Wednesday, April 20 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. We will proceed with prayers.
Speaker: Introduction of visitors?
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Mr. Nordling: I would like to introduce the Grade 5 class from the Jack Hulland School in Porter Creek West and their teacher, Mrs. Loerke. They are learning about the parliamentary system and they are here today to listen during Question Period.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I would also like to introduce to Members attention the presence in the Gallery of some distinguished constituents of the Mayo riding, Ofelia Andrade and Ewan, Vanessa and Laua McDonald
Speaker: Are there any returns or documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I have for tabling answers to questions to a matter outstanding from discussions on the 1988-89 Capital Budget Estimates.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have for tabling reports of the Yukon Public Service Staff Relations Board and the Yukon Teachers Staff Relations Board.
Speaker: Reports of committees?
Introduction of bills?
Notices of motion for the production of papers?
Notices of motion?
Statements by ministers?
Steps to Improve Indian Education
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It is with great pleasure that I rise today to announce three new steps to improve Indian education in the Yukon.
All Members will recall last falls Kwiya Report from the Joint Commission on Indian Education and Training. As the Minister of Education, I was pleased to receive the guidance of this report but, as a long-time Yukon resident, I was disturbed by the serious problems and needs it described.
I am proud to be part of a government that is addressing those needs. We are, of course, taking some very big steps with our training strategy, with the opening of Yukon College and the rewriting of the School Act now underway.
I would like to outline specific measures that can make a difference.
First, a native programs coordinator will be hired by the Libraries and Archives Branch. I look forward to seeing this position used to help Yukon Indian people in several ways: by making full use of our fine libraries and archives; by advising the government on the collection of materials important to aboriginal heritage; and by setting up their own local libraries and archives in those communities that want them.
The presence of such a resource person will encourage reading and literacy among Yukon Indian people. This person will also promote knowledge of archival materials that exist in aboriginal communities and aboriginal families throughout the Yukon.
Second, we are adding to the resources of the Yukon Native Language Centre. We are increasing the funding of the centre for its regular work by $57,000. We are also creating a position for a language instructor trainee and, for the first time, the government will provide employee benefits for the 18 native language instructors. Many of these people are long-term employees who have not had job security, paid sick days, access to pension plans and other benefits.
The employees of the Yukon Native Language Centre have preserved and given life to one of the Yukons most precious resources: the language and culture of aboriginal people who have lived here for countless generations.
A recent article in Saturday Night magazine quoted our own resident linguist, John Ritter, at length on this subject. Mr. Ritter summed up the feelings of many Yukon people about the program.
A major aspect (regarding native languages) is the matter of pride. Until this program started, almost all the teachers in the Yukon were non-native. Its hard to overestimate how good the kids feel about seeing a native in school as a teacher instead of as a cleaner.
Finally, my department will purchase a collection of videotapes from the Nedaa television program. These will be used now by schools and the public, as well as being preserved for future generations. Already, these tapes are considered valuable teaching tools. I believe they will greatly help our students and the public to understand issues of vital importance to Yukon Indian people.
These are small steps and diverse, but they all reflect this governments commitment to Indian education. They are pieces of a larger plan. It is my hope, as Minister of Education, to see the results of that plan: higher literacy, more graduates, languages that are alive and well, and stronger communities. All Yukon people will be better for it.
Mrs. Firth: I rise to respond to the very positive ministerial statement the Minister has brought forward and congratulate the Minister on his efforts and steps taken in response to the report of the Joint Commission on Indian Education and Training.
There is no denying that when you visit schools today you see more Indian students and teachers. I know that gives not only the children, but the Indian people a great feeling of pride and accomplishment. We have always been proponents and supporters of the native language program here in the Yukon and will continue to do so. The initiatives that the Minister has announced will enhance the present programs and will continue to promote a greater awareness of native language education for all Yukoners. There are more non-Indian children as well as Indian children and adults benefiting from the program.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the government on their efforts.
Speaker: This then brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: Land claims/Teslin land selection
Mr. Phelps: I have a number of questions on the issue of the land selection on Nisutlin Bay, Teslin Lake and the Wolf and Nisutlin Rivers. The Minister said yesterday that this selection was intended to be an interim protection measure and the land in the final selection would not amount to as much as was being protected. The Minister also said there would be no strips in the final selection and both sides of the river would not be selected.
If that is the understanding the parties have, then why has Chief Jackson said that the band is claiming and expects to get 1500 square miles, which is several times the 646 square miles included in the map?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Forgive me, but I think the Leader of the Official Opposition is making a somewhat liberal interpretation of my statements yesterday.
To repeat myself, there appears to be a difference of opinion between the Teslin Band and the negotiators on our side. That is why we are having negotiations and these issues will be worked out in negotiations. I have indicated to the Leader of the Official Opposition our basic approach in the negotiations, but it should be said the negotiations will go on at the land claims table, not on the floor of this House.
Mr. Phelps: The Government Leader cannot have it both ways. He cannot say that the maps were released so that the public could have input and then not want the input. He has said, on numerous occasions in this House, that the government wants input from the public about those maps, and we are giving it to him right here.
Did the Minister not instruct his negotiators to clarify the ground rules before the land got frozen? Was there not some attempt to clarify so that everybody had a firm understanding as to what the maps meant before the Order-in-Council was obtained?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Of course we want public input, and we are glad to have the input of the Member opposite. Our negotiator has been made well aware of the views of the Member opposite on this question. The interim protection is to prevent further alienation of this land while negotiations proceed towards a final agreement.
That is probably well understood by the Member opposite, but perhaps not as well understood by the public as a result of some of the reactions I have heard in the last few days. We will be redoubling our efforts in terms of explaining to people what is involved here.
Mr. Phelps: The question was really whether or not this government put their position in writing so that the other parties understood it prior to the land being frozen.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We will be attempting to get the agreement in principle in writing in the next little while, which will deal with some of these positions. We do not yet have an agreement in principle. Interim protection is provided without prejudice to the final settlement, without prejudice to any party, to prevent further alienation by third party interests while we get on with the difficult and complex task of negotiating final agreements with each of the bands.
Question re: Land claims/Teslin land selection
Mr. Phelps: Surely, the Minister has to have a concern that by allowing strip selections, the land on both sides of the Nisutlin River, on both sides of part of the Wolf River, strip selection on the shores of Teslin Lake, that the expectations of band members would be raised by this action. Does he not have that concern?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We are not only concerned about expectations - and we want everybody to be realistic about their expectations on land claims - but we also want to take public reactions into account. We are concerned about both factors, because our objective is to get a land claims settlement that is fair to the aboriginal people of the territory and is in the best interest of the public of the territory as a whole.
Mr. Phelps: The public has already raised concerns about strip selection, and raised concerns about both sides of rivers, and so on, and were given assurances in public meetings. What I am concerned about now is: can the government realistically say that it is actually going to end up with a land selection for Teslin that is going to meet the principles that the negotiators have been telling the public would be met?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I find it unfortunate that the Leader of the Opposition refers to the public. Obviously, his public does not include Indian people. We have heard from some members of the public some specific concerns. I am making a reasonable point. The Member for Porter Creek East says: he makes us ill. We all know his views on land claims - he is opposed to aboriginal rights. He was head of an organization that promised us violence if we settled land claims. We know his views. The Leader of the Opposition has been involved in negotiations. He knows that this government must represent the interests of both Indian and non-Indian people, and try and get a settlement that provides for both us to live together.
Mr. Phelps: The problem is that we have platitudes, and we have things happening that I think are extremely unfortunate. I think that they are mistakes. I would like to know whether or not the government is supporting additional selections that will be frozen, that will be strips along both sides of rivers, and stripps along one side of rivers in the Yukon. Are they supporting this for other bands?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The selection of the bands is not yet public but, as the Member knows, I have indicated our position in terms of selections on both sides of roads and rivers. I have also indicated that we are in negotiations about those questions and we have differing points of view to resolve. The Member also knows well that the issue of quantum was one of the reasons why the settlement in 1984 was rejected. Bands, among them Teslin, were, we understand, not satisfied with the selection that they were given in the agreement of 1984. Obviously, they are going to be seeking more land. That is what we are negotiating about; that is what land claims negotiations are about.
Question re: Land claims/Teslin land selection
Mr. Phelps: It seems unfortunate that the Government Leader wants to change history because the Teslin band voted strongly in support of the agreement in principle of 1984, as did eight other bands. Old Crow was strongly in support, Champagne/Aishihik was strongly in support, and so was Teslin. So I would appreciate the Minister not trying to twist the simple facts.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I did not hear a question there but a fact is that the Teslin band did not claim, in these negotiations, the same amount of land that they were offered in the settlement in 1984. Everything that I have heard from the leadership and membership of that band indicates to this government that they were not satisfied in the selection that was given in 1984. In recognition of that fact, the federal governments negotiating position, as all Member well know, is that the quantum would have to be increased in order to get a settlement.
Question re: Young offenders facility
Mr. McLachlan: On Monday, I asked the Minister responsible for the Young Offenders Act about plans for the new care facility to be built near the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. As we recently heard on the news media, there have been a number of people walking away from detention centres here in the City of Whitehorse. My question for the Minister is: given the record of at least two of the young juvenile offenders who left Lambert Street last weekend under questionable circumstances, why were there only two female guards on duty that night, given the questionable status of those two young offenders who broke out and considering they were already facing charges from another previous incident?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: One cannot always anticipate what young children are going to do, whether they are young offenders or not. The required number of youth services workers were on duty that night, and I do not think we could have known what the young offenders were going to do that night.
Mr. McLachlan: The Minister said that she will be cutting out locks except those keyed to a fire alarm system and eliminating fences as part of the cost-cutting procedures at the new facility, on the retendered plans, in order to save some more money. I am sure the RCMP have better things to do than track down young offenders who want to break out and go downtown for a pizza on Friday or Saturday night. My question to the Minister is: what does she plan to do then to prevent such occurrences from becoming regular every weekend or every weekday night of the year?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: We have young offenders in custody who are sentenced to open custody. The sentence does not require us to put locks on all the doors, although the doors are locked. I never did say that I was going to cut out locks, so I do not know what the Member for Faro is referring to. Certain things have been changed in the design of the care facility, as I mentioned, but that has nothing to do with the children who are in open custody right now.
Mr. McLachlan: The Minister said, one cannot always anticipate what children are going to do. We have two guards, forced into a closet, locked up, a vehicle stolen, and that is hardly what I would call the action of children. My question to the Minister is: does she foresee any circumstance at all, given the answers she has just given to the two previous questions, where one just has to put ones foot down and hold the young offenders in a secure facility, guarded? Does she foresee any situation like that?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: The two young people who left the facility the other night were in a facility that had locked doors. The doors were all locked, yet they got out. They were sentenced to open custody; they were not sentenced to secure custody where we had a situation where they could not get out at all. There are certain circumstances regarding young offenders who we have in our young offenders facilities and they cannot be treated like hardened criminals. They are in there to try to be rehabilitated and we have to look at those circumstances as well. One cannot treat them as if they were older, adult, hardened criminals.
Question re: Whitehorse Correctional Centre/inquiry
Mr. Phillips: With respect to the Whitehorse Correctional Centre inquiry, the Government Leader told the House last Monday he would examine the facts the three guards presented to him and would decide soon whether or not he would call for an inquiry. Has he had an opportunity to look at the facts, and when can we expect his decision?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am still making inquiries into the facts, as I indicated to the House on Monday. I have heard from a number of people, and I expect to be talking to other people in the next little while who can provide me with useful information. When I believe I have all the relevant information, I will be discussion the options with my colleagues, as I indicated earlier in the House.
Mr. Phillips: Earlier this week, the irresponsible Minister of Justice produced a hastily put-together document trying to refute the facts put forward by the guards. This document is so full of holes, you could drive a bus through it.
There are obviously two sides to the story, and people need an opportunity to tell their story. Will the Government Leader consider this and call for an inquiry as soon as possible?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have already answered the question. I have not yet found grounds for an inquiry. My colleague, the Minister of Justice, has advised the House about the intentions of the chief coroner concerning the allegations around the inquest into the unfortunate death at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. The Ministers answer quite correctly described other procedures that are underway dealing with various questions that have been raised in this House. The remaining issues are those into which I am trying to get a handle on the facts.
Question re: Hyland Forest Products
Mr. Nordling: With respect to Hyland Forest Products, the Government Leader said yesterday that the fire damage to the mill in Watson Lake was being assessed by underwriters. Can the Government Leader confirm that the loss will be covered by insurance?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I do not know that I can confirm anything of the kind in advance of an underwriters report. The Member may find it useful to know that officials of the Yukon Development Corporation will shortly be traveling to Watson Lake in connection with this matter. Upon their return early next week, I may have some more information I can give the House.
Mr. Nordling: Does the Government Leader have any information today on the extent of the damage, the dollar amount and the loss?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: In advance of an underwriters report and a more formal report from the development corporation, I have nothing of a practical nature I can add to previous answers.
Mr. Nordling: From the previous answers, I take it the mill is insured. Will production be affected at all? He must know that by now.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Production will, no doubt, be affected, but I cannot quantify the ways in which it will be affected. It would be best if I took the question as notice. When the situation has been assessed by the development corporation officials, who are traveling there this week, and once they have reported to me at the end of this week or early next week, I will be able to provide more answers to the kind of questions being put by the Member.
Question re: Office space/old Yukon College
Mr. Brewster: Last fall we were told that the Department of Renewable Resources would be moving to the old Yukon College. When does the Minister expect this move to start?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is impossible to give a fixed date. I am expecting to discuss the move during the Supplementary Estimates debate as occurred in the last session, but, generally speaking, the department will be moving in to the old Yukon College very soon after the college vacates the premises and moves to the new campus. I am expecting that in June or July.
Mr. Brewster: Will the Marwell offices also be moved to the old Yukon College?
Hon. Mr. Porter: The plans of the department are not to relocate the Marwell function to the old Yukon College.
Question re: Traffic flow/old Yukon College
Mr. Phillips: On January 7, 1988, I asked the Minister of Community and Transportation Services a question regarding the planned government moves to the old Yukon College and its effect on traffic in and out of Riverdale. At that time, the Minister indicated to this House that the department is prepared to co-fund a traffic study in this area. Has the Minister directed his officials to proceed with this traffic study?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Department of Community and Transportation Services, in conjunction with the City of Whitehorse, had ongoing discussions about traffic in and around Yukon College and about the south access entry on this side of the bridge. Those discussions are continuing. I do not have information at this point as to when they are scheduled to conclude, but they are continuing.
Mr. Phillips: I understand that what is happening is that the Department of Community and Transportation Services has not committed any funds to the traffic study as yet and nothing has taken place. My concern is that we should do the traffic study when students are in school and people are not on summer holidays.
Could the Minister of Community and Transportation Services get on his department now and honour the commitment that he made in the House so that the traffic study can be done when the highest traffic peaks are taking place?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Traffic counting has been undertaken in the past. The Department of Community and Transportation Services does have traffic engineers on staff whose job it is to undertake projects like this. They have been working on the project and are discussing the traffic patterns with the City of Whitehorse.
Mr. Phillips: My information is different from the Ministers. The fact that they are talking with the City of Whitehorse does not help. The city needs funds, as the Minister said he would provide, to carry out the traffic study. Would the Minister of Community and Transportation Services ask his department to negotiate with the city a funding program for the traffic study before some serious accidents happen in that area? There are problems and they said they would address it. Would the Minister quit dragging his feet and get after it?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member is all wet. Clearly the government has indicated a very direct interest in addressing a traffic study in that particular area. I have indicated on numerous occasions what would be undertaken with respect to the traffic study. If the Member is assuming that a traffic study has to be undertaken by consultants, he is wrong. It does not have to require those resources at all. The Department of Community and Transportation Services has traffic engineers who can do the analyses themselves, and they have been discussing the matter with the city in terms of providing for long-term projections and any remedial action that may be taken if traffic flow patterns are projected to be different as a result of the Department of Renewable Resources moving into the old college site.
Question re: Traffic flow/old Yukon College
Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell us if the committee having discussions is the same committee that was formed when the new college transportation study for the Takhini area was done?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The traffic engineers in the department are the persons that the Government of Yukon counts on to provide analyses for traffic flow patterns in and out of Whitehorse where there is a government interest. These are the people charged with the responsibility of reviewing traffic plans and advising the government and senior members of the department with respect to what action might be taken to alleviate any traffic problems that may exist. It would ultimately be up to the Government of Yukon, along with the City of Whitehorse, to determine what remedial action is the responsibility of the government and what is the responsibility of the city. That will be decided at a later date.
Mrs. Firth: Let us establish whether anything is being done or not. My information is that there has been one meeting. The Minister talks about a committee, determining remedial action and advising government.
Speaker: Would the Member please get to the supplementary question.
Mrs. Firth: Yes. He talks about ongoing discussions. I would like to know who the members of this special committee are and how many meetings they have had.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will undertake to bring the names back and what specific communications they have had with their counterparts in the city. The directions I have given are exactly as I have stated in the House. The directions were co-determined at a breakfast meeting between City Council and the representatives of the Government of the Yukon, to establish the traffic flow patterns in and around the college site and the South Access Road to determine if remedial action should be taken, and what financial responsibility would be left for the Government of Yukon. That will be negotiated at a later date.
In terms of the details the Member is asking, I will have to bring those back because I do not have them at my fingertips.
Question re: Traffic flow/old Yukon College
Mrs. Firth: When we discussed this issue last, the Minister gave us a commitment that, number one, this study would be done before June, before the move was to take place. He also said that the government was going to be prepared to look at giving some financial assistance. We have had communication back and forth saying that that was the case. I understand, from my information, that it is the same committee that looked on the new college site that is supposed to be meeting on this site. My information tells me that they have met once. We are trying to express the urgency to get this business done. The City of Whitehorse keeps its own traffic counts; we have seen them out there doing counts for their own information. This government has made no attempt to proceed with a specific study of this particular area. We are not talking about the whole of the boulevard, we are talking about the particular area where the move is going to take place, the intersection at the old college site.
When is this study going to be completed, and when are we going to have this necessary information before this move takes place? We are running out of time.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I have indicated many times, and I indicated when the Member for Riverdale North first brought the matter to the Legislature, that what would have to be determined first of all is whether or not there was financial liability for the Government of Yukon. An analysis would have to be done first to determine what the traffic flow patterns were. There is some reason to believe that the traffic patterns at the college site would not change substantially as a result of the move of Renewable Resources to the college, and the removal of the college people and hundreds of students to the new Yukon College site. That is one point to make sure that the Member is clear upon.
Secondly, I think that it is important to say that the study is being undertaken between the two governments, the City of Whitehorse and the Yukon government. Whatever remedial action is seen to be necessary as a result of that study may determine the time lines by which the remedial action can be undertaken. The financial commitments of the two governments have to be established, as well, so there are discussions that have to be undertaken. I would doubt very much that any major road improvements could be undertaken prior to June, if, and I say if, those road improvements are deemed to be necessary. There is no proof of that, at this point.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister said that the study would be done before June. I was very clear about that. The Minister also said, We feel that it is our obligation to get involved. I would like to know if that Minister will fulfill that obligation? Will he make a financial commitment, and will he get involved and get this done in the next two months?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I have indicated it is true that it is the Government of Yukons obligation to get involved in a traffic study. We have dedicated resources to do the review. The resources do not have to include a consultant. They can include the traffic engineers we have on staff who are responsible for just this kind of work. These people are trained to do this kind of analysis. These people are dedicated to this project, along with other projects in the City of Whitehorse and around the territory. Those people will be charged with the responsibility of analysing data and coming up with some conclusions with the City of Whitehorse as to what might be done, as well as making recommendations to senior departmental personnel with respect to whose responsibility lies where as far as financing the options are concerned.
Mrs. Firth: Is the Minister and his government prepared to commit any additional funds to the city, should they require it for this analysis?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: No, we do not believe that is necessary.
Question re: Office space/Yukon Housing Corporation
Mr. Lang: We were speaking earlier about the movements of departments by the government. It is common knowledge that the government is in almost every, if not all, buildings in the downtown core, in one manner or another. One area that has come to my attention is that the Yukon Housing Corporation is expanding by at least another five person years, contrary to the Ministers statements last year when he was going to keep the corporation mean, lean and tough.
Could the Minister advise this House whether it is true that the housing corporation is either in the process of renting new space, or has rented new office space?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I have previously informed the House at the last sitting of the processes underway, which was a question put by the same Member who just asked this question. I answered specifically as to the square footages. If he reads Hansard, he will find it.
Mr. Lang: Obviously, there was some discussion, but it was not firm. Perhaps I should ask the Minister responsible for the housing corporation, because I get consistently straighter answers from him, and I think the public is aware of that, as well.
Is it true the housing corporation has rented new office space and, if so, where?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I reported fully during the Supplementary Estimates debate in the fall and, during the estimates debate on Government Services I will be equipped with the square footages and the costs of the lease, as well as all details the Member could possibly want.
Mr. Lang: Has the government rented new office spaces for the Yukon Housing Corporation and, if so, where?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: As the Member knows, the answer is yes. It was discussed in the Supplementary Estimates last fall. I will come to the House with all of the details about exactly where, the exact square footage and the exact price at the appropriate time.
Question re: Office space/Yukon Housing Corporation
Mr. Lang: I am sure that it is embarrassing to the Minister that the government is growing in such great numbers and has neat new office space. I can appreciate the embarrassing position that he might find himself in that he is not prepared to answer in this House where. The public does have a right to know. Where is this new office space that the Minister says that the Department of Government Services has rented?
Maybe I will direct the question to the Minister responsible for Housing Corporation, who is going to keep it lean, mean and tough.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Yukon Housing Corporation has been given some responsibilities beyond simply winding up its operations in the last couple of years. This has necessitated that it have the proper staffing to do the job as well as the appropriate square footage in which to do their job according to the governments standards.
The short answer to the Members question is that the location is the Nissan Building, a rental agreement has been struck, and there are some internal modifications to the site that have to be done prior to relocation of the housing corporation from its current location to the new one.
Mr. Lang: In conjunction with this move that the Minister is going to keep mean, lean and tough, could he inform the public whether or not the $50,000 allocated to buy office furniture has been spent?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am not familiar with that detail. This Legislature voted money for the housing corporation to purchase equipment for their location, and they are charged with the purchasing of equipment and furniture during this fiscal year. They will be doing that.
Question re: Service contracts
Mr. McLachlan: In the large number of contracts that the Minister of Government Services tabled in this Legislature on Monday, there is one for a company called Mane Masters here in Whitehorse, for not an insignificant amount of money. Could the Minister tell us who, on the front bench or the back bench, is in receipt of a haircut, a free perm, shampoo or cut and set at the courtesy of the Yukon taxpayer.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I understand the motivations of the Member opposite completely. If he will give us the number of the contract, it will be supplied as per the policy. I can say that it is for no one on the front bench, but there are expenses by the government for Macaulay Lodge and in the correctional system, specifically for juveniles, I believe. The contract will be supplied on request.
Mr. McLachlan: We have recently been in receipt of a couple of fancy, high gloss productions on fishing and hunting. It has a picture of the Minister of Renewable Resources in it, and I am wondering whether the Minister can advise us if it is, in fact, Cabinet policy that when Ministers are having their pictures put in these fancy, high gloss productions they attend the barber or hairdresser as the case may be and get primped up for those photographic sessions.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That is not government policy and never has been.
Mr. McLachlan: I want to get at the source of the $200. I am wondering, then, if the Minister can say that when it is Cabinet picture day, is it also policy for Cabinet to have their pictures done in that photographic session for the annual general report?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed. We will proceed with Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Speaker: Motions other than government motions?
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS
Hon. Mr. Porter: I would like to request the unanimous consent of the House to have Motion No. 41 called after the House has completed its consideration of Motion No. 6.
Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?
All Hon. Members: Agreed.
Motion No. 6 - adjourned debate
Clerk: Item no. 1, standing in the name of Ms. Kassi; amendment moved by Mr. Brewster; debate adjourned, hon. Mr. Kimmerly.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I am going to take a somewhat different tack than I was taking two weeks ago because of the interruption in the debate. I will speak for quite a short time on this amendment and make only one general point.
I think it is a fair observation to make about all sides of this House. We sometimes spend more time and effort on speaking than we do on listening, and I made a conscious effort over the two-week adjournment to read very carefully, not only once but several times, the previous debate and the statements, especially those of the Member for Kluane in moving this amendment. I want to make reference to one of the things he said and emphasize it, and then make reference to one of the things that the mover of the motion, the Member for Old Crow, said and then compare them.
The Member for Kluane said, on April 6, page 123 of Hansard, and I quote: You can go over to Riverdale and see many proud natives who have come out of universities and everything else. They do not want to go back there.
I do not wish to misinterpret that statement, but I would take it as in the nature of a symbolic statement as Riverdale, I suppose, is symbolic in the public consciousness.
It is important to emphasize to the Member for Kluane, and I am not criticizing what he meant because he was speaking symbolically, that you can see many proud native people in places other than Riverdale. You can see proud native people who have not come out of universities. That symbolism is perhaps what the Member for Old Crow was talking about in a general sense when she said, and I quote from page 122, With the local people more in charge of their own affairs, you will see more respect for the law. I am going to repeat that, With local people more in charge of their own affairs, you will see more respect for the law.
It is fairly clear that the local culture, or the aboriginal culture, is more apparent outside of Riverdale than inside. It is interesting that the Minister of Education today made comments about the feeling of pride that native people have in the school system when they see native people as teachers and not only as janitors. I was very encouraged by the congratulatory statements of the Member for Riverdale South of that government initiative.
The reason why I mention these things in a symbolic way is because I want to make a point. The point is that we all know that the greatest social issue that is before this territory and the greatest political issue in the general sense that is before this House today is to encourage and foster a relationship between the two major cultures of the territory to work better together, to live more closely together and to develop a sense of mutual trust of each others culture. This is only going to be achieved if there is adaptation on both sides.
Specifically about the justice system: it is only going to be achieved in the justice system if the system does a little bit of adjusting as well as the native culture adjusting to it. The Member for Old Crow has been very, very clear on page 122 about what it is this motion asks for. It is clear that it is not asking for a separate system. It is clear that it is motivated by a desire for all of the peoples of the territory to have more respect for the law and to come closer together. I have read and reread and reread again those statements in the motion and that is absolutely clear. It is emphasized in the speech to this motion.
In my answer I said the same thing, but in quite different words, so I say that the central point here is that although the wording of this motion is specifically about policing, the debate is much wider. The mover of the motion talked about tribal justice systems and the first Opposition speaker broadened it again and talked about the general racial makeup of the territory, and talked about a philosophy of how the two cultures should live together. That is not inappropriate. In responding to that general issue, I say that in the social service area, generally, in the justice area, generally, and in the policing area, specifically, it is necessary for the two cultures to build a better sense of trust of each other. The only way we are going to achieve that is by working together on projects that are successful. We should be finding projects, however small, where the two cultures can work in harmony, and we should develop those experiments.
The motion does not call for a feasibility study, the motion calls for working on projects that occur in the communities, and the practical one, which is ongoing today, is in Teslin. It is not just a feasibility study; it is a project that was initiated by the band, supported by the RCMP, supported by the federal government and supported by the territorial government, and which is designed to have the two cultures working more closely together. We must be doing these things and we must be successful in the long run and build on successes. Otherwise, we will never get a land claims settlement, and otherwise, the respect for the law will be lessened, and the two cultures will not live together in harmony. It is for those reasons that we on this side cannot accept the motion, as the motion is calling for a stop to the project as it is asking only for a feasibility study.
Mr. McLachlan: Most of my comments are for the main motion, or for the main motion as it is amended. I will only address a few brief comments on the amendment that we have under discussion at the moment.
The Minister must have a new definition of feasibility. The motion very carefully calls for investigating a feasibility. By definition, that is a feasibility study. I see no problem in having a report tabled in the Legislature so that it may be available for inspection by all Members as to the pros and cons of the process that we are investigating. I find it a little strange that Members on that side, who often profess to be good parliamentarians, are saying that they would cut off any future debate on the motion and institute it post haste.
If there are problems, let us see them, let us here them, and we can talk about them. If there are good points, let us hear those as well. I am somewhat surprised at the reaction of Members who would turn down the recommendation that the feasibility study be tabled in this Legislature for further consideration. Because of that, I will be supporting the amendment on the basis of further study into this matter, with which I see nothing wrong.
Mr. Phelps: On the amendment, I am going to speak to the main motion, but I will wait for this vote. I fully support the suggested amendment for the very reasons given by the Member for Faro. I rise to say that we will be supporting the amendment.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: For the record, the Member for Faro completely misunderstood the situation on the amendment. There is absolutely no intention at all of cutting off any debate or of not tabling the study information that is available in the House. I will be pleased to table that in the House, and I will. I will be pleased to have further debate. The Member was obviously either misinformed or he misinterpreted the meaning of the amendment.
On the main motion, it is crucial to understand that prior to the influx of Europeans into this territory, the various Indian peoples and the various communities were governed by a traditional system of justice, which for want of a better word, I will call a traditional tribal system of justice, or by customary law.
The customary law, as it then existed, had deep foundations in the spiritual or religious beliefs of the people who lived in the territory. It was not articulated in a written set of rules. I believe it is very imperfectly and inadequately understood in an archaeological or anthropological sense by the nonnative culture of the Yukon today.
This system operated on a consensus, which involved discussion, mediation and arbitration. The arbitration was generally done by the elders. The intent of the system was to restore harmony in the community. It had a different intent from the traditional Anglo-Saxon jury or adversarial legal system that we know of today. The legal system that is now operating has as its primary function the centering out of individuals who are to blame for certain acts, the finding of blame or guilt for those criminal acts, and the delivery of punishment, in either the name of correction or rehabilitation or, simply, punishment. That is the aim of the system developed in the Anglo-Saxon world.
As it is applied to the traditional culture here, the system meets a very significant cultural gap. In introducing their British system, the Europeans also introduced a police force. The police force was originally the Royal Northwest Mounted Police and is today the RCMP. This force is modelled on the British constabulary. It provided an enforcement of the Crowns rules and prerogatives, it enforced a system of law, and it brought with it a method of solving disputes. We brought the civil law, as well as the criminal law, which was based on an adversarial court system.
The differences in the two cultures should force us to adapt the systems to better meet the needs of both the cultures that live here in the territory. To put it another way, the justice system generally, and the policing specifically, should be more responsive to the native cultures found here in the territory. We do have some historical efforts at accommodation. One of them is the RCMP special constable program.
Another one is that the RCMP have made some efforts in cross cultural awareness programs, and in the police academy in Regina there is some effort at cross cultural awareness, an effort which I am extremely pleased to see the present Commissioner of the RCMP is expanding. These are steps taken generally to improve the relationships between the police and the communities whose duty it is for the police to serve. This government is supportive of these measures and this motion can never be legitimately interpreted as an effort to undermine or speak against those initiatives. The mover of the motion, on page 122 of Hansard, is very clear and, I would suggest, even eloquent in specifically saying that.
Some other efforts have been efforts to recruit and to train native justices of the peace. We have not been very successful in either the long term history or the short term history of the territory in doing this, although it is a substantial effort. There has been an increasing effort over the past few years to have native people represented on government boards, which is a related issue. These are adaptations that the system is making to address the legitimate interests of our indigenous people.
There is a greater challenge, however, to all of our peoples and specifically the non native culture to further incorporate the legitimate traditional ways into a modern system of justice. This is the challenge, I would submit, that is essentially before the territory in a general sense and before us today in a specific sense concerning policing.
There are many avenues of improvement that I can think of, and I am sure that in the years ahead there will be more avenues of improvement identified. I want to mention and emphasize clearly cross cultural education. This is education that must occur on behalf of both cultures to both cultures, a sensitivity wthat must be increased in both directions in order to foster the relationship between the two races in the territory. It is particularly important for members of police forces to be sensitive in their duties concerning, for example, family violence, spousal assaults and in dealing with children. The liaison by the RCMP and chiefs and councils around the territory is in a peculiar position in Yukon today. The top brass, if I can call them that, among the RCMP appear to be satisfied that there is a close relationship and that there is good communication. The chiefs and councils have expressed a substantially less satisfied position to me, although it varies in different communities.
That is understandable. There is a need for increased liaison with the chiefs and councils and the police. For the information of the Members, I have recommended that the liaison function, which is partially done by a person within the RCMP establishment who has that as part of their job description and is partially done by the commanding officers and officers in charge of detachments, include native people who have been raised here in the communities be involved on the RCMP side to better achieve that liaison. That could be done through contracts let by the RCMP for exactly that purpose.
Other efforts can generally be talked about under the area of the style of policing that is most responsive to aboriginal concerns. I had already raised this point in my address on April 6, on page 123 and 124 of Hansard, that a community-based policing model is the model which is most appropriate in the territory and an increasing effort should be put on crime prevention which attacks into all the community resources. This model, although not in those specific words, has been clearly identified by the Member for Old Crow in her speech introducing this motion. These measures are all partial responses to the problem and I have not given an exhaustive list. I should mention again in order to emphasize this that the prospect of increased foot patrols is occurring, but there is still some distance to go to have even more foot patrols in many of the communities.
It is crucial to talk about what is happening in Teslin today. A crime prevention officer was hired under the professional direction of the crime prevention office in the territorial government, and under the day to day supervision of chief and council. This person is not a police officer in the traditional sense. This person is hired to pay particular attention to crime prevention and to emphasize a persons roots in the community as a crime prevention initiative. It is pretty clear that the criminal problem in the territory and around the world is occasioned by people who are not committed to the community in which they live.
I will put it another way: it is people who do not feel such a part of the community who are willing to risk the censure, or the displeasure, of the majority of the right-thinking citizens in the community.
The problem of crime is occasioned by individuals who have lost contact and who have lost a feeling of belongingness in their community, from which they abuse other people, or steal from them, or do other criminal acts. It is fundamental that these people will be stronger members of their community and feel a stronger attachment if they are proud of their own roots and their own cultural identity. Because of that, this crime prevention measure has a cultural aspect.
It is crucial, as well, that the community develop a greater sensitivity to, and a greater awareness of, the traditional ability of especially the native elders to solve disputes. It is this initiative, which comes from the community, which is supported by this government. That initiative is being evaluated and a report will be generated that will clearly evaluate the program that exists. The report may contain recommendations for change or to support particular aspects of the program, and that report will be public. We will be welcoming further debate about that initiative.
Mr. McLachlan: There is no doubt in my mind that this motion on the Order Paper is probably one of the most controversial ones of this spring session. I suppose there is a natural, logical tendency to be leery or afraid of something that is new and radical in some of its changes - as least new in the justice system as most of us know it.
It is up to the presenter of this motion, Members for Whitehorse South Centre, North Centre, Watson Lake and Tatchun to convince other Members of its validity. What I have heard so far would not sell very much to very many people. I have not heard anything to date that totally justifies that approach.
A number of questions should have been answered that have not yet been. I am afraid that, at times, there seems to be more questions than there are answers. I am curious how we deal fairly with all people in this situation, whatever their racial or ethnic origin, when they are charged with an offence. How do we show all in the community that equal justice has been meted out to all participants in an infraction, no matter what the crime is?
For example, on a charge of break and enter in Pelly Crossing, would a penalty of stacking an elders wood pile bear the same weight as 90 days in the detention centre on Lambert Street. I do not know. There is a fear that perhaps the end does not solve the crime. I realize that Members on that side are walking an idea by as a trial balloon to test the situation and to test the waters. It is indeed very new.
The question of dealing with repeat offenders in a system like this has also not been answered. Do we have them stack twice as much wood? Those questions have not been answered. The biggest problem of all with the motion is that it has left one Member of the Legislature open to charges of flip-flop, of being inconsistent, of double-talk and of speaking from one side of the mouth. That is the Member for Whitehorse South Centre who was, three years ago in 1985, the Minister of Justice when this very same question was raised with him during the debate on the native courtworkers. When this question was put to him by myself, he said, It is my belief that the whole issue of native policing, and by implication, its consequent justice system, should be left to the land claims table. That is what the Minister of Justice said three years ago.
Was that a personal opinion? Is so, has it now changed? Was that a Cabinet policy? If so, has it now changed? There are no answers for that, only more questions. It is this different approach that causes Members on both sides to be concerned with the intent of this motion. The Member has said that the RCMP agree with it. I respectfully submit the qualifier that, yes, where our budget is not cut to deal with it. The Minister did not add that there is a great fear amongst the RCMP that their activities are being restricted by the pen that signs the budget figures every January telling the local inspector what he can and cannot have for funding.
The community that I represent probably has four percent or less native people. Therefore, there is a natural tendency on my part to be extremely careful of this motion. I have not yet heard enough, and I have not had all my questions answered. My mind is not totally open, nor is it totally closed on this issue.
I am prepared to listen to further debate and make my mind up later, but I want to emphasize to the side opposite that not enough has been presented so far to allow Members to make an informed decision on this motion.
Hon. Mrs. Joe: It gives me great pleasure to rise in the House today to address the motion that was presented here by my colleague, the Member for Old Crow. My experience, both within the Indian organizations and as a justice of the peace, has shown me that the Canadian legal system does not meet the needs of Indian people.
I would like, first of all, to mention something here that I thought I would like to bring to the attention of the Member for Kluane. He said, In regard to this motion, what we are trying to do strikes me very much like reservations and as a boy I was on one. If this is what the Indian leaders are doing, they are going backwards in this role. They are not going forwards. This simply confines people to one area. They live there and do not get off it. They do not move anywhere else, and they stay in it.
I took objection to that simply because I, myself, lived on a reservation and I did not choose to leave it; I left because of a discriminatory section of the Indian Act and I was forced to leave. I have family members who still live on that reservation. I have a mother and dad who live on that reservation; they choose to stay there and they live and thrive on it. I just wanted to point out to the Member that maybe his experience was not a good one, but mine certainly was, except for the discriminatory clause that Indian people had nothing to do with.
For hundreds of years Indian people have been subject to a criminal justice system that has been at odds with their own traditional ways of resolving conflicts. The system has been foreign, imposed by a domineering society, has been difficult to understand and is often very harsh. In the north, there are facts that have been very evident in regard to criminal justice; people in the Yukon are jailed at a much higher rate than people in the rest of Canada, and Indian people are jailed more often and are over represented in our northern jails. Informal reports indicate that native people are over represented at all stages of the criminal justice system. The nature of the offences that Indian people go to jail for are largely not serious crimes in relation to the south.
There has been a movement in recent years to develop noninstitutional methods of dealing with offenders, such as probation and community services. This appears to be a good thing. However, the community supervision caseloads were reported in parliament a few years ago to be five times as high for Yukoners as for the rest of Canada. We all know that the majority of those individuals doing that kind of supervised community work are Indian people. We see them in town all the time. It has been very evident in the camp up at Haines Junction this past summer. One can tell exactly who the majority of those inmates are.
The proposal to turn control of Indian justice back to Indian people is not a new concept. Thirteen years ago, there was a national conference and a federal/provincial conference on native people in the criminal justice system. A lot of people here might be aware of that conference; it was held in Edmonton. There were a number of individuals who were with the Yukon territorial government at that time who took part in it, along with Indian people here from the north.
It was held because there was a great deal of concern over the jailing of a disproportionate number of Canadian Indian people. It prompted the calling of a national conference to consider issues of prime importance, not only to native people but, also, to the governments under which they lived, and that included all three governments.
A three-day meeting in Edmonton in February, 1975, called the National Conference on Native People and the Criminal Justice System, was attended by persons from every area of Canada interested in finding ways to bring the countrys laws and their administration more in tune with the needs of the native population.
The conferences tone was described by Solicitor General Helen Huntley of Alberta, at that time, when she told delegates that her province was bringing to the talks a genuine desire for a greater level of understanding. The Minister said she was sure that all other delegations had come with the same intent, and we feel confident that this meeting will prove to be beneficial, not only to the government and our native Canadians, but to all Canadians. Warren Allmend, the Solicitor General at that time, told the same session, Our expectations of this conference are high, and so they should be. The right people are here. We share a determination to gain a better understanding of the problems we face and to move towards their solution.
The meeting was unusual, in that its third day was actually a formal federal/provincial conference to which delegates to the overall meeting were admitted as observers. Such ministerial meetings are usually closed, at least in part. Representatives of native people, Cabinet ministers and officials took part in closed workshop sessions, each limited to 20 persons to make discussions easier. The reports of those workshops were then presented to a plenary session, presided over by Judge Ian Debinski of Winnipeg.
The workshops produced more than 200 suggestions that were later grouped to eliminated duplication and to enable ministers to deal with them more effectively in their talks. Most of the key subjects were examined by two groups. One stressed the urban implications of the subjects, the other the ramifications in less settled areas of the country.
The conference covered virtually every aspect of the criminal law and administration of justice as it relates to native people, and identified problems that must be faced to ensure the equitable treatment of native people within the Canadian criminal justice system.
That was 13 years ago. At that time, I was involved with an Indian group here in the Yukon called the Yukon Indians and the Law Committee. We followed up on a number of the initiatives that were developed. I attended that meeting, along with a number of other people. We continued to have ongoing meetings with the territorial government.
I am not sure whether the Member for Porter Creek East at that time was a Member of the Legislature, but we had ongoing meetings that were taken very seriously. At that time, there were a number of changes that we were able to make. There were things that we were able to get involved in with respect to what was happening in the jails and the court systems. As a matter of fact, at the conference in Edmonton there were a number of inmates from different facilities across Canada who were delegates at that meeting. A follow-up meeting here in the Yukon also had inmates from the Whitehorse Correctional Centre there. There were a lot of things that happened as a result of that.
At the time of the conference, there were six guidelines for action on tribal justice that were passed by the conference delegates. Those guidelines stated that Indian people should be closely involved in the planning and delivery of services associated with criminal justice and Indians, and that native communities should have a greater responsibility for the delivery of the criminal justice services to their people.
Further to this, the delegates said that all non-native staff in the criminal justice system who serve the aboriginal population should be required to participate in some form of orientation training to familiarize themselves with the special needs and aspirations of native people.
This government institution of cross cultural training for justice staff and support of the native courtworkers program addresses this need to a certain extent. The conference delegates resolved that more native people should be recruited and trained for service in the existing criminal justice system, and the use of native paraprofessional legal services should be encouraged. The final guideline passed was that in policy planning and program development emphasis should be placed on prevention, diversion from the justice system to community resources and continued investigation of alternatives to imprisonment and youth detention.
In the Yukon a few years ago, Barry Stuart, in his time on the bench, took the initiative to consult tribal justice councils before sentencing and considered the information in sentencing. I was involved in a lot of those discussions because I was a justice of the peace at that time. We did involve a lot of community people with regard to the sentencing and asked for their advice. They gave us advice in many cases. It was not the easiest thing to try to deal with the certain things they were asked to deal with, but they did provide a lot of valuable advice and experience from the past. It is my hope that someday that kind of a program would be reinforced. I enjoyed that part of my life and I certainly learned from it. I certainly learned from what those elders told me at the time. They are still saying those kind of tribal traditional things have to take place.
In other jurisdictions control of justice for Indian people has met with success. Quebec, for example, is serviced in 22 communities by 73 Amerindian police officers who enforce band developed bylaws, traditional laws and any federal or provincial laws that apply on reserves.
While serving as a JP, I knew there were better ways for communities to address the problems facing them in the justice system. Investigating tribal police/peacemaking and tribal justice systems will highlight those alternatives. Listening to the solutions Indian people have to deal with their difficulties in the justice system and implementing those solutions will also decrease the number of people who appear in court.
Practical and immediate steps can be taken to make the existing legal system aware of the different cultural approaches to justice in this country. Methods used to keep Yukon Indians out of the court system will contribute to the overall health of our communities.
Tribal councils can play a key role in providing alternatives to our present criminal justice system. Band administration of justice for young offenders could be investigated. Diversion, community service and cultural activities can all be used to provide young offenders with an alternative to court.
It was only a couple of weeks ago that we heard from Professor Peter Russell who spoke during Law Week. He talked about Indian bands working at developing tribal justice systems. He said it is something that Canadians have not considered carefully enough and that there may well be a wisdom and understanding particularly about family relations in native communities that we are not just tapping and using, that we are suppressing, and there may be ways of harnessing that into the modern justice system.
I believe that there are things that we have to take into consideration when we are dealing with the Indian people and the traditional laws they used. This motion is not forcing anybody to do something they do not want to do. We are investigating the feasibility. We are not saying we want to do this right away, we would have to first find out whether or not something like that would be feasible. I am supporting this motion fully and would like to thank the Member for Old Crow for bringing it to this House.
Mr. Phelps: I, too, would like to thank the Member for Old Crow for bringing this motion to the House so that we could debate it. I have a great deal of sympathy with much that has been said by the Member for Old Crow, as well as by the Member for Whitehorse North Centre. There is no question but there are problems with the present justice system. Some of the problems seem to be most felt in the Indian communities and by Indian people and thus we do have a higher crime rate, more Indian people in jail - disproportionate numbers in relation to the total population. It is an issue that anyone concerned or involved in the justice system has been concerned about. Various attempts have been made over the years to involve Indian people, at every level of the system, with some degree of success. We have had Indian constables, Indian special constables, Indian justices of the peace, Indian lawyers, and there has been a very great attempt made by some of the universities to increase the number of aboriginal people in the legal profession and in the accompanying professions, with regard to such things as criminology, and other aspects of the law. There is no question that there is a problem, and steps have to be taken to try to find solutions.
The area of justice was dealt with in land claims negotiations in the negotiations that led up to the 1984 agreement in principle. Those negotiations took place at various times and in various places, and I recall very vividly a trip that a number of us took, including the Minister of Justice, at the request of the Council for Yukon Indians. We went down and visited the Navajo Nation, at Window Rock, Arizona, in order to examine and to see first hand how their system worked. The Navajo Nation is the largest reserve in the United States with a very large population at the time - I think we were told about 150,000 people resided on the reserve, which comprised over 25,000 square miles and was situated in a total of four states, if I remember correctly. That Navajo Nation has their own police force and their own court system, with band members sitting as judges in their courts.
The consensus seems to be that the system is not one that the Council for Yukon Indians thought was appropriate for the Yukon. I certainly shared that observation as did some of the other people present on the trip. There were a whole bunch of reasons, not the least of those being the very small populations of the aboriginal people that we have in the numerous communities around the territory and the real practical problems of getting people to sit as judges and the cost implications of such a system as was, and works quite well, on the Navajo Nation Reserve.
That was one of the studies that I was involved in. We got all kinds of literature and saw all kinds of reports. The Member for Whitehorse North Centre has read in some very interesting and compelling excerpts regarding meetings that have taken place. The federal government has always played a fairly key role in such meetings because, for the most part, the criminal law is of federal jurisdiction.
In any event, a model was worked out, that was consistent with the overall settlement model for land claims and a package that was known as the 1984 Overall Agreement in Principle. I do not know, I am not privy to where parties are going now, what kind of models that they are examining, whether or not there is a desire to change that agreement in principle or if anything has transpired in that regard.
The Member for Faro has made a very good point. He quoted the Minister of Justice a few years ago saying that these issues should be dealt with at the land claims table. I agreed with those comments at the time, and I still feel that the land claims table is the place that most of the work ought to be done in determining what kind of modifications might be made to the present system in order to meet the objectives that we all share, to see more understanding of the legal system, more participation and to see more emphasis on crime prevention, and the list goes on.
One could write a full page of objectives. I have not done that, so I will not try to make up all the objectives that I would see as being realistic and ones that ought to be achieved and are achievable.
The purpose of the amendment put forward by the Member for Kluane was made, I think, for some very sound and basic reasons. The reasons behind the amendment were basically a concern that any steps taken be practical and that commonsense be imposed on the people who are so eager to make changes. There is a fear, shared by many, that a motion such as this will be seen by the Minister of Justice as a carte blanche for him to go off in any direction, doing what he thinks is so wonderful and taking radical steps. We have seen what happened with the 36 page Human Rights document which, only after a year of struggling and debating, was knocked down to a fairly simple and straightforward package.
There are all kinds of reasons for Members on this side wanting to see feasibility studies and to discuss the implications. There is a fear out there about radical changes. I think there is a great deal of sympathy, though, for the noble sentiments expressed by the person who moved the motion and the Member for Whitehorse North Centre. It is not my wish to try impede practical progress that would make the justice system respond more evenly and in a better way and make the system work for aboriginal people. I am fully committed to that, personally, but at the same time I do not want to write a blank cheque and tell the Minister of Justice to go ahead, because I share the concern of the Member for Kluane. I would want to see what is being planned. I would want to be assured that whatever happens has been considered by such groups as the Yukon Law Society and agreed to, because the people who make up that association have practical experience in the field. I would want to think that the Judicial Council had reviewed it very carefully and thought about it and could support it fully. I would want to think that the RCMP would have a chance to consider it objectively and scrutinize it and have genuine input into the end result. I would want to think that the JPs, presently sitting, and those who have retired, would have time to look at the package and have their input and see it as a commonsense and practical approach, whatever might happen.
There are all kinds of models, all kinds of things that can be done. The words tribal police, peace making and tribal justice systems are concepts that I am sympathetic to seeing in place, but the concepts are vague. There are all kinds of permutations or combinations that could result from the justice ministers bad experimentation.
Some people really do not want to serve as the test tubes and chemicals of a mad scientist. What they want to see are sound practical steps that will enhance the justice system that will be of benefit to the Indian people and to us all. You do not tinker with the justice system haphazardly. You do not do it simply to perform experiments on very fragile, delicate social fabric such as that in the Yukon.
Because I have no idea of what this motion would really mean to the Minister and because I deeply fear the kinds of mandate that he has been given, I very reluctantly say that I will vote against the motion. I would have voted for it with the amendment. I would vote for it if I had any kind of faith in the common sense of the Minister responsible, but I do not. The consequences of radical changes and the potential harm that could arise is such that unless we can have a thorough examination in this House, with input from all the various people who make up what we call the justice system, I am scared to death of the Justice Minister and am not prepared to vote for it.
Ms. Kassi: I would like to make reference to the Member for Kluane and his statement in Hansard last week where he talked about how he fought for this country so everybody could be equal. Now, at my age we are seeing things where we are not apparently going to be equal. I would like to say to that Member that I feel very optimistic at this time that we are working very hard toward being equal in this territory. Within the justice system alone, if we are so equal why is there such a large majority of aboriginal people in the correctional institutions?
We want to build a healthy foundation for our children - the ones you speak about who are yet unborn. That is very much a part of our customary law. We want to build that foundation for those children for our future.
The Member spoke about breaking and enter. What would happen then? In Old Crow we want to be able to develop a system of a strong council represented by both sides of our clan system, the Wolf and the Crow, and to have those people deal with individuals in a way they see fit, along with the RCMP or a judge in the community at that time to work together.
We realize that we have a long way to go to reestablish our strengths and our pride within our nations. we realize that it will be extremely hard to do with the existing systems, as well with the people who continually tell us, You will not make it, you will not succeed. No wonder some of us cannot feel equal. No wonder some of us fill up these institutions.
We have just received a tribal coordinator in my village, and we will work at building it up. We may make our mistakes; we have every right to make mistakes and to fix them during development. However, for the first time in history, we are given the chance to take the first steps toward developing such a justice program in my village, a program that will eventually, in the long term, be strong enough to govern our whole village in all areas. That is the long term. We have a lot to learn, we have a long way to go, and we are going to do it.
We must work toward building both cultures. I am more and more optimistic when I see nonaboriginal people join us when we have our potlatches and feasts, where our customary laws are open and there for people to see and to use. I am optimistic when I see more non-aboriginal people in our sweat lodges - there are a lot of them - who join in our celebrations, and live with us in our village, and accept the way that we live, and eat the food that we eat, and follow our laws within our villages. Until we, the aboriginal people, are recognized as being different, and accepted, and recognized as indigenous people, with profound laws and knowledge in our own areas because we lived there for so long, until our customary laws, that we had followed long before the European justice system every arrived, are recognized and brought out again - which are still being practised in a lot of places - we need to pull those out, we need to use them. We have come to realize that aboriginal people in the Yukon need to utilize these more and more. We do not need another consultation process on this. The aboriginal people are saying that we need to change it, so let us change it. Let us try it out in various communities.
There is no way that we want to look at a separate system. We want to work together with the white people. We need them just as much as they need us. When the cultures of the indigenous people of this country are recognized and accepted is when we can speak about pride and equality within this territory.
I move we call question on the motion.
Motion No. 6 agreed to
Motion No. 41
Clerk: Item No. 6, standing in the name of Ms. Kassi.
Speaker: Is the hon. Member prepared to proceed with Item No. 6?
Ms. Kassi: Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Member for Old Crow
THAT this House extends its congratulations to Ducks Unlimited Canada on achieving its 50th anniversary; and
THAT, on behalf of Yukon citizens, this House extends thanks for the work of Ducks Unlimited and its contribution towards preservation of wetlands and other essential wildlife habitat in the Yukon and across Canada; and
THAT this House encourages Ducks Unlimited to continue its work in the territory.
Ms. Kassi: Firstly, I would like to welcome Dale Eftoda, a representative of Ducks Unlimited, to the Legislature today.
This motion arises from a request by the local association of Ducks Unlimited that this House, in some way, recognize their work. I am pleased to sponsor such a motion for all Members to debate and to pay tribute to this worthwhile group.
In southern Canada, Ducks Unlimited has been active for many years. This is their 50th anniversary. In that time, they have either saved or reclaimed many square miles of wetlands that are essential habitat for ducks and other waterfowl.
Where I come from, there has been no work by Ducks Unlimited, but it seems clear to me that, if an essential habitat is threatened in northern Yukon, these people will come out and show their support.
Hon. Members are aware of the importance of Old Crow Flats to the people of my village, in terms of muskrat trapping, which is about to begin once again in the yearly cycle of my people. The Old Crow Flats are an important area for many kinds of ducks, geese, swans and other birds. We feed on these birds. They are part of our survival. It is a joyous time in my village and on the land when they return each spring. Every year these birds migrate long distances and need places all along the way to rest and to feed. They need a good place to spend their winters.
When they come to the north, they nest in the Old Crow Flats, as well as other places such as the Canadian and Alaskan north coast, the area that is being proposed for oil development.
Ducks Unlimited has worked hard in the southern parts of this continent to ensure that waterfowl have good habitat along their migration route and that they have sufficient room to overwinter before the long journey back to the nesting grounds in the north coast.
Just by looking at these birds, we can see how much the environment of the world is interconnected. This takes me back to my motion a few weeks ago on the Brundtland Report. We cannot have agricultural or industrial development in one part of the world without it affecting what is going on in another part. All too often down south, bulldozers cover over these wetlands and the birds must go somewhere else. As time goes on, there are fewer and fewer places for them to go.
Ducks Unlimited is helping to reverse that trend. I want hon. Members to join me with this motion in congratulating this group for all the good work that they have done in their 50 years and to wish them success in the future. We should encourage them to get more active here in the Yukon because as development pressures increase, more wetlands are threatened, and we should work together and do all we can to preserve this important wildlife habitat. This group is composed mainly of volunteers, and we should pay tribute to them today for their good work in many places across Canada as well as right here in the Yukon.
Mr. Phillips: I rise to support, in the strongest terms, the motion put forward by the Member for Old Crow. Ducks Unlimited has been a personal interest to me for many years. I have even had the pleasure of working on the founding fundraising committee in the Yukon several years ago. It is hard to start to describe the achievements of such an organization, but after establishing an office in Yellowknife this year, it will stretch from coast to coast and take in all the provinces and territories.
It is important to talk for a moment about the accomplishments of Ducks Unlimited. First of all, it is very significant that this is the 50th anniversary of Ducks Unlimited. Ducks Unlimited, in North America, has over 1.2 million international members. For the first time, it will exceed 100,000 members in Canada with over 400 of these members living in the Yukon.
Membership is certainly not their only goal. Their budget in Canada this year is $45 million with over 84 percent of that budget going directly to preserve, restore, develop and maintain waterfowl habitat in Canada. In the past 50 years, Ducks Unlimited, through their efforts, have secured over 4 million acres of waterfowl habitat and carried out projects and studies on millions more.
It is interesting to note that the Ducks Unlimited membership crosses all borders, national and political, and involve avid waterfowl hunters as well as non-hunters. I have always maintained that I am probably a ducks best friend. Every year, I go out in the fall, I get skunked because I am a lousy shot, and then in the spring I show up at the fundraising convention, and I spend more money than I can ever afford.
I would like to talk for a moment about Ducks Unlimiteds official arrival in the Yukon. In doing so, I would like to commend the former government for being so receptive to Ducks Unlimited when they approached them. On January 28, 1985, Howard Tracey, then the Minister of Renewable Resources, signed an agreement with Ducks Unlimited in the Whitehorse Library. I might add that I had the pleasure that day of being a signatory witness to that agreement.
That agreement committed a $2.2 million expenditure in the Yukon. On April 1, 1985, they opened up an office in Whitehorse under the very capable supervision of Dale Eftoda. To date, Ducks Unlimited has spent over $120,000 per year in Yukon. By the end of this year, they will have spent over $500,000 in Yukon.
As well, I would like to extend a special thank you to the current Government of the Yukon and the Minister of Renewable Resources for the very cooperative way in which they are working with Ducks Unlimited in Yukon.
Significant progress has been made in increasing waterfowl habitat values on other wetlands throughout the whole Yukon. A total of 44 wetland areas of key significance to waterfowl have now been determined from Old Crow Flats to the Lewes Marsh wetland complex, to the Pickhandle Lake wetland complex, to the newly determined key area of the Needlerock Creek wetland complex which contains over 1100 wetlands in central Yukon.
I would take a few moments to talk about experiences I have had in some of these areas. One area I had an opportunity to visit was the Old Crow Flats. I went to the Old Crow Flats several years ago under the guidance of an Old Crow elder Stephen Frost. Stephen took me up to the flats to show me a place that he said is just that far from heaven. Believe me it really is a beautiful place. When we were in Old Crow, he took me to his special place called Timber Hill. This is on Stephens ratting area on Old Crow Flats. We were ratting and he was teaching me a lot of things about Crow Flats at that time. I had an opportunity to experience a phenomenon that I think very few people will ever see or imagine exists. Right at the foot of Timber Hill there is a lake that Stephen calls Danger Lake. It is called Danger Lake because the ice is quite thin in the winter months and could cause problems. We had a look around the shores of the lake and there were many warm springs bubbling up around the shores of this lake. There was open water. This was in May when there was three feet of ice on the Crow Flats and the caribou are moving north. When the ducks and geese come north and they are about 100 miles from the coast and they have nowhere to land. Here, in the middle of nowhere, is this Serengeti, this little opening in the water where thousands of ducks and geese gather. When they have a late spring it protects them. It was really an interesting experience to share that with the Old Crow elder, Stephen Frost. I call him an elder because he is quite a bit older than I am. I do describe him as an elder and I hear some people describe Stephen as an elder, and he certainly can teach a lot of valuable things about the Yukon.
Another area where I see Ducks Unlimited doing some work is the Lewes Marsh. As a young, boy I spent many years in the Lewes Marsh hunting ducks - not having very much success, but nevertheless hunting ducks. I can remember in the spring we used to paddle in canoes and there would be many, many ducks with their families. You do not see that anymore. A lot of that is the result of the Whitehorse hydro project and the water level being raised. It has created problems for the ducks and their nesting. Ducks Unlimited is doing an excellent job in looking at the Lewes Marsh. Hopefully, one day we will be able to go to that area that was so significant to waterfowl in the Yukon and be able to see all kinds of ducks and waterfowl raising their young within 30 miles of Whitehorse. I hope we do see that in the future.
There are some other things I think Ducks Unlimited should be credited for. They have taken initiatives to increase the security of these key wetland areas by having Renewable Resources indicate high waterfowl interest through a national notation process with the federal government. Another very important area that Ducks Unlimited is working on in the Yukon and are, again, working on with the Department of Renewable Resources and Habitat Canada, is the inventory and cataloging of existing waterfowl habitat information in Yukon. This action has now become a two and a half year cooperative program between Renewable Resources and Wildlife Habitat Canada and, upon completion, this will be a very useful tool in planning for the waterfowl habitat management in the future.
Another thing Ducks Unlimited has done for all Yukoners is, through formal and information presentations and other public relations activities, all Yukoners are now generally more aware of the importance of the wetlands and the importance of the wildlife resource.
We, in the Yukon, have recognized for many years the importance of Yukon as a major area for waterfowl use and its essential place in the well-being of North Americas waterfowl stocks. For a few moments, I would like to quote from Ducks Unlimited Conservatore that just came out. It has an article about the Yukon and is very significant of what value the Yukon is to waterfowl.
It states, South of the British mountains lies Old Crow Flats, considered the single most important piece of waterfowl habitat in Yukon. It is also above the Arctic Circle. Major concentrations of waterfowl use, thousands of marshy lakes and streams, that cover an area more than 1.5 million acres. Old Crow Flats is considered critical to the survival of displaced waterfowl during droughts in Canadas prairies. Though displaced waterfowl normally do not raise broods, the northern habitat helps them survive to reproduce in another year.
In central Yukon, an ancient land fault called the Tintina Trench, a deep valley several miles wide, crosses from the southeast toward the famed gold rush region in Dawson. It is the most significant migration corridor in Yukon. In the southwest corner of the territory, the inland slope of the St. Elias Mountains is another important migratory corridor. Birds going to and from Alaska wetlands travel through this route and use wetlands associated with the Aishihik River, Kluane Lake, and several rivers like the White, Donjek and their tributaries feature riparian wetlands - flood plains that, except during spring, resemble a fine fishnet weave of shallow channels stretched across the flat riverbed.
In the southern Yukon, between Whitehorse and the Arctic River drainage basin, many huge lakes and wetland complexes are significant staging and breeding areas. The Liard River basin has many small to medium size wetlands that host breeding waterfowl throughout. Near Toobally Lakes, the same watershed, more than half the Canadian breeding population of trumpeter swans concentrate.
In a nutshell, 3 million ducks, geese and swans from the Mississippi, Central and Pacific flyways use the Yukon wetlands habitats and tundra. Trumpeter swans, white-fronted geese, brant and northern species of Canada geese, along with more than 20 species of ducks rely on these wetlands. As you can see, the Yukon is a central part of the habitat needed for these ducks.
Before I close, I would like to thank a few people who should not go without being mentioned. First of all, I would like to talk about a gentleman whose vision it was many years ago to stress the importance of the Yukon and its value in waterfowl management, and that gentleman is Tom Sterling. Tom is now retired, but very instrumental in bringing Ducks Unlimited to the Yukon, and he was instrumental in getting us to sign the agreement in 1985.
Again, I think special mention has to go to Dale Eftoda, who has been manning the office in Whitehorse since its opening in the spring of 1985 and who has done an excellent job. I have seen some of the presentations that Ducks Unlimited has put together recently; they are very well done and are a credit to the efforts of not only Dale Eftoda but also some of the business people in Whitehorse who donated extremely valuable time and work to put together the video that points out very well the work of Ducks Unlimited in the Yukon.
I would like to join with all Members of the House in wishing Ducks Unlimited the very best in its 50th year and thank them for the excellent job they have done, not only in the Yukon, but all over North America in their efforts to preserve, restore, develop and maintain waterfowl habitat. I would like to urge all Members in this House to support this very worthwhile motion.
Hon. Mr. Porter: If I did not know better, I would have thought the Member for Riverdale North snuck into my office last night and stole my speech. I was also waiting for that famous Donald Duck imitation the Member is known for but he seems to be shy in front of people.
When good things happen, it is good that they be repeated. I will try to edit my speech as I go along, taking out some of the similarities but unfortunately - or fortunately - we are probably going to cover the same ground.
I would like to speak in favour of the motion, both as a resident of the Yukon and as the Minister responsible for Renewable Resources. I am pleased to state at the outset that the Government of Yukon is very pleased with the contribution Ducks Unlimited has made to the protection of the Yukons migratory waterfowl. I am also pleased with the extremely positive and cooperative role they have played in supporting the work of my department. That cooperation does not simply extend itself to the Department of Renewable Resources, but Ducks Unlimited has, in all of its efforts in the Yukon, displayed a cooperative attitude, be it with residents of the Yukon or band members through their discussions in the Yukon. I think that will go a long way toward endearing the work the organization performs to the people of the Yukon
Since the beginning of their program in Canada, which occurred in 1938, Ducks Unlimited has contributed $305 million to the protection of wetlands and, as mentioned by the Member for Riverdale North, this has afforded the migratory species protection of over four million acres of threatened wetlands. This record represents a tremendous effort by Ducks Unlimited and it is an achievement that should be recognized and applauded.
Yukon wetlands provide essential habitat for the well-being of waterfowl, fish, fur bearing mammals and a wide variety of shorebirds and songbirds. Those wetlands are invaluable to the successful maintenance of recreational, agricultural, trapping and fishing industries in this territory. They and their adjacent meadows provide meaningful employment and pleasure and relaxation to several thousand citizens of this territory. Again, as mentioned by the Member for Riverdale North, the Government of Yukon and Ducks Unlimited signed a 10 year cooperative agreement. This agreement commits us to a team approach in achieving wise management of the Yukon wetlands. The Yukon program has two basic components: the first is a public awareness and education program, and the second is the direct protection of wetlands. We are optimistic that success will be achieved in both areas during the life of the agreement.
So far in the program, Ducks Unlimited has been involved in several projects and I will give a number of examples: firstly, in a reconnaissance survey of wetland areas that had never been surveyed before, completion of sophisticated wetland and waterfall population research in the Needle Rock wetlands near Carmacks, and the development of an experimental duck nest box program. Ducks Unlimited also chairs the Yukon waterfall technical committee, which coordinates the work of various government branches and agencies.
Ducks Unlimited is performing an extremely valuable function in the Yukon, and they are doing it with one employee, that employee being with us in the Legislature today. Mr. Eftoda has been on the project for three years and functions as an administrator, public relations person, and fundraiser. As mentioned, the work performed by the local office is performed in a very exemplary manner. Not only is Mr. Eftoda pursuing the goals of the organization known as Ducks Unlimited, but he has been very cooperative in other areas. For example, he assists the department by sitting on the Yukon conservation strategy working group and assists us in developing our conservation strategy for the Yukon. In closing, I think that it is a rarity that a person who has been involved in a specific project or program in the Yukon has the opportunity to be in the Legislature when we are speaking so nicely about him, but Ducks Unlimited can be sure that they are well-represented here in the Yukon.
All the continuing and future Ducks Unlimited projects would not be occurring if the fundraising was not being done, and if the group of Ducks Unlimited volunteers was not involved in promoting wetland and waterfall values to the Yukon public. They have become good enough at it so that the annual Ducks Unlimited fundraising banquet has become a standard fixture on the Yukon social calendar. I had the occasion recently to attend some of these dinners and if you are interested in fundraising, this is probably the best dinner that you can attend to gain some very valuable tips. From my book, those dinners are the greatest example that I have seen of community fundraising and should be attended by more people. For the limited dinners that I have attended in the last three years, they are unquestionably the most successful dinners. They not only raise a great deal of money and provide good entertainment but they also serve good food.
In closing, I would like to state that the Government of the Yukon will be represented at the Ducks Unlimited meeting in Winnipeg, at which the celebrations will occur, in June. There may be a conflict with my personal schedule at that time, and if that is the case I will ensure that a Member of the Legislature - be it from the government side or from the Opposition side - will wing their way south to make sure that they are in attendance. Ducks Unlimited will be having their annual banquet this weekend, and I would like to wish them luck on that particular event and, as well, wish them luck and another successful 50 years.
Mrs. Firth: I rise in support of this motion the Member for Old Crow has brought forward and thank her for presenting the motion to the Legislature this afternoon to give all of us an opportunity to express our support for this worthwhile organization.
The Minister for Renewable Resources quoted at some length from a speech that had been given by the hon. Tom McMillan when we debated the Brundtland Report, and I believe he knows now how Tom McMillan must have felt when he was reading his words in the Hansard from the Yukon Legislature. It is good to know that sometimes we borrow from speeches containing the same direction and expressions of support. We are all anxious to present it to the Legislature and the public on behalf of those organizations.
I would like to begin by giving recognition to Mr. Tom Sterling. Because Ducks Unlimited Canada first became interested in the Yukon because of the work done by a veteran research biologist by the name of Tom Sterling. Mr. Sterling retired from the company in 1985 after a career of 36 years. His long-time interest in Yukon wetlands brought him to the Yukon in 1982 to begin his three year study and see if Ducks Unlimited Canada might play a role in conserving the territorys wetlands. His work led to the 1985 signing between Ducks Unlimited and the Yukon government of a 10 year agreement in which Ducks Unlimited propose to cooperate with the territorial and federal governments to plan and undertake waterfowl habitat conservation programs.
In a presigning report, Sterling wrote that one of Ducks Unlimiteds main objectives would be to assure that governments continue to recognize the importance of security and protection for the future needs of waterfowl within the Yukon.
After that signing, Ducks Unlimited, in recognition of the potential in the Yukon specifically sent a gentleman here to work towards enhancing and conserving the wetlands in the Yukon Territory, and that gentleman is Dale Eftoda. He is a constituent of Riverdale South, and I have had many discussions with Dale regarding the objectives and achievements of Ducks Unlimited.
Dale is a very hard worker. He has become actively involved in the community and the Yukon. He is a member of the Yukon Territorial Water Board and has chaired meetings of the Yukon waterfowl working group, and also attends working group meetings on Yukon conservation strategy and potential sites for protection.
Dale also cooperates in field research with the Canadian Wildlife Service and the Yukon territorial government renewable resources department in efforts to document the value of particular areas to waterfowl here in the Yukon Territory. He keeps the public and the government informed through forums like the Yukon waterfowl working group. I would particularly like to congratulate Dale Eftoda on his efforts and his diligence in encouraging the Indian people in the Yukon to be better informed and more participatory in the activities of Ducks Unlimited. He has established a good communication link and rapport with the Indian people.
This is so they do not feel threatened by the activities, and feel a part of the activities of Ducks Unlimited, in the total context of the picture of the territory they feel so strongly a part of.
I would like to thank Dale for a job well done, and congratulate him again on his efforts here in the Yukon, representing Ducks Unlimited.
I feel Ducks Unlimited Canada has a voice in the Yukon Territory. It is a collective voice that emanates from a concerned public, which has rallied behind Ducks Unlimiteds entry into the conservation frontier that we are discussing today.
We have over 400 members of Ducks Unlimited here in the Yukon. As the Member for Riverdale North said, they cross all political and philosophical boundaries. There are hunters, conservationists, Indians, non-Indians, people from all walks of life, different professional and trades people, who participate and work. One of the attractions I personally found about the Ducks Unlimited organization was that they refer to their organization as a family and involve people in the organization as a family. I found it an extremely positive activity to participate in for couples or for spouses. You will find that, if one spouse is involved selling tickets or on a committee, the other spouse is usually involved in some way as well, whether it be promoting Ducks Unlimited or actively involved at the executive level or selling tickets to the fundraising functions.
The editorial in the Ducks Unlimited magazine talked about Ducks Unlimited in the terms of family. The editorial was written by Matthew B. Connolly Jr., who is the executive vice president. In it, he said, our volunteers care very much about wetlands and the future of waterfowl, and are also, not surprisingly, individuals who are doers, in both their personal and business lives. Add to this the tremendous sense of fun these people generate, and it is not difficult to imagine that our family raised more than $50 million last year.
He mentioned a very interesting story that appeared in this publication about an 88 year old lady, who has been referred to as Miss Hazel of Huntsville, a volunteer who has been a sponsor of Ducks Unlimited for more than 20 years. The words of that lady were that she would have died 10 years ago if she had gotten lazy and laid down. There is quite an extensive article, and she talks about hunting and throwing a fly rod occasionally, and how the organization has continued to make her feel a part of something, and encouraged her to contribute and participate. Any organization that can generate that kind of enthusiasm and that kind of participation definitely deserves recognition by the whole Legislature and all the communities to whom they provide such a tremendous service.
I have been a member of Ducks Unlimited ever since they have been active here in the Yukon. My husband has, also. We have gone to all the banquets and contributed our share of finances but, last year, I was very fortunate and I, too, was rewarded by winning a couple of prizes at the Ducks Unlimited dinner. Therefore, this year my husband has instructed me I had better not buy any bonus tickets, because there are other people who want to win and it could be an election year this year.
The dinner will be on Saturday night. It will be the fourth banquet that Ducks Unlimited has sponsored here in the Yukon. They have raised $60,000 so far, and the funds are directed towards the enhancement program that is going to occur very shortly. For every $20,000 that is raised, another $120,000 is turned back into enhancement and research programs by Ducks Unlimited.
To add to the concern that was raised by the Member for Old Crow about agricultural and industrial development and these organizations working together with the conservation and environmental organizations, I would like to reassure her that as a person who is going to be involve agriculturally, I do not see my involvement in that part of the environment being a threat to waterfowl survival. I see it as a cooperative, working-together relationship.
We already have many wildlife fowl landing at our farm, including geese in the late fall, to eat what is left of the harvest. We have had pairs of cranes, and we always have ducks and duck families using our irrigation pond as a nesting ground. We look forward to having that kind of cooperative relationship with wildlife and do not see, in any way, that we will be endangering that.
To sum up, I would like to thank the Member for Old Crow for bringing the motion forward. As the Member for Riverdale South, and on behalf of the constituents of that riding, I would like to extend congratulations to Ducks Unlimited Canada on achieving its 50th anniversary. We would like to give thanks to Ducks Unlimited and its contribution towards preservation of wetlands and other essential wildlife habitat in the Yukon and across Canada. We do encourage Ducks Unlimited to continue its work in the territory.
I would like to extend a special congratulations and thank you to Mr. Steve Morrison, who is the chairman of the fundraising committee this year, and his executive and helpers, who have been working very hard for the last year on the fundraising dinner for Saturday night. They have been selling tickets and selecting prizes. I know that they have been having meetings. It is extremely time consuming, and they have been very active and dedicated volunteers.
Motion No. 41 agreed to
Motion No. 3
Clerk: Item No. 2, standing in the name of Mr. Webster.
Speaker: Is the hon. Member prepared to proceed with Item No. 2?
Mr. Webster: Yes.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Member for Klondike THAT it is the opinion of this House that the new federal tax on telecommunications is an unfair burden on Yukon people who rely more than southern Canadians on long distance service, and THAT it is the opinion of this House that the tax should be capped at a level which is affordable and reasonable.
Mr. Webster: As we are all aware, the federal government has introduced the telecommunications tax, effective January 1 of this year. We are all aware of this tax simply because it has appeared on our last three or four telephone bills. In my case, for example, it has meant an additional cost of $10.00 to $15.00 a month, but I consider myself fortunate because I am only reminded once a month of this increase, unlike business people who also must pay this tax a second time on long distance calls made at their place of business. However, in the end, the increased cost of doing business as a result of the sales tax has been passed on to you and me, the consumer. Thus, everybody feels a double pinch of this tax measure - on one side when paying the residential bill and on the other side when conducting or patronizing a business.
The intent of this motion is to reduce the pain of this pinch by calling for the imposition of a ceiling on this tax. I and suggesting that it be capped at a level which is affordable and reasonable, in much the same way as the ceiling of $50 is applied to the 10 percent tax on air travel in this country. After all, if the Conservative government in Ottawa could put a limit on that tax, which was introduced some two or three years ago, why will not the same Conservative government not put a limit on this telecommunications tax for virtually the same reasons that were accepted as fair and just in the case of the air travel tax?
This is an unfair tax for all northerners, especially for those living in remote areas who must use mobile phones for business and personal use. I would like to quote briefly from page four of the April edition of the Yukon Claim Sheet, the official voice of the Yukon Chamber of Mines, for the Chambers thoughts on this matter: Federal government has imposed a 10 percent tax on long distance tolls. This adversely affects northern operations in two ways: first, we are widely dispersed over large land areas which means that telephone transactions requiring a local call in the south require a long distance call to accomplish in the north; and, second, due to a lack of telephone infrastructures, a disproportionate number of mineral exploration and mining operations as well as individuals in the north are dependent on radio telephones, for which every call is considered to be long distance and is therefore taxable. Once more we are taxed not on the wealth we produce for Canada but on the cost of producing that wealth. This Chamber is writing on the issue to the federal Ministers of Communications and of Finance, with particular attention to the unfairness of tax on radio telecommunications in this way.
In consideration of northerners and others living in remote locations in Canada, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs has recommended that these telephone subscribers be subject to the ten percent telecommunications tax on long distance calls to a maximum of $3.00 a month. I suggest that the federal government accept this recommendation to indicate it is sincere about tax reform and to prove that the underlying principle of such reform of our tax system is fairness.
I ask for support on this motion by all hon. Members of this House in sending this message to Ottawa.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I want to enter this debate briefly to report the governments position on the question of this tax.
The prospect of a 10 percent tax on telecommunications was first introduced in the White Paper on Tax Reform that appeared on June 18, 1987. The Yukon government took the position that this tax places an unfair burden on people living in the north who rely heavily on long distance, and we have taken every opportunity to advise the federal Minister of Finance of our position.
On September 21, 1987, I appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance and and Economic Affairs and informed them of the impact that this tax would have on northerners. This submission obviously found some favour, because recommendation number 74, issued by the committee in November, 1987, was, that telephone subscribers in the remote north, all of the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and other locations in Canada where year-round road, rail, or boat links do not exist, be subject to the proposed telecommunications sales tax on long distance calls to a maximum of three dollars a month.
This recommendation was, of course, cited by our friend, the Member for Klondike. Despite this response from the committee, we were advised on December 3, 1987, by officials in the tax reform subcommittee, that the telecommunications tax was to remain as originally set out in the white paper. The reason given for the refusal to follow the recommendations of the Standing Committee is as follows: that the federal government needs the revenue, and that to modify taxation in the north would result in a major decrease in expected revenues.
This explanation would appear to confirm our position that the north will, and is, in fact, expected to bear a disproportionate share of the financial burden created by the telecommunications tax. After receiving the federal response to the committees recommendations on December 7, 1987, I wrote to the federal Minister of Finance, urging acknowledgement of the fairness of the Standing Committees recommendations and asking that he ensure that a reasonable cap be placed on the 10 percent sales tax initiated in remote locations in Canada. The federal Minister of Finance reacted to the recommendations no. 74 by stating, this recommendation will not be adopted when releasing the Ways and Means motion to amend the Income Tax Act on December 16, 1987.
Implementation of the tax on telecommunications services, other than basic charges for local services on all residential and business use - Government of Yukon, Workers Compensation Board, and the Yukon Housing Corporation are exempt - began on January 1, 1988. On January 6, 1988, a Ministerial Statement was presented in this Legislature expressing this governments disappointment that the federal government did not see fit to accept the Standing Committees recommendation.
Members should know that estimates prepared in October of 1987 would indicate that the impact of the tax upon Yukoners would be on the order of $90 a year for the average resident. The impact on the average tax per connection, for businesses, would be in the order of $148 per year. The most recent information from Northwestel would indicate that these are reasonable estimates, although it should be noted that their information pertains to their entire operating area and is not broken down neatly into political jurisdictions.
Because they have no practical use for them, it is highly unlikely they would do so. As well, because the government does not have access to Northwestels records we are not in a position to do such a study either. However, we can calculate that the total tax per household connection figures from the above would result in a total tax of about $1.2 million being collected from the Yukon annually. Northwestels collections to date for the whole region converted to an annual figure and pro rated by the estimated Yukon share of the total operations would yield an estimate of $l.4 million being collected from the Yukon this year.
I would expect, given the growth in our economy and the increased use of telephones in our daily lives, that the dollar effect here will increase. Suffice it to say the impact is significant. In our view, this tax amounts to regional discrimination. Its application is unfair and for that reason we shall support the motion.
Mr. McLachlan: I would like to speak briefly on the motion and commend the Member for Klondike for bringing this matter forward to the attention of the House. Because of the long distances involved in telecommunications, the basic tariff charges are higher to start with. As the tax becomes a percentage of this that seems to make the discrepancy just all that much more unfair for Yukoners. I would agree with the suggestion that the clearest way to handle the situation is to cap the tax if you can make an argument that it should exist at all, at a maximum level so no matter how great the bill for the long distance charge is the additional taxation tariff cannot rise above a certain level. This is the way it is handled with the tax on airline tickets and this has proven to be without problems.
One of the things that many of us who have families in southern Canada often run up against is the cost of long distance communication on those special days. It just seems to make it a little harder to talk to families over long distances with an added price to pay for it. Because of this, it seems to be an unfair slap at Yukoners, and I will be supporting the motion.
Mr. Lang: I think it is safe to say that this is not a partisan motion. It is one that is of deep concern to all of us who live in Yukon. We did consider coming in to amend the motion to have the tax totally eliminated, but I thought it would prolong the debate. The message emanating from the Legislature is that the motion is unfair. It does have some relevancy to the statement made earlier that it is almost a discriminatory tax in that we are so far away from the major southern centres that people in businesses have to use the telephones much more than an individual who lives in Montreal or Vancouver because they do all their business within a four or five block area.
Subsequently, they do not have the long distance phone call obligations that an individual would have up here. The other aspect is the question of family and distances that we experience. There are a few in the Legislature here today who, in order to contact their immediate families, have to make long distance calls. It is not a question of going across the street and visiting your grandparents or brother. It is a very human aspect of what we face with respect to living in the Yukon. That is offset by the standard of living we have in the Yukon and by the people who inhabit the Yukon. I do not want to convey the message that we are all up here because someone sent us. We are here by choice.
Just the same, I do not think we should have to experience what can be said to be a tax by regional discrimination. I just wanted to read into the record our concerns on this side of the House.
On December 18, 1987, on behalf of our caucus I conveyed our concern with respect to the tax that was being considered at that time. It is to the hon. Michael Wilson, and I will read it into the record.
Dear Mr. Wilson: I am writing on behalf of the Yukon PC caucus to express our objections to the recently announced 10 percent tax on long distance telephone calls. The cost of living in the Yukon is already one of the highest in Canada, and this tax will only serve to increase that burden.
Yukoners rely heavily on long distance telephone calls for communication, goods and services. Eighty percent of the revenues for Northwestel come from long distance calls. Consequently, this tax will impose a more severe impact on Yukoners than on other Canadians. We feel this is unfair, and ask you to consider the imposition of this tax as it pertains to Yukon and northern Canada.
It is safe to say this side of the House will be supporting the motion. We feel it is an unfair tax. We feel there are other methods that could be employed for the purposes of replenishing the treasury that the Government of Canada has to have in place in order to finance our government, as an example. Two hundred and forty million dollars is tranferred to our government so that we can take on some responsibilities in the everyday administration. Of course the Government of Canada needs to be financed or else, obviously, the Yukon will not get the benefits of such a financial transfer from the Government of Canada.
There are other methods that could be employed so that we, as Canadians, can contribute equally and fairly to the general coffers of the national government.
I just want to register our strong objections to the steps being taken by the Government of Canada on this matter. We do not think it is in the best interests of the people we serve.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I, too, thank the Member for Klondike for bringing the issue forward for discussion this afternoon in the House. Most, if not all, of the issues of the supporting documentation and the rationale for supporting this motion have been put forward in debate this afternoon or at some earlier point since the measure was introduced by the federal government. The arguments have been made. A unanimous resolution from our Legislature will also have an impact, of whatever size, with the federal government. Hopefully, they will be interested in reviewing the federal tax on telecommunications with a view to eliminating it.
As Minister responsible for communications, I am keenly interested in the effect that this tax will have on the Yukon. I will not pass judgment on whether or not there should be a tax, but simply that it is the position of the government, as stated by the Government Leader, that the disproportionate effect it would have on northern and remote areas is something that we should take objection to and something that we have objected to.
The population distribution in the Yukon does require a normal daily use of telephones between communities and major centre. This makes the majority of our communications classed as long-distance telephone calls. Therefore, it is subject to the tax. The Member for Porter Creek East mentioned that the socio-economic structure of the Yukon sometimes means that families are frequently spread amongst communities for cultural and economic reasons. This makes much of the interpersonal communications from family to family long distance.
Many of us do have close friends and families elsewhere in Canada, and because of the natural mobility of a large proportion of Yukoners, this tax makes it more expensive to maintain normal family ties. As a result of the analysis that we have done, it is obvious that compared to southern telephone bills, a much higher percentage of the average Yukon phone bill is composed of long distance charges. This, of course, in and of itself, demonstrates that this tax applies disproportionally to Yukoners compared to other Canadians.
The effect on economic development in the Yukon has the potential of being severe. We take note of a recently conducted random survey of Yukon business firms that indicated that a high proportion, 97 percent, rated the telephone as either very important, extremely important or essential to their businesses. It was noted that telecommunications costs and phone bills for Yukon business operators are already high as a result of the fact that most suppliers are located currently in southern locations. Consequently, every supplier called is a long distance call.
Time zones frequently dictate that calls should be made during peak periods to that maximum rates have to be paid. The distances are great, and because long-distance charges are based on distance, the tax is greater. The other factor to take in to account is that quite often when telecommunications or a simple phone call is not considered to be the best method of communication between one company and another, in southern Canada there are a variety of alternatives, for example, couriers, the use of FAX machines, data pack, data links and an 800 service that are available to them. In the Yukon, there is less accessibility to those services. Consequently, there are fewer alternatives for Yukon businesses.
One other aspect of this telephone tax is the effect it will have on persons who own and use mobile phones. This is, in essence, a particularly onerous provision for persons who only have use of a mobile radio phone because, firstly, as I am sure all rural Members at least are aware, mobile phone users already pay for a federal communication licence, they pay a monthly charge and they pay a per minute charge. Now, because all mobile phone calls are considered long distance calls, they also have to pay a disproportionate share of the tax. I, too, would like to lend my voice to support the motion and hope the arguments made this afternoon will cause the federal minister to review and hopefully modify or rescind this tax measure that does discriminate against northern and remote locations.
Motion No. 3 agreed to
Motion No. 7
Clerk: Item No. 3, standing in the name of Mr. Joe.
Speaker: Is the Member prepared to prodeed with Item No. 3?
Mr. Joe: Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Member for Tatchun
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the training program arranged by the Government of Yukon in conjunction with the Freegold Road is one more way of maximizing local benefits from the expenditure of tax dollars on public works projects and should be supported.
Mr. Joe: First of all, I would like to thank the Minister of Community and Transportation Services for selecting Carmacks as the first community to be the site of this new program.
I would also like to congratulate our five people who were selected to take part in this new training program. I wish them the best in the next two months.
A program like this is needed in Carmacks where unemployment is high and where there are not many people who have the skills needed to operate heavy equipment. There are other communities in the Yukon that do not have many skilled people who can do this type of work. This was found out when consultation was done with contractors.
There was work done on the Freegold Road and other highway projects last year and nobody from Carmacks was hired. There were many complaints from local people that the contractors did not hire locally. This training program will help ensure local employment.
The experience the trainees will pick up in their course at Keyano College in Alberta and actual work experience they will get on the Freegold project will prepare them for future construction projects in the Carmacks area.
In last years Capital Budget, there was money set aside to rebuild the highway between Carmacks and Montague House. The next several years will see the Robert Campbell Highway upgraded.
The job opportunities from these two construction projects will make sure that training these five people receive does not go to waste. Our government has responded to a real need in Carmacks in a way that will benefit many people.
This program has the support of the people in Carmacks, the chief of the Carmacks Indian Band and the mayor of the Village of Carmacks. They are happy with the approach the government has taken in setting up this training program.
The Minister of Community and Transportation Services has made a wise choice in choosing Carmacks. I am sure he will not be disappointed. Thank you. Mahsi cho.
Mr. McLachlan: I would congratulate the Member for Tatchun for bringing forward this motion. A problem does exist in Carmacks and is very real. The motion is worded very cleverly, enabling the government to make the best out of a touchy situation because of the unemployment that exists in a number of other communities. Unemployment is quite high in Carmacks, there is no doubt of that. It runs 25 to 28 percent seasonal in the winter and is not much better in the summer construction season, as the Member for Tatchun has referred to. I am aware that when the Freegold Road project was underway in 1987, the jobs for local residents were minimal and, in fact, were absolutely zilch. That was unfortunate because there are some people in the community who are quite well qualified as catskinners and would do an excellent job on the machinery. Those are the types who would not need the benefit of the program, but there are others, many others, who need the benefit of the program. I believe that this is not the only way of maximizing the public tax dollars in this community. I believe that there are some local resources that are not exploited to the best of the communitys ability, but that will come in time, and the training of the people equipped to handle heavy equipment will go a long way toward exploiting those resources, as well. What perhaps is the unfortunate situation here - unless the Minister of Education has new information to add that he has not released - is what will happen to the five people when the six or eight weeks of work on the Freegold Road project is finished.
There is some road construction in the area; there has been over the previous four years. It would be my thought that they could catch on employment with contractors in the area again. However, that is not entirely clear from this program.
I believe that thanks should also go to the Carmacks-Little Salmon Indian Band and the Village Council of Carmacks who were very instrumental in asking the Department of Education to implement such a program when they had identified that the need existed.
Unemployment is a serious problem in this area and is one that will continue for some time. It will take difficult steps to make it better. At least the five, albeit a small percentage of the total unemployed workforce, is a start, and a start on this program is what we need in Carmacks. We will be supporting the motion brought forward by the Member for Tatchun.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I would like the Member for Tatchun for bringing forward the motion to support this project training program that the Department of Community and Transportation Services and Education have established to meet some real needs in the community of Carmacks.
The characterization of the program as a pilot project is done largely because we feel that it is important to establish innovative approaches to meeting the unique and special needs of communities in order that the people who reside in those communities, especially those without experience or training, can get work and employment in the future.
The Member for Faro indicated that perhaps this was not the only way to maximize employment in communities. He is absolutely right. It is only one way to maximize employment, and it is an innovative way to do what needs to be done to provide training for people so that they can compete better in finding work in the future.
The Member for Faro brought up the point that once the Feegold project is complete these people will have no guarantee of future employment. Again the Member is right. There is no guarantee. Like all other persons who have been trained to work on jobs around the territory there is no guarantee. We are not guaranteeing anybody a job for life through any training program offered by the government. We are not employing these persons as permanent person years as part of a government labour pool that would have to be used by contractors in taking on work. However, what it does provide people who have been trained is not only work experience that is real, but also a certification under a training program that is recognized in and out of the Yukon.
The program was developed in response to the need not only for training in Carmacks, but also as a response to the need to identify programs and establish programs that could meet unique needs in various communities.
It was established because it was felt that, to establish a Yukon-wide program of the ilk that was established a number of years ago through Yukon College, it would be far too expensive to meet what were considered to be special needs of certain communities. It may be a fair characterization to say that, in Yukon, there is not an overall general need for more heavy equipment operators, but it is the case to state that, in Carmacks, there is a need for heavy equipment operators. The challenge for Education and for the government was to ensure that the needs of a particular community were met. The challenge was to do so and not only provide decent training but, also to provide the kind of work experience that Yukon employers demand when they are looking for prospective employees in the future.
It has quite often been the case, as when the government was running an underground mining course some years ago, that even though people go through a certified program for something like mining, employers still have a fundamental disrespect for any training that does not include hands-on experience in a real life setting, like the setting of a real construction project, where there are real deadlines. There is a need to perform under certain real life pressures. It is that kind of training experience that employers are looking for in new employees.
It was the challenge for Education and Community and Transportation Services to establish a program that combined certifiable training along with work experience, bearing all the features of an apprenticeship program. What we have done is to combine work experience, classroom training, with the added benefit of certification in the program so that, when the graduates of this course have completed this training and been paid a decent wage for a job done, they will leave this heavy equipment operator program with certification and experience and money in their pockets.
What we hope to see happen through this program is that, in the future, as we can identify capital projects to be undertaken in a particular area, we can undertake training in those communities to ensure the residents of those communities have a decent chance at assuming jobs for work that would be done in or adjacent to their communities.
In rural Yukon, it is one of the worst irritations for communities where people are chronically unemployed, to have capital works undertaken in their communities and not being able to participate. That is one of the worst irritations that exists in rural Yukon. We have been trying to blend the need for local labour to work on jobs in the communities with the need to provide decent certifiable training and also to ensure that the essential contracting work is tendered in the appropriate and fair manner. We have been able to combine all those elements in this heavy equipment operator training program.
A number of options were discussed earlier on in which I participated to determine whether or not we could perform the training as effectively in other ways. The possibility of running a course through Yukon College was discussed and was costed at approximately $530,000. It was felt that, to run the course, through Yukon College, it would be far too expensive to meet the needs that were identified in certain communities for a certain skill. It was felt that the same objectives could be achieved more cost effectively if we were to combine a training program with a real construction project in a district.
Carmacks was initially chosen for the pilot project to determine if the features are workable and practical was because there was a project near Carmacks that was off highway. Transportation officials felt that to run a training program on a heavily-trafficed road would be inappropriate. Therefore, its off-highway location was considered to be an important feature.
We also chose a project of a certain construction size so that the necessary supervision could be undertaken by the contractor and by the Department of Education, which will be monitoring the training. It was also felt that the terrain conditions in the area would be important as well so that a full range of conditions could be experienced by the trainees.
The certification portion of the program was considered to be important because it is always a desirable element of training programs for the trainee, after having invested eight, ten or more weeks in the training program, to walk away from that training program, if they were successful and if they passed, with a certificate in hand, which they could carry anywhere, also because it was a construction course, which was recognized as being one of the better courses in heavy equipment operation in western Canada. Because we felt that to run a generic one in Yukon College to meet the needs of people in Carmacks would be far too expensive, we looked around for heavy equipment operator courses that were reputed to be first class and also provided a large measure of hands-on practical training on the kinds of equipment that would be used in heavy construction in the Yukon - compactors, scrapers, bulldozers and graders. We found such a course at the Lac La Biche campus of Canada College in Alberta and, because this course offered a recognized certificate of competency for an entry level heavy equipment operator, because the tuition fees were reasonable and because they had open spaces, we picked this college as providing the appropriate training for the operators in this training program.
Of course, on returning to the Yukon the students would, and will, have to attend a three day air brake endorsement course, which will be held in Carmacks. That is a course that is offered as a matter of course in many Yukon communities on a regular basis.
The view of Education is that the course is obviously cost effective; it is a good course because the trainees will receive certificates from a recognized institution, the administration of the course is straightforward, specialized training is being used, and it combines work experience with in-school training.
I am informed that things for the trainees at this point are going well.
Should the program prove successful and should it be deemed practical after the construction project is completed according to the contractor who is scheduled to take these people on to acquire the practical experience over the duration of the construction project, and the results of the training program demonstrate it to be useful and productive, we will consider this particular innovation in training elsewhere in the territory.
As the Member for Tatchun mentioned, Carmacks is a community that has a chronically high unemployment rate.
For all the mining activity that is anticipated to be undertaken in this particular area, there are people in Carmacks who remain unemployed, unless a meaningful trend is undertaken in the community. I know there are other communities that could use specialized training in their areas so the residents of those communities could take advantage of not only public sector activity but, also, private sector activity in the future.
I would like to thank the Member for Tatchun for supporting the training program that has been devised carefully by Community and Transportation Services and Education. I am sure we all look forward to the results of this training program and, should it prove successful, it will be yet another innovation the Yukon has tried to ensure people in our communities, especially those people who are chronically unemployed, get the kind of meaningful training they need to take full advantage of the upswing in the economy we are experiencing now and will experience in the future.
Mr. Lang: I want to report to the Member that I did stay awake through his whole dissertation, and there was not a lot I could find wrong with what was said. I would like to make a couple of points. During the initial debate on this subject some time ago, I brought forth some reservations with respect to the program that was being planned and how the government was going about doing it. At the outset, I want to say I believe the objectives to be shared by all sides of the House in trying to devise programs for the Yukon public in such a manner that those who are not employed get some training. I do not have any problems with that. The question is how you do it.
The government has done the right thing with respect to going out to a certified school with students, such as Lac La Biche, as opposed to starting its own program. I understand the expense with respect to running a heavy equipment program. The Minister quoted figures of $500,000. He will probably find he will be looking at $1 million when he is finished. It is a sizable commitment to make with respect to any particular program run at the Yukon College, and I appreciate that.
My concern is that the scope of the program being undertaken is quite small in that, as the Minister has indicated, he has strictly targeted the community of Carmacks. There are other communities in a similar situation. Although the Minister may not want to say it, there are some Members from Whitehorse on the government side, and there are young kids in Whitehorse in the same straits as those who are in Carmacks, Watson Lake and Dawson City.
The concern I have is that the program is designed in such a manner that it targets into one community. I want to say we will support the program as it is laid out, but I would like to bring forward another option that bears some serious consideration. That would be the prospect of starting an apprenticeship program and making it available on a cost-shared basis to the contractors. It may be two or four positions per capital project where the successful tenderer can take the benefit of the cost sharing being made available for training individuals on the job. That would enhance the program because the contractor would be making a financial commitment to those individuals. They would pay half the salary, or whatever the case may be. The financial obligations would have to be clearly outlined. The contractor would have a stake in ensuring that these individuals are successful in becoming competent heavy equipment operators.
I do not want to see it as make-work positions where contractors take them on for a contract and put them on a packer for the three months or doing the very menial tasks that have to be done. They have to be done, but these people do not get training that way. These people do not get the training because it is seen as the government intruding. Basically we are dealing with young people who do not have the training to be legitimately hired on by contractors in another job, whether it is close to Carmacks, Dawson or Watson Lake. That is one recommendation that should be seriously considered because it may give it credibility in the eyes of the contractors. If it does not have credibility in the eyes of the contractor, it is not going to work. That is reality. There are a number of us in the House who have worked as heavy equipment operators and we know of what we speak.
The other aspect that has to be made clear is that one of the requirements of the lifestyle of heavy equipment operating is that he or she moves to where the job is. The job does not come to you. That has got to be made clear to these people who are taking the course. This is not a make-work project. There is no guarantee of employment, and neither should there be. These people should be made aware that when they enter into that career, the lifestyle is that you move around in or out of the territory. We have operators who have successfully completed the heavy equipment course here who are working in Alaska or in northern BC.
I just want to remind the Minister that the heavy equipment course that was held here was a very successful course, barring the financial implications. As far as successfully trained people to go on the job, overall it was successful. People working with heavy equipment, my age and maybe older, who graduated out of the first training programs that were put on by the Yukon Vocational and Technical Training Centre are superintendents, foremen, and, in some cases, own their own companies. They are the Yukon contractors that I spoke of earlier when I talked about them complaining with respect to the paperwork that is being thrust on them to bid on jobs. They have to try to understand what the motives of the government are and have to understand the general contracting regulations, and the Business Incentive Pogram. These are not people outside who are complaining that they cannot get in here to get to work, these people who are established in business and who hire Yukoners to work for them.
I want to conclude that I understand the objectives of the government, and I do not any Member of this House would disee with them, but there will have to be refinements as we move down the road. I think that the key element of it is that the contractor has to have,not only a social commitment but a financial commitment,to those positions within the crew that she or he has hired, for the purposes of running the job. If we accomplish that, we can broaden the scope of the program, for little money, and include other communities, as well. Then we can meet the objective of getting these people who are chronically unemployed into a situation where their self-worth is that much more evident and they are in a position to contribute positively toward society, as time goes on.
Motion No. 7 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Porter: I would request the unanimous consent of the House to permit a motion to move the House into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?
All Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: There is unanimous consent.
Hon. Mr. Porter: I move that the Speaker now leave the Chair and the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve into Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chairman: The Committee of the Whole will now come to order. We will recess until 7:30 p.m.
Bill No. 50 - Second Appropriation Act, 1988-89 - continued
On Community and Transportation Services - continued
Chairman: The Committee of the Whole will come to order. We will continue with Bill No. 50, the Department of Community and Transportation Services, Municipal Engineering Branch, general debate.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: There are a few follow-ups from yesterday. For Members information, Trans Mode Consultants come from Toronto. They were the consultants we contracted to work on the Motor Transport Act. I made a mistake. I thought that the nomination for the Mayo Village Council had been filled, because I have been speaking to people who expressed interest in running for the position. Unfortunately, the time has passed, and no one put their name in. That is a real tragedy.
The Mayo Village Council would like to see the position vacant rather than an appointee be placed until the next municipal election. I have indicated that as far as I am concerned we can allow the vacancy to remain until the next general election in November. If they had trouble forming a quorum, there would be no choice but to appoint someone.
The grader will be dispatched to Wickstrom Road this week. I would like the Member for Porter Creek East to put on record that the Department of Highways got a round of applause for that minor piece of news. The calcium chloride will be applied as part of the normal summer maintenance.
Mr. Lang: I will be formally corresponding with the Minister on the issue of wood roads. I was pleased to see that the road in behind the Takhini Hot Springs was included for minimal maintenance as well as for capital upkeep. It keeps the price of wood down to a reasonable level, and it permits commercial woodcutters to maintain their vehicles at less expense than they did previously. The roads were in such rough shape that it was costing them a great deal of money.
There is another road that is not on the schedule, but there have been informal requests for maintenance over the last two years. That is the Scout Lake Road just past mile 928 on the Alaska Highway going toward the Ibex. I have made some direct inquiries to the federal forestry department. They believe that there is at least five years, if not more, worth of commercial woodcutting in the area. That would be between nine and 12 miles outside of Whitehorse. Logistically, the closer they can be to Whitehorse and be cutting, the better it is for the consumer and the woodcutter.
I am going to be asking formally in a letter to the Minister to see whether or not he could see his way fit to include that particular road on the schedule and look at a bit of capital work that has to be done in order to make it reasonable to drive on it. Right now, we have a situation where apparently it is very, very difficult to get in and out, and in fact one woodcutter who came to see me had just had the chassis on his truck twist and shear off. That is how bad it was, so I think it is a legitimate request. I recognize the highways budget limitations and the problems the Minister has, but I think in the overall scope of government there is a responsibility to try and keep these main arteries open and at an acceptable level so that we can get access to them, in order that people can be burning wood, which provides jobs and so on. Perhaps the Minister could comment on that?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: We have been fairly good about scouting out new roads for year round maintenance. As the Member did mention, we added on to policy 4/9 the Takhini wood cutting road, which is 33 kilometres of road, for the purposes of year round access for wood cutting. I can tell the Member that I will have the Department of Community and Transportation Services look into the Scout Lake Road and do a site analysis as per the usual procedure to determine whether or not it is maintainable by Maintenance Branch and, if it is not, what capital upgrading would be required to bring it to a maintainable standard and determine the usage of the road as much as it can be determined at this point. Then we will see what we can do about maintaining it; we will make a decision then, but I will certainly commit to the Member that we will look into it and see what the situation is from a highway engineering perspective. I will get back to him.
Mr. Lang: I am not going to belabour it, but I want to just add a bit more information. My understanding is that there are 10 to 12 commercial woodcutters in there and, at times, private individuals also, when they can get in. There is going to be some required capital upgrading because I gather over the years there has been no maintenance at all; subsequently, the gravel has been pushed off to the side and it is pretty rocky through there. I do not see that as a major problem. If we keep the engineers clearly understanding that we are not building a highway, all we want is a road that is passable in and out, so that we are not looking at a great deal of money; we are looking at a minimum standard that allows a 4x4 to get in and out yet at the same time it is not of great cost to you and me.
I just want to highlight this in the Blues; I will be asking the Minister at the beginning of next week, so hopefully his staff will know that question is going to be forthcoming later in this session.
Mrs. Firth: We are just starting general debate on municipal engineering, and I wanted to ask some particular questions about the grants and contributions page. Would it be appropriate to do this now, Mr. Chairman, or after the votes on those lines?
Chairman: Let us clear municipal engineering first.
Mr. McLachlan: There are four people, but what are the four positions in the Operation and Maintenance Budget in this department?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: We are talking about a municipal services officer, a draftsperson, the manager of community operations and the director of Municipal Engineering. Does the Member what to know what their names are?
Mr. McLachlan: The Minister took the Director of Municipal Engineering away and made him something else. What has been done to fill that position? Is it currently filled on a full-time basis, or is it only an interim posting?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I believe Mr. Yaworsky is filling in on an acting basis at the present time.
Administration in the amount of $262,000 agreed to
On Unincorporated Communities
Unincorporated Communities in the amount of $367,000 agreed to
On Special Programs
Mr. McLachlan: Does all the money for the mosquito control program fall under this as a special program, or is that a continuing item in one of the other line items?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Special programs, almost exclusively, are mosquito control.
Mr. McLachlan: It seems that, at times, no matter how much effort you put into this one in the rural communities, there are always more mosquitoes. No matter how many people they train, no matter how early they start the program, no matter how much rain we get or do not get, there are always more mosquitoes. Is more effort being put into the training of the officers and into the education programs they go through? Does the Minister have any thoughts on that?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: As long as I have been here - in some respects - it is a losing battle if the objective is to eradicate mosquitoes from the Yukon. We have to understand and put this thing in perspective. Mosquito control is only around settlements and the vast majority of the Yukon is not sprayed. Mosquitoes do breed all over - they breed like mosquitoes, Mr. Chairman.
The best that we can hope to do is to try to make sure that the mosquitoes are controlled for the season that they are around.
Mr. McLachlan: In the case of the municipalities that do their own taxation, are they not also supplementing the Ministers program of $85,000 for mosquito control? Is it not also their responsibility to sink significant thousands into this program?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It is true that the program is cost recovered in the municipalities. For the unincorporated communities and districts the government provides the service itself. For municipalities, the municipalities pay for the service. The only new information that I can add to the whole question of mosquito control is that we are now looking at a biological rather than a chemical compound, which ought to make it safer to spray or to use around settlements. The biological compound has not been proven to be as effective as the chemical compound is, but is more biologically sound. We are looking at the possibility of using that compound in the future. I am told that the increased expenditure would be about $9,000 a year, which certainly seems to be minor. It is the question of effectiveness, in terms of controlling mosquito populations.
Mr. McLachlan: My concern is also is that you pay about $500 an hour or more for helicopters for spraying, and the amount that the Minister has in the program does not go very far. When we listen to complaints from constituents who say that there maybe should be more money in the program, and that there could be more of the spraying. Maybe we could take the money out of the value added business incentive program, or something. Does the Minister have any more money available to him, under these programs?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member had to wake up the Member for Porter Creek East, and so he used the catch phrase value added concept. He really knows how to pull his cord, I can tell you.
The issue regarding the biological compound is whether or not it is effective not if it is a nicer or safer liquid to use. It has been proven to be safer and more biologically sound, but it has not been proven to be more effective. That is the issue that we have to address right now. If it is simply a matter of $9,000 and it means that it would affect the health and safety of the public, we would adopt it immediately. There would be no question about that.
Special Programs in the amount of $85,000 agreed to
Municipal Engineering in the amount of $714,000 agreed to
On Grants, Contributions and other Transfer Payments
Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister tell me what the two new programs under grants for community cleanup and hamlet operations & maintenance are? They were not in last years budget.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Although they were not shown, they were lumped in elsewhere but they were undertaken last year. That I know. The community cleanup campaign is one that is conducted every year during the third week in May. The government provides a small grant to municipalities and unorganized communities to provide them with green garbage bags for a community cleanup campaign.
There is some advertising. The Public Schools Branch is involved in encouraging the children to go out one day during the campaign week, pick up garbage and beautify the community. The Government of Yukon provides minor grants to communities, like $200 to Teslin, to buy green garbage bags and encourage the cleaning up of garbage around the community. The Schools Branch gets the children involved and Highways Branch offers their services to pick up the garbage at drop off points and deposits it at the dumps.
The hamlet operations & maintenance is a grant that is provided to the Elsa, the only hamlet in the territory. That is a good thing too. It assists the hamlet to conduct its operations. It includes part-time secretarial help, per diems, honorariums and that sort of thing.
Mrs. Firth: I do not know what it would have been included in under the definitions of grants in last years, but if that is what the Minister says it was in, it must be there somewhere.
With respect to the contributions column - sports, arts and recreation - I do not see any identification of the Territorial Experimental Ski Training program, the TEST Program for $15,000. Why not?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I know we are intending to pay TEST $15,000. It must be rolled in someplace.
Mrs. Firth: I compared it to last years and, of the existing columns, the advance artists, arts groups, other sports, Yukon sport governing bodies, are all the same as last year. The territorial recreation groups and municipal local authorities are different from last years terminology. If the Minister could explain where TEST is identified, then I could reassure the constituents who will be asking me about it and that it is in the budget.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will check through my book, but I can assure the Member, and on the record, that there is every intention to pay the $15,000.
Mr. McLachlan: The Minister has a figure in the budget book of $1,078,000 for home owner grants. Does he know how many properties that represents?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: There is a formula. As I indicated in my opening remarks, there is an assumption that the number of units will increase. They have picked a fairly arbitrary number, as they have no way of knowing with certainty what the number will be. It was also calculated into those increased assessments that were the order of the day and were undertaken this last year. Those two factors made it necessary to increase the grant by $73,000, what we project to be the need for this year.
Mr. McLachlan: In recent weeks, the Minister of Tourism has put on a radio channel for the tourists that will get our tourism message this summer. Why did the government not have to go before CRTC and apply for licensing of that FM transmitter?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Government of the Yukon is not exempt from the licensing. What happens, at times, is that the Government of the Yukon will ...... start it transmitting, and apply for the licence at the same time. I do not know how kosher that it is, but they have done it. I do not know what the situation is with tourism. Perhaps when the tourism estimates come up, maybe the Member could ask the Minister.
The TEST Program is shown as part of Other Sports Groups; $30,000 is the Arctic Winter Games Corporation fee, and $15,000 is for TEST. It dropped a lot from last year because we did not pay a subsidy to Arctic Winter Games.
Grants, Contributions and Other Transfer Payments in the amount of $7,769,000 agreed to
Community and Transportation Services in the amount of $46,333,000 agreed to
Bill No. 60 - Fourth Appropriation Act, 1987-88
Chairman: The next bill is Bill No. 60, Fourth Appropriation Act, 1987-88.
On Clause 1
We will now recess for five minutes.
Chairman: Committee of the Whole will come to order.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As I indicated to the House at Second Reading, this bill requests a net additional spending authority of $29,345,000 for 1987-88 fiscal year. Members will also recall that $29.5 million of the funds being requested in this Supplementary Estimate are a non cash nature relating to the conversion of the YDC items into an equity grant to the Corporation. Were it not for these items there would be a small net underexpenditure of $255,000 resulting for the Supplementary Estimates.
I would like to take a few moments to deal briefly with some of the larger items contained in the Supplementary Estimates. On the operation and maintenance side we are requesting $6,734,000 in net additional spending authority. The requirements of four departments constitute the bulk of additional funds being sought.
The Department of Education requires $1.5 million in supplementary funding. Almost $l million of this results from wage settlements recently reached with our employees. Teacher recruitment and relocation of an increased number of residents at Yukon Hall account for the majority of the remaining costs.
The Public Service Commission is requesting $2.3 million; $2 million of this request is the non-cash accrual for the employee leave provisions. Members will be familiar with this accrual which is merely the setting up of a liability on our balance sheet to pay out accumulated leave and service benefits upon an employees retirement or termination of employment. The remaining monies are required principally for the Workers Compensation Fund program.
The Department of Government Services requires $778,000 over and above amounts previously voted. These funds are largely required to meet the cost of the wage settlements, maintenance costs on both hardware and software in Systems and Computing Services and operation and maintenance expenditures in public works.
At second reading there were some questions asked about the monies being built into the 1988-89 Operation and Maintenance Main Estimates. I would like to answer that question generally. The answer is yes, where the expenditure is an ongoing item that continues into 1988-89 they are built into the Main Estimates. Ministers will be able to respond to questions about those when we get to their departments.
In my remarks at Second Reading I indicated that the bulk of the monies required to fund the wage settlements for employees and to provide for the accumulated provisions of the employee termination benefits in the Public Service Commission. As I mentioned, the wage increases granted for both 1987-88 and 1988-89 and built into the 1988-89 Operation and Maintenance Mains.
Several significant items included in this Supplementary Estimate are not built into the Main Budget and I should mention those. One of these is the provision for the accumulated employee termination benefits.
Since this item was first set up on our books in 1985-86 at the request of the Auditor General, it has been the practice not to budget for it in the Main Estimates but, rather, wait until the last supplementary of the year when the required amount can be calculated with some degree of certainty. That is why we will always have an adjustment.
The allowance for bad debts in the Department of Finance is a similar situation. It is a major item included in the supplementary but for which no monies are budgeted in the Main Estimates. This item is a formula calculation and, in practice, ever since I can remember has been reflected only in the last supplementary of the year when we have some reasonable idea of the projected year end accounts receivable balances.
I would point out to Members that this particular item can result in a negative expenditure, as was the case in 1984-85. As I have already mentioned, Ministers will speak further to particular items when we get to their departments.
The question was asked about the commitment control system in place, and I have to advise the House the bugs are not out of that system yet; they will be in place soon and we may want to get into a more detailed discussion of that when we get to the Finance department supplementary. As well - I do not know how much more time Members want to spend talking about it - I have some more detailed information on the projected liability for hospital over expenditures and the process that is in place to resolve the matter. I could go on about that at some length if Members wish.
I will leave it at that and submit to questions from Members of the House, and I will try and respond to their concerns.
Mrs. Firth: The Government Leader said there were four departments that were asking for money: Education, PSC, Government Services and one other. I would like to know which is the fourth department that is requesting the additional funding.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As the Member will note, $730,000 is required for the Department of Community and Transportation Services; requirements in several grants and contribution programs constitute the majority of the request for this department. Does that answer the Members question?
Mrs. Firth: Yes, it does. I wanted to see which ones the government had identified as the four areas.
I would like to ask some questions about the computerized commitment control system. It is interesting that the Minister said the bugs are not all out of it yet. We were talking about bugs earlier when he was not here, and it was just ironic that he happened to use that phrase.
The Public Accounts Committee was told that some interim measures would be in place until they got the bugs out of this system or until they got the computerized commitment control system in place. Can he tell us now whether there is an interim measure, and what that interim measure is?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I will just go through, in a little more detail, where we are in the system, and this may explain what the Member wants to know. The bugs are not out of the system yet, and it is not yet operational. It might have been theoretically possible to meet the April 1 deadline, but the extra costs and resources would have made it very very difficult.
An implementation plan has been developed by the Departments of Finance and Government Services. It will see the system phased in over the course of the next two months. It was originally thought that if the system was not on line by April 1, 1988, the process involved in bringing it to operational status on a retroactive basis would be very cumbersome and difficult. A review of the problem by the Systems and Computing Branch at the Department of Finance resulted in the conclusion that it could be done with a manageable amount of effort.
A software contractor at System House has been trained to develop and implement revisions to the system and are required to make it fully operational. Naturally, all Members of the House would have liked to have the system active as of April 1, but this has proved impossible, and there will be, as a consequence, some extra effort required of the departments as they retroactively adopt the system.
The implementation will happen on a department by department basis. The first departments to adopt the system will be Renewable Resources and Community and Transportation Services. The remaining departments will be on line on a phase basis with all departments being completed by June. The process is proceeding as has been long desired by the House. Officials in the Department of Finance regret that it could not have been in place on April 1, but it will be in place this year.
Mrs. Firth: Do I understand it then that there is really no interim measure in place other than the government having contracted System House to aid in getting the commitment control system phased in and going?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: While we are moving departments on line, the existing commitment control system, which is a manual one, will remain in place in the departments until they come on line with the new computerized system. For a period of months, we will be running the two systems in tandem.
Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell us how much the System House contract is?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I do not have the figure right off the top of my head. That would be a Government Services contract. I will take the question as notice.
Mrs. Firth: We will just have to wait and ask sometime in June if the system is in place and working.
Were there any new programs in this Supplementary Estimate that should be brought to our attention?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: There are no major programs but, as the Member knows, there have been announcements about particular activities and some new initiatives took place during the year, some of which are covered in the supplementaries. I would suggest the best way of dealing with that issue would be on a department by department basis, because there may be new activities or initiatives undertaken by my colleagues that would not be fresh in my mind at the moment.
Mrs. Firth: I will ask the same question of the Ministers in the department by department.
Has the Minister considered the concern I raised about the information that was provided? I had made the comment that there was not a lot of information, and that there was no explanation and no information as to what some of the expenditures were for. I cited a couple of examples. In a general sense, could he tell us whether he has given any thought to that, and if any instruction has been given to the Department of Finance with respect to the information that is going to be provided in the next Supplementary Estimates?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I would like to respond to this at some length if I can, because I fear there are some misunderstandings on this score that I would like to address now. The problem is that we are going to have to be realistic about the amount of detail that can be put into estimates, particularly Supplementary Estimates.
Let me refer the Member to the Main Estimates, which are the principal budget document put before the House. For the year covered by this Supplementary Estimate, 1987-88, the Member will recall there were some 520 pages of detailed information. That total does not include the bills themselves, nor supplementary information that was tabled at the request of Members.
This 500 and some pages of information must be all consistent internally, as regards the current years information, the previous years estimates and the Public Accounts information. This is a fairly forbidding task when one considers that the 1987-88 mains, for example, contained over 10,000 numbers, not to mention hundreds upon hundreds of lines of descriptive data.
Members, I am sure, will recall that producing these final documents is a job that is undertaken by a relatively small number of individuals. The budget bureau in the Department of Finance consists of three person years. There have been periods in recent years when not all those three positions have been staffed.
The data these people are responsible for producing runs into many thousands of pages, when you consider the capital and operation and maintenance Main Estimates and the Supplimentary Estimates for a year. The bureau also carries out a number of other tasks not directly related to the estimates process. These documents are produced under extremely tight time constraints.
One budget cycle always seems to roll into the next. I am, as all Members know, a former chair of the Publics Accounts Committee and I have paid very close attention to comments that have been made by the Auditor General in the past and members of the Public Accounts Committee about information in the Estimates. I think that the quality of the information in our Estimates has improved considerably in recent years, but from time to time, comments have been made comparing our Estimates with those of the federal government.
Usually there is the suggestion that the federal government includes information in its Estimates that we do not. I must say here that it is a terrible mistake to compare the Estimates of the smallest jurisdiction in the country - with the smallest budget - to the biggest jurisdiction with the biggest budget. One cannot compare the work of three person years to that of a jurisdiction that has relatively unlimited resources.
I want to submit that I think that our Estimates have been steadily improving in the years that I have been in this House, since 1978. I think that, on the whole, they are superior in quality of information presented to most in the country, certainly better than most provincial government estimates that I have taken a look at. I believe that they are better than the Northwest Territories, or any of the provincial estimates that I have looked at, putting it in the context that we are the smallest jurisdiction.
I would hasten to add that that is not to say that there is not room for improvement. There is always room for improvement, and I think that Members will recognize that we have not only listened to constructive suggestions made by Members in this House and by the Auditor General, but the quality of information and the quantity of the information has been improving steadily over the years. We keep adding information but we cannot keep doing it without, ultimately, adding to the staff of the department, because I am not sure that it is possible.
I wonder if I could just take a minute to review for the Member some of the improvements that have been made quite recently, partly as the result of suggestions from Members on the opposite side of the House. The Capital Estimates now contain: multi-year project projections; details of capital grants and contributions; capital program objectives; and, many more lines of detail than was the case before. This is available by capital program. Grants and contribution details have been expanded so as to point out those that were paid under the authority of the legislation. Job creation data and retention data is available, community distribution data is now made available at the beginning of the budget session. Person years are categorized as to indeterminate and term. The total O&M expenditures by allotment are show in the O&M main estimates. We have departmental objectives in both the capital and O&M expropriations, and we have the listing of grants.
The Supplementary Estimate that we have before the House now requests funds, by program, as presented in the 1987-88 Main Estimates. It does not fall down to the next level, the activity level.
The Main Estimates deal with expenditures by activity level, but I think, if we were to go down to the activity level in the Supplementary Estimates, the consequence would be to essentially have the complete budget debate, line by line, activity by activity, every time we brought a supplementary budget before the House, which would mean we would be debating the whole budget two or three times a year. That is not done in most Legislatures in this country and, with respect, I submit that I am not sure it is the desire of Members in the House. I think Members will note that the capital is shown by capital program as it was in the Capital Main Estimates. I think there is useful descriptive information.
Going back just a few years, Members can note and compare it with some recent years - I think the 1984-85 Capital Mains, for example, had some very broad categories, simple lines involving very large expenditures, which were not broken down at all. I could go into some detail about that if the Members wish, but the point I want to make is that, while there may be room for improvement, I believe there has been substantial improvement. I do not believe that, in the Supplementary Estimates at least, getting down into the activity line and the activity detail and replicating the kind of information that we have in the Main Estimates is practical or possible several times a year, and it is certainly not possible with the existing staff that we have in the Department of Finance.
Mrs. Firth: With all due respect to the Minister, and I do not want to be antagonistic, but I really find his answer bureaucratic and not at all political or public oriented. I say that in the kindest way, because I would label the response the Minister has just given with a very unkind bureaucratic term. It is fine to have information about multi year projects and the objectives and the lines of detail and the person years, but that is all information that is there for the benefit of the individuals doing the budget up; all that information is within the department; they need that information to compile their budget to go to the politicians to justify their requests for additional funding.
All that information is already available and compiled. I can remember, a few years ago, the information that was in the Capital Budget. I know the Minister will be familiar with this, where a project was stated for bridges or $1.5 million for roads, and then there would be a little explanatory note: this is mainly for the construction of new roads, old roads; the ones we are going to do are in Mayo, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. It took up two or three lines and, when Members of the Legislature, including the private Members, and when members of the public picked it up, they could read it and see what was going to be done. That cannot be done now, and I do not ask the question lightly; I do not ask for pages and pages of information, as I have explained to the Minister previously. When I went to the Operating and Maintenance Budget of 1987-88, of which this is a supplementary, I looked in the Community and Transportation Services department and I looked under Community Affairs - which was where one of the major requests was being made, on page 18, for $1.8 million - and I thought I would look at the additional information in the O&M Budget and see if it helped explain why they would be needing that $1.8 million.
It did not. We have a lot of statistics about arts groups, number of groups funded, number of applicants and contributions to summer pool and recreational facilities. In the Estimates, all it says is Recreation, Community Facilities, Services. It is almost $2 million. It is almost double, and that deserves a line of explanation. I am not saying that we have to write a volume on it. I do not see how objectives, lines of detail and person years assist the Members in the House in understanding what that additional expenditure is for.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I understand perfectly the Members desire to have information about that line. I will take note of the Members observation in terms of that particular. I am sure the Minister was taking it into account in terms of providing the information readily to the House.
The Member has been in the House for some time and has seen the Supplementary Estimates. I ask her to look back, as we did in response to her question, at the 1984-85 Capital Mains, for example, in what was then Highways and Transportation. We have a project called maintenance camp facilities. That is the line. The only description that is in the Estimates that year was, to provide funds to construct staff headquarters, to replace obsolete mobile crew headquarters and upgrade camp facilities including upgrading existing ventilation and heating systems.
The problem that the Members of the House had with that description is that it did not tell them anything at all. Those words can be put in, but they do not tell Members anything they do not already know. The Main Estimates now, as a result of the kind of discussions we are now having, go on to list the specific major projects under the program. It is constructive criticism like the Member said. That was not done a few years ago.
In the same Estimates in 1984-85, Government Services had a project called computer equipment. The description there was, to provide funds for additional computer equipment, which will provide increased reliability, speed, memory capacity and access to the main facility. Again, that is not a description that would have been very helpful to Members in terms of giving them any useful information.
The Main Estimates now list the principal components of the funding request. The Member is really saying that she would like the same thing in the Supplementary Estimates. I will take note of her observation. I am not trying to provoke any hostility over this question. We have to be realistic, and they have to understand that, notwithstanding what the Member says about the work not being available. I know that an incredible amount of work goes into assembling it, collating it, cross-referencing it, cross-checking it and getting it into a form that will be acceptable to the House.
That work is done, essentially, by three people now. We cannot make unreasonable demands on those people. If Members want substantially more information than is now provided, we will have to respond to them with an additional staff request in order to be able to do it.
Mrs. Firth: I do not believe I have ever asked for substantially more information. I remember when the Minister was a Member of the Opposition, and he used to complain that the information was not adequate, and I agreed with him. We used to end up going through the same long, line by line explanations of what a project or program was going to be and what it entailed, when I thought it could be explained quite reasonably in one or two sentences, both in the Capital Budget and in the Supplementary Estimates as to what that money was for. I am asking the Government Leader to look at it, and I can see that kind of thing being done within the department. I am not saying the Department of Finance has to do that. The departments are going to the Ministers and requesting the additional funds anyway, surely they have to give the Ministers some explanation as to what they want it for, and that same explanation could be provided to Finance. Finance could sort out the wheat from the chaff and include the descriptions that would make it easier for people to understand. I have had concerns raised by individuals who have come and requested copies of the budget, thinking they were going to get great volumes of information. They say to me that they look at it and none of it makes sense to them.
I am sure that when the private Members on the government side first looked at a budget, they were as overwhelmed as I was when I first looked at it. It is because it looks so complicated and because there is very little common sense, logical and practical explanation of what the money is for.
Could the Government Leader explain for us now rather than during the health debate the liability and hospital expenditure/recovery, or whether they are not going to pay that?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Again, I apologize. I will have to take a bit of time to do this.
The old dispute relating to hospital over-expenditures for the years prior to 1984 totals $5,841,000. This amount has been booked as an expense on our accounts and taken out of our accumulated surplus. Members are well aware of the situation surrounding this liability, and we are still disputing it. I first heard about this matter during the time when Mr. Pearson was Government Leader. I cannot recall the year, but he and I were certainly discussing it during his time as Government Leader.
In the 1986-87 fiscal year, reported hospital expenditures exceeded the amount we agreed to pay for the services by $1,215,787. This amount was booked in the 1986-87 Public Accounts on the recommendation of the Auditor General. Therefore, our accumulated surplus has already been reduced by a similar amount.
However, I must emphasize again that we do not agree with this item, and we are disputing the liability.
We have taken it out of our surplus and booked it as a liability.
In September, 1987, National Health and Welfare again billed us an additional $468,544 for the 1986-87 fiscal year. We do not accept this liability. This item was brought to our attention too late to be included in the 1986-87 Public Accounts and, therefore, has not been booked as an expense, nor taken out of our accumulated surplus.
The projected over expenditure for 1987-88 is $1,293,638. We do not agree with this item and have not provided for it in the 1987-88 Supplementary Estimates currently before the House. If the Auditor General recommends booking these over expenditures, we will likely do so. These will be an over expenditure for 1987-88.
National Health and Welfare has only just signed the cost share agreement for 1987-88. This agreement is in an amount equal to that in the 1987-88 Main Estimates. Further over expenditures are expected because of the pay equity award of the Canadian Human Rights Commission for various classes of employees covering a seven year period. The amount this may cost is at this moment is totally unknown, although local federal officials have said a guess of approximately $3 million would be in order.
The hospital budget has been increased by $1,268,400 for 1988-89 for forced growth. If past experience is a guide, there will likely be over expenditures for this year. As of yet, we have received no estimates for 1988-89 costs for National Health and Welfare for hospital operation and maintenance.
In summary, we do not feel we are liable for any federal over expenditures on uninsured hospital services that are not the subject of a cost share agreement. The process to settle these matters is hard to define in precise terms. We continue to dispute the old $5.8 million liability and a number of letters have been written to federal ministers on the matter. We are not having much success but we will continue to dispute the item. The more recent over expenditures have been the subject of discussion at the senior officials level and, in a general way, at the ministerial level, and we have made our position known and are awaiting a federal response. Further steps will depend upon the nature of that response.
The reason why these have gone to ministerial level is because the federal government has behaved totally contradictory in terms of identical situations in the Northwest Territories and in the Yukon. I think in the Northwest Territories the Treasury Board granted the appeal of the Northwest Territories government. In our case, which just came a short while later to the same body, it was rejected, but in the same way that accounts may be in dispute in business and discussions may go on for years, you may eventually have arbitration or litigation to try to solve the matter.
That is what is happening in this case. A pattern has emerged and opur pattern of objections have remained the same. I am not sure that there is very much more that I can tell the Member at the moment about the process except that it is a very longstanding grievance, and the process has involved local officials, national officials, and, indeed, Ministers.
Mrs. Firth: I thank the Minister for that information. I think that it will be useful for us in the long run. Can the Minister tell us if it has only been discussed at the ministerial level? Has the government taken any legal action? Have you hired lawyers and sought legal counsel regarding the matter?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: No, we have not engaged lawyers. I think that it is a longstanding dispute between governments, which has been largely argued out between officials, and I think that that is the way it will continue.
Mrs. Firth: When the discussions are at the ministerial level, is it the Minister of Finance who discusses it with the Minister? What is the relationship there?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I do not want to suggest this is hyperbole or exaggeration but I think that it is basically true that we have worked with everybody on this question.
Mrs. Firth: Do I take it that the Minister, in his capacity as Minister of Finance, has written to the Ministers within the federal government - is that what he is saying?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have written in my capacity as Minister of Finance to the Department of Finance. In my capacity as Government Leader I have communicated with the head of the Government of Canada, as well.
Mrs. Firth: Has the Minister of Health had any discussions with her federal counterpart, the Minister of Health and Welfare, Canada?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I would be absolutely certain that the traffic between the Department of Health and Human Resources, in the Government of Yukon, and the Department of Health and Welfare, Canada, would be even more frequent.
Mrs. Firth: Perhaps the Minister could give us some indication of how long the discussion stage is going to go on before they consider some stronger action, particularly in light of the fact that the Auditor General is going to continue to make the same kinds of recommendations, I am sure, as he did last time. We will be just carrying on with this problem.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The negotiations are not going to have a satisfactory resolution for either side unless there is some movement, as the Member will understand. We are booking this as a liability, but we are not paying it. The Member should understand it. We are not paying any of the others; we have not paid any of the disputed amounts. It shows on our books as a liability. We have taken it out of the surplus, we have booked it as a liability. The federal government has not had any satisfaction, and if they want satisfaction on this score, they will have to start to bargain with us more energetically than they have in the past.
Mr. McLachlan: I have a question on commitment control. Is it true that the Department of Finance is dropping one of the pay periods, one of the control periods, and we are going down from 13 four-week periods, to 12 one-month periods, and this is designed to have a better control on our expenditures somehow. Is this true?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: No, it is not designed to have the effect the Member opposite thinks. We are, in fact, reducing the 13 periods in the year to 12. The main effect it will have is to reduce the amount of paperwork, not only in this department, but in the government, as a whole.
Mr. McLachlan: Since the government pays on biweekly pay periods, which do not divide equally into 12 one month periods, is there not a consequent increase in the paperwork to reconcile those differences?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: No, it is just a question of recording the number of pays within a certain period; I will not go into a lot of detail.
Mrs. Firth: I had asked about a third Supplementary Estimate; is the government anticipating that we probably will? It has been traditional that we do have a third Supplementary Estimate.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: If we absolutely have to; believe me, I would very much like to avoid them but there will be occasions. There is a certain amount of inevitability about some of these things, unfortunately, even with the best will in the world.
On Yukon Legislative Assembly
Mr. Lang: Perhaps the House could be informed of exactly when the book is going to be completed with respect to the history of the Legislature?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: A usually reliable source can be no more precise than that it will be done by the end of this fiscal year.
Mr. Lang: Is that to say that the reliable source to which the Minister refers is giving themselves 10 months to see whether or not it is going to be complete? Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The reliable source seems to be indicating the maximum possible flexibility on this question, yes.
Yukon Legislative Assembly in the amount of a reduction of $5,000 agreed to
On Clerk of the Assembly
Clerk of the Assembly in the amount of $18,000 agreed to
Elections in the amount of $4,000 agreed to
Yukon Legislative Assembly in the amount of $17,000 agreed to
On Executive Council Office
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Let me introduce the item for the Executive Council Office by reminding Members, as I did at second reading, that this department was faced with some extraordinary events and some extraordinary expenditures in this fiscal year under consideration. I am sure Members will note them.
In addition to land claims negotiations beginning a new vigour following a new federal mandate last fall, the Meech Lake Accord was a major unexpected and unwelcome development in the way that it has affected us. I have already indicated some of the expenditures that we have already faced on that score.
I also mentioned that the Executive Council was involved in some significant expenditures involved in the lobby on the ANWR issue, the effort to protect the Porcupine caribou range. I also mentioned in general debate of the Main Estimates that the Fuel Price Inquiry was set up and began its work in the fiscal year covered by this Supplementary Estimate. There is a provision for that in this budget.
Members will agree, I am sure, that in all of these cases there were substantial long-term interests of the Yukon at stake. There is not only the question of land claims, but all Members have joined, in one way or another, in presenting territorial views on the Meech Lake Accord. I previously mentioned, in answer to a question, the significant sum of money that has already been involved in legal and travel costs for the Meech Lake debate.
There was $57,000 spent for travel and publication of information and material on the ANWR issue. There was $25,000 to begin work on the Fuel Price Inquiry, and the other initiatives that I mentioned. The Executive Council Office also faced additional costs resulting from the governments new collective agreement with its employees. This amounted to $85,000 in the Executive Council Office. Most of these costs have been met by internal reallocation, the result is a supplementary request or $12,000, a small fraction of the departments regular budget. Except for the start up of the Fuel Price Inquiry, the department would have achieved, notwithstanding these additional expenditures, some small surplus.
By way of introduction, I would like to mention that $75,000 in the Land Claims Secretariat was unspent because there were some travel reductions and contracts in special services during a lull in the negotiations prior to the publication of the federal mandate and the appointment to the new federal negotiating team.
In policy and intergovernmental relations, the extra costs are due mainly to the payout of more than a year of accumulated leave to the former director who retired from the Ottawa office.
In devolution, $64,000 was unspent because of a vacant position and consequent reductions in travel and contract services. In Cabinet support, the extra $80,000 is attributable to the union increases and the employees receiving standard benefits. As I have indicated previously, if all party agreement can be reached, this policy will be extended to the staffs of the Legislative caucuses in this sitting.
In the ECO Secretariat, the extra costs are mostly for Meech Lake legal fees that could not be offset within the branch. I would say that this was a most unusual year for the Executive Council Office. There were heavy demands on it. Events have occurred that we could not have anticipated, and we have had to respond to those with expenditures in an effort to keep them within the departments budget as nearly as possible. As a consequence, that has caused us to exercise tight control on some other expenditures and reduce expenditures in other areas that had been planned, in order to accommodate the work done on things like Meech Lake and ANWR. In this respect, the officials in the department have done a good job.
With that introductory note, I will resume my place and respond to questions.
Mr. Phelps: You said the reduction of $75,000 in the Land Claims Secretariat was travel. Was it the contract position? Which position was it - what function?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The short answer is that, during that quiet period of negotiations in the run up to the approval of the federal mandate, we were not engaging some of the special contract services, such as mapping, that we had used the contractors to do, nor was there travel to the communities or travel to the same extent as there was once negotiations resumed.
Mr. Phelps: There was a lull, but the land claims negotiator worked full time during the lull, did he not?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Yes, because the land claims negotiator was intimately involved in trying to offer our friendly assistance in the development of the federal mandate.
Mr. Phelps: With respect to the ANWR lobbying, what portion of the $57,000 was for the publication and what for the travel?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: A very large part of that amount was for the posters and brochures that were distributed through our embassies and through the media outlets in the United States, to the major media centres and to the members of Congress. By far the largest amount of this money is for those publications.
Mrs. Firth: I know how the Government Leader feels abut Meech Lake from his comments on the radio and the costs associated with Meech Lake, but I do not think it is being too bold to ask, on behalf of the taxpayer, how much money has been spent on Meech Lake so far. Could the Government Leader give us an overall figure, and how much he would anticipate is going to have to be spent in addition?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have previously given a figure. The figure that has been spent to date is $145,000, including the travel by party leaders and others to the lobby. I apologize to the Member, but I cannot accurately predict what the final expenditures are. We had some debate about this during general debate on the Main Estimates. The legal fees, especially for a major, nationally prominent lawyer like Mr. Sopinka, are very significant. There will be expenditures that we will try to be modest about involving delegations to the provincial legislatures. I have previously indicated that it would be my wish, and the wish of the Cabinet, that if other party leaders can participate in the lobby in places like New Brunswick, Manitoba and now the possibility of Prince Edward Island, that we think that is a justifiable expenditure. We do not know yet whether any one of those three provinces will permit us to appear, but I have already had discussions with another member of this House, a party leader, about the possibility of doing a lobby in Prince Edward Island when that person is there on other business. We will try to achieve what economies we can, but I have to express my own view that I believe this question and this lobby is fundamental to the future of the Yukon Territory, constitutionally. I do not believe that justifies just any expenditures, but it certainly justified a commitment of public funds that demonstrates our seriousness.
Mrs. Firth: Does the figure of $145,000 include the $57,000 that had been identified for travel and so on?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Unless I am confusing the $57,000 amount, it is associated with ANWAR. The $145,000 is associated with Meech Lake as it relates to this Supplementary Estimate.
Mr. Lang: I would like to go back to the Land Claims Secretariat. Is there an assistant negotiator hired on behalf of YTG now?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am not sure, and I apologize to Members if I cannot give them the names and titles of everybody. We have one person on part time who is an assistant to a negotiator. The assistant negotiator, the number two person who is filling in Mr. Koepkes role, is Mr. Rob McWilliam, the ADM of Economic Development, and there are other contract people of long standing, and other people who will come on for short term contracts. There is a person who was filling the spot that was previously filled as a combination of negotiation and communications. There were some discussions with a person recently but I do not know if they have agreed to accept the position or not. I would have to take the question as notice as I do not know as of today whether the person has signed a contract and has come on board.
Mr. Lang: Obviously there is nothing in the Supplementary for an assistant negotiators salary, if we are seconding from some other department. Is that not correct?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: But there is in the Main Estimates. The assistant negotiators, if they were working at all in this year, were only working part time in this fiscal year. Mr. McWilliam has only recently come to the Land Claims Secretariat from Economic Development and, as I explained in the Main Estimates, his salary is being covered by a vacant position. The person year is a vacant position in devolution, and the salary dollars are being covered, therefore, under the Executive Council Office.
Mr. Lang: The previous assistant negotiator is now with the federal government. Is it correct that $80,000 was paid out for just five months work?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am sorry, I do not have the break down of salaries that were actually paid out during the year. Perhaps I had better take it as notice because I do not have that detail in front of me.
Mr. Lang: I just wanted to express a concern here. We are talking about a lot of money for these people. We have been told that the land claim negotiator himself makes $144,000, plus expenses, and does not provide any secretarial or office space - all of that is over and above. At the same time, we now have an assistant negotiator who, we are told in the information that I have been provided with, under government contracts, was given $80,000 for what appears to be five months work.
It is becoming a major concern to me. I go to my constituency where people are having a tough time paying mortgages on mobile homes and they see this kind of money being paid to someone. I just want to register my concern in respect to what is going on because it is a lot of money. It is a lot of money, and I think that it has to be looked at very closely.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Yes, it is a lot of money, but let me say to the Member that of course Mr. Koepke, who was in that role, was a contractor, and had a contract situation. Mr. McWilliam is a public servant, and of course, because he is a salaried public servant, the salary will be less than the contract for the person previously in that position.
Mr. Lang: I am not arguing that all. My understanding of the negotiations was that the person would go in and maybe work two or three days a week. If one adds up these salary dollars, per day, it is almost as if they are going in six or seven days a week. It is an astronomical amount of money that the taxpayers of the Yukon are being asked to pay. I could understand it, to some degree, if there was office space and secretarial and other expenses, but we are providing that over and above. I just want to register my concern, as a representative in this House. When I see these kind of dollars being paid and then I look at what appears to be the public results of what we are paying for, I really have to register my complaint in this House. I really feel that it is the Government Leaders responsibility to review this and see exactly how these dollars are being expended.
Administration in the amount of a reduction of $8,000 agreed to
On Land Claims Secretariat
Land Claims Secretariat in the amount of a reduction of $75,000 agreed to
On Public Affairs Bureau
Public Affairs Bureau in the amount of a reduction of $35,000 agreed to
On Policy and Intergovernmental Relations
Mr. McLachlan: Can we put the Meech Lake work into this section?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: No. As I indicated earlier, the principle reason for the increase in this area is that, in addition to the union increase, we had to pay the salary of Mr. Murphy upon his retirement for an entire year because that is the accumulated leave he had, and also the salary of his replacement.
Policy and Intergovernmental Relations in the amount of $43,000 agreed to
On Office of Devolution
Mr. Lang: I just want to offer my comments on the Office of Devolution of $133,000. We spent $133,000 for what? When I take a look at the past year and see what we have accomplished, I just hope that, in this coming year, the Government Leader, in conjunction with the Government of Canada, can use what little of the window that is left open to be able to announce some transfers, such as freshwater fisheries and things like that. I really think our success is very minimal and I, once again, register my complaint to say that we spent $133,000 and I think we have accomplished very little. If you go to the taxpayers of the territory and said you had spent $133,000 and you had to explain what you had accomplished, they would say that money had not been used wisely.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We did debate this in general debate in the Main Estimates. I hope, during the life of this sitting of the Legislature, I will be able to announce a number of transfers, which I believe I indicated in answer to a question from the Member for Riverdale South, that are imminent. We are working very hard to try and close some of these deals. The Member opposite knows something about closing deals; sometimes they do not close as neatly or as quickly as one would like. A lot of work and a lot of effort is going into it; I take the point of the Member opposite.
Mr. McLachlan: Of the original voted to date, $197,000, considering there is only one person year, what is the balance of the $197,000 due to?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We had, as the Member will recall from the debate last year, some contract money for research into various issues. For the member for the central agency which is coordinating these things, there are a number of requirements needed for research in issues involving devolution, and there was a significant amount of money provided in the Main Estimates last year for that purpose. Not all of it was spent, by any means, but it was a consequence of one of the positions being vacant.
Mr. McLachlan: There were concerns mentioned in previous discussions about the cost of the Ottawa office. Since some of the devolution work does occur in Ottawa, is any portion of the Ottawa office charged against devolution? Or is this expenditure completely handled here in Whitehorse?
This relates to the expenditures here in Whitehorse, but you should understand very much that Mr. Raghu Ragunathan and Miss Kearny, with their background, do contribute in quite significant ways at key points in devolution negotiations, including representing the government in certain discussions to which we would otherwise have to send officials at great expense.
On Office of Devolution
Office of Devolution in the amount of a reduction of $64,000 agreed to
On Internal Audit
Internal Audit in the amount of $5,000 agreed to
On Bureau of Statistics
Bureau of Statistics in the amount of a reduction of $1,000 agreed to
On Office of the Commissioner
Office of the Commissioner in the amount of $2,000 agreed to
On Cabinet Support
Mr. McLachlan: The Minister gave some explanation for that. Could he give it again?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I will give the Member a break down. The $66,000 has to do with the union related increases, merit increases, and so forth. The $24,000 was a cost of Meech Lake related travel coded to the Government Leaders office, such as when the Leader of the Official Opposition or the Liberal Leader went to make appearances in Ontario.
Cabinet Support in the amount of $80,000 agreed to
On Executive Council Office Secretariat
Executive Council Office Secretariat in the amount of $40,000 agreed to
On Public Inquiries
Public Inquiries in the amount of $25,000 agreed to
On Cabinet Support
Mr. McLachlan: With respect to the cabinet support, the figures the Minister provided do not add up to $80,000.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As well as the increases, we also had reductions in spending in entertainment, we had a reduction in telephone costs, we had a reduction in cabinet tour expenditures.
Cabinet Support in the amount of $80,000 agreed to
On Executive Council Office Secretariat
Executive Council Office Secretariat in the amount of $40,000 agreed to
On Public Inquiries
Public Inquiries in the amount of $25,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures in the amount of $12,000 agreed to
On Statistics Canada
Statistics Canada in the amount of $1,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance Recoveries in the amount of $1,000 agreed to
On Capital Expenditures
On Bureau of Statistics
Bureau of Statistics in the amount of a reduction of $3,000 agreed to
Capital Expenditures in the amount of a reduction of $3,000 agreed to
On Department of Community and Transportation Services
Chairman: General debate?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The total Supplementary Estimates for the department was roughly $1.5 million including the impact on both expenditures and expenditure recoveries. This amount represents the funding required for the Local Employment Opportunities Program for the 1987-88 season. Funds approved in Supplementary Estimate No. 1 for the LEOP were those funds required to complete projects undertaken during the 1986-87 winter season.
Other amounts included in this Supplementary Estimate primarily represent transfer and relocation of funds within the department. The operation and maintenance supplementary request of $730,000 is composed of the following amounts: an increase of $68,000 for management, policy and planning and administration - these funds are primarily required due to increased activities in the communications unit; a reduction of $197,000 in Highways and Transportation, representing a decrease in activates funded by Public Works Canada offset by projected increase in highway maintenance expenditures in other areas; an increase of $64,000 in the Lands Branch to fund the grazing lease program delivery and to provide for the relocation costs of the director of the branch who is on secondment to the Government of Yukon from the Government of Canada; an increase of $753,000 in Community Services, which represents increases in grants and contributions, of which $305,000 is recoverable to the Yukon Lotteries Commission from the Government of Canada; and Funding of the Emergency Measures Unit, which is 75 percent recoverable from the Government of Canada; an increase of $42,000 in Municipal Engineering related to increased levels of service provided, resulting in increased personnel costs and supply and repairs costs.
The operation and maintenance recoveries reduction of $173,000 is made up of the following amounts; an increase of $63,000 in Emergency Measures, representing a recovery of 75 percent of projected expenditures; a decrease of $628,000 in the Alaska Highway Agreement are recoveries, which corresponds to 106 percent of the reduction in cost-shareable expenditures; an increase of $325,000 in recreation transfer payments, which represents expenditures recoverable from the Yukon Lotteries Commission and the Government of Canada and also includes participant fees; a decrease of $33,000 in Transportation of Dangerous Goods, which is 100 percent recoverable from the Government of Canada, and the recovery has been reduced in accordance with the reduction of projected expenditures.
The Capital Expenditure Supplementary of $175,000 is composed of the following amounts: a decrease of $1,105,000 in highway construction, which includes additional funding of $629,000 in support of the Dawson Dome Road construction and other projects such as the Fish Lake Road, offset by reductions in other activities; a decrease of $190,000 in the Regional Resource Roads Program - now the RTAP, which represents a decrease in planning and engineering and project evaluation costs and does not reflect a reduction in the program delivery; a decrease of $375,000 in facilities and equipment, representing an expenditure reduction primarily related to cost savings in construction of the Stewart Crossing staff quarters; a decrease of $293,000 in airports, which reflects a deferral of the Dawson City airport project offset, by funding of projects such as the Cousins Emergency Airstrip; a decrease in lands development of $401,000 representing cost savings and scope reductions on a variety of projects, offset by enhancement of other land development projects; a decrease in land central services of $112,000. Cost savings were experienced on a number of projects, and funds were provided for the Takhini Valley-Hootalinqua planning study.
There is an increase of $588,000 in public health and safety, which is primarily due to savings experienced on the Dawson dike project, offset by funding of other projects, such as the Block Y water and sewer extension in Dawson, and the Teslin project. The decrease in roads and streets of $86,000 is related to a number of small projects.
There is an increase of $1,815,000 in recreation and community facilities/services. Of this amount, $1,230,000 represents funding for projects initiated in 1986-87, but carried forward into the 1987-88 fiscal year, namely the Ross River arena, $500,000; Beaver Creek swimming pool, $280,000; Teslin curling rink of $450,000. The remainder of the increase is due to additional funding requirements, primarily for the Ross River arena.
An increase of $1.5 million for the Local Employment Opportunities Program represents funding for the program for the 1987-88 winter season; a decrease of $82,000 in community TV and radio, due to reduced funding requirements for planning and engineering in 1987-88; an increase of $92,000 in Block Funding Project Assistance. Services and expertise on specific projects are provided to communities by the department. Expenditures in this area are fully recoverable from the communities receiving the services.
The capital recoveries reduction of $360,000 is made up of the following amounts: a decrease of $401,000 in land development - this reduction is in direct proportion to the reduction in the level of expenditures, as the expenditures are recoverable through land claims; a decrease of $341,000 in transportation, MOT airports - this reduction reflects a reduced level of expenditures that are recoverable from the Government of Canada at 106.5 percent; an increase of $250,000 in water and sewer and $40,000 in rural electrification recoveries not originally budgeted; an increase of $92,000 in block funding project assistance, recoverable 100 percent from communities.
That is the short answer.
Mr. Lang: I move we report progress on Bill No. 60.
Chairman: It has been moved by the hon. Member for Porter Creek East that we report progress on Bill No. 60.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Porter: I move the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Chairman: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
May the House have the report from the Chairman of Committee of the Whole?
Mr. Webster: The Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 50, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 1988-89, and Bill No. 60, entitled Fourth Appropriation Act, 1987-88, and directed me to report progress on same.
Speaker: You have heard the report of the Chairman of Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Hon. Mr. Porter: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.
The House adjourned at 9:24 p.m.
The following Sessional Papers were tabled April 20, 1988:
Yukon Public Service Staff Relations Board, Eighteenth Annual Report, 1987-88 (Penikett)
Yukon Teachers Staff Relations Board, Fourteenth Annual Report, 1987-88 (Penikett)
The following Legislative Return was tabled April 20, 1988:
1988-89 Capital Budget re Department of Education, response to several questions (McDonald)
Oral, Hansard, pages 359 to 365, January 7, 1988