Whitehorse, Yukon

Wednesday, May 4, 1994 - 1:30 p.m.

Page Number 2403


I will now call the House to order. We will proceed at this time with silent Prayers.




We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.

Introduction of Visitors.


Hon. Mr. Nordling:

I would like to draw to the attention of the House the presence in the gallery of a former Member of the Legislative Assembly, former Minister of Health and Social Services, Joyce Hayden, and to welcome her.



Are there any Returns or Documents for tabling?

Are there any Reports of Committees?

Are there any Bills to be introduced?

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

Are there any Notices of Motion?

Are there any Statements by Ministers?

This then brings us to the Question Period.


Question re: Disclosure statements, John Ostashek

Mr. McDonald:

I am compelled to ask a few more questions about the same matter that has arisen in the last few days in the Legislature. I would like to put a few questions to the Government Leader that I am hoping that he can answer in order to clear the matter up.

The Government Leader has said that the $10,000 check payable to him personally in the sale of a Shakwak Air airplane to a citizen of the territory was a shareholder loan repayment, and the fact that the purchaser of the plane personally repaid the loan to the Minister on Shakwak Air's behalf was irrelevant. Can the Minister state how Shakwak Air is going to record the repayment of the shareholder's loan if the purchaser of the plane actually repaid the loan in part.

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

It will be recorded as the disposal of assets of $46,000. There would also be a reduction in the shareholder's loan of $10,000.

Mr. McDonald:

It appears to be a very awkward way of going about conducting a separate transaction. I would like to ask the Minister this: in disclosing assets to the Legislative Assembly, does the Minister believe that outstanding loans to others are really assets - like accounts receivable, for example - which should be declared on Ministers' disclosure statements - which in this case were not.

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

I have done a lot of checking with the Clerk of the Assembly about this. We have gone through all of the conflict-of-interest documents for both MLAs and Cabinet Ministers, and I have not found that anything other than income has to be declared. In order to put the matter to rest, I said in my statement yesterday that I am prepared - and I will be doing it; I have them on my desk now - to table the financial statements of the companies that I am involved in to show that there is nothing to hide. I want to again make it very clear that I have not seen anything anywhere that says that I contravened the declaration and disclosure statements by not declaring loans outstanding to me. You do not have to declare bank accounts.

Mr. McDonald:

We both know how limited the rules are, and that was the reason why both sides of the Legislature passed the Public Government Act here a couple of years ago.

We are talking about right and wrong, and what the Minister believes is right or wrong.

Could the Minister tell us whether or not he has any other outstanding loans to people or companies that do business in the Yukon, which he has not declared?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

I believe the only loans that I have outstanding are shareholder's loans in two companies in which I am a shareholder.

I want to speak a little bit about right and wrong and the allegations coming from the Member opposite. There has not been one shred of evidence that I have done anything in conflict with my position in office.

The Members opposite had seven and one-half years to bring forward conflict-of-interest legislation. They did not do so until the very end of their second mandate and then they did not have the legislation proclaimed.

If we want to talk about perception, I can go down the list of some of the involvements of previous Cabinet Ministers. Perhaps those are the reasons that act was never proclaimed.

Question re: Disclosure statements, John Ostashek

Mr. McDonald:

The Public Government Act, which was debated in this Legislature, was meant to address the situation of conflict of interest and perceived conflict of interest. There was a recognition that the rules were inadequate.

The Minister has indicated that he believes it is appropriate and proper to continue to conduct business as a Minister.

The Minister has indicated that he has done nothing wrong and nothing untoward, yet he signed statements to the Legislative Assembly that apparently are not correct. One example would be his resignation as an agent of Shakwak Air.

The Minister indicated that his failure to disclose his continuing interest in Shakwak Air was a clerical error. One might ask whether or not the Government Leader's claiming to resign as president and director of the company was also a clerical error.

Did the Minister not sign the disclosure statement? I would also like to know if it was the responsibility of the clerk or the Minister?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

The Member for McIntyre-Takhini is really stretching it now. If the Member opposite would have reviewed the disclosure statement, he would have seen that there are two disclosure statements filed. One statement is filed for me, as an Executive Council Member, and one as an MLA. Both of the forms were filled out. The statement with regard to being an Executive Council Member does not require the check marks beside it, but it certainly did declare my interest in the two companies.

Mr. McDonald:

I see he is still going to blame the clerical error on the clerk.

In the sale of the plane, the Minister indicated that, on Monday, all revenue resulting from the sale of the plane had been disclosed to Revenue Canada. On Tuesday, the Minister said that the revenue will be disclosed to Revenue Canada. Which statement is true?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

It will be disclosed in the 1993 books of Shakwak Air.

I have never once accused the Clerk of making an error. I said that it occurred when my secretary took it from the working copy to the papers.

If the Member opposite would like, I am prepared to file that working copy.

Mr. McDonald:

I did not suggest it was this Clerk. I was

Page Number 2404



referring to the secretary the Minister had doing the books. One would assume that if he signed the final document to submit to the Legislative Assembly, he would have taken responsibility for it. Clearly, he does not want to do that.

The Minister indicated that the statement he made on Monday that all revenue resulting from the sale of the plane had been disclosed was, in fact, incorrect, and that it had yet to be disclosed.

Can the Minister tell the House whether or not all relevant taxes payable as a result of the transaction were paid, both for the $36,000 and for the $10,000 shareholder loan repayment? Have all relevant taxes been paid?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

The Member is using a big fishing rod now.

Those documents do not need to be filed with Revenue Canada until June 30 of this year. They will be filed accordingly.

Question re: Disclosure statements, John Ostashek

Mr. Cable:

On the same subject, the Government Leader indicated that there was no evidence of wrongdoing. Is the Government Leader comfortable and confident that there has been no breach of the guidelines or the Legislative Assembly Act?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

I have been over and over and over them. My staff has been over them, and we are very confident that there is no breach.

Mr. Cable:

The Government Leader has expressed some reservations about proclaiming that portion of the Public Government Act that deals with conflict of interest and enquiries relating to conflicts of interest. In order to clear the air, is the Government Leader prepared to set up a one-person inquiry under the Inquiries Act to get the issue off the table?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

Certainly I am not, because there is not even a perceived conflict. I can find more perceptions of conflict in some of the actions of the Members opposite.


Order please. This is not the place to suggest that perhaps a one-person inquiry or whatever should be set up. My understanding of the rules is that a motion of some type can be put forward to that effect, but this is not the place to make those suggestions.

Mr. Cable:

Rather than dispute that ruling, I will ask another question.

I suppose the Government Leader must be aware, as is everybody in this House, all the elected representatives, that perceptions in this business are as important as realities. The Minister issued a statement yesterday giving his recollections of a transaction, but there still seems to be some loose ends.

What does the Minister, the Government Leader, intend to do further to clear up this rather unfortunate perception that has taken place in the last two days?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

What is the allegation?

Question re: Disclosure statements, John Ostashek

Mr. McDonald:

I would like to ask the Minister a general question, and maybe by the time Question Period is over, he will understand how deeply in trouble he truly is. Does the Minister believe that Ministers should conduct private business while they are Ministers, and does this include the buying and selling of shares in companies?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

Under the rules and the regulations that we have in place now, we talk about full disclosure. I am even prepared to go one step further and file financial documents of companies that I am a shareholder in. Full disclosure is the best protection the people of the Yukon have.

Mr. McDonald:

When Members of the Legislature ask questions about the disclosed information, the Members opposite very aggressively attack the questioner.

I will ask the question again. Does the Minister believe it is appropriate for Ministers of the Crown to buy and sell shares? Does the Government Leader believe that is appropriate?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

I do, as long as they are not shares of companies that are doing business with the territorial government.

Mr. McDonald:

Let me suggest a concern. Ministers regularly meet with companies that need the government's help, either assistance with regulations or with public money. Who can be sure that a Minister who owns shares in those companies will not be working a little harder to ensure that those companies are successful?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

I guess I could ask the same question of the Member opposite. Maybe I could speculate a little bit here and suggest that maybe he worked extremely hard to help out a local business, from which he later obtained a lease in order to run a concession of his own.


Order please.

The guidelines clearly indicate that a Member should not attempt to make accusations of another Member. I expect the Members to refrain from making accusations against each other.

Mr. McDonald:

I am trying to lay out scenarios where there is a possible and potential perception of conflict, and trying to address the issue for the Minister that Ministers - even if they disclose it - who publicly buy and sell shares in companies can suffer from the perception that they are in conflict. Therefore, I am asking a very specific policy question of the Minister. I suggested there is already one scenario that could cause a perception of conflict.

Some Hon. Member:


Mr. McDonald:

I have just explained that.

Another scenario might be that Ministers get information that a company is doing poorly and may not be able to resolve a problem they are facing. The information is not public. The Minister quietly sells his shares. Does that not create a potential problem?

Would it not convince the Minister that perhaps there is a problem associated with Ministers buying and selling shares?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

If we are going to talk about perceptions, perhaps we could talk about whether or not the Member opposite has any concerns that, when he was part of the Cabinet, his government saw fit to grant a $5 million loan to Curragh, which was subsequently written off and which helped preserve a certain hotel in Faro in which another NDP Cabinet Minister had equity?



Again, I would like to draw Members' attention to guide item 19(1)(h), which refers to imputing false or unavowed motives to another Member. This applies in both directions.

Mr. McDonald:

I am trying to seriously avoid doing what the Minister just did. I am trying to ask the Minister whether or not he believes that buying and selling shares in companies might cause one to be concerned that there is a perceived conflict of interest.

Over the heckling of the Members opposite, I have just raised two scenarios that could cause people to feel concerned about Ministers actively buying and selling shares in companies. The Minister did not address either of those two cases.

I am asking a policy question. Under the circumstances, given that there are obvious opportunities for a perceived conflict of interest, does he not believe that it is inappropriate for Ministers to continue buying and selling shares in companies while they are Ministers and privy to information that is not generally available to the public?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

After he sits down, the Member says that it is not enough. Why did they not proclaim the Public Government Act, if they felt so strongly about these things?

Page Number 2405



Under the rules and regulations we have in place now, it is full disclosure. It is quite acceptable for Ministers to buy and sell shares. There are also avenues for them to withdraw from the decision-making process if it affects this. There are avenues for them to do business with the territorial government, by special permission. It was set up like that back in 1981, and the Members opposite never changed it.

Question re: Conflict-of-interest legislation

Mr. Penikett:

When the Government Leader says the Members opposite never changed the 1981 rules, he states something that just is not true.

Two years ago, all Members in this Legislature voted for a new Public Government Act. It is not good enough to say that the previous government did not proclaim it. The new government, in one and one-half years has not only not proclaimed this law, but they have fallen back on the foundation of a 10-year-old law that everyone in this House, two years ago, said was inadequate.

When Members in the Government Leader's party voted for the new law - the Public Government Act - they stated a new set of principles governing the activities of Ministers. Whether or not the law was proclaimed...


Order please. Will the Member please ask the question.

Mr. Penikett:

...a new set of principles were articulated.

I want to ask the Member opposite, since his party voted for that law, does he agree with the policy statement contained in the preamble of that law, which says, "recognizing that public officials should carry out their responsibilities that do not conflict, or appear to conflict, with their private interests." Is that the policy or principle observed by his government or not?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

Most certainly that is the principle. I believe that is what this government is doing with a full disclosure.

Again, the Member opposite can quote the Public Government Act all he wants. It is not law in this territory. The law is the same one that those previous Ministers operated under for seven and one-half years of their mandate.

Mr. Penikett:

I know the Government Leader is in trouble, because he is shouting and making accusations, which he always does when he is in trouble.

I want to ask the Government Leader a question, since he, in reverting to the 1981 standards, is operating on a lower standard than the House expressed the wish to do in 1992. Does the Government Leader, as a matter of policy of the Yukon Party, accept the following principle that it voted for two years ago and appears not to hold now: while holding office, neither a Member of the Executive Council nor the Leader of the Official Opposition shall engage in other employment, practice or profession, carry on a business or hold any other office or directorship other than in a social club, non-profit organization, religious organization or political party? Does the Government Leader agree with that statement of policy? Has he rejected it? If he has rejected it, when did the Yukon Party accept this lower standard where Ministers can do private business?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

By rejecting clauses in that document, it does not mean that we are prepared to accept a lower standard.

I have difficulty with that act. I think it will keep good people from seeking office in the territory. We will be coming in with new conflict-of-interest legislation that will address the concerns of the Members opposite and the general public, but we will still not close the door to people who have been successful in their lives and keep them from running for public office.

Mr. Penikett:

The Yukon Territory and this Legislature has nothing to fear from good people. What we are worried about is the other kind.

The government has promised new legislation, but it looks as if, two years into its term, we will see no evidence of it - no consultation, no discussion, no drafts, no proposals, no white paper: nothing. I would ask the Government Leader why he could not have proclaimed the Public Government Act, and given himself the ability to refer the current situation to an independent conflicts commissioner for review, and avoid the whole discussion that we are now having here in the Legislature, and have the act that was passed unanimously in this House in effect, until such time as he brought in his own amendments? Why did he not carry out that procedure?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

The Leader of the Official Opposition goes into a tirade saying that we have been here 18 months and cannot come in with conflict-of-interest legislation. It took them seven and one-half years to even get around to doing it, and then they could not walk two blocks to have it proclaimed.

Question re: Conflict-of-interest legislation

Mr. Penikett:

The only tirades that have been going on in this House today have come from the Members opposite. If the Members opposite were sincere and honest in their statement of support for this legislation when it went through this House, the Government Leader, or anyone else, could have walked across to the Commissioner any time in the last 18 months. What has happened is that they are not observing this law, and we fear they are not observing this law because they do not want to.

Some Hon. Member:


Mr. Penikett:

Oh, I see. It is not a law, but it has passed the House. The only reason it is not a law is because their friend, the Commissioner, has not signed it. Why has he not signed it? Because they have not asked him to.

Since he has in the past refused to define conflict of interest for us when we have asked him direct questions in this House, and he refused to answer questions about matters where there may have been conflict in the past, I want to ask him another question about a provision in this act. Is it the policy of the government opposite that a Minister must withdraw from a meeting without voting or participation in the consideration of a matter in which he, or a member of his family, has an interest?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

I believe that is part of the code of ethics that is now in place and those ethics are what we are following.

Mr. Penikett:

It is quite clear that this government is bound and determined to have a much lower standard for the conduct of public officials than it voted for in 1992.

Could the Government Leader tell us what procedure he will be following in developing the legislation? Who will be consulted about this legislation or will it be rammed through with the new Yukon Party majority?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

That new Yukon Party majority really seems to irk the Member opposite.

I can assure the Member opposite that we will not be ramming legislation through this Legislature.

Mr. Penikett:

That is good to know, since there has been so little legislation from this new government.

Could the Government Leader explain, as a matter of policy, what is the reason - apart from the entirely unbelievable assertions about cumbersomeness and complexity of this legislation - why the government has not chosen to proclaim the conflict-of-interest provisions of the Public Government Act during the period in which it was developing its own legislation? What is the real reason for that?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

The best answer that I can give is probably the same as the Member's opposite: he did not proclaim the legislation. Maybe it did not appear that it was to the Member's benefit, prior to the election being called, to proclaim the legislation.

Page Number 2406



Perhaps the previous government thought they may have been re-elected and would have second thoughts about proclaiming the legislation.

We will be reviewing the conflict-of-interest legislation, both what we have now and what was contained in the Public Government Act. There are some good clauses in both, and they will be incorporated. The public will be asked for input and I hope that we will be coming forward this fall with legislation. It is now in the process.

Question re: Conflict-of-interest legislation

Mrs. Firth:

I have a question for the Government Leader about conflict-of-interest legislation.

I have been regularly asking this question since this government was elected, which is over a year and one-half now.

When I originally asked the question in November 1993, I was told by the Government Leader that the government would be bringing forward new legislation in the spring. In the spring of 1993, when I again asked a question of the Government Leader about conflict-of-interest legislation, the Government Leader said, "There is no doubt that conflict of interest is of grave concern to this administration and we want to deal with it in the proper manner."

I got a letter -


Order. Would the Member please ask the question?

Mrs. Firth:

Yes, I will ask the question, Mr. Speaker. I got a letter from the Government Leader saying they were working on a proper policy for the fall session and they were going to bring in decent conflict-of-interest legislation that would satisfy the concerns of Yukoners in this House.

We still have not seen conflict-of-interest legislation. We are again being told that it will be brought in this fall. We have seen nothing decent or proper done with respect to this initiative. I would like to ask the Government Leader why he keeps stalling with respect to this piece of legislation.

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

We are not stalling. We fully intend -



Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

I told the Members opposite the Public Government Act or Good Government Act, whatever the Members opposite called it, is going through the process now; it should be coming to the Cabinet committee on legislation shortly, for recommendations, and we will be working on it over the summer. We hope to have some legislation ready to table this fall to deal with access to information as well as conflict legislation.

Mrs. Firth:

Listen to this and see if it does anything for you, Mr. Speaker. It does not do anything for me. March 23, 1993 - they did not like the bill because it was all-encompassing - they said, "it is in the process right now of being reviewed by a Cabinet committee. We hope to bring legislation forward in the fall session." This is something the Minister said a year ago to us. I asked about interim measures - what was the government going to be doing with respect to conflict of interest? Could there be some interim measures put in place? He told me -


Order. Would the Member please ask the question?

Mrs. Firth:

I would love to ask the question. It is the Minister of Justice, who is so quick to yell "speech, speech," who took three months to figure out that he may have a conflict of interest with his shares - and he sits there and yells "speech, speech." Obviously, the boys have had one of their rah, rah sessions in the back room. Pat them on the back and -


Order. Please ask the question.

Mrs. Firth:

I will ask the question. It is interesting - for the first two days of this questioning, they were down under their desks there like moles, and now they are out rooting and tooting -


Order. Would the Member please sit down.

Mrs. Firth:

My question -


No. Would the Member please sit down. She has carried on for too long. I will be open to a new question.

Question re: Conflict-of-interest legislation

Mrs. Firth:

I have a new question for the Government Leader responsible for conflict-of-interest legislation. I would like to ask him, since he has not fulfilled any of his promises or commitments with respect to this legislation for the past year and one-half that he has been making them, will he now sit down with his Cabinet colleagues and proclaim the portion of the Public Government Act - have the Commissioner proclaim it - that deals with conflict of interest so that the Yukon public can have some reassurance and some confidence that there are going to be rules in place with respect to how these Ministers conduct themselves.

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

No, I will not. If we were going to do that, we would have done it a long time ago.

There are rules in place. There have been policies in place for conflict of interest, Executive Council Office conduct and MLA conflict of interest that have served the Yukon well over the years. We have not had a lot of problems in the Legislature - even when the Member opposite was a member of Cabinet.

Mrs. Firth:

The present policy says, according to the Minister's code of conduct, that a high standard of ethics must be maintained by Executive Council Members. I do not think I could find one member in the public right now who would agree that that is happening.

I would like to ask the Government Leader, what has happened? If they are operating under the same guidelines, why is it now such a controversial public issue - if they are supposed to be maintaining this high standard of ethics?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

That is exactly the question. What is the issue? There was an issue raised, without any basis at all, that there was a conflict between my office and my businesses - a very sleazy accusation.


Order. Would the Member please refrain from using unparliamentary language.

Mrs. Firth:

A high standard of ethics must be maintained by Executive Council Members. That is not happening. If the Members in the front bench are not aware of that, they are in a lot more trouble than a lot of people thought they were.

I want to ask the Government Leader when he is going to put some proper rules in place, other than just his previous promises. When are we going to get the rules?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

I have already answered that, but I wanted to say that this seemed to be good enough for the Member opposite when she was a Cabinet Minister. She did not seem to have any difficulty with it at all. Going back through Hansard, I never once saw her raise that issue. Now that she is on the opposite benches, she thinks it is a piece of garbage.

Question re: Disclosure statements, John Ostashek

Mr. Harding:

I have some questions for the Government Leader concerning conflict of interest and the disposition of purchase of assets on behalf of Shakwak Air.

The Government Leader has admitted in this House that he has been, and still is, acting as an agent for Shakwak Air, by his admission of dealing with the sale and acquisition of assets for the company. He is also closely involved with the devolvement of the company. Yesterday, the Government Leader stated that he received a loan repayment, and that is what the $10,000 cheque was all about.

What is the outstanding loan the Government Leader has in Shakwak Air? How much is still owing?

Page Number 2407



Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

I said I would be filing financial statements and a disclosure with the Clerk's office. The Member opposite is free to peruse them.

Mr. Harding:

I may peruse them, but I am not sure if I know what that means.

Has the Government Leader sold any assets, other than the $46,000 plane, on behalf of Shakwak Air? If he has, to whom, and what were the assets?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

I have not sold any assets that are in conflict with my office as Government Leader.

Speaker's Statement


Order. I would just like to bring to the Members' attention a ruling that was made in the House of Commons by Roland Michener in 1959. Simple justice requires that no Member should have to submit to investigation of his conduct by the House or a committee until he has been charged with an offence. The proper procedure for charging a Member with an offence is to move a substantive motion, containing the charge and a proposal for dealing with it.

For such a motion to be in order, it must charge a Member with conduct that amounts to breach of privilege, or which disqualifies a Member from sitting in the House, or which amounts to contempt of the House.

Further to the authorities cited by Speaker Johnston earlier in 1992, I would also refer the House to Standing Order 19, which states, "A Member shall be called to order by the Speaker if that Member

(h) imputes false or unavowed motives to another Member;

(j) uses abusive or insulting language of a nature likely to create disorder."

Additionally, guideline 8 of the Guidelines for Oral Question Period states, "A question must adhere to the proprieties of the House in that it must not contain inferences, impute motives or cast aspersions upon persons within the House or out of it."

It is clear that allegations such as those that were made concerning the Government Leader constitute unparliamentary language and, if they are to be made, must be placed before the House in the form of a motion.

Question re: Disclosure statements, John Ostashek

Mr. Harding:

The Government Leader is the only one running this business. It is not placed in a blind trust; therefore, if I want to find out what is going on with the business, I have to ask the Government Leader. There is no one else. I am not imputing motives. I am simply asking questions. I am asking the Minister questions about the running of the business in which he is involved.

What assets has he purchased on behalf -

Some Hon. Member:


Mr. Harding:

The Minister of Justice is an expert on conflict. He is the only one ...

Some Hon. Member:


Mr. Harding:

... who ever had his butt kicked out of this Legislature.


Order. Would the Minister of Justice please allow the Member to conclude his question.

Mr. Harding:

I would like to ask my final supplementary, if that is possible.

What assets has he purchased on behalf of Shakwak, and from whom?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

I am not prepared to answer those questions. They have nothing to do with this Legislature.

Question re: Log export policy

Some Hon. Member:



Order please. Would the Members please allow the Member for Riverside to ask a question.

Mr. Cable:

I would like to get away from log-rolling for one moment and onto logs. I have some questions on the log export policy for the Minister of Renewable Resources. I know he thought I was not going to ask him any questions on this subject, but I am.

The Minister issued a legislative return on January 18, 1994, relating to log exports. He indicated that this government was opposed to log exports in principle, with some exceptions. The other day, the Government Leader, in response to a question from the Member for Faro, indicated that their policy was that there was to be no log exports whatsoever.

What is the present log export policy of this government?

Hon. Mr. Brewster:

I would like to thank the Member for his question. He made it in a nice voice, and I appreciate that very much.

The policy is the same as we stated before. There are certain cases where there has to be an export of logs. For instance, the logs on one side of the Watson Lake area are exported into B.C., because there are no roads to get them into this area. That is common sense to me. Perhaps common sense does not work, but it is common sense to take logs there. To say that we are not going to export logs would not be completely true. We are exporting into B.C. and into Canada.

Mr. Cable:

That was the proposition that I was leading up to. Perhaps the Minister could indicate to the House the rationale for the prohibition against log exports, with the exception of British Columbia.

Hon. Mr. Brewster:

I presume that we are talking about Kaska Forest Products. The agreement stated that they had five years to produce the money to build a mill; this was not done and we are against the further export of any raw logs.

Mr. Cable:

No, that is not the question I am asking. I am asking whether or not the reason that the government does not feel raw logs should be exported is that they want value-added. If value-added is the reason, why is the government permissive in relation to the exports to British Columbia?

Hon. Mr. Brewster:

I tried to explain to the Member that there is no road to bring the logs into the Yukon. It is cheaper to take the logs into Fort Nelson, which is common sense.

I do not think that any law should ever be made that would not allow adjustments, when a particular instance comes up.


The time for Question Period has now elapsed.

We will proceed with Orders of the Day.





Motion No. 40, standing in the name of Ms. Commodore.

Motion No. 40


It is moved by the Member for Whitehorse Centre

THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Government of Yukon should immediately live up to its obligations under the Umbrella Final Agreement and commence negotiating in good faith with the Kwanlin Dun First Nation.

Ms. Commodore:

This motion comes at a time when there are conflicts between the government and the Kwanlin Dun First Nation, so it is very timely. The motion was introduced a few

Page Number 2408



months ago with the information that negotiations were not proceeding in a very fair manner.

A lot of things have happened in the last week that have put a lot of fear into the minds of First Nation people in regard to ongoing negotiations and what will happen with selected lands. They do not know whether to have any confidence that this government is acting in a fair manner.

After more than 20 years of trying to deal with land claims, and coming to some agreements, the fear is even greater than it was way back then regarding what was going to happen. Yesterday afternoon, the Kwanlin Dun Band had a press conference. They gave a lot of background information to the media. Their big concern at that time was that the government is going ahead with waterfront planning in selected areas. They indicated that they were not opposed to waterfront planning and development as long as it proceeds after their land claims are settled. They have to have an agreement on that.

In this House, during Question Period and during debate in Committee of the Whole, it appears that there is a lack of understanding by the Minister responsible for land claims. He did not appear to know that the area in question, from the 20-20 property to the government building, was selected land. He said that they were only talking about that area; however, that land is selected land. I think that he has to realize that if he takes an area of land that has been selected according to the maps - he says that he has seen the maps - there can be no excuse for his not knowing that. If the government takes an area of land that is currently under selection and freely gives it to someone else to plan for development of it, then he is not living up to the agreements with First Nations people made under the umbrella final agreement.

At their press conference, the Kwanlin Dun said that they were not opposed to the development of that waterfront. They were interested in owning selected waterfront land because they wanted to use it for cultural revival, and they wanted to reaffirm their heritage. One of the problems they had was that, over the years, they have tried very hard to get the government to sit down and negotiate the ownership of those lands. For a long time, the response they were getting from the negotiators was that they did not have a mandate to do that. Well, if they did not have a mandate to negotiate the lands, what is this government doing in its spare time? You have to understand, in the whole process, that there is an area of land that has been mapped out as having been selected by Kwanlin Dun and, if the government has no mandate, as has been indicated by the negotiators - no mandate to negotiate that area of land - then what are they going to do?

So, the negotiations on that area were put off for a long time. During that period of time, a lot of correspondence went back and forth between the Kwanlin Dun First Nation and this government, and commitments were made at that time that they would not proceed with any development until there was final agreement on that section of land. That was very evident in letters. It was evident that was said at a meeting. It was recorded both in minutes and on a tape that he said those very things.

I have had a problem in this House standing here and asking questions of the Government Leader, who is responsible for land claims, and trying to understand where his questions are coming from. He says that he has seen a map of the selected land, and yet he stands in this House and talks about authorizing Mayor Wiegand to go ahead with the planning and setting up a committee, without discussions with the First Nation people. One has to wonder about the knowledge this Minister has in regard to those areas.

He was adamant yesterday, when he said in the House that he had seen the maps. If I were the Minister responsible for land claims, and I looked at the map, I would have seen that that area was a selected area by the Kwanlin Dun First Nation. This is the area there is so much controversy over right now. The reason why the Kwanlin Dun First Nation felt it was so important to have a press conference yesterday was to try to make it clear, not only to the Government Leader and his government, but to the public, that the land in question was land he was making decisions on before any kind of decisions were made in regard to ownership of that land. That is pretty scary.

They were surprised at answers from him in the House last Thursday, on April 28, when he indicated his great big plans to go ahead with the planning of the waterfront lands, in order to meet the anniversaries deadline. I am not sure when that deadline is, but it appears to be more important for him to make a decision and take selected land and turn it over to the city, so they can plan for tourists to come here for some anniversary. It appears to be more important for him to do that than to sit at the table and negotiate that land. No decision has been made on that land in regard to the ownership of it, and here we have a government that is proceeding with the planning, talking about setting up a planning committee, and going full-speed ahead, because it has no time to waste. It is urgent that they do this. To me, and to the people of Kwanlin Dun, it is very urgent that they settle a claim in that area.

It was very confusing to the Kwanlin Dun, because they were confident that their wishes were being dealt with in a fair manner. They were assured by this government with a letter from Mr. Ostashek confirming that the development of the waterfront lands could not proceed without the appropriate consideration of the land selection issue. When they were made aware of the debate on the waterfront land, they became very concerned. During the press conference, they provided to the media a number of letters that indicated the government was not living up to its legal obligations in dealing with the land claim issue.

On October 13, 1993, there was a letter from the Minister responsible for Community and Transportation Services to the Chief of Kwanlin Dun. He indicated that the Minister gave us his assurances that YTG does not agree with the city's decision on this matter, and that no activity will take place prior to reaching our land claims and self-government agreements. He confirmed that, because that is what the Minister responsible for land claims said at a CYI meeting. That is part of the comments that were recorded.

On October 26, there was more correspondence to Chief Lena Johns from Mickey Fisher that YTG's position was that the development of unalienated riverfront lands cannot proceed without the appropriate consideration of the land claims land selection issues. That was October 26. They are still asking for confirmation and they are still getting commitments from this government that nothing will happen until the land claims issue has been resolved.

During the minutes of land claims negotiations on November 4, Kwanlin Dun again restated their position that no designing, planning, development or transfer of land was to take place on the waterfront. The information goes on and on.

I am hoping that the Minister is aware of all of the correspondence that has gone back and forth. I am sure his negotiators and Ministers, who sit in Cabinet with him, would not make any commitments to the First Nations without his approval. If they are going to be making those kinds of commitments, they are speaking on behalf of this government. I hope that I will not hear him say that he did not sign it, that he did not say it or give them any authority. He is the person in charge. He is the person they depend on to make the decisions and commitments and to do what is right.

On November 18, Kwanlin Dun was outlining the conditions for discussion of the waterfront, including - and this is correspondence to the land claims negotiators from Pat Joe - YTG's

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recognition that Kwanlin Dun's interest in owning the selected waterfront lands "stems from our determination to using the lands for our cultural revival, a reaffirmation of our heritage and the enhancement of the economic base." They also state that the ownership issue is resolved at the negotiating table. "All parties can proceed with any necessary planning for the physical development of the land. It is understood that neither YTG nor the city will be embarking on any planning process without our consent and not before the finalization of our selections."

The discussions were ongoing. They continued to say the same thing. They were consistent in letting this government know what their terms were. They were willing to sit down and discuss ownership.

On November 23, 1993, a letter to the Government Leader from Chief Johns referred to the Government Leader's comments at the CYI leadership meeting that took place on November 15. He stated, "I am still taking the position that the land claims selections on the waterfront must be finalized before any waterfront development is put on the agenda." He further states, "I have had two meetings with the mayor and made it clear to him that there would be no waterfront development until land claims selections were finalized." We have to wonder why First Nations people were getting so excited about what is happening. These commitments were made by the Government Leader with regard to land claims on the waterfront. It is very clear to almost everyone that Kwanlin Dun was selecting the land in question: between the 20-20 property and the YTG administration building. As the Minister knows, Crown land is selectable land. I think the Government Leader knows that.

Once again, in this same letter to the Government Leader from Chief Johns, she was asking for written assurances from Mr. Ostashek and a commitment that no planning for the physical development of selected lands would take place before an agreement was finalized with the negotiators on land claim selections. The letter further stated that the government must negotiate in good faith and disclose all of its intentions and plans at the negotiating table.

In a Yukon News article, the negotiator for Kwanlin Dun was interviewed and she made a lot of statements, so it should have been very clear to the government what they wanted. She was speaking on behalf of Kwanlin Dun, and their position on the waterfront was that outstanding native land claims must be settled before redevelopment of the Whitehorse waterfront could proceed.

She further indicated that both Kwanlin Dun and Ta'an Kwach'an have selected lands along the waterfront. That waterfront runs all the way to this building. It does not stop at 20-20. She also indicated that the First Nations' position on the ownership of the land was 100 percent non-negotiable.

She went on to talk about the kind of things that Kwanlin Dun wanted. She stated that their vision for the waterfront was not at odds with the goal of re-developing waterfront for the Klondike gold rush anniversary years, and that planning for the physical development on the waterfront could begin, once the land chapters of the Kwanlin Dun agreement were completed, and that no planning should take place until that issue was resolved.

It has been clear all along what Kwanlin Dun wanted and what they expected of this government. They expected these things, because they got a commitment from this government that nothing would take place on the waterfront until there had been a resolution to the land ownership in that area. Maybe they have already decided what they are going to do with the land, because they have allowed the mayor to follow up on their plans.

On December 17, there was a letter to Chief Johns from the Government Leader. The letter reiterated the comments of September 15, at the CYI leadership meeting, stating that the development of waterfront lands could not proceed without the appropriate consideration of the lands selection issues. It stated that there was no detailed planning being conducted by government on the waterfront lands, and that there were no active discussions taking place. This was in December, 1993.

The letter also indicated that the Yukon government draws a distinction between planning and development, that these are seen as separate, though related, issues, and that there is a distinction between detailed facility planning leading to actual construction of a project or facility, and a broader type of development planning that examines general ideas and concepts and considers options for the direction of future development.

Further, on April 25 - and this is three days before he stood up in the House and told us that he could not wait for Kwanlin Dun, he could not wait for them to sit at the table, he could not wait for them to participate in meetings, he had to hurry ahead with the development of the waterfront and the city was going to do that - a letter went to the chief negotiator for Kwanlin Dun, which we are told was approved by the Government Leader. They held it back for a whole month to get his approval. He said he did not sign it, but it was held back a month for that reason. He may say that he did not but, when you receive a letter from someone who is dealing with the land claims for this government, you would expect that he is speaking for the government, or else he would be an independent negotiator, not a YTG negotiator.

What he said in part of that correspondence is that, during the four month period while the parties are at the table resolving the remainder of the final agreement, the Yukon agrees that no dispositions will occur on the waterfront.

Kwanlin Dun will be notified of all proposals that Yukon may consider. That was just a part of the letter that was sent on April 25. Three days later, the Government Leader announced in this House, in Committee of the Whole, that there is a committee being put together to discuss the development of the waterfront. He said that they believe that the First Nations can participate in that, and that they have been invited to participate. Then he said, "I do not believe that we can stop all progress in the development of the waterfront much longer."

What he is doing at this point in time is prioritizing his activities. He has forgotten that he is negotiating a land claim with Kwanlin Dun First Nations in that area. Last week, on April 28, he said that they cannot wait any longer, that they do not want to stop progress on the development of the waterfront.

It is no wonder that the Kwanlin Dun First Nation and all First Nations groups in the Yukon are getting excited. It could happen to anyone. It could happen to any First Nations group that has not signed an agreement but has selected lands. But he says that we cannot stop all progress. He chooses to do something on selected land. It does not seem to matter that it is selected; he will proceed with it anyway. Then he said this: "On the waterfront lands, we have made it quite clear, even to the First Nations, that they can still participate in the development of the land, and we are prepared to talk about exchanges of land so that they can participate - even in the lands between the 20-20 site and the territorial building. We are saying that we can no longer put off planning to develop land with the anniversaries that are coming up." He has made it very clear where his priorities are.

A couple of days later, on April 28, he indicated that he was not talking about the development; he was only talking about the planning, but he is still forgetting that that area of land was a selected area of the Kwanlin Dun First Nation. But, he did say, "I did talk to the city and I did not talk about planning." But, on April 28, he said he was going to check back, and I hope he did. He said on April 28, "I want to speak a bit about the waterfront lands in

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order to make what is happening there quite clear. There is a committee being put together to discuss the development of the waterfront." He said, "the development of the waterfront."

In the same response to a question I asked, he said, "I do not believe we can stop all progress on the development of the waterfront much longer." Then, later on, on page 2347 of Hansard, he said "on the waterfront lands we have made it quite clear, even to the First Nations people, that they can still participate in the development of the land and we are prepared to talk about exchanges of land." And he goes on again. He was talking about development. He said it over and over again.

In a letter from the mayor, the mayor indicates that, "...on the advice of the Government Leader, Mr. John Ostashek, that the city take the lead role in organizing the waterfront development planning committee." That is what it is called: the "waterfront development planning committee". Then the mayor invites the First Nations people to participate at this meeting. So, they are invited to participate on the development of the land, land that has already been selected, where no decision has been made in regard to the ownership of it. He has invited them to participate in this meeting, and the purpose of the meeting will be to bring together the officials of all governments to design the terms of reference for the structuring of the waterfront planning committee.

Plans have gone ahead. He has taken selected lands, he has turned that responsibility over to the Mayor of Whitehorse, to deal with it - to plan and develop. He said he wanted to make it clear he was only talking about planning. Well, he has indicated he is talking about development as well. It is very scary when First Nations people, especially in Whitehorse, realize that a commitment has been broken. Because that is what has happened - a commitment has been broken. And then, it is even more scary when one reads in the paper that one of the councillors, Duke Connelly, says, `"Pat and Shakir have been meeting with our administration on waterfront development, so she can't say it comes as a complete surprise." Connelly says the First Nations are asking for too much along the waterfront. He says he doubts the city will ever agree to their claim."' Well, what the heck has the city got to do with it?

One has to wonder. The Government Leader turns over that land to the city. What are they supposed to think. Then Duke Connelly says that he doubts the city will ever agree to their claim.

He has turned the responsibility of that area over to the city. They have a council. They make their plans and they decide what they are going to do. But there is a councillor right now who has already said that the city is not going to agree to the claim.

Whose fault is that? Is it the fault of the city? I feel that it is the fault of this government for handing the responsibility on selected lands over to the city, and it is pretty darned scary when one hears things like that on the news. The city does not make decisions with regard to the land claims of the First Nations people. They do not. It is not their responsibility at all, but it appears that one of the city councillors feels he is responsible for making decisions in regard to the city dealing with their claim. That is another scary thing.

We have a government that makes commitments to not proceed with any development planning on the waterfront until the land selection has been resolved. Then we have a mayor making decisions and inviting those people who have selected that land to come to the meeting to talk about the planning and then one of the councillors makes these kinds of goofy statements. This is pretty darned scary, and one wonders what is going to happen next.

Then the mayor says, in regard to the waterfront planning - he has already been assured that he is going to have full responsibility for planning and developing it, with the full support of the Government Leader - says he would hope that it is developed in the best interests of all the citizens of Whitehorse - and the First Nations are citizens; he recognizes that the First Nations are citizens; I could not believe that statement - we are all citizens and we have to go ahead with the development of the waterfront; we must get on with it and I hope it will come together with the cooperative spirit of everybody.

Those are great words. He indicates that he is putting together the committee with the support of the territorial government. If the land had not been selected by Kwanlin Dun, it might have been fair to agree that the mayor should go ahead with the planning committee - if the land issue had been resolved. The Government Leader is shaking his head right now - he does not agree with that.

Try to tell Kwanlin Dun something different. They know what is happening; they are not stupid. They have already indicated that that area of land is going to be part of the selection. Whether or not, in the end, it will be part of their agreement is still to be determined, but it appears it has already been determined by the Government Leader that it will not. He has given the responsibility of developing that land to the City of Whitehorse. I fear that that kind of an action will be very frightening for a lot of other First Nations groups that have not signed their agreements.

Yesterday, the Government Leader indicated in the House that he had seen the maps. I have never had a chance to speak with him about that further. However, when he gets up to speak on this motion, I would like him to indicate to me whether or not he knows that that area between the 20-20 property and the YTG building is a part of the selected area, because it is. That is the land that the negotiators and Kwanlin Dun have been talking about negotiating for.

They had no mandate for a while, then they have asked to put it on hold for four months, until the end of July. The letters are here. If there is any doubt that those commitments were made, one only has to look back in their files. All the information is in the Land Claims Secretariat.

It was so important to Kwanlin Dun to get their message out that they called a press conference and gave out copies of that correspondence. The commitments were made over and over again.

I do not know what the government is going to do. I do not know if it will forge ahead - they say they cannot stop progress just because of land claims. Kwanlin Dun has said that promises have been broken and land has been taken away. One only has to look at the former area of the Kwanlin Dun First Nations. They were brought into the city and put into one little area. Every year, more property was taken away until there was only a sewer behind their property. They had no running water. It did not matter. We could not stop progress. More and more land was taken away until, by the time they finally moved, there was hardly any land left to build a garden or to do anything.

Here, they were believing they could trust government again, when they received those commitments in writing and at a meeting of CYI that things would proceed in a fair and trustworthy manner. That is exactly what they believed, until they heard the Government Leader stand up in this House last Thursday and indicate that they could not hold up progress, that the Anniversaries Commission was much more important than land claims, and they would proceed with it. That is exactly what they are doing - with the blessing of his whole Cabinet, I am sure.

I wonder whether or not the government is planning any more development on selected lands. The Kwanlin Dun First Nation is also wondering that. I wonder if his friends have come to him and said they need that land near Pelly. History tells us that that was how a lot of the land was taken away. Developers were interested in lands that aboriginal people were living on, and they were given permission by the federal government. They were told yes, they

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could have the land if they wanted to develop it, and the federal government would move all these people away. That is what happened over the years.

In Canada, at least, we have First Nations groups living on land where it is not possible to carry out any economic development, not close enough to take part in any activities, such as employment. In some areas of Canada, developers have even gone to court and received a decision from the judge that they could have the land.

When you look at history books and find out land has been stolen by developers to do other things, you have to wonder about the trust that First Nations people have in governments. Here is another indication of that happening. We thought those days were gone forever, but they are not.

The Minister will stand up and say, yes, this government bought that land when the NDP were in government. The Minister responsible for Community and Transportation Services at that time will probably stand up and give a history of what took place there, because he proudly stood up and said, "This is what you did when you were in government."

There was more to it than what he had on that paper. The Kwanlin Dun First Nation understands that.

I worry about what this government is doing and where it is coming from. I wonder about promises and commitments because, if a government makes a commitment, you have to believe that what they are saying is going to happen. However, in this case, it did not.

He made a statement - I believe it was in Committee of the Whole - where he said, "I want to make it very clear to the Member opposite that the waterfront planning from the 20-20 area to the YTG building will not prejudice First Nations selection in that area."

I do not know what he meant by that statement, unless he did not know at that time that that area was land selected by Kwanlin Dun First Nations. If the mayor goes ahead with the planning of the waterfront, how is he not going to jeopardize the selection in that area? I really hope he stands up and explains how he is not going to prejudice that selection. It clearly indicates to me that it certainly will. It is like, for instance, the Pelly band selecting land in an area, and then this government coming along and building something there. How is he not going to prejudice that area?

I get very disturbed when the government, either in this House or at meetings, talk about the participation of aboriginal people and how they recognize their participation. If there is a phone call, saying they are going to sit down today and talk about a program in your area, and will you be at that meeting; if you do not come, they say they asked you, but you did not come. There were comments made in Teslin that if they were asked to come, they would not come anyway. They said they did not say that, but someone did. That is an attitude they have.

Yesterday, in Question Period, he spoke over and over again about asking First Nations people to participate in all sorts of things - devolution, land claims, many things - and that they cannot drag them to these meetings. Well, of course he cannot drag them there but, when he stands up and speaks on this motion, I would like him to give me some indication as to how those invitations to participate go out. Then, you can understand why they may not go sometimes.

I can understand why sometimes they may not go, because in this very instance that I am talking about, the Government Leader has given the responsibility of the planning and development of the waterfront to the mayor who, in turn, writes a letter to the Kwanlin Dun and invites them to participate.

They are bound to be angry, because they are being asked to participate in the development and planning of land that they have selected in their land claims. If they turn and say they are not going, the government can say with confidence that they invited the First Nation to participate. What they are not saying is that they have already jeopardized land claims by causing that to happen - by turning over the responsibility of developing and planning to the mayor.

There are a lot of reasons why First Nations people do not go to meetings when they are invited to participate. First Nations are wondering what is going on, because they have been assured that certain things would happen and then they do not happen.

I think that before the government starts making statements about participation, they had better wonder about why a lot of aboriginal people are not showing up. I think, as result of this action about the waterfront, that every single First Nations group has something to be concerned about.

I think that the Government Leader has to be very careful, when he stands up anywhere in the Yukon - in this Legislature, a Chamber of Commerce meeting, or anywhere - and announces some kind of development that is going to take place.

In this one instance - there may be more - the Government Leader has indicated that he is blocking land selections, areas selected by the Kwanlin Dun First Nation. He has done this by announcing development on land that the First Nation has selected.

We will be sending the First Nations the information that we have, such as copies of Hansard, where all of the government's announcements and remarks have been made about the lack of participation. They will receive all of that information. First Nations hear the radio, they read the newspapers, and there has already been some reaction, because I have received phone calls about what the government is doing now.

The Minister of Education is talking about somebody coming to my office. Well, my office is open. When the Minister of Justice walked by yesterday, there was not a single map on my desk. If he is going to make allegations here now, he had better be sure of what he is saying.

I have no problem sitting down with anyone to talk about land claims; I am the critic. If Shakir Alwarid wants to come and talk to me, my office is open. If anyone working for the Kwanlin Dun First Nation wants to come into my office and talk to me, they can.

Some Hon. Member:


Ms. Commodore:

I have seen the maps, but there was no map on my desk yesterday. He can smirk all he wants to, but we know that Minister's attitude about land claims. It has been clearly documented in history. The ad that he signed is displayed somewhere with all of those other ads, indicating the same thing. He is laughing about it, but that does not matter. We know how he thinks. He can stand in this House as long as he wants to; he can sit in his chair for as long as he wants to, and laugh about the land claims process, but I know how that man feels about land claims. He is not fooling anyone.

Some Hon. Member:


Ms. Commodore:

He says that I have no idea how he feels. I am sure I have no idea as to the extent of how he feels. It is probably worse than I imagine it is.

What has happened here in the Yukon is that the Minister has gone too far with this action. He has taken selected areas and made a decision to pass the responsibility for the planning and development of that area to the city. The motion today could not have come at a better time. We could have dealt with it when it was introduced in this House, but we may not have spoken as strongly as we are right now in regard to it.

We were not aware at that time that all of these commitments were being made and that all of those commitments had been broken - because that is what happened since this motion was introduced in the House. So, I fear that other selected lands are in

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question right now - that any First Nations group that has not signed a land claims agreement is in jeopardy of seeing this happen again - anywhere in the Yukon.

It was so serious that the Council for Yukon Indians sent out a press release today. It says, "The Council for Yukon Indians is alarmed by the unwillingness of the Yukon government to negotiate and conclude a fair and equitable settlement with First Nations who have longstanding claims to sections of the Yukon River water frontage within the City of Whitehorse. In spite of the position taken by Yukon Government Leader John Ostashek, virtually no progress has been realized at the negotiating table regarding the selections."

They also indicate that the Government Leader gave assurances at the CYI leadership board that he would not support waterfront development until land claim settlements were finalized. He said that to all of the leaders.

At that same meeting, he said that he has had two meetings - this is on the capital city commission, which he is not going to be doing anything about right now - with the mayor and has made it clear to him there would be no waterfront development until land claims selections were finalized. "I have said that to him twice." - that is what he told CYI leadership - "At this time, I am still taking the position that land claims selections have to be finalized before any waterfront development is put on the agenda.'

He clearly indicates in the House that he is proceeding with development. He said it and I read it out to him. The chair for CYI indicates that "his comments indicate that Mr. Ostashek does recognize the legitimacy of the claims to this area and I urge him to instruct his negotiators to reconvene and conclude the agreements on the basis of equality and fairness inherent within the umbrella final agreement."

They remind the Government Leader, who is also the Minister responsible for land claims, of the centuries-old use and occupancies of the land along the Yukon River, especially those now encompassed by the City of Whitehorse, by citizens of the Ta'an Kwach'an and by themselves, the citizens of the Kwanlin Dun First Nation.

On April 28, 1994, in the Yukon Legislative Assembly, the Government Leader asserted that First Nations are responsible for stalling planning and development in the Whitehorse area. The Council for Yukon Indians disagree with that interpretation. They disagree with what he said in the House.

The chair of the CYI goes on to state that, "First Nations have not denied development, but have insisted on involvement as land owners because of their insistence that their integrity, legal rights and interests should not be subject to unfair scrutiny or compromise".

Then she concludes in the press release that, "on the eve of Yukon land claims and self-government agreements being legislated by the Parliament of Canada, culminating decades of co-operative negotiations between First Nations and government, Mr. Ostashek is urged to live up to his obligations as a Minister responsible for land claims". She suggests "that he provide a clear mandate and specific instructions to his negotiators to conclude, with honour and fairness, the First Nations' claim to areas integral to their homelands."

This press release is the result of all the information that has passed through this House in the last week. It is the result of all the things that have happened prior to the discussions in this House last week, where letters were sent back and forth. Many commitments were made that First Nations believed would happen in a fair manner. They believed the things the Government Leader said to them at the CYI leadership meeting and that he wrote in a letter.

It is time to take seriously the commitment of land claims in the Yukon. We have to look at what is happening with the waterfront. The Government Leader should not stand up in this House and ignore his responsibilities and the fact that things are happening that should not be. I know that he is going to have some reservations about his friends, and that they might not be happy. However, he did make a commitment to the First Nations. He did not make a commitment to the city.

First Nations have to have that area resolved. The ownership of that area has to be resolved before anything can take place. If he does not do that, the rights of all other First Nations groups in the Yukon are in jeopardy.

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

I rise today to say I could not possibly support this motion in its present form.

We heard a lot from the Member opposite but I did not hear one thing new - not one thing new.

We are living up to our commitments to the land claims negotiations. We are living up to our commitments to the Kwanlin Dun.

We also have anniversaries coming in the Yukon. The Members opposite even realized that when they were in power, prior to 1992. They realized the waterfront should be developed, and I am a little amazed by their change of attitude over there now. It is well documented what their intentions were for the waterfront, and in all of the documentation that I have gone through I have not seen one shred of evidence that they were even prepared to indulge the First Nations in the planning or the development of the waterfront. I am utterly amazed by the attitude coming from the Opposition benches at this time, when we want to develop the waterfront in conjunction with the First Nations. I just do not follow the logic.

A lot of statements were made by the critic opposite as to what I allegedly have done and not done, and about agreements broken. I will go through them in the debate this afternoon and I will refute each and every one of them. I would have thought the critic would have been better prepared for the debate when this motion came forward.

One of the areas that the Member discussed in great detail was about letters exchanged between the Government of the Yukon and the Kwanlin Dun First Nation.

The Member spoke about a letter dated April 25, 1994, that waited for my approval. That is totally wrong. I do not know where the Member got her information, but my understanding of the letter of April 25, 1994, is that it was a letter between negotiators, drafted by mutual consent from negotiators on both sides of the table. It was not a one-sided proposition.

There is no doubt that the land claims selection process in the City of Whitehorse is going to be a very difficult process. When you encounter stumbling blocks, you try to set things aside to move on to some areas where there may be some common ground. I believe that is what our negotiators tried to do.

I want to make it clear in the debate today that our negotiators have always had the mandate to settle the land issue on the waterfront, as well as in other areas of the city. There has never been any doubt about that.

A recent draft agreement that was worked out between land claims and Kwanlin Dun on land dispositions in the waterfront area does not preclude planning. At no time during the joint drafting of this agreement did Kwanlin Dun request that there would be no planning undertaken. In fact, Kwanlin Dun never raised the issue.

I think we are using the words "planning" and "development" synonymously, and they have to be separated. Before development of the waterfront can even begin to take place, I believe that there has to be a conceptual design of what the people of the City of Whitehorse and the people of the Yukon want. When I say that, I mean all people: First Nations, Whitehorse residents and Yukon

Page Number 2413




It is a long process. There are no plans for the development of the waterfront in the immediate future. I believe that it would be in everyone's best interest - the Kwanlin Dun, the City of Whitehorse, the Yukon government and the people of the Yukon - to have a plan in place for when the land issues are finally settled on the waterfront. I believe that these issues will be settled to everyone's benefit.

I believe the two processes do not have to be combined to proceed.

The critic also referred to a letter of December 17, 1993, in which I wrote to Chief Lena Johns reiterating my assurance that the development of the waterfront could not proceed without the appropriate consideration of land selection issues. In that letter, I also indicated that the Yukon government draws a distinction between planning and development. That is very important.

Yesterday, at the press conference that was called by the Kwanlin Dun, they claimed to have sat down with the city to go over options for ownership of the land. The city does not have the authority to go over options for ownership of the lands with the Kwanlin Dun. They do not have any authority in that area at all.

Ms. Commodore went on to say that we have sat down with city officials and with the mayor many times over the last few months. I believe we sat down and we always discussed ownership. The city refutes that. They said they also discussed planning.

She went on to say that they had put very reasonable options together, offering to meet, but they kept running into YTG negotiators who said they had no mandate to discuss the issue. I refute that statement. It is totally wrong. The negotiators have always had the mandate to deal with all land claims issues, including the waterfront.

I want to go back a bit into the history of the waterfront. As I have said, I have done a tremendous amount of research on this. I have gone back to the early 1980s, when the previous Conservative government bought a portion of the waterfront - that is where the parking lot area is. Then, sometime in 1991 - that is fairly recent; the umbrella final agreement had been negotiated and self-government agreements had been negotiated - there was a press release by the former Minister of Community and Transportation Services, Mr. Byblow, which I will be tabling.

It says, "Yukon government buys Whitehorse waterfront." It goes on to say, "The government has come to an agreement with White Pass to pay $3.45 million for waterfront property in downtown Whitehorse. The property covers an area along First Avenue, from approximately Elliot Street to a lot known as the 20-20, and includes the White Pass depot and other buildings on the land." That was May 1, 1991 - not that long ago. This new release goes on to say, "This is an extremely important purchase, Byblow said. This acquisition means that waterfront property from the SS Klondike to the 20-20 site is now secured for public benefit and use. Byblow announced the agreement in the Yukon Legislative Assembly and said that the government can now establish a new planning process for input from the public."

I would like to ask any of the Members in the Official Opposition who get up to debate this motion to address this issue when they speak in debate. I want them to tell the people of the Yukon if they paid $3.45 million dollars to take this land out of third-party-interest land to make it available for land claims. I want them to address that issue and tell people of the Yukon what their intention was for that land when they bought it.

I think it is very important that Yukoners know. This press release goes on to say, "We can move forward to develop this area to the benefit of Yukon residents and all who visit the City of Whitehorse. We want to ensure that the waterfront area is open to the public for the 1992 season... This acquisition was undertaken with direct participation and knowledge of the City of Whitehorse." Then, he thanks the then-mayor, Mr. Branigan, for his assistance. It says nothing about the First Nations people - not one thing.

I will table that document.

I read through all the other documents of the planning committees that were proposed by the previous administration. There is not one mention of First Nations participation - not one.

We want to involve First Nations in the planning and the development of the waterfront. It is important that they are involved. We want to work toward that goal.

If it was the intention of the Members opposite, they never put it out in any documents that I have been able to get my hands on.

The motion itself states, "It is the opinion of this House that the Government of the Yukon should immediately live up to its obligations under the Umbrella Final Agreement and commence negotiating in good faith with the Kwanlin Dun First Nation." We have been negotiating in good faith and we will continue to do so.

I want to go over some of the comments made by the critic. She alleges that we are not negotiating in good faith with the Kwanlin Dun. Since September 1993, the Yukon government has been negotiating with the Kwanlin Dun and progress has been made. The Yukon government has met every two weeks with the Kwanlin Dun. A list of those meetings can be provided for this Legislature if Members wish. We will be meeting every Friday until June on a range of issues. The final agreement and self-government negotiations will begin with the Kwanlin Dun on May 6, 1994 - two days from now.

In all, negotiators have reached 90-percent agreement on Kwanlin Dun community rural land selections. We have reached agreement in principle on 19 out of 21 R blocks.

More specifically, general agreement in principle has been reached on the boundaries of most rural land parcels tabled to date, with the exception of a few parcels. Clearly, progress is being made, and I believe that good progress is being made when we look at the time lines since September of 1993, and we look at the length of time that was required for negotiations to be concluded on land selections in other communities that were not nearly as complicated as the City of Whitehorse ones. I believe the negotiators have been making acceptable progress. Certainly, we would all like to see it go faster.

General agreement has been reached on a majority of community selections discussed. Outstanding land issues, including the waterfront, include the Schwatka Lake and Chadburn Lake areas and represent small parcels. The government and Kwanlin Dun will concentrate on completing the land chapter on agreed-upon parcels and detailed mapping of parcel boundaries on reference plans.

The Yukon will provide interim protection to agreed-upon community and site-specific land selections on Commissioner's lands to ensure that no disposition of these lands occurs while negotiations are underway.

With regard to the waterfront, the following points may be made: the government and Kwanlin Dun focused on other Kwanlin Dun community selections prior to focusing on the waterfront; all parties saw the waterfront as a separate issue that needed the parties to explore a number of options other than ownership.

Waterfront planning for the former White Pass lands from 20-20 to the Yukon government building will not prejudice Yukon First Nation selections on the waterfront. The Kwanlin Dun has been amply informed of this, and we truly believe that it will not have a negative impact on their land selections.

I already spoke of the December 17, 1993, letter that I wrote to Chief Lena Johns, assuring her that development of the waterfront cannot proceed without the appropriate consideration of the land

Page Number 2414



selection issues. I am living up to that commitment.

As I said, I draw a distinction between planning and development. Planning processes can take a long time, especially with something as important to all Yukoners as the development of the Whitehorse waterfront. The waterfront can be the focal point of our city, and it needs some long planning.

The planning process being led by the city has not started yet. The city and the government have had no meetings on the process. I met with City of Whitehorse representatives this morning and, again, we had no meetings on the process.

I believe the Member for Whitehorse Centre was quoting from a letter that the city wrote to the Kwanlin Dun Band this morning, asking for such a meeting.

The Kwanlin Dun First Nation has expressed the same interest as the City of Whitehorse in taking advantage of any economic opportunities associated with the waterfront and upcoming heritage anniversaries. Again, I want to impress upon the Legislature and the people of the Yukon how important it is that we start the planning process, so all people, including Kwanlin Dun people, Ta'an Kwach'an people, Whitehorse people and all Yukon people can take advantage of this opportunity, which will not come around again for another 100 years.

We have to be prepared to take responsibility and build on that marketing opportunity. If we start the waterfront planning process, then, when we get to the land selections, the plan can be implemented. There may have to be some adjustments in the plan, but that does not mean the whole plan would have to be scrapped. If we do not take advantage of our marketing opportunities and capitalize on our anniversaries, I think it would be a disservice to all Yukon communities.

The parties agreed to set aside the waterfront for three months, until other substantive issues had been ironed out. During that period, the Government of Yukon agreed that no dispositions would occur on the waterfront that would result in any long-term alienation or transfer. We are prepared to live up to that commitment. We are not talking about devolving waterfront lands. We are talking about a planning process.

The motion relates to the umbrella final agreement, so I cannot keep my remarks pertaining solely to Kwanlin Dun issues, because there are many issues that this government is dealing with under the land claim agreements and the negotiations for the settlement of lands. In order to address the motion properly, I have to speak to the other areas we are working on to show to this Legislature that we are living up to our commitments under the umbrella final agreement and are negotiating in good faith.

We only have to go back to a little over a year ago. Our first priority was to get the land claims legislation through our Legislature so that, when the federal government gets around to passing its legislation, those first four bands can start to reap the immediate benefits of their land claim agreements.

I agree with the Member for Whitehorse Centre. Twenty years is a long time - too long. Yukon negotiators continue to work as a priority with the federal government and CYI to complete the settlement and self-government legislation. I believe that all of the technical stuff is done now. I believe that package is ready to go to the federal Cabinet. There is still the surface rights legislation to be finalized. We recently wrote the federal Minister encouraging introduction and passage of the legislation this spring, and initiated a motion on April 27, 1994, in the Yukon Legislative Assembly, to encourage all federal MPs to quickly assent to that legislation.

We continue to work with Canada and CYI on the surface rights legislation, as I stated. My understanding is that the surface rights legislation has to proceed through the House of Commons in conjunction with the other two pieces of legislation pertaining to the umbrella final agreement and the self-government agreement.

On the implementation side of land claims, the self-government agreements require a multitude of tasks to be undertaken by the territorial government. We are fully committed to them and are starting to get ready for the implementation stage, once the agreements are passed.

Many tasks that have been done or are being done now to support implementation of the UFA and YFN final agreements and First Nations self-government agreements. We have established an implementation and First Nations relations group in the Land Claims Secretariat to coordinate effective implementation of Yukon government responsibilities. We have appointed a Yukon government representative for the four settlement land claims that will oversee the land surveying, as required by these agreements.

We have actively carried on with the work of the tripartite training policy committee through the Department of Education. We have completed, with Canada, the training trust indenture to establish the training and advance the further $2.4 million to provide for immediate establishment of the trust, once the final document is approved by the representatives of the Council for Yukon Indians. We have completed, with Canada, the fish and wildlife enhancement trust indenture to provide for the immediate establishment of the trust on the effective date. We have contributed to the completion of the outfitter compensation guidelines.

We represent both federal and Yukon government on the Yukon Enrollment Commission, and ongoing work of this body is in cooperation with Yukon First Nations. We have actively contributed to preparatory work on legislation required to establish the development assessment process through the tripartite working group. We have worked with Canada and CYI on a new memorandum of understanding on protective measures that will provide for the training of additional community based land resource staff in Yukon First Nations to help, in a practical way, with land review and disposition. Some of the tasks that the government is working on for completion prior to the effective date of settlement legislation include completion of the surface rights legislation, amendments to the Historical Resources Act and arrangements for the formal establishment of major new boards. Our officials are doing a tremendous amount of work to implement the First Nations final agreements.

Tasks that our government are working on for the overall implementation are contributing generally to First Nation relations and include land title and administration of encumbering rights, geographic information systems requirements, wildlife management on Vuntut Gwitchin traditional territory and Yukon First Nations relations policy.

Internal implementation and planning and training is also underway to ensure that Yukon government departments are poised to assume their implementation responsibilities once the federal legislation is enacted. We are not waiting until the legislation is passed. We are making these moves now, so that when the federal legislation does pass, we are in a position to start acting immediately on the implementation.

I would like to touch on some other Yukon government initiatives in the spirit of the UFA on which we have embarked prior to the passage of the claims. We have undertaken to implement the Mayo Renewable Resource Council. There is no requirement to do that, and the council has substantial costs that are not recoverable. We do not get that money back, but we are doing it anyway. However, the Yukon government believes that the Renewable Resource Councils, outlined in section 16(6) of the UFA, will be a primary instrument for local renewable resource management in the traditional territories of the Yukon First Nations.

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It is costing us a lot of money in that area. It is not recoverable, but we are doing it.

The Yukon government has agreed to transfer the Yukon native teachers education program to CYI, in recognition of section 24(30). Moreover, in order to assist CYI in this contribution to education, the Yukon government has renewed its grant, this time in the amount of $40,000 to the Yukon First Nations Education Commission.

In efforts to make progress toward negotiations with the Kluane Tribal Council, all parties agreed to the establishment of the Kluane Wildlife Sanctuary working group to discuss land use in the northern portion of the sanctuary. This work is being undertaken in preparation for the land negotiations with the Kluane Tribal Council.

A Whitehorse land working group, established in June 1993, is comprised of three members each from Kwanlin Dun and the Yukon government. Its purpose is information exchange, review of land applications and development projects in the Whitehorse area. Its work has enabled a number of Yukon government projects to proceed, including the Logan, Arkell and Canyon Crescent subdivisions, the Mary Lake infill, McLean Lake quarry leases and weigh scale relocation, while clearly recognizing Kwanlin Dun interests in these areas.

The Minister of Community and Transportation Services will speak of other agreements that have been negotiated with the Kwanlin Dun. The Tetlit Gwitchin Council met with Cabinet and officials in January 1994. The Yukon government assured it that they would work cooperatively with it to meet the Yukon government's obligations associated with the trans-boundary agreement.

There are negotiations with other First Nations. At the present time, we are actively negotiating with five Yukon First Nations.

Progress is being made in all areas, and municipal governments are receiving regular briefings. Some of the details of those briefings include information about the Ta'an Kwach'an land claims. Land negotiations are nearing completion with the exception of the waterfront.

The Ta'an Kwach'an land selections have recently received interim protection under federal and Yukon government orders-in-council. Maps of the selections are available for public review at the land claims office. Interim protection will be in place until December 31, 1996, to allow for completion of negotiations with the Ta'an Kwach'an final agreement.

Along with that, we have successfully negotiated with the Ta'an Kwach'an an agreement for the Whitehorse sewage lands. This will enable us to address the environmental concerns there and stop pouring raw sewage into the Yukon River.

We are committed to this land claims process, and we are working very hard to live up to our obligations under it. We are negotiating in good faith.

Issues that are currently being discussed at the main negotiating table with the Ta'an Kwach'an include waterfront lands, self-government with the City of Whitehorse, traditional territory and land selection overlaps, taxation of community lands, and fish and wildlife. A resolution with the Ta'an for the exchange of lands for the Whitehorse sewage facility was successfully concluded, as I have already mentioned.

With the Dawson First Nation, we have 120-percent interim land protection. Negotiations are based on the interim protection done in 1992. The Yukon government has facilitated federal and mining interest support to withdraw Tombstone Mountain, in order that it be a territorial park, which will be reflected in the Dawson land claims agreement.

We worked very hard for that, and we had good cooperation with the owners of the leases in that area, who felt that it would not be justified to mine such a beautiful area and were prepared to let their leases lapse if the area were to become protected.

Other issues under active discussion with Dawson include Lousetown, self-government, and fish and wildlife issues.

In Little Salmon-Carmacks, negotiations have been underway since September 1993. Land negotiations are focused primarily on community lands, at this stage. Much work has been completed on the final agreement negotiations up to Chapter 21 of the UFA. Outstanding issues include economic measures, self-government and future mine and road development. Regular meetings are held with the municipal council.

Along with these initiatives, we have taken other initiatives - to put mining companies and Yukon First Nations together, rather than having them opposed when mining companies want to go ahead with developments. As some of the Members opposite know, that has worked out very well for the mining companies and for the Yukon First Nations - such as in the Bonnet Plume situation, where the First Nations are working with the people prospecting in that area, and such as the Little Salmon-Carmacks band and their negotiation of an economic agreement with the developers of the Williams Creek property. There is also work going on with the Ross River Den Council and Wheaton River Minerals for the Grew Creek mine.

We are making progress in the area of putting First Nations people and mining companies together to bring economic benefits to both the First Nations community and the people of the Yukon. Those are areas that we have worked very, very hard at, in the very short time we have been in office. We do not have the opposition any more at the environmental hearings with First Nations fighting the mining companies. They are working with them so that they can gain some of the benefits, just as we want to work with the Kwanlin Dun, so that they can gain some of the benefits of the waterfront development.

Negotiations with the Selkirk First Nation have begun in all areas of the agreement, including land, self-government, fish and wildlife and heritage. Land negotiations have included discussions about community lands in Pelly Crossing and detailed discussions of First Nations' goals for rural land ownership within its traditional boundaries. These sessions are very well-attended by the community.

Carcross Tagish and Kluane First Nations have indicated that they would like to commence negotiations in the fall of 1994. Government has committed to provide the human resources to these tables.

The Yukon government is prepared to negotiate a land claims agreement and deal with trans-boundary claims with the Kaska Dena First Nations on the basis of the umbrella final agreement.

I have already outlined some of the things we have done with the Kwanlin Dun. As I said, I had a meeting with the city this morning. I believe the Member for Whitehorse Centre was reading some excerpts from the letter that the mayor wrote to the Kwanlin Dun. I received the same letter, asking that a meeting be set up for May 12 with Kwanlin Dun, the city and Yukon territorial government representatives, to put in place some terms of reference for a planning process for the waterfront. I see nothing wrong with that. I do not see how that prejudices the Kwanlin Dun claims on the river - they are two separate issues.

The Member opposite made other allegations that we were not living up to our agreements. I have addressed some of those. I also replied to a letter the Member was quoting from the other day, which acting Chief Albert Webber wrote to me on May 2. I replied on May 3, and I have refuted most of the allegations that were made in that letter, if not all of them.

I believe we are negotiating in good faith. I believe we are negotiating in good faith with the Kwanlin Dun and every other

Page Number 2416



First Nation in the Yukon.

As I said earlier, negotiating within a municipality like Whitehorse, within the confines of the Whitehorse boundaries, is a very difficult and volatile process. I believe that, sometimes, on both sides of this Legislature, when we start debating land claims issues during Question Period we do a disservice to the land claims negotiation process and the land selection process. There is nothing wrong with questions being asked about land claims and what government is doing, but I believe that when we get into details of land selections, we sometimes do a disservice to the process rather than enhance it and help it along.

I know many more Members want to speak on this very, very important issue today, and I will not be much longer because I do want to hear from the Members opposite and I want to hear what my colleagues have to say.

In conclusion, any critic would be hard-pressed to claim that the Yukon government is not living up to its obligations under the umbrella final agreement. The Member for Whitehorse Centre can shake her head if she likes, but I fully believe that and I believe we have proved it with the actions we have taken and the progress we have made in resolving these very difficult issues.

The Yukon government is fully committed to working with Yukon First Nations and demonstrates it on a daily basis. For example, on May 3, 1994, it announced that the assistance from the Canada-Yukon economic development agreement will enable two Yukon First Nations - Champagne-Aishihik First Nation and Little Salmon-Carmacks First Nation - to fund positions for economic development officers. That was announced today.

Overall, significant progress has been made in negotiations and implementation planning is well under way, well in advance of the federal legislation being passed, so we will not be held up. Once the federal legislation passes, we can move to the implementation stage very, very quickly.

In closing, I want to say that there are always difficult issues that require patience and creative solutions. All parties will have to work jointly to be able to resolve those issues. I believe that the waterfront is one of those issues where all parties will have to be creative, so that all parties can benefit from the development of this very valuable piece of Whitehorse.

Mr. McDonald:

I am pleased to enter the debate at this point. The Member from this side of the House, the mover of the motion, in speaking, has put forward the arguments very clearly as to why this motion is necessary. The Minister, who has replied to the comments made by the Member for Whitehorse Centre, has perhaps used more careful language than he is prone to do in this House, and has made his position more clear than it has been in the past. At the same time, there are some fundamental points that he has missed, and some issues that he has misunderstood, and I will explain what they are in a moment.

I will not spend a lot of time talking about the concerns about the umbrella final agreement. There are Members on this side who are better able to express those appropriate concerns about the government's willingness to live up to all the provisions of the UFA. For the record, I would point out that there are a number of areas that ought to be pursued at some length, at some point in this debate. They include the government's commitment toward implementation funding, and their ability to bring life to the umbrella final agreement through appropriate levels of funding that would ensure that their verbal and written commitments to the UFA, their respect for the UFA, will actually show up in action. There have been some concerns about this government's attempts to change the mandate of the Yukon Development Corporation, which was established in an umbrella final agreement, and to do that inside of this Legislature without the approval of other parties to that agreement. Attempts made after the fact - after an attempt to change the mandate in the Legislature - seemed to fall on deaf ears once they tried to negotiate it as they should have done in the first place.

There have been concerns expressed in this Legislature about the role of the Council on the Economy and the Environment and the assurance that the council would annually review the state of the economy in this territory and, in so doing, involve First Nation people.

The government's flat refusal to encourage the Council on the Economy and the Environment to deal with this matter as a priority is a continuing concern, not only to the people who believe in the integrity of the umbrella final agreement, but also the people who care about the future of this territory's economy and people who are interested in some economic revival in this territory.

There are Members who are more willing and able than I to address some of those issues, so I will leave that to them. I want to focus my issues on the Kwanlin Dun and the waterfront development in Whitehorse.

The original reason for this motion being put forward, as Members will be aware, is that there appeared to be a singular ignorance and disrespect for the land selection process by government in their dealings with the Kwanlin Dun.

Time after time in this Legislature, duly recorded in Hansard, there were questions put about various land development projects that had clearly not been addressed at the land claims table.

There were many documented efforts made by the government to push through its land development plans, irrespective of the emerging importance of the land selection process in Whitehorse as part of the planned negotiations to finalize the Kwanlin Dun's final agreement.

The Minister has indicated a number of things today that one would consider to be truisms. He has indicated that there has to be planning before development and there has to be a distinction between planning and development.

That is a start, but it misses a fundamental point: that there is an obvious concern that planning, particularly as planning becomes more advanced, will ultimately prejudice land selections if government, at some point, takes the view that it can demonstrate that it has previous active interests in the land that has been planned and then proceeds to try and resist selections for that land.

If the planning process were to advance too far without agreement by the Kwanlin Dun who, ostensibly, will have the opportunity to select lands on or around the waterfront, then clearly there will be an obvious concern by them that their land selections would be resisted. Other governments, namely the City of Whitehorse and the Government of the Yukon, will have already detailed an interest in that land.

That concern can only be enhanced when the Minister responsible for land claims makes the case in the Legislature that, in his words, "development cannot be held up any longer." He makes the case that we must proceed right away, irrespective of any agenda that others may have, such as going through the land selection process. That statement sounds like a threat. It sounds like a threat to me. It sounds like, irrespective of whether or not there is success at the land claims table to determine the ownership of the property, development must proceed because there is a higher authority. The higher demand is that there is a need to develop lands to prepare for a tourism event a couple of years from now.

As important as that tourism event is - and it is important - it is not as important as dealing with First Nations honourably and fairly when it comes to land selections. The reason for that is that First Nations are planning the future of their government and their peoples well into the next century.

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There will be many anniversaries that will be of interest and note to this territory over the next 300, 400 and 500 years. In the year 2098, there will be a 200th anniversary of the gold rush. However, if we have determined the Kwanlin Dun's economic and social future as part of a rush job to plan for simply one anniversary, we will be condemning that First Nation to a future that may not be as bright as the umbrella final agreement and the land claims had anticipated.

The Government Leader asked the question: did the New Democrat government buy the land for the waterfront for the purpose of simply turning that land over to First Nations? I would say, in response to that, that the New Democrat government bought that land to create new opportunities for a properly developed waterfront area befitting a capital city. Did they preclude the possible selection of that land? No. Is there an understanding at the land claims table that any monies the Yukon government spends to develop land will be recovered by the federal government for lands that are selected? Yes, that is the understanding. That has always been the understanding, and there are many cases and many examples where that has taken place. Where bands want to select lands that have been developed in some way, or for which the YTG has applied money, there is the expectation that the federal government will reimburse the Yukon government for those lands.

Did the NDP government, at the time, want development of the waterfront? Yes, they did. Do the NDP in Opposition want development of the waterfront? Yes, we do. Does the Kwanlin Dun want development? Yes, they do. Does the City of Whitehorse want development? Yes, they do, and presumably, given the Government Leader's statements, the Yukon Party government wants the development of the waterfront.

The issue is: how do we go about that process? How do we show respect for the land claims table, the negotiating process and, at the same time, meet our other prime objective: to see development of the waterfront?

There has been a lot of confusion over the issue of development versus planning. I have been sitting in the Legislature for the past couple of weeks and, on many occasions, I have heard people playing fast and loose with the words "development" and "planning." That can only serve to fudgify people's understanding of what this issue is all about.

If you use "development" and "planning" interchangeably, then those people who are concerned about making the distinction may become concerned and upset, particularly since the people who are using those terms interchangeably are the people who have the most influence over what happens to this particular land.

Clearly, one needs to ensure that one is careful about their language when they are talking about development and planning.

One of the things that the NDP was involved in was the capital city commission. I am surprised that the Minister cannot find any documentation by the capital city commission, because it was well-documented that the Minister of the day, Mr. Byblow, was undertaking discussions with the Kwanlin Dun, the Ta'an Kwach'an and the City of Whitehorse to develop a capital city commission that would involve all four parties as equal players. That was quite a public process.

At the time, the First Nations made it very clear to that Minister that they needed to resolve the ownership of the land before joining the commission. They wanted to do that for the same reasons that they wanted to resolve the ownership of the land before planning takes place. Again, this was to ensure that no process becomes so advanced that governments, some time in the future, make the argument that no selections can be made because they have a prior and documented interest in that land.

This does not have to happen over an extended period of time. The Kwanlin Dun and the government, through the Government Leader, have expressed a real interest in accelerating discussions to ensure ownership and planning issues, and the planning process, are addressed, so that, ultimately, development can take place. It requires a will to do those things in that order, which we must ensure is done.

The Member for Whitehorse Centre has made it very clear that actions taken in writing and in letters are not consistent with government words and statements in the Legislature.

The fact that the Minister responsible for land claims is meeting with the City of Whitehorse and actively discussing Whitehorse waterfront planning causes anxiety among those people who want to ensure that the process happens with due respect for land claim negotiations.

When the Minister says in the Legislature that the City of Whitehorse is quite properly, in his view, taking a front and centre role in the planning of the waterfront, he is leaving the impression that the City of Whitehorse has taken the initiative. At the same time, the city is claiming in letters that they are taking the initiative at the urging of the Government Leader, and one wonders what is happening. One wonders whether or not there are other agendas being carried out that are not clear to all the appropriate people who have an interest in this question.

When the Kwanlin Dun First Nation learned that their role in the planning process on the Whitehorse waterfront planning committee had been relegated to one of many interests, they showed, quite properly, some significant anxiety about that. The Kwanlin Dun were under the impression that the land claims process was paramount, as were the rest of us, and as all Members have stated many times in this Legislature. The fact that they should show some anxiety about the planning committee is not surprising. It should not be surprising to anyone.

So, it is absolutely imperative that we get our ducks in order, that we understand what is the most important process, that we do not jeopardize the interests of other governments involved in this equation, particularly Kwanlin Dun, that we clarify our objectives and that we get down to work in a professional manner.

Now, the government itself has clearly identified and defined its objectives. They are, they say, to settle land claims fairly and honourably. Their other objective - which is a very important one, but which is a subordinate one - is that we have some form of waterfront development ready for the anniversary years, so that whatever celebrations take place, all residents of the territory, including Kwanlin Dun members, can take some economic advantage from those anniversaries.

Kwanlin Dun, for their part, have very clear objectives too. They, quite appropriately, have their eyes set on the future - not only the immediate future, but the distant future. Part of the underpinning of the land claims process is not only that there be some cash transfers, but there be a land base that will support the economic future of the First Nation. This generation of Kwanlin Dun leaders must be careful to select lands now that will preserve the future of that First Nation for centuries to come, long after we are all dead and buried. If they cannot show the wisdom to select the proper sites, they will be condemning their descendants to something less than was anticipated in the land claims agreement. Perhaps they will be condemning them to something that is much less than their own economic survival.

They have also recognized, and we must recognize, that Kwanlin Dun First Nation members - or many of them - have been shunted around from spot to spot in the City of Whitehorse over the last century to suit just about everybody else's needs except their own. So, even though they have literally populated the waterfront for years and years, they have moved from one area to another, depending on how other people wanted the City of

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Whitehorse developed.

What I think is happening here is that, despite the fact of their interest in seeing to it that the anniversaries see a proper waterfront, they have essentially drawn a line in the sand and said that they will not be buffeted about by other people's agendas, because they have a need to secure their own future - and this is their one shot. So they must be firm on this point, and we must understand and respect that. They must be firm on this point and be firm when it comes to waterfront land selections and the future of that waterfront.

Nobody is doubting - the Government Leader mentioned this and it has been mentioned in the past - that land selections in Whitehorse are more complicated and more politically difficult than any other land selections in any other community area in this territory. There is no question about that. The stakes are much higher, populations are higher, conflicts are more numerous, the value of the land is different from other communities, and consequently it will be more difficult to come to closure on the final land selections. However, in my opinion, we must understand and respect the need to follow a process in selecting those lands that insures that all parties to the equation - and particularly the First Nations, who have the greatest stake - are satisfied and confident that they can meet their obligations under the umbrella final agreement.

As far as I am aware - and I have talked to many members of Kwanlin Dun - because they are citizens of this territory and they live and work with us shoulder to shoulder every day, they are not being intentionally obstructionist. They see some value in promoting the anniversaries and are therefore interested in resolving this question to everyone's satisfaction. I think that was made clear by Pat Joe in her press comments the other day. But, as much as they want to resolve these questions, they cannot jeopardize their long-term future.

As long as government understands that, I am certain that an accommodation can be reached. I am certain that the City of Whitehorse can participate at some level and that we can have a waterfront planning and development process that will be satisfactory to all. Once again, I would reiterate that the basic lands issues must be addressed. The Government Leader says that all of the other lands issues were addressed quickly and amicably, so there is no reason that it cannot continue with the waterfront.

It requires, as the Government Leader said, patience. It requires creative solutions. It requires, in my opinion, a greater degree of professionalism by those people who are making statements on government policy, particularly when it comes to understanding and promoting a process that will ensure success and full respect for the land claims process that we have come to know and understand for other First Nations. As long as the signals are clear and there is professionalism, a will and some creativity - no threats - this problem can, like other problems, be resolved by reasonable people.

I would support the motion. I realize there is a lot more to it than simply the waterfront development. I realize that the original intention of this motion was to deal with a whole array of land development issues that were raised over one year ago in this Legislature. Many of them have been, as I understand, resolved and some have not. I think that the motion does afford us an opportunity to speak to the waterfront as one element of this issue. I do know that others have some concerns about the government's total commitment to the terms of the UFA.

I would close by saying that I support the motion. I hope that reasonable people will come to reasonable conclusions and that the needs, aspirations and respect for the negotiators, who all have a significant stake in the future of this territory, not just over the next four years, but over the next 400 or 500 years, will produce, ultimately, solutions of which we, in this territory, can be proud.

Hon. Mr. Brewster:

The Yukon government has and will continue to negotiate in good faith with First Nations. The land claims final agreement legislation and the First Nations self-government legislation were given third reading in the Yukon Legislature in March of 1993 and they will come into force on the same day as the federal legislation. For the benefit of the Opposition, I would like to state quite clearly that the Yukon Party government wholeheartedly supports the Yukon Indian land claim and the process that will bring the claim to a successful conclusion.

We have written to the federal Minister, encouraging quick passage of the legislation in Parliament this spring. We initiated a motion on April 27, 1994, in the Yukon Legislature encouraging all MPs to give quick passage to the legislation. Mr. Abel spoke for all of us when he said that the Yukon Indian land claim, "will protect the rights and interests of Yukon First Nations and allow the Yukon Territory to progress toward the 21st century."

Work on settlement, self-government and surface rights legislation is a priority with the Yukon government and our recognition of the inherent rights under section 35.1 of the Constitution is absolute.

The Department of Renewable Resources has actively participated in the land claims process. Renewable resource, fish and wildlife and special management areas are major components of each First Nation's final agreement and therefore implementation of the claim will directly impact on the Yukon government's Department of Renewable Resources.

Renewable Resources staff have acted as advisors for fish and wildlife special management areas and land use planning. They have also provided support, analysis and advice during final agreement negotiation on the land, water, forestry, economic measurements and other components in each First Nation's final agreement negotiation.

At my request, the Department of Renewable Resources has met with First Nations and their elders to spend time listening to and discussing issues regarding our wildlife. We will continue to maintain this open-door policy. In my view, this sharing of knowledge is essential to both First Nations and government. Our caribou programs and wildlife management on the Vuntut Gwitchin traditional territory are ideal examples of cooperative problem solving.

The public boards created by the umbrella final agreement are designed to ensure public participation in the management of our resources. These boards include the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board, the salmon subcommittee of that board and 14 Renewable Resource Councils. The Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board, acting in all interests, will take into consideration all relevant facts including recommendations from the Renewable Resource Councils.

The board may make recommendations to the Minister, Yukon First Nations, and Renewable Resource Councils on all matters related to fish and wildlife management, legislation, research, policies and programs. Because we consider the Renewable Resource Councils outlined in the umbrella final agreement to be primary instruments for local renewable resource management in the traditional territory of Yukon First Nations, we have undertaken to continue with the Mayo Renewable Resource Council, which the former government established. The total cost of this council is borne by this government, with no money back from the federal government.

In preparation for negotiations with the Kluane Tribal Council, all parties agreed to the establishment of the Yukon Kluane Wildlife Sanctuary working group to discuss land use in the northern part of the sanctuary. The whole of the Yukon government

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is fully committed to the task relating to land claims negotiations and implementation. I might point out that the former government's much-touted Yukon 2000 tourism action plan and Yukon development strategy trades and service documents both mention Whitehorse waterfront development. However, no mention was made by that government of the Kwanlin Dun interests in the waterfront.

I also have before me another document, a briefing from November 7, 1991, in which the only First Nation mentioned is the CYI, and only once on the whole page. Kwanlin Dun is not mentioned at all, and this is the forming of committees, according to the former government.

Ms. Moorcroft:

I rise to support the motion that the Government of Yukon should immediately live up to its obligations under the umbrella final agreement and commence negotiating in good faith with the Kwanlin Dun First Nation.

There is a recurring pattern in Canadian history in the relationship between aboriginal people and European settlers. As the Member for Whitehorse Centre reminded the Government Leader, when you are talking about give and take, you have to remember who did the giving and who did the taking.

The Canadian government has a tradition of taking land and giving it as land grants to corporations. On the prairies, land was given to the Canadian Pacific Railway. In the Yukon, land was given to the White Pass and Yukon Route for a railway, and land was given to subordinate governments.

Yukon First Nations have plenty of experience in having their land taken away and given to others. First Nations in the Whitehorse area have been moved from their land six times in the last 67 years without any consultation.

With the signing of the land claims agreement, this was supposed to change. Land claims recognized that the land and the water were under the stewardship of First Nations people. There was a recognition that native people were here first and that no treaties have been signed giving up their right to the land. The land claims recognized that First Nations people have a right to the land and to its resources.

Under the umbrella final agreement, the Yukon First Nations assert aboriginal rights, titles and interests with respect to their traditional territories. Yukon First Nations wish to retain the aboriginal rights, titles and interests they assert, and as parties to the umbrella final agreement, we recognize the significant contributions of Yukon Indian people and Yukon First Nations to the history and culture of the Yukon and Canada.

The Whitehorse waterfront is a case in point. Undoubtedly, the waterfront and its traditional fishing sites were important to a number of First Nations who travelled widely during their yearly cycle of fishing, hunting and trapping.

The Government Leader has claimed that he recognizes land claim rights on the waterfront area. During a CYI leadership meeting on September 15, 1993, the Minister stated, "On the capital city commission, I have had two meetings with the mayor and I have made it adamantly clear to him that there would be no waterfront development until land claim selections were finalized. I have said that to him twice." And, he said, "...but at this point I am still taking the position that land claim selections have to be finalized before any waterfront development is put on the agenda."

The Minister has gone on record numerous times stating that Yukon First Nations have a role to play in the development of the waterfront. Now the Minister seems to be doing a flip-flop. If the Minister has any integrity, he would stand by his previous commitments to native peoples and negotiate the long-standing land claims on the disputed sections of the Yukon River frontage. If the Minister fails to do this, what message is he sending to other aboriginal people who have not signed final agreements?

It seems to me that the fundamental issue we are debating is the need to recognize First Nations as a level of government. We need to recognize that, in signing the self-government agreements, we have recognized First Nations' right to self-government.

The Yukon government seems to not have a problem with delegating powers over territorial land to the city. However, it seems to fight tooth and nail to stop sharing powers with First Nations people. The government seems to have forgotten that First Nations could deal directly with the federal government regarding land claims, similar to the process in the Northwest Territories.

In a demonstration of goodwill, Yukon First Nations have allowed for the Yukon government to be present at the bargaining table, in order to build bridges and consensus. Now the Minister has delegated the planning of the waterfront to the City of Whitehorse.

On May 2, the Minister stated, "It is the city that is going to lead the charge in the development planning for the waterfront, not the territorial government". He said that in this Legislature. It is on the public record. How can the Minister assure the House that the city will not make decisions that are detrimental to a land claims settlement? I would like to remind the House that we are talking about Yukon government lands. Who is running the show? It appears the Government Leader wants to make the Mayor of Whitehorse the Minister responsible for land claims.

The Government Leader's understanding of planning and land claims seems to be as ill-informed as his knowledge of collective bargaining. Does the Minister consider it to be negotiating in good faith when he excludes First Nations from the planning process, and then says he will only begin to consult with them in the development phase? Planning can prejudice land selections. If First Nations do not have a seat at the table, we are heading for disaster.

In the last few weeks, we have had some discussion in this Legislature on the subject of planning. The umbrella final agreement contains a chapter about land use planning, which exists in order to encourage the development of a common Yukon land use planning process and to minimize actual or potential land use conflicts. The spirit of planning is there to ensure that social, cultural, economic and environmental policies are applied to the management, protection and use of land, water and resources in an integrated and coordinated manner, so as to ensure sustainable development.

The land use planning process should be linked to all other land and water planning and management processes established by government and Yukon First Nations. The government is not doing its job. The government is not facilitating a dialogue between the Yukon government, the First Nations and the City of Whitehorse.

As part of the agreements we have entered into with the umbrella final agreement, we are supposed to be encouraging economic development on the part of Yukon First Nations. The Ministers' planning processes, and his handing over of responsibility to the City of Whitehorse, simply do not do that.

The Minister claims there is an urgency to have the waterfront developed for upcoming anniversaries. Kwanlin Dun is not opposed to development. For nine long months, Kwanlin Dun has been ready to sit down and solve the land ownership problem. If the Minister was interested in getting development started, he should immediately instruct his land claims negotiators to conclude negotiations on ownership of the waterfront, so that development that will benefit all Yukoners can begin as soon as possible. The Minister stated he would like to see development go faster. It will not go faster if this government does not show some respect for Kwanlin Dun and First Nations people.

Page Number 2420



The Government Leader's research on the waterfront left out the human element. I wonder why? The flat flood plain along the river valley, the Whitehorse waterfront, was a good meeting place, a temporary gathering place, a trading place. Yukon First Nations have an ancestral claim to the Whitehorse waterfront. Aboriginal peoples lived along the riverside. When in town for supplies, or hunting or trapping in the area, many tented or stayed in the small shacks and houses along the river. It was cheap and tenancy was informal. Many First Nations people also worked on the boats during the summer and cut wood or trapped during the winter months. For the time that they were working on the vessels, many lived near the shipyards.

Another human element of the waterfront was the squatters, who have lived in Moccasin Flats and Sleepy Hollow. I see history repeating itself when I look at the history of the waterfront, put together by the Yukon Historical and Museums Association, "Edge of the River, Heart of the City". In talking about the squatters and about the shacks built by longshoreman and First Nations, and others, on vacant company lots in the town site, the White Pass general manager writes: "I think these shacks should be removed and would request you to take this up with Mr. Phelps and go through the necessary motions, so that we can have them destroyed without incurring any liability."

That, of course, was the grandfather of our present Minister of Justice. I am sure he will have some interesting things to say about waterfront development and about support of the Kwanlin Dun in negotiating settlement lands there.

The planning process being led by the City of Whitehorse has not started. Kwanlin Dun has expressed the same interest as the city in participating in that planning process. I would ask the Government Leader why, as a good faith gesture, do they not turn over the responsibility to Kwanlin Dun and Ta'an Kwachan to lead the planning process. They have already agreed to turn it over to the City of Whitehorse. The government seems to have no difficulty giving municipalities control over land issues. Why do they not extend the same favour to Kwanlin Dun and the First Nations? That would represent an acknowledgment of the umbrella final agreement and the beliefs behind it.

The Council for Yukon Indians has stated that First Nations have not denied development, but have insisted on involvement as land owners. Because of their insistence, their integrity, legal rights and interests should not be subject to unfair scrutiny or compromise. The Government Leader needs to remember the centuries-old use and occupancy of the lands along the Yukon River, specifically those now encompassed by the City of Whitehorse, by citizens of the Ta'an Kwachan and Kwanlin Dun First Nations. First Nations ownership, since time immemorial, must be honoured and respected by all governments, including the Government of the Yukon.

On the eve of Yukon land claims and self-government agreements being legislated by the Parliament of Canada, culminating decades of cooperative negotiations between First Nations and governments, the Government Leader is urged to live up to his obligations as the Minister responsible for land claims. Why does he not instruct his negotiators to take a clear mandate to conclude, with honour and fairness, the First Nations' claim to areas and title to their homelands.

Hon. Mr. Phillips:

I, too, like the Government Leader, have a problem in supporting the motion the way it is written and the way it is before us here today. The motion says, "It is the opinion of the House that the Government of Yukon should immediately live up to its obligations under the Umbrella Final Agreement and commence negotiating in good faith with the Kwanlin Dun First Nation". This would lead one to believe that no negotiations at all have ever commenced and that, if they did, there certainly was not good faith bargaining in those negotiations. That would be an unfair statement, and we know it is not true. Negotiations in good faith commenced several months ago with the Kwanlin Dun and have been going on ever since. I understand from the report the Government Leader gave us here today that there has been some progress in many areas. In fact, I understand the Government Leader said that 90 percent of the land selections are completed and there is just a small section still outstanding. As well, talks are still going on today, almost as we speak, and will be going on in the future - so talks certainly have not broken off. Talks are going on in good faith, and they commenced a long time ago.

So, the wording of the motion itself is inaccurate and is something we should be concerned about in this House.

I suppose this issue has really come to the surface because of the concern over the recent statements of the Government Leader about waterfront development, and the need to move quickly to develop the waterfront. I will get into the issue of waterfront planning a bit later, but I would like to first of all talk briefly about the commitment our side has had toward the completion of land claims.

I think that we can all cast our minds back to the very historic occasion in our Legislature on March 17, 1993, when third reading and final assent were granted to the Yukon land claims final agreement and the First Nation self-government agreements.

As well, if we go back a bit further to our first sitting of this Legislature, I believe the umbrella final agreement was one of the first items of business that we dealt with in setting up the committee that would travel around the territory. It was a strong commitment from this government and it was the very first order of business we ever conducted as a government.

In fact, within five months or so of being elected, the land claims umbrella final agreement had passed this House and was awaiting approval from our federal counterparts.

I believe that the same day we passed that legislation, a motion was put forward on the floor - I believe from the Member for Vuntut Gwitchin - urging the then federal Conservative government to quickly pass the land claims legislation through Parliament. Unfortunately, they saw fit to stall on passing that legislation. Today we are in a dilemma and we are waiting on quick action from the federal government, the current Liberal government. I hope to see some action within the next month.

All Members in the House that day stood and supported the motion to urge the federal government to proceed with legislation. Consequently, as was mentioned by the Member for Kluane, just a week ago we passed another motion addressing the same issue urging the federal government to pass the land claims legislation.

As well, we, as a government, have continued to sit at the land claims table and negotiate with other First Nations. The Government Leader mentioned today that we are currently negotiating, in good faith, land claims with five First Nations, including the Kwanlin Dun. We have worked diligently to finalize their claims and will continue to do so.

As I said earlier, one of these bands that have been at the table is certainly the Kwanlin Dun Band. I think a great deal of progress has been made in their claim. The Government Leader mentioned that the Kwanlin Dun claim is an extremely difficult one, because it is within the City of Whitehorse. We all realize there are a lot of overlapping conflicts. It has made it very difficult for the negotiators on both sides to come to a quick agreement. It has been much easier for some of the other bands in the remote areas of the territory, because there has not been as much land alienated. Of course, those bands have not had as much trouble concluding their claims.

We have also had discussions with the Ta'an Kwach'an Band.

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We have reached agreement on their claim and many of their final land selections. I have to point out that there has been great cooperation with the Ta'an Kwach'an Band in working with the Yukon government and the City of Whitehorse in setting aside the much needed sewage treatment lands. I applaud the leaders of the Ta'an Kwach'an for working hard to resolve this very important issue.

This is not important just for the City of Whitehorse. Its resolution will benefit all Yukoners. Because of the cooperation we have received from the Ta'an Kwach'an in resolving this issue, we will no longer be pumping raw sewage into the Yukon River. This is a very important agreement to the fish and wildlife of the Yukon Territory that use that river, as well as the downstream users, the native and non-native people, all the way to Dawson City, who will be affected by this decision.

It is a very good move by the Ta'an Kwach'an to have seen the significance of coming to some resolution and some settlement on this land so that the city can get on with building the new sewage treatment plant, so that we are no longer pumping raw sewage into the Yukon River.

The issue of the waterfront land is another one that I believe is very important to all Yukoners. For many years, Yukoners have been looking forward to fixing up the Whitehorse waterfront. When I was a boy growing up in Whitehorse, the waterfront was a hub of activity. In fact, one of the reasons that Whitehorse is here is because of the waterfront, and the activity that happened below the Whitehorse Rapids. There are all kinds of history associated with the waterfront, from the First Nations, to the non-native, to the gold seekers and others who have used the waterfront for many years.

Back in 1984, the Government of the Yukon purchased some private lands from the White Pass and Yukon Route, and there has been all kinds of talk about improvement to the waterfront. In March of 1989, the government, through the then Minister of Community and Transportation Services, Maurice Byblow, announced its intention to establish a capital city commission. At that time, Mr. Byblow said that one of the main roles of the new commission would be to plan and develop the waterfront. Mr. Byblow suggested that the membership of this new group would include the territorial government, the City of Whitehorse, private interests, heritage interests, and neighbourhood groups. In fact, even the Leader of the Opposition, who was the Leader of the government said, in a newspaper article dated March 13, 1989, "The commission's membership will likely include the territorial government, municipal government, private interests, heritage interests, and neighbourhood groups." He never once mentioned in the press announcement that First Nations were involved in that planning. It is interesting to note that we are now talking about the same kind of planning, and we are talking about involving First Nations, and we are being criticized by the other side. It just does not seem to make a lot of sense. It was okay for them to plan without First Nations, but it is not okay for us to plan with First Nations.

I can also recall that, when they did the planning of the Whitehorse waterfront - I was trying to think back today about those announcements - I do not recall a major outcry from the general public, or from CYI and other First Nations, that they were not involved in that process. So, it seems somewhat confusing today to see that people are quite upset about the process.

I can remember that a great deal of planning was initiated and there were, I believe, four public meetings that I attended as an MLA regarding the waterfront. Briefs were prepared, and I recall preparing one for the Official Opposition and presenting it to City Hall. I also remember there was even a conceptual design released at City Hall that laid out the new plan for the waterfront development. I clearly remember that particular plan was not widely accepted - a lot of people felt there was too much office space in the plan and not enough of the history of the waterfront involved in it. Most Yukoners who made representations to the planning group at that time were rather unhappy with the plan that was presented. The only thing about the plan that impressed people was the promenade, the walkway or the dock, that was going to be built from the government building to the 20-20 building, stretching along the whole waterfront and allowing a sort of walkway, so that Yukoners, First Nations and non-native could get down to the waterfront and enjoy it again.

There could have been, but I do not recall at any of those meetings that there were any major objections by First Nations, or a claim that their land claim was being compromised. I tried to recall that today. I did not have enough time to research it completely, but I did go to all those meetings, and I did follow all the things that were going on at the time, and I do not recall that there was a major objection like there appears to be today to any planning. At that time, I understand, very little consultation was going on with First Nations.

In January 1991, the former NDP government bought the Taylor-Chev Olds building for $1,000,000 and said, and I quote Mr. Byblow again, who was the Minister of Community and Transportation Services at the time, "It is the intention of this government to develop the land in harmony with the waterfront planning."

The Government Leader has already mentioned that in May 1991, the Yukon government purchased the lands in question for $3.45 million. Mr. Byblow stated in a press release, and I quote again, "This is an extremely important purchase. This acquisition means the waterfront property from the SS Klondike to the 20-20 site is now secured for public benefit and use."

That is a statement from an NDP Cabinet Minister, the same side that is now accusing us of going ahead with planning without consultation, and yet they did the very same thing back in 1991. But, at that time, it was fine to go ahead with the planning.

The Member for Whitehorse Centre has told us today that that was an area that the First Nations used for years and years and years. If she knows that now and knew that then, why did she not involve them in the consultations at that time? Is the Member saying that the selection of this land just happened afterwards? I would think that most First Nations would make the argument that no matter when they select the land, it was used traditionaly for many years before that. I do not know why the Members on the opposite side, when they were talking about waterfront planning and were so involved in land claims and seemed to be so up to speed on what was happening, did not realize that that was a claimed area and they had to consult with First Nations. They did not bother to consult at that time. I think that, all of a sudden, the shoe is on the other foot now and they are seeming to take the other approach. Maybe it is just for some political expediency.

The press release issued at that time also goes on to say that they were going to sit down - this is a press release issued by the NDP government - with the City of Whitehorse to talk about the planning. There was no mention of involving anyone else. And again, I do not recall any opposition from any First Nation. They announced at that same time that they were going to carry out some landscaping and, in fact, people can walk along that waterfront today and stop on some of the decks and walkways that they built there. They not only began planning, but they began development - building some of the infrastructure on the waterfront. There was not a peep from anyone.

There was not a peep from anybody. This was the government doing not only the planning, but the development. Now they are standing up and being hypocrites saying that we should not plan,

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develop or do anything on the waterfront because it now is claimed.

The Members opposite must have known at that time that it was even claimed then, they must have had the knowledge, because they certainly profess to know everything about land claims.

Unparliamentary language


I would remind the Member to keep away from unparliamentary language, such as the word "hypocrites".

Hon. Mr. Phillips:

I am sorry, I will withdraw that remark.

Motion No. 40 - continued

Hon. Mr. Phillips:

Last week the Government Leader answered some questions from the critic. He mentioned in the House that it was important that we get on with planning. It might be a surprise to some of the Members opposite, but before you develop, you have to plan.

All that we are talking about here is getting on with some planning for future development. There is no reason in the world, that I can see, that land claims talks could not continue and are continuing while the various interested parties start to plan for future development. Yukon First Nations should be involved with that waterfront planning. They should be at the table and involved.

The Member for McIntyre-Takhini raised a concern that he had about the planning going ahead and compromising the process.

I would think if the planning started, and it would be very preliminary, because it takes time to plan these things, I would think that it would put pressure on all sides - the federal government, the territorial government, the City of Whitehorse, Kwanlin Dun and all people - to come to a resolution to this problem.

I do not think there is a First Nation person or a non-native Yukoner in the territory who does not think that land claims have gone on far too long. It is now time to get to the table and deal with those serious issues for the benefit of First Nation people and all Yukoners.

This process has been ongoing for 20 years. I grew up with land claims, as have many of the First Nations people in this territory. I think that people really want to get on with their lives.

I know that the Member for Mount Lorne suggested that we get back to the table and seriously discuss the waterfront issue. I think that is a good suggestion and that is something that we should certainly be dealing with. If there are concerns and conflicts in that area, we should be dealing with them as soon as possible.

I said earlier that First Nations should be involved in the waterfront planning, and the Government Leader mentioned the other day about the timing. It is time for all of us in this House to realize that we should be moving in many tourism areas over the next three to four years. For those of us who have been involved in starting and operating small businesses, we all know how important it is to do well in the first couple of years of operation. That first year or two is the critical time, because there is a lot of capital to be paid off and a lot of investments have been made. When one decides to do something in a business, or invest in some kind of infrastructure or develop some kind of display, one has to make sure that one does it in a timely manner, anticipating future growth, so one can pay off the capital expenditure and start to make a profit.

I know some of the Members on the other side think the word "profit" is a dirty word, but that is what makes the world go around. People actually make profits and, when they make a profit, they reinvest and create jobs, and it helps the economy overall. That is something we should keep in mind.

If I were planning to start a new business or development, or a new attraction, I certainly would think about starting it now. We have to take advantage as best we can of things that are happening in the Yukon, and there is probably no better time in the tourism industry to take advantage as in the upcoming anniversaries. There will probably be more people visiting the Yukon over the next five to six years than we have ever seen in the history of the Yukon. More than likely, we will see many more people in Dawson City, and coming through the Yukon in 1998, than were here during the gold rush. Again, it will be another gold rush, of sorts, to the Yukon. These people will be here to spend money, to see and do things, and to go back home to where they live and tell their friends and relatives and other people what a wonderful trip and experience it was to be in the Yukon to learn about what Yukoners do and what they see, about First Nations history and culture, and other opportunities. There is an opportunity there, and we should consider that when we are looking at these economic opportunities.

First Nations and non-natives stand to receive enormous benefits if we plan well for the anniversaries. I have had some preliminary discussions with the Council for Yukon Indians about the establishment of a First Nation living cultural centre. Surveys tell us that many of our tourists are craving to see a little bit, or to understand a little more, about our First Nations history, culture and tradition. A living cultural centre, if it were to be built in the Yukon, would allow First Nations to rebuild their traditions and showcase the pride they have in their people to the world.

One of the suggestions I have made to the Council for Yukon Indians is that in the waterfront development that is carried out there should be a strong First Nations component. We all know that First Nations used the rivers long before anyone else. These were the highways for the First Nations people. They were the areas where they gathered food, visited friends and relatives up and down the area and traded furs. Much of the First Nations history and culture and many of the artifacts that tell us a lot about First Nations have been found along the rivers, lakes, creeks and streams that the First Nations people used for travel, many thousands of years ago.

I will share with Members the concept of a First Nations cultural centre on the riverbank that I proposed to CYI. There is an opportunity here for a First Nations cultural centre that will showcase First Nations history and culture, where drum dancing and storytelling could take place. A fish wheel could be developed on the river, as well as drying racks, fish camps and fire pits, where stories could be told to the tourists and others who are coming to the territory. There is great economic opportunity for the First Nations to use this type of facility to teach their young people and other people, and for the elders to tell and retell their stories, so that they do not lose the traditions and values of their past. It would be a real opportunity to charge tourists to enter the facility. There would be great economic benefit and it would create jobs for First Nations people, doing what they like to do the most. I think it would be a real opportunity for First Nations to benefit from that project.

As I said before, we are going to see a lot of tourists arriving in the Yukon in the next three or four years. I think that if one were going to get involved in a project, it would be an opportune time to embark on such a venture, because the people will certainly be here. If you have the product, the people will be very interested in it and it will create great economic opportunities.

This would not be the first place where this would have been done. There is a First Nation cultural activity that takes place in Alaska, just outside of Fairbanks, that has been enormously successful; it is making millions of dollars for the First Nations involved in that proposal. There is one that I know of operating on a private contractor's land as part of his attraction. I know that all Alaskan First Nations are now gathering together to establish a cultural display area that they realize, after seeing what happened on private lands, can produce great economic opportunity, and

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they are going to be taking advantage of that in the very near future.

When I was in Anchorage last year, I spoke to the people involved in it, and I think it would be very useful for the First Nations in Yukon to talk to our Alaskan friends - the Alaskan First Nations that are involved in that - and we could learn from them about what they are doing and the pros and cons - how to make it work. It has worked very well for them, and it is creating a lot of jobs and a lot of opportunities for First Nations people in Alaska.

When I started out today, I said that I had a few problems with the wording of the motion. It suggests that nothing is happening, or has ever happened, with negotiations with the Kwanlin Dun claim. The Government Leader has clearly told us today that negotiations in good faith have been taking place, and progress is being made. In fact, more meetings are scheduled in the future, and both parties are still at the table.

The wording in this motion talks about continuing. It says that we should immediately live up to obligations, and that we should commence negotiating. We already are negotiating.

We commenced negotiations a long time ago.

I would like to propose an amendment to this motion that would bring the motion up to date and current with what is actually going on. This is a friendly amendment, which I feel is more consistent with what has happened than what is happening at this time.

Amendment proposed

Hon. Mr. Phillips:

I move

THAT Motion No. 40 be amended by deleting all the words after the phrase "Government of Yukon should" and substituting for them the following:

"continue to live up to its obligations under the Umbrella Final Agreement and continue negotiating in good faith with the Kwanlin Dun First Nation".


It has been moved by the Hon. Minister of Tourism

THAT Motion No. 40 be amended by deleting all the words after the phrase "Government of Yukon should" and substituting for them the following:

"continue to live up to its obligations under the Umbrella Final Agreement and continue negotiating in good faith with the Kwanlin Dun First Nation".

Hon. Mr. Phillips:

I think this amendment is consistent with what is actually going on at the present time. There are negotiations going on, we are not commencing anything - they are continuing. For that reason, we decided it would be appropriate to make the motion more consistent.

I just want to talk for a few moments about why I see the development of the waterfront being important to the Kwanlin Dun and to the community of Whitehorse. There are several things that we are trying to do in the City of Whitehorse. We know that First Nations are very interested in becoming involved in economic development in this city and in the territory. They see the final signing and settlement of the land claims agreement as an opportunity to become more involved in the economy of the territory and to provide a better life for their people in the future.

If we look at the City of Whitehorse, for example, and we look at the area we are talking about - and the area that seems to be of concern here, which is the waterfront - we have to ask ourselves what kind of things we could do in Whitehorse that would provide for a better and stronger economy in the future. I think that a well-planned waterfront, planned with the help and cooperation of the Kwanlin Dun First Nation, the Ta'an Kwach'an and other First Nations would be an excellent way to provide an opportunity for tourists, Yukoners and others to learn and understand more about First Nations history and culture in the future. An infrastructure that would be down on that waterfront would give us all a great deal of pride in our city, both First Nation and non-native. It would make tourists stay longer and spend more money on not only non-native businesses, but First Nations businesses, which I am sure will spring up because of tourists who come here to visit.

It will establish an economic anchor for the downtown core. If you have been to other cities in Canada, and you go to the waterfront in areas like Victoria, they have done a very good job of developing their waterfront. Our waterfront is very important to the history of the City of Whitehorse and of First Nations, who have travelled up and down the rivers for years.

With good planning and working closely and cooperatively, it is a good opportunity to start initiating the planning with the City of Whitehorse in getting started on some kind of development on the waterfront, at the same time keeping in mind that we have to settle the outstanding claims of the Kwanlin Dun and get to work on settling those claims. I do not think that could preclude talking about planning on the waterfront and working on an overall plan that would benefit everybody.

We all have to realize that this window of opportunity is rather narrow. The Member for McIntrye-Takhini said that, in 2098, we are going to have the 200th anniversary of the gold rush. Well, I do not think many of us here are going to be around for that anniversary. I think that there are many First Nation people looking for economic opportunities now that will last until and beyond the year 2098.

I see the Member for Riverdale South figures that she is going to be around in the year 2098, and I wish her well.

We also have to develop attractions in Whitehorse that will better the quality of life of Yukoners, and I think that First Nations involvement in the waterfront development would do just that.

If First Nations built some type of an infrastructure there, like a living cultural centre on the waterfront, it would not only allow our tourists to learn, listen and understand about Yukon First Nations, but it would allow Yukoners to learn and understand about Yukon First Nations.

I have had an opportunity that many Yukoners have not. I have been to Old Crow with my friend; I have been up and down the river and sat in on all of the stories, participated in some of the ceremonies that they have had in that area, and it is absolutely fascinating - the history, the culture and the traditions that have gone on for thousands of years.

Many Yukoners do not have an opportunity to do that. By developing some type of centre, a living cultural centre, it would be close to people and therefore economically viable and traditionally on the river that First Nations have used for so many thousands of years. I think there would be a real opportunity here for First Nations to showcase their tradition and their lifestyle.

In closing, I just have to touch on a couple of other things. This government has shown a very strong commitment to the land claims and to the land claims process. After all, as I said earlier, within hours of first sitting in this Legislature as a new government, we struck the committee that would go around the territory talking about the umbrella final agreement. In the spring, when we came back, the very first order of business when we walked in here, the very first bill we dealt with, was the final land claims agreement and we passed it through our Legislature. There is no doubt about the commitment of this government. We have been pushing it ever since, and we have been negotiating and making progress on other claims ever since.

We are committed as well to the training, the skills and the knowledge that First Nations are going to need. Just last week, we put $2.4 million into a training trust fund to complement the $1 million that was already there. That is part of our commitment,

Page Number 2424


and we did not have to do that. It was something we did not have to do until the federal government signed the land claims agreement. Yet we chose to put our $3.4 million commitment into that fund ahead of time, to show that we are absolutely committed to the land claims agreement and want to get on with the training that is necessary for First Nations so that they can administer the agreement.

As well, the Government Leader has mentioned today that our government is supporting initiatives to hire two economic development officers for First Nations areas so that they can get on with economic development. The First Nations realize that there are economic opportunities out there and they also realize that the window of opportunity to get started is rather narrow. This is a great opportunity to get started and I would encourage all parties involved to resolve this issue and, at the same time as resolving the land claim issue, to get on with starting the planning, and be involved - have Kwanlin Dun involvement at the land claims table. It is absolutely essential they be there, and I urge all Members to support the motion, as amended.

Ms. Commodore:

I have never in my whole life heard such a bunch of patronizing nonsense. I cannot believe the Minister stood there and made the kinds of remarks. Here is what we want to do with the First Nations people: open up a living cultural centre like they did in Alaska. He should know that the land claims have already been settled in Alaska. We are dealing with property that is on selected land.

He has the nerve to move a motion that they would continue negotiating in good faith. If they were negotiating in good faith, why would we see a headline like this: "Nullify a century of racism, government urged". If they were operating and negotiating in good faith, we would not see those kinds of headlines.

I think the government is living in a dream world - the whole bunch of them on that side of the House. The city pleads innocence. They know nothing about the conflict that is going on right now. They are completely innocent of the whole thing. They did not even realize this conflict was going on. The other headline is "Kwanlin Dun vows to stop waterfront development". How can they stand there and say that they are negotiating in good faith when these things are taking place? I cannot believe my ears. Then they talk about all the great things they have done. The motion here has to do with negotiating with the Kwanlin Dun First Nations.

They go on to talk about all the other good things they have done. Perhaps I will agree that some of the things they have done are okay. However, we are discussing things that are happening to land claims, and then the government stands up and completely ignores the ownership issue. That is what they are doing. They say that we have to proceed with development; we cannot stop progress, because there are a whole bunch of tourists coming to the Yukon. As the Member for McIntyre-Takhini said, what about the people who have been here for centuries? Do they not matter at all? Is the action that is taking place right now - the ignoring of the ownership issue - not important?

Let us get moving, because we are having an anniversary, an anniversary of the gold rush?

It is really interesting to see the Minister of Tourism standing in this House and talking about how important it is to First Nations to develop a living cultural centre. I am not saying that is not a good thing, but the patronizing manner in which he does it almost makes me sick.

I looked at a Yukon tourism advertisement in Maclean's magazine. What they were advertising was can-can dancers, rafting and a whole range of other things that are okay, but there was not one single indication in that advertisement that there were First Nations people in the Yukon. Yet, he stands here and says how important that is. He better look at what he is trying to tell the rest of Canada. He stands here and talks about how great his plan is, and that he went over and told it to the Council for Yukon Indians. However, we are not talking about that.

The motion was introduced in this House a few months ago, when the Government Leader was announcing, along with the federal government, that lands that had been selected by Ta'an Kwach'an would be used for a purpose - and the purpose was good. Despite the fact that those lands had been selected, he was making decisions, and that was not the only thing. The list goes on and on. They were angry, and the Government Leader knows they were. He knows that they disagreed with what he was doing and what he was saying - taking selected lands and announcing to the public that he was going to be using them for something else. It is the same thing that he is doing right now. How can they have the nerve to introduce an amendment to the motion by saying "continue negotiating in good faith with Kwanlin Dun First Nations"? Look at the headline again. It says, "Nullify century of racism - government urged. The Yukon government has a chance to correct a hundred years of racism by negotiating joint ownership of the Whitehorse waterfront, but it is choosing not to, charges the Kwanlin Dun First Nations land claims negotiator." How do they answer to this?

Are they still saying there is nothing wrong; we are all good guys; we love the First Nations people; we are not causing a problem; we are just taking selected land and giving it to the mayor to run?

Mary Jane Jim, who is a well-respected person of the Kwanlin Dun First Nations, says that the Kwanlin Dun occupied the waterfront for hundreds of years prior to the gold rush, but no one asked the First Nations if the land could be sold to White Pass.

She says that, over the last 100 years, the First Nation has been moved six times around Whitehorse without members' consent. First it was from Riverdale to the Whitehorse site, from the hospital site to the Rotary Peace Park, to the White Pass yard area, to the Marwell area. One of the things that has happened is a blatant disregard for First Nations in Whitehorse, especially the elders. That is exactly what this government is doing now. They are disregarding everything that First Nations people stand for in the Whitehorse area. It is well and good to stand here and listen to them going over all of the information that they have, saying they are good guys and have done all of these good things. Well, thank you very much, and I am glad that they did, but we are dealing with a selected area right now. These are lands that First Nations people at Kwanlin Dun have selected, and the government is completely disregarding the ownership issue.

If the government has the nerve to say that they are continuing to bargain or negotiate in good faith, they are living in a dream world. It is an absolute nightmare. I could never agree with this, nor could the people who are included in this motion, the Kwanlin Dun First Nation.

How can they say that? Have they not read the papers? Do they not listen to anyone? Does Dale Drown stand up there and say they do not have a problem. They do have a problem. They have a big problem.

The government thinks that they are getting away with things, but First Nations people listen to the radio, they listen to the debates in the House, and they know the complete disregard that these people have for their wishes, the land selections, and what is happening.

I am not going to vote for this amendment. I think it is a bunch of nonsense.

Mr. Joe:

There is nothing wrong with the original motion,

Page Number 2425


before it was amended by the Member for Riverdale North.

Before I speak to the original motion, I want to remind this House - and they have to agree with me - that we came here at 1:30 in the afternoon and stood for our prayers for the people of the Yukon. Every time we speak, we should speak from our hearts. So today, I want to talk about people doing what they say they are going to do.

It is a problem for me when they do not do so. Someone once told me to always tell the truth because then I would not have to remember what I said. All Members know what truth is.

When one speaks the truth, it comes from inside a person. You know it is the truth and you do not have to think about it any more. When one tells the truth, one does not forget anything. If one does not tell the truth, it only lets other people down. When someone speaks, they must always speak the truth.

From what I have seen going on here by this government, they do not always do that.

The Government Leader says he will not be doing anything on the waterfront without talking to Kwanlin Dun First Nation. Now, we learn that he is going ahead with his plans down by the river. How can this happen? How will people be able to trust him now? He told people that he would not, but now he is going ahead.

It is a question of always doing what one says one is going to do, and not go behind people's back. One must be open and honest. We must speak what we know is the truth, because if we do not, everyone goes around in a circle chasing something that they cannot catch. It is like a dog chasing his tail and he does not know what he is chasing.

We must ask why the Government Leader said one thing and then did another. He said he would not do any of this kind of development without talking with the Kwanlin Dun, but now he is.

It is not the time for this kind of talking, when land claims are just about to become law. It is time to work together; it is a time for the people to trust each other. We should be working together to get all the land claims settled, and this means trusting each other.

I would like to say to the Government Leader that we should always say things that are true. If we do not do that, we will get nowhere.

The government and this House are the leaders of the Yukon. This is very important. We cannot sneak around behind people's backs and try to lead them. There is no way to lead them that way.

It is time for change. We must start dealing with the people by telling them nothing but the truth.

Mr. Cable:

Speaking to the amendment, I had the occasion yesterday to talk to two Kwanlin Dun officials. Their view of what is going on was not very flattering. Certainly, the atmosphere is a sour one, as it is described to me. I think the best face that we can put on what has taken place in the last little while is that there is a substantial communications gap among the parties. That communications gap, in the interests of racial harmony and advancing the land claims, should be closed very rapidly.

As I understand it, the waterfront is one of the final items that needs to be dealt with before the Kwanlin Dun First Nation reaches an agreement. As the Government Leader has indicated, he thinks that they are 90 percent there. It would be a shame if the whole thing foundered on this one particular issue.

It would be useful for both city officials and government officials - and all of us, I suppose - to recognize that Whitehorse First Nations are going to get valuable land in the City of Whitehorse. It would be useful for all of us to stand in front of the mirror and say every morning that the Kwanlin Dun and Ta'an Kwach'an First Nations are going to get valuable land in the City of Whitehorse. I think we should repeat that on many occasions. I do not mean moose pasture up by the dump; I mean valuable property. Imprinting that on our minds is a good place to start. That is what is flowing from the land claims negotiations.

The current climate does not bode well for the success of the Yukon land claim agreement. We have heard the various views of what is taking place, but I have to say that this business of confrontation will not permit the benefits that are bound to be the result of the land claims to flow.

For the land claims to work, I think that it is necessary that we learn to work through this confrontation. It is very sad that all levels of government cannot get together and make them work.

I have to say that the Yukon government, especially the political masters, have to take a leadership role. This cannot be fobbed off on the City of Whitehorse, because the Yukon government represents everyone in the territory. If these arrangements are getting off the rails, it is necessary for the political masters at all levels - the chiefs of the First Nations, the Government Leader and the mayor - to lock themselves up in a room for a day and see if they can thrash it out.

If the negotiators are not getting to first base, if there are mandate problems, or suspicions of mandate problems, then what is wrong with the political leadership getting together to do a little sawing back and forth?

I have to say that the amendment, as put forward, substantially changes the content of the original motion. Assuming it is an order, and there is some question in my mind whether it is or not, I cannot support the amendment. It turns the content of the original motion right around.

The suggestion in the original motion is that we should get these land claim negotiations back on the rails and, in particular, we should get the waterfront development problems back on the rails. I do not think that to suggest that these negotiations are on the rails, through this amendment, reflects the facts.

It would appear to be on the rails. We must be listening to different people if we think they are. The government must clearly recognize and focus on the issue and, if its negotiators do not have a clear negotiating mandate, then give those negotiators the clear negotiating mandate that is necessary to get the negotiations off the ground.

If we cannot stick-handle our way around the Whitehorse waterfront problem, then I have some grave concerns about how these land claims are going to work in the future. If we, as politicians, cannot get together and sort out what has to be, in the final analysis, a fairly minor problem, then we are not going to go anywhere with these land claim agreements. I would hope that the Government Leader would sit down with the chief from the Ta'an Kwach'an and the chief from the Kwanlin Dun, and with the mayor, roll up his sleeves - personally, not through his negotiators - and see if he can do a little bit of trading back and forth, and get this problem off the ground and get it solved.

I would have to say that I will not support the amendment. If it comes to a vote, which appears fairly unlikely, I would have supported the main motion.

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

I rise to support the amendment. We only have to look at the motion - "That it is the opinion of this House that the Government of the Yukon should immediately live up to its obligations under the Umbrella Final Agreement and commence negotiations."

We have been negotiating for a long time.

We commenced negotiations when we took over this office. We passed the land claims legislation through this House. The umbrella final agreement deals with more than just the Kwanlin Dun, and more than just the waterfront. It deals with every First Nation in the Yukon. We have been negotiating in good faith. As

Page Number 2423



I said, in difficult negotiations, things are going to get bogged down.

Some Hon. Member:


Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

We are speaking to the amendment to the motion.

The Member for Riverside says that I do not have a mandate, or the negotiators do not have a mandate?

Some Hon. Member:


Hon. Mr. Ostashek:

I stated in my debate to the main motion that the negotiators have a mandate. In fact, they have already agreed in principle to some selections along the waterfront. There are still some outstanding issues, and they will be hard to resolve, there is no doubt about that. However, the negotiators do have a clear mandate. As I stated before, some of the outstanding issues are in the Chadburn Lake area, in the Schwatka Lake area, and along the waterfront. I also believe that there are some areas along the waterfront that have been agreed to in principle, or they have not been finalized by any means - they certainly have.

So, for us to be able to support the motion, we need the amendment to the motion. We are continuing to make every effort to resolve the problems as they arise. I believe the Member for McIntyre-Takhini made some comments to that effect in his reply to the main motion. He also realizes there is a clear distinction between planning and development. I agree with him. One cannot get too far ahead with the planning, until the land issue is settled, but I do believe that we can embark upon the planning process, without prejudicing the land claims selections along the waterfront.

The Member for McIntyre-Takhini said that the Yukon territorial government would be reimbursed for those lands. That is totally wrong. We will not be reimbursed. We have negotiated $5 million to pay the territorial government for all development costs throughout the Yukon, on any developed lands that are selected - $5 million for the whole package. Those lands alone, on the part that the Members opposite spent money on, were $3.4 million, not counting what the previous government spent on them. Having said that, I am not for one minute trying to indicate that the Kwanlin Dun does not have any rights on the waterfront; they certainly do.


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



I will now call the House to order.

Hon. Mr. Phillips:

I move the Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.


It has been moved by the Hon. Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.

Motion agreed to

Speaker leaves the Chair



I will now call Committee of the Whole to order.

We are dealing with Bill No. 15, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 1994-95. Is there further debate on the Municipal and Community Affairs division?

Bill No. 15 - Second Appropriation Act, 1994-95 - continued

Community and Transportation Services - continued

On Municipal and Community Affairs Division

Ms. Moorcroft:

I would like to begin by welcoming the guests who are in the gallery this evening. It is nice to have the public observing our proceedings. I know there are a number of teachers who are interested in the Education debate that is coming up when we finish Community and Transportation Services.

I want to respond to the Minister's statement with regard to the Stevens subdivision in general debate - as quickly as possible, as the Member for Faro is indicating. I know he is anxious to get into the Education debate as well.

When the Minister responded to the petition on the Stevens subdivision, he indicated that his office had had calls from some of the people named in the petition who did not realize the petition was going to the Legislative Assembly and that he was not exactly sure where the petition belongs. The petition belongs where someone will take responsibility for some decision making. Although people who work in the Minister's office would understandably be embarrassed if a petition against their government comes before them, the fact remains that people of all political parties are opposed to the Stevens subdivision for a number of reasons.

Residents have expressed their opposition to the proposed Stevens subdivision. Until the concerns of residents of the Ibex Valley have been satisfactorily addressed, they would like to have action on the development of the Stevens subdivision delayed.

The Minister indicated that all correspondence had been responded to. The residents tell me that that is not the case.

The Minister also indicated that the area has a very poor potential for wells, but some of the studies that were cited in the area development scheme indicated that there was excellent water at 200 feet, at 15 gallons per minute.

With regard to the incompatibility of the quarry with country residential property, a quarry development plan is being formulated to regulate the development of the granular resource that will identify mitigative measures. This is what the Minister said; however, the department has refused to acknowledge and respond to concerns about the McLean Lake quarry and there seem to be no quarry rules in effect.

We are very concerned that the Minister was unwilling to be specific about plans to reduce the speed limits, limit the hours of operation or ensure that those rules, which may be in effect in a bylaw - although residents have not had any success in obtaining copies of that bylaw from the city administration - will be enforced. A lease is a lease and the rules of operation have not been enforced.

I would also like to draw the Minister's attention to a letter that appeared in tonight's edition of the Whitehorse Star from a resident on the McLean Lake Road, who was talking about the gravel quarry that was developed in that area, and the existing multi-use road that was upgraded.

"Since that time, residents have maintained a steady flow of correspondence with the Department of Community and Transportation Services requesting that the resultant difficulties be dealt with. These difficulties include intolerable dust and noise levels, poor road conditions, no enforced speed limit, other safety issues and a number of concerns about long-term degradation of the quarry area."

To date, no action has been taken to resolve any of these issues and the department is now intent on duplicating this mistake.

The resident writes, "the role of government is to serve the needs and expressed wishes of the people. Election to government is not a mandate to rule, it is a bestowal of public trust in leadership and implies responsibility to the electorate. We have every right to expect ongoing, meaningful public consultation, access to both information and to those making decisions, and, at the very least, to be heard when we speak."

Page Number 2427



Sadly, the opposite has occurred. "Time and again, we are presented with decisions which have been made within government behind closed doors. The public consultation process seems a farce. Little wonder that the public appears, at times, apathetic. This important channel of communication, which should be conscientiously fostered and paid respect, is virtually closed. When the structure has become such that the relationship between government and the people is reversed, where decisions are imposed rather than as an outgrowth of consensus, we feel discounted, our opinions to be insignificant, and we may simply cease to speak. We are not apathetic. We are excluded."

The resident closes with saying that she is deeply disturbed about that.

I think the Minister has to recognize that the concern that has not been addressed in the Stevens subdivision is that the residents are willing to discuss a Stevens subdivision, or a gravel quarry, but not both. The land is attractive for country residential development. It is also rich with high-quality sand and gravel. Any attempt to develop both residential and gravel quarry uses side by side can only lead to increased conflicts for many, many years to come. It is simply bad planning. I would say to the Minister that the Yukon government must be part of the decision to choose one or the other, but not both.

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

I thank the Member opposite for her comments. There is no doubt about the road, at least, into the McLean Lake area, as I think I stated in the House some time ago. I was out there, I believe, a week ago Monday. The dust on that road is terrible. There is one house, at least, very close to the road - I would guess within 100 feet of the road. There is no question about the fact that the dust rolling off that gravel surface is going onto these people's house and other buildings, and I imagine it is going inside the buildings.

I did say at the Ibex Valley meeting last Wednesday that I was going to work with the people and try to alleviate the dust problem. The responsibility for the road, the speed limits and those types of things is with the City of Whitehorse. There is no question about it; it is their jurisdiction.

However, there were some mistakes made in the past. As a matter of fact, as it says in the paper, that quarry was developed in 1984-85. We will try to do what we can to help alleviate that dust problem. I will also deal with the City of Whitehorse to try to get more signage up there. I will also have the department look at the quarry leases to see what the restrictions are, if any, on the leases.

There can be restrictions put on the leases and on the activity that goes on in a quarry. There can be restrictions on the hours of operation. The residents of Ibex Valley should attend the meeting in June and express their concerns about those types of things.

I thank the Member opposite for her comments.

Ms. Moorcroft:

I think the residents will be attending the meeting in June. They have been quite organized and vocal about their concerns. I have been trying to get a commitment from the Minister that he recognizes the incompatibility of the subdivision and the quarry. I am obviously not going to get that, so I will leave it.

I would like to ask about the peripheral issues, as they are called in the minutes of this meeting, between Community and Transportation Services and the City of Whitehorse. They were looking at the use of city services by residents outside the City of Whitehorse and vice versa. My understanding is that the municipal grants factored in the use of city facilities by non-resident users in their grants to municipalities.

This question is regarding the provision of fire protection. The minutes of the meeting state that an arbitrary 25 or 40 kilometres from each of the fire halls was determined as the first cut for mutual aid agreement. I think when they talk about mutual aid agreement, they are looking at the city providing service outside of city limits. I would like to ask if the Golden Horn volunteer firefighters have been involved in the discussions about the proposal to have mutual aid extended from the City of Whitehorse to outside city limits. As well, have they had the Ibex Valley volunteer fire department involved in those discussions? Are the government and the city planning to provide paid fire protection beyond the City of Whitehorse limits and then raise taxes for the rural residents?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

I believe the Member is referring to some minutes or some notes that were taken from a meeting between the city and departmental officials. I am not familiar with those minutes, because I do not have a copy here, but I believe it was more of a fact-finding meeting.

They were discussing many issues, if my memory serves me correctly, and were trying to get information. For example, if the city were to provide some fire protection for residents outside the city, what would be the distances within which they could actually provide fire protection, what would be too far distant, and so on. I do not believe that Golden Horn has been brought into those discussions at this point and, as the Member opposite knows, the Ibex Valley fire department has just very recently formed. In fact, my understanding is that they have not even had their practice sessions yet.

Ms. Moorcroft:

When we were discussing this in general debate earlier, the Minister gave the commitment that he would provide me with the minutes of the other meetings. I have the minutes of the March 15 meeting, which is only one of several. I would also like to ask for his commitment. If they are going to be changing the formulas and looking at extending services beyond city limits, or changing the funding formulas, will they involve the Golden Horn fire department and, depending on what area it is in, other volunteer fire departments that may be concerned?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

I have no problem making that commitment.

Mr. Cable:

I have a grab bag of questions here that do not really fit under any particular line item. I would like to start with the Carcross area planning committee.

Is that committee off the ground now? There were some news reports over the last few weeks stating that there was some difficulty in getting all of the members appointed.

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

I think that the news reports on the committee were something to the effect that the First Nations had not come with their members for the committee, but I understand that has since been resolved and there will be an election. I do not believe that a date has been set yet, but there is a new nomination date and there will be an election some time for the planning committee.

Mr. Cable:

I notice in one of the news reports that Chief James had raised a jurisdictional issue about the committee in the planning area. Was that issue resolved to the First Nation's satisfaction?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

I believe that there have been some jurisdictional questions raised by the First Nations, but the Carcross area planning committee does not have any authority other than to advise on issues in the community.

I believe that they were initially given five issues to look at and to provide advice to me about. Three of those issues have been dealt with and they will be continuing with the remaining two issues after a new election takes place.

Mr. Cable:

I had asked the Minister some questions a few months ago on the five issues that are spelled out in the memorandum of support. The five issues are the community sewage waste treatment, the community solid waste management, the country-residential lot development, the First Nation cultural centre and

Page Number 2428



the secondary access road. Which issues have been concluded, if in fact they have been concluded?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

The terminology might be a bit inaccurate. The issues have not been disposed of, but the ones for which they have provided advice are on the Watson River subdivision, the solid waste disposal and the sewage lagoon. The department is still working with the band and the community on finalizing when and where those things are actually going to happen.

Mr. Cable:

In response to some questions I asked the Minister on this memorandum of support, he indicated that phase 2 is actually the implementation phase. From what the Minister just said, I gather we are not into phase 2 yet, but are simply gathering our thoughts under phase 1. Is that correct?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

No, that is not quite accurate. We are into phase 2, the actual implementation. It has been agreed that these things shall happen, but implementing them is still going to take some time. We are into phase 2, according to the way it is laid out in the memorandum.

Mr. Cable:

Has the planning committee encountered any problems, or would it be fair to say that everything is going smoothly at the moment?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

There was some concern they were not going to be able to get new First Nation members on the committee, but I think that has been resolved.

I should explain: the committee was elected for a two-year term. That two-year term expired either March 1 or March 31. There is another election to get another six members. There were some problems on nomination day for the First Nations. They had no names, but my understanding is they now have some, so they have set a new nomination day and there will be an election.

Mr. Cable:

Regarding the Village of Carmacks, there were a number of news reports about the Minister's efforts to provide for a bypass road, or a road through the community to service the mining development - that is Carmacks Copper and Casino. There is considerable concern that enlarging the road through the community would result in problems for the community. I think the mayor was quoted as saying, "The village is prepared to look at what the government can offer, but so far there have not been any details." This was on March 3. I think the mayor went on to say that he thought, in the long run, after sidewalks and other matters were considered, that the road through the community would be the more expensive. Is that view shared by the Minister?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

No, it is not shared at all. The road through the community would be substantially cheaper than doing a bypass. What we are going to do is a full cost analysis of the bypass and of upgrading River Road, which is the name of the road in Carmacks that could be used. This analysis would include the sidewalks and replacing the bridge, and so on. We have agreed to get back to the Village of Carmacks by August, I believe, with a full cost analysis of the bypass and/or upgrading River Road.

Mr. Cable:

Is the Minister saying that the decision would be made by August, or will that be when options are presented for a decision to be made at some juncture later in time?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

I believe the decision will follow fairly soon after the presentation.

Mr. Cable:

On another matter, the Government Leader issued a statement not too long ago on the federal infrastructure plan. There have been some reflections from the communities. I think the president of the Association of Yukon Communities, if I remember correctly, expressed some displeasure over the lack of input from the communities. Is the government intending to seek input from the communities on which projects should have priority?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

Yes, we certainly are. What we were told by the federal government was that there were to be two officials from the federal government and two officials from YTG. We were able to convince the federal government that we needed somebody representing the municipalities. They did eventually agree to allow us to have a member from the AYC sit on that committee, but as an ex officio member. In fact, they were involved in the drafting of the agreement.

We will be requesting - in fact, I believe the request may have already gone out - proposed projects from the municipalities.

Mr. Cable:

The municipalities' share will be roughly $2 million. Has the territorial government obtained commitments from various communities that they are, in fact, prepared to spend their share of that $2 million, or is it all in the initial discussion stage?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

It is still more or less in the discussion stage. However, there have been at least three municipalities that I am aware of - there may even be more - that have indicated that they will certainly be willing to supply their share.

Mr. Cable:

What is the status on the Whitehorse sewage system? Are we past the planning stage and into the contract-letting stage?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

The media has reported that they do have their water licence and their land. The next thing will be tendering for the grubbing and clearing of the land. The design of the overall system will be ongoing while this tender is being let.

Mr. Cable:

The territorial government, of course, is the main moneybags in this project. Is the Minister confident that the project will come in within the limits that originally were discussed with the City of Whitehorse?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

The city is quite confident that it will come in within the limits. Our own engineering people have gone over it with the city engineers and the consultants hired by the city. We are quite confident that the city can do it within the cost parameters that they have laid out.

Mr. Cable:

The Minister will recollect that there was a large number of questions on the strategic plan document, relating to the municipal and community affairs division. Where does this strategic plan exercise sit? Has it been completed?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

Yes. I think I remember several days of debate over the Community and Transportation Services strategic plan.

As I stated last year in the House, parts of the plan make a certain amount of sense and are being implemented. Other parts may never be implemented. However, the parts that make sense and are achievable are being implemented.

Mr. Cable:

Is it the Minister's intention to produce a document in final form called a strategic plan that would outline all the things the Minister intends to implement?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

I do not think we will produce a document that says, "this is the strategic plan for Community and Transportation Services". The document the Member has is constantly being looked at and upgraded; some things are being done and some are being totally rejected. It is sort of a technical document. It is a document of things that can and may be done, but to actually adopt a plan and say this is exactly what we are going to do, I do not know if we will ever do that.

Mr. Cable:

My understanding of why strategic plans are adopted is to give some direction to organizations. What was the original idea behind working out a strategic plan? Were there some problems within the division that the Minister wanted to solve?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

Actually, it was not done in my time as Minister that the strategic plan was started. I think it came from within the department. The department itself recognized some overlaps and places where things could be done better. All the various branches of the Community Services area got together and looked at things they could do better and how they could do them

Page Number 2429



better. A lot of the initiatives in that publication are nothing more than that. They are just ideas that they came up with - asking what would happen if they did such and such. The idea of a strategic plan is that it is a kind of living document that one periodically goes back through, deciding what is achievable or what is unachievable, what would save money or what would not, and so on.

As I said before, it started probably four or five years ago - or three or four years ago, at least.

Mr. Cable:

I would like to talk about another matter.

The Minister, at the Association of Yukon Communities annual general meeting a few weeks ago, indicated that he did not share the views of one of his colleagues about the right of municipalities to distribute electricity.

Could the Minister elaborate as to what government policy is at the moment and whether, in his view, the municipalities will eventually be authorized to distribute electricity?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

I do not know that I actually said that I disagreed with my colleague on the distribution of electricity.

There are certain things within municipalities that I think municipalities can do. With regard to the distribution of electricity, I do have a problem with that, and maybe there is some misunderstanding.

For instance, in Yukon right now, as I am sure the Member opposite is aware, there is an equalization.

If it were not for that equalization, places like Old Crow, Dawson City and Watson Lake would experience very high costs for residential power. The cost would be very, very high.

There are other things that I think municipalities may very well want and could get into. They could franchise some things, but I am not sure that I would go so far as to say they should be able to get into distributing electricity.

Mr. Cable:

The equalization can be dealt with out of the general tax revenues; it does not have to come from the rate base.

Is the Minister opposed to discussing the matter or putting that option on the table, as part of the comprehensive energy policy development that I am assured this government is working on?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

I want to really look at all of the ramifications of having municipalities produce and distribute electricity. As the Member pointed out, it could come from the general revenues.

I think the idea right now is that any subsidies will come from the producer of electricity, the Yukon Energy Corporation, not out of the general revenues of the Yukon government. I do not think that I can answer that question at this point in time; I would certainly want to look at several different sides of the question before I make a definitive statement.

Mr. Cable:

I will consider that the Minister is definitely considering it. I will pass that on to the AYC.

The Minister was asked questions, at some juncture in the past, on land development by municipalities and private land developers, either on a municipality-by-municipality basis, or on a case-by-case basis. Has there been a policy struck to govern the Minister's department in the area of private land development, either by municipalities or by private land developers?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

The City of Whitehorse has something like a land development policy - I am not sure what the name of it is. We do not have a policy for devolving land development to the municipalities, other than that we have said to the municipalities that, if they are interested in taking over land development, we will consider it. The Member opposite is aware that the City of Whitehorse has taken on Pineridge country residential subdivision or Pineridge II, and they are both being developed by the city through private contractors.

A few years ago, a similar offer was made to Watson Lake to handle the land development on the Frances Avenue extension themselves. Watson Lake was going to do it, but then decided they did not want to, or could not. That offer is still out there. If a municipality wants to take it on, yes, we would certainly be interested.


Is there further general debate?

On Activities

On Assistant Deputy Minister's Office

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

Compared with previous years, there is a decrease of $12,000 from 1993-94, due to funding requested at 1993-94 supplementary No. 1 for third floor renovations which was a one-time requirement not included in the 1994-95 budget. The 1994-95 budget consists of $164,000 for personnel, which includes salary, wages, and benefits for assistant deputy minister and ADM's secretary; $8,000 for Other, consisting of $4,000 for travel - $2,000 in Yukon and $2,000 outside Yukon - related to the annual conference of Ministers responsible for local government, $3,000 for supplies, and $1,000 for Other.

Assistant Deputy Minister's Office in the amount of $172,000 agreed to

On Lands and Property Assessments

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

There is an increase of $57,000 from 1993-94, due mainly to an increase of $53,000 for the home owner grants, and $4,000 in Other. The budget consists of $1,101,000 for personnel, which includes salary, wages, and benefits for nine staff members in lands, and nine staff in property assessment and taxation; $97,000 for Other, consisting of $20,000 for travel, $18,000 in Yukon and $2,000 outside Yukon; $12,000 for contract services; $21,000 for supplies; $11,000 for advertising; $15,000 for communications; and $18,000 in smaller amounts. Transfer payments amount to $1,825,000, and that is for the home owner grants.

Lands and Property Assessments in the amount of $3,023,000 agreed to

On Public Safety

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

That is a decrease of $6,000 from the previous year. This decrease is a net of various increases and decreases throughout the branch budget. The 1994-95 budget consists of $1,113,000 for personnel, for salary, wages and benefits for three administration staff including the director, 2.42 electrical safety staff, four mechanical safety staff, 4.42 building-plumbing staff, and three fire protection staff. We are missing 0.16 of somebody if my adding is right. Other amounts to $275,000, which includes $60,000 for travel, $51,000 in Yukon, and $9,000 outside Yukon; $36,000 for fire volunteer honoraria; $33,000 for contract services; $18,000 for repairs and maintenance; $66,000 for utilities; $30,000 for communications, and $32,000 in smaller amounts.

Public Safety in the amount of $1,388,000 agreed to

On Sport and Recreation

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

There is a decrease of $227,000 from the previous year due to the contribution payments for the North American Indigenous Games, $35,000, and Arctic Winter Games administration and travel, $213,000. This will not be required in 1994-95. These decreases are partially offset by an increase in contribution payments to the Canada Summer Games of $15,000 and a net of $6,000 in other smaller increases.

The 1994-95 O&M budget consists of $321,000 for personnel - salaries, wages and benefits for two administration staff, two community recreation staff and one sport and fitness staff; $90,000 for Other; $40,000 for travel - $14,000 for employee and $15,000 for Other in Yukon, and $5,000 employee and $6,000 Other outside Yukon; $16,000 for contract services; $12,000 for communications; $9,000 for program materials and $13,000 in smaller amounts. There is $1,033,000 for transfer payments for contributions

Page Number 2430



to various recreation and sports; Yukon recreation groups, $80,000; contributions to local authorities, $200,000; Yukon sports governing bodies, $433,000; Sports Yukon core funding, $125,000; elite athletes, $50,000; and $15,000 in smaller contributions.

Ms. Moorcroft:

I note that the funding and the contributions have been reduced to community recreation and to sports and fitness. Can the Minister tell me if the Yukon Recreation Advisory Commission and the Yukon Lottery Commission support these cuts? That is on page 68 of the budget. The amounts to community recreation and to sports and fitness have been reduced.

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

We are just trying to find the actual page. There is less money from lotteries this year, because there have been fewer lotto tickets sold. The decrease of $175,000 from 1993-94 is as a result of an estimated reduction of $37,000 in the amount available from the Yukon Lottery Commission. In addition, $138,000 from the federal government for Arctic Winter Games travel in 1993-94 is not in the 1994-95 budget.

Ms. Moorcroft:

Can the Minister tell me if they have discussed these cuts with YRAC, and if YRAC supports them?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

The $37,000 is from the Lottery Commission to YRAC. They are essentially telling us that there will be that much less.

Sport and Recreation in the amount of $1,414,000 agreed to

On Community Services

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

There is a decrease of $8,000 from 1993-95 as a result of decreases of $49,000: personnel, $25,000; Other, $24,000. This is offset by an increase of $41,000 in grants-in-lieu of property taxes. The O&M budget consists of $569,000 for personnel. It includes salary, wages and benefits for the director, 4.8 community planning staff - of which .6 is charged to capital - and three community advisors. There is $74,000 for Other, consisting of $22,000 for employee travel and $5,000 for other travel in the Yukon. There is $24,000 for communications, $7,000 for contract services and $16,000 in smaller amounts.

There is $14,564,000 for transfer payments, $11,470 for comprehensive municipal grants, $3,019,000 for grants-in-lieu of property taxes, $25,000 for hamlet operation and maintenance and $50,000 for the Association of Yukon Communities.

Ms. Moorcroft:

Regarding the $11,470,167 for comprehensive municipal grant, how much of that is to the City of Whitehorse? It is on page 64.

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

For the City of Whitehorse, it is $4,967,219.

Ms. Moorcroft:

Could the Minister provide me with the list he has there of the breakdown to other municipalities?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

I could just read it into the record, and then everyone can have it.

Carmacks is $613,787; Dawson City is $1,280,972; Faro is $1,195,930; Haines Junction is $661,041; Mayo is $727,310; Teslin is $726,189; Watson Lake is $1,297,719; and I have already given Members Whitehorse.

Community Services in the amount of $15,207,000 agreed to

On Engineering and Development

Engineering and Development in the amount of $680,000 agreed to

On Departmental Land Claims

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

There is an increase of $16,000 from 1993-94, mainly due to a director's position being vacant for a portion of the 1993-94 year and increase in travel in the Yukon. The budget consists of $147,000 for personnel and includes salary, wages and benefits for a director and senior land advisor; $10,000 for Other - $8,000 for travel in Yukon, $1,000 for communications, and $1,000 in smaller amounts.

Ms. Commodore:

The Minister has just indicated that the director's position in the departmental land claims has been vacant for quite some time. Can I ask him why, and does he intend to fill it? Perhaps that is not what he said, but it is what I thought he said.

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

It was vacant for a portion of the 1993-94 year. It is filled now.

Ms. Commodore:

Who is that person?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

I do not know whether we should be stating employees' names.

Mr. Penikett:

It is perfectly customary in this House to ask the name of the incumbent filling a position, when a position that has been vacant for some time has been filled. There is nothing unusual with that.

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

The person's name is Perry Savoie. I was not sure of protocol. I have no problem with providing the person's name. I was not certain if it was right to provide the name or not.

Mr. Penikett:

In view of the current state of land claims negotiations, and in view of the fact that the government has been cutting money, when the position was vacant, did the Minister look to see if there was a continuing need for this position in the Department of Community and Transportation Services?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

As Minister, I did not look at it, but my deputy minister advises that did look at this position very carefully. With the implementation of land claims, it is a very important position in the Department of Community and Transportation Services for the transitional period.

We felt that this was a position that we could not do without.

Departmental Land Claims in the amount of $157,000 agreed to

Municipal and Community Affairs Division in the amount of $22,041,000 agreed to

Department of Community and Transportation Services agreed to


Is it the wish of the Members to take a brief recess?

Some Hon. Members:



We will take a brief recess.



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

I have been advised that we will move on to the Department of Education.

Department of Education

Hon. Mr. Phillips:

In the general budget address, I addressed many of the highlights of the Department of Education's O&M budget for 1994-95. Before we move into the line-by-line discussion I would like to elaborate on a few matters.

As I mentioned, we have been able to maintain current levels of service in every area without exception, and in some important areas there are increases in funding. One of these areas is special education, and the budget for the special programs division has increased by 14 percent, or $156,000 over the forecast for 1993-94. Part of this is to enhance professional development for school-based staff working with special-needs students. Twenty thousand dollars of the increase is in the area of program materials, particularly for gifted students and school councillors. Another increase is for travel, particularly emergency situations. All of these will significantly increase our service to students with special needs across the territory.

Another area of significant increase is the core grant to the Council for Yukon Indians for the operation of the native language centre at Yukon College. This increase is from $406,000 to $550,000 - an 11-percent jump - and it will allow the centre to expand the training and other services it provides to the territory's network of native language instructors who currently teach in all

Page Number 2431



Yukon communities except Faro.

The current levels of staffing in schools and in the department as a whole will remain as they are. Funding for Yukon College will be maintained, including $300,000 for the Bachelor of Social Work program, and the current levels of usage of student financial assistance will be accommodated.

Core funding for the First Nations Education Commission and the Yukon native teachers education program will also be maintained. Funding for the purchase of public library books and periodicals is being increased this year.

The maintenance of service and these increases have unfortunately been buried in the rhetoric of the apparent five-percent drop in the department's budget from the 1993-94 forecasts to the 1994-95 estimates. I would like to take a few minutes to make the reasons for this decrease absolutely clear.

The total drop is some $3.48 million from a total budget of over $75.6 million. The vast majority of this figure is accounted for by the transfer, on March 18, of $2.4 million into a land claims training trust fund. This is to meet our obligations under the umbrella final agreement. We had no such obligation in this current fiscal year.

If we eliminate the trust fund dollars, the drop is only one percent. Of this, $844,000 is in personnel savings, partly from the proposed wage restraints, partly from attrition and partly from other benefit areas. The remaining $236,000 arises from the elimination of the $85,000 spent hosting last year's successful national conference of second-language teachers at Yukon College, as well as internal savings in such areas as contracts and travel.

Individually, these amounts are small, but in a department as large as the Department of Education, they add up over the year. The point is that the five-percent drop in the department's budget does not, as some of the Members opposite have attempted to portray, represent a cut to educational services.

Services have been maintained, staffing has been maintained and programs in key areas have, in fact, been increased. This has occurred, despite the fact that we are projecting an enrollment in September 1994 of 5,884, a reduction of almost 150 students from the projections last fall.

To examine one particular branch - one that deservedly receives special attention - the public schools branch budget has decreased by $1,045,000. This reduction will not affect the high level of educational services provided in Yukon public schools. In fact, with our move to increase local budgetary control over school-initiated renovations, communications, program materials, field trips and school-based capital equipment, school councils and school administrators in each community will have an even greater capacity to respond to local needs.

Briefly, $477,000 of the reduction will result from the rationalization of the department's planning units into one branch, and the elimination of a vacant director's position in the area of public schools. The rest is in personnel savings, mostly related to the proposed wage restraints, as well as savings in such areas as contracts, travel, and one-time expenditures as noted earlier. I believe the Department of Education's budget this year is a positive and responsible one. It combines an increase in program dollars, with a decrease in administrative dollars. Unless the Members opposite have been hearing different voices than we have, I think that is what we have been asked to do. I would now welcome questions from the Members opposite.

Mr. Harding:

I would like to thank the Minister for his opening comments. He has already put together the type of introduction speech that I thought he would. He seems quite defensive about what we might say regarding this budget. He has obviously noted our initial comments about the Education budget. We are going to have a long debate in this area of Education, because it is a very major priority for the Official Opposition - the education system in the territory. We are going to talk about the numbers, the budget, the finances, and some of the criticisms that we have. We will also comment about positive things that we may see. The Minister did mention a couple of those positive things in his opening comments; for instance, increased funding for the native language centres, and, on the surface, it looks like special needs children will receive some increases in funding, so we can address those needs. We are going to be analyzing, in future debates, what the numbers really mean.

I want to say something to the Minister about education. I do not believe education is simply a question of dollars. I think that it is very important that the educators, and the parents of the students, and the students feel that the government places a high priority on education, and that they have a lot of respect for its contribution and for its investment in the future of the territory. I also believe that it is important to have a building of partnerships. Many times that does not cost a lot of money, but it is so influential. If you talk to educators around the territory, they will say that the most influential thing is the building of partnerships. It is a feeling of positive momentum in education that builds some trust in the system in parents, in First Nations, in teachers, and in everyone involved - all of the stakeholders. I think that is very important, and I will be speaking a lot about that in general debate before we get into the line items. I will be asking the Minister about that.

I want to begin with some general surveying of the Minister, because I do hear some positive things about the education system as it stands right now, but I also hear a lot of worries being expressed by Yukoners about what is going on in the department and how the Minister is acting in almost his second year as Minister.

He has had quite a bit of time to get his feet wet in the department, to assess what his priorities are and how he wants to see the department grow.

In those two years, we have seen a lot of mixed signals from the Minister with regard to education. We are not really sure where he wants to go with education, as we head into the year 2000.

I would like to begin by asking the Minister for a statement of his vision and feelings of where he wants to go with this department. We would like to get some clear sense of what the Minister sees for the future of education in this territory. Where does he want to take it?

Hon. Mr. Phillips:

There are several areas that have to be a priority for the Department of Education. Over the last few years, the department has really concentrated on the development of the Education Act - getting that in place and seeing how it works. There is now a move, all across this country, to look at the quality of education, to see whether our education system is meeting the needs of the work world out there, and whether or not the students who are going through our system are achieving a high-quality education. That is one area I believe should be a priority of this government.

We are addressing that through the education review. I am very pleased to see that almost every single one of the teachers who was sent a review questionnaire filled it out. I understand over 400 were filled out. We had an over 40-percent response from parents in the school system, and all kinds of students filled out questionnaires. From speaking to the chair and members of the Education Review Committee, there is a wealth of information there that will help us improve our quality of education in the future.

I might add that the education review has shown us that we are doing a lot of things right. We are not doing everything wrong. The purpose of the review is to tell us in which direction we should go in the future, and I am looking forward to the recommendations

Page Number 2432



of the review. That will go a long way toward improving the quality of our education.

One of the other priorities I have, as a Minister, is to attend a meeting next week of western Ministers of Education. One of the topics for discussion will be a common curriculum. That is something we can look at, to take the best from each and every jurisdiction and combine it into some sort of common curriculum. We will be looking at those kinds of initiatives.

I think an area that our government would like to look at is the transition between schooling and work. We would like to build a stronger link through partnerships between business and the education system.

Another priority of the government is the efforts that we are going to have to put into training First Nations people to accept the responsibility of administering their funds and the responsibilities that will come with the signing of the land claims agreement. I think that that will be a priority.

Another area that I think is important is the literacy program that was started by the previous Minister. It is a very good program and it is a very strongly supported program in the communities. We are going to be continuing the literacy programs in various communities in the future.

I have met with the college and discussed several issues with them. They asked me what the goals of our government were. I think that the college could do a good job with the two first years of post-secondary education for our students. They do it now, but I think we could do it better. We could have an excellent program there, so students could go on to other universities in the south if they wished to pursue their degrees. At least, it would be a less expensive way for students to attend university and enjoy the academic programs of the Yukon College.

The other area I think Yukon College should have as a priority is the major industries of the territory: tourism and mining. I think the college should be looking into focusing more on the needs and future of these industries in the territory, so that when we train our young students in the territory, they do not have to leave to find jobs. They can be trained for jobs in the territory and actually find work here and live here and raise their families here.

The other area I think is extremely important for the whole Department of Education is the area of accountability. That is an area that I think has to be a priority. We overspent our budgets the last four years in a row and this will be the first year we have come in on budget. I would like to commend the officials and everyone responsible in the Department of Education for working so diligently to make sure we did not come in over budget in the Department of Education. I think they have done an outstanding job, considering the problems we had before. I feel we are now on the right track and we have systems in place to prevent us running into that problem again.

Mr. Harding:

The Minister has identified a list of his priorities, which I have taken down. The Minister stated that he would like to look at the quality of education, which to me is one of the Minister's themes that is somewhat confusing, because I have not clearly gotten a sense of what that means.

The Minister again referred to the Education Review Committee and the responses that they have received. I understand that committee took a while to get off the ground after it was first announced, and now they have received a considerable amount of data to analyze. Still, I really do not have a clear sense, given what I have heard from the Minister in the past, of what he means by looking at the quality of education. I guess I will have more questions about that later.

The Minister will be attending a meeting next week to discuss common curriculum, looking at the transition between school and work to increase the partnerships with business. A notable exception there is that there is no emphasis on increasing partnerships with any other groups or organizations. While I think the relationship with business is important, it is also important to recognize that there are other people, groups and interests that are important for children and students to be exposed to when they are dealing with curriculum. Of course, the First Nation language initiatives are important, but I have not heard about any new movement in that direction.

The Minister stated that we overspent our budgets during the last four years. The supplementary will tell us whether the Minister had any overspending this year or whether he lapsed funds. That remains to be seen, and we will have that discussion later.

Does the Minister believe that priorities are being well communicated through the department and that everyone in the department has a pretty clear sense of where the Minister is going with education, and the priorities that he has identified?

Hon. Mr. Phillips:

Yes, I think that the department's priorities are being communicated. They can always be communicated in a better way, but certainly we are communicating to employees within the department, and I think that it is being received very well.

There are many interesting and innovative things going on in the world of education, and the Yukon has an opportunity to lead the way in some of these areas. We are hoping that some of the direction that we have given the department will be well-received and our education system will be improved.

The Member mentioned that I spoke about cooperating with business and not cooperating with others; well, if I inadvertently misled the Member, I did not mean to do so.

I was talking about the fact that we have not done much with business in the past, and there is a feeling among many in the education world that we should be working more with the business community, and that is all that we are trying to do.

We are not going to stop cooperating with other groups and organizations. We are going to increase our cooperation with business and find out exactly what business wants from the education system, so that we can provide a quality education to students, so they can go on to meaningful jobs and become productive in the business world.

I do not think that is wrong. Maybe it is something that we could do a little better and we are going to try and do that.

Mr. Harding:

I was of the impression that, in the past, the education system very actively promoted business representation. As a matter of fact, certain seats were guaranteed to organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce on different steering committees and boards that were constituted under the Education Act. I agree with the Minister that there is certainly room for business input. It is very important to the education system but, just by way of a point I wanted to make, he cannot overlook some of the other contributions.

I talked to educators all over this territory - administrators, teachers, students, First Nations, parents - and many people I talked to were very concerned about a downward spiralling morale in the Education department. There is a very large momentum downward and, when it is on the lips of as many people as I have talked to in the territory about it, one cannot help but realize that we have a big problem.

Is the Minister aware of this? Does he agree that there is a problem with morale in education, especially in the last little while? Is he concerned about the morale of the Yukon's educators?

Hon. Mr. Phillips:

If there is a morale problem, of course I would be concerned about it but, if there is a morale problem, then perhaps it has developed as a result of having to make some pretty tough decisions. The Member should know, and I think he does

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know, that we have had to make some tough decisions in the last year and one-half in downsizing the Department of Education.

We have left the public schools staff alone, and we have dealt mostly with the administrative staff in the building across the road. A lot of people - educators - were telling us in many ways that that was an area where we could afford to downsize and it would not affect the system and that, if we had to downsize at all, they did not want us to reduce the number of teachers or reduce the number of staff in the schools. They wanted us to do it at the administrative level, and I have not had a lot of complaints about the downsizing at the administrative level.

It is a tough decision to make. We could not have downsized at all over there and come in with a $2 million overexpenditure, as was done in previous years, but I do not think that is what people want us to do any longer. We have to try and live within our means, and that is what we are trying to do, and we are trying to do it in a way that would least affect the public school system and, for the most part, I think we have achieved that.

Mr. Harding:

I think the Minister should take a look in the gallery every night when we sit in this Legislature if he does not think there is a morale problem. He should get out of his office and talk to some educators, if he has not heard complaints. I hear them all the time, in all kinds of communities throughout this territory.

I knew it would not be long before the Minister went into his tough-decisions routine. What he has really made are bad decisions. What they have really done is switch the priority of government away from education to other areas. We have had those debates. There was the one about the Grey Mountain and J.V. Clark schools as opposed to another $4.5 million on the Alaska Highway construction last year. I guess we will have them again this year in this Legislature.

The fact remains that the government is spending the biggest budget in history. They have increasing revenues. They have admitted that they have no debt. The federal government has said that they will accept a zero increase in transfers. These tough decisions he talks about are really not tough; they are unnecessary and purely ideological. It has created a very serious problem in the education system.

We should put the politics aside and talk about the reality of the situation. I think it is severe, and that the Minister should not only be cognizant of it, but also accept it. I do not believe that the Minister should be continuing to make political arguments when we are talking about the serious issue of his attempts to downsize the department and costs, when he knows very well that he is spending the most money ever in the Yukon Territory. He has a very large budget.

I would like to ask the Minister a question. There have been a number of staff leaving. I see the notes all the time about curriculum developers, principals, superintendents, ADMs and, of course, teachers. They are leaving their jobs and the territory. Does the Minister not concede that that should be an indicator, along with full galleries every Monday and Wednesday night, that there is a problem and that there are concerns out there about how the government is handling the education system?

Hon. Mr. Phillips:

If the Member wants to know, every year there are teachers, administrators and people in the Department of Education who come and go. It happens every year.

I do not think we have anything at all to apologize for. We still have the best student-teacher ratio in the country. We still have the best facilities and the best equipment here in the Yukon. We still have the highest wages in Canada for our teachers. We have the highest per capita expenditures on students in Canada. I do not know what the Member wants. We spend more than any other jurisdiction per capita in Canada on students. I think we do well. Education is a priority. It was a priority with the previous government and it has not decreased with this government.

In this budget - and perhaps I should read my introductory speech again, as the Member was obviously not listening - I talked about where the reductions are. They are not in the public school system. They are in the administration side and in the land claims trust fund that is now gone. The Member keeps trying to hold up a bogeyman to paint this picture that education is the poor sister in the territory. In fact, it is one of the few departments that saw any kind of a decrease at all in the last budget. As I said, we are spending the most per capita in the country. I do not think we should apologize for that in this House. I think it is significant and that we should be telling the rest of the country about it.

Mr. Harding:

Thank God the previous administration did some work in education and made those investments in public schools because, in this Minister's first two budgets, he has not built one school or done one thing for education on the capital side. They have been tiny capital budgets, with no investment in education, because the Government Leader calls education debt-creation, not wealth-creation.

There is a serious priority problem with this government. Rather than build schools, they want to put an extra $4.5 million into the Alaska Highway, when we are already spending $34 million. Spend $30 million and take the $4.5 million to start construction on two badly needed schools.

He talks about the highest wages in the country but, in 18 months, look what they are doing to that. The people here are paid because they do a good job. They are professionals. They work hard. They care about the students. They are committed. That is why they get paid that amount. The Minister is knocking it down and doing it by dissolving the process of free collective bargaining for no financial or moral justification, and they are not buying it. Very few people are buying it. There are some people in the public who are naturally opposed to anybody who makes more than they do, but I do not think that is the right way. That is the political way. There was absolutely no need to do what this government did to the teachers and the other government employees. I am shocked the Minister of Education would support it and actively defend it.

When they signed, they negotiated concessions in the last round of collective bargaining and were congratulated by the Government Leader. I know a lot of the teachers swallowed a lot more than they wanted to, then they had it shoved back down their throats by the Minister of Education. Then, the Minister responsible for the public service sends out a very insulting letter, saying he wanted to avoid the bitterness of the last dispute, and then he negotiated an agreement like that.

I do not think that was easy for them, and I do not think there is any justification for what has been done by this government.

In a very scary fashion, the Minister totally dismissed the fact that staff members were leaving. He said that staff leave every year; it is no big deal. That is a very disappointing and disconcerting answer. As a Minister, he should be very concerned about the trends in the department, and that is what I am speaking about. I am speaking of a momentum of negativism, a lack of vision and direction, largely due to the fact the Minister is not providing any.

We had a kickoff for the education review at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon, where the Minister said we have to get back to the basics, away from multiculturalism, physical education, lifeskills and special education. When people ask what he is doing, after just throwing this on people, he gets defensive because we have concerns about where he is going and what he bases these views on. What is his view of the basics?

Nobody is scared of the basics. Every educator I talk to recognizes their importance to this territory. It is critical. The basics are being taught. Now that the education review is underway, there is

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a lot of information coming in, but the Minister should not just say that is a mandate to do whatever he wants.

I gather that a lot of people who talked to the Education Review Committee who were not sure what they meant when they said things like "the basics". They felt inside that that is what they wanted, but they could not actually put it into words. So it will be interesting to see how this comes out. As far as I am concerned, it should not be seen at this point as a mandate for the Minister to do whatever he wants with the Education department.

I have said that there is a morale problem. Does the Minister really believe that there is no morale problem? If he does concede that there is one, what is he going to do to try to improve things?

Hon. Mr. Phillips:

I am not sure whether there is a morale problem or not. The person who is crying wolf is the Member for Faro who likes to cry wolf all the time about issues and dredge up things from the past. He still has a real problem with going back to the basics, so to speak. He forgets that his counterparts in B.C. have just announced a big education review process that is going to do exactly that. Mr. Harcourt, his comrade in B.C., announced that he was going back to the basics, but the Member wants to ignore all of that and say that it is not important.

I am not absolutely convinced that there is a morale problem in the Department of Education. There certainly could be a morale problem with teachers, because they are concerned about the two-percent rollback. That is legitimate. I have had my wages rolled back, by the way, by five percent, not two percent, and I was a little upset by that, too. However, that is part of my share of getting the finances of the Government of the Yukon back in order. We are all doing that; we are all sharing the burden. Business people, other government workers, government programs, and various projects are all sharing the burden, and we have asked the teachers to share in that as well.

I can imagine that anybody who loses a portion of their wages in any way would be distressed with that. I wish that there ahd been as much concern over the 19-percent increase three years ago when governments all across the country were freezing wages as there is with the two-percent rollback. There was nothing said then. It was signed, sealed and delivered in weeks; the money was in the pockets and everybody was gone. Now it is a two-percent rollback and it is like the world is coming down. I experienced a five-percent rollback. I am a single parent. I have similar problems and concerns, as well. If there is a morale problem in the department, and it is related to this, I can understand that. I think that is a common feeling everyone would have. I do not know what the Member wants me to do about it, because I certainly support the government's position on achieving some savings through its payroll.

Mr. Penikett:

I am a little astonished at what the Minister has said. It is almost like he does not get what the problem is here. Even after weeks in which people have been writing letters to the newspaper, writing letters to Ministers and phoning them, he does not seem to understand that the issue is not two percent, but the way the government proposes to go about it - the dictatorial way in which it announced a major budget statement, not in the Legislature, but dictatorially, before the session, that he was going to legislate the results of something, which is, by law, done at the bargaining table. That is the problem. It is not the two percent; it is the way the government did it - the disrespect they had for teachers, as professionals, as people who serve the community, who educate children. Ministers do not educate children; teachers do. In this context, I want to ask the Minister about a letter that was sent to teachers, signed by the Minister for the Public Service Commission, dated April 19 and received by some of them on May 3. I want to ask the Minister if he is aware of this letter. Did he participate in its writing? Was he consulted about its contents? Did he in any way authorize the transmission of this letter to certain teachers?

Hon. Mr. Phillips:

I think I saw a copy of the letter as it went out. A copy was provided to me, yes.

Mr. Penikett:

Did the Minister remember that just a few months ago, his boss - the Government Leader, not the Minister of Justice - complimented the teachers on what a wonderful job they had done at the bargaining table - how they were so responsible. They had taken just a few days to reach a collective agreement; they had given up $2 million; they had absolutely been model citizens as employees and totally reasonable in their approach to the bargaining table. I wonder if he remembers that and how he squares that with the statement made in this letter to the teachers, and I quote from the letter from the Minister responsible for the Public Service Commission, "We value and appreciate the work the Yukon teachers and all other government employees do and the contribution they make to our communities and our society. Our goal is an absolute minimum of layoffs and labour stability to avoid last year's bitter confrontation. We appeal to you for assistance and understanding."

I want to ask the Minister how he squares the statements about bitter confrontation with respect to the teachers - and this a letter for teachers - with the statement made by the Government Leader that suggested that, when it came to collective bargaining, the teachers were absolute saints.

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

I was the author of that letter. The Leader of the Official Opposition can read the letter any way he wants.

Mr. Penikett:

I thank the Minister responsible for the Public Service Commissioner for his answer, but I was actually putting a question to the Minister of Education, as 75 percent of that Minister's budget concerns teachers' salaries.

I wanted to know about the Minister of Education's policy, since he has condoned the position of the government of arbitrarily imposing a wage settlement. He is not treating the teachers as partners, which would require sitting down and bargaining with them and, even now, they bargain with a gun at their heads, as they have been told that the government is going to legislate if it does not get the savings it wants through bargaining.

I want to again ask the Minister of Education how he squares the statement of this letter, presumably a statement of government policy, since it has been signed by a Minister, with the position of the Government Leader that the teachers were model citizens when it came to collective bargaining last time.

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

I thought that the Member for Faro had something to add before I answered that question. I thought he had his own interpretation of the letter that he wanted to share with us.

In the letter, I am talking about all government employees. One of the important things from this side is that we not only represent the teachers as employees, we also have management employees, we have unionized employees, and we are responsible for spending territory-wide.

Perhaps the Leader of the Official Opposition does not recall last Christmas, when there were ads in the newspaper, telling government employees that they should not do their Christmas shopping, because it was likely they would be going on strike.

No one has denied that the teachers did contribute in their last agreement, and they contributed more than the other employee groups. What we have suggested is a way of evening out the contribution between all employee groups with the proposals that we have submitted.

I am not going to say any more about this, and I am not going to get into a debate with the Leader of the Official Opposition over that ...

Some Hon. Member:


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Hon. Mr. Nordling:

The Member for Faro will get his chance, if he will just wait a minute. I am not going to get into discussions over what is happening with the Yukon Teachers Association. We agreed with the teachers that there would be a media blackout. I am not prepared to collective bargain on the floor of the Legislature, and I do not ...

Some Hon. Member:


Hon. Mr. Nordling:

The Member for Faro can stand up and tell us that he is the spokesperson for the Yukon Teachers Association, if that is the case, and he can start, but I will honour that media blackout, and I will not discuss and bargain those issues here on the floor of the Legislature.

Mr. Penikett:

With the greatest respect, nobody asked the Minister to get into this debate. I was directing a question to the Minister of Education, and I would like to know, if he is talking about media blackouts, how sending a multiple letter to many teachers, is consistent with a media blackout. This is clearly an attempt to influence the bargaining process. In fact, if the Minister knew anything about collective bargaining, he would know that some people think this is bad faith.

I have a question for the Minister of Education. As long as I still have free speech in this House - they may want to take it away but as long as I have it, I am going to use it - I want to ask the Minister of Education, the person in the front row not in the back row: which is the policy of the Department of Education? Is it the policy articulated in this letter, which says, "our goal is an absolute minimum of layoffs and labour stability to avoid last year's bitter confrontation" or is it the position of the Government Leader who described these teachers as saints and solid citizens when it came to collective bargaining? Which is the position of the Department of Education? We have heard the position of the the Minister responsible for the Public Service Commission. We have heard the position of the Government Leader. What is the position of the Department of Education?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

I would like to answer the question that the Leader of the Official Opposition did ask me - if I thought it was bargaining in bad faith by sending that letter. No, I do not. I received hundreds of letters from teachers - hundreds of letters - and I thought that each one of them, if they took the time to write a letter and sign it and send it to me, they deserved a response.

It took some time for those letters to be processed and sent out, but each of those teachers deserved a response. It was not meant to interfere with the collective bargaining system, and I am sure that it is interfering a lot less than that Member in the front and that Member in the back speaking as agents or unofficial agents or trying to influence what is happening right now. If that is what the Leader of the Official Opposition and the Member for Faro are doing, then they do not know anything about collective bargaining.

Mr. Penikett:

I know a hell of a lot more about collective bargaining than the Member opposite; I have actually done it.

I have an advantage over the Member in the front row; I have been on both sides of the table in collective bargaining, which is something he has not done. I do not think the word "collective" is in his dictionary.

I am still trying to get an answer from the Minister of Education. With respect to the Minister of the Public Service Commission, I never once asked him a question tonight. He is the one who chose to intrude into this debate, and not very effectively, I regret.

Let me again ask the Minister of Education what his position is with respect to the total contradiction between the Minister of the Public Service Commission and the Government Leader, with respect to whether or not the teachers had demonstrated their responsibility, good faith, decency and common sense at the bargaining table. Is it the bitter confrontational view of the Minister responsible for the Public Service Commission, or the saints and solid citizens view of the Government Leader? What is the Minister of Education's view?

Hon. Mr. Phillips:

We are damned if we do and damned if we do not. We get letters from teachers and, if we do not respond, we are accused of neglect by the Members opposite. If we respond to the letters, we are accused of responding in an inappropriate manner.

I support the collective bargaining that is going on at the present time. I am optimistic that we will achieve the savings we want in the collective bargaining process. I hope that we do not have to go any further than that. I hope that the collective bargaining that is taking place right now, and the blackout that is being honoured by everyone, will help us achieve what we want. I hope that we will reach a settlement with the teachers without having to do it any other way.

Mr. Penikett:

I have one last question about the letter. It was not clear from the Minister's previous answer how much responsibility he had for its contents. Teachers have pointed out to me there are, potentially, several serious factual errors in here. I want to know if the Minister of Education is accepting responsibility for those or whether that is entirely the responsibility of the Minister responsible for the Public Service Commission.

Hon. Mr. Phillips:

No, I think that is the Public Service Commission and I will follow that up.

Ms. Moorcroft:

I wanted to get in and ask a question here because the Minister of Education is accusing the Member for Faro of crying wolf and I have some comments to make as well. He can choose to call them "crying wolf," or not. In the public school statistics, there is a 25-percent drop in the funding to libraries for schools. I think that smacks of back to papyrus, rather than back to basics. It reminds me of the book Fahrenheit 451, where they banned books. If one wants to deny people an education, then take their books away. They are cutting back on teachers and they say, "Go and learn in the library; be a self-starter", and then they do not provide any books. Can the Minister of Education tell me what their rationale is for this dramatic cut in funding for libraries for schools?

Hon. Mr. Phillips:

When we get to the line items - tomorrow, I will have an official with me. We were not expected to do Education tonight. At House leaders meetings today we talked about doing Economic Development and that was an agreement. At the last minute, it was suggested we do Education. I complied. My officials have just arrived late and they will be with me tomorrow. I can get that detail tomorrow. I would also like to let the Member know that funding for purchase of public library books and periodicals has increased this year, and has not decreased.

Mr. Chair, in the light of the hour, I would ask you to report progress.

Motion agreed to

Hon. Mr. Phillips:

I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.

Motion agreed to

Speaker resumes the Chair


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 has considered Bill No. 15, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 1994-95, and directed me to report progress on it.


You have heard the report from the Chair of the

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Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?

Some Hon. Members:



I declare the report carried.

Hon. Mr. Phillips:

I move that the House do now adjourn.


It has been moved by the Hon. Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.

Motion agreed to


This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.

The House adjourned at 9:28 p.m.

The following document was filed May 4, 1994:


Yukon Government to buy Whitehorse waterfront announced by Community and Transportation Services Minister Maurice Byblow (News Release dated May 1, 1991) (Ostashek)