Monday, March 28, 1988 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. At this time, we will proceed with Prayers.
Introduction of Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms
Speaker: It gives me great pleasure to introduce to the House today our newly appointed Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms, Mr. Max Ayers.
Introduction of Pages
Further, I would like to announce to the Assembly the Pages who will be serving the House this session. They are Quentin Kluthe, Lexi McKinnon, Ladi Millard, Tasha Odin, Anna Pugh and Chris Swerhun from Jeckell Junior High, and Greg Charlie, Sarah MacPhee and Leah McTiernan from F.H. Collins High School. Today we have with us Quentin Kluthe and Ladi Millard, who I would ask to join us at this time.
We will proceed with the Order Paper.
Introduction of Visitors?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Speaker: I have for tabling a report from the Chief Electoral Officer on contributions made to registered political parties through our 1987 calendar year.
Are there any further documents for tabling?
Are there any Reports of Committees?
Are there any Petitions?
Introduction of Bills?
Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
NOTICES OF MOTION FOR PRODUCTION OF PAPERS
Mr. Lang: I move THAT the House do issue an order for return of information that would provide a listing of all service contracts for the 1987-88 fiscal year.
Speaker: Are there any Notices of Motion?
NOTICES OF MOTION
Mr. Brewster: I move THAT this House urges the Minister of Renewable Resources and the Minister of Community and Transportation Services to take such action that are necessary to allow livestock owners until September 1, 1989, to fence in their property as required by the Pounds Act and Highways Act.
Mrs. Firth: I give Notice of Motion that it is the opinion of this House that the Government of Yukon should immediately revoke the new Lottery Licensing Act regulations and return the system to the way that it was.
Mr. Lang: I move THAT it is the opinion of this House that the value added concept should be deleted from the Yukon Business Incentive Program.
Mr. Brewster: I move THAT this House recognize the importance of the trapping industry to the economy of the Yukon and to traditional Yukon lifestyles; and
THAT this House urges the Government and the Parliament of the United Kingdom to cancel the proposed Fur Labelling program, which could seriously harm the livelihood of Yukon trappers.
Mr Lang: I move that it is the opinion of this House that there is a serious shortage of serviced residential lots in the territory; and
THAT this House urges the Government of Yukon to accept its responsibility and immediately begin the development of an adequate supply of serviced residential lots to enable Yukoners to build their own homes or find rental accommodations.
Mr. Brewster: I move THAT it is the opinion of this House that community clubs, associations and volunteer groups are becoming so burdened by excessive government regulation and bureaucratic red tape that individuals are being discouraged from participating in such groups; and
THAT this House urges the Government of Yukon to reduce the amount of paper work that these volunteer organizations have to do by streamlining government procedures, revising existing regulations and eliminating unnecessary requirements.
Mrs. Firth: I move THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Government of Yukon should request from the federal Minister responsible for Health and Welfare, the Hon. Jake Epp, the immediate transfer of federally administered health services to the Government of Yukon.
Mr. Lang: I move THAT it is the opinion of this House THAT the Yukon Housing Corporation should adopt the Yukon governments contract regulation policies for the administration and issuance of contracts.
I also move THAT it is the opinion of this House that Yukon College should specialize in tourism service training.
Mr. Nordling: I move that it is the opinion of this House THAT the Government of Yukon should proclaim one week in 1988 to be known as Mining Awareness Week in recognition of the contribution of mining to the development of the Yukon.
I also move THAT it is the opinion of this House that the government of Yukon should urge the government of Canada to retain the existing flow-through share tax incentive program, which is of great benefit to the Yukon mining industry.
Assistance to Victims of Crime
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: In recent years there has been a nation-wide surge of interest in the role of the victim in the criminal justice system. There is a commonly-held opinion that in the past the victim has been neglected. The system has focussed largely on bringing the offender to justice. The victim is often given little assistance to overcome the effects of victimization and is given little consideration in the criminal justice process. Victims of crime have asserted that they need more assistance to deal with their losses and suffering and need to be made more active participants in the criminal justice process.
In response to these deficiencies governments have developed strategies to help overcome the effects of victimization. At a recent conference, the federal, provincial and territorial ministers of justice agreed on a Statement of Basic Principles of Justice For Victims of Crime to guide Canadian society in promoting access to justice, fair treatment and provision of assistance for victims of crime.
These principles advance the view that the victim should be treated with courtesy, compassion and respect for their dignity and privacy, and should suffer the minimum of necessary inconvenience from their involvement with the criminal justice system. They should be provided with information about their participation in criminal proceedings and the remedies available to them as victims.
In the Yukon, the justice system has already adopted measures to assist victims in overcoming some of the effects of victimization. The Victim/Witness Administration Program, which operates out of the Court Services Branch, is designed to assist witnesses prior to, during and following the court process. It utilizes community resources to assist victims and witnesses with the effects of crime and to participate in the legal system. It also offers a central information service to victims and witnesses about the status of court proceedings.
Governments across Canada have acknowledged the need to improve services to victims and are making a concerted effort to develop programs and dedicate resources to this cause. The Yukon justice system is keeping pace with these changes. We have implemented services to assist victims and witnesses, and we are committed to live up to the spirit of the principles of justice for victims of crime enunciated by Canadian Ministers of Justice.
Speaker: This then brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Mr. Lang: I have to convey the Leader of the Official Oppositions regrets that he could not be here today because of the tragedy that has occurred in his immediate family, but he will be in attendance in the House on Wednesday.
I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome the new Sergeant-at-Arms. We will do our best to conduct business in the way it should be, so that we do not have to call upon his good services.
I would like to begin with an overall question that is affecting the Yukon and Alaska to the Government Leader. During the visit by the Alaskan legislators this past week, the question that kept coming up was with respect to the position of the Government of Yukon on development with environmental safeguards, with respect to the proposal on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge lands in Alaska.
Quite frankly, our side of the House was unclear on the exact position of the Government of Yukon, after hearing the Government Leader speak, as opposed to the MLA for Old Crow. I ask for a clear delineation of policy from the Government Leader. Is it the position of the Government of Yukon that no development should take place in or around the ANWR lands in Alaska?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As I believe the Member knows, the position taken by this government on this subject is the very same, if not identical, to the position taken by the Government of Canada, which has been articulated a number of times and in a number of forums.
The bottom line for this government is the fate of the Porcupine caribou herd, and our most specific concern centres on the core calving area of that herd, which is an area that is potentially subject to development by oil and gas interests, if the Congress of the United States so approves.
That is the debate that is now going on. We have indicated that the protection of the resource, a common interest between our two jurisdictions - Alaska and the Yukon - is fundamental to us, and everything we articulate as a government on this issue as it develops and evolves through discussions in the United States Congress and elsewhere will be posited on our objective, which is protecting the Porcupine caribou herd.
Mr. Lang: This is where the position of the government is unclear and it is unclear once again, the statement of the Government Leader.
Is the Government of the Yukon Territory strictly opposing development in the calving areas designated in ANWR plans set aside or within ANWR plans in total?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The question is not as simple as it sounds, for a number of reasons. As the Member may know, this government made a public statement some many months ago about not only the potential impact of ANWR, but the cumulative effect of developments in not only the proposed ANWR development but also offshore - the cumulative effects on not only the Porcupine caribou herd but mammal life on the Coast and bird life, and others.
The position is obviously one we can appropriately take in respect to our shared interests about the wildlife. There may be all sorts of potential kinds of developments, broadly defined, that could take place in the United States - on their side of the border - about which I would guess we would have no appropriate concern or interest whatsoever, since they do not impact upon any of our own interests. The question we are facing right now - the question about development - is that there can be all sorts of development taking place. We have taken the position that the Arctic National Wildlife Range should be protected, that the herd must be protected, the core calvingt area must be protected, and we, until such time as we are satisfied that proposed development - particularly the proposed development right now, which is oil and gas exploration - can be done in such a way that it does not impact negatively on the herd, we would be opposed to it, as is the Canadian government.
Mr. Lang: Once again, confusion, and the confusion lies in what exactly the plans of this government are in respect to the north Yukon, versus the Alaskan Coast. What concerns us is the statement in the Speech from the Throne: My Ministers will therefore continue to vigorously protect our northern caribou range from adverse industrial development.
My question was to do with any proposed developments that could be coming forward for our northern Yukon. My question is this: in view of the position that is taken by the government of the Yukon territory, in respect to the ANWR lands in total, in view of the dissertations given by the Government Leader, is it the position that there will be no development in or around the Yukon north coast, east of the national park?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It is a hypothetical question. I cannot speculate about what may happen in the future but the Member, having listened to and read the Throne Speech, will know that the Throne Speech also made mention of a development assessment process. We have previously indicated on the floor of this House that we would look at any major development and assess its environmental and social costs and socio-economic benefits, and our general predisposition would be to support those that are positive to the Yukon, and oppose those which are negative, by that kind of accounting. Our preferred option would be to develop and take over from the federal government, over time, the development assessment process so that we can have a simple, streamlined assessment system, so that when proposals come forward, whether at King Point or at other places, involving other kinds of projects, we can assess them, calmly and rationally, and decide whether we should support them, and on the basis of whether they are in the best interests of the people of the Yukon.
Mr. Lang: That leaves them right on the middle of the fence. You are for development but not for development. That takes care of that dissertation.
Let us get down to specifics and just exactly what the Government of the Yukon Territory has been doing since we last sat. This is with respect to one particular boundary dispute between Alaska and the Yukon. Could the Minister update this House as to what steps have been taken in the last number of months with respect to ensuring that Yukons interest is being taken into account in that particular dispute?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The most basic step we have taken is to ensure that we have been continually apprised of any new developments on that question. I have had, during the past several months, several briefings from not only the Minister of External Affairs, Mr. Joe Clark, himself, but officials of the department. Since our initial protest about the lack of consultation on this question I want to tell the House that Mr. Clark has been the model of federal consultation on this question. Nothing has happened on the issue, or has potentially happened that he has not kept us informed about. He has even briefed me on a confidential basis about their legal assessments of prospects in the issue in terms of if it were to go to court, and the federal government is now assessing not only its discussions or initiatives from the federal government on this question, but also weighing very carefully our options as how to proceed. The judgment at this moment by the federal government is that on balance, rather than forcing the issue, they would rather continue to negotiate with the Americans. I have expressed my considerable fear - there being a number of such boundary disputes and other such issues affecting the north on the table - that we do not have our interests traded away in favour of some interest further south affecting a large number of people. As you know, the leases that are in question in the disputed area off the north coast are in escrow and I do not think any developments will proceed in those areas as long as that situation applies.
Mr. Lang: There is one other area of major concern that is a Canadian problem and will have to have a Canadian solution. That is the question of the boundary between the Northwest Territories and the Yukon. As it presently sits, the Government of the Northwest Territories has legal jurisdiction offshore off the coast of the Yukon. I would ask the Government Leader to clearly state to this House what steps have been taken in the last number of months by this government to force the Government of Canada to face this issue and to resolve it so that we have our boundary put into place the way it should have been.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: On this question, as on the other one, our view has been communicated extremely clearly to the federal government. It may not be a legal position or one that a lawyer or historian would attest to, but my view is that the present boundary arrangement is a drafting error. There is no rational or sane way you could argue that the Yukon offshore in the Beaufort Sea belongs to the Northwest Territories, even though that is the legal fiction under which we have been operating. I believe the next best opportunity is for us to obtain from the federal government and from the Northwest Territories government a satisfactory resolution on this kind of question. It will likely revolve around a resolution of oil and gas issues and a northern accord, out of which this government would expect to obtain a negotiated share of revenues that come from any production in that area, in recognition of our natural right, if you like, to that offshore area.
Mr. Lang: He still has not answered my question. I think there is common agreement about this issue, and it is about partisanship with respect to establishing our boundary. The Government Leader has not identified to this House exactly what his government has done to make this issue come to the forefront in respect to the Government of Canadas political calendar. What I want to know is has the Government of Canada communicated in writing in the past number of months on this issue and, if so, will he table that particular correspondence so that we can be aware of exactly what the Government of Yukon is doing in order to protect the interests of the people of Yukon in revenues from that area?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Myself, this Cabinet and this House communicated very clearly to the federal government. The federal government is under no illusions about this issue. I think the most recent communication I had was directly with a senior representative of the Department of External Affairs on this question. I have also communicated, as the Member I am sure knows, with the federal Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs and any official of that rank who has come north on this question.
The Member asks what has been done. I answered his question. I believe the most opportune occasion for us to advance our interests in this area are around the negotiations of a northern accord, and I believe, although there is no federal cabinet decision on this question yet, that the predisposition of the federal cabinet, as represented by Mr. McKnight, is to recognize our interest in that offshore area. I believe, if we can get some successful negotiations on that question, that we will have established, at least on the question of energy and those kinds of resources, our clear interest.
Question re: Fuel price inquiry
Mr. McLachlan: I want to ask some general questions in the area of money management and management of resources that this government always prides itself on doing well on but when Members on this side have some questions in that area we always get that look that questions why we would bother asking. In fact, we have recently had comments from the Minister of Government Services when this issue was raised before, about spending government money and how good they were, they would say just watch while we build this arena in Ross River and you will see how good we are. We know what the rest of the history is there.
In a subject associated with the last major announcement he made in this House when we last sat here on the fuel price commission study, why has the single-man inquiry suddenly had its entire staff and, I presume, budget, quintupled? Why have we gone from one to five people on that commission?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Member may know that there is no inquiry that has ever been conducted - even with a single person commissioner or a single judge - that has operated without staff, either legal staff, research staff or secretarial office staff. A one-person inquiry does not mean that the judge in question will have to go out and do his own typing or personally pay the bills of the inquiry or arrange the appearances of people or act as his own legal counsel.
The inquiry is of major importance. It concerns a question that has a multi-million dollar impact on the territory. The inquiry has a short timeframe to do the job properly. It needs to be staffed adequately. The decisions about staffing are, in the main, those of the person conducting the inquiry.
I will be coming forward to the House with budget proposals that describe the expenses proposed for the inquiry.
Speaker: Order, please. Would the Member please conclude his answer.
Mr. McLachlan: That may be so, but my only response to the Government Leaders initial answer is that we would have appreciated being told at the time the announcement was made that there was to be a support staff of this size.
Why have we seen it necessary to have the entire entourage pick up and move their base of operations from the Department of Economic Development to the nations capital for one weeks period?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I do not know what the Member is talking about when he says we are moving the entire entourage from the Department of Economic Development to the nations capital. When it comes to travel by public officials in this government, approval will have to be given by Ministers. When it comes to the expenditures of an inquiry, the judge conducting the inquiry will make those decisions, not the Minister. If it were otherwise, if Ministers were interfering in such decisions, I am sure we would hear very loud protests from the House, and appropriately so.
Mr. McLachlan: I am not sure what kind of economics the Government Leader is operating under, but it seems to me that, in my elementary understanding of it, it would be far easier to move the tax people, or the people familiar with petroleum pricing - one person - from Ottawa to Whitehorse, rather than move the five people doing the Yukon fuel pricing . . .
Speaker: Order, please. Would the Member please get to the supplementary question.
Mr. McLachlan: Is it not easier to move one from Ottawa to Whitehorse, with the relevant data, than to move five from Whitehorse to Ottawa?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am not sure that the questions about the internal activities of the inquiry are appropriately mine to answer. I will do so as well as I can. The officers of the inquiry did travel east and met with a broad range of people including from the ANWR, Consumer and Corporate Affairs, the National Energy Board, people who have conducted previous inquiries, people in DIAND and counsel for some of the people who will be appearing.
All of the major interests in the industry will be appearing before the inquiry. They take the question that has been put very very seriously, and it will be an inquiry of considerable consequence to the public. That is not mine to make the decisions about how the inquiry is conducted, but I would thoroughly endorse the proposition that it should be done properly and well. I have every confidence in the person doing the inquiry that that will be the case.
Question re: Northern accord
Mr. Nordling: I have a question for the Government Leader with respect to a northern accord. The Northwest Territories has hired four senior consultants including former Alberta premier, Peter Lougheed and retired ERCB Chairman, Vern Mallard, to prepare a draft framework for discussion on a northern accord. Has this government drawn up a framework for discussion on a northern accord?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We have not done that as such. We have a broad mandate that has come to Cabinet for approval. There is further development work going on. We have retained the services of Ewan Cotteral to help us develop our position on this thing. Mr. Cotteral has experience in the federal government and in the oil business.
Question re: Day care surveillance
Mrs. Firth: Would the Minister of Health and Human Resources tell the House when she initiated the recent surveillance of the family day homes in Whitehorse?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: The surveillance on unlicensed day cares is ongoing, and it has been for a while.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister does contradict herself because when we last sat she said that there was no surveillance going on. Now she tells us that it is ongoing. She was very adamant at the time that there was no surveillance going on. Could the Minister tell the House when the surveillance was reinitiated on the Riverdale family day homes?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: At the time that the Member asked the question before, there was no surveillance. The Day Care Services Board has now hired somebody to do that, and it is ongoing.
Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell us why this surveillance has been started?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: We do get calls to the department with regard to the possibility of alleged unlicensed day cares. We have a law that stipulates that there are certain things that day cares and family day homes have to do. We would like to let people know that we do like to implement our laws, that they are there for a reason. If the Member thinks otherwise let her stand up and say so.
Question re: Day care surveillance
Mrs. Firth: So now we have the truth coming out. We have the government, which did not have people under surveillance, now does have people continually under surveillance. They have hired a special person - a special government official - to keep people under surveillance.
Can the Minister tell us what techniques are being used? What is the process? I would like to know if there are files being kept and how this surveillance process is being carried out.
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I cannot be specific and tell her what techniques are being used by the person. It is not my job to go out and ask her. The woman has been hired by the Day Care Services Board and at this point in time the person reports to the Day Care Services Board.
Mrs. Firth: This person has been hired with the authorization of this Minister, not the Day Care Services Board. This Minister has to authorize the money and the person year in this Cabinet for this surveillance person. I want to know what is happening to the information that this individual has been specially hired to accumulate?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: She is asking me for information that I cannot give out at this time. There is a surveillance. There is still one family day home before the courts. The charges have been stayed and that means that they have not been entirely dropped. She is asking me for information that I cannot give out here.
Mrs. Firth: The case is not before the courts. The case has been stayed and the Justice Department has said in the media that the charges were dropped. This Minister has hired a person to keep people under surveillance.
Speaker: Would the Member please get to the supplementary question.
Mrs. Firth: Yes. I want to know what is happening to the information. The Minister should know that.
Hon. Mrs. Joe: The information is being collected. We do have a lawyer who is looking at the information that is coming to the department through the surveillance person who has been hired. The information is being collected and that information will be given to a lawyer who will decide whether or not charges can be laid or proceeded with.
Question re: Day care surveillance
Mr. Phillips: With respect to the day care surveillance, last July a Whitehorse woman was charged with operating an illegal, unlicensed family day home, and the charges were later stayed in September. Are the latest surveillance measures by the Ministers Department of Health and Human Resources of this family day home, and does it mean that the charges are being reactivated?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I cannot tell this House any circumstances regarding that case. They were stayed, and were not dropped. There is a difference. I cannot comment on anything with respect to that family day home.
Mr. Phillips: The Minister knows that that simply is not correct. The Minister can comment on it. It is not a trial.
Under whose direction are these charges being reactivated, if they are being reactivated? Is it the Justice department, or the Department of Health and Human Resources?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: There are a number of houses that are under surveillance at this time. There is information coming from the person who is doing the surveillance. I cannot come to the House here and explain to the House and everybody in the Yukon exactly what is happening. There is surveillance. There are some day care centres that are under surveillance. There have been reports to us, and we are acting on them.
Mr. Phillips: Yukoners, beware. Big Brother is here. He is looking at all the little day homes we have in the territory and seeing whether they are legal or not. Absolutely incredible.
What day was the decision made to go back and put these day homes under surveillance? Who made that decision?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I cannot name the specific day. There is a law that we have to abide by. We may be called Big Brothers and Big Sisters, but there is a law that we have to uphold, a law that was implemented by a former government. Are they saying right now that we should break the law, that we should not deal with those laws that they have made?
Question re: Day care surveillance
Mrs. Firth: This Minister has put the Yukon public under surveillance. She better be prepared to answer questions in this House about why, and how, and how often, and when. It is her responsibility, and the Yukon public is not going to accept that she cannot come here and tell us why, and how, and when. They have a right to know.
This governments own executive staff is less than pleased with their performance, because they send their children to these family day home services. These are underhanded tactics.
Speaker: Order, please. Would the Member please get to the question.
Mrs. Firth: These are underhanded tactics, and people do not like the idea of being watched by the government when they do business.
What was the substance of the complaint that could not be dealt with in an open and upfront way right at the peoples doors, that they had to resort to this tactic?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: Anytime there are reports of unlicensed day cares in operation, we have to act on them. We have had many reports from individuals who have come to this government. There are individuals out there who have stated openly that they are breaking the law, and they have stated openly that they have been told to go ahead by individuals. We still have a law that we have to abide by, and I cannot say that enough. I do not know what more I can tell the Members.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister can tell us what kind of evidence is being gathered. What is being done with the information? What are the techniques? What are the processes? She had better be prepared to tell us ...
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Point of Order, Mr. Speaker.
Speaker: Point of Order to the Minister of Justice.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Member opposite is flaunting the rules, as she is making statements and not asking questions.
Mrs. Firth: On the Point of Order. I do not wish to speak to the Point of order. It was a waste of the Houses time. However, I would like a supplementary.
Speaker: There is no Point of Order. Final supplementary.
Mrs. Firth: Thank you. We again have an attempt by the Minister of Justice to come to the rescue of the Minister of Health and Human Resources ...
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Point of Order, Mr. Speaker.
Speaker: Point of Order again to the Minister of Justice.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That was definitely a comment, or a statement, and not a question. The Member opposite is flaunting the rules. It is her duty to ask questions, and she is not doing that. She should be called to order and told to simply ask a question.
Mrs. Firth: On the Point of Order, I recognize that there was no Point of Order. I was simply giving my preamble, and I do have a question to ask, if the Minister of Justice will stop interrupting; but I will wait for your ruling, Mr. Speaker, as is the practice of this House.
Speaker: On the Point of Order, I would just like to remind Members of guideline 7, that a one sentence preamble will be allowed in each case of supplementary questions. I would just like to so inform the Minister of Justice. Also, guideline 9 states that a reply to questions should be as brief as possible, relevant to the question asked, and should not provoke debate.
Question re: Day Care Surveillance
Mrs. Firth: From the Ministers responses today, it would give us all the impression that she is going to reactivate the charges. Whether she is going to do it, or the Department of Justice is going to do it, she could not answer that. Is the evidence gathering specifically to reactivate the charges against this woman who was previously charged?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: There is more than one day care centre under surveillance.
Mrs. Firth: The question is: will there be charges laid?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I cannot say that right now.
Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell us how many homes are under surveillance?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: At this point there are three.
Question re: Fuel Prices Inquiry
Mr. McLachlan: I want to come back to the area of the Fuel Prices Inquiry and ask the Government Leader that in view of the fact that the pricing on oil in Yukon, and in this country, is to some degree controlled by oil which finds its way here from other countries, is it the plan of the Commission to also travel out of the country to some of these areas that bring imported oil to Canada? Might they be going to Mexico or Venezuela as part of this commissions inquiry?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Not on my advice or consent. I would warn the Member before he gets too carried away with his fancy on this that the issue is one affecting fuel prices in Yukon. We are not doing a national or international inquiry. There are issues which may require, I would imagine, a visit to either Skagway or Juneau since the Member will obviously know that there are issues around the transporting of fuel into the Yukon that may require some visit to there by some official of the inquiry. The only place where there would be any hearings held - I would be reasonably certain - would be in the Yukon Territory.
Mr. McLachlan: What is the budget and the completion date for the process?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: With respect, the Member has been around this House long enough to know that I will be bringing down the budget around tonight, and I can just imagine the kind of questions he would ask if I leaked it now.
Mr. McLachlan: That is not true. The Commissions work started in February.
The Minister stated in the Throne Speech that he is prepared to act on the results of the inquiry. Without having those results, one wonders what the Government Leader means by a statement like that. Does he have the power to roll back price increases in the territory depending on what one may or may not find in the results of the inquiry? Exactly what is the Government Leaders role and responsibility in a commissions findings of this nature?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It means quite simply that we are concerned about energy prices in the Yukon. We are prepared to do anything we reasonably can to lower them. It means that we are prepared to act on the report of the inquiry as opposed to putting it on the shelf. If the inquiry indicates and defines a problem that is under our jurisdiction, then this government is prepared to do something about the problem. That is what it means.
Question re: Day care surveillance
Mr. Lang: There have been a number of issues raised here today that I view with a great deal of alarm. One is the question of surveillance that has obviously been authorized by the Minister of Health and Human Resources, perhaps in conjunction with the Minister of Justice. In the past three years, Yukoners have seen MLA offices searched, they have seen senior civil servants offices searched at the direction of this government, a day care operator harassed last year and have also seen a school committee in Watson Lake under investigation. These are just ordinary working people, people who do not have the finances or wherewithal to fight government.
In the last sitting, this government assured us that there were no surveillances underway. We are now informed, shortly after ...
Speaker: Order, please. Would the Member please get to the question.
Mr. Lang: ... that surveillance has once again begun, and at the same time we are having a day care review panel put into place.
Prior to coming to this House today, was the Government Leader aware that there were three day care homes under active surveillance under instructions of the Minister of Health and Human Resources?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: No, I was not, nor would it be my business to know. My business is to know that an Act that was passed by a Conservative government of this Legislature will be respected and enforced. The law will be obeyed and, if there are complaints of violations under that Act, there will be investigations without political interference. The Act sets up processes - an Act brought in by the former Conservative government, an Act that will be administered by this government because we respect the law - in the same way that an investigation may be carried out by the Human Rights Commission, not because we order an investigation, but because someone complained against us. The law will be obeyed.
If there are investigations, whether it is under the Criminal Code or whether it is under some other legislation, we would want those investigations to go on properly by the duly appointed officials, without political interference, and ...
Speaker: Order, please. Would the Member please conclude his answer.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have heard a lot of nonsense from the other side today. We will not be giving ongoing reports on ongoing investigations in this House. That would not be permitted in any Legislature in the Commonwealth, nor should it be requested.
Mr. Lang: Talk about pompous and arrogant. Is the Government Leader saying in this House that he is prepared to stand up on behalf of this government and say that he agrees with an individual parked in a vehicle in front of a private home writing down peoples licence plate numbers as they take their children into these day homes.
Speaker: Order, please. Would the Member please get to his supplementary question.
Mr. Lang: Is this the type of government and the type of democracy that this particular Government Leader stands for?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Member opposites government created that law. We are obeying it.
Mr. Lang: Is the Government Leader prepared to stand in this House and say that his government, in conjunction with the Minister of Health and Human Resources, is prepared to authorize and support the principle that a person is privately contracted for the purposes of sitting out in front of a private home, writing down peoples license plate numbers in order to report back to the government to see if charges can be laid?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: This Cabinet and this Minister does not direct people in investigations under the laws passed by this House. We did not introduce this law; we did not pass this law. The previous Conservative government passed this law. We are duty bound to respect that law, and if there are complaints of violations of that law, they must be investigated. I am sure Members are aware of that, or did the Members opposite simply pass laws and then intend that they should not be obeyed, observed, and if violated should not be investigated.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed.
Hon. Mr. Porter: We would request unanimous consent of the House to recess upon completion of todays proceedings on the Address on the Reply to the Speech from the Throne, until 7:30 tonight. We would also request unanimous consent of the House to return to the Daily Routine when we reconvene; this is for the purpose of allowing the introduction of the appropriation bill relating to the 1988-89 Operation and Maintenance Main Estimates and other related bills.
If unanimous consent is granted for this procedure, it would be our intention to immediately call for second reading of the Operation and Maintenance Main Estimates Budget bill, as is permitted by the Standing Orders and for the Government Leader, as Minister of Finance, to give his Budget Address.
Speaker: Is there unanimous consent for the procedure as outlined by the Government House Leader?
Speaker: Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.
ADDRESS IN REPLY TO SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Clerk: Adjourned debate, Mr. Nordling.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I thank you for the opportunity to speak to the Throne Speech today. I thought that after the Question Period I might not get a chance to speak at all. It does give me the honour that the addresses in reply to the throne speech at least initially started in the Legislative Chambers in Dawson. At that time I think the Members - I am sure it was unanimous - felt that the expressions of legislative will in those old Chambers were something that we were all proud to be part of last week.
I have discovered that few times do exist in political life where some unanimity is expressed, but there appears to be an overwhelming consensus of opinion emanating from people in this Legislature primarily that I am far too long-winded and boring for my own good. I will keep my remarks short irrespective of whether or not I am able to stick to the point. I will try not to make this too much of a torturous experience for the House. There is a great deal I will wish to discuss during this session, and there will be many opportunities to debate the issues.
I, as the Member for Mayo, have enjoyed and have been extremely proud of the opportunity to represent the Mayo riding in the Legislature over the course of the past few years. It has been a quiet corner of the territory that is comprised of hard working people. They have demanded little of their MLA, only that they are represented in a fair and just manner in the Legislature, that the representation provided by the MLA is proper and humane. I hope, to some small measure, that I have lived up to their expectations.
In many circles of government, there has been a tendency to ignore the interests of my riding. It is often been considered convenient not to deal with the issues that are important to the people whom I represent. I recall, in the initial days of the 1982-1985 term of office, the Ministers on the front bench openly joking about the communities in my riding. The representations made on behalf of the community of Elsa to have a campground built or to have municipal infrastructure provided or highway construction done were often met with open contempt by front benchers in the Conservative government. That has changed.
Recognition for the integral of role that the communities have played in the economic and social live of the territory has finally come to pass. I am proud to have played at least some small role in ensuring that happens.
When this government came to office, the economic picture in the territory was bleak. There was little mining except for a beleaguered placer mining industry. The community of Elsa was plugging away as usual. Private sector activity was, in the main, quite demoralized. There was a dependency on federal coffers, which showed little prospect of changing. The previous government, which was the epitome of tired arrogance, had no solutions other than the good old mega project that we heard a little about again today in Question Period. There was the pipe dream, the get-rich-quick solution to the Yukons economic problems.
The proposition was put forward basically that if we were to second guess the real movers and shakers in the country and the world, we might luck into a few easy dollars as a solution to the economic woes of the territory. There was a time when the Legislature was preoccupied for months and months over the discussion of whether or not the government was going to build an oil port on the north coast of the Yukon on speculation that maybe something might happen. There were a few of us who were trying to call to the governments attention in those days that communities were unable to extricate themselves from the economic malaise that they had found themselves in.
The communities, such as my own, were often strangling because their tax dollars were being invested in the pipe dream of an oil port on the north coast. There were discussions in this Legislature on whether or not a port should be developed to support an oil industry that had as its basis, at that time, petroleum incentive grants from the federal government.
This government recognized the bankruptcy of that approach was something that the Yukon public simply could not survive much longer. It was not sustainable, and it was not responsible. We would never be our own masters. We would always be dependent upon luck, and others, to pull us through economic hard times. The motto of the Yukon being perhaps to boom/bust, boom/bust, boom/bust, would continue unabated. We knew that, as a territory, the strength that we had to seek was from ourselves. We had to become more self-reliant. We had to become better at taking care of ourselves. We had to become more diversified and less dependent on single resource areas. We had to reduce the leakages in our economy that were bleeding much of the health and vitality that we required. The communities - which are our mainstay, our life blood - with their own inherent strength had to be strengthened again and allowed to blossom further, so that people could choose to stay to develop the economy and not be forced to leave while the government was fixating on mega projects and a dreamscape on the economic horizon.
The governments, the private sector and individuals and organizations had to work together to reach the ultimate goals and, ultimately, more independence. So this government, with a tremendous amount of hustle, started to work immediately in support of such activities as the opening of the Curragh Mine, the establishment of the Skagway Road as a year-round transportation link between our centres and ports external to the territory; there was support for the Yukon Energy Corporation after the assets had been transferred from NCPC to the Yukon, with a recognition that power rates had to be maintained to a minimum in order to provide industry with the kind of support required to ensure that the economic growth that we knew we were capable of would continue unabated and grow even further to new heights.
There were a number of projects that we have announced in the Legislature in the past, and will be announcing again, that develop the infrastructure to support business, to improve transportation and communication links. We have even provided support for municipal services to improve the quality of life in many of our small communities.
It was a practice to a point where the economy now in the Yukon is the fastest growing in Canada, and the percentage of the total work force and persons working in the public sector has dropped from 40 percent to 34 percent.
Combined with a devolution of control to the communities - which is based on the principle that the closer people are to the decision making in government, the better and more sensitive the decisions will be - the government has managed, with the public, to get together around a variety of consultative processes, including Yukon 2000, to discuss the direction the economy should take. That also involved the good support and effort from people who had not, in and of themselves, spoken together to discuss the economy.
The conclusions about what the Yukon would do would be Yukon conclusions, and the decisions that Yukon would make would be made in the Yukon.
Arguments were made that the national government, as well, should invest as a country in the north to help the north help themselves. Formula financing and an extension were extensively negotiated with northern development in mind. The combined effect of financial resources and the hustle from this government, along with hard work and smart risk taking from the private sector, have produced results unmatched in the country.
I say all this because I am proud of the effort that has been made from the Yukon government to support every economic activity from the farm gate to the mine portal. I am proud of the record of the economy, and I am proud of the community effort that Yukoners have shown and the faith they have had in themselves. I say this as well, knowing that the Progressive Conservative opposition has pretty well categorically rejected this approach. For them, the economy is an illusion. We have heard time and time again in this Legislature the clarion call that the economy is illusionary, is doomed, has no hope of survival.
There is the feeling that has been expressed on numerous occasions by the Conservatives that the work that is being done to enhance the economy and broaden its economic base is in fact a lie. The miners driving a drift in Elsa are living a lie. The truck drivers who are hauling goods around the territory are living a lie. It is not real work that they are doing. They have some inkling of what real work means from the initial statement in Dawson about what counts as real economic activity and we have heard on numerous occasions that the only real economic activity is that which is part of a mega project or that which takes place when we are gainfully employed by American employers. That seems to be the kind of economic activity that the Progressive Conservatives consider to be significant.
I certainly do not hope that the support that the private sector has shown for the economy in this territory, the small business starts that have begun, the mines that continue to open in the territory, all seem to be an illusion, a short lived illusion for the Conservatives.
The Conservatives have also been indicating to us that the investment that the federal government has made in northern Canada, and in particular the Yukon, is misplaced. There are times they want to take credit for beginning negotiations for formula financing that has allowed increased resources to come into the territory and enhance our infrastructure, but in the main when we hear the subject the Conservatives continually criticize the fact that expenditures take place in anything. When the Capital or Operation and Maintenance Budgets come forward the fact that we are spending is considered to be wrong-headed. The fact that the federal government has invested in the Yukon to improve our infrastructure is termed by the Conservatives to be a waste of money. We must be more preoccupied with the federal deficit.
When the formula negotiations were renewed last year and the Yukon government and federal government tried to work out a new agreement for formula financing, it became abundantly clear to the federal government that because of the increased and enhanced economic activity in this territory the federal government was also enjoying increased revenues as a result. They recognized that the investment made in the north was not only a desirable thing from a moral perspective, but also made good economic sense from a federal perspective.
The Conservatives have continually indicated that the expenditures by government and the infrastructure of the territory are breeding a measure of dependence on government expenditures and on government activity. This is despite the fact that government employment itself is dropping as a percentage on the whole employment picture in the territory.
There is a feeling when government makes any kind of expenditures in the infrastructure or to support business for farming, to encourage mining investment, that this expenditure is wrong. There is an exquisitely stated position by the Conservatives that the expenditures that have been channeled from the federal government to the Yukon government towards our economy are wrong, that we should be staking our hopes on foreign employers, on foreign activity in a way that is completely unwarranted, completely uncalled for. It rejects the spirit that Yukoners have in themselves.
We are investing in ourselves. We are improving our economic punch and potential so that we can compete on equitable terms with others in the country and around the world. Pressures are brought to bear on a growing economy, and the government is set and ready to address them. We have heard some discussion in the Legislature during the past couple of years about the requirement for residential land, and the government is ready to address that issue. It has been addressing it over the last year.
There have been concerns addressed about the number of housing starts in the territory, and the government is prepared to address that as well. I will lay this governments record on land beside that governments record any day. I am not saying that just as a rhetorical point. I am going to lay the record beside the previous governments record in this session of the Legislature.
We are strengthening the economy in the territory. We are strengthening our economy. I hear from the mega project junkies that we are not preparing for another mine failure at Curragh and that we do not have a contingency plan. They should take a look at our businesses, our communities, at the government support for a wide range of economic activities.
We are not going to look after ourselves and become more self sufficient by wishing, hoping, praying and studying another mega project. We are going to strengthen ourselves in our own communities where we live. The message that comes from the Throne Speech, which I wholeheartedly support, is that our economic and social strength comes from ourselves. In order to improve our economy, we will have to look at ourselves first in order to prosper. We will trade with Alaskans. We will trade with British Columbians. We will trade with Koreans and with the Japanese. We will trade with others in an international community and do so from all the internal strength that we can muster. We will be traders. We will not be beggars.
I hope I never hear again from a Member of this House that should the course that we have chosen continue, that we can expect to be governed by another province in the future. I will not pass judgment on that any further here, other than to say that I believe that it is wrong, misguided and irresponsible.
Miners in Elsa are not living a lie when they dress for work in the morning. The road reconstruction that makes it more economical to sell ore from that particular mine is not an irresponsible expenditure. A first class education system and facilities are not unwise investments in our future. Expenditures in hydro power development are not unwise expenditures.
The faith that we have had in ourselves has been the hallmark of this administration. The approaches that were taken by the previous government, while the economies in our communities were strangling, to look to the mega-project or to look to external sources to somehow give us the quick buck, is an approach that we have rejected.
I promised that I would not be long-winded, and I will do everything in my power to live up to that commitment.
There are many important issues of our day that the Throne Speech has addressed. First, and probably foremost, is the land claim issue. I will make it a point to speak on this myself during the coming weeks and months. The recognition of cultural rights of the Yukons first people is something that is not only the moral duty of this Legislature, but also something that has an economic component that I think cannot be ignored. The fairness that the government has shown to native communities in terms of development taking place in those communities is something that has also been a hallmark of this administration.
The forum that we have undertaken in education is something that I will take great pains to address in some detail over the course of this session, because it is a field of endeavour for which I am personally responsible, and for which I feel deeply about. In the Legislature, in the past, we have discussed a need to reform the education system. While the discussions have been singularly devoid of policy matters, I think that it is incumbent upon this Legislature - Opposition and government - to address the significant policy issues of our day in order to make reform a reality.
The government has desired to develop a well-integrated and flexible education system that spans the educational requirements from childhood to adulthood, from kindergarten to post secondary programs, and it is not an easy mandate to accomplish. There are differing aspirations and expectations and there is a broad range of need within limited resources that must be addressed. That is nothing new to most legislators or to this government. I can tell you now that the direction we are taking in education to draw in more community involvement and greater public participation in education, to consider education as a continuum, to enhance the equality of opportunity for all residents of the territory through our education system, and to involve the planning processes to anticipate directions in which we would like to go, are all areas behind which this government stands four-square in support.
I will have a number of opportunities to speak to the approach that we have taken in education in this Legislature over the course of the next couple or three months. I would hope that many of the issues will be thoroughly discussed by all Members of the Legislature because I am sure they all have ridings that have parents that are concerned about the education of not only the children, but also the education of the populous as a whole.
What I will do is say I am certainly proud of the general direction this government is taking. I am happy to be part of the team - every bit as happy this year as I was last year. I believe in what we are doing. I have acquired new heights of respect for my colleagues for the hard work they put into the job that has been done and the one that is yet to be done.
Mr. Brewster: If that was a short speech I would hate to hear one of his long ones.
I welcome the opportunity to respond to this governments fifth Throne Speech. All I can say is that it is a good thing for the Members of this government that this political game does not follow the rules of baseball, where you are given three strikes and then you are out.
All of the Throne Speeches so far have been full of fancy talk about what the government is going to do, yet in the final analysis very little actually gets done. We end up with a shelf load of high faluting plans but no action. Each reminds me of some lines in a poem on politics entitled Cowboy Poetry. This appeared on my desk one day from an anonymous friend. It goes something like this: Day after day they keep their jaws a flapping, they think that the end justifies the means. Most of the time I think they are full of beans. They promise you everything under the sun, and when elected they get nothing done. Over little difference they throw a big fuss, and they are the ones who are leading us. I think that somebody is trying to tell all of us that.
The government is very long on promises and very short on delivery. The speeches are generally full of baloney and this one is no exception. Take page two, for example, which states at the top of the page: The federal government has responded generously to the Yukons economic plight, working cooperatively to help reopen the Faro mine and to transfer the Yukon assets of Northern Canada Power Commission. However, by the end of the page this federal contribution is soon forgotten. The speech states blatantly: My government has taken the following major economic initiatives: the mine at Faro has been reopened with millions of dollars invested in roads, energy, housing and community services. Now it is all my government. There is no mention that all of the money came from the federal government and that it was Curragh Resources and the federal government that were primarily responsible for the opening of the mine.
To back up my argument, I would like to read a little article that appears in the paper. Some of the MPs were not happy about signs on government projects. Dr. Bob Driscoll, P.C. Kootenay West said, the federal funded airport being built at Pelly Crossing does not have any signs indicating that it is being funded by the feds. It comes down to a fundamental issue of being prejudice. Shucks, if the federal government is going to take the blame for being callous, it should get the credit when it listens to the people and looks after their needs. If the federal government provides 90 percent of the funding on a project and the territorial government puts up the signs, then there is something wrong. I agree 100 percent.
In a speech to the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce on February 15, 1988, the Government Leader piled it on even higher and deeper. He made the following claim: Elected in May, 1985 our government responded to the immediate crisis by making job creation our top priority. Within six months we had negotiated a development agreement with private investors and the federal government to reopen our biggest mine at Faro.
What do we mean, we?
Tracking the Government Leader across the country is just like following a horse trail. Edmonton should have plenty of green grass this spring. In this same speech the Government Leader stated categorically that in a post free trade environment we certainly could not have made the deal that reopened the Faro mine.
Now, this is the kind of talk that gives politicians a bad name. You see, the Edmontonians probably thought that this meant that a free trade agreement would have prevented the Faro mine from opening. If we in this House were more accustomed to the Government Leaders style of speech, we would know that this is not what he meant. The Government Leader was just being honest. It is a simple statement of fact that the Government of Yukon had neither the expertise nor the necessary resources to reopen the Faro mine, either in a post free trade environment or in a pre free trade environment - or, as a matter of fact, in any circumstances whatsoever.
The Yukon leader knows full well that a free trade agreement would not have affected the reopening of the Faro mine, and it is also a fact that the mining industry in Canada supports the free trade agreement. For the edification of the Members opposite, I will table a pamphlet prepared by the Mining Association of Canada which states that the Canadian mining industry needs a free trade agreement to survive and thrive.
I might also add that I attended the North of 60 Agricultural Conference and, contrary to the views of the Government Leader, the agricultural industry also supports free trade.
Speaking of free trade, I would now like to offer another of this governments claim to fame: Yukon 2000. A government that cannot manage its own spending would have Yukoners believe that it has planned the collective future to the year 2000; however, I would like to know how much it cost the Yukon taxpayers to hire all the high-priced consultants from outside to do all the studies. How much did it cost the Yukon taxpayer to wine and dine all the participants? Lots, I will bet - and how can this so-called plan have any claim to credibility at all when it failed to address the most important economic issue of the decade: free trade. Did Ed Broadbent say that free trade could not be included so they did not?
It is little wonder that the people are jaded and cynical about politicians when all they see is pretense and no substance, when they see the government sacrifice the best interests of the people it is supposed to serve, on the alter of political partisanship. If Ed Broadbent and Bob White say free trade is bad for Yukon, then so be it. Scrap the facts and toe the party line - that is the governments position.
Just when one becomes completely frustrated with the whole system, something happens which restores your faith and makes your day. Compare the report by the 20/20 Vision Action Committee to Yukon 2000. Here is something done by Yukoners, for Yukoners. Compare the cost of the 20/20 report to the cost of the things that matter. There is no comparison. The 20/20 report made my day. As you read this study, you realize that there are still a few Yukoners left who can think for themselves. They do not need government telling them what to do or interpreting their views - they will do it themselves, thank you very much.
These Yukoners have had it with closed opportunities, closed parks - they are off limits except for the chosen few. These Yukoners have a dream for Yukon that can come true, unlike the bureaucratic government controlled nightmare the Members opposite would have us live in. The 20/20 report was truly refreshing. I never thought I would see the day that a study coming out of the City of Whitehorse would propose initiatives outside the city boundaries. The drafters of this report recognized that if the Yukon as a whole prospers, the City of Whitehorse will prosper too. It will receive the spinoff benefits and vice versa for rural Yukoners.
The section on tourism was particularly enlightening. As Members are aware, tourism in the Kluane area is one of my pet peeves. Anyone who takes the time to read this section will soon realize we have not progressed very far. The report states that success in drawing tourists will come to only those places or communities that actually work to create a memorable experience for tourists. Truer words were never spoken. The streetscape programs in various communities look nice, but do they qualify as creating a memorable event? Do they attract and keep tourists for an extra day, an extra hour, or even an extra five minutes? The answer is all too evident.
These streetscape programs, I might mention, are effectively make work projects for consultants to find more work. For example, one of the tasks outlined in the proposal for Beaver Creek streetscape program is an assessment of potential sources for additional funds for the streetscape program. Similarly, in the proposal for the streetscape programs in Burwash Landing and Destruction Bay it is even more blatant; it states, in this task, the consultant will briefly identify what funding and program options are available to the community to develop streetscape, tourism or heritage projects in the community. In this way, other programs may be found which can supplement the streetscape funding program and encourage the development of an integrated tourism program. More money, more commission for the consultants from outside.
Let us examine my favourite area: Kluane - the eighth or ninth wonder of the world and the most beautiful place in the Yukon. In a colourful pamphlet put out by the Department of Tourism entitled Yukon: The Magic and the Mystery, there is one of Kluanes mountains gracing the front cover and there are other Kluane scenes throughout the booklet. The Magic and the Mystery is an appropriate title as it applies to Kluane. To be able to really see it, you have to have a magical power or a lot of money, and it is a mystery how stupid we can be to lock it up so nobody can see it. Eighty percent of the Kluane National Park is a mystery to Yukoners and tourists alike. In the 20/20 report, Kluane Park is referred to as a world class attraction in waiting. I am tired of waiting, and you are going to hear more about this issue as this session progresses. Further, national parks are going to have public hearings in September on Kluane Park, so I urge all Yukoners who are interested in promoting tourism in the territory to make their views well known.
Since I started this little campaign on Kluane National Park, many, many people, even strangers, have stopped me on the street and their words are very simple: do not back off and do not give up. I reassure them I will not.
Just when you are feeling up, someone hooks you from behind, slashes you and brings you down. I am referring here to a pamphlet published by the Yukon Visitors Association, presumably funded by the Government of Yukon. On the back page, there is a map showing Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories, BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan. The map shows two direct air routes to Whitehorse, from Vancouver and Edmonton, but the most interesting thing is the road map. The Alaska Highway is there all right, from Dawson Creek to Watson Lake, from Watson Lake to Whitehorse, and then it ends.
It has just disappeared. It is not there. I know the north highway is in bad shape. In some places, it is like a cattle trail, but it is still there. It has not disappeared off the face of the earth. It is my intention during this session, to introduce a motion regarding the condition of the Alaska Highway. This will be the second motion that I have brought forward. There has still been no action from anybody, including this government.
This is the second time that I have seen Yukon brochures funded by this government, with maps not showing the Alaska Highway north or the Haines Highway. On this most recent example, the Member for Klondike will be pleased to know that the Klondike Highway is there in all of its glory. The Alaska Highway merges with the Klondike Highway and leads directly to Dawson City and on to Fairbanks. Even the Top of the World Highway has better billing than the north Alaska Highway. If I did not know that the Member for Klondike was an honourable gentleman, I might suspect that he had a hand in drafting this map.
I fear that in 1992, when we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Alaska Highway, the celebrants using a map like this one, will make the wrong turn and end up in Dawson or Mayo.
The 20/20 report is right on. There is a cartoon entitled, Tourist Pit Stop by Chris Caldwell. It shows a small welcome sign to Whitehorse towered over by another monstrous sign that reads Visit historic Dawson City: gambling, entertainment in the gold rush tradition, fun, fun, fun. Last stop before the Top of the World and Alaskan points beyond.
Some people may think that this is funny, but it is no joke. If a person drives north on the highway to the Mayo cutoff, they see a large sign for Dawson, another sign for Dawson followed by the regular highway signs for Dawson. Haines Junction is there in the form of a small sign. There is no mention of Kluane, Destruction Bay or Burwash. There is no mention that a person could get to Fairbanks this way or that a person does not have to go to Dawson to get to Fairbanks. None of this is mentioned. Kluane has been outsigned, and there is no question about this. The most beautiful scenery in the Yukon has been beaten out by some painted plywood.
I would now like to address the area of agriculture and livestock. I was very pleased to hear the Minister of Renewable Resources announcement about the inspection regulations allowing ranchers and farmers to commercially market their beef, pork, poultry and possibly rabbit. This is a very positive development, and I welcome it. However, I am extremely upset with the government for its complete and utter failure to make agricultural land available to Yukoners. The agricultural land application process is nothing but a bureaucratic sink hole. Applications are submitted and five, six or seven years later, people are rejected.
The agricultural lands applications bill of rights or code of fair play that was released with considerable fanfare last December is not worth the paper it was written on. The fact is that people cannot get land. To make matters worse, the government tells people that they have to have their livestock fenced in by April 1. I would like someone to tell me how a person is supposed to fence in their livestock when they cannot even get the land.
For those few people who are lucky enough to have some land, how can they be expected to fence in their property in the middle of winter. Last fall no one knew anything about this coming into effect this April. Let us have some common sense in government. Both these problems have caused a number of people I know who have raised cattle here for years, to move their herds outside the territory and for others to have them all butchered. The government has once again put the cart before the horse.
I would now like to deal with one of my favourite topics: government red tape.
Red tape is one of this governments biggest exports. Forms, regulations, policies and what have you are all done in Whitehorse and then sent on to every community club, every group, every volunteer organization in every community in the Yukon. There are tons of it, and I am sure a whole forest had been laid to waste just to satisfy the appetite of this bureaucratic tiger.
The net result of all this increased paperwork is that we are losing people. They do not want to volunteer anymore, because they cannot do two or three jobs at the same time. They have their regular jobs and, then, have to spend hour after hour filling out paperwork that this government forces them to do. The thrill of doing volunteer work, or keeping a club going, is gone under the circumstances like this.
I had occasion to raise this matter in this House last session, so the government is well aware of the problem. In talking with government officials, they too admitted to receiving complaints about all this red tape on their travels on the highway. The response to the problem was very revealing and, better than anything else, shows the difference in philosophy and approach between our two parties.
Our recommendation, of course, was to simply stop the paper flow, cut down all the needless government bureaucracy and regulations. The government officials response was quite the opposite. He saw the solution in the form of a recreational director being hired to handle the paperwork in each community. The answer to more government regulation is to hire more bureaucrats to look after it.
I will make a deal with the Minister of Community and Transportation Services here and now. I will trade his 12 or 13 community recreation directors for one controller of all the paper burdens that we now have.
Before ending my response, I would like to give you one more example of how this red tape goes along with regulations. It interferes with every aspect of our lives, up to and including going to the backhouse. A family I know has just built a new home right beside the one they had been occupying for the last 15 years. When they tried to get a permit to hook up their new home to their septic system, the permit was refused. They were told that they had to build a new system, haul gravel and leave it open for inspection. All this is required, even though the old system has worked for 15 years and is still working perfect. The bureaucrats must do it because the paper says it. This is absolute stupidity.
I hear the Member for Elsa bragging about the work going on. He mentioned Elsa, Dawson City and Faro. He did not mention Haines Junction, Carmacks, Ross River, Teslin or Burwash - the places where they need work and they have not got work. Nobody on that side can tell me they have. It is absolutely not there.
There are more and more people frustrated all the time because they are not getting the work. We turn around and turn around and point at two or three communities that went because of mining projects. This is quite correct.
I might inform the Member for Mayo that the Elsa mine was there long, long before any of this started and will probably be there long, long after we are all gone. It is an example of private enterprise. It asks for no money from government, and has stood on its own feet and survived almost as long as the Yukon.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I always feel a little hesitant to follow the Member for Kluane in such debates, partly out of respect for my elders but also out of keen appreciation of the speeches he gives here, which are always deeply felt and often entertaining and, I would even say, sometimes provocative. I only wish on this occasion that I not only had a chance to hear from the Member for Kluane but, as well, the Member for Riverdale North before I spoke. Nonetheless, I am sure the Member for Riverdale North, who follows me, will give a very succinct and precise analysis of what I have to say and will offer some very thoughtful and constructive remarks following my intervention.
I did appreciate hearing from the Member for Kluane, and I have to tell him that I am sorry that there are a great number of things where I disagree with him. I noticed that he talked about the mining industry and our attitudes towards the mining industry. He will not mind my saying, therefore, that I was pleased to have pointed out to me by people in the mining industry a couple of editorials in the Northern Miner in the last few months, one of which talked about the very positive investment that this government had created for mining in the north. Another editorial said that the Yukon government had created programs for mining which were second to none.
Mr. Speaker, you may know, as I am sure other Members will, that the Northern Miner is the industry newspaper. It is not an acknowledged supporter of the New Democratic Party - in fact, rather the opposite - and, given that source, we were particularly gratified and, I think, appropriately so to have recognition from that national publication for the work we have done in promoting mining, even if that perspective is not shared in Haines Junction - at least by one gentleman from Haines Junction.
The suggestion was made by the Member opposite that this government had done a lot of talking but had not done very much. I think the plain hard facts speak for themselves. This government has, in terms of its economic performance, created more jobs per capita than any other jurisdiction in the country.
We have had the fastest economic growth of any jurisdiction in the country. I would concede right away that the formula financing arrangements with the federal government that we have just negotiated played a very substantial role in helping us do that.
To say that nothing has happened, that there have been no roads built, no schools built, no mines opened, no new jobs created, is really, I think, to play very loose, or have a very distorted sense of reality.
The Member opposite who just spoke did recognize, and in a sort of backhanded way perhaps, pay tribute to the initiatives that we have taken in Faro and Watson Lake and other communities to create jobs. Then he went on to suggest that we have not done anything in the smaller communities. That is not the case. It is not the case. We have done, I daresay, more than any government in Yukons history to try to create jobs in the smaller communities.
There is a lot more left to be done and we would concede immediately that there is a problem of chronic unemployment in many of the communities that he mentioned. We are going to take steps, we have been taking steps, we will in the future be taking steps, to do something about that. I will make a prediction that every time we take a step to do something about it, we will be attacked by the Members opposite. Whether it is an initiative in the Capital Budget or whether it is a program in the Operation and Maintenance Budget to deal with the problem of unemployment in those communities, we will be attacked and the Members opposite will vote against it. That is the truth. That is the truth.
I will tell you something else. The people in the small communities know it.
The remark made about our dependency on the federal government, I hope to talk about later in this session. I think the kind of economy we have now is exactly the kind of process we need to wean ourselves from that federal dependency. I think the facts will show that we are doing it.
The Member attacks the process of economic planning in this community. I know it is very different from what the Conservatives do, but he attacks the idea that we go out and consult with people, provide them with information and then share it, and then listen to the people in terms of developing an economic strategy for the territory. He attacks that process, which is now complete and we will be publishing the results soon, for not taking into account the free trade deal, a deal which has not been ratified yet, which may be changed in the U.S. Congress before it is through, a deal which has not yet come into effect, and a deal about which nobody with any degree of confidence can be absolutely sure of its impacts.
I am going to be bringing into the House later this session some statements by some very strong advocates of that deal who would talk about their inability to judge precisely some of the impacts. When I expressed a concern about it, I have in the main quoted supporters of the deal: Donald MacDonald, who says special provisions should be made for the north, and there are none; Peter Lougheed, a supporter of the deal, who said that as a result of it we will have less control over our resources than before - a special concern for residents of the territories who have never enjoyed the control of resources that people in the provinces had. Before we even get that control it will be taken away from us. Or. I can quote some of the provincial premiers from Atlantic Canada, some of them Conservative, who have stated quite clearly that this particular deal between Mr. Mulroney and Mr. Reagan will compromise the regional development programs that we have been using recently very successfully.
The Member also said something that I look forward with great pleasure to debating with him later, and that is, quoting a statement of mine, that in the post free trade environment the Faro deal could not be put together. He seemed to be implying he did not believe that. The federal government says it is true, that we could not put such a deal together in a post free trade environment. It would not be allowed. American officials will confirm that. As absolute confirmation, he should know that the Faro deal has been cited recently by US senators as an example of the kind of thing that they want to prevent. In the future, they want to prevent the national and local governments taking steps like we took to reopen the mine at Faro, because they regard it as a subsidy. Subsidies are not yet defined, but those American legislators are quite clear that they regard it as subsidy and, under the terms of the free trade deal, an unacceptable subsidy.
In the free trade arrangements, the dispute settlement mechanism that has been created would judge issues not on whether they are a violation of Canadian laws, they will judge issues in terms of whether they are a violation of American law and American interpretations of what is and is not a subsidy.
I was naturally flattered to hear the Member for Porter Creek West who, notwithstanding his quite unreasonable assaults on me sometimes in Question Period, I quite like. I have always been fond of his family, and quite like him, but I was quite flattered to hear him quote a little story I have been using in a speech for ten years now. It is the story about a new mine opening and jobs going south and the taxes going to Ottawa and the profits to Toronto and the ore to Tokyo and us being left with a hole in the ground. This is actually quite a well known story. I do not have very many quotes attributed to me and on the national record. I was pleased that, during the last few months, I noticed this story has been quoted admirably by a Conservative MP, a Member of the Liberal Cabinet in Ontario, all illustrative of the problem of northern development - not just in the Yukon, but elsewhere in the country. I would only have to say modestly that it would take someone with the wit of a garden slug not to understand what that story illustrated.
What that story illustrated was the pattern of northern development.
Some Member: Name calling.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Member is tut-tutting. I have not named anyone. I am sorry that Members opposite think that I have been mean and nasty. I am particularly sorry for the Member for Porter Creek West who thinks that I have been mean to him. I really am honestly sorry about that. Unlike some Members here, I do not enjoy hurting people. I do not enjoy the more abusive parts of the debate. I am sure you, Mr. Speaker, would concede that I do not, as a rule, start fights in this House. Sometimes I have to try to help finish them, but I do not, as a rule, start them.
My instinct is that if I see someone suffering a cowardly, nasty or stupid attack, or a sexist or a racist attack, whether it is a friend in the public or a friend in this House, to come to their defence. I do not make any apologies for doing that.
It is interesting how the Member for Porter Creek West has consistently, in his speech, attacked from the weakest ground of the Conservative party. That was very charitable of him. He attacked us for statements about democracy and he even mimed my speeches. I was pleasantly surprised to see that he had been reading them, but he mentioned a quote from Disraeli that I will not repeat. But he did talk about democracy. I hope Members opposite will not take offence to my next statement, but there is nothing that the New Democratic Party of the Yukon has to learn from Yukon Tories about democracy. There is nothing.
I have been in this House in this days when we could not get appointed to a Board unless we were in the Tory party. I remember when, if you were not a Tory, you could not even get consulted about anything in the territory. I have been around long enough to know the way this place used to work. I can go anywhere in the territory and know conservatives who will tell me that the way it is done now, in terms of the level of information we provide, the amount we consult with people or the representative nature of boards and committees, is a massive improvement from the way it used to be.
The false economy theme has also been uttered by Members. I would like to compliment my colleague, the Member for Mayo, on this one. The Member for Riverdale North said that I should have some problem with this one. I will. Another Member is suggesting that he may have some problems with this one too. The suggestion has been made in certain circles that we, in the Yukon, do not have a real economy, that what we have is a false economy.
The notion is being presented that somehow people are not working right now, they just think they are, that the mines are not opening and they are not producing ore. They are just pretending they are. There are no roads being built. It is all in our imaginations. People are being deluded. There are not schools going up. There are not community health projects. These things are not really happening.
The idea behind this kind of fantasy, the idea that breeds this kind of fantasy, is one that I have a lot of problems with. It is an idea that somehow government is bad, that politics is an evilness that is only fit for wimps and second raters. Somehow, the real men are out there making the real money in the real world whether they are stockbrokers, hairdressers, lawyers or whatever. They are the real people making the real contribution, making the real bucks and creating the lasting fabric of society .
I think it is nonsense, the idea is that somehow public expenditures are inferior to private ones, that somehow private dollars are noble and pure and vital and strong but that public dollars are weak and anemic and dirty, that somehow they do not have the same kind of impact on the economy. Of course, this is a silly, a very silly, idea. We are talking about the same dollars. They have the same impact on the economy. They buy the same food in the grocery store, they put the same cereal in your bowl in the morning, they buy the same gas for your pickup truck, and to suggest otherwise is to lose touch with reality.
Does the dirty, filthy, government dollar suddenly smell fresh and clean after it has been laundered by the construction company building a senior citizens home? Does the construction worker who is working on that project have a clean dollar or a dirty dollar? Has he a first rate dollar or a second rate dollar? If he goes down to McDonalds and buys a hamburger, does his friend eating the hamburger suddenly say, Oh, this tastes awful, this meat is rotten, bought with the public dollar. Or if the civil servant buys his friend a beer, does he say, Oh, this beer tastes awful, it has government dollars in it.
Of course not. When someone pays for drycleaning with one of these pieces of tainted currency, or buy groceries with this funny money, do the clothes come back all dirty or the groceries suddenly turn out to be junk food? Of course not. This is a very, very, very silly idea.
It has been suggested somehow that the kind of economy that we have now is not creating wealth. I am interested when people talk about it not creating wealth because I am never quite sure who they are talking about creating wealth for. Of course, there is gold and silver and zinc and lead and lumber and profits and taxes - the wealth of this territory going south and benefiting many of us along the way in terms of wages or business opportunities. Look around. Look around, not just at the rivers and the mountains and the forest, but look around also at the schools, the parks, the hydro facilities, the public buildings, the roads, all these things here, which we can see from this building. They, too, are part of the wealth of this territory, part of the real wealth of this territory. It is here for the benefit of the people, belonging to the people of the territory.
When we invest money in our schools, we are contributing to the wealth of the territory. Statistically, we have the best educated population in the country. That is, in part, because we happen to import in the public service and in other sectors so many skilled people. It is also because we have quite a good school system. If you have any kind of sense of proportion, you have to recognize that the public service and our schools are also part of the wealth of the people of this territory. We are not only investing money in mines and energy projects and roads and forestry, we are also investing money in schools and building quality public services for people.
This government, as have governments for many years in the territory, has recognized the value of education. We are moving to a stage where we will be investing even more money in post secondary education in recognition of the changing times, in recognition of the fact that education is no longer about schools alone or for children alone but recognition that education is becoming a lifelong business and it is for adults as much as kids. That is an important change for this territory, and one of which we are proud to be a part. I am also proud to say that this community has not been involved in the kind of cutbacks and downgrading of the education system that we have seen in some of the provinces. I think there are many Members in this House, perhaps on both sides of the House, who would not want that to happen, whatever our financial circumstances.
I want to go back to this notion that is implied in some of the statements we have heard in this Throne Speech debate and in recent public statements by Members opposite, that this notion that somehow government is a nasty business. Conservatives here, as they have elsewhere, have desperately sought power but have lost it after public office. They claim not really to want it; they claim to not really want to be involved in government, that government is this bad thing. I think this is an unfortunate notion that is not a traditional Conservative value. I think, frankly, Conservatives who talk this way have had their minds poisoned by Thatcherism and United States libertarianism. Read the speeches of Conservatives only a generation ago in this country and in Britain. They used to talk about duty. They used to talk about their duty to the nation and their community, and they used to talk about public service being one of the highest callings and that it used to be thought to be a fine thing to be a public employee, to be a public official. Today, a lot of chatter goes on suggesting that someone who works in the public sector as a teacher or a nurse or as a social worker or a highway engineer really has not got the stuff that it takes to make it in the private sector.
I think that is really unfortunate. I believe that the practice of government is a noble calling. As the Member for Mayo said about being proud to be an MLA, I too am proud to be an MLA for Whitehorse West. I am proud to represent this government and this community in councils of ministers, or other forums around the nation. I am proud of that. I believe that parliamentary democracy is the highest achievement of our civilization. The work of government, building a community and advancing civilization is very, very important work. The power to do good is a worthy purpose. To work in the public interest is a fine thing to do.
On that note I will conclude and recommend all Members support the motion in support of the Throne Speech. Thank you.
Mr. Lang: There are a number of issues that I believe have to be touched upon. One of the areas I would first like to touch is the fundamental, all pervasive attitude by the government with respect to the political direction of the Yukon. The concern I have is that we have seen a growth in the civil service that compares to nothing in our history with respect to the number of civil service positions that have been created and made permanent as far as the running of government is concerned. I will be the first to stand in this House and say to the side opposite that when we do take over a program from the Government of Canada then obviously there will be an increase in the complement of staff to the YTG and a decrease to the staff of the Government of Canada. If we had had major transfers of authority or responsibilities in staff I could have seen some reasons and some justifications in this House for the increase of up to 450 permanent person years in this government for the purposes of administration.
The sad reality is that we have experienced one major transfer that does not show up in our budget. That is NCPC. At the same time, we have seen the size of the government telephone directory over the last three years, almost triple in thickness. The government will say that they have not increased the size of the civil service, but the documents speak for themselves. The reality of the situation is that there are numerous consultants and contractual positions throughout the City of Whitehorse and in other communities that are not shown on the books.
We are experiencing, in a population of 28,000, an increased dependency on government. If that government cheque does not materialize in that brown envelope, the individuals are in deep financial trouble. That is the concern that we have. The results of the increase of the size of the civil service is getting to the point where the government is not there to serve the people any longer. The few people who are not dependent upon government are there to serve the government.
It is alarming to hear the Minister of Health and Human Resources telling us that certain homes are under surveillance. They have hired someone specially to do that job. They have hired someone to park in front of peoples homes and write down licence plate numbers. Is that the kind of Yukon we want, where we have a neighbour being encouraged to spy on another neighbour, to lodge a complaint.
We have a situation in Watson Lake where the Human Rights Commission actually investigated a duly elected school committee and made them individually and collectively go through the trauma of the police state coming into their homes and putting them under interrogation asking why they ran for election. Were they thinking about other segments of the population when they put their names forward? Is this the kind of Yukon that we want for 28,000 people? Is this what we, as legislators in this House condone?
The offices of duly elected MLAs have been searched. The RCMP was at the beck and call of the Government Leader. Is this the kind of Yukon that we want?
Is this what we call leadership? Is it leadership where top civil servants are investigated and their offices searched at the direction of the Government Leaders office? Is this the kind of Yukon we want and that we are supposed to be sitting in this House helping to build? Is this the definition of democracy and the example of democracy the Government Leader believes in - who just recently espoused, about three minutes ago, how real democracy was working? Do you know what that definition of real democracy is? If you agree with us, express it publicly; if you disagree with, keep your mouth shut or we will get you.
The Minister of Justice has expressed the opinion that this is silly. It is so silly that right now we have at least one day home operator under surveillance who, up to date, has put out $1,200 of her own money. It is silly, says the Minister of Justice: silly, silly, silly.
Well it is not silly; it is fact. I know that particular individual does not mean much on the political calendar or the political agenda of the Minister of Justice, because it is only one individual and only one individuals rights. It is not the question of collectivism or the question of true socialism, where everybody is supposed to be thinking the same. What we have is a real situation, with the power of the Government of the Yukon Territory - and I am talking real political and economic power - where we have a budget of over $300 million and the control of that $300 million basically is with that front bench. There is a true feeling in many quarters - unlike what the Government Leader says - where people in your riding, Mr. Speaker, actually feel very intimidated by the governments actions. They have come and said to us privately, Look, here are some problems, but do not tell the government who told you that because, quite frankly, they fear retribution. They fear retribution, for example, in their own business where the government decides, all of a sudden, to bring up the concept of value added, or whatever the case may be, and say, Well, we cannot do business with you because you are not hiring the right people and use that as the political excuse to get back at those dissenters who do not agree with the philosophical or political direction of the government.
I have listened to the Government Leader talk about how this is such an open society. I go to the community of Watson Lake and I have people come up to me with complaints but they say, Do not use my name because there might be retribution. The same applies in Whitehorse; it applies throughout the territory and that is where it goes back to the size of government and where the territory is going.
I think we are duty bound to question the philosophical and political direction of the government. There is a lot of window dressing going on - how we support business; we are the economic gurus that were all of a sudden created out of nowhere, and we solved all our economic problems. At the same time, what they do not tell you, is that the $300 million provided in the past year by the Government of Canada to this government assisted in a great way how the government could deal with the economy. From this side of the House, we are not disagreeing that the dollars that have been provided by the Government of Canada should not be spent. Where our disagreement lies is with the direction and how it is being spent.
I listened to the Government Leader stand up and take the credit for building the Whitehorse Elementary School, bringing education to the people of the territory and all these social programs. God bless him, he has been here that long I guess, at least in his own mind. That is not the point, when we talk about the creation of wealth versus the creation of debt. The point we are making is that we have to generate wealth in order to be able to afford that school the Government Leader has spoken. That is the principle we are talking about, when you take a look with respect to the direction of the government and where we have been going.
For example, consistently, every session, there has been the question of a lending type of program as opposed to grants. You can look at this list where grants are given on one hand to an individual and, at the same time, where it is going to a business that is in direct competition with somebody who is partially established or totally established who has had no government assistance. How do you balance those two competing interests? You balance it by taking this financing and putting it into a lending type of institution, as opposed to just giving grants to the chosen few who happen to know how government works.
The other aspect of this approach is that what it will do for the people of the territory is to force those individuals to compete on relatively the same basis as those in established businesses and, at the same time, replenish the government finances. In other words, what we have is a revolving fund, instead of the situation where, once again, you have the granting system where you basically have an unfairness and injustice throughout the system.
The other area I want to touch on is the question of tourism. I want to echo the comments made by the Member for Kluane. I think that we, as legislators and as the Government of the Yukon Territory, should take very seriously quite a number of the recommendations in this particular document called Laying the Foundation for our Future.
Some very serious thought and consideration was given by that group of individuals put together by the City of Whitehorse to see what could be done to lay a foundation for the future so we would not continue to experience the boom and bust cycles within our economy. It was amazing. It did not cost $1 million. It cost very little in relative terms as far as government money is concerned in comparison to the various studies that have been undertaken by this government. All of a sudden we have a document that you and I can understand and that also lays out some realistic objectives and goals that can be met by the City of Whitehorse, but overall by the Government of the Yukon Territory.
An idea that comes to mind is the question of the Yukon College that the Government Leader mentioned earlier. We put a resolution forward suggesting some firm political direction to have the college specialize in the area of tourism training. Focus on that area and make that the highlight of our Yukon College, in conjunction with other courses, so we can encourage people from other parts of Canada and the United States to come to Yukon to learn about the tourism industry, which is one of the major strengths of the Yukons economy. There will be growing pains as we move in that direction, but it will give us some direction. I hope when we debate that motion that the Minister does not suggest that we form a separate committee to discuss that. I hope we can have some decent and lively debate on the college going in that direction and have the course set by our small Yukon parliament.
When you go through this particular document and see the ideas regarding the City of Whitehorse developing a theme, there is a validity to that. Perhaps the city should be approaching the mining community to see what could be done in conjunction with them to further develop that tourism theme. Dawson City is a prime example. They have an historic theme; they have worked on it and people will remember Dawson City when they go home. It is very clearly stated in this particular document.
What I am saying with respect to the economy and the direction we are going, is there are initiatives and ideas that this Legislature and the Government of Yukon can move on and realistically make those objectives and goals. I find it very difficult to sit in this House and listen to these heavy thinkers talk about the year 2000 when people in my riding cannot even buy a lot to build a house on. We have to start looking at goals we can achieve as opposed to having high-faluting dinners and conferences and ignoring the realities of what we face.
We are told that the new lots coming out are going to cost around $30,000 to $40,000. If that is the case, there are people in my riding who will not be able to afford to build a home. They cannot even have the dream of affording their own home. Is that what we want? These are the very real issues and problems that people are facing.
We have put a motion forward to the effect that the Government of Yukon should be doubling or tripling its efforts to meet that demand. I find it ironic that the Member for Faro brought a motion forward two years ago, that we and the government supported, to introduce a low mortgage type of program to assist home owners. We are not only still waiting, but we do not have lots to put the houses on. It will definitely not contribute to the deficit of the Government of the Yukon, because no one will be able to avail themselves of the financing because they will not have a place to build.
This is a chicken and an egg situation. The government is planning for the year 2000. We are the chicken, but they forget that the egg has already been laid, and we cannot even make use of it. Surely, there has got to be some realistic thinking emanating from the political arm of government in order to priorize and identify those very real problems facing people.
Another area of concern that all Yukoners have is the question of land claims and the direction that the government is taking. There are some major concerns about exactly what is taking place and what is going to be the final outcome for the people of the territory. Those concerns are fairly clear. What plans does the Government of the Yukon have for the people here? There are three parties at that table. There is the Council for Yukon Indians who are representing the position of the native people of the Yukon. There is the Government of Canada at that table representing the national interests as well as the interests of the native people. There is also the Government of the Yukon representing the public interest of all Yukoners, native and non-native.
It is safe to say that when that final agreement is released, it is going to have to be reviewed very closely to see what the implications are going to be on native and non-native people in the territory. We are the ones who are going to have to live with it. We are the people who have made our homes here, some of third and fourth generation who are not beneficiaries, who will have to live with the final outcome of the thoughts, principles and philosophy brought forward by the Government of Yukon.
There is going to have to come a day of reckoning where, perhaps, not the principal secretary for Manitoba goes to a meeting to describe what the Government of Yukons position is, or where some civil servant is thrust into the middle of a political debate with interest groups. We, as politicians, and primarily the government, are going to have to answer the political questions that will form the political direction for Yukon. We cannot continue to pretend, in a public information program, information being provided to the general public, and we find out that every meeting that you go to you get a lesson in constitutional history, as opposed to the real position that the Government of Yukon is taking at these talks.
It is a major issue, when you are talking about rights, that some people are going to have more rights than others, and to what extent, and how you relate, for example, a Member on one side of this House with rights versus childrens rights on this side of the House, and how it relates. It becomes very emotional, and it is not a substance where you can buy it for money. It is the direction we are going as legislators and as the Government of the Yukon Territory, in the Yukon that we can see in maybe five years, 10 years or 20 years.
Let us not make this a charade. Let us not sit there and have partial information given out, and we find out six months down the road that that is not the total picture. The public is waiting, and the public is fair. Any agreement that is reached not only must be fair, but be perceived to be fair. If it is not, then the Government of the Yukon Territory has been negligent in its responsibilities.
Another area of concern that I have is the attitude that has been becoming more and more pronounced as we go from session to session. This attitude emanates from the Government Leader and the front bench. It is becoming more and more apparent that they look at the Legislature as a nuisance - something that they have to put up with as the price of picking their paycheque up at the end of the month.
I find it very disconcerting when the Government Leader stands up and accuses somebody of not being nice because they stated something about an issue that disagrees with his royal master, the Government Leader, or somebody in the front bench. We raise the question of surveillance. We raise the real question of the freedom and the right of the individual to operate in our society, and the Government Leader comes up and says that was a law that was passed six years ago. He is trying to bring a red herring into this House, as opposed to standing up and saying, Maybe there is a point here; this may be harassment, and be an area that has to be seriously looked at.
For example, a year and a half ago we discussed the question of Stewart Crossing and an expenditure of $800,000. From this side, the idea was brought forward that we should seriously consider building independent homes for those individuals in that particular camp, and maybe using log homes.
The minister of the day agreed, after a debate of three hours and a cost of $5,000, by the time you figure out staff time and lights and all the other expenditures it take to run this House on a daily basis, and what happened? We got a condominium that looks like it just came out of Oahu, on the side of the Stewart River. The point I am making is that there were some very legitimate ideas brought forward but, as soon as this House adjourned, as soon as we left, who cares? They are not here to talk to us every day; we do not have to answer to the Legislature. I could bring up numerous proposals that were brought forward in good faith that the government should look at and perhaps take up as initiatives, but the general response from the government has been to dismiss it out of hand because they are Conservatives. My concern is that I want to give a message to the government side that it is becoming more and more apparent that there entering the Legislature is becoming a burden, a burden on the shoulders of the front bench especially, and why should they answer to the people of the territory. There are ideas coming forward, positive ideas, that I think the government could take and get credit for. I think they had better assess what they are doing collectively - politically - which is bringing forward the impression of arrogance, overbearing, a know-it-all attitude, which I do not think Yukoners are prepared to accept.
The Yukon, as we know it and as we have known it, is a wonderful place to live. It is a land of 186,000 square miles where we have 28,000 people who have relative freedom to do what they like, to hunt and fish, to within ten minutes get out of the humdrum of, for example, the community of Whitehorse or Watson Lake or, for that matter, the community of Pelly, to go out and experience the outdoors, yet at the same time we enjoy probably one of the highest standards of living in the free world, bar none. We enjoy that high level of living primarily because of the foresight of people who have sat before us in this House, people who did make a priority of education, providing in the community of Pelly Crossing a community that compares with anywhere else in the country and perhaps in most cases is of a higher standard, as are the community of Old Crow, the community of Watson Lake, the community of Ross River. We in Yukon who are raising our children here have probably one of the best education systems in the country, as well.
What concerns me in this area is that when there are interest groups attacking, for example, the Department of Education, I never ever see any spirited approach by the governments front bench to say, look, there are benefits to our system, there are provisions in our system to meet this demand or revise.... We never see the government standing up and saying, we have some of the top quality teachers in Canada and our qualifications for that teaching staff are not even paralleled in any other jurisdiction in the country, as far as qualifications are concerned. Or the multitude of programs that have been brought in over the course of many years to meet the various diverse interests of our community. We almost see in the front bench an acquiescence, a folding up, saying we agree that the department, the staff or the administration are not doing their job properly.
We see a situation where they seem to want to pass the buck to somebody else. It is like the Ross River arena. The Ross River arena has been a fiasco. Why does somebody not stand up and say it? It was an absolute fiasco. The Government Leader stood up and said it is a fiasco and somebody elses fault - it was in the Yukon News - instead of saying look, we are going to take some action and see what exactly happened here and how we are going to rectify it so that it does not happen again.
It seems to me that the government does not want to accept its responsibilities - good, bad, or indifferent - when the issues arise. They want to be there to cut the ribbon, they want to be there at the banquet, but when we are down there slugging her out and when we are doing the hard work, nobody wants to be there. It is like coming into this House. I heard one Member say that he hoped maybe the session would last only a couple of weeks. I think we should be here for awhile. We have probably got more than $5,000 that will be coming down in the budget - maybe $5500, or maybe more like $300 million? It does bear scrutiny. All Members of this House have a responsibility to scrutinize it and to go through it - even including the MLA from Tatchun or the MLA from Klondike - and ask some very serious questions about how is this financed and why is it being financed? Because if we do not, we are taking money from the taxpayer under false pretenses.
This is the ultimate forum - here - the ultimate peoples forum. We happen to have the right and the privilege of serving, for a short period of time, the people of the territory. The Government Leader stood up earlier and said that he is proud to be a Member - as if he is the only person in here who is proud to be a Member. I am sure that everybody in this House, deep down and to themselves, feels very honoured and privileged to have the honour to serve as a Member of this House, whether for a four year term or a eight year term or whatever the time period be. The self satisfaction of saying, Look, I was prepared to serve my country and do my duty - and for him to stand up and say to the general public and to try to convince them that he is the only one here who is real pleased and proud to be here and that is on that side of the House.
The attitude that concerns me, if we do ask a question of the government, is that we do not have the right to ask, let alone the nerve to question the governments actions. Maybe the Government Leaders and my idea of parliament are two different things. I recall when the Government Leader was in opposition. I also recall when the Ministers of Renewable Resources and Justice were in opposition. They did not mind asking questions. I do not recall any pompous speeches made from the other side giving the impression that they should not be permitted to ask those questions. Sometimes the most innocuous question or the most frivolous question turns out to be the most important one.
Holding a seat in the front bench is very time consuming and arduous, along with the responsibilities of being an MLA. The questions that we raise are legitimate ones. When we started todays sitting, questions were being raised about the fundamental rights of individuals, and the Minister of Justice attempted to filibuster Question Period through points of order that he knew were frivolous. At the same time, we have to abide by those types of parliamentary tactics and the Speaker must rule.
It is the intention of this side to bring forward various initiatives and options for the government to consider either by motion or by debate on the various areas of the budget. We will raise various issues that, even though the Government Leader and the front bench may find them distasteful, are very important to the people of the territory. That is the fundamental right of an individual to know if they are being respected or if they are being violated.
I would like the front bench to look at the upcoming session as a challenge to overcome its partisanship, to look at options, alternatives and initiatives brought forward and to give them serious consideration and not show the disrespect that they have in the past.
Mr. Phillips: It is with considerable pleasure that I rise to respond to the Speech from the Throne. First of all, however, I would like to thank the people of Dawson City and the Member for Klondike for their super hospitality when the Legislature had its historic sitting in the Klondike capital last week. As well, a special thank you is due to the legislative staff, and particular the Clerk of the Assembly and Assistant Clerk, for the arrangements they made. The sitting in Dawson meant a lot of extra work by them and I am confident that all Members of the House join me in thanking them for a job well done.
The session in Dawson serves to demonstrate just how deep the roots of responsible government go in Yukon history. This history is something all Yukoners should be proud of and not to be taken for granted.
We on this side were deeply grieved by the death of the father of our Leader. It would have been a very notable event, indeed, for the three generations of the Phelps family to have sat as legislators in the Klondike capital. While on this unfortunate subject, I would also like to express my condolences to the Minister of Justice, as there has been a death in his family as well.
I listened today to the comments made by the Government Leader and it brings back to me memories of similar comments made by the Minister of Education when he said he was comfortable with big government. I thought it interesting today when the Government Leader was also expounding those same feelings, that bigger is better, and as long as it is government it is alright.
As a Yukoner who has lived here for over 40 years, I must say I am deeply troubled with the direction in which this government appears to be taking us. Yukoners who were once proud of their self sufficiency have become so dependent on government that, should the flow of federal dollars ever stop or be curtailed, Yukon would be in a very critical situation. This dependency is not an accident. I believe it is a deliberate plan of action by this government to create a Manitoba of the north. Government spending is totally out of control and this government, like Manitoba, is creating debt rather than wealth. The people of British Columbia know full well what happened to them under a New Democratic government and they learned their lesson well. The people of Manitoba have not been far behind. Now, they, too, have apparently now seen the light and are about to shed the New Democratic albatross that has been hung around their necks for the past six years.
Socialism does not sell. It buys and it buys until there is nothing left but a large debt that future governments have to wrestle to the ground. It is nice to have beautiful recreation facilities with all the latest equipment, but ultimately it is the Yukon taxpayer who has to pay. We all know full well who is going to pay for the New Democratic Partys last supper.
The Government of Yukon recently signed an extension to the Formula Financing Agreement, which gives Yukoners $167 million to spread over the next two years as the government of the day chooses. That is the critical point: how we choose. Let us look for a moment at a few what if scenarios. What if the federal government, from whom we receive over 70 percent of our revenues, decides to cut back on federal transfer payments in order to deal with the monstrous deficit created by 16 years of federal Liberal mismanagement? We know this is happening already. Examine the cutbacks in federal money for maintaining the Alaska Highway. Yukon is not being singled out; there are going to be cutbacks in federal government program financing all over this country because, in the final analysis, the books must balance.
How can this government in good conscience criticize the federal government when it is squandering the hundreds of millions of dollars it was given over the last three years, and promises to do the same for the next two years. What are southern Canadians going to think of us when they discover that each Yukoners receives currently eight times as much money from the Canadian government than they receive, and worse yet, we never stop complaining, we just keep on yapping. Like my honourable colleague for Kluane, when he does not want to hear all the clap trap, they just switch us off. They just switch us off.
What would happen to us if the federal funding was cut back 50 percent. Could we survive? I doubt it. How much of the $400 million from the federal government have we set aside for a rainy day that we know will come. I will bet nothing has been set aside.
What would happen if at the same time world metal prices dropped drastically? We do not have to go far back in history to remind ourselves of that very thing happening. How many of our operating mines would remain open? We know how the world market prices fluctuate. They go up and they go down. I would like to call the Members attention to the most recent edition of Yukon Update, where it points out that although the economic mining industry is booming at present, there are some very strong cautionary notes and we should not just take everything for granted at this time.
The previous Conservative government brought us through some very hard times in 1981 and 1982, with only a fraction of the resources this present government has at its disposal. There was one major difference, aside from the obvious philosophical ones, that they were fiscally responsible. This government is not fiscally responsible. The intent behind the formula financing agreement was to provide for the long term infrastructure that would allow the Yukon to weather future economic storms, to lessen our dependency on the federal purse and to diversify our economy. Clearly, this government has failed. It has betrayed the sacred trust of Yukoners. It is squandering our future.
How many new roads has this government constructed in the past three years? How many new hydro facilities have been created since this government took office? I will tell you: none.
What we have been given instead is the days of wine and roses, more popularly known as Yukon 2000. This government has been planning and consulting. Planning, NDP style, means you get all the various industries and even more interest groups all together in a particular community and hold a big feast. Everyone is wined and dined. From the divergent viewpoints that were expressed, government bureaucrats cloistered themselves and then produced a document that they say represents the consensus of the views they have heard. Their findings, of course, are backed up by hundreds of thousands of dollars of studies by outside consultants. The Government Leader then showers his faithful servants with roses for a job well done.
The process should have been called Yukon 2001: Economic Odyssey. As my honourable colleague for Kluane has already pointed out, the process did not even consider the governments free trade initiative, and it is preposterous. Then I heard the Government Leader say on the radio that they may have to consider an extension to the Yukon 2000 to examine free trade. My advice to all the prospective participants is to start dieting now because you are going to need it. Do not worry about giving any opinion because after the provincial election in Manitoba you are going to have every socialist planner in the country up here joining the ones who are already doing such a fantastic job for us.
I had better not forget the committees. When in doubt, establish a committee. It is a new thriving government industry. Put everyone in the Yukon on a committee, and we cal all live happily ever after on the per diems. Examine the number of committees mentioned in the Throne Speech. The Member for Klondike, in his reply to the Throne Speech, asked for another one. It would not surprise me that a committee has been established to think up more committees. At the rate that this government is going, it is going to take until the year 2000 just to plan our strategy.
On the positive side, we are pleased to see Hyland Forest Products operating in Watson Lake. Watson Lake needs this mill. Once again, however, like Yukon 2000, the Hyland mill is run on the basis of politics rather than on the basis of economics. This government does not seem to realize that if something is run well on an economical, viable basis, political brownie points will be received for doing so.
The new value added policy for government construction contracts is an unmitigated disaster. It represents unwarranted intrusion of the government into the private sector. Hopefully, it will soon go the way of the woodstove regulations or the lottery licences regulations.
I have already mentioned the sorry state of the Alaska Highway. It is interesting and somewhat amusing to see this government establish a Yukon anniversaries commission to celebrate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the construction of the Alaska Highway. Perhaps some of the money spent on those festivities should be utilized instead to fix up the BST or to patch a few potholes so that the celebrants of the anniversary will not have to fly or walk to the festivities.
I am pleased to see that the government continues to plan to fight the anti-fur lobby. The recent advertisements produced in Britain are truly abhorrent, but that is what we get when we deal with these unreasonable fanatics. In this context, I have some advice for the Member for Old Crow. In relation to North Slope development, she is beginning to sound just as fanatical as the anti-fur lobbyists.
Government, and in particular the Member for Old Crow, has taken a no option stand on this issue. Now we are being ignored by some because they are considered on the radical fringe, only presenting one side of the story, and is sometimes stretching the truth. We cannot afford that label.
Let us for a moment look at the facts. Eighty-five percent of Alaskas revenue comes from oil and gas. That oil and gas is running out in the early 1990s. The engine of the Alaskan economy is fuelled by the oil and gas revenues, and they will have to develop those resources in the future. That is a fact, whether or not we like it.
Let us look at some of our concerns. The area in question is used by the Porcupine caribou when calving and is absolutely critical to the survival of that herd. There is no doubt that the porcupine caribou herd is the life blood of the Old Crow people. I am not giving up the fight to protect that herd, but on the other hand, should we not be looking at the facts and spending our energy and our resources necessary to be working with the Alaskans and the Canadian governments to ensure the protection of that herd. That was the spirit of the motion that was passed in this House on December 3 of last year.
Alaskans are becoming surprised and concerned over the confrontational approach that the Member for Old Crow and this government are pursuing. It is an extremely sensitive and emotional issue, and I can understand the strong feeling expressed by the Member of Old Crow, but I also believe that her anti-tactics are becoming counterproductive. Our efforts should not be directed into telling the Americans that they cannot develop oil and gas on their land that they need, but rather to ensure that when they do that, we have the strongest environmental safeguards possible in place to protect the Porcupine caribou herd at its critical time.
If we took this more responsible approach, we would have a much better chance of protecting that herd. It is interesting to note that both native groups in Alaska and the Northwest Territories have now focused more on this approach and have found it can be much more effective.
How can this government, supported by the Members opposite, rant and rave against the Alaskans for wanting to develop the North Slope, while saying nothing about Yukons North Slope? I would be very interested in knowing the position of this government on the Beaufort development off Yukons North Slope. The Government Leader was asked some questions today regarding this very point, and I think he left all of us as confused as we were when we started.
Is it the governments position that there should be no development of the Yukon North Slope, as well? Is the Member for Old Crow, in her anti-development rhetoric, speaking for the entire government, or is she even speaking for all the people of Old Crow? If not, how does this government abide by its hypocrisy when we do not want the Alaskans to develop their North Slope, but retain the option to develop ours?
For the record, we on this side of the House stand for the development of Yukons North Slope with strong - and I stress strong - environmental safeguards. We believe it is possible to have development in the Beaufort and Yukon North Slope without endangering the Porcupine caribou herd. In fact, when you talk about diversifying the Yukon economy and becoming more self-sufficient, and I look at Alaska and what they have done with their permanent fund and revenues they receive from oil and gas and, now, more so at the native groups on the North Slope of Alaska, and some of the native groups in the Norman Wells area of the Northwest Territory, it can help us get off the backs of governments and get on and work and carry out some of these programs ourselves and at least be responsible.
The statements in the Throne Speech regarding the governments support for the farming industry and the availability of agricultural land are a very sorry joke. The facts are that this government has set up obstacle after obstacle in front of Yukon farmers. Why was it that only farmers were required to fill out the fuel tax exemption forms to qualify for the off road tax rebate, and no other industry was required to do so? Why, after three years in office, has the only significant action by this government been to issue an agricultural land freeze in the Hootalinqua North planning area? Why is there a backlog of over 300 agricultural land applications? This is shameful.
Community development does not fare much better. It would appear, contrary to popular belief, that the woolly mammoth is not extinct in the Yukon. His descendants, the white elephant, thanks to this government, can be found in virtually every Yukon community. Whitehorse has the Yukon College, which has doubled in cost. Ross River has its blue monster, which has doubled in cost. Beaver Creek has its swimming pool, complete with a moat. Dawson City has its train route, and I do not think any of us want to comment on that wonderful structure. Swift River has its staff quarters, which are still sitting under six inches of snow and does not meet in the middle. We are lucky we are not building tunnels in the Yukon. We would be in big trouble if we were.
All these are examples of a government that says it plans. The problem with white elephants is that they have a tendency to die off. I can picture a Yukon in the not too distant future full of elephant grave yards. Perhaps the bleached bones and skeletal remains of these too expensive facilities can be turned into tourist attractions or preserved as lasting monuments of what not to do whilst in government.
One of the most comical lines in the whole Throne Speech says that land is the basis of home ownership. You certainly would not know it by the actions of this government. The fact is that there is no land available in Yukon, either rural or urban. There is going to be a housing crisis this summer simply because there are no housing lots available for people to build.
The emphasis of this government is clearly on social issues. The government, in its wisdom, has embarked upon a $60 million or $70 million five year social housing program, whether Yukon needs it or not. Manitoba consultants said we needed such a program, and they are never wrong. Just ask the former premier of Manitoba himself.
The Minister of Health and Human Resources knows about planning. She is an expert in the field, in the far left field. Three years ago, she rose in this House announcing the cancellation of a $1.6 million young offenders facility planned by the previous administration, because it was the wrong thing to do. Instead, she embarked on a community consultation process with a former Member for Tatchun who later decided to avail himself of the closed custody facilities. Where are we today? Three years have passed and there still are no closed custody young offenders facilities. The cost of the proposed facility has been estimated as high as $3.5 million - double the cost of ours. We own a luxury house in downtown Whitehorse, 501 Taylor Street, for open custody of young offenders, which we may lose because of a court challenge. At last count, we sent 16 young offenders to Wellington, B.C., the terrible place the Minister said she never wanted to send anyone to. We upset the senior citizens in Greenwood Place by claiming the Whitehorse Assessment Centre was a closed custody facility but no one believed it, least of all the young offenders who could come and go at will. Very impressive.
The actions of this most caring Minister are the ones that her colleagues appear to be emulating. Now we have to go through another consultation process on child care. Heaven help us. It will be interesting to see what form the child care consultation process will take this time. If family day care operators happen to notice people sitting in unmarked cars outside their homes, do not be alarmed; it will just likely be members of the consultation panel soliciting public input.
For the record, it is the position of our party that parents should have a choice of what type of day care best meets the needs of the social and economic requirements of the family. Government should ensure that parents have a variety of options available by encouraging the establishment of both home care and child care centres and by supporting creative initiatives to respond to particular needs.
In the area of justice, I must express concern with the development of tribal police forces and the tribal justice system advocated by the Minister of Justice and proposed by the Member for Old Crow. I would like to know, from the Members opposite, what type of society in the Yukon are they promoting? Perhaps someone on that side can give me an answer. If Yukon has two justice systems, two education systems, two forms of government, all based on race, what do you have? I think all Members of this House have to seriously look at that issue. This is what I and many other Yukoners are worried about. What is going on in land claims negotiations? Since the signing of the agreement-in-principle is supposedly imminent, I think it is high time the Government Leader tells Yukoners what has been going on in these negotiations over the course of the last three years, before anything is signed. CYI will have an opportunity to ratify that agreement. Maybe we, all other Yukoners, should also have the opportunity to vote on that same agreement, as we are all going to have to live with it in the future.
Further, I would like to list for the record position papers released by the previous Yukon government to keep the general public informed of what positions it was taking on negotiations and call upon the present government to table its positions in kind. The studies include the following:
- The Analysis and Position of the Yukon Indian Land Claims, 1974;
- Meaningful Government for all Yukoners, 1975;
- Guaranteed Indian Involvement in the Government Process, 1979;
- The Development of Greater Self Government in the Yukon Territory, Legal and Constitutional Provisions affecting the Yukon Indian People, 1979;
- Land, A Yukon Resource, 1982;
- Yukon Indian People and the One Government System, 1983;
- Yukoners deserved a fair deal, 1983, and
- Yukon Indian Land Claims Agreement in Principle Summary, 1983.
Overall, I am appalled by the lack of information on land claims and the obvious misrepresentation and public manipulation that is going on. The impression is being left that this overall agreement-in-principle approaches settling land claims is somehow new. It is not. The approach was tried unsuccessfully from 1973 to 1980. The new approach was band by band negotiations which lead to the 1984 agreement-inprinciple. The 1984 agreement-in-principle was reached only after four years of intensive negotiations. The impression is being left in the publics mind that once an agreement-in-principle is reached, the final settlement is imminent. This just is not so. The band by band negotiations could take us as many as ten or 12 more years to complete. At the end of last year, there was a newspaper report stating that the land claims clock was about to start ticking and the negotiators were champing at the bit to get going. This ticking clock analogy reminded me of the song by Rolf Harris, about the plight of the poor Australian aborigine whose boomerang would not come back. He was told that if he wanted his boomerang to come back, he first had to throw it. It is the same thing with clocks; if you want them to tick, you first have to wind them. Accordingly, you will forgive Yukoners for being a wee bit skeptical about government pronouncements that a land claims settlement is imminent. We have heard it all before.
Before I go on to that I would like to relate to all the Members what I heard when I visited Selkirk Street School last fall. I was talking to several of the young people in the Selkirk Street School and I think the message that I got was clear - and the message should come back to all of us. When I talked to the kids I was asking them what they wanted to do when they grew up. One young native boy said to me that when he grew up he wanted to be a land claims negotiator.
I would suggest to you that it has been going on for half of my life, it has certainly been going on for all of his and I think it says something that it almost a part of life and we should get down to it and get it settled, and get it settled fairly to all Yukoners.
It is the same thing for constitutional development. This government has made much of the fact that in the Meech Lake Accord we were bargaining pawns, never receiving transfer of provincial type responsibilities from the federal government. Well, if you want something transferred, you first have to ask for it. Virtually nothing has been done in this very important area. Members should be aware that the transfer of health services in Baffin Island will take place on April 1st; so much for constitutional development.
Before closing, I would like to address a very important issue to my constituents and the constituents of my colleague, the Member for Riverdale South. We are concerned about the traffic in and out of Riverdale. There are traffic problems on the Robert Campbell bridge, the intersection of Hospital Road and Lewes Boulevard and the intersection of Alsek Road and Lewes Boulevard. The plan of the Government of the Yukon to renovate the old Yukon College building for use as government offices will further add to the traffic problems on Lewes Boulevard. As part of the problem, therefore, the Government of Yukon should also be part of the solution. I am concerned about the emergency vehicle access for ambulances and fire engines in and out of Riverdale and to Whitehorse General Hospital. I am concerned about the safety of our children who must cross the Lewes Boulevard and go to school, and for the parents who drop their children off at that point in the road. I will be following this one up in the House and will call all Members in the House for support for initiatives which would help mitigate that current situation. Thank you.
Mr. Joe: I want to thank all honourable Members for the opportunity to address this House today.
I should mention that March 30, 1988, is a couple of days away. This will mark one full year since I took my seat in the Legislature, so I hope you all wish me Happy Anniversary.
The past year in the House has been a rewarding one for me. I see how the Legislature operates and have been able to learn a lot.
A number of issues have been raised by the people in my riding: issues on land claims, housing, child care, tax and everyday problems people run into.
By working together with the people in my riding, we are doing good on a number of things. Maintenance workers at Little Salmon who were not able to pick up the radio stations in Whitehorse because of the powerline now get the radio thanks to a satellite dish installed at the maintenance camp.
In my maiden speech last fall, I mentioned that the residents of Carmacks felt there was a need for another police officer. I am happy to report that Carmacks now has a special constable who has done a very good job so far. I say thank you to our Minister of Justice for taking such quick action on this concern.
I am currently working to get information from the Waterhen Indian Band in Manitoba on their wood bison project. This information will be passed on to the Little Salmon/Carmacks Indian Band, who may one day be looking at managing their own buffalo.
When the City of Whitehorse dumped millions of litres of raw sewage in May and June of last year, the people of Carmacks were against it. I have been in regular contact with the Yukon Territory Water Board trying to get answers. I have since found out that the City of Whitehorse is thinking about putting an application in to the Water Board asking that their monitoring requirements be relaxed. In the citys current licence, they are required to take samples at difference locations where sewage is dumped into the river. The City of Whitehorse should not be able to have their licence changed. Will it mean that they will dump raw sewage any time they please without telling anyone?
With the Little Salmon/Carmacks Indian Band, we will continue to watch what develops in the coming months.
The Carmacks Indian Band says old telegraph wires along the Yukon River is a -danger to wildlife. This is a federal responsibility, but the feds are saying they have no money to do the clean-up. This can be short term employment for Carmacks residents, whose community suffers from the highest unemployment in the Yukon. I am trying to see if the Government of Canada and Yukon can find money somewhere to fund the clean-up.
With the Carmacks Indian Band, the municipality of Carmacks and myself pushing for a training program on the Freegold Road for the unemployed in Carmacks, we were able to get the Government of Yukon to use Carmacks as a pilot project. Five trainees from Carmacks were selected to go to Alberta to train for two and a half months to become heavy duty operators. When their training is completed, they are guaranteed work on the Freegold Road Project. This shows that if everyone works together cooperatively, we can make things happen!
In last years Capital Budget, there was money set aside for a new community centre in Pelly Crossing. The Selkirk Indian Band lobbied to build the community centre themselves through project management. Our government agreed that local control of the building of the community centre would be in the best interests of Pelly, and that they would allow the band to manage the project. This way, it allowed maximum use of local employees, and it put a lot of band members to work. It also provided valuable training for our young builders, training that would not have been guaranteed if it was done through YTG.
The Selkirk Indian Band proved their managing skills to the government by doing an excellent job. With the good work shown by the Selkirk Band, we are hoping that the band will be allowed to build the new firehall through project management this year. If the Selkirk Indian Band is allowed to build the firehall, it will give more experience to our local carpenters in Pelly. It will be a great benefit to our community.
Last fall, I also pointed out problems with booze. It is good to see that the Carmacks Indian Band is doing something about alcoholism in their community. The bands application to the Local Employment Opportunities Program was recently approved, giving the go-ahead to the band to start building an alcohol treatment camp. This camp will be located at Airport Lake.
In Carmacks, we know there are not enough jobs. What we are doing is working on economic development. Myself, the Municipality of Carmacks and the Carmacks Indian Band met recently to set up an economic development committee.
We thought that a committee was needed because a report from the Government of Yukon showed Carmacks had the highest unemployment in the Yukon, with 28.3 percent of the population over the age of 15 are either applying for UIC or are employable people on social assistance. There were people coming up to me during my visits to Carmacks and asking if there would be any jobs. There were no jobs available, so we had to do something.
From this meeting, an economic development committee was formed. This will be a way to give local control and leadership for short term and long term economic development.
I am sure the Minister of Economic Development will give the local people full support.
The Carmacks Indian Band recently hired an economic development worker who will work with a trainee from the band for one year. The band was able to hire the economic development worker through the Special ARDA program. As I pointed out earlier, Carmacks has high unemployment and, with the hiring of the economic development worker and the setting up of the economic development committee, we should be able to do something positive about the unemployment problem.
Pelly Crossing was able to hire an economic development worker last year through a pilot project by the Yukon territorial government. The economic development worker has done a lot to help the community. He has helped restart a business, helped another private business start up and is helping the Selkirk Indian Band look at a long range plan for their forests.
I listened with interest to the Yukon Economic Strategy, and it sounds good to me. I look forward to seeing it being presented during this sitting of the House.
The Fur Enhancement Program will be helpful to Yukon trappers and should also help educate those who do not know much about trapping.
There is a farm near my home town and the new inspection policy and program should be good news to them. This program will allow Yukon ranchers to sell their meat to Yukon grocery stores.
For years now, the Yukon Indian people have been lobbying the Government of Yukon to do more on native education. From what I have heard in the Throne Speech, it sounds like our government have answered in a positive way.
The Yukon Tourism Action Plan will increase support for businesses that depend on tourism; it should be a program that will help the Yukon.
This year will see the highway between Carmacks and Montague House fixed up. This is good news because of the many bad spots in this section. There will be many other improvements in Carmacks, Little Salmon and Pelly, with a total of $4.3 million being allocated to the riding.
I wish all hon. Members well in this Session of the House. Let us all work hard to give the Yukon people a government that will do their best for them.
I move that debate be now adjourned.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Member for Tatchun that debate be now adjourned.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Porter: Pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order 26, I would notify the House that the next day on which the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne will be debated is Tuesday, March 29.
Speaker: Pursuant to the direction of the House, I will now leave the chair until 7:30 tonight.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. Pursuant to the direction of the House we will now return to Daily Routine for the purposes of allowing introduction of Bills.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill No. 50: Introduction and first reading
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move that Bill No. 50, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 1988-89 be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government Leader that Bill No. 50, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 1988-89 be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 70: Introduction and first reading
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move that Bill No. 70, entitled Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 1988-89 be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government Leader that Bill No. 70, entitled Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 1988-89 be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 60: Introduction and first reading
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move that Bill No. 60, entitled Fourth Appropriation Act, 1987-88 be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government Leader that Bill No. 60, entitled Fourth Appropriation Act, 1987-88 be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 10: Introduction and first reading
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move that Bill No. 10 entitled Financial Agreement Act, 1988-90 be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government Leader that Bill No. 10 entitled Financial Agreement Act, 1988-90 be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 50: Second reading
Clerk: Second reading, Bill No. 50 standing in the name of the hon. Mr. Penikett.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move that Bill No. 50 entitled Second Appropriation Act, 1988-89 be now read a second time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government Leader that Bill No. 50 entitled Second Appropriation Act, 1988-89 be now read a second time.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Mr. Speaker and Honourable Members, I am pleased to introduce today the Operation and Maintenance Budget for the fiscal year 1988-89.
Sound, prudent financial management has been a central theme of each of the three previous budgets which I have introduced to the Legislature and the people of the Yukon. It is at the heart of the 1988-89 Budget.
Mr. Speaker, the Budget speaks to the commitment that the government has, to those who live here today and to those who will be our citizens tomorrow. With this commitment in mind our government has, since coming to office, contained the growth in Operation and Maintenance expenditures while attending to the pressing need to develop the infrastructure of the Yukon and stimulate the economy.
The Budget, which I am tabling today, is, in broad terms a balanced budget, with no tax increases and total expenditures, Capital and Operation and Maintenance, below the forecast expenditures for the current fiscal year.
We are in fact forecasting a small surplus of revenues over expenditures for the 1988-89 fiscal year. This surplus of funds will better enable the government to address any future emergencies or initiatives.
Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to addressing the economic and social needs of Yukoners. In preparing the budget, we have considered the views and opinions of all Yukoners. This government has endeavoured to consult with Yukoners, in particular through Yukon 2000. I am pleased to announce that, as a result of this process, the Budget contains measures which will begin to address these concerns. I will elaborate on these measures in a few minutes.
Mr. Speaker, I am most pleased to announce that, as a result of continued sound fiscal management, there will be no tax increases in the coming year. In a balanced budget this is a major accomplishment but one that we felt essential given the high cost of living and consequent high relative tax burden already borne by Yukoners.
By all statistical indicators, the Yukon has had another year of healthy economic growth. The signs of renewed economic prosperity are everywhere. While national and international forces have played a role in reviving the Yukon economy, the initiatives introduced by our government have also made a major contribution to the improvement in employment and the renewed sense of confidence in the economy.
The rate of inflation in the Yukon, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for Whitehorse, was more than a full percentage point below the national average in 1987. The annual rate of inflation for the Yukon was 3.1 percent in 1987 compared to the national average rate of 4.4 percent.
The unemployment rate continued to decline in 1987 as the private sector created hundreds of new jobs. The level of employment in the Yukon increased at a faster rate than in any other region in Canada. Employment in the Yukon during the second half of 1987 was more than 10 percent higher than in the second half of 1986. At the same time, the population of the Yukon reached its highest level since the Gold Rush. The net in-migration to the Yukon experienced in the past year is indicative of the confidence that people hold for the economy of this territory.
Mining and construction activity continued at a vigorous pace in 1987. The total value of mineral production in the Yukon is estimated to have exceeded $400 million in 1987 compared to $162 million in 1986. The value of building permits for the Yukon totalled $57.5 million in 1987, slightly exceeding the high values recorded in 1986 and a full 85 percent greater than the 1985 value.
Consumer spending continued to grow at a strong rate in 1987. Retail sales increased by 11.4 percent last year and total restaurant receipts increased by 6.5 percent. Housing starts are estimated to have increased from 182 in 1986 to a total of 261 in 1987.
Early indications are that this economic vitality will carry through 1988.
I have previously mentioned, and it bears repeating, that one of the principal objectives of our government has been, and continues to be, the sound and prudent management of the Yukons public finances. This and previous budgets are illustrative of that concern and that commitment to careful financial management. The O&M Estimates which I am introducing today propose expenditures of $201,806,000.
This represents an increase of seven percent over the forecast O&M expenditures for 1987-88. This is a moderate increase in expenditures and it demonstrates this administrations commitment to the practice of good government.
Incorporated into these expenditures are the negotiated wage settlements which this government entered into with its employees in late 1987. These settlements called for wage increases of a little less than four percent. In todays economic environment, these settlements are fair and reasonable.
This Budget and the previously approved Capital Budget will result in a net surplus of $4,767,000 for the 1988-89 fiscal year. These monies will enable us in the future to undertake new initiatives or finance existing ones in response to the needs of Yukoners.
I would now like to take this opportunity to review our overall financial position. The combined Capital and O&M expenditures total $302,280,000 for 1988-89. This represents a reduction, on a comparable basis, in overall expenditures of $31,402,000 from the forecast expenditures for 1987-88. It also means that the 1988-89 budgeted expenditures are of approximately the same magnitude as were the previous years combined Main Estimates. With the small surplus planned for 1988-89, the accumulated surplus is expected to total $41,064,000 at the end of the fiscal year, compared to the forecast accumulated surplus of $36,297,000 projected for the 1987-88 year end.
I would like to underscore the point that this government continues to practice sound financial management. Our government has controlled the growth in O&M expenditures while addressing the needs of Yukoners. These expenditures are budgeted to increase at a rate comparable to the estimated rate of increase in Formula Financing. The Budgets of the past three years reflected this governments resolve to concentrate on developing infrastructure and stimulating the economy. This has been done. Total outlays on capital expenditures over this period amounted to $286,854,000. This Budget maintains control over O&M expenditures, a balance of revenues and expenditures, and indeed provides for a small surplus which will better enable the government to address future needs of Yukoners.
Total budgetary revenues for the fiscal year 1988-89 are estimated to be $307,362,000. This represents an increase of 5.1 percent over the 1987-88 forecast. Revenues raised from Yukon sources are expected to increase by 13.2 percent. This is indicative of the continued strong growth in the Yukon economy forecast for the coming year.
During 1988-89, it is estimated that personal income tax revenues will rise to $22,416,000. This represents an 8.3 percent increase over the forecast 1987-88 level of personal income tax revenues. Improved employment levels and earnings are expected to contribute to the strong growth in personal income tax revenues in 1988-89.
Corporate income tax revenues are expected to increase by one-third to a total of $2,477,000 in 1988-89. Continued strong growth in the Yukon economy is expected to contribute to the improved financial status of Yukon businesses.
The combined effect of the continuing growth in Territorial Own Source Revenues and Recoveries has been a reduction in our dependence upon the federal transfer payment. In 1985-86, the federal grant provided 62.3 percent of our total budgetary income. Members will be pleased to note, I am sure, that in this budget the federal transfer payment will fund 58.9 percent of the budgetary income, a decrease of 3.4 percent.
Despite this decrease in dependence, the federal transfer payment will remain very important to our economic wellbeing and the recent agreement to extend the Formula Financing Agreement with the federal government will provide the Yukon with a stable source of base revenues for the coming year and next.
Our governments resolve to practice responsible financial management, coupled with the resurgence in the Yukon economy, has enabled me to announce that there will be no tax increase in the coming fiscal year.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that our government plans to provide approximately $4.7 million of our new monies for a variety of new initiatives and towards enhancing existing programs. These monies are in addition to those required to accommodate general growth in service demand and to those that we have been able to reallocate internally.
In response to the Yukon 2000 process, our government will be committing an additional $1.3 million. These monies represent programs throughout the various departments of the government. I would like to highlight some of these initiatives.
As you are well aware, our government entered into a Land Use Planning Agreement with the federal government last October. This Agreement provides for the implementation of long range land use planning in the Yukon which will better enable Yukoners to more effectively manage their lands and resources. I am pleased to announce that the Department of Renewable Resources has allocated $415,000 towards Land Use Planning in 1988-89.
Inadequate housing continues to be an area of concern to Yukoners. In order that the Yukon Housing Corporation may better address these concerns in the future, $202,000 has been allocated to the corporation.
Devolution of federal programs to the Yukon is a goal sought by all Yukoners. In this budget an additional $370,000 is being devoted to facilitating that process. These monies will fund the temporary costs to be incurred by our central service agencies associated with integrating federal programs, personnel and systems into the Yukon government.
We are all well aware of the importance of the fur industry to our economy and way of life. Recent events abroad could do irreparable damage to this vital industry. In order to counter any possible ill effects of these events and to promote the fur trade, the Department of Renewable Resources has allocated $25,000 to further support Indigenous Survival International. An additional $19,000 will also be devoted to the Fur Harvest Enhancement Program for 1988-89.
An economically self-sustaining agriculture industry is of benefit to Yukoners. In recognition of this, the Department of Renewable Resources has budgeted an additional $49,000 to enhance agricultural program services and the land application review process for the fiscal year 1988-89. Agriculture has long term economic potential and we are endeavouring to ensure that that potential is achieved for the benefit of Yukoners.
Economic diversification results in a more stable economy, and it was one of the major themes brought out in the Yukon 2000 process. To encourage the diversification of our economy, the Department of Economic Development will be spending an additional $25,000 for the Chamber of Commerce Business Incentive Program. These funds will be used to assist in hosting an exhibit of Yukon manufacturers and a reverse trade show, as well as in producing a new Yukon Business Directory and reviving the Yukon Made campaign. A further $10,000 will be made available to the Economic Development Organization Program. These monies will better enable organizations to undertake economic development projects during the year to come.
The Budget also provides additional monies to enhance existing programs as well as for other initiatives.
The most important and valuable resource we have is our children. To better provide for their development, our government has made additional monies available to support childcare and education programs throughout the Yukon.
The Department of Health and Human Resources has budgeted $48,000 to allow it to proceed with its Childcare consultation process. This consultation process will provide the government with valuable input from parents, private operators and community groups as to the development and operation of a child care system suited to meet the needs of Yukoners. In addition to this, a further $208,000 has been set aside to enhance day care programs throughout the territory during 1988-89.
The Department of Education has been granted an additional $1,130,000 to address the operating needs of Yukon college and to further develop Indian education programs. A total of $879,000 of these new monies will be directed towards Yukon College, while $251,000 is to be devoted to the development of Indian education programs.
The development of our children is an integral step in harnessing the potential of our most valuable and important resource. The opening of the ne Yukon College campus, the development of Indian education programs, and support of child care programs demonstrate our commitment to their development.
Tourism is one of the major components of our economy. In order to further provide for the development, protection and management of our heritage sites and resources, the Department of Tourism has provided an additional of $18,000 towards Historic Sites and the Yukon Historical and Museum Association.
Reliable and efficient transportation systems are an integral part of a productive economy. To this end, the Department of Community and Transportation Services has been allocated an additional $1.5 million to better maintain the road system throughout the territory. The Campbell and Dempster Highways, among others, will be targeted for major operation and maintenance improvements in 1988-89.
The Department of Justice has been allotted an additional $66,000 for its Crime Prevention Initiative. Some of these monies will fund a native justice position to be created in Old Crow in order to co-ordinate crime prevention activities in that community.
As part of a new national system for managing hazardous materials in the workplace, the Department of Justice has budgeted $70,000 for the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System. This program will go a long way towards improving the margin of safety in the Yukon workplace.
Improved health and social care for all Yukoners is a major commitment of our government. In an effort to further improve the social well-being of Yukoners, the Department of Health and Human Resources has provided an additional $161,000 for the delivery of its Home Care Program. This program provides for the integrated delivery of home nursing, home making and other treatments in personal support services. The Department has also budgeted for nearly $2 million in extra funding for health care in response to the increased needs of Yukoners in 1988-89.
We recognize that there are Yukoners in need of social assistance. To improve upon their economic situation, the Department of Health and Human Resources will be reforming social assistance rates for food, shelter, clothing, household and personal care in the coming fiscal year. The new rates will better reflect the higher costs associated with these necessities and provide financial relief for those in need.
This government has endeavoured in the past, and will continue in the future, to promote the status of women in the Yukon. I am pleased to announce that the Womens Directorate has devoted an additional $5,000 for research on womens issues in the coming year. This research will provide information on relevant womens issues and assist the government in addressing the problems associated with women in the Yukon.
As was previously announced in December, this government will be initiating a Fuel Price Inquiry. The concern of all Yukoners in regards to the pricing of fuel necessitates that this government be prepared to provide for a thorough and effective investigation. In order to fund this inquiry, the government will be budgeting $200,000 in 1988-89 towards its costs.
Mr. Speaker, I have only identified a few of the more significant new initiatives, new programs and expanded programs that are provided for in the Estimates I am tabling here today. My Ministers will provide the Legislature with the details of their specific departmental initiatives during debate on the Estimates.
Mr. Speaker, I have outlined in this Budget a fiscal plan that addresses both the needs of Yukoners and good, sound financial management. This budget allocates additional dollars towards new and existing programs yet provides for a reduction in total overall government expenditures from our forecast for the current year. It sets aside a small surplus of monies that will better enable the government to address future emergencies. The Budget provides for all these, Mr. Speaker, and does so without an increase in taxes.
These goals, I am sure, are ones that all members of this Legislature will wish to support, and, to that end, I commend it to the favourable attention of all honourable Members.
Mr. Lang: I move that debate do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Opposition House Leader that debate do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Porter: I move that the House do now adjourn
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.
The House adjourned at 7:53 p.m.
The following Sessional paper was tabled March 28, 1988:
Report of the Chief Electoral Officer on Contributions to Political Parties during 1987 (Speaker - Johnston)
The following document was filed March 28, 1988:
What Canadians in the Mining Industry Have to Say About Free Trade (Brewster)