Whitehorse, Yukon

Thursday, December 3, 1998 - 1:30 p.m.

Speaker: I will now call the House to order.

We will proceed at this time with prayers.



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

Are there any tributes?


In remembrance of Mary Rose McCulloch

Mr. Fentie: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the memory of Mary Rose McCulloch, a remarkable woman of great courage, exemplary character and an esteemed member of the community of Watson Lake and the Yukon Territory.

Mary was born in Flintoft, Saskatchewan. Her parents were immigrants from Hungary, who moved to homestead on the Canadian prairies. Eventually, they settled in Regina where Mary received her education. After marrying Wally McCulloch in 1949, they migrated to Watson Lake in 1966.

Mary and Wally had been married almost 49 years at the time of her death. Their children, Butch, Sherry, Stirling, Samantha and their adopted daughter, Judith Michie, have blessed them with 10 grandchildren.

Mary was very committed to raising her family, and that same quality carried over to the community as a whole.

In 1975, Mary became a justice of the peace for the Yukon Territory. She was the second JP elected in the Yukon at that time. She presided over many issues, disputes, hearings and also provided successful mediation services in private disputes. Anyone who appeared before Mary in court was assured they were presenting their case to a compassionate, fair and open process, as Mary took her role as justice of the peace very seriously. Mary also had the pleasure of marrying over 200 couples over the course of her career.

Mary was very involved in her church. She was for many years a member of the Catholic Women's League and was appointed an extraordinary minister of St. Ann's Mission in Watson Lake.

It was through the Catholic Church that she was called upon to act as an interpreter for Hungarian refugees who had come to Canada after the 1957 revolution. She devoted many hours helping these people get settled in their new country.

Mary served on the Yukon Hospital Corporation Board for three years and on the advisory board for seven years. She was a coroner for the Yukon and British Columbia for over 20 years.

In the 1960s, Mary was elected to the Parent Teacher Association. She was instrumental in the building of the new elementary school in Watson Lake in 1981. She chaired the Yukon Education Council and was an advocate of continuing adult education.

One of Mary's greatest achievements, in my mind, was her total devotion to ensuring that seniors in our community are not forgotten. Mary was a co-founder of the Watson Lake Signpost Seniors. She worked tirelessly to provide improved services for seniors in our community through home care and the senior citizens centre in Watson Lake.

In 1976, Mary was diagnosed with breast cancer. For over 20 years, she fought very hard to overcome this terrible disease.

But despite the cancer, Mary never slowed down. Throughout all her years of treatment, she remained a totally devoted and tireless worker for both her family and her community interests - just another example of her unselfish outlook on life. If there was work to be done, Mary didn't waste time worrying about herself, but got on with the job.

Shortly before her death in June of this year, Mary learned that all her commitment and hard work did not go unnoticed. She was to be honoured with the highest award a civilian citizen can achieve in our great country - the Order of Canada. Unfortunately, Mary did not live to attend the ceremony in Ottawa. However, her husband, Wally, attended this past October and received this well-deserved award on her behalf.

Mary left an indelible mark on all of us whose lives she touched. For this reason, Mary will be forever missed.

Mr. Speaker, I am very privileged today to be able to stand in this Legislature and honour this wonderful woman in the presence of her husband and children. I ask all members of this House to join me in paying tribute to Mary Rose McCulloch, a member of our community who will be sorely missed, but never forgotten.

Thank you.

Mr. Phillips: On behalf of the Yukon Party caucus and the office of the official opposition, I rise as well to pay tribute to a long-time Yukoner and a community leader who passed away earlier this year after a long battle with cancer. Mary McCulloch was an outstanding individual who will be remembered for her dedication to her family, her involvement in the community of Watson Lake and her sense of wisdom and compassion among those of us who knew her.

For many years, Mary served the community in a number of ways. Whether it was helping out at the hospital, assisting the RCMP, or talking to graduation classes, Mary's contributions to the town were endless and will be missed by all of us.

Mr. Speaker, I came to know Mary for her participation in the Judicial Council and during my time as a Justice minister in the territory. As a member of the Judicial Council, I had many interesting discussions with Mary, and Mary never hesitated to offer her advice on many of these issues. And believe me, Mr. Speaker, Mary could make a good point.

Mr. Speaker, as a long-time justice of the peace in the Territorial Court, Mary was recognized for her professional conduct in carrying out her responsibilities. While offering words of wisdom, she demonstrated time and time again the ability to show care and compassion for those who appeared before her.

Mr. Speaker, among Mary's volunteer efforts over the years, Mary was instrumental in the initiative to establish the Signpost Seniors centre as a place to offer support and care to the seniors in Watson Lake. She played an integral role in seeking support for the centre and getting a home care program up and going in Watson Lake.

The centre, Mr. Speaker, as a result of Mary's hard work, has become a tremendous success for which many are grateful, and we can be proud of its accomplishments to assist the senior population in Watson Lake.

She was, Mr. Speaker, an outstanding individual, and a woman who was dedicated to her family and her community, a good person with the love of the Yukon and a heart of gold. Mary will be remembered fondly by Yukoners, missed by her husband Wally, and her children who are here with us today, and her many grandchildren and many friends.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of the Yukon Liberal Party caucus in tribute to Mary McCulloch. Whenever the community of Watson Lake gathers, a special someone is no longer there. Mary McCulloch put family first, and her strong sense of community earned her the respect of anyone who came into contact with her.

Although she is missed by her community in so many ways, as has been articulated by the Member for Watson Lake, the loss of Mary is felt even more deeply by her husband and her children. The loss of one's lifelong partner, a mother and friend is especially difficult and, on behalf of my colleagues, I would like to express to the McCulloch family our deepest sympathy and understanding.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: Are there any more tributes?

In recognition of International Day for Persons with Disabilities

Hon. Mr. Sloan: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to ask my colleagues in this House to acknowledge and pay tribute to the International Day for Persons with Disabilities. In 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The first sentence of that declaration states, "All human beings are born free and equal in rights and dignity." People with disabilities have the right to live within their communities, to enjoy health and well-being, to receive good education and have opportunities to work.

Many disabilities can be provided for by providing health care, nutrition, a loving home and a safe environment. This government is working hard to foster an environment in which all people receive these requirements of a good life. We must all work to bring about changes in human attitudes and behaviours toward those with disabilities, as well as supporting programs and strategies to ensure inclusion of the population who are disabled.

Achieving a society that is inclusive is dependent upon the commitment made by individuals, communities and society as a whole to welcome and recognize differences to take practical steps that will make it possible for children, youth and adults with disabilities to participate in and celebrate a full role in society.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Jenkins: On behalf of the Yukon Party caucus and office of the official opposition, I rise to pay tribute to International Day for Persons with Disabilities. International Day for Persons with Disabilities is a day to recognize individuals with disabilities, to raise awareness about the challenges and concerns among disabled people and to dispel some common fallacies about disabilities.

In the Yukon, we have a number of individuals with various types of disabilities. Like everyone, they have dreams, hopes and aspirations to live a fulfilling life of happiness. They are competent individuals and are contributing members of our community. While we have come some way in meeting the needs and concerns of individuals with disabilities, more work is needed to reduce barriers, such as those regarding employment opportunities and access to public buildings.

While any new public building must allow for barrier-free access, existing or older buildings are not yet required to comply. For disabled people, who also pay taxes, this is seen to be an unfair and unnecessary disadvantage. While we are supportive of the efforts that are being made to integrate disabled people into our workforce today, there also remains more to be done to remove the existing barriers there.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to recognize the new Yukon Council on Disabilities and its efforts to educate the Yukon public about disability issues. Since its formation last year, the council has become a central point through which the people of the Yukon, agencies and different levels of government can make disability issues known and can make recommendations on these issues.

The council has certainly been active over the past year, raising funds, working with the communities, and setting up a place called home for people with disabilities.

I'd like to thank members of this council and thank you for this opportunity to raise awareness about disabilities in Yukon.

Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of the Yukon Liberal caucus to pay tribute to the International Day for Persons with Disabilities. This day has been proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, and in 1998 and in 1999 the United Nations is asking world governments to provide services so that persons with a disability can live independently.

The focus this year is also on creative, artistic and intellectual potential for persons with disabilities. In the Yukon, the Yukon Council on Disabilities deals with the concerns of Yukoners with disabilities, and this year the Council on Disabilities has hired a part-time staff person and has opened an office at 408 Baxter Street here in Whitehorse.

The council puts a face on and continues to build a profile for issues to do with Yukoners with disabilities. In addition to the council, there are a number of non-governmental organizations and government departments that offer services and support to persons with disabilities.

The Yukon Liberal caucus extends their thanks to those who work so hard to encourage the potential of persons with disabilities.

Speaker: Are there any introductions of visitors?

Are there any returns or documents for tabling?

tabling returns and documents

Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I have for tabling the 1998 Iqaluit Declaration on violence against women from the federal, provincial and territorial status of women ministers.

Hon. Mr. Keenan: I have the Yukon Arts Centre annual report, for tabling this afternoon.

Speaker: Are there any reports of committees?

Are there any petitions?

Are there any bills to be introduced?

Are there any notices of motion?

Are there any statements by ministers?

ministerial statements

Violence against women: 1998 Iqaluit Declaration

Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: As we approach December 6, I rise to speak to our policy of fostering safe, healthy communities, and particularly our government policy with respect to the grim reality of violence against women.

Earlier this year at their conference in Iqaluit, the ministers responsible for the status of women across Canada agreed to sign a historic declaration that would be unveiled in each jurisdiction at this time.

Mr. Speaker, I would now like to read the Iqaluit Declaration into the official record of this Assembly, as a policy of the Yukon government:

"On December 6, across the country, we mark the national day of remembrance and action on violence against women. On this day in 1989, 14 young women in Montreal were murdered because they were women. As we reflect on this terrible loss, we must never forget that many women continue to live and die in the shadow of violence.

"Today, I join all my colleagues across the country, the federal, provincial, and territorial ministers responsible for the status of women in a declaration of our commitment to end violence against women.

"Violence against women has devastating consequences in many women's lives, and significant social and economic repercussions for society as a whole. Every day, women are intimidated, harassed, stalked, assaulted and abused, often at the hands of an intimate partner. As a society, we cannot and must not tolerate this violence. We must recognize and address the root causes of violence against women and the underlying issues of power and control.

"The ministers responsible for the status of women share a vision of safe, healthy communities where women are not exposed to violence or the threat of violence. Our vision is based on the full equality of women and men. We stress the importance of culturally appropriate and community-based solutions that take into account linguistic, cultural and geographic diversity, that respect aboriginal values and culture, and that reflect the particular needs of vulnerable groups.

"To achieve this vision, all of society must take responsibility. The elimination of violence is a long-term goal which can only be realized through lasting change in societal values and attitudes. Governments cannot achieve this goal alone. Individuals, service providers, voluntary and professional organizations, the broader public and corporate sectors all have a role to play. It is important that men, as well as women, participate in finding solutions.

"Sustained action is required, combined with innovative, creative approaches. It is particularly important that programs and services be flexible in their design and delivery in order to be accessible and effective. In this comprehensive effort, strong coordination across all sectors is essential, first and foremost to provide safety, as well as to deal with perpetrators, and to prevent violence before it happens.

"Our work to end violence against women is guided by the following principles:

"Our approach is built on three key strategies: a long-term focus on public education and awareness to change attitudes and behaviour; accessible and responsive services to provide safety and support to victims and prevent revictimization; and, effective justice programs to hold perpetrators accountable and provide treatment programs for abusive men.

"On many fronts, our governments have shown their determination to end violence against women. Through our policies and initiatives across the country, and our leadership at the international level in ratifying United Nations conventions and supporting UN plans, we have clearly articulated the unacceptable and intolerable nature of this violence.

"Much work has been done to address violence against women. We will continue to build on the expertise of women's groups and other community partners and, together, we will work to improve the effectiveness of our efforts through ongoing partnerships, consultation, evaluation and research.

"As federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for the status of women, we affirm our determination to stop violence against women. This is a top priority for our governments. Our commitment will be realized through the actions of each jurisdiction. Together, these actions will enable us to meet the challenges and achieve our goal. We owe it to all women who may be affected by violence, now and in the future."

Mr. Phillips: On behalf of the Yukon Party caucus and the office of the official opposition, I am pleased to take this opportunity to respond to the minister's statement on the 1998 Iqaluit Declaration, and wish to offer our full support to the declaration.

The declaration, Mr. Speaker, recognizes December 6 as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women and reinforces our commitment to end violence against women.

Violence against women, Mr. Speaker, is something that is absolutely intolerable, in my mind, and something that should be eradicated. While remembering the thousands of women who have been, and continue to be, the victims of violence and abuse, I believe we must take a step further and act. By acting, I mean educating and promoting a change.

As legislators, we have a responsibility to do our utmost to help create awareness, educate and help facilitate change, so we may be able to address and find solutions to the problems associated with violence. By working together, we can help combat the threats of violence that restrict the actions of so many women. Regardless of our political differences in this Legislature, I believe we share a common goal, and that is to end the violence against women.

While we, on this side of the House, are supportive of this declaration, Mr. Speaker, I would be remiss if I didn't make the comment that we had a Human Rights Act before us here just a few days ago, where we had an opportunity to include in the Human Rights Act the recommendations that came forward from organizations such as Kaushee's Place, the Victoria Faulkner Women's Centre, the Yukon Human Rights Commission and the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Speaker, these groups proposed a new amendment to the Human Rights Act with respect to violence against women, based on the Human Rights Commission's participation in the recent symposium on violence that was held at Yukon College.

The minister is fully aware, Mr. Speaker, that this is something these groups have been lobbying for for some time, and I hope that the minister will make a commitment on her feet here today that she will bring back the Human Rights Act next fall in the legislative session and will make that necessary amendment.

Mr. Speaker, governments and individuals have worked hard to end violence against women in our society, but we can do more and we should do more. We must do more to end violence against women. It is an intolerable act, and it's one that society should work very hard to eradicate.

Thank you.

Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of the Yukon Liberal caucus to respond to the minister's statement on the Iqaluit Declaration. The Yukon Liberal caucus supports the Iqaluit Declaration and agrees that we should be putting a top priority on ending violence against women.

Mr. Speaker, in Montreal on December 6, 1989, 14 young women were killed in the Montreal massacre, and those women will not share this Christmas with their family and their friends, and those women will not rise in the night to nurse their babies; they will not build a career or contribute to their communities. Those women will not marry, and they will not grow old.

And this year, many thousands more women will die, or be permanently maimed, because of violence against women. It's not right, Mr. Speaker and, for the sake of our children, it must end.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: The recognition of the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women occurred because of the murders in Montreal on December 6. We know, however, that violence against women happens in our communities, in our homes, in the Yukon, on a daily basis. We need to take action now, and this government is acting now.

As a legislator, I've brought forward a number of bills to this House. The crime prevention and victim services trust fund will allow for effective solutions by supporting projects at a community level to improve victim services and crime prevention. The Family Violence and Prevention Act has been passed in this House, and there are consultations in the community ongoing at the present time to work toward implementation of that act.

In this session, we brought forward a statute of limitations amendment to ensure that victims have a voice and are able to bring forward civil cases where there are allegations of physical and sexual violence without a limitation period.

Our family violence prevention unit offers a number of programs for violent men to deal with their anger in non-violent ways.

The Member for Porter Creek North spoke about the human rights amendments that were proposed on November 26 by the Yukon Human Rights Commission. As I said in this House during debate on the Human Rights Act, I fully support the proposed amendments on violence against women to the Human Rights Act.

However, I also believe that the responsible approach is to provide public discussion and an opportunity to build consensus in the community. I think it will be very useful, over the course of the next year, to have the discussions about amendments that were proposed on November 26. It is not a wise move to write laws over a three-day period and bring forward significant changes to a human rights act over a weekend.

Perhaps, Mr. Speaker, that's why the Member for Porter Creek North did not bring forward any amendments to the Human Rights Act during the four years that the Yukon Party government was in office.

In addition, we are supporting gender equity in our schools and having healthy attitudes and healthy relationships between boys and girls from an early age. We have ongoing efforts to improve public education in our schools and in our communities. We have listened to the voices of young women and followed up on recommendations in the A Cappella North report, and, Mr. Speaker, with all of those efforts and with a commitment of all members of this Legislative Assembly and all members of society, we can work to end male violence against women.

Thank you.

Millennium program (Yukon)

Hon. Mr. Keenan: Mr. Speaker, I rise to announce an initiative that reflects our government's policy of involving Yukon people in decision making and our commitment to supporting community-based activities.

In less than 400 days, people around the world will begin celebrating the end of the 20th century and the beginning of a new millennium. Across the Yukon, many cultural, recreational and other groups are planning special events and activities to mark this unique occasion.

The Yukon government will play an active role in supporting and encouraging private and non-profit activities in the year 2000 through a Yukon millennium program fund. We will also be sponsoring or co-sponsoring special events through a millennium speakers and events bureau.

There are so many things that we can take pride in as Yukoners, Mr. Speaker. The year 2000 gives us an opportunity to share that pride with each other and with our visitors from around the world.

In recent years, we have celebrated a number of significant milestones in Yukon history. The Yukon millennium program will build on that by adopting a theme, "celebrating the past and celebrating our future together."

The program will have three separate funding categories. First, the Yukon millennium community program will provide funding for community-based projects and activities. Second, the Yukon millennium supplementary funding will provide additional support for existing community events that have a special millennium component in the year 2000.

Thirdly, Yukon millennium special activities and events funding will sponsor projects, including the speakers bureau.

Five key areas of activity may be eligible for funding. They are: Yukon culture and heritage, the Yukon environment, the future, the arts, and sports and recreation. The millennium program will also feature a special emphasis on youth.

A community-based committee, chaired by the MLA for Lake Laberge, will provide overall direction for the Yukon millennium program. This committee will include people representing the arts, sports, heritage, education, and environmental interests. Nominations of community-minded people to serve on its committee are now being sought.

The committee will evaluate and coordinate ideas and suggestions for activities and events that come directly from Yukon people and Yukon groups throughout the territory. Special funding will be set aside for millennium activities in the Tourism budget for the next two fiscal years.

Mr. Speaker, as we get ready to celebrate the past and explore our future together, we can remind ourselves - and the world - of all the reasons the Yukon is the place to be, in the year 2000.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Phillips: Well, Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House are prepared to give our qualified, and limited, support for the concept of establishing such a fund. But there are many questions that this statement raises.

Mr. Speaker, this is the first time in my 13 years in this House that I have seen the government make an announcement of the setting up of a fund so far in advance of putting any money in the fund.

In the past, the money would show up in the spring budget and the minister responsible would then rise in the House and make a ministerial statement announcing that the fund was now established, so we could all see clearly how much money was in it and how much was dedicated to the project.

I had to ask myself, Mr. Speaker, when I read the ministerial statement, why would one want to announce something like this months before you could even allocate any funds - and then it came to me.

This government seems to be starved for some positive media coverage. So they're trying the trick of announcing something three or four different times, hoping that at least once it'll get covered by the media.

I see in the statement by the minister that the Member for Laberge must be getting very impatient and wants to do more. As you remember, Mr. Speaker, that's the Member for Laberge who championed the DAP cause for the government. When it started to go sour, he drifted to the back of the room and slipped out of the room before the meeting was over, and tried to distance himself from the process.

He's also the government's lead on the tax reform that the government announced last spring, but really didn't start until just a couple of weeks ago. Now he's in charge of the new millennium fund that will start today, but doesn't have any money in it until next year or so.

You know, Mr. Speaker, if I were the Member for Laberge, I'd be wondering what my colleagues were trying to do to me.

I think that I'll be like the money that's allocated to this new fund, and reserve further comments on the fund until there's actually some money in it.

I do have some questions for the minister, though. I'd like to ask the minister, when will they actually be putting money in the fund? How much money are they anticipating putting in this particular fund? I'd like to ask the minister, as well, is this going to be new money in the Department of Tourism, or are we going to recycle some old money, take it from some existing programs and, if we're taking it from existing programs, which programs are they? Last but not least, Mr. Speaker, maybe the minister can tell us how many more press releases we can expect before we really see some action on this new fund.

Ms. Duncan: If someone asked me to sign a blank cheque, I'd refuse, but that is exactly what the NDP government's asking us to do today. They're asking us to support a program, but they aren't telling us what it's going to cost.

You know, Mr. Speaker, if the minister would give me some money, I might go buy a boat. What kind of a boat? Well, I'm not sure. Just give me a blank cheque and I'll go shopping. When I come back, we'll see what we've got. I might have bought a used kayak; I might have bought a fully loaded sporting kayak, used by those sports enthusiasts who go sea kayaking in Haines.

Who knows? I might have bought one of the boats with the galley and room for Yukon friends to enjoy some of our waterways. Mr. Speaker, maybe I don't even want a boat, but if the minister is going to give me some money, I'll go get one.

We need to define the financial parameters here. How big is the Yukon millennium program fund? The minister said that special funding will be set aside in the Tourism budgets for the next two fiscal years. How much money? Is some other part of the tourism budget being cut to make the millennium program fund possible? Is it new money in the Tourism budget? What's the bottom line here?

The minister's statement about the Yukon millennium program and its funding raises more questions than it offers answers. He talks about a community-based committee to oversee the Yukon millennium program. "Arts, sports, heritage, education and environmental interests," says the minister, "will be represented." Where are the First Nations? Where is labour, and where is business?

The NDP is looking for community-minded people to serve on this committee. How long is it going to take to choose the members?

According to the minister, they'll evaluate and coordinate ideas and suggestions for activities and events. When will they begin gathering the ideas and suggestions? When will they make decisions on who gets the money and who doesn't?

Are we sure we have enough time, Mr. Speaker? There are only 393 days to go, or 759 if you happen to believe the millennium begins at the end of the year 2000.

This NDP government is so thin on initiatives, they're announcing programs a year in advance, long before they finish doing their homework.

The minister's talking about a big party for the millennium. He's planning to pay for the party with taxpayers' money. I'd rather reserve the decision on my portion of that money until I have some answers. I'm sure a lot of Yukoners would agree with me. There's no such thing as a free lunch. By all means, let us, as Yukoners, celebrate the millennium. Let us celebrate individually, in our own families, our own neighbourhoods, in our own sports and recreation, and in art and heritage, cultural and religious groups.

Let us celebrate as individual communities and as a territory. We have a lot to celebrate, and we have hope that the future will be better, that the Yukon economy will improve, that solutions will be found to many of the social problems that plague us. Show me the price tag before I agree to provide a product.

Mr. Speaker, the Yukon Liberal caucus cannot support this initiative without more information.

Thank you.

Hon. Mr. Keenan: Mr. Speaker, I'm not surprised at all that I would get that reaction from the official opposition and the third party. I'm not surprised at all, because certainly, the previous administration has proven that they can only govern by jerking their knee - ba-boop, ba-boop. That's how they do things - knee-jerk reactions, and certainly the third party is following those trail blazes that they've already established, so they can just keep jerking their knees right through. I surely hope though that their knees will become static at some point, and they'll be able to take part in the festivities that are going to be happening in the Yukon.

Mr. Speaker, I've got to say again that it does not surprise me, but I can let the Tourism critic from the official opposition know that we'll be seeking new monies. These will not be monies that are cut from other areas. We'll be looking for new monies, and we're going to be pulling together a committee. That committee is going to help us to say what we're going to do. Why are we doing that? Well, because we're New Democrats, and we like to talk to people, and we like to get the people's initiatives and get them to say that this is what they want and this is how we can go. It's called communicating. That's exactly what it's called. It's not limited to one little neighbourhood and one specific place. It's called, "Come to the Yukon." That's exactly what it's called.

So, Mr. Speaker, we will do that. We will be seeking nominations, and we'll continue to seek nominations.

The captain of the Good Ship Lollipop, the leader of the third party there, I guess, is just exasperated. She doesn't know whether she wants to get off her lollipop ship or get into a canoe, so I really encourage her, as the Government Leader has before in budget debates, I believe, to try to focus and to try to learn a little bit instead of ba-boop, ba-boop, ba-boop, and complaining. Try to focus and try to learn.

Mr. Speaker, I feel very, very comfortable that we have the Member for Lake Laberge, Mr. Livingston, here to work with us, based on the work that he's done with the development assessment process and finally pushing the federal government along a little bit there. It's excellent work - excellent work, Mr. Livingston. The work that Mr. Livingston has taken on in terms of tax reform - again, Mr. Speaker, these initiatives have been out there for quite some time, but are coming home at this point in time.

Mr. Speaker, the new millennium brings with it many opportunities. The future is bright and the Yukon millennium program is a spark that will make it even brighter in the capable hands of the Member for Lake Laberge.

Thank you very much.

Speaker: This then brings us to Question Period.


Question re:  Group home review

Mr. Jenkins: I have a question for the Minister of Health and Social Services on the group homes for children in government care. The government, from last report, spends $2.8 million annually to house some 35 children and youth. That amounts to $80,000 per child. For that price, one would expect extremely good, effective care, but such is not the case.

What we have instead, in at least two of the five homes, is a very expensive, poorly run home, where the youth who are supposed to be in care are intoxicated, they're -

Speaker: The member has 30 seconds.

Mr. Jenkins: Can the minister advise the House how many of the 49 recommendations the government is acting upon to clean up the group homes disgrace?

Hon. Mr. Sloan: The group home review that was undertaken between ourselves and our First Nation health partners is underway. We've been working with CYFN on this. Presently, there are -

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Hon. Mr. Sloan: I beg your pardon?

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Speaker: Order please. Member for Riverdale North, order.

Hon. Mr. Sloan: There are 49 recommendations, 13 of which have been implemented. We're continuing to work with CYFN. We have an individual, Ms. Carole Geddes, who has been working...

Speaker: The member has 30 seconds.

Hon. Mr. Sloan: ...with both CYFN and ourselves to bring about the implementation.

Mr. Jenkins: Mr. Speaker, it's my understanding that the 16 Klondike group home currently receives $493,000 per year, to care for eight youths. It's estimated to require a further $175,000 to comply with the review recommendations.

Mr. Speaker, there are serious problems at 16 Klondike. What action has the minister's department taken to correct these problems?

Hon. Mr. Sloan: Mr. Speaker, there are a number of recommendations in this report, some are of a physical nature, a safety nature - those have been undertaken. Some are ongoing. As I said, we're working with CYFN - a group between Health and CYFN, to bring about those necessary changes, and we will be following through on all the recommendations. We accept the recommendations; we're prepared to work toward their completion.

Mr. Jenkins: One of the reviewers' recommendations was to fund a trip for a key group home supervisor to a well-run, accredited residential treatment centre, which focuses on intervention and behaviour management of youth who have FAS, or are involved in substance abuse.

Knowing the minister's reluctance to even admit Yukon has a serious FAS problem, has the minister followed through on that one recommendation? He said he's followed through on them all. Has he followed through on that one recommendation, Mr. Speaker?

Hon. Mr. Sloan: Well, Mr. Speaker, the member may not be aware - I suspect that he isn't - that we already do operate a group home, a very well-run group home. It was one of those homes that was reviewed - that is the Mountain Ridge home, and that currently offers services to young, male FAS individuals.

So we do have some experience in that regard. That home, by the way, was very highly reviewed. As I said, what we're doing is we're working on all of the implementation - we're working with First Nation partners on fulfilling our obligations, in this regard.

Question re: Group home review

Mr. Phillips: My question, as well, is to the Minister of Health and Social Services, about group homes.

Mr. Speaker, maybe the one group home the minister mentioned was given a good mark, but the group home in my riding, at 16 Klondike, was not. In fact, in a check that was done by the group doing the study, when they arrived on a Sunday morning, five of the eight residents had been AWOL the night before, including one who made a suicide attempt. Youth were sitting around joking about how drunk they were the next morning, and the boys were pointing out, in a photo album, girls -

Speaker: Thirty seconds.

Mr. Phillips: - that they had had sex with, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to ask the minister, what has he done to solve the problems at 16 Klondike?

Hon. Mr. Sloan: Mr. Speaker, the operator is fully aware and is fully cognizant of some of the shortcomings that were pointed out. She has taken steps to correct those shortcomings, and we're going to be working with all of our group home operators to try to improve the situation across the board.

I should point out that, in general, if the member cares to look, there were some positive comments made about ...

Speaker: The member has 30 seconds.

Hon. Mr. Sloan: ... the operator.

Mr. Phillips: Mr. Speaker, when I asked questions about 16 Klondike in the last session and I made the allegation that residents from 16 Klondike had been out in the riding carrying out break-and-enters, the minister tried to steer me away from that and wouldn't answer the question. The minister knows and I know that it was youth from that particular 16 Klondike who were out committing the crimes, and it is a serious problem.

I want to know specifically - specifically - since that group home was identified as having serious problems, Mr. Speaker, what has been done ...

Speaker: The member has 30 seconds.

Mr. Phillips: ... at 16 Klondike to ensure that the youth are not running around, as they have been running around, drunk, doing B&Es, and carrying on other activities in the community that are not accepted by the community.

Hon. Mr. Sloan: Mr. Speaker, my initial remarks to the member were that he made the allegation that the young people at 16 Klondike were in 16 Klondike because of criminal acts. I would point out to him that the young people who are in group homes are there because of special needs in their family; they are there sometimes because of situations where they can no longer remain in their homes - perhaps they're not wanted by their homes - they may have trouble with the law; they may have had experiences with the law, but they are not in group homes because they are ...

Speaker: The member has 30 seconds.

Hon. Mr. Sloan: ... criminals.

Mr. Phillips: Mr. Speaker, the point is, there was a study done on 16 Klondike that identified that the youths were out all night long, AWOL. The minister also knows that youths from that home, whether they had a previous record or not, were involved in B&Es in Riverdale. I want to know from the minister what action the minister's department has taken to ensure that the youth who are under his government's care are where they're supposed to be instead of running around Riverdale in the middle of the night or in the middle of the day, breaking into homes? What are they doing to correct the problem that was identified in that particular study?

Hon. Mr. Sloan: First of all, I have to remind the member, once again, that group homes are not jails - much as he would like them to be, much as he would like to adopt a punitive aspect toward young people. Young people are in our care because of a variety of social needs.

I can provide the member with a list of the steps taken by the group home operator to ameliorate the situation - the kind of steps that have been taken by her - and I will also give him, if he wishes, an update of some of the steps that have been ...

Speaker: The minister has 40 seconds.

Hon. Mr. Sloan: ... taken by ourselves and CYFN.

Question re:  Yukon tax reform round table

Mr. Cable: I have some questions for the Government Leader, and they concern his pen pal, the Member for Lake Laberge.

The Tuesday issue of the Whitehorse Star carried a letter from that member to the Government Leader in the Letters to the Editor section. It was a report on the Yukon tax reform round table that the Member for Lake Laberge chairs.

I realize there's a pecking order in government, but the member's office is only 100 feet away from the Government Leader's. So the question I have for the Government Leader ...

Speaker: The member has 30 seconds.

Mr. Cable: ... is, when this round table was set up, was it anticipated that the Government Leader and the public would be getting progress reports by letter, copied to the newspaper?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: Well, Mr. Speaker, I think it's important that the citizen group that was brought together - including chambers of commerce, and business, and others - to look at tax measures that might improve the economy, were interested in not only expressing to me and to the government their ideas on the short-term measures that could be taken to improve the economy and improve the tax system, but also to make those ideas public.

There's nothing to be hidden by this measure, Mr. Speaker. We are doing our best ...

Speaker: The Government Leader has 30 seconds.

Hon. Mr. McDonald: ... to ensure that the process is as open as possible in the short time period that we have.

Mr. Cable: Another explanation for this method of informing the public may have been that, even on a dry day, the media may not have bit on this progress report.

But let me ask the Government Leader this question: this letter to the editor, a substitute for a press release or a ministerial statement, is long on talk and short on action. There's talk about a mining tax credit, there's talk about a small business investment tax credit, there's talk about a whole lot of things that might improve the climate for investment in the Yukon.

Speaker: The member has 30 seconds.

Mr. Cable: Business people and investors do not make decisions based on talk. They make decisions and investments based on action. Why has it taken two years to get to the point where we have a public letter identifying some options to help the economy, and recommending further research?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: Well, Mr. Speaker, I'm sure that the member thinks he's got the media in their back pocket, based on the fact that they feel that only questions that they raise and opinions that they state are worthy for the public domain. The fact of the matter is that there are many people who are interested in tax reform, and for the very first time in the history of this Legislature, we've gone through this process of pursuing tax reform in concert with the public to ensure that there are opportunities to be tabled through the context of the next budget...

Speaker: The Government Leader has 30 seconds.

Hon. Mr. McDonald: ... at which time, action will be taken in the budgetary process.

Mr. Cable: Mr. Speaker, I'm still not clear why the so-called progress report to the paper couldn't just have been taken down the hall to the Government Leader.

Mr. Speaker, if any of these proposals become a reality, how is the public going to find out about it? Are we going to have a news conference, a pen-pal announcement in the paper, or perhaps just a postcard from the MLA for Laberge?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: Well, Mr. Speaker, I don't know where this flippant attitude comes from. At the round table itself, it was decided that they wanted to formulate their ideas on tax reform to the government in the form of a letter, and they sent the letter. Now, the member seems to think that because the letter was sent, this is some sort of publicity grab on the part of the government to announce once again that it's doing some decent tax reform.

The people of this committee considered many different ideas...

Speaker: The Government Leader has 30 seconds.

Hon. Mr. McDonald: ... put them down on paper, submitted the paper publicly to the government. What possibly could be wrong with that?

Question re:   Land claims training initiative

Ms. Duncan: I have some questions for the minister responsible for the Public Service Commission, and it concerns initiatives in keeping with chapter 22 of the umbrella final agreement, specifically the land claims training initiative.

The minister indicated in a statement on March 24 of this year that $200,000 had been allocated to this project and that the course would be offered 12 times a year in order to make training available to all Government of Yukon and First Nation government employees.

Mr. Speaker, would the minister -

Speaker: The member has 30 seconds.

Ms. Duncan: Would the minister tell this House how many YTG and First Nation government employees have taken the training since the project was scheduled to begin seven months ago, how much has been spent to date, and is it expected to be on budget?

Hon. Mr. Harding: Mr. Speaker, when the Yukon government signed on to the umbrella final agreement, we meant what we said, unlike our federal counterparts in Ottawa who signed off the land claims agreement and have been backtracking on the wording of it ever since. In the land claims agreement, it states that there's got to be a commitment to develop a representative public service. Part and parcel with that, we believe, is this land claims training initiative. We feel that the training thus far has been entirely accepted by the public service.

Speaker: The minister has 30 seconds.

Hon. Mr. Harding: It's a step to changing the culture of this government - and I say government as a whole, the Yukon government generically, so that we understand that there's a new way of doing business in town called the umbrella final agreement, and I'll get the precise details on the numbers for the member opposite.

Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, a simple calculation tells us that $200,000 to conduct a training course for over 4,000 employees isn't very much. That was the money budgeted to the end of this fiscal year. Obviously, all these employees are not going to be able to complete the training in one year, and, equally as obvious, it's going to cost more money.

Now that the government has had a couple of sessions and should have developed a sense of the costs of the program, what's the plan for the land claims implementation training? Is it still -

Speaker: The member has 30 seconds.

Ms. Duncan: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Is it still the minister's intention that all employees will receive this training, and what's the overall anticipated time frame and budget?

Hon. Mr. Harding: Mr. Speaker, I don't know where the member was, but that's not the only allotment we've made to this particular initiative. Perhaps she should review the budgets a little bit closer.

Secondly, Mr. Speaker, we, as a Yukon government, intend to honour our obligations in the umbrella final agreement, unlike her federal counterparts in Ottawa. And when it comes to self-government initiatives, they are neither here nor there in the commitments they've signed on to, but, Mr. Speaker, this is one initiative that we've taken real ownership of, we're developing a representative public ...

Speaker: The minister has 30 seconds.

Hon. Mr. Harding: ... service. The land claims training is underway. We've put our money where our mouth is with regard to our commitments that we've signed on to, and we're quite proud that we're getting some ground-breaking work done in this regard in terms of changing the culture of the Yukon government generically and living with the umbrella final agreement.

Ms. Duncan: Heaven forbid, the opposition should ask questions of what the government is doing.

Mr. Speaker, the training program in total is eight days long. It is a significant cost to the government and students when a teacher is absent from the class for eight days. Teachers have, for this reason, been excluded from the training to date. How does this government intend to ensure that teachers in Yukon classrooms, working with young Yukoners, have this training made available to them?

Speaker: The member has 30 seconds.

Ms. Duncan: They have some requirements under the Education Act. However, the minister has referred to this as a groundbreaking initiative. How does he intend to ensure teachers are able to take advantage of it?

Hon. Mr. Harding: Well, Mr. Speaker, it's our plan that as many people as possible who have critical roles to play should be involved. I certainly recognize the value of teachers in this community. Certainly in the riding I represent, they have a fundamental role in the life and the culture of our community. There are opportunities for the Public Service Commission, which is conducting the training, to meet with the Yukon Teachers Association and discuss issues like this. I think it would be...

Speaker: The minister has 30 seconds.

Hon. Mr. Harding: ...beneficial to have some involvement. Certainly, that's how I envision it. I think we have a lot of work to do in terms of educating people on the commitments in the umbrella final agreement. As well, we have a lot of work to do to ensure that there is appropriate understanding of the new relationship on a government-to-government basis that we've got to foster. In order to do that, people have to know what's in the agreements and what they mean.

Question re: Group home review 

Mr. Phillips: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to go back to the Minister of Health and Social Services and ask him another question about 16 Klondike. He avoided answering the question three times.

Whether the minister likes it or not, the youth in 16 Klondike were under the care of his government, and while they were under the care of the government, they were AWOL, they were out drinking, some were out carrying out B&Es, and the kids were sitting around the table the next day joking about what they'd done...

Speaker: The member has 30 seconds.

Mr. Phillips: ...and looking at a photo album and talking about sex that they had with girls who were in the photo album - totally inexcusable for a building that's under the minister's care.

The question to the minister is this: what has the minister done specifically at 16 Klondike to deal with the problem that was clearly identified by myself, with respect to the B&Es, and with the study that the minister's own department paid for?

Hon. Mr. Sloan: Well, a couple of things, I did mention earlier. I can provide an exhaustive list of details with regard to the kinds of things that the operator at 16 Klondike is doing to ameliorate the situation. I am aware of a number of things that she is doing, but I can provide a list for the member.

I should point out, however, that on the subject of AWOLs, just take a look at some of the statistics. At 16 Klondike, we appear to have experienced, at least from the period August 1997 ...

Speaker: Thirty seconds.

Hon. Mr. Sloan: ... to July 1998, an appreciable drop in the number of AWOLs.

Mr. Phillips: Well, that really makes me feel comfortable. It must make the residents in Riverdale North feel comfortable, Mr. Speaker, that we have a drop in AWOLs. But obviously we still have AWOLs from 16 Klondike.

What changes has the minister made in the operating procedures at 16 Klondike to prevent these youths from going AWOL? These youths aren't supposed to be troubled youths, Mr. Speaker, they aren't supposed to be youths that were in trouble with the law - some of them are getting in trouble with the law when they go AWOL ...

Speaker: Thirty seconds.

Mr. Phillips: ... but what are we doing, Mr. Speaker, to ensure that these youth are well taken care of at 16 Klondike and that the residents of Riverdale North are protected from youths who in the past have gone out and broken into their homes?

Hon. Mr. Sloan: We are doing a great deal. The group home has pointed out some shortfalls. I have indicated to the member that we will provide a list of the kind of activities that we've undertaken there.

What I need to remind the member, however, is that much as he would prefer to go on a bit of a tirade - a bit of a witch hunt - he is misunderstanding the fact that the children in our care - be they at the residential treatment centre or ...

Speaker: Thirty seconds.

Hon. Mr. Sloan: ... at 16 Klondike, are children in care. They are there because of a variety of social factors.

Mr. Phillips:Well, Mr. Speaker, again, according to the minister's own study, the children in the minister's care, many times, weren't in the minister's care. They were out running around AWOL, drinking, having sex, and breaking into homes. That's what was happening. The minister knows that.

I want to know specifically, Mr. Speaker - now, this is my sixth question - and I've asked the minister, what have they done specifically at 16 Klondike, to ensure that the youth in 16 Klondike ...

Speaker: Thirty seconds.

Mr. Phillips: ... are kept in 16 Klondike, and to ensure protection of Riverdale North - to ensure that these kids aren't running around AWOL and breaking into homes any longer?

What have they done that's different from what they were doing before? Why can't the minister answer that?

Hon. Mr. Sloan: Mr. Speaker, I have indicated to the member that I will provide him with a list of the kinds of changes that the operator has undertaken. I am afraid that what he is doing, however, is that he is trying to fear-monger within the community. The operator has responded to the recommendations in that group home report. We have responded in terms of the residential treatment centre. I have said that I will provide a list to the member. I will provide a list to the member.

Speaker: The minister has 30 seconds.

Hon. Mr. Sloan: Perhaps that will set his mind at ease.

Question re:   Alcohol and drug services in rural communities

Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Speaker, I, too, have some questions for the Minister of Health and Social Services, and this time it's about rural alcohol and drug services.

Mr. Speaker, there was a project funded by Health Canada. It started this spring at Yukon College, and it was the project about the substance-abuse and tobacco-use prevention and reduction. Now, their first recommendation dealt with youth substance-abuse prevention, and recommendation number 2 dealt with treatment for young people.

The top two recommendations clearly indicate the need for more services for Yukon youth with addictions to alcohol and drugs.

Speaker: The member has 30 seconds.

Mrs. Edelman: Currently, there is only one part-time youth worker at alcohol and drug services branch. This person works out of an office in Whitehorse, but on the other hand, there are no alcohol and drug programs for youth in the rural communities. When is the minister going to address this issue?

Hon. Mr. Sloan: Actually, we have a larger group than that working on alcohol and drug programs targeted for youth.

We are aware of the fact that we need to get some of these services out into the rural areas. We have presently two positions, actually - one treatment and one prevention - working with the youth issue, and they work as a team. The treatment position is at the young offenders facility, the youth achievement centre and in the schools. Their caseload is approximately...

Speaker: The minister has 30 seconds.

Hon. Mr. Sloan: ... 56 youth.

Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Speaker, it's not enough.

Now, it seems that there are two standards in the Yukon - one for Whitehorse and one for rural communities. In Watson Lake and Dawson, there are two prenatal intervention programs funded by the federal Liberal government. These are programs for high-risk mothers, almost every one of them battling addictions.

Now, Mr. Speaker, there are also two prenatal intervention programs in Whitehorse, but there are no alcohol and drug programs available for pregnant mothers in Ross River, Destruction Bay, Pelly, Mayo, Faro, Teslin, and the list goes on.

Speaker: The member has 30 seconds.

Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Speaker, are there any plans to improve prenatal addiction services in these rural communities?

Hon. Mr. Sloan: Mr. Speaker, I'm afraid the member's deviated a little bit from her question, because she began on the subject of youth, and I have given an indication that we are working on a variety of things having to deal with youth. Now she seems to have shifted toward prenatal services, and I can address that, if she wishes.

We have launched the healthy child initiative, which we're planning on delivering in all communities - or the healthy family initiative. Much of that is geared toward the prevention ...

Speaker: The member has 30 seconds.

Hon. Mr. Sloan: ... of prenatal alcohol problems.

Mrs. Edelman: Back to the issue of rural alcohol and drug services. Now, Mr. Speaker, one of the reasons given for the closure of Crossroads was that it wasn't serving the needs of rural Yukoners, particularly women. We are a year down the road, and we're hearing complaints from women in rural areas about the lack of alcohol and drug services in their communities.

The government closed Crossroads because they had plans to offer better services for women. In the year since the closure of Crossroads, what new alcohol and drug programs have been set up for women in our rural communities?

Hon. Mr. Sloan: Well, Mr. Speaker, I can go through the number of courses that we have. It's a bit of an exhaustive list, but I'll be happy to.

Alcohol and drug services, since April of this fiscal year, has delivered nine pre-treatment programs, 14 days in length - 86 participants; eight relapse prevention programs, three days in length - 29 participants; continuous transition bed program, five in-patient treatment programs - 40 participants; one addictions counsellor level two workshop, three days in length; one anger management -

Speaker: The member has 30 seconds.

Hon. Mr. Sloan: I'm afraid I've run out of time here, Mr. Speaker.

Question re:  Taxation, squatters

Mr. Jenkins: I have a question for the Minister of Finance on the issue of taxation of squatters.

It has long been the policy of the Yukon government to tax the improvements of residents who are not in legal occupation of the land that they are living on. It is my understanding that the Government of the Yukon, in attempting to relocate the residents in the Sleepy Hollow/Shipyards area approached the City of Whitehorse, asking it to write off the $56,000 in back taxes owed by these residents.

Can the minister advise the House if it is now the policy of the Yukon government not to -

Speaker: The member has 30 seconds.

Mr. Jenkins: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Can the minister advise the House if it is now the policy of the Yukon government not to tax squatters?

Hon. Mr. Keenan: I'll take that question, Mr. Speaker. It's certainly within my department.

Mr. Speaker, we're going to continue to work with the waterfront residents so that we might be able to free up the land. I know again, as I said yesterday, this is an ongoing problem. It's been there for many years. It was there certainly with the previous administration. This administration has the gumption to get out there and talk to people in a ...

Speaker: The minister has 30 seconds.

Hon. Mr. Keenan: ... manner that people want to listen to them, and in a manner that people should be listened to, Mr. Speaker, so we'll continue to work with people on that front.

Mr. Jenkins: Let's go back to the Government Leader again, who says that squatters shouldn't have to pay taxes and, in fact, should be rewarded at the rate of $1,000 per year to a maximum of $45,000 for illegally occupying their land.

Is this fair and equitable for the balance of the Whitehorse taxpayers who pay their taxes?

Hon. Mr. Keenan: Mr. Speaker, what more can I say? This is not the government that raised taxes, as the previous administration did. Certainly not. This government has gone out to work with people, and will continue to work with people. I do know that folks across there do not - and I say "folks" because they are part of the Yukon community, but they should learn to integrate themselves within the Yukon partnership.

Mr. Jenkins: Well, here we have a situation where squatters are being refunded the taxes they pay, by the City of Whitehorse, and if they haven't paid it, it's being written off. Further to that, the Government of Yukon is paying them $1,000 per year to a maximum of $45,000 for 45 years of occupancy for illegally occupying that land.

Now, what is this government prepared to offer law-abiding Yukoners who pay their taxes faithfully?

Speaker: The member has 30 seconds.

Mr. Jenkins: Why is this government creating a double standard, Mr. Speaker?

Hon. Mr. Keenan: Mr. Speaker, there is no double standard here. This government believes in working with people and will continue to work with people. So, there is no double standard, but what there is, is there is a fresh light in initiative in the Yukon territorial government to work with people, and that's the chance that the previous administration had and blew it. This government will not blow it; this government will continue to work with people.

Thank you.

Question re:  FAS/FAE prevention

Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health and Social Services and it's about FAS and FAE prevention.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the Asante Study of 1981, which was almost 20 years ago, shows that the incidence of fetal alcohol syndrome in the Yukon was 47 babies in every 1,000 births. In Canada in 1994, it is estimated that one or two children in every 1,000 live births is considered to have FAS or FAE. If the 1981 figures are accurate, it means that the incidence of FAS in the Yukon is 47 times the national average.

Speaker: The member has 30 seconds.

Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Speaker, what is this government doing to help prevent FAS in the Yukon?

Hon. Mr. Sloan: Well, in April 1997, we adopted the alcohol-related birth defects planning model, and I can give the member some highlights of that. We're working with family and children services to provide outreach services to youth at risk. We have been working with schools, on a requested basis, including Porter Creek Secondary School, the development of lesson plans, integration of the CAP program. We've been working with the positive action for youth.

Speaker: The minister has 30 seconds.

Hon. Mr. Sloan: We've developed the alcohol and unborn baby kit. That will be completed in January 1999. We've developed an FAS/FAE referral protocol for physicians. We are also presenting workshops on administering the screening tools that will help identify women at risk who are having babies with alcohol-related birth defects.

Mrs. Edelman: It must be environmental day because those are recycled programs, some of them from 15 years ago.

Now, Mr. Speaker, how many fewer babies born with FAS and FAE are being born here in the Yukon because of the minister's efforts to prevent FAS and FAE?

Hon. Mr. Sloan: Mr. Speaker, I can go on with some other things that we are trying to do. In terms of the member asking us to quantify, that's always difficult. She knows it's difficult, and she also knows the fact that we are trying to do what we can. We've developed the healthy family initiative. We are developing prenatal care, postnatal care, newborn infant care. We're recognizing the need to intervene.

Speaker: The minister has 30 seconds.

Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Speaker, there are some very successful prevention and early intervention programs in the Yukon - prenatal programs - and they are funded by the federal government, and that funding runs out in the year 2000. Will this minister commit to funding those programs here in the Yukon to help prevent FAS and FAE?

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Speaker: Order please. Order.

Hon. Mr. Sloan: Mr. Speaker, the member said herself that federal funding is ending. Here we have the compassionate federal government slicing out the funding, and we're being asked once again to pick up federal offloading. When Mr. Martin cuts the cheque, I'll be more than happy to recycle the money.

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



Bill No. 13: Second Reading - continued

Clerk: Second reading, Bill No. 13, standing in the name of the hon. Mr. McDonald - adjourned debate, Mr. Ostashek.

Mr. Ostashek: Mr. Speaker, when we left off last night, I was raising concerns about the cost of government growing, and the private sector economy shrinking, and I have real concerns about that, as I stated last night. There are a few other areas that I'd like to touch on today in speaking to the supplementary budget that's before us, and I just want to point out some of the areas where I see money going in this budget and places where I think money should be going where it's not going.

Because of our poor economic climate, and the government's inability to create any confidence in investors to invest in the Yukon, we have had a dramatic increase in social assistance, crime rate - and government is all that's growing. We don't see anything on the other side of the ledger, and that's causing real concerns for us.

Mr. Speaker, when we look at social assistance, payments have skyrocketed under this government, and I believe that's a reflection of the very depressed economy that we have in the Yukon today. In one year alone, social assistance costs have increased by $1.1 million. Payments in the Whitehorse area alone now reach more than $600,000 a month.

Mr. Speaker, social assistance is no substitute for a good job, but there are no good jobs out there - there're no jobs out there. Other people have chosen to leave the territory, because they have lost confidence in this government's ability to create a climate for investment in the Yukon, and that causes us grave concern, because we're losing many, many of our skilled tradespeople. And when this economy turns around - whether it's during the remainder of the mandate of this government, or after the mandate of this government - those tradespeople are going to be required, and I believe it's going to be very, very hard to encourage them to come back to the Yukon, after the bitter experience that they've had under the mandate of this NDP government.

Mr. Speaker, this government has said time and time again that they were going to cut red tape. In fact, what they're doing is adding more red tape, not less red tape - more government intervention, not less government intervention.

As a result, it's going to have a negative impact on investment in the Yukon.

Mr. Speaker, we need to start creating some confidence in the future of the Yukon, and we need to do it very quickly. I believe, in order to do that, this government is going to have to take a hard look at their policies, and maybe do some re-jigging and readjustment to instill some confidence in Yukon's future.

The Yukoners that I talk to on a day-to-day basis, not only are they concerned about what's going to happen in the Yukon in the next six months, or in the next year. They're very, very skeptical and pessimistic about what the future holds for Yukoners - for them, their families, their children - and what they're going to do. As a result, a lot of them are starting to save their dollars, and they're not spending like they used to, and we see real estate transactions dropping quite dramatically, and that is having a real negative impact. It's starting to snowball on us - not only the Faro mine shutting down. It's the lack of exploration dollars coming to the Yukon.

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Speaker: Order.

Mr. Ostashek: I'm going to try to ignore the kibitzing from the Member for Faro. He'll get his 20 minutes to speak, and I'll be looking forward to his words of wisdom on the floor of this Legislature, and all the answers that he has. Mr. Speaker, he is the minister who's responsible for economic development in the territory, and I'm sad to say that he hasn't been doing a very good job at all. He's also the minister responsible for Workers' Compensation and, in a survey conducted by the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses last year, it showed that Workers' Compensation premiums are the most harmful charges to Yukon businesses.

While over 61 percent of businesses believed that premiums were too high, 29 percent felt that WCB provided -

Lights Across Canada, observation of

Speaker: Order please. Order. I'm sorry to interrupt the member speaking, but I have just been advised that the Christmas tree lighting ceremony is about to begin. It is my understanding, from the House leaders, that all members have agreed that the House will take a recess in order to attend the Lights Across Canada ceremony that will take place in the foyer of the government building.

Based on that understanding, the House will recess until approximately four o'clock.


Speaker: I will now call the House to order. The House is debating the motion for second reading of Bill No. 13.

Mr. Ostashek: Mr. Speaker, with all of the interruptions into my presentation on the supplementary budget this time around, maybe it would be in order for me to just reread Hansard for the record, which is something that my colleague from Riverside did in the House one time, but I won't resort to that, and I don't intend to be much longer in speaking to the supplementary budget.

I believe that members opposite know what we in the Yukon Party think of their spending priorities. We don't agree with them. We don't believe that they're putting Yukoners to work, and we believe that they could be doing a better job.

There are a few things that I need to put on the record though, while I have this opportunity.

We'll have more to say when they see their new budget in the spring, and see if their spending priorities have changed at all.

The one thing that I do want to do, Mr. Speaker, is just go back to our power rates for awhile, because I don't believe Yukoners are getting the whole story - certainly not from the government, that's for sure. We now see the government - or the minister - has announced the new rate relief program - the new, improved rate relief program -

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Mr. Ostashek: - rate relief stabilization, yeah. They couldn't call it what the Yukon Party called it, because they have to take those same programs - as I said once before in this House take those same programs - recycle them, reword them, paint them pink and put them back out in public. Then they're NDP policy.

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Mr. Ostashek: Orange - is it orange now? My colleague from Porter Creek South says "orange". Whatever.

I would just like to say to the members opposite that they ought to have more respect than that for the intelligence of Yukoners. They really ought to have more respect than that.

Mr. Speaker, we heard of this new rate relief policy, but the fact remains that it's not giving the same level of financial comfort to the ratepayers as the Yukon Party rate relief policy was.

The Member for Faro is shaking his head. He will have an opportunity to refute my statements when he gets up and has his say, right after I'm done, I believe.

Mr. Speaker, if you look at the rates in September of 1996, just prior to this government coming to power, the rate for 500 kilowatt hours was $54.08. This was with all the rate relief in, and everything else. Currently, Mr. Speaker, Yukoners are paying $64.17. In December - this month - with their new rate relief policy, they will still be paying $58.95, almost 10 percent more than under a Yukon Party government. Yet they call it the new, improved rate relief policy.

I think what annoys me more than anything else - and Yukoners more than anything else - they're using Yukoners' money now to try and sell it to them. Ads are running in the paper all over, the typical NDP tactic - repackage it and spend the taxpayers' own money to sell it to them.

If you look at the thousand kilowatt hours, the one that rate relief is basically based on, it was $97.12 per thousand kilowatt hours in 1996. Currently, Yukoners pay $115.87, and even after rate relief, they will still be paying $105.87. I would like the minister, when he gets his chance to speak, to either confirm if my figures are accurate or to refute them and we'll debate the issue further at some other point.

Mr. Speaker, the point I'm trying to make is that this government isn't really doing anything constructive. They are just blowing smoke past Yukoners; that is what they are doing - and most of it is diesel smoke.

Mr. Speaker, until this government gets back on track and finds a cheaper source of power, we're not going to have relief on electrical rates in the Yukon. The Yukon has an opportunity to be self-sufficient in energy. I know the minister will say, "Well, we can't take the risk. We can't build something - 'Build it and they will come' ", he says.

The fact remains now, Mr. Speaker, if we were to displace all of the energy we import into the Yukon with homegrown energy, we could probably supply that energy a lot cheaper and we would put a lot of Yukoners to work.

I don't know why the government didn't follow through on what the Yukon Party was doing when they were in power and the direction they were going, Mr. Speaker.

We can talk about green power all we want. It's great. But I'd like to see how many Yukoners are prepared to pay 50 percent more for green power than what they're paying right now for diesel power, which is already a high price. If we're going to do the things that this government wants to do, to create a manufacturing centre here for pre-fab homes and to sell them to Chile and Russia, then we'd better start getting cheaper power, because we don't have any hope of fulfilling those dreams with the cost of doing business in the Yukon today, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that's where government should be focusing, that's what they should be doing with the spending powers that they have. We on this side of the House don't believe that government should create every job in the Yukon. Government can't do that, but they can certainly create a climate, a positive atmosphere, so that the private sector will create those much-needed jobs. That's where our dollars should be going - into infrastructure that is wealth-creating, not debt-creating.

Mr. Speaker, as I was saying before the break, when we were talking about WCB premiums and the lack of action by this government, even though they made a promise during the election that they were going to get things straightened out, 61 percent of the businesses believe that the rates are too high and 29 percent believe that WCB gives a poor service. At the same time, the survey confirms what many have been saying for some time - that injured workers are far from happy about the treatment that they are receiving from WCB.

The Member for Faro, who is now the minister responsible, was very critical when he was in opposition - very, very critical - yet in two years, he has done absolutely nothing to alleviate the problem - absolutely nothing. The complaints are the same as they were then, and nothing is being done about it. What we do have, though, is a WCB that has the highest administration costs in Canada on a per capita basis - $4.6 million.

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Mr. Ostashek: The Member for Faro says that's false. Well, he'll have his opportunity to refute it.

It costs $4.6 million to administrate a compensation system for 15,000 workers, and it will probably be 10,000 workers if this government stays in power much longer. Despite the election promises, there has been absolutely nothing done about it.

What we do see though, Mr. Speaker, is the crime rate going up, the number of government employees going up, crime rate going up, because people are getting desperate out there. There's no work, and not much hope of finding any in the future.

Mr. Speaker, every day we hear of businesses that are laying people off. This issue is starting to snowball, and businesses are not optimistic about what's going to happen in 1999 or in the future.

So, Mr. Speaker, I suggest to the government that they regroup, and take a look at what they can do to promote an atmosphere that would be conducive to investment in the Yukon.

Mr. Speaker, in summing up, I'm going to be asking some questions as we go through debate on this budget, as to what the government is projecting, what financial impact the population drop that we're experiencing now will have. We had a very positive impact on our budgets with the 1996 census - as the Finance minister said - somewhat unexpectedly, but very nice to have.

But the reality of it is, I want to find out from the government what's going to happen, and in what period of time, when the downturn in our population now is going to impact upon the Yukon. I know it won't be in the next budget, but will it be in the 1999-2000 budget - that's the next budget, I'm sorry, Mr. Speaker - or will it be in the 2001 budget? I don't know. I'll be looking for those answers from the Finance minister when we get into debate on the budget.

I'll be also looking for some explanation - my colleagues and I - as to why the size of government is increasing at the rate it is, when in fact, we have fewer people to service in the Yukon. That trend cannot continue. It's scary, it's alarming, and will do nothing to create a better environment for Yukoners.

Mr. Speaker, I want to say at this point that the Yukon Party caucus will not be supporting this supplementary budget. It does absolutely nothing to put Yukoners to work; it does nothing to create jobs for Yukoners. Until such time as this government comes forward with a budget that does start creating a climate for investment in the Yukon and stops the trend of people moving out of the Yukon - and the moving vans start bringing people back to the Yukon - we cannot support the spending plans of this government.

Mr. Speaker, with that, I will have more questions when we get into general debate.

Thank you.

Hon. Mr. Harding: It gives me great pleasure to rise today to respond to the same old speech that the member opposite likes to give in this House. Whether or not any of it is factual or not seems to be irrelevant to him.

When I hear the same old tired vision, or lack thereof, of the member opposite, my mind harkens back to a movie I once saw, called "Quest for Fire". As usual, the member opposite doesn't like to hear the truth about issues, but there's a very serious problem in the minds of the Yukon Party. They have this habit of talking like they actually did something in four years when they were the government of the territory, on infrastructure and investment.

Mr. Speaker, they were lucky that the Faro mine started back up. It's as simple as that. They were lucky the NDP government negotiated a U.S. Congress deal to provide some federal treasury monies for the Shakwak, and they were lucky there was an NDP government that negotiated a $50-million hospital construction project.

Because, Mr. Speaker, what they actually did for the economy, if you look at the facts, is they raised taxes - the highest tax increase in Yukon history. They had the biggest government spending budgets in Yukon history, and they did no work on economic diversification. Their whole thesis on economic development was that government spending creates jobs; high taxes create jobs.

We take a very different tack, Mr. Speaker. We believe that economic diversification is going to have to be the salvation of the Yukon economy.

We are struggling, trying to hold the Faro mine's assets together, but we have seen sustained prices under 50 cents for zinc for over a year and, before that, a long time previous to the spike we saw last fall. That's the reality out there in the base metal markets. Even major companies like Cominco at the Red Dog property are struggling, cutting back left, right and centre.

Oil resource companies are laying people off. I saw BP in Alaska cutting 30 percent of their workforce and their costs. I read an article today that the Alaskan government is looking at a $3-billion deficit for their budget this year. They're going to be eating into their old reserve fund because of the oil crisis. The fact is that, from a resource economy's point of view, there is a crisis, not in terms of supply but because the prices are hovering around $10 or $11 a barrel.

Mr. Speaker, that's the economic reality. So, when the Yukon Party wants to take us back to that false economy, those so-called good old days of hospital construction, a pre-Bre-X environment in the junior mining sector, metal prices that were on a huge high, it just can't be. I'd love to see it, because I could stand here and crow very easily about the economic prosperity, but it wouldn't be entirely real, because we have seen, on a cyclical basis in this resource economy, the problems with that approach.

So, we've taken a balanced view. We've taken a view that goes to support the resource sector and goes beyond that. We've done more in oil and gas development than the Yukon Party ever dreamed of. We've negotiated the Northern Accord, we signed the devolution agreement, we're developing the royalties and the regime, and we developed the Yukon Oil and Gas Act. That was all done by the Yukon New Democratic Party government, that the members opposite like to call the no-development party.

Then, Mr. Speaker, we have the gumption to announce that we're going to have some land sales and actually develop the resource, and we've taken some criticism for that from staunch environmentalists who believe that that's not the way to go, but we believe that we have to be more self-sufficient as a territory.

So, we take a very different view from the Yukon Party, which is trying to deal with issues that are very difficult to control. We've put a lot of resources into the economy in the traditional sectors, and we're going to continue to do that, and the Tourism minister has done tremendous work on securing new charter flights. We've seen a massive capital project on the expansion of the airport runway. We've seen a brand-new marketing fund in economic development for export trade.

And $1 million is going to be invested in other areas in tourism marketing to go beyond the anniversaries and the traditional themes that we've developed as a territory for marketing this territory. So, it's, I think, amazing what we've accomplished, and I think the numbers are going to bear it out over the next few years. I think that's work we can be proud of.

You know, Mr. Speaker, the opposition can stand up and criticize. It's very easy. I did it in opposition for four years, but you can really imagine how the public is going to measure it at the end of the day. They're going to look at just the throwing out of the questions, which the opposition does, and the pitching out of allegations, and they're going to start to ask questions about what they're proposing for alternatives. What initiatives do they have?

Mr. Speaker, from the Yukon Party, we've got the old vision. From the Liberals, we've got the old vision, except you can add in a couple of bison permits and that that would be a magic economic generator. You've got their idea that somehow a one- or two-day wonder economic summit in four or five months is going to be the answer to the economic malaise of the territory. Mr. Speaker, that approach carries no weight and no steam.

We are out there working with all Yukon people all the time on so many different economic fronts, whether it be tax reform, which we have underway and which is going to lead to things like tax incentives in the mining industry and for new areas of growth in the Yukon economy, whether it be cutting red tape and working with the business community to get rid of unnecessary duplication and regulation that's redundant, whether it be developing new access to capital, mechanisms like the immigrant investment fund.

We're dealing with the short term in terms of the economic downturn. We have a major fire suppression fund that we developed. Even though forestry is a federal responsibility, we feel that our communities need to have some protection, so we've invested through this supplementary budget half-a-million dollars in forest fire suppression.

We've put an extra $1 million in the community development fund in this supplementary budget to try and create those short-term jobs and deal with the immediate needs, and I am hopeful that communities, like the one I represent, will benefit from the fire suppression and will also benefit from the community development fund. Those are initiatives in this budget.

In Faro right now, we're suffering very difficult times as EI is running out for some people. The economic prospects for the mine are more focused right now in terms of my efforts on just keeping it together to open when we get a rebound in prices as opposed to actually discussing when the mine is going to restart. That is a very difficult prospect for families in the community, but they're hanging in there and we, as a government, are trying to respond as best we can by creating jobs in some areas, by pleading with the federal government to do some environmental reclamation work with the $14-million trust fund that they have there. That has got to be an imperative priority for the federal government. We've had some minor expenditure in that area of about $150,000, but I do believe there has to be much, much more. A lot of people could go to work if that money was spent properly. So, we're working with the federal government on that, and I hope that they see fit to do that because this winter that could be very beneficial.

I think also there is potential for the community of Ross River to benefit from that, and I think it's a winner all round.

We also are helping to support the food bank in Faro. We're dealing with the Industrial Adjustment Services Committee to keep the office open so that people have a place to do work on job résumés, stay in touch with people to ensure that, if there are opportunities out there, they can find them.

And of course we've put money into the community development fund and into jobs, like the development of the arboretum, the work that we did on the recreation complex. These were all very positive developments. It's difficult for governments to employ people in an area where you once had 400 to 600 jobs. Obviously, they can't all be picked up, but we're doing everything we can to try and provide support there and will continue to do that.

As a government, overall, we've been creating an excellent climate for investment, with the second-lowest corporate tax rate in Canada, with frozen taxes, with balanced budgets, maintaining a surplus between $45 million and $55 million, money in the bank account. Mr. Speaker, that is consistent, stable spending.

We don't want to support the roller-coaster ride we saw with the Yukon Party, where one day they're saying they're broke, the next day they're rolling in the simoleons, then the next day, they're broke again, then it's all clear. Mr. Speaker, they took Yukoners on a roller-coaster ride.

What we've done is said that we'll have stable spending patterns, and if you look at the Auditor General's reports for fiscal year-ends versus the main estimates of this government, you'll see them track in a straight line - main estimates, straight line - and you'll see Auditor General's fiscal year-end in a straight line, right across the board, since we've been in government.

The problem arises when people, for their own purposes, like to compare the main estimates to the year-end, but we can show, through evidence, that we've handled the fiscal elements of governing very well and very responsibly.

In the critical areas of health care and education, we have not done what other jurisdictions have done; we have not done what the federal Liberal government has done, taking $8 billion out of health care. What we did, Mr. Speaker, is we decided that we had to protect health care and education funding, and this supplementary budget reflects more of that, where you see the Minister of Health and Social Services fighting to ensure there's actually more money invested in health care. Unlike other jurisdictions, where slashing has been the order of the day, we've increased the budget for health care.

In the area of education, we have maintained services. That's what we said we would do for the Yukon public.

Now, that comes at a cost. We can't do everything the Liberals want us to do. They stand up every Question Period, particularly one of the critics, and ask for hundreds of thousands of dollars more, all that in the face of what her federal Liberal counterparts are doing, which doesn't demonstrate any kind of compassion in the health care system - hanging on to the $8 billion they took out of the system, sitting on a $20-billion EI surplus, and then telling the provinces and territories they can't have any more money for health care.

Mr. Speaker, that is awful. And then they decide to throw a few bucks in people's pockets by some piddly little cut to the EI premiums, and think that that's going to resolve it.

Mr. Speaker, that federal government has seriously lost touch. We're not like that. We've made a commitment to those key areas - Yukoners have grown comfortable with the services they have, and we have made a commitment to maintain them.

Now, we get requests every day - every day - to do more, and sometimes we have to say no, and it's not easy. But, Mr. Speaker, if you're not going to raise taxes - which we committed to - and if you're going to have balanced budgets, unfortunately you have to say no some days. The opposition hasn't gotten that message - they would prefer to fund everything. Mr. Speaker, it would be incredibly scary - if there was ever to be a Liberal territorial government - how fast and loose with the buck they would be, because they can't say no. They're trying to portray themselves as the environmentalists, the friends of labour, the friends of the conservatives - the friends of everybody. They don't have one policy of any nature that's in any way substantive.

I bet you when the Liberal leader stands up after me, she can't name five solid initiatives. I'll match her up right now, Mr. Speaker - tax reform, the red tape regulatory code of conduct we're doing, the work we're doing in developing access to capital options, the marketing funds that we have announced in both tourism and economic development, the airport runway extension, the work we're doing in developing a Yukon mineral strategy, the work we're doing in terms of developing a protected areas strategy - which is going to have economic and environmental positive impacts in the territory - the work we're doing, that was announced, on the youth strategy for young people in this territory.

Mr. Speaker, the list goes on and on and on and on - and what will they stand up and say? "You're doing nothing. You're doing nothing for the people." Well, Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the case. We are dealing with the situation very responsibly, trying to respond to the needs, dealing with the realities - that the Faro mine has represented 20 percent of the gross domestic product of this territory for 30 years.

It's 1,000 jobs, and you can't just change an economy overnight and make it like it was.

The Yukon Party tends to forget their record when they were in government and took over in 1993-94, when the Faro mine went down. The GDP of the Yukon shrank 22.2 percent, according to the stats branch, and again it dropped the following year.

Mr. Speaker, there were fewer people in the territory in the workforce then than there are now. It was vastly smaller. That's because the economy has not bottomed out because of the initiatives that this government has undertaken, and I haven't even mentioned that we were successful in renegotiating the Shakwak contract. That's going to put people to work up on the north highway. I haven't even mentioned yet that there is a major investment - the opposition likes to talk about no environment for investment. Well, Mr. Speaker, how did $10 million in the way of a new sawmill end up in Watson Lake? How did that just happen to happen?

Mr. Speaker, how did companies like Cominco, under this government, invest $30 million to $40 million in the Faro mine? What does the opposition think was the catalyst of that? Well, they think it's because this government is seen as a very reasonable government with a balanced agenda. We make no bones about our economic bent, and we make no bones about the fact that we want to protect the Yukon environment as well.

You know, it's always a pleasure to be lectured by the Liberals about the mining industry. They stand up and how many times did they say that they support protected spaces? They were feeling a little heat lamp pressure on the whole protected spaces question, so 15 times in five minutes the Liberal leader said she supported them. Well, Mr. Speaker, she will turn around in the same breath and say, "Well, mineral exploration is down because of protected spaces." And she'll criticize the NDP because we brought in a protected spaces agenda.

Now, Mr. Speaker, she can't have it both ways. That's the Liberal game, but it does get exposed. It has been exposed time and time again in this territory, and I know that they're getting lots of cute little headlines now, and they feel pretty good about themselves, but it will be exposed.

They're going to have to take positions, and they can't go up against mineral exploration in this territory when they say it's protected space - which they say is important - and then they say it's got nothing to do with the federal government. The reality is that the biggest issue, according to the Chamber of Mines, with mineral exploration that they're dealing with right now is permitting. It's the permitting process. It's New Millennium. It's Dublin Gulch. Three and a half, four years in the federal government's process. We designated a blue-book process that I worked on with the chamber. The federal minister was going to implement it. That has completely dropped off the table, much to my chagrin and much to the chagrin of the investment climate of this territory. That's got to get back on the rails and we intend to do that.

Mr. Speaker, as well, we feel very strongly about the issues that the people who are doing better in export and trade are raising. I couldn't believe the Yukon Party leader criticizing the gentlemen who are doing the business contracts in Chile, saying that we couldn't compete with Albertans and we couldn't compete with anybody else, saying that that was the wrong way to go. Doesn't he think his beloved Albertan companies do business outside of Alberta? Doesn't he think that? I know for a fact they do because I was on the Team Canada trade mission in South America and there were lots of companies from all across this country doing business there.

Why is it wrong, particularly in a downturn, for Yukon companies to get aggressive, to go outside the territory and make sure that they find new opportunities, whether it be in Chile or anywhere else?

And, Mr. Speaker, we don't sign the contracts. The businesses do. I can't believe the criticism of the efforts ...

Speaker: The minister has two minutes.

Hon. Mr. Harding: ... of the Housing Corporation to find new opportunities. They've stood up bold-faced and said, "If there's any activity in Russia, we've got to make sure that there is security for us." Absolutely; I couldn't agree more, but to pooh-pooh the entrepreneurial spirit of the business community and of the Housing Corporation, looking for opportunities to create jobs in the Yukon and outside, I think is indicative of the gloom and doom.

The members opposite talk about us creating a positive climate for investment. They are the architects of doom and gloom.

They are a catalyst of doom and gloom. I'm challenging them to stand up and give me a list of actual concrete, helpful initiatives. I bet you she can't do it.

Ms. Duncan: This supplementary budget is quite large. The net budgetary expenditures are more than double last year's supps, and it represents 10 percent of the entire government budget for this year.

The key element for many Yukoners in this supplementary budget is the one-time census payment from the Government of Canada. The Government of Yukon had projected this to be $4 million in the budget tabled and debated this spring. Well, Mr. Speaker, the government received almost six times that amount, or $23,839,000.

When did the Government Leader, in his capacity as Minister of Finance, receive notification of this windfall? The Government Leader toured the territory in his pre-budget consultations in October of this year. I believe, if Yukoners had been asked, they would have suggested a number of ways that these funds could be constructively used to build a future for the Yukon.

Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, the open and accountable NDP government didn't ask.

The NDP, in their arrogance, decided "We know what's best, and we'll spend the money how we please."

Some Hon. Member: Point of order.

Point of order

Speaker: On the point of order.

Hon. Mr. Harding: I would argue, Mr. Speaker, if you look in Beauchesne, that the implication of arrogance by the NDP and the members of our caucus would be unparliamentary.

Speaker's statement

Speaker: Order please. The Chair will review Hansard. Would the member continue.

Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, I'm so delighted that the Member for Faro referenced campaign promises because many Yukoners remember the document, A Better Way. The government promised, on page 24 of A Better Way, that they would provide ways for public input into the budgeting process. I guess the government didn't mean "meaningful input" into the government budgeting process, like listening to your opinion on how to spend an unexpected $24-million windfall, which, by the way, did not even have to be spent this year. The government could have lived up to another A Better Way promise and maintained the money in a savings account while they solicited Yukoners' opinions.

The Government Leader, in his reply, will talk about not building people's expectations, not raising hopes, not creating wish lists the government couldn't fill, not pitting Yukoners against each other in a bidding war. Well, Mr. Speaker, I have a whole lot more faith in Yukoners than the Government Leader does.

What are the priorities of Yukoners? Health care is a priority and yet, there is no funding for an extended health care centre in Watson Lake. There is an eight-month waiting list for speech and hearing services and we've learned recently of shortfall at the Child Development Centre. How does the Minister of Finance justify a year-long waiting list at a key facility in the territory with an extra $24 million in the bank?

Mr. Speaker, then there's education. Education is supposed to be another priority of this government. I've attended numerous school council meetings since being elected. Over and over and over again, I have listened to Department of Education officials plead poverty on behalf of the government. What they really are bemoaning is the fact that their minister has no clout at the Cabinet table. Where was the Minister of Education when this windfall was discussed and divvied up? Who was speaking on behalf of 6,000 students in this territory?

It's obvious from the way the windfall was spent that the Minister of Education wasn't.

Mr. Speaker, a couple of years ago, the Department of Education encouraged schools to plan their budget and allocate monies on their priorities - school-based budgeting. This fall, those dollars were yanked from the schools while the department pleaded poverty in light of the Jack Hulland fire. According to this budget, the money spent on fire repairs has been fully recovered. I hope the school-based budget money has been returned to the schools.

Mr. Speaker, let's just take $1 million. The Member for Faro was challenging me as to how the Liberal Party would propose expenditures. Well, if he cares to listen, let me tell him. Let's take just $1 million from the census payment for education - one-twenty-fourth. First of all, let's return the $100,000 that the minister tried to save on the backs of five-year olds by cutting busing, and take the remaining $900,000 and give it to the schools. Spend it in consultation with the school councils, with the only condition that it be spent on programming.

Some Hon. Member: Point of order.

Point of order

Speaker: The hon. Member for Faro, on a point of order.

Hon. Mr. Harding: I have a problem with that math, and that's that that money wasn't taken out to cut busing, so her argument is irrelevant.

Speaker's ruling

Speaker: I cannot recognize anyone who is not in their seat.

The member may continue.

Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, the remaining $900,000 could be given to schools and spent in consultation with school councils, with the only condition that it be spent on programming. That would be what I call working with the partners in education. Schools and school councils would know where this money would do the most good. They may have bought books for libraries, allocated additional education assistant time to students who needed it most. Yukon schools could have created one job at a time and helped our students, if they had been given a chance.

Forget the department's allocation of money and superintendent slush funds. Put the money where it's most useful - in the schools.

And speaking of slush funds, Mr. Speaker - let's move on to the $1.7-million increase in the CDF - the community development fund.

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Ms. Duncan: The Member for Faro - the one who has the clout at the Cabinet table - has made the extreme leap in logic that, by voting against the CDF, we're opposed to the projects funded in the CDF.

The harsh reality is that the CDF - with its total of $5.2 million - gives the government a $100,000 allowance every week. We've asked repeatedly for the government to put legislative guidelines around the CDF - to take the ministers' hands out of the cookie jars - and to remove the pork-barrel smell that permeates the fund.

Mr. Speaker, the CDF does support a number of worthwhile projects. It's the slush fund that needs to be fixed.

The CDF is administered through Economic Development. And we have another new fund, called the trade and investment development fund, which is part of this supplementary budget. We have asked repeatedly for the trade and investment diversification strategy. Is there a workplan that the government's working from? We've never seen it. Are there any measurements of success? Are there any tools for evaluation? We've asked the minister repeatedly to justify this ever-increasing expenditure.

Show us the jobs. We're putting more and more money into something, and so far the results are nowhere to be found.

There's another issue in the Minister of Economic Development's department - revenue that's been accumulating in the Kotaneelee fund for some time. The fund was transferred to the Yukon government recently, but it doesn't appear that the $4 million that was transferred was included in the budget. Would the Government Leader, when he responds, confirm this or indicate why not?

While the Minister of Economic Development is busy sinking money into the CDF, the Minister of Justice is busy putting money into an ageing jail. Mr. Speaker, we have spent more money fixing this jail than it would have cost to build a new one. At the same time, a recent study was done on our jails - a study the Minister of Justice will not release. She must be taking lessons in being open and accountable from her colleague, the Minister of Health and Social Services.

A recent study in our jails concluded that the Teslin facility is so poorly used that the government should be looking at other uses for the building.

In this supplementary budget, there's more money to fix up the jail. Again, no long-term plan to deal with the replacement of this facility.

In the Justice budget, there is some good news. I understand there's money to cover some of the shortfall in the legal aid budget. We'll save our congratulations to the minister when we get more detail on this.

Mr. Speaker, those are just some suggestions for the almost $24 million in a one-time payment. They only deal with about $7 million of these funds.

Where did the government spend the money? Well, $1.5 million went into the CDF. We've already dealt with that. Sixteen million dollars went to the Yukon Development Corporation. Again, the minister responsible will try to suggest that any criticism of this influx of funds translates into a vote against lowering power rates for Yukoners who need it most, and that somehow the Liberals don't believe in fulfilling our commitments under Kyoto or in green power.

Well, that's the usual spurious reason we get from that minister, Mr. Speaker. I would love to spell it out for the minister. The Liberals support rate relief. D'accord. We agree. How many languages do we have to put it in?

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Ms. Duncan: Every Yukoner appreciates a lower power bill. Every Yukoner has the right to ask how much we've spent patting the government on the back for this. There were three ads in the paper alone in one night's issue. There wasn't this much advertising about the new tax on juice in July, and that took $80,000 out of Yukon families' pockets.

And in spite of this funding, we still haven't resolved long-term issues surrounding energy in the Yukon. We have not resolved them, Mr. Speaker.

This supplementary budget could have been far better crafted. There could have been vision. There could have been real concrete results on the Government Leader's statement that this government would create one job at a time - there could have been.

However, Yukoners are getting used to seeing promises made by this NDP government not fulfilled.

Mr. Speaker, our caucus is more than prepared to deal with the supplementary budget on a department-by-department basis. We made some general comments. The Member for Faro has challenged the Liberal caucus and me to name initiatives that we would do, were we in government. I'm more than prepared to do that, Mr. Speaker, and when he finally comes out of the closet and takes over the leadership of the NDP, I'll be glad to debate him in the next election, and I'll look forward to doing that then.

Mr. Livingston: I'm pleased to rise today and support the supplementary budget for 1998-99. Our budget is one that shows leadership through action to help Yukon people, communities and businesses at a time of economic downturn.

Mr. Speaker, I believe it's a good piece of work. We've made, through this supplementary budget, a major economic investment in energy - $16 million. We provided for additional capital spending and major support for the new trade and investment and tourism marketing funds.

Mr. Speaker, this is going to help create jobs and diversify our economy.

We have also maintained funding for essential programs for important services, like health, like education, social services and we've maintained that savings account that Yukoners value, just as we had planned.

Mr. Speaker, we're also fortunate to have, in the supplementary budget, $10 million in Shakwak funding and that's already at work providing jobs for Yukon people.

We're investing $2.5 million in new capital spending, helping people to work and diversify in our fire-smart communities program, through our marketing and investment funds, and we've added additional funds to the community development fund to create needed jobs for this winter.

Mr. Speaker, we're doing some long-term work as well as short-term work; long-term work to help strengthen and diversify the Yukon economy and short-term work to ensure that people have opportunities, have work this coming winter.

We've also provided for modest increases to our O&M expenditures that reflects our government's commitments to the new collective agreement with government employees, increasing the wage package by three percent over three years.

Mr. Speaker, our government is not just looking at the short term, as I mentioned; we're looking at the long term by spending dollars on tax reform that involves the Yukon public, by improving our banking services and by working and developing new mechanisms for investing in the Yukon.

Mr. Speaker, I think that there is a lot of evidence that the work of this government is paying off. It's showing dividends, I think, for Yukoners. When we look, for example, at Yukon employment, it's been a tough year in the Yukon with a major mine closing down. Yet, when we look at the Yukon Bureau of Statistics report on employment for October of 1998, we have a labour force of 15,400 and employed workers of 14,000.

Mr. Speaker, that compares favourably with years over the last decade, and most notably, I think, during the Yukon Party government's four years in power. We have more workers at work today in the Yukon than during the years 1993, 1994 and 1995.

So, Mr. Speaker, despite the loss of a major mine in the Yukon, our approach of finding one job at a time, of spending a bit of public money here - for example, on airport extensions - by working with the private sector with measures including marketing and diversification funds, trade investment funds - this kind of work is paying off.

Mr. Speaker, another piece of evidence that shows that Yukoners are surviving, despite the tough times imposed by the closure of a major mine, if you look at the monthly retail sales report, we find, in fact, that more money was spent in the month of September in 1998 than was spent in the month of September 1997. There has actually been a small increase there of 1.5 percent. That's combined with a decrease in our cost of living increase in the Yukon, so that we're once again very competitive with jurisdictions across Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to play an active role with our government in leading economic initiatives that provide for the economic leadership, working with Yukoners on a variety of measures.

I know, Mr. Speaker, that it's hard for some of the members opposite in the opposition to understand the sense of teamwork that our caucus tries to bring to the fore on a variety of issues. It's difficult for them to fathom that.

Mr. Speaker, we've taken a number of long-term measures. As I said, I'm pleased to have been a part, for example, as the Cabinet commissioner for the development assessment process. Our DAP commission has done some good work over the last couple of years.

It's interesting - I think it's noteworthy - that the leaders of both opposition parties have declined to ask direct questions of the Cabinet commissioner for DAP, but rather will hijack information or hijack comments and so on about DAP into questions to other ministers, but they don't have the courage to address them directly to the DAP commissioner.

Mr. Speaker, as members know by now, this is a three-party process - at least it has been to date. Consultation is very important. It's been a cornerstone of our DAP commission's work over the last two years, and the DAP public meeting that was held recently is just one more example of how our government - in this case, as partners with two other orders of government - listens to the people.

This was not, Mr. Speaker, as has been suggested, a place for politicians to make speeches. I was the only politician present who was leading a part of the process. The federal government and CYFN - neither of them, to my knowledge, had political leaders present.

Rather, this was an opportunity to present information about DAP, and an opportunity for people to ask questions and seek clarification, express concerns about the DAP that was proposed.

Mr. Speaker, DAP has the potential - in fact it has the promise, I believe - of helping to streamline the assessment and permitting processes. We've established some timelines, based on what we've heard from a number of different groups over the last two years - what the Yukon government's DAP commission has heard. We have provided for guidelines, and certainly the opportunity to ask questions up front, including those that might come from regulatory bodies, and we have, I believe, increased the accountability of governments through the DAP process.

After two years of working on DAP, the Yukon Party had done virtually nothing. They'd spent a lot of money. They spent money with outside consultants; they spent money within Yukon, as well, but they weren't even prepared to open it up to public comment.

They were prepared, as the leader of the official opposition said shortly after moving into opposition - they had it all done. They were ready to send it off to Ottawa without, Mr. Speaker, the opportunity for the public to make comments - a backroom deal.

I believe that the public consultation process is an important one. It's given us an opportunity to hear from Yukoners, and I would encourage the Liberal Party to encourage the federal Liberals to listen closely to what the public in the Yukon has said. I believe that we can continue to work and improve the work that has already been done.

Mr. Speaker, on tax reform, I think this is another important initiative. It's a longer range view and action that can help to encourage investment in new sectors in the economy, help to create jobs, and it's the first time that the Yukon government has ever undertaken a public process, indeed a comprehensive effort, at reforming the tax system in order to encourage investment and create jobs to stimulate the economy.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report, as the chair of the tax reform round table, that we have met with people from the private sector, labour, industry, business people and First Nations people. We've also had an interdepartmental work group working on this as well, and we've provided advice to the Finance minister, as was noted by the Member for Riverside today, in the form of four important measures. One, to stimulate mineral exploration in the territory at this time of a worldwide glut in mineral prices. Secondly, I think one of the challenges that small businesses have, and they have informed us of this on a number of different occasions, is to raise capital for expansion, raise capital for start-up, and I believe a small business investment tax measure can assist there as well.

Further, Mr. Speaker, having pools of venture capital to take on what might possibly be riskier investments, longer term investments, could be accomplished through something like a labour-sponsored venture capital corporation.

Finally, Mr. Speaker - and I believe that this could be one of the more significant measures in the longer term - making these kinds of investments RRSP eligible can help to repatriate Yukoners' savings, can help to bring the savings of Yukoners home to the Yukon to go to work in the Yukon economy.

Mr. Speaker, this is significant work. The private sector, the business people, labour unions and so on have provided some good advice on these matters and have certainly helped to strengthen the process so that we can do a good job on this front.

I'm surprised that the Member for Riverside today would be concerned that I had advised the Minister of Finance publicly about the recommendations coming out of the tax reform round table.

Mr. Speaker, yesterday it was the Member for Riverside who was complaining, in fact demanding an early draft of a report, because he hadn't been able to see it. And today, he doesn't think we should be making this a public process, but rather doing it behind closed doors.

Mr. Speaker, I can understand as well why the Member for Riverdale North suggested that there'd been an announcement about tax reform in the spring. After all, Mr. Speaker, this is the member who took the summer off, wasn't here for four months - so I can understand why he's a little confused about just when there was an announcement about tax reform on September 11.

I want to talk a little bit more about energy. The Liberal leader talked about how we could have spent the $16 million that we spent on energy, and has made suggestions that we should have spent it elsewhere. I can only assume - she says she supports the rate stabilization fund, she understands that energy is an important issue, but she would have spent it maybe elsewhere, but she supports the energy. We can't quite understand where the Liberal leader is coming from on this. Either she supports this expenditure - that's going to help to relieve the electrical rates of Yukoners, of business people, of residential customers, and help to provide stable rates for them over the next number of years - or she doesn't support it.

Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to support it. I'm pleased, as well, that we've been able to invest $3 million in a green power fund - to be developed in consultation with stakeholders - and $2 million to expand the wind power generation in the Yukon - an environmentally benign form of electricity.

In partnership, moreover, with the private sectors, we have established $250,000 for the trade and investment fund to assist Yukon businesses to build capacity to sell their goods and services outside of the territory.

Mr. Speaker, there are a number of positive examples where that has already seen some results. There was $250,000 to support the tourism marketing fund; $50,000 on film location incentives, and we're expanding territorial agent services to more Yukon communities.

Mr. Speaker, we're creating short-term jobs and improving local facilities as well. In the riding of Lake Laberge, I'm pleased to note that the Yukon Quest has received $32,000 for marketing and managing capacity, to build that capacity. The Klondike Snowmobile Association, as the leader of the development of the Trans Canada Trail, has received $22,000. The Yukon Agricultural Association has received something between $5,000 and $6,000 to attend a circumpolar conference to further develop agriculture around our territory. The Braeburn Lake Christian Camp Association has been provided with $9,300 to establish a solar energy supply at the camp.

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal leader has called the CDF a slush fund. Which one of these funds would she not be prepared to support? Which one of these funds would she slash? Would she slash them all, Mr. Speaker? The Tourism Industry Association received $22,000 to support the tourism business survey to help them assess what their strengths are, what their weaknesses are, and where they might move in the future.

The Yukon Scottish Club received $17,000 and change to support their Gathering of the Clans this past summer, one of the more successful events in some time. The Yukon Chamber of Mines received close to $9,000 to assist them in some of their marketing. The Yukon Fish and Game Association received $6,353 for an outdoor youth camp. Youth Empowerment and Success received $15,000 on a historic mural project. The Rendezvous Society received almost $20,000 for marketing. Crime Prevention Yukon received $15,500 for training for youth. The Yukon Council on Ageing received $10,000 for the Canada Senior Games. Sport Yukon received almost $20,000 for a sport and recreation symposium. The Sacred Heart Cathedral received $100,000 for a community kitchen facility that assists, for example, with a soup kitchen and supporting or providing aid to some of those less fortunate.

The Humane Society of the Yukon received $200,000 to construct an animal shelter. The Great Northern Ski Society, Dana Naye Ventures - $200,000 for a Yukon youth business fund - the Arctic Winter Games Host Society, the Yukon Trappers Association, the Yukon Convention Bureau - Mr. Speaker, the list goes on and on and on.

I would challenge the Liberal leader, or her colleagues, to tell us which one of those items they would be prepared to cut.

Mr. Speaker, we're fortunate, given the downturn that we've experienced in our resource sector, one that I hope is going to be short lived, to have tourism on track for a record-setting year this year. We've had more visitors to the territory this year - 26,000 more - than last year. That's probably added about $6.5 million into our economy.

Mr. Speaker, we have more flights from Europe coming next year, and that's going to help boost and reinforce that.

We don't forget about the arts. We also have the advanced artist awards granted this fall, and we see in the newspaper a number of different items that have been supported by the Yukon government being talked about. The Japanese are wowed by the Yukon's potential. Our government has been involved in supporting investors from abroad coming in and examining some of the different products that they might provide additional funding for.

"A joint venture is considered for a Yukon sawmill," and we know that the Watson Lake sawmill is now up and running. Those are jobs for Yukoners. We've been working hard at this.

"The trade mission is paying off, "Yukoners are saying, and of course we've had a successful trade mission recently to Chile regarding home construction, and another one to Alaska that's also been quite valuable.

Our leader has been out promoting the Yukon abroad, and I see an article here - "The Yukon, a global trading partner." We're being recognized as not just a parochial economy but, rather, one that has links around the world.

"The first oil leases are to be sold this winter." That's another headline in the Yukon News, October 26.

Yukoners recognize that this is not about the Yukon government, as much as it is about the spirit and the ingenuity of Yukoners. So, the "Yukoners' ingenuity competes with the best" is the headline for one of the editorials that was written recently - a recognition, Mr. Speaker, that Yukoners are not to be counted out. They are out there hustling, and they're out there making things work.

Mr. Speaker, our government has been working on a broad...

Speaker: The member has two minutes.

Mr. Livingston: ... range of fronts that complement our short-term work at creating jobs this winter. Mr. Speaker, we've been refocusing our tourism strategy. The Tourism minister announced just recently consultations about how we can do the best that we can over the next number of years, how we can focus that tourism strategy, and it's going to, of course, be based on public consultations, on the advice of Yukoners, and that's going to help direct the Yukon's new tourism strategy.

Mr. Speaker, we've mentioned the tourism marketing fund, the tax reform, incentives to promote the film production in the Yukon, efforts made to improve the access to capital for small businesses in the Yukon. Those are things that are on the way, and we've seen examples, and we've seen some indications of those kinds of things.

Mr. Speaker, we're seeing trade and export development, and how that's flourishing, and certainly, I think it's an important symbol for Yukoners to be doing business as global partners, if you like, with other economies, and it just shows that Yukoners can ride, if you like, with the best of them.

Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to support the budget today. I am pleased that our government has had the foresight and the long view to work not only for the short time, but to take a longer look down the road and to plan accordingly to help our economy diversify, to create new jobs and to stimulate our economy.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Jenkins: Mr. Speaker, what we have before us is a budget that spends money.

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Mr. Jenkins: That's self-evident, as the learned member -

Speaker: Order please. Order.

Mr. Jenkins: It spends money. It spends money in a fashion in keeping with this NDP government's colleagues in British Columbia, and it's resulting in what we have today in Yukon. Our economy is in crisis. Our economy is virtually in the toilet, very similar to that of British Columbia.

I thought that this government would take some lessons from their colleagues to the south and not duplicate their errors, and not create more government, which is all we have done. NDP governments are bigger governments.

The increasing dollars that are being spent on the O&M side of this budget are alarming, very alarming. Here we have less ...

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Speaker: Order please.

Mr. Jenkins: ... industry operating than before. We have more people unemployed and leaving the territory than ever before. We are left with two operating mines, one just outside of Carmacks and one just outside of Dawson.

Now if we look at the groups over the past little while that have attempted to offer advice to this government, there are quite a number of them, Mr. Speaker - virtually all of the chambers of commerce, the Chamber of Mines, including the Klondike Placer Miners Association, as well as a number of esteemed business individuals have come together with this government and proposed ideas to them. All of them have fallen on deaf ears.

Our party even suggested, and put a motion forward, to call for an economic summit early in the new year. My gosh, even that initiative was cast aside. What that shows, Mr. Speaker, is that this government has a leadership vacuum. They are extremely poor managers of our economy, and extremely poor managers of the dollars that they have to spend.

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Speaker's statement

Speaker: Order please.

I would ask members on both sides of the House to stop their heckling, please.

The member can continue.

Mr. Jenkins: Mr. Speaker, when we look at the economies that are going ahead and booming today, we only have to look to Alaska, and we only have to look to Alberta.

What we will see in Alaska is that they are receiving more of their share of mining exploration than ever before. And what have they done differently? The state is cooperating with the mining industry. They have an approach to mining and mining development that has been accepted by the mining community there. And it's evident - they've gone from just over a billion dollars and an economic downturn, to just under a billion dollars - and those are real dollars, they're U.S. dollars, Mr. Speaker ...

Some Hon. Members: (Inaudible)

Mr. Jenkins: ... that are being generated.

Speaker: Order, please. Order.

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Speaker: Order.

Mr. Jenkins: If we look at where all of the junior companies in Alaska are raising their money, that's rather quite evident. The junior mining companies are typically listed on the Canadian Vancouver and Toronto stock exchange, and finance their explorations through stock sales - funds derived from Canada.

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Mr. Jenkins: Here we have junior U.S. and junior Canadian mining companies raising funds on the Canadian stock exchange and spending it in Alaska. And it's not because we don't have mineral deposits here in the Yukon, and in British Columbia, that can be explored and that can be put in production. It's because of the NDP governments that exist in both of these jurisdictions - and their approach to business.

It takes a partnership, Mr. Speaker, between government and industry for something to happen, and that partnership doesn't exist here in the Yukon. Business is vacating us. Entrepreneurs are leaving, establishing themselves elsewhere. It is a fact that this government has failed to provide leadership in any form whatsoever.

Look at Alberta. Their economy has been booming, and it's ...

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Speaker: Order please.

Mr. Jenkins: ... slowing down somewhat because of the low price of a barrel of oil. But ...

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Speaker: Order. Order please.

Mr. Jenkins: ... they are still going ahead, because that government there has seen it's way clear to put in place rules and regulations that are conducive to business.

One of the fastest growing businesses are home-based businesses, and with these current changes to the labour standard rules that this government has put forward with respect to contract workers, that is going to deter people from establishing home-based businesses unless they have a clear pipeline to a number of firms that they can derive income from.

What we have is a government that is creating more and more red tape. Every time we turn around, this government is imposing more regulations, more rules and more procedures, which industry has to jump through and deal with to establish anything here in the Yukon, Mr. Speaker.

When we look at -

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Speaker: Order please. Order.

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Speaker: Order please. Minister of Health, order.

Mr. Jenkins: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

There is one industry that is growing, other than government, in the Yukon, Mr. Speaker, and that's the moving industry. There are more trucks, moving trucks, going by the weigh scales now than ever before, moving individuals south. So, there's one little bright light on the horizon, and I'm sure that that's going to be a growth industry when the Yukon Party takes power again in a few years and turns this economy around.

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Speaker: Order please. Order. The member may continue.

Mr. Jenkins: What we have is a windfall amount of money that's come to this government: $48 million worth of additional funding has flowed through, and this government has managed to go out and virtually spend all of it in very quick fashion.

I guess the Member for Laberge summed it up pretty well when he said, "It's a good piece of work." Yes, it's a good piece of work. That demonstrates clearly his skill in this regard - tremendous skill. One of the easiest things to do is spend money, but to spend money effectively so it creates wealth, so it provides continuing employment, is another matter. That's something this government just doesn't get; it just doesn't have a clue. In fact, the member referred to the runway project as being a good one and I'm sure he figures that that must be a running path for his exercises in the morning, not an extension of the Whitehorse Airport.

This no-development party, Mr. Speaker, has gone on to spend money on tremendous initiatives through the CDF. This slush fund is being used to bribe various groups and organizations by funding those groups. This is some way to conduct business.

And then, furthermore, after they've concluded funding those groups to support their cause, they take out copious quantities of ads in the local newspapers at the taxpayers' expense to tell the people what a great job they're doing. Their arms are going to get very, very sore, Mr. Speaker, patting themselves on the back in a continuing manner, like they have been doing lately.

What this government is doing, Mr. Speaker, is recycling old ideas. There are virtually no new initiatives.

The jobs being created - publishing newspaper ads, operating moving trucks taking people south - it's awesome.

When we look at the criticism provided by the NDP in opposition - it was of the Shakwak project. "That was a bad initiative. The biggest budgets in the history of the Yukon Territory were created under the Yukon Party. It was bad; it was no good." But now, all of a sudden, now - my gosh - "The Shakwak project is fantastic; it's unbelievable; it's better than sliced bread."

I don't know whether we're going to get everyone's driveway paved in the Yukon, but if Uncle Sam wants to send money to this government, I'm sure they'll manage to spend it, but the Shakwak project is an initiative that we support. It puts people to work; it puts Yukoners to work.

And we support those kinds of initiatives.

Some Hon. Members: (Inaudible)

Speaker: Order please.

Mr. Jenkins: What we have is an NDP government that, in opposition, didn't support any of these initiatives. Now that they're in power, they're all the greatest things.

One other area, while we're dealing with Uncle Sam, is dealing with the Red Dog mine. The Minister of Economic Development goes on, ad infinitum, saying that this initiative, the Red Dog mine, was all financed by the U.S. government. Well, Mr. Speaker, that's wrong. That's incorrect information. In a nutshell -

Some Hon. Members: (Inaudible)

Debate on second reading of Bill No. 13 accordingly adjourned

Speaker: Order please. Order. The time being 5:30 p.m., this House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. Monday.

The House adjourned at 5:30 p.m.

The following Sessional Papers were tabled December 3, 1998:


Violence against women: 1998 Iqaluit Declaration by federal/provincial/territorial Status of Women ministers (Moorcroft)


Yukon Arts Centre 1997-98 Annual Report (Keenan)