Tuesday, November 10, 1987
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. We will proceed at this time with Prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: On a question of privilege, I wonder if I could take note of the fact that since the House does not convene tomorrowNovember 11I would like to pay tribute to those who gave their lives for Canada in the war. The contribution of these people and their families to making our country a strong and free nation should not be forgotten. This great sacrifice to help make a peaceful world for ourselves and our children is their legacy. I would ask if Members would agree to pause for a moment in remembrance of these men and women, and pray for the preservation of the peace that they gave so much to win for us.
If we could rise for a minute, if Members would agree, it would be appropriate.
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It gives me great pleasure today, particular pleasure, to introduce our new Member of Parliament, Ms. Audrey McLaughlin, to Members of the House.
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Speaker: I have two documents for tabling. The first is the report of the Auditor General on the examination of the financial statements of the Government of Yukon for the year ended March 31st 1987. The second is the report of the Chief Electoral Officer on contributions to candidates during a by-election which took place in the electoral district of Tatchun, February 2nd 1987.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I have seven documents to table. Firstly, the 1986 Annual Report of the Workers Compensation Board which was circulated to all Members by letter on July 23rd 1987. Secondly, the Yukon Liquor Corporation Annual Report, 1986-87. Thirdly, the Yukon Utilities Board Annual Report, 1986-87. Fourthly, the Yukon Medical Councils Annual Report, 1986-87. Fifthly, the letter and report of the Auditor General of Canada on the Liquor Corporation and the similar report on the Workers Compensation Board. And lastly, the proposed or draft Regulations under the Societies Act, to be introduced momentarily.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I have for tabling a draft copy of the Public Libraries Regulations intended for information to a bill being introduced shortly.
REPORTS OF COMMITTEES
Mr. Phelps: I have the honour to present the Eighth Report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.
Speaker: Are there any Petitions? Introduction of Bills?
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill No. 4: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Bill No. 4, entitled the Public Libraries Act be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Community and Transportation Services that Bill No. 4 entitled Public Service Libraries Act be now introduced and read a first time. Are you agreed?
Motion agreed to.
Bill No. 52: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. McDonald:: I move that Bill No. 52, entitled An Act to Amend the Municipal Act be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Community and Transportation Services entitled An Act to Amend the Municipal Act be now introduced and read a first time. Are you agreed?
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 80: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Bill No. 80, entitled An Act to Amend the Assessment and Taxation Act be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Education that Bill No. 80 entitled An Act to Amend the Assessment and Taxation Act be now introduced and read a first time. Are you agreed?
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 78: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move that Bill No. 78 entitled An Act to Amend The Income Tax Act be introduced and now read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government Leader that Bill No. 78 entitled An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 9: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I move that Bill No. 9 entitled The Change of Name Act be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Health and Human Resources that Bill No. 9 entitled The Change of Name Act be now read a first time.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 33: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I move that Bill No. 33 entitled Societies Act be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Justice that Bill No. 33 entitled A Societys Act be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 21: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I move that Bill No. 21 entitled An Act to Amend the Liquor Act be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Justice that Bill No. 21 entitled An Act to Amend the Liquor Act be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 16: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I move that Bill No. 16 entitled Private Investigators and Security Guards Act be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Justice that Bill No. 16 entitled Private Investigators and Security Guards Act be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 14: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I move that Bill No. 14 entitled Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act, 1987 be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Justice that Bill No. 14 entitled Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act, 1987 be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 31: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I move that Bill No. 31, entitled Torture Prohibition Act be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Justice that Bill No. 31, entitled Torture Prohibition Act now be introduced and read a first time.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 101: Introduction and First Reading
Mr. Phelps: I move the Bill entitled An Act to Amend the Elections Act be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Leader of the Official Opposition that a Bill entitled An Act to Amend the Elections Act be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: Are there any notices of motion for production of papers?
Are there any notices of motion?
NOTICES OF MOTION
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I give the notice of a motion that the Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments be empowered to receive, review and prepare reports on the draft regulations submitted to the Committee by members of the Executive Council and that the Committee be further empowered to transmit such a report to the Members of the Assembly, prior to their being tabled in the Legislative Assembly.
Speaker: Are there any statements by Ministers?
Child Care in the Yukon
Hon. Mrs. Joe: Child care in the Yukon is both an important political issue and an area of major social policy debate. Although child care is viewed as an essential service in which government has a role, there is not a consensus with respect to the kinds of services that should be provided or their future direction.
Therefore, I would like to advise this House that it is my intention to establish a consultation panel to hold public hearings on the issue of child care around the Yukon, beginning early in 1988, and report its findings to me. The consultation panel will hear the views of the public on the green paper on the Future of Child Care in the Yukon, which is currently in preparation. Based on the report, appropriate steps will be taken to formulate a child care strategy that will act as a blueprint for the future development of child care services in the Yukon. The process will provide an opportunity for families to make their needs known so that any strategy developed will reflect parental needs. Details regarding the consultation panel, as well as a copy of the green paper, will be provided to Members early in January. The green paper will outline a set of principles that will form the basic framework for the future development of our child care services. These principles are:
1. Quality - This government believes that the licensing and regulation of facilities, as well as the training and certification of caregivers, is important if satisfactory standards are to be achieved in the provision of quality care.
2. Parental Choice - Parents retain the primary responsibility for their children and must, therefore, be centrally involved in decisions respecting child care for their children.
3. Accessibility - Child care services should be available to all Yukon families without regard to income, employment status or geographic location.
4. Affordability - Child care costs should not be a barrier to access.
5. Comprehensive - A broad range of child care services should be available to meet the varied needs of families, including services for school-aged children, infants, etc.
6. Government Responsibility - Parents have the primary responsibility for child care but government has a role to play by exercising its constitutional role in program delivery.
7. Accountability - Caregivers have to be responsive and accountable to both parents and the government, particularly if public funding is provided.
8. Non-Profit - This government believes that preference should be given to non-profit models of service delivery.
The development of a strategy for child care in the Yukon is likely to be further delayed as a result of the inaction of the federal government on the question of a proposed national child care policy. Since delays aggravated some existing problems in child care, I am pleased to announce the following interim measures to deal with them.
1. Effective December 1, 1987, the Operating and Maintenance Grant Program will be extended to include licensed family day homes.
2. Effective December 1, 1987, the Day Care Capital Development Grant Program will be extended to include licensed family day homes.
3. The Operating and Maintenance Grant for infant spaces in licensed day care centres will be increased to $60 per month.
4. The monthly day care subsidy will be increased effective December 1, 1987, to the following maximums:
A. $400 per month for infants and special needs children; and
B. $350 per month for all other children.
I am pleased to announce these initiatives, which are targeted at the existing problems. I look forward to the views of Yukoners as presented to the consultation panel.
Mrs. Firth: As we all know this issue about child care in the Yukon has been going on for quite some time. As early as the fall of 1986 I understand. We are all tired of the Ministers excuses. Her excuses about how hard she works and how she has such a tremendously large load with alcohol and drugs and everything else. We are also tired of her refusal in the past to address this issue.
Today the Minister has the nerve again to stand up in this House and say that she has no strategy for child care in the Yukon and that it is the fault of the federal government. Child care in the Yukon Territory is the responsibility of this Minister, the Minister of Health and Human Resources and the responsibility of the Government of the Yukon Territory. It is their responsibility.
It is the Ministers responsibility to consult with people, make decisions and to give directions to her department. Instead of doing this, instead of addressing the real issues and concerns that seem to be well known to everyone except the Minister, she has told us that she is going to hold some public hearings next year. I know that the Minister is going to jump up and say that we are against consultation and that we want to rush things. That is just not true.
As I understand it there are two methods of consultation, one method is where the government goes to the people with a green paper and asks for their input. There is another method of consultation and that is where the people come to the government with their concerns having done their homework and research. This has happened in this instance. The people have come to the government with concerns. All people involved in the present child care issue. The daycare centres have made representation through the Daycare Services Board about their concerns, about subsidies and space allocation. The city has met with officials and made their concerns known. The Family Day Home Organization has come to the government with nine pages of recommendations. They have gone through the Act and Regulations clause-by-clause and made some recommendations to the government. I am prepared to table these recommendations so that all Members of the Legislature have an opportunity to review them.
What we need now are some decisions. Decisions about child care now. Instead the Minister has brought forward some measures that do not address what the existing problems are. The Ministers solution is to buy some time offering money to the family day homes, which has never been a major concern of theirs, it has never been a major issue with them. They have launched a consultation process that could go on forever. It is not even to start until the new year. In the document I have just tabled you will not find a request for money, if the Minister is surprised about it.
The Minister has addressed the issues and concerns of the daycare centres and the concerns of the parents who are presently receiving subsidies, but she has not addressed the issues or the concerns of the parents who feel that their options may be taken away from them when it comes to choosing child care services in this territory.
I want to say, finally, that the Minister knows very well that she has handled this issue very badly, and she has done so at the expense of the children and of the parents and of child care in this territory. We are putting the Minister on notice, now, that this is not the final say when it comes to daycare and she can look forward to a lot more debate in this Legislature about this whole child care issue.
Mr. McLachlan: The current controversy over the daycare licensing and the enforcement of the territorial governments daycare regulations is one which the Yukon Liberal Party feels strongly about. Our partys position on daycare is based on three principles: the provision of quality daycare is paramount, the parents must ultimately choose where and what type of care their child is to receive, and it is the governments responsibility to ensure that the parents have the necessary alternatives open to them so they may make a choice as to what type of daycare their child is to receive. It is my partys contention that one, two and three (a) have been met in the Yukon, but unfortunately three (b), the affordability issue, is one that the government has not addressed. This problem is at the heart of the present controversy. It is the governments responsibility to ensure that parents have the necessary alternatives open to them so that they may make a choice. The governments present regulations ensure that those choices are available at the same time as they provide for a high level of quality care.
The regulations are a well thought out attempt to supplement, but not to replace the parents efforts. Unfortunately the territorys regulations have resulted in higher daycare costs. The unhappy result of this is that many parents cannot afford to use regulated daycare facilities. They then choose to use the unregulated, illegal ones. My party believes that the solution to the problem does not lie in deregulation of the industry but, rather, can be found in the direction of increased funding to parents, day homes and daycares. We are pleased to see the interim measures that the Minister has brought forward so far as they go, but it is my opinion that the present Minister has acted in an irresponsible manner during the recent controversy over daycare. In 1986, the Minister brought in a new set of regulations but in 1987 the same Minister refused to stand up and defend the regulations. Today, those regulations are not worth the paper they are written on because of the failure of the Minister to stand by them under pressure. Todays child care operators could not care less about the regulations because of the way the Minister responded to the controversy - or perhaps because of the way she did not respond.
The Minister is telling the House today that the green paper will outline a set of principles. At the very top of that list is quality, and I quote what the Minister said: This government believes that the licensing regulation of facilities is important if satisfactory standards are to be achieved in the provision of quality care. This statement is at very best ironic, if not hypocritical, coming from the same Minister who refused to defend and apply a set of regulations which she put through this House a little over a year ago.
My further point is this: it concerns the Ministers eighth stated principle. It refers to the principle of non-profit. He who pays the piper must call the tune. If the daycare industry becomes non-profit, government will be footing the bill and government will be calling the shots. This outcome will be the direct contradiction to the Ministers second principle, that of parental choice. Well be elaborating on this further. Let me conclude by saying that the time for more studies and more talk are gone. Yukon has a crisis in daycare now and that crisis must be dealt with. The Minister should stop running from the gun-fire and stop hiding in her bunker.
Hon. Mrs. Joe: It is obvious that there are differing opinions out there as is evident right here between the two different parties on the other side of the House. The Member for Riverdale South has indicated that I have not done anything in regard to daycare. I believe that there was a Daycare Act that was passed in the House in 1979, and further to that subsidies were introduced for those people to take advantage of it, and nothing had been done again until 1985 when we looked at the regulations that the Member for Faro has spoken about. Those regulations include many things. They were changed on the advice of many of those individuals who were concerned about daycare. I would say that there was a need at that time to increase the subsidies that had not been increased since the former government was in power, and had not been changed since then. An operation and maintenance grant was needed in order to improve the quality of the daycares that were already in operation, and those things were done because this government chose to see that some changes were made to enhance a daycare program that was already in existence and that had not been changed since 1981 and 1979.
So what the Member from Riverdale South said was nothing less than what I expected from her. The Members on the other side of the House are saying that we know everything that has to be done, we know everything that is needed as far as daycare is concerned. We dont know that. And if we did, we would be some kind of heroes in this country. There are many differing views out there. There are many people who are saying to me: You have not dealt with this matter yet. It is my intention to deal with every single person out there who has a concern about daycare and if people on the other side of the House think that they know everything about daycare, well, goody for them. But I intend to listen to those people out there.
Last weekend, on Sunday or Saturday, at a workshop on daycare, there were many people present who were wiser than the people on the other side of the House. They were saying that there is much needed out there and that consultation had to be done. The Member speaks very strongly about the Day Home Family Society that has just been organized. I have spoken to them. I know what their needs are. She says they are not asking for any money. They have told me that they need start up funds; start up funds is money, is it not? There is a lot to be done in daycare; consultation is one of the biggest things, and we intend to do it.
Speaker: This then brings us to the Question Period. Are there any questions?
Question re: Kaska Dena claim
Mr. Phelps: I would like to start off with a couple of questions that keep coming back to us. They involve the situation around and in Watson Lake with regard to the overlapping claims in that area.
As we all know, on the one hand there has been a court case filed by the Kaska Dena of B.C. The area is within Treaty 11. That is under active claim by the Dene of the Northwest Territories.
Has this government negotiated and signed any documents whatsoever with the Kaska Dena of B.C. pertaining to their overlapping claim in Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The answer is no. We have had some discussions at the negotiator level and, as I believe I have previously advised the House, we have obtained legal counsel in connection with the court action filed by the Kaska Dena.
Mr. Phelps: What is the present status of that court case? What stage is it at, and is it proceeding?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It has not yet proceeded to trial. I do not believe any court date has been set. I understand thirdhand from media reports that there have been some discussions between the federal Minister and the Kaska Dena, I think around the question of funding negotiations for their claim.
I do not know more than that, but I would be pleased to report back to the House any other information I can obtain on that question.
Mr. Phelps: The kind of case that is going forward is one that is going to require a tremendous amount of evidence to be called. Can the Government Leader tell us what kind of research funds this government has committed in terms of preparation to fight the Kaska Dena case in Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am not sure that our approach to all court actions is quite as combative as the verb in the Members question implied. As the Member opposite will know, what limited resources we have in this government in terms of constitutional questions, have been entirely devoted to the question of the Meech Lake Accord since the House last sat. I believe I did take a similar question as notice last fall. No doubt, some effort has been taken by our officials to deal with the question since then, and I will respond back to the Member.
Question re: Kaska Dena claim
Mr. Phelps: The thing that concerns me and a great many Yukoners is that there is a huge issue as to whether or not Kaska Dena have any aboriginal rights claims over any portion of the Yukon. That issue is one that has to do with the one of exclusive use and occupancy by the group in question. It is our position that that ought to be studied and examined in some detail and that this government will be remiss if it does not take that position and prepare for the examination for the discovery stage of the trial.
When is this government going to get its act together and start preparing for this very serious trial that claims some 10,000 square kilometres of the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: There has been absolutely no dispute between us as to the issue of the matter being studied. I thank the Member again for his representation on that score. We have retained someone he knows very well, Mr. Ian Binny, as our council in this matter. The particular case, as I understand it, arises out of obligations of Canada an obligation of 1870 to deal with aboriginal people, and land that was opened up for settlement. It is a constitutional case, in that sense rather than an aboriginal rights case. I do not want to split hairs, but it is a matter that does require proper research.
Mr. Phelps: The whole case turns on the issue of whether or not the Kasca Dena have any aboriginal rights whatsoever over the 10,000 square kilometres that is being claimed. I hope that the answers that we are getting here today are not indicative of the situation where this government is simply sitting back and saying that they give up, that we have all the aboriginal rights in the world in the Yukon. Is this government not going to fight that very issue and defend us against claims that are not valid in the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: On the one hand, the Member is asking for research, on the other hand he is preaching to the government about what the conclusion should be before the research is done. He is saying that we should research this question. Then he is saying that, based on his assumption of what the answer is it being that the Kaska Dena have no rights in this area we should be fighting this. The Member opposite is an intelligent person. I am sure he can see that if we are going to do the research, we should not yet prejudge the conclusion of that research.
Mr. Phelps: It would appear that the government has not done any research. It has not allocated any funds to do any research on the issue. Is the Government Leader telling Yukoners at this time that, in the absence of doing any research, he is going accede and agree that the Kaska have full aboriginal right over the 10,000 square miles they are claiming in the court case?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: No, I am agreeing to the more reasonable of the two contradictory propositions put by the Leader of the Official Opposition. I am agreeing to the proposition that this is a serious matter and we should research it so that, when we go into court, we will have a sound basis in fact. I am disagreeing with his other proposition that, somehow, we should assume at the beginning before we have done any research that the Kaska Dena have no rights in the area and that we should oppose them absolutely.
I agree with his earlier proposition: that we should research the question.
Question re: Kaska Dena claim
Mr. Phelps: Why are we looking into the future and talking about possibly doing some research at some time? This case has been going on for some considerable period of time. It has been in the courts. Why is the Government Leader saying that we might do some research and then make some conclusions?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am not saying that. One, it is not in the courts; two, we have previously instructed that the question put by the Member some months ago should be dealt with. Some research may be going on at this moment that I have not had a report on. In any case, I expect that the conclusion of that research would have to be discussed by my colleagues, which has not yet been done. I am not conceding that nothing has been done. I expect something has been done. Perhaps it is being done at this moment. If I can confirm that, I will come back and advise the Member opposite.
Question re: Land titles, Faro
Mr. McLachlan: With respect to land titles, I have a question directly affecting situations in Faro with respect to private ownership. If the disposition of funds in a sale is in dispute not the amount, just the disposition of the funds why will the government not release clear title to a property in which it holds an interest in this case, a second mortgage if the funds are put into a lawyers trust account in much the same way one does when one is closing a deal?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I will answer that specific question. It is clearly contemplating a legal opinion about a particular legal situation. It should be answered in the context of legal opinions in the way that question is phrased. That is clearly out of order under our rules.
Mr. McLachlan: Clearly we have a difference of opinion and it is not seeking a legal opinion, it is seeking why the government will not proceed when they are objecting to the completion of the sale.
The deal to reactivate the town of Faro and get Curragh going was signed two years ago and not a single home has been sold in the community since then, not one. Yet, when the Government Leader rose in this House on October 28, 1985 to announce the deal he espoused the principle of home ownership then. I want to ask the Minister seeing as how this argument goes on and on and on, can he advise when a meeting was held between the particular parties in this issue to try and resolve who should get what or how the mechanism can be settled? Is the Minister doing anything?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Clearly, the government in the course of the last month has undertaken some discussions with Curragh Resources on the subject of the housing mortgage in Faro to determine whether or not amendments could be made that would be in the best interests of both the people of Faro and the equity position of the government itself, that holds the mortgage. One of the reasons why there has not been an agreement to date, including the period over the last two years, is that the government is very interested in protecting its equity position with respect to this particular arrangement. The money, initially, under the original deal, was loaned to Curragh with every intention that that money would be returned and repaid. We were concerned that through the machinations of the sale of the units in Faro that was being contemplated that our equity position would be hurt and that the government would be left holding the bag. We essentially wanted to do something that was in the interests of the people of Faro and at the same time protect our position, and we have been discussing that matter with Curragh Resources in the past month. Discussions are continuing.
Mr. McLachlan: Clearly, they are not protecting our equity position now. Homes could have been sold and revenue could have accrued to this government. For the last one-and-a-half years they have stubbornly resisted trying to complete a deal and I do not call that protecting an equity position; at the same time denying home ownership.
I want to ask the Minister further if there are further meetings scheduled. Does he have any time schedule whatsoever for the resolution of this problem or will it continue for another year?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It is fair to say that the government has stubbornly protected the interests of the territorial taxpayer. It is fair to say that the government has also had the interests of the renter in Faro on its mind. It has expressed some concern about Curraghs business relationship with its partners in that it has made it very difficult for the people in Faro to purchase their homes. We do not feel that that is the fault of the government, but as a result directly from business relationships between Curragh Resources and Faro Real Estate.
We are very interested in ensuring that the housing costs in Faro be kept at a reasonable level, but we are equally concerned that the integrity of the arrangements that were originally struck between us and Curragh Resources to open that community, largely as a result of the Government of Yukon action, be maintained. We want to protect the integrity of the original deal and the position of the government.
Question re: Operation falcon
Mr. Phillips: As the Minister of Justice is aware, the Kingston Whig-Standard newspaper in a 31 page supplement made some startling revelations about Operation Falcon. The Minister was quoted in yesterdays Whitehorse Star as saying It is an abuse of power of the state; it is immoral; it should not have occurred. In view of this statement, is it safe to assume that the Government of Yukon believes that the charges laid against Mossop, Nolan and five others were unwarranted?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No. That quote was made, and it was accurately quoted, in the context of speaking about the proposition that charges were evidently proceeded with without the responsible government officials believing in their own minds that the accused persons were guilty and believing that the state had a good case against those individuals. In that situation, if the charges proceed, that is immoral.
Mr. Phillips: In the same news article yesterday, the Minister used the unsuccessful court case against these individuals as a reason why the federal attorneys prosecution function should be transferred to Yukon jurisdiction. Does the Minister believe that the Yukon government acted responsibly in matters involving this investigation?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I do not have specific knowledge of the actions of the government in the context of the investigation. That was in the Department of Renewable Resources. The comment that I made is to the effect that we know here that falcons can be bred in captivity. If the decision of whether or not to proceed with charges was made here, it may well have gone the other way.
Mr. Phillips: Did the Department of Justice at any time recommend to the Prosecutors Office that this case not proceed?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Department of Justice was not consulted about the prosecution of these charges at any time. It had no knowledge of the specific prosecution and the Prosecutors briefs and consequently had no communication.
Question re: Operation falcon
Mr. Phillips: Is the Minister of Justice saying that the article is inaccurate where it states that in May 1986 the Director of Fish and Wildlife stated in the Kingston Whig-Standard in this article that as soon as this happened the Department of Renewable Resources immediately recommended to senior levels of government that he be reimbursed for his legal case and the government withdraw?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I have no specific knowledge about those facts but the question is obviously about the reimbursement of a Territorial Government official for legal fees. That potential reimbursement is under review at the present time and no decision has been reached at this time.
Mr. Phillips: Why is the government only now considering compensation when in fact it was a recommendation made by the government as far back as 1986?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Because it is necessary to wait to the conclusion of the case in order to find out what the facts are.
Question re: Operation falcon
Mr. Lang: I want to follow up with the Minister of Justice with respect to what was said earlier as he referred to the Department of Justices role in the Operation falcon. Did not the Department of Justice provide legal advice to the Department of Renewable Resources over the course of the investigation as well as when the case was brought to court?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That may have occurred. I have no personal knowledge of that. However, the Department of Renewable Resources and the Department of Justice were not prosecuting any case. That prosecution was undertaken by the federal Crown Attorneys Office.
Mr. Lang: The question was put earlier to the Minister whether or not the Department of Justice, in its wisdom, had ever recommended to the Crown Prosecutor that the charges be dropped. The Minister stated earlier that the Government of Yukon Territory accepts the principal that falcons can be bred in captivity. Could he state to this House why, then, the Department of Justice did not recommend that those particular charges be dropped, as opposed to putting those people through the trauma and mental anguish and the expense that went on for the past three years?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: We were not privy to the information or a lack of information that the federal prosecutors had. There is no communication between the territorial Department of Justice and the federal Crown Attorneys office. The federal office reports to the federal Minister. The federal Minister has never asked my advice about any prosecution.
Mr. Lang: In reference to the comments made by the Minister of Justice yesterday in the newspaper, is it the position of the government that they support the call by the Members of Parliament that a public inquiry be taken into this matter?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: In the sense of the Cabinet, the government has not considered this matter. I have certainly made public comments, which I will repeat. Over the weekend, I became aware through reports in the Kingston Whig-Standard that what may have occurred is that prosecutions were started and proceeded with without the responsible officials believing they had a good case and the persons charged were guilty. If that occurred, it is an abuse of the powers of the state and it is immoral.
Question re: Operation Falcon
Mr. Lang: We are starting off with a very good manner. The Minister of Justice still has not answered my question. Does he, as the Minister of Justice, support the call for the public inquiry that is being requested by some Members of Parliament at the present time?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: In the sense in which I have commented about the prosecution of charges, the answer is yes, I do. In the general sense, in the whole prosecution, or the whole area, I am not personally in possession of all the facts and make no particular statement.
Question re: Operation Falcon
Mr. Phelps: I become more and more interested as I listen to the questions and answers that we are hearing now about this topic. This government was involved in the investigations and the court cases involving the alleged falcon smuggling. They were in it up to their ears. This government has been considering whether or not it namely, the Government of Yukon should reimburse Mr. Mossop for his expenses.
Is this not the long consideration and the fact that they should reimburse that man for his legal expenses not an admission that this government was wrong in the way it proceeded and involved that employee? Otherwise, why would this government reimburse Mr. Mossop?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Absolutely not. The reason is that this government did not lay any charge against anybody and did not proceed with any charges against any individual. The context of the reimbursement is that an official of this government was charged for actions which were actions within the scope and particular duties of his employment, and was put to substantial expense. That principle brings in this particular government.
Mr. Phelps: Is the Minister of Justice trying to tell us that the officials of this government were deeply involved in the investigation and, indeed, in the evidence-giving at the trials of the case? Is the Minister trying to tell us that the Department of Renewable Resources had nothing to do with the investigation and the charges?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No. I am saying that the charges were the initiative of the federal government and I am confident the investigation involved information from our government that was a very small part of the total investigation, and the decisions about proceeding were not made in this government at all.
Mr. Phelps: Just one example is the situation in which Mr. Nowlan was not able to sell falcons that were proven to have been born in captivity at his game farm, and it was the action of this government that delayed and made impossible a whole bunch of sales. In fact we broke the man. How can the Minister of Justice say that this government stood on the side when it was involved with the very issue of whether or not Mr. Nowlan could sell those birds?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The issue of the criminal charges against Mr. Nowlan, and the issue of the issuance of licenses subsequent to the charge and prior to the trial, are entirely separate issues and the government treated them as entirely separate issues.
Question re: Faro housing
Mr. McLachlan: I have a further question for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services. If we could ever get to a resolution of the problems regarding land sales...my constituents are concerned about another difficult term set by the government which is causing some problems. Has the government given any consideration to the proposals to extend the term of repayment in the present seven year mortgage to a somewhat longer term, in recognition of the announcement by Curragh to develop additional ore reserves in the area.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The matter that the Member refers to is the matter, of course, that I initially made reference to, which is the discussions that the government was having with Curragh Resources. The discussions at the present time are a matter of negotiation and a wide variety of issues have been brought up during the period of the negotiations, as is likely to happen in such circumstances. I am not at liberty at this point to indicate what the firm bargaining positions of the various parties are but I can merely state, though, that the government is quite concerned about housing costs in Faro. Theyre very well aware of the specifics and the technicalities of the arrangements under discussion and if satisfactory resolution can be found which maintains the principles that I mentioned before, then we will find it.
Mr. McLachlan: The government has had a report done by a Winnipeg consultant firm on this subject. There is a very substantial sum of public monies involved: $3.4 million. Will the Minister make available that report and its recommendations to the Opposition Parties so we might make our own judgments?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Firstly, the subject of the negotiations has not been concluded. Secondly, the document that the Member refers to I do not even know whether or not it exists because there was interplay between the consultant and the negotiators for the government, that was largely verbal. But in any case, it is a matter of some confidentiality as it is directly a Cabinet document and I believe that it would be improper for me to table that in the Legislature for the Members consideration.
Mr. McLachlan: I had asked the original question about the land titles because the people feel that if they cannot get title to their land, there is not any point in whether the term is seven years, ten years, 12 or 15. They really would like the first one settled before trying to proceed to an answer on the second one. But I want to ask the Minister if he has any indication, again, as to when the question of extension of the mortgage terms would be completed. Is that next month? Next year? 1989?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I do not recall betraying details of any agreement, and certainly would not do that at this point since there is no agreement in place. Some of the problems the Member refers to are over the question of whether or not the Faro Real Estate company is prepared to move from its present position which is to provide an option to purchase to a position providing agreement for sale. It is a business decision in real estate that they will not move off their position, that they feel it is more appropriate for them to maintain the option to purchase. Unfortunately, that means a number of other things do not follow, and it makes it difficult for the people to take title to their homes.
We have been trying to work things out with Faro Real Estate and Curragh Resources, who have been consulting with Faro Real Estate. If we find a reasonable and satisfactory conclusion to the matter, certainly the government will participate. We are very interested in the home ownership costs in Faro.
Question re: Childcare in the Yukon
Mrs. Firth: I think we just saw some consultation between the Minister of Renewable Resources and the Minister of Justice with respect to Operation Falcon.
On a radio interview on September 15, the Minister of Health and Human Resources stated that the government was actively pursuing any case where the government feels that people were not complying with the Day Care Act. Can the Minister advise this House how many family day homes are under surveillance at this time?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: None.
Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister tell us what her direction is to parents who are using facilities that may be illegal at this time?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I do not come into contact with individual parents who are using those alleged unlicensed day cares. I do not really have any specific direction that I give to them.
Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister tell us what her policy is with respect to this matter? Is it the policy of the government that parents who have children in those facilities should remove them until sometime next year when the new strategy is brought forward?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I do not have a list of any unlicensed day caresif there are unlicensed daycares in my office. We have a process that I announced today. We intend to deal with the day care situation. I cannot tell the Member right now what I would tell those parents because parents are parents and they usually do what they have to do when it comes to children.
Question re: Childcare in the Yukon
Mrs. Firth: The Minister has indicated that she has no policy with respect to that, as she does not with many other issues. With respect to the statement the Minister made today, who is going to be represented on the consultation panel of this public consultation process?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: At this point we have a number of individuals who are being considered. We are quite willing to take any recommendation from the Member if she has a few names to give to us. We will be taking a number of people into consideration and choosing from a group of people.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister did not answer my question. Who is going to be represented? Can the Minister tell me if the department officials, the inspectors of day care and child care services, are going to be sitting on the panel?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: Definitely no.
Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell us who will be preparing the green paper on the future of child care in the Yukon?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: The green paper on child care is being developed in our department and the principles, as mentioned in the day care statement, will be the guide that we will use.
Question re: Yukon Public Utilities Board
Mr. Nordling: The Utilities Board is appointed by the Minister of Justice and must be composed of a minimum of three people. The appointments of two of the members expired almost six months ago leaving the Board with only two members and therefore unable to function. Why has the Minister not appointed replacements?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The appointment of three new members of the Yukon Public Utilities Board is imminent. The reason for the delay is to coordinate both of the policies regarding electrical rates so the government can instruct the board, and effective training for the new Board.
Mr. Nordling: Why were the members not appointed six months ago and training take place then?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Member knows that there is a power rate freeze as a result of the transfer of NCPC from the federal to the territorial jurisdiction. That freeze is still in effect. The important questions here are the finalization of the rate policy. It is more important to coordinate that with the appointment of new members than to fill the Board, which has no effective work before it because of the freeze.
Mr. Nordling: I thought that the Ministers reason for the delay was to teach the board a lesson for not following his orders. Was the Minister, or is he now, considering changing the legislation to do away with the board so that he can produce power, set rate policies and deal with complaints all by himself?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No.
Speaker: Time for Question Period has now elapsed.
We will now proceed with Orders of the Day and Addresses in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.
ADDRESSES IN REPLY TO SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Mr. Joe: I move that the following address be presented to the Commissioner of Yukon, May it please the Commissioner that we, the Members of the Yukon Legislative Assembly, beg leave to offer our humble thanks for the gracious speech that you have addressed to the House.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Member for Tatchun that the following address be presented to the Commissioner of the Yukon, May it please the Commissioner that we, the Members of the Yukon Legislative Assembly beg leave to offer our humble thanks for the gracious speech that you have addressed to the House.
Mr. Joe: Mr. Speaker, this speech I am about to give is my first speech in this House, and I want to thank all hon. members for the opportunity to address you today.
I also want to thank the people of Pelly Crossing, Carmacks and Little Salmon who elected me to this position, to be their Member of the Legislative Assembly, their representative in the Government of Yukon. It is an honour and a privilege to serve them.
Since the election, I have been learning lots from the people. People invite me to meetings and tell me about their problems, so we work on it. We work on solving those problems by working together. We will keep up with this good work. We have good people to work with here in the Yukon government. There is no problem there.
The hardest problem is to get people to work together, but I do my best anyway.
Like I say to people, I am your representative. No problem is too little or too big. This is what I am here for.
Overall, people in Tatchun riding are happy with the government. There are, as I said before, trouble spots here and there, but we are working on those.
The people know they have a government that will listen to what they say and a government that will work to solve these problems.
I would like to speak a few minutes on trapping. I have heard concerns from a few people in the Tatchun riding about their traplines being made smaller every year. There has also been concern expressed to me about portions of traplines being taken away from the native people and given to non-natives.
This should not be allowed to happen, as trapping is a way of life for many of our people. It is one traditional activity that has not been lost. It is still going strong. The native people have always depended on trapping income, many because they have no other means of providing the kind of money one can make in a good season.
Because the trapline boundaries are not surveyed, they are just lines on a map, the Department of Renewable Resources is always changing the boundary of Indian traplines. More and more, we are hearing of people complaining that their lines are getting smaller.
The native people have shown for generations that they know how to conserve the animal populations. Now, they are being told, Trap your line or you will lose it. What will we do when the animals on the trapline is on a down cycle? We will be forced to continue to trap because we might lose our line. This has been expressed to me more than once by people I visit in my riding.
This is an example of a problem in the riding that we are working on for the people.
There are also social problems in the Yukon that we must tackle. With a lot of hard work, we can do it. The Indian bands in my riding are working on programs to help deal with these things. Alcohol is the number one problem we have, and a lot of this is due to many people being unemployed for a long time. So, our government is working on providing more jobs for the people.
Recently we have seen homes and businesses hit hard by vandalism. People are telling me they feel there is a need for additional police officers in Carmacks. Someone who can do night patrols.
These are sad things, but what makes me feel good is that we hear from people and we can work with them at the local level or here in Whitehorse to make our communities better places to live.
In the past few months, we have seen a lot of progress in my riding. We have seen a lot of road work and chipsealing between Carmacks and Pelly, and this is good. People are very happy and thankful to see this. But there are many places where the road still needs to be fixed up like south of Carmacks where the big trucks from Faro cause a lot of damage. At this time, I want to say thank you to the road crews who do the repairs. We might not think so sometimes when we drive by, but they are going their best to keep things fixed up.
The Campbell Highway between Carmacks and Ross River can get pretty bad especially when it rains and gets really muddy. And we know about the problems with flying rocks. This problem has cost a lot of people a lot of money. Their trucks and cars are damaged quite a bit by rocks that fly out when they drive by the big ore trucks from Faro. It is worse than it was before, and people are scared by it.
I am glad to hear from the Minister of Community and Transportation Services that the company, Yukon-Alaska Transport, will be buying new trailers next year. Maybe this will end the flying rocks problem. His department has done a lot of work trying to solve this problem. They even brought in the National Research Council people from Ottawa, a lot of very educated people who know a lot of things, but I am not sure if they have ever seen flying rocks before.
We have also seen this government support local peoples desires for more facilities and services in the communities. The new community centre in Pelly Crossing is a perfect example.
And once again this winter, the LEOP will benefit all our communities with local projects that employ local labour. These are all things that the communities need.
People in Tatchun riding look forward to this sort of activity continuing in the future. It is time that the people in the communities got these improvements.
The Yukon government is also working with local people in the field of economic development. Hopefully, we will see progress soon although these things can take a lot of time and we just have to wait.
Pelly Crossing and Carmacks want to see more local hire and more local businesses established that provide jobs over the long term, not just the short term. These communities need the resources to make this happen and look to this government for leadership in this field. People have confidence in the Minister of Economic Development, our Government Leader, to make this happen.
A big part of this is training, training in the communities. It could be anything but people need training and education to get ahead. This ties in with more jobs and a better future for our people and our children. I am glad to see the Minister of Education working so hard to make improvements in this area. Again, the local people are saying, Give us the resources, and we can do it. I think this government is listening to this.
I look back to my grandfathers day. We have come a long way. We are now involved in our futures, working with the government, and we are better off for it. We are better educated especially the young people. If we continue like this, pretty soon we will be running our own businesses. One thing, the way our culture is, it is a whole lot different from white people. You have got your own society. We do too. That is what my father used to tell me. No matter how hard you try, it is still going to be that way. They are born that way, and it is going to take a long time for anything to change.
Myself, when the first people talked to me about running in the by-election, I was going to be involved anyway. I did it for my people to try. So I threw my hat into the ring.
I am glad I did. It has opened the door for our young people, especially Indian people, to get involved.
The next person running after me is going to have an even better education, and it will continue like that, being involved with the government, so we can work and learn to work together and do a better job for the Yukon.
This is our country, the Yukon. I like to see more Yukoners working together in the future and for many generations to come.
Mashi Cho. Kwänächis.
Ms Kassi: In my reply to the Speech from the Throne today, I want to outline for hon. Members some of the things that have been happening or going on and have taken place in our village, as well as some of our plans. Before that, I would like to say it is good to be back in this House again, to watch and to learn, and it is an honour to take part in decisions that will be made for the rest of Yukons people.
It has been two-and-a-half years, and I have learned a lot from each and every one of the hon. Members and yourself, Mr. Speaker. Further, it has been both an honour and a pleasure to work with my Caucus colleagues. I admire their talents and listening and their abilities to make things happen.
In Old Crow, we have come a long way in three years. Many changes have taken place, and we have further plans. I would like to share these with the hon. Members today. One thing this government stresses is self-sufficiency at the local level, and Old Crow continues to work toward that. Our community has taken the step of establishing a new local government structure. Our name is now the Vuntat Gwichin Tribal Council. People of the Lakes tribal council, headed by our chief, Alice Frost, the council is Roger Kaye, Roy Moses, Stanley Njootli and George Vittrekwa. I bring their greetings, and they have expressed their gratitude to this government for the assistance we have gotten in many areas.
I and the council take instruction, or direction, from the annual assembly at Tlo Kut. Our plan very much takes in the long term and future of our young people.
Economic development has increased tremendously by reconstruction of the physical aspect of the village the airport, the new subdivision, the river banks we now need a guardrail for safety reasons, just a small one with logs along the riverbank, so we could use it to sit on in the summertime, as well.
Relocating the sewer pit and the cleanup of the garbage dump continues. The streets are shaping up. More new housing is being erected. Most of the men in Old Crow were working this past summer and, now, are looking forward to more winter employment by the Local Employment Opportunities Program.
Through the LEOP Winter Works Program, we managed to rebuild our local graveyard, as well as the ski lodge. It is beautiful and situated underneath the hills behind the village. It also serves as the residence of our very enthusiastic recreation director, Cheryl McLaine, and it also serves as a very nice conference centre.
We now have a building and small business set up. The old community hall was renovated and now is used as an arcade run by Charlie Peter Charlie Sr.
We plan to construct a roof on the skating rink so our young men will one day win the championship trophy in the annual native hockey tournament here in Whitehorse. We also have a huge nursing station where our own community health representative conducts social development workshops and ongoing seminars.
The local womens auxiliary is back functioning again since they now have a nice, warm place. The old Mission House, as we call it, has been renovated.
We are now looking at expanding the village physically as we are completely out of land space for expansion to accommodate badly-needed housing.
We need further access up the hills behind the village. there is a small road constructed through the swamp area to the bottom of the hill, but we need to further construct that particular road to the topit is only about six kilometres.
The people of Old Crow are quite happy to have their own economic development officer, Gladys Netro. it is a great pleasure to work with her. We also now have our own probation officer and our own conservation officer in Old Crow.
We have seen a few new businesses recently start up, and they are all doing very well.
North Yukon Air continues to serve the community by opening communications between our relatives/neighbours. It has increased trapping in our area, and has also increased the airline hauling freight, groceries, et cetera, flown in from Eagle Plains. Normally, freight comes by air all the way from Whitehorse, and this contributes to the very high cost of food. As you can see, Old Crow has progressed really well economically, and we are very grateful.
In the social area, we also have a plan.
To develop pride and unity amongst our people again, we had a gathering of the Gwichin Nation this summer in June. Many people participated and contributed to the success of this gathering. Our relatives, people from Alaska, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories, came together for a celebration of building our culture, sharing direction and ideas to build up our nation, how we must work together, due to the many issues and conflicts we are faced with concerning the North Slope.
Another major event in Old Crow this summer was the ordination of the Reverend Ellen Bruce. We are very proud of our Elder for this special role she now plays in the spiritual development of our people and other people across the north. It is quite an achievement for her as an individual and for us as a person when one of our own achieves this high an honour.
We have many ideas from our traditional laws to build our respective communities, to conserve our lands and animals, the Porcupine caribou herd, to face and deal with the fast changes and development of our lands in the north and work towards a just land claim settlement. To continue our struggle to achieve all of this, we have realized that we must approach this slowly by starting with the individual, the family, the community and, then, the nation.
To achieve this we need the support in developing local social programs and better education programs, such as life skills in communications which I am very pleased to say we will start this particular program in the very near future in Old Crow. We also need to develop health programs and chemical awareness programs that are on-going in the village and in the schools and Old Crow is working towards this.
Pre-implementation of land claims must begin at some point and our new adult education program will hopefully lean towards that.
Culture and language programs in the schools are off to a good start this school year. However we do have a big problem. We need another teacher in Old Crow. Inadequate education continues to be a problem in Old Crow because of the teachers being too overworked. We need to look at that, though I recognize the efforts of the Department of Education.
Old Crow participated in making recommendations to the Education Task Force Report. Just like many outlying schools in the Yukon, we are looking forward to the changes that this government will make. I commend the department for undertaking such consultation and giving the aboriginal people the opportunity to express their concerns. It is our hope that this government will go ahead with the changes that are needed for more adequate education for the Yukon schools. I know the political will is there.
I am sure all Honourable Members know by now how much the caribou mean to our people. The Porcupine caribou herd migrates by our village every year and we rely on these caribou for our main food supply. Our relationship with the caribou goes back tens of thousands of years, even longer.
Now, with proposed oil and gas development in the 1002 lands of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, we feel these caribou and our lives are threatened. So I have been working quite hard on lobbying whoever I can to take action in support of our position of maintaining the 1002 lands in Alaska as wilderness.
In June, at the Indigenous Survival International Conference in Whitehorse, a resolution in support of our position was passed.
Later on in the summer, a number of people from Old Crow went to Arctic Village in Alaska to re-visit our relatives and to speak with members of the U.S. Congress who were on a fact-finding mission about the issue. In Tuktoyaktuk at the 51st International Wildlife Conference I lobbied delegates and spoke with them about this issue. Another resolution was passed. When the International Agreement on Caribou Management was signed between the United States and Canada in Ottawa, we also attended a conference on C.I.T.E.S., the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. I use that opportunity to speak to many people in different parts of the world, who now are supporting us on this issue. In Old Crow we have helped by showing our case to the media, including CBC television and CTV television, and from time to time we get environmentalists who enjoy wilderness trips dropping by Old Crow. We take that time to talk to them so when they get home they can assist us on this issue and a lot of them have been doing that in the U.S.
In September I represented the Minister of Renewable Resources at a World Wilderness Conference in Denver, Colorado, where I outlined the Old Crow Conservation Strategy. I also told them about the importance of the herd to my people and the difficulties we faced with the 1002 issue. There were more than 1500 delegates from 55 countries and they passed unanimously a resolution in support of our efforts to maintain the wilderness refuge in Alaska. While I was there, I met many important world figures and financial people, including Ian Player, David Rockefeller, Maurice Strong and leaders of major environmental groups.
We have also been maintaining contact with the Tanana Chiefs and other environmental groups in Alaska and the U.S. about this important issue.
Most recently, I participated in a meeting with an official from the External Affairs Department. I feel positive about this particular meeting because Canada is going to hold firm to its position in support of wilderness designation for the 1002 lands. I feel we have some time to lobby and work on a cooperative strategy with the federal government, Government of the Northwest Territories, the Porcupine Caribou Herd Management Board, user groups and the Government of Yukon. Old Crow is concerned not only with the caribou but with all our wildlife and environment. In Denver, at the World Wilderness Conference, we discussed the Bruntland Report that I hope all MLAs will have the opportunity of looking at over the next while. It deals with sustainable economic development based on environmental survival and enhancement, not development at the cost of clean air and water. This has always been the concern of our Elders and our people, about the world around us and how we should respect it. We have always felt this way. For this reason, our people are reluctant to get involved with industrial development.
Last spring, I spent a lot of time on Old Crow Flats living a traditional lifestyle on the land again. It was great to be there once again and see and feel for myself how things are, but I also noticed many changes to our environment that are the result of the industrial world on our northern homeland.
Old Crow people will continue to be vocal about environmental concerns, such as the plutonium overflight, the industrial development on the North Slope and any industrial issues dealing with the caribou, which is our main source of life. I am saying this so that you will understand.
It is clear that this government is working with Old Crow people for the benefit of Old Crow and for the whole Yukon. I am happy to have heard in the Throne Speech that the government is going to pursue its main course of action of working together with local people to build our communities and to improve our quality of life.
Before I conclude, I wan to express happiness and congratulations to our new Member of Parliament, Audrey McLaughlin. It is such a pleasure to work with her, and I feel she is someone we can call on freely for assistance, and we have many time already, and we know she will get onto an issue right away.
Mr. Speaker, with that, Mahsi Cho.
Mr. Phelps: I am very pleased to have this opportunity to stand in this House once again and come forward with some of the views that I hold and share them with the good Members on the opposite side, and in particular to discuss the Speech from the Throne that we heard yesterday.
I had some preliminary comments about that good speech and I am sure that some of my feelings have already been conveyed to the side opposite. I said that my initial reaction was one of disappointment and it was. I said I thought the speech was a bit thin, and I still feel that way, and I said that there was little new. However, I am pleased that there was a Speech from the Throne because it does give us all a chance to step back and have a look at where we are two-and-a-half years into the new governments mandate.
Now we have some idea of the direction that this government is taking. I know that just after the election two-and-a-half years ago nobody really knew what to expect. So we can look at the Yukons situation now in some context, and I want to give somewhat of an overview of the way I see it. First of all dealing with the economy and conditions in Yukon right now, it is true that there has been an upturn. But this has been fueled by two basic things: a huge increase in government spending of money that was negotiated by and large by the previous administration the money comes from Ottawa, not only for this governments budget under formula financing but for the economic development packages as well. In addition, as has been said before but it does bear repeating, the government was left in good shape because there was a surplus there when we turned the office keys over to the side opposite.
The second major cause of that relationship with the boom that we have been experiencing here, has to do with the fact that the whole free world has been on a boom course largely because of the good policies of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan and others. There has been a huge demand created because of the healthy economies of the European common market, the United States and Japan. This, and the devaluation of the United States dollars and ours in Canada, has led to an increase in tourism. It has led to a very substantial increase in metal prices and that has meant that there is an increased interest in exploring for minerals in Yukon by firms not only from Canada but from all over the world. There have been indications that some of the metals that were marginal at best in our known deposits may be getting into a price range where the mines or the ore bodies are deserving of a second look. There are all kinds of these properties situated throughout the Yukon, properties of different kinds with unique problems, but there is no question that companies are taking a second look at old discoveries and finding new ones.
A large part of the credit for the increase in exploration is again external to this government and this place. It has to do with the tax benefits that accrued under flow-through share financing and the flow-through share financing has meant that we have had a lot of exploration dollars happily spent here.
I want to say that we certainly join with this government in making our view known that we would like to see that form of risk financing continue. We are consistent in our support of the mining industry, and we are quite happy to join with the side opposite and with our friend over here to the left in urging that such financing schemes continue.
The point that I am making, pure and simple, is that the boom occurred largely, if not completely, because of external forces. These forces are, have been and I guess will be largely beyond this governments control. I spoke about the huge increase in money that is being spent here, money that comes from Ottawa, and it has meant a huge increase in the spending habits of government here. And this government has spent it. It has spent it on capital projects, which have gone from an all-time high, prior to the election, of some $49 million to $114 million thus far in this year. It has spent it on growth in the civil service, because that has grown and grown in spades.
We will be discussing the way that this government has been planning its capital projects and spending its money on capital infrastructure; suffice it to say at this time that we would have had different priorities. The money would have been spent however, and the boom would have been much the same to this point in time.
In the Throne Speech itself there is a claim about careful spending by government - and I must confess that I almost fell off my chair when I heard that, but luckily it is low to the ground here, and I would not have done much damage to my fragile psyche or my physical wellbeing. We are going to be examining government waste and government growth in some detail in the weeks and months ahead; I am not going to dwell on those issues here, but we will be examining very carefully how money is being spent and misspent.
What I would like to talk about today to the hon. Members and those present is the theme of dependency. There are really two levels of dependency that I want to talk about. There is our dependency on ever-increasing revenues from Ottawa.
This government needs, more and more, the transfusion of those monies, and the dependency is growing, not diminishing. That is clear, and it is largely because of the kinds of things that this government has been spending money on: government growth and projects that do not create wealth but require substantial payments in the form of operation and maintenance costs year by year by year.
When government grows, it gobbles up a lot of money. To hire six reasonably senior civil servants will cost close to $1 million a year with their salaries and their support, necessities and office space, very nice looking and expensive furniture that they are so accustomed to by now. The money has been going into unproductive things. That is of concern to us right now because the external forces that fuel the boom are changing. Times change, world events change, rural trends change, and virtually every person in the Yukon knows about Black Monday, the stock market crash around the world and the history of the free world.
Everyone is aware that there is an undercurrent of unease. The vast majority of economists and those who predict trends in the financial markets, the stock markets and the commodity markets of the world are saying that we are in for a bit of a shake-up, at least a mild recession, if not a depression. This is something that everyone one anticipates, and that is the way the world has always worked. It goes in cycles. There are booms and busts. What is going to happen to the Yukon as mineral prices drop? What is going to happen if and when Ottawa starts turning off the tap?
The bust here will be more severe than we have ever experienced rather than less because our dependency on external factors has grown and has not been diminished as the rhetoric of the Speech from the Throne would imply.
The government has not made the creation of new, productive industry its priority, no matter what those on the side opposite will tell you. We have a budget of around $300 million, and it is being spent on social services, government offices, government furniture, government jobs, buildingsby the scoreand only a tiny fraction of it goes into economic development programs or industry-related infrastructure.
Our dependency on these things, externally, is one level of dependency I want to talk about today. There is another level of dependency, and that is even more serious, in my mind. That is the ever-increasing dependency of Yukoners on this government. We are not talking only about business dependency, but dependent individuals ... that dependency is on the increase day by day. It has happened gradually, bit by bit, over the course of two-and-a-half years. This government is committed to democratic socialism, and that is what we are getting.
In this House, I would never want to be too partisan in what I have to say. I recall the last Member of Parliament, Erik Nielsen, speaking to a group of people in Yukon a couple of years ago. He said at that time socialism is not a philosophy, it is a disease. It is here, and it is spreading. It means big brother will look after you. It means being dependent on government, rather than on yourself or on personal initiatives.
Yukoners should think about it, because they can look back and contemplate what has happened. We have the Justice Ministers Human Rights Act. It is law now. His commission is up and running and getting quite a lot of press these days.
Equal pay for work of equal value is being imposed on the municipal governments and will be imposed on the private sector next. We have gone from equal opportunity and personal initiative to affirmative action - in the words again of the Justice Minister: racial and gender balance. The government has grown in leaps and bounds, spilling out of the government buildings into virtually every office building in Whitehorse and throughout the territory. Social housing: a clear contrast in the philosophies of this side and the side opposite. The previous government is reducing it; it privatized, or sold to the occupants, some 100 units over the past few years, prior to the election. Well, that has been turned around. We are being told now that housing in the Yukon is just terrible, it is the worst in Canada. I do not believe that, and I do not believe the way of tackling that problem is by spending $75 million and creating a czar of housing and breeding more dependency and more welfare and more dependency on this government.
I say simply that the premise that the housing is so awful is false and the government should stop parroting that false premise.
Government dependency: no more Medicare premiums; they are free. We have the Yukon Development Corporation, which not only went into energy, which is something we were in favour of, but now it has taken over the lumber industry and it is looking around for other businesses to gobble up. There are government grants of every description, and government program after government program for every community in Yukon, which ensure, no matter where you live in Yukon, that you can enjoy this kind of dependency. More inspectors and more red tape and more rules and more government interference: democratic socialism is here and it is spreading.
I am here to tell you, Mr. Speaker, and the people of the Yukon that we, on this side of the House, do not believe in big brother dependency. And the silent majority of Yukoners do not, either.
We represent not only the alternative government, but we represent a different future for Yukon than the one represented by the side opposite. We believe in the value of the individual. We believe in free enterprise and family business. We believe in equal rights and equal opportunity for all Yukoners, not special rights for minorities.
Let us turn to the issue of devolution of more responsible government for Yukon. I say that the record is abysmal. The government proceeded with the NCPC initiative, but that was well in process before they took office and, at first, they did not even want to do that. They were mad. They wanted to fire the contractor. I remember that. How about forestry? The NWT, for the first time in the history of the two territories, is further ahead in terms of devolution than this territory, and I think that is a disgrace.
Freshwater fisheries: the government has pretty well closed the door on the devolution of freshwater fisheries. They are unreasonable. Why can we not come back to the table with a bottom-line position that makes sense to all Yukoners. Most every Yukoner is concerned about the future of the freshwater fisheries in this territory.
Let us get away from philosophy and the record and the thin speech that did not really inspire very much and try to end on a positive note. I know that the Minister of Community and Transportation Services, when he gets up as the self-appointed critic to my speeches, always searches for the positive side of what I have to say. I invite him to look at this portion of the speech in Hansard if he wants to say some nice things.
Despite the clear ideological divide between us and them, there are things that we can and must work on together. There are issues that go beyond this kind of difference in philosophy. We are prepared, as always, to work in a positive vein to obtain mutual objectives that are in the interest of all Yukoners. Examples are the Meech Lake Accord, and our offer to work with the government. We have corresponded on several occasions with all the MPs in Parliament, the Senators, the Premiers of provinces, the leaders of the official opposition. That continues. I get letters daily. I am daily lobbying for that common purpose, and I will do whatever is in my power to try to ensure that that accord is amended for the well-being of future generations of Yukoners.
I serve notice here that I intend to fight against the imposition of official bilingualism by Ottawa on the territory. I am prepared to join forces with the side opposite. We will be putting forward a motion looking for unanimity on that issue, as was enjoyed by the previous government and opposition back in 1984.
I have worked, and will continue to work, for the preservation of the Porcupine caribou herd. I want to take this opportunity to thank the Member for Old Crow for the work she has done, and thank the side opposite the Minister of Renewable Resources for the work they have done. We can stand united on all these kinds of issues, because these issues transcend ideological philosophy. They transcend party doctrines. We all are here to try, in each of our own ways, to build a better Yukon.
With those few words, I will end this speech. I really wish that I could be more positive about the state of the Yukon right now. I wish I did not feel that dependency on Ottawa is growing, not diminishing. I wish that I could, in good conscience, applaud rather than detest the greater dependency of individuals on government, and the big brother attitude that we have, an attitude that is so evident in the case of Danny Nowlan and the falcons. That case and others show just how heavy-handed the state can be in dealing with individuals, and how relatively helpless without safeguards the individual is against the big brother machine.
We will examine the capital budget that this government is putting forward next week. We will argue for wiser expenditures. We will work to try and make legislation that is laid for this House better. We have done that in the past. You know people seem to forget just how bloody awful the first Human Rights Act was that was tabled here and while an act went through it was an awful lot tighter because of the work that we did and the hundreds of amendments that we got then it was when it was first tabled here.
So we are here to work. I hope that the government will take most of our criticism as constructive and we look forward to the next few weeks and months.
Mr. Webster: I want to begin by repeating an opening line from the Throne Speech: I am certain all Members look forward to the spring sitting of the Legislature in the former Capital of Dawson City, in accordance with the unanimous motion passed by this Assembly last spring.
This reference to a special sitting has provided me with a good deal of assurance that this motion has not been forgotten, and with a great deal of pleasure in knowing that all Members are still in eager anticipation of making the trip to Dawson City. As the time for this event approaches, I will look forward to your arrival.
In other words, I guess I did not really enjoy the eight hour drive down on Sunday afternoon in freezing rain and I think for at least one opportunity it would be very nice for me to not have to drive that distance to come to work in these Chambers. Thank you very much.
I want to focus on only a few of the main topics referred to in the Throne Speech, in particular those that are relevant to my riding of Klondike. First the provision of electrical power affordable power that will enable business to stabilize their cost over an extended period of time and which will attract new investment. The Klondike area needs to displace its dependency on fossil fuels with new, more efficient power generation, and for this reason I am encouraged by the news that the Yukon Development Corporation is currently exploring options, including the revitalization of the Klondike North Fork, for development of hydro electric power. Finally, we must extend service to new subdivisions, such as Hendersons Corners, in order to meet the ever-increasing residential and industrial power needs of rural Yukoners.
With respect to housing, it is welcomed news that this government has made a commitment in response to the needs of many Yukoners. I have been approached on numerous occasions, and as recently as yesterday, about housing requirements for seniors and single parents. In rural communities where the private sector is reluctant to develop accommodations for those purposes, it is imperative that the Yukon Housing Corporation fills the void. The responsibility to provide suitable, affordable shelter for its citizens is one I am pleased this government will not ignore.
The policy of our government to continue consulting with Yukoners on matters of interest and concern, such as regional land use planning, day care, Yukon economy, et cetera, is a commendable one. It is a responsible government that seeks input in confronting problems and issues and that responds accordingly. I speak on behalf of many Dawsonites who thank this government and, in particular, the Ministers of Education and Government Services, for the opportunity to contribute their ideas in planning the interior layout and exterior design of our new community complex school. The result of this exercise will be the addition to our community of a beautiful structure that will satisfy the needs of all potential user groups and will be a source of pride.
I would like to conclude with a few words on our economy. It is clear that all sectors of the economy have enjoyed their best year in recent history. Tourism, in particular, has experienced perhaps the greatest increase. I want to commend the Minister of Tourism for all he and officials of his department have done over the last couple of years to promote tourism. Our presence at Expo, our continued commitment to joint-marketing with Alaska and the undertaking of new, innovative initiatives such as the Yukon treasure hunt and the Magic and the Mystery advertising campaign have dramatically improved the fortunes of everyone in the territory who plays host to our visitors.
The placer mining industry has recorded an outstanding year. Official figures recently announced indicate a production of 128,000 troy ounces of raw placer gold: a 70-year high. With the stable price of gold in the area of $460 U.S. an ounce, the value of this industry to our territory is estimated to be $65 million a year, a 50% increase from just two years ago.
The work of Government Leader Tony Penikett, Minister of Economic Development, in contributing to the success of this industry must not go unrecognized. Matters such as removing the tax on fuel for off-road use, introducing a Road to Resources program, providing assistance to the very popular Dawson City Gold Show, raising the profile of the Prospector Assistance Program and many more, have gone a long way to promoting our placer mining industry.
It is encouraging to learn that industries based on renewable resources are also showing improvement. For example, the commercial salmon fishery at Dawson made a profit this year despite a sudden and unexpected closure of the chinook salmon run. This early closure made the difference between an average year and a great year for the king salmon. However, the year ended on a successful note for the fishermen and Han Fisheries, thanks to a record catch of the chum salmon late in the season. I want to take this opportunity to applaud Dave Porter, our Minister of Renewable Resources, and our Member of Parliament Audrey McLaughlin, for their role in urging the federal government to conclude an early agreement with the Americans on the fair distribution of Yukon River salmon to Yukoners.
Your support of this industry is very much appreciated by everyone in the Dawson City area associated with the commercial fishery.
Finally, our construction industry has been very busy this year and it is comforting to see so much activity in the private sector. New house construction and improvements to existing and new businesses are continuing at record levels. By any measure of the yardstick, there is no doubt we are enjoying prosperous times, not only in the Klondike, but throughout the entire Yukon.
A result of all this activity is a healthy growth rate and more people working today than ever before. Although the forecast for continued prosperity is favourable I am pleased that this government recognizes that the boom will not last forever, a point made by the Leader of the Official Opposition.
The government is planning for the future through its Yukon 2000 consultation process. Because this government recognizes we cannot be dependent upon the federal government, who as you know are in a heavy deficit position, we are going through this Yukon 2000 process to start planning our own future. We are doing our own planning for our own future. For that reason I must take exception with the Leader of the Official Opposition on his theory that this is what this government is doing, depending on the federal government for more money to survive. We recognize that the good times, the good financial formula days, will end soon.
I also take exception with his argument that we are spending money on unproductive things, the things that do not create new wealth. I want to take a few minutes to take a look at some of the capital projects that have taken place in my riding in the last two-and-a-half years to refute that argument. For example, the first thing that was built in our community was the dike. The first year and over the next three years when we start to landscape it, it will cost in the neighbourhood of $3.5 million. That may not seem very productive to some people, but I think it is a preventative measure, so the disaster of 1979 and the $10 million it cost there, will never repeat itself.
I also like to think that construction of the new dike was done in such a way as to create a new recreational area along the waterfront that will be very attractive to the community of Dawson City and I think will attract the tourists to stay longer and therefore create new wealth.
I have already mentioned the new community complex school. This was a condemned building and I do not think anyone in this House would think it fair for the residents of Dawson City to continue sending their children to school in a condemned building, so I am sure you would not have any argument about that.
The same could be said about the liquor store which incidentally does create new wealth over $l million in Dawson last year in profits in sales.
Again, there is another condemned building whose inadequacies I am pleased this government finally recognized and are planning to build a new one, which again will be a real attraction in the town. This is a project that will be undertaken in concert with Parks Canada. They will be restoring the old Red Feather Saloon over the next couple of years. That in turn will create new wealth.
I take a look at the number of LEOP projects that have been undertaken over the last couple of years in our community. There is more reason to suggest that the argument presented by the Leader of the Official Opposition is all wrong. It is all wet.
I think the additions to the day care, creating a better environment for our young children, is certainly something that is very useful, very productive. The same could be said for the Klondike Visitors Association, which last year built an interpretive centre on the Jack London Square site. This new attraction, which is very well attended especially by American tourists has created new wealth.
Last year as well the YOOP Hall was built in Dawson City after a fire closed it down. This has not only proved to be a suitable arrangement for the Yukon Order of Pioneers to establish a meeting hall but is an excellent facility for many organizations in our community to use for social functions, for dinners, and for conferences. Dawson City this past year has hosted a number of conferences because our meeting facilities have improved dramatically over the last couple of years. This will continue to happen with the new community complex built by the Dawson Indian Band, and with the new community complex. I think Dawson City has a great future in this area of hosting conventions again creating new wealth.
So I take great exception to the argument put forth by the Leader of the Official Opposition, that a lot of the money spent by this government is going into things that, he says, are unproductive and are not creating wealth. As I said, because we are not relying on the federal government for more monies, we are putting a lot of emphasis on Yukon 2000 and I notice the Leader of the Official Opposition did not mention that process at all. Perhaps he is a critic of it - and I know there are some; there are others, too, who have a great deal of praise for it. I am in the latter category. I have a great deal of praise for this process. It has brought together Yukoners from all regions, sectors and interests to identify opportunities for diversifying and rebuilding our economy for that day when the federal government does not supply us with the same amount of funds we have recently been accustomed to. In addition, the process focuses on the necessity and importance of linking the type of economy we want to build for ourselves with the quality of life we desire to enjoy. I believe at this point in our history, Yukoners are enjoying a superior quality of life than two years ago. However, as the expression goes, there is always room for improvement, and I strongly support this governments policies and programs of working together with all Yukoners to create new jobs, to encourage equality and democracy in our public lives, and to improve the quality of life in our society.
Mr. Brewster: Before I start, I would like to congratulate the Member for Tatchun on his maiden speech. I suspect that in the House, I am probably the only one who realizes just what it takes to have to do that. Both he and I have a different life style than probably anyone else in this House. I can tell him one thing he can look forward to: I have been here six years and I am still not comfortable, so that is what he has to look forward to.
I left the Chambers a moment ago, because when I heard the Member for Klondike speaking, I thought I must be in the wrone Legislature, what with all the money and glory being spread around. I just made a trip up the raod to my area and I am beginning to wonder if Kluane belongs to the Yukon. Maybe Meech Lake decided we belong to Alaska, or that we do not belong here in the Yukon.
I recall a little incident that occurred in July, when I wrote the Minister of Tourism. I received a reply in August. We wanted two little signs. We could have made them, given the paint. The letter I received in August was from the Minister of Health, representing the Minister of Tourism, agreeing with me. This was one of the few times where both native and white in the community agreed with each other; over two little signs. I was proud that I had done something; I had Burwash on the map. The ground is frozen. There are no signs. They are gone. I do not know where they have been put. Maybe they took them up to Klondike.
There are some problems. I will read my speech because if I do otherwise, I might get mad and say things that you do not like.
I welcome this opportunity to respond to the Speech from the Throne. I was seriously considering making no response at all because the last time I did so the Members opposite were so scared off that we have not had a throne speech since last May of 1986. If I do not say anything, I would likely be depriving the Minister of Community and Transportation Services of his opportunity to speak. He usually follows me in speaking order, and if I did not speak, the Minister would not have anything to say. I notice that this time he is going to take a day off before he replies so I will do my best to give him something to speak about. Maybe the Minister could expand upon the merits of democratic socialism.
The Minister once said in this House that he was very comfortable with big government. Well, the Minister is looking more comfortable each passing day because the government has been growing by leaps and bounds. It is safe to say that a person cannot go into any office building today in Whitehorse without bumping into an office full of bureaucrats. Government officials are everywhere. The dream of former Commissioner Smith to have the Yukon government all under one roof is long gone.
The government is not confining its growth merely to office buildings either. The Yukon Housing Corporation is intent on building a $75 million empire. The government has convinced itself that Yukoners are the worst housed people in Canada, maybe the worst in the world. What has happened to good old common sense?
Let me bring the Members opposite down to reality. I am convinced that the larger the government grows, the more stupid it gets. Big governments are like dinosaurs. The body is large but the brain is small, and we all know what happens to dinosaurs. This is a good example of dinosaur-like thinking. That happened in my constituency, in Destruction Bay and the Burwash area. The local airport is in the process of being transferred to the Yukon government. This process has been going on for several years. The federal governments Department of Transport owns five houses. Two are empty, and have been empty for a long time. These two houses were offered for sale to the Yukon Housing Corporation because the Yukon government is in need of a teachers residence.
The Yukon Housing Corporation turned down the offer and decided instead to build a new teachers residence. Why? When the airport transfer takes place, the Yukon Housing Corporation will probably end up with five houses in our big community of Destruction Bay. These MOT houses are not good enough for our teachers but they are good enough for federal employees? They are well maintained, they are very nice looking. They are looked after much better than an awful lot of our Yukon houses. What is the justification for building a new residence when all of these MOT residences are going to end up in the inventory of the Yukon Housing Corporation.
The government is simply on another one of its spending spree. It does not know how to manage taxpayers money. Common sense is a most precious commodity. It is one thing that the government cannot buy.
The story does not end there either. By proceeding to build the teacherage in Destruction Bay, the government has used up a community lot, which are very, very scarce. There is now one lot less available to the general public. Northwestel has lots up there. Kluane National Park has lots up there. Northern Health Services have lots up there, but the poor little private individual has to fight and fight to get a lot to live on, and he is paying his own way while he does it.
The individual who thought he had the airport maintenance contract tendered by the Yukon government purchased a lot and started to build a home, but later found out that the contract was not certain. He and his family are now in limbo as to whether they are to build a home, whether they are working for MOT, or who they are working for. We just hope they get a pay cheque.
To top things off the new teacherage, I understand as of the other day, was empty. The teacher found she could not pay the rent and maintain its costs so she could not stay in the building. This is government. This is a small example of this governments waste of our hard-earned money.
I would like to turn to the important issue of land availability that I just touched on in Destruction Bay. You may recall that I passed a motion last spring urging the government of the Yukon to take immediate action to ensure that the Willow Acre lots in Haines Junction were ready for sale before the 1987 building season began. I, like the Member for Klondike, would be very happy if the motions we passed in this House were acted upon. Eight lots out of twenty have been let go and that was about six weeks ago right in the busy building season. We always build when the frost is there and the snow is on the ground and that is the time to build. Do not build in the summer, that is ridiculous.
Every Throne Speech from this government has stated it is responding to Yukoners need for land, and this one is no exception, it simply is not true. Talking about making land available and actually making land available are two entirely different things. That old record is playing out. It is absolutely not good enough anymore to keep saying that land is coming. People want land and they want land right now. We know that an awful lot of this land is frozen for land claims. I do not think too many of us have a problem with that, but I was very disturbed to hear in the Throne Speech that negotiations began in earnest only late this summer after a three-year gap. I wonder what all those people on the payroll have been doing for three years. Now we are going to start land claims.
A person said to me one time that it was rather unfair that we only had nine months to settle land claims. I calmly explained that we had been almost 14 years at this, and we are no closer now than we were then.
I would like to go on a little more on land. A person with a grazing lease came to me. The fence she had put up got torn down one time. We are not sure who tore it down. We are not going to say who tore it down, because we would probably end up in court. It was put back up and she put her stock in there because she is very conscious about keeping her horses off the road. After she applied two years later, she got a notice that her lease had been turned down. It took two years to tell her that she cannot do something she was already doing. Anyway, that is the way governments work. I must say on this one I will not be completely hard on the Yukon government because the federal government is a little involved here in this kind of thing.
We did some phoning, and in all fairness, they told her that they had maybe made a mistake and that she could reapply. She could start all over. She had only been two years but she could start over; she could fill out all the forms and start over. Anyway, she is going to do it. But in doing this inquiry we found out, all of a sudden, that this now is a forest preserve.
Some people asked me what a forest preserve is. I do not know. I know what a forest reserve is in Alberta, but I have never heard of one up here. I phoned in and asked to get maps and details of what happened. This is the map. It is very interesting. If you can read maps, you can see places where there are little things sticking up. This whole area is muskeg and yet we are saving this for timber. Then I look 3500 feet up the mountain, and they have that reserved for forestry. Maybe they are going to plant some trees.
Then down below Marshall Creek is a great big area where they took the timber out of there about 15 years ago. They went broke because there was not enough timber and left, but we got that in there to keep things straight. We are another Watson Lake; we got it right here. The funny thing about this is that we do have a little mill up there and he is not in there. He is not anywhere near here; he is about five miles away from this place, and he is making a success of it. Maybe I have the wrong map, I am not sure about this. I took it out and showed it to taxpayers who live there. It was unknown to them, but they now are living in a forest reserve. Some of them have been there quite a few years. They are quite amazed. What happens to them? I do not know.
I looked at this map again and sure enough the taxpayers are in there, these grazing leases are in it, the person who takes topsoil out for selling is in it; down here are some more people who have land and pay taxes and they live in it. All of a sudden I get up at the highway and here is a great big jog. Why would they do that? It is going straight along the road and then all of a sudden it takes off and comes back. This is where the correctional institute was. They pulled them out of the lumber thing. In other words, the taxpayers will be controlled, but the government will be patted on the back and allowed to stay there, because it is not known what will be done with these people.
I am going to put this map on record to show the stupidity that goes on in government. It is absolutely ridiculous. Incidentally, I will not give you this one.
I just happened to have put on my desk this morning a Livestock and Agriculture Association thing. I have not had time to look at it but I brushed through it and looked at the pictures. I came to a big graphic diagram that shows the farm land in the Yukon. Whitehorse is way up here with 2.2 thousand acres. Next biggest is Klondike with .4, and the rest of us are way down below that. This tells you one of two things: either there is not good farming out there or there is some land available in Whitehorse and none for farmers outside of Whitehorse. This is a report that was paid for. I might compliment the Livestock Association and the people who made this thing because they made it for $25,000. They visited and talked with every farmer and every would-be farmer and appear to have made a very good report, and to think it only cost $25,000 for this one; it is good. Maybe they are right; there is no agricultural land out there. What was the Department of Agriculture in Haines Junction doing for 15 years? The Yukon Gold potato was grown out there. They learned how to raise chickens; they raised cattle. There is still some of the same breed of cattle out there now, so there must have been some ability there.
Then we hear talk from Klondike. I would not argue with the Member for Klondike on how tourism went. Then I get the figures for our area. The buses are down four percent, and that is a lot of buses. The border crossings are down by three or four percent and I have not got the final one yet. They are down. If you add on what they were down last year to what they are down this year, they are down. What does the government do? The government turned around and put out a lot of grants and loans and had people build all these great big places for restaurants and buses. I suggested that because one of the main lodges burned they were all busy this year, but next year when it is back it will take some of that business back. But they do not agree. Then the lodge came back and took back his 15 or 20 percent of the business. Now everybody is hurting because there are four percent fewer buses. People are hurting. They are mad at each other. I have never seen lodge owners having so much distrust and dislike for each other. The government can be credited because they overstaffed and threw money in. Now some of the people who did not get the loans are furious because they did not get their share of the taxpayers money. I have to agree. The whole thing is stupid. We have enough room to handle perhaps three times the buses we have.
We have not got the buses. They make these nice landscapes in the towns. I have no problem with this. They have a very nice one in Haines Junction. The cars stop for 15 minutes. I do not think they even stop for coffee, but they stop to take a picture of that. It is right on the main road so all the cars stop on the road and tankers going by have to gear right down, because everybody is on the road getting pictures of this wonderful thing. I am not criticizing the landscape, but what good is holding the tourist for 15 minutes? We can hold them for an hour because we can get them in Kluane National Park if it is big enough, and they can only run every half-hour because they cannot afford another camera.
We had motions on the floor to try and correct this. In all fairness to the Minister of Transportation, he did adjourn the one. You can rest assured that I will be back in here with a motion to see why he adjourned it. The Minister of Justice got going on one of his little legal and tricky things with words. I looked at it the other day, and they are doing just what we do not want in national parks, or any parks, and that is these wide-track vehicles. The Renewable Resources Select Committee said we do not want these things running all over the country, but the Minister of Justice turned it around from a vehicle controlled on a little controlled highway with conservation and park wardens all around it, and now we are going to get these buggies and bikes in there, run around the sand dunes and have a good time.
Two weeks ago, I went to the Yukon Order of Pioneers dance. They had been after me for a number of years. I think it would be a good lesson to all of the young people in this Legislature to go and talk with these people and listen to how they started the Yukon and how they worked without governments throwing money all over. These people are in their sixties and seventies; some of them are in their eighties. They are proud of what they have done, and they have not waited for handouts. They went right out and did it. They had lots of hardships. I think maybe this society better start looking at this.
Hon. Mrs. Joe: It is not very good for a person to get up and speak after the Member for Kluane. He is always so eloquent. I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to the Throne Speech. The speech dealt with a bright economic future for Yukoners based on the continued high activity in the major sectors of our economy. As well, it dealt with a future in which all Yukoners will not only have an opportunity to earn a good living, but will also have a voice in decisions that affect them and have equal access to community services.
As Minister of Health and Human Resources, I would like to focus my remarks on those areas that will impact directly on the individual Yukoners and the policies and programs of my department. Because of policies of previous governments, equity of access to adequate housing for many Yukoners has been very limited. It was very interesting to hear the Leader of the Official Opposition state that housing was not so bad in the Yukon. I believe that there are hundreds of Yukoners out there who will disagree with him. Many of these needy Yukoners are clients of the Department of Health and Human Resources and continued residence in substandard shelter has been detrimental to the individuals health, with the resultant increase in demands on the health care system. In addition, social assistance costs have been minimally inflated as a result of payments for fuel consumption in shelters that can hardly be described as energy efficient.
I must commend the Minister responsible for these actions in dealing with our growing social housing needs. Not only will the actions deal with the basic physical needs of some Yukoners, improved shelter will also provide equity and security for those in our society who are in need.
As noted in the Throne Speech, consultation is the cornerstone of Yukon democracy. I have already advised this Assembly of my intention to begin a process of consultation respecting the future of childcare in the Yukon. I would like to take a few minutes to elaborate on that process. A minority of individuals may well believe that government has no place in the provision and regulation of childcare and that a consultation process is unnecessary. However, such a view does not reflect the constitutional reality. If programming of any kind is provided for the care of children, for example a childcare subsidy, the Territorial Government has the constitutional right and power for program delivery. We must retain this power in spite of the Meech Lake Accord and use it to serve Yukoners. The consultation process I propose will enable this government to listen to and act on the ideas and needs of Yukoners. The extensive consultation proposed will be the basis for reforms to our existing childcare system.
Equality between our aboriginal and non-aboriginal people remains a high priority of our government. In the health and human resources area, we continue to pursue the objective of equality in our policies and programs. Some of the actions we have taken in the past, such as the Champagne-Aishihik pilot project, have generated some interest among other bands. At the present time, we are discussing the transfer of responsibility for child welfare with other interested bands. Only through open and direct consultation with the bands can we determine their needs and act on them. My consultations with the Yukon bands and the Council for Yukon Indians regarding membership of the Advisory Committee on Indian Child Welfare is nearing completion. I will be happy to report progress on this important subject during this session.
My department is also responding to the need for equality of services in communities. The task is difficult but some progress is being made. For example, discussions continue with a number of communities respecting a provision of services for the victims of family violence. I expect that these discussions will result in the establishment of services not unlike those currently offered in Watson Lake and in a number of areas. The services provided must not only provide equality but they must meet the needs of the particular community. A service developed for Whitehorse or Watson Lake may not be a suitable delivery method in another community. Only through consultation with, and the involvement of, the community can we be assured that the service provides not only equitable access but also meets the specific community needs. With community roots, these services will be more effective and efficient.
Every effort is being made by my department to enhance the ability of communities to deal with their own problems. For example, departmental support for the training of family mediators from all walks of life and areas of Yukon will enable a community to call on a local resource for assistance. Again, such an approach is an important step in attaining equality of access to services and improving the effectiveness and efficiency of their delivery.
Achieving some of the goals I have outlined will be a challenge. I am certain that I have the support of all my colleagues in facing these challenges.
Aside from my duties as the Minister for Health and Human Resources and Status of Women, I have attempted to meet the diverse needs of my constituents and residents of Whitehorse North Centre. My riding encompasses a wide variety of concerns: squatters, home owners and tenants, for instance, have questions about housing. I have heard from representatives from all three groups and have acted to respond to their needs. With the opening of the new Mount McIntyre Subdivision, many of the Indian people of Whitehorse North Centre have benefited from the provision of new standard housing to replace the often substandard housing they were living in previously. I continue to hear from the remaining Kwanlin Dun residents; their views and concerns are important to me and I assure them that, while many of their community are now in new homes, the remaining members will still have a voice in government through me as their representative. Participation in government by constituents young and old, male and female, disabled, employed and unemployed, business and service sectors, is also important to me. Input from the wide and varied cross-section of North Centres residents allows me a better understanding of the electorates priorities and better enables me to carry out my daily function of bringing their needs to the attention of this government.
Mr. Phillips: Before I begin my speech, I would like to congratulate the Member for Tatchun on his maiden speech in the Legislature. I had intended to bring a Riverdale North list of government goodies but after listening to the long list from the Member for Klondike, I thought I would be rather embarrassed by my very short list.
I listened very carefully to the Speech from the Throne that was made yesterday. It is hard to see anything in that speech but fluff. Some things have been left out of that statement. I would have thought that this Government would have mentioned the benefits of free trade to the north. There was not a whisper about it. Free trade could be a major boon to Yukoners. We have already heard very positive statements from the Yukon Chamber of Commerce, the Yukon Chamber of Mines, Yukon Native Products and even more encouraging statements from our agriculture industry. Even the people in the fledging furniture manufacturing industry felt that free trade could be of benefit to them as well. All this was in spite of statements to the contrary made by our Government Leader. Was free trade left out to cover the Government Leaders embarrassment about his earlier statements?
The speech talks about the past two years being good for Yukoners, and no one can deny that. We have had $165 million injected into our economy by the federal government. That is for 25,000 people. That is a lot of money. The problem lies in the areas where this government is spending that money. This enormous amount of funding was given under the assumption that it would be spent wisely. In many cases, this is not being done. This government has, in the past two and one half years, slowly used up its surplus funds. At the same time, we see millions of dollars being spent in areas that do not generate future wealth. They instead bring with them millions of dollars of operation and maintenance costs. This surplus fund is also called, by some people, a rainy day fund. It looks right now as if this Yukon government is never expecting any rainy days. Their memories are rather short.
Less than three weeks ago, we had a clear warning sent to us in the free world by the stock market crash. Since then we have seen a very nervous market with all kinds of experts advising us to go slow. This government is ignoring all those warnings and is spending money like a bunch of drunken sailors. It is almost as if they do not plan to be here in the next few years when the bills start rolling in. Do they not know that conservation and wise management is a pretty good idea when it comes to money. The average Yukoner who I talk to is concerned, but the message is not getting through to this government.
It has always been my feeling that these large sums of money that are made available to the Yukon be used to generate wealth. You generate wealth by building roads to resources so new mines will start up. You use it for planning and building hydro projects to produce the portable power so that industry can develop and thrive in Yukon. These industries will help in building our communities and the services needed in them. The increase in population on a tax base will then support the type of project that this government is directing most of its money to.
It seems to me this governments cart is a long ways in front of the horse. During this session, I will bring forward several cases of mismanagement and overspending of government funds: projects that have little or no long-term benefit and jobs that will have to be redone the right way in the future, at an enormous cost to Yukon taxpayers. I will also be talking about grants that serve no real purpose and, in some cases, bring back nightmares of federal Liberals grant-crazy schemes to create a domino effect of meaningless make-work projects and jobs.
This government came into power with a great deal of federal money, and I believe they have squandered it. Yukon taxpayers will be paying for these mistakes for a long time to come. The government talks in its Throne Speech about getting into the housing business in a big way. This decision is based on a housing study that said Yukoners have one of the lowest standards of housing in the country. We do have to address the housing needs in Yukon, but I have to wonder where this study got all its information.
I have lived in the Yukon for over 40 years, and I have never seen as many housing starts as we have seen in the past four years. Many of our Indian bands have programs that are well under way. The Kwanlin Dun and the Aishihik Bands are just a few. There are also several federal programs now under way with housing projects in the territory.
The Government Leader has swallowed up this study like a northern pike grasping at a shiny lure. There are some very important questions with respect to housing that have not been asked. To illustrate this point, I will mention one. I had some good friends of mine who worked and saved to buy their dream cabin out in the town of Carcross. Imagine their surprise when a picture of this lovely home appeared in the front page of a local paper with the headline, Worst Housing in Yukon. They were insulted. They and everyone else who lived in that cabin were very proud of that cabin. As a matter of fact, I would like to mention to you that the house on the front cover was the cabin that Johnny Johns lived in for many, many years, and he was very proud of that lifestyle and did not ask for any more.
We life in Yukon, the last frontier. Does this study take into consideration the fact that many people build their homes with no electricity, plumbing or phone service because they are trying to get away from these urban amenities? Apparently not. The oversight casts serious doubts in the minds of Yukoners as to the credibility of this study.
I would like to talk about contracts. I will be following with interest the new value-added concept that will be introduced by this government. If a program such as this is not administered properly, there can be many criticisms. It will be interesting to see how far this government will be going in implementing this value-added concept.
While I am in the area of contracts, I would like to address the statement I heard this morning on CBC from the Minister of Renewable Resources. The Minister stated that one of the reasons we had a fall session was to introduce the Capital Budget so the jobs could get an early start. I agree 100 per cent with that statement. However, I will show you later in this session that this has not happened. The contracts on Capital projects are being tendered later and later in the construction season. This late start raises the cost of the project, and many of these jobs have cost overruns. I guess that is because there are so many of them. They are not being monitored very well. Perhaps that is why costs are escalating out of control.
On this side, we will be exploring these problems very closely and finding ways to cut costs and waste. I would like to talk for a few years Im sorry, that was a slip about land claims.
I almost fell off my chair when this government announced that negotiations began in earnest this summer after a three-year gap. Incredible. I wonder who the Government Leader will blame for the three-year gap. The federal government? The Council for Yukon Indians? Or maybe he should blame it on his own negotiator. When they hired Barry Stuart, he took a leave of absence for 18 months saying that was all it would take to settle land claims. What happened to that time? What happened to all the money we paid these people? It would be interesting to find out what that has cost us.
I, like the Members opposite, would like to see an early settlement, but maybe for different reasons than they, but primarily so that native and non-native Yukoners can get on with their lives. The government of the Yukon has talked about an information program with respect to land claims. I would hope that this program would not just talk about the process but will answer many of the questions regarding access to land, the amount of land and hunting and fishing rights, all the concerns that were made very clear to us in our recent trip to Watson Lake. They want to know the positive and negative effects on both native and non-native Yukoners. They want to know soon, not after the agreement is signed.
I would now like to turn to my critic area of justice. As we all know, very little has happened in this area in the last few months. Our Justice Minister has been quietly minding his own business and has hardly been seen or heard of. Unfortunately, we are not so lucky. People are learning very fast that you do it Rogers way or no way at all. Just ask the two members of the Public Utilities Board who disagreed with him and now have no job. Ask the previous Native Courtworkers Board who also disagreed with the Minister and now do not have a job. Ask the Members of the Judicial Council who made recommendations for appointments and these appointments have been totally ignored by the Minister. Last but not least, ask Bill Thompson, a very respected JP who committed the most serious crime of all by reaching the age of 65 and was fired by the champion of human rights.
I believe, and I believe many Yukoners also disagree, with the bullish approach that this Minister has taken. We have never had so much controversy in our justice system. This is not serving the system well. I am extremely interested in the Minister of Justices new concept of tribal justice councils. There are many unanswered questions and the first must be how this system will work. Does this mean there will be two kinds of justices in the Yukon, one for natives and one for non-natives? How much will it cost? What makes them think it will ever work. My understanding is that it has been tried in other areas with little success. I suppose its success will depend on how it is structured but it is still difficult for me to see how it will work within our existing system. Even now, we have a difficult time getting native people to sit as JPs to judge their peers. I will be looking forward to the Ministers approach on this new program.
In closing today, I would like to stress again my concern over the irresponsible way that this government has been spending money. The government Members would like it to appear that they have a vision for the year 200. They are spending like there is no tomorrow.
Mr. Phillips: I move that debate be now adjourned.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Member for Whitehorse Riverdale North that debate be now adjourned.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Porter: Pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order 26, I would notify the House that the next day on which the address and reply to the Speech from the Throne will be debated will be Thursday, November 12, 1987.
I move that the House do now adjourn until Thursday, November 12, 1987.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn until Thursday, November 12, 1987.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. Thursday next.
The House adjourned at 4:35 p.m.
The following Sessional Papers were tabled in the House on November 10, 1987:
Report of the Auditor General of Canada on the examination of accounts and financial transactions of Government of the Yukon Territory for year ended March 31, 1987 (Speaker, Johnston)
Report of the Chief Electoral Officer on Contributions to Candidates during the by-election in Tatchun (Speaker, Johnston)
Yukon Workers Compensation Board 1986 Annual Report (Kimmerly)
Yukon Liquor Corporation Annual Report April 1, 1986, to March 31, 1987 (Kimmerly)
Yukon Utilities Board Annual Report for the year ending March 31, 1987 (Kimmerly)
Yukon Medical Council Annual Report for the year ending July 31, 1987 (Kimmerly)
Letter and Report of the Auditor General of Canada on the examination of the accounts and financial statements of the Yukon Liquor Corporation for the year ended March 31, 1987 (Kimmerly)
Letter and Report of the Auditor General of Canada on the examination of the accounts and financial statements of the Compensation Fund administered by the Workers Compensation Board for the year ended December 31, 1986 (Kimmerly)
Draft regulations under the Societies Act (Kimmerly)
Draft regulations under the Public Libraries Act (McDonald)
Eighth Report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, 1987 Report (Phelps)
The following Filed Documents were tabled in the House on November 10, 1987:
Day Care Act - Proposed Changes suggested by the Family Home Care Society (Firth)
Highway map of Marshall Creek area on the Alaska Highway (Brewster)