Tuesday, December 15, 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?
Introduction of visitors.
Are there any returns or documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: I have for tabling the YCEE report on government implementation of the conservation strategy.
Hon. Mr. Sloan: I have for tabling the fleet vehicle agency 1997-98 annual report and the property management agency annual report.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: I had tabled the Yukon Arts Centre document to the Chair previously and I understand it was an incomplete text. I'd like to provide to the Chair a complete text at this time.
Speaker: Are there any reports of committees?
Are there any petitions?
Petition No. 9
Mr. Phillips: I have for tabling today a petition respecting catch-and-release fishing in the territory in support of catch-and-release fishing. It's the first installment, Mr. Speaker. I'll be tabling more in the spring. This one has over 600 names of Yukoners who support catch-and-release fishing.
Speaker: Are there any bills to be introduced?
Are there any notices of motion?
Are there any statements by ministers?
This then brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: Job creation
Mr. Ostashek: Mr. Speaker, last week I had the opportunity to view a program on Nedaa on the Yukon's economy. In viewing that program, I've come to the conclusion that there are two worlds in the Yukon. There is the real world of the common person, where many Yukoners are having to pack up their families and leave and move to other jurisdictions because there is no hope of them being able to find a job here in the foreseeable future.
And then, Mr. Speaker, there's the dream world of the NDP - the dream world in which they don't want to believe that they have an economic crisis on their hands.
My question is to the Government Leader. Since this is the last day of the Legislature, I'd like to know from the Government Leader if there are any new initiatives that this government is going to implement to put Yukoners to work now so that we don't continue to lose our skilled workforce.
And Mr. Speaker, I don't want the Government Leader standing up and telling me about selling prefab homes to Chile and to Russia or trade investment policy, or a tax credit policy - which are all things for the future.
I want to know what this government's going to do to put skilled workers -
Speaker: The member's time has expired.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Well, Mr. Speaker, there are a number of things that we're doing - that we're doing, in fact, with the supplementary budget the Yukon Party has voted against. They include everything from setting up new funds to encourage the private sector to create jobs. It also approves funds to equalize energy rates and to lower energy rates for all people in the territory.
And it also includes some direct spending for projects like the Shakwak project, all items that the Yukon Party voted against. These fell into the categories of direct spending for jobs for Yukoners now and also preparing for the short term and the medium term and the long term to improve our economic fortunes. I know the member gets tired of us talking about tax reform, but we're going to do it anyway. I know the member doesn't want us to continue talking about new tourism strategies and new tourism marketing funds and all the various other things that we are doing, but we're going to do them anyway, because they will be good for the economy.
Speaker: The Government Leader's time has expired.
Mr. Ostashek: All well and good, Mr. Speaker, but what's that going to do to put my constituents to work this winter? We're voting against the supplementary budget because there's nothing in there to put Yukoners to work this winter - not enough, nowhere near enough.
Mr. Speaker, Stanley Consulting is leaving the territory after almost 25 years here. Wajax Industries, formerly Alvin's Equipment, after 46 years in the Yukon, is leaving. We hear of other business closures that are on the horizon.
Mr. Speaker, these businesses are the bedrock of the Yukon economy, and they're closing and leaving the territory. My question to the Government Leader: if this government is doing so much to turn the economy of the territory around, why are these companies continuing to leave?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Talk about living in the dream world. What this government cannot do is replace the entire loss of the mining industry that has faced such difficult times. This government, through direct spending, cannot replace the Anvil Range payroll. This government, through direct spending, can't replace the loss of exploration activity because the junior exploration companies can't get the exploration dollars. This government can't replace all of that. What they can do is what we are doing.
The member has said that the supplementary budget contains no funding for jobs. Well, let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, the $10 million that the Yukon Party voted against, for the Shakwak project, is going to be putting people to work, and that was the money that we lobbied heavily for, worked hard to get, so that people could go to work, through direct spending, this winter.
Mr. Ostashek: What this government could do, and is not doing, and has failed miserably on, is to create a climate of optimism for investment in the territory. That is what this government has failed to do. This government is living in a dream world of superficial strategies, while Yukoners are living in a nightmare - the real world of unemployment. The Government Leader is pretending to have all the answers when clearly he does not, and he won't ask for help from anyone. I would like to ask the Government Leader once again: why was there not more money directed in this supplementary budget to put more Yukoners to work in the short term, to save our skilled workforce from leaving the territory?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Well, Mr. Speaker, there is a lot of direct spending in this supplementary budget that the members have voted against - everything from the Shakwak, as I mentioned, to the community development fund and the safe communities initiative that we've undertaken.
Mr. Speaker, these aren't superficial strategies that the chambers of commerce and the chambers of mines and others have encouraged us to undertake, to do necessary work for tax reform, to seek the transfer for oil and gas, which we have accomplished. These are fundamental to improving the climate for economic performance in this territory. These are things that we are doing credibly and in concert with the communities that are affected. We will continue to do so.
The climate of optimism is there if people want it to be there. We are doing what people have suggested we should do in order to encourage and improve our economic fortune.
Question re: Yukon Housing Corporation, Gonder land application
Mr. Jenkins: I have a question for the minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation.
Earlier in this sitting, I raised the issue of the heavy-handed manner in which the Gonder family was treated by the Yukon Housing Corporation with respect to their lot expansion. As the minister will recall, there was a stop-work order placed on the construction of their new home, an eviction notice on their mobile home, forcing the Gonders, with their young child, to live in their camper in their shop. It is a shame, Mr. Speaker, and all this was precipitated by the Yukon Housing Corporation.
Raising the issue in the Legislature at that time appears to have forced the Yukon Housing Corporation to restart negotiations with the Gonders. Can the minister advise the House if this issue has been resolved and if the Gonders have received the lot expansion they applied for?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Speaker, first of all, it was the city that gave the stop-work order to the Gonders; it was not the corporation.
I did say to the members that I would meet with the Gonders and take their concerns and issues forward to the chair of the corporation. I did that. They had several meetings with the Gonders. They tried to work out a solution to their problems. There was an offer made to the Gonders for them to continue to build their home.
Mr. Jenkins: I'd like to remind the minister that the Gonders are long-time residents and they're contributing to the Yukon economy through their business. This government should be doing everything in its power to assist small business and not to hinder or harass it. The City of Whitehorse appears to be supportive of their application. It's only the Yukon Housing Corporation that has a problem, and the stop-work order was issued at their request.
Will the minister intervene with the Yukon Housing Corporation Board to ensure the Gonders receive the land they applied for as soon as possible? It's still not resolved, Mr. Speaker.
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Speaker, I just told the members that the corporation did make an offer to the Gonders that would give them the ability to continue to build. It's at that stage, and it's the corporation that's dealing with this matter, not the department.
Mr. Jenkins: Well, they passed the buck, Mr. Speaker, from the government to the Yukon Housing Corporation. The lot expansion that the Yukon Housing Corporation is proposing is too small.
What I am seeking is a commitment from the minister that he will meet with the Gonders. Now, the Government Leader has refused to meet with members of his own riding.
This land application should be proceeded with. Will the minister give that commitment or will this caring NDP government be evicting the Gonders as soon as this House rises?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Speaker, the member didn't listen. I told him that we did meet with the Gonders. I did meet with the Gonders. There was an offer made to the Gonders for them to continue to build, and this is beside the lot that they have to expand a bit for their building to have the proper piece of land that it needs. That's the case where it's at right now. I think the corporation did a lot to try to meet the needs for the Gonders to continue to build.
Question re: Air Transat
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Tourism, and it concerns promises the minister made to the Legislature this spring.
Mr. Speaker, this spring, the minister promised that 5,000 passengers would be arriving in the Yukon on the Air Transat flights this summer. He also promised that 95 percent of these passengers would be staying in the Yukon instead of travelling on to Vancouver. Neither of these promises held true.
Air Transat brought only 3,600 passengers to Whitehorse this summer, and of those passengers, the ones the minister assured this House were all staying in Whitehorse, 37 percent actually continued on to Vancouver without spending any time or a dime in Whitehorse.
Why are the real Air Transat numbers so much lower than what the minister told the House this spring?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Mr. Speaker, I should point out to the leader of the third party, my official Tourism critic, that, on the very last day of the Legislature, I finally get a tourism question. She must have been getting my brainwave or something, because she came up with a very weak question, if I might add, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, we are going to continue to ensure that air access is here for people to come to the Yukon Territory, because it is a world-class destination. We have worked with Air Transat. Things didn't quite work out the way they were expected to, but look at the seed that has flourished - Canada 3000, Condor Air. So, I do believe that the money that we're spending in Tourism, whether it's in marketing initiatives or expanding the airport, is a wonderful idea.
Ms. Duncan: I'm glad the minister was waiting with bated breath for my questions. As to their strength or weakness, I'll let him consider their source.
Mr. Speaker, I'm not opposed to air flights from Europe. Let's make that absolutely clear. Like many residents, I worked too hard on the original Whitehorse-area tourism plan and, like businesses in the service industry, not to appreciate the value of tourism to our economy. I am opposed to the NDP presenting false information and raising expectations beyond what will be delivered. Tourism businesses, in order to do their planning, have to deal with the facts, with the real numbers, not the ones the minister sees through rose-coloured glasses.
The minister said 5,000 passengers, 95 percent staying in the Yukon. Why were the Air Transat numbers so much lower than what the minister told this House in the spring?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Well, Mr. Speaker, rose-coloured glasses or not, I think that we ought to take the blinds off the leader of the Liberal Party, so that they might look to the positive. We shouldn't look to what didn't happen; we should look to what did happen. We should be saying, with bated breath, the enthusiasm that brought people to the Yukon Territory, from wherever they might have come from within a year. Why don't we dwell on the positive focus, because that is what puts the dollars into the economy at this very critical time, and we as the government, and the Tourism department, will continue to work with the airlines, and others, to increase the traffic flow to the Yukon. That is our challenge and that is the challenge that this department is up to and will rise to.
Again, thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
Ms. Duncan:Thanks, Mr. Speaker. The facts - just the facts.
The recently announced deal with Condor Air raises some red flags. These flights are coming from Frankfurt to Whitehorse, then they continue on to Anchorage. Are we looking at the same type of arrangement, where only 60 percent of the passengers are getting off here? If we are, will the NDP government be up front about it and provide real numbers to the Yukon tourism industry, not like the promises they provided with Air Transat?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Mr. Speaker, I would definitely advise the member to get something like as such so that she could clean off her projection and her crystal ball, and then we might come out of the gloom and doom of the prophecy of the member opposite.
Mr. Speaker, we will continue to work with all tourism partners, so that we can ensure the Yukon is exposed to the world marketplace, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, when we do provide projections, they are based on industry projections, along with our own. Again, Mr. Speaker, I think that we should be dwelling on the people that came here, stayed here, spent their dollars here. To me, Mr. Speaker, that is the real fruit of the Yukon.
Question re: Airline marketing initiatives
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, I have some further questions for the Minister of Tourism, regarding our joint marketing initiatives with airlines.
In March of 1998, the Government of Yukon - with Alaska - participated in a nine-city tour of Canada, with Canada 3000, marketing the north - Yukon and Alaska. It has come to my attention that, although the Yukon budgeted almost $24,000 for marketing with Canada 3000, we've not paid the bill for this trip yet.
Would the minister explain why it takes the Department of Tourism almost eight months to pay the marketing bill with this company?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Again, Mr. Speaker, it does - it gives me great pleasure to be able to stand here, and just be able to speak to the wonderful things that tourism in the Yukon is doing, that the Department of Tourism is doing, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, let's talk about Condor Air, because Condor Air is something that came to the Yukon Territory, based on Air Transat, Mr. Speaker, along with others.
We should completely start to focus on the positive of what is happening, Mr. Speaker, not, "Who paid the bill? Did somebody pay the bill?" Of course, Mr. Speaker, the bills will be paid by this government. They absolutely will be paid by this government, Mr. Speaker.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, in 1997, Canada 3000 flew 32 flights, with over 5,000 passengers, to Whitehorse. The Yukon contributed $20,000 toward joint marketing efforts. In 1998, there were 58 flights, with almost 10,000 passengers, and the Yukon contributed $24,000, which hasn't been paid yet, as I pointed that out to the minister.
In 1999, Canada 3000 is bringing 82 flights to the Yukon, almost 14,000 passengers. Mr. Speaker, that is passengers that this airline is bringing directly to the Yukon.
It is my understanding that there are no cooperative marketing agreements with Canada 3000 for next year. What are the minister's plans? Specifically, what are we doing in 1999 with Canada 3000, which has consistently brought passengers to the Yukon, every year for three years?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Where do I start, Mr. Speaker? The work that this department has been doing is work that has been to the benefit of all the Yukon Territory. We have spent thousands of dollars to expose the Yukon as the jewel it is to the world marketplace. Finally we have people coming to the Yukon Territory, unsolicited. Why? Because we have created an environment here that people recognize, especially the Yukon tourism operators, wherever they may be in the world.
We will continue to foster that environment, Mr. Speaker. Yes sir, indeed we will.
Ms. Duncan: Maybe now the minister knows why we don't ask him that many questions.
The Government of Yukon spent $285,000 - $250,000 federal Liberal money from the Canadian Tourism Commission - to market Air Transat last year. We got one year's worth of service and 2,600 passengers. We have three years of service from Canada 3000 and almost 10 times the passengers, and the minister is not committing one dime to work with Canada 3000 next year.
At the Tourism Marketing Council meeting in May 1998, the government agency said that the Yukon would be increasing the fly-in visitors from North America. Can the minister tell this House how zero marketing money for an airline bringing in these passengers is going to meet this goal?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Yes, Mr. Speaker, we have a brand new marketing fund, which this Liberal government has certainly voted against.
I'd just like to go back to what we have done. What we have done is work with partners; we're recognizing the partnerships in the tourism industry and we've done some good work with the CTC, the Canadian Tourism Commission. We've done those types of things and we'll continue to do those types of things to work with whoever would come to the Yukon.
And I say "whoever" quite knowingly, recognizing that we are a jewel of the world and we're only starting to become exposed to the world at this point in time, and I think we should be doggone proud of the work that the Tourism department does.
As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, the only questions that have come from the leader of the Liberal Party during this whole debate - 25 days - have focused on the negative, and I'd just like to point that out to the world.
Question re: Energy costs
Mr. Ostashek: Mr. Speaker, in September of 1996 when the NDP took over government, Yukon ratepayers using 1,000 kilowatts of electricity were paying $97.12. This was under the rate relief program that was established under a Yukon Party government.
Under the new improved NDP rate relief program, those same ratepayers will now be paying $105.87, or nine percent more for the same block of 1,000 kilowatts of power.
My question to the minister responsible for the Yukon Energy Corporation is: could he confirm these figures today in this Legislature?
Hon. Mr. Harding: Well, Mr. Speaker, I'm so glad I finally got a question on energy in Question Period; this is the first one all session.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Speaker: Order please. Order.
Hon. Mr. Harding: This is the first question all session on energy rates, and the reason for that, Mr. Speaker, is that the Yukon Party has been reluctant to ask questions because this government announced, for the first time, a solution to the long-standing problem identified by Yukoners of rate stabilization, finally ending the roller-coaster ride of rates as they pertain to the ups and downs of the Faro mine, lowering bills and stabilizing rates this winter for four years for businesses and for families and for municipal customers.
So, Mr. Speaker, I'm glad they raised this particular issue. His logic with regard to the past is quite flawed in the sense that the Yukon Party was about to kill rate relief anyway, so his numbers are like comparing apples to grapefruits.
We have taken this action because, for the first time, government has recognized that we need to invest in green power, in energy efficiency and in rate stability so that Yukoners can have some clarity about what their bills are going to be into the future.
Mr. Ostashek: Mr. Speaker, let the record show that the minister has confirmed that Yukon ratepayers will be paying nine percent more under the new NDP rate relief program than they were under the previous program instituted by a Yukon Party government.
Mr. Speaker, we have received numerous complaints over the ads being run on the radio and in print media, ads that are patting this government on the back for the great job they've done with the new rate relief program - the new rate relief program that's causing ratepayers to pay nine percent more for power than they were in the past. And, Mr. Speaker, to add insult to injury, these same ratepayers have to pay for this inaccurate advertising that's being put out by this government, and Yukoners are furious about it.
My question to the minister: can he give us a cost of the advertising program, and how long is it going to be running?
Hon. Mr. Harding: Well, first of all, I don't confirm the member's numbers. The member's numbers are inaccurate as usual, just like his numbers on the Old Crow school and the number of Vuntut Gwitchin people working at the school.
Secondly, Mr. Speaker, the Yukoners also remember when that member was government leader of the territory. There was one Faro mine shutdown. The Yukon Energy Corporation applied for a 58-percent rate increase. Through the utility, this government has handled, unfortunately, two Faro mine shutdowns since we've been in power, and that has an impact on the number of customers that are contributing to paying the mortgages that the public utility owns and that all Yukoners own.
We've responded with some concrete action, and that's the creation of the rate stability fund, which is lowering bills, and which is putting more money into Yukoners' pockets this winter, and which is going to freeze bills for four years at the rates that they're at for businesses and for families. I think that's an important new development. I think we've tackled those challenging issues, and Mr. Speaker, we think Yukoners ought to know about these particular initiatives because they are so new, they are so creative, and they are so exciting.
Mr. Ostashek: Well, Mr. Speaker, Yukoners know full well that just because this minister says something on the floor of this Legislature, that doesn't, for one minute, make it true. What this government has done is raise power rates by nine percent and frozen them for four years so that some government four years from now is going to have to make the hard decisions that this government should have been making.
Mr. Speaker, the NDP government killed the Yukon Party rate relief program and put in a rate stabilization that's costing Yukoners nine percent more. I'm going to ask the minister if he will now cancel that advertising program that he has, quit insulting the intelligence of Yukoners and put the money he spent on the ads back into some decent rate relief?
Hon. Mr. Harding: Well, Mr. Speaker, the numbers the member quotes are wrong. They are inaccurate and incomplete. We will be lowering bills this winter for Yukon families and Yukon businesses and stabilizing them for Yukoners.
We're telling Yukoners about the rate stabilization fund. It's their dollars that have been invested through direct government action to ensure that they have some stability in their rates, that we have green power efficiency to promote energy efficiency and new power alternatives for the territory.
The member opposite forgets about the 58-percent rate increase application when he was Government Leader, when the Faro mine shut down once. This government has handled two Faro mine shutdowns, come up with lower power bills for Yukoners and finally resolved the long-standing roller coaster rides of rates in this territory.
The member is inaccurate. He is wrong and he is out of touch with the public. He doesn't know that Yukoners told us that they wanted their bills to be handled in a stable manner. They are being lowered this winter and, Mr. Speaker, we're telling Yukoners about the programs that we've announced in this Legislature. I don't see what's wrong with that.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Speaker: Order please. Order.
Question re: Financial services
Mr. Cable: Thanks, Mr. Speaker. I have some questions for the Government Leader on Yukon financial services.
Last month, the minister's officials went around the territory, asking Yukon people what they thought about banking services and proposed bank mergers. One of the minister's officials was quoted as saying that the department was going to put together a paper. Could the minister tell us today what the result was of this trip around the territory? What did the people have to say about banking services and about the bank mergers?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Well, with respect to bank mergers, Mr. Speaker, we couldn't detect many people who were in favour of bank mergers - which is to be expected, of course.
With respect to the issue of banking services, there was a general discussion in many communities about the level - and the future - of banking services that people might want to expect in the coming few years. There were questions put as to what people felt the government's role should be in encouraging improved banking services, and comments ranged from wanting to have basic banking services, with basic teller services - deposit/withdrawal services - to a desire for credit union legislation to provide for more competition.
So, clearly there is a wide range of views, but people do depend on reliable banking services, and they gave their comments in detail to Finance officials.
Mr. Cable: Okay, let's talk about the credit union situation. The minister has been talking about encouraging other institutions, like credit unions and trust companies, to set up in the Yukon. The issue's been raised in this House, and it's been raised in the public. There were meetings involving credit unions. This will require some legislative changes.
Is the minister prepared to commit to the House to bring these forward in the next legislative session in the fall of 1999, so that we can have increased competition in Yukon's financial services, and we can keep our money here in the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Well, Mr. Speaker, the member's quite right, that the Member for Whitehorse Centre has led the charge in looking for increased competition through the establishment of credit union legislation. So we owe a debt to the Member for Whitehorse Centre, who has raised the issue.
Mr. Speaker, the government is intending to explore the legislative framework around credit unions. There are a number of options that we can continue to review, and those options will be more fully explored by the time that we come back in a couple of months for the spring sitting of the Legislature.
At this point, I have not been able to ascertain precisely when we can bring forward legislation, but certainly we are exploring the options.
Mr. Cable: Now, it was unfortunate that the credit union legislation was withdrawn a few years ago. It was an unfortunate reaction to the demise of the Whitehorse Credit Union. So, just so we're clear on the issue, is the minister saying that he is thinking about bringing in credit union legislation as one of the options or is he saying that he's going to bring it in and he's concerned about the mechanics of doing so?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Well, Mr. Speaker, I am - and we are - thinking about bringing in legislation that would allow for credit unions to operate. There may also be an option to encourage other jurisdictions to allow credit unions to operate outside of provincial boundaries. The federal government, for its part, is considering federally regulated credit unions. All these options are being considered.
Mr. Speaker, the member has mentioned that the decision to rescind the old credit union legislation in this Legislature was adopted unanimously by members at that time for fear that the security provisions were insufficient and put the taxpayer at risk. I think that that is a valid concern, and we'll have to take that into consideration when we encourage some competition in the financial services sector.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed.
Notice of government private members' business
Hon. Mr. Harding: Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 14.2(7), I would like to inform the House that in the event that the House sits on Wednesday, December 16, 1998, the government private members do not wish to identify any items to be called under the heading government private members' business.
Speaker: We will proceed with Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. Harding: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the government House leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. Is it the members' wish to take a brief recess?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: In the interest of finishing up today, we will take a 10-minute recess.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order.
Bill No. 13 - Third Appropriation Act, 1998-99 - continued
Department of Health and Social Services - continued
Chair: Committee is on the Department of Health and Social Services, general debate. Is there any further debate?
Hon. Mr. Sloan: Prior to rising last evening, the Member for Riverdale South raised a couple of issues with regard to the proposed reorganization within the Social Services department. There was an inference that we hired a consultant to do this reorganization. That is not the case.
There is a routine program realignment to provide a more seamless service to existing clients. The redesign will integrate our services to provide a single point of entry for clients needing adult social services. It's also to develop a client-centred case management model, to use existing resources to enhance services in the supported independent living, employment/training services and seniors.
With regard to who has been involved, the staff who are involved have been working on the details of the operation and the case management system. We've had discussions with NGOs in Health and Social Services to explain what we're proposing to do and how the services will be enhanced. Clients are not adversely affected by any of these changes and, in fact, several ex-SA clients who now work for us have been involved in the planning process.
The person involved in part of the process is a consultant who is with The Cornerstone, which is a computer development consultant, and was working with the unit to develop their computer system for case management.
There was a further suggestion on another point, that family support workers for FAS high-risk mothers have been dropped or eliminated. That is not the case. In fact, this position continues.
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, I suppose that the issue around the family support worker for the high-risk mothers was more that it was being integrated into the healthy family initiative.
One of the issues that we've spoken about in the past is the issue around doing home studies prior to a child going into care. I'll give an example. Say there is a child in one of the communities who is routinely taken into custody. Say the grandparent is out there and this grandparent is quite willing to take the child. If there is home study done ahead of time by the department, then you could automatically place the child with the grandmother or the grandfather, for example. However, because often custody doesn't last very long with the department, children instead get sent to a foster home because it takes so long to do the home study. Sometimes the home study can take up to six months.
We talked about this about four or five times now, and the minister said that he was thinking about it. I just wonder if he had any further thoughts on that issue.
Hon. Mr. Sloan: Well, Mr. Chair, those are the kinds of things that we will be discussing with family and children's services b branch.
I do need to return to the central issue here, which is the supplementary budget. We seem to be sort of free-ranging here, and I'm a little bit concerned that we may not get to the supplementary budget.
I can take the member's suggestions, once again, back to the department, and we can look at this, but I would like to return to the budget.
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, the issue that we also have in front of us constantly is the very long waiting list over at speech and hearing. Now, I understand that there was another staff person that was hired over the summer, and that waiting list went down considerably. What are we doing this winter to address that need?
Hon. Mr. Sloan: Thank you, Mr. Chair - if you'll just bear with me here.
Waiting for assessment is now down. We brought in a second audiologist for education relief and additional support. This continued on to November. It's done on a priority basis. Preschoolers are given priority, and as well we're doing monthly middle ear screenings at the Child Development Centre.
There have been a large number of referrals - new referrals; 98 clients. We've tried to bring down the waiting list, and we will continue to work in that regard.
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, if the minister has time between now and the budget sitting, perhaps he could be a little bit more descriptive, in writing, about what they're doing to eliminate the very long waiting list that continues to grow.
Macaulay Lodge - there were some issues around people moving from Macaulay Lodge into the Thomson Centre, and there not being adequate space for people that were moving over from Macaulay Lodge. There is quite a waiting list to get into Macaulay Lodge, of course, and of course if someone gets into Macaulay Lodge, then it sort of moves up the chain.
Has there been any more conversation about opening the seven beds in the Thomson Centre to answer that need?
Hon. Mr. Sloan: We are looking at a whole variety of issues around seniors and we hope to be bringing forward something in the spring.
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, along the same lines then, I've spoken to some people within the community who are waiting for the seniors strategy. Is the seniors strategy now available?
Hon. Mr. Sloan: It's coming to Cabinet almost immediately for final approval and then out.
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, I'd like to go back to the issue of midwifery. Now, I wonder if the minister can be a little bit clearer about the issues around midwifery. One of the reasons - well, the big reason - that the government seems to have been looking at legislation in this area was the fact that there were people coming to the Yukon who were setting themselves up as midwives and there isn't any sort of regulation for that practice. What sort of regulations are in place now to look at the issues around midwifery here in the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Sloan: Currently, midwives would be under physicians' regulations. The regulation of midwifery in the Yukon was the discussion paper that was sent out to the various groups. Once again, as the member indicated, we had some indications that the groups involved preferred us not to proceed at this time because of some national discussions going on. While their position has not changed, they do believe that midwifery is one of a variety of issues involving prenatal and postnatal care. So, we are still committed to working with the group and moving ahead with regulation and legislation in that regard. Hopefully, we can keep within the scope of the national discussion and some national issues around regulation, qualifications and so on.
In the Yukon, given our geographical situation, there are some special concerns that we have in terms of distance and time from hospital in case of complications and so on.
So there are a number of issues that are probably unique to us here that might not exist elsewhere.
Mrs. Edelman: I think I can gather from the minister's remarks, which were informative, that there isn't any legislation in place now that would be relevant to the practice of midwifery in the Yukon.
The minister is indicating that there isn't anything. Of course, that's an area of concern.
Issues around isolation and being far distances from hospitals are very much the case in the Northwest Territories and Alaska, which have developed midwifery legislation, understanding that midwifery does not mean home birth.
The Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Society of the Yukon has written a letter to the minister asking that this government bring forward legislation on guardianship. In addition to that, other groups - some of the seniors groups, in particular, and the staff that work with seniors in the Yukon - have had considerable problems over the years dealing with issues such as property and finances with people who have become incapacitated, I suppose you could say - Alzheimer patients in particular.
Guardianship is not well framed here in the Yukon, legislatively. The minister wrote a letter back to a member of our caucus and said that at this time the government is not looking at developing guardianship legislation, and that in fact the four-year term of legislation had already been decided on and that wasn't one of the items that was going to be considered. Is that still the case?
Hon. Mr. Sloan: That is indeed the case. It is felt that guardianship legislation, after some discussion, would probably fall within the realm of a very comprehensive review of, probably, the Mental Health Act and a variety of other issues. Given some of the issues around the incapacity of a person, and so on, we would probably look at the major review of the Mental Health Act. Guardianship would form one component of that.
Mrs. Edelman: Does the minister then think that issues around persons who are afflicted with FAS would come under the Mental Health Act review?
Hon. Mr. Sloan: We would probably look at such things as the whole question of guardianship in the context of the discussions around mental health so, at that time, that would probably be the appropriate time for us to be looking at issues of that nature.
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, are we looking at a review of the Mental Health Act in the next decade, or are we looking at it within, say, the next four years or at the end of this term or within this term?
Hon. Mr. Sloan: I would say, certainly, within probably the next four years or so.
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, constituents have come to me about some issues around daycare subsidies, particularly up at the Ashea daycare in Kwanlin Dun. People who previously had not had to fill out sources of income are now filling out sources of income, and they are getting charged higher and higher rates for their daycare. Now, is there a change in the daycare program, or is there some sort of agreement with Ashea?
Hon. Mr. Sloan: There has been no change. There have always been requirements in terms of filing statements of income, because, after all, the subsidy is tied to family income, so we have made no changes. It may be that the individual daycare, for purposes of reporting and purposes of claiming, may be requiring this, but there has been no change on our part.
Chair: Is there further debate?
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
On Policy, Planning and Administration
Policy, Planning and Administration in the amount of $53,000 agreed to
On Family and Children's Services
Family and Children's Services in the amount of $129,000 agreed to
On Social Services
Social Services in the amount of $636,000 agreed to
On Health Services
Health Services in the amount of $653,000 agreed to
On Regional Services
Regional Services in the amount of $37,000 agreed to
Chair: Any questions on the recoveries?
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures for the Department of Health and Social Services in the amount of $1,508,000 agreed to
Chair: Any questions on the revenue?
On Capital Expenditures
On Policy, Planning and Administration
On Systems Development
Mr. Jenkins: I don't have any questions on the capital expenditures, other than I would appreciate the minister providing more information on the telemedicine, the scope of it, what we're going to be tied into, the communities that are going to be served, the overall game plan with respect to telemedicine.
I'm not looking for an answer here today. If he could just send over the background paper on it, I'd appreciate it, Mr. Chair.
Hon. Mr. Sloan: The member's referring, I believe, to the HAN network, and we'll certainly send what information we have on that.
Systems Development in the amount of $447,000 agreed to
On Integrated Health and Social Services Facilities
Integrated Health and Social Services Facilities in the amount of $10,000 agreed to
On Social Services
On Social Services Operational Equipment and Renovations
Social Services Operational Equipment and Renovations in the amount of $41,000 agreed to
On Thomson Centre - Renovations
Thomson Centre - Renovations in the amount of $152,000 agreed to
On Macaulay Lodge - Renovations
Macaulay Lodge - Renovations in the amount of $33,000 agreed to
On McDonald Lodge - Renovations and Equipment
McDonald Lodge - Renovations and Equipment in the amount of $37,000 agreed to
On Health Services
On Whitehorse Hospital Construction
Whitehorse Hospital Construction in the amount of $904,000 agreed to
On Yukon Hospital Corporation - Equipment
Mrs. Edelman: Can the minister provide further detail on that line?
The $17,000 is actually to participate in a national review of equipment and facilities for embedded chip issues related to the Y2K problem. So, for example, such things as extra equipment, which has computer chips - to make sure they're compatible. So we're part of a national review on that.
Yukon Hospital Corporation - Equipment in the amount of $17,000 agreed to
On Teslin Nursing Station
Teslin Nursing Station Expenditures in the amount of $330,000 agreed to
On Community Nursing - Equipment and Facilities
Community Nursing - Equipment and Facilities in the amount of $113,000 agreed to
Telemedicine in the amount of $149,000 agreed to
On Diabetic Kitchen
Diabetic Kitchen in the amount of $10,000 agreed to
Capital Expenditures in the amount of $2,243,000 agreed to
Department of Health and Social Services agreed to
Department of Justice
Chair: Is there any general debate?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Thank you, Mr. Chair. The Department of Justice budget has supplementary expenditures for $873,000 in the O&M budget, and a recovery of $66,000 in a reduction.
In all branches the funds are required to cover an increase in salaries occurring from the impact of the collective agreement. This includes management services, for $22,000; court services, for $45,000; legal services, for $24,000; consumer and commercial services, $29,000; community and correctional services, $139,000; and crime prevention and policing, $65,000.
The largest portion of the legal services budget increase, while it includes collective agreement increases, also includes $102,000 for the legal fees for Curragh Resources. These costs were paid through the settlement money last year, but they still need to be recorded in the accounts and funded through the budget.
Due to the lawsuit with Curragh Resources, the Yukon government was awarded a settlement of just under $2.4 million.
There was an increase in crime prevention and policing to cover the salary increases approved by the Treasury Board for the RCMP. In the capital budget, there are revotes for some large projects, including the integrated case management system and work in the Law Centre and the Whitehorse Correctional Centre.
Chair: Does general debate clear?
Mr. Cable: I wrote the minister a letter on circle sentencing and circle sentencing guidelines and the minister returned the correspondence with a fairly lengthy letter saying, "No, we believe that should belong to the judges and to the courts." I'm curious as to why she would not think it appropriate for the state to enter into the debate on guidelines for judges in this new form of sentencing.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Well, Mr. Chair, I should draw the member's attention to the restorative justice statement that I made in this House during this session. The government has clearly indicated that we are interested in seeking community input on alternatives to the mainstream justice system. We want to find community-based solutions and that will include a discussion over the course of the next year with communities, with interested groups including First Nations and community justice committees, so there will be an opportunity for the public to have input and for the government to have input, as appropriate while respecting the role of the judiciary, into sentencing in cases.
Mr. Cable: I'm not totally clear on where the minister's coming from. Is she saying that there is a legitimate place for the government to set circle sentencing guidelines or does she want to leave that to the court's discretion wholly?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Well, it's not a simple yes/no answer that I can provide for the member. The government does have a role to play in establishing the framework for the justice system. The government also has a role to play in providing for dialogue with communities about how to help members of the community take back the justice system to meet people's needs and not to be something removed and distant from them. Under the new Territorial Court Act, there is also a mechanism where the government can speak with the judiciary about issues that do intrude in the judicial arena.
In the case of circle sentencing, it would be inappropriate for the government, in the same way that it's inappropriate for ministers to phone judges about cases, to contact the judiciary and say, "Here's what we think about circle sentencing in this case."
We can issue general guidelines and policies, and will be doing that. The restorative justice work will allow for that. It will allow for the government to have a voice, as well as for the community to have a voice.
Mr. Cable: I'm not suggesting that the minister informally contact the courts and express her opinion on circle sentencing guidelines. But, I would remind the minister about the legislation that we brought into this House just a few weeks ago on child support guidelines. That's where the elected officials found that courts had wide ranges of decisions. They deemed that to be undesirable. So, there was a framework set up in which the state said, "This is where the court should operate."
I think that's a legitimate role for a legislature, in that it's a criminal matter; it's likely to be dealt with at the federal level.
I'm curious as to whether this minister would support a federal initiative in that area, setting up firm guidelines for judges when they go through the circle sentencing procedure.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Well, Mr. Chair, I think there's always a need for more research to be done, and for people to express their views, whether it's academics conducting research, or whether it's community members who are involved in cases presenting a position.
The Crown attorney function is with the federal government, and so they set guidelines when it comes to prosecutions. I think it's possible for the government to play more of a role in setting forward policies through the restorative justice work that we are undertaking over the next year - both the next calendar year and the next fiscal year.
Mr. Cable: There's been a fair amount of public discussion on the use of the circle sentencing procedure, because it's a new procedure, and it has been pioneered, at least in part, in this territory. So it's going to have some bumps and grinds to it, and it may very well be that, at the end of the day, we're going to have to have some government declaration as to where the government and this Legislature think this process should be going.
So I encourage the minister to think in that direction. To keep the perception that the system's working properly, there may have to be some guidelines given, so that all judges will be operating from the same premises when they use a circle sentencing procedure.
Now, I've asked the minister a number of questions about the jail, and I have on the Order Paper this written question relating to the occupational health and safety branch inspection reports, and fire marshal inspection reports.
It's been my understanding that the minister has interpreted that as meaning that I want her to go back in history to the beginning of time, yank out all the orders and send them over as part of a legislative return, and that's not correct. What I'm asking for are the outstanding orders, those orders that had not been completed, because there were some inspections - at least one inspection, anyway - that took place in the summer by the occupational health and safety branch, and there may have been other inspections that took place by the fire marshal. So, is the minister prepared to give me a description of the outstanding orders - those are the orders that have not as yet been completed - and any deadlines given by either the occupational health and safety branch or by the fire marshals with respect to completion of the orders?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: The occupational health and safety branch of the Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board inspected the Whitehorse Correctional Centre on October 1, 1998, and again on November 13, 1998. A response was prepared dated November 10, outlining the departmental response to the OH&S inspection report, and a further response was dated December 4.
On March 6, the territorial fire marshal submitted a report to the Department of Justice with 13 recommendations. Since that time, WCC has addressed the concerns raised in the report. The only outstanding item from the 1995 fire marshal's report relate to major renovations. I can provide the member with copies of the documents.
Mr. Cable: Yes, I would appreciate that and, in that the Legislature hopefully is going to adjourn today, could that be done by way of a letter?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Yes, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Cable: Will it include any deadlines given by either of these inspectors, the fire marshals or the people from the occupational health and safety branch?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Yes, Mr. Chair, we'll include the documents and they do speak for themselves.
Mr. Cable: Now, the minister will remember the exchange we had a few days ago on both the written questions and some other information. I asked her whether she was going to provide a copy of the contract with the consultant hired by her department to do the review of the Whitehorse Correctional Centre and she said, "Yes, you're going to get that." I haven't got it yet so should I be checking my mail?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Yes, Mr. Chair, I signed those documents on Friday and I understood that they were delivered to the members on Monday. So, we'll locate them.
Mr. Cable: There was some discussion in the House yesterday on the completion of files involving litigation-type files that the department was interested in. Where do we sit on this Sharon McConnell case where the Human Rights Commission had directed the government to do something. I gather it's not settled yet. There are some outstanding issues and it seems to be dragging on. Is there any reason why it's not concluded?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I understand that her legal counsel has been meeting with the Public Service Commission and that she is being reintegrated into the public service. This is a personnel matter that I cannot go into a lot of detail about on the floor of the Legislature. I can assure the member that accommodation is being made. The Human Rights Commission's report and decision are being respected and the only details being worked out at this time are the position that she will have.
Mr. Cable: I thought she was offered a position. I don't want to get into that, because I think the minister is right, it is a personnel matter, but it does seem strange that the ruling came down, I think, at the end of September. Here we are into December and it's still not settled. Is there some hangup that we should be aware of?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: The parties have been meeting. There has been an offer made and we're waiting for the offer to be accepted or rejected.
Mr. Cable: The minister has presented a ministerial statement on her restorative justice initiative, which received, perhaps not accolades, but approval on this side of the House. I think one of the main thrusts is keeping people out of jail, particularly keeping young people out of jail.
One of the corollaries of that sort of initiative is having enough people to look after them if they're out of jail, and certainly some other alternative types of sentencing. What does the minister see for the future with respect to community service work and community service work personnel? Do we have enough people to supervise a major initiative in that direction?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Well, first of all I need to thank the member for his tentative approval for the restorative justice initiative. It is important to recognize the impact that criminal activity has, not just on the victims and on the community, but on the offenders themselves. It is also essential that we promote healing and try and find a way for the offender to return to the community and to have the kind of support they need to live a life free from crime. That requires both personal responsibility and community responsibility.
The reason we are taking some time to undertake discussions with the public throughout the Yukon is to have a dialogue in the community about how they see that they could help with community responsibility and to listen to the recommendations they have to make on how we can change our system to better accommodate alternatives.
There are a lot of resources throughout government that are applied to meeting the needs of offenders.
What we want to do during the discussions that we undertake in restorative justice is get a reading from the community - and from interested groups - on how those resources might be more effectively allocated to meet the needs in communities, and to have less of a reliance on the mainstream justice system.
Mr. Cable: The minister and I've had some back-and-forth discussions, I guess you could call them, here in Question Period on the jail report, and her releasing of it. I think it now hangs upon the minister having completed a formalized implementation plan, relating to the recommendations in the jail report.
Does the minister anticipate a formal response to all the recommendations - similar to the one we had with respect to that education committee that toured the territory a few years ago? Or is it going to be a bits-and-pieces type of response?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Chair, firstly I need to explain to the member that in response to the report - which was conducted in a model where the staff and the union and the employees were involved - that the implementation plan has been presented to staff. Management at correctional services has been working with the staff on the implementation of the recommendations that were made in the report.
In some cases, there is ongoing work, and so the implementation is changing as some tasks are achieved, and new ones laid out.
There will be, though - to answer the member's question - a response, numerically, to each of the specific recommendations that are made.
Mr. Cable: Is that response going to be made public and, if so, when does the minister anticipate that it'll be released?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Chair, the report was an organizational review, and it did cover a number of personnel matters in response to staff concerns about the organization. The response to the report was sent to the member, along with the contract and the recommendations, so he will see that for himself.
Mr. Cable: I thank the minister for that. I recently had a conversation with the person who had been a minister several years ago in the territorial government. She told me that one of the problems she sort of detected, at the present time - and it's a problem that was brought out in the report - is a lack of programs for the inmates up at the Correctional Centre. She indicated that, years ago, I guess the inmates were encouraged to do creative work. That work was sold and apparently they got at least part of the proceeds.
What is going to take place with respect to the programs? This may very well be in the implementation plan that the minister says I'm going to receive shortly. Has there been a committee struck to generate programs to deal with the criticism that was raised in the report?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I fully agree that there is a need to improve programs that are available. That's one of the major reasons that the restorative justice framework will focus on correctional reform, along with a number of other areas.
Offenders often need addictions counselling or anger management. They require lifeskills and job skills and often literacy. In many cases, there are short-term stays where, if there's an average of a three-month sentence, there's not a lot of programming that can be offered during three months that can have a long-term effect.
We are still working on ways to improve the programming. The recommendation to form an external group to provide advice on how to improve the programs will proceed, and, as I've indicated previously, I believe that the restorative justice discussions with the community will also lead us to work on improved programs.
Mr. Phillips: I'm pleased to get into the debate. Mr. Chair, I have a couple of hours of general questions, and then I have about 13 or 14 specific topics that I want to talk about with the minister today.
Mr. Chair, I want to start out with what I heard the minister talking about earlier, and that's about circle sentencing. I heard my Liberal colleague say that he didn't think the government should get involved in any way in setting guidelines for circle sentencing, and then I heard the minister say that the government shouldn't be telling anybody how to do it either.
I guess I'm going to differ from both of those members and say that somebody better set some guidelines, because there are some real problems out there with circle sentencing, and I'm not afraid, unlike my Liberal colleague or even unlike the minister, to say that I think right now that circle sentencing shouldn't be used for violent crimes. No. Never. It shouldn't be used. I'm not afraid to say, unlike my Liberal colleague and unlike the minister, that circle sentencing shouldn't go ahead unless the victims consent to take part. The victims are part of the circle, and there should be some strict guidelines, some fundamental, basic guidelines that lay that out.
What I heard my Liberal colleague and the minister say is that they were afraid to interfere with so-called judicial independence. Well, judicial independence - in my view - has got us into this pickle right now with circle sentencing. That's the reason we're discussing it. That's the reason we're talking about it - is because -
Some Hon. Member: Point of order.
Point of order
Chair: Mr. Cable, on a point of order.
Mr. Cable: I think the member knows full well what the position was that was put forward, and we'll check Hansard tomorrow, to show that the Liberal member was making the point that we should have guidelines.
And if he'll read Hansard he doesn't have to get up doing a Santa Claus act.
Mr. Phillips: Ho, ho, ho, Mr. Chair, there's no point of order.
Chair: The Chair sees this as a dispute between members, not as a point of order.
Mr. Phillips: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I think the Liberal member's going to get some coal in his stocking for that one.
Mr. Chair, I think that there has been a clear demonstration by actions that have happened with respect to circle sentencing, which show us that there has to be some guidelines. Now, I would hope that there will be some public participation. I would hope that there will be some participation by the government.
Surely to goodness, Mr. Chair, we are elected to represent the view of the general public, and if we, as a government - or we as legislators, or elected people - can't express our wishes in the strongest terms, in something like this that is affecting a great many people, then we had better find something else to do because the people I'm talking to want us to say something about it. In fact, I think some of the things that are happening in circle sentencing right now are really calling the confidence in the justice system into question. I think we have to put a halt - what we've got now is judicial independence. The horse has got the bridle in his mouth, and it's running around amok.
The bit is in his teeth and he's running around amok. It's in the muck, too.
So, I think we should be making some pretty strong statements with respect to the circle sentencing. I would hope that the government would take a fairly strong stand on it.
So, I would like to hear if the minister is going to make a presentation with respect to this somewhere down the road. Are we going to set some guidelines with respect to circle sentencing?
After all, if one doesn't go to the circle sentencing, they're going to go to the regular court system, and that system is already well set up. We should just set some parameters or basic guidelines that one has to follow if they go into the circle. One is that it can't be a violent crime and, two, the victim has to take part. I'm sure there are other people who have other suggestions, as well. I will listen to what the minister has to say.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Well, first of all, Mr. Chair, the Member for Riverdale North has contradicted himself. He stood up first and said that circle sentencing should never happen and then he said that it should happen only if the victim consents. Then we get to the critic for the opposition and the critic for the Liberal caucus contradicting each other. In the spirit of responding to the question and trying to move forward on the supplementary budget debate, let me make clear, hopefully, for the Member for Riverdale North, what the government position is in relation to circle sentencing.
First of all, as the member knows, criminal procedure is a federal responsibility. Secondly, it's very important to acknowledge that circle sentencing is community based. We need to respect the whole purpose of having a flexible approach to justice. Nonetheless, I agree that there needs to be guidelines for circle sentencing.
The Court of Appeal has recommended that there be guidelines for circle sentencing. One author and academic who has written on that subject, Carol LaPrairie, has also said that with circle sentencing, research needs to be done, and the courts agree with that and that work is ongoing.
We also must recognize judicial independence.
I would like to add that as we proceed with restorative justice, we will be providing an opportunity for the judiciary, First Nations and community groups to comment on how we can ensure that people have confidence in the justice system and have a role to play in how that system functions to meet the needs in communities.
Mr. Phillips: Well, Mr. Chair, the minister likes to put words in the mouths of members on this side of the House. I don't think I've ever said that circle sentencing should never be used; I don't think I've ever said that. In fact, I've said the opposite. I said circle sentencing shouldn't be used for violent crimes. The circle can work for minor crimes and has in the past. I support that; I've said that. I don't know how many times I've said it. But circle sentencing should not be used for violent crimes. That's the position I've taken. I've also said circle sentencing should not be used when the victims don't want to participate in the circle.
Mr. Chair, the minister said she agrees with guidelines. That's good. The question I have for the minister: when will we see these guidelines?
I think there is some urgency here. I think there is some urgency here, Mr. Chair, because we now have decisions being made on a regular basis with respect to the circle and I think we can't be waiting another year or two or three to get guidelines in place. When will the minister expect us to have something in place that we lay down on the table and people can see that we actually have some stricter guidelines with respect to this issue?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: There is ongoing work being done on criminal procedure, including looking at circle sentencing, at pre-charge diversion and post-charge diversion, looking at community group conferencing. All of those are alternative measures that we need to support. I have already indicated this afternoon in general debate that we will be providing the opportunity for communities to speak in the context of a restorative justice approach as to how we can support alternatives and make them work, both for the victims and for the offenders.
I will also raise this subject with the new Judicial Council that will be established under the new Territorial Court Act, and will continue to work within the Yukon and with my colleagues from across Canada on criminal procedure reform.
Mr. Phillips: Another issue that is tied to circle sentencing, and any kind of sentencing, is probation. I've had an awful lot of complaints from constituents, and others, who are concerned that we're rather short staffed on the probation end of things, and that there is quite a workload for probation officers and, in many cases, the probation orders are not followed up. In fact, I think in the recent case of circle sentencing, the individual, who's had about - like a cat - nine chances, or something, had broken his probation several times. My understanding, from people whom I've talked to, is that that individual had actually violated his probation several times before he was even checked the first time, and the first time he was ever checked, he violated it. The next time he was checked, he violated it, and I think the next time he was checked, he violated it. Virtually every time somebody had the time to check with the guy, he was AWOL again.
I hear that that's not an uncommon occurrence, that the probation officers are extremely busy. They have a really heavy workload. I wonder if the minister is aware of that, and what are they doing about it, to make sure that people honour their probation. I mean, what I'm hearing out there from some of the people involved in the criminal activity, is that they're laughing at the system, because they know that probation doesn't mean very much if you never get checked on, or no one ever calls you up, or you don't have to be in at 10 o'clock, because no one ever bothers you, and you just have to make sure you don't get picked up in a bar, or picked up somewhere where you're not supposed to be.
What has the minister got to say about those concerns that have been raised by individuals?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Well, Mr. Chair, that is a very serious concern, although I do not believe that I can solve it here on the floor of the House.
The probation officers should have manageable workloads, and if the member is hearing complaints about that, I would encourage him to have them brought to the attention of the department, or for him to write to me to bring them to my attention so that we can deal with them.
We have no vacancies at the present time for probation officers, as far as I am aware, and I'm also unaware of any complaints, such as the member is making, that have been brought to the department. Recently, there was a random check that was done, with the RCMP and probation officers going around the city to determine that people who were on parole were complying with their orders, and they did not find significant problems.
The member is raising a serious concern, which I will look into, but, again, I would certainly encourage him to ask people to bring those complaints, when they have them, to the attention of the department, so that we can respond appropriately.
Mr. Phillips: Well, it's interesting to hear the minister say that everything is fine, because I'll check with the constituents who have called me from time to time, and we'll see if everything is fine.
Mr. Chair, another issue I have that I'd like to talk about is Bill C-68 and the Alberta appeal. Maybe the minister could bring us up to speed on where that is at the present time.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Well, Mr. Chair, as the member knows, we have joined with the Province of Alberta in the appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. There has not yet been a date set for the Supreme Court or, indeed, an indication as to whether they will hear the appeal.
Mr. Ostashek: Mr. Chair, I just have a couple of questions for the minister while we're on the Justice department, and they pertain to the amendments that were brought in to the Employment Standards Act. The minister was very adamant that anybody who was a legitimate subcontractor before will continue to be a subcontractor, and that the amendment didn't mean anything as long as it met the test of a contract worker.
I have a question for the minister: what is the test? I know that the legislation says, in clause (a), "The worker is in a position of economic dependence upon, and under an obligation to perform duties for, that person." That's a very broad statement. Even as a subcontractor, there would be economic dependence upon whomever the subcontractor was working for. There just is no such thing as having no economic dependence, because you either do a good job or you don't get hired again.
I would like the minister to tell me what is the test that labour services uses? Is it written down? Could she table a copy of it, so that I could see it?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Yes, I will be very happy to do that. Mr. Chair, I believe that the member opposite was present in the House when we spent a considerable amount of time in the Employment Standards Act debate, where his colleague asked the very same questions.
The test includes more than one component. It includes subordination. It also includes economic dependence. There is an information sheet available from the Department of Justice that I provided to the members opposite. I can get him another copy of that.
The economic subordination means that the contract worker, who is doing the job, is essentially an employee; that they come in and their hours of work are determined by the person to which they are subordinate. Their ability to take a break and their assignment of duties are all part of the relationship. That would characterize it more as a relationship between an employer and employee, than between contractors.
The statement that I have made that is accurate is that legitimate contractors will not be defined as workers, using that general definition that is enshrined both in federal and territorial legislation.
Mr. Ostashek: Well, Mr. Chair, that concerns me. If, in fact, the minister has this test written down so that this isn't an arbitrary decision that's made by the inspector and labour services, I want to ask the minister why, when a taxi operator in this town went in and inquired about owner/operators working for his company, he was given a letter with 21 questions on it that had nothing to do with what the minister just said on her feet here. Why was he not asked the questions that were on this, what I understand is to be a universal form or a form that would apply to all businesses? And what concerns me more than anything, Mr. Chair, is the company's name was on the top of the form and it was handed to him when he went in and asked about what happened to owner/operators in the taxi business.
Can the minister tell me what's going on?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Chair, I'm not familiar with the case that the member has raised about a complaint that a taxi driver may have made. If he would like to provide me with a little further information on that, I can bring an answer back for him.
The information that I just gave in relation to the amendments to the Employment Standards Act is to clearly define a contract worker and ensure that employees receive the benefits they are entitled to under the act.
Mr. Ostashek: Mr. Chair, my concern here is several things. The first one is, is there a universal test? The minister said there is. I want to see that universal test. I want to know that there is no room for an inspector to instill their own biases into that test. This is very important and very serious.
I further want to know why, when a taxi company came to me and asked me if owner/operators would be now considered employees, and I sent that operator to the labour services branch, that company was handed 21 questions with their name on top of them.
That doesn't sound like fair play to me. This was before they had ever gone in and requested any information prior to this first meeting of going in and asking whether owner/operators would be considered employees. They were handed a form and, Mr. Chair, it was not even stamped "confidential".
Can the minister tell me: is there a form like this for drywallers? Is there a form like this for building contractors? Is there a form like this for contract workers in the tourism industry? Do they have a form like this for each and every company that they're going to hand out contracts to?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Chair, as I've indicated to the member, there are universal indicators of economic subordination. There is an information package that is available at labour services. I have previously provided a copy to the opposition members. I will ensure that the Member for Porter Creek North gets another copy of that.
The indicators of economic subordination are such things, as I've stated, as hours of work, breaks and the assignment of duties. Now, the member is also raising a complaint in relation to a specific inquiry that was made. I am not familiar with that case. Labour services does protect the identity of employees. In cases where there is a complaint that requires an investigation, Labour services does conduct an investigation. I will have to take the member's representation and look into the case and come back to him with an answer.
Mr. Ostashek: Mr. Chair, this is not an employee who is complaining. This was a taxi company that wanted to know what their standing was with owner/operators under the new legislation and rather than this universal test that the minister says is being applied, this company was handed 21 questions with their name on top of the questionnaire. This smells of a witch hunt to me.
I sent this company over there, legitimately, so that they could find out from the labour services branch what the test was that would deem whether owner/operators for any taxi company were contract employees, or whether they were employees of the company, and I don't believe they've been dealt with in a fair and professional manner, when they're handed a form like this with, one, two, three, four questions, at least, that the owner of the company deems to be confidential information and has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not an employee is dependent upon the company. To top it all off, Mr. Chair, the form is not even stamped "confidential".
Will the minister look into that and get back to me?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Chair, I have already indicated to the member that I am completely willing to look into his description of this incident. He says it's not a complaint, although it sounds like a complaint to me. Calling it a "witch hunt" is not helpful. What would be helpful is to get details, so we can look into it. I will certainly look into the matter. It is my responsibility to ensure that all employees in all branches of the departments conduct themselves in a fair and professional manner. I will, if the member provides me with further details about this incident, and the questions involved, ensure that the taxi company that put their question forward will get a fair response.
Mr. Ostashek: I don't know how I can say any clearer that this wasn't a complaint. This was an inquiry as to what the qualifications were for an owner/operator working for a taxi company - a very simple request to labour services. They're handed a form, and the company's told that they can't have a decision until January 9. These are exactly the kinds of things that we pointed out to this minister on the floor of this Legislature when we were debating the bill, and I would ask the minister that she look into this and have it dealt with forthwith.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Well, Mr. Chair, excuse me if I comment that the member sounds as if he's complaining. Let me assure him that I will look into his complaint. We will get answers to his question. I will ensure that there is a response prepared and that the taxi company receives a fair and professional response to its inquiry.
Mr. Ostashek: I want to know from the minister, also: is there a form for drywallers with a company name at the top of it? Is there a form for small contractors with a company name at the top of it? Why would we have a form that's supposed to be a universal form handed to an operator with their name on the top of it?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Chair, I indicated that I would look into the member's inquiry and provide a response to him.
Mr. Ostashek: Mr. Chair, I understand that's on the taxis. Now I'm asking if there's another form for other industry groups. I want a response to that as well.
The minister said on her feet here, Mr. Chair, that there's a universal form that's applied to all contract workers. She's promised to deliver that universal form to me. I also want to know if there is some other secondary form, as there appears to be for taxi companies and that's specific to taxis. Are there specific forms to other industry groups?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Chair, I've indicated that I will get a formal answer to the member's question. I have taken note of that.
The department, in implementing the amendments to the Employment Standards Act, will be preparing some public education to be available for both employers and for employees. If there are additional forms, I will make those available and will provide an answer for the member.
Ms. Duncan: I just have one issue I would like to discuss with the minister. During the debate on the Territorial Court Act, my colleague from Riverdale South raised the issue of stress debriefing to jurors. The minister has written an answer to my colleague, which, quite frankly, I find less than satisfactory. Basically, the minister focused on the fact that ex-jurors who feel the need to seek special help must be very careful that they don't disclose anything said in the jury room.
The point my colleague was making and the point that I would like to make with the minister is that we ask citizens to sit in as jurors, as is their responsibility to do. Some of the trials that have come to the Yukon have been very, very difficult situations. I don't think it's a situation where a juror "feels the need" to seek professional help. It should be offered. These people are dealing with the details of a society - grisly details, I should say - which in some cases is very, very unfortunate. It is through no fault of their own. They are simply trying to act as good citizens. There are people, with the Yukon's small population, who have been called upon to serve twice in a decade on grisly murder trials or other trials where the details are particularly traumatic.
I am curious as to what the minister's position is. Is there any effort made in the department to allocate some funding or assistance to these people?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: As I indicated in the response to the member's colleague, I certainly recognize the valuable contribution that citizens make when they serve on a jury. As I have also indicated, when juries do their work and sit in judgment of a peer at a trial, there are strictures governing what they can say publicly about the events that occurred in a jury room.
The issue of stress debriefing for jurors is something that has been placed on the agenda for the Court Services Executive Management Board, for discussion with the senior judge. I indicated to the Member for Riverdale South that this is a subject that I would follow up on, and that is how we are doing it.
Ms. Duncan: Well, Mr. Chair, I appreciate the minister's commitment that she'll follow up on this issue. It's particularly important. We offer this sort of counselling after there's been a traumatic situation in our schools - which unfortunately sometimes does occur. After an accident - particularly involving children - we offer this sort of counselling to nurses, doctors, who also have a privilege in terms of the information that is disclosed to them, and what they can then disclose.
I just strongly urge the minister to look into this issue, and to follow up on it. I feel it's very important - these people have done a service for Yukon, to their justice system, and I feel we should respect and honour that - and indeed, put our money and our efforts where our mouths are.
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, the domestic violence act is going to be bringing forward - eventually - through regulation, a new type of order. It's an emergency intervention order. Now, this emergency intervention order is going to be dealt with by designated RCMP, JPs, and assault caseworkers, in the communities.
This is a new type of order, and these people are going to require some type of training. How much has been designated for that training, and who will be doing the training?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Well, Mr. Chair, I'm glad that the member is back on side in support of the Family Violence Prevention Act. As I've indicated to her in response to questions in Question Period during this session, we are undertaking consultation with the community on the implementation of the Family Violence Prevention Act. We have people from Yukon transition homes, as well as the Status of Women Council, and other groups involved on the implementation committee.
The issue of training is one that will be addressed in the implementation. Within the present supplementary budget, there is not a specific allocation that I can respond to. Any costs that are incurred between now and the end of the fiscal year will be absorbed within the Department of Justice budget. The member can come forward with further questions on the main O&M budget in the spring.
Mrs. Edelman: Sorry, Mr. Chair, but that still doesn't answer the question about who would be doing the training. Maybe the minister could elaborate on that.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: We've been working with some of the other jurisdictions that have previously brought forward family violence prevention legislation. The details of the training model I can provide for the member as the implementation work proceeds.
Mrs. Edelman: As a last question, just briefly, the Legal Aid Society Board now sits at five, which is an increase from the reduced numbers they had, but a full board is actually seven people. Are we ever going to get a full board, Mr. Chair?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I have made representations and had conversations with members of the legal community seeking nominees from the legal community to serve on that board. I've spoken with both the Law Society and the Canadian Bar Association on that subject. When and if we receive some recommendations for nominees, we would be happy to appoint them.
Mr. Cable: Over the last couple of years, I've asked the minister what's going on with respect to the collection of recidivism statistics. Could the minister give us a thumbnail sketch on what type of statistics are being collected now?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Chair, there is work being done in the Department of Justice on that. I believe the issue was raised in the Future Ground report. I can provide the member with a written response to his question.
Mr. Cable: I'm particularly interested in two areas. One is the circle sentencing type of sentence. Are we collecting statistics to determine its effectiveness and are we determining the effectiveness of the various sentencing modes under the Young Offenders Act?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Chair, I do have some information on that. What I can do is prepare one response for the member and put the information together for him in writing.
Mr. Cable: I thank the minister for that. On another issue - the issue that's been discussed in the House here quite often - the FAS survey of the inmates up at the jail, could the minister tell us what this survey involves? Are we surveying all of the prisoners up there at any one particular time?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Well, Mr. Chair, the short answer to that is, no. We are not canvassing individuals. What we are doing is preparing a study to look at nonincarcerol alternatives. We are conducting a needs assessment for FAS offenders.
We recognize that people with FAS have different needs, have a disability of a particular sort, and that programs need to be available that deal with the disabilities of the offenders. So, we are doing a needs survey, we are looking at what is presently available, we are examining how we can improve the programs and where they might best be delivered for offenders who have FAS.
Also, in the context of a restorative justice approach, we're trying to reduce the incidence of criminal offences being committed by individuals with FAS.
Mr. Cable: When does the minister understand that this survey will be completed? Or, is it going to be a perpetually ongoing sort of situation?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Chair, the survey will have timelines. We expect to do the first phase in the spring. At the present time, we are determining a project manager who can be responsible for taking this on, and we hope to have it underway in the spring.
Mr. Cable: When does the minister understand that it will be completed, or what are her instructions to her officials? When is the survey to be done?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Well, Mr. Chair, I just answered that question. I have asked that a needs assessment be done, that we look at the programs that are presently available, that we canvas how the programs could be improved, and where they could best be delivered. Until such time as a project manager has been identified, that's all I can tell the member. I will come back to him in the spring with an update, and he can pursue the matter in the spring budget.
Mr. Phillips: I have some more questions too, I guess, about the Teslin correctional facility. I understand that we no longer have a manager at the correctional facility in Teslin. Do we still have a manager there, or what's going on?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Chair, we do have an acting manager at the Teslin correctional facility.
Mr. Phillips: What happened to the manager? I spoke to a manager, I guess it was three or four weeks ago, on the street, and then I just heard the other day that he's no longer with the government.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Well, Mr. Chair, that's true. The member has answered his question. The manager is no longer with the Yukon Government.
Mr. Phillips: I would like to ask the minister if he left on his own or was the individual fired?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I'm not prepared to respond to personnel questions on the floor of the Legislature in relation to an individual's employment.
Mr. Phillips: Well, maybe I'll ask the minister this then: what concerns or complaints were there with respect to the overall management of the Teslin facility? Was there a problem with the management of the Teslin facility?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: There were some problems that were addressed in the Future Ground report. The member is asking me to respond on questions in relation to personnel, and I cannot respond to those questions. The member can review the Future Ground report and the implementation plan. That might help him.
Mr. Phillips: Who is the acting manager now at the facility? Is it someone from Whitehorse or is it someone who was the assistant manager before? Who is actually in charge?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Chair, I've been advised that Bonnie Ross is the acting manager.
Chair: Is there any further general debate? Seeing none, we will go to line by line.
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
On Management Services
Management Services in the amount of $22,000 agreed to
On Court Services
Mr. Phillips: I know it's a reduction, but most of these increases - or a lot of these increases - are as a result of the collective agreement. So, how does one go down, unless we dropped a program or discontinued something?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Chair, there's an overall decrease. There was an increase, based on the collective agreement, of $45,000. There was also a decrease of $66,000, which you will see in the recoveries, as well. This is for the case management process being developed that will not be completed until next year. The recoveries have been reduced to reflect the adjusted time frame for this project.
Court Services in the amount of an underexpenditure of $21,000 agreed to
On Legal Services
Mr. Cable: Could we have a breakdown, please?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: As I indicated in my opening remarks, the impact of the collective agreement is $24,000, and the major sum in this branch is $102,000 for additional funds to cover the legal costs for the settlement of Curragh Resources.
In addition, Canada reduced the amount eligible for French language services, and so we had a shortfall of approximately $50,000 to cover legislation being prepared in French.
The legal aid program has also received $75,000 in order to cover the costs of new initiatives, including the 24-hour duty counsel and rent for office space which, prior to 1996, was provided in the Law Centre at no cost.
Mr. Cable: Are we looking at a permanent increase in the legal aid budget?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: The member will have to look at that when we come back with the O&M mains in the spring. I'm unable to provide him with that detail at this time.
Mr. Cable: Well, the two items that the minister referred to - I think duty counsel and rent - I mean, those won't disappear next March. I would assume that these are going to result in a permanent increase in the legal aid budget. Is that assumption not fair?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Well, Mr. Chair, that depends in part on whether the volume increases in legal aid are maintained.
Legal Services in the amount of $251,000 agreed to
On Consumer and Commercial Services
Consumer and Commercial Services in the amount of $43,000 agreed to
On Community and Correctional Services
Mr. Cable: Could I have some details, please?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: This is the impact of the collective agreement, as well as the increases that I referred to in my opening statement to the RCMP budget for salary increases, approved by the Treasury Board. The staffing levels have remained constant within the RCMP.
Community and Correctional Services in the amount of $139,000 agreed to
On Crime Prevention and Policing
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: This is for the collective agreement increases and the policing services.
Crime Prevention and Policing in the amount of $439,000 agreed to
Operation & Maintenance Expenditures in the amount of $873,000 agreed to
On Capital Expenditures
On Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Chair, this is a revote from the prior fiscal year for the integrated case management system, which is a data warehouse project incorporating corrections information with courts information. There are also revotes for renovations.
Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space in the amount of $252,000 agreed to
On Community and Correctional Services
On Replacement Equipment
On Replacement Equipment in the amount of $8,000 agreed to
On Correctional Facilities Renovations/Construction
Mr. Cable: Can we have some detail on this?
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mr. Cable: The Member for Riverdale North thinks that's for a new jail, but I'm sure he realizes that it's going to cost at least $80,000.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Chair, I think that the official opposition critic and the Liberal critic are both way off base in estimating the construction figures at $80 million or at $8,000 or at $75,000.
This line item for $75,000 is for revotes for ongoing projects at Whitehorse Correctional Centre. They include heating, plumbing and lighting at the centre.
Correctional Facilities Renovations/Construction in the amount of $75,000 agreed to
Capital Expenditures in the amount of $335,000 agreed to
Department of Justice agreed to
Public Service Commission
Chair: Is there general debate?
Hon. Mr. Harding: The increases in the Public Service Commission in O&M are all related to the collective agreement increase impact as a result of a recent collective agreement that was negotiated with the Yukon Government Employees Union, and the capital line item is related to systems software that was purchased by staff development.
Mr. Phillips: I have one question. It is the same question that I think I've asked for two years now and that is about patriation. Where are we at? It's one of these things where we edge up to the line and then we drift back and we edge up to the line and drift back. Are we any closer now than we were a year ago?
Hon. Mr. Harding: Well, we did accomplish patriating the benefits plan, so we did make some progress. The benefits have been patriated. The pension plan is a matter of federal government approval, assuming we can get the full amount transferred over. As well, we have to get some agreement from the Yukon Teachers Association that they would want that to happen. So, that's where we're at.
Mr. Phillips: As far as I know, the teachers were always in favour of it. Have they changed their position? In fact, even recently I spoke to the president of the YTA, and he mentioned early retirement and those kind of options. So, my understanding is that they are in favour of that.
As well, I thought that our Liberal colleagues, through their pipeline in Ottawa, had given a letter to the minister last year with respect to the position of the federal ministers saying that they were all ready to go for it and they were ready to sign the cheque. I'm just wondering where the holdup is. What exactly is the holdup? Is it that the federal government has a problem with part of it? Where is it at?
Hon. Mr. Harding: Well, apparently the feds had to make some changes to their whole pension plan system. This is kind of a side issue that they don't seem to be too interested in. A few months ago, I met with the recently elected new president of the YTA. At the first meeting, I was quite astonished to hear from him that he wasn't in favour of the pension plan being patriated at this time and that there had to be a whole process of consultation within his membership about that.
Given the discussions with past presidents, I was somewhat surprised by that, but that was his position, and I have given them my assurances that if they don't want it patriated, then we wouldn't do it. We'd have to have agreement from YGEU and from the teachers, but we won't be able to do early retirement or any of those things until this happens, so it's kind of betwixt and between, so hopefully they'll take the position that they are in favour of it at some point.
Mr. Phillips: Well, I can understand a little bit the president of the YTA being concerned about letting the Government of the Yukon handle all that money. They'd be a little bit concerned about that. But that aside, you know, I'm sure the minister gave him assurances that it would be put in a fund and the minister wouldn't be able to get his hands on it, so it would be protected that way.
Mr. Chair, the federal government - the minister said it was a side issue. Are they just not responding to the letters? Where are we at with it? I mean, that doesn't tell me very much, if it's just a side issue to their pension issues.
And maybe, because it is a rather complicated issue, if the minister just wants to forward a letter to me with respect to more details on where we're at, what the federal position is, what our position is, then that would be useful.
Hon. Mr. Harding: Well, I can do that. It is a complicated issue, because it pertains to the whole Pension Benefits Standards Act and a whole range of issues, including ultimate Treasury Board approval. We were pleased with the progress that we made on benefits.
With regard to the member's comment about this minister getting his hands on pension money, I can assure the teachers and anybody else that the criteria and terms of reference for any patriation will be done only if there's full agreement with them on the terms of reference.
Ms. Duncan: As the Member for Riverdale North quite rightly noted, the Liberal caucus, after the election in 1996, followed up on this issue with Treasury Board and gave a response to the minister. My understanding of that response was that, aside from the ongoing federal discussions around pension issues, they were prepared to sit down at the table, and the minister was very positive, after having reviewed the letter. Now, somewhere along the line, in the last year or so - pardon me, that was the spring session. So, in the last six or eight months, it's gotten off the rails somewhere along the way.
Could the minister provide, not just a letter outlining what has happened, but copies of the correspondence between Treasury Board and the Government of Yukon? Could the minister also advise if there have been any discussions with YGEU? There have been discussions about what he discussed with YTA on it. What about YGEU?
Hon. Mr. Harding: YGEU is supportive of the initiative, and it remains to be seen what the ultimate position of a new president of the YTA is regarding this initiative.
I just want to reiterate that it's not going to happen unless they support it, because this is something that's very important to the people involved. It's something we'd be doing to aid them, so I'd hate to do something to aid them and us, and have it be a negative. It would have to be a positive occurrence, all around, and we'll work to that end.
I'll provide the member opposite some more detail of the correspondence, although I must say I've seen a lot of positive federal ministers now, but you know, there was once a guy who said to me, you can't just talk the talk; you gotta walk the walk. I get quite frustrated sometimes that we get a lot of positive responses, but I haven't seen it show up in tangible results, so let's keep our fingers crossed.
Ms. Duncan: It's interesting that the minister has panned the federal minister responsible for Treasury Board. I can assure the minister that the deputy minister of the Treasury Board has a very strong and long-standing relationship with the Yukon and knows these issues and knows our financial arrangements.
I would strongly suggest that he would be an individual that the minister should speak with on this as well.
One of the points before I leave that issue - the stumbling block seemed to be, when I recall the correspondence - the actuarial was one of the key issues at the table.
Can the minister just advise if that's still a stumbling block, or where we're at with that?
Hon. Mr. Harding: Well, it is, because that's the whole issue - exactly what's transferred, which is of great interest to the members of the unions themselves, as the recipients of the monies. So, that's the key issue.
Ms. Duncan: Thanks, Mr. Chair, I'm glad to have that clarified.
Can the minister tell me and tell the House how many outstanding reclassifications there are right now in the territorial Public Service Commission?
Hon. Mr. Harding: Well, I can remind the member this is a supplementary budget that has nothing in it but collective agreement increases, but I'll go here a little bit. Apparently, there's about 200.
Ms. Duncan: Thanks, Mr. Chair. Can the minister outline the cost of the Washington consultants brought back to do the nursing reclassification? I would take it that that was - as we don't see a supplementary line item for it - covered within existing departmental expenditures. Can the minister tell us how much that was?
Hon. Mr. Harding: I haven't got a bill yet.
Ms. Duncan: Well, Mr. Chair, I'd like to ask the minister to forward a copy of that when they do get the amount.
I'd also like, on the record, to thank the minister. I received a response to some questions I had asked regarding land claims training. I'd like to thank the minister and the staff for that, and when I've had a chance to review it, I'll respond to the minister.
Mr. Phillips: I have a couple of questions on land claims training. We have received some complaints from long-term employees who were required to take the training. I just wonder if the minister and the departments have received similar complaints from people who have lived here all their lives and, in some cases, may be married to First Nations people or living with First Nations people. They feel a bit insulted about having to take programs such as that when they are quite cognizant of the issues and feel that they could be spending their time in a more useful way than sitting for days in a program where they, in fact, probably know more, in some cases, than the instructor.
Hon. Mr. Harding: Well, most of the comments - in fact, all of the comments - have been positive on the content that the department has received. That's not to say that there are not other, alternate, views out there. There has been some concern about the length of the training. That's being analyzed and looked at. When you have a massive campaign to undertake of understanding new agreements that have been constitutionally entrenched and are very complicated for even people who would have to administer and continue to negotiate, I think that it wouldn't be too much to ask that we try and give some knowledge of those agreements to employees. If employees want to opt out, that can cause difficulties but, for the most part, it has been very, very positively received.
Mr. Phillips: Well, I'm getting a different message than the minister, then, because I'm hearing from quite a few employees who are concerned about - and quite insulted by - some of the things that are happening or some of the things are being said in these programs.
One specific complaint that came to mind was that there is an option for employees to take special courses with First Nations persons. I understand that there was a cost of the course of $250 each, or something - there was a cost attached to it. The total amount of revenue generated for these three or four people who took this course was $750.
What they were shocked about was that, in talking with the elder who gave the course - and I believe it was moose-hair tufting at the time, a craft and cultural course - they found out the elder received $150. Their question was: what happened to the rest of the money? Who got the rest of the money for the course? So, maybe the minister could look into that for me and get back to me on it.
Hon. Mr. Harding: Well, I don't know if the member has his facts correct. Perhaps he could give us more specifics. That doesn't sound like anything the PSC has sponsored in the past, so maybe the member could get us some more detail and I could better respond.
In so far as people being insulted by our land claims training, I find that disturbing but we, as a government, believe that we've got to change a whole corporate government culture, given new land claims agreements. Everybody has something to learn from those agreements. I certainly don't pretend to have a full understanding of all that envisioned by them and I think if we don't educate, we will all be behind the eight ball in the coming years. There are many important commitments made by Yukon people in those agreements and we have to share the responsibility to deliver upon them. That's what this is essentially, as a start, designed to help do - no more than that and no less.
So, I take the member's comments that some people have found it insulting. That's disappointing. I would have to get more information as to the reasons for that, but I certainly believe it's got to happen and I find it disappointing.
Mr. Phillips: Well, Mr. Chair, I can understand the need to inform employees of the Government of Yukon about the UFA and the implications it has on the Government of Yukon and the obligations we have, but I think, in some cases, it's going a little further than that - at least that's what we're hearing from some individuals. I don't know who these individuals can complain to, other than us, but I guess I'll just pass on Hansard to some of the individuals who have complained. I know some of them were reluctant to even give their names, because they felt that it was an extremely sensitive issue and they didn't want to be labeled as a racist or be called something like that. This is a very sensitive issue for people out there, and some people were offended and insulted by what they were being forced to do.
So, I'm just passing that on to the minister.
With respect to the other issue that I mentioned, I'll get back to the minister after the session is over with respect to the program that took place and the fees that people paid, just to confirm the facts, and hopefully we'll get an answer on that one.
Hon. Mr. Harding: Well, you know, Mr. Chair, not to provoke debate here, but maybe they felt they had a sympathetic ear in terms of positioning on land claims from the member opposite. I have no problem with the Hansard going out to these people. I think that if there are suggestions that they have to improve the training, that would be very helpful, but the fact is that we've got to educate people as to the agreements, and if they were insulted, they should have some discussions with their superiors to discuss how the training could be improved.
Chair: I see no further general debate.
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
On Finance and Administration
Finance and Administration in the amount of $8,000 agreed to
On Corporate Human Resource Services
Corporate Human Resource Services in the amount of $16,000 agreed to
On Pay and Benefits Management
Pay and Benefits Management in the amount of $12,000 agreed to
On Staff Relations
Staff Relations in the amount of $12,000 agreed to
On Workers' Compensation Fund
Workers' Compensation Fund in the amount of $11,000 agreed to
On Planning and Research
Planning and Research in the amount of $7,000 agreed to
On Staff Development
Staff Development in the amount of an underexpenditure of $1,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures in the amount of $65,000 agreed to
On Capital Expenditures
On Finance and Administration
On Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space
Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space in the amount of $16,000 agreed to
Capital Expenditures in the amount of $16,000 agreed to
Public Service Commission agreed to
Department of Renewable Resources
Chair: Is there general debate?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Chair, I'll be short in my comments. The supplementary estimates provide for an additional $286,000 in O&M funding and $196,000 in capital. To be brief, the O&M increases of $286,000 consist of $211,000 for additional personnel costs related to the collective agreement settlement, and $75,000 was allotted for the survey of the Finlayson caribou herd for March of 1999.
The increase in capital of $196,000 consists of $190,000 for revotes in the 1997-98 capital projects previously approved by Management Board, and the $6,000 was personnel costs, again related to the collective agreement.
Mr. Ostashek: I'm going to try to be as brief as I can and hold most of my comments for spring, but there are a few things that I need to get on the public record with the minister and get his position on them. I want to talk a little bit about the protected areas strategy. I want to talk a little bit about the Wildlife Management Board. Those are two main issues I want to cover in this supplementary budget. I'm not going to go into great detail on the protected areas strategy, but the minister knows I've asked questions of him in Question Period. I haven't been satisfied with the answers I've been getting on the Wolf Lake proposition for a national park. There have been public meetings held in Teslin. There's been a substantial amount of money talked about by the federal representatives. The minister himself, after he tabled the protected areas strategy in this House, said, "Now we can begin." I asked him, at that time, whether the territorial government was playing the lead role on it, or whether the federal government was playing the lead role, or what exactly was happening. I've had numerous calls from Teslin on this issue, and I think it's up to the minister to clear the air on it, once and for all.
I'm not saying yea or nay to the park now. I'm asking for some information. Is in fact the feasibility study for the national park going ahead at this time, and is it being spearheaded by Parks Canada or is the minister's department doing the consultation on it?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Chair, I will not be going away from the previous answer I gave to the member.
If he looks through the strategy, it lays out the process in which protected areas are eventually designated. In there - in our work plan - we identify that in the Wolf Lake area this would be one place that we would be setting up a planning team.
The whole idea was we get the strategy through and approved and use that as a guide for all protected areas in Yukon, rather than the federal government coming in here, using their own process, and really not knowing how they're going to involve the community or Yukoners at large.
Now, we have it in our plans, over the next year or so, for three areas for our planning teams to be set up. Once they are set up, that's when the communities and people like the federal government - Parks Canada - can come forward with their interests, and the work begins there.
Mr. Ostashek: I'm quite aware of what the process is under the protected spaces strategy, Mr. Chair. I asked the minister in Question Period if in fact Parks Canada has jumped the gun. Are they way ahead of his department in their proposal for a feasibility study in the Wolf Lake area? Yes or no?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: Well, Mr. Chair, we knew all along that Parks Canada was moving and getting meetings set up with communities. We felt that they were moving too quickly, and we wanted them to follow the process of YPAS. They've been involved in drafting the strategy, and they also agree with how the strategy is set up.
Well, it's a matter of time. They have their agenda and we have ours. We want them to follow our process. We want to take a lead in setting up the planning team and then they can be involved afterward.
Mr. Ostashek: Why is the minister reluctant to say yes or no to a very simple question I just asked him, because Parks Canada has been down there recently. They're waving a lot of money around saying that this is going to spent on a feasibility study. I just want to know: are they going ahead with this feasibility study or is the minister's planning process going to go in place first and Parks Canada is going to have to come in and see whether their plan fits under that planning process?
I just want a simple yes or no from the minister. What am I going to give back to constituents who have been phoning me on a daily basis because they can't understand why, on one hand, the minister says now the work can begin and on the other hand he's evasive with his answers on the feasibility study for Parks Canada.
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Chair, once we have the strategy in place, it basically is a how-to book, and the members know that quite well. The work begins in putting together planning teams. That's where the work begins.
Now, with Parks Canada coming forward, the renewable resource council in Teslin invited them over to look at what's involved in a feasibility study. So, there is interest in the community to see exactly what the federal government is looking at for a park. They agree with the protected areas process and so, with that, after the planning team is set up, that's where they would come in, along with the communities and the Resource Council and everybody who has an interest in that ecoregion.
Mr. Ostashek: How long before the planning team will be in place? When will the planning team be in place so that Parks Canada can bring their proposal in underneath the strategy that's set out in the how-to book of protected areas strategies?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: Like I said, we will be working on three planning teams, three ecoregions, and we are hoping to have these started and up and going in the next couple of months.
Mr. Ostashek: Mr. Chair, the representative for Parks Canada at the last meeting in Teslin - I believe his name is Doug Harvey - told the people that there is $2 million available for a feasibility study. Is the minister aware of that? Who is going to be spending the money? Will it be Renewable Resources or Parks Canada?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: Well, the planning team will be directing how things will take place in regard to that area. We would not ask Parks Canada not to spend their money. We would invite as many of their dollars to be involved as possible.
Mr. Ostashek: Mr. Chair, this is what the difficulty is right now for the people of Teslin, for a very depressed community, as many other communities in the Yukon are. They are looking at that $2 million to create some jobs in the community. I want to know who is going to have the budget. How is the study going to be funded under the minister's plan, the protected areas strategy, and where does the federal government fit into that with this offer of $2 million for a feasibility study?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: Once the local planning team is set up, and they have the interests of people coming forward and putting their thoughts together as to what they would like to see for protection in that ecoregion, they would take it all into consideration, including dollars. If the federal government is willing to put dollars forward, then the planning team is going to be controlling this.
Mr. Ostashek: One final question in this area - given what the minister's told me today about the process, and given that it's the minister's process and his department's process for protected spaces, what is the earliest date that the minister feels, under his process, that they can start planning for a park in the Wolf Lake area? What is the earliest date he feels that they could start?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: I said that we would be getting these teams up and going very soon - in the next couple of months. Teslin, right now, is talking about how they could be setting up these teams, so I would think that immediately the team would be getting together and interested people voicing themselves to be on the team.
Mr. Ostashek: I will leave that for now, and we'll come back to it a few months from now, when we're back in the House.
Mr. Chair, I want to ask some questions on the Fish and Wildlife Management Board. I have some very real concerns here to share with the minister. Some he may be aware of, some he may not be aware of.
I had the opportunity to sit in on a briefing meeting the other night of the Fish and Game Association. The chair of the Fish and Wildlife Management Board was at that meeting. Many of the local hunters didn't feel their views were being listened to by the Fish and Wildlife Management Board. They didn't believe the Management Board was working. In fact, they've lost confidence in the Fish and Wildlife Management Board.
The chair stated at that meeting that if they were to be heard and recognition taken, they would have to present their concerns in the proper manner and in writing.
In rebuttal to that, the president of the Fish and Game Association said - and the minister's fully aware of this - "Approximately 90 written comments were presented to the board on the Finlayson Lake area, and they fell on deaf ears." Ninety submissions were given to the board, yet they had no impact on the decision that most Yukoners feel was made before the board ever met to decide on it.
Finlayson was one example that was used. Another example that was used was the non-resident Canadians' possession of small game licences and their effect on wildlife populations. That issue had been presented numerous times to the board, and there has been nothing done on that issue. From what I could hear at that meeting - and there were quite a few residents at the meeting who were discussing the proposed regulation changes - a lot of Yukoners have lost confidence in the Fish and Wildlife Management Board, and that is not a good situation for us to be in.
Under the land claims agreement, the minister gets to appoint six people to the board, First Nations get to appoint six, and that's to express the views of all Yukoners. The resident hunter in the territory today does not have the confidence that their concerns are being listened to by the board. Major decisions in which they have overwhelmingly put in written submissions that were asked for by the chair of the board that night that I was at that meeting have fallen upon deaf ears.
My question to the minister: what is he going to do to restore public confidence in the Fish and Wildlife Management Board?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: Well, I don't have those same complaints coming to me. There are obviously a lot of issues that the Fish and Wildlife Management Board does deal with, and some of them they can't even resolve because it's of a complex nature. We do have two appointments that are due this month, and the First Nations also have two. The appointments that are coming up will all be five-year appointments so, as appointments are being renewed, they'll all have five-year appointments behind them.
So this should stagger the appointments and have people on there who have a sense of what the board has been dealing with in the past, and we will be making the recommendation that we prolong the appointments, or put off the appointments, this month, until February 14, which is the effective date of the agreements, and keep those members that we have - for the purpose of looking, I guess, at the different interests that are out there of people wanting to be on the board.
The two members that we've had expire this month.
The outfitters, for example, because there was a deadline to apply, have expressed some interest in appointing a person to the board, but they have not written me or the department a letter at this point.
Mr. Ostashek: I'm sorry, I would just like to ask the minister to repeat that last part. Who asked for an appointment to the board?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: During the annual meeting of the Outfitters Association, after having a brief discussion with them, they expressed an interest in having a representative on the board. I told them that the deadline, I believe, was that day or very close to the day of the meeting. They were going to send a letter to me, but recently we met among ourselves, and decided that the appointments could go a little further than December, into February 14. So, I would then have an opportunity to review, I guess, the department, and boards and committees would have an opportunity to review any names that were submitted by the Outfitters Association.
Mr. Ostashek: I can't express strongly enough to the minister how important it is that this board works. This is the board that's going to affect a lot of people. The decisions made by this board affect a lot of people. In order for this board to work, it needs to have the confidence of all Yukoners. Whether decisions go for them or against them, they need to be satisfied that they've had a fair opportunity and that their concerns have been met.
One of the ways that I would suggest to the minister that he can help to restore some confidence in the board is in the six appointments that he makes to that board - that he choose those appointments very, very carefully, and that he consults with all user groups as to their thoughts on who they would like to see on the board - not as representative of an association, but as a representative of those Yukoners who do not have the benefit of a final land claims agreement, but who still enjoy fishing and hunting in the Yukon.
This board makes a lot of decisions that strike very close to home with a lot of people, and if we're going to live together in this territory in harmony, a board such as this needs to have the confidence of all user groups. So, I would urge the minister to think long and hard about the six appointments that he has to make to this board, and that he consult with all non-beneficiary user groups as to whom they would like to see sitting on this board, so that they would feel that there's a balance and so that they would feel a little more confident when they go in front of the board.
I would ask for the minister's thoughts on that.
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: We do seek names from communities, and we post them to try to find people interested in sitting on boards. At times it becomes very difficult, because there are a lot of boards being formed, and there are fewer and fewer names coming forward, but we will continue that process. We did get a huge list of names that came forward, and a variety of interests from across the Yukon.
But I can tell the member that for many of the decisions that the Fish and Wildlife Management Board, they do extensive public consultation in getting direction from the general public to make recommendations to government. I believe that this board is very, very important to us because of the nature and issues that they do deal with and the fact that they make recommendations to government.
Mr. Ostashek: Well, Mr. Chair, I'm not going to prolong this, but I agree with the minister that the board is very, very important, and that's why I'm raising these concerns with the minister. This board is so important that if a large majority of Yukoners don't have any confidence in the decision that the board is making, then we have to try to address the problem so that Yukoners do have confidence.
Right now, major user groups in the Yukon don't feel that they are fairly represented on the board.
That is the problem that they keep raising, time and time again. So, I'm just asking the minister to consult with all user groups - not just with communities, but with all user groups. There are organizations out there that represent outfitters. There are organizations that represent the Fish and Game Association and there are other groups out there. I ask the minister to consult with them all and try to find a balance on that board that would restore some confidence in it.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, I have a few questions for the minister in general debate. Following up on what the leader of the official opposition has talked about regarding the importance of the boards and committees, at one of the general assemblies, White River, this summer, I received representation from them that they go ahead with the establishment of a renewable resource council in that area, just as Mayo did before the signing of their final agreement. I would like to ask the minister if there has been any progress on that.
Now of course, it's been a very difficult time recently for this particular First Nation so this probably is not at the very top of their agenda. It was an issue raised with me this summer and I wonder if the minister has had any correspondence or anything further on that?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: No, what we have been saying to the First Nation is that because negotiations have been going at a fairly quick rate, we want to be able to get them through and set up the renewable resource council through the agreements.
Mayo is an exception in that they did preimplement their renewable resource council a couple of years ahead of time. The dollars come straight out of our department if we did that. We just don't have that money. We can work with them, if they are wanting to put together a team to look, I guess, at wildlife management.
We've worked a bit with Ross River, for example, in having a wildlife management planning team put in place, but we have had requests from other First Nations to preimplement the renewable resource council and we have said no to them at this time. We want to see the agreements go through ratified and not, I guess, upset any process but continue to work with them on issues that they do bring forward in regard to wildlife.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, there's a lot of background noise. I'm not certain that I got all the minister's answer, but I'll review it in Hansard.
Can the minister provide some information as to what progress has been made on the issue of transboundary fishing licences? This seems to have fallen between the cracks. What's happening with that issue?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: I have talked with the minister in B.C. - not recently - and we have put together what we thought could be a licence that's compatible. We're waiting for their response to give it the go-ahead.
Ms. Duncan: Is there a chance that that licence might be in place for the spring and summer of 1999?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: We were hoping to have it for last spring. Because it was too soon, we're hoping that it will be dealt with in this sitting in B.C., so we'll wait and see what progress is made on that.
Ms. Duncan: Well, Mr. Chair, maybe we'll be even lucky enough to have it for some ice fishing, and it'll really move ahead.
I'd like some information from the minister with regard to the collection of campground fees. I've raised this several times with the minister and in the briefings with the department and I note that in the supplementary budget we don't see any increased revenue from the collection, and it's still an issue that's out there.
I'd like to suggest something to the minister for consideration in the spring budget. Could we make campground fees as available as fishing licences? Part of the problem is they're too darn hard to get.
Either someone doesn't come around the campground - and yes, there are collection boxes, but the collection boxes don't enable you to buy a seasonal permit - and going up to Burns Road is simply not terribly convenient for people. The minister would be well advised, I believe, to take into consideration an improved method of collection of campground fees, and my suggestion to him is that they be as available as fishing licences.
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: There has been a slight increase in campground fees this past year, but I can tell the member that the department is working on trying to put a new system together for next season.
Ms. Duncan: Great, Mr. Chair, I would be pleased if the minister would allow his officials to have a conversation with me about that - I'd be pleased to participate in it.
Can the minister advise how much revenue has been collected - he may wish to do this by legislative return - since we introduced the tax on juice packs in the spring?
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Ms. Duncan: Tetra paks.
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: I can bring that information back to the member - the exact numbers. I thought it was around $80,000, but I can bring the numbers back.
Ms. Duncan: Just a final question - and I believe my colleague has a question about a further line item. I'd like to discuss the increased allotment to the greater Kluane land use plan. This plan is quite old, actually, and it was on the shelf under the previous government, and it's been dusted off. There were meetings held recently in Haines Junction.
I'm hearing a lot of concern from Haines Junction, and other areas on the north highway about this - and concern as to where this policy and planning initiative fits with the protected areas strategy, with discussions around DAP. There are a lot of consultations right now in these particular areas. I'm just wondering if the minister can elaborate on what's driving this increased expenditure, and why has - given the age of the plan - what makes it different, and why this sort of discussion isn't fitting in with the protected areas strategy discussion?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: As we get into the lines, you'll note that this is a revote. We were hoping that we would progress a lot further on this. We were waiting and dealing with the other First Nations that are affected by the Kluane land use plan, and the way it is now, it would - and we wanted to adopt it with as little change as possible. There were a couple of areas that people wanted to have addressed - one was agriculture and the other was forestry.
But the Kluane land use plan, if adopted, will be only in the Champagne-Aishihik traditional territory that doesn't have overlap. If you look at a map with the Kluane land use plan, it stretches all the way up through the Carmacks and the Selkirk First Nation territories and into Dawson territory, so it takes a huge chunk of land, so Champagne-Aishihik land is here. All the overlap into their traditional territory will be excluded from the plan.
Ms. Duncan: I thank the minister for that answer, but what the minister didn't address is the issue of where this fits with the protected areas strategy. I'd like that clarified for the general public, which is asking the same question. They are feeling like they are being consulted on what essentially is land use in a number of different ways - under the DAP consultations, under the protected areas strategy consultations, and under these consultations - and they're trying to deal with three different issues - or slightly different issues - at one point in time. I'd just like the minister to clarify the differences specifically between the protected areas strategy and the Kluane land use plan.
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: The protected areas strategy and the Kluane land use plan can work hand in hand with one another. As we continue to work on ecoregions and put planning teams together, we can still have land use planning take place. Land use planning, like the Kluane land use plan, would be a broad, overall look at the whole land mass.
The two planning teams and ecoregions that we're looking at are in the north, and if the Land Use Planning Council continues to see that as a priority in the north, then land use planning could take place simultaneously as the planning teams are set up.
Ms. Duncan:I will save further communication with the minister on that issue for a follow-up letter after the session.
One other item that came up over the summer was the flaking red paint that was taken off the Lewes bridge, which was tested for lead levels. After the story became public that the sandblasted paint was being taken to the dump at Marsh Lake, there was an effort made to bury it and cover it. Why did it take a story in the local media to make this change? Why wasn't the minister following the Environment Act and the environmental standards that the previous NDP government so lauded to the public? Why aren't they following that in their own department?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: I guess, simply put, they were following the Environment Act. The responsibility was with the contractor.
Mr. Phillips: I have a couple of questions. Just a comment first on catch-and-release. I see the minister is getting a grin on his face. The Wildlife Management Board is doing some work with respect to catch-and-release, and I just want to point out to the minister again that they've done two studies. One was on the mortality of fish and one was on First Nations' value of fish. They were doing a third one on the value of sports fishing in the territory. I just want the minister to know that no one in the industry, including the Fish and Game Association, the sports fishing people, the people who sell fishing equipment, people in the hotels or anyone who might be a contributor to this study, has been contacted as of yet.
So, I don't know who is doing the study and where they're getting their information from, but I don't think the general public's going to accept old information. I think they're going to want current information. As they have current First Nation information and current catch-and-release information, they're going to want current economic sport fishing information.
I would ask the minister to ensure that the Fish and Wildlife Management Board does a thorough analysis so we don't just get somebody going through the old history up at Renewable Resources and pulling that out. I think it has to be something current to be relevant to the debate.
That's just a comment. I'd ask the minister to pass that on to the Wildlife Advisory Board.
The other issue that I'd like to talk to briefly on - and that I just want to get the minister on the record about - I attended a meeting of the Management Board last week where they brought forward several proposed changes to the wildlife regulations for 1999. The one I want to talk about specifically is the permit hunt for wood bison and the proposal from the wildlife branch - from the minister's department - to define wood bison as a big game animal under the Wildlife Act.
The question I have for the minister: does that change the status of the bison in any way with respect to the UFA?
The UFA describes the bison as a transplanted population - and this is page 8 of the UFA. It reads, "Except as otherwise agreed by the parties to a First Nation final agreement, a population of freshwater fish or wildlife that is intentionally introduced by government or by an entity other than a Yukon First Nation anywhere in the Yukon as part of the freshwater fish or wildlife management program ..."
So, my interpretation of the UFA is that transplanted species includes wildlife. Is that correct? The minister could answer that, first of all.
Secondly, the concern has been raised that moving bison under the Wildlife Act won't change that status. So, what I'm concerned about and what I've heard people being concerned about is that it will fall under the category that moose and caribou do with respect to allocation, and I want to ensure that that won't be the case. I understand the minister has got a legal opinion that states that that won't be the case, that in fact the legal opinion clearly states that they will be wildlife but a transplanted population of wildlife and won't fall under the UFA.
I just think it's important for the minister to clarify it and get the opinion of the minister with respect to where the bison fall after this change is made in the act.
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: No, it doesn't change. The member is right; the UFA still identifies them as transplanted, so all that he has said so far is true. I'll take the suggestions that he's made with regard to the public consultation on catch-and-release fishing. Our position, as a government, hasn't changed; we still support it. We have, as a matter of fact, designated lakes for catch-and-release fishing. We feel that's still an important management tool.
I know the member has drafted this whole petition all by himself, and I read his news release - trying to get a few punches in, I guess - maybe he hasn't drafted it himself, Mr. Chair.
Our position hasn't changed on that, and I just want the member to know that, too.
Chair: Is it the wish of members to take a brief recess?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: Ten minutes.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. We're dealing with Renewable Resources. Is there further general debate?
Mr. Phillips: The minister, when he closed, spoke about catch-and-release and changing his mind on catch-and-release. As the minister knows, he said in the House last time he was here that he didn't support it, and today he said he did. So, there are a couple of things that I'd like to get a commitment from the minister on. One is that the minister will work very hard this winter to make sure that there is some money in this next year budget for education on catch-and-release for all those Yukoners who support it and those who are just learning how to catch and release properly, and I think that's a necessary part of it. That was very much part of the petition.
As well, Mr. Chair, I'd like to ask the minister to show his support and demonstrate to the people who signed the petition and to me and to all of the Yukoners out there who support catch-and-release fishing as a conservation measure by signing the petition. I have copies of the petition that I can bring over, and I'll get the minister to sign it.
He said today that he supports it, and so I don't think there will be a problem with the minister signing it. So, if I can get that commitment from the minister, I'd be really happy. It would kind of make my Christmas, if you know what I mean.
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: The issue that the Fish and Wildlife Management Board brought up with regard to catch-and-release and taking this out to the public, I think that it is a good move to bring views back from the general public. We have stated, and you can see it all through Hansard and in all the questions that the members asked about our support for this. We have said that it was a good management tool.
We've identified a couple more lakes that could use the catch-and-release method. We haven't wavered from that at all. It is the member who tried to build fear among Yukoners and drafted his own petition. Now he has put out a press release, so he's making his own news. We haven't said at all that we were against catch-and-release. Our department still uses that as a management tool.
Mr. Phillips: Well, when I showed the words that the minister said last year to a lot of Yukoners, they were pretty concerned that the minister didn't support it. To be honest and kind to the minister, I will show people the words that the minister just said in the House today - that he does support catch-and-release - but I did ask a final question. Maybe I combined too many questions together and the minister didn't hear my final question.
But it was when the minister signed the petition. He said he was supportive of it. Now, I want the minister to demonstrate that strong support he has for catch-and-release - the definite strong support he has - and sign the petition. I can get one here real quick - this is my last question.
I'll whip out here, get a copy of the petition, bring it in, and I'll get it over to the minister because I'd love to see the minister's name on that petition, as mine is, and then the minister and I, hand in hand, could fight this issue and prevent some other future governments from ever doing away with catch-and-release fishing in the territory.
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Chair, I've said to the member, time and time again, that that was our position. We do support it. We practice it in the way we do things, and by telling the member over and over, I think that he wasted his time and effort in drafting this up, and it was a pointless process, when he knows full well that the government does support this. So, there's no need to do any such thing as sign the petition.
Mr. Ostashek: I have just one final question for the minister in general debate, and that pertains to fishing licences. I'd just like the minister to put it on the public record. My understanding with fishing licences is that under the land claims agreements, although First Nations can fish anywhere and are not required to buy a licence, they still have to obtain a fishing licence. There isn't any charge for it, but they still have to obtain a fishing licence. Am I correct on that?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: Yes, I believe that's correct. It's the same with hunting licences.
Mr. Cable: The minister's department just let a contract for the second phase of the agricultural policy review. When will that be completed, and when will the whole of the policy be completed and released to the public?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: We will be starting that process in January, over the next three months, and it should be completed the end of March and brought forward to us. Close to that time, I believe, it could be released.
Just to clarify, though, from the question the official opposition raised in regard to fishing licences, I should say that it is outside of the traditional territory.
Chair: Seeing no further debate, we'll go to expenditures.
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
Administration in the amount of $84,000 agreed to
On Policy and Planning
Policy and Planning in the amount of an underexpenditure of $8,000 agreed to
On Environment, Parks and Field Services
Environment, Parks and Field Services in the amount of $68,000 agreed to
On Resource Management
Resource Management in the amount of $124,000 agreed to
On Land Claims
Land Claims in the amount of $18,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures for the Department of Renewable Resources in the amount of $286,000 agreed to
On Capital Expenditures
On Information Systems
On Computer Equipment
Computer Equipment in the amount of $2,000 agreed to
On Lands and Facilities
On Office Accommodation and Improvements
Office Accommodation and Improvements in the amount of $4,000 agreed to
On Policy and Planning
On Greater Kluane Land Use Plan
Greater Kluane Land Use Plan in the amount of $43,000 agreed to
On Environment, Parks and Field Services
On Lands and Facilities
On Capital Maintenance Upgrades
Capital Maintenance Upgrades in the amount of $3,000 agreed to
On Territorial Parks and Protected Areas
On Park System Plan
Park System Plan in the amount of $11,000 agreed to
Motion to extend sitting hours
Hon. Mr. Harding: Mr. Chair, I've had discussions with the House leaders, and we've agreed that we should conclude today no later than 7:00, probably earlier, so I move
THAT Committee of the Whole and the Assembly be empowered to sit from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. for the purpose of completing consideration of Bill No. 13, entitled Third Appropriation Act, 1998-99, in Committee of the Whole; for the House to consider third reading of Bill No. 13; and for receiving the Commissioner to grant assent to Bill No. 13.
Motion agreed to
On Resource Assessment
Resource Assessment Expenditures in the amount of $23,000 agreed to
On Territorial Campgrounds and Day Use Areas
On Capital Works - Campground Facilities
Ms. Duncan: Could I have an explanation from the minister as to which campground facilities we're improving?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: There are two of them - Pine Lake Campground and Tagish Lake Campground.
Capital Works - Campgrounds Facilities in the amount of $24,000 agreed to
On Outdoor Recreation Sites and Corridors
On Outdoor Recreation System Plan
Outdoor Recreation System Plan in the amount of $30,000 agreed to
On Heritage Rivers
On Tatshenshini River
Tatshenshini River in the amount of $5,000 agreed to
On Resource Management
On Special Projects
On Wildlife Viewing
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, could we have the details on this line item, please?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: This is a revote for a discussion paper on nature trails on White Mountain wildlife viewing site and Faro wildlife viewing sites.
Wildlife Viewing in the amount of $15,000 agreed to
On Infrastructure Facilities (Abattoir)
Mr. Phillips: Could the minister tell us what this item is and as well, Mr. Chair, could the minister provide a written response?
I believe the abattoir is open now and accepting some farm animals. Could the minister tell us what the uptake is? Does it seem pretty good or is it slow or what's happening with it? That doesn't have to happen right now. If the minister could provide in writing what's happening with the abattoir, I would appreciate it.
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: I can bring that information back. I did have the pleasure, along with the Member for Riverside, to taste the first beef processed through the abattoir during the agricultural conference earlier this year, about a month ago.
I can say that $36,000 is left from what we had originally planned. We had originally planned for $150,000, and the successful applicant for the abattoir was under that amount. We used the $36,000 for the certification of a meat inspector, a corral and a collection facility in the Whitehorse area.
Mr. Cable: When the minister is replying to the Member for Riverdale North, I would appreciate a copy of the letter. I'd also like confirmation that the agreement with the abattoir operator is going smoothly and there has been no problem with the agreement if, in fact, that's the case.
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: I can forward that information.
Infrastructure Facilities (Abattoir) in the amount of $36,000 agreed to
Capital Expenditures in the amount of $196,000 agreed to
Department of Renewable Resources agreed to
Chair: We will now proceed to the Department of Tourism.
Department of Tourism
Chair: Is there general debate?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: The Department of Tourism has requested an increase in funding of $64,000 to its operation and maintenance budget, and $669,000 to its capital budget. The O&M budget increase consists entirely of salary increases resulting from the collective agreement earlier this year.
The capital budget increase is for $344,000 for the revoting of funds for projects continued in this fiscal year, $10,000 for the impact of the new collective agreement in capital positions, $15,000 from Heritage Canada to complete the artifact inventory, catalog and database project, $250,000 to commence the tourism marketing fund, and $50,000 for the film incentive program.
Mr. Phillips: I have a few questions in Tourism for the minister. Mr. Chair, I want to talk first of all about the 1999 visitor guide. I know it's one of the minister's favourite topics. We've talked about several problems with the visitor guide that have come to light in the public eye, but I have been speaking to some individuals in the tourism industry who are concerned about the errors that were made with respect to the callback card or the bingo cards. I just want to know from the minister: has there been a satisfactory compromise reached with the individuals who were upset about, in some cases, having duplicate numbers, and in other cases, having numbers not even put on the bottom of their ads? Has there been a satisfactory resolution to that concern?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Yes, Mr. Chair, the department and the Tourism Industry Association are developing an insert for the guide, and that will remedy the situation for all folks.
Mr. Phillips: The last question I have on the visitor guide is that there were several problems with the guide this year, from Alaskan photographs to photographs that were of poor quality, to this issue here, and other billing issues that happened. It seemed to be a whole gamut of things that went wrong.
I would like to ask the minister what the department has done since then to ensure that there will be a closer editing of the material that goes into the guide, so that we won't encounter the same kind of problems that we encountered this year. Is the minister going to get the final view of the guide himself? Is he going to be the person who signs it off, because he is ultimately responsible for the programs in the Department of Tourism? What precautionary things have they put in place to ensure that we don't have the same problems that we had this year?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Certainly, I can elaborate and say that the pictures that were contained in the visitor guide are certainly pictures that are representative of the north in general. They certainly represent a product that is available within the Yukon Territory. I've chatted with my partner on this - the Tourism Industry Association - and expressed a need that we would get together and talk about how we certainly could make it better.
As the Member for Riverdale North has stated, I am ultimately responsible for the department and the partnerships that are created within the department.
I have issued a directive that said that all images are to be Yukon images and that only Yukon photographs would be used in certain editions. However, I would like to quantify that, as I say it, because the member opposite full well knows that an important historical gateway entry into the Yukon Territory is the Chilkoot. Those types of things are just commonsense types of things, but I have certainly chatted with, as I have said, my Tourism Industry Association partner. I have instructed the department that we have to take a longer and harder look at this, so that we do have only our products available in it. Of course, qualified, as I have previously said.
Mr. Phillips: Well, I'm happy to hear that, Mr. Chair. I don't have a problem - as the minister may know - with respect to the Chilkoot Trail being included in the guide. It's all part of the Yukon history, and that's fine. I just have a problem when we have ski lodges that aren't here, and those other kinds of things that created a problem, and I don't want to get into that now. I think we've gone through that.
I'm happy that the minister sent a directive out, so that they'll all be Yukon pictures. But I have to tell the minister, watch closely; keep a good eye on it. Sometimes these pictures crop up from time to time. I know the department has been purging the files of all the photographs we have, and I hope we've made sure that we've got all of the photos that aren't of Yukon out of the files.
Mr. Chair, the other day I asked the minister a couple of questions about Canada 3000, the European flights, and I wasn't totally satisfied with the answer. The minister's department made some statements about a 90-minute stopover in Vancouver. The minister stood up in the House and said that he didn't say that there would be a 90-minute stop-over, and the minister is correct in saying that.
On the other hand, many of his colleagues, and even the minister himself here today has said that he is responsible for his department. So, when somebody like your director of marketing or your deputy minister or your film site person makes statements or someone makes statements about a particular issue, the general public is led to believe that that is, in fact, exactly what's going on. So, the concern I have here is that there seems to be some confusion in the marketplace with respect to this.
The minister made a comment which he didn't clarify, and I refer the minister to page 4031, December 10, in the Blues. In answer to a question about the overnight stop, I asked the minister how they can sell an overnight stop and, at the same time, sell a 90-minute stop, because the minister didn't seem to know which had been agreed to. The minister said, "But let me also say, Mr. Speaker, that again, the sales are very lucrative."
I'm wondering how the sales could be lucrative, Mr. Chair, if we don't know which it is: a 90-minute stop or an overnight stop. How are we selling it in the marketplace? How many sales have we had for the overnight stop, and how many sales have we had for the straight-through flight - the 90-minute stop? My understanding of the issue is that it hasn't been totally resolved, and that there are no sales taking place at the current time on that flight. So, the minister possibly misspoke himself when he said the sales were very lucrative, because there are no sales right now.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Certainly I can clarify that. It is a one-day layover and, as I said, maybe I have misinterpreted the word "lucrative", if I could. It's being sold as a one-day layover. The travel trade and the tourism wholesalers that we have in Germany are, from what I see, reacting very favourably to the proposed schedule and the price.
Mr. Phillips: So, the other day, the minister said it hadn't been settled yet. Yes, because the minister says here, "However, to date, international airport departure slots have yet to be assigned, and the Whitehorse-bound passengers from Dusseldorf and Munich may be required to stay over."
The minister is saying now that they are required to stay over, that the slots have been assigned and that they are required to stay over. That's the interpretation I received from the minister today.
So, Mr. Chair, I'm pleased to see that that's cleared up in the marketplace now. What are we doing in the marketplace? We have a fairly strong presence in the marketplace, and I commend the department and the officials who are working hard on that, because I understand that there was recently a study done by CTC, in which they asked about awareness, in Europe, of jurisdictions in Canada. From the people I was talking to, they were quite proud of the fact that the Yukon placed third in awareness in Europe. I believe, I think, British Columbia and Ontario were ahead of us, and we beat all the other provinces.
So, I think, for a little jurisdiction, with the little amount of money that we have in marketing, compared to the others, that we've done very well.
We're going to have to maintain that. I'm wondering what we're doing new with this new carrier, with Canada 3000 in Europe, and I know that Canadian Airlines with British Airways is offering a new through flight. As well, Condor Air is now offering a flight to Whitehorse. So, we've got the three airlines now coming to Whitehorse. Have we put any more money in that marketplace? Because we've been very successful partnering in the past with these airlines - Air Transat and others - and I just wonder if we're planning on putting any more money into that marketplace in this season to bring the awareness more to the forefront of the Yukon with respect to three airlines flying in here with special fares.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Well, certainly, Mr. Chair, I appreciate the words said for the department, and I will pass on the words from the member opposite as to the good work, because placing number three is certainly a product of good work.
Yes, with Canada 3000, with Condor Air and with Canadian Airlines, we have ongoing cooperative marketing programs that are in place with each of the respective airlines. As the member knows, these are just an ongoing issue to help with in-flight magazines or joint promotional types of stuff and with what we have going there.
So, we're doing that with Condor Air. We're doing that with Canada 3000. We're doing that with Canadian Airlines. And we hope that we'll be able to continue to do that. That's what we've done this year.
Certainly, with the budget process taking place now for next year's budget, yes, that is a process that is up and in place. I'm in there fighting for more marketing dollars, but it's a process that has yet to be completed, but I'd like the member to take assurance that the Tourism department is going to be represented there.
Mr. Phillips: Could the minister provide me with copies of those marketing agreements with those three airlines or the three partners so I know what we're doing over there in Europe, and can the minister tell me if the partners we've had before - the wholesalers and others in Europe - are satisfied that we're putting enough energy into the advent that three airlines are now going to come to the territory? Have they been asking for more funds? Are they happy with what's happening and do they feel the status quo is fine? How do the partners that we've been dealing with in the past feel about it?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Well certainly, first of all, Mr. Chair, let me say that our partners in Europe and the airlines themselves are very pleased. They've expressed to me that they're very appreciative of the work that we're doing, as the Yukon territorial government, particularly the Tourism department, to help out in exposing our territory. Well, maybe exposing is not a good word, but I can't think of another word.
Certainly, I would be more than willing to provide the Canada 3000, Condor Air and Canadian Airlines contracts to the member opposite, and I take it that, yes, the leader of the third party would also like those and I will also share those with them.
Mr. Phillips: Mr. Chair, Canada 3000 is increasing their flights, as we heard today in this House, from the rest of Canada this summer, and I'm wondering if the minister has planned or is planning any partnerships with Canada 3000. I know the department had recent discussions with TIA and others that there were some concerns raised about what we're doing in the Canadian marketplace and how much effort we're putting into the Canadian marketplace. I know the new director of marketing was going to focus more on Canada.
Now that we have these airlines here, it would seem to me that we should be taking advantage this next season of Canada 3000 coming here and making sure that we partner with them with respect to marketing so that their flights are full and so that they would continue to fly here next year and possibly even increase their service here in the future and encourage others to increase their service here as well.
Have we had any discussions with Canada 3000 - or Canadian Airlines, because I don't think we should leave them out at all. We should be partnering with Canadian Airlines as well.
So, do we have any agreements with respect to Canadian Airlines for Canada, for the summer months - marketing this winter for next year?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Certainly, Mr. Chair. Well, it would be atrocious of me to try and sing it, but God, I'd love to, because everybody knows the beautiful song of Roberta Flack [singing] "The first time ever I saw your face." Well, I did get it in there, and I woke Peter up, too.
Let me just say, though, that we're going to use that - that beautiful song. I've seen the first cut at it, and it's just absolutely beautiful. And it's representative of people, and the geography, and we're going to be running those beautiful commercials. I will surely try to get copies of these types of things for you, to undertake a television marketing campaign, and it's going to be aimed at the southern Ontario market. And of course, it's also going to be broadcast on the Outdoor Life channel in May of 1999, and the Learning Channel, so we can certainly all have an opportunity to compare my beautiful voice with that of -
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Okay, you don't have a chance.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Certainly, though, it's also tied to the gateway cities, and we're making major moves on Washington, Chicago, Seattle - those types of major cities, and through the gateways process.
And yes, I've been myself, personally, to a meeting with Canadian Airlines, with the director of marketing. We've certainly reassured Canadian Airlines - not that they needed the reassurance - but we've assured them that we're still in partnership with them, we'd like to continue to be in partnership with them.
And that type of work is certainly just ongoing work. So it's not one partner over another, it's all together.
Mr. Phillips: When it comes to singing, I don't think the minister should give up his day job. My god, what did I just say? I take that back, Mr. Chair. Let me think about that one longer. It appears that not only the minister can overlook some mistakes in a visitor guide. Canadian Airlines itself made a small mistake in their Inflight magazine - they've got us in the Northwest Territories. So, I guess everyone can make these mistakes from time to time. I understand that Canadian is apologetic and trying to correct it, and that's fine. We'll leave that one where it is.
Mr. Chair, the Northern Alliance which, I believe, is Inuvialuit, NWT west, and the Yukon - the new Northern Alliance that we're working with CTC on in marketing. I think it's a good concept. My concern with it, though, is how we are positioning ourselves in the marketplace with respect to what we have to offer. Although we're the north, we're quite a bit different from the Eastern Arctic and even the Western Arctic. The Eastern and Western Arctic are known quite a bit for the Inuvialuit, Eskimos - more cold and snow and ice. And the Yukon - we spend a great deal of time, energy and money trying to sell ourselves as a nice place to visit in the summer. I've heard some concerns from people in the marketplace that we caution ourselves not to be positioned in with that cold theme, because most people already think we're cold, and we have to spend a lot of money telling people that we have a great summer, and they should come and visit us.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mr. Phillips: Well, you know, the Member for Watson Lake is at it again - "Why don't you write it down and mail it in." Well, you know, Mr. Chair, we're paid to be in this House, and I know the Member for Watson Lake has been whining about being here since day one. He's been complaining about being in this House since day one, and he wants to go home to his riding.
Mr. Chair, the Member for Watson Lake can get up and go right now if he wishes. He can go home to his riding if he misses it that much, you know.
Mr. Chair, we have a job to do. That's why the people of Riverdale North elected me to come in the House and go through the budget and look at the budget and scrutinize and ask questions about where the department is going. This is the only opportunity that we have.
I know the Member for Watson Lake is extremely bored sitting in the back, wandering through the forest, and his buddies keep telling him to go out there and look at the trees, study the bugs, the birds and the bats. I know he's frustrated about it, but I can't help that. He's got to deal -
Chair: Order please. I'd like to ask members to focus more on the supplementary budget.
Mr. Phillips: Mr. Chair, I'm trying to focus on the supplementary budget, but the Member for Watson Lake says that I'm not focusing on it. Our focus is to be here and talk about the supplementary budget. All these items are included in the supplementary budget and the overall budget of the Government of the Yukon. So, Mr. Chair, I think I am focusing on it.
I think the Member for Watson Lake should just be patient. We're going to be out of here in another hour and a half or so. We said we'd be done by 7:00 p.m. He could find something to do between now and 7:00 p.m., and it will be just fine.
Mr. Chair, I have a couple of more questions. I see in the budget here the Canyon City tramway, and they are reactivating that issue. Is this for the interpretation at Canyon City that we've had in the past? I believe it was $11,000 last year, as well. It was transferred in at the last minute when the government became embarrassed that it didn't have any money in the budget.
My concern is that I heard comments from several people last year that because it was a small amount of money last year, the people didn't really start until mid-June or late in June or even the first of July, I believe. It was a really late start for them, and I know that a lot of people came to that site earlier. Is the minister going to look at Canyon City tramway as an archaeological site in the future? Are we going to be continuing to work with it? Have we had discussions with Kwanlin Dun with respect to reactivating that project, and where is it at now?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Certainly it's going to be deliberated through the next budget process, but I would like to assure the member that, yes, he is correct in his summation. But also we will be considering it within the next process, and I would also like to say, yes, that this has been a successful program in the past and, at this point in time, I can say that, no, I have personally not spoken to the Kwanlin Dun First Nation on it, but the department is in the process of putting the budget together.
Mr. Phillips: The tourism marketing fund that the government announced early in this session - does the minister have a criteria set up for that fund now? Are we accepting applications? Where are we at with respect to the fund?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Yes, I can say that we've had an initial meeting, and we've talked to the terms of reference. We focused it. As the member knows, it's based on a variety of partnerships. We've had that first initial cut, and it's on its way to the Cabinet process at this point in time. We're expecting it to be out shortly and, when it is, I will be more than pleased to share the principles and the process with both respective members.
Mr. Phillips: Well, it's almost too late for this winter. I mean, most of the shows are taking place right now - and in the last few weeks - for marketing for next year. When does the minister expect to sort of have this thing up and running and applications being received? Does the minister have some kind of an idea when - is it going to be March, or April, or May - this thing's going to be up and running and in full swing? What's the timeline?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: No, Mr. Chair, it's very much going to be utilized for this winter's season. We're also looking to have a meeting in January so that we can start to allocate the dollars. Certainly, as I said, as soon as the paper is released and critiqued through the process, I will be more than glad to share that with him.
Ms. Duncan: I will be very short in my general questions to the minister. I just have a few items I would like some further information on.
The experience with Air Transat this summer and the expenditure of the funds - was there an evaluation done of the funds that have been spent? There was, for example, $108,000 spent on a new and enhanced Yukon tourism product and brochures. There was the setup of a databank for special interest mailings and telemarketing undertaken under the expenditures with the cooperative marketing agreement with Air Transat.
Have we done an evaluation of these expenditures? Is there any material that the minister can forward to me on this evaluation?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Well, Mr. Chair, not in a formal sense but in an ongoing sense, certainly, but I can certainly pull together as much information that is pertinent to the process and provide it to the member opposite. That will not be a problem.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, I would like to know if we did do an assessment of the response to the advertising - for example, the databank for special interest mailings, if we're continuing to use that. On that subject, could I ask the minister if there is a specific policy in the department or a practice that is actually set out in writing on standards on followup? I know, for example, that there is a monitored response time to the bingo cards response cards. We know how long it takes from the time we receive those cards till the person receives a brochure. We do an assessment of that.
What about followup on leads from trade shows or leads from other agencies - does the minister have any policy directives in his department that they shall be followed up within X period of time?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: No, there's not an explicit policy that says that, on the thirteenth day of the second month or the fifth week - if that makes sense - you shall go out and do a policy review. But certainly, as ongoing initiatives are created and there is new market awareness happening, we do look at getting the best bang for our buck. That's when we actually get the leverage that we're speaking of. In some cases, 13-to-one is a rule for dollars and leverage and how to do it. So, it's that kind of an ongoing process.
Again, if the member wants to sit down after this session and get a very thorough briefing with me included, I would be more than happy to do that. There is no real need for a policy, because we have, in essence, the direction where we're going through the surveys and all those issues rolled into decision making.
Ms. Duncan: Well, I've attended several briefings from the department. I attended the spring presentation. The minister tried to sing it for us earlier in this House. There are situations where individuals have provided leads and followup to the minister's department, and there are complaints that nothing happens with it. That's what I'm talking about. I received those complaints previously, in terms of response to bingo cards. I know that the response that I got from the department at the time was, "Oh, it's monitored." That's what I'm asking for. A policy that says, "Further to the Trade Show, there will be followup completed within two or three months" is a bad thing. I would encourage the minister to examine that issue.
Earlier this session, the minister announced a strategic planning session with the tourism industry, to take place in February of this year, on future directions for Yukon tourism. The minister provided to me a list of completed and forecasted tourism plans, which of course are done largely by volunteers in specific communities. How do these community tourism plans fit with this overall strategic planning session in February?
Are we expecting communities to show up with their existing plan in hand, and say, "Well, here's where we can go?" There are a number of tourism plans that are to be updated this fiscal year and next. Is there a new approach being taken by the department in terms of developing these tourism plans?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Yes, Mr. Chair, the Member for Porter Creek South is right. It will be a part of the tool; it will definitely be a part of the tool, but not the main equation of the process.
The process is more to go and talk to people, not just to communities and organizations, and to, as I've said earlier, but to talk to people. That way, we can get to hear what everybody has to say.
Now, I do know that the regions that have representative business plans will be bringing those forth, to say "This is where we'd like to go." So it's more or less of a guiding document for folks with regional plans, but they will be a tool. And certainly the pillars that we've spoken about are the nature, the geography, the people - those types of things - and, of course, the gold rush.
Ms. Duncan: Thanks, Mr. Chair. Museums have been discussed before in this House. They're a very strong component of our tourism industry, and largely volunteer, like many tourism situations and organizations. One of the questions I've asked the minister before is in relation to how we review the funding provided to museums.
What I'm thinking of in particular is that we ask museums to apply on a project-by-project basis, and what happens is that museums will apply under specific projects. The people who work for these museums are the last item on the list, when it comes to funding.
I note that we've got additional funding in this budget. Is that funding again following the project by project approach, or is there any opportunity for the museums, when they receive additional funding, to consider, as we're doing with this budget. This budget gives an increase to employees. Are the museum employees, those who are full-time, given any consideration in this additional museum funding, or is it simply for more projects to be undertaken by the museums?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: We certainly do consider the museums in their endeavours within the base budget. As you can see, we have got to have $23,000 revoted for some small projects for MacBride, et cetera.
We'll come to that, I guess, when we get to line by line. But yes, I do attempt to work with the museums so that we might be able to provide a very good product with them. Also, it's not only limited to us, but I know that the CDF does do work with them, so it's not simply limited to us, but, yes, I can say that I do listen and I do work with the museums through the regular process, that staff do do good work to go out and to find the dollars for extraordinary activity or, in some cases, just for small planning. As we know, MacBride now has different aspirations, and I'm in the process of setting up a meeting to see how we might be able to work together on this.
Ms. Duncan: Well, Mr. Chair, I've had an opportunity to discuss some of those aspirations with, as the minister would say, some of the folks who are associated with MacBride, and certainly their project is ambitious indeed, but it would be a real asset to our community.
On the subject of museums, with respect to the Lord study that goes back to the early 1980s, that gave a lot of overall direction to the territory's tourism and to the territory's museums. Is it the minister's intention in the strategic planning session in February to revisit that study or to have it revisited and present some information to the individuals at the strategic planning session?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Well, certainly, Mr. Chair, that will be one of the tools - certainly, one of the pillars of the tourism industry in the Yukon at this point in time is that of the ancient cultures and the ancient voices, if I may say it in that way. So, certainly, they will be included in the process, to see how we can further develop tourism.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, I'd just like to close by - I don't want to take up a lot of the House's time. If I have further specific questions, I'll forward them to the minister in writing. I do believe I have some. I would like to make the point that the minister has agreed to forward copies of the cooperative marketing agreements with the airlines flying into the territory. If we could have the details of the expenditures under those lines, I'd appreciate it.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Certainly.
Mr. Jenkins: I just have one question of the minister in general debate. I'd like to ask the minister to confirm that the funds agreed to under the Anderson-Knowles agreement, whereby the federal Minister of Fisheries of Canada bought his way out of a major lawsuit by the State of Alaska for the blockade of the Malaspina by the fishers in British Columbia. The compensation package is on target and is flowing, specifically to Tourism North. Could the minister just confirm that for the record, please?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: For the record, absolutely so.
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
Chair: Seeing as there is no further general debate, we'll go to operation and maintenance expenditures.
On Corporate Services
Corporate Services in the amount of $10,000 agreed to
Heritage in the amount of $11,000 agreed to
On Industry Services
Industry Services in the amount of $7,000 agreed to
Marketing in the amount of $29,000 agreed to
Arts in the amount of $7,000 agreed to
Chair: Any questions on the revenue?
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures for the Department of Tourism in the amount of $64,000 agreed to
On Capital Expenditures
On Corporate Services
On General Corporate Support
On Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space
Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space in the amount of $34,000 agreed to
On Historic Resources
On Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre
Development in the amount of $30,000 agreed to
Ms. Duncan: Could I have an explanation from the minister on that?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: There is $12,000 for the supply of touch-screen computers to the rural visitor reception centres. They were awarded in the previous fiscal year, but delivery was delayed; $13,000 to complete the recarpeting of the Watson Lake visitor reception centre and exterior repainting of the Carcross visitor reception centre; $48,000 revoted to re-edit existing film and video footage to vignette-style for market use and to relay our film voice-overs.
Marketing in the amount of $32,000 agreed to
On Museums Assistance
Museums Assistance in the amount of $23,000 agreed to
On Exhibits Assistance
Exhibits Assistance in the amount of $23,000 agreed to
On Artifact Inventory and Cataloguing
Artifact Inventory and Cataloguing in the amount of $16,000 agreed to
On Historic Sites
On Historic Sites Maintenance
Historic Sites Maintenance in the amount of $27,000 agreed to
On Historic Sites Inventory
Historic Sites Inventory in the amount of $8,000 agreed to
On Ft. Selkirk
Ft. Selkirk in the amount of $3,000 agreed to
On Historic Sites Planning
Historic Sites Planning in the amount of $6,000 agreed to
On Interpretation and Signage
Interpretation and Signage in the amount of $3,000 agreed to
On Canyon City Tramway
Hon. Mr. Keenan: This is revoted for the preparation of a report on the project. It is to critique it.
Canyon City Tramway in the amount of $11,000 agreed to
On Yukon Archaeology
Yukon Archaeology in the amount of $11,000 agreed to
Palaeontology in the amount of $16,000 agreed to
On Heritage Studies
Heritage Studies in the amount of $7,000 agreed to
On Industry Services
On Industry and Regional Services
On Product and Resource Assessment
Product and Resource Assessment in the amount of $3,000 agreed to
On Visitor Reception Centres
On Multi-media Equipment
Mr. Phillips: Mr. Chair, the film at the Beringia Centre is not of the best quality in the world and I've had a lot of people complain that they kind of feel that they need glasses when they come out of there. It just seems to be a bit out of focus and I don't know if anything can be done to it. Is there a plan to redo that film in the near future?
Although the content of the film is fine, the reproduction seems to be poor and it takes away a bit from, I guess, the excellent exhibits that are throughout the building. My view is that we should have something that is of a little higher standard to match what is there already in all the other exhibits that are in Beringia.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Certainly, Mr. Chair, I agree and that is something that we're going to have to be looking at down the road to see that we improve on it.
Multi-media Equipment in the amount of $12,000 agreed to
On VRC Capital Maintenance
VRC Capital Maintenance in the amount of $13,000 agreed to
On Travel Equipment, Displays and Productions
On Production, Distribution and Versioning of Films and Audio-Visual Shows
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, could I ask the minister for the explanation of that line, please?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: It's to revote and to re-edit existing film and video again to reuse.
Production, Distribution and Versioning of Films and Audio-Visual Shows in the amount of $48,000 agreed to
On Marketing Support
On Tourism Marketing Fund
Tourism Marketing Fund in the amount of $250,000 agreed to
On Facility Development
On Arts Centre Capital Maintenance
Arts Centre Capital Maintenance in the amount of $43,000 agreed to
On Film Incentive
On Film Incentive Program
Film Incentive Program in the amount of $50,000 agreed to
Deputy Chair: Are there questions on the capital recoveries?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Capital Expenditures for the Department of Tourism in the amount of $669,000 agreed to
Department of Tourism agreed to
Deputy Chair: We'll go to the Women's Directorate, page 13-1.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: On general debate, the $4,000 in the supplementary is for the collective agreement impact.
Mrs. Edelman: Is any research going on in the directorate dealing with issues around midwifery? Is that one of the issues that's going to be dealt with by the directorate?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Health and Social Services has chaired a working group on midwifery. The Women's Directorate is participating in that working group.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Hello? All right, thank you.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Well, there was an official in my seat, Peter, and she just left.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Thank you. Mr. Deputy Chair, do I have the floor?
Deputy Chair: Yes, you do.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Thank you, Mr. Deputy Chair.
To respond to the Member for Riverdale South on her question in relation to midwifery, the Department of Health and Social Services is chairing a working group on midwifery. The Women's Directorate is represented on the working group.
Mrs. Edelman: There's going to be a letter coming from the Childbirth Options Group. It was its understanding that there was some research going on in the department. Is there anything ongoing at this point?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: It's part of the ongoing work of the Women's Directorate to conduct research, and midwifery is one of the issues that its maintaining a current file of research on.
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
On Policy and Program Development
Policy and Program Development in the amount of $4,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures for the Women's Directorate in the amount of $4,000 agreed to
Women's Directorate agreed to
Yukon Housing Corporation
Deputy Chair: Is there any general debate?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: I rise in the House today to present the supplementary budget for the Yukon Housing Corporation. As the members opposite will have noticed, the corporation is reducing its O&M expenditures, while at the same time increasing O&M recoveries. This impact is a net decrease in the O&M budget of $415,000.
Capital funds are being returned under the mobile home strategy as a result of change to the development schedule. These funds are fully recoverable, therefore they do not impact on the corporation's bottom line.
There are additional capital expenditures of $81,000 as a result of the social housing transfer, and $18,000 for the introduction of the territorial representative services in Teslin, Ross River, Carmacks and Carcross.
The social housing agreement with the CMHC came into effect five months later than anticipated, and the construction of infrastructure of the Range Road mobile home development is now scheduled for completion early next summer.
The wage increase for the corporation employees, as a result of the collective bargaining agreement, came into effect on June 1, 1998.
I'm pleased to announce that the social housing transfer agreement contains an additional $400,000 from CMHC on a one-time basis to compensate for any possible risk in the social housing agreement. This amount could not be finalized until the final stages of the negotiations.
These matters, along with the assumption of the responsibility of the territorial representative responsibilities in the four rural communities, are the reasons for the changes that appear in this supplementary budget for Yukon Housing Corporation.
Mr. Jenkins: Well, Mr. Chair, the public perception of the Housing Corporation has changed and altered over the years.
Currently, if one looks at the corporate objectives of Yukon Housing Corporation, it appears that it's changed dramatically. It appears now that Yukon Housing Corporation is just an arm of Economic Development, and the direction is now flowing from the Deputy Minister of Economic Development, through to the president of the Housing Corporation. It's becoming more an arm of governments to carry out those areas that - well, there's some dirty work involved, and I'm referring specifically to the Range Road mobile home park.
I'm referring to the inaction that took place, with respect to the Gonders over many years, in that area. They were residents of that area, for some 30 years. Now, they've been issued an ultimatum by the Housing Corporation that they have till the end of the year to take a small parcel of land onto their existing land that they own to the north, to accommodate their building that encroaches on that area, and a small parcel to the south, to take in the area where their septic field is placed.
Mr. Chair, with respect to the supplementary budget, why is there quite a difference in the way the government is dealing with the waterfront squatters - who, after they've been there for a period of time, they're paid $1,000 per year - and yet the Gonders are probably going to be evicted from some of the land they've been using for some 30 years.
Why is Yukon Housing Corporation taking such a hard line, Mr. Chair, with the Gonders?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: If the member would like an answer to that question, ask the corporation. They're dealing with this matter. They have sat down with the owners to work out a solution. They were offered something. They felt that the Gonders could have continued to build. The member knows that they do have a lot already, and they're asking for more so that they can have the mistake - the building being on another piece of property - corrected so that they can continue to build. That's what's taking place now. The corporation is dealing with the Gonders and dealing with the matter.
Mr. Jenkins: Well, the offer that the Gonders have received falls far short of what they were promised by the government. For the longest time, they were told that any lot enlargement would have to await the outcome of the land claims settlement with the Kwanlin Dun. Then, all of a sudden - I'm sure there has to be some backroom deal made between the Kwanlin Dun and the Government of Yukon so that they don't have desires on that land - we see the land transferred to Yukon Housing Corporation from the Government of Yukon. Then the dealings with the Gonders is between the Yukon Housing Corporation and the Government of Yukon.
The promises they were originally offered - and the final offer, which is for a very, very small enlargement of their existing property - and then it will only be considered to give them the land that they want when their non-conforming use ceases to exist.
Now, how is this government going to create one job at a time, when they're destroying more jobs with one stroke of the pen than they'll ever be creating? This family was forced to live in their garage, in a camper, because of an eviction notice that was issued by Yukon Housing Corporation, through the City of Whitehorse. The Yukon Housing Corporation went to the City of Whitehorse and said, "Hey, these are the steps you should be taking." And I'm sure that, had the City of Whitehorse not taken the steps that they took, the Yukon Housing Corporation would have taken them to court again.
Now, is this a just and proper expenditure of the taxpayers' money? And is this the way that this government, through its agency, the Yukon Housing Corporation, treats individuals? Is it, Mr. Chair?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Chair, as I said to the member, the corporation has worked with the Gonders, and an offer was made. If the member wants to get more details, I'd suggest that he go and talk with the board.
It's a board issue. Let's focus on the supps. We're going way off into areas that are not being addressed in the supplementaries.
Mr. Jenkins: Well, Mr. Chair, this is the minister responsible for the Housing Corporation, and part of this supplementary budget deals with the Range Road mobile home park, and that's what we're here discussing, and that's what we're discussing here tonight.
If the minister would look at the offer extended to the Gonders, the offer just recently is virtually the same as the one extended to them at the beginning of December, and it closes on December 31 of this year. If they don't accept it, they're evicted from all the other lands that they've occupied for quite a few years. This is in stark contrast to how this government treats people on the Whitehorse waterfront.
On the Whitehorse waterfront here, we pay them an equivalent replacement value of the improvements. We pay them a basic flat-rate equity of $3,000 to $5,000. We pay them a long-term occupancy of $1,000 per year. The Gonders have been there for 30 years. According to the policy that's in place for expropriation and removal, they should be entitled to $30,000.
The waterfront has a special allowance for senior citizens, moving expenses. Well, in some respects, you could say that the Gonders are squatting on a piece of land that they had mining claims on. They didn't have title to it. They were promised a lot enlargement from the original lot, but they haven't come to an agreement with the Government of the Yukon and the Government of the Yukon seconded their position to the Yukon Housing Corporation. The Yukon Housing Corporation is doing the dirty work on behalf of the Government of the Yukon in getting rid of the Gonders.
Now, why is the government, through Yukon Housing - and the minister can't duck behind the board. The minister is responsible for the Housing Corporation. Now, the Member for Faro, he's always hiding behind boards, commissions and studies. The Minister of Justice is always hiding behind legal opinions and, once again, we have a member of the government of the day, the minister in charge of the Housing Corporation, hiding behind a board.
Now, when are the Gonders going to be treated fairly and reasonably, Mr. Chair? When is that going to happen, because this offer is unacceptable to them? They told them that at the beginning of December. It was the same offer that was on the table to them - I believe it is today or yesterday - and it expires at the end of the year, and it's virtually going to destroy their business in Whitehorse.
Now, why has the minister taken it upon himself, through his agency, the Yukon Housing Corporation, to destroy this family and their business that have contributed for quite a number of years to the economy of the Yukon? Why is the minister taking this tack with the Gonders?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Chair, the corporation has a board of directors dealing with this matter. The corporation is dealing with it.
Mr. Jenkins: Well, I guess the board is dealing with it because the minister has seconded his limited rights and he's hiding behind the board, because he doesn't have the intestinal fortitude to stand up and address his responsibilities.
What we have is a final offer from the Housing Corporation that expires on December 31 of this year with respect to the offer. The offer is unchanged from the beginning of December to the present.
Now, will the minister intercede and meet with the Gonders? They've asked for a meeting with the minister. He has refused. They've asked for a meeting with the Government Leader, who is the elected representative from that riding and the Government Leader has refused. Now, both ministers are refusing to meet with their constituents to discuss a constituency issue. Are they afraid? I mean, the Government Leader has no qualms about going down to the waterfront and having tea with residents there and making them an offer.
Deputy Chair: I would like to just caution members about personal remarks directed at other members. Also, I'd like to remind them that this is not Question Period, but it is supplementary debate.
Mr. Jenkins: Well, we're dealing with the supplementary budget, Mr. Chair. We're dealing with the Range Road mobile home park expenditures.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mr. Jenkins: Now, we don't have to get to the line. We're in general debate, and we can deal with it up front. So let's deal with the issue head on.
When is the minister going to take the time to meet with the Gonders and seek a resolution that is agreeable to both parties - both the government and the Gonders? This is a one-sided agreement that is being rammed down the Gonders' throats by Yukon Housing Corporation, on behalf of the Government of the Yukon.
When will the minister take the initiative and meet with the Gonders and come to a resolution?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: As I've said to the member over and over again, I have met with them. I've been listening to their concerns. I've brought it up with the chair of the corporation, and they've had meetings with the Gonders to resolve this issue. They have an offer on the table to the Gonders, and I'm not going to be interfering with the process that the board is putting forth with the Gonders.
It's an ongoing discussion, and at this point we're leaving it at that.
Mr. Jenkins: So what the minister is saying to this House is that even though the arrangements that Yukon Housing Corporation are ramming down the throats of the Gonders are not fair to the Gonders, are not fair to a fellow Yukoner, he's going to sit idly by and allow it to happen.
Is that what the minister's saying?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: I believe that the board has taken all the information that they have in making a decision. I have full confidence in the board on dealing with this matter.
Mr. Jenkins: Well then, why is there a different treatment for the Gonders and the residents on the Whitehorse waterfront? Why is the government choosing two different paths, and why is there a different arrangement in the treatment of two groups of Yukoners?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: We're not dealing with two different groups separately. The Gonders are asking for additional land to what they have so that they can continue to build. It's not taking anything away from them. They're asking for something in addition to what they have.
Mr. Jenkins: The Gonders have been residents of that area for some 30 years. The Gonders have title to a parcel of land in that area. The Gonders are seeking a lot enlargement to accommodate their needs. They've been utilizing that parcel of land for some time, during the course of the operation of their business. What has happened is that the Government of the Yukon wouldn't deal with the matter. They're trying to put a trailer park in there. It's not being very well-received. It's not being very well-received by the public at all. We haven't sold any lots and it doesn't look like there are going to be any sold because of the deplorable condition of the Yukon economy brought on by this NDP government.
The Yukon Housing Corporation has been charged with the responsibility and it is treating our Yukon citizens with a lot of disrespect in this case. This final offer that has been extended to the Gonders is ludicrous. Now, why won't the minister involve himself in the process and treat these Yukoners with some fairness - the fairness that they deserve?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: I've said to the member that I've listened to his concerns and I've taken that information to the chair of the board of directors of the Yukon Housing Corporation. They're dealing with the matter. It is in their field to continue to resolve matters in the project that they're looking at.
I take some offence to the member saying that we're not showing respect to Yukoners. The whole project is to deal with unsafe, fire-trapped mobile home parks and to get them into something a little bit better - a little bit more decent - and to have money going toward an asset, rather than pad rent and so on. The project is not finished yet. It's going to be completed next year. We are dealing with matters that are dear to people. Mobile home parks, as members know, are in sad shape. People want some action, and we're doing that.
Mr. Jenkins: Well, I'm very, very disappointed in that the Government Leader won't meet with his constituents. The minister in charge of the Yukon Housing Corporation won't meet with the Gonders. It would appear that they're going to extend the offer. If they don't take up on the offer, they're going to be evicted and charged with trespass as soon as they step over the property line. This is the way that this government treats people.
This'll show up, Mr. Chair, in the next election, and I'm sure we're going to be sending copies of this treatment of the Gonders by the Yukon Housing Corporation and the minister to the public, through the public domains, to the various areas of the Yukon, just to show Yukoners how fairly and reasonably this minister and his Housing Corporation treats Yukoners.
I'm extremely disappointed, Mr. Chair. We have no take-up on the sale of the lots in the Range Road mobile home park that's under development. We have an established family and an established business that is being destroyed by this minister and that department. That is not fair and that's not reasonable. That's deplorable, Mr. Chair.
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: Well, Mr. Chair, the member's wrong. We have met with them, and the corporation has been dealing with them to try and resolve this matter. If the member's taking this around, he should also be taking the offer that's being made. The corporation is trying to resolve this matter, and I can't see why things cannot proceed from here.
Mrs. Edelman: Just a few questions in general debate here. In the Yukon Housing Corporation - I'm reading from the capital budget - it says the Yukon Housing Corporation has issued an RFP to replace its financial systems in the 1998-99 fiscal year. The project is expected to cost $245,000.
Is the Yukon Housing Corporation not going to be part of HRIS? Is that not part of that project?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: This is an upgrade of our business systems. It will be in compliance with the year 2000.
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, I have a couple of other issues, one of which is a constituency issue that I've already dealt with the minister on, but it speaks to a greater issue, and that's the way that the land is distributed through Yukon Housing Corporation. I had a constituent who bought a lot in one of the outlying rural communities for just over $2,000 on a five-year buy program.
Now, the contractor cancelled, so she couldn't build. She cancelled her agreement only six months after she started, and she got $423 back, after $1,700 was taken off in administration fees. This is a clear disincentive to anyone who wants to build out in the rural communities. This sort of information is going about, and people are aware of this case, and they know what happened here. It doesn't make an awful lot of sense. We have a lot of rural land that needs to be developed. It's sitting in our inventory. What is Yukon Housing doing to streamline their processes so that they don't have to charge people so much in administration fees?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: Well, in this particular case, I did have some discussions with the member opposite on this. There was a building commitment that the applicant did not meet, and we are, through the corporation, administering the Lands Act policies.
Mrs. Edelman: I wonder if the minister could get back to me on this issue and maybe talk about some of the things that the corporation is looking at, as far as streamlining some of their processes. I don't want to use up any more time tonight. We have limited time.
Another issue that is just starting through the Yukon Housing Corporation is territorial agents in the rural communities. I wonder if I could get some more detail from the minister about that, particularly when we are going to be evaluating the efficacy of this program, to what extent we're going to be evaluating that, and what will be different in the services that are going to be delivered out in the rural areas versus the services that are delivered here in Whitehorse? If the minister wants to get back to me in writing on that, I would be fine with that, as well.
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: Yes, I can get back to the member. I can tell her, though, that the services in the communities are not as broad-based as they are in Whitehorse. Until such time as we do get some equipment in that they can use for photographs, and so on, for licences and that, that will take time. But, yes, I can get a more complete list for her.
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, we briefly talked earlier in the general debate about the new mobile home subdivision in the Takhini area. The question that's been raised with me is the question about insurance. Is the condo corporation going to be taking on the insurance for this development, or is that going to be the Yukon Housing Corporation?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: For some clarification, is the member talking about the construction, the development or the home insurance?
Mrs. Edelman: Because this is a private development, say, if someone trips and falls in the middle of the road, it is actually an issue for the condo corporation or else the people who own the land, which would be Yukon Housing Corporation. Because it's a private development, it's different than, say, somebody falling down on a city street. So, that's the issue I have - it's more the third party liability and those issues.
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: I would assume that it would be in the condominium group, but I will have to get back to the member on that.
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, I'd appreciate that because in discussions that we've had with insurance companies around town, they seem extremely reluctant to offer that type of insurance here in the Yukon.
I wonder if the minister could get back to me with a legislative return or in writing some way about the following issues: how many lots have been sold in the new trailer park to date and what will be the final cost of the development? Can the minister get back to me on that?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: Yes, we do have applications in for some lots. Because of the delay in the development of the park, we felt that over the winter we could get a little better handle on dealing with clients and so on, but I can get back to the member on the final cost of the individual lots.
Mrs. Edelman: The last issue that I'd like to bring up in general debate is the one that's already been discussed extensively, but I want to give a suggestion to the minister now. One of the problems that the City of Whitehorse and the board has had with the Gonders is that there's a fear that they're going to extend their business out into the lots that they're looking for and that that's going to be unsightly, that they're going to have big huge trucks going through the mobile home subdivision, or at least right by it.
Now, the Gonders apparently say that they are not going to be doing that; they're not going to be expanding their business, and they're willing to write that down. If the Housing Corporation doesn't deal with this issue well by December 31, then it's very likely that the two parties are going to end up in court. Has the minister considered, or would he consider, suggesting to the board and to the Gonders going into mediation instead of going into that process in the courts?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: I have not had any discussions with anyone else as to what would take place. I have had faith in the board to take care of this issue. I don't want to get into details on this particular matter because the corporation is dealing quite closely with this, but the issues that the member raised are part of the discussions between the two parties and I know that the corporation has dealt with them and is very aware of the matter and has taken into consideration their offer.
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, the minister can offer the board advice around policy and the way that they deal with disputes. Mediation is a very viable option in this case, and it sounds like one that might work.
It's a long-standing dispute, and it's a perfect candidate for that type of dispute mechanism - or dispute resolution mechanism.
Would the minister consider suggesting this to the board?
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: I can forward the comments of the member opposite to the board.
Deputy Chair: Seeing no more general debate, we will move to operation and maintenance expenditures.
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
On Gross Expenditures
Gross Expenditures in the amount of an underexpenditure of $187,000 agreed to
Deputy Chair: Are there any questions on recoveries?
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures in the amount of an underexpenditure of $187,000 agreed to
On Capital Expenditures
On Home Ownership
On Mobile Home Initiative
Mobile Home Initiative in the amount of an underexpenditure of $3,125,000 agreed to
On Non-Profit Housing
On Repayment of Long-Term Debt
Repayment of Long-Term Debt in the amount of $81,000 agreed to
On Central Services
On Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space
Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space in the amount of $18,000 agreed to
Deputy Chair: Are there any questions on recoveries?
Capital Expenditures in the amount of an underexpenditure of $3,026,000 agreed to
Yukon Housing Corporation agreed to
Yukon Development Corporation
Deputy Chair: Is there any general debate?
Hon. Mr. Harding: I don't expect too much in general debate. The issue's been soundly discussed, so I await any questions.
Mr. Ostashek: Well, I can assure the minister that if he is forthcoming with his answers, we won't be long in debate. I just have a couple of issues that I need to clear up, and if the minister is forthcoming with his answers, we can get over them in a hurry.
I want to go back to Question Period today. I asked the minister to confirm that Yukoners were paying more for power, under the NDP rate relief program, than what they were in September 1996.
The minister waffled all around when I first asked the question. He didn't answer it. When I rose and said to let the record show that the minister has confirmed that Yukoners are paying more for power now under this new NDP rate relief program than under the Yukon Party one, the minister said that my information was false. I want to give the minister a chance now to correct the record. Will he do that?
Hon. Mr. Harding: Well, Mr. Chair, the member uses convenient stats, and I too can play the stats game if I want. The member put a lot of information in his preambles that I do believe is false.
I have to look at the details of his specific argument with regard to the two dates that he wants to compare. I have numbers for comparison as well that don't indicate that all the information he said in his preambles and in his questions were correct, so I'll have to get him more details with regard to the issues that he raises the specifics of. I don't have that in front of me.
Mr. Ostashek: Mr. Chair, the minister can waffle around all he wants. He doesn't have to get the information. I gave him the information in Question Period. I said that under the Yukon Party rate relief program in September 1996, ratepayers using 1,000 kilowatts of power were paying $97.12. In December of 1998, they will be paying $105.87. That's what I asked the minister to confirm.
I just want to draw to the minister's attention that on November 16, we had witnesses in front of the Committee - the president of the Yukon Energy Corporation - and I asked him that same question. Mr. McWilliam's reply was, on page 3569: "Yes, we were able to find our figures, and yes, I can confirm those." That was in reply to me putting exactly the same figures on the record that I'm putting on the record for the minister today.
I came back to the president, and he said once again: "I can confirm that. I can also confirm that Anvil Range was on the system..." He did confirm, and I'm just asking the minister to correct the record when he said that the figures that I used in this House were inaccurate. Will he do that?
Hon. Mr. Harding: I will have to check on the member's figures again. I'm not going to, on my feet, respond to that. He's put some numbers forward; I'll check them out. Obviously, he knows that the fact that the Faro mine isn't on the grid has an impact on the cost of power. Actually, there were two Faro mine shutdowns in the last couple of years. Obviously, he must admit that, doesn't he?
Mr. Ostashek: That's not what I asked in Question Period. I didn't ask him about any circumstances. I just asked him to confirm. They have an advertising program going out now telling Yukoners that they're paying less for power. That is inaccurate.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mr. Ostashek: They're going down, but they went up before they went down. They're still paying more than they were under the Yukon Party rate relief program. This minister, Mr. Deputy Chair, does this constantly in the House. If he has to go back and check on the figures now, why didn't he check on them before he said that they were inaccurate in Question Period?
Hon. Mr. Harding: Well, Mr. Deputy Chair, the member opposite should read Hansard. He throws so many things out in his preambles, the amount of false information is almost impossible, on the ad hoc attempts you get in Question Period, to beat down.
I wasn't even necessarily responding to those numbers. I would have to check on those numbers specifically to see whether or not they have some validity. The member just said that it was a false statement that power bills are going down this winter. Well, I would ask him to correct the record, because the power bills are actually going down this winter.
Mr. Ostashek: I have no problem correcting the record. They are still higher than they were in 1996, when this government promised Yukoners, with a petition and everything else, that they were going to stabilize and lower power rates. They went out and promised that in A Better Way. They took a petition around.
They gave false information to the Yukon people at the time, saying that the Yukon Party was going to do away with rate relief. They knew it was false information at the time.
The president of the corporation confirmed these figures in Committee of the Whole debate on November 16. The figures that I'm using, as I told the minister before - I'm not making them up on my feet - came from the Yukon Electrical Company to me on November 12. These figures are accurate figures, and this minister is going to be bull-headed about this and not retract the statement, which he knows is inaccurate, on the floor of this House.
I will ask him once more to retract it.
Hon. Mr. Harding: I disagree with him. I'm not being bull-headed. I'll check into the numbers, and then I can let him know. He just says he's got confirmation of his numbers from the president of the Energy Corporation. Why does he even need to ask me, if he's so convinced?
Mr. Ostashek: I'll come halfway with the minister. If the minister checks and finds out that my figures are correct, will he write me a letter retracting what he said in Question Period today, that I put false figures on the floor of this Legislature?
Will he do that?
Hon. Mr. Harding: I'll write the member a letter, all right.
Mr. Ostashek: That's not good enough, Mr. Chair. I've asked him for a specific commitment. I know he feels uncomfortable with this, but he ought to be a little more careful with what he says on the floor of this Legislature, because sometimes it comes back to haunt him.
He can either write me a letter or I'm going to be rising on the first sitting day of the next Legislature, my first opportunity, after reviewing the Blues, and asking for a public retraction on the floor of this Legislature.
This minister has done this far too many times. He thinks that just because he says it, it's true.
I want to ask the minister one more time. Will he do the honourable thing, and get up and retract his statement in Question Period?
Hon. Mr. Harding: I'm always prepared to do the honourable thing.
Mr. Ostashek: When will he do it?
Hon. Mr. Harding: Always.
Mr. Ostashek: Well, Mr. Chair, the minister should not be surprised, then, if he hears a media interview where I had some very unpleasant terms to say about him. It's unfortunate we can't use that term on the floor of this Legislature, Mr. Chair.
I would just like to move on to one further topic. I want one more question, then I'm prepared to wind up this debate.
There was a newscast at noon today that stated - this was a statement by the Fraser Institute - that Yukon received the third worst rating; B.C. wound up last. This is from mining companies, rated by 300 mining companies - that the Yukon was the third worst in Canada for investment.
While they said that Yukon's mineral potential wasn't too bad, it was largely due to the poor performance on the policy potential index. They also said that one of the reasons was lack of infrastructure, uncertainty over land claims and environmental regulations. That's not a very glowing endorsement of this government's policies.
But my question pertaining to the electrical part - I'd just like to get the minister on record: what is the minister doing about planning for additional baseload supply? I'm not talking about windmills, or topping up power, or anything else. Power is one of the major infrastructures that would attract investment to the Yukon. What are we doing about bringing on, or getting something ready to bring on when we need it, in baseload power so that we could provide some of this infrastructure that we're being marked down on so critically since this government came to power?
Hon. Mr. Harding: Well, first of all, I read the analysis, and it just points to me a need to have control of mining for the Yukon government. A lot of the concerns are with environmental regulation and duplication. The biggest negative indicator was land claims uncertainty. I think that's a direct result of uncertainty stemming from the Delgamuukw decision out of B.C.
So, we have some work to do, since that has happened over the last year. At the Cordilleran and at PDAC to explain the major fundamental differences between British Columbia and the Yukon on the land claims front.
We have actually a substantive competitive advantage. Unfortunately, we've gotten tarred because we're the neighbouring jurisdiction north, and probably a lot of these companies aren't very familiar with our particular settlements.
I would also argue that the member opposite has heckled over NDP. I think there is some solid credibility in the concerns, but I think they're born more out of concern as a result of Delgamuukw, which doesn't pertain to us. So, we have to deal with that.
But I think the results really point to the need for devolution and, as well, the need to work on the blue book process that the federal minister started - which we are doing.
With regard to long-term infrastructure and the baseload provision, I think that we have to be very, very cautious right now about increasing the baseload when we have a 40 percent surplus of power generation.
The options that the member used to talk about still exist today but the government is letting the private sector deal with some of those concerns. I've met with Usibilli Coal, for example, who's interested in an export project. They've said they may have some long-term power aspirations. Of course, that would be subjected to rigorous scrutiny by the Yukon public and environmental regulators.
As well, there is other potential for hydro. So, there are a number of other sources, but it hasn't been a major priority given the fact that we have a 40-percent excess capacity now and I don't want to put upward pressures on Yukon families' rates.
Mr. Ostashek: Well, Mr. Chair, I suggest to the minister he'd better make it a priority. He says we have a 40-percent excess, yet the president of the corporation told us when he was here in Committee debate that they would be burning diesel fuel on the WAF grid this winter to meet power demands. So, we don't have a 40-percent excess capacity. We don't have enough to supply the users now, and I think it's time we moved and looked at some other baseload supply options.
I have one more question for the minister in general debate and then I'm ready to clear the department. What happened to his wing-nut idea and the $100,000 that he allocated for a connection to the B.C. hydro grid?
Hon. Mr. Harding: Well, the wing-nut idea was an interlocking power grid between Alaska, the Yukon and British Columbia. That differs quite a bit from what we wanted to do. That was the dream scheme - all three jurisdictions selling power to each other.
What we were interested in was looking at seeing if we could tie into northern development monies that the federal government had announced, as well as a desire by B.C. Hydro to electrify the north. We thought we could piggyback on that as a realistic scheme, but it would be based on major expenditures by them and not this government, which we're not capable of.
That money is being utilized to look at other stabilization initiatives through grid extensions or expansions off the existing grid.
Mr. Ostashek: Could the minister just reiterate the last part? Has the money been moved from that line item that was voted in the budget? This is under Economic Development anyhow, I believe, rather than the Energy Corporation. Where was the money? I just forget.
Hon. Mr. Harding: I'd have to look back on that for the member opposite. I can't remember off the top of my head.
Mr. Ostashek: If the minister would just respond to that to me by letter or legislative return, I would appreciate it.
Hon. Mr. Harding: Okay.
Mr. Cable: Just to follow up on the questions that were asked a moment ago, is there any consideration being given to the extension of the grid down to Atlin at the present time? Is that on the minister's and his corporation's table?
Hon. Mr. Harding: Well, it's not on my table, but the board is looking at a bunch of options right now. It's had absolutely no Cabinet approval, nor has the other grid extension - the one that was talked about, the Mayo-Dawson extension - for that matter.
Mr. Cable: But more specifically, is the Atlin extension on the Yukon Energy Corporation's table? Are they considering that at the present time?
Hon. Mr. Harding: I believe that they are looking at a whole range of options, and that is one.
Mr. Cable: Now, the $16 million, I would guess, is about to be transferred to the Yukon Development Corporation. Is that going to be accompanied by a directive, or has a directive been cut? What is the arrangement between the government and the Development Corporation?
Hon. Mr. Harding: It's been given the directive that they are the delivery agent for green power and energy efficiency, and that the monies transferred - $10 million - must be applied to the rate stabilization fund, and all the details of that have been made available.
Mr. Cable: I'm sorry. I didn't catch the beginning of the minister's remarks. Did he say that he had cut a directive?
Hon. Mr. Harding: I will check in written forms. Essentially, they've been asked to deliver the energy efficiency and green power initiative, and they're undergoing a process to do that as well as the rate stabilization fund.
Mr. Cable: Is the minister saying he's not aware of whether he's given the Development Corporation a directive? I think that's the way orders are issued to the Development Corporation.
Hon. Mr. Harding: Well, I dispute the member opposite, that every discussion with the Energy Corporation has to be through an OIC. I think that isn't the past practice with the previous government. Actually, I know it's not, and I can provide proof of that. I was just waiting for Question Period this session to do that, but never got it. But I did a lot of research on that, given some of the comments of the members opposite.
But no, there's been no OIC communicated to the members opposite, with a specific terms of reference for delivering this program.
Mr. Cable: Well, whatever the past practice, one would think that for $16 million, one would want to see a directive reach the light of day.
Just let me ask a question that's been bothering me. Every year the Energy Corporation hives off dividends to the Development Corporation. Then through a little bit of bookkeeping mumbo-jumbo keeps the money, but then pays interest on it, so that the ratepayers get a double hit. They of course have to come up with the money for the interest, and I think also the debt - if I remember correctly - goes into the base on which the return on equity, or the return, is calculated.
Could the minister, firstly, at some juncture give me a letter? He doesn't have to get up on his feet right now. Could he give me a letter indicating whether my understanding of the situation is correct. If so, why do we go through this fancy bookkeeping and hit the ratepayers twice with this sort of entry?
Hon. Mr. Harding: That, my dear colleague, is the issue of some extensive discussion about the role of the public utility and the Crown corporation. Yeah, he's in the ballpark on what actually happens, and why different players might want to see that continue to happen. I'd be happy to provide him some details, just to make sure he's clear on that.
On Capital Expenditures
On Capital grant for Rate Stabilization Fund
Capital grant for:
On Rate Stabilization Fund
Rate Stabilization Fund in the amount of $10,000,000 agreed to
On Green Power
Green Power in the amount of $3,000,000 agreed to
On Energy Conservation and Efficiency
Energy Conservation and Efficiency in the amount of $1,000,000 agreed to
On Applied Research and Development
Applied Research and Development in the amount of $2,000,000 agreed to
Capital Expenditures for the Yukon Development Corporation in the amount of $16,000,000 agreed to
Yukon Development Corporation agreed to
Office of the Ombudsman
Chair: Is there any general debate?
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
On Office of the Ombudsman
Office of the Ombudsman in the amount of $12,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures for the Office of the Ombudsman in the amount of $12,000 agreed to
Office of the Ombudsman agreed to
Chair: We will now go to the bill.
On Schedule A
Schedule A agreed to
On Schedule B
Schedule B agreed to
On Clause 1
Clause 1 agreed to
On Clause 2
Clause 2 agreed to
On Clause 3
Clause 3 agreed to
Title agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Mr. Chair, I move that you report this bill out of Committee without amendment.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Harding: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. May the House have a report from the Deputy Chair of Committee of the Whole?
Deputy Chair: Mr. Speaker, at 4:52 p.m., Committee of the Whole passed the following motion:
THAT Committee of the Whole and the Assembly be empowered to sit from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. for the purpose of completing consideration of Bill No. 13, entitled Third Appropriation Act, 1998-99, in Committee of the whole; for the House to consider third reading of Bill No. 13; and for receiving the Commissioner to grant assent to Bill No. 13.
Further, Committee of the Whole considered Bill No. 13, Third Appropriation Act, 1998-99, and directed me to report it without amendment.
Speaker: You have heard the report from the Deputy Chair of Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Bill No. 13: Third Reading
Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 13, standing in the name of the hon. Mr. McDonald.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 13, entitled Third Appropriation Act, 1998-99, be now read a third time and do pass.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Government Leader that Bill No. 13, entitled Third Appropriation Act, 1998-99, be now read a third time and do pass.
Are you prepared for the question?
Some Hon. Members: Division.
Speaker: Division has been called. Mr.Clerk, would you poll the House.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Agree.
Hon. Mr. Harding: Agree.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Agree.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Agree.
Hon. Mr. Sloan: Agree.
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: Agree.
Mr. McRobb: Agree.
Mr. Fentie: Agree.
Mr. Hardy: Agree.
Mr. Livingston: Agree.
Mr. Ostashek: Disagree.
Mr. Phillips: Disagree.
Mr. Jenkins: Disagree.
Ms. Duncan: Disagree.
Mr. Cable: Disagree.
Mrs. Edelman: Disagree.
Clerk: Mr. Speaker, the results are 10 yea, 6 nay.
Speaker: The yeas have it. I declare the motion carried and that Bill No. 13 has passed this House.
Special adjournment motion
Hon. Mr. Harding: I move
THAT the House, at its rising, do stand adjourned until it appears to the satisfaction of the Speaker, after consultation with the Government Leader, that the public interest requires that the House shall meet;
THAT the Speaker give notice that he is so satisfied, and thereupon the House shall meet at the time stated in such notice and shall transact its business as if it had been duly adjourned to that time; and
THAT, if the Speaker is unable to act owing to illness or other causes, the Deputy Speaker shall act in his stead for the purpose of this Order.
Speaker: It has been moved by the government House leader
THAT the House, at its rising, do stand adjourned until it appears to the satisfaction of the Speaker, after consultation with the Government Leader, that the public interest requires that the House shall meet;
THAT the Speaker give notice that he is so satisfied, and thereupon the House shall meet at a time stated in such notice and shall transact its business as if it had been duly adjourned to that time; and
THAT, if the Speaker is unable to act owing to illness or other causes, the Deputy Speaker shall act in his stead for the purpose of this Order.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: We are now prepared to receive the Commissioner in her capacity as Lieutenant Governor, to grant assent to the bill which has just passed this House.
Commissioner enters the Chamber announced by the Sergeant-at-Arms
assent to bills
Commissioner: Please be seated.
Speaker: Madam Commissioner, the Assembly has, at its present session, passed a certain bill to which, in the name and on behalf of the Assembly, I respectfully request your assent.
Clerk: Third Appropriation Act, 1998-99.
Commissioner: I hereby assent to the bill as enumerated by the Clerk.
Commissioner leaves the Chamber
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
Hon. Mr. Harding: I move the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the government House leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: Before the House stands adjourned, as the Speaker and on behalf of the Clerks and the Sergeant-at-Arms, I'd like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and have a safe holiday.
This House now stands adjourned.
The House adjourned at 6:42 p.m.
The following Sessional Papers were tabled December 15, 1998:
Yukon Arts Centre 1997-98 Annual Report: replacement for incomplete report tabled December 3, 1998 (Keenan)
Yukon conservation strategy 1996 and 1997 annual review by the Yukon Council on the Economy and the Environment (dated May 1998) (Fairclough)
Property Management Agency 1997-98 Annual Report (Sloan)
Fleet Vehicle Agency 1997-98 Annual Report (Sloan)