Thursday, October 18, 2001 - 1:00 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. We will proceed at this time with prayers.
INTRODUCTION OF PAGES
Speaker: It gives me great pleasure to announce that the following students will be serving the House as legislative pages for the 2001 fall sitting. They are Amy Davignon, Alyshia Kitchen, Lucas Kitchen and Calista Morrison from Vanier Catholic Secondary School; and Allison Armstrong, Lauren Chapman, Tobias Toleman and Natalie Taylor from Porter Creek Secondary School.
Today we have with us Alyshia Kitchen and Amy Davignon from Vanier Catholic Secondary School.
I would ask the members to welcome them to the House at this time.
Speaker: Before proceeding with the Order Paper, the Chair wishes to note for the records of the House that the Member for Riverside has notified the Speaker, the Premier and all House leaders in writing that, effective upon his appointment to Cabinet on June 12, 2001, he resigned from his position as Deputy Chair of the Committee of the Whole.
Motion No. 139
Mr. McLachlan: Mr. Speaker, I move that Cynthia Tucker, Member for Mount Lorne, be appointed as the Deputy Chair of the Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the government House leader that Cynthia Tucker, Member for Mount Lorne, be appointed Deputy Chair of Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Changes to Order Paper
Speaker: The Chair also wishes to inform the House of changes that have been made to the Order Paper. The first change is being made due to the marriage that took place this summer between the Member for Vuntut Gwitchin and Mr. Ernie Peter. I am sure all members will join the Chair in congratulating them and offering our best wishes.
Speaker: The change being made to the Order Paper on the request of the Member for Vuntut Gwitchin is that where she has been previously identified as Ms. Netro, she should now be identified as Mrs. Peter.
The second change is being made due to the appointment of the Member for Riverside as a minister. Motions No. 20, 48, 58, 113 and 124 standing in his name under motions other than government motions have been removed from the Order Paper.
Speaker: We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.
In recognition of the victims, rescuers and volunteers involved in events of September 11
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of all members of the Legislature, on behalf of all Yukoners, to pay tribute to the thousands of innocent victims who lost their lives as a result of the tragic events of September 11, a day that changed the world forever.
I would also like to pay tribute to the police officers, firefighters and other volunteers who responded to the events of this day, paying no heed to the danger they themselves were facing. They cared only about the safety of others and, in the end, many of them made the ultimate sacrifice.
Mr. Speaker, the victims of these cowardly acts of terror extend far beyond those who were on the hijacked aircraft or in the buildings that were targeted. It is estimated that approximately 15,000 children lost one or both parents as a result of these attacks.
"Incomprehensible" is the word that immediately jumps to mind. How could human beings do this to each other? How could people exhibit so much hate that they would be willing to take their own lives and the lives of thousands of innocent people?
In the days following this tragedy and again today, Yukoners join other people all over the world in grief and in mourning.
Mixed with the sorrow are also feelings of relief - relief that those Yukoners who were in New York and Washington at the times of the attacks came home safely.
Mr. Speaker, while we who live in this part of the world may be isolated from the cities of the south, we are not immune. This was never more apparent than on September 11, when the effect of these unspeakable acts of terrorism were felt here in Whitehorse.
No buildings were destroyed; no lives were lost in Whitehorse, and the Korean Airlines jets that were diverted here landed safely.
The event served as a wake-up call and a reminder that we, too, have a role to play in fighting terrorism.
Many dedicated Yukoners also risk life and limb by placing themselves directly in harm's way for the express purpose of ensuring the safety of others.
On behalf of all Yukoners, I would like to offer my sincerest thanks, and we commend the RCMP, firefighters, emergency measures personnel and other volunteers who responded to this emergency. Some of the representatives of these organizations have joined us in the gallery today. As always, crisis has a way of bringing out the very best in some people and you rose to the occasion.
Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, crisis also has a tendency to bring out the very worst in others. Individuals in this country who have lashed out at Muslims and Hindus, committing crimes of hate against people of other races and religions, unwittingly become accomplices in these terrible acts of terrorism. Terrorists do not exist in only one country. It is a global phenomenon that does not respect race, colour or religion. These people move from country to country. The very freedoms and privileges that citizens of democratic societies everywhere take for granted are now being used against us.
Therefore, we must be united to defeat our common enemy, international terrorism. On that note, I would ask all Yukoners to join with me today in wishing Godspeed to the many brave men and women of our armed forces who set out this morning from Halifax with the task of fighting international terrorism.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask all members of the Legislature and members of the gallery to please stand and observe a moment of silence for all those who lost their lives and the loved ones they left behind on September 11.
Moment of silence observed
Speaker: If there are no further tributes, we will continue to introduction of visitors.
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Hon. Ms. Duncan: I would like members to join with me in welcoming to the gallery today, as I mentioned in my tribute: members of the RCMP; members of the firefighting forces in the Yukon elected councillor Dave Austin, from the City of Whitehorse; His Worship, Mayor Ernie Bourassa; our Administrator, Geraldine Van Bibber; and John Burdek, the chairperson of the Ta'an Kwach'an Council.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Speaker: Are there any further introductions of visitors?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Speaker: Under tabling returns and documents, I have for tabling: the interim report of the Electoral District Boundaries Commission, dated August 29, 2001, which is submitted pursuant to section 415 of the Elections Act; the Conflict of Interest Commission annual report for the period covering July 2000 to July 2001; the 2000 annual report of the Yukon ombudsman and information and privacy commissioner; and a report of the Clerk of the Assembly made pursuant to subsection 39(6) of the Legislative Assembly Act.
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?
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill No. 6: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 6, entitled Fourth Appropriation Act, 2000-01 be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Premier that Bill No. 6, entitled Fourth Appropriation Act, 2000-01, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 6 agreed to
Speaker: Are there any further bills for introduction?
Bill No. 7: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 7, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 2001-02, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Premier that Bill No. 7, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 2001-02, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 7 agreed to
Speaker: Are there any further bills for introduction?
Bill No. 8: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, I moved that Bill No. 8, entitled First Appropriation Act, 2002-03, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Premier that Bill No. 8, entitled First Appropriation Act, 2002-03, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 8 agreed to
Speaker: Are there any further bills for introduction?
Bill No. 45: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 45, entitled An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (No. 4), be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Premier that Bill No. 45, entitled An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (No. 4), be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 45 agreed to
Speaker: Are there any notices of motion?
NOTICES OF MOTION
Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Speaker, I give notice of the following motion:
THAT the membership of the Standing Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges as established by Motion No. 22 of the First Session of the 30th Legislative Assembly and as amended by Motion No. 29 and Motion No. 87 of the Second Session of the 30th Legislative Assembly be further amended by
Speaker: Are there any further notices of motion?
Mr. Fentie: I give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that:
(1) the business of the Legislative Assembly anticipated for the current sitting can be properly conducted within 25 sitting days, even though consideration of a capital budget has been added to the traditional legislative agenda,
(2) it is essential that both the budgetary and legislative matters to be brought forward be given full and appropriate scrutiny by this House on behalf of the people of the Yukon,
(3) the official opposition is prepared to conclude its analysis of these matters within the 25-day period as laid out in Addendum 2 to the Standing Orders of the Yukon Legislative Assembly, and
THAT this House urges the Yukon Liberal government to conduct itself in an open, cooperative and forthcoming manner in responding to questions from opposition members, so that it will be possible to conclude the business at hand in a timely and effective manner, consistent with the spirit and the letter of Addendum 2.
Mr. Fairclough: I give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that:
(1) the people of the Yukon deserve the opportunity to express directly to the Finance minister the spending priorities that they would like the Government of Yukon to meet in each annual budget,
(2) the best way of ensuring that this opportunity exists is for the Finance minister personally to conduct a series of public meetings throughout the territory and to conduct meetings with representatives of First Nations, municipal governments, as well as with business and labour groups, non-governmental organizations and other interested parties; and
(3) the current Finance minister has either failed to conduct such meetings altogether or has failed to conduct them in a timely manner that will allow the priorities expressed by Yukon people and communities to be given proper consideration in the budget-setting process; and
THAT this House urges the Finance minister to make a commitment to all Yukon people that no further budgets for the fiscal year 2002-03 or any subsequent fiscal year will be tabled in this House until Yukon people and communities have had an opportunity to express their wishes and priorities directly to the minister.
Mr. McRobb: I give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that:
(1) the protection of our national public health care system is a matter of utmost importance to all Canadians;
(2) the Minister of Health and Social Services has recently speculated publicly about the Government of Yukon buying certain diagnostic services considered standard of care from a private sector provider without first ensuring that such services are available to Yukon people through publicly funded facilities;
(3) the minister decided unilaterally to pursue this private sector option even though funds to purchase this equipment had been previously voted by this Assembly; and
(4) the minister's decision, had he not changed his mind as a result of widespread protest by the public and the medical community, may well have compromised the integrity of the Yukon's public health care system and might have put the Government of Yukon in contravention of the Canada Health Act; and
THAT this House urges the Yukon Liberal government to direct the Minister of Health to engage in no further such forays into the realm of two-tiered health care, and further direct him to become familiar with the principles of the Canada Health Act and the requirements it imposes on provincial and territorial governments.
Speaker: As there are no further notices of motion, I will proceed.
Are there any statements by ministers?
This then brings us to Question Period.
Question re: School busing contract
Mr. Fairclough: I have a question for the Premier. When did the Premier first learn that a member of her caucus had attended a meeting with the unionized employees of a company that was in the process of bidding on a multimillion-dollar contract with the Government of the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Mr. Speaker, I do thank the member opposite for the question, but I would prefer to deal with the facts as they really are. The Member for Whitehorse West, as the member is alluding to, was just doing his job. He was speaking out to Yukoners. He was talking to people about how this government is looking for ways to create efficiencies within government.
Mr. Fairclough: Well, Mr. Speaker, I asked the Premier to answer this question because I'm referring to one of her caucus members.
Mr. Speaker, this is a very serious matter. The members know that it is completely unacceptable for a government MLA, especially one in such a responsible position, to get involved in the government tendering process in this way.
So, when the Premier first learned about this major error in judgement by one of her MLAs, what steps did she take to advise the member that his actions were not acceptable?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Mr. Speaker, again, I will emphasise that we are sticking to the facts. The member opposite is wrong. The Member for Whitehorse West asked some people whom he used to work with if they could think of any ways that school bus routes could be improved to help efficiencies in not only delivering our children to schools but to help the government out in creating an efficiency list.
The government has been, is and will continue to look for better, more efficient ways of doing business, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Speaker, my question was directed to the Premier, and I believe that this is a very serious matter in which she should be the one answering the questions.
What has the Premier done, or what is she doing now to ensure that the MLA's intervention did not compromise either the rights of unionized employees or the integrity of the government's public tendering process?
And I ask the Premier to answer that question.
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Mr. Speaker, I'll ask the member opposite again to just stick to the facts. The busing tender did not even go out until March. The member was talking to his former colleagues about busing routes, about how the government wants to work better, more efficiently.
So, Mr. Speaker, the member was simply doing his job, and the member opposite is simply wrong.
Question re: School busing contract
Mr. Fentie: Mr. Speaker, I have a follow-up question for the Premier, and it's obvious the members opposite have not grasped the seriousness of the situation. The Premier's colleague has just stated that the Member for Whitehorse West was merely doing his job. Is it the member's contention then that his job is to participate in a process that would have a large corporation's profit margin maintained on the backs of Yukon workers when they were asked to take a cut in pay? Is that what the member's saying?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Mr. Speaker, again, we're dealing strictly with the facts on this side of the House. The Member for Whitehorse West was simply doing his job. He was out doing what we all do as MLAs, Mr. Speaker; he was listening to Yukoners. He was talking to people about how this government is looking at ways to create efficiencies. That is the simple fact of the matter, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Fentie: Well, Mr. Speaker, I must take exception to that answer. The meeting consisted of a large corporation requesting that its workers take a cut in pay so that that large corporation - a very profitable one, I might add - could lower its tender. This is a serious matter. Not only do we have that at issue, but we have a member of the government opposite interfering, or what appears to be interference, in the tendering process of a government contract, stacking the odds against a small local company.
Will this Premier now take action to clear the air on this matter?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Yes, Mr. Speaker, again I would suggest to the member opposite that he is wrong and we are simply stating the facts. The Member for Whitehorse West clearly stated in the press that he did not politically interfere as is being suggested. He was merely talking to his former colleagues about bus routes and how to make the government work better in delivering our students to our schools.
Mr. Fentie: Mr. Speaker, this is extremely serious. Now, the Premier has an opportunity here to restore a shred of credibility to her government. Not only is this a member of the Premier's government, it happens to also be the Speaker of this Assembly, and if this meeting in fact did take place, this is entirely inappropriate for a Speaker of this Assembly.
Will the Premier now instruct the Minister of Justice to convene an inquiry into this matter so that we can clear the air and we can, in this House, be provided full disclosure? Yes or no?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: I will again mention to the member opposite that we are sticking strictly to the facts.
The busing tender did not go out until very early in March. The member was talking to his former colleagues about bus routes and how to make this government work better long before tenders even went out to the public, Mr. Speaker. The member opposite is very and simply wrong.
Question re: Drivers' licences as photo ID
Mr. Jenkins: I have a question today for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services. The tragic events of September 11 in the United States have dramatically changed the world in which we now live. No longer can we come and go as freely as we please.
Now, on September 11, I wrote to the minister to advise her that I had received complaints about the adequacy of Yukon drivers' licences as primary identification for Yukoners attempting to enter the United States, because our drivers' licences can be too easily counterfeited. Instead of addressing that concern, the minister accused me of spreading erroneous information to the public in order to create more anxiety. The minister stated that she had checked with all three Yukon/Alaska border crossings, which reported no trouble with our drivers' licences. Unfortunately, the minister doesn't realize that Yukoners also travel to the southern 48 and the trouble that some Yukoners experience when entering the United States through the Seatac International Airport in Seattle. That is where the trouble occurred.
Does the minister now recognize that there is a problem with Yukon drivers' licences as proof of primary photo identification, and what is she going to do about it?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: Any problems that Yukoners have experienced with drivers' licences are shared with people from Alaska, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Manitoba - all of whom have exactly the same type of drivers' licences. We have determined that many Yukoners have had no problems at all, and those who have are often having problems because the officer speaking to them has no idea where the Yukon is. That's one problem.
The government has, for some time, been looking at alternative forms of drivers' licences, and we will continue to do that.
Mr. Jenkins: Mr. Speaker, now on October 11 - one month after the tragic event - the U.S. Senate acted very quickly to pass an anti-terrorism bill in the U.S. Now, one of the provisions of which was to triple the number of border and other inspectors on the Canada-U.S. border and to spend $100 million to improve technology and equipment on the border. Clearly, it is going to become more difficult for Yukoners to enter the southern United States. I would urge the minister to act now to improve the Yukon drivers' licence as proof of primary ID. They are looking at it. When are we going to see some action on this?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: Mr. Speaker, I have said that we had already been looking at it. We will continue to do so. Obviously we are looking at it with a little more urgency as a result of the events of September 11.
Mr. Jenkins: Mr. Speaker, I have information from well-informed sources that the Yukon drivers' licences are one of the most easily duplicated drivers' licences in Canada. The first and the easiest to duplicate are the drivers' licences from Saskatchewan. After that, there is Manitoba; there is Northwest Territories and Nunavut. They are just a laminated piece of plastic and they are readily available on the Internet from an outfit in Vancouver. When can we see some action and changes to the drivers' licences? The minister indicated that she is going to look at it. When is it going to occur? When are we going to get a virtual photo ID drivers' licence that cannot be readily duplicated and counterfeited?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is already, on the first day of session, misquoting me. I did not say that I was going to look at it. I said that we were already looking at it. He is looking for a specific date. He would like to hear, "Next Tuesday." Well, I can't give him that date. We are moving as quickly as possible.
Question re: CT scanner
Mr. McRobb: We in the official opposition were very pleased to see the Minister of Health finally acknowledge the importance of a publicly funded CT scanner at the Whitehorse General Hospital. Everybody knows this item was in last year's budget - the 2000-01 budget - and it's about time this minister finally got around to providing it for Yukoners.
But, Mr. Speaker, the chaos created by this minister's misguided foray into the privatization of our health care system was inexcusable. Uncertainty remains, as just this morning the minister said that privatization is still an option that he's considering.
Can the minister tell this House exactly what process will be used in his continued exploration of his so-called out-of-the-box options that would introduce two-tiered health care in the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Roberts: The member opposite is wrong. The government does believe in a one-tiered health system. We follow the laws as outlined in the Canada Health Act, and we continue to look at alternative ways within the law to maintain quality health care for Yukoners. And, Mr. Speaker, we will continue to do that because our system in Canada is in need of a drastic overhaul.
Mr. McRobb: Well, Mr. Speaker, this minister flip-flops in his positions, and I want to ensure that he is invited to the United Way pancake breakfast next Friday morning because I think he'd be very handy in the kitchen.
Previously in this House, the minister said that any movement in any direction would be with full consultation. The consultation around the issue of privatizing CT scans appears to have consisted of his meeting with former Liberal campaign workers. That is certainly not full consultation. The vocal protests from Yukoners about this issue are a clear indication that Yukoners want a high-quality public health care system.
Will the minister commit to supporting the principles contained in the Canada Health Act and endorsed in his own party's campaign platform?
Hon. Mr. Roberts: The member is wrong, once again.
We did our homework, Mr. Speaker, as we should do when any major piece of technology is brought forward that costs those kinds of dollars. Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, that wasn't done by the last government. If it had been done, we wouldn't have been in the controversy that we were, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. McRobb: Well, Mr. Speaker, Yukoners don't know what to believe from this government any more. We do know CT scans are considered part of the standard of care, yet this morning the minister was questioning whether the standard of care is applicable in small jurisdictions. The standard of care was never defined with a qualifier about jurisdictional size. It was defined in terms of patient care.
Does the minister not believe that Yukoners have the same medical needs and the right to the same services as other Canadians?
Hon. Mr. Roberts: Mr. Speaker, we are trying to do what is best for Yukoners, and when we want to do the best job for Yukoners, Mr. Speaker, we must ensure that we have covered all the avenues and all the potentials of trying to deliver health care.
And, Mr. Speaker, if that takes time, then obviously that's what it did. It took time. It took discussion; it took debate. This should have happened long before the CT scan was even put in the budget, Mr. Speaker. That never took place.
Because of what we did as a government, we're not going to get the type of CT scanner that the original request was for; we're going to get the updated model so that we can at least be with the current process across the nation. We would have ended up getting a one-slice or a two-slice CT scanner like Yellowknife has right now, and in a couple of years going back to buy another one.
So, Mr. Speaker, that's what it means in doing your homework. You get all the facts out there, you discuss them, and then you come up and make a decision. And that's exactly what we were doing, Mr. Speaker.
We were basically responding to what we in the Yukon have to do for a small jurisdiction. If the member opposite believes that we just throw money at it and don't discuss it and don't come up with all the homework that needs to be done about it, then he'd better look again, Mr. Speaker.
Question re: Capital budget
Mr. Fairclough: I have a question for the Premier regarding the budget tabled today. I am hoping that the Premier can stand up and answer the question and not get bailed out by the Minister of Education this time.
The capital budget is very important to do things like job creation, infrastructure improvements, building healthier communities and so on. It's also an opportunity for people in the Yukon to express their thoughts. So why did the Premier choose not to consult with Yukoners before developing this Yukon budget?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: I am very excited about talking about the capital budget this afternoon, and I appreciate the member's question. In fact, we spoke with countless thousands of Yukoners through all kinds of meetings, all throughout the summer. I know that the member opposite is eagerly anticipating the budget speech and, in that, some of these meetings are outlined. Yukoners' views are reflected throughout our capital budget.
Mr. Fairclough: The Premier can't claim that she consulted with Yukoners. People have been phoning us - municipalities, First Nation groups, and so on - and telling us that the Premier's office hasn't even picked up the phone to ask them their thoughts on how they can develop this budget. I don't recall one meeting having taken place out there in the communities about how to build a budget for the following year. This is very important. We are talking about the 2002-03 budget.
I ask the Premier again: why did she choose not to consult with Yukoners in developing this budget?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: In fact, the member is wrong. We chose to consult with Yukoners; we chose to listen to what Yukoners have told us. In January, when all of our members were at publicly advertised meetings, we heard many, many, many pieces of advice about not only the operation and maintenance budget, but also the forthcoming capital budget. We have listened to that advice, just as we have listened in the hundreds of meetings that we have held over the summer with First Nation governments, municipalities and individual Yukoners. We have listened to their advice, and we are very proud of the work that they have helped us to do.
Mr. Fairclough: Well, Mr. Speaker, I don't believe that the people in the Yukon are going to be satisfied with that answer and the way this government has put together their information in building this capital budget.
I'm just looking through the highlights of the 2002-03 budget, and I see that the Premier has had phone calls and communicated information by computer and so on but has not sat down face to face with Yukoners and asked, "What are your priorities?" I think about the people in Mayo, who, for next year's budget, has $98,000 worth of capital projects, which is very, very little.
So what does this Premier plan to do to restore public confidence that her government will consult effectively with Yukon people on how their taxes will be spent?
Some Hon. Member: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.
Point of order
Speaker: The government House leader, on a point of order.
Mr. McLachlan: Mr. Speaker, the leader of the official opposition, in his questioning of the Premier, has violated orders of question in quoting an embargoed figure. The members opposite are well aware that the budget speech does not start until after Question Period.
Mr. Fentie: It was my understanding, Mr. Speaker, in this Assembly, that the budget has now been tabled; therefore it is public knowledge.
Speaker: Order please. I'm informed that in the past the practice has been that no budget information is released until after the Minister of Finance has given the budget speech. However, there is no violation of the Standing Orders if a member chooses not to respect that practice. Therefore, it is not a violation of the rules, and it may be something that members want to discuss in SCREP or some other venue, but currently I'm informed that it is not a point of order, and I would ask the Premier to continue.
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, the fact is that we, on this side of the House, respect Yukoners, we listen to Yukoners, and we have heard their advice to us. We are taking action. We're tackling the big issues. We're getting things done. We are empowering Yukoners and we are supporting them to have more control over the future of this territory. And, as the member will see in the short hours ahead of us and in the coming days, we as a Yukon government are investing in the future.
If we're going to successfully rebuild our economy, as we have started out to do in our first 17 months in office, and maintain our quality of life, we need to invest in things like health care, education and improving our infrastructure.
We as a government have listened. We respect the views of Yukoners, we have heard from them and, as the member will see, our capital budget reflects that.
Question re: Capital budget
Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Speaker, the Premier still did not answer my question and I have to ask this question again.
We were in a budget lock-up and we were informed that no scheduled meetings took place with the Premier's office on budget consultation - none. So why did the Premier choose not to talk to the public and the Yukon people in developing this capital budget for 2002-03?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: We spoke about this very issue last spring in this Legislature, and I said at the time that we had conducted an extensive budget consultation with Yukoners and that many of the items that we had heard about from Yukoners were capital items. We continue to listen to Yukoners. There have been countless meetings throughout the summer months between ministers and members of this government and Yukoners. We have heard from Yukoners and we have listened to them. Their priorities are our priorities, and they are reflected in the budget, and I'm sure the member is looking forward to, as I am, discussing that budget.
Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Speaker, I think that our listeners out there would be totally amazed at the answer the Premier gave to this question. She said she had many meetings. In our budget lock-up today we were told that there were no meetings at all - nothing - that took place on this capital budget. That's a very big budget with big surpluses that the government has. It is not addressing the priorities of communities. I'll just take one for example. The community of Mayo asked for assistance from the Yukon government to show recognition for the 100th anniversary of that community, and they wanted a project done. It was not reflected in here, and I know that the Premier did not go to the communities and ask -
Speaker: Order please. Would the member please get to the question.
Mr. Fairclough: So Mr. Speaker, I will ask her again. Why did she not go out to the general public and ask for their opinion in developing this capital budget?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, I have explained to the member several times today that we have heard from Yukoners. We have listened to Yukoners. We have spoken with Yukoners. Budget consultations took place in January this year and have continued throughout with discussions between ministers and members of this government and Yukoners. There have been countless meetings, and in those meetings we hear about those concerns about health care, about education, about our crumbling infrastructure. The member opposite is wrong. This government listens to Yukoners, and Yukoners' priorities are reflected in the forthcoming capital budgets, as Yukoners' priorities are reflected in everything we do.
Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Speaker, the Premier is contradicting her officials we heard from just hours ago about this capital budget, that there were no planned meetings and no scheduled meetings to talk about building the capital budget to bring forth to Yukoners. We have seen this Liberal government do this once before and that was in the spring. Only a month before the budget was to be tabled and debated in this House, they went out and talked to the public when the budget was already written. So since this Liberal government has been in power, they have not talked to Yukoners at all about their priorities. Mr. Speaker, I ask the Premier again - what does the Premier plan to do to restore public confidence that her government will consult effectively with Yukon people on how their taxes will be spent?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: The member opposite is wrong. I am not contradicting anyone. The fact is that the members of this government and I have listened to Yukoners in a set budget tour in January of this year and we have continued to listen to Yukoners. We aren't a government that goes out once a year and listens to people; we listen throughout the year. We have had countless meetings and conversations with Yukoners and, as the member opposite has noted, we have heard from Yukoners via e-mail on the computer, by telephone and in conversations. We hear daily, regularly, continuously from Yukoners about their priorities.
How will we demonstrate confidence in this government? The member opposite used the words "restore confidence". Yukoners are showing their confidence in this government every day. They recognize the fact that we have taken action and that we are tackling very large issues that have been left languishing and that we are investing in our future. And, as the capital budget address will outline this afternoon, we have heard from and listened to the priorities of Yukoners.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed. We will proceed to Orders of the Day.
Some Hon. Member: Point of order.
Point of order
Speaker: Member for Kluane, on a point of order.
Mr. McRobb: On a point of order, Mr. Chair, I would invite you to revisit the issue of time. I also was timing Question Period, and I removed the time taken by the government House leader off of the time, and I noticed that so far we have used 26.75 minutes. I know that the cut-off is 28.5 minutes, so we are substantially less than the cut-off point.
Some Hon. Member: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.
Speaker: Order please. The government House leader on the point of order.
Mr. McLachlan: The Member for Kluane is clearly out of line. Question Period started at 1:30 p.m.; 30 minutes is 1:50 p.m. Thirty minutes has been fully fulfilled.
Speaker: Order please. Points of order do interfere with the time. It's difficult for people keeping time to determine where points of order were going to come out at. I'll review the time and address it in the future. But for now, we'll proceed to Government Bills.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Bill No. 8: Second Reading
Clerk: Second reading, Bill No. 8, standing in the name of the hon. Ms. Duncan.
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 8, entitled First Appropriation Act, 2002-03, be now read a second time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Premier that Bill No. 8, entitled First Appropriation Act, 2002-03, be now read a second time.
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, let me begin today by thanking Yukoners, especially the contracting community, for your suggestion to release the annual capital budget in the fall. As a government, we are working hard to cooperate with the public and the private sector to make the most of the government expenditures, both in terms of what we spend and how and when these expenditures are presented to the public.
I would also like to thank the countless Yukoners who have given their ideas to all members of our government. Your suggestions and your guidance have shaped another Yukon-made budget. It is through these meetings, phone calls, letters and electronic mail via computer that we have heard first hand about local priorities. For example, a summer of staying in Yukon campgrounds and meeting visitors, both local and from afar, by Dale Eftoda, Minister of Renewable Resources, guided our decision to spend $270,000 upgrading our favourite recreational places. A summer of touring highway camps and rural roads by Pam Buckway, Minister of Community and Transportation Services, has resulted in our dedication of $140,000 to upgrade roads in the community of Pelly Crossing. It also prompted our decision to spend $100,000 to replace a culvert on the Silver Trail.
This budget contains many more examples of projects that are the result of listening to Yukoners throughout the territory.
Since this Legislature last convened, there have been countless conversations and numerous meetings where we have discussed Yukoners' priorities for capital spending and for the future of the territory. Some meetings happen by chance, in campgrounds and coffee shops. Many were planned, such as, Don Roberts', the Minister of Health and Social Services, tour of the nearly completed continuing care facility to discuss final costs. Many of those constructive suggestions have found their way onto these pages.
La plupart de ces rencontres portaient principalement sur la façon dont le budget des immobilisations peut nous aider à nous acquitter du mandat que nous avons reçu en avril 2000, notamment de rétablir notre économie et de rebâtir notre infrastructure. Le résultat, Monsieur le Président, est un budget qui respecte les promesses que nous avons faites aux Yukonnais et aux Yukonnaises durant ces rencontres. C'est aussi un budget qui tient compte des priorités qui ont guidé notre gouvernement durant nos 17 premiers mois au pouvoir.
In last October's Speech from the Throne, we set out seven priorities: achieving devolution; settling outstanding land claims; maintaining quality health care; developing infrastructure; restoring confidence in government; rebuilding the Yukon economy; and addressing alcohol and drug addictions. This budget contributes to fulfilling each of these objectives.
Mr. Speaker, as we present our second capital budget, it is also a time to reflect on the progress we have made to date on some of these priorities. Recent announcements regarding devolution show how far we have come in the last year-and-a-half. A good agreement has been reached. Devolution of the responsibility for natural resources from the federal government to the Yukon government will happen. It will be one of the most important events in the history of the Yukon. The Yukon Act, which will accomplish this transfer of authority, will be tabled in the House of Commons this fall, with the full transfer coming into effect on April 1, 2003.
Once completed, Yukoners will finally have the ability to manage our lands, our forests and our mineral resources. An elected Yukon government will be more accountable to the people it serves because these important decisions will now rest with them.
The devolution transfer agreement is consistent with land claims and self-government agreements, the Constitution of Canada and sound environmental practices.
In the last year, we have seen the Ta'an Kwach'an land claim moving forward. On November 1, 2 and 3, Ta'an beneficiaries will be taking part in their ratification vote.
We are also making good progress on other outstanding claims.
In fact, Mr. Speaker, there are a number of projects set out in this budget that are the direct result of working on a government-to-government basis with First Nations. We are negotiating a comprehensive land claim with the Kwanlin Dun First Nation. Those negotiations have identified the construction of a cultural centre as a priority. When all parties to the negotiations have identified an appropriate site, we will contribute $1.2 million to the construction of the centre - $200,000 for the initial planning phase and $1 million toward construction. This project is a clear example of how governments can work together to expand our tourism potential, our economy and, most importantly, our appreciation for cultural heritage within our community.
The reconstruction of the Mount Sima Road is also as a result of our working relationship with the Kwanlin Dun First Nation. This undertaking will provide safer access to the Mount Sima ski hill, establish a new subdivision and create economic opportunities for the Kwanlin Dun First Nation. $1.65 million is identified in this capital budget for this project. Progress on this project provides the resolution to an outstanding public safety issue as well as economic development for Yukoners. This progress has been made possible by a solid working relationship at the land claims table and a commitment to moving forward.
Another one of our commitments is to our health care system. The Department of Health and Social Services now accounts for almost one-quarter of the money we spend as a government. These costs are continuing to grow. Throughout Canada, governments are facing similar concerns. Yukoners know about the rising cost of health care. At the annual Canadian premiers conference that I attended this summer in Victoria, premiers agreed that we must respond to the concerns of our citizens while being mindful that we have a responsibility not to spend more than we have. We agreed to work together on Canadian solutions in four key areas: pharmaceutical management; determination of the scope and practice among health care professionals; continuing care and management of human resources.
These Canadian solutions will address common approaches for such things as the coverage of new drugs, cost/benefit of drugs, more effective and efficient means for enhancing long-term-care services and better planning and cooperation in the training and recruiting of health care professionals.
At the premiers conference, I am proud to say that I led the call for more national research and funding to address fetal alcohol syndrome. Premiers also stressed the need for territorial and provincial cooperation on former Premier Roy Romanow's Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada. The Yukon is very ably represented on this commission by Cynthia Tucker, the Member for Mount Lorne.
One of the larger concerns regarding health care in our country and in the Yukon includes the pervasive issue of alcohol and drug addictions. Substance abuse affects every Yukoner in one way or another. We must grapple effectively with this issue. As a government, we feel a deep personal and moral commitment to effectively address this particular clause in our contract with Yukoners. We have been working carefully to lay the foundation for our new alcohol and drug secretariat.
This year's health care capital budget shows a dramatic decrease. This is due, of course, to the fact that the construction of the new continuing care facility is largely finished. There remains, this year, just over $500,000 to complete this project.
Other major health care expenditures this year include $100,000 in new equipment at the Thomson Centre and $100,000 in renovations and equipment at McDonald Lodge in the City of Dawson.
We are also nearing completion on an agreement with the federal government for funding of a Yukon tele-health project. $650,000 is available to start up and implement a project with three tele-health modules. A tele-mental health program will provide better access to mental health services within underserved communities in the Yukon. A tele-family visits program will allow better follow-up within a person's home community for people who live outside of Whitehorse, following a hospital visit in the capital city. The third project is a tele-education program, which will provide enhanced professional development opportunities, and better access to specialized expert advice for Yukon health professionals.
The need for expenditures in these and other important areas is yet another reason we must be sound financial managers in all aspects of government.
We also believe that Yukoners are prudent financial managers who participate in the Yukon's economy through their own spending. To that end, we have cut the territory's personal income tax rate from 50 percent to 46 percent of the federal rate. The result is that Yukoners are paying $3 million less in taxes this year.
Clearly, Yukoners are spending some of that extra money in our local stores, with retail sales up two percent over last year during the first six months of this year.
Mr. Speaker, the Business Council on National Issues has recently suggested to the Government of Canada that "innovation" and "prudence" must be watchwords if Canada is to continue moving forward amidst global uncertainty. This is advice that we are taking as we move toward restoring people's confidence in government.
With respect to innovation, we are already speaking with Yukoners about a major restructuring of government: renewal.
The renewal initiative was launched in June of this year, and by the time that money in this capital budget begins to be spent, new departments and programs will already be in place. We are proceeding with renewal in order to prepare for devolution and to examine innovative ways to improve the services that we deliver to Yukoners. Mike McLarnon, MLA for Whitehorse Centre, has been touring Yukon communities to meet with members of the public for the last several weeks, hearing their suggestions and their concerns. We have heard from private citizens that they want more accountability, improved planning and communications and a plan to control the growth and cost of government. We are also committed to making the Yukon government an attractive and desirable place to work for our professional public servants. The success of renewal will depend on meeting these objectives. The successful implementation of this project will go a long way toward restoring Yukoners' confidence in government. When Yukoners voted for a new government, they voted for change. Clearly, Mr. Speaker, we are delivering.
A moment ago, I mentioned that the Business Council on National Issues stressed "innovation" and "prudence" as watchwords. While we are promoting innovation on a number of fronts, including through renewal, we must also be mindful of their recommendation of prudence.
The Yukon is not an isolated economy. We must be competitive with other provincial and territorial tax and cost-of-living regimes. Canada has the United States as not only our neighbour and our friend, but also our largest trading partner. We are uniquely situated in this regard with our proximity to Alaska. Automobile and retail sales to Alaska have a significant role to play in our Yukon economy.
A drop in Alaskan spending has a definite ripple effect in the Yukon. Consequently, a downturn in the U.S. economy has a broad-based impact on the Canadian economy. We can see examples of how the tragic events of September 11, 2001 have had an immediate impact on the American, Canadian and Yukon economies. A direct example is that one of our seasonal carriers has reduced flights to the Yukon.
The full assessment of the tragedy in human and economic terms is an evolving picture. Yukoners are aware that only last week I attended a Finance ministers meeting held in Vancouver. As a result of the events of September 11, the Quebec Finance minister, Madame Pauline Marois, announced that she will be delivering a revised budget.
Today, another of my colleagues, Finance minister Pat Nelson from Alberta will also be delivering her economic update. It's interesting to note, Mr. Speaker, as an aside, that my colleagues and I are both speaking in our respective Legislature 72 years to the day from when the British Privy Council ruled, in what has become known as the Person Case, that Canadian women are indeed persons under the law. My colleagues and I would like to thank the groundbreaking women of the Famous Five for opening the doors for women to participate in our Canadian political system.
Mr. Speaker, the economic fortunes of other provinces have both a direct impact on the Yukon economy and also an indirect impact through the amount of transfer payments we receive from Ottawa in our formula finance agreement. At the Finance ministers meeting there was a great deal of discussion about the short-term economic outlook. It was noted that the current economic downturn would definitely have an adverse effect on provincial and territorial budgets. The result will be revised growth projections, funds set aside to stabilize economies, and a very close monitoring of the fiscal situation. Prudence is the watchword.
One of the other factors in our formula finance agreement is our population. Our population dropped dramatically between 1997 and 2000. Population reductions impact our formula at a rate of about $13,000 per person. A census conducted by the federal government in 2000 may therefore impact substantially upon our formula. We will not know until approximately next summer what the exact numbers are. Until we know the full extent of the decrease in population we are planning in a prudent and responsible way. $15 million has been set aside as a census contingency reserve. This type of responsible planning is another way that our administration is exercising caution. Yukoners must have confidence that their government will be responsible and mindful of the world around us.
Restoring confidence is also about being open and accountable. A look at the budget documents themselves reveals another measure we have taken to ensure that we live up to this obligation. We have outlined a long-term plan that shows capital spending priorities for the next three years. We have included updated estimates on the overall Government of Yukon financial picture through to the year 2005-06. These pages give Yukoners a look at the priorities we are working to achieve and the fiscal parameters within which we must operate.
Mr. Speaker, the capital estimates that I'm introducing today will cover the period from April 1, 2002 to March 31, 2003. They are being tabled well in advance of that date, as I have already mentioned, to provide the private sector with a forecast of what to expect in the way of Yukon government projects during the upcoming summer construction season. Operation and maintenance spending for 2002-03 will be tabled as usual in the spring of next year.
For the second consecutive year, we are increasing capital spending. The estimates tabled today show we will be spending over $118 million on capital projects. With recoveries of approximately $47 million, our net spending will total over $70 million. This represents a 14-percent increase over the main estimates from this year and a 22-percent increase over the previous year.
A priority for a second straight year for our government is to use the capital budget to maximize the creation of jobs through direct spending. This is most obvious in our highways budget where we have laid out plans for $7-million worth of work on the Champagne-to-Haines Junction section of the Alaska Highway. This works out to 14 kilometres of road and over 80 jobs. We are also receiving $23.5 million in funding from our American neighbours to continue work on the Shakwak project.
Mr. Speaker, we have spoken to contractors, to municipal governments and to First Nation governments, and they have all told us about the number of people working this past summer and this past fall. The construction camps on the Alaska Highway and the communities were filled with real Yukoners doing real jobs and, in turn, spending their dollars in Yukon communities. With an increase in capital spending, next year's construction season promises to be even more successful, Mr. Speaker.
Yukoners have confidence in spending their money when they are protected from unexpected increases to their cost of living. To this end, the capital estimates also include a direct cash contribution of $3 million to continue the rate stabilization fund until March 31, 2003. This money is part of a $12-million plan announced recently by Don Roberts, minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation, that will see this fund extended to March 31, 2005. This major investment will allow local businesses and Yukon families to continue to take advantage of some of the lowest power rates in Canada.
Contractors will benefit from over $600,000 that has been set aside under the business incentive program. This program provides a rebate to contractors on Yukon government projects when they hire Yukoners. At the same time, we continue to lobby the Government of the Northwest Territories on their northern preference policy, which limits Yukon companies wanting to do work in their jurisdiction.
Mr. Speaker, Scott Kent, the newest member of Cabinet, is also taking a lead role in creating jobs and rebuilding our economy. We recognize that mining is one of our most important industries. The recent announcement of the opening of the Cantung mine and news that the United Keno Hill property could be back in production next year demonstrate that we are making progress. The Member for Riverside deserves credit for his contribution to these success stories.
By Christmas of this year, we are expecting a fully operational mine employing over 170 people at the Cantung site. Thanks to the hard work of Jim McLachlan, the MLA for Faro, some of those workers and their families will be living in Faro.
The expenditures that I am outlining today will help to build on these early achievements.
Our Yukon mining incentive program that supports mineral prospecting, exploration and development activities will continue. $850,000 has been allocated for the upcoming fiscal year. This represents an almost $100,000 increase over last year and shows this government's commitment to the mining industry in the Yukon.
We have also set aside $500,000 for the regional mineral development program.
The Yukon geology program is essential to the long-term future of the mining industry. Accordingly, we have increased spending on geological surveys by over $100,000 to over $1.6 million.
We are also increasing our spending on mineral resource assessments to $627,000 to improve information about Yukon's mineral resources. Resource information from these assessments is essential to government decision making on a number of levels, including the Yukon protected areas strategy.
Another sector that we are supporting in order to create jobs is the oil and gas industry. Since taking office, we have pursued a two-pronged strategy.
We continue to develop our own oil and gas resources. We are living up to our commitment to industry to hold annual land sales with our third annual disposition nearing completion. The Yukon has eight sedimentary basins with potential to hold oil and gas reserves. Our potential, however, remains largely unexplored, with only 71 wells drilled to date in this territory. We are committed to more clearly defining our reserves and to that end we have set aside $200,000 for oil and gas resource assessments.
As the only political party in the Yukon that truly supports the Alaska Highway pipeline project, we are demonstrating that support with $750,000 in funding in next year's capital estimates.
Some Hon. Member: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.
Point of order
Speaker: I believe the leader of the third party was first up. Leader of the third party, on a point of order.
Mr. Jenkins: On the point of order, Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 19(j), a member can be called to order if the member imputes false or unavowed motives to another member. By stating that the Liberal Party is the only political party in the Yukon that supports the Alaska Highway pipeline, the Premier is imputing falsehoods. Clearly, this statement is not true. The Yukon Party does, indeed, support this initiative, and I would ask that the Premier withdraw the statement and correct the record.
Mr. McLachlan: On the point of order, Mr. Speaker.
Speaker: The hon. government House leader, on the point of order.
Mr. McLachlan: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. This is simply a point of dispute between members, the difference in the interpretation in the wording of a speech. The members opposite also know it is a violation of protocol to interrupt the Finance minister during the delivery of that speech.
Mr. Fentie: Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 7(2), a member may always raise a question of privilege in the Assembly immediately after the words are spoken or the events occur that give rise to the question. It must be said that it is vital in this Assembly that we maintain the highest level of integrity with the Yukon public. The words, as I quote, "As the only political party in the Yukon that supports the Alaska Highway pipeline project," just spoken by the Premier are simply not the case. It's a well-known fact, Mr. Speaker, that all the political parties support the pipeline project. These words are a figment of the Premier's imagination and simply must be struck from the record, and I respectfully ask that the Premier do so.
Thank you for the indulgence of this House.
Speaker: Well, this is clearly a dispute between members on the facts. It is not a point of order, and I'll ask the Premier to continue.
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, I was speaking of our government's support for the Alaska Highway pipeline project. We are demonstrating our clear support with $750,000 in funding in next year's capital estimates. This money will be spent preparing a regulatory and environmental road map for proponents to follow should they choose the Alaska Highway route. It will also be used to participate in regulatory proceedings, further our public education campaign, and continue our work on First Nation relations. We will also maintain our strong, clear lobbying efforts in Ottawa, Washington, Anchorage and Calgary.
Alaskan producers have indicated that a decision on the future of this project, including the route selection, will be made at the end of 2001. Obviously, this announcement will have a significant bearing on how our budget is allocated.
The recent release of a request for proposals for timber harvest agreements in southeast Yukon is encouraging. We are also excited by the announcement that a lumber mill is scheduled to open in Watson Lake. Scott Kent, the Minister of Economic Development, recently toured this facility on behalf of our government.
We are once again making funds available under the fire smart program for the protection of our communities and the use of our forestry resource. This has been budgeted at $500,000.
Project Yukon, which is about people, places and structures, has had its funding level set at $750,000.
Of course, our economy is not resource-based alone. Tourism plays a significant role in our economy. In 1999, the tourism industry brought over $160 million of revenue into the Yukon and accounted for over 2,000 jobs. A key component of our tourism industry is our heritage resources. We recognize their value and have budgeted accordingly. For example, there is $170,000 for ongoing work at Fort Selkirk, $50,000 for Rampart House, and $110,000 for interpretation and signage at a variety of heritage sites. These items are part of an overall heritage budget that will grow, under this government, by over $150,000 in 2002-03.
Sue Edelman, the Minister of Tourism, has also set aside $500,000 to continue the arts fund, which supports the continued development of arts in the territory.
Another commitment we made as a government was to restore our crumbling infrastructure. We are doing just that with investments in our schools, roads, bridges, communications, sewer and water projects and recreational facilities. This year we are completing construction of the Mayo school and I am announcing today funding to begin work on a $3.2-million Grey Mountain Primary School. This is a commitment we made while in opposition and during the election campaign. We are doing what we said we would do. We are going to replace the school. The budget also contains $650,000 to upgrade Vanier Catholic Secondary School. I am also announcing today improvements at the Watson Lake High School, the Eliza Van Bibber School in Pelly Crossing and Golden Horn Elementary. These improvements total over $3 million. We are a government that believes our children deserve a safe and comfortable environment in which to learn, whether they live in Whitehorse or in rural Yukon.
With respect to funding for our roads, we are making up for literally years of neglect by previous governments. I have already noted a $70-million project on the Alaska Highway, and that, Mr. Speaker, is just the beginning. Major projects this year include $900,000 for the Campbell Highway and $800,000 for the Tagish Road. We have doubled the rural roads program to $800,000. There is also over $2.6 million for various pavement repair projects in the Marsh Lake and Lake Laberge areas. A number of bridges throughout the territory will also be upgraded at a cost of over $1 million. These projects and others, which total over $40 million in transportation division capital spending, will result in 46 kilometres of highway reconstruction, 20 kilometres of new pavement, and they represent a 22.6-percent increase over last year.
Mr. Speaker, we are also fixing our electronic highways. The completion of a high-speed Internet connection for most Yukon communities will cost another $1.7 million this year and has future costs of $9.4 million. Connect Yukon is an expensive obligation that is reflected in our long-term capital plans. A $6-million balloon payment and a $1.7-million regular payment are both required in the year 2005. It is incumbent upon us to maximize the opportunities presented by this investment.
Another fundamental part of our infrastructure - and one that is of concern throughout the country, and especially to Yukon municipalities and villages - is our water and sewer projects. This year we will embark upon the construction of a sewage disposal plan in the Village of Carmacks. This is a multi-year project that will cost over $2.7 million. This project is about the basics, Mr. Speaker. And as a glance at the long-term capital plan shows, we are committed to meeting the basic needs of all Yukoners for years to come.
The Minister of Community and Transportation Services will also be tabling a review of sewer and water infrastructure needs and costs for all Yukon communities, fulfilling yet another campaign commitment.
Our capital budget also shows an investment in infrastructure of another kind - people's homes. Wayne Jim, responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation, has budgeted $6.7 million to lend to Yukoners for mortgage loans.
Infrastructure also includes community spaces where people gather. In some cases that means our schools, which are fundamental to the strength of our communities. In others, it means recreational facilities. This budget provides funding to continue work on four major recreation projects. We are once again contributing $1 million to the Whitehorse multiplex, $2.1 million to the Dawson reserve fund, which includes money for their recreation centre, and $350,000 to finish the recreation centre in Carmacks. There is also $180,000 for repairs to the recreation centre in Ross River. These capital dollars, coupled with a $750,000 recreation leadership endowment fund, and our $8-million commitment to the Canada Winter Games, clearly demonstrate our government's commitment to recreation, active living, healthy lifestyles and Yukon people.
Mr. Speaker, our commitment is to all Yukon people, regardless of their circumstances. Yukoners have watched for 30 years as successive governments have talked and talked about replacing our jail while allowing the Whitehorse Correctional Centre to reach a stage where it is now a hazard to both inmates and staff. We are not just talking about it; we are doing it.
I am proud to announce today our plan to proceed with construction. $3 million will be spent this year as part of a $17-million project. The new facility will be completed by the year 2005.
Mr. Speaker, I have outlined a capital plan for the next fiscal year and well into the future that speaks to all seven of our priorities, particularly rebuilding the Yukon economy and developing infrastructure.
We are committed to the people we serve. This budget is one important part of fulfilling our commitment to Yukoners.
As Yukoners, we envision a territory where opportunity is built upon the strength of our land, the diversity of our people, and the openness of our government. I would once again like to thank all the Yukoners who participated in the creation of the budget. We will continue to listen to you, and we take pride in tabling the document that is before you - the results of your work with us.
Merci beaucoup. Thank you. Mahsi'cho.
Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Speaker, I move that the debate be now adjourned.
Speaker: It has been moved by the leader of the official opposition that debate do now adjourn.
Motion to adjourn debate on second reading of Bill No. 8 agreed to
Introduction of Deputy Clerk
Speaker: Prior to recognizing the government House leader, the Chair wishes to make an introduction that should have been done earlier. My apologies. The Chair, of course, is referring to the presence at the table of our new Deputy Clerk, Floyd McCormick.
I apologize to Floyd for not having done this earlier; however, he has been such a familiar figure around here during the recent years that I didn't see it necessary to make a formal introduction.
It must be recognized, though, that Floyd has moved from behind the glass of the press gallery to our Assembly's table. I ask all members to join me in welcoming Floyd.
Mr. McLachlan: Mr. Speaker, I move the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the government House leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House stands adjourned until 1:00 p.m. Monday.
The House adjourned at 2:28 p.m.
The following Sessional Papers were tabled October 18, 2001:
Electoral District Boundaries Commission (Yukon) Interim Report (dated August 2001) (Speaker Schneider)
Conflict of Interest Commission Annual Report July 2000 - June 2001 (dated June 25, 2001) (Speaker Schneider)
Ombudsman and Information and Privacy Commissioner 2000 Annual Report (Speaker Schneider)
Deductions from the indemnities of Members of the Legislative Assembly made pursuant to subsection 39(6) of the Legislative Assembly Act: Report of the Clerk of the Yukon Legislative Assembly (dated October 18, 2001) (Speaker Schneider)