Tuesday, May 7, 2002 ó 1:00 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.
In recognition of International Youth Week
Hon. Mr. Kent: Today I rise on behalf of the Legislative Assembly to pay tribute to our youth.
International Youth Week is being celebrated from May 6 to 12. This is an international event that was originally started by Youth Action Network, a national youth-for-youth non-profit organization whose aim is to empower and motivate young people to take on social and environmental issues.
The aim of Youth Week is to bring the positive achievements of young people to the forefront of societyís consciousness and to give youth the chance to see what other young people are doing in their communities and to inform them on how to get involved.
Youth Week is a celebration of young people working to create a positive environment in their communities. The concept of Youth Week has been adopted by other nations, regions and municipalities since the first Youth Week in 1995. Locally, Bringing Youth Toward Equality, or BYTE, has taken the initiative to bring this celebration to our territory. This grassroots youth organization has, for the second year, organized a calendar of events that promotes local Youth Week activities. They have partnered with other youth organizations to celebrate and promote youth involvement, but to most of all have fun.
The activities started with a volunteer appreciation evening held on Sunday. Youth who have been involved with BYTE were treated to coffee, tea, desserts, and were entertained by our local talented youth. Other activities that will happen during the week include workshops on conflict resolution, sexual assault and bead making. There is a festival of short videos by young Yukon filmmakers, a barbecue and basketball tournament and two presentations by the Northern Lights School of Dance.
There will be a dance on Friday, May 10, and an Olympic-style event coined "clash of the athletes" on May 11. The events include hacky-sack, street hockey, basketball, a quiz show and a scavenger hunt. Local youth-friendly business will also be providing youth discounts for youth throughout the week.
Please join me in congratulating our youth and celebrating their many accomplishments by recognizing International Youth Week.
Mrs. Peter: Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of the official opposition to pay tribute to International Youth Week, from May 6 to 12. Youth Week began in 1995 as a series of local events throughout Canada designed to highlight the difference that active young people are making in their communities. Itís important to remember that Youth Week is not just a single event. Instead, itís a series of grassroots activities sponsored by different community youth groups designed to help inspire and educate.
Youth Week is all about bringing youth from different communities together. Itís about recognizing and celebrating youth diversity, commitment and energy. Itís also about giving all members of the community the opportunity to work together with youth so that we all learn more about the various issues that are of concern to young people. Here in the Yukon, we are very fortunate that our very own grassroots youth group, Bringing Youth Toward Equality, has helped to organize a huge number of events all over the territory.
BYTE has planned a long list of events. I encourage everyone who is interested to get in touch with BYTE and attend some of the exciting events marking International Youth Week in Yukon.
In recognition of Mental Health Week
Hon. Mrs. Edelman: I rise today on behalf of all members of this House to pay tribute to National Mental Health Week, from May 6 to 12. Each member is wearing an emerging-into-light pin, which is a symbol selected by the Canadian Mental Health Association to represent personal resilience and recovery. Today the vice-president, Mr. Ross Findlater, of the Yukon chapter of the Canadian Mental Health Association joins us today in the gallery.
When a person adorns the symbol of emerging-into-light, they are saying that they believe in the importance of mental health and the importance of the rights and inclusion of people who have mental illness.
Yukoners believe in the importance of mental health and the rights of those who are mentally ill. Mental Health Week gives Canadians the opportunity to share their stories of resilience and recovery. Mental health support is important for an individual to achieve whole health, to be resilient and to recover. Yukoners are very aware of this, and the members in this House are very appreciative of their families, the volunteers and the professionals for their work to support people with mental illness.
Speaker: Are there any further tributes?
Introduction of visitors.
Are there any returns or documents for tabling?
Are there any reports of committees?
Are there any petitions?
Are there any bills to be introduced?
Are there any notices of motion?
NOTICES OF MOTION
Mr. Fairclough: I give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that
(1) the official opposition has provided the minority Liberal government with a number of constructive suggestions for improving the Yukonís economy, as requested by the Premier;
(2) the Premier and her colleagues have resisted attempts to debate those suggestions in a meaningful way, in spite of the Premierís invitation to do so;
(3) the Yukon Liberal government persists in neglecting the needs of the Yukon economy, which should be the governmentís number one concern; and
THAT this House calls upon the Yukon Liberal government to table its own economic action plan for debate by all members of this House as a matter of urgent and pressing necessity.
Mr. Roberts: I give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Yukon government must move quickly in adopting the recommendations of the Anglin report that
(1) First Nations be involved in all phases of placement and programming;
(2) a system of care be put in place that moves away from institutional style group home facilities;
(3) quality assurance be put in place that has all the stakeholders working as a team; and
(4) an advocate be put in place for all children in care.
Mr. McLarnon: I give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that allowing the private sector to build small apartments adjacent to the extended care facility would generate the following positive impacts:
(1) allow spouses and family to live close to loved ones in the extended care facility;
(2) increase housing stock designed for seniors; and
(3) allow private sector investment to help build the Yukon economy instead of waiting for Yukon government capital projects that may never happen; and
THAT this House urges the Yukon government to reconsider proposals from the private sector to build small apartments adjacent to the extended care facility and to permit the sale of the land currently being held by the government for the future construction of an elementary school.
Mr. McLarnon: Mr. Speaker, I give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that health care costs could be cut and Yukonersí health could be improved if appropriate technology were brought to the north; and
THAT this House urges the government to work cooperatively with the Hospital Corporation to identify a list of technology products that will reduce travel costs and decrease unneeded stress on Yukoners.
Speaker: Are there any further notices of motion?
Is there a ministerial statement?
This then brings us to Question Period.
Question re: Economic action plan
Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier. This morning we heard the Minister of Education claiming that the territory is running out of money, and thatís a hard line to swallow when the Premier is sitting on an $80-million surplus, which most people consider a war chest for an election.
Now, letís put this line where it belongs. Can the Premier tell us exactly what steps she has taken to shore up this battered economy this summer?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, the answer to the memberís question involves education, the long-term financial projections of the budget that were before us, as well as the economic strategy work being undertaken by the Minister of Business, Tourism and Culture as well as the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources. The answer to all those questions is that the Minister of Education spoke quite correctly about the finances of the territory. The answer to the question about the territoryís finances is in the long-term plans and the budget document before the House. The answer to the question as to what this government is doing with respect to the economy ise Minister of Business, Tourism and Culture is working actively with the business community, the industries such as tourism and the non-resource developing sector industries. As well, the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources is working on economic ventures with the resource developing industries.
Mr. Fairclough: I asked the Premier: what is she doing this summer? Putting it off to other ministers ó what we want to see is leadership shown by this Premier and we havenít see any yet.
The Premier claims she is open to good ideas, and we in the official opposition have given good ideas. One of those ideas was to put together a high-level delegation to lobby the federal government for a comprehensive economic development agreement.
So, for the sake of clarity, will the Premier explain to the Yukon people exactly why she refuses to accept that idea?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: We havenít refused to accept the idea. The answer to the memberís question is that this government has lobbied actively on behalf of all Yukoners and with the support of members in the Legislature for either access to the western diversification fund or some other source of funding. Whatís happening this specific summer? The answer to the memberís question is daily in the newspaper when we hear award after award of tender work and construction work, work going on this summer, and we hear the retail sales increasing and the plans for construction of new homes and the plans for the furnishing of those new homes. The fact is that we are starting to see the indicators on the way up and weíre continuing to work, recognizing we still have work to do.
Mr. Fairclough: I urge the Premier to get out of the Legislature and start talking with the members out there in the general public because they are not saying what the Premier is saying.
We have also urged the Premier to put some of her surplus to work by putting more money into fire smart ó that was a good idea ó and also to get working on trade and investment. We believe thatís also a good idea. Even the Premierís audit said so, Mr. Speaker, and the Premier has shelved the trade and investment agreement.
Will the Premier now tell the Yukon people why she refuses to accept those good ideas?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: The answer to the memberís question is that we have not refused any good ideas. The answer to the memberís question is that we have listened to what Yukoners are saying to us. What the contracting community is saying is that, because we switched the capital budget to the fall, they have been able to start construction early this year, move equipment early, and thatís good. Contracts were awarded early, and thatís good. What weíre hearing is that retail sales figures are up 10 percent, and that itís not just Wal-Mart, that there are all kinds of retail sectors that are showing improvement. From the resource sector, what weíre hearing is that they need more work, and weíve responded in part with the mineral exploration tax credit, and all of us are looking forward to the exploration projections that are expected later this month.
The member oppositeís question has been fully answered.
Question re: Economic action plan
Mr. Fairclough: Well, the Premier is wrong. Itís not what people are saying out there, and itís evident that, if the Premier and her caucus colleagues would go out there and talk with Yukoners, they would say something different from what this Premier is saying in this House, and I urge her to do that. People are hurting, and theyíre tired of this government ignoring them. What happened to the consultation process with this Liberal government? It isnít there; it doesnít exist.
Another good idea we gave the Premier was to set up an all-party legislative committee to develop a template and timelines for improving the economy in the short term and the medium term. Will the Premier tell Yukon people whatís wrong with that idea? Every idea we have given the Premier so far, she has refused to act on.
Hon. Ms. Duncan: That idea, in particular, has been acted upon, and I advised the member opposite of that on several occasions.
The member opposite accuses us of not listening to Yukoners. The fact is, Mr. Speaker, we have listened to Yukoners. We listen to Yukoners every day. We listen to them at the arena, we listen to them at the pool, we listen to them on the soccer fields, we listen to them in schools, we listen to them in the public, we listen to them on social occasions, we listen to them at the trade show and, most importantly, we listen to them door to door, as we regularly go in our ridings, and in other ridings as well. What they are saying to us is that the contractors are telling me that, yes, they are busy until November or beyond; theyíre happy we moved the capital budget to the fall; theyíre happy with the Government of Yukonís directions with respect to capital infrastructure. What the retail community is telling me is that retail sales are up, that they are pleased with the amount of visitors who are coming in here and spending the weekend in hotels, buying, attending the Arts Centre, and enjoying what the Yukon has to offer.
What the resource sector is telling us is that we have work to do; we have made a good start but we have work to do, and, Mr. Speaker, weíre working on it every single day.
Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Speaker, we all know how this Liberal government listens to people; it makes a decision and then goes out and talks. The Minister of Education is a classic example lately of that type of consultation. We havenít seen the Premier go out and consult with the Yukon people in developing the budget. That hasnít happened yet. So, really, thatís a foreign word, I believe, to the Liberals opposite.
The good ideas we have put forward are not good ideas on the Liberal side because theyíre not the Premierís ideas. They came from downstairs, not the corner office upstairs. We still invite the Premier to be true to her words and welcome good ideas and even debate them.
So, will the Premier tell the Yukon public whatís wrong with the idea of a task force of public and private sector decision makers to identify steps that can be taken right now to create jobs and improve the business climate this year? Whatís wrong with that?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, thereís nothing wrong with that. It is being done by this government, which is exactly what we were elected to do. We were elected to work hard on behalf of Yukoners to rebuild the economy, to achieve devolution, and to settle land claims. The proof is in the fact that weíre doing these things. We are listening to what the Yukon public has to say. It was the Yukon public that told us to move the capital budget. Itís the Yukon public that said, "Work. Make sure we get devolution. We need that certainty for our resource sector." It was the Yukon public who said, "Work hard with us as one of the three parties at the table and work hard to settle land claims."
We have done those things, Mr. Speaker, something the previous government failed miserably at.
Mr. Fairclough: If all that work is done and all the good suggestions that we made on this side of the House have been taken up by the minority Liberal government, then what happened? Where is the action plan? We havenít seen it, and neither has this Liberal government expressed anything to the general public out there.
I have one more simple, straightforward question for the Premier. Since she wonít consider any of the ideas but her own, will she now table her own action plan and get the economy off its back? Will she table her own action plan? Because the public has not seen it yet. And she can go back to land claims devolution uncertainty. We need an action plan that addresses the economy.
Hon. Ms. Duncan: We have not only tabled an action plan in our accountability plans in working on behalf of this government, we have proved it by our actions. We have proved to Yukoners that we are working on their behalf. The results are showing. What Yukoners care about is: where is my job, what am I doing, how are things looking for my summer and my business, and for the forthcoming winter? If the members opposite were out there listening to Yukoners as we have been, they would be hearing what we are hearing, which is that the economy is starting to show signs of improvement, we know you have got more work to do, keep on doing it. That is what we are hearing from the public.
Question re: Economic action plan
Mr. Fentie: I would like to follow up with the Premier on the line of questioning that the leader of the official opposition has taken.
The Premier seems not to understand what the economy is made up of. The Premier also points out that the contractors are very happy that the capital budget was tabled in the fall. What the Premier forgot to do is put her government to work on land use permits and water licences so that all that early development on the capital budget was for naught because the contractors still have to go through a delay for those types of things.
I want to point something out to the Premier when it comes to our economy. In the last six years, our private sector injection into the GDP has dropped by some 35 percent of total. Itís now only eight percent of the total. In other words, we are totally dependent on the southern taxpayer. How is the Premier going to handle that issue for the Yukon economy?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Well, Mr. Speaker, perhaps I should open my response by welcoming the member to his new vantage point from which to ask questions. The ping-pong Yukon politics continue, Mr. Speaker.
The fact is that, yes, the contracting community is welcoming, is recognizing that this government moved the capital budget to the fall. The contracting community, the building community, the road infrastructure, the water and sewer folks are telling us, "Yes, you have done good work." Weíre putting people to work early this year. Thatís a good thing. Letís recognize it. Letís recognize the work of the Minister of Community Services on lobbying for $20 million of infrastructure from the federal government for Canada Winter Games, for which we hope a decision is arrived at very soon. Letís recognize that retail sales are up and that that benefits a lot of Yukon businesses, that we are building upon Whitehorseís expertise as a service centre, that we are seeing retail sales increase far above the rest of the country. The fact is, Mr. Speaker, where we need to do a lot more work is in the Yukonís traditional sector, which is resource development. Weíre pleased about the price of placer gold being up ó good news. We recognize and we are working with the placer industry on the placer authorization. Weíre working very hard with that community. Weíre also working ó
Speaker: Order please. Will the Premier please conclude her answer.
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. There is so much good news, I just could go on and on.
Mr. Fentie: Well, the only ping-pong politics, Mr. Speaker, is going on in the minds of the Liberal members opposite. They seem not to grasp the urgency of the situation.
Now, the leader of the official opposition has put forward a very good suggestion. We need to go to Ottawa to make some demands ó clear demands ó and that is so that we are no longer totally dependent on government funding. We need to begin to build self-sufficiency in this territory. The Premier mentions the placer mining industry. Well, whatís happening in the placer mining industry? Problems, because this government will not fight for the placer miners in this territory when it comes to the problems they face in being able to go out and operate because of regulatory regimes. Will the Premier at least now stand on her feet and say to the placer mining industry that she will go to Ottawa and fight on their behalf to ensure that they can operate in a viable and profitable manner this summer?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: We debated all afternoon on that. The fact is that this member has been fighting hard for the placer mining industry since 1984. Ask the placer miners; they will attest to that. The fact is that what is going to lessen the Yukonís dependency on the formula financing arrangement is care and control of our resources ó in short, devolution.
The fact is the Yukon was only one of three provinces and territories in Canada that experienced an increase in GDP. Compare that to the member oppositeís performance as a former member of the NDP government when the GDP declined six percent. Weíll stack our record against theirs any day of the week.
Mr. Fentie: Well, I hope the Premier is going to stack her record soon against what Yukoners want to see happen in this territory. All that the Premier has done is now state clearly that we are dependent on government funding, and that government funding could diminish at any moment.
There is no mining, there is no forestry, and the Premierís only economic plank, oil and gas development and the pipeline ó which is now in jeopardy because the federal government is going to impede the Alaska Highway line given the fact that they want Canadian gas to market.
The Premier has to act decisively and act now. Will the Premier take a high-level delegation to Ottawa to make demands that Ottawa step in now and start to build this economy so that this territory is no longer dependent on the southern taxpayer? Simple question, simple answer.
Hon. Mr. Kent: Itís my pleasure to respond to the Member for Watson Lake, the newest member of the Yukon Party. Itís interesting to note that I spoke to his former colleague, the former MLA for Faro and the Minister of Economic Development, so I now know where heís getting his questions because he asked me on Friday about a similar initiative about an excellent adventure to Ottawa.
What we are doing to fight for the pipeline and the Yukon economy ó the Premier did mention devolution. Of course the settlement of outstanding land claims will bring certainty to the resource extraction industry. The pipeline battle rages on. We continue to lobby our provincial colleagues as well as federal ministers on that issue, as well as private sector people, in making sure that this important project to the Yukon, to Alaska, and indeed all of Canada, comes to fruition.
Question re: Whitehorse schools reorganization
Mrs. Peter: My question is for the Minister of Education.
Mr. Speaker, the minister has made decisions in education and then backtracked. She has caused needless upset for students and parents. She has proven that this Liberal government doesnít understand or respect consultation. The proof can be seen in the Grey Mountain affair and the school shuffle and the unpopular Education Act amendments. The minister has said that she has provided the public with information by tabling the amendments and the public will get back to her if they want to proceed.
Why did the minister go to the trouble and expense of having legislation written if it is still lacking input from the people affected?
Hon. Ms. Tucker: There is a lot of information circulating about the Education Act and the differences between recommendations that were put forward and fall outside of legislation and recommendations that were put forward that actually fall within the scope of legislation. By tabling the legislative document itself, the bill, it provides all of the parties the same information so that they can have a view with certainty that what they are seeing is actually what was proposed.
Mrs. Peter: Mr. Speaker, the minister is spending a lot of time defending her decisions. Parents, students, teachers and the public are very unhappy. The minister said last night that she would listen but that the school shuffle was still a done deal. Why did this minister consult with one group of people, the Youth Centre Society, and not the others involved?
Hon. Ms. Tucker: Iím very happy that the member opposite has asked that question. I went to the Whitehorse Elementary School meeting last week, and I heard very clearly that they had a large number of concerns. I went to Wood Street last night to meet with the students and the parents of the experiential programs, and they have some huge concerns as well about the relocations.
The decision-making process that was undertaken was fundamentally flawed in these proposals. Iíve acknowledged that in the past, and I acknowledge it again.
Last night, the parents at the meeting at Wood Street, and those students, said wonderful things about a program that works, and what works needs to be kept going.
I spoke with the Youth Centre Society this morning. It has never been their intention or ours to displace anyone. We all want what is best for youth.
The Youth Centre Society needs the help and support of our community to help the kids, and weíve all agreed ó the parents at Whitehorse Elementary, the parents at Wood Street, the Youth Centre Society and ourselves ó that, right now, the best thing is to maintain the status quo, keep the kids at Wood Street, keep the youth at Whitehorse Elementary.
Speaker: Order please. Will the minister please conclude her answer.
Hon. Ms. Tucker: Thank you. And we will be continuing to look for a good home for the permanent location of the Whitehorse Youth Centre and continuing to support their programming.
Mrs. Peter: We have heard that it must change. We have not heard of a way to allow parents and students to participate in these decisions. We agree with the parents, the students, the teachers and the school administrators. We do not agree with this minister. We do not agree with the shuffle.
Will the minister consider a suggestion she heard last night, and use the money she would have spent on the shuffle to build an addition to house the Whitehorse Youth Centre at the Wood Street school?
Hon. Ms. Tucker: I am happy to answer the memberís question as I answered the one before. The one thing that I have learned as a minister in this entire process is that regardless of the information I am given, I need to be out there listening to the people. And the best thing that has happened to me since I have been elected has been to go to these public meetings and to listen to those parents, teachers and students. I wish to publicly thank them for getting out there and actively participating in a democratic process. We need to set up a process that is not set by me but is set by the community for future consultation in future decisions. The Youth Centre Society would like people to participate in helping find a location for them that meets all of our needs in Whitehorse.
Question re: Children in care
Mr. Roberts: I have a question for the Minister of Health. In the Anglin report, the author talks about developing a culture of quality. Having a culture of quality means that each and every volunteer, caregiver, supervisor and manager involved is seeking to ensure the best possible experiences and outcomes for the young people in care at all times. Yesterday the minister stated, and I quote, "We tried very hard to pay everyone we could but we had already paid once for the service for the month of March and didnít want to pay again." My question to the minister: what does the minister mean by, "The department has already paid once"? Does that mean some of the employees who worked on behalf of the government did not get paid for work they did?
Hon. Mrs. Edelman: We will go over this again even though this has been a public issue. It was in the paper over a month ago, but we will go through it again. Department of Health and Social Services contracted with a contractor to deliver services at a number of group homes. We paid them to the end of that contract, which is March 31. The contractor was not able to pay all the wages for the month of March, so the Department of Health and Social Services, in order to keep those group homes open, went in and paid the employees for their services. There were subcontracts out of that contract ó and I noticed the member today is not actually saying the name, and dragging that name through the Legislature. There was one ó at least one, Iím not too sure there may have been another one ó subcontractor who was not paid. The Department of Justice gave us good advice and said that we were not able to pay that one employee or subcontractor of the contractor in question.
Mr. Roberts: Mr. Speaker, itís very interesting to note that it was in the paper a month ago, but the minister never commented on it. So this is a chance for the minister to come clean on what the issues are.
This morning, it was reported that a mother was very upset with the Social Services department because of the care her two children received while in the care of the department. I know many foster parents, and I also know of the great work they do for our children.
In my question yesterday, I asked the minister who monitors our contracts and how often are the contracts monitored? The minister went on to state three times that the department monitors these programs and that previous governments had the same problems. My question to the minister: would the minister please table in the House the process for monitoring the Gibbs contract?
Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Speaker, we try really hard in this Legislature to talk about policy issues. We try not to talk about individuals. We do that out of respect ó out of respect for their privacy and out of respect for the fact that they canít defend themselves here in the Legislature. Mr. Speaker, thatís the way it is. Those are the rules of the House.
So, once again, Mr. Speaker, the issue around the contractor was an administrative issue. It is not a political issue, and it doesnít need to be discussed on the floor of the Legislature. Mr. Speaker, about the child whom the member opposite is speaking about, that child is entitled to privacy. We donít need to have individual cases discussed on the floor of the Legislature. If the member opposite wants that information, he knows that I always respond to his questions in Question Period. Two or three days later he gets a letter from me outlining the information that he has requested. I always do that.
Mr. Speaker, I will endeavour ó I always endeavour to make sure that we talk about policy issues on the floor of this Legislature. We keep individuals off the floor of the Legislature. We respect their privacy.
Mr. Roberts: The minister is rather sensitive about policy. The minister does not want to talk about policy. The minister went off on a tangent about personality. Would the minister please stick to the policy?
In the Anglin report, several recommendations are made on quality care. I believe that we cannot wait until all the reports are in to put the necessary steps in place to ensure that the government is delivering quality assurance. We must act now.
Two weeks ago we talked about a First Nation mother and her son. We have two more examples with a mother and her two children today who were spoken to on the radio. We are having a major problem with the social services and a failed contract of children in care. This is my question to the minister: would the minister please table in this House the contract, the issues around what steps have been taken to recover the money paid to the contractor for services not delivered? If the name doesnít want to be mentioned, I think the minister knows what name Iím talking about. I want the ideas of what has happened and ó
Speaker: Order please. Will the member please get to the question.
Mr. Roberts: ó why this happened.
Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Respecting the privacy of the contractor, I will endeavour to return to the member opposite the information that he has requested. I always do. I always have. I will always respect the privacy of Yukoners on the floor of this Legislature and outside these walls.
Question re: Film industry incentives
Mr. Keenan: I have a question for the Minister of Tourism. Under the New Democratic government new programs, new ideas ó they were absolutely a part of the norm. Now I would like to point out that this Liberal government has done their very best to wipe out those fingerprints ó fingerprints such as the trade and investment fund, the community development fund, training trust funds and the beat goes on, if I can say it in that manner.
Now, Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are jeopardizing the Film Commission. For more than two months the Film Commission has been in a state of inactivity and now this minister is questioning whether an industry liaison is actually needed. Iíd like to point out that, in four years, this industry has brought a growth of 400 percent to this territory. That means jobs, Mr. Speaker.
So I would like to ask this minister this: is the minister aware of how important an industry liaison is in the film industry?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: I do appreciate the question, and to answer the memberís question, yes.
Mr. Keenan: Well, Mr. Speaker, a simple answer like that, if the minister realizes it and says it in one word, whereís the action plan? Why the delay? This is getting ridiculous.
The fact is that we need a full-time industry liaison. We need it as well as we need a full-time film commissioner. For every dollar spent in the Yukon through the Film Commission, we get a return of $10. A 10:1 return. It also translates into jobs ó badly needed jobs; jobs that could be on the go now.
Mr. Speaker, weíre in the process of maybe losing these badly needed jobs here to British Columbia, to Alberta, to Manitoba, and itís all based on this ministerís uncertainty.
So, Iíd like to ask, now that the minister says yes, he does realize, what steps is this minister taking to fast-track the hiring process of a new film liaison, a film commissioner?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: The answer to the memberís question is that we will be announcing very, very shortly the appointment of a person specifically to the position that the member has just identified.
The second fact of the matter is that we are very supportive of industry in this territory. We have purchased, in a 3P program, an electrics package. We have also purchased a lighting package, Mr. Speaker, in recognition of the costs of transport of that type of industry equipment to the territory. So, we now have that in our possession and we will very, very shortly be announcing the new commissioner to the film commission.
Mr. Keenan: Well, Mr. Speaker, the member says "very shortly". Iíd like to point out that there have been jobs put in jeopardy in the past because of this ministerís indecision. The minister stands on the floor of this House and talks about the electrics package, the lighting package. It was the New Democratic government that brought forth that package and developed this industry.
Mr. Speaker, I have to say that the dithering, or actually the lack of action or whatever you want call it, by this government and their approach to marketing is ridiculous.
Now, the tourism industry experts have already said that the one-stop marketing exercise that this government wants to go to will not work. It will definitely not be a help to tourism efforts in the territory.
Look at the responsibility for cultural industries. Itís spread across three different areas in the department. Mr. Speaker, Iím not even sure the minister is aware of that.
So, Iíd like to ask this minister: when will this minister start acting on the advice of sectors that heís supposed to be helping? In other words, when is the minister going to do what the people ask him to do? Letís have meaningful consultation.
Can the minister answer that question?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Thatís exactly what weíre doing, Mr. Speaker ó having meaningful consultations with Yukoners, with the public, with the Tourism Industry Association, with the businesses in town. As a matter of fact, we do have a contractor putting together a marketing strategy for the new branch of marketing within Business, Tourism and Culture. The fact of the matter is that it is a complex issue. We recognize and have committed to the tourism industry $7.1 million for marketing alone, and we will follow through on that commitment, but there are other sectors of Yukon that require the same type of marketing, so we are finding ways.
The member is in the process of consulting with business, with tourism and with cultural industries here in the territory to find an equitable solution. Iím not going to prejudge the outcome at this time, as he was given the contract and will be reporting to us duly in August, as a matter of fact.
So, we are listening to Yukoners at all times. Despite what the member is saying, heís wrong.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed. Before I proceed with the opposition House leader, Iíd just like to make a statement here.
For the last few days, members of the public have been identified in this House. In previous sittings, we have ruled that that is not parliamentary. These people have absolutely no way to defend themselves. Further, it causes disorder in the House. Far be it for the Chair to try to limit debate but, out of respect for other people who cannot defend themselves, I would ask the members if they would be judicious in their choice of words and when they decide theyíre going to identify a person or a business that canít defend themselves.
With that, Iíd like to proceed with the official opposition House leader.
Mr. McLarnon: To clarify to the Speaker, the personís name being used here is also the name of the company, which is a contractor.
Speaker: Order please. Would the member take his seat. I would like to recognize the official opposition House leader.
Notice of opposition private membersí business
Mr. McRobb: Pursuant to Standing Order 14.2(3), I would like to identify the items standing in the name of the official opposition to be called on Wednesday, May 8, 2002. They are Bill No. 101, standing in the name of the Member for Ross River-Southern Lakes, and Motion No. 250, standing in the name of the Member for Vuntut Gwitchin.
Mr. Jenkins: Pursuant to Standing Order 14.2(3), I would like to identify the items standing in the name of the third party to be called on Wednesday, May 8, 2002. They are Bill No. 103, standing in the name of the Member for Klondike, and Motion No. 251, standing in the name of the Member for Klondike.
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Hon. Ms. Tucker: May I have the Houseís indulgence to ask the House to join me in welcoming one of my constituents, Mr. Rod Moore?
Speaker: We will now proceed to Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. McLachlan: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and 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
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I now call Committee of the Whole to order. Committee of the Whole will recess until 2:05 p.m.
Chair: I now call Committee of the Whole to order.
Bill No. 9 ó Second Appropriation Act, 2002-03 ó continued
Department of Environment ó continued
Chair: Is there any further general debate?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Mr. Chair, there are a number of outstanding questions that were asked yesterday ó outstanding ideas and suggestions for which I would like to provide clarity to the members opposite.
During Question Period today, Mr. Chair, there was a question about the Liberal governmentís action plan for the next year. What I tried to reiterate yesterday was that the action plan and the accountability plan contained in this O&M budget are synonymous. They are one and the same thing. So the goals and objectives for the departments are clearly delineated within the accountability plan, indicating to Yukoners exactly how we plan to proceed to conduct government business over the next year.
Along with the goals are the objectives indicating how we plan to move forward in implementing the goals. At the end of the accountability plan, there are performance indicators; there are measurements that the public could use to see how we achieve the accountability actions that we state within the plan. So this is exactly the same as an action plan.
The Member for Kluane then questioned the fact, "Well, we already see an error in the accountability plan." That is not the intent of the accountability plan. The government laid out its plan, and there has been a change in one of the lines identified by the Member for Kluane. Thatís a good thing. That allows the members in the opposition to see that there has been a change from what was originally proposed. Thatís what accountability is all about.
Then it was up to me to provide an answer to the Member for Kluane identifying the reason for that change. There are circumstances that occur throughout the year. The members opposite chastise us with respect to not listening to Yukoners. Well, the accountability was, in part, created by Yukoners.
So what this does for us, then, is keep us accountable not only to the members opposite but also to Yukoners at large. Thatís the simple version of the accountability plan, and that was included in the budget as it was presented to the public, so that any member of the public could request, or have sent, mailed, e-mailed, whatever section of the budget they would like to see that contains the accountability plan. It could be provided so that the public at large, as well, can hold us accountable for doing what we said weíll do.
Another point of clarity, Mr. Chair, is the Yukon protected areas strategy and the slowdown announced just last month. The members opposite again are criticizing us for not respecting the publicís input through communication, through consultation. Well, this is a good example of where we have received word from the public at large, from First Nations, from renewable resource councils, from businesses, from the industry sector, from communities, that they would like an opportunity, before areas of interest are identified, for some kind of input into that process.
We have always said, from the get-go, that the process is a dynamic document. It can be improved upon; it can be changed, and thatís what weíre slowing the process down for at this time, as well as in deference to the four MOUs that were signed by First Nations, so they can move forward in a comfortable, competent way in achieving their final agreement.
So, Mr. Chair, we are listening to Yukoners. The Member for Kluane indicates that itís a complete reversal. Well, no, itís not. Itís a change in direction in response to what weíve heard from Yukoners, and weíre going to continue to do that in a responsible, accountable way.
A number of things the department has done in the previous role as Renewable Resources ó and now as the Department of Environment ó are very substantive in accomplishment in the past couple of years. One thing is the Parks and Land Certainty Act. This has enriched the principles of the protected areas in legislation.
It gives government the tools to modernize the Parks Act for Yukon, to allow us to manage our parks and protected areas in a responsible, accountable, respectful way, to both the users of those facilities as well as to the wildlife and surrounding environment. I believe that the new Parks and Land Certainty Act was a very positive exercise for Yukoners.
This act was the first act in the whole of Canada that did recognize the protected areas strategy as designed by Yukoners for Yukoners in the territory. This accepts the responsibilities in legislation of the strategy right within the Parks and Land Certainty Act.
Another significant accomplishment of the department, in response to the public, departmental officials and courts, was the updating, the revision of the Wildlife Act. For over 20 years, this legislation was ignored and marginalized. Well, a lot has happened within the territory over the past 20 years. There have been a substantive number of land claims dealt with. There have been a number of memoranda of understanding most recently signed, as an accomplishment to this government, that will be accommodated within the final phase of the amendments to the Wildlife Act.
Mr. Chair, those who had to enforce this legislation were often put into awkward positions, in catch-22 situations. So now that the administrative phase of the act is complete, it allows our conservation officers to more confidently ó and also for Yukoners to clearly indicate to them what they can and cannot do on land base, on wildlife habitat and with wildlife. So, Mr. Chair, we have come a long way in that area, and I am looking forward this fall to forward the species at risk, which is phase 2 of the Wildlife Act.
Mr. Chair, we have done a tremendous amount within the Department of Environment, and they really are a great and wonderful group of people who work there. Theyíre serious about the work they do; theyíre dedicated; theyíre competent; theyíre respectful; they work with the public at large all the time. I know that I look forward to my visits up to the department to catch up on the latest that theyíre doing. As a matter of fact, Mr. Chair, as all Yukoners I hope know, the month of May is free campground use for all Yukoners. There is a slight delay in opening some of our campgrounds this year because of the snow pack that we received, but we are making best efforts to clean more and more out. I would certainly encourage Yukoners to contact the offices of the parks branch within the Department of Environment to find out the latest openings. We hope that our folks in the territory here can travel the territory this year, can enjoy our campgrounds. Theyíre the best, I would say, in Canada. Thereís a healthy supply of firewood at all our campgrounds. Theyíre well maintained by local residents on a nightly basis. As a matter of fact, regardless of the criticism I have received for travelling about the territory, checking out the campgrounds, as well as our other visitor kiosks along the road, I think that we have campgrounds that are second to none.
Iím looking forward, sometime in the near future, to forwarding a new campgrounds plan, as a result of input weíve had from the public at large and the travels that I accomplished last year.
Itís a big task, and I know that in these times of economic constraint, we still have, as a social responsibility, the responsibility to look after our wildlife, to look after our environment because it is the human species that has the greatest impact on those natural resources.
Another big event this spring are the activities out at Swan Haven on MíClintock Bay, just at the north end of Marsh Lake. The annual event of the spring migration is in full swing, and even this year there was a slight two-week delay until the waters opened up sufficiently for the birds to move in and occupy the space. We have had our best year ever at the site. The visitations are approximately 4,000 this year. This is the ninth year.
On a final note, in Question Period today there was a hint with respect to Grey Mountain and how we listen and how we encourage all MLAs to listen to Yukoners and what they have to say. I would encourage ó and I challenge all members, especially the leader of the official opposition, the Education critic for the NDP, as well as the leader of the third party ó to attend the open house at Grey Mountain Primary tomorrow night so that they can listen to what those folks have to say, just like the Minister of Education has been listening to the public.
So, I would encourage those three individuals particularly, Mr. Chair, but I encourage all members of the opposition to go and listen to what the parents have to say about their Grey Mountain School, the little school that could.
Mr. Chair, with that, Iíll be taking any questions or any further comment from the members opposite.
Mr. Jenkins: Mr. Chair, when we left the general debate yesterday, we were dealing with an outfitter who has been dealt with by the department, and I want to preface my remarks today by advising the House that my remarks and the naming of this individual were done with his complete concurrence and complete understanding. In fact, I had numerous meetings with this individual over the past while, and this individual has reached an impasse with the government. In fact, he just recently advised me that it has taken half-a-dozen attempts to arrange a meeting with the Premier, let alone the minister responsible, who has virtually refused to see this individual.
So much for an open and accountable government.
Mr. Chair, to recap: this individual was an outfitter for some 34 years, and he was facilitated by the department in the purchase of his concession. Thatís how it all started. As time went on, he did run afoul of the game branch and, ultimately, 51 charges were laid. The minister suggested yesterday that he had an opportunity to sell. Well, he did. Before going to court, the outfitter was offered a plea bargain: plead guilty to all 51 charges and he would be allowed six months to sell his concession ó some plea bargain.
When it went to court, 40-odd ó and I didnít get the correct amount ó but over 40 of the charges were either stayed or withdrawn. This individual has paid over $140,000 in legal costs, plus fines, plus lost time, never mind the physical or mental anguish of being before the courts. He made a mistake; he has paid his debt to society, and that is evident and clear from the transcripts of the judgeís rulings in this case.
What we have before us, Mr. Chair, is a very interesting situation, and I would encourage the minister to go back and read about the basis of governance. There are really three distinct branches of government. Thereís the legislative part of government, which is this body that makes the laws. Then thereís the executive branch of government, which interprets and runs the affairs of government on a day-to-day basis. Then we have the judicial, which deals with offences and rulings.
What we have is a situation where this individual has been dealt with by the judicial arm of the government, and dealt with in a firm and fair manner as perceived by everyone I have spoken to, and that should have been it.
Now what we have is the legislative arm of the government coming back in at the end of the day and addressing the issue of the concession. The issue of the offences and the licence have been dealt with by the courts. The concession is something else.
The minister has taken it upon himself to set a very, very negative precedent here in the Yukon that is going to impact on the entire outfitting industry, and it is indeed an industry. It is a very viable industry, but the way this Liberal government is headed in the Yukon is if it works, letís try and destroy it. Because every attempt is being made by this Liberal government to tear apart anything that is working. If it doesnít work, donít try to fix it. Donít try to address it. Letís just attack the areas that do work. We have probably one of the best cases here of double jeopardy. It doesnít matter that the outfitter has gone before the courts, been charged, convicted, and paid his debt to society. The minister is coming back at him, for the first time in the history of the Yukon, and taking away this individualís concession.
Now, as I pointed out to the minister, there are groups and bodies here in the Yukon that donít want to see a concession operated in that area. They have encouraged the government of the day and the department to buy back the concession. Then there is the other suggestion to the minister, that the outfitter be allowed an opportunity to sell his concession.
So there are two ways that the government can proceed. But no, Mr. Chair, they chose a third way: cancel the concession, take away virtually everything that this 72-year-old individual has and destroy him completely, destroy this individual, trod him into the ground ó some respect for Yukoners being shown by the legislative arm of this Liberal government.
Now, the minister has a lot of discretion under the act, and in many cases, the department in the past has not followed its own rules with respect to selling a concession. In a number of cases, Mr. Chair, it has encouraged or supported a sale. Now, why, all of a sudden does this minister want to take it upon himself ó considering his family background is in the outfitting business and he should have a very good understanding of the outfitting industry ó to destroy another Yukonerís livelihood and destroy him financially? Iíd like an answer to that question, Mr. Chair.
Chair: Order please.
Before we go into this, to ensure the demeanour of the House reflects the positive nature of making legislation, we should really make sure we do not, under any circumstances, give inferences. I will actually call the last statement out of order. The minister certainly has been referred to as having destroyed an individual or having brought an individual down personally, and that is not the nature of the Legislature here today. So the last statement is out of order. I donít need a rephrasing. The rest of the question stands.
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Out of respect for what the Speaker ruled earlier today, I was hoping that this specific issue would not come up. Because in the couple of meetings I had with the member opposite, with him asking that I reinstate the concession ó he came right out and asked ó I said that I would think about it and during that time ó I think it was four or five days ó I did review the information again and I did have a second meeting with the Member for Klondike and indicated to him that, no, I would not be changing my opinion. I still will not change my opinion on the decision that I made.
The member has alluded to the fact that, yes, the individual is 72 years old. He has brought personal history of mine to the floor of the Chamber. This member will do anything. I still find it disgusting what heís doing but thatís his choice because ó
Chair: Order please. Again, weíre going to really monitor the level of debate today. "This member will do anything" is another example of casting aspersions. Letís keep it to policy.
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Iím not so proud that I wouldnít extend an apology to the member opposite for that comment. I will. I will desperately try to adhere to your ruling, Mr. Chair.
The member opposite clearly identified and did a little more homework, obviously, between yesterday and today, and found out that this individual had breached the law 51 times ó 51 times, Mr. Chair. He also confirmed the fact that I tried to indicate to him yesterday that the member had an opportunity to sell his concession during the past four years for continually violating the law.
The member opposite has clearly reinforced my argument that this legislative body has entrusted me with a responsibility, which I take very seriously, namely as the Minister of Environment. I have to continually, on behalf of Yukoners, look after the public interest when it comes to wildlife and outfitting, and I am upholding that trust, Mr. Chair, and I will continue to uphold that trust.
The member has reminded me again of an activity that my father did have some time ago, but what I did learn from that, Mr. Chair, is respect for the environment, respect for animals, and that it is a resource that is there for us to use ó a discretionary use. It is not that I am totally not thinking about the decision I rendered on the fellow we are talking about or his concession. What I did learn out of that was respect for the environment, respect for other people. I learned compassion for wildlife, for our natural resources. I had only wished that the member would have challenged the individual he is talking about with the same respect ó obviously not.
The Member for Klondike indicated 51 violations, and I am very aware of the impact that is having on the rest of the outfitting businesses here in the territory. What kind of aspersion is that carrying over to their conduct and to their businesses? The last thing I want is Yukoners to be so upset by us moving forward on a forgiveness of what this individual did, was charged and convicted of, because I am respecting and honouring the outfitting business here in the territory. They contribute quite a lot to the territory by way of the economy. These individuals respect the environment. They respect wildlife. They are a very healthy and supportive industry toward the resource sector that they have the right to utilize. This individual didnít. Time and time and time again, he violated the laws and the laws of nature.
So I am not changing my opinion on that, Mr. Chair. As a matter of fact, having been raised here in the territory, I did learn. While going to school, I had many First Nation friends who taught me, although I donít fully know. I have a long way to go on First Nation aspects and a full respect for the environment, but what I do know is what I learned, and I know that you donít do what this individual did in the conduct of business.
Mr. Chair, if the Member for Klondike chooses to continue this, thatís fine. Iíll stand up and answer all his questions respectfully and as honestly as I can.
Mr. Jenkins: What the minister fails to take into consideration is that 51 charges were laid against this outfitter ó 51 charges.
Now, the basis of criminal law in Canada and in most of the free world is that you are innocent until proven guilty. And given that over 40 of the charges were either stayed or withdrawn and not reinstated within the two-year time period, the convictions were only rendered on considerably less than one-quarter of the original charges. That would lead one to conclude that the minister is putting all the emphasis on the 51 charges, and probably penalizing this outfitter for not having been dealt with before the law in that area. This is probably one of the most blatant cases of double jeopardy that I have witnessed before any government. It is the legislative arm of government that is imposing this additional penalty on this outfitter. That, I find, to be very, very hard to accept.
Now, the minister went on at great length to say he has respect for animals. I would encourage the minister to develop the same respect for Yukoners that appears to be lacking in the ministerís understanding of this situation.
This is one of compassion. But the paramount effect of this precedent-setting decision by this minister is what is really concerning the outfitting industry. Never before in the history of the Yukon has the minister invoked some of these powers to deal with a matter. There have been previous cases of offences under the Wildlife Act and the various acts that have been in place over the years. By and large the government of the day has not fared very well defending the Wildlife Act over the past many decades, given that there were great big holes in it.
But if you look at the outfitting industry in the Yukon, it is, by and large, alive and well because of its own due diligence, because of its own respect for the land, the environment and the rule of law. That respect has been evident for a long, long time here in the Yukon, Mr. Chair, and is seldom abused. When it is, rightfully, the charges are laid. But what we have is a minister here who has predetermined the course of justice. I guess this ministerís attitude is, "Give him a fair trial and hang him," because this individual has had a fair trial. He has been subsequently penalized, and he has paid his debt to society. And he has come back in, to the wrath of the minister, and he has been dealt with in another way.
The first area where he was dealt with by the legislation was with respect to his licence and offences under a specific act and its subsequent regulations. Now weíre dealing with the other issue, the issue of this individualís concession. The minister has gone on record many, many times. We heard reports of the minister saying at the TIAY convention that he was listening to the visitor industry. This is from the Minister of Blah Blah, Tourism and Blah Blah. We hear that heís listening to the industry with respect to YPAS. Well, we know what he has ultimately done with YPAS, Mr. Chair ó probably on some good advice from the individuals that Ottawa is sending up to the Yukon to have a look at the situation here and see if they can right the Liberal cart and try to put the wheels back on. Maybe these are some of the areas where the Liberal government needs to clear the deck and see if they can fix the wrongs.
We have YPAS; we have the Grey Mountain situation; we have the situation with respect to the Wood Street Annex. With respect to Grey Mountain, YPAS and the Wood Street Annex, it would appear that this government is finally waking up and listening to Yukoners and reversing their original position.
All that means, Mr. Chair, is that the government is spinning its wheels, really not putting Yukoners back to work, not developing the economy. Theyíre concentrating on fixing the areas where they have made major, major blunders. The frustration out there across Yukon is just unbelievable, as a consequence of either the decisions made by this Liberal government, or the lack of decisions made by this Liberal government. They have chosen, finally, to shut down a lot of these processes and, given their minority position, coming to the realization that they canít tick off all the Yukoners at the same time, the changes are coming a lot quicker. It took a considerable length of time with respect to this minister changing his stand on YPAS. Itís now taking even less and less for the Minister of Education to make a change on the Wood Street Annex or for the government to make a change on the Grey Mountain Primary.
There are many other examples. The minister has promised to listen to the outfitter industry. Well, the outfitter industry, by and large, the members I have spoken to, are very concerned and very much afraid to talk to this minister or to his government. They just want to be allowed to go about their business, conduct it in a professional manner, and get on with being positive members of society and making a contribution to the Yukon society, but they are afraid that the long arm of government might be descending upon them at any moment.
Now, could I once again ask the minister to go back and review his decision on this matter ó not to cancel the concession but to allow this individual an opportunity to either sell the concession or for the government to buy it out and pay this individual, because itís really all he has in the way of financial means or value.
This government department has virtually destroyed this individual with its tenacity and its aggressive pursuit of this individual, and now we see and witness the double jeopardy of the minister exercising his legislative prerogative and imposing an additional penalty on this outfitter ó taking away his concession.
Iím hoping the light of day might finally dawn over there, or is the minister still looking in the toilet bowl and watching which way the economy and the water swirls, Mr. Chair?
This government is going nowhere with their little red Liberal cart. The wheels are off. The economy is in the toilet. All Iím asking the minister to do is treat Yukoners as they should be treated, get on with the job of rebuilding the Yukon economy, not concentrate totally on their in-house rearranging of deck chairs on the SS Liberal Titanic and start demonstrating a positiveness here in this little Yukon.
Mr. Deputy Chair, we just have to look around ourselves. We look to Alaska; we look to the Northwest Territories; we look to Alberta; we look to British Columbia. Yes, there are problems in some of these jurisdictions, but there are also jobs. Most people, if theyíre looking for the little red Liberal cart, itís to tow their goods and personal effects to one of these other jurisdictions to go to work, because this Liberal government has managed to destroy any bastion of strength we had remaining.
If it works, tear it apart, destroy it. If it doesnít work, leave it alone; it will fall on its face. Will the minister consider going back and having a look at this? I would like to leave this issue alone, put it to bed once and for all. Show some compassion for a fellow Yukoner whose background is the same as his familyís background. I would be of the opinion that this minister would have a very good understanding of the outfitting industry and would choose not to exercise a prerogative that has not been exercised ever in the history of the Yukon before. A very, very dangerous signal to the outfitting industry is being sent by this minister. We probably only have to deal with this minister until the election this fall, or maybe sooner than that should the Premier get her ducks lined up and call an election after she goes to the western premiers conference. There is speculation about either area.
Will the minister go back and have a look at this situation again, give it a full, impartial review and consult with the outfitting industry before reaching his decision? Can I ask the minister to undertake that kind of a review?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: I did exactly that the first time around. I did have the full package of information to review that was provided to me by the individual in question. I did have the information supplied to me by the department, and I spent a very long time going over and over and over the information.
The fact of the matter is that departmental staff have met with this individual a couple of times. During the litigation that occurred, I could not meet with the individual, as that would have compromised a final review of the information that I had to go through. So we have been working with this individual. As a matter of fact, the Premier will be meeting with him this Friday, and he has only asked once for a meeting with me, specifically ó once, once. Of course, the member opposite only gets his information from a single source, and that becomes fact. Even yesterday, when he was recounting my familyís history, he got that all wrong, as well, because he heard it from someone. Thatís what the member opposite reacts to, is what he heard.
So the member is asking me to review the information one more time, and that is exactly what I did when he approached me the first time, Mr. Deputy Chair. He asked me to review it, and I did. I spent four or five days going through the information. I felt, in all conscience ó and, again, it was a repeat of the feelings I had when I reviewed the information the first time and came to my decision. It was very hard.
But I made the decision in respect of the outfitting industry, Mr. Deputy Chair, because this is having an impact on them. The conduct of this one individual and how he utilized the resource is what has resulted in apprehensions within the industry.
Because the only thing that the Member for Klondike got right is the fact that the industry is concerned and the industry is respectful of the resource that they are charged to utilize in the public interest.
The department is continuing, and I have asked them to continue to help this individual out in other ways to start up a wilderness tourism business or utilize the assets that he has in another positive and constructive way, but use the resources in a non-consumptive way. Again, the fact of the matter is that it wasnít I who brought the litany and the numbers to the floor of this House; it was the member opposite. Out of respect for the individual who cannot be here to represent himself, I would have chosen to continue working out an equitable solution for him without granting him his concession back.
The fact of the matter is that this individual was charged and convicted of 10 offences. The degree of the offences were significant, to where ó and this is what I evaluated when I looked at the material ó there was no way I could have allowed him to retain his concession.
It would be a very dangerous precedent if I allowed this individual, with the many convictions that have occurred ó it would be an incredible precedent ó to retain his concession when all the other outfitters in the territory respect the law. The member says that I should talk to outfitters. Iíve gone to the outfittersí banquet; Iíve talked to outfitters individually; Iíve met with the association many times. I talk to outfitters quite frequently, as a matter of fact.
Quite frankly, the message Iím getting is definitely not the message the member opposite is getting. The fact is that we really shouldnít be discussing this on the floor of this Legislature, especially when the member opposite is choosing to retry the case here in the Legislature, as his opening remarks today were to give me a lecture on the three branches of governance. The member in the back row there is talking about dealing with tough issues and thatís exactly what this government does. They arenít always popular; they arenít always comfortable, and some of them are very, very difficult, and this was one of those.
The fact is that I have a tremendous respect for outfitters. They have a tremendous latitude for freedom to utilize the resource that theyíre permitted to use. Outfitters are granted the exclusive opportunity to outfit non-residents in their concession areas. This privilege comes with corresponding obligations that hold outfitters to a higher standard, and I respect that higher standard because most outfitters in Yukon comply with that high standard. That is expected of them by the general public. Outfitters must know the laws governing their industry and they must operate with professionalism in the public interest, and they do that, Mr. Chair. They do that. They are a great group of people and I doubt very much that the member opposite has attended one of their banquets.
Outfitters generally operate in remote locations that are not easily accessible and cannot be effectively scrutinized by enforcement personnel. So there is an honour system there, an honour system that is respected by the department, and itís an honour system that they cherish because they have established that credibility with the department officials. This individual didnít. He continually violated the regulations, the law, for years.
The member opposite indicated that he did have an opportunity to sell his concession. Why didnít he? Why didnít he do that when he had the opportunity? The member opposite said that in this House.
For these reasons, the integrity of an outfitter as evidenced by a willingness to comply with the act and regulations is of great importance ó that they work very hard at maintaining. And quite frankly, I am not going to colour the whole barrel because of one bad apple. This is the message that I am giving to outfitters and that I will continue to give to outfitters, because they respect the resource that they are committed to use in the public interest. They obey the laws. And that is the vast difference in this case that this member chose time and again, after repeated warnings that you canít do that and expect not to have consequences for your decisions. If you break the law, there are penalties. Depending on how often, how severely you break the law, there are greater penalties. That is what happened in this case. No, I will not reverse my decision with respect to this concession.
Mr. Jenkins: Is the minister aware of what "double jeopardy" is?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Mr. Deputy Chair, yes.
Mr. Jenkins: Well, this is probably one of the best examples of double jeopardy that Iíve ever witnessed. This individual has been dealt with by the courts; and, for the record, once again, Mr. Deputy Chair, before going to court, this outfitter was offered a plea bargain, and he was advised to plead guilty to all of the charges and he would be allowed six months to sell his concession. Itís very interesting to note that, on entering court, 40-odd charges were either thrown out, withdrawn, or stayed. Ten charges out of the 51 went ahead.
What this minister is doing in this very precedent-setting situation and the decision that he has made is called "double jeopardy". He is imposing a second level of penalty on this outfitter for the offences that he has committed. I reiterate my original statement, once again, Mr. Deputy Chair. This ministerís view of justice is, give him a fair trial and then hang him ó a lot of respect for the justice system, a lot of respect for Yukoners, and a lot of compassion.
Weíll encourage the minister to go back and have a look at this once again.
I would suggest two ways of proceeding to the minister ó that the minister preferably buy out the concession and, if he canít see his way clear to find enough funds in the budget of the Government of Yukon and the tremendous surplus they have been left with, allow the individual to sell the concession.
This is a sad day for Yukon and for Yukoners, when the minister of the day would invoke provisions and exercise his legislative authority to the degree that he has. We know he has reversed his decisions in a number of other areas, after being extremely adamant that he was on the right track, and weíre witnessing, on a daily basis, this government backing away from positions it has taken. I would encourage the minister to, once again, go back and have a look at it.
Mr. Chair, Iím going to leave this area alone for now, but weíll be back at it in the fall, and it might be the subject of a lot of other ó and the minister just shrugged his shoulders. So much for compassion; so much for respect for animals; so much for respect for Yukoners. The minister is demonstrating more of a respect for animals than he is for Yukoners.
Letís move on to another area ó the Kyoto convention and the Yukonís role. Global warming ó several things are agreed to, that the temperature on the surface of the earth rose in the 20th century, and man burned more fossil fuel during that time.
Thatís about it. Itís not really all that clear that the two are linked because most of the warming occurred early in this century. That was well before the surge in man-made gases. If you look at the Canadian Fraser Instituteís 2001 study, it concluded that there is no clear evidence of the effect of C02 on global climate, either on surface temperature records of the past 100 years or balloon radio sondes over the last 40 years or from satellite experiments over the last 20 years. In fact, NASAís Goddard Institute for Space Studies now reports that global warming has slowed so much that temperature increases predicted for 2050 wonít happen.
Canada appears to be poised to buy into the Kyoto convention. My concern is that there was probably a backroom deal made between the government in Ottawa and the Liberals here in the Yukon to act as a sink to maintain as much of the Yukon as a park so we can get carbon credits. Because that appears to be the course of action that this government has been pursuing for quite some time ó to create a whole series of interlocking parks, not develop the forestry industry. Some of the forests that weíre looking at are now mature growth and, if theyíre not harvested, they are not going to be a user of the gases, they are going to be a producer. A lot of the forests have to be cut and dealt with in the foreseeable future or they wonít have the same ability to absorb the gases and Canada probably wonít get the credits for carbon sinks that we should be allowed for these areas.
Now, Iíd like to ask the minister what his position is on the Kyoto convention, because there are some good points and good aspects to what is being advanced. I donít want the minister to get up on his feet and say that in the Yukon we have the highest per capita consumption of fossil fuels of anywhere in North America because, given that we have a population of 30,000 and itís dwindling, itís one of those statistics that you can use but, really, whatís the bottom line? Yes, there are 30,000 people in a few blocks in downtown Toronto or downtown Vancouver, so their use of fossil fuels on average wouldnít even nearly approach what we have here in the Yukon per person.
Iíd like to know the governmentís position on the Kyoto convention and if any agreement has been reached between the Liberal government here in the Yukon and the Liberal government in Ottawa, either on the table or under the table where this Liberal government usually negotiates deals with the Liberals in Ottawa in this area, Mr. Chair.
We all know that some high-priced Liberal is being sent or is on his way from Ottawa to have a look at the situation here in the Yukon. His name just escapes me, but heís supposed to be coming up to provide some advice to the government. I donít believe his name is David Suzuki. But Iím hoping that this individual has on his plate some very concrete and positive positions that the government should be taking and listening to with respect to resource development, especially with respect to forestry.
So what is the government of the dayís position with respect to the Kyoto convention? We have the big brown envelope coming down from the corner office, so we probably have a great deal of information before us.
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: I always appreciate the members of the opposition when they give a running commentary on the physical actions of this side of the House. It is always enlightening for Yukoners to notice how the members opposite get such a charge at bringing up the actions and activities. The fact of the matter is that, very recently, the Premier and I had an opportunity to meet with Minister Anderson, as he was on his way up to Old Crow, and we touched on a number of subjects, one of which was Kyoto. The Member for Klondike, of course, doesnít have all his facts correct.
The federal government is moving forward in ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, but what Minister Anderson has indicated, as well, is that there is a great deal of consultation that has to occur. I have had the opportunity to discuss with the Premier a number of issues on the protocol in a brief manner, and with the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, as well.
During the consultation period, we are taking into consideration the points of view of the provinces and other territories but, basically, the position of the Yukon Territory is similar to that of the federal governmentís position. That is also following the position that there has to be some more consultation with respect to the overall principles of the Kyoto Protocol.
I know that the Premier will be discussing these items with the western premiers in just a couple of weeks up in Dawson.
So I wonít take the tack, as the member suggested, and start itemizing what we get green credits for and what we donít. The fact of the matter is that the protocol is being reviewed by Canada, itís being reviewed by all provinces and the territories, and there will be a full discussion during the western premiers conference up here in Dawson in early June.
Mr. Jenkins: Well, one would have to only look at the ministerís answers, Mr. Chair, and listen very, very well to understand that the Yukonís position is, in the ministerís own words, similar to the federal governmentís position. Could I ask the minister to explain where we differ from the federal governmentís position on Kyoto?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: I do appreciate these questions because Iím always anxious to enlighten the Member for Klondike on just about every issue he brings to the House relative to my respective departments.
The fact is, Mr. Chair, that there is no real, single position with respect to Kyoto, that the federal government has indicated a willingness to move toward ratification, but not without consultation from the territories and the provinces. Minister Anderson has said that time and time again, and weíre in full agreement with that tactic.
As I had indicated in my first answer on this question, the Premier will be discussing with western premiers the aspects of the Kyoto principles ó energy, the whole shebang.
Mr. Jenkins: I guess we have a very sexist remark there from the minister ó a shebang; very interesting.
I would like to ask the minister to enunciate further on how the Yukonís position, with respect to Kyoto, is different from the federal governmentís position. We really havenít heard anything other than that there will be ongoing discussions and the Premier will be attending the western premiers conference.
Is the Yukonís position ó how does it differ from the federal governmentís position? Iíd like to offer the Premier an opportunity because, in all probability, the Legislature will still be sitting when the western premiers conference is on, and Iíd be happy to pair with her so she can attend that event.
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Then again, the Member for Klondike is in error. The fact of the matter is that our Premier is chairing the premiers conference in Dawson this year ó as a matter of fact, in just a couple of weeks.
Thatís the whole exercise behind consultation. The member opposite criticizes for lack of consultation, so what weíre moving toward is taking a look at the impacts of the protocol and its principles, and looking, in a collective and consultative way, the pros and cons for ratifying the protocol.
Thatís exactly what consultation is all about, and thatís what the Premier is going to be doing when sheís hosting the western premiers up in Dawson, the main town in the memberís riding. So weíll be boosting the economy there as well, and I think thatís a very positive aspect.
Canada is, as Minister Anderson has indicated publicly many times ó there will be an extensive consultative process with respect to the implications of implementing the Kyoto Protocol this year.
The Premier is directly linked in, as I am as the Minister of Environment, and as is the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources. Those main ministries, as well as the Premierís ó first ministers ó are involved intimately in this process.
Mr. Jenkins: So, itís safe to conclude that the Yukon Liberal government does not have a position on Kyoto. All theyíre advancing is probably the position they have been instructed to take by their Liberal puppet masters in Ottawa, that they are to buy in to the Liberal governmentís position and go along with it.
I asked the minister repeatedly, Mr. Chair, how the Yukonís position on Kyoto differs from the federal governmentís position. The minister indicated it is similar so, if itís similar, itís not exactly the same. So, rather than go into the similarities, letís go into the areas where it differs. Could the minister be very specific and advise the House where the Yukonís position on Kyoto differs from the federal governmentís position on Kyoto?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: The minister cannot be specific, because thatís the whole idea behind listening to others. Thatís the whole idea behind sharing ideas with Canada.
We have indicated publicly in the past that we are in support of Canadaís initiative on Kyoto. Canada has indicated that theyíre going through an extensive consultation process to fully understand the implications of implementing the principles of Kyoto in Canada. The minister, as has the Prime Minister, has indicated publicly that we want to hear from the first ministers in our country, as well as the ministers responsible for those portfolios, so we are moving in a consultative way.
We are in support of the federal government in its initiative with respect to Kyoto. We have said that time and time again. I have said it in this House many times, but the federal minister has indicated a consultative process is on the way. Itís underway, and the western premiers are going to be part of that in their own caucus, as well as sharing their ideas with the rest of Canada.
Mr. Jenkins: Iím not comfortable with this, because it basically points out that the Yukon does not have a position separate and distinct from the federal government. Theyíve just been instructed by Ottawa to adopt the same position. It would appear that the Yukon is going to be created into one big carbon sink so we can get all of the credits on the international front. There has to be some reason why Ottawa would continue to send the hundreds of millions of dollars our way and not ask us to develop our own resources. There has to be some reason why the federal government would sit idly by and see this Liberal government here in the Yukon squander hundreds of millions of dollars and not create an economy, not develop any resource extraction, but in fact put everything on the back burner. There has to be some rationale for that kind of position. One can only conclude that the Yukon is being made into one big carbon sink.
Let me give the minister some food for thought. Letís look at even fossil fuel consumption and its resulting pollution. The Cato Institute recently reported that since the first Earth Day in 1970, energy consumption has risen by some 41 percent, most of it from fossil fuels. During that same period, sulphur dioxide emissions have dropped by 39 percent, volatile organic compounds by 42 percent, carbon monoxide emissions have dropped by 28 percent, and large particle matter emissions by 25 percent.
Now, what doesnít make sense is that the amount of fossil fuel is going up and, relative to 1970, emissions are coming down.
The major cause of erosion of the ozone layer, Freon has been all but disallowed for its use in most of the free world. The most dangerous of the Freon gases are the refrigerants, Freon 12, which is still readily available in many, many countries in the world. And yet, in Canada and the U.S. ó if you can get it ó it is priced right out of shape and there are all sorts of regulations around it. Freon was probably the biggest cause of the erosion of the ozone layer. But where is this governmentís position on Kyoto? The same as the federal governmentís position. "Similar to the federal governmentís position," in the ministerís own words. Could the minister share with the Legislature some of the background work that the government is undertaking with respect to the Kyoto Protocol and what kind of departmental initiatives have surrounded the Kyoto convention? What have we done in-house to have a look at the Kyoto convention?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: I very much want to answer the memberís question with respect to what are we doing specifically, but during his preamble building up to the question, he had challenged this governmentís economic management of the hundreds of millions of dollars the federal government sends this way, and he alluded to rather unsavoury, underlying suggestions. Well, he couldnít be further from reality.
The fact of the matter is that the economic outlook for the territory is not that bad. We are improving ó slowly, we admit. Everybody on this side has admitted that, but the fact of the matter is that the unemployment rate has dropped dramatically over the past year and has remained at less than 10 percent for the past four months. Retail sales increased by 5.9 percent. Wholesale sales increased by 5.7 percent last year. Total retail sales are expected to grow by seven percent this year.
I know the member opposite is yawning and making all kinds of gross gestures, but these are the facts, Mr. Chair. The value of building construction was up by 42 percent over last year. The Yukonís population is growing again, despite what the member opposite has been saying over the past several months. Itís not going up by speedy amounts, but it was noticed in March that the population mark was 100 up over March of the previous year.
Gold prices are starting to climb, and Iím sure that the member is quite excited and will probably, in due course, take credit for the fact that gold prices went up and that business in Dawson will be doing quite well this year, or better than in past years, and we wish the placer mining industry all the best and, on behalf of all Yukoners, this side of the government takes the lead in wishing the placer mining industry the best ó and, as we know full well, the member opposite voted against a motion amendment to have all Yukoners support the placer industry. He voted that down. I can only assume then, Mr. Chair, that he is opposed to placer mining by that act.
Within this budget, if we ever get to it, Mr. Chair, the facts speak for themselves: more than $1.5 million in industry development and research for business, tourism, and cultural industries, and technology and communication.
There is $7.1 million for tourism marketing, an extension of the mineral exploration tax credit, promoting opportunities in the oil and gas sector, and marketing the advantage of the Alaska Highway pipeline route, which members opposite are continually up and down on; however, they see a breeze ó theyíre either for it or against it. We have constantly been for it.
Implementing the mine program, undertaking work on the Yukon forest industry strategy, including everyone ó First Nations ó
Some Hon. Member: Point of order, Mr. Chair.
Point of order
Chair: Mr. Jenkins, on a point of order.
Mr. Jenkins: The minister is wandering all over the block. Thereís some flexibility, granted, in general debate on the department, but I spoke in general terms about the specific areas, and the minister is going into a great amount of detail. Heís just politically posturing with his remarks here today. Heís not addressing the questions about Kyoto, which was the subject at hand.
Chair: On the point of order, we will not need any more submissions. There is no point of order. Itís a difference between members. The range of general debate is not really up to the Speaker or the Chair to decide. If it goes too far, hopefully 20 minutes would stop anybody from going further.
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: As the member opposite continually says in points of order, before I was rudely interrupted ó but then the member opposite doesnít know the definition of that. He just chided across the way that it was a courtesy one. Well, heís kind of right there, because thatís the best he can do by way of courtesy.
So, the thing that weíre working toward here in the territory with respect to the Kyoto Protocol is that we are feeling the effects, and that is something that this government has been very proactive on for the past two years, even going to the CoP6 conference in The Hague, Netherlands, almost a year-and-a-half ago, and have since continually positioned Yukon with the federal government and with our counterparts in the provinces and territories, that it is the north that is affected right now and has been for a number of years.
The member read a report ó and itís unfortunate he doesnít believe some of the things he reads and chooses to accept others ó which said that weíre not having global warming. Well, I would suggest to the member opposite that he listen to the true northerners, the Innu, the Gwitchin, because they are experiencing the effects of climate change.
The northern ice floes that carry down their subsistence ó harvest seals and polar bears are not coming because the ice melts before it gets to the shoreline.
So the member must do a little more research to find out the true effects. We are losing our permafrost as a result of climate change. This is impacting our migratory wildlife, like caribou. Traditional routes they were able to follow, depending on the permafrost to sustain the migratory passage ó theyíre losing it. The floes in the river take hundreds of caribou lives because traditionally they would walk over the ice. So itís having a profound effect on the north ó a profound effect on the north. That is our responsibility as government ó to make sure that the world hears about this, not just Canadians but the Americans, the North Americans in other areas of the country that can effect change. As a matter of fact, there are 160 countries that are involved in the Kyoto Protocol process ó 160 countries that take it seriously, despite what the member opposite is saying.
The issue is so serious that it needs the consultative process. Thatís what Minister Anderson is saying. We need more input, we need to know what this cost is going to be to implement the protocol principles. So heís asking in a very responsible way ó open and accountable ó what is it that you in the rest of the country feel with respect to the principles.
So I think heís acting incredibly responsibly, and the Premier is going to be discussing that with the western premiers when theyíre up in Dawson. We take it very seriously and we are doing a lot.
Our climate change centre is monitoring the progress of the melt, and I think theyíre doing an incredible job of actively monitoring what is happening here in the territory. And, of course, in a responsible fashion, we pass that on to the powers that be in Ottawa.
Mr. Jenkins: Mr. Chair, let the record reflect that the minister has failed to answer the question. The question posed to the minister was relating to his response to how the Kyoto convention was viewed by this Liberal government, and the ministerís response was, "Ösimilar to the federal governmentís position." And I asked the minister specifically in what areas did it differ from the federal governmentís position, and the minister failed to answer the question. All we heard was a tremendous amount of rhetoric but not a positive response and no information. Now, thatís either because the minister doesnít understand or know the subject matter or is not concerned with it or is just busily reading his briefing notes at this juncture so he can respond at a later date. Instead, the minister went on at great lengths to cite the economic benefits that are flowing here to the Yukon without due consideration to the realities that weíre surrounded by. Iím just very, very disappointed.
And then the minister went on to even cite the motion on the floor of the House with respect to support for the placer mining industry. It was amended by his caucus. The Liberals wanted to amend it to "all Yukoners offer support for the placer mining industry." Well, it might come as a strange, strange fact to the minister, but not all Yukoners support the placer mining industry.
There are quite a number of Yukoners who do not support mining of any sort anywhere. That is what the makeup of the Yukon is all about. There are some Yukoners who donít want to see mining taking place here, and they are entitled to hold that position. It is still a free country. We donít have to buy into everything 100 percent of the time. I would encourage the minister to give careful consideration to any of these issues because there are a lot of Yukoners who have no time for the resource extraction industries.
The minister went on at great length about the economy recovering, and his comments were, "Itís not that bad, the economic outlook." Well, we might experience a little resurgence in the placer mining industry this summer, but that is because of the price of gold, which is beyond the care and control of anyone here in the Yukon, or indeed North America. But then the price of fuel is going to impact on how much of a resurgence we have. But more so, it is going to be the whole regulatory burden that the placer mining industry is saddled with which was the basis of my motion the other day, Mr. Deputy Chair, which the ministerís government chose to amend. That regulatory burden might be to such a level that it will curtail the placer mining industry because we know that the Yukon Conservation Society has left the Yukon Placer Committee. They are not sitting at the table, but do they still have a veto at the end of the day?
I would suspect so, Mr. Chair. Thatís the area that I encourage the government to become involved in ó level the playing field ó as I encouraged the minister to become involved with YPAS and to level the playing field, to have equal representation on the committee so not one party has the veto.
But, no, it took a minority position for this Liberal government to wake up and see that everything was burning all around them and that their house of cards was falling down, and back away from YPAS.
Mr. Chair, the Kyoto convention ó Iíd like to know more about it. Iíd like to know where this government is heading, other than that we have a position similar to the feds. Will the minister kindly table the research that has been undertaken and the position that is being advanced by Yukon with respect to the Kyoto convention? Could the minister do that? Obviously he doesnít want to discuss it on the floor of the House, for what reason I do not know. He says itís somewhat similar to the federal governmentís position. Theyíre going to go out and consult. I want to know how it differs.
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Itís going to be impossible for me to do that, Mr. Chair, because it isnít in writing.
Mr. Jenkins: Now, let me get this straight. This is probably one of the most important environmental issues that Canada appears to have bought into. The Government of Yukonís position is similar to the federal governmentís position, yet it differs, and there isnít anything in writing within the department. How could that be? Is it all wishy-washy backroom discussions? There has to be some documentation. There has to be a position being prepared. There certainly have to be some speaking notes for the Premier to go and attend the western premiers conference. And hopefully Iíll be able to pair with the Premier so she can attend that conference, seeing that there is a good probability that, given the way the answers are flowing, weíll still be sitting in the first part of June when this conference takes place.
So, I want the minister to table the documentation surrounding this Government of Yukon position with respect to Kyoto.
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: I guess I should have clarified for the member opposite that there is no published account with respect to this. The fact of the matter is that there are exchanges of correspondence between our government and the federal government ó so I hope I can offer that by way of explanation, but there is no publicly published opinion.
The member asked me earlier about what initiatives with respect to climate change are occurring in the territory. As a matter of fact, Iíll offer to send over to the member a copy of the inventory of Yukon climate-change initiatives. This is a collaborative effort between the departments of Environment and Energy, Mines and Resources, who actively participate on the Climate Exchange. As a matter of fact, there are over 50 initiatives that were published in February 2001. Also, the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources is putting together the climate change action plan, as I indicated in the House yesterday.
What I could do with respect to the other question on the current activities with respect to Kyoto, I would like to offer the member that, again, the activities with respect to the Kyoto Protocol are that, at this particular time we, like Canada, support the principles of Kyoto but, as Canada has indicated, and what we agreed to as well, there has to be a degree of consultation to review the impacts of implementing the principles of Kyoto.
That is the reason that there are numerous meetings occurring across the country, to get to that end. So there is a review underway. There are consultations underway. The Premier will be discussing that issue with the western premiers in Dawson in a couple weeks. I would be more than willing to provide ideas, suggestions, recommendations that are formulated collectively out of that meeting. So Iíll provide the member opposite with information as it relates to Kyoto. He has asked me, and Iím agreeing to do that.
Mr. Jenkins: Has there been any in-house study of the impacts of Kyoto on Yukon? Yes or no?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Basically, it is the accumulation of information that is going into the Climate Change Centre. Itís the information that is being accrued now on the current impacts of global warming on the territory. The whole idea behind the consultation, particularly now, is that it is bringing a clear aspect to the picture and it involves a lot of aspects ó economic, socio-economic, social, environmental ó that are all being gathered and assessed and assimilated and reviewed. As the member knows full well, in the north, there is greater sensitivity because these impacts are occurring now. So through the Climate Centre, we are gathering this information.
Mr. Jenkins: I would like to ask the minister if there is one body within government that is doing the economic evaluation of the impact of Kyoto on Yukon? Is that being undertaken? And if not, why not?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Again this is being done through active participation of members from the Department of Environment, from Energy, Mines and Resources, which is working in concert with the Climate Change Centre and evaluating the information that is coming in. So, yes, there is collaborative effort helping to determine that.
Mr. Jenkins: Well, letís look on the economic side of the Kyoto convention being applied here in the Yukon. Has the minister got any indication of what the net financial impact is going to be on Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: That work is presently being conducted, so do we have a definitive amount? No.
Mr. Jenkins: Do we have an order-of-magnitude amount? Well, certainly an undertaking of this size has all sorts of implications across the entire Yukon.
The minister, just a few minutes ago, mentioned a number of the areas where it is going to have an impact. I would see it as the prudent role of government, seeing that they concur with the federal government position on adopting Kyoto, that Yukon undertake a complete analysis of not only the socio-economic impact but the financial impact of the imposition of these new regulations on Yukon.
I want to know from the minister ó he has indicated that it is a collaborative effort across a number of departments ó just where we are on this undertaking and when we can see definitive results?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Well, I guess one indicator, Mr. Chair, will be when we have the climate change action plan completed, but I would like to bring to the member oppositeís attention as well that there are regional differences that have to be considered into the equation. Yukon is substantially different from southern Ontario, obviously, and it presents some very unique challenges. This is what Canada is recognizing ó that there are regional differences. There are unique circumstances in the north and in the west and in central ó so, there are a number of factors. There isnít one equation that can utilize the full economic impact. There isnít one equation that is going to satisfy all the conditions uniformly across the country, but I will offer to provide the member opposite with a summary of where we are with respect to Yukonís position currently, or the best information I can provide, and Iíll do that in writing.
Mr. Jenkins: So, really, what the minister is saying is that there is just a kind of quasi-arrangement between a number of departments having a look at the impact of the Kyoto convention on Yukon. I would have thought, given the importance of this Kyoto convention, that there would be an in-house study group, probably with the minister of whatever he wants to be today, blah, blah, blah and Environment, having a look at not only the environmental impact but the financial impact to the Yukon. That is the role of government, Mr. Chair, when a new initiative of this magnitude is probably going to be descending upon us.
And it seems to be like the balance of the Liberal government here in the Yukon, very disorganized and not able to address the issue head on. I find that very disconcerting.
Mr. Chair, many, many Yukoners today are concerned about global warming, but weíre probably more concerned about where it is, because weíre certainly not experiencing it here in the Yukon, and weíd like to enjoy a little bit more of this global warming than what weíre currently experiencing. But thatís the nature of Mother Nature.
Has the minister taken the time to go through the Kyoto convention and have a look at it himself? Yes or no?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Yes, but it has been probably about 20 months ago since I looked at it in any detail.
Mr. Jenkins: So in that ensuing 20 months, what instructions has the minister issued to his officials with respect to an analysis? Because I really havenít heard a definitive program. Iíve heard of a collaborative effort across a number of departments. I really havenít heard that the minister has taken the bull by the horns and given very firm direction. We know we can do that with respect to an outfitter to take away his territory, his concession. We know he has the ability to be very, very definitive when he wants to be, but this one is a pretty loose-type arrangement. Is there an organized structure of this group? Who does it include? What departments? How do they plug in together? How regularly do they meet, and who is tasked with what area? Thatís really what I would like to know.
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: I would like to know if the member opposite fully understands what climate change means. It doesnít mean the weather as soon as you go out the door. As the member opposite is probably fully aware, they experienced a rather radical climate change in Calgary for the past couple of days, according to his definition of climate change.
The thing is, Mr. Chair, that Energy, Mines and Resources is taking the lead on the assessments with respect to Yukon in the territory, and the Department of Environment is intimately involved in that partnership, but the assessments are being primarily led by Energy, Mines and Resources.
Mr. Keenan: I have just a couple of questions for the minister in this department. I surely hope Iím in the right department. If Iím not, the minister could please redirect me.
We know that tourism is certainly becoming a more lucrative business here in the Yukon Territory, and we encourage, through marketing efforts and other ways, to expand and diversify what we actually have in the tourism area.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mr. Keenan: Iíll get to it. You have to understand the backdrop though.
So we spent over the last few years an enormous amount of time and energy. The minister is making trips abroad and flaunting our territory. I do say flaunting because we can all be very proud of it.
One of the key factors in tourism, I guess, is a real experience, a real northern experience, whether itís a First Nation culture or just ecotourism out there and on the land.
I have, as the minister knows, a rural riding and a very beautiful riding from Kaska land to Tlingit land with many lakes and mountains and rivers. I have many entrepreneurs or workers within the business ó guides who wish to be able to go out on to the land and establish a base camp.
Can the minister tell me, is he looking at a way to make available for these entrepreneurs ó or would-be entrepreneurs ó tenure of a piece of land, whether itís through a lease or whether itís through fee simple, whatever the tenure is? Has the minister been looking at a way that would make land available? And I do realize that the outfitters are looking at it at this point in time for photogenic opportunities, if I can say that, or non-consumptive uses. Thereís a whole other group out there that needs to find a process that would help them to identify land. Does the minister have any thoughts on that at all?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Just for clarity, Mr. Chair, weíre dealing with the Department of Environment but I can see the overlap within the memberís question. The issue of tenure is a relatively difficult one right now because Yukon does not have control over the land base. It is an issue that has been discussed with respect to outfitter concessions.
In light of the question about other land base users such as wilderness outfitting, that kind of thing, no, it hasnít. The only issue was with respect to outfitters and I would just have to review my file on that to get clarity on the answer that I provided ó outfitters with respect to tenure.
So if the member would be willing, I could send over or send down to his office the explanation with respect to tenure.
Mr. Keenan: I would certainly appreciate it if the minister would be able to do that. Although tenure is not the only circumstance. I guess it is to develop a process that would allow folks to do it.
I understand what the minister says when he says that the territorial government does not have tenure of the land as yet. I realize that this is mirror legislation on the table, and I realize the whole process. I also understand that they are caught in limbo at this point in time.
I think we should be trying to find a way to help facilitate those would-be entrepreneurs who will bring cash into the territory. They will generate wealth and jobs in the territory through their ventures. A lot of these folks are mom-and-pop operators, family-type operations. I just hate to see them stuck in limbo. I have done a little bit of footwork on this, otherwise I wouldnít be asking about it, and I can truly say to the minister that they are caught in limbo at this time.
There is a gentleman in the Northern Affairs program, I believe ó a gentleman I have known for quite some time ó who is doing that type of work, supposedly. "Supposedly" is not meant to be a derogatory remark. What really does happen now is that they are caught in limbo.
The only avenue that I can see to get tenure or access to the land so that they can have security on it is through a land use permitting process. To me, that is not the process we should be using. But is that the only process, or does the minister know of another process that would enable them to move forward to build on their dreams and business? Is there something else out there?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: This is a little bit out of the jurisdiction of Environment, but I would certainly have to talk with my colleagues about the disposition of land. I know that it has been collected into one department as a result of renewal to better address the exact need that the member is talking about here.
How do we provide degrees of certainty to various sectors of business, tourism and culture? It is an issue that I most definitely have heard, and it is why we are so looking forward to devolution, because it will give us that ability to move quicker in designing processes that address the tenure issue. So maybe if the member will allow, after break in a half an hour, I can get a bit more clarity on that.
Mr. Keenan: I certainly realize that I had to ask this minister, because it was the closest I could come to finding which department it might be in, and it has all sorts of overlapping areas, so I very much appreciate what the minister has said. If the minister is willing to do that, I would very much appreciate that information. It doesnít have to be at the break or anything. It is going to take a bit to do a cross-reference here. But what I really want the government to do, I guess, through this minister if he is going to take it on, is just to try to find a way internally. The only thing that I can find, that I can pass on as an MLA, is the land use permitting process, and that could be helpful to them. So I will let it go at that, and I have just one other question. Would I be talking to the right minister when it comes to issues surrounding the Trans Canada Trail?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: I do apologize to the member opposite. I believe it will fall under Community Services. Yes, itís a land-based activity under the Minister of Community Services.
Mr. Keenan: That hasnít come up for debate here as of yet, so I can feel secure in saying thank you, Iím clear.
Mr. McLarnon: Thank you. Yes, just a few questions. Generally weíre not going to go through much, but I am interested in the spending around YPAS. So we do have a line item identified in here of $655,000. I just want to go through the minister and make sure that Iím not missing any other related spending for YPAS in the budget here.
So, can we go through any other possible spending related to the YPAS project, or related to any other jobs or positions created to assist the YPAS process?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: I believe there are two areas that the member is asking about. In parks and protected areas, there is a contribution to the YPAS, as well as the ó just one second, Mr. Deputy Chair. In parks, planning and policy, I believe there is another amount in there, and those are the two that are directly related.
I would also like to pass on to the Member for Whitehorse Centre that these are primarily job positions that are funded.
Mr. McLarnon: I completely understand that. I just wonder if weíre not actually doing a process ó if we take an entire year moratorium until we see land claims settled, I know we have jobs identified but, since theyíre actually not doing anything, I donít know the value of those jobs.
I would ask, then, the minister to please explain to the House, if theyíre not actually going to be doing Yukon protected areas strategy planning but theyíre in the budget item, what will they be doing then?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: As I had indicated in announcing the YPAS slowdown, I also announced that we were still ó itís allowing greater time to do the assessments interdepartmentally. Thereís a technical working group that is still working on identifying areas of interest. The slowdown is going to allow them more time to prepare more detailed assessments.
What had happened was that the escalated process, which weíre hearing about from the public at large now, was proceeding too quickly; therefore slowing down is going to allow ó one of the comments I have heard from industry people is that there is concern about the degree of assessment work being done, so this will allow an opportunity to do more qualified assessment work.
They are also involved in other aspects of parks planning. I know that we will be shortly getting a management plan on the Tombstone. There is a myriad of other works that these individuals do, not specifically but, at times, linked with the YPAS process. But it doesnít mean that because weíve slowed down the YPAS process, these people are sitting around twiddling their thumbs. That isnít quite how it works.
Mr. McLarnon: This raises a lot of concerns then. Can the minister describe to me if the parameters for research and assessment have been set by every group in the territory so that we know at least what weíre doing for assessment? I certainly know that the industry groups not at the table have complained about what the actual assessment parameters are. Why are we continuing to do work when we donít even know, at the table, if these parameters or assessment criteria are going to be agreed on by all parties there?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Thatís actually a very good question, and that is another reason for the slowdown there has been.
With respect to industry or that sector, the resource extraction industry primarily, that has not been engaged for the past 18 months or so, there has been every attempt, through what information we can gather or glean, of our addressing the needs as we believe them to be, also by listening to partners within government, within respective branches, in the sincere belief that we were providing the information that would qualify the resource assessments in a given area.
Since we have decided to slow down the YPAS process, there has been significant support from industry to really sit down and discuss specifically their needs and identify what exactly is ó and this is what we have been waiting for, for quite awhile ó an opportunity to specifically identify what needs they see within the assessment process and how we can define the parameters that would qualify identifying their needs specifically.
So, this is what the slowdown is going to afford us. As well, it will allow individuals within the respective branches and the technical working group to identify the differences between what we were doing and what we will be moving forward on to improve.
Mr. McLarnon: The minister has definitely hit the nail on the head about industry being willing to coming back to the table; they definitely are. The minister also hit the nail on the head earlier when the Liberals had their epiphany about how upset and how deeply scared the industry was over this. I am going to submit to the minister that the actions of applying money through the YPAS process, even though politically they have a moratorium on them, doesnít do anything to create the trust back in the industry. I am just going to relate to the minister a few of the comments that I have heard from very key players in the YPAS process. They have been submitted to me and have given me the opinion that the YPAS process has not stopped but has just gone underground, and that the spending is a clear indication of this. They have not had their concerns addressed. There is an opportunity to do that now, but money is still being spent on processes and assessments that they may or may not agree with. They hear from the communities that the renewable resource councils have still been tasked with their duties on this to bring forward goal 1 areas. So they see nothing stopping except the political rhetoric, and the fact that we are going to try to find middle ground. The government needs to be the middle ground in this territory. The sides are too polarized. The government has to play facilitator here; the government canít be leader here. I know from the earnest, heartfelt and deepest concerns of this minister that need to take leadership. I understand that leadership role that he did very well for two years, taking the leadership on.
Had circumstances been better, had there not been the polarization that I didnít completely pick up on either until I came into opposition, and had we been able to be more cognizant of this, we wouldnít be in this position now. Unfortunately, we are.
What Iím asking the minister to do is reconsider spending the money on this ó if there would be a possibility of reallocating this money, and if he could step forward and say that there are other priorities within Environment that weíd like to address, that weíd like to be able to take these people and put them on those priorities for the year until we get a Yukon protected areas strategy process that everybody could agree on, then I wouldnít be forced to put an amendment forward, which I am going to, cutting the money for this. If the minister would undertake to maybe come up with an amendment of his own, showing that money would be reallocated into policy, into something other than something specifically called the Yukon protected areas strategy, I think it would go a long way in our industry to smoothing the feathers over and start repairing those scars that people feel they have out on the industry side of this argument.
I will leave those thoughts with him. I donít expect an answer to that, and the reason is because Iím just stating the position of why weíll be focusing on cutting these areas. If the minister has any responses or alternatives to the cuts, Iíd happily listen to them. Other than that, our only option is to present cuts as Iíve outlined and for the reasons that Iíve outlined.
Back to the cuts, I guess the other question, though, is: can the minister explain to me what the amount of contribution was from the parks and protected areas to the Yukon protected areas strategy process? Because I didnít see that actually split out. Iíve got the $655,000. Iím wondering what the contribution was.
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: With all due respect to the memberís question, I would love to answer his question. I mean, I can talk about YPAS until the cows come home.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Gee, I thought I heard one from the Kluane region. Anyway, I really want to get into the line-by-line, because I feel that would be the best place for us to barter about. I hope that the questions could be asked at that time before an amendment is put forward. If I can supply an adequate answer, hopefully the amendment wouldnít come through. I mean, it would qualify that ó in budgeting, as the member knows, youíve got to label an activity that the money is going to be allocated to. I hear what the member is saying. I do appreciate the heads up, but I would love to provide the detail in line-by-line.
There is one interesting comment that the member made, and I do appreciate some of the comments that the member passed over this way. There most definitely was an epiphany. Iím not going to get into the history of YPAS again; it doesnít do any good, and I know I would only end up just getting a lecture on it. So I wonít do that, but I would say that there is a polarization in the territory that is incredibly frustrating. The member is absolutely right that, when you try to find the middle ground, that is enough to bring these to at least talk to each other. That has been a serious attempt that I have been conducting for the past couple of years.
I think, due in large measure, it is because I didnít really appreciate the ó I had assumed, coming into office, that industry would look at a new player, a new government, and the trust factor would be on as steep a learning curve as I was, but that isnít the real world, and I do appreciate the concerns and issues that industry has. I have been listening hard to those concerns and issues, and I know there is some work that we have to move forward on in improving the process. Little by little, weíre starting to ó as well as the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, I am getting this information now first-hand, which is invaluable. Itís invaluable.
So, I know that, ever so slowly, and itís incremental, trust is coming back, but it is going to take awhile. This is what Iím working very hard at achieving. I want to hear exactly what these folks feel is missing from the process, not only the resource extraction industry but business. I mean, Iím learning a whole new sphere of interest in what is portable by way of marketing and what you market by showing a postcard. There are vast differences in those aspects.
So, it has been slow in coming, my epiphany, Iíll admit, but Iím there, and Iím going to work ever so much harder to get their needs addressed respectfully. Hopefully, we can have everybody at the table. Iím not so naive as to believe that weíre going to party on together, but at least weíll be moving in a positive and focused direction.
I thank the member, and Iíll provide, I hope, adequate answers in line-by-line.
Mr. McLarnon: Certainly the person who can carry our respect to the table, it is this man. I know that if he can see both sides, he will certainly be able to bridge that gap. I hope the government becomes exactly what is needed here, which is more of an honest broker situation where all parties will deal with it. And as long as it takes, remember that these parks are forever, hopefully, and if we have a complete buy-in by all Yukoners, they will remain forever, and that is the whole goal here. There is no sense in making political shots out of this. I commend the government for seeing the problems out there and taking their time. Unfortunately, if we canít find another way to ensure this through budget, we have to go right at the line source. I still need the budget amounts so that I can get some idea. The question I have ó and this is my last one ó what was the contribution from parks and protected areas to the YPAS strategy. It is a different line, and that is why because we have two different line items here.
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: I believe it is the amount identified as $532,000 and a portion of that is directed toward the technical work for the YPAS. Hopefully I will be able to clarify an amount.
Deputy Chair: Is there any further debate or discussion?
We will go through it line by line.
Chair: We will now proceed with line-by-line debate.
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
On General Management
On Deputy Ministerís Office
Mr. McRobb: Mr. Chair, I wonder if we can establish a practice here in which we can get the minister on his feet, just giving us a brief breakdown of each of these significant items, and we can move on from that point.
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: I would be happy to do that for the member opposite, if I could just have a couple of minutes, Mr. Chair, to clear off some notes.
Chair: Mr. Eftoda, is it okay if maybe we take a recess now?
Some Hon. Members: (Inaudible)
Chair: Since weíre proceeding to line-by-line debate and a few people need to get their stuff together, weíll recess now and the Committee will resume at 4:35.
Chair: I now call Committee of the Whole to order.
Weíll continue with line-by-line.
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: If I understand the Member for Kluaneís request, he wanted me to identify the total expenditures. I need some clarification on that, please.
Mr. McRobb: Mr. Chair, itís common practice for the minister to stand and give a breakdown for any of these line items that are significant. Weíre willing to be reasonable on that. Perhaps the minister can respond to just hand signals that indicate we want him to get up and give that breakdown and give another signal if we want to clear it. We can expedite the business in this House and hopefully get on to the next department as quickly as possible.
Chair: Is there any further debate?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: The deputy ministerís office line provides for the operation of the deputy ministerís office, which includes salaries and support costs for the deputy minister and his secretary. There is an increase of $12,000, which is due to $2,000 for the collective agreement increases in salaries and benefits and $23,000 reserved for classification due to renewal initiatives.
Deputy Ministerís Office in the amount of $266,000 agreed to
General Management in the amount of $266,000 agreed to
On Corporate Services
On Assistant Deputy Ministerís Office
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: The assistant deputy ministerís office line provides for the operations of the deputy ministerís office. There is an increase of $62,000, which is due to $4,000 for the collective agreement increases in salaries and benefits; $50,000 for miscellaneous partnerships. Miscellaneous partnerships are for items that come up in the year that are partnered with additional dollars that come into the department, and $8,000 for consulting services required for devolution.
Assistant Deputy Ministerís Office in the amount of $201,000 agreed to
Communications in the amount of $73,000 agreed to
On Financial Services
Financial Services in the amount of $290,000 agreed to
On Information Management and Technology
Information Management and Technology in the amount of $682,000 agreed to
On Client Services
Client Services in the amount of $756,000 agreed to
On Policy and Yukon Protected Areas Strategy (YPAS) Planning
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: The policy and Yukon protected areas strategy ó the purpose of this section is for the management of strategic planning processes, policy analysis of review and development, land claims input, geographic and information technology systems, corporate resource management and environmental planning processes, participation in resource transfer negotiations, participation in departmental and interdepartmental strategic land resource planning and environmental management initiatives, and monitoring implementation of government commitment of the Yukon conservation strategy, the Yukon protected areas strategy and other corporate conservation policies. This is all done within the policy branch.
There is a decrease within this branch of $131,000, and the breakdown is: $10,000 for the collective agreement increases in salary and benefits; a decrease of $107,000, eliminating the manager, policy and resource planning position; a decrease of $11,000, vacancy for a factor adjustment due to departmental restructuring; a decrease of $10,000, advertising costs for the Wildlife Act and Parks and Land Certainty Act from the 2001-02 budget; and $13,000 for miscellaneous minor variances.
Mr. Roberts: Iíd like to propose an amendment.
Mr. Roberts: I move
THAT the estimates pertaining to Bill No. 9, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 2002-03, be amended in Vote 52, Department of Environment, by reducing the line item Policy and Yukon Protected Areas Strategy (YPAS) Planning, on page 9B-5 in the O&M estimates by $655,000; and
THAT the clauses and schedules of the bill be amended accordingly.
Chair: Since this has just been placed in front of us, weíll read this then photocopy it while Mr. Roberts is speaking to it. Is that fine with Mr. Roberts? Is that fine with everybody else? There are no disagreements?
It has been moved by Mr. Roberts
THAT the estimates pertaining to Bill No. 9, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 2002-03, be amended in Vote 52, Department of Environment, by reducing the line item Policy and Yukon Protected Areas Strategy (YPAS) Planning, on page 9B-5 in the O&M estimates by $655,000; and
THAT the clauses and schedules of the bill be amended accordingly.
Mr. Roberts: This goes back to some of the arguments we had last week in looking for money for programs that are ongoing and in place at this point ó and actually, some programs that are not going to be in place because there are no funds for these programs. We as opposition, as independents, have come up with the idea that if the government is not willing to find money for some of these programs, then we will find the money.
The objective here is to build on the positive initiatives that the government today has highlighted in the last two years. There is another very important issue here as well, and I think itís one the members have alluded to in many discussions here about the idea that if weíre going to have a line item called YPAS, when we put YPAS in a moratorium, what is that telling the public? That is not an honest ó Iím not sure that I want to use the word "honest", but itís not a very clear picture for the public out there that we are being open and accountable.
In other words, the message out there is going to be, "Oh, no. Itís a moratorium for all the stakeholder groups except the government." The government will carry on with their review, with their assessment, so that when the day comes when the government feels they want to bring this back, they can then pursue the fact that, "Oh, well, weíve got all the homework done. Weíve done it all again and weíll just lay it out to the public and they will accept it" ó whoever the government is, whether itís the government that is currently in power or whether itís another government of independents. Who knows?
I would hope that people noticed that I didnít mention any other governments that could possibly be in place.
I think the important part here is a message. I would hope that the government of today would recognize what weíre trying to do here. I would hope they would recognize they donít want to give the message to the public out there that the moratorium is really on hold ó they want to give that message. They want to tell the public the moratorium is on hold. Therefore, any dollars that are placed on that line item will be deleted and will be used for other programs in the government.
I think, Mr. Chair, that itís very important for us to delineate those areas. I understand that some people have trouble with finding dollars to build future programs on. I would hope that individual MLAs will understand that this is for the betterment of Yukoners. Weíre looking for dollars for alcohol and drug services, weíre looking for dollars that are going to help children in care. The Minister of Health told me today, or yesterday, that itís up to $4 million for children in care. If itís the right thing to do, then letís do it.
We donít have all these studies just for the sake of having a study. We have them because theyíre giving us some very important information about what the needs of Yukoners are. And I think itís very important for us to be very clear to the Yukon public that we are not going to move down a path that has been put on hold for the time being. When the time comes back and all the players are around the table and everybody understands that weíre working together as a true team ó all the players of the Yukon ó and that we want to move down the YPAS path, then weíll have everybody together on it.
I respect the government for making the decision of putting this in a moratorium state at this point. I appreciate the fact that they have seen the light, that itís important to do this; but if we move on with the idea of a line item here, no matter how itís turned around, the public will see it as a continuation of the YPAS evaluation.
I know the major stakeholders. Some of the major stakeholders who were very pleased about the government making this decision will have a very strong reaction to the fact that, really, nothing has changed. The government still has those same evaluation tools in place and itís still moving down that path, because it tells us very clearly here: "Policy and Yukon Protected Areas Strategy (YPAS) Planning". That is a very clear message to Yukoners that it is not in a moratorium as far as the government is concerned.
Now, if the minister is trying to throw in a bunch of other stuff like land claims and transfer and partnering with other departments and monitoring ó obviously, if it has anything to do with YPAS, then obviously we canít support that line item.
It has to go to the areas that I think, as all of us think, need more financial support because we keep hearing from the government opposite, particularly from the leadership, that we have no money, that weíre broke. This will take leadership to move down this path.
I would hope that leadership would understand that we are working for the interest of Yukoners. Personally I have nothing to gain through this. I donít think any of us individually have anything to gain by this. But what it does lay out very clearly to Yukoners ó all the partners ó is that, really, the moratorium has been put in place for the government as well ó not only for the stakeholder groups, but the government is also going into a moratorium on the YPAS strategy. Because if we donít support this, we obviously are saying, "Carry on government; the YPAS strategy maintains its course."
So I think it is very important that we move with the right decision here. I would hope that everyone is going to support it. I would hate to see in the headlines that certain individuals, certain governments, certain parties are not supporting this because they donít want to save money for the government. They want to continue letting the government spend money in an area that is not needed at this point. What happens here? More money for children, more money for children in care, more money for residential children, more money for drug and alcohol services ó this is what we are trying to do is find money for the government because they canít seem to find it. Basically, we have found some of it and we know we have a small part to play, so I would hope that all of us will support this issue. We are really fulfilling the business of the House of trying to help Yukoners. That is the intent of this amendment.
Mr. Fairclough: Iíd like to speak to this amendment briefly. I understand where the Member for Porter Creek North is wanting to go with this. I think that there might be different ways to look at it. I know that the only thing we can do here is reduce the amount of spending in the departments, rather than adding to it. We would like to see more money going into different sections in some of the departments ó alcohol and drugs being one of them and job creation, of course, being another big one on this side of the House.
Being that the protected areas strategy has been put on hold now, I would think there would be a lot less spending of the amount of dollars weíre going to be voting on by the department. So, I see this being reflected in the lapsed funding of next year. It is important, if some of this money is not being spent, that it shows up next year as lapsed funding and that the protected areas strategy line item doesnít get used up just because itís in there and is being shifted around.
Weíre voting on this for this particular reason. We know the strategy is on hold and the possibility is that a lot of these dollars are not going to be used. I think some of them will be. I donít think the department is going to shut down completely. A lot of work still has to be done on other sections that pertain to protected areas, whether itís habitat protection or whatever.
So, Mr. Chair, we cannot support this amendment. I understand where the Member for Porter Creek North wants to go with this. We think that the budget thatís being presented here ó this O&M budget ó goes hand-in-hand with the capital budget, and itís a budget that we cannot support.
I hope that the government can look at addressing the issues that have been raised by the Member for Porter Creek North in several different areas: streamlining, being more efficient in departments and looking at issues that have been raised in regard to alcohol and drugs.
Mr. Fentie: Just a brief comment, Mr. Chair. Itís evident here that the machinery of government, with this kind of expenditure, is not stopping, and I think itís important that, if the public believes the YPAS process is now in a moratorium phase, that also the government machinery should stop in this regard. There are many other areas that a sizeable amount of money like this could certainly be allocated to that would address some very important issues for Yukoners.
So, on behalf of the third party, we support the amendment. We believe that if a moratorium is placed on the protected areas strategy, it should be across the board, that it includes not only in the public but also inside government, and the machinery of government should stop the planning now until they have the public situation ironed out and get it right so that the public has a buy-in to the protected areas strategy first. Then the government machinery can commence the planning process.
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: I do appreciate the comments that are coming from the members opposite, and we take seriously everything they are offering during debate on this line.
When we were in general debate on the budget for the Department of Environment, I suppose I misunderstood it when the Member for Whitehorse Centre had indicated there would be an opportunity to detail, and I obviously didnít provide enough detail, because the agreement was that, if I did, we wouldnít have gone forward with a motion.
But speaking to the amendment, I want to make clear what the responsibilities of this branch are within the Department of Environment. It is the policy for the whole department. The aspect that is addressed to YPAS is only a portion of the time of the director. The rest of the aspects ó there are seven FTEs allocated to this branch, and they work on ó as I indicated at the beginning, I outlined all the policy aspects that they do work on.
A major consideration, with the exception of the director, is the focus and attention by the other members of the branch are toward the implementation of the MOUs, working on special management areas and policies on land claims. They also work on corporate conservation policies, so the general conservation aspects for the whole territory, not just on the YPAS aspects. The branch continues to represent the department on the Mackenzie River Basin Committee and the bilateral process, with the environmental assessment improvements working group, with DIAND and on the CCME strategic planning initiatives. The branch is also prepared to update the Yukon government state of the environment report, and thatís only one aspect that people work with respect to.
Again, it certainly bears mentioning that it is the director who allocates some of his time toward the YPAS in the policy aspect.
By far, as I indicated earlier, it is the land claims input, the performance indicators, the successful completion of renewable resource components of the additional First Nation final agreements.
This is going to be accomplished with the provision of timely technical advice to the negotiating support of the land claims secretariat. The indicators will also include implementation of the renewable resource components of the land claims implementation plans.
So there is a significant amount of time by the environment policy branch that is dedicated and probably more so now with respect to the four MOUs moving forward, but also addressing the existing land claims in working on a government-to-government basis on land-related issues. They are also involved in corporate resource environmental planning, resource management transfer negotiations that are ongoing at all times, and corporate conservation policies that I mentioned earlier.
A significant activity of this branch is working on legislation with respect to phase 2 of the Wildlife Act. They are intimately involved with that. They are also working on the regulations aspect of phase 1 and the accompanying regulations that will have to come in on phase 2 of amendments to the Wildlife Act.
They provide support to the executive offices, so there is much, much more that this branch works on than YPAS.
Just one more thing: there are seven positions involved in this branch.
Chair: Are we ready for the question? Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Division.
Chair: Division it is. We will call division. We will ring the bells for five minutes.
Chair: Order please. I now call Committee of the Whole to order. The amendment proposed by Mr. Roberts was
THAT estimates pertaining to Bill No. 9, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 2002-03, be amended in Vote 52, Department of Environment, by reducing line item Policy and Yukon Protected Areas Strategy (YPAS) Planning on page 9B-5 in the O&M estimates by $655,000; and
THAT the clauses and schedules of the bill be amended accordingly.
All those in favour, please rise.
All those opposed, please rise.
The numbers are 12 nay, 3 yea. The amendment is defeated.
Amendment to Bill No. 9 negatived
Chair: Is there any further debate on Policy and Yukon Protected Areas Strategy (YPAS) Planning?
Policy and Yukon Protected Areas Strategy (YPAS) Planning in the amount of $655,000 agreed to
On Claims Implementation and Aboriginal Affairs
Claims Implementation and Aboriginal Affairs in the amount of $348,000 agreed to
On Inuvialuit Final Agreement (IFA)
Inuvialuit Final Agreement (IFA) in the amount of $772,000 agreed to
On Human Resources
Human Resources in the amount of $226,000 agreed to
Corporate Services in the amount of $4,003,000 agreed to
On Management of Natural Resources
On Fish and Wildlife
Fish and Wildlife in the amount of $4,686,000 agreed to
On Parks and Protected Areas
Parks and Protected Areas in the amount of $2,257,000 agreed to
Management of Natural Resources in the amount of $6,943,000 agreed to
On Monitoring and Compliance
On Environmental Protection and Assessment
Environmental Protection and Assessment in the amount of $1,389,000 agreed to
On Conservation, Protection and Public Education
Conservation, Protection and Public Education in the amount of $2,986,000 agreed to
Monitoring and Compliance in the amount of $4,375,000 agreed to
Chair: Are there any questions on the recoveries and revenue?
Are there any questions on the transfer payments or contributions?
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures for Department of Environment in the amount of $15,587,000 agreed to
Chair: The House will recess for four or five minutes..
Chair: I now call the Committee of the Whole to order.
There is one more schedule we have to clear as part of the Department of Environment. This is carrying capital costs forward from the capital budget of the fall and restating.
On Schedule A
Mr. Roberts: I just want to present a question here or a concern. It seems to me that last fall we voted on this same vote. Now itís coming back for another vote. Iím not sure what this means. I have never pretended to be the financier with that kind of understanding. If weíve already voted on it, why is it coming back for another vote?
I think there are some serious questions around this, Mr. Chair, and we will be writing the Auditor General to see if this is perfectly normal. It doesnít seem to be normal, and obviously the message out there to ourselves, if itís not clear here, Iím not sure the public will have ó maybe they have a better understanding of it than I do. But I really have some serious concerns about the fact that weíre revoting this issue.
It seems to me that the NDP last budget period had made this question one of the main issues ó that this would have to come back for a revote.
Iím not sure, Mr. Chair, how this fits in to revoting something that has already been voted on. We have already given approval. Now weíre going to give approval again? If we donít give approval, what does that mean ó all that has been done is rescinded and all the money that has been spent is going to be paid back by the members opposite? I donít know. What does that mean? Or is that just taking a chance? Is that the chance of politics, where one hopes the support will be there when you need it?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, as the Finance minister I would like the opportunity, and thank the member opposite for the opportunity, to respond to that question.
The fact is that the revote of this particular line item is a revote because of the name change. The vote for the capital expenditure has cleared and passed this House as the Department of Renewable Resources. This is a restatement as the Department of Environment, which is solely a name change. It is entirely within the authority of government to spend the money and to have done this. This is a revote and a restatement, so it is entirely within order.
If the member wishes, I could have the precise details and precise references provided to him in writing to save him ó if he wishes, I would be happy to provide that to him, but I am assured it is entirely within order, entirely within the Financial Administration Act, generally accepted accounting principles, which is what the Auditor General follows, as well as recording a statement of public accounts. It is entirely within order. It is a revote based upon a name change.
Mr. Fairclough: I have the same feelings as the Member for Porter Creek North. We did raise this in the fall, that we would have to come back and give spending authority to the new departments. At that time, we were told that we would not even be going to look at any capital expenditures, that it would not come back on the floor of this Legislature, and here we are dealing with exactly what we said would happen. It has been handled wrong by the governmentís side. If we want to give spending authority to different departments, whether there was a name change or whatnot, I believe that it needs to be debated. And the Premier is wrong, in our opinion, in how this was handled. It should have been handled, probably, and debate should have happened.
Hon. Ms. Duncan: The fact is that this has not been handled wrong. This is a restatement that this is entirely within order, and it is entirely within the vote authority of the Legislature and of the government, as well as generally accepted accounting principles. I appreciate that there is a difference of opinion. However, I would also advise the House, with all due respect to all the members opposite, that we have followed the law, the vote authority. We have examined this issue in a number of contexts, as to how to handle it, and this is entirely within the appropriate procedures of the House, as well as the accounting procedures of the government.
Mr. Jenkins: Mr. Chair, I have concerns and reservations about the financial accounting that is being reported here in this schedule, and I believe itís not an area that should have been treated in the manner that this department and this area is being treated.
Last fall, when the capital budget was brought forward, we knew at that time it would have to be reintroduced to dovetail into the new departments. That was made abundantly clear. The Premier just has her own way of doing it, Mr. Chair, and I donít believe itís correct. I donít believe it conforms to the Financial Administration Act, the intent of the Financial Administration Act or the nuts and bolts of that Financial Administration Act.
I, for one, am having a difficult time tracking all the expenditures of this government, knowing full well that there was a line item for a specific area, and when you start attempting to find out what was spent in that line and ask for a legislative return on it because the Premier herself doesnít know ó and I cite you the case of the $200,000 for the Faro mine site reclamation work, when I know that there was no money expended. At the end of the day, the legislative return comes back and shows that the government spent $72,000 on high-speed Internet service to Faro and Ross River, so they could win the election for the Member for Faro, and another $40,000 on legal costs ó itís just not reasonable. Itís very difficult to track the money the way the minister is setting it out, Mr. Chair.
It should be more definitive, it should parallel the departments, and it should conform with not only the Financial Administration Act, but the intent of the Financial Administration Act.
Chair: Order please. I want to again ensure that we all understand that we are not here to impute false motives. For example, in the last speech was a motive that the money was spent to re-elect the Member for Faro. Thatís an unproven and false motive, and we would ask people to keep their comments right to the policy, please.
Mr. Fairclough: The Premier has said that everything was in order and that this is the proper way to do things. We have questioned how the capital expenditures have been brought to this budget and voted on, giving spending authority to this department. I would like to know if the Premier has something to back up her comments with, so that we could see on this side of the House if itís a legal opinion or whatever, so that we can move on.
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Itís not customary practice to provide legal opinions in the House. I will provide members opposite with a written detailed response outlining precisely the background the member opposite wishes. I will provide that, and I will provide it before the end of the week.
Chair: Is there any further debate?
Mr. Fairclough: This is a very important line, we believe, and we donít want to get hung up on it. We would like to see how it unfolds, and how it has been presented to this House. My suggestion would be that we put this line aside, and then look at the material the Premier will be providing, and then move on.
Hon. Ms. Duncan: With all due respect to the member opposite, the details of this expenditure have previously been provided to this House. What I have indicated is that I will provide to members opposite a detailed rationale, citing specific references. The members opposite choose not to believe me when I indicate that we have fully complied, not only with the spirit and intent, but with the orders of this House and the law and legislation that surrounds it. We have done all of that in our presentation to this House, both in the fall capital budget, as well as in this restatement Schedule A. We have fully complied, and we have fully tracked all expenditures, and they have been completely outlined for this House. I will provide the member opposite with the detailed rationale ó naturally I canít provide Cabinet documents nor can I provide legal opinions. That is outside of the order of the House. I will, however, provide a detailed written response by Friday to the member opposite that clearly outlines the steps and legislative references for this. In the interim, this is a straight-line transfer amount that has previously passed a vote in this House.
Mr. Fairclough: We do have a half hour left in the day here, and we are basically ready to move on out of this department and into another one. We have asked for information to come forward from the Premier. This is an issue that is going to arise again in other departments, the capital ones. So, we may as well get it clear, and that is why I ask that we maybe stand down this department and get the information out. We are not going to deal with budgets tomorrow. It will be Thursday before we get to deal with it, because we are dealing with motions tomorrow. What I am asking is to have this information brought forward to us on this side of the House.
Chair: Is there any further general debate?
Mr. Jenkins: I guess what the official opposition is asking is to stand down the department until the information is brought forward on this. Itís going to be not just in this department, Mr. Chair, but across a number of other departments, and weíd like to see the methodology that the Premier says is above-board and all copacetic, that itís there and spelled out, before we clear this department. Thatís a legitimate, bona fide request, and Iíd ask the Premier to give very careful consideration before she says no, because itís going to rise again in other departments, and we might as well deal with it up front once rather than every time.
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, itís also a legitimate and bona fide request that members opposite expect that Iím standing on my feet relaying the facts. I have gone one step further and indicated that I would be prepared to give that to them in writing. This is a simple transfer under a name change and a restatement. It is not a different amount.
So, if the members are prepared to accept that they will be provided in writing with what I have stated on the floor of the House as fact, given that this will come up elsewhere and that this is a straight transfer between departments, if they choose to argue this point on the floor of the House, they have ample opportunity elsewhere or, likewise, should they choose to accept in writing what I have said on the floor of the House as truth and fact, then perhaps they can agree that this item, which is a simple restatement, should be passed and we can examine the issue for the other items.
Mr. Jenkins: If thereís one thing that the Premierís good at, itís wasting money, and it is becoming more and more evident here.
Give us a written summation of what sheís saying on the floor of the House ó itís recorded in Hansard. Now, what benefit is that? Weíve heard what the Premier had to say. We want the backup documentation so we can move forward. Thatís all, and thatís a legitimate request, and itís going to recur across other departments. Letís stand down this department and move into something else and then come back to it when we have all this information.
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, itís equally a legitimate and bona fide request that I ask the members opposite to accept that I have told the facts ó the whole and complete facts as I know them ó to indicate that there are other line items in which this debate is going to go on and on and on. Because I can see that it doesnít matter what I propose to the members opposite. Particularly the Member for Klondike will fail to accept that this government has not only accounted fully and completely; we have done so with the spirit and intent of the Financial Administration Act. Fairness and respect cuts throughout this House. It should. We debated this line item in the fall in the capital budget ó this exact amount. The members opposite chose not to debate it. Now members want to stand it down so they can have a complete and entire debate, waste more time, on this item that they didnít choose to debate in the fall.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Hon. Ms. Duncan: The Member for Ross River-Southern Lakes is indicating that they are prepared to accept the explanation I am offering, that the members opposite will examine it.
Mr. Chair, I have endeavoured to provide the facts as I know them to this House.
Mr. Fairclough: I bring this forward to try to speed things up. I ask that this be set aside and that we have the information brought to us so that we donít have to go through this again. I donít want to hold up debate on this department. Itís basically right at the end, Mr. Chair.
I accept the Premierís offer to bring forward information so that we can make a more informed decision about these capital lines in other departments.
Chair: Is there any further debate?
Mr. Jenkins: I guess what weíve asked for and what the Premier has indicated that she doesnít really want to comply with is that we stand down the department. Can we not do that?
Do we have to put a motion on the floor of the House and vote it?
Letís stand down the department and have a look at this information. I think thatís the only fair way, Mr. Chair.
Chair: Is there any further general debate?
I see no further general debate.
Capital Expenditures for Department of Environment in the amount of $1,279,000 agreed to
Department of Environment agreed to
Department of Infrastructure
Chair: Is there any general debate?
Hon. Mr. Kent: I am pleased to introduce today the first operation and maintenance budget for the new Department of Infrastructure. The new department consists of the following divisions: corporate services, information and communications technology, transportation, supply services, property management and French language services.
The total operations and maintenance budget for the Department of Infrastructure for the 2002-03 fiscal year is $66,634,000. This amount is partially offset by $3,774,000 in recoveries. Expected revenues total $822,000.
Overall, the 2002-03 estimates decreased by one percent, or $819,000.
The O&M budget for corporate services is $3,171,000. This includes the deputy ministerís office, human resources, finance and administration, and policy and communications branches. Personnel costs for this branch total $2,365,000. Other costs total $806,000.
The O&M budget for the information and communications technology branch is $6,468,000. This is partially offset by $449,000 in recoveries. This includes $3,245,000 in personnel costs and $3,223,000 in other costs.
Other costs in the information and communications branch include network and communication costs, application support costs and software licensing fees.
The O&M budget for the transportation division is $40,199,000. This is partially offset by $1,895,000 in recoveries. This amount also includes $16,273,000 in personnel costs; and $23,926,000 in other costs, including employee travel, equipment use, communications, project contracts, utilities and supplies.
The transportation division is made up of the following activities: the aviation and marine branch is involved with planning, development and operation of the territoryís seven airports; the mechanical operations section is responsible for ensuring the equipment necessary to maintain the highway system is properly maintained; transportation Services regulates bus and truck companies in the territory, operates two weigh stations, implements the National Safety Code and fosters safe vehicle operations; and the highway maintenance section undertakes winter and summer road maintenance activities.
The O&M budget for supply services branch is $2,525,000. This includes $1,814,000 in personnel costs and $711,000 in other costs. The main areas of activities in supply services are materiel management, publishing services, employee transportation services and delivery of internal government mail.
The O&M budget for property management is $12, 825,000. The property management agency is funded through fee-for-service agreements with those program departments that own buildings. The budget funds management and leasing of commercial space for buildings that are jointly occupied by more than one department.
The O&M budget for French language services is $1,446,000. This is offset by $1,357,000 in recoveries from Heritage Canada. Personnel costs in this branch are $1,061,000. Other costs covering translation services, supplies and materials are $225,000.
A $160,000 transfer payment is allocated to l'Association des franco-yukonnais. Further information on departmental activity and expenditure forecasts are contained in the 2002-03 business plans for the property management agency, fleet vehicle agency and the Queenís printer agency, which I tabled in this House last week.
This concludes my overview, Mr. Chair, of the 2002-03 operation and maintenance budget for the Department of Infrastructure and, at this time, I would be pleased to address any questions that members opposite may have.
Mr. McRobb: Mr. Chair, as you might anticipate, we do have a few questions on this department. I would like to start by asking the minister if he can identify any of the costs associated with the governmentís renewal exercise for this department?
Hon. Mr. Kent: Mr. Chair, renewal costs, I believe, were slightly under $1 million and were covered off in the Executive Council Officeís budget, which we will be debating later on in this current sitting.
Mr. McRobb: Mr. Chair, is the minister suggesting that the Department of Infrastructure incurred no costs due to the renewal exercise and that any costs incurred are registered with the Executive Council Office? Is that what heís saying?
Hon. Mr. Kent: Mr. Chair, as I previously answered, the costs of renewal are reflected in the departmental budget of the Executive Council Office and, although I donít have the exact figure, I believe they were slightly less than $1 million. Those amounts are, of course, reflected in the departmental budget of Executive Council Office.
Mr. McRobb: Okay, Mr. Chair, weíll follow up on that later.
Can the minister provide a complete breakdown of ministerial travel for the past year and also indicate what travel he anticipates for the coming budget year?
Hon. Mr. Kent: Again, Mr. Chair, the ministerial travel budget is reflected in the Executive Council Office, not in the O&M budget for infrastructure. Those questions should be addressed when the appropriate critic for the official opposition is debating with the minister responsible for the Executive Council Office, the Premier.
Mr. McRobb: All right, Mr. Chair. I guess Iím somewhat antsy about that response because, the way things are going, we may never get to the Executive Council Office in this sitting. It might just boil down to a quick vote for that department; therefore, any of our requests for information weíre saving up will be for naught.
So, I would like to ask the minister ó if he has the goodwill, and I know itís something that Liberals do have from time to time ó to glean from ECO the ministerial travel costs for this department and table them for us. Would he do that?
Hon. Mr. Kent: The request from the member opposite ó I will certainly make those representations to the minister responsible for Executive Council Office and inform her of the request of the Member for Kluane.
Mr. McRobb: All right. I want to ask the minister about highway enforcement and ask him to give an overview of any recent changes to highway enforcement and where we might find the budget allocation for highway enforcement.
Hon. Mr. Kent: The highway enforcement at post-renewal ó we will now be conducting roadside checks with the assistance of the RCMP. The RCMP will not be conducting roadside inspection of commercial vehicles under this new compliance program. Instead, at the roadside inspection sites, RCMP officers may direct commercial vehicles to report for inspection by our staff. They will handle situations that pose a threat to the safety of our staff at the inspection sites.
I must also note that the Member for Ross River-Southern Lakes raised this issue in debate with the Minister of Justice. Highway safety is certainly a concern. I know of the Member for Ross River-Southern Lakes and I share his concern with that, coming from a background in the commercial trucking industry. Itís very important that we maintain the safety of our highways for not only our visitors and residents but the commercial operators who use those highways.
At that time, I stated to the Member for Ross River-Southern Lakes that, at a recent meeting with the Yukon Transportation Association, I committed to a follow-up meeting where we would discuss highway safety, and Iím still committed to that. We havenít been able to find a convenient time for that meeting yet, but I would expect the RCMP to attend that meeting, as they were in attendance at the Yukon Transportation Association luncheon that I was at. We can certainly work toward improving the safety of our highways for our visitors, for our residents and for all those who enjoy the use of that infrastructure.
Mr. McRobb: I asked the minister to identify which line item would account for the highway enforcement, so Iíll ask him again if he can do that. I would also like him to undertake to provide us with a list of the inspection sites he refers to across the Yukon. I would also like a copy of any agreement with the RCMP. I wonder if the minister can undertake to provide that to us tomorrow, so I may have it prior to this debate recommencing on Thursday. Would the minister agree to that and identify where the line item is, please?
Hon. Mr. Kent: The highway enforcement is included in the transport services line of $1,629,000 in the transportation division. As far as an agreement with the RCMP, we are still working on the details of that agreement. I would expect that as soon as that agreement is reached with the RCMP, I would be more than willing to share it with the members of the official opposition, as well as the members ó plural now ó of the Yukon Party and the independents.
So as soon as that agreement is reached, I will share it with the members opposite, and there are a number of different proposed sites for vehicle inspection. I can certainly look into making available the location of those sites. In speaking with department officials about this initiative, we wanted to make sure that, should there be something wrong with the commercial vehicle, that these sites were located close to services where necessary repairs could be completed, but let me check into that and see if I can get the information to the member opposite.
Certainly I chuckled when he first asked that question, along with the Member for Ross River-Southern Lakes, because I think we were thinking it would be difficult to conduct surprise roadside inspections if the commercial vehicle traffic knew where the sites were and when the inspections were taking place, and I note that the Member for Kluane didnít ask for time, so I do appreciate that. I will look into that for the Member for Kluane.
And, Mr. Chair, in light of the time, I move that we report progress.
Chair: It has been moved by Mr. Kent that we do now report progress.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. McLachlan: I want to remind the new House leader for the official opposition that he should sit down when the government House leader rises to make a motion at the end of the day.
Mr. Chair, I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Chair: It has been moved by Mr. McLachlan that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. May the House have a report from the Chair of the Committee of the Whole?
Mr. McLarnon: The Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 9, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 2002-03, and directed me to report progress on it.
Speaker: You have heard the report from the Chair of the Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Hon. Mr. McLachlan: Mr. Speaker, I move that 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: This House now stands adjourned until 1:00 p.m. tomorrow.
The House adjourned at 5:57 p.m.