Wednesday, April 6, 1988 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will call the House to order. We will proceed at this time with Prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.
Introduction of visitors?
Are there any Returns or Documents for tabling?
Are there any Reports of Committees? Are there any Petitions?
Introduction of Bills?
Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Are there any Notices of Motion?
Speaker: Prior to calling Ministerial Statements today, I would like to provide the House with a ruling on the Point of Order raised by the Member for Whitehorse Porter Creek East on March 30th. The honourable Member said that he felt that the Ministerial Statement given by the Government Leader on the subject of rural banking services did not conform to the practices of the House because it covered a policy already known to the Members.
The rule concerning Ministerial Statements is to be found in Standing Order 11(8) where it states: On Ministerial Statements, as listed in Standing Order 11(2), a Minister may make a short factual statement of government policy. The only other direction to be found on this matter is in the Second Report of the Standing Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges which was tabled on October 10, 1979. One of the recommendations of that committee which was concurred in by Motion of the House stated: That Ministerial Statements be made only on subjects of significance and primarily for the purpose of announcing new government policies.
There seems to be no disagreement that the Ministerial Statement given by the Government Leader fulfilled the requirements of the Standing Order. Also, no question was raised as to rural banking services being a subject of significance. The issue raised by the member for Whitehorse Porter Creek East was whether the statement served the purpose of announcing a new government policy.
The Chair has reviewed the government news release tabled by the Member for Whitehorse Porter Creek East and the content of the Throne Speech and agrees that much of the Ministerial Statement could be found elsewhere. However, as the Government Leader noted, the recommendations of the Management Board as to the possible locations for the pilot agency operation had not been previously communicated to the House. Although there may be some disagreement between Members as to whether that point is important enough to justify a Ministerial Statement it is difficult to see how the Chair can begin making rulings based on judgements of the level of importance of certain matters. Such judgements are really political decisions and the Chair should be careful to make only procedural decisions. In this particular case the Chair would note that the Member for Faro was obviously concerned enough that he made a representation respecting the location of the pilot agency operation.
The Chair would point out that the House has not reviewed the subject of Ministerial Statements for almost nine years and that there are some matters on which the Chair has little or no guidance. For example, if a new government policy is announced between sessions, should a Ministerial Statement be allowed in order for the policy to be placed before the House and to provide the opposition parties with a chance to respond? If the House feels that it is worthwhile to address such questions or to conduct a general review of the rules for Ministerial Statements the Chair would suggest that the matter be referred to the appropriate committee for review and recommendation.
Are there any Statements by Ministers?
This then brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: Whitehorse Correctional Centre/Blasdell suicide
Mr. Phelps: I have some follow-up questions regarding the deplorable state of affairs at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre and in particular about the inquest that was held in February regarding the death of one William Blasdell in December, 1987.
Two officers from the centre have resigned. They have said that they have evidence that completely contradicts the evidence given at the inquest by senior officials of the centre. The Minister of Justice said that if this was the case, he thinks that the inquest should be reopened so that these discrepancies could be cleared up.
Has the Minister delved into this matter in any detail since our meeting in these Chambers yesterday? Can he report what his investigations have revealed?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes, I have. I will report right now.
Before doing so, I raise the concern that I yesterday gave the House information which was inadvertently not accurate. I can explain precisely why, and I will do that in the course of the explanation. I should just indicate that the name of the centre is not the Whitehorse Correctional Institute, but the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. It changed in the mid 1970s.
The situation there is by no means deplorable. In answer to the specific question, I have, this morning, obtained the agreement of the chief coroner to interview those two officers, if they are willing, and to make absolutely sure that the information that they have is consistent with the information presented to the coroners inquest.
I was not specifically asked to table the list of names provided by the correctional centre to the RCMP, but I will do that immediately. Members will note that the list contains the name of one of the individuals, but not the other. The explanation of that is that the other was not technically on duty. It was his third day on the job, and he was on a training assignment or a training position at the time. The correctional centre was asked for a list of all persons on duty, which they provided.
I have additional information, if you will allow me the latitude, Mr. Speaker. The attitude of the police is that the information contained in the Whitehorse Star is in no way an addition to the information that was made available at the inquest. Indeed, the statement that I am tabling contains information similar to the information contained in the Whitehorse Star.
Generally speaking, the attitude of the police is that there is no new information. However, in order to be absolutely certain, and to satisfy the public and Members of the Opposition, I have asked that the coroner interview those individuals.
As I was asked yesterday, the correctional centre made no representation whatsoever to the Crown Attorney as to the witnesses who would be called or the conduct of the inquiry.
Mr. Phelps: I thank the Minister for the information he has just provided. The nexus of the issue is there is evidence that would indicate that there was reason for people in the centre to believe that there was a possibility of suicide. That seems to have been denied by witnesses at the inquest. I am very concerned about that apparent contradiction which, as I say, is so fundamental to the value of the inquest and its findings.
If the person in question - the deceased, Mr. Blasdell - was not considered to be suicidal, why were instructions out that he be checked every half hour, instead of the normal checking procedures. To assist the Minister, I could table the minutes of a team leader meeting held December 8, 1987.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I will read the document with interest, and if the Leader of the Official Opposition reads the document that I tabled a moment ago, he will find the answer contained in that document. The allegation was made in the Whitehorse Star that certain personal effects such as razor blades and pens were removed because the person was a suicide risk. That is not the case. They were removed for other reasons. The facts are that there was a check every half hour as opposed to every hour for the same reasons that the razor blades, et cetera, were removed. It was generally because there was an apprehension that the inmate would cause harm to the institution or other people. The reason for that is he said he was going to. He said he was going to in order to be transferred to the federal penitentiary, which is what he wanted to do. I am informed that all of that information was squarely before the coroners jury.
Mr. Phelps: I take it the statement of the officers quoted in the story, Mr. Cant and Mr. Andres, apparently were not made available at the inquest, is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Technically it is not correct, no, but it is correct that those two individuals were not witnesses at the inquest. The witnesses who were interviewed were interviewed on the initiative and at the sole discretion of the RCMP under the direction of the Crown Attorney who presented the evidence. It is those individuals who made the decision about whom to interview and whom to call at the inquest. They did so. I am informed that they are still satisfied that the inquest had all the necessary information. Because it is the purpose of an inquest to satisfy the public mind or to satisfy the public curiosity about any death, I have ensured that the coroner will specifically interview those individuals just in case there is some other evidence that might come forward. If it does then the decision could be taken by the coroner to reopen that inquest. I have previously said that it is clearly my position, my strong position, that the public interest is that if there is any doubt about any additional information or inconsistent information that that doubt be put to rest.
Question re: Whitehorse Correctional Centre/Blasdell suicide
Mr. Phelps: I do not wish to hammer this thing to death. I am very pleased that the Minister is going to have this situation looked into. It concerns me that there seems to be a substantial backing off from the position taken yesterday, which was that if the evidence that they have is contradictory to the evidence that was heard at the inquest, it is obvious that the inquest ought to be reopened to resolve the matter.
When we have the testimony of two people, who reflect the views of a good many people who work at the jail, saying that the issue of suicide was one that was known and ought to have been known to the senior officials at the jail, surely that is enough grounds to reopen the inquest. They have come forward with the kind of evidence that is directly in conflict with the evidence given by the senior officials in the Ministers department.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The question was phrased in an unusual way. There is absolutely no backing off from the position that I am taking today or that I took yesterday. It is exactly the same position. The only discussion here is what is new information. I am informed that the information that these two individuals have and have made public in the paper in a sensational kind of way is the same information that the investigators had and that the coroners jury had.
I was not at the coroners inquest. I was not at the scene at the time of the inquest, and I do not know. However, I am informed that the story in the Whitehorse Star does not add new information. If it does, that is a different situation. I have taken the steps, which are taken in an attitude of an abundance of caution, to specifically have the chief coroner interview the two individuals and make absolutely sure that there is not any new information. If there is, it ought to go before the coroners jury. I agree with that.
Mr. Phelps: If these people are interviewed, and they have evidence that suggests that the officials in charge at the jail knew or ought to have known that Mr. Blasdell was suicidal, would the Minister not agree that that would be new evidence that ought to be subjected to and heard at a reopened inquest?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes. I agree.
Question re: Whitehorse Correctional Centre/Blasdell suicide
Mr. McLachlan: I have a few follow up questions on the same matter. Can the Minister tell me who will make the decision about reopening an inquest? Will it be the Minister, the RCMP or the chief coroner? Upon what evidence will that decision be made?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It would normally be made by the coroner who conducted the inquest, not by the RCMP or the Minister. There may be an application before the coroner made by the Crown Attorney. That is possible. If I have some information that leads me to believe that the coroners jury did not hear the full facts, I will do everything in my power to cause that application to be made.
Mr. McLachlan: Yesterday, I asked the Minister about allegations that one of the prison guards, at least, had been dissuaded from going to the media with his story and concerns about conditions at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. At that time, the Minister said he was not aware of that, but would check into the story. Does he have an answer today for that?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I had an answer yesterday, and I have the same answer today. It is my information that there was a meeting between one of the officers who quit and the superintendent of the jail, at which meeting the subject was raised. I am informed that it was raised specifically about the allegation of racial harassment, or racism, at the jail, and a discussion occurred about that. That is my information. The advice was given to the correctional officer who quit that he may do his own case harm if he quits, which I think is fairly obvious.
Mr. McLachlan: If a prisoner is considered suicidal, or if it is thought that he might do himself injury, why would the said prisoner be issued with bed sheets in the first place, rather than with something less amenable to being knotted into a hangmans tight knot?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There are policies at the jail to consider several situations. When a person is considered suicidal, the policy is that they are kept in segregation. Normal clothing and the bed sheets are removed, and they are put on a 24 hour watch - that is a one-on-one situation - and they are specifically watched. That was not the case in this situation, because he was not considered suicidal.
Question re: Whitehorse Correctional Centre/young offenders
Mr. Phillips: Yesterday, I asked the Minister of Justice why a 14 year old young offender was placed next to an adult sexual offender and an accused arsonist. The Minister said, and I quote, The situation here is caused by the fact that the previous government authorized keeping young offenders in segregation at the correctional centre. Now that policy is continuing.
Is the Minister telling us that his department only followed the policy put in the place by the previous government, and that that policy has not changed to date?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The question is phrased in such a general way that I can only repeat the answer I gave yesterday. The policy is - and has remained so for in excess of the last three years - that the Whitehorse Correctional Centre is designated as a place where young offenders may be placed. They are only placed there after they are sent there by a judge, and that policy has not changed in the last three years.
Mr. Phillips: On the day in question, did the government have any space for the young offender in the area specified by that policy: in segregation unit three, or C dorm?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I do not go up to the jail daily and see what space is available where. The situation in this particular case is the young offender was placed in a secure area in a cell where there was a cement wall between that cell and the adjoining cell and, in the adjoining cell, there was an adult who was accused of a crime, but not convicted. In that particular area, those were the people who were present. It occurred for just under 24 hours.
There was another person who was in a different area that was across the corridor, and there is a steel door between the two areas. That other person was accused of a sexual offence. In this particular situation, there was no fear of any law being broken - that was clearly not the case - and no fear of any unreasonable influence of one person on the other.
Mr. Phillips: The Justice Minister said he did not know whether there was room that day because he does not follow the day to day operations of the correctional centre. This question did not just pop up today. He has been dealing with his officials on it for the last two or three days.
Who authorized this young offender should be admitted, if there was no room in the Whitehorse Correctional Centre in an area specified by a policy that he says he is following?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The premises of the question are contorted, and I do not accept them at all. The young offender was placed there by a judge.
Question re: Whitehorse Correctional Centre/young offenders
Mr. Phillips: It is absolutely shameful that that Minister, an ex-judge, would blame the judge for placing someone in that institution. The judge places someone there with a full knowledge that the young offender will be placed there under the Young Offenders Act, and this government did not do that.
For the information of all Ministers, I would like to table the policy direction of the 85-04-01, April 1, 1985. I would like to read it, as it is very important. Anyone under the age of 18 years is not to be received into our custody. During the period while the secure facility for young offenders is being built, we may be required to house young offenders for brief periods of time, either whilst in transit to secure facilities in the south or on remand. On these occasions we will only hold if we have space in segregation unit three or if C dorm is empty. Under any circumstances, no young offender is to be admitted unless authorized by the director or deputy director.
With placing this young offender in close proximity to these serious adult offenders, why has the government violated its own policy that the government said it was following in the first place?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The first thing to answer is that it was alleged that I was blaming the judge for doing this. I was not blaming the judge for anything. I was answering the question and stating that the young offender was placed at the correctional centre by the judge. That does not constitute blame. That is simply a statement of fact - a fact that is accurate.
I do not accept the statement of the Member opposite that the policies were violated. The situation in this particular case was considered by a court, and the court made the decision. That is the beginning and the end of it. The government followed the decision. I am not blaming the court for making the decision; I am just stating that it was made.
Mr. Phillips: The facts speak for themselves. The facility was full at the time. The governments own policy said if it is full, the young offender would not be accepted. They accepted the young offender and put him right beside a sexual offender and an accused arsonist. They violated the Young Offenders Act.
Speaker: Order, please. Would the Member please get to the supplementary question.
Mr. Phillips: Can the Minister tell me if the policy that was drafted by his government was drafted with the Young Offenders Act totally in mind and in compliance with this act?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Member opposite is not asking questions at all. He is making allegations. The allegation is that the policy is contrary to the Young Offenders Act, and the answer is no.
Question re: Whitehorse Correctional Centre/young offenders
Mrs. Firth: The Minister of Justice says he is not blaming the judge for anything. The way I understand it is that the court and the judge sentenced the individual to a term. Does the judge specify where that young offender is going to go? Does the judge say the young offender will go to the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, to Vancouver, to BC, to Willingdon or to Alberta? Does the judge give that specific sentence?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Generally yes, the judge does. There is not a legal requirement for it in every case, but the practice is that they do. In this specific case, the answer is yes, the judge did.
Mrs. Firth: I am sure the judge did not specify which cell the young offender was to go to. The Minister is nodding his head that that is correct. We have to get this clear, because this government has a policy that says that the young offenders are not to be placed with adults unless they go to unit three or to C dorm, if it is empty.
When the judge sentences the young offender ...
Speaker: Order, please. Would the Member please get to the supplementary question.
Mrs. Firth: ... and recommends that they go to the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, which is all they can do, what is this governments policy? Do they disregard the existing policy and place the young offender where the judge states, whether it complies with our policy or not?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is totally accurate to say that the judge does not designate the cell where the inmate is to serve. At least, I have never heard of that occurring, and I am sure that it did not in this case. This whole debate indicates how ludicrous the questioning of the Opposition is in this matter.
The policy is that for certain young offenders, it is determined that they are best placed at the jail. When there is a permanent young offenders facility here, that will still be the case. Under some circumstances, some young offenders go to the jail. If the public was aware of the circumstances that the courts are dealing with, they would totally support that proposition.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister is saying then that this policy means nothing, that the government is not going to follow the policy, that they are just going to do whatever the court says. Is that what the Minister is saying? He is saying that this policy is no longer being followed.
Hon. Mrs. Joe: There are certain circumstances that allow some things to have to change. In this case, there was no room. A circumstance happened at the time, and when there was a request to bring this person down to the jail, it was not indicated that it was a young offender. That was not found out until the young offender got there, so they had to find room for him.
There are other parts of the Young Offenders Act that do take care of those young offenders if there is not anywhere else for them to go. Not only that, many sections of the Young Offenders Act have been changed, and I would like the Members across the floor to maybe read up on the latest version.
Question re: Whitehorse Correctional Centre/young offenders
Mr. Lang: This is a very serious situation. We have almost a child who is 14 years of age. This is a young teenager who has been put adjacent - I see the Minister of Justice laughing - to an individual charged with very serious sexual offences as well as an individual charged with arson.
The policy states that if a young offender is put into the correctional centre, they are put into a special part of the centre. Why was that 14 year old youth put in that situation instead of being put into dormitory C or the other area of the correctional centre that was designated by policy for youths?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: This is an example where Members of the Opposition do not check their facts and do not understand thoroughly what we are dealing with. Here we have a person who is caught - almost a child. What the Member ought to know that it is frequently the case - it is mostly in the case in these situations - that the young offenders who are sent to the jail are the worst possible offenders, or the offenders who cannot be adequately dealt with in the normal group homes and the like. It is frequently the case that the adverse influence is the other way around. The young offenders are, in effect, corrupting the people of the jail. That has, in fact, occurred. In this particular case we had a young offender who was escaping constantly, and I am absolutely confident that it is the public will, and in the public interest, that he be housed in a place where he could not escape. That is what the judge wanted, that is what the judge ordered, that is what the government did.
Mr. Lang: I, unlike the Minister of Justice, will not sit in this House, in a public forum, and give my views on the individual involved, the 14 year old teenager, of whether he was there to corrupt the offender, being charged with these very serious allegations.
The question I have is this then: when a young offender is sent to the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, is it not the policy of the Minister of Justice that those particular teenagers be housed in an area where adequate security can be given to them, but be kept separate and apart and far away from adult offenders - because that is what the policy that has just been tabled in this House says.
Is that not the policy of the government?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Again, the problem is in the contorted questions.
Generally speaking, yes, that is the policy. Generally speaking, the young offenders are housed where females are normally housed, and it is the general policy to keep the males and females apart. In this particular case, that is what occurred. They were kept apart. There is a cement wall between the adult and the young offender.
Mr. Lang: I am not going to belabour this, but could the Minister bring back to the House the number of occasions in the past year that young offenders - teenagers - have been housed in the Whitehorse Correctional Centre in the manner that the Minister has outlined to us today?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The easiest way is to simply provide a list of all the young offenders who have been housed at the jail, and that is readily available information and that will be provided.
Incidentally, while I am on my feet, I have information of a similar nature that the Member asked for yesterday - if he wants me to answer that now.
Question re: Whitehorse Correctional Centre/young offenders
Mr. Lang: I cannot believe the arrogance of the Minister of Justice. Our concern is that a young offender has been in very close proximity to people charged with very serious crimes. I am not asking for the total number of young offenders who have been sent to Whitehorse Correctional Centre, I am asking for the Minister to provide this House and the general public with the number of young offenders who have been put into the same circumstances as the 14 year old youth we are speaking about. There is a difference.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I do not accept at all that there is a difference. What I can do, and what I will do, is provide the House with a list of the young offenders who have been housed at the jail.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed. We will now proceed with the Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS
Motion No. 2
Clerk: Item No. 1 standing in the name of Mr. Webster.
Speaker: Is the hon. Member prepared to proceed with Item No. 1?
Mr. Webster: Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Member for Klondike
THAT the following message be sent by the Speaker to representatives of the workers and management of the White Pass and Yukon Corporation: The Yukon Legislative Assembly congratulates the workers and management of the White Pass and Yukon Corporation for working together to successfully achieve a private-sector solution to reopen the railway. We, the elected representatives of the people of the Yukon Territory, express our sincere hope that this years operations are successful, and look forward to an early decision to resume full operations which will bring the train back into the Yukon.
Mr. Webster: This motion extends our congratulations as representatives of the Yukon public to the workers and management of the White Pass for their cooperative approach in reaching a solution to reopen the railway.
As an aside, it is no secret that Members opposite take great delight in criticizing this government for a number of things such as too much government interference, too much government spending, too much reliance on Ottawa and too little support for the private sector. However, with respect to the reopening of the White Pass Railway, we have seen a solution to a problem in the private sector that was handled completely by the private sector without government interference, without government spending, without relying on Ottawa and with the support of this government.
The big announcement of the solution was made on March 1, 1988, and two days later a cartoon appeared in the Whitehorse Star that graphically illustrates what I am talking about. This cartoon shows two railway workers stoking steam engine No. 73. One is a United Transportation Union member and the other is a Teamster. Driving the train is a worker whose cap says, White Pass, and I take that to be the company representative. They all worked together to get the railway running again.
Unfortunately, we will not see the trains running into the Yukon this season. It will only be a short three and a half hour round trip between Skagway and the international border. That is the best they could do for this year, but there is always the promise of a bigger and better operation next year with the train running to Carcross, and later perhaps all the way to Whitehorse.
Coming from the Klondike I know the importance to our tourism industry of a major attraction. There is no doubt in anyones mind that the White Pass railway is indeed a big attraction - one that has been sorely missed for the last five and a half years.
People came from all over the world to ride that train. It is synonymous with Yukon history and the Gold Rush. It is my sincere hope that once again we will see pictures of the White Pass and Yukon Route in tourist brochures again attracting visitors from around the world.
Next summer we will also have a replica of a sternwheeler plying the waters between Whitehorse and Dawson City. If the White Pass operates all the way to Whitehorse, a transportation system will be established similar to that available in the good old days. Visitors will be able to travel by boat from Seattle or Vancouver to Skagway, then ride the train over the pass to Whitehorse and go by boat again, albeit with a different company, all the way to the Klondike.
I am certain that residents of Dawson City will come out in full force to extend a hearty welcome to the first tourists who travel from the outside to the Land of the Midnight Sun via this route. Once in Dawson City, these tourists will be able to spend a few delightful days enjoying our many attractions before boarding a jet at our new airport to carry them swiftly home with fond memories of their journey still fresh in their minds.
Forgive me for digressing, for getting a bit off topic. I did want to remind hon. Members of the significant role the White Pass railway has played in our history. It is also necessary to illustrate how important this attraction is to our tourism industry, how its operation can link with others in a cooperative manner to offer a series of attractions, a travel package if you like. It would be a hard combination to beat anywhere in the north.
Returning to the intent of the motion, we have to give credit where credit is due for making this possible. Credit, in this case, goes to the unions and management at White Pass. They are the ones who made the deal. However, it is up to us, as representatives of the Yukon public, to encourage White Pass further to do what is possible to help bring the train back into the Yukon.
In the meantime, we have to look at the benefits of the operation as planned for this season and look to the future about additional benefits. First, the train means that cruise ship business will continue on a large scale to use Skagway as a port of call. This is a big item in itself, for their passengers go on to the Yukon. Second, more tourists will travel to the Yukon on the expectation that they can ride the train after a fairly short drive to Skagway.
I would like to quote a letter to the editor written by a Mr. Doug Twigge of the Carcross area who offered his comments on the railway reopening. Since I have been in business in the Carcross area for 14 years, I have some views on the opening of the railway from Skagway to Whitehorse, which will be opposite to the negative views some people not involved in tourism have been trying to imply.
First of all, the opening is terrific and will increase tourism to Carcross. The 50,000 passengers that the train will possibly carry will be people who could have just as easily remained on the ship or in Skagway and never entered the Yukon to begin with because of the untimely departure of the ship. The possible reduction of the return excursions to Carcross will be made up by the following new traffic.
First, tourist traffic, which currently comes up the Alaska Highway to Whitehorse and then on to Alaska, will now have a big reason to go to Skagway for the day to take the historic train ride. Therefore, they will be travelling through our area, which we can then capitalize on. On the return trip, they will probably spend the extra day in Whitehorse rather than travel right through.
Secondly, I believe there will be even more movements of Yukoners themselves with their friends and relatives through our area to take part in the excitement of the train. Yukon dollars are just as important as the tourists.
Thirdly, through bus traffic is not going to be affected at all as these tourists have already chosen the land tour over the sea tour. The opening of the train will only enhance their trip not alter it.
In closing, I say many thanks to White Pass. I look forward to a very busy year.
I think we have to listen to the voice of experience from the tour operator in the Carcross vicinity. We have also heard the executive director of the tourism industry association of the Yukon describe this as a very positive move. These comments clearly contradict what the Leader of the Official Opposition has said about the rail deal. The hon. Member, who is the MLA for the area, and a resident of Carcross, called the announcement of May 1 a complete disaster and he said that the government is to blame. I do not agree with that assessment, but, be that as it may, I am sure that he will offer his own comments in this debate.
For the governments part, I think that the Government Leader, who is our Minister of Finance, the Minister of Economic Development, took the correct position in making it perfectly clear that there would be no corporate welfare to reopen the rail. However, there may come a day when this House may examine some form of government assistance for extension of the rail operation into the Yukon, and I trust that we will have support from Members opposite, should it come to that.
All in all, we have to view this as a very positive situation, and as Members of the Legislature, I think that we should clearly state our position, and give credit where credit is due. I also think that we should make it clear regarding our collective vision of the future for this railroad. This motion does both, and I look forward to comments from Members opposite, and their support of this motion.
Mr. Phelps: It is with great pleasure that I rise to take the bait that has been cast before me from the Member from Dawson City. I have never heard a speech quite like it, and I certainly hope that this kind of illogical approach will not be the order of the day in future, because I have a great deal of respect for the hon. Member for Klondike.
He started out by talking about the government not doing anything and that they ought therefore to be congratulated for not doing anything. I think that if one took that to its logical conclusion, reducto ad absurdum that he would have us believe that the best government is the government that never does a thing at all, and perhaps that the government offices should be shut down completely. I think that if he thinks about it, he will realize that that is not the position that he is advocating, and I am sure that in his final say that he will soberly reflect upon the inane comments that he has commenced his dissertation with, and perhaps back off just a little bit, to retain some self-respect.
The position that I have personally always taken is that I have always wanted to see the railway remain open. I have lived in Carcross at least part time and sometimes full time for most of my life, and the train was not only important to the community, but it has always been an integral part of the lifestyle and of the well-being that lent itself to the whole aura of Carcross. Carcross started off primarily as a transportation centre because of the linkage of the White Pass railway with the lake system and the importance of transporting in this manner goods down the lakes to various mining camps and to Atlin in British Columbia - a gold rush centre of some renown which was discovered and in operation during the famous Klondike Gold Rush.
There are those who would have us believe that the reduction of at least 50,000 tourists because of the train, would not have a negative impact on business in Carcross. I did take honours economics at university for a good many years, and I really believe that, if you reduce 50,000 clients from a very small number of businesses, somebody is going to suffer. Maybe not one or two of them, but I would make a wager that some businesses will suffer severely. It is only basic and fundamental. If your demand is suddenly reduced by a huge extent, that some, if not all, of the suppliers of the goods and services have to feel an adverse impact.
Without dwelling on that, it seems obvious that we should just wait and see. It will be interesting to see what happens by the time the tourist season in Carcross has ended and whether or not all the businesses there have survived.
That is not really the basic point. I started out by talking about the whole quality of life in Carcross being so affected by that train. That train, which provided really the only means of transportation for a good many years to the residents of Carcross, was built at personal sacrifice by so many pioneers and runs through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world - along Lake Bennett, over the famous White Pass and down the valley through Lewes Lake to the City of Whitehorse. So many generations of Indian people in Carcross worked on that train. I have spoken to the grandchildren of Indian people who have told me to keep fighting to get that train going to Carcross because, I want to work on that again. Many of those people in Carcross who were recently laid off, fully support the position that I have been taking that this government ought to be doing whatever is in its power to have the railway extended into Carcross and into Whitehorse, not just because of a few business people, but because a whole way of life revolved around that train.
We do have examples of three and four generations of Yukon people, many of them the original Indian people of Carcross, who very dearly want to see the train opened and did not see my remarks as being partisan, but simply remarks that completely supported what they wanted to see: their values, the values of the people in Carcross. I am a little dismayed that the values of those people were not reflected in the least in the speech given to us by the Member for the Klondike.
I think that two of the main responsibilities of the Government of Yukon have to do with the infrastructure in Yukon, namely, transportation and energy. I happen to think the railway is extremely important to the Yukons future. I have spoken out on this issue on numerous occasions, firstly in the early summer of 1985. I felt that the government should have taken a more active role in examining the problems of the railway, the alternatives and what could have been done. I sincerely believe that there is a good many people in Yukon, not the least of whom are not business people not really involved in tourism industry, but people who enjoy the railway, who felt secure when they heard it rumbling through Carcross and who worked, and whose fathers worked and the fathers of those people have worked on that railway. The railway represents far more than a dollar and cents thing to a few business people. It represents an important challenge to Yukoners and to the people involved in opening it, the White Pass officers and the labour unions themselves.
In the spirit of the motion, I certainly want to give them credit for the work they have done. I want to urge them to do everything they can to extend the railway into the Yukon. I have no problem with that part of the motion. I want to make it very clear that I look to this government to use everything it can in terms of jaw-boning all those involved, and to try to find ways in which that railway can be extended, because it represents something that is not only important in dollars and cents, but a way of life, an aspect of Carcross, and an aspect of other parts of the Yukon that are so fundamentally important to those who live there.
Mr. McLachlan: I, too, would like to join with the previous two speakers in expressing my satisfaction for the arrangements that have been completed that will allow the White Pass and Yukon Route to resume operations, at least on a limited basis out of Skagway next month.
I am extremely pleased to see that a private sector solution has been arrived at, as a solution to a thorny problem that has been with us since November of 1982 when the railway stopped operation. It is my sincere hope that passenger operations can be resumed further into the territory as soon as roadbed modification and reconstruction can be completed, and the management of White Pass has had a chance to assess this summers operations. I can only hope that decision would be favourable.
That does not preclude the question as to whether it will require additional financial assistance, or involvement, by the governments of Yukon and the State of Alaska. That question has yet to be addressed.
The mover of the motion has something in the last line that means something different to me. That is the expression to resume full operations. I presume he means full passenger operations. To me, full operations is reminiscent of the days when the White Pass and Yukon Route carried a substantial tonnage on its ongoing journey to Skagway from Faro. I realize the key to the operation there is load, base and tonnage. That is beginning to happen more and more each month. Whether White Pass will every get involved in freight again is only circumspect and speculation but I, for one, was extremely surprised when a trucking company had to renew its entire fleet of tractors after only 18 months of operation. In the end, depending upon rates, I think that will be something the White Pass and Yukon Route looks forward to.
In that vein I can remember, going back to 1969 now, the original stories, feasibility studies, and everything that went with the opening of the Cyprus Anvil Mine at Faro in 1969, when it was actually thought, hoped for, and planned for that, someday, the railway would expand its operation north to Carmacks, or further east into Faro. Again, it is only circumspect, but I endorse the operations of rail expansion and realize it is based solely on tonnage and the mineral industry in the territory to make it succeed.
In closing, I can only add my congratulations along with the other speakers and to the message that I hope will be repeated by other speakers here today.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am pleased to join in this debate and join in the sentiments expressed by my colleague, the Member for Klondike, and others, in congratulating the people at White Pass - the owners and the employees - in making arrangements that will see the railway running again this season, if only on a portion of its original route.
There can be no doubt that this government recognizes the importance of White Pass to the Yukon, both as a method of transportation and as a symbol of our history. Having said that, though, we have to recognize that, for the tourism industry, the railway has, if anything, become more of an attraction than a mode of transportation. It is, nonetheless, a very important attraction for many thousands of people around the world.
Further to this recognition, the government here encouraged the purchase and reestablishment of White Pass by a private operator. We have done so in very concrete ways. Those ways have included the commissioning of feasibility and sectoral studies, the results of which were made available to those who had an interest. Members of this House know about those studies.
When Mr. Don Primi of New York took an option to purchase the White Pass, the government made it clear to him that, although we very much wanted to see the railway reopened, we were not prepared to finance his purchase, either as a government asset or through subsidizing his operation. I met with Mr. Primi, and I indicated to him that all of our government, business and tourism assistance programs would be available to him, as to any other perspective developer. However, we were not going to make him any grants or gifts of the kind that are so frequently denounced and despised by the Members opposite.
Subsequent to Mr. Primis option elapsing, Mr. Rolf Hougen announced his interest in the railroad. The attitude of the government was extremely positive. I met with Mr. Hougen at the earliest possible opportunity after he made his interest public. Although we have consistently been willing to assist in the reopening of the White Pass, the government has also consistently said that it is not ready or willing to finance a purchase of White Pass under any circumstances for anybody.
This position was made to Mr. Hougen. I told him that we were prepared to assist, and that, through the vehicle of the Yukon Development Corporation, he might be able to find another investor within the Yukon, if he needed one to help put together the deal. Mr. Hougen indicated that he wanted to have a totally private enterprise solution. He wanted to have a private enterprise resolution of the problem, a private enterprise success story.
We said that we supported that initiative. However, if he wanted to look to the Yukon Development Corporation as an investor, we were prepared to have them consider it. We were prepared to have them participate on a minority basis with any other significant investor who was attracted to the proposal.
As Members here know, Mr. Hougen then entered into negotiations with White Pass and arrived at a purchase price of several million dollars. It may be a public figure, but I am not sure I am at liberty to disclose the amount. There has been some press coverage of the sums involved.
This was a deal arrived at entirely between the two negotiating private sector parties: White Pass and Mr. Hougen. After arriving at the deal, it was realized that private financing, including loans, could only cover about half the funds needed to purchase and operate the railroad. The governments of Alaska, Canada and Yukon were then petitioned to make a grant of $5 million in U.S. funds. All three governments looked at that proposition; all three governments considered the public interests of each of their constituents, and all three governments rejected that proposal for a number of reasons.
When a government is asked to invest such a large sum of money, they have a public trust to investigate and determine whether the people they serve are getting value for their money. The Leader of the Official Opposition has spoken eloquently about the history and the legend of the White Pass railroad. Nobody would deny that, but what would we have gotten for our $5 million in U.S. funds? At best, we would have had 10 seasonal jobs, with a cost per job far in excess of any other business assistance program, loan contribution or gift we have ever contributed to any other deal, and one that was, in those terms, far in excess of the cost of a contribution by any government anywhere in this country to any business venture.
That was bad enough and, on those terms, it was totally unacceptable. We could create 10 seasonal jobs much more efficiently and, for $5 million, we could create many more jobs than that.
We found that, for such a large investment, neither the Government of Yukon nor its potential agent, Yukon Development Corporation, would receive an equity interest in the railroad, and it would not be allowed powers as a director so it could ensure the railroad was operated in a manner consistent with the public interest.
In the deal, there were also terms allowing for a buy-back by White Pass, which this government and the Government of Alaska found totally unacceptable. What was proposed was that, having sold the railway to the private developer, Mr. Hougen, at what I believed was an inflated price, White Pass would be allowed to take it back at a market price on extremely favourable terms anytime they chose.
That was something that in the end Mr. Hougen, as well as the governments, found totally unacceptable. If the government were to help the railroad once, it would not want to be in the position where it had to do it again and again. The Leader of the Official Opposition has accused us of doing nothing. He has accused us of being responsible for the train only going to the top of the summit. We are being blamed for everything bad that has happened in response to this deal, that we have accepted total responsibility for this disaster, I think his words were. A complete disaster. I would like to ask him if he would have, given the sentiments he has expressed for the people of Carcross and the traditions of the people working there, accepted this deal? I am very curious.
This is a gentleman who has told us he does not approve of government grants. He is certainly opposed to government spending in ways that are certainly less than totally responsible, but I would like to ask him if he had given $5 million to the White Pass Corporation in exchange for 10 seasonal jobs and then would he have allowed them to buy it back anytime they wanted.
As a government, I have to tell you that we could not participate on those terms. We had no voice in the negotiating process and did not feel bound to accept the terms that were laid out for us.
The Member for Riverdale North heckles and says, Carcross be damned. No, not Carcross be damned. The taxpayers of the Yukon be thanked. Thank God they have this government here and not that potential government on this deal. If his position is that we should have given $5 million to White Pass I want to hear him. A $5 million grant to White Pass - if that is his position, I want to hear it put on the record, not heckling from the back row.
We advised Mr. Hougen and his associates that we declined to be involved in the particular manner proposed. We were open to considering investment by the Yukon Development Corporation. We were prepared to deal on those matters if the company involved was prepared to put Carcross waterfront land or Whitehorse waterfront land on the table. We saw other options for involvement, but unfortunately White Pass took a rather intransigent position and no agreement was reached on this occasion.
I repeat, much as we wanted the railroad running again, much as we wanted the railroad running all the way to Whitehorse, we were not prepared to make a grant, a gift, of $5 million in U.S. funds to the Winnipeg-based company - a multi million dollar gift just to open the railroad.
I find it inconsistent that the Leader of the Official Opposition has said publicly that this government did not take a strong enough position on this matter. As I said before, we know that his party do not like government involvement in the market-place. We have heard him say that before. We know that he is opposed to grants to businesses. An investment which would guarantee us no say in the management, give us limited equity, give us an obligation to sell the company back to the original owners at a bargain basement price would not be a good deal in our view. That is why we rejected firmly and decisively the particular proposal that was on the table.
We are now in a situation where the White Pass has reopened on its own. That it has reopened I think is a very good thing. That it does not go as far as the Yukon is a sad thing. I want to be perfectly clear: we want the train to go to Carcross. We want the train to go to Whitehorse. That is, and that remains, our objective. Our information is obviously different from that of the Leader of the Official Opposition on the effect of the opening of White Pass on the tourism industry. The information is, from the industry, that the effect will be minimal. I realize that the Leader of the Official Opposition is of the opinion that the reopening is a complete disaster; however, I would point out that there is not a consensus in the tourism industry on that point. In fact, perhaps it is not even a consensus in Carcross, judging by the letter from Mr. Twigge, which was quoted by the Member for Klondike.
The government is vitally interested in encouraging White Pass to extend its operation into the Yukon once again. We want the cruise ships to stop at Skagway, and there was some danger that some of them would no longer do that without the railway as an attraction. We want the trains to come all the way to Carcross. We want the trains to come to Whitehorse, and we want the passengers on those trains to visit and to enjoy Carcross and to stay and enjoy this area when they are here. We are prepared to cooperate in any way that we can to expedite this happening, but we are not prepared to be patsies. We are not prepared to throw away the taxpayers dollars on this project.
I have discussed the reopening of the White Pass, before and after their recent decision, with representatives of the Governments of Canada, Alaska, and British Columbia. I have discussed the matter with Premier Vander Zalm, Governor Cowper, and Commissioner Tony Smith, the Commissioner of Commerce in Alaska. As well, our office has been in frequent contact with federal goverment officials on this point.
We want to find a rational, justifiable, economic way to encourage White Pass, the tourism industry, and other employees to see the train going back to its full route. We look forward to working with White Pass and the tourism industry, to study the various options. I spoke recently to Mr. Marvin Taylor on this score, and Mr. Taylor indicated that there was some possibility - not this summer but next summer - of extending the route into Yukon. I indicated to him at that time that we would be very pleased to discuss that prospect and ways in which we could encourage that prospect.
In closing, I want to say that this government will do whatever is prudent and wise to achieve that objective, but we will not throw money away just to achieve a temporary success of our objective.
Mr. Phelps: Point of Order, Mr. Speaker.
I was asked by the Government Leader if I would answer a question that he posed, and I am quite prepared to do so, with his concurrence.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The procedurally correct way to do this is that the Member is supposed to rise and ask if I would permit the question. If he, in putting a question to me would bootleg an answer to the question I put to him, I would find that perfectly acceptable even though I admit that it is probably procedurally exotic.
Mr. Phelps: I am responding to a question put by the Government Leader. If he feels that the question was simply mischievous, and he does not want an answer, that is fine. He is indicating that he wants an answer. The record shows that I have never, in anything that I have said publicly or privately, taken the position that the Government of Yukon should have supported the request of Mr. Hougens private sector group for the money that they were asking.
If the whole defensive posture of the Government Leader was directed at something that he presumed me to have said, was rather a waste of time. I never did take that position. My criticism is far different from what he alleges it to be. I want to go on the record once again where he shows me once that I, in writing or privately, have ever said that that money should have been forthcoming from this government to that private group.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am very pleased that, by way of a question, the Leader of the Official Opposition has indicated that he now supports the position that this government took in those negotiations in recognition of the fact that we were not at the table. We were asked to buy a pre-packaged deal by other parties, which he has indicated was unacceptable.
By inference, I assume that the Leader of the Official Opposition is withdrawing his attack on us for having done nothing in his recognition that we have played a thoroughly constructive role in this entire enterprise.
Mr. Phelps: I can only observe that the Government Leader and the Member for Klondike must have studied at the feet of the same logic professor, because there is no logic in that statement.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I have absolutely nothing to say on that Point of Order.
I really thank the Members opposite for the vote of confidence that they have in me. I always have a tendency to be quite entertaining for them. Unfortunately, I have to be careful that I do not spend too much of my time talking about their speeches and failing to give my own. I still have half a speech to give from yesterday.
I rise to speak to the motion. I have had some direct involvement over the last few years as the Minister responsible for transportation in efforts to reopen the White Pass railway. The Leader of the Official Opposition, as the Government Leader quite rightfully stated, gave a fairly eloquent and romantic look at the White Pass railway over the course of last century and the importance of the railway to the territorial economy at one point as well as the psyche of the territory.
There is merit in what all Members have said about the historical importance of the railway and its distinct attraction for tourists who come to the Yukon. I have heard on many occasions of persons who have come to this part of the world because they want to have a look at the train and perhaps travel on it sometime during their stay.
That was one of the major grabbers of peoples attention in making the decision to come to Yukon and Alaska in the first place.
I think there is a point in bringing the motion forward today. There is a point to recognizing the efforts the White Pass company and the workers who have agreed to restart the railway under operating conditions that are cost effective, given the agony the territory has undergone over the course of the past few years to determine which private sector interest is going to get the railway started. I think that the fact that something positive has finally been done, perhaps not what we all wanted in all respects, is something that we should log as having been beneficial to, not only the territorial economy, but also to the psyche of the people of Carcross and others in the territory who remember the operating train.
I think, too, that the comments made in the media by the Leader of the Official Opposition, the Member for Hootalinqua, resident of Carcross at times, with respect to this governments involvement have been manifestly unfair. Clearly, the activities that the government has undertaken, over the course of the last three years, have not only been to prepare itself initially for what was thought to have been an abandonment plan by White Pass but to assist the public in ascertaining what the best transportation link between Whitehorse and the ocean port would be and also in determining the viability of the White Pass and Yukon Route as a tourist attraction. Our efforts in that direction stand for themselves and have been repeated many times in this Legislature. Simply to repeat what appears to be the age-old, tired refrain that the government somehow is responsible for all things that are bad and nothing good, is really something that should be addressed in this Legislature. I have been somewhat responsible at times for the governments activities in this area, and I feel duty-bound to set the record straight.
A number of events have taken place over the course of the last three years as the issue evolved from one where it was obvious that, as a cost-effective transportation link for passengers and freight, it was not going to turn the trick in assisting the Faro mine to reopen, which led the government to initiate discussions with Alaska to reopen the Klondike Highway for year-round access. The review and the studies that the government had undertaken to determine the future of the railway on an objective basis were thorough in every respect.
Over the course of the last eight or nine years, a number of studies have been undertaken to assess the governments role and the future role of the railway in the Yukon. It is interesting to note that the reports are unanimous in their view, that the government should not purchase the railway itself.
When we came to office, it was clear that there had been a plethora of reports each studying the White Pass and Yukon Route from a variety of angles, none which determined whether or not the railway could realistically compete with year-round road access. We undertook that study, and the study was tabled in the House. The study was overseen by the Department of Community and Transportation Services and undertaken by Swan Wooster Engineering. It did recommend that, as a tourism operation, the railway could show viability with a little bit of hustle from the private sector and some imagination in terms of putting a package together. A good, smart business operator could make good money and accomplish the goal of getting the railway restarted at least on a seasonal passenger train basis.
We concurred with that conclusion. We also concurred that, as a freight hauler, it simply could not compete with year-round road access. We felt from this report, along with numerous reports done by the CTC and other groups sponsored by this government prior to 1985, and given that they were in agreement that the economies of scale were not in the railways favour, that we ought to proceed with the rebuilding of the South Klondike Highway and rigorously seek an agreement with Alaska on the opening of the highway.
It is unfortunate in some respects that the Member for Faro raised the issue about the railways viability simply because one trucking company feels that the road miles on its tractor trailers over the last 18 to 24 months were so significant that they needed to be replaced. That factor in itself is indicative of the long term viability of the railway. The two are not logically connected. To be charitable, I would ask the Member for Faro to rethink his analysis of the economics of operating the railway as a freight hauler and the operation of the highway.
Simply speaking, the economies of scale do not exist in comparison to highway truck traffic. It has been proven many times by many different people, many of whom were consultants sponsored by this government, both pre and post 1985. Nevertheless, as the report points out, the serious contenders for the White Pass and Yukon Route reopening agree that there is potential for a tourist train operation, and they can make money. That is something we agreed with and something we encouraged through the offering of programs to whatever operator came forward with a realistic proposal.
Now during this period, of course, White Pass was not dormant. White Pass was looking to make as much money as they could, obviously, as a company is prone to do, to try to ensure that its interests were protected and enhanced to the fullest extent possible. Mr. King gave me a call one day and suggested that the Yukon government might lease the right-of-way for an undefined period - he suggested maybe seven - at a cost of a mere $3 million a year, just to ensure that the White Pass and Yukon Route did not rip up the rails in the interim. I indicated to Mr. King that I thought that that proposal was unrealistic. I also indicated that railway abandonment would have to take place and that the government was gearing up, through its legal departments, to challenge a railway abandonment. I felt that the public would not accept renting the right-of-way simply to ensure that White Pass did not rip up the rails. He indicated that if the government wanted to operate a railway system during the period that the lease was underway that the leasing costs would go up, because that means that there would be some economic activity associated with the right-of-way itself.
I thought that that was a fairly nice try, but I certainly felt that it was not something that would fly until I heard a CBC Yukon news report on Friday, January 10, 1986 that quoted the Member for Hootalinqua, who was thinking that that proposal had some merit. I will quote: Tom King has not discussed this proposal yet with the Yukon government... - in fact, he had, but it seemed to make sense to at least one politician, Willard Phelps. I think that the Government of Yukon should look at various options open to it. The concept of a fairly short term lease has some merit. - referring to Mr. Kings proposal.
I realize the importance of the railway to the Leader of the Official Opposition, and I realize that there is potential for the railway to make money as a tourist operation, but I must stress to all Members, and especially to the Member for Hootalinqua, that we are not prepared to do this at any price. I think that upon reflection the Member for Hootalinqua would agree that such a proposal as put forward by Mr. King would not be accepted by Yukon taxpayers, including those who reside in Carcross.
In any case, I think that it is important to consider the economics of the operation and to determine the governments role in ensuring that the railway is preserved for future generations. There are a variety of ways of doing that. Clearly, if White Pass was to try to try to extricate itself from the transportation business, it simply could not. It simply could not rip up rails or start selling the railroad right-of-way as cottage lots. It would have to file for abandonment, and because this government had no experience with this kind of activity previously, we did a thorough checking of what the process involved and determined that the abandonment by White Pass would be considered a mainline abandonment, and full hearings would have to take place - at which time cases would be made to determine whether or not there were any caveats, certainly political caveats, even, and whether the land grant to White Pass was granted solely for the purposes of a transportation industry and for nothing else.
There would be a political element to the hearing and to the final decisions that were made, as there are in all railway abandonment proposals. We were prepared to challenge any abandonment, and do so aggressively.
As the Government Leader has mentioned, the government has had discussions with the proponents of the tourist operations. I have had discussions with the Commissioner of Alaska to determine what joint action should be taken, including officials of the City of Skagway to ensure that, whatever happens out of White Pass corporate plans, the interests of Yukon and Alaska in this matter will be protected. A great deal of discussion has taken place, and a great deal of work has been undertaken to ensure that our interests are protected. It would not be a fair criticism to suggest that the Yukon government had done nothing.
I do not want to comment for any great length on the viability of the tourism operation. I am not a tourism operator myself but, like most Members in the Legislature, we hear from a variety of sources, including many of those who are well-connected with the tourism industry, about what they think the effect of an operating train would have on the tourism industry, even in the limited sense it is proposed. I have been given notice that cruise ships were giving notice to other tourism operators that, if there was not a significant attraction at Skagway, like a tourism train, there would be little point in continuing to stop at Skagway, given that there are other stops on route and, in the past, the tourism train had been considered a significant attraction at this port of call.
The impact of starting the tourist train up to the extent that it has been is significant. As the Member for Klondike pointed out, credit is due to the company and the employees involved. I would like to lend my voice to that. For those of us who have not travelled the train in the past, it will allow us the opportunity to take that trip. Others who travel the Alaska Highway will take a trip and travel to Carcross, hopefully taking advantage of the tourism facilities that are there, and down on into Skagway to take advantage of their tourism operation.
Hopefully, when the White Pass employees gear up to start this year and find their feet, they will see fit to do the right thing and continue the train operation into Carcross and, hopefully, ultimately into Whitehorse. I would imagine a great deal of discussion has to take place between the cruise ship operators, who will be the source of supply for the volume the railway requires, and the tourism train operation itself, to ensure the business was successful.
After all, that is what opened the railway in the first place, and that is what will keep the railway open in the final analysis. It is important to recognize that the government does recognize the viability of the operation as a tourist operation. It has done a great deal in terms of encouraging the operation to come forward through the private sector, and has facilitated that operation by providing background analysis and detail for any prospective operator. Now that the decision has been made to operate the tourist train to the limited extent possible, we can laud their efforts.
Hon. Mr. Porter: I would like to begin my remarks by expressing my appreciation to the Leader of the Official Opposition for his sentimental statements at the opening of this particular debate. I do not think there is anyone in the House who is quite as able to conjure up the kind of romantic image of the straw-hatted barefoot boy from Carcross trudging down the tracks with his fishing pole on his shoulder, waving at the train as it went by. As we all know, he grew up in the community of Carcross, and the train was very much a part of his early childhood.
I think it is fair to say that the image of the billowing stacks of the train as it clattered through the Yukons landscape represents an emotional linkage to the Yukons past. Unfortunately, those kinds of romantic, emotional images were not the only images that the Member for Hootalinqua has portrayed on this question.
On the other hand, he has voiced some very critical statements with respect to the reopening of the White Pass and Yukon railway system. He was quoted on March 2, 1988, in the Yukon News, as describing the event as a complete disaster for Carcross. To build on that particular imagery, one would have to liken the Leader of the Official Opposition in another setting, one of something like the singing brakeman, Jimmy Rogers, sitting beside the train tracks in Carcross, strumming on a Simpsons-Sears guitar, singing the White Pass blues.
Speaking from the tourism industry point of view - and I believe it is a point of view shared by many of the tourism operators in the Yukon - the fact that the White Pass train system is on the rails again is something that is appreciated by anyone who is involved in tourism, be they operators in Carcross or people in Dawson City, or throughout the Yukon. The announcement can only represent a positive plus for the tourism growth in the Yukon.
When we look at the history of the train in its relationship with the tourism industry, we saw that, in 1982, which was the last year of the operation of the railway, the total number of cruise ship passengers to arrive in Skagway was between 30,000 and 40,000. Approximately 20,000 of these passengers rode the rails to Fraser or Bennett and back. In the years since, the numbers of passengers arriving in Skagway have tripled and quadrupled.
More cruise ships than ever are making Skagway a stop on their voyage north. There were 192 cruise ship dockings registered in 1986. In 1987, that climbed to 229 and, in 1988, those dockings registered an all time high of 247.
Four new cruise ships are scheduled to be added to the Inside Passage in 1989, increasing potential passenger capacity by 17 percent. The number of cruise ship visitors that Skagway is having has been climbing at a corresponding rate. There were 123,320 in 1987; 128,000 in 1988,based on the capacity of the vessels. The 30,000 to 40,000 cruise ship passenger volume in 1982 is clearly dwarfed by todays numbers.
Day bus excursions to Carcross and back were first established in 1983. By 1987, 14,655 US resident passengers were entering the Yukon on day bus excursions. That brings a very important point up for debate because, in that same Yukon News article that the Leader of the Official Opposition was quoted in, he predicted a number of as much as 100,000 tourists being lost to the Yukon as a result of the re-opening announcement. If one were to examine numbers, we are only looking at 15,000 in 1987 coming as far as Carcross.
It should also be noted for the record that the people who speak for the industry - in this case, Charles Wood of Grayline, Seattle office - said that most of the cruise ship passengers are pre-booked in the season in advance and that the late opening will not affect those bookings. Mr. Becker of Atlas Travel in Whitehorse stated that Atlas also pre-books its tours and, because of the lateness, the bus tours would not be affected this tourism season.
Therefore, I do not totally believe the quote in the article. There are times when people are not accurately quoted, and I give the Member for Hootalinqua the benefit of the doubt. The message here has to be put that, because of the lateness of the trains being put on the tracks and the early bookings on the passenger ships, there should be negligible affect on tourism in the Yukon because of the announcement.
The reactivation of the train and the eventual extension of its route into the Yukon offers tremendous possibilities for increasing tourist traffic to the southern Yukon generally. The combinations of train rides in or out of the Yukon with bus back hauls hold the potential for carrying more cruise ship passengers to the Yukon in the future.
The appeal of the railway may see many Alaska Highway visitors travelling through the Yukon to detour their trips to maybe ride the train to Skagway and back. Bus passengers for this year have booked their trips, and the Carcross tourism industry is secure and will probably reach levels that were experienced in the last season.
The announcement by the Government Leader and the Minister for Community and Transportation Services that puts on record this governments position and willingness to work with the private owners - the White Pass company - to extend the railway system in the Yukon to Carcross and Whitehorse, will only benefit tourism in the territory in the future.
In summation to the brief points that I have from a tourism perspective, we announced at the beginning when the White Pass company made its position official that we supported the decision, and we continue to support it. As the motion states, those individuals who were involved in the re-opening of the White Pass should be given their due credit and congratulated for their efforts.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Very early in the debate, there was a comment about the meaning of the railway to the community of Carcross. It would be remiss of Whitehorse Members if we did not make a statement or two about the meaning of the railway to Whitehorse. As the railway is almost entirely in my riding, I will make a few comments about that and, also, speak about the effect on Whitehorse and, after that, make a few general comments about the past criticism of the Leader of the Official Opposition.
Whitehorse, perhaps even more so than Carcross, is a transportation community, especially in its early days before it was the capital. It is clear that the termination of the railway occurred here, because it was past the Whitehorse rapids, which were evident before the dam was built, and it was the end of the rail terminal and the beginning of the steamboat terminal. The history of the railroad is intertwined with the history of Whitehorse as a community. People here feel a very strong affinity to that railroad.
I was living here when the train was rumbling through, exactly as it did in Carcross. The feeling here is very much the same as is the feeling in Carcross. It is interesting that the jobs on the train were more in Skagway and Whitehorse than they were in Carcross up until the date it opened and, especially, in the years since the opening of the Faro mine when the truck haul ended at Whitehorse and the rail haul commenced at Whitehorse. The economic impact of the transportation system was far greater here than it was in Carcross.
I would also mention that much has been said about the tourism potential of the railway from the point of view of the cruise ships that dock in Skagway. I am aware that it has been studied, but not much has been said in the debate about the effect of the tourist traffic from the Whitehorse end. There are perhaps more Americans than Canadians at the Skagway end and, perhaps, more Canadians than Americans at the Whitehorse end. There were many people who took the train, not from Skagway to Whitehorse, but from Whitehorse to Skagway, and sometimes back - sometimes to complete a loop - then by water out of Skagway.
Now that we see that the opening of the railroad will not be for the hauling of freight, but will be for the enjoyment and transport of tourists, we should be interested in that question of the tourism market from the Whitehorse end, not only from the Skagway end. I myself have taken that trip as a tourist in the late 1970s, and it is a delightful trip from this end, as it is from the other end.
The effect of the closing of the railroad was felt severely in my riding. There were several who lost their jobs. I have two neighbours on the same block where I used to live, one of whom was an engineer of the White Pass trains. The effect has been very substantial in Whitehorse; I would suggest even more so than Carcross.
The situation that faces us now is we should accept, at least in the short term, that the train will not haul freight to any great commercial extent and is operating as a tourism railroad. It is that fact that the motion recognizes, that the unions involved, the owners, the users - at least, as represented by the tour companies - have got together and have re-opened this railroad. That is a very significant step. We all know that it will only remain operational if it is commercially viable. This step is the first year in the reactivation of the railroad. The operators of the railroad have tentatively talked about the long term future, and about the expansion of the tourist ride from the Skagway end into Canada. There is also the potential of the ride from the Whitehorse end.
It was unfortunate that, when this was announced, the Conservatives across the way took such a negative attitude. The Leader of the Official Opposition was quoted in the papers as saying, I think the government dropped the ball. He also said, The government has no idea where to go from here. Those are quotes from the Yukon News, which was previously spoken about.
From the information that was given by the Government Leader and others from this side, it is clear now that those statements made by the Leader of the Official Opposition are irresponsible. They seem to criticize almost as a reflexive action. They are criticizing us for not being more involved, or for not supporting the railway more and, out of the other side of their mouths, they criticize the government for being involved in every private sector operation. They were saying that earlier in the week. They are inconsistent and irresponsible and constantly negative.
I find that unfortunate. However we, on the government side, are undaunted and will continue to support the operation of the railroad for the benefit of all the territory and one day, maybe in the next term of this government, a Conservative opposition will realize that their constantly negative harping is doing absolutely no good to anyone, least of all themselves.
Mr. Lang: I listened with a great deal of interest to the government side with respect to their comments. I viewed the motion before us as a motion that would bring pleasant greetings from this House. I did not view it as a motion to politicize the debates and the differences between the governing party and the other parties in the House. I was quite amazed at the tenor and the tone that has come forward from the side opposite.
The concern being expressed is the reality that the train is not coming into the Yukon, and that there are Members on this side of the House who would have preferred seeing that particular decision having the train going as far as Carcross. I believe it to be unfortunate that it is not.
I listened with a great deal of interest to the words of the Government Leader and the Minister of Community and Transportation Services. Quite frankly, it may not reflect itself in Hansard but,by the tone of the presentation by the two Members I have just named, I was left with the impression of venom, disdain and dislike for the people who were attempting to put a deal together that would get the train going back to Whitehorse.
This side of the House was not privy to the negotiations and will have to take the words of the Government Leader to be true, with respect to what was or was not offered. On this side, we are looking at the long term effects of what is going to take place. As far as the tourism industry is concerned, with the train only going to Fraser, only time will tell the number of persons who go to Fraser, turn back to the cruise ship and go further into Alaska, over to Anchorage or back down again, and bypass Yukon totally. That has to be of some concern.
The Minister of Tourism has quoted various figures. I would question some of them,because I think a lot of them are supposition and I think he would agree with me. When I talk long term in tourism marketing, I mean three, four or five years from now. Next year, as the Minister has indicated, has primarily been set, so it is the second, third and fourth year from now. The actual effects of the number of tourists who would have been bused to Carcross or into Whitehorse, now with the train there, may not come into Yukon at all.
In some cases, I am sure that is going to happen, and I think that has to be a cause for concern to all of us. That is the point that this side is making regarding the longevity of the train and it becoming a tourist attraction. How do you develop it to make it viable?
I also want to turn Members attention to the 20/20 report that was commissioned by the City of Whitehorse. In it were a number of observations with respect to the future of the White Pass train and how it could become a major catalyst in future years, as far as the growth and the longevity of our tourism industry in the Yukon is concerned. If one views the marketing segmentation study that was done by the government - at a great deal of expense - it is interesting to note that very few people view Whitehorse, or Yukon, as a destination point. In fact, I do not think that it was even mentioned, if one takes a look at the research that was done.
That has to also be a cause of concern to the people of the territory, because the cost is so high for travelers to get to Yukon that we have to have something besides a hotel room and top class methods of transportation. We have to have something other than that for them to come to Yukon with the idea of spending time. The White Pass and Yukon rail route could be, at least in part, that attraction.
I want to take a look at the long term, as far as the travelling public and the Americans are concerned. From a tourism industry point of view, one of the benefits that we have is a devalued dollar, compared to them. The dollar has been creeping up, because our economy has been moving up, but it is still 20 cents on the dollar. That is shrinking, and that is a major factor for the travelling public, for the retired couple making a decision of where they are going to go - expense is a major factor.
I want to turn my direction to Alaska. The Minister of Tourism did not mention in this House that there is a major push by the State of Alaska for the cruise ships to go directly to Anchorage, which many of them are doing, bypassing the Port of Skagway. The basic principle is that it is a package tour and only so much time is available. The people disembark in Anchorage, go by road or train Denali Park, then they go up the Hall Road and catch an airplane to Anchorage or Fairbanks, and then they go back home. That has to be of major concern for us as well. I am not thinking of next year - I am thinking four to six years from now.
The concern we have on this side is that perhaps the government, with its tools, should be looking at and exploring further options that may well be available to extend that rail into Carcross and Whitehorse with the idea - short term and long term - that it be commercially viable.
That is what this side has been saying. We believe there is a place for it. The more we look at the future of tourism, the more emphasis we are going to have to put on it to have attractions here that will encourage people to come here. Otherwise, we are going to be pre-empted by other areas in the world, because the world is a big place. We have to provide something different, and something that is going to encourage and entice individuals to pay $5,000 to $10,000 to come to the Yukon. The White Pass and Yukon Route Railway is one of those attractions, both from an historic perspective and also in the long term.
I would not totally negate in the years to come the requirement for a railway for the mining community. Not one Member on the opposite side mentioned that our highways can only withstand so many trucks and so many tons of ore travelling over them. I would like to think that, in the future, we may well see a discovery such as Red Dog in comparable terms. Nobody in this House can say that we will not see it, and nobody can say that we will. However, there is a possibility.
If we combine the tonnage that comes from Curragh and that of another mine similar in size, if not bigger, along with our other smaller mines, we will have a situation where we will have to look at another mode of transportation. At that time, if it is going the Selwyn Basin, it would be rail. If some sort of an arrangement can be worked out and that rail bed can be kept alive through a tourism attraction for the foreseeable future, it may well lie to provide that transportation mode, as far as rail transportation is concerned.
I fully recognize the governments problems. I recognize the previous administrations problems when it had to wrestle with the rail and road conflict and the various studies that the Minister of Community and Transportation Services spoke of. The Minister of Tourism made a valid observation. He said that 70,000, at the least, could possibly travel on that rail. Those numbers are now possibly higher. That makes the reopening of the White Pass and Yukon Route to Whitehorse that much more viable.
I do not think that we can look at the White Pass and Yukon Route in isolation. We have to look at it from a total tourism point of view as well, if that is the approach that the Minister of Justice indicated that the government is looking at. They will not find any disagreement on that point. However, we also have to work with the City of Whitehorse, the Community of Carcross and with Dawson City to further enhance those attractions.
The more reasons we give the public to make that round trip tour via the Port of Skagway up to Carcross, Whitehorse, Dawson City, Tok, perhaps over to Haines, and make that loop, the more viable the railroad becomes. It cannot be seen in isolation; there are other communities that can reap the benefits of the opening of the rail.
It would seem to me that we have got to leave that door open. We should be monitoring and working in conjunction with the present owners to see what further can be done. The statements that have been made in words like patsy and corporate welfare do not help in trying to work out a working relationship, although there may have been disagreements at the negotiating table. Obviously there were.
As a Yukoner, and on behalf of my constituency, I would like to see further work done by government, White Pass and Yukon Route, and perhaps the BC and Alaska government, to work towards seeing how we can extend that rail. What we have to remember is that the State of Alaska has their cake and eats it too. They have the rail going at no expense to themselves, and they are reaping all the benefits of it. Good for the Alaskans.
What we have to see is further work done on our side to justify and be able to see that extension coming forward. It is in the best interest of the public we serve.
Mr. Webster: I guess I have not learned my lesson yet in not assuming anything. I said earlier in my speech that a solution was found to the problem by the private sector without government assistance. I just naturally assumed that the Opposition would take that to mean any extraordinary assistance, any unusual assistance like grants or gifts, assistance beyond that already available in existing programs to the private sector to aid economic development. Obviously, I was wrong. I apologize for that. The Leader of the Official Opposition says that governments are there to provide assistance. If they did not provide assistance, there would be no need to exist and we may as well shut down. Sometimes it is very difficult for me to figure out what the Opposition wants us to do. I think maybe they want the government to assist the private sector in some cases, to give too much support, to interfere, to spend too much money and then to increase our reliance on Ottawa.
The Member for Mayo said he wanted to give his own speech, he did not want to repeat the ones from others, but he has not heard that many speeches from the Opposition on this matter. That is very disappointing, because there are two motives for this motion in reply to the Member for Porter Creek East. One is obviously something we all agree on. We all support the reopening of the railway, and we want to congratulate the players who brought that about.
Where we still are not clear is in the Oppositions support of how far that railway should be opened. I hear from the Leader of the Official Opposition today and in the news columns that he thinks it is still a complete disaster because it did not come into the Yukon. I think it is unfortunate that the railway is not coming into the Yukon this year, but I think we have to start somewhere and the Leader of the Opposition and the Opposition Tories should recognize that. Unfortunately, they just could not get it together to do it this year. We are hoping, of course, that the situation will be different next year, and it will be coming into the Yukon.
The Member for Porter Creek East has raised some good points about some concern. The cruise ships may not be docking in the port at Skagway, but going on through to Anchorage. He also said that we should be looking at the possibility of carrying freight from the mines on this railway. What he does not recognize is that this is the very reason why we have to get this railway going now, before the rail bed deteriorates to the point where heavily loaded trains will not be able to travel on it. The very reason we have to encourage the railway to start, even if it is not into the Yukon this year, is because the cruise ships are already starting to leave. We cannot wait the four or five years the Member suggests.
It is imperative that the White Pass railway open as early as possible, so that we do ensure that the cruise ships come to Skagway. I am sorry that it does not suit the Members opposite and the Leader of the Official Opposition that it is not coming into the Yukon. I know they have some concerns. It is unfortunate. Still you have to take a look at comments made by people in the tourism industry. Again there is a lot of optimism which is contrary to the criticism of the Opposition. I keep seeing this pattern repeating. The Opposition tends to criticize everything despite what people in the tourism industry suggest should be a good thing for the Yukon. I think that the criticism is unfounded and again points to the lack of credibility of the Opposition.
Motion No. 2 agreed to
Clerk: Item No. 2 standing in the name of Mr. Webster.
Speaker: Is the hon. Member prepared to deal with Item No. 2?
Mr. Webster: Next sitting day, Mr. Speaker.
Motion No. 5
Clerk: Item No. 3 standing in the name of Ms. Kassi.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Member for Old Crow
THAT this House endorses the final report of the World Commission on Environment and Development (The Brundtland Report); and
THAT this House urges the Government of Yukon to develop a conservation strategy which fosters sustainable economic development for the territory and that takes into consideration local or regional conservation strategies within the territory.
Ms. Kassi: Most of the time in this Legislature, we talk about issues that affect the Yukon and the people who live here. Much less often we talk about national issues and how they relate to us. On very few occasions we discuss international issues. Again we talk about them usually as they affect us.
More and more we see how the Yukon is affected by international issues. Most of time these are issues that affect just one country, the United States, but more and more we have to look outside to the rest of the world, because it does affect us - like trapping - although a lot of it is not visible. We cannot ignore what is going on all over the planet.
This motion before us deals with very profound global issues studied by the World Commission on Environment, chaired by the Prime Minister of Norway, Gro Brundtland. The first part of this motion is asking the House to endorse the final report of this commission, so I would like to deal with the report, and what it means to us as leaders in government, and as people of the world. The second part of the motion deals with our situation here in the Yukon and I will speak to that in a few minutes.
The Brundtland Commission began its work more than three years ago. It brought together 21 people from very different backgrounds, countries and points of views. By some sort of miracle, they were able to reach a consensus and issue a unanimous report which they titled Our Common Future.
This report tells us that we cannot separate ourselves from what goes on in the rest of the world. Our survival, and the survival of our children and generations to come, depends on our actions today and will be shaped by the actions of others in countries far away. The report is an attempt by the United Nations to work together for our common survival, our common future.
It is a report of harsh realities, but it is also a report of hope. Because it is not just doom and gloom, it also concludes that, yes, there is a way out. We can have a secure future for every country, every nation, every culture in the world. But it starts by recognizing our dependence on one another and our responsibilities to one another.
The report says: This commission believes that people can build a future that is more prosperous, more just, and more secure. Our report...is not a prediction of ever-increasing environmental decay, poverty, and hardship in an ever more polluted world among ever-decreasing resources. We see instead the possibility of a new era of economic growth, one that must be based on policies that sustain and expand the environmental resource base. And we believe such growth to be absolutely essential to relieve the great poverty that is deepening in much of the developing world.
The commission has taken a good, hard look at where we have been, and where we are going. The report further states that: Over the course of this century, the relationship between the human world and the planet that sustains it has undergone a profound change. When the century began, neither human numbers nor technology had the power to radically alter planetary systems. As the century closes, not only do vastly increased human numbers and their activities have that power, but major, unintended changes are occurring in the atmosphere, in soils, in water, among plants and animals and in the relationships among all of these. The rate of change is outstripping the ability of scientific disciplines and our current capabilities to assess and advise. It is frustrating the attempts of political and economic institutions, which evolved in a different, more fragmented world, to adapt and cope. It deeply worries many people who are seeking ways to place those concerns on the political agendas.
Let us look at some examples. I guess the most obvious is the fact of nuclear power. The world did not have that at the beginning of the century. Humankind now has the power to destroy all of life on this planet. This is a simple but shocking reality.
A second reality is the size of the worlds population. During the time the commission did its work, the five billionth person was born somewhere in the world. The population will reach six billion by the year 2000, only 12 years away.
By sometime in the next century, we are looking at a population of between eight and 15 billion people.
Looking at more recent times, for example, during the 1970s, twice as many people suffered each year from the natural disasters as during the 1960s. Droughts and floods affected the most people of all these kinds of disasters. In the 1960s, some 18.5 million people were affected by drought every year. In the 1970s, it went up to 24.4 million. As for flood victims, there were 5.2 million per year in the 1960s and 15.4 million in the 1970s.
In the 1980s we have not seen all the results yet, but we have seen 35 million afflicted by drought in Africa alone; and tens of millions affected by a less-publicized drought in India.
We can only wonder what will happen in the next decade.
The Brundtland Commission first met in October, 1984 and published its report 900 days later. In that time, we saw the big drought in Africa. We saw the disaster at Bhopal where 2000 people were killed and more than 200,000 were blinded or injured when a chemical factory exploded. The Chernobyl nuclear explosion sent fallout across Europe and around the northern hemispheres, increasing risks of further human cancers. During a warehouse fire in Switzerland, large quantities of agricultural chemicals, solvents and mercury flowed in to the Rhine River. This killed millions of fish and threatened the drinking water of two countries, West Germany and the Netherlands. Most astonishing is the fact that 60 million people died of diseases related to unsafe drinking water and malnutrition. Most of those were children.
The message of the report, Our Common Future, is simple: we must take action now, all over the world, to change this pattern of disaster, and we must do things in such a way as to not cause more problems in the future. For example, when food is grown, the kind and amount of chemicals that are used in the production must be carefully managed because those chemicals will turn up to haunt us later in our water and in our food.
The commission discovered in its work that it was beginning to focus on one central theme: that many present development trends leave increasing numbers of people poor and vulnerable, while at the same time degrading the environment, and it asked itself, How can such development serve the next centurys world of twice as many people relying on the same environment? This realization broadened their view of development as they said, We came to see it not in its restricted context of economic growth in developing countries. We came to see that a new development path was required, one that sustained human progress not just in a few places for a few years, but for the entire planet into the distant future. Thus sustainable development becomes a goal not just for the developing nations but for the industrial ones as well.
The commission found that dividing issues up into categories really does not work anymore, especially when looking at worldwide crises, a food crises, a population crises, a development crises and an energy crises. They are all one.
Our human world of five billion people must make room in a finite environment for another human world. The population could stabilize at between eight billion and 14 billion sometime next century...More than 90 per cent of the increase will occur in the poorest countries, and 90 percent of that growth in already-bursting cities.
The report did not stop there. It wrestled with the big problems of money and power, especially military power. For example, as a result of the debt crisis in Latin America, that regions natural resources now are being used not for development but to meet financial obligations to creditors abroad. What we are seeing is poor countries having to accept growing poverty while exporting growing amounts of scarcer resources. It is ironic that many poor countries spend so much money on military might.
Environmental decline has made people poor, has made countries poor, and this leads to internal and international tensions. Political unrest is the result. The recent destruction of much of Africas dryland agricultural production was more sever. Yet most of the affected government still spend far more to protect their people from invading armies than from the invading desert.
The commission adds: Many present efforts to guard and maintain human progress, to meet human needs, and to realize human ambitions are simply unsustainable - in both the rich and poor nations. They draw too heavily, too quickly on the already overdrawn environmental resource accounts to be affordable far in the future without bankrupting those account. They may show profits on the balance sheets of our generation, but our children will inherit the losses. We borrow environmental capital from future generations with no intention or prospect of repaying...
But the commission believes that sustainable development is possible, that widespread poverty is no longer inevitable. It has recognized that poverty in itself is not a problem, but that a world with poverty will always be prone to ecological and other catastrophes. The commission knows that the process to bring about change is not easy or straightforward. It comes down to making painful choices, and it concludes: In the final analysis, sustainable development must rest on political will.
It recommends that the pursuit of sustainable development requires the following:
First, a political system that secures effective citizen participation in decision making.
Second, an economic system that is able to generate surpluses and technical knowledge on a self-reliant and sustained basis.
Third, a social system that provides for solutions for the tensions arising from disharmonious development.
Fourth, a production system that respects the obligation to preserve the ecological base for development.
Fifth, a technological system that can search continuously for new solutions.
Sixth, an international system that fosters sustainable patterns of trade and finance, and seventh, an administrative system that is flexible and has the capacity for self-correction.
So here we are a group of 16 legislators in the Yukon Territory representing 25,000 people on more than 200,000 square kilometres of land and water. Here we are in a small part of the world where our land is not subject to natural disasters that we see elsewhere. Our water is clean and our air is clean for the most part. Our land is abundant in natural foods. Our environment boasts great diversity of wildlife and plantlife. We have energy, and the potential for more. We are the lucky ones overall.
However, we are beginning to see things like Arctic haze cover the north - pollution from our industrial world. We hear that the ozone layer is disappearing over the north. We are seeing our winters get warmer because of changing climate caused by the greenhouse effect - another result of global air pollution. We see us fighting with the Alaskans over fishery resources that have sustained local people for centuries - and we may be fishing ourselves out of a renewable resource.
The Yukon has a stake in global environment and development issues. Our future is a common future with other regions and other countries, but we are not nearly as affected as most of the worlds populations. We are the lucky ones.
Here in the Yukon we have a great opportunity to do the right thing, not the wrong thing, and this brings me to the second part of my motion.
It states: THAT this House urges the Government of Yukon to develop a conservation strategy which fosters sustainable economic development for the territory and that takes into consideration local or regional conservation strategies within the territory.
We must be conservative with our natural resources. That is what this motion is saying. We cannot develop one resource and, at the same time, pollute another. We need to work to cut down pollution and to make sure, when we use water, that it goes in clean and comes out clean.
In my community of Old Crow, we are working on our own conservation strategy. This is because of the way my people have viewed things traditionally. The world is a living thing, and we cannot take without giving something back. We are a huge part of the natural world, we have a lot to offer and a balance must be maintained. We want economic development, but not something that is here today and gone tomorrow. We want sustainable development, based on the use of renewable resources. This is where we want to fit in. This is how we want to do it, and I was very pleased to see the Brundtland Commission Report, because it is thinking the same way as we are.
If people in other regions of the territory want to do the same, then they should be encouraged to do so. This will help in the development of a conservation strategy for the whole Yukon - a strategy, by the way, that fits in with the Yukon 2000 economic planning process, that will result in a secure future for us all.
The Yukon people have a lot to offer in terms of environmental management, and this Legislature can take a stand today on these issues and, at the same time, make a pledge to our youth and our future generations that the natural resources of the Yukon will be used in such a way as to ensure the generations to come have a good future for themselves based on sensible use of the resources at hand.
With that, I will end my remarks so I can listen to what other hon. Members have to say. I look forward to their support on this motion.
Mr. Nordling: There are quite a number of Members who are going to address this motion, so I will be brief. The Member for Old Crow has given us an overview of the Brundtland Report, and I will not repeat her remarks. However, I should point out that Mrs. Brundtlands name is spelled wrong in the motion and should have a d inserted between the n and the t. I say that not to be picky but, if we publicize our endorsement of the final report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, we should make sure that we have the chairmans name spelled correctly. I see a Minister on the other side nodding his head, and I know that this typo will be corrected in the final reporting of the motion.
We, on this side, are pleased to endorse the final report, which was a unanimous report, despite the fact that there were 21 countries represented on the committee. We are also pleased to support the second part of the resolution, which urges the government to develop a conservation strategy that fosters sustainable economic development. On reading the comments of Chairman Brundtland and a chapter by chapter summary of Our Common Future, we see the clear recognition that environment and development are inseparable, and what is needed now is not confrontation, but a new era of economic growth - growth that is forceful but, at the same time, socially and environmentally sustainable.
Yukon and, in particular, special interest groups can learn many lessons from this report, and we can avoid mistakes that have been made in other parts of the world.
The most important lesson is that it is impossible to separate economic development issues from environmental issues. Another lesson is that human resource development is a crucial requirement. Another lesson is the harm that can come from protectionism, which has stifled growth in many developing countries. There are many other lessons that can be learned, and many analogies that can be drawn between Yukon and developing nations.
I would urge the Members of this government to pay more than lip service to this report and, perhaps, we will be able to avoid many of the problems that have plagued developing nations because of their dependency. We, in Yukon, must not create more dependency on federal dollars, and we must not create more debt load for our country that will have to be borne by our children and our grandchildren. We, in Yukon, cannot change the world on our own, but we can lead by example and deal with Yukons environment and economic development in a careful and forward-looking manner. We can provide our support for initiatives such as the World Commission on Environment and Development, and we can support the actions it has recommended - one such recommendation being the establishment of a United Nations program on sustainable development.
Most importantly, we can add our small voice to the need for changes in human attitudes that are vital to the very survival of our planet. The message of the report is urgent and the development of a spirit of international cooperation is urgent. Canada has responded to the challenge of the Brundtland report. The national task force on environment and economy was established by the Canadian Council of Resource and Environment Ministers - the CCREM - in October, 1986, to initiate dialogue on environment and economy integration among Canadas environment ministers, senior executive officers from Canadian industry, and representatives from environmental organizations and the academic community.
The task force was formed as a direct follow-up to the visit to Canada in May, 1986, of the World Commission on Environment and Development. According to the chief executive officer of the Environment Council of Alberta, The national task force report constitutes a Canadian response to the challenge of the report of the World Commission on Environment and Development. Canada, in its response, has clearly overshot and overwhelmed the Brundtland Commissions challenge. It has plugged the major omissions of the WCED report by laying out a practical, pragmatic set of principles and processes that clearly identifies responsibilities, sets of time lines, provides reporting responsibility, and taps the full energy of the nation, whether governmental, corporate, or volunteer.
Those remarks were made in response to the national task force report, and I would urge this government to look at the recommendations of the task force, one of them being - and this is a follow-up recommendation - that each province, territory, and the federal government, should develop an action plan showing how it will implement the recommendations of the task force.
I would recommend that, pursuant to this motion, the Yukon should review the task force recommendations and use them to form an action plan for Yukon that is practical and recognizes the need for development, as well as environmental protection.
We, on this side, have no hesitation in supporting both the first and second objects of the motion from the Member for Old Crow.
Hon. Mr. Porter: Like the preceding speakers, I am pleased to rise to speak in favour of this motion on the World Commission on Environment and Development.
The WCED, headed by the Prime Minister of Norway, Gro Harlem Brundtland, was formed in 1983 to address a problem that is critical to the future well-being of the world as we all know it. How can this planet, with its finite resources, continue to meet the basic needs of a growing population? Its report, Our Common Future, has been called a global agenda for change; an agenda that outlines the global changes necessary if our world is going to continue to supply the materials to meet our basic needs. At the heart of our common future is the concept of sustainable development - development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
The Commission has made a very cogent and very thorough argument on why we can no longer afford to spend our resource capital if we expect our children and their children to lead productive, prosperous lives. We must learn to live off the interest from those resources, if we are to ensure our childrens future. We must recognize that economic development and the environment depend on each other. We need development to ensure our material wellbeing. At the same time, development depends on a healthy environment. We must heed the message of the Brundtland Commission and begin to build a world based on sustainable development. To do otherwise is to court disaster.
A few years ago, we sat in our homes and watched the human suffering brought on by the drought in Africa. Today, the world is faced with risks of irreversible damage to the human environment that threaten the very life support systems of the earth, the basis for mans survival and progress.
According to studies conducted by the United Nations Environment Program unit, 35 percent of the earths land surface, an area larger than the African continent and inhabited by more than 20 percent of the worlds population, is at risk from desertification. Up to a total of 20 million hectares of tropical forest, an area nearly the size of the United Kingdom, is estimated to be lost each year. As much as from one half million to a million species of life on Earth could be extinguished over the next two decades.
Scientists all over the world now accept the fact that concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will continue to increase in the coming decades, mainly as a result of human and industrial activities. The forests of the Amazon Basin, the worlds largest storehouse of biological diversity, which has supplied the plants from which dozens of important medical drugs have been derived, are being cleared so quickly that hundreds of species of plants and animals are being made extinct before we have even been able to confirm their existence or discover their potential. The natural resources of this planet that have been stockpiled for hundreds of millions of years are being mined out in a few short generations.
These environmental horror stories are not just happening outside of this countrys borders. They occur in Canada as well. Consider these facts: some 15 million acres of productive land around the world are converted into worthless desert every year, an area larger than Canadas three prairie provinces combined.
In view of that alone, we lose 26 acres of productive farmland every hour to urbanization. Deforestation caused by logging, farming, ranching and mining is expected to eradicate one million species of flora and fauna by the end of the 20th century. The rate of habitat destruction and species extinction throughout the world is so rapid that Canadian scientist Dr. David Suzuki has predicted that all wilderness will likely vanish within the next 30 years.
We hear almost daily of the savage effects of acid rain on our lakes and on our fish populations. It is obvious that these facts are related to Canada, and it should be quoted by as many politicians as possible, so that the word sinks in to the people of Canada that we are not immune from the environmental disasters that we watch on our television sets, that Canada, as well as any other country, suffers those same results. It is about time that Canada continues its environmental monitoring, as stated in the environmental report from which many of these facts come forward. It is something that should go into every Canadian home in this country.
I am sure that we all remember the insidious mercury poisons that occurred on the English and Wabagoon Rivers in northwestern Ontario a few years ago. I remember a lot of debate on that issue, in which we saw medical disorders that had only been seen in places like Japan occurring in our own backyards here in Canada. For the most part, it affected indigenous populations in that area and, to this day, they continue to depend on the fishery resource for there sustenance. Unfortunately we had a situation where, with the environmental disasters in that area, many people were affected forever.
There are but a few of the environmental disasters that remain as a reminder to all Canadians. These are not isolated events that I have stated. They are a mere sampling of the increasing threats that we pose to the environment in which we live.
We, in the Yukon - and this includes Members of the Opposition - are the stewards of our magnificent tracts of land, and some have described the Yukons land base as one of the most vivid and unique areas in the world community. We all have a collective responsibility to ensure that the basic integrity of our environment is not jeopardized. This environmental degradation and the human suffering it engenders will continue unless we, in the global community, begin to wrestle effectively with these problems. Our common future is a far-reaching comprehensive document on the problems facing the world today, but it is not the only report advocating changes to our attitudes about economic growth and development and changes in the way in which we deal with our environment.
Here in Canada, the National Task Force on Environment and Economy, which I am proud to have been a member of, spent a year tackling the question of how planning could best be undertaken and decisions made that recognize the interdependence of the economy and the environment. Its report contains close to 40 recommendations designed to encourage environmentally sound or sustainable development in Canada.
As the Minister of Renewable Resources, I endorse these international and national efforts to build for a sustainable future, and there have been initiatives here in the Yukon that have recognized, just as the World Commission and the National Task Force have recognized, the importance of the interdependence of our environment and our economy.
In 1984, the Task Force on Northern Conservation, which included amongst its members the hon. Member for Riverdale North, recognized that conservation embraced human activity and both the development and protection of the natural resources of the north. It said that conservation would be achieved through the managed use of natural resources for present and future generations.
This is, in essence, what the Brundtland Commission is advocating.
More recently, participants in the Yukon 2000 planning process have stressed that the responsible use of resources should be a central theme of a Yukon development strategy. They stated their desire for stable economic growth in the Yukon from the development of our non-renewable resources and a desire to see our renewable resources used in a sustainable way.
The attitudes embodied in our common future are as crucial to sustainable development here in the Yukon as they are to anywhere else in the world. This government is working to translate these attitudes into a plan for an environmentally sound economic growth and development through such initiatives as the development of the Yukon Conservation Strategy. We see efforts such as the concrete steps this territory is taking to build for our common future.
The Brundtland Report is not a document that forecasts the certain destruction of the environment that sustains us. Instead, it is a compelling articulation of the increasing damage and destruction that we are inflicting on our shrinking environmental assets.
We are privileged to live on this earth. We, in the Yukon, share equal responsibility with all members of the global community to ensure that we are not amongst the last to enjoy that privilege.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I could not let this opportunity go by without adding my voice to this motion. I would like to thank the Member for Old Crow for bringing this motion before us. I would reemphasize that it is not only important, it is crucial, that we pay attention to some of these international issues and pay attention to the fact that the environment today is not going to be the environment of tomorrow unless we take heed of the worthy principles stated in the Brundtland Report.
In Yukon, even now, we have more ghost towns than live communities. We have the effects of a less than responsible use of our wildlife in many areas of the territory even now. In speaking to the older people, it is clear that fish and game were far more plentiful in Yukon in the 1920s and 1930s than they are now. How much more information is contained in the minds of the native elders?
The mining activity in the territory is important to our development. However, it could be improved, or the activity of past years, especially in the 1920s and 1930s, could be improved by a closer adherence to these principles contained in this report. I am glad to see the Conservative Opposition supporting these worthy principles.
Of course, supporting the general principles is the first step. Putting those principles into practical effect is perhaps more important. It is interesting that in the Yukon Economic Strategy, which was tabled in this House yesterday, the principles expressed in the Brundtland report are reiterated or emphasized in the some of the areas. For example, on page 40 of the report, concerning fishing, the response of the government to the Yukon 2000 process is clearly that the long term viability of the fisheries and the development of the fishing industry for its long term viability should be emphasized. I say to the Minister responsible for forestry that it is unfortunate that in the forestry section, those principles are not well-emphasized.
Concerning outfitting, trapping, and guiding, the comments about wildlife and the sustained use of the harvest are clear examples of the principles contained in the Brundtland report. We recognize here that these industries are vital, not only for their economic benefits today, but for the fact that these factors, depending in large part on the environment and on the wildlife of the territory, give the Yukon a unique character in the world. The benefit of our wilderness and our wildlife will only increase in the long term future. However, it can only increase if it is maintained, protected, nourished and looked after, as we must do in this territory.
The economy of today is not going to be the economy of tomorrow. What is clear for Yukoners is that these natural gifts that we have, with our environment, our wildlife, our waters and our mountains, will be sought after and will acquire an increasing value in the long term future. The preferred lifestyle of individuals is shifting in the country. We have seen a time of urbanization, of families moving away from self-sustaining family farms and into cities at an alarming rate. I think that we are seeing, in the latter 1980s, and we will see, into the 1990s, a reversal of that trend.
There are many urban people who are recognizing the value of living in smaller centres and in living in rural areas. The value of living on a self-sustaining piece of land is something that was not emphasized in the last several decades, and really in a sense between the two world wars and especially after the second world war. However, there is increasing evidence in southern Canada and in the United States, that people are moving away from the suburbs and away from the highly urbanized areas into more rural areas. We are attaining a degree of self-sufficiency which would be unheard of in the 1930s and 1940s. There are some technological advances that are encouraging this kind of lifestyle or making it more comfortable.
The Yukon Territory can only benefit in the long term into the 1990s and after the turn of the century of this kind of movement. It used to be that southern Canadians thought of the Yukon as a land of ice and snow where you may find igloos and the like; however, the advances in telecommunications and the surge in public information about the world in general is changing that and the Yukon is becoming, in the minds of southern Canadians, a desirable place to live.
Indeed, it is not out of the question to enter into an economic development initiative to encourage companies to establish, for example, manufacturing plants here and to sell the location as a good place for the employees to live and to bring up children and to enjoy the wildlife and the wilderness which is only present in a very few areas of the world. It is this kind of long-term development that we should be paying some attention to and we should be protecting for our children and grandchildren and long into the future.
In summary, I thank again the Member for Old Crow for bringing this motion before us. I emphasize to Members that the Yukon strategy tabled yesterday in several places, not only in the statements about the general conservation strategy in the development of the various industrial areas in wilderness areas, takes account of this sensible principle of long-term self-sufficiency. I point out that the future of Yukon in the long term as a desirable place to live is as rosy as any place in Canada, if not the most desirable place in Canada.
I would add my voice to enthusiastically supporting this worthwhile motion.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: While I am slightly disappointed in not having an opportunity to hear from more Members on more sides of the House on this question, I am naturally pleased that we appear to be of such singleness of mind that people feel it is not necessary to join the debate. I would like to add a few short minutes of my own to this discussion, because I think it is an important one.
It has become trite to say that the world is becoming smaller. I might argue though, in reality, for most of us the world is becoming larger. For the first time in history, we are all looking at the world outside of our own particular context and we are able to see that we are all dependent upon a closely linked fragile support system, Mother Earth, as some people call it.
Our Common Future, the report of the World Commission on the Environment and Development, articulates well, I think, this new sense of humanitys place in the system. It is not just a report about development and the environment written by environmentalists or economists. Rather, it is the result of a thorough process of analyses, learning and debate. It is a political document in the best and most fundamental sense in that it deals with the situation of humanity and the way people live together and what their living together means for the environment.
I would also point out, as have the Members for Old Crow and Porter Creek West, that it is a unanimous report which perhaps gives us some indication of the pressing nature of the issues that it addresses. The report makes it clear that development must be compatible with the environment, that this concept is best understood by those who earn their livelihood from the land or from the sea. Those who live in contact with nature know that, although it is generous, it is not inexhaustible and that the only way humanity can survive is by respecting natures limits.
From this consciousness arose the concept of sustainable development which is not a system of development, but a process of constant change, a process whereby the forces of development are harmonized with the present and the future needs of humanity. It can perhaps be defined as progress which meets the needs and aspirations of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs - something which I heard a Conservative parliamentarian in our own House of Commons recently call intergenerational equity.
We, in the developing countries, must face the fact that many of our practices run counter to the notion of sustainable development. Acid rain. Our prolific use of chemicals, the destruction of the ozone layer. Some of these were mentioned earlier by my friend, the Member for Old Crow. These all highlight our attitude that the world is disposable.
We can use up one element and then move on to the next. Without sustainable development, however, one day there will be nothing left. The sustained economic growth that the report speaks of is not a gift from the have nations to the have-not nations. It is possible within a more equitable international economy. What should also be realized is that, by addressing international economic inequities and by addressing the geographic distribution of poverty, we also address many of the rationales for the worst kind of exploitative development, especially in the Third World. To state the obvious, people who are starving now cannot be told to budget better for later.
Our concern with development has been evolving over the last three decades. Since I have been politically active in all three decades, I have been able to personally see this change. In the 1960s, we had development, but not much concern for the environment. I remember very clearly that as we moved from the 1960s into the 1970s - in fact I remember this quite clearly from a number of events in 1969 and early 1970 - suddenly there was a concern for the environment, and a feeling that caring for environment was incompatible with development. There was a lot of anti-development sentiment and some quite fashionable ideas were articulated that I think were, frankly, negative about the idea of industry, job creation, and development of any kind. I think that the core idea was that the environment and development were contradictory concepts. I think that in the 1980s a very positive development, a change for the better, has been an awareness that we can have economic growth that enhances the environment, rather than destroys it. I think that we realize today, only too well, that growth will be necessary to care for expanding populations, on the scale that the Member for Old Crow talked about.
I think that it is important that the Brundtland report does not, in any way, advocate foregoing development. What it does is look at the problem that unlimited growth has caused in the past, and it examines the methods for preventing these problems from recurring. It looks at the inequities that sees many starving as other nations harvest bumper crops, and states that a mechanism must be found whereby food can be distributed to where it is desperately needed. It recognizes, in the area of food, that profit has to take a back seat to humanity.
The report also recognizes that energy will be a continuing issue for humanity. As the cost of utilizing it becomes more and more expensive, the developed countries will be able to funnel more and more of their dwindling resources to their own purposes. For that reason, the report calls for increased funding for research into new and renewable energy resources - a debate which I think is well understood in this community, where energy costs are very high, and one which I am pleased to say that this government, and the previous government, have begun to take some constructive steps.
Although the report examines very thoroughly the problems which have been created by rampant development, it is not pessimistic in tone. Instead, it finds that the only real limits to sustainable growth are those caused by the impact of our present technology. Our present greed is the only thing that limits our future.
What the report calls for is a new way of integrating economic development and a concern for the environment.
Instead of creating specific agencies to remedy environmental problems by economic growth, agencies to deal with air pollution or reforestation or water quality, it suggests that these problems be addressed by the central economic agencies in the context of total development plans.
On that score, I am very pleased to note that the people of the Yukon and the Government of Yukon have, in some important ways, anticipated this report in the Yukon 2000 process and in the economic strategy, which does call for a conservation strategy as part of the national conservation strategy. It also suggests the continuation of forums such as we have had throughout the Yukon 2000 report to allow some of the competing interests and some of the different resource users to meet and articulate their interests and resolve their differences. What we have been doing is entirely consistent with the recommendations of the Gro Harlem Brundtland report and is the right direction for the future.
Of course, our common future does not provide a blueprint for world survival. Rather, it offers an agenda for discussion. It is, of course, only the first stage of that discussion, and we must now move to the problem of getting down to details and to solving some of the problems that we have created. One happy note that the report ends on is the thought that the common persons drive to live with nature, the realization that we do not dominate but harmonize with the natural system around us is our greatest hope for the future. I would endorse that sentiment.
I am personally honoured to know Gro Harlem Brundtland. I got to know her some years ago in one of my previous incarnations. I have learned to have considerable admiration for this person. The work for the report was begun during her time as Opposition Leader in Norway. She is once again prime minister as she was once before. I can recall one occasion where we were at a dinner party, and I observed the far end of the table, my good wife, Lou, showing Mrs. Brundtland baby pictures. I was boorish enough to chide her for this, suggesting that we should perhaps be talking about important world events and matters of public policy. Mrs. Brundtland, in turn, reprimanded me for my attitude and reminded me that, as an obstetrician, she is very interested in children. That, of course, is consistent with her interest in the future of the world.
She is a remarkably compassionate and intelligent person, and the report that she has presided over the production of, does her and the United Nations credit. It is a very useful document and will be a report that has a very long life.
Motion No. 5 agreed to
Motion No. 6
Clerk: Item No. 4 standing in the name of Ms. Kassi.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Member for Old Crow
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Government of Yukon, in cooperation with Yukon Indian Bands and Tribal Councils, should investigate the feasibility of tribal police/peacemaking and tribal justice systems.
Ms. Kassi: The hon. Members will remember this motion from the last session. We began debate but did not finish as the sitting ended before we could conclude our debate. When we left off on December 2, the hon. Member for Kluane had proposed an amendment, and I hope today he will not be putting forward the same changes. I do not think they are necessary. If he has had time to reread my speech from December, he will see that all his concerns were addressed at that time.
What I am trying to do with this motion is to get recognition from this House that there is value and justice in aboriginal people of the Yukon taking more control of their own affairs. I am sure that this is a goal that all hon. Members can support. This includes the justice system. As I outlined last time, we are not talking about a law separate from the Criminal Code or other laws of the land. We are simply talking about band laws on band land and the enforcement of those laws. This is what we called tribal police or peacemaking. We are talking about tribal justice systems that involves everything from aboriginal people being appointed as justice of the peace to councils of respected community leaders who can work with the police, whether tribal or RCMP or whatever and the courts in making justice more effective in aboriginal communities for aboriginal people.
We have often seen non-native laws applied in our communities that have ran contrary to the way our own people would have handled it themselves on a traditional basis. Members here must keep in mind that different aboriginal groups within the Yukon each have their own traditions, although, of course, we have many things in common. The point I want to make is that the laws brought to this country by Europeans are not the laws that native people worked with for thousands of years before that.
I am not saying we should go back to doing everything the old way, that would be nonsense. What I am saying is that as a distinct culture within the Yukon that has its own traditions and had up until contact, self-government in all matters, we are entitled to be able to choose our own ways of doing things in todays world. This includes the justice system. We are not throwing out the police, the courts and the law books. What we are saying is that we need native content in the justice system, and this can be best done at the local level through community tribal councils. These councils can help judges impose sentences that fit the community. They can help the police work on crime prevention and enforcement. They can help in dealing with the issues involving young offenders from their communities.
With the local people more in charge of their own affairs, you will see more respect for the law. Historically, we had our own laws and these were enforced through the clans leaders. Aboriginal justice works to restore harmony in a community, not to cause further disruption and this includes forms of punishment as well. You have to recognize that much of the modern day justice system runs contrary and is alien to native cultures. As for my village of Old Crow, I mentioned before that I was glad to see this government agree to fund a crime prevention coordinator in the community. This is in response to local requests for assistance in making the tribal justice council work. It was set up a little while ago and now there is some funding to help get things off the ground. This coordinator will work with the council, but also with the police and the courts to make the justice system more effective in our village.
It is worth pointing out that this government will only take initiatives regarding tribal justice when there is a local initiative for it. This is not something that will be forced on any aboriginal community but, where there is interest, it should be encouraged. This is true self-government where local people set their priorities and are able to take action accordingly.
What is very encouraging is that more and more of Yukons non-aboriginal people are starting to support our initiatives. They understand and respect our culture and traditional ways. They respect the indigenous history of the Yukon and are searching for more.
We need to increase that. I know some people do not want to hear about things like this, but I am more and more encouraged every day to work to bridge the gaps between the cultures. Both cultures have a lot to offer each other. I will continue to offer what I can wherever possible. I think the Yukon Territory needs that at this time.
This motion will express an opinion of this House that the Yukon government should further investigate the feasibility of tribal justice or peace making and tribal justice systems. This will be done in cooperation with Indian bands and tribal councils, and we all know how important participation is in matters like this.
By doing this, the government would be indicating its willingness to aboriginal people to see them take more control over their own affairs: in this case, through more control at the local level over the justice system. This is a willingness that must be expressed. That is what this motion is all about.
It will be a productive, educational process that does not have to cost a lot of money. What it will do is make our justice system better and more effective. That is a goal I am sure all hon. Members should support. All we have to do is look how full our jails are with aboriginal people right now. This continues to tell us that the system is not working. There is not much good being done by locking up those people. We need to work at the local level to change their chances for the future and to stop problems before they start.
I ask the support from all hon. Members with this motion.
Mr. Brewster: This motion has caused me a lot of thought. However, maybe it is the way I was brought up in the world. As a young man, I went overseas and five native people went with me. We fought for this country so everybody could be equal. Now, at my age, we are seeing things where apparently we are not going to be equal.
I have a little problem with the motion for a number of reasons. Number one, the first thing that they talk about is that they want their own separate laws to be on their own band land. This strikes me very much like reservations. As a young boy, I was on one, and I certainly would never like to see the day that the Yukon has reservations. If this is what the Indian leaders are doing, they are going backwards in this role; they are not going forwards. This simply confines people to one area. They live there and do not get off it, they do not move anywhere else and they stay in it.
As you go around and watch graduations every year out of high school, every year there are four or five more come out of there. Nearly every one of these are going to university. They are not going to fit into a world separate from ours. They are part of our world.
You can go over to Riverdale and see many proud natives who have come out of universities and everything else. They do not want to go back there. I really wonder just how many people they have talked to on this, or is it simply the elders who are leading the things. Have they talked to the young people, the young people I meet out here on the streets at eight or nine oclock at night? Do they want to come under separate law? It is funny that there is both white and native there together. They do not seem to want to get into these things. I really wonder about this thing.
I also wonder why the motion is here. It is apparent that the Minister of Justice has already made up his mind, since he has already announced that this is going. I do not know why the side opposite is wasting our time on such things as this.
However, I will keep an open mind on it. I will ask to amend this motion again. If the government is prepared to give me some facts and figures, I will vote. I am not prepared just to vote on something that affects childrens lives, affects the lives of people who are not even born yet, when we have no facts. I doubt if the other side has the facts either, or know what they are getting into.
I move THAT Motion No. 6 be amended by adding after the word system the following: and that this feasibility study be tabled in the House for debate prior to this government taking any action to implement the tribal police/peacemaking and tribal justice systems.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Member for Kluane:
THAT Motion No. 6 be amended by adding after the word system the following: and that this feasibility study be tabled in the House for debate prior to this government taking any action to implement the tribal police/peacemaking and tribal justice systems.
Mr. Brewster: Speaking on the amendment, I cannot see why anybody would be scared to do this. The feasibility study should be brought into this Legislature and debated by the people of the Yukon. There is a great number of us elected by both cultures, and I do not understand why the government would be scared to bring the study here. I am concerned that it probably is gone and that this motion is not necessary. The Minister of Justice has already made up his mind that he is going to go that way.
The feasibility study should examine the fact that many of the special constables very seldom stay as such. This is a credit to them. Once they get into the police force, they like it so much that most of them end up joining the RCMP, becoming regular policemen and getting out and seeing the rest of the world. It does cause a problem, however, to have local police in the small Indian communities and, after a year or two, these people want to advance. There is nothing wrong with that.
If this motion is so important, why were there not some public hearings on it? This is one of the most important things that is going to happen. There are 26,000 people who are going to start to separate us. I have not, in my constituency, heard anybody who wants to go as far as this. There is one band that wants a policeman. We have put motions through here, but they have never succeeded in doing that to help them out. They did not particularly want a special constable. They wanted someone to help out with some of their problems. They have the same problem. It is 90 miles to the nearest police station. It is no fault of the police, but it is the way the system works.
I talked with a lot of young people. Last night, I had a Chinese dinner with one of the elders. He certainly does not want to go back to that kind of world. He came to town to get a Chinese dinner. I do not remember if we flipped or not, but I think I bought his dinner. That did not matter. I enjoyed being with him, and he enjoys this world. We should not try to keep segregating people.
Our young people are not segregated. It is when we get into places like this Legislature, when we get older, we start to separating people. It is time we stopped these things. The government says that they want to do this to help out in the different communities. I agree with that, but why do they not do some of these things themselves. Do not bring people in. Do it on your own. Stand up and do it, and it can be done, because it has been proven. All we have to do is look at the native people in the Yukon who have advanced and how far they have gone because they made up their minds that they were going to do it. Everybody should back this amendment.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: On the amendment, it was interesting that the Member for Kluane started his speech by saying that he fought for his country in the war, and he fought beside other native people - likewise, fighting for the country - and I quote: so everyone could be equal. That was his motivation.
It was unfortunate that, when he came back after fighting the war, he could vote, and his native comrades-in-arms could not. They were not equal in this country until into the 1960s, and that progression of regaining an equality is continuing today. The Member for Kluane raised the spectre that what is spoken of here is an effort to separate the two cultures, and I am going to tell him that he could not be more wrong. He said that he had an open mind, so I want to spend some time on this issue.
The native people in Teslin, who are experimenting already with this kind of initiative, and the native people in Old Crow, will tell anyone who has an open mind and who cares to listen that there is not an intention to separate the two cultures. I fear that it is the people who are opposing these initiatives who are causing the prospect of any separation.
I am going to talk about the separate systems and I am going to make a case that there is today, in Yukon, a separate system in the justice system. To put it very provocatively, there is a systemic racial discrimination in the justice system today, and it is time that we fixed it.
There are several things that we can do, and I am going to talk, firstly, about a style of policing, because the motion is framed about policing, although the speech spoke more about tribal justice councils - which are related but are not technically policing issues. The justice system is composed of approximately half police persons, and close to the other half are jail guards.
We are using the police to impose a kind of order on the native community that is alien to the native culture in many respects. We are finding, because of that and because of the very rapid social change that is occurring here, especially with respect to native people, that many native people find themselves in jail.
It is interesting if we look at the crime statistics for the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. The crime rates here are approximately six times the national average, or there are more people in jail, more people charged, more occurrences with the police than elsewhere in the country. That would lead one to believe that society here is not as law abiding as elsewhere, that this is a dangerous place to live. We all know that that is simply not the case. Yukon society is in a position to be favourably compared with society in the big cities of the country, although the statistics would not show that. Part of the reason for that is we have built our justice system by adding more police persons and adding more jail guards, and we have not solved the problem. In some respects, we are making it worse.
I would like to talk about police practices in the context of making practices closer to people of both cultures. From there, speaking on the main motion, I will be able to talk more specifically about the crime prevention initiatives in the native communities, which are very exciting, and which are occurring today around the territory.
The style of policing that is most appropriate to Yukon, and especially so in the communities, is a community-based policing, or a policing model that has a substantial emphasis on crime prevention, and which taps into the community resources so that the police person in the community is an integral part of that community and has the respect of the community.
The present model of putting strangers in the community and moving them very quickly and keeping an objective attitude toward individuals sometimes counters that. One must balance both styles. There are positives and negatives about those styles. I believe, and I will say forcefully, that what Yukoners want is a community-based policing system.
It was interesting, and I note it well and wrote it down, that when the Leader of the Conservative Opposition was speaking last week in the Legislature, or early this week, he talked about a vision and about the kind of Yukon Yukoners want, and he said, We do not like police forces. There is a philosophy there, or part of a philosophy there, that is important. I quoted him directly, I believe.
The way we can achieve a policing style that is appropriate, especially in the communities of the Yukon and most especially in native communities, is to not have a police force like an occupation army imposing a particular set of laws, but a police force that is respected by the community and is a part of the community, and I include both communities. It is important to bring the native community and the non-native community together to support the proper police function in rural Yukon and in the entire Yukon.
One of the things that is a very simple basic thing that we can do is have more foot patrols. It is a simple step. It is a step that is supported whole-heartedly by the Association of Yukon Communities, is supported verbally, but not yet in practice enough, by the RCMP, and is a step that brings the community and the police force into a closer contact and enables the development of a mutual respect. It is often said by policepersons that they cannot effectively operate unless they have the support of the community. This is obvious if we cast our minds back to situations where there have been bootleggers in the community, or other services that are supported by the community, but are contrary to some law. It is virtually impossible to get a proper charge against these people, and even harder to get a conviction in court, because the community is protecting their bootlegger. We all know that this occurs. This is just an example of the importance of the police community relationship.
The police community relationship in the Yukon with the native community is not as healthy as it might be. There is room for substantial improvement. There is a controversy about what should change, if anything, and there is a controversy about the degree to which that change should occur. There are native leaders, and the Member for Kluane talked about the younger people, and the younger leaders are being quite forceful these days. They are essentially taking the position, through the Council for Yukon Indians, that the special constable program is not adequate to serve the needs of native communities, and they would like the funds for that program transferred into tribal policing programs.
I think that that move, and, specifically, that move all at once, would be very radical indeed. I believe that that would not be supported by many bands in the territory - perhaps a majority of bands - I do not precisely know. However, it is clear that the special constable program enjoys some degree of support in some communities, and it is also clear that it is not supported in other communities - one of them in fact being Carcross. The approach that I initially took with the RCMP - and indeed, when I was in Ottawa, I sought out a meeting with the new commissioner, and I saw him for a fairly long time...-
Adjourned debate on the amendment
Speaker: Order, please. The time being 5:30, there will now be a recess until 7:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. May I have your further pleasure?
Hon. Mr. Porter: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chairman: The Committee of the Whole will now come to order.
Bill No. 77 - An Act to Amend the Municipal Finance Act
Chairman: Bill No. 77, entitled An Act to Amend the Municipal Finance Act.
On clause 1
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I gave a fairly succinct analysis of the situation before us, during second reading, respecting two changes that are being questioned. I am proposing to the House one that deals with the formula by which the grant is paid, and the other one deals with the maximum allowable limit that can be paid under the act.
Given the circumstances that have taken place in recent months, it was deemed appropriate to deal with some of these changes today. The government will, jointly with Association of Yukon Communities, attempt to see whether or not a consensus can be reached upon revamping of the formula. It is a complicated formula. There are widely different opinions about what should take place regarding an appropriate formula. The government and AYC will give their best shot in the coming year.
Mr. Lang: I would like to know exactly how many dollars we are talking about. We are going from 1.55 percent to 3.33 percent as far as redistribution is concerned. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Yes, it is correct.
Mr. Lang: It could be three dollars or it could be four dollars. How much money are we talking about? Where are those dollars coming from?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am not sure exactly what the Member is referring to. The maximum allowable to the fund under the current legislation is 1.55 percent. What we are suggesting here is that the maximum allowable under the fund should be 3.33 percent. The fund would be increased from approximately $42,000 that would be allowed to an increase to the fund of 1.55 percent to almost $90,000 that would be allowed to an increase of the fund at 3.33 percent increase.
Mr. Lang: Where is that $90,000 coming from?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: That comes from General Revenue. It is an amount that has to be budgeted in the Main Estimates, and it is an operation and maintenance expenditure under Community Services Program of Community and Transportation Services.
Mr. Lang: Do I take it that that particular $90,000 is allocated in the Main Estimates that we will be debating later on in the month?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Yes. We did take the liberty of budgeting the proper amount, or the 3.33 percent in the Main Estimates, anticipating that the Legislature would see fit to make this change.
Mr. Lang: I have one other question and that is about the existing distribution formula. Why are we bringing that amendment in? For the optional alternative to move money around as far as the various communities are concerned? Is there a particular community having some problem? If so, could you elaborate for the House?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: One of the problems that we faced this past year was that because the building programs in each community varied widely, the assessment, of course, changed rather dramatically. It meant that some communities this year - four communities in total - would receive a decrease in the fund: Faro, Dawson City, Mayo and Carmacks would all receive reductions to the fund. In the case of Mayo and Carmacks the fund would be decreased rather dramatically to minus 17 percent and minus 14 percent, under the existing formula. But, as Members will remember, we passed a change last year that said that the fund could not decrease by more than 10 percent.
I do not have the figures with me, but it would have meant that a minimum of two communities would have faced the maximum amount of decrease and other communities would have faced, because of the fairly significant building program in Whitehorse - there was a very significant program at Yukon College, and the increased assessment due to the justice centre - it would have meant, and I will check this figure, in the neighbourhood of a 10 percent increase in the operation and maintenance grant to the City of Whitehorse. The Association of Yukon Communities and the government recognized that, because of the difference in the building programs and the consequent radical difference in the assessments amongst various communities, anomalies occurred that ought not to be supported.
Mr. Lang: I recognize the problems that we have with the formulas, but what now has happened with this amendment? What is that going to do, for example, for the community of Mayo?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: This amendment allows the government, as an alternative, to give all communities a 3.3 percent increase across the board. This was explained at the AYC meeting and the AYC has endorsed it.
Mr. Lang: I am not arguing that, but this is the place where the laws are made and changed. Do I take it that we are effectively doing away with the formula then, that we are going to be arbitrarily saying, There will be a 3.3 percent increase per community?
I want to be clear about what we are doing.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: In a sense, the formula can be superseded by a straight, across the board, increase. The formula remains in the act as one alternative, the other alternative being this across the board increase. The formula is an attempt to provide operation and maintenance resources to those communities that had the best ability to acquire revenue. Some communities have an easier time acquiring revenue than others. Some communities with, for example, a large government base, like Haines Junction, have an easier time acquiring revenue than other communities that have a lot of single family homes and a small business base, like Carmacks.
The formula was meant to address the differences between communities in their ability to raise revenues by taking into account such factors as assessment, as dwelling units, and such factors as the average tax rate in the territory. When any one of those three factors change, it changes the formula. It is a rather complicated formula, in that there are few people who have mastered it. Nevertheless, it was a decent attempt - and probably the best one so far - to try to provide for a fair distribution of the operation and maintenance funding, based on the ability to raise revenue, and trying to ensure that, to the fullest extent possible, a fair level of services is provided in all communities.
We are going to have to try to see if we can come up with a better formula, because there are always people who pick away at some of the details. Picking away one detail has a domino effect on so many other things. There is nothing close to unanimity of opinion as to how any single change should take place, but we have agreed that a decent attempt should be made, and we will try it.
Chairman: Any further general debate?
On Clause 2
Clause 2 agreed to
Clause 3 agreed to
Clause 1 agreed to
Title agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that you report Bill No. 77, without amendment.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 88 - An Act to Repeal the Dawson City Utilities Replacement Act
Chairman: Bill No. 88, An Act to Repeal the Dawson City Utilities Replacement Act
On clause 1
Hon. Mr. McDonald: This is a fairly straightforward situation. I believe Members are fully aware of the circumstances that led us to this occasion concerning a negotiated agreement between the Government of Yukon and the City of Dawson to repay an outstanding debt. This does not supersede this act; this act is quite superior to the agreement, but it necessitates us to give the act another look. We believe the agreement now is such that it can be supported by the City of Dawson and maintains the initial principles that the Government of Yukon initially negotiated in the establishment of the act in the first place in order to recover certain capital costs of reconstruction of the Dawson water and sewer system.
The Act, therefore, because it conflicts with the negotiated agreement, is redundant and, for that reason, it is necessary to repeal the act in order to give full force and effect to the agreement that has been struck.
At this point, I am proposing to repeal the Dawson City Utilities Replacement Act.
Mr. Lang: The provisions of the Dawson City Utilities Replacement Act provided for a certain fixed amount for property owners to be charged if they were to hook up to the Dawson City water and sewer system. Under the agreement, does that fixed charge still stay in effect for those properties that have not yet hooked up to the existing water and sewer system?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The fixed charge may stay in effect, but as the agreement states, the Government of Yukon will seek its payment directly from the City of Dawson as per the agreement. That payment will include the outstanding debt plus interest. The Government of Yukon will seek that money directly from the City of Dawson. The City of Dawson, if they wish, can continue with the frontage charges that they have been collecting up to this point, but have not been remitting to the Yukon government.
As per the agreement, that would be a matter for the City of Dawson to broach. The City of Dawsons obligation ends with their payment to the Government of Yukon of the outstanding debt and the interest. If they wish to seek a frontage charge from residents, they can do so, but they are not obligated to do that under the agreement.
Mr. Lang: I am talking about a different issue. I am talking about the fixed charge that was in place to a property owner. I believe it was $750 that was charged to the property owner when they hooked on to the main line. The balance was picked up by the Government of Yukon. There are properties that have not hooked into this water and sewer system. Where there is a fixed amount to be paid by the property owner and the balance is either paid by the City of Dawson or the Government of Yukon, does the provision still prevail? I am not talking about frontage charges; that is a separate issue.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: If there is a fixed charge for hook-ups, it will be the responsibility of the City of Dawson to levy it. The Government of Yukon will not be obligated to pay for hook-ups. It is not obligated, other than what is in the agreement, to provide any further funding for the system other than the block capital funding and any extraordinary funding under the municipal Community Infrastructure Grants Act.
If there is a hook-up fee in situations like this, as there always is, it would be a matter between the City of Dawson and the person who wants the hook-up.
Mr. Lang: In view of what the government is doing, it must have taken that provision into account. We could be in a situation where a property owner is not hooked up for one reason or another. All of a sudden they are facing a $4,000 bill or a $10,000 bill. How many properties are in a laissez-faire position where there is no assistance by government for hooking into the sewer system?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I cannot give the Member the information with any certainty as to how many companies have failed or have not hooked up at this stage to the main line or to the water process system itself. As the City of Dawson owns the system, - as do other municipalities, with Dawson being the last to take ownership of the system - they will be responsible for levying a fee. If the fees are inconsistent with those that have been charged in the past or if they are considered unfair, then a person wishing to hook up can certainly bang on the local governments door to complain. As in other communities, it will be the City of Dawsons responsibility to levy such fees and perform that work in the future as of now. I would certainly hope that the fees they do charge will at least be consistent with the fees they charged in the past. Any changes that are made have to be across the board and in a fair manner so that everybody can be given a fair shake.
Mr. Lang: I would like to know if the government has given the people notice that this change was taking place. Were property owners aware that, with the change and going to that agreement, the previous provision of the act will no longer apply?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It is unfortunate, and I am as much to blame as any Minister in this position, that not a lot of the act was complied with when the act was in effect. I hope there are not too many situations where that exists. I think the matter was thoroughly discussed in Dawson. One of the integral parts of this deal from the governments perspective was that the City of Dawson should assume ownership and the responsibility for the system. People were aware of that. Some people were honest and expressed concern about that transfer of ownership and responsibility. They felt, for one reason or another, the city might treat things slightly differently. Ultimately I think most people agreed that the City of Dawson had to take ownership and responsibility for the system and pay that freight.
Clause 1 agreed to
Title agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that you report Bill No. 88 without amendment.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 16 - An Act to Amend the Motor Vehicles Act
Chairman: Bill No. 16, An Act to Amend the Motor Vehicles Act.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I have nothing to add from the second reading speech. The bill is extremely simple, and I think I sit down and answer any questions I can.
Chairman: Any further discussion on Clause 1?
Clause 1 agreed to
On Clause 2
Mr. McLachlan: With respect to the statement the Minister referred to in the House yesterday with respect to this when he talked about the entire record of convictions to be considered when considering the sentence to be passed under the Criminal Code. During the human rights debate in 1987, we talked about the length of time for which ones criminal record would be a factor in sentencing that takes place in subsequent events. How does this particular aspect of the legislation take into effect the entire record of convictions, and how will the Criminal Code apply in that case?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: As I understand the question, it could be rephrased as, how does the legislation on human rights coincide with this legislation? The answer is the two do not affect each other, although I recognize there is a connection in principle, for several reasons. One is this is federal legislation, and our legislation is subservient and, two, the scope of the Human Rights Act would not affect this in any event.
The principles are connected here because a person is liable to get a higher penalty if they have a particular kind of criminal record. The Parliament of Canada has seen that repeat offences for the same offence should carry with it a more severe penalty. That is a public policy that has been established by the federal government. It is a public policy that was established in the common law in the sentencing law of the country previously, although the legislation has substantially beefed it up and has expressed the public view that, because we know that the general public is more at risk from people with driving convictions than from the people without, that it is a substantial protection to the public, to get those people who put us as risk off the road. That is the purpose of the federal legislation, and the territorial legislation simply follows that.
Mr. McLachlan: Is it possible to obtain a pardon from the federal solicitor general under the record of disqualifications from driving?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes, it is.
Chairman: Anything further on Clause 2?
Clause 2 agreed to
Chairman: Before we clear the title, I want to bring it to Members attention that the title on the cover page is different from the title on the inside page, and we will go with An Act to Amend the Motor Vehicles Act.
Chairman: I have to assure all Members that this is on the insistence of the Clerk to the Committee.
Title agreed to
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I move you report Bill 16, An Act To Amend The Motor Vehicles Act without amendment.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 21 - An Act to Amend the Insurance Act
Chairman: Bill No. 21, An Act To Amend The Insurance Act.
On clause 1
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Again, the provisions here are a little more extensive, but the principle is very simple. I explained that at second reading, and I really have nothing further to say. Members will note that there are explanatory notes here which may help, on the left-hand side of the page.
The principle of this act is, I believe, uncontroversial. The wording has been adapted to the Yukon situation, but copied, essentially, from what exists in the provinces.
Mrs. Firth: He forgot the explanatory notes on the left-hand side of the page. If he wants to give us his bill with the explanatory notes on the opposite side of the page, that would be helpful.
Mr. McLachlan: I want to ask the Minister if he has some explanation about the method of the exchange or the reciprocal or inter-insurance exchange. Why, since it is such a common practice in the insurance industry, that this is not covered by previous legislation already in existence in the territory?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: This is common practice now, but it has only recently become so. The reciprocal exchanges are in response to the very large increases in fees in the last few years. It was not a common practice when the Insurance Act was originally passed.
Mr. Nordling: I would just like to ask if, in drawing up this bill, the Insurance Association in Yukon was consulted?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I am not able to specifically say; I do not know, but I would be very, very surprised if they were not. The act is not originally drafted here from its basics. It was copied from what exists in Ontario, and it was specifically shown to the Law Society as a draft, and the Law Society approved of it. As to the insurance association, I do not specifically know.
Mr. Nordling: We are prepared to deem the act as read, but I would like to point out what I think is a typographical error - perhaps the Minister can explain it, if it is not - page 3, section 214.8, subparagraph (3): the first words are, When an exchange licensed in the Yukon, and licensed is spelled with an s in that paragraph and with a c later in that paragraph and throughout the bill. I wondered if that was a typo or whether it was to mean some other type of licence?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is spelled the same in 214.8(2); I believe that is the correct spelling of licensed. I see, in (2), licence is spelled with a c and licensed with an s, and it is s-e-d elsewhere. I would have to check a dictionary. I know what both of the words mean, but perhaps I should check with the dictionary.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I am looking at the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. It says l-i-c-e-n-c-e, also l-i-c-e-n-s-e, so I would submit that both are accurate.
Mr. Nordling: I do not think we will spend much more time on this issue, but I do notice in section 214.13(2), it says a licence with a c, subsection 3 uses a licence with an s. Are we being fair to both spellings, or should we be consistent throughout?
If it is not going to cause any confusion, and the Minister is confident of that, then I would move that the bill be deemed to have been read.
Chairman: We will require unanimous consent for clauses 1 to 3 to be carried.
All Members: Agreed.
Clauses 1 to 3 agreed to
Chairman: Before we clear the title, I would like to bring to the attention of the Members a very serious error. At the top where it says the Twenty-Sixth Legislative Assembly, but it is the Fifth Session, not the Fourth.
Title agreed to
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: My copy says the Fifth.
I move that Bill No. 21, entitled An Act to Amend the Insurance Act, which is an act of the Fifth Session of the Twenty-Sixth Legislative Assembly, be reported without amendment.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Porter: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. May the House have the report from the Chairman of Committee of the Whole?
Mr. Webster: The Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 77, entitled An Act to Amend the Municipal Finance Act, Bill No. 88, entitled An Act to Appeal the Dawson City Utilities Replacement Act, Bill No. 16, entitled An Act to Amend the Motor Vehicles Act, Bill No. 21, entitled An Act to Amend the Insurance Act, and directed me to report the same without amendment.
Speaker: You have heard the report from the Chairman of Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Hon. Mr. Porter: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.
The House adjourned at 8:10 p.m.
The following Sessional Papers were tabled April 6, 1988:
Statement of John Eaton Jones taken Dec. 22, 1987, re Whitehorse Correctional Centre and death of Blasdell (Kimmerly)
Whitehorse Correctional Centre, Minutes, Team Leader Meeting, Dec. 8, 1987 (Phelps)
Whitehorse Correctional Centre, memo dated 85-04-01, DH Nethery, A/Director Institutional Services to All WCC Staff regarding young offenders (Phillips)