Wednesday, April 13, 1988 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. We will proceed with Prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Speaker: Today it is my pleasure to introduce to the House a new page from G.A. Jeckell School, Cheryl Turner, and I welcome her to the House at this time.
Are there any returns of documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I have a draft of regulations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act pursuant to an amendment that I will table momentarily.
Speaker: Under tabling of returns and documents, I have for tabling an addendum to the report of the Chief Electoral Officer on contributions to political parties during 1987.
Are there any reports of committees?
Are there any petitions?
Introduction of bills?
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill No. 66: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Bill No. 66, entitled An Act to Amend the Municipal Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Community and Transportation Services that Bill No. 66, entitled An Act to Amend the Municipal Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 95: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I move that Bill No. 95, entitled An Act to Amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Justice that Bill No. 95, entitled An Act to Amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 55: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I move that Bill No. 55, entitled An Act to Amend the Legal Services Society Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Justice that Bill No. 55, entitled An Act to Amend the Legal Services Society Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: Are there notices of motion for the production of papers?
Notices of motion?
Statements by ministers?
Transfer of Whitehorse General Hospital to Yukon Government
Hon. Mrs. Joe: Mr. Speaker, hon. Members, I rise this afternoon to inform the House that my Department is now authorized to enter into negotiations with the federal government on the Whitehorse General Hospital. The negotiations have two related objectives. The first is a transfer of the hospital; the second is federal financing for the construction of a replacement hospital.
Major reports prepared on the Whitehorse General Hospital establish that the present building is poorly designed to meet its present function, is expensive to operate, has an aging and failing physical plant, and would costs as much to bring up to standard as a new hospital would cost to build. Even though the building is deteriorating rapidly, the federal government has not committed the funds to replace it. The failure to address the need for proper hospital facilities, the high operational costs borne by the Government of Yukon, the operating deficits of the present hospital, and the present discontent of the hospital staff over federal management have all led to the decision I am now announcing. These factors determine the need to negotiate a transfer coupled with a commitment to fund the construction of the new hospital.
Since pressures centered on the hospital in Whitehorse have become so intense, and delays affect other critical programs, such as the long-term care facility, the hospital transfer and construction of the new hospital must now take priority over other elements of the health care transfer.
I have spoken with the federal Minister, Mr. Jake Epp, and have already written him to confirm that my officials have the authority to negotiate a transfer arrangement regarding the Whitehorse General Hospital. I have also made it clear that there will be no transfer of the hospital without a commitment from the federal government to fund a new general hospital for the Yukon.
I would like to draw attention to some principles that will be followed in our negotiations with the federal authorities. This government intends to ensure that staff affected by any transfer are kept fully informed. Officials from my department are meeting with hospital staff today to inform them of this announcement and to discuss the best means of maintaining effective communication throughout the negotiations. Secondly, it remains the intention of this government to consult Yukon Indian people on all aspects of transfers that may affect them. That commitment is in no way altered by this announcement.
Mrs. Firth: We have to go back a couple of years to February of 1986, when the Minister of Health and Human Resources wrote to the Federal Minister the hon. Jake Epp, and told him that she wanted the whole health transfer put on hold. In May of 1986 we, as an Opposition, brought a motion forward in this Assembly requesting that the government proceed with the health care transfer. There has been nothing done that has ever been reported to the public or this House with respect to how that process was going. Obviously nothing was happening.
Now, two years later, in 1988, I again, as the critic, bring forward a motion requesting that this government pursue the transfer of the medical services, and the Minister spends the last day or so scrambling around to respond to that motion. I know when she phoned the Minister, so she should not be laughing, she should be sitting there quite embarrassed. We have an announcement now about the transfer of the health care services proceeding. I would expect from this government a far more diplomatic announcement, not the political, confrontative announcement that this government has made implying that they now have to take over the services because they have been carried out so abominably by the senior level of government.
It is this Government Leader who is always standing up and talking about being opportunistic and political. We agree that the health care services should be transferred. That is our position and it has been consistent for a long, long time. We would have acted on it a long time ago when it should have been acted on, so we agree with the principle but this Minister has not done her government, nor Yukoners, proud by her political opportunistic approach to this major, major issue that effects all Yukoners lives.
Mr. McLachlan: I am pleased to see that Whitehorse is finally going to be getting a new hospital depending on the outcome of successful negotiations. Unfortunately it takes about four years from the time of the announcements to completion, so we are looking at 1992. What is not evident from the Ministerial Statement is the explanation exactly what happens to the process of federal health transfers while the hospital is being built. Will it only begin to commence after it is fully completed and people have moved in? Once the agreements are signed, will the federal transfer process begin then? I wonder if the Minister had any ideas on that subject.
Hon. Mrs. Joe: It is interesting to listen to the responses with regard to the Ministerial Statement. The Member for Riverdale North has suggested that nothing has happened in two years, which is of course not true. The Member forgets that there are a lot of things that have to happen prior to a decision to negotiate for certain things and that process has taken place. There have been a number of committees struck, there have been a number of meetings that have taken place and there are a number of things that have to be taken into consideration. She also states that if they were the government they would have had this done now. There was a decision, I believe, in 1979 to do a health transfer. Up until 1985 that was not done.
A lot of things have happened, and it is very encouraging to find out that she does have a response to some ministerial statements that are made. I do appreciate that.
There will be a full transfer sometime. We have chosen to negotiate it in this manner, for reasons that have developed as a result of the meetings that have taken place over the last two years. We will continue to consult with all those individuals who will be concerned with the transfer. There is a lot more to it than just transferring. A lot of things have to be taken into consideration. We will be looking at a full transfer sometime down the road, but this is the way we choose to start it.
Speaker: This, then, brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: Whitehorse Correctional Centre/review
Mr. Phelps: With respect to the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, problems keep coming out in the open from that place. The public is legitimately concerned.
Is it true that another review has been prepared by the Minister of Justices branch that deals with the matters raised in the review that was prepared by Mr. Head and Mr. Borrowman, which I tabled in this House about a week ago?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The situation is that the Correctional Services of Canada was asked for their assistance. I was asked about the expense, but there was no expense for salaries or travel or anything at all. It was done gratis by the federal government.
There was an interim report, which was never intended for publication, but which has been tabled in this House, because it found its way into the hands of the Opposition. That process is continuing, and that report is being revised, and it is being discussed under the vehicle of the Occupational Health and Safety Committee. That work is not yet complete. That is the status of that report.
I am not aware of any other processes that are going on.
Mr. Phelps: The fact that a draft report, dated March 28, 1988, is in existence is of concern to me. It states, in part in suggestion No. 1, A clear philosophy for corrections in the Yukon must be developed and accepted by all staff from the ministerial level down. Before I am asked, I will be more than pleased to table the report.
Can the Minister explain why, once again, we have a written document that alludes to the lack of a clear direction for the centre in the face of his clear assertion that there was a clear direction for it?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The statement about an acceptance of a philosophy from the Minister on down is problematic. The correctional philosophy that individuals have in their own minds varies from individual to individual. It is certainly the case that there is a correctional philosophy in policy documents and in other documents at the correctional centre.
It is also obviously the case that some of the staff who are working there, either do not understand it, do not agree with it or both. That is the case. I suggest that it is the case in every single work place where you will find a philosophy. If the Members opposite wish a debate about the philosophy of the centre, I would be pleased to accommodate at the appropriate time.
Mr. Phelps: Has the Minister read this draft report dated March 28, 1988?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I am going to look at exactly what was tabled and compare it with the notes that I have. After I do that, I will be able to establish if I have read it or not.
Question re: Whitehorse Correctional Centre/review
Mr. Phelps: Now we have three documents that contradict the Ministers earlier assertion the clear direction and philosophy at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. We have the document dated January 23, 1987, Team Leader Meeting, which talks about a fair amount of uncertainty about the direction in which the centre is heading. I had better table that, too.
We have the Borrowman/Head report that bears the date January, 1988. This seems to be borne out, to a large degree, by this draft that was worked on by the Ministers department. In the face of all this, would the Minister like to retract his earlier comments regarding the clear direction that everybody understood at the correction centre?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Definitely not. The Member opposite is playing with words and twisting facts. It is clear, and I remember stating to the media this Monday, that there is a transition at the jail about many issues. One of the most important issues is the receptivity of the jail to culturally sensitive programming of a particular relevance to the native majority. The philosophy of the corrections is a nebulous concept. It can be spoken of in fairly clear policies, which are generally stated or in long wordy documents and long wordy speeches. The philosophy of corrections is clear. It is necessary only to get Members opposite to accept it.
Mr. Phelps: We have the team leaders in the jail who disagree with what the Minister is saying and that is a document dated over a year ago. We have two people come from the outside and one of the first things they have to say about the jail is that there is no clear action, there is no clear philosophy, and even the senior people who have been working on the review agree. The Minister is clearly and obviously marching to the tune of a different drummer. He is out of step completely with the staff. I would like to know when the review process is going to be complete?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: This process is concerning the staffing levels and safety concerns as they come up on an ongoing basis. That process in itself will never stop. The process about that specific series of documents from the federal people should be complete very soon. I do not know precisely when. It depends on the discussions at a safety committee, which are bilateral discussions between the management and the union representing the employees.
Mr. Phelps: What is it going to cost for this review process, which deals largely with the issue of the lack of direction that the Minister denies?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There is no cost in the sense of a fee for a study or anything like that. The Member opposite said that it deals with a lack of direction. That is patently untrue. It does not deal with that, at all. In fact, the report speaks about the staffing levels and the shift patterns and the other incidental issues that these people were asked to comment on, and these other comments are extraneous. They are not the meat of the report, at all.
Question re: Power rates
Mr. McLachlan: I have a question on power and rates that I would like to address to the Minister responsible for the Yukon Utilities Board.
Can the Minister advise whether, with no Utilities Board in place, who is devising the policy for territory-wide rate structure, if anyone?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The question should properly come to me. The question about who is devising the policy for equalization or rate subsidies and the question of who is providing the policy, in terms of rates and the overall power structures, is work being done - as I have previously told the House - by the Yukon Energy Corporation of the Yukon Development Corporation, which will shortly be making recommendations to me. I will be making recommendations to Cabinet.
The Utilities Board is a separate structure, which is a regulatory body to review rates. The power corporations will have to go before the regulatory body and make application about their rates. The job of the Yukon Utilities Board is to review that application to see if the philosophy or the policy is sound, from their point of view, and to see if the proposed rates are acceptable, from their point of view.
For the first time in Yukon history, we will have one regulatory body to deal with the power rates structure in the Yukon, and that is something that we welcome, but they are separate processes. It is one of us developing our policy and our proposals about rates, subsidies, and equalizations, and there is a public review process to which citizens and consumers can make representation, and before which the power companies have to appear to see if the philosophy of our power company and the private company, in regard to those questions, is acceptable and in the public interest, as determined by the regulatory body.
Mr. McLachlan: Can the Minister advise this Legislature if any work is being undertaken at the moment on the North Fork hydro electric project? Has there been a consultant contracted?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I previously indicated to the House that I hope to make an announcement about our decision with respect to that project soon. Yes, work has been done and studies have been commissioned by the Yukon Development Corporation. There are not yet conclusions that I can announce, but once a decision is made, it will be made public.
Mr. McLachlan: In late 1985, the then Minister of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, David Crombie, negotiated a special power rate for the start of the mine in Faro between Curragh Resources and NCPC. May one assume that special provision will vanish in the revised rate structure that is being examined by Yukon Electrical Company?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: No, one may not. When we acquired the assets of NCPC, we also inherited the responsibility of certain contracts that were made by the power company and its major customer. As I remember the particulars of that undertaking, the rate structure is actually built into the master agreement that saw the mine open and, therefore, is a contractual relationship to which we would be bound. That would be a given factor in any rate restructuring decisions.
The second issue is that, as part of the contracts or agreements about the acquisition of NCPC assets, there is a two year freeze. So nothing could happen to the base rates within those two years, either.
Question re: Whitehorse Correctional Centre/female inmates
Mrs. Firth: Yesterday, I asked the Minister of Justice a question regarding the female inmates at the correction centre. When it came to the issue of male guards being assigned to the female wings, the Minister rose twice and said, as quoted from Hansard, The present practice is that when there are females in the jail, ... we have female staff on guard over them on the midnight shift .... He also said, For reasons of privacy or human dignity, the practice of having female guards look after females is being followed.
From the information I have from both female and male guards, those two statements are incorrect. The issue here is that male guards are being assigned to the female wings, contrary to this governments written policy. Why is this happening?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Member opposite is wrong when she says the statements I made are incorrect. When the jail was opened 21 years ago, there were only male guards. Over the years, we have hired females as jail guards, as the societys values have changed, especially about equality in the work place. We had the situation where there were both males and females looking after inmates, who were both male and female.
Mrs. Firth: On a Point of Order, when the Minister responds to the question, he is to give a reply to the question, and it should be as brief as possible and relevant to the question that has been asked. I simply asked why the policy was not being followed. I did not ask for a 20 year history that was going to take five minutes. Could the Minister accommodate the House according to the rules that we, as Members, have written?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Member opposite is only interested in making her statements as questions and not hearing the answers. Indeed, in the question she made in the preamble a very wide-ranging assertion about the policy of the guarding of female inmates. I am talking about the policy of the guarding of female inmates. I am only addressing the statements that she made.
Speaker: I find there is a Point of Order. I would like to remind Members of guideline nine, A reply to a question should be as brief as possible and relevant to the question asked and should not provoke debate.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I will be very, very brief. The policy is to accommodate the guarding of females by using female guards in any situations where the privacy of individuals is of paramount concern.
Mrs. Firth: That is not the policy. The policy says that male guards will only be authorized to deal with females in a manner to preserve life and/or the security of the centre person. The Minister says that the policy has changed; I would ask him if we can see it in writing.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There are many policies at the centre. Indeed, I brought along the book of policies and procedures. If the Member opposite wants a debate about the specific wording of specific policies and the book is about three inches thick, I will accommodate that within the rules of Question Period. However, I cannot give long answers explaining the statements I give and comparing to the specific wording in the specific policy within the rules. Perhaps in the estimates we can enjoy debate about this particular policy.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister has said that the policy has been changed, is being reviewed; he has said there is no policy, yet he is refusing to table the policy statement he just made - the page, the number, anything. Obviously it does not exist. I asked for a simple yes or no answer. Would he table his new policy that says that female inmates will be guarded by female guards when it comes to reasons of privacy and human dignity, which is what he stated is the policy. It is contrary to what the existing policy is. Will he table that yes or no?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It was a long preamble accusing me of being wrong about the policies at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. We can waste time debating this ad nauseam. The fact of the matter is that there is a written policy. The Member has it. She is asking me questions about the current status and the practices. I have answered them. I will continue to answer to the best of my ability about the policies at the jail, indeed any policies. I have adequately expressed, in a form appropriate to Question Period, the policy of the centre. I can do no more than that.
Question re: Whitehorse Correctional Centre/female inmates
Mrs. Firth: If the Ministers policy is as he says it is, that Female guards will be provided, for reasons of privacy and human dignity.... The female inmates are not getting any privacy, because male guards are being assigned to look after them particularly on midnight shift. I have asked the Minister to table his new policy. He has never answered as to whether or not he would do that.
Will he do something about informing the guards of the new policy? Since his new policy deals so much with privacy, what is the Minister going to do about the present situation that exists at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre where the female inmates do not have any privacy?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I thank the Member opposite for that question. I will take the most charitable view that I possibly can of the question. The most charitable view is that the Conservative party and that Member are sincerely interested in the welfare of inmates, especially the welfare of female inmates. I thank that Member sincerely for her concern, and I will address her concerns at length in the Main Estimates debate.
Question re: Whitehorse Correctional Centre/administration
Mr. Lang: I am amazed at the position that the government is taking. When we raise an issue and provide information to substantiate the concern, the government ignores the issues. Yesterday, the Government Leader said, with a great deal of fanfare, that he had no facts to present in this House to substantiate the inquiry into the internal workings of the correctional centre.
Yesterday, I asked the Minister of Justice whether or not he was aware that on one occasion, if not more, inmates had been kept longer in the centre than their sentences permitted them to be there.
We provided the Minister with evidence on this case. I would like to ask the Government Leader if that is enough fact to be able to have him enquire into the matter and report back to the House?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Leader of the Opposition did provide me with a piece of paper that enabled me to put the question to the Minister of Justice, who in turn put it to his officials. I am informed that in 1985 there was one inmate, through an administrative error, who was kept seven hours longer at the correctional institution than was prescribed. The report presented to the Minister and conveyed to me was that there has been no recurrence of such an event.
Whitehorse Correctional Centre
Mr. Nordling: I have a question for the Government Leader with respect to the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. The Minister of Justice has referred to our concerns about the operation of the correctional centre as a litany of falsehoods, half-truths and occasional truths and today he is again sarcastic. The Government Leader stood up yesterday, full of wind and sound and fury in what has become his typical ugly and disgusting manner and said that he has never heard any concern expressed by members on this side about the jail, the justice system, corrections, inmates or guards. I am concerned about all of those things. I would like to ask the Government Leader why three guards would talk to the media about problems at the jail only on the condition that their identities not be disclosed.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am surprised at that question coming from a lawyer, even someone who claims expertise on being ugly and disgusting. The reason is that it is a violation of their oath of office. I am sure that is why they would not want to do it without that kind of protection.
Mr. Nordling: There is a problem in the Ministry of Justice. I would like to know if the Government Leader is looking into the fact that there are guards who fear reprisals and others who have resigned, none of whom will approach the Minister of Justice with their concerns?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am advised that both of those assertions are false. I learned today that the correction officers at the institution are so outraged and so appalled by the behaviour of the opposition that they have in fact sought a meeting with the Minister to make clear their position on these questions and to try to correct the misrepresentations and misinterpretations that are being conveyed in this House by the members opposite.
Mr. Nordling: Has the Government Leader asked for a report on the drug problem at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, which the Minister of Justice acknowledged in this House on April 7?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: No, I have not. The Minister indicated at that time that every single correctional institution in the country has a drug problem and a continuing battle trying to deal with it. I believe the appropriate steps are being taken here in Whitehorse.
Mr. Phillips: Yesterday in the House the Government Leader stated, in response to a question on the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, that we on this side had not supported our charges and had no evidence of facts. This statement by the Government Leader is not true. It is a fact that there are three reports now that show that there are operational problems at the centre. It is a fact that several people will swear, under oath, that they have information contrary to that given at the inquiry. It is a fact that the fire alarms were not operational for several days and jeopardized the safety of inmates and guards. It is a fact that other guards want to come forward and tell their story but are afraid of reprisals. It is a fact that a young offender was placed next to an adult offender, contrary to the policy of the Whitehorse Correctional Centre standard policy. It is a fact that male guards are in charge of the womens dorm on a regular basis, in conflict with the centres policy, as well. It is a fact that an inmate was kept in jail longer than his sentence. It is a fact that there is a human rights complaint against the officials of the jail. It is a fact that a guard has been suspended because of suspected drugs being brought into the centre.
Speaker: Order, please. Will the Member please get to the question.
Mr. Phillips: The Government Leader asked us to present facts. Does he now not want the facts? He cannot have it both ways. These are all the facts. What more does the Government Leader want? Will he now reconsider and call for an independent inquiry into the operations of the Whitehorse Correctional Centre?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I will speak for approximately the same length of time the Member opposite did.
What has occurred is a consciously orchestrated effort to misinform the public and it is irresponsible. That particular Member has no concern about the consequences of his actions. He should know that he is attacking civil servants in this government.
Mr. Lang: Point of Order.
Speaker: Order, please. There is a Point of Order by the Member for Whitehorse Porter Creek East.
Mr. Lang: Would you please tell the Member that he is, under the rules, supposed to be answering the question. He is not doing that. All he is making is a political statement, and an attack.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: On the Point of Order, there was such an appalling abuse of the rules just now, in a question that violates at least three of the rules, in terms of its length, being argumentative, inviting debate, and not having a genuine question. The Member should have been called to order. We had the courtesy to listen to his question. Now, when the Member tries to respond, in a similar tone, there is an attempt to cut him off. The little dictator wants to deny the Minister a chance to answer the question.
Mr. Lang: On a Point of Order. I just want to say to the Government Leader, who is above everyone in this House, including the general public, that I am getting tired of, every time we raise a question in this House, that we either do not get an answer, or we are called irresponsible by the side opposite. We do have substantiation, we have facts and concerns that have been raised, not only in this House, but outside this House. The Member, under Rule No. 9, has a responsibility - finally, maybe once in 10 days of questioning - to reply to a question, and to give a reply and not beat around the bush.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: On the Point of Order, let me speak of Rule No. 2, which seems to have been completely forgotten by the Members opposite: A question ought to seek information and cannot be based on hypothesis or seek an opinion, legal or otherwise. It may not suggest its own answer or be argumentative.
Mrs. Firth: On the Point of Order, the Minister of Justice is probably the Member of this Legislature who stands up the most and calls Points of Order. As a Member, I have had the Minister of Justice stand up in the middle of my questions, in the middle of my debate, in the middle of other Members of the Oppositions questions and debate on Points of Order. He does it regularly to rescue the Minister of Health and Human Resources. Let us not stand up and throw attacks back and forth as to who is not obeying the rules of the House.
The Government Leader stood up yesterday and asked for the facts. The facts were presented and the question was asked, and the Government Leader did not want to answer the question.
The Minister of Justice then proceeded to launch a personal attack on the Member who had asked the question. I do not want to say it was vicious, but it was quite an animated attack and not at all dignified for this Legislative Assembly.
The Government Leader laughs, because he discouraged replys when he got up yesterday with his hysterical attacks.
The point here is that we have an issue, we have presented facts, we have done our homework, and we are looking for some answers. The government has a responsibility to respond to those. The diplomatic thing is to respond to the answers. The public has a right to know.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: On the Point of Order. In the time that I have been in this Legislature, I realize that tempers have flared at times and people have regularly abused the rules of the House in order to get points on the record.
Today, I am particularly ashamed at the behaviour of Members. This so-called Point of Order was clearly an interruption. It was a blatant disregard for the rules. It was one of the most unfortunate displays of behaviour the Legislature has enjoyed for quite a while.
The Point of Order was clearly an interruption because the Member for Porter Creek East did not like the answer. There is an obligation on you, Mr. Speaker, to chastise Members when they abuse the rules of the House in such a blatant and flagrant manner.
Mr. Lang: On the Point of Order, I want to refer to Rule No. 8, the specific rules, and I ask the Minister of Justice to listen: A question must adhere to the proprieties of the House, in that it must not contain inferences, impute motives or cast aspersions upon persons within the House or out of it.
To begin with, the Minister of Justice helped bring these rules into the House, voted for them and supported them. Not only in this particular circumstance, but also earlier in Question Period and yesterday, at the beginning of answering any particular question, the Minister of Justice has accused Members on this side of being irresponsible.
Number one, he has accused them of being political opportunists. The list goes on. We can go through Hansard and bring this forward for reconsideration. I do not believe that it is doing the House nor the Minister any good to attack in the way he is as opposed to answering the questions that have been simply put to the Minister.
Speaker: I find that there is a Point of Order on each side. In general both sides have points to make. Rules have been broken. Preambles to questions are taking too long, and the same is true of the answers. The other rule we must remember is that statements not become argumentative.
I would like to remind Members to remember that.
The time for Question Period has now elapsed. We will proceed with Orders of the Day.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: On a Point of Order. I was in the process of answering a question and I would like to put it on the record.
Mr. Lang: The Member should sit down.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: If I may finish my Point of Order I simply wish to say that the alleged facts put forward THE by Member for Riverdale North are not facts. They are inaccurate.
Mr. Lang: On the Point of Order would you take the Member to task or ask him to leave, one or the other.
Speaker: We will now proceed with Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
MOTIONS FOR THE PRODUCTION OF PAPERS
Motion for the Production of Papers No. 1
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Member for Whitehorse Porter Creek East THAT this House do issue a return for a copy of all agreements and treaties (international and national) that pertain to the Alaska Highway.
Mr. Lang: I take it as a pretty clear motion in that we debated the motion on the maintenance of the Alaska Highway as well as the financial requirements to upgrade the highway to an acceptable level. If you will recall, all Members of this House supported a formal invitation to be extended on behalf of us through you, Mr. Speaker, for the Minister of Public Works for the Government of Canada to visit the Yukon.
When we look at the expenditures for maintenance and the capital requirements for the Alaska Highway, it is important that all Members be made aware that there are both international and national agreements in place on the various responsibilities of the parties involved. It is worthwhile to have those tabled in the public forum for Members of the House who are interested in the question and also for the public. Perhaps within the treaties and the agreements that have been signed, we can find other areas where those international obligations that the Government of Canada has to the Alaska Highway are clearly spelled out.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I was not certain, initially, why the motion was brought forward because the documents are all public documents. After giving it some thought, I presume that the intent of the motion was to get it on the record that the Legislature had dealt with the issue of maintenance and capital funding for the Alaska Highway as a major priority of the Legislature and of the government, but also to draw to the publics attention the fact that there are a number of agreements that impact on the state of affairs that exist today. These lead from the time the Alaska Highway was initially built to the current period, and clearly delineate obligations for the funding and the upgrading of the Alaska Highway.
On doing some checking with the Department of Community and Transportation Services, there are four agreements that I will file with the Clerk. I was a little nervous about copying them too much for general distribution because the copy quality is very poor.
Two treaties, the first and the last, are between the Government of Canada and the US. There are also those between the Departments of National Defence and Public Works in 1964. Then there is the Alaska Highway Maintenance Agreement in 1972. The last one is the Shakwak Project, which everybody is familiar with, and that occurred in 1977.
The first agreement was negotiated between the Governments of Canada and the US. It was signed in March, 1942. This agreement provided for the construction of a military highway to Alaska. The agreement was signed by Mackenzie King, for anybody who is interested in seeing an historic signature, who was at that time also Secretary of State for External Affairs and, a fellow by the name of Pierpont Moffat, who was the American Minister responsible.
The agreement provided for the construction of a highway along the route that follows the general line of airports from Fort St. John to Big Delta in Alaska. The US government, at the time, stated that it was prepared to undertake the building and wartime maintenance of the highway and to maintain the highway until the termination of the war.
It would also maintain it for six months after, unless the Government of Canada preferred to assume responsibility at an earlier date for the maintenance of the road, as so much of it lies in Canada.
It was agreed that at the conclusion of the war the part of the highway which lies in Canada shall become, in all respects, an integral part of the Canadian highway system. At this point, for the first time, it established the responsibility of the Canadian government to maintain this highway to normal Canadian highway standards. That was the first period when a clear statement, in writing, was made as to whose responsibility lay where.
The second agreement was a kind of internal agreement in the federal government between the Department of National Defence, to whom responsibility was transferred from the Americans, and the Department of Public Works, to whom the responsibility would be delivered. The issue was the transfer of administration, management, and control of the northwest highway system, as it was called, from the Department of National Defence to the Department of Public Works. An agreement provided for a transfer of responsibility for the Alaska Highway, extending from Mile 84, in the vicinity of Fort St. John, BC, to Mile 1221 in the Yukon Territory, at the Alaska boundary, and the Alaska Highway extending from Mile 159, in its junction with the Alaska Highway near Mile 1016 of the latter, to Mile 42, at the Alaska boundary.
The point to be made here, and the conclusion that we can draw from this agreement, quite briefly, is that the Department of Public Works now had the responsibility to maintain the highway to normal Canadian highway standards. It is obvious now, for that reason, in this ministry, that we have all been approaching, over the course of many years, to seek funding for capital and operation and maintenance for the highway.
In 1972, the Government of Yukon came into the picture as a contractor. This is the Alaska Highway Agreement, which was signed April 1, 1972 - I guess that is April Fools Day, in some respects. The Government of Yukon agreed, at this point, to maintain the Alaska Highway and the Haines Road, on behalf of DPW. The agreement was the first in a succession of agreements, which were all basically the same, which authorized the Yukon to maintain, on the behalf of Canada, and on a cost-recovery basis, the highway.
The Government of Yukon agreed to: prepare annual highway maintenance program estimates, operating budgets, and tender documents for review and approval by the director general of DPW; provide territory equipment to perform highway maintenance; maintain the designated roads to a standard acceptable to the federal Minister of Public Works; and, to advertise tenders, prepare contract documents, and enter into the contracts with successful tenderers for the road.
The Government of Canada agreed to pay to the territory an administration fee, and to pay in advance to the territory, at the beginning of each quarter, the total operating budget for that quarter, and to pay to the territory the cost of equipment.
The cost of the road maintenance personnel directly employed on the highway system, the material incorporated into the highway system, and equipment used on the highway, charged out on an hourly rental basis, were also considered to be bona fide expenditures under the agreement.
At this point, we are to shortly come to the expiration of the last five year installment, which ends March 31, 1988, and the negotiation of a new installment of this agreement.
The agreement only provides operation and maintenance funds appropriated by the federal government for the maintenance of the Alaska Highway. The standard of maintenance is set by the federal government, and the Yukon government is limited in how it can maintain that road by both the funding provided and the maintenance standard that has been set.
The agreement does not cover any significant capital expenditures on the road. That responsibility has always remained the responsibility of DPW. They have not contracted that end of it to us, as the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development has done on all other federal roads in the Yukon.
In British Columbia, the Department of Public Works has used maintenance contractors to maintain the road; it has not been maintained by BC Highways personnel. In 1985, there was a suggestion that the contracting work that had been done by contractors in British Columbia might be done by Yukon government Highways personnel, as it was perceived to be cost efficient.
As I indicated a couple of years ago, we did an analysis that determined it could be very cost efficient and provide for a better maintenance standard. Unfortunately in some respects, the British Columbia government at that time decided that no other government should maintain a road in their jurisdiction, other than the Department of Public Works, and indicated that any devolution on roads for those sections should go to British Columbia, and not to the Yukon. Those sections were the South Klondike Highway and the Haines Road.
The last agreement is the Shakwak project. This is the agreement that is perhaps of most interest to many of us, as it is still a living document, in many respects. It requires a great deal of interpretation as to what the international obligations are. This is an agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States for the Haines Road and the Alaska Highway reconstruction.
The agreement took the form of an exchange of notes and was signed on behalf of Canada by Don Jamieson, Secretary of State for External Affairs, and on behalf of the USA by Thomas Enders, who was the American Ambassador to Canada.
The reconstruction program was undertaken as a program of cooperation to improve certain highways in Canada, to facilitate transportation between and within the respective countries. The highways covered under the agreement were that portion of the Alaska Highway from the Yukon/Alaska border to Haines Junction, and the Haines cutoff highway from Haines Junction to the British Columbia/Alaska border.
This agreement was proposed by the United States. There has been considerable work done on the Haines Road and completion of the road base is expected in the year 1991, at the latest. I tabled a Legislative Return last week, which delineated the anticipated construction schedule and associated construction costs with the reconstruction program, and 1990-91 appears to be the year, at the latest, that we can expect a fully-reconstructed road.
Very little work has been done on the north Alaska Highway segment of the project, and Public Works Canada has advised that capital funds are also unavailable this fiscal year from the federal government to commence any reconstruction activity on this segment. We can expect basically nothing to happen north of Haines Junction this year.
Members have been treated to the explanation of the methodology by which the U.S. federal government provides funding for this particular road. It is a very complicated formula. It has to do with credits and banking credits and all that sort of thing. As the Government Leader indicated in his speech last week, the Governor of Alaska has committed to lobby the U.S. federal government to continue the funding of this project. It is interesting to note that there is now a piece of legislation in the federal congress that will limit funding for reconstruction of the Alaska Highway. We have the assurance from the Governor of Alaska, at least from the states perspective, that he will do everything he can to encourage the U.S. federal government to continue to provide surplus credits for reconstruction activity in Canada.
That is a fairly concise outline of the national and international agreements which have an impact on the Alaska Highway. It delineates responsibilities clearly as to who is responsible for the roads, who is responsible for the maintenance under contract, and what the expectations are of both federal governments and the Yukon government with respect to funding for the road. Clearly there has to be a political commitment from a number of governments in order to see the funding flow. The battle is not going to stop here. It will continue for as long as it takes to fully reconstruct the Alaska Highway from the BC-Yukon border to the Alaska-Yukon border.
Motion for the production of papers No. 1 agreed to.
Mr. Lang: On behalf of the House Leaders, I request unanimous consent for the motions under Motions Other Than Government Motions to be called in the following order: Motion No. 10, Motion No. 24, Motion No. 37, Motion No. 25, Motion No. 26, Motion No. 36, Motion No. 32, Motion No. 18, Motion No. 19, Motion No. 29.
Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?
All Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: There is unanimous consent.
Motion No. 10
Clerk: Item No. 1, standing in the name of Mrs. Firth.
Speaker: Is the hon. Member prepared to proceed with item number 1?
Mrs. Firth: Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Member for Whitehorse Riverdale South
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Government of Yukon should immediately revoke the new Lottery Licencing Act regulations and return the system to the way it was.
Mrs. Firth: I wanted to proceed with this motion today to give Members of the Legislature the opportunity to respond to the changes the government has made regarding the new regulations under the Lottery Licencing Act and to put on record the history of how the changes were made and call into question the Ministers consultative process.
I do not do that in a malicious way; I simply want the government to realize that sometimes what they preach is not what they are practicing. This whole issue around the lottery licensing rules is probably one of the foremost issues that demonstrates how this government pats itself on the back and tells itself what a good job it is doing.
We had great debates in the Legislature when the bill was first brought into the House and the regulations were tabled. The government was warned about the regulations, and that we did not feel they would be publicly acceptable or popular. The Minister disregarded that. Instead, the regulations were passed into law. The organizations who were being affected by them did not realize what was happening until it came time for them to renew their licences. All Yukoners know what happened then.
We had great commitments from the Minister that he was going to have a group look at this and people were going to be consulted. We were given the commitment that this would be done before we came back into the Legislature. Interestingly enough, the Minister did send out some proposed changes for input to some groups. He did not extend the courtesy of sending it to the Opposition Members, who he knew were interested in it. I had to get the proposed revised schedule from some of the organizations, who, upon receiving them, immediately phoned me to see if I had seen them.
I had written a letter to the Minister asking certain questions, and I was given a response to it just before we were due to come back into the Legislature.
An Order-in-Council was passed to amend the new regulations that the Minister had brought forward. Interestingly enough, it was signed on the same day that we went back into session. A motion had been presented by the Members of the Opposition to change the new regulations and to return them to the way they were.
I have two concerns. The first one is of the people with whom we are dealing, and the second one has to do with the way the government tried to make it look like they had corrected everything and had gone back to the way it was before. We have to look at the people in all of the communities, and we are talking about volunteers. This initiative of the government has already impacted tremendously on the volunteer organizations within Whitehorse and in some of the communities.
I get calls from people concerned because they are losing their volunteers, because there was so much hassle over this issue, and they do not know where they stand now that the license fees have gone up. Therefore, there are people who are not prepared to constantly fight with the government regarding the issue and instead want to back off and not provide their volunteer services in the hope that the government will provide some assistance to their organizations.
That is not a healthy environment. It is not a good initiative on behalf of the government. It is not a positive or progressive step for the government to be making in the Yukon. We depend extremely heavily upon our volunteers to raise funds, to see that children get out to sport functions that they might not be able to attend otherwise and to see that seniors are actively involved in sports events and in participating events around the communities. The bingos are very important to people, particularly to seniors. Many of them called me to ask why they were being punished. They are the ones who organize the bingos, and they would be required to abide by those various strident rules.
It is a very dangerous precedent for the government to set, to show the communities that they are prepared to pass these new regulations, by Cabinet order without knowing the impact that it would have on the communities. That is essentially what the Minister told us when he said that someone made a miscalculation. All the Members of the government made a miscalculation, because they had absolutely no idea what this measure was going to do to the volunteer organizations in the communities.
The second principle that the government is trying to convey here is that they have redrafted the regulations to reflect the policies that were in effect before the new regulations were drafted.
Those were the Ministers own words, and they have amended the regulations to return to the old practice.
These amended regulations were not given to any of the volunteer organizations who had raised questions. I did not receive a copy of them. When the Minister was making his press release, I had to respond to it by finding out for myself if an Order-in-Council had been signed, and by getting a copy of it. I questioned the organizations as to whether they were satisfied with the changes, so that I could respond in a positive manner to the Ministers initiative. I found out they had not been consulted at all, other than a preliminary letter the Minister had sent out that had not really outlined the changes that were signed on March 28.
I am sure that the Minister is going to say the fees are less so, therefore, they are better, and that everyone is happy with this. I do not think the Minister should make presumptions or say that everyone is going to be happy. In the newspaper, I believe he did say that he thought that groups would be quite satisfied with the new amendments to the regulations. However, I find there are still some outstanding questions that I have encouraged the groups to follow up with, and that I will be following up with the Minister.
I have to look at a document we were not given in this House. We were never provided with it, nor were organizations. I only know of one organization that has the pamphlet, and it is called Licensing Information - Raffles, Bingos, and Casinos.
It raises some outstanding questions, particularly for the Whitehorse Lions Club. When they read this booklet about licensing information, they will interpret their type of gaming licence under item 3, Casinos, that says casinos must be held within the organizations own city or community. The Whitehorse Lions do go and run casinos in the communities, turning the proceeds over to other communities, and they feel they are no longer able to do that.
The Minister will no doubt stand up and say you can interpret it two or three different ways, and that does not mean that they cannot do that, but that is how the organization feels. I read it the same way. The Minister has not consulted them to see if they are satisfied with the new amendments so, therefore, he probably is not even aware of their concerns. I believe they have written a letter to the Minister asking for some answers regarding the new regulations, and are presently awaiting a response.
The Minister is going to say there are people who know about the new regulations, and who say it is fine and are prepared to settle for that. I am sure the example he will give is that the people who organize the bingos say they are quite prepared to pay an increased fee of $10 per day, instead of the $25 per day that the Minister was going to charge them in the new regulations. It used to be $25 a year. If I was a volunteer organization at the mercy of the Minister, I would settle for the $10 a day, too. It starts to sound like a good deal, as the Member for Whitehorse Porter Creek East says.
The principle, philosophy and objective of the government remains the same. It has not changed, like the Minister tries to elude to in his press release. The principle that this government wants to charge volunteers more to participate in their volunteer activities is still there. That is really what we are asking to have changed when we ask that the rules go back to the way they were before. The participation was not discouraged by a minimal token kind of fee that the organizations had to pay. We, on this side, do not see any reason why that cannot continue on.
The Minister has not really given us what I would call reasonable information to say why that should change. He has talked a bit about administrative costs and how high they are. I do not think it is necessarily the fault of the volunteer organizations that those administrative costs have gone up, nor the time involved of the individual who has to do the issuing of the licences. Perhaps it has to do with some of the other pieces of legislation this government brings into effect, and the Minister of Justice in particular, whose philosophy is that we should have every piece of legislation that every other jurisdiction has. Perhaps that is putting a burden on the staff within the department who are required to process these licence applications.
I am looking forward to the comments the Minister is going to make. I hope he is in a more charitable mood when it comes to debating this motion than he was in Question Period. There are some outstanding issues that should be made public so organizations have an opportunity to know exactly what the new Lottery Licensing Act regulation amendments are. I have sent out copies to some people who have phoned me, or who have corresponded with me, or who have made inquiries, so they can be better informed of what direction the government is taking.
As I said March 31, when the announcement was made, I felt there were still going to be some outstanding issues with some of the organizations regarding the new regulations. I will be very interested to hear what process the Minister will follow to address some of those concerns the people will have. My immediate feeling is that he is probably going to wait until they approach him. That may not happen. He has changed the rules, so I think it is his responsibility to notify the people who are effected by the changed rules. I hope we are going to hear from him today and get some commitment that that is going to happen.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: After the statement that the Member for Riverdale North is eager to hear what I have to say, I feel pleased to be able to give the House some information about this motion.
The Member opposite gave a fairly wide ranging speech and talked about a number of issues. The speech was a very good example of her character. I will raise particular issues as we go through that, particularly about the kinds of statements she made about government initiatives, about what the government is doing and the way she has misstated those initiatives.
The Member opposite is looking forward to an informative debate, and I will be as informative as I can. Because of the legislative history of this act and these regulations, I feel an obligation to inform the House of the facts behind them, which is obviously contemplated by the motion. I will be careful to put information about these regulations on the record that has not previously been put on record.
The Member opposite said we debated the bill at length and that the regulations were made available. That is true. She said the Conservatives warned us about the regulations. That is not true. In fact, they praised the wording of the regulations as being very well worded, in the sense of being in lay language. I appreciated that praise, which is clearly found in Hansard.
The Member opposite spoke about the intentions of the government, and the initiatives of the government, with relation to lotteries and volunteers, especially of the activities of voluntary associations and individual volunteers. The regulations are pursuant to the act, which are pursuant to the Criminal Code. It is necessary to understand the provisions in the Criminal Code in order to fully explain the provisions of the regulations and the effect of those regulations on volunteers.
I would submit there is another angle, which is even more fundamental, and that is the character of the society with which we live. That raises general issues, not only about volunteerism, but about the moral qualities that are associated with gambling, the work ethic and the like.
I have a few short quotes I can read about that. These things have been extensively studied, both here and in other jurisdictions. This information has not come to the Legislature before. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why this motion is before us.
It is important to understand the legal status of gambling. The legal status of gaming in Canada is embodied in the Criminal Code. This is under part 5, section 189. This Criminal Code was written in 1892 - 93 years ago. The section prohibits all types of gaming, with some exceptions at agricultural fairs and exhibitions. When the Criminal Code became law, shortly after Confederation, gambling was at a low ebb of tolerance by society and government. It was discouraged in Britain and in Canada. I will give a brief summary of section 189, because it would be too long to quote the whole section directly. The subsections, and there are many, do the following:
they prohibit the printing, or in any way producing, of lottery material. They prohibit the sale of any type of lottery material. They prohibit knowingly transporting or causing the moving or disposal of lottery materials. They prohibit anyone from conducting a lottery scheme of any kind. They prohibit pyramid schemes, where the prize value increases with the number of participants. They prohibit the dispensing of goods or wares as prizes for games one must pay in order to participate. There is also a prohibition against betting on the results of dice games, three-card monte, punch board, coin tables for the operations of the wheel of fortune. These things are defined.
It then provides for an exemption for an agricultural fair or exhibition under certain circumstances, but specifically excludes dice games, three-card monte, punch boards or coin tables.
The Criminal Code established it as a summary conviction offence if anyone buys, takes or receives a locked ticket, or other device. The Criminal Code went on in that vein.
In 1969, the Criminal Code was amended to facilitate federal and provincial administered lottery schemes. The amendments specified that a lottery scheme included a game. It is important in understanding the regulations to understand the basis in law for them. These 1969 amendments to the federal law are crucial.
Canada was one of the last western nations to liberalize its gaming laws. The mentor of Canadian gaming legislation is Britain. They liberalized their laws in 1960 with the stated objective, in the British Parliament, of minimizing illegal gambling. This created somewhat of a monster since the liberalization opened the door to organized crime and created undesirable social considerations.
This gambling rampage led Britain to reform its Act in 1968 to what is now known as the Stripped Social Club Model. The intent in Britain was to restrict gaming social clubs with selective and expensive memberships, effectively barring many who could not afford to gamble.
I raise this because the Member opposite spoke specifically about volunteers and the effect of volunteers on the policies of allowing gambling to finance voluntary activities. This is all useful information about the underpinnings of our law about that issue. There were, however, government sports pools and lotteries that would run to provide an outlet for gambling rather than for their revenue-generating potential. This reflects Britains gaming policy, which is to provide an outlet for gambling but not to encourage or nurture it in any way.
Though Canada had never used the lottery, it was the intent of the Canadian government to start. The 1969 amendments facilitated federal and provincial administered lottery schemes and casino type operations while at the same time restraining the legalized gambling industry such as is found in Nevada or Atlantic City in the U.S.
It is interesting that Montreals Mayor Drapeau had a significant stimulating effect with his voluntary tax. He had Canadians all over the country and Americans becoming voluntary taxpayers to the City of Montreal, which essentially was a lottery. That opened up the legislative floodgates, so to speak. The results can be seen in a direct line to the lottery regulations that are the subject of this motion.
It is necessary to understand section 190 of the Criminal Code. I will not read all of it, but I feel it is important to read into the record some of it because Members opposite had questions about this specifically on the bill which is the underpinnings of the motion, so I will bring the facts to the House to the best of my ability.
I will quote from the Criminal Code, which is the law currently, specifically section 190(1), Notwithstanding any of the provisions of this part relating to gaming and betting, it is lawful: (a) for the Government of Canada to conduct and manage a lottery scheme in accordance with regulations made by the Governor in Council, and for that purpose for any person in accordance with such regulations to do anything described in any of the paragraphs 189 (1)(a) to (f), or subsection 189(4).
I had previously outlined the provisions of section 189 so I will not repeat that. Subsection (b) in this becomes interesting to the territory. For the government of a province, - and I would interject for the benefit of the Members, the federal Interpretation Act has province including territory so this affects this motion directly, For the government of a province, either alone or in conjunction with the government of another province, to conduct and manage a lottery scheme in that province or in that and such other province in accordance with any law enacted by the Legislature of that province for that purpose for any person in accordance with such law to do anything described in any of paragraphs 189(1)(a) to (f) or subsection 189(4)(c). For a charitable or religious organization, under the authority of a licence issued by the Lieutenant Governor in Council of a province or by such other person or authority in the province as may be specified by the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council thereof, to conduct and manage a lottery scheme in that province and for that purpose for any person under the authority of such licence to do anything described in any of the paragraphs 189(1)(a) to (g), or subsection 189(4).
Otherwise than in relation to a dice game, three card monte, punch board, or coin table, if 1) the proceeds from the lottery scheme are used for a charitable or religious object or purpose.
I will interject here. I will have much to say, later on, about this charitable or religious object or purpose, because it is exactly that question that we will are speaking about in the motion before us, because that was part of the consultation around the specific regulations that we are talking about. I will go on.
2) in the cast of a lottery scheme conducted by a charitable or religious organization at a bizarre (a) the amount or value of each prize awarded does not exceed $100; and (b) the money or other valuable consideration paid to secure a chance to win a prize does not exceed 50 cents; (d) for an agricultural fair or exhibition or an operator of concession leased by an agricultural fair or exhibition, under the authority of a licence issued by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, of a province or such other person of authority in the province as made be specified by the Lieutenant Governor in Council thereof to conduct and manage a lottery scheme in that province and for that purpose for any person under the authority of such licence, to do anything described in any of the paragraphs of 189, 1(a) to (f), or subsection of 189(4).
I will interject that it is fortunate that our regulations are in lay language, and I hope that the federal government soon follows suit. This is the law that was passed by the Parliament of Canada and is the basis for these regulations. I will go on.
(e) for any person under the authority of a licence issued by the Lieutenant Governor of a province or by such other person or authority in the province as may be specified by the Lieutenant Governor in Council thereof to conduct and manage a lottery scheme at a public place of amusement in that province and for that purpose for any person under the authority of such licence to do anything described in any of the paragraphs 189(1) (a) to (g) or subsection 189(4).
Otherwise, then, in relation to a dice game, three card monte, punch board, or coin table if 1) the amount of value of each prize awarded does not exceed $100, and 2) the money or other valuable consideration paid to secure a chance to win a prize does not exceed 50 cents and for the government of a province to agree with the government of another province at lots, cards, or tickets in relation to a lottery scheme, that is by any of the paragraphs (b) to (e) authorized to be conducted and managed in that other province may be sold in the province and thereafter it is lawful for any person under the authority of such agreement to do anything described in any of the paragraphs 189(1) (a) to (c) or subsection...
Speaker: Order, please. I must remind the Member that he must not read continually from documents.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I was quoting the Criminal Code of Canada, and I do not have it memorized. However, I will paraphrase. It will probably be less informative to Members because I am sure they will want to know what the law says, what the underpinnings of this law are in its exactitude. It is possible for Members opposite to obtain the Criminal Code and read it themselves. They obviously have not done that yet, but it is possible. I would ask Members if there is any doubt about my paraphrasing, and there may well be, the authoritative text is in the Criminal Code. If they do not have a copy, I can provide one for them.
The Criminal Code goes on to authorize the province or the territory to issue licences and to pass legislation that specifically contemplates these licences. The major change in the criminal law is that before 1969 these lottery schemes were generally prohibited. However, after 1969, they were allowed and specifically allowed for various purposes.
Some of the sections allow the federal government and provinces to engage in lottery schemes. The federal government did it, and later transferred the business to the provinces. The lottery schemes are now generating a lot of the money that is passed out to sports organizations that are also primarily voluntary organizations, although there is a greater degree of specialization and professionalism creeping in the actual lotteries schemes, the marketing of lotteries and the distribution of the proceeds. The prizes have gotten bigger and bigger.
The Criminal Code goes on and on, but I think I have summed it up fairly well in this provision about defining what is a lottery scheme and provisions about the limits of the territorial jurisdiction, which is the most salient information for this motion.
This amendment has created difficulties in interpretation. The most important difficulty is in the definition of what should be called charitable purpose. The Member opposite, in her first speech to this motion, talked about volunteers and about the initiatives and intent of the government about these organizations. She specifically spoke about the Whitehorse Lions Club and casinos, but she mentioned the situation in general. I will come back to her specific remarks, but I think it is important to look at the legal meaning of the phrase charitable purpose. It is said to be precise, however there have been many different interpretations. The Justice Minister of Canada at the time, Mr. John Turner, felt this area was best served by provincial interpretations, rather than by federal ones. Consequently, the different provinces have interpreted this principle, which is inherent in our regulations, differently. This has created difficulties because the citizens of Canada can obviously do some things in some provinces and they cannot do them in others. It has been difficult for the general public, especially the public who move from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, to understand just what the underpittings of the law are in lottery licencing. Charitable purposes include religious groups, but the definition of a religious group or a religious purpose can be quite narrowly defined. I think it is fair to say that it has occasioned considerably less difficulty in defining a religious purpose than for the phrase charitable purpose. There is a famous case, which I should quote, and it is a good idea to read the case. I will not read it here in the Legislature but the citation is Gilmore vs Coats, which is found in Appeal Cases, 1949, page 426. It refers to the definition of religious or charitable or self-serving purposes, and about the legal concept of trust as it applied to the activities of a group. In this case it was a group of cloistered nuns whose objectives were not considered for the public benefit in the area of advancement of religion in this particular case.
The area of defining the eligible religious groups is not as problematic nor as integral to occur to Yukon policy considerations as charitable organizations. I will not spend a lot of the Legislatures valuable time talking about religious purposes, however, it is important, especially because the Member for Riverdale South spoke to such length about volunteers. I will emphasize that concern of volunteer agencies.
Most nonprofit groups consider themselves charitable. However, the law defines charitable more in serving the interests of others in the community rather than members of the group itself. These good works are commonly thought of as charitable in the popular sense of the word because they do not benefit exclusively their own members or exclusively some individuals. This is important in the distinction in the regulations about holding raffles or bingos, I would submit, especially raffles. It is important if the ticket buyers of the raffles are members of the association, are members outside the association or, as it commonly is, the public.
Many of these groups, however, that think of themselves as charitable do not qualify as charitable under the legal tests that are anticipated by the Criminal Code, specifically sections 189 and 190. I was not able to read into the record the specific part of section 190, although I summarized it fairly well.
The main directive that we have to keep in mind for identifying charitable organizations is a principle. The history of that principle is interesting. It goes back to the statute of Elizabeth in 1601, and it is also called the Charitable Uses Act of 1601. This Act is the underpinning of our modern law. The modern law spoke about charitable uses almost in the sense of a trust. This now antiquated document is interesting, and I will give a brief quote because that is allowed in the rules and it is very interesting.
It is very interesting. Where a purpose by analogy was deemed by the Court of Chancery to be within its spirit and intendment it was held to be charitable within the meaning of the statute. This is a quote from a case. It talked about the Income Tax Special Purposes Commission vs Penshaw, which was a 1981 case. The case essentially established four categories of charitable purposes that come originally from the Statutes of Elizabeth 1601. These four categories are: Number one, trust for the relief of poverty; number two, trusts for the advancement of education; number three, trusts for the advancement of religion; and number four, trusts for other purposes beneficial to the community not falling under any of the preceding heads.
So, according to the doctrine found essentially in the Charitable Uses Act, we have four categories. The case law has defined these categories much more precisely. It is important to understand this because the debate about the bill and the debate about this particular motion, referring to all the regulations, of course, talks about a procedure to define these categories for lottery licencing.
The first test for these categories is best defined in a 1951 case and that case is Oppenheim vs Tobacco Securities Trust Company Limited. In that case, the facts very generally involved a trust that was called a charitable trust. The beneficiaries of the trust were the children of the employees of the defendant company. So there was, in essence, a purpose of a charity set up to benefit the children of all the employees of one company. I would quote two sentences from that case. They are as follows: One must start with a proposition that no trust can be charitable if it is enforceable by any individual or group of individuals for their benefit. An action for the enforcement of a charitable trust is by the Attorney General because no individual can assert any rights. That is the first test, historically.
The second test is whether the purpose is by analogy within the spirit and intendment of the ancient Statute of Elizabeth.
That comes from another case. The third test is whether the purpose falls within any of the so-called four divisions of charity derived from that statute. Those four divisions are trusts for the relief of poverty, trusts for the advancement of education, trusts for the advancement of religion, or trust for any purposes beneficial to the community, not included in the first three. The test of benefit to the community goes through all of these categories, especially with regard to the first three in a specific sense, and also in the fourth.
The fourth, and most crucial test, in deciding on the purposes of an organization is whether the object is for public benefit. The purpose must benefit the community, and it must be sufficiently defined and identifiable by some quality of a public nature. It may be restricted within narrow limits but it must be community based or of benefit to the public at large.
Several of these charitable trust cases have dealt with this element of public benefit and some are worthy of note. I would note in the Tobacco Securities Company Limited case that the trust was ruled not charitable, for the following reason: that though the group of persons indicated was numerous - approximately 110,000 persons - the nexus between them as employment by particular employers and accordingly the trust did not satisfy the test of public benefit, a requisite to establish it as charitable.
A Canadian case, which is extremely instructive, is the Kennebecasis Valley Recreational Centre Incorporated versus the Minister of Municipal Affairs of New Brunswick. This is a famous case which served to define the concept of charitable organization. Not only must the purposes of the organization be charitable, but the organization must be charitable as well. That is a distinction which is frequently lost, but it is found in the case of Larose and Flutey in 1971. This is one of the leading Canadian cases dealing with lottery licensing to charitable organization.
If Members are interested, I will outline a case, but they can look it up for themselves. It does make very interesting bedtime reading.
I will not go on about that case, but there is a practical concern in Canada about the Income Tax Act. That act defines a charitable organization. It is a very practical concern, and it is an important one for these voluntary associations. There are two definitions of what is charitable that are of prime interest to these volunteers. One is the income tax and the second one is the acceptability of the purposes in order to obtain lottery licencing.
Organizations frequently talk about getting their tax numbers or being officially recognized by the federal government in the Income Tax Act with respect to their charitable purpose. It is illustrative to look at the way our regulations talk about these charitable purposes and the way the Income Tax Act defines the charitable organizations. The Income Tax Act, in very brief part, says this, Charitable organization means an organization, whether or not incorporated, all the resources of which are devoted to charitable activities carried on by an organization itself and not part of the income of which is payable to, or is otherwise available for, the personal benefit of any proprietor, member, shareholder, trustee or settler thereof. Charitable purposes includes the disbursement of funds to qualified donees. Charity means a charitable organization or charitable foundation. Those are the necessary distinctions to understand in the Income Tax Act.
These voluntary associations, especially individual volunteers on the executives of these associations are faced with the two tests in the general sense. One is the Income Tax Act test and the second one is the lottery licencing tests.
The Income Tax Act does not recognize fraternal or service clubs as charitable. The reason for that is only a portion of their resources are devoted to charitable activities. This concept of a portion of the resources is crucial to the debate of this particular motion, because one of the very important considerations which has a very large practical impact on Yukon organizations is how large a portion of their revenues being expended on themselves as opposed to the community at large is acceptable under the lottery licencing regulations, under the Lottery Licencing Act pursuant to the Canadian Criminal Code, specifically sections 189 and 190. That particular question was considered at length, especially about bingos, because some of the bingo-running societies complained about the way the new regulations had required a greater portion of the proceeds of the lotteries to be paid for charitable purposes as opposed to the purposes of that particular association that ran the bingo. I will say more about that specifically a little later on.
This problem is important for gaming licencing policy as well as being absolutely crucial for the volunteers that the Member for Riverdale South spoke about in the first speech on this motion. I do not think it was the intention of the 1969 Criminal Code amendment to afford every nonprofit group an opportunity to use gambling as a means of fund raising. That, in fact, is an uncontroversial statement. The 1969 amendment was passed by the federal Legislature for specific purposes. It allowed the provinces and territories to have a large measure of autonomy or influence in defining what those purposes were, but it did not intend the general public to be allowed to gamble by any means, or for fundraising activities by gambling to be undertaken by all nonprofit groups.
The amendment is sometimes unclear in its definition, but it is quite concise and precise in its purposes. I read part of those purposes into the record. I am sure that the Members opposite were listening, and I will not need to repeat them.
This is an opportune time to talk about the policies of government in allowing for gambling and lotteries. There is a very interesting study just recently published by the British Columbia Gaming Commissioning which is called the Report on the Status of Gaming in British Columbia. This was published in January of 1988. It talks about the Yukon in this study. I will inform Members of what the British Columbia gaming commissioners say about gambling here. There is a specific section on Diamond Tooth Gerties, which I am sure the Member for Klondike will be interested in, and I will inform him as well as Members for the opposition.
The concern is that the laws of general application about gambling are around a general moral concern that it was thought by a great number of people in society, that gambling was immoral, or that it promoted laziness and the prospect that you could get something for nothing. Governments especially ought to be promoting the principles that you are rewarded for hard work, not for nothing or for chance or for gambling. It is for that general reason that the laws have been restrictive. I will say more about this. The British Columbia report has a chapter on it, which I will not read, but I will make a quote. They quote, and it has been quoted on many occasions, from a study that was done in the United States, which came about because the Legislative Counsel in Massachusetts studied the question at great length and they commissioned a report which was received in 1983. They talked about the provisions of lottery licencing in a moral sense and they say this The principle moral obligation to state operated casinos is that the government would become an aggressive promoter of gambling by its citizens. Many voters have felt that such a policy would conflict with other policies in the public interest. Such a position has been forcefully expressed by Irving Crystal, who writes, In short, when the government gets into the gambling business, it necessarily assumes the responsibility for seeing that this business grows and prospers.
In effect, it proclaims that gambling is not a necessary evil but an inherently good thing. It does this while telling its citizens that, if they are to be good Americans, they should work hard, save their money and shun all get rich quick schemes. Is this not ridiculous? Does it really make sense for the government to insist that no one has a right to work for a penny less than the minimum wage, and for the government then to encourage us all to blow one weeks wages at the betting cage? Does it really make sense for the government to enact a mountain of legislation, from securities and exchange commission registration to the labelling of consumer products, which protects people from unwise expectations while urging them to make the most wise expenditure of all - that is, a gambling bet?
I could go on. There are relevant paragraphs, but perhaps it is better not to read at length. I can always provide the Members who are interested with a copy of what I was about to read. If they are very interested, they can advise me, and I will provide the quote. That will make this debate go just one iota faster.
The policy of the government actually sanctioning gambling, and the government actually getting involved in the business, is crucial. The Member for Riverdale South spoke of volunteers. She talked about the governments initiative on the healthy environment for voluntary agencies.
I would like to go back to that one more time, because it is important to tie in the reason why it is so important to give a proper underpinning of all of these policies to the Member for Riverdale South. She obviously does not understand the governments real motive. She is telling people what she feels the government motive is, and she is wrong. I want to make it abundantly clear by going through these basis and the underpinnings of these policies in order to achieve that.
The 1969 Criminal Code amendments had the focus of legalizing lotteries. They did not have expanding the entire gaming sector as a focus. However, despite the law, the gaming sector has continued to grow. It is interesting to look at the effects of that growth on the gaming sector and to look at the benefits and detriments of legalized gambling.
It is important to think about the Yukon Territory specifically, because it is interesting here in the territory. We have a particular scheme of government regulation here in the territory that is commented upon by other provinces, and I promised already to make Members aware of what the B.C. gaming commissioners had to say about Diamond Tooth Gerties.
The gambling industry is intertwined with organized crime. It is apparent that, even in Canada, even with the bingo halls that are now prevalent in the prairie provinces, there are pretty well undisputed links with what people would generally call organized crime.
There are stories about Las Vegas that go back to the beginning of Las Vegas. I think the reason why organized crime is affected is that gambling is a very lucrative business. All casinos make a profit. All casinos make a profit every day. It is only a matter of how large the profit is. That is because the rules of the game favour the house. However, people will persist in making these unwise investments on the hope that they would be the lucky ones.
Gambling can provide a source of revenue. Lotteries - the federal and provincial ones - have demonstrated that. Gambling can provide employment. Las Vegas and Atlantic City are examples of that and, albeit, Gerties in Dawson.
Legal gambling might reduce illegal gambling, and we have examples of that. Regulations can control many of the unsavory aspects of gambling. So, the effects of gambling are something that we should pay close attention to. It is important to realize that, even though gambling can be a source of income much like tax revenue, there is a very important question about governments being dependent on this income. It is most relevant to the Yukon Territory to note that some organizations here have become dependent for their financial underpinnings on the gambling process.
I am not saying this is good or bad. I am saying it is a fact. These organizations that are dependent on gambling are among the organizations the Member for Riverdale South spoke of when she talked about volunteers and volunteer associations. The regulations about which the motion is primarily relevant deal with the percentage of revenue for the amount that a particular organization can allocate to its own expenses and to itself, and the amount that must go to charitable purposes, in the wider sense of definition.
There are law enforcement costs when we consider gambling and lotteries. We spoke about the philosophy of the regulations, or the policy inherent in the regulations, about recouping those costs.
It is important to make a brief reference to the BC situation from the study I spoke of a moment ago. The BC gaming commissioners have a policy about licencing fees. There is a lotteries branch in the BC government that fixed the fees in 1970 at a level to cover administrative costs. At that time, those fees covered the costs that included a licencing officer and two clerks.
There have been various arguments about restructuring the fee level in BC, with a specific reference to the success of that lottery. The growing gaming industry has caused a significant increase in licencing and enforcement costs. The present position of the commissioners is that the licencing fees should support the administrative costs, and the amounts should be connected with the financial success of the lottery, which is a policy that is inherent in the regulations that were first introduced in this House, and which were inherent in the currently existing regulations. That policy is in both of those regulations.
The Member for Porter Creek East is saying, How does July sound? and he is obviously threatening to take a lot of time in the Legislature, and I can say that I would be interested in staying here well beyond July. I would like to say to him that there is a principle of physics that can be applied to politics; that is, that every action has an equal and an opposite reaction. Sometimes the reactions are not equal and he ought to be aware of that. When he attacks us he should not be so sensitive when we attack back.
I digress, and I should not digress because Members would properly call me to order if I do that. I will be a little more relevant in the next moment or two.
Yukon is a place in which gambling survives and flourishes. Some interesting figures are that in 1984, $936,132.82 was wagered on bingos alone. That was in 1984.
In the same year $52,594.78 was wagered at casino nights. On raffle tickets, there was $181,083.11 spent. On sports lotteries, commonly known as pools, there was $18,370 wagered. I will talk about Diamond Tooth Gerties a little later. The levels of gambling that have been occurring in the Yukon are steadily increasing.
Perhaps I should say a word about Diamond Tooth Gerties, and of course that is irrelevant because the motion here is not about the regulations that include the one that governs that establishment. This is a particular situation that is very interesting. Diamond Tooth Gerties is licensed under the same philosophy as the one the Member for Riverdale South mentioned when she was talking about volunteers. Gerties is a professional one, and the rationale for its licence is that it is a charitable organization as defined under the law. It is necessary to interpret the law fairly loosely to achieve that.
It is unofficially estimated that most of the gambling revenue is not derived from tourists but from the local residents and many of the placer miners working in the area. It is the only casino that has a floor show and serves alcoholic beverages in a gambling establishment in the country. It is this casino that is encompassed by the motion.
The new regulations allow Gerties to have higher limits. I am sure that it was not the intention of the Member for Riverdale South to restrict the limits in Gerties, but the wording of her motion, if it is passed, would have that effect.
I will not be uncharitable and impute a motive that is adverse to the Klondike Visitors Association and the people of Dawson City. I will interpret that as simply something that the Member for Riverdale South overlooked in the wording of her motion.
What the regulations, as they now are and were passed in Cabinet in the week prior to March 28, and signed by the Commissioner on March 28, did is remove the contentious 10 percent fee to be paid on the value of raffle prizes. The new raffle licence fee schedule is a sliding scale, which accomplishes the policy that I spoke about earlier. However, it is not based on a percentage of the prizes. The minimum fee is $10. This is for raffles with a ticket sales value of $1,000 or less. The maximum fee is $250 on a raffle for a ticket sales value of $45,000 or more. There are categories in between that are flat fees for the licence.
Now, there was a provision for raffles that had a prize that was not actually physically present, like a house, car or ski-doo, to have a prize guarantee, which was previously at $1,000. The regulations passed earlier in 1988 raised that to $5,000. The regulations had reduced the prize guarantee provision to be operative for raffles of $1,000 or more and we returned it on March 28 to $5,000.
The bingo licence fees were substantially amended. The fees were $5 for each day the bingo operated where the revenue was under $5,000. Where the revenue was over $5,000, a daily fee of $25 was charged. The fee is now $10 per day and there is no reference to expected revenues. The total revenues in the territory are very, very large for bingos. The Member for Riverdale South has intended to convey to the general public that the government is somehow trying to stick it to bingos, or has an initiative to stop these activities or to stop volunteers from participating in bingos run by voluntary associations. That has never been the case.
I am sure this will not change her dishonest portrayal of the governments intention to the general public, however I will continue to try to inform her, wherever possible. Organizations were also unhappy about the revenue percentage breakdowns. The percentage breakdown has reverted to the system that was in place prior to the December 31, 1987 regulation. Licence holders will now be able to retain 75 per cent of the gross revenue, less prizes, and 25 per cent of the gross revenue, less prizes, is to be donated for charitable purposes.
I want to say most clearly that the government is accepting a proposition that gambling, and specifically bingos, is acceptable, and in fact licensed by these regulations even if 75 percent of the gross revenue, less the prizes, goes to the organization running the bingo. It is a lucrative business to run bingos and we have no intention of interfering with that, despite the misstatements of the Member for Riverdale South.
Casino licence fees are $5.00 for each gaming table for each day the casino is operated. The former fee was $25.00 plus one percent of the gaming revenue. The revenue percentage has been eliminated. In addition to the changes the organizations requested, a new provision was added to allow for the licencing of raffles that are conducted during a special function or event. Organizations often hold a variety of draws and they characteristically use theater ticket rolls. In the new amendments of March 28 the government, for the first time, has provided a licence specifically for this scheme. I will take it as an oversight on behalf of the member for Riverdale South that she did not wish to deny this, although it is clear that on the basis of her motion that if her motion passed and we went back to the old system, these voluntary associations could not do this kind of thing, which they characteristically wish to do.
I have spoken for a long time, and I have spoken for a long time quite intentionally on this matter. I hope that I have made the point, though - among all the other points, about the philosophy, the policy, and the history - that this government recognizes the contribution of voluntary agencies to our society. Although the motion was clearly intended maliciously, I hope that the Members opposite will recognize that there is a viable and thriving small industry in the Yukons communities around lotteries and raffles. They are pleasurable for many people to engage in. Raffles and lotteries are clearly here, and it is the necessary function of government to regulate those lotteries. We are doing the very best that we can to achieve the maximum public good in this regard. Thank you.
Mr. McLachlan: There are a number of things that I am not going to do. There were a number of things that I was going to say that have been previously said. I am not going to quote from the Criminal Code; I am not going to go on at length, like the Minister did; I am not going to quote from the case of Kennebecasis vs the Urban Affairs Minister in the Province of New Brunswick. I am not going to tell any stories about the cloistered nuns, but I am going to tell you about how, in November of 1987, I and some other Members of the Legislature attended a crime prevention seminar in Whitehorse. The Minister had his crime prevention people present and they did what I thought was an honorable thing that afternoon. They passed out awards for volunteers and one of the recipients was, in fact, from my riding. At that point, I was prepared to give the Minister of Justice the benefit of the doubt.
Little did they know that the following month he, in his vengeance, would come down on volunteer organizations with a bill of this nature. I thought that that afternoon in November was tantamount to giving them a good slap across the back of the head before cutting the head off.
I had complaints, too, from my riding. The Legion operation was just about to restart its bingo operations when the bill came out, along with the consequent uproar in January and February. There may have been some problems in the various areas before in this matter but I, for one, believe that problems can be corrected by more closely monitoring the legislation, or by adjusting the legislation in such a way that it does not go into the pocketbooks of the volunteer organizations.
I believe that the Minister has forgotten one of the basic tenets of this argument. If those groups do not receive the funding from the Elks Club, the Legion or the Lions Club, in order to carry on one way or another, they may be back at the governments doors. In his zeal to right what he thought was a wrong, the Minister is inadvertently and indiscriminately being overly hard on the volunteer organizations and on those people who receive the benefit of the award. What benefit can there be in that?
I want to add my support to the motion. It is not all as bad as the Minister has painted in that two hour diatribe over nothing. I support the Member for Riverdale South in the motion, because there is no Member of the Legislature present who has not heard, in one way or another, about problems the volunteer organizations were having on this issue. I would like to add my support for the motion as it is now drawn.
Speaker: The hon. Member will close debate if she now speaks. Does any other Member wish to be heard?
Mrs. Firth: We have reached a new low here in the Yukon. I listened to the impassioned speech of the Minister for Community and Transportation Services about how embarrassed he was when his constituent was in the gallery. I am quite embarrassed for all Yukoners today. I do not recall when we ever had a performance like we had this afternoon.
I appreciate the Minister of Justices point about it being fair game. I have used that term in the House as well. We score one point; you score one. I do not recall us doing it at the expense of a motion like this, where the people involved are concerned about it. They are going to be extremely disappointed when they hear what the Minister said and with the way that the government conducted itself.
In the public eye, these people are supposed to be demonstrating that they are of the quality of character - and the Minister of Justice spoke of my character - that they are fit to govern. The Members may think that they have done something quite clever, and I admit that it was clever. However, I do not think that the public will think it was very clever. It was a parliamentary tactic that was available for them to use, and the Minister of Justice used it with the approbation of his colleagues.
I will not say that he maliciously intended to do this with the Lottery Licencing Act. I will not make those kinds of accusations in the House. I never have. I have never spoken and used that kind of language. There are very few Members on this side of the House who have. I have never used words like dishonest portrayals and spewing venom. When the Government Leader was so offended by the comments of the Member for Porter Creek West in his response to the Throne Speech, maybe he should take a look at Hansard to see where those words and quotes have come from. It has not been from this side of the House. It has always been from the other side.
I know the Minister of Justice has been under a lot of strain lately; I would say probably for the last two and a half years, and I recognize that can get to an individual. He has an unhappy situation regularly when he is in so much trouble with the public and with his portfolios and his areas of responsibility. Yet, instead of being a real man about it and admitting he made a mistake, and taking this last opportunity to come into this Legislative Assembly and redeem himself with the Yukon public, he chose not to do that. I do not understand why.
I am extremely disappointed in what the Minister did. I am disappointed in the style of government we are getting, and I think Yukoners are going to be disappointed in it. If the Minister of Community and Transportation Services was embarrassed for his constituent earlier this afternoon in Question Period, it is going to be tough to say what his feelings are going to be like after this performance.
We have a situation here where the government badly handled a new law they imposed on the Yukon public. The Minister had not done his homework; he had taken a document to Cabinet and none of them did their homework, and they all agreed to impose a new law.
On this side, we take our legislative responsibilities seriously. We try not to agree with laws that are going to cause undue hardships on people. The Minister made references to volunteers a couple of times in his Criminal Code dissertation. What this government has lost sight of is the fact we are talking about people here in the Yukon.
How many times have we heard these Members stand up and talk about how they represent the people. This has been an absolutely disgusting performance of how these individuals are the party of the people. We are talking about little kids who come to the doors and sell chocolate bars. We are talking about the Lions Club, who raises money to donate wheelchairs to people with disabilities. We are talking about volunteers who put on bingos for seniors for recreational activities.
The Minister of Justice goes on about gambling in Atlantic City, and I know he was doing it to take up time, to score their parliamentary tactical points to see how much time they could waste in the House this afternoon. He did not do it because he had anything constructive or contributory to bring forward to the debate.
There are a lot of volunteers who very actively got out and lobbied this government, wrote letters and had meetings because they were very concerned about what this government was doing to them. They worked hard to fight against the government. All the little people that this government always talks about representing got together and came to us as an Opposition to help them with their battle.
I can remember when the Minister of Justice was a Member of the Opposition. He always felt holier than thou and pontificated on at great length about how he was representing the people. It was fine when he was an Opposition Member, that was his function in this Legislature. For some reason, it does not seem to be fine now that he is on the line to be accountable. How many times have we heard him stand in this Legislature and make accusations at the Members on this side about being irresponsible? We have heard it, and heard it, and heard it. Frankly, I think it is wearing thin. It is wearing very thin. There has been no more irresponsible acts in this Legislature than what the Minister did when he brought forward his lottery licencing regulations.
That was the ultimate irresponsible act, not just on the part of the Minister of Justice, but all the Members of government. What did they do after imposing this absolutely irresponsible set of regulations on the public? They acted absolutely irresponsibly when it came to exercising whatever damage control was available to them to remedy the situation. What did the Minister do? He made great promises here in the Legislature when the issue became very public. He made great promises in the Legislature that he was going to remedy it immediately. We had his word that he would do something about it. We had to push him, kicking, screaming and scratching back into this Legislature. We had to push him back here with another motion about the lotteries to get him to come forward with the changes. He never even had the decency to consult anybody with those changes.
I do not want to dwell on this; I do not want to speak nearly as long as the Minister of Justice did; I do not want to speak a quarter as long as he did. We have made our point. The point is clear. It is this side of the House that is representing the people out there, not this government. We have made the point that this government is not fit to govern.
The Minister talked about ancient times in history and customs. I have a quote from ancient time. A quote about a custom that used to exist and it goes like this.
It was a custom that the man who proposed a law in the popular assembly did so by standing on a platform with a rope around his neck. If the law met with public approval, the rope was removed, but if his proposed legislation was unpopular, the platform was removed.
The Minister of Justice has been swinging on this one for a long time and he will continue to swing.
Speaker: Are you agreed?
Some Members: Division.
Speaker: Division has been called.
Mr. Clerk, will you please poll the House.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Disagree.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Disagree.
Hon. Mr. Porter: Disagree.
Hon. Mrs. Joe: Disagree.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Disagree.
Mr. Joe: Disagree.
Ms. Kassi: Disagree.
Mr. Webster: Disagree.
Mr. Phelps: Agree.
Mr. Brewster: Agree.
Mr. Lang: Agree.
Mr. Nordling: Agree.
Mrs. Firth: Agree.
Mr. Phillips: Agree.
Mr. McLachlan: Agree.
Clerk: Mr. Speaker, the results are seven yea, eight nay.
Speaker: I declare the motion defeated.
Motion No. 10 negatived
Motion No. 24
Clerk: Item 12 standing in the name of Mr. Brewster.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Member for Kluane THAT this House urges the Government of Yukon to consider upgrading the existing mining roads that run along Burwash Creek, Tatamagouche Creek and Quill Creek to form a loop interconnecting with the Alaska Highway that could be utilized to promote tourism in the Kluane area; and THAT the Minister of Renewable Resources report progress on this resolution to the House.
Mr. Brewster: I was a little scared they were going to talk out the time. The Minister of Justice was making one of his little smart Alec moves. However, this one has come back in the my favour as the president of the lodge association happened to be in town and he wanted to come down and hear my motion debated. He sat over there and listened to the hobbyjob and balderdash that went on all afternoon. I finally settled him into my room and explained that I did not know if this motion would even get started because of the Minister of Justice. I would be interested when the lodge keepers and the business people from the north highway have their meeting. I suspect that if I needed any more help to get elected the next time, the Minister of Justices act back fired, because the president of the lodge association was not a very happy man when he left here. His opinion of a politician is not very nice. He is one of the taxpayers who looks after us.
This motion should be very familiar to this House, because I have presented it before, and I am going to keep right on presenting it until I get some action. There is an old saying: if you do not succeed the first time, try, try again, and keep right on trying.
This motion is very important to the Kluane constituency and to Yukon tourism. It is also a good example of how we, on this side, would spend the taxpayers money to create wealth. A little money spent the right way can go a long way. I ask the Members opposite to look at the capital expenditures for 1988-88 from a revenue-generating perspective. The Department of Tourism should be a revenue-generating agency since tourism is one of our most important industries. Further, one of the fundamental objectives of the department is, quote, to promote and develop the Yukon as a tourism destination, for the economic and social benefit of Yukoners, and to assist the private sector in similar efforts.
That is a good objective, but I am not too sure that we are living up to it. However, of our $1,474,000 capital budget, only $2,466,000 has been allotted to tourism. Tourism is not very important, apparently, to this government. In the 1988-89 Capital Budget speech, tourism is only mentioned once in the general section and is not mentioned at all in the budget detail. Community and Transportation Services is there; Economic Development is there; Education is there; Health and Human Resources is there; Renewable Resources is there, and Yukon Housing Corporation is there - but where the heck is tourism?
I had great expectations when I first saw the cover of the Capital Estimates for 1988-89. Kluane had finally made it. We got the front page billing. There were eight of my furry constituents of the Dall sheep variety, gracing the front page. I looked at this again and realized again that all they are going to do is take pictures, because the average tourist could not have got in to see them. I also noticed that we made the O&M Budget book, so we are getting there, we are getting our pictures around - and so we should, they are the most beautiful pictures in the Yukon.
That is the big problem with Kluane: many, many people have seen it through pictures and very little has been done to encourage people to come there, and even less done to allow those who do come a real chance to see what Kluane has to offer. This is the purpose of my motion. Pictures of Kluane are used in advertising to sell the Yukon to the travelling public, and now even to sell the government budget. Very little has been done, however, to actually bring tourists to Kluane, or to make tourists stay in Kluane. When I talk about Kluane, I am not talking about Kluane National Park. There was a Kluane there long before the Kluane National Park came in. I am talking about the whole road in the Kluane district, right up to Beaver Creek. At some point in time, we, in this House, must try to help balance the ledgers; we must spend some money on projects that can generate some money.
Now let us go on to another favourite subject: what about our highways? In the budget address it states that, Our highways, despite generating increased traffic volumes that are the inevitable result of increased economic activity are in better condition than they have ever been. That is pure balderdash.
Whoever wrote that statement has never driven the Alaska Highway north. The Beaver Creek section is a complete disgrace. I notice approximately $6 million has been allotted to upgrade the Klondike Highway but, on the Alaska Highway, we are still waiting for the Americans. Last fall, it was announced the Americans had coughed up another $8 million for the Haines Road. The reconstruction of the Alaska Highway from Haines Junction to the Alaska border is very uncertain. In other words, do not hold your breath that something will be done.
It is hypocritical of a Government of the Yukon to leave the upgrading of the Alaska Highway up to Americans and the federal government. Regardless of treaties or anything else, it is hypocritical to leave the most beautiful and scenic area of the Yukon out and not try to fix the roads. It is a major roadway in the Yukon and should be brought up to acceptable standards to encourage tourists to come here.
I often wonder, even with the treaty, if the federal government says that is up to acceptable standards, because it is not.
A good start for the Yukon government is for the Members opposite to support this motion. Let us upgrade these side roads so the tourists who travel the Yukon will have something to see.
In 1986, the total number of people entering customs point in the Yukon was 235,214. There were an additional 52,176 Yukoners return to the Yukon. Compare this figure to the 575,913 people who visited the Denali National Park in Alaska. We, too, have an opportunity to improve access into the Kluane National Park and the game sanctuary with this motion and a companion motion yet to be debated by my colleague, the Member for Whitehorse Riverdale North. It would be of tremendous benefit to Yukon tourism and to the highway lodges in the area and all of the Yukon.
As a point of interest, Kluane has more lodges than any other area in the Yukon. Just think what it would mean to them if tourists spent just one extra day in the area. Just think what it could mean to the two native bands in terms of economic development and tourism opportunities.
The motion is relatively simple. It proposes a circle route up to Burwash Creek, to Tatamagouche Creek, into Maple Creek and, finally, to Quill Creek. The roads are already there. They are mining roads that should be upgraded. I am not asking for super highways. What is required is a simple gravel road that would allow tourists to travel through this beautiful area.
The upgrading of these roads would also help the placer miners in the area and the potential mine that is now at Quill Creek, and which may go into operation this summer will help tremendously. Before the Minister of Community and Transportation Services has a heart attack over the flash flood problem in Burwash Canyon, let me propose a solution.
There is already a road in existence that bypasses the canyon. The road goes over the Duke Plateau to Burwash Creek, then over to Tatamagouche and down to Quill Creek. This road was all paid for by taxpayers on tote road assistance. It only needs improvement to have it go.
In order to cover the upgrading and maintenance costs, the government might consider charging a toll. I have talked to many tourists, particularly Americans, and they see no problem in paying a toll, as toll gates are common all over North America. The upgrading of these roads could also mean more business opportunities for local people in the area. For example, there could be small bus tours through the area, as some tourists may not want to drive their own vehicles, or would like to have a guided tour.
Let us ensure it is the local people who have first crack at these opportunities, rather than the large, outside tour outfits. The scenery in the area and the wildlife are fantastic. It would be an opportunity to see Dall sheep, grizzly bear and caribou. I am sure it would be the highlight of a tourists trip to the Yukon. Tourists will stay the extra day to see the beautiful area, and the word of it would spread to Alaska and the southern states, as well as the rest of Canada.
This tour would not detract from other tourist destinations such as Dawson City, Carcross or Carmacks, but it would be a drawing card to help bring more tourists to the Yukon who would stay longer. The simple fact is that we need tourists to survive, so let us get going on the proposal.
I should add that the Alaska Highway Association comprised of most of the lodges in the area support this scheme. In fact it was their motion.
The Minister of Tourism indicated in Hansard that he would support me in getting some kind of access to Kluane National Park. This is greatly appreciated, and it flows from that statement that he would certainly support the opening up of the sanctuary which he has control over. I frankly cannot see the Minister of Tourism not supporting this motion. If he does not support it, when he agreed to open up the Kluane National Park, I would wonder how he could justify that.
I suspect that this motion and the one my colleague will bring forth are the only two motions put before this House that actually show government how to recover their original investment and have revenue increase by the increase of business, and, therefore, the increase of taxes to the government.
The 20/20 Report states it very plainly. We must not only attract tourists, we must keep them here in the Yukon longer. Opening up the circle route would certainly hold tourists in the Yukon another day.
I do not expect this road to be completed in one year; I simply ask we get a commitment that we can start on. However, the road into Quill Creek is being used all winter. It has been used in the summer. It could be fixed up in a very short time as it is one of the easier sections. We could put the toll gate on. Not only would the miners appreciate this, because they would have access to their mine much easier, but the toll gate would undoubtedly pay for the upgrading. I doubt that there is very much that would have to go on that road. The bridge has been put across Quill Creek so the miners could get in and that is a good sized bridge now. We can start the project.
Let us get it going and let us turn around and get Kluane back into this thing so some of the tourists can see what they want to see. I am not going to go into this at the present time, but when we speak on the next motion on Kluane Park, I will give you a few comments on the whole tourism situation placed by people from all over Canada and the United States as the Minister of Tourism did on the Alaska Highway.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Let me begin by saying that the government generally supports the intent of the motion. I will explain what the governments feelings are about the proposal that the Member has brought forward. Prior to the Member speaking, I felt very charitable toward the cause that the Member brought forward on paper. As Members know, I can and have been swayed by debate on motions in this House.
I must admit that during the Members speech I had an overwhelming feeling of reservations about the proposal, but given that a number of us have speeches that are in favour of this proposal, I had better not try to reverse the trend in any way.
The Member makes the point that the governments budget itself has little that supports tourism activity in the Yukon. I can tell him that the road construction budget, which outstrips the previous years budgets by many millions of dollars, are road budgets that are, in large part, dedicated to support for road traveler on the highway. The amount of money that has been put into transportation and road reconstruction by this government has been so significant that we have basically received national acclaim for this dedication of resources among the people who build roads and those who feel strongly about road development.
I recognize there is a significant commitment and dedication of resources to roads in this territory. It is really unfortunate the Member for Kluane will willfully ignore that fact in his motion to do what is, essentially, a decent project.
The Member has discussed support for the people who operate businesses along the highway, and that is a decent attempt to ensure the economic potential of that area is fulfilled and propagated through government budgeting efforts.
If the Member is speaking for his party when he suggests the government should adopt the federal governments responsibility for the Alaska Highway, I would like the Leader of the Official Opposition to say so. There is a $200 million exercise waiting in the wings of upgrading. On contract with the federal government, the government spends approximately $10 million a year in maintenance of the road.
If the federal Minister for Public Works thought the Yukon government was simply going to assume responsibility for the road, he would save his money and not carry out what are, by agreement, federal responsibilities. The drop in our highway maintenance budget of $10 million to support the Alaska Highway would be a considerable shock to our system. Even with the enhanced capital funding for road maintenance, the undertaking of a $200 million reconstruction program for the road north of Haines Junction to the Alaska-Yukon border would be an incredible expenditure program, given the size of our capital expenditures.
I would not advocate assuming federal responsibility in this field. It is interesting to note that no other government has decided to simply inherit the federal responsibility in this field, either. There is a federal government that is responsible for this road. The road goes from the Yukon into BC, and the federal government is responsible for it there. Even though the BC government can be very concerned about the maintenance and construction of the road in BC they, nevertheless, have not dedicated their resources to a federal road. They have rightfully asked the federal government to take up its responsibilities and improve the construction quality of the road.
It would be wrong for the Yukon government to assume responsibility for this road, and I have said so in the House before. The previous government was right in not assuming a federal responsibility. If we were to take this lesson and apply it to other fields of endeavour that are currently federal, we could break this governments books and put the taxpayers into so much hock, they would never get themselves out of it.
There is a federal government responsibility, and I am not prepared to let the federal government off the hook. We talked even this afternoon about duly signed, accepted, and adopted agreements between Canada and the United States, and between federal government departments about whose responsibility it was with respect to the funding of the Alaska Highway. Both sides of this House agreed as recently as this afternoon that those agreements ought to be respected and adhered to, and that there are responsible agents who are responsible for the funding and capital upgrading of the road. To suggest that because the Yukon government feels, too, that the federal government has a responsibility for this road, and dedicates money to the Klondike Highway or promises to dedicate it to the Campbell Highway, they are shirking responsibility for the Alaska Highway is wrong and unfair. It is to be hoped that, when the Member is travelling highway and talking to the lodge operators up there, he is not suggesting that the Yukon government should be dedicating its resources to the Alaska Highway, a highway owned by the federal government. If he does, then why not come clean, and as a party, say so, on the record, so that we can have a discussion of the relative merits of where we should cut back on expenditure programs elsewhere in order to take on federal responsibilities for roads, or health care, or any other matter.
Let us talk about that. We are into Department of Community and Transportation Services estimates at this point and, depending on what the Member says this afternoon in wrapping up his speech, I will be more than happy to engage in debate vociferously tomorrow afternoon.
Quite clearly, with respect to the governments interest in supporting the Alaska Highway, and its upgrading, it is not exactly the subject of the motion, but it was, nevertheless, brought up in the Member for Kluanes debate.
The government has been very aggressive in speaking, not only for federal support, but for state support in Alaska, for funding for the Alaska Highway. I only say that in the context of the fact that the State of Alaska and the federal government of the United States of America had promised, through international agreement, to provide funding for this road. I am not saying that they have ultimate, ongoing responsibility forever for this road, I am just saying that they have made an agreement with the Government of Canada, and have stated an intention, to fund this road. I am only suggesting that maybe - if it is all right with the Member for Kluane - we should ask them to live up to that intention. If they do not want to, we cannot hound them to do it, but the federal government is the responsible agent, and should know that, if the State of Alaska and the US federal government do not pay, then the Yukon government will expect the federal government to live up to its ultimate responsibility for this road. It is their road.
The Member made a point in suggesting that the funding for this project would be the second of two projects that would be money generating money - that it would be an expenditure that generated more expenditures - suggesting that perhaps the world ends at the Kluane Park boundaries. The Regional Resource Roads Program has approved projects for the purposes of mining development, forestry, tourism development and agriculture already and is a program dedicated to those industries so that those industries can thrive, prosper, grow and develop.
Money generating money is the purpose of the Regional Resource Program, and it is also backed up by a very significant capital construction budget of this government.
The Member has asked the government to consider a loop road. It is important to note that, at this point, until the Member brought the motion forward, it was not considered in the past by this Legislature. Even though there have been expressions of financial support by the government through the Regional Roads to Resources Program, as the Member mentioned.
It is obvious that engineers are going to have to have a look at the road, despite what the Member may think of engineers. A simple gravel road for tourists sometimes has to be considered by road builders. If the Member thinks I am concerned about flash floods, he is darn right. If he thinks I am concerned about the future ability of the highway maintenance to maintain this road, he is darn right. I know there will ultimately be expectations that the road will be maintained. With respect to road construction, all the practical considerations are things I am thinking about. It is only responsible to do that. In considering the upgrading of the road, the Member is going to know that that is what I, as Minister, am going to be looking into.
One other area that is important to note is the proposed road goes through an R block, the land selected by the Kluane Tribal Council. Consultation has to take place with the Kluane Tribal Council. I want that very clearly on the record. When the Member proposed the motion initially, last fall, I had people look into it immediately. They did discuss the matter with the Kluane Tribal Council, and some concerns were expressed.
I am sure the Member for Kluane, as the Member who represents all interests in Kluane, will be interested to know what those concerns are, and he will be interested in satisfying concerns that have been expressed by the Indian band, if at all possible.
We are going to take that into consideration, as well. That is part of the capital planning process of the Department of Community and Transportation Services to go through, in terms of the new road or upgrading the road.
I will allow the Minister of Renewable Resources to speak to some of the issues with respect to wildlife. In closing, irrespective of the remarks of the Member for Kluane, I think the proposal is a good one, and we will consider the upgrading of the existing mining roads in this particular area for the purposes of a loop road. We will consult with the Kluane Tribal Council, who have a definite and distinct interest in this matter, and we will ensure that all necessary and practical considerations are taken into account, as is our responsibility. I will do so because the government does believe in tourism, and the government does feel the enhancement of business opportunities for lodge operators on the Alaska Highway is an exercise worth supporting.
I want to make it clear that, when it comes to the government supporting funding for the Alaska Highway prematurely, prior to a devolution of that highway to the Yukon government, we are on the record as saying no. I would not mind hearing what the Leader of the Official Opposition has to say about that.
Hon. Mr. Porter: Inasmuch as I am the Minister responsible for Tourism and Renewable Resources and both responsibilities would be impacted upon should the decision proceed, I would like to state my position. I would concur with the Minister of Community and Transportation Services and lend my support to this motion. The motion is very clear. The key words are to consider. It does not state that the government should go out there tomorrow with a pick and shovel and start building a road. Like the Minister of Community and Transportation Services, I feel the costs related to the road, the engineering in upgrading, the ongoing operational and maintenance costs should be looked at from the perspective of Renewable Resources. I know I would not have to list for the Member for Kluane the renewable resource concerns. I am sure that he knows them better than most people in the House. Those wildlife questions will be examined by the Department and the relationship to other government priorities has to be of consideration when we do make a decision. If there is a decision to proceed with the upgrading proposal then I would suspect there would have to be a management plan to mitigate against, particularly, wildlife considerations.
Speaker: The hon. Member for Kluane will close debate if he is now heard. Does any other member wish to be heard?
Mr. Brewster: I should have known. The Minister for Community and Transportation Services promised me I would get a lecture and I always get one. We keep talking about these treaties that have not been honoured. The Alaska Highway Treaty has not been honoured because the Alaska Highway is not up to the standards set when the Canadian army turned it over. The Shakwak project has not been honoured. It was supposed to be finished within the next year and a half. You talk about treaties and hide behind treaties. You can hide all you want. They are not being honoured. A year ago we put in two motions suggesting that something be done about the highway. I do not think that those motions went out of this Legislature. The government came back with a motion much the same this year and we backed it unanimously, but we could have been on the ball a year ago.
I realize that there is part of that on land claims. I also realize that there is a mine up there that just spent four or five million dollars and has a road through there. I suspect, as I understand land claims, anything that was in there prior to land claims would operate. That mine would be very interested if they all of a sudden were not going to be able to operate. There are also placer miners in there who have been there for many years and I understand that they have a right of access. We are not taking anything away from anyone. Then you say I am not looking after the bands, they could make more out of that than anybody. If they got on the ball, they could have little buses running in there, they could have the guides in there, because they know that country. I resent the fact that you keep saying that I am not looking after one section of my people. That is simply not true.
Motion No. 24 agreed to
Clerk: Item No. 25, standing in the name of Mr. McLachlan.
Speaker: Is the hon. Member prepared to proceed with Item No. 25?
Mr. McLachlan: Next sitting day.
Speaker: So ordered.
Mr. Lang: In view of the time, I move we do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Member for Porter Creek East that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.
House adjourned at 5:16 p.m.
The following Sessional Papers were tabled April 13, 1988:
Draft of Regulations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act - Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System Regulations (Kimmerly)
Addendum to Report of the Chief Electoral Officer on Contributions to Political Parties During 1987 (Speaker - Johnston)
Draft - A Review of the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, March 28, 1988 (Phelps)
Whitehorse Correctional Centre - Minutes of Team Leader Meeting, January 23, 1987 (Phelps)
Exchange of Notes, dated March 18, 1942, between Canada and the US re construction of Alaska Highway (McDonald)
OIC, dated March 12, 1964, transferring administration of Alaska Highway to Department of Public Works (McDonald)
Agreement, dated 1972, between Governments of Canada and Yukon respecting maintenance of Alaska Highway (McDonald)
Agreement, dated 1977, between Governments of Canada and US respecting reconstruction of Canadian portions of Alaska Highway (McDonald)