Wednesday, December 9, 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. Are there any Returns or Documents for Tabling? Are there any Reports of Committees? Are there any Petitions? Introduction of Bills?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. Porter: With the consent of the House I would like to return to Tabling of Returns and Documents.
Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?
Some Members: Agreed.
Speaker: There is unanimous consent.
Hon. Mr. Porter: I have for tabling a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the RCMP and the Department of Renewable Resources, a letter to Mr. Nowlan dated September 20, from Mr. Monaghan, a return for questions raised by the Member for Hootalinqua, and, as well Reasons for Judgment delivered by Judge Maddison.
Speaker: Are there any Notices of Motion for Production of Papers? Are there any Notices of Motion?
Are there any Statements by Ministers?
Privatization of Northwestel
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Members of the Legislature are aware of the public announcement by Canadian National on December 4, 1987, that Northwestel is being offered for sale. This morning on CBC Radio, Yukon people listened to a vice-president of the company outline what that may mean to Northwestels employees, the head office here in Whitehorse, and the level of telephone service in the Yukon.
CN officials indicated that the primary reason for the sale is to improve the financial health of Canadian National. Mr. Speaker, this governments interest is the financial health of the Yukon, and at the same time, the health of telecommunications services. Those services are dependent on assurances of employee security, retention of our head office, and the ability to ensure an improvement to our communications services at affordable rates.
To maintain these objectives in light of an impending sale, we have acted swiftly.
The government has struck an interdepartmental committee that is assessing the impact of Northwestel on the auction block, as well as assessing the options available to this government in order to protect the public interest. Without second guessing the committees work, we expect that a wide range of possible sale scenarios will be explored.
I should also note that we have taken a number of positive and prominent steps recently in protecting the public interest in the field of communications. In January of 1986 we intervened in the Northwestel rate hearing to ensure Yukon people were provided with good quality telephone service at just and affordable rates. We have acted to amend legislation permitting the inclusion of telephone service in to the rural electrification program to assist in extending service to rural communities. We are currently in the process of developing a comprehensive communications policy for the Yukon and we are evaluating how best to improve the services we provide through the territorial governments VHF mobile radio network.
Mr. Speaker, I am very disappointed with the federal government and with Canadian National. We first wrote the Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian National on September 2, 1986 and the federal ministers of communications, transportation and privatization on the tenth of September 1986, asking that this government be consulted prior to any sale of Northwestel.
I explained the very important role that the company plays in the Yukon economy in terms of its contribution to the territorys tax base, jobs and capital expenditures. Every one of those contacted responded with the assurance that we would be consulted before consideration for the sale of Northwestel.
This whole exercise was repeated again on November 13, 1987.
However, last Friday we were provided with a CN press announcement that informed us of the proposed sale of this very important element to our social and economic well being.
I would like to assure Members of this Assembly and all Yukon people that this government is well aware of the potential impact this sale could have on both our economy and our quality of telecommunication service and we are already acting to evaluate the situation.
Speaker: This then brings us to Question Period.
Question re: Free trade
Mr. Phelps: I have some questions of the Government Leader with regard to the free trade issue. As the public is well aware, this government hired a consulting group, the DPA Group Incorporated, to prepare a study on the impacts of the Canada-U.S. free trade on the Yukon economy. The final report, as we know, was submitted to the government on March 31, 1986. My first question is whether or not this government made the DPA Group study available to the federal government ministers or officials involved in the free trade negotiations?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Given that the report had little credibility with this government, I do not know why we would have done that. The answer is no.
Mr. Phelps: The government went out and spent a bunch of money, and I am rather shocked that they would hire a group in which they had no faith. The executive summary is rather interesting. It states, in part, on page one, the DPA Group sector by sector analysis indicated that forestry, mining, transportation, distribution and small steel manufacturing could receive the greatest long term benefits from a free trade agreement. The sectors least affected would be government, retail trades ...
Speaker: Order, please. Would the Member please get to the supplementary question?
Mr. Phelps: ... hunting, trapping, fishing and energy, although these could be affected to some degree. Did the government make a summary of the DPA Group report available to the federal government at any time?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Unfortunately, given the manner in which questions are asked in the House these days, I also have to respond to the preamble as well as to the question. I did not say we had no faith in the DPA Group; what I said was that we did not place much credence in this particular study. The DPA group has done a fair amount of work for us, some of it very good. The Member opposite, in quoting from the report, was going to read a long passage from the report, which we made public some months ago. On even a superficial knowledge of the evidence, at least two of the sectors he mentioned - energy and, I think, government procurement - are profoundly affected by the particular arrangements that were negotiated in Washington and Ottawa and have therefore already placed in serious doubt the conclusions made by the gentlemen from the DPA Group.
Mr. Phelps: The Government Leader keeps taking these positions and then has to withdraw them. He also went public in trying to find something wrong with the free trade arrangements so that he can echo Mr. Broadbent, who said that he was very concerned about the agricultural community. Is the Government Leader aware that the Yukon Livestock and Agricultural Association has come out strongly, publicly in favour of the free trade deal?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Yes, I am. I do not know whose views they are carrying on the subject. We have had a fair amount of discussion on this subject, and we find that there are two possible impacts on the agricultural industry. One is that they will have improved access to the Alaskan market, which is the only market that we are close to in order for it to matter at all. Some of our access these days to that market depends on favourable exchange rates, but the more likely impact is that we will have cheap imports coming from southern Canada and the southern U.S., which could easily displace much of the produce developed here.
Question re: Free trade
Mr. Phelps: It is interesting that the Livestock and Agricultural Associations executive never heard from the government about free trade. Yet, the government professes to speak on their behalf.
Page four of the Executive Summary of DPA group states, The teams view is that the YTG should state its free trade position earlier than later in order to have some influence on the Canadian negotiating position before it is firmly established. The government did not take a strong position earlier rather than later. It was waiting for the final text to come out before they took a position. Why did the government not follow the advice of DPA, and state their position early so that they could have had some influence on the negotiations?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Member opposite is talking nonsense since we were never invited to any of the substantial meetings, the First Ministers meetings or the designated Trade Ministers meetings, where these issues were discussed. Any meetings to which we were invited were those where the federal government talked and everybody else listened. In other words, they were briefing sessions.
There was little opportunity, other than at national conferences at which I was a participant, and I did state concerns very early about the agreement. To get back to my original point, the agreement, until we see the text, is still a pig in the poke. We do not want it, and we can only speculate about how it will impact us. For us to speculate about what might be in the agreement, which is still being negotiated, and then to take a firm position on that, would be very ridiculous.
Mr. Phelps: This government had a duty to make its position known during the course of negotiations. If they were concerned about aspects of what free trade might mean to the Yukon, they should have clearly and forcibly put their concerns forward in writing. Why is the Minister refusing to table any such correspondence or positions that were forwarded by this government, if any were? He refused to do that on December 7, when asked by myself.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have made public statements about our concerns, and those same concerns have been expressed to the national government throughout these negotiations. In the words of Donald Macdonald, the problem is that the Members opposite want to take a leap of faith into the great unknown. They want to wed themselves to an agreement, they do not know what the agreement is; they do not know how it will affect the north; they do not know how many jobs it is going to cost or create in the Yukon, but they are in favour of it, even though they do not know what it is.
We think such arrangements as this require a government to act responsibly, not like a group of economic Moonies who act on faith ...
Speaker: Order, please. Would the Member please conclude his answer?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It is not a business for economic Moonies. We do not have faith. We have to be responsible skeptics about this and ask the questions about what is in the deal and, then, we will tell people how it will affect us.
Mr. Phelps: I cannot help but get a little annoyed when he will not answer the question. Will he provide us with whatever position was taken by this government in expressing our concerns to the federal negotiating team prior to the deal being finalized? He said he will not, and I want to know why not. From the sounds of it, it will be very scanty stuff, indeed.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Very early on, I made very public statements and communicated to the national government our concern about a fortress North America trading block and the way that would affect us in the Asian markets where we export metals. I am sure it is in writing somewhere, but I communicated it on a number of occasions. I am sure it is on the record.
Let me state another problem. Totally to our surprise in this deal is a large energy section. At no meeting we ever attended were we ever advised by the federal government that energy was on the table. For us to have taken a hard position about what might be in an agreement would be patently ridiculous. Only someone who had a cultus faith in free trade would ask us to do that.
Question re: Rural and Native Demonstration Program
Mr. McLachlan: With respect to the Rural and Native Demonstration Program, specifically in the location of Carmacks, where six housing units were built, can the Minister of Community and Transportation Services advise if that program has been fully completed in Carmacks and if the tenants have moved into their units and the subcontractors - who have been waiting to be paid by the Housing Corporation - have had their accounts settled?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will check on the details of whether or not the contractors have been paid on the particular projects in Carmacks and whether or not people have moved into the Rural Native Demonstration Program houses that were undertaken last year.
Mr. McLachlan: Can the Minister advise why the government is trying to collect back money from the tenants on the so-called overrun on the costs for which these tenants were not responsible?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: My understanding is that the cost overruns were not so-called. There were cost overruns, and there was a limit that was put by program guidelines on the capital that could be put forward for each house. Unfortunately, as I am sure Members are aware, difficulties did arise in Carmacks, and it was left up to program staff from the Yukon Housing Corporation to undertake the construction, which was not expected of this particular program. Much of the work in the construction itself had to be undertaken by non-clients. There were some difficulties that were experienced administratively in the Rural Native Demonstration Program. They are well known to this Legislature. What we have already said is on the record.
Mr. McLachlan: That is the problem that we are worried about. The government undertook to take the problem over from CMHC at $53,500 per unit, found they could not do it and have asked the tenants to pay back the overruns on it. Why have some people been told that if they did not sign for the amount of the overrun in some of the houses that they built with their labour on their land, they would revert to the Housing Corporation? That is a blackmail move.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The program guidelines clearly stipulated the amount of capital that would be contributed by CMHC through the Yukon Housing Corporation. The Member touched on the fact of the labour being required to build the houses, and I indicated to him - he may not have heard - that much of the work had to be completed by Yukon Housing Corporation Staff because the agreement had not been lived up to, basically. The Yukon Housing Corporation has gone to great lengths to try to resolve the situation in Carmacks to the satisfaction of the clients, and in so doing have had to provide actual labour as well, which is not part of the program. I think they have lived up to not only the spirit, but the terms of the program and have done their utmost to try to resolve any differences or problems with the clients in Carmacks.
Question re: Ross River housing
Mr. Lang: As we know, the latest revelations of the Housing Corporation as they go on day by day are more and more interesting. It is obvious that there is a great deal of mismanagement going on by the government, and a great deal of waste of taxpayers dollars with respect to the very ambitious program that the government has initiated, which is in the neighbourhood of $60 million, if not probably higher.
Could the Minister of Housing confirm today in this House that the government is in the process of constructing two new houses in Ross River?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The actual building plan for the community of Ross River is currently being undertaken. I can check on details on housing projects that might be undertaken in that community. I do take issue with the claim of mismanagement and certainly have taken issue with this totally fallacious claim that there is a $60 million program that has been approved by this government and this Legislature.
Mr. Lang: We have the Minister of Housing reporting to this House that he does not know how many houses are being built in Ross River. That in itself is irresponsible. I want to ask the Minister, if he can find time in his busy schedule while he is planning for the year 2000, if he could find out for this House how much those units are costing the people of the territory to build?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It is typically unfair of this particular Member to be asking questions about various details within the Department of Community of Transportation Services, Education and the Yukon Housing Corporation. It is my responsibility to bring back absolutely accurate information to the Legislature, and that is what I will do. I will not speculate nor take chances with my memory on this matter.
I will be bringing back information. I am sure they will want details on the water and sewer systems in those houses as well. I will make sure that that is also brought back as relevant information to the Members as well. I am sure they will want to know whether the houses were painted red or white, and I will bring that information back as well.
Mr. Lang: There should be no surprise to the Minister that questions of this kind are of concern to the people of the territory, as we have a government going around building homes that nobody is living in. When the Minister goes back to his department, that he obviously has such a good handle on, he can ask why we are going ahead and building two brand new housing units in the community of Ross River when we have had one house in the possession of the Yukon Housing Corporation vacant for a year, and we have had two other houses vacant up to last weekend as well.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: With respect to the details of the Department of Community and Transportation Services on Housing, I wish the Member would provide written questions and certainly the information will be provided, or even advance notice, and the information will be provided through the Legislature. Clearly, when the Member was Minister, he did not give any answers, so we never really knew how much of a handle he had on his department.
Now, with respect to the housing situation, generally speaking, in Ross River the situation clearly is that there is a shortage of housing, and if there was a vacancy, there could be a number of reasons for that vacancy. I will bring back the information to all of the Members in the Legislature.
Question re: Ross River housing
Mr. Lang: The Minister of Housing has the continued nerve to keep referring back to the previous administration. I would like to say to the Minister that he is responsible for the Housing Corporation, and he is the one who stood up in this House and announced various programs were going ahead in the territory.
I would like to ask the Minister if he could provide to this House - similar to what happened in Teslin - a list, or at least the number of people who are eligible for this housing, and who would be interested in this kind of housing, with respect to justifying going ahead with the building of these two, obviously very expensive, units.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The only reason why I dredged up memories of the previous administration was because it was such a frightening experience for a Member in the Opposition. Clearly, I will provide as much information as I can to the Legislature. It is parliamentary custom to give notice. Parliamentary custom is obviously not being adhered to in this particular case, or it is not really the practice of the Members opposite, judging by the questions and the details requested, to give notice. But I would appreciate it, and I would be able to provide this information in the future.
Mr. Lang: I guess it is embarrassing to stand up and say you do not know.
I will ask a general policy question, and I am sure the Minister should have a handle on this one: is it the governments policy that in the building of housing throughout the territory that the construction of the houses would involve Yukon labour, and that the homes would use local Yukon material, as much as it can be provided?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am sure the questions are leading somewhere. With respect to providing detail, I will try to remember how many heavy equipment operators there are in Ogilvie too, just in case there is a question about whether or not I care about the highway system.
It is the general policy of the government to provide, as much as possible, local materials and local labour on housing projects.
Mr. Lang: When the Minister is going back for information about a program he obviously does not know very much about, could the Minister supply to the House why two units are pre-fab units purchased in Prince George, as opposed to being stick built here in Yukon?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: With respect to all the details that the Member wants to bring up, I will endeavor to seek the information for Members about those details and will undertake to give reasons why the Housing Corporation may have chosen to build houses in particular ways.
Question re: Burwash airport
Mr. Brewster: My question is to the Minister of Community and Transportation Services.
How long has the department been negotiating with the Ministry of Transport to take over the Burwash airport?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I would presume that the negotiations started in earnest in late 1985 or early 1986. I certainly indicated in the House when negotiations started - it is on the record - on the B and C airport program.
Mr. Brewster: During this time, did it not occur to officials in your department that six Ministry of Transport units would be available for purchase or rent?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: As I mentioned to the Members already, it does not entail any transfer of personnel and consequently does not entail transfer of houses. So, the issue may quite easily not have arisen. In any case, it did occur to the Department of Education that there might be houses in Destruction Bay available for use and, in fact, contacted MOT and asked if the houses would be available. MOT replied they were not available and would not be available in the foreseeable future. That is the reason they made the request to the Yukon Housing Corporation for a staff unit for an extra teacher for Kluane Lake School.
Mr. Brewster: I had asked for the correspondence to be tabled. They did not think there was any, now there is some, and I presume it will be tabled. Was local material and local labour used in the construction of a teacherage at Destruction Bay?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Firstly, I did not indicate whether or not there was correspondence; I indicated that I would seek correspondence, if there was such correspondence. With respect to the teacherage at Destruction Bay, the teacherage refers to something that is attached to the school. We are not building anything attached to the school. With respect to the housing unit at Destruction Bay, I will check on that question for the Member.
Question re: Human Rights Commission
Mr. Phillips: I have a question for the Minister of Justice regarding the Human Rights Commissions executive director. Can the Minister tell this House why they did not hire locally when they had a Yukoner on the short list for the job? Was he or she not qualified?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is remarkable that that question is asked. The same question was asked in another forum - in Committee of the Whole yesterday - and I talked about the reporting relationship briefly between the Commission and the government. If the Member wishes to take up the time in Question Period, I will answer again.
The process of hiring was a function of the committee, and the committee interviewed several individuals and made a decision based on the personal qualities and experience of those individuals.
Mr. Phillips: Again, as last night, the Minister did not answer the question. He was asked the very same question last night, and he did not give us a yes or a no as to whether a Yukoner was short listed. We have found out now that the cost to the Yukon taxpayer was $3,500 for a house hunting trip for the new executive director; $3,500 for relocation expenses; and a whopping $18,592 for moving expenses. That is $25,802 altogether - for a government that claims it hires locally - to hire somebody from outside for a position here. I would like to know if the Government of Yukon did have someone on a short list, and why did they not use some of that $25,000 to upgrade the qualifications of the Yukoner who could have been on the short list and would be more familiar with the Yukon community and probably would have filled the job quite well?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I enjoyed that little speech under the guise of a supplementary question. The Member is obviously seeking publicity for that information. He could just as easily have pointed the reporters to Hansard. The hiring process here was under the control of and a function of the Public Service Commission, and the Commission made a decision. The Member opposite knows full well that it is quite unfair, and I would submit irresponsible, to try and raise an inference that this is a government function when he knows full well ...
Speaker: Order, please. Would the Member please conclude his answer?
Mr. Phillips: I asked a question twice and still did not get an answer. We are talking about a policy of this government that stresses very strongly that they want to hire locally for senior positions in government. Last night the Minister said, and I quote out of Hansard, the Commission advertised and developed a short list. They communicated with the government about the possibility of an outside hire.
The government then had the opportunity to say that they want to hire locally if there is a person on the short list. Why did the government not put its policy that it brags so much about into place?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The government policy is in place. In this respect, the government was not hiring. The Commission was. They looked at the individuals, and they responsibly chose the individual whom they felt had the best experience and the best personal qualifications. That is exactly what they did.
Question re: Human Rights Commission
Mrs. Firth: I have an easy, straight question for the Minister of Justice. Last night in the debate, we discovered that the amount of money that is going to be spent on the Human Rights Commission is almost $350,000. That is just the money that we can identify in the budget. It does not include the renovations of the newly purchased Human Rights Commission office. Of the amount that has been determined, the annual budget for the Commission could be as high as $245,000 a year. Can the Minister tell us what the spending authority of the Commission or the Executive Director is going to be?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The spending authority of the Commission is to spend up to the amount of money that they are allotted by the government or any monies that they obtain through other sources. The Member opposite knows that full well, and I submit it is a matter of law.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister did not answer the question and is indicating that there is no limit on the spending authority of the Commission. Can he tell us who the Executive Director or the Commission Chairperson is directly accountable to when it comes to spending?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Commission was established as an independent one in accordance with the Act passed by this Legislature. They will be awarded monies through this Legislature and will spend them in accordance with the policies specified in the Act. Those expenditures will be audited.
Mrs. Firth: The Commission has already been awarded the money by the Management Board. They are simply coming to the Legislature for us to confirm that amount of money. They are asking for $315,000. What are the financial guidelines that the Commission has to follow? Do they have to abide by the Financial Administration Act?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Act very clearly and specifically says that the Commission is accountable to the Legislature. That is clear. The Member opposite is simply seeking publicity about the numbers and has misstated the reasonable expectation. The fact of the matter is the law is clear and the Commission is accountable to the Legislature.
Question re: Human Rights Commission
Mrs. Firth: The Minister is telling the public that they do not have a right to know about the Commissions authority when it comes to spending money. Let us get it very clear: this government, the front bench, the Management Board, authorized the expenditure of these funds to the Human Rights Commission. They have brought it to the Legislature and asked us to approve it here. Those are the facts. So we have established now that the Commission does not have any guidelines to follow, that this government simply gave them the money.
I would like to ask the Minister of Health and Human Resources if the Commission follows normal government procedures for their spending authority, which is to invite bids for expenditures under $5,000 - but I understand the Department of Government Services is requesting that individuals who are putting out bids do so under $2,000. Does the Commission have to abide by those rules?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The legislation here is quite clear. The Commission is accountable to the Legislature and that provision in the Act was specifically and clearly made. The Members opposite at the time of the debate on the Act complained about government control, government interference and government appointments. They are now complaining about exactly the opposite. That inconsistency is inexcusable, and I would submit just stupid.
Mrs. Firth: I think the public is going to understand where the stupidity is here. Does the Commission have to use purchase orders or requests for purchase when they are spending money, and are they doing it?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Commission is an independent Commission established that way for perfectly good reasons. It is not a part of the government in the sense of the civil service. It is separate and distinct from the executive arm of government, and reports to and is responsible to the Legislature.
Mrs. Firth: No other department operates like this in the government. No other government agency has the ability to go and write its own cheques and get an allotment of money from the front bench and spend it as it pleases. The Minister is telling us, no, they do not have any guidelines. He is coming to this Legislature saying...
Speaker: Order, please. Would the Member please get to the supplementary question.
Mrs. Firth: ..."We want you to put $250,000 in a bank account and let the Commission spend that money." Is that not really what the Minister is saying: just put the money in the bank and the Commission can spend it the way it sees fit?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: We know full well the attitude of the Member opposite. She was opposed to the Commission to begin with, was opposed to the Legislation about Human Rights; the situation about the Commission is similar to the situation of the Legal Services Society, which was enacted by the previous government.
Speaker: Order, please. Would the Member please conclude his answer?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Member opposite is being willfully blind or refusing to accept the facts.
Speaker: Order, please. Would the Member please conclude his answer?
Question re: Human Rights Commission
Mr. Lang: The Minister has heard the question from the Member for Riverdale South. Is the answer yes or no?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: This Question Period in recent weeks has changed substantially. It is not, in any sense of the word, ...
Mrs. Firth: On a Point of Order.
Speaker: Order, please. Point of Order to the Member for Whitehorse Riverdale South.
Mrs. Firth: I believe the question was asked of the Minister, yes or no, in response to the previous question. We were not requesting a great debate on how Question Period was proceeding. I would ask the Speaker to rule.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: On the same Point of Order.
Speaker: On the Point of Order, the Government Leader.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: By my conservative count, 63 percent of the Members questions opposite are clearly out of order and are argumentative or suggest their own answer. Another large percent are out of order on other rules, among the 14 that are listed in our book. If you will forgive me, we have been very liberal in the way we have suffered preambles that have nothing to do with the question, speeches from Members opposite, which are not permissible in Question Period. We are trying to answer the questions. The Members opposite are trying to replicate a debate that took place last night about the Human Rights Commission. The Human Rights Commission is not a department of the government. That is a fact in law. The Members opposite may not like it, and they may not like human rights, but that is not a Point of Order.
Speaker: The hon. Member for Whitehorse Porter Creek East on the Point of Order.
Mr. Lang: The Point of Order is very clear. In the rules it states clearly and specifically that, when questions are asked, the government has a responsibility to answer them. The point that is being put is that we have had no answer from the Minister of Justice. With respect to the comments made by the Government Leader, where he is indicating that this House is not being managed in the way it should, I think he should look at himself with respect to the decisions made in this House. In good part, he is responsible for them.
Speaker: Order, please. I find there is no Point of Order, as our guideline Number 10 states: A Minister may decline to answer a question without stating the reason for refusal.
Question re: Rural and Native Demonstration Program
Mr. McLachlan: Some of the tenants in the Rural and Native Demonstration Program in Carmacks are being told that, if they do not pay the overrun for which they are not responsible, they may be forced to do so in court. Is it the intention of the Housing Corporation to take the tenants in this type of social housing program to court for payment of the cost overruns, for which they are not responsible?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It is my understanding that, over the course of the late summer and early fall, Housing Corporation staff have been discussing and negotiating with the clients in Carmacks under the Rural and Native Demonstration Program to settle the issue that was brought to the Legislature this afternoon, for Members information.
The negotiations failed to produce results and, I believe, in one or two cases Yukon Housing Corporation referred the matter to the Justice Department for advice.
Mr. McLachlan: What are those tenants to do: wait for the Minister of Justices solicitors to come back with an opinion, buckle under the threat of blackmail and losing their house, ignore all directions from the Housing Corporation by ministerial order? What are those tenants to do when they have been caught in this situation with respect to an overrun for which they are not responsible?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: There was an assumption made that overruns were not their responsibility. That was one of the points of negotiation undertaken at great length between the Housing Corporation personnel and the clients themselves. Clearly, settlement could not be reached. Is the Member making the assumption that, because negotiations could not conclude, the Yukon Housing Corporation simply agreed to the terms as decided by the clients in the housing units in Carmacks? I submit that the proper course of events ought to be as the Housing Corporation has decided they should be, that advice should be obtained as to the various legal responsibilities inherent in the situation to determine where the Housing Corporation and the clients stand. Clearly, if there is any chance of negotiating a settlement, I am sure the Housing Corporation would bend over backwards and try to find one.
Mr. McLachlan: Is it the intention of the Housing Corporation to embark upon this type of program, Rural and Native Demonstration Program, in other locations in Yukon as part of its 1988-89 social housing program that we are about to debate in the budget?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The answer basically is no. It was clear that the difficulties experienced in the first year of the program primarily in the Yukon told CMHC some things they were concerned about and they have been rather reluctant to continue the program. Certainly the Yukon Housing Corporation, even though they are continuing this year, for its part wants to ensure that the administrative arrangements are tied down to the letter before any consideration is made to continue further with the project.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed, and we will now proceed with Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS
Mr. Lang: On behalf of the House Leaders, I would request unanimous consent for the motions under Motions other than Government Motions to be called in the following order: Motion No. 18, Motion No. 24, Motion No. 23, Motion No. 4, Motion No. 15, Motion No. 5, Motion No. 6, Motion No. 21.
Unaninous consent granted
Motion No. 18
Clerk: Item No. 7, standing in the name of Mr. Phelps.
Speaker: Is the hon. Member prepared to proceed with item 7?
Mr. Phelps: Yes.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Leader of the Official Opposition:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Commissioner in Executive Council should cause an inquiry to be made pursuant to the Public Inquiries Act into a matter connected with the conduct of the public business of Yukon and of public concern, namely the involvement of the Ministers and officials of the Government of Yukon in all aspects of the investigation and subsequent court case regarding the alleged falcon smuggling conspiracy, which was concluded in March 1986 when seven defendants including Mr. Danny Nowlan, co-owner of the Yukon Game Farm, were found not guilty, to resolve the following:
1) The extent of the involvement of the Ministers and officials of the Government of Yukon;
2) Steps taken by Ministers and officials of the Government of Yukon with regard to restricting the ability of the defendants, Mr. Nowlan and Ms. Schmigale from carrying on their business of selling domestically raised falcons;
THAT the Board of Inquiry examine the following issues and make recommendations as is appropriate, namely:
1) Whether the Government of Yukon should develop a procedure and training manual for its investigating officers to ensure such officers act in a fair and ethical manner;
2) Whether the Government of Yukon should develop a mandatory training course for officials who are involved in the enforcement of its statutes and regulations;
3) Whether the Government of Yukon should enact legislation that provides for the payment of legal costs and disbursements of defendants who successfully defend themselves against charges laid by the Government of Yukon;
4) Whether the Government of Yukon should enact legislation that provides for the payment of legal costs and disbursements of defendants who successfully defend themselves against charges laid by another level of government where the Government of Yukon was involved in the investigation and the decision to lay charges;
5) To make such other recommendations as the Board of Inquiry deems necessary to ensure that the investigative and enforcement procedures of the Government of Yukon are fair and appropriate in future;
THAT the Board appointed for the purpose of making this inquiry should include at least one Canadian member of the judiciary;
THAT the Board be constituted within thirty days of the passing of this Resolution; and
THAT the Commissioner in Executive Council cause the report of the Board after receipt thereof to be laid before this House if the House is then in Session, or if the House is not in Session, then forthwith cause the report to be made available to the Clerk of the Assembly who shall transmit copies of the report to each member of the House.
Mr. Phelps: I would like to start off by just correcting for the record a typo in the Motion itself in the first paragraph where it relates to the alleged falcon smuggling conspiracy, which was concluded in March of 1986; it should be 1987, of course.
The issue here is one of grave concern to a good many Yukoners. It simply is a stark example of the fear a good many Yukoners have with regard to the unfettered power of the state. It is a fear that comes about when you have a government that is so huge and complex that when taken in context with the relative population of those who work for government and the population of the territory as a whole, in context with the fact that the government directly or indirectly can have a huge impact on the very future of individual Yukon citizens.
Time and time again, we hear complaints about how citizens have been treated by government, how inspectors have abused their powers, and the list goes on. More and more often, we receive complaints from people who have been put through a great deal of legal expense only to be found innocent, and where the penalty they had to pay in order to defend themselves was severe, and in some cases more severe than the penalty that would have been meted out had they been found guilty: penalties resulting in delays, delays in building, delays in plans, delays of various kinds, and huge costs, and a large amount of anguish that innocent people come under when they have been prosecuted, when proceedings have even been threatened by officers of the Crown.
We, on this side, have a very sincere sympathy for the little guy, and we are here to say so, and to maintain, and to remind the side opposite that government here is too big, that the individual often does not have a fair chance, that the government officials have a power, which, if abused, can bestow a great deal of harm on the individual with absolutely no redress, and may cause unnecessary anguish.
It is because of our concern about the powers of the state in Yukon that our side put forward a Motion on April 8, 1987, as follows: It was moved by the hon. Member for Whitehorse Riverdale North:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Government of Yukon should investigate and report back to the House regarding the establishment of an ombudsman office which would have as its sole function the protection of individuals against the power of the state.
I spoke in support of that Motion because I firmly believe, and know, that there is a feeling abroad in this territory that the individual is pretty helpless in the face of the jackboot of large government. At that time, in supporting the ombudsman motion, I stated that the idea is not new in Yukon; Mr. Norm Chamberlist had an investigation and caused a report to be laid before the Legislature at that time, in the early 1970s, with regard to the issue. And I was involved in the debate way back in the early 1970s. When one looks at that serious proposal in the context of 1970 and examines the situation now, the state has grown in leaps and bounds. The budget has mushroomed - skyrocketed, indeed - the bureaucracy has grown, the different kinds of powers being exercised by the government is growing and growing and growing.
I quoted on April 8 from a Royal Bank of Canada monthly letter about the principle of ombudsmen. It said, In fact, as George B. McClelland, the Alberta Ombudsman said in an article in the Alberta Municipal Councilor, there is hardly any field business, manual labour, or other occupation in which the average person finds himself engaged where he is not subject to numerous forms of government control.
I would submit that perhaps no other part of this nation, or of North America, finds itself so subject to government control as the Yukon. Because of the growing complexity of life here, because of the growing anguish of private citizens about government abuse of power - and the potential for that - I am proud to say that our party has a resolution that supports the establishment of an ombudsman, and that is why we continue to support that principle.
On April 8, 1987, when I was speaking to the ombudsman Motion, I raised some of the issues that were known then about Operation Falcon.
To quote, It is interesting the smokescreens that come up when discussing a very simple and straightforward matter like the Nowlan Game Farm situation. We are not speaking of the criminal case itself and the charges laid against the defendant, but what happened there is very clearly wrong and very clearly involved bureaucratic decisions that were unfair, in fact, unconscionable in my opinion. Those should be spelled out because they are things that ought to have been investigated at the time these decisions were being made by the bureaucrats in the Department of Renewable Resources.
It was a concern then, and it was not only my concern, but a concern of a good number of Yukoners. Subsequent to last April, we have had the investigative reporting by writers for the Kingston Whig Standard - volumes of reports were published - and of such interest to people in the Yukon that one of the local newspapers sought and received permission and published the initial report as an enclosure in its newspaper. It was read with a great deal of interest and concern by a huge number of Yukoners. What occurred in what is known as Operation Falcon was very simply a travesty of justice. The guilty went free; in fact, they made a deal to turn evidence for their freedom. All those people charged in the Yukon were found not guilty or the charges were dropped before it went to trial.
The charges were dropped against some of them before the preliminary hearings were held because, as conceded by most people who were involved with the investigation, the charges should not have even been laid against some of the initial defendants on moral grounds. Charges were laid, proceedings carried on - unnecessarily against some of them, as it turned out - so we have a situation where individuals paid huge amounts of money for their defence attorneys. It is said that Mr. Mossop, for example, was hit personally for about $10,000 for his legal fees. The costs to Paul White have not been made public, to my knowledge. Mr. Nowlan and Ms. Schmigale had expenses in excess of $100,000, and the list goes on.
It is not only this that has to be of concern. The costs to the taxpayers in Canada and in the Yukon must amount into the millions of dollars. We have some costs put forward, but there were a lot of hidden costs at the time for department officials from all levels of government, spent on this destructive exercise rather than on proper government business.
We had six or seven officers from Renewable Resources sitting through most of the trial. We had complaints about that. They had nothing better to do than watch the proceedings proceed. It comes clear in the various reports published by the Whig Standard that there were few, if any, regrets on the part of some of those officials most responsible for this travesty of justice. For example, the quotes of Doug Linklater lead one to believe he had no regrets at all about what happened. Also, quotes of a similar nature from officers in Ontario, and mild regret from RCMP officers.
In the Motion, we want to get down to the truth of what happened, and the reason why this investigation continued, and the reason why the court action ground on. The mills of the gods grind slowly, and reputations and businesses and lives are often ruined in the process. We feel that a lot of salutary benefits could emerge from a public inquiry under the Public Inquiries Act, open to the public and held here in Yukon. Without being partisan, it is my firm belief that the issue of whether or not this government should develop procedural and training manuals for its investigating officers ought to be examined in the context of what happened in this huge case. The issue of whether the Government of Yukon should develop a mandatory training course for its investigators should be examined in the context of Operation Falcon. The issue of whether the Government of Yukon should pay costs where it has prosecuted or supported the prosecution of citizens and those people who are found not guilty, ought to be examined in the context of the flagrant abuse of justice that occurred in what is known as Operation Falcon.
We can turn to what happened during the course of the trial. The reputations of people were severely damaged. Two defendants were prevented from carrying on business by an official of this government. The appearance of what occurred is important. It is an old maxim of those involved in the legal system that justice must not only be done, but must appear to be done.
A large number of falcons were hatched in captivity. Two of the defendants who own the Yukon Game Farm attempted on numerous occasions to sell those falcons but were prevented from doing so. They almost went bankrupt over the course of the more than one year that transpired, while they were trying to sell the falcons and while they were prevented from selling the falcons. When finally they were sold, the birds had reached an age where their value had diminished substantially.
It is the way in which those defendants were treated that is so appalling. I can say that I received many, many phone calls from friends and neighbours, from people who have had arguments with Mr. Nowlan and Ms. Schmigale. Even people who were known as enemies of them came forward and said that this was atrocious; it just did not look right, and that it was unfair.
People came and asked what was happening. Was the government afraid that he was actually going to be able to defend himself? Were they trying to prevent him from being able to continue with the lawyer that had been on this case for so long? Trying to break him so he cannot meet the changes? The appearance was there. If it was not in fact the case, then the appearance was there. It is not something that is a figment of my imagination. It is something a huge number of people were concerned with during the time in question.
I do not want to belabour what happened here in Question Period during this sitting, but I asked about these matters and was given all kinds of, I think, weak defences. I asked if there was a signed contract and was told that there might be; there could be; there was a proposed contract. The funny thing there is had someone not sent me a copy of the signed document after I asked those questions, I would not have known. I would not have known there was a signed contract. The public of the Yukon would not have known, the Legislature would not have known. I just cannot understand why we were not told, why the Minister did not come forward in the interim and table the signed document. The result was that the public was misled, but through luck the record was corrected, because I got a copy of the document signed by all these people, and tabled it. The interesting thing about the document, and I do not want to belabour it, is that what it says contradicts badly the position taken by the self-anointed spokesman for the government on this, the Minister of Justice. All he could say when he was confronted with it was that there must have been another legal opinion given to the department at the time. The other excuse that was given the following day with regard to the date, September 2 rather than December 2 - I can honestly say I would be too ashamed of myself to stand up and make that kind of a lame excuse. I mean that.
We had the gamesmanship of the side opposite in play when they tabled a motion at the last minute on Friday in order to be able to be in the position to speak to their Motion about an inquiry, before we could speak to this Motion.
When we exposed the signed contract and tabled it, they decided not to go ahead but, rather, to let us go ahead so that they could propose an amendment. It is a funny thing - we read in the Whig Standard that the Minister of Justice, whom we all greatly appreciate for his forthrightness, says there should be an inquiry into this; it is a travesty of justice that the federal government should have a public inquiry and we support the NDP down there. Then our justices here say it has nothing to do with them. I am sure if the Minister of Justice was asked, he would support his comrades in Ontario who are calling for a public inquiry into that provinces officials handling of Operation Falcon. The NDP are calling for such an inquiry, and we have a fair amount of information regarding that.
I think we should have a Yukon public inquiry - a Yukon public inquiry rather than, or in addition to, or despite what might happen at the federal or Ontario level. I do not think Yukoners can be satisfied with simply sitting back and saying it is all the fault of the feds; they should have their inquiry and that is good enough for us. I want to give some reasons why.
Firstly, I would point to the all-pervasive nature of government in the lives of people who live here. I talked about that in an earlier speech. It is important because government is so big here, because people are bothered by government officials so many times here; the pervasiveness is unlike the position of citizens to the south. Whether a government is unfair or appearing to be unfair in its dealings with citizens at the investigative level is a big issue here, because the government is so big and so all-pervasive. So it is more important to the people here that the government be fair than it is to people and their lifestyles in the large populous provinces to the south.
Secondly, our small population - within the group of Yukoners who have been here for any period of time - a startlingly large number of people were touched directly or indirectly by Operation Falcon. Many, if not most, Yukoners know, knew, or dealt with, one or more of the defendants. Many of the defendants have been here for many, many years. Some have been active in various kinds of business, and of course Mr. Mossop is very well known and very well respected in his field as a bird biologist with the Department of Renewable Resources.
Friends, neighbours, acquaintances, business associates, people in a similar line of business, people who have known these defendants such as Danny Nowlan for 20 years or more, fought fires with them, feuded with them over property - these are people with uniqueness in the territory, who have done a lot for the territory, and whether some of us have had disagreements with these individuals in the past, nonetheless we knew who they were and respected them for what they are. In that context, surely people up here have a far greater stake in seeing an inquiry held here, with regard to the Yukon situation ensuring that the feelings of Yukoners are exposed and dealt with, with sensitivity. I do not think my opinion that an inquiry held primarily in Ottawa, by and for the federal government, would do justice to the situation here.
The third reason is that justice must not only be done, but be seen to be done. There was a huge injustice that was perpetrated on a lot of innocent people. A public inquiry held in Yukon - the hearings of which are readily accessible by people in Yukon - could go a long way to calming the fears of a good many Yukoners with regard to the actions taken by officials connected to this case.
The fourth reason is that an inquiry would be dealing with, to a large degree, areas under the jurisdiction of the Yukon Territorial Government. This Legislature, leaders in government, have for decades been asking for more government responsibility - responsible government in greater amounts, not less. So why would we want to rely on the feds? Why would we want to take a retrograde step and have the federal government do it for us?
It is my submission that this government has a chance to show maturity, to show that it is capable of redressing wrongs, of examining what has happened, of taking into account the rights of the individuals. To insist on hiding behind the skirts of a federal inquiry would go against all of the progress that has been made since the 1960s, in terms of responsible government. And I submit once again that I have every faith in the ability of Yukoners to deal with this important issue in Yukon. I am not concerned that we are not, or might not, be mature enough to deal with this in the proper fashion.
The fifth reason is that it is extremely unlikely that a federal inquiry would result in recommendations being made about how this government should run its affairs. It would be terribly presumptuous and rather insulting if that were to happen. This is the flip side of the coin of point number four. I would be very skeptical that a federal inquiry would deal with areas of policy that ought to be properly dealt with by this government.
Those are issues that must be dealt with here. They are issues that, quite properly, should be dealt with in the context of what went wrong with Operation Falcon. It is the Government of Yukon - not the Government of Canada - and the people of the Yukon who ought to be concerned about whether or not this government should develop procedural and training manuals for its investigating officers to ensure that they act in a fair and ethical manner. It is the Government of the Yukon and the people of the Yukon who ought to be determining whether or not this government should develop a mandatory training course for Government of Yukon officials who are involved in the enforcement of Yukon statutes and Yukon regulations. It is our decision, and it is the people in the Yukon who should be examining the issue of whether or not this government should pay legal costs and disbursements of defendants who successfully defend themselves against charges laid by this government. It is this government and the people of the Yukon who are concerned as to whether or not this government should pay legal costs and disbursements where charges are laid by another level of government, but this government was involved in the key role in the investigation and the laying of charges.
We have a situation here where the government has been considering whether or not it should pay the costs of the little guy - one of its employees, Mr. Mossop - who was treated so brutally by the system. We understand it cost him $10,000 or so. We are here to stick up for the little guy. We feel that he has been aggrieved, and the payment of his costs and disbursements is the least this government can do, but that is not good enough because that is, by its very nature, discriminatory.
The Minister of Justice has suggested to me that Mossop would be a special case. He works for the government, and it was in the course of his duties that he got into this jam, so the government can pay him but not the other people. Paul White was charged and the charges were dropped against him. He is involved in mining and does not work for the government. The dollars he put out and the damage to his reputation were just as great. He was just as greatly wronged as Mr. Mossop. I am saying Mr. Mossop should get his costs and disbursements, not to mention profuse apologies but, if he is entitled to them, any standard of justice should say that Paul White is. How about the others - Nowlan, Schmigale? The thin kind of distinction we get from the side opposite is that it is different as they do not work for the government. They were raising the falcons for the government under a contract they had with Renewable Resources. It is a distinction without any moral significance in my books.
All of the defendants have suffered tremendous hardship. This is a case that went on for years. It seems to me that, if justice is to be seen to be done, if people are to be satisfied with some kind of concept of fairness, that everyone from any walk of life should be subject to a policy that does not discriminate on who you are, who your friends are, or whether the media likes you and does not like somebody else. People must be treated equally and fairly.
The issue of costs is one that this government can address. It has taken on a high profile, luminous quality, because of the severity of the charges in this case, because of the huge costs involved, because of the terrible wrongs that were inflicted upon innocent people, and because of the obvious miscarriage of justice on the part of officials from three levels of Canadian government, not to mention the States. These are issues that, right now, are in focus in the national scene, in Ontario, but focused most clearly here because here it is so significant to so many people, because here most everyone knows one or more of the defendants, because here all kinds of people had concerns about what was an apparent miscarriage of justice right through to the end of the trial, and because so many people have had the opportunity of reading the excellent reports published by the Whig Standard and distributed here by one of the local papers.
Here is a chance, here is a time when most Yukoners would be so interested in a public inquiry into the very essence of morality and fairness and ethics in Yukon, and here is a chance for this government to respond by having a public inquiry, not just to clean the record, but to develop policies that are sorely needed with regard to how this government is going to treat its citizens, particularly those who may be helpless before the state.
For that reason I urge each and every Member in this House to examine his or her conscience, not on the basis of partisanship, but to consider whether or not the issues raised are deeply important and whether or not a public airing in Yukon by Yukoners would not be a most desirable thing to occur, and whether or not we are going to take this opportunity to ensure that the investigating officers in Yukon will be fair to the average citizen, and whether or not we are going to treat victims of the state in a fair and impartial manner by awarding costs on some fair and equitable and objective basis.
Hon. Mr. Porter: I realize that our Standing Orders require Members to stand while speaking in the House, but in this instance I would beg the indulgence of the House to sit. I have a bad back at the present time and have consulted with the Opposition House Leaders.
I must advise the Member for Hootalinqua that I will not be supporting the Motion in the form that he has put it to the House today. The reason for not supporting the Motion is not one of not looking at an inquiry into what has been called Operation Falcon, but rather because I believe that the Motion that the Member has put before the House today is flawed in a number of ways.
The first point in which the Motion was flawed has been corrected by the Member, and that is the wrong date in which the Motion has been put before the House, and that has been corrected by the Member in his speech.
There are a number of other problems with the Motion that I would first of all like to address in my remarks. Some of the problems are with the argumentative wordings contained in 2) of the Member for Hootalinquas Motion, which implies that the Government of the Yukon deliberately set out to restrict the ability of the Yukon Game Farm to carry on its business.
I am going to be more than happy at this point to have the public informed of all of the steps which this government took to enable the Yukon Game Farm to carry on its business. Despite the fact that charges were laid against the principals by the colleague in law of the Leader of the Official Opposition, the federal Crown attorney, I would support an inquiry into that. Before I finish my speech today, I will detail some of the steps that my government took to enable Mr. Nowlan to carry on his business.
The second point of the Leader of the Official Oppositions motion suggests a number of issues that the board might like to look into, and these are not deep, dark secret areas that can only be brought to light by formal inquiry. The Member suggests, for example, that a board of inquiry might make recommendations to the Government of the Yukon to develop a procedure and training manual for its investigative officers. For the information of the Member opposite, an operations manual already exists and is presently in use with the aid of experienced managers to assist officers in all areas of field duties including enforcement. This manual was revised and updated in 1986 and deals with a wide variety of situations, such as the use of Crown attorneys, the offence of dangerous hunting, appeals, overtaking and stopping vehicles, illegal activities at night, use of electronic recording equipment, plainclothes and undercover, fish and wildlife checkpoints, fish and game check stations, seizure of aircraft, disposal of seized wildlife, disposal of forfeited goods, disposal of live wildlife, violations by departmental staff, firearms issue and use, theft of government equipment, operational directives, predation, permits, birds of prey, and also problem bears.
His second point, on a training course for officials involved in enforcement of its statutes and regulations is well taken. Presently, detailed training records are kept for each officer, with annual targets being set. The field service division is presently in the process of developing a training guide. The guide lays out the levels of proficiency required for each of the job functions and indicates how an officer could acquire the level of performance needed to perform that particular function and to maintain his or her proficiency. These measures are being undertaken to facilitate the professional development of the conservation offices and staff, which already is highly competent.
Our field staff are now on a par with, or superior to, those staff with other provincial agencies with regard to their training, experience, ability and track record in both public information programs and enforcement. The experience of our officers ranges from a minimum of three years to a maximum of 25 years, for an average of ten years experience. Most of the officers have experience from other provinces or the Northwest Territories. All officers are graduates of renewable resource technology programs, which include enforcement training as well as biological technical training in their area. In addition, all officers, except one, who is to attend in the spring of 1988, are also graduates of law enforcement training in either the B.C. Justice Institute or the Ontario Police College. Some officers have attended both, and three officers have advanced law enforcement training.
All officers attend annual refresher courses in law enforcement techniques, with in-service lecturers, Crown attorneys and instructors brought in from other agencies and as contractors.
With regard to point three, the suggestion that an inquiry should look at whether or not the Government of the Yukon should enact legislation that provides for the payment of legal costs and disbursements of defendants who successfully defend themselves against charges laid by the Government of the Yukon, I will only say this: the charges laid as a result of the investigation into which the Member opposite seeks an inquiry were not laid by the Government of the Yukon. The charges were laid by the federal Crown Attorneys office. The suggestion that an inquiry into an investigation which led to charges being laid by the federal crown should make recommendations with regard to events which proceed from hypothetical Yukon government charges, is simply not appropriate.
On point number four, in the second part of the Members motion, which suggests that the inquiry look into the question of the Government of the Yukon reimbursing legal costs incurred as a result of charges laid by another level of government, I have to respond in the negative. The charges were laid by the federal government, as I stated, and were laid as a result of decisions made in the federal Crown Attorneys office. Yukon government officials may be called upon to cooperate in investigations but the decision to lay the charges in this case, which we are using as a basis for debate on this motion, was made in the federal Crown office and it is the federal government which ought to be liable for the consequences, not the Government of the Yukon.
At point five in the Members motion, that an inquiry should make recommendations, to ensure that the investigative and enforcement procedures of the Government of Yukon are fair and appropriate, let me simply say this: I believe that the Yukon conservation officers are highly professional people. I have already outlined to you some of the details of the training which they receive. I am sure that most of the officers and staff of the Department of Renewable Resources who have read this particular Motion resent the suggestion, implicit in the motion, that the Government of the Yukon staff is not professional and is not on a par with other jurisdictions, with respect to the level of enforcement and training.
The investigation that lead to the matters that we are discussing today, of course, took prior to my assumption of office, but I am happy to support the idea of an inquiry into the actions of the officials of any time.
I welcome the idea of an inquiry, but it should be an inquiry undertaken in context. The context of the Yukon investigation and charges related to illegal trade in falcons was a national and an international one. As I stated, I was not party to the investigations in Operation Falcon. It began in 1980 or 1981 and charges were laid in 1985, before this government was sworn into office. We have detailed previously, for the record, in this House, the consequent actions that lead to the laying of charges. As well, I have submitted to this House today documentation related to the original charges.
I know how difficult it was to deal with the consequences of that investigation, with the pall of suspicion that drifted from the federal Crown Attorneys office in Ontario. In speaking to this Motion, I would like to put some facts, as I know them, from May of 1985, on the record.
On June 17, 1985, Mr. Nowlan requested written confirmation that he would be permitted to export 1985 gyrfalcon progeny. On September 20, 1985, Mr. Monaghan, the Director of Wildlife, for the Department of Renewable Resources, responded, in writing, stating that the 1985 gyrfalcon progeny could be considered for export, subject to the normal conditions, the usual regulatory approvals, and provided that there was no question about the legitimacy of the birds, nor any indication that such export would interfere with the ongoing investigations. That particular letter of September 20 was tabled by myself today in the House.
Subsequently, Mr. David M. Stone, the federal Crown Prosecutor, intervened. His reasons related to the questions about the legitimacy of the parent birds, given evidence that he had in hand, legal proceedings that he was conducting, and investigations elsewhere of which he was aware. He also indicated this concern was shared by the federal Canadian Wildlife Service. On October 2 and 15, 1985, Mr. Nowlan applied for permits to export gyrfalcon young. Mr. Monaghan denied Mr. Nowlans request, based on the information given to him by Messrs. Stone and Heppes and the three officers. Based on that, the export would be contrary to the normal conditions originally expressed in his correspondence of September 20.
Throughout this period, permits for export were issued for other non-gyrfalcon birds of prey and for big game.
In October, 1985, Mr. Nowlan applied before the Supreme Court of the Yukon territory for an action which would have the effect of obliging Mr. Monaghan to issue the export permits. In March, 1986, hon. Justice Maddison refused Mr. Nowlans petition. Mr. Nowlan subsequently began action to have Justice Maddisons decision reviewed in a higher court. Mr. Monaghan and YTG Justice officials indicated that they would willingly participate in any such proceedings.
During March and April of 1986, while awaiting Judge Maddisons decision, Mr. Nowlan produced more gyrfalcon progeny. In the fall of 1986, Mr. Nowlan suggested to Mr. Monaghan that a solution to his problem of feeding the many birds, and to his shortage of space, was that an escrow contract should be considered. Mr. Monaghan was advised that such a contract was without precedent and possibly fraught with potential difficulties.
Nevertheless, he decided to proceed. During November 11 to November 13, 1986, YTG proposed modifications to the escrow agreement, which was delivered to Mr. Nowlan on November 13. On November 14, 1986, Mr. Nowlan discussed three of his concerns with Mr. Monaghan. On November 18, 1986, Mr. Nowlan was informed that the modified Section 9 would remain in the contract, and this is one of the sections stipulated by the Department of Renewable Resources at this point for the proposed escrow agreement. This section would have Mr. Nowlan not breed gyrfalcons in 1987 if he were to be found guilty in his trial. This would avoid him having to feed more birds until their ultimate disposition would be determined, since he had claimed he could not afford to feed the birds he already held.
On November 19, 1987, Mr. Nowlan sought YTGs view on his sale of his farm, including the gyrfalcons, to other individuals. Mr. Nowlan was advised that the same concerns listed above regarding the question of the legitimacy of the birds would remain. On November 27, 1986, I delivered to Mr. Monaghan a memo that, in essence, asked that Mr. Monaghan conclude his negotiations on Section 9 of the proposed escrow and remove any insistence on the part of the government as to the inclusion of that particular section. On November 28, 1986, Mr. Monaghan instructed legal counsel to complete the wording of the contract, including details of the funding amounts he would receive to cover his operating costs, which had been worked out with Mr. Nowlan.
Mr. Nowlan corresponded with Mr. Monaghan outlining his financial requirements. Copies of the final agreement were provided to Mr. Nowlan and were signed by him. The escrow contract was to permit the export of gyrfalcons within Canada. On December 2, 1986, the escrow agreement was signed by both parties. That is the escrow contract that has been tabled in this House by the Leader of the Official Opposition. The escrow agreement that was tabled and was discussed indicates the point of view that the government was not insisting or, somehow, on a subversive level trying to set out to break Mr. Nowlan, as has been suggested, or to cause Mr. Nowlan financial harm.
The reason why the escrow agreement was negotiated in the fashion that it took was to try to get around the problem where there was a legal situation pending, so that we could advance finances to Mr. Nowlan and the other owner of the Yukon Game Farm, so they could legitimately pay the costs that they had put out for the care and feed of the birds under their game farm licence. On the question of any profit that could have been gained from that, we put forward the idea that the remaining monies, over and above what it cost the operators of the Yukon Game Farm to feed the birds, would be kept in escrow. It would be held by the Department of Justice pending the outcome of a trial.
It would follow then that, should the escrow agreement have been followed through, and a trial was conducted as has been carried out, and Mr. Nowlan was successful in proving his innocence, then the remaining funds that had been set aside in escrow would flow through to Mr. Nowlan.
Earlier on, the Leader of the Official Opposition in his remarks did move in this area of debate and suggest that we were not involved, or that we were involved in the investigation and that, somehow, the Government of the Yukon was party to trying to put Mr. Nowlan in a financial situation where he was not able to care for his birds and realize an income.
I do not have the information here but the record will clearly indicate that, during the time in which the investigations and the trials were carried out, the Government of the Yukon and the federal government, through the EDA process, did grant Mr. Nowlan $60,000 for the purchase of elk for the Game Farm and, as well, a contract had been let by the Department of Renewable Resources for the care of the birds.
The money advanced by the EDA to Mr. Nowlans Game Farm was for the purchase of elk from outside the Yukon. So, I think that that clearly demonstrates that the government had no ulterior motive, as has been purported, and were not trying to ensure the financial wreckage of the operators of the game farm.
I share with Members opposite a concern that the conduct of the Yukon investigation of Operation Falcon be subjected to full public scrutiny. It seems to me that the only means of inquiry that will render a coherent picture of the conduct of the Yukon investigations is a federal government inquiry that puts that piece of a much larger national and international investigation into context.
Obviously, the Yukon investigations did not take place in isolation. The agreement signed between the government of the day and the RCMP, and tabled in this House today by myself, is an indication of that fact. I pledge the full cooperation of my department in the conduct of such a federal inquiry. My colleague, the Minister of Justice, has also indicated his support for an inquiry. My commitment to getting to the bottom of this matter does not end with calling for an inquiry into the investigation and laying of charges. I believe it is important to review the role of the Crown Attorneys office and the actions of both the federal and territorial governments in the wake of the charges.
For the individuals charged, the two years between their arrests and their days in court were harrowing ones. For Dave Mossop and the Department of Renewable Resources, these were trying times. The charges laid by the federal Crown Attorney compromised his credibility in the eyes of Canadian CITES authorities, officials in the Canadian Wildlife Service who are responsible for the administration of the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species and, as a direct result, he was relieved of his management responsibility and authority for the administration of CITES here in the Yukon until charges against him were stayed in April of 1986.
I would like to advise the House that I, as Minister of Renewable Resources, have advanced to the government a submission for compensation to Mr. Mossop. As we have explained to the House, because the government does not have a specific policy to address this particular area, the government has chosen to develop an overall policy for the Government of the Yukon, prior to giving consideration to my specific request for the compensation of Mr. Mossop.
Members opposite have in hand a copy of a Legislative Return tabled today in answer to a question asked by the Member for Hootalinqua. It details the planning of 56 inspections carried out in 1985 and additional monitoring carried out in 1986. As stated in that Return, the department was confident that all birds from 1985 to 1986 were capture bred and raised at the farm. Doubts about the parentage of gyrfalcons hatched in captivity remained in the minds of the federal Crown Attorney and CITES authorities. In their view, the progeny of any falcons that were alleged to have been taken from the wild, were themselves illegal.
That position on the part of the federal prosecutor put Mr. Nowlan, who requested permits to export birds, and Hugh Monaghan, who had responsibility for issuing them, into a legal quicksand. The only thing that became clear over time was that Mr. Monaghan had the courts confirmed authority to issue or deny permits.
Earlier this afternoon, I tabled a copy of the hon. Mr. Justice Maddisons reasons for judgment, quashing Mr. Nowlans appeal and supporting Mr. Monaghans decision to deny issuance of permits to Mr. Nowlan. Judge Maddison found, firstly, that Mr. Nowlans recognizance, signed at the time of his arrest by Mr. Nowlan, clearly vested in Mr. Monaghan the authority to issue or deny export permits and, secondly, that Mr. Monaghan was justified in denying permission to export because the birds that Mr. Nowlan sought to export were progeny of suspected birds - the legality of which was at issue as a result of charges laid by the federal Crown Attorney.
On pages four and five of Mr. Justice Maddisons judgment, he says, and I quote: A more significant factor is the recognizance signed by Mr. Nowlan at the time of his arrest in that, as a condition of his judicial interim release, he agreed to not sell or remove from the Game Farm any bird or prey or young or egg of any bird of prey presently in their - Nowlan and his common law spouse - possession, custody or control, except with authority of H. Monaghan.
By putting his signature to that document, Mr. Nowlan removed any doubt as to the discretion of Mr. Monaghan to decide those issues. Was Mr. Monaghan justified in deciding against permission to export? Mr. Monaghan had decided to issue a permit to export when he received a long letter from the federal Crown Prosecutor who, then, had conduct of the prosecution of the criminal charges against Mr. Nowlan. In that letter, the writer cited many reasons why the permit should not be granted while the criminal charges were unresolved. It is apparent from the evidence before me that Mr. Monaghan gave those representations careful and mature consideration, rejected all but one of them, and decided against permission solely on the basis of them being the progeny of suspect birds.
I am of the view that, acting as he did, on reasonable and probable grounds, permission to export was not unreasonably withheld, was a valid exercise of Mr. Monaghans discretion and is unassailable at this time.
I would like to emphasize that Mr. Monaghan did grant export permits for birds whose legality was not in question while Mr. Nowlan awaited trial.
In deciding whether or not to grant permits for the export of the gyrfalcons, I quote from Mr. Monaghans affidavit filed November 18, 1985: I was subsequently contacted by Mr. David M. Stone, the agent of the Attorney General of Canada charged with the prosecution of the petitioner, who informed me that there were specific reasons for not allowing the export of 1985 gyrfalcon progeny. The reasons related to the legitimacy of parent birds, legal proceedings that he was conducting and investigations elsewhere of which he was aware. He also indicated such concern was shared by the Canadian Wildlife Service.
17. During a series of subsequent conversations I had with Mr. Stone and Mr. John B. Heppes, the CITES administrator for the Canadian Wildlife Service, I asked for specific and explicit particulars of the basis upon which the export of the gyrfalcons from the Yukon Game Farm would be contrary to the normal conditions" I had referred to in my letter to the petitioner of September 20, 1985.
That the particulars I received were as follows:
(a) Mr. Stone informed me that he had evidence to show legitimacy of all adult gyrfalcons at the Yukon Game Farm were suspect, hence 1985 progeny could not be considered legitimate. On that basis I viewed the birds as ineligible for either Yukon or CITES export permits.
(b) Mr. Stone further indicated he had information which I did not have available to me prior to writing my letter of September 20, 1985 to the petitioner. According to Mr. Stone, this information related to ongoing investigations and export controls, and he suggested to me that I may wish to take this information into consideration in making my decision regarding export.
(c) Mr. Stone further expressed to me the opinion that the export of 1985 progeny could interfere with or cause conflict in respect of the pending charges against the petitioner or in respect of ongoing investigations elsewhere.
19. I informed Mr. Stone that I would not proceed with the specific application by Mr. Nowlan for export of birds to one John Lejeune or otherwise until I had received and had been able to further assess the basis for Mr. Stones concerns.
20. In the latter part of September, 1985, I directed Russ Fillmore, a senior conservation officer employed by the Yukon Department of Renewable Resources, to meet with Messrs. Stone and Heppes as well as provincial officials to determine and assess the validity of the concerns related to the export of 1985 gyrfalcon progeny from the Yukon Game Farm.
21. That my purpose in seeking further and better information was to assist in providing proper reasons to Mr. Hugh Stansfield, counsel for the petitioner, to respond to his request for the reasons for my decision.
22. That the petitioner made written application to me by letters dated October 2 and October 15, 1985 for export permits in respect of the gyrfalcons which are the subject of these proceedings. True copies of these letters are attached and marked as Exhibits H and I respectively. In addition to the foregoing, I have received and acted upon information previously provided to me by other officials, which information is recorded in the following affidavits in this proceeding, which I have read:
a) Russ Fillmore, signed and sworn on November 15, 1985;
b) Laurie Tubbs, signed and sworn on November 7, 1985;
c) Andy Ackerman, signed and sworn on November 8, 1985;
23. In the course of my duties pursuant to the CITES I have received and considered information received by Dex on October 25, 1985 from Mr. Heppes in relation to recent CITES decisions. Attached hereto and marked as Exhibit J to this my Affidavit is a true copy of the said Dex.
24. On the 15th day of November, 1985 I received from Mr. Stone confirmation of his information relevant to the export of gyrfalcons from the Yukon Game Farm, and attached hereto and marked as Exhibit K to this my Affidavit as a true copy of his letter of October 25, 1985.
25. That on the basis of all the information in my possession, as described in this Affidavit, I have determined that, acting under the CITES if the application were for international export or under the recognizance for any other export, such export would be contrary to the normal conditions originally expressed to the Petitioner in my letter of September 20, 1985.
The situation regarding the progeny of suspect birds remained stalemated from the time of Mr. Justice Maddisons judgment until late summer of 1986, when it was suggested that an escrow agreement might allow Nowlan to export birds without potentially benefiting from the sale of birds that might be found to be illegitimate.
Officials in the Canadian Wildlife Service all but threatened to withdraw any authority to issue CITES permits, and legal opinions were not conclusive. Mr. Monaghan walked a legal mine field trying to formulate an agreement that would try to satisfy all parties.
Two copies of draft escrow agreements have been tabled in this House to date. Although I signed one of these, a review of documentation on file reveals the existence of at least four drafts, each of them the result of blizzards of paper exchanged through October and November of 1986, in attempts to enable Mr. Nowlan to export some birds to offset the ongoing cost of operating his breeding facility.
I am satisfied that my department and my officials did everything they could in the hostile legal climate created by the federal Crown Attorneys office to facilitate the export of gyrfalcons made by Mr. Nowlan.
The irony is that, after all the frantic efforts to finalize an escrow agreement satisfactory to all parties, the agreement that was reached and signed was never acted upon. I am quite prepared to submit my department to the scrutiny of a federal inquiry to the investigation and consequences of Operation Falcon. Yukoners and other innocent Canadians were seriously affected by the conduct of this case. I am confident that the root of the problem does not lie in the Yukon. However, much harm may have come to Yukoners as a result.
At this particular point, I would urge all Members to support an amendment that I will propose to this House. Earlier on, the Member for Hootalinqua anticipated the amendment inasmuch as I provided the copy for him so he could have fair time to be able to ponder the effects of the amendment, and so we could have an intelligent debate in the House today on the subject before us.
The Member for Hootalinqua made the statement that he wants to see a Yukon inquiry to get to the bottom of all this, to get to the truth of it. If that was really our intent, if that was our goal, to get to the truth or the bottom of it, I suggest that a federal inquiry into the matter of Operation Falcon would be a better vehicle to be able to facilitate the truth of the questions surrounding Operation Falcon.
If it was not real, and one simply picked up the story that was written about Operation Falcon, they would think they were reading some sort of international best seller thriller that came on the market place. The events that occurred and the charges that were laid were very real. They did not just concern themselves with operations in the Yukon. The facilities in Wainwright, Alberta, were part of the process. People involved live in England, Saudi Arabia, Washington, Toronto, Montana and Colorado. The players in this particular issue are from all over the globe, and it was an international undercover sting operation that raises questions about illegal covert operations into Canada, apparently without the knowledge of Canadian officials.
There are many questions that will have to be asked to be able to get to the bottom of it. If we set an inquiry up in the Yukon under the terms of the legislation that we are empowered to utilize, that inquiry would not have the legal jurisdiction to be able to bring all these people who are involved in this inquiry to the Yukon and cause them to testify and to put forward their position before the inquiry.
To be able to properly conduct an inquiry, the members of the Yukon inquiry would have to travel abroad to all of the places that I have named and interview people on this question. That would be the extent of their legal authority, to be able to search out these individuals and to interview them. They would not have the legal authority to cause these people, regardless of their jurisdictions, to testify.
This is an issue that has received considerable national attention, and so it should. There has been a call on the federal Parliament of Canada for such an inquiry to be conducted. We are informed that the federal Minister of the Environment has called for internal investigations but has yet to address himself to the question of a federal inquiry. Hopefully, we will hear from that Minister shortly as to the findings of his investigations. He does have a responsibility to address squarely the question of an inquiry conducted under legislation under the federal government.
In the information that I have supplied and what I have seen, nowhere have I been led to believe that officials of this government maliciously or in any other form set out to harm individuals in the Yukon. We were brought into an investigation that was largely under the jurisdiction of the federal government. This government that you see here before you today was not even in power when that investigation occurred and was not even in power when charges were laid. From the time we took office, I have given the House the benefit of what it is that has occurred in chronological fashion. We have demonstrated that the officials of this government did not, in any instance, act improperly.
The extent of my personal involvement is on the record. There had been many conversations by the accused in the falcon case - the owner of the game farm, Mr. Nowlan - in my office asking for my assistance. If the Leader of the Official Opposition would avail himself of a conversation with Mr. Nowlan, Mr. Nowlan would tell him that I personally stated that I thought he was innocent until proven otherwise, and that I would do everything possible, as the Minister of Renewable Resources, to ensure that he had the full benefit of my office. Within my capacity, I attempted to assist Mr. Nowlan in respect to the predicament he found himself in in the Yukon.
The position of this government is that we believe the surest way to bring about answers to many of the questions that remain unanswered on this issue is to put the issue squarely before a federal inquiry.
Therefore, I move:
THAT Motion No. 18 be amended by deleting all the words after the word THAT where it first appears and substituting the following:
the Yukon Legislative Assembly urges the Government of Canada to conduct a full inquiry into the conduct of the investigation known as Operation Falcon; and
THAT the terms of reference of such an inquiry provide for a comprehensive review of the Yukon aspects of Operation Falcon including:
1. the initiation and subsequent conduct of investigations by the RCMP and the Territorial Game Branch,
2. the laying of charges,
3. the role of the federal Crown attorneys office in the Yukon investigations,
4. the extent of the involvement of the Ministers and officials of the Government of Yukon, and
5. the issuance of export permits for falcons to the accused subsequent to the laying of charges."
In my speech leading up to the introduction of this amendment, it has always been the position of this government, ever since this particular issue was raised, that a full federal inquiry must be conducted into the events surrounding the investigation known as Operation Falcon. As we stated countless times, and I reiterate today, this government is not afraid to subject itself and the officials of this government to such an inquiry, and that is why we included item number four under this particular amendment. I think if Members in this House were, in fact, interested, as the Leader of the Official Opposition puts it, in the truth of it all and in getting to the bottom of the this particular question, then they would support the amendment that we have brought forward to the House today.
Mr. Phillips: I thank the Member for Watson Lake for his speech. It sounded more like a statement of defence, though, for the Department of Renewable Resources, and I would have hoped that many of these statements that the Minister made and also, many of the other statements that have been made in public, would seem to be in conflict and I would hope that an inquiry would certainly get into that.
I rise today to support the principle of the amendment but I would, though, like to raise a few concerns. It is quite obvious to me, and I think to all Members of this House, that we need a full public inquiry into the conduct of this investigation. Many innocent people have been hurt and we have a responsibility to get to the bottom of this, and further, make sure that it can not happen again. Although I fully support a federal public inquiry, I am a little concerned that the federal government may not act immediately on this or possibly not act at all. This is where this particular amendment leaves me confused. It is my belief that we, as well as the federal government, have a very strong responsibility to the people involved and charged in Operation Falcon. In fact, as the majority of the people who were charged and then acquitted were Yukoners, this adds to the responsibility that we have to those people.
Let me get back for a moment to the point that I made about the federal government sitting on our Motion, or not acting at all. What is wrong with us? What is wrong with the Yukon government taking the lead to protect the little guy in this fiasco? We have the power right here. I disagree with the Minister of Renewable Resources, without asking anyone else to do our work for us. The inquiry should be in the Yukon and I should give you some reasons for that.
First of all, we would not be passing the buck, hoping that the federal government would pick it up. Information would arise from that inquiry that would almost force the federal government to have one of their own. Yukoners would finally get the facts at home.
Last, but not least, we in this Legislature would accept our responsibilities and do the job we get paid for.
It is Yukoners who have suffered the most in this case, and there is no doubt in my mind that there has to be a full public inquiry. I feel that all Members here have to agree with that. The question I have for all Members of this House, and especially the side opposite, is: do they not agree that since we have the authority and the responsibility we should be prepared to accept that responsibility if the federal government refuses to act. For these reasons, I would like to propose the following amendment to the amendment:
That the amendment to Motion No. 18 be amended by:
(1) deleting the expression full inquiry and substituting for it the expression full public inquiry; and
(2) adding at the end the following:
THAT the public inquiry hold hearings in Yukon; and
THAT in the event the Government of Canada has not established such an inquiry within 90 days of the receipt of this resolution, the Commissioner in Executive Council should cause an inquiry to be made pursuant to the Public Inquiries Act into the Operation Falcon investigation, with terms of reference similar, as much as is possible, to those proposed for a federal inquiry.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Member for Whitehorse Riverdale North that the amendment to Motion No. 18 be amended by:
(1) deleting the expression full inquiry and substituting for it the expression full public inquiry; and
(2) adding at the end the following:
THAT the public inquiry hold hearings in Yukon; and
THAT in the event the Government of Canada has not established such an inquiry within 90 days of the receipt of this resolution, the Commissioner in Executive Council should cause an inquiry to be made pursuant to the Public Inquiries Act into the Operation Falcon investigation, with terms of reference similar, as much as is possible, to those proposed for a federal inquiry.
Mr. Phillips: I would just like to comment briefly on some of the reasons for this amendment to the amendment. First of all, in reading the amendment that was put forward by the Minister of Renewable Resources, he refers to a full inquiry and there is a concern that the federal government may consider a full internal inquiry the type of inquiry we wish, but I think the general public would like to know what is going on as well. That is the reason we have inserted the words full public inquiry so that the public of Canada as well as the public of Yukon can know exactly what takes place.
In the last statement, we are concerned, as well, that this may drag on; we feel it has dragged on far too long. We have put, I think, a reasonable time in the amendment, stating that the federal government should act within 90 days. We believe that the fact they know we will have an inquiry here means we are as concerned, as all of us have stated. All indications are that we do believe there should be a public inquiry; we feel the pressure would be on the federal government to act.
I would like to see a full federal public inquiry as well, but I think this is one way we can assure them that if they do not do it we here will accept our responsibilities and will do it for them. Like I said earlier, just the fact that, if they did not do anything initially and then we did, we could raise some very serious concerns that may lead to a federal inquiry and force them into that position.
That is the reason we have brought forth this amendment.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I have remarks to make about the original motion, the amendment and the subamendment, and I will try to make the remarks about the subamendment in a logical sequence. It is first necessary to address some of the very basic facts and basic issues in order to make the remarks on the subamendment more comprehensible.
The Minister of Renewable Resources has done an excellent job of outlining the involvement of this government and of the Ministers of this government in this affair. He has specifically spoken about the question of licences and the negotiations that occurred with the government, including two Ministers of this government - me and the Minister of Renewable Resources - in order to facilitate the operation of the Game Farm. If the Leader of the Official Opposition, should he would phone Mr. Nowlan or communicate with him, and ask him about those meetings, I am sure he will get confirmation from Mr. Nowlan himself that the Ministers treated him at all times, and completely, as innocent until proven guilty, and he was never proven guilty of anything. Mr. Nowlan may speak for himself, at some point.
It is also appropriate that I outline some facts and issues about the legal issues, specifically, about Operation Falcon, and relate them to inquiries and incidentally to the institution of the ombudsperson, as did the mover of the motion.
Before doing that, I wish to put on the record my thanks to the Kingston Whig Standard, to Paul McKay, specifically, and Bill Hutchison, who have been involved in the exposure of this operation. I would say that this kind of journalism is most responsible and is part of our constitutional makeup. The freedom and diligence of the press here has been exemplary. I think, ultimately, or in the long term, we will have a better criminal justice system because of that diligence.
Let me also say at the outset that there are innocent people here who deserve protection and deserve, I would submit, an apology from government. One of those people is Miss Kay McKeever, in Ontario, affectionately known as the Owl Lady of Canada, a person who has received the Order of Canada for her conservationist attitudes and work over many long years and is a person who has impeccable credentials and reputation in Ontario and around the world. This operation, or part of it, I would quote her as saying, told lies about her and damaged her reputation.
It also mentions David Mossop, a very well-respected individual, whose reputation - although what is coming to light is redeeming and must be satisfying to him - was called into question by this whole operation and certain actions within it.
I could mention many others. The inconvenience put to people is only one thing. I have been aware, as a Crown Attorney in my past life and also as a defence counsel, of the very severe emotional trauma that these kinds of things occasion in individuals.
I quote from the Kingston Whig Standard publication to emphasize that point: what David Mossop said about the day he was arrested. That Sunday was the most awful, humiliating experience I have ever been through. That is a clear and an understandable statement, and I empathize with that completely. That is an example of why it is the case that there are substantial laws and very substantial legal ethics about who should be charged on the basis of evidence.
It is appropriate to make statements about that in a more specific way before proceeding to comments specifically about the sub-amendment. I have said in the media and I have repeated here: if a person is charged - and the person laying that criminal information does not believe, in their own heart, that the person charged is guilty, and does not believe that there is a good provable case against them, and they proceed - it is an immoral act. It is those kinds of acts that occur, albeit very seldom, but all too often, that cause the most awful, humiliating experiences that people have ever gone through.
I quote again from the Kingston Whig Standard: Knowles began to change his mind about Mossop after a conversation with him the day after Mossops home and office were raided. I recall him coming in and expressing some concerns about being searched and why we suspected him in the whole Operation Falcon scenario. I repeated to him every single one of my suspicions. He said, What does it take to prove to you, Norm, that I am innocent. I said, I do not really know. He said, Do you want me to take a polygraph? And I said, That would be one way of establishing whether you are guilty or not.
He said, Where is the polygraph, I will take it right now. That caused me a lot of difficulty, that kind of reaction from him. All of a sudden I had one side of me saying maybe this guy is not guilty of anything, and later a quote from Knowles, I feel sorry for him now because as a professional peace officer I do not, and have never ever charged anybody, unless I was convinced in my own mind that he was guilty of that offence. Knowles says, and there I was charging a man when I was not convinced he was guilty of the offences. I had suspicions, but I did not have the proof to even get to first base with it in a court of law. I know that peace officer very generally, or I have met him briefly, and I have greater respect for his service and his ability and his character, which are unquestionable, I would submit.
I do say though, from the point of view of a lawyer, that with respect to him, he was wrong. He was operating on the presumption, or the presumption of law, that if he was instructed by the Crown Attorney, who had conduct of the case, to lay a charge, then he should lay the charge. He has obviously stated that and he was operating on that assumption. I do not question in any way his morality, but I do suggest if he felt that he was wrong, he should not have signed the Information - despite the instruction of the Crown Attorney.
I believe the law is that the conduct of a case in court, and whether it goes to court, is the decision of the Crown Attorney, not the decision of the peace officer. It is the decision of the Crown Attorney alone. However, whether a charge is laid or not, is an act which is taken under oath before a justice of the peace and the person swearing that Information must act on individual knowledge and believe; not on the instruction of any other persons superior or not, or lawyer or not, or Crown Attorney or not. That is the law as I know it. I believe the procedures or the policies, if they are different than that, should be changed immediately to reflect that.
I mention that at some length because of the seriousness of it. I mention it also because it falls to me to explain, as much as I am able, the legal ramifications or the facts from the legal perspective. I wish to make a comment about the colonial attitude of Crown Attorneys, which is clearly evident in this case. It is clear to me that the charges that were laid in Yukon were laid on the instruction of the federal Crown Attorneys office.
Whether there was any political input into that, I do not know; I suspect there was not. In any event, there could have been - and I would put that more strongly, knowing the facts as I know them now - there should have been. I would submit that this is an example why the Attorney Generals function should be changed from the colonial operation which exists now, to an operation under Yukon control, under local control, under the Yukon Territorial Governments control. We would have done a more knowledgeable job and a better job.
I mention that because it is important to get at these issues in an inquiry and it is clear to me that unless there is a federal inquiry, these issues will not be exposed or addressed properly. Certainly we can make comments, but we really can not make any more comments than I have already made in the last few moments. The problem is in getting access to the files and the evidence of the persons involved in the federal government, and most of those actions occurred in Ontario, some occurred in BC and some occurred out of the country in the United States, and even some in Europe. There is an international aspect to this whole Operation Falcon and the prospect of a Yukon inquiry, with ability to inquire only into the Yukon aspects, would not do this issue service. It would expose publicly a small aspect of the whole operation and if it were the only inquiry - which I submit would be likely, if it occurred - then the perception of the whole operation would be very skewed and very partial. It is necessary to have an inquiry into the whole operation, into the people especially who made the decisions - those people were not Yukoners and the decisions were not made here about all the important matters.
I would submit that, after the full account, given by especially the Minister of Renewable Resources, that the only public interest remaining is to have a full inquiry into all of the aspects of the operation - primarily the decisions taken in Ontario but also involving the actions which occurred in Yukon.
If we passed this subamendment I would submit that it would allow an opportunity for the federal government to get off the hook, if you will; that they would know immediately that all they would need to do is wait 90 days and the Yukon would open an inquiry and they would say, Sure, cover the issue.
I would submit that a Yukon inquiry alone would not assist, and the only thing that would assist is a full inquiry. It is obvious that the inquiry asked for in the original motion, which does not incidentally specifically say public inquiry - but it is obvious that is what is meant and that is the same with the amendment. So I would submit that, for those reasons, the appropriate course of action is a federal inquiry. We should ask for a federal inquiry and pursue it with vigour.
Mr. Nordling: What a silly story from the Minister of Justice with respect to the subamendment. If this government was serious about getting to the bottom of Operation Falcon, it would be doing a lot more than urging the federal government to conduct an inquiry. This government has complained vigorously in the past that the federal government will not listen to its concerns. I did not hear anything in either of the Ministers speeches to convince me that the Government of Canada will accept our request. I am not saying that the request should not be made. I am saying that this issue is of such importance that the Government of Yukon should take some concrete and decisive steps to find out what has happened. This is especially important as the Government of the Yukon and several of its departments were up to their ears in the whole affair. It is not enough for Yukoners to hear two Ministers stand up and say that they did nothing wrong, or anything that was unfair.
Over the past several weeks many, many questions have been raised with respect to the Yukon governments role in Operation Falcon. These questions have not been answered, and they should be, at the earliest possible time. Sending a letter to the federal government will not do that. There were many Yukoners hurt by Operation Falcon, both personally and financially. It is well worth the investment of public funds to inquire into this whole affair so that we know what took place and how it can be prevented in future. An inquiry under the Yukon Public Inquiries Act will accomplish that, and the true story will come out. The government owes it to Yukoners to reveal the whole story and the true story.
This subamendment will accomplish what, I sense, all of us in this House and all Yukoners want. If the Ministers of this government have nothing to hide, I am sure they will support this subamendment.
Mr. Brewster: I feel I must say something on this subject, as the whole Operation Falcon affair has really shaken my faith in the fairness of the justice system and in particular in this Legislature. I have tried to approach this issue from the perspective of the person on the street. Such a person must be shaking their head right about now in view of what has been going on in this Legislature. I find it very disturbing that Ministers of the government are attempting to hide the facts and avoiding questions on the issue. This is the peoples forum, and the people of the Yukon deserve some answers. Let me make it very clear that I have no problem with the federal government establishing an inquiry into this whole sordid affair, but in my view it must be a full public inquiry. It must, I emphasize, be a full public inquiry rather than just a full inquiry. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. No more smoke, no more mirrors. The Government of the Yukon has a duty and a responsibility to establish its own full public inquiry. We cannot hide behind the federal government any longer. Many Yukoners were hurt by the actions of this government in Operation Falcon and the public has a right to know just what went on. Whether it likes it or not, this government is accountable for its actions.
We tried to get to the bottom of this affair in Question Period, but we got nowhere. All we got were evasive answers to straightforward questions and Ministers attempting to hide behind their desks. That simply is not good enough. It is not good enough for me, it is not good enough for the people who were hurt in the Operation Falcon, and it is not good enough for the people of the Yukon. The people of the Yukon want answers, and they want answers now.
It is obvious that the time has come for the Government of the Yukon to establish a public inquiry into Operation Falcon if it is to have any credibility at all. There can be no more cover-ups, the damage was done here, the trial was here, and the inquiry should be here as well. The federal government can hold its own inquiry in Ottawa, but that does not let this government off the hook. The very fact that this government put an amendment on the Order Paper calling upon the Government of Canada to establish an inquiry morally binds the Government of the Yukon to establish its own inquiry. To do otherwise would be two-faced. It would be total admission that the Yukon government has something to hide.
Justice not only has to be done, but it has to appear to be done. We, in this House, have a responsibility to show the people that there is still some semblance of justice left in this territory, and that they will receive a fair hearing in accordance with the due process of law.
Every Member of this House is on trial here today. It is time to stop playing politics, it is time to stop playing with the lives of Yukoners, it is time to stop playing with our justice system, and if this House fails to pass this amendment to the amendment, and the Yukon government fails to establish a public inquiry into the Operation Falcon, then we have failed the people of the Yukon.
In closing, I would like to say that we have received more information today than in a week trying to ask questions, where Minister did not know about contracts, where Ministers did not know that they signed things, where Ministers were being evasive to us. Now all of a sudden they are starting to come out and want us to go the other way and not go with this public inquiry. That only makes me a little more cynical, a little more cynical that we play politics instead of getting down and being fair to the person on the street.
I have spoken in language that the people on the street understand. Some of that hogwash that comes from the Justice Minister will not be understood by anybody. He has given us legal advice and we did not ask for legal advice, we asked for fairness for people.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am very sorry that the former Minister of Renewable Resources who just spoke chose to play politics in this issue. He and the previous person who spoke, again, made unfounded accusations about this governments actions hurting people. He, again, flouted the red herring past our noses about information given today and he complains about information not given in Question Period. If questions are put in Question Period, rather than accusations, it does tend to lead to the production of information a little more readily and, of course, as Members know, the very well honoured device of a written question in this House, or other measures of extracting detailed information, are very useful measures.
It is true that today this debate has given us an opportunity to explain our actions in government. We have welcomed that opportunity. It is important when the accusations being repeated by the Member for Kluane just now are made, that he should be reminded that the investigation ended and the charges were laid before this government came to office. I would say that I have absolutely no anxiety whatsoever about a public inquiry, nor would I have any anxiety about a federal inquiry taking place in the Yukon.
Now, I confess I am frankly holding the floor while some discussions can go on about an amendment to an amendment to an amendment. I do not know if that is procedurally correct, but let me suggest that if someone at the table finds fault with an amendment to a subamendment to a main amendment, there is, if not in Beauchesne, at least in Bourinot and in Roberts, a parliamentary device which I might suggest is a very quaint device. If it is the will of the House that an amendment, even one which is otherwise perceived to be unacceptable, or impermissible, be presented, it can be done by unanimous consent. If that suggestion is needed in order to expedite the introduction of a slight change to the proposal now currently under debate, let me offer it. I believe the negotiations among the parties have now concluded and I can now resume my place.
Revision to the subamendment proposed
Hon. Mr. Porter: I have consulted on the rules that apply to a further amendment. I have been informed that another amendment would not be in order, but a deletion by unanimous consent, and with consent of the mover of the subamendment, is in order. To be able to facilitate this sides agreement with the subamendment as presented by the Member for Riverdale North, I ask the mover of the subamendment to agree to the proposed wording as follows. I will read the motion in its entirety.
THAT the amendment to Motion No. 18 be amended by:
1. deleting the expression full inquiry and substituting for it the expression full public inquiry; and
2. adding at the end the following:
THAT the public inquiry hold hearings in Yukon; and
THAT in the event that the government of Canada has not established such an inquiry, that the Commissioner in Executive Council should cause an inquiry to be made pursuant to the Public Inquiries Act into the Operation Falcon investigation with terms of reference similar, as much as is possible, to those proposed for a federal inquiry."
I ask the mover of the subamendment if he would agree to such wording, and I also ask for unanimous consent of the House to have such wording stand.
Speaker: Does the mover give his consent?
Mr. Phillips: Yes.
Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?
Some Members: Agreed
Speaker: There is unanimous consent.
Mr. Phelps: I want to make it clear that I was privy to the consultations regarding the deletion. The intent is that this is not open ended and that within a reasonable time, or if the Minister says that there will not be a public inquiry, the resolution would be that the Commissioner in Executive Council should cause an inquiry to be made pursuant to the Public Inquiries Act here. I just wanted to get that on the record.
I do not want to drag this out, but the speech of the Minister of Renewable Resources seemed to be an apology for the department. One would deduce that there was a great procedural manual in place. On training, training is great. It is the best that one could find anywhere. Costs? Who cares about costs? They will look after their own, but who wants to pay costs to innocent victims, people found innocent after two years of agony? At that point, during the rather lengthy speech, I wondered where I was. I pinched myself a couple of times because I know personally most of the people who were affected by this Operation Falcon.
I read all the stuff. I do not always get everything, but I certainly got the impression that something was wrong, that some people were treated unfairly by not just the feds. I also got the impression that some people in the department think there was nothing wrong with the actions of Mr. Linklater, that they did not have a problem with rifling through co-workers drawers in the middle of the night, treating them in the nature of a spy in a spy case, harbouring a terrible and vicious grudge against Nowlan, and expending any amount of money and go to any lengths to try to entrap Nowlan. When asked about it by the reporter, Paul McKay, in the tail end of the supplement to the local paper, what did he say, but he would do it all again, that Nowlan knew he was out to get him, and that was satisfaction enough.
That is not good enough. The attitudes displayed and the things done, not only by the federal people who had the main carriage of the action and made the main decisions, but by people in the employment of this government, is unsatisfactory.
The thing that they call their training manual and the training procedures that the Renewable Resources Department think are so great are not good enough. The issue has to do with all investigating officers and people wielding that kind of power in the government and not just those in one department.
I am not going to repeat what I said in my initial speech with respect to costs, but the demand is for even handed treatment by all people in similar circumstances, regardless of who they work for or who might like them or dislike them, or who their friends are in high places. While I agree completely that Mr. Mossop was innocent and deserving of compensation, in the same way so are the other defendants. Then we have the long, one sided story in defence of the governments action with respect to not allowing the defendants Nowlan and Schmigale to sell the birds that were hatched in captivity.
I got a note, which I assume is from someone on this side - I am not sure, because I cannot recognize everyones writing - which states: Methinks the Minister does protest too much. We think this sounds like statements for the defence.
That is legal talk for : there is more to the story than meets the eye.
I do not feel comfortable standing here and trying to attach blame to individual officers on the basis of one persons version or another. We have one version of what went on. It has been spoken to at length by the Minister, but it seems to skip over and ignore a lot of the issues involved. What really happened here was that there was a desperate problem with respect to finances. There were 29 birds hatched in captivity. At the time of the hatching, there was never anything said that he would not be allowed to sell the birds. There was a huge ongoing expense for the raising, feeding, et cetera, and everything you do when you raise falcons.
There were on again, off again negotiations with regard to being able to sell, when there were buyers in sight and people waiting and holding over their planes, and so on, for these birds. There was terrible anguish with the on again, off again messages that were received by those defendants. It was almost like a child taking a fly and pulling the wings off; that is the kind of thing that was going on for a long, long time.
A contract was signed on December 2. On January 14, Mr. Nowlan came to me. It was up in the air still, trying to conclude the arrangements, but this is not the place for us to hear all of the evidence and to adjudicate, to attach blame, to see what went wrong, to see who was hurt, to see whether all of the actions were entirely appropriate. That is why we would like to have a public inquiry held here, so that the players can take the stand, under oath, and give their version of the story of what happened. And we are particularly interested in - at least, I am - what occurred with regard to the departments under the jurisdiction of the Government of Yukon, under the previous administration and under this administration. And I particularly, as a Member of this House, am interested in having the complete story about at least the officers under control of this government, and addressing issues such as training manuals, training costs and so on, that we can do something about.
So, that is one concern that I had, or some of the concerns that I had in listening to the speech given by the Minister for Renewable Resources. Another problem I have with the original amendment is that it did not call for public inquiry, but that was understood. They say: well we will take that at face value. But there is a very good chance that the federal government, rightly or wrongly - in my opinion, wrongly - will not hold a public inquiry. And that is why the Member for Riverdale North moved his subamendment.
The issue about the jurisdiction of a public inquiry up here to me is a red herring, to a large degree at least. There is the Marshall case, however. It is a provincial jurisdiction holding a public inquiry in Nova Scotia, and that is a very thorough process that has been going on for a long time and there have been a lot of revelations that are of interest not only to people in Nova Scotia, but across the nation as well.
However, having said all these things, I want to say that I am pleased that the side opposite will support the Motion as amended and reamended, and tinkered with, and I will therefore take my place and vote for the amended amended Motion and really, sincerely hope that an inquiry is held in such a way that at least it will satisfy the reasonable demands of concerned Yukoners.
Subamendment agreed to
Speaker: Is there any further debate on the amendment?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I have a few other remarks that it is most appropriate to make now on the amendment, and they are essentially about two issues. Both issues were raised by the mover of the original Motion, the Member for Hootalinqua. The reason why I raise them now is that it is most appropriate that they be addressed in the context of a federal inquiry rather than a territorial inquiry. They are the issues of compensation, which was spoken about in the Motion, and the issue of the ombudsperson.
I would submit the issue of compensation is most important. I raise it here because I think there is a unanimity, or a consensus, that there are very good arguments for compensation for some individuals. The question is how that should be achieved, or how can that be achieved.
I was somewhat alarmed at the statements made by the Member for Hootalinqua, because I thought they were much more radical than statements I would ever put. The prospect that he was arguing for, or the proposition he was supporting, is that some of the defendants who were found not guilty should be compensated. Some Members may be aware of the situation in Scotland, which I will mention very briefly. In Scotland, there are not two verdicts as there are in Canada, England, Wales and Ireland - that is, guilty or not guilty. There are three verdicts in Scotland: guilty, not proven, and not guilty. Not guilty essentially means innocent, but not proven means probably guilty but it cannot be proven against you. There is a very clear legal tradition here. I would submit that it is part of our Constitution that people are innocent until they are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court room with all the due processes of law and probably all the trappings and the like. It is a very radical statement to suggest that people who are charged and found not guilty should be compensated. That has never been the case in our jurisprudence over the last 2,000 years or so.
There are some alarming cases where compensation has been paid, but they are essentially where people have been found guilty and imprisoned and, later, it is shown that they were falsely convicted, were in fact innocent, and compensation has been paid. The Marshall case is an example of that.
The Nelles case in Toronto is an example of the importance of this whole issue. It is appropriate that a federal inquiry look at that sort of issue. I raise that because the issue of compensation for Mr. Mossop has been raised, and the question was raised of why Mossop is different from Nowlan. I would just emphasize here in the context of a motion, rather than in Question Period, which does not allow Members an opportunity to speak at length or to speak completely about an answer or an issue, compensation paid by a government to an employee is a difficult question. There must be a distinction drawn, first of all, between compensation for legal costs in the civil context and legal costs in the criminal context in that, if an employee is charged with an offence, that is a different situation than if somebody sues an employee. The criminal situation involves the state or the government taking action against an individual.
I would put the example of an employee of the government on legitimate travel travelling along a Yukon highway, who is stopped for impaired driving and is convicted properly, or the example could be that he is not convicted and is acquitted. Should the government pay compensation, in any event, because the person was travelling in the course of their duties? I would suggest that no one in this House would be suggesting that there should be compensation.
There should be compensation for some issues. The issues must involve a person properly engaged in the exercise of their duties for the government and not some other thing beyond their duties. In the case of Mr. Mossop, it appears that the charge was around what he did in the course of his employment in the exercise of discretion, and that discretion was in inspections of the Game Farm and in issuing certain licences, which he did issue.
If it would be proven that those licences were issued entirely fraudulently, or if there was a conspiracy, nobody would be asking for compensation. As it is, the subject matter is entirely within his duties at work and involved only his duties and not extraneous personal activities and that, I submit, is a particular case and should be considered very carefully and very seriously. There are other questions about amounts, but I will not raise them all here.
There is a serious question that deserves debate here, and attention by an inquiry. That is, if compensation is to be paid, should the employer - that is the territorial government - pay or should the federal government pay? The federal government is the one who laid the charges, not the territorial government. Why should the territorial government pay for the wrong actions of the federal government? I submit that a federal inquiry would be a far better body to look into that issue than would a territorial inquiry. I mention that in the context of this amendment.
There is also the question of an ombudsperson, which was raised in the original motion. There were many actions equally as bad. The Member for Hootalinqua called the operation a travesty. That travesty, if it was a travesty, did occur here, in Ontario and in other jurisdictions. It is interesting that there is an ombudsperson in Ontario. It is also interesting that it is universal among the enabling legislations for ombudspersons that they do not have jurisdictions in the criminal justice area. Raising the issue of an ombudsperson in this context is a red herring.
Mr. Phelps: Let me look at my play card. What am I speaking to at this point? This is the main bout. Will I get another crack after this?
I have to respond to the illogical comments that emanated from across the way. The motion put forward was directed at the issue of general policy. Section 3 speaks to the situation where the Government of Yukon has laid charges, and Section 4 speaks to certain instances where the Government of Yukon played a very important role.
I am rather surprised that the Minister would prejudge the issue in the way that he has. We have civil proceedings. If the government sues me civilly, I am put to a lot of expense. In that case, normally, I am entitled to costs. There are some rules about costs, but they normally do not cover all of the legal expenses to which a party in civil proceedings has been subjected. In this day and age, they probably cover less than one third of the actual expenses.
Nonetheless, the principle, at least in part, is that the party who brought the case to trial should be stuck with part of the cost. There are also what are known as criminal cases under the Criminal Code. I do not anticipate any change in the status quo, although an argument could be made in Canada for some kind of costs to be paid when a person is found not guilty. I do not really understand why the Minister talked about the Scottish thing, where some people are really innocent and some people just did not have it proved against them. I do not know if he is trying to make that point about some of the defendants here and if he is not willing to accept that the people are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That was certainly the inference, as I took it from this side. If that is the case, it is unfortunate, but it is in keeping with a lot of the actions of the Minister in other instances.
In what we broadly call quasi criminal cases, the issue of costs awarded on some kind of party basis is worthy of consideration. My point is that fairness would dictate that people be treated reasonably equitably and equally, where the Crown is going to pay those kinds of costs. This case does have aspects to it that blur the issue somewhat because of the fact that the federal government is the prime mover. What we are looking at in the future are the clear cases where it is this government that lays the quasi criminal charges. We have several recent situations where citizens have been put to a hell of a lot of expense, the case for the prosecution was woefully inadequate and a person who is found not guilty is stuck with a huge bill: $5,000, $7,000, whatever. It just does not seem fair. To the extent that the investigating officers were overzealous in proceeding on weak cases, to the extent that that increases, then so does the case for costs. Of course, if you did award costs, all these overzealous officers would back off.
Aside from the red herring complexity of which government was involved in this particular case - were it only one government, and our government had hypothetically laid these charges, and these facts had emerged as they have where Paul White had the charges dropped against him; they were dropped against Mossop very early on, I just do not see why one side would recover all or part of his costs and not the other.
Without getting into a wrangle over a few words, I still feel that the issue of this government considering a policy of paying costs for quasi criminal cases, where people are not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, is one that is worthy of consideration.
Amendment agreed to
Speaker: Is there any further debate on the motion as amended?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I have never in my life so far spoken to a motion three times and I thought I would like to do it. Now that I have done it, I will call the question.
Motion agreed to as amended
Speaker: The Chair finds that the House, in its consideration of Motion No. 18, has reached a determination on matters found in Motion No. 22. It is, therefore, the duty of the Chair to order that Motion No. 22 be dropped from the Order Paper. Is it the wish of the House not to proceed with any other Motions Other than Government Motions?
Some Members: Agreed
Speaker: May I have your further pleasure?
Hon. Mr. Porter: I move that the Speaker now leave the Chair and the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chairman: Committee of the Whole will now come to order. Is it the wish of the Committee to recess until 7:30 p.m.?
Chairman: The Committee of the Whole will now come to order. We will continue with the Department of Justice, general debate.
Bill No. 3 - Third Appropriation Act, 1987-88 - continued
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I promised to bring back the salary range for MG6. There is an increase as of January 1, 1988. With that increase as of January 1, the range is $46,429 as a low, to $60,297 as a high.
I was also asked about the Department of Government Services renovations, and I will provide that when it is all compiled. I expect that it will be this week and if not, it will be on Monday of next week.
Mrs. Firth: What about the job description for the position?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I indicated yesterday that I would inquire on behalf of the Legislature and provide that. I will do it all in writing. I expect it would all occur before Christmas, but I am not sure precisely as to the date.
Mr. Lang: I am not clear if there were qualified Yukon applicants for the job of the Executive Director for the Human Rights Commission short list?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes.
Mr. Lang: Was the government knowledgeable of that when they were informed that there was a possibility that someone outside of the Yukon may be considered?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes.
Mr. Lang: The government, by choice, waived one of the general requirements that a local applicant would be given preference over an applicant from outside the territory.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No. I believe that we would have no discretion in any event. I believe the law is very clear that the Commission reports to the Legislature, not the executive arm of the government. The government was aware that there were qualified people on the short list who were local residents and who were non-Yukon residents, but Canadians. The Commission made the choice on the basis of the person whom they selected as the most qualified.
Chairman: Anything further on general debate?
On Operation and Maintenance
On Policy and Planning
Mr. Lang: We have to stand up and register our disapproval of this amount of money. We do not believe what has been given to us is substantiation for the dollars the government is asking to spend is necessary, nor is it in the best interests of the people of the territory.
Chairman: Does this amount carry?
Some Members: Disagree.
Chairman: All those in agreement with carrying this line please rise.
All those contrary.
The vote was eight, yea; five, nay.
Policy and Planning in the amount of $233,000 agreed to
Total in the amount of $233,000 agreed to
On Human Rights Commission
Human Rights Commission in the amount of $82,000 agreed to
Total in the amount of $82,000 agreed to
On Department of Health and Human Resources
Hon. Mrs. Joe: We are dealing with two reductions in these items and one amount for $23,000. Regarding the reduction in the renovations for the seniors facility lodge in Dawson, the reason why we do have a reduction is because there was not time this summer that could be put aside to do the renovations due to some problem with access for tourists to the building across the street. That is what that reduction is for.
The next reduction is regarding the extended care facility. That extended care facility would have been built in conjunction with the new hospital? The new hospital right now is at a standstill. There is no indication that it will be coming to us in the near future so we are asking for a reduction in that area in the amount of $1,144,000.
In regard to the Macaulay Lodge renovations, what we were asking for there is $23,000, and that is to take care of some outstanding bills that resulted as the renovations went on. They are bills that have been paid but we are owing - I guess to Government Services.
Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell us if the work is going to be done in Dawson, and when it is going to be done?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: The building will be done, the renovations will be done. A problem has developed that we did not anticipate, although we should have. It is difficult to do it in the winter time because of the permafrost in Dawson. As I have said before, it has to be a time before the tourist season, or a time after. We were told that we could not do it last summer and we are looking at Government Services and looking at an alternate times, right now.
Mrs. Firth: The extended care facility is now not going to be built, according to this. What about the new hospital.
Hon. Mrs. Joe: There has been some difficulty with regard to the new hospital. There have been negotiations going on back and forth between governments, and the federal government chose not to send the document to Treasury Board for application for money to build the hospital at this point in time. There are negotiations going on between our government and the federal government with regard to certain aspects of the transfer. We do not have a definite decision on when the hospital is going to be built. It is still in the planning, but they are looking at different plans as well while they are negotiating that.
Mr. Lang: What other plans are they looking at?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: There are some negotiations going on right now with regard to some of the other kinds of transfers. There is a possibility that they will want to transfer some of the services prior to building a hospital, and we have always said that we would like to have a hospital built before the transfer takes place, rather than get stuck with a $30 or $50 million hospital. Those negotiations are taking place between this government and the devolution office and the federal people in Ottawa.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister apparently said in public that this government was looking at the possibility of building the hospital themselves. Is that in the plans?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I never said that in public, no.
Mr. Lang: It concerns me in the Supplementaries for 1977-88 that the department reflects no decreases or increases necessary in the Operation and Maintenance side of the government. I would like to know why. Is this department able to budget so accurately that they are not required to show an increase or decrease on the Operation and Maintenance side?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I was under the impression that other departments showed the same thing, but I could be wrong.
We did not feel that we had to bring in any supplementaries for the Operation and Maintenance at this time.
Mr. Lang: I want to point out there is an anomaly here. If you go through every other department, there are dollars reflected on the Operation and Maintenance side in one manner or another, whether through agreements or whatever the case may be. It is one of the few opportunities the Members have for updating ourselves as to where the government is going, and where this department is going. As a Member of the House, I am beginning to wonder what kind of accounting this particular department does. I believe if you have information and know that money is required, or know there is going to be a decrease, then I would submit that the department has a responsibility to come to this House and show the public where it sits.
Did the Minister ask whether there were any Operation and Maintenance decreases or increases that would be necessary for a supplementary in preparing the budget?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: We had discussions with regard to supplementaries for the Capital and the Operation and Maintenance. We did not have any in the Operation and Maintenance last year either. The Member may not recall, but we did not. We just do not have anything to report.
Mr. Lang: That was the point last session when the department said that they were such good budgeters that they could do it within $2 of what they had projected a year previously. Since I had the privilege of being on the government side of the House at one time, I know that that story is not even believable. It is not even plausible. We are dealing with a multi-million dollar expenditure, such as Medicare where there is a large number of people covered.
Hon. Mrs. Joe: We take things into account as we do them. There did not appear to be a problem, or that we had to ask for either a reduction or an increase in our Operation and Maintenance. It will be indicated, I suppose, in Period 9.
Mr. Lang: Is the Minister telling this House that there will be no required supplementary for the Department of Health and Human Resources in all of the projected figures that she has to date?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: Yes.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister did say in the media, when the announcement was made that the extended care facility was not going to go ahead, that the government may look at assuming the responsibility and the cost for building the facility themselves, not the hospital. Is the Ministers department moving in the direction of assuming full cost for the extended care facility and building that facility?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: That is a possibility with regard to the extended care facility but not regarding the hospital. I thought the Member was referring to the hospital when she said, I did not say that.
Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister give us a little more information about that? At what stage are the plans? When will this decision be made?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: It is too early to look at that type of decision until further negotiations occur with the federal government. The extended care facility is going to cost in the area of $4 million. There has been a design developed. The money that we asked for was to complete an architectural design of the hospital. We were quite prepared to go ahead with one and to finalize all of the work that had to be done in preparation for it until we found out, in the last three or four months, that Ottawa would not be proceeding with their funding request to Treasury Board this year. Consequently, we had to put a hold on that.
We may be looking at building our own right now, but we have not gone into it in great depth because there are a lot more negotiations that have to happen and a lot more discussions with officials. It is not that easy to get the money to build something through the federal government.
Mrs. Firth: Does that mean that nothing has started? I got the impression from the Ministers comments in the media that the department had started some initial analysis of its ability to take on the costs and do the structure themselves. Tonight, the Minister is saying they have not even started that. Could she be a little more specific and tell us exactly what the department has done?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: The proposed facility is currently in the second year of formal planning. Functional programming and block schematics were completed early in 1987-88, together with capital and operating cost estimates. As of March, 1987, the estimated capital cost for the extended care facility is $4.5 million. The annual operating cost, based on shared facilities, site, and service with the Whitehorse General Hospital, is $1.9 million and includes a projected 39.1 person years. These estimates have been developed by the hospital and extended care planning consultants, the Resource Planning Group.
To date, a total of $75,000 has been invested in extended care facility planning, representing the Government of Yukons share in the joint hospital and extended care planning project. Further work on the preparation of detailed architectural and engineering specifications has been delayed, pending confirmation of federal plans to replace the Whitehorse General Hospital.
The current plan calls for the extended care facility to be built on the site where the present hospital is located. As well, my officials are carefully reviewing the projected capital and ongoing operating cost estimate now available through the functional program. Discussions are going on with National Health and Welfare to clarify federal intentions. As of this month, National Health and Welfare has not made a submission to Treasury Board to seek authorization and funding to proceed with detailed design and construction of the proposed new Whitehorse General Hospital.
Mrs. Firth: That sounds vaguely familiar. It was almost the exact context of what the Minister read during the last years Capital Budget debate. Can the Minister tell me when the decision is going to be made to either go ahead or not go ahead?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: As I mentioned before, a lot of it depends on what is happening with the federal government and the hospital. We do not have a specific date about when we are going to go ahead. It takes a lot more preparation than has happened up to this point in time, and a lot of it depends on what the federal government is going to do.
Mrs. Firth: Perhaps I could phrase it another way. How long is the Minister prepared to wait for a response from the federal government before they say they are going to go ahead and do it themselves?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: There were discussions last week in Ottawa with respect to this transfer. At the time, we found out they were not prepared to go ahead with the hospital and that there were other things they would like to do. I do not know how long I am prepared to wait. I guess we will have to continue with the negotiations and, when the money is available, we can go ahead. I cannot say I will wait for a certain time, but six months down the road I am not going to quit waiting.
Mrs. Firth: I wanted to establish whether it was a priority or not.
On Renovations - Seniors Facilities
Renovations - Seniors Facilities in the amount of a reduction of $150,000 agreed to
On Extended Care Facility
Extended Care Facility in the amount of a reduction in the amount of $1,144,000 agreed to
On Macauley Lodge Renovations
Macauley Lodge Renovations in the amount of $23,000 agreed to
On Total of a reduction of $1,271,000
Total in the amount of a reduction of $1,271,000 agreed to
On Department of Renewable Resources
Chairman: Any general debate?
Hon. Mr. Porter: We are proposing to transfer $129,000 from Capital to Operation and Maintenance. The $129,000 will be spent as follows: Personnel costs - $71,000; materials, supplies - $13,000; and contract services - $45,000. Principally, this amount will be utilized in funding the Herschel Island Territorial Park. The projections are being put forward because in late 1986 the funding level for 1987/88 for the entire COPE program had not been finalized basically due to the delay in the implementation of the final agreement in the COPE settlement.
Mr. Brewster: I would request that the Minister remain seated because I know what bad backs are like, and it is not very pleasant to get up and down. I do not think anyone on this side of the House would object, and I certainly do not. I do not think we have much to talk about except that I am a little concerned that you might be wearing that $129,000 out taking it around as you are. As I understand it, and I think we can fold this up in general debate, you have taken the $129,000 from the Capital, moved it to the Supplementary in Operation and Maintenance. This is actually money given to you by the federal government.
Hon. Mr. Porter: Yes, that is correct. It is part of the agreement between Canada and the Yukon in which the federal government makes the money available, and we will be reimbursed from the federal government.
Mr. Brewster: I have not much more to say here, but I will be saying much more in the Capital Estimates, so the Minister does not think he will be getting away completely free.
As a general comment, I have checked over the public accounts for 1986-87, and I am a little aghast that the department is so bad at estimating. I know if a private contractor estimated that for me, he would be going down the road quite fast. It appears to me that what happens here is that you come in with these big budgets and make a big political show, and when we get on the fight and say that you have too much money and that you do not need it, you say you do. Then at the end of the year you bring it back in and tell the people all about the money you have saved. There is considerable money in the last budget that was completely over estimated everywhere, and I wonder why so much is being over estimated all the time.
Hon. Mr. Porter: With respect to the question of surplus at the end of the year, I do not have the Public Accounts Committee Report here. So, specifically, I am not aware of the areas that the Member is raising questions on. But there are a number of reasons why projects are not completed or do not start on time and that is the reason why we basically have a lapse situation.
Mr. Brewster: I am not going to carry on but I will just point out that they over estimated by $473,000. That is a fair amount of money. I, Mr. Chairman, am prepared to clear this unless somebody else has something to say on it.
Mr. McLachlan: For the Supplemental, year ended 1987-88, the department has at least one campground under construction that remains uncompleted at the end of the building season. The money to go into it would have to come again past April 1, and probably be spent in May and June. Why do funds not expended on campground development in the current year not show up as returned in capital, in this Supplementary?
Hon. Mr. Porter: When this particular Supplementary Bill was prepared, it was not known at that time that the work for the campground was not to be completed.
Mr. McLachlan: How, then, does the department reconcile funds - no changes here - that were not spent October/November 1987 - not returned in here - which then must be spent in May or June of the new capital year? Where will you show it?
Hon. Mr. Porter: There are two Supplementary periods in the financial management of government: the period for Supplementary processes, which we are dealing with now, and the Period Nine Supplementary process which has yet to be decided. So if there are other funds to be lapsed, or further funds required by the department, those funds would be identified in Period Nine, which probably would take place in January. Then, at the next sitting of the House, which would be the spring, we would bring forward another Supplementary to deal with those particular items.
Mr. Lang: We do not want the Minister to think that he has a night off.
The Minister was going to undertake a program to look at every recreational trail in the territory costing about $65,000 or $75,000. Is he in a position to table this study?
Hon. Mr. Porter: That report is currently under review in the department. Once it has been reviewed and comes to my office, I have no problem in making that report available to the Member.
Mr. Lang: In the Public Accounts Committee it was already identified for 1986-87. How long has it been in the department?
Hon. Mr. Porter: That recreational trails inventory report was completed at the end of November.
Mr. Lang: Up to March 31, 1987, $10,000 was given back to the government. I was under the impression that this was done some time ago. If I am reading this wrong, I would like to know.
Hon. Mr. Porter: The recreational trails inventory report was completed at the end of November, and it is in the process of departmental review. If we are talking about the same report, that is the status. Once the department has reviewed it, I can make the report and its findings available to the Member.
Mr. Lang: I will take that as a commitment to make it available in the Capital Mains prior to the debate. We voted $100,000 two years ago for the infamous Frenchman-Tatchun fiasco where the Minister was the centre of some attention. Does the Minister have the $100,000 cultural study that was undertaken by the department?
Hon. Mr. Porter: Phase one of that report is complete and phase two is now being wrapped up. The first phase was the cultural work that had to be done. Phase two of the report called for identification of a potential cultural interpretative centre. That work is now in the final stage of completion.
Mr. Lang: Is the Minister in a position to table the cultural report?
Hon. Mr. Porter: My office has not received the final report. Again, once I have received that, I have no hesitation in making that report available.
Mr. Lang: He just said phase one was completed. Does his department have possession of phase one?
Hon. Mr. Porter: Yes, we do, and that can be made available.
Mr. Lang: I would like that available to the House prior to the Capital Mains. When does he expect phase two to be completed, and who is doing the work?
Hon. Mr. Porter: We are not sure of the exact completion date. We will find that out for the Member. When I table phase one of the report, I will also table the information concerning phase two.
Mr. Lang: Can the Minister update the House on the park system planning that has been ongoing by the government? Where is that at the present time? What can he report to the House?
Hon. Mr. Porter: The target for the completion of the park system plan is the end of December.
Mr. Lang: When will it be made available to the House?
Hon. Mr. Porter: It is a similar situation. Once the information is brought forward and we have had an adequate time to review the contents of the report, I see no reason why this report, as with the other reports that were discussed earlier, should not be made available for tabling.
Mr. Lang: I noticed that there was a significant decrease in the amount of money that was required for the Robinson Roadhouse. Could the Minister tell us why?
Hon. Mr. Porter: I am a bit perplexed with respect to the expenditure on Robinson Roadhouse. As the Member is aware, the funding for stabilization of that particular house was voted under Heritage and Tourism. I will check with the Tourism Branch to ascertain that. I do not recall that we have budgeted any further capital monies for this fiscal year.
Mr. Lang: I am looking at the Budget. There is nothing shown here for Tourism in the Supplementary at all. Do I take it that all is well in the area of Tourism, and the government does not need any money for that particular department?
Hon. Mr. Porter: That is correct.
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
On Committee for Original Peoples Entitlement
Committee for Original Peoples Entitlement agreed to
On Operation and Maintenance Recoveries
On Herschel Island - COPE
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister tell us what is being done on Herschel Island?
Hon. Mr. Porter: Earlier this summer Herschel Island was the first dedicated territorial park in the Yukon. It was negotiated as part of the final agreement between this government and the federal government in Inuvialuit. It was identified to be set aside as a territorial park. The park has been dedicated, and we are running it as a park at this point.
Mr. Lang: How are we doing in the area of tourism there? Has there been an increase?
Hon. Mr. Porter: Based on the Member for Porter Creek Easts memory, which is not infallible, there were 300 visitors last year. That is substantial for a park that is located quite a distance north.
Mr. Lang: Does that figure include government officials?
Hon. Mr. Porter: It includes visitors to the park. I do not know if it includes government officials, I do not think so, but I will check. For the most part, it was river rafters and tourists. There is a private entrepreneur in the community of Inuvik who runs a small airline and has identified Herschel Island as one of the key points in the Arctic coast as a tourism destination. He flies a number of people in there.
Mr. Lang: Has there been, over the course of the last year, further negotiations on the prospects of using Pauline Cove for not only harbouring ships, but as a long term harbour for development of the north coast?
Hon. Mr. Porter: We would have to check with the Department of Economic Development. We have not been involved in any negotiations whatsoever with the Pauline Cove site as a harbour site.
Mr. Lang: I want to follow up on one other aspect on the North Slope. The question of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has been of major concern to some Members of the government more so than others, with some justification. Is it true that the calving of the caribou in the last two or three years has been done on the Yukon side of the border as opposed to the Alaska side?
Hon. Mr. Porter: Our immediate information is that in the last calving season, most of the calves were born on the Alaska side, but there has been, in the last couple of years, some deviation. Normally 70 percent of the calving takes place in Alaska. During the last couple of seasons, there has been a deviation inasmuch as many of the calves were born on the Yukon side. In terms of looking at the history of the herd and establishing what can be viewed as core calving grounds, clearly the area immediately adjacent to the Jago River in Alaska constitutes 70 percent of the core calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd.
Mr. Brewster: I have to get up to register a protest. We have a park up there and have 300 visitors. We spend all this money continually. We have another 8,000 square miles here and spent millions of dollars and no tourists can get in. I doubt if there are 300 tourists in here either, so that is 600 tourists. They do not keep the Yukon going. I think, regardless of the agreement with COPE, we should be looking at where we are putting this money for tourists instead of this, in Herschel Island, because the average tourist cannot afford to get there. They can spend $200 or $300 a day in these other places, and I think they should be directed there. I cannot vote these things without protesting this.
Hon. Mr. Porter: I know what the Member speaks of, because he has raised this before, and it is a subject that is on the Order Paper. We are talking about visitations to Kluane National Park. It has always been our position that there should be greater access afforded to ordinary people in Kluane. In the past we have made direct representation to the office of the Minister of Environment in Ottawa, and have not met with success ourselves. Inasmuch as Parks Canada has had some serious reduction in the funds that they receive, there had been a public planning process undertaken by the Parks people in Kluane. At one point there had been offered to a private company the idea of gaining access to Kluane Park. My understanding is that those negotiations have not concluded in any agreement, and they are not proceeding. The latest information that I have received is that the public process of park planning for Kluane is going to be resumed again in the future by Parks Canada. At that point, it would be fair to say that the people of the Yukon would have an opportunity to let Parks Canada know how they feel about that particular park.
Mr. Brewster: I guess I am up again. That is right, they did try to work with a private outfit. But they, like all governments, wanted them to spend $3 million per bus and then they wanted all the control: to tell them how much they could charge, and where they could go and how they could go. All the money was to be private money - but the government was still going to have the big say. Government cannot work with private business this way - you are not going to put up $3 million for a bus and then have everybody tell you who is going to get on and who is going to get off of it and such things. They also wanted them to put a private road in but they wanted all the big things, like the parks. They were going to look after it and control it. You will hear in our motions, when we come back, that I will be bringing up Banff and Jasper and all these places where government Parks departments absolutely slaughtered people until the private sector took over and took the parks away from them.
Mr. Lang: In fairness to the Members on this side, the government is asking us to vote a total of $600,000 on the Operation and Maintenance side, if I am reading this Budget correctly. How are you spending $600,000? You only have a two or three month season up there to start with - that is a lot of money. That is $200,000 a month.
Hon. Mr. Porter: We voted $480,000 in the original vote authority and what we are doing is transferring $129,000 from the Capital to Operation and Maintenance - but there is no vote authority increase with respect to the Budget before Members. We are simply asking for a transfer from Capital to Operation and Maintenance.
Mr. Lang: Give me a little bit of credit. I understand that aspect of it. What I am asking is: how have you spent $600,000? That is my question.
Hon. Mr. Porter: As the Member can well appreciate from his time in government, we will not know the total expenditure picture until we have the final accounts of the government - which basically takes place after the fiscal year concludes. But in terms of the total budget, if the Member would like, I will attempt, from the information that I have here, to break down the budget.
Under Operation and Maintenance voted to date we have voted $64,000 under Parks Resources and Regional Planning and then with this Supplementarys additional $129,000, the revised vote then becomes $193,000. Under Policy and Planning, $260,000 has been voted. Under Wildlife Research, $156,000 has been voted as well.
Mr. Lang: Of the $600,000, how much is going for air fare?
Hon. Mr. Porter: I do not have it specifically broken down into aircraft, but the aircraft rental charter and contracting for the Parks Board training, the total revised vote authority for that particular area of activity would be $57,000.
Mr. McLachlan: With respect to the 300 visitors who visited Herschel Island, it sounds great until you remember that they all came out of Inuvik from an Inuvik based operator. A lot of people probably came via Yellowknife to Inuvik. It is a case where we provided the park and somebody else took advantage of it who is not a business resident in this territory. Of the airline work flown into Herschel Island from Inuvik, do we have any indication of any benefit to the territory from those 300 visitors who got to Herschel Island via Inuvik?
Hon. Mr. Porter: I would not entirely agree with the premise of the Members statement, which is to say that most of them come to Herschel Island via Yellowknife and Inuvik. The information we have received on the Tourism side from officials in the Northwest Territories is that this has been the best year for the Dempster traffic ever. As a matter of fact, the increases were phenomenal, in terms of the ferry stats. I would suggest that, in all probability, a good deal of the numbers we are seeing in Herschel Island have gotten to the island via the Dempster Highway.
I can ask the Tourism people, if they are able, through contact with the Northwest Territories Tourism department, to try to break those numbers out and ascertain for a greater certainty what the percentage is who came via the Yukon. I will attempt to do that.
Mr. Phillips: I would like to get back to the core calving grounds of the caribou. Could the Minister put together a map of northern Yukon and northern Alaska and colour code it for the last five or six years to give us an idea of where the caribou calved in 1986 and in 1987. I am interested in the core calving, the main area where they calve. They usually gather together to calve. It would probably be good for us to have later on as ammunition to argue for the protection of the herd.
Hon. Mr. Porter: Prior to going into the Operation and Maintenance Mains debates I will attempt to find that information and make it available to the Member.
Mr. Phillips: We spent a great deal of money on the Herschel Island Park and it is sort of like an invisible park, because none of us have even seen it, except for government dignitaries and the wealthy. The common people have never seen it and probably never will. I am wondering if it would be possible if, the next time the Minister comes to this House with a massive expenditure for this park, he could bring a couple of photographs so we could get an idea of what we have built there, pictures of the groups of tourists coming, so we can see the masses getting off the boat in this park. I am making light of it, but on the other hand there is an awful lot of money going up here, and nobody knows what we are spending it on, it is just going north. I would like to see exactly where the money is going. Could the Member bring a photo album of what we are actually doing up there so we have some idea.
Hon. Mr. Porter: It is true that pictures tell a better and more clear story than words in some cases, so I will try to respond to the Members request. I am informed that we have a slide show and if the Member would like to have access to the slide show we will make that available to him, or any other Member of the House who would like to see it. I think we can produce a photograph of the Chairman of the Committee of the Whole and Herschel Island.
Chairman: On business in his riding.
Mr. Phelps: Because Mr. Chairman is tied up and cannot speak right now I want to go on record as supporting the park because we fought long and hard to get jurisdiction over the park that was transferred to the Yukon government in the COPE claim. What it did, and is doing, is establishing our claim to the Beaufort Sea. It may be, and is very seldom, that I disagree with sentiments expressed by the hon. Member of Riverdale North, but it may be that not a lot of tourists go there, but it is a very important area, not only because of its historic significance, but because it really does firmly establish our jurisdiction up there. There was a time when the federal government was prepared to take that away from us along with the entire coastline and 5,000 square miles. It would have reduced us to a situation where we would not have had a moral claim to the offshore resources, and now we do. I must humbly say that I support the work that is going on up there in your riding, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to commend the Member for Klondike for working so hard for his constituents in that part of his riding.
Chairman: Is there anything further on Herschel Island Park?
Herschel Island Park (COPE) in the amount of a reduction of $129,000 agreed to
On Womens Directorate
On Operation and Maintenance
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I am asking for an increase of $34,000. There was $7,000 spent for travel. There was an increase from one day meetings six times a year to two day meetings six times a year by the Advisory Committee. An over expenditure of $5,000 was due to air the career fair that was planned and budgeted in 1986-87 but did not occur until 1987-88. That was for $4,000. An expenditure to reorganize, reclassify and catalogue resource libraries in the amount of $13,000 was not budgeted. The invoice for the Employment Handbook budgeted in 1986-87 was not received until 1987-88, for a total of $34,000.
Mr. McLachlan: How much is the Women on Wheels program budgeted for in this years Operation and Maintenance?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I do not have those figures with me. There is an amount budgeted for travel, but I do not have those figures here.
Mr. McLachlan: No portion of this $34,000 is for the Women on Wheels program?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: No.
Mrs. Firth: The Government Leader will perhaps want to correct the record. In Hansard on December 2, 1987, page 176, the Government Leader said that lesser sums would be required by the Department of Community and Transportation Services and the Womens Directorate when, in fact, they are asking for more money. Maybe the government might want to touch that up.
Can the Minister tell me what the $7,000 for travel is?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: The $7,000 for travel was to attend the annual meeting for the Status of Women. There was one meeting that I was not able to go to, and both of the women from the Directorate went. When I go, I take one of them with me. There were one or two extra meetings that they had to attend.
Mrs. Firth: It seems like quite a hefty amount. Is it for one meeting, or for two meetings for two people? Could the Minister be more specific? Could she tell me what the two meetings were?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: The meeting was the one that was held in Nova Scotia last year. They both went to that one.
Mrs. Firth: It seems like a lot of money to travel to Nova Scotia - $3,500 each. Can the Minister tell me if this $13,000 for reorganization of the library involved getting someone to come in to do it? Could the staff at the Womens Directorate not do that?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: Our staff members at the Womens Directorate are busy, and there was a job that had to be done in the library. There were books galore all over the place. They did have to hire somebody who knew a little bit more about cataloguing and whatever they do to make a library, and she came in to do that.
Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell me how many copies of the Employment Handbook were made available and who they sent them to?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I am not sure of the exact amount. I do not have that information here, but I will give that information to the Member. They were sent out to all the communities, to the bands, to the community groups, to womens organizations, and were also sent to womens government departments in other parts of Canada. As a matter of fact, they were in great demand. There were people from all over Canada asking for them. We were not able to send as many out of the Yukon as were asked for.
Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister tell me who the members of the advisory committee are?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: We have Virginia Kemball, Stephanie Stark, Shirley Bellmore, Diane Freed, Margo Styan, Pat Simcox, and two others whose names I cannot remember. I will give the Member that information.
On Operation and Maintenance
On Public Information and Program Development
Mrs. Firth: Before we finish with this item, I am always interested in how many inquiries there are at the Womens Directorate. Could the Minister tell me approximately how many inquiries they get in a year?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I cannot give her the exact number of inquiries that come in, but they get at least three a day, and sometimes more. There are people who come in there for all sorts of things, not just with regard to women issue, but it is just a handy place to go when they want information. I can definitely get that information for the Member and I think it would be quite interesting to know that.
Mrs. Firth: I want to ask the Minister one last question about the advisory body that the Government Leader sits on, the Intergovernmental Advisory Group on Womens Issues. Can the Minister update us as to what that committee is doing?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: That is the Cabinet Sub-committee. I sit on that as well. The Committee will be responsible for developing, monitoring and evaluating a government-wide plan of action for women, and that plan is put together now. We also have some officials from other departments also sitting on the Committee. The plan has been put together in draft form and the response from the other departments of government was quite good. We are looking at having a copy of the draft in a matter of days.
Mrs. Firth: Will the Minister be making that available to the Member of the Legislature?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: Yes.
Public Information and Program Development in the amount of $34,000 agreed to
On Schedule A
Operation and Maintenance and Capital in the amount of $9,711,000 agreed to
Recoveries for Operation and Maintenance and Capital in the Amount of a recovery of $1,432,000 agreed to
Total in the amount of $8,279,000 agreed to
On Clause 2
Clause 2 agreed to
On Clause 3
Clause 3 agreed to
Clause 1 agreed to
Title agreed to
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I move you report Bill No. 3, Third Appropriation Act, 1987-88, without amendment.
Motion agreed to
Chairman: The Committee of the Whole will now recess for ten minutes.
Mr. McLachlan: Can you tell us what we are going to do after the break because the Minister of Finance has failed to show.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I will act as Acting Minister of Finance and will do the best I can. I have all the answers and will be waiting for the questions.
Chairman: We will be dealing with the Capital Mains following a ten minute recess.
Chairman: The Committee of the Whole will now come to order. We will proceed with Bill No. 5.
Bill No. 5, First Appropriation Act, 1988-89
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: As mentioned in the Capital Budget address, we are requesting a gross capital spending authority for 1988-89 of $100,474,000. When recoveries are taken into account, the net costs to the government of this Capital Budget will be slightly less than $69,000. These estimates are designed to support the principle goal of our government to improve the quality of life for all Yukoners. To achieve that goal, we are continuing the initiatives we began in 1985 to develop and diversify our economy, to improve the infrastructure of both the government and the community, to upgrade our educational system, to promote and enrich our cultural heritage and activities and to improve the housing of our citizens. These are our major undertakings and while they cannot be completed overnight, we have made substantial progress towards their completion.
This budget forms an integral part of that process. Ministers will be speaking to their individual departments during debate so my comments will be brief. A Member commented in the Budget Address about the lack of information in the format. There are several format changes in the estimates. The most important of these is the inclusion of each relevant department detailing the total estimated costs of all multi projects.
This information will be of use to all Members and to the public. The dollars shown on these pages are current dollars, and there is no inflation or escalation factor; therefore, the ultimate cost of a project can be higher than that shown without there being an overrun in real terms. More project detail is shown in most departments in response to comments received in this House during last years Capital Mains. Members should keep in mind that it is impossible to include the detail of all projects in the printed Estimates without producing an overly detailed and unwieldy document. Ministers are prepared to speak to project detail on each of the departmental budgets. We estimate that the monies to be spent under this budget will maintain or create 1,700 private sector jobs.
Given the active private sector construction season we foresee for next year, and the continued government expenditure, there should be a very healthy construction industry in this next fiscal year.
Speaking about the detail, or the additional or supplementary information, there is more detail and supplementary information in this budget compared to last. Last year, the Capital Estimates under expenditure detail simply listed each capital program and the activities. This year, we have made the format consistent with the Operation and Maintenance Mains .
And that is, in fact, in response to suggestions made by the Opposition last year. I will answer questions as I can.
Mr. Lang: Just for the record, the government is estimating 1,700 private sector jobs as a result of this budget. Could he tell us how many private sector jobs were created because of the last budget? Does he have those figures?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: About 100 more, or 1,800.
Mr. Lang: Maybe I stand to be corrected, but we had a budget of $120 million last year, as opposed to this year - that is $20 million less, of course, than what we spent this the forthcoming year. How can he say to this House that it will mean 100 less jobs than last year?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The projects are broken down into various categories and it depends upon the mix of projects. There are more individual projects which are labour-intensive here and, using the same projections, the projected maintenance and creation of jobs is about 100 jobs less than last year.
Mr. Lang: I am not going to get into the argument, it just sounds kind of funny to spend $20 million less and have 100 fewer jobs identified. I find that hard to believe. I guess we could do the paper exercise and all the number crunching that you can, and one could justify whatever figures brought forward.
Is the Minister going to be in a position to table the projected Operation and Maintenance costs of these various projects and, secondly, how the community or the organization or the individual who is involved is going to pay those Operation and Maintenance costs that will be created by this budget?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The general answer is yes, there is an attempt to make those projections. The projections are made by the departments, and as we go through the projects, if questions are asked about the Operation and Maintenance implications, that is the appropriate time to raise them.
Mr. Lang: Does the Minister have the total projected increase in Operation and Maintenance costs that this Budget is going to bring?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Excluding Yukon College and Yukon Housing, approximately $3 million per year. That is the total.
Mr. Lang: What is the Yukon College going to come in at?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I would suggest it is appropriate to discuss that under the line item. The biggest single item in the amount is a projection for the extended care facility, which is roughly $2 million.
Mr. Lang: We are going to have questions on the individual projects, and I think the front bench better be aware of it. Hopefully, they will be better prepared than they are in Question Period.
With respect to the financial agreement, as this is all federal money and is transferred from the Government of Canada, could the Minister update us with respect to where the negotiations are for an extension of the very healthy present financial agreement?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The negotiations are continuing. They are close to concluded, but not concluded.
Mr. Lang: When we say close to concluded, what are we talking about? Next month? January, February, March?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Our hope is to conclude them before Christmas.
Mr. Lang: Do I take it there are people presently in Ottawa negotiating this agreement?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No, not today.
Mr. Lang: What about tomorrow?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Specifically, we are awaiting a federal response. When it comes, that will trigger the next events. That response is imminent.
Mr. Lang: What is the government looking for? Is it strictly an extension to the agreement over the next two years, or an increase of dollars over and above what they are presently allocated through the present agreement?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is impossible to be absolutely precise, but we are looking for an extension of the present agreement.
Mr. Lang: When you say to conclude negotiations, does that mean that at that time you expect to have gone through Treasury Board, or is this particular conclusion going to be at the officials level and then it will be required for the political arms of government, both federal and territorial, to review what the officials have done and see if they can come to some conclusion?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It would not actually be through Treasury Board, but we would have approvals that would, practically speaking, mean that in all probability it would go through.
Mr. Lang: The optimism of the Minister begs the question. Once the negotiations are concluded between the officials of this government and the officials from Treasury Board, will it not be required to go through federal Treasury Board for approval?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes.
Mr. Lang: I want to make sure the record is clear here. That means that officials will have concluded their negotiations prior to Christmas, within the next week, and the government is then expecting it to progress through to Treasury Board in January or February, is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes.
Mr. McLachlan: I have one question related to auction sales that the government sponsors from time to time. All of the recoveries always seem to indicate returned revenue from the federal government. Why does the government, specifically Government Services, never make any estimate as to the amount of revenue generated by the auction sales that are put on from time to time?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: We do. It is on page 47 and is estimated at $120,000.
Mr. Lang: It has come to my attention that with the governments policy of buying furniture locally there is a great deal of furniture that has been put into storage and has been replaced by furniture that the government has purchased through the local furniture manufacturing program we are financing. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: As Acting Minister of Finance, I will ask the Minister of Government Services to report on the furniture in storage under the Government Services line in the budget.
Chairman: Is there any further general debate on the Capital Budget?
Mr. Lang: We have a concern with the expenditures throughout the territory of the Capital money that has been allocated to the Government of Yukon by the federal government. We see more and more, on a daily basis, instances of mismanagement and waste coming to our attention. The Yukon is a very small place, and I expect that some of these examples that are raised must be coming to the attention of the Ministers and the Members opposite. There seems to be very little attention paid to this aspect of government. It is making the Yukon government a laughing stock among the public.
Quite a number of us travel in a lot of circles in a given day; it is not as if one confines themself to a certain group of people or that type of thing. I guess that is why some of us are elected. I want to register on behalf of my constituency that there does not seem to be any effort or attempt to manage the dollars that we have properly. The tragedy is that if one questions a project in any community, the government takes the position that we are opposed to the project. That is not necessarily the case. One may be opposed to the scope of the project, in particular the amount of dollars that are being spent. We feel that there has to be some rationale between the expenditures and what the individuals pay who will be using that service. No government is above criticism in this area.
I can think of a number of projects in the past that should have been examined more closely. Surely, we can learn from our past experiences. I do not think the side opposite has learned anything. It concerns me that we are going to Ottawa and saying to the people in Ottawa that we are responsible citizens, and because of where we are and our lack of infrastructure, we deserve these amount of dollars for the purposes of putting into place similar, if not more advanced, infrastructure than in other parts of Canada because we are the Yukon and are a territory.
That argument only flies so far, until the Government of Canada is going to start to question exactly what we, the people of the Yukon, are doing with the money they are transferring to us. When I see the government going into some of these major projects and not taking into consideration the end result, it concerns me.
For example, when one is dealing with a seniors complex that cost in the neighbourhood of $400,000 to $500,000 in the community of Teslin, and we find that there is nobody there who is interested in moving in who meets the criteria of a senior, and we are told that those who were consulted at that time had expressed serious reservations about whether or not that type of complex and that type of expenditure would meet the needs of the community and provide a service to the seniors of the community, and we are told those comments of the community were disregarded, then we on this side have to question that.
When I hear that the Yukon Housing Corporation in this particular incident are soliciting people to come and fill up this embarrassment that has been created by the Yukon Housing Corporation, I am very concerned.
This goes back to the theme that this side has consistently brought forward, that they should be doing more analysis or giving a more practical look at what we are doing, as opposed to the situation where, if we have a problem or we have a request, we throw money at it. Our concern is that we are going into our third year, our third budget, and after this year it will be $300 million in rough terms: $300 million. And we have very little, if any indication from the side opposite if, for example, they are interested in hydro development. And we take a look at communities such as Watson Lake and then look at the prices that they are paying down there for their electricity. The argument that is put forward by the side opposite is: Oh, we were busy with the transfer. Well sure they were busy with the transfer but surely there could have been monies put aside, over the course of the last two years, to put into place the necessary plans to go ahead with some capital projects in this area, as opposed to strictly concentrating on one side of the budget, for the most part, that of providing public facilities
I think the tragedy of what we are seeing, as far as the budget is concerned, is that I think the government - and, in turn, the people of the territory - could have met their social obligations and gone in good part with all the projects with a lot fewer dollars, if there had been more thought given to the size and scope of what was being requested.
I have to, from my side, on behalf of the people that I represent, really register as strongly - I know it is not necessarily vociferous - as strongly as I can my observation that I think that the government should be really reviewing and re-assessing some of their priorities.
Mrs. Firth: I was interested in the comments that the Minister made about the supplementary information because I was the Minister who raised the issue about the supplementary information being less than what was provided in the last Capital Budget book. I registered a concern at that time that there was less information in the 1987-88 Capital Estimates than had been in the year previous to that.
If I may just point out to the Minister, if you look at the first department, the Executive Council Office, in the previous budget there was expenditure detail page that listed the Public Affairs Bureau and Bureau of Statistics, and then in the Supplementary Information they not only listed the program objectives, but they also listed what the equipment request was for. For example, on page eight it says Public Affairs Bureau Equipment but does not say anything about what kind of equipment it is. Last year it said funding for camera, lighting and darkroom equipment, so I do not understand. I have gone through the whole budget and every department is like that. Granted, the additional information that the Minister mentioned about the total estimated cost of multi-year projects, where it is applicable, that is an additional page to some departments like the Department of Community and Transportation Services or Education or Health. That little explanation or detail is not present in this budget so I wanted to make the point that there is not as much information included. If the Minister looks at it and compares it with last years budget he will see what exactly I am talking about.
I want to ask the Minister some questions about the person year complement. We recognize what the person year complement was for last years budget, and a lot of the positions were going to be indeterminate and term. All of them were, in fact, all 88.82 person years. The difference this year is 99.53 person years have been identified as the impact of this budget. I would like to know if the Minister can give me some idea of the numbers of person years that are still held over from the previous Capital Budget?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: In the 1987-88 Capital Estimates there were 146 line items of expenditures detail. In the present one, there are 207 line items of expenditure detail. There are 61 more line items of detail even though there is $14 million less in the budget. The program objectives there, and there is detail of grants and contributions. There are also the multi-year listings.
There are 99.5 person years allocated to Capital. In the carryover from 1987-88, there were 88.8 person years. Therefore, there is an increase of 10.7 person years. A note on page four states that there are six, which are transfers from Operation and Maintenance to Capital. This is a slight error. There are actually 6.9 person years. The real increase in person years in the government is 3.8.
Mrs. Firth: I can read. The Minister told us that he had all of the answers tonight. Who is he trying to fool? I asked him how many person years from last years budget that were supposed to be term did not end as term and had to be carried over. There is no indication of that in this budget. The Government Leader gave us the explanation in the supplementaries that there were so many term positions in the Department of Community and Transportation Services that had to be extended. How many of these term positions from the previous Captial Budget have to be extended and are not reflected in this new 99.5 number?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Most of the terms expired March 31. As to the precise number that were extended, I will take the question as notice and provide the answer.
Mrs. Firth: I will take the comment about the number of lines that were put in the Budget up with the Government Leader. Sometimes quality is not the same as quantity. I do not care if there are 1,000 lines, the quality is not there. There was some minimal description, although scanty, of what the allotment of money was going to be used for. I gave an example of the Executive Council Office. If I have to to make the point, I may do it in every department. Last year, there was a little more information provided in some of the areas as to what the expenditure was for.
Mr. Nordling: Does the Minister have the detail on where the 6.9 from Operation and Maintenance person years are shown in the person year summary, as to what department? I ask because I see Economic Development has gone up from 11 person years last year to 17 this year.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes. Of the 6.9, they are: one in Tourism, 1.9 in Renewable Resources and four in Economic Development.
Mr. Lang: Is the front bench going to be able to provide, along with the operation and maintenance costs, the projected costs to the infrastructure that is affected by some of these projects in these communities, and whether or not the water and sewer system and all these things have been taken into account to be able to handle the projects the government is recommending be put into these communities?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Minister of Community and Transportation Services would need to answer that at the appropriate time.
Mr. Lang: I would move that we 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 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 the same without amendment. Further the Committee has considered Bill No. 5, First Appropriation Act, 1988-89 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 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 9:29 p.m.
The following Sessional Papers were tabled on December 9, 1987:
Memorandum of Understanding dated January 17, 1983, between the RCMP and Yukon Renewable Resources Wildlife and Parks Services (Territorial Game Branch) re illegal export of falcons (Porter)
Letter dated September 20, 1985, from Hugh Monaghan, Director, Fish and Wildlife, to D. Nowlan re export of falcons (Porter)
Reasons for Judgment of the Honourable Mr. Justice Maddison dated May 23, 1986, re permit to sell and export gyrfalcons, between Daniel Edward Nowlan, Petitioner, and Hugh Monaghan, Director of Wildlife, and David Porter, Minister of Renewable Resources, Respondents (Porter)
The following Legislative Return was tabled on December 9, 1987:
Hatching of gyrfalcon eggs (Porter)
Oral, Hansard, p. 60