Whitehorse, Yukon

Tuesday, March 6, 1990 - 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 with the Order Paper.

Are there any Returns or Documents for Tabling?


Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have a return 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.

Are there any Statements by Ministers?

This then brings us to the Question Period.


Question re: Committee of the Whole, witnesses

Mr. Phelps: I have some questions for the Minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation regarding his refusal to allow witnesses to come before the Committee of the Whole to discuss the policy and decisions of the Yukon Energy Corporation.

The Yukon Energy Corporation is under a cloud because of political interference from the Minister. Why will the Minister not give officials from Yukon Energy Corporation the chance to appear before the Committee to explain themselves and their side of the story?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: Forgive me, but the only cloud is around the head of the Leader of the Official Opposition, who took one position on this question before the election and another one afterwards.

There is only one person in this House who is accountable for the policies of the Yukon Development Corporation - it is I. I will be answering any questions the Member may have about those policies.

Mr. Phelps: The Minister, as all Yukoners by now know, performed a remarkable flip-flop for a gentleman of his age, with regard to the issue of building the power line free of charge to the residents at Henderson’s Corner. He wrote the residents in May of 1988 and said there would be no prebuild unless it could be justified on economic grounds; the only way it could be justified was to have, for certain, a decision to build a hydro project at the North Fork of the Klondike River. He said there would be no decision to build the line until ...

Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please get to the supplementary question?

Mr. Phelps: The Minister performed a flip-flop and suddenly said, after the decision was made not to go ahead with the hydro dam, that the Yukon Energy Board would pay $110,000 for the line. I would like to ask the Minister whether he does not think the public has a right to hear officials from the company, a Crown corporation, on the issue of how this decision to spend this money in the middle of an election was arrived at.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: Thank you for the question. Let me say to the Leader of the Opposition that he is demonstrating a certain nimbleness himself on this question, having taken one position passionately in favour of us going ahead with this prebuild before the election and now taking a somewhat opposite position since the election.

As I said, we made the decision following a decision on the North Fork hydroelectric project and following an unfortunate decision taken by the directors of Falconbridge to close their mine there. We still believe the prebuild is justified on the basis of it being on the route of a main line, and I am sure that that decision will be supported. At some point, there will be a public process, I suspect, around the Public Utilities Board. Any questions about the wisdom of the corporation in making that decision may be aired there, but we are here to defend the decision here today.

Just so that the Member - who I know is a very intelligent person, who has some experience as a Government Leader and as a Minister - knows that whatever advice Ministers get on questions is privileged communication; the decisions that Ministers make are, of course, communicated by Ministers in the normal course of events.

Mr. Phelps: The Minister is very flattering about my intelligence. He may be over stating the case, but I am bright enough to know political interference when I see it. I am bright enough to know that we never did promise to pay for that line in the absence of economic justification in the previous period of time.

Does the public not have the right to know if the board of directors of the Crown corporation felt that they were under blatant political pressure to decide to build that line as a prebuild, free of charge to the ratepayers, in the middle of an election?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: No.

Question re: Committee of the Whole, witnesses

Mr. Phelps: The Minister has tried to justify the prebuild on the basis of a power line from the Mayo Dam to Dawson. I understand that it is far more feasible to tie the Mayo Dam into the Whitehorse/Faro grid system. Does the Minister not agree that the officials of the Yukon Energy Corporation ought to be available to answer questions about that issue?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I do not know what consultants the Member is using to reach the conclusion he has just articulated in the House. Unfortunately, I am absolutely dependent upon the consultant that he hired while he was Government Leader for our advice on that question. I am pretty sure that we have not received conclusive advice yet. We have ordered an investigation on that point. There are two options: the intertie with the Whitehorse/Aishihik/Faro system or the connection from Mayo to Dawson City. Those are two live possibilities, as I have said before in the House. A decision will be coming from the board in the near future on that issue.

Mr. Phelps: Why did the Minister refuse to have the Energy Corporation spend $110,000 on a prebuild until the hydro dam was a definite thing, with approval from the Water Board, as well as approval from the board of directors, and then turn around, roll the dice and spend $110,000 without even knowing whether or not it was economically feasible and justifiable to build a line from Mayo to Dawson? People who understand electricity will say that it is quite apparent that it would be far more feasible to tie that power dam into the existing grid from Whitehorse to Faro.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I know the Member opposite’s family was in the power business for some time, and those may be the experts he is talking about: “People who know electricity say...”. He has not cited his authority beyond those references, but I would be interested to hear them.

Behind the line of inquiry is an interesting constitutional notion, and that is that somehow, having taken months of questions on the accountability of this government for activities of the Development Corporation’s subsidiaries, the Leader of the Opposition now seems to be making the case that somehow the Development Corporation is not an instrument of government policy, and therefore there is somehow political interference. I am forced to wonder, rhetorically, how he could make the case that it is political interference when the Crown builds a power line, but it is not political interference when we approve a road in the Member’s constituency. How could one be political interference and the other be normal public policy? It seems to me, with respect, that it is not a very convincing argument.

Mr. Phelps: I guess the problem is that when an independent body is set up with an independent board of directors, one should assume that it should not be used in a crass way by the party in power for political gain at the expense of the taxpayer. I think that is our position; I am wondering whether or not the Minister has any understanding of why we feel that way.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have trouble understanding the tortuous logic of the Member opposite. I could cite many cases where, when we were in Opposition, we took issue with steps taken by the Members opposite and would argue that they were taken for their political gain. We, of course, were persuaded by the passionate outpourings, the petitions, the questions by Members opposite, that the public interest of the people would be served by the people at Henderson’s Corner having power at public expense from our hydro utility. We think the corporation took the right step.

I do not want the Member’s notions of independence to get in the way here - this is a Crown corporation; it is not the courts; it is not the Human Rights Commission; it is not an independent Member of the Legislature. It is not an entity independent from public policy. In any of the speeches that the Member opposite gave about the need for a development corporation to achieve certain strategic investments long before he became Government Leader, I do not think I heard him suggest that somehow this should be free from the policy of the government ...

Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please conclude his answer?

Question re: Committee of the Whole, witnesses before

Mr. Phelps: Since the Minister is now admitting that there is no economical justification for the prebuild, there was a political ploy. Since he is admitting that and since that is now on the table openly, why then is he concerned about calling the witnesses before us in the budget, because we do have some questions to put to the Energy Corporation itself with regard to its plans and future policies?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: That reminds me of something from Lewis Carroll: “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride,” or something like that. I did not admit anything of the kind. We believe this was an economic investment; otherwise it would not have been made. I am not conceding anything of the kind to the Member opposite. I believe time will prove that we were correct.

Mr. Phelps: Is the Minister afraid that the Yukon Energy Corporation officials will admit to the House, if they are called before the House, that the prebuild at Henderson’s Corner cannot be justified on economic grounds? Is that what he is afraid of?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am absolutely certain they would do no such thing, but in any case the officials of the corporation, under the parliamentary system of government we have, are accountable to the Minister, not to the Leader of the Opposition. That may change one day, but that is the arrangement we now have. I am accountable to the people of the Yukon; the officials of the corporation are accountable to me. That is called the chain of accountability in our constitutional system.

I have answered many questions on the Development Corporation before, and I would be happy to answer many more, as many as the Member cares to ask. I am quite happy to stay in the House or in Committee as long as he has questions, and I will do my best to get him the answers - perhaps not the answers he wants, but I will respond to any questions he has.

Mr. Phelps: Now that the Minister has admitted that he used the corporation on political grounds, that the prebuild of the line was not justifiable and that it does not seem to matter, could he tell us what the extent of use is of the Yukon Development Corporation - what the limits are on that kind of use? How much money can we anticipate will be squandered in the course of the next election to buy votes, or is there any on it at all?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I believe the lawyers call that a “when-did-you-stop-beating-your-spouse” question. I think the Member is flogging, with respect, a dead horse. We have not, in this government, used the Development Corporation for any other purpose other than for what it was created.

The Yukon Development Corporation was created to assume the responsibilities for the power company and to provide electricity to the people in the territory on an economic basis. That is something that we have done and will continue to do. I commend the people in the corporation for doing their work very well.

It was also created to make certain investments for the betterment of the people of the Yukon Territory. It is determined to carry that out as well.

Question re: Committee of the Whole, witnesses

Mr. Phelps: It is first to say they will and then they will not. Then they say they do, and then they do not. Last year the YDC officials appeared before Committee of the Whole. They answered numerous questions about the operation of the sawmill. What are the criteria for deciding when these officials will be allowed to come before the House and when they will not be allowed?

Is it simply an issue of whether or not it is politically expedient for the Minister? Is it, in any way, linked to the notion that the public has a right to know how its money is spent?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: Of course, the public has a right to know. The public will know. The issue, in narrow parliamentary terms, is if the will is in the House to call witnesses. In terms of what the Minister will recommend to the House, it is whether or not the public interest requires that it be done. We will make those decisions on a case-by-case basis.

We have heard arguments on the other side for calling witnesses and against calling witnesses, based entirely on the basis of political convenience. No high principle has been articulated by Members opposite as to a procedure in this respect.

We have heard Ministers denounced because they were not ready to answer the questions. Other Members have recommended that they should call witnesses. My decision, as the Minister responsible, is to answer the questions, to defend the proposed expenditure of $1.00 with all the vigour that I can. I will have all the assistance that I require to help me to answer the stimulating, tough and demanding questions of the Members opposite.

I want to answer the questions. I want to satisfy them that we have done the right thing.

Question re: Na Dli Youth Centre

Mr. Nordling: Yesterday I asked the Minister of Health and Human Resources about Na Dli Youth Centre on February 14. That did not appear to have been included in the February 27 legislative return. The Minister said that he would check it out. Has he done that?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: Immediately following yesterday’s Question Period, I asked the department to explain to me the difference between the facts as asserted by the Member opposite and those contained in my return. I do not have a complete answer yet.

I do not know if the source of this information is the RCMP or if it is an estimate of some employee. I have been told the number that entered the court record. I am checking out the facts to make sure that my response is accurate. I hope to have the information later today. I had hoped to have it for Question Period. I regret that I do not have it.

Mr. Nordling: Did the Minister also ask for a breakdown of the costs of the damage done on January 3 directly attributable to the young offenders? The Minister has a quizzical look on his face. Since January 24, I have been asking for a breakdown every week of the damages attributable by the young offenders as opposed to the improvements to the security of the facility.

The answer I received was that it was a lump sum of $43,900 without a breakdown.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Member will have to explain to me how much of a breakdown he wants. Is he asking for a breakdown of the actual materials and labour costs for completing the repairs, or is he asking for a precise identification as to what particular parts of the facility needed repair? So I do not fall afoul of the Member in any way, perhaps he could explain to me exactly what he is looking for.

Mr. Nordling: I have no problem doing that. I thought it was pretty clear. The Minister of Government Services seemed to know what I was after.

When the young offenders were moved, the Minister said they were moved because they had damaged the facility. There was an estimate of $43,000. The implication was that the Minister was blaming the young offenders for causing $43,000 worth of damage to the facility. Now, we find out $63,000 worth of work was done.

How much actual damage was done by the young offenders in their escape?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am not sure the Member can neatly separate the changes and improvements and expenses we incurred to improve the physical security at the place from the direct damages that may have been done by the young offenders in their escape.

We have already told the House the majority of the expenses incurred resulted from improvements we made in the physical security of the building in order to avoid a repetition of the event that occurred over the holidays.

Question re: Na Dli Youth Centre

Mr. Nordling: I would ask the Minister of Health and Human Resources to talk to the Minister of Government Services to see if that figure can be brought forward. The implication is that the young offenders are the cause of the repairs, and we do not believe that is true.

Yesterday, the Minister also gave a convoluted explanation of how young offenders are dealt with and where they serve their time, trying to have it both ways. I have a question for the Minister, who is responsible for his department. The chain of responsibility ends with him. Both the present and former Ministers have said Yukon young offenders will not be sent to the Willingdon secure custody facility. What secure custody facilities outside the territory will be used to house Yukon young offenders?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: First of all, let me respond to the preamble by saying almost all the expenditures on the facility indicated in the early questions were either directly or indirectly as a result of the escape that happened over Christmas. I do not know whether we are going to have a long argument about the chain of causality there.

The previous Minister inspected the Willingdon facility, which I have not had the dubious pleasure of doing. She expressed her horror at that facility and expressed her wish that young offenders would not go there. I will be quite happy to provide a list of young offenders institutions to which young people from this territory may be sent, as long as I do not get into a discussion of individual cases.

Again, I want the Member and the public to know that this Minister, and no Minister of this government, has any direct involvement, discussion, participation or input whatsoever into where young offenders are sent.

Mr. Nordling: But the Minister does, obviously, control his department and his department does have some say in what happens to the Yukon young offenders. Could the Minister tell us what agreements we have - and I have asked this question before - with the Province of Alberta and with the Province of British Columbia, with respect to young offenders. The Minister did not even know where we were sending our young offenders for psychiatric assessments.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: Forgive me, but the Member is wrong. Once again, he is making a misrepresentation of the facts. The Member asked me where a particular young offender was going. I happen to know, in general, where that young offender was going and what kind of treatment for which he was destined, but I did know the individual professional into whose care he was directed. I do not have an interest in knowing that; I do not have any need to know that as the Minister, and I am not sure that I would have any purpose in knowing that, in the sense that I would be, perhaps, having inappropriate information about an individual’s file.

We have a whole range of arrangements, which deal with professionals, psychiatrists, psychologists and others, whether it is the Alberta hospital or it is a clinical psychologist based in Vancouver, for dealing with the individual needs of individual cases in the treatment.

There is no one blanket agreement with one province or one institution. Every single young offender has their case or their needs met by a different program. In some cases the court will direct quite specifically what that program should be; in other cases the director, the ADM, the person who is responsible for the young offenders program will, accordingly to law, in discussion with the parents and the young offender and the court officials, make a determination on that matter. In no case - and I want to make this absolutely clear - does the Minister have any proper role.

Mr. Nordling: I think the Minister is making excuses for not informing himself of the young offenders program and what is happening to young offenders in the territory. The Minister did not know where that particular young offender was going. He said it was south of 60. That was his interest. That is not enough. I would like a new question.

Question re: Health and Human Resources, firing of deputy minister

Mr. Nordling: In the last six months, the Department of Health and Human Resources has been in a mess. The young offenders facility and the handling of young offenders has been a disaster. The health transfer is stalled. The morale in the department is low. Our extended care facility has been pushed off into the future. Staff members are now moving on. Things have gone from bad to worse, and I would like to ask the Minister why he fired the former deputy minister.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: Let me say that the Member is wrong, as he often is, on every point in his preamble. I think the Member does not know what he is talking out and that is a very common practice. You would also know there is a well-established tradition in this House, established by the former Conservative Government Leader, carried out by the Government Leader who followed him, and that is that we do not discuss such personnel matters in this House.

Mr. Nordling: Six months ago transfer talks seemed to be progressing. The extended care facility seemed to be on track. A commitment, we thought, had been made for a mammography machine. Two positions in Family Violence had been provided for. I would like to know from the Minister how Yukoners are now better off as a result of the firing of the deputy minister?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am not going to respond to the specific text of the question, because the Member is, in his own petty and quite childish way, playing his little games again.

The Member complains about personal attacks. They begin personal attacks, but when people respond in kind they get all hurt and wounded. We are being so mean, we are such bullies. They are silly questions and sometimes they get responses in kind; I apologize for that. We believe the changes this government is making: the improvements in social services, the improvements in family violence, the improvements in child care, the improvements in dealing with young sex offenders, the improvements we are making in family support, the improvements we are going to be making in the health care system, the new Health Act, the legislative agenda that has been before this House - there is a new Hospital Act, a new Mental Health Act, a new Child Care Act, the new Health Act - are unprecedented in terms of the volume, the vigour, the force, the quantity and the quality of the initiatives. This represents a lot of work by my predecessor, and it is work we are going to complete in this term of the government. All the little chipping on the sidelines, all the little kvetching on the sidelines by the Members opposite will not deter us from the course we are pursuing, for which we have a mandate from the public and for which I will tell the Member we have broad public support.

Mr. Nordling: As I have said in the past, the Minister can make all the personal attacks he wants to on me but it will not deter me from asking him questions and forcing him to do his job and to take an interest in his department, rather than the large policy questions that come as a result of his new title.

I would like to ask the Minister, because key members of the department’s administration are seeking other employment, how he can stand there promising a wonderful new decade and not explain his actions to the Yukon people with respect to the firing of the deputy minister?

Mrs. Firth: Hear, hear.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Member across the way says, “hear, hear.” If she had a question like that when she was a Minister she would have got all in a snit. The Members cannot have it one way when they are in government and another way when they are in opposition.

There is a well-established policy in this House with respect to personnel questions.

Let me tell the Member, in case he has any wild delusions on this score, as a critic for Health and Human Resources he has less influence on the government, less influence on the Minister, less influence on the deputy or any of the officials in the department, less influence on the Cabinet than any previous critic in this Legislature’s history. Of that I am absolutely sure.

Question re: Ministerial signing authority

Mrs. Firth: Today I am just in a snit. Usually the Minister has some big villainous name for me; I am some terrible disastrous villain in the history of the world.

I have a question for another Minister, the Minister of Finance. I believe the Minister will probably have had some advance notice of this question. It concerns the signing authorities of the Ministers. Ministers used to have limits put on the dollar amounts of contracts they could approve without going to Management Board; for example, a consulting contract in the Executive Council Office was restricted to $100,000 with a $20,000 limit for any addition to that contract. Departments like Government Services and Education had a $1 million limit on construction contracts. I understand there has been a new policy decision made by this government that has wiped out all of these ministerial limitations when it comes to signing contracts, so that the Ministers all have unlimited spending authority on all contracts and that no more Management Board approvals are necessary.

I confirmed this with a deputy minister earlier today and I would like to ask the Minister why it was necessary to make this policy decision?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: Yes, I thank the Member for the notice, although I do not know whether that was intended or not. Nevertheless, it is true Management Board made a decision based on experience and the fact there are very clear checks and balances through the contract regulations with respect to spending approvals. Signing authority limits for Ministers are not necessary. In the case of the experience we had over the course of the last few years, the only items that required Management Board approval were those that had already gone through the proper tendering process, as all expenditures must do if they are for contracts, for example, or for whatever it might be. Consequently, it was considered to be a very obvious extra bureaucratic step to take it for Management Board approval when all the proper procedures had been followed.

Management Board did make a decision that the spending authority limits in this particular case were not necessary, given the obvious fact that the checks and balances and strict guidelines were in place, but were an extra bureaucratic step.

Mrs. Firth: That bureaucratic answer was also expected.

I have a question about the checks and balances the Minister talks about. Ministers can go to Management Board and change or amend contracts after they have been awarded whenever they want to do that. For example, say a low bidder has been awarded a contract. They can make a change and give it to the high bidder, for some reason.

Can the Minister confirm that that route is available for Ministers to make changes after contracts have been awarded?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: I do not think I caught the whole question, but I will take notice of it. There is a certain potential right now. For example, the Member mentioned the signing authority limits for things like construction contracts. For Community and Transportation Services and Education in the past, I believe it was $1 million. If one wanted to follow the same line of reasoning, one could suggest that Ministers, on their own authority and without any sort of check or balance at all, could spend up to $1 million under their own name. That is not and has not been the case.

In the past, the experience we have had is that, because there are contract regulations in place for all kinds of contracts - everything from consulting to construction - and because the regulations are thorough and rigorous, an additional Management Board check would be extra bureaucracy that we felt was not necessary.

Mrs. Firth: The answer to the question I asked the Minister is yes, Ministers can go to Management Board and change or amend contracts after they have been awarded. Now, Ministers are not bound by a $1 million limit. They can spend as much money as they want whenever they want and do not have to have any limit on their signing authority.

Has this been done? Are there contracts that have been awarded and then amended? Is that happening? Are there contracts that have been awarded to people and then brought back to Management Board and amended by Ministers?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member is going to have to give me time to answer that question precisely. I am sure she wants some precision. I do take issue with the claim that there is the ability to spend as much money as you want any time you want. That is obviously not the case. It has never been the case, and was not even the case when Ministers had $1 million signing authorities.

It is not true. There are rigorous regulations in place with respect to the expenditure of all funds that have to be abided by. Secondly, there is a vote authority that limits the amount of funding that can be approved for any particular item in any case, whether Management Board approves or not.

Question re: Ministerial signing power

Mrs. Firth: We have established that changes or amendments can be made to contracts after they have been awarded. The Ministers now have absolute power and unlimited signing authority for expenditures. We have great difficulty getting contracts from this government. Its track record has not been wonderful when it comes to the expenditure of funds.

The public wants some answers to these questions. The Minister has approved a policy that has changed the limitations under which Ministers can spend money. He has broadened it now so that Ministers can spend money whenever they want and to limit as much as they want without Management Board approval.

They are shaking and smacking their heads, but there used to be a signing authorities directive in the manual that set limits. That has now been removed. Why did the Minister feel that the Ministers needed that broad signing authority for spending money, particularly in a time when we are supposed to be looking at spending our money efficiently and wisely?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: I already said why Management Board changed the rule on signing authority limits. Past experience showed that all the contracts that were sent to Management Board for approval had progressed through the strict regulatory process. The approval by Management Board was simply another bureaucratic step that we thought we would remove.

The charge that Ministers can spent money, willy-nilly, whenever they want is patently false. The regulations are still in place to ensure that all expenditures are made with strict adherence to the guidelines.

The Member is, by implication, alleging that Ministers can spend money any old way they want if they had $1 million signing authority limit. That is not the case. It never was the case. Strict guidelines are in place. The Member makes the allegation that the government does not provide information on contracts.

Do not bring up any history whatsoever to the Member for Porter Creek East. He laughs at the fact that the government is concerned about the experiences of their former government. We could not get contract information in this Legislature.

Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please conclude his answer.

Hon. Mr. McDonald: We not only provide contracts lists every year, but we even provide them during supplementary budgets and upon the requests of Members any time they ask.

Mrs. Firth: This is a major policy change. This list of signing authority directives no longer exists. There is no limitation on the consulting and professional contracts that Ministers can now sign. There is no restriction on how they can increase that.

Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please get to the supplementary question?

Mrs. Firth: Why did the Minister feel that this change was necessary at the time when his government is being questioned about tighter controls being put on financial expenditures of this government? Why was this change necessary?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member is asking the same question again in order to bootleg the same charge that is patently false. There have always been significant controls through regulation of all expenditures of public funds. Those regulations are in place; they were in place, and they control the expenditure of funds.

When approval came from a Minister for a contract, we found that Management Board was merely rubber stamping the conclusion of the decision-making process because all the rules had been followed.

It is because the rules have been rigorously adhered to, and there is no point to adding a week or two weeks onto the decision-making process, which was considered to be bureaucratic and time consuming. That is the reason. The Member can ask the question again; that is still the reason.

Mrs. Firth: That is exactly why it should have stayed the same, because it was a check and balance on the system. Now, approvals do not have to come forward to Management Board anymore. They do not have to. That is the change. At a time when the public is looking at wiser expenditures of public funds, I would submit to the Minister that this is a very unwise decision to make.

Will the Minister reconsider this decision and maintain the integrity of the system, particularly with the checks and balances on the spending of the government?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: The answer is no. The reason for the answer being no is because the government is interested in ensuring that the decision-making process is not only respectful to the absolute letter of the contract regulations that this government developed and approved and that all funding be made in accordance with those rules, but also that we want to ensure that there is no extra bureaucracy - if we can identify it - in the decision-making process. In the interests of expeditious decisions, fair decisions, just decisions, sound decisions, decisions according to the rules - the very clear rules - this was a sound decision for Management Board to make and consequently we made it. There is nothing that the Member has said, at all, which would cause me to change my mind or want to recommend that a change be made.

Speaker: The time for Question Period is now lapsed. We will now proceed with Orders of the Day.


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 Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.

Motion agreed to


Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. Let us take a break.


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

Bill No. 19 - First Appropriation Act, 1990-91 - continued

Chair: Shall we continue with line-by-line on Renewable Resources?

Motion re witnesses before Committee of the Whole

Mr. Phelps: Before we do, I would like to submit a motion. I will read it into the record. I move

THAT the chief executive officer and the chair of the board of directors for the Yukon Development Corporation be called as witnesses during debate on Vote No. 22, Yukon Development Corporation, of Bill No. 19, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1990-91.

In order that the potential witnesses not be kept in suspense, perhaps we could deal with the motion so they will know whether or not they need to be here when Vote No. 22 comes up.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Member has made his representations on this question in Question Period, which is somewhat unusual. We have debated it there. The Member has also made his representations in a letter to the House Leader of my party. The Government House Leader has also indicated his response by way of a letter, as I have in the House. The Member opposite has referred to precedents, which are clearly overwhelmingly on the side of the Ministers being accountable for their budgets, rather than someone else.

I am absolutely certain the constitutional practice and rule is that the Minister shall be responsible. The Minister may ask for assistance by officials on the floor of the House, which can be obtained. Since the policy of the government and its Crown agencies is inseparable, and the Minister is inescapably accountable for those policies, it is the Minister who will be answering the questions and defending the $1.00 estimate in the debate in the House.

Chair: Order please. It is quite obvious the Committee would like to deal with this motion at this point. I would like to put it on the floor right now. It is moved by the Member for Hootalinqua

THAT the chief executive officer and the chair of the board of directors for the Yukon Development Corporation be called as witnesses during debate on Vote No. 22, Yukon Development Corporation, of Bill No. 19, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1990-91.

It is now open for discussion.

Mr. Lang: I would like to make a few comments, if I could. First of all, I should point out for the House, and I want to go back on my longevity as a Member here, that this is the first time, to my knowledge, that a request for a representative from a Crown corporation, when requested by a Member of the House to appear to discuss policies adopted within those corporations and also policy decisions, has ever been refused. I think it is important that the media be fully aware of that, as well as the general public. The Minister of the Yukon Development Corporation has just made parliamentary history here in the Yukon, because it is the first time this has ever occurred.

The Minister now stands in his place and talks about how he is totally accountable for this particular corporation and how his responsibility is inseparable from that of the corporation.

Yes, I agree that there is a link, but the link is such that it is also supposed to be an arm’s length situation so that it is operated in a businesslike manner. I hearken back to when the Minister of Finance, in the previous government, was the Minister of Housing, and he made it very clear that the corporation is a separate entity by legislation and therefore would answer for its actions as opposed to him, as the Minister, answering for the day-to-day operations and the financial accountability of that corporation.

It seems kind of odd that we now have the Government Leader, who has in the past so often talked about open government, the privileges of the Members of this House, the importance of the parliamentary system, preventing the public from having access to a corporation that has been under a cloud, a very questionable cloud, and allowing questions about how they have operated in the past - both in the area of Hyland Forest Products and in the area of the Energy Corporation. It is very interesting that, when the Minister felt it was advantageous to him, he called those members of the corporation before the bar of this House. He could not get them here fast enough. But when there is something to hide, when there is something to cover up, the Minister stands in his place, in his pompous manner as he usually does, and talks about ministerial responsibility.

I have no problems with ministerial responsibility. One of the problems we have is that the Minister has not answered a question about the operation of that corporation, in full, during this whole session.

He mouths those democratic principles that he obviously does not believe in, nor does he practice them.

We are talking about a corporation that has gone berserk with the taxpayers’ money. The Minister has a responsibility to answer to the public on how those dollars are allocated and how they are being spent. Instead, the Minister is telling us about ministerial responsibility.

If that were the case, why did we pass special legislation to create the Yukon Development Corporation if it was not an arms-length operation of the Government of the Yukon, if it was not to operate in a businesslike manner and answer for the expenditures of money to the public.

I have never seen the like. The Minister has made parliamentary history in the Yukon and he should be proud of it.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: The only person going berserk in this House is the Member for Porter Creek East. I will correct the record once again because the Member opposite may have, inadvertently of course, misled the House.

I have been in this House for not quite as long as the Member opposite, but quite a long time. I was here to suffer through many years of Tory government. We had no contracts tabled in the House, no information tabled in the House. The Member opposite never answered any questions nor did he make any policy decisions.

We were here and we remember what it was like. The Member says that we are lazy. I am sure I worked harder as an opposition Member than he did as a Minister. The Member is wrong about that and he is wrong about a great number of things.

I would like to correct the record once again. The Member says that we have called witnesses as a convenience. I will remind Members what the record was. For six years, I sat in opposition as a Member of this House, seeking to have one occasion where we as elected Members of the House had an opportunity to interview and ask questions to the territory’s land claims negotiator, now the Leader of the Official Opposition.

We asked to have this person called to the bar of the House and we were absolutely refused. We were not even permitted to talk to the land claims negotiator in private, a rule that of course we changed when we came into office because we made such officials accessible.

We have brought officials here before when it was to assist in the conduct of the public business. Let me say that even when officials came before the House it was the Minister who was to answer questions of policy and officials to provide supplementary information.

It is the Minister’s decision as to how the Minister wants to advise the House. We have had Members across the floor using their arguments of convenience to say that of course - I think it was the Member for Riverdale South who said - if the Minister did not know the answers then we would have to get someone else. It is the Ministers who are accountable.

I seem to remember the Member for Riverdale North calling for officials and it was the Member for Riverdale South who vetoed it - I cannot remember which way around it was. It was the Minister who decided how the Minister was going to answer the questions in the end.

We have a $1.00 proposed expenditure, a vote authorization operating expenditure for the Development Corporation. I will be pleased to defend that $1.00. I will be pleased to answer questions that Members have about the policies of the corporation, consistent with long-standing practice in this House. We have stated our position on this and notwithstanding the allegations of the Member for Porter Creek East, in terms of imputing motives, I have been around here long enough to know what the record of the other side was when they were in power. I am absolutely confident that, in terms of the information provided in this House and quality of information provided in this House, there have been big improvements during our time in office. I will be happy to stay here as long as necessary in order to speak to the $1.00 expenditure for the Yukon Development Corporation.

Mr. Phelps: It is always necessary to revise and correct the record. The Minister complains he was never briefed by the chief negotiator of land claims for the Yukon government. That is not correct. It is a rather strange and unfortunate memory loss being experienced by the Minister when he says that. The facts are that we were instructed by the government-of-the-day to fully brief the Minister and his caucus, and we did at length. We stayed there and answered questions until they had no more questions to ask.

Perhaps one or two of them did not show up, but I recall that Minister, I recall Dave Porter being there; I recall others from the caucus being there. I clearly recall the occasion. I am sure the Minister wants to jump to his feet and say, “Well, we were not allowed to run out with the exact text of the agreement in principle,” but the only restraint placed upon their ability to go public with the information was that the actual wording of the documents not be taken to the public until it was in the final form.

That full accounting took place. There were all kinds of people there. We have minutes of the meeting. I cannot understand why the Minister wants to twist the facts around to suit himself.

Getting back to the situation before all Members here, there are all kinds of issues that are relevant to taxpayers in the territory, issues we feel upon which illumination might be provided by questions directed to the appropriate officials of the Yukon Development Corporation. To name a few, there are issues regarding the need for new power generation in the near future; there are important questions with regard to what kind of studies have been done in examining alternate energy sources and hydro sites, and priorizing them. There is the issue of the $110,000 that was suddenly spent to buy votes on the admission of the Minister himself during Question Period after a blatant political interference into the operation of the Energy Board; there is the issue of whether or not the board chairman and chief executive officer feel their positions have been compromised by such blatant political interference, and the requirement they toady to the Minister and hop around like puppets on a string.

There is the issue of whether or not, in their opinion, it is even worthwhile taking $110,000 to the Public Utilities Board in an attempt to have it paid for by the ratepayers of the Yukon. I am particularly interested in whether or not that $110,000 ought to be separated out in the books of the corporation to sit there like some dog-doo as a large expenditure of public funds, totally out of place in the books, rather smelly like dog-doo, and rather embarrassing.

Perhaps it could be under a new accounting title: political expenditure to ensure that the Member for Klondike could continue to serve in his capacity as the Member who asks questions of the bureaucrats, such as “What is happening here?”, when his department is being discussed in budget sessions.

I am very interested in this lump of cash, which has to sit there like dog-doo, perhaps for eternity, because I cannot imagine any fair-minded utilities commission doing its job allowing the ratepayers from other parts of the Yukon to pay the expense of this election contribution to the New Democratic Party.

I am interested, too, in just exactly how the board defends its independence or what it sees as its role as the board of directors if, after all, the corporation is formed under statute.

It is of interest to me whether or not the board of directors really feels they have a role to play, other than to toady to the government-of-the-day and jump around when the Minister pulls the strings. Do they see themselves as being in any way different from an agency of the government or from a government department?

I am very interested, as I am sure the members of the public are, about whether what we have witnessed is the burgeoning of a new policy that is going to be applied fairly to all Yukoners in similar circumstances throughout the territory. I am interested in whether or not the board of directors will pay similar sums of money to extend lines to other Yukoners who do not enjoy electricity now, and would be willing to add those payments to the dog-doo column of the books of the corporation.

I am interested, as I am sure most Yukoners are, in the issue of where the Yukon Development Corporation has been getting its money to pump into that other very economically-viable development of the Yukon Development Corporation, the Watson Lake sawmill, and whether or not money has been taken, on the one hand, in dividends of the corporation from Yukon Energy and paid directly to the other arm or the other subsidiary of the Yukon Development Corporation.

These are all issues that I am sure the Minister himself would like to be the source of much enlightenment on, but I do not really think that Yukoners get the full flavour of what is going on without getting the unbiased answers to, of course, unbiased questions with regard to how the board and the chief executive officer view their roles in this Greek tragedy.

Perhaps the Minister will be surprised that many Yukoners feel there has been a coverup with regard to Yukon Development Corporation and that the coverup continues. Perhaps the Minister is surprised that a lot of people wonder, when they read the report of the Public Accounts Committee, which has been tabled in this House, why there is such strange timing with regard to the lawsuit filed by the Yukon Development Corporation against Carroll-Hatch.

It was just before or just at the time when the public hearing was to take place on the Yukon Development Corporation. Perhaps the Minister might be surprised that most Yukoners cannot, for the life of them, understand why the government has refused to table agreements regarding the sale of the sawmill.

Perhaps the Minister might be surprised that taxpayers of the Yukon view the Yukon Development Corporation and its assets as something more than the private assets of the NDP or of the Minister himself. All these things may surprise the Minister, but we feel very strongly that the public has a right to know, that the questions that we intend to ask the officials are appropriate and proper and properly put in this Committee.

We cannot, for the life of us, make any sense of how the Minister determines when it is right, proper and fitting that the same witnesses should be called before the bar to answer questions, as was the case just over 12 months ago. Now, how is that different from the circumstances surrounding the present motion? How it is ascertained that the Human Rights Commission could appear before the House to answer questions, and on what grounds and on what criteria are Workers Compensation Board officials brought forward?

The explanation given does not satisfy me. It is apparent that the criteria are entirely political. The criteria have to do with whether or not the evidence might serve as a smoke screen and cover up the issues or if the answers might prove revealing and embarrassing to the government.

These things concern us. The continuing coverup concerns us. We appeal to all Members as legislators - and I am speaking to the MLAs on the other side - to look at this motion in the way that they ought to as legislators and MLAs. I would like them to consider their duties to their constituents and their higher duties to the public of the Yukon and not be afraid of witnesses coming here and giving answers to specific questions.

I would like them to not be afraid that the public will be allowed to know what is going on with the Yukon Energy Corporation. I would rather they rejoice in the opportunity for the public to have a clear understanding of exactly what is going on with this Crown corporation, to have an understanding of what is happening to the money, to have an understanding of the issue of whether or not people are going to be treated fairly and equally on policies of extending lines to rural Yukoners.

The public should have an understanding of whether or not the corporation has been doing a responsible job of examining power options and alternate energy options. All these issues are of interest to a great many Yukoners. They are important to them. Perhaps I can appeal to the other Members to think of themselves as private MLAs, to think of their duty to Yukoners and to support the motion.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: That is a very interesting statement by the Leader of the Official Opposition. What he is proposing, as a radical change in the parliamentary tradition, is that officials - whether they be Crown agencies or departments - be directly responsible to the House for expenditures. This is probably a throwback to another age before the ministerial accountability notion was developed and before we had democratic government.

Members will make their tactics, as they have always done, the royal lie, the coverups of one kind or another or waste. Those are interesting charges but have nothing to do with the facts. They do not care about the facts. They are interested in political gain or political profit.

Since we are not now debating the Development Corporation or the Yukon Energy Corporation estimate of $1.00, we have taken note of the questions of the Leader of the Official Opposition, including his anal focus, or his excremental images he referred to. I hope we will help to dispose of those, as they should be.

I do want to correct the record, since the Leader of the Official Opposition chose to attempt to put a better light on his behaviour as land claims negotiator than he could have done as an official. The facts are these.

I sat in this House from 1978 to 1984, and it was not until the land claims negotiations were concluded under the gentleman opposite that we had any briefing as an Opposition - not once in six years. When I repeatedly asked for it, I was told I could have a briefing from the Conservative government on one condition. The condition was that if I got briefed I could not ask any questions. Government Leader Pearson repeatedly told me I could have a briefing, but I was not allowed to ask any questions. That was the standard of openness and responsibility of the previous Conservative administration.

Not once during the whole time as a land claims negotiator did the Leader of the Official Opposition ever offer to come and speak to our caucus until 1984, when the process was complete. That is a fact. On one occasion when we, as citizens, attempted to attend one of his press conferences, we were kicked out, except for the Member for Faro, who was able to successfully represent himself as a journalist representing the Faro Raven, which is one of the hats he wore, and so he was able to stay. That was the level of openness and communication by the previous government with the Official Opposition of the day.

That is the fact; not the humbug we have heard today. Not once during his whole time as land claims negotiator, until 1984 and the conclusion of the process, did that gentleman sitting across the aisle ever offer, make himself available, or come to talk with our caucus, either at the bar of the House or in private, or in any other way. That is fact.

During the time they were in government, never on any occasion were any officials of Crown corporations brought before the bar of the House to provide any supplementary information to the policy information the Minister was giving the House. We are now speaking of precedence.

On every occasion when officials have come, it has been at our initiative, not the Members’ opposite. This Minister has made the decision that he is going to defend his $1.00 estimate, according to every democratic and parliamentary tradition, and not someone else.

Mr. Lang: Blame it on somebody else.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am not blaming it on anybody else. We know a lot about the ministerial behaviour of the Member for Porter Creek East, because our officials have told us. He never made a decision; he was vindictive; he was very partisan; he made his officials go to Tory conventions; he would not hire people - he wrote letters saying certain people, because they were New Democrats, were unacceptable to be hired by his government, by the Tory government. He did things like that. He was great on the vindictive side of the ledger.

Mr. Lang: On a point of order, I want to challenge the Minister to produce that kind of information. That was an absolute lie, and I challenge the Minister.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I look forward to doing that. I have been waiting a long time for this, because we will do that. I am going to accept the challenge of the Member opposite.

Chair: Order please. There is no point of order.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: We have a motion before the House. The issue is whether the Minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation, the Yukon Energy Corporation, in this House is going to defend his $1.00 request or whether other people are going to do it. The issue is whether the majority in this House should decide who should be called or whether the Leader of the Opposition should decide. I call the question.

Mr. Phelps: I am always interested in proceedings in this House when the Minister opposite wants to perform as a contortionist. It is an interesting proposition he has placed before the House: that somehow or other there was a coverup in land claims negotiations.

About a year prior to spending all the time with the Opposition that they deemed they needed in order to fully understand land claims, I, with officials from land claims, toured throughout the Yukon and attended public meetings, open to all the public - even the Minister opposite, should he have cared to attend - and discussed the land claims and everything about land claims at that point in time. We had lengthy meetings, hours long, in Carmacks, in Pelly, in Mayo, in Dawson and Carmacks, Carcross, Teslin, in Watson Lake, Faro, Old Crow, Ross River - meeting after meeting after meeting, open to the public; with the ministers’ association, with any groups that cared to have us come to talk. I did not see the then Leader of the Opposition or his confreres at those meetings, but they were well advertised and well attended. In fact, it seems to me that we had a mailing list at the end of these numerous and lengthy meetings of somewhere between 500 and 700 names and addresses of people who wanted to be on a mailing list to obtain further news releases about the progress of land claims from that time on. The time spent was enjoyable. We answered all questions to the best of our ability and the Minister opposite seems to forget that these meetings took place and that they were open to the public and that they were well attended.

The issue before Members here is a simple one. It is whether or not the public has a right to know and it is whether or not the Minister can be entirely capricious about when he is going to allow witnesses to attend to answer questions before the bar and when he is not. He has not really given us any kind of rationale for his decision to suddenly do a flip-flop. He has performed flip-flops in the past, with remarkable agility, and I must say that I am somewhat confused. I cannot understand what the new criteria is that he is suddenly bringing to bear on the issue of whether or not witnesses should come before the House to answer questions about the electrical corporation.

The same witnesses appeared at his behest to answer questions about the operation of the sawmill under Hyland. I do not understand how the Minister sees that there is a difference, except that his decision, as usual, is not based on principle or statesmanship but simple crass politics.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Leader of the Official Opposition has made an interesting concession. He has now admitted fault on two counts, one that he went to public meetings one year before the land claims negotiations. It is interesting since he did not respond to the fact that I was asking for questions for all the years that I was in this House leading up to that point without getting any answers or briefings.

It is an interesting notion that he has just articulated. He has said that, “I, as Leader of the Official Opposition in this Legislature should have gone to his public meetings, in my capacity as a citizen, not as Leader of the Official Opposition, to get the information that he was there to provide.”

That is very interesting in light of the fact that I remember very clearly a specific request for that Member to appear before the bar of the House to answer such questions. That was refused by the government-of-the-day.

The Member for Riverdale North said it was a coverup at the time. The government-of-the-day was covering it up. I do not know what they were covering up. I am sure that it is quite correct that many matters under negotiations are not properly discussed in public.

Mr. Phillips: The Member misrepresented what I said. I said, “The Member himself is using useless arguments as a coverup for not having the board appear before Members.” I did not say anything about any other government promoting some kind of coverup. The Member misrepresented me.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: When the Member is heckling, I guess he will have to heckle more articulately.

Chair: Order please.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have just reminded Members that the Leader of the Official Opposition, as the chief land claims negotiator as he then was, was asked to come before the bar. The government-of-the-day refused.

I do not have all the Votes and Proceedings before me.

Chair: Both sides have had the opportunity to rebut all the past experiences. Why do we not get back to the issue of the motion?

Mr. Phelps: I was never asked. That is my point.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: Conversations between the then-land claims negotiator and the Government Leader-of-the-day were privileged and confidential. We would not be entitled to ask questions about those. That is quite proper. That is well established parliamentary precedent.

Mr. Phillips: You just asked us to get back to the issue that we were discussing. The Member continues on in the old vein of past history. He is refusing to discuss the issue because he is covering it up.

Chair: There is no point of order. Mr. Penniket, on the motion.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: History is very instructive, and history says that the Minister shall defend his or her estimates before the House. That is what we are proposing. That is what we are resolved to do. I will call for the question.

Mr. Lang: I want to reiterate something. The Minister has brought in a number of red herrings, as far as the motion is concerned.

Over the past 15 years when the Housing Corporation was asked to appear, the chairman and his or her officers appeared. Over the course of this session, we have had the manager and chairman of the Workers Compensation Board here to answer questions. We have had the chairman and officers of the Human Rights Commission appear. We are not doing anything out of the ordinary in requesting the officers of the Yukon Development Corporation to appear, who appeared with the unanimous consent of the House just over 12 months ago.

Because of issues that are confronting the government, I do not understand why the government is now refusing to have these officers appear before the bar of the House to answer some critical questions as far as the Yukon is concerned.

If it is a deputy minister and a direct line department, I have no problem when the Minister says he will appear and speak on behalf of the department and support the deputy minister. I do have a problem when it comes to Crown corporations. In the passage of legislation, it is made very clear by the Minister standing up that there are certain responsibilities that lie with those corporate identities that were created by statute so the political arm of government is not involved in the every-day business of those particular corporations.

That is the point. This is an arm’s length corporation of the Legislature. It was created by statute by the Legislature. Contrary to what the Minister said, they have a right and responsibility to appear before the House and tell the people of the territory what their plans are, what options they are considering for the future, as well as how board decisions are made and how they affect the general rate payer and taxpayer. To have $1.00 for that particular corporation is a red herring. That corporation spends millions of dollars.

As rate payers, when we pay our electric bill, how many dollars are being shifted over to the other operations of the corporation? What effect does that have? These are all broad policy questions the public has the right to know.

Yet, the Minister stands and says he will answer the question. He can answer general policy questions, but is not in a position to answer the other questions we have. If he is, then he is interfering politically with the daily operation of the corporation, which is directly contrary to the legislation passed by this House.

For the record, it is clear a precedent is being set here. I cannot recall a request for officers of a corporation to appear before this House being denied. This is a first.

Chair: Division has been called. Those opposed please stand.

Those in favour please stand.

There are seven agreed, eight disagreed.

Motion defeated

Renewable Resources - continued

Chair: Is there any general debate?

Mr. Lang: I am prepared to go to line-by-line.

In view of the decision by the Government Leader to now speak for his department, then I am sure the Minister of Renewable Resources will not need any help to speak to his department. Does that not logically follow?

On Administration

On Operation and Maintenance

On General Management

General Management in the amount of $465,000 agreed to

On Finance and Administration

Mr. Lang: Could the Minister tell us if there is anything in this particular area of the government, for example in contracts and things of that nature, that they have planned for the forthcoming year, other than for the general administration - new policy initiatives or new initiatives in any area of the department?

Hon. Mr. Webster: No, with respect to contracts; none at all.

Mr. Lang: I did not mean strictly by contract. I am saying generally are there any new initiatives?

Hon. Mr. Webster: No. As you can see from the change, there is only a nominal one percent change and it pretty much follows the regular pattern.

Finance and Administration in the amount of $693,000 agreed to

Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $1,158,000 agreed to

On Capital

On Departmental Equipment

Mr. Lang: What is this going to be spent on?

Hon. Mr. Webster: You can see that there is a substantial decrease of some 75 percent in expenditures for this year. We are not purchasing the big ticket items as we have in past years, such as the fisheries equipment and the bobcat we bought last year for parks work. We have also pooled a lot of equipment that was commonly used by just one or two branches; all branches can use them now. So this year, we only plan to spend $50,000 for small miscellaneous equipment.

Departmental Equipment in the amount of $50,000 agreed to

On Trap Exchange

Trap Exchange in the amount of $75,000 agreed to

On Abattoir/Slaughterhouse

Mr. Lang: Perhaps the Minister could outline what is going on here?

Hon. Mr. Webster: As the Member is aware, there has been some talk in the agriculture industry for a couple of years now about the need for an abattoir in the territory. To that end, there has been some money from the EDA program to do a study on the requirement for an abattoir in the territory. At this particular stage in the development of this facility, we have only put aside $1.00. It is a new project and it is premature at this time to forecast the full funding needs. We have to have some other information, such as the site, et cetera, before we can proceed with a full expenditure.

Mr. Lang: Has that study been completed?

Hon. Mr. Webster: This study will be completed by the end of this fiscal year, so it will be finished within the next three weeks.

Mr. Lang: Will he provide a copy of that study for the Members of the House?

Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes.

Mr. Lang: Where will the balance of the capital money come from for the next step in the abattoir question? Will it come through the EDA or will it come through straight capital from the government?

Hon. Mr. Webster: There are certainly two sources: EDA, assuming of course that we will be into a new year agreement for renewable resources, and also this government, but there will be other sources we will have to tap into as well.

Mr. Lang: That is fine. I will wait.

Abattoir/Slaughterhouse in the amount of $1.00 agreed to

On Prior Years Projects

Prior Year Projects in the amount of nil agreed to

Chair: Are there any other questions?

Capital in the amount of $125,000 agreed to

Administration in the amount of $1,283,000 agreed to

On Policy and Planning

Mr. Lang: I asked a question a number of weeks ago on the illegal health kills that took place. The Minister said that in one case there was no evidence one way or the other, and one is still active. Could the Minister update the House on the one that is still active?

Hon. Mr. Webster: I have no further evidence to report on that.

Mr. Lang: Could the Minister tell us if it is still under active investigation?

Hon. Mr. Webster: It is still under active investigation.

On Operation and Maintenance

On Director

Director in the amount of $203,000 agreed to

On Programs

Hon. Mr. Webster: We have a marginal one percent decrease in programs. It is made up of $333,000 for personnel costs. Other costs comprise the balance. There is no real outstanding item here that is receiving a lot of money.

Programs in the amount of $474,000 agreed to

On Strategic Planning

Hon. Mr. Webster: This item is receiving a lot of attention, as I mentioned in my opening remarks. We have a substantial increase here. The bulk of it is for the pre-implementation funding, which will be spread over time for a period of years, assuming that this process will take quite a while, particularly in establishing local renewable resource councils.

One-quarter of a million dollars of this figure is being contributed to the establishment of the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Trust Fund. The Yukon land claims agreement in principle calls for the establishment of this fund, with each party contributing $1 million over a period of four years.

Mr. Lang: Could the Minister give us a breakdown of the projected costs?

Hon. Mr. Webster: I provided a breakdown of the costs incurred so far to establish the Mayo regional resource council. It has cost $6,000 for the three meetings they have had so far.

Considering that over time 13 such regional resource councils will be established for each first nation, that will take a considerable amount of money. However, that is not the total cost to be incurred with this pre-implementation funding.

We will be spending some money on contracts to complete the research work necessary to assist the councils in performing some of their duties.

Mr. Lang: Are there going to be beneficiaries and nonbeneficiaries represented on these regional councils?

Hon. Mr. Webster: The agreement in principle calls for a 50 percent makeup of aboriginal people representing the first nation of that area and 50 percent from other members of the community, as the case is for the first one in Mayo.

Strategic Planning in the amount of $1,050,000 agreed to

On Policy Analysis

Hon. Mr. Webster: Again, there is a small decrease in expenditures here of one percent. There are no changes in the personnel costs. There is no change to the figures in the other costs, including travel. There is nothing really significant to report.

Policy Analysis in the amount of $215,000 agreed to

On Environmental Protection

Hon. Mr. Webster: An increase of the costs here are quite substantial as a result of an increase in personnel costs because of expanding the unit from the one person year we have presently employed - the coordinator - to three person years, beginning this April, at the start of the fiscal year. There is also an increase in contract services. This will be additional resources used for drafting of the environmental protection legislation.

Mr. Lang: When are we going to see some environmental protection legislation?

Hon. Mr. Webster: We are intending to introduce that legislation in the fall.

Environmental Protection in the amount of $250,000 agreed to

Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $2,192,000 agreed to

On Capital

On Environmental Protection Education

Environmental Protection Education in the amount of $30,000 agreed to

On Dempster Interpretive Plan - Implement

Hon. Mr. Webster: At this time we have a $1.00 expenditure planned for the Dempster Interpretive Plan. The different agencies involved in implementing this plan will be discussing their priorities for development and will then agree upon some responsibilities for each of the parties, before they actually get into the work.

Dempster Interpretive Plan - Implement in the amount of $1.00 agreed to

On Prior Years Projects

Prior Years Projects in the amount of nil agreed to

Capital in the amount of $30,000 agreed to

Policy and Planning in the amount of $2,222,000 agreed to

On Parks, Resources and Regional Planning

Mr. Lang: I had the opportunity of visiting a number of the campgrounds this past summer and staying in them and I want to commend the work done by this branch of the department. I was very impressed with how well kept they were. All I can say is I think it is a real plus for us as residents, as well as for the tourists who come here. I think the department deserves a bouquet in this area, in most part, because I think the people involved are doing a pretty good job.

Hon. Mr. Webster: I thank the Member for those comments. I am sure the members of the staff of the department will appreciate them. Again, we are making a commitment this fiscal year to continue with our program of replacement of facilities, rehabilitating those campgrounds in need, and we committed a very sizable portion of our capital budget for this purpose: a half a million dollars of just slightly over a million dollars in total.

Mr. Lang: I have a further question with respect to the collection of campground fees. The Minister talked about putting in a number of machines in various campgrounds. Has this been tried in other areas and has it been successful? Where does he intend to put these machines?

Hon. Mr. Webster: The self-registration system has been proven successful in every place where it has been tried, which is the majority of jurisdictions now. When I go to Haines, Alaska, I notice both campgrounds in that area have self-registration, as well.

This year, we are adding self-registration to eight new campgrounds. They are: Pine Lake, Ethel Lake, Johnson Lake, Frenchman Lake, Tatchun Lake and Five Mile Lake.

Mr. Lang: I get the impression they are being set up in areas that are a little more remote from communities. Is that correct?

Hon. Mr. Webster: That is correct. After the success we have had with establishing the self-registration system in the larger campgrounds along the major highways and close to communities, we are not getting further away.

Mr. Phillips: Is the campground host program here, or is it in Tourism?

Hon. Mr. Webster: It is here.

Mr. Phillips: I would like to comment on that. I understand it has been a very well received program by many of the tourists who come into the campgrounds and we should continue it. It is an excellent opportunity to utilize some of the people who are long-time residents, even senior citizens or native people, in some of the areas to go into the campgrounds and make the tourists a little more aware of life in the Yukon and to give them a better understanding, as well as adding that personal touch that we are fairly famous for throughout North America. It would work well, and the government should continue with that program.

I would also like to suggest something. A few years ago, we had a couple of people go around the campgrounds and discuss trapping issues with the various tourists. That may be something we should look at. Again, I know it was very well received. We know that every tourist talks to at least 10 others, and that would be a valuable and inexpensive way to have an elder or senior citizen go around to the campgrounds with a good knowledge of Yukon and Yukon trapping to explain to our tourist friends a bit about the value of the resource. They would get the message from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to thank the Member for his comments. I agree with him. The Good Host program generates a lot of benefit for tourism in the territory. I have had the occasion to meet with three or four people who were extensively involved in last year’s Good Host program to present them with awards of appreciation for their efforts. As the Member says, they are good spokespersons for the territory. They are some of our best ambassadors, and we are going to try to expand this program.

Mr. Phillips: Do we offer them any kind of a tourism-orientation course, or information course? Most of them have a great deal of knowledge about the Yukon to start with. Is there a basic theme we adopt and information about standard questions people ask so we can sit down with them and give them some information? Perhaps we could provide them with a package on how to be a good Yukon host and the 10 most asked questions, and this type of thing. Would the government consider doing something like that? That would be of more help to them than simply saying, you are now a Yukon host, away you go, and turn them loose.

Hon. Mr. Webster: We do provide a basic, short orientation course. We have found these people are, for the most part, long-time residents, have a real interest in the territory, and they go out of their way to make themselves aware of many aspects of the territory: its history, renewable resources, conservation amd trapping. In many respects, they are an encyclopedia of knowledge on the Yukon that, in some ways, acts as a visitor reception centre.

I think that is one of the real advantages of having these people around. They are very helpful. We notice the comments made at our campgrounds and at visitor reception centres that these people, who are Yukon hosts, have been very helpful and are very knowledgeable.

Mr. Phillips: Would the Minister go as far as to say he feels that, economy-wise, we get a really good dollar value for these senior citizens or elders who do these types of jobs? They are extremely valuable and they do provide a great service to Yukon. Like you say, they are virtually a walking Yukon encyclopedia. Does he figure this is an extremely valuable way to pass on the word to visitors from the south?

Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, indeed I do, and I should point out that it is not only senior citizens involved in this. In fact, one woman, traditionally every summer, whose husband has a job that requires him to leave the territory on business and she is left with her two children in the trailer, spends four or five weeks at one campground then moves to another. There is another individual as well who is not quite a senior citizen. So, you get people from all walks of life and they are a big help to our program.

Mr. Phillips: Do we provide them with anything like Yukon pins or any Yukon information they can pass out to these people at the campgrounds?

Hon. Mr. Webster: No, we do not.

On Operation and Maintenance

On Director

Hon. Mr. Webster: We have a substantial increase here, part of which is to account for an increase in personnel costs for annual merit increases. As well, in Other, we have an increase in contract services, largely to budget for contract work with respect to liability reduction in campgrounds and training development.

Director in the amount of $171,000 agreed to

On Parks and Outdoor Recreation

Hon. Mr. Webster: This shows no change whatsoever in expenditures - no increase or decrease. We are still employing the same number of people - six person years - and maintaining the same level of other services.

Parks and Outdoor Recreation in the amount of $385,000 agreed to

On Regional Planning

Mr. Lang: Could the Minister explain this, since there is a difference between the Yukon land use planning and the regional planning?

Hon. Mr. Webster: The activity description for regional planning includes the planning inventory development of forest, water, parks, outdoor recreation resources, and through the land use planning process it reflects the planning economic goals and objectives of the Government of Yukon. That differs from the land use planning exercise, which deals with matters in addition to the Yukon’s natural recreation resources.

Mr. Lang: Could the Minister tell us where this money will be directed?

Hon. Mr. Webster: In addition to the six person years, half of the Other costs, $34,000 will be for contracts for land use lake management resource studies.

Mr. Lang: These people are obviously doing some regional planning. I would like to know where.

Hon. Mr. Webster: The work done here will be in responding to applications for land use, to take a look at the impacts that land use activities will have on the Yukon’s natural resources.

Mr. Lang: I do not want to belabour this. We are talking about regional planning. Is the Minister trying to tell me that there are six people in there and all they do is review land and land use applications?

Hon. Mr. Webster: No. The six person years in this department do a variety of functions. Besides the chief, there is a resource inventory coordinator, a forestry technician, a soils technician and a special projects land use planner.

Mr. Lang: I see the deputy minister scrambling there to give the Minister the information. I would have thought that if the Minister came here with a budget like that, he would have an idea of where the priority areas are. What areas of the territory are we looking at?

Hon. Mr. Webster: The people are responding to applications for land use. They are dealing with agriculture applications, for example.

Mr. Lang: I can understand responding to some applications, but is that all they do? Do they look at land that could be used in a certain way for different types of endeavours? I would like to know what areas we are talking about.

Hon. Mr. Webster: These people also assist with the work involved in the district and the regional plans, like the Kluane area and the north Yukon. The bulk of the work is the review of land applications to see that their projects involve the issuance of fuel wood cutting permits in forestry, for example. The Member is right. We are taking a look at areas and finding what is the best use for the area according to the applications that come in.

Mr. Lang: Wood cutting comes to mind. In the Whitehorse area, we are having to go farther and farther away to cut wood, and the costs are getting higher. It is at the point now that oil is becoming more competitively priced for the consumer. Are we looking at opening up areas close to Whitehorse for wood cutting? If so, could the Minister identify them? Are we looking at the prospects of a controlled burn close to Whitehorse?

Hon. Mr. Webster: A fuel wood study for the Whitehorse area is presently under review. That will identify new areas for access to fuel wood. That review and the report should be due at the end of this month.

Mr. Lang: Would the Minister undertake to make sure that we get a copy of such a report?

Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, as soon as it is completed, it will be made available to the public.

Mr. Lang: Last night, I asked for a copy of the report in respect to all-terrain vehicles and new areas, and how we would cope with them as far as regulations are concerned - for example, permit hunts versus closing down the road for the purpose of hunting in vehicles, and this type of thing. Is the Minister going to provide us with a copy of that report?

Hon. Mr. Webster: I am sorry I did not have the answer last night. The matter of restricting ATV access for hunting purposes is part of a broader policy paper on public access in general. That policy was prepared last year and it did proceed through Cabinet last summer. As changes to controlling access is one of the purposes of this policy, it will be addressed through the new wildlife act. When we table the White Paper in this House at the end of this session, that will be a part of that package of information dealing with the new wildlife act and that will eventually be reviewed by the Wildlife Management Board.

Mr. Lang: May I have a copy of that report?

Hon. Mr. Webster: I will be tabling that report in conjunction with the other materials and the White Paper with the new wildlife act.

Mr. Lang: I would prefer not to wait. My understanding is that some members of the public have that report. I would like to have access to the report as a Member of this House.

Hon. Mr. Webster: I am surprised to hear the Member say members of the public have that report. It has not been tabled for public consumption.

Mr. Lang: I am here to tell you it was being tossed around at a Fish and Game meeting I happened to be attending. The Minister was not in attendance. I assumed it was a public document. In view of the fact that it is in the public domain, could he provide me with a copy, the same as members of the public who already have it?

Hon. Mr. Webster: To the best of my knowledge, it has not come before the Wildlife Management Board. I will take that under advisement. If there are not difficulties in tabling the report, I will make it available to the Member.

Mr. Lang: Has the Cabinet agreed to the principles in that report?

Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, it has.

Mr. Brewster: Perhaps I did not hear it correctly. The Minister mentioned, in Regional Planning, which is under Parks, Resources and Regional Planning, the agriculture applications are processed through there. Why would they not go through the agriculture branch, where they have knowledge of what agriculture is about?

Hon. Mr. Webster: One of the duties of the people in this program is to assist the people in the agriculture branch with dealing with land use applications for agriculture. As there was such a backlog of applications, these people assist the agriculture branch personnel.

Regional Planning in the amount of $389,000 agreed to

On Development and Operations

Development and Operations in the amount of $992,000 agreed to

On Yukon Land Use Planning

Mr. Lang: Will this amount do the Old Crow area, so that it will be complete this year? Is that correct?

Hon. Mr. Webster: No, this will just start the process for the Old Crow area, the north Yukon plan.

Mr. Lang: How much is projected to be spent on this area?

Hon. Mr. Webster: In the north Yukon area, $133,000. The rest will be spent on finishing up the work on the Kluane plan.

Mr. Brewster: Does the Minister have, or could he bring back, a total cost of the Kluane management plan? I understand it is in the millions of dollars.

Hon. Mr. Webster: The Member is quite right. The last estimate I noticed was $2 million for the Kluane plan. I do not have the information right now about the total cost of that project overall, but I will come back with that detail.

Mr. Brewster: Is this definitely the last year? With all the studying in the Kluane area, we are starting to think we are in a test tube there. We have been studied until we are blue in the face during the last 20 years that I have lived there. Will this be it? Will it be all over so that we can sit down and live a normal life?

Hon. Mr. Webster: I can advise the Member with pleasure that this is the final year for finishing the Kluane plan.

Mr. Brewster: Could the Minister assure me, then, that we will not have some other bureaucratic government out there to start studying us again?

Hon. Mr. Webster: It will not be this government.

Mr. Lang: Those words may come back to haunt the Minister.

I would like to ask the Minister how much is projected, in total, to do the land use study in the Old Crow area?

Hon. Mr. Webster: The projection for the amount of time involved in this project is two years, but I do not have with me the anticipated cost for that exercise.

Mr. Brewster: I am a little concerned at these costs and I might explain to the Minister that, being in the north, it will cost more - which I understand - but the Mackenzie Delta management plan cost over $4 million. What bothers me is that we are going into little plans here. The Kluane one I know has come very close to $3 million and is not over. I suspect Old Crow, being a larger area and harder to get at, will cost more. How many of these plans are we going to have in the Yukon costing millions of dollars to study us again?

Hon. Mr. Webster: I cannot answer as to the number of plans to be done over the next several years, to look at various areas of the territory. The Member is quite correct, though - it does cost a lot of money. Last night, for example, we were talking about another area, the Watson Lake/Liard Basin area, which also needs some attention. It costs a lot of money. Of course, these funds being totally recoverable from the federal government does not ease matters. It is still a lot of money, regardless of who is paying for it. We are all paying for it. I cannot tell the Member how many areas will be reviewed over the next several years.

Mr. Brewster: I would like to point out that we continually have this attitude. That is why we are in debt all over Canada. It is not our money. It is the federal government’s money. It comes out of everyone’s purse. The sooner we start to realize this the better. We have to question whether or not we are getting our worth out of all this money. I sometimes wonder about this.

Mr. Lang: I am quite surprised that the Minister does not have a projected final cost for the Old Crow land use study. I thought that would have been part of the decision when the department prepared the estimates. Could the Minister bring a projected cost of that study to the House?

Hon. Mr. Webster: I would be pleased to provide that information once we contact the other two participants in this program, the federal government and Council for Yukon Indians.

Yukon Land Use Planning in the amount of $459,000 agreed to

Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $2,396,000 agreed to

On Capital

On Territorial Parks:

On Herschel Island - IFA

Hon. Mr. Webster: This is a slight decrease over last year’s expenditures. This year the money will be spent by the heritage branch for planning, restoration, stabilization and preservation of a few historic sites. We will set $33,000 aside for finalization of the park management plan and the development of a subsidiary plans - action plans. They deal with interpretation of visitors’ services.

Mr. Lang: It seems like a lot of money once again. I have to question the validity of what the return will be. I know that it is part of the Inuvialuit final agreement. Surely, the Governments of Canada and the Yukon should be asking people just to look at this expenditure to see if we are getting results.

I understand that we are going to stabilize buildings. There are only so many buildings on Herschel Island. My concern is that if we are going to be investing these amounts - well over a  million dollars has been spent up there in the last four years - would the Minister say that the taxpayer is getting the value from the money being spent? The Minister will probably say that he would really have to look at that.

I recognize that some restoration has to take place. I am always a proponent of making sure that we visit Herschel Island once a year to ensure that our sovereignty is recognized; however, I question where we are going with this thing.

Last year we asked about the number of graves that were exposed when they slid down the hill. The Minister undertook to look into it to see what could be done in order to bury these graves in a show of respect for the dead.

Hon. Mr. Webster: The graves of the whalers and the RCMP have all been restored. The graves that the Member showed concern over last year were those of the Inuvialuit. We are not touching those without the consent of the Inuvialuit. All the other graves have been restored and are being maintained.

We are spending a lot of money on Herschel Island for a variety of reasons. The Member has already mentioned the important one of having a presence there, to establish ourselves. We have quite a history there, which is very unique. That climate is very difficult on buildings. If we do not give them attention now, the restoration and rehabilitation of those buildings will cost a great deal of money in future years.

In future years, people will start to take an interest in travelling to Herschel Island and to more remote parts of our world. By that time, we will have a park and a unique setting with its buildings preserved, and we will be able to provide visitors with a unique experience.

Mr. Lang: With some foundation work, the buildings are going to last a long time. Preservation up there goes much further than even in Dawson City or any other place in the Yukon. It amazes me that we are spending this kind of money yet, at the same time, we are seeing significant cuts with respect to some groups within the Yukon and across Canada, as we discussed the other day. That is my observation. I sometimes question what our priorities are when there is a financial situation we must face along with all Canadians. At the same time, we want to see expenditures in certain areas as far as priorities and people are concerned. At the same time, we say, “It is only federal money; we will just keep voting it.”

It is like Yukon land use planning. There is a point where you have to plan, but there is also a point where we can spend so much money and wind up with a bunch of reports on a desk, with nobody reading them. That is the other side of it. I do not know how our forefathers got along without being studied and planned. I cannot believe they made it as far as they did.

Hon. Mr. Webster: There are priorities in every aspect of human endeavour in the government’s spending. I submit that Herschel Island is one of those priorities. We all have them. I recently heard the Member for Riverdale North talk about his concern for Rampart House. That is an historic place in the territory. The buildings are decaying; we have done some preliminary work there to stabilize buildings, and we are planning to do some this year. How far do we go in restoration? The Member is quite correct.

There is a limit to our spending. We have to establish our priorities and spend accordingly.

Herschel Island - IFA in the amount of $309,000 agreed to

On Coal River Springs

Hon. Mr. Webster: The $35,000 is to complete the legal land survey to effect a land transfer from the federal government. I am pleased to report this is a project we are undertaking with the Nature Conservancy of Canada. They are providing funds for this undertaking. We are talking about an area of about five acres.

Mr. Brewster: If they have it, I would like the Minister to give me a total cost. This project started some time ago. My main concern is what happened to that little beaver. Did you finally educate him to go up the trap, or did he beat the bureaucracy and survive, and you have had to change your plans?

Hon. Mr. Webster: The Member for Riverdale North suggests the beaver may have met his fate. That is quite true, and I will come back with the information for the Member on the total cost over all years for this project.

Mr. Brewster: I guess there is hope for all of us when a little beaver can stand the government up and they have to slaughter him so they can put a project through that has cost us literally hundreds of thousands of dollars. They probably did not put the signal in so the little beaver knew whether to go up through that trap or not. He probably did not get the right signal to go through, so they slaughtered him. That is the great government looking after this poor little beaver, and we spent millions of dollars. He held us up for a number of years before he finally gave up.

Coal River Springs in the amount of $35,000 agreed to

On Territorial Campgrounds and Day Use Areas:

On Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation in the amount of $275,000 agreed to

On Relocation

Hon. Mr. Webster: The expenditure of $60,000 this year allows us to plan for and implement replacement of worn-out campgrounds and our systems of new campground self-registration that we talked about earlier. This budget allows $20,000 for planning, specifically on the North Canol Road and the Campbell Highway, and it is going to cost us $40,000 for the installation of self-registration at the eight campgrounds I mentioned previously.

Mr. Lang: With the heading of Relocation, I do not understand how that ties in with what the Minister is telling us.

Hon. Mr. Webster: We are planning to implement the new campgrounds to replace worn-out campgrounds.

Mr. Lang: Where?

Hon. Mr. Webster: I just finished saying that this will be along the Campbell Highway and the North Canol Road.

Relocation in the amount of $60,000 agreed to

On Facility Replacement

Facility Replacement in the amount of $115,000 agreed to

On Facility Inventory

Facility Inventory in the amount of $50,000 agreed to

On Heritage Rivers

On Yukon River (30 mile section)

Yukon River  (30 mile section) in the amount of $30,000 agreed to

On Prior Years Projects

Prior Years Projects in the amount of nil agreed to

Capital in the amount of $874,000 agreed to

Parks, Resources and Regional Planning in the amount of $3,270,000 agreed to

On Fish and Wildlife

Mr. Lang: I think we went through this fairly well last night. I just want to impress on the Minister how important we feel the actual management of the wildlife is and that game zones 7 and 9 are of importance for us to have a game population that we can all enjoy as Yukoners and at the same time harvest to some degree. I strongly recommend to the Minister that they start taking some action this year as opposed to letting another year go by. I do know that the game management board has done a fair amount of work as far as the politicking is concerned in the area, and I would strongly recommend to the Minister, if he can get a report from the game management board here prior to the end of this month, perhaps there is still a chance that some predator control could be done. Otherwise, we are just losing time and, as time goes on, we are not going to have a game population in that area.

Hon. Mr. Webster: We had a full debate on this item last month and the Member opposite has heard my response to his request and the reasons for it.

On Operation and Maintenance

On Director

Director in the amount of $142,000 agreed to

On Small Game Management

Small Game Management in the amount of $680,000 agreed to

On Big Game Management

Mr. Lang: I wonder if the Minister could update us? Are there any plans or changes to regulations for the outfitting industry being proposed for this forthcoming year?

Hon. Mr. Webster: If the Member is referring to regulations controlling the outfitting industry, the answer is no.

Mr. Lang: I want to ask the Minister if there are any significant policy changes coming forward that will affect the outfitting business for this forthcoming year?

Hon. Mr. Webster: No. The proposed regulation changes that were reviewed by the Wildlife Management Board do not have anything of significance for the outfitting industry.

Big Game Management in the amount of $1,014,000 agreed to

On Habitat and Research

Habitat and Research in the amount of $577,000 agreed to

On Field Services

Field Services in the amount of $1,342,000 agreed to

On Fisheries Management

Fisheries Management in the amount of $385,000 agreed to

On Wildlife Habitat Canada

Wildlife Habitat Canada in the amount of $53,000 agreed to

Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $4,193,000 agreed to

Chair: Are there any questions on the other materials?

Mr. Brewster: I see there are eight harvestable animals here. I do not see wolverine on here. Is that now on a protected list? When the Canadian Federation of Wildlife was there the other day, they had the wolverine on the endangered species list. I was unaware that it had happened in the Yukon.

Hon. Mr. Webster: There is an omission here. Besides wolverine, coyote should be included.

Mr. Brewster: I presume that the wolverine is not on the endangered species list.

Hon. Mr. Webster: The Member is quite correct.

On Capital

On Prior Year Projects

Prior Year Projects in the amount of nil agreed to

Capital in the amount of nil agreed to

Fish and Wildlife in the amount of $4,193,000 agreed to

On Agriculture

Chair: Is there general debate?

Mr. Lang: The area of great concern is the issue of having wild and domestic animals transported to the Yukon. The Minister has assured us that there will be some method of checking those. Can the Minister present this in some sort of policy or legislation in the fall to govern that type of situation?

Hon. Mr. Webster: The Member has already heard me state that the agriculture policy is presently up for review. We are anticipating some input into that. The recommendations coming forward will be helpful in coming up with a policy to put some restrictions on the movement of animals entering the territory.

Mr. Lang: In that document, there is nothing addressing that issue other than it talking about health and public safety. I want assurances from the Minister, in view of the situation that occurred with the reindeer - we pointed out the reality of the situation over the last two sessions - that he will be bringing forward something on this issue no later than the fall.

Hon. Mr. Webster: I mentioned we would be coming forward with a policy. That was one of the reasons I mentioned the agriculture policy review. As I said, strangely enough this item did not come up in the public consultation.

We are presently in the process of determining the practices in other jurisdictions. We are in the process of compiling that information right now to help us as another tool in guiding us as we prepare our policy.

Mr. Lang: I expect him to be doing that. If he did not, he would be derelict in his duties. I am just asking for his assurance that, when we come back to the Legislature in the fall, we will have a policy or legislation in place governing this particular type of transportation of animals.

In Question Period, the Minister agreed it was a high priority. I just want some assurances now in the House.

Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, we are working on it. At this time, I can report we already have responses from Newfoundland, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia with respect to guidelines, policies and legislation covering the movement of animals among jurisdictions.

I would think the timing of the release of such a policy would be in keeping with the agriculture policy review.

Mr. Brewster: When they are doing this policy, would they make sure of something? I am not sure how they are going to do this, but I understand the reindeer are under the Department of Agriculture of Canada and we do not have that much control, unless we made an agreement with them somewhere. Probably, we and the Northwest Territories are the only places that have these reindeer, so this is a special case. If these are the ones that are causing the problem, I hope they get into our legislation someplace.

Hon. Mr. Webster: The Member is quite right that this is a special case. These reindeer are considered domesticated animals. If they were classified as wildlife, they would be required to have permits for movement between jurisdictions. We brought this to the attention of Agriculture Canada, and they have assured us that, in the future, if these reindeer are moved into or through the Yukon, they will be required to be inspected in the Northwest Territories. They will have to build a facility to enable them to test them there.

Mr. Brewster: This problem has been around a long, long time and it seems to me a crime that, as usual, governments do not move them until something serious happens, and then governments move. This includes not only this government but the federal government and all of the governments. We had to have diseased animals brought in and kept in our area, because they were not checked, and yet it has been noted for a long time that reindeer are diseased animals. It is just too bad that we have to wait and wait and wait until something happens before we can move.

On Operation and Maintenance

On Director

Director in the amount of $177,000 agreed to

On Program Services

Program Services in the amount of $87,000 agreed to

On Demonstration and Research

Mr. Lang: Before Demonstration and Research is passed, could the Minister tell us what his plans are for this year?

Hon. Mr. Webster: There is an increase here of some $20,000, due to an expansion of crop demonstration activities and providing more assistance to establishment of farmers’ markets in the territory.

Demonstration and Research in the amount of $84,000 agreed to

Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $348,000 agreed to

On Capital

On Forage Productivity

Forage Productivity in the amount of $95,000 agreed to

Capital in the amount of $95,000 agreed to

Chair: Are there any questions on the other pages?

Agriculture in the amount of $443,000 agreed to

On Inuvialuit Final Agreement

On Operation and Maintenance

On Policy and Planning

Mr. Lang: To go on to our position that we stated earlier, it just seems to be a lot of money at this time. We are voting $667,000 here for the branch and over in the other area we have a significant amount of capital voted as well: well over $300,000. So that is almost $1 million being spent on Herschel Island this year. It is a lot of money.

Perhaps I could conclude my remarks. I realize some money has to be spent but this seems to be quite beyond the sensibility of government spending, when we are asking people to cut back and take on a further burden to pick up such things as the deficit in areas of this nature.

Hon. Mr. Webster: This money on the IFA and the operation and maintenance side of things is to give the Yukon some representation on the various boards and committees that are actively looking at concerns in this area. These boards and committees were established pursuant to the IFA agreement. It is also money used to stage an annual North Slope conference - the first annual one was held in Dawson City the first weekend of May. This is again according to the terms of the IFA agreement. The second annual conference will again be held this year in Dawson City, I believe on May 8 and 9.

It is also, as I say, to represent the Yukon on the North Slope screening committee and review board.

Mr. Lang: I hope, for $667,000, you get invited to the party.

Hon. Mr. Webster: The $311,000 was just for the O&M, one aspect of which is for hosting a North Slope conference. I can assure the Member that Yukon was well represented at last year’s conference and will be again this year.

Mr. Lang: I hope for $311,000 we are well represented. If we were not, I would really question it. I hope he has a real good time for $311,000.

Policy and Planning in the amount of $311,000 agreed to

On Parks, Resources and Regional Planning

Parks, Resources and Regional Planning in the amount of $298,000 agreed to

On Fish and Wildlife

Fish and Wildlife in the amount of $58,000 agreed to

Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $667,000 agreed to

On Capital

Mr. Lang: I just want to make a point here. I guess it has to do with the Indian land claims. In view of what we are experiencing here and the dollars committed the way they are by legislation, it is very difficult for government not to carry out the commitment. I hope that, with what we are seeing here, we are not locking ourselves eventually into territorial legislation and get into the situation where, because times change, all of a sudden the politicians are asking why all this money is being spent here when obviously there are other things people are more in need of. That is just a general observation.

Capital in the amount of nil agreed to

Chair: Are there any other questions?

Mr. Lang: Why are we spending $124,000 to run the Wildlife Management Advisory Council?

Chair: Which page were you referring to?

We should clear the IFA first.

Inuvialuit Final Agreement in the amount of $667,000 agreed to

Hon. Mr. Webster: Are we talking about the Wildlife Management Advisory Council? This is for the North Slope as established by the IFA.

Mr. Lang: I am confused. Where is the Wildlife Management Advisory Board?

Hon. Mr. Webster: That is under Administration.

Mr. Lang: How much are we paying for the chairman of the board? Are we paying over and above the per diem?

Hon. Mr. Webster: The chairman does not receive any additional salary above his per diem.

On Schedule “A”

On Operation and Maintenance

Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $10,954,000 agreed to

On Capital

Capital in the amount of $1,124,000 agreed to

Renewable Resources agreed to

Chair: We will take a 15 minute break.


Chair: I will call Committee back to order.


Chair: We are on the Department of Tourism. Is there general debate?

Hon. Mr. Webster: I am pleased to introduce the budget for the Department of Tourism. The operation and maintenance budget totals $4,630,000, which represents a 15 percent increase over the 1989-90 forecast. It provides funding for initiatives and priorities identified in the tourism action plan and in the Throne Speech.

With the capital budget of $1,350,000, we will continue important core programs and will initiate several new activities, despite a reduction over the 1989-90 forecast of 28 percent.

I would like to briefly highlight the activities and initiatives proposed. The majority of the $288,000, or 62 percent increase in the administration branch’s O&M program is required to cover operating costs of the Yukon Anniversaries Commission. The heritage branch’s O&M program will decrease by $15,000, or three percent, as consulting services were required in 1989-90 on a one-time only basis, to assist with the preparation of the Yukon Historic Resources Act. Note, however, that O&M assistance to community museums will increase by $2,000, or a modest 2.6 percent.

I want to point out to Members that the heritage branch’s capital program indicates an allocation of $25,000 for the historic resources service centre. However, as result of reaccessing our priorities, this $25,000 will be reallocated to the marketing program of visitor reception centre development, for initial work toward the construction of a visitor reception centre for Whitehorse.

Yukon museums will continue to receive financial assistance and support to upgrade and develop facilities and exhibits. The museums assistance project will provide $100,000 to museums for small capital projects and $20,000 to the Dawson City Museum to plan artifact storage space. This project also has $130,000 allocated to the Transportation Museum for capital construction and salary for its project manager/fund raiser.

Under the exhibits project, $75,000 will be provided to the George Johnston Museum for phase 1 of exhibit development and $25,000 will go to the Kluane Museum of Natural History, to undertake phase 2 of exhibit development.

The department will continue to provide technical support to Yukon museums under the artifact inventory and cataloguing project and the conservation and security project.

The $75,000 for the historic sites maintenance project will enable the heritage branch to maintain sites such as the Millen house and Forty Mile and provide contribution funds to others for preserving and restoring historic sites and structures. There is $85,000 budgeted to continue ongoing field work and documentation required for the historic sites inventory. Restoration work will continue on the S.S. Tutshi for the $200,000 budgeted.

The department and the Selkirk Band are jointly working on the master plan for Fort Selkirk, due for completion by March 31, 1990. In anticipation of its completion and acceptance by both parties, $150,000 is set aside for restoration and stabilization work at Fort Selkirk.

The historic sites planning project has $20,000 budgeted to conduct planning and assessment work related to various historic sites identified in the historic sites inventory. Our annual contribution of $5,000 will be provided to the Friends of the Gallery Society to assist in the purchase of artworks for the Yukon permanent art collection.

There is $96,000 allocated to the Yukon archaeological project to conduct specific archaeological research projects, including the analysis of collections recovered from the north coast.

The heritage studies project will continue with $15,000 budgeted for one heritage study to research and document more of the Yukon’s human history. Strategic planning for resource assessment, regional tourism plans and signs interpretation will continue to form core projects in the development of capital programs. One of the initiatives mentioned earlier will be the inauguration of the regional planning and implementation project, which has $40,000 allocated to assist with implementing the Kluane Silver Trail and Watson Lake regional tourism plans.

The marketing operation and maintenance program will increase by $375,000, which is 14 percent. Of this, $295,000 will be committed to the launch of a “Destination: Yukon” marketing program. Initially directed at Canadian travellers, this program will promote the services of Yukon operators and businesses in the service and hospitality sectors by encouraging the sale of package tours through tour wholesalers and carriers.

This will address the real need for better and more competitive packaging of our tourism products and cater to the increasing demand for prepackaged vacations that benefit a large spectrum of Yukon businesses.

Our agreement with the Alaskan Tourism Marketing Council will be continued as one of our primary activities in the US market. The 1990-91 budget is increased by $88,000 in anticipation of higher advertising, list purchase and other program costs.

This is the second year of the Tourism North agreement with BC and Alaska, aimed at promoting independent, recreational vehicle highway travel to northern BC, Yukon and Alaska.

Our budget for this has increased by $73,000 to $273,000 and will be matched by the other two jurisdictions to expand the scope of this important program, which is laying the foundation for the promotion of the Alaska Highway celebrations.

The marketing capital program has two projects in addition to the one I previously mentioned - that being VRC development. There is $10,000 budgeted to replace some television sets and video disk players and VRCs and we will produce new television public service announcements with an allocation of $34,000.

O&M person years remain constant at 25 indeterminate and one term. This is supplemented by auxiliary positions comprised of 26 seasonal visitor reception centre staff, five seasonal S.S. Tutshi tour guides, one on-call secretary and one on-call administration clerk.

Two new capital term person years are being created by converting the auxiliary operation officer and an auxiliary assistant development officer position to term. This is partially offset by the expiry of the term restoration planner position on March 31, 1990, resulting in a net increase of one capital term person year.

Mr. Phillips: I thank the Minister for that information. It is a lot to digest in a short period of time.

One area of concern that has been brought to my attention is the possibility, in the near future, of a tourism overflow in the port of Skagway. It is going to increase with the advent of the new and larger ships coming in there. There is not a lot for people to do in Skagway. I understand that the Government of Yukon is working on some projects or is at least planning for this overflow.

These people will be in Skagway for at least the good part of a day, and some of them will not have a lot to do. I am wondering if we are preparing for that. Will we be making any attempts to try and attract them to Whitehorse, Carcross or into the Yukon for at least half a day? Will we be making more effort to get them into this part of the country? They do not normally come here. They just get off the ship, spend a day in the Skagway area and ride the train. There will be more people arriving there than the train or the stores can handle in a day in Skagway.

It was expressed to me that there is going to be an overflow, and the fear is that if the overflow gets too bad some of the cruise ships may take Skagway off their port of docking; they may miss it out completely. Of course, then we would lose the possibility of anybody coming here. I wonder if we have any plans to deal with this possible overflow?

Hon. Mr. Webster: The Government of Yukon’s Department of Tourism is not doing anything specific to lure the tourists who are visiting Skagway for the day to come into the Yukon. However, I think that, given the opportunity or seeing that the opportunity exists, the private sector will take advantage of the situation. White Pass, for example, will be considering perhaps running its train into the Yukon, perhaps meeting the passengers of the train once they come into Bennett at the junction of the highway or perhaps transporting them into Whitehorse on a bus route. I think there are some opportunities there for the private sector to become involved and to increase our share of the tourism market that benefits Skagway.

Mr. Phillips: How aware are we of the fact that there may be an overflow? Does the Minister have any figures from the Tourism Department? I was told by an individual in Skagway that the people there are a bit concerned. I wonder how informed we are as to this possible overflow. I would have thought we would have been getting ourselves into gear rather quickly to encourage people in the private sector to get certain facilities up and running so that we can attract visitors to this part of the country.

Hon. Mr. Webster: We are aware of the situation that exists in Skagway with the overflow of tourists, particularly on two or three days of the week, according to the schedules of the cruise ships. However, I am not in a position to speak on behalf of the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce or the Downtown Business Association as to what attempts they have made to start planning to take advantage of that lucrative market. I am sure they are aware of it and are making plans at this time to accommodate these tourists.

Mr. Phillips: I hope the Department of Tourism could act as a facilitator and pull together people from the chambers, TIA and various other groups that are interested in this so we get moving and accelerate some projects we now have going, or encourage people to accelerate them and take advantage of it. It is going to be too late. It only takes a year or two for these cruise ship lines to plan. If they come into Skagway this year and find out their people are rather bored with the day in Skagway because all the facilities are jam-packed and they cannot get in them, they will not be coming into Skagway next year and it will be too late for us to take advantage of that situation.

I would encourage the department to get the various groups together as soon as possible and inform them of the possible overflow, as well as encourage them to accelerate some of their projects. In the long run, it would be to our benefit.

Hon. Mr. Webster: I am quite certain the business community does know about this situation. Both the TIA board of directors and the Downtown Whitehorse Business Association have meetings planned for this week to probably discuss that very matter.

Mr. Phillips: We are still on general debate, but I can clear that particular item, if that is what you would like to do.

One day in Question Period, I asked a question of the Minister. He was rushing from Question Period to draft a letter, and that was the question of the Expo slideshows and providing them to the transportation museum. Has the Minister made a decision on that? I know it takes a while to set this type of thing up and plan for it. Has he come to a decision or received a request from the Transportation Museum? I think that is what he was waiting for. The Minister wants to be invited to meetings and asked for things. I understand he may have already received a letter. Has he made a decision on it?

Hon. Mr. Webster: By strange coincidence, I did receive written correspondence from the Transportation Museum requesting the very same program video that was requested by the Member opposite in Question Period one day.

We have responded to the Transportation Museum, setting forth a number of conditions they must comply with. If they are agreeable to that, we have no problem making that video available to them.

Mr. Phillips: I am pleased to hear that, because I know it is an excellent video and I think it would be something that would hold tourists here for a little longer and encourage them to see more of the Yukon while they are here.

The Minister said there are some funds in the budget here for the new visitors reception centre. I am wondering if the government has come to any conclusion or has it met with the city officials to discuss the actual location of the centre? When can we expect them to do that? When can we expect them to start constructing it?

Hon. Mr. Webster: We do plan, in the near future, to sit down with the city and with other organizations that have an interest in the reception centre. At this time, I can inform the Member that I have made a decision that the new visitor reception centre for Whitehorse will be built somewhere on the Alaska Highway. At this time, we are reviewing possible locations for that development to occur. Once that is done, we will meet with the city and other organizations to discuss the proposal.

Mr. Phillips: I am pleased to hear they have at least made a decision and have located a general area where they want to put their visitors reception centre. I would encourage the government to get on with that process because, as we say, it is going to be badly needed in 1992.

Just a suggestion to the Minister: do not do what the government of PEI did. They built a visitors reception centre in PEI and, if the Minister recalls, as we drove by, the bus driver commented that somebody, in the planning process, had faced it the wrong way. It did not face the highway; you had to actually drive off the highway and go in around it to have a look at it. So I hope that, when we are planning this centre, we have it facing the highway so that people can see the front of the centre.

I would like to make another suggestion to the Minister, for something that I do not think would cost Yukoners an awful lot of money but we would gain an awful lot of benefits from it. We know people who go to the campgrounds, as we earlier talked about in the Renewable Resources budget and the campground hosts program, and I would like to suggest to the Minister that this government consider a Yukon ambassador program. By this I mean that, every year we have several senior citizens in the territory who travel to the south and spend most of their time travelling through RV parks in various areas of the United States.

Most of these people are long-time residents of the territory. They are very knowledgeable about the territory, and they are very colourful and eager to talk about the great Yukon. I suggest that the Minister should seriously consider a program like the Yukon campground host program, where we would ask senior citizens or people travelling to carry the Yukon message down south. They could be provided with some basic information, to start with, about the Yukon. We would need an itinerary to know where they are going.

I know of many people who go down south, sit in campgrounds night after night and tell the Yukon story. It would be nice if they had pins, brochures and other things to pass out. We would get good value for our dollar because the RVers are the type of people who come to the Yukon to spend a bit of time if they know what is available.

The people who go down south would be excellent ambassadors. The Minister said today that he felt that they carry with them an encyclopedia of knowledge. It would be very cost effective for us to tap that. It would not cost us anything other than the pins, brochures or Yukon flags. Most of them would be more than willing to do that on their own.

Several people have approached the Department of Tourism and said that they are going on these trips. They said they wished they could get these things, and in some cases, have been given very limited material. If we had an actual program like the Yukon campground host program where a person could qualify and lay out one’s itinerary, it would be very helpful for the territory.

These Yukon ambassadors could travel throughout the various RV parks and could explain to people what there is to see in the Yukon and encourage them to come up here.

Hon. Mr. Webster: I would like to thank the Member for his suggestion. It is a good one and has merit. It should be explored more fully, perhaps by the Tourism North program, which involves all three jurisdictions with the sole purpose of promoting more recreational vehicle traffic to travel on our highways.

There is a certain amount of money for promotion in that program. This is one aspect that might be well received. We are only in our second year of the Tourism North program, and they are probably looking for some new ideas to help promote travel to the north. I can make that suggestion to them.

Mr. Phillips: I know that in most cases, some of these people make these annual trips down south. I know of several of them who spend most of their summers taking people whom they met on their trips in the winter around the Yukon. It would be a very good program. It would be very cost effective. All they would really need are some brochures, some background information, some Yukon pins, flags and a little bit of a story about the Yukon. It would be an extremely cost-effective program.

I understand that Celebration ‘92, the Alaska Highway project is going to be affected by the federal budget cuts. How much effect will that have on the planning that has occurred so far? Is the government planning to increase its funding to try to pick up some of the slack so that Project ‘92 comes off? What contingency plan is there to help us through the problems that we will encounter with the loss of some federal funding?

Hon. Mr. Webster: The lack of federal funding the Member speaks of is from the Secretary of State. Project ‘92 is anticipating to help promote that special anniversary event. To my knowledge, Project ‘92 has not been specifically budgeted a great deal of money from the Secretary of State. They are expecting to raise the bulk of their funds through corporate sponsorship. I do not think a lack of funds committed from the Secretary of State will have a serious negative effect on Project ‘92 if the corporate sponsorship proves to be as lucrative as they are hoping and planning it will be.

Mr. Phillips: Before I move out of general debate and into line-by-line, have we had any talks with the State of Alaska regarding their new summer ferry schedule, which is going to have some effect on Yukon tourism because of the late arrival of boats in Skagway and Haines? I understand they have shifted their schedule this year so, rather than arriving at reasonable hours, they are arriving either really late at night or really early in the morning. Thus, they may be driving right through Whitehorse or staying in Skagway. We may miss some of the tourists who come to Yukon.

Hon. Mr. Webster: No, I have had no discussions with officials from Alaska about the changes in the ferry schedule. The only conversation I have had is with Peter Goll, the State Legislator from the Haines/Skagway area. Our discussions were focused on improving the winter service of the ferry system to make it easier to travel between Skagway and Juneau in the wintertime. I have had no discussions on this matter.

It is something we can raise this week when we are hosting the delegation from Alaska.

Mr. Phillips: That is something I had also intended to do. It is a good idea for all Members to raise it. I understand they have adjusted their schedule where, in other years, they have arrived at ports other than Skagway and Haines at odd hours of the night. They say that what they are trying to do now is balance it out so the other ports get the people in at reasonable hours. We end up suffering on the end of the line. The boats are going to be arriving later at night or earlier in the morning, and these people are probably going to be staying in Skagway overnight or travelling right through and we are going to miss the boat, so to speak, because the boat is going to be in a little later.

I would suggest to all Members who are going to meet with Alaskans next week that they do lobby for that and, possibly, the Minister’s department deal directly with the Alaska State Ferry system or the legislators responsible in the transportation committee, and try and encourage them to adjust their schedule. It is probably too late now. I thought the Department of Tourism would have been aware of the change. It is too late now to make any changes, other than to lobby so we can change it back next year.

Hon. Mr. Webster: I agree with the Member it is definitely too late to affect this year’s schedule, but there is always a possibility of next year. The Alaska State Ferry system does not consult with our Department of Tourism when it is proposing its ferry schedule for the year. Now that we are aware of this year’s schedule, and it is subject to change every year, we are making our opinion known to the Alaska State Legislators this week.

Mr. Phillips: I was aware of this in January, or even in December. I assumed that when people phone the Department of Tourism for bookings or are trying to inquire about any changes happening in the tourism industry, they would also be informed of this. I thought the Minister would have known of the summer change, other than me informing him today.

In the future, I hope we will keep close tabs on the major transportation systems in Alaska so we can coordinate with what they are doing.

If no one else has any matters for general debate, I am prepared to go into line-by-line debate.

On Administration

On Operation and Maintenance

On Operations

Hon. Mr. Webster: The bulk of the increase here of some $288,000, as I mentioned in my opening remarks, will be set aside for the Yukon Anniversaries Commission in a grant of $255,000.

Operations in the amount of $750,000 agreed to

Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $750,000 agreed to

On Capital

Capital in the amount of nil agreed to

Chair: Are there any questions on the following pages?

Administration in the amount of $750,000 agreed to

On Heritage

On Operation and Maintenance

On Operations

Mr. Phillips: I wonder if the Minister could tell us if he has come to any kind of agreement with the museum society with respect to the plan for the new facility. I know they were upset last year when the government announced a museums policy and, although they were pleased with parts of the policy, they were not pleased with other parts of it. They were concerned about the government setting up a museum. The Minister explained to us that this museum will just be to restore or show stages of restoration of artifacts but they were still just as concerned that the government was getting into the museum business and it would take away from their budget. Has he come to some resolution with the museum society on that issue?

Hon. Mr. Webster: The last time the Member raised this matter, he was informed that I wrote the chair of the museums committee of the YHMA explaining fully the intent of the new educational promotional role of the historic resources centre. Having had an opportunity to review that information, it was still the opinion of the museums committee membership that they did not think this was a proper role for the new facility. I took that message to my Cabinet colleagues and they approved the removal of that aspect of the policy - so it is no longer a role of the historic resources centre.

I met on the weekend with members of the museums committee in Dawson City to discuss the matter further and they welcome the change.

Operations in the amount of $210,000 agreed to

On Museums

Museums in the amount of $200,000 agreed to

On Historic Sites

Historic Sites in the amount of $66,000 agreed to

On Art Gallery

Art Gallery in the amount of $69,000 agreed to

Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $545,000 agreed to

On Capital

On Historic Resources:

On Historic Resources Centre

Hon. Mr. Webster: I should bring it to the Members’ attention again that that has been eliminated. That $25,000 has been transferred to marketing development.

Mr. Phillips: The Minister said that some work has been done on the historic resources act. When will we receive that act?

Hon. Mr. Webster: It is still my intention to table that act later in this session.

Mr. Phillips: Is it the intent that we will deal with the act in the spring sitting, or will we just table it, discuss it and then deal with it at some other time?

Hon. Mr. Webster: It is my intention to deal with the act in the spring sitting.

Chair: The historic resource centre funding has been transferred to marketing development, $25,000.

Historic Resources Centre in the amount of $25,000 agreed to

On Heritage Artifact Acquisition

Mr. Phillips: It seems that at a time when we announce a new museums policy in the territory it is a bit ironic that we do such drastic cuts to the museums budgets. Most of the community museums are run by volunteers. They are essential to keeping people here a little longer. When we see the drastic cuts of 42 percent, 33 percent, 50 percent and 59 percent, it is a rather sad day for the museums in the territory.

They seem to face the brunt of the cuts of this government, in comparison, percentage wise, to other departments. It is a shame that they had to feel the full brunt of it, especially when we are entering the 1990s, which is one of the most historic eras of the territory. We are dealing with bicentennials and the 100th anniversary of the gold rush. It is unfortunate that the government is taking this approach.

Hon. Mr. Webster: Capital budgets do fluctuate from year to year. Last year was a very good year. There was $433,000 budgeted for museums assistance. However, the year before $256,000 was budgeted. We are back to that level this year.

Over the past five years, this government used the money wisely from the formula financing agreement that we had in place in 1985 to put a great deal of money toward assisting museums. Five years ago most museums were in drastic need of rehabilitation and restoration.

Over a five-year period, that work was done in each of the museums to enable them to open their doors, to meet building standards and, in addition to that, to enable them to develop some exhibits.

We have spent a lot of money over the last five years. It has been well spent. All the museums are in good shape. This current fiscal year of 1989-90, for example, from all sources the Government of Yukon, from all sources, is spending one third of a million dollars on the Whitehorse Old Log Church Museum to improve the foundation and bring it up to acceptable building standards, as well as $75,000 for exhibit assistance.

Unfortunately, now that we are in a different situation with the new formula financing agreement, we do not have as much money available to us as before. Consequently, the budget for museum assistance reflects this. I want to emphasize that it does fluctuate from year to year. We are back at a level of 1988-89. When I met with the museums people on the weekend, they expressed the same concern. I told them that if we have money available for museums, we will support them.

Heritage Artifact Acquisition in the amount of $1.00 agreed to

On Museums:

On Museums Assistance

Museums Assistance in the amount of $250,000 agreed to

On Exhibits Assistance

Exhibits Assistance in the amount of $100,000 agreed to

On Artifact Inventory and Cataloguing

Artifact Inventory and Cataloguing in the amount of $25,000 agreed to

On Conservation and Security

Conservation and Security in the amount of $35,000 agreed to

On Historic Sites:

On Historic Sites Maintenance

Historic Sites Maintenance in the amount of $75,000 agreed to

On Historic Sites Inventory

Historic Sites Inventory in the amount of $85,000 agreed to

On S.S. Tutshi

S.S. Tutshi in the amount of $200,000 agreed to

On Ft. Selkirk

Mr. Phillips: Is this near completion? We have spent several hundred thousand dollars more in that area. When will it be complete? How much is the total cost? How many visitors do we get a year to Fort Selkirk?

Hon. Mr. Webster: In response to the second question, we currently get about 600 visitors to Fort Selkirk in a season.

In response to his first question as to the total cost for this program, to date we have spent $1,563,000.

Mr. Nordling: How much more will we be spending there, or are we near completing the project we have undertaken?

Hon. Mr. Webster: We are in receipt this month of a management plan for development of Fort Selkirk; future expenditures will depend on elements of that master plan.

Fort Selkirk in the amount of $150,000 agreed to

On Herschel Island - IFA

Herschel Island IFA in the amount of $1.00 agreed to

On Historic Sites Planning

Historic Sites Planning in the amount of $20,000 agreed to

On Art Gallery:

On Visual Arts Acquisition

Visual Arts Acquisition in the amount of $5,000 agreed to

On Archaeology:

On Yukon Archaeology

Yukon Archaeology in the amount of $96,000 agreed to


NOGAP in the amount of $1.00 agreed to

On Research:

On Heritage Studies

Heritage Studies in the amount of $15,000 agreed to

On Prior Years Projects

Prior Years Projects in the amount of nil agreed to

Capital in the amount of $1,081,000 agreed to

Heritage in the amount of $1,626,000 agreed to

Mr. Brewster: Just so I can get it on record and to whoever designs these books - I am short eight pages, which is all right; I am not going to make a fuss, but I just want to point out that there are eight pages gone from the Tourism section.

Some Hon. Member: I think that was on purpose.

Mr. Brewster: I can understand that.

On Development

On Operation and Maintenance

On Operations

Operations in the amount of $338,000 agreed to

Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $338,000 agreed to

On Capital

On Destination, Regional and Community Planning:

On Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning in the amount of $30,000 agreed to

On Wilderness Resource Assessment

Wilderness Resource Assessment in the amount of $25,000 agreed to

On Regional Tourism Plans

Regional Tourism Plans in the amount of $45,000 agreed to

On Product Development:

On Signs and Interpretation

Mr. Phillips: I will make my plea to the Minister one more time. I have done it every time in almost every budget. That is to include, on some of our road signs, the distance in miles for the 75 percent or so of American tourists who come up the highway. They do not understand the metric system.

We are in the tourism business. Let us get in the business and cater to the majority of the people who travel up our highway to see the territory and give them some idea of where they are by putting some signs in various communities saying how far apart the communities are. It would be a very worthwhile endeavour, and I encourage the Minister to look at doing that.

Hon. Mr. Webster: The last time the Member raised this matter, I told him I would follow up. I wrote a letter to the Minister of Community and Transportation Services, asking him to investigate what the practice is in jurisdictions to the south, Alberta and B.C. I asked if they put signs in both miles and kilometres, and if they do, what kind of policy they have, where they place these signs, et cetera.

Mr. Phillips: If the Minister is looking for precedent, I can do a search around the world and find different countries that put signs in various languages. We are in the tourism business. Seventy-five percent of our guests are American. All I am saying to the Minister is that we do not have to do what they do in Nova Scotia, P.E.I. or Timbuktu. Let us do something that would help 75 percent of the tourists who come up the highway. Let us put a few signs at a few strategic points in miles. We do not need to study the death out of it. Let us just go ahead and do it. What is the big deal?

Hon. Mr. Webster: There is no big deal, but we do not have to reinvent the wheel. I am not talking about Nova Scotia, P.E.I. or Timbuktu. I am talking about B.C. and Alberta through which most of our tourists travel before arriving in the Yukon.

I have made a request to find out what the practice is there. I can report back when we have that information.

Mr. Brewster: This argument has been going on for a long time. I am getting a little sick of it. We have to do what Alberta and Saskatchewan do, yet I know that when we go to Alberta and ask for money, we are different. You cannot have it both ways. We are either different or we are like Alberta and Saskatchewan. If we are, then let us quit hollering to Ottawa. We are different up here.

We talked about culture. You killed the culture all along the road. Nobody has heard of 777 anymore, yet it is part of our Alaska Highway culture - 1016 is part of the culture, and so is 1083. The post office used to have to use these numbers. We killed all that culture.

We are not asking that we go back to this. We gave up on that. We are now asking for a signpost in miles every once in a while. A lot of the people coming back in the centennial are related to American people who worked on the Alaska Highway, and they will be looking for those road numbers. It is as simple as that.

Let us quit this. We are different, but we are not different when it is inconvenient; we are the same. When we want something else and we are losing, we are different. We are one way or the other, so let us get on with this thing and put the mileposts in.

Signs and Interpretation in the amount of $85,000 agreed to

On Regional Planning Implementation

See continuation of Tourism debate for changes to Heritage program totals

Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move we report progress on Bill No. 19.

Motion agreed to

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

Motion agreed to

Speaker resumes the Chair

Speaker: I will now call the House to order.

May the House have the report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole?

Ms. Kassi: The Committee of the Whole discussed and defeated the following motion moved by Mr. Phelps

THAT the chief executive officer and the chair of the board of directors for the Yukon Development Corporation be called as witnesses during debate on Vote No. 22, Yukon Development Corporation, of Bill No. 19, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1990-91.

Further, Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 19, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1990-91, 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.

Speaker: Pursuant to Standing Order 2(6), this House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.

House adjourned at 5:32 p.m.

The following Legislative Return was tabled March 6, 1990:


Audiology: Difference between audiologist and audiometric technician; waiting lists for assessments and treatment; forecasts (Penikett)

Oral, Hansard pp. 1301 & 1302