Whitehorse, Yukon

Monday, November 26, 2001 - 1:00 p.m.

Speaker:   I will now call the House to order. At this time, we will proceed with silent prayers.



Speaker: We will now proceed with the Order Paper.

Are there any tributes?

Introduction of visitors.


Mrs. Peter:   I would like to ask all members of the Legislature to help me make welcome my husband, Ernie Peter, who has joined us in the gallery today.



Hon. Ms. Buckway:   I have for tabling two legislative returns. Both are in respect to questions which were asked during Committee of the Whole debate on the supplementary estimates of the Department of Community and Transportation Services. Questions were asked during the period of November 5 to 8, 2001.

The first legislative return is in respect to questions on transportation matters, and the second is on a question related to the recreation branch.

Speaker:   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. McLachlan:   I give notice of the following motion:

THAT it is the opinion of this House that:

(1) the most fair and democratic way to make appointments to major boards and committees is by forming an all-party committee to make those decisions;

(2) although both the NDP and Yukon Party have urged the Yukon Liberal government to form an all-party committee to deal with appointments to major boards and committees, both opposition parties have repeatedly refused to participate in that process;

(3) a great deal of valuable debate time in this Legislature has been wasted by the opposition parties continually criticizing the appointments that the Yukon Liberal government has made since coming to office in April 2000; and

THAT this House urges the Yukon Liberal government to continue to move the business of government forward by unilaterally making those decisions concerning appointments to major boards and committees, until such time as the NDP and Yukon Party choose to constructively participate in the decision-making process.

Speaker:   Are there any further notices of motion?

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

THAT it is the opinion of this House that:

(1) it has been 12 years since the House of Commons unanimously resolved to seek an end to child poverty in Canada, during which time the situation has grown worse;

(2) one in five Canadian children now live in poverty;

(3) many children, youth and families in Yukon exist in conditions of poverty;

(4) in spite of the reluctance by the Minister of Health and Social Services to acknowledge ongoing problems in the area of poverty, the Yukon needs to work actively to reduce poverty; and

THAT this House urges the Yukon Liberal government to take its responsibilities to all Yukon children, youth and family seriously and to begin immediately to develop and implement effective policies to eliminate child and family poverty immediately.

Speaker:   Are there any further notices of motion?

Is there a ministerial statement?

This then brings us to Question Period.


Question re:  Travel, ministers and political staff

Mr. Fairclough:   My question is for the Acting Premier.

The Premier's office recently provided a breakdown of all travel undertaken by her Cabinet ministers' political staff for the first six months of this fiscal year. It was interesting to note that the Premier was out of the territory for 28 days of that time - a full month in other words.

Does the Acting Premier support the Premier's decision to be away from the territory so much, rather than staying here to mind the store?

Hon. Ms. Buckway:   I'm delighted to answer that question for the member opposite.

Let's talk about some results, Mr. Speaker. Here are the direct benefits to Yukoners for the travel undertaken by this Cabinet: $22 million to the Yukon for health care; $42 million is the result of this government's trips to Ottawa to discuss the formula financing arrangements; the Yukon will host two women's conferences next year to do the hard work of the minister responsible for the Women's Directorate; and there is the western premiers conference, another conference that the Yukon will host in Dawson next summer. I think the travel done by the Cabinet, and specifically by the Premier, speaks for itself.

Mr. Fairclough:   Well, Mr. Speaker, the promise that the government made was to be good fiscal managers. They had a budget and they blew it within six months of this fiscal year again.

I'm trying to get to the bottom line of this Liberal government's priority. Many, many people are wondering the same question: what has the Premier got against the Yukon? Why is she putting so much emphasis on being with the Prime Minister and the Ottawa Liberal elite instead of staying here to address the very real economic problems that the territory is facing?

The Premier has a higher profile in Houston; she has a higher profile in Calgary and in Ottawa than she has right here at home. How does this reinforce the Premier's claim to be accountable to Yukon people?

Hon. Ms. Buckway:   The members opposite would like to believe what the leader of the official opposition said. In fact, Mr. Speaker, the Premier has a high profile here and she is raising her profile outside the territory with her visits to Ottawa and her talks with the Prime Minister and members of the Cabinet. Travel in the territory - the Premier, just this spring and summer, has been to Watson Lake, Dawson City, Beaver Creek, Haines Junction, Burwash, Destruction Bay, Carmacks, Fort Selkirk - and I think I'm leaving out a few.

Mr. Fairclough:   Cutting ribbons in the Yukon Territory, but failing to meet with many of the important industry groups and people around the territory.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we're in the process of debating this Liberal government's plan to spend $172-million worth of taxpayers' money. I'm sure that the Acting Premier - and I'm also assuming she's the Acting Minister of Finance - would be delighted to tell us all the wonderful things that this government plans to do with next year's capital budget.

Unfortunately, that's not really the job of the Acting Premier. Will the Acting Premier ask the Speaker to suspend the sitting for a few days until the real Premier - the real Minister of Finance - can give the capital budget debate her full and undivided attention?

Hon. Ms. Buckway:   Not likely, Mr. Speaker. The members opposite have had plenty of time this session to get to the capital budget. However, because of all the good things in the capital budget, they have been focusing their attention on the supplementary so they don't have to hear about the capital budget.

Question re: Yukon Medical Association negotiations

Mr. Keenan:   I hope I get more of an answer than "not likely". Of course, I'm going to be talking to the Minister of Health here.

I understand that the Liberals had a very hard day on Friday. The Minister of Education got a pretty rough ride from the First Nation leaders. Later on the same day, the Minister of Health and Social Services got an earful from the YMA, and I understand it's all from this rather bizarre, strange opening address.

The minister referred to a time when negotiations with doctors took place over a beer and a pizza. I'm just wondering if the minister might be able to tell us when the last time was that that took place.

Hon. Mr. Roberts:   Once again, we're constantly correcting the member opposite. I had a wonderful day on Friday, and the leadership meeting that we had on Thursday was a very good meeting, Mr. Speaker. Three ministers of this government met with First Nations last week, with their leadership table, and I can tell you it was a very positive and conclusive meeting in many ways. So for the member opposite to sort of indicate that it was a rough ride, it wasn't. It was very good information. It probably should have happened long ago, but this government has taken that on.

Mr. Speaker, as far as hiring - if that's what the member opposite is talking about - a professional negotiator, there are a few reasons why we have done that. We are represented by a negotiator because we believe that all groups need to be represented. This is not unusual. In the past, we have sat down and talked about things more casually. Yes, in days gone by, when things were easier, when issues weren't as complex, we could do that, but today, with the way health care is, with the pressures on health care, it's important that we move down the path of ensuring that all people are looked after, including our doctors.

And the complexity lies in the recruitment and retention. It lies in the national shortages, the ageing population, the increasing technology and the fiscal considerations. For a small jurisdiction like ours, Mr. Speaker, it's important that we move down this path.

Mr. Keenan:   I'd like to point out to the Yukon public that the minister did not answer the question directed to him. I'd also like to point out that some folks actually take pleasure in pain. I'm not one of them, Mr. Speaker, but certainly there are others.

I'd like the Minister of Health to know that, by creating a confrontational environment, the minister is not helping. He's not helping to attract or keep qualified doctors with those comments.

Now, the new president of the YMA has suggested that the department's focus has shifted from one of caring about health to caring about dollars, and that's quite a suggestion. It's not one that I'd like to live with; that's for sure.

So, can the minister tell me, is this a departmental thing, or does it reflect the penny-pinching attitudes of this minister, who favours privatizing health care? Which is it?

Hon. Mr. Roberts:   Again, I must correct the member opposite. We have not talked about privatizing health care and if the member opposite wants to proceed with that kind of innuendo, then obviously the member is not correct.

When you look at the whole issue of what health care is all about, it is talking about some very complex issues today. If the member opposite says that we should not be negotiating in good faith and we should not use the best abilities that we have out there, then I would have to suggest that when they were in government they used professional negotiators all the time, and so what is different about what they did then and what we are doing today?

I think it is only fair that we ensure that we are going to look after the taxpayers' dollar. That is why we are government. Maybe the member opposite didn't want to look after the taxpayers' dollars, but we are.

Mr. Keenan:   Well, talk about proceeding with innuendo, talk about spin, this is the master of it, or the minister of it, pardon me.

The minister has announced that feelings of animosity had resulted in the need for a hired gun from the outside. This has forced the Yukon Medical Association to get a negotiator to match the government's approach, and we know that this new, confrontational approach that the minister is advocating will just end up costing taxpayers more dollars. No matter what the minister says, it will hit the taxpayer in the pocket.

I would like to ask the minister: would the minister now give his department a clear mandate to negotiate in good faith with the doctors and to settle the outstanding issues, without delay, so we don't start losing our valued medical professionals? Would the minister do that please?

Hon. Mr. Roberts:   I guess, Mr. Speaker, in any time of negotiations, there is always going to be some confrontation. That is the nature of negotiations. You're presenting each side; naturally you're not always going to agree. It's not done just over a handshake, Mr. Speaker. I have heard of very few of those really working. So the important part is that those are obvious issues when you're talking about very, what we call, "significant" issues related to health care. We definitely want to be part of the process, ensuring that we work with partnership. But that doesn't mean that we always have to agree. Negotiation is all about that, Mr. Speaker, and we plan on going down that path. The Health department and the government want a solution. Obviously we have been able to come forward with some very good solutions with our health care people in some segments and we want to continue to do that.

Yes, was there a tension at those times when they were negotiating? I would say there was. I wasn't there, but I am assuming that in any kind of negotiations you are always going to have some tension. But it's made in the best interest of all of us. We each have our responsibilities and we each have to do our due diligence around making sure that we are protecting what we believe we should be doing for the people of the Yukon.

Question re:   Government renewal process, creation of new departments

Mr. Jenkins:   I have a question today for the Acting Minister of Finance. Under the Liberal government's monstrous government renewal initiative, vast new empires are being created while others are going the way of the dodo bird. Agencies such as the Yukon Development Corporation/Yukon Energy Corporation are becoming extinct. Their legislation will have to be repealed and presumably some of its mandate incorporated in new departmental legislation. Further, the new Department of Energy, Mines and Natural Resources and the Department of the Environment will also require spending authority and a vast array of new legislation to be able to operate.

Can the acting minister advise the House if the Liberal government plans to delay the spring budget because it simply won't have enough time to put these new departments in place with proper spending authority?

Hon. Ms. Buckway:   The spring budget will happen in the spring.

Mr. Jenkins:   And we wonder why the economy is decimated the way it is. With the good ship Yukon facing a massive economic iceberg, the last thing that Yukoners needed was the captain and the crew rearranging the departmental deck chairs. However, this is what the Liberals have chosen to do.

Can the minister advise the House what relevance the 2002-03 capital budget is going to have, in view of the fact that many of these appropriations we are passing this session will be going to departments that no longer exist?

Hon. Ms. Buckway:   The member opposite is seeking problems where there are none. The finances of the new departments are being looked after very carefully, and I expect there will be a seamless transition, so he has nothing to worry about.

Mr. Jenkins:   Well, I can see why the minister is only acting, Mr. Speaker.

In view of the fact that the Liberal government has decimated the private sector economy, government spending is going to be very important for the remaining business to survive, and any delay in the government's budget due to renewal will have dire consequences.

Will the acting minister put her seat on the line and guarantee that the spring budget will be on time - it will be on time, crossing all the new departments - or will she resign if it's not done so?

Hon. Ms. Buckway:   I have said that the spring budget will happen in the spring. That is the case, Mr. Speaker.

Question re: Yukon Health and Social Services Council, participation on

Mr. Keenan:   I have another question for the Minister of Health today. Now, as the minister knows, the Health and Social Services Council is a body of people with a range of expertise, and its role is to give the government informed advice, and I hope that's not the first time this minister has heard that.

One member of that council is there because she's a nationally recognized expert on child care and early childhood development, yet that member cannot attend council meetings at certain times of the year because the minister doesn't like her politics.

So I'd like to ask the minister: why did the minister give that direction, and why did he politicize his department by asking his officials to enforce that direction?

Hon. Mr. Roberts:   Once again, the member opposite doesn't speak with full knowledge of what he speaks. Again, the government appoints board and committee members based on the merits of the individual. Either an individual is nominated by a group to a board or a committee, or they put their names forward themselves. I do not nominate these individuals; I do not withdraw their names. Unlike the previous government, our government has appointed many qualified individuals from all political stripes to many different boards. We appoint on the merits of the individual and nothing else.

Mr. Keenan:   I would like to point out that once again the minister gives an incomplete answer and does not speak from the full knowledge of what he knows to be correct. This minister here is out skating in the middle of the lake, and I am not sure if that lake is frozen yet. The minister is on extremely thin ice. Everywhere this weekend in the Yukon Territory that I was speaking with my colleagues, the people were talking about this minister's refusal to listen to anyone whose politics is different from the minister's very own. All I can say is, for a Cabinet minister who is supposed to represent all of Yukon, that is absolutely shameful. According to media reports the minister said - and again this is a full quote from the minister, "The council's confidentiality oath was simply not enough in this person's case."

So, I would like to ask the minister: can the minister explain what he meant by that comment?

Hon. Mr. Roberts:   I think when the member opposite brings forth a quote, I would like to see the substantiation coming out of my mouth. I don't recall ever saying that, Mr. Speaker, but that is what the member is trying to put in my mouth - that is something quite different. The member opposite is famous for that - bringing forth quotes with no reference to where it came from. I have not issued that kind of response. Again, we appoint many people to different kinds of boards. They are nominated by the boards, or the members or by the community. I do not nominate these individuals; I do not withdraw their names. Unlike the previous government, our government has appointed many qualified people to these boards. I have never asked anybody to remove their name from any of their appointments.

Question re:   Liquor Corporation Board appointments

Mr. Fentie:   I'd like to follow up with the minister responsible for the Liquor Corporation, and I want to thank her for answering questions the other day - the first Liberal minister who has done so in a concise and open manner and not tried to deflect the issue. Secondly, I'd like to also congratulate the minister for understanding that expertise being appointed to boards and committees is important, unlike her colleague, the Minister of Health.

Now, this minister has appointed a representative of the hotel industry to serve on the Liquor Corporation Board. To what other sectors does the minister plan to offer a seat on the board?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman:   Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is assuming that the makeup of the board is not balanced. I think that the member should take a good look at who is sitting on that board right now. For example, the chair of that board is a charter member of the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Society of the Yukon. There are a number of different interests that are represented at the table, but one has to realize that that board talks about the regulation of the sale and distribution of alcohol. The people most affected by the sale and distribution of alcohol are the people who have the liquor licences. Despite the fact that that request had been in for a number of years, it had never been accepted by the government of the day. Now there is a representative of the licensee sitting at the table. There are representatives of a number of different groups. It's quite a diverse group of people, and they represent Yukoners well.

Mr. Fentie:   Well, that's what's at issue here, Mr. Speaker. Many sectors should have the same privilege: off-sales outlets, the Yukon Brewing Company, U-Brew Yukon, distillers' representatives, representatives from bed and breakfasts, neighbourhood pubs and, yes, even the consumer.

Will the minister now level the playing field and provide seats on the Liquor Corporation Board to these other groups?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman:   Those seats are certainly available, and representatives from all those groups have sat on the Liquor Corporation Board at one point or another, but the problem was that they were not people who were licensees, who sold alcohol, and they did not have a seat on that board, and they do now.

I think that the member opposite should perhaps do a little bit more research and check to see what the makeup of that board is now.

Mr. Fentie:   Let's look at this a little bit further when it comes to the Liquor Act review. Before the minister even received the Liquor Act review report, the minister gave directions to change and tighten up off-sale hours. I am sure that many people will applaud that decision, Mr. Speaker, but that won't change the fact that some people will still be thirsty at 2:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. in the morning. Unfortunately, one of the likely results of this change will be a growth in the bootlegging industry.

Will the minister be setting a place at the boardroom table for the Yukon's bootlegging industry?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman:   Mr. Speaker, that's absolutely ludicrous.

First of all, let's go back to the issue of off-sale hours and decreasing off-sale hours. We heard in every Yukon community that this was an important issue. We heard from the RCMP that this goes toward reducing crime in all communities - if you reduce off-sale hours.

As for the issue of bootlegging, that's an important issue. In the final report from the Liquor Act committee, it said that you have to look at both sides. If you're going to reduce off-sale hours, then you also have to look at the fines for bootlegging, and we are doing that. The committee has a meeting with the Minister of Justice to speak about that very issue.

Question re:  Yukon Health and Social Services Council, participation on

Mr. Keenan:   I have a question for the Minister of Health if I could, on the same subject.

Mr. Speaker, I certainly hope it's not true, but it certainly sounds like it is, that the minister is suggesting that there is a lack of integrity on the part of this person. I'd like to read for the minister - and I know how the minister loves to be read to - but I would like to read to the minister if I could, section 6 of the Human Rights Act. It says: "It is discrimination to treat any individual or group unfavourably on any of the following grounds:...(j) political belief, political association or political activity," and source of income. Now, Mr. Speaker, you and I both know that that is the law.

Will the minister now apologize to the president of the Yukon Childcare Association in sincerity and rescind his discriminatory direction against her attending council meetings, or will the minister simply resign his portfolio immediately? Which is it?

Hon. Mr. Roberts:   Once again, Mr. Speaker, the member opposite goes off on these tangents. At no time did I ask any member to withdraw from a committee, and I don't know what the member is talking about. If the member wants to present that in the public air, fine, that's what the member is doing. But I have never asked anybody to be withdrawn from a committee. If the member wants to make something out of that, then that's his doing.

As far as apologizing, I already did that, Mr. Speaker. I don't know how many times I have to apologize to the member opposite or to the member. I did it, so I'm not going to have to do it again. If the member does not accept that, that's his problem. I did apologize in the House last week.

Question re: Government renewal process, layoffs

Mr. Fairclough:   I have a question for whoever is on the government renewal beat this week. For weeks, various ministers have been digging in their heels, refusing to say how many Yukon government positions are going to get the chop with this Liberal government's downsizing and privatizing of the public service.

In the meantime, employees of both the territorial government and DIAND are quietly updating their resumés and their plan for other jobs because of the chaos this government is creating. Can the Acting Premier give us an estimate of how many houses in Whitehorse have already gone on the market because of uncertainty over this Liberal government's renewal plans?

Hon. Ms. Buckway:   Houses on the market for the reason the member stated - none, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Fairclough:   I believe this minister is out of touch with the people in Whitehorse here.

We just went through a Canada census, with the Premier begging people to sign up because the territory needs the $15,000 or so that each Yukoner represents. Before the count is even in, we know that the number of people who are packing up and leaving the territory is on the rise.

Can the Acting Premier tell us the approximate number of people who will be leaving the territory because of government downsizing, or because they don't want to move from the federal government to YTG? Can she do that?

Hon. Ms. Buckway:   If someone chooses not to accept a job with the Yukon government on transfer from the federal government, that's their choice.

Renewal is not having a negative impact on the economy. Retail sales are up, wholesale sales are up, building permits are up, and the October unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since 1996. The member opposite is wrong.

Mr. Fairclough:   It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that a decline in population means lower transfer payments, and lower transfer payments mean program cuts and reduced services to Yukon people. So much for renewal being about improving the service. It will have the opposite effect, Mr. Speaker.

The so-called accountability units in the Yukon government departments are about finding ways to streamline program delivery. So my question is: what are the first program areas this Liberal government plans to cut, as transfer payments decline?

Hon. Ms. Buckway:   The member opposite is not understanding the meaning of renewal. It's to make government more efficient and deliver better service to Yukoners. The member clearly doesn't understand that.

Question re: Pipeline routes, Economic Development report on

Mr. Jenkins:   I have a question for the Minister of Economic Development. On November 20, the House was treated to the spectacle of the Minister of Renewable Resources announcing that he had spent 31 days and $5,676 of the taxpayers' money conducting a personal campground tour. Not to be outdone, the Minister of Economic Development has announced that he has funded an $18,000 report, entitled Northern Pipelines: an overview of technical issues. The report identifies the technical issues, cost of construction and the uncertainty surrounding the two pipeline routes, mainly the Alaska Highway and the over-the-top route.

Can the minister explain why he authorized this $18,000 expenditure, knowing that the Alaska gas-producers team is currently spending $100 million U.S. conducting similar studies? Does he really believe that the $18,000 report he commissioned is equivalent to the $100-million U.S. study being undertaken by the big three gas producers, and that his report will have any credibility whatsoever? Does the minister believe that?

Hon. Mr. Kent:   As we strive to promote the Alaska Highway as the route of choice for North Slope natural gas, it is important that studies like this be conducted and that we make them available to all the stakeholder groups, including other governments such as the British Columbia government, the Alberta government, the Government of Canada, as well as Alaska, and the companies that will ultimately make the decision for the routing of North Slope natural gas. I do believe that this is an important piece of information that will lead to the Alaska Highway being chosen for North Slope natural gas.

Mr. Jenkins:   Can the minister advise the House if he has sent a copy of his report to the big three gas producers in the United States, and hopefully his report will enable him to revise the finding of their $100-million studies. Has the minister sent them a copy of his report?

Hon. Mr. Kent:   I am going to go one better than that. I will be travelling to Houston for an oil and gas conference later on this week, and I am going to personally deliver a copy of the report to one of the senior officials with the northern gas producers agency.

Mr. Jenkins:   The big three are BP Amoco Canada, Exxon and Exxon Mobil. Could the minister confirm that he has sent a copy of the report and he will be sending a copy of the report to all three of these companies? I am sure they will appreciate his sense of humour. You know, I am sure that the taxpayers won't find this $18,000 expenditure so funny, but how is the force and effect of an $18,000 study going to compare to the force and effect of $100-million U.S. study. Can the minister please explain that?

Hon. Mr. Kent:   Mr. Speaker, let me correct the member opposite. Firstly, the big three are BP, Exxon Mobil, and Phillips Petroleum, rather than the BP, Exxon and Mobil that he stated in his question. Exxon and Mobil are actually one company. And with regard to the $18,000 study, it's important to know that this study on the engineering and the difficulties surrounding the over-the-top pipeline has been done by two engineers with a combined 66 years of experience in pipeline engineering, and I think that it will carry a lot of water. And as I said to him, I was delivering a copy of this study personally to representatives of the big three producers on the North Slope, Wednesday morning in Calgary.

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


Mr. McLachlan:   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 will now call Committee of the Whole to order. The Committee of the Whole will recess until 10 minutes to 2:00.


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

Bill No. 46 - Parks and Land Certainty Act - continued

Chair:   We will continue with general debate on Bill No. 46, Parks and Land Certainty Act. Is there any further general debate?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:  We left off on Thursday's debate, and again I will reiterate that I would request that we have unanimous consent into getting into line-by-line. I am listening to the members opposite with respect to how we proceed, what consultations have occurred and why we are conducting a revision to the Parks Act, now called the Yukon Parks and Land Certainty Act.

There has been, since we last met, a flurry of further consultations. As a matter of fact, the Minister of Economic Development and I met with coalition members for a very frank and open discussion, as is the responsibility of this government. We are being open and accountable; we are continuing our consultation processes.

We'll continue to do that, Mr. Chair, and we have, as a matter of fact, received a couple of supporting letters from TIA, who are again, as part of the public advisory committee that met earlier this year, requesting that we do get on with the Parks and Land Certainty Act. They are comfortable with the act as it is and they also understand, because they were a member of the public advisory committee, that the request that came from the public advisory committee, signed by all members who attended that meeting, was that we are following the instructions they want, namely that the Yukon protected areas strategy is a living document, to be continually updated as a result of the consultations that are going to continue to occur.

What the Parks and Land Certainty Act does - Mr. Chair, I know there was some erroneous information released on Friday with respect to the number of amendments concerning this act, and I do believe the erroneous information mentioned something about nine amendments that we're proposing for this act. Well, that's quite incorrect.

As a courtesy to the opposition, I'm responsible this session for three pieces of legislation, significant pieces of legislation: the Parks and Land Certainty Act, the Education Staff Relations Act and the Wildlife Act.

As a courtesy, Mr. Chair, I have also been informed that it is not unusual, with a new piece of legislation, that amendments, right up to the debate time, are forthcoming, primarily to cover anomalies between English and French translations, or a missed word - really quite minor amendments.

I had sent down to the opposition already one amendment with respect to the Parks and Land Certainty Act that identified a linkage between the Parks and Land Certainty Act and the Environment Act. I wanted to give them, in a respectful way, a heads-up that an amendment was going to be tabled in the House on that issue.

Well, somehow that one amendment - which, as a courtesy, I extended down to the members - turned out to be nine. So, I'm totally mystified how they can, as a result of my sending down a single amendment, turn around and call it nine.

I know the Member for Kluane always likes to provide detailed information to the House and, with all due respect, I would really appreciate an answer on how we jumped from one to nine.

Another fact is that, meeting with coalition members on Saturday, both the Minister of Economic Development and I were there primarily to listen - that's our responsibility as ministers - and to continue the dialogue on keeping those members at the table, because, although the act is going to be completed this session and passed, the YPAS itself - and again, this was a direct instruction from the public advisory committee, that we review the processes, that we review the whole package. That's what they wanted, Mr. Chair, and that's what we're going to do. So the YPAS itself - again, it's worth repeating. The public advisory committee did not want it entrenched in the body of the act. That was quite specific in the instruction, and the Member for Kluane refuses to accept that we did listen to a broad cross-section of Yukoners who provided that instruction to us, who gave us that. And we've respected that wish by having the principles and goals of the Yukon protected areas strategy mentioned in the preamble of the act. That was another thing that they wanted. They wanted within this act the recognition of what YPAS is.

Along with that, Mr. Chair, and contained within the preamble are the results of the discussions we had with coalition members. What we instilled in the preamble was a recognition of third party interests, as well as the legal right to access.

Mr. Chair, I'm not quite sure when we're going to be getting into line-by-line on this act so, with respect to the House and with your permission, Mr. Chair, I would like to table all the amendments that will apply to this act.

So, not being familiar with this process, I would ask direction from the Chair on how I table these. Do I just make reference to where they're located? Do I have to read them out? What are the specific instructions?

Chair:   What you'll do is present them to the Chair, and we'll actually ask you to file them, which means we'll make copies for each member on the other side - for each party - rather than tabling, where every individual member will have that.

We'll need to get them at the House - at the time of House - anyway.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Are they then detailed at line-by-line, Mr. Chair, or do I at this time, again, mention where they would be located and what they make reference to?

Chair:   Yes, you'll have to still go through on line-by-line at that point, but at least for information purposes, they'll be out.

Unanimous consent re waiving general debate

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:  Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Chair, again, these amendments are with respect to the consultations, to the discussions that we've had, with a very broad cross-section of individuals in Yukon, both from the coalition and from environmental organizations, NGOs.

So they are as a result of those, and, Mr. Chair, I again would request by unanimous consent that we do get into line-by-line so that I can show the members how the act works with the Yukon protected areas strategy.

Chair:   Is that a formal request, Mr. Eftoda?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Yes.

Chair:   It has been moved by Mr. Eftoda - and it will require unanimous consent to waive general debate. Do we have unanimous consent to waive general debate?

Some Hon. Members:   Agreed.

Some Hon. Members:   Disagreed.

Chair:   There is not unanimous consent.

Mr. McRobb:   Well, thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I think this is an indication that the minister can't always get his way. There are others in this House, and we do have some important questions on this act, and we don't want to be corralled into discussing them on a clause-by-clause basis. Right now we're in general debate, and at least at that level we're assured flexibility in our discussions as they pertain to the Parks and Land Certainty Act.

Now, I have a number of comments to make, but I wish to start off by responding to some the minister just made, starting with the fact that the minister himself has admitted his legislation is flawed, and that is becoming increasingly clearer each day we review this act.

Mr. Chair, on Thursday the minister indicated there would be a huge amendment coming to chapter 11. He called it a "rather significant amendment in chapter 11". Well, at this point in time, we still have no idea what that significant amendment is.

Prior to the start of the discussion, the minister sent down other amendments, so we already have several amendments to deal with on this act. As I indicated on Thursday, I'm wondering why the Liberals didn't get these mistakes ironed out before they brought that legislation into this House.

Now I know the minister spent a lot of time touring around the Yukon's campgrounds in the month of July, and having wiener roasts and roasting marshmallows at taxpayers' expense, but recreation should come after the work is done. The proof is in the pudding. We know the work done was faulty, therefore it is reasonable to conclude that the minister should have spent some more time on ironing out the wrinkles in this act, rather than wasting the time in this Legislature - with other members' time - to helping him straighten out what should have been done first. So, I take exception to the minister's comments regarding the number of amendments, of which we have seen quite a few so far.

For the minister's information, we will also be submitting a number of amendments and, because the process is such that it is entirely up to the minister whether the amendments go through, we will be asking the minister in good faith to give sound consideration to those amendments. So I'll be sending them over in written form in order to help the minister do that.

Now the minister also likes to lean heavily on the recommendations that came from PAC, that is the public advisory committee. Over the weekend, and in doing my research on this act, I located the PAC recommendations, dated April 6, 2001, and there are several very interesting recommendations in this material that I wish to increase everybody's awareness about at this time.

Now, the first recommendation was to improve trust, and it says, "We have all learned from the Fishing Branch experience and recommend that it is time to leave it behind."

Well, Mr. Chair, has this minister respected that recommendation from PAC? The answer is an overwhelming "no". "Why?" you ask, Mr. Chair. The reason is simple. At every opportunity the minister gets he stands up and wants to re-fight the last election because he really revels in the joy of the pain created over the creation of this protected area, because it is of consternation to some groups. So the minister wants to try to amplify that agitation and relive it at every experience possible.

Now, our position on this side of the House has been, Mr. Chair, and continues to be: "Let's get on with the public's business. Let's leave that behind. That all occurred about two years ago. Let's leave it behind and move on, move forward, and do what we can on this because there are plenty of other issues to deal with."

Everyone knows the Yukon has several priorities, and probably the top one right now is dealing with the terrible economic situation we're facing. The only industry we have left is the tourism industry and it's in a near state of crisis, Mr. Chair. It has been calling out for help and has received none from this Liberal government. Instead, they're wasting their time and resources rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic on exercises like project downsize or re-fighting the last election.

That's not what Yukoners want, Mr. Chair. Yukoners want progress. They want to move ahead. They want these problems resolved, and they would like to see less bickering in here and more progress.

Mr. Chair, it's my job in the opposition to hold the minister accountable and indicate, when required, that progress is needed. This is one such opportunity. I've reviewed the recommendations from PAC. From the first recommendation, I think it's time for him to leave the Fishing Branch situation behind and move on.

It's also interesting to note that the second recommendation from PAC says to implement the process as it has been laid out in the amended strategy and ensure that it is overseen by the task group and ongoing public advisory committee. Mr. Chair, that has not taken place; that is not happening. The legislation completely excludes the guarantee of public involvement in the creation of parks, protected areas and special management areas in each of the Yukon's outstanding ecoregions. The legislation guarantees that those rights are completely at the discretion of this minister and his Cabinet - or future ministers and Cabinet if this government doesn't get the job done - which, based on its performance to date, would not be surprising.

So, the act gives the government more powers and gives the public less ability to see what's going on. That clearly is not an indication of an open or accountable government. Despite the rhetoric that Yukoners hear from the Liberal government, the opposite seems to be happening.

So, Mr. Chair, the recommendations of the public advisory committee that the minister likes to stand up and trumpet obviously contradict what the minister and his government want to do. That is exactly why we have problems with this proposed legislation; that is exactly why we voted against this legislation in second reading and, unless some of our concerns are incorporated, that is exactly why we'll be voting against this act in third reading.

There are several problems with this legislation; we know that. We have discussed many of them in detail in this Legislature in the past week. We recall that, last Wednesday, there was a motion debate that I sponsored on this legislation, and we discussed it all afternoon and identified 10 main problems that we have with this legislation. Not even part of that list of 10, Mr. Chair, was the fact that this legislation was developed in isolation from the public.

The government developed it itself, without public consultation. Now, that contradicts what PAC recommended - completely contradicts. It also contradicts what the minister said in this House on April 11 of this year. And allow me a minute while I refresh everybody's memory on what the minister said, because it's very relevant, now that we see the legislation and how there's no guarantee for public consultation, and definitely no opportunity for this 11-step process that he trumpeted in this Legislature only seven months ago.

"As we know, from when an area of interest is determined to when it becomes a protected area ..." if it becomes a protected area, I would like to remind the Member for Klondike. "...it's an 18-month to two-year process to go from an area of interest to protected area. There are 11 steps that have to be followed during that process. There are three opportunities for direct input by the public, by interest groups, by resource users and by the mining industry during that process."

Well, Mr. Chair, something significant happened in the past seven months, because between now and back on April 11, something happened to change the minister's mind about all that. Otherwise, this legislation would enshrine YPAS. And one of its key features that guarantees public consultation is set out in technical paper no. 3, I believe it is, which describes those 11 steps, but the Liberal government has failed to live up to its promise of enshrining YPAS in legislation.

That brings me to the Liberal campaign platform, Mr. Chair, that was unveiled in the last election. The number one promise in the area of the environment was get the Chamber of Mines back to the table on the protected areas strategy - broken promise. The minister instead chose to deal with industry groups in the backroom or through his departmental person on the front steps of the Downtown Hotel in Dawson City. That is not at the table with all the other groups in a single-track process, Mr. Chair, so promise no. 1 is broken.

The second promise was that a Yukon Liberal government would recall the protected areas strategy committee and ask it to do two things: set standards for mineral and economic assessments that must be performed before land is set aside and produce an outline for what protected areas legislation should look like. Mr. Chair, broken promise no. 2. This government never involved any public groups or organizations in the drafting of this legislation; we know that; that is fact.

So much for the Liberal election promises in the area of the environment. It seems the government would rather consult itself than consult other stakeholders and the public about such important matters.

I want to identify the list of 10 problems I identified on Wednesday with respect to this act, because they are significant in not only number, but also in what they reveal. I would suggest that the public would benefit rather well from understanding what these 10 problems are. I will be getting to them very shortly, Mr. Chair, because it's very good information and it summarizes very well what is wrong with this legislation.

But first I want to speak about one of the big problems that can be reasonably predicted as a result of this faulty legislation. And that is because of the lack of buy-in in this consultation - vis-à-vis created and decided behind closed doors - the opportunity and potential for future conflict between land users is significant. That equates to lack of certainty. In terms of proper land use planning, it equates to tremendous uncertainty.

Now, we know that when there is tremendous uncertainty with respect to land use planning, there are inevitably confrontations between different types of users.

We recall, in the past, conflicts between industry groups and those wanting to prevent industry from entering a certain area. In other jurisdictions like British Columbia, where conflict is more frequent because of increased pressure of resource developers, we see all kinds of conflict between forest industry extractors and those wanting to protect valley forests. That is the kind of uncertainty and that is the kind of conflict the Yukon must do whatever it can to avoid. How? Quite easily - through sound land management and public policy. How do we achieve that? There is one way only to achieve that, and that is through open and public involvement of all interested parties.

Why is that, Mr. Chair? That's because buy-in and support from each interested party is paramount to the success of any policy developed. Freedom of information and knowledge of the issues are important to increasing one's awareness of the issues. Education is a benefit of public consultation. I just heard last week from a constituent how public consultation was very desirable, because it provided an opportunity for that person to give input on an issue, as well as learn about an issue. The constituent told me that, to him, public education was an important aspect of public consultation.

Mr. Chair, it serves another purpose. As a former member on various public participation exercises, I can speak personally that public consultation also helps to build bridges between the stakeholders. When a meeting takes place, commonly, representatives from all stakeholders are sitting across from each other at the table or having coffee with each other during the break and are discussing the issues and reasons why they may feel differently. So, what happens is that a public dialogue takes place.

Isn't that a novel concept - people of differing opinions actually talking to each other rather than through letter-writing campaigns to the newspapers, Mr. Chair? There is a less adversarial process and method the government should be promoting, not instigating against.

So, Mr. Chair, I realize my time in this speaking session is almost due to expire, and I've covered a number of issues, and I'll be giving the minister an opportunity to respond. One of the first things I would like the minister to respond to is, where is the amended strategy referred to in the PAC recommendations?

Mr. Chair, this is not a new question, but we in the opposition have yet to receive a response. It was an issue raised during last Wednesday's motion debate, and I raise it again, because it's referenced in the PAC recommendations.

So, can the minister undertake to provide for us, at the soonest possibility, a copy of the amended YPAS?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   First and foremost, Mr. Chair, thank you very much. I have never once indicated to this House, nor would I - because I respect the good work that was done in preparing this act - suggest that it is flawed. I provided an explanation to the member opposite why amendments come in up until the last minute, but he's choosing not to hear that. I would love the member opposite to stand on this floor and, before I tabled four amendments today on this bill, to let the public know openly and honestly how many amendments they received on this bill before today. The member won't answer that, Mr. Chair. No, he won't. He says, "Yes, I will." No, he won't.

The member opposite has an incredibly selective memory, or chooses not to present the facts, those that may go against his argument.

Well, we're not afraid of that, Mr. Chair. The member opposite - yes, he has a copy of the protected areas strategy recommendations to Cabinet, but he stopped reading them. In there, it would have provided detail that he would have had to acknowledge in this House that the members of the public advisory committee asked specifically that the strategy not be entrenched in the body of the act. But he won't say that; he won't say that, Mr. Chair.

Now, the member opposite chastises me for informing the public why we are still talking about YPAS - why we are talking about it 18 months or two years later, as the member had said. He doesn't want me to talk about that, yet he will criticize me in the House here for following election commitments and promises. Now, it's that double standard that is sometimes somewhat difficult to deal with in this House. Do as I say, not as I do, is what the members opposite continually espouse here.

Well, Mr. Chair, we just can't do that. We're just not going to lay down and let them trounce all over us and on officials. That is totally, totally unacceptable, irresponsible and disrespectful.

So, if the member would stand and answer how many amendments he received on the Parks and Land Certainty Act as a courtesy by me, prior to this day. He has alluded many times that there were numerous amendments.

The members want us to cooperate. We do cooperate. We send them information. We give them a heads-up. We require this amendment to the bill. The amendment I sent him specifically, Mr. Chair, had to do with linkage between this bill and the Environment Act. But he is choosing not to openly inform the public of the facts of the matter.

So the fact of the matter, too, Mr. Chair, is the public has the right to know. They do have a right to know, and that is why I have to explain to the public why, after 18 months, Mr. Chair, we are still discussing why we are trying to fix YPAS.

I would ask the Member for Kluane's courteous attention when I'm providing answers to him. I'm not finished.

Mr. Chair, we are getting the job done. We're getting the job done that Yukoners wanted us to do, elected us to do, and we're getting it done right. We have consultations. The member opposite has alluded to the fact that we are cutting backroom deals. That's not quite true. As a matter of fact, the discussions that happened on the steps of the Downtown Hotel in Dawson were quite open and public. As a matter of fact, as a result of those discussions, Mr. Chair, there was a public announcement at the Yukon Chamber of Commerce in Dawson. That's how open and public it was. We have nothing to hide - not a thing - and we'll continue to be open and accountable, despite what the member says.

The fact of the matter is that he is wanting an answer to "Where is the amended strategy?" Well, the strategy is still being worked on. That is what the public advisory committee asked for - that it is a living document and that we are going to continue to improve on the document. I don't disagree with the official opposition that it is a great strategy. It is; it always was. The problem is how it was implemented. That is what is in question here, and that is why we are still answering the questions. So, despite what the member opposite is saying about letting the public know what happened with the implementation process, we are also letting them know how it can be made better.

If the members opposite would just allow us to get into line-by-line, clause-by-clause, it will specifically tell the public, as well as better inform the Member for Kluane, how we can better follow the process and the steps required to implement an area of interest toward protected area status.

I was amazed when the leader of the official opposition indicated that I didn't know what a protected area was. I was involved intimately in the wording that went in. He reminded me of the vision. It was the public advisory committee that put that vision together.

So, I'm very familiar with it, Mr. Chair, and the fact of the matter is that protected areas are parks. That's what a park is - a protected area.

But no, I had to get a lecture on definitions. I still believe, Mr. Chair, that instead of the speculation, the innuendo, the rehashing of the past, I would agree with the member opposite that the best way we can indicate to Yukoners would be that we do go into clause-by-clause, because it specifies in the preamble what the principles and goals of the protected area strategy are. Then we can get into clearly outlining what the definitions are within the act. Then we can get into the body of the act, and it has a beautiful flow to it. The member opposite doesn't seem to agree with that, and that's very unfortunate because the drafters of this legislation put together something that is easy to read, that is easy to use, that clearly defines what consultations have to occur and determines what kind of park we're working on specifically.

I have not changed anything. Once an area of interest has been identified, there is a fair amount of time after that spent working toward a park, where we could take 18 to 24 months before there is final designation and the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed on the park.

So, Mr. Chair, nothing has changed from what I had indicated in the Blues that the Member for Kluane read.

We haven't made backdoor deals. The protected areas strategy, as a matter of fact, we want, as we had indicated - again the member opposite is being very selective in indicating what parts of the recommendations came to Cabinet from the public advisory committee. They recognized that we can continually improve on the protected areas strategy, and we will, but we need all Yukoners there. It means talking to the members of the coalition, to which the Yukon Chamber of Mines belong - which was also at that meeting on Saturday. So I did talk to them directly for two and a half hours - listening to what they have to say, listening to how we can improve things. Overall, the Chamber of Mines quite liked the act and they have stated so in the public at large - that they don't have a problem with the act.

The only person who seems to have a problem with the act is the member opposite. Now, I understand why probably he doesn't want us to get into parks and land certainty, to complete the Parks and Land Certainty Act, because the Member for Watson Lake wants to cut all the trees down in Watson Lake. Now, you can't do that and have parks.

So, I was chastised again on Thursday for bringing to the attention of the public the disparity that is contained within the rank and file of the NDP. Some of them want parks; some of them want to cut all the trees down. So I'm not quite sure what they want. The member has also indicated that, at third reading, he is going to vote against the Parks and Land Certainty Act. I find that utterly incredible because it's not about YPAS; it's about parks and land certainty. It's a tool for developing and managing parks.

The member is failing to see that. He just absolutely refuses. We have a very, very busy agenda from now until the House rises on December 3. We have two other pieces of major legislation plus the capital budget to do. Again, I would invite the member opposite to rise on his feet and say, "All right, let's get into the meat of the act; let's find out what this act is all about; let's see how it relates directly to YPAS. Let's just find out what the problems are." That is how we would find out the problems, Mr. Chair: go clause by clause. They could specifically zero in on what concerns they have. Let's talk about the clause. Let's have an exchange of information on the clause. Let's find out exactly where the member feels the act fails - which I disagree with. But that is what we should be doing right now, Mr. Chair, instead of continually rehashing the past, as the member chooses, in a selective way. So again, I would offer the member opposite and encourage the member opposite to agree to the formal suggestion that we get into clause-by-clause on this act.

Mr. McRobb:   Well, Mr. Chair, the minister really wants to go clause by clause because he says that's how we can zero in. Well, there's nothing precluding that opportunity during general debate. At this stage in the process, we can zero in on any particular topic in the act. So once again the minister is not familiar with process. And, Mr. Chair, the minister's unfamiliarity with the process is causing time to be wasted.

I recall that, shortly after the minister was elected, near the end of the first sitting in here - that would have been about July 2000 - the minister stood on his feet and embedded in the annals of history forever - refer to Hansard - words to the effect that, by fall, he will be an expert in this Legislature and be thoroughly knowledgeable of his department.

Well, this is the minister's fourth sitting, and I believe that, in each one of those four sittings, this government has introduced legislation. Yet, Mr. Chair, the minister still doesn't understand his work. The minister is still confused about the basic and simple process of how we discuss matters in this Legislature.

So, did the minister fulfill his commitment to be thoroughly knowledgeable of his department and the process, before taking a vacation? No, because that's what he said. Back in July 2000, he said that, before taking any time off, he would become an expert.

Well, Mr. Chair, is he an expert? No. Did he take time off? Oh yeah, at taxpayers' expense. We all know about the motorhome cruise for the month of July, and everything else - the $5,700 worth it cost the Yukon taxpayers for the minister to take a month-long vacation. He has taken other vacations, too. We know about the Australia trip in September. I believe that one lasted at least two weeks, and there were others. So obviously the minister has given up on trying to fulfill his commitments in this Legislature and, instead, he is taking more of a vacation approach to his job.

That's unfortunate because it shows. It shows particularly by the mistakes in this draft act. The minister admits that himself. Last week we received amendments, then a couple days later the minister spoke of other significant amendments and now today the minister sends over several more amendments, so we are not sure on this side of the House just how many amendments there are to this act. We know we have several amendments to propose. So the minister disputes a figure of eight or nine. I would suggest the number of amendments we are going to be dealing with is far greater than that, and this could have been prevented had the minister lived up to his commitment to become knowledgeable and do his work before vacationing.

The minister likes to stand up and point the finger and say bad things about us and so on and so forth, but there comes a time when we just can't take it any more and we have to fire some of it back. I know these words sound awfully negative, but the minister deserves what he gets. The minister is not above saying things that could be in the category of suspect when it comes to their validity.

One occurred just a few minutes ago when he accused us of trouncing his officials. Well, there is no evidence of that. We don't trounce officials. As a matter of fact, the government is doing a good enough job of that itself through the project-downsize initiative. They are not only trouncing officials but they are laying off 175.

We know the minister thinks that's not bad, considering what's happening south of the border and how the Province of British Columbia is becoming Campbellized under the new government, which has recently announced that there will be 11,000 layoffs down there in the public service, while some members of unions, Mr. Chair, fear that figure could end up being double or triple the amount admitted to by the provincial government.

So, talking about trouncing officials, Mr. Chair. We, on this side, have great respect for the officials in the departments and say or do nothing to discredit them. For the minister to allege that has occurred is simply false.

Unparliamentary language

Chair:   Please rephrase that, Mr. McRobb.

Mr. McRobb:   It is simply not true.

Chair:   Mr. McRobb, I would caution you, especially knowing the previous history you have had in this Chair, to please use parliamentary language in this House. And I'm asking you right now to rephrase it or withdraw it completely.

Withdrawal of remark

Mr. McRobb:   I withdraw it completely, Mr. Chair. In its place, I'll use the word "suspect".

Now, Mr. Chair, I know the members of the government are feeling a little embarrassed and sensitive about these matters but, like I mentioned before, it's our job to hold them accountable because we hear all the time from concerned members of the public and especially concerned members of the public service. As members of the opposition, it's our duty to represent them in this Legislature and there is no doubt that this is a valid concern - about how this government treats the public service.

So, I think it's quite ironic for the minister to point the finger this way.

The minister tried to explain that he does know what a protected area is. He went so far as to say that a protected area is a park. Well, Mr. Chair, that is, again, a subject for lots of debate.

A protected area, more accurately, is a number of things. It could be a park. It could be a special management area. It could be a protected area. It is not necessarily a park.

Now, this debate started through a Liberal media release dated November 15, in which the minister refers to parks. The number attributed to us in the opposition is twisted out of proportion and that is fine, Mr. Chair, we accept that; we can't expect much better. But, when it comes to debating this act, we should strive for more credible remarks. It is somewhat disappointing to further discover that the minister still doesn't understand the definition of "a protected area". That's fine, Mr. Chair, we will get to that further, probably in the definition section.

Now, the minister goes on to say that the body of the act has a beautiful flow to it. Well, Mr. Chair, unfortunately that flow will be broken several times as we deal with amendments because of the mistakes in the act. Several of the amendments are proposed by the minister himself, so why didn't the minister do his work to ensure the beautiful flow was uninterrupted, Mr. Chair?

Well, I guess he had more pressing and urgent priorities.

Now, a few moments ago I spoke about some of the problems with the act and mentioned that, last Wednesday during motion debate, I identified them. For the record, in today's discussion, I wish to put them back on the record. Aside from complete absence of consultation during the drafting of the legislation and some other issues, I identified 10. In order, they were: (1) The act fails to enshrine YPAS into legislation; instead, it enshrines mining in parks; (2) The act allows mineral exploration and road development in all parks and fails to provide interim protection; (3) It fails to uphold the Whitehorse mining initiative; (4) It fails to protect each of the agreed-to 23 ecoregions in the territory -

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

Point of order

Chair:   Mr. Eftoda, on a point of order.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   On a point of order, I'm referring to Standing Orders 19(c). The member opposite is persisting in needless repetition.

Chair's ruling

Chair:   On the point of order, I find no point of order. It's general debate. It's the first time he's reading through this, as far as I remember. I would have to remember this as a mantra before I'd believe that. Mr. McRobb.

Mr. McRobb:   Well, it's understandable that the minister is so sensitive about criticism to his flagship act, but there are substantive and credible reasons that we must put on the record.

Now, let me continue with no. 5: It fails to protect the biodiversity of a region and creates tension between ecological integrity and other competing uses. We spoke about land use conflict. That's in this concern, Mr. Chair.

(6) It ascribes powers to the minister and Cabinet that clearly contradict YPAS. I've spoken to that one, about how the minister makes the decisions - he and his Cabinet colleagues - devoid of public input; (7) it fails to define criteria for designating parks, or to define valid or subsisting interests; (8) it fails to prohibit visitor-related development in ecological and wilderness preserves; (9) it contravenes the umbrella final agreement with respect to consultation and, finally, (10) it creates confusion and uncertainty.

So, Mr. Chair, is it any wonder we've seen advocacy groups in the public come out against this act and challenge the minister? It's no wonder at all, because there's lots wrong with this act.

For the public record, the intent of the motion last Wednesday was to urge the government to take this act back to the drawing board, wring it through the mill of public consultation, enshrine in it YPAS, and bring it back to the Legislature in the spring and let's have a look at it then. Has that happened? No. Why not? Because the minister insists he's right and everybody else is wrong. The minister thinks he has a monopoly on all the good ideas. Well, we know that not to be true because of all the amendments he has already tabled, and there are more than what the minister has tabled, and we'll be getting to that once we do go clause by clause.

Now, the minister is awfully nervous about general debate for some reason and wants to, very badly, proceed into the clauses. Really when it comes to time management there is virtually no difference whether we discuss issues up front or later on in the clauses. The only difference is when we are in the clauses our discussion is confined to the topic of that particular clause. Maybe that is what the minister wants to do - control our ability to discuss how a clause relates to the balance of the act or other issues. He wants to control and restrict what we might say. That is not necessarily the way we wish to handle it. Now, we do need time to review the amendments the minister has tabled. And, what I would suggest is that we take a 15-minute recess in order to review those amendments. This could have been prevented had the minister tabled them on Thursday and we have just received them now, so we need to review these amendments in detail before closing out general debate. Therefore, I move that we take a recess at this time.

Unanimous consent re recess

Chair:   In fact amendments don't have to be dealt with until we are line by line so there is no sense in taking any time to review them. I'll put the question forward. Do we have unanimous consent to take a 15-minute break in the House? There is no unanimous consent.

Mr. McRobb:   Mr. Chair, the members on the government side clearly don't understand the process and our need to understand what these amendments involve before closing out general debate, at which time our comments are constrained to the particular clause being dealt with.

These amendments might deal with overarching concerns that can only be discussed in general debate, Mr. Chair. Now, we don't know that until we have had an opportunity to review them. Unfortunately, as the lead critic in the official opposition for this department on this legislation, I have not had the opportunity to review them in that detail because I have been involved in discussion with the minister. Therefore, I am unable to talk to the minister and review in detail the proposed amendments at the same time.

I can multi-task on occasion, Mr. Chair, but when it comes to doing these two things at the same time, I'm a little shorter on that ability, and I think that's understandable.

I would ask the members' indulgence, now that they have heard further explanation as to why a break is necessary, to agree so that we can review these clauses before concluding general debate. Otherwise, Mr. Chair, we are an hour and 35 minutes away from the next break and I'm sure we can find lots of things to talk about until then if the minister wants to waste time. We can rehash the rehash, if the minister wants to say no to us, and then, at 4:30, we'll have the opportunity to do as we're requesting now. Or the minister can choose the more productive route and agree to give us the needed time to review the amendments before we lose the ability for wide-ranging discussion we currently have while in general debate.

So, again, Mr. Chair, I move that we take a brief 15-minute recess in order to satisfy that concern.

Chair's statement

Chair:   Order please. Generally, if it were in the form of a formal motion, there would be required an intervening step - in fact, somebody else speaking before we would allow that motion to be put forward. But it's actually much simpler than that, since we have already just previously asked the question. It's the exact same question. There is no indication that that will change and so, as a result, we would ask you to continue, Mr. McRobb. Otherwise we will have to have an intervening action.

Mr. McRobb:   Obviously the government isn't willing to expedite process or be fair and open about our ability to examine changes to the act before making progress in the process. That's despicable and it indicates that this government isn't willing to be held accountable.

The minister tabled several amendments and wants to get out of general debate before we've had the time to review them. Is that a sign of an open and accountable government? No, it's not.

Unfortunately I'm put in the undesirable position of having to waste and hour and a half until the scheduled break or leaving general debate and perhaps leaving this Legislature to go into the research office and discuss with researchers the implications of these amendments, in which case I may not be privy to all of the discussion that transpires in the meantime.

Now, this is a bit of a problem. It's a predicament that could have been avoided had the minister simply provided us that material before the close of the day on Thursday. He indicated there were amendments. It's reasonable to assume he had them in front of him and could have sent them over, and there wouldn't be this problem today, Mr. Chair. So the minister is being rather uncooperative. And if it's any indication of how this government would administer the act once it is passed, if that indeed happens, then the public will surely have to forfeit any opportunity for public input. This really is an outrage.

Chair:   Is there any further general debate?

Seeing no further general debate, shall we proceed with clause-by-clause?

We'll proceed with clause-by-clause. Is there any debate on part 1, Interpretation?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Mr. Chair, a new preamble was added to state the goals and principles of YPAS as well as the intent to follow the process. The preamble provides a background statement setting out the context within which the Yukon government will establish and manage parks under the Parks and Land Certainty Act. The preamble recognizes the Yukon government's obligation -

Chair:   Order please.

I'm sorry, Mr. Eftoda. This is the logic of the Legislature. The preamble is actually the last item discussed before the title is passed. So the preamble is the last item discussed, so I'd have to keep you to relevancy on that.

On Clause 1

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Part one, then, Mr. Chair, interpretation provisions. Part 1 of the act contains general provisions setting out the purpose of the act, definitions of terms used in the act and statements about how the act relates to the Wildlife Act, the Historic Resources Act and the Wilderness Tourism Licensing Act.

The act refers to the need to implement parks in accordance with settlement agreements and for the protection and management of representative areas, or special places in the Yukon. The act also refers to the provisions of recreational opportunities for Yukoners and visitors, along with encouraging public understanding and appreciation of the Yukon's natural environment.

Wildlife and historic resources in parks will continue to be managed and protected under the Wildlife Act and the Historic Resources Act. Where necessary, for park purposes - for example, limiting hunting in proximity to campgrounds - special measures for public health and safety can be put into place under the Parks and Land Certainty Act. This act will not apply to those activities of wilderness tourism operators who are currently subject to regulations under the Wilderness Tourism Licensing Act.

Chair:   Is there any further discussion or debate on clause 1?

Mr. McRobb:   Mr. Chair, I take it we're in part 1, Interpretation, under Purpose. Is that correct?

Chair:   Yes, we're on page 3, part 1, clause 1.

Mr. McRobb:   I am just looking through my notes here, Mr. Chair. I will be with you in a minute.

This particular clause is quite mild and wide-ranging, and at this time I don't see a particular problem with it.

Chair:   Is there any further debate on clause 1?

Clause 1 agreed to

On Clause 2

Amendment proposed

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:  Clause 2 is where I tabled today additional definitions for clarity.

The proposed amendment is as follows:

THAT Bill No. 46 be amended in clause 2 on page 5 by adding the following definitions to section 2:

"'biodiversity' means the variety of species and ecosystems in a park and the ecological processes of which they are a part; biodiversité;

"'ecological viability' means the ability to sustain the natural functioning and evolution of ecosystems on a long-term scale; viabilité écologique."

Chair:   It is moved by Mr. Eftoda

THAT Bill No. 46 be amended in clause 2 on page 5 by adding the following definitions to section 2:

"'biodiversity' means the variety of species and ecosystems in a park and the ecological processes of which they are a part; biodiversité;

"'ecological viability' means the ability to sustain the natural functioning and evolution of ecosystems on a long-term scale; viabilité écologique."

Is there any discussion on the amendment?

Mr. Fairclough:   I would just like to know whether this is the same wording as is in the protected areas strategy.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Yes, Mr. Chair, I believe it is.

Mr. Fairclough:   I thought it might be. I was trying to find it so that we could be sure that it is the same wording. If there's any difference, I'll bring it to the member's attention.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Mr. Chair, if I could help the member opposite out - on page 4 of the protected areas strategy - okay.

Chair:   Is there any more discussion on the amendment?

Seeing no further discussion, shall the amendment carry?

Amendment agreed to

Amendment proposed

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   I move

THAT Bill No. 46, entitled Parks and Land Certainty Act, be amended in clause 2 on page 5 by:

deleting the definition of "wilderness preserve" and substituting the following for it:

"'wilderness preserve' means a park established with a view to protecting an ecological unit or representative core area by conserving biodiversity and ecological viability; réserve sauvage."

Chair:   Okay, I understand. Thank you.

It has been moved by Mr. Eftoda

THAT Bill No. 46, entitled Parks and Land Certainty Act, be amended in clause 2 on page 5 by:

deleting the definition of "wilderness preserve" and substituting the following for it:

"'wilderness preserve' means a park established with a view to protecting an ecological unit or representative core area by conserving biodiversity and ecological viability; réserve sauvage."

Is there any further debate?

Mr. Fairclough:   I'm just wondering if the minister can give a rationale for that change.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   We felt it was imperative as it reflects the strategy in that a wilderness preserve is the highest form of protection, i.e. goal 1 area.

Mr. Fairclough:   The strategy has several different protections - of course, there are the goal 2 areas. I am trying to get to why the minister is wanting to make this change. I know it says a "representative core area", but it doesn't talk about the other areas that could be in a protected area. I am wondering why that wording is in the change and not reflective of all of the protected areas that fall under the protected areas strategy.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   If the Member for Mayo-Tatchun would allow, there are additional definitions in here that do comprise the other types of protected areas.

Mr. Fairclough:   Mr. Chair, I can go along with that. If it's reflective of the strategy and the minister gives his word on that, I don't have a problem with it. I just wanted to make sure that it was, rather than being exclusive of some of the protected areas that fall under the strategy.

Chair:   Is there any further debate on the amendment? Seeing no further debate, shall the amendment carry?

Amendment agreed to

Chair:   Is there any further debate on clause 2 as amended? Seeing no further debate on clause 2 as amended, shall clause 2 as amended carry?

Clause 2 agreed to as amended

On Clause 3

Mr. McRobb:   Mr. Chair, on clause 3, that was one of the three areas alluded to by the CEO of the Yukon Outfitters Association, who appeared to assume that section 3 would effectively allow outfitters unfettered use of a park without the need of a permit and without any restrictions other than for purposes of public health or public safety in a park. Can the minister indicate whether his understanding is correct?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   With all due respect to the Member for Kluane, the question is a little bit convoluted. Is the question whether or not this addresses that? Yes.

Mr. McRobb:   I just want to straighten that out, Mr. Chair, because the answer might appear a bit convoluted on the record. Does the understanding held by the CEO of the Yukon Outfitters Association with respect to his e-mail sent on November 22 at 11:24 a.m. with respect to the unfettered use of the park - is the CEO's understanding correct?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   The concern by the CEO was specifically what impacts a goal 1 area would have with respect to hunting, trapping and outfitting. That was the concern expressed by the CEO of the Outfitters Association. We have indicated that there are other acts that impact on that industry, namely the Wildlife Ac,t and that this act does not impact on them, that they will be continued to be managed directly under the Wildlife Act, and the land itself within parks will be managed by the Parks and Land Certainty Act.

Mr. Fairclough:   I couldn't help but notice the minister referring to having a park established in each of the 23 ecoregions. Has the minister gone away from just a protected area versus a park now, or why is the minister calling a protection of the ecoregions a park rather than a protected area?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:  I fail to see where that is related to this particular clause. We are in clause-by-clause now and we are currently at clause 3.

Mr. Fairclough:   I guess, for clarification, I'm asking about this because, throughout the clauses here, we refer to parks and we don't refer to protected areas as referred to in the protected areas strategy. I know I could have brought it up in general debate, but when we talk about activities within a park, we're not talking about activities within a protected area, and the minister did say that we will be looking at an additional 13 parks in these ecoregions that are left. We're not talking about protected areas any more; we're talking about parks. Fishing Branch is not a park; it's a protected area.

I'm wondering how we went to that - from protected areas to parks?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   We're talking specifically about goal 1 areas that we've identified, and that is the reference that we're making to here, and goal 1 areas basically equal parks, because it's the Parks and Land Certainty Act that will apply management to the land there.

Mr. Fairclough:   I've never had that understanding - that it does equal parks, that goal 1 protected areas equal parks. Parks usually have a parks plan put into place and have activities that can take place. Now, a core 1 protected area could mean that there's no human activity within that core 1. To the general public, if we're moving away from referring to them as core areas or goal 1 areas, and referring to them as parks, that means something different in people's minds. I'm wondering why we're going there.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Mr. Chair, right now we're in definitions. We're on clause 3(1). As we move through and as I indicated to the Member for Kluane, it will be made clear what types of activities can happen in goal 1 areas, specifically, like in the definition I provided further clarification on of a "wilderness preserve". That's a goal 1 area, and you'll see, throughout here, the types of activities that can occur in those types of goal 1 areas.

Mr. Fairclough:   Well, Mr. Chair, I understand that but before we have any more discussion on where parks arise in these amendments under the definitions in the Parks and Land Certainty Act - that we have this cleared up. I just wanted to know if there is a change because of what we have heard over and over in this House that there will be 23 parks created - not 23 parks but the remaining 13 ecoregions that we have, that parks be created. The minister did say that in this House, and it was not referred to as a protected area. I would like to know why, because now we're referring to parks and the activities that happen within a park rather than a protected area.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Mr. Chair, the fact of the matter is that goal 1 areas are the highest form of protection - the highest form of protection that we can afford a land base in the territory here. What this act will identify later on is how we manage goal 1 areas - protected areas, the 13 outstanding.

I respect the member's questions. I do. I want to provide clarity on those, but the fact is that we are out of general debate now and these things will unfold as we move along through the clauses, Mr. Chair. So, now we're on clause 3. If the member has any questions, the Member for Kluane or the Member for Vuntut Gwitchin, I'd be more than happy to answer them.

Mr. Fairclough:   I would like clarification on this because we're talking about activities within a park, and the member did say that the remaining 13 areas will have only one park, only one goal 1 area, which is a park. It doesn't speak of how the strategy put it together, and that's a change. I'm sure that's for general debate, but the minister could maybe explain that as we go through these.

We're talking about parks and the activities in parks, and whether or not that's all we're going to see in an ecoregion that's remaining - a park, and nothing else. Right now we're talking about the activities that can take place within the park. So I actually do need that definition, or a strategy that the minister has, to be cleared up before we go on.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   In the previous section, it clearly defines what a wilderness preserve is, what an ecological reserve is, what a campground is. These are all different kinds of parks. What we're talking about specifically here is a goal 1 area. We have committed this government, through the YPAS process, to identify, by April 30, 2003, 13 areas of interest that will evolve into a goal 1 area, which will be a park managed by the Parks and Land Certainty Act as a tool.

If the member would like us to move on, that information becomes clearer and clearer about park management, depending on what determination the park is. That will become clear.

Mr. Fairclough:   It isn't clear now, and part of the problem, Mr. Chair, is that the minister is saying something different than what the definition has said, and the minister has said something different in this House over and over again. So I need clarification, and then it will become clearer as we move along, as the members say.

I need to know the difference between the parks the minister is talking about, the goal 1, the goal 2 and other habitat protection that takes place. Right now, the minister calls these parks, and they're not necessarily the same thing. A special management area, which could fall under some of the definitions that are within this proposed Parks and Land Certainty Act, cannot be called a "park." It's something different. It's managed differently, and it involves different people.

I would like to have a clear definition of why this minister, the government, has taken the steps of calling ecoregions protection parks now rather than a protected area, because the general public doesn't have that same feeling about how the protected areas are set up. And that's, I guess, the basics there. We're not going into big management plans that have to be set up under the Parks and Land Certainty Act, so why are we calling them "parks" when there's only one in each of the ecoregions versus how it was designed in the past by having - there could be several different types of protection within the ecoregion?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Mr. Chair, if the member wants me to answer questions specifically on clause 3, I will.

Mr. Fairclough:   It is a specific question, because I'm looking at the parks and the activities within. So I need the minister to answer that question.

Chair:   Is there any further debate on clause 3?

Mr. Fairclough:   The minister can't just walk away from that. It is a discrepancy between what the minister is saying and what is laid out in the material that we are debating right now. Why can't the minister answer that? Can the minister identify another place? Is it within this paper that he will be bringing clarification to us here, so we don't need to go back and ask questions on the same thing? Can the minister answer that?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   If the member has a question on clause 3, I would be more than willing to answer it.

Mr. Fairclough:   Okay, there was a question on clause 3. I am referring to parks. It says right in there "- activities within a park of a hunter, trapper or outfitter, -" and I wanted to know what his thoughts were as far as protected areas and ecoregions. It is different from what is laid out in this paper. So we can't be discussing two things. If it is one and the same thing, maybe the minister can say that. But what we have heard is that there is only going to be one park in the ecoregion. That is what the minister said. Is that true?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   There will be one goal 1 area within each of the remaining 13 ecoregions.

Mr. Fairclough:   That is what the member has said, and actually it was referred to as "a park". There will be one park. That is what the minister said. Does that mean that we will be able to see other protection within that ecoregion - goal 2 habitat protection and so on? Is that going to be included in that, and how is that related to how the goal 1 protection and boundaries are established?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Goal 1 areas are the highest form of protection we can afford for the land base here in the territory. We have committed to creating 13 goal 1 areas within the remaining 13 ecoregions. It is the highest form of protection that we can afford. If we move through the act, it will specify what impacts on the land in goal 1 areas can be tolerated or not tolerated.

So, if the member wants to move forward, we will.

Mr. Fairclough:   I can't do that, Mr. Chair. Later on, as the debate goes through, the minister is going to ask for another amendment to the act and this is going to reflect the type of activities and how the boundaries are to be developed. So, what the minister just said is not exactly correct in my view.

The minister did say - and will bring amendments to consider economic development and activity within the area. It doesn't say how it's going to be laid out like it was in the strategy - having a group of people actually talk about it before they even see this boundary. I guess what I'm getting at is the difference between what's being proposed as a protected area in the strategy and what the minister is saying in this legislation that we are being asked to approve.

So, when can we find out what the thinking is of this government as to what protected areas really mean and what they are versus what is in this legislation?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   The member opposite is insisting that we discuss YPAS here. As I have also indicated in this House, at the request of the public advisory committee, this is exactly why - and this is the rationale as a result of the member's questions - we are not entrenching YPAS in the body of the act.

Because another recommendation of the public advisory group was that, in all probability, based on the work that the public advisory committee does, the strategy will be made stronger, will be worked on. We're criticized for lack of consultation. Well, Mr. Chair, it was upon the committee's recommendation that we move forward, entrenching in the preamble of the act the goals and principles, which we have done.

The member opposite is correct. The Yukon protected areas strategy does identify goal 1 areas, what a goal 1 area is, and also specifies that there is a goal 2 area. There may be other land base uses that cannot be tolerated in a goal 1 area because a goal 1 area is a wilderness preserve. You're capturing that area to protect the biodiversity and ecological integrity of that goal 1 area, which is a wilderness preserve.

A goal 2 area is a natural environment park. It's a recreational park, which is also a campground. That is a recreational park - a campground. They're synonymous.

Now, I would encourage the member opposite - we're on clause 3, and I hope I provided a little bit of clarification. The clarification will continue to amass as we go through the act.

So, I will answer - right now we're on clause 3, which is reflecting hunting, trapping and outfitting. Mr. Chair, I will answer any questions specific to the clause.

Mr. Fairclough:   Well, Mr. Chair, I would like a clarification as to what the minister means about parks and why we have it listed as activities that take place. Does that include things like First Nation settlements, special management areas and parks that are created under final agreements?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   With respect to special management areas, we have also indicated that goal 1 areas will not be duplicated in an ecoregion if a special management area has been identified, but that we have to be very cognizant of the intended use of the special management area under the specific agreement. So we will make every attempt with special management areas so that we don't duplicate goal 1 areas to have the special management area also serve as a goal 1 area.

Mr. Fairclough:   Well, Mr. Chair, I don't understand where the minister is going. Does that mean that the goal 1 core areas are going to be bigger than originally thought, because now you can't break it down into two or three different parts on a huge ecoregion? Is that what the minister is saying, too?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   I will answer any question relative to the clause from now on, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Fairclough:   Well, Mr. Chair, this is relevant because we're talking about activities in a park, and if the minister is telling the public that there will only be one but it's going to be a great big one, then I think the general public needs to know. If there are going to be several different small ones, then I think people need to know, too, because it's all about compatible land use with land claims and the settlement lands and so on. So there's more that I want to get into on this, but I really need to know where the minister is going with this.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   The member opposite knows exactly where we are going with this. To plead ignorance is really quite disrespectful, Mr. Chair.

The YPAS document states that activities, such as camping, hiking, fishing and hunting - which are all important parts of Yukon lifestyles - will be permitted in protected areas, unless specifically restricted by a management plan.

The new direction on YPAS does not allow the prohibition of these activities in a YPAS park unless there is a requirement to manage these activities for public health, public safety, or conservation reasons.

Mr. Chair, the member is right - it is important to provide clarity and I, again, encourage the member to let us move through, where the clarity will be provided when we get into specific park-type management. Then it identifies exactly what can occur.

The Parks and Land Certainty Act here, as I have indicated in the House - also, it looks after a wide range of parks, not just goal 1 areas. But, in order to move forward with goal 1 areas, we needed the appropriate tools. The current Parks Act does not address that - it's deficient in allowing the management of goal 1 areas. This act upgrades the standard so that we can manage those areas in a very responsible and comprehensive manner.

With respect to special management areas, part of the Tombstone Park, as a matter of fact, was as a result of the land claims agreement. The member knows that, but we still call it "Tombstone Park". And the cooperative team that developed the guidelines for the management plan specify what can happen in different areas of the park, respecting sensitivities, First Nation cultural sites, heritage sites. So there is limited access to those areas, or no access at all - those are the recommendations that are coming out of the guidelines for the management plan of Tombstone Park.

So, depending on the character of the park, depending on why it was created - was it created as a goal 1 area? That is a wilderness preserve synonymous with park. Ecological reserves, which are usually smaller and there is an ecological reason to protect a unique biological feature - generally speaking, an ecological reserve is smaller in size. The wilderness preserve captures scientifically established criteria for ecological representation of that ecoregion. That is done with a lot of consultation. It is done with a lot of science to determine that it adequately represents that ecoregion. And then there are sensitivities that come out of that - the consultations that go on after an area of interest has been determined.

The Member for Kluane reminded me that I said in the past that it takes 18 months to two years to finalize the plan. That is true, after an area of interest has been created. Then the involvements, representations and consultations go on to determine the true qualifying perimeters of that area. That is a goal 1 area. That is a wilderness preserve. That is a park. And this Parks and Land Uncertainty Act allows the tools to manage specifically that park, because everything needs management, from no impacts, to restricted impacts, to how we benefit from that area being a goal 1 area. That is all defined over an 18-month to two-year process. Goal 1 areas - campgrounds, for instance, are recreational parks. There is care where they go and there is a degree of consultation that occurs for them, but ultimately they are places for Yukoners to go and camp to enjoy the outdoors. It is still a park; it is a recreational park.

What the act does later on is to define what activities can happen in those areas. I think that can only be made clear when we do go into those aspects of the act.

Mr. Fairclough:   Mr. Chair, it's clear that I'm not getting the answers I'm looking for from the minister. I understand what he's saying about activities. I wanted to know how they're broken down and how the ecoregions are going to be represented. Because one of the things that industry and the development community has been asking is whether or not they had the opportunity to look at maybe creating two separate core 1 areas should there be reasons to do that for development's sake.

Within the strategy, that is handled, but what the minister is saying is that it's not going to happen any more.

We're looking at one area - that's it - and it cannot be split in an ecoregion - maybe to have a representation in the north or southern part of the ecoregion. That doesn't happen with goal 1 any more, and that's a big change in the strategy.

When you talk about what activities take place and may take place on protected areas, I think people might see this in a bit different light now because what has been talked about in the past is representation of protected areas and the different goal 2 and so on.

I don't know what more I can ask of the minister. Maybe if he looks back and sees that he can bring some clarification to me, then I would like to ask that it be sent to me in writing.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Mr. Chair, I'll try one more time.

The member knows - I will agree with the member. The Member for Mayo-Tatchun does know the strategy, the general concepts of the strategy. What we have committed to doing, with agreement from the public advisory committee, from industry reps, is to recognize that there are other land uses as well. I had indicated that, yes, our commitment is to create a goal 1 area based on science to ecologically represent the ecoregion that would look after factors like biodiversity and a number of other qualifying factors.

We're also indicating to industry here - and we have said many times in this House that there's no reason why the Yukon protected areas strategy cannot move ahead by our identifying 13 remaining goal 1 areas and 13 ecoregions within the Yukon as well as industrial or economic progress in the territory. One does not overpower the other. We're creating balance here.

Now, in creating a goal 1 area, we recognize in discussions, in direct dialogue with Yukoners all over the territory, that there has to be consideration for reasonable access around a goal 1 area. We have to keep that in mind; we have to be reasonable. There may even be a unique situation where the only way that a person can get from point A to B is through a goal 1 area. Then you might be able to create a corridor or a goal 2 area, where it doesn't compromise the ecological integrity of the ecoregion. These are variables that come up because each park is unique. Each goal 1 area is unique. It involves the planning team; it involves a lot of consultation; it involves planning - 18 to 24 months, Mr. Chair, from the time you look at an area of interest to when it becomes a wilderness preserve.

And a lot can happen in there. I don't want to presuppose or pre-suggest what the planning process is going to create or what's going to evolve from that process. That was our commitment to the public advisory committee. That is our commitment to industry. That's our commitment to the coalition - that we're going to consider all these aspects.

Now, the fact of the matter, as well, is that, with respect to clause 3 - this whole act, as a matter of fact, Mr. Chair, respects all final agreements. I believe the Premier and I have indicated that, in moving forward in identifying areas of interest, we are going to continue to dialogue with all First Nations, because that's how we do business, and we have to respect their processes as well.

So I don't know what more detailed information I can provide the member at this time on the questions he's asking. This act does not work in isolation of YPAS. They're inextricably linked, and the YPAS is a public document - meaning that the public will continue to work on it. So there are all kinds of considerations that are going toward YPAS, but this gives us the tools to manage our special places, whether they're campgrounds, wilderness reserves, ecological reserves, goal 2 areas, goal 1 areas - whatever you want to call them, this gives us the tools to do that, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Fairclough:   I believe if we didn't do any amendments to the act that we still could do it with the guiding strategy that has been developed by Yukoners. I think we still can do it, and people wanted to make sure that it was entrenched into legislation. For the purpose of developing this act - amendments or changing the name or having some of YPAS reflected into the act - were the words "protected areas" deliberately not entrenched in here or not said or left out? We are using parks now, and the member did say there were different types of parks, and he listed the different types of parks, like the different types of protected areas. Is it deliberate that the wording be used as "parks" rather than "protected areas"?

Some Hon. Member:   (Inaudible)

Mr. Fairclough:   I know we are in clause 3, but just look at the whole act itself. I mean, I am asking the member - we are not going to see protected areas throughout the park - I am just wondering if it was deliberate to use the word "park"? Was it for clarification on how it is read and written in this legislation?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   This is a parks act. Parks is a generic term for land use planning in special places. I will answer questions on clause 3 and only questions relative to that clause.

Mr. Fairclough:   Well, Mr. Chair, the minister did say - and it was a commitment - that he was trying to have this protected areas strategy entrenched in legislation, and this is the way to do it. But the wording has changed. It's just a simple thing; I just want a brief explanation about it for clarification because "parks" is written throughout the legislation and it's not called "protected areas". If we're moving away from that just for the sake of clarification under this legislation, then that's the type of thing I'd like to know because we are talking about activities within a park, and I'm referring to clause 3.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   YPAS is mentioned in the preamble, Mr. Chair.

Chair:   Is there any further debate on clause 3?

Clause 3 agreed to

On Clause 4

Clause 4 agreed to

On Clause 5

Mr. McRobb:   Mr. Chair, I can recall the debate on the Wilderness Tourism Licensing Act like it was yesterday, but I haven't had an opportunity to revisit that piece of legislation or to review any of the regulations that are referred to in this clause.

Can the minister give us an update on the act and indicate whether the regulations are in force and, if so, could he send over a copy?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Mr. Chair, is the member asking for the regulations on the Wilderness Tourism Licensing Act? We're not debating that act.

Mr. McRobb:   Mr. Chair, is the minister trying to be smart or what? We all know we're not debating the Wilderness Tourism Licensing Act. I made it clear in my request that I would like to have the regulations for that act that are identified in clause 5 of the Parks and Land Certainty Act. That's the act we're on.

Now, I asked if the minister can endeavour to get us the regulations if they're in existence. So I'll ask him again: will he undertake to do that?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Yes, Mr. Chair.

Clause 5 agreed to

On Clause 6

Mr. McRobb:   I have just a question on this. This is a clause that allows the minister the protection of Executive Council or Cabinet in making decisions, and I note from a previous discussion that the minister has assumed that such protection is in the public interest and that somehow there's increased accountability that goes along with that. However, Mr. Chair, we know that if a decision is made and we ask the minister about it in this Legislature, the minister will stand up and say that's a Cabinet decision. Accordingly, it's very difficult to hold the minister accountable for a decision that was only partially his.

I would like to point out that deferring such decisions to Cabinet, in fact, reduces accountability in this Legislature.

I also want to say that if the legislation attributed that responsibility to the minister alone, there is nothing stopping the minister from seeking Cabinet direction or approval on anything. We know that such process happens all the time involving even members of caucus with virtually any government that is at least half open and cares about internal communication.

It seems to me that this particular relegation of the responsibility to Cabinet makes it more difficult to hold the minister responsible on any decision making.

I don't have a question for the minister on this, but I wanted to put those concerns on record.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Just in response to the Member for Kluane's generalized statements, this is very consistent with YPAS, as a matter of fact, and it's identified as step 7 in YPAS: final government review and approval. It is the Yukon Cabinet that will review the final proposal and would include any development assessment process recommendations before giving final approval. So, Mr. Chair, it's very, very consistent with YPAS.

With the House's indulgence, could I just give an overview to part 2, if the members would not object? The whole premise for part 2 is that existing parks will continue as parks under the new Parks and Land Certainty Act. All existing parks will be listed on a schedule at the end of the act, setting out the park type and the purpose for its creation.

This will include territorial campgrounds that have been transferred to Yukon. Part 2 also contains selections of the act that describe how new parks will be created. Land claim negotiations have, in the past, led to the creation of three parks: Herschel Island Territorial Park, Fishing Branch Ecological Reserve, and Tombstone Natural Environment Park. The Parks and Land Certainty Act will provide the Yukon government with the powers necessary to honour commitments about park creation made specifically in settlement agreements.

The new act provides for public participation in park boundary discussions and in determining the purposes of the park for all parks, other than settlement agreement parks. This is committed to in the preamble, and committed to in section 10 of this act. New parks created through this process will be established by order of the Yukon Cabinet, which will be published in the Yukon Gazette.

The new act will require but not spell out the details of the public participation in selection of future parks. Circumstances may vary from one park to another and as public participation provision for goal 1 parks may evolve over time, the act provides for flexibility in achieving the Yukon government's commitment to public participation in park creation. The act also provides for four types of parks. These include ecological reserves, natural environment parks, wilderness preserves and recreational parks.

Recreational parks will include campgrounds and recreation sites may include corridor-type parks. The act will also allow for new types of parks to be created in the future by regulation. This ensures that there will be flexibility built right into the act.

All lands to be included in parks will have to be lands within the control of the Yukon government. If there are existing third party legal interests in land, the order creating the park will have to address the continued exercise of rights by the holder of those interests. Changes to parks will be possible by way of Cabinet order. However, for ecological reserves, natural environment parks and wilderness parks, any decision to remove land from park status or revoke park status will require support by resolution of the Legislative Assembly.

I will now take questions on this part, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Fairclough:   I thank the minister for that explanation.

Does part 2, section 6 mean that the Executive Council may establish parks other than those that have been developed through the planning committees?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   What this clause does is to provide Cabinet with the authority, basically, to establish parks.

Mr. Fairclough:   I would like to know the processes that take place because, right now, you can establish parks - great, we're going to use the strategy as a guide. But does Cabinet then, through the ECO, have that ability to create parks other than according to the guidelines in the strategy?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Well, yes, it does, Mr. Chair - such as recreational parks, campgrounds.

Mr. Fairclough:   Does that mean also that Cabinet can change what a park looks like or activities in a park without full involvement of the planning committee?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   I believe that will be covered later on if we move through the clauses.

Mr. Fairclough:   If there is an answer then, I wonder if I could get it now, because this speaks specifically to what the abilities are that Cabinet has, and I would like to know, from the answers that the member has, whether it is, in my view, consistent with YPAS.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Yes, Mr. Chair, it is consistent.

Mr. Fairclough:   Well, Mr. Chair, the things in YPAS that are listed as parks are a bit different from what is listed here in the Parks and Land Uncertainty Act. The member did say campgrounds, for example, can be created.

Governments can, in my view, I guess, look at all the different things within an ecoregion, without going through the planning committee, and develop a park or add on to a piece that has already been in existence. That's how I read this section 6. Is that correct?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   What this does is enable Cabinet to create a park. That doesn't negate the responsibilities of Cabinet, as will be outlined in subsequent clauses.

So if the member wishes to go into detail on the clauses, I would be more than willing to do that later on. It says, for Cabinet, what consultations and what processes are required to establish these parks later on. So, I will answer those questions then, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Fairclough:   Well, thank you, Mr. Chair, but we're into the clauses here and we are in part 2, section 6. It's only one sentence there, but I would like to have clarification about what it really means.

Now, does it give Cabinet the authority, I suppose, to create parks other than those that have the guidance of YPAS? From what the minister is saying, it's "yes". So, really, the minister does have the authority to go over and beyond the strategy that has been put in place by the Yukon people. Is that correct?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Mr. Chair, this clause in no way violates principles of YPAS. It's very consistent with YPAS. YPAS recognizes that Cabinet has the authority. And really, what this clause says - and I'll read the clause out for the member opposite: "The Commissioner in Executive Council may establish parks in furtherance of the purpose of this Act," meaning that Cabinet cannot go in isolation with this one clause alone.

Mr. Fairclough:   Well, the minister just contradicted himself then, because if we look at campgrounds and so on, then it's a little bit different. What about special management areas that are negotiated in a negotiated process? How does this clause, clause 6, define them?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Mr. Chair, I have already indicated that this act works in respect of settled land claim agreements.

Chair:   Is there any further debate on clause 6?

Clause 6 agreed to

On Clause 7

Clause 7 agreed to

On Clause 8

Chair:   Does clause 8 carry?

Mr. McRobb:   No, it doesn't carry, Mr. Chair.

As a matter of fact, I did allude to earlier that we have a number of amendments to suggest.

Mr. McRobb:   I'd like to send over to the minister the first suggestion, and I'll read it into the record. I suggest replacing clause 8 with - pardon me, Mr. Chair. Just let me get my notes together here for a moment.

Chair:   Order please. Committee of the Whole will recess until 4:25.


Chair:   I now Committee of the Whole to order. We will continue with general debate on clause 8. I believe that Mr. McRobb had an amendment.

Mr. McRobb:   I have had an opportunity now to review my notes and sort through the number of amendments that exist on this bill and have discovered that my first amendment deals with section 10(1) so I have no problem with clause 8 and clear it.

Mr. Fairclough:   I would just like to know, I guess, the reasoning behind calling these "settlement agreements". In the definition in talks about First Nation final agreements and I know that the minister doesn't refer to them as final agreements; they just call them "settlement agreements". But, this could be parks, like was created in Tombstone Park. What I don't know is whether or not this includes special management areas as defined in the final agreements.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Everything is usually contained within the final agreement. Special management areas, as they are identified in the final agreement, are what's being considered here.

Mr. Fairclough:   I don't want to jump ahead but, in defining what parks are, special management areas are not listed. Is that something the minister can now give consideration to? I'm looking at clause 11 but, in order to speed clause 8 through, I would like to know whether or not that has been the definition under there, or does the minister feel more comfortable that it's taken care of in the final agreements?

One of the reasons I asked about this is that, in final agreements, there are parks that could be developed under them and, in there, they specify how and what activity takes place in that park, away from the YPAS process.

Now, special management areas are also identified and could take an additional amount of time to develop, just like parks can under the final agreements. I would think that final agreements would supersede this agreement. Going back to the section where we had a little bit of debate about activities that take place under parks, whether it means to develop a park or a special management area, or whatever, under final agreements, or the types of activities that take place, could that not be more clearly read and understood in this section?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Yes, Mr. Chair, the member opposite is correct. The final agreement prevails, absolutely. And when special management areas are identified under the agreement as a park, that also includes management planning processes quite specifically, so we would be obligated under those, yes.

Mr. Fairclough:   Well, a couple of things - some special management areas are right on top of settlement lands, and I would presume they take precedence over this. But First Nations also have the ability to establish special management areas many years after their final agreements, and they won't really be reflected in there. But they have that ability, and it's agreed upon by three governments. This act doesn't really look at that, other than what's in the final agreement now - what could be the result in the future out of the final agreements.

So I'm wondering whether or not that wording could be a little more clear in clause 8 and when you get down to clause 11, where we look at what a park really means and what is in a park.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   I do agree in principle with what the member opposite is saying - we always have to be mindful that chapter 10 prevails. I had also indicated at the outset that, if there is an opportunity - and this goes with government-to-government negotiations in respecting the final agreements, of course, but the commitment that we have made to Yukoners is that special management areas, through negotiation - and if they meet the criteria identified in establishing a goal 1 area - it's just not that way because a special management area is there, so we just believe that we can create a park out of it. That might not be the case; that might not be the wish of the First Nation - that might not be part of the management plan for that special management area.

So, Mr. Chair, we would then establish, as per our commitment as well, a goal 1 area elsewhere in that ecoregion. So, we always have to be mindful of the final agreement, and chapter 10 prevails.

The management process is fully respected, and we also have to be cognizant of the fact of what processes in YPAS are required to establish and qualify ecosystem representation within an ecoregion.

So, we're going to make best efforts, though, not to duplicate protected areas in any ecoregion, and to work cooperatively with First Nations.

Mr. Fairclough:   Well, I would hope that would take place. I can't see, in many of the special management areas that are being developed out of final agreements, where it would qualify as a goal 1 protected area. I know First Nations have some thoughts in place as to how and what should take place in these special management areas.

Now, I guess my questions are referring back to the fact that special management areas can be changed and developed down the road. In clause 8, it does refer to accordance to the final agreements - whether they are special management areas or not in accordance to the final agreements. Well, according to the final agreements that means that, at times, if the First Nation feels it necessary, it can change the initial intent of the special management area.

Now, it could be that on the special management area, which is supposed to give a more enhanced look at what takes place on this piece of land, logging could be permitted. If this is part of the protection that this government sees in that ecoregion, then, if that has changed, where does the government go from here? It doesn't say if we will be coming back to look at adequate protection. It doesn't say that in this agreement. I know you refer to this, but there are no qualifying words to say that government will look at the changes that take place in special management areas under settlement agreements.

I guess, Mr. Chair, I would like to see if we can make a change under section 11, if the minister could look at that carefully to ensure that settlement agreements, as defined in this act, be listed as one of those protected areas or parks that the minister has listed here.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Mr. Chair, with all due respect to the member's query on going to section 11, I guess we can address the situation there, but it really is clear that the final agreement does set the parameters of an SMA, and the requirements under YPAS for a goal 1 protected area may not be qualified under the provisions of the final agreement for an SMA.

But what we have committed to do is to work with that First Nation in mitigating duplicating efforts toward the degrees of protection that happen in any given ecoregion. So, if the final agreement specifies the SMA as a park and the type of park and the management plan, that all builds to qualifying it as also a goal 1 protected area under YPAS. If those conditions cannot be met - I mean, if there's no compatibility between what is specified in the Yukon protected areas strategy and what SMA is designated by the final agreement - then we would establish a goal 1 area outside the SMA. I don't know how much clearer I can be than that.

This also requires a lot of consultation, of course, on a government-to-government basis with the First Nation.

A very good example of that, Mr. Chair, is the Tombstone Park. That was a special management area under the final agreement.

Mr. Fairclough:   I would like to address that under section 11, if we can look at possibly that being inclusive of what a park may be. I know the member opposite is saying things that we are saying on this side of the House, that, of course, the final agreements are going to supersede. But one of the things I would like to know from the minister is who determines that? The minister is saying "we". That would refer to government, I suppose. If they feel that the special management area or settlement agreement that might have parks in it is adequate protection, who determines that? Is it still the planning team that has been set up to determine that? It's pretty important, because the commitment in YPAS is to have a public process, and negotiations of special management areas are not a public process. So maybe the minister can clarify that.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   The member is correct, and it all depends on the final determination under the final agreement on what disposition the First Nation chooses with respect to the special management area, and we can't tell them that. So it can only move forward after the area has been defined by the final agreement.

Chair:   Shall clause 8 carry?

Clause 8 agreed to

On Clause 9

Clause 9 agreed to

On Clause 10

Amendment proposed

Mr. McRobb:   This is the clause that I identified earlier. We have a proposed amendment and I will read it into the record.

I move

THAT Bill No. 46, entitled Parks and Land Certainty Act, be amended in clause 10 at page 7 by replacing subclause 10(1) with the following: "In completing the goals and principles of the Yukon protected area strategy, the Commissioner in Executive Council Office shall ensure public participation in the selection of the boundaries and determination of the purpose of a proposed park in the manner set out in the Yukon protected area strategy."

Chair:  It has been moved by Mr. McRobb

THAT Bill No. 46, entitled Parks and Land Certainty Act, be amended in clause 10 at page 7 by replacing subclause 10(1) with the following: "In completing the goals and principles of the Yukon protected area strategy, the Commissioner in Executive Council Office shall ensure public participation in the selection of the boundaries and determination of the purpose of a proposed park in the manner set out in the Yukon protected area strategy."

Mr. McRobb:   I just wish to speak briefly to this proposed amendment. What it does is remove the uncertainty with respect to public involvement and the process for public involvement by unequivocally saying the process -

Some Hon. Member:   Point of order.

Point of order

Chair:   Mr. Eftoda, on a point of order.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   On the point of order, with respect to process, is the Member for Kluane discussing the amendment, Mr. Chair?

Chair:   I believe he is, Mr. Eftoda. What's your point of order?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   We don't have it yet. So, I mean, I can't - it's very hard for me to follow a rationale without being able to reference the material.

Chair:   Then we will take a two-minute recess until the information comes in.


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

Mr. McRobb:   Yes, thank you, Mr. Chair. We are ironing out a wrinkle about provision of copies now. We will ensure that every member of the opposite side gets a copy of this, and we will produce copies of the other amendments in the meantime.

What this amendment does, Mr. Chair, as I was saying, is it removes the doubt of a process for public involvement and, instead, defines public involvement in accordance with the Yukon protected areas strategy, in particular in completing the goals and principles of that strategy.

The language has been changed to "shall" in the case of the Commissioner in Executive Council "shall" ensure public participation, rather than the existing language, which is "considers necessary". So, we know, Mr. Chair, that there is quite a difference between "shall" do something and then do something as you "consider necessary". What we're doing is providing more certainty to the act and to the public in what could possibly transpire in terms of process at the political level.

So, if the minister truly does believe in the Yukon protected areas strategy, I don't see a problem with him agreeing to this amendment.

Chair:   Is there any further debate on the amendment?

Amendment negatived

Chair:   Is there any further debate on clause 10?

Mr. McRobb:   Yes. I would just like to put on the record that our concerns that necessitated the amendment appear now to be entrenched in this legislation because the minister was unwilling to amend the language. It's a sad day for democracy, Mr. Chair, when we have the public cut out of the consultation process and we have the minister and Cabinet unilaterally making decisions, as is now guaranteed under this clause in the act.

So, Mr. Chair, there's not much we can do about it. We, on this side, are in the minority and, as you have just witnessed, we can be defeated in a vote quite readily. The government has demonstrated that it feels it knows best and that our concerns should not be heeded, and that's unfortunate because we are really trying to bring more public process and certainty into this act.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   With all due respect to the comments offered by the Member for Kluane, Mr. Chair, this is a prime example of democracy with respect to where majority rules.

I have heard, and we did consider, in the very brief time we had, the amendment offered by the member opposite. What I have constantly and consistently tried to imply in the House here is that this act refers to all kinds of parts, not just those determined under YPAS - for instance, when I refer to recreational parks, campgrounds.

Well, Mr. Chair, there is a degree of consultation that happens in campgrounds, as opposed to the degree of consultation that happens on goal 1 areas. The purpose of this section is to ensure that there is public - and the member failed to read the whole clause. He made certain that we heard the suggested amendment.

So, for the record, Mr. Chair, I'll read the clause that he tried to change: "10(1) The Commissioner in Executive Council shall ensure that there is opportunity for public involvement, in a manner and to the extent the Commissioner in Executive Council considers necessary, in the selection of boundaries and determination of the purpose of a proposed park."

So that implies there are different kinds of parks, Mr. Chair, and that we are not going to, carte blanche, change YPAS into this document in the manner in which he suggested. The act does not set out the exact extent of public consultation, because parks will differ in size, purpose and competing uses. The extent of public participation can be better determined on a case-by-case basis, or through regulation. At the same time, there is also provision under regulation-making authority, section 48(c) that will allow Cabinet to provide more precise requirements for public participation.

I know the members have read the act. It's a fairly comprehensive document, though, and I'm here to assist in the understanding, and I will state again that this act is meant to cover a variety of parks. As I suggested as well, this park works with respect to YPAS as well. So where YPAS has effect on this act, then this act recognizes that. It's implied, Mr. Chair.

Mr. McRobb:   Well, I have to comment on that, Mr. Chair. First of all, the minister's mixing up of campgrounds in with this act in order to defend his reduction in public consultation is merely fortifying our belief that YPAS and the Parks Act should be stand-alone legislation and not mixed up with the Campgrounds Act.

Now, the minister refers to consultation for the creation of campgrounds, Mr. Chair, but we know that from his travels this summer, he probably had a lot of consultation in the campgrounds at least, and I don't imagine there would be a public report coming out of that - what the minister heard and said about campgrounds during his travels, even though the bill was certainly substantial enough to produce a report on what he heard. But the minister made a point that the existing wording in the clause at the beginning - "shall ensure that there is opportunity for public involvement" - is adequate and that that somehow makes up for the flexibility offered near the end of the clause - if the minister considers necessary. And I would say that in total, Mr. Chair, the entire clause still is full of uncertainty, and there's no guarantee that the opportunity provided by the minister would in fact be a good opportunity or the process would be carried out in a manner that is suitable to the participants.

It clearly is not certain and that is what YPAS spelled out in detail. That is why we keep going back to YPAS and that is why we keep pointing to the question marks in this act - the big difference between the two.

The minister stood up last week and said time and time again that he has entrenched YPAS into this act. Clearly, as we go through the various clauses we see there is a huge difference between what YPAS spells out in terms of public consultation and what is in this act. So I guess time will tell. There is no use trying to stall on this. We know the Liberals will use their majority to pass this legislation through, and we'll just see what it brings. Hopefully, things will work out but there is lots of potential for the opposite to happen.

Chair:   Is there any further debate on clause 10?

Clause 10 agreed to

On Clause 11

Amendment proposed

Mr. McRobb:   Similar to the previous clause, I have an amendment that I will read in the record and have copies to send over.

I move

THAT we replace subclause 10(2) with the following: "the Commissioner in -"

Chair:   Order please. We just cleared clause 10. I asked if there was any further debate and I distinctly -

Some Hon. Member:   (Inaudible)

Chair:   No, clause 10 in its entirety got cleared. I mean -

Some Hon. Member:   (Inaudible)

Chair:   I haven't been clearing subclauses anywhere. I will start now if you want, but I cleared the entire clause 10 and I asked this House specifically if there was any further debate. Clause 10 is cleared.

Is there any further debate on clause 11?

Mr. McRobb:   It's the practice of this House to go through the subs in the clauses and I just heard you explain that you haven't been doing that. But there is an easy explanation for that, Mr. Chair - the previous clause 9 has no subs. The previous clause 8 has no subs. The previous clause ...

Chair:   Order please. Please sit down, Mr. McRobb. You are questioning now the decision of the Chair, which is firmly against the rules.

If you want to use a precedent, clause 3 had subs and we cleared the entire clause as a whole.

Now, Mr. McRobb, I will not broker anybody questioning my decisions. Clause 10 was clearly cleared. It will show in Hansard tomorrow. I gave every opportunity for you to answer, and you did not. We are in clause 11.

Is there any debate on clause 11?

Amendment proposed

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Thank you, Mr. Chair. I would like to propose an amendment to this bill:

THAT Bill No. 46, entitled Parks and Land Certainty Act, be amended in clause 11 on page 7 by:

inserting the following subsections immediately after subsection 11(2)

"(3) In establishing a park other than a settlement agreement park, the Commissioner in Executive Council shall

(a) ensure that a resource value assessment is completed,

(b) consider means of minimizing the impact of establishment of the park on current and future resource developments, and

(c) ensure that environmental and economic considerations are balanced in the selection of the park's boundaries and determination of the park's purpose.

(4) Nothing in subsection (3) prevents the Commissioner in Executive Council from considering other matters in establishing a park, selecting its boundaries, or in determining the park's purpose.

Chair:   It has been moved by Mr. Eftoda that Bill No. 46, entitled Parks and Land Certainty Act, be amended in clause 11 on page 7 by:

inserting the following subsections immediately after subsection 11(2)

"(3) In establishing a park other than a settlement agreement park, the Commissioner in Executive Council shall

(a) ensure that a resource value assessment is completed,

(b) consider means of minimizing the impact of establishment of the park on current and future resource developments, and

(c) ensure that environmental and economic considerations are balanced in the selection of the park's boundaries and determination of the park's purpose.

(4) Nothing in subsection (3) prevents the Commissioner in Executive Council from considering other matters in establishing a park, selecting its boundaries, or in determining the park's purpose."

Is there any discussion on the amendment? Do members wish a couple of minutes to take this in?

Mr. Fairclough:   Mr. Chair, I would like to have an explanation from the minister. We're talking about parks being created other than those that are in final agreements. Now, for the purpose of having a representation of an ecoregion, we look at a balance of whether or not we have environmental interests taken into consideration or industry interests. And there could be, in the minister's words, "adequate representation by a settlement agreement."

If that's correct, how can the government bring forward to the general public a balanced agenda on this, a balanced look at how this is a protected area? It would be an SMA. I know you're talking about "other than", but if this settlement agreement is the protection in that ecoregion, then what we're saying is two different things. It's a balance and yet we cannot see a balance if it is settlement land.

How would that be dealt with by government?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Okay, I'm going to give this a try, Mr. Chair, because I have spoken about it several times now. A settlement agreement special management area is determined through negotiation by three governments - the First Nation, the federal government and the Yukon government. That is what determines a special management area and the character of a special management area. Until that determination is made, the member opposite is correct - there is no public involvement.

What we're hoping to accomplish, once that special management area is denoted and the purpose of the special management area has been defined, if there is compatibility between that determination and the YPAS process toward a goal 1, keeping in mind ecosystem representation, then the public becomes involved through continued negotiation with the First Nation. That's how that would evolve. But there are processes - yes, the member is right - that happen before it becomes public. As the member well knows, it is a land claims agreement, and when the settlement agreement specifies a special management area, the character of that special management area is also acknowledged at the time of the public becoming aware of it.

Mr. Fairclough:   Well, I don't think I got the answer that I was looking for.

I guess what could take place is that we have settlement agreements and we have a protected area in an ecoregion, and that could be adequate - by the member opposite. This question, I guess, is more of a what-if question, and I think we need to answer some of these types of questions because we don't know what it will look like down the road for protection in the ecoregions. The member is telling the public that we will have a balance out there of environmental and economic considerations in developing these parks. So if we're in the position where we do have adequate representation, there would be no need to even form a committee, in the government's view, to look at establishing a protection for that ecoregion. Is that correct?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Mr. Chair, clauses 1 and 2 specify the types of parks that will be created under the Parks and Land Certainty Act, and that's really quite separate from special management areas under the land claims agreement.

Under the final agreement, the special management area is determined through negotiation. During that process, the determination of the special management area - what type of special management area it's going to be, namely park - is also determined. It's quite conceivable that a special management area may not, under a goal 1 wilderness preserve, qualify as total ecosystem representation within the ecoregion.

Part of the SMA might, but that is something that has to be negotiated with the First Nation. We just cannot arbitrarily say that the SMA that has been designated a park fully meets the criteria, based on science, for a goal 1 protected area. That will happen. What we have told the public, though, is if a SMA evolves from a settlement agreement, and it is a park, and it meets the criteria, and we can negotiate a partnership with the First Nation on that area in meeting the criteria of a goal 1 protected area, then it will happen.

The member opposite is creating all kinds of hypothetical situations. I continually say this - as we continue to proceed through the Parks and Land Certainty Act, it will become clearer and clearer. The member has also already indicated that, if we could jump around to clause this and clause that - he's absolutely right. The act itself works with itself. It works with YPAS. Sections relate to each other. Not any one clause in here stands alone, and that's the whole reason why there are clauses. They're interrelated and they compound each other toward creating that special place that we want.

The Member for Kluane jokes about campgrounds. They are a recreational park.

So, taking and applying an SMA to each of these clauses is going to be onerous, because each ecoregion is unique and distinct. That's why it is an ecoregion. Goal 1 areas proceed, and that's why this act recognizes that goal 1 areas proceed on a case-by-case basis. It all depends on what you're trying to represent within that ecoregion.

That's what makes it unique. That is why it has to be looked at in isolation from another ecoregion, although there are processes identified in YPAS that apply to each of those ecoregions. But the Parks Act itself assists as a tool in defining the management plan of an ecoregion, a goal 1 representation in the ecoregion. With a special management area designated park under the final agreement there isn't always that flexibility and we are hoping that there is compatibility with the YPAS process on a shared jurisdiction; namely, a special management area park. Then we look at it and see if it represents the ecoregion; it may not qualify as a goal 1 area or there may not be a big enough part of the special management area to qualify. There may be overlap. What we have indicated to the public all along is that we will not needlessly duplicate efforts, that we will work in partnership with First Nations with respect to special management areas, and we will continue to do that.

Mr. Fairclough:   Well, the Executive Council Office is going to be making the decision and they will be ensuring that there is a balance, or so the act says. But it is a call of the Executive Council Office and what methods are being used to determine that.

Now, the problem that could arise out of this is if a First Nation has a special management area that government feels is adequate, then boom, you wash your hands of any type of work that can take place in that ecoregion. That could happen. Is that correct?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   I'd ask the member opposite if he is totally disregarding all the hard work that has gone on with respect to Tombstone?

Mr. Fairclough:   Well, no, not at all. I'm talking about special management areas and other things that could be created from final agreements. I know what's out there in the agreements - what the rest of the First Nations have for final agreements and special management areas. I'm sure the member knows, too. If I ever said where a special management area is in the final agreement, somebody might jump up on that side of the House and say they don't negotiate land claims on the floor of this Legislature. So I'm trying to be cautious about it. The member opposite knows what I'm talking about, so I want to know, should that type of scenario arise, whether government will just wash their hands because they felt that it was adequately represented. That's what could take place. But I know the minister is not going to be able to explain that. So, I would like to ask another question.

First of all, I would like the minister to explain to me, under his proposed amendment of section 3(b), what that means - a clear explanation of what it means.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   I will try and provide a rationale for the whole clause, Mr. Chair. The intent of the amendment is to place an obligation on Cabinet to ensure that a resource assessment is carried out. It requires Cabinet to consider means of minimizing impacts on resource development, and it requires Cabinet to ensure a balance of environmental and economic considerations.

Mr. Chair, this wording places a procedural obligation on Cabinet to ensure that those steps are taken and those factors are considered in the decision-making process but does not place substantive limitations on Cabinet's ability to create a park in any given circumstance - for example, where an area is of high importance for protection or for resource development.

I would point out that resource assessments include natural values, forest, cultural, heritage, mineral, oil and gas, recreation, energy, tourism, transportation, and other economic values. They take them all into consideration. Therefore, we want to ensure that Cabinet's ultimate discretion is retained in deciding whether to create a park in any given circumstance. Setting apart land for any purpose is an inherently political decision, and the context surrounding each specific park proposal may vary significantly from any other.

So, Mr. Chair, what we're doing is recognizing that there are other resource values in any given piece of land, and we want to ensure that those resources are clearly identified and assessed. That was our commitment that we made during the public advisory committee meetings. Those are also discussions that we've heard back from the coalition - look, respect that there are other values inherent in the land - and that's why we put the amendment in, Mr. Chair, in recognizing that so that there is a full understanding that these assessments have to be done, have to be completed before we move forward and just arbitrarily make decisions. We have to have that information before we decide what course of action we're going to take.

Mr. Fairclough:   Well, Mr. Chair, that's a given in the protected areas strategy, but I wanted to know if the minister can explain more clearly what section (b) means.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   I just did, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Fairclough:   What does the minister mean by "future resource development"? If a park is already established, what does it mean - what could happen to this park to minimize the impact?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   There may be, outside the park boundaries, considerations that we have to acknowledge, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Fairclough:   Well, that doesn't say very much. He didn't even answer the question. I think that the minister has an answer, but does not want to give it to me. It's something that I think the minister is hiding from the public on this.

I'm sure that a better explanation of this clause can be given here. I want to know what it means to minimize the impact of the establishment of a park on current and future resource development. I know, in the strategy, they look at all the assessments that have taken place and if there is a recognition of a resource out there - that could happen; if it's a forest resource, for example, 100 years from now - that that be taken into consideration. It can't be that simple that this clause is being put in there for that reason, because it's reflected in the strategy.

I would like to know what it means to an existing park. If, in the future, the impact of the park is to minimize the impact on the resource, then what does it mean - what could happen to a park? Moving the park? Changing the boundaries? What does that section mean?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Well, I do appreciate the question from the member opposite. I don't have a problem. This government has nothing to hide from the public, by the way, as the member has suggested. We know there were oodles and oodles of items that the members opposite had to hide.

This means that we aren't respecting that there are other interests on the land. After assessments are done and a park is established - whatever kind of park that might be, because this Parks and Land Certainty Act applies to a cross section of park types.

What we are identifying here and what we are recognizing and why we call this the "land certainty act" as well is that we are going beyond some of the provisions within YPAS, in recognizing that there are interests outside the park that we must also be aware of. There may be interests on another side of a park and so therefore we have to take into consideration such things as access. All this is factored in to how we identify an area, how we move toward creating a park that is going to be around for a long time. All these considerations have to be made. Third party interests are a significant part of the consideration in developing any area. So, we have to take into consideration third party interests. We also take into consideration and acknowledge publicly in this House that there are considerations toward access - reasonable access. We have said time and again, under the Yukon Quartz Mining Act, that there are provisions that we are obligated to respect.

So, in setting up a park you just don't plunk a circle down anywhere on the map without consideration to what is within the boundary but also what is on the periphery of the boundary on the outside.

Mr. Fairclough:  I didn't see anywhere in this amendment the impacts on adjacent First Nation lands, for example. I wonder why that wasn't important enough for the minister to mention, because it's clearly written - about compatible land use. But this hasn't taken place yet.

And the minister said that they have nothing to hide from the public. Well, why wasn't this act given out to the public for comment? It's a good question - other than this government wanting to see it through faster, without public involvement, and that's hiding something from the public. This is pretty major, when you consider the impacts it could have on people.

With all of the changes in the Parks Act and the changing of the name, I would like to know when the public will have a good briefing as to what is in the act and what the impact on their neighbourhood is.

Chair:   Is there any further debate on clause 11?

Mr. Fairclough:   Well, Mr. Chair, I would like an answer to that. This minister is proposing a change to an act that he never took out to the public. He says it's a really good act that will enshrine YPAS, yet we are faced with amendments on the floor of this Legislature. How can it be a good act if we already have amendments?

We brought forth what we think are good amendments to consider YPAS being enshrined in legislation here, and it's turned down by this government - voted down.

What makes it so right with government bringing forward an amendment to the act and not the opposition?

Why wasn't this taken to the people - the whole act - to Yukon people for their input? Or to the interest groups, to industry? I notice that the minister did say this amendment is reflective of a group of people they met with, but it's only on one side, though, and not the other. So how is that balanced? It's not balanced, and the minister knows that, and I believe he is being guided by others. I don't even believe that his own department people, who have worked on this act, really like it at all. I believe they think it's a flawed act, like many other Yukoners do, and it's my hope that, if nobody else can talk sense into this minister, then maybe they can.

I would like to know if the minister, in this amendment that has been proposed on the floor here, is able to consider developing a park where there are no First Nation final agreements?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   The member opposite is wrong on a number of issues. We have always been talking to people, Mr. Chair, and if the member opposite had respectfully looked at the definitions, there were a number of definitions that were included as an amendment as a result of discussions with, as the member said, the other side.

Yes, that's being very respectful.

Well, Mr. Chair, we are finding balance and I know it grates on the nerves of the members opposite, because they didn't do it right the first time. We are doing it right and, as we proceed laboriously, obviously, clause by clause through this act, in the end, people will see how constructive things are.

I do take great exception to what the member is suggesting about my not listening, my not listening to departmental people. I think that's quite an understatement by the member opposite and quite a personal affront that I take exception to.

If the member wishes, we'll continue clause-by-clause.

Mr. Fairclough:   Well, Mr. Chair, the minister didn't answer my question. There are proposed amendments, and we can't continue clause by clause until we clear this amendment and vote on the amendment. I would like to know whether Cabinet has the ability, or even if it's in the will of this Liberal government, to develop parks where First Nations do not have final agreements.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   It clearly states that we can't do that, Mr. Chair, and the member opposite knows that. What we're proceeding with - and again, with full consultations with First Nations - is identifying areas of interest in areas that haven't been settled. The member knows that. That's our government's commitment that, at the end of April 2003, we will have areas of interest identified in 13 ecoregions. Some of those ecoregions are outside areas of land claim. We will work directly with the First Nation in identifying them, Mr. Chair. So if the member would like, clearly, to vote on the amendment, by all means, let's do it.

Mr. Fairclough:   Well, maybe the minister can point out to me where in this amendment or in the act itself, the proposed act on the floor of this Legislature, that it does say that the government cannot develop parks where First Nations don't have final agreements. Where does it say that? Draw my attention to it so I can get clarity.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   It's very interesting that the member is asking that, because it's contained right within the Yukon protected areas strategy, and he knows it - or he should know it.

Mr. Fairclough:   Well, Mr. Chair, the minister said that, by April 1, 2003, all ecoregions that are remaining will have a protected area. That's what the member said. So that means that he is overriding the negotiating process with First Nations. So I would like to know where this can't happen. The fact of the matter is, Mr. Chair, just read the amendments. It could happen, and if this minister can do it, he will do it and put protected areas where First Nations don't have final agreements.

That's the bottom line. It's written right in there. Now the minister is trying to go back to the strategy and go back on his words. It was clear in this House what the minister said, and it's not right, because you are overriding the process out there that supersedes what we have on the floor of the Legislature. It clearly says where settlement agreement parks are in place. Well, we don't have all First Nation final agreements in place. I know the member has interest in having protected areas in First Nations who don't have final agreements. As a matter of fact, a couple of First Nations may choose not to have a final agreement in place for quite a long time. It clearly states it in there. Why is it not recognized that First Nations' negotiation process is clear?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Well, Mr. Speaker, he is obviously entitled to his interpretation of the clause. That certainly isn't mine. I would suggest to the member that he should also check Hansard very carefully. I have never said that, at the end of April 2003, there would be 13 protected areas - I said there would be 13 areas of interest. If the member would choose to listen to the fact - but he doesn't.

So, I'm not quite sure - I don't agree with the member opposite's interpretation of this clause, Mr. Chair, so if we can move on.

Mr. Fairclough:   Well, just let it be noted that the minister did not bring any clarity to the question at all. I think there's a reason behind it. We have seen it time and time again. If there are areas of interest identified where First Nations don't have final agreements, I think the minister is overstepping his boundaries and should be respectful of the negotiation processes that are out there and not be one who is dominant in thinking that his way is the right way, because we know that is wrong.

Obviously we can't get anywhere with the minister on clarification of these amendments, and there's nothing we can do. The minister is going to go ahead and vote it through. Well, he lives with the amendments, Mr. Chair. The Liberals will live with the amendments. It's truly reflective of recent meetings that took place with interest groups. It is certainly not reflective of what the community people and the public at large have been saying.

Chair:   Is there any further debate on the amendment?

Shall the amendment carry?

Some Hon. Members:   Agreed.

The yeas have it.

Amendment agreed to

Chair:   Is there any further debate on clause 11?

And, to further clarify, we will be doing the clause in its entirety, and it is up to the members to understand that.

Mr. Fairclough:   I asked the minister to consider having the special management areas under the final agreements to be listed as to what a park may be, and I would like to know what answer, after having some thought on it, whether or not it can be included on this list.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   I don't think we can do that, as per the member's request, because special management areas may be other types of land designation.

Chair:   Is there any further debate on clause 11 as amended.

Clause 11 agreed to as amended

On Clause 12

Clause 12 agreed to

On Clause 13

Mr. Fairclough:   I would like to have some clarification on this one-liner here, whether or not a park including a special management area will be now considered Yukon land.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Well, let's be reasonable about things here, Mr. Chair. The area that is under federal responsibility and is contained within a park is transferred over to Yukon. But, again, there are lands that are First Nation lands, and that is respected.

Mr. Fairclough:   Well, if it was, why wouldn't it be clearly read out in that manner? I don't think this is correct wording, and I think the minister may want to look at this a little more clearly and try to have that reflected. This could create all kinds of discussions on the First Nations' side.

I would like to ask the minister if he can have this cleared up and bring back to us a bit more explanation and, if possible, to make changes on a day other than today. We only have a half-hour left in the day, and we're certainly going to be back on the Parks and Land Certainty Act, so if we can have that clarified by department people.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   The member opposite should fully know that in the final agreement there is a transfer from federal jurisdiction to Yukon jurisdiction. Again, I make reference to the Tombstone Park situation, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Fairclough:   That doesn't satisfy the question, though. The fact of the matter is that we could have a protected area in an ecoregion that is First Nation land. But according to this one sentence - according to the minister - it would be Yukon land. Isn't that how it reads? It's pretty plain and simple.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Again, Mr. Chair, we're going to have to agree to disagree that this is - we disagree on the interpretation. Really, the purpose of this section is to be clear that a park can only be established on Yukon land, so I guess we're just going to have to agree to disagree again.

Mr. Fairclough:   Well, this has a lot of impact on Yukon people. I'm wondering if the minister can take it back and bring clarity to it tomorrow. He may be surprised as to what's in the final agreement that this one line may be affecting. I'm not doing this to hold up any debate at all, other than making sure that we don't have to come back and change that one line.

Chair:   Is there any further debate on clause 13?

Mr. Fairclough:   I asked the minister if he could do that and have my request met?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   I would ask the member if I could provide a more detailed explanation in writing to the member opposite, but that we move on beyond this clause.

Mr. Fairclough:   Mr. Chair, it may be that the minister may want to change the wording in this slightly. One or two words make a big difference. Maybe, I suppose, the minister could look at putting this aside - it's only a one-line thing and it's not going to require a huge debate - and bring back clarity to it. It may be that no change is necessary, but I would like it and I think a lot of other people would like to see clarity. Is the minister willing to do that?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   I'm not deferring this until a later time, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Fairclough:   Well, Mr. Chair, if there needs to be a wording change to this, then we'd have to come back to it, and we won't have that opportunity, and it doesn't take long to go through this and get more clarification from the department. So it is important, and it's important to those who have spent many years negotiating land claims agreements to see some simple wording like this fall into legislation like this and have their lands affected.

I would like to ask the minister to please put it aside and bring it forward again tomorrow and we can have this clarified.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   Mr. Chair, I guess we're going to keep going for another 20 minutes on this clause. Really, it's a simple clause. It refers to Yukon land, and it also means that private lands, federal lands and settlement lands cannot be included in a park under this act. That's what this identifies. It's short, simple and clear.

Mr. Fairclough:   Mr. Chair, I would think it's short, simple and unclear to the member opposite. Maybe the minister can tell me whether there were legal opinions that he can offer us on this line item.

Hon. Mr. Eftoda:   As I offered the member opposite, I will get any information to him as he has requested, but we have to move on and we have to approve this clause before we move on.

Mr. McRobb:   For all members' information, it's standard procedure in situations like this to ask to set aside a clause. It doesn't add to the total amount of time on the bill. As a matter of fact, Mr. Chair, in situations like this, it could reduce the amount of time spent on a bill.

The situation here is that my colleague has asked for some information on this clause. The minister was not prepared to answer immediately so that we can deal with the clause, but he did undertake to bring some information back. My colleague wants to review that information before clearing this clause; therefore, it seems reasonable for us to understand that the best way to deal with this clause is to merely set it aside until we are satisfied with it, and move on to clause 14(1).

So, if the minister can stand up and agree to that and move it, I'm sure we can move on here this afternoon.

Chair:   Is there any further debate on clause 13?

Mr. Fairclough:   Let it be noted that this Liberal government does not see it important enough - there's not much time in the day here to debate more on this legislation. They could have simply moved it aside and brought it back tomorrow with an explanation. There is nothing wrong with that. It's important wording that could come back on this government, and I thought I was giving this Liberal government a little bit of a heads-up on this. It wasn't to delay this at all.

The member says they have legal opinions on this. I didn't hear any of them in his responses to the question. Why could we not put this section 13 aside until tomorrow?

I move that we put section 13 aside and move on with debate on section 14.

Unanimous consent re clause 13 being stood over

Chair:   To change any procedure in the House it requires the unanimous consent.

It has been moved by Mr. Fairclough that clause 13 be stood over. Do we have unanimous consent?

Some Hon. Members:   Agreed.

Some Hon. Members:   Disagreed.

Chair:   There is not unanimous consent. We will continue with debate on clause 13.

Is there any further debate?

Mr. McRobb:   I just want to put on record that this is an incredible sign of a lack of cooperation on the part of the government. It is a simple matter to set aside this clause and we can move on when the information is available. We can go back to it and deal with it. The minister himself said that he didn't have the information here and would have to come back. My colleague -

Some Hon. Members:   (Inaudible)

Mr. McRobb:   Well, the Member for Faro over there is chirping away.

Chair:   Order please. Mr. McLachlan, is this on a point of order?

Mr. McLachlan:   This is a point of order.

Point of order

Mr. McLachlan:   We received a ruling from the Chair that clause 13 is not to be set aside.

Chair:   There is not a ruling -

Mr. McLachlan:   There is no unanimous consent. The member is dwelling, unnecessarily as my colleague has already previously said, on the same thing.

Chair's ruling

Chair:   Mr. McLachlan, there is no point of order. This wasn't a ruling of the House. This was not even a reflection of the vote on the House. This was just a request of a member in a non-formal way.

Mr. McRobb:   The Member for Faro should know that this is one further example of how this Liberal government won't consider the views of members on the other side of the House, and insist it is always right, and won't consider anybody else's opinions and suggestions. Yet it won't provide the information requested in order for us to proceed. So, I guess we are going to have to give up on our concerns on clause 13, regardless of the fact that the minister wasn't able to provide the information we needed in order to determine whether we should carry that clause.

So, let the record show that this is yet another clear example of that lack of cooperation from this government.

Chair:  Is there further debate on clause 13? Seeing no further debate, shall clause 13 carry?

Mr. Jenkins:   It doesn't carry. We're still waiting for information from the minister. The minister hasn't provided that information. He's going to provide it at a later date, Mr. Chair. How can the minister expect the opposition to function when he is not providing the information in a timely manner? That's totally unfair, undemocratic, and it's just an autocratic way of dealing with legislation before the House.

Now, where is this government coming from? The minister and his colleagues went on ad infinitum suggesting that they were an open and accountable government. Mr. Chair, that is not proving to be the case. They are not open, they are not accountable, and furthermore, they are failing to provide the opposition with information that they have agreed to provide.

Now, Mr. Chair, given that this is a very important piece of legislation - the legislation before us has implications much more far-reaching than any of us can envision. You just have to put on one's thinking cap and think about the intent and direction this legislation could take with respect to other areas of our economy.

And it is a sad day for Yukon, Mr. Chair, when we see this minister wanting to push this piece of legislation through and bring forward the answers at a later date. Mr. Chair, that does not bode well for the way that a government should be operating, or the people of the Yukon were promised that this government would operate.

Mr. Chair, this government prides itself in saying that they have a contract with the people of the Yukon to be open and accountable. Mr. Chair, all that appears to be at this juncture and time is lip service. We have before us a clause, clause 13, that the minister can't provide the answers requested of him. He has to go back to his department, and this kind of a situation is going to arise from time to time and has arisen previously. But, with all due respect, the clause has sometimes been stood aside, we go on to other things and get back to that clause.

Now, we have extensive other clauses to cover. Why does the minister insist on wasting the time of this Legislature in not standing aside this clause and getting back to it? We can move through some of the other clauses that are not as contentious, and we can deal with other sections and then get back to it when the minister provides the information requested of him.

But I guess his heart is still wandering out around the campgrounds on his tour, roasting weenies and marshmallows, and he really doesn't want to spend the time on a thorough and complete briefing so that he is familiar with this act that we have before us, which is being amended as it goes through the Legislature, because the minister didn't consult with all parties. There was not a balance between the various groups that analyzed and had input into this legislation. It appears to have been very much done in isolation - isolation of a balance between the resource and the resource extraction sector and the economic sector and the environmental sector, Mr. Chair.

And that's indeed a sad day.

Mr. Chair, we know there were extensive meetings over the weekend that just passed, so that the minister could come to some arrangements with the business part of the equation and honour commitments that were made and undertaken, and bring forward those amendments in this act at this time, and we recognize that the minister is moving and is spending some time on this area.

But given that we still have quite a long way to go on this piece of legislation, why not take the realistic, reasonable and democratic way of dealing with this section, stand it down until the minister can provide the information?

It's going to be interesting, Mr. Chair, that in order for the minister to honour his commitment made by officials under his instructions on this piece of legislation, he is going to have to spend more time probably amending more sections of this act. We just wonder when this is going to be forthcoming. We just wonder when we're going to see these amendments that have been promised and agreed to. Mr. Chair, that does not bode well for a government that has promised to be open and accountable and promised to consult with Yukoners. We know full well, Mr. Chair, that this minister has not taken the time to consult with all interested parties and not taken the time to present a balanced approach.

This act is just now having input and amendments from the business coalition group. And Mr. Chair, whether we agree or disagree with the methods used by this minister, the provision of information on a timely basis dealing with this legislation is of the utmost importance, and we have yet to see that. We know that a number of amendments are coming forward in other pieces of legislation that this minister has also tabled, but that suggests that it wasn't thoroughly thought out or thoroughly complete and that the minister has just not done his homework.

I guess when the minister is roasting marshmallows or wieners next summer in one of his favourite campgrounds, at the taxpayers' expense, he can look back on this piece of legislation and see where he has failed to recognize the changes and failed to put in place the important issues. But I would urge him to get his off-sales before midnight, because the minister responsible for the Yukon Liquor Corporation is going to change his off-sales ability - he won't be able to get anything after midnight or before 9:00 a.m. Isn't that awful, Mr. Chair?

But I can assure the minister that there are other members of his caucus who have an excellent ability of brewing and making wine and capping it, so perhaps some gifts can come into place for the next tour that the Minister of Renewable Resources makes around the Yukon, in his capacity as minister responsible for that area.

But Mr. Chair, the issue is why can't the information be provided with respect to this section, this clause 13, in a timely manner before we move forward? Now, as a consequence of the minister's inability to provide that information, all he has done is delay the passage and prolong debate on this one section. We could have very well moved into other sections and cleared a lot of other clauses, and then moved back, but there appears to be an extensive stubbornness on the part of the minister and his caucus to not face the realities of their responsibilities, Mr. Chair, and that is a sad day for Yukon, a sad day for democracy.

Mr. Chair, seeing the time, I move that we report progress.

Chair:   It has been moved by Mr. Jenkins that we do now report progress. Are we agreed?

Some Hon. Members:  Agreed.

Some Hon. Members:   Disagreed.

Chair:   No progress will be reported.

Mr. Jenkins:   We have a few more minutes. The stubbornness of the Liberals is coming to the forefront. Their inability to respond to any questions here in this Legislature, other than just, "You're wrong. You're wrong. You're wrong" is coming to the forefront.

That is indeed a sad, sad day for Yukon.

All we have to do is have a minister who can do his homework, Mr. Chair - do his homework, address his responsibilities, and we are finding more and more often that ministers in this Liberal caucus are very much very novice in their approach to their responsibilities. They have yet to learn the ropes or gain an understanding of their responsibilities, and I am extremely disappointed in that.

Given the length of time and the extensive amount of briefings they should have received to date, I don't know if they are just sitting up in their offices and dining out on wonderful gourmet meals prepared by the Minister of Tourism, or just what they are doing. But it would appear that they are doing everything but attending to their responsibilities. We have time and time again seen these ministers not able to answer questions on the basics of their department, and Mr. Chair, that is sad to see such a novice group of -

Chair:   Order please.

The time being 6:00 p.m. I will now rise and report progress.

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?

Chair's report

Mr. McLarnon: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 46, entitled Parks and Land Certainty Act, and directed me to report progress on it.

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

Some Hon. Members:   Agreed.

Speaker:   I declare the report carried.

Order please. The time being 6:00 p.m., this House now stands adjourned until 1:00 p.m. tomorrow.

The House adjourned at 6:00 p.m.

The following Legislative Returns were tabled November 26, 2001:


Community and Transportation Services: responses to questions asked November 5 - 8, 2001 on transportation matters, during debate on the 2001-02 Supplementary Estimates (Buckway)

Oral, Hansard, p. 2498-2611


Recreation services for the Village of Teslin: responsibility for providing services (Buckway)

Oral, Hansard, p. 2543