Tuesday, December 1, 1987 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to Order. At this time we will begin with Prayers.
Speaker: At this time we will proceed with the Order Paper. Introduction of Visitors?
Are there any Returns or Documents for Tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I have for tabling the Port of Skagway Pre-feasibility Study, Final Report prepared for the Yukon government by the City of Skagway.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees? Are there any Petitions? Introduction of Bills? Notices of Motion for Production of Papers? Are there any Notices of Motion? Are there any statements by Ministers?
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Mr. Speaker, just now I had the pleasure of tabling the Port of Skagway pre-feasibility study.
This study was commissioned by the Government of Yukon and the City of Skagway in view of the increasingly important role of the Klondike Highway-Skagway Corridor to the growth and development of the Yukon and the City of Skagway.
The Alaska-Yukon agreement, negotiated by this government in 1986, permitted the year round operation of the South Klondike Highway and was instrumental in the opening and continued operation of the Curragh Resources mine at Faro. Now that this highway is open year round it provides an opportunity to develop a major transportation corridor between Skagway and the Beaufort Sea via Yukons transportation system. This pre-feasibility study is an important step in this process.
A 38 percent increase since 1985 in tourist and commercial traffic along the South Klondike highway indicates that this route is of significance to these sectors of the economy.
Recent discussions regarding the possible revival of the rail system further point to a need for rational port development in Skagway which will effectively accommodate future demands.
The $19,800 study was cost shared by the Yukon Government (75 percent) and the City of Skagway (25 percent). This study was undertaken with the objective of identifying Port of Skagway demands, particularly those which originate in Yukon, and provides an assessment of the existing and expansion capabilities of the port facilities.
The existing port facilities are expected to meet the short term requirements of both Yukon and the City of Skagway. This permits planning and development over the next five to seven years to proceed in a methodical and orderly fashion.
The report strongly encourages a close liaison between the City of Skagway, the Alaska and Yukon governments, and port operators and tenants, and specifically promotes:
1. Formalization of a port authority structure;
2. Development of a port master plan;
3. Selection of a preferred development strategy;
4. Preparation of a detailed marketing plan; and
5. Implementation of a lobby strategy to remove barriers to competition.
Since receipt of the report, consultations have been held between Community and Transportation Services, Economic Development, and Tourism, to assess the areas where this government could offer support to the City of Skagway in developing the port.
The onus for implementation of these recommendations clearly lies with the City of Skagway. It is this governments intention to advance our position to the City of Skagway and indicate our interest and willingness to further participate in the implementation process and marketing efforts.
We look forward to a continuing and productive relationship which will result in protecting Yukons interests.
Speaker: This then brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: Territorial Court Act
Mr. Phelps: I have some questions regarding the crisis that we have in the criminal justice system. That crisis is a direct result of actions of the Minister of Justice. Yesterday in Question Period, the Minister took the position and admitted that it requires an Order-in-Council for a justice of the peace to be dismissed. Yet, time after time, he indicated that was the function to be performed by the Chief Judge of the Territorial Court. On November 18, 1987 on page 79 of Hansard, for example, in a question from the Member for Riverdale South, the hon. Mr. Kimmerly stated I, and the Ministry, did not dismiss Mr. Thomson. Mr. Thomson was dismissed by letter by the Director of Court Services who has a dual reporting relationship and was acting on the direction of the Territorial Court.
Why did the Minister of Justice maintain this silly posture, which has gotten the whole system into this mess? Why did he not, at the outset, recognize that justices of the peace can only be dismissed by Order-In-Council?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Leader of the Official Opposition has said that this difficulty is a direct result of actions taken by myself. That is not accurate at all. The difficulty that he is talking about is the difference between the function of the Chief Judge in assigning justices to sit in the courts. The Chief Judge has the sole authority to assign justices to sit. The question of who is a justice is a question concerning an Order-In-Council appointment. The letter of September 8, 1987 contains in it a statement that Mr. Thomson was no longer a justice of the peace. It says by operation of the Act; that is, the Territorial Court Act, or by operation of law. There is a lawsuit presently before the courts to determine what the law actually is.
Speaker: Will the Member please conclude his answer.
Mr. Phelps: The attempted smokescreen is not going to work in this case. It is a serious situation and I want to fill in a few things, and I have some questions at this time. To refer to yesterdays Hansard on page 122, I asked whether the Minister would provide us with details of who received copies of the opinion letter from the department, who was it sent to within the department and when. I was advised the Minister would provide those answers. Will he do that now?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes, I will. In the question it was called the opinion letter. I did not understand that and took that to be the letter of September 8 to Bill Thomson from Bill Williamson. After Question Period I caused a search to be made in the department and I am informed that the department has one copy of the letter and it is presently exhibit B in the present law suit before the courts. That letter was in the files of the court administrator and was sent to the Chief Judge, Judge Ilnicki. There were no other copies of the letter found in the files of the department.
Mr. Phelps: Is the Minister saying that the letter is addressed to Chief Judge Ilnicki, and will he produce the letter?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The letter is addressed to Bill Thomson and is signed by Bill Williamson. I can file a copy of it today. It has previously been made public.
Question re: Territorial Court Act
Mr. Phelps: We are asking about the opinion letter that was provided to the judicial administrator when he asked for a legal opinion concerning the validity of Mr. Thomsons appointment after his sixty-fifth birthday. That is the letter the Minister said he would provide us with the details of who received a copy of that letter, who it was sent to and when it was sent.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That is not the case. I am reading on page 122 from Hansard. The question was with respect to the letter of September 8. I said I would find out who got a copy and when. I did make reference to an opinion, which was obtained by the court administrator for the Chief Judge. I am not aware of whether or not that is in the form of a letter. In any event, I will not produce that now. The reason is that there is a lawsuit before the courts about that very subject.
Mr. Phelps: I suggest that there is another good reason why he is not producing the letter, but we will get to that in due course.
Will the Minister provide us with details of who prepared the legal memorandum, on whose instructions that memorandum or opinion was prepared, and who the memorandum or letter was addressed and sent to?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I have already given all the essential information. The initiative for the opinion came from the Chief Judge and was obtained by the court administrator, who asked lawyers in the Department of Justice for an opinion. I have stated that it exists, and I have stated the general result. That is the extent of the information I will give about that opinion, at least until the conclusion of the lawsuit before the courts about that precise point.
Mr. Phelps: The precise point that we have not been advised on yet is: when was the letter or memorandum, the legal opinion, prepared and when was it received? Would the Minister provide us with those dates?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It was prepared in either late July or August, and it was received prior to September 8.
While I am on my feet, I can give answers to the questions I took notice of yesterday. I was asked if justices of the peace in the past had been given severance pay. The answer is no. I was asked about the severance pay that was offered to Bill Thomson, and the answer is that, on September 8, when the letter was delivered, it was delivered in person by Mr. Williamson to Mr. Thomson. At that meeting, I am informed by Mr. Williamson that Bill Thomson refused the severance pay offered. Mr. Thomson was told that the offer was still standing if he wished to change his mind, and no further action occurred aside from the lawsuits. As of today, the money itself is not actually paid.
Question re: Territorial Court Act
Mr. Phelps: Just a short question: the Minister has not given us the date that the memorandum or letter containing the legal opinion was prepared. I would like the exact date, and I would like the exact date it was received by the court administrator. Could he provide those dates?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes, I can, and I will.
Question re: Territorial Court Act
Mr. McLachlan: Because of some of the answers provided to the Leader of the Opposition, I have some further questions on the history of the phantom letter writer. I want to ask the Minister of Justice if, at any time, the Chief Judge of the Territorial Court had expressed any concern to him, the Minister, about Justice of the Peace Thomson sitting on the bench after he had reached age 65, or was the Minister the only one with concerns about Justice of the Peace Thomson sitting? Did Judge Deleatta Ilnicki express any concern to the Minister about Justice of the Peace Thomson sitting when he was age 65?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes, and the question implied that there were concerns expressed to myself, and that is potentially misleading. If I am permitted, I will describe what occurred.
I met with the Chief Judge about a number of issues. This one was raised by her, and there was a concern because of his age. Prior to this, I had no knowledge that he was over 65 and had never considered the question. I expressed the view that compulsory or mandatory retirement was contrary to the government policy and that the matter involved an interpretation of The Charter, the Territorial Court Act and the Yukon Human Rights Act, and I expressed the concern that there was a clear conflict in the law here. I additionally expressed the position that who actually sat on the bench was a matter for the determination of the Chief Judge.
Mr. McLachlan: We needed that clarification, because yesterday the Minister said in Hansard, Judge Ilnicki and I had a conversation prior to September 8, and I expressed two positions. It certainly sounds like all the concern is one ended, not both parties being concerned.
When the Minister first found out around September 8 or 10, as he indicated yesterday, about the letter that had been sent to Justice of the Peace Thomson, did it not occur to him at that time, not two months later but at that time, to wonder who had done the dirty deed then? Why was it not a concern to the Minister two months ago?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It was not a concern because I knew immediately. I knew that this letter was sent on the initiative of the Court. As a consequence of that knowledge I did not take any steps to change anything in the department, because the department over which I had control of did not initiate that letter.
Mr. McLachlan: If it were not for being so serious it would sound like a particular script written for the TV sitcom LA Law. Maybe that is the problem. Maybe the Minister is watching too many of those series. The concern I have to express is people watching this debate have concern again for the administration of justice in this territory and the way the whole justice system operates. That is based on a simple...
Speaker: Would the Member get to the supplemental question.
Mr. McLachlan: ...that is based on the simple premise that people will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That is not happening here; why?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Member opposite talked about a concern on behalf of the public, and I share that concern. It is a matter, I would suggest, of extreme and utmost importance and of the greatest seriousness, and it is a concern.
As to the question why, I am in possession of the facts as I have outlined them. I am urgently seeking a meeting with the Chief Judge, which I sought immediately on receipt of the letter of November 27, to clarify precisely what occurred, if she will tell me, from her point of view. So far, I have not been afforded an interview. The concern is a real one. Mr. Thomson expressed in the media that he thought it was my responsibility as Minister to get to the bottom of it, and I agree with him.
Question re: Territorial Court Act
Mr. Phelps: This last answer gives rise to a whole area of concern, because the Territorial Court Act sets up a Judicial Council and that Council was set up under that Act for the purpose of preserving the independence of the judiciary, and to separate judges from politicians.
This Minister has been going on sanctimoniously about the independence of the judiciary in the past, in dealing with this issue, and yet he has completely bypassed that safeguard.
My question, Mr. Speaker, is: is it true that after receiving the letter the Minister, with Williamson, tried to meet with the Chief Justice on Friday afternoon to sort out the discrepancy, was told she was too busy, and tried again yesterday to have meetings with the Judge?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes, Mr. Speaker, that information is true, but there is additional information that was not particularly mentioned. There was a brief meeting among the Chief Judge, Mr. Williamson, and me on Friday afternoon because even though I was denied an interview I went and sat in the waiting room to meet. There was a brief meeting, and at that meeting I made reference to the Judicial Council, and I have considered the role of the Judicial Council, I have refreshed my memory about exactly the terms of the law, and I am perfectly well aware of their role.
Mr. Phelps: This is outrageous. Under the British parliamentary system, I have never heard of a Minister trying to confront the Chief Justice with respect to statements made in written correspondence to that Minister. Does the Minister of Justice not agree that his behaviour is entirely improper?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is not. It is wrong to say that the Minister has gone to confront the Chief Judge about written correspondence. It is my duty to get to the bottom of this, and the first thing is to establish the facts. I am seeking the appropriate interviews to establish the facts. That is the most sensible course of action to take, and it is the first course of action that a responsible Minister would take.
Mr. Phelps: The actions of the Minister are entirely and completely improper. I do not think that there is a person on the bench in Canada or in any law society who would support him. Once the Minister could not have that meeting with the Chief Judge, why did he rush off to hold a press conference yesterday morning? Why did he do that instead of going to the appropriate quasi judicial body - the Judicial Council? Why did he rush out to seek press with the newspapers?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Member opposite should read the terms of reference of the Judicial Council and the role of the Minister there. I am not seeking press here at all. There is a concern here of substantial public interest. I knew that the press would be at my door, as they habitually are, and I was fulfilling part of my public duty in ensuring that the facts of the matter were before the public. That is the only responsible course for a Minister to take about a question such as this.
Question re: Territorial Court Act
Mrs. Firth: The function of the Judicial Council is to receive complaints with respect to judges.
Did the Minister go to the Judicial Council with the letters of November 27 - the personal and confidential letter to himself and with the letter that had been sent to Justice of the Peace William Thomson - both letters being signed by the Chief Territorial Court Judge?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The answer is no. However, on Friday afternoon, I considered exactly that. I determined that such action would be premature until I had an interview with the principal actors here, or it was apparent that I was going to be denied those interviews.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister is less than generous to share the concern about the state of the judicial system in the Yukon right now, because the concern has been created by him and all the responsibility is on his shoulders. Every single ...
Speaker: Order, please. Would the Member please get to the supplementary question?
Mrs. Firth: Why did the Minister not go through the proper statutory procedure of taking his complaint with respect to judges to the Judicial Council?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That is an interesting accusation. The proper course of action is to determine the facts, or to get to the bottom of it. I have stated that Mr. Thomsons view is that it is my duty to get to the bottom of it, and I agree with him. It would be premature to take a complaint to the Judicial Council today. The appropriate course of action is to seek an interview with all the personalities involved. That process is continuing.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister is saying it would be premature to go to the Judicial Council - which is the normal statutory procedure - but it is not premature to do a cowardly and despicable thing like running to the media with the letters ...
Speaker: Order, please. The guidelines for oral Question Period state there may be a one sentence preamble for supplementary questions.
Mrs. Firth: Mr. Speaker, I would like to have a new question then.
Question re: Territorial Court Act
Mrs. Firth: The Minister of Justice ran out to the media first thing Monday morning with the two letters, one addressed to him and one addressed to someone else from the Judge, and he saw that it was quite fit to make a public media display of this incident. The Minister of Health and Human Resources, who is an expert on everything in this House, would like to get up and speak.
I would like to know from the Minister of Justice why he did not go to the Judicial Council, which is the proper statutory procedure. Why did he go to the media instead?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There were several questions, and I beg your indulgence to be able to answer them all.
One of the simple ones was an allegation that I made public a letter that was not addressed to me - and that was part of a cowardly, despicable act and a public display. Let me inform the Member that on Friday night I spoke by telephone with Justice of the Peace Thomson, and out of consideration to him, because he is the personality here who is perhaps most innocently accused, I asked him how he wished the matter handled. I spoke about the publicity and Mr. Thomson specifically said he had no objection whatsoever to that letter being made public. There were other questions, Mr. Speaker, that I will, out of deference to your ruling, answer at another time.
Mrs. Firth: The only consideration the Minister has is for himself, I would submit, because the Chief Judge cannot call a press conference to defend her position as the Minister can.
Is it true that the process for justice of the peace appointments is that the names are reviewed by the Judicial Council, the Public Service Commission and then sent to Cabinet for Order-In-Council appointments - and the same process is used to revoke appointments?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No, that is not true. In answer to the previous questions about publicity, let me say that the cowardly act would be to avoid public disclosure. That has not been the position of this government.
Mrs. Firth: I would like the Minister to answer if it is true that the process of appointing and revoking appointments of justices of the peace comes under the administration of his department, a department that he is responsible for, and I would like to know why he is blaming the Judge if it is the responsibility of his administration and his department.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The answer is no, it is not. That process is controlled by the Justice of the Peace Council, and the process has changed since Mr. Phillips was a member.
Question re: Territorial Court Act
Mr. Nordling: I cannot believe the inconsistency of the Minister of Justice. He fell all over himself running to the media to denounce a judge and make public two private letters - one of which was not addressed to him - and now he will not release the legal opinion, which goes to the very heart of this issue. Is the Minister saying that the legal opinion will harm the court case?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That is a cowardly, irresponsible act from a lawyer who knows perfectly well that the rules of this House speak specifically about legal opinions, and I have taken the only course of action that I can take about a lawsuit in progress.
Mr. Nordling: Yesterday, the Minister told us at great length that the legal opinion was prepared by his department, that he was responsible for that department and, further, that he did not agree with the opinion and, still further, that he discussed the opinion and agreed the safest course of action was, and I quote, To have Mr. Thomson not sit until the law is clarified. If the Minister will not table that legal opinion, then I would like to know who requested the legal opinion, on whose instructions the legal opinion was prepared and, after it was prepared, who was it addressed to? I will wait until tomorrow for these answers, but the Minister should know them today.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I not only know them, I have previously announced them in the House. The initiative was by the Chief Judge and the court administrator, who asked the Department of Legal Services to prepare an opinion. I, myself, have never seen it. I do not know the form it is in. The Member opposite said that I discussed it. That is only true in the sense that I have discussed it in this House, and I have had discussions about the existing lawsuit. I spoke to the media after the letter of September 8 ...
Speaker: Order, please. Would the Minister please conclude his answer?
Question re: Territorial Court Act
Mr. Phillips: The Minister of Justice talked about wanting to get the facts, and I can assure you, we, on this side, are just as interested - in fact, more interested - than he is about the facts of this case.
The Minister of Justice yesterday, in the House and on CHON-FM radio this morning, said it was Judge Ilnicki who fired Bill Thomson.
Is the Minister of Justice saying that the statement of facts that Judge Ilnicki, in her November 27, 1987 letter to Bill Thomson, are not the truth?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I have stated the facts as I know them. The letter of November 27, 1987 contains contradictory information. I have sought an early meeting with the author of that letter to discuss the specifics. Until that meeting occurs, I cannot make any more specific statements.
Mr. Phillips: The Minister of Justice is playing with words. I will quote from the letter sent by Judge Ilnicki to Justice of the Peace, William Thomson. I did not instruct Mr. Williamson or anyone else to send the letter. In a radio interview this morning with CHON-FM, the Minister was asked who fired Mr. Thomson. Mr. Kimmerly replied, Judge Ilnicki. So, you are directly contradicting her then," she (the announcer) said. The Minister said, Yes, yes. Is the Minister of Justice saying that the Chief Judge of the Territorial Court has not told the truth and, in fact, is lying in that letter?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That is the same question as was asked before immediately preceding, and I give the same answer.
Mr. Phillips: The accusation that the Minister of Justice is making is extremely serious. Three months have passed, and the Minister, even today, cannot show us one shred of his evidence. He talks about the Judges evidence. We have the Judges evidence in a letter. She said she did not do it. We have not one shred of the Minister of Justices evidence to support his case. I submit to the people of the Yukon that it is the Minister of Justice whose trust is coming into play here. Will the Minister show the people of the Yukon his evidence that proves that what he is saying is correct and quit playing around with this case?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That question and the tone were totally predictable coming from that Member. The statements made by the three important people are myself, the Chief Judge and the court administrator. All have the same weight as evidence, and those statements have all been made. Anything else is merely repetition.
Speaker: Time for Question Period is now elapsed.
Before proceeding with Orders of the Day, I would like to return to the point of order that was raised by the Minister of Justice on November 18, 1987. When Motions for the Production of Papers were called, the Minister questioned whether a motion proposed by the Member for Whitehorse Riverdale South was in order. In arguing the point of order, the Minister of Justice stated, The notice for production of papers must call for papers or information that is in existence and cannot call for a compilation of figures or documents and cannot call for research to be done. He submitted that the motion proposed by the Member for Whitehorse Riverdale South did not follow the practice of the House of Commons whose rules and practices are followed by this House when our own rules and practices do not provide clear direction.
In ruling on the point of order the Chair undertook to review of the past practices of this Assembly and to review the practices of the House of Commons and to report back to the House.
It is clear from a review of past motions for production of papers that the motions such as those proposed by the Member for Whitehorse Riverdale South on November 18 are not common. However, they are not without precedent. On November 9, 1983, the Member for Mayo gave notice of the following motion under the heading Motions for the Productions of Papers:
THAT an Order of the Assembly do issue for copies of:
(1)(a) Names of persons whose applications for agricultural land have been received and the corresponding size and location of each applicants land request;
(b) The time and date each application was received;
(2) Names of persons whose applications for agricultural land have been accepted;
(3) Names of persons whose applications for agricultural land have been rejected;
(4) The cited land use conflicts associated with any applications received for agricultural land; and
(5) Names of members of the Yukon Legislative Assembly or their immediate family who have made successful applications for agricultural land.
That motion was debated and voted upon by the Assembly on November 16, 1983.
To determine what would be done in the House of Commons the Clerk sent copies of the three motions which were on the Order Paper of November 18, 1987, to the Clerk of the House of Commons. In an attached memorandum he said: I would appreciate receiving your advice on whether the attached motions would be in order in the House of Commons under the heading of Motions for the Production of Papers. If these motions are not in order under that heading would they be in order under any other heading of business for the House of Commons?
The Clerk of the House of Commons replied in a letter dated November 24, 1987. In that letter he stated: I am in receipt of your memorandum dated November 23, 1987 in which you enquire as to whether or not the three motions received from your Member of the Assembly in relation to day care costs would be procedurally acceptable in the House of Commons as Motions for the Production of Papers. The simple answer is yes, so long as they come within the administrative responsibility of the Government. However, properly drafted, they would also be acceptable as a written question for the Order Paper. In the latter case, through the provisions of our Standing Orders, a Member may request a 45 day response from the Government to his or her question. Although the 45 day response is strictly a request, the chances that a Member may receive an answer more quickly is somewhat increased, and therefore the staff may suggest this procedure to the Member.
This review of practices of the Yukon Legislative Assembly and the House of Commons indicates that motions such as those on the Order Paper of November 18 in the name of the Member for Whitehorse Riverdale South should continue to be ruled in order.
Bill No. 9: Third Reading
Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 9 standing in the name of the hon. Mrs. Joe.
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I move that Bill No. 9 entitled Change of Name Act be now read a third time and do pass.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Health and Human Resources that Bill no. 9 entitled Change of Name Act be now read a third time and do pass.
Mrs. Firth: Before this House passes the Bill, I want to express again a deep, deep concern that the Members this side of the Legislative Assembly have with the performance of this Minister when she brought this piece of legislation into the Assembly.
The Minister was unprepared; she was unaware of the policy direction that had prompted this legislation, and she had not done her homework after a week of adjournment of this Assembly. This Bill cannot go through this House with the endorsement of all Members when the performance of the Minister has been so unsatisfactory.
Hon. Mrs. Joe: There are differing opinions with regard to what went on during the debate. People have read Hansard. There were certain things I could not bring back to this House; there were a number of things I was able to answer, and I have had discussions with many people who have read it. It is unfortunate that Members on the other side of the House feel there was a problem, but it was done, and I did provide a lot of information - maybe some that she was not happy with - but the information I gave her was good information, and I did do my homework. I was not on a holiday.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: I declare that Bill No. 9 has passed this House.
Bill No. 78: Third Reading
Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 78, standing in the name of the hon. Mr. Penikett.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move that Bill No. 78 entitled An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act be now read a third time and do pass.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Government Leader that Bill No. 78 entitled An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act be now read a third time and do pass.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: I declare that Bill No. 78 has passed this House.
Hon. Mr. Porter: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chairman: Committee of the Whole will now come to order. Before we turn to Bill No. 33, Societies Act, we will recess for 15 minutes.
Chairman: Committee of the Whole will now come to order.
Bill No. 3: Societies Act - continued
On Clause 25 - continued
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I will start off by introducing the adviser who is beside me, which I neglected to do yesterday. He is the Registrar of Societies, among other things, and is Frank Burchill.
We were dealing with section 25, specifically the regulating section concerning societies names, and the discretion of the registrar, and the question of the possibility of regulations about names of societies.
I have some additional information. The drafting is like this for a reason. The regulating-making powers should all be, as a matter of good practice, in one section of the Bill so that if a person is interested in what powers exist to make regulations, one looks at the section of the Act authorizing regulations and it is all there clearly stated. That is a principle of good legislative drafting and is a service to the person who uses the legislation.
There was a question of the duplication of the Section 25(f) and Section 11(1)(b), which we have already passed. The reason why the reference to regulations appears in Section 11 is as a service to the reader; the Act is easier to use if it appears here as well as in the regulating making section, Section 25. A member of the public, or layperson, when considering the name of their society, would look under the section about names. It is identified here that the regulations may speak about names, so it is a signal to look at the regulations. That is the reason for the duplication. It is possible to delete one or the other, but I would submit that it would be bad practice to do that. You can make the Bill shorter by half a dozen words but it would make it more difficult for laypeople to use if we did that.
There was a discussion also about the necessity of the regulating making power at all. We have already passed Section 11(1)(b) so in one sense it is academic, but it is raised again about Section 25. I would repeat and give a small bit of new information, that this power is common to all society acts; it is standard practice. I remember the previous government, of which Mrs. Firth was a Member at the time, introducing the Business Corporations Act. There was a little discussion at the time because it was standard practice - it was essentially copied from Alberta at that time. It is clearly in the business corporations acts and the societies acts all around the country.
The purpose, generally, is to avoid confusion to the public. That is why it is there. It enables the government or the registrar to have a flexibility which is necessary, in my view, to facilitate the use of names by the general public and to regulate the non-competing or the confusing use of similar names.
Mrs. Firth: I understand what the Minister is saying, but I am not satisfied with the explanation he has given. The Minister told us that the Name of Society clause, 11.(1)(b), Prohibited by the Regulations was a preventative measure and I expressed some concern about that fact - that we were putting preventative measures in, that there was nothing in the regulations to substantiate that clause - the Minister said there may be cause in the future.
That was the intention the Minister gave at that time to explain that clause continuing to be included. Then we came to the Regulations clause of the Bill, clause 25, which the Minister has been discussing over the last few minutes, particularly subclause (f). I raise the concern that we were again flagging the fact that the names for societies were going to be controlled at some time by the regulations. However, there was nothing in the regulations to address it now.
The Minister has already said that you could take one or the other out and, therefore, I would like to propose that Bill No. 33, entitled the Societies Act, be amended in clause 25 at page 7 by deleting paragraph (f).
In speaking to the amendment, I would like to raise another concern, particularly with this clause that says, respecting names of societies, including prohibiting the use of any names or any words or expressions in names. The other concern I have, and perhaps the Minister can address this, is when I read this I interpret that, should a society use a name such as the Horsemens Association or the Horsemens Society, this regulation means to me that the registrar could say you cannot use that name, it has to be called the Horsepersons Association.
It is similar word usage as in the Human Rights Act, which is to get rid of that concern in the community. It would be in the interest of the societies that that clause be deleted. The Minister can still preserve his preventive measures by having the prohibited by regulations in the previous clause, name of society. We would address an issue that many individuals in the societies have.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: We do not support this amendment for two reasons. First, even if it was passed, it would not fix the alleged problem because the section would already exist in section 11. I can go to greater lengths to explain the reason for the section, and perhaps that is the better way to proceed. The power is in the old Act, not that that is a reason to continue it. This is not granting any new power.
If one looks at the regulations in other places and in the Act, there are lengthy provisions that go on for pages in some cases about rules on similar names. It is not essential that we adopt those same rules. This is a smaller jurisdiction. We have a smaller number of societies, and it is more appropriate that we keep the rules to a minimum. However, there could be, and there will be, rules about names. The rules are a service to societies and the public. It is important that we have some uniformity, not complete uniformity, with the provinces.
A specific example is in the business corporations area that is before us now about similar names for companies. I will go through the regulations briefly from Saskatchewan.
There are regulations about names being similar to the names of corporations, that is, where there is a confusion between the name of the society and a related corporation, and those things must be dealt with.
There is concern about existing societies that wish to register here, and if they are under rules in the originating province it makes good sense to carry out the same kind of a philosophy.
In addition, that problem works the other way. If there are Yukon societies and corporations with similar names that originate here and wish to register in BC, and they face entirely different rules about the similarity about names, it would necessitate either changing the name - which is a substantial problem for the society - or not expanding into BC, or not being registered. It is a service to the public to ensure a sensible regulation.
There is a substantial problem, or has been, with names which suggest or imply a connection with the Crown - either the federal Crown or the Territorial Crown - and it may be appropriate to make a regulation forbidding the name of a business or a society that is so similar to the name of the government itself- or a Crown corporation, for example - to create public confusion. So the power here is entirely sensible.
There has been a problem in the past of incorporating societies with similar and confusing names to existing political parties and with professional associations, and with banks, credit unions, and co-ops. There have been problems in the past about things like that and it is appropriate to have a power in this Act to deal with those problems.
Mrs. Firth: How many problems are we talking about here in the Yukon? We can make all kinds of legislation that can address hypothetical problems or circumstances that may happen in the year 1990, but that is not the purpose of this legislation. The government already has a wide open door when it comes to the prohibition of names within the regulations. The Minister has said there is nothing in the regulations now, but there will be.
I see the government having the ability to write almost whatever they want in the regulations; they can write all of Saskatchewans concerns and problems into their regulations, if they want. I thought the Minister was receptive to the idea that one or the other could be removed, that we had already passed the clause 11, that this would be a minor, uncontroversial amendment. I bring it here at the request of some societies. I did not think it was controversial. I do not think we are talking about the large numbers of problems that one of the provinces may face. I do not think it restricts or confuses the public. I feel it is advantageous for the societies, and that is who the legislation is supposed to be serving.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Most of that was a repetition of existing arguments. There was one new one about why we are legislating for what may happen in the future. I would disagree with Mrs. Firth; the responsible course of the Legislature is to legislate for the future, to predict potential problems and to deal with them as a matter of legislative policy. It only makes good sense to use and learn from the experience of other jurisdictions.
Mrs. Firth: Obviously, the Minister and I have a difference in philosophy about legislation and laws. The Minister can protect people from everything from now until the future and on, but a law is being made for the people of the Yukon to live by. What problem is that law being made to overcome? The Minister is saying that he wants to make laws predicting things that may happen in the future, and therein lies the philosophical difference. I am prepared to vote on the question now.
Clause 25 agreed to
On Clause 26
Mr. Phillips: I hope that Clause 26 has a lot more effect than the legislation that we passed in the Human Rights Act that says that this Act supersedes another Act. I hope this really means that this Societies Act is repealed and this Minister is not going to play games with this one as well.
Clause 26 agreed to
On Clause 12(1)
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I promised some concrete examples. I apologize for not thinking of them last night, because they are really quite simple. A natural person has powers and can do things that a corporation cannot. It is necessary to have both the powers of a natural person and a corporation. I will explain that in more detail. If we make a registered society a corporation for the purposes of law it has this effect: it offers the organizations members and officers protection from personal liability; it enables the organization to apply for grants or funding according to the rules of various government agencies; it enables the organization to hold title to land in the name of the organization as opposed to the directors or nominees; it gives the organization a formal structure and a set of rules under which the organization is to operate and these rules have the force of law; it enables the organization to sue or be sued in its own name; it gives the organization the potential of perpetual existence, whereas natural persons would die at some point.
If we say that upon the issuance of a certificate, the society has all of the rights, powers and privileges of a natural person, we would not have the advantage of protecting the officers, directors and members from personal liability, we would not have the perpetual existence; we would not have the formal structure. That should answer the question.
Mrs. Firth: It does not answer the question. All the points that the Minister raised about liability are covered under Clause 13, Limitation of Liability of Members. Clause 7 covers formal structures and the set of rules. That section also sets up that the society is incorporated. I do not quite follow the Ministers argument about perpetuating existence. I do not know if it was a smokescreen or what exactly it was.
I would like to propose an amendment to this clause: THAT Bill No 33, entitled Societies Act be amended in clause 12 at page 4 by
1) deleting all the words following the word incorporation in 12.(1) and substituting for them the following: the society has all the rights, powers and privileges of a natural person. and
2) deleting sub-clause 12.(2).
Chairman: Is there any debate on the amendment?
Mrs. Firth: Just to be consistent with the Ministers claims for brevity and clarity, we feel this amendment addresses that point.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: If we were to accept this amendment, we would be the only jurisdiction to not give societies the specific legal status of a corporation. What we would be doing, according to the Member opposite, is granting certain powers of incorporation, but we would not be specifically saying that the society is a corporation. I understand the motivation for brevity and simplicity but that would be a disservice to societies. We would be taking away powers from societies which they now have. The acts of other jurisdictions generally follow this format: they are all much longer, and they establish societies as corporations, and they generally have a part of the act which is called the effect of incorporation. Perhaps I will read the British Columbia Act; it says this: From the date of the certificate of incorporation, the members of the society are members of a corporation. It has subsections, one of which is, With the powers and capacity of a natural person of full capacity as may be required to pursue its purposes.
I will read from Bill 54 in the Alberta Legislature, which is a modern statement of the Alberta law; it is before the Legislature there and is not presently passed. It has a whole part, which is Part 3, Effect of Incorporation. One section reads: Notwithstanding sections 4(b) and (c), an incorporated association has the capacity and, subject to this Act, the rights, powers and privileges of a natural person. Sections 4(b) and (c) talk about the articles of incorporation, or about incorporation, and there is a whole part about incorporation.
What we have done here is, in order to avoid making a long list of the powers of incorporation and the powers of a natural person, we are stating that an incorporated society has both the powers of a corporation and the powers of a natural person.
Unless the policy is to reduce the powers that societies have, the only alternative is to spell out, in great detail, all the powers of the society. And I would submit that would take several pages, so this amendment, as much as I thoroughly appreciate the motive, simply cannot succeed.
Mrs. Firth:The Minister has in the past come in this House and we have had great debates about changes in legislation for two words or so - we have gone on and on. The Minister has already admitted that this is very confusing and that societies who had reviewed or previewed the Act raised that concern. He said that it was a very good point that we raised and that he, too, had found it confusing.
So, Mr. Chairman, perhaps the Minister could explain what powers the corporation has that the natural person does not have. If he is maintaining that the society is going to lose powers, what are they going to lose, other than limited liability, which is covered in section 13, and in section 7 in which the society becomes incorporated?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Just as an example, the example used, section 13 here is, No member of a society is, because of their membership, liable for a debt or liability of the society. It does not talk about any officer, or any director and all of that is covered in the body of law which we understand about the powers of incorporation. If we did not have that in, the complaint that the Member for Kluane made improperly last night, would become proper.
Mrs. Firth: I do not understand how an officer or a director is not going to be a member. I mean, they are going to be a member of the society or they are not going to be an officer or a director. Besides, it is covered under clause 7, Incorporation Certificate: Upon receipt of an application and the prescribed fee the registrar may issue a certificate that the society is incorporated. And if it is incorporated it gets the same privileges and rights and powers of a natural person.
Mr. Kimmerly: The connection of section 7 and section 12 is interesting. It could be the case that we put the grant of power - as a corporation and a natural person - in section 7 or right after it. In an earlier draft that is exactly what we did. In changing the structure of the Bill to make it more readable, we abandoned that process. Section 7 does not specifically grant the society the powers established by being a corporation.
It is necessary to specifically say that in the legislation, otherwise it is not the case. That is why it is divided up the way it is.
Mrs. Firth: I would like to know what section 7 does. What does it do - just give them the title incorporated, with no powers attached? It is either incorporated or it is not, and it has the powers attached or it is not incorporated.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: One of the reasons is for readability, in that we go from the application to the incorporation. One of the other reasons, and the most important, is to give the registrar power to issue the certificate - which is nowhere given except in section 7. It is necessary to both legislatively say that the registrar has this power, because otherwise he does not, and to say in the legislation that the effect of incorporation is that the society has the rights and powers of incorporation.
Clause 12 carried
Title agreed to
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Mr. Chairman, I move you report Bill No. 33, the Societies Act, without amendment.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 14 - Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act, 1987
On Clause 4
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The question is the Insurance Act, and there was an assertion made last night that this was done on April 16, 1987. Fortunately, that is not the case; we did change the law on April 16, 1987 but we put the change, which is substantially here in section (f.1), in the wrong place in the Act; the purpose is to correct that. The effect of this section is to repeal what we did in April - placing it in the wrong place - and to enact exactly the same thing in the right place. The confusion is, that if you look at the Bill here and look at the section numbers, you will not find the same numbers in the Revised Statutes as published.
That further confuses it. This is the kind of thing that gives lawyers a bad name, and rightfully and deservedly so. It is the same kind of problem that we had in section 6, so I have an amendment.
Although what is before us is accurate, it is so impossible to understand that it is better to propose an amendment: THAT Bill No. 14, entitled Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act, 1987 be amended in clause 4 at page 1 by substituting the following subclause for subclause (1): (1) Section 4 of the Act to Amend the Insurance Act assented to on April 16, 1987 and published as Chapter 12 of the Statutes of Yukon, 1987 is repealed.
This is the same problem as for the Legislative Assembly Retirement Allowances Act. It enables common folk to understand what we are doing.
Mrs. Firth: Common folk will never understand. The Minister has said that it was done, but it was done wrong, in the Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act, 1987. That was in April, 1987. I cannot let the Ministers comment about lawyers who believe lawyers to go unnoticed. If this gives lawyers a bad name, what does it do for the names of lawyers who are Ministers? There probably is not a word to describe that. A lawyer who is a Minister, who has listened and believed other lawyers, has really gotten himself into trouble. That is no slight against the legal profession, but the Minister has not done anything to enhance the credibility and reputation of the three Members of this Legislative Assembly who happen to be lawyers. I am sure that my colleagues who are lawyers are deeply affected by the whole incident.
The amendment is correct. It is quite interesting that yesterday the Minister was quite prepared to dismiss the whole bottom of the page of this Bill, to vote against it, to take it out if we did not like it or if nobody could understand it. Today he has done a fast turnaround and has said that they had done it wrong the first time; It is wrong again here, and he has brought it in again to get it right. I guess if we persist, the Minister will eventually get it right.
Mr. Lang: I am a little concerned with respect to the process that we are going through. There appears to be a problem with respect to the drafting of legislation. I have twice heard Cabinet Ministers in charge of legislation blaming the legal profession for the errors that have been detected in the House. In defence of those people who draft legislation, they are ultimately not responsible for the legislation. The political arm of government and this Legislature is responsible for it.
What I detect here does not seem to stem from within government. The appearance is being left that, within government, there is no political review of legislation prior to the tabling of it in this House. Is there an ongoing legislative program? If there is, do they meet regularly? Is it attended by all the political people required?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I thank the Member for that question. The problem here is that the political process and the political decision making process occurred prior to the publishing and coming into effect of the Revised Statutes. The Revised Statutes changed the section numbers of almost all sections of our law. Consequently, the section numbers had to be changed after the political process of approval had already been made.
There were two amendments to this Bill. Both of them were for clarification purposes. Both of them were entirely because section numbers had changed. It is a fault here, and I recognize it is a fault. I am not trying to weasel out of anything. The fault is that after the section numbers were changed, which occurred by a nonpolitical process, it did not get reapproved with different section numbers. It is a process that should not occur in the future. We learned something here. This would not have been a problem at all if the timing were not before and after the publishing of the Revised Statutes.
Mr. Lang: I want to centre on the specific sections with respect to the way the legislative calendar has been presented thus far. Yesterday, the Minister gave every indication that he did not really know why the section is here, and if the Member for Riverdale South had proposed an amendment at that time to have it deleted he would have voted for it.
The concern I have is that laws are being presented, and in this particular case and the case with the previous Bill, the Minister does not know the reason for the Bill before him. I accept the Ministers reasoning for the amendment on the numbering today. What concerned me yesterday is the fact that the Minister did not know what it was in there for. It seems to me they will bring legislation in and wing it, and if they are awake they will give notice and come back a day later with the reasons for the purposes of the amendments. That is my concern. It disturbs me when a Minister stands up and says he does not really know the reason for the legislation so we can amend or delete it. This is becoming a pattern, and the front bench had better look at what they are doing. If they are bringing in legislation, they had better have a very good reason for why it is there, because they are making the laws of the land, and this is not to be taken on an ad hoc basis.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Let me respond very briefly. It is my practice before speaking to a Bill in Committee to spend an hour or so before the House rereading the Bill to refresh my memory. Because of the pressure of my business yesterday I did not do that and recognize that I should have.
Mrs. Firth: I do not accept that as an excuse. The Minister says that he could not do it yesterday because of pressures. I have now heard two Ministers in this government say they could not do something because they had so much work to do. The Minister of Health has alluded to that and now the Minister of Justice. What does the Minister of Community and Transportation Services and Education do in his spare time? He is not standing up and whining that he does not have time to do something.
Government laid out the order of business. I came here prepared to discuss it. I warned the Minister a week ago, when we were last sitting, that I was going to be raising some issues with this Bill. I pointed out several things I would be bringing forward. He had a week to get prepared. This is serious business, coming into the Legislature with new laws and changes that people of the Yukon are going to have to live by.
I would submit that the front bench and the private Members had better take their responsibilities more seriously, because the public out there does not like legislators coming in here and just faking it with legislation and saying, Oh, well, I usually read it over about an hour before, but I did not have time yesterday. That is just totally unacceptable. I saw the Minister sitting here with a big stack of Christmas cards that he was signing; yet he tells the House he did not have time to read his legislation.
That is not acceptable. Yukoners deserve better service than that of their politicians. That is just disgraceful.
Clause 4 agreed to as amended
Title agreed to
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Mr. Chairman, I move you report Bill No. 14, Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act, 1987, as amended.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 2 - Sixth Appropriation Act, 1986 - 87
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As I stated in my remarks at second reading, the purpose of this Bill is to vote expenditures for the 1986-87 fiscal year in excess of previously voted spending authority.
The additional funding requirement, as I said at second reading, is $4,134,000. This is made up of an increased Operation and Maintenance requirement of $2,696,000 and an increased capital requirement of $1,438,000. These sums, as I noted in second reading, were financed out of our accumulated surplus which stood at $77,589,000 at March 31, 1987 - the end of the fiscal year in question. Included in the Operation and Maintenance requirement is $818,000 for employee leave accruals, and Members will recall the debate on this item last year when we set up as a $10 million item for the first time at the initiative of the Auditor General - since it was noted as a liability that we had not identified in our accounts. Members will know, of course, that this is an accrual or non-cash item that is calculated and set up at year end. This years calculation showed that the liability for this item, carrying on the governments books, required an increase, and this appropriation is the result. Some of the liability is a function of the years of service of government employees and their rates of pay.
When the year end was complete and all the accruals calculated, it was determined that more funding was required for Health Services in the Yukon. Expenditures in this area are, as Members know, a function of our expanding population and cost, including negotiated wage settlements incurred by the federal government for northern health services.
Finally, unpredictable weather conditions on the Skagway Road resulted in higher than anticipated costs for that roads winter maintenance last year. Accounting entries at year end in relation to normal Yukon Housing noncash depreciation resulted in an over expenditure in the Department of Community and Transportation Services.
In Capital, one vote was over spent, and that was as a result of the acceleration of construction of Yukon College and a redesign of the colleges residence, which made an increased appropriation necessary.
As usual, the Ministers responsible for the particular departments - the Public Service Commission, Community and Transportation Services and the Department of Health and Human Resources - will be speaking to the individual appropriation requirements and will provide any detailed information, in addition to that which I provided, when the votes are being considered by Members.
I would like to draw Members attention to pages 1 and 2 of Supplementary No. 4, where a summary of the years operations is presented. Members will note that, while several votes were over spent, there was a net under expenditure for the year amounting to $14,200,054. This net under expenditure was largely responsible for reducing our annual operating deficit to $4,234,000 as opposed to the $18,937,000 predicted at the time of the last supplementary for the year.
For details of the years operations, we will eventually have the public accounts being considered by the Public Accounts Committee. In the meantime, I will try and answer any questions Members have, or respond to any comments by Members present.
Mr. Lang: With respect to the political control of taxpayers dollars - we in this Legislature vote in good conscience for some given program or project. The vote is taken and there is consensus, generally. Then, two years later we find out that on the Operation and Maintenance votes on Schedule A of the Sixth Appropriation Act, in total there is over five percent of the Budget that has not been expended.
What it tells me, in laymans language, is that the civil service - intentionally or otherwise - have presented to this House, through the political arm of government, a large enough cushion that they can move money around - and it is no secret how you do that - and that we are effectively giving them too much money.
I could accept maybe two percent, but when we are starting getting up to five percent, and then if you take a look at the capital vote, we are talking ten percent. Now the argument can be made that it is from good management, because we managed to get all this money back, but that is not the case necessarily, and in most cases it is not. It is a question of, Good, we are just under our budget, we will give a few bucks back, and it makes us look good. At the same time maybe we have got a little bit more at the end of the year than what even our top administration in the political arm of government was aware we were going to get.
I am just wondering if the Minister of Finance has made that observation when one looks at these figures - and I am talking in a non partisan sense here - and if he can see any method for further refinement of our system that would negate further this type of budgeting, because it just seems to me to be laid so wide open.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Yes, Mr. Chairman, we have anticipated this problem, and I would submit that we have been dealing with it.
The basic reason, of course, why, in any given year under our Financial Administration Act, one ought to see a greater amount of lapsing dollars than one sees over expenditures is because the risks for managers of over expenditures are far greater than they are for under expenditures when one is reaching the limits of their allocation, given by this Legislature.
The fact of the matter is, in terms of the Operation and Maintenance expenditures that the Operation and Maintenance expenditures budgeted this year, for example, are far less than the rate of growth in either population or inflation, which indicates there is a fair amount of squeezing - and I say that in response to the Member suggesting that there may have been over expenditures or we may have over budgeted for the departments or the departments have asked for more money than they needed. That is, I think, perhaps - and I say this without offence - part of the civil service or government culture, perhaps around the world, that public servants do that, and I would, even though we have not received any compliments for this from the other side, I would think - well, history will judge - that we have, in terms of our Operation and Maintenance budgets, squeezed, or compressed the rate of growth considerably here, in terms of program expenditures. This year, the budgeted three point three percent rate of growth is below...
Some Member: (Inaudible)
Hon. Mr. Penikett: ... the Member is wincing. I am sorry, Mr. Chairman, I am providing basic facts, he does not like them, I am sorry; facts are painful but they are here. This year we are operating on a budget which budgets for a 3.3 percent increase, which is less than the rate of inflation, far less than the rate of growth in our population. That does tend to squeeze out any soft allocations in the budget. I can tell the Member that, compared to the time when he was in Cabinet, when we had an average of 12 percent growth a year in the Operation and Maintenance expenditures, during a deep recession, that the Operation and Maintenance increases in the budget are quite tight.
That is another reason why there are lapsing Operation and Maintenance money. The other reason is that every year vacancies occur in every department. The amount budgeted on the personnel side is based on the assumption of all positions that are approved being staffed. The pattern in recent years in this government of vacancies has been around five percent. We are taking a number of steps in our staff establishment policy to try and reduce that lapse.
The biggest area of lapsing in the budgets every year has been in the area of Capital lapses - projects that have not been completed in the time that they were originally scheduled for, or that have not been started in time, and are therefore extended over a longer period than was originally anticipated.
Not surprisingly, in years when the Capital expenditure was growing, both the private sector and the public sector had some problems gearing up to respond and to deliver a budget of this scale. At the end of this construction year when the figures are available, I hope to be able to demonstrate to the House that the pattern of lapses is changing and that the amount of money in our Capital Budget that is lapsing in every year will be reduced as we improve our ability to manage the Capital Budget.
Mr. Lang: The Government Leader finds it difficult for anybody to even question his management style. I was asking the question because the government culture - the civil service - is set up in such a manner as to protect its own. This is human nature, and I do not mean this as an attack on the civil service. Anybody who has sat on that side of the House for any length of time fully recognizes that. If they do not, they should not be elected nor should they be sitting in the front bench.
I recognize that the Financial Administration Act was relatively new and had had a major overhaul about three years ago. It even penalizes the civil service and top administration if they do go over their estimates.
Perhaps that very basic principle should be examined by government to see if we can turn that around and create an incentive for top management to perform similar to that as a business, as opposed to saying we are trying under the auspices of the Financial Administration Act. That is the point I would like the Minister to take seriously and forget the personalities involved here. That is the area that should be addressed - not today, not tomorrow, but over the course of this year - and reexamined by the government to see if that particular area of the Financial Administration Act should be reopened with the idea of some sort of incentive principle in there. I agree with the Government Leader and, if I was the deputy minister, I would definitely make sure I had lots of money to protect me and my own when we are dealing with the supplementaries.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am sorry the Member took offence of my explanation, but with respect to incentives rather than punishments, that is something we have considered. As the Member will know, one of the duties of the Government Leader is to evaluate the performance of deputy ministers and to sign performance appraisals of deputy ministers every year. I can advise the House that our Cabinet has considered the problem of not only penalties, but rewards. We have made a conscious decision that part of the assessment of a deputy minister will be the consideration of how well they have managed - not just whether they met the budget, but whether they performed the tasks that were assigned to them - and how well they complied or achieved the targets and the Cabinet and government priorities that were assigned by the administration. Our inclination is to pay or reward in terms of the salary increments, or other reassessments, deputies or managers who do that.
The traditional method of paying deputy ministers and senior managers, not just in Canada but, perhaps, throughout the British and American types of civil service, is to award people for size. The more employees you had, the bigger budget the department had, the bigger the pay of the manager or the deputy minister was. That, as I am sure all Members will concede and as is implied in the Members question, tends to give a manager or deputy minister incentive towards giantism or towards expansion of the department without regard, perhaps, to the public interest or to the public necessity.
I think one of the challenges today, in a time when governments will not be growing in perhaps the way they did in the 50s and 60s and in a time when, I think, almost all provincial governments are having to squeeze their program expenditures - all except Ontario, I think, this year, at least - they are wanting to find ways to reward managers who achieve governments objectives, achieve them on budget, save money where money can be saved, rather than simply having the departments grow and expand. I want to say to the House that it is certainly not our inclination, and in fact it is our decision quite to the contrary, that we will not be paying senior managers simply on the basis of the size of the programs they operate, or the size of the budgets they manage, or the number of staff in the department - which has been, not just here but I think throughout the British-style public service - a tradition.
Mr. Lang: Never during the course of this debate have I indicated that a person would be paid because of the size of the operation they were running. That was not the point I was making. I do not care if it is the Executive Council Office versus Community and Transportation, or Education, the point I was asking was whether or not the government was considering the principle contained in the Financial Administration Act, which effectively forces the civil service to do what we have said is done, and consciously done, and that is to ensure there is enough money in there and that they do not dare exceed it. That was my question. I did not talk about evaluation of deputy ministers; I know that goes in tandem. My question was: is the government prepared to even examine that particular principle of financial administration? That was my question.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am sorry that the Member opposite forgets that God gave him two ears and only one mouth, because I did answer his question. The answer was that, no, we have not looked at the Financial Administration Act. There may be reason to do it and I will consider the representation he made. The method we have tried not only is to consider the penalties or disincentives in the Financial Administration Act to overexpend but to also consider ways in which we can reward those managers who manage well, according to our priorities.
Mr. Lang: I will try not to retort to the Government Leader in the way he responded to my enquiry about the Financial Administration Act specifically. In view of my representations on the section that we both are knowledgeable about, do I have it that at least the government will take the undertaking over the course of this year and report at this time next year to us to see whether perhaps there can be some changes in that area to try to negate what we are faced with - as all Members of the House here are - in respect of the Operation and Maintenance supplementaries? It is my only question. I just want an undertaking. If he is not going to do it, tell me so.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am a reasonable person and I will be quite happy to take a look at it. The situation that has resulted because of the Financial Administration Act is that most departments, and most managers, understand that there are negative consequences to over expenditures. Most of them try and make sure that they do not over expend. I think this is a desirable objective.
There is a problem. For example, let us say I run department X. I can say, based on previous experience, I may have a five percent vacancy rate in personnel vacancies. I am going to gamble - it is sort of like overbooking by hotels and airlines - that there will be a five percent vacancy, and then I have no vacancies at all. I will then be stuck with an over expenditure. Clearly, we do not want that to happen. There has to be, and there always is, some margin of error - I would expect there is in everybodys private budget and everybodys business budget. As a general rule, I would guess that the taxpayer would rather have us under expend than over expend. The problem is to try to find the right instruments to make sure that you come within budget, but are also not so impossibly rigid that you cannot fund or deal with extraordinary situations or demands that come along.
The point here is that all the over expenditures here can be covered by lapses. You would hope, in any given year, that will be the situation that will pertain. There will be times when the contrary case will exist, and all the best efforts in the world cannot prevent it.
Mr. Lang: I do not have a problem with what the Government Leader says. I am just saying that, with respect to the section of the Act that was brought in three years ago, right now we are penalizing the deputy minister of department X, if he goes over - quite severely, if I recall correctly. It has been in effect three years. We are still looking at substantial amounts of money that are lapsing in part due to that reason. Will the government take the undertaking to look at it in the next year and see if there is an incentive type of situation that could be put in that particular section of the Bill, as opposed to having the padding that is going on?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We will look at that. In percentage terms, the Operation and Maintenance lapse is relatively small. I also take notice of the point from the Member, and we will look at it. One does not want to suggest that there are totally Draconian measures if you over expend and you deny yourselves the proper flexibility to adjust to circumstances that always emerge over the course of a year.
Mrs. Firth: I believe I heard the Government Leader say that if there were deputy ministers who overspent, the consequences were not just negative. I believe he said they would be fired, if that had been the case. I will be looking forward to hearing what the Government Leader is going to be coming back with when he gets that whole issue solved.
There is a five percent vacancy in the staff complement. Can the Government Leader tell me if this is observed as a trend across the whole government or if some area has been identified as having a higher vacancy rate than others? If so, which areas does that affect?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It is pretty general. We are taking steps to try and reduce it. I hope the Member will understand that in extremely small departments, the five percent rule may not apply because there may be a year when, in percentage terms, it works out much larger than that. In another year, there may be no turnover at all.
Mrs. Firth: Can the Government Leader tell us what the steps are that have been taken to reduce it?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We have authorized - under some fairly strict rules established by Management Board - departments to use the person year allocations that may be lapsing as a result of a vacancy or a series of vacancies, to recruit people for short-term assignments in order to do work that was needed. For example, in some senior positions, it takes us several months to recruit. In a large department there may be several positions vacant at the same time. Rather than having the salary dollars that have been approved by the Legislature lapse completely, we would like in certain circumstances to allow the department to be able to retain someone on a short-term basis to do the work that has been assigned by the government.
Mrs. Firth: I see that could be a very dicey situation, for lack of a better description. Is the Government Leader saying that what he is allowing the departments to do is to hire people on a contract basis with salary dollars that were allocated for permanent person years? When the departments are doing that, what happens to the process of recruitment to fill the full-time position? What would happen in the event that someone was on a contract for a fixed period of time and out of the blue a good applicant comes along to fill that position on a full-time basis?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It is exactly that concern that causes the Management Board to want to have a very tight overview on the use of those lapsing person year dollars. As the Member anticipates, if there is recruitment being delayed to facilitate the continuation of a temporary staff person, that would defeat the purpose of the policy. They are not contracts because we think that contracts subvert the establishment control and the position control mechanisms of Management Board. They are term positions and have to be approved at a very senior level.
Mrs. Firth: Could we have that Management Board directive and the approval process in writing so we can follow the process that the departments have to go through in order to get this kind of authorization? Can the Government Leader tell us how many of these decisions the Management Board would have to make? I can see it being fairly substantial.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It is not necessarily Management Board that would approve every single one; Management Board has laid down some rules. If the Member would like, since I assumed they would accept it as a new policy initiative in some respects even though it is an administrative policy, I would be quite prepared to make a Ministerial Statement on the question and provide the directive and an explanation of it in that form.
Mrs. Firth: Why can the Minister not just give me a copy of the policy? Surely it is public.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I did not say I would not do that. In my normally helpful way, I suggested I would be prepared to give additional information and some background of our thinking and the rationale for the policy at the time of providing the information she requested.
Mrs. Firth: I will look forward to getting whatever information I can get out of the Government Leader. I hope it does not take him three months to get it to me.
I would like to ask another question about the vacancy in the person year complement in the staffing. The Minister has already mentioned that it is about five percent of the total person year complement. Can he tell me what that is in salary dollars? How much money are we talking about?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I will have that information in a second. If we go onto another question I will provide it when I have it.
Chairman: Is it the wish of the Members to take a break at this time? We will recess for 15 minutes.
Chairman: The Committee of the Whole will now come to order.
We will continue with general debate.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I will just answer the question that was asked by Mrs. Firth just before we adjourned, which is what the dollar consequence of the five percent lapse in the personnel expenditures would be. The five percent of the $83 million spent in the current year would obviously be $4 million, but there would not be an occasion, even at the five percent rate, where $4 million in total would lapse because there are many cases in the past where casuals were used to do work of vacant positions. As I just explained there would be in some cases terms brought on to do work that would normally be done by people in those vacant positions.
Mrs. Firth: I am sure if it was thought that there was $4 million worth of funds lapsing, there would be about eight deputy ministers hearts stopping, thinking that we were going to take that money away because it was not needed or something. That is a significant amount of money. Can the Government Leader give us any idea of approximately how much of it is spent and how much of it does lapse? Does he have any trends as to some areas requiring more expenditures than others?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I could hazard a rough calculation for the year under question. I would have to go back and do a calculation, but assuming even five percent it would probably be about half of that, something closer to $2 million. In response to the observation about covetous deputies, I would point out that in the year under review, there was $14 million lapsing, largely in the capital side. Some of that was Operation and Maintenance as has been previously identified by the Member for Porter Creek East.
Mrs. Firth: I think most of it was capital, so that is a different story. If I could have the Government Leader address the concern I raised about having someone on a term position full-time and a permanent employee applying for the job and being a successful applicant, how would they deal with that situation?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We are in the process of trying to do away with the use of contractors who were, in fact, employees. We have gone to the system of terms, as the Member knows. We have also tried not to use casuals in what were essentially permanent positions. If you take a large department, such as Community and Transportation Services - I forget exactly how many employees they have - but if you assume that there is something like a five percent vacancy rate, you can assume that at any given point in time there might be something as high as 15 or 16 positions vacant out of a total of 354. They could range from fairly junior to very senior positions.
To state the obvious, the roads still have to be graded and the capital works plan and all the functions of that department have to continue. It may be, for example, that knowing that they have a couple of vacant positions - say, among engineers, and I am just speaking speculatively here - and that it will take maybe a few months to recruit. They might take a person on for a six month or a year term as an engineer to cover up the vacancies so that the work can be done. That will be accounted for, hopefully, fairly fully in the Operation and Maintenance estimates that we will present in the spring.
Mrs. Firth: Do I understand, then, that the recruitment for the full time position just ceases, and does the individual in the term position have to have all the qualifications and meet with all the qualifications that the full time person would?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: There will not be a perfect matched term to a position. Let us assume that, at any given moment in that department, if the five percent standard applies, there will be 15 or 16 vacancies, so they may be recruiting in one area, and that may take two, three or whatever months, depending on whether they can get a local recruitment or not, and in the course of the year, the manager of the department or the Deputy Minister may say, We have two positions right now vacant in a certain section; we may well have other vacancies by the end of the year; we have certain work that we have to get done; I have the salary dollars: I think we had better get a one year term person in here to cover up so that the work gets done within the budget that we have already been assigned, and to do the task that we have already been assigned by the Legislature.
Mrs. Firth: Just one last question: does the Management Board approve the length of the term or is it the department that has that authority?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: All terms eventually will have to come before the Management Board because we have a number of terms that are lapsing March 31, 1988; alternately, the decision about whether they will be continued will be made by Management Board in the same way that we would have to approve new person years, and we would also have to approve extension of terms.
Mr. Lang: I just want to follow up a little bit further up on these terms, on the new direction the government is going. Does the Minister know how many term positions we are talking about in the government, at the present time - a ball park figure?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am sorry that, off the top of my head, I can not give that information, but I would be happy to report it to the House as of an effective date. But because the computer system that we are getting in place in Personnel in the Public Service Commission is not, I gather, fully operational yet, I may not be able to give the kind of detailed break down that I will as of this spring, when the Estimates come down, when we will be able to give a description, not only of the permanents, but of the terms and the auxiliaries and so on, which is, I think, the kind of information the House has wanted for a long time.
Mr. Lang: What process does one take to recruit?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The recruitment for a year term position, for instance, would basically be the same as it would be for a permanent position. We have had term position in this government for a long time. The Member opposite was once the Minister for Economic Development. There are term positions called Northern Oil and Gas Assistance Program (NOGAP) positions, which are all term positions. They were recruited in exactly the same way as other positions except that in the job postings in the newspapers, they were identified as term positions for a certain period of time. Someone answering the position could expect that the position was for a term and that it would expire, unless the government chose to create a permanent or indeterminate person year to cover that position at the end of the term.
Mr. Lang: The Minister has just outlined a very major deviation in the policy. I recognize that there were term positions with Northern Oil and Gas Assistance Program (NOGAP) because the money was finite. There was a finite period of time that those people were employed. That was the Economic Development Agreement. The Minister seems to be saying that if a normal permanent position within the civil service cannot be filled, authority has been given to go ahead and hire term positions for maybe three, five or six months. If that is so, what kind of method of recruitment is undertaken regarding the permanent positions.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: If we were talking about a period as short as the Member has indicated, it might not be a term position, it might be an auxiliary position. They are recruited in somewhat the same way as casuals have always been recruited, except that auxiliaries now have some benefits that they did not have before. In the case of a term position for a year, the person would be recruited like any other position. Terms themselves are not new. There have always been terms, for example, associated with the capital budget. We might have someone to manage a capital project for a year or two. Again the money dies. It is exactly the same thing.
We have term positions that were approved for a year ending March 31, the end of the fiscal year. All those positions will cease to exist as of March 31, 1988, unless they are either renewed by Management Board for another term or are converted into indeterminate positions because they have been justified as being of permanent necessity.
Mr. Lang: This is probably the inappropriate to deviate from the supplementaries. I will follow this line of questioning when we get to the Public Service Commission because it is important to clarify the method of recruitment. We are talking about two different types of employment.
Mr. McLachlan: The Minister referred to the problems of extra maintenance on the Skagway Road as putting Community and Transportation Services over $223,000. Anybody who has had any experience with snow and ice clearing, and weekend work, knows that a few weekends of heavy snow would not take much to run that up. What is of more concern is YHC being $369,000 overrun at one point in the O&M budget, which is some 25 percent of the O&M budget for the department. Why is it so significantly out, or skewed that much higher than 0.8 percent in the Department of Community and Transportation Services?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Just briefly, to talk about Community and Transportation Services and snow removal, the Member is quite right, it is serendipitous. I remember a former mayor of Toronto who once was Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs telling me how depressed he used to get every time it snowed in Toronto because he knew it would cost the city a million dollars to clear it. That was standard. The money in the Housing Corporation - of course, the Minister will be prepared to explain it in more detail - as I indicated, it is a non cash element; it is just depreciation. I gather it is again an item like the accruals, which was originally done at the behest of the Auditor General, who has asked us to account for depreciation. I might say there is some difference of opinion among accountants and people in this area about whether this is appropriate or whether this is the appropriate amount. That is why it is here.
On Schedule A
On Operation and Maintenance
On Community and Transportation Services
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Let me simply begin by suggesting that if Members were to look on page 5 of the budget book they will take note that this does not affect the total amount. Take note that a typo has been identified and that Highways and Transportation ought to read $279,000 and Yukon Housing Corporation ought to read $313,000. As I say, it does not affect the total vote at all.
As the Government Leader said in his remarks in general discussion, of the amount we are looking at and voting here for the end of the 87 fiscal year, $279,000 is required to fund additional highway maintenance costs that were accrued, basically in March, at the very end of the fiscal year. The government had budgeted very tightly, predicting the weather, but unfortunately not predicting the weather well enough.
The prediction, particularly for the Skagway Road, was off by some monies that we see here, due to heavy snowfalls at the end of the fiscal year in the mountain pass. The $312,000 and $213,000 for depreciation of the Yukon Housing Corporation assets is something that, as the Government Leader suggested, has been identified in Public Accounts. If Members do have their Public Accounts in front of them, they can look up the Yukon Housing Corporation to see that the monies are there. It was their suggestion that we do vote depreciations in the Estimates. That is what we are requesting now.
The calculation for the depreciation is shown on page 67 of Public Accounts. They are showing exactly how, in Public Accounts 1986-1987, the figure was determined.
Mr. Lang: The Minister has me at a total disadvantage. I did not come in here thinking I had to have my Public Accounts book with me, with respect to discussing the overall Supplementary.
We are not talking about new money for building houses or purchasing housing or buying land or anything like this. We are talking about a bookkeeping exercise. Do I understand that correctly?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It is an expenditure, but the money does not go anywhere. Perhaps I could read the reference in Public Accounts quickly. It is not very long.
In accordance with the terms of agreement under the National Housing Act, housing projects other than staff accommodation are depreciated by the sinking fund method based on principal repayment of the applicable long term debt. Investments in low rental housing projects representing the corporations 25 percent share of the cost of the projects under federal and territorial agreements, are depreciated in a similar manner. Other investments in public housing projects, such as capital improvements, which are not financed by a long term debt, are depreciated on a straight line basis over 15 years.
Staff accommodation is depreciated on a straight line basis over the estimated length of the asset as follows: standard construction, 35 years; mobile units, 15 years. It says furniture and equipment are written off to expense and put into use.
Basically, this is an exercise that has been undertaken in the past but has never been shown in the Main Estimates. It would only have been shown in a Supplementary for a vote if monies could not be found from within the government to offset the paper expenditure.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Basically that is what it is all about.
Mr. Lang: I want to go back to the general principle of the maintenance of highways. We are told there is $279,000 for the year end, as close as we can estimate. That is strictly for the maintenance of the Carcross or Klondike Highway to Skagway. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I would say it is largely for the maintenance of that particular road where predictability of weather conditions was not part of the departments memory bank. Members will recognize that last year was the first year that we undertook maintenance on a year-round basis on that particular road. When the projection was made for what was considered to be a wrap-up supplementary for last year, it was made prior to the end of the fiscal year. At the end of the fiscal year in March, in the late spring - middle spring in Yukon terms - there were heavy snowfalls that were not predicted and had to be taken into account. Predominantly the expenditure was in the Carcross/ Skagway Road, but there were other general expenditures in the highway maintenance area that were covered in this as well.
Mr. Lang: That was my question. It is so easy for the department to say that it was all the Carcross Klondike Highway. What other areas were expenditures made to make up this $279,000?
The word largely can be used very loosely. Do you have a breakdown? There should be a breakdown as to how much was for the highway and what the rest was for.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will put it to the accountants in Community and Transportation Services to try and break it down into highway maintenance camps - which is the way they determine expenditures - to determine which camps would account for an over expenditure beyond that which was projected. I do not have it on a highway by highway basis nor do I have it on a camp by camp basis.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: If I could be helpful here. Even though I do not expect to formally table the public accounts until tomorrow, they were mailed to every Member before October 31. Members always try to encapsulize the large item that is principally responsible for an over expenditure or an under expenditure. I could refer Members to the Public Accounts which all Members now have - schedules for each department which detail, by line, over and under expenditures. In schedule 12, for example, there is a detailed listing of the overages and the underages both in the Operation and Maintenance and Capital areas, and that is also true for other departments.
Mr. Lang: I appreciate the assistance of the Government Leader. I had not coordinated the two and perhaps I have been remiss. If the Minister could give me a minute or two, I will have a look at the schedule.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: One of the things that the Auditor General has spoken about has been the general need to try to make the Public Accounts compatible with the estimates so that there is some comparability. At the federal level, it is impossible to look at the accounts and the estimates and draw any sort of conclusions at all. The trend here, as a result of our auditors and since our function is relatively small, is that we will have an increasing ability to do that. The computerization of our financial system will also help that.
Mr. McLachlan: Does the Government Leader know why staff housing should also not accrue depreciation in the same way as the governments investment in low cost housing? If we own it, why is it also not depreciable?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We already a vote a capital grant to the Corporation to build staff housing. That is the difference. There are different activities between the social and the staff housing, and the Housing Corporation Act largely explains that.
Mr. Lang: On page 41 of the Public Accounts Committee, there is an over expenditure supplementary for $592,000. I also see $591,696. That is fair because it is rounded off. However, in Highways and Transportation there is a figure of $279,000. There is also a figure of $300,000. There are lapsing funds versus increasing funds in some areas. As the money is being moved around, it really has not been identified where it is coming from or whether or not there is a new policy direction or new allocation of dollars.
These supplementaries are going to be a source of discussion in the Main Estimates. There is no accountability on the part of administration, not necessarily by the political arm of government. The information is not being provided. Since we are not part of the government, we are not privy to that information, so we have to ask these questions. Does the Minister have any other breakdown on what money is actually allocated for the maintenance of the camps? If he does not have it now, maybe he can provide it later on when we get into the Main Estimates?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will be happy to provide the information - I do not know how happy the department will be - with respect to the over expenditure on highways. As Members will note, the actual $279,000 was the net amount. Netted out, it was actually approximately $300,000 for Highways and Transportation over expenditure in the maintenance area. The actual amount that is being requested is $279,000 towards that maintenance overrun. In general terms, it was due to the unpredictability of weather conditions. This is not an outrageous expenditure in my view, given the size of the operation, the roads that have to be taken care of, and the responsibility of the department to undertake the maintenance program. Unfortunately, we did not predict weather properly or accurately and ran the over expenditure. I will try to provide the over expenditure by camp if I can.
Mr. Lang: There is roughly $50,000 in policy that was over expended from what we had voted previously between the Main Budget and the supplementaries; I am referring now to page 41 of the Public Accounts Committee. Could he provide the information why we had an increase in the Policy and Planning area. If I recall correctly we had substantial money there, $250,000 or something. Can he provide the reasons for that to the House as well?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I cannot guarantee that it is in Policy and Planning, but I will undertake to bring that information back, even though it is not an expenditure to be voted.
Chairman: Any further general debate on Operation and Maintenance expenditures for Community and Transportation Services?
On Highways and Transportation
Highways and Transportation in the amount of $279,000 agreed to
On Yukon Housing Corporation
Yukon Housing Corporation in the amount of $313,000 agreed to
Community and Transportation Services in the total amount of $590,000 agreed to
On Department of Education
Chairman: We will deal with Capital votes on page 9, a vote of $1,438,000. General debate?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The explanation is rather lengthy so I will probably wrap this expenditure up into one brief sentence and then will give the lengthy answer as well. All of the net vote for this Supplementary is the result of a very intensive construction schedule for the college during the month of March. This resulted in the accrual of invoices for work completed in March until the end of the fiscal year.
This is actually a net vote for that amount - $1,438,000. Basically what happened is this: in the Public Schools Branch, $276,000, was unspent due to various small projects throughout the schools in communities netting out and coming under budget. I can give a breakdown of that if Members wish.
Libraries and Archives left $108,000 unspent for funds not required due to delays in hiring staff for projects and various other items that I can break down as well, if Members wish.
There was a requirement of $1,899,000 for Yukon College construction, and that netted in Advanced Education to $1,822,000 because $77,000 was left unspent on Yukon College. That, quite briefly, is comprised of campus equipment $25,000 unspent; CLC $19,000 unspent; campus equipment and maintenance, general equipment and maintenance, $12,300; and Yukon Hall renovations were under spent by $20,600.
So, the requirement for Advanced Education and Yukon College netted to $1,822,000. If you subtract the $276,000 that was left unspent from the Public Schools Branch and the $108,000 that was not spent in Libraries and Archives Branch from the $1,822,000, you have a net vote of $1,438,000.
Mrs. Firth: It would have been kind of nice if the Minister had passed that over to us a few minutes before he got up and read it all out just to give us a little bit of an edge to know what he was talking about.
In the explanation, they talk about the variants being largely due to redesign of Yukon College residence and acceleration of construction. Could the Minister tell us what the redesign was and what the acceleration was and talk not in terms of amounts, but in terms of what was required, and then we will get into the dollars later.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Firstly, the student residence was redesigned to incorporate provision for single parent families and for families in a residence configuration that would allow for apartments. That apartment configuration can also allow for single students bunking together.
On the question of the acceleration of the project, it is a feature of multi year projects - which we do not have a lot of experience with, more than two years - that in this particular year, difficulty was experienced in trying to maintain an efficient construction schedule, maintaining the economies associated with the project management system, and working within the work orders that are allowed by the department for a given fiscal year.
In this particular case, the project managers and the departments undertook more work than we had voted in the Mains for the sake of efficiencies, and it requires a vote to pay for the work done.
That is what it is in general terms. Now, I understand that there may be some interest in the Yukon College project as a whole, and we can certainly get into it here. It might be more relevant if we get into it in the Supplementary No. 1 of the current year because, at the time that the vote was taken, or the year under consideration was operating, decisions had not been made and the votes had not yet been determined.
That is not the case now, and an indication of what the total project costs for the entire Yukon Place are fully known to date. I would be happy to undertake that discussion now or at any time, if Members wish.
Mrs. Firth: I would like to lay out a foundation to start working with. I know the Minister is anticipating that there are going to be questions about Yukon College as the Budget debate goes on. We will just deal with the rationale for this increase in this Supplementary Estimate. The Minister is talking about redesigning the Yukon College residence to accommodate single parent families. When was that decision made? It was obviously different from what was originally intended. Was it a policy decision that was made by the Cabinet? What need or representation was it based on? What was the difference in the cost of having it with the single family apartments, as opposed to what they were originally planning?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: As Members who were here prior to 1985 will know, there was a difference of opinion between the Opposition and the government of the day with respect to provision of a student residence for the college.
The position that I took at the time, as a member of the Opposition, was that it was difficult, if not impossible, for rural people to make a decision to come to school in the Yukon College central campus if they were faced with the hardships of trying to find accommodation and, perhaps, operating two homes at one time - one in the rural community and one in Whitehorse.
We also indicated at that time that there was a significant demand for the operations of a residence. When the decision was made to proceed with Yukon College - which the government made in 1985 - work was started on the acceptability of the student residence. There was every indication that there would be a significant demand for the residence. When the government made the decision to rent Nisutlin Campus for a two year period, we consciously undertook that decision for two reasons, one being we needed more classroom space because the extended programming had outstripped the demand and, secondly, that it had student residence space, which we felt was an important feature of a college that purported to serve all the territory.
At that time we undertook a review of the facilities and the projected design of the college residence, and determined that it was not adequate to meet the needs that we projected for the college. After talking to people in the college who had received requests from various people in the rural communities for space, after an assessment of the needs of those persons, it was felt that a move to apartment accommodation was not only reasonable but was necessary. There was also recognition that during the design phase, that should there not be demand for student accommodation for single parent families or families, these units could be converted easily into units for a single student. That was undertaken. When the time came to rework the residence it was determined to go with the addition of a married students building. With the additional costs associated with the design and construction, and increase in floor space of approximately 14 percent, there was an additional $431,000 total extra cost. That decision was made early in the fiscal year, under review, by the government.
Given the time, I move that you report progress on Bill No. 2, Sixth Appropriation Act, 1986-87.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Porter: Mr. Chairman, I move the Speaker now resume the Chair.
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
We will now have a report from the Chairman of the Committee of the Whole.
Mr. Webster: The Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 33, Societies Act and directs me to report the same without amendment.
Further, the Committee considered Bill No. 14, Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act, 1987, and directs me to report the same with amendment.
Further, the Committee has considered Bill No. 2, Sixth Appropriation Act, 1986-87, and directs me to report progress on same.
Speaker: You have heard the report of the Chairman of the Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Hon. Mr. Porter: I move the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.
The House adjourned at 5:25 p.m.
The following Sessional Papers were tabled on December 1, 1987:
Port of Skagway, Pre-Feasibility Study, Final Report, October, 1987 (McDonald)