Whitehorse, Yukon

Tuesday, October 31, 2000 - 1:30 p.m.

Speaker: I will now call the House to order.

We will proceed at this time with prayers.



Speaker: Before proceeding to the Order Paper, it's my pleasure to introduce to the House a new page from Vanier Catholic Secondary School. Please welcome Daniel Buckler to the House at this time.



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


Introduction of visitors.


Mr. Keenan: Mr. Speaker, today it gives me great pleasure indeed to welcome my brother and my colleague, my friend, Mr. Richard Sidney, the Sha Da Hone of the Da Ka Tlingit Nation.

Please join me in welcoming Mr. Sidney.



Speaker: Under tabling returns and documents, I have for tabling the Report of the Auditor General of Canada on the Public Accounts of the Government of the Yukon for the year ending March 31, 2000.

Are there any further 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?


Mr. Keenan: Mr. Speaker, I give notice of the following motion:

THAT it is the opinion of this House that

(1) the Government of the Yukon has a legitimate role to play in strengthening and diversifying the economy by using its policies, its programs and resources to stimulate the creation of jobs and economic opportunities for Yukon people; and

(2) the Yukon Liberal government has failed to provide any economic leadership or direction to address the ongoing problems in the territory's economy; and

(3) many Yukon people are faced with the prospect of no employment, or inadequate employment this winter because of this government's inaction; and

(4) the supplementary budget tabled in the House on October 30, 2000, confirmed that the Government of the Yukon is in good financial position, with an accumulated surplus of $64 million at the beginning of the current fiscal year, and an estimated accumulated surplus of some $45 million at the end of the current fiscal year; and

(5) despite increase revenues and dramatically increased public expenditures, the supplementary budget does not make any provisions for a winter works program that will help Yukon people find employment this year; and

THAT this House urges the Yukon government to table a new supplementary budget during this sitting allocating a minimum of $7.5 million for publicly supported winter works projects throughout the territory.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: Are there any further notices of motion?

Are there any statements by ministers?


Mayo school

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:I rise this afternoon to inform the House of an urgent and pressing matter. This morning, we received the latest results about the Mayo school. As you know, these tests were required after the first set of samples were misplaced by an airline while in transit to the lab in Edmonton. The second set of tests shows that several of the samples taken in the school show bacterial and fungal counts that are higher than the recommended level. A representative from the Department of Health's chief medical officer has examined the test results, and she is of the opinion that there is no immediate danger to the -

Some Hon. Member: Point of order.

Point of order

Speaker: Official opposition House leader, on a point of order.

Mr. Fentie: Mr. Speaker, this simply does not conform to a ministerial statement. Firstly, delivering this statement in the manner that the minister has is totally outside of normal practices in this House.

The Liberals continue to circumvent due process. This is an announcement of findings of health studies, which could have been done in the manner of tabling the studies. Mr. Speaker, this cannot continue. A ministerial statement, according to the rules of this House, is to be a short factual statement of new government policy. This is not policy. It is an announcement of the health studies and the findings of those studies, and the Liberals are playing politics with children and their health in the town of Mayo, in the school of Mayo, and they should be ashamed of themselves.

Ms. Tucker: Mr. Speaker, on the point of order, this is an announcement affecting the safety and lives of Yukoners. It was a matter of urgent, public necessity and it conforms to a ministerial statement.

Speaker's ruling

Speaker: Order please.

This ministerial statement would appear to fall within the parameters of the ministerial statements that have been given over the past years in this House. I will refer to Speaker Bruce's ruling on November 24, 1999, which I have referred to often in the past. I'll quote from Speaker Bruce's ruling wherein he says, "The Chair, therefore, has given consideration to practices found in this House and in other Legislatures across Canada and has found the following to be generally accepted guidelines for ministerial statements and for responses to those statements."

"(1) Ministerial statements are to be used to allow a minister to provide the Assembly with information of interest and urgency on government policy or administration when no other proceeding offer a suitable opportunity."

Speaker Bruce further states, "In conclusion, the Chair has found, from a review of the general practices in Yukon and other jurisdictions, that the central feature of ministerial statements is that they should be brief, factual and specific and that neither the statements nor the responses to them should contain partisan debate or argument. Secondly, it is clear that this and other Houses have accepted that there are legitimate uses of ministerial statements that go beyond the wording of Standing Order 11."

If the House has another view what ministerial statements should be used for, members can provide direction to the Speaker by way of a motion or by way of a report through SCREP.

I urge the members to heed my words in this instance. There have been continual interruptions in the House over the past several days. I would dearly love to see the members get together and solve this problem through SCREP.

With that, I would ask the minister to continue.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Mr. Speaker, this morning, we received the latest test results on the Mayo school. As you know, these tests were required after the first set of samples were misplaced by the airline while in transit to the lab in Edmonton.

The second set of tests shows that several of the samples taken in the school show bacterial and fungal counts that are higher than the recommended levels. A representative of the Department of Health's chief medical officer has examined these test results, and she is of the opinion that there is no immediate danger to the health of the children and the staff of the school. She also recommends that the school be given a thorough scrub-down to address the problems.

So, Mr. Speaker, as a precautionary measure, I am recommending that the officials from the Department of Education and the Department of Government Services give the school that thorough cleaning.

This will be conducted on November 10, 11, 12 and 13.

Mr. Speaker, we are hopeful that this cleansing will help address the community's concerns. I would also like to inform the House that we are bringing in a renowned expert in indoor air quality from McGill University to conduct further testing. This expert will be arriving in the territory soon.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Fairclough: I would like to respond to the statement provided by the Minister of Education. First of all, I do appreciate having some notice of ministerial statements. I know this one came quickly to the members opposite, but it could have been fired down to our office so that we could have a look at it so we could respond properly, in more detail.

They said there was no immediate danger to the kids and to the staff in this school. There have been teachers and staff in the school for many years, students who have been going to these schools for many years and who, after coming back from the summer break and getting into school, experienced some sort of illness once they did get into the school. I would think that there are still concerns for the health and safety issues of the staff and students of the school. As I toured through the school, there was a patch in the floor where a student's chair had gone through, a patch in the roof where a roof repairman had fallen through the roof. Mr. Speaker, the structure is not sound.

I would like government to take that seriously and maybe have the people do another check of the structure of the school itself to make sure that the kids and staff in that school at not in danger, and get on with expedient construction of the school in Mayo.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Jenkins: On behalf of the Yukon Party, I would like to respond to this ministerial statement.

Mr. Speaker, in your ruling you said that, if there is no other opportunity to give this type of information, it could be presented by way of a ministerial statement. There are plenty of other opportunities to deal with this very important matter.

We are dealing with the health and well-being of students and teachers and other staff members in this school, and it's extremely important that we pay heed and do the best possible job in this regard.

The ministerial statement went on to say that there's no immediate danger. That, in itself, is very, very scary. It implies, Mr. Speaker, that there is danger but it's not right around the corner. It's down the road. And we're advised that the school is going to receive a cleansing. What if the cleansing or the scrubbing doesn't work? What then? What we have is a building constructed of particle board, panel board and wallboard that is decomposing. It's giving off gases. Those gases are known to be a health hazard. They are known to create respiratory illness. And that's what we have, to a large degree, in a lot of the students and staff at the Mayo school. We have respiratory illnesses.

I'm sure the minister would take a different tack if it was a school that his own children were attending, as would his Cabinet colleagues, Mr. Speaker.

I'm urging the minister to commence immediately with the construction of that school. It's sadly needed; it should be done; it should be done way, way ahead. It shouldn't be postponed any further. It would create much-needed jobs, and it would address a health and safety issue - a health and safety issue of Yukon's most valuable assets: our children.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Mr. Speaker, this is utterly amazing, that the members opposite can righteously stand up and express concerns that all of a sudden popped up in six months. Utterly, utterly incredible, and disgusting.

I do believe that the Premier, when the Liberals were in opposition, did bring up these exact same points to the Minister of Education of the previous government.

But no; the opposition chooses to fear-monger, to not offer assistance in creating a calm in the community, especially with the students - with the young minds that we're looking after in the schools.

For 26 years the community has been waiting. Government after government has totally ignored the needs, concerns and considerations of the community - whether it be the First Nation community, or others. They did not address the concerns that they heard over and over and over.

Mr. Speaker, the ministerial statement was handed to me as I was coming downstairs. I would have liked to have provided - as is the process - the ministerial statement to the opposition, but we were finding the information on the run. We wanted to let the House know. We were chastised for not letting the House know last time. I have been on the phone with community members already, letting them know what the situation was. Information's being faxed; we tried to have a conference call, which included Chief Hager - who, by the way, is sitting up in the gallery.

Chief Hager insisted that the conversation include the interim leader of the official opposition. Immediately upon hearing that request, we sent a request down to find him. He refused to come up.

Mr. Speaker, I don't know what this government could possibly do to ever satisfy...

Some Hon. Members: (Inaudible)

Speaker: Order please. Order. I must be able to hear the minister.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda: ...the individuals opposite. I wish they could have built the school when they were in government. Obviously, they chose not to. The school is postponed for a few months.

So, Mr. Speaker, we will be sending a team up to look after the needs, concerns and considerations, first and foremost, of the health and welfare of the students up there and for teachers who use that school. We will continue to monitor the health and interior environment of that school until they get their new school, which will be opened just beyond this time next year.

Thank you.

Speaker: Are there any further ministerial statements?

Air access to the Yukon

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Speaker, as was the practice of previous governments, I rise today to update the House on the status of important government business. I am providing to this House and to the Yukon public an update on the status of air access to the Yukon.

This statement outlines our government's policy initiative regarding improved air access to the territory. It is the policy of this government to become a leader in Canada by enhancing air access to the Yukon Territory.

The Department of Tourism has awarded the Yukon air access study to Intervistas Consulting of Vancouver. Intervistas boasts one of the most knowledgeable air service development teams in Canada. Intervistas has partnered with Datapath Systems of Whitehorse on this project.

This study will identify opportunities for future growth for air access to the Yukon, and will examine the potential air service opportunities in communities such as Dawson City and Watson Lake to bring important tourism opportunities to our Yukon communities.

This study will identify, in business case format, opportunities for new carriers to provide service to the Yukon and especially will look at strengthening our relationship with the new Air Canada.

It is the policy of this government to work with all those with a stake in this important issue.

The Yukon Tourism Marketing Partnership Air Access Committee, the Association of Yukon Communities, the departments of Tourism, Community and Transportation Services, Government Services, Economic Development, Yukon First Nations and the Executive Council Office are working seamlessly together and are joining their resources to meet the air access challenge.

I am also pleased to announce that the Edmonton Airport Authority has provided a $25,000 contribution and will join the project's steering committee.

The new Mayor of the City of Whitehorse is excited about our industry-driven air access policy and has committed to meet with Tourism Yukon to discuss their potential contribution to the project. We have built a strong team of government and industry representatives that are showing true leadership in addressing air access.

I am pleased to announce that senior marketing representatives from Air Canada will attend meetings in the Yukon in November to address Yukoners' concerns and to examine opportunities for enhanced air service to the Yukon.

Personally, I also met with ERA, Alaska Airlines partner, Horizon. Once the air access study is complete, we will continue to look for opportunities to work together to increase air access to the region from Alaska.

While recently in Europe, I met with international air charter companies to promote this government's policy of increasing overseas air access. I am pleased to announce that, as a result of those meetings, there will be an additional 2,200 seats available for tourists from Europe next summer.

Condor will also have a second weekly flight to the Yukon. This is a 30-percent increase in the seats to the Yukon. Air Transat is planning an additional six flights next year. Air Transat has increased the seat allocation to the Yukon by over 100 percent.

The Yukon tourism marketing partnership has agreed to distribute air access information and progress reports to the Association of Yukon Communities, to the Council of Yukon First Nations, and to the Yukon First Nations Tourism Association, to ensure that all Yukon stakeholders are kept abreast of this important initiative.

Air access is our lifeline to business, health and transportation centres in the south.

This study, which will lay the groundwork for a Yukon air access strategy, is the first step that this government is taking to ensure that air access to the Yukon meets the needs and expectations of Yukoners.

This policy initiative supports our platform commitment to improve Yukon's economy and to work with the tourism industry.

Of course, a by-product of our government policy of industry-driven partnership on air access is that increased air services will be available at a competitive price, more often, to more places for all Yukoners.

Mr. McRobb: I would like to thank all the people who have worked to develop this strategy and that would include people in the department who have worked hard for years to develop our tourism marketing strategy and initiatives like this one. It involves people and members on the Tourism Marketing Council, members of the public and others who have worked hard in developing this initiative.

Of course, we in the official opposition support this initiative just like we've supported our own budget for this year. And it's rather interesting to note now how members on the other side, who voted against our budget but later implemented it before cherry-picking it, are now taking credit for the initiatives it contained and support it - initiatives like the pipeline. In this case, however, we have a minister taking credit for a lot of groundwork done by the previous Tourism minister, the Member for Ross River-Southern Lakes, on his trips marketing the Yukon and meeting with different airlines and other tour operators in Europe and elsewhere.

I have a number of questions, and the first one is: what is the budget commitment for this initiative? The budget was released yesterday, and I can't help but note that the Liberals have increased the budget for their own Cabinet offices by more than the Department of Tourism. Again this indicates they're more concerned about themselves than they are about the economy of the Yukon.

This was further demonstrated yesterday, Mr. Speaker, by their bringing in a government motion, a motion that was completely useless, rather than addressing the economic needs of Yukoners, including initiatives like this one here on tourism.

I think Yukoners are becoming wise to this Liberal government. They are seeing how hollow they are, how they're more interested in making their own jobs easier. It's quite a joke in the departments and on the street - they're a nine-to-five government. Yesterday, we learned they're a one-to-six government. They want to reduce the hours of the Legislature. They want to eliminate night sittings. First, they want to get paid separately for two extra days a week. Mr. Speaker, it really shows a lack of commitment to the economy, of which tourism is an important pedestal of that stool. One day, they admit that tourism is one of the three main components, but when it comes to allocating the money, when it comes to seeing what their priorities really are, they spend money on themselves.

Now, with regard to the study, can the minister, when she is on her feet, indicate how much the contract is for, what the timelines are for the air access strategy? Will this be more Liberal posturing and no action? Who are they planning to appoint to head this up, and when will they be announcing Mark Smith as the new Deputy Minister of the Department of Tourism?

Mr. Speaker, there are a number of questions. November is soon approaching. Can the minister tell us when Air Canada representatives will be in the Yukon? Will there be a public meeting? Are other air carriers invited to the Yukon as well? Are they putting all their eggs in the Air Canada basket? What about WestJet extending their range of services to include Whitehorse? What about Canada 3000 winter flights? There are all kinds of questions here that remain unanswered. The information wasn't provided. It's our job in opposition to hold them accountable, and, Mr. Speaker, this Tourism minister will be held accountable. We want to see product for these globe-trotting tours of hers. They certainly didn't support them when they were in opposition, and now we want to see them produce like we have produced.

What we're seeing today, by the increase in flights to the Yukon, is fruit that has matured on the tree that we planted while we were in government. Mr. Speaker, they're harvesting the fruit now, and all we get is the pits, because they're not willing to share the credit.

Speaker: The member's time has expired.

Mr. McRobb: Thank you.

Mr. Jenkins: On behalf of the Yukon Party, I'm pleased to respond to this ministerial statement on air access. I'm pleased to offer my support to this important initiative. I'd like to stay focused on this ministerial statement - which does, in fact, conform to the Standing Orders of this House, Mr. Speaker.

Over recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in air passenger volume to the territory. In 1998, for example, results from an air traveller survey, which was conducted between June and August, showed that the total expenditure by visitors had increased by over 70 percent since 1994.

The survey found that more than 90 percent of visitors felt that they received value for their money, and that fly-in visitors alone spent almost $20 million in the Yukon that summer.

More and more airlines are taking a close, hard look at the Yukon as a destination for travellers. With easier access to information about the Yukon through the Internet, and increased marketing efforts through the use of partnerships, Yukon is becoming a destination of choice among visitors from abroad.

Clearly the market is there; the demand is there; and if Yukon remains focused on this area, it will continue to provide growth in the future.

The key, however, is to be able to capture as much of this market as we can, and meet this market's expectations. Paved airports in Dawson would be a good example of this, Mr. Speaker.

The minister announced that there will be an additional 2,200 seats available for visitors from Europe next summer, and that there will be a 30-percent increase in Condor seats to the territory, and that Air Transat is planning an additional six more flights next year.

I'd like to ask the minister if, in her rebuttal, perhaps she could provide more details about each of these planned expansions. For example, if she has an estimate as to how many seats are actually destined for Yukon, as compared to how many seats on those same flights are destined for other destinations.

While there is no question that the Yukon stands to benefit from increased air access, there may be cause for concern if only one person in 500 on a plane is actually deplaning here in Whitehorse.

If the minister does not have this information available, perhaps she could provide a breakdown of air travel taken this year, offered by charter companies such as Condor, Balair and Air Transat, as to the number of deplaning visitors that the Yukon actually received from the flights, and contrast it to what our expectations were.

In light of these increased flights to the north, I would like to know whether there have been any changes to Yukon marketing agreements that have been struck with these and other companies, if any additional funds have been directed to marketing efforts on this front, and if any other agreements are in the works. I would like to know the total cost of these contracts, including a breakdown of partners involved and their financial contributions to the study. I would also appreciate receiving the terms of reference for this project. I would like to know when we could expect to receive a copy of the final report.

Again, I am pleased to offer our support to this initiative and look forward to hearing more progress on this air access front.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Speaker, it is important to give credit where credit is due. The previous Minister of Tourism, who sits across from us now, in the government that was deposed, did start the Yukon tourism marketing partnership. I have always given him credit for that. It was a good move. That was government working with business.

Also, the government previous to them opened air access to Europe, and that was the Yukon Party government. It is important to realize that we do give credit where credit is due. But one needs to be really clear about what one can take credit for and what one can definitely not take credit for. One of the things that the previous government cannot take credit for is an air access study. That was undertaken by this government. There may have been information that was available for that, but the previous government did not do it; this government did.

There is a $96,000 budget, which was not allocated in the previous budget tabled by us this spring.

The member opposite says that people in the public have become wise to this government. And indeed they became wise to the previous government. That's why we are sitting on this side of the House.

The critic on the other side from the NDP talks about increasing the size of government or expenditures on government, and he's absolutely correct. In the Executive Council Office, there was a considerable, considerable increase. And that was severance payouts to the staff from the previous government.

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: The people across the way are saying that we should stick to the topic. Certainly that was not one of their constraints.

Mr. Speaker, on timeliness, I'm hoping to get results from the air access study in the spring, probably by April. But we want to be working with good figures before then, when we negotiate with airlines.

Will there be a public meeting with Air Canada? I will get back to the member opposite on that issue.

Are we talking to other airlines? Well, that's the whole point in doing the study. We're talking to other airlines; we're talking to other charters.

The member opposite wants to know if there are going to be measurable results of conversations that we have had with airlines. The statement clearly outlines those measurable results. And with one airline alone, those measurable results are an extra $1.5 million coming into the Yukon economy. To be absolutely clear, the trade missions to Irkutsk in the Sakha Republic did not bring back such wonderful, measurable results. Those were the trade missions of the previous government.

And, Mr. Speaker, the member from the Yukon Party is talking about meeting expectations and working with the Yukon tourism marketing partnership - absolutely vital - and meeting expectations. That's why we work with the Yukon tourism marketing partnership, to make sure that when people come here, they have a good experience, because there's nothing worse than the spread of bad news, and that goes up and down the highway quickly, so that's something that we are definitely working with.

On joint marketing with other airlines, every single conversation that I've had with an airline since we were elected spoke about joint marketing opportunities with airlines. Every one of those airlines is interested, and I will be forwarding that information to the member opposite.

I will also make the terms of reference available to both opposition parties.

And as for the other issues that I didn't have a chance to write down - the staff will review the Blues and get back to the members opposite soonest.

Some Hon. Member: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Point of order

Speaker: Leader of the third party, on a point of order.


(Pursuant to Standing Order 28)

Public inquiry into government and private sector group homes

Mr. Jenkins: Mr. Speaker, I am rising pursuant to Standing Order 28. I'm not raising a point of order, but it is the practice of this House that a member may gain the floor for the purpose of Standing Order 28 in this way.

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 28, I request the unanimous consent of the House to proceed at this time with a motion due to its urgent and pressing necessity.

Mr. Speaker, the motion for which I request unanimous consent reads as follows:

I give notice of the following motion:

THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Commissioner in Executive Council should cause a public inquiry to be called pursuant to the Public Inquiries Act for the purpose of examining the quality of care being provided to high-risk children and youth in government and private sector group homes in Whitehorse.

Mr. Speaker, this is dealing with the future of our children. A number of our children are in group homes. The study that was tabled, or finalized, in July of 1998, offers a tremendous insight into the problems group homes and these children are facing. What we have currently is that the group homes are saying one thing, the private group homes. The government is saying another.

Some Hon. Member: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Point of order

Speaker: The Member for Whitehorse Centre, on a point of order.

Mr. McLarnon: Mr. Speaker, the motion has been introduced. The speech afterward is not required, unless what we are hearing is part of the motion. We are only discussing the motion and whether it should be introduced.

Speaker: Leader of the third party, on the point of order.

Mr. Jenkins: Mr. Speaker, I have introduced the motion, and I'm allowed to speak to that motion in a short format.

Speaker's ruling

Speaker: Order please. Standing Order 28(1) states: "A motion may, in case of urgent and pressing necessity previously explained by the mover, be made by unanimous consent of the Assembly without notice having been given." Now, the member moving may and is allowed to give a brief explanation of the motion.

With that, I will ask the leader of the third party to continue, and when he has completed his remarks, I will have some further remarks to make. Please continue.

Mr. Jenkins: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for your ruling. With respect to this urgent and pressing motion on group homes, we have the proponents in the private sector who operate group homes saying one thing and the government saying something else. What we have is a government taking over the operation of a group home. Obviously, there are problems. This last report that was finalized in July of 1998, outlined the problems. That was two years ago. Nothing has really transpired, other than that we have been mired in more and more difficulties in this area.

The exercise of good government is to protect Yukon's most valuable assets. Our most valuable assets are the people of the Yukon, and our youth in particular; and our youth who are at risk and having to occupy this group home are a very integral part of society, and I would urge all members to support this motion, and I look forward to debating it in this House today.

Thank you very much.

Speaker: Further to my previous comments, I refer to section 28(2), "Unanimous consent for a motion under this Standing Order shall be requested during the Daily Routine in the period following Ministerial Statements and prior to the beginning of Oral Question Period."

Does the leader of the third party have the unanimous consent of the House to proceed with the motion which he has read to the House?

Some Hon. Members: (Inaudible)

Unanimous consent

Speaker: Subsection (2) says "unanimous consent". Unanimous consent has not been granted.

This then brings us to Question Period.


Question re: Financial figures, budget surplus

Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Speaker, ministers and caucus members, backbenchers of the Liberal Party government, have said in this House and outside of this House that there was only $14 million in the surplus when they came into government. They cried poverty out there, Mr. Speaker. When the Mayo school was cancelled, it was because of money, and governments did not have monies at that time.

The surplus that was tabled yesterday confirms that the NDP did, in fact, leave a lot of cash for the Liberal government - $64 million in surplus, Mr. Speaker, and another projected surplus in 2000-01 of $45 million with lapses.

Now, will the Premier now acknowledge that various ministers in her government - the Minister of Health and Social Services, and the Minister of C&TS - provided erroneous figures about the government's financial position, both in and outside the House?

Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, is the member opposite suggesting that his former leader - the shoes he's attempting to fill - stated in this House, in the budget speech, that the accumulated surplus or savings account was $13.7 million on March 31, 2001? This government did, has and will continue to operate on the very best information we have.

The Auditor General's report confirmed that the actual surplus, as of March 31, 2000, was, as was tabled in documents in this House on Monday, $63,926,000. The key element that members and members of the public are certainly discussing is the fact that tabled with that document is an estimated annual deficit of in excess of $33 million.

This government is not in financial crisis. Unlike previous governments, which have reacted in somewhat summary fashion, this government is saying that there is adequate funding to meet program obligations; however, we must be fiscally prudent, just like every single Yukoner managing their household finances is doing.

Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Speaker, we have heard the Liberal math in the past. I don't believe it's going to change.

The Premier sat in this House with an advisor from the Finance department, who said at the time that there was $56.2 million in surplus, yet she allowed her ministers and backbenchers to say something else - misleading the public.

Now, you have to question the rationale for this supplementary. There is a change in policy to include lapses in forecasts. Given the historic levels of lapses, does the Premier not agree that an estimate of $15 million in lapses in the current fiscal year is probably on the low side?

Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, is the member opposite saying that his former leader stood in this House and misled Yukoners when he tabled a document that said the savings account would be $13.7 million? Is that what the member is saying? It sure sounds like it to the public.

Mr. Speaker, this side of the House is managing the Government of Yukon's financial picture - taxpayers' dollars - in a responsible manner. We are managing them with careful, sound, and most importantly, fair spending decisions. This government is up to the challenge of managing the territory's finances, in a very careful and sound way, unlike previous governments.

Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Speaker, the Premier didn't answer the question. She's not listening to what the question is. Instead, she's trying to find excuses again about why her government is incompetent in its job.

We have heard the Liberals' story on the surplus before, and they just tabled a supplementary budget that's very large, Mr. Speaker. The forecasts for future years show understated lapses, a steady decline in accumulated surpluses and a pattern of annual deficits. Now, this is something that the Premier was always against. What has caused her to change her earlier position about running annual deficits?

Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, I have always said - always said, both on that side of the House and on this side of the House - that the size of these deficit budgets is a level of spending that is not sustainable, and we proved that when we tabled the financial forecast.

I would just, as an aside, Mr. Speaker, remind the member opposite that previous members have been ejected from the House for some of the language that the previous member just used.

The point is, Mr. Speaker, that the estimated accumulated surplus, as recently reported, as tabled in this House, is cut in half by the fact that there is a deficit budget. It's the size of the deficit that Yukon taxpayers need to be talking about. And that's what we are talking about and have been talking about in opposition and have been talking about in government. We have been talking about it in a way that says we have to manage the territory's finances very carefully. We have to make sound financial decisions, because this level of spending is not sustainable.

The previous government tabled a capital budget projection that listed $48 million. That was capital spending that would have put a lot of Yukoners out of work and would have let our infrastructure further slide, something the NDP government is infamous for. We are managing the territory's finances -

Speaker: Order please.

Hon. Ms. Duncan: - in a way that meets our needs, and we will continue to do so.

Speaker: The Premier's time has expired. Leader of the official opposition with a new question.

Question re: Economic situation in Yukon

Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Speaker, the Premier's just a big baby.

Speaker: Order please. Order. I must ask the member not to use insulting language. Please retract that comment.

Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Speaker, I will retract that.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that the government is trying hard to pull out and paint a different picture in the general public about their actions and lack thereof. We had a throne speech that was given to this House that was empty and hollow. It had no vision. That was the Liberal government's message to Yukoners that this is what they stand for and will do over the next four years. I think it is a shame.

Then they come forward with a huge spending spree of $37 million, and projections for the future years are not very encouraging. Is the Premier admitting that she does not have any confidence that the Yukon's economy will improve over the next three years?

Hon. Ms. Duncan: Well, Mr. Speaker, I will start by accepting the member's apology for the language.

The member has suggested that our throne speech was lacking somehow. The member did not read page 4 when he rose to his feet and asked questions about land claims, and clearly has not read the supplementary budget, which talks about $119,000 for educational assistance, $25,000 for individualized education plans, $220,000 for public libraries, $200,000 for an older workers program, $302,000 for increased business incentive rebates through the Department of Government Services and $300,000 for legal aid - all initiatives that this government is very proud of, that this government can afford. This isn't reckless spending like we saw from the NDP; it is careful management and responding to Yukoners' needs in a manner that is affordable and will be, over the long term, sustainable.

Mr. Fairclough: Well, Mr. Speaker, the Premier didn't answer the question again. They're not paying attention, not paying attention to Yukoners and to people in this Legislature. The government has considerably higher revenue than expected and by far the biggest in the Yukon's history. Forecasts of the cash position at the end of 2000-01 are more than double what the mains are, Mr. Speaker. Yet the Liberals cannot focus on the immediate issues that are facing Yukoners. Given the healthy state of the government finances, even after the $37-million spending spree she announced yesterday, why is there no money for winter work projects this year?

Hon. Ms. Duncan: Well, Mr. Speaker, the member opposite accuses me of not listening. First of all, the NDP stand on their feet and say there's too much money in the supplementary budget, and then they stand on their feet and say that there is not enough money in the supplementary budget, and then they agree with the motion to expand the daytime hours of the Legislature, and then they disagree with that motion. They don't support the pipeline; they do support the pipeline. When will they make up their minds?

Mr. Speaker, what's in the budget - the member opposite has said that there are higher than anticipated revenues. The member is absolutely correct. What the member has failed to mention in his question is that there's also $4.5 million required for health and social services because that government underbudgeted; there's $1.1 million required for the justice contract, an additional requirement for the RCMP contract; there's also superannuation money in there; there's also a public service sector settlement in there. These are all people issues, Mr. Speaker, people issues that this government is dealing with. There are also people issues like justice-of-the-peace training, like legal aid that his colleague has requested. There is a great deal of money in this budget that is spent wisely for Yukoners. There is no winter works program.

Mr. Fairclough: Well, Mr. Speaker, the Premier's skating all over the ice here, and not answering the question directly. We're talking about winter works projects this winter. She couldn't answer the question, but they certainly know how to spend money in supplementary budgets.

First of all, they voted against the NDP budget, and then later accepted it, when they didn't know how to budget themselves, Mr. Speaker. And now they come out with some fairly high spending - $600,000 to promote the pipeline for the next six months. That's $100,000 a month until the end of this fiscal year.

That could be used for jobs for Yukoners right now, Mr. Speaker.

Will the Premier now reconsider her priorities and bring in another supplementary budget, with an effective winter works program to provide badly needed jobs right now - like the Mayo school - retroactive social assistance rate hikes, and an increase to the pioneer utility grant? Will she do that, Mr. Speaker?

Hon. Ms. Duncan: Well, Mr. Speaker, I have answered the questions several times for the member opposite. However, I'll try again.

First of all, the SA increases that were mentioned by the member opposite were tabled in the previous budget. The Minister of Health has indicated they will be brought forward as soon as possible.

The member opposite mentions the delay of the Mayo school. The delay of the Mayo school is a result of process issues - process issues that we're fixing. The bottom line with the Mayo school is that the foundation has been built, something no other party in the Yukon has done. We, at least, got started on that school.

In terms of winter works, we're not looking for a band-aid solution. Unlike the members opposite, we don't believe in band-aids. We believe in long-term solutions.

We believe in rebuilding the Yukon economy, and we're doing that in several ways.

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Hon. Ms. Duncan: The member opposite fails to let me finish my responses, and I'd like to talk for just a moment about one of those initiatives of my colleague, the Minister of Tourism. For example, the number of films being shot in the Yukon this winter is going to generate a great deal of work.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question re: Connect Yukon project

Mr. Jenkins: I have a question for the Premier. Last July in the House, I asked the respective ministers about details with respect to the Connect Yukon project and the immigrant investor fund. In response, in a letter dated October 18, the Premier provided me with a marketing summary of the fund, which includes the investment criteria. According to the criteria, the investments are limited to Canadian-controlled Yukon businesses with gross assets, including associated companies, of $35 million or less. Clearly, Northwestel has assets greater than $35 million.

I would like the Premier to explain how Northwestel, or the company set up under the contract, qualifies under the immigrant investor fund.

Hon. Ms. Buckway: Mr. Speaker, as this is a question about Connect Yukon, which is in my portfolio, I will attempt to answer it for the member opposite. The Yukon government entered into a contractual agreement, which effectively has the Yukon government borrowing money from the immigrant investor fund. A separate corporation, 19596 Yukon Inc., was established to flow the funds for the project.

The Yukon government will contribute a total of $23.5 million to the project over five years.

Mr. Jenkins: Well, right question; wrong answer; wrong minister. The immigrant investor fund is controlled by the Premier, in one of her many respective portfolios. I would ask the Premier to respond.

Northwestel has greater assets than those allowed under the provisions and criteria for the immigrant investor fund. How did they get the contract? How did they qualify under the immigrant investor fund?

Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite seems dissatisfied with the minister responsible for Connect Yukon and their source of the capital, how it was dealt with. I'll provide a written response to the member.

Mr. Jenkins: Just as I suspected. The criteria stipulates that the business has to be 50 percent or more owned by Yukon residents. Northwestel clearly does not meet that criteria.

Has the Premier obtained a legal opinion as to how the Connect Yukon project conforms to the immigrant investor fund criteria? Has she done that? Because what appears on the surface is that the law has been broken.

Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, I take the allegations by the member opposite very, very seriously. The Connect Yukon project, all descriptions of it, including the financing, have been handled by the Minister of Community and Transportation Services for very clear and specific reasons. I will gladly ensure that the member receives a written response. We do not provide legal opinions in this House. I will provide the member opposite with a written response, in collaboration with my colleague who has responsibility for Connect Yukon.

Question re: Argus mall development

Mr. Fentie: Keeping with the spirit of Halloween, Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier, masquerading as the Minister of Economic Development.

Mr. Speaker, we have again reached the end of the line in the Argus saga. The latest extension runs out today. Will the Minister of Economic Development now admit that Argus has failed to meet the conditions of the agreement to which YTG is a party?

Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is humorous indeed. The member opposite keeps trying to paint this government with the former NDP government's initiatives.

Argus is a project that has been much discussed in this particular Legislature. The member opposite is writing it off - interesting. He once so proudly thumped his desk in glee when his minister announced it and was so excited about it, and now he's decrying that very same project.

Mr. Speaker, I will be meeting with the Mayor of Whitehorse on Friday. This is the one of the topics for discussion. The Argus project is a signed agreement, to which the Government of the Yukon is but one party. Over the summer months, we have endeavoured to have all sides live up to that agreement. While it may not always have been the most pleasant of tasks, we have lived up to the previous government's agreements.

Mr. Fentie: Well, Mr. Speaker, it was not the members on this side of the House who actively campaigned against the $750,000 for off-site infrastructure. The Member for Whitehorse Centre has a very serious credibility problem. The Premier, the Minister of Economic Development, has cut the legs right out from under him.

This agreement has not been reached as the conditions are laid out in terms of Argus. They have not honoured their part of the bargain. Will the minister be asking, in this meeting with the city, to refund the $750,000 that YTG provided for off-site infrastructure?

Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, the only individuals in this House who have a credibility problem are the members opposite; it is not this side of the House.

Argus must meet their contractual obligations by close of business today. I would remind the member opposite that $690,000 of the $750,000 contribution by the Government of Yukon has been invoiced by Argus and paid to Yukon contractors. Is the member opposite saying they should not have been paid or they should not have done the work? Well, why did he not think of that when his member signed the deal?

YTG is working to ensure that commitments in the development agreement are met. We are doing our best. I am glad the member opposite finds that so incredibly humorous. We are doing what governments should be doing. We are one party to a three-party agreement. We have lived up to our end of it and we are encouraging the other two parties in the agreement to do the same, and we will continue to do so.

Mr. Fentie: Well, the minister just stated that the agreement, or the extension, is valid until the end of today, so Argus is not in default yet. Well, I do not see a mall there, unless it is going to be dropped out of the sky sometime between now and midnight.

Further to that, the minister has now admitted that the money has indeed flowed. I ask the minister: does the Minister of Economic Development consider that loading, hauling and placing gravel onsite on the Argus Property is to be construed as off-site infrastructure, which other Yukoners would have been privy to?

Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, Yukon contractors were paid. The member opposite prides himself on knowing this agreement. If he knew the agreement, he would know that the $750,000 was paid to the City of Whitehorse. Argus invoices the city; the city pays Argus.

The member opposite should also be aware that the mayor and council were just sworn into office yesterday. They are being briefed on the Argus file this week. I am meeting with the mayor on Friday. There are contractual obligations by Argus that close today. If these obligations are not met, the Government of Yukon can do one of three things: we can withdraw our support for the project; we can extend the agreement; or we can renegotiate the agreement. Any decision - any decision - unlike the previous government, would include consulting and working with the City of Whitehorse.

Question re: Aeromax Industries Inc., aircraft manufacturing

Mr. Fentie: We now know, after reviewing the much-waited-for Liberal supplementary budget, that there's absolutely no winter works, no job creation now in this winter, when those jobs are so badly needed for Yukoners.

On the other hand, there is a glimmer of hope. On the news, there was a possibility of an aircraft manufacturing plant in this territory. We now know that the company that is proposing this is a company called Aeromax Industries Inc. Last week the minister said she met with Aeromax people and recommended that they look at Faro and Whitehorse as possible sites. Can the minister tell us when that discussion took place and why she mentioned those two communities in particular?

Hon. Ms. Duncan: I'll be happy to review that situation with the member opposite. I'm just checking the exact date that I met with Aeromax. And the meeting was not simply with me; the Minister of Community and Transportation Services was also in attendance. That meeting took place in June. The meeting was a result of a preliminary meeting that I held with one of the local proponents who met with me, and I indicated that the Minister of Community and Transportation Services and I would be happy to meet with other principals involved in the company.

Those two communities were mentioned in preliminary meetings in May and June, long before there was any discussion of a by-election. And why was Faro mentioned? Because I personally happen to be a proponent of Faro. I happen to be a proponent of Watson Lake and every other community the member opposite wants to mention.

Whitehorse was suggested by the principals of the company. I suggested they look outside the community of Whitehorse and named one particular location, because of its airport.

Mr. Fentie: Well, in that case, now that we're broadening the scope of this possible aircraft manufacturing plant, can the minister, here in this House today, tell this House and Yukoners how much this is going to cost them? How much in loan guarantees, tax incentives or any other government assistance through monetary means will this cost? How much did this company ask for?

Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, I cannot stand on my feet and say how much it will cost Yukoners, because there has been no commitment made by the Government of Yukon. As I've told the member opposite, this side of the House doesn't make backroom deals, unlike that side of the House.

I personally have had one meeting with the Whitehorse proponent. The Minister of Community and Transportation Services and I have had one meeting with additional members of the company. At that meeting, they asked for some legislative issues to be examined, and they did not have a specific proposal to put in front of the Government of Yukon for anything that the member mentions. They did not have a specific proposal then, and a specific proposal has not come to the Department of Economic Development since that time.

Mr. Fentie: Well, to the best of my memory - if it serves me correctly - the only backroom deal that has ever taken place in the last number of years in this Legislature is the one between the president of the teachers' union and this government. It's called a $1-million signing bonus, a partisan backroom deal.

Mr. Speaker, the minister is obviously not quite up to speed on this particular proposal. Is she prepared to table any documents or correspondence that has taken place to date with the local proponent of this proposal?

Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite, in response to his comment about backroom deals, I'd like to refer him to his earlier question about Argus. Like that was a full public discussion. Hardly. It was not.

In terms of the Aeromax proposal, if there has been a document that has been signed by me, and I can recall one specific letter, then I consider it to be a public document and I will gladly table it and provide it for the member opposite. If there has been a proposal received in the last two days by the Department of Economic Development, I have not been advised of it.

The member opposite needs to be aware and needs to remember these fundamental points. First of all, any work we enter into with communities and with business will be conducted fairly and openly, so any proposal will be considered as, "Is it fair to all businesses concerned?" We will most definitely, unlike the previous government, do our homework on any proposals. We are waiting right now. We have asked very specific questions of the company that the member has mentioned, and we have not yet received that information.

Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed.

Motion No. 14 dropped from Order Paper

Speaker: Before proceeding to the Order Paper, the Chair wishes to inform the House that Motion No. 14, standing in the name of the leader of the third party, is now outdated and that the Chair has ordered it dropped from the Order Paper.

Notice of opposition private members' business

Mr. Fentie: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, November 1, 2000. They are Motion No. 21, standing in the name of the Member for Watson Lake, and Motion No. 5, standing in the name of the Member for Kluane.

Speaker: We will now proceed to Orders of the Day.



Clerk: Motion No. 1, standing in the name of the hon. Mr. Roberts.

Motion No. 1 - adjourned debate

Speaker: The motion before the House, moved by the Minister of Health and Social Services is:

THAT the Standing Orders of the Yukon Legislative Assembly be amended, effective the next sitting day after this motion is adopted by:

(1) replacing Standing Orders 2(1), 2(2), 2(3), and 2(4) with the following:

2(1) The time for the meeting of the Assembly is at 1:00 p.m. on each Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday unless otherwise ordered.

(2) On each sitting day, at 6:00 p.m., the Speaker shall adjourn the Assembly without question put, and the Assembly then stands adjourned until the next sitting day unless otherwise ordered.

(3) When the Assembly rises on Thursday at 6:00 p.m., it shall stand adjourned until the following Monday unless otherwise ordered


(2) renumbering Standing Orders 2(5), 2(6) and 2(7) as Standing Orders 2(4), 2(5) and 2(6).

Mr. Fairclough: I understand I only have about six minutes left to respond to this motion.

Mr. Speaker, this is a government motion that is supposed to be dealing with urgent matters of the general public.

So the government brings a motion to the floor of this Legislature to be debated because they felt it was very important to them, but none of the government members would even speak to the motion, except for the mover. None would speak to the motion. What does that say about the government and their attitudes toward the general public? What they wanted to do was, as quickly as possible, to hide from the general public, not have the gallery open to the people to come and view the proceedings in this House during the evening. They want to hide from them, Mr. Speaker. They felt that this was a priority. There was a process, and there is a process for this type of thing to be handled in this Legislature, a tool - SCREP - that could be used to handle this type of thing. Yet the government chose to do things differently. They are obviously proving to the general public out there that they are a part-time government, a one-to-six government, Mr. Speaker.

They said they were going to be open and accountable, but what does that mean? During the day, to not have people see the debate in the evening? They said they wanted to restore confidence in government. What does that mean? The way they've been conducting themselves in this Legislature, that's what they want to see as better governance? The biggest reason for all of this - about cutting back the evening hours - was government crying poverty again - no monies out there - and they'll save a few thousand dollars, Mr. Speaker. Yet they come forward with a $37-million mini-budget just before a by-election and the federal election. It's an outrage. Yet the important things to Yukoners are under review. All the good projects are under review: CDF, the tourism marketing fund, trade and investment. Those are under review.

I guess what the Liberals would like to do is set a new standard. It's the lowest standard this Legislature has ever seen, in my view. They say one thing and do another. They said they would do what they said they would do. They passed the NDP budget in its entirety to bring certainty to Yukoners. Then they proceeded immediately to cut it up and cut things out - major projects. The Mayo school is one of them. It wasn't important to them then and it isn't important to them now. They are finding every excuse they can to justify to the students and staff in Mayo that the school is okay, and that the building will stand this year. Maybe next year it will fall.

They bring out a throne speech that has all the initiatives of the NDP in it. There is very little new. Two of their big priorities - land claims and devolution - are swallowed by this document. More money is in oil and gas. There is more money into mining and less attention paid to land claims. Negotiation was a big thing, but they forgot to mention implementation. There is no concentration on that at all, and that's an insult to the First Nations that have been waiting a long time, trying to move ahead on implementing their agreements. That's the Liberal way.

Mr. Speaker, I know I only have a short time left. It's clear that this government is going to use its majority to ram the changes down the throats of the MLAs. That being the case, instead of doing an amendment, we may as well all come to a vote, so that the people of the Yukon can see this arrogant, high-handed government for what it is.

To conclude my remarks, I would like to advise the House that the two official opposition members on the Standing Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges will be resigning from that committee, effective today.

Speaker: Order please. The member has two minutes to conclude.

Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Speaker, also, because the Liberal government has now rendered SCREP completely ineffective, the official opposition intends to table a motion by the end of today, calling for the Standing Orders of the Yukon Legislative Assembly to be amended to remove all references to the existence of the Standing Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Hon. Ms. Buckway: I rise to speak in favour of the motion. I have been sitting here since 2:30 yesterday afternoon, becoming more and more astonished and disgusted at the actions of the opposition. It's clear that they want to support the motion but, as opposition, they can't be seen to be doing anything that even hints at agreeing with the government. They're wrong. They can agree with the government. They scoff when I say this, Mr. Speaker, but we would have supported the motion had the roles been reversed, because it only makes sense.

The opposition spent five hours yesterday, at a cost to the Yukon taxpayer of $968 per hour, complaining bitterly about a motion they really want to see passed. The Member for Vuntut Gwitchin spoke eloquently yesterday afternoon and made the perfect case in support of the motion: "attending evening meetings to represent our constituents is impossible when we have night sittings." She was quite right.

Mr. Speaker, the members opposite, as they have just indicated, are not interested in participating in SCREP and that's why this motion was brought to the House. Now, they have resigned.

As I said, Mr. Speaker, Yukon taxpayers have a right to know what these tactics have so far cost them - about $4,600. You'll note, Mr. Speaker, that the government's side spoke only briefly, to introduce the motion, and again for a few seconds to note the cost. I'll be very brief as well. We were brief on purpose, because this should be no more than a housekeeping matter. The rest of this time has been used by the opposition who clearly do not even believe what they're saying. Forty-six hundred dollars, and it's a complete waste of time.

The crowd in the gallery last evening, Mr. Speaker, was overwhelming - one person. Coincidentally, a friend of mine was here for less than 10 minutes. I have had more constituents here during afternoon sittings. It is a red herring saying the public will suffer. With few exceptions, they are not normally here for night sittings.

The proposed new hours, Mr. Speaker - hours that the opposition couldn't seem to comprehend - are from 1:00 to 6:00 Monday to Thursday. For many people, that will be an advantage. They can drop by at 4:30 after work, if they're in the Whitehorse area, and not have to make another trip back downtown.

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Hon. Ms. Buckway: This amendment is -

Speaker: Order please. Order.

Hon. Ms. Buckway: This amendment is also an attempt to divert us from the NDP math, Mr. Speaker. The current hours number 20; four hours each of four afternoons, or 16 hours; plus two hours on two evenings, or four hours, for a total of 20 hours.

The opposition claims we're cutting hours. The proposed new hours are five on each of four afternoons. That, Mr. Speaker, is also 20 hours - no cut. Shame on the opposition for even suggesting it.

The official opposition would be the first to point out the disadvantages of split shifts. I'm sure their scribes would appreciate evenings with their families. The Hansard staff and the political staff with all parties will benefit. Tired MLAs don't do good work.

I'm sure the members opposite are tired, Mr. Speaker, or they would stop wasting House time and taxpayers' money, and get down to the work they're supposed to be doing.

We saw another fine example of the opposition wasting time this afternoon, when the Member for Watson Lake raised a point of order, while the Minister of Education was attempting to deliver an urgent statement about the finding of mould in the Mayo school. Obstruction, cold-heartedness; I'm amazed and I'm disgusted.

They're playing politics...

Some Hon. Member: Point of order.

Point of order

Speaker: Member for Kluane, on a point of order.

Mr. McRobb: Point of order, Mr. Speaker. Let's calm this down a little bit here. I know the members opposite are all charged up because they sat there, they had the muzzle order yesterday, okay? They weren't allowed to speak. This is unparliamentary language. It's language that infuriates debate, and it's something that you have ruled on several times recently, and I would ask you to be consistent, and rule on it again now.

Speaker's statement

Speaker: I don't recall hearing any comments that were unparliamentary.

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Speaker: I repeat, I don't recall hearing any comments that were unparliamentary, and I'll ask the minister to continue.

Hon. Ms. Buckway: The members opposite are playing politics and forgetting that somewhere in their pasts they used to be human beings. I find it also most interesting that the official opposition is anxious to take credit for any positive initiatives.

Some Hon. Member: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Point of order

Speaker: Member for Ross River-Southern Lakes, on a point of order.

Mr. Keenan: Mr. Speaker, if that is not inflammatory language, I do not know what is. But comparing us to be non-human beings, Mr. Speaker - I demand an apology and a retraction of that statement. Surely you heard that statement.

Speaker's ruling

Speaker: Order. The comments did appear to be going a bit far, but it's not the first time in this debate that we've been at the outer limits. All members will undoubtedly be taking action or making attempts to tone down their language, and I'm hoping that we can continue in a more professional manner.

Please continue, minister.

Hon. Ms. Buckway:Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I also note, in the Standing Orders under "Order and Decorum", section 6(4), that the members opposite are in constant violation of clause 4: "When the Speaker speaks at any time, any member speaking shall sit down and the Speaker shall be heard without interruption." They have no respect for the Speaker.

And, as I was saying, I find it most interesting that the official opposition is anxious to take credit for any positive initiatives that this government announces, but they also distance themselves from anything of a controversial nature that obviously had its roots during their tenure as government. Shame on the official opposition. I am in favour of this motion.

Speaker: If the member now speaks, he will close debate. Does any other member wish to be heard?

Some Hon. Members: (Inaudible)

Speaker: Order please. Order. Order.

Hon. Mr. Roberts: This has been a rock-n-rolling two days. It is unfortunate that this has to happen. We are an open and accountable government. We are a government that wants to give people hope, not despair. Unfortunately, the way the opposition operates, I really don't see where the hope is. We are trying to give people confidence in government. We are trying to work on the principles of fair play. We are trying to understand that the issue here, as I've heard from the opposition many times, should not have been here. I agree with that.

There is one item I would like to correct in our SCREP log. There was a typing error - or a misspoke error, if you want to call it that. It wasn't September 23; it was actually September 27, so I would just like, for the record, to correct that - of the eight meetings that were held.

You can imagine - eight indications to have meetings and only one meeting was attended by the opposition to elect a chair.

The other thing that I want to share before I get moving here, Mr. Speaker, is, in the Canadian Parliamentary booklet, there is a discussion here on British Columbia wanting to change its hours, wanting to move to Monday to Thursday, and also wanting to look at the very basic things that are going to make the Legislature effective. That is exactly what we are trying to do; this is not something new. This ruling of the night sittings has not been changed since it was first introduced. In my understanding, it goes back to the 1970s. If it was good then, it is not good now. That is the reason why we want to make a change.

I believe we constantly hear from the opposition about the budget, the surplus. We always hear that. Now they have a $64-million surplus out there. Yes, that is what the Auditor General said, but one has to remember that we also have a deficit budget. So you have to take away almost $33 million from that $64 million. Then you have left about $30 million, and it takes $35 million to $40 million a month to operate the Yukon government. That is the minimum we need in our bank account to ensure that we do not have things like what are happening in Mayo, for example. If we are going to do something more with the mould, we are going to have to utilize some these resources to pay for those things. That is why you need some money in the bank, Mr. Speaker.

One other thing that I really find interesting is that the members opposite still believe they are government. They have not got off the fact that they are on the other side. The interesting part about that is they cannot even sit down and talk about the rules that operate the House. It is like parents, when you sit down and discuss the rules of the family, if the children are old enough, you do it in order to make sure that you have harmony and order in the house. This is what SCREP is all about.

Eight times we have contacted the opposition to ensure that they could make some of these meetings, and they have ignored it, they have not come to meetings, they just were frivolous. They talked about being here all summer. I'm sorry, Mr. Speaker, but I was here all summer, and I very seldom saw their vehicles in the parking lot. So, for the times that they said there were no cars from the government's side here, it was because we were out visiting the communities. We don't know where they were. I went up and down the highways. I never saw any of them, so my assumption is that they were out fishing.

Some of the members made some comments such as that they were insulted that this motion has come forward. I believe, Mr. Speaker, that I would be insulted, as a person out on the street, to hear what the opposition forced us to do. This could have been covered in-house, but it wasn't.

They talk about pork. We always hear this word "pork". You know, that side of the House, Mr. Speaker, are the masters of developing and tasting pork. They did a marvellous job of appointing and assigning many of their own people to many positions in the government, so they really know what pork is all about. We're not even close to that. We come to one person, and that's pork all over. That's all they can think of because they are so notorious. They want us to forget that they have the patent on pork here in the Yukon. They have the patent on it, and so they don't want to hear that because they know it's true. So, importantly, Mr. Speaker, I think we must go on.

This past Friday, Mr. Speaker - I'm commenting on some notes here - a note was sent to the offices down below to announce that there would be a SCREP meeting Monday morning, and they were saying it was rubbish that this happened. The staff of the opposition, Mr. Speaker, should have their phone numbers. They should know where to get ahold of them. As a matter of fact, I am told that the member of the third party was actually here in town.

So, he knew about the meeting Monday morning. They just chose not to attend, because they weren't interested in coming together and finding out what the rules are, Mr. Speaker.

Some Hon. Member: Point of order.

Point of order

Speaker: Leader of the third party on a point of order.

Mr. Jenkins: With respect to my presence and where I was at any specific time, the information that the minister is providing in this House today is patently false.

Speaker: Member for Whitehorse Centre on the point of order.

Mr. McLarnon: On the point of order, Mr. Speaker, we believe that the information that we are presenting is patently true. So, this is a difference between members.

Speaker's ruling

Speaker: I find that, in fact, in my view it is simply a dispute between members. However, I would like to caution members that any time that we're referring to comments being false, it's the same as untrue, and they are comments that should not be used within this House. With that, I would ask the minister to continue.

Hon. Mr. Roberts: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Before rudely being interrupted, I must share again with the House that we have an opposition who is trying to be on all sides of the fence. One day they say no pipeline, then the member opposite for Kluane says, "Yes, no pipeline; but now we need a pipeline; I'm not sure, maybe there should be a pipeline." So, we never know where they are.

We also have the Member for Watson Lake saying that he is really looking at this mega-project of a pipeline as being a problem; it's a far-off pipe dream. And it isn't, Mr. Speaker. It's one of those things that we, as a government, want to work for Yukoners for. This is a major project. I should inform the House that I was part of the pipeline review way back in the seventies. I was on that committee for seven years. This could be one of the biggest projects that Yukoners could ever have dreamed of. And it will have spinoff jobs for the next 25 years. That's why we have to put a lot of effort into it, Mr. Speaker.

Another thing was that the Member for Ross River-Southern Lakes, Mr. Speaker, made the comments about fixtures or futures of the Legislature, even in the opposition. It was a very dramatic presentation. He talked about issues and about coming to the point. It was a 20-minute cost to the taxpayer, Mr. Speaker, of a tirade that cost us over $400, Mr. Speaker, and that was a waste of our taxpayers' dollars.

The interim leader of the official opposition was discussing the supplementary budget, and it had nothing to do with the amendment. We were on to an amendment, and we were talking about the supplementary budget.

What has happened, Mr. Speaker, over the last few days, is that everything was bootlegged into the discussion about this particular motion. It had very little to do with the motion. That's not democracy. That's not accountability. That's just putting everything out there because when they know that there's a problem with trying to find solutions, they have no answers.

The Member for Watson Lake again, Mr. Speaker, talked about SCREP having one meeting when they were in government. I would be ashamed and embarrassed to have one meeting of SCREP when they were government. SCREP sets the rules. They had one meeting, and that to me is scandalous. Rules have to be changed and updated all the time, Mr. Speaker.

Also, Mr. Speaker, when the interim leader of the opposition talked about some of the issues, they weren't really related at all. We have to make it very clear that we tried eight times to connect and contact the opposition members about having SCREP meetings. They chose to ignore it or to not come to them, Mr. Speaker, because they are not interested, Mr. Speaker -

Some Hon. Member: Point of order.

Point of order

Speaker: Member for Kluane, on a point of order.

Mr. McRobb: Point of order, Mr. Speaker. In a fashion similar to the several interruptions we experienced when debating our side, I'd like to point out that the member is incorrect. We have addressed the issue of those eight meeting calls, and that is clearly on record. I'd invite him to review the Blues.

What he is doing is misstating that information. He's continuing to go to the old argument and ignore the information we put on the record about that. I'd invite him to read what I said last night in this sitting, on the same motion, and maybe he can apologize for wasting time by bringing us back to that frivolous old argument.

Speaker: The Member for Whitehorse Centre on the point of order.

Mr. McLarnon: This is information that we tabled as part of our opening speech. It has not been refuted. It is a dispute between members.

Speaker's ruling

Speaker: I agree that this is nothing but a dispute between members. With that, I would ask the minister to continue.

Hon. Mr. Roberts: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The opposition obviously found this motion urgent. They spent five hours talking about it. To us, it is a matter of housekeeping. We stand by that. It should have been dealt with at SCREP. If only the opposition could have troubled themselves to attend, this matter would have been through the House instantly. There is no respect for due process. They failed to attend the SCREP meetings, and they failed to understand that this is all about us. This reflects on us as a Legislature. We have to understand that whatever we do in here reflects on all of us.

The members of the opposition enjoy focusing on complaining, instead of focusing on work. Now, they are complaining about working - a very typical response.

Mr. Speaker, I am not a doctor, but I do say I am the senior in the House; but it seems to me that the members opposite are part of what I call a syndrome, and it is called the part-time syndrome; the part-time MLA syndrome. They did not want to meet this past summer to do this business outside of the Legislature. They did not meet this morning. They did not meet all eight times that we asked, except for once - so seven times they did not want to meet. They did not want to expedite matters in the House. Not wanting to meet and not meeting often enough are symptoms of not wanting to work, Mr. Speaker.

Yes, I believe they are afflicted. The members on this side of the House are receiving the messages loud and clear from the members of the opposite side. We have heard their complaints and have been witnesses to their lack of action. We understand that they have no motivation to work outside the Legislature. They have no commitment to resolve matters in a professional and respectful manner. You can tell by their responses, Mr. Speaker. Every time we speak, they have many things to say; they don't want to listen. We might even be able to teach the members opposite something, but they're not willing to listen.

This Liberal government has an agenda of professional, respectful business. We have government business to do. Out of respect for Yukoners and for the tasks we have been entrusted to complete, we must get on with government business. The avenue available to us is in the democratic process.

Mr. Speaker, if we are not able to do it in SCREP, then we must do it this way. The Liberal members of the Legislature are very approachable people. We respect people with different points of view. We have no problems understanding that there are differences of opinion between this side of the House and that side of the House. This government understands that the members opposite have a different agenda.

Just because we think differently does not mean that we should not work together. Many, many times we have extended the invitation to work. Many times this summer, the members opposite have refused. We continue to encourage all members of this House to work together. As of Monday morning, the members of the official opposition and the leader of the third party still refused to meet. While the brick walls continue to be built by the members opposite, the work of the government and the work for the people of the Yukon must be done.

Now, the members opposite are filling this Legislature with debate over housekeeping issues. It is not a surprise that the members opposite continue their obstructive and inefficient ways. Perhaps there is a doctor who can deal with the members opposite's affliction - the part-time MLA syndrome. I am meeting with the YMA this weekend, Mr. Speaker, and I'll see if we can find one.

However, while we wait for a cure and empathize with them, this Yukon government continues to be committed to work for the Yukon people and we are committed to this motion.

This motion will enable us to carry on the work of the government. We can work the same amount of hours as we always have, and the opportunity for Yukoners to visit the Legislature is still here. The proposed hours of 1:00 to 6:00 are completely open to the public. From 5:00 to 6:00, those people who work regular day hours can come to watch their government in action. As I mentioned earlier, with the advance of technology, we are able to reach Yukoners through television and Internet. This straight-through sitting will allow Hansard staff and Legislative Assembly staff to go home at the end of a regular working day instead of working a split shift. People generally don't like to work split shifts. Government morale is important to us.

And, Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, in consideration of the members opposite, this motion provides one extra hour of debate time on private members' day. I encourage all members to vote in favour of this motion.

Speaker: Are you prepared for the question?

Some Hon. Members: Division.


Speaker: Division has been called.


Speaker: Mr. Clerk, please poll the House.

Hon. Ms. Duncan: Agree.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Agree.

Hon. Mr. Jim: Agree.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Agree.

Hon. Mr. Roberts: Agree.

Hon. Ms. Buckway: Agree.

Ms. Tucker: Agree.

Mr. McLarnon: Agree.

Mr. Kent: Agree.

Mr. Fairclough: Disagree.

Mr. Fentie: Disagree.

Mr. Keenan: Disagree.

Mr. McRobb: Disagree.

Ms. Netro: Disagree.

Mr. Jenkins: Disagree.

Clerk: Mr. Speaker, the results are nine yea, six nay.

Speaker: The ayes have it. I declare the motion carried.

Motion No. 1 agreed to

Clerk: Motion No. 2, standing in the name of hon. Mr. Roberts.

Motion No. 2

Speaker:It is moved by the Minister of Health and Social Services

THAT Standing Order 45 be amended by adding the following new Standing Orders:

45(3.1) At the commencement of the first session of each Legislature a Standing Committee on Appointments to Major Government Boards and Committees shall be appointed.

(3.2) The Standing Committee on Appointments to Major Government Boards and Committees:

(a) shall review nominations and recommend appointments to the following major Boards and Committees:

a. Yukon Development Corporation Board

of Directors

b. Yukon Energy Corporation Board of Directors

c. Yukon Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board

d. Yukon Lottery Corporation

e. Yukon Recreation Advisory Council

f. Arts Advisory Council

g. Yukon Utilities Board

h. Yukon Council on the Economy and the Environment

i. Yukon Human Rights Commission;

(b) may review other appointments proposed by the Executive Council that are referred to it by the Executive Council;

(c) shall meet in camera; and

(d) shall prepare a report within 45 days of the receipt of a proposed appointment or of proposed appointments and such report shall contain the appointment or list of appointments recommended by the Committee.

(3.3) The Chair of the Standing Committee on Appointments to Major Government Boards and Committees shall present all reports of the Committee to the Legislative Assembly but, if the Legislative Assembly is not sitting at the time a report has been agreed to by the Committee, the Chair shall transmit the report to all Members of the Legislative Assembly and then release the report to the public.

(3.4) When the Commissioner in Executive Council or, if applicable, a Minister, due to the legal requirements or operational needs, has deemed it necessary to make an appointment prior to the expiration of the 45-day period, the Committee shall be notified in writing, by the Executive Council Office, of appointments made by a Minister or by the Commissioner in Executive Council.


THAT Standing Order 45 be further amended by adding the following new provisions which shall remain in effect, during the Thirtieth Legislative Assembly:

45 (3.5) The first Standing Committee on Appointments to Major Government Boards and Committees shall be appointed during the Second Session of the Thirtieth Legislative Assembly.

(3.6) The first Standing Committee on Appointments to Major Government Boards and Committees shall consist of three members from the government caucus, one member from the official opposition caucus, and the third party member.

Hon. Mr. Roberts:I rise today in support of this motion, and I ask that all members put aside their political differences because I believe this is a motion that we can all support.

By supporting this motion today, I believe we will all be showing the Yukon public that we want to do things differently in government and that we have listened to their concerns.

Mr. Speaker, by serving on one of the Yukon government's boards or committees, residents can play an important role in Yukon affairs.

We have many committed and hard-working individuals in all our Yukon communities who support what we are doing by serving on these boards and committees. Yukoners see this as a way to take an active part in the business of government. Board and committee members take an important responsibility by their service. Many boards and committees have independent decision-making authority; others play adjudicative roles. Other boards are responsible for making recommendations on funding applications or providing advice to Cabinet, ministers or departmental officials.

That is why it is important to ensure we have a good cross-section of Yukoners on these boards, and that is why it is important to listen to Yukoners. They have told us that they would like to see appointments to major boards and committees made in a different way. This motion reflects one of our election commitments to Yukoners. That commitment was to use an all-party committee to select appointees to major government boards and committees. There have been a variety of motions put forward in this Legislature on this issue, going back as far as 1992. Successive governments have been pressured by the opposition parties of the day to create an all-party committee. Unfortunately, once those opposition parties were elected into power, they did nothing. They seem to have suddenly forgotten that this was an important issue when they were in opposition.

When the Yukon Liberals were in opposition, we pressured both the previous Yukon Party and the NDP governments to create such a committee. Unlike previous governments, now that we are in power, we still believe this is an important issue and we are doing something about it. The public has written letters to the editor; they have spoken to politicians and to their friends about this issue. So you can see, Mr. Speaker, it is time that the public receive the answer they want.

I am not only pleased to speak to this motion because it is long overdue, I am also pleased because it is a good motion. This motion goes further than any other motion that has been proposed by the members opposite. This motion gives real power to the all-party committee. In this motion, we are proposing that an all-party standing committee be struck during this session.

The standing committee will review nominations and recommend appointments to a number of major boards and committees. Mr. Speaker, this goes further than anything that has been proposed by either of the opposition parties.

For example, the motion tabled in June of this year, by the Member for Klondike, only gave the all-party committee the ability to review appointments that were recommended by Executive Council. There's an important difference here. What the Member for Klondike was suggesting was that the Executive Council would review the nominations and then make the recommendations regarding who should be appointed. Only once that was done would the committee be able to review those recommended appointments.

Mr. Speaker, our motion - our proposal - is that this committee review the nominations and actually propose the appointments. One other important difference between our motion and the motion proposed by the Member for Klondike is that, according to his proposal, the committee has the power to call proposed appointees as witnesses. This raises concerns for us. This also raised concerns for the previous NDP government, which, in a letter dated May 23, 1997 on the subject, stated - and I quote - that: "There is an ongoing concern about people being subjected to a hearing type of process and the negative impact that this would have on the number of Yukoners prepared to serve on boards and committees." In our motion, the committee does not have the power to call interested members of the public as witnesses.

Mr. Speaker, I will also speak for a moment on the process the NDP proposed in 1997, when they were in government. The former member, Doug Phillips, tabled a flow chart on May 8, 1997, that the NDP created to outline how their proposed process would work. Their proposed process would have the Executive Council Office collecting the names of interested individuals from all MLAs. These names would then be included with all other names of all other nominees, and the government of the day would still unilaterally make the recommendation and the appointment.

That was it, Mr. Speaker. In the NDP's proposal, the only involvement from the opposition party was to put names forward. Once again, our motion gives the all-party committee a real role in making these appointments. It doesn't simply ask the committee to rubber-stamp proposals of the Executive Council or simply ask the opposition to pass on some names for consideration. This motion goes further than anything that either of the opposition parties has proposed. It much more clearly reflects what Yukoners want and what they have asked us to provide.

Mr. Speaker, in light of this, I am very confident that all the members will vote in favour of this motion. With that endorsement, we will all be giving a message to Yukoners that we can work together. This will send a message to Yukoners that we can set our differences aside and do the right thing.

Mr. Speaker, both the NDP and the Yukon Party have stated that they support an all-party committee. We are committed to an all-party committee that includes the opposition parties in the appointment process. We even went so far as to invite the parties opposite to assist in the selection of board members for a number of major boards over this summer and fall. We also invited them to participate in selecting committee members for the Liquor Act review. Unfortunately, both the NDP and the Yukon Party refused to participate.

This raises concerns about whether they really are committed to this process.

Mr. Speaker, this is the time for both the NDP and the Yukon Party to prove to Yukoners that they are committed to an all-party process. This is the time for the opposition to work with this government in the best interest of Yukoners. This is the time for both opposition parties to keep their commitment to the Yukon public, as we have kept ours.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask the opposition parties to demonstrate to the people of the Yukon that they will do what they said they would do and support this motion.

Thank you.

Mr. Keenan: I always enjoy listening to the rhetoric and the bootlegging of the prohibitionist next door. When something this strong - of this magnitude - is coming together, and they bring it to the floor of this Legislature after the major appointments have already been made - and it's after the fact - I'd like to point out a correction that should be made here. I don't know if it's a typo, or if it's something that the government has done deliberately. But under (d), on the Yukon Lottery Corporation, I don't know of any such corporation. Could that be clarified for me?

Mr. Jenkins: I rise to speak to the motion that we have heard the Minister of Health and Social Services speak so eloquently on. On the surface this appears to be a very acceptable motion. It appears to be a motion that is in the interests of Yukon. But let's stand back and look at what is being suggested by the minister in this motion. What we have is an all-party Standing Committee on Appointments to Major Government Boards and Committees. What that means is all of us, all parties here in this Legislature, are responsible for the appointments. It sounds very simple, very basic. We're all in the tent together making this same decision. And yet, on this standing committee, I'm sure that the Liberals will hold the majority of power.

At the end of the day, how do we hold the government accountable for the appointments to these boards and committees when we are part of the decision-making process? It is very, very simple. The parliamentary system is set up on the basis of the opposition holding the government accountable for their actions. Under the scenario that is being advanced in this motion, Mr. Speaker, the official opposition and the third party would have no way to hold the government of the day accountable for these appointments, because we are part of the process. Now, is that fair to Yukoners? I do not believe it is.

I would refer the Liberals back to the motion that I tabled previously on the same subject as to how to go about setting up a procedure that would effectively provide for the appointments of board and committee members and do it in a manner wherein the government of the day would still be responsible and accountable for these appointments, which it rightly must be. That is the whole crux of the difficulty with us supporting this motion in its entirety. The government of the day no longer becomes totally responsible for these appointments.

Now we can take a look at what has transpired to date, Mr. Speaker, in that there have been several plums already handed out, handed out by this Liberal government - several of those $100,000-a-year appointments. The government's going to be crying poverty pretty soon, but they have cherry-picked their own well-known Liberals and ex-Liberal candidates for appointments. They're already in place. I'm sure there are more coming, and more will be forthcoming.

At the end of the day, if we are a party to this all-party committee, we are also equally responsible for these appointments, even though we don't have the majority, and the government of the day just stands up and says, "There were no patronage appointments. We had an all-party committee that made this appointment." That's the nature of party politics, Mr. Speaker. You have to be responsible ultimately for the decisions you make as the governing party. You can't just invite everybody into the tent and say, "We are all making this decision and we're all equally responsible." Because, as opposition, it is our responsibility to hold the government accountable, and it's a very easy job, given the talent that's currently being displayed by this new Liberal government and the policies and procedures they're bringing forward.

In opposition, we have to be arm's length from a lot of these undertakings, and arm's length to rightfully hold the government and keep the government accountable.

The only way we can do that, Mr. Speaker, is to be not in the same tent with the government of the day making that decision, because if we are, we're equally responsible for the outcome, and that destroys the whole basis of party politics that we brought forward in this Legislature quite a number of years ago. If we had the same format that existed in the 1960s, or what the Northwest Territories currently have in place, Mr. Speaker, then it would be a very workable and beneficial motion. But in this Legislature, it's not the case.

I'm very, very disappointed in the mover of this motion, in that it's not as carefully thought through as was originally envisioned; or maybe this is the new Liberal way. We're probably going to rewrite Robert's Rules of Order, according to what I've heard here today in this Legislature, Mr. Speaker.

There are a number of other areas that I do have concern with, with respect to the way the wording of the motion is brought forward, Mr. Speaker, and that deals with the legal authority of this Legislature to make appointments to, say, the Workers' Compensation Board. Now, they have their own act. Has the minister examined this area? I don't know.

Yukon Housing Corporation, Yukon Liquor Corporation - they are not even included in the motion, Mr. Speaker.

They're not there, and they're very noticeable by their absence.

Mr. Speaker, I respectfully submit that the Liberals have deliberately advanced this motion with a view to getting all of the parties into the tent so that they can hide behind the decision that they effectively make, saying it was an aggregate decision of all parties. And that will exactly be the case at the end of the day.

Mr. Speaker, I'm disappointed. If you start looking at the responsibilities of a lot of these boards, they're tremendous in scope and sphere and the impact that they'll have on lives and economic conditions of Yukoners. It's critically important that we select nothing but the best of Yukoners to sit on these boards.

But as these agencies of government - many of them agencies of government - are agencies of the current government, they are responsible to that government and the government of the day rightfully has to be ultimately responsible for these appointments.

Liberals have a wonderful way of blaming everyone but themselves for the economic plight that has occurred here in the Yukon. We were all hoping, Mr. Speaker, that there would be some uptake on this wonderful relationship between the Liberals here in Yukon and their colleagues in far-off Ottawa. We were hoping that some sustenance would flow through the umbilical cord that suddenly became reattached.

On the contrary, Mr. Speaker. Nothing has happened in that regard. The Yukon is now slipping from a recession into a full-blown depression, and the current Liberal government has no ideas whatsoever as to how to turn this economy around. The Premier often cites this pipeline, which may or may not happen in two years, five years or 10 years. We have no idea. The forces that control the building of such a megaproject are way beyond our control, and world markets dictate the cost of the product. OPEC has probably more influence on the construction of the Alaska Highway pipeline than anyone here in the Yukon or all of us as an aggregate. That is the reality of the situation. Yes, we can lobby; yes, we can go on, but at the end of the day the current Government of the Yukon has to be ultimately responsible for decisions that take place here in the Yukon.

Appointments to boards and committees are ultimately their responsibility. They cannot just invite us all into the tent to share the blame when something goes wrong, because when something goes right, we will not be there sharing the glory. If it goes wrong, what is going to be said is that we are all to blame. If it goes right, we were the government that did it, and we did it right. That would be the press release, Mr. Speaker.

So, I would urge the mover of the motion to carefully consider how he is going to go and implement this procedure and carefully review the motion that I tabled previously in the Legislature with respect to the working of these appointments.

A lot of thought and a lot of process have been examined by me and staff at my office, as to how this should proceed. It's not an off-the-cuff motion that I tabled, Mr. Speaker. It's a very pertinent motion; it is very, very specific. But it maintains the accountability of the current government, and that's what government and good government is all about.

What this effectively does - the way it's structured - allows a great out for the government of the day with respect to appointments. Because of their majority on this committee, they get their way and their say about all appointments, but we are all responsible.

No accountability - that is not what good government is about, Mr. Speaker. Government is about accountability, about taking that responsibility that they're elected to hold and be held accountable for. What we're seeing is an abdication of that responsibility, and I find that deplorable, Mr. Speaker.

In conclusion, I would urge the Liberals to carefully consider this motion and subsequent motions dealing with this area as to the impact on all of us, because at the end of the day, given the majority here in this Legislature, this motion will pass. It will become enshrined in the way we proceed.

And the only way the official opposition and the third party can hold the government accountable is to not participate in the process that has been set up, and that's a shame. That's a shame, Mr. Speaker.

So, while the minister is rewriting Robert's Rules of Order and giving us a lecture in the next little while, I would urge that careful consideration be given to the history of the parliamentary procedure, the role of the governing party and the role of the opposition. The role and prime responsibility of opposition is to hold and keep the government accountable. Don't take away the tools that we have to work with, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: The Minister of Health and Social Services. Just a minute. Order. The Member for Kluane.

Mr. McRobb: As we all know, by the rules of this Legislature, if the member who moves the motion stands, he would close debate, and I wanted to make a few comments on this particular motion.

Not too many members on this side have spoken to the motion, but the points they've raised are certainly legitimate. The Member for Klondike pointed out that there are some boards missing from the list that are certainly major boards: the Yukon Housing Corporation and the Yukon Liquor Corporation. I'd also like to add renewable resource councils and point out that, in the Liberal government, there are no rural MLAs, where most of the renewable resource councils exist. How could this Liberal government possibly be aware of all the good candidates for renewable resource councils?

As we know, the Yukon government appoints half the members on a resource council in areas with settled land claims. I know the Alsek Renewable Resource Council, for instance, has six members, three of them appointed by the Yukon government. I have taken part in past review selections for board members.

Today, we have a Liberal government that knows it all, Mr. Speaker. They don't want to hear from the rural MLAs about appointments to renewable resource councils. They know it all, just like the Premier knew it all, about the requirement under the UFA to consult on the changing of geographical place names in the territory, which caused Yukoners so much embarrassment, Mr. Speaker. They know it all.

Well, as the Member for Klondike points out, we are all part of this decision-making process. If the government was interested in cooperating and working together for the benefit of Yukoners, it would expand the list to include the corporations of this government and renewable resource councils, and possibly there are other boards equally deserving of recognition. The health and social services boards, Mr. Speaker, come to mind. These are mainly comprised of people from the various communities. How can this Liberal government be aware of good candidates out there when they have no MLA in their caucus to bring that information forward?

Mr. Speaker, they argue on one hand that we need a Liberal MP in Ottawa to bring issues like UFA requirements to the caucus there so it can avoid embarrassments like Mount Logan. But on the other hand, they exclude renewable resource councils and these rural boards from this all-party committee.

Yes, there is a contradiction there. They cannot have it both ways. Mr. Speaker, it has been mentioned that the Liberals are hiding from accountability by trying to co-opt members on this side into joining this unfair set-up that they call an all-party committee. Other options have been suggested; they have ignored them.

I would suggest that to fortify the evidence of how this Liberal government is not accountable, I would just indicate that, only half an hour ago, to their government motion, this heavy-handed motion that could have been resolved in the SCREP meeting tomorrow morning, they lined up all their speakers at the end. What does this mean for readers of Hansard or listeners, Mr. Speaker? What does this mean? Well, I will just explain a little bit what it does mean. Members on this side had already spoken on the motion; they had used their turn. Members on the government side sat there. Clearly, there was no indication of any interest to speak, so we all got up, one after the other, not on the main body of the motion, but on each of the two amendments, the olive branches that we put out there, which they voted down.

So, we all had our turn. Then, at the end, at least two members there get up to speak. Mr. Speaker, that's not accountability, because they lined up their speakers at the very end. We had no opportunity to respond to what they were saying. That's not open and accountable.

Some Hon. Member: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Point of order

Speaker: Order please. The hon. government House leader, on a point of order.

Ms. Tucker: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I believe the member has misspoken himself, and I wish to set the record straight.

Two members on this side spoke. One got up and the other was closing debate and is required to speak. No other members spoke to the motion.

Speaker: The Member for Kluane, on the point of order.

Mr. McRobb: On the point of order, Mr. Speaker, there is no point of order, first of all. Second of all, the House leader on the government side is rehashing these old excuses that simply don't wash with Yukoners and carry no weight.

At least two members on that side got up and spoke at length, and they were very critical in their comments. My point was valid because I merely said that. There's no arguing against it. The record speaks for itself.

Speaker's ruling

Speaker: It's the Speaker's opinion that setting the record straight is not a point of order. It's merely a dispute between members, and with that, I'd ask the Member for Kluane to continue.

Mr. McRobb: Thank you for the ruling, Mr. Speaker.

Yesterday, we saw wasted Monday. Today we're seeing wasted Tuesday. Tomorrow we'll see wasted Wednesday, and, with the adoption of this motion, all Yukoners will be treated - trick or treat - to longer wasted Wednesdays in the future, until a majority of this Legislature at some point in the future strike down this motion to reduce the hours of wasted Wednesdays.

Mr. Speaker, that gives us a lot to consider.

The Member for Ross River-Southern Lakes pointed out an interesting error in this motion. Item d. Yukon Lottery Corporation - he wondered what that was, Mr. Speaker. Isn't it Yukon Lottery Commission? What's the problem with this government? Can't they get it right? They campaigned they were going to do it right; they were going to do things better. Well, Mr. Speaker, this is an embarrassment. This motion is going to have to be amended. This government can't get it right. It doesn't even know the name of this board.

Mr. Speaker, this doesn't bode well for this government or for Yukoners, because they're the government and they're supposed to know. The Member for Porter Creek North crafted this motion. I assume it went through their caucus; they're all responsible for this. We've heard no mention of this. They could have brought in a little amendment to correct this error and they didn't.

Mr. Speaker, how are we going to band-aid this problem? Are we going to have to change the name of the commission to the corporation? Or can we see an amendment to this motion?

Thank you.

Amendment proposed

Mr. McLarnon: Mr. Speaker, I propose an amendment to this. This was a typo that we have to have to make sure - we have to make sure that we discuss this, so that we don't have to discuss this again.

This was a typo. I move

THAT Motion No. 2 be amended by deleting the words "Yukon Lottery Corporation" and substituting for them the words "Yukon Lottery Commission."

I'll write it down. A friendly amendment, but I'll write it down.

Some Hon. Member: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Point of order

Speaker: The Member for Watson Lake, on a point of order.

Mr. Fentie: Mr. Speaker, we won't need to go through that process. We accept the member's amendment as a friendly amendment, and the wording should be changed. So we, on this side of the House, unanimously agree.

Speaker: Order please. It has been moved by the hon. Member for Whitehorse Centre:

THAT Motion No. 2 be amended by deleting the words "Yukon Lottery Corporation" and substituting for them the words "Yukon Lottery Commission". Are you prepared for the question on the amendment?

Amendment to Motion No. 2 agreed to

Speaker: Is there any further debate on the motion as amended?

If the member now speaks, he will close debate. Does any other member wish to be heard?

Hon. Mr. Roberts: I appreciate the opportunity once again to respond to a very good motion, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: Order please. My error, hon. minister. I neglected to recognize you.

Hon. Mr. Roberts: Mr. Speaker, I really appreciate the fact that this is a motion that all of us are going to benefit from. If one would cast their mind back to the Ombudsman Act when it was put in place, it was an all-party motion, I gather, and this was a suggestion where all parties work together in common for the betterment of Yukoners.

And this is what the all-party motion is all about. It's working together.

The Member for Kluane went on on June 19 - I guess it would be in Hansard - suggesting very clearly that we needed to move quickly with the all-party committee. His words are very clear here, that we had to move efficiently in order to ensure that we responded to all Yukoners. Now this is the Member for Kluane, Mr. Speaker, who spoke a few minutes ago about all the problems with this all-party suggestion. Here it is, Mr. Speaker, right in front of me. This, to me, tells the party in power at this point that they are supporting this motion, because it's one that they wanted to see in place but were never able to bring themselves to do it. And we said we would do what we did, and we are here with that purpose.

The Member for Klondike made a number of comments, and I guess he hasn't reviewed his motion for quite a period of time. I've got it in front of me here. In his discussion, the Member for Kluane made the comment that the Yukon Workers' Compensation was in his motion and that the Yukon Housing Corporation and Yukon Liquor Corporation were not in his motion. If I look at this, Mr. Speaker, it does tell you here that we have a number of inconsistencies in what was said.

We want to ensure that we are open. It's not all-inclusive. There's an item in our motion here, item (b) that says that you "may review other appointments proposed by the Executive Council that are referred to it by the Executive Council". In other words, we can add to it. It's not the closing of the door, as far as motions.

The Member for Klondike spoke about undermining the opposition in the fact that they then couldn't be the critics that they believe they should be at all times.

We want all Yukoners to benefit from whatever direction we go with our legislation. We want people to be in the tent, not out of the tent. This is how we work. We are inclusive, Mr. Speaker.

Members on the committee can dissent if they do not agree with the majority of the committee. They are not going to be muzzled. We have not asked them to sign an oath of silence, so they are going to be able to speak their mind, regardless of what happened, so it is not a matter of muzzling what they would like to do.

Mr. Speaker, all summer and fall, this government has tried to get the opposition, at least in the interim, to come forward, sit down with us and review the names that were coming forward for the various boards. We were under extreme pressure to have all the boards up to a number so that they could work and function, and that was the reason why we wanted them to be part of it. We did not have a policy in place at that time, but we felt it was very important. We believe in the inclusiveness of everyone, so that we wanted them to at least be part of the interim approach. The members opposite chose not to, because, as we have mentioned earlier, when you have the part-time MLA syndrome, you are never in town, so you cannot really sit down with the government that was operating throughout the summer.

The Member for Kluane - once again, as I shared earlier, I made the comment that it was on June 19 that the member opposite was supporting the all-party committee. The member opposite could not wait until we got this in place. Now we have it in place, and now the member opposite is finding all kinds of reasons why it should not work.

The Member for Kluane opposite talked about no rural representation, that we do not represent the rural areas. Here we want to include the rural MLAs as part of the committee, and they are choosing not to. They do not want to be part of the decision-making. We are asking them to be partners in the future of the Yukon, Mr. Speaker, and the Member for Kluane is saying, "No way. We don't want to be part of that."

As well, the Member for Kluane talked about wasted Monday, wasted Tuesday, and he even talked about wasted Wednesday. Yet they have a motion that they're going to be discussing tomorrow. It's their motion, and he's calling it wasted Wednesday. So why are we bringing forth a motion, Mr. Speaker, that is going to be a wasted discussion? It was their motion. It's theirs alone. I'm baffled by this.

They are the ones who are talking about wasted times, and they once again reinforce it. At least Monday and Tuesday were wasted not because of what we said regarding the motions, Mr. Speaker, but what the opposition said - that they didn't want things to happen. They didn't want democracy to take place. They wanted to waste the number of times and energy and dollars that it costs to run the Legislature.

So, Mr. Speaker, it's important that we work together.

The lack of support I hear from the other side of the Legislature is very disturbing to me and Yukoners, Mr. Speaker. We are the first government, the first Liberal government, to actually do what we said we would do on this issue. Both the NDP and the Yukon Party have talked about setting up an all-party committee. They have complained about it when in opposition, they had promised it once in power, but they have done nothing - nothing. It really looks to me like they still want to do nothing. They never really were interested in this committee. It just sounded politically correct.

I suppose it's to say they supported. But now, when it comes down to putting your money where your mouth is, they find excuses, Mr. Speaker - one excuse after another. Let's just get this thing off the ground. Let's get going. Let's represent Yukoners as Yukoners want us to represent them.

Mr. Speaker, I have a copy of the NDP's 1996 throne speech, where they said that they would make government better, by working with opposition parties on board and committee appointments.

In four years, Mr. Speaker, that government did absolutely nothing. In less than six months, Mr. Speaker, we have put forward a motion for an all-party committee.

Mr. Speaker, in 1992 the Yukon Party - oh, the Yukon Party, Mr. Speaker, they're gone -

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Speaker: Order please. Order.

Withdrawal of remark

Hon. Mr. Roberts: I apologize, Mr. Speaker, I withdraw that term.

Some Hon. Member: Point of order.

Point of order

Speaker: Member for Ross River-Southern Lakes, on a point of order.

Mr. Keenan: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite knows that he can show all the emotion he wants, but Mr. Speaker, he is not to report on the absence, or the non-absence, of someone in this House. So I'd ask, Mr. Speaker, that he withdraw that remark.

Speaker's statement

Speaker: That's true. He has withdrawn it. The Minister of Health and Social Services has withdrawn that comment.

Continue please.

Hon. Mr. Roberts: Mr. Speaker, on June 20 of this year, the former leader of the NDP, Mr. Trevor Harding, stated in the House that he had spoken to the Yukon Party and they were ready to cooperate, and participate on this initiative. It now appears that they aren't ready to participate at all.

In fact, Mr. Speaker, we asked both the NDP and the Yukon Party to participate in making appointments to boards earlier this year, as I've just mentioned.

Do you know what they said, Mr. Speaker? They refused to participate. They were on holidays. They didn't have time.

In fact, Mr. Speaker, one of the excuses they gave to us when we asked them to participate in the recommendation of a board member to the Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board -

Some Hon. Member: Point of order.

Point of order

Speaker: The Member for Watson Lake, on a point of order.

Mr. Fentie: Pursuant to Standing Order 19(1)(h) "imputes false or unavowed motives to another member", this member has just stated that we did not want to meet, because we were on holidays.

I can categorically state to this House that we told the members of the Liberal benches that we're not going to participate on an all-party committee until they revoke the partisan appointments they have already been making.

The first order of business here by this government, if they're so keen to have cooperation on an all-party committee, would have been to deal with this immediately, about April 18. They became government on April 17 of this year. We would not participate because they had already been making partisan appointments in a manner that is simply not acceptable to this Legislature or to the opposition.

Speaker: Member for Whitehorse Centre, on the point of order.

Mr. McLarnon: We were clearly told by others, as well, that they were on holidays, so this is a dispute between members.

Speaker's ruling

Speaker: I am inclined to think that this is simply a dispute between members. I do not see it falling within 19(1)(h), and with that I would ask the minister to continue.

Hon. Mr. Roberts: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

One of the important parts of democracy, Mr. Speaker, is that one must listen. This is very difficult for some people, I know. Throughout the year, there is a need for quorum in all boards, and this is why we approached the members opposite in goodwill, to ensure that they were part of the process. As I said earlier, they refused to take part. We sent them letters; we got letters back. They came up with all kinds of reasons why they did not want to take part. One of the excuses they gave to us, when we asked them to participate in the recommendation of a board member to the Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board, was that they felt there was no provision in the act for this type of participation.

Mr. Speaker, we were asking for their input. The whole idea is to review what good Yukoners can do for us, and we wanted the rural input because we value their judgement in many things.

It is very interesting, because the NDP did not take that position when they were in government and asked for input from the opposition members in 1997. So we were just following the good gesture that the NDP had issued to the Liberals at those times, when they asked the opposition parties about the chair of the Workers' Compensation Board, and we, as a party, gave our input.

We were returning the favour, Mr. Speaker. It wasn't something new and novel, as the NDP said it was this summer. It was something they did in 1997.

Yukoners have asked for this committee, Mr. Speaker. This government made a commitment to Yukoners to have a meaningful all-party process. That is what we have proposed. We have put forward a good motion, one that Yukoners can have confidence in; a motion that meets the objectives and goals that have been raised previously by the opposition parties, and in fact exceeds those objectives.

If the members opposite had any desire to really make an all-party committee come to life - to finally be implemented - they would show their support for this motion. Let's move forward, Mr. Speaker. We want to work with the opposition.

Thank you.

Speaker: Are you prepared for the question?

Some Hon. Members: Division.


Speaker: Division has been called.


Speaker: Mr. Clerk, please poll the House.

Hon. Ms. Duncan: Agree.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:Agree.

Hon. Mr. Jim: Agree.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Agree.

Hon. Mr. Roberts: Agree.

Hon. Ms. Buckway: Agree.

Ms. Tucker: Agree.

Mr. McLarnon: Agree.

Mr. Kent: Agree.

Mr. Fairclough: Disagree.

Mr. Fentie: Disagree.

Mr. Keenan: Disagree.

Mr. McRobb: Disagree.

Ms. Netro: Disagree.

Mr. Jenkins: Disagree.

Clerk: Mr. Speaker, the results are nine yea, six nay.

Speaker: The yeas have it. I declare the motion carried.

Motion No. 2 agreed to


Bill No. 23: Second Reading

Clerk: Second reading, Bill No. 23, standing in the name of the hon. Mrs. Edelman.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman:I rise at second reading for the Yukon Arts Act. The arts program currently operates under the authority of the Yukon Recreation Act. This new legislation -

Speaker: Order please. I ask the minister to move the motion.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Speaker, I apologize. I move that Bill No. 23, entitled Arts Act, be now read a second time.

Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Tourism that Bill No. 23, entitled Arts Act, be now read a second time.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: It's like déjà vu. I rise at second reading for the Yukon Arts Act. The arts program currently operates under the authority of the Yukon Recreation Act. This new legislation provides an updated foundation for the arts program that reflects the growth and development of the Yukon arts sector.

This legislation also states symbolically our support and appreciation for the arts. We now recognize how the arts contribute to the social, economic and cultural health of the Yukon. The act creates an Arts Advisory Council. The council will provide policy and program advice to the minister. It will also formalize the authority for programming as required by the arts policy and action plan. The Yukon arts policy and action plan was approved by government in 1997. The arts policy and action plan underwent considerable consultation, including 55 meetings and 21 public meetings. The arts policy contains a recommendation to create the Arts Act to enshrine, in legislation, our commitment to this important sector.

Since the arts policy was ratified in 1997, there has been continuous dialogue between government and the arts sector about this legislation.

While this exercise is largely a housekeeping activity, it has the symbolic function of enshrining the aspirations of the Yukon arts sector into legislation.

Mr. Speaker, I look forward to positive support from all members of the Legislature and for quick passage of this act.

Mr. McRobb: I have a number of questions for the minister on the Arts Act.

During the NDP administration, arts groups praised the government for having the highest levels of funding in the country. Now that we know the minister has admitted, in consultation with arts groups, that the CDF, TMF and TIF - and I'll spell those out for listeners and readers who aren't familiar with those acronyms. That's the community development fund, the tourism marketing fund and training investment fund. Anyway, now that she has consulted with the arts groups on those funds and programs that they will be discontinuing, how will these funding vehicles be replaced?

That's one question, Mr. Speaker.

How will it be administered is another question. Has the application process been determined? How much money will be allocated to this fund? When will it be implemented?

Speaking of consultation with arts groups, at the October 24 meeting of the round table on culture and the economy, a number of recommendations were made by participants in response to the question, "What capital infrastructure is required to support the growth of the cultural economy?" One of the recommendations was that there needs to be long-range planning and policy to address investment in the cultural community. How will this legislation address that need?

The round table also recommended that there should be a study commissioned by government to examine current cultural economic infrastructure needs. Will that take place, and when? As part of long-term planning, the round table recommended the communities should consider the advantages of creating a cultural district in the City of Whitehorse to focus investment in cultural and heritage-related projects that can support cultural tourism growth. The waterfront, Main St. and Wood St. were all noted as examples of areas that might be suited for designation as part of a cultural district. I know, for example, there was great enthusiasm engendered by this summer's street festival that utilized these locations. Would such initiatives be supported in the future, and how?

Another recommendation that came forward was the potential for cultural economic growth in Dawson, Haines Junction and other communities and how they should be considered in infrastructure planning. Will that be pursued?

On a constituency level, Mr. Speaker, I am aware of a number of concerns of people in Haines Junction that their community and the role of the convention centre was not sufficiently highlighted in what the department is doing. I would like the minister to give them some assurance to satisfy those concerns.

Air access to the Yukon is a cultural infrastructure issue. The round table supports the efforts of the Yukon tourism marketing partnership - TIA, Yukon Convention Bureau and others - to resolve their issues related to air prices and service levels.

Air access issues should include Edmonton and circumpolar regions. But what about the infrastructure in Yukon communities, Mr. Speaker? We, when in government, expanded the Whitehorse Airport, extended the runways to accommodate larger aircraft in direct flights from Europe and elsewhere.

Mr. Speaker, what is this government doing for rural Yukon? Are we going to see paved runways at some airports? Certainly the capacity is there for increased flights. How will this government address that concern?

What is the government's position with respect to public/private partnerships in the cultural sector? From those in the cultural sector who participated in the consultation on the Yukon arts policy and action plan, a recommendation came forward to remove arts funding authority from the Recreation Act and establish it independently under its own arts act. This was a key recommendation arising from the consultation.

The feeling was that this would lend the activities of the arts community a credibility that wasn't immediately apparent when delivered under a recreational authority. Will that change be taking place?

What is the time frame for drafting and consultation on companion regulations to this act? Will they receive widespread public consultation?

Could the minister expand on the form of public consultation? Because we've seen a great variance in what consultation means from this Liberal government - from sending a group a letter, to a public meeting. Just how do they intend to carry out this consultation? How much notice will they provide to the public?

How will the government work to further develop arts education opportunities for young people and professional artists in both the school system and the community? Will the M.A.D. program at Wood Street be maintained?

Mr. Speaker, I see the minister throwing her hands in the air. I hope to get a more substantial response when she gets up. I hope she's able to provide some information to satisfy these questions from us in the official opposition and the members of the public.

In communities such as Mayo and Haines Junction, it is primarily through the initiatives of individual teachers that music training is provided. How will their efforts be systematically supported? How will the government support First Nation artists' access to education, funding and exposure?

I noticed that, in the draft arts policy, there was mention of government, the private sector and the not-for-profit arts community working together to achieve efficiencies and avoid overlap within the sector, and that the Government of Yukon will work with stakeholders to streamline arts administration functions and will encourage the elimination or rationalization of areas of overlap and duplication. Well, that's quite the pronouncement, Mr. Speaker, but, given that "rationalization" is the code word for cuts, how will the government determine which organizations will be cut?

The draft policy document also mentions that government must strive to avoid overlap and eliminate duplication within its offices and agencies, and that the Government of Yukon will work to centralize arts funding and policy advisory functions to ensure the efficient coordination of planning and financial resources. Well, Mr. Speaker, does that mean that public arm's-length bodies that have provided an adversary function on these matters to government will be eliminated? Just what does it mean?

The policy document also directs the arts branch and the Arts Advisory Council to review funding program criteria on a biannual basis to ensure the efficient use of resources and to meet the evolving needs of artists and arts organizations.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, given the fact that arts organizations have to meet funding application deadlines and those targets keep moving, how will having a biannual review help arts groups achieve funding application deadlines and achieve timely annual budgeting? I look forward to answers to these questions and others from the minister.

Thank you.

Mr. Jenkins: Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of Bill 23, the Arts Act. The arts community is a growing part of the Yukon society, and, in fact, we have nurtured many, many artists from all different facets of the arts society who have grown to become recognized, not just nationally but internationally. That is, in part, due to the tributes, recognition and funding received here in the Yukon.

Mr. Speaker, I do have a concern, and that is that, previously, the administrative function was set up under Community and Transportation Service. Now we have a specific act, and it is going to result in additional administration, and I am concerned that there are additional administration costs and costs to government for operating this same arts sector with no increase in the budget. I do not want to see the money flowing to the administrative side of government which oversees this new initiative when it could do a lot more good and benefit a lot more Yukoners if the funds that were allocated would flow directly through to the end recipients, Mr. Speaker.

If you look at this in light of what has transpired with many government agencies and departments, it appears that these departments become the major consumer of the funds allocated for that specific area of the budget, and, at the end of the day, our arts community, which has, by and large, been reasonably well-funded in comparison to the rest of Canada, will go off the rails insofar as the funding they receive. I don't want to see that.

So, I am seeking the minister's approval of a position that the funding levels for administration remain the same, indexed only for inflation, and that we don't just use this new act as another opportunity to structure a whole new bureaucracy within government. I don't see that benefiting Yukon.

The act itself has gone through a lot of vetting in the arts community. There has been a lot of input from quite a number of groups. That has come out in the presentation of this act that we have before us. It appears to be well-rounded and well-founded. I am sure that, at the end of the day, if properly administered at no additional cost, it will serve the purpose that it's intended to serve.

Speaker: If the member now speaks, she will close debate. Does any other member wish to be heard?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Speaker, I think I'm going to speak first to the points raised by the Member for Kluane.

Firstly, the additional administrative costs - if the new board decides that they want to have additional members - and they may want to - then the act provides for a maximum number of people who can sit on this board. If the board decides that they want the maximum number of individuals to sit on this board, then the department is projecting that the additional cost will be around $3,000 per year, and that will be for per diems. The funding levels for the administration should stay somewhat the same. I will get further clarification for the member opposite during Committee of the Whole.

The member opposite is quite correct. This act comes directly out of the arts policy, which was started under the Yukon Party, the original arts policy, and endorsed by his party when it was actually brought forward by the NDP. So, this is just a continuation of many years of work and is indeed just a housekeeping matter.

As for the comments from the Member for Kluane, which were quite interesting because, to me, these were comments that would be best brought forward during a budget debate, during the general debate during the budget. Most of his comments had absolutely nothing to do with this act. However, because he wants to waste his questions in this way, instead of using them in Question Period - and, I suspect, considering that they were already recycling their questions during Question Period today, he will be in desperate need of a question further along the line - I will answer some of his questions that have absolutely nothing to do with the Arts Act.

The first question is: how will this government replace CDF, TIF and TMF? The first point to make is that this government has not said that we will be terminating those programs. What we're saying is that we're going to the groups and saying to them, "We know that you have had problems with these funding mechanisms. How best can we fund you in the future?"

Those are ongoing discussions, and they're happening through a number of different avenues. One of those would be the ARTSnetconsultation process, which is also funded through the department. That is going out on the worldwide web, specifically to members within the arts community in the Yukon, and asking them about how they think the spending mechanisms should be developed.

The second question, which actually was somewhat related to the act: how will the applications be administered? They'll be administered the same way they were under YRAC; that's part of what the act says.

Then, we're off into something totally different again. He was speaking about an infrastructure study that the member opposite feels is necessary. Certainly, it has not been brought forward to me by any other member, except by the member opposite, and he was wondering how this infrastructure study should be funded. Of course, there has been no commitment on the part of this government to even do a study on infrastructure, and indeed, there was just a rather large study finished on education and the arts, and that study we're still working through. I would imagine that the issue around infrastructure for the arts will be part of the funding mechanism discussions that we will be having with various groups throughout the Yukon.

Then - and this one was really off topic - the member opposite asked about Streetscape, and whether or not there will be future support from this government for Streetscape. And this is interesting; there have been no applications to the department or to anywhere in government for funding of a future Streetscape in Whitehorse. Not that this is at all related to the Arts Act - it is not. So when an application comes forward, then it will certainly be examined.

The member opposite brings up concerns around the Kluane tourism plan, which is just now completed, and I invite him to share with my department and me what specific concerns he has about the tourism plan that has just been completed in Kluane. He has sent correspondence before, and we've certainly answered that correspondence. If he has further specific concerns, I invite him to share that with me, and I will be happy to pass that on to the department, and we will do what we can to remedy any situation - real and imagined - from the members opposite.

The next question, which was an absolute stretch, was he wanted to know about paved runways - paved runways that somehow relate to the Arts Act. Interesting question. Perhaps he might wait and ask that during Question Period - although he has wasted the question now, because he has certainly alerted the member opposite that this is an important issue to him. Of course, it is an important issue to many of us in the territory, but he may want to ask the Minister of Community and Transportation Services about that issue. That is certainly far more related to her portfolio than to mine, remembering, of course, that we are talking about the Arts Act.

Then he had a question about cultural P3s, and the member opposite is very aware of the fact that we are in a public/private partnership, looking at an electrics package for the Yukon Territory. So, yes, we are already interested in public/private partnerships. We are in one. Of course, this was, once again, not at all related to the Arts Act.

The next question, and this one was related to the Arts Act, was about the regulations and when they come into effect. We are looking at early spring on that. The act comes into effect, of course, as soon as it is passed. Consultation will be similar to the ones that we had prior to the tabling of this act, and will again, once more, be through the Arts Act and one-on-one meetings with various arts groups.

Now, the next question - not related, of course, to the Arts Act - was about arts in education and how it is supported by this government. For the member opposite's information, I have met with the partners in education relating to arts in education, and they gave a wonderful presentation that they have also given to the Education Act review and I understand will be given at some point in the near future to the Minister of Education. It is a very interesting proposal that they had.

If the member opposite has any relevant questions on the Arts Act between now and Committee of the Whole, I would be happy to address them during Committee of the Whole. He could probably address those questions to me in writing.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Motion for second reading of Bill No. 23 agreed to

Bill No. 21: Second Reading

Clerk: Second reading, Bill No. 21, standing in the name of the hon. Ms. Buckway.

Hon. Ms. Buckway: I move that Bill No. 21, entitled Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act (2000), be now read a second time.

Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Justice that Bill No. 21, entitled Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act (2000), be now read a second time.

Hon. Ms. Buckway: The proposed amendments in this bill will correct non-substantive errors in the Yukon statutes that have come to the attention of the Department of Justice since the last Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act in 1998. The effect of these amendments will be to express what the original legislation was intended to do and would express, but for typographical or other errors or omissions of a minor nature.

Ms. Netro: We have examined the changes in this legislation, and we have no difficulties in supporting this bill on behalf of the official opposition.

Mr. Fairclough: Just a point of clarification with the minister opposite. On page 1, under section 1 - they're both in French, even the English side. Is this a correction that will take place? We are passing this without really understanding what the words are there under (b). I was wondering whether we would have this corrected before we pass this bill in second reading.

Hon. Ms. Buckway: If I can clarify this for the member opposite.

Speaker: Order. Just give me a second here, please.

If the member speaks, she will now close debate. I don't think that's the intent.

If the member speaks now, she will close debate. Does any other member wish to be heard?

Hon. Ms. Buckway: Yes, Mr. Speaker, we can go through this in Committee of the Whole, but the section that the Member for Mayo-Tatchun was referring to was merely to remove an extra paragraph that was unintentionally added to the French text. That was all.

Motion for second reading of Bill No. 21 agreed to

Bill No. 25: Second Reading

Clerk: Second reading, Bill No. 25, standing in the name of the hon. Ms. Buckway.

Hon. Ms. Buckway: Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 25, entitled An Act to Amend the Interpretation Act, be now read a second time.

Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Minister of Justice that Bill No. 25, entitled An Act to Amend the Interpretation Act, be now read a second time.

Hon. Ms. Buckway: I am pleased to say that the proposed amendments to the act clearly define what hours a minister may delegate and to whom. They just as clearly exclude from delegation those powers that were intended to be exercised only by a minister personally.

These amendments will also facilitate the devolution process by adopting the wording of the federal Interpretation Act. This is the act on which the devolution acts were originally drafted and designed to operate. The new definitions for "minister" and "department" reflect current terminology and provide greater certainty to the delegation process. An amendment to the definition of "bank" will reflect changes in the definition of "banks" at the federal level.

Another amendment to the definition of "province" will recognize the birth of Nunavut.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, in addition to recognizing changes in the banking industry and welcoming Nunavut into our legislative scheme, these amendments to the Interpretation Act will contribute to the more orderly and efficient administration of government. They will eliminate the existing confusion surrounding the authority and scope of ministerial delegation of powers and replace it with a clearly defined process that is enshrined in Yukon law.

Ms. Netro: Mr. Speaker, this bill deals with administrative matters and I rise to support it on behalf of the official opposition.

Mr. Jenkins: I have no points to raise at this time, Mr. Speaker. In general, our party is in support of this bill, but I would ask the minister to get a thorough briefing on the various aspects of the bill at the onset, so that we can explore that in the Committee debate that I'm sure will ensue.

Speaker: If the member now speaks, she will close debate. Does any other member wish to be heard?

Hon. Ms. Buckway: I look forward to going through this bill line by line, in Committee of the Whole, in as much detail as the members opposite wish.

Motion for second reading of Bill No. 25 agreed to

Bill No. 26: Second Reading

Clerk: Second reading, Bill No. 26, standing in the name of the hon. Ms. Buckway.

Hon. Ms. Buckway: Mr. Speaker, I move

THAT Bill No. 26, entitled Enforcement of Canadian Judgements and Decrees Act, be now read a second time.

Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Justice that Bill No. 26, entitled Enforcement of Canadian Judgements and Decrees Act, be now read a second time.

Hon. Ms. Buckway: Due to the technical nature of this bill and the accompanying Bill. No. 27, dealing with the Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act, it might be useful to provide the House with a bit of background on uniform law and its development.

About 80 years ago, a number of provincial governments acted on a Canadian Bar Association recommendation to promote the uniformity of legislation throughout the country. The first meeting of provincially appointed independent commissioners took place in 1918, and out of that emerged the Uniform Law Conference of Canada. The Conference, as it's called, is devoted to harmonizing Canadian statute law, where it believes that harmonizing would be beneficial.

It does so by preparing statutes that are models of uniformity, to be enacted by provincial or territorial governments, or, in some cases, by the federal government. In fact, much of our commercial, family and enforcement of judgements law is uniform in nature. Examples include the Sale of Goods Act, the Personal Property Security Act, the Vital Statistics Act, and the Change of Name Act, to name a few.

Two other examples of uniform law before this Legislature are the Electronic Evidence Act and the Electronic Commerce Act. So you can see that the Conference has been busy.

In addition, the Conference promotes particular provisions for statutes, publishes guides to uniform legal procedure, and adopts proposals for changes to federal legislation, such as the Criminal Code.

The bill that is before you fits into the first category: a complete, uniform statute on a very technical area of law. The Conference first drafted this type of legislation in 1991 to harmonize the many rules governing proceedings between courts in different jurisdictions.

One example could be proceedings that might involve a Yukon court and its counterpart in British Columbia, or perhaps a court in another country. This legislation was drafted at the request of those ministers of Justice and Attorneys General who met in 1990 to consider a proposal by the B.C. Law Reform Commission.

In short, to create a uniform statute dealing with enforcement of judgements and decrees from one jurisdiction to another.

Mr. Speaker, the basic principle of the proposed Enforcement of Canadian Judgement and Decrees Act is to ensure that the courts of a province or territory uphold and enforce court orders or judgements made by the courts in another jurisdiction. The Enforcement of Canadian Judgements and Decrees Act contains the legal framework for the establishment of uniform legislation as developed by the Uniform Law Conference. The act is intended to ensure standard practices of enforcement of judgements in all jurisdictions. It is also intended to allow for speedier enforcement of judgements or court orders, should the parties live in separate jurisdictions, and it has been adopted by several other jurisdictions.

Mr. Speaker, under present reciprocal enforcement of judgement laws, a person obtaining a judgement in one province or territory could not have that judgement enforced in another province or territory, unless that second province or territory had adopted its own reciprocal enforcement of judgements act. The Enforcement of Canadian Judgements and Decrees Act will allow a litigant who has taken a judgement in another jurisdiction to enforce that judgement in the Yukon, whether or not a similar act has been adopted in the other jurisdiction.

Furthermore, the common law and reciprocal enforcement of judgements acts are preoccupied with the question of whether the judgement is final and whether the court that gave the judgement had the jurisdiction to do so in the first place. Often a defendant would question the jurisdiction of the original court. If a judgement is flawed because of some defect in the jurisdiction or process of the body which gave it, the approach of the Enforcement of Canadian Judgements and Decrees Act is to regard correction of the flaw as a matter to be dealt with in the original jurisdiction.

Mr. Speaker, another important feature of this proposed Enforcement of Canadian Judgements and Decrees Act is that it also provides a mechanism for the enforcement of non-money judgements. Apart from legislation that addresses a particular type of order, there is no statutory scheme or common-law principle that permits the enforcement in one province of a non-money judgement made in a different province.

This is in sharp contrast to the situation that prevails with respect to money judgements, which have a long history of enforceability between provinces and states, both under statute and at common law. The proposed Enforcement of Canadian Judgements and Decrees Act provides a rational statutory basis for the enforcement of non-money judgements between the Canadian provinces and territories. The adoption of this legislation will ensure that enforcement of judgements is carried out in a more efficient and standardized manner.

Ms. Netro: Mr. Speaker, we are in support of this legislation to enable judgements to be enforced reciprocally.

Mr. Jenkins: Mr. Speaker, unlike the Minister of Justice, I don't pretend to have a thorough understanding of the contents of this act. There is a very, very good Web site that explains in detail a lot of the areas that we have before us. I have spent quite a bit of time looking at this area, but still I will have a few questions.

But in general, we support the intent and direction that we are taking with respect to this act. The reciprocal enforcement of judgements is very, very beneficial. Unfortunately, a lot of them fall into the area of family law and are totally unfunded through the legal aid system, although that is being somewhat addressed, Mr. Speaker. So, one plays into the other. If we add this layer of responsibility, we're also going to add a cost, which I don't have any argument with, but it should be properly addressed at the same time.

Speaker: If the member now speaks, she will close debate. Does any other member wish to be heard?

Hon. Ms. Buckway: I look forward to going through this bill line by line in Committee of the Whole in as much detail as the members opposite wish.

Motion for second reading of Bill No. 26 agreed to

Bill No. 27: Second Reading

Clerk: Second reading, Bill No. 27, standing in the name of the hon. Ms. Buckway.

Hon. Ms. Buckway: I move that Bill No. 27, entitled the Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act, be now read a second time.

Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Justice that Bill No. 27 entitled the Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act be now read a second time.

Hon. Ms. Buckway: This proposed act is another initiative within the uniform law framework, as described earlier in this House. The framework has been set out under the Uniform Law Cabinet onference of Canada. The proposed Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act has four main purposes. The first is to replace the widely different jurisdictional rules currently used in Canadian courts with a uniform set of standards for determining jurisdiction. The second is to bring Canadian jurisdictional rules into line with the principles laid down by the Supreme Court of Canada in cases dating back to 1990. The third is to provide an essential complement to the rule of nation-wide enforceability of judgements in the uniform Enforcement of Canadian Judgements and Decrees Act, which has already been tabled. The fourth is to provide, for the first time, a mechanism by which Canadian superior courts such as the Yukon Supreme Court can transfer litigation to a more appropriate forum, in or out of Canada, if the receiving court accepts such a transfer.

To achieve the first three purposes, the statute puts these rules into express form, rather than leaving them implicit in the common-law rules of court. It establishes defined connections between the territorial jurisdiction of the particular court or the legal system under which it operates and the party to the proceeding or the facts on which the proceeding is based. That's why the statute uses the term "territorial competence" to make this concept clear.

To achieve the fourth purpose, the power to transfer a proceeding becomes an important statutory tool that the Yukon Supreme Court can use to decide if a proceeding should more appropriately be heard elsewhere.

Mr. Speaker, this statute is designed to make the court system work more efficiently. It discourages individuals from starting an action in a different jurisdiction because that jurisdiction may have a tendency to make higher awards, and it removes any incentive to evade court action by moving to another jurisdiction.

This statute is also companion legislation to the Enforcement of Canadian Judgements Act.

Finally, it is non-controversial legislation, and the number of cases that it would affect is expected, from past experience, to be very small.

Mr. Speaker, I urge members to support passage of this statute. It promotes uniformity throughout the country in a very technical area where uniformity is possible and advantageous. Most importantly, it adds to the effectiveness of our courts.

Ms. Netro: Mr. Speaker, the principle of clarity and consistency is important, and I am pleased to support, on behalf of the official opposition, this legislation that's before us.

Mr. Jenkins: I rise in support of the act that we have before us, Mr. Speaker. I will have some questions in line-by-line debate and will deal with them accordingly.

Speaker: If the member now speaks, she will close debate. Does any other member wish to be heard?

Hon. Ms. Buckway: As with the other bills, I look forward to going through this one line by line with the members opposite in Committee of the Whole.

Motion for second reading of Bill No. 27 agreed to

Ms. Tucker: Mr. Speaker, I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.

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

Motion agreed to

Speaker leaves the Chair


Chair: I now call Committee of the Whole to order. In order to allow the minister to have technical advice, we will take a 10-minute break.



Chair: I now call Committee of the Whole to order.

Ms. Tucker: Mr. Chair, I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.

Motion agreed to

Speaker resumes the Chair

Speaker: I will now call the House to order.

May the House have a report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole?

Mr. McLarnon: Mr. Speaker, the Committee convened. The first act of the Committee was to ask for the return of the Speaker to the Chair.

Speaker: You have heard the report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?

Some Hon. Members: Agreed.

Speaker: I declare the report carried.

Ms. Tucker: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now adjourn.

Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. government House leader that the House do now adjourn.

Motion agreed to

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

The House adjourned at 5:30 p.m.

The following Sessional Paper was tabled October 31, 2000:


Auditor General: Report on the Consolidated Financial Statements of the Government of the Yukon Territory for the year ended March 31, 2000

(Speaker Schneider)