Monday, November 16, 1987 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. We will proceed with prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Mr. Lang: I would like to take this opportunity to welcome to the Chambers today a well known Yukon couple, Jack and Joyce Hibberd. Jack served as a Member of this House for quite a period of time and was very active in the political evolution of Yukon. They were here this weekend to help celebrate the 25th wedding anniversary of a very well known couple in the Yukon, Chuck and Sheila Rear.
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Speaker: Are there any returns or documents for tabling?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have for tabling Reports on Regulations, the Public Service Staff Relations Board Report and the Yukon Teachers Staff Relations Board report.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees? Are there any Petitions? Introduction of Bills? Are there any Notices of Motion for Production of Papers? Are there any Notices of Motion? Are there any Statements by Ministers?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I rise today to address an issue of some concern to this Government, that being some serious shortcomings in the federal Canadian Jobs Strategy, and to outline the kinds of federal support that the Yukon Government could better use for job development and skills training.
Speaker: Point of order to the Member for Whitehorse Riverdale South.
Mrs. Firth: According to the Standing Orders of the Yukon Legislative Assembly the purpose of a ministerial statement according to clause 11(8) is to present a short factual statement of government policy. I would like a ruling on this ministerial statement because it is simply a four-page criticism of the federal government and contains no factual statements of what this governments policy is. This could just have well been transmitted to the Ministers counterpart in the federal government in the form of a letter. If the Minister wants public recognition the letter could have been published, and certainly it is an abuse of the privilege of ministerial statements for the Minister to come forward with this kind of statement.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: On the same Point of Order, if the government was hoping to attempt to make the public very aware of the serious concerns which the government has openly expressed to the federal government and now hopefully to the Yukon public about the Canadian Jobs Strategy and the future of the college system in this territory, I do not understand why the Member for Riverdale South is attempting to try to muzzle the government in its explanation of the serious concerns that this government wants to express and wants to announce, in terms of the remedial action the government is prepared to take in order to address this very serious matter.
Mr. Lang: The rules of this House are made by the Members of this House, and you have the responsibility vested in you to ensure that we follow those rules. To use the Ministerial Statement as a form only to lambaste the Government of Canada is an abuse of the rules.
It was our intention, and as a previous member of the Rules and Elections Committee that brought these rules before the House, that the policy be used as a policy statement for the Government of the Yukon. There are lots of areas in our rules and in our procedures that permit us to get our political points across to lambaste the Government of Canada.
As a Member of this House speaking from a non-partisan point of view, I would like to stress to Members that if we permit this to occur, then I will take great delight at any given time during replies to Ministerial Statements to talk about Mr. Broadbent and what he is doing. I can assure Members of the other side that I can do it very well, and it would be very entertaining. We are asking you to rule on this issue now because we believe that the content of the document is basically a criticism of the Government of Canada and is not the Government of Yukons policy statement.
Speaker: On the point of order.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It is regrettable that the Members opposite would want to abuse your patience and the good will of the House by this kind of obstructionism today. The issue is quite clearly, is this a statement of government policy or not? It clearly is a statement of government policy. The Members opposite are objecting to criticism of the federal government. That is their right, but they should do so in response to the statement.
I know Members of the federal Cabinet who have similar criticism of the Canada Job Strategy, and it is a serious question. Our response to it is a serious question. It is a matter of policy. We have never objected to Members across the floor saying silly and abusive things about our party or our leaders of this House. They have done it many times, and some of them have been done during Ministerial Statements. It is a statement of policy by the government, and it is permissible and should go ahead today.
Speaker: I would like to take this under advisement and have some time to look at the statement and bring back advice to the House on the proper content of Ministerial Statements in the future./
This then brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: Operation Falcon
Mr. Phelps: I have a few questions about Operation Falcon and the deplorable manner in which this government prevented two of the defendants from carrying on business selling falcons that were hatched after the charges had been laid, and were clearly bred in captivity, to the clear knowledge of this government.
During the period October 1985 through 1986, did the Minister of Renewable Resources meet with Mr. Nowlan to discuss the sale of the falcons bred in captivity?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Leader of the Official Opposition stated in his preamble that this government prevented Mr. Nowlan from selling the falcons. He should know that the facts of the matter are that, before this government came to power, the court had named a specific individual to look after these licenses, which are federal licenses. In that respect, that individual was acting as an officer of the court. It is entirely inaccurate to say that this government prevented any legitimate business from occurring.
Mr. Phelps: We have a bit of a problem here. I recall several years ago the present Minister of Renewable Resources saying to the then Minister of Renewable Resources, Howard Tracey, that every time he answered a question his nose grew longer. We have an extension of that situation here. Every time I ask a question of the Minister of Renewable Resources, the Minister of Justice pops up and the nose of the Minister of Renewable Resources grows longer. It is rather frustrating.
Perhaps it would be of assistance to the Minister if he would stand up and answer the questions directed to him.
What the Minister of Justice has been referring to are the conditions of bail. However, that officer, Mr. Monaghan, had the powers.
Speaker: Would the speaker please get to the supplemental question.
Mr. Phelps: The officer in question had the power to allow the birds to be sold. The first sale that was aborted because his actions was to people in British Columbia. Will the Justice Minister not admit that this government had that power?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: This unwarranted attack has gone from bad to worse. I have already called it irresponsible, and that criticism should only be repeated. The fact of the matter is that by a court order, which was later affirmed by a court, a particular individual was put in charge of licensing. In that respect, that individual became an officer of the court. The criticisms that are being made here are in essence criticisms of an officer of the court and they should be taken in a legal context. The political commentary here is entirely irresponsible.
Mr. Phelps: And the nose keeps growing.
Will the Minister of Justice or the Minister of Renewable Resources not admit that this government negotiated with Nowlan and his lawyers, the purpose of that negotiation being to allow the sale of falcons?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That is an interesting question and it is, in fact, entirely inconsistent with the previous irresponsible allegations. The answer is that discussions did occur as to the way Mr. Nowlan could sell some birds, and those discussions were successful and this government facilitated the legitimate business interests of Mr. Nowlan.
Mr. Phelps: We go back and forth, because the Minister of Renewable Resources knows full well that sales of falcons were aborted by this government in 1985, that several further sales were aborted by this government in 1986, and this government entered into negotiations with regard to a potential contract to allow for the release of the falcons. I am going to table one such contract and I am going to ask the Minister of Renewable Resources to admit that these discussions went on, and it was in the court entirely of his department as to whether or not Mr. Nowlan would have been allowed to sell those birds.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Members opposite know full well that there was a court order which established that a particular individual was responsible for licensing, and in that respect that individual was an officer of the court. The government assisted Mr. Nowlan in obtaining the permits in that context. But the assertion was made that this government aborted sales. That is simply not true.
Mr. Phelps: This government prevented Mr. Nowlan from getting the licences required to sell those birds in 1985, 1986 and into 1987. This document shows that the position of this government was that it had control over the sale of those birds and it claimed ownership of those birds.
Will the Minister of Renewable Resources tell this House how many meetings he had with Mr. Nowlan in 1985 and 1986?
Hon. Mr. Porter: The first thing I would like to state is that the line of questioning the Member has put to the House I think demonstrates that he is intellectually anorexic. With respect to the specific question as to whether or not I have met with Mr. Nowlan, the answer is yes, I have had meetings with him. As to the number of occasions, I can research that.
Mr. Phelps: I thank the Minister for finally standing up. It was not that hard, was it? In Hansard, the Minister of Justice stated on November 12, on page 25, The position that this government took is, and was, that Mr. Nowlan be treated as would any other citizen be treated, unless the application affected directly the evidence or identified a potential evidence in the trial which we knew about because charges were laid.
Will the Minister not admit that this was misleading the House, because we have evidence that they were prepared to enter into a tight contract to allow these birds to be sold, and these birds had nothing to do with the trial?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The answer is no. I have explained before, a particular individual was named by the court as the person responsible for licensing, and that is the significant difference that the Members opposite are being willfully blind to.
Question re: Faro housing
Mr. McLachlan: With respect to the Faro housing mortgages why, after setting up a repayment schedule with Curragh Resources with respect to the $3.4 million loan, to which both parties agreed, did the government feel it had to alter conditions of that agreement and ask for money ahead of and over and above those amounts specified in the agreement whenever a housing sale loomed on the horizon?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am not even sure that the Member is stating the facts of the situation accurately. I am not sure that I am in any way equipped to respond to his challenge.
Mr. McLachlan: The fact is the agreement clearly specifies that the loan amount is to be repaid in 20 equal installments, commencing in June 1988 and carrying ten percent simple interest on the declining balance. Those are the facts. When the potential for a housing sale arises, why now, at this point, does the government come forward with its hand out and ask for a portion or all of the amount that is being tendered by the potential home owner? Why are they trying to break the spirit of the agreement? All it is doing is breaking the spirit of those in Faro who want to purchase the homes.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Members assertion that the governments intention is to protect the equity in the loan that it had made with Curragh as being that which is going to break the spirit of the people who want to purchase homes in Faro is absolute nonsense. We have always indicated that we would wish that people in Faro purchase their own homes, and we have also indicated to Curragh, with whom we have an arrangement, that the loan that they freely entered into would protect our equity. We were concerned that that equity be protected for the life of the agreement, given that therewere substantially favourable terms for the borrower.
We have indicated to them numerous times during the period of negotiations of the original agreement and, subsequently, in negotiations and discussions that we have had recently with them that our equity position has to be protected, and we will ensure that that happens. We have also indicated to them that we would like home ownership costs to be more reasonable. That is the position that we have taken with them.
Mr. McLachlan: For a government that is advocating private housing sales in Faro, that particular answer is indeed a strange response. That is not advocation of any private ownership at all. What I want to ask the Minister is: how is it protecting the interests of those in Faro, or the taxpayers of the Yukon, by refusing to issue clear title on property which has a definite market, in which there is an interest in and which is agreeable for sale. Why is the government blocking the move to issue clear title? How is that protecting interests?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: We are not blocking the issuance of clear title. I am getting the impression that the Member for Faro is speaking for Faro Real Estate, rather than speaking for the homeowners in Faro. We have made it abundantly clear where we stand with respect to home ownership in Faro and even the existing agreement will permit home ownership to take place.
Question re: Day home surveillance
Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Minister of Health and Human Resources regarding day home surveillance. When we sat last, on November 12, I asked the Minister about authorization of the surveillance and she said at that time that she did not know who had authorized the surveillance. Could she report now to the House who authorized the surveillance and what the process was?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: That was done by the Director of Community Services. It was directed by the legal services that that would take place.
Mrs. Firth: I am not sure what the Minister is saying about who the Director of Community Services is and what authority they would have to put a family day home under surveillance; and could she tell us what the process of surveillance was?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: The issue of the surveillance on a house is still before the courts. The charges have not been dropped and I am not prepared to go into detail about anything that has happened in regard to that. The person who I was referring to is the Director of Family and Community Services and I really refuse to stand here and talk about the whole case.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister cannot refuse to stand there and talk about anything. If she wants to do that she can resign her position as Minister and get out of the Assembly. We are asking questions about a process that people of this community were subjected to by this government; by this Minister, who did not know how many homes were under surveillance, who did not know what the process was, who did not know who initiated it, and then she has the audacity to stand up and say she refuses to answer questions.
Speaker: Please get to the supplementary question. I would like to remind the Members to please keep your questions and answers short.
Mrs. Firth: I will try to be as short as I can considering the comment. I would like to know what the surveillance process is since someone authorized it and what is being done with the information.
Hon. Mrs. Joe: The Member for Riverdale South has made all sorts of accusations, made a little speech, and everybody knows how she feels about day care. She is asking for some information that I cannot give her. I have a responsibility to do my job. She may not think I am doing it, but I am. I am not about to give out that kind of information. She has two lawyers on her side of the House who can probably give her some good advice on what should and should not be said in this House.
Question re: Day home surveillance
Mrs. Firth: I wish the Minister could hear what she is saying sometimes. I have asked the Minister what the process if for surveillance. If some official within the department, the Director for Family and Community Services ordered a process for surveillance, the Minister has a responsibility to tell the public what that process is. She cannot deny the answer to the public who want to know what the process is and what is being done with the information that is being collected in that process.
Hon. Mrs. Joe: There was some information given to our department from the City regarding possible unlicensed daycares. There were a number of addresses that were given to us. There was a procedure to look at the possibility to find out which of those were licensed for day care and which were not. As a result, there were individuals from the Daycare Services Board who watched some of those houses. I am not about to talk about more than that regarding the Members question.
Mrs. Firth: We get a little more information but the Minister again contradicts herself. Last week she said that there was only one home under surveillance. Now we find out that there were addresses and that there were homes under surveillance, and that the houses were watched.
What does the Minister mean by watched? Were they watched every day? Were peoples license plate numbers recorded? How were people contacted? How did they get the telephone numbers? Were the houses photographed?
The Members opposite are interrupting my question.
What is being done with all of the information that the officials in that department have been compiling under this surveillance process? Is there a file on each of these family day homes.?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: The Member for Riverdale South does not hear right. I said that a number of homes and addresses were given to us. I did not say that they were all under surveillance. There was one home that was under surveillance.
Mrs. Firth: With all due respect, the Minister said that the houses were watched. To me, that means houses were watched. The Minister has not answered the question. What has been done with the information that was collected on these people who were under surveillance? Is that information in the department files? What was done with the information?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: We have information on one home.
Question re: Judges suit
Mr. Phillips: I wonder if the Minister of Justice could give us a breakdown of the total costs incurred by the Yukon taxpayer in the judge versus judge pay-off. The outside law firm of Russell and Dumoulin represented the Yukon Government in this case. What were the total costs incurred in this governments defence?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The total costs of the government defence are not definitely known, as the bill has not been received. I will take that question as notice and when the amount is known I will file a Legislative Return.
Mr. Phillips: The firm of Doust and Smith represented the Yukons chief justice, Daleatta Ilnicki. Did the Government of the Yukon pick up all Judge Ilnickis legal fees and, if so, how much was that cost?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I will similarly take that question as notice and when the amounts are known I will file a Legislative Return.
Mr. Phillips: In my final supplementary, I would like to ask the Minister of Justice what happened to this governments concept of local hire when it hired two outside law firms to represent them.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The question of employing local law firms is a delicate one in this situation in that it sets up a conflict of interest position. As an example, the firm used for Judge Rowe could not be appearing before Judge Rowe in the future. That probably will not be a problem for them, but the situation of the developing conflicts necessitates, on occasion, going outside the territory for lawyers.
Question re: Crestview truck terminal
Mr. Nordling: I have a question for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services with respect to the Crestview truck terminal. At neighbourhood meetings in my riding over the last month, there was considerable concern over the safety at the intersection of the Alaska Highway where the Yukon Alaska trucks turn in to and out of the Crestview truck terminal. Last December, when I expressed this concern, the Minister said, I am satisfied that all reasonable care and attention has been taken to this particular issue. Is that still the Ministers position?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Recently, the Yukon Government initiated, jointly with the City of Whitehorse, a Takhini area transportation study to look at transportation issues around the Takhini area, around Yukon College and included the truck entrance to Yukon Alaska Transports operations on the Alaska Highway. I would expect that the results of that study will be forthcoming shortly and I am sure it will make recommendations on such matters as the Yukon Alaska truck terminal.
Question re: Crestview truck terminal
Mr. Nordling: When this government says shortly or imminent, my question is always: how long will that be? Can we have a more accurate estimate of time as to when the results of this study will be in?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: To be more precise, the end of November would be as accurate as I could put it at this point.
Mr. Nordling: The Minister may have to take this supplementary as notice, but I would like to know if this committee study is counting traffic. The Minister said if traffic flow was intense in future that passing lanes could be considered. Is this committee studying the traffic flow at that area?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Traffic flows will be taken into consideration. As I indicated, it would be the case this time last year. That one significant factor will always play a part in determining what sort of passing lanes, if any, are necessary at this spot.
Question re: Carcross pumphouse
Mr. Phelps: With respect to the contract that was recently let out to provide a pumphouse and pump for fire protection at Carcross, I understand that this is the second time that the contract has been let. The first time it was set aside because of problems with White Pass. On January 14, 1987, there was unanimous approval of a motion: It is the opinion of this House that the community of Carcross should be provided with an adequate pumphouse and fire pump system as soon as possible. The contract was let again. There was a low bidder, and quite a few bids involved, and we now understand that this government is not going to go ahead with the low bidder and provide an adequate pumphouse. Why?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I ensured that the Member was fully informed of all the details of this particular matter. I indicated to department officials that he should be made aware of all the machinations around this particular issue, which I believe was done on Friday.
The motion that was put before the Legislature last year did not mention that we should be putting in adequate fire protection in Carcross at any price, no matter what. I believe that that was left open, that we would try to get the much-needed fire protection in Carcross at reasonable prices. We undertook to secure a spot on the bridge for the installation of a permanent pumphouse and pump. At the same time, we tried to get a contract price that we believed was reasonable under the circumstances. We tendered the contract this year. We modified the contract somewhat, hoping to bring down the bid prices. Unfortunately, we received a low bid price that was substantially higher than the last time we tendered.
We have indicated that we are very interested in the securing of at least a portable pump and the pump housing for the community. I would hope that we could do that in the very near future, by the end of November.
Mr. Phelps: This just is not good enough. Officials from the Ministers department went to Carcross more than a year ago and consulted with the fire chief. They mutually agreed that the best solution to the problem was a fire pump to be mounted on the train bridge. I have spoken with the fire chief and members of the volunteer fire department this weekend and they have two things to say. First of all, this is an essential service; and secondly, we are just bloody lucky we have not had a major fire in Carcross up until now, because in the cold weather their bandaid solution just will not do.
My question is this: Will the Minister ask the low bidding contractor to hold their bid to give them time to review this decision because it is a very serious problem and it is an essential service for Carcross?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The government and the Department of Community Affairs have been working tirelessly on that particular issue and it will simply not help at all for the Member for Hootalinqua to sensationalize this by trying to suggest that perhaps the government does not care about fire protection in Carcross. It does, and does absolutely.
What we try to do is get decent, effective fire protection equipment for communities such as Carcross at a reasonable price and as quickly as possible. I believe the government has done that. I believe, as well, that a portable pump in heated housing in Carcross, which could make it usable on the riverbank all around the Carcross area, is quite a decent solution as well and very effective, despite what the Member for Hootalinqua has to say about it. The governments actions in this case are very responsive and very responsible.
Mr. Phelps: The sad thing about this plan that was not agreed to by the players involved, the people in Carcross, is that it discriminates heavily against the people on the Indian Reserve side of the river, whereas the agreeable plan was one that would ensure instant water delivery to either side of the river.
This government has already spent something in the order of $35,000 on consultants and on tendering bids, and now they are stepping back from this thing because of something like a $20,000 or $25,000 difference in what they thought it should cost and what it does. Again I ask the Minister, and I again reiterate that they have not consulted with the fire department in Carcross with regard to their bandaid solution: will he take steps to hold the low contract until he can at least consult with the Band and the fire department in order that this solution, which is the only realistic solution to provide an essential service to Carcross, might be one that can be proceeded with in the near future.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The government, far from stepping back, is in fact stepping forward to provide a more than adequate fire protection service for the community of Carcross. The portable pump will be accessible to both sides of the river, can easily be taken across the bridge, as can any vehicle, and it is only meant to be the second attack against fires in the Carcross area, because there is pumper in the community already, which is intended to provide the initial attack capability for the fire department. The purpose of the water pump is to reload the fire truck so that the fire truck can continue fighting fires after its initial strike. A portable pump, taken close to the fire, to take water right out of the river, is in some respects a better solution than the fixed pump on the bridge that was originally conceived. I believe that the government has been not only responsible but very responsive in attending to the fire fighting needs of Carcross, and we will continue to be.
Question re: Carcross pumphouse
Mr. Phelps: I just cannot understand why this Minister is being bull-headed and not trying to preserve the status quo, namely the low bid, in place until his officials can at least consult with the people who live in Carcross, which people are damn tired of not having essential services provided on a timely basis by his department. This is just one example. We can get into more, and will, as the session proceeds. My question is: why will he not take steps to preserve the low bid until at least his officials can talk to the fire people in Carcross?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Unlike the previous government, this government has undertaken consultations with the people in all the communities on an ongoing basis, and we will continue to do so. When people contact the department or the department contacts people, we will take in whatever information they provide. This government has been extremely responsible and very quick in responding to the needs of the people in Carcross very responsible and very responsive to the needs of the people of Carcross in fire fighting and in every other aspect. I am going to love the discussions we are going to hold, I am sure, with respect to the Capital Budget on expenditures made in Carcross and perhaps even, if I am permitted by the Member for Porter Creek East, draw a few comparisons between what this government has done in rural communities, including Carcross, and what the previous government has done.
Mr. Phelps: The Minister is upset. He is upset because his officials have done a no-no. They have gone ahead with a silly plan to mount a pump on a trailer and build a shed for it when that is not the solution that everybody agreed to. His officials have not gone down and got the okay from the people who live in that community for this silly bandaid plan. The fire truck already has a pump on it, and all I am asking and I will ask it just once more is: will the Minister not take steps to preserve the status quo with regard to the bidding procedure, that has gone out twice, to hold the low bid until he or his officials have a chance to talk to the people who live under this very real danger of a horrible fire breaking out, which will take more than one load of water in that fire truck, if it ever gets started.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The government is quite interested in ensuring that the Carcross Fire Department has more that adequate means to fight fires in Carcross, and will ensure that they have the equipment to do the job. We will be discussing, as we always have, with the Carcross Volunteer Fire Department their ongoing needs, both in the areas of capital equipment and training. We hope that we can provide solutions that are both cost effective and effective in terms of doing the job that is required. That is an ongoing government commitment.
Mr. Phelps: That was an interesting editorial. Would the Minister answer my question?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The question was answered, and if the Member wants me to repeat it, I am prepared to do that.
Speaker: Time for Question Period is now elapsed. We will proceed with Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. Porter: I request unanimous consent of the House to return to Daily Routine when we reconvene at 7:30 p.m tonight to allow the introduction of the appropriate Bill relating to the 1988-89 Capital Estimates and other budget related Bills. If unanimous consent is granted for this procedure, it would be our intention to then immediately call for second reading of the Capital Estimate Budget, as it is permitted by the Standing Orders, and for the Government Leader as the Minister of Finance to give his budget address.
Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed
Speaker: There is unanimous consent.
ADDRESS IN REPLY TO SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Clerk: Adjourned debate: Hon. Mr. Penikett
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I would like to join with other Members in paying tribute to the maiden speech from the Member for Tatchun and to wish him well in his time during the House and to many more good Throne Speech debates.
I am naturally deeply disappointed that the Leader of the Official Opposition did not like the Throne Speech. I thought that he might have found it in himself to say one or two good things about it, but unfortunately, he did not. I, naturally, think that that is not a credible position, but I will not dwell on that. I would also like to compliment the Member for Porter Creek West for his masterly reading of the Whitehorse Star editorial that he used at the outset of his speech.
I do not want to do as Government Leaders have often done at the tail end of the Throne Speech debate and rebut point by point because, as useful and as edifying as that no doubt would be, it would be excessively time consuming.
I do want to say, though, that there are a number of observations made by Members of the other side that indicate, I think, an misunderstanding of this governments intentions in respect to the economy and in respect to public expenditures. I would like to spend a couple of minutes talking about some of those assertions made by the side opposite not to rebut them finally, because I am sure I will not do that, but to hopefully improve Members understanding of what we are doing, and why.
The Throne Speech is always, in a sense, an opportunity for the government to make a statement about the state of the territory; the debate that follows is also an opportunity for Members on all sides to offer their opinions on our situation particularly from a constituency point of view. The Throne Speech usually touches on the three dimensions of the Yukon: economic, social and political development. And, appropriately so, given our recent condition, we have had much emphasis on the economic dimension.
I have said many times that the Yukon economy is narrow, weak, and colonial. It is narrow in the sense that we have three or four major sectors: mining, government and a service sector, or services and tourism. You will recall that when we came to office the mining sector was in a very bad way. We had, at one point during our recession, a situation where all of our operating mines were closed. Members on all sides will remember that we spent our first several months in office trying to put together the deal to re-open the mine at Faro. We were successful, and I believe all Members would concede that that was the single most important event in our economic recovery. I would hasten to add to those on the other side who would diminish this effort in some way that it was a gargantuan task, a major achievement, and it was also a project in which, from a public sector point of view, this government took the lead, took some considerable risk. I think the risk was appropriate, and it paid off.
We have, as well, put some other programs in place that have helped the mining industry and will continue to do so. We have also made decisions to spend significant monies on public works: roads, schools and various economic development projects and programs. We also opened the One Stop Shop to improve access and delivery of various programs to the tourism and small business sectors. All of these things were done immediately to respond to the crisis in which we found ourselves in the spring of 1985.
The fundamental weaknesses of the Yukon economy persist. I think all Members know that. Members opposite talked about our vulnerability and the fragility of our economy. I think that situation is illustrated by the leaks in our economy. I have said before that if you put a dollar in the Yukon economy you have 25 cents flowing south instantly for imported oil, another dime for imported food, another dime for imported building materials.
On the energy account, we have been very aggressive in the way we are beginning to design public buildings. The Yukon College, for example, will be heated not with oil but with wood, coal and local garbage. In various towns in the territory, we are pursuing with the private sector central heating plants, which will burn waste woods from local sawmills and improve the profitability of those sawmills. We are also continuing and expanding the retrofit programs that were originally introduced by the former government that were designed to help reduce the oil leakages for private home owners and for businesses.
In addition to taking over the NCPC and pursuing our other local energy options throughout the territory, the small hydro projects or other initiatives, time will tell that we have made a substantial improvement in terms of the energy leakage situation, and I believe we will have made ourselves a more resilient economy as a result.
On the food account, there is no doubt for a long time in the future we will be importing most of our food, but we have established an agricultural branch in the Yukon Territory. We are engaged in a number of agricultural initiatives. We are, as well, conducting experiments around the production of elk, reindeer, and aquaculture. As Members also know, there are sprouts and lettuces being locally produced in greenhouse operations here in the territory now.
I said our economy is colonial. That is also true. It is true that most of the economic decisions that have been made throughout our history have been made outside of the territory. They have been made by other people. We have been subject to remote control. I think if there is one thing that has come throughout the Yukon 2000 consultation process, it has been an affirmation of the desire of this community to control its own development more, to take charge of our own development, to not only diversify the economy in ways I have already talked about, but also to increase our power to make decisions for our own benefit.
I must say that increasing local control has been one of the most consistent themes that we have heard throughout the Yukon 2000 process, and it is one that we are trying to respond to, and take the initiatives to improve our control of our fortunes.
I think all Members in this House, if they are reasonable, fair-minded people, would want to take some credit for the fact that the Yukon Territory, this year and last, had the fastest growth rate of any jurisdiction in Canada. We had a 20 per cent plus growth rate last year and will do so again this year. A Member opposite complained that, having had 20 percent this year and last, we were projecting only six or seven per cent next year. I would remind that Member that the projections for last year and this were only in the six to eight per cent range as well, and that the 20 per cent rate of growth actually exceeded our expectations. Even though the statistical projection of six to eight per cent next year is what has been published, it could well be in excess of that. Although I must say I do not believe that a 20 percent plus rate of growth is sustainable in the long haul, nor do I believe it is healthy.
This initiative, this movement towards our development is quite profound. I think we have seen 1,800 new jobs created between June of 1985 and June of 1987. Our unemployment rate has dropped from 13 percent to 10 percent between June 1985 and June 1987. Our population has grown between the second quarter of 1986 and the second quarter of 1987 by 1,574 people. There are 625 more businesses in June of 1987 compared with June of 1985. Our retail trade is up, construction is up, mining will reach the $400 million dollar mark this year, there are many new properties which are nearing production, forestry is having a good year, and tourism had a record year of $100 million. The condition at this point is quite, quite healthy.
The fundamental realities of our economy, the narrowness of it, the weakness of it, the colonial nature of it, is still with us and a lot of the efforts of this government and this administration and this community have been to increase local control: to diversify, to broaden the base, to strengthen the economy and to make us more resistant to international shocks, and to make the growth more sustainable. I understand from a motion that is tabled on the Order Paper that we will be given an opportunity later to speak at length about the free trade initiative, or the so-called free trade initiative, but I was chided by one Member opposite for not addressing myself during the Throne Speech debate to this question. I want to speak very briefly about that now because I know there will be other opportunities later. I do want to say, and I am sure the Member opposite will be very pleased to hear this, that I happen to agree with Brian Mulroney on the question of free trade. I agree with the statement made by the aforesaid gentleman when he said on June 1983 on the subject of free trade, It affects Canadian sovereignty and we will have none of it. Not during leadership campaigns or any other time. He then went on to say that, Free trade with the United States would be like, Sleeping with an elephant. If it rolls over, you are a dead man. And I tell you when he is going to roll over, he is going to roll over during times of economic depression and they are going to crank up the plants in Georgia, North Carolina and Ohio, and they are going to be shutting them down up here."
I happen to agree with Mr. Mulroney in that statement about free trade. I say that as a Canadian. I say that as someone who is concerned I do not want to make an ad hominen argument here but I am concerned about the present Prime Ministers attitude towards the United States. I understand on the weekend that he was criticizing those whom he called anti-American. I think the critics of free trade are not people who are anti-American, they are simply Canadians who do not want to be Americans.
I worry very much about a Prime Minister who would go to New York and brag about the fact that he used to climb up on the table and sing for an American billionaire, Colonel McCormick, as a kid. I worry about a Prime Minister who has spent all his adult life working for American multi-nationals. I worry, and I say this sincerely, I think the present Prime Minister may be the best Prime Minister America ever had. I do want to say because I do not want to anticipate the debate that is coming later in connection with the free trade discussion that we will be responding as seriously as we can to the motion presented by Members on the other side, when it comes. As seriously as we can, given what we know about the deal yet. It is important to understand that we are being asked to debate, that Parliament is now having a committee going around a committee which is not coming to Whitehorse, the only provincial/territorial capital it is not visiting asking us to consider and approve a deal before it is written. We have not seen the fine print. We are in essence being asked to approve it unseen something no lawyer anywhere would ever do. We are in essence being asked to buy a pig in the poke. We could say, looking at it jiggling around in the bag, Yes, it is in the bag, but we do not know what it is. Yes, it looks like a pig but we cannot tell if it is a black pig or a white pig. We cannot tell if it is a male pig or a female pig. We really do not know, and that is a problem.
The people in the Department of Economic Development have been working hard to try and do an assessment of the arrangement, the Canada/U.S. trade arrangement, as it would affect the Yukon Territory based on the only documents we have now which are elements of the deal, as I think the package is called. It does not tell us very much. We have very reasonable fears that it would make a number of things we are now doing very, very difficult. It could mean the end of local hire policies. It could mean the end of local purchase policies. It could mean the end of local import substitution strategies. I did not say the sky is falling; I am saying it could mean the end of those things. I say this seriously because that is a reasonable concern. Members here may not know that as part of the free trade deal the Canadian Government has been trying to get all provincial and territorial governments to remove what they call barriers to interprovincial trade. In other words, local procurement and local preference policies. The Member for Riverdale North says that is good; I am not sure it is good. I think it could work real damage to our economy. I think it could work real damage to our fledgling agricultural industry. It could wipe out young industries like the furniture industry.
I could only quote some experts on the subject, but I will not do that now; we will save that for the other debate when it comes. Suffice it to say that, as to its impact on the Yukon Territory, we have some substantial concerns and, once we have the deal I know it has been signed even though it has not been written yet; an extraordinary proposition but once it is written as well as signed we will be examining it in great detail and I look forward to bringing the detailed analysis of that package to the House and debating it at that time.
Observations about spending were made throughout the debate. Throughout the Throne Speech debate, we heard a number of Members asking for additional expenditures. Members opposite were complaining about the spending of the government, and I think there were even assertions made about inebriated soldiers or something. I do not remember the exact words. It was a very unkind cut to our military personnel, I am sure. The point is that spending under this government has been better controlled that it was under the previous government. Money that we have been spending and investing for the people of the Yukon Territory has been spent in ways that produce savings in terms of the O&M Budget, in terms of reducing operating costs on our highways and in terms of energy facilities. They have also been investments in our future, investments in power, energy, roads, mining, education, training and our college system throughout the territory. They are things that will permanently benefit the territory. They will not only produce revenues but will also earn savings for the territory and will do us credit in the years to come.
I have made this point before, but I was not speaking clearly enough. Look at the program expenditures and budget increases of previous governments; they are a matter of record. In the year 1979-80, the increases were 12.5 percent. In the year 1980-81, they were 12.4 percent. In the year 1981-82, they were 16 percent. In the 1982-83 fiscal year, they were 11.4 percent. The 1983-84 year showed 11 percent. In the 1984-85 year, they were 13.6 percent. This was the record of the previous administration, people who now claim to be fiscal conservatives.
The Member opposite cannot believe it. I wish he had looked at these numbers when he was in office, but he never did. Since we came to office, the O&M increase in 1985-86 was eight percent. The increase for 1986-87 was 6.8 percent, and the budget projected for this year is for a 3.3 percent increase. Those are the facts. The spending that this government is doing is, in many ways, designed, where possible, to reduce the program expenditures. The program expenditures under this government have been better controlled and this is conceded by the federal government than by the previous governments here and far better controlled than by our sister government across the mountains in the Northwest Territories.
Mr. Lang: Would the Member entertain a question?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Member knows it is extremely bad form to interrupt a Member during a Throne Speech debate, and it has never been done before in this House. I have been sitting here for three days now waiting for a question from the Member opposite, and I would be pleased to talk about these in Question Period or when we enter into Committee of the Whole.
Let me go on to the other points dealing with the bogus claim from the Members opposite about the huge growth in government staff. It is interesting, because we have already explained in the House that we made public those people whom the previous government kept in the closet. We have converted all the contracts and consultants and the casuals to auxiliaries or made terms or retired the contracts.
I am not talking about the consultanting contracts. I am talking about the employees who they pretended were contractors, a practice that has been ended by this administration.
If you want to look at the evidence about whether the government employees have really increased, take a look at the statistics; take a look at the trajectory of the payroll costs of this government. It is a flat trajectory for payroll costs that shows all we have done is given, for the first time, a true accounting to the House of the people who are actually working for this government, rather than hiding them as the previous government did.
The Member complains about contractors and consultants from Winnipeg. When I took a look at that question, the only consultant I could find from Winnipeg was the one he hired, Osler and Associates, or whatever they are called, who helped us with NCPC.
The question was raised about dependency. This is a serious question. It is a serious question that has been raised by Members on this side of the House during all the years we were in Opposition. I have to say that, as excellent as it is, the formula financing arrangement between the federal and territorial government is actually an agreement that fosters dependency in the sense that it does not provide an incentive to do economic development. The new revenues that are generated as a result of the increased activity and this government has done quite a sound job on that score net to the benefit of Ottawa, not to us.
Frankly, I totally reject the Reaganite and Thatcherite solutions for models of economic development. The Thatcher government supports selling off public assets that have taken hundreds of years to build up. When they are sold off, if they run into hard times, that government and that country will have no cushion whatsoever to fall back on.
The United States is choosing a Keynesian course in the sense that they have stimulated the economy with massive defense expenditures and increased consumption, but it is now interesting that the United States has become a debtor nation, and interesting that their major export is IOUs.
Some quite interesting things have been said about daycare in this session, and we expect to hear more about those. It is interesting that the notion of the solution to daycare, being deregulation, is a very mistaken one, because the regulations that were imposed by the previous government during my time in this House were necessary to guarantee certain kinds of quality for our kids, and I think quality care for kids is an absolutely essential thing to the parents I talk to. Anything that diminishes from that objection is going to be a problem.
Some quite intriguing things have been said about democracy, and I am sorry the Member who made some of those remarks spoke long enough that I was not able to respond on the day they were made. One of the fundamentals of democracy is, of course, the rule of law. She cited a case in which some property was stolen, then received by some other people, and she objected somehow to a police investigation going into that question of stolen property. I find that an interesting notion about democracy.
There are some problems that have arisen as a result of our improving economy: the demand for housing, the demand for daycare, the need for training, so that more and more of our people can get the jobs that are being created in the territory rather than going to skilled people from south of 60. These are questions that we are addressing, and I am sure we will be debating further during the course of this session.
I do not plan to go on at great lengths on the Throne Speech but I do want to say that I think the direction that we have been taking in a number of these areas is the right one. There will always be problems; we will never solve them all. I look forward to hearing from Members about particular problems in their constituencies, and I take note of recommendations and suggestions that are made from the other side, even when they are not very charitably put. I think this government, this community, and even this Legislature, can be proud of what we have done in the last couple of years and I am proud to stand here and pay tribute to my colleagues, this caucus, this Legislature and this government for what we have done in very, very difficult circumstances. I think we have something that we can really take credit for.
Speaker: Are you prepared for the question?
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Porter: I move that the Address and Reply to the Speech from the Throne be engrossed and presented to the Commissioner in his capacity as the Lieutenant-Governor.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Government House Leader that the Address and Reply to the Speech from the Throne be engrossed and presented to the Commissioner in his capacity as the Lieutenant-Governor. Are you agreed?
Motion agreed to
Motion No. 7
Clerk: Item number one, standing in the name of the hon. Mr. Penikett.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Government Leader THAT it is the opinion of the Yukon Legislative Assembly that:
(1) the 1987 Constitutional Accord is unfair to all Canadians who reside north of the 60th parallel and effectively makes them second class citizens within their own country;
(2) Yukoners and other northerners will be the only people in Canada without a say in whether or not the Yukon and Northwest Territories should become provinces at a time of their choosing;
(3) the Accord makes the prospect of ultimate provincehood for the Yukon and Northwest Territories only a remote possibility;
(4) the Accord discriminates against the two Territories in relation to appointments to the Senate and the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as attendance at First Ministers Conferences on the Constitution, the economy and other matters;
THAT the Yukon Legislative Assembly urges the Parliament of Canada and the Legislatures of British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland not to ratify the 1987 Constitutional Accord until such time as appropriate amendments to it are made which accommodate the concerns of the legislators of Yukon and Northwest Territories; and
THAT the Speaker forward a copy of this Resolution to the Prime Minister of Canada, the 10 provincial premiers and the government leader of the Northwest Territories.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am pleased to rise in support of this motion, and at the outset I want to pay credit to the Leader of the Opposition, whose language this motion contains. He is the principle architect of the draft that we see before us and I want to pay, at the outset, proper tribute for that initiative.
Yukoners object to the Meech Lake Accord for three main reasons: It makes provincehood virtually impossible for the territories; it was done without our knowledge or consent; and it denies us some of our rights as Canadians.
As I said in an article earlier this year for Le Devoir, Quebecers know only too well the bitter taste of constitutional estrangement, the frustration that comes from being excluded. Barely five years ago, a furious Rene Levesque accused the other nine provinces and the federal government of betraying Quebec by proceeding to bring the Constitution home without its signature. All the more remarkable, then, that far from drawing a lesson from the past, first ministers proposed to sign the Meech Lake Accord without having shown the slightest consideration for the aspiration of two future partners in confederation: the Northwest Territories and the Yukon. In my opinion, the Meech Lake Accord jeopardizes, perhaps forever, the future of the two northern territories, yet, as duly elected representatives, we, the leaders of this community, have not been consulted and have been given no responsible role to play in the negotiations on this point.
The clause in the Meech Lake Accord most disturbing to northerners is the formula for future changes to the countrys political institutions, including the creation of any new provinces. By giving a veto over such changes to each of the current ten provinces, the Accord virtually eliminates the possibility of the two northern territories becoming provinces themselves some day.
The Meech Lake Accord condemns northerners to always being second-class citizens in Canada. Few people in the Yukon and the Northwest Territories would argue that we have reached the point where we should be granted immediate full provincial status, but that is not the point. What is at issue is the need to allow the territories to retain the ability one day to become equal partners with the other regions of the country. More than a deeply entrenched hope, encouraged by successive federal governments, the freedom to help the territories develop into full provinces must be considered a fundamental right for all individuals who live in the north.
For this reason, the Governments of the Yukon and Northwest Territories have launched petitions in their respective Supreme Courts asking those courts to rule that by taking part in the Accord the federal government has abused both the rights of territorial residents and our rights under the Charter of Freedoms.
As I said, as it stands now, not only does each province have the right to veto the creation of new provinces of the territories, but no reference was made in the Accord to consult with the territories. As well, if the Meech Lake Accord is ratified without revision, senators and Supreme Court justices will be appointed from lists presented to Ottawa by the provinces; northerners will be excluded. Again, no mention is made in the Accord of the territories right to participate.
In my view, the situation calls for a reopening of the Accord and a review of the process for creating new provinces.
As all Members know, The Constitution Act of 1982 introduced a situation where we could become provinces only with the consent of seven provinces, representing fifty percent of the population of Canada. This is a very high hurdle for northerners. Other democracies such as the United States and Australia require only agreement between the federal government and a territory for admission to the union. This is how Canadian provinces have been admitted to confederation in this century.
I want to just remind people of how absurd the 1982 rule was. Our closest neighbour, Alaska, entered the union of the United States simply as a result of transactions between the people of that community and the national government. They did not require the consent of the governor of Rhode Island to become a state. Neither should we require the consent of the premier of Prince Edward Island, most of whose constituents would barely know how to find us on a map.
Let me remind Members of some history about this country. Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick joined Confederation and were the founding members, in 1867. Manitoba joined in 1870 with a population a little less than ours. British Columbia joined in 1871 with a population of some 36,000; Prince Edward Island joined in 1873 with a population of 94,000. Alberta joined in 1905 with 73,000 people, and Saskatchewan joined in 1905 with 91,000 people. Newfoundland later joined the union in 1949.
The London Resolution of 1871, which dealt with the question of Manitobas admission, required that future provinces, including those created from the Northwest Territories, be admitted into Conferation on equitable terms. In other words, I see that as basically the same way that other provinces entered Confederation. The Constitution Act of 1871 articulated Parliaments sole authority to admit provinces, always subject in those days to the United Kingdom parliament.
The Constitution Act of 1982 created a constitutional amendment that applied the general amending formula to the admission of new provinces. What the Accord of 1987 did to make that situation worse is require the consent of all ten provinces.
We want to have sections 41(h) and 41(i) deleted so that the establishment of new provinces and the expansion of new boundaries will be settled between the federal government and the territories alone. We also want an addition of the word territories after provinces in Sections 25(1) and 25(2) and 101(c)(1) and 101(c)(2), so that members of the Yukon bar could be nominated to the Supreme Court, and so that northerners can be nominated to the Senate by northerners.
Northerners have consistently opposed constitutional provisions that fettered the ability of the federal government to establish new provinces; for example, sections 42(l), 42(e) and 42(f) of the 1982 Constitution Act.
The previous Member of Parliament for the Yukon, Mr. Erik Nielsen, later Deputy Minister of this country, made an excellent speech, and I would like to quote a passage from that speech: For over half a century, the dream of provincial status has been the lodestone of northern hope. It had been central to the vision of the north, which sees the development of the Yukon and the Northwest Territories as the best and brightest hope for Canadas future. When the Prime Minister accepted the inclusion of two clauses in the April Accord relating to the extension of existing provinces into the territory, and notwithstanding any other law or practice for the establishment of a new province, he dealt a crushing blow to the hopes and aspirations of thousands of Canadian citizens resident above 60. He gave away what was not his to give away: the rights and privileges of Canadian citizens resident above 60.
As a result of Mr. Nielsens intervention, and as a result of a massive lobby by legislators from the Northwest Territories, and others, many of the parties to the 1982 accord seemed to acknowledge the unfairness of that deal. This acknowledgement can be seen in the federal discussion paper of draft amendments for the 1983 accord the one on aboriginal rights that said that item four on the agenda of that conference would deal with the repeal of the 1982 accord rules on the creation of new provinces, and that the federal people said, in a background paper, that the intention would be that the Constitution Act of 1871 would operate rather than Section 38(1) or the Constitution Act of 1982.
That was the intention in 1983. As all Members here know, we had a seat at that table. We did not have a vote, but we had a voice in that process. It so happens that that process never got around to item four on the agenda. Consider the irony that, in March of 1987, as Government Leader of the Yukon, I sat at the First Ministers Conference and had a voice in a process that could have led to the repeal of the 1982 rule. Two months later, in May of 1987, I was denied a place at another First Ministers Conference that dealt with exactly the same question: our rights, our future, the creation of new provinces north of 60, and the only place left in Canada where provinces can be created.
There are other rights that Yukoners consider fundamental that will be breached by the provisions of the Meech Lake Accord: the freedom to pursue provincehood and the greater rights that flow from it, the eligibility for appointment to high offices of judges and senators and the right to be heard and to have reasons given for decisions that affect our rights.
We still must puzzle over the reasons the first ministers had for coming to the conclusion they did at Meech Lake. I think, fundamentally, they were careless about our rights because we were not there, because we were not invited. It seems to me an incredible irony. Some of the same people who signed the 1983 accord, which said they were prepared to repeal the 1982 deal and that was to go back to the 1871 rule a short while later, in 1987, were prepared to sign a deal that gave every single province in the country a veto over our future.
I say it is fundamentally unfair that our fates will be decided by every other jurisdiction but ourselves, and I think that this was done deliberately and carelessly. It is shameful for our country.
Although Mr. Sibbeston and I went to Ottawa on June 1 of 1987, neither of us were invited to the all-night meeting to ratify the Meech Lake Accord or any of the discussions around it. The Prime Minister at the time promised to represent the interests of the north, but we know from the results that that was not done.
We are entitled to be angry that our constitutional rights were so blithely ignored, but we think that this damage can be undone. We think that relatively small amendments to the Accord can be made. We are going to continue the struggle to have that done in a lobby with those legislators who are holding hearings in Ontario, Manitoba and New Brunswick. I believe also we should continue our representations to those other provinces that have not decided this question, as indicated in the motion.
No province in Canada would permit itself to be treated this way; no citizens of any province would tolerate this treatment. We think that a commitment to fairness, democracy and equality equates to no other solution than that this particular problem with the Meech Lake Accord must be rectified and that our rights must be protected, and that in the first place the federal government has an obligation to take an initiative in that, but failing that we must do what we can with the provinces; not because we want to become a province today, or tomorrow, or next week or next year, but to keep that possibility open for our children and our grandchildren.
Mr. Phelps: I thank the Government Leader for his remarks. It is certainly one issue upon which he and I, basically, are agreed. As Yukoners know we have joined together to try to right this very serious wrong that came about in the late spring of this year.
I guess the first question that a Yukoner must ask him or herself is: how did this happen; how did this travesty really occur? I agree with the remarks made by the Government Leader; I agree that in the first instance the first ministers were simply careless about our rights because we were not there, because we were not there to ensure that there was a voice from Yukon. In my experience in conferences, not only the First Ministers Conferences in the early 80s, but all the meetings that led up to those conferences, it has always been clear to me that whenever a person stood up and said just a second you are forgetting something, you are forgetting the situation in Yukon and how what we are dealing with here might affect that region of the country, I, and other Yukoners who have been present, have always had a sympathetic ear.
When we look at the mistakes that occurred in the Meech Lake Accord certainly from the Yukon or northern point-of-view most of them would have been so easily corrected, and most of them surely would not have even been existent were someone there to simply have had the chance to speak up on behalf of northerners and Yukoners, in particular. So, I have described the outcome of that initial round of meetings as benign neglect. The basic wrong at the first round of meetings was not permitting the leaders from Yukon and the Northwest Territories to be present.
That was compounded, and perhaps it was too late, when the fateful final meetings took place in the Langevin Block later on in the summer. While the fact that we were not present at the first round of meetings might have been benign neglect, it is almost sinister that we were not allowed to enter the room during the fateful night that the Accord was finally settled among the first ministers.
I find the federal governments position to be inexcusable. I personally charge them with a breach of trust towards the interests of Yukoners here now, and in future generations. I am not happy with any of the provincial governments, at least not those who were involved in those meetings, nor am I happy with the leaders of any of the three parties in Ottawa because they all paid some lip service for, I suppose, personal party gains in this region and the Northwest Territories region. When it came down to it there was a lot more seats in Quebec.
We, on this side, have been lobbying. I sent letters out on May 7th of this year for the first time, and they went to every premier, the leader of the official opposition in every province, and all of the MPs and senators in Ottawa as well. We have had a lot of correspondence since. I sent a letter with our proposed amendments to the Premier of Quebec and the Leader of the Official Opposition just before they held their ratification vote in mid-June. We sent copies of that letter and of our proposed amendments to the Prime Minister because the first letter I sent did not have that specificity in it. I also attended before the Parliamentary Joint Committee in Ottawa on the same day as the leader of this government and a vice-chairman of C.Y.I. did, and I want to take this opportunity to thank the Government Leader for his assistance in ensuring that I was able to appear since when we notified that Joint Committee, we were too late to get on their agenda on our own.
The Senate has sent a committee north and it was in Whitehorse over the course of a weekend not very long ago. I want to say just how proud I was of the Yukoners of every age and walk of life who gave up their time and felt strongly enough about this issue to appear before that committee and give their briefs. I had the opportunity to sit through a good many of those briefs and I was certainly struck not only with the sincerity with which these Yukoners spoke but also with the tremendously good quality of the briefs put forward.
I was also struck with the reaction from the Senators, because all of them were profoundly moved by the reception that they received and by the words they heard. There is absolutely no question that their reaction was that which one would expect of any group of sincere Canadians who might travel north to listen to our concerns. What I find so frustrating about what has occurred with respect to this issue is that there was no need for it, that, to the person, the Canadians I have spoken to not only who live here but who live in other parts of the country have given us a sympathetic ear and agreed with the injustice of the ramifications of the Meech Lake Accord as it affects us and will affect our future.
I intend to continue to lobby, as does our caucus, and we are prepared to go wherever necessary in order to try to further the cause of Yukon. We will support the government in their endeavours. I sincerely hope that some day we will prevail.
Mr. McLachlan: On April 30, Canadas first ministers met at Meech Lake, Quebec, to draw up constitutional changes that would bring about Quebecs full membership in Canadas Constitution. The result was a document we all know well called the Meech Lake Accord. Among other things, the Accord will require unanimous consent of the provinces for the admission of new provinces. This amendment would make Yukons chances of one day achieving provincial status almost impossible and certainly very, very difficult.
The Accord also gives every province in Canada the power to put names forward for appointment to Canadas Senate and the Supreme Court of Canada. The Yukon and Northwest Territories have no similar right to put names forward. In short, the proposed constitutional changes we refer to as the Meech Lake Accord are unfair to all northerners. Yukoners have become second-class Canadians when it comes to our Constitution.
Since that fateful day in April, I have, on behalf of my party, spoken out against the Accord and corresponded with and lobbied all four of Canadas Liberal Premiers: Mr. Peterson in Ontario, Mr. Bourassa in Quebec, Mr. Giz, Prince Edward Island and, most recently, Mr. McKenna in New Brunswick.
I have and will continue to have regular contact with my provincial counterparts in order that they may completely understand Yukoners feelings of frustration and injustice over the Meech Lake Accord.
I have also taken the opportunity of presenting a paper to the Special Senate Committee on Meech Lake. Both in public and in private, I did everything to ensure that the senators on the Committee were made aware of our feelings toward the Accord.
On numerous occasions, I made the point to the senators that the Meech Lake Accord was doing nothing less than taking away Yukoners meaning or dream in life; namely. of one day achieving provincial status. I asked the Senators to do all they could to restore our territorys meaning and dream. I can tell the House today that the Senators responded in a compassionate and forthright manner by informing me that they understood and would do everything they could to bring about needed changes to the Accord.
The north does have an ally in the Senate. The report that the Senators produced should and must be used in our lobbying of our provincial premiers in legislatures. The actions of our Senator in Ottawa, Senator Paul Lucier, to bring about the northern senate hearings, will bring great dividends for the north. This House should offer a special thank you to the Senator for all that he has done to help us in this nasty battle we find ourselves in over the Accord.
We, in the Yukon Liberal Party, hold the federal government responsible for the grave injustice that has been perpetrated upon the north. The federal government not only failed to represent the interests of the northern territories at Meech Lake, but sat by and watched while our democratic interests were trampled upon. It seems to us in the North that the federal government has forgotten that Canada is not only made up of ten provinces, but that it also has two northern territories.
Brian Mulroney, when first elected Prime Minister, promised to usher in a period of consultation, cooperation and harmony when it came to federal-provincial relations. To a certain extent, this has been achieved. It is no mean feat to bring about unanimous consent of ten provincial premiers for a set of constitutional changes as important and far reaching as those contained in the Meech Lake Accord.
The Yukon Liberal Party, although we strongly disagree with the Accord itself, does applaud Mr. Mulroneys achievement for that. However, the North was not invited to attend the meeting, nor was the north consulted about the constitutional changes, even though some of them directly affected the two territories. Furthermore, the federal government has been obstructionist, and has refused to cooperate with the territories since the Accord was made public. Mr. Mulroney has not ushered in a period of consultation, cooperation and harmony. His government has not consulted nor cooperated with the north. The result is disharmony.
I would like to present to House an analogy presented to the Senators of the Senate committee on the 1987 Meech Lake Accord. Senators enjoyed this analogy, and I hope that the House will too. During the 1982 patriation of Canadas constitution, Prime Minister Trudeau likened the patriation to a situation where a growing child, who lived away from his childhood home for a good many years, was returning home for one last time. To signify that this was indeed the final break with his parents and his childhood home, all the individuals remaining personal belongings were being removed. The belongings had been left for all those years in the parents home as a type of security blanket. As long of the growing child left a few of his belongings in the home, the option of one day returning to the protection of the family home was left open.
The patriation of the Constitution was likened to a final return home when every belonging is taken from the closet, packed in a suitcase and taken away to the new home, never to return. The process of growing up and becoming a truly independent adult was only then complete for Canada.
If I may I would like to borrow that descriptive analogy and apply it to what was being done to northerners. I hope it will help all of us understand the frustration that we feel over the Meech Lake Accord.
Imagine if you will a great and caring home in Canada where only two of the 12 children still live at home with their parents. The other children, being older, have chosen to live away from their parents. Now these two remaining children, adolescents if you will, are just beginning to dream of where they will go and what they will do after they leave the protection of their parents home. These two children are just beginning to imagine a life without the guidance of their parents. Late one night while the two children slept, the parents convened a meeting with all the older children. When the two children wakened the next morning, they found they had been locked in their rooms. When the children protested in a mature manner that they had been treated unfairly, that the parents actions run contrary to all principles of fairness and justice, the parents simply stated that an agreement was reached between them and the ten older children, and they would not dare attempt to change it for fear of upsetting the older children and losing their support for the agreement.
When the two children protest that the agreement was reached without their consultation, silence is all that is returned to them for an answer. When the two children say, We are going to take you to court on this, the parents said, Wait a minute; you cannot do that; you do not even legally exist. A bitter memory of how these two young adults and two territories were treated during a critical period in their development will scar the relationship that the children had with their parents for a long, long time. The territorys sense of being mistreated and the bitterness, which is a result, will not soon be forgotten. Let there be no doubt that the children will continue to grow and develop. The question is simply: will we do it with the cooperation and support of the federal government, or will we just do what we want and say to hell with maintaining a good relationship with the federal government?
A democratic state that considers itself a fair and just nation must ultimately be judged by how it treats its less powerful minorities, and I daresay that if the Meech Lake Accord is taken as an example, Canada comes out looking very poorly.
The greatest step to a democracy comes from within that democracy. The ancient Roman republic was not destroyed by invading hordes from the north; it collapsed from within as its democratic values were given up. The greatest threat to Canada at this time is not to be found in the form of a Communist military machine, and its solution will not be found in expensive nuclear submarines or other military hardware. The greatest single threat to Canada that we know can be found in the precedent of the Meech Lake Accord. The Accord was an attempt at a political fait accompli. A fait accompli is defined by the Oxford dictionary as a thing done and no longer worth arguing about. That night when 11 men sat down in a closed room during the dead of night and changed the face of the nation was an attempt at a political fait accompli. Eleven men came out of their seclusion and announced to the country that they had made history by creating what they called the Meech Lake Accord. The men pointed out the Accord would soon be legally ratified by their respective legislative assemblies. That the Accord might not be ratified very likely never even crossed their minds. The 11 men praised the Accord as a wonderful achievement of democracy. They then added that while they wanted Canadians to express their opinions on the new Accord, no changes or delays of any type would be possible. The 11 men had then achieved what they thought was a political fait accompli.
I am thankful that people like ourselves from all across Canada spoke up and insisted that democratic debate be given a chance. Political fait accompli is a cancer that can kill our democratic values. Without meaningful open debate and criticism, no democracy can survive. The method by which the Meech Lake agreement was reached runs contrary to this countrys democratic values.
The Meech Lake Accord and particularly the method by which it was arrived at forced myself and other members of my party to take a long hard look at how important decisions are made in this country. The accord was the latest for the north, the most tragic outcome of a decision-making process of federal/provincial deal-making. The process emphasizes closed-door negotiations rather than open debate and a constructive criticism. The process involves 11 men rather than the country as a whole. For example, the Meech Lake Accord has forced my party to re-examine the concept of an elected Canadian Senate. My party believes that Senate could offer the north a voice through which our interests could be better represented than they are presently, that the present practice of federal/provincial deal making is one that continually shuts out the north. If the practice is continued, we will slowly but surely be cast adrift from the rest of Canada.
At Meech Lake last spring, the first ministers decided that the next official First Ministers Conference would be used to discuss different proposals for Senate reform. Unfortunately, the Meech Lake agreement also changes that process now by which any Senate reform proposal would have to be ratified.
Any change to the Senate requires the consent of two-thirds of the provinces, with 50 percent of the population. The Meech Lake Accord proposes that any proposal for reform of the Senate be ratified by all ten of the provinces. It is sad to say that the requirement will almost do away with any chance of reform in the Senate, just like it will make any chance of the Yukon some day becoming a province very, very unlikely.
I am afraid that if the Accord becomes constitutional law, the Senate will now never become the democratic and representative body that it holds the promise of becoming.
Before I finish, there are two other issues I would like to address. The first one has to do with the controversial issue of womens rights. There are a great many women across Canada who feel that the Accord will impair or damage the already existing rights which they have had recognized. On the other hand, there are strong arguments to show that the Accord will not infringe on womens rights. I am not a constitutional lawyer, and I do not feel qualified to make a decision on this issue, one way or the other. However, I do see an easy solution to the controversy.
Recently, an amendment to the accord that would remove any doubt as to whether or not womens rights are being infringed upon was put before the House of Commons in Ottawa. The amendment accepted by the provincial premiers would clear up any problem over womens rights, whether one might exist or not. We should do all we can to assist the womens groups across the country in their effort to lobby the provincial premiers for improvements in the Accord.
The second issue that I would like to address is the one of aboriginal rights in Canada and, in particular, entrenchment of aboriginal self-government in our national Constitution. It is my partys opinion that if the Meech Lake Accord becomes law, any possibility of entrenching aboriginal self-government in the Constitution will die. I realize this issue is one that is very controversial, and there are arguments on both sides. It may be immaterial. Aboriginal self-government will be dead if the Accord is accepted, and the 11 men who burned the midnight oil on April 30th will have killed it. The unanimity clause is the weapon that they will abuse.
Section 37(1) of the 1982 accord, which says that the Yukon must be consulted on matters that affect it, is very critical to the adoption of the Accord.
We certainly were not consulted, and that clause should be very critical in any discussions surrounding the Yukons court case.
It is my firm belief that if the countrys political leaders who live south of the 60th parallel ratify the Meech Lake Accord without substantial changes, the losers will not only be northerners, natives and possibly women. Rather, the losers will be all of us, all Canadians.
Ms. Kassi: This motion before us today deals with an issue that is important to all Yukon people, aboriginal and non-aboriginal people. This is a serious issue that affects the constitutional future of the people of both territories and deserves the attention it has been getting. When this issue came up last spring, the situation seemed ridiculous to so many of us. When you consider that just a few months before Meech Lake, the aboriginal people of Canada had once again been refused their constitutional rights by the first ministers of the provinces and of Canada. Our Government Leader pointed out this lack of justice, and I was glad to hear him say that. It bothered me a great deal to see how the constitutional process of this country was working for the first ministers but not working for the first people. It was a slap in the face and very unfair to aboriginal people across Canada, and a big discouragement to aboriginal leaders from every province and territory. Here we had an agreement in the Constitution that there would be conferences by the first ministers on aboriginal rights and the Constitution, yet every time they met they would not agree. Now we see a subject that is not on the constitutional agenda agreed to by first ministers at a secret meeting.
As a Canadian and as an aboriginal person, I share the opinion of aboriginal leaders across this country that, because it brings Quebec into the constitutional circle, the Meech Lake Accord is an important step forward. We welcome this development for what it is. It is great to see the English and French cultures recognized in the Constitution of Canada and it is great for them, but is it not a fundamental problem that the culture and rights of Canadas first people, the aboriginal nations, are not in that same Constitution? The circle of confederation will not be complete until the first people, the indigenous people, of this country have their rights recognized in the Constitution of this country. It is fundamentally unfair that we have been left out once again. It is discouraging to see the Prime Minister and the first ministers not addressing their unfinished business. We see the first ministers of this country deal with the question of aboriginal rights and the Constitution with the same degree of enthusiasm that they dealt with the issue of Quebec and the Constitution. We must see the first ministers of this country deal with the question of aboriginal rights and the Constitution with the same degree of enthusiasm they dealt with the issue of Quebec and the Constitution. Until we see this, there will be no justice. The aboriginal people of Canada have been very patient and we wonder how much longer we will have to wait. It has been more than five years since the last constitutional discussion provided for the conferences on aboriginal rights. There was a lot of talk but no action and the fault does not lie with the aboriginal people.
The question for us today is: where do we stand now? Who do we trust? It seems that aboriginal people are getting farther and farther left out. We are farther and farther away from making any real progress.
We are Canadas first people. When are they going to recognize that? Some of the provinces, with the governments that they have at the present time, just will not agree with what we are talking about. They refuse to do so, and this is very unfair. There is no way aboriginal people are going to agree to the extinguishment of our rights. We will continue to survive and grow, just as the French Canadian society has continued, and just as other cultures can thrive within Confederation despite the great problems our people face.
I wonder if honourable Members across the floor would be interested in further debate on the Accord during this Session. Would they like to debate the absence of aboriginal rights from the Canadian Constitution? It is an important question for Canada and for the Yukon. If they are interested, I am prepared to introduce such a motion. I hope to hear from them during this debate.
The Meech Lake Accord raises several problems for people here in the Yukon. Land claims negotiations are going on. These agreements under section 35 of the Constitution will get constitutional protection. Does that this mean that with Meech Lake, our land claim agreed to by people here in the north must be given the consent of ten provinces? I certainly hope not. That would be adding insult to injury. It is my hope that in future first ministers conferences on the Constitution, we will see northern leaders and aboriginal leaders from across Canada seated as equal partners in a truly complete circle of Confederation.
I indicate my support for this motion.
Mr. Brewster: I am not very happy to be here today. It is a very sad day in the Yukon when we have to debate such subjects as this one. It is a very sad day for everyone in this Legislature. It is not only a sad day, it is a disgrace to all the thousands of men and women who died to see that Canada was free, and that everybody in every area of Canada had equal rights. It is a disgrace that this should come up. Every politician in Ottawa should hang their heads in shame. Politicians have at last shown their true colours. Votes do count, fairness to the people of the Yukon does not.
Can you imagine the two leaders of the opposition parties saying that it is not right, it is not fair to the north, but if we cannot get amendments, we will vote for it anyway. They said this before there was even a short debate on the subject in Parliament. Parliament spends hours and hours on other subjects but the debate on Meech Lake was short and sweet. I suppose this saved embarrassment to all the politicians. The leaders of all three parties have disgraced the Parliament of Canada and Canadians.
How hypocritical of a Prime Minister to hold a Commonwealth Conference and spend all of his time telling South Africa how wrong it is to deal with coloured people the way it is doing. Yet, he has put one-third of Canada and all its people into colonial status, at the whim of the Government of Canada and 11 premiers. Yes, they did not even consult the Yukon or the Northwest Territories. These are the people who will suffer for this shortsightedness of the Parliament of Canada.
I hear a few people, thank God not many who say, why be a province. Look at the money we are now getting. We have put all of our children in Canada into debt for years to come because of deficit budgets. Now the children born and raised in the north will never have the opportunity to see provincial status in the future years or be equal to all other Canadians, but they still have to pay the same taxes. Others say, who wants to be a province? To these people who say this and thank goodness there are only a few they are only looking at the present comfortable style of living. They do not have a right to make a decision for their children or for their grandchildren in the future. If money is the only important commodity in this subject of equal rights, we have a very, very sick society.
One of the fundamentals of the Yukon Progressive Conservatives platform was that we would strive toward provincial status sometime in the future. This type of provincial status might not even be the same as the provincial status that exists today. The other promise of the Yukon PCs was that all the people of the Yukon would be consulted before this was finalized.
I have always felt that there would not be provincial status in my time. Now it looks like there will not be provincial status in the time of my children nor their children.
In The Birth of Twin Provinces the problems we face were faced by Alberta and Saskatchewan. In 1901 Calgary had a population of 4,091. Edmonton had 2,626. Regina 2,249. Saskatoon 113. Dawson City, which was not even considered, had a population of 9,142.
I would like to quote a few more things from The Birth of Twin Provinces. It is very interesting that many of the problems of the 1800s are problems that we have now or we went through. It may give us some suggestions of things we could do if we had the courage. It might bring the same results as it did for our forefathers.
None of the elected members were satisfied with an administration which left the spending of all federal funds, and hence the real governing authority, to the Lieutenant-Governor who was responsible to his Ottawa masters and them alone. They protested but not very effectively. They soon recognized the soft but stubborn voice of the young member from Fort Macleod as the one for which they had been waiting. From the moment of his election to the impotent Council, the demand for more autonomy in the administration of territorial affairs rang louder and clearer.
The federal government made a gesture of compliance in the next year, 1888, and authorized a legislative assembly to replace the advisory council. It sounded well and an advisory committee of four elected members with Haultain as chairman, seemed to bear some resemblance to an executive council or cabinet. But it failed to measure up to expectations because the Ottawa officials refused to relax their grip upon money for expenditures. Haultain, with the clearest views about responsible government, refused to be party to this mockery of autonomy. Why have an elected assembly of it could not have control of its budget? When Lieutenant-Governor Joseph Royal continued to refuse to submit the public accounts to the legislative assembly, Haultain and his advisory committee resigned from their special role.
The Lieutenant-Governor appointed another advisory committee but it failed to obtain the confidence of the assembly and again the committee members resignations went forward to the Lieutenant-Governor. This time, seeing a legislative crisis developing, he refused to accept them. Haultain and those members who shared his views became stubborn and refused to consider budgetary matters until they were given an accounting of the expenditures of the previous year.
With the full backing of the legislative assembly, Haultain prepared a resolution challenging the senior government to consider at once the terms under which the territories or any part thereof shall be established as a province, and that, before any such province is established, opportunity should be given to the people of the territories, through their accredited representatives, of considering and discussing such terms and conditions.
These questions deal with the things which the government on behalf of the people of the territories has claimed must of right belong to any province established in the west... They are, briefly, (1) Equal rights with all the other provinces of the dominion and the same financial consideration that has been given to those provinces, (2) Control of the public domain in the west by the west for the west.
I have one more here I will give you. We will not be able to do this one. We unfortunately do not have the Members to do this, but it shows you how politics and politicians work.
In 1904, however, when Prime Minister Laurier was engaged in his own election campaign, he was hoping for added support from the territories where the number of federal constituencies had been increased from four to ten. He made a public promise that, if returned to power, his government would be prepared to enter immediately into negotiations for the gaining of provincial autonomy in the territories. Laurier won the election and seven of the ten members elected in the territories were his supporters. Unfortunately, we only have one, so we are not going to be able to go that route.
Commissioner James Smith, in the late 1960s and 1970s, although working for Northern Affairs, took the whole elected body to Ottawa to win his point on elected representative on the council. This was the start of what we have today. Let us look at this. The Commissioner was appointed by Ottawa, yet led a delegation to Ottawa to oppose Ottawa. That takes an awful lot of courage. I wonder if this elected body has the same courage of convictions. Personally, after writing letters and receiving political letters saying nothing, I have left the federal Conservative party. This is a very small step, but it is all I as an individual can do, and my conscience is much clearer since I have done this.
The Yukon has continually received the dirty end of the stick. Look at the book, Boundaries Won and Lost, and I shall quote a few lines from here, which show how short-sighted Canadian and English politicians really are. I would just like to quote a couple of things from here before I continue on. Also, there is a map in here. If the Canadian and English had gotten what the negotiators started out with, we would have had most of the Lynn Canal; we would have had all of the canal behind Juneau; five or six other places would have belonged to Canada either BC or the Yukon. This is an idea of how politicians work. This is quoted from a piece of paper from the State of Washington. It is from the Secretary of State Hay in a letter to his wife.
The newspapers do not seem to get the rights of Portland Channel. There are two entrances to it like this, with two little islands in it. And he has drawn a diagram on his letter. We agree the boundary shall be by the North Channel instead of the South, which gives them those two little islands worth nothing to us. That is all poor Canada gets by the decision, and I do not wonder they are furious. But, as Will Thomson used to say serves em right, if they cant take a joke.
It appears that the Yukon is continually being a joke, and I personally am very fed up with it. I am prepared to turn around and go after them. I realize that the speech I am making in here will shock some. It is not very parliamentary. I quite frankly do not care anymore. I have had it.
I came to the Yukon as a very young man. I married here; I raised my family here; my daughter went to school here. The Yukon comes first to me, and I made it very plain that I will stand for the Yukon long before I will stand for the rest of it. If the rest of Canada feels that way, then maybe we should be looking at other alternatives.
You can talk to politicians on areas outside, and they will all say that you are right, but they do not want to rock the boat. Of course we do not. We have one boat and there are hundreds of boats down in Quebec. So, put everybody back in a colony and leave us there. We have been there a long time so we can stay there. I challenge this Legislature to stand up and show that we have something, and let us turn around and refuse to accept what they have done.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Most of the important points that will be made in this debate have already been made, but I cannot let this opportunity go by without adding my voice to emphasize some of those. It was in 1962, just 25 years ago, that a Yukon judge, Judge Sissons, said this: The Yukon is still a Crown colony. The legislation and administration are controlled by the Dominion Government. I know of no Government of the Yukon Territory distinct from the Commissioner in Council, and the home government of the colony is the Government of Canada. That was said in a civil action. It was said in an attempt to garnishee the Yukon Government.
The point has already been made that things have substantially changed. I make that point to emphasize that it is only in the last 25 years that the courts have recognized that change. It was interesting. I was counsel myself in a court battle between Mr. Penikett and Mr. Pearson. It revolved around the access to information law, and the facts very briefly were that the Leader of the Official Opposition wished some information that was an opinion poll paid for at public expense. The government had denied that information. The judge, a Deputy Judge of the Supreme Court of the Yukon Territory, decided that question on constitutional grounds. He decided that the Yukon Government, as a matter of fact, operated with a Cabinet, and that this particular pole was part of a Cabinet document. Consequently, it would not be released. It was specifically said in that judgement, in 1985, that a responsible Cabinet government existed here.
Perhaps, slightly more importantly, in 1986, a Supreme Court Judge, Mr. Justice Myer, in the St. Jean case about a traffic ticket that was written only in English, and the case was essentially about bilingualism, but it was decided by the courts, not on the bilingualism issue but more on the constitutional issue said that the Yukon is: an infant province with most, but not all, of the attributes of a true province.
The courts have now recognized that a substantial constitutional development has occurred, and we are now truly an infant province. There is a court battle underway about the Meech Lake Agreement. Even if we win that battle, it will not be the end of the matter, as the specific court battle is about a narrow point. The point of the question is that the courts, in a constitutionally recognized way, have recognized the political development of the territory. We all know as citizens of the territory that there is a responsible government operating here and also in the Northwest Territories.
I would like to say a word about my involvement as a cabinet minister, as the Minister of Justice, throughout this, as the Member for Kluane has said, disgrace. On the making public of the Meech Lake agreement, we decided as a Cabinet that we would contact our Cabinet counterparts and lobby for the interests of the Yukon; to assume that the first agreement was careless, and to bring to the attention of all Ministers provincial and federal the position of the Yukon.
As the previous Ministers who are now Members of the Opposition know, it is virtually impossible to travel to all of the federal, provincial and territorial meetings and still do a credible job at home, simply because we are only five Ministers and there is so much travelling involved in the meetings. However, during the spring and summer last, I attended all of the federal-provincial-territorial meetings in my responsibilities in order to lobby the Ministers around the country. I also wrote to Ministers of Justice about the Meech Lake Accord.
I was appalled at the process that was taking place. It was clear to me that the Ministers would listen politely, and very frequently, in a private context, would agree that the Yukon suffered badly. However, it was clear that the first ministers of all the provinces had made a commitment as part of this agreement, and the Ministers were not going to publicly find themselves at variance with the first ministers, which is understandable.
That process has revealed a change, and a very fundamental change, in what we think of as democracy. It is clear that these 11 men have met, and they met twice, and they negotiated. We could call it a negotiation by exhaustion. They have made an agreement, and all of them are putting this agreement before their legislatures. There are public hearings, in some cases, and legislative committees, and it is apparent that all those processes are merely a series of rubber stamps. That is intolerable, that is offensive to our idea of democracy, especially about a constitutional process. That process appears to be being followed, as well, on free trade, which is just as bad, if not worse.
The Member of Parliament for Yukon, Audrey McLaughlin, has spoken eloquently in the Commons and has voted against this accord, but that is essentially forgotten in the face of the overwhelming majority with which it passed in the federal Parliament.
The native people have a very legitimate criticism of this Accord. The Accord has introduced a new concept into our Constitution, and that is the concept of a distinct society. We do not know exactly the way a distinct society will be interpreted in the future, but it is no less general than the expression self-government, as now defined. Of course, if Quebec has a claim to a distinct society, how much greater is the claim of the first peoples to that kind of recognition?
Much has been said about the position that the Yukon is now in because of this constitutional process. We should also pay some attention to the damage done to the nation as a whole in terms of the sovereignty of the northern regions within Canada. I think it is clear and it is important to say it psychologically and sociologically the people of Canada have the dream or a concept of what Canada is, and it includes the north. This agreement denies, in fact, the dream of all Canadians, both southern and northern, in a very, very real sense.
I will conclude on what I think could be a positive note. The Member for Kluane has said, and I agree with him, that this is a sad day in Yukon, and it is a disgrace. I agree with that. If the cloud has a silver lining at all, it is probably this: the people of the north have united concerning this issue; native and non-native are on the same side of the issue. The normal partisan differences in this House and in this society are superseded by our common desire to maintain Yukon as a distinct region indeed, as a distinct society within Canada. That spirit of cooperation and unity could serve as a stimulus to increased constitutional development in the very near future. The Throne Speech talked about a constitutional process. The land claims talks are going on currently, and could use a spirit of cooperation and unity from time to time. If northerners in the two territories, and within the territories the northerners of various backgrounds, unite, we will overcome this sad day.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 4: Second Reading
Clerk: Second reading, Bill No. 4, standing in the name of the hon. Mr. McDonald.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Bill No. 4, entitled Public Libraries Act be now read a second time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Education that Bill No. 4, entitled Public Libraries Act be now read a second time.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am pleased to introduce the Public Libraries Act to this House. Very simply, the purpose of the Act is to outline the roles and the responsibilities of the government, of community groups and of individuals in the operation of public libraries throughout the territory. The Act will serve as the foundation for a stable and consistent method of library development in the future. In this respect, it will contribute to the social development of Yukon communities and it will facilitate the enhanced quality of life of Yukoners young and old alike. While it supports these goals, this Act is also consistent with the governments priority of evolving more authority to communities for those services that directly meet the needs of community residents. By providing for a more stable and consistent method of library development, the Act will ensure that a standard of library service will be equitable across the territory. This Act will ensure that all Yukoners from Old Crow to Watson Lake and from Ross River to Beaver Creek will have access to the same library services and materials.
There have been public libraries in the Yukon since gold rush times. Initially, libraries were operated by organizations such as the Imperial Order of Daughters of the Empire, by community clubs and by parent-teacher groups. The present, coordinated regional system as we know it began in the late 50s. Following the initial territorial government involvement in 1963, the IODE turned over the operations of the Whitehorse Public Library to the government because use had grown so much and so rapidly in preceding years that the IODE no longer felt able to meet the growing demands. In the early 1970s, the territorial government took a major step towards library development by introducing a system of salary grants to the community groups so that paid staff could be hired and regular library service hours guaranteed. Over the next 15 years this system developed until, by 1985, there were nine communities outside of Whitehorse who had paid hours of library service: Carcross, Carmacks, Dawson, Elsa, Faro, Haines Junction, Mayo, Teslin and Watson Lake. However, the system had not developed in either in a rational or consistent manner and there was, for example, no system for communities to request increases in funded services hours and no system of accountability for the grant funds provided.
In addition, and more importantly from this governments prospective, most decisions regarding libraries and library services were made in Whitehorse. To rectify these problems we embarked in 1985 on a series of initiatives that involved working with the community library boards to define those roles and responsibilities that should be assumed by the community groups, and what roles should be defined for the central library in Whitehorse. A paper entitled the Development of Library Board Responsibilities was presented to the community library boards in September of that year. A series of workshop meetings resulted in input towards a second draft, which was developed and distributed in November of 1986. In the start of 1987, general agreement had been obtained from all boards on the contents of this later draft. It is this paper that provides the basis for the present legislation and its associated regulations.
While boards were discussing their future plans, they were also in the process of signing contribution agreements with this government setting out the terms and conditions under which they would receive salary funds to support their own priorities.
This Act recognizes the uniqueness of the Yukons library system. A library service is best when it is community-based because this ensures that each communitys individual needs for both services and programs can be addressed and delivered by the community library board. This Act recognizes the importance and responsibilities of the local boards in the operations of community libraries.
At the same time, Yukon libraries can best meet community needs if they can make most efficient and effective use of their budgets and resources. The Yukon Government is supporting the community library system to this end. It is possible to get maximum efficiency for ones dollar by having bulk purchasing of books and materials. This purchasing method ensures good dealer discounts that would not be available if each community library were to purchase books individually. In addition, in order to make library materials accessible, they must be catalogued. This requires time and expertise.
In the Yukon, all of these technical activities are centralized so that one unit performs all of these functions for all of the school and public libraries in the territory. The Act recognizes the role of the central library in this regard. As well as being both efficient and effective, this approach has the added benefit that the holdings of all of the libraries in the territory are known through the files maintained in the Libraries and Archives Branch. In this way, using an inter-library loan system, community residents have access to all of the holdings in the territory and not to those held just in their own libraries.
On a personal level, territorial library materials are shared by all library users through a universal library card. This means that a library card issued in any library can, and must, be honourerd in any other library in the territory. Another way of making the maximum use of our library holdings is the system of shipping blocks of books from one library to another. These blocks can consist of anything from childrens fiction to adult non-fiction to books on aboriginal culture and French language books. The blocks remain up to six months in a community so that all interested readers can avail of them, after which they are shipped to the newest library on the list. The act and its regulations will allow these important features of our library system to continue uninterrupted.
This Act deals separately with the Whitehorse Public Library. For the first time since the library was turned over to the government in 1963, we are providing for public input into the operations of this library. However, we are taking a somewhat different approach to the Whitehorse library than to the libraries in other communities. The community library boards are operational boards and are responsible for the daily operation as well as for the services, policies and procedures with their respective libraries. However, in Whitehorse we are providing for an advisory board. This board will advise the director on the daily operations of the library, on priorities for collection and development, on public programs, and on such other activities that may arise from time to time.
The main reason underlying this somewhat different approach to the Whitehorse Public Library Advisory Board relates to the role of the Whitehorse Public Library in the territorial library system. This library serves as a headquarters library for the entire system, as well as being a public library for the residents of Whitehorse. Because the Whitehorse library has a headquarters role, it has a large and comprehensive reference collection as well as special collections of such materials as multi-lingualism books and government documents. These collections are available either as part of the reference services or on inter-library loan.
I am very pleased to be able to tell the House that work has already gone into this board. Over the summer months, an ad hoc group of citizens representing such groups as Yukon Literacy Council, the Arts Council, the aboriginal community, as well as the City, met on a number of occasions and discussed terms of reference as well as develop some recommendations for membership on the first board.
Finally, the Act also allow for new libraries to be developed in an orderly and consistent manner. Any group of people, be they a local administration, a first nation council or a newly formed library board, can apply to have library service delivered where none exists at this time. This approach will ensure that the development of a new library is in keeping with community wishes and, thus ultimately, it will ensure the success of the library as a community service.
This Public Libraries Act will provide community library boards with the authority to run the libraries in their communities. It will ensure the ongoing operation of our unique library system. It will, in the long term, provide for stable and consistent library development in the Yukon.
Mrs. Firth: I thank the Minister for his presentation, particularly regarding the history of the development of this Act. I want to raise one concern about there not being an explanatory note with the Act. We usually have one accompanying it. I want to point out to the Minister that, in this instance, there was no explanatory note. From the great detail he has given, I do recognize that it is a new Act and is one that has been worked on for some time. I think it would be fair to say about three years, since we first began discussing this.
It is simply giving the boards, that have had responsibilities as are outlined in the Act, a legal framework within which they could work. I was particularly interested in the comments the Minister had to make about the decentralization and the community involvement. We are still going to be working with a central director, and that director is going to be having certain powers. I will be looking forward to hearing further debate in Committee, and clause-by-clause debate about exactly what those powers are going to be.
I would also like to ask the Minister to be prepared to answer whether this will involve any new person years or any additional monies to implement this legislation. I do not believe that we, on this side, are going to have any great disagreement with the general principle and concept of the Bill, other than the few things I pointed out to the Minister.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 52: Second Reading
Clerk: Second reading, Bill No. 52, standing in the name of the hon. Mr. McDonald.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Bill No. 52, entitled An Act to Amend the Municipal Act, be now read a second time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Community and Transportation Services that Bill No. 52, entitled An Act to Amend the Municipal Act, be now read a second time.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am pleased to table for second reading two amendments to the Municipal Act. Both of these amendments are relatively straight-forward in nature and are being undertaken in response to resolutions passed by the Association of Yukon Communities. The first amendment provides for a legislative commitment to consult with a municipality prior to requesting that the municipality impose a special levy bylaw. Under the Act, a request for such a bylaw will only be made where the Yukon government has incurred the cost of a local improvement project in a municipality and is subsequently seeking reimbursement of the expenditure either in part or in whole through a local improvement levy.
While the advent of capital block funding limits substantially the possibility of such a situation arising, the Association nevertheless wished to be assured that sufficient discussion and input from the affected municipality would occur before the actual request for the bylaw enactment was made. This amendment provides that assurance.
The second amendment is primarily administrative in nature, and will enable a municipal council to delegate encroachment approval authority to their administration, should they wish to do so. Currently, each encroachment request to a municipality, whether minor or major in nature, can only be approved through an individual encroachment approval bylaw. In a municipality where a significant number of encroachment requests are regularly made, this can create a fairly major burden upon a councils legislative agenda. The proposed amendment will serve to streamline and simplify the approval process and reduce somewhat the direct time that a council must be involved in any one particular encroachment request.
Motion agreed to
Bill Number 80: Second Reading
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Bill number 80, entitled An Act to Amend the Assessment and Taxation Act, be now read a second time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister for Community and Transportation Services that Bill number 80 entitled An Act to Amend the Assessment and Taxation Act be now read a second time.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Thank you for your patience. The bill before us this afternoon provides a vehicle for Yukons rural residents to improve the services to their properties, thereby improving their quality of life. Bill number 80, amending Section 56 of The Assessment and Taxation Act, enables an expansion of the rural electrification program to include rural telephone service. On February 11th, 1987, Motion No. 86, calling for expansion of the program to include telephone extensions, was debated and unanimously passed by this assembly. For the benefit of those unfamiliar with the rural electrification program, funding is made available to rural property owners for the cost of providing primary electrical powerline extensions to all properties within a defined service area. An overwhelming majority of at least 75 percent of the property owners within the service area must approve of the electrical extension before the project can proceed under the program. Funding is 100 per cent recoverable for property owners through the levy of the local improvement tax, distributed equally amongst all the properties within the service area and repayable over a maximum ten year period.
The program has been well received by the public, with a great deal of support, and has been successful in providing electricity to many rural properties. The bill before us today enables the same principles of the rural electrification program to be applied to the installation of telephone extensions. It has become evident that telephone service, next to electrical service, is very important to rural residents. The expansion of the program will provide a viable and proven approach to funding such telephone services. As was the case with Motion No. 86, calling for telephone extensions, I trust that this Bill will receive the unanimous support of the House.
Mr. Lang: I rise to welcome this amendment to The Assessment and Taxation Act. I cannot help but rise to the bait when the Minister asks for unanimous support of the amendment before us. As he full well knows, it was this side of the House which put the motion forward to broaden the authority in The Assessment and Taxation Act, in order to include telephone or other telecommunication services. I would point out, for the record, the rural electrification program was started a number of years ago, and one cannot help but comment when I listen to the reply to the Speech from the Throne by the now Government Leader. It would assume that, prior to two-and-a-half years ago, there was nothing good done by the Government of Yukon in any manner, shape or form. It is interesting to note how the Minister for Community and Transportation has clutched this program to his breast and ran with it with such glee, and at any given place he is more than prepared to discuss all the positive aspects of it.
It is a good program. It does incorporate the principle of accountability and responsibility to the users those who are going to be provided the service will pay for it but the government is playing its proper role in providing the financial base to provide those services. We are pleased to see the amendment before us. It will, I assure the Minister, get speedy passage from this side of the House.
Speaker: Are you prepared for the question?
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 9: Second Reading
Clerk: Second reading, Bill No. 9, standing in the name of the hon. Mrs. Joe.
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I move that Bill No. 9, entitled the Change of Name Act be now read a second time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Member of Health and Human Resources that Bill No. 9, entitled Change of Name Act be now read a second time.
Hon. Mrs. Joe: This legislation has been brought forward to end the requirement for Yukoners to go before the Supreme Court in order to seek a legal change of name. Other provinces offer to their residents a relatively simple administrative process, involving only an application establishing lawful intention to the office of the Registrar of Vital Statistics. It is that model which is enshrined in the Bill before us today. It gives me particular pleasure to be bringing forward this legislation, as the primary immediate beneficiaries will be women. Therefore, my responsibilities as Minister of Health and Human Resources dovetail with those as Minister responsible for the Womens Directorate.
While the legislation before us is modelled upon the recommendations of the Uniform Law Conference and recent enactments by several Canadian provinces, it has been drafted locally and takes account of those circumstances peculiar to the Yukon. The proposed legislation, while providing for easier and less expensive access to the Change of Name Act procedure, strives also to protect the existing common law rights of both men and women within the context of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Bill also respects the past prerogatives of the courts while allowing for non-judicial routine changes of name. I urge all Members to support this progressive measure.
Mrs. Firth: The Members of the opposition agree with this Bill in principle and do see it as a progressive measure. However, I will have a couple of questions for the Minister and will give her notice at this time. When we come to the debate in Committee of the Whole I think it will be in the interests of the Minister to have information to provide to us about the costs, since the explanatory note deals specifically with the reasoning that it would be a simpler and less expensive administrative procedure. If we could have some evidence of that it would be appreciated.
Also I notice that there are no regulations attached with this Bill and yet it does specify that the Commissioner and Executive Council may make regulations. We would be looking for some explanation as to why the regulations do not accompany this Bill.
I would also like to put the Minister on notice that we would be interested in knowing if this Bill was designed on the lines of any other provinces and, if so, which provinces, as well as any other specific reasons why the government saw this as a priority to bring forward to this Legislature other than the ones that the Minister mentioned today about the involvement of women and the benefits to women. So we look forward to the clause-by-clause debate in Committee of the Whole.
Mr. McLachlan: I also want to serve notice on the Minister that when we get into Committee of the Whole discussions that she bring back specific answers on some of the prohibitive clauses, the reasons for exclusions of Roman numerals and symbols in the name changes. Also if there is any prohibition on the number of names that can be registered with the surname as well. I fully realize and understand the reasons for the changes but there are a couple of small questions that I am sure can be dealt with in Committee of the Whole quite easily, if she can bring back those reasons.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 14: Second Reading
Clerk: Second reading, Bill No. 14, standing in the name of the hon. Mr. Kimmerly.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I move that Bill No. 14, entitled Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act, 1987, be now read a second time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Justice that Bill No. 14, entitled Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act, 1987, be now read a second time.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I can avoid a long boring speech about this Bill, because it is not a long boring Bill. It is short and it maintains the philosophy of virtually all government that these Bills contain nothing of a controversial or a substantial change. They are simply to correct errors that cannot be thought of as clerical errors, and to do some minor updating of the law. There are several different principles about each of the sections.
Mrs. Firth: I listened to the Minister of Justices comments with a great deal of interest, and I always get suspicious of the Minister of Justice when he talks about things being not controversial or short, or maintaining the philosophy of all governments. Specifically, when we come to debate this particular Bill clause-by-clause, I would like the Minister to give us a specific policy of this government as to what miscellaneous statute law amendment acts are supposed to do. I know the Minister is going to stand up and say it is just for typos and, as the explanatory note says, to correct technical defects and to more perfectly express what was originally intended.
However, when I look at the Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act, I do see some evidence of policy change, and I will be bringing those forward. I can think of at least three or four or five, as I look through the Bill. I see the Minister smiling. He is obviously not going to be agreeing with me, but if I could point out to him just one specific, not to get into all the specifics of the Bill. The Fine Option Act, where they are including a new definition of the word fine to include court costs, I interpret as a policy change. It is not a typo. We are not making any word more perfectly expressive. We are putting a new definition in. It is different to what the policy is now, which is that a fine means fine and does not include court costs.
For the Minister to say that this is non-controversial and short and maintains the philosophy of all governments, I will be looking forward to hearing exactly what this governments philosophy is when it comes to miscellaneous statute law amendment Acts.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: Is it the wish of the House that we recess until 7:30 p.m.
Some Members: Agreed.
Speaker: This House now stands recessed until 7:30 p.m. tonight.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. Pursuant to the direction of the House we will now return to the Daily Routine for the purpose of allowing the Introduction of Bills.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill No. 2: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move that Bill No. 2, Sixth Appropriation Act, 1986-87 now be given first reading.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Government Leader that Bill No. 2, Sixth Appropriation Act, 1986-87 now be read a first time.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 3: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move that Bill No. 3, Third Appropriation Act, 1987-88 now be given first reading.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government Leader that Bill No. 3, Third Appropriation Act, 1987-88 be now read a first time.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 5: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Penikett:;I move that Bill No. 5, First Appropriation Act, 1988-89 now be given first reading.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Government Leader that Bill No. 5, First Appropriation Act, 1988-89 now be read a first time.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 59: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move that Bill No. 59, entitled Loan Agreement Act 1987 now be given first reading.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Government Leader that Bill No. 59, entitled Loan Agreement Act 1987 be now read a first time.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: Government bills.
Bill No. 5: Second Reading
Clerk: Second reading, Bill No. 5, standing in the name of the hon. Government Leader Tony Penikett. I move that Bill No. 5, First Appropriation Act, 1988-89 now be given second reading.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government Leader that Bill No. 5 entitled First Appropriation Act, 1988-89 be now read a second time.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Mr. Speaker and hon. Members, I am pleased to introduce the Capital Budget for the fiscal year 1988-89.
When I rose in this House last fall to give the speech introducing the 1987-88 capital estimates, I said the past year had seen a dramatic turnaround in the Yukons economic circumstances. At the expense of repeating myself, I think it is fair to say the year just past has seen a continuation of this process. All the major economic indicators continue to display favourable trends, and our economy is one of the healthiest in the country.
The improvement in our economy from the dog days of 1982 through 1984 has been due to many factors, not the least of which has been the actions of this government. It is inevitable that in a developing frontier economy such as the Yukons, government spending will play a larger role than it does in more developed economies. So we have used the federal funds available to us in the manner they were intended to be used: to build up the territory, to develop the infrastructure of the Yukon in ways that strengthen our economic base and improve the quality of life of our citizens.
When we took office in the spring of 1985, the Yukon did not have a strong capital asset base: facing us were deteriorated schools and community facilities, housing and highways, government buildings and equipment. We set out to right this state of affairs and have pushed ahead with a balanced and planned program of capital upgrading.
The results are there for all to see. We are about to have a college facility that is second to none. Our schools are rapidly being upgraded and equipped with the most modern teaching aids and technology. Our highways, despite greatly increased traffic volumes that are the inevitable result of increased economic activity, are in better condition than they ever have been. Our basic government structures are more modern and energy efficient.
In addition to this, we now have in place a broad range of capital programs designed to aid Yukon businesses. We have acquired the Yukon assets of the Northern Canada Power Commission, and we have reactivated the sawmill at Watson Lake to enable the citizens there to build the future of their community and to help provide locally made building materials to our expanding economy.
However, as I stated in last years Capital Budget Speech, we must not allow ourselves to become complacent. Our economy is subject to many outside forces. Our mining industry is dependent on metal prices, on world markets, and the tourism sectors health is a function of economic conditions in other countries, principally the United States.
For that reason, we must work to broaden the base of our economy. Together, with other initiatives such as Yukon 2000, this Budget will continue to support economic expansion and diversification.
The 1988-89 Capital Budget of slightly over $100 million will meet many remaining economic and social needs. Because Yukon College is nearly complete, however, we have been able to reduce the overall Budget by $14 million.
In 1986-87 and 1987-88, our government undertook a major building program to stimulate the economy and to quickly upgrade the Yukons outdated and failing capital infrastructure. We have made good progress in meeting both these objectives. As my previous remarks have indicated, high levels of construction activity are reflected in numerous statistics and, while much remains to be done, both the quality and quantity of our capital asset base is rapidly being brought up to standard.
Preliminary indications of construction activity for 1988 show that an active construction year is planned by the private sector. Todays capital estimates are intended to compliment not compete with this increased private activity while keeping the Yukon construction industry working at full capacity.
The level of construction reflected in the 1988-89 Capital Mains remains very high by historical standards and is necessary to continue our capital upgrading program. For future years, and once the initial phase of the capital plan is complete, we foresee slight decreases in the level of spending in order to keep our capital spending at relatively stable and sustainable levels.
I would now like to take this opportunity to review some of the more important features of these estimates.
Of the Department of Community and Transportation Services $46 million budget, approximately $25 million will go to the transportation program in the next fiscal year. Nearly $6 million will be spent on the North Klondike Highway, and more than $1 million will be spent on the Silver Trail. Funds have also been identified for, among numerous other projects, surfacing of kilometres 0-8 of the Annie Lake Road, reconstruction of kilometres 0-60 of the Freegold Road and building the Crow Mountain Road at Old Crow.
The Regional Resource Roads Program, which is so important in the Yukons economic expansion, will continue to be funded at $2.5 million. A highways branch warehouse will be constructed in Whitehorse, and a garage is planned for Ross River. $800,000 has been set aside for much needed staff quarters at the Drury Creek Highway Maintenance camp on the Campbell Highway near Faro.
The importance of community development has been constantly emphasized by our government. Our support is shown again by continuing high expenditures in the Community Affairs Program. In addition to $7.6 million in capital block funding, the 1988-89 budget allocates large sums for community projects. Among these allocations are:
$1.7 million for fire flow improvements in Mayo;
$340,000 for phase II of the sanitary sewer extension at the Teslin Indian Village;
$330,000 for construction of a fire hall in Pelly Crossing;
$100,000 for a fire training facility in Destruction Bay;
$100,000 for the purchase of a fire truck for Upper Liard;
$300,000 for a community centre for Burwash Landing;
$350,000 for a curling rink in Elsa;
$50,000 for an outdoor skating rink in Old Crow;
$50,000 for the design of a recreation centre for Carcross.
These expenditures will promote several of the principle goals of our government such as economic and community development and improving the quality of life of our citizens.
As well, to meet the need for more developed land in our growing economy we have budgeted more than $5 million for land development throughout the Yukon in the coming year.
Three changes in the Department of Community and Transportation Services have resulted in an overall reduction: Lower expenditures under the Engineering Services Agreement to do highway contract work for the federal government; reduced funding for maintenance camp facilities where previous improvements now allow us to reduce expenditures; and the absence of a special, one-time supplementary grant of $l.7 million for capital construction made to municipalities in 1987-88.
Funding for the Department of Economic Development: Mines and Small Business was increased substantially in 1987-88 and remains high in the 1988-89 budget. The only significant changes in the Departments funding for 1988-89 are the budgeting of NOGAP expenditures at the one-dollar vote authority level and a reduction in the funding allocated to the Loan Assistance Plan.
NOGAP funding for 1988-89 is currently under negotiation with the federal government, and no firm figure for 1988-89 can be given at the present time. Funding for the Loan Assistance Plan has been established to reflect the expected demand and the greater availability of loan funds from other agencies in the territory.
The new capital programs introduced or expanded in 1987-88 will continue in the coming year. These include the new community development and applied technology programs and the enhanced special ARDA, opportunity identification, and prospectors assistance programs.
Completion of Yukon College will result in a change of emphasis in education spending to the public schools. Construction spending on the college will decrease $9.7 million from the 1987-88 Mains, and college equipment purchases will decrease $1.5 million, but other major works are planned for the campus site.
We will support our commitment to the cultural community with $2 million in the 1988-89 Estimates for the first phase of construction of the Yukon Arts and Cultural Centre at the Yukon College site. When complete, this facility will be a credit to all peoples in the Yukon and will be an excellent vehicle for the promotion of our unique and varied cultural heritage and activities.
The Libraries and Archives Branch will see a major increase in funding for 1988-89 as work gets underway on a new $4.2 million archives facility, also to be built at the Yukon College site. Spending on this much-needed building will amount to $1.5 million in 1988-89. This will be a first-class facility in which to house the territorys archival heritage.
For 1988-89, the public schools program will be increased $2.6 million over the 1987-88 Budget in recognition of the importance of adequate school facilities to the future of our young people and the Yukon itself. Among the projects scheduled for next year are: $5.2 million to continue the Robert Service School in Dawson City; $2 million for the Watson Lake High School; $900,000 for the St. Elias Student Residence; $500,000 to expand the Takhini Elementary School; $400,000 to upgrade Whitehorse Elementary School; and $90,000 for renovations at Christ the King High School. We intend for Yukon students to study and learn in a school system that is first rate. The projects mentioned above are designed to help us achieve that goal as are our plans for future budgets.
Funds for an extended care facility are being requested at a one dollar vote authority level only, as opposed to the three-quarters of a million dollars that are currently projected to be spent in 1987-88. This facility was to be built with a new hospital, but the federal governments plans to replace the Whitehorse General Hospital are now uncertain. Monies budgeted for 1987-88 will allow planning to proceed but actual construction funding is a function of those uncertain federal plans. As well, reduced federal spending on rural health facilities is reflected in the 1988-89 Capital Budget for the Department of Health and Human Resources.
Approximately $400,000 more than in 1987-88 is budgeted for the completion of the new Young Offenders facility being built in Whitehorse.
In recognition of the future potential of certain agricultural activities to the territorial economy, the Department of Renewable Resources will embark upon a special project to determine forage productivity. The purpose of this is to compute annual unit carrying capacities and is an integral component of the new grazing policy. The product of this study will assist in establishing viable, self-sustaining agricultural activity.
In the 1988-89 fiscal year we will continue and expand upon the major program begun in 1987-88 to improve social housing throughout the Yukon. The Yukon Housing Corporation will be adding 57 new units to its inventory in the coming year and making improvements to 382 existing units.
Members will note that we are voting the gross expenditure for Yukon Housing this year as opposed to the previous practice of net voting. For an agency such as Yukon Housing, with its major social housing function, we feel this is more appropriate than net voting.
The 1988-89 capital main estimates show gross expenditures for Yukon Housing capital programs at $9.9 million for both social and staff housing with an accompanying recovery of $6.6 million for a net cost of $3.3 million to the territorial government. The net cost in 1987-88 is $2.7 million for an increase of approximately $600,000 in the next year. This relatively small net increase does not reflect the true increase in expenditures on housing that will be undertaken next year. This is because of the highly leveraged nature of the financing of social housing expenditures.
In the 1987-88 mains the $2.7 million net expenditure translated into gross expenditures of $4.8 million with accompanying recoveries of $2.1 million. Of the gross total, $3.7 million was for social housing. In 1988-89 we will spend $9 million gross on social housing, an increase of $5.3 million.
Expenditures of this magnitude will have a significant impact on the economies of our smaller communities in addition to their primary purpose of significantly improving the living conditions of many of our citizens.
The individual projects I have mentioned in these remarks on the budget are the larger or more novel ones contained in the main estimates. This is not to downplay the importance of the vast number of smaller projects that we will undertake next year, and to which our ministers will speak in Committee of the Whole, but rather simply reflects the limitations of time.
This budget continues the process begun by our government in 1985 to improve the quality of life for all Yukoners through economic and community development.
I am certain these are goals supported by all Members of this House, and, to that end, I commend these appropriations to the favourable attention of all hon. Members.
Mr. Phelps: I move we adjourn debate.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Porter: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.
The House adjourned at 7:50 p.m.
The following Sessional Papers were tabled November 16, 1987:
Report on Regulations, April 6, 1987, to November 2, 1987 (Penikett)
Yukon Public Service Staff Relations Board, Seventeenth Annual Report, 1986-87 (Penikett)
Yukon Teachers Staff Relations Board, Thirteenth Annual Report, 1986-87 (Penikett)
The following Document was filed November 16, 1987:
Agreement between Nowlan and the Crown re permits to allow and facilitate the sale and export of falcons (Phelps)