable garbage bags. I want to commend the individuals who are involved in taking the issue seriously. Something like an environmental achievement award presented by the government would give recognition to businesses that are doing something about the formidable problem we are facing.”

That is exactly the type of award program I am talking about - to give recognition to individuals, businesses, groups and communities for their efforts in keeping our community clean.

Let me explain how I see the program working. I believe there should be several categories so that all Yukoners are eligible. The awards program should be administered by each local government or Indian band in their own areas. I would hope there could be awards for individuals, businesses, large and small, and possibly some recognition for specific communities that really put a major effort into the program in their area. The awards do not have to be large or extensive, just a plaque or public recognition by officials, or possibly an article in the tourism booklet each year recognizing people who have made significant contributions or in the local newspapers commending the winners. Once a year the Yukon government could receive a list of the people in each community who made specific contributions to the program and could probably host a small banquet in Whitehorse. At that banquet, each one of these people may be recognized by the government for their efforts.

Let me explain to Members another area where one may qualify. When I was in Prince Edward Island last year, I had an opportunity to talk to some of the civic officials about a program that works well in their community. They give people awards simply for maintaining their property in areas where there is a great deal of tourist traffic - something as simple as painting the fence, keeping the hedge trimmed, mowing the grass, keeping the yard clean and taking pride in your own personal property that would reflect on the pride of the total community.

Another area that could be recognized is an auto wrecker on the Alaska Highway or on a main road who builds or paints a fence again, making the area more pleasing to people who travel by.

A local cub scout group took one evening last week to clean up litter on Lewes Boulevard. A local church group, on another week other than clean up week, holds a garbagethon and goes out on its own initiative and gathers garbage throughout the City of Whitehorse. That is a very positive initiative and not a word was said to anyone in this group about it. They did it on their own. They did not do it in clean up week; they did not do it just one week a year; they do it several times and they do a very good job.

A couple of other examples could be the local Super Valu store that uses biodegradable bags, or prints the “Yukon Pride” and logo slogan on them. The Yukon Fish and Game Association produced and distributed garbage bags to outfitters and local sporting goods stores.

These people have to be recognized for their efforts and not just during one week a year. They have to be recognized for their efforts year round.

My last issue is the preparation of a feasibility study to determine the possibility of establishing a recycling depot in the Yukon. I have had the time to investigate this area and, on the surface, it appears that although we may not have a large enough population at present to recycle the garbage ourselves, there is merit in looking at the possibility of sorting the garbage now and storing it and either bringing up a portable plant in the future or shipping certain products out in bulk. People in Yukon are eager to participate in such a program as was reflected in a CBC phone-in show several weeks ago. We should take the opportunity to at least investigate this possibility now. I honestly believe that we cannot start too soon. I hope the five points I have mentioned will be received favourably by all Members of this House.

In summary, it is most important that we get away from the one-week, one-month per year anti-litter program. It is not working. To really be litter free, it must be practised 365 days of the year. Advertising must be an essential part of the program to keep people aware of the problem we have and the pride that Yukoners must take in the community to keep it clean. Education of the value of the environment is essential and there is no better place to start than in the schools. Project Wild is a good start. We must stress the anti-litter segment of that program.

Just making an announcement that litter is a problem will not solve it. There must be a financial commitment from all levels of government to help groups and individuals to carry out clean-up programs.

As well, we as government must publicly recognize the contributions made by communities, groups and individuals by developing an awards program.

My last point is that we must immediately examine the possibility of recycling garbage in the Yukon.

I think the motion is timely, as the spring of the year is the time when people are much more aware of the garbage problem. I think that this program will be supported by a great many Yukoners. Many of them will pitch in and help. I know that almost every Yukoner has great pride in the Yukon but is saddened when they walk on a trail or fly into a bush camp or drive along a back road in the territory and see the garbage that is left around. It is time that we cleaned up our act. It is time that we become the area we profess to be, that of having a clean and pure environment, and I would hope that all Members of this House would rise in support of this motion.


Hon. Mr. Webster: It is a pleasure to speak on this motion today, and I want to thank the Member for Riverdale North for bringing it forward. As Members may recall, I sponsored a private member’s bill on litter just last spring. An amendment to the Highways Act was supported by all Members and made the deposit of litter on the highways an offence punishable by a fine of up to $500. Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, it has never come into effect. I am hoping, though, that the RCMP will increase their surveillance on the matter and bring someone to punishment.

That may indirectly draw attention to the whole problem of litter on highways and in the Yukon and may start some positive action as a result.

I want to assure the House that my ministerial responsibilities have not diminished my interest in cleaning up the Yukon. In fact, I am pleased to be able to report that the Department of Renewable Resources is already involved in a number of initiatives designed to deal with the problem of litter. It is not only the Department of Renewable Resources that is involved in anti-litter campaigns, but the Department of Community and Transportation Services and the Yukon Liquor Corporation are also involved.

Amendment proposed

Hon. Mr. Webster:  For that reason I would like to propose the following amendment to Motion No. 36. I seek the House support for it. I move

THAT Motion No. 36 be amended by deleting the words which appear after:

“THAT it is the opinion of this House that littering is” and substituting the following words: “a problem in the Yukon; and

“THAT this House urges the Government of Yukon, in conjunction with municipalities, Indian bands, businesses, groups and individuals to continue its anti-litter initiatives and to consider others which could include:

“(1) development of environmental awareness and anti-litter educational programs for use in Yukon schools;

“(2) establishment of year-round anti-litter advertising and promotional campaigns;

“(3) development of an assistance program to help individuals, groups and communities carry out clean-up campaigns in specific areas;

“(4) creation of an awards program to recognize individuals, groups, businesses and communities who have contributed to a litter-free Yukon; and

“(5) preparation of a feasibility study regarding the establishment of a recycling depot in Yukon.”

Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Minister of Renewable Resources

THAT Motion No. 36 be amended by deleting the words which appear after:

“THAT it is the opinion of this House that littering is” and substituting the following words:

“a problem in the Yukon; and

“THAT this House urges the Government of Yukon, in conjunction with municipalities, Indian bands, businesses, groups and individuals to continue its anti-litter initiatives and to consider others which could include:

“(1) development of environmental awareness and anti-litter educational programs for use in Yukon schools;

“(2) establishment of year-round anti-litter advertising and promotional campaigns;

“(3) development of an assistance program to help individuals, groups and communities carry out clean-up campaigns in specific areas;

“(4) creation of an awards program to recognize individuals, groups, businesses and communities who have contributed to a litter-free Yukon; and

“(5) preparation of a feasibility study regarding the establishment of a recycling depot in Yukon.”

Hon. Mr. Webster: In addressing the amendment I have a number of comments I would like to make. To begin, it is no accident that the Member for Riverdale North has introduced this motion at this time of year. As he says, it is quite timely and we are all reminded just how much refuse has been carelessly discarded over the months of winter when the snow has masked our collective carelessness.

Fast food packaging, garbage containers, shopping bags, even election posters come back to haunt us as the snow recedes. Few of us would abuse our yards at home as we obviously do abuse our big backyard, the Yukon. So, what have we done about it? What are we preparing to do? I would like to remind you of a number of well established government anti-litter initiatives and advise you of some new ones of which you may not be yet aware.

The Yukon Liquor Corporation, on April 1, 1987, adopted a policy of deposits and refunds on all containers sold through Yukon Liquor Corporation outlets. That was as a result of a recommendation made by the Select Committee on Renewable Resources. The result of this action is a noticeable decline in alcoholic beverage container litter. The Yukon Liquor Corporation has recently expanded its program by eliminating the twenty-five cent refund stickers from liquor and wine bottles and paying a refund on all alcoholic beverage bottles returned regardless of the point of purchase. Existence of a positive incentive to return beverage bottles and cans has turned a problem into economic opportunity for some community groups who take the initiative to collect discarded cans and bottles for return. Some of these groups have also discovered that there is an established market for aluminum pop cans if they are collected in sufficient volumes. At least two Whitehorse area businesses are prepared to purchase discarded aluminum cans in volume.

Before I move on to discuss other government initiatives I should mention that Yukoners appear to be responding very positively to the Yukon Liquor Corporation’s return program. The return rate on domestic beer bottles is 91.2 percent. The return rate on liquor and wine bottles is 69.6 percent and that on cans is 58.1 percent. Although it is considerably higher than the national average of just 35 percent, I really think it is still not acceptable. I think an aggressive advertising campaign to promote a greater return of beverage containers should be introduced at all liquor outlets.

In respect to liquor and wine bottles, we do not even have a basis for comparison as we are the only jurisdiction in Canada to have implemented this program. Thus, as far as alcoholic beverage containers are concerned, it would be a fair statement that the Yukon government is showing significant leadership in dealing with litter.

The Department of Renewable Resources is involved in a number of areas that will bring us to terms with litter. The Yukon Conservation Strategy and work on a Yukon environmental protection act are two major initiatives that will do much to shape our future approach to the problem of litter. As Members are aware, the Yukon Conservation Strategy and the public working group, which is guiding its development, have already co-sponsored public work shops on environmental issues. The theme conference on Yukon water resources sponsored in cooperation with the Yukon Science Institute was the most recent of these. The Conservation Strategy is intended to promote more public discussion on a range of conservation issues to encourage environmental education. In this year’s budget, the Conservation Strategy Demonstration Projects fund is targeted at initiatives that will demonstrate the economic feasibility of good environmental behaviour and management. One of the goals of the program and the conservation strategy is to encourage projects that demonstrate the importance of the three “Rs” of the 1980s - recycle, reduce and reuse. Each of these injunctions strikes at the heart of the problem in a society that is too often wasteful of its environment.

In conjunction with Environment Week this June, we will be co-sponsoring work shops on recycling in both Whitehorse and Haines Junction. These will inevitably deal with the subject of litter and what we should be doing with the paper, plastic and metal waste that too often becomes litter.

The Haines Junction workshop is, in part, a campaign commitment to develop a pilot recycle project in that community. I should point out that Haines Junction has established a recycling committee, which has already met with officials from my department to discuss the recycling pilot project. Haines Junction residents believe that, in addition to aluminum cans, there is profit potential in collecting paper and shredding it for use as a heating fuel.

I expect the June workshop to generate much more interest and awareness of recycling possibilities than is now the case.

I could go on at some length on the past, present and pending initiatives of this government, which daily demonstrates our determination to deal with the problems of litter: our annual clean-up week, our improved highway signage and more numerous highway pull-outs which advise travelers of litter disposal opportunities and provide the proper facilities.

My government is committed to dealing with the problem which the Member for Whitehorse Riverdale North has provided us the opportunity to debate today. I believe I have laid out more than sufficient grounds to support the amendment which I proposed. I would ask Members for the support of that amendment.

Mr. Phillips: The House is certainly changing. It is a sad day when Members from the other side will stand up in the House when a positive motion like this is introduced to take the opportunity to one-up it or change three words that make very little difference to the motion just so they can stick an amendment in. It is sleazy politics. There is very little change in the motion.

I would like to ask the Minister of Renewable Resources who just got up and made a speech about all the great things they are doing about litter now if he thinks it working, because it is not. I will take him for a walk anywhere in the Yukon. He can name the place, and he will see that the litter programs they have in place are simply not working.

The intent of the motion was to put together a coordinated program that would deal with this issue on four or five fronts and you brought forth a motion here that simply plays politics. You want to pick a name yourself. That is what the government is trying to do.

I suppose “Yukon Pride” is not a good idea because it was not their idea. That is the only reason, so they brought in these petty little amendments that do nothing to change the intent of the motion. It is disgusting. I hope that Members of the House and all people in the Yukon will see what the intent really is and that they are not serious about cleaning up the litter of the territory and they are playing politics with the people of the Yukon once again.

Amendment to Motion No. 36 agreed to

Ms. Hayden: I rise in support of the amendment motion.

This is certainly an appropriate time of year for a motion concerning litter in the Yukon to be addressed. I congratulate the Member for Whitehorse Riverdale North and the Minister of Renewable Resources for their vision of a public education program and agree entirely that we must continue to support community clean-up campaigns. The amended motion sets out the direction that these programs should take. Winter snow is melting quickly and seasonal change is exposing the bad habits of some Yukoners.

I walk a lot and I enjoy walking but is distressing to have to pick my way through litter. I am pleased that the need for public education is expressed. This government has long known the importance of environmental awareness programs and has always supported anti-litter initiatives. In fact, the New Democratic Party is the first national political party to identify the need for environmental protection initiatives. The Yukon New Democratic Party has been on the vanguard of environment considerations for many years.

I want to thank the hon. Member for Whitehorse Riverdale North for bringing forward this motion. The concept of an awards program is excellent. People who care about their community should be officially recognized for their efforts. We often fail to say thank you or to acknowledge individual initiatives.

The community cleanup sponsored by the City of Whitehorse last year is a good example of community cooperation. It brought together neighbours who worked to tidy up their streets. It also brought out city staff members and their families, who volunteered to do their bit to beautify Whitehorse. City employees also did extra work to load the debris at designated pickup spots.

I was in Carmacks last spring, when school children spent an entire afternoon picking up litter in the streets of Carmacks. The place sparkled when they were finished and it is this kind of commitment that makes our communities special. I remember that several years ago girl guides in Haines Junction worked to the slogan “make us glitter; stow your litter”. These were signs on garbage containers. They collected garbage around their community. Theirs was an example to other community groups and over the years guides, scouts, schools and other community groups and service clubs have done their part to clean up the Yukon.

Recycling is a concept that I know a bit about and that I certainly support. I also know that it costs money, at least in the short term. Markets for recycled material are limited, and equipment, transportation and salary costs usually have to be met by government. In the long term, recycling pays, by creating less need for land-fill space and by supporting a cleaner, more attractive landscape.

That is, of course, pleasing to Yukoners and visitors alike.

There is nothing like finding someone else’s garbage to detract from a wilderness experience. It is an investment in the future of the Yukon.

I believe a broader solution to littering is necessary. We need to look at what we consume and the packages that we throw away. There is a Vancouver-based organization called Environmentally Sound Packaging Coalition. It is a Canadian group that supports initiatives to reduce Canada’s waste disposal products. This group acknowledges that there is no simple solution and maintains that waste must not only be well managed, but reduced, reused and recycled. They emphasize that years ago environmentalists predicted the current waste disposal crisis across the country. It is much more than a litter problem and we must pay attention or our beautiful Yukon will eventually be buried in garbage.

Each of us, I am told, produces more than five pounds of garbage each day. No wonder we have a litter problem. In many places in Canada there is no place left to dispose of garbage. We do not want that to happen in the Yukon, yet we seem entrapped in a cycle of producing more and more waste as we consume ever-increasing amounts of packaging.

So what is the solution? The coalition suggests that unless we are part of the solution we are part of the problem. As consumers, we can, among other things, reject products with excessive packaging and encourage manufacturers and retailers to use environmentally-sound containers and packaging. As politicians we can create a positive environment that will encourage manufacturers to design for recycling and enable consumers to participate in resolving the waste disposal and litter problem.

In my experience, most people would like to be able to recycle. For example, during a recent election campaign several of my constituents inquired about recycling. Most Yukoners are concerned about the environment. They would rather be part of a solution than part of a problem. A feasibility study would give us the facts we need to develop a program that would suit our diverse territory. It would also identify the funding needed to support a recycling program.

These are the reasons that I support this amended motion.

Mr. Phelps: I will be as brief as I can because I would like to see the motion voted on before we run out of time. I certainly support the motion and the motion as amended. Although I do have some reservations I think they were summed up in a more telling way by the Member for Riverdale North.

Nonetheless, I support the motion, as amended. I would like to thank the Member for Riverdale North for bringing this particular motion forward. The Member is strongly committed to the programs he has outlined here, and his sincerity speaks for itself. Last year, we did have the unexpected challenge to all Members to clean up litter on the riverbanks here, and many of the Members responded at that time. The Member has worked diligently to encourage anti-litter programs, through associations such as the Fish and Game Association.

As I have said, I share his concern. While I do note there is a growing awareness about the problem and a very gradual changing ethic about garbage and litter, unfortunately the change in attitude is very slow - almost glacial. This type of program would do a lot to encourage the attitudinal change that is so necessary among so many of our citizens.

I live in Carcross, and the riding I represent encompasses some of the most beautiful scenery in the Yukon. It is an area that is under very heavy use by people who live in Whitehorse and the surrounding area, as well as by numerous tourists. We are finding there seems to be more garbage and litter strewn along the southern lakes in the few good camping grounds there because of the winds and the limited number of sheltered points. It is really surprising to many who do not spend much time on the lakes just how few decent camping spots there are. It does not take much to make the camping spots really disgusting to anyone who comes along after they have been abused.

More and more people amongst my friends and neighbors in Carcross go out to the lakes with extra garbage bags, not only for their own litter, but to clean up their favorite camping spot. I have witnessed situations where people have found a particularly bad mess in their favorite camp spot, have cleaned it and filled bags of garbage and, then, delivered it to the vehicle or boat of the person who is responsible for the mess as a not-too-subtle message.

In my home town, the awareness is growing in leaps and bounds with particular regard to the wilderness and the favourite community areas.

My riding is named Hootalinqua, after what many people now call the Teslin River and the old community of Hootalinqua at the junction of the Hootalinqua River and the Yukon River, as it is now called. There is a growing number of people canoeing down these rivers throughout the constituency, and on down to Dawson or Carmacks. The litter along these riverbanks is appalling.

A couple of years ago, I travelled down the Teslin River, as far as Carmacks right at spring breakup, with some people who were hunting bear. We were almost the first boat from Johnson’s Crossing to Carmacks. Even that early in the season, the litter and garbage was there. It had come up through the snow as it does on the streets of Whitehorse, and it was shocking to behold. From a more rural prospective, I feel the problem is not just confined to the streets of Whitehorse or the other municipalities throughout the Yukon. The educational aspect of the motion is an important one. The program would be cost-effective in one sense, in that it would reduce what is becoming a bad reputation amongst the people who seek the wilderness experience here. More and more complaints are filtering back from people who come here for the unique wilderness experience and go down the Teslin River, and they come back utterly disgusted with what they see and find there.

With those few comments, I once again say that I fully support the motion and look forward to unanimous support of the motion, as amended.

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I would like to speak briefly to the motion, as amended, to echo my sentiments with those of the speakers who provided informed discussion on some of the environmental and littering issues facing us in the territory. The motion speaks to a number of additional initiatives that can be undertaken. I, too, believe they should be.

I recall many years ago going with groups of students in the early spring of each year to pick up bags and bags of garbage that were subsequently hauled to dump sites, as school children made their contribution to the anti-litter campaign. More than ever, I can agree with the previous speaker that many of us are here because of the natural Yukon beauty that surrounds us. Anytime that times get difficult or pressured, all you have to do is take a walk into Yukon’s wilderness, removed from litter, and you will find an easy answer to why you are here.

The initiatives that the motion outlines are ones that certainly can be encouraged for year-round activity. I am sure, as Members realize, there is an activity that happens annually that is sponsored in part by one of my departments. The spring clean-up campaign is promoted extensively and supported financially within the government through Community and Transportation Services. As Members may be aware, it has existed for a number of years, and it does provide promotional advertising for a clean-up campaign each spring. Members may also be aware that it provides funding to municipalities in the order of $250 to each municipality to aid that campaign exercise. That support does help with the clean-up campaign but I think what we are hearing, and is echoed by all speakers on this motion, is that that exercise is not enough.

I can certainly support the thought that we should be providing a much greater effort to clean up and provide for initiatives that will rid the beautiful Yukon of the litter and neglect of people. Certainly the initiatives that are outlined respecting awards, recycling plants, working toward a much stepped-up program or more than just a week of clean up in spring are all worthwhile initiatives. I want to lend my support to the motion and encourage others to do the same.

Motion No. 36 agreed to as amended

Motion No. 32

Clerk: Item No. 12, standing in the name of Mr. Phillips.

Speaker: Is the hon. Member prepared to proceed with Item No. 12?

Mr. Phillips: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Member for Whitehorse Riverdale North

THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Government of Yukon should examine the feasibility of negotiating a reciprocal friendship agreement with the Government of Alaska to give Yukoners and Alaskans a preferred rate on non-resident sport fishing licences in each other’s jurisdiction in recognition of our long history of co-operation and mutual friendship.

Mr. Phillips: I intend to keep my comments short in view of the time. I think it is very important that we get this motion through today if we can get consent on it because of what I will be explaining later in my speech.

In March of this year several Members of this House took part in the annual legislative exchange with our Alaskan neighbors in Juneau. In the course of these meetings, we had the opportunity to attend various legislative committee meetings. I believe that these exchanges are extremely valuable in giving us a better understanding of each other’s concerns.

This year, we met with the Commissioner of Fish and Game as well as the House Resources Committee, and in our discussions we suggested that both jurisdictions recognize our friendly relationship by providing a preferred-licensing schedule for Yukon and Alaska sports fishermen in each other’s jurisdiction. This move would recognize the fact that each year many Alaskans and Yukoners travel frequently to each other’s jurisdictions for recreational activities.

We were pleasantly surprised by the reception the Alaskans gave to this idea. Both the Commissioner of Fish and Game and the House Resources Committee said that they would explore this idea very favorably. The Alaska State Legislature only sits for 18 more days this year and I understand that their Bill No. 124, that addresses those fishing and hunting license fee changes may be fast tracked so that it passes in this sitting. That is why it is important today to send a clear legislative message of our intent to set up a special fishing license fee for Alaskan and Yukon residents.

So that Members understand what exactly my intent is, what I had in mind with this motion is that Alaskans would not pay the same resident fee as Yukon residents would pay; they would pay a higher fee, but it would not be as high as the non-resident fee for other non-residents. As well, I would hope that in any agreement we reach with Alaska the fees that we pay would be equal to the fees that they pay here; if it was a $20 fee, we pay $20 on this side and they pay $20 on that side.

I think it is important to recognize that many Yukoners every year spend a great deal of their leisure time fishing in Haines, Juneau or Skagway. It is probably a great economic boon to those areas just for the fact that Yukoners go and spend some time fishing there and, as well, many Alaskans come over to the Yukon and fish on our side of the border.

I think that our exchange visits with Alaska have provided us, as MLAs, some very valuable insight into our similarities and I think that it is time that we showed - as northerners on both sides of the border - that these visits can produce positive outcomes. Geography makes us neighbors and agreements like this certainly make us better friends. I hope that all Members on all sides of the House would support this motion.

Hon. Mr. Webster: I have no intention of amending this motion; I would like to say that, in my opinion, this one is in need of no amendment. I agree with it wholeheartedly. A sigh of relief could be heard over here about that news.

I would like to thank the Member opposite at this time also for raising it in his discussions along with the Member for Old Crow in his meetings with our Alaskan counterparts a few weeks ago in Juneau.

As I have already mentioned in the House during Question Period in response to this matter, I am fully supportive of this proposal and I would like to do whatever is necessary to bring it into force next year.

Hon. Ms. Joe: This government has developed an extremely good relationship with Alaska, and I would suggest that we continue to contribute to an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation. There are many major environmental issues that both the Yukon and Alaska should be concerned about - issues that can severely affect both of our jurisdictions. Certainly the recent oil spill is just one environmental disaster. What, while it has major implications in Alaska, we, here in the Yukon, may also be somewhat affected as it may be related to our fisheries in the future.

We all feel sympathy to the Alaskans during this disaster. We need to develop ties with Alaska that will enable us to work together in mutual support in times like this. One of the ways we can show our support and friendship is to examine the motion brought forward by the Member for Riverdale North. In speaking to this motion, I am reminded of the enjoyment many of our residents, including myself, get out of fishing, particularly the fishing opportunities that are available within a very short distance of our homes. We are most fortunate in residing in one of the most beautiful locations in the world today, as well as having some of the best fishing in the world. In my opinion, the next best fishing spot in the world is Alaska. Alaska and the Yukon share many picturesque rivers, mountains and lakes as well as friends and relatives. I personally feel we should work toward bettering our relationship with our neighbours. We share our sport fishing often and with great delight now. Why should we not try to better accommodate our neighbours by offering our cooperation in fishing license fees? I would like to support this motion and ask this government to negotiate an agreement for sport fishing license fees for continued mutual friendship between our two jurisdictions.

Ms. Kassi: I rise in support of this motion. Our people and the tribal people of Alaska have much in common. When I visited Juneau earlier this year my interest in the idea put forward in this motion was heightened. The management of natural resources is for the future of our people. Resource management conflicts must be avoided at all costs. If conflicts do occur, we must have mechanisms in place to deal with them. Environmental projects in one jurisdiction will affect the other jurisdiction. The government in Alaska must be aware of how seriously we take resource management. The people of Gwich’in Athapaskan have shown their intention to maintain their way of life just as we have protected the caribou for generations. We believe that we must continue to protect and manage our natural resources for future generations.

I attended meetings of the House Resource Committee and presented my views. The northern regions of Alaska and the Yukon have much in common. The co-chairs of the House Resource Committee wrote to me and I quote, “We share history, a border and an ancient people, a similar natural resource base and a bright future.” It is this bright future that we want to do everything we can to guarantee. The International Caribou Board is part of this building and positive working relationship. A reciprocal friendship agreement with the Government of Alaska would certainly help to avoid disputes such as we experienced around the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Yukon salmon negotiations. An agreement on preferred fishing licence rates means that Yukoners that flood into Haines would pay less, and Alaskans coming here would benefit, too.

It is this kind of mutual, beneficial agreement that means a lot to us. Our reciprocal friendship agreement could also be structured to establish sustainable-yield rules and other environmental considerations. It would be an example of the kind of progressive, environmental legislation that will go a long way in protecting the Yukon as we know it. I want to close by restating my support for this motion.

Speaker: The hon. Member will close debate if he now speaks. Does any other Member wish to be heard?

Mr. Phillips: I would like to thank all Members who spoke in favour of this motion. I think it is a step in the right direction. We do have a lot in common with Alaska. I would suggest that we have more in common with Alaska than, in some cases, with the Canadians to the south of us. We deal a lot with Alaskans. Some of us are married to Alaskans and many of us are related to Alaskans. We do understand their problems and their lifestyle. This is in appreciation of our good feelings toward Alaskans. I can assure all Members that I, upon receiving Hansard tomorrow, will be sending Hansard to the Alaska State Legislature. I have talked to the House Resources Committee Co-chairperson and he knows we are dealing with this motion today. It is hoped they can use that in their final debate during the next few days when they discuss the issue there. I thank everyone for their support on this worthwhile motion.

Motion No. 32 agreed to

Motion No. 34

Clerk: Item No. 13 standing in the name of Mr. Devries.

Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Member for Watson Lake

THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Alaska Highway has been and continues to be an international transportation corridor of vital importance, both in peace and war, to the United States of America and Canada;

THAT this House supports the preparations both countries are making to celebrate, in 1992, the 50th anniversary of the construction of this historic highway;

THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Alaska Highway currently is in such poor condition that it is adversely affecting the economies of the State of Alaska, the Province of British Columbia and Yukon Territory particularly with regard to tourism;

THAT this House urges the Government of Yukon to initiate the formation of a tripartite task force, comprised of senior representatives of the Government of Yukon, the Government of British Columbia and the Government of the State of Alaska, to lobby the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Canada urging them to provide suitable financing for the completion of the upgrading of the Alaska Highway; and

THAT a copy of this resolution should be forwarded to the respective legislatures of the Province of British Columbia and the State of Alaska.

Mr. Devries: This is a motion regarding one of the most important transportation links in Canada. It is also considered to be a transportation corridor between the lower 48 States and Alaska. The historic significance of the Alaska Highway should not be overlooked either. Two great countries worked side by side to accomplish one of the greatest feats of this century. Forty-seven years ago they built the Alaska Highway through muskeg, across rivers, along cold frozen lakes and endless miles of forests and mountains. The Alaska Highway has made the Yukon and all of the towns along its winding trail the pleasant memory of millions of tourists all over the world.

Today, as we sit here to discuss this motion I cannot help but wonder what is happening. Ottawa and Washington no longer seem to care about this road. Ten or 15 years ago, when the oil boom was on, all we heard was, “go for the pipeline, we will re-build your road”. Right of ways were cleared, sections of the highway were widened and realigned, but it did not take long until the oil boom was over and the surveyors left for other places. The highway started to deteriorate, especially where limited upgrading had been done.

At times, when you come to a corner in the dark of night, or through a cloud of flying dust, you are uncertain about whether to take the road or the freshly-cut right of way. You drive along the road and see blown tires and mufflers laying along the road. You cannot help but wonder if Ford, Michelin, or Walker Corporation votes are more important than Yukon votes. You cannot help but wonder when the last tourist is going to get up the courage to drive through the maze of potholes and atrocities.

To some tourists it may be a challenge to see if they can make it and with others it is the adventure - and some will go through almost anything to see the beauty of solitude of what we have to offer them. There are many, however, who cannot afford the risks of having their hard-earned motorhomes and vehicles slowly fall to pieces as they drive north.

Speaker: Order, please. The time now being 4:30, it is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 11(7) to interrupt proceedings and call for Bills Others Than Government Bills.


Bill No. 101: Third Reading

Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 101, standing in the name of Mr. Lang.

Mr. Lang: I move that Bill No. 101, entitled An Act to Amend the Students Financial Assistance Act be now read a third time and do pass.

Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Member for Whitehorse Porter Creek East that Bill No. 101, entitled An Act to Amend the Students Financial Assistance Act be now read a third time and do pass.

Mr. Lang: I just want to conclude the debate on this bill by thanking all Members on both sides of the House for supporting it. It does apply only to a few people but it is important to them and I think that it is important that initiatives like this come from either side of the floor when it affects your constituent or constituents. I hope that this helps to resolve the specific problems that at least one constituent of mine has faced, and I hope that the student is successful in his application as far as this forthcoming year is concerned.

Motion on Third Reading of Bill No. 101 agreed to

Speaker: I declare that Bill No. 101 has passed this House.

Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am not too sure about the arrangement but I will ask unanimous consent to go back into debate on Motion No. 34, moved by Mr. Devries.

Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?

All Members: Agreed.

Speaker: There is unanimous consent.


Motion No. 34 - continued

Mr. Devries: Some people take pride in their hunks of metal and turn back for fear of being left on foot. Other carry on and return home to remember nothing but the repair bills. We have to catch Ottawa’s and Washington’s attention. Sometimes I think perhaps we should start a war. We must get the three governments involved with the Alcan to come up with a united and aggressive lobby group to get the attention of the governments involved.

If improved, the Alaska Highway would not only be a benefit to the tourists, it would give both Yukoners and Alaskans greater economic independence in that there would be cost savings in shipping products both north and south. This is as important to Watson Lake with its world renowned lumber products, to the town of Beaver Creek with its customs offices and every town in between.

It would be unrealistic to think that the whole highway could be upgraded before 1992, but a little more money for maintenance and a 10-kilometre upgrade here and there would eventually in crease the tourists’ confidence in seeing that things are being done which, in turn, would encourage them to tell their friends to head north.

The 50th anniversary celebrations are just around the corner. The particulars and finer details concerning this can be worked out on a plane to Ottawa. I cannot afford to go on with a long speech. Every word could be a much needed scoop of gravel in a pothole on this great highway. Let us pass this motion. Let us help the tourists forget the potholes, the broken axles and cracked windshields. Let us help the tourists remember the good roads, the magic, the mystery and the majesty of this great land.

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I want to thank the Member for his remarks on the subject of the Alaska Highway. I want to thank the Member for bringing the motion forward for debate. All Members will recall that the subject of the Alaska Highway has been debated many times in this House, as recently as this week and before that, last week. Members will recall that there was a consensus that the profile of the Alaska Highway upgrading has to be encouraged and that is goes without saying that there have been many attempts over the past number of years to encourage the upgrading of the highway.

This government over the past several years has made many attempts to influence the federal government to increase the capital funding for that highway.

There have been many repeated statements from many sectors of our community about the level of funding being inadequate and that the deteriorating conditions of the highway are unacceptable. Through the past several years, the previous Minister of Highways and the previous Minister of Tourism had many communications and meetings with the federal government, officials from Alaska and people from British Columbia to address the question of how to improve the condition of the highway. There is total agreement that the Alaska Highway needs special attention. There is full acceptance of many of the Member’s remarks regarding the historical importance of the highway and we have previously debated how that importance is being eroded day by day, season by season, to the point where 1992, as a cause for celebration, is going to be a weak case indeed.

As early as 1986, we began a series of communications and meetings with the federal government, speaking to the inadequate funding being provided for that highway. At the time, we spoke with Stewart McInnes; we communicated it on numerous occasions. We even supported the Association of Yukon Communities who called on the federal government to improve the upgrading efforts of the Alaska Highway. As late as last year, the previous Minister of Highways, Mr. McDonald, met with Mr. McInnes and dealt at length with the issue to improve conditions on that highway.

Approximately one year ago, the previous House debated at length a motion calling for upgrading and increased maintenance between Watson Lake and the Yukon/Alaska border. In fact, it was during that motion, as the Member for Kluane will recall, that the invitation was extended to the federal Minister of the day to travel on the highway just to witness how bad it was. Later in that year, we had the infamous wash out of the highway in a major flood.

More recently, we have had communication and meetings taking place at the administrative level between this government and the federal government. There has been communication with British Columbia and Alaska as recently as January of this year. There was a letter sent by the federal Minister of Public Works to the President of the Association of Yukon Communities. I would point out that this government did not receive a copy of that letter, nor did the Government of BC. In that letter, it was made clear that until the governments of BC and Yukon would be prepared to accept ownership of the highway, it would be difficult to get more money for the highway. It is an unfortunate position for the federal government to have taken, because it essentially suggests that if we do not agree to accept responsibility for the highway we will not be getting any money for it. I am having officials follow that up. The deputy minister of Community and Transportation Services, in late February, met with the deputy minister of Public Works in Ottawa to speak to the very serious issue of inadequate funding to maintain and upgrade that highway.

As Members in this House have previously noted, a delegation of MLAs from this Legislature visited with Alaskan officials in March. It was during discussions with the Highways Commission in Juneau that it became quite apparent that the Shakwak Project was not going to be proceeding under a strictly American initiative, but there was the suggestion that were we to provide some support and funding for the continuation of the Shakwak Project, then perhaps the American government might contribute. So it did send an important signal on the position of the Alaskans.

In a further meeting as recent as April 7, barely two weeks ago, my assistant deputy minister met with officials from the BC Ministry of Highways and Transportation to discuss the BC position on their portion of the highway in relation to takeover from the feds. They pointed out it was not a high priority from their point of view. Yet, we see that the money being spent on the Alaska Highway is being spent in the BC portion of the highway. In fact, when we looked at the actual expenditure over the past number of years, we find that there has been a severe erosion of dollars on the Yukon portion of the highway.

Between 1982-83 and 1985-86, the total capital expenditure for upgrading the Alaska Highway by the Government of Canada averaged $26 million a year. That has eroded to $15 million. That is the entire portion of the highway. What else has been taking place is that, not only have the overall dollars been eroding, but they have been shifting to BC. In the last budget, the Yukon received seven percent of the total allocated capital dollars for the highway. That is a serious matter.

I agree with the Member and his colleague from Kluane about the need to step up the campaign relating to the upgrading of the Alaska Highway. I welcome the motion and the opportunity for debate. I would like to go a step further. I want to strengthen the motion and the message we are going to send from this Legislature.

I have an amendment to introduce that supports many of the suggestions put forward by Members opposite, but also goes several steps further. I would like to circulate that amendment at this time, and speak to it.

The amendment I am proposing is lengthy, and I will read it into the record:

Amendment proposed

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I move

THAT Motion No. 34 be amended by deleting all the words after the first “THAT” and inserting the following:

“THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Alaska Highway has been and continues to be an international transportation corridor of vital importance, both in peace and war, to the United States of America and Canada;

“THAT the House supports the preparations both countries are making to celebrate, in 1992, the 50th anniversary of the construction of this historic highway;

“THAT this House is concerned about the level of funding for the Yukon portion of the Alaska Highway currently being provided by the Government of Canada;

“THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Alaska Highway currently is in such poor condition that it is adversely affecting the economies of the State of Alaska, the Province of British Columbia and the Yukon Territory particularly with regard to tourism;

“THAT this House congratulates the Government of Yukon for strongly advocating the requirement for increased Capital and Operation and Maintenance funding for the Alaska Highway;

“THAT this House supports the formation of intergovernmental working groups with the Province of British Columbia and the State of Alaska to develop plans for upgrading the Alaska Highway in British Columbia and the Yukon respectively, and to lobby the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America as appropriate for suitable financing for the completion of the reconstruction of the Alaska Highway; and

“THAT a copy of this resolution should be forwarded to the respective legislatures of the Province of British Columbia, the State of Alaska and the Government of Canada.”

Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Community and Transportation Services

THAT Motion No. 34 be amended by deleting all the words after the first “THAT” and inserting the following:

“THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Alaska Highway has been and continues to be an international transportation corridor of vital importance, both in peace and in war, to the United States of America and to Canada;

“THAT the House supports the preparations both countries are making to celebrate, in 1992, the 50th anniversary of the construction of this historic highway;

“THAT this House is concerned about the level of funding for the Yukon portion of the Alaska Highway currently being provided by the Government of Canada;

“THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Alaska Highway currently is in such poor condition that it is adversely affecting the economies of the State of Alaska, the Province of British Columbia and the Yukon Territory, particularly with regard to tourism;

“THAT this House congratulates the Government of Yukon for strongly advocating the requirement for increased Capital and Operation and Maintenance funding for the Alaska Highway;

“THAT this House supports the formation of intergovernmental working groups with the Province of British Columbia and the State of Alaska to develop plans for upgrading the Alaska Highway in British Columbia and the Yukon respectively, and to lobby the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America as appropriate for suitable financing for the completion of the reconstruction of the Alaska Highway; and

“THAT a copy of this resolution should be forwarded to the respective legislatures of the Province of British Columbia, the State of Alaska and the Government of Canada.”

Hon. Mr. Byblow: The amendment, in my opinion, supports the initiative put forward by the Member for Watson Lake and strengthens the message that I believe we should be putting forward. The changes that have been suggested for the motion essentially amount to creating intergovernmental working groups. Because of the international nature of the exercise, and because of the interjurisdictional nature of the exercise, it would be more useful to have these protocols observed. As well, it would provide the expertise and research that may be necessary. The further change that is suggested is that we provide this resolution to the Government of Canada to express the sense of importance that we attach to the Alaska Highway.

The motion also addresses the issue of funding, because that is the single, most important component of the initiative. We must have the dollars to provide the level of service to that highway that we all recognize has to be met. There is an additional strengthening that recognizes the past communication efforts and initiative of the government toward getting a commitment for the highway. I think we have to recognize all the steps that have taken place to date. Essentially, the amended motion strengthens the case that we must take to all levels of government if we are to set in place the kind of lobby that Members are suggesting and that I am quite prepared to support.

Mr. Lang: I want to begin by telling the side opposite that we put the motion forward in a manner that was not critical of any given level of government. We tried to bring it constructively so it could have full support of all Members of the House. I have to express some disappointment with the amendment that has been put forward, because it really brings into question the sincerity of the Members opposite. The only basic change in the amendment is that this House congratulates the Government of Yukon for strongly advocating the requirement for increased Capital and Operation and Maintenance  funding for the Alaska Highway.

Once again, we get into a situation similar to the amendment on the motion on “Yukon Pride”; it is obviously just a case of one-upmanship, and we want only to slap each other on the back. I am going to tell you, in view of the change in the motion, of what I think of the success the Government of Yukon has had with respect to the highway. It has been zilch. The Members on the side opposite have been in power for just over four years now and we have seen no increase in maintenance or in the amount of money allotted for the Alaska Highway. We have seen a constant, steady decrease to the point that we hear outright indignation from the Member for Kluane, the Member for Watson Lake and any of the other Members who happen to represent ridings along the Alaska Highway.

If we want to talk about the success of the Government of Yukon to get money from the Government of Canada, it has been zero. The Members opposite have to take that credit because they are the government. They have been very good at negotiating, so good that we have not seen much money spent on upgrading the Yukon portion of that major artery of which we are speaking. Yet, the Member for Mayo berates the federal government, says they are a bunch of slobs and then tells the House he is going to Ottawa with the expectation that they will give him money. Surely that is not common sense logic.

Our political clout in Ottawa has been steadily decreasing as has our relationship with the Government of Canada when it comes to the Alaska Highway. That goes for the federal level, which is what our constituencies are represented by, and also for the territorial level. I think we have to begin looking very seriously at the situation and find out what is happening between the two levels of government. You cannot have it both ways. You cannot castigate the Government of Canada on one hand and hold the other out for money and expect them to look favorably on your request. In the meantime, we have constituencies such as the Member for Kluane’s, who now has been informed by the Member for Klondike that if the Alaska Highway goes to hell, we will just transfer the tourists through Dawson City. That is of concern to this side and it should be of concern to the general public.

The Minister of Community and Transportation says, “Who is shirking his responsibility”?  Well, I would strongly suggest that he has been and his government has been. Perhaps it has not been high on his agenda. It is similar to any other motion that is passed in this House. Maybe it is not as high on the agenda as they claim it is. We unanimously passed a motion two years ago requesting an inquiry into the injustices involving a number of our Yukon citizens. What happened? What has happened? Nothing. Zilch. That was a unanimous resolution. We had a resolution here on Kluane National Park, unanimously supported by Members from that side, including the now Minister of Tourism, who now feels it is his prerogative to change his mind after all sides of the House spoke in favour of the motion put forward by the MLA for Kluane. So, let us not talk about who is doing what. I am beginning to wonder about the value of this House, because one thing is said and then another thing is done in some other form.

You talk about results. Mr. Speaker is one who knows, because he has to drive at least 100 miles of that at least once a week, if not more. We talk about results, and we take a look at what is happening. I have to say strongly that  the side opposite better take a look at what their priorities are.

We have spent over a billion dollars in four years. In concert with that, we have seen a deterioration of the Alaska Highway like at no other time in history. I happen to have had the misfortune of going to Alaska at Christmastime. I was on the stretch of road around Beaver Creek of which the MLA for Kluane speaks. I was embarrassed. I was absolutely embarrassed as a Yukoner and as a Canadian - we came across that border - it was a disgrace, an absolute disgrace. It has been steadily deteriorating, deteriorating, deteriorating. And what do we get? We get platitudes from that side. They stand up and all they say is “Oh, the federal government.” Well, maybe it is time we started providing some alternatives to the federal government in respect to maybe what we can do in conjunction with the Government of Canada. Let us get our cards on the table. The political priorities of the Yukon, in conjunction with the Government of Canada, have fallen down about 10 points. We just had an announcement the other day; there is another million bucks that will not be coming from the feds. Once again I go back to the financing formula. What fall-back position does this government have in respect to our financing? Oh no, we have gone out and just recklessly spent all that money and we have said to the public, “Oh, there is always more money. We can go to the Government of Canada for it.” I think, unfortunately, the public trough is starting to dry up.

For an example, we look to the side opposite - $51,000 in one day to open the college - $51,000. Fifty-one thousand dollars of taxpayers’ money. You are supposed to stand there and tell us we are a responsible Legislature and a responsible government. In order to be a responsible government, you are supposed to act responsibly and that means, in part, financially responsible. All we have seen is a steady decrease in our working capital to the point that the Leader of the Official Opposition has made it very clear what is going to happen if this continues. When we go to renew our financing formula, the Government of Canada will be saying, “Hey now, we are into a new ball game. You guys have invested this money wisely, surely you can carry part of the can.” What happens then? What happens to the Minister of Finance?

I hope the next Minister of Finance is not from the riding of Campbell or Kluane. They will not be able to get to work because the highway will have deteriorated that bad. The success of this government in getting money from the Government of Canada for the Alaska Highway has been a dismal failure. Nobody has to say anything else. The political clout has been well felt and nothing has happened.

Hon. Mr. McDonald: The motion put forward by the Member for Watson Lake and amended by the Member for Faro addressed very well the sentiments of the Members of this Legislature with the exception of one Member. The Member for Porter Creek East gave probably the worst, weak-kneed, pathetic, suck-holing speech I have ever heard in all my days in this Legislature. I have never heard anything quite so pathetic, despite the fact that over the last four years this Legislature has, time after time, expressed itself on the need to upgrade the Alaska Highway. Time after time, we resolved to deal with the necessary responsibilities that had to be shown by the owners of this road, the federal government. Time after time, we dealt with the obvious problems of the maintenance on this highway and the obvious problems with the capital construction program, which was declining year after year. I have never heard anything quite so absolutely pathetic, so absolutely pathetic, as that speech from the Member for Porter Creek East.

The Member for Porter Creek East is on his knees in front of the federal government in such a dishonourable, reckless way it makes me embarrassed to be a Member of this Legislature. The Member for Hootalinqua says, “oh come on now, why not be crawling cowards and face the federal government once in awhile?” The performance from the Member for Porter Creek East may have been typical but it certainly is not what I would have expected from a Member who is a Yukoner, elected by a number of Yukoners, to represent their interest in this Legislature. That was pathetic.

The Member wants to know what the sincerity of this government is with respect to the upgrading of the Alaska Highway. There have been numerous meetings with federal ministers. I remember personally pouring over a map to show the federal minister where the Yukon was and what the Alaska Highway was all about.

The first time around, it is a legitimate exercise. How can you possibly expect a Member from Halifax to have first-hand knowledge of the Alaska Highway in this big country. You cannot. As important as it is to us you cannot expect them to have not only first-hand knowledge, but a first hand working understanding of the complicated issues involved in the Alaska Highway, the Shakwak Project and the international agreement between the governments with respect to upgrading this road.

At the next meeting you have with the Minister, if you are required to pull open the map and show him where the Alaska Highway is, you begin to wonder. You also begin to wonder about the senior people who are advising the Minister. Between the first and second times I addressed the issue with the federal Minister of Public Works, you would think there would have been an increased understanding of the issues at hand. At the second meeting, we were dealing with the Alaska Highway from first principles, and this was unfortunate.

Through unanimous motions, this Legislature has been expressing itself every year I have been here and since before 1985. We have had good, honourable and eloquent speeches by the Member for Kluane, the previous Member for Watson Lake, the present Member for Watson Lake, the Member for Riverdale North and the Member for Faro. I have made speeches. We have had speeches from many Members of this Legislature promoting our view that the federal government is primarily responsible for this road and must live up to its responsibilities. It is an international road. It is of international importance that this road be upgraded.

The comments made by the Member for Porter Creek East is not what this Legislature has been saying, and it is not what a strong MLA in this Legislature would say. I find it pathetic that the Member for Porter Creek East would engage in that kind of gamesmanship.

What has this government done? This government has made repeated, significant representations to federal authorities to get the necessary and appropriate funding. I know for a fact that the detail of the submissions put forward to the federal government has been incredible. I know for a fact that the Department of Highways has built up its credibility over the years so it can make the best and most efficient use of its resources to keep that highway maintained for all the travelers along the road, tourists and local users alike.

In British Columbia, the difference between the maintenance standard on the road and the Yukon side was remarkable. Most people who traveled the highway recognized the Government of Yukon’s Department of Highways had a more sophisticated, effective maintenance program than they did on the other side. They were doing that on a contractual basis with the federal government, despite the fact the funding for this agreement was declining every year, both on the capital side and on the operational side.

To indicate now that all the efforts of the Legislature, the Ministers and highway maintenance personnel amounts to zilch, and that we should katow to whatever Conservative minister happens to be in Ottawa, is an attitude that stinks.

There have been many times in the last few years when the message has been put out honourably by this government to the federal Department of Public Works and its minister. There is a good, professional working relationship with the federal government on a whole range of other issues, inasmuch as the federal Minister of Finance has recognized the work of this government.

Every year, we have made the representations quietly and through appropriate channels that things are getting worse. The road situation is now also getting dangerous and something has to be done. There was no ranting and no raving in the newspapers about the federal government. There was simply a statement of concern. We believe this is the case. They were reasonable and responsible speeches being made by the Members of this Legislature, and what does the motion before us say? It says the House is concerned about the level of funding. This is the level of criticism that we are leveling on the Department of Public Works. We are showing concern. Is this ranting and raving? No, it is not. This is a responsible expression of concern about the level of funding for the Yukon portion of the Alaska Highway.

Is that the reality? Are we not concerned about the level of funding? Are we not concerned that the federal government, which owns this road, is putting less money into the maintenance of this road? Are we not concerned? Is this such a slap in the face that we must get on our hands and knees in a craven fashion to try to convince the federal government we are nice guys and are not trying to be mean? It is an absolute fact that the federal government is responsible for this road.

I heard it once from the Member for Kluane, and I now heard it from the Member for Porter Creek East, that the Opposition is of the view that, despite the fact that this road has not been transferred to the Yukon, in order to protect the reputation of the federal Conservative government, we should start taking financial responsibility for that road.

There will be a motion on the Order Paper for next week that is going to deal with the issue: does the Conservative Opposition believe that if the federal government abrogates their responsibility in any one particular area, the Yukon government is obligated to pick up the slack? Is that what the Members are saying? That is what the Member for Porter Creek East just said.

Is that what the Members believe?

The Member for Whitehorse Porter Creek East finds this threatening. If the Member for Whitehorse Porter Creek East is going to stand in his place and stick out his jaw and make all kinds of accusations about this government, then he is going to have to be prepared to stand by the consequences. The issue of the necessary financing for the Alaska Highway and whose responsibility it is will be the subject of discussion in this Legislature before too long, and we will ask the hon. Member for Whitehorse Porter Creek East where he stands on that matter.

The Member for Porter Creek East asks the rhetorical question: what is the value of the Yukon Legislature? Well, what is the value of the Yukon Legislature, because we have been passing, largely sponsored by the Member for Kluane, motions in this Legislature every single year from the beginning. What is the value of the Yukon Legislature? I guess it does not rank very highly in the agenda of the Department of Public Works, does it?

The Member for Whitehorse Porter Creek East is now saying, “listen, let us make sure that we protect the federal Conservative government; let us try to turn this back on the Yukon government, because if the Yukon government makes its necessary representations to the federal government to upgrade the Alaska Highway and if the federal Conservative government says no, it is not one of our priorities, then somehow it is the Yukon government’s fault.”

Well, given what the Member for Whitehorse Porter Creek East has said this afternoon, I think one would be inclined to believe that the Member at the barest minimum has his sense of fairness wrong.

The Member for Hootalinqua is desperate that I turn off the jets and I am more than inclined to do that because, basically, I have vented my spleen on this subject. It is something that the Member for Whitehorse Porter Creek East is prone to encourage me to do. I am continually told that I must keep my blood pressure down, keep calm and just make the necessary points - no matter what ridiculous things the Member for Whitehorse Porter Creek East might say. Things are not going to be quite so bad in the long run. I apologize if I did make any unparliamentary remarks, no matter how much I meant them, because I really do believe in the institution of the Yukon Legislature.

The point of the matter remains, quite clearly, that there are a variety of responsibilities for the maintenance and upgrading of the Alaska Highway. Members have made the point very clearly that it is absolutely essential, especially for the international recognition that the anniversary will give to the road in 1992, that the Alaska Highway receive appropriate funding so that the highway, as a major tourism artery, is respected by the tourist traffic.

I think it is abundantly clear after our many discussions with the State Legislature in Alaska that, as much as the Alaskan government feels that it should be participating in this worthwhile endeavor, it does have its priorities as a regional government to consider.

I think they have been proven themselves to be marvelously capable of living up to their end of the agreement with respect to channeling U.S. federal funds into the Shakwak project and I think this Legislature should recognize that for what it is, that being a tremendous boost to the transportation network in the southwestern Yukon. I think, given the discussions we have had with the various state commissioners of transportation, we should given them the appropriate recognition for trying to do what they can to meet the responsibilities under the Shakwak agreement.

I say with all sincerity, also, that the Department of Highways has been doing a marvelous job in keeping the road open and meeting the various needs of the users along the road, and even handling serious flooding such as that which occurred last year, causing tremendous damage. We should recognize their yeoman efforts in keeping the transportation corridor open.

The various Yukon government departments that have been advocating, and responsibly speaking to the federal government for appropriate funding for this road and responsible levels of funding. I might add there has never been any suggestion that the Yukon government should receive incredibly large amounts of money in order to do all the upgrading at once, but responsible levels of funding so that the road can be incrementally improved over a number of years. Those government departments should be congratulated as well.

They have only expressed concerns when they knew those concerns were real and I believe it behooves the territorial Legislature to, at a minimum, express concern about the level of funding that the Yukon portion of the Alaska Highway is receiving.

There has been nothing but an honest sentiment from the Legislature today, with the exception of the Member for Porter Creek East, of course.

The proposal put forward on the formation of intergovernmental working groups is a worthwhile proposal. There have been discussions between both the Government of the Yukon and the Government of British Columbia, and between the Government of Yukon and the State of Alaska to encourage the respective governments to provide the necessary funding to upgrade the highway. Clearly, everyone is aware of the total cost of such a large project. Probably just on the Alaska Highway north section, it would be in the neighbourhood of $200 million. There is also recognition that, with regular effort the road can gradually be improved to an appropriate standard, not only for the tourists but also for the local traffic on that road. The Yukoners are most affected by the state of the road today.

The Government of British Columbia has expressed an interest in seeing the road upgraded. Clearly, some of the sections in British Columbia are particularly bad. I understand that the Government of British Columbia was not aware of any recent requests by the federal authorities to take ownership of the road prior to any increase in funding. That is a new element in the equation. I would think it would be an element worth pursuing on the understanding that, along with devolution, the necessary funding comes to upgrade and maintain the road.

Let me conclude by saying that the Government of Yukon has been working diligently to ensure that the message from this Legislature and the technical people is sent to the federal government to let it know the state of the federal road in the territory. We have acted responsibly as maintenance contractors on the road to the point that tourists go back to the lower 48 from the Yukon and want to make mention of the highway personnel they met on the road and the state of the road itself.

The expressions of support by the Legislature may have impact. It is doubtful about the ultimate impact but, nevertheless, it is something the Yukon Legislature and government have to keep as a top priority. We have expressed ourselves on numerous occasions; we should keep expressing ourselves, and whether it is a life-long struggle or not is immaterial. We should honestly express our feelings about this matter to federal authorities and to anyone who will listen and not let down our guard for one moment.

Mr. Brewster: This is the most disgraceful thing I have seen in this Legislature since I have been in it. I get completely frustrated at times, but what went on here is absolutely ridiculous. There are lodges from Watson Lake up that are suffering, and we stand here to blow out our chest and be big shots. That goes for both sides of the House. I am very discontented with the whole thing. It is disgraceful.

If they were sitting there, I wonder what the lodge people would have thought of what they heard in here today: filibustering and everything else to keep it out, then turning around and bringing in a motion to congratulate yourselves.

If that motion goes as amended, regardless of what my party does, I will vote against it. I could not go back to my people if I voted for something like that, when they have suffered and gone through all they have. No wonder people get frustrated and get out of this place. I am plenty frustrated with what I have heard today.

Mr. Phelps: I want to stand and echo the sentiments expressed by the Member for Kluane. It is unfortunate that at each and every possibility the government insists on taking up time seeking congratulations for things they have done. A commonsense principle is that, if you are doing a great job, you do not have to run around looking for people to pat you on the back: they will do it because the job speaks for itself.

I can understand a little politics surfacing now and then in this chamber, and I enjoy the thrust and parry and some of the more friendly banter that goes back and forth and from side to side.

The Member for Kluane has had this as one of his main personal platforms as an individual Member, not as a Member of partisan politics, but as a constituency person. He represents all people in his constituency no matter how they vote, what party they might belong to, and he has been equally critical of the previous Conservative government as he has of the present government. It is of little surprise to me that he would feel as emotional and disgusted as he obviously does at this very moment.

The debate, for the most part, was sincere. The level of debate deteriorated as soon as the side opposite got up to pat itself on the back and, unfortunately, I think that all of us in the House ought, from time to time, pause and give sober reflection to those who really suffer from some of the inequities and some of the conditions in Yukon that all of us have a duty to try to alleviate.

The highway lodge owners and operators all along the highway do not have it easy. They face numerous problems and not the least of those problems is the dismal condition of the highway and the worst portion of the highway is in the Member for Kluane’s area.

Adjourned debate: Mr. Phelps

Speaker: Order, the time now being 5:30 p.m., I will now leave the Chair until 7:30 p.m. tonight.


Speaker: I will now call the House to order.

Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.

Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. 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


Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order.

Hon. Ms. Joe: I would like to ask the permission of the House to have witnesses appear for the Human Rights budget. Also I would like to table the audited statement for the Human Rights Commission.

Chair: Pursuant to Standing Order 48(1), a certificate has been filed with the Chair. Is the committee agreed to have witnesses appear at the bar of the House?

Some Hon. Members: Agreed.

Bill No. 51, First Appropriation Act, 1989-90 - continued

Department of Justice: Human Rights Commission

On Human Rights Commission

Chair: We will continue debate on Bill No. 51. I would refer Members to page 269 in the estimates book where they will find, within the Department of Justice, the estimates for Human Rights. At this time, I would like to remind both the Members and witnesses to address their remarks through the Chair.

Mr. Phillips: As I understand it, Madam Chair, although the remarks are addressed through the Chair, tonight we can address our questions directly to the witnesses who are at the bar?

Chair:  You may proceed.

Hon. Mr. McDonald: That is the understanding of the government side.

Hon. Ms. Joe: I would just like to say, Madam Chair, that we are dealing here with a budget of $207,000 for the Human Rights Commission. I have a breakdown of that and the $42,000 for the Human Rights Adjudication Board. That is what we have broken down and will be discussing right now.

Human Rights Commission witnesses introduced

Chair: At this time I would like to introduce the witnesses from the Human Rights Commission, Sylvia Neschokat and John Anton, to the Committee.

Mrs. Firth: I would like to begin by welcoming the witnesses. However, I have heard the Minister mention that she passed out some papers, or statements. Perhaps we could find out whether it is simply the unaudited balance sheet we received in the mail from the commission. Is that correct?

Hon. Ms. Joe: Yes, it is. I was not entirely sure whether it had been received by the Member, and I had given her my copy to be copied.

Mrs. Firth: Thank you. I am ready to begin my questioning then.

I would like to ask the Chair of the commission who is responsible for the budgetary management within the Human Rights Commission on a day-to-day basis?

Ms. Neschokat: The executive director of the commission is responsible for the day-to-day management and administration of the commission.

Mrs. Firth: Perhaps the Chair could give us some indication of how the executive director keeps track of the daily expenses, the expenditures and the balance that is left with the expenditures. How do they know they are not going over their budget, that they are on-line and that things are running efficiently with the management of the budget?

Ms. Neschokat: The commission has a computerized financial management system that was set up in consultation with the accountant for the commission. The executive director also produces, on a monthly basis, a financial report for review and approval by the commission at its regular business meetings.

Mrs. Firth: Could I get some indication of what the tendering process for the commission is should there be contracts that the commission would like to tender for consultative services or for some other educational purposes? What process would they go through?

Ms. Neschokat: Are you referring to contracts for the 1987-88 fiscal year or contracts that are currently being undertaken by the commission?

Mrs. Firth: I am referring to a general tendering process; however, if there was one way for last year and another for this year, I would expect that information. I am talking in terms of a general contracting process. Are there any guidelines or rules that are followed so that the tendering or contracting process is perceived to be bid competitively and in a fair manner?

Ms. Neschokat: The commission has directed its executive director, as of its last business meeting, to follow the contract directive of the Financial Administration Act with respect to tendering procedures that it undertakes for 1989-90. In 1987-88, there were essentially three contracts let; two related to pay equity and one related to the production of the annual report. I can describe the procedures that were utilized in each instance if you would like.

Mrs. Firth: Yes, please.

Ms. Neschokat: At the beginning of the 1987-88 fiscal year a request for proposals were sent to nine firms, not only for the production of the annual report but also for the production of public relations material for the commission. By that I mean stationary, cards, et cetera. That contract was awarded on the basis of the commission reviewing the proposals that we received. The contractor, however, left midway through the fiscal year prior to his initiating work on the annual report. The commission then decided to issue a contract to the next lowest bidder, in this case Patricia Halladay Graphics Limited. She undertook the preparation of last year’s annual report.

With respect to the second and third contracts relating to pay equity, this was a contract that was undertaken in cooperation with the Association for Yukon Communities to undertake job evaluation audits in each of the Yukon municipalities. Three firms or individuals were contacted verbally with respect to their interest in participating in the contract. One contractor was not interested in proceeding. Neither of the other two contractors were in the position to undertake all of the work that the commission wanted done in all of the municipalities, so that contract was divided between the remaining two contractors. They were Isoceles and E.B. Lane Associates.

Mrs. Firth: Could we get the costs of all three of the contracts, please?

Ms. Neschokat: I do not have them here with me, but I certainly could provide it to you.

Mrs. Firth: I wonder if they could give us an approximation. I notice during the last budget debate, we were given a list of all of the contracts that went out. It is kind of relevant to the situation.

Ms. Neschokat: The contract for Isosceles was just under $10,000. The contract for E.B. Lane Associates was just under $15,000. I would really have to check further into the contract for the annual report production, but I believe it was probably in the neighborhood of $4,000. I would appreciate the opportunity to provide you with the correct figures.

Mrs. Firth: I would like to have those later if we could. How many copies of the annual report will be made, and is it going to be in the same format as the annual report was last year?

Ms. Neschokat:  You are referring to this year’s annual report for 1988-89? Yes, we are producing an annual report. It will be available and submitted to the Speaker and the Members at the end of May. I would expect that we would be producing, as last year, between 1,000 and 1,500 copies of the report. It will be produced to the same standard and the same quality of last year’s report as well. It will be approximately the same size and the same design format.

Mrs. Firth: Did the Human Rights Commission give out all of the reports from the previous year? Were they all picked up and read and examined by Yukoners?

Ms. Neschokat: It is my understanding that we produced 1,000 copies last year, and I believe we have very few left.

Mrs. Firth: I must say that the commission moving toward having their fiscal manager abide by the contract directives in the new 1989-90 budget is a new direction. May I have that confirmed, please?

Ms. Neschokat: Yes. I should elaborate a little further. The commission has asked the executive director to develop a contracts policy. At minimum, during the interim, until that policy is developed, we will be using the contract directives of the Financial Administration Act. At minimum, the commission will be adopting standards that are in the Financial Administration Act contract directives. It is possible, however, that we may exceed those requirements. We are, after all, a small organization and we may decide to exercise more stringent management control on our finances. The development of that policy will be undertaken this fiscal year.

Mrs. Firth: Could we get some indication of when the policy will be in effect? I would hope that a copy of it will be provided to the Members of the Legislature as soon as it is in effect?

Ms. Neschokat: I cannot give you an indication of when the policy will be developed. The commission is in the process of establishing its priorities in terms of work planning for the next fiscal year. I would certainly be willing to provide you with a copy of the policy once it has been adopted.

Mrs. Firth: I would like to ask some questions about the grant program that the commission started this year. I believe it was called Human Rights Community Grants Program 1988-89. Can the commission tell us how much money it spent on this grant program this year?

Mr. Anton: Perhaps I should address that question. The total grants that were approved amounted to $2,941. A total of six grants were approved, and my it is understanding and belief that one grant to the Yukon Education Theatre has not yet been used because the program and short plays they anticipated putting on have not been produced yet. It is their plan to do it shortly.

Mrs. Firth: Could we get a copy of the list of the groups, or organizations, that received grants, and a list of how much they received and what the project was for?

Mr. Anton: I could read that into the record now, if you wish. I have those figures and the individuals or societies involved.

The Yukon Historical and Museums Association was approved for a grant of $300; the Yukon Status of Women Council, $741; the Yukon Association for Community Living, $500; the Learning Disabilities Association of Yukon, $250; the Yukon Literacy Council, $250; and the Yukon Educational Theatre, $900.

Mr. Phillips: I would like to go back to last year’s annual report. I understand the witness said the report cost approximately $4,000, and that there was an original contractor who could not complete the job, so they got the second bidder to complete the job.

Is that $4,000 for the second bidder or the total of the two bidders? How much was the original bid? What did it end up costing us after the first person could not complete the job?

Ms. Neschokat: Perhaps I was not as clear as I should have been. The commission requested proposals from nine contractors for a package, which included the production of an annual report, as well as the production of things like stationery and public relations material for the commission. The entire contract was worth about $20,000. I would have to verify the complete figure for you. The contractor completed that portion of the work that pertained to the publication of the stationery and the business cards, et cetera. The annual report part of the contract was left uncompleted.

The consultant’s services, to the best of my recollection, cost us in the neighbourhood of $4,000. There are printing costs associated with the annual report, and that added another $4,000 to the cost of the annual report, for a total of approximately $8,000. Of that, $2,400 was spent on overtime printing costs, which the commission authorized in order to try to meet the requirements the Legislature had asked for at that time with respect to deadlines and the submission of the report.

We estimate that this year’s report will cost between $6,500 and $7,200.

Mrs. Firth: The conditions of the grant program simply state that the organization that receives the grant agrees to submit to the commission a written financial report at the end of the project. Has the commission received written reports from all of the organizations that received grants and could they give us some indication of what financial accountability there is? Do they have to submit receipts before they get the money or are they given all the money up front and then a report is submitted saying they spent it? What is the accountability process for the commission to be able to account for the money and identify that the money was spent where it was intended to be spent?

Ms. Neschokat: Individuals and groups applying under the community grants program are required to submit a written proposal that is considered by the commission. The grant is awarded on the basis of that proposal. A cheque is made out to the organization or the individual who has been awarded the grant.

One of the conditions of the grant is that a financial report or an accountability financial statement is submitted by the organization after completion of the project.

Of the six organizations that received grants, the only organization that to my knowledge is still outstanding is the Yukon Educational Theater because their activity has not yet been undertaken. The others have submitted financial statements but not receipts.

Mrs. Firth: So they just simply give an informal written financial statement? It is nothing formal, prepared by auditors, or anything like that?

Ms. Neschokat: Not by auditors, but it is in writing.

Mr. Lang: I would just like our witnesses to clarify something. Am I to understand that we gave the Yukon Educational Theater $1,000 this past year and the money was not spent?

Ms. Neschokat: We gave the Yukon Educational Theater $900 to undertake a series of theater workshops. They were originally designed to be held on International Human Rights Day in December. The group approached us last winter asking us to extend their opportunity to develop the proposals over the winter and conduct the workshops some time this spring, and the commission agreed to that.

Mr. Lang: This is a technical question but I do not understand how you legally can do that, because we are going into a new financial year and you have given money to something and it has not been expended. Does that mean you have recovered the money and you will grant it again? Is that correct?

Ms. Neschokat: The money remains with the Yukon Educational Theater.

Mrs. Firth: The cheques are issued upon application and the money stays with them. Is there any timeline on when the organization has to spend the money? The concern I have is that they could just have the money sit in the bank and it could be accumulating interest or they could invest it. What is there to stop them doing something like that?

Ms. Neschokat: I appreciate the comments of the Member with respect to the use to which the money is put. Of these six organizations, five of course used that money in 1988-89. It is not a common practice that the commission would support an organization holding onto the funds. Generally, the proposals have contained a specific date for an activity and a specific time at which the activity will be concluded.

In this particular case, because the workshops were being developed by individuals and there were some time constraints for them, we agreed to extend their right to use the funds during the course of the spring.

I should say that the other limitation on groups using money in this way is that one of the conditions under which the grant is given is that an organization is only eligible to apply for a grant once in any fiscal year.

The Yukon Educational Theater, for instance, would not be considered for any other applications until their activity in this fiscal year had been undertaken.

Mrs. Firth: I appreciate what the Chair of the commission is saying: however, to me and by the standards that the rest of the government departments operate under, I have some concerns about the practice of issuing a cheque directly to an organization. My opinion of how it should work is: if an organization is coming forward for a grant, one criterion for receiving a grant is that the written proposal be completely finished and self-explanatory and the project be ready to go. I have a great deal of concern that we are giving out grants to organizations even though we are talking about small amounts of money, in the context of $300 million, but the projects should be all ready to go so that the money is expended immediately.

I have a great deal of concern that it is not the best financial management to pass out a cheque; it should be conditional that this be used up some time during that year. I do not think that is sound or efficient management of money. So, I would like to caution the commission that I think it should look at that when it comes to its financial management and that cheques not be issued until the project is ready to go and the monies are going to be expended immediately.

My feeling toward this particular situation is that this money should now lapse - that they should have to reapply for the money - and that they should be asked to bring the cheque back to the commission and then reapply in the new year so that the commission’s books can be kept in a fashion consistent with the rest of the government’s books.

Ms. Neschokat: Was there a question being asked of me in that? I did not hear one.

Mrs. Firth: I want to get some indication from the commission if it is going to tighten up this process or if it is just going to continue to distribute cheques for grants. I think the commission should look at a new policy and I would like to get some direction from the commission as to whether it thinks it is a problem or an answer as to whether it is going to look at the situation and whether there is some validity to the concept that the cheques should not be issued until the program is completed to go. Then, at the end of the year, if the money has not been expended, it would be turned back and the group or organization reapply. I would like to know what the commission’s feeling is on those four points.

Ms. Neschokat: The community grants program has been one of the most successful programs for the commission, in part because it has shared the opportunity to undertake public education activities on human rights issues with those organizations that have a stake in the process. I think that, while I appreciate the Member’s comments regarding financial management procedures - and certainly the commission will undertake to look at how we might tighten up the process - it is also important from our point of view to ensure that there is some flexibility in dealing with community organizations that have volunteers working for them and who undertake these activities basically in their own time and often at their own expense.

Mrs. Firth: I do not disagree with the benefits of the program and the sharing opportunities and the educational perspectives. That is all good. However, we have to look at two things: one, that these groups are not spending their own money, they are spending the taxpayers’ dollars, which we are here to protect and see that the dollars are spent efficiently, and two, the comments that the Chair raises are exactly what causes me some concern - the comments about volunteers working on their own time. I cannot see that, in proper fiscal accountability, any department within government would allow monies to go out to an organization or group to be spent at leisure over a year’s period of time. The Chair has said that she will look at that process. I would make a very strong recommendation that the commission very seriously consider it and make it practice that when it is following through with the grants program, even though volunteers are involved who are working on their own time. They have to abide by financial rules as do other volunteer groups that come to other parts of government to benefit from grants that are made available.

Is the commission moving in the direction of having contracting policies, and will there be a policy when it comes to the distribution of taxpayers’ dollars to this community grant program?

I would like a commitment from the commission to look at that.

Ms. Neschokat: I have made a commitment to look at the question of how the community grant program funds are administered in the context of our management practices within the commission.

Mrs. Firth: The Human Rights Commission did not pay its taxes. We received a lengthy legislative return from the Minister of Justice containing various reasons as to why the commission had not paid its taxes. However, in all the responses, we still did not establish whether or not the Human Rights Commission had sent a change-of-address notice to the city. I am assuming that, because we did not receive any comment about that, that they did not. I think I had confirmed that with the city; it had not received a change-of-address notice from the Human Rights Commission. The city takes the tax roll it gets from YTG with the addresses on it. It does not check the addresses, and it does not cross-reference to see if utility notices were delivered to the correct address or not. It simply goes by the tax roll that is provided by YTG.

It is fair to say that the error was on the part of the commission in not sending the change of address. Have the taxes since been paid, and has the penalty been paid?

Ms. Neschokat: Yes.

Mrs. Firth: The penalty was paid out of the commission’s budget. Is that correct?

Ms. Neschokat: Yes.

Mrs. Firth: A balance sheet of information was provided to us. It is entitled “Yukon Human Rights Commission Balance Sheet, March 31, 1989 (unaudited)”. It does not provide a detailed breakdown of the expenditures of the commission. It simply gives us an accounting of what its financial picture looks like. The commission is reporting a deficit of $11,234.88.

In view of the computerized system the Chair talked about that was giving monthly reports that were reviewed by the commission, when did the commission first realize it was operating in a deficit position?

Ms. Neschokat: January, 1989.

Mrs. Firth: What action was taken when the commission realized that it was operating in a deficit position? Did it do anything to try to immediately rectify that situation?

Ms. Neschokat: At that stage, the deficit was approximately $2,000. During the fourth quarter, several unanticipated and emergency expenditures arose for the commission, one of which relates to the fact that the plumbing system for the commission froze in February resulting in an expenditure of $1,300.

The other expenditure that the commission had to undertake occurred in December, and that was the resignation of our executive director. The recruitment costs relating to advertising the position for a new executive director amounted to approximately $5,000.

We realized that there were some expenditures occurring that we had to deal with, but we knew we would have a shortfall in the resources available to us.

Mrs. Firth: Why did the plumbing freeze? The building was completely refurbished. We paid $82,000 for this building originally, and it looks fairly sound. Perhaps we could get an indication of what happened.

Ms. Neschokat: The unfortunate fact is that it had old pipes.

Mrs. Firth: The recruitment costs of the new executive director were $5,000. Did we advertise locally only or outside as well? It sounds like a fairly high cost for some advertisements.

Ms. Neschokat: We advertised in western Canadian newspapers. I believe the Vancouver Sun, in an Edmonton paper, a Calgary paper and in the Northwest Territories.

Mrs. Firth: We have accounted for $8,300 of the $11,234. Can the Chair give us the balance?

Ms. Neschokat: Time costs relating to the production of the 1987-88 annual report account for $2,400 of that. As I mentioned earlier, this was an expense undertaken by the commission that was not foreseen. It was caused by trying to meet the time deadlines requested by the Legislature during the last fiscal year. The remaining amount of money comes from taxes, and that was approximately $1,400.

Mrs. Firth: I am going to ask some specific questions. We do not have a breakdown like the one presented in the annual report of these revenues and expenses. In the areas of expenses all we have is commissioners, staff, operational expenses, administration, public education and legal advocacy. Will we be provided with a breakdown so we can see what the honorariums were?

Will we get that information tonight so we can complete the budget debate?

Ms. Neschokat: No. I am sorry; it is not available this evening. It will be made available in the annual report in the same manner as last year.

It could be provided to you sometime between now and then.

Mrs. Firth: It would be of help to us if we could get the detailed breakdown so we would know exactly where the money went. On the second page in the expenses column, I notice that $125,076.27 was spent. I would like to ask why that is such a remarkable increase from last year, which was close to about $62,000.

Ms. Neschokat: There are two reasons. The commission, in undertaking the pay equity project with the municipalities, as a small employer, decided to undertake a Job Evaluation Study audit itself. The result of this was a recommendation for increases of approximately $5,000 for both staff members. The commission decided to pay those costs this fiscal year as part of the JES we conducted.

The second reason is that the commission hired a part-time/half-time receptionist.

Mrs. Firth: Perhaps we could find out how many staff are working presently at the location of the Human Rights Commission.

Ms. Neschokat: There are two full-time staff members and one part-time receptionist.

Mrs. Firth: The executive director’s salary comes out of the administrative budget within the Department of Justice. The commissioner is shaking her head, indicating no. Is the executive director’s salary out of the total budget of the commission?

Ms. Neschokat: The commission’s budget is $200,000 for 1988-89. The executive director’s salary is part of the $125,000 in salaries listed here. It does come out of the commission’s budget.

Mrs. Firth: The figures I have from the Minister are $207,000 and then $42,000 for the adjudication, so that we have the correct figures on the record.

I am concluding the salary of the new executive director is comparable to that of the former executive director. Is that correct?

Ms. Neschokat: The salary of the new executive director is $55,000.

Mrs. Firth: Does the executive director work on a full-time basis?

Ms. Neschokat: Yes.

Mrs. Firth: So we have two full-time people working at the commission, one part-time receptionist, a full-time executive director to look after 13 formal complaints on the record. What is going to be done about the deficit position the commission is in? Where is the money going to come from to cover this deficit? Is there going to be a supplementary estimate brought in to the Legislature to cover that expenditure?

Ms. Neschokat: Could I just go back to the previous comment? The commission has, in total, three staff members consisting of one part-time receptionist, one human rights officer, one executive director.

With respect to the question asked, the commission was given one-twelfth of its 1989-90 budget on April 1 and has used that money to cover expenditures that were incurred last fiscal year.

Mrs. Firth: The Chair of the commission is saying that it paid off the deficit with its first allotment of monthly expenses in the new budget. What is the commission going to do to get itself out of this deficit position? As far as I am concerned, in the context of fiscal management, it is already $11,000 in the hole, so to speak. We saw how rapidly that accelerated after it found out it was in a deficit position in January. I shudder to think what might happen by next January. What concrete steps is the commission taking to get out of that deficit position?

Ms. Neschokat: The commission is as concerned as the Member about the state of its finances at this time. It is important to realize the commission is a new organization. We have not yet been in existence two full fiscal years, and there will be a period of time during which there will be some adjustments to be made internally within the commission with respect to its management. For instance, we anticipate this fiscal year that our legal advocacy and research fees will be considerably higher than they have been in the past. That will continue to happen. There will perhaps be fluctuations and reallocations within the commission’s budget as we get a better sense of what the demand for our services is and where the needs are in the community with respect to the way we spend our money.

This is not a matter that the commission wishes to continue for any length of time. I should note that, in 1987-88, the commission came forward at the end of the fiscal year with a $1,300 surplus. During the course of this fiscal year, we solicited funds from other organizations, including the Department of Secretary of State, and we also received funding from the Rick Hansen fund with respect to work we were doing with the disabled community. I expect the commission will be fundraising for additional sources of money from similar sources this fiscal year and will also be undertaking stricter financial management practices, internally.

One of our initiatives is that, in December, we requested that the Government of Yukon provide the services of its internal audit branch to look at the financial and management practices of the commission, and the Government of Yukon has agreed to that. That will be undertaken in the first part of this fiscal year. We hope this will put us back on a sounder footing at the end of this fiscal year.

Mrs. Firth: I can direct questions regarding the financial capabilities of the commission to the Minister later. Ultimately, it is the Minister who is responsible for the authorization and for the flexibility given to the commission when it comes to the operation and management of its day-to-day activities.

The audit is an important factor to get the commission on base with its financial management. The point the Chair raises about it being a new organization is what gives me concern. The surplus that was reported last year was not healthy compared with an $11,234 deficit. I noticed the revenues the Chair talks about do not amount to a lot of money. The total amounts to $3,128, between the Secretary of State and the Rick Hansen fund. A commitment to raise funds is not really cash in the bank.

I would encourage the commission to get its books in order, and I will be having some follow-up questions with the Minister of Justice regarding the particular concern I do have.

The commission received a photocopy machine when it opened up. That was from the Queen’s Printer, was it not, for about $11,000?

Ms. Neschokat: I am sorry, I cannot speak to the value of the machine, but yes, we received a photocopy machine from the Government of Yukon.

Mrs. Firth: Could the Chair tell us whether or not the Commission has received any other capital assets or contributions from the government?

Ms. Neschokat: If the Member is referring to this fiscal year, not to the best of my knowledge.

Mrs. Firth: In the government contracts listing that we were given by the Minister responsible for Community and Transportation Services for 1988-89 there were two contracts, for a total of $10,000, for secretarial services to the Human Rights Board of Adjudication. Can the Chair tell us if this is above the $42,000 budget of the Board of Adjudication, or did that come out of that budget?

Ms. Neschokat: Could I take this opportunity to explain to the Members that the budget items relating to the Board of Adjudication are not controlled by, administered by, or in any other way under the jurisdiction of the commission.

Mrs. Firth: I appreciate that. I will take that up then with the Minister when we get back into the Justice budget debate.

I would like to ask just a couple of questions more in the context of policy than of financial management. I think that I have heard enough about the financial management of the commission. I noticed in the report on activities that there are 13 formal complaints that have been accepted for investigation. Five were carried over from last year. How long did the commission allow the complaints to sit on the books, so to speak, and be carried over? How long could an individual or business, say, be expected to wait for their complaint to be dealt with?

Ms. Neschokat: First of all, I should advise the Members that once complaints are accepted by the commission, they do not sit on the books. They are dealt with the commission through the process of impartial investigation that is laid out in sections 19 and 20 of the Human Rights Act. There is an internal target, or goal, that we have begun to set with respect to the disposition of complaints, which is six months. There are, of course, some complaints that take longer. This is sometimes a result of the fact that some cases or some particular complaints are more complex than others. Sometimes it is the matter of the director having to go back and forth between the complainant and the respondent and the witnesses who are involved. On occasion it involves travel to rural communities and that lengthens the period of time that the commission investigates complaints, but the internal target that we are working with is six months.

Mrs. Firth: However, I must point out that there were eight complaints last year, from the annual report, five of which were carried over to the next year. We now have two that were settled - unpublished - two were dismissed, three were appealed, and we still have 10 under investigation, so I would conclude that five of those 10 are complaints from the last year and are still under investigation, and only one has gone to the Board of Adjudication. I am sure that all of us are familiar with which one that is. How many of the complaints, say from last year, of the five that were carried over, have been there for over six months?

Ms. Neschokat: I am not sure I understand the question. I think you are referring to the five that were carried over from 1987-88, is that right? You would like to know which of those five are still with the commission under investigation? I am sorry, I cannot provide the Member with that information right now, but I could later.

Mrs. Firth: I would like to have that information because I think it is important that the complaints are dealt with as soon as possible. I appreciate the comments that the Chair of the commission has raised, that processing for some complaints can take longer than others. However, some do sit there for a while and require people to continue to retain lawyers and so on, and therefore causes some expense for the individuals to whom the complaints have been registered against.

Could the Chair of the Commission tell us when they expect to have this internal policy of six months in place?

Ms. Neschokat: Yes. The commission discussed this matter at its July, 1988 meeting. I should also advise the Member that, from the commission’s point of view, the time frame is a target. A number of commissions across the country have begun to use six months and have begun to try to streamline their investigative procedures to ensure that complainants and respondents are dealt with as quickly as possible.

However, the important point to remember is that the commission is obligated by sections 19 and 20 of the Act to carry out an impartial investigation and to do so in as thorough and competent a manner as possible. This obligation is the most important obligation that drives the commission’s activities with respect to legal investigations.

Mrs. Firth: I appreciate all those good things. However, I think that if targets are going to be set, there should be a very conscious effort to meet those targets.

I would like to ask the commission some more policy questions. In the event that there is a case of discrimination, as was just recently announced in the media, where there was a settlement, and if there is a payment made, I would like to ask the commission how it determines the amount of the settlement and the amount to be paid. There is nothing in regulations. There is nothing that I have ever seen from the commission regarding policy so I would like to know who sets the compensation award and what it is based on. What is the criteria? Is it written down? Where are the laws of the land regarding the penalty payments?

Ms. Neschokat: First of all, I would like to make sure that my remarks with respect to settlements and this particular question are understood. I would like to make sure that that is not with respect to the disposition to any one particular complaint. To the best of my knowledge, the amount of money or other terms and conditions in a settlement that are not of a monetary nature are negotiated on a case-by-case or complaint-by-complaint basis between the parties.

Mrs. Firth: I gather that it could be a different settlement for every complaint depending on what is negotiated. There is nothing in our legislation that cites offenses or penalties as the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code and regulations do?

Mr. Anton:  In deciding the amount for a particular type of complaint, we have access to human rights reports and case books involving decisions all across Canada. In the same way a lawyer may be able to calculate an amount of compensation for a particular type of injury in an accident case, going to these reports is of assistance to the commission to provide guidelines on the type of things that should be considered, and the amounts that have been considered by other jurisdictions. We look at those things as well. We are guided by the advice of our own legal counsel on those matters as well. The Member is quite right that there can be many different types of amounts in the settlements. There may be cases that, for the injured party, even though one might think the injury is quite great, an apology is something that is satisfactory to him in terms of resolving it.

Mrs. Firth: So I gather it is fairly flexible, from what the other commissioner is saying.

There was a commitment made at a public meeting that the commission was going to review some of the points in the medical testing policy, and some of them would be changed to reflect the concerns that were raised by that group. Can the Chair tell us whether or not that has been done?

Ms. Neschokat: The commitment that was made at the public hearing relating to employment-related medical testing was to review the comments and concerns, both written and oral, which have been received by the commission in developing a final draft for public release of the policy. Upon the resignation of the previous executive director, the commission decided that it would be appropriate to incorporate the perspective, comments and considerations of its new executive director in developing that policy. That is why it has not yet been released. It will be released this fiscal year.

It is possible that the commission may decide this fiscal year to undertake further consultations on the policy with various sectors of the Yukon community.

Mrs. Firth: This raises a question regarding the policies of the commission. Am I to understand that every time we get a new director that the policies are going to be open for re-evaluation, perhaps changed and different ideas brought in? I believe that is what is happening with the medical testing policy, from what the Chair has indicated to us. I believe I read an announcement in the paper about the position of the executive director on the pay equity policy. His position is that he is not going to take as strident a position as the previous executive director had. I would like some clarification as to what is going to happen when it comes to the policies of the Human Rights Commission.

Ms. Neschokat: The policies of the commission are adopted by the commission members. However, it is important to us to have input and advice from our executive director, who is the person responsible for the day-to-day administration of the act and who is most familiar with the kinds of issues and concerns the general public brings to the commission.

Policies do not change with the hiring of new executive directors. The policy on equal pay for work of equal value, which was publicly released, is still available in writing in a pamphlet format from the commission and is still the policy of the commission. It is possible, and I think it is quite healthy, that executive directors of the commission bring different management approaches and styles to the commission, but the policy still stands.

With respect to the employment-related medical testing policy, that policy was issued in a draft format for public discussion and consultation, and that process was interrupted with the resignation of the previous executive director. We would like to conclude that process with our new executive director.

Mrs. Firth: I do not disagree with the Chair of the commission that different styles are good and positive; however, different policies confuse the public and the people who have to live under these policies. We have definitely had another mixed message about the policy of the commission. Another one that comes to mind is the position that was taken on the information in the annual report regarding the publication of names. I was pleased to see the position of the new executive director was to keep that confidential, and I agreed with that position.

I do not disagree with a new executive director demonstrating a new style, perhaps a more fluid and open, approachable style, but if there are policies there, unless there has been a distinctive change made and the public has been made aware of it, a new executive director adopting new policies is confusing to the people who have to live under the direction of the commission.

I have concluded most of the questions I had. I do not know if any of my colleagues have any follow-up questions to present to the commission.

Mr. Lang: About a year ago, there was some controversy in respect to the question of the moving expenses of the previous executive director. I asked a number of questions of the Government Leader on that, both in writing and in the House. I never got a response, so I assumed it was the Human Rights Commission’s responsibility in its budget. There was approximately $1,000 paid over and above what is permitted under government policy.

Did we recover that $1,000?

Ms. Neschokat: The moving expenses of the first executive director of the commission were the responsibility of the Government of Yukon. The commission had no financial responsibility for carrying any of that out. An agreement was arrived at between the Government of Yukon and ourselves, and was undertaken by the Government of Yukon directly with the individual concerned.

Mr. Lang: The commission does not know whether or not the $1,000 was recovered then?

Ms. Neschokat: No.

Mrs. Firth: I just have one final question. The commission appointments are for three-year terms. Can the commissioners just refresh our memories as to when their three-year term is up?

Ms. Neschokat: July of 1990.

Mrs. Firth: I have concluded my questions unless any other Members have any. I would just like to thank the witnesses for appearing tonight and thank them for their cooperative manner and the information that they have provided us.

Chair: If there is no further general debate, we will proceed with line by line.

Mr. Lang: I do not have a question of the witnesses. I do have a question of the government.

Chair:   In general debate?

Mr. Lang: I have a question of the Government Leader, I guess. It has to do with the previous executive director whose moving expense was of some debate in this House and a matter of correspondence between myself and him. Just to refresh his memory, the executive director was paid $1,000 over and above what was allowed by government policy to any other employee, and I want to know whether or not we recovered those dollars?

Chair:   Order please. Just before the Member answers, I would like to thank the witnesses for appearing here and you can be excused now. Thank you.

Witnesses excused

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I would actually have to check the record on that particular question, but I believe the matter came to Management Board. Management Board was fully apprised of the facts and the understandings under which Mr. Schreiter was hired by the commission and the understandings by which he came to move and to occupy the position here. I believe that Management Board, after consideration of all the facts, approved the expenditure for the removal, over and above the limits permitted under the policy applying to government employees. That is from my memory, but I will, in fact, check the facts and the dates on which such a decision was made and report back to the House.

Mr. Lang: I am not going to belabour this. So much for equal rights. The first move is made; the executive director is hired and he is given more benefits than any other public servant has ever been given, to my knowledge. I just want to register my very major concern here. My understanding is that there were a number of vehicles moved up and various other things that nobody in their right mind would ask their employer to do. I just think, quite frankly, it was irresponsible on behalf of the government. That money should have been reimbursed because it was uncalled for. All the facts were presented in the House, incidently, during debate when the previous Minister of Justice was here. In fact, if you recall the debate, the government had been given, by someone, erroneous information, and the only reason the record was corrected at that time was because I happened to have other information that proved to be right.

On Human Rights Commission Grant

Human Rights Commission Grant in the amount of $207,000 agreed to

On Human Rights Adjudication Board

Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister answer my question about the secretarial services for the Human Rights Board of Adjudication? There was a contract for $2,000 and one for $8,000. Do those contracts come out of this $42,000 budget?

Hon. Ms. Joe: Yes.

Mrs. Firth: I want to make one more representation to the Minister and then I am finished with the Human Rights Commission. In light of the testimony tonight, I feel that I represent my colleagues’ point of view when we say that the financial management of the Human Rights Commission would appear to be rather loose. It concerns me that in its second year of operation it is in a deficit position of over $11,000 and has not paid its taxes. I would like to make a representation to the Minister that she again review the issue I have raised with the Government Leader regarding the Human Rights Commission coming under the jurisdiction of the Financial Administration Act and therefore having to abide by the same regulations as other departments, agencies and commissions within the government.

The government could bring in an amendment to the Human Rights Commission with a clause excluding them from having to abide by the act. I would not like to see that. I would prefer that they came under the same jurisdiction as the other commissions. They could still operate in an independent way but they can be more financially responsible and accountable.

I make that representation to the Minister and I would like her to take it very seriously. I think it is a serious issue. I do not get a feeling of reassurance that the commission will be able to get its books in order because, as the Chair of the commission said, the legal fees are going to be getting higher because of fluctuations and the potential of more cases coming forward. I do not see the expenses going down; I see them increasing. That gives me a great deal of concern. Perhaps we should be holding the line on the grant programs for a bit until the commission gets its costs under control. I use that as a concluding summary comment to the Minister. We can now finish with this budget.

Hon. Ms. Joe: I thank the Member for Whitehorse Riverdale South for her representation. I think we are very serious in our dealings with the Human Rights Commission, so much so that we have agreed to the internal audit. I think that internal audit will identify a number of things. It will be a help to us and to the commission. It does a valuable service to the community and is therefor a good reason. The Member mentioned that they had not paid their taxes. They have paid their taxes. They were late, but they did pay them. I thank her for that representation.

Human Rights Adjudication Board in the amount of $42,000 agreed to

Chair: Are there any questions on Allotments or Person Year Establishment?

Human Rights in the amount of $249,000 agreed to

Chair: We will take a break, and when we return we will continue debate with the Health and Human Resources Estimates.


Department of Health and Human Resources - continued

On Social Services

Chair: I will now call the Committee of the Whole to order.

Is there any general debate on social services on page 208?

Mrs. Firth: I want to ask the Minister before we start the general debate if this is the area where we would find the allotment for the Home Care Program?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: The senior services line under this program is where one would find that.

Mr. Nordling: On general debate, I saw the Minister about to stand up and say something. I would like to hear what that was going to be.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am not sure that we have missed anything terribly profound but just let me mention that under this program in the coming year, looking at work coming up on drug strategy to be developed in dialogue with community groups, we are also involved in the development of comprehensive rehabilitation services.

We have facility planning, which I think I mentioned before, and a review of requirements and options for alcohol and drug services and continued work in terms of relocation of five severely disabled Yukoners residing in the Woodlands Institution in British Columbia. Those are some of the, if I can say it that way, program highlights for this coming year.

The increase in the personnel allotment of $323,000 is due mostly to the conversion of homemakers and home nurses from fee-for-service contractors to auxiliary employment status and one additional rehabilitation councillor for the Woodlands project, as well as merit pay and economic increases for the staff in the branch.

The increase of $141,000 in Other is due to funding for the establishment of residential day programming services for the severely disabled adults repatriated from the Woodlands facility that is closing in B.C.

The increase of $147,000 in the transfer payment allotment for this year is due to various increases in rehabilitation services, social assistance, transition home services, Crossroads and related services.

On Program Management

Program Management in the amount of $115,000 agreed to

On Alcohol and Drug Services

Mr. Nordling: The Minister told us about the developing of an alcohol and drug strategy. Have there been program evaluations done or are there statistics as to how successful the detoxification program is? I see that in 1988-89, we forecast 532 people and in 1989-90 560 individuals to be detoxified. How successful is that? There are some statistics at the bottom with respect to age, but not success.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: Perhaps it may be difficult to define success with a facility like the detoxification centre. It is a supportive service for persons in need of detoxification in a safe and controlled environment. In terms of demand on the facility, it is now overcrowded. The Member may know that there are five beds upstairs in a very narrow hallway situation, a small sitting area, a very crowded kitchen and the manager of the service has a small office in the basement. For women, there are double bunk beds. For the men, there are five beds in an open area. I understand, from talking to staff, that many of the people who have come to detox have come many times. They may be referred or refer themselves to Crossroads or to some rehabilitation process.

I suppose, defining the success of the detoxification program means does it successfully provide the service. One of the limiting factors right now is that it is conceivable that they may have to turn someone away because they do not have beds. That could lead, in the worst case, to an unfortunate situation where a severely impaired person had no place to go. Obviously, they would try to find some other place for the person, but people are increasingly turning up at the detoxification centre, not only with alcohol impairment, but people coming who have problems with cocaine are becoming an increasingly common occurrence. Cocaine seems to be causing problems for an increasing number of people who are turning up there. They often are not in control of themselves and are experiencing a lot of pain. They take awhile to settle down and to come clean. “Dry out”, I guess, is not the right expression.

Mr. Nordling: Is there any follow up with the individuals to determine some criteria for success. I know it is difficult. For an example, if cancer patients go for five years without reoccurrence, it is termed to be a successful treatment. Exactly what are we accomplishing here, other than drying a person out and putting them back on the street for a day to go back to their addictions?

I have the same question with respect to Crossroads. How successful is it? I know it is very successful when a person comes and is dried out and stays that way for awhile, but I understand there are a lot of repeat clients at Crossroads as well.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: Yes, that is true. I would mention to the Member that there has been a recent evaluation done of the program by the Alberta Housing Alcohol and Drug Council, which has come to audit the committee of the government. I would also say that it is the opinion of the care givers here that the return rate does not necessarily indicate a poor program performance by the detoxification centre. Some people, of course, will be referred to Crossroads and to other agencies, but other people simply may leave the detoxification centre with the best of intentions, but become victims of their own addiction some time later. When I was there recently, the staff talked about one person who had been a repeater - not a few dozen times, but had been there several hundred times. There are other people, of course, who have straightened themselves out in the detoxification centre and then gone on to be rehabilitated. The services there are, I guess, the first stop on the road to recovery for people with alcohol and drug problems. It is of course not the end of the journey at all, by any stretch of the imagination.

Mr. Nordling: On page 211, there is a line that says “Number Detoxified Who Were Referred to Follow-up Treatment, N/A.” Does that mean “not available” or “not applicable”, or is there a statistic available somewhere?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: It means “not available” in this case.

Mr. Nordling: The 1987-88 statistics are not available either. I wonder what has happened to them. Can they be found somewhere and presented to us in the House?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I understand that the problem is that statistics in exactly that form are not kept by the detoxification centre. That inevitably leads to the predictable question of why the line is maintained in the budget book that way. I will look at that question. Obviously what the House needs and what is appropriate to the House is some relevant indicator. I think we will be looking at that question in the upcoming review of the detoxification centre and the other alcohol and drug services that we are now proceeding with under this budget.

Mr. Nordling: I would just like to say that I think it is a useful line, and rather than just take the line out completely, I would like to see a statistic put in there somehow so that we will know a little more about it.

Chair: Shall we proceed with line by line?

Alcohol and Drug Services in the amount of $1,385 agreed to

On Social Assistance Services

Mr. Nordling: I have a quick question. Since the 1987-88, actual we are up about $500,000, and the statistics seem to be fairly consistent. Could the Minister explain the approximately 20 percent increase, or whatever it is, since 1987-88? Inflation takes up some of it, but I wonder about the rest.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I understand the change is in rates. As you know, we raised the rates to provide for the costs of housing, clothing, food and utilities, all of which had gone up in the period since the rates were last raised. If I can try to anticipate a question from the Member, even though we are currently looking at this question, there is some change in the pattern of claimants and we are, I understand, seeing more single parents with young children who are on assistance for short periods of time rather than the classic myth of social assistance for people who are perennial clients.

Mrs. Firth: Has the change in policy regarding single parents staying at home with their children had an impact on the budget, and could we get some indication of how much?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am advised that the impact on the expenditure of the department has been minimal.

Social Assistance Services in the amount of $2,848,000 agreed to

On Seniors Services

Mrs. Firth: I wanted to ask some questions about the home-care program. I heard the Minister say tonight something about the increase in personnel being to change the status of workers in the home-care program from contractors to auxiliary staff. Is that correct?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: That is correct.

Mrs. Firth: I have had a concern expressed to me by some constituents who have been recipients of the home-care program, and they have heard this from the home-care program workers, so I am getting it kind of second hand. However, I have heard the concern expressed several times now, so there must be some validity to it. The concern has something to do with the whole home-care program being tendered privately. I wanted to know exactly what the government’s intention was with the home-care program. Is it going to be a government-provided service, and are the employees going to be government employees or are they going to tender it out privately and have someone manage the program in that fashion?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I believe the Member opposite knows full well my position, and the position of the government, in regards to long-term contract employees and the unacceptability of that. Therefore, there are two policy choices: either the operation be privatized to some social service agency or we made them auxiliary employees and conceivably, in the future, indeterminate employees, or some of them will be indeterminate employees depending on the nature and shape of the program. The policy decision I made was that they should become auxiliary employees rather than be privatized to a social service agency.

Mrs. Firth: I think that will reassure some of the concerns that have been raised. People were expressing to me that they felt that the program was extremely helpful and they felt, actually, that they were quite privileged to have the availability of such a program.

I would like to ask the Minister of Health just how much money is allocated out of this $1,374,000 for that home care program, specifically?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: What we have budgeted in this year is $483,575.

Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister tell me how many auxiliary employees that includes?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: Apparently, there may be as many as 20 part-time auxiliaries involved in the delivery of this program.

Mr. Phillips: With respect to the occupational and physiotherapist for Macaulay Lodge, have they been hired yet?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: No, not yet.

Mr. Phillips: When do we expect to have the jobs filled?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: The recruitment is underway now.

Mr. Phillips: When do we expect to have the jobs filled?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am going to put my life at risk here and say six weeks.

Mr. Phillips: We will take the Member up on that offer, and we look forward to it. I expressed some concerns in a motion I put forward in this House about the need for a full-time occupational therapist. When the Government Leader announced the government was proceeding in that direction, we only received a commitment for a half-time occupational therapist. If one understands the home care program, it is probably one that may save us more money than any other program,  and it is that program that needs the occupational therapist.

Has the Government Leader given any more thought to the fact that we should be looking at a full-time occupational therapist? They are the ones who are going to make the home care program successful.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: It would be quite improper of me to change the budget in mid stream, since we have been discussing this one. I understand the point being made by the Member opposite. I had hoped we had made some substantial progress in the direction he wishes to move. The only undertaking I can give to him is that between now and the time we present the next budget, I will be considering the representation he has made.

Mr. Phillips: I would like to give the Minister assurances that I am quite pleased with the progress we have made with respect to hiring the physiotherapist and recreational therapist, as well as a half-time occupational therapist. I think it is very important to have a full-time OT. I did not expect an immediate change in the budget, but I hope the Minister will give this due consideration. They will find the savings in the program will more than compensate for the cost of having the occupational therapist on staff full-time.

Seniors Services in the amount of $1,374,000 agreed to

On Rehabilitation Services

Mr. Phillips: I asked the Minister the other night about the Handybus. The question that has been raised by constituents in my riding who have to use the Handybus for their children is that there are very limited times and hours when they can use the bus. Evidently the bus right now is tied up in the mornings taking children to school and then again in the afternoon returning them home. If one is at home with a child who cannot attend school, they are extremely limited to two or three hours a day when they can go back and forth to various activities such as even just to take their children downtown or to the park.

I understand as well that the Handybus does not run on the weekends. I wonder if the government has given any consideration to expanding the hours of the Handybus to permit a little more freedom to the people who are more or less home bound because of their physical disability.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I hear the representation from the Member opposite. I have not had occasion to consider those questions prior to now. The operation of the Handybus now by the Transit Commission involves an expenditure for us of $88,700. I would obviously want to take a look at the kind of needs identified by the Member and the cost implications at the first opportunity I have.

Mr. Phillips: I would be more than willing to sit down with the Minister when he has some free time and explain in more detail the points the constituents made. I might add that it was not just one constituent. I think there were three altogether that spoke to me about the restrictions they feel under the Handybus system. They are very pleased with the system. They like it but they feel that they are very restricted to just three hours a day when they can have any mobility and they have to gear their whole life around those two or three hours and nothing on the weekends. It might be something that we could consider in the future.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I will ask for a report on that operation and a response from the department to the question raised by the Member and then seek a meeting with him following the session.

Rehabilitation Services in the amount of $2,032,000 agreed to

Chair: Are there questions on Allotments and Person Year Establishment?

Social Services in the amount of $7,754,000 agreed to

Chair: Are there any questions on information on pages 209 to 212?

On Health Services

On Program Management

Program Management in the amount of $312,000 agreed to

On Health Insurance

Mr. Nordling: If I am not mistaken, the 1988-89 forecast number is wrong on page 214. It should be $22,863,000. If that is correct, then our estimate for 1989-90 is about $1 million less than it was last year for health insurance. I have looked through the statistics and the number of claims by physicians is the same. Virtually all the estimates for 1989-90 are the same except medical travel, which is up for 1989-90. How are we going to cut $1 million off the budget with the same statistics?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: We have discussed this previously at the time of the supplementaries. The forecast number, which the Member has corrected, is the result of a more accurate appraisal as a result of the late supplementary, which came before the House. At the time this budget was set, we did not have a number for the late expenditures. I have indicated previously to the House about the review that we intend to make with the local physicians and local health authorities in terms of the out-of-territory travel portion of this amount, which is the large area of the unexpected expenditure. If I am unsuccessful in identifying economies here, I will, inevitably, come back to the House for a supplementary. I have indicated this to the Member previously.

Mr. Nordling: What the Minister is really saying then is that the government this year will try to hold the line on health care insurance to what it was for 1988-89. Is that correct?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am not sure that I want to use “hold the line” in a perjorative sense. I want to sit down with the profession and pursue the communication that has already begun about trying to find local, Yukon-based substitutes for some of the services for which there has been outside referrals. The profession has indicated a high degree of cooperation since they too recognize the problem, which is not unique to our jurisdiction.

Mr. Nordling: I am encouraged by what the Minister says. I am looking forward to following up on what is going to be done. There is some uncertainty among Yukoners with respect to the out-of-territory travel. There is also concern from seniors about losing their benefits if they go out of the territory for a few months during the winter. The sooner we have the  evaluation and the studies done and a program in place the better.

Health Insurance in the amount of $22,863,000 agreed to

On Community Health

Community Health in the amount of $2,411,000 agreed to

On Extended Health

Extended Health in the amount of $1,673,000 agreed to

On Vital Statistics

Vital Statistics in the amount of $50,000 agreed to

Chair: Are there any questions on Allotments or Person Year Establishment?

Mrs. Firth: The Department of Justice has indicated in its statistics on manner of death by category that cancer is up to 33 for the 1988 actuals from 16. That is almost double. Does the Minister have any statistics within the Department of Health on how many active cancer patients we have within the Yukon and how many are going outside to receive treatment? Is the incidence increasing?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: Yes, we have that information and I can provide it. I may be able to provide some information tomorrow. The incidence may be increasing but as the Member, who has been a health care professional, knows, you cannot draw too many conclusions from a trendline from one year to the next. You have to look at a longer pattern than that.

Mrs. Firth: I am quite aware of that. I would like to see if there is any pattern. Would the Minister provide statistics for whatever figures it has? I see they are indicating two years. It is certainly an observation I have made and I have heard a lot of Yukoners talking about it. There does not seem to be any specific trend or any particular kind of cancer on the increase, but it is something we should take note of and start making observations about.

I attended the cancer luncheon the other afternoon. The Government Leader was there in his capacity as Minister of Health along with my colleague for Porter Creek West. Having been a cancer patient myself, and having attended these meetings before with a dozen people, and then to go to a luncheon with approximately 150 people, it does give some startling indication that perhaps the incidence of cancer is on the increase in the Yukon. We definitely hear every day of more people whom we seem to know personally who do have cancer. It is something we want to pay some attention to, particularly in light of costs increasing and medical conditions.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I appreciate the gravity and the importance of the question asked by the Member. I think we can provide information about cancer by type and by community. Unfortunately, for reasons I think understood by the Member, we do not have records going back very many years, so this will have to be a developing data base from here on in.

Health Services in the amount of $26,108,000 agreed to

On Juvenile Justice

Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Members will notice that the major change here is that the secure custody young offenders facility will open, and there is a consequent change in staffing and costs. The opening, as I indicated to the Members the other day, is scheduled for a date in July.

Chair: Line by line.

On Program Management

Program Management in the amount of $129,000 agreed to

On Community and Court Services

Community and Court Services in the amount of $605,000 agreed to

On Residential Rehabilitation

Residential Rehabilitation in the amount of $2,143,000 agreed to

Chair: Any questions on Allotments or Person Year Establishment?

Mrs. Firth: Perhaps the Government Leader could bring back tomorrow the listing of the O&M costs and the person years for the new young offenders facility.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I would be glad to.

Juvenile Justice in the amount of $2,877,000 agreed to

Health and Human Resources in the amount of $46,915,000 agreed to

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move you report progress on Bill No. 51.

Chair: It has been moved by the hon. Government Leader that we report progress on Bill No. 51.

Motion agreed to

Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.

Chair: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader that the Speaker to 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 Chair of Committee of the Whole?

Ms. Kassi: Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 51, First Appropriation Act, 1989-90 and directed me to report progress on same.

Speaker: You have heard the report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?

Some Hon. Members: Agreed.

Speaker: I declare the report carried.

Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the House do now adjourn.

Speaker: It has been moved by the 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 9:30 p.m.

The following Legislative Returns were tabled April 19, 1989:


Executive Council Office - salary range of Deputy Minister (Penikett)

Oral, Hansard, p. 335


Whitehorse General Hospital transfer, contract to do job descriptions - timeline for completion (M. Joe)

Oral, Hansard, p. 356


Whitehorse General Hospital transfer, contract to do job descriptions - where advertised (M. Joe)

Oral, Hansard, p. 356