Thursday, January 27, 1994 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. We will begin with Prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed with the Order Paper.
Introduction of Visitors.
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Mr. Penikett: I would like to call the Houses attention to the presence in the gallery of two distinguished personages: Mr. Norm Chamberlist, the former Member for Riverdale and the former Minister of what is now known as the Department of Health and Social Services; and the former Commissioner of the Yukon Territory, Mr. Douglas Bell.
Speaker: Are there any Returns or Documents for tabling?
Reports of Committees.
Introduction of Bills.
Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Are there any Notices of Motion?
NOTICES OF MOTION
Ms. Commodore: I give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that advocacy groups perform a valuable role in our community and should be encouraged to continue, and that cuts to non-government organizations effectively inhibit these volunteer groups from playing an active role on behalf of the people they represent; and,
THAT the government should immediately restore funding to advocacy groups.
Speaker: Are there any Statements by Ministers?
This then brings us to Question Period.
Question re: Non-government organizations, funding for
Ms. Commodore: My question is for the Minister of Health and Social Services regarding the funding for NGOs.
Yesterday, the Minister said that he is cutting funding for advocacy groups. That includes the Teegathaa Oh Zheh, which provides direct services to handicapped people. Will the Minister please define exactly what he means by the term advocacy.
Point of Order
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I take it that, under the rule of anticipatory questions during Question Period, the hon. Member opposite is not going to be raising this issue during budget debate later?
Speaker: I believe the Minister of Health and Social Services has raised a point of order. Did the Member for Whitehorse South Centre wish to speak on the point of order?
Ms. Commodore: On the point of order, it is not my intention to debate this item in the Committee of the Whole. I have already done that.
Mr. McDonald: On the point of order, I think it is important to point out that the Opposition is going to have great difficulty avoiding any kind of questions that would anticipate this afternoons business, given the number of Members on the front bench who are there to answer questions, and given the full range of departments that we anticipate going through this afternoon, so to hold to this rule would essentially nullify any meaningful Question Period and I would ask you to show leniency on this matter, given the circumstances we face.
Speaker: With respect to the point of order, I sympathize with the Member for McIntyre-Takhini. There are three Ministers who are not present. The Ministers who are present all have debate scheduled this afternoon, so as Speaker I would find it very difficult to enforce Guideline No. 12, which says a question is out of order if debate is scheduled for that day on the same subject matter, in that the Opposition would be severely limited in what they could ask. However, if the Minister of Health and Social Services wishes protection under the rules from questions, there is Guideline No. 10 that says a Minister may decline to answer a question without stating the reason for his or her refusal, and insistence on an answer is out of order and a refusal to answer cannot be raised as the basis of a question of privilege.
So, I am prepared to allow the Member for Whitehorse Centre to ask her questions on the basis that she does not see the topic as scheduled for debate this afternoon, or will not be debated, and the Minister of Health and Social Services can either answer the question or decline to answer it.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I have no difficulty with that ruling and I have no difficulty with answering the question, so long as the Member opposite chooses her forum: this House or Committee of the Whole.
As to the question with regard to the NGO in question, the reasons that we gave for the letter indicating that there would probably be a cut in funding to the said organization was on the basis that we are moving toward a philosophy, a policy, of providing fees for services that are agreed upon between NGOs and the government, and away from core funding and simply providing money for advocacy groups.
I would anticipate that the organization would have further meetings with officials in the department in order to put forward their case and to see exactly where the discussions might lead.
Ms. Commodore: For two days in a row the Minister has failed to answer that very question.
The Minister talks about fee for service, but cannot understand that advocacy in itself is a service. For example, when someone speaks to the bank on behalf of a disabled person, that is a service. Will the Minister please clarify what he regards as a service.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: This is something that will be done in discussions with the organizations affected. The intention of this government is to indicate what services it wants to see provided by non-government organizations, and set the standards for the kinds of services that are being purchased by government. We will then enter into a clear contractual arrangement for the provision of funding to the non-government organization in question, whatever one it might be. The issue is a very simple one: we are short of money.
The government has to determine what its priorities are. We are no longer in a position to throw money at those groups that make the loudest noises. We have to determine what services ought to be provided to individuals in need in the Yukon, and we need to determine the most effective way to provide that service.
This seems to me to be a very commonsense approach, and it also seems to me that to do anything less would be to really fail in our responsibility to the public to ensure that we are funding the best possible service to those most in need.
Ms. Commodore: I am going to refer my question to the Deputy Government Leader. In the last little while, it appeared that the Chamber of Commerce, in the eyes of many Yukoners, has been an advocacy group for the government since it has been speaking and lobbying on behalf of the government.
Can I ask the Deputy Government Leader if the Chamber of Commerce has been given notice that their funding is going to be cut.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: With the greatest of respect, we are talking about a movement within the government toward a fee-for-service rationale for this type of funding. I am sure that this question would be best asked, in some detail, of the responsible Minister.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The Member says that he is not here. That debate was carried on hour after hour and day after day, to my recollection.
Question re: Non-governmental organizations, funding for
Ms. Commodore: I am going to be directing my question back to the Minister responsible for cutting off funding to advocacy groups. Yesterday, the Minister suggested that community organizations were funded because of knee-jerk reactions to political outcry. One of the organizations facing cuts is Teegathaa Oh Zheh, which provides residential services to severely disabled people. This is a necessary service and one that does not exist simply due to political outcry, as the Minister would suggest. Does the Minister support the concept of independent living or does he believe that clients of Teegathaa Oh Zheh should be institutionalized?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I answered that question very clearly in the other forum yesterday, but I will answer it again, just to keep the Member happy. What we are saying is that we are very concerned about the plight of those people. We believe in independent living for those people, and we want to make sure that we are spending our money effectively for services that will ensure that they are given the best possible assistance to be independent. We have serious social and health problems in the Yukon - terrible problems - and limited funds to go around. It is up to this government to prioritize and ensure that services are delivered, within its means, in the best way possible. And that is the duty and responsibility that we have.
Ms. Commodore: I would like to draw the Ministers attention to Hansard of November 28, 1990, which I will table in the House. The discussion was pertaining to funding for non-profit organizations and the Minister was complaining about the level of funding for NGOs, arguing that the funding for NGOs should rise with the revenues of government. Why has the Minister reversed his position on the funding for NGOs?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: At the time, the government had no rationale for the way in which they were funding NGOs, something that was admitted by the now Leader of the Opposition in the debate with respect to Bill No. 38, dealing with the guarantee that we are providing for the lease of the Yukon Family Services Association. I said that we are committed to moving in a direction that will rationalize the way in which we provide such funding and ensure that we get the services that are best for the clients, delivered in the best possible way. It is a fairly simple and straightforward philosophy. It has nothing to do with cutting people off for the sake of cutting people off. It is a genuine concern to help people who are most in need.
Ms. Commodore: In the same speech, the Minister referred to the increase the NGOs were getting as a paltry four percent. If the Minister believes a four-percent increase is paltry, what does he think a total funding cut is?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Taking words and arguments out of context would suffice for some, I suppose. The issue really is that, in those days, government spending was growing in leaps and bounds because of the formula financing. Again, there was no rationale offered, and perhaps none in existence, for the manner in which government financed all these various NGOs. That is the problem - without targeting any of them - the government had no practical guideline, philosophy or policy that was consistently applied. That is what we are aiming toward, and that is what we discussed during the debate on Bill No. 38. I understood that is what was being asked for by the Members opposite. How quickly things change.
Question re: Yukon Energy Corporation, privatization of
Mr. Cable: I have a question for the same Minister, with his Yukon Energy Corporation hat on. I gather from news reports this morning, the Minister was at a meeting of the Council for Yukon Indians yesterday, making a sales pitch for participation of the First Nations in the shareholdings of the Yukon Energy Corporation.
Did the Minister take any written, formal proposition with him to present to the Council for Yukon Indians? If so, will he table it?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: No, I took no written, formal position paper. I spoke to them in general terms about a concept I have been discussing in the course of determining whether or not I should take the position to Cabinet for a negotiating mandate. My position was that these are the kinds of concepts I had been thinking about since making a promise to bring First Nations in as equal partners in the provision of electrical energy to Yukoners and, if they were interested in it, and think it is worth pursuing, they could tell me and I would take the next step, which would be to go to Cabinet for some kind of mandate to commence some formal negotiations.
Mr. Cable: There is a suggestion from the news report that the proposition was put to the First Nations, in the context of the negotiations for reduction of the outstanding loan, that if they did some down-field blocking for the Minister and obtained a reduction in the money owing to the federal government, that would constitute equity on the part of the First Nations.
Was that the proposition put to the Council for Yukon Indians?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Not really, and not exactly. There was some discussion around an approach to potential strategies with regard to a unified approach to the federal government with regard to the loan in question but, no, in the way described by the hon. Member, that was not precisely what was said. Generally, a unified approach to that issue was one of the areas that would be discussed in negotiations, if the First Nations are interested. If they are not, we will not proceed with the issue of privatization at all.
Mr. Cable: In the Northwest Territories, the proposal to privatize was done in the context of a document entitled Proposal to Privatize the Northwest Territories Power Corporation, which sort of looks and tastes like a white paper. Is the Minister prepared to adopt a similar procedure with respect to the public discussions that, in my view anyway, should precede any moves to privatize the corporation?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The first issue has to do with whether or not there is sufficient interest on the part of the First Nations to proceed. If there is not, then we will not proceed, and that is the end of the matter. If we do perceive that there is indeed that type of interest, then we will proceed for a mandate to commence some negotiations. At some point in time, before anything is finalized, yes, we will come forward with some kind of a discussion paper. I have no problem with discussing whatever the end result might look like before anything is finalized, but now would be an improper time because we have not even commenced negotiating any of the issues with the First Nations and we certainly do not have the expertise with the detailed kind of background that would be required to develop a paper at this time.
Question re: Memberships in organizations of senior government officials
Mr. Penikett: My questions are for the Deputy Government Leader. Yesterday, we tabled a document showing the associations senior government officials belonged to and whose memberships were paid for by tax dollars. This list included the president of the Workers Compensation Boards membership in the Rotary Club, which many of us on this side of the House found amazing in light of the funding cuts to community groups such as the Learning Disabilities Association.
I wonder if the Minister could tell us if it is now the policy of this government to pay for memberships for its senior staff - people who may be earning $80,000 or $100,000 a year - in social clubs or service clubs, such as the Rotary Club. Why is the government requiring the taxpayer to cover the cost of these at the same time as they are cutting off funding to volunteer organizations like family services, community living and other groups like that?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I am completely unaware of it; it certainly is not our policy. He mentioned Workers Compensation - I think that question would have to be directed to the chair of the Workers Compensation Board, as the board now run Workers Compensation.
Mr. Penikett: Let me ask about a couple of other memberships that were paid for on behalf of deputy ministers of the government - not deputy heads of Crown corporations, but line deputies, who are members of something called the Canadian arctic resources committee, an organization that has been subject to withering attack in the past by Members on that side of the House. I would like to ask why this government is paying for the memberships of senior officials in an organization which it has publicly denounced and criticized in the past?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I am completely unaware of this but rest assured that I will look into it and get back to the Member.
Mr. Penikett: I find it astonishing the acting Government Leader says he is unaware of it. This was information contained in a document tabled by him and his colleagues in this House yesterday.
Let me ask the Minister this: I found it interesting that the government paid for free memberships for deputies in the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce, yet the law prohibits deputies from being engaged in any kind of partisan political activity. Given the partisan interventions by the chambers of commerce in recent debates in this Legislature, how can the government justify paying for the memberships in these political organizations, with taxpayers dollars, for people who are among the highest paid people in the Yukon Territory, while at the same time cutting off NGO funding?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I repeat that I will get back to him with a legislative return.
Question re: Faro, industrial adjustment services
Mr. Harding: I have a question, as well, for the Deputy Government Leader.
The funding for the Faro industrial adjustment services looks like it will be cut off by the spring at the latest. Many of my constituents are still retraining, trying to develop Yukon business opportunities and undertaking job searches. Is the Yukon government supportive of these services in Faro for industrial adjustment?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We will do our best to do anything we can to help the Faro people. I would hope that there would be some movement on mining to open that area again.
Mr. Harding: I would certainly hope so.
I would like to ask the Minister this question: both the Yukon MP, Audrey McLaughlin, and I have contacted the federal Minister regarding this issue and we have asked for services to continue while these needs exist. Will the Yukon government contact the federal Minister to ask that these services be provided, while need exists?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: That is a question for another Minister, who is not here. We certainly will look at it and do our best to help in any way we can.
Mr. Harding: If the federal government does not agree to help fund these services, is the Yukon government planning to help by going it alone, or looking at some sort of joint initiative with the federal government in order to continue to provide these important industrial adjustments in Faro?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I would have to take that under advisement. It involves a great deal of money.
Question re: Faro, industrial adjustment services
Mr. Harding: The government has been saving in many other aspects of my community. I would hope that they would consider funding that, at least.
I have a question for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services regarding the airport in Faro.
This week, the Minister could not answer the Member for Mount Lornes concern about the Faro airport, because he said that control had not been devolved from the federal government to the territory. It is my belief that the Faro airport is a class B airport, and that the territory does have control over the administering of services. Is the Minister sure of his position, stated earlier this week? If so, why?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I thank the Member for his question, because there does need to be some clarification.
The operation of the airport has been devolved to the Yukon Government. However, funding for the airport stills comes from Transport Canada. As of today we have not received confirmation from Transport Canada about the level of funding for 1994-95.
Mr. Harding: That may be the answer to my next question, but I want to ask the Minister my question to get it on the record.
The airport operator in Faro has not been offered the usual three-year contract, but rather decisions have been centered around month-to-month, or yearly, contracts. That sounds alarm bells in our community that YTG is considering closure of, or a reduction in, the service.
Could the Minister tell us why the common award or the length of contract has not been offered in this case.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I had anticipated the Members second question, so I answered that question in my first answer. To reiterate my previous answer, Transport Canada does the funding for the airports. Teslin is another airport that receives funding. So far, we have not received confirmation from the federal government of the level of funding for 1994-95.
Our staff in the aviation branch are working on it and they are pushing the federal government to make some sort of commitment.
Mr. Harding: This airport has the only night landing capability between Faro and Ross River, which has important medivac considerations. Does the Minister recognize this and is he prepared to do everything in his power to ensure that operator services continue in Faro?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: Yes, I am aware of that, and yes, we are.
Question re: Buildings, requirement for services of architect
Mr. Penikett: I have another question for the acting Government Leader.
On Monday, the Government Leader indicated that Management Board would determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether or not the government needed an architecturally designed building prior to the project going out for proposals.
Although there are standards set out in law and in professional architectural codes in every provincial jurisdiction, except the Yukon, that clearly define the types of buildings requiring the services of an architect, at least for reasons of health and safety, can the government please explain why it believes that the Minister and his Management Board colleagues are qualified to make decisions about building designs that in every other jurisdiction in Canada are strictly regulated by law and professional standards?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I do not think that we are qualified.
Mr. Penikett: I think that we on this side of the House wholeheartedly agree with that statement.
For reasons of public safety, all other jurisdictions specify when an architect must be used in the design of a building. For example, in British Columbia the Architects Act requires that all steel buildings must be designed by professionals. Yet, the government this week has suggested that we can build a standard school without the services of an architect because it is cheaper.
I want to know if this government, and the acting Government Leader in his capacity as Minister responsible for health and safety, has examined whether they face, or expose themselves to, any potential liabilities as a result of decisions to allow marginally qualified people to design buildings that people would work in, live in or be educated in? Could the acting Government Leader answer that question?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The understanding I have of the position taken by the Minister of Education with regard to building new schools is that, rather than have an architect create a new design for each and every school, we move to a system where we have plans on the shelf that would be standardized for various kinds of schools in certain conditions that might be modified but not completely drawn from scratch. I think that is a reasonable proposition and one that I understand is followed in other jurisdictions.
The issue about the utilization of architects for buildings is an issue of concern to the government. It is felt that there have been situations in the Yukon because of the lack of regulations and policies, as described by the Leader of the Opposition, where it is felt that, for some reason, we have had buildings that were over-designed and not utilitarian. On behalf of the architects, that is not their fault. They are following the wishes of the client. Nonetheless, the end result has been buildings, which everyone knows about, that have been extremely wasteful and over-designed.
We are simply trying to get to the nexus of the problem and deal in a fair way with the issue so that we will have buildings in the future that will meet the needs of the Yukon, be safe, and be buildings that Yukoners can be proud of.
Mr. Penikett: I would remind the new Government Leader that it was the former government that developed the possibility of having a generic school design. But we, at least, recognized that if the design of a school was going to be modified according to different site conditions, different curriculum needs, different school population character, and so forth, it would have to be done by a professional architect.
I would ask whichever Government Leader who wishes to reply if any member of Cabinet, or any senior official in the government, has made themselves aware of the document from the Architectural Institute of British Columbia, entitled How to Find, Select and Engage an Architect, a copy of which I would be happy to provide for the Members opposite.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I do not know the answer to the question. I have not raised the issue with my colleagues or senior officials throughout the government, but I would be pleased to have a look at the document once it has been tabled.
Question re: Whitehorse General Hospital, project manager
Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Minister responsible for Health and Social Services. I have asked the Minister questions in both forums - in Committee of the Whole and in Question Period - regarding the process used for the hiring of the project manager for the hospital reconstruction and construction, and I have asked questions about the contract. The Minister indicated yesterday that he would bring the information today, yet it is not here. I would like to ask the Minister responsible why he is refusing to bring the information while the House is in session.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: There is no deliberate refusal to bring information to the Member. I have asked the department to expedite answers to some of the questions that were asked yesterday. If the hon. Member would take the time to review the quantity of detailed information that has been asked by Members on the side opposite over the course of the last number of weeks, she would get some idea, I hope, of the amount of work involved. Nonetheless, I have undertaken to provide that information, as I said in my answer, by today or tomorrow, and I have asked them to expedite the information. Perhaps it will be available early this afternoon - if the department is listening, try to get it ready.
Mrs. Firth: These are not tough questions. I have asked the Minister how long the contract is for and how much it is for. It is not a tough question. I would expect the Minister to know, just as the public would. I would not want to leave the impression or the appearance that the Minister in some way hand-picked this individual or that he operated above the bounds of the law when it comes to hiring practices. I need the information to do that. If he does not give it to us when it is such basic information, surely he recognizes that he may be giving the impression to people that he is trying to hide something.
Speaker: Is there a supplementary question?
Mrs. Firth: I am just asking it - thank you, Mr. Speaker, for reminding me.
I am just asking this: how much is the contract for and for how long?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I am not trying to hide anything. I told her we would give her the detailed information in a written form, and we intend to do that. She does not have the right to dictate to me exactly how and when I have to provide that information. We are going to do it as cooperatively and as quickly as possible.
Mrs. Firth: If the Minister were really sincere in that pronouncement, he would stand up this afternoon and say, Mr. Speaker, the answer to the Members question is that this contract is for so many years and it is for so much money. Period. That is all I have asked for. Yet he continually refuses to do that.
I would like to ask the Minister this: will he give us a commitment, then, that that information will be provided to the House this afternoon?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I am assuming that it is being written up right now, as we speak. If it is, I will have it ready for her.
Question re: Yukon College, external examination of
Ms. Moorcroft: I have a question for the acting Minister of Education, which I gave him notice of earlier.
The Department of Education has awarded a $50,000 contract for an external evaluation of Yukon College, with a completion date of March 21, 1994. This comes in the middle of a very busy time for the college, when mid-terms are coming up. It would be far more sensible to carry the money forward to the next budget year, so that students and staff do not suffer from this artificial deadline. Can the acting Minister tell us why they have to spend the money in this years budget?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: The college board of directors and Department of Education have jointly requested this evaluation. The money is in the 1993-94 budget. The intention was to have the evaluation completed before April 1.
The people who submitted the successful proposal are quite satisfied with that deadline. I think that the Member did mention to me this morning - and I thank her for giving me notice, because I was not fully briefed on this particular proposal - that, because it was mid-term, it would not be a good time. However, I think it probably is a good time. The teachers and students will be there, and I expect that they will be involved in the evaluation.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister said that the consultant was satisfied with the time frame, but I have to tell him that not everyone is satisfied with the consultant. The department hired a consultant who has a poor track record with the college to do the evaluation. The strategic plan that was prepared by Nichols a few years ago was rejected by the college board. What assurances does the department have that the college evaluation will be a good one, when the consultants are being asked to do a rushed job?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I am sure that both the board of directors and the department that did the evaluation of proposals must have been satisfied with the proposal. I expect that there was some sort of dialogue between Nichols, the department and the board of directors. It seems to me that they had to be satisfied with the proposal; otherwise, they would not have accepted it.
Ms. Moorcroft: There is no extra money for anything else for the college. I question the departments priorities in wanting to do a rushed evaluation, which means that college staff will either not be able to participate fully or will have to ignore their students at the busiest time of year. I disagree with the Minister that mid-term time is a good time. I know how busy that period is at the college for both the staff and the students.
Would the Minister take my representation to Cabinet, that they extend the deadline on the evaluation beyond the March 21 deadline that is presently there?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: The Member opposite and I can disagree; that is fair enough. I do not know that I will take it to Cabinet, but I will certainly make both the board of the college and the Department of Education aware of the Members concerns. If they wish to extend that deadline, I would not see anything wrong with that.
Question re: Action Committee on the Economy
Mr. Cable: I have a question for the acting Government Leader. As the acting Government Leader might know, the City of Whitehorse has established a committee, called the Action Committee on the Economy, to examine ways in which business can be attracted to the City of Whitehorse. It is satisfying to know that someone in the territory is taking some initiative in this direction and showing some economic leadership.
Can the acting Government Leader assure this House that his government will work with that committee to promote economic activity?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We certainly would and we probably are already there.
Mr. Cable: Well, that is reassuring. In some respects, the Yukon Council on the Economy and the Environment encompasses the same sort of mandate that this committee has taken upon itself.
Will the acting Government Leader assure this House that the Yukon Council on the Economy and the Environment will be similarly requested to conduct some public review on what is wrong with the economy and what we should be doing to enhance our economic future?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I believe that is what they are already doing; however, they set their own agenda. They are completely away from the political scene.
Mr. Cable: I noticed in the news media last night that one of the members of the Yukon Council on the Economy and the Environment called the consultation on gambling a stupid waste. I do not know whether I agree with him or not-
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mr. Cable: Did you? Well, various people say that, too.
I am reminded by the Member for Whitehorse Centre that she considers it to be a stupid waste also.
Is the acting Government Leader in a position to table the so-called mandate that the council has to examine the economic future of the Yukon? I do not mean this somewhat amorphous document that was tabled in relation to the gambling consultation.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I will pass that request on to them.
Question re: Non-government organizations, funding for
Mr. McDonald: I have a question for the Government Leader at the end of the front bench - the Minister of Health and Social Services.
In 1990, the Minister of Health and Social Services took a very clear position on funding for non-profit societies while he was in Opposition. In fact, his whole caucus did, and they spent a whole day at it in Question Period.
At that time, he indicated that non-profit societies should be remitted annual increases equivalent in percentage terms to the increase in overall government revenues. It was a very clear position.
Why would the Minister express that position in 1990, and take a fundamentally different position today?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: At the time that position was being debated in this House, there was no criteria under which this government spent money on many things. The issue then was not an issue of spending money wisely, but rather one of a fair apportionment of the riches.
We are faced with a situation where we have limited funds. We have growing serious social problems, and we are taking steps to try to ensure that those limited funds are being spent in the best way possible to meet the priorities of this government in combating very severe social problems, which have been largely ignored by governments in the past.
We intend to take responsibility, make those decisions, and fund NGOs, where appropriate, for services we feel are needed, provided the services are up to an agreed-upon standard.
Mr. McDonald: I would remind the Minister that, first of all, his government is responsible this year for wanting to spend the largest budget ever - almost $500 million. His department has sought a 30-percent increase over previous years. They are more than prepared to build new liquor stores. They are more than prepared to fund social club memberships for deputy ministers.
At the same time, they wish to cut funding to social service agencies and non-profit societies. In 1990, the Minister expressed great concern over the need to respect volunteers. He spoke of the valuable services that those same agencies provided to the territory.
Given that he felt so strongly about volunteers at that time, and the services they provided to Yukoners at that time, why would he now believe that some of those same agencies should receive no funding at all? How does he rationalize that?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: There are many people in the territory who do volunteer work and do not get paid for it. I think that at this point we should pay a special tribute to them. Believe it or not, there are people who still do not expect, despite government largess in the past, to be rewarded for helping their fellow man. Those people are key to the future of a region such as the Yukon. Again, I would like to say that we are very thankful for those people.
It is rather ironic that the same Minister who stood here and fought against a guarantee for the lease to the new premises being occupied by Yukon Family Services Association on Fourth Avenue - the same Member who seemed to agree that there had to be some standards and some rationale applied to the way in which we fund non-government agencies - is suddenly taking the other view, simply because the wind has changed and he feels that it is the political thing to do. I guess that is politics.
Mr. McDonald: I will tell the Minister what politics is. Because the Minister could not rationalize or defend the interests of Yukon Family Services Association itself, he asked that association to come before the House so that they could provide the information that was necessary to convince Members to pass the bill that he brought into the House.
In 1990, the mark of respect for volunteers, knowing that volunteers provided director services to these organizations and that to cut their funding or freeze their funding would cause them to suffer hardship, was to give them an economic increase, at least equivalent to the growth in government revenues.
Now we have organizations that are promised to receive nothing, zero, nada. The Minister is now trying to rationalize that by saying he is still showing respect for volunteers, but doing it in a different way.
That does not make any sense at all. I would like to ask the Minister how he rationalizes his very clear position, a position that he personally took in 1990 - not the Yukon Party position - and which is very clearly stated on the record, with the position that he is taking now. This simply cannot be rationalized by any reasonable person on the grounds that the Minister is simply changing the funding mechanism in some way.
Speaker: I think that the question has been asked.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: It points to hypocrisy in my view. I know it is an easy cheap shot by the Member, the person who was so upset about us going to the extent of guaranteeing a much-needed lease to Yukon Family Services, and he stands there and states that somehow or other I am supposed to defend the scurrilous allegations that were made against that worthwhile agency. I really think that the hon. Member should give his head a shake and think things through just a little bit and ask himself whether or not I am giving a rational reason for the direction we are taking. If they do not like the policy, they can say that they do not like the policy. There was not one when they were in office. They wasted money all over the place. The people of the Yukon know it. That is one of the main reasons they were thrown out of office.
Speaker: Time for Question Period has now elapsed.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. Are the Members prepared to take a brief recess?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: We will take a brief recess, and the definition of brief is very brief.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order.
Bill No. 11 - Second Appropriation Act, 1993-94 - continued
Yukon Housing Corporation
Mr. Penikett: On a point of order, I just want to apologize on behalf of the parties in Opposition. We were just meeting to decide whether we could continue to recognize the pairing arrangements for today. I just want to report to the House that we have decided that we will.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: Before Members is the 1993-94 supplementary budget for the Yukon Housing Corporation. The corporation is forecasting a reduction in the O&M expenditures of $1,247,000. This reduction is the result of many factors. The primary factors include the delays of projects, under the non-profit housing program, and the impact of lower interest rates on the corporations borrowing.
This reduction in the O&M expenditure is accompanied with a reduction in the O&M recoveries of $1,154,000. The reduction in the recoveries is as a result of the reduced monies eligible under the federal cost-sharing agreements.
The supplementary budget also forecasts an increase in capital expenditures of $2,196,000. The majority of the requested increase is as a result of revotes for the 1992-93 budget. As Members know, the corporation has an extensive array of lending programs. The speed at which loans are advanced is within the control of the corporations clients.
At the end of the 1992-93 fiscal year, the corporation had a number of loans that had been committed, but not fully advanced. The government decided to revote the undispersed commitments, so that the current year budget would not be negatively impacted. The corporation is expecting to recover $1,245,000 of the capital supplementary.
I will now be glad to answer questions from the Members.
Mr. McDonald: I just have a couple of brief questions. The first is with regard to social housing. There have been a number of noteworthy conferences in the last month or so, where there was some considerable discussion about the future of the social housing program, or CMHCs involvement in it. I wonder if the Minister could give us an update as to what he knows to be the federal governments directions in this particular area.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: My understanding is that the residential rehabilitation assistance program will be reinstated. The latest information I have is as a result of a communique that was received following the ministers conference in Toronto. In that, federal Minister Dingwall said that, and I may not be quoting word for word, but he said something to the effect that it appears that we are back into social housing. Now, I will try to get more information from my staff, but that was the latest I heard on it.
Mr. McDonald: So, in terms of construction of new units, is it fair to say that the federal government is committed, in principle, to new construction? Or are they, without defining any numbers or precisely what they are prepared to spend, back into new construction?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: Yes, well, apparently, at the conference the federal Minister did not want to get into any specifics on exactly how they would get back into the social housing program but, if I remember correctly, from the written information, he did indicate that he wanted some sort of a partnership - I do not think those were his exact words - but he wanted to work with the provinces and territories, and it would be some sort of a joint agreement. I think the whole thing depends on the budget. When the budget comes down, then there will probably be some more solid facts.
Mr. McDonald: That is fair. Can the Minister tell us what he knows of the rural native housing program - the housing program for First Nations people? Does he know whether or not that is proceeding, and at what speed?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: The previous federal government had indicated that they were out of that type of housing, also. There was some general discussion at the ministers conference, but we are again going to have to wait for the budget to see if they are back into native housing. I do know that there was strong representation made by the various native groups across the country, as well as the Northwest Territories, because a lot of their housing is through the native program.
Mr. McDonald: Now that the residential rehabilitation assistance program is reinstated, who is going to be responsible for management of the delivery of the program in the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: It is the same as it was before. CMHC will be delivering the program to First Nations, and the Yukon Housing Corporation will be delivering the program to non-aboriginal people.
Mr. McDonald: I think that I know what the Minister means. For a second it sounded like CYI would be delivering the program to Yukon Housing Corporation and I do not think that is what he meant - of course not.
I have another question about the staff housing situation. We had a more philosophical discussion about the desirability of maintaining staff housing stock in the rural communities, but there were a number of other issues that have been raised in the past, in particular with respect to rent, financial responsibilities for housing, and in the past there has been some discussion about the governments involvement in this particular area.
Is Yukon Housing Corporation planning jointly with the government, or is the government itself planning to do any comprehensive review of staff housing and the needs policy in the coming year?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: At the housing conference, staff housing was certainly one of the items that was discussed in detail. Some staff were asking if they could purchase their units and there was a whole array of recommendations that came out of the conference about staff housing.
The Yukon Housing Corporation board of directors will be taking the recommendations and eventually preparing a position paper, which I hope will address the recommendations and comments that were made.
Mrs. Firth: I have several questions for the Minister this afternoon. I would like to start out with the legislative return the Minister tabled on January 24. It is a legislative return regarding the information on the home repair program clients. In the return, the Ministers response was, As with other financial institutions, information identifying individual clients is considered personal and confidential. I will therefore not be providing a list of clients.
I would like to ask the Minister why the Housing Corporation would be considered a financial institution. I do not think it is, but I would like to hear the Ministers explanation.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: For the purpose of this program, we are acting as a lending institution and, because we are lending money, we take the same guidelines as another financial institution.
While I am on my feet, I would like to wish the Member for Riverdale South a happy birthday and many happy returns of the day.
Mrs. Firth: I would like to thank the Minister. I have received a gift from the Minister, from his executive assistant who brought me some beautiful red tulips, and I have now received this nice message from the Minister. I know the Minister realizes I have a job to do here and I take my job very seriously, so in spite of his good gestures, which I really appreciate and thank him for, I still do have oodles and oodles of questions I would like to ask. However, if I get good answers and quick answers, then I am sure the debate will go a lot quicker.
To get back to the financial institution point, this money being lent is no different from money that is given through loan programs under the business development fund and the economic development agreements. We are still using taxpayers money. Even with the SEAL programs and so on, the government still made public a list of people who were benefiting from this program and I think, because we are using public funds, we should be providing information to the public as to who is benefiting from this program. Plus, it is a very sizable program - it is in the millions of dollars; it is not as if we were talking about a program that is a few hundred thousand dollars or a few thousand dollars.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I was not aware that the SEAL program listed the clients. I do not know if that is accurate.
I have no problem listing the criteria and everything to do with the sort of people who access this program. However, I do not know if it is right or fair to publicize the names. It is like going to a bank to buy a new car and then seeing ones name in the paper the next day saying that one borrowed $20,000 to buy a new car. I do have a problem with that.
The policy of the corporation, at this time, is that the names are not made public. I am willing to take the Members representation back to the board of directors to discuss it. My own feeling is that I, personally, would not like to see us publicize the names of people who have accessed the program.
Mrs. Firth: We are not talking about using the banks money. It is taxpayers money. If taxpayers money is being borrowed by individuals or given in the form of grants, I think the public has a right to know who is benefiting. If this money was not taxpayers funds, I could see the Ministers point. However, this is taxpayers money and there are at least 178 clients who are benefiting from this program. Each client is getting in the vicinity of $20,000 to $35,000. I think the taxpayer has the right to know who is benefiting from the program.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I can certainly appreciate the Members point: that it is taxpayers money and the taxpayer has a right to know where that money went. I certainly do not have any problem with identifying the types of clients, but the Yukon Housing Corporation lends money to high-income earners as well as others. That is the reason why it can be an ongoing program. There are subsidies for very low-income earners, but the people in the $60,000-a-year bracket pay back all the money, plus interest. This enables us to keep the program going and to provide it to people who cannot afford as much.
I do not know if any of those people - the high-income earners, medium earners or low-earning subsidy clients - should be made public. For example, in Health and Social Services, people who receive social assistance do not see their names published, nor do I believe they should be, although the number of people - whether they are in a family or singles or whatever - is certainly readily available.
I will take the Members representation under advisement. We will discuss it with the board of directors of the Yukon Housing Corporation.
Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell us who made this policy? Whose idea was it?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I am not sure who initially made it. My understanding is that it has been the policy ever since the program has been in effect.
Mrs. Firth: I will leave it with the Minister to decide, but I think I have a very strong argument for these names being published. I have some concerns about this program, which I have expressed to the Minister. Income testing is not a requirement of this program. Today, the Minister admits that there are high-income earners who are getting the benefits of this program, and I think we should know that.
The Yukon Housing Corporation should not be the first avenue of lending. If people are in the $65,000 to $70,000 a year income bracket, they should not be coming to the Yukon Housing Corporation to borrow money; they should be going to the bank. I do not like the Yukon Housing Corporation being the bank from which people can borrow money.
We are talking about a program that is in excess of $4 million. I am going to hold fast with the position that I think the names should be published. The comparison the Minister makes about social assistance is not a valid one, because it has always been the policy that social assistance recipients are not made public, but it is for a whole different set of reasons than this program.
This program is taxpayers money being lent to people, with no requirement for a means test, no requirement that they be turned down by the banks first, no requirement that they even go to the bank. We should know who is applying for the money and who is benefiting from this program.
I obviously have some concerns about the program and want to know why we need this. I could live with a program that helped low-income earners, but if there are high-income earners taking advantage of this program, then I do not agree with that. They should be going to the bank. I do not think the Yukon Housing Corporation should be getting into the lending business, in competition with the banks.
I am going to ask the Minister again for this information. I would like him to discuss it with the board, because I am suspicious as to whether there really is a policy regarding this matter. I do not see the Yukon Housing Corporation as a financial institution.
I want the Minister to give us the commitment that he will take it up with the board, and that there will be a decision made with respect to full disclosure of who is benefiting from the generosity on behalf of the taxpayers. I would like the Minister to make a commitment to get back to me with that information.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: My understanding is that there is a board of directors meeting in the very near future. I believe that it may even be this month. Certainly, I will take it up with the board and I will write to the Member, if we are no longer in the House, and advise her of the boards decision.
Mrs. Firth: Who approves these loans?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: My understanding is that the staff approves them, provided they fit the criteria for the loan. If the application, for whatever reason, comes in outside the criteria, but it is felt that the project is worthwhile, then it has to go to the board of directors of the corporation.
Mrs. Firth: Have there ever been any incidents where the board of directors have refused applications that have been recommended by the staff?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: Yes, apparently there have been several applications that have not received approval.
Mrs. Firth: Why did they not receive approval?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: Some would be outside the criteria. For instance, one of the criteria is that the life expectancy of the house, after the renovations, must be a minimum of 15 years. Or, in some cases, the cost of the repair would be much over the $35,000 cap. Or, possibly, the people requesting the loan would not be in a financial position to complete the payments.
Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister bring me back a letter indicating the number of times, within the last year of the program, that the board has overruled the recommendations of the staff and the reasons for doing that.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I think we can probably get that out of minutes of the meeting - certainly.
Mrs. Firth: I now want to ask the Minister some questions about the contract regulations and the debate that we have had in the House with respect to whether or not the Yukon Housing Corporation is following the regulations, and whether they have to follow the contract regulations.
I raised the issue about a specific contract that was awarded for some low-cost housing, and that the regulations had not been followed, because there was not a public opening of the bids and because there was not adequate disclosure to the bidders when they asked the amounts of each bid.
Since that time, the Minister has provided us with a document that discloses the amounts of all the bids. The Minister at that time also said that the Yukon Housing Corporation had the authority, where practicable, to do whatever it wanted to do. In other words, it did not have to follow the rules.
I think that the Minister was referring to section 43 of the contract regulations in the Financial Administration Act, and that does not apply to this particular instance, and it does not address the concern that I had.
Could the Minister tell me exactly what he was referring to that gives the Yukon Housing Corporation the ability to decide when they are and are not going to disclose the amounts of the bids?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: The Yukon Housing Corporation is required to follow the contract regulations and the corporation does follow those regulations.
We were talking about whether it was necessary at the tender opening to disclose the amount of the bids. I was referring to section 66 of the contract regulations entitled Opening of bids. This section states that where the value of the contractors standing offer agreement is estimated at $50,000 or greater, or the invitation to bid was publicly advertised - the very last section, 66(c)(3), stated that where practicable, the amount of the bid. That is what I was referring to.
The corporation did not reveal the actual amount of the bid, mainly because there was nearly $1 million difference because it was three separate project proposals. It was a request for proposals and the proposals were all different from each other. The actual amount of the bid had very little to do with the project.
Mrs. Firth: I have some concerns about the Ministers interpretation. My researcher is just getting the clause to which the Minister is referring. The Minister is saying that if the bid spread is too great, the department can decide they do not have to have disclosure - that is what he said - because it was just about $1 million difference between the highest and the lowest bidder and there were three separate offers or proposals put forward. In that circumstance, there is even more reason for them to disclose the bids at the time of the opening so that the contractors at least have a fair opportunity to make their own comparisons with respect to what they bid.
I would like to know what the Housing Corporations policy is with respect to this. What are the reasons they would use this where practicable clause?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: The main reason is not because of the big difference in the cost. That certainly is a factor in the whole thing. The reason it was not disclosed was because it was three entirely different projects. One cannot be compared to the other. The corporation certainly could have disclosed those bids and the staff and I have had many discussions. I see no reason why they will not disclose the bids to people who are putting in these requests. But, as a matter of fact, no one asked to actually see the amount of the bids until several days after the actual closing of the request for proposals.
Mrs. Firth: They were still denied the information. It is irrelevant as to when they asked. It was not a public opening of the bids anyway. The participants, the contractors, were told that the evaluation process was going to take a week; in fact, it took two and one-half hours. Then the successful contractor was phoned immediately and told that they were the successful contractor. Then the Housing Corporation refused to disclose the amounts of the bids and refused to sit down with the other contractors and go through their own personal evaluations. The Housing Corporation was less than forthcoming with information to the contractors even regarding their own bids and how their own bids were evaluated.
I would like to know what direction or instruction the Minister has given to the Housing Corporation after this issue so that it does not happen again and so that the contractors can be reassured that there is going to be a level playing field and that the rules are going to be followed and they are all going to be treated equally.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: The board of directors and I have undertaken, I believe, several actions to review the fairness of the Yukon Housing Corporations actions. I would like to point out that the contract regulations state that the objectives of these regulations are to ensure that government tendering be fair, equitable, consistent, predictable and efficient, in an open and competitive manner.
When we look at these criteria, I believe that we have been fair and equitable. We have been consistent, efficient, open and competitive. There were some problems. We are not denying that. One of the first things was that the contract administrator from the Yukon Housing Corporation was not actually named. The people who have complaints or felt that something was not fair should be able to go to the contract administrator and make their views known.
Originally, we had the contract administrator from Yukon Housing and two other members of the staff do the evaluation. After it was done, the recommendations were given to the board of directors. There is a standing committee that evaluates contracts. Once it was given to the standing committee, they confirmed the recommendations from the staff.
People made allegations. It came to me and another person, and we evaluated the contracts, just so that we would have a better understanding of the issues. We all felt that it was fair and equitable. Then, due to the fact that there were several letters sent to the Ministers office, we asked for an independent review. It was as a direct result of a request from one of the people who had submitted a proposal.
I suggested perhaps we should have the Deputy Minister of Government Services review it, and they said no, it was just another government bureaucrat, and to get someone else. That was one of the reasons we had this totally independent panel review the proposal.
Following all that, the independent review panel, the standing committee and I all felt that what was done was correct. The Member opposite has raised this numerous times in the House. So, as a further test, we had the person who actually wrote the contract regulations - he is a Government Services employee - review the whole sequence of events and test it against the regulations. He did point out there were some things. He suggested that we could have disclosed the bids. There is no question about that, and we certainly will in future cases. He also pointed out that we had not named the contract administrator in the advertisement, which we should apparently have done, so they would have a contact person.
The last thing was the envelopes the proposals came in, which had been inadvertently disposed of. They were supposed to be kept.
Those were the only three things he could come up with after his thorough review of the fairness of the thing and of whether we met the guidelines.
Mrs. Firth: I want to make three points. First of all, I have just received a copy of clause 66 that the Minister referred to about opening of the bids. When I look at this, it refers to only what must be disclosed at the bid opening, and not what is disclosed later on. What is disclosed later on is what is included in the bid logs. In that clause, it says that the written log of the bids shall include the following things, one of which is the amount of each bid. When it comes to disclosure, it says that you have to disclose whatever has been entered into the log. So, that clause does not give the Housing Corporation any leeway to say whether or not they are going to disclose the amounts of the bids. It just does not do it. Obviously, whoever reviewed it for the Minister agreed when he said that they had to disclose the bids, and the Minister has said that they are going to do that from now on. That is good. We have made one step forward.
Now, with respect to the fairness and the independent review committee, this was a committee that was chaired, I believe, by Brian Morris, a lawyer; Uschi Eyding was on it, and Robert Lorimer. In that review, the second question the Housing Corporation asked was: Was the process used in scoring the three proposals fair and unbiased? The response from the committee was this: With respect to question two, we had a concern with respect to the scoring criteria for cost. Cost in relationship to budget was allocated at a weighting of 30. The guidelines, however, were silent on the topic of budget. It is obvious from examining the evaluation summary that the total scores could have been quite different if the cost evaluation scoring had produced different results. Since the guidelines were silent on the issue of budget, it was necessary for us to question your staff members and yourself with respect to the ability of each of the three interested parties to determine the budget available for this process. This budget or money available from Canada Mortgage and Housing is referred to in the documentation you provide to us as the MUP. If the proposals submitted by interested parties did not reflect a knowledge of the MUP, then there might be an issue as to fairness.
So, even the review committee had a question about it. I guess I want to get some commitment from the Minister. I know nothing that is going to happen is going to help the individuals who lost the contract. This is gone and past, but I want to put on the record that I constantly receive a lot of complaints about the whole tendering process within the Yukon Housing Corporation. I think we have a perfect example of how people feel that there was not a level playing field or that they were not dealt with fairly. I just want to get a commitment from the Minister that he is going to give direction to the Housing Corporation that they are going to have to follow the rules; they cannot interpret them the way they want to interpret them, to give them an ability to say whether something is practicable or not. We must also give some comfort to the contractors that there is a level playing field, and that they will be dealt with fairly. That is why I am making these representations.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I believe that they were dealt with fairly, but there is another perception, and I fully appreciate the perception that is out there. Whatever we can do to make the process appear more fair, we certainly will. I have talked it over with staff, and I think that we should probably have insisted that all of the people should have been at the opening of the proposals. I think we should have insisted on that, and not just let them be there if they wanted to be. I think that maybe some of those kinds of guidelines could be incorporated into the process in the future.
Chair: Are we prepared to go line by line?
Mr. Cable: I have a couple of questions and they are partly going to till old ground. As one of the considerations for granting of the contract, was the content of local labour taken into account?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: Being that the Member for Riverside and I are both farmers, we can till old ground - or new ground.
In this particular case there was not. Interestingly enough, the employees of all three people who entered proposals are local residents of the Yukon.
Mr. Cable: I notice in the proposal call review there were some representations relating to person years or person hours. Did the various proposals actually lay out the person years or person hours that were going to be involved in each of the contracts?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: No, they were not put in by the proponents of the projects. They will be calculated, based on the Statistics Canada economic model that we have used.
Mr. Cable: In view of what I am sure will be an ongoing debate on labour coefficients, is the Yukon Housing Corporation prepared to collect those statistics on the project after the fact?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: We certainly will ask the contractors, but, because it was not a requirement when we actually signed the contract, they probably would not have to do it. However, I suspect that they will give us the number of hours for each trade and we will certainly ask for it.
Mr. Cable: Has the corporation reviewed, or is the corporation at the present time reviewing, any of its investments with respect to the labour input ascertained per dollar investment or per million dollars investment?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: No, we are just using the national model. I understand that they are adjusted by the gross statistics. I guess Yukon is somewhat different from the rest of Canada. There was no intent to go to any other type of model than the one we are using.
Mr. Cable: The Minister indicated that the local government Bureau of Statistics has an adjusting factor. I am not quite sure that I have seen it in the Ministers returns. Could the Minister commit to providing the Members of the Opposition with that factor by way of letter?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: Certainly. We will provide the Opposition with all of the information that we use for calculating the numbers.
Chair: Are we prepared to go line by line?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
On Gross Expenditures
Hon. Mr. Fisher: There are four elements to this request. The first element is a transfer of $133,000 from the capital allocation of the budget. The request is to cover the cost of three positions currently reflected in the capital budget. The second element is a request for a reduction of expenses of $369,000 under the category of interest on long-term debt. This is mainly due to lower interest rates and delays in completion of new housing projects. The third element to this request is for a reduction of expenses, $980,000, under the category of non-profit housing subsidies. This is due to delays in completing the extended care facility and the Gateway housing project. The fourth element to this request is for various smaller reductions of expenses including lower property taxes due to sale of lease purchase units, administration expenses, transfer to capital allocation - that is, direct lending program assistance. These various items totalled a net reduction of expenses of $31,000.
Gross Expenditures in the amount of an underexpenditure of $1,247,000 agreed to
On Capital Expenditures
On Non-Profit Housing
Hon. Mr. Fisher: These funds were transferred from staff housing to allocate the necessary funds for the construction of up to 19 new units under the job creation initiative.
Construction/Acquisition in the amount of $276,000 agreed to
On Renovation and Rehabilitation Existing Stock
Hon. Mr. Fisher: These funds were transferred from staff housing to allocate the necessary funds for upgrading ventilation systems for specific social housing units. This work was originally scheduled for the 1994-95 fiscal year.
Renovation and Rehabilitation Existing Stock in the amount of $30,000 agreed to
On Proposal Development Funding
Hon. Mr. Fisher: These funds were transferred from staff housing. They are required for design fees and other development costs related to the Gateway housing project. These funds were advanced in the form of a loan, and have, since this budget, been recovered.
Proposal Development Funding in the amount of $44,000 agreed to
On Continuing Care Facility
Hon. Mr. Fisher: This is a revote from the 1992-93 fiscal year. It represents the residual money required to construct the extended care facility. These funds include items such as contract carryovers, for example, landscaping and other seasonal deficiencies and contingency allowance.
Continuing Care Facility in the amount of $408,000 agreed to
On Home Improvement
Hon. Mr. Fisher: There are two elements to this request. First, there is a revote of $1,832,000 from the 1992-93 fiscal year. These funds are required to cover commitments to clients for loans not fully advanced and completed as of March 31, 1993. The second element to this request is a transfer of $133,000 to O&M allocation. This transfer is required to cover the cost of the three positions currently reflected in the capital budget.
Home Improvement in the amount of $1,699,000 agreed to
On Home Ownership
Hon. Mr. Fisher: This is a revote from 1992-93. The funds are required to cover commitments to clients for loans not fully advanced and completed as of March 31.
Home Ownership in the amount of $501,000 agreed to
On Staff Housing
Hon. Mr. Fisher: There are two elements to this request. The first one is a decrease of $250,000. This represents a decrease in the demand for staff housing construction. The second element is the transfer of funds to various other capital programs, as outlined previously: $276,000 to non-profit housing construction; $30,000 to non-profit housing for renovation of existing stock; and $44,000 to non-profit housing proposal development funding Gateway project.
Construction/Acquisition in the amount of an underexpenditure of $600,000 agreed to
On Renovation and Rehabilitation Existing Stock
Renovation and Rehabilitation Existing Stock in the amount of $3,000 agreed to
Staff Housing in the amount of an underexpenditure of $597,000 agreed to
On Rental Suites
Hon. Mr. Fisher: There are two elements to this request. The first one is for funds that were revoted from the 1992-93 fiscal year for $215,000 to cover commitments not fully completed at March 31. The second is a decrease of $400,000 due to a decrease in demand of this program, due to the uncertainty of the economy.
Rental Suites in the amount of an underexpenditure of $185,000 agreed to
On Central Services
Hon. Mr. Fisher: These funds were transferred from the operation and maintenance allocation of the budget. They are required for the development of a monitoring system for the lending program.
Central Services in the amount of $20,000 agreed to
Capital Expenditures in the amount of $2,196,000 agreed to
Yukon Housing Corporation agreed to
Chair: We will move on to Health and Social Services.
Is there any general debate?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I have for tabling -
Chair: I am sorry. We will be on Renewable Resources first. I was not aware of this.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I thought that Yukon Housing Corporation was going first, then we were going back to the regular program. We could take a five-minute break and discuss it, if Members wish.
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: We will take a five-minute recess.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. We are dealing with Renewable Resources.
Department of Renewable Resources
Chair: Is there any general debate?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I have provided Members with a copy of my speech, so that the Members can follow the numbers.
This supplementary reflects an operation and maintenance expenditure increase of $238,000. This is more than offset by an increase of $306,000 in operation and maintenance recoveries. In capital, the expenditure increase totals a net of $110,000, largely as a result of revoted projects and the employment creation initiatives. There are no changes to the capital recoveries.
Firstly, dealing with operation and maintenance, you will note that the supplementary reflects some considerable changes. Most of these changes are as a result of moving money around from non-labour intensive to labour intensive projects in order to contribute governments employment creation initiative.
In administration, the decrease is largely as a result of deferring the $100,000 contribution to the environment fund, a reduction of $25,000 in the fish fund and some miscellaneous adjustments between programs.
The increase of $190,000 in policy, planning and assessment is largely attributed to costs of the forestry negotiation, which amounts to about $215,000. This additional expenditure has been partially offset by expected underexpenditures totalling $25,000 in other areas - largely due to vacant positions in the branch.
Resource management will have an increase of $553,000 due largely to various recoverable projects totalling $306,000, additional employment creation projects totalling $153,000 and miscellaneous adjustments between programs to cover additional costs of liaison work with First Nations.
The $306,000 in recoverable projects include: $45,000 for implementation of the green plan, recoverable from Agriculture Canada; $262,000 for the contaminants study in country foods, the Lake Laberge contaminants study, and the caribou contaminants study recoverable from the Arctic environment strategy; $29,000 for the survey on traditional and medicinal plants recoverable from DIAND; $7,000 for the Haeckel Hill wind turbine projects recoverable from the Yukon Energy Corporation; $3,000 recoverable for our costs of the annual meeting of the Fur Institute of Canada recently held in Whitehorse and recoverable from that organization; less $40,000 is the recovery anticipated for the firearms acquisition certificate project that has been delayed due to federal implementation delays.
The $153,000 for employment creation projects includes $118,000 for the Aishihik caribou and moose surveys, and $35,000 for caribou collaring on the Carcross herd.
We are projecting a total reduction of $329,000 in the land claims program largely due to delays in federal legislation. Our first annual payment of about $270,000 to the fish and wildlife enhancement fund will not be required until the next fiscal year, nor do we expect that we will require all of the funds budgeted for the establishing of resource councils, or contract work in conjunction with the land claims.
We will turn now to capital. The expenditure increase of $110,000 is pretty well detailed on a project-by-project basis in the supplementary estimates book. However, I would point out that the amount of the decreases in projects totalling $196,000 was achieved largely as a result of the department deferring less labour intensive expenditures to 1994-95, in order to release funding for employment creation initiatives.
Also included in this area are the effects of the employment creation initiatives on the capital budget. These total $186,000 and are as follows: $76,000 for wildlife viewing to start projects at White Mountain and on the Top of the World Highway and to fund some additional work at McClintock Bay; $10,000 in the western region to start work on an extension to the Dezadeash trail; $53,000 in the northern region to commence work on the Kusawa Lake campground expansions, do some work on the campground at Selkirk, purchase bearproof garbage cans, and do some work on the Mayo ski trails; $47,000 in the southeastern region to start some additional work to make the site at Rancheria Falls more handicapped accessible, clean up the Liard Canyon Trail, do some slashing work for the Teslin campground trail and remove dangerous trees and obstacles from various campgrounds and trails.
In conclusion, the supplementary reflects a total increase of $383,000 in my departments O&M and capital budgets. This is offset by increased recoveries of $306,000. Thus, the net effect to the government is $77,000 and this is more than covered by the approved revotes, which total $197,000, the additional costs of the forestry transfer negotiations, totalling $215,000, and new employment creation initiatives, totalling $339,000 in O&M and capital, have been funded from within the department.
I hope these comments will help to clarify any questions arising from this supplementary.
Mr. Harding: I am glad to be dealing with the Renewable Resource supplementaries. I have a number of issues to discuss in general debate. I thank the Minister for the preliminary line breakdown; that should help me in the lines. When I look at them I will know pretty much what the money is being spent on. I have a lot of questions regarding wolf kill and some of the policy decisions the government has undertaken, Management Board recommendations, and a number of other issues that I outlined in the capital estimates and of which I gave the Minister notice. However, I will defer now to the Member for McIntyre-Takhini, who would like to lead off on some questioning on the abattoir.
Mr. McDonald: It is true. I would like to ask a few questions of the Minister with respect to the abattoir. We have explored it almost as much as we need to at this point. Certainly, by the spring sitting and past the end of this fiscal year, we would expect to see some solid action by the government in promoting and furthering the construction of the abattoir.
We certainly do not want to be in a position where we are wondering why funding that had been committed to the abattoir project by the federal government had lapsed. We would like to ensure that things are done efficiently and quickly enough that we would not expect to see a very large contribution to that project be lost and consequent obligations on the Yukon government to increase.
However, there are a couple of questions I do have that came out of Question Period on which I would like to get brief clarifications before we proceed.
The first is the Ministers announcement that the Minister would be returning to Cabinet for a final Cabinet position and would not want to meet with anyone in the Yukon Agricultural Association prior to that time.
Has he had the chance to rethink that position and is he willing to meet with the Yukon Agricultural Association prior to a final Cabinet decision?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Actually, the staff have been meeting all along, but they are not really prepared to tell them what the Cabinets position is at the present time. That document is on its way through a process to come into Cabinet. It should be there within the next two Cabinet meetings.
Mr. McDonald: I am asking the Minister about his involvement. It seemed fairly obvious that the staff had a certain understanding of what the abattoir project was all about from the business plan. It does not seem that the same understanding was shared by the Ministers on the front bench. I am asking if the Minister is going to be meeting with the proponents, prior to a final Cabinet decision on the question of the abattoir?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We have not had any requests. If we do, we will certainly consider it. We do not have any problem talking to them, if they wish.
Since this has started, I must say that the information that has come to me in the form of phone calls and letters is all completely against the abattoir.
Mr. McDonald: In terms of the principles, I thought we were past that point, given that the Yukon Party had indicated fairly significant support for the project and since the Ministers own departmental publication had indicated support, as well. I was under the impression that we were past the question of whether or not we wanted one. The question now revolves around how large the project was going to be and what the business plan would entail.
It seemed from the questions and answers in the Legislature that there was some communication gap between what the proponents were advocating in terms of a business plan, and what the Ministers understood to be the current business plan proposal. If there is going to be any chance to, to put it in someones words, put this project back on track, it will necessitate some personal involvement by Ministers. I was under the impression that the Ministers would take this project in hand, actually initiate contact with the proponents, clear up any misunderstandings and try to proceed with some abattoir project that makes financial sense and has the industrys support.
What I would specifically like to know is what the Ministers involvement will be, and whether or not they are going to have personal contact with any members of the Yukon Agricultural Association and the proponents of the abattoir. That communication gap, at that level, appears to be where the problem lies.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It appears that we are likely to get out of the Legislature today. I will immediately phone them and try to set up a meeting this week. I think the major difference is that we are prepared to go with a little Ford and they want to go with a Cadillac. We have to get it settled as to why these figures are so vastly different. We have not been able to do that, so far.
Also, the commitment we made was for 20 acres of land. We are still standing by that commitment.
Mr. McDonald: That is clear enough. The governments 20-acre commitment has been made crystal clear in the Legislature. It is unfortunately out of touch with the current thinking of the abattoir proponents. Unless we get that clarified and resolved, we will lose $700,000 worth of federal funding and, consequently, there will be some significant problems and debate in the Legislature as a result, I am sure.
It seemed fairly clear, from the proposals being made by the proponents at the Hidden Valley School open house, that the business plan entailed the need for the abattoir project to possess a certain sized portion of land in order that the abattoir proponents could acquire a certain amount of equity, so they would not have to borrow operating funds from the government. That was the theory that was presented.
It seemed to be well known and understood by all the government officials at the meeting. I heard no dissension from anyone, or any official concerns on behalf of Cabinet, about that proposal at that time. So, I am left puzzled as to what is going on.
The fierce resistance in the Legislature to any knowledge of the business plan, or the need for something more than 20 acres, appears to be somewhat at odds with the experiences I have had in terms of just passively listening to the proponents and others, including department officials, who explained what the abattoir project was all about.
At some point, we may want to clarify all that, particularly if the project goes bust. We will want to know truly how this project went off the track.
Is the Minister aware of the particulars of the business plan that was presented last December - a month ago? Has he had discussions with department officials about the efficacy of that business plan?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The first we knew about it was in November, I guess, when we had attended a meeting. At that time, the price had gone up to around $2 million. I made it very clear to them then that they had better not include the government in those plans, because when I was first approached by the Agricultural Association, they asked me for 20 acres. They knew that all the time we had been in government that that was what I was trying to get from Ottawa. The first time I knew it had grown to 146 acres is when I attended that meeting.
The big problem is that they talk about wanting 146 acres for equity. That equity, we understand, is the bank loan we have to guarantee. So, there is no equity there; the taxpayers are guaranteeing it. As far as I can see, based on the figures I have been given by the department, we are looking after the whole thing 100 percent. I think that is very hard to sell to taxpayers. If they are sincerely interested, then I would suggest that they raise their equity and get started from there. That was made clear to them at that meeting, that we wanted their equity up.
Mr. McDonald: For the benefit of those of us who have had a chance to hear a thorough explanation of their business plan by the proponents, would it be possible for the Minister - and in order to expedite the discussion - to give us a breakdown of what the department understands to be the $2 million costs of this proposal? Also, could he list, in a letter - but not in a legislative return because I do not want to wait that long - the concerns that the Minister has with the business plan itself with respect to its legitimacy or its viability? Can he do that?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I hope the Member does not expect that right away. Yes, we can certainly do that for him.
Mr. Cable: I have a few questions on the abattoir and will then turn the floor over. I think the Minister indicated that he is prepared to go with a Ford rather than a Cadillac. I wonder if he could describe in more detail what he sees as being the Ford.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It required 20 acres and just a little over $1 million to build it and get it operating.
Mr. Cable: Does the Minister contemplate a different type of building, something of a smaller magnitude than the $2 million, or is there some other concept that the Minister is conceiving?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We started with one program and since then they have continually added more products and they have built the cost up. They are now talking about dog food, which I presume is going to be another cost to the government, because we are going to have to bag and treat the food. The cost for doing that has not been given to us yet. You cannot take the intestines of animals and feed that to dogs; it has to be processed. There always seems to be additional items increasing the project from what it was originally supposed to be when I first talked about it.
Mr. Cable: The chairperson of Community Futures wrote a letter indicating that both parties should do a little problem solving. I hope that comes to pass, because the project can basically get off the ground if the parties are committed to making it work.
It is my understanding that the project seems to hinge on the inspection services that are required. This is why the quality of the building is as it is set out anyway.
This brings me to the agricultural policy. There is a reference in this agricultural policy - I do not know if the Minister has that document in front of him or not - at page 5 where it talks about the agricultural branch being responsible for the development of the necessary infrastructure and services needed to provide for the inspection of agricultural projects. I assume that also refers to meat and other products.
Does the Minister have any ideas that he can take to the Agricultural Association - which of course does not have the person power that the agricultural branch has - with a view to solving the inspection problem?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: As I understand it, if we build an abattoir that meets standards, the federal government will provide an inspector.
We could build a smaller abattoir and hire a territorial inspector, but the meat could not leave the territory, but to me this is not practical. It is going to cost the territory to hire an inspector, when the federal government can provide an inspector.
When the Agricultural Association first spoke with me about an even smaller abattoir, they said that the inspector would be provided at the cost of the federal government, and I still believe that is the case. However, the Agricultural Association has increased their line of production and every time I turn around they have added something else to the proposal. It is getting bigger and we have to meet with them and bring this project back to a reasonable standard.
The only money that they have is when they talk about the federal government Community Futures. The economic development agreement funding was cancelled some time ago and the association will have to re-apply for that funding.
The first thing that this government wants is some collateral; the Yukon taxpayers should not pay for everything and this is what the abattoir amounts to now. With the government guaranteeing the loan, the government is guaranteeing the equity of the taxpayers. The association is really interested and concerned, which I believe they are, although I must say I have not had a lot of phone calls from people who farm. If they are really interested, they should be able to raise that equity. The amount is $150,000 and, between 50 to 60 farmers, they should be able to raise that amount. That would put a different light on things, and the taxpayers of the Yukon may view the project differently.
Mr. Penikett: I have a very precise set of questions. I will be very brief and to the point. They rise out of the document the Minister has just tabled - the contracts list.
I would ask the Minister to look at the first page, where there is a contract issued to Bonistar, of Victoria, B.C., for position description preparation. I assume that must be position descriptions for the forestry transfer since there would be no other reason to do that much position description. I am aware that there are several firms in Yukon who do this work and I was wondering if the Minister could tell us why they went to Victoria, B.C.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The reason we used him is because he had just finished writing the application and descriptions for the federal forestry employees and therefore he had fair knowledge of them. It was cheaper to use him than to start over again.
Mr. Penikett: So the person was hired because they had recently done the job descriptions for the forestry employees, the same employees who were due to be transferred to the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes.
Mr. Penikett: That means this Victoria gentleman was paid twice for doing the same work, then. How do we justify that?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No, he actually was not paid twice because we changed the structure around so he had to adjust, but he had the basic knowledge because he had been working with them. He did not get paid twice. It was cheaper for us to use him than to start over again with another one.
Mr. Penikett: I do not want to spend time today getting into this but I will in the spring. The Minister may know the proposed organization for the Yukon forestry program is a subject of considerable controversy among the employees, who believe that the organization plan has been developed by people who do not know or do not understand their work. I only serve notice that I would like to get back to that question with the Minister in the spring session.
What I would like to know, and the Minister can get back with this information, is how many position descriptions did Bonistar do for the feds, how many position descriptions did he do for us, and from that I want to conclude what the cost per position description is. We have, on the record here, a lot of experience with the cost per position of doing position descriptions, especially with local firms that have done that, and I would naturally like to compare the cost of this person doing the work and the cost that locals normally charge.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We are going to have to get back to the Member because we do not have it. What I can say about it is that, not only did he look at some of the forestry people coming over, but some of our positions are being changed. We will get that back to the Member as soon as we can.
Mr. Joe: Does the Minister think the renewable resources council in Mayo has enough money to do their job?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I have to say that this is the best organization I have ever worked with. They have stayed under budget. They have done a lot of work. They have a small budget, but they have never come back for more money. To me, that is a great credit to those people. They are very sincere; they work very hard. They are now travelling around on the outfitters quota. They are very practical and a very nice organization to work with.
I may be wrong; perhaps they have approached the department, but they have never approached me for more money. I cannot say that for all the organizations I have to deal with.
Mr. Joe: Can the Minister tell me how much they receive?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Right now, it is running about $36,000. In all fairness, you have to realize that this is our money. The federal government has not helped us. We have put up this money. It is supposed to come with the land claim, but we are carrying two groups of people on our money. The federal government has not helped us a bit on it, and we cannot handle any more of these. We just do not have the money.
Mr. Joe: What is going to happen in other areas? Are they going to get renewable resource councils?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: As soon as land claims is finalized, we would go to Champagne/Aishihik, Teslin and Old Crow to establish councils. There is a certain amount of money that comes over, which helps our budget to get these started.
I feel they work very successfully. One of the reasons they do is because the members live in the communities and they understand the communities. This is more what we should be doing: working with the community people and sending our people in to understand them and the way they want things.
As I said, the one in Mayo needs to be complimented on the work they do.
Mr. Harding: It is time to get into some controversial and pretty heavy-duty issues with the Minister. I do think it is important that we get some answers to these questions before we end this sitting of the House.
The issue is the mining and parks policy. Yesterday, the Minister said, and I am quoting from Hansard, No, we have not, but I would also point out that in a great deal of the places where there are protected spaces there is no mineralization, and the ones that are already protected will not be touched with respect to this situation. I would ask the Minister if he is committing to the position that all presently protected areas in the Yukon will not be touched for mineralization, and that only parks for the future will be planned for multi-use. How would he accomplish the multi-use arrangement?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The only ones that would be excluded would be Coal Springs and Herschel Island. The rest have been looked at, but they are not legally protected areas yet - except for those two.
Mr. Harding: Is the Minister saying that Coal Springs and Herschel Island would be protected or that they would be searched for mineralization?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Those would be the two that would be protected under the present policy.
Mr. Harding: Is the Minister then saying that he will be investigating all other areas in the Yukon? An example would be the McArthur Game Sanctuary, which is a game sanctuary and not a park. Would that be available for mining? Perhaps he could tell me if it is now, or are we talking specifically about parks?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is not protected now. It never was. It is simply a sanctuary, like the Kluane Game Sanctuary.
Mr. Harding: I listened to the Minister on the radio and to people from the Yukon Conservation Society. I have read some of the Yukon Party plans commitment to mining in parks and multi-use parks. What did the Minister have in mind, then, when he brought up this controversial subject? There was considerable debate on it this past summer. What is his vision regarding multi-use parks?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We have already voted money to do this in the budget. What we do is, rather than say that an area is protected, only to later find that there are minerals in it, put a mineral resource assessment ahead of time. If there happens to be minerals in one corner, maybe we can change that park a little to leave that area out. In some cases, we may have to work the two together. To me, it stops the bottleneck between the conservation people, environmentalists and the mining industry. They realize that they can work together on this thing. We have a study and know what is going to be there. In my view, it is a simple way of protecting an area when we know that there are no minerals in it. Or perhaps there would be mining in one corner of the area. That would depend on the mineral assessment.
Mr. Harding: Let me just understand this clearly. The Minister contemplates a situation whereby we could have a territorial park, a protected area, but because there is mineralization in the middle, for example, or in one of the corners, there are areas surrounding the mineralized areas that the Minister might also like to see protected. That would be what was entailed - a park, with a mine perhaps. It could even be in the middle of it.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We are talking about different zoning parks, too. But I would like to point out that is not something new. When I was a boy, they had parks - Banff National Park and Yoho National Park. Nobody got excited about that, and they are still known as some of the greatest parks there are. Manitoba is already saying that they have to look at some of their protected areas. I was in southern Saskatchewan this year, where the Cyprus Hills Provincial Park is located. They have allowed a farmer to go in and cut all of the old trees down that have fallen down because they are rotten. Some of them are 60 feet tall. He is skidding them out to the road with horses. Everybody in the park there is happy about it. They say this is the way they should have gone. Lac La Ronge in Saskatchewan already has mineral assessment going on there. So, we have not started any new program. This has been going on for many, many years.
I can recall - and I am not going to talk too long on this because I realize there are other questions - that they used to come off the top of the mountain with silver in Yoho National Park. The most popular attraction in the Banff and Yoho National Parks were the cable cars coming off the top of the mountain. They had to build a place where people could take pictures going down Kicking Horse Pass. That was there until they ran out of mineral.
Mr. Harding: Let me say to the Minister that I worked in an open pit mine for seven years, and if I were going to travel to a park, I would much rather see trees and lakes and birds and animals than a pit shovel digging into the side of a mountain. I can appreciate that it is a situation that he has observed, but sure, the mineralization work could be done beforehand. I do not know of any national park that still allows mining. They might have in the past, but I am not aware of any that still do. Maybe there is, but I am not aware of any. Having a park with a mine in it, to me, seems to be an inconsistent objective, or an irreconcilable objective.
The World Wildlife Fund and the endangered spaces program, which has a lot of experience in that type of thing - and the Minister said yesterday in Question Period that he supports them - says by definition - at least by the definition they have - that the practice of mining in parks is not acceptable. It does not fit into the definition of a park.
Now, I am certainly not against mining. I made my living from it. In fact, I am an avid supporter of it, but I am also an avid supporter of parks. I would just hope that we could do our homework before we create parks where we have the two concepts together. When I participated in the legislative exchange between the Yukon and Alaska, I went to a lead zinc mine on Admiralty Island, which has the highest population of Alaskan black bears in the world with one bear per square kilometre.
On the edge of the ocean, they developed a lead-zinc mine. That is not a game sanctuary, it is a park. There was quite a debate about this in Alaska. I have seen examples of where it looked like it worked. I only saw the mine side, because I went to the mine office.
I have a lot of questions about this. It did not quite satisfy me. In our planning process, we should continue to try to have the objective of at least separating the two. I do not think they are consistent practices, or objectives.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: That is what we are trying to do. That is why we put the resource assessment in the budget for some money, so we can take a look, and so that people wanting a park and a mine do not both end up in the same place. Surely, the Yukon is big enough to move them off to one side. That is what we are trying to do. We are just saying there may be some cases. I do not know of one now, but there may be some cases where they do conflict.
All we are trying to do with the money for Renewable Resources is game, timber and mineral, and to see, if there is to be a park in that area, that it can be moved to one side or the other. We are trying to do exactly what the Member is saying, and that is why that mine was put there, so that before they make an area into a park, they will look at the renewable resource assessment and see where it is best to put it.
Mr. Harding: Will there be any public consultation on this issue? Can the Minister give me some schedule, or chronology, for that?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We would be doing it area by area. Once we establish an area that is going to be one or the other, we would go to public consultation on it. There is no question about that. Regardless of what the Member may think, I am not a man who makes a decision, and that is it. I have never been that way, although I have been accused of it in the Legislature. I think the public should look into these things.
Mr. Harding: That has to be a key element. The Minister says it is going to be. I do not want to see a plan get too far developed, then have it go out for a phoney consultation. Things like the Yukon Energy Corporation privatization consultation scare me, because everything seems to be going into place, then there is consultation. I like to see the principles and concepts debate first within the Legislature.
Before the Minister responds to that, the Yukon Party committed to Kluane access. I was looking through the four-year plan. This is a very contentious issue. What is the position regarding that election promise? Where is the Kluane Park access at this point?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: There are a number of different ways that they want to consider. Right now we are working with the parks people to put a road in. Unfortunately, the federal government withdrew their money. There would be a road right to the park boundary with a campsite for recreational vehicles. There would also be hiking trails.
However, I have to say that from the hearings that we conducted, we asked for some controlled access into several areas. One of those areas is the Alsek area where there is already a road put in by a mine. The road was established many, many years before Parks Canada ever dreamed it was there. The project requires very little construction. A van with large airplane tires and four-wheel drive could get in there. I went into that area for 20 years with a pickup and brought my horses out. Now they chase horses out of there because they do not belong there, yet they have found preserved remains of horses from the Ice Age in the area of Beaver Creek. I really do not understand the Parks Canada attitude on that subject, but we will not discuss that topic.
We want controlled access into that area, but we have never won that argument. Although at one time I was given a promise that they would look at it, they never did, and I also have letters from a number of ministers in Ottawa from both parties - I cannot solely blame the Member for Riversides party. Both parties promised to look into it, but both parties reneged on it. You can see that Ministers sometimes say that they will do something and they do not do it.
Mr. Harding: What precisely has the Minister done to encourage this? The promise in the election campaign was to develop some controlled access to one of the glaciers in the park. What has the Minister done to further this access? Has the Minister sent any letters to federal ministers since he has become the Minister of Renewable Resources? Has he lobbied any federal officials? What precisely is being done?
I would also like to know if the Minister is confident that enough public consultation regarding this has taken place, because I am not aware of a clear mandate for this project.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No, there is not a clear mandate, but there are two sides to the picture. There is one side that wants to make it so that the young people can walk around in there, but there are also the older people, who have been paying taxes all of their lives and who would like to see that site. However, they are not going to get very far - maybe nine or 10 miles is the best they can do. There are great big rivers and no one has asked them to construct a bridge. It would be completely out of this world to start something like this.
They can get to certain points and look into the park. For instance, on the Alsek they can see the Kaskawulsh River, the Dusty River, the Dusty Glacier and they can look down on the Lowell Glacier and the Dezadeash. All three rivers join there and they can see them from a cliff. By having these viewing sites you are helping tourism and you really have not hurt the environment. One of the criteria of Parks Canada is that if a road is constructed it has to be constructed in a way so that nature can destroy it. Believe me, that road in certain areas is destroyed at least four times a year due to run-off from the creeks and the narrow construction of the road. This road meets that criteria.
The Department of Tourism is only asking to build a road for nine miles, because thousands of people are travelling through the Yukon on their way to Mount Denali. All of them, including the superintendent of Mount Denali, tell me that we have one of the most beautiful places in the world and we are not using it. Alaska takes over 400,000 to 500,000 per year into there. I am not expecting that number for the Yukon, but I am expecting some people to stay over at one of the lodges because they can view these sites.
It is really false advertising when you look at Parks Canada advertisements. They show you all of those pictures, posters and brochures, and they send all that information outside. They do not tell tourists that they will not actually see those sites. People arrive here wondering where the glacier is that was on the folder, but all of the sites are back in the mountains, inaccessible.
We are asking for access to the first of mountains only. We are not asking for access beyond that. Parks Canada allows airplanes to go to that range and land, but they will not allow senior citizens to go up in a specially designed control van to view the sites.
Are we going to help our economy or what are we going to do?
There is a problem right now in Haines Junction. People are moving out because there is not enough work for them.
Naturally, there is not. They cannot get in the park so they do not have to patrol it, except to go by in a $700 helicopter trip once in a while. In the Denali National Park, wardens go up and talk to people, tell them about the area; they are out there patrolling it and watching it. We do not have that. That is all they are asking and it would not cost that much money.
Mr. Harding: I appreciate the Ministers thoughts on that. I am glad he got his view clearly on the record, but what I want to know is what he has done to further it. I know what his views are. Has he written federal ministers? What correspondence has he had with federal officials? Does the territory, in his view, have any control other than that?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: As to the control, no, we do not have any control. I have written, and the Hon. Doug Phillips has written, to Mr. Charest, M. Landry and Mr. Dupuy, and I also talked with Pauline Browse when she was here. She has been in that park three times and she was solidly behind us in our belief that people should be able to get in to see it, it is so beautiful. We have to live in this world and dream; if we believe in something strongly enough, then one takes a beating and goes down.
I do not know if I can table Dougs letters, but I can table mine.
Mr. Harding: I have a question regarding the caribou recovery program. I asked the Minister in a long exchange over a couple of days in this Legislature following the wolf conservation management plan debates in this Legislature for an update about the progress of the wolf kill program in this fiscal year. The reason I did this was because, last year, when the plan kicked off, there was an estimate of the expectation of the number of wolves that would be taken. When the numbers were announced, there were far fewer wolves taken and various reasons were identified. To me, this sent off some signals that we might have to take a look at what is going on.
Some of the reasons given were that there was a problem with snowfall, which led to not being able to find some wolves. That is all fine. Then the announcement was that the caribou calf recovery had improved. I think it went from nine to 39 or 38 per 100, which is a substantial increase - and that is with fewer wolves being taken than expected.
We have stated our support for the kill in the context of the conservation management plan before, but one still has to raise the question when tax dollars are being spent as to whether everything is going according to plan or not. This year, I wanted a mid-year update on the program and the plan and how it was progressing. I am not a biologist but I can see the biological comparisons - that there were this many wolves planned to be taken, this many were; there were less than expected. I can see that the caribou calf ratio has gone up. It is a simple calculation that I make in my head, and I raised the question.
This does not mean I am for the kill or against the kill or trying to become friends with the wolf compatriots, but that I have some concerns. The figure that the Minister tabled for last fiscal year was $600,000 for the surveys and the kill. He has not given me the information about the cost for this year, 1993-94, and I would also like to know what that is.
First of all, the Minister did not give me any reason other than, I guess that it would activate the activists regarding the kill, if he gave us a report. Then I was told in a legislative return that it was safety of the officers.
I would never ask questions or ask the Minister to give me information about the kill or anything else if I really felt or was convinced that the safety of the officers was in jeopardy in any way, shape or form by the Minister giving the information I requested. But I am not convinced of that. I do not want to sound insensitive, because I think it is very important that the officers in the field are protected, but I have not seen anything yet that would pose a threat, simply because of all the publicity surrounding the kill. I have not seen anything that would convince me that publishing these numbers would have any more than a minute impact on what is already known about the kill.
Could the Minister tell me how many wolves have been taken so far this year, and what the 1993-94 cost has been or is expected to be?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I would have hoped that the Member would understand, after what he saw happen here the other day, and the fact that we had to pay $13,000 for tires - and I am not blaming this on any particular person. We have had aerials knocked off some of our airplanes, gas can seals broken and the containers rolled down the hills, and we do not know if there is any sugar in them. My job is to protect my people out there, and I will do my best to do that, as I always have in my life.
This kind of thing has never come up before. I do not believe we help ourselves at all by making this a blood-and-guts thing, where we report every day how many we have shot. We do not appreciate this one little bit. We are sick about it, and some of us are very sick about some of the statements made in this House about how we are a macho bunch of killers.
I went through a World War, and I know what it is to die. I do not appreciate these boys being put in a position where they cannot defend themselves. We have done our best. It is very odd how people all over Canada and the U.S. are congratulating us on how we have handled this issue, yet we are torn apart about it in here.
I will offer the Member a briefing, and I will take him on his word that he will keep it quiet until the spring. That is the best I can do.
Mr. Harding: I have the utmost respect for the contribution made by the Minister for our nation in the war. I do not know why he would bring that up. I have the utmost respect for that, and I know he has seen a lot of serious death, dismemberment and terrible things in his life. I certainly appreciate that, as best as I can; I was not there and have not seen it. I can only go from what I know and read.
However, that is not the issue. I am not beating the Minister up. I have never beat the Minister up in this Legislature about these numbers. I did not ask for a daily report; I asked for a mid-year status report. The reason I did that was because of what happened last year.
Last year, I waited the full year, until the spring, for some answers. This year, because of the answers I got last year, I decided that perhaps it would be a good idea to get some answers while we are in session, so I can have some information and we can ask questions about what is happening.
We are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on this program. We are charged with the responsibility of investigating these expenditures and making sure that they are wise, just as the Member did when he was in Opposition. I have some questions he asked in 1992 about the wolf program, the planning for it, the wolf management board, the costs of that, the cost of the trapping programs underway, and how many wolves were taken. The list goes on and on with the questions he asked. I do not know why he would say to me that he does not appreciate my asking questions about this. I think it is quite proper.
I understand the departments concern about the vandalism. It is very serious. I think it is a heinous crime. We are totally opposed to it. I understand the concern about the protesters chaining themselves to the gallery. My sentiments about that were not kind, either. I did not like the fact that the whole business of the Legislature was held up for that demonstration.
However, we have had these protesters in the gallery. There have been letters to the editor that are for and against this, and asking for information. There has been national radio and TV exposure on the kill. We have had Alaskan TV exposure on the issue. Protesters have howled in the Cabinet offices and blocked roads. Yukoners have spoken out against the silence of the Minister on this issue. All that is without the Minister telling us one single detail about the kill this year.
I find it very hard to accept that, if he gave us a mid-year report - not a daily report; I do not want a blow-by-blow; I do not want to know if there were two black ones and one white one taken during the day - he would shut me up. The Member for Riverside applauds that idea.
I thank the Minister for the offer for a confidential briefing, and I will have to give it some consideration. It took me by surprise. I want the information but, by the same token, I do believe there is a need for some public access to information. I will have to discuss that with my colleagues, and I will respond to the Ministers offer of that.
Is the Minister telling me that, no matter how long I spend today asking the question, he is not going to tell me how much we have spent in 1993-94, or how many wolves have been taken?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: There were some questions asked before, and we have the answers to those. That costing is in there.
This year is not finished. We can give the Member an estimate, but that is all.
Maybe it is because I am too close to this situation and know that country, but people are asking fantastic things of the people out there. That is one of the roughest pieces of country. I was talking with a pilot who was out there. The Finlayson thing was so easy, he said it was a picnic compared with what they have to go through here, with the wind blowing and the snow moving. Right now, with all the snow in Whitehorse, there are areas out there with no snow. We have a problem locating anything on that.
Perhaps I am too close to it. I do not understand why people keep demanding things. They are out there, they are working, and they do not get reports in here every day, or even once a month, on this thing.
I am very concerned about protecting the people. I have talked with the organization out there that works with us. I have talked with the Champagne/Aishihik Band. I have talked with the CYI. Every one of them has simply told me to get the job done without anyone getting hurt, and that is what I am trying to do.
If it is wrong, when it is over, I will apologize, and that is all I can do.
Mr. Harding: I do not want to get anyone hurt. As I said before, if I thought, by knowing what the cost of the kill this year was - when I know what it was last year - and by asking for a mid-year progress report on what is happening - in terms of the number of wolves taken, so I can have some idea whether or not we are having the same kinds of problems as we had last year - that I would hurt anybody in the branch, I would not ask the questions. I do not believe I will hurt anyone by asking these questions.
I can respect the Minister wanting to protect the people in his department, without question. Perhaps the Minister is right; maybe he is too close to it. I cannot understand why the Minister cannot see that we, on this side of the Legislature, are paid to ask questions about public expenditures.
This is a big program. It is probably the number one priority in the Ministers department right now. It is probably a $1 million program. There was $600,000 spent last year on it.
Any reasonable person would be able to see that, at the very least, a mid-year progress report should be done. I have not got up in this Legislature every day and demanded to know how many wolves were taken. I have a question right here from the former Member, when he was in Opposition. How many wolves were taken on this project?, he asked on May 5, 1992, of Mr. Webster. He was talking about the trapping program in the area, when they were trying to eliminate some of the wolves.
I mean, he wanted to know. The trapping program is not popular with the antis, either. It is different in some ways, but it is certainly similar in others. In any case, the wolves are getting killed, even if they are trapped. I understand there is a snaring program underway in Alaska, and they are not using the aerial kill. That did not seem to discourage the antis. Can the Minister tell me what the estimate of the 1993-94 expenditure is, then?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I believe, if you check the records when I asked about the trapping ones, the whole situation was all over, and they advertised it all over the place. I believe the session was over. I believe they spent $60,000 and got one wolf. Billy Sam shot that wolf, so the trapper did not get any. The session was over when I did. If you want to check the records on that, go ahead.
Our expenditures in 1992-93 were $600,000. In 1993-94, we are estimating $250,000, but we now think it may go to $289,000. In 1995-96, we will be asking for $150,000. I would like to point out that there were surveys in the Aishihik area, radio-collaring in Wolf Lake, post-calving surveys in Wolf Lake, rut counts in Wolf Lake, late winter counts in Mayo, Big Salmon, Dawson and Aishihik, elk surveys, community participation, conservation education, steering groups, interviews to elders, signs, school participation, and community participation. So, you can see that we covered the whole Yukon. The information that we are getting from places like Wolf Lake, Mayo and Big Salmon will help us to understand what is going on with game throughout the Yukon, not just there, and that is included in this project. Everyone jumps around on the wolf one. That is really a small part of what we have done.
Motion to extend sitting hours
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I move that Committee of the Whole and the Assembly be empowered to continue sitting beyond 5:30 p.m., if necessary, for the purpose of completing consideration of Bill No. 11, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 1993-94, in Committee of the Whole; for permitting the House to consider a motion for third reading of the same bill; and for receiving the Administrator to give assent to certain bills passed by the House.
Motion agreed to
Mr. Harding: I understand that there is more than just the actual aerial shooting involved in those numbers. Whether it is $100,000 for that or $50, or what not, we are given the duty and the obligation to ask questions about expenditures. I know that survey information is valuable. The Minister would be doing a lot of it, whether there was an aerial wolf kill program on or not. I am a firm supporter of aerial surveys, but I do not think that is the point.
So, the Minister has given me some estimate. I will ask some more questions about that estimate for 1993-94, and the reasons for the reduction from a $600,000 figure, if I agree to have a confidential briefing. As I said before, I will have to give that some serious thought, because I firmly believe that we have a question of public access to information here, and I have to discuss that with my caucus.
I will leave this subject and move on to another topic: the Management Board recommendations. There were five recommendations made by the Yukon Fish and Game Wildlife Management Board some two months ago. I think officially the Minister has 60 days to respond to those recommendations. Has the Minister responded to the board yet, and if he has not, what are his determinations regarding those five recommendations? I would like to know how many will be accepted, and whether or not there will be any rejected or modified?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I have recently signed a letter to them. From there it will have to go out for public consultation, which we hope will be completed some time near the end of February. I will give you the board recommendations, but I will not tell you what mine were.
The boards recommendations were trout conservation in the Tagish system, game farming, moose hunting in the Aishihik caribou recovery area, climatic change and related impacts on the ecosystem, First Nations value related to fishing, non-resident tourist firearms, Nalchina caribou hunting, meat wastage, traditional knowledge, Mayo regional wildlife management, all-terrain vehicle use, wolf conservation and management plan, and no-hunting corridor around Kluane Lake. With respect to those topics I would prefer not to give our recommendations until the Yukon Fish and Game Wildlife Management Board has had an opportunity to review the letter that was just sent out.
If the Member would like, we have a copy of the matters he asked about that we will provide to him once we have completed this department.
Mr. Harding: A copy of the governments recommendations and a copy of the Ministers recommendations would be appreciated.
The next issue that I would like to discuss with the Minister is the issue of the Kaska business plan and raw log export.
The Minister said two days ago, during Question Period, that he was against raw log export, and he is actually making a recommendation to the federal government that they seriously consider the rejection of the existing business plan of Kaska Forest Products, which I would believe, with the imminent transfer pending, would carry considerable weight with the federal government.
Can the Minister tell us what exactly he is recommending the federal government do about their business plan and their plan for the harvesting of raw logs?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Maybe I said I rejected it, but if I did I did not mean that, and I think that I also said in this House that there were certain conditions under which we would agree with it, and that was one of them.
The bankable plan that they brought in was not completely satisfactory to start with, to both the federal government and us, and they have brought more information forward, which we are now studying.
There are a couple of other things that are very important. First, we want a guarantee for silviculture and a guarantee of money for a mill. Also, we want to have them look at the stumpage fees, which I think we all agree in the Yukon is practically nothing, and it should not be that way.
Mr. Harding: In a meeting with Kaska, they discussed stumpage fees. An interesting concept that I had not considered, being new to this field, is that the royalties paid to the federal government for logging seem to be much higher than the royalties from mining. That is a complaint that they had and is something for the Minister to consider, because I had not considered that in the past. The forestry industry, or at least one of the Kaska people who raised it with me, felt that was somewhat inconsistent. I had not considered that point in the past.
The Minister said that he was against any raw log export, period. He said that he preferred that the wood be milled in the Yukon, period. He said that we have recommended to the federal government that, in their negotiations with Kaska Forest Resources, they look at their business plan very closely to see if they have to have an increase in raw log export. What does that mean in simple terms? Is their business plan, for what I understand to be 30,000 cubic metres, acceptable or not?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: There are other things in the business plan, such as the cost of the mill and so on, that we want to know. There is only so much timber there. If we keep letting it go this way, why would they put a mill in there 10 years from now? It would be timbered out.
As far as the question of stumpage and mineral royalties are concerned, I guess I will pass the buck back to the federal government, as they control both of them. I agree with Kaska on that. There is something wrong with that situation.
Mr. Harding: Is the Minister saying to the federal government that they would not be opposed to the Kaska business plan, as long as they can establish that they need those exports to meet their capital requirements for a mill? Is that a fair statement?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes. I believe, if we go back a little further in Hansard, at one time, I did stutter that out, as well.
Mr. Harding: I am getting pretty good at researching Hansard. I guess that is my job. So is the staff.
We asked about the game farming regulations the other day. The Minister said that they were being developed and were just about to go to Cabinet. I need to know the time line in which they are going to go to Cabinet, and when. I also need to know how we will reconcile the federal governments new commitment to a full, public review on the question. I would assume that Agriculture Canada and Environment Canada would have some impact on what we can or cannot do in the Yukon. Would it not?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: At the present time, we have not had any discussions with them on that. As Members know, it is a new government down there, but we would certainly have to consider them. There is no question about that. As to when the regulations go in, I am going to have to say the same thing as before - I had to get a couple of changes in it and then it would go into Cabinet as soon as it goes through the system. I would expect in two weeks probably, maybe three, but within that time period.
Mr. Harding: There was a contentious issue in the Legislature regarding permits for moose in the wolf kill zones last year. Because the Fish and Wildlife Management Board had recommended that there not be any, the Minister took the position that it would be damaging to the outfitters in the area. I offered the suggestion we look at compensation, but he felt that was not acceptable. I also made the point that the outfitters had had some knowledge that this was going to happen because I had minutes from when the Government Leader represented the Outfitters Association at a Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board meeting, along with the now president of the Yukon Outfitters Association. At that time, I duly noted in the minutes that they were told that quite possibly they would not have the permits to hunt in that area in the next year or two.
My question is: in the Ministers view, is this going to be an issue this year or is it going to be resolved?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The Member talked about the people on my side being told that it was quite possible - now I am playing word games, just like lawyers - it was quite possible; that did not mean it was going to happen. They have been written since then that it is almost probable that it will be. However, I will not give out the decision because the Fish and Wildlife Management Board made it, and I have not sent back my recommendations yet. I will also point out that only four moose were taken out of there last year. They did not even fill their quotas.
Mr. Harding: I have said this to the Minister before and I will say it again, just for the record. Last year, I was very critical of his decisions on the issue of the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board. It was not because I did not respect that the Minister at times may dispute some of the recommendations of the Fish and Wildlife Management Board - certainly, that is going to happen. What I was critical of the Minister about was the fact that he was so critical of the former Minister of the party I am involved with for modifying one recommendation that they made. Just for the record, let me tell him that I can see there being cases where the Minister may have a disagreement and, given good justification, that is bound to happen. There should be a good process for trying to mend wounds that might open over that, with a good discussion of the issues prior to any announcements being made and some accommodation being made. That is important, because the boards do perform a valuable service but the Minister, in the end, has to stand up in this Legislature and take the heat, one way or the other. Once an unpopular thing is done, no matter if the board recommended it or not, it is the Minister who is going to take the political heat.
So I can appreciate the Minister sometimes wanting to make some changes to the recommendations, but the Minister, during the wolf kill debate in this Legislature - and I researched them diligently - made statements to the effect that the former Minister modifying one recommendation of the board was going to have an impact on land claims, that the Yukon Indian people would no longer be able to believe in boards and committees and the land claims process. These big statements were made, so I felt I had a duty to make the Minister remember what he said in Opposition. No doubt, if we ever switch places again, he will do the same to me.
The next issue I would like to ask him about is the Yukon River salmon negotiations. We had quite an exchange in this Legislature about the Yukon River salmon negotiations because there were people at the negotiations from the Yukon representing all different walks of life. There were native people, traditional fishery, commercial and sport fisheries, the whole works, and they were quite upset that the territorial government did not have representatives there. I know the reasons the Minister gave and I do not want to have that debate again. The Minister told me that we should feel okay because the federal government is our representative, but my understanding is that the federal government had a lot to do with hurting our Yukon River salmon rights in the first place at the Shamrock Summit, when Brian Mulroney was still the Prime Minister. So I did not feel too confident with just having the federal officials defending our interests there for the territory. Neither, in all honesty, did the people who sent the Government Leader a letter saying how they felt about it.
Mr. Harding: Can the Minister tell us what happened at the Yukon River salmon negotiations? Did he feel that, in retrospect, he would have thought it might be a good idea to have had someone there from the Yukon government?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: That is the first one we have missed in nine years. I guess one could look back, after the milk is spilled, and say I should not have done it. We also have to look at the fact that forestry is very valuable to us. This same gentleman has been doing all the work since we started.
We have to say that we need new computers or fax machines or however messages go up, because the message that was supposed to be given to our other people up there was not given right away for some reason. These arrangements were made even before the federal people left here. I guess there was a political gaff going on. That is the only way I can explain it.
The next meetings will be in the spring here. Members can rest assured that I will have someone there.
Mr. Harding: Mr. Chair, I would suggest that we take a brief recess.
Chair: We will have a brief recess at this time.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. Is there further general debate?
Mr. Harding: I have a couple of important issues that I will not explore in too great detail.
Last year a series of federal gun control legislative changes were made by the previous Conservative administration. Some changes that arose from that legislation just happened at the beginning of this year, and there are some promises by the new Liberal administration to once again re-visit gun control. This is a very contentious issue. I know, speaking just on behalf of my constituents, I would say that, by and large, the far majority is leery of further changes, before last years changes are evaluated.
What is the territorial governments position on gun control? I would also like to know if they are making their case known to anybody? Are they undertaking to have any public meetings regarding the issue?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: When the new gun legislation was being introduced, we wrote and expressed some concerns about the legislation. We are not too happy with the legislation, but I must point out that it is the federal governments legislation.
The legislation is not in effect right now; I think it is because there is a new government in there, and we have gone ahead and prepared the regulations, which we were required to do, and we are out $40,000 on that right now.
While I am up, several remarks were made about my insulting Mr. Art Webster. If I did, it was in this place, because I quite frankly travelled around the whole Yukon with him on the select committee. I attended two or three meetings with Mr. Webster and I have nothing but great respect for Art. He lives in a different world than I do. We have known each other ever since he has come to the Yukon. We have had our arguments, but I still have great respect for him.
Every time that I have been to Dawson I have met with him and I do not think that he has taken anything that has been said in here personally. Sometimes people in this House become politicians and once in awhile even I slip and become a politician, shooting my mouth off when I should keep quiet.
Mr. Harding: I know that the Minister did not insult them. I did not say that he insulted them. I just said that he was highly critical of his decision not to implement all the recommendations of the Fish and Wildlife Management Board. I am sure that Mr. Webster would not have taken it personally. Nonetheless, within these walls, I felt very strongly that the Minister should be taken to task when he became Minister, after being so critical of Mr. Webster not accepting all of the recommendations, for rejecting several of the recommendations. It is not so much the issue of the need sometimes to make changes to the recommendations, but it was what I considered to be a flip-flop. That is my point.
I hear reports that the fur industry is improving. Can the Minister give me some brief comments about that? Is that indeed the case in the Yukon, or is that more of a world-wide trend? Does the Minister know?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The prices are improving in a few places, but in the Yukon we used to have 750 trappers and are now down to 450. I suspect some of this is because of the price and some because of the new regulations that have come in, such as the Conibear traps. Some of the elders have argued about this, and I sympathize with them. I will never win, though, because I have all of Europe against me, but I think the elders should be grandfathered. A man who is 75 years old and has trapped all his life is told by some young buck that he will show him how to do it and which trap to use - this does not go over very well. The Member knows that when he tries to tell me something, sometimes the old buck does not move well.
Mr. Harding: I do not want the Minister to answer now, other than to give me a commitment, but could the Minister prepare a wolf conservation and management plan implementation progress report and a schedule for implementation of the plan, and send it to me by letter, not a legislative return, as soon as possible?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, we can get you one almost right away.
Mr. Harding: I am prepared to go into the line items. The Member for Riverside has a few questions.
Mr. Cable: I just have a few questions. In Question Period the other day, I put some questions to the Minister on the studies that were being done under the Arctic environmental strategy. I see three contracts on the contract list, one relating to a toxicology study of Lake Laberge fish. I assume that to be a toxaphene study that was done by White Mountain Environmental Consultants. There is a study on the cesium 137 levels in caribou meat done by the University of Alaska, and a survey of contaminants in foods in the southeast Yukon done by Gamberg Gamberg Consulting. Are those the three contracts that were issued under the Arctic environmental strategy?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, they were issued under that program. We have some more money and we are moving the studies ahead a little further and studying them.
Mr. Cable: There was some suggestion in the press that the reports might be ready in February, or about this time. What are the expected times for the completion of the studies?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The lab work on them is going on right now and we hope to have it ready, or expect to I should probably say, by mid-March.
Mr. Cable: Is there any evidence, or do these studies even address the point, as to the source of the cadmium in caribou and the toxaphine in the fish?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: On the caribou situation, we are keeping two different herds under control, so we are trying to find out. We can isolate one area where there is no cadmium and one area where there is. That program is still on. As for toxaphene, we have not been able to locate any reason why that is here, except possibly by the air.
Mr. Cable: Is the Minister in a position to indicate whether the levels - this is cadmium and perhaps other heavy metals in caribou, and the toxaphene in the fish - are changing? Are they diminishing or rising or staying the same?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: To get that data, we would have to have studies over a number of years, and we have just started that program.
Mr. Cable: I would like to discuss another topic, and that is the agricultural policy.
That policy is set up for review three to five years after the implementation phase. The document is actually dated November 28, 1991. When is the anticipated date for review of the policy?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We are looking at conducting a review next year, but first we want to talk to the Yukon Agricultural Association to find out the timing they prefer to have.
Mr. Cable: I want to clear up some questions on vegetable storage.
In the agricultural policy, it is mentioned on page 4, under marketing support, that the agricultural branch, when appropriate, will work in close cooperation with other government departments to ensure the development of markets and infrastructure for Yukon livestock, crops, food products and related technical services.
What interdepartmental mechanisms have been set up to facilitate marketing support for the agricultural sector?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Most of our conversations on that have been through the APAC. On that is Community and Transportation Services, Economic Development, the Yukon Agricultural Association and us.
Mr. Cable: I am not fully conversant with all the acronyms. Is there an interdepartmental committee set up?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I would not worry about that, I have that problem, too. APAC, which is the Agricultural Planning Advisory Association. It is a group that has the Community and Transportation Services, Economic Development, Renewable Resources and the Yukon Agricultural Association on it.
Mr. Cable: Does this group have an ongoing mandate? Does it meet periodically and discuss marketing strategies for the agricultural community?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, it does.
Mr. Cable: I was relating to the Minister, I believe in Question Period, his Infarmation message of the summer of 1993. I quoted from it. I also recognize the concerns many of the Ministers have with regard to marketing and the lack of appropriate infrastructure, such as an abattoir and vegetable storage facility. Just to clear up where this government is coming from, is the government supportive of a vegetable storage facility?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Up until now, we have not had too much interest expressed for that. It has been mainly about the abattoir. I presume they are trying to do one at a time, rather than get us hooked in for everything at once.
Mr. Cable: Just to be clear, then, is the Minister saying that there has not, as yet, been a position adopted on the construction of a vegetable storage facility here in the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: You could say we are waiting for a signal from the Yukon Agricultural Association. I suppose we got one signal when they mentioned they were building an abattoir, but that is about as far as it has gone.
Something else that may be of interest to everyone is that with this GATT signed, within the next two or three years, there is going to be a great change in the cost of food. We are also going to have to take this into consideration in the building of these things. I am not an expert on this, but they tell me, as a result of GATT, that the cost of food should start coming down.
Mr. Cable: Of course, GATT works both ways. Has the Ministers department examined the possibility of the export of produce from the Yukon to the Alaska Panhandle?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, they are looking at that and trying to solve some problems they have. They are trying to get the agricultural people to improve their product so it is marketable in other places.
I could point out one good one I know of, which is hay. The Alaskans go down to Oregon to buy their hay, yet we produce hay here, and some of it has the same amount of protein in it. We do not bale it as well or as tight, so they are going down there to buy it. You cannot tell me we could not outsell them, when we are so much closer to the market. Yet, we have no market up here at all. We have to create that market by putting a better product out.
Mr. Cable: Has the Ministers department been able to determine whether there are any structural problems in marketing, such as lack of inspection services, or that sort of thing?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: There are some problems, but we are working on them now with the Yukon Agricultural Association.
Chair: Are we prepared to go into line-by-line debate?
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
Mr. Harding: I will ask specific questions based on the outline. When I do not ask, it would be great if the Minister would give me a breakdown.
On administration, there is reference to a deferment of the contribution to the environment fund. I would like to know why.
Because some concerns have been expressed to me about the fish stocking program, I see the fish fund has also been reduced by $25,000. Is this fish fund related to stocking in any way, shape or form? What exactly does that entail?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: On the fish question, one reason we were able to reduce it is that we did not get the fingerlings in in time last year. It was too late to put them in, so it has been deferred because we had that extra money on the environmental thing. All the regulations are not made yet, so we do not have to move that money in there at the present time.
Mr. Harding: What is the status of those regulations? Also, have there been any other cuts to any of the fish stocking programs?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I guess I did not explain it well enough. Actually, it has not been cut, it has just been deferred - the $25,000 for the fish - because it was too late in the fall to bring the fingerlings in.
Mr. Harding: The environmental deferment, the Minister said, is because the regulations are not ready. When will the regulations be ready? Is the Minister saying that there are regulations that would require that payment but they are not in place yet? If that is the case, is he planning to bring them forward, and when?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We are working with the Department of Justice on the initial drafting of them and we are drafting regulations concerning investigation, environment funds, analytic labs, environmental protection order, permitting procedure. The regulations we now have in place are the pesticide regulations. The waste regulations are going to Cabinet very shortly. The Yukon Pride anti-litter program, which is, in effect, in the ozone depleting subsistence regulations, are in draft form. The operation manual for the field officers is being worked on with Justice.
Administration in the amount of an underexpenditure of $131,000 agreed to
On Policy, Planning and Assessment
Policy, Planning and Assessment in the amount of $190,000 agreed to
On Resource Management
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The green plan in the amount of $45,000 is recoverable; the Haeckel Hill wind turbine project is recoverable for $7,000; the Fur Institute of Canada is recoverable for $3,000; the Lake Laberge contaminant study is recoverable for $66,000; the Caribou contaminant study is recoverable for $60,000; contaminants in country foods is recoverable for $136,000; the survey of traditional and medicinal plants is recoverable for $29,000; the delay in implementation of mandatory training required for firearms acquisition certificate is a reduction of $40,000; advanced project on the Aishihik caribou survey is $110,000; advanced project on the Aishihik moose survey is $8,000; new project of Carcross caribou collaring is $35,000; internal transfers are $94,000, for a total of $553,000.
Mr. Harding: Are the other projects in that list identified in the employment task force capital works projects list of Renewable Resources capital employment project changes, or not?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The advanced project Aishihik caribou survey and the advanced project Aishihik moose survey are identified. Also, the new project Carcross caribou collaring is identified.
Mr. Harding: What were the internal transfers?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The internal transfers included increased checkpoints for the conservation officers and relocation costs for some of the personnel.
Resource Management in the amount of $553,000 agreed to
On Land Claims
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Two hundred and eighty-nine thousand dollars of the reduction is due to the fact that we did not have to go into the wildlife enhancement program at the present time, and the other is for transfer of personnel from one area to another.
Land Claims in the amount of an underexpenditure of $329,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures in the amount of $283,000 agreed to
On Capital Expenditures
On Departmental Equipment
Mr. Harding: I would like a breakdown on these capital lines, and I will certainly stop the Minister if I have questions about details.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Revotes for $11,000; reduction for employment creation, $30,000; internal transfers, $2,000; computer equipment, reduction of $39,000; office accommodation and improvements, reduction for employment creation, of $20,000; office furniture and equipment, reduction for employment creation, $15,000; and internal transfers, $15,000.
Mr. Harding: I am curious because there were some major requests in the capital 1994-95 budget for increased expenditures for computers and office accommodation and office furniture. What was the cause of these reductions? Was it the Minister sharpening his pencil in the department and saying that we do not need this, we can defer it, or is there some event that gave rise to this?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Those are things we cut in favour of trying to get more labour-intensive programs going.
Departmental Equipment in the amount of an underexpenditure of $4,000 agreed to
On Computer Equipment
Computer Equipment in the amount of an underexpenditure of $37,000 agreed to
On Office Accommodation and Improvements
Office Accommodation and Improvements in the amount of an underexpenditure of $20,000 agreed to
On Office Furniture and Equipment
Office Furniture and Equipment in the amount of an underexpenditure of $30,000 agreed to
Administration in the amount of an underexpenditure of $91,000 agreed to
On Policy, Planning and Assessment
On Resources and Land Information Systems (RLIS)
Hon. Mr. Brewster: That was money to pay the department to work with the federal government on the GIS. It is not recoverable.
Resources and Land Information Systems (RLIS) in the amount of $30,000 agreed to
Policy, Planning and Assessment in the amount of $30,000 agreed to
On Resource Management
On Infrastructure Facilities (Abattoir)
Mr. Harding: Is that going to be enough to build the abattoir?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Well, if the Member can do that, he can come over here and I will go over there.
This money is to help get the property and the percolation test done and so on.
Mr. Harding: I see an $8,000 contract on the contract list for a slaughterhouse extension. Is that part of this $15,000?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: That was to review a business plan of the Yukon Agricultural Association. I might point out that we have spent everything on this. No one else has put a cent into this except us.
Mr. Harding: Could the Minister table this study or review that was completed for the abattoir plan?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We do not have a problem with that, unless the Agricultural Association does - and I do not think they will. I will check on that and get back to the Member.
Infrastructure Facilities (Abattoir) in the amount of $15,000 agreed to
On Fish and Wildlife
On Fish and Wildlife Management Planning
Mr. Harding: Could the Minister break that down for me?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: There is a revote of $73,000. Internal transfers resulted in a reduction of $55,000. There is $18,000 for the Mayo renewable resources management plan.
Fish and Wildlife Management Planning in the amount of $18,000 agreed to
On Wildlife Viewing and Infrastructure
Ms. Moorcroft: Could the Minister describe the project at White Mountain and the additional work at McClintock Bay when he gives us a breakdown of this line item, please?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We are putting a rest stop at White Mountain where there will be toilets and a viewing point so that they can see the goats in the area. We are consulting with the Carcross First Nation on this. At McClintock Bay, we are putting in handicap areas and building some display units to finish that project.
Ms. Moorcroft: Is the McClintock Bay site the one where a new facility was planned?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It was built last year.
Mr. Harding: Can the Minister break down that $76,000 for me? I know a couple of questions were asked, but I have not got a breakdown yet.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The new White Mountain project is $24,000, the new project at McClintock Bay is $27,000, and the new project at Top of the World is $25,000, for a total of $76,000.
Wildlife Viewing and Infrastructure in the amount of $76,000 agreed to
On Field Services
On Forestry Facilities
Mr. Harding: Is this line item for buildings in the planned areas of Dawson and Watson, and the reason it is $1.00 is because we are not going to build them in this year? Is that what is going on there?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We still hope to get the money; therefore there is room in the budget, if the forestry transfer goes through and we get a one-time payment to start up. We do not know if that will go through or not, but I guess we can all cross our fingers.
Forestry Facilities in the amount of $1.00 agreed to
On Parks and Outdoor Recreation
On Dempster Interpretive Centre
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The Dempster Interpretive Centre plan is an internal transfer of $9,000; the Carcross Dunes management plan is revote of $25,000; employment creation is a reduction of $20,000; internal transfer is a reduction in the amount of $35,000; lazulite deposits, reduction for employment creation in the amount of $2,000; park system planning, reduction for employment creation in the amount of $10,000; and resource assessment, reduction for employment creation in the amount of $30,000.
Dempster Interpretive Centre in the amount of $9,000 agreed to
On Territorial Parks
On Carcross Dunes Management Plan
Carcross Dunes Management Plan in the amount of an underexpenditure of $30,000 agreed to
On Lazulite Deposits
Lazulite Deposits in the amount of an underexpenditure of $2,000 agreed to
On Park System Plan
Park System Plan in the amount of an underexpenditure of $10,000 agreed to
On Resource Assessment
Resource Assessment in the amount of an underexpenditure of $30,000 agreed to
On Campgrounds and Recreation Access
On Western Region - Additional Projects
Mr. Harding: Could the Minister provide us with breakdowns on these expenditures?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The advanced project is a trail extension at Dezadeash, which is a boardwalk trail that goes down along the river, where people can view ducks and other wildlife in the sloughs around Haines Junction.
The new project, the Haines Junction bike trail, is a trail that will go from Haines Junction to Pine Lake, which will be for skidoos and skiing in the winter, and walking or bicycles in the summer.
Western Region - Additional Projects in the amount of $25,000 agreed to
On Northern Region
Hon. Mr. Brewster: In northern regions, the advanced project for the Kusawa Lake campground is $20,000; advanced project, Five Finger Rapids stairway rehabilitation, $13,000; and the new project for Mayo ski trails is $5,000.
Mr. Harding: Why would Kusawa Lake and Five Finger Rapids be listed in the northern region area of the budget? Is there any particular reason for that?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: That is a very good question. I asked that, and I had to get a map out to make sure I was in the right place. It was done because the supervisor in the Dawson area has had experience in the Kusawa area, so they moved it in there.
Northern Region in the amount of $48,000 agreed to
On Northern Region - Additional Projects
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I believe it should be the southeast region.
I just got through the Kusawa Lake campground expansion, advanced project for Five Finger Rapids stairway rehabilitation, and the new project for Mayo ski trails. That is under northern region in my book.
Chair: There are two lines here, Mr. Brewster. Northern Region and Northern Region - Additional Projects.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is an internal transfer of $48,000. Is that the line the Member wants?
It was basically money that was moved from one branch to another, to cover some of the overexpenditures in certain areas.
Northern Region - Additional Projects in the amount of $38,000 agreed to
On Southern Region - Additional Projects
Mr. Harding: Could we have that broken down, please?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Rancheria Falls, handicap access, $15,000; advanced project liability reduction, $9,000; new project Liard Canyon Trail clean-up, $20,000; new project Teslin campground trail, $3,000.
Southern Region - Additional Projects in the amount of $47,000 agreed to
On Outdoor Recreation System Implementation
Hon. Mr. Brewster: That was basically finding money to do some of the labour-intensive programs.
Mr. Harding: Further to the representation the Minister did on parks and outdoor recreation, no line items have been mentioned for the area I represent, and I know there was a sheep enhancement project done early in this budget year, and there was also a Vangorda hiking trail established. By way of a representation, the Minister suggested that there are some opportunities there to work in conjunction with Tourism to continue to build some of the tourism and wildlife viewing and infrastructure facilities, with the help of Tourism and Renewable Resources.
Outdoor Recreation System Implementation in the amount of an underexpenditure of $33,000 agreed to
Capital Expenditures in the amount of $171,000 agreed to
Department of Renewable Resources agreed to
Department of Health and Social Services - continued
Chair: Is there further general debate?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I would like to formally table a legislative return pertaining to a question asked by Ms. Firth regarding a contract for the hospital. This has been distributed and, as well, the contracts have been distributed.
Mr. Cable: I have a few questions relating to information the Minister agreed to table previously. I wonder if the Minister would give a commitment to provide this information by way of letter, rather than a legislative return, in view of the fact that we are likely to be finished this evening.
Yesterday, I asked the Minister for a list of the advocacy groups that had received the standard form letter indicating that their core funding would be done away with. I believe there was something in the order of 100 non-government organizations that were mentioned in Question Period. I wonder if the Minister could table the list, along with the amounts that they received, so that we can see the magnitude of this problem. A letter to all of the Members was requested, if that is possible.
Some time ago, the Minister also indicated that he would provide the time lines for the hospital - a critical path chart or a time line chart, or whatever it is that the administrator or project manager will be working to. Could that also be sent to all of the Members by way of a letter?
If, in fact, there are some terms of reference for determining which one of these NGOs is an advocacy group, could he include that so that the Members will know how the determination was made as to whether or not they are to be core funded?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I have a problem with the request for the information. Apparently, a legislative return has been prepared - I have not seen it yet - on the seven letters that went out, of which two were cuts. But if it is not in my office, I will send it to everyone by letter.
The point I was trying to make regarding the issue about which ones were advocacy groups is that that was not the sole criterion, but we are moving away from solely advocacy groups. We are moving away from core funding, and we are looking at a fee-for-services arrangement between the government and the NGO. At least one of the two letters regarding cuts is a group that is both an advocacy group and provides services, as they stated on radio this morning.
The issue really is that what we want to look at are funding services that the government feels are worthwhile or a priority, given the limited funds, and agreeing upon the quality and quantity of services that are to be provided for the money. We are quite prepared to sit down and discuss these issues with the two groups who received letters from the director that they were being cut. What we have to make clear is that the days are over when we simply give money to organizations and let them determine what services they will provide.
We have a tremendous demand and need for services. We are underfunded in the area of sexual abuse counselling, victim services, issues relating to healing centres, holistic medicine concepts and so on. Some of these issues show very severe needs. We are underfunded with respect to what we would like to be doing in the area of alcohol and drugs, prevention education and those things. We only have so much money and we have to determine the best use for that money.
I know that the theme on the radio was that they provide services; however, they are not services that we determined were a priority and that we should be funding. We are quite willing to discuss that, however.
Mr. Cable: I do not want to get into a debate on what is an advocacy group, but I do want the information so that when the House resumes, we can resume the debate.
The words I remember the Minister using yesterday was that there is a plethora of groups - about 100 of them. Is the Minister saying that there were only seven letters sent out to seven different groups? Did I understand him correctly?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: There were seven letters sent out. That is because there needed to be some dialogue between now and when the operations and maintenance budget is established. That is why letters went at this time.
The arrangements are under negotiation with a large number of groups and have been for some time. An example, without getting into an endless discussion, is the Child Development Centre. It has been raised over and over in the House how they can pay for operations and maintenance of the building, as per the recommendation of the Auditor General. We have this discussion all the time with groups like Crossroads, as well.
These letters went out, because there had been no discussions, and we wanted to make it very clear that we had some problem with funding their full amount.
Mr. Cable: If the Minister could provide a list of those organizations and the amount of their core funding, it would be useful.
It would be useful to hear from the Minister as to what is driving the approach to these organizations. Is it some sort of doctrinal or philosophical change in the way the government is approaching these organizations, or is it driven by budgetary considerations?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Both. We feel that it is the taxpayers money that we are spending, and the most effective way to spend that money is to pay for services that are needed. Essentially, the prioritization of what we are going to fund ought to be determined by government; it is our responsibility. This has not been the way that the funding has been arrived at previously, at least for many of these organizations.
Ms. Commodore: I have a couple of very short questions about the lists of contracts that were tabled today, or that the Minister had sent over.
On page one, there is a contract for a Janet Whitfield in the amount of $684,000. Is she any relation to one of the staff members in that department?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I am advised it is his wife, and that is the receiving home contract.
Ms. Commodore: Further down, in regard to the Woods Christian Homes, is this the contract the government has given to provide services for the Northern Network of Services Home, in the amount of $796,000?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Yes.
Ms. Commodore: How is that paid out? Is it paid to the Woods treatment home in Calgary, and then, in turn, paid to the Northern Network of Services Home in Whitehorse?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The contract is with the Calgary company, so it will probably be paid to them.
Ms. Commodore: Are they then responsible for paying the NNS? There is almost $800,000 here that is given to the Woods Christian Homes in Calgary. How is that money then distributed to the NNS home in Whitehorse? Do they send a bill, or an invoice, or whatever, to the Calgary treatment home for the services that are offered here?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Calgary pays the expenses; the paycheques come from Calgary. That is the extent of what we know.
Ms. Commodore: Does this also include expenses for our children who are sent to Calgary? Is that included in this $796,000? I ran across other contracts that were given to the same Christian home for other amounts of money.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The one contract is for NNS, and the separate ones are for individual placements to Calgary.
Ms. Commodore: I had not heard the term Woods Christian Homes until I read the contract today. Is this run by a religious organization?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: We will have to get back with that; we are not sure.
Ms. Commodore: Since we have been dealing with this home for possibly 10 years, maybe longer, we certainly should have information regarding the kind of home it is and whether or not there is a religious part to it. I would be interested in finding this out. For instance, the Salvation Army, which provides a service to young offenders, at least in B.C. that I know of, practise their religion with the children who go to those homes. I just wonder, since it is called the Woods Christian Home, whether or not there is that kind of religious involvement and, if there is, how do they do it? What takes place? I am sure we have children of all different religious denominations, and this is the first I have ever seen it referred to as the Woods Christian Homes.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: We are not aware of any religious aspect to the programming, but we will check it out and send a letter to the Member.
Ms. Commodore: I have other questions. Since the department gives Woods Christian Home $796,000, I would like to know whether or not that is in an agreement or contract for a one-year term. Do they, in turn, contract out the services of the NNS? Is that how it works? I am confused about the manner in which the work is provided. I was told today that the money went to Woods Home and they, in turn, contracted NNS. I am not sure how is it is done. Is it on a case-by-case or service-by-service basis?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The Woods Home is the delivery agent. It is their employees. It just happens to be called NNS.
Ms. Commodore: How did we determine that the NNS home would be the treatment centre in Whitehorse? I was told in a legislative return that they were paid on a quarterly basis. I assumed that this government was paying NNS on a quarterly basis; however, it appears that is not the case at all.
I wonder if the Minister might prepare for me some kind of information that will tell me exactly how the process works. I am not digging at anything here; I am just curious.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Yes.
Mr. Penikett: At great risk of offending the Ministers patience, I wonder if I could ask two questions for which I would like to get written answers. I do not want to take any time tonight. They both have to do with funding for NGOs.
The Minister, in Question Period, was quite keen about the word rationalization. I would be interested in getting, before the spring estimates, a before-and-after list - if you like - or, a list of health and social services NGOs that have been funded by the department; a list of what they were getting and what they will be getting, let us assume, post-April 1, assuming the budget session will straddle the new fiscal year somewhere.
The second thing I would like to get - and this is not a quibble, but rather a very precise concern - would be some written definition from the department about what it sees as advocacy activities and what it defines as service activities. I ask this question because, having thought about it for the last 24 hours or so, I am less and less comfortable, as are some of my colleagues, with a quick and easy definition.
I am assuming the department has thought about this, given the basis for the Ministers decision. All I would like, not to take time now, is the Ministers commitment to come back, prior to the spring session, with something in writing on those two questions.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The answer is yes to both questions.
Chair: Are we prepared to go line by line?
Some Hon. Member: Agreed.
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
On Policy, Planning and Administration
Hon. Mr. Phelps: An increase of $41,000 is requested in order to provide for the completion of the data collection portion of the health promotion survey. This is 100 percent recoverable from the Government of Canada.
Policy, Planning and Administration in the amount of $41,000 agreed to
On Family and Childrens Services
Hon. Mr. Phelps: An increase of $247,000 is requested for this program area. This does not actually represent an increase to the department, as this amount is offset by decreases in other program areas.
Responsibility for the safe places initiative is being consolidated. As a result, this program is being transferred from regional services to family and childrens services, and that is an addition of $213,00. As well, the half-time equivalent family life coordinator position is being transferred from health services to family and childrens services, and that is $34,000 - that is what is known as the Fran Berry job.
Family and Childrens Services in the amount of $247,000 agreed to
On Social Services
Hon. Mr. Phelps: This decrease does not represent a real decrease in government spending, as the money is being transferred both within the department and to another department. Responsibility for funding the Yukon Special Olympic Society has been transferred to the Department of Community and Transportation Services, sport and recreational branch, in the amount of $21,455.
The portion of the home support program affecting communities outside Whitehorse currently being administered by social services is being transferred to regional services and that represents a reduction of $133,000.
Social Services in the amount of an underexpenditure of $154,000 agreed to
On Health Services
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Health services shows an increase of $304,000; however, in real terms, there is a net decrease in government spending of $200,000. There is a declared underexpenditure in the health transfer area due to delays with phase 2 negotiations. The federal election caused discussions to be held up and, as yet, we do not know when the new federal government will address the issue. This issue was 100 percent recoverable from Canada and O&M recoveries decreased accordingly. Responsibility for the family life coordinator position, as I have said before, was transferred. That is the $34,000. Responsibility for a speech pathologist position has been transferred from the speech and hearing branch of Health Services to Education, as this position works in the schools. That is $65,414. Responsibility for managing McDonald Lodge for seniors in Dawson is being transferred from regional services to Health Services, in order to ensure the administration of the continuing care continuum is under the same umbrella, and that is an increase of $604,000.
Mr. Penikett: What exactly has happened to Fran Berrys position? Recently, I have had a number of parents complain to me that children in grades 5 and 6 are not getting any family life or sex education classes, as did kids of that age in previous years. What is going on?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I have received the same complaints, and we will be recruiting a half-time position to replace Fran Berry.
Mr. Penikett: I am sorry. Did the Minister say a half-time person? Was the position not previously full time? It was not?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Yes, it was full time. Sorry, I am wrong. It was full time, and we are trying to find the extra resources to pull it back up again to full time. It is half time now.
Mr. Penikett: We expect this recruitment process to be complete. I did not want to take any more time at this stage of the debate, but it is just by coincidence that, in the last two weeks, I have had quite a few parents mention to me their concern about the lack of this kind of programming.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: It will probably take a couple of months because of the staffing process, but we are moving on it right away. It is interesting, because I have become acutely aware of it recently, too.
Health Services in the amount of $304,000 agreed to
On Regional Services
Hon. Mr. Phelps: While this program area shows a decrease of $684,000, the net effect on government spending is nil, as it involves transfers in and out of the program. Responsibility for the safe places initiative is being consolidated. As a result, it is being transferred from regional services to family and childrens services - that represents a $213,000 decrease. A portion of the home support program affecting communities outside Whitehorse currently being administered by social services is being transferred to regional services; that is an increase of $133,000. The responsibility for managing McDonald Lodge in Dawson is transferred from regional services to health services, as I stated earlier. As well, there are two allotment transfers within the regional services program: $65,000 has been moved from the Watson Lake group home, which is now closed, to the Kaska family support initiative; and $52,000 has been moved from the personnel area - that was a position vacancy - to support the Kaska alcohol and drug strategy initiative.
Regional Services in the amount of an underexpenditure of $684,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance in the amount of an underexpenditure of $246,000 agreed to
On Capital Expenditures
On Policy, Planning and Administration
On Systems Development
Hon. Mr. Phelps: This increase represents the funds to be revoted from 1992-93 for the completion of the LISA system, and 50 percent of it is recoverable under CAP.
Systems Development in the amount of $34,000 agreed to
On Family and Childrens Services
On Group Homes - Construction and Renovation
Hon. Mr. Phelps: This increase reflects the accelerated timetable for the following projects, as part of the departments contribution to the government job creation initiative. At 5030-5th Avenue, in the amount of $25,000, we built a minor addition to the facility in order to improve the layout of the facility for child welfare treatment programming. At 305 Lambert, there was $10,000 spent on interior renovations to the facility, such as moving walls for offices and electrical requirements.
Ms. Commodore: Did the Minister say that the $25,000 went to the residence at 5030-5th Avenue? The Minister indicated yes. This is the site of the Northern Network of Services treatment home?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Yes.
Ms. Commodore: So the building, and any other buildings that we might own, will continue to be maintained by the department - is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Yes, it is the same as it was before.
Ms. Commodore: Before what?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Before we took office. We have had some discussion about the viability of these homes being able to contract for some modest repairs, because when you have big construction companies, it costs a lot.
Group Homes - Construction and Renovation in the amount of $35,000 agreed to
On Young Offenders Facility Renovations
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The expenditure of $24,000 represents the funds to be revoted for 1992-93 for the completion of the new security system at the facility. The remaining $15,000 increase reflects the accelerated timetable for renovations to 501 Taylor, as part of our contribution to the job creation initiative. It involves interior capital maintenance work.
Ms. Commodore: I would like to ask the Minister what the government did to make the facility more secure, because it appeared that a lot of money has gone into making it more secure and more money is being spent for that purpose every year.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: It was simply that some of the security systems in the building never worked properly. I recall a problem opening doors when I was there and it was deemed to be pretty dangerous.
Young Offenders Facility Renovations in the amount of $39,000 agreed to
On Safe Places
Hon. Mr. Phelps: This represents a program transfer of funds and not new money, because of the operation and maintenance consultation for safe places from regional services to family and childrens services.
Safe Places in the amount of $75,000 agreed to
Family and Childrens Services in the amount of $149,000 agreed to
On Health Services
On Acute Care Facility - Whitehorse Hospital
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The reduction reflects the delay in the construction schedule that will be included in future years as part of the overall $47,176,000 cost, and there is a corresponding decrease in this years capital recoveries.
Acute Care Facility - Whitehorse Hospital in the amount of an underexpenditure of $9,000,000 agreed to
On Continuing Care Facility - Building
Hon. Mr. Phelps: This increase reflects the accelerated timetable for the completion of the psychogeriatric pod of the Thomson Centre - again, as part of the job creation initiative. This involves completing the interior portion of that pod.
On Continuing Care Facility - Building in the amount of $500,000 agreed to
On Continuing Care Facility - Equipment
Hon. Mr. Phelps: This is equipment that has been postponed in order to help offset the cost of completing the interior of the shelled-in portion.
Mr. Penikett: I have previously expressed concern about the Ministers apparent willingness to integrate the extended care facility into the operations of the hospital. I have expressed some reasons for being critical of that direction.
Can the Minister indicate, at this moment, whether or not he has made a final decision about the gobbling up of the Thomson Centre by the hospital?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: In terms of the use of the beds in the Thomson Centre, the intention is that, once the shelled-in portion we are speaking about is completed, that area will remain for psychogeriatric patients. There will be no disruption after this job is done. My understanding, then, is that we have 10 beds in one of the pods that we will be using. The rest will be in the temporary trailer-type buildings.
Regarding the ultimate issue of whether or not the Thomson Centre will come under the governance of the hospital board, I have said that we will commence discussions with them in the next six months or so on that issue. I understand that the Member has had some opinions opposed to this. We have had numerous opinions the other way. I would certainly be willing to obtain whatever information he has that is opposed, because there is very strong feeling in the letters I have been getting that there is a lot to be gained by a linkage in terms of governance.
Mr. Penikett: Let me be clearer on my position. I fully supported and, indeed, was responsible for initiating measures by which the Thomson Centre, or the extended care facility, and the hospital could have common services - a heating plant, nutritional services and others. I fully support any economies that could be achieved in that measure.
However, I have been persuaded by a number of people that the intrinsic residential nature of the extended care program can be compromised by the different exigencies of the hospital administration, which is a curative institutional arrangement that is, in some ways, different from the extended care facility.
I want to emphasize that I do not have a closed mind on the question. I just want to make sure that everybody who has an interest in the question has a chance to have a say before the decision is made. The Minister has said he will be going through some kind of consultation process in the next six months, and that is fine.
Continuing Care Facility - Equipment in the amount of an underexpenditure of $340,000 agreed to
On McDonald Lodge - Renovations and Equipment
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I would like to correct the record. I misspoke myself. The new pod that is being completed will be used for long-term care during transition. It is not restricted to psychogeriatric.
Mr. Penikett: That is the kind of issue that is important to me. I believe very strongly that, in the care continuum that was described to me, or that I was persuaded to support, from home care through retirement homes, through nursing homes, to extended care, the psychogeriatric pod was to be a discreet part of the extended care facility, not that there are now, nor ever have been, patients in Whitehorse General Hospital who would not be well cared for in that type of thing. I am not absolutely sure if that kind of service is common or compatible with a normal hospital treatment.
McDonald Lodge - Renovations and Equipment in the amount of $30,000 agreed to
Health Services in the amount of an underexpenditure of $8,810,000 agreed to
On Regional Services
On Safe Homes in Rural Yukon
Safe Homes in Rural Yukon in the amount of an underexpenditure of $75,000 agreed to
On McDonald Lodge - Furniture and Equipment
McDonald Lodge - Furniture and Equipment in the amount of an underexpenditure of $30,000 agreed to
Regional Services in the amount of an underexpenditure of $105,000 agreed to
Capital Expenditures in the amount of an underexpenditure in the amount of $8,732,000 agreed to
Department of Health and Social Services agreed to
Department of Justice
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Before we get into general debate, I have the usual contract lists for tabling.
I am pleased to present today the Department of Justice combined operation and maintenance and capital supplementary estimate no. 1 for the 1993-94 fiscal year. Overall O&M expenditures are projected to total $29,529,700 with O&M recoveries of $963,300, resulting in a net O&M expenditure level of $28,566,400. The major cause of the unfavourable $142,000 variance is an increase of $330,000 in personnel costs. This increase has been partially offset by a decrease in funds budgeted for the Teslin correctional facility of $198,000 and a reduction of $35,000 in adjudication costs for the Human Rights Commission. On the capital side, overall expenditures total $2,763,000. The unfavourable capital variance of $27,000 is comprised of a reduction of $24,000 in the administrative program and increases of $10,000 and $41,000 in the justice services and solicitor general programs, respectively.
Revenue amounts have increased by $200,000 over the main estimate levels, which is an estimate of the fees collectible by the government as a result of land titles devolution. This amount appears in the revenue summary for the government.
O&M recoveries are reduced by a net amount of $437,000 and this is made up of an increase of $45,000 in the court services program and a decrease of $482,000 in the attorney general program.
Ms. Commodore: I do not have a lot of questions and feel a bit pressured with the Administrator waiting to come in to give assent to this bill. I have some questions of the Minister, but I would first of all like to thank him for providing me with the information in regard to the specifics in the reorganizations of the department. It was very helpful to me.
I will be pursuing it further in the O&M budget, when it is tabled in this House, because I am sure there will be a lot more information.
I went very quickly through the list of contracts that was given to us right now, and I do have one question. It is in regard to the court reporting contract. I am trying to find where it might be, and I am not sure if I have been able to locate it. But I do know that the contract was awarded to a company from outside for a lower amount than what was originally contracted to Yukoners who had been providing that service for a number of years. I also know that a number of the individuals who had been working at those positions have had to pack up their families and leave the Yukon because their jobs were taken away from them through the change in the contract. There were difficulties experienced by some of those families.
I would like to ask the Minister whether or not he is satisfied with the service that is being provided at a lower rate and if there have been any problems that he has been made aware of.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Firstly, the amounts appear on page 51, about two-thirds of the way down the page. I have not been apprised of any problems, I am relieved to say. There may have been some, but I certainly have not received any complaints from lawyers, or whatever.
Ms. Commodore: The concerns I had, of course, were in regard to the families who have had to pack up and leave the Yukon because they lost their jobs when the contract was given to an outside firm.
I would just like to make one comment on something that was said in this House by the Minister on January 20, in regard to which government provided the best services. I want to clarify something with respect to the JP program, where he brags about appointing new JPs. I agree that there is a good complement of people who have been appointed, but the reasons why I did not proceed with the appointments is because I was waiting for recommendations from the Judicial Council about people who would be appointed.
I received a list quite early on in my term as Minister of Justice. We were looking at a list of men, who would add to the already long list of men who were acting as JPs in the communities. My commitment was to look at appointing more women and more aboriginal people. So, it was not as if - as the Minister said - I would not appoint JPs unless it was seen to be entirely politically correct.
I do not know what he meant by politically correct. Does politically correct mean women and aboriginal people? If so, I do not see anything wrong in trying to make sure that the people who provide a service in the courts will understand and meet the needs of Yukoners. So, I wanted to make that very clear.
Ms. Commodore: It is not I who makes the recommendations; it is the judicial council. The Minister knows that, so that was the reason I was glad to see that he was given a list of all those individuals for whom I had been waiting for a long time. I do not want to be accused of something that I did not do. It was something that I was waiting for and it did not come.
I would like to ask the Minister whether he intends to pursue with the new federal government the devolution of the Crown attorneys functions in the Yukon. That is still a very important issue and I think that we sometimes recognize what people have been saying is that the federal government is using the Yukon as a training ground for our Crown attorney people, and that we sometimes get individuals here who may not have the experience that is sometimes necessary in order to do the job right.
I was especially concerned by a remark made by one of the judges where he criticized the Crown attorney for the cases brought before the court, especially in regard to family violence. All people have worked very hard to deal with the problems of family violence and making sure that people who violate the law are dealt with. We certainly recognize that there has to be enough evidence in court before a conviction is made.
I really think that many individuals sincerely believe that if the Yukon has control of who is hired to provide that function, things could change. Maybe they will and maybe they will not, but I am asking the Minister whether he intends to pursue the new government with regard to that devolution.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I agree with the Member on that issue and we intend to pursue the issue as a high priority.
I have written to the new Minister, Allan Rock. I received a one page reply that seemed positive, but I guess that we will have to see. I have not met the new Minister and I hope to meet him at the justice ministers meetings when they take place later this spring.
Ms. Commodore: I would certainly like to be kept up to date on that.
In the debate on the O&M budget, I had asked questions about the mission statement of the Department of Justice. The Minister let me know that they were reworking it. I noticed in the information that was provided to me with regard to the reorganization of the branches in his department, they mentioned the mission statement. I would not mind a copy of that. Can the Minister provide me with one?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Certainly. I do not have it here, but I will ensure that one is sent over.
Ms. Commodore: I will be asking further questions with regard to programs and some of the ones that were funded. Did the Department of Justice fund the Block Parents Association in some manner?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: No, we did not. Excuse my distraction. I am looking through my papers, and I have the mission statement the letter referred to, and the ministerial priorities referred to. I have one copy, which I will table.
Ms. Commodore: I remember being involved somewhat with the Block Parents Association when I was the Minister and an individual from the department working very closely with them. I thought that money had been provided to them. The Minister has just indicated that was not the case.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: As far as I know, there was a one-time payment of $5,000 three years ago, and nothing since.
Ms. Commodore: Can the Minister tell me what is happening with the case of the Taga Ku project? Is it before the courts right now?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Yes.
Ms. Commodore: I guess that the Minister cannot express too many comments on it, but could he just let me know what is happening at this point in time?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: My understanding was that examinations for discovery have been proceeding. They seem to be moving ahead toward trial. I can have something sent with regard to the current status of where they are in terms of going to trial. I think they are either part way through or just completing their examinations for discovery. I will have someone send a progress report.
Ms. Commodore: I have asked the Minister this before. It is in regard to the Yukon Party plan for the next four years. I realize they have only been in office for a year and a few months and that the Member sometimes does not take credit for policies in his happy coalition, but I would like to know if he can provide me with information - I know he will not be able to do it today - or an update on stopping crime mentioned in their election promises. I am sure if he does not have a copy of the four-year plan, because he says he is not a member of the party, he can get one from his happy coalition Members. I would like him to provide me with information about what is happening in regard to eliminating family violence, reducing vandalism, amending the Young Offenders Act and reviewing facilities and programs - there are a lot of promises in here and, since the promises were made, I would like to know how far along his department has come with respect to living up to these promises.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: That is right, there are a lot of promises in there and we have done one heck of a job fulfilling some of those promises.
Ms. Commodore: I am not going to be tricked into that one. I know everyone wants to get out and we hope to be out of here by a certain time. I could go through every single promise here right now and ask the Minister how far he has got on it, and I suspect there would not be a heck of a lot of progress made. So I will not pursue it, but I will in the next session.
There was some representation made to me in regard to the family violence prevention unit and it could possibly be a result of all the talk of privatization. Has there been any consideration to privatizing the family violence prevention unit?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: No.
Ms. Commodore: I am glad to hear that. I have one question in regard to his own riding, concerning the crime rate. Can he confirm that there have been a number of B&Es in Carcross in the last little while? This was just something that was told to me and, if he is aware of it, are we also looking at a rise in crime in some of the communities outside Whitehorse?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I would have to come back with that. The crime often comes in waves in some of the smaller communities. I am sure the Minister will recall when she was Minister the year of the stand-off at Oka, and a lot of bad things were happening in Carcross that summer.
With the youth centre in Carcross, I feel there has been a lot less of that type of crime - vandalism and minor B&E offences - because the centre has had a positive impact on youth, but I do not know to what extent cold statistics would back up my feelings on that.
Ms. Commodore: Does the Minister intend to look at other youth centres in communities outside of Whitehorse?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Yes, that is a strong priority. I mentioned that we are going to have meetings in Whitehorse in March, on the weekend, with numerous players invited, including the City of Whitehorse, which is quite keen to look into this.
We held the youth conference in Carcross, sponsored by the RCMP in conjunction with that youth centre. They had three youth and one interested adult from all communities, except two, including Old Crow.
We hope to struggle ahead and see if we can duplicate some of the success of the Carcross centre, which has been remarkably successful, although it is not all positive; there have been some setbacks.
Ms. Commodore: Since we have already passed the capital budget in this House and, by March, the operation and maintenance budget will have been introduced in this House, we will possibly be dealing with it at that time.
Is it safe to say that any new plans for youth centres in communities may not happen until the end of the next fiscal year? If that is not the case, what kind of funding are we looking at in order to meet those youth centre needs?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: There is no definite funding. The situation in Carcross is one where we rented the premises for a dollar, made a contribution and money was raised. We hope to see that type of effort put forward.
I know that in my discussions with the youth at that conference in Carcross, in several of the communities there was talk about buildings that could be fixed up using volunteer labour and materials.
I think that Carcross raised $27,000, and we would like to see ownership in terms of the youth taking a lead role, determining what the rules are going to be and becoming involved in fund raising. Of course, we would be very sympathetic with a health investment fund assist.
Mr. Cable: Last year, there were a number of questions asked of the Minister with relation to the new court reporting contract.
Has the Minister or his staff conducted an evaluation of the court reporting services under this new contract?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I have not.
Mr. Cable: Has the Minister or his staff received any comments from the local bar, judges or the court registry staff on the effectiveness or quality of the services?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I have not heard any complaints. No news is good news, in that regard.
Mr. Cable: Perhaps the Minister could check with his staff to see if they have received any complaints.
I gather there is some auxiliary staff in the court registry. What is the reason behind maintaining those people as auxiliaries?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Under the previous deputy minister, we ended up with people working without positions. That is what we are trying to rationalize. These non-budgeted personnel costs traditionally or historically operated with person year surplus and auxiliary staff. What has been happening is that there have been fewer and fewer vacant positions. This is partly because of the obvious concern about the economic climate. We are struggling to deal with the problem of the positions that were created without going through the formal process of Management Board.
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
On Court Services
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The variance in this program is largely attributable to non-budgeted personnel cost increases for programs that have historically been operated with person year surplus and auxiliary staff. That is $90,000. The programs include the fine enforcement officer, victims of crime administration, secretarial support for the third territorial court judge, auxiliary court clerk to cover additional courtroom, and overtime associated with court circuits. A decline of vacancies resulted in less salary slippage than anticipated. Secondly, additional money of $45,000 is required to conduct a maintenance enforcement program client survey. This money is fully recoverable from the federal government.
Court Services in the amount of $135,000 agreed to
On Solicitor General
Hon. Mr. Phelps: This favourable variance results from a decrease in the expenditure allotted for the Teslin correctional facility, offset by several overexpenditures in the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. The Teslin facility will be opening in April, resulting in some savings in both personnel and O&M costs for this fiscal year. The total personnel savings are $269,100. Because the Teslin facility was originally supposed to open in November 1993, the costs at WCC were budgeted to reflect a decrease at that time. This will not occur, so $70,600 is being transferred back to the centre to carry them to the end of the fiscal year.
Solicitor General in the amount of an underexpenditure of $198,000 agreed to
On Policy and Community Programs
Hon. Mr. Phelps: This unfavourable variance is solely as a result of increased personnel costs. It was expanded in the 1992-93 fiscal year to include a communications coordinator policy analyst and a corporate planner. These positions were unbudgeted and to be paid for from departmental salary slippage. Again, because of the fewer vacancies, there is less money to fund them.
Policy and Community Programs in the amount of $240,000 agreed to
On Human Rights
Hon. Mr. Phelps: We are lapsing $35,000 in the area of adjudication costs. The Commission grant remains at $247,000, with the adjudication costs reduced to $7,000. There are currently no cases pending adjudication.
Human Rights in the amount of an underexpenditure of $35,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures in the amount of $142,000 agreed to
On Capital Expenditures
On Office Accommodation Improvements
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The favourable variance is due to the deletion of funding for office accommodation improvements and the transfer this money to the solicitor general program for the purchase of vehicles for the Teslin facility. No renovations to office accommodation are anticipated in this fiscal year.
Office Accommodation Improvements in the amount of an underexpenditure of $24,000 agreed to
Administration in the amount of an underexpenditure of $24,000 agreed to
On Justice Services
On Land Titles Office
Hon. Mr. Phelps: As a condition of the transfer, $10,000 was provided to the Yukon government via the formula financing agreement for office renovations and furniture for the Land Titles Office.
Land Titles Office in the amount of $10,000 agreed to
Justice Services in the amount of $10,000 agreed to
On Solicitor General
On New Equipment
Hon. Mr. Phelps: This is to cover the cost of two new vehicles for the Teslin facility. Of the total $41,000 requested, $24,000 has been reallocated from the administration program and an additional $10,000 was approved as a revote from the previous fiscal year; the remaining $7,000 is requested as new money. The vehicles are required to transport inmates to and from the Whitehorse Correctional Centre and to provide the facility staff with a vehicle for various transportation needs.
New Equipment in the amount of $41,000 agreed to
Solicitor General in the amount of $41,000 agreed to
Capital Expenditures in the amount of $27,000 agreed to
Department of Justice agreed to
On Schedule A
Schedule A agreed to
On Schedule B
Schedule B agreed to
On Clause 1
Clause 1 agreed to
On Clause 2
Clause 2 agreed to
Title agreed to
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I move, Mr. Chair, that you report Bill No. 11 out of the Committee of the Whole without amendment.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
May the House have a report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole?
Mr. Abel: The Committee of the Whole passed the following motion:
THAT the Committee of the Whole and the Assembly be empowered to continue sitting beyond 5:30 p.m., if necessary, for the purpose of completing consideration of Bill No. 11, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 1993-94, in Committee of the Whole; for permitting the House to consider a motion for third reading of the same bill; and for receiving the Administrator to give assent to certain bills by the House.
Further, Committee of the Whole completed its consideration of Bill No. 11, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 1993-94, and directed me to report it without amendment.
Speaker: You have heard the report of the Chair of Committee of the Whole.
Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Bill No. 11: Third Reading
Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 11, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. Ostashek.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I move that Bill No. 11, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 1993-94, be now read a third time and do pass.
Speaker: It has been moved by the acting Government Leader that Bill No. 11, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 1993-94, be now read a third time and do pass.
Motion for third reading of Bill No. 11 agreed to
Speaker: I declare that Bill No. 11 has passed this House.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: 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 acting 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
Speaker: We are now prepared to receive the Administrator to grant assent to the bills that have passed this House.
Administrator enters the Chamber announced by the Sergeant-at-Arms
ASSENT TO BILLS
Administrator: Please be seated.
Speaker: Madam, the Assembly has, at its present session, passed certain bills to which, in the name and on behalf of the Assembly, I respectfully request your assent.
Clerk: An Act to Amend the Hospital Act and the Evidence Act; Yukon Family Services Association Rent Guarantee Act; Second Appropriation Act, 1993-94.
Administrator: It is a pleasure to assent to the bills as enumerated by the Clerk.
Before I wish you a happy and restful break, I would just like to say that I am sorry if my presence intimidates any hon. Member in this House. I enjoy sitting in the gallery. I feel very much at home in this Chamber and I had four and one-half stimulating years sitting in a number of these seats. I know it has been a very long and arduous session and I know you all need a break. I hope you will all join us for a very successful Rendezvous. Thank you.
Administrator leaves the Chamber
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the acting Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House stands adjourned.
The House adjourned at 7:07 p.m.
The following Legislative Return was tabled January 27, 1994:
Whitehorse General Hospital Project Director: terms of the contract; length of contract; dollar value of contract (Phelps)
Oral, Hansard, p. 2126
The following Filed Documents were filed January 27, 1994:
Filed Document No. 32
Non-profit society funding: Mr. Phelps view on, as found in Yukon Hansard, Wednesday. November 28, 1990, pages 399-401 (Commodore)
Filed Document No. 33
Architects: Guide on how to find, select and engage (Summary from the Architect Act of British Columbia) (Penikett)