Whitehorse, Yukon

Thursday, December 17, 1992 - 1:30 p.m.

Speaker: I will call the House to order. We will proceed at this time with Prayers.



Speaker: We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.

Is there any Introduction of Visitors?


Hon. Mr. Phillips: I am very pleased today to introduce a long-time Yukoner who is in the House. I am not going to let the cinnamon bun out of the bag yet. I would like the House to welcome Ellen Davignon.


Speaker: Are there any Returns or Documents for tabling?


Hon. Mr. Phillips: I have for tabling the document Our Land Too - Women of Canada and the Northwest 1860-1914. This supplementary text for high school students is a result of a cooperative effort between the Women’s Directorate and the Department of Education with input from a number of individuals and community groups.

I also have for tabling one other document, You Make The Choice. This booklet is for junior high school students, and it profiles 10 Yukon women in occupations traditionally dominated by men. The booklet was a cooperative effort by the Women’s Directorate, the Department of Education, the Canadian Congress for Learning Opportunities for Women, Industry, Science and Technology Canada, the Council for Yukon Indians, Northwestel and the Yukon Advisory Council on Women’s Issues.

Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I have a legislative return.

Hon. Mr. Phelps: I have for tabling the annual report of the Yukon Development Corporation and the annual report of the Yukon Energy Corporation. I have already provided copies to the Clerk, and I do not have my copies at the desk right now, so I shall table them later on in the day.

Speaker: Petitions.


Petition No. 1

Clerk: I have had the honour to review a petition, being Petition No. 1 of the first session of the Twenty-Eighth Legislative Assembly, as presented by the Hon. Member for Faro, on December 16, 1992.

Pursuant to Standing Order 66(1), of the Yukon Legislative Assembly, it is my responsibility to report whether petitions conform to the rules recognized by the House. This petition does not conform in the respect that it is addressed to the Yukon territorial government, rather than the Yukon Legislative Assembly.

Speaker: Petition No. 1, accordingly, may not be received.

Petition No. 2

Clerk: Mr. Speaker and hon. Members of the Assembly, I have had the honour to review a Petition, being Petition No. 2 of the first session of the Twenty-Eighth Legislative Assembly, as presented by the Hon. Member for Riverdale South on December 16, 1992.

This petition meets the requirements as to form of the Standing Orders of the Yukon Legislative Assembly.

Speaker: Petition No. 2, accordingly, is deemed to be read and received.

Speaker: Are there any further Petitions for presentation?

Introduction of Bills.

Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers.

Notices of Motion.

Statements by Ministers.


Yukon writer-in-residence program

Hon. Mr. Phillips: I am pleased to announce that, for the first time, a Yukon writer has been chosen as the territory’s writer-in-residence, to provide writing workshops in a number of communities and guidance one-on-one to aspiring Yukon writers. Before I tell you who our new writer-in-residence is, allow me to provide a bit of background.

The residence program is now four years old. After a number of short-term contracts, longer residencies were undertaken by Patricia Robertson in 1990-91, and Gertrude Story last winter. Yukon writers benefitted greatly from the experience and skills of these outside professionals, whose own work was considerably influenced by the experience of working and writing here.

Now, in consultation with the newly formed Northern Writers’ Circle, the foremost association of Yukon writers, my libraries and archives staff have developed an expanded development program to meet the needs of both established and aspiring Yukon writers.

In addition to the writer-in-residence, this program will include an intensive two-day retreat with two Yukon writers as resource people, shorter workshops in a number of Yukon communities, and two two-day workshops dedicated exclusively to First Nation writers.

While the Northern Writers’ Circle will be contracted to organize much of the program, the writer-in-residence will work directly under departmental supervision. Every second year, we will attempt to secure Canada Council funding to provide a six-month residency for a noted outside writer, who can give Yukon writers the fresh literary stimulus they require.

Between these residencies, we will give established Yukon writers a similar opportunity, a two-month contract to share their skills and work intensely with the colleagues right here in the territory. I am delighted to tell you that our first choice for this task is not only a favourite of readers territory-wide, she is renowned among cinnamon bun afficianados. I refer, of course, to one of the Yukon’s best-loved story tellers, the long-time Queen of Johnson’s Crossing, Ellen Davignon.

When Ellen came into my office today, it was the first time that I didn’t recognize her because she didn’t have cinnamon in her hair and berry stains on her hands. Ellen has been busy this past summer, often called on to recount tales from her teenage years during the construction of the Alaska Highway. And now, we are going to keep her busy sharing her considerable skills with other writers across the territory. Her residency will be from February 1 to March 31, 1993.

I could not have made a more popular choice as our first local writer-in-residence. It bodes well for the future of our new literary development program, and the Yukon, which has a tradition of fostering great writers, and it cannot help but continue to do so.

Mr. McDonald: As Members know, we are very supportive of the writers-in-residence program. The inspiration behind the idea of establishing opportunities for aspiring writers to work with distinguished colleagues actually came from the Member for Whitehorse West - a sometimes-author himself. The program has proven to be very successful in allowing Yukon writers to share manuscripts and bounce ideas off authors who themselves have often made a tremendous impact on Canadian literary circles. As the first Yukon author chosen, we feel that Ellen Davignon was an inspired choice. Many Yukon people have read her work, followed her articles, and felt common cause with her experiences. In fact, having been sitting in the Legislature for the past few days, I can relate to people who lead lives of quiet desperation. I would like to wish our new writer-in-residence well, and assure her that she will be continuing a fine and established tradition.

RCMP auxiliary/reserve policing

Hon. Mr. Phelps: I am pleased to announce the creation of an RCMP auxiliary/reserve police program for the City of Whitehorse. The new pilot project will take effect over the next few months once recruitment and training details are finalized. The purpose of this project is to supplement existing RCMP resources in areas of pro-active community policing. This means participation in the Neighbourhood Watch program, vandalism prevention, special event crowd and traffic control, building security, search and rescue, and public education programs. The 10 candidates for this auxiliary force will be members of the general public who meet certain selection requirements and pass local RCMP training courses. They will serve as peace officers on a volunteer basis, wear RCMP working uniforms and serve with regular police personnel. They will not carry firearms.

RCMP auxiliary/reserve policing has been very successful in other parts of Canada for almost 30 years. During this time, many auxiliary members have gone on to successful careers with the RCMP, while others have enjoyed serving their communities on a part-time basis.

Here in Whitehorse a number of citizens have already indicated their willingness to participate in a Yukon program once it becomes operational. It is also hoped that many more will come forth when the recruitment campaign begins in the new year.

I want to emphasize that this program will not cost the Yukon government any additional funding. Under the terms of the arrangement, the RCMP will be responsible for uniforms, training and indemnification. In return, it will be able to focus more of its existing resources on those law-and-order matters that need as much full-time attention as possible, such as ongoing criminal investigations and the general protection of life and property. To that end, successful auxiliary/reserve candidates will be sworn in as supernumerary special constables under section 7 of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act. That means these constables will not be paid for their services, but they will have a unique opportunity to make a valuable contribution to their community.

We all know these are difficult times, both from a fiscal and social point of view. Much is asked of our police force, but the resources to pay for these demands are very limited. So we have to look for innovative solutions. It is this government’s policy to encourage new, more efficient ways of providing service to taxpayers without compromising the safety and security of its citizens. We believe this auxiliary/reserve policing program is an excellent example of the growing partnership between Yukoners and the RCMP on the value of enhanced, community-based police services.

Thank you.

Ms. Joe: I am very pleased to hear this ministerial statement today. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to sit down with Chief Superintendent Henderson, and other people, in regard to the problems of vandalism and crime in Whitehorse. One of the things that we spoke about was the Neighbourhood Watch and auxiliary/reserve policing. Knowing at the time that it was going to happen, I am pleased to know that it will take place and that things continue to be supported by the Minister of Justice, in terms of what it was that we were discussing when we were in government.

Crime Stoppers is also another good program that is done by volunteers and I think that is another support group. Many volunteers do take part in helping the RCMP to do many different things, and I pay tribute to all of those volunteers who take the time and make the commitment to try to help in ways that they can.

I would like to just mention a concern that I have right now. In my walk around my riding, high-speed chases have been mentioned at least three times. We have had a couple of chases in the Yukon during the last few months and although it could be a good thing that the police may be pursuing someone for a certain reason, people in my riding have spoken to me about the danger that these chases may cause; for instance, the death of people who are in front of the chased vehicle or somebody who may be an innocent bystander on the street.

I only mention that because it is an opportunity to do it at this time, but I commend the Minister and those people who volunteer the time to do these kinds of things.

Transporting firearms

Hon. Mr. Brewster: My officials within the Department of Renewable Resources have advised me of news that may impact on every trapper, every person who lives on subsistence hunting, every outfitter, every farmer, every surveyor, prospector, hunter or pilot who feels it is necessary to carry a rifle or firearm in a vehicle during their travels throughout the Yukon.

Federal firearm regulations, which will come into effect in January 1993, will now make it a criminal offence to carry loaded firearms, with shells in the chamber or magazine, in a vehicle or conveyance. This, of course, will impact on our Wildlife Act which, for many years, permitted hunters, trappers and outfitters to carry loaded firearms in a vehicle.

The Yukon Wildlife Act permits firearms to be transported by vehicle with shells in the magazine as long as a shell is not in the chamber.

According to information provided to us, it may now mean that hunting from boats, as is now the practice by the people of Old Crow, could be a criminal offence. The regulations are so confusing that even these basic questions have not been properly answered. I intend to insist on clarification.

I have been advised by my departmental officials that we were not consulted in the drafting of these regulations and that they may have an impact on everyone living in rural and remote communities, or who work in isolated locations.

While we can appreciate the concern to control the use of firearms in large populated urban centres, such as Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, we feel this regulation was drafted in ignorance of the daily lives of millions of other Canadians who reside in rural and remote communities.

Confirmation that these regulations would be put into effect this January 1 was only recently brought to our attention. I will be forwarding letters to the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Indian  and Northern Affairs to register our displeasure with a very short-sighted regulation, and demanding that the federal government initiate a public awareness campaign to ensure Yukoners are not made criminals simply by imposition of this arbitrary regulation.

Mr. Harding: I can say in response to the ministerial statement that there are also a number of concerns with the regulations that are soon going to come into effect that have been expressed in my riding, certainly concerns of people who are against the legislation. There have also been concerns expressed by people who are in favour of the legislation. Some people feel that the legislation has gone too far and some people say it has not gone far enough.

There was a public awareness session sponsored by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Faro where upward of 50 people attended on a weekday evening, which is a pretty good group for the community. There was a lot of concern in the community about this issue.

This is an issue that I think everybody in the Legislature - and I know everyone in the Official Opposition - shares a concern that adequate safety regulations for firearms in this country and in this territory be ensured.

However, there is some concern - and I would say that perhaps we concur to a degree with the government - that perhaps there should be some options explored with regard to how it is going to affect the particular way of life  here in the Yukon. This way of life is different from some of the more urban, rural and heavily populated centres in the south.

We would certainly support some initiatives to explore other avenues and other options that perhaps the Yukon could look to and also support the public awareness campaign.

Speaker: This then brings us to the Question Period.


Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I rise today to correct a word that I used on page 28, December 16, in the Blues. I said a person in high authority had “quit” the government. I should have said that the person in question had “left” the government.

Question re: Health services transfer, hospital construction

Ms. Moorcroft: The Yukon Territory stands to lose $50 million for the construction of a new hospital if this government procrastinates in the decision to build a new hospital by their review of the hospital transfer agreement - $50 million committed by the federal government that is destined for the pockets of Yukon workers. Will the Minister of Health and Social Services assure this House, so that we do not lose this money because of a pending federal election, that he will complete his review of the signed agreement before Christmas?

Hon. Mr. Phelps: It was a fortunate choice of the side opposite to select a new Member as critic of Health because I take great delight in recounting, at this point in time, to some of the other Members opposite how long the side opposite dragged its feet on the transfer when they were in power. Many times they were criticized for doing so.

We do intend to review this issue. It is coming up very soon. I hope we have the review completed before Christmas; that is our intention, at least.

Ms. Moorcroft: Unemployed workers in the Yukon are going to have a lousy Christmas. Millions of dollars are just sitting there waiting to be used to construct this long-overdue hospital. This Tory government has axed the Tagu Ku project; there is no help going to Faro; and now the Minister is saying he has to look it over while Yukoners are out of work.

Does the Minister not have confidence that his government can build a desperately needed hospital, providing desperately needed jobs, with $50 million?

Hon. Mr. Phelps: I can only hope that our experienced colleagues are not guilty of trying to help the Member with her lines.

The fact is that even if we review and proceed with the transfer negotiations, they are not complete. There are certain agreements in principle that have been reached but if we proceed as quickly as we can, there is no guarantee that there will be a satisfactory conclusion, and there is no guarantee, of course, that the hospital would get off the ground this year. We would hope, in the event that we decide to push ahead, that we would be able to have it in place for the coming building season, but I would want to caution the Member that it is not all in black and white and completed. Ratification has still not been received from other parties.

Ms. Moorcroft: At the very least, can the Minister tell this House if the $2.5 million the federal government has already committed to the design of the facility is going to be spent? Is the design work going ahead?

Hon. Mr. Phelps: Some work has been done and as soon as the review is complete and if it has a positive result, we will be moving ahead with design, and all those things, as quickly as possible.

Question re: Health services transfer, First Nations health committee

Ms. Moorcroft: The hospital transfer includes a specific agreement concerning the First Nations health committee. Is the Minister telling the aboriginal people of the territory that he does not respect their rights by denying them access to healthy lives through traditional medicine, traditional diet and designated funds for education and training of First Nations people, in this area, that was part of this agreement?

Hon. Mr. Phelps: Of course not. I have met with the representatives of CYI and explained that we are reviewing this very important issue as quickly as we can. The government certainly supports the work that has been done with respect to ensuring that the demands of CYI are being met in the pertinent agreements. The issue remains as to whether or not we are fully satisfied with the prudence of going ahead and taking on this huge responsibility in a climate where we see our southern counterparts, the provincial governments, going deeply into debt due to rising health costs.

Ms. Moorcroft: Are the goals and objectives of the First Nations health committee, such as employment equity, which recognizes the unique health and social needs of First Nations people, simply noble goals, which, as the Minister indicated when he appointed the Justice of the Peace in Faro, were something that time and circumstance do not allow him to achieve?

Hon. Mr. Phelps: I would hope that the Member would not even have to ask that question. I am sure that she, herself, believes they are more than merely noble goals. I am certainly of that opinion. I am surprised that she is not.

Ms. Moorcroft: When, then, will the Minister respond to the expressed needs of the people of the First Nations, as per the signed tripartite agreement among Canada, the Yukon government and the Council for Yukon Indians - one of those agreements the Minister has said he will honour?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:  I guess this is just another way of asking the question: when are we going to complete the review of the transfer negotiations? We are going to do that as quickly as we can - it is hoped before Christmas.

Question re: Whitehorse sewage financing

Mr. Cable: I have a question for the Government Leader on the Whitehorse sewage treatment problem. As I think all the Members know, this problem has been outstanding for several years and was discussed very actively in the last campaign. Will the Government Leader spell out, for the record and for this House, what the government’s commitment is to the City of Whitehorse in relation to the financing of the Whitehorse sewage system?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I thank the Member opposite for the question. As the Member stated, this is a very serious and very difficult problem. It is a problem we discussed during the election, and we still maintain it has to be resolved. The Yukon Party has made a commitment, and we intend to honour that commitment. We will pay up to $25 million toward a new sewage treatment facility. The actual cost will depend upon negotiations with the city.

Mr. Cable: It is my understanding that the predecessor government has made arrangements with other communities whereby a 90/10 cost-sharing arrangement has been entered into. The Yukon government would be paying 90 per cent and the communities paying 10 per cent. Is this government prepared to enter into that sort of commitment with the City of Whitehorse?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I cannot assure the Member at this time that that is the formula that will be arrived at. I do believe that the Yukon Party, during the election campaign, made a very substantial commitment - almost twice as much as the previous administration had made to try to get this problem resolved.

Mr. Cable: In view of the fact that the issue has been outstanding for some time, is the government in a position to indicate to the House when, in their opinion, they feel the construction of a sewage system will begin?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:   I understand the city is dealing with the problem now. The question may have been better directed to the Minister of Municipal Services. I am not certain if negotiations have started at this point or not.

Question re: Game ranching

Mr. Penikett: I also have a question about honouring of Yukon Party commitments. I would  like to direct a question to the Minister of Renewable Resources.

During the CBC election event, the Government Leader said he supported game farming in the Yukon, as well as game ranching. How will the Minister of Renewable Resources be implementing this Yukon Party policy?

Hon. Mr. Brewster: We already have a committee that either met last night, or is meeting tonight, which is advancing on game farming. I have had a couple of talks with people in the CYI and with the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board, and this subject has been brought up again. There are two or three preliminary papers, but they are not in agreement, in any case.

Mr. Penikett: I know about game ranching and farming, and I know about the discussions. How is the Minister of Renewable Resources planning to implement this radical new policy in favour of game ranching? Is the moratorium recommended by the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board on game farming therefore at an end?

Hon. Mr. Brewster: No, the moratorium is not at an end, and we have not got down to looking at the facts surrounding game ranching, just the game farming.

Mr. Penikett: We do not know if the Minister is going ahead, going back or stuck in a rut.

Since the Government Leader has committed his party to a policy that, everywhere else in the country, is regarded as not only environmentally disastrous but economically foolish, could the Minister of Renewable Resources tell us how he is going to be living up to their election commitment to establish game ranching in the Yukon Territory?

Hon. Mr. Brewster: We did not commit ourselves. We said we would support it and look at it.

Question re: Chateau Jomini

Mr. Harding: After that last answer, I do not know if I should change my line of questioning - I guess I will stick with the original plan. I would like to address this question to the Hon. Minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation - or what is left of it.

I would like to know, given that housing, office and retail space is badly needed in Faro and that a solid commitment was made to Faro by the previous government for the Chateau Jomini facility, when can Faro expect the Hon. Minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation to get the project back on the rails so that Faro’s legitimate housing, office and retail space needs can begin to be addressed?

Hon. Mr. Phelps: I have had a conversation with the honourable gentleman from the other side and I explained to him that Yukon Development Corporation will not be going ahead with any projects - I do not know if I have to spell it out for him, but I am sure he knows what I mean.

Mr. Harding: I am in a quandary. How can the Minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation justify the decision to destroy this critical project, with no discussion, no consultation and not even any notification to the municipality of Faro, the board of the Yukon Development Corporation and the MLA of Faro - no one, not even the people of Faro - especially in light of the previous rantings in the Legislature, by the Hon. Minister responsible for Yukon Development Corporation with regards to arms-length distance by government from boards.

Hon. Mr. Phelps: It is a very simple situation. This is a new government that was elected by the people. It was voted in on certain commitments. One of them is very clearly that the Yukon Development Corporation is no longer going to be used as a tool by the government to circumvent the Legislature and spend money raised from rate payers - not tax payers - to pursue the agenda of the Government Leader and the Ministers. It is very simple; we are changing the mandate of the Yukon Development Corporation.

Mr. Harding: I have a question that I would like to direct to the Hon. Minister of Education.

Speaker: New question.

Mr. Harding: No, it is regarding the same issue.

Speaker: The Yukon Development Corporation?

Mr. Harding: Yes. Chateau Jomini.

I have a question for the Hon. Minister of Education, as I stated before.

The municipal government in the Town of Faro has given temporary zoning allowance to the Faro campus of the Yukon College to operate in an area not zoned for institutions in Faro, only because space for the Chateau Jomini project was supposed to be made available to the Yukon College in Faro.

I would like to ask the Minister if he intends to take a strong position within in his Cabinet to ensure that we do not lose our community college in Faro.

Hon. Mr. Phillips: I thank the Member for Faro for his question.

I have met with the board of governors of the Yukon College, and it was indicated to me by the chairperson of the Yukon College board that they had some strong concerns about occupying Chateau Jomini and about the costs that would be involved in it.

I understand that the community campus is in a bit of a dilemma. I have the Department of Education working on this issue, trying to find accommodation.

This government has no plans at this time to close down the college - none at all. We are exploring all avenues to find better accommodation.

Question re: Yukon Development Corporation, windup

Mr. McDonald: I have a question for the Minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation, in reference to the matter that we have been discussing regarding the matter of the windup of the Yukon Development Corporation, and the fact that the Member has been reported to have said that the party is going to windup the Yukon Development Corporation’s operations, even though they did not make any mention of this particular initiative during the election campaign.

I would like to know what procedures the Minister is going to be using to windup the Yukon Development Corporation?

Hon. Mr. Phelps: All of that is currently under review, and no final decision has been made in that regard.

Mr. McDonald: I beg to differ with the Member as decisions are being made virtually every day.

First of all, we understand that the Minister has simply told the Yukon Development Corporation that they will not proceed with a project that they have already approved.

Apparently, this is a breach of the etiquette between the Minister and the board. It also appears that potentially - I have recently been reading the Yukon Development Corporation Act - there could be a breach of the act, not that the Members opposite have any particular respect for the acts.

I want to know if the Minister intends to come to the Legislature to change the Yukon Development Corporation board objects through debate in this Legislature or will he simply direct the board to abandon projects or to restrict discussions at the board level to something that respects only Yukon Energy Corporation matters?

Hon. Mr. Phelps: I am sure that the hon. Member would be extremely surprised to know that we fully intend to come before this House and discuss completely, and in detail, our intentions with respect to the Yukon Development Corporation. If the preferred route is to amend that act, that is what we would be doing. I am leaning toward that, but no final decision has been made.

Mr. McDonald: Given what has happened in the last few days, I am very surprised that the Members are choosing to come to the Legislature to amend that act rather than simply break the law on a temporary basis.

While we are sitting in the Legislature, the decisions are being made as we speak with respect to the relationship between the board and the Minister. Can the Minister tell us whether or not he is going to be undertaking any public review of the board’s operations or is he simply going to come to the Legislature and spring legislation on the public and on this Legislature in the spring?

Hon. Mr. Phelps: The Member’s question did contain one element of fact: we are sitting here right now. With respect to breaking the law, I would like to advise him that I have discussed the issue, which was raised by him, with respect to the Workers’ Compensation Board. The law has not been broken, in the opinion of that department.

With respect to the public review, we are making up our minds about how exactly we are going to proceed in the very near future. I can reassure the Member that I would be delighted to debate this matter at length in the session in the spring.

Question re: Yukon Development Corporation, windup

Mr. McDonald: I would love to be able to pursue at greater length the matter of Ministers wantonly breaking the Workers’ Compensation Act because I think that is a serious issue that deserves more time. I must go back to the Yukon Development Corporation Act and the decisions that are being made, and the decisions that have already been made, by the Minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation. The Yukon Development Corporation Act does lay out the objects for the corporation very clearly and does give certain powers to the corporation. What particular right does the Minister of the Development Corporation have, under the law, to put an end to the Chateau Jomini project, which was a decision of the board, without any consultation with the board at all?

Hon. Mr. Phelps: I am not here to act as counsel for the hon. Member across the floor. I would be delighted to, though, because apparently he does need good counsel. In my view, there has been an election and, in my view, the government has changed. The people did not ask us to continue on in the same erroneous ways as the Members across the floor. We are expected to live up to our campaign promises and to signal a shift in the way that the government is going to do business, and that is what we are doing.

Mr. McDonald: The shift that is being conducted here, quite clearly, is that the Ministers across the floor feel that if they have made some allusion to some election promise during the election campaign that may be at variance to the law, then the law can be ignored. That is simply unacceptable behaviour.

Speaker: Order please. I would ask the Member to limit his preamble to the question and to one sentence. It should not provoke debate on several other subjects.

Mr. McDonald: Well, Mr. Speaker, on that point I have a very difficult time, wanting to provoke debate on this very important subject but, nevertheless, I would like to ask the Minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation and responsible for respect for the Yukon Development Corporation Act: irrespective of election campaign promises, is the Minister going to be taking any other actions with respect to the Yukon Development Corporation that would contravene the spirit and intent of the Yukon Development Corporation Act?

Hon. Mr. Phelps: I am not sure if the Minister is being spiritual when he talks about the law; he certainly is not being very factual. I would submit that if he wants to make those allegations, at least he should come forth concisely with exactly what he means.

Mr. McDonald: I think I have been as exact as I possibly can, both with respect to this law and other laws that have been debated in this Legislature in the last few days.

I would like to ask the Minister - we have reversed our roles here, Mr. Speaker. He keeps referring to me as the Minister. Perhaps he thinks that is my natural right, or something.

Is the Minister going to undertake any public consultation process of any sort whatsoever in determining any changes to the Yukon Development Corporation Act? If he could describe it, that would also be nice.

Hon. Mr. Phelps: I have answered this question once before, and I would expect the ex-Minister across the way to try to ask the same question only once or twice during an afternoon here.

I said we were firstly determining which way we intended to proceed with respect to the Yukon Development Corporation. I will be making the announcement once we have determined the direction we are going to take.

It is interesting that he is asking me more questions as I answer the first one. I thought the election campaign was a rather interesting exercise in consultation of the people.

Speaker: I would remind the Minister that the answer should be relevant to the question and should not provoke debate. I think the Minister has answered the question.

Question re: Riverdale 32-suite apartment development

Mrs. Firth: All this time, I thought the election was over. It does not sound like it, from the questions in the House.

The Minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation has received correspondence from, and met privately with, some of the residents of Riverdale South regarding the building of a 32-suite apartment block on church property.

The city has passed a resolution blocking the issuance of a development permit temporarily. In correspondence I have received from the Minister, he has indicated that he would work toward resolving the problem. Exactly what is the Minister going to do to resolve this problem?

Hon. Mr. Fisher: I have met with the proponents of the project and with the City of Whitehorse and suggested a possible compromise to the initial proposed building.

If they liked the compromise, I have asked them to get back to me. I would be quite willing to have some of our people consult with some of the neighbours in the area.

Mrs. Firth: The Minister’s department, the Housing Corporation, has already put $90,000 of the taxpayers’ money into this project. I would like to ask the Minister if part of this compromise and consulting is going to involve the expenditure of more of taxpayers’ money in the Yukon Housing Corporation budget?

Hon. Mr. Fisher: I think that other than a bit of staff time, it will not be an additional cost. I should remind the hon. Member that $90,000 does go into the mortgage for the project.

Mrs. Firth: Nevertheless, it is still $90,000. Perhaps the Minister could stand up today and share this compromise with us, so I can tell the constituents, on whose behalf I am asking this question.

Hon. Mr. Fisher: I will quite happily share the compromise after I have heard from the proponents of the project and from the City of Whitehorse.

Question re: Land claims, rumoured referendum

Ms. Joe: My question is for the Government Leader and it is in regard to land claims. We now have four First Nations land claims finalized. We have two bills before the House. One is asking for approval of the land claim final agreement and the First Nation self-government. A committee has now been struck to provide more information to Yukoners who seek information. We understand that the government may be considering holding a referendum on land claims. My question is: what would the government be asking the people to decide in such a referendum?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek: This is news to me. This is the first I have heard of a referendum. I can certainly assure the Member opposite that it is not anything that has come up for discussion within our caucus or Cabinet, or even within our party.

Ms. Joe: This is a bit of a concern to the people of the Yukon because we have been in a land claims process for 20 years and there have been a lot of agreements finalized. I would like to ask the Government Leader if he would give this House an assurance that we will not be proposing or supporting a referendum at this late date, 20 years later, to ask the people to decide whether or not they want to have a land claims settlement.

Hon. Mr. Ostashek: For the information of the Member opposite, we just went through an exercise in the Legislature last night appointing a committee to go around the Yukon to listen to the concerns of Yukoners and to explain the land claims process and the self-government process. I believe that is the role we want to continue to pursue.

As I stated in my first answer, it has not been the intention of this party to hold a referendum. No thought has ever been given to it. I certainly do not support a referendum.

Question re: Game ranching

Mr. Penikett: I would like to go back to the other election promise about game ranching. The Minister of Renewable Resources just said that he was not committed to game ranching, he just supported it. Could he explain to the House exactly what the difference is between being committed to something and supporting it?

Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, I can explain it, although my language is not as fancy as yours. By supporting it, I mean that we will look at it. We have not had any committees look at it at present. We are, at the present time, not even thinking of forming a committee; we are just interested in game farming.

Mr. Penikett: I would like to ask the Minister, since his leader apparently does not, does he not understand the potential for disastrous diseases from domestic livestock spreading to indigenous wildlife populations if game ranching were introduced in the Yukon?

Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, I understand it to some extent, although in other places it has been successful. I am not saying that we are even attempting it here. We are listening to people and we will have committees that will travel around and find out what people think about it. We will also take advice from the biologists.

Mr. Penikett:  His leader’s support for game ranching in the CBC debate is on tape; it is unequivocal. I was so shocked I asked him twice. The Government Leader confirmed twice that it was his policy.

Can the Minister for Renewable Resources tell us in this House exactly what steps this government, and he, as the responsible Minister, will be taking to implement his leader’s policy?

Hon. Mr. Brewster: As I said before, we will simply go back to the people, seek biological evidence and see if game ranching is practical or not.

Question re: Seniors drop-in centre

Mr. Cable: I should say that I have not quite gotten used to the vaulting out of one’s seat when the previous speaker sits down. You have to be a quick jack in the box.

I have a question for the Minister of Health and Social Services.

During the last election campaign I became aware of the fact that the seniors drop-in centre in Whitehorse is run down and that a number of seniors groups are looking around to have a new drop-in centre constructed.

I understand that the present facility is in very poor condition. Will the Minister tell the House whether or not he supports the building of a new drop-in centre, to be operated by the Golden Age Society?

Hon. Mr. Phelps: My understanding with respect to that issue is that the seniors have gone to the City of Whitehorse and that an official of the city is preparing some plans and proposals about how the seniors might go about obtaining financing, and that sort of thing, for that building.

That process has not been completed and we have no idea exactly what the seniors have in mind or what kind of financing they are looking for and from what agencies. I suspect that the City of Whitehorse may be prepared to finance a fair portion, given the interest of the mayor in this project.

Mr. Cable:  I will be looking forward, with great interest, to receiving the document that is being prepared and getting a firm understanding of the amount of money that the city will be contributing and what other agencies are being contacted to contribute money to this project, before we even begin to answer questions about it.

I understand that these organizations, which include the seniors information centre and the Golden Age Society, have made a specific request for land owned by the YTG. Has the Minister considered whether there is land available in the City of Whitehorse, owned by the Commissioner, that could be made available to these seniors groups?

Hon. Mr. Phelps: The Member obviously has a direct link to City Hall. I met with the mayor and some representatives of the Golden Age Society, who brought me up to date on what meetings they had had with the previous Minister, prior to the consultation process that concluded on October 19 of this year.

They asked us to try to find the map that had been prepared by the previous Minister as a first step to see what kind of land is owned by the Commissioner in the city, and that is something we are trying to get.

Surprisingly enough, very little of the Minister’s material remained behind when she left office. I suspect somebody might have shredded it by mistake.

Question re: Deportation of Faro resident

Mr. Harding: I have a constituent in Faro who is facing deportation from Canada. The woman facing this terrible consequence had a representative write the Government Leader for assistance in having her hearing moved from Vancouver to the Yukon.

The Government Leader’s response was a terse letter from his executive assistant, which I have before me, offering no assistance. How can the Government Leader send someone facing this dire consequence such an unhelpful and uncaring letter?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I thank the Member opposite for the question. My staff was relying on advice from Department of Justice personnel who are familiar with such matters. I guess that is the danger of listening to advice from lawyers.

My staff then communicated that advice to the lawyer acting on behalf of the Member’s constituent. I would like to tell the House that when this came to my attention last night, I took immediate action on it. There is a letter of support being drafted in my office at this time for my signature.

Question re: Government employee position review

Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Government Leader regarding employees. I have written a letter asking for an answer, but I have not received a reply. I would like to ask him what exactly the policy is with respect to term and auxiliary employees. The Minister has said in the House in the last couple of days that they go to Management Board to get authorization for positions. I would like to know if that means that the policy is that all term positions and auxiliary positions are automatically terminated, and then if someone cries for help and says they need a position filled, they will go to Management Board.

Hon. Mr. Ostashek: It is not an exercise in crying for help and going to Management Board. As the Member opposite is aware, there is a hiring freeze on. It is not something we wanted to do. It is something we felt we had to do. I would just like to tell the Member opposite that the objectives are for better management that will be achieved through attrition, reorganization and better utilization of all government employees. This includes auxiliary and term positions.

The deputy ministers have been given a directive that any positions that will be required to be filled are to come before Management Board. Management Board will look at them and fill them as required.

Mrs. Firth: From that answer, the policy is that all the term and auxiliary positions, as of this government being here, no longer exist.

I would like to ask the Government Leader if he can tell us exactly how many people are affected.

Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I thank the Member opposite for the question. I expected the question and researched it this morning. My department gave me the following figures: 22 term and auxiliary positions have expired or been deleted. Of these 22 positions, 16 of them were vacant when we took office. Of the remaining six positions, three of the people who were in them are still working in government in other positions and three terms have expired. The respective departments involved can make submissions to Management Board if they feel these position have to be filled again.

I have to say that the Member opposite is trying to cause alarm in the community. The number of positions that have expired is very small. I have related all the information to the House.

Mrs. Firth: I am not being alarmist at all. It is Christmas time and people are out of their jobs. There are a total of 113 term person years and there are hundreds of auxiliary positions in this government, so the answer that the Minister has brought back is completely unsatisfactory. I would like know - if he cannot tell me how many real people are being affected by this - how much money is the government saving with this initiative?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I have told the Member opposite how many people have been affected so far. I would like to say for the record, we truly believe in auxiliary and term positions. These positions are very important as it gives the government the needed flexibility of being able to maintain government services to all Yukoners, as the demand may arise. I do believe that we are fulfilling our mandate. As these positions expire, the deputy ministers will make their recommendations to the Management Board.

The other thing is that auxiliary positions often exist for one specific program. When this program ends that position no longer exists.

Speaker: The time for Question Period has now lapsed. We will proceed to Orders of the Day and Government Bills.



Bill No. 13: Third Reading

Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 13, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. Brewster.

Hon. Mr. Brewster: I move that Bill No. 13, entitled An Act to Amend the Liquor Act, be now read a third time and do pass.

Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Minister responsible for the Yukon Liquor Corporation that Bill No. 13, entitled An Act to Amend the Liquor Act, be now read a third time and do pass.

Motion for third reading of Bill No. 13 agreed to

Speaker: I declare that Bill No. 13 has passed this House.

Bill No. 98: Third Reading

Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 98, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. Phelps.

Hon. Mr. Phelps: I move that Bill No. 98, entitled Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act (No. 2), 1992, be now read a third time and do pass.

Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Minister of Justice that Bill No. 98, entitled Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act (No.) 2), 1992, be now read a third time and do pass.

Motion for third reading of Bill No. 98 agreed to.

Speaker: I declare that Bill No. 98 has passed this House.

Speaker:  We are now prepared to receive the Commissioner, acting in his capacity as Lieutenant Governor, to grant assent to the bills passed by this House.

Commissioner enters the Chamber announced by the Sergeant-at-Arms


Commissioner: Please be seated.

Speaker: The Assembly has, at its present session, passed certain bills. In the name and on behalf of the Assembly, I respectfully request your assent.

Clerk: An Act to Amend the Liquor Act; Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act (No. 2), 1992.

Commissioner: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Clerk, I am very pleased to give assent to the bills as enumerated by the Clerk.

May I take this opportunity, Mr. Speaker, to wish all of the Members and the staff of the Yukon Legislative Assembly a very, very marvelously peaceful Christmas break.

Commissioner leaves the Chamber

Speaker: I will now call the House to order.


Clerk: Item No. 1, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. Ostashek. Adjourned debate, Mr. Penikett.

Motion No. 4 - adjourned debate

Speaker: The motion before the House is as follows:

THAT Standing Order 45 be amended by:

(a) adding the following new provision:

“(4) At the commencement of the first session of the each Legislature a Standing Committee on Appointments shall be appointed to review and report on appointments proposed by the Executive Council to those boards, commissions, councils and committees identified in the motion appointing the Committee.”,


(b) renumbering the remainder of the Standing Order accordingly;

THAT the Honourable Members Doug Phillips, Margaret Joe, John Devries, Jack Cable, Mickey Fisher, Trevor Harding and David Millar be appointed to the Standing Committee on Appointments; and

THAT the terms of reference of the Committee be as follows:

(1) The Committee may review appointments proposed by the Executive Council to:

(a) Yukon Development Corporation Board of Directors,

(b) Yukon Energy Corporation Board of Directors,

(c) Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board,

(d) Yukon Lottery Commission,

(e) Yukon Recreation Advisory Council,

(f) Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board,

(g) Yukon College Board of Governors,

(h) Yukon Electrical Public Utilities Board, and

(i) Yukon Council on the Economy and the Environment.

(2) The Committee may also review such other appointments proposed by the Executive Council as are referred to it by the Executive Council or as are referred to it by separate motion of the Legislative Assembly.

(3) The Committee shall prepare a report within 45 days of receipt of a proposed appointment and such report shall contain:

(a) the decision of the Committee as to whether it would review the proposed appointment,

(b) where the committee has decided to review the proposed appointment,

(i) the recommendation of the Committee as to whether the proposed appointment should be made, or

(ii) a statement that the Committee has chosen not to make a recommendation,


(c) any reasoning the Committee chooses to include respecting its decision or recommendations.

(4) The right of the Committee to report on a proposed appointment continues in those cases where the Commissioner in Executive Council or, if applicable, a Minister has found it necessary, due to legal requirements or operational needs, to make an appointment prior to the expiration of the 45 day period.

(5) The Chair of the Committee shall present all reports of the Committee to the Legislative Assembly; if the Legislative Assembly is not sitting at the time a report has been prepared the Chair shall forward the report to all Members of the Legislative Assembly and then release the report to the media and the public.

(6) The Committee shall hold its meetings in camera and is empowered to call proposed appointees as witnesses; the Committee may also invite Ministers to appear as witnesses.

Mr. Penikett: I had just begun my speech yesterday when I was so rudely interrupted by the clock. Lest anyone forgets, I would just like to recap the central point I was trying to make before I go on to make my second, third and fourth points.

The proposal before us, in my view, is not a significant reform at all. Indeed, as compared with the provisions of the Public Government Act, which was voted for by all Members of this House in the spring sitting, I believe it is a giant step backwards. I was explaining yesterday that the Public Government Act was intended, in its very first sections, to facilitate the participation of everyone in this territory in public policy debates, administrative tribunals, advisory boards and commissions of this government.

As I mentioned yesterday, the act also directed that the government should use its best efforts to write and communicate with citizens in plain and inclusive language. It directed that the boards and commissions of this government should be as representative and as open as possible. The act made it clear that men and women were to be considered equally for appointments to boards. We were to take steps to make sure that aboriginal and non-aboriginal people were included in our boards and that individuals from all regions of the Yukon were represented. As I mentioned, it was clearly the intention of the government-of-the-day to suggest that the boards be representative of people of all political stripes and persuasions.

Of course, this was not simply the government’s view. It turns out that this was a view adopted by all Members of this House.

The act goes on to take another major step forward, in another quite aggressive reform, by taking away the exclusive power of Cabinet to nominate people of their own political persuasion, of their own liking, and of their own ministerial preference, to boards and committees. It gives the right to every single citizen of the territory to nominate fellow citizens to boards and commissions.

I do not want to pass lightly over this provision, because it is a major reform and is extremely inclusionary in its intent. Its purpose is to distribute some of the power of the Cabinet - which, in a modern parliamentary democracy, is quite considerable - among the citizens. Its purpose is to get back to the most fundamental idea in our democracy - going back to the village or town hall meetings in New England, or the democracy in the ancient Greek cities - where every citizen had a say, and every citizen had a right to nominate every other citizen for some office, whether it was to an appointed office on a board and committee, or to a public office.

As I have said, the act also wanted to make the boards of Crown corporations more directly accountable to the citizens because, obviously, boards and corporations make many decisions within their legal rights. Ministers are often held accountable for those decisions, even if the Minister knew nothing about them and may not even have agreed with them. It is quite appropriate to see Crown corporations as not being owned by one shareholder - the government - but by a large number of shareholders, namely, all the people of the territory.

The forum we proposed there was that boards like the Liquor Corporation, Development Corporation and Energy Corporation would, once a year, have to have a public annual general meeting that any citizen could attend and exercise the rights normally exercised by a shareholder of a public corporation. They would be able to ask questions, to listen and participate in discussions about the activities of that board or corporation.

There are other major reforms in this bill, the like of which have not been Icarried out anywhere else in Canada. One of these was something I deeply believe in, a prohibition on the government being able to do opinion polls at taxpayers’ expense; and by requiring the government that did any of this kind of research to make it public within a certain length of time.

Also in this bill, there are very good democratic reforms, in terms of great improvements in the access-to-information provisions, and, of course, the conflict-of-interest provisions dealing with the case of former deputy ministers and former senior officials. Under this bill, it was proposed that there would be a conflicts commissioner and an information commissioner - perhaps even the same person. This person would not be appointed by the government, but would be appointed on the vote of a special majority of this House, by a number - which I forget - that was either two-thirds or three-quarters of the Members; a number we deliberately designed to be larger than the majority any party has ever enjoyed in this House, and a number that was intended to guarantee that the conflicts commissioner and the information commissioner would be someone who would enjoy the support and respect of both sides of the House. I would say to the Government Leader that this person would be one who would require prior consultation among the Members of the House before an announcement. This neutral, objective person would be able to mediate in questions of access to information, as well as advise Members and former employees about potential conflicts.

As I said, an essential part of this bill dealt with the structuring, the composition and the nomination process for public boards and committees.

What the government is proposing here, as I understand the motion, is not to do what they voted for in June and, in essence, what they promised the people of the Yukon they would do when they stood up and voted for that measure this past spring, not what they promised to do in their speeches and their votes earlier this year, but to take a step backwards and reserve exclusively for themselves the right to nominate people to boards and committees, and then have them reviewed by a committee in this House, but a committee that would be controlled by the government, on which there would be a government majority, and which, even more insidiously, is a committee that would meet in secret.

What would be the likely dynamics of that committee, based on previous experience? I hope the Members opposite will not be offended when I say this, but, based on previous experience - as I was here when they were in government before - all but two members of all the boards were Conservative Party supporters. Women were hugely under represented. There were practically no aboriginal people on any of the boards. No one who did not share the government’s view of things was ever appointed to a board, unless the government was required to consider, by statute, nominations from some third party, such as when the federation of labour got to nominate someone to the Workers’ Compensation Board or the Employment Standards Board.

I am not going to assume that the government is going to behave the same way as when they were in office before, but let me assume, just for a second, that they did, for the sake of argument. What would happen? Nominations would come to the committee. The government has a majority. The committee meets in secret and the Opposition Members say “Hey, these people are all Tories; when are we going to get some people who perhaps you do not regard as real Yukoners, but who live in Faro or are people who do not agree with you?”

The government could then say, “Well, they were nominated, you can vote for them or not, you can talk to them or not, but in the end we are going to vote for these people; we are going to get our way.”

What is the result of that committee? It meets in secret. The government has a majority; it can do exactly what it likes. There is no public review - there is a report, but there is no public review - in the sense that ordinary citizens can look in and see what the qualifications for these citizens are or why they were being nominated or why someone else was not being nominated. There is no right of citizens to present nominations and have their nominations considered. There is no transparency to the committee proceedings, as there are in most committees, where the general rule of this House is that committees meet in public unless there is a requirement that they do otherwise; that is the ancient parliamentary tradition.

Where does the idea that is before us today come from? Well, it is a reform that was argued and promoted by some Conservative backbenchers in the House of Commons. It was intended as a sop to the critics in Parliament who said that the government appointed these people by Order in Council and that there was no oversight and no review process.

Other people in Parliament argued for the American system, where Congressional committees get to review nominations in public. For a long time there were parliamentary reformers in Canada who believed that was not a bad system - for instance, that you nominate Jack Cable as chair of some board, Jack Cable comes to appear before a committee of the House and Members ask questions about Jack Cable’s qualifications, his interests, experience and his general intentions about the conduct of the duties to which he has been nominated.

Of course, people have had second thoughts about that process since the experiences of Judge Borke and Judge Thomas, where the inquiry was not limited only to professional experience and the members’ qualifications, but to a large number of other issues - which some people believe should be personal and private; other people, in the case of Judge Borke, believed that the issues were relevant; namely, their political activities.

I am not going to reflect on the wisdom of the United States Senate committee’s judgment in respect to Judges Borke or Thomas, but I do know that many constituents whom I represent, many of whom live in my own neighbourhood of Hillcrest, were quite appalled by the television proceedings about the Bourke and Thomas nominations.

However, I think it would be a serious mistake to respond to those sorry events by saying the solution is to go in camera, to go behind closed doors and to meet in secret about these matters, and I want to explain why.

It is my experience, having served on committees of the Legislature for a number of years, as well as having done a lot of reading on the subject and having served on boards and commissions outside of government, that it is quite likely that the desired effect of having polite discussion about someone’s qualifications would not be achieved.

The argument may be made here about what happened in the House of Commons committee when the federal government decided it would respond to the critics’ pleas of its patronage by creating an all-party Parliamentary committee to which certain nominations for certain public boards would be directed and, if they wished, Members could review them.

Some of the same kind of nastiness as transpired in the Bourke and Thomas case also happened in Ottawa - perhaps not as bad, but in miniature. Before, in this House, I have cited the case of a prominent Yukon Conservative who was nominated for an important appointment on a national board, and who was subject to what I thought to be a quite vicious and inappropriate attack on their character and credibility by a member of my own national party.

I thought that was regrettable. For the record, I told the particular member who offended against the Yukoner what I thought. However, the suggestion that this problem can be addressed by going behind closed doors is entirely wrong-headed. In all my experience in boards, commissions and committees of this House, and those elsewhere, it is quite likely that much worse and much more slanderous things are said about people in private and behind closed doors than are said in public, and perhaps with as devastating an effect. Someone who may be nominated to a board and may be considered by this committee, and who has their character assassinated by the Member in committee in private, may have no right of reply because they would never know that the charges had been made. I think that is unfortunate.

For myself, this motion is a step backward. As I understand it, the Liberal Member of this House, the Hon. Member for Riverside, has, on some previous occasion, suggested that all MLAs have a right to nominate people to boards and commissions, not just government MLAs. I do not have a problem with that, but I would go further. I would argue that all citizens should have the right, not just the people on one side of the House who happened to win an election.

Yesterday, the Government Leader made a big point of saying that 60 percent of the people in the territory voted against my party. Exactly the same statement is true of his party, yet he has the right to govern in a parliamentary system. More than 60 percent of the people of the Yukon voted against the Government Leader and his party.

If one argues that, in a democracy, a party with 36 percent of the vote has the right to appoint all boards and committees, there will be dispute with me. During our time in government, we took the view that we should invite nominations from everybody, and we did invite people to do so.

We also took the view that all variations of political opinion and every region should be represented to achieve as much gender balance as possible and to radically increase the representation of First Nations citizens on boards and committees. This was done, and we were criticized by many people, including some Members of this House, for doing it.

I do believe in representative boards. I believe that in this day and age we have a responsibility to try to make our boards representative to include people from all walks of life.

I believe, as we did in the Public Government Act, that we should do as much as we can to achieve gender balance, aboriginal representation and regional balance. We should not have the case that used to exist that hardly anybody from Faro was on any public board. This may have been because some people felt that the people from Faro were not real Yukoners. They are real Yukoners that contribute to society and I think they have something to say and should be heard.

I believe that there should be political balance on boards and that the proposal we have before us is a step backward. When we were in Opposition - at that time the present Government Leader was not in the House - I believe the official state religion in those days was the divine right of Tories. It was believed that the only people who should be on boards or were fit to be seen on boards or deserved to be on boards, were people of the same political persuasion as the government.

The problem with that approach is that you end up with echo chambers, people who repeat back the same views that the Cabinet or the government have,and I think you seriously diminish the usefulness of boards.

The real value of boards and commissions, even in a small community and with a small government like the Yukon’s, is that it gives Ministers an opportunity to get a sample of Yukon opinion, a variety of Yukon opinion, not only of the people who supported the government. You receive different views, including the views of business, labour, women’s groups, community, environmental, aboriginal, mining and tourism. These views give you a sense of the great, complex shadings of opinion throughout the whole territory, and I think that is useful.

I want to say to the Minister of Justice that I think he made a serious mistake, regardless of what he may feel about the wisdom of his decision, on Chateau Jomini. I think it was a disastrous decision - not to the Minister of Justice who is well-represented in this House, and who is attending at this moment to his parliamentary and Cabinet duties - and say to that Minister that he made a serious mistake when he made the kind of decision about Chateau Jomini that he made without consultation with the board. I think the decision was wrong. In fact, I think it was probably wrong in law, but I think also that it is also wrong from a process point of view.

As I was listening to him in Question Period today, it reminded me of that wonderful story about the Duke of Wellington. He went home after his first day on the job as Prime Minister of Great Britain, and wrote in his diary: “Met the King this morning, was sworn in, met my Cabinet later, gave them my instructions, and then the damnedest thing happened; they began discussing them.” Well, the point of course is that ministerial power in our system is not absolute. Lord Acton is often quoted as talking about absolute power corrupting absolutely. Lord Acton also had another aphorism that I think is as relevant, but less well-known. He said, “There is no greater error than to think that the office sanctifies its holder.”

Ministerial duties, effective ministerial conduct, require good advice. Good advice can only come from representative boards. Representative boards are only likely to be achieved by the input of a great many people, of a great many opinions, from various walks of life. That is why whatever we did in government we decided in the end to get the Public Government Act to put into law some of these principles so that no matter how arrogant or how elitist some government may become in the future, how much patronage-ridden their impulses may be, that there would be a check and a balance on ministerial power, and not only the Legislature, but the citizens in this democracy would have some rights to participate in public discussions.

Having read the motion of the Member opposite, and having thought about this resolution, which is one of the longest on such topics we have ever seen  - it is long and wordy but in the end not very consequential - I would like to compound that problem by moving an amendment to the motion.

Amendment proposed

Mr. Penikett: I move

THAT Motion No. 4 be amended by:

(1) deleting paragraph (a) in the first section of the motion and substituting for it the following:

“(a) adding the following new provision:

(4) At the commencement of the first session of each Legislature a Standing Committee on Appointments shall be appointed to review and report on appointment to boards, commissions, foundations, corporations and other similar agencies established as agents of the Government of the Yukon.";

(2) adding the following new paragraph in the third section of the motion:

“(2.1) When a proposed appointment has been referred to the Committee any Member of the Legislative Assembly or any resident of the Yukon has the right to nominate any other resident of the Yukon for consideration for appointment to the position under review.”;

(3) deleting subparagraph (3) (b) in the third section of the motion and substituting for it the following:

“(3) (b) where the Committee has decided to review the proposed appointment,

(i) the recommendation of the Committee as to whether the proposed appointment should be made,

(ii) the recommendation of the Committee as to whether a person identified by the Committee should be substituted for the proposed appointment, or

(iii) a statement that the Committee has chosen not to make a recommendation,";

(iv) adding the following new paragraph in the paragraph in the third section of the motion:

“(3.1) The Committee shall prepare an annual report to the Legislative Assembly which shall assess whether best efforts have been made to make appointments which are representative of the population of the Yukon as a whole, including:

(a) men and women,

(b) aboriginal and non-aboriginal people

(c) individuals from all regions of the Yukon,

(d) individuals of all political persuasions;"


(5) deleting the expression “in camera” where it appears in paragraph (6) in the third section of the motion and substituting for it the expression “in public”.

Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Leader of the Official Opposition

THAT Motion No. 4 be amended by:

(1) deleting paragraph (a) in the first section of the motion and substituting for it the following:

“(a) adding the following new provision:

(4) At the commencement of the first session of each Legislature a Standing Committee on Appointments shall be appointed to review and report on appointments to boards, commissions, foundations, corporations and other similar agencies established as agents of the Government of the Yukon.";

(2) adding the following new paragraph in the third section of the motion:

“(2.1) When a proposed appointment has been referred to the Committee any Member of the Legislative Assembly or any resident of the Yukon has the right to nominate any other resident of the Yukon for consideration for appointment to the position under review.”;

(3) deleting subparagraph (3)(b) in the third section of the motion and substituting for it the following:

“(3)(b) where the Committee has decided to review the proposed appointment,

(i) the recommendation of the Committee as to whether the proposed appointment should be made,

(ii) the recommendation of the Committee as to whether a person identified by the Committee should be substituted for the proposed appointment, or

(iii) a statement that the Committee has chosen not to make a recommendation;

(4) adding the following new paragraph in the third section of the motion:

“(3.1) The Committee shall prepare an annual report to the Legislative Assembly which shall assess whether best efforts have been made to make appointments which are representative of the population of the Yukon as a whole, including:

(a) men and women,

(b) aboriginal and non-aboriginal people,

(c) individuals from all regions of the Yukon,

(d) individuals of all political persuasions."


(5) deleting the expression “in camera” where it appears in paragraph (6) in the third section of the motion and substituting for it the expression “in public”.

Mr. Penikett: I would just like to say a few words about the proposed amendment.

First of all, Members will notice that in (2) of the proposal, it has been suggested that not just the government, but any Member of the Legislature, can nominate people for certain positions on boards and commissions. In my own caucus we refer to this as the “Cable clause”, because it is the understood wish of that great national and local institution, the Liberal Party, that all Members of the Assembly, not just the privileged few who have seats in Cabinet, should have the right to - and perhaps the duty, the obligation, the opportunity - to nominate worthy citizens to boards and committees. That, I hasten to add, includes people who do not have party status - people who may be treated as complete pariahs by the Members of the Legislature. There may be someone - I cannot think of anyone at this moment, but in some future Legislature - who is actively disliked by the government side. The intention of this clause is to make sure that that person would have the right to still nominate people to boards and committees. Of course, this does not guarantee that their nominations would be chosen, but it would at least give them and the people they know, and their constituents, an opportunity to serve.

Now, I have the quaint view that even if the Members opposite, as they bragged in the last election, - I think it was an IQ of 300 - knew almost everybody in the territory, there were probably some people who may be known to the Member for Riverside - members of the bar who do not hang out at the same places as the Member for Ross River-Southern Lakes - who would be valuable additions to boards and committees. The Member for Riverside should have the opportunity to bring those names forward, just as the Member for Riverdale South should.

The intent of clause 2, the Cable clause, is to bring forward recommendations for boards and committees.

The second part of the clause is one that our caucus is particularly fond of. This states that every resident, citizen, and person sitting in the gallery will know people whom they think are worthy of appointment to boards and commissions. These people will have a chance to participate in public business and to advise the government on important economic social matters, and to participate in bodies, such as the Social Assistance Appeal Committee, the Yukon Energy Corporation Board, the Assessment Appeal Board, and any number of other boards.

Of course, the government will still be able to use the hammer of its big majority and deny these citizens their right to a voice and a chance to serve on a committee. The government will still be able to use the crushing weight of its overwhelming support of 36 percent of the population to impose their will and make sure that nobody except those who support their particular view of the world is appointed to any board or committee.

However, at least in our proposal, people with other points of view, people from the far corners of the territory not represented in government caucus, close personal friends of the Member for Riverside, or advisors of the Member for Riverdale South, would at least have a chance to have their names put forward and sit on these boards with their credentials, recommendations and experience opposite the credentials and experience of the nominee of the party opposite and would be able to be judged on their merits by the committee.

The next clause, which is one I call the people’s-choice clause, gives the committee at least the possibility of deciding to choose someone other than the government nominee. It gives the committee the chance to consider the Member for Riverside’s nomination, the Member for Riverdale South’s nomination or perhaps the Member for Vuntat Gwich’in’s nomination and to consider them in the light of the other nominations. Perhaps the committee might have a moment of spirited independence or be struck by a democratic impulse one day and decide to nominate or recommend someone to a board other than those that have been put forward by the government. That would be a great day for democracy and for this Legislature. It would be a great day for the Yukon Territory.

The third point I want to make is that even Conservative governments in the provinces and even the Conservative government nationally now recognize, in the closing days of the 20th century, that it is desirable to have representative public boards. They recognize the need to get women involved in the public business, to try and get gender parity if possible, to make sure that significant minorities - and particularly the first peoples of this country - are represented on boards and committees in proportion to their numbers in the community.

I want to compliment Prime Minister Mulroney on this, because his nominations to the Supreme Court of a number of women have been exemplary. More and more governments in this country - and even quite right-wing governments - have been making an effort to make sure that their boards are representative and have people of all political stripes, and even people they do not particularly like, involved in advising the government and in consultations.

We, on this side, do take a radically different view from the Minister of Justice, who expressed the view today that consultation is something that happens every four years on election day, and that is enough. We share the view of the Minister of Renewable Resources today, who said they were going to consult on policy matters. We think that consultation has to go on every day in a modern democracy, not just once every four years.

My last point is the question of this in-camera business. It is the fundamental belief of every Democrat that the public business must be done in public. I do not think you should have any backroom, closed-door proceedings, especially in matters as sensitive as this. I do not think there should be the opportunity for any Member of this House to bad mouth or denigrate any fellow citizen without being able to be held to account for what they have said by a record being kept of the proceedings and those proceedings being held in public.

The conduct of Members of the committee, the quality of the inquiry, the dignity of the proceedings, the sensitivity and proprietary of the questions that are put, is more likely to be of a high level if the hearings of such a committee, especially when there are witnesses before it, are held in public than in secret.

I strongly believe that the proposal here to hold any deliberations of the committee in camera is a fundamentally wrong-headed notion and cannot even masquerade under the name of a reform in any modern legislature anywhere in the English-speaking, or even western, world.

Therefore, I respectfully submit to the Members opposite that the only way to salvage any dignity from their proposal, any claim that this is a reform initiative, or any claim that this is polite patronage with a friendly face of patronage under cover or closed-door-committee patronage, would be to adopt the amendments that I am respectfully, constructively and positively proposing.

There may be other amendments coming from others later in this debate, but I would hope that the House and the Members opposite will give serious consideration to the proposals that I have put forward in this amendment.

Mr. Cable: I think the operative comment that was made in the last sentence was “serious consideration”. I appreciate the flattery identifying this amendment as having a Cable clause in it, but I must say that I have drafted contracts that are shorter than this motion and the amendment, and I am wondering whether we are giving serious consideration to this very important matter.

The issue of appointments to boards and committees was very much in the public’s mind over the past year. I think it is fair to say that it was very much an election issue.

There is a perception in the public that governments can, on occasion, make appointments based on political considerations, rather than other qualifications. Whether that proposition is true or not perhaps is beside the point. The perception must be dealt with and the public must have the confidence that boards and committees to which this House has delegated decision-making authority and responsibility are in fact operating at arm’s length and that the people serving on them are chosen on the basis of merit.

While the government has made an effort in this direction, both through the main motion and as amended by the proposed amendment, I think that as long as the Executive Council is the generator or nominator of appointments, whether solely or in part, it will be difficult to dispel the perception of partiality.

My party’s position is that these appointments should not only be vetted by the House committee but also proposed by the House committee. In that sense, the substance of the amendment is satisfactory.

I Must say, also, that I do not share the Leader of the Official Opposition’s opinion of the Public Government Act. There are too many obtuse provisions in the act to be operative. I do not think it addresses the process problem. What I would like to see this House consider - and I do not have a formal motion to bring forward - is putting this issue out to the people where it belongs. If ever there was an issue that cries for public consultation, this is it. We should ask people “what do you want to see, people, to determine how appointments should be made to your boards and your committees.” I think this would be genuine delegation.

I have considerable difficulty in supporting either the motion or the amendment. I do not think we have had time to consider this properly, and I think we need further input from our constituents.

Hon. Mr. Phelps: I have been listening to the debate with a great deal of interest. I must say that I share some of the concerns that have been expressed by the last speaker with respect to the amendment to this motion. I, too, have seen good contracts that are much briefer than the proposed amendment. I, too, must say that I sometimes think that perhaps - and I could be wrong - the good Leader of the Official Opposition was speaking with his tongue in his cheek at times this afternoon.

The original motion was put forward by the Government Leader as a serious attempt and a serious step toward trying to ensure that there will not be, particularly in the minds of the public, blatant patronage when it comes to appointments to public boards and committees. I believe it is on par with standing committees and processes that have been developed both at the federal level and in Ontario.

The government, in putting forward names, knowing that they would be scrutinized by an all-party committee, would be very careful to ensure that they would put forward the names of persons worthy of consideration, that they would take into account gender balance and the appropriate numbers of persons from various ethnic and racial backgrounds.

The Leader of the Official Opposition has said that this step is rather hesitant, and in fact, a step backwards from the provisions in the Public Government Act, and yet we have heard from the Member for Riverside that he is not really very content with the provisions of that act.

Clearly, this is a minority government. Clearly, we do not intend to try to railroad matters through that do not have support from the majority of people in this House, no matter how noble the objectives might be in our mind. I take many of the comments - not all, but many of the comments - made by the Leader of the Official Opposition seriously. I think he has eloquently underlined some of the concerns that citizens have here, and certainly canvassed a number of options in his remarks. I know that the Member for Riverside is sincere in his concerns about what he sees as shortcomings to the original motion, but he certainly is not fully convinced that the amendments would meet his concerns.

I feel, given the circumstances and given the fact that we are in a minority position, that the public deserves careful consideration. I therefore, because of that, reluctantly - and reluctantly, because I know it will mean that we will have to proceed under the existing laws in the territory in order to fill boards in the interim - must move adjournment of debate.

Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Justice that debate be now adjourned.

Some Hon. Member: Division.


Speaker: Division has been called. Mr. Clerk, would you kindly poll the House.

Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Agree

Hon. Mr. Phillips: Agree

Hon. Mr. Brewster: Agree

Hon. Mr. Phelps: Agree

Hon. Mr. Fisher: Agree

Hon. Mr. Devries: Agree

Mr. Abel: Agree

Mr. Millar: Agree

Mr. Penikett: Disagree

Mr. McDonald: Disagree

Ms. Joe: Disagree

Mr. Joe: Disagree

Ms. Moorcroft: Disagree

Mr. Harding: Disagree

Mr. Cable: Agree

Mrs. Firth: Disagree

Clerk: Mr. Speaker, the results are nine yea, seven nay.

Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

Motion to adjourn debate on Motion No. 4 agreed to

Special adjournment motion

Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move

THAT the House, at its rising, do stand adjourned until it appears to the satisfaction of the Speaker, after consultation with the Government Leader, that the public interest requires that the House shall meet;

THAT the Speaker give notice that he is so satisfied, and thereupon the House shall meet at the time stated in such notice and shall transact its business as if it had been duly adjourned to that time; and

THAT, if the Speaker is unable to act owing to illness or other causes, the Deputy Speaker shall act in his stead for the purpose of this order.

Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government House Leader

THAT the House, at its rising, do stand adjourned until it appears to the satisfaction of the Speaker, after consultation with the Government Leader, that the public interest requires that the House shall meet;

THAT the Speaker give notice that he is so satisfied, and thereupon the House shall meet at the time stated in such notice and shall transact its business as if it had been duly adjourned to that time; and

THAT, if the Speaker is unable to act owing to illness or other causes, the Deputy Speaker shall act in his stead for the purpose of this order.

Motion agreed to


Clerk: Item No. 2, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. Ostashek.

Motion No. 6

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

THAT this House urges the Government of the Yukon to immediately implement measures to control its expenditures and to ensure the proper management of the territory’s finances.

Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I rise today to debate this motion. It is one I would have preferred not to have had to debate in this House. The fact remains that the Members opposite left the bank account empty.

Within hours of being elected, we were notified by officials within the Department of Finance that they did not have very good news for us as an incoming government. They told us that the financial health of the government was not very good. Upon receiving that message, we decided to engage Mr. Merv Miller, a certified management accountant who has assisted the Deputy Commissioner of the Yukon and is a very well-respected gentleman, to head up the financial part of our transition team.

As the first step, Mr. Miller and I got together with the heads of all the departments and Crown corporations and asked them to submit O&M and capital expenditures for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1993, and the reasons for the fluctuations of expenditures from the year ending March 31, 1991, to the present time.

We had the Deputy Minister of the Executive Council Office request that Consulting and Audit Canada be hired to receive the submissions from YTG and report on the change in the accumulated surplus of YTG during the period April 1, 1990, to March 31, 1993.

We knew when we started on this exercise we would be criticized by the Members opposite in this House for using this as a political exercise, and crying wolf so we would not have to fulfill our election promises, and trying to make the previous administration look bad. That was why we hired a firm as reputable as Consulting and Audit Canada to present this report for us so that we could bring it to the House. They are a very reputable firm and have done many audits and financial work, including some for, I believe, the previous administration.

As we look at the report, it seems devastating. The expenditures of the previous administration were out of control.

A surplus of $64,493,000 at the beginning of the 1991-92 fiscal year is projected to turn into a deficit of $5,711,000 as of March 31, 1993.

This is totally unacceptable. It reflects poor fiscal management, and I do not believe that the previous administration was living up to its obligations to use sound fiscal management of the public’s money.

In the 1992-93 main estimates, a deficit of $19,270,000 was projected. That was bad enough, but to grow to an astounding $56,557,000 is a mockery of the main estimates.

Very few departments came close to their budgets. A review of the 1992-93 main estimates showed that the previous administration missed their target of $19,270,000 deficit by an astounding 193 percent. Again, this is a mockery of the budgeting system.

It is obvious that many of the problems resulted from ministerial indiscretion in the previous government. It appears that the ministers in the former administration felt very comfortable in spending money on programs that had not been approved by the main estimates.

For example, Mr. Speaker, you only have to look at the training trust funds in the Department of Education. It is apparent that these funds were created to give Ministers money that could be spent without normal government controls.

This is totally unacceptable.

When we took over the government, we said we were going to offer sound financial management of the government’s affairs. In order to do so, we had to find out what we had to start with. The Opposition have made statements that we are crying wolf, but there is nothing left there. We are in a very serious financial position in the Yukon. Without immediate steps being taken, the situation will continue to go out of control.

Expenditures are increasing almost twice as fast as revenues are. That cannot continue. Yes, come April 1, there will be millions of dollars coming into the Yukon, but the fact remains that the O&M is increasing at such an alarming rate that, pretty soon, there will be absolutely no money for capital projects that are badly need to provide infrastructure so we can diversify the economy of the Yukon and put Yukoners to work.

This morning, the Deputy Minister of Finance informed me that, by the first week of January, or shortly thereafter, we will be borrowing money to pay our bills. This is something that has not happened in many, many years.

We have a $5 million line of credit at the bank; Finance has moved to increase that to $15 million. The situation is serious. The Members opposite have to take full responsibility for it. It cannot be blamed on the present administration: seven years of spending on grandiose projects; no control of any sort on capital projects.

There are three areas the report identifies in the executive summary: there was a $22,000,825 increase in salaries to collective agreements over two years; increase to health and social services cost of $25,000,653 over two years; increases in education of $13,000,574 over two years.

I do not think that I can understate the seriousness of this situation. The previous government put programs into place and authorized the spending for those programs prior to my government taking office.

Management Board did authorize another $36 million over and above the $19 million deficit forecast. Of that, $24 million to $25 million was out of the accumulated surplus. There is the report.

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Speaker: Each Member will have a chance to speak on this motion after the Member has presented the motion.

Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I said earlier that this government retained the services of a reputable firm to conduct this report and financial review, because we knew we were going to get comments from the opposite side of the House.

We have to get control of the deficit. It is not going to be easy. There is some $400 million that will be coming to the Yukon. This money is not going into the bank; it will be spent. Spending will have to be priorized. Every dollar we spend will have to be scrutinized, so that we can begin to bring the O&M under control and have money for capital projects.

We must slowly build up the reserves so that we are not borrowing money from the banks to pay our bills. That is totally unacceptable.

If any one of us kept our books and bank accounts like that, they would be coming to get the MasterCard in a hurry. It is mind-boggling to me.

I am going to let Members opposite speak on this.

I am going to be very interested to hear what they have to say and how they are going to justify to the public the sorry state of finances they left the Government of Yukon in when they left office.

Mr. McDonald: I will begin my remarks by saying how enormously disappointed I am in the manoeuvers being made this afternoon by the government side, aided and abetted by their Liberal ally, with respect to the closure of debate on the motion this afternoon.

It would have behooved all of us and encouraged a proper assessment of this political financial audit conducted by the government side to have permitted the Opposition party - which they have decided they are going to exclusively target for all the unpopular financial decisions they think they are going to have to make without giving the Opposition side any reasonable opportunity to review or comment on the report itself.

They have come into the Legislature for a very short period of time, sprung the audit on the public with a great deal of fanfare and obtained some good headlines from people who are clearly their allies, and now they have decided that, rather than carry on debate in the normal course of events so that we can all discuss this matter thoroughly and allow the Opposition what is only justified under the circumstances - which is an opportunity to speak and to consider this matter at some length - they have decided that that will not be permitted. We will have one and one-half hours of debate time. They will give the Opposition no reasonable amount of time to consider the information provided through the audit. The audit only provides summary information. They will consider that to be a fair approach to take.

Based on the way this government has operated so far, it does not bode well for future relations in this Legislature, for a fair hearing of issues, or for fair practices by this government in the future.

We have undertaken to review the phony political audit contrived by the government side, and we have analysed the audit to the extent necessary so far to discover that the methodology that the government has used is more than just suspect. We have come to the conclusion that the methodology used is downright dishonest. We are going to make that clear whether it is in this Legislature or not, and whether the government gives us time to speak about it or not. We are going to make it clear some time in the future in public, because the public deserves that.

I am certain that the Members on the opposite side have decided that Question Period may be a little rougher than they anticipated. That rather brief and limited legislative agenda they have does not justify taking more beatings in the Legislature during debate and in Question Period, and they have decided to cut and run. That is disappointing and cowardly.

This audit is a poor piece of work, in my view. In essence, it reflects a fairly incompetent style - pure amateur hour. I will give you some general reasons why I believe that to be the case.

First, I want to go to some of the brief remarks made by the Government Leader in his introduction of this audit. The Government Leader has made the political calculation that his government is not going to take the responsibility for financial decisions, choices, or for disappointing either departments or the public. They are going to lay this responsibility securely at the feet of the previous NDP government.

They have decided, made a pure, crass, political calculation, that they are going to earn their honeymoon period as a new government by simply blaming anything that may be negative on the previous NDP adminstration.

As the Government Leader pointed out, they have pulled their first envelope already. I believe that is characterized by a lack of political maturity, and is characterized by a cowardly stance taken before the public.

Over the last seven years, the NDP government has devised budgets, made difficult choices, approved projects, denied expenditure requests, established budgets, gone through thorough budget reviews, brought budgets into the Legislature for scrutiny, debated those budgets and had the budgets approved. The Auditor General has come in during the course of the year, audited our statements, reported, year after year, on the expenditures that we have made. From 1985 to 1992, the Auditor General of Canada - not a division of some government department, but the Auditor General of Canada - audited our books and accounted for every penny the NDP government ever spent. The Auditor General has reported at year-end, in each of those seven years, on the expenditures that we have made. The Auditor General has reported on the method by which those expenditures were made. The Government Leader today paints a picture that there has been seven years of what he calls “ministerial indiscretion”, seven years of over expenditure, seven years of what he calls “building grandiose projects”, all leading to a financial catastrophe for this territory. All culminating when? Just at the time the Yukon Party takes office.

Either the Government Leader is telling the truth or the Auditor General is. Either the Government Leader is lying or the Auditor General is. Between the periods 1985 to 1992, all expenditures were thoroughly accounted for and the method by which those expenditures were made were thoroughly accounted for by the Auditor General of Canada. They were scrutinized by the Legislature, including some Members on the opposite side who happened to be here at the time.

Many of those expenditures were supported by the Members opposite. At times, admittedly, a Member or two would say that we should cut back on social spending and increase economic spending. Simultaneously, they would recommend extended care facilities in Watson Lake or in Whitehorse or increases to foster parents. There was not necessarily any consistency in any of the demands being made, because, typically, they were wanting to have their cake and eat it, too. They wanted to criticize expenditures in a general way so as to appease the right-wingers in the party who decided that anything that was considered to be social expenditures was simply breeding a sense of indolence in the population when they felt they should be more self-sufficient. They felt we should be spending more money on economic development programs, presumably like the prospectors’ assistance program for the mining industry, which provided assistance - we will not call it social assistance - to prospectors so that when they were not taking in any money, they could go out and inspect minerals in the territory. That may have been an attitude taken at the time. We supported the expenditures we made, including the prospectors’ assistance program. In fact, we were the ones who initiated it.

The point is that we made many expenditures, both on the social and the economic side. Most of the expenditures made were not criticized by the Members opposite in any detail. One year, they criticized expenditure increases in education and person year increases in the government. Let me put it this way: one year, they criticized the expenditure growth in the government. Fifty percent of that was in Education, but did they say one word during the estimates debate about the increases in Education? Nothing.

While they were extensively critical of person year growth, they would never say or make any critical analysis of the individual specifics.

When it came time to add teachers to Dawson, there was no word from them about growth in the public service. When it came time for improving services to municipalities and allowing the block fund to grow, there was no word that this was encouraging government finances to get out of control. They supported the specifics, but took issue with the totals.

When the NDP government was putting together budgets year after year, we projected in a typical year that by year-end there would be a surplus. We also projected that there would be a temporary deficit in order to account for some capital projects and, because there were lapses, the government would end up with a surplus.

During five of those seven years, we ended up with a surplus. We actually generated money that we had budgeted. We took money that we had budgeted and deposited the money with the bank for five of the seven years that we were in office.

One of the years that a real deficit was generated, we provided to NCPC and Yukon Energy Corporation a very large capital grant in order to bring down power rates in the territory.

The bottom line was that the cash position and accumulated surplus of the government remained very healthy indeed throughout our seven years in office.

The Members on the side opposite are crying that there are serious financial difficulties to be dealt with due to the record of the NDP government from 1985 to 1992. The government during that time had a large, accumulated surplus and during five of the seven years we generated an active surplus at the end of those fiscal years. This is a record that would be unheard of in any other government in this country.

Governments routinely borrow money to support operations and routinely borrow money to support capital projects. Our government in this Legislature approved budgets and saw spending that permitted a surplus to be created - a surplus that was substantial - by March 31, 1992, there was an accumulated surplus of $92 million. Some of that is in cash, some is in mortgages and some is in land development. By March 31, 1992, it was a very healthy financial position. Any characterization that seven years of NDP government was anything less than sterling, fiscal management is, by the records of the Auditor General of Canada, patently false and dishonest.

Speaker: Order. I hope that the Member from McIntyre-Takhini is not charging the Government Leader with lying or uttering a deliberate falsehood, as that is against our Standing Orders.

Mr. McDonald: I would not accuse that Member or any Member of lying or dishonesty without wanting to make a particular charge. There is nothing wrong with my view, unless you rule it out of order, that the analysis that the government has done is dishonest. I am not imputing any motives on the Member individually. I am not saying anything about the particular Member.

Speaker: I would ask that the Member consider his remarks carefully or I will be forced to call him to order.

Mr. McDonald: I am considering my remarks very carefully and I am hoping that your rulings will not be capricious or arbitrary in the matter. I think that the matters being laid before the Legislature are incredibly serious. The future and credibility of that government, in my view, is at stake.

The political audit that the Government Leader tabled in this House only a couple of days ago is one that he characterizes as being done by people with unimpeachable reputations, done through a process that is beyond question, and consequently we should simply accept it and accept the Government Leader’s analysis of it. Well, we will do no such thing.

First of all, the characterization of the personalities that the Member has raised in the House - with the exception of the Deputy Minister of Finance - I have no hesitation in saying are persons who could not reasonably be called unbiased. I have enormous respect for the Deputy Minister of Finance, having worked with him for seven years, and I would feel more comfortable if I felt that the member was under no pressure from the government side, more comfortable in accepting that person’s word for just about anything.

However, the review that the government has done, essentially has requested departments of this government to come forward with expected expenditures to the end of this fiscal year. Judging from my information, from people who work with the government, there was enormous confusion as to precisely what was expected. One thing that the departments did do was come forward with every request that they thought was reasonable, every projection that they thought was reasonable, and incorporated much of their wish list. There were items that were identified in the audit that were items that we had not seen for seven years. Somebody still has a memory in the departments. They still want these items. They want to implement them this year and they are part of the total package. There is a group home in here for $700,000, for the full year’s cost worth of operations of a specialized group home. There is no policy developed that would determine the limits of such an activity. There is no group home in existence with any of the features of the sort that the department requests.

Were no people hired? There is no approval for the project at all, from anyone I know of, at the senior administrative or even the political level. Yet, there is $700,000 that is part of this package that we are expected to approve because we are supposed to believe it will be spent this year, before March 31, 1993. That is simply outrageous. Do we expect people to believe in the methodology behind this financial review?

The departments have put forward everything they could think of to ensure that they will not be forgotten or eclipsed by people they compete with; namely, other departments or other branches. There was no analysis done, even internally within departments. Since the time line was only a couple of weeks, there was no analysis done to determine whether or not these requested expenditures were realistic, reasonable or supportable or had policy approval.

There were senior officials in the department who were made very angry by this approach, because now they were made to look like gluttonous bureaucrats. They were painted as people who simply cannot control themselves, and they do not believe it.

Of course they have asked for large amounts of money. In some cases, they have asked for computer work stations in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. We have traditionally said no to expenditures of that nature in those areas. There were thorough systems people had to walk through in order to get any kind of approval for expenditures like this. One had to go through a needs analysis within the department to determine whether or not even one computer work station was necessary. One had to get approval from the program administrator and submit it to Government Services. Government Services would do an independent analysis of it through a systems priority committee to see whether or not it was within the approved global budget of the government and was desirable, geared to government priorities or even affordable.

None of these analyses were done in the case of this item or anything else. We are expected to believe that all these departments, making all these wish lists, constitutes an appropriate financial analysis of potential future expenditures of this government.

In any one of the seven past years, if we had asked departments to simply put forward their wish lists, and we had approved them, we would have been broke in the first year. Our budgets would be $1.5 billion per year today, if we had the revenue for it and simply said yes to every request.

The Members on the front bench are going to have to grow up and understand that they have choices to make. Departments ask for expenditures, and many of the requests are reasonable and respond to something that the public wants. Some requests are private projects of individual department members. This government is going to have to take these requests and analyze them to determine whether or not they are realistic and affordable.

Seven years of an accumulated surplus, and five years with the government generating a surplus after budgeted estimates, did not come by accident. There were many requests made by Members opposite that we did and did not approve.

The bottom line is that, on March 31, 1992, we had a very large, accumulated surplus. The present Government Leader would have us believe that, in five months, when the NDP hand was on the tiller from the beginning of this fiscal year, we not only spent the $60 million cash surplus beyond the actual budget, but we also spent another $40 million, for a total of $100 million. That is a 25 percent increase in one year. No one in the public noticed this increase.

Suddenly, there is another $100 million in the economy and nobody notices. It is simply unbelievable. Based on the methodology behind this analysis, it is ridiculous, and Members opposite wonder why we consider this to be a political audit, managed and interpreted by politicians for political purposes.

I would like to go back to the meeting that Mr. Ostashek had with the deputy ministers. He should know that they were instructed, in a meeting that probably did not last much longer than 15 minutes, to generate their wish list of expenditures for the remainder of the fiscal year and submit their forecast within 10 days to Mr. Miller.

Do you know how long a normal budget process takes? In a normal year, departments are working out budget estimates for the next year in March, April and May of the year, for implementation in the following fiscal year, in some cases 14 to 16 months in advance. The Members across the floor have taken that whole process, squeezed it into 10 days, done no anaylsis of the expenditures, totalled them up, and said they were broke.

I would implore Members to go through the appropriate budgeting processes with the checks and balances in each department, in the Department of Finance and through Management Board before they start raising alarmist talk about being broke.

There are consequences out there. Every time the Government Leader says we are broke, retailers are experiencing a slow down in sales and real estate prices take a dip. Coupled with some comments about the Taga Ku project, the delaying of the hospital project and almost complete silence on the future of the Faro and Watson Lake mines, it all adds up to a lot of worry in the mind of the public as to where our economy is going.

The result of the short meeting that the Government Leader had with the deputies, asking them to report their potential expenditures in 10 days, was, of course, a lot of confusion. There is widespread belief throughout the departments that have led those departments to overestimate their financial needs. This confusion is evident in the report itself, which admits to wide variations in the approach taken by the departments and errors in financial Ireporting. This is coming out of the report. I am not making this up at all.

One has to wonder, at the very outset, why this whole reporting process made no comparisons in any way with the Auditor General of Canada’s report, which we routinely lay before the Legislature and why it did not compare anything in any way to the budgeted estimates that we considered ourselves in the Legislature. It makes it very difficult to make comparisons when one is using summary information, considering wish lists and there is no comparison to the Auditor General’s report or any of the main estimates that we budget.

I would submit that this review, coupled with the Government Leader’s gloom and doom scenario that he is enunciating for political purposes, is based on forecasted expenditures by departments taking the worst case scenario - no analysis, no debates, simply an addition exercise.

I mentioned earlier that we had decided that we were going to do a review of these expenditures and that we wanted to lay the background information that went into this report on the table. I would think that there are a number of ways that we can accomplish that task.

One of the things that the government side has indicated they want to do in the coming four years is make greater use of the Public Accounts Committee. This is a noble and honourable objective. We are very seriously concerned with the information that has gone into this report and the methodology behind this report.

I would hope, under the circumstances and given the Member opposite’s belief in the Public Accounts Committee, that they would not object to having all the information that went into this report and the methodology behind this report reviewed by the Public Accounts Committee and the Auditor General of Canada.

If there are inconsistencies in the methodology, an amateur approach being applied here, and no thorough professional analysis of the expenditures being proposed, then that can be exposed.

If there are cost areas in the government that seem to be climbing beyond the projections issued in the main estimates last year, then we should know that as well. We just might prepare ourselves more usefully for a main estimates debate that is openly going to take place this spring.

Amendment proposed

Mr. McDonald: Consequently, I would move

THAT Motion No. 6 be amended by adding after the expression “territory’s finances” the following:

“and that the change ”Review of the Change in the Accumulated Surplus" report be referred immediately to the Public Accounts Committee for review with deputy ministers as witnesses."

Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Member for McIntyre-Takhini

THAT Motion No. 6 be amended by adding after the expression “territory’s finances” the following:

“and that the change ”Review of the Change in the Accumulated Surplus" report be referred immediately to the Public Accounts Committee for review with deputy ministers as witnesses."

Perhaps I could ask the Hon. Member for McIntyre-Takhini if the word “change” is meant to be there.

Some Hon. Member: It is not supposed to be there.

Speaker: It should be deleted? I will then read the amendment to the motion again. It has been moved by the Hon. Member for McIntyre-Takhini

THAT Motion No. 6 be amended by adding after the expression “territory’s finances” the following:

“and that the ”Review of the Change in the Accumulated Surplus" report be referred immediately to the Public Accounts Committee for review with deputy ministers as witnesses."

Mr. McDonald: I think the Members will have no trouble agreeing to this amendment, largely because I know that they have faith in the Public Accounts Committee. Also, I know that they will want the appropriate analysis that seems to be lacking in this 10 day wind-sprint to be undertaken by someone in the Legislature. We seem to have missed a step in terms of financial review. We seem to have had a mini budget statement submitted by the Government Leader without any kind of analysis at all. It has come straight from the program departments, right from the lowest levels, right through to the Legislature. Someone has to review the validity of those estimates.

Given that the persons opposite have faith in the Public Accounts Committee, and given that I know that they want to come to a true and proper conclusion with respect to the methodology and the realism behind these figures, I would hope that they would want to support the motion.

I want to point out a few things that the Public Accounts Committee may want to take notice of.

In Health and Social Services, for example, the review shows an expenditure of $900,000 for the extended care facility. This facility has not been opened and, based on some reports from the media today, it may not be open for another 10 months, after a discussion that I had with the Minister responsible for Health and Social Services. There is an assumption that this facility will be open for a couple of months, and it is going to cost $450,000 per month. I would call that a very inflated figure.

There is also the $785,000 for the specialized group home that I mentioned earlier, which does not exist except in the imagination of department officials.

In spite of these erroneous, unexplained increases, there is no real explanation for the increase of $16 million in the Health and Social Services forecasted expenditures. We do not know where it comes from. There is nothing in the report that says so.

Under Education, there is an expenditure increase for the stay in school program. I happen to know for a fact that the expenditure increase is fully recoverable from the federal government. Yet, we are led to believe that this is going to be an expenditure that the Yukon taxpayer is going to have to bear. Members opposite are not dishonest, but I would suggest that figure is dishonest.

The total increases highlighted in the report add up to $15 million in the Department of Education. However, the increase in the 1992-93 forecast on page 7 of the report shows an increase of only $4.6 million over the figure in the estimates.

Why? Which one is correct?

The Leader of the Government took, I think, almost joy in announcing that the Minister of Education - I - had approved expenditures that were not shown in the budget for training trust funds. The Deputy Minister of Finance, whom the Government Leader had already quoted, has already spoken with us and said, this is not unheard of; in fact, it happens quite regularly. Ministers are permitted under the system to realign budgets within the rules of Management Board to meet the public need, as long as they do not ask for more money. Did the fact that the Department of Education had already realigned its budget to account for those training trust funds show up in the audited reports? Was it something that we heard from the Government Leader as an explanation? No, it was not. The fact of the matter - perhaps the Government Leader does not know or perhaps he does and he is not saying - is that the Department of Education had already re-allocated funds from other areas for this purpose.

I can only feel, under the circumstances, that the exposure of that particular expenditure, which does not show up as a growth increase in any case, but was simply just mentioned in the report, is a political shot. Based on the tone that the Government Leader lead the debate with, it was most certainly a political shot. If the Members in the opposite benches are now saying that if we approve a budget in this Legislature and each line item is shown in the main estimates, the Ministers in the Cabinet will not realign that budget until they come back to the House, I would be very surprised if they can live up to that commitment.

They are saying that they will only realign their expenditures and accommodate public need after they come back to the House and have the expenditure specifically approved in the Legislature. I will bet any money that they cannot do that and be responsible to the public they serve. I think that any suggestion that they can is a sign of a pure amateur.

The review of Community and Transportation Services, on page 7 of the report, points to an increase of $7.6 million in municipal infrastructure grants, which is offset by a reduction in capital. This is transferable within the department. Why did the government choose to show that in the report? This increase has no impact whatsoever on the totals.

The only reason that the government could possibly want to reflect this increase in the report is so that they can count it once as an increase and, then, they can whisper later that there is an offset.

The whole demeanor of the report smacks of political interference.

Under Government Services, they are showing an increase in salary over two years of 24.1 percent. This is absurd. The collective agreement only called for 5.5 to 6 percent per year. There has not be a large increase in personnel in Government Services - they have been holding the line for the last three years. Where did this figure come from? What is the analysis? I know the Members cannot answer this, because there has been no analysis. They have to go back to the department, dredge it up, analyze the respectability of the figures and then come back to the Legislature. There is an awful lot of good Question Period material in this report.

Under Renewal Resources, there are significant fluctuations thrown in; for example, the Environmental Fund: $500,000. Why? Who gave that approval? The health investment fund in Health and Social Services shows a massive increase. Why? Who gave the approval? Who said yes? We did not say yes. I can only imagine that someone in the department, some person who felt passionately about the environment or about health promotion, felt that it should be doubled and dutifully filled out the form, added hundreds of thousands of dollars to these funds, submitted them for the natural review process and, lo and behold, the next thing you know it is in the Legislature - and we are suppose to believe this.

Under Tourism, the review details transfers between Community and Transportation Services and tourism for the arts program. There is no increase in costs here. What is the relevance of these items to this audit? Why are certain items shown in the audit and other items not?

Do you know the size of a normal budget that lists expenditures, Mr. Speaker? It is a good inch and one-half thick. This audit, which picks and chooses expenditures, is 10 pages long.

Why does the government show the transfer of this particular program? The audit highlights the growth in Tourism and whisper that this is a transfer from Community and Transportation Services. Why was that done? Where is the analysis?

One has to ask the question: where is the analysis of the expenditures in capital? They have decided to pick on and expose the expenditures of one department, the Department of Education, because they wanted to talk about the training trust funds. All of a sudden, the government made the political calculation that they had to talk about the training trust funds. Where is the analysis of the capital for the rest of the departments? There are no words and nothing there.

What about the admission that there are large capital lapses every year?

It is not in the report. All that we get is political rhetoric about building Taj Mahals and relating it to this report, yet there is nothing contained in the report with which to compare it.

All the mix and match political rhetoric is leaving the distinct impression that there is something wrong.

It is wrong to do that. Do the Members not see that? This is why we have budgets in this Legislature. That is why we go through the budgets. We see the whole picture. We see the departmental estimates, expenditures and recoveries.

There is an expenditure identified here of $3.1 million for the Alaska Highway and it is fully cost recoverable from the federal government. There is no mention of that. It simply says that it is an increase. The poor Yukon tax paying slobs out there think they have to dig into their pockets to find the $3 million to maintain the Alaska Highway. It is not fair to say that. That is why we have budgets. It is so that, for each department, one can see the O&M expenditures and compare them with the last year and make projections for the next. There are capital expenditures and revenues that are a realistic assessment of what might be gained in terms of fees and taxes. There is recovery so that there is a realistic appreciation of what might be gained in terms of a cost-recoverable program from the federal government. Each of those things are debated.

When the Department of Education estimates come up and it shows that they are expecting a large fee increase from tuition for Yukon College, I expect someone to ask why. Is the enrollment expected to increase? If the Minister says no and that the tuition fees are not expected to go up, people must say that perhaps that revenue will not come in and this should be calculated into the whole budget picture. This is done routinely. This approach of picking some expenditures here and some there, some recoverable and some not, some are capital expenditures and some are O&M and some might be a bit politically embarrassing, like training costs - though I do not know why someone would think that training trust funds are politically embarrassing. They just show that a Minister actually responded to a public meeting and reallocated departmental funds to meet that need.

The point of this is that all this information is analysed and digested in one large document so that you can see a full, living technicolour picture of what the finances are and then they are debated in the Legislature. When the expenditures are made, they are thoroughly debated by a truly impartial body, the Auditor General’s office of Canada. That is what it is all about.

None of that impartiality has taken place here. Basically, we have a political statement, matched with a lot of political rhetoric. The side opposite thinks that if something is unpopular, they push a button; for instance, the visitor reception centre or training trust funds. If they think something is unpopular with the right wing of the party, they push the button, but this is not a budget and it is not a realistic appreciation of what the expenditures will be in coming years.

There are expenditures in this budget for projects that are not under way, yet. I am not referring only to the group home, but a whole series and category of projects that are not under way. This government is counting a full year of implementation costs for projects that are not yet under way.

It is December 17 and there are three and one-half months left in the fiscal year. It is unreasonable to expect that there will be a full year’s cost associated with these projects, programs or initiatives. No one else has a cashflow savings at all.

This document was prepared in haste and for political reasons, exclusively so the government could table the document early in their term and lay the responsibility for all of the tough decisions they are going have to make at the doorstep of the NDP.

This is not a budget; it is a political exercise.

It is not unbiased; it is partisan. Of all the things that we could have been discussing in this Legislature right now, things that have some significant consequence to the territory, we have chosen to go through this crass political exercise and try to move closure so we do not have to discuss it past the opening comments.

That is not fair. If the Members opposite took 10 days to put together this budget, which normally takes about nine months, then they can at least give us a few days to analyze it before we debate this motion, given that they have given us no background documentation.

I know the motion is apparently innocuous, on the face of it. Who could vote against it? It says that you are going to be responsible and manage the public’s money wisely. That has nothing to do with anything the Government Leader said. He said this debate is all about this audit. Push it into the Legislature and get it out. Make some opening comments and political points, hope that something is stuck out there in the public, and get out. Do not allow any analyses or comment. I do not accept that.

There are other things that are going to have significant impact on the finances of this territory that we know about right now. One is unemployment insurance. When the federal budget came out, there was a chorus of hurrahs from the Government Leader. It was going to mean wonderful things for the Yukon. They talked about infrastructure, roads and airports. There was a commitment for $250 million in Canada for roads, but that does not even upgrade the Alaska Highway between Beaver Creek and Burwash. What is the impact of that? We have already negotiated the Alaska Highway agreement.

What was ignored in that, which will have a direct impact on our finances today, was unemployment insurance changes. As people are slowly cut off the unemployment insurance rolls, the welfare rolls rise. Why did the treasurers and finance officers in all the provinces say, “Do not do this,” and cried “foul”?  “They are transferring a social problem to us.” Are they attacking the unemployment problem by attacking the unemployed? The provinces knew that there was going to be a direct financial consequence of that move. We should be debating that. That would be time spent usefully.

I have lots of constituents in the trailer courts who are not even working. I have constituents who are so desperate in the trailer courts now that they even believed the pipeline scam from the election. They were not going to vote for me because they wanted to work on the Kootaneelee-Whitehorse gas pipeline promise. They are not going to get much money from that promise. I doubt they will even get one paycheque from that promise. If they do not receive unemployment insurance, they may well be getting social assistance from this government. It is going to have a direct impact on what is happening, what we do, what we say, what choices we have to make, what choices the government proposes and what we accept.

The health of Curragh Resources, of the mines in Faro and Watson Lake, will have a tremendous impact on the economy in this territory. If we wanted to make a set speech to say that we cared or believed in mining, we could have expressed some support even if we were not treated to all of the details of the financial arrangements between Curragh and this government or Curragh and the federal government. We could have at least expressed ourselves in the Legislature that we believe in that mine. We want to keep the mines going. We believe in those regional economies. We believe in those paycheques. We believe in saying something that will at least, in an atmosphere that may seem a little gloomy at Christmastime, give those people some hope, because they know that this Legislature cares for those jobs and that mining activity.

We do not just talk about federal regulations or federal flow-through shares that we have absolutely no control over. We do have something to say about those mines; we do have something we can do about those mines, and we should be saying so. That would have a very real impact. Do you know what would happen if the Faro mine and the Watson Lake mine closed down? There would be financial impacts felt for this government, and for this town, the town that the capital is in, and for every rural community in this territory.

One does not have to have an elephant’s memory to remember the difficulty that the territorial community faced when Cyprus Anvil went down the first time or when United Keno Hill went down. We were in such terrible shape that even when the United Keno Hill got up and started limping on its own, it was the first mention in the PC government’s throne speech in 1983. It had started up again with only 110 employees.

It was the spark on the horizon. The economy was flat. We should be saying something about Curragh Resources. We should be saying something about the kinds of things we are prepared to do. Instead, we have been left with a situation where we do not know whether or not the government is going to be promoting low power costs to Curragh. We are actually left in the situation where we are tantalized by the possibility that they might or that they might follow the Public Utilities Board’s recommendations for power only to be sold at cost. We touch on all these subjects, but we are left with nothing substantial. The public does not feel any better. We are left with this crass political exercise that has no real foundation. It is not even a budget.

What about the Taga Ku project? It was a large construction project. I would venture to guess that any government coming into this Legislature in the coming years would have a difficult time finding the kind of capital money that would have the same impact in one construction season as the Taga Ku project.

There are a lot of people in my constituency who are carpenters, plumbers and construction workers. They hang on every single word that government people say about this budget. They analyse every nuance in what the Government Leader has to say about Taga Ku. I visited some friends the other night - we were playing cards - and we talked about what John Ostashek meant about the lease agreement for about one and one-half hours. Why did we do that? It was not because they were particularly enamoured by what the person had to say, but because they needed the jobs.

They did not want to go on social welfare. They did not want to have the negative impact that the government side is claiming it might have on the territorial budget. We should be talking about things of consequence. What do you suppose will be the financial impact on government finances on such things as the transfer payments? It is probably the biggest issue of all for this little territorial economy. We are dependent upon the feds. We do not like it, but we are. We have been so for the last 10 years and I would venture to guess - even with the wizardry of the Minister of Economic Development and the imagination of the Government Leader - that in three years’ time we will still be pretty dependent upon the federal transfers.

What mention do we have of the federal transfer payments? We are coming into negotiations fairly soon, and what happens with the federal government is going to be of very significant interest to us. We have already faced the situation where the federal government has imposed an arrangement on us that cuts our territory’s financial transfer more than they cut the provinces’ financial transfers - on a percentage basis. What did we hear at the time from the Members who are now in government? Well, it looks good on you. You do not need all the money. You can live on less. Put some of the money in the bank.

Now what are we hearing? We cannot live on $430 million. It is not reasonable to expect that we can carry on the territorial economy on $430 million, unless we have a major savings account on top of it.

We are going to have to cut through all that rhetoric. There are a lot of people whose livelihood is at stake here. What about the hospital project? Will that have any impact on the territorial revenue?

There has been no word. We have only received some tantalizing mention from the Minister of Health and Social Services that maybe the hospital project will go ahead, once they consider whether or not $50 million is enough to build a hospital, or whether $17 million is enough to run a hospital that is currently running on $14.5 million.

There are a lot of people who count on that money and that project. I am not talking about the people who are going to depend on better facilities, or someone in this Legislature who might get carried away and suffer a heart attack who might end up there, but the people who are going to be building the place.

These issues of incredible importance to this territory are raised only in Question Period and instead this phoney audit is raised for political reasons. I have serious doubts about the true commitment of the people on the side opposite to reignite economic development when one of the biggest projects, our greatest hopes for continued economic survival, is ignored in discussion in the Legislature. Instead, we get bureaucratic wish lists touted up, crying gloom and doom, jeopardizing the confidence that people have in our economy. This kind of thing does not make any sense.

Unfortunately, I do not have sufficient time to continue on; I do not even have sufficient time to wrap-up.

I take great exception to the procedures that the Members opposite have used to present this report; I take objection to the report and the time that we have been allowed to debate what is essentially a budget; I take exception to the political crassness of the whole approach; and if I have any opportunity in the future, either inside or outside of the Legislature, I will take the opportunity to express my views.

Motion re extended sitting hours

Hon. Mr. Phillips: Point of order.

I move

THAT the Assembly be empowered to continue sitting after 5:30 p.m. for the purpose of continuing debate on Motion No. 6.

Speaker: It has been moved by the Government House Leader

THAT the Assembly be empowered to continue sitting after 5:30 p.m. for the purpose of continuing debate on Motion No. 6

Motion agreed to


Motion No. 6 - (continued)

Hon. Mr. Phelps: I am pleased to have this chance to involve my thoughts in the debating process. I have been listening with a great deal of interest to some of the remarks that have gone before. The amendment is of great interest to us on this side of the House.

At the outset, I want to say that I personally can commend the Member for coming up with such a brilliant piece of work. I have a great deal of faith in the Public Accounts Committee, as that hon. Member well knows. I have been rather disheartened, from time to time, with his lack of faith in that process, as I have experienced it over the years. I will get on to that in a minute or two.

It is important that we address the remarks made by the hon. Member who moved this amendment. He made a lot of sweeping accusations in speaking to his amendment. His remarks ranged all over the place. I will probably be somewhat more concise with respect to the issues at hand than has my honourable friend across the way.

It is interesting to think about some of his remarks. He took the position that the Auditor General has looked at the books for the past seven years, and that is true, prior to March 31, 1992. It is also interesting that the last year he looked at those books, 1991-92, the government incurred an unconsolidated deficit of $13.6 million for that fiscal year. The Member only has to look at 1991-92 Public Accounts to see that this is true.

That is bad enough, but the real problem is 1992-93, and the Auditor General has not yet looked at that year. However, Consulting and Audit Canada has, and it is a very reputable firm, despite what the Member said about them. This firm has examined the projections for that year. The results are apparent, and the Member is not happy with them.

The Member says the previous government increased the consolidated surplus in five of its seven years in office. Unfortunately, this begs a number of questions, which I will get into in due course, and, unfortunately, they let the budget get out of control during the last two years. The result of that has been laid before the Members of this House because the consequences are so severe.

It is interesting that the consultants’ projections and information are very close to the projections put forward by the departments in the period 4 variance. That report, which we have, shows an astonishing projected deficit and was prepared under the auspices of that good Member and his comrades during the time in question.

Clearly, there will be some capital lapses, but those lapses are not a net gain. It simply means that they are commitment funds and will be spent when the government is able to complete the projects. What I would like first of all to bring to the attention of the Members here is that while the exercise the consultants did - the audit - has been done quickly, it certainly was very close to the variance report, which was previously prepared in an adequately timed manner, and done under the auspices of, as I said, the previous speaker.

So those are some thoughts that spring to mind just in listening to the comments that went before. I understand the Member displaying a rather thin skin at this time, in these precepts, because there is no question that the news is bad, and there is very little doubt in my mind that their knowledge of just how bad things were getting was what triggered the election call. That is the only reason I can think of for them calling the election. If they had waited until this was tabled in the House in the Fall Legislature, and tabled the supplements, they would have been lucky to have anybody sitting on the side opposite.

There were some who said, “Oh no, the reason that he called the election then was because of the Charlottetown Accord.” Do you remember that? Well, he called the election because, as a father of confederation, it was a timely call, and besides he would be able to go around the Yukon selling this accord that he so deeply believed in.

It is a funny thing that those who so speculated were wrong because we did not hear boo about the Charlottetown Accord during the election. The hon. Member did not see fit to go around the territory extolling its virtues. Why? Because it was a very unpopular document. The week after the election, it was turned down by the vast majority of Yukoners.

I think that one of the things that the Public Accounts Committee might do in examining this document and ascertaining the extent of the mess in which we have been placed by the previous government, it seems to me, is that the committee might consider several things, in my humble view. One would be the unanimous report filed by a previous Public Accounts Committee filed in this House, the report for 1988, written and endorsed by a majority of the then NDP government, a couple of people from the Official Opposition and the Liberal Member.

This was a report that examined the wasteful spending of the government - the millions of dollars that were thrown away in the period leading up to 1988. I can recall debate on what the then-Minister of Education, the previous speaker, had to say about that report when it was tabled in the House. It was all wrong and a terrible report. An all-party standing committee of this House examined it and unanimously came to the conclusion that the facility that was supposed to cost $26 million was not yet completed, was definitely going to cost more than $50 million, and the scope had not expanded. All we were getting for double the cost were fewer square feet than in the original plan. That is a fact. Read the report.

That committee was horrified by the way this government was wasting money on projects. They examined the Ross River arena carefully. They brought in expert witnesses and had the people from the Auditor General’s department there. They concluded that the part of the Ross River arena project that was supposed to cost $500,000 actually cost more than $2 million. We are not talking about new stages, adding offices, Yukon College or the community centre. That was one of the things that was concluded by a report that was written and unanimously endorsed by Members of each and every party then sitting in this House.

That Public Accounts Committee made numerous recommendations designed to save government money in future years - recommendations that anybody who would read and review them would, in my view, consider sensitive and practical. These recommendations were paid lip service but apparently not followed when we examine the wasteful expenditures that we have seen go on in capital construction since.

We can go on and on about the wasted money. Cartoons are available about the faux pas filled four books that were circulated around the territory during the last election. I read a couple of the books; they even showed up in my riding, and I really felt that we were running a campaign that was more concerned with issues other than merely government waste. I was wrong; there was a great deal of interest in what had happened in each and every community in which I campaigned.

I do not want to get into topics such as the Watson Lake sawmill. That is almost as bad, according to the side opposite, as talking about the Yukon College waste. What is $26 million here or there? It was a sawmill that cost the government millions of dollars and private enterprise, in a small community, a lot more.

Carcross is a small community that is dear to my heart. I remember the government planned to have a speed skate project in Carcross, at $100,000. That is not much money when we are thinking about things like the Granger school, where the previous government spent just over $9 million. Yet they scrimped and saved when they were providing schools at Golden Horn and for the people who live north of town.

It is not much money to the folks in the government at the time, I presume, but a lot of money to the people who live in Carcross. They brought in an engineer because they were going to build some sidewalks, a couple of benches, two outhouses and transplant some local shrubbery in the fire lane that runs right by my place. I was particularly interested in that.

The engineer they hired came and knocked on my door to ask me if I was happy with the plans for the little space between my place and the post office. He had these great big engineering plans. There were five pages of them, and he laid them out on my table. They were going to spend about $5,000 on the plants for that laneway. We started to look at them, and I believe my wife said, “By the way, sir, there seems to be something wrong here.” He asked what that was, and she told him he had the laneway three times as wide as the actual one. He turned bright red, left with his plans and never did come back.

They built sidewalks with no centre support, out of wood that was not treated, and lumber that was uneven. The sidewalks are all but gone now. People are busy pulling them up and taking them to the dump, because they are hazardous. When the sidewalks were brand new, the little old ladies with their canes got off the buses that came to town and, with traffic coming down the road, these ladies looked at the sidewalk and at all the traffic and took their chances with the road. It was safer than the sidewalk.

All of that is gone, vanished, wasted. These are things that are important, because this is money that we dearly need now. This is money that could have been used for so many important things in the smaller communities, things that are truly needed there. But that money is gone; gone forever.

The real difficulty that Yukoners face, is that this government did things, not only to waste money, but to increase exponentially the operation and maintenance costs to this government.

When the NDP government took power, they were blessed with the brand new contract with the federal government, called the Formula Financing Agreement.

All kinds of new money was guaranteed to them for three years, with an option for an additional two. When they got into power, I do not think they had the capability to spend it all, even if they had wanted to. The first number of years they were in power, a huge percentage of the total budget was for capital projects. As time went by, the capital budget went from in excess of $100 million, down, down, down. The operations and maintenance side of the budget expanded year by year by year.

Time and time again in this House I rose and I spoke about what I saw as a key and fundamental error in what the government was doing - speech after speech on basically the same theme.

I looked back in Hansard. I did not review all the Hansards since I have been here, but I picked out a couple of years, and I would like to put them on the record, in case there is any interest in what I had to say, when I said it and where it can be found. I would address people’s attention to Hansard, page 75 and following, remarks made on March 31, 1988. I would also direct their attention to March 13, 1989, Hansard, page 27 and following, or November 28, 1989, Hansard, pages 621 and following. I would pause there for a minute. I was looking at that speech and what we had to say back then, in part to be found at the bottom of page 621.

“Capital spending will be reduced to $94 million from almost $117 for the current year. The O&M increase remains significant. When talking about percentages one ought to remember how misleading figures can be when they are used by politicians for political purposes. The O&M budget has gone up significantly and ought to be compared with the estimate for last year’s budget.

“Last year the estimates for 1989-90 were a total of $225 million. Estimates this year are set at $248 million. That is an increase of $23 million or very close to nine per cent on that part of the budget.”

Here is the important issue.

“What is happening is that the capital side of the budget is being diminished, partly because of constraints that are being imposed because signals from the federal government that they are not going to be showing quite as large an estimate of transfer payments. The shrinking of the capital side has an impact on the private side in the Yukon. It impacts right away on the construction industry. They will be the ones that suffer the consequences of fewer dollars being spent on construction. The workers will be the ones that get hit.

“At the same time, government grows bigger and bigger as the O&M grows by nine per cent...”

The workers that are being hit are the chaps who were playing cards the other night that the previous speaker went to visit - the ones who are worried about jobs now - those workers. Those workers are the ones who have been hit, because the O&M kept growing and growing and it has swallowed up the whole budget. That is what has happened.

There was a mention made of Taj Mahal. I guess that was a reference to some of the unkind remarks I have made. Perhaps some people here have not heard those remarks, and I would certainly like to give them the benefit of hearing them. The Taj Mahal number one, that I am thinking of - the one in the Yukon that is - is the extended care facility across the river. Eleven and a half million dollars was spent for under 40 beds.

To start with, for openers, it will cost almost $4 million a year in O&M, and I am told that there have been facilities in B.C. with more beds recently built for $3.5 million. That is the kind of problem that we have. It is the scope and grandiose designs of these buildings that are the problem, and we are going to be burdened by the cost of running these things for the life of those facilities.

On November 1, 1990, I gave another speech in Hansard, page 78 and following. All of these speeches were given in this House, and each and every time that I said these things, do you know what the other people said? “Pooh! Pooh! No problem. Pooh! Pooh!” Later on, as years went by and the same message was given from this side, what did they say? “Oh, we have heard that before; why doesn’t he give us a new speech? Give us a new speech; we are really bored with this stuff. You know, we are just heading for bankruptcy. We have no money for capital funds; we are over extended and we are headed for tough times with the federal government cutting back, but let us not worry about that. We have heard that all before. What are you going to do? What are you going to do? Cut a community club? Pooh! Pooh!”

You want us to cut projects in Carcross? Believe it or not, I am not overjoyed about finally being able to say “I told you so”.

I will table a speech I gave to the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce on February 9, 1988, for the edification of the Members of the Opposition, in case they get to know anybody while it is in power again. On page 6, it speaks to the same problem. At that time I said, “The operation and maintenance budget has increased from $148.2 million in 1984-1985 to an estimated $177 million for 1987-1988. The government is now spending $300 million a year. When a government spends that kind of money, it is bound to create a lot of jobs. The government does not create wealth; the private sector does that. When the government builds office buildings, curling rinks and social housing, short-term jobs are created, but that kind of infrastructure costs money to operate and maintain. That kind of spending is debt creation, not wealth creation.”

I went into that issue more deeply at that time and offered what we saw as reasonable alternatives. I would like to table this report so that it will be available to Members of the Opposition in the same manner that Hansard is.

Here, we look at an audit that was done rather quickly. It projects what will be.

At the end of March of this year we freely admit that we are taking steps that will reduce some of the spending. We freely admit that the audit was done fairly quickly, but there are problems with the kind of criticisms that we heard from the side opposite -and for the record, let me correct myself: not audit, but financial review; there was not time to do an audit, of course.

Is it not amazing that these figures and these projections are so close to the projections that were done under the supervision of the Members opposite? Is that not, to any reasonable resident of the Yukon, a rather telling feature of this exercise and of the conclusions of this exercise?

I would submit that it is ludicrous for the side opposite to try to maintain the posture that this is simply a political exercise. If the projections contained in this report and this review were widely different from the projections done by the NDP government, I guess the public might be interested in the rather baseless charges that have been made in a mean-spirited manner by the speaker who went before me.

That is not the case, and Yukoners knew that this government was getting itself in trouble.

That is one of the messages that came through loud and clear. I entered the election late and at the last minute. Right away, in knocking on doors and travelling around my constituency, I was really taken aback by the cynical outlook that people had with regard to what government was doing, and the almost unanimous feeling that we were going to be broke pretty soon.

I thought to myself that this is rather unusual that there is that mood out there. These people - who, I guess, a lot of people feel do not pay attention - are paying attention and are concerned about government waste.

I then remembered that the closer you are to problems, the more likely you are to see them. If you live in a small community, you can really see the effects of wasteful spending.

If you live in a place like Vancouver, which I did for a number of years while I was attending university, you find that most people do not know what government is doing. They read some items in the newspaper, but they do not see it. When you live in the Yukon, you see it, because government touches each and every one of us in our daily lives. There is hardly a Yukoner now living who has not driven by what is it called the upside down canoe - the visitor reception centre that cost so much money, and which everyone hates - and does not realize that facility is money wasted? There is hardly a Yukoner who does not have an unfavourable comment about that building.

There is hardly anyone in the Yukon who is not aware of all the proliferation of new, huge buildings throughout Whitehorse, as well as the duplication. When we came into power and saw how bad things were, I realized that there is a collective wisdom in people. Democracy, despite the kind of manipulation that people attempt, survives that. There is a knowledge base and awareness out there that all the people cannot be fooled all of the time - as Lincoln concluded.

The Hon. Member for McIntyre-Takhini said a lot of things in his remarks about how we are dragging our feet on projects like the hospital. We are very concerned about the financial agreement that has been entered into. We are going to examine it very carefully and make sure that we are not buying a pig in a poke.

We want to see as airtight a deal as possible. The carrot may be a new hospital; the stick could be a bankrupt health care system if that financial deal is not solved. There are a lot of people in the Yukon who are concerned about the health care system and concerned about the cost overruns we have been seeing. They are concerned about the waste, about people taking advantage of the system. They are concerned because they know we cannot go on spending more and more on health services without breaking the system.

For my part, I will not let my judgment be unduly affected by a capital project that gives us some jobs for a short while and, in the end result, might bankrupt us. That is what I accuse the side opposite of doing for the past seven years. That is why we are in this mess. That is why we have to go, cap in hand, to the federal government begging for capital projects because we have no money left. I am not going to fall into that trap.

We will review the financial situation. We will talk to experts. We will have to be assured that it is a sound agreement before we go ahead. We are going through that review and asking those questions now. We will not be rushed unduly  simply because the side opposite says, “We will not have any jobs. There will be no capital construction if you do not go ahead with that.”

Well, they should have thought of that when they were piddling away all this money over the course of the last seven years.

I want to say a couple of words about Taga Ku - what little I know of it - and express some concerns. My understanding is that there has not even been a five-year business plan developed.

There are a number of large questions about who is going to run the convention centre; when is it going to be run; how is it going to be run; whether the project is feasible if it is run in the way that the proponents of the convention centre want it to be run.

Speaker: I would like to advise the Member that he has approximately one minute to conclude his remarks.

Hon. Mr. Phelps: We again have to examine that and make sure it is a good business deal. Public pressure should not be the criterion. The lack of capital funds should not be the criterion. Lack of capital funds are not the fault of this side. We had warned against it. I hate to say, “We told you so,” but we are going to do our best to bring Yukon out of the hole.

Mr. Penikett: We are discussing whether this report, which I think is as phoney as a $3 bill, will be sent to the Public Accounts Committee for a little reality therapy. I believe it should. The previous speaker, whom I have followed in debate many many times before, used the word “cynicism” to describe certain political behaviour. If that was the theme of his speech, it will be of mine, too. I think it is nothing but cynical for politicians like him to run around talking about government spending too much, and then in the last election campaign promising buildings and projects in every community in their constituency. They promised new sewer and water systems in Dawson. They promised $25 million-plus for a sewer and water system in Whitehorse. They promised pipelines, promised one project after another, which add up to hundreds of millions of dollars. Then, after the election, they say, “Sorry  folks, we cannot keep our promises because there is no money left.” It would not have mattered if financial geniuses were in charge of this government, one could not have financed the cynical promises made by the people opposite. If this is not the highest point of cynicism, how cynical is it for a Member to stand for election saying he is running as an independent - “I do not want to do anything else but represent my constituents; I want to ask questions in the House.” Then the first thing is, he finds himself in Cabinet.

First they said “we came to power”. Well, “we” is the Yukon Party. He is, allegedly, an independent, although a former leader of the Conservative Party in this House.

The Government Leader used the word “courage” and I think that is part of his real Yukoner theme. He questions the manhood of people. It is a bit quaint, but he does it. If they had any real courage of conviction, they would not be sitting late tonight, they would be sitting next week and facing more Question Periods. They obviously do not want to do that. They want to cut and run. They like to dish it out, but they do not like to take it.

The Minister of Justice said that he does not want to buy a pig in a poke - the hospital. I do not buy his peek in a poke, either. His peek is really about him wanting to make sure that, come the new year, he can say that it is his deal and his hospital, even though they will probably be almost identical arrangements to those negotiated by our government. Suddenly, it will not be a white elephant, it will not be a Taj Mahal and it will not be a big drain on the taxpayers; the way he does it, it will be the most fiscally prudent, financially responsible and sound health investment in the history of the territory. Just you wait and see. I have been on both sides of the House. I know cynicism when I see it.

If the Member opposite wants to make sure that the O&M of the new hospital does not exceed the O&M of the old hospital, he only has to do one thing. He just has to design it so that it is an energy efficient building and make sure that the O&M is lower. When his party was in government before, they did not do that.

He spoke about his experience on the Public Accounts Committee, so I am going to say something about mine. Before I do that, I want to say that I have heard the speeches he referred to once or twice. I guess I have heard them several times. It is ancient history. But it is interesting that we hear the theme of increasing O&M warnings and then they would turn around and, in the next breath, ask us for more.

He mentioned the extended care facility. Well, that is interesting. I sat over there for seven years, while guys on this side - and they were guys - asked: where is the extended care facility; where is the extended care facility? We said there is significant O&M costs to the extended care facility; we are not sure we can manage the O&M costs of the extended care facility, and they said, words to the effect “We do not care; build it. We do not care what the O&M is, build it; people need it, build it.” Every year I sat in the House, that is what we heard from that Member and his seat mates.

The Member now says it is going to cost him $4 million O&M. He is the great financial manager.

I happen to have a reasonably good memory and I remember exactly, as Chair of Management Board, what we agreed to in the O&M of that facility. We went to a great deal of work to package it so the O&M was not great. We did this by involving the CMHC so that there was a residential portion of the building and involving the WCB to pay for some of the rehabilitative portion of the building and so that there were 41.7 person years, if my memory serves me correctly. That is what Management Board approved; and $2 million per year O&M, not $4 million. That was our decision. If the O&M is $4 million, that will be his decision - the new government Minister’s decision, not ours.

I sat in the Public Accounts Committee for six years. I was chair for six years. I watched the former government, along with the Member for Riverdale South, if she wants to talk about screwups.

I will tell you that New Democratic governments make mistakes, but so, too, do governments of every other stripe, and so that no innocent lamb is persuaded by the Member for Ross River-Southern Lakes that only during the time that New Democrats are in Cabinet do officials, organizations and departments make mistakes, let me just give a sprinkling of the flavour of some of the massive screwups that happened while the Tories were in power.

Let me mention the Dawson sewer and water system.

The Minister who was responsible for that - who is also the man who is responsible for issuing sewer and water in this House; we all agreed - built that new system. He spent between $9 million and $12 million because the O&M was going up too much. What is the result of that system? The O&M was twice as much for the new one than for the old. That same Minister built a brand new gym in the Faro school. Before the children even got to use it, it cracked from the top corner to the bottom. It was never usable. Why? There was a fortune spent on that building. It was because that Minister would not listen to an engineer who said there was a permafrost problem. Anyone who lived in Faro knew there was a permafrost problem, but not that Minister, not that Conservative. We spent some money trying to fix that problem. That gym is now usable because we spent some public money to do it. But it sat there for years, useless.

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible).

Mr. Penikett: The Member for Riverdale North says it happened in the 1950s. I think it would take another amendment in order to get another 40 minutes in order to cover the 1950s. I am happy to do that. The one thing the Member for Riverdale North knows about me is that I may not be the brightest guy in the world, I may not be the best looking guy in the world and I may not be his favourite person, but my love of this Legislature, my delight in debate and my appetite for even pointless discourse with the Member opposite, is almost infinite. I am quite happy to sit here all night and discuss this with him.

Since the Members opposite do not want to come back next week for Question Period, for which we have some very good questions, I may be able to design some amendments to this motion that will cover almost every single question we want to get at next week, and I will be happy to do it.

We were talking about political cynicism. We talked about the Dawson sewer and water system, that royal screwup of the previous Tory administration. We talked about the botchup by the former Minister for Porter Creek East. Then, the Member for Riverdale South remembered the fascinating case of how the Yukon Housing Corporation, under the Tories, managed to acquire thousands of dollars worth of furnace-cleaning chemicals, of which they used only a few hundred dollars worth a year. There were barrels of the stuff. It was an incredible mystery, and we never did discover whether that was a screwup or whether there was something devious going on.

There are all sorts of horror stories. One of my favourite ones is about a land claims negotiator who, at a time when ordinary workers were getting $4 an hour, charged the people of this territory $800 a day for a patronage job. Of course, I do not want to get into that too much tonight, because we are talking about other subjects.

The assertion was made by the Member that the capital budget has been going down and down. In the last budget I presented, the capital budget was 26 percent of the total budget. In the time we were in government, the average was something like 25 percent. If you do any arithmetic, it obviously was not going down.

He said the O&M was going up and up. Government was getting bigger and bigger. Bull. The YTG work force, as a percentage of the total work force in the Yukon Territory, was 20 percent when we took office. If we take a look at the numbers, by the end of this fiscal year I bet it will be the same. I bet the Government Leader a dollar. I am not a rich man like he is; I do not have a lot of money, but I will bet him a dollar on that.

We have not had the time, even the 10 days that the Members opposite have had with their phoney audit - it does not even claim to be an audit; it is actually forecasts, which are notoriously inaccurate - but this is done by someone who last worked in the territory before formula financing.

We are going to be talking about this in the Public Accounts, so I am going to lay out some issues that I will be addressing in that Committee. There are some half-truths in here. There is a wonderful old Arabic saying that a half-truth is a whole lie. The missing information and false information in here - in a public document - makes this the most dishonest document I have ever seen tabled in this House in all my eight years in the Legislature, and I have now sat here for more time than any other sitting Member.

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Mr. Penikett: The Member opposite said I should look at their old budgets. I have looked at them very carefully, including the ones he voted for.

This report on the review of change in accumulated surplus is as phoney as a three-dollar bill.

Let us review how this came about. We knew that every new government in the country usually wants to question the financial credibility of their predecessors when they come into power. Some have good reason, some do not. It has become a custom to call for some type of special audit. Sometimes the audits have been carried out by private sector auditors, but other times it has been done by professional auditors. Sometimes, they have been real audits.

I am sure that a devastating audit was done on the former Social Credit government, and I do not doubt that the new Socred in exile that we have here wanted to have some revenge for Mr. Vander Zalm and decided that we were going to have one just like that here.

Sometimes, these audits have good reason. Poor old Roy Romanow did one and discovered that dear, old fiscal conservative Grant Devine had left him with a $15 billion deficit - an $18,000 debt for every single man, woman and child in Saskatchewan. This was a real crisis and disaster, but we do not have anything like that. Even this silly report says that we still have a surplus.

The only government in the country with a surplus yet, somehow, that is a crisis. The only government in the country that is not borrowing to do its capital. That is a crisis.

How did this report come about? We understand that, contrary to the impression created by the pet Socred and the main Tory cheerleader of the Whitehorse Star, it is not an audit of actual expenditures at all. It is not even a thorough analysis of the wish list of the departments. It is just a tired, old recitation of everything that some of these bureaucrats have wanted since time immemorial.

Some of the Members on the side opposite actually believe that we approved some of that stuff. They have one project listed as not only costing capital money this year, but costing O&M, and which was never more than an idea in the mind of one official. Every time it came to force, we said no, thank you very much, but it is listed here as one of the costs of the Yukon government. The only way that could happen is if the Members opposite have approved it, because we sure did not.

It is bull. What happened? They walked in and said they want the department forecasts for this fiscal year and the next. Well, I know the deputy ministers  fairly well. I know the assistant deputy ministers fairly well.

I know what these guys can do. “It is Christmas, let us give them everything we ever wanted. Worse yet, we will tell those guys that the NDP promised it.”

Dream on baby. The reason we had a surplus for seven years is because we went through the budgeting process, which is mostly about saying no to every one of those requests and setting your priorities. It is a tough exercise. It takes months. As the Member from McIntyre-Takhini said, “It is not something you can do in a week or 10 days.” You cannot even get a decent audit in that time.

If the government was seriously interested, they would not have gone in and had 15 minutes with the deputies, given them a few days to come back to Mr. Miller with their forecasts - leaving incredible confusion in some departments about what the political masters really wanted. Some used the standard approach, some used a different approach. This explains the great variation and number of errors in the financial report.

If the government was seriously and honestly interested in the financial well-being of YTG, why did they disregard the Auditor General’s reports, which have independently analysed all revenues and all expenditures to March 31, 1992.

The estimates for 1992-93 were passed in this Legislature and the only unknowns were supplementaries, if any, for the remainder of this year. Why, if this report was asking to be taken seriously, does it mix the last two years’ actual expenditures, with confidentially submitted lists of forecasts - wish lists from the departments?

Now, the wish lists are not contained in the report, so we cannot judge their legitimacy or reasonableness. Why did they not table those lists in the House if they wanted their little smoke-and-mirror job to work or to be taken seriously?

Now, it is not clear, as the Member from Riverside pointed out, what exactly the role of Mr. Miller was during this review process and how his terms of reference were to mesh with those of the other players. What is not at all clear, and is very, very suspicious to us, is that the government did not use the offices of the only well-established and knowledgeable agency in this field, the Auditor General of Canada, who will do special audits, who will do comprehensive audits, and will do specific departmental audits on the request of a client government. That is very, very suspicious.

Now the review has been done, and the government gloom and doom, are based purely on forecast expenditures by departments taking worst case scenarios. Anybody who has spent a day in government, anyone who has spent a day in a Legislature, ought to know that the departmental wish lists are just that. They are always reviewed by Management Board secretariat, by Management Board and Cabinet prior to being brought into the Legislature in any form. No one can argue the actual audited expenditures for 1990, 1991 and 1992. The fact remains though that at March 31, 1992, there was a $92 million surplus. Anyone in the media, anyone who is a serious reporter, could look at the Auditor General’s report. The review that has been done here, the phoney $3 bill review, the funny-money review, attempts to mix apples and oranges - actual expenditures and wish lists. It mixes expenditures approved by the Legislature over the last two years with wish lists again, and never reveals what the wish lists are or the justification for them.

As my colleague, the Member for McIntyre-Takhini, pointed out, the budget process is well-established. It is a process that should have been followed by the new government.

The Public Accounts were audited by the Auditor General, who sits with and works with the Public Accounts Committee. He reports to this Legislature. It is an office that is respected by all Members of this House. The report proved this: of the Public Accounts for 1991-92, just tabled in this Legislature, actual expenditures for both capital and O&M were $18 million below the revised forecasts, which included both the main estimates and the supplementaries and reflect analyzed wish lists.

This review we have highlights an increase of $22 million to 1992-93 forecasted O&M expenditures. There was $337,000,155 in review versus $340,000,752 in the estimates. There is no similar figure given for forecasted capital.

My colleague has talked about most of the increases in Health and Social Services and the estimates given in Education, but there is no rationale given for the increases described. What is the rationale? What are the offsets from the recoveries? Are they driven by legislative requirements or collective agreements? What are the available offsets from programs within the department O&M and capital?

The Minister of Education has already explained that there was no new money going into those Education requests, but that they were offset from within the department.

We also have the expenditure of $900,000 for the extended care facility, which is not going to open. Yet, this is shown to be almost $1 million.

They also have the better part of $1 million forecast for a specialized group home that does not exist, has not been built, is not staffed, and is only an idea in the mind of someone on the other side. There is no reference made in Education to the recoveries or the offsets.

If you look at the money in Education, as I understand it, the department’s wish list was zero, because they absorbed all their new initiatives in their existing budget. Mention has been made of the money for the Alaska Highway. A negotiated agreement that is 100 percent recoverable does not add to the deficit at all. When the Government Leader says that it does, he is misleading the House, intentionally or not.

Included in the overruns, the things that supposedly added to the deficit, is almost $10 million in the EDA, which is 70 percent recoverable from the federal government. There is no mention of the recovery - funny thing.

There is $7 million mentioned in Community and Transportation Services. They did not mention that it is moving from one line to another and is not an increase at all, but it is an attempt made to deceive the public that this is an increased expenditure.

Speaker: I would like to call the Member to order for a moment. To accuse or charge another Member of misleading the House is normally unparliamentary. I caution the Member to be careful with his remarks.

Mr. Penikett: I apologize, Mr. Speaker.

The pet Socred and the authors of this report have clearly tried to deceive the public, and I would only say that the Government Leader is an unwitting dupe in tabling their deception in the House.

I could go through the report for hours, like the Public Accounts Committee will have to for days. The errors, omissions and factual mistakes in this report are incredible. There are half-truths in details that are included and those that are not. The review attributes large increases in O&M to increases in salaries and wages due to the collective agreement. These increases range from 28.8 percent in Government Services to 14.3 percent in the Public Service Commission. The collective agreement provides for an average of five percent increases in wages each year. The teachers’ agreement provides for similar increases. How can the variations between departments be as high as 24 percent for two years? It cannot be.

There are no details on the question of Health and Social Services. It is an interesting question because, as we know, every jurisdiction in Canada is facing rising health care costs. That is not new. It has been debated in this House. Every jurisdiction, because of the national recession, is having problems with social assistance rates. We are having particular problems because the federal government delays in paying UIC, causing big increases in our social assistance loads here. The new changes in social assistance, which the Government Leader applauded, in Mazankowski’s statement, are going to add millions more to our costs.

I want to remind the Members opposite that these are statutory obligations. It does not matter who is in the government. Until the law and the Canada assistance program is changed, we have to pay those bills.

The issue of how health care costs and social assistance costs can be controlled is a worthy subject. I would be the first to say that, as a nation, we need to be more concerned about using those dollars for training and retraining, rather than for income support. In fact, we have the proportions all wrong. In Europe, they are spending two-thirds of such money on training and retraining and one-third on income support; we do exactly the opposite in this country. That is not a local problem, but a national one.

Under Government Services in this report, as my colleague mentioned, it says there was an increase in salaries for two years of 24.1 percent. That figure cannot be accurate unless someone is playing games with the numbers. We did not approve that kind of increase in person years for Government Services. The collective agreement does not provide for that kind of increase in salaries. The number cannot be right.

My colleague made mention of wish lists such as personal computers and so forth. You always have such requests, and one of the pleasures of government - I will not say pleasures, advisedly, because it is a fact - is that you have to say no every day. The Members opposite did not invent the word “no”. They act as if there were a bunch of drunken sailors in government before, irresponsible wastrels, and now the good ole boys are riding to the rescue; everything is going to be wonderful and hunky-dory. That is a load of hooey. I use the word hooey in the sense of Huey Long, of course, not in any other pejorative sense.

There are real problems with the revenue projections here. They projected a shortfall of $12 million of revenue. What is the basis and foundation for that forecast? Who knows?

As I read this statement, they have totally ignored the fact that every year we have capital lapses - something in the order of $15 million to $20 million. If we have the same kind of lapses this year as we had last year, we will not have a $5 million surplus, we will have a $20 million-plus surplus - very close to the one month’s operating money. That is interesting because the Government Leader tried to claim that it was a law that we had to have one month’s operating money on hand.

I have news for him. There is no such law. When I came into government the first thing the then-deputy minister of Finance said to me was: “You know, Minister” - they always call you Minister - “it would be a good idea, as a matter of practice, to keep a month’s operating money on hand.” I listened to him because I had had some experience. I had been a municipal politician before, where the officials of the municipality like to keep huge reserve accounts. They are fiscally conservative - finance officials, in the best sense of the word - they like to keep a lot of money on hand. I noticed in our time in government that, funnily enough, the policy that you had to keep a month’s operating money on hand evolved. Indeed, you had to keep a month’s capital and operating money on hand at the end - just to make sure; a little extra cushion.

Finance officials every year, in my experience, have underestimated revenue. Quite often, they have underestimated income tax revenue, and of course every year that we were in government, expenditures were overestimated because there was money lapsed, except in the year, as my colleague for McIntyre-Takhini said, when we granted a very large sum of money to the Energy Corporation in order to protect power rates.

You know, when I look beyond the financial picture, or the distorted and gloomy financial picture, presented by the side opposite, I think it is a pity that we have not been discussing the larger economic question. I must say that I agree on this occasion with the Member for Riverside, to some extent.

I do not suggest that money is not getting tighter. I do not suggest that it has not been getting tighter for some time, and I can certainly say to the Minister of Justice that we have been saying that to the House every year. Of course, that did not prevent him and his colleagues in those years continually asking for more of this, more of that, more for their communities, more projects, more roads, more teachers, more counsellors, and what have you. That is in the nature of being a constituency politician, I expect.

But, the larger economic picture in this territory is an important one. I agree with the Member for Riverside that they may have a cash flow problem now, and, as he said, it is manageable.

What the side opposite should do is stop whining and snivelling and get on with managing it. They should grow up and stop trying to blame their predecessors. You won an election, so govern. Stop groaning. Sit next week, have Question Periods every day and answer questions. Get some debate, go to work, bring in a budget. Stop playing these political games. Look at the larger economic picture. Look at what is at stake in terms of a $32 million construction project if Taga Ku goes down. Look at what happens if we do not have the new hospital as a major capital project next summer. It was something we were banking on. Look at what happens to the economies of some of the small communities if some of the projects do not go ahead as a result of this government’s decisions.

I am not going to be rude enough to go into detail and mention some of the promises that have been made by the side opposite about major projects out in the communities that cannot possibly be afforded: the field of dams, dreams, sewer and water projects and gas pipelines.

The Liberal Member is quite right. This kind of game playing and attempt to cast the Opposition party they have just triumphed over in an election in the most notorious light is a very old, gutter trick, but it has appalling consequences in the community around because, unfortunately, some people take the people opposite seriously. I am told that, as a result of the activities of the Government Leader and Mr. Drown and their friend at the Whitehorse Star, retail sales are falling off in town and house prices have fallen. The Government Leader does not understand that it has influence beyond this House and has had a very serious recessionary effect on our economy.

He has cast a pall of gloom on this Christmas in the Yukon. People at Faro and Watson Lake are worried, because they listened to the Speech from the Throne and they did not hear the mines in their community mentioned. They believe that either this new government does not care to do anything or that it will not do anything.

The Member opposite can be forgiven for being new in this House and he may be forgiven for making a mistake in his advisors, bringing a Socred in from British Columbia who did not know this territory and its ways and wanted to report big city-slicker style politics here. We have all made mistakes like that, but I think that he would have been just as well-served to hire Ms. Blackburn from the Whitehorse Star, a totally uncritical supporter of the party opposite, and someone who would probably have given him better advice on things like this.

The way to proceed with these financial matters, even if they are tough - whatever decisions they make, priorities they will set - would have been to go through the budgeting exercise, take the departments’ wish lists, pare them down. If you wanted to stop projects such as Chateau Jomini, much as we think that would be wrong-headed, sit down with the board of the Development Corporation and say that the government is concerned and does not think it should proceed and should be reviewed. It is fair enough that you want to review the hospital project, but do not take forever. Do not leave those dozens of health workers dangling at the end of a string.

Speaker: Order please. The Member has approximately one minute to conclude his remarks.

Mr. Penikett: On this amendment, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: On the amendment.

Mr. Penikett: On this amendment, Mr. Speaker.

I think there is a job to do in managing the finances of the Yukon government. There is a proper way to do it. It is the budget process and to use the Auditor General; it is not to play the kinds of games that we see here. I think that we should once and for and all set this kind of matter to rest by deferring it to the Public Accounts Committee so that all Members from all sides of the House, with the assistance of the deputy ministers, can show this thing for what it is.

Mr. Cable: At last, I am confronted with an amendment I can readily comprehend and the ramifications of which I can also readily comprehend. I must say that, over the past few hours, I have heard a lot of sound and fury. I thought my former profession was given to a lot of that, but I am getting a new education this afternoon.

I do not mean this unkindly, but I am not much wiser than I was three hours ago. We have this report produced by Consulting and Audit Canada. It is a brief and, at best, perfunctory analysis of government financing. I do not think this report should be used as a catalyst for staff or program cuts. It should not be used as a vehicle for disturbing the delicate equilibrium here in what many perceive to be a fragile economy. Recessions are as much a state of mind as they are an analysis of the financial statements. If everybody runs around and says that we are in trouble then, sure as the sun comes up in the morning, we will be.

A considered examination of the finances by the Public Accounts Committee is in the interest of the public service, the public and this House. I would indicate that I will, in fact, support this amendment.

Hon. Mr. Fisher: I would like to speak briefly about this amendment. There are a couple of things I would like to straighten out for the Member opposite. I did work for government for quite some time. My salary for the two years previous actually increased by 23 percent, contrary to what the Member opposite had just said about it being impossible.

The other thing on the financial statement, is the fact that the actuals from 1990-1991 increased by 11 percent. The forecast that was prepared by Consulting and Audit Canada is an increase of 13 percent. This, I think is quite accurate. I believe that, despite vehement protestations to the contrary from our Member opposite, the financial situation in which we find ourselves - a situation confirmed by Consulting and Audit Canada - can be directly attributed to mismanagement by the previous government, mismanagement that dates back to the time they took office in 1985: the Ross River arena, the Elsa curling rink, the Watson Lake sawmill, the Beaver Creek swimming pool, Yukon College, the Whitehorse tourist information centre, and so on, are just examples of the many mismanaged projects that most Yukoners are quite familiar with.

Some of these projects had huge cost overruns, while others probably should not have ever been constructed. Now, I am going to give you a few examples, and these are relatively minor projects. You have to remember that each year there are hundreds of these projects throughout the territory. The Member from Ross River-Southern Lakes mentioned the sidewalks in Carcross - not a big project, $200,000 if I remember correctly, but totally wasted money. The one I am going to speak about here for a minute is the Keno City firehall. Keno City has fewer than 40 residents; fewer than 40 people live in Keno City. They have a total assessment of a little less than $1.5 million, yet the government built them a firehall that cost over $500,000 to construct and then stocked that firehall with $100,000 worth of equipment. I understand that for an eight-month period, from January of last year to September of this year, the cost for the heat alone for that building was over $4,000. Most of that was in the summer months. If you add to that the lights, telephone, truck O&M and the firefighters’ wages, you have indeed a very expensive building for a community of less than 40 people. Please believe me that I am not advocating that we do not have firehalls in small communities, but I cannot, for the life of me, support something that costs this much money to build and operate.

Again, I must remind you that there are hundreds of these projects across the territory. Instead of building a firehall in Keno City for over $500,000, we could very easily have had a firehall in Keno City that was more appropriate to the size of the community for a couple of hundred thousand dollars. Then we could have built another one in Champagne for the other couple of hundred thousand dollars. Then they could both have had a firetruck.

Another project has not gone ahead, but it really bothers me. It is the hazardous waste facility. It is another example of this government ignoring financial capabilities because of a need to respond to a requirement, albeit a recognized need. We can all recall the media attention that was given last winter and this summer to the site selection committee for the hazardous waste facility. These people tried desperately to find a place to put it. They eventually did come up with three sites. The people on that committee did a lot of really hard work. There was a cost attached to that. The cost for the site selection was $98,300. The estimated cost for the facility was $4.2 million. I had the opportunity a couple of days ago to meet with the chair of the operating committee for the hazardous waste facility. He was not aware of the estimated cost of the facility. When I told him, he was absolutely astounded.

What they actually wanted in the first place is something that would have cost far less than $2 million.

I will agree that the facility is needed; there is no doubt about it. This was another example of where, before the project ever got off the ground, before moving any dirt, putting in pilings or whatever was necessary, the cost had escalated to over twice what people thought they were getting. The other interesting thing about this is that there was one dollar allocated in the budget for this.

Mrs. Firth: I want to make a few points before I talk about the amendment, and I have some suggestions to add to the amendment that has been made.

This evening we have had a trip down memory lane. Going back a little further than what I would like to remember, because it makes me wonder what the hell I am doing here to sit and listen to the stories all over again about the Carcross boardwalks, the sewage system in Dawson that pumped sewage up hill instead of pumping it down, or whatever that system did that was wrong.

I guess my concern is that it is great for us to stand here and talk about what this group of people did as government and what the former Tory group did as government and what is happening now, but I am really having a difficult time trying to listen to the debate and trying to figure out how it is helping Yukoners, because it is not helping me, and I am kind of used to this. It is my job to sit here and listen and try to get something constructive from the debate.

So far, I have not heard anything constructive, other than a couple of things. I think that the amendment is constructive. I think that some of the concerns raised about the audit are constructive, because I know how figures can be manipulated, Mr. Speaker, and you know that when we are given a budget book, it really does not start to make sense to you until you sit down in the House, start debating it, analysing it and asking questions about every line item.

I think this is the same problem that we are having with the document that has been presented.

I took the liberty of having a local auditor go through the document to assist me in understanding it. The comment that stayed with me the most was the fact that they were absolutely astonished by the figures and did not really feel that there were any political intentions with the document. The person kept reminding me that he was a supporter of the Yukon Party but did not feel there were a lot of political manipulations in the document.

Whether there were or not, I do not know, because I do not personally have enough information to analyse the document. I think those are the concerns that are being brought forward by other Members of the Opposition.

I found the way the document was done to be very interesting, because the comparison that was made did compare apples and oranges, and did not give me an accurate picture of what had really happened, until I got the further comparison I had had done privately.

When I saw how inflated the figures were, it made me suspicious along the same lines that other Members of the Opposition have mentioned tonight. I know, as the former Member of a Cabinet and having gone through budget processes, how figures can be manipulated to make the picture look whichever way you want it to look. I know that deputy ministers, assistant deputy ministers and programmers all have wish lists, and everybody wants the best. I do not know if that has been built into this audit or not. I am suspicious that it has.

Instead of rehashing all the awful things that have happened in the past, we have to look at what we are going to do from today on, into the next few years. I listened to one of the Members not wanting to say, “I told you so,” but he said it about three or four times, so I got kind of skeptical about it. After the fourth time, I thought that he was telling all of us in the House.

What has happened in the past is done. I have never been a strong supporter of the present Opposition’s fiscal management policies. As a Member of the Opposition, I think that was fairly obvious. I raised concerns and issues that I thought were not in the best interest of Yukoners. I raised issues of concern about the spending habits of the previous government. I hope that, in my small way, I was responsible for initiating some change in the political scene in the Yukon.

I knew that the mood out there was that the people wanted change. I had no expectation of the kind of change that was about to come. I do not think other people did, either, because when I went knocking on doors during the election campaign, the comment I heard most often was that people had concerns about the way money was being spent and they could point to projects that had been mismanaged and were raised by the opposition. They had caused great overexpenditures and people were familiar with the mistakes that had been made. People were also under the impression that, probably, the finances of the Yukon government were not in a very healthy state. Many were asking that question one of the Members mentioned about whether or not we were broke.

But, I also heard people say, very emphatically, that they did not want the government to just come in and stop spending money. Whether or not it is possible to achieve that remains to be seen, but the change that we have had in the last two months or so has been so dramatic that it has had a very dramatic effect on Yukoners. I have made no secret of my criticism of what the present government has done with respect to the announcements they have made.

I do not dispute the Minister of Health and Social Services saying he does not want to rush into something and get a bad deal for Yukoners with the new hospital.

There is a way of saying things. First of all, as a politician and, particularly, as a government Member, you have to recognize that the things you say affect people’s lives.

If the Minister of Health and Social Services wanted to say to people that we have some concerns about the health transfer; we are sorry that it is going to be delayed a bit longer; I have to be briefed and I want to be informed with respect to the facts; I want to see if it is a good deal for Yukoners; I want to make sure that Yukoners and our health system is protected, then I think that people would have accepted that without criticism. There might have been some bantering here. The Opposition Members might have said that, when you were in Opposition, you told us to get going and, now, you are not hurrying up and getting going.

It was very critical what effect the comments that the Minister made publicly had on people. The Minister said that the project was not going ahead and was on hold. That is the impression that was left. Whatever the real words were that the Minister used, that was the impression that was left with the public.

Immediately, the people at the hospital started panicking about the hospital transfer and their jobs. They were phoning me saying, “We are having a meeting, Bea, can you tell us if the hospital transfer is ever going to go through?” What can I say to reassure those people? I cannot say anything, because the Minister has come out and said we are not going to have a new hospital.

The Government Leader is shaking his head and saying that he did not say that, but that is the impression that is left with the public.

It is very important that the message the government tries to convey gets out there. It is the same thing with the business about the government being broke. I have said this before, and this will be the last time that I am going to say it, but I really could not understand what the motive was for the government to state that, or what objective it was to fulfill. The effect of that statement to me was to say, “I told you so.”

The Member who is the Minister of Health now said that people were cynical about the government being broke. Well, what advantage is there for us to reinforce that cynicism and come out and say the government is broke. I mean what good does that do to the economy, and to the people in the Yukon. What benefit does it serve? What purpose does it serve? The Minister is saying that it is the truth. Is it the truth? They are all nodding their heads, but people out on the street there do not know if it is the truth or not. We do not know if it is the truth or not, and we certainly cannot tell from this document. There are other ways to give the same message. I agree with a suggestion that was made by the Leader of the Official Opposition. Why did the government not do its audits, look at belt tightening, reassure the public - yes the government is not in a healthy financial state - and say it is going to examine it and deal with it. They did not have to say we are broke.

The Government Leader should listen to this. He should not scoff or laugh at it, because his words are having tremendous impact on the people out there and on the economy. If there is a better way to get a message across so that there is not such a negative pessimistic doom-and-gloom result, then I think we should look for that better message.

The government could have given the same message that the finances are not in good shape, said we are going to have an analysis, we are going to get it under control, we are going to have to take some measures to do this, and then brought a budget in. There is some time yet before the budget. There are going to be lapsed finances; we are going to be getting more money from Ottawa. This document does cite a surplus. I am not saying go out there and tell everyone a lie and make them think that things are better than they are, but do not go out there and scare everyone half to death so that they tighten their purse strings and start thinking about whether they are going to lose their job or not. It is a stressful enough time of the year without us having the whole economy of the Yukon shaken up because projects are being cancelled left, right and centre. There is uncertainty about the two mining companies the largest other employers in the territory.

My criticism lies with what is happening right now. What has happened in the past is gone, and there is no way to recover it. The money is gone, and you cannot get it back so do not tell everyone that was precious money and we could use it now, because you cannot do that.

I am more interested in looking at ways in which we can tighten things up, and in looking at solutions to the government’s financial situation. In order to do that, we have to have information provided to us. One way to have it done is with a budget, or it could be done through the Public Accounts Committee. I do not know how expedient that is going to be.

In order to make good, specific suggestions, we have to have good, specific information. I do not think the document that has been provided by the government gives me the information I need to make a good analysis of the accurate and true financial picture of the government right now.

I took the liberty to check to see how much money we were going to be getting from the federal government in the next fiscal year. We are going to be getting almost $6 million more. I am at a loss to say whether or not the government is going to be broke. I need more information.

I do not think it is fair to the people we represent to just go out, say we are broke, and they have tabled this document that tells us that. It is a scanty document, and it does not tell all. We cannot expect people to adjust to that overnight, because they are not going to.

I have a lot of concerns about the government’s policy with respect to its hiring freeze. I have raised those concerns, because I think it is dangerous to just have a blanket, overall policy about jobs, term positions and auxiliary positions. In a lot of circumstances, those positions are held by clerks and lower-paid individuals. I know there are some who are auxiliary employees and earning substantial salaries, but the minute one person is no longer employed with the government because of a policy the government has, everyone becomes fearful for their jobs. That is just human nature. That is something we have to be cognizant of. It affects their morale, their performance and their whole lives. That is compounded by the doom and gloom scenario of the economic situation.

I know people who love Christmas shopping and are now just sitting at home, fretting about whether or not they are going to have a job, or they are fretting because they know their job ends at the end of December or January, or they are an auxiliary and they do not have a job. Sometimes both the husband and wife are auxiliaries and neither has a job.

When I come in the House and ask the Government Leader how many people are involved and how much money will be saved and I do not get an answer, I will stand up and accuse the government of being uncaring. They say I am an alarmist and that I am being sensational and trying to get headlines. I am not. I am trying to find out how people will be dealt with by this government. I want people to be dealt with fairly and compassionately. That does not mean I am saying that we should keep every government employee. I do not want the government to interpret my comments to extremes.

There have to be some jobs in government that are lost. I want to get some reassurance from the Government Leader that he has analyzed very, very carefully and that he has some feelings about the individuals who have been affected by this. I did not get that feeling. From today on and into tomorrow, I am advising the Government Leader to look at that, be aware and have some compassion for the lives of the people that he is affecting.

I have a lot of business people in the constituency that I represent who are very concerned about sales at this time of the year. Their business profits depend very heavily on having good sales at this time of year. They are not anticipating good sales; they are already making analysis that they are going to lose a percentage of their business sales that they would regularly be depending on. That is going to have a spin-off effect on them hiring other employees, stocking their inventory and that will affect the other fellow who supplies them with goods and services and the snowball gets bigger and bigger.

I am saying to the government and giving them some advice that if they are going to make more announcements, please, have some facts to substantiate them and, for Heaven’s sakes, research and analyze the impact that their announcement is going to have on people’s lives.

You cannot come and say something, and say, “I am glad I got that off my chest” and walk away from it, because you leave all the people falling in their tracks behind you.

I want to ask the Government Leader, when someone else on that side responds, whether or not it is possible for Opposition Members to get any more information to be attached to this documentation that has been given to us. I do not want to put anyone to extra work for me, but I would not mind some kind of opportunity to have a briefing - perhaps not so much for this document, because I find it fairly irrelevant in the context of wanting a briefing for the next budget coming up.

I would like some more information about this document and I will be more specific in some correspondence to the government. I see the Government Leader nodding his head indicating that it will be available. When I am certain about what I want I will communicate that to him.

I am planning to support the amendment that has been made - that the document be referred to the Public Accounts Committee for review and to have deputy ministers as witnesses. I sat on the Public Accounts Committee for quite a few years and I know what it is like when you get in the Legislature and you have the politicians on one side and the deputy ministers on the other side. I know how information can be selective - particularly verbal information.

I know the Public Accounts Committee does not have a lot of teeth when it comes to getting documents and information. I really would like to see the Public Accounts Committee have the ability to request documentation, even though it may be considered confidential. I frankly get tired of the word “confidential” being stamped on everything that really means something. I want the Public Account Committee to have an ability to get this information from the deputy ministers and to bring forward any other witnesses that they feel they may have to bring forward.

There is one thing that all of us in this House have in common: it is all of us against all of them. And they are much smarter than we are. By “they” I mean the deputy ministers, the managers, the policy analysts, the programmers - all of the people who are there protecting their jurisdictions.

It is absolutely true that they can make things sound like you have to have it tomorrow or the writ will be dropped, the election will be called and you will lose your riding.

You will have the marching mothers and fathers on your doorstep, as well as every babe in arms on your doorstep. All of us in this House should be working together, with this document, to find out what the real truth is. I am skeptical. I do not think we have got quite the whole truth and nothing but the truth yet. I would like to get to the bottom of it, but I do not think the picture is as bad as this document portrays. I feel that, after being in this House for so many years, watching expenditures, and knowing how funds have lapsed, and so on. However, that remains to be seen when we have a full budget session.

I am not going to propose any further amendments to this. I have made my concerns known. I have confidence that Members on the Public Accounts Committee will, if they have to, get in touch with other Members for ideas, questions and approaches. It is in the best interest of the Members on the Committee to have input from all the Members in the House, and I am prepared to offer any assistance I can, either to help analyze documents or to read through reams of paper saying what really happened.

I may be on the border here on speaking to the main motion, as I will probably want to get up and speak again. For the Members opposite, who seem to want to know how I am going to vote on everything, I generally agree with the idea of getting the spending habits of government under control, but I am not quite sure I know what they mean by it. Perhaps I will be more enlightened as the debate goes on. I have no dispute with the concept of looking at the way government spends money and getting a better control on that.

My last message is: could we all think about what we are doing to help Yukoners? When we make our comments, could we be a bit more positive and optimistic about the future of the Yukon? Can we all express some vision for the future, instead of talking about the past? When we do, could we keep in mind who comes first, and that is the constituents I represent and other Yukoners? Everything we say, the directions we take, the criticisms we give and the suggestions we make should all be made in the context that it is going to help the people we represent.

Hon. Mr. Phillips: I am going to be rather brief, but I do have a few comments to make. The last speaker was concerned about the fear that is out there and the fear that has been expressed in the public circles about the condition of the government and that it is causing anxiety. I can appreciate the comments made by that Member.

I think that it would be wrong for us to know the state of the Government of the Yukon’s finances and say nothing and have people go out and spend as if the economy was rolling along booming and then we tell them after Christmas that we did know before, but now we know that it is in poor shape and now we are going to tell you after you have spent all your money on Christmas and other things. There is a judgment call here.

I also realize that you can go out too far on these things, and you can speak about this too much and create too much anxiety, but the Member who spoke before is as guilty of that as she accuses others. She has risen in the House during the last few days and told us that there are all kinds of layoffs throughout the government and all these kinds of things. I want to give the Member an example of three departments that I am responsible for.

There are no layoffs in the Women’s Directorate and, as far as I know, none anticipated.

There is one position in the Department of Tourism that we are considering in the very near future, and I do not anticipate a layoff at all. In fact, it is an auxiliary and I think the position will be carrying on.

There is a huge department in the Department of Education. There are no layoffs in the Department of Education. We are talking about anybody working for the Department of Education, one of the largest departments out there. There are a lot of auxiliaries working for the Department of Education. There was one person I believe who was laid off in that department, but that person was working on student financial assistance letters that went out last week and this person is laid off at this time of the year every year.

People have left positions, and they have not been filled, in a lot of cases. We moved people around within departments to fill those positions. To accuse us of striking fear in the hearts of all auxiliary workers, when no one has been laid off in the departments I am responsible for, is wrong for the Member to do that. I think the Member should heed her own advice and get the facts first.

There are a few things that I would like to comment on. There were some comments made earlier about the previous government and why we are in this position. Of course, everyone knows about the visitor reception centre that was supposed to cost $2.6 million and ended up costing $3.5 million. There is the Granger school, a beautiful school, for $9.6 million. It is on-budget, but we could have built two schools for the Granger school.

I will just give you an example. The Member for Faro rose today and asked me a question about the Faro campus. I sympathize with that Member. I also have lots of people from other school committees calling me about new classrooms that they need in their schools, because they have no room for students in their classrooms. They need additional classroom space. I wonder if the Member for Faro knows that we spent $10,000 on a carving for the new Granger school.

When you know that there are tough decisions to be made, is that a tough decision by the side opposite? You have children sitting in hallways, you have cramped classrooms and no campus in Faro, and you are buying a $10,000 carving.

There was another $2,000 to put a logo on the floor of the gym, and another $2,000 for architectural art work for the gable ends of the outside of the school. I put a stop to that one. This was just to give the Member an example of the decisions, or the difficulties we are dealing with, while we are trying to look at priorities. I would think that the Member for Faro would agree with me. When we have tough decisions like whether we have a Faro campus or whether we have a classroom in a school in Whitehorse, we do not buy a $10,000 carving. That is just one of the small problems that we have. I would like to assure other Members of the House that we welcome this amendment. It is a good amendment. It is one that we can support wholeheartedly. We would love to have the opportunity to explain to the people of the Yukon the whole state of the Yukon government’s finances, and we hope the Public Accounts Committee will allow us to do that.

I was somewhat concerned about the remarks made by the Leader of the Official Opposition when he talked about the credibility of Audit Canada. They are a very credible company, they are independent, and they were given very simple terms of reference to take the figures and project them.

The Members of the Opposition may have some concerns about the wish lists, so to speak, for the 1993-94 budget, but I do not think they can question the 1992-93 figures that are in the document they are reading. Those figures are the budget of the NDP government. Those are the figures that were taken directly from the budget of the NDP government. There is no wish list there. They are figures they projected to use, and it is money they projected to spend by year-end.

One has to look closely at that document. I welcome the Public Accounts Committee’s opportunity to do that, and I look forward to watching the outcome of that particular exercise.

Amendment to Motion No. 6 agreed to

Speaker: Is there further debate on the main motion?

Amendment proposed

Mr. Harding: I would like to amend the motion as amended. I move

THAT Motion No. 6 be amended by adding, after the expression “territory’s finances”, the following:

“and to recognize the failure of its lack of economic leadership and the consequences of that lack of leadership for:

(1) securing the future of mining activity in Faro and Watson Lake,

(2) ensuring the success of the Taga Ku project, and

(3) completing the Whitehorse hospital transfer."

Speaker: It has been moved by the Member for Faro

THAT Motion No. 6 be amended by adding, after the expression “territory’s finances”, the following:

“and to recognize the failure of its lack of economic leadership and the consequences of that lack of leadership for:

(1) securing the future of mining activity in Faro and Watson Lake,

(2) ensuring the success of the Taga Ku project, and

(3) completing the Whitehorse hospital transfer."

Speaker: The Member for Faro on the amendment to the amended motion.

Mr. Harding: I guess we wanted to kind of change the debate because a good deal of the comments of the Member for Riverside who just spoke are true. A lot of things are being said in this Legislature that are changing the shape of the territory, changing the way people feel about their lives and changing the way they feel about moving on into the future. Certainly, I have a hard time seeing the practical point of the motion put forward by the government, especially in connection to the obviously biased political audit that was done. It certainly has been shown to me through the debate that it is built, by and large, on extrapolations and suppositions and certain things that every government has to deal with during every year of every term and that is managing.

Speaker: The Hon. Government House Leader on a point of order.

Hon. Mr. Phillips: This amendment to the motion is clearly changing the intent of the whole motion and we on this side believe this is out of order.

Speaker: The Hon. Member for McIntrye-Takhini on the point of order.

Mr. McDonald: We believe this amendment is in order, largely because of the fact that economic leadership is also related to the territory’s finances. If the two items are not related, then one could argue that nothing is related to finances.

As we have discussed in the Legislature over the course of the last three or four hours, what happens in the territory with respect to the economy, the hospital transfer, the Taga Ku, the federal transfers, the Faro and Watson Lake mines are all things that are truly related to, and have a direct effect on, the revenue projections for the territorial government. If we have to debate territorial financing without ever considering revenue, without ever considering the ability to generate funds that will pay for the services that we provide, then clearly it is a one-sided debate indeed. As much as the Members on the opposite benches want to consider only one small feature of territorial finances, to suit the arguments that they had represented, it would not be fair, it would not be right. Consequently, it is absolutely essential that we consider the economy with the territorial government’s finances, because they are inexorably related.

Speaker: I find that there is no point of order. This is a very general motion and I find that the amendment can be considered.

Mr. Harding: As I was saying before the point of order was raised, enough was said and shown to me that I certainly believe that there were considerable political reasons behind the audit done, and the way in which it was done was not objective. There were provisions for the Auditor General of Canada, who would have had a lot more credibility. However, a decision has been made by the House to send it to the Public Accounts Committee. That is something we will work hard on and let the truth be known.

With regard to the amendment put forward, we have to stress that what happened in the past and what has been left for the new government is a situation that will allow them to do some things that will continue to make this economy strong - as strong as it has been for the last few years - but it is going to involve some work. They will have to make some tough choices. In the middle of the year, just like any business or government, they will have to make some changes and reallocations. This will put them in a financial position where they can continue to operate as a government. It is something they will encounter every year that they are in government.

It seems pointless to me to try and come up with blame on the previous government for things the new government knows it will have to do. It will have to say no to some people. They are going to have to say that they cannot afford certain projects. They will have to establish their priorities. I do not think I am going to agree with too many of them, based on what I have heard so far, but they are going to have to make some tough choices.

They are showing a tremendous lack of economic leadership. The Conservative Party has always prided itself and claimed it is a self-professed beacon of fiscal management. They say they know how to run an economy and avoid deficits. They know how to invest. We have seen exactly what the Conservative free enterprise and free market model has done to the federal situation in Canada. It has put us into a very deep recession. We are very concerned about that same ideology and philosophy carrying through here in the territory, when so much good work has been done since 1985 by the previous government.

Again, I say that we have to move on, and the House has to move on from here. If the public demands that the situation that was left to the new government be investigated further, we certainly have agreed to do that. Our concern was that we did not want a misleading impression being left with the public. It is very important that people, particularly at this time of the year, have a feeling of security. There is reason for security out there. It is going to take some leadership and management by the new government.

The government wanted the job, they campaigned very hard - I certainly congratulate them on winning the election - but now they have a very big task in front of them. It is not just going to be hard this year - as a result of what was left to them by the previous government - it is going to be hard for as long as they are in power.

They are a minority government that has pulled together a coalition. They have power right now, but some of the things I see them doing already are indicating that they are going in the absolutely wrong direction. I have read through the Hansard, I have been in the territory since 1986, I know the criticisms that they made of the previous government, but I do not see anything in their conduct or their behavior in terms of economic leadership that is showing me that they are moving in a positive direction.

I think that the Member for Riverdale South made some very good points when she spoke about the people and the feeling that is being created by the gloom and doom and lack of economic leadership that they are providing.

What the government should be saying is that there is not a lot of money and that priorities must be organized, but it is no different from any other year. The next fiscal year we will receive the formula financing and the income that we normally get for the territory. Revenues are expected to be at higher levels than last year and we will put them to work. We will invest in the Yukon and people as the government before them did for seven years.

Instead, they come out with this political audit so that they can go to the people of the Yukon and the people that they have to say no to and say that it was all the fault of the last government. That is the wrong way to do it. That is not leadership. I was a little upset about the way the election went, but nonetheless that is the way it goes.

I had hoped the Members on the side opposite had enough experience, leadership and knowledge - some of them have been around for a long time - to know exactly what they say and what effect it has on the territory and the people in the territory. I do not think it is fair that the gloom-and-doom picture is painted to the people of the territory, when it is really not the truth. It is a situation that affects every government every year, and this government is going to have to deal with it. It is that simple.

The people in Faro want to see action on the situation regarding Curragh in the territory. They are extremely concerned about the situation regarding Curragh. Here we have a company that operates two mines in the territory, and granted it is not the most popular company in the world. However, Curragh contributes between 20 to 30 percent of the territorial economy in terms of revenue and income to the territory. Yet, all that we have heard from the other side of the House is that they have gone to lobby the feds. We have met with Mr. Siddon, but Mr. Siddon, of the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, has not really had much time for us.

The Hon. Government Leader has asked for a meeting with Mazankowski. He has not returned calls or he has not got a meeting set up. If the Hon. Government Leader does have a meeting set up he certainly has not indicated that to us. I wrote the Hon. Government Leader on November 23, requesting some information and an update on power rates and what they are doing, explaining the ramifications of the way people feel in my constituency. To date, I have not received a response.

In Question Period yesterday there was some comment regarding an article he read in the newspaper where I had requested a meeting. I suggest to the Hon. Government Leader that he start reading the mail and not the newspapers. The mail is where the request for information was sent to him.

Faro is a major contributor to this territory. Without those two mines, any plans the government has planned mean nothing - and some of them are good plans and I want to see them come to fruition; if good things are brought before the Legislature they will certainly have my support.

Faro is operating right now. No four-year plan, which is beginning to fall to pieces, as I have seen it - however, there are some items in it that I would like to see go ahead - is going to work without the continued operation of those mines. You cannot diversify when your base is being destroyed at the same time. It is not going to work.

The people in Faro want to see some action. So far, we have had nothing from this territorial government, the new territorial government, with regard to upfront commitment to Curragh Resources. They have stated in the House, which was somewhat news to us, that Curragh has not requested any financial assistance from them. I drew the conclusion from that, that they have asked the government to assist them as a lobby group to the federal government, because that is basically what the Hon. Government Leader has said has been done. Certainly I would like to see more in the way of leadership from them.

I would like to see commitment to the project. I want to see commitment to the project from Curragh Resources as well. I want to see commitment from them in terms of the cash that they can provide to the project, and that they try to sell off the assets that they perhaps have now as a result of investing in other areas of the country and other areas of the world that they could invest into the project, because I do not believe that taxpayers’ money should be spent to support the private-sector when private sector operators, such as Curragh, have the money to do the job themselves.

The investigation must be thorough before taxpayers’ money is invested in the project, but nonetheless we are facing a very serious situation that demands and requires economic leadership.

There are people and families in Faro who have made an investment in this territory. We do not get a lot of respect in this territory from a lot of people. When I come into Whitehorse, a lot of times there are a lot of comments like, “Oh, you are from Faro”. We really get the feeling in Faro that a lot of people do not consider us to be - to use the words of the other side - “real Yukoners”. Sometimes it becomes very frustrating because we do contribute heavily to this Yukon economy and the territory and we love to be here. I would live in no other place but the Yukon Territory, and there are many other Faroites who feel the same way.

We certainly want to make an investment in this territory. A lot of people in Faro have come from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Alberta, some were born right here in the Yukon. They have moved their families and belongings and some of them have spent $15,000 moving to the Yukon, because they want to make an investment. They made an investment in Curragh Inc. Curragh has made an investment and they have made a return investment with their lives.

These families do not know what is going on. Curragh has been very quiet and this government has been very quiet. So far, all they have done is to paint a gloom-and-doom picture and said they would like to bail Curragh out, to use the words of the Government Leader, but they do not have the money.

Under the present financing agreement - and this will open up a whole new can of worms - as I understand it, if the situation at Faro worsens and we lose jobs there, there is a potential for the economy to go down in terms of revenues and dollars that are generated into the territorial coffers and the formula financing for the territory can go up.

People in Faro do not look at it in terms of that simple equation for the territory. They look at it in terms of the investment they have made in the territory and in Curragh, and they want some action by government to keep people working here. Talk about a false economy. We have people working here right now, in Faro, who are interested in turning their disposable income into purchases within the Whitehorse and Yukon communities. We do it all the time. I hear it all the time. People say that every trip to Whitehorse is $1,000 minimum. When they come into Whitehorse, they usually stay in hotels or at friends’ places, they go out to a nice restaurant for dinner - not that there are not nice restaurants in Faro - no disrespect to Mr. Byblow -, get their hair done - although we have a couple of fine barbers and hairdressers in Faro, but it is a change of pace to come to Whitehorse. All this disposable income is collected here by the businesses who thrive off it.

Getting back to the point about a lack of respect, one of the most reprehensible feelings Faroites receive is when we come into Whitehorse, for example, on strike as we were in April the year before last, we go to a business and they say to us, what are you doing on strike, shutting that company down? You guys are all living it up there, the union is terrible; you are going to destroy that company, the Yukon and the economy.

We say, we have a little bit of a stake in this strike, too. We understand the ramifications. We love this territory; we love our community and, to a certain degree, we like our employer, because we appreciate the employment opportunity they give us. However, it is very frustrating when you contribute and contribute, and it is fine to have us here when we are working; however, when we are taking a stand, the response we get from the people we often make procurements from is a different one. They are no longer so friendly to us.

Nonetheless, we understand the effect that our work stoppages have on the people and businesses of Whitehorse. We want to support the business community in the Yukon in its entirety, including Faro, and we have always done that. I can tell you that the attitudes of the some of the people in Faro with regard to the business here in Whitehorse is not that good as a result of those feelings that have been passed on by the business community to the people of Faro.

In terms of investment, one of the greatest investments that have been made in terms of lives and livelihoods is the business community in Faro and the Chamber of Commerce. There are people in Faro who have invested heavily in that community and the reason that they do that is because they believe in the community and they believe it has a future, that the mine life will be extended and that it will get the support of the territorial and federal governments, because it has been there in the past.

What I see happening today is a hands-off, lobby approach, but I have not seen anything in terms of commitment from this government to the project. They say they recognize the ramifications of a shut down on the territorial economy. I have to believe that they do. If they do not believe that, they are not as smart as they think they are and sometimes I wonder how smart that is.

The business people in Faro are very concerned, like the rest of the citizens in Faro. These people have made investments in capital expenditures, projects and undertakings - some as recently as the election, such as the candidate who ran against me. He was building some office space to rent. I can only imagine what is going through his head as he hears the news roll off the lips of the Government Leader that he does not really have a lot of money now and he has not been asked for any assistance from Curragh, but yet he is trying to get a meeting with Mazankowski. Whether or not that is going to come to fruition is irrelevant. I would like to see some leadership from this government. I would like them to raise the stakes, as it were, and say “here is what we are prepared to commit to this project”.

Of course, accompanied with that has to be a full disclosure by Curragh of exactly what their situation is, the potential of selling certain assets that are really not that crucial right now to the Faro project. Make no mistake about it, the Faro project is the cash cow that drives that company. Without Faro, without the Grum stripping project being completed, it is dead and history. So is Watson Lake and any development of a northern British Columbia project. I am really not concerned with that project at this time, but I think that in future if that company can recover, it certainly would not be bad to create some jobs in northern British Columbia. First and foremost it all comes home and I have to ensure that things are getting taken care of in my riding.

I asked the Government Leader yesterday in Question Period why he did not see fit to respond to my letter. I presumed from the answer that he had not received my letter and I felt, especially as a new Government Leader and new Member, that, as an act of courtesy and good faith, he would have either, if he received the letter and knew about it, responded quickly to it, or given me a briefing, some discussion or consultation as to what is going to happen in Faro.

That has not happened. It is very discouraging. Even though I am a new Member, I am responsible for the people in that riding. They ask me questions. When I go home, people ask me about what is happening in the House and with Curragh. They ask what is happening with this new government, and point out that they did not run a candidate in this riding and that they do not care about Faro. I hope these sentiments are not true. I really do.

We have been working, since 1985, to build a strong community in Faro. We have done it in partnership with the government. It took a lot of work to get that mine reopened. As I said in my Reply to the Speech from the Throne - that was reacted to so favourably by the Members on the other side of the House - we have to look at the real facts of the situation. It is a lot easier to keep a mine going than it is to reopen or open a mine. It is as simple as that. I pointed to the capital it cost just to get the mine going again in Faro. There was seven months of operating, doing a restart, with the whole operation, before any cashflow at all came back to the company. That capital was not raised easily. The project was a white elephant to begin with. If it goes down again, I do not believe that there is much potential for it to come up again, because the capital that will have to be raised to start up that mill, reopen the pit, pump it out and do everything else that one has to do with an open pit and underground operation to get things moving again, will take considerable amounts of capital.

We have been building that community since 1985. There is a partnership between government and the will of the people there in that community. It has come a long way. We have had all kinds of things happen. It has all been built on the premise that we were going to work to economically diversify while protecting our base. We have been doing that. It has been slow and it is hard to attract investment to a so-called one-industry town, but the fact remains that that is what we are. Along the way, however, we have picked up some small business and have some things in the works. There is potential for developing mines close to the community for which, it is hoped, we can use Faro as a base to help diversify the economy. Perhaps, in a major way, it would still be mining, but, nonetheless, it is still diversification from the lead-zinc base we have - 50 jobs here and 70 jobs there - this is the kind of thing that finally could change Faro from what it is today, a one-industry town, to a real community. Faro is a real community in a sense of the spirit of the people, but it is a one-industry town in terms of where all the employment comes from.

Faro is the largest private sector employer in the Yukon. I would think, from a government that espouses the virtues of private sector employment - and they will get no argument from us with regard to its benefit to the economy - that its commitment would be undying to keeping that project going. Again, as I say, what kind of economic leadership have we had?

I have heard rumblings that they are working really hard on it. Give us the details; let us know what is going on.

They have also said that they have not been asked for financial assistance. They said they have asked for meetings with the feds and they have not gotten them. It is no secret that the federal government’s response to Curragh Inc. is not going to be a favourable one. Twenty-six miners died on May 9, 1992, at Westray, which is owned by Curragh Inc. It is a political nightmare for the Tories. Their response is going to take some real work.

It would be appreciated if the people on that side of the House would be involved in that process, because it is not going to be an easy one.

We want to see leadership from the other side. The previous government was undying in its commitment to that project to see that it never went down during their time in operation. They provided a $5 million loan, help in the start up, worked out arrangements on the power rates, negotiated some arrangements with regard to haulage, weights and road restrictions. They did this to encourage a climate for that company to operate in feasibly. They did. They made almost $250 billion in net profits over four years - another $250 million, and that is in the shareholder statements that are for public perusal.

That is the type of leadership that we need. The free enterprise system is flawed in its most elementary and rudimentary form. There has to be some leadership by government, especially in projects in the north, which have a lot more barriers to getting going than others.

We cannot let this project die, and I would like the government to show us what they are committing to the project, so that the people of Faro and the people of the Yukon know that the government is not sitting back. If Don Mazankowski will not answer his door, the Hon. Government Leader, John Ostashek, will not have to fly home to the Yukon empty handed. Let us see their commitment first.

Perhaps that raises the stakes so the federal government will have to give more consideration to the requests and the demands of Curragh Resources.

I know quite a bit about Curragh, and even though they have not officially asked for financial assistance from the government, as the Hon. Government Leader said, I get the inkling that if some was offered, Clifford Frame might take it. I do not know. He has taken it in the past, I do believe.

One thing that really has not been talked about a lot, and I think that it is something that should be said, is that it is another economic leadership issue. I think that in view of what has happened with Curragh Incorporated in the past - their corporate record, corporate performance and the public’s perception of Curragh - it makes it much more difficult to extract what is needed to keep this project going. I do think that there are some innovative and progressive things in terms of leadership that the government can do to try and generate a better feeling in the Yukon. Even in the Yukon, there are people who balk at that type of assistance for Curragh based on their record, but some things can be done to create an environment so that perhaps more people would be amenable to the suggestion of taxpayers’ dollars going to keep people working in the Yukon. That is what it means to me; it certainly is not about keeping Clifford Frame in a job and on his ranch. I know that he can retire now; he would be happy and set up for the rest of his life. This is about the people who live in Faro and the people who live in the rest of the Yukon and the jobs. It is as simple as that.

I think that the government has to show leadership and they have to say, “Let us take a look at what happened to Curragh in the past. If they want taxpayers’ dollars, we are going to have to spice up that agreement so that we can get some assurances from Curragh Inc. that they are going to be good corporate citizens and that they are not going to kill Yukoners.” These are progressive thoughts - and I am sure that the Members on the side opposite are not really too keen on this type of idea, but I think that that is the type of thinking, and that is the type of vision it is going take to pull this thing off. The priority is jobs and we have to keep them, but we also have to convince the people of the Yukon and the people of Canada, if the federal government is involved, that it is a good thing. The federal government is going to go through an election in the next year and people are going to ask many, many serious questions about helping Curragh Incorporated.

There are two approaches to taking over government that I have always viewed. This is my first time representing a community or a riding as a politician. There are two ways for people to approach a new situation. There is the first approach and that is to open the first envelope and blame the previous government. “Look, we wanted to do this; we said we would do it in the election.” Or, to use the words of the Minister of Renewable Resources, “We supported it and we are going to look into it, but we were not committed to it. They made a lot of promises during the election campaign: millions and million of dollars. They won, and, again, congratulations; I hope they do a good job for the people of the Yukon’s sake. They came into office and the approach they took was, immediately, ”We have to find out what is going on, and we have to find out exactly where we are." Well, certainly we understand that, because as new people being elected, they have to know where they are. Is what they did a political exercise or was it a legitimate gauging of exactly where they were?

It is a concern to me and to other Members of this House that there are some real concerns about the report that was tabled. It is a projection or a forecast. I took my last year of a commerce degree last year and I did stats. I know about forecasting. I know about the margin of error in most forecasts, and I can assure you that this report here has a lot of errors. The margin of errors is very high. One thing that it does - and this was alluded to by the Member for Riverside - is destroy the investment climate. It is not the truth. It is the interpretation of the truth that they want to make.

Numbers can be looked at in all different ways. If one watches the debate on the parliamentary channel, one can see this. Mulroney has his statistics; Audrey has hers and Jean Chretien has his. It has become a war of the statistics.

The people of the Yukon want to know simple things. They want to know if they have a job tomorrow. They want to know if they will be unemployed or on social assistance tomorrow. They want to know if they have an opportunity to have a job for themselves, their families and their children.

What kind of investment climate is there in the Yukon? You talk about wanting to diversify the economy. What kind of investment climate is there here when the government is saying we are broke, when really it is a situation they are going to face every year in terms of allocating and reallocating and looking at what departments are submitting for budgets. It is just a simple management process. I should not say it is simple. It is tough. I knew the Members here before I was elected. I knew the decision-making process. Sometimes I agreed and sometimes not, but I always knew that they thought about it, worked on it and did the best they could.

The Members across the way talk about mistakes and the Leader of the Official Opposition talked about mistakes, but in the Watson Lake sawmill issue, as I followed it, I cannot see for the life of me why the government should make apologies for an investment in a rural community that was desperately in need of something. It did not work out in the end, but they did not sit on their duffs and do nothing. They tried to help the people of Watson Lake.

Well, we will see what the record of the government is as they move on. If Curragh goes down, we certainly will have something to point to in terms of your economic record and I do not think that will be a good move for the people of the Yukon.

Again, I have to point to the gloom-and-doom approach and what it does for the investment climate, not only in terms of private sector investment in the territory, but the attitude of the people of the territory who really count.

What are they going to say? The Hon. Government Leader has boxed himself into a corner so badly with this political audit; how hard is it for him now to give support to Curragh that they need so that they can keep those jobs in the Yukon and strip that Grum deposit?

The Government Leader says there is no money, but the cold, hard reality is that that mine has got to stay operating. The Government Leader has got to find that money. So, when the Government Leader comes up with that money the people are going to say, “Where did he come up with that money; he said we were broke?” The truth is the money was there all along. You just have to manage the money and find it. That is part of being government. It is going to happen in the private sector and it is going to happen with government.

I was thinking about an analogy before, and it is similar to when Curragh managers - whom I am never going to profess to be the smartest group of managers in the world - sit down at the beginning of the year, they do their budgeting and forecasting, and try to determine what is going to happen for the year. They do the best job they can at it. Along the way, during the year, things happen. There are overruns in some areas, shovels break down, mills go off their bearings, there is down time they did not anticipate, and there are forest fires between Faro and Carmacks.

However, the thing they do not do - based on extrapolations on what has happened as a result of things that have happened during the year - is forecast a $700 million loss at the end of the year. What they do is they manage. They say, okay, we have to trim a little here, invest a little bit there, this department did not spend so much, so we have to take that money and put it toward this, which needs more as a result of what happened. They do not just sit there and say it is all over but the crying, there is nothing there, we might as well shut the mine down. That is basically what we have heard from the other side: “we are broke; we would like to bail Curragh out, but we cannot because we have no money.” The Government Leader says, “I am going to go to see Mazankowski and, if he lets me into a meeting, perhaps we will get something.” That is not leadership.

We want commitment to the people of the Yukon, to the people of Faro, to those important private-sector jobs. It is the largest private-sector employer in the Yukon.

To get back to the point made by the Member for Riverdale South, and the point I also wanted to raise, to show economic leadership, you have to seize the day. You have to realize that every statement you make in here has an effect on what goes on outside. Even Brian Mulroney, who has driven this country into a deep recession, is still telling Canadians that things are working out all right.

People are out of work. Even though it is 1.5 million unemployed, we are restructuring. The free trade agreement is going to change things. Today we signed NAFTA, and it is going to be even better. Mexico is going to be better. It is all going to be better, and it is wonderful. In the meantime, the food banks swell, social assistance costs go up, they keep offloading to the provinces and the territories. The UI cuts are just the latest example of what is happening with regard to offloading.

When they table their budget, they are going to say “look what we did, look what we did to unemployment costs”. Well, look what they did for social assistance costs for Yukon. It is terrible. They have done it time and time again. In Ontario, cutting transfer payments from 50 to 33 percent and creating an environment with interest rates and free trade. For so long, the real interest rate was so high there was really nothing that could be done by the exporters and manufacturers in Ontario, except move south under the Free Trade Agreement. This was wonderful.

Then the NDP in Ontario had a $10 billion deficit. I wonder why? They had a lot to work with.

Speaker: The Member has approximately two minutes to conclude his remarks.

Mr. Harding: Time goes fast when you are having fun.

I would like to say in closing my brief remarks that I believe that a major turnaround is expected in the Yukon by this government. We did not expect to have much to say in this brief session of the Legislature, but as I said in my Reply to the Speech from the Throne, a lot has happened since the new government taken over. A lot of very negative things have happened.

The Yukon Pride litter campaign is an example of the good things they have done. I hope there is more of that, but I hope there are also some bigger issues, as stated by the Member for Whitehorse Centre.

A bill on the Liquor Corporation was brought in. I understand the reasoning behind that, but, my goodness, when you have the Taga Ku, Curragh Inc., the Whitehorse Hospital and real jobs on the line that affect real people, this government has to show economic leadership. Let us stop whining about what was left to us - because it is not a bad situation - let us stop trying to cover our political buns and let us get on with the business of governing the Yukon and investing in the people who have come here to invest their lives in the territory.

The people of the Yukon deserve that from this government. They wanted to be elected and now they should manage the money that the government has, put people to work and keep people working.

Hon. Mr. Devries: I would like to speak against the amendment. When I heard the Member, I could not help but think that, thank goodness, we finally have somebody who is smart over there. I could not believe it. I feel like writing Brian Mulroney and saying, “Brian, we have a genius here; he knows it all. He has the answer to every question and every problem that you have.”

We have a person here who has been here exactly six weeks, and he claims to be an expert. I have been four years, and I can assure you that I am not an expert, but I am giving it the best shot I can.

The Member went on and on about Faro. I am from Watson Lake, and I also realize how important Curragh is to the community of Watson Lake. The enterprise prior to this one that was attempted there was not too successful. We all had high hopes in the Sa Dena Hes operation. I believe that we still have a good little mine there, but we do have a problem. I assure everyone here that we are doing everything we possibly can to resolve that problem. There is no easy answer.

I think the Member for Faro touched on it several times when he brought up Curragh Inc. and the bad taste that the name has left in people’s mouths, due to the situation at Westray.

I was hoping the Member would come up with some very good ideas. He hinted at a few things. I am very disappointed that the Member has not phoned me and come over with some suggestions. It seems that, so far, all he has chosen to do is talk to me through the newspaper. I do not think the way to be an MLA is by going to the newspapers and trying to negotiate through that means.

We see the Taga Ku project mentioned here, and we see the Whitehorse Hospital transfer mentioned here. I truly believe in the Faro mine, and I believe that there is a way to resolve that problem. We are in negotiations on the Taga Ku project, and we are not in a position to speak about it right now. On the hospital transfer, I think the Minister responsible for Health made it very clear that he is reviewing that and making sure that we are getting a deal that is good for the Yukon. It is not something that we want to jump into.

I just want to go back to Sa Dena Hes. Yesterday, one of my prospective sons-in-law came down and visited with us here in Whitehorse. He works at the Sa Dena Hes mine. So, it is not only the community that is involved, but it is someone who could become part of our family.

I can assure everyone that I am very concerned about it, and we are doing everything humanly possible to see that it is resolved.

The Member seemed to go around and around. First, he says that, from his colleagues, there should be lots of money, and we should be able to just pick up some of this money and help Curragh. The next minute, he says that we should not bail them out. A few minutes later, he says that we should re-priorize our finances so that we can help Faro, because there is tight money. Where is he really coming from?

I would love to be able to stand here and say that there are a lot of easy answers on how we can help Faro, but there are none. There are ongoing discussions between the owners of Curragh Inc. I am sure that, once we or they have something to announce, everyone here will be hearing about it at the same time through a news release, or whatever.

As the Minister of Government Services, one of the things that I want to look at in terms of past mistakes is the situation where Government Services receives a construction project from a client department. They should then review this project and have the mandate to go back to that client department and say that it is not a practical building and that there is a better way to spend the money, and so on. This would be a check on what the client departments come up with.

Despite the fact that the Public Accounts Committee made several recommendations to Management Board, it seems that cost overruns are a little more under control than they used to be, but it also seems that more money is being allocated to various projects. This is how we end up with schools like the one in Granger.

I am very happy that Government Services had nothing to do with the one across the river. Any department that oversaw that project should be embarrassed. It is a beautiful building, but they should be embarrassed, because that was money poorly spent.

We all asked for an extended care facility, and there is no doubt about that. When we hear someone say that a building of the same proportion could have been built for $3 million or $4 million, with half the O&M costs, that is what we should have had. We should not be going for buildings where the Minister and the Premier are fighting about whose name should be the largest on the plaque.

Mr. Cable: I would like to put on the record that I am an associate of a law firm that represents the Taga Ku people. I deliberately withheld comment on Tuesday when the issue came up. I do not wish to speak to this amendment, nor do I intend to vote on it.

Amendment to Motion No. 6 defeated

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

Motion No. 6 agreed to as amended

Speaker: There being no further business, this House now stands adjourned.

The House adjourned at 8:00 p.m.

The following Sessional Papers were tabled December 17, 1992:


Our Land, Too: Women of Canada and the Northwest 1860-1914 book (Phillips)


You Make the Choice: Yukon Women in Science, Trades and Technology (Phillips)


Yukon Development Corporation Annual Report for the year ended March 31, 1992 (Phelps)


Yukon Energy Corporation Annual Report for the year ended December 31, 1991 (Phelps)

The following Legislative Return was tabled December 17, 1992:


Consulting and Audit Canada Review: forecast revenues for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1994; terms of reference of the study; and accuracy of projections (Ostashek)

Oral, Hansard, p. 28

The following Document was filed December 17, 1992:

Filed Document No. 2

“The Future Direction of Yukon” (Presentation to the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce by Willard Phelps, February 9, 1988) (Phelps)