Whitehorse, Yukon

Thursday, October 25, 1990 — 1:30 p.m.

Speaker: I will now call the House to order. At this time, we will proceed with Prayers.


Prorogation of the First Session of the 27th Legislature

Speaker: Mr. Clerk.

Clerk: It is the will and the pleasure of the Commissioner that this Assembly be prorogued until 3 o’clock in the afternoon on this day, and this Assembly is accordingly prorogued.

First Session, 27th Legislature Prorogued at 1:32 p.m.


Speaker:  I have received communication from the Commissioner, in his capacity as Lieutenant Governor, stating that he would open the Second Session of the 27th Legislature at 3:00 p.m. today, Thursday, the 25th day of October, 1990.

We are now prepared to hear the Speech from the Throne.

Speech from the Throne

Commissioner Ken McKinnon enters the Chamber accompanied by his Aides-de-Camp

Mr. McKinnon:  Mr. Speaker, hon. Members, welcome to the Second Session of the 27th Yukon Legislative Assembly.

This is the first time I have spoken in this Chamber since the onset of a new decade. It is a decade in which as Yukon residents we are seeking to earn a good living, while preserving the natural beauty of the world around us. We want to live in vibrant communities of our choosing, where we can lead rich and rewarding lives and give the same to our children. We are seeking equal opportunities and harmony among peoples. And we are looking to exercise our democratic rights every day of every year.

Your government shares these desires. It has listened when the people of the Yukon have expressed them. And it is responding through its agenda for the 1990s, an agenda with four goals: completing Indian land claims; building a sustainable economy; investing in healthy communities; and, ensuring good government.

Your government has already made progress towards reaching these goals.

The first year of this decade has brought an umbrella final agreement on the Yukon Indian land claim. This agreement, reached after many years of negotiations, is an historic step in recognizing and acting on our legal and moral obligations to the Yukon’s aboriginal people.

In the 1990s, it and other agreements negotiated with individual First Nations will strengthen their ability to participate in a society that reflects and respects their aspirations.

As part of your government’s commitment to sustainable economic development, it has this year released the Yukon Conservation Strategy. Together with the Yukon Economic Strategy, it represents a plan for the wise use of the territory’s natural resources.

In the 1990s, these strategies will guide efforts to build a stronger economy, while protecting the health of our environment.

Already, in the first year of this decade, Members of this House have invested in the future of our children by approving legislation that strengthens the Yukon’s education system and enhances the quality of child care.

Through the implementation of these and other measures, your government will invest in the long-term health and well-being of all Yukon residents and their communities.

A partnership with the people of the Yukon is at the heart of your government’s commitment to good government. In developing legislation and public policies, it has actively involved the people of the territory in decisions affecting them. It will continue to do so in preparing legislation placed before this Assembly in the coming session.

Hon. Members, a solid foundation is in place for this decade. It is a foundation rooted in the belief in responsive and responsible government, in the wisdom of using our resources carefully and of developing the potential of communities and people, and in the justice of fairly settling aboriginal claims. During the 1990s, we must continue to build on this foundation.

In doing so, we must also remain ready to respond to new challenges. Canada faces uncertain economic times. But your government will not passively accept a recession. It will continue to pursue, in partnership with Yukon businesses and people, the territory’s goals for a stronger, more resilient economy, while acting on its commitment to fiscal responsibility. The national debate over Canada’s future has strengthened your government’s conviction that questions about our constitutional future must be addressed with the people, not imposed on the people. Tensions that have surfaced in Canada over aboriginal rights underscore the need to address the claims of aboriginal people through negotiation, not conflict.

Through negotiation, your government has contributed to efforts towards settling the legitimate claims of Yukon Indian people. Negotiation paved the way to the umbrella final agreement, initialed last spring by the three parties to the Yukon Indian land claim. Negotiation will enable the Yukon and federal governments and the Council for Yukon Indians to complete the work of settling aboriginal claims, to the benefit of all the territory’s citizens.

Through comprehensive land claim agreements, we can remove the uncertainty over lands and resources. Yukon residents will know the rules that will apply when using these lands and resources. Yukon First Nations will obtain confirmation of their aboriginal rights and title, including ownership of their lands. Land ownership will breathe new life into traditional cultures and lifestyles and into the traditional economy. It will also create new economic opportunities, ensuring meaningful jobs and an economic base for Yukon First Nations, to the benefit of the Yukon’s economy as a whole. Through comprehensive land claim agreements, we will put in place a true partnership for the management of resources and for the territory’s economic, social and political development. As the next step beyond the umbrella final agreement, your government is actively engaged in negotiations with individual Yukon First Nations towards realizing these goals.

In parallel with these negotiations, your government will negotiate agreements according self-government to individual First Nations. These agreements will empower aboriginal people to make their own decisions, in their own way, about matters that affect them. They will also build bridges between aboriginal institutions and other levels of government, so all can work together for the political, social, and economic development of the Yukon.

Your government believes these rights to self-government deserve the same constitutional guarantee as other land claim agreements. Self-government is an aboriginal right. As such, these self-government agreements belong in the Canadian Constitution and under its protection. As part of its efforts towards a settlement, your government, in cooperation with the Council for Yukon Indians and Yukon Indian First Nations, will pursue efforts to achieve this goal.

In the negotiations to complete a comprehensive Yukon land claim, your government urges all parties to recognize the need for flexibility in responding to changing circumstances and new challenges that evolve over time to ensure the settlement is both fair and just.

Your government will bring before this House settlement legislation and other bills that fulfill its commitments and obligations under the umbrella final agreement.

During the Yukon 2000 process and in discussions since, the people of the territory have expressed their strong attachment to this land and the natural features that define its character: the snow-capped mountains, the glacier-fed lakes and rivers, and the expanses of wilderness that give a home to caribou, moose and other wildlife.

For the people of this territory, these are natural treasures worth preserving. The resources of this land have sustained the Yukon’s aboriginal people for thousands of years and are at the heart of their rich culture. They have drawn other people to the Yukon and led them to call it home. Our resources and the natural environment are part and parcel of who we are. Protecting these resources and the Yukon’s environment must be part and parcel of building a strong economy, an economy that sustains this and future generations.

The desire of Yukon people to protect the environment and its resources finds expression in the Yukon Conservation Strategy. This strategy reinforces and strengthens commitments in the Yukon Economic Strategy to economic development that does not compromise the health of our environment or resource base. It complements the other goals expressed during Yukon 2000: the desire for more control over the Yukon’s economy, for the option to remain in the territory, and for equal economic opportunities for all.

These strategies make the Yukon a national leader in linking economic goals with environmental values. Together, they are a blueprint for developing the Yukon economy through the wise use of its resources, while protecting the environment and preserving the territory’s wilderness heritage.

As part of this blueprint, your government is preparing state-of-the-art environmental legislation. With a Yukon Environment Act, we can enhance our ability to protect the air we breathe and the lakes and rivers where we fish and draw our water. We can support individual and community efforts to recycle, reducing the need for landfill sites for our waste. We can ensure the careful use of pesticides and safe, secure storage of special wastes. We can ensure our ability to respond quickly and effectively in the unlikely event of environmental emergencies.

But proper care of the environment depends on all of us — on cooperation between people, communities, businesses and governments. For this reason, your government is working with the people of the territory to shape the Environment Act. This fall, it has asked residents, in all Yukon communities and in all walks of life, how they want to protect the environment. It has listened to what they have had to say. Their views will form the basis of draft legislation, which will be tabled later this year. Your government will again consult the people of the Yukon before introducing final legislation in this session.

Evidence of our past relationship with this land and its resources also deserves protection. During this session, hon. Members will be asked to approve an Historic Resources Act, designed to preserve our historical and archaeological heritage. The act will also establish a Heritage Resources Board, giving Yukon citizens a strong role in managing the territory’s historical resources.

Our resources, our history, and our rich cultural diversity attract thousands of visitors to the Yukon each year. Your government is continuing efforts to strengthen this sustainable industry. Planning and design will begin this fall for a Yukon Visitor Reception Centre, to be located in Whitehorse, but displaying all the territory has to offer. It will be ready in 1992, in time for celebrations honouring the Alaska Highway’s 50th anniversary.

To encourage sustainable farming and more local food production, your government will release an agriculture policy early next year. This policy is intended to provide service and regulatory support for the industry. It will protect agricultural land and make it available for sale or lease equitably and fairly. At the same time, criteria for selecting agricultural parcels will respect and account for other uses and users of the land.

To promote economic growth, your government is encouraging the territory’s mining industry. Expanded operations at the Curragh Resources in Faro and development of the Mount Hundere mine are positive signs for the Yukon, as is the news that the mine in Elsa will go back into operation next year under new ownership.

Significant progress has been made towards a Northern Accord on Oil and Gas with the federal government. With this accord, the Yukon will gain the ability to develop and manage its oil and gas resources, including participation in the Yukon’s offshore. It will enable the Yukon to exercise its authority off our northern coast. It will also help to ensure that development proceeds in a manner that is sensitive to the environment, particularly the fragile North Slope.

In the energy field, the Yukon Energy Corporation is looking at options to reduce and manage electrical energy use through conservation, including demand-side management. The corporation is examining potential sites for small hydro projects and energy alternatives that can support our economic goals with the least impact on our environment. At the same time, your government is encouraging people to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. Conservation is important to consumers, especially during times of high oil prices, such as we now face. Your government is developing a comprehensive energy policy to help achieve these objectives.

These are examples of how your government is working to make the vision of the Yukon Economic Strategy and the Yukon Conservation Strategy a reality. It believes actions already taken have made the territory’s economy stronger and more resilient. It is better able to weather tough economic times, better able than it was during the recession of the early 1980s. But this is no reason for complacency. As Canada heads into a recession, your government will vigorously pursue its goals of promoting jobs for Yukon residents and solid economic development for our territory.

In recent years, your government has invested substantial resources in upgrading community services, such as schools, roads, recreational facilities, and housing. This was done to bring services to Yukon residents more in line with what other Canadians enjoy. In the 1990s, your government will emphasize the needs of the coming generations. Through better education and training, more child care, improvements in the justice system, and enhanced health and social services, it will invest in the future. Our goal is healthy communities.

As part of this commitment, your government is vigorously pursuing a new health agenda. This includes a new Health Act to be introduced during this session. Your government’s health agenda takes a comprehensive approach, based on a broad definition of health. It is aimed at promoting all aspects of our well-being: physical, mental, and social, rather than simply treating disease. It provides the basis for an accessible, accountable health care system, built in partnership with the people and sensitive to community needs and cultural differences.

These principles are an integral part of what your government wants to accomplish, not only in health care, but in other social services, in education, and in the justice system. They represent the underpinnings of its plans to invest in healthy communities.

Other steps to make health and social services more responsive to the needs of Yukon people include a community resource project in Mayo. This project is exploring ways to better coordinate and, where possible, integrate the local delivery of health and social services. In response to the wishes of Old Crow residents, your government plans to introduce amendments to the Liquor Act enabling Old Crow to become a dry community. To reduce the risk of serious injuries from motor vehicle accidents, your government is establishing an advisory committee to consult Yukon citizens about appropriate compulsory seatbelt legislation.

Your government is investing in the future of Yukon children by building on the partnership forged in the Education Act. Yukon residents have responded enthusiastically to the opportunity for a greater voice in the schooling of their children. Parents and community members throughout the territory have chosen to replace advisory school committees with decision-making school councils, a clear indication they want to exercise the democratic rights entrenched in the Education Act. Your government will be making resources available to help devolve decision-making responsibilities to school councils, and eventually to school boards, where communities chose this option.

Your government’s willingness to invest in quality child care services is evident in the Child Care Act, approved in the last session. But it also recognizes that legislation, in and of itself, is not enough to ensure affordable, accessible, quality care. Since passage of the Child Care Act, your government has introduced a package to enhance the wages of child care workers. It is also providing training support for these workers. It has enriched the subsidy program to parents in need. It is giving additional help to children with special needs by expanding the role for child development services. Your government will continue to build on its investment in quality child care. Consultations are now under way on new regulations to support the legislative measures taken by this House.

Your government is also investing in a justice system that reflects greater community involvement, particularly in the development of aboriginal justice. Lawyers, judges, academics, and aboriginal leaders who spoke at a tribal justice conference held in Whitehorse earlier this year, echoed views that have been heard across the country: the justice system must be adapted to better serve the aboriginal community. To this end, your government is funding a study by a coalition of three Yukon First Nations: Champagne-Aishihik, Old Crow, and Teslin. They will develop proposals for an aboriginal justice system and examine how it would tie into the territory’s present system.

Improvements in the territory’s corrections program are an investment in a brighter future for people currently incarcerated. In keeping with the United Nations Year of Literacy, a new computer instruction system has been put in place to upgrade inmates’ literacy skills. As well, the New Beginnings Program, offered at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre through the Council for Yukon Indians, has been successful in enhancing the self-awareness and self-confidence of inmates.

Through these and other initiatives, your government is investing in a wide range of social services that enhance the health and well-being of Yukon people.

Your government recognizes the contribution it can make to the health of the territorial economy and the vitality of our communities. To this end, your government is unveiling a plan to locate more than 100 government jobs in rural communities over the next three years. As with your government’s policy on employment equity, this plan is a commitment to a public service that is representative of the population it serves.

Employees will be treated fairly and equitably throughout the decentralization process. They will not be subject to layoffs or forced to move, as a result of positions being located in communities outside of Whitehorse. The decentralization plan will be carried out in a manner designed to ensure the least possible disruption to services to the public. Decentralization will also bring government closer to the people it serves, enhancing the delivery of programs. It is an investment not only in healthy communities, but in good government.

Your government is deeply committed to both consultation and community empowerment. It believes the people of this territory have an inherent right to be consulted and to participate in decisions about their future. It has provided and will continue to provide opportunities for the people of the Yukon to be fully heard and to take an active role in decisions that affect their daily lives.

In our communities, it is seeking to empower Yukon citizens by strengthening local government. During this session, your government will introduce amendments to the Municipal Finance Act and the Municipal Infrastructure Grants Act. These amendments will give Yukon cities, towns and villages greater flexibility in making decisions for the well-being of their residents.

Your government is now responding to interest expressed by residents living in the Ibex Valley, west of Whitehorse, and those in Mount Lorne, south of the city, in becoming hamlets.

Yukon residents want their voices effectively heard at the territorial level, too. The boundaries of Yukon constituencies have not been examined since they were last altered in the early 1980s. In this session, your government will be bringing proposals to the Assembly for reviewing these boundaries.

The people of the Yukon also want, as all Canadians do, a say in shaping the future of our country. In the last session, your government tabled a discussion paper outlining possible options for the Yukon’s constitutional future within the Canadian nation. Over the next year, members of the Assembly will be talking with, and listening to, Yukon citizens about how we should proceed in taking our rightful place within Confederation.

Hon. Members, your government is seeking to work in partnership with the people of the Yukon to build a stronger territory, based on its goals for the 1990s. It will work to promote healthy communities and a healthy environment, to develop a sustainable economy, and to settle aboriginal claims for the betterment of all Yukon residents. The agenda for this decade has been built from the ideas and values of this territory’s people. In pursuing this agenda, your government will be guided by the people, listening carefully to what they have to say and responding to their needs and aspirations. It will speak clearly and honestly in its public commitments and in the legislative measures put forward to this Assembly.

During this session, your government plans to introduce several bills, in addition to those already described. These include: Capital City Commission Act, Economic Development Act, Highways Act, Land Titles Act, Nursing Profession Act, Amendments to the Student Financial Act and Amendments to the Home Owners Grant Act.

The main item of business this fall will be the budget for the 1991-92 fiscal year. In presenting the budget, your government will outline its financial commitments to the actions announced today.

Commissioner McKinnon leaves the Chamber, accompanied by his Aides-de-Camp

Speaker: I will now call the House to order.

We will proceed with Prayers.



Speaker: It gives me great pleasure to inform the House that the following students from Porter Creek Junior Secondary School will be serving as Legislative Pages this Session. They are Karen Ballantyne, Marlee Hoganson, Nadia Joe, Corinna Johnston, Tricia Robutka, Benita Sarana, Paul Scholz, Jerri Stanley and ‘Becca Whitley. I would ask you to welcome them at this time.



Speaker: I would like to draw the Members’ attention to the presence in the Speaker’s Gallery of the guest of the Commissioner: Mr. Bert Wybrew, a former Mayor of the City of Whitehorse. I would ask Members to join me in welcoming him to these Chambers.



Bill No. 1: Introduction and First Reading

Speaker: The Hon. Premier.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move that the bill entitled An Act to Perpetuate a Certain Ancient Right be now introduced and read a first time.

Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Premier that a bill entitled An Act to Perpetuate a Certain Ancient Right be now introduced and read a first time.

Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No 1 agreed to

Tabling Speech from the Throne

Speaker:  I beg to inform the Assembly at this time, that, in order to prevent mistakes, I have obtained a copy of the Speech from the Throne, which I now lay on the table.

Consideration of Speech from the Throne

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move the Speech from the Throne be considered on a day following.

Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Premier that the Speech from the Throne be considered on a day following.

Motion agreed to

Hon. Mr. McDonald: I wish to inform the House that, pursuant to Standing Order No. 26, consideration of a Motion for an Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne shall take place on Monday, October 29, 1990.

Speaker: May I have your further pleasure.


Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have for tabling documents on decentralization.

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

Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.

Motion agreed to

Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. Monday next.

The House adjourned at 3:30 p.m.

The following Sessional Papers were tabled Octoberr 25, 1990:


Speech from the Throne (Speaker, Johnson)


Decentralization Policy, October 25, 1990 (penikett)


Decentralization Initiative - Phase 1, Year 1 (Department, Description, Communities and Positions) (Penikett)


Report of the Advisory Committee on Decentralization (Smith Report), November, 1989 (Penikett)