Tuesday, January 5, 1988
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. At this time we will begin with Prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.
Are there any Returns or Documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I have for tabling a document entitled Takhini Area Transportation Study.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have for tabling some returns.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I have for tabling a return.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Are there any Petitions?
Introduction of Bills?
Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Are there any Notices of Motion?
Are there any Statements by Ministers?
Takhini Area Transportation Study
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Moments ago I tabled the Takhini Area Transportation Study. In my joint capacity as Minister of Community and Transportation Services and of Education, I am pleased to comment on the report.
This study was cost shared by the Government of Yukon and the City of Whitehorse at 75 percent and 25 percent respectively, and was conducted under the guidance of a joint steering committee.
The focus of the work was the review of transportation links in this central area of the City of Whitehorse to meet the traffic growth expected as a result of the Yukon College and other developments in the Hamilton Boulevard and the Alaska Highway areas.
The initial work included an analysis of existing traffic conditions in the Takhini area. This was done by way of a program of traffic counts and transit passenger and Yukon College student surveys. The conclusion reached was that, at the present, traffic conditions on most road sections in the study area are adequate.
However, long traffic delays for left turning vehicles at some locations, unstable traffic flows along the Alaska Highway near the top of Two Mile Hill and traffic growth forecasts for both Yukon College and Hamilton Boulevard developments necessitate the establishment of network improvement plans.
Proposed changes include:
1. upgrading of Range Road between the Two Mile Hill and Mountainview Drive,
2. realignment of the upper section of Two Mile Hill to match Hamilton Boulevard,
3. extension of Pine Street in Porter Creek C subdivision to meet Range Road,
4. extension of Prospector Road to serve proposed development opposite Kopper King and the Yukon College site, and
5. installation of traffic signals at various critical locations.
Possible revisions to the operations of Whitehorse Transit are also recommended once the road improvements have been implemented. In the interim, the provision of bus bays or a bus loop at Range Road and Mountainview Drive is suggested.
Raising the speed limit on sections of the Alaska Highway from the current posted 50 kilometres per hour to 60 kilometres per hour can also be considered.
An addendum to this study addresses concerns over the Yukon Alaska Transport Terminal and Kathleen Road accesses in the Crestview area. In the first instance, provision of a left turn storage bay for northbound Yukon Alaska traffic and establishment of an acceleration lane for southbound Yukon Alaska traffic is recommended. No improvements at the Kathleen Road junction were identified as necessary.
The City of Whitehorse and the Yukon government have agreed to a joint implementation committee charged with investigating scheduling and financing options for the upgrading of this necessary transportation infrastructure. I am looking forward to their initial report in June of this year. At that time, this government will consider which recommendations may be implemented.
I will note, however, that I have directed one recommendation of the present study to proceed immediately. In response to concerns of Crestview residents and highway travellers, I have asked my officials to explore funding arrangements and begin preparations for the installation of the required lanes at the Yukon Alaska Transport Staging site on the Alaska Highway at Crestview.
In the fall, I expect to bring forward to this House projects resulting from the advice of the implementation committee and the budgetary priorities of this government.
Mr. Nordling: I am pleased to see that the study has been completed, and even more pleased that there was an addendum to the study which addressed the concern over the Crestview truck terminal. I am looking forward to seeing the report of the Joint Implementation Committee in June, to review the priorities, as many of my constituents in Porter Creek C are interested in plans for the Pine Street extension. I would like to thank the Minister for directing that one of the recommendations proceed immediately, and that is the acceleration lane and left turn lane for the truck terminal. With that being done, my immediate concern is taken care of.
I am looking forward to reading the final report, as my impression at the public meeting was that the consultant really did not look at safety aspects at either Kathleen Road or the Crestview truck terminal, but what was looked at in this whole study was smooth traffic flows and time for waiting. I would like to make the representation to the Minister that his department look at the safety aspects of Kathleen Road and the first entrance to Crestview, at the MacKenzie RV Park, with a view to better lighting to identify the turnoffs. I am under the impression that the lights that were installed at the Crestview truck terminal for safety purposes were also the initiative of the government, and not part of the consultants recommendations, and I thank the Minister for that.
Hon. Mr. McMcLachlan: I am pleased with the announcements made in this afternoons Ministerial Statement. I believe they will go a long way toward improving traffic flows and a number of bottle neck areas in the city, and I am especially pleased with the work that will be undertaken at the Yukon Alaska truck terminal. Coming from my riding, we have had a few messy accidents already with trucks, and I do not believe that anybody else should have to go through those if they are avoidable by reconstruction.
I will be especially interested in the funding mechanisms used to complete this work, since most of the other municipalities are doing a lot of their own traffic flow improvements and changes out of their own block funding. Thank you very much.
Speaker: This then brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: Northwestel sale
Mr. Phelps: I have a number of questions that arise from the press release that was released today regarding the privatization of NorthwesTel. This press release was put forward on behalf of a group of northerners who would like to see a privatized NorthwesTel, controlled and majority-owned by northerners.
Members of the syndicate or consortium who are presently looking at bidding for the assets of NorthwesTel include well-known Yukoners and well-known businessmen from the Northwest Territories. I am wondering whether this government intends to support this group in its bid to purchase NorthwesTel?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: In my capacity as Minister of Economic Development, I have had one meeting with Mr. Hougen and other officials of our government have had meetings with Mr. Hougen with the view to considering how we can work together. Those discussions have not reached a conclusion and I think it would be wise to wait until they have reached a conclusion before making any announcements about those discussions.
Mr. Phelps: On December 16, I asked some questions of the Government Leader regarding the NorthwesTel sale, and indicated that we would be opposed to the government buying the corporation, either itself or through its development corporation. I was told, at that time, that this government was assessing the options. To quote: Our options are grounded in the protection of what we believe to be the public interest, including the maintenance of the head office and the head office jobs here. Our response would also be dictated by a concern that the company fall into hands that may not be northern based or even Canadian based, and that we could lose that head office and those jobs.
Speaker: Order, please. Could the Member please get to the supplementary question?
Mr. Phelps: In view of the fact that the press release meets each and every one of the concerns expressed by the Government Leader when he was answering my question on December 16, will the government not support this northern based group, which intends to maintain the head office here and maintain the jobs here?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Those remain our objectives - the ones just stated by the Opposition Leader. Throughout our assessment of our options on this question, they will remain our objectives. I am not at liberty here today in the House to convey information about the other potential partners - the group just mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition - but I believe if we are to be involved, our interests would be in seeing if possibly a pan-northern group can be put together to take full control of this northern telephone company. To speak to the concerns of the Leader of the Opposition which he indicated before Christmas, I would reiterate that this government has no interest in taking controlling interest in NorthwesTel. But I am not at all prepared to preclude the possibility of the development corporation from being an investor in this venture, because it may be a very sound investment, it may serve the public interest well and may, in fact, be exactly the kind of thing the development corporation is designed to do.
Mr. Phelps: I am very concerned about that statement. We do have a group that is going to be bidding on the assets of Northwestel, which comprise the private sector, people resident in this territory and our neighbour to the east. Could the Government Leader give his undertaking that this government will not, by itself, through the Yukon Development Corporation or in conjunction with any other group, enter a bid in opposition to the bid that is being contemplated by this northern syndicate that made a press release today?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am sure that Mr. Hougen would not want any commercial transactions such as the kind that is contemplated by the Leader of the Official Opposition to be brought to the floor of this House. No. I cannot give any such undertaking, not while discussions are going on with Mr. Hougen. One of the things that we will want to be satisfied about is that control of this corporation comes to the north. We have not had satisfaction on that score. Our efforts will be directed towards achieving the objectives originally identified by the Minister of Community and Transportation Services in this House. If the Yukon Development Corporation can play a useful role in facilitating those arrangement, it will.
Question re: NorthwesTel sale
Mr. Phelps: In the press release issued today, the group said that it feels that its objectives are: Northwestel headquarters should remain in Whitehorse; control of the corporation should rest with northerners; and they have other conditions as well that are completely in line with the areas that the Government Leader expressed concern about in December, 1987.
I am advised that the Government of Yukon has invited officers from the Inuvialuit Development Corporation to Whitehorse to discuss bidding on Northwestel, and that they are here today. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We have had meetings with the Inuvialuit Development Corporation, as has Mr. Hougen, and we have also have meetings with Mr. Hougen, and we will have more. We will have more meetings with the Inuvialuit Development Corporation. It is early yet. It is my hope that we will be able to work with Mr. Hougen to facilitate northern control and northern service by this company. That is what we will be trying to do.
Mr. Phelps: I am advised that the Inuvialuit Development Corporation were surprised that the Hougen group was not aware that they had been invited here today to discuss Northwestel with this government.
Has this government entered into discussions with the Government of the Northwest Territories as well regarding the proposed privatization of Northwestel?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Yes.
Mr. Phelps: Can the government tell us if it intends to move ahead in conjunction with the Government of the Northwest Territories and with the Inuvialuit Development Corporation to prepare a bid for the purchase of Northwestel?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: At this point, our Cabinet has taken no firm position. One concept that we would certainly like to explore and develop is the model that would involve aboriginal groups, employees, government and the private sector. That would be unbeatable combination, and my interest in talking to Mr. Hougen is to see if that kind of consortium is worth pursuing.
Question re: Mortgage assistance
Mr. McLachlan: At the end of November I presented an idea to the Minister of Community and Transportation Services, for consideration of mortgage assistance for private home ownership schemes. In light of the news at the end of December, wherein the Corporation in fact purchased five houses for itself rather than helping anyone else with the model of home ownership, I want to ask the Minister if any more thought or planning has been given to the idea of a mortgage assistance plan for private home ownership in the territory?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I do recall the press release, which was not addressed to me; it was addressed to the press, as it was a press release. It detailed in some measure some thoughts that the Member had with respect to a stand-alone mortgage insurance company crown corporation, parallel to the Yukon Housing Corporation, to handle only mortgage insurance. I think my initial comments stand for themselves with respect to a response to that in the initial stages of an assessment of the proposal.
With respect to home ownership options the government, through the Yukon Housing Corporation, has pursued home ownership options. I would hope that by the spring, through the Operation and Maintenance Budget, our plans will be fully fleshed out and can be made available to the public at that point.
Mr. McLachlan: I think that demonstrates some of the hypocrisy that is involved in the situation. The Minister stated there were 75 on the waiting list and my concerns have to be registered as to what will happen, in the intervening three months of the final budget year, as to how those 75 people would be housed. Does the Corporation have any plans in the next 90 days to do any more home purchases in the City of Whitehorse for social assistance housing?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: There is no hypocrisy here. The Government of Yukon, with the support and the good works of the Yukon Housing Corporation, is attempting to meet the need of low income people - people who cannot afford decent housing. They cannot afford it because they are low income. That is the need that we have addressed as a priority. We have stated so, I do not know how many times in this Legislature, that it is the priority.
The Member for Porter Creek East says it sure is not the working man. There are many low income people who are working people too, and it is no fault of their own that they are in a low income bracket. The government is actively pursuing a very complicated arrangement which involves mortgage insurance and support for home ownership and will come to some conclusions in a hurry. Those conclusions will come to fruition by the spring estimates, when they are presented in this Legislature.
Mr. McLachlan: We went through a similar debate 12 months ago and we have not seen the results yet - except we have promises. I want to ask the Minister if there are any housing lots being held back or being put on hold in the new Granger Subdivision for social housing?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: No.
Question re: Lottery licensing act
Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Minister of Justice: There is an extreme state of controversy developing over the lottery licensing act. In April of 1987, we debated the lottery licensing act in this Legislature and the Minister wanted to know where we stood regarding the fees to be charged and regarding the percentage of revenue as part of the fee for volunteer organizations. We were clearly against that at the time, and we expressed that, and the Minister has now gone ahead and done this, after saying he would not do it. Could he tell us why he has done this?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That is a disgraceful question. There is not an extreme state of concern at all. Indeed, I had a meeting today, just at one oclock, which was a very cordial meeting, about the regulations that were made available here in this House about the fees that are to be charged, and the policy of those fees is that the regulation expense, which is borne by the taxpayer, be borne, in fact, by the lotteries or the raffle or the bingos. I have agreed to review the particular concerns of particular organizations in that respect. There is no extreme state of concern whatsoever.
Mrs. Firth: Well, we will just wait and see.
These are facts. The facts are that this bill was debated in the Legislature, we registered our objections to those regulations, and this Cabinet went ahead and passed an Order-In-Council, on October 2, 1987, which imposed these great hardships upon the volunteers. This Cabinet imposed all the regulations.
I want to know why they went ahead and imposed the hardships when the Minister stood up in this Legislature and said that they would not be doing that.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The preamble and premise to the question is wrong.
Question re: Lottery licensing act
Mrs. Firth: The preamble to the previous question was correct. The Minister in question has stood up in this Legislature and told us that the fees that would be charged would be very minimal. He even intimated that there may not even be an increase in fees.
I would like to give an example of how the fees have increased through the regulations that this Cabinet passed. The curling club, which presently pays $25 for a licence, now has to pay $1,850. The Arctic Winter Games Corporation had paid $25 for a licence. Theirs is going to go up to $1150. They were lucky. They got in at the old fee.
Softball Yukon, which has a draw for a car annually that requires a licence of $25 now has to pay $4,050. The Legion bingos that pay $25 for their licence for a year now have to pay $25 a day.
Those are the facts. Those are the representations that have been brought forward to us as Members of this Legislature. How dare the Minister say that our representations are incorrect. These are a result of the laws that that Cabinet passed October 2, 1987. Why did they go ahead and do that when they stood up in this Legislature and told the public that they would not be doing this to these volunteer organizations?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That speech was a repetition and an enlargement of the previous premise. Her premise is wrong. I give the same answer.
Mrs. Firth: In Hansard on April 1, 1987, we raised our objection to a tax on volunteerism being brought forward, which is what this is. The Minister stood up in this House, and he said ...
Speaker: I would like to remind the Member of the guidelines for oral Question Period of a one sentence preamble allowed in each case of supplementary questions.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister said that it was not their intention to tax the lotteries in any shape or form. Can he come back and tell us why, contrary to that comment, they have taxed the lotteries by imposing a percentage on their revenues?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There is no tax on lotteries. There is a scheme of establishing the fees for lotteries to cover the administration costs in association with those lotteries. There is no tax on lotteries.
Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister tell us what the costs are associated with the administration of lotteries?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: In association with the standard common lotteries, which are numerous in the territory, the costs are very minimal. They involve receiving the application, reviewing it and approving it. In association with the larger lotteries - and the largest one is the Rendezvous lottery - the costs are extremely significant. In the past, the costs have been borne by the general taxpayer, not by the people who are engaging in this lottery. So, the costs are relative to the size of the particular lottery.
Question re: Lottery licensing act
Mrs. Firth: Obviously the Minister does not have a clue what the costs are because, on April 1, 1987, the Minister again gave us the story about the minimal costs, saying that it would be roughly estimated at about $18,000 a year. Twelve to fifteen thousand dollars of that was going to be found within the department for a civil servant, and we were looking at about $4,000 of additional revenue that the Minister said could probably be found within his department - his big $6 million budget of the day.
How can the Minister justify the four examples I just cited, which show extreme revenues going to this government? If it is not a tax, I do not know what it is. It is a tax on volunteers. How does the Minister explain needing that large amount of money that is going to be derived from all of these volunteer organizations being licensed?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The scheme in the regulations, which were tabled with the Bill in this Legislature and commented upon at that time, is that the government does not make any money whatsoever on bingos, lotteries and raffles. However, the general taxpayer should not bear the costs of this form of gambling. The gamblers themselves should bear the legitimate costs, and that is the scheme that is in place now.
Mrs. Firth: We are talking about volunteers and charitable organizations. How shameful for the Minister to stand up and say something like that.
I would like the Minister to bring back for us in this Legislature what it costs for the administrative costs and how much revenue the government has derived so far from these charitable organizations and volunteer groups who have to pay this cumbersome, burdening tax.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I believe that information is published in the Budget.
Question re: Lottery licensing act
Mr. Lang: I want to pursue with the Minister of Justice further the question of the lotteries. The concern from this side is the question of volunteers - the time, the effort they put in - and the consequences of the government becoming more and more involved with these organizations, to the point where nobody is going to volunteer.
In view of the fact that the Minister stated in the House to the Legislature and, more importantly, to the people of the territory on April Fools Day, 1987, that the costs are very similar to the current costs and are probably not looking at any increase of fees of any kind.
Given that the Minister has said that, why did the Minister, in the regulations, bring in this particular section? It can only be called a tax. The section reads as follows. Raffles: The fee for a raffle is c) $50 plus ten percent of the retail value of the prizes, if the revenue might be $10,000 or more.
Could the Minister explain to this House why he assured those volunteer organizations, the Legislature, and the people of the territory that there would not be an increase in fees? Why did he bring this in after it was debated in the House?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The first question was about an allegation that the government is more and more involved in the affairs of the people of the territory. In fact, the government is less and less involved, and this particular legislation was brought in to remove the government and to put the administration of the lotteries in the hands of citizens who have experience in these affairs.
Mr. Lang: The Minister really does question the intelligence of the general public. I really think he had better read Hansard tomorrow and see what he just said.
The Minister has not answered the question, as per usual. Why did he bring into effect, through Cabinet order, this particular section - c) $50 plus ten percent of the retail value of the prizes, if the revenue might be $10,000 or more - if what he said on April Fools Day, 1987, was correct, that we had enough revenues that would be coming in to meet the objectives that he needed? Why did he bring that section in?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The policy, as I have explained it twice before, is that the fee for the very small raffles, bingos and whatever be very small, and it is. The fee for the larger lotteries, which are more sophisticated gambling and the potential for cheating requires regulation, that that fee be commensurate with the expense involved.
Question re: Yukon Housing Corporation
Mr. Lang: I have a new question. Maybe I will try someone else on the front bench and the Minister can read Hansard first thing tomorrow morning and perhaps he will come back to the House and perhaps correct the record in places.
I have a direct question to the Minister of Housing. Yesterday I asked the Minister if he would table the principles and policy guidelines that had been transmitted by his Cabinet to the Yukon Housing Corporation with respect to the direction that this particular Corporation was taking. The Minister committed himself to tabling these principles and policy guidelines and I would ask the Minister if he could table them now?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will table them within 20 minutes. Policy principles.
Mr. Lang: Referring to the Housing Corporation again, the Minister refers to a list of approximately 74 people who have applied for social housing. What I would like to know, so we get a clear policy statement from the Minister: is it the policy of the government to purchase and/or to build 74 homes to provide for the housing needs of these people who have applied for social housing?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It is the policy of the government to address the social housing needs to the fullest extent possible within the budgetary limits that are set by the government and by the Legislature. As it would be in the case of Education, it would be the policy of the government to allow children in the public school system to be as educated as possible and to have as full a learning experience as possible within the budgeted limits. There are budgeted limits and the budget limits that we have set are clearly laid out in the Capital Budget. Those are the natural limits and those have been set.
Mr. Lang: Once all the houses are bought up, the objectives are met. Almost 50 percent of my constituents live in single or double wide mobile homes and are working to pay for those homes. At the same time, they are paying taxes. There has been a concern expressed about the standard, quality and the expense that the government is going through to provide what is known as social housing. In some cases, the social housing is of higher quality than many working people presently can afford.
Could the government table the policy that outlines the standard of housing that it is prepared to provide for social housing?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The policy of the government that the Yukon Housing Corporation has developed in order to meet the needs of social housing clients in the territory is to purchase or construct houses within the financial limits given to it. It is to meet the needs that are modest in nature. There is a recognition in social housing that tenants come and go as they move in and out of the territory, the communities, or as they move in and out of various income brackets.
There is recognition that these modest units must be of a durable quality, so that we are not faced with renovating at a greater cost in the long run when it comes time to take stock of the houses that the Corporation owns to meet identifiable needs.
Question re: Watson Lake social housing
Mr. Phillips: Yesterday the Minister responsible for housing stated that the Yukon Housing Corporation does a housing analysis before it proceeds with construction. To refresh the Ministers memory, I will quote from Hansard, Analyses are done to determine what the impact might be. They are done in every community to determine what the impact would be of construction.
Can the Minister tell this House if the Yukon Housing Corporation did an analysis for Watson Lake that he said they have to do before they made the decision to build seven more social houses there this spring. Can the Minister also table that analysis?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Yukon Housing Corporation and the Whitehorse Housing Authority both did an analysis of the local conditions in Watson Lake. They took stock of the needs in Watson Lake and the requests by the municipal council of Watson Lake for more housing, and they tried to respond to those needs through the proposals to the government for housing.
With respect to the needs analysis in the formal sense, I can provide the information, if the Member wishes, which led to the decision to either build, construct, or work in partnership with the private sector to ensure that there were seven units for people who have low incomes in Watson Lake.
Mr. Phillips: I would love to have that information. We have been asking the Minister for over three weeks now to come to the House with policies and this type of information and he has now just offered to bring it to us. I am pleased he is going to do that.
When the government made the decision to build the seven homes in Watson Lake, did they take into consideration the number of people who wanted to buy or build their own homes? I am talking about the dozen or so working people who are living in hotels or with friends in Watson Lake and cannot get housing simply because there is a shortage of lots and houses.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The issue of the shortage of lots is something I have addressed already in this Legislature at great length. I am surprised the Member made the allegation; he was not listening, obviously. I have been explaining policy in this Legislature in Question Period at some length over the past few weeks. I am perfectly happy to continue explaining the policy and also explaining the actions of the Corporation and the various housing authorities in all the communities, to explain exactly the course of action we have taken.
Mr. Phillips: I think the people of Watson Lake are not very happy about the Ministers idea of addressing the lot situation, when the Housing Corporation ran into Watson Lake and snapped up seven available lots and no one else can buy a lot. What does this government want people to do to get a home? Do they have to be unemployed or on social assistance before this government will do anything about it? Are we trying to build a social state here? Is this that the government is trying to do? When will the government do something as well for the working person, who is out there and has just as much need of a decent home as anyone else?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: We are very supportive of the idea that working people in this territory - who want to own their own home and can afford their own home - should purchase their own home. The moral position the Member just expressed stinks, in my opinion. The people of Watson Lake, as expressed through the municipal council, asked whether or not we, as the government, would want to reactivate the Campbell Subdivision. We had the money in the budget to do so this year, and we were requested not to do that. So, for that reason, we did not proceed with the release of more lots in Watson Lake. We are certainly prepared to do that at a moments notice. But the position of this government is to provide, as much as conceivably possible within the financial limits that we set as a Legislature, adequate and modest housing for people who cannot afford decent housing, for people who live in squalid conditions. And, in so doing, do it in a responsible way with a mind to the long term nature of the territory: the long term economy of the territory and local market conditions of the communities. We have done so in a way that is sensitive to the housing associations needs and expressions, and also to the communities themselves and the market conditions that exist there.
Question re: Yukon Housing Corporation
Mr. McLachlan: I have a question for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services on further problems in the delivery of housing by the Corporation.
Is the Minister aware that a contract was signed between the Yukon Housing Corporation and CMHC, with respect to the Rural and Native Demonstration Program, which made the Housing Corporation fully responsible for any overruns in costs beyond the specified maximum of $693,000? Is the Minister aware of that contractual obligation?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member is referring to the Rural and Native Demonstration Program that was a program operated with primarily CMHC funding not this year, but last year. The Yukon Housing Corporation did the administration. That was the agreement, that the Yukon Housing Corporation that year would do the administration in accordance with the guidelines set out by CMHC. It was a CMHC pilot project. For that reason, as administrators, they took on a measure of responsibility - so it delineates the responsibility between the two corporations - and if there is any liability that is not borne by CMHC, it would be borne by YHC. So YHC would either have to recover the costs from the home builders or recover the costs through reallocation of their own resources and pay for the additional cost overruns themselves.
Mr. McLachlan: That was not my understanding of the contractual obligations. It was signed by a Mr. Gagnon and a Mr. Graham and article 3(e) of the contract that clearly specifies that YHC will fund 100 percent of costs in excess of $693,000. Which was $53,300 by the 13 houses in the program. YHC will fund 100 percent of the following costs in excess of. The Minister has said he would recover it from the home owners. In the light of this information, this contractual obligation, is he prepared to go back and rescind the orders to the Corporation to collect the overruns in the program that he has made the tenants responsible for, when they have clearly indicated that the Housing Corporation is responsible?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am not a lawyer, and I am absolutely confident that the Member is not a lawyer, either. The legal interpretation of the document that the Member has taken to heart is, in my view, inappropriate and wrong. The situation with the clients that he is referring to, primarily in Carmacks, is well known in the Legislature and is the subject of the legislative return. The position I have taken before with respect to the Housing Corporations position with the clients is the position that stands now.
Mr. McLachlan: The legislative return also says that the Minister instructed his officials to advise any person in the program who was unhappy with being asked to repay an overrun, if they would be prepared to re-sell the house to the Corporation.
I want to ask the Minister: is he prepared to table in this Legislature letters of offer to the tenants to purchase the homes back under the program? Will he do that?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: If there is such an animal, I am more than happy to table it.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed. We will now proceed with Orders of the Day. The hon. Government House Leader?
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. Porter: I move that the Speaker now leave the Chair and that the House now resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader that the Speaker now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Motion agreed to
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chairman: Committee of the Whole will now come to order. We will now recess for 15 minutes.
Chairman: The Committee of the Whole will now come to order. We will continue with the First Appropriation Act, 1988-89, Department of Government Services, general debate continued.
First Appropriation Act, 1988-89 - Continued
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I was asked for the square footage that was occupied by the Yukon Housing Corporation now. I said that it was 2,170 square feet. That was the basic lease, and there was an addition on that in 1986 of 665 square feet for a total of 2,835 square feet, which is 263 square metres. They are going from 263 square metres and are now authorized to find space at 408 square metres.
I will anticipate the question why and answer that the breakdown is as follows. There are approximately 18 staff members, which changes from time to time. The space allocated for staff according to the guidelines is 224 square metres. The approval for storage space for files, for reception area and for a board room is 116 square metres. For circulation in the hallways, et cetera, it is 68 square metres. The additions will be that the staff will be substantially less crowded, and there is now no space for a file room, a waiting room or a board room.
Mr. Lang: I feel that the whole thing is out of control. Every time we stand up the government seems to be moving in one direction, then another, like an octopus reaching out constantly and steadily to every facet of our lives. This exemplifies it. I recognize the quandary the Minister is in. He has to provide the floor space through Government Services. Then the government has the hypocrisy to say the government is not growing. That is an outright lie. It is growing; it is growing by leaps and bounds. The Minister came in in December with a list of the various moves that were being made by the government, then not three weeks later brings another list of further additions and moves that have to be made by the government to meet what they believe are the governments needs. Does anybody on that side care about the long term consequences of this growth in government is going to be; what the intrusion is to the Yukon? The reason we live here is because of the independence and spirit of the people of the territory. All we see is government growing, growing and growing. What incentive do we get for a guy who wants to build a house? We passed a motion in this House a year ago and we have not got any action yet. The action we got is that the government is buying new houses.
I think it is an absolute travesty when the government can stand in this House and blatantly mislead the public and say that the government is not growing when today we have the Yukon Housing Corporation doubling from 2800 square feet to over 6000 square feet. Take it in proper perspective. When you get that kind of responsible government, who can call it responsible?
I want to move onto the Yukon Development Corporation that is requiring some 650 square feet. Maybe the Minister could refresh our memory with respect to what it needs. Of course, it will need lots of space.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The figure I gave was 167 square metres and the make up of that is for staff - 91 square metres - the storage files, board room, and conference area - 49 square metres - and for circulation - 27 square metres.
Mr. Lang: What is going to happen with the present space that they were allocating for Economic Development? We were kind of left it in abeyance. Is it going to revert back to the proprietor who owns the building, or are we going to have more people from Economic Development moving in there?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The space will not be vacated. It will be used by the Department of Economic Development. There will be three staff people physically located in the space and those three people are presently on staff, and are physically in a storage room in a meeting room in a library, at the present time.
Mr. Lang: It is amazing. I just do not understand in years past how we ran the government. I just cannot believe that it was run at all.
My question is this: who requested that space? Did the Government Leader, through his office, request that space, or did Government Services come forward and say that the further space was required?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The procedure is that the departments ask the space allocation committee - which is a committee of Management Board, which has been in existence for many years - for the space and the recommendation of that committee goes to Management Board for approval. In this particular case, the Department of Economic Development sponsored the request for the space, went through the space allocation committee and the Management Board, and was approved by the Management Board.
Mr. Lang: Obviously it was approved by Management Board. Well, maybe some things are in this Budget that do not have to be approved the Management Board. I just cannot believe, cannot fathom, how we can justify, as a Legislature, the major moves that the government is making in respect to space. I do not understand how anybody in their right mind can stand up and justify to the general populace that we represent, that we do not even have an economy that is as high as it was in 1979, if you compare the two - and our population was the same, if not higher, and we had much less government.
When I look back - I just have to say this as a Member of the House - that we on this side just cannot fathom this thinking, or lack of thinking, and the lack of forethought on the consequences of what is taking place. Eventually, the federal government is going to say to the people of the territory, You have a responsibility. And this largesse, this transfer of dollars, is going to not totally be halted but I am sure there are going to be restraints put on it at some given time. At that stage in the game, the options are going to be very limited for the government of the day. Penikett and company can be very proud of the fact that they are putting the people of the territory in a position when, down the road - it may not be next year, it may not be two year down the road, but it is going to be within the next five to eight years, I guarantee it - the Legislature is going to have to look at major tax measures to meet some of the obligations this government is taking on at the present time - with no thought and no forethought of what is going on, and not caring. I do not know how many across that floor are going to bus out of the territory when they are finished their term, but there are a lot of us who intend to raise a family here and stay here. I think there is a little responsibility on all sides of the House to start looking at these things from a financial management point of view.
I want to move on to another question - does anyone have any more questions on space, prior to me moving on? Is everybody happy with the space they have? I guess that is the question.
This is very frustrating. It is like beating your head against a wall. You are trying to bring some common sense and logic into the side opposite and he smugly sits there and smiles to himself and smirks in his self-satisfied arrogant manner.
I want to move on to another area and that is the value added concept. Has the policy for the value added concept been agreed to by Cabinet?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes, I will table that policy. It is policy number 3-20.
Mr. Lang: When was it approved by Cabinet?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I forget specifically. Its effective date is January 1, 1988. I will provide the date later.
Mr. Lang: It is important to me and I would like to know. Maybe his assistant there can tell us? When did Cabinet make the final decision with respect to this particular policy?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I will provide that date - specifically, I forget it.
Mr. Lang: Was it the month of November when this decision was made?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I will provide the specific date when I have it.
Mr. Lang: I am a little bit of a loss to carry on my discussion with the Member until I know what date the Cabinet approved the policy, and I would like to know. I have a right to know. If the Minister when the hell they approved the policy, I would like to know who is going to be able to tell us.
I see he is going through his books, so perhaps we could wait for a minute.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The decision to proceed to develop the policy and put the policy into place was made on May 26. I do not know the particular date of the specific policy procedure. I will provide that.
Mr. Lang: Was it this fall?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I believe it was this winter.
Mr. Lang: I find myself at a disadvantage. I would like to leave this particular topic and, when the Minister gets the answer, he can bring back the date and we can proceed from there. Is it agreed that we set that aside?
I would like to follow up on the question of the requirements of the government in their tenders. I am told by many contractors that the requirements that the government is asking for are becoming so onerous and costly to ensure that they can provide the service, and that that is one of the reasons that a lot of the tenders are coming in as high as they are.
Has anything been put into place, or any direction been given to the Department of Government Services, to ensure that these tender documents are reviewed with the idea that, perhaps, the quality of the rug does not have to be as high as is being requested? For example, maybe the question of what kind of finishing material is going to be used may not have to be top line quality but perhaps mid-line quality, in order to keep some relationship to the cost of the material. Has there been anything put into place with respect to looking at that aspect of the tenders being drawn up? If so, what results have we got? Obviously, we have not gotten any to date.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I believe that has been of concern to Ministers of Public Works, especially, for a long time. I share that same concern. I, myself, believe that we are occasionally over building, or specifying a quality that is a more expensive quality than is necessary. However, it is true that, for public buildings that are designed for public use and which, by and large, are designed for long term use - in excess of 30, 40 and 50 years - that it is cost effective to buy good quality goods. That may not be the case for apartment buildings and for private residences. However, it is certainly the case for public buildings. It is the case on energy matters and on wear. The Member mentioned carpets. Carpets in a public use area should be a good, durable quality carpet, as an example. It is cost effective to put good carpets in initially.
Those general concerns are very difficult to monitor in their specific. I have had conversations with the new Deputy Minister, Mr. Fingland, about those issues. We have considered, in the Public Works area especially, what cost effective savings can occur. In that sense, the Members comments are well placed, and I share them. I have nothing specific to report. Perhaps it is a good idea to look at one or two projects in their specific and administratively with political supervision pick out what may be called over building.
Mr. Lang: The Minister still has not answered my question. I talk here a lot, but I do not seem to get much done. I asked if anything was being done, and obviously there is not. Can I have the commitment from the Minister that he have some of these tenders reviewed by an internal body within the Department of Government Services to look at quality to see if we can curb spiralling costs?
I did not ask the Minister to spend his days going through this because he would not know a good carpet from a bad carpet. I know he knows everything else, but I suggest that he would have problems making that decision. If there was something worked out within the department to see if we can curb some of the building costs, it would be in everybodys best interest.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes.
Mr. Lang: Does the Yukon Housing Corporation come under the contract regulations?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No.
Mr. Lang: What contract directives do they follow?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: They do not follow the contract regulations and directives of the government as a whole. The Minister responsible can answer the questions about their specific policies. It is not in this Budget before us.
Mr. Lang: He is responsible for the contract regulations under which a lot of these projects will be coming under. Is the government looking at the prospect of putting the Yukon Housing Corporation under the direction of the Yukon contract regulations?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: At the present time, no.
Mr. McLachlan: Presumably, there will be some new vehicles purchased in this Capital Budget. Are these vehicles being purchased simply as replacements of existing stock, or are there new vehicles for new employees?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The money in this budget is under a specific line and it is for replacement of existing ones.
Mr. McLachlan: We spent some time two Capital Budgets ago, I believe, talking about painting some of the vehicles a light blue because of a request from Probation and Social Services about being inconspicuous when visiting clients. I notice recently a number of vehicles simply being marked with a serial number and no more of the orange, black nor the blue. Have we as a policy adopted changing no more to light blue? Is that policy off the books now?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes. The light blue was never a policy. It was an accident because somebody had a lot of light blue paint, I would imagine. The policy now is that you will still see the black and orange vehicles. There are some vehicles that are allocated to the Sheriffs office, to the Court, to Juvenile Probation, Adult Probation and the Social Workers in the rural communities that will not be black and orange. The policy is that we will simply take the cars in whatever colour they are so there will be a mix up of colours and they will be identified only by the serial number, that is by the license plate I believe, or on the back of the trunk somewhere.
Mr. McLachlan: I take exception to the answer that it was not positive they were blue. They were not purchased blue, they were painted blue at some cost. I want to clarify that with the Minister, they were not purchased blue they were painted blue at some $495 apiece.
I want to ask a further question that has to do with a number of the problems we have heard recently about problems with building around the territory: swimming pools that drain backwards, a highway maintenance camp that got half built and then got stopped, an arena in Ross River that is still the subject of a great deal of controversy and probably a great deal of money yet. Is it a policy of Government Services to, wherever possible, have on site an engineering control supervisor who is responsible for adherence to the building plans and the design concept as done by the engineers and or architects, and whose responsibility it is to see that the contractor builder adheres to those designs conditions?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There certainly are inspectors of various kinds, at various stages in the particular contracts. They do not generally reside at the site of the construction, unless it is Whitehorse, but they travel to the construction sites at particular stages in the construction. The specific answer is yes, it is their responsibility to see that the work that is done is as per the specifications.
Mr. McLachlan: The Member for Riverdale North enumerated one such problem where part of a crew was working in one measurement system, and part in another. The exact logistics of how that happened, or how it was allowed to continue, still remain a mystery but, in fact, if it is policy to have this type of on-site controlled supervision, some of the problems that we have seen enumerated and seen happen should be caught much sooner than they are and if they are, they cannot proceed onwards to some of the problems that we have seen enumerated.
I want to ask the Minister what his thoughts are, or why he feels that a better degree of control cannot be put on the projects and - that may require a visit every ten days, I do not know - why we get these kinds of problems if it is a policy of the department to have that type of on-site control. It obviously is not working.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is not accurate to say that it is obviously not working. The problem that contractors express is that they are inspected too much and what happens is that these problems, or deficiencies, are, in fact, found by the inspectors, and that is exactly the case in the Swift River residence. The contractors do not tell us; we go and inspect and we find the problem and tell the contractor that there is a problem, that this is not right. That is exactly what happens. The alternative is to have a person standing over the site all the time, just watching the site, and that would add yet more costs. The inspection costs are already significant on government construction. We inspect at particular stages in construction. For example, we will get the word as to when the project is ready for inspection from the contractor. The plan will obviously be to inspect at certain stages, as an example, when the footings are poured, or when the foundation is poured, and those inspections occur at regular, identifiable stages of construction.
Mr. McLachlan: There is the degree of the problem, right there, as the Minister has suggested. We come to inspect the project at certain periods in its development. One is when the footings are poured. But if the control is not done in such a way - and the Member for Porter Creek East knew of one situation where gravel was dumped and spread - that is not a proper foundation preparation. Why is the control not done before the concrete is poured, when we can discover we have a problem then? I realize there must be some degree of credibility on the part of the contractor. After all, these are grown people who have been in the business for some years and are able to carry the project through. They would not have got that far if they were not. Yet, at the same time, I rest my case by saying that obviously we have problems because the control is not good enough to prevent some of these things that we have heard in the past six weeks from happening. There must be some other solution; there must be some other alternative. It is costing everybody money, on both sides, and I say it is not working.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I will take the Members comments under advisement and discuss them with the Department of Public Works. However, let me simply say that, no matter what system we develop, there will be some problems in some construction sites. Otherwise, there would be no need for inspections.
Mr. Lang: I do not understand this. Was there not a full time inspector down at the Swift River site? An individual assigned to that project?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There was an inspector assigned to that project, but the inspector, as I am informed, did not live at the site and took it as a single persons job to simply watch the construction. That would not be a full time job.
Mr. Lang: Maybe things have changed but I have been on jobs where we have had people there full time. I work on construction. We have had people there who have gone and made sure that the owner is adequately protected, to ensure that, in this particular case, the government gets what they are paying for. I do not understand. You assigned an inspector to the Swift River camp job - are you telling this House that he did not stay down there?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes. It depends on the size of the job. As an example, at Yukon College there is probably more than one inspector. I do not know precisely, but certainly they are more than full time, I expect. I am informed, on this particular job, it is not cost effective to have an inspector sit there and watch the work.
Mr. Lang: The Minister said he was assigned to that. Was that his job? Why did he not live down there? If he was supposed to be inspecting the job, what was he doing inspecting it from Whitehorse? We were paying him to oversee the job. What was he doing living in Whitehorse?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That particular inspector had many jobs to oversee at the same time. We have four inspectors in the Department to oversee all the construction in the territory.
Mr. Phillips: Could the Minister provide for the House the number of times that job was inspected? We are not talking about a job that had one thing go wrong with it. We are talking about a job that had three or four things go wrong with it. When the government discovered there were some severe difficulties with this job, why did they not make the decision to have someone monitor it a little more closely?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That is exactly what we did at the initial stages. We started to watch it much more closely after we saw the initial problems. I will provide the dates of the particular inspections on the Swift River housing project.
Mr. Brewster: Was there an inspector in Beaver Creek when they surveyed and dropped down two feet too low in their swimming pool?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That particular problem was a design problem, initially. I am informed it is now corrected, at the expense of the engineer who performed the initial design.
Mr. Brewster: The Minister did not answer my question at all. I asked if there was an inspector there when the swimming pool was put down two feet too low.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The job was certainly inspected, and I will provide the dates of inspection.
Mr. Lang: What is the policy of the government? When is an inspector on the job? When is a job big enough for an inspector to be there?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: All jobs are inspected. It is a matter of dividing up the work among the people available to do it. There is no policy that any job of a particular size or of a particular financial amount must have a resident inspector or not. The different jobs are different. Highways inspections are different from swimming pool inspections, which are different from school construction inspections. The work is divided up as it occurs.
Mr. Lang: Is the policy going to continue in the way it has in the past and we are just going to divide it up, cross our fingers and hope everything goes well.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I have undertaken to look into the comments made by the Member for Faro and I will review exactly the situation.
Mr. Brewster: I would like to make a suggestion on this. Maybe that is one reason why the Americans insisted on looking after the Shakwak project and we got such a good road out of it. They had a set of inspectors standing there all the time. However that is not what I want to get into.
Possibly it would be better to hire one or two more inspectors and not be footing the bill for all these things that the taxpayers are going to pay for. You keep saying that the companies are going to pay for it. If a company pays for it he will get you on the next one. I worked on jobs where they made mistakes and the inspectors came along and said they made a mistake so we will give them the next contract, so they add on 20 percent to get it. Come on, these people are not dumb, they are taking the government. You should be hiring more inspectors to see that these things are done properly in the first place.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That is an interesting representation from a Tory Member that we should increase the size of the government. I will consider that.
Mr. Brewster: I know the Minister always likes to turn things around, he thinks things are funny, he is squandering the taxpayers money all over the place, I will make another suggestion - clean out a lot of your office staff and get some people out in the streets and villages and do the work and do not cost the taxpayers all this money.
Mr. McLachlan: With regard to the size of the project and having a resident inspector, I have seen some of the highway projects - in particular a $2 or $2.2 million road realignment in Faro in 1986 - and the engineers stayed there except for Sundays. The result was fairly good. It may be a different policy with the Department of Highways and their engineering control, they may have more people to go around. I have to question it. It may be that the job of one inspector may be looking after Destruction Bay, Burwash and Beaver Creek together. I realize that it is costly to have one there but we do seem to have enough projects recently to employ one person moving a few miles up and down the highway. He may have to be at each location once or twice each day. I do not see anything wrong with having one person in the proximity of all these projects on a fairly regular basis. He can come back to Whitehorse on Saturday or Sunday and when the construction is finished. Highways uses it and it works. Why does Government Services not have a better handle?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That is basically what happens. In the construction season the inspectors are habitually out all week. However, I will consider the points made and review them soon.
Mr. Phillips: I have to apologize to the Members of the House. I would like to go back to the government building shuffle that we talked about last night and a few weeks ago. I do have some notes here, because the shuffle was quite extensive. I would like to go through the shuffle and see if the Minister agrees that I have it down right. This is pertaining to the space shuffle of the various departments that are moving from area to area.
Last evening in Committee of the Whole we debated the Department of Government Services. While listening to the responsible Minister I thought that I was listening to a rerun of the classic skit by Abbot and Costello: Whos On First? After hearing the Ministers dissertation about government moves in the 1987-88 fiscal year and the moves for 1988-89, I went home somewhat confused about just what places in Whitehorse the Yukon government calls home.
I was not only confused as to where the various government departments were located, but also shocked at the 12,181 metres of space rented by the Yukon government as of December 1, 1987. This figure reflects a tremendous growth in this government.
I am confused about where the various departments in the government are now located, and I am sure that the members of the public as well as the Ministers are confused as well. For the record, if the Minister of Government Services will bear with me, I would like to reiterate the past and future moves to see if I have it right. The Minister may keep score if he so chooses.
Firstly, the Community and Transportation Services, Municipal Services Branch moved in May, 1987 from the Lynn Building to the new space in the Whitehorse Performance Centre. Secondly, the Highways Engineering Branch of Community and Transportation Services moved into the spaced vacated by the Municipal Engineering Branch. Thirdly, the bulk of the Department of Community and Transportation Services, including the department staff currently in the Mainsteele Mall and the Lynn Building, will all be moving this summer to the old college building. Fourthly, the Department of Renewable Resources will be moving out of the Keith Plumbing and Heating building this summer and moving to the Yukon College building as well.
Fifthly, the Department of Government Services, Maintenance Branch was relocated in April and May, 1987 to a new leased space in the M&R Building from Building 215. Sixthly, the Department of Economic Development has moved from the Main Administration Building and the Tutshi Building to the Shoppers Plaza in 1987. Seventhly, the Executive Council and the Department of Government Services Computing Services moved in May, 1987 to the space vacated in the Main Administration Building that was previously occupied by the Department of Economic Development.
Eighthly, the Juvenile Justice Branch of the Department of Health and Human Resources was shuffled in June, 1987 to existing leased space in the Tutshi Building that was vacated by the Department of Economic Development. Ninthly, the Department of Health and Human Resources will be moving out somewhere to let the Department of Education take over its space in the Administration Building. Tenthly, the Yukon Housing Corporation will also be leasing space somwhere to provide for its expansion.
How am I doing? How is the poor unsuspecting public supposed to find out where all of the departments are? Car 54, Where Are You? How about the poor helpless officials who are trying to find their office or place of work? There is little wonder that there is a lot of traffic congestion during the rush hours. It is all the bureaucrats trying to figure out where they are supposed to be at work. This can only be called the great government shuffle of 1987-88. Could the Minister confirm that all of these moves that I just iterated to him have happened or are going to happen this year?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The moves are substantially correct; the timing of the moving into the old Yukon College was not accurate. The renovations there will begin as soon as it is vacated and the vacation of the old Yukon College will be during the summer of 1988. The reconstruction or the renovation of the old Yukon College will likely take six or eight months.
Mr. Lang: I wonder if the Minister could table the total amount of the costs of all these moves. I asked for it yesterday, and the Minister said he would give me the information of what the total costs are to the taxpayers for the 1988 shuffle.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The answer is yes.
Mr. Lang: When can we expect them?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I have previously tabled the cost of many, and of the ones that I have not tabled, I would expect that this week; they are working on it. I will make the commitment of within two weeks from now.
Mr. McLachlan: I wonder if the Minister can advise if the move from the Lynn Building will coincide with the expiration of the lease, or must we renegotiate beyond that in order to provide some coverage there?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The lease terminates in July, 1988 in the Lynn Building and that will coincide. It may involve a month to month tenancy, but we have the planned the leases in order that we are not renting vacant space.
Chairman: Any further general debate on Government Services? If not, we will move on to the first branch, Property Management and Administration, $150,000.
On Property Management
Mr. Lang: I do not have my breakdown; maybe the Minister has his.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: This is a figure that is budgeted year after year, and it is for miscellaneous and minor projects. It was deemed appropriate to budget this in the nature of a revolving fund in excess of ten years ago, or so. The best way to explain it is to explain the use of the money last year, because it is impossible to predict precisely the expenditures for the next year, but last year, we in fact spent more than this.
The expenditures under this line were the renovations to the Burns Road building for Renewable Resources for $57,000. I have previously given most of this information in the Supps. The renovations in the M&R Building for Public Works, $50,000; Touche Ross studies of various kinds, $31,000; renovations to 205 Rogers Street, $20,000; improvements in the Tutshi Building, $18,000; the installation of vertical blinds at the Shoppers Plaza and at Burns Road, $16,000; renovations at the Whitehorse Performance Centre, for Community and Transportation Services, $8,000.
All that adds up to $200,000.
Mr. Lang: With respect to the Touche Ross Report, you said various studies. Have all the studies that have been done been tabled?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: They are not working on any now. I will check and see if all have been tabled. I believe so but, if not, I will table them.
Mr. Lang: I am going back in history, but my memory tells me it cost us $60,000 to do the Space Allocation Study. That was one study by itself. That was approximately eight months to a year ago, and that money was already voted. We are now talking another $30,000. What were those studies for?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There was an update. One was tabled, and it was another large volume that was tabled in the last sitting. I will check and see and, if it was not tabled, I will table it.
Mr. Lang: Is the Yukon Housing Corporation moving out of the Tutshi Building now? Is that correct? Is it correct that we just spent $18,000 renovating the Tutshi Building?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That is for Health and Human Resources, who are staying there.
Mr. Lang: I just wanted to get verification here because, with the shuffle coming up in 1988, we would like to keep track of it. Are we moving out of the Whitehorse Performance Centre?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes, eventually. The various branches of Community and Transportation Services are all going to the old Yukon College.
Mr. Lang: We just spent $200,000 of taxpayers money. When we move out of some of these buildings, what happens to those assets? Do we just leave them?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: On some of them we take them with us, but this is most often the direction of partitions and phone lines and the cost associated with the moves. There is a recovery but it is very much lower than the original amount.
Mr. Lang: I have a question that has to do with the Yukon College that the Minister keeps referring to. We discussed it back in the Supplementaries, where it was going to cost $2 million, and in the space of about 18 hours it went to $5 million for renovations. I would like to ask if the Minister had further discussions with the department and does it look like it is going to cost $13 million?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I have no further information. We will be asking for the money for that renovation when we know the precise costs.
Mr. Lang: I was under the understanding an engineering study had already been done. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There is a study under way of the precise costs. There was one study done to the tune of about $26,000, I believe, which determined the $13 million cost. We are continuing to both plan the space and cost the projected renovations. Those figures are not known yet.
Mr. Lang: When are those figures going to be known?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I will find a date. I would speculate that it will certainly by the spring - I would hope that it would be known a month or two, but I am not precisely sure. I will find out a projected date.
Mr. Lang: Who is doing the work?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is being done in house.
Mrs. Firth: I want to follow up and get this in chronological order. There has been a study done that revealed that it would cost $13 million to renovate the old College to house the departments that the Minister has mentioned previously. What the Minister is telling us now is that the department is disregarding that study and they are doing it in house now, to see what it is going to cost. I do not know if they are going to tender it or what they are going to do. Can the Minister tell us why there is no line item in the Government Services Capital Budget for it? Surely they must be expecting that there is going to be some renovating costs in the millions of dollars. And there is no multi-year projection or anything. It has been left out of the budget.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There were essentially three questions. Firstly, the original study was not done with the Department of Community and Transportation Services and Renewable Resources in mind. In fact, it was done with Government Services in mind, and was rejected. Much of that information is useful, no matter which department goes in. The line where money can be found here is in Pre-Engineering, and the reason why there are no multi-year costs or a projection is because we are not asking for the money for that project in this budget. The costing is not complete yet.
Mrs. Firth: If the Department is supposed to move there in June, where does the Minister expect he is going to get the money to do the renovations, if they are not asking for it in this budget?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I explained. The old Yukon College is going to move out in June, or perhaps even July - but we hope June - and the renovations will start after they move out. The new departments will certainly not be moving in in June. I would expect that the earliest it is a year from now and will probably be later than that.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister still needs the money to do the renovations if he wants to start them before the next Capital Budget, and there is nothing in this Budget for it. Pre-Engineering of Capital Projects does not satisfy it. According to the Financial Administration Act, the Minister should have a line saying, Old Yukon College Renovations, $1.00". Why is there no identification that they are doing that and are going to require some money? The Minister knows full well it is going to cost some millions of dollars.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There will be a line. It could easily be and will probably be in a Capital Supplementary in the spring, but we are not asking for the money now because we do not know how much.
Mrs. Firth: That is not the point. The government puts lots of things in that they do not know how much. We just went through a whole bunch of them with Education - a whole group of projects that they guessed at how much, but they did not know how much. According to the Financial Administration Act, the government cannot just have Pre-Engineering of Capital Projects and sort of slip that into whatever project he wants to. There has to be some identification of the projects they are going to work on. The Department knew full well there was going to be work done before March of 1989 - before this Capital Budget expires or is completed - and that it was going to be millions of dollars. We know that; we are not going to get away with less than millions of dollars, and therefore it should be included in this Budget. To just say we are going to come forward with a Supplementary Estimate some time in the future, when we know now that we are going to need it, is irresponsible. It should be in here now.
Chairman: Anything further on this item?
Mrs. Firth: I want to raise this as a concern, because I want it on the record. In the debate yesterday, we found out from the Minister of Education that it was physically impossible to spend the huge amount of money that was addressed in this Budget, so they were cut down to what they thought was physically possible - although they felt they might spend a whole $5 million within this budgetary year.
Now, we are finding out that there is going to be a $1 million expenditure within this department. It is not identified in this Budget. Then, we have the Government Leader standing up and saying our Capital Budgets are going down, that this one is so many percentage less than the last one, and we are gradually going to diminish the amount of the Budgets.
We find it less than forthcoming when it starts to be revealed that there are going to be Supplementary Estimates for millions of dollars for new projects that are not even identified in this present Budget. To compound it, we all know full well that it is going to have to come forward, and the department knows it is going to have to come forward.
I just want to register that this side of the House objects to that kind of budgetary management. I do not think it is right. I think it is less than forthcoming with the public. If the media or the public were to pick up this document and look at it - although the government maintains they have so much information in it - how would they know that? They would not. It is hardly fitting to say that this government is open and honest and forthcoming in the information it is presenting. It is not.
Property Management in the amount of $150,000 agreed to
On Systems and Computing Services
Chairman: General debate?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The money can be divided into three broad categories: systems development initiatives, which is budgeted this year at $1,898,000; computer work stations at $500,000; and central computing facilities at $700,000.
The largest amount and the discretion is generally in the systems development initiatives. The Systems Priorities Committee will recommend to Management Board various projects. At the present time, there are approximately 50 proposals. We will choose between five and seven of the 50 proposals.
In past years, it is interesting that the Systems Priorities Committee had money for all the proposals. That is turning around, and many of the proposals will need to wait for future years.
I can go through the proposals, but there are two pages of them. I will table them.
Mr. Lang: What is the long term multi-year cost of the systems development? Does he have any projected figures from the department?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I cannot give a number of years. I would expect that this kind of expenditure will continue indefinitely. We are not going to see an end. As data processing becomes more complex it will probably increase over the years.
Mr. Lang: I do not understand the subjective in this particular area, the systems and computer services, local purchase of components and supplies from established dealers who service the local market. What is the purpose of that objective? My understanding of this department is that it is strictly technical and data collection. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: We purchase equipment and we purchase services primarily locally. This is primarily in the systems and development area.
Mr. Lang: The other objective I would like further elaboration on is to respond to deregulation in the telephone industry. What exactly are we talking about here?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The deregulation that occurred a couple of years ago enabled us to buy our own equipment whereas previously we could not. We are the biggest purchaser of telephone services from NorthwesTel, and we rent phones. It is probably cost effective to purchase our own equipment for many of our services - probably certainly our internal services. We are looking at the way other governments are purchasing their telephone equipment that was previously rented and we may very well go in that direction. However, it is presently at the study stage.
Mr. Lang: Who is studying it?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is all done in house within the Department of Government Services.
Mr. Lang: I have to raise a concern. It seems to me with that rationale, the government should purchase a hotel because of the number of rooms it has to rent; that would probably be more cost effective. I want to register a concern that if you have an organization such as Northwestel that is providing a service, as long as it is at a reasonable cost, we have to be very careful about pulling the rug out from under them and getting, effectively or at least indirectly, into business ourselves. A good portion of their business would be taken away from them under the pretext of cost effectiveness. I would ask for a commitment from the Minister that that report be tabled in this House in the spring session so it can be reviewed by Members of the House, if the direction of the government is to get into the telephone business.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There is no report to table. I will look at what is in a sensible form to table and table what is appropriate. We are presently looking at this situation. It is the same situation as purchasing or leasing cars, or purchasing or leasing Xerox or photocopying equipment: it is that same principle. There are many factors to take into account in arriving at decisions, and one of them, surely, must be cost effectiveness.
Mr. McLachlan: I wanted to ask the Minister if he has anything further to add, or can he advise us how far away the establishment of remote computer terminals for the reception and the dispatch of information are at the five territorial agents in Watson Lake, Haines Junction, Dawson City, Faro, and Mayo, that we discussed as a motion in this Legislature at one point?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is underway now for specifically for driver records and Health and Human Resources. The Department of Justice has two: one in Dawson and one in Watson Lake. This is an exciting and an expanding area and the work is ongoing at the present time.
Chairman: Any further general debate?
On Systems Development
Systems Development in the amount of $1,898,000 agreed to
On Computer Workstation
Computer Workstation in the amount of $500,000 agreed to
On Central Facility
Central Facility in the amount of $700,000 agreed to
Total in the amount of $3,098,000 agreed to
Chairman: Supply and Services, general debate?
Mr. Lang: I just want to put on the record here that there are some concerns being put forward by more and more people in business who have been providing services one way or another for the government and in some cases acting as an agent with respect to goods being stored here and inventory, or being ordered if an order is required. I am just wondering what the policy of the government is in this respect, because I notice that the government is now going to provide for warehousing and regulate bulk buying for items used by many government departments.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There is no change in the policies from previous years. I do not understand, specifically, the question, perhaps, but in all of these areas, there is no proposed change in policy.
Mr. McLachlan: My question relates to lineups for work to be done by the Queens Printer. Will the new equipment replacement be designed to be faster so that the material may reach the MLAs or the public faster? Is the department considering putting an afternoon shift on? What exactly is the intent of the first line item?
On Queens Printer Equipment Replacement
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I understand the concern. The Queens Printer is printing many more copies than it did previously. The two items here are for the replacement of the print room collator camera, which is a replacement item, and it will not affect any delays except that it will break down less often. There are also two photocopying machines for the Administration Building. We are planning on going to a quick print centre in this building that will be more cost effective for photocopying and for MLAs needs. If they use it, they will have to go through the Members Services Board, but it should be faster.
Mr. McLachlan: We used to ask this question about cases before the court. If one takes something into the Queens Printer, is it not a fact of life that it is sometimes three weeks before they can turn out a product? Has that delay been shortened?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The delay has lengthened in the last year or two. It is different for different kinds of documents. The documents are priorized. Delays are substantially lengthened for the documents at the low end of the priority list. I do not know the exact time, but it is an excellent question and I will find out.
Mr. McLachlan: What is the policy when the Queens Printer cannot do it and it goes to an outside outfit? Who makes that decision and what is it based on?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Some things do go outside that the Queens Printer could do. We try to not compete with the private sector printing companies. That decision is made by the Queens Printer except for a couple of items, particularly in the Department of Tourism, which are made by that department.
Queens Printer Equipment Replacement in the amount of $189,000 agreed to
On Office Furniture
Mr. Lang: How many desks is this? It should be five, should it not?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No, $168,000 should be for new furniture, and $156,000 for replacement furniture and the new technology has requirements for computer desks and facsimile machines and filing cabinets which are appropriate to the new technology, which is budgeted at $276,000. As to the number of desks projected, I will supply that; I do not know precisely.
Mr. Lang: So, as we plan for the space shuffle of 1988, did you say a hundred and some odd thousand dollars that are there for new desks, not necessarily replacements? Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes, it is $168,000.
Mr. Lang: This is for new positions coming into the government, who will require these kind of services like new desks and new chairs and things like that?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Not necessarily, but a portion of that would be for new positions, yes.
Office Furniture in the amount of $600,000 agreed to
On Pooled Vehicles
Mr. McLachlan: How many does this buy?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Twenty vehicles: cars or small trucks.
Pooled Vehicles in the amount of $300,000 agreed to
Supply Services in the amount of $1,089,000 agreed to
On Public Works
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I will be quite brief. The various lines are similar to previous years and perhaps if there are no general questions I will give an allocation as much as is possible under the four lines here.
Chairman: Any further general debate?
Mrs. Firth: The Minister has already told us that the renovations of the old Yukon College will come under Pre-Engineering for Capital Projects. What other projects has he got in mind to come under this all-inclusive line item in his Budget?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It would be any and all of the projects that are identified in the five year plan. The reason for this line is to avoid very speculative numbers at the beginning stages of a project so that, when we budget for a particular project, we can know the projected costs with some degree of certainty. This involves staff salaries for the project managers and architectural engineering services for almost all the client departments Capital projects at the very early stages.
Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell us if the department has any other projects in mind? We are aware of the old College renovations. Is there anything else within the department they are aware of and that they might be planning on building this year but have not put in here?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No.
On Pre-Engineering Capital Projects
Pre-Engineering Capital Projects in the amount of $250,000 agreed to
On Capital Maintenance Public Buildings
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: This year, the projected projects are computer cable and systems upgrading to the main frame computer for $100,000; sprinkler system upgrading, as a consequence of a fire inspector reports, $200,000; elevator upgrading, $50,000; handicap access, which is a continuing program to improve the access to public buildings, $200,000; reflooring of the various schools, reroofing of schools, school sound system upgrading, $100,000; lighting upgrading in various public buildings, $95,000; fire alarm system certification, $50,000; and various miscellaneous projects of smaller amounts.
Mr. Lang: Sprinkler systems for $200,000. Which building is he referring to?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Various buildings, primarily in Whitehorse. I can supply a breakdown of the buildings identified.
Mr. Lang: Does the Minister not have it with him?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No.
Mr. Lang: Why not? It is $200,000. Do one of these facilities happen to be the Ross River Arena?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No, it is not.
Mr. Lang: When can we get a breakdown of the various projects where this money is going to go? Does the staff have that?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: This week.
Mr. Lang: It seems to me that everything is programmed for Friday because there is some thought that we may get out by Friday. Then there is no reason to answer to the general public for another three or four months. We can all take another break and do another space shuffle. I would ask that the Minister provide that information to me at the same time he provides the information on the value added concept. It is worthwhile debating.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I will provide it as soon as I can. The difficulty is that it is not known with precision. This line is similar to the minor maintenance line and the money might be shifted around during the year, as has occurred from time immemorial in the Yukon. The sprinkler systems have required maintenance. This is capital maintenance. Historically, at about $200,000 a year. As to which specific sprinkler systems will be maintained or upgraded, I will supply what is available. This is not for new sprinklers; this is simply for the maintenance of existing sprinkler systems.
Mr. Lang: I accept that part of the argument. It is not for new sprinklers, and the implication that it is for new sprinklers is what I took from what the Minister said to us.
What are we re-roofing for $100,000? I believe the Minister referred to the re-roofing of a school in that list that he gave out.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Whitehorse Elementary. There is also the re-roofing of the executive wing of this building.
Chairman: Is there anything further on Capital Maintenance?
Capital Maintenance Public Buildings in the amount of $1,800,000 agreed to
On Energy Conservation
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Again, I will give the list of our expected work: the grader station at Drury Creek, McDonald Lodge, various schools around the territory, the grader station at Haines Junction, to replace the oil burners with more efficient oil burners in various locations around the territory. We are going to be investigating the feasibility of wind power at Destruction Bay, which looks very promising. We are going to be investigating a micro hydropower generation for Klondike Camp and we are negotiating, in fact, for the supply of micro hydroelectricity at the Fraser Camp, and various energy research studies on particular buildings. This is an ongoing program and in the long term it is cost effective.
Mr. Lang: Just to put it on the record, so that we do not try to re-invent the wheel, but my understanding is that Yukon Electrical did a study on the prospects of using wind as a source of power in the Burwash/Destruction Bay area, and I do not know if the Minister is aware of it, but it is something that I think they should have a look at before they go out and spend $20,000 on consultants to rewrite the same book.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I was not aware, and I thank the Member for that information.
Mr. Lang: I do not understand why we would have a project like that mind, when we know about the Yukon Electrical project. Did not the department even contact Yukon Electrical to ask if this was a viable project, or is it just a case where we are going to go in and take over the generation there and then tell Yukon Electrical that we do not need them anymore up there?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I do not specifically know if the civil servants were aware of the Yukon Electricals study or not. Perhaps the Member for Kluane knows something about it. In any event, now that we do know, we would certainly not duplicate the study if that information is available to us at all. It looks like a sensible thing to study and, looking at the previous studies, if any, is obviously a first step. We will be looking also at micro hydro, as I mentioned, at Fraser Camp and Klonkike Camp.
Mr. Brewster: Government people went through the study when we were in government. The wind generator was not feasible, and that is hard to believe considering some of the winds that there are there. Apparently, there has to be a constant wind, and although we get wind up to 60 miles per hour, it is not constant.
They also went beyond that when the federal government was throwing money around to cut down on our electricity consumption. Yukon Electrical had a turbine ready to put in on the Duke River, but environmentalists killed it and would not allow it to be put in. It would have solved the problem with a very small dam to go across the canyon right at the road. This was all stopped.
Mr. Phelps: We see all of these pilot projects going on in the Yukon for micro hydro sites. One fairly expensive study has apparently been funded in Carcross. What kind of consultation is there with the company that has the franchise to distribute power in a situation like that?
The money for Carcross came from the Department of Economic Development. There was approximately $100,000 spent on a study to determine if the creek can generate electricity. Then there is a huge fight because the person who received the money to study it, in this case the band, wants to produce electricity. However, there has never been any kind of understanding with the Yukon Electrical Company about whether or not they would be willing to purchase it, whether or not there was any need, or whether or not it was viable in terms of an alternative.
I am concerned that this department is acting in isolation from the company that has a franchise to sell electricity. Hydro projects that look so wonderfully economical then peak out and produce the most efficient and cost effective power in the summer time when it is not needed. It is very difficult for any system, whether it be the Yukon Development Corporation system or the franchise company in a place like Carcross, to really purchase surplus electricity in the summer when it is not needed. The creeks are mostly dried up when the electricity is needed, and there is no surplus.
We then get a horrendous situation of trying, after a lot of money has been spent and the hopes of the group have been raised, to tell that group that it is not economical. I do not have personal knowledge of how far the study at Carcross has gone, but I am sure that we will be facing a huge conflict because the band wants to go ahead with the power project, and there has been no negotiation with the franchisee at all. Therefore, a collision will occur. When the power is economical, and there is a surplus in the summer, it is not needed.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I thank all three Members who last spoke for their constructive comments.
Energy Conservation in the amount of $1,145,000 agreed to
Total amount of $3,195,000 agreed to
Mr. Lang: We are going to get an opportunity to discuss the value added concept, I take it, even if we have to go to another department and come back?
Chairman: It is my understanding that we will clear this department on the understanding that we will come back to the value added concept that was raised in general debate.
Recoveries agreed to
On Schedule A, Government Services
Mr. Lang: I do not quite understand this. When do we get a chance to discuss the value added concept? If I carry this, are we going to come back?
Chairman: That was the understanding.
Mr. Lang: As long as it is clear.
Chairman: Can the information be returned after recess? Then we will stand this over until the recess. Is it the wish of Committee Members to recess at this time? I see there is approval for that suggestion. Ten minutes.
Chairman: Committee of the Whole will now come to order. We will continue with Department of Government Services.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The official beside me is Rob McWilliam, who understands very well the value added concept in policy. The specific question that I had to answer was when were approvals made. I have that information. It is appropriate to list a chronology of the consultation, because that is obviously the issue here.
The Northern Preference Policy is a fairly long standing policy adopted and improved several times by the previous government. On August 27, 1986, this government established the Business Incentive Policy. It is interesting that, on June 23, 1986, this comment was made: Rather than simply allowing for a ten percent preference for northern contractors, greater preference could be allowed based upon the amount of benefits in terms of expenditures and jobs that a particular contractor will inject into the economy on a particular contract. That was the Yukon Federation of Labour.
On June 25, 1986, this comment was made, This policy, if implemented, will not be fair to the many subcontractors in the Yukon. The benefits of the ten percent differential do not apply to the subcontract trades, but only to the main contractor. That was made by the Chamber of Commerce. On June 23, this comment was made, It was suggested that more consideration be given to the Newfoundland model of having a sliding scale for preference based on value added to the economy. That was the Yukon Economic Council.
On June 16, To fully recognize and promote local employment opportunities and encourage viable northern business and industry, it is our sincere belief you must recognize value added in the north. That was Armco Westeel Incorporated, which is a member of the Contractors Association.
A report on value added was development by MacKay and Partners and presented to the government in December, 1986, and tabled in this House.
On March 2, 1987, the Yukon Contractors Association made this statement: Our association has worked with your department for the better part of a year to attempt to formulate a business incentive policy that would be fair to the majority of Yukoners. The present Business Incentive Policy may not be the perfect solution to the problems that we face in the north, but we feel that it will do more to attract construction and supplier-related firms to relocate to the Yukon, than the proposed value added policy could realistically hope to do.
On March 23, 1987, there was a meeting with the representative of the Contractors Association and it was proposed that: a five percent business incentive under the old Business Incentive Policy be included in the policy, and an undetermined percentage be included for value added for subcontractors and suppliers; the local hire wording would be changed to Yukon hire; that the Yukon content be established at the time of tendering; that we minimize the paper work and we discuss ways to do that, and the Business Incentive Registry remain in effect. The representative of the Contractors Association stated that these modifications would make value added more acceptable and believed that it would work.
The Yukon Economic Council, on April 7, 1987, had a meeting with representatives from the Department of Government Services, and also MacKay and Partners were in attendance. The minutes stated, It is the opinion of the Yukon Economic Council members present that the value added concept is preferable to the Present Business Incentive Policy.
On April 21, 1987, Government Services representatives, myself, and the Contractors Association met with the Chamber, and the major concern was that the existing policy did not benefit Yukon subcontractors and Yukon suppliers. There was no direct opposition to value added, as such, expressed at that meeting.
In May - and the specific date is May 21 - the Cabinet made a decision to delegate the authority to Management Board to put in place a value added concept, and made the decision in principle that we were in favour of a value added policy, to come into effect on January 1, 1988, and that further consultations were to occur with the Contractors Association and other bodies about the specifics of the policy - and delegated the decisions to the Management Board, so that is the relevant date.
The meetings with the Yukon Contractors Association occurred on August 14, 1987 for approximately two hours and we established the committee that I spoke about previously, and presented the policy to the committee as an approved policy; the particular terms of the policy could be negotiated. On September 21, a four hour meeting occurred about value added; again, on September 22, another four hour meeting with committee, and again on September 29, a four hour meeting about value added. The contractors at that committee were not opposed to the concept, but they were specifically concerned with the grandfather clause - they preferred forward ten years - and the generals felt that the subs were benefiting more than they were, and there were concerns about enforcement and monitoring. On November 4, 1987, the meeting of the Chamber occurred and the Chamber wanted greater incentives for Yukon manufacturers, and wanted the incentive for local hire dropped for the suppliers.
On December 4, 1987, Chamber representatives stated that they were content with the value added concept and wanted greater incentives for Yukon manufacturers. They expressed a concern with the cost of administration, and the same concerns were expressed on November 4, 1987.
The decision was made that no particular concrete change was identified in the consultation, and the policy came into effect on January 1, 1988. The Contractors Association had a new executive recently elected and sent a letter, as of yesterday, opposing value added. That is the chronology and all the relevant dates.
Mr. Lang: I did not catch the last part. Could the Minister repeat what happened after December? I apologized.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The policy came into effect on January 1, 1988. On January 4, 1988, the Contractors Association sent a letter reversing their position and are stating opposition to the value added policy. A copy of the letter went to Mr. Phelps.
Mr. Lang: I am not clear on what happened in December. Were there no meetings in December? Was there a final Cabinet decision on the policies?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No. A decision was made by myself to not go back to Management Board or Cabinet to change any policy.
Mr. Lang: Were there any discussions with the Contractors Association from December 7, 1987 to January 1, 1988 on this issue?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No.
Mr. Lang: This leaves us in a quandary then. I would like to refresh the Ministers memory. A good deal of time in this House is wasted when the Minister of Government Services, or in his capacity as the Minister of Justice, plays with words. He told us on December 7, 1987 that he could not supply us with the policy. At that time, he inferred that further discussions would take place with those parties affected. That was very clear and unequivocal. Now the Minister has taken it upon himself to make the decision arbitrarily, without meeting with the new executive of the Contractors Association, to see if that body would be affected - not only in the short term but in the long term, and the consequences of the policy decision that was to be made.
In other words, what we are saying is that the decision was made May 21, with a little bit of refinement, a little bit of colouring on it - that is the decision. In other words, it was not consultation. There was no question of whether or not this would be good for the Yukon Territory. It was what was good for Mr. Kimmerly and the Cabinet, and what was good on the political agenda of the NDP. What was good for the people of the territory was not taken into account. My concern is that I feel I have been lied to, because we were told on December 7 - it is in Hansard - that the Minister told us he could not give us a copy of the policy because it had not been completed. And every inference was given that he had to have discussions with various other groups concerned, primarily the Contractors Association - and he never bothered having those discussions. Yet at the same time, he brought the policy into effect.
What is the use of us being in this House, as Members of the House, if are standing up asking questions, but we are effectively being lied to? I object to it strenuously as a Member of this House, and it shows the arrogance - the absolute arrogance - of the side opposite. The effect this policy is going to have is that it is going to wind up with corruption using public money; that is going to be the eventual wind up of this. Because no longer will the norm be that a contract will be issued to the lowest tender or, if it is not issue, good reasons have to be given for not awarding it. What we are going to have is who is going to be taking who out for dinner, who is going to be paying who. That is going to be the eventual wind up as far as the policy that this Minister has brought into effect.
We have 158 general contracts let. In the past year, 146 of them went to Yukon contractors. Yet the Minister has the audacity to stand up and say that he feels we have to put something like this into place. Obviously, the reason is because they cannot get their fingers far enough into the public trough.
What I want to know is why the Minister did not meet and did not ask for a meeting with the new executive of the Contractors Association, between December 7 and January 1.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I really have a question of privilege because I have been called a liar, but I will not go through that because it is a waste of time.
Mr. Lang: I feel I have been lied to.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Member opposite continues to flaunt the rules of this Assembly in that respect.
I have explained very clearly that the decision was made that we had a policy as a proposed policy, and there was going to be further negotiation until January 1. It is always possible that there will be changes to January 1. There could easily be changes, in fact, after January 1 - but we did not have an effective policy or a policy that was authorized to come into effect until January 1. We were completely up front, and we gave the wording and the policy to the Contractors Association and others, and told them exactly what the situation was: that this was our policy and we wished to talk about it, and our effective date was January 1; let us talk about the details.
That is what occurred. The Member opposite is accusing me of some sort of wrong doing, because I did not specifically meet with the new executive of the Contractors Association. That is rubbish. If the new executive took a different position that the association had previously, on many occasions, told the government that it is their responsibility to tell us their new position. They are, in fact, on January 4. It is interesting that the wording of the letter echoes the long time rhetoric of the Member opposite.
Now the Member opposite made allegations about corruption. What will occur here is that there is less potential for any kind of corruption because there is not the potential for the shell companies that have existed in the past under Northern Preference and cannot exist under the Business Incentives. The overall goal of the government to maximize employment to Yukoners will be better met with less possibility of corruption.
Mrs. Firth: I am greatly distressed by the Ministers comments, and I would like to go on a little bit of chronology of our own. We have been asking the Minister questions about the value added concept since way back when he came into the Legislature with a ministerial statement about the value added concept. On December 7, I asked the Minister about the value added policies and if there were any changes. I believe I asked him if it was any different from the most recent document that was tabled that was done by MacKay and Partners. I asked if he would table it and where it differed, he said that he could not tell us, but he could if he could. I am quoting from Hansard on December 7, 1987, on page 214. The Minister said, No, I cannot, but if I could, I would. I have been trying to explain that the process is that the details are being formulated. When they are, and it is adopted by the government, I will forthwith make it available. Until that time comes, it is being formulated. The formulations change as the discussions occur. They occur regularly and often and are not completed.
The Minister said that on September 29 - after the third four-hour meeting with the Contractors Association - that all discussions had been finalized, that they had a concept and that they had no further meetings with the Contractors Association. That was back in September. The Minister gets up now and contradicts himself again. He said that we had the opportunity to change it up until January 1, 1988. Yet, if that opportunity for change was still there, why was an addendum dated December 24, 1987, attached to a contract for the young offenders facility? The policy was attached to this contract before we, as Members of the Legislature, saw it. Yet, the Minister is standing up in the House saying he will be forthwith, and will make it available, and that he is the nicest guy in the House, and will make everything available. Then he gets huffy and offended when his integrity is questioned in this Legislature.
We have example after example after example where it should be questioned. That is why it is questioned all the time; it is becoming a regular occurrence that the Minister comes forward with information that is less than accurate.
People did not have an opportunity to make changes, because the policy was being attached to tender documents. The Minister says the Cabinet decision was made May 21, 1987, to delegate the authority to the Management Board to put into place the value added concept. Today, the Minister tells us that they said they were in favour of the value added policy, and it was to come into effect January 1 and consultations were to occur. Today he says Management Board did not make the decision to proceed, he did. He made the decision to proceed.
How can the Minister make the decision to proceed when it is supposed to be under the authority of the Management Board to do that?
Can the Minister just all of a sudden appoint himself as the Management Board and make these kinds of decisions?
I would like to have some answers from the Minister about the addendums, about his allegation that there was opportunity for change. Perhaps he would like to stand up and correct the record so that we are getting accurate information, so we do not have to stand in this House and question his integrity. We have been more than generous in giving him opportunities for him to do this in the past and in the present. Maybe the Minister had better get all of his facts correct and come here with accurate, correct, honest information.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Cabinet made a decision to adopt a policy and to have further negotiations about that policy, and it would come into effect, unless changes were made, on January 1. The discussions of the officials in the government and between officials and myself occurred throughout this period, and the policy was not effectively adopted until January 1. It is now effectively adopted. Those are the facts, and the previous statements I have made are consistent with those particular facts.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister has just stood up in the House a few minutes ago and said that on May 21, 1987 there was a Cabinet record of decision to delegate authority to Management Board to put into place the value added concept and that they were in favour of the value added policy, and that it would come into effect January 1, 1988.
How can the Minister usurp the authority of Management Board and implement the policy himself? That is not correct procedure within this government.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Because an additional report of the decision which I gave - and the Member left out - was that a further consultation was to occur between May and January 1. I suppose it is inevitable that the Opposition will continue on the tack that they do, and there is not anything that I can do about that, but it would be appropriate to have a debate about the policy of value added. Are the Members opposite for it or against it, and what are the policy considerations that they consider are important?
Mrs. Firth: This is typical with this Minister. I am not surprised at all. He does not want to discuss what the issue is. The issue is here that he usurped Management Board authority. Legally, there should be a Management Board record of decision saying that they had been given the authority to implement this concept, that Cabinet was in favour of it, that further consultations had taken place and that the policy would now be implemented on January 1, 1988. That did not happen. The Minister did it himself, and it is an extremely important factor.
The Ministers cannot go around making all kinds of decisions that are not their responsibility or are not within their authority to make. This clearly was not within the Ministers authority. That is the first part of the issue that we have to discuss. How was the decision arrived at? It was not arrived at through the legal means that it was supposed to be arrived at.
If the Minister wants the debate to proceed in a positive manner, he had better start telling the truth in the Legislature.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The explanation that the Member is missing is that it was was possible for me to go back to Management Board any time prior to January 1 with changes. If I did not go back, there would not be changes. There was going to be negotiation and consultation because one needs something to consult about. That is the explanation that the Members are missing.
Mrs. Firth: I am not missing anything. We are not missing anything. The Minister very clearly said that the Cabinet R.D. was to delegate authority to Management Board - not to the Minister - to put into place the value added concept. That was not supposed to be based on whether or not the Minister felt that there were or were not any changes or whatever rubbish he is blithering on about now.
The Minister said that the delegation was given to Management Board. Therefore, the final decision was that there should be a Management Board R.D. to substantiate the effectiveness of this policy.
Mr. Lang: One of the hallmarks of the Legislature is truth, to stand up in this House to the best of your knowledge and give information to the people of the territory. On December 7, we asked about the value added concept. The Minister stood up in this House and stated that he could not table the policy because there were further details to discuss and consultations to take place. I was clearly in the Blues that those discussions were going to take place with the Contractors Association with what he referred to as the value added committee.
Why would he mislead the House? Why did he not go to meet with the new executive of the Contractors Association? He must have known that there was a major debate raging among the contractors of the validity of the concept. Perhaps the reason he decided not to meet with them was because he knew that the majority of the contractors in the territory were not prepared to accept the principle. Is that why he did not meet with them?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There were ongoing meetings primarily among officials and other people. There were later meetings among officials of the government and among officials and myself. That occurred right up well into December. The change in position of at least the executive of the Contractors Association, or as stated by the Contractors Association, was a surprise to me yesterday. Up until then, I believe they were in favour of the policy. That belief was reasonable in the light of events. To my knowledge, the first communication that the government got was yesterday, January 4.
Mr. Lang: The first notification that this particular policy was going to come into effect was received by us - and maybe a few individual contractors - when it was added to an addendum of a contract. The Minister gave a commitment that, as soon as it was available, it would be delivered to this side because we were interested in that policy. Why was it put to an addendum of a contract where we just happened to stumble on it, as opposed to it being delivered to the Members here, if the Minister was a man of his word?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The policy was able to be presented January 1. The Legislature sat January 4. This is January 5.
Mr. Lang: That is absolutely rubbish. The Minister publicly released it through another forum, at his direction obviously, through Government Services, and then he says to me it is of no value to anybody until the first of January. If that is the case, how come it was released on December 24?
What was the importance of releasing it December 24 if it was of no consequence? I would like an answer.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That particular contract was obviously closing after January 1.
Mrs. Firth: It is less than accurate to say, then, that there is an opportunity for change up until January 1 when the decision was made December 24 or sooner, to make the policy public. In his comment saying that people have the opportunity to come forward and make changes up until January 1, the Minister must agree that that statement is not accurate and that they did not really have the opportunity to make any changes.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I would say the effective last date would have, in fact, been December 23.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister explain what changes took place from when we debated this issue on December 7 to the release of this document? What changes did take place as far as the document was concerned, such that he could not release it to us on December 7?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There were no changes that actually occurred, but I did not know that on December 7.
Mrs. Firth: I would like to ask the Minister when he made the decision to proceed with this policy, then, for it to be in effect on January 1, and for the addendum to be attached December 24 on the tender for the young offenders facility.
We are going to have to take the Minister strictly at his word because he is the only one who knows. I want to remind the Minister that that is on very shaky ground and perhaps he can enlighten us. Very carefully.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I did not personally instruct the particular tendering on December 24 for that young offenders facility.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister is not answering the question. I asked him when he made the decision to go ahead with the policy - that it was fine, that consultations had ended, and that on January 1, 1988 the value added concept would be this governments policy. I would like to know when the Minister made that decision, and I would like to know when he instructed the Department to attach the policy to the contract?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I have already answered. I did not instruct the Department. I personally did not instruct the attachment of that particular contract. Several discussions occurred - I do not know the dates and have no way of discovering the particular dates of particular meetings - and I am not going to spend a lot of time and effort finding out. The real question here is: what is the policy and are we in favour of the new policy?
Mrs. Firth: We have not even started discussing the policy yet. The Minister will be lucky if he gets out of this with his skin intact. All I have asked the Minister for is the date that he decided that the policy was fine. When did he make the decision - personally - that Management Board would have made? That decision was that the policy was going to be in effect and that consultations had effectively ended? He is the only one that will know when he made that decision. Did he communicate that to the department officials? Someone had to make a decision to attach the addendum to the tender documents.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I have already answered: I do not know. It was sometime between December 7 and December 23; I do not know the precise date, and that will have to do.
Mr. Lang: I cannot accept that; I cannot accept it. Because the Minister knew that this side of the House and the people of the territory were very interested in what was going to happen with this policy - whether or not the policy was even going to come into effect. And the Minister promised this House he was going to deliver it to us forthwith. We find out, via a certain individual being called down to get an addendum to a tender document. That is how we found out about it.
I just do not accept the fact that he is going to dismiss us out of hand and say to the Members of this House that it does not really matter, because I am the government and I can do what I want.
I am going to ask the Minister to go back to his officials and ask them when he gave them instructions to implement this policy, and, secondly, who gave the instructions to attach it to the young offenders tender documents as an addendum.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No. I have already answered.
Mr. Lang: No, he has not, and this House deserves an answer. I get tired of being played the fool by the Member opposite - constantly, steadily. It is like earlier today, when we look back at Hansard, and the Minister stood up in this House and said to the general public that the lotteries act would not cost anyone any more money. Then he stood up today and tried to pretend it does not. It makes the Legislature a laughing stock when you have a Minister on that side not prepared to accept his responsibilities, and his responsibility is to tell the truth. When you make a commitment in this House it is your job to carry it out. That is why you are getting paid. For him to sit here and tell us, to mislead us - mislead us! - there is no other word to describe it.
Chairman: Order, please. I would remind the Member to keep his remarks parliamentary.
Mr. Lang: I am trying to keep parliamentary, believe me. But when one Minister stands up in this House and tells us that he could not supply the policy to this House because he had to have further discussions with the value added committee of the Contractors Association - and, number one, he did not bother to have those meetings. And number two, between December 7, in his wisdom, he became the Management Board, the Cabinet, the Government of the Yukon Territory - all by himself decided to implement the policy and give direction to his civil service to do that.
There is no doubt that the civil service would not implement this policy without political direction. The Minister cannot slough it off and blame the civil service for it. When did the Minister give direction to his administration to implement this policy?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That direction came from Cabinet and Management Board in May. By operation of time, because no changes were made, the policy becomes effective January 1.
Mr. Lang: Why did the Minister say to this House that he could give us the policy because, I have been trying to explain that the processes of the details are being formulated. That was on December 7, 1987. When they are and it is adopted by the the government... and I assume Cabinet when I say government - I did not realize that the Minister had taken all of these powers onto himself - ...I will forthwith make it available. Why did the Minister state that if the policy had already been decided upon? Why would he mislead the House? How else could I take that statement?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I have explained several times that the Cabinet and Management Board made a decision to implement the policy unless there were changes made. There were negotiations to occur. There were no changes made. I did not decide to implement the policy; Cabinet did.
Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister give us some idea of when he told the department officials that there would be no changes made, that the consultative process had been completed and that they could go ahead with the policy?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I have already answered that. Discussions occurred regularly between May and December, 1987. The policy came into effect by operation of the original decision in May. I am not going to root around with particular dates of meetings.
Mr. Lang: It is important because the integrity of the Minister is on the line as far as the Legislature is concerned and as far as Parliament is concerned. The Minister made a statement in this House, spending $170,000 of taxpayers money when he said there was no policy completed. We find out on December 23, I believe, that an addendum has been added to the young offenders building. Obviously, a political decision was made between December 7 and December 23. I want to know it. There is no question in my mind that the deputy minister will know because he will definitely document the fact when he was given instructions to implement this policy. So, if the Minister cannot remember, since we are coming to the end of the day, would he be prepared to go back to his department and ask them when that direction was given?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I move you report progress.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Porter: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
May the House have a report from the Chairman of Committee of the Whole?
Mr. Webster: The Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 5, First Appropriation Act 1988-89 and directed me to report progress on same.
Speaker: You have heard the report from the Chairman of 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.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.
The House adjourned at 5:30 p.m.
The following Sessional Papers were tabled on January 5, 1988:
Takhini Area Transportation Study, Final Report, December 1987 (McDonald)
Notes for a Statement by the Honourable Tony Penikett to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs of the House of Commons, September 21, 1987 (Penikett)
The following Legislative Returns were tabled on January 5, 1988:
Executive Council Office Capital Budget: Bureau of Statistics re release of Quarterly Statistics (Penikett)
Oral, Hansard, p. 284
Executive Council Office Capital Budget: Bureau of Statistics re Survey on behalf of Department of Justice: Consumer, Corporate and Labour Affairs (Penikett)
Oral, Hansard, p. 284
Costs to government in the matter of Judge Rowe vs. Chief Judge Ilnicki (Kimmerly)
Oral, Hansard, p. 43
The following Document was filed January 5, 1988:
F.D. No. 8
Housing Policy of the Yukon Government (McDonald)