Monday, December 7, 1987 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. At this time we will proceed with Prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper. Introduction of Visitors?
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Hon. Mrs. Joe: It gives me pleasure to welcome the Buffalo Narrows Friendship Centre Youth Group here today from Saskatchewan.
Speaker: Are there any Returns or Documents for Tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have for tabling today two documents: The Public Accounts for 1986/87, and the Establishment and Position Control Directive.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I have for tabling the Department of Justice Annual Report, 1985/86.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees? Are there any Petitions? Introduction of Bills?
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I move that Bill No. 11, entitled An Act to Amend the Territorial Court Act be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Justice that Bill No. 11, entitled An Act to Amend the Territorial Court Act be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: Are there any Notices of Motion for Production of Papers?
Are there any Statements by Ministers?
National Strategy on Day Care: Response of the Yukon Government
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I rise today to inform the House about the elements of the National Strategy on Child Care and outline, in a preliminary way, the response of the Yukon Government.
The federal governments proposals were announced in Ottawa last week at a meeting of Ministers and officials which I attended on behalf of the government.
Generally, Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that the federal government has taken the initiative to expand the cost sharing of programs with the provinces and territories to improve the quality, availability and affordability of child care. I have some concerns about a particular element, which I will outline below.
Subject to public consultation, it will be the policy of this government to tailor our programs to dovetail with the federal initiatives so as to maximize the effectiveness of scarce resources, to meet the immediate needs of a rapidly growing population in Whitehorse and the particular requirements of small rural communities.
Under the Canada Child Care Act new child care spaces can be operated with federal funding assistance. It pleases me that the federal program reaches out to profit and non-profit facilities, as it has been this governments policy to support both private and non-profit services to fit different community needs.
The existing territorial day care capital development grant program, which was implemented last year, will be augmented with the extension of federal support for capital expenses in non-profit centres. With this initiative, funding for new child care spaces will be available. Subsequent expansion that follows will help address the demand that is currently stretching our limited space resources.
An objective of the proposed Canada Child Care Act is to meet the unique child care concerns of the native, rural and special needs parents. This fits well with our governments policy to guarantee equal access to quality child care for all Yukon people. Such a timely initiative will begin to address the extensive needs of Yukon parents and children. But, only future expansion of this element of child care will allow the territory to make great inroads in this field.
I am concerned, however, with the tax assistance program. The effectiveness of this aspect of the announced program is questionable when related to lower-middle and low income families, who can not always afford to wait for day care expense deductions at tax time. Also, space development is not enhanced by the $2.3 billion tax deduction.
Mr. Speaker, I have outlined the recently announced federal governments national strategy on child care and given my preliminary assessment of its strengths and shortcomings. I have instructed my officials to immediately establish a framework for negotiations on formula funding and access to the special initiatives fund. I look forward to the public consultations, to hear the views of Yukon people, so that we can design our programs in the context of the recent federal initiatives and the needs of Yukon people, to ensure the quality, affordability and availability of child care.
Mrs. Firth: The Ministerial Statement has obviously been pulled together in a bit of a hurry. I see that the Minister is talking about scarce resources, and I am not sure if she is referring to whether or not the federal government identified enough money. I would expect, as has been the habit of this government, that they are not satisfied with the amount of monies that will be coming to the Yukon under this program.
She made an interesting comment about it being the Yukon governments policy to support both private and non-profit services. That has been effective since this Capital Budget and only through the effective action and lobbying of the Family Day Home Association. The Minister talks about how we are currently stretching our limited space resources. As I understand it, there are presently vacancies in some of the larger day cares, and this was an issue that they had raised, that they were losing clientele. But I continually see ads in the paper for family day home operators who have spaces available to parents in the Yukon who require child care services.
What does the Minister mean by special needs parents? My understanding is that it is the children who have the special needs requirements. I beg to differ with the Minister about the tax assistance program that is supposed to enhance space development. The capital assistance is supposed to enhance space development, not the tax assistance program. This side will be asking specific questions about the Ministers announcement and about this governments policy. I do not really see any new policy announcement of this government, and we will look forward to some further, more specific, debate on the issue with the Minister.
Mr. McLachlan: In Canada today, licenced day care and family day home facilities are available for less than ten percent of children under the age of 13 whose parents work for more than 20 hours a week. The quality and availability of day care differs widely from province to province and from urban to rural communities. Quality full-time care costs at least $5,000 annually, but the recently announced proposals on child care are a small step forward when it comes to child care in Canada. It must be said that the proposals will restrict the legal jurisdiction of the provinces and territories in the area of child care, and we view this as the proper approach. It must also be pointed out that the federal government has put too little emphasis on needs of the poor and medium income parents by proposing a token increase in the tax credit, while at the same time proposing a generous doubling of the tax deduction for the rich parents.
The federal proposals include two kinds of tax breaks for parents with children under the age of six. One is a tax credit of $200 a year for those who cannot provide receipts. Poor and middle income parents are those who will not be able to provide the receipts. The other tax break is a doubling of the $2,000 tax deduction for child care expenses to $4,000 for those with receipts from the licenced day care centres. Here in Yukon, if you are poor, you get subsidized day care but, from now on, if you are in a wealthy position, you get a generous tax deduction of $4,000. When one considers that the full-time care costs are about $5,000 annually, you can see that a wealthy family with one child will have an 80 percent tax writeoff of all of the child care costs.
It is my point that, if the parent is in a middle income bracket - and the vast majority of Yukoners are - they are getting a raw deal. My party humbly submits that the proposed tax measures are inequitable in some respects. My party recommends that the child care tax deduction be converted to a refundable credit so as to provide greater benefit to low and modest income families.
The Ministerial Statement has made no reference to timing. I would have hope that the Minister, after coming from Ottawa, would have been able to announce something in the statement about timing. Another question that has arisen is, what will now be the future of the Yukons Day Care Capital Development Grant Program? Will it also be used for non-profit centres, or will it continue to service both the profit and non-profit centres?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: With respect to some of the comments from the other side, I would like to thank the two Members opposite for their suggestions and concerns. There was a comment made by the Member for Riverdale South with respect to commercial day care centres. We have been funding commercial day cares since the summer of 1986 with respect to Capital grants and Operation and Maintenance. It is on the record and has been happening.
With respect to the concern of the Member for Faro, the new program - as announced by the federal Minister - will not come into effect until the new fiscal year, so there is that time frame that is already there. We have committed our officials to start negotiations with respect to the program immediately.
Speaker: Before calling Question Period I would like to provide the House with my ruling on the question of privilege raised by the Minister of Justice during Question Period on December 3. The Minister based the question of privilege on remarks made by the Leader of the Official Opposition, and in stating the question of privilege, said: I have made statements of fact, or the facts as I believe them to be. The Leader of the Official Opposition has asserted now, essentially, that I was lying. I would challenge him to withdraw that statement or refer it to the Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges.
The Chair would refer Members to Annotation 19(1) in Beauchesne, which states: A dispute arising between two Members as to allegations of facts does not fulfill the conditions of parliamentary privilege. It is clear, then, that the Chair must rule that a question of privilege has not been raised.
While so ruling, the Chair would also point out to Members that there are rules about the language that is permitted in this House. I would refer Members to Standing Order 19, which states, in part, that: A member will be called to order by the Speaker if that member: (h) imputes false or unavowed motives to another member; (i) charges another member with uttering a deliberate falsehood; (j) uses abusive or insulting language of a nature likely to cause disorder.
In reviewing the Hansard for recent Question Periods it is clear that, in many cases, the House is not paying close attention to these rules. The Chair must ask that Members be careful with the language they use in the House and that they refrain from using unparliamentary or insulting expressions and words.
It is particularly important that no Member accuse or suggest another Member is deliberately misleading the House. If a Member feels that such an accusation must be made and dealt with, he or she must do so by placing the accusation in a motion which is then the proper subject of debate. It is not proper to suggest at any other time, whether in debate or during Question Period, that a Member has deliberately misled the House.
The rules of the House are clear on these matters and it is the duty of all Members to do their best to obey these rules. The Chair requests the cooperation of all Members to ensure that our proceedings are orderly and dignified.
Are there any questions?
Question re: Operation Falcon
Mr. Phelps: I have some questions today about Operation Falcon. I would like to start off by quoting an extract from Hansard on November 17, 1987 at page 59. At that time I asked whether a contract was eventually signed and who signed it on behalf of the government, referring to dealings between the government and Mr. Nowlan, and the answer from hon. Mr. Kimmerly was, I believe that, in fact, no contract was signed. However, an agreement was reached and a contract could have been signed.
I would like to table a contract that was signed, and follow up with some questions on the document I wish to table.
The tabled document will show that an agreement was, in fact, signed on September 2, 1986, by various parties, including the Deputy Minister of Justice.
I would like to ask the Minister if, since he gave his answer in the House, he had become aware that his Deputy Minister had signed a contract pertaining to the subject matter I was asking about on November 16?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No - at least until today.
Mr. Phelps: My next question is to the Minister of Renewable Resources. I would like to ask him, because he did imply back on November 17 that there was no signed agreement, whether or not it is his signature that appears in the signature space on page five of that contract?
Hon. Mr. Porter: Obviously the agreement would have been signed but it was not in fact carried forward.
Mr. Phelps: I would like to ask the Minister of Community and Transportation Services if he was the witness to the Minister of Renewable Resources?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: My name is not, at the present time, Graham McDonald.
Question re: Operation Falcon
Mr. Phelps: Because this is an extremely unusual kind of contract for anybody to enter into, given that there are escrow agreements and obviously a lot of negotiations took place leading into it, I would like to know whether this agreement went to Cabinet in order to get authorization for its signing.
Hon. Mr. Porter: This agreement was not the subject of a Cabinet meeting.
Mr. Phelps: I would like to then turn to Hansard of November 16. At that time, at page 41, the hon. Mr. Kimmerly, in reply to my question, said, The Leader of the Official Opposition stated in his preamble that this government prevented Mr. Nowlan from selling the falcons. He should know that the facts of the matter are that, before this government came to power, the court had named a specific individual to look after these licences, which are federal licences. In that respect, that individual was acting as an officer of the court. It is entirely inaccurate to say that this government prevented any legitimate business from occurring.
In the contract, on page two, under paragraph (c), it states, The Yukon further claims an absolute discretion in determining whether the application should be granted or denied. Paragraph one on that page.
Speaker: Order, please. Would the Member please get to the supplementary question?
Mr. Phelps: My question is this: was the Minister of Justice not aware, on November 16, that his department and this government had been claiming that it had an absolute discretion in determining whether or not the application should be granted or denied? An absolute discretion as Government of Yukon, not as officer of the court.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I believe that the discretion spoken about was conveyed by the courts in a court order to a person who was, in that respect, acting as an officer of the court.
Mr. Phelps: Then why did the Government of Yukon sign this document, in which it claims absolute discretion and further claims that all rights, privileges and authorities residing in the Crown in respect to the goods are exercisable by the Yukon.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I am unaware in the specific; however, I am aware that the Department of Renewable Resources received legal advice and it was obviously - well, I should not say what was obvious or not - but the department was clearly acting on the basis of legal advice.
Question re: Streetscape program
Mr. McLachlan: I have a question for the Minister of Tourism on the departments Streetscape program.
When the Minister says that the Streetscape will be available in all communities, does he in fact mean all communities in the Yukon or only those communities that are on the main tourist routes, such as the north Klondike Highway and the Alaska Highway?
Hon. Mr. Porter: With respect to the Streetscape program, I do not have the detail and a schedule of communities. For the most part, as I recall it, the priority region for expenditure under that particular program would be the Alaska Highway, and then from there we would move to the Klondike Highway, and then the third portion of the program would be the Campbell Highway, on which the Members community is situated.
Mr. McLachlan: When a real need is demonstrated, or a large increase in the tourism trade becomes evident in an area, my question to the Minister is: why could the Streetscape program not be escalated, further ahead of its schedule, to meet the need?
Hon. Mr. Porter: Obviously it is a question of budgetary measures. If I could, I would spend all the money in year one - if that is possible, if I am confident that we can do the planning to be able to do that. Unfortunately, that is not the case. There is only a limited amount of capital made available each year and we spend according to that limitation.
Mr. McLachlan: I would like to ask the Minister: the mine tour of the Curragh Resources pit at Faro has proven very successful in the past year and is now the only mine tour operating in the territory, of any consequence, anywhere. I wanted to ask the Minister if he could look into the possibilities of having a Streetscape program for Faro moved ahead in order to meet the demand of a move that is becoming very successful now with the mining tour re-instituted in 1986 and 1987.
Hon. Mr. Porter: With regard to the representation from the Member for Faro to alter the Streetscape program, we have sent a ten-year schedule which includes all of the communities on the highway corridors. We could review the question with the Members request in mind, but there is no guarantee that we would make the necessary changes that he requests.
Question re: Yukon Lottery Commission
Mr. Lang: I would just like to refresh the memory of the House. Approximately ten months ago we had a fair debate with respect to the question of the Lottery Commission, the direction the Lottery Commission was taking, and the fact that - from our side - we felt there were going to be some serious implications and profound effects of the changes being recommended by the Minister. At the time the Minister assured the House that there would be more money, and the volunteers would have more time, therefore, to put toward their organizations as opposed to raising funds for their organizations.
Could the Minister of Lottery explain to the House why it is being reported that the revenue accruing to the Lottery Commission is going to be a lot less this year than it was the previous year?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: There was an expectation earlier this year and late last year that the curve of lottery ticket sales was to continue to climb in accordance with that which was experienced over the course of last year. The saturation point for lottery ticket sales in Yukon is fast becoming apparent, and the number of tickets sold is now leveling off.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister provide to the House the comparison of revenues of this year to the previous year so that we know what the drop in revenues is for the Yukon Lottery Commission?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I do not have that information here, but I will provide some information on the revenues received. It is unfair to characterize them as having dropped.
Mr. Lang: We were told at that time, when the government made the decision to replace senior citizens who were selling lottery tickets, that these machines would increase the volume, therefore the amount of money to the Yukon Lottery Commission. Could the Minister tell the House why no machines have been put into place since April, 1986.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will take that question under advisement. There was some expectation that more TIBMs would come to the territory. I will get the details that the Member requests and table them in the House.
Question re: Yukon Lottery Commission
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister of Community and Transportation Services tell the House if it not true that as of April 1, when the government was going to take over the administration lotteries, that most, if not all organizations quit selling lottery tickets expecting the government to provide machines, and other methods, as they outlined at that time?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The government did not take over lotteries, the Yukon Lottery Commission did. There was some agreement between the old contractors and retailers to provide them with transitional funding, and they have received that. There have been no significant difficulties encountered with the previous retailers. Those who wished to continue to sell lottery tickets have been able to do so.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister tell this House why the Yukon Lottery Commission met two weekends ago and reported that there were three vacant positions on the Commission and why they had not been filled prior to that meeting?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: We were made aware that one representative from Pelly had recently resigned. One person had just resigned her position. I understood that there were two vacancies.
Mr. Lang: One of the major problems confronting the organization is that it was felt there was inadequate representation during the meetings in order to get their point of view across to those whose decision it was to allocate the money. In conjunction with the fact that there were a number of vacancies on the Commission, is it true also that there were a number of times during that period when those committee meetings did not have a quorum?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Yukon Lottery Commission, like other committee and boards around the territory, do not always work with a full complement of members. That is an ongoing concern. Unless there is some special incentive that we have not already considerd, that situation will not change. It depends upon the commitment of the members to attend the meetings. It is quite possible that there may have been times over the two days where not all members were in attendance at all times.
Question re: Destruction Bay teachers residence
Mr. Brewster: On November 17, 1987 on page 62 of Hansard, I asked the Minister who was living in the new teacherage at Destruction Bay and on what date they moved in. The Minister replied, I am going to have to check on that detail. I do not have it at my fingertips.
The original question was asked over a month ago. Does the Minister have the information at his fingertips now?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I had intended to answer the questions the Member asked during the Estimates debate. I did have that information available to me, and I thought it was a question that I could answer then. I do not have the answer as to who is specifically living in the teacherage, if anyone. I can undertake to make sure the information is here this afternoon.
Question re: Destruction Bay airport facilities
Mr. Brewster: The Government of the Yukon and the Ministry of Transport have been negotiating for a number of years over the airport facilities in Burwash. Were the five MOT houses never brought up at these negotiations?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Arctic B and C airport program, and the negotiations pursuant to it, do not involve the transfer of any houses at all to the Yukon government from the federal government.
Mr. Brewster: Would the Minister table all correspondence between the MOT and the Yukon government and Yukon Housing Corporation re Burwash airport and houses?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will check to see what is available on file. If there are letters for public consumption, I will make them available.
Question re: Swift River staff housing
Mr. Phillips: It has become increasingly apparent to all Yukoners that the Government of Yukon is not in complete control of its spending on some of its projects. In fact, some projects are halted and some are already over spent. On a question about the staff housing in Swift River, the cost of that project was $483,000. Is this project on time and on budget?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member is going to have to pardon me. There are approximately 500 or 600 Capital projects in the Department of Community and Transportation Services in any one Capital year. Whether a particular project is on time and exactly on budget is a detail that escapes me. I will undertake to bring any necessary information the Member wants to the House.
Mr. Phillips: It was silly of me to think the Minister of Communication should know anything about $500,000 that he is spending. Can the Minister confirm that the project has been halted and was halted the first time because the footings were put in improperly?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The preamble to the Members question is quite unfair. I know that a project is being undertaken at Swift River. At the same time, it is a detail to know whether or not the project is on budget and exactly on schedule. If the Member would have a little patience, I will provide that information to the Legislature in short order.
There were some construction problems experienced with the contractor - nonperformance of the contractor for the project involved - and it has delayed the project somewhat, to my understanding.
Mr. Phillips: The lights have gone on; the Minister does know about the project I am talking about. Can the Minister also confirm that the second time the project was halted was due to the fact that part of the contractors crew was working in metric and the other part of the crew was working in Imperial and, when they met in the middle of the building, the footings would not match up, under government inspection?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: There was a good deal to the Members preamble. Again, it was an unfair snipe that the Minister was unfamiliar with the project. That unfairness is a quality that is not a normal characteristic of this particular Member.
In any case, I am generally aware of problems the contractors were having understanding the contract specifications. That is the reason why one contractor was removed from the job.
Question re: Swift River staff housing
Mr. Phillips: I did not to mean to be so harsh on the Minister of Community and Transportation Services. This could be humorous if it was not Yukon taxpayers money. We can only hope that this government does not get into the tunnel building business. I have a vision of this government starting on each side of a mountain and missing in the middle, with one working in metric and the other working in Imperial. Has this government decided if projects in the future will be metric or Imperial?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: That has to be the thinnest excuse for a question in order to get a joke into the record that I have ever heard.
Certainly I have some experience driving tunnels and whether one moves in metric or Imperial makes no difference whether or not they will meet up but when they will meet up and at what point they will meet up. The specifications from Government Services, as I understand, ought to be consistent through all projects and if a contractor mistook the specifications for meaning something else, then that is obviously the fault of the contractor and the contractor ultimately has to pay the price.
Mr. Phillips: Although I made light of one working in metric and one in Imperial, it is a very serious matter. In this whole case, government scrutiny was in place and the government was supposed to be taking care of this job and making sure it went right. Can the Minister confirm that after this happened another mistake was made when the prefab footings had to be totally dismantled? They were prefabricated in Whitehorse, taken to the site, and once it was found the footings would not fit they had to tear them all apart and now cannot use the fittings because they are all full of nail holes and have been resawn, so they had to redo the footings as well.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am not sure whether the footings had too many nail holes in them or not. The point is that the responsible agent for reading and abiding by tender specifications is the contractor. I will check to ensure that my understanding is correct, that the building inspectors were present to ensure that the governments interests were adhered to. That is what I will do, and I will bring back relevant information to the House.
Mr. Phillips: I wonder if the Minister could also tell us if the original contractor is on the job, and what the Minister is going to do to rectify this mess, and what the total cost will be to the taxpayer of the Yukon for the governments mismanagement of this particular project?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I guess the Member has acquired a new trait of unfairness. I suppose that mismanagement is not something that I would characterize as being the governments actions to date. If a contractor does not perform well in its bid for a particular construction project, then it is the contractor and bonding companys responsibility that there be no additional cost to government for mistakes made by the contractor.
Question re: Teslin seniors complex
Mr. Lang: I want to go further with the question of mismanagement on projects and the Yukon Housing Corporations overall general policies on the implementation and building of various public housing units in the communities, especially the rural communities. I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Housing. Is it the policy of the Government of Yukon, and in turn the Yukon Housing Corporation, to identify and substantiate the needs of a community prior to building public or social housing in a community?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: That is correct.
Mr. Lang: In the building of the senior citizens complex in Teslin, how many senior citizens and elders were contacted and identified in order to justify going ahead with the building?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I do not know how many seniors were contacted prior to the construction, or whether there was a review of the waiting lists, or an understanding of who would be moving into the units constructed by the Yukon Housing Corporation. If that is a relevant detail for the Member opposite, I will undertake to pursue that matter and provide that detail to the House.
Mr. Lang: This is an important issue. We are talking about the management of government funds. We are talking about a fourplex that was built in the community of Teslin, completed in July - and it has come to our attention that it has been empty until now, because there are no senior citizens to move into it. I want to ask the Minister who is responsible. Who is responsible? If they are passing the buck - he is responsible. I want to ask the Minister, is it true that the senior citizens fourplex built in Teslin is now going to be redesignated social housing?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am not aware of that allegation. I will undertake to bring the relevant details to the House, because certainly the government is quite aware of what its general obligations are. It is quite aware of the needs it has to meet generally around the territory; it is put in charge of some of the tasks of the Yukon Housing Corporation in order to make sure that the needs are met. If information is relevant to the question and has to be brought to the House for discussion and deliberation, it will be brought to the House.
Question re: Teslin seniors complex
Mr. Lang: This is important, and it is relevant. This House has voted funds to go ahead with three social housing starts in the community of Teslin that are in the process of being completed. My question to the Minister is: in the decision that was taken by the government - with great fanfare - to go ahead with those three social housing units, was it taken into consideration with this fourplex that there were going to be no senior citizens to move into this fourplex and therefore it would be redesignated as social housing? In other words, instead of three, we have seven social housing units in the community.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: There obviously was not a question there, but let me say this: it is the governments policy to require the Yukon Housing Corporation to allocate units on a basis of demonstrable need. I will check into the allegations made by the Member to determine whether or not remedial action must be taken.
Mr. Lang: He talked about demonstrable need. Could he explain to this House and the people of the territory, as the new czar of housing, why that new fourplex completed in July has been empty until now.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will undertake to provide the House with the relevant details, and I will do that as soon as I possibly can.
Question re: Beaver Creek swimming pool
Mr. McLachlan: I have a question for the Minister of Government Services. Does the Minister have any idea or can he tell us how much the Change Order was that he signed into legislation for the swimming pool construction project at Beaver Creek? How much has it over run?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I did not sign any Change Order about that at all.
Mr. McLachlan: Is the Minister even aware that he has an over run or a problem in the building of the swimming pool project at Beaver Creek?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No, and I do not accept the premise immediately, either.
Mr. McLachlan: Could I ask the Minister, in my final supplementary, if he would investigate the situation so that he may bring back information to this Legislature for all Members and obviously for the edification of the Minister - who is not aware that he has a problem with that particular construction project.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes.
Question re: Free trade
Mr. Nordling: I have a question for the Government Leader about free trade. On November 16, in his address in reply to the Speech from the Throne, the Government Leader spoke of free trade and said in effect that he would have none of it. Was this the representation made on behalf of Yukoners at discussions on free trade that this government attended?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I believe the Member opposite is quoting me quoting the Prime Minister of this country in a statement that he made in 1983. As I have said from the beginning, the impacts of free trade on the Yukon Territory are, of course, not yet clear and will not be until we have had some time to analyze the text, which was not finished until some time last night. We have already identified a number of problems with the agreement, based on the scanty information contained in elements of the deal and of those concerns we have begun to express ourselves in whatever form is available to us.
Mr. Nordling: What positions were put forward and what specific problems were identified?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Some of the problems I have identified in this House: the impact on local hire, the impact on government procurement, the impact on regional development, the questions identified as early as those identified in the Macdonald Commission Report on the Economic Future for Canada, which said that the national government, in developing free trade, would have to be extremely careful about the adverse impacts on the northern region - as I recall it - and that some special consideration would have to be given to the impact on the north. We know for a fact that no such special consideration was even entertained.
Mr. Nordling: I would like further clarification on whether there was any satisfaction at all with respect to response to the concerns?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: At one point, shortly after this government came to office, a federal Cabinet Minister said that he would speak for the Yukon on the question of free trade. I can say with absolute assurance that neither that federal Cabinet Minister nor any of his officials have ever consulted us once to find out what our position was on free trade or whether we had any concerns. We had an official of the Department of Economic Development attend a number of meetings. We had Ministers attend ministerial meetings, but we were excluded from the really substantial discussions at the first ministers stage and the designated trade Ministers stage.
Question re: Free trade
Mr. Phelps: I would just like to follow up on this a little because what happened was that Canada was entering into negotiations with regard to free trade; we sent officials to officials meetings. What I want to know is: what position did that official take at those meetings? Did he have a position to take?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: If the Member opposite is asking if we took a position on a deal that was not yet negotiated, and was not yet signed, of course we did not. What we did was, very early on, identify some concerns that we would have about certain aspects of the deal as it evolved.
Earlier this year, at a Regional Economic Development Ministers Conference, which was held in Whitehorse, consistent with the trade negotiations, at Mr. Reismans initiative, the provincial governments attempted to begin a process to do away with interprovincial trade barriers, including local preference and local purchase policies. Because of our concern about the negative impact that would have on the development of our young economy, we did not sign that document and at that time communicated our concern about the direction in which the country was moving.
Mr. Phelps: We have a situation where the government engaged a consulting group to do a study on the impact of free trade, and it sat on that study for some time before it made it public. Later it accepted a study that was made by the Yukon Federation of Labour.
My concern is this: if this government had concerns about what free trade would do to any sector of this economy, what did it do, in terms of putting forward its concerns, in writing, to the federal government? Surely it had a duty to take a position back then.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am afraid, with respect, I do not agree with the Member opposite at all. Presumably, if we are going to take a position on a deal signed between Canada and the United States, first we have to find out what is in the deal. The Member opposite wants us to take a hard position on a contract about which we do not know any of the elements. The Member opposite is being silly. I know the Members party is passionately committed to the idea of free trade. Whether or not the particular deal signed between Canada and the United States constitutes free trade is still an open question.
Yes, we have concerns. I have concerns that I made public, and I have reiterated them in this House about the DPA study, a study which indicated that there be no adverse impact on any sector of the Yukon economy. No responsible student of the free trade deal anywhere has made such a claim with respect to any regional economy anywhere in the country. We did not think the DPA report was credible from that point of view.
Mr. Phelps: Is the Government Leader saying that, if they had concerns, they had no right to express those concerns or to attend officials meetings before the negotiations were complete? Is he really taking that position? Will he not agree that the time to put forward his concerns and the concerns of this government - if they had some - was back when the free trade negotiations were ongoing? That is what they were invited to the officials meeting for. Not to sit around and have tea and crumpets.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We did express our concerns at the officials meetings, but I would remind Members again that the basic position of the national government with respect to free trade has been the same position they took in Meech Lake - Trust us. They did not allow us to come to the first ministers meetings where Mr. Reisman briefed the first ministers. They did not allow us to come to the designated Trade Ministers meetings. On every occasion when one of those meetings were held, we protested the fact that we were not there.
Question re: Free trade
Mr. Phelps: Would the Government Leader now table all correspondence between this government and the federal government with respect to the issue of free trade, and all positions taken by officials that were in writing?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: No, I am not going to table all correspondence between this government and the federal government. Once we have the deal made public, and once we have a copy, and once we have a chance to have a look at the document, I am quite prepared - having been denied adequate access going in - to say what concerns we have coming out.
Question re: Free trade
Mr. Nordling: In the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne, the Government Leader went on to defend critics of free trade, saying that they are simply Canadians who do not want to be Americans. Is the Government Leader opposed to the free trade initiative because he fears that he and other Yukoners will turn into Americans?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Not a terribly swift question, if you forgive me for saying so. There is serious concern among many Canadians, for whom I have considerable respect, that the particular arrangements negotiated by Mr. Mulroney and Mr. Reagan and their delegates will compromise Canadian sovereignty and will diminish this countrys control over its own affairs and its own future.
Mr. Nordling: This has happened in other parts of Canada, so we do have precedents. Is the Government Leader saying that the constituents of Oshawa, represented by Ed Broadbent, have lost their sovereignty because General Motors - an American company - has invested billions and billions of dollars in that riding?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Conservatives elsewhere in the country have attempted to use that red herring. It made the logical link better than the Member opposite. Presumably, he is talking something about the Auto Pact, which is an example of managed trade, and somehow comparing that in some peculiar way with the arrangement made with Mr. Reisman recently, which is supposedly free trade.
I agreed with Premier Lougheed when he said recently that this deal will diminish provincial control of resources. For an area that has yet to gain that control, that has to be a serious concern.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed. We will proceed with the Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Bill No. 33: Third Reading
Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 33, standing in the name of the hon. Mr. Kimmerly.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I move that Bill No. 33, entitled Societies Act, be now read a third time and do pass.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Justice that Bill No. 33, entitled Societies Act, be now read a third time and do pass.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: I declare that Bill No. 33 has passed this House.
Bill No. 14: Third reading
Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 14, standing in the name of the hon. Mr. Kimmerly.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I move that Bill No. 14, entitled Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act, 1987 be now read a third time and do pass.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Justice that Bill No. 14, entitled Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act, 1987 be now read a third time and do pass.
Mrs. Firth: I feel that I must rise on third reading of this Bill to make a couple of brief comments about the second reading speech that the Minister made in the Legislative Assembly, about the government policy and principles regarding Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Acts. At that time the Minister stated categorically and very emphatically that it was for the correction of technical defects or to more perfectly express what was originally intended, rather than to make any changes in policy. I believe the Minister went on that this was done in all the provinces. After we got into the debate and into the specific clauses, the Minister admitted that there were minor and even major policy changes made within this Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act. Also, we were very disappointed at the Ministers preparedness and at his ability to stand up and defend this piece of legislation that he brought forward to the Legislative Assembly. I think the Minister has the message by now that he had better pull up his socks and start reviewing his legislation, and he had better start doing his job.
Mr. Nordling: I feel that I must also rise to express concern about this Bill. It is very difficult at the present time for people to track down what is in Yukon legislation. Now they will have to be looking through Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Acts to find out if the particular Act that affects them has been changed with respect to major policy. The explanatory note stated that the purpose of the changes was to more perfectly express what was originally intended rather than to make any change of policy. This just was not true,and it makes it very difficult. I hope that somebody coming into the Yukon to do business, or someone looking through, is not caught or embarrassed because they omitted looking through the Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act for substantial changes in government policy in the Act they are looking at.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Very briefly, it is inaccurate to say that there are major policy changes or substantial policy changes. The policy about what is included and not included in the Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act, if anything, tightened up the previous long-term practice of this Legislature - and is quite restrictive and is similar or tighter - than the practice in the Legislatures around the country.
The alternative is to bring in numerous single amendment acts to single laws. Although that is cumbersome, perhaps we will do that.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: I declare that Bill No. 14 has passed this House.
Bill No. 2: Third reading
Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 2, standing in the name of the hon. Mr. Penikett.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move that Bill No. 2, entitled Sixth Appropriation Act, 1986-87 be now read a third time and do pass.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government Leader that Bill No. 2, entitled Sixth Appropriation Act, 1986-87 be now read a third time and do pass.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: I declare that Bill No. 2 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: The Committee of the Whole will now come to order. Before we proceed with Bill No. 3, Third Appropriation Act, 1987-88, we will recess.
Chairman: The Committee of the Whole will now come to order.
Bill No. 3 - Third Appropriation Act, 1987-88 - continued
Chairman: Bill No. 3, Third Appropriation Act; we will continue with the Department of Community and Transportation Services, Capital Expenditures, general debate.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: This item was composed of three primary projects. I explained in some detail the Local Employment Opportunities Program, the Engineering Services Agreement and the Ministry of Transport program, showing increases in each of those, offset by some recoveries. There was a question about the Roads to Resources Program and how much commitment had been made to date. That was $1.6 million to date.
There was also a question about Porter Creek C litigation. One company, EPEC Consulting, is no longer with us, but its insurance company is. The contractors are still existent, and they are still defendants in the case. Examinations for Discovery are taking place this week. They are expected to wrap up early in the spring when trial dates will be set. Our attorneys have informed us that the government case still remains quite strong.
Mr. Lang: Can the Minister provide us with a list of projects that have gone over budget by about $20,000 or more?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: At this point, these may not require extra votes. We have had some reductions in Public Works, in Canadas budget, by $281,000. We have expressed concern over that development, but it is a reality that we must face. Grazing leases need to be reviewed, so we need someone who will devote their time to reviewing leases until the backlog is taken care of.
The subject of this supplementary is for funding for the Dawson Water and Sewer Agreement, and dwelling unit grants have increased by $48,000 beyond projections.
Due to adjusted assessments, it should show an increase of approximately $76,000 as well.
As Members will recall, during the Main Estimates we budgeted no money under the Joint Emergency Agreement - that is the emergency preparedness agreement - largely because we were not sure what funding commitment was going to come from the federal government. It is a 75:25 cost share and would be 25 percent of the $84,000 total. There is a $85,000 increase in community recreation grants and there is expected to be an increase in homeowner grants by approximately $80,000 as well.
Those are still, as yet, very preliminary figures but there is a feeling that there will be more homeowners who are eligible to collect than previously. Those things are all, at this stage, quite tentative and do not really reflect a policy change at all; they just simply reflect what we project the changing needs to be.
Mr. Lang: I know the Minister does not have this at his fingertips, but perhaps he could provide it for the House when we get into the debate on the Capital Mains on the capital side of the budget. What I had asked for was a review of all the projects with respect to the capital side of the budget that was voted last year, and to highlight any of those particular projects where we were considerably over from what we had projected - that is, take a break-off or cut-off point of $20,000 - to give us an idea with respect to the magnitude of our spending, our management of those funds and what is happening so far as the general overall costs are occurring to the government.
I am just making a representation to the Minister that I am sure they have to have this on computer; could that information be provided to us prior to debate on Community and Transportation when we get into the Main Estimates?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: To be perfectly honest, I do not know what it would involve, but I will certainly try to see if I can get that information.
Mr. Lang: I am a little concerned with respect to the airports and where we are going in what we are doing. Could the Minister tell us how well the airports are being utilized, for example the airport at Pelly? Are there any private airplanes there, or is there any use being made of the airport yet?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am not sure what the frequency is at the Pelly Crossing airport. I understand there is some private traffic. The main issue with emergency strips is their ability to handle emergencies, and there generally is not the frequency quotient of emergencies with which one can deal. What you more or less have to do is to try to anticipate what might count as the need for an airport or an airstrip. We have undertaken an analysis of many of the strips - I believe there are 57 in the territory, currently - for which there is at times some expectation of Yukon Government maintenance. We have tried to determine which strips should be maintained and which should be formally abandoned, with the air industry being informed formally that those strips will be abandoned so that they will not expect regular maintenance.
We do try to ensure that there are emergency strips around communities that do not have strips and for which it is practical and feasible to have a strip for medevacs, and that sort of thing. There are a lot of emergency strips around the territory that were put in for a variety of reasons. One reason might have been that a mining company having moved in and built a strip and there is some sort of expectation that Yukon Government will be maintaining it. I think what we have tried to do in the last year is to determine for ourselves which strips should be maintained and which ought to be dropped for lack of use and lack of identifiable need for emergency purposes. We have boiled it down to approximately 17 emergency strips at this point, and we will undertake with the airline industry to ensure that these strips will serve their need for emergency purposes.
We will also ensure we have the necessary resources to ensure they are maintained as per the publics expectation.
Mr. Lang: I have a further question with respect to airstrips, and that pertains to the Cousins Airstrip out on the highway. As the Minister knows we have had some correspondence with respect to that. Is it true that it was $60,000 over and above the projected costs that were presented in the House during the last budget debate?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I could find out exactly the costs, but certainly it was greater than what was budgeted. It was felt we should do the Cousins Airstrip properly and that is what we intended to do. Our reasons for doing that are certainly public information. I cannot find the exact amount at the moment. Basically, the reasons for ensuring the job was done according to the revised plan was that it could be used for a major emergency strip in the Whitehorse area. There are times, I am told, that the Whitehorse airport has weather problems, and Cousins - because of the configuration of terrain - does not. There has been a desire among many of the people with whom Airports Branch consulted, that they would prefer Cousins to be brought up to a standard that was reasonable and acceptable for an emergency strip.
Does the Member want to know exact amounts?
Mr. Lang: Yes, I would like to know. Further, has there been any fear or concerns expressed with the upgrading of that particular airstrip, with the increased usage of it - that it could pose a hazard for the central or main airport with respect to its use? Will there be a conflict as far as air traffic is concerned?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: That particular concern has never been expressed to me, even during the time the debate was taking place in the public. As I understand it, the airline industry and pilot industry were consulted by the Airports Branch and there was a general feeling that this airstrip could be the only possible emergency strip to replace the Whitehorse Airport in a congested area.
Mr. Lang: I am not arguing that point. I would like to have the Minister assure this House, and in turn the people of the territory, that in the decision to upgrade it to the standard that they have upgraded it - which has and is going to result in more traffic utilizing that particular airstrip - that it is not going to pose a danger to the traffic going into the main Whitehorse Airport. I would like that assurance.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: My understanding is that clearly it is not going to pose any special danger to the traffic entering the flight ways to Whitehorse Airport. Much of the cost of the upgrading was the access road to the site, which now cuts directly off from the highway. There was also a wow in the airstrip itself and that was leveled and surfacing was undertaken.
Chairman: Any further general debate?
The first item program being LEOP, in the amount of $2,146,000. Is this clear?
Mr. Lang: Have not the decisions already been made in respect to this program - the money we are being asked to vote here?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Does the Member mean have applications been approved for this funding? Yes, I believe - well, I am not absolutely certain whether this funding has actually been identified. There was money in the vote authority for this year which would have allowed the program to be undertaken. Whether we actually moved into this funding - because we have only just started the program for this year - I do not know. It could easily be the case.
Mr. Lang: I just want to clarify this for the record so that we are clear on this, because there was some debate in respect of the ability of the government to spend money or not to spend money. The Minister is informing this House that decisions could, or have been taken, in respect to this program, under the expectation these dollars are going to be made available to the program. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It is my understanding that when you have the vote authority to undertake the program, you can undertake the program - and that is the understanding under which the LEOP committee is operating.
Mr. Lang: I would like to point out that the vote authority that the Minister is talking about is zero: the amount that has been voted to date. I just want to bring that to his attention.
Could the Minister report to this House: is it still the policy of the government that three Ministers get together and distribute this money, after all the applications have been screened?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: No, that was not the policy before and it is not the policy now. There are three Ministers on the committee, there are also four deputy ministers on the committee - or their representatives or designates - and they form the selection committee.
Mr. Lang: I may look like I just got out of bed, but I have been up for awhile. Do not tell me that the deputy minister, sitting on the same committee as my good colleague from Mayo, is going to carry the day in respect to the final decision. So, the answer is yes; the three Ministers do sit there and distribute the dollars accordingly.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The answer is no.
Mr. McLachlan: I wanted to ask the Minister in regards to - I fully realize the program is intended for - the first two words are the target words - local employment. There are many situations, one of them in Faro and there are other ones in the communities, where a number of projects, buildings, and approvals are badly needed but are denied simply because the unemployment rate is low, very low. But I wonder if any thought has been ever given to modifying the program in such a way that opportunities - which is the third word of the program - could be taken up, but not based solely upon the fact that there is only a three or four percent unemployment rate in the area. It seems to me that opportunities are being denied to put in a building for the scouts or the cadets, which they can not get to because you have a very low unemployment rate.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It is a local employment program, and it is also a program that tries to be somewhat fair in terms of ensuring that all communities and areas have some attention. That is not going to guarantee that a particular application is approved, but it will ensure that everyone has a shot at the available funding.
There have been times in the past where people have wanted to import labour even from outside the territory in order to make some work. Those applications have been turned down.
Mr. McLachlan: The problem comes in getting the understanding and description of the word opportunities. Opportunities to create employment or opportunities for projects that are badly needed. That is where I am seeing the difference in the program. That is why I asked the question, if anything other than the guidance of employment goes into the formulation of who gets the money.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The wishes of municipalities are taken into significant consideration when these projects are put forward, as well as those put forward by Indian bands or community clubs. Those organizations that represent a large number of people in communities are given the highest consideration. The break out between labour and materials is a consideration as well. Those projects that have a good balance of labour versus materials are given better consideration than those that have a very little labour component at all. Those are the kinds of considerations that are not only expressed, but are in the program criteria, which determine whether the projects go ahead.
Mr. Lang: When they approve a project and after the official approval has been given, is it the custom of the Minister to write a letter to that organization under his signature, that they have received the funding from this political body?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I would point out that this committee, in its composition, is designated by Management Board and has reflected much of the character of Management Board - which does make funding decisions around the territory as per the authorities that are established in this House.
It is the practice of the program administrator to immediately contact the applicants upon approval or disapproval of a particular project, so that there will be no delays. There is also a formal letter written, both approval and rejection, from the Minister responsible, to let applicants know where they stand in writing.
Mr. Lang: After these three Ministers have made the decision with respect to the application of these dollars, is it the policy of the government that the Minister responsible for that line department write the letter and outline the reasons why a particular approval has not been granted, if that is the case on a particular application?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I do not know what the Member means by that particular line department. This program comes out of the Department of Community and Transportation Services. After the technical committee, there is a selection committee composed of three Ministers and four deputy ministers. They jointly make selections after they have been kicked up from the technical committee, based on the program criteria - which is public information. Subsequent to the decision being made, applicants are informed by the program administrator. Then the Minister responsible for the program - which is the Minister of Community and Transportation Services - sends a letter of acceptance or rejection for all projects put forward.
Mr. Lang: After this nonpolitical body, and I say that with tongue in cheek, of the three Ministers goes through and casts out this money, when they give a letter of rejection to an organization do they outline specifically the reasons why an organization, or community, or whomever, did not receive financial assistance from the program?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Yes, I do.
LEOP in the amount of $2,146,000 agreed to
On Engineering Services Agreement
Mr. McLachlan: I want the Minister to elaborate on this $711,000 additional request. Does it have to do with the Skagway Road work?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: As I mentioned in my opening remarks it is primarily for the Dempster Highway.
Mr. Lang: There have been some complaints with respect to the Dempster Highway and I recognize the highway crew can only do so much given the weather. It is a fine line that the Department of Highways walk, but when observations are made by some of the truckers who go up there on a continuous basis and find that their tractors are taking a lot of abuse because of the washboard road and things of this nature on a continuous basis, I think it is a question of concern to members of the general public and Members of this Legislature. I wrote a letter on the subject to the Minister of Community and Transportation Services over the summer months and it was not meant to be tongue in cheek. I quite frankly thought that I got a very smart letter back. I felt that it was serious enough to raise the issue. I do not write letters to the Minister just for the sake of writing a letter, believe me. I am sure we all have better things to do with our time, but when things of this nature come to my attention, and I sit down and correspond with the Minister I feel that it deserves just notice. I recognize that the Minister has to go to his department officials and ask what the situation is here. I am sure that side of the story is being given to the Minister.
When that observation is made by a number of people, then there is cause for concern as to whether or not we are providing the service we should be with the taxpayers dollars. The concern I have is that I have heard from a number of truckers that they are not prepared to express their views publicly because they are afraid of retribution from perhaps officials in the government so they are better off to keep their mouths shut. That is not the society I want to live in. I feel people have the right to express their opinions without fear of retribution. Although I know we will have to wait to next year I know there are improvements going in on the highway. It is an area that has to be watched to ensure that we are getting the best value for the dollars being put in for the maintenance of the program there. If it is necessary to review it, then I think we should.
I bring that representation to the Minister. Maybe the Minister has a comment. I know that his response to me was short, saying that everything was great and he could not understand why anybody was complaining. I want to assure the Minister that numbers of people are complaining to me privately and, in some cases, publicly. There must be some legitimacy to it somewhere and I do not think it should be ignored because their feelings or observations do not count. That is not the way it operates, it has to be looked at, and if there are things that can be rectified they should be rectified.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I get a flood of letters from all Members, including some from this side of the floor. If I have been curt or flippant in my responses, I apologize. In the main, responses to Members are given a great deal of consideration. Things have changed many times as a result of their representations, which is the way it should be. The Dempster Highway is one road that is difficult to maintain, and it will prove to be an expensive road to maintain.
Members are not aware of it yet, but there will be increased Operation and Maintenance costs associated with that highway for resurfacing on an annual basis. This is one corridor that is important to keep open for international interests as well as for Yukon interests, and it will also be expensive. It is not an easy road to maintain. We have capital expenditures this year under the Engineering Services Agreement. We will also have capital expenditures to deal with in the Capital Main Estimates of a rather sizable amount. One of those is for erosion control. These will continue to be very large expenditures.
I am satisfied that the Department of Highways does its very best to provide a good level of service. I have been living in rural Yukon in all the time that I have lived in the territory, apart from one year, and I do know how quickly the roads can deteriorate with little rainfall. That definitely is a fact of life respecting the Dempster Highway; it is in my own riding. I am satisfied that the Department of Highways took what action it could to ensure that the washboarding was smoothed over by crews at Eagle Plains. I am not suggesting the people who complained to the Member are habitual complainers. They may have legitimate complaints. There are others who are used to taking a fancy new rig up the highway and are shocked when they encounter northern driving conditions and gravel roads. Those people will have to understand that when they travel on the Dempster Highway in the future that there will be some difficulty.
I am concerned about the Members suggestion that people fear retribution by the government or by the department. I deny that I have ever been mean spirited in carrying out my duties. If that is the case regarding department officials, I will do something about it. That is not the impression that people get when they contact my office.
Mr. Lang: It is important to know that people I am talking about have put a lot of miles on Yukon highways. I am not talking about some neophyte from Vancouver who has never been off a paved road. These are individuals who probably have a million miles or more of experience driving under northern conditions, so their expectations are probably far less than those of other people. We will be looking at this further over the course of the year.
Is the Dempster Highway still a federal highway and ultimately still the responsibility of the federal government? Has it ever been transferred to the Government of the Yukon Territory?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Yes, that is the reason it is covered under the Engineering Services Agreement for funding. We do not determine the expenditure levels - they are negotiated. We are the ones who are maintaining the highway, we have the highway engineers to determine what work we think needs to be done. Basically, the federal government has to approve those expenditures. In this case, it is a DIAND and Department of Public Works highway. DIAND has to approve the expenditures based on the evidence we provide to them.
Chairman: Anything further?
Engineering Services Agreement in the amount of $711,000 agreed to
Mr. Brewster: Could the Minister clear up what is going on in the Burwash airport, whether we are taking it over, whether we have not taken it over, or what?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: We have not taken it over but, like B and C airports around the territory, the Ministry of Transport provides the YTG with funding to provide certain services. In the case of other communities, it can be an arrangement where it is subcontracted. Ultimately, we are a contractor ourselves until such time as MOT transfers, through the negotiations, the Arctic B and C airport program to the Yukon government - in which case we would be the initiator of the agreement. That is what is happening in Burwashs case. We take money that is given to us by the MOT and transfer it to the contractor to do what the contractor does.
Mr. Brewster: Have you issued a contract out to anybody privately to take over that airport and maintain it?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Yes, we have. The name is difficult to pronounce.
Mr. Brewster: Am I to understand that the contract has been okayed, and he is now doing the work?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Management Board has approved this particular contract.
Mr. McLachlan: With respect to the Arctic B and C programs, does the department have a long term plan as to which airports - with the exception of Dawson City, which I realize is a major Capital expenditure - over a five-year period are going to get expanded, which are going to get lights and auxiliary navigation and landing equipment upgrades?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Arctic B and C airports, through MOT, have always had a five-year Capital plan. It continues that five-year Capital plan and will have one under the Yukon government if things go well and the program is transferred to the Yukon.
The five-year Capital plan is very much like the governments general five-year Capital plan. At this stage, we have clearly identified deficiencies within the airport system and, at the administrative level, have agreed that these ought to be undertaken prior to the transfer program - which is beyond the normal five-year Capital plan. At the officials level, these things have been agreed to. It is simply a matter for the political arms of government to formally agree.
Technically, it is at the negotiating stage. I do not see any cause for concern at this point. I feel the program should go ahead as a transfer, and I think it will be reasonably well funded to meet Yukons needs.
Mr. McLachlan: Recently, in the last six or eight months I believe, the Minister of Transport, Mr. Crosbie, announced that the federal government would be embarking on a program to sell airports. The only airport I know of that is on the positive remunerative side is one of the ones in Toronto. I want to ask the Minister if that particular incentive - call it what you may - from the federal Minister of Transport swings any weight with this government? Are any plans being actively considered to purchase any airport anywhere in the territory?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The federal Minister has outlined essentially a two part policy for making airports more economical. One is to conduct a regular user-pay program for all airports so that the travelling public actually picks up the tab for the operation of those airports - whether it be through increased taxes, airport taxes, user charges, or whether it be through retail activity that might take place on airport grounds. Some airports in the south have even entertained fast food chains and hotels and suchlike setting up on their property in order to acquire revenue. The second proposal, if that does not work, is to sell them off. To my understanding there are three airports in the country that are self-sufficient and make money - Dorval, Malton and Vancouver International. In all likelihood, those are the only airports that will be sold off in any kind of hurry, if they were to be sold. What the federal Minister has done is indicate that he would like to transfer airports to community authorities; he has not specified or designated provincial or territorial authorities. It is more to community upgrading authorities - municipalities, for example - to see whether or not they would like to take over the operations of airports. That, at this point, is what one might call a draft position. It is not a finalized position. In our case, it would only have effect on Watson Lake and Whitehorse; perhaps Dawson City if it gets upgraded. We have had no offer at this point to transfer those airports to Yukon jurisdiction or any persons within Yukon. Those airports, by the way, are low volume airports and simply do not make money. They are money losers.
Mr. Lang: I just want to go back to the Burwash situation. Could you explain to the House why the letting of that contract was held up for so long?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I do not have the particulars in front of me. I do not know how long is so long, so I will have to check on details. I can find out that information and bring it back.
Mr. Lang: The other question I have is that the Minister referred to management board making the decision on that. Could he explain to the House why that would go to management board for decision as opposed to normal contracting procedures?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I believe because it was over the Ministers funding authority.
Mr. Lang: I just want to make one other observation on the devolution. The government have been involved for close to three years, it will be three years in May, and we still have not had one transfer of any authority to the Government of Yukon except for name-the-mountain authority. Quite frankly, as a Member of this House, it disappoints me a great deal that the Northwest Territories are now taking a lead role vis-a-vis health transfer. One of the major initiatives of the government has been the devolution of airports to the Government of Yukon Territory. Now we find we are sitting here with much the same situation as five years ago, where we negotiate a contract with the MOT, then we contract out to the auspices of YTG for the maintenance. Actually, I guess this works fairly well; I have not heard any major complaints. Perhaps the Minister could inform the House when he expects the devolution of B and C airports specifically to the Government of Yukon?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Firstly, I would say that there is every desire that the transfer take place by April 1 of 1988. The Government of the Yukons position at the negotiating table has been in place for just about a year. All the background documentation that we undertook has been shared with the federal negotiators so that we all work from the same fact base. We were a good deal ahead of the NWT in determining the fact base and determining our position. We assisted, when it became clear that the federal government wanted to move in concert with the two territories, the NWT in providing to them necessary information. I believe that the position that we have now is, objectively, on the facts, a very dependable one, and certainly one that has been generally agreed to by the negotiators on all sides, and it remains to the political elements to determine acceptance or not.
Mr. Brewster: I would like to go to another airport now, down at Haines Junction, and point out that we still have not got lights, that Craggy Windy is flying planes out of here, left and right, with material, with fuel oil and that, yet last spring when they had 24 hours of daylight they were flying that out of Haines Junction and the whole Champagne-Aishihik Band was working around the clock. We have now lost all of that business to Whitehorse. It is quite understandable. Some of this traffic would come to Whitehorse, but if we had lights we probably would be getting a lot more than we are getting, which is nothing right now.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: In the airport negotiations, certainly it has been our desire to have the Haines Junction airport upgraded. As a result of negotiations there appears to be general acceptance by negotiators that that ought to be done. The decision to upgrade it ought to be done, and the funding agreed to prior to the negotiations being concluded.
Mr. McLachlan: I have a question in regard to private maintenance of the airports, inspired by this situation in Burwash. Is it the policy of the government to ask for tendering of the private maintenance of an airport only when the government wishes to get out of it, or will the government entertain any cost-saving facility for airport maintenance that may come to them?
I ask this in relation to the situation at Faro/Ross River, where the crew who do the Faro airport must come 40 miles from Ross River to maintain it, as well as doing their own airport. Usually, when there is a snowstorm both areas get hit at the same time, thus leaving a distribution of manpower somewhat in question. It would seem to me that were there a private operator at Faro who could do it, it would save time, and the airport would be earlier in the morning for scheduled services, but I do not know if it is a policy of the government to just let out the maintenance, or do it only when it wishes to save dollars. It has never been clear.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I hope there is no misunderstanding about what we mean by maintenance. If you mean, in the classic sense, that which happens with highway graders, in terms of maintaining the runways, that is done by Highways, of course. What we are talking about are the operations of the airport itself, short of the full services that the Ministry of Transport provides directly around the territory. The Ministry of Transport has employees at certain stations who provide a certain kind of service. For the lesser service, when MOT employees are not involved, that is contracted by MOT to Yukon Government. Yukon Government, in turn, contracts that sometimes through community authorities - as in Teslin - to someone to oversee the operations of the airport.
Mr. McLachlan: There may be a misunderstanding of the term maintenance. Let me rephrase it. Are there any situations in the territory where other than the Department of Community and Transportation Services maintained a snow clearing operation and maintenance of the airstrips - of both B and C and emergency strips - or does this department do it all?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: When you separate out Whitehorse airport, the answer is yes.
Airports in the amount of $90,000 agreed to
Community and Transportation Services in the amount of $2,947,000 agreed to
On Department of Education
Chairman: On the Department of Education, first dealing with the Operation and Maintenance votes, which appear on page 16.
Mrs. Firth: When the Government Leader made his opening comments about the person year complement of this Budget, he identified 7.9 person years for teachers and 0.5 person year for a remedial tutor. Can the Minister tell me which schools these persons went to?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: With respect to the Operation and Maintenance Supplementary funds, additional money has been allocated for public schools during this period, because projected enrollment figures indicated that an additional 8.97 person years were necessary to support the increase in student enrollments within the school system with an extension of the Primary Core French Program in Takhini, Jack Hulland and Dawson City, and two new equivalency classes, one at Haines Junction and one at Faro. Additional teaching staff has also been allocated to Kluane Lake, Porter Creek Junior Secondary, Takhini, Watson Lake High School, and Johnson Elementary in Carcross. The salary and benefit expenses for these additional teachers is a total of $301,600.
I can break it out per fraction of person year. In Destruction Bay, 0.75 has been allocated; 0.3 to Grey ...
Mrs. Firth: No, I only wanted to know which schools the Minister sent these teachers to and where the ten percent increase in student population was. Does what the Minister just rattled off identify all of the 7.9 person years? Is that where the increases in population took place?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It is not only increases in population, as I tried to explain in the opening statement I rattled off. The exact allocation per teacher is something I am prepared to relate. It is not very long. It can explain the situation quite well. If the Member wants, I can provide a student-teacher ratio list, which would probably provide a greater sense of where things have gone since last June.
Mrs. Firth: I understand there were not seven teachers allocated to seven different schools. The Minister is saying it was spread out in more of a fractional basis. Could he read through the list and tell me exactly how many new bodies we have on a part time and on a full time basis? I will wait for the Minister to read the list and see what kind of conclusion I draw from it.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Mr. Chairman, .75 was allocated to Destruction Bay, .3 to Grey Mountain, .5 to Jeckell, .8 to Selkirk, 2.32 to Christ the King Elementary, two to Christ the King High School, one to Whitehorse Elementary, .25 to Carcross, and one person to Kluane Lake.
Mrs. Firth: Is the Minister saying that because some had more students they increased the allotments for teachers? Were there any new teachers that actually came on staff, and if so, how many?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I do not have it broken out by actual warm bodies. It might be difficult to find that information, but in some cases some persons may have gone to full-time from part-time. There is a myriad of permutations on this thing. Can the Member more accurately express what it is that she wants? The way she expressed the question made it difficult to find that information.
Mrs. Firth: Are there any new teachers? The complement of teachers in the Yukon is 360 some. Has that gone up? Are there any new teachers on staff and, if so, where?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Yes, there are, and probably more than the seven or eight teachers shown here. There are 319 teachers on staff. There are new teachers hired every year because some teachers go on leave. There are new teachers hired because some teachers quit and leave, or quit and stay, and new teachers have to be sought from within or from outside the territory. Certainly there are a number of teachers who have been hired on in this past year. How many I am not sure.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister is giving me every answer except the one I want. All I want to know is how many teachers we have in the Yukon, 319 plus whatever. How many person years would that represent? I know they get into great formulas, but 319 teachers do not represent 319 person years. It is probably a significantly higher number. Can the Minister bring that information back so we have an accurate idea of the numbers we are talking about?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The student-teacher ratios, which I believe I have here, show 319 teaching person years. That is what we have: 319.15.
Mrs. Firth: I do not know if this is a computer print-out. It is a work sheet. It has probably about 1,000 numbers on it that I am going to compute immediately. I see the number representative in the grand total column of 319.15 person years, or whatever that represents. The Minister has said it represents 319.15 person years. Is the Minister saying that there are 319 teachers in the territory, and if he is, what does this number of 7.9 person years add to that, to give us a grand total? Do I just add the 7.9 to the 319.15?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: No. The 319 is current to date.
Mrs. Firth: I have already made a couple of requests, and the Minister gave me a commitment that he would get this information to me when it was available. Just recently, I requested from his officials in the executive wing of the government the report that was supposed to have been given to the Minister regarding the school facilities studies that were done. There was a committee of city and department officials, and they were supposed to give the government some recommendations. I have never received a copy of that, and I would like the Minister to update us on the status of that.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The status has changed, to a change of plans. In late September or early October a press release was issued jointly by myself and the Chairperson of the Education Council, Mr. Sheridan, which outlined what the government planned to do regarding the development of a capital plan for schools, including the City of Whitehorse. There was a desire to amalgamate the rural and urban plans because there was significant overlap in the Whitehorse commuter district. Now what we have in place is the desire to provide for further consultation with school committees, which we have undertaken to do through the Education Council on a territory-wide basis - for one plan for the territory to indicate territorial priorities. That should come out in the spring.
Mrs. Firth: There are some announcements being made at school committee meetings. Is the Minister prepared to fulfill his commitment to us and provide us with that information so that when people ask me about these things, I know what they are talking about?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I have no desire to keep the Member for Whitehorse Riverdale South in the dark. There was a press release which delineated exactly what we intended to do. There was no Ministerial Statement because the House was not sitting at the time. There is every intent to keep the school committees not only in the know, but in the prime movers seat when it comes to consultation with the public. We have every desire to use the school committees to seek that input rather than having the department do it directly.
Mrs. Firth: I remember the press release, and it does not give the detailed information that people are asking for. For example, at the Whitehorse Elementary Committee meeting some announcements were made about where new schools were going to be built in Hillcrest. The Grey Mountain School Committee is still wondering what the status of the Grey Mountain Primary School is and whether or not there is going to be a Catholic school built or if it is going to be an elementary school for kindergarten to grade 6. The Minister has given us the commitment that he will share any information on the direction the government will be taking. Does that commitment still stand? When will we get the information?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: As is to be expected in situations like this, people speculate about what the best place for another school is and whether or not another school is needed. People will also speculate about expansion plans for their own schools. No decisions have been made, and consultation on specifics is yet to happen. That is the position of the government. That is the position that superintendents will take to schools. That is our clear position. The position of the government is that the Grey Mountain Primary School will be located at the Grey Mountain site, and the future of the Grey Mountain School will be assured.
That was our position when we made the funding agreement to provide for the activity room - a significant funding commitment - and that is our position now. All other speculation with respect to where schools might go is pure speculation and does not represent government policy.
Mrs. Firth: It was not speculation according to the parents who called me and said there was going to be a new school in Hillcrest. Could the Minister tell me if there is going to be a new school in Hillcrest?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It is speculation as to whether or not there will be a school in Hillcrest or any other new school built in the City of Whitehorse. That is speculation. It is not government policy. I repeat: it is not government policy. It is not information that is to be transmitted by superintendents to the school system. The Member says it was told to someone by somebody at some time. I am indicating to all Members what the government policy is, and I cannot make it any clearer than I have already.
Mrs. Firth: There was a public meeting in that constituency, where there was controversy over a road. It was discussed at that time and it was announced at the Whitehorse Elementary School committee meeting. Parents were told there was going to be a school up in Hillcrest, and now the Minister is saying no, there is not going to be a school in Hillcrest and that it is purely speculative. I would like the Minister to tell us - the Minister is rolling his hand and saying this is not going to happen. But we had a whole debate in public about the school that was going to be built in Hillcrest and a road that was going to be built up there, connecting two portions of that particular area because of the school. There was a school committee meeting held at Whitehorse Elementary School, after which I had parents phone me and say there was going to be a school built in Hillcrest. There either is or there is not.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Something that may have arisen, which might explain some of the speculation, was that when the McIntyre Subdivision was designed and developed, that school reserve was put at the site for future prospects. There has been no decision made by this government with respect to where a new school will be positioned. There are some design funds in the budget, contemplating that a decision will be made for a new facility. No decision has been made as to the location. No decision has been made as to what sort of school it will be. That will be the result of consultations the government will have through the Education Council and school committees and will be a decision that will be made probably in early spring.
That is where the situation stands now. If people think the decision has been made, then I would only say they are mistaken. The decision has not been made with respect to where any new school will be built. That is the position of the government.
Mrs. Firth: I guess what the Minister is saying is that it is a secret for now and they will make the announcement in the spring.
The children from Whitehorse Elementary School, who were kindergarten kids, were sent to Takhini Elementary and now apparently they are going to be going back to Whitehorse Elementary School. Is the Minister aware of this situation and what is he doing to remedy it?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member implied that the decision had been made and the government was simply keeping it secret. That is not true. The decision has not been made, and consultation has yet to take place. When that consultation is complete, then a decision will be made.
With respect to the enrollment districts for Whitehorse Elementary School and Takhini, I think it is fairly obvious that Takhini School is overcrowded. It has faced population pressures. Also, with the transfer of programs around the city between Whitehorse Elementary and Takhini, the population pressures on the school have risen.
The superintendents are trying to ensure that as little disruption as possible takes place to the students at Takhini, and at any school, and at the same time are trying to keep the class sizes to reasonable limits. It is not an easy task for them, but through consultations that we are having with the school committees they are attempting to ensure that is what happens.
Mr. McLachlan: I just have a few brief general debate questions. I wanted to ask the Minister if he is planning on doing a shuffle with his department staff - one department into another - when the Education people move to the college? Who gets the old college facilities?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The old college will no longer be in active use by the Department of Education and it will be basically a Government Services Management Board decision to determine what the best use will be for that facility.
Mr. McLachlan: Is the Minister saying that no decision has been made yet on who gets the old Yukon College building?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The decision has been made, which I am sure the Minister of Government Services will have to explain to the House, when we get to his department.
Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister tell us how much longer the Grey Mountain Primary School is going to continue to have kindergarten to grade three in the school? Are there any plans to expand the grades?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Not to my knowledge.
Chairman: Anything further on the public schools?
Public schools in the amount of $302,000 agreed to
Before we move to Capital Expenditures, is it the wish of the Committee to take a brief recess? We will now recess for 15 minutes.
Chairman: Committee of the Whole will now come to order. Capital Expenditures for the Department of Education, general debate.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: A total is being requested in the amount of $4,569,000. This has been designated for construction at Carcross School, GA Jeckell Junior Secondary School, Yukon College and the Yukon Arts and Cultural Centre in the Supplementary period. The Carcross School upgrade is nearly complete. An amount of $1,559,000 in construction funds was identified but not spent in 1986-87. This amount is required to complete the project and allow occupancy by January 1. The project is necessary to improve and expand instructional areas for programming, and involves the construction of a new industrial arts room, a new gym and washrooms. The old gym is being converted into a home economics room and a primary classroom. The project involves an area of 15,000 square feet at a cost of $144 per square foot. The total project cost is estimated to be $2,170,000. My information is that the project is on target, cost wise, at the present time.
Additional Capital funds of $1,327,000 are required for the construction of a new gymnasium at Jeckell Junior Secondary due to major changes in the designing of the project emanating from consultation with the school committees and user groups and the school administration. The project involves the construction of a new gymnasium, change rooms, viewing area and weight room, in addition to upgrading the old change rooms. Changes in design resulted in doubling of the square footage requirement and the upgrading of the heating plant. Total project cost is estimated at $2.7 million.
Construction at the Yukon College will require an additional $1.1 million. This amount will continue construction of the three education wings, and the residence will require an additional $893,000 for the balance of the year. Design costs for the archives building will amount to $300,000, and $150,000 is allocated for designing the gymnasium. The remaining $50,000 is to be used to cover contingencies, such as landscaping and the completion of several small jobs.
As you know, the government has committed itself to designing construction of the Yukon Arts and Cultural Centre in cooperation with Arts Canada North. The Yukon government has made a public commitment to provide a total of $7 million to this project. Of this total, $500,000 is required during the 1987-88 fiscal year for the design of the centre. The facility plan put forth by Arts Canada North will result in a separate building being constructed with a floor area of approximately 49,000 square feet to allow for various performing and fine arts facilities.
Basically, those are the projects that we are requesting this funding for.
Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell us what the delay was in getting the GA Jeckell gymnasium project going?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am not certain what the specifics were with respect to the project once it left the department, but there was every attempt to ensure that the project was completed in this year. Best efforts were made by the contracting department to see that that was done.
Mrs. Firth: Did the Minister give me an answer? I did not hear the answer as to what the cause of the delay was.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will check with the department to determine the reasons for the delays beyond those that were anticipated in the initial plan, which was to have the work undertaken at the beginning of the summer. There were design changes that caused some delays and there was a change in the scope of the project that caused some delays, in terms of redesign. So it did drag on over the summer, unfortunately.
Mrs. Firth: Is the Minister saying those were the reasons or does he know what the reasons were? Is he going to come back with more information? I get the feeling he is just winging it. Could he clarify that for us?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I indicated what I thought were contributing factors. I also indicated I would check with the department to find specifically what the delays were. I was attempting to provide some information with respect to what I thought were major contributing factors and I also indicated I would provide more precise information.
Mrs. Firth: I would have expected the Minister to have that information if he was asking for a further $1.3 million. I do not think my request is unreasonable.
Perhaps the Minister could tell us who conjured up the label Yukon Place?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It was sort of my idea, I guess. It was meant to designate a community plaza concept for the college itself, and was meant to designate it as a place for general community use in the absence of an official name.
Mrs. Firth: I can see you biting your fingernail, Mr. Chairman. I have had some people register objection to it. Do I understand from the Minister that this is not an official title? I perceive it to be somewhat official if it is identified in the Budget and I believe it is also in the new Budget. Is this naming something the Minister is going to look for community input for, or is it called Yukon Place, and that is all there is to it?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member is quite correct, it is not an official designation for Yukon Place. It was only meant to denote a community plaza concept for this particular facility, as I indicated. If people are objecting to this name, temporary or permanent, there will come a time when a permanent name will have to be attached to the site.
On Carcross School Upgrade
Mr. Phelps: I am curious as to when the changes were determined that meant such a huge increase in the cost. I gather they were not contemplated this time last year, but when were they decided upon?
Mr. McDonald: In 1986-87 the Member will recall that the initial plans were that an industrial arts room, a home economics room and classroom space were slated for the Carcross school. The school and the community made a decent, reasonable case for better gymnasium facilities, and there were a couple of false starts there. In discussions with the architects over a period of time, it was determined that, given the design of the school and the projected use of the school, that the project itself be enhanced to incorporate the communitys wishes. And, subsequently, costs were attached to that, and we are voting costs today.
G.A. Jeckell gymnasium in the amount of $1,327,000 agreed to
On Yukon College construction
Mrs. Firth: When we were debating the Yukon College construction and additional costs before, the Minister and I talked about some cost overruns; we talked about the concrete. I would like to know if he can give us an accurate cost on that. Just before we approve another allotment here, I would also like some explanation from the Minister about extending the timeframe of the contracts. I believe that the newspaper reported that, because of the philosophical direction this government had taken of spreading out the construction to extend the benefits to Yukon contractors, that it increased the costs. I would like to know why it increased the costs, and can the Minister tell me by how much it increased the costs, and if that is included in this amount?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The so-called change of philosophical approach is simply that the project itself was getting to be very large, by Yukon standards, and there was also the feeling among the technical people in the field that if we were try to contract it over a two year period - meaning approximately $20 million plus per year - the local construction industry simply could not absorb that kind of work and we would be faced with importing a lot of workers on the job, so definite consideration was given to phasing the job out over a number of years.
Members certainly now know the scheduled phase of the project. It was agreed that in the first years, the three main wings would be built, and in this coming summer, the student residence will be completed. Following that, the gymnasium and archival facility and arts centre would be constructed. There was a decision to phase it out over a number of years.
The reasons for the cost was that when the project was initially costed by officials, they estimated a certain amount of costs associated with the management fees of the PCL Construction managers. Those construction fees were based on a two year construction schedule. When the decision was made to phase it out over four years, there was also an impending administrative cost that would be borne as well by the construction managers. That is the reason for their cost increase.
Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell us about the concrete cost overruns?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: My understanding is that for the college as a whole - that is, on all the wings that are built to date - the cost of concrete beyond that which was anticipated is approximately $1 million.
Mrs. Firth: That is double what the newspaper article reported for concrete work. I am referring to a newspaper article in the Whitehorse Star of Wednesday, November 25, where the deputy minister at that time reported that more concrete was needed than expected, adding $500,000. Can the Minister tell us why the discrepancy in figures, particularly the double discrepancy?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: We were referring to the trades building, where the costs of concrete for those particular buildings was in the neighbourhood of $235 per cubic metre - which was considerably more than that which was anticipated, given outside prices.
Mrs. Firth: There are no specifics. We are simply referring to extra concrete work. Is the Minister talking about the total concrete work or is he just referring to one particular section? The statement in the newspaper was made in a general sense that the concrete, overall, was half a million dollars more.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will have the figure checked, but it is my understanding that the cost of concrete for the trades building was half a million dollars more than projected. The trades building itself, as Members will note - more than any other building - has a large amount of concrete; the whole underground portion has been concreted. It has a tremendous amount of concrete, and the increased costs of concrete would hit this building far more than any other.
Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell us what the other $500,000 for concrete is?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I would presume that the extra costs were associated with the balance of the project. There are three other buildings currently under way.
Mrs. Firth: I will look forward to the Minister bringing back a detailed explanation of that million dollar figure.
The Minister did not answer my question about the bidding process increasing the general costs. Could he tell us what the financial impact of that decision was on the cost?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I do not recall the question, but there is absolutely no way of determining exactly what impact that would have had on the cost. There is a suspicion that costs were beyond the estimate because some of the contractors were not as prepared to bid on a northern project because of the northern preference policies, which they thought inhibited the act of their bidding. There was a feeling that that, in itself, given the discussions of people in the administration with various contractors, had an impact on the competitive nature of the bidding.
Mrs. Firth: I understand what the Minister is saying, that there was not an analysis made before the policy decision was made; that the policy decision was simply made to do this and the cost is something that is irrelevant because of the direction the government wanted to take.
I want to clarify something about the terminology Yukon Place. I believe I mentioned that it was in the Capital budget. It is not in the Capital budget and I wanted a clarification from the Minister if it was the same thing as the Yukon Arts and Cultural Centre. Does Yukon Place really designate just the Arts and Cultural centre and not the total complex itself?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Pardon me if I contradict, absolutely, the Members assertion that the cost is irrelevant to the government. That is not the case. There is a difference between phasing a project over a number of years and the reality of some contractors not bidding on northern projects because they feel that there is a northern preference policy in place. There is a difference between those two concepts. Yukon Place here refers specifically to the arts and cultural centre.
Mrs. Firth: I have to disagree. When a policy decision is made, it is incumbent upon the government to have some idea of the financial ramifications of that policy decision. I do not get any indication from the Minister, because he cannot answer what the financial ramifications were, that that analysis was done. He is now saying that that is not true, that there were some. I would like to know what they were.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member asks if there was an analysis done of the costs associated with the construction managers extending the time frame of the construction schedule. I said yes. I said that there was a cost associated with the construction managers, themselves. There are some consequences beyond that that have to be taken into account. There are some things that did happen during the period of construction, not because the project was phased, but because contractors decided that it was not worth their while to bid on projects in the Yukon. That is a turn of events that is impossible to estimate in hard dollar terms.
There is definitely a suspicion from people in the contracting community and from people in contract administration that the bidding was not as competitive with southern bidders because they did not want to compete with, what they thought were, unfair northern preference policies. That is a feeling, and it cannot be costed. That is one reason that I have been given for the change in preliminary estimates for the college site.
Mrs. Firth: Is this a concern for the government that northern preference is going to cause increased costs in all of the construction projects? That would be a valid concern of this government. Are we just going to pay more because of northern preference or is the government doing some analysis and examination of that within the context of all of the projects that are billed? It is fine to have a northern preference policy, but if it ends up that we are paying a huge amount more money for construction projects, that is something that the government has to seriously look at in consultation with the Chamber of Commerce.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I will answer briefly the general question about the general policy; the answer is yes, and I look forward to debating that at some point in the future. The specific problem about concrete is as the Minister stated it. There is effectively only one local supplier. The concern about raising costs would be the case with or without the northern preference, but it probably is the case that the northern preference, as it existed in the last eight or ten years, and as it exists now, does have a cost that is ultimately borne by the taxpayer. The benefits of promoting the local economy and the costs must always be balanced. We are constantly doing that, and we are monitoring the situation.
Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister of Government Services tell us how they are monitoring that and how they made that analysis? I imagine it is going to have some effect on the value added concept, or the value added concept is going to have effect on this.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Within the Department of Government Services, specifically about the introduction of the value added component, there is analysis of the practice with respect to building costs. Specifically, it is a policy initiative of the Department of Government Services.
Mr. Lang: In deference to my colleague of Riverdale North, we never got an answer to the question. How are you monitoring? What effect is this having with respect to the cost to the taxpayer? We are talking in Alice in Wonderland terms, here. What are we discussing in real terms? For example, when we take a look at our contracts that are being issued, how many contractors are we getting to bid on the jobs? You dont have to be an Einstein. That will tell you whether there is a market place out there and if it is competitive. If it is not competitive, why not?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There are increasing numbers of contractors bidding on the jobs, and increasing jobs to bid. We do not have the specific hard numbers. We are in the process of monitoring and analyzing it. Until that is complete, we will not be able to give hard numbers. When they are available, we will make them available for debate at a very early time.
Mr. Lang: In deference to this side of the House and to be public, surely the Minister of Government Services cannot stand here and say that he does not have any information. According to the Minister of Community and Transportation Services, we have 600 contracts that have been let and are in the process of being done. Could the Minister provide for this House all the contracts that have been let -I know it is on computer, push the button - and how many organizations bid on those contracts? When you say monitor, what are you waiting for? When the horse is totally out of the barn - then will we have a look at it?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: This policy has been around for many years. We have more monitored information than ever before. The information is being analyzed on a continuous basis. When the hard numbers are known, we will make them known to the House.
Mrs. Firth: Surely the Minister must be able to see what he has done here. We are going to be starting debate pretty soon on the third Capital Budget. The first one was $80 million, the second one was $114 million, and we are now working on another $100 million. That is approximately $300 million of Capital projects. The Minister says we are analyzing it continuously and this policy has been around for a long time. We know that. If he is continually analyzing, and they say they are on their third Capital Budget and when they have the hard numbers they will present them to the House - when are they going to have the hard numbers? How many hundreds of millions of dollars do we have to spend before the Minister has some hard numbers?
For him to just stand up here and say they are monitoring it, is not adequate. I want something a little more specific. The Minister of Education and the Minister of Government Services have said that they have identified this as a concern. I have it as a concern as well.
I have raised in this House the increasing numbers of contractors that are going to be stabilizing and establishing themselves in the Yukon. All of a sudden, we are going to run out of capital money and we are going to have contracting businesses that have no contracts to bid on because the government is not spending any money, as happened in Alaska. So, if there are trends developing and the Minister has some hard numbers to back up the trends, I think it is incumbent upon him to come forward in this Legislature and give it to the Members of the Legislature and to the members of the public because there may be some need for policy review. Good grief, on our third Capital Budget for $100 million, we should be presented with some hard numbers by now.
Mr. McLachlan: Further, in relation to what the two previous speakers have asked, I want to ask the Minister if, in the detailed analyses of those statistics, and analysis is being done about who is bidding on the bigger contracts. It is fine for the Minister to say that the number of contractors are going up, but if they are only bidding on the $100,000 jobs, and the big ones, such as the Dawson City School are going to an outside firm, I think that introduces just as many problems. Is the analyses being done referring to who is bidding on the big ones and the small ones? How is the analyses being done? That is not clear from anything the Minister has said this afternoon.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: In answer to that question 2, the policies previously were to do the big projects by project management in order to break down the contracts into smaller amounts to enable our industry to participate. Approximately a year and a half to two years ago, it became apparent that the state of the Yukon industry was growing and prospering and if there were not some very large projects it would be stifled. We decided to abandon project management and tender some large projects. The most noticeable is the Robert Service School, and that was well bid. There was a good competition on the bids. I forget the precise number, but at least three bids clustered at the lower end, which were the ones to deal with. The bidding environment is generally healthy at the moment.
Mr. Lang: I want to get back to what we were discussing earlier. Frankly, at times I feel I am being played for the fool. We asked a question with respect to where the contracts were going and what was happening; the Minister said to this House that it was being monitored. He said later on that there was information available because it was being monitored on an ongoing basis. Can he provide that information to the House? What information does he have this time with respect to looking at the consequences of the problem that the Minister of Community and Transportation Services has been faced with, and the people, the taxpayers of the Yukon have been faced with, with respect to what the costs are and where we are going? It is fine for the Minister to stand up and say to the House that the construction industry is flourishing. Sure it is going to flourish; you have $120 million. What we want to know is: how cost effective is it?
We have heard some of the horror stories outside these chambers as far as management is concerned. Surely, it is a concern of the front bench. What we are asking is: can he provide that information?
It has been monitoring it at his direction; fair ball - I agree. It is good ministerial direction. Will he provide the House with that information? Maybe not just now, but when we get into the Capital Mains Estimates.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes, I will provide the House with the information available.
Chairman: We will deal with this in general debate on the Capital Mains Estimates for the Department of Government Services. At this time, we will get back to the Yukon College construction.
Mrs. Firth: I would like to ask a question about the Yukon College construction. I wonder if the Minister of Education could tell us, under the management of that project, were there many bids that only had one bidder? Could he tell us if that was a regular occurrence, or infrequent, and so on?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I would give a general answer of no; either none or practically none.
Mrs. Firth: In that general response, we know that there obviously were some. Could the Minister bring back how many contracts are having only one bidder on them? We may as well give the Minister forewarning that will be a question that would be relevant to other major projects in the major capital budgets we have had over the last couple of years.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes.
Mr. Lang: To the Minister of Education or the Minister of Government Services or maybe the Member for Tatchun, whoever can answer this: is it true that a number of the smaller contractors on the Yukon College construction site are suffering some financial problems because of the way it is being managed? Has he had complaints to that effect?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No, absolutely not. Although, there are some problems with the subcontractors, some of the general contractors - which is not a government problem but is dumped on the governments lap, if you will. It is the problem of the general contractor. That is fairly common, but there are disputes between the general contractors and the subs in some areas. There are no disputes that I am aware of between the government and the contractors. The allegation of any difficulty caused by the government is not the case.
Mr. Lang: Just one thing further with respect to the question - I should have been a bit more specific and said subcontractors. What is the government doing with respect to the problems being confronted by the subcontractors? Is the government taking any action at all? If so, what action?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes, the government is taking action. We follow a policy that when we know of disputes between contractors and the subs - and we almost universally do know, because of the statutory declarations - we pay the money in dispute between the subs and the general into court, as opposed to directly paying the general contractor. That is a longstanding policy of the government and we have followed it on this project as well as others.
Yukon College Construction in the amount of $1,183,000 agreed to
On Yukon Place, $500,000.
Mrs. Firth: Mr. Chairman, what is that for?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It is for design.
Mr. Lang: A half million dollars for design; design of what?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It is for the design and detailed drawings of the Yukon Arts and Cultural Centre.
Mr. Lang: Is that exactly how much it is going to cost, or are we going to look at another half a million dollars next year?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I believe it ought to cost around the half million dollar mark. It depends very much upon the scope of the project. As Members will know, Arts Canada North, chaired by Mr. Dunbar, has taken the position that they would like to see a facility that is approximately $9 million in scope. The Government of Yukon has consistently stated that its contribution will total $7 million. The total cost of the design for the expanded facility is as yet undetermined. I think it would be in the neighbourhood of $560,000. If Arts Canada North does not come up with the extra money in order to complete the $9 million facility, the enhanced facility, then that facility will not be built, and the addition will not be designed either. There will be space left for expansion, but the Yukon governments commitment at $7 million stands at $7 million.
Mr. Lang: Is the Minister informing this House that if the City of Whitehorse does not come up with its share, nor Arts Canada North, that they are not prepared to go ahead with the initial project that they presented here last year, as far as the arts building was concerned, of approximately $7 million?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: No, what I am saying is that the government has committed itself to providing for a facility, with our contribution totalling $7 million. Arts Canada North was informed of that fact prior to the designers undertaking the work on the design. The designers, in consultation with community user groups, came up with a facility that was over $9 million. The Government of Yukons position was that our contribution was $7 million and they had to design something for $7 million, unless they could find the money themselves, from other sources. They have indicated the desire to go to other sources, including the City of Whitehorse, the Department of Communications and private industry to seek the additional funds.
Our commitment to the project remains at seven million dollars. We are still committed to the project, but a $7 million project. If Arts Canada North, through fund raising efforts, can find the extra funding for a larger facility, then all power to them. Our commitment will remain at $7 million.
Mrs. Firth: Is the Minister then talking about a new design concept, as opposed to what the arts group had on display in the mall this weekend? They had a conceptual design and all the charts and so on in the mall. Is this something other than that or is this to adjust that concept, and if that is the reason, then why would it be so expensive?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The concept, as proposed by the designers, is an approved concept. The design essentially has three components. One is the arts centre wing, which is the art galleries, the administration offices, the work rooms and things. The central component is the theatre, and the third component is a multi-purpose area for theatre groups.
It is our understanding at this stage that our contribution can provide for the theatre and the arts centre, and that the additional monies that are required for the multi-purpose room are those monies that would be sought through donations by Arts Canada North.
Mrs. Firth: What the Minister is telling us then is that it is going to cost us $500,000 to have some design adjustments made, to size the project down from a $9 million one to a $7 million one.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: No. The $500,000 is to design the whole project. I was trying to explain how the project cost might be a little over $500,000 or a little less than $500,000, depending on the size of the project - but the $500,000 is dedicated to the design of the centre. It would be the design of the centre that would be funded by our $7 million contribution.
Mr. Lang: How much money has been spent to date for the purposes of design and the various studies that have been done for the purpose of the arts centre?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am not sure of the precise figure. The conceptual plans would have been funded, the drawings, the model, the work of the designers - the same designers who designed Yukon College, in terms of their consultation with user groups. That is what has been expended to date. The balance of the funds would be for blueprint drawings and that sort of thing.
Mr. Lang: We have $500,000 plus what has already been spent to date. Is that correct? In deference to the House, I think we should know how much has been spent to date. Could the Minister provide that information this evening?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Yes.
Mr. Lang: Does the $500,000 mean that the government is committed to another $6.5 million over and above this $500,000?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Our contribution totals $7 million. This $500,000 will come out of the $7 million.
Mr. Phelps: I know the people involved who are going around selling the design - we are talking in terms of $7 million from this government, $1 million from the City and $1 million from private citizens - it is really $6.5 million from the government they are going to get if the building is going to cost $9 million. That did not include the design costs, is that right?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The $500,000 is real money. It is a real expenditure we are going to vote here. It is coming out of the taxpayers pocket. That is part of the contribution. When you build anything, you have to design it and there is a cost associated with designing it. We have indicated to Arts Canada North exactly what our total contribution will be -total - and that includes the design fees. The actual construction costs would have to be dependent upon what their fund raising efforts would mean, so that when they got down to such things as materials and specifications, they could bring the cost down to meet whatever the targeted amount is.
Our indication to them is very clear that the design funds come out of the $7 million total.
Mr. Phelps: So, after it is designed, the well is only $6.5 million deep and my concern is how clear that is to them, because people were told: here is a nice picture of a building with all this stuff and it is going to cost $9 million of which the Yukon government is going to contribute $7 million. Is the total cost of the building $9 million exclusive of the government input or $9.5 million? There is a potential problem.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I was aware a potential problem could arise if there was any misunderstanding, so I indicated to the departmental officials that they make that fact of life very clear, that in the construction of any facility, the design costs are considered to be costs of construction. In this particular case, the Arts Canada North board is very well aware of the details and is competent to understand the financial details. They are perfectly aware of the reality of the situation and the task they face in fund raising.
Mr. Lang: I am assuming this is going to be stood aside until such time as we get that information, is that correct?
Chairman: Is it the wish of the Committee to stand this over?
The line item Yukon Place will be stood over.
Yukon Place stood over
On Government Services
On Operation and Maintenance
Chairman: We are on Government Services, Operation and Maintenance.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There is not much time, but I can give the general information now. Perhaps I will do it for all the numbers here and the debate may be facilitated tonight.
On the first number under Administration, this is all forced growth except for $4,000, and I will explain that. The $400,000 is made up of the following: $170,000 is the actual cost for increased insurance premiums. These are school property insurance and liability policies, the actual costs are now known and it is an extra $170,000.
For the rental properties increase, there is $230,000, of which new space is the addition of space in Ross River in the Mackenzie Building for Justice for a cost of $4,000. The additional costs are increases in the leases or the rental properties. They are in the Keith Plumbing and Heating Building, $61,000; in the Tutshi Building, $24,000; in the M & R Building $115,000; and in Yukon Centre, that is the Royal Bank building, $26,000, and that adds up to $400,000.
Under Supply Services, the figures are as follows: $170,000 is attributable to the Yukon Business Incentive Policy initiatives and the monitoring I was talking about in the Value Added component.
There are two new positions included in that money. That is for a total of $170,000, which includes the salaries for two positions. Under Transportation, the use of the fleet has increased substantially, and there is an additional $60,000 attributable to gasoline and operation costs. There is $68,000 for rentals to supplement the old pool fleet for a total of $128,000. For photocopying we have an additional one million copies over this period last year, for a total of an additional $78,000. The Hansard contract has been allotted an additional $94,000. For postage, which is attributable to both an increase in postal rates and an increase in the volume, there is $90,000. For maintenance of office equipment, there is $10,000. The total is $570,000.
Under Capital, there is a net reduction of $32,000, and the renovations to the M&R Building attribute $50,000 to accommodate building maintenance. There is a reduction of $82,000, which is not a savings but is a transfer. If Members look at page 21, there is a reduction of $82,000. On page 29, the $82,000 is transferred to Justice. I will explain that under Justice. It is for the purchase of 205 Rogers Street for use by the Commission of Human Rights.
Aside from that transfer of the Capital, these additional costs are for force growth in the department.
Mr. Lang: The Minister has left me breathless respecting his definition of forced growth. We will have a great number of things to say on what he has defined as forced growth versus burgeoning bureaucracy that is spilling out of this building and spilling all over town. How he can stay there and say that the size of the government is not growing - then he just throws a little tidbit in that we need $60,000 for gas to get these people to and from work. I suggest that we take a break for lunch so that I can get my blood pressure down to a normal level.
Chairman: The Committee is in agreement that we now recess until 7:30 p.m.
Chairman: The Committee of the Whole will now come to order.
Government Services Operation and Maintenance expenditures, general debate continued.
Mr. Lang: Does the Minister have the information that I requested about ten days ago on the breakdown of local construction and consultant contracts versus outside contracts.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes I do, although some of that information was previously provided. I was expecting to speak about it in the Capital Mains. I can provide it after the break. It is in my office.
Mr. Lang: I have some concern regarding what is defined as forced growth. I sympathize somewhat with the Minister in that he bears the consequences of a lot of other peoples decisions. It is the service department that has to provide the extras that are considered, or are not considered, when a decision is made, for example, to increase the size of the civil service, whether it be in the Executive Council Office or in the Department of Community and Transportation Services.
The efforts by the government to tell the public that the size of the civil service has not been increased since they assumed office is really stretching the truth to the point that, if it is ever expressed again, a person could say it was an out and out lie. I am concerned when I see an increase of $60,000 for fuel for the fleet of vehicles that the government has at their disposal along with the rental units.
What is the size of the fleet of vehicles that we have at our disposal at the present time?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Two hundred and thirteen.
Mr. Lang: Since the government has made the decision to no longer have the so-called black and orange that were so noticeable in the communities, could the Minister explain to this House how he is policing the vehicles to ensure that the government vehicles are not being used for private business?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Exactly the same way as we did before. There is no change in the policing policy.
Mr. Lang: Just for the record, nobody knows that these vehicles are government vehicles any longer, so they are harder to identify. Subsequently, you do not know if a person is using a government vehicle for private reasons. That was one of the reasons for the distinctive colours of the government vehicles, to ensure that there was very little, if any, abuse of the use of the vehicles.
I would ask if the Minister could elaborate on the increased cost of insurance premiums and whether or not they gave a further extension of service or protection as far as the liability and insurance premiums are concerned.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The big one is the property insurance costs for schools, specifically F.H. Collins. The property insurance for F.H. Collins is $132,992. The additional costs are for various liability insurance policies, for an additional $37,000. I should correct the figure; the property insurance is for all schools, but we only maintain fire insurance on F.H. Collins.
Mr. Lang: I know the Minister has given these figures a long time ago, but he should have them at his fingertips with his administration there. What is the total cost of insurance to the government?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is $517,577. That was after this Supp.
Mr. Lang: Am I led to believe that is strictly property and property insurance for the schools, as well as fire insurance for F.H. Collins, and the remainder is self-insured?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes, on buildings. That figure is the total insurance cost for the government and all the policies we have.
Mr. Lang: When you say all the insurance policies, we are covered for property liability in the schools for vandalism and that type of thing? Is that what you are saying? What is our insurance policy going to be referring to?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I could give a list of the insurance policies. We have a general liability coverage with $1 million coverage, a ferry liability for the ferries for $1 million, an umbrella liability that is government-wide up to $10 million, property insurance for buildings that is $25 million, auto insurance of $1 million, group travel is $3 million, airstrip liability of $10 million, nonowned aviation of $1 million, student travel of $250,000, and a fine arts floater at $150,000.
Mr. Lang: Then the balance is self-insured. I want to ask this: who are we insured with, and for how long?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The broker is Reed Stenhouse. The insurers are a collection of the big companies.
Mr. Lang: Is this a three-year agreement we reached with Reed Stenhouse, or is it an annual agreement?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is three years, commencing in 1986.
Mr. McLachlan: Why is there a quarter million dollars in student travel insurance if the Minister of Education clearly specifies that the common carrier, moving the students around the territory, must have his own insurance?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: This is generally for travel outside the province, for exchange purposes.
Mr. McLachlan: The number of 213 government-owned vehicles, cars and pickups seems high and seems to be on the increase. Why then, must we go to very large figure for rental to supplement the fleet of 213, and how many rental vehicles are we leasing at the moment?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The previous Minister had it right. The request for cars around the government are increasing and the budget to buy new cars is limited - there is a cap on it. Cars are rented mostly during the summer season, for highways work, but there are some in the other departments. The rentals are, by and large, but not exclusively, a seasonal use and the rentals total - I will get that figure and supply it when I have it.
Mr. McLachlan: The Minister had indicated that they are mostly for short term work. Do we lease any on a one-, two-, and three-year basis, then?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I do not think so, but I am not absolutely sure. I will find out and confirm that.
Mr. McLachlan: Is the $4,000 rent for the Mackenzie Resources building in Ross River? If it is, is it for the new social welfare worker and the business development officer?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes, it is in that building, and it is the office rent for the Justice probation officer.
Mr. Lang: Is the office for booking airline tickets to stay within government?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes.
Mr. Lang: Does the Minister have a breakdown of the total amount of money that has been spent in the past year for outside travel, for example, with Canadian Airlines International? Could he provide that when we get into the Capital Mains?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes, I will.
Mr. Lang: The statement has been made that the government maintenance crew spent most of this year just building office spaces for government departments moving around and expanding. Is that true?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is not accurate to say that they spent most of their time building office spaces and moving. They spent more time than in the previous years because there were more new moves that were made public months ago. It is not accurate to say most of their time.
Mr. Lang: What is the definition of accurate?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The most precise way to answer is to provide a total number of person hours worked and the number of hours on the construction or renovation for new offices. I will collect that information and provide it in due course.
Mr. Lang: I am sure it is easy to get a hold of, because the administration is required to record where and for how long they have been working in order to get a cost breakdown. We are asked to vote a considerable amount of money for renovations, for example, on the M&R Block. Then we have hidden costs for office space and reconstruction of office space. Are we just voting materials here? Why is this separate from what was voted for the department for that purpose?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The labour costs can be extrapolated out for that, and I will provide that as well. I had originally intended to.
Mr. Lang: Maybe I did not explain myself properly. I do not understand why we are voting for capital on the capital side for renovations to such buildings as the M&R Building, a new government facility. Is that work being done by a private contractor; maybe that is the question?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Some of it is, but not all of it.
Mr. Lang: Was that work put out to public tender?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes, if it is over the required limits. I will find out about the tenders and provide them.
Mr. McLachlan: When the government goes to a situation where they are doing leasehold improvements thus making our rental costs higher than it was in all the situations over and above the normal rental figure, does the government take a longer lease in those leasehold improvement situations in order to justify the extra expenditure, or do they still remain in a three year term maximum?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The general answer is yes, but the most complete answer is as follows: we are aware of all those costs before we enter into the lease and we have, I believe, never in my tenure gone into those costs after the lease, or not been aware of them. We factor them in, in essence, to the total lease costs for the space.
Mr. McLachlan: Is the Minister saying where there are leasehold improvements to be done then the average annual rental rate we are paying is compensatingly less? Is that what the Minister is saying?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No, not precisely, but when we decide to lease space we identify both the capital costs, if any - and there usually are some - and the lease costs in the term of the lease, and we make a decision knowing all of those costs.
Mr. Lang: There has been a significant increase for rental space. My figures show, roughly, over $200,000, for the Keiths Plumbing & Heating Building, the Tutshi Building, the M&R Building and the Royal Bank Building. How long a period of time are we locked into these obviously renegotiated leases?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: All of the leases are a little different but none of them are over three years. It is our policy to not rent in excess of three years without Management Board approval, so they are generally three year leases.
Mr. Lang: Are these money increases you are asking us to provide you, between Keiths Plumbing and Heating Building, the Tutshi Building, the Royal Building and the M&R Building - does that mean that you have renegotiated the three-year lease starting in the past couple of months?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is that, and it is also on some of the leases that there is an escalation clause; for example, from year one, to year two, to year three, all in a three-year lease. Some of the increases are attributable to that. In some cases, the escalation clauses are dependent on the costs for heat and taxes and insurance and the like. They are negotiated within the terms of the existing lease.
Mr. Lang: We have a Capital Budget here approximately a year ago. It really came into effect April 1 of last year. If those indexation points are in the leases, why were they not built into the Budget? I am getting the impression that we may be revoting money for these areas to free some money to do something else with it.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: We tried to using a factor, but we did not know at the time of the Budget what increases there would be for these amounts. These buildings were more than the budgeted amount.
Mr. Lang: I can understand $5,000. I am even prepared to go as far as $10,000, but when I see the Keiths Plumbing and Heating Building listed at $61,000, and I see the Tutshi Building at $24,000, I see the Royal Building at $26,000, then I have to ask why there are major dramatic increases with respect to these particular facilities. If they are not renegotiated leases with an increase per square footage, then why were we not given the facts when we last sat?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: For example, on the Keiths Plumbing and Heating Building, we estimated $437,000 in the Mains annually. After the negotiation, it was $498,000. That increase, although it is a lot, is more understandable as a percentage of the overall lease cost.
Mr. Lang: Mr. Chairman, I hope that a little heat is thrown in for that $490,000. Is this a new lease?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No.
Mr. Lang: Maybe I could ask the question: how did we get a 17 percent increase in the cost and not know that it was coming? I do not understand this at all. Now, you are coming to us for a supplementary.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It may be, and I believe it is, in fact, a newly renegotiated lease but it is not a new lease for new space. I am sorry if I mislead the Member about that.
Mr. Lang: That is the difficulty that I find, quite frankly. I thought I asked: was it because we had a new lease? We went on for eight minutes here, of valuable Hansard time - which we talk about at $94,000 a crack here a little later on - and finally the Minister comes back and admits to me, as if it is a self confession, that it is a renegotiated lease.
I am not talking about new leases, I know where the building is, I know the building has not expanded - maybe some of them have, maybe something is happening we do not know anything about - but my question is, then: is that now a three year lease? And are there hidden costs or indexings in that particular lease?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I believe I explained at the beginning that the only new lease, in the sense of new space, is in the Mackenzie Building in Ross River, and the others are existing space that may be a renegotiated term, but the same space. On Keiths Plumbing and Heating Building, I believe there are approximately two years to go on that lease, but I am not precisely sure and I will check and confirm the specific term of that lease.
Mrs. Firth: I just want to ask the question about the space that the Minister is talking about. He said that that is not for new space. In the Operation and Maintenance Budget, 1987-88, the leased space that the government identified for Whitehorse was 12,177 square metres. Can the Minister tell us if that has increased and that would be reflected, then, in these additional costs?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I do not have the square footage, but I can provide that, and I should correct the record again. There is some additional new space in the M&R Building.
Mrs. Firth: I think it is significant, then, that we have the space increase figures from the Minister. It will be interesting. The 12,177 square metre figure will not help us, so if the Minister could bring that figure back to us, it would help.
Mr. Lang: Do I take it that that is going to be set aside with respect to the question of space to give us a clear, concise, - I emphasize concise - break down of what these costs are, and why?
Chairman: Just to make things clear, here. What line item are we standing over?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Mr. Chairman, we are on general debate at the moment but it appears that we will do all of the debate under general debate. If you have no objections, I do not.
Mr. McLachlan: Given the discussion on what seems to be very high rental rates and the knowledge of where it is coming from and why, if the Minister could answer the question that the Government Leader so graciously committed him to answering before the break? That was the question about who now will get all of the vacated space in the old Yukon College building so that we may save some of the $230,000 part-way, through-the-year increases?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The departments that will moving into the old Yukon College are the departments of Community and Transportation Services and Renewable Resources, and it will free up the lease costs in the Keiths Plumbing & Heating Building.
Mr. McLachlan: That is fine as far as it goes. When this move occurs, perhaps in June or July, 1988, are we left holding the bag on an unexpired portion of the lease that we must pay out on these two buildings?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No, we are planning the leases to accommodate the moves.
Mr. Lang: There is an industry here in itself. It is called moving government departments around the city. It is almost like a merry-go-round. The Minister indicated to the House, the last time we sat, that there was going to be an in-depth study done on what departments should be moved and where they should be moved. Can he provide the House now with that study, which would complement the private study that was done on space requirements?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I can, but it will do little good because the course of events is as follows: the government commissioned a study to look at the optimal use of the college, and a retrofit to bring the building up completely to standard modern code and to make it into offices. The price tag was $13 million. We decided against that building plan because of costs. A new building, to do the same thing, would have cost $14.5 million. We changed our plan, are doing less and are re-studying it, to do the renovations in a far less costly way.
Mr. Lang: It does not surprise me. We do a lot of studies; now we are re-studying. Could the Minister of Government Services tell us who is re-studying for the renovations at the Vocational School?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I believe the work is being done in-house, but I will check. The original study was Carlberg Jackson Architects, who designed the law centre and the college.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister tell us how much that cost?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I am not sure precisely. I will bring the figure back.
Mr. McLachlan: If Community and Transportation Services goes to the old Yukon College building, is it the plan now to centralize the department staff currently in the Mainsteele Mall, and the staff currently in the Lynn Building, and wherever else there may now be department staff - other than the executive administration of the department - here in this building, all under one roof?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes, except for the maintenance garages for Highways, which will stay where they are.
Mr. Lang: Since the decision has been made to move over, and we have had one study done that says it is going to cost $13 million to renovate, how much does the government estimate it is going to cost to renovate in the new direction it is going?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: We do not know. We are ascertaining that. We have not asked for money to do that until we do know.
Mr. Lang: How can the government, in good conscience, make that decision to say you are moving those departments there, when you have no idea what it is going to cost? You have a ballpark to start in - $13 million. How can you make that decision to move when you do not know what it is costing you?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is not going to cost $13 million. We are going to do it for less than that. It is necessary to know who is going there in order to plan the space. The architects must know that, in order to plan the space, in order to come up with a cost figure. The difference is the instructions to the architects originally were to retrofit the building to bring it up to the modern-day building code completely, and to retrofit into essentially a first class, modern building, we are going to do somewhat less than that.
Mr. Lang: I still do not understand how the Minister can stand up in this House and make such an announcement that this is going to occur and not know what the financial consequences are. Has the government put a cap on the amount of money it is going to cost, and if so, how much?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I would submit that if we did the other way around, there would be complaints that we are asking for money simply after drawing an amount out of a hat. We are trying to get the proper estimates of the cost. In order to do that, we need to know what we are going to do.
We have made what is akin to a decision in principle to move two departments in, so we know what is needed, the number of square metres of office and lab space and the kinds of space that are necessary. The number of square metres that those departments occupy now is approximately the same as the number of square metres available in the old college. That is why the original decision was made, and the costing of it is underway now. When it is costed, we will ask for the money to do the work.
Mr. McLachlan: Is it also the position of the government to have the entire Renewable Resources Department under the same roof as well?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes.
Mr. Lang: Does the government intend to continue renting both the Lynn Building and the Keiths Plumbing & Heating Building after this move is costed?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: After the move is complete, we are expecting to vacate those premises.
Mr. Lang: When is this move supposed to take place?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: In approximately 12 to 18 months from now.
Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister give us a comparison of space that the departments are presently occupying compared to the space that they are going to be moving into at the old college building? I am assuming it is going to be more space, or even the same, considering the rapidity with which the government grows. Can he tell me what the difference in space is?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I can, but the difficulty is the number of square metres of space for office use in the college is not precisely known today, because it will depend on the kind of renovations that we do. The architects have measured the space at the old Yukon College, and we can give an approximate figure of usable heated space and compare them, and they are roughly equal. I will provide the precise figures in due course.
Mr. Phillips: The Minister said that all of the Department of Renewable Resources was moving to the College. Can he tell us if the Parks Branch in the Marwell area will also be moving to the College?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes, they will. I can give some information about the cost. It will cost about $1.5 million to bring the building up to code for office occupancy. The renovations will be approximately $500,000, so that is approximately $2 million before the move occurs. Those figures are approximate, and the architects are costing them with substantially more precision.
Mr. Phillips: Since the Parks Branch is moving out of the building that was so specifically designed for their purpose, which branch will be shuffling into the Parks building now?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I do not know. I will come back with that information.
Mr. Lang: During the initial stages of this debate, the Minister indicated that he did not have any figures on what that building would cost, other than the preliminary examination by outside consultants to bring it up to code. That figure was $13 million. How can the Minister now do it for $2 million instead of $13 million?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It depends on what work is done. If we bring the old building, which is 25 years old, up to the modern day codes, that is a very large amount of money. If we simply bring it up to the necessary fire and safety codes for office occupancy and leave what was done according to the code 25 years ago alone, the figure is a lot less.
The figure of $2 million is a very approximate one, and the architects ought to tell us with precision shortly. I will provide that information then, presumably in the spring sitting of the Legislature.
Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell us if the government is planning an addition to that old building? It is hard to comprehend that all of those departments are going to move into the college space. I did not think that there is as much space as the Minister is talking about. All of the Department of Renewable Resources including the Parks Branch is going in there; all of the Department of Community and Transportation Services is going in there; we do not know about the deputy ministers office yet since that is a separate area right now. Does the Minister think that office will be going in there?
It is difficult to comprehend that all of those offices will be going into the College. He says said that the square metres will be the same as the allocations are now providing. Would the Minister consider giving us a review of all of the space changes? The government must have some kind of plan for the next 18 months to two years. It would be nice to know where everything is going, what will be replacing what, what is being moved out of the existing space and whether or not leases are lapsing.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There is no addition planned, and I will supply a schedule of the moves, as requested.
Mr. Lang: When was this decision, in principle, to move into what is now known, I guess, as the old Yukon College, made by the government?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It was made by Management Board and it was between two to four weeks ago, I do not remember precisely.
Mr. Lang: Following up on that, what I do not understand is, why, if we knew within 12 months we were moving primarily from the Keiths Plumbing building, why we went and purchased more space there and at increased dollars, when we knew within 12 months that we were moving?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: We have a lease there and the costs that I gave are for the increases in the lease costs. The government will be there for the next eighteen months, probably, and we will vacate at the conclusion of the lease; that is our timetable, and those are the extra costs to maintain the lease.
We looked at purchasing that building, in fact, and there was a preliminary or a general negotiation to buy it from the existing owner. He wanted too many dollars, so we decided not to buy it.
Mr. Lang: The Minister said that the reason he could refurbish the Yukon College for $2 million was that he did not have to bring it up to code, that in most part it could be maintained similar to what it was 20 years ago. I am assuming he is referring to electrical and things of that nature. I would like to know: is it not the policy of the government that when a major renovation is done to primarily a private business or any other structure that - maybe the Minister of Community and Transportation will answer this - that at time they are required to bring it up to code, the present day code?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes, but the building code for new buildings is very specific, and very expensive. I should emphasize that the building, when it is occupied by civil servants, will be up to code for that occupancy; however, it would be possible to spend a whole lot more money on that building to bring all of the construction up to modern building code for new construction, and that, we feel, is not in the best interests of the tax payer, or is not cost effective.
Mr. Lang: That is my point. I do not understand how the government can tell somebody who does not happen to be the government, nor has the resources of the government - when they go out to refurbish their facility, the government says they must bring everything up to Code. When the individual comes back and says that it is too much the government says too bad. Tough luck. Now I am told by the so-called government that it is fine for them to do it.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There is a misunderstanding and I apologize for not explaining it better. The building has been constantly brought up to Code, for the safety and fire codes and all the rest, during the life of the building. We are going to do exactly what we require of private people and bring the building up to Code. There are two kinds of bringing the building up to Code, and I should have explained that better. Bringing the building up to Code is what we are going to do now, and there will be a different use of the building, so a different code will apply. For the present use, the building is up to Code now. It would be possible to apply the National Building Code for new construction, which is a different thing, and bring the building up to that standard - but that is not cost effective.
Mrs. Firth: I want to ask more questions about space comparisons, in the context of numbers of employees now. When I look at the Operation and Maintenance budget and the number of employees in Renewable Resources, there is some 83 person years, which could represent more than 83 people. I look at Community and Transportation Services, and not even including Highways and Transportation, we are looking at 87 person years in policy, management, administration, community services, municipal engineering and lands. What kind of analyses has been done for requirement for parking space, and traffic congestion at the corner of the hospital and college, which is already quite a cumbersome area in the morning and evening when people are going and coming from work? I am particularly concerned when the Minister says that parks division will be moving there because they require special space for storage of equipment and they require coolers, workshops and so on. I am having difficulty getting an image of this whole move that the Minister is talking about.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There were two major questions there. The question about traffic is addressed by a committee of officials between the government and the City of Whitehorse and we are discussing those implications now in a committee of officials - which incidentally the city is very happy about, because it was not the practice of the government over the long term past.
The question about planning for space is a similar answer. It used to be that person year increases were considered without an analysis of the increased space requirements. That is no longer the case, as they are all considered.
The particular Supp has no implication for increased person years. The space in Ross River was not a new person year but a transfer from Whitehorse.
Mrs. Firth: I am not asking about increased person years. I am not asking what the other government did. I am asking to see if this Minister has done his homework. He did not answer one question I asked. Obviously, he has not.
I said I was having difficulty getting a mental image of this big transaction that is to come about, where Community and Transportation Services, Renewable Resources including Parks, is going to move over to the old College site. I am anticipating, just from looking at the space the people are presently in, the numbers of employees, the parking requirements and the traffic problems. Incidentally, this government did not do such a great job of identifying traffic congestion either in some of their facilities. If the previous government had not done it, after two and a half years this government should have done it if they are doing their job so accurately and so tidily.
I am asking for the Minister to give us some reassurance that we are not going to come back in a year and hear that we need more money because we have to reroute or build another bridge across the river, or whatever the Minister might have to come back with. I am asking a noncontroversial question about whether the Minister has taken all this into account.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I cannot assist Mrs. Firths mental images, but I will repeat the commitment I made 20 minutes or so ago that I will supply the square metres available in the old College, and the square metres currently occupied by Renewable Resources and Community and Transportation Services. She will see that they do fit in terms of square metres, they do fit.
Mr. Lang: That was not the question. In deference to my colleague, the Member for Riverdale South, the question is: have you done anything to look at the traffic congestion there and what is going to happen? Are any changes required, and if so, what has to be done?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There is lots of parking there and we are looking at the traffic, in association with the city.
Mr. Brewster: As I understand the situation, we are going to bring the whole compound from the Marwell area with all their culverts, bear traps, gas and picnic tables and everything else and we are going to crowd it all into that little area right close to the hospital where, as I can recall, it is a very pointed piece of land. I see the Minister of Health is waving her hand around.
I am asking a question, but I think Mr. Chairman is the one who should ask me, not the Minister of Health.
Do you really think if you looked at the area that compound takes up now, - and it is filled right up - that you are going to get everything that they have into that area?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: This is a political forum and politically I can say that we have been advised by property managers that this will fit. If it fits we will do it. We are costing it all out. The Members opposite have asked essentially for the state of progress on these considerations, and I am giving you the up to the minute progress on our considerations.
The political questions here are that a decision was made a long time ago to build a new college with no analysis whatsoever of what to do with the old college. We are doing that analysis and it involves an administrative ability which we are being advised about by the property managers.
No firm decisions as to cost, or precisely what goes where have been made, but they are going to be made relatively soon.
Mr. Lang: I want to go back to the question of code. I do not understand how the government can only bring a certain portion of the building up to Code and leave the rest as is. I will direct a question to the Minister of Community and Transportation Services. Is it not the policy of the government that when they ask a private individual who is doing major renovations it is a requirement to bring that particular building up to meet the code of the day? Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Yes, that is correct.
Mr. Lang: How can the government go and do major renovations to any facility? How can they only renovate a portion of the old Yukon College to meet Code and leave the remainder as is? I do not understand it.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I never said that. The building presently is up to code for its present use; it meets the code. Now, when the use changes, we have a different code that is applicable, and we will bring it up to code for office accommodation. The building will be brought up to code.
Mr. Lang: Would the Minister of Community and Transportation Services like to join this debate? My understanding of government policy is that when you take a portion of a building, of any building, and you do a major renovation, like a $2 million renovation that the Minister is proposing to do on a facility, that at that stage it is the policy of Protective Services that the whole building has to come up and conform to present day code. And is it not correct then - I just want it for the record - that the policy is going to be different for the government in this case, that only a portion of the building be required to meet the new code, as opposed to the whole building? That is the question.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No, the policy is no different between the government and the private sector. The entire building will be brought up to code for its new use as an office building.
Mr. Lang: The reasoning half an hour ago for the projected cost to that building was $13 million and one of the reasons was that it had to come to modern day code, and if you check the record tomorrow you will find that that is what you said. Now I want to know: how can we do it for $2 million, as opposed to $13 million?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I have explained that and perhaps I will explain it as follows. The $13 million cost involved new triple paned windows and new lock siding, entirely new heating and electrical systems, and the renovation that we are going to do involves bringing the building up to code but does not necessitate entirely new electrical systems and entirely new heating systems that are not necessary to bring the building up to the necessary codes.
Mr. Lang: I just want to pursue this a little bit further and then we will carry on. My understanding is that the electrical system in that building is 26 years old. My understanding is that if you begin to renovate it you will have to bring it up to the code of today. Is it the intention of the government, with this renovation, to bring the electrical system up to todays code, which means new installation and major renovations throughout the building?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes, and my information from the architects involved is that the cost of bringing the building up to code for an office building is approximately $1.5 million.
Chairman: Committee of the Whole will now recess for 10 minutes.
Chairman: Committee of the Whole will now come to order. We will continue with general debate.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I promised some Operation and Maintenance information and it is not in a form I can just transfer over. I was asked to provide the number of consulting contracts for the 12-month period up to November 1, 1987. The answer is 1,243. The number awarded to Yukon companies is 891.
I was asked about construction contracts in the same time period. The number is 158, and awarded to Yukon companies was 146. The number outside is the difference on consulting contracts, 352, and construction, 12.
Mr. Lang: On the 12 construction contracts he referred to, were there specific reasons why they went to outside contractors?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Obviously they were the low bidder even after the northern preference. I will look through them. I would emphasize that this is all Operation and Maintenance information. I know that Mr. Chairman has been lax in interpreting the rules, but this has gone a bit beyond.
Mr. Lang: Just for the record, so the Minister is not trying to rewrite the rules, as the dear Chairman knows, we are dealing with Operation and Maintenance Supplementaries as well as Capital Supplementaries, which gives us full justification to ask what has been going on in the department.
I want to make an observation. Is the Minister satisfied overall with the distribution of contracts as far as local contractors are concerned?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I will never be satisfied until all of them go locally, but generally it is not a bad record.
Mr. Lang: I have one more question with respect to the space allocation.
Mr. Phillips: There are several new buildings being built in Whitehorse now. One that comes to mind is the Financial Plaza. Is the government negotiating with the owners to take any of that space? If so, what departments are they planning to put in there?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No. We looked into it at one time. There are no departments looking for space at the present time in that building.
Mr. Phillips: The Minister said that they were looking at moving into the old Yukon College in approximately one and a half years. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The first people moving in will be in June, 1988 if everything is on schedule. The total move may take as long as 18 months from now.
Mr. Phillips: Could the Minister then tell us which department will move in in June, 1988? Is it the people who are moving out of the Lynn Building? If it is, what is the status of the lease there? Are they moving because the lease is running out? Do we have to buy out part of that lease?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I do not specifically know. I did not bring that information, but we are planning the leases with the move in mind. Some of the leases are now month to month. We will not be leasing space, paying for it and not occupying it.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister provide us with the total amount that is being expended this year for the Tutshi Building, the M&R Building and the Royal Bank Building? We have had increases of $24,000 to the Tutshi. The M&R Building has increased by $115,000, and the Royal Bank Building has increased by $26,000. What is the total amount?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The total after this Supplementary on the Lynn Building is $243,000. The Tutshi is $79,000, and the M&R is $165,000.
Mr. Lang: We have not discussed an increase for the Lynn Building for Supplementaries up to now. My notes indicate Keiths Plumbing and Heating, the Tutshi, the M&R and the Royal Bank buildings. Could the Minister indicate how the Royal Bank Building is involved?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The total costs on the Lynn Building are $243,000. The Member is accurate. There is no increase. The Royal Bank Building, with the increase, is $176,000.
Mr. Lang: I would like to move on to something else. We will be pursuing this further in conjunction with the study that was commissioned by the government. I want to put the Minister on notice with the Main Estimates with respect to the further discussion on the College votes and questions my colleague for Riverdale North asked as far as information is concerned.
With respect to the Yukon Business Incentive, could the Minister explain how he proposes to spend the $170,000, and how much of that money has been spent?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: As to the money already spent, I can only answer very little now. I will provide the dollar amount. There are two positions here. There is money for advertising and some for contract work. I will provide the figures tomorrow as a more precise breakdown. In fact, I can give it exactly.
Mr. Lang: We are talking about two new positions. Have those positions been put in place and people hired? Is this not money just up to April 1, 1988?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes, it is to April 1, 1988. They have not been hired. They are in the process of classification with the Public Service Commission now.
Mr. Lang: Why do you need so much money?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The best answer is to provide the dollar breakdown, which I will tomorrow.
Mr. Lang: I guess we will have to set this aside and wait for that. I am assuming that one of the principles here is to implement the value added concept. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes.
Mr. Lang: Has the Minister received full support from the Yukon Chamber of Commerce, the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce and the Contractors Association for this concept?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I am not sure what full support means, but certainly they certainly support in principle.
Mr. Lang: I am just wondering if the Minister is in the position to table the support, in principle, from the various organizations, for the public record.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No. Certainly with respect to the Contractors Association, they are represented on a committee that is writing the final detailed rules, which are not written yet. The negotiations or the comments are ongoing and primarily verbal.
Mr. Lang: The Minister referred to contract money in the dollars. Have there been contracts let, and to whom and for what purpose, and for how much?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No, not yet and the other questions are not applicable.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister explain to this House why it is necessary to implement this value added concept in this government and the private sector, in view of the fact that we have now an approximately 90 percent to 92 percent success record as far as local contractors being successful and getting the contracts?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Well, this is a constant struggle and we are constantly trying to improve the situation. The primary improvement is, as we go to larger general contracts, it becomes more appropriate to look at the sub-contractors. That is one of the major reasons why the Contractors Association supports the principle, in that the majority of the membership will be sub-contractors, as opposed to generals.
Mr. Lang: I am not going to push this very much further. I just want to go on the record as saying that there are a lot of contractors who are not supportive of the value added concept, primarily because they do not really believe the government should be that much involved in the business - telling them exactly who they should be hiring, or who they should not be hiring, and where they should be hiring, and various things like that. So I just want to point out to the Minister that I think that he is going to find that there is going to be more and more resentment drawn up by people who have gone into private business, toward the efforts by the government to basically tell people how to run their businesses. Because that is going to be the final outcome of the policy once it is implemented: one is going to be that much more answerable to government.
I want to point out that I am going to have further questions with respect to this area of concern when we get into the Main Estimates.
Mrs. Firth: I want to ask the Minister about the two person years that are associated with this Business Incentive Policy. The Government Leader did not mention them in the person year consequences of the Supplementary. Can the Minister tell us why they were not included in the Government Leaders total complementary?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: They may well have been included in the totals. Technically, these are approved for next year, and we are starting off with term positions. I believe they may very well have been included; I do not precisely know that, but I believe that.
Mrs. Firth: They were not, or I would not have asked the question. When the Government Leader gave his comments about this, he identified the person year consequences of the Supplementary since the 1987/88 Estimates, 13.2 person years created in the government. There were 3.8 in the Capital area which consisted of 2.8 person years in Community and Transportation Services, one person year for a coordinator under the Small Business Program, the Small Business Incentive Agreement in Economic Development, and then the 8.4 to the Operation and Maintenance in the area of teachers. These were not included at all, so I want to know why, and I would like to know the salary dollars attached to these two.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: We do not know precisely the salary dollars. That is part of the problem about precision in the numbers. The term positions are being classified at the moment. Obviously, after we know, we will let the Member know.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister did not answer why they were not included.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I do not know.
Mrs. Firth: I will take it that the Minister will find out and come back with an answer.
I have a letter from the Contractors Association about the value added policy. In the letter it states, At a general meeting held February 23, 1987, our members unanimously voted to reject the value added policy as proposed to you at our last meeting. This position was taken based on the following points. There are some eight points listed. It is signed by the president of the Yukon Contractors Association. Can the Minister tell us what has taken place since that he is now saying that the contractors are now supporting the value added concept?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Numerous events since last February. The concept has been adequately explained to the Contractors Association, and the scope of the program was discussed. I would emphasize that, at this moment, the Association is represented on a committee to formulate the details. They changed their position some time over the course of last winter. It was after all of the implications had been thoroughly digested by them.
Mrs. Firth: What committee is this committee the Minister has mentioned a couple of times? Who else is on it?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is not a formal committee, but the committee meets, and it is reporting to a monthly meeting of the Contractors Association and the government. That meeting occurs regularly once a month, and the membership change is the entire executive of the Contractors Association and representatives of Community and Transportation Services - specifically Highways and Government Services - all meet. The Contractors Association is represented informally on several government committees. One of them is looking into new standard contracts for construction contracts. One of them is looking into the value added concept. Those committees meet as required.
Mrs. Firth: Is the Minister really saying that what is happening is that there is no committee at all, that the Contractors Association has monthly executive meetings and the Minister sends a couple of his department officials to attend the executive meetings? That is what it sounds like to me. The only people on it are the executive of the Contractors Association and the officials from within his department, and they vary.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No. That is not accurate. I have stated what is accurate. The Contractors Association is content with its representation and meetings.
Mrs. Firth: What is this committee called? What is the title of this committee? What kind of committee is it? What mandate does it have?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The mandate is to discuss and review the details in the formation of the value added concept. It meets as required, and I do not think it has a formal name. I would call it the Value Added Committee.
Mrs. Firth: I think the Minister just made that up right now, and he is nodding his head in agreement. He has some officials meet with the executives of the Contractors Association to explain the scope of the concept, to discuss and review details, and I suppose, in some way, convince these people that they will really like this. Is the scope and concept of the incentive policy exactly the same as it is stated in the document that was prepared for the contract administration office by MacKay and Partners in December, 1986?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No, it is not.
Mrs. Firth: It is not the same. Could the Minister come forward with where it differs from this document because this is the most recent document that he has given to this House?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No, I cannot, but if I could I would. I have been trying to explain that the process is that the details are being formulated. When they are, and it is adopted by the government, I will forthwith make it available. Until that time comes, it is being formulated. The formulations change as the discussions occur. They occur regularly and often and are not completed.
Mrs. Firth: He raises an interesting point. This government does not have a position on free trade because nothing is finalized and the documentation is not complete in the hands of the government. Yet, they are talking about a concept that the government says is great and will be good for people in the Yukon and for the contractors. The Minister has told us tonight the contractors agree with it and are having input into it, yet the Minister will not even submit to the House and the public a comparative analysis of this document that is tabled in the Legislature. I must remind the Minister about the great fanfare, how positive and open he was being about his policy. Now he is telling us that he will not tell us about any more of the changes or any of the details or where this document is being examined.
I submit that the Minister is not being as open and forthcoming with the information he would like to make out that he is. It is a big secret.
Chairman: Any further general debate?
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
Mrs. Firth: The Minister mentioned advertising for this. Could he elaborate on what kind of advertising we are talking about?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: When the Business Incentive policy was brought into force, there was a pamphlet explaining it, there were ads in the paper, and there were notices to contractors. It is exactly that kind of advertising about the value added policy that we are talking about here.
Mrs. Firth: If the policy is not finalized and completely formulated, what were they telling people? What were they advertising?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: We are not doing the advertising until the policy is all formulated and in place. The target date is January 1. The advertising would occur after that and prior to April 1.
Chairman: Anything further?
Mrs. Firth: I want to ask the Minister a question so he can bring the information back. Earlier this afternoon, we were discussing some of the trends this government has noticed with the northern preference. I know the whole concept of northern preference ties in with this value added concept as well. The Minister is talking about how they have been monitoring the situation and how they are looking at hard numbers.
What kind of comparative analysis has been done with the data that has been collected and how has it been applied to the concept of value added? How has the government come to the conclusion that this is the direction for Yukon to go in?
As the Minister says, we would like some hard numbers. I do not want some thin beautiful statement that says it is all wonderful and great and everybody is going to live happily ever after.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I have previously said I will supply what is available. The Member knows she is talking about monitoring what is ongoing, and the numbers will be reported as they make sense, but I will report what is available.
Mr. McLachlan: When the Minister comes back with information tomorrow if he does not have it tonight, can he tell me how much of the $170,000 for the Yukon Business Incentive Policy is the salary load?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes.
Mr. McLachlan: I move you report progress.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Porter: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
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. 3, Third Appropriation Act, 1987-88 and directed 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 that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.
The House adjourned at 9:27 p.m.
The following Sessional Papers were tabled on December 7, 1987:
Public Accounts 1986/87 for fiscal year ending March 31, 1987 (Penikett)
Staff Establishment and Position Control Directive, effective April 1, 1987 (Penikett)
Department of Justice, Annual Report for year ending March 31, 1986 (Kimmerly)
The following Documents were tabled on December 7, 1987:
Agreement dated December 2, 1986, between Danny Nowlan, Yukon Game Farm and Hon. Dave Porter, Government of Yukon, regarding permits to sell and export falcons (Phelps)