Thursday, April 28, 1988 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. At this time we will proceed with Prayers.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Today has been proclaimed a day of mourning in recognition and in solemn remembrance of workers who were killed, injured, or disabled on the job during the past year. The Canadian Labour Congress chose this day as an annual reminder of the extreme sacrifice made by victims and their families and of our ongoing responsibility to achieve ideal occupational health and safety standards. Our flags are at half-mast today as a measure of deep respect, not only for the thousands of casualties in the country, but in particular, to the two recent tragic deaths in Faro and Dawson City. I would ask your permission to allow all Members to rise and join in a moment of silence.
Moment of silence observed
Speaker: We will proceed with the Order Paper.
Are there any Returns or Documents for Tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I have for tabling responses to questions by the Member for Riverdale North and the Member for Faro.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I have for tabling the Annual Reports of the Yukon Lottery Commission and the Yukon Motor Transport Board.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Are there any Petitions?
Petition No. 1
Clerk: Mr. Speaker and hon. Members of the Assembly. I have had the honour to review a petition, being Petition No. 1 of the Fifth Session of the 26th Legislative Assembly as presented by the hon. Member for Klondike on April 27, 1988. This petition meets the requirements as to form of the Standing Orders of the Yukon Legislative Assembly.
Speaker: Pursuant to Standing Order No. 66, Petition No. 1 is deemed to be read and received.
Introduction of Bills?
Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Are there any Notices of Motion?
Are there any Statements by Ministers?
New Yukon Driver Licence System
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It is with pleasure that I rise today to inform my hon. colleagues of a new driver licence system currently being implemented by the Motor Vehicles section of the Department of Community and Transportation Services.
Members may be aware that, in 1978, Yukons first automated driver licence system was implemented. This automation greatly alleviated many of the difficulties experienced with the previous manual records system and was a significant improvement in the method of data collection, storage and retrieval.
The system implemented at that time, however, no longer meets todays requirements for more rapid and accurate information processing, integration and reporting. A six to ten week delay from the time of initial application to receipt of a drivers licence, for example, is no longer considered acceptable.
The new driver licence system will resolve this problem and its implementation will result in improved service to the public and enforcement agencies. The most visible aspects of the new system will be a change in the style and format of operator licences and the reduced time it will take to process the licences.
The new licence will display the drivers photograph, which will be very useful to many Yukon drivers for a variety of purposes and will reduce the probability of forgery and theft.
Lamination will increase the durability of the licence itself. As the new system is implemented, the licence is expected to be available to the applicant within five minutes from the time of initial application.
For the first time in rural communities served by territorial agents, licence renewals or changes will be processed and delivered over the counter. This will be accomplished through the use of direct computer linkages between territorial agents offices and the main records centre located in Whitehorse.
The new system will greatly assist authorized law enforcement agencies in their endeavours, including the contacting of family members in emergency situations, by the provision of 24 hours per day direct access to driver record data. Yukon will also be able to more fully and readily reciprocate in the provision of information to other jurisdictions.
Better tracking procedures will ensure that driver conviction data and particularly licence suspension information is more accurate and up to date. Consequently, matters requiring the prompt attention of the Yukons driver control board with respect to identified hazardous drivers can be dealt with readily and effectively. Appropriate follow-up and remedial action, such as public education and driver improvement programs, for example, can then be tailored to fit the specific needs.
I have outlined today, for the benefit of the House, the highlights of the new driver licence system. This system is expected to be fully operational by June 1 in Whitehorse and by July 1 at all territorial agent offices across Yukon. I wish to extend my appreciation to our rural territorial agents, the Department of Justice, the RCMP, and the many others whose expertise and assistance in this project will ensure that our new driver licence system will meet the needs of the Yukon for many years to come.
Mr. Lang: We are very pleased to see the initiative taken by the government in this particular area. It has been a long time in coming. It was explained to us a number of years ago that automation would put a system into place that would better serve the public.
The ministerial statement does not address the problem of people having to line up every year to receive their licence plates. Would the Minister address this in reply to the Ministerial Statement? This was the major bone of contention that was raised by the MLA for Faro a number of weeks ago, with respect to the licensing procedures.
Mr. McLachlan: I look forward with encouragement to the new system. Although there are only six territorial agents who will be able to immediately access the system, I am hoping there are improvements soon for the residents of Yukons other smaller communities.
It is commendable. However, it is only half the battle. The biggest problem still remains with vehicle licensing after the driver licensing. I hope the Minister has something to inform the Legislature soon on the rectification of this problem.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: As Members know, this new licensing system is for operator licences only. It is not meant to be a licensing system for vehicle licences or licence plates. As I indicated once before, I hope to be able to make a statement shortly in the Legislature with respect to licence plate applications and the historic line-ups that have been the order of the day in the past. The one thing to remember is that, across the territory, people have already registered and received their licence plates for this current year. Any new licensing system for vehicle licences would obviously not take effect until the new fiscal year.
Speaker: This then brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: Land claims/Teslin land selection
Mr. Phelps: Yesterday I was questioning the Minister of Renewable Resources regarding land selection and overlapping claims. His last answer yesterday caught my attention. I would like to read the last part of it out for the record where the Minister said, It has to be recognized, that at the end of the day when the ink dries, that there is going to be a certain amount of land that will fall fee simple to aboriginal people of the Yukon. There will be other lands that may be owned, to a degree, which do not include the ability to restrict access.
Is the Minister telling us that in addition to the fee simple or titled lands that the Indian people are going to get, that there is going to be another category of lands given to them?
Hon. Mr. Porter: No. I am not suggesting that there is going to be additional lands gained over and above what we have seen. The Member is probably as much aware of the James Bay settlement issue as I am. There were two categories of land in which there was absolute fee simple. The aboriginal beneficiaries of that settlement had the ability, as private land owners, to own the land in fee simple, but for category B lands, they had certain rights of ownership but could not restrict access.
To a degree, we saw that with COPE. I would suggest that that kind of negotiating position probably will evolve and be put in the Yukon claims discussion as well.
Mr. Phelps: The Minister said yesterday that one feature would not include the ability to restrict access. That is partially true regarding the additional category B lands in James Bay and the...
Speaker: Order, please. Would the Member please get to the supplementary question?
Mr. Phelps: Surely the Minister will agree that there is a restriction placed on non-beneficiaries regarding hunting on those kinds of lands. Is that not what the precedent calls for?
Hon. Mr. Porter: That, I would submit, is a negotiable item.
Mr. Phelps: Then there could be additional lands, called a different category of lands, in addition to the fee simple lands or titled lands, where Yukoners who were not beneficiaries could not hunt or fish.
Hon. Mr. Porter: I would reverse the question. I would look at it positively and say that there could be an innovative mix of land ownership that would take the form of fee simple absolute respecting what we know as the private ownership of lands. Lands could be held but caveated by certain restrictions that allow for access such as non-beneficiary hunting rights.
Question re: Land claims/Teslin land selection
Mr. Phelps: I am sure the Minister knows that that was a proposal in the land claims forum in the 1970s. It came from the federal government, and we nixed the idea. We were against that idea, because we thought that it was not only unfair, but silly. I would like to know if this government is now endorsing the idea of additional category lands that are not owned by the Indian people.
Hon. Mr. Porter: There is nothing in my answers that would lead one to believe that the government has taken the position of endorsing additional lands. I was simply establishing the fact that there could be a degree of ownership of lands that will flow from the settlement.
Mr. Phelps: The people in the Yukon have never been told that there would be additional lands known as category two - or whatever lands - where people would not be allowed to hunt, in addition to the lands that would be in title, or reserve category, to Indian people. Can the Minister say that he feels that this government has a mandate to move in this direction?
Hon. Mr. Porter: What is happening here is that the Member is attempting to put words in my mouth. He is saying that now, all of a sudden, there are additional lands being talked about to be overlaid on what has already been at the table.
The only agreement that we have on the table for discussion has been the one respecting the Teslin land selection. I am not saying that there will be additional lands to what have been selected by the Teslin band, as the Member has stated in his question.
Mr. Phelps: That rumour is going around the territory right now and was before the Minister gave his answer yesterday. I want to know if these additional category lands where people cannot hunt will be located immediately behind the strip selection that shows up in the Teslin land selection.
Hon. Mr. Porter: No. What is happening here is obviously that we are embarked upon a fishing expedition. There is no truth to those rumours. I have no knowledge of any such idea being presented to, or negotiated at, the land claims table.
Question re: Yukon Housing Corporation/Ross River/King residence
Mr. McLachlan: Yesterday when I was questioning the Minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation, the Minister said that the Ross River campus of the Yukon College had been looking for a place for 18 months. While this search was being conducted, the corporation was advertising the sale of the house, known as the King residence. Now, a private entrepreneur has been able to fix it up and offer a lease back to the government, much to his credit. Was this option not looked at, and costed out by the government itself, first?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Yes, as I indicated yesterday, the Yukon Housing Corporation had, in its review of the buy-back unit, looked into the costs of renovating and refitting the house, and had come up with an estimate of between $35,000 and $40,000. It was felt that the cost would be unreasonable to add to the original purchase price of the unit, which was around $39,000 to $40,000. It was decided that it was better to put the unit up for sale, rather than to put more money into the unit. That was the costing that was done by the Yukon Housing Corporation.
Mr. McLachlan: The teacher left the community in June of 1985. The Minister has often said that the community of Ross River is desperately short of land and housing for social uses. Why did the house sit empty for almost three years before the corporation decided to make a deal, if land and housing are in such short supply in that community?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: As the Member is aware - it is something that we discussed last fall in the Legislature - the unit did freeze up in 1985, and the Yukon Housing Corporation, after doing a review of the unit, decided to let it out for sale. There is a shortage of housing in Ross River. It is a fairly recent shortage, given the rise in activity at Canamax, and the government is attempting to respond to housing needs in Faro, as well.
Mr. McLachlan: Can the Minister confirm why the government stipulated as a condition of the house sale that the house be moved off the lot and then later reversed its position on that condition?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Housing Corporation asked that the house be moved off the lot because lots are in short supply. There is a need for housing in the community of Ross River and expectations by the community that the Housing Corporation will provide more housing. Even though they could not use the buy-back units they could still use the lot. Subsequently when an offer was made to trade lots they determined that the new lots were better and the board approved a lot swap.
Question re: Yukon Housing Corporation/Ross River/King residence
Mr. Lang: I want to pursue the King residence in Ross River as well. It is not a new item as it was debated in this House in December. I do not understand the statement made by the Minister yesterday that the tendering procedure was done fair and openly. Why was it a requirement of that tender called for December 17 that the house be moved off the property?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I just answered that question.
I indicated that housing lots in Ross River were in short supply. It was expected that the Housing Corporation would have to provide more housing. They knew they could not use the King residence because the cost of renovations for that house would have been unreasonable, almost the same as the original purchase price, and it was felt that the house had to be moved so they would not lose access to the property. Lots were in short supply. They wanted to keep the lot so they asked for the removal of the house.
Mr. Lang: I am concerned with the procedure of what was requested in that tender. I am told by people in Ross River and Whitehorse that they would have tendered on that particular home if they knew it could have stayed on the property it was located on. Would the Minister not agree that the purchase price of $4,000 was tendered as low as it was because the cost of moving the building was going to add to the purchase price?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am certain that is the case. The Yukon Housing Corporation board made a decision to keep the lot and to remove the house. When the bid came in at $4,000 for the sale and removal of the unit they accepted it. Subsequently an offer was made to trade lots and the board made a subsequent decision to trade lots after they had reviewed the situation in Ross River, compared the lots and decided that the lots near the buy-back unit were subject to regular spring flooding and the lots for trade were not. They decided it was in the best interest of the Yukon Housing Corporation to trade the lots and make a better situation out of the arrangement.
Mr. Lang: My concern is fairness. Is the Minister telling this House that it was fair to all those people who would have tendered and decided not to, that the Yukon Housing Corporation would turn around and make a decision such as they did, and in fact change all the terms and conditions required of the tender? Does he think that is a fair judgement, fair and open for everybody who could have been involved?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: They did not change the terms and conditions of the original tender. They made a decision early on to sell the house and to move it; the board made a decision, the Housing Corporation undertook the work. After the decision was made and the House sold for removal, the subsequent offer was made to trade lots - subsequent. The board reviewed the offer. It was not anticipated that this would be the situation with the board, but they did review the new offer, realized it was in their best interests to get access to better building lots, and I understand they improved the situation by the trade.
Question re: Yukon Housing Corporation/Ross River/King residence
Mr. Lang: Were those people who were considering tendering on that particular home told that there was a possibility that that home could stay on that property if they could find other property to perhaps swap with or sell to the Yukon Housing Authority?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: My understanding is that they were not, because the Yukon Housing Corporation did not anticipate any such offer from anyone. They realized that the residential housing lots in Ross River were in very short supply and they intended at that point to keep the lots. When the offer was made, after the original deal was concluded, the Housing Corporation did a review of the offer for a swap and made a subsequent arrangement with the owner of the two lots to do the swap because they felt that the two new lots were better than the lot they had, which was subject to flooding.
Question re: Yukon Housing Corporation/Ross River/King residence
Mr. Lang: I am not going to continue this particular line of questioning. I want to go to a new question, but in the same area: the question of the use of the home now. This is a $40,000 house, which the government eventually sold for $4,000 and which, I am told and we were told in this House yesterday, that the Department of Education and Advanced Manpower were going to rent for $985 a month. In fact, this home is so bad - and it is going to possibly turn into a public facility - that the new president of the Housing Corporation is quoted on CHON-FM as referring to it as a shack.
My first question to the Minister of Community and Transportation Services is: is it true that the Department of Education is considering renting this particular shack to the tune of $900 a month?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The local community campus committee sent a letter to the Yukon College indicating they wished to have the college consider rental of this unit for the purposes of a community campus. It was a request made by the community campus committee. I understand it was endorsed by motion at the Ross River community level by that committee.
The Department of Education and the Department of Government Services, who actually do the work, have not considered the request at this time. When the people have a chance to go into Ross River and review this unit and, perhaps, other available units - if there are such units - for the purposes of a community campus, the decision will then be made to rent this or other space for the purposes of a campus.
Mr. Lang: The Minister still has not answered my question, whether the $985 a month that was quoted by my colleague, the Member for Faro, was an accurate figure. I recall the Minister saying it was false information. Could the Minister verify that the asking rent would be $900 a month? Could he further verify whether or not, over and above that and in addition to the $900 a month to rent this shack, there would be a charge of $200 a month to do the janitorial work?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The reason I indicated the Members question yesterday was false was because there was the allegation the government had made the offer to the owner of the unit to rent the unit. That is false. Apparently, the owner of the unit has made an offer to the community campus committee to have the unit rented for $900 a month, all inclusive except for electricity. The community campus committee has reviewed it and requested the Department of Education, or the Yukon College, to rent the space in the unit. Apparently, the owner of the unit has undertaken to do all the improvements to bring it into a condition that is suitable for the community campus. That request was transmitted to the Yukon College. At this point, the government has not acted on the request.
Mr. Lang: There is a major concern being raised by this side of the House about good management. We have here a situation where the Minister of Education is saying he needs a house, the Minister for the Yukon Housing Corporation is saying he has the house for him, and he can supply it to him for $4,000 through the back door and, on the other side, we will rent it for $900 plus. You have to agree that someone has to ask some questions about what is going on with respect to yet another fiasco to do with this infamous corporation.
Does the Minister think it was wise and prudent management for the taxpayers of the Yukon to purchase a home for $40,000, have it freeze up, sell it for $4,000 to be moved off the property, then not have it moved off the property and, then, turn around and consider renting it for $900 a month, plus utilities.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The whole list of events is very selective. It does incorporate false information, the same false information the Member for Faro brought forward yesterday, and I quote, that the government had ... asked the investor to lease back the home to the Department of Education ..., which is entirely false. I indicated the sequence of events. There is nothing hidden whatsoever in this matter. The original problem, which was allowing the house to freeze, was an act I did admit the Yukon Housing Corporation made in 1985. I indicated that in November of last year. I do not know what the reasons might be for drawing it forward again. Perhaps they want to relive history.
I indicated exactly what happened before. I indicated exactly what costing was done by the corporation to try to recover part of the public investment, and if the Member is asking me whether or not I think that things were done properly after the original mistake that allowed the house to freeze up, then I would say yes, things were done properly.
Question re: Staff housing/Swift River
Mr. Phillips: I have a question, too, about this governments example of sound financial management, and it is directed to the Minister responsible for housing. Regarding the staff housing unit at Swift River: this is the unit that is costing the taxpayer about $500,000, and we have not been able to figure out whether or not we are going to build it in imperial or metric measure, or possibly in both. When I last saw the project, a few weeks ago, it was covered in snow and was on hold. Is the project still on hold?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: As the Minister of Government Services, I am in charge of this project. It is important to first say that the Member opposite is trying to state, and put into the public mind, that the government was mismanaging this project. What happened is that this project was tendered and the private contractor unfortunately had very many problems, which the government discovered and took immediate steps to correct.
Speaker: Order, please. Would the Member please conclude his answer?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The project is proceeding and it should be completed by the fall.
Mr. Phillips: The Minister tries to blame everyone but himself, but he forgets that this is $500,000 of Yukon taxpayers money. He is responsible for that money. Will the government have to remove all of the existing footings in the building and start all over with the contract?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No.
Mr. Phillips: How much will this mistake cost the taxpayers of the Yukon, and what measure will this government put in place that will better monitor projects such as this, in the future?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is exactly the good monitoring of this project that has avoided the continuance of the problem. It is impossible to say with precision the extra cost. I believe there will be some extra cost, and the government is in negotiations this week with the private sector contractor who made the mistakes and had to be taken off the job, to determine the cost of reparations.
Question re: Staff housing/Destruction Bay
Mrs. Firth: I, too, have a question for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services regarding some of the areas of his responsibility and prudent financial management. Regarding the teachers house that was built in Destruction Bay for $107,995, how many teachers are living in this house?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It is a cute question. The Member knows, because I have indicated it to the Legislature myself, that there are no teachers living in the house, as a result of a rent dispute between a particular teacher who was unwilling to pay the going rates for staff housing in the territory. The house was basically put on hold for the time being.
Mrs. Firth: We, on this side, see these questions as very serious matters when it comes to spending the taxpayers dollar. My question for the Minister is this: I would like to know if the teacher was asked if they would move into the house and if they were prepared to pay the rent the government wanted before the house was built?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: No, I do not believe the government knew who the teacher was, or was going to be, prior to the decision to build the house. The house was slated to be built because there was an expectation that Destruction Bay was going to have two teachers in the future; one teacher was living in the school itself and there would be a need for another house for another teacher well into the future. A request was made of the Yukon Housing Corporation to build a second unit to accommodate another full-time teacher on a long-term basis in Destruction Bay.
Mrs. Firth: The teacher was there while the house was being built, as the Minister told us before, and living in the community and learning what the costs were in the community. I would like to know if the teacher was ever told how high the rent was going to be before the house was completed?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I do not know. This is probably another of the constantly made allegations in order to buttress the Member opposites case in Question Period. It probably was; that is a nice firm fact on which to build a whole pillar of truth, is it not? The Housing Corporation built the house at the request of the Department of Education; the Department of Education, while the house was being built, put the teacher up in accommodation for a fair number of months at considerable cost in order to make sure that the teacher had reasonable accommodation in the community of Destruction Bay. When the house came vacant, it was offered to the teacher, but the teacher refused to take it.
Point of Clarification
Mr. McLachlan: On a point of members privilege, I have a clarification from yesterday to read into the record. I have no question. The original government investment in the King residence in Ross River was not $40,000 as I mentioned yesterday. It, in fact, was $62,000. If the house was bought for $4,000, that then means it was sold for only a fifteenth of its value, not one tenth, and I erred on the side of caution.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: On a point of clarification, the property was owned by Mr. James King. The Yukon Housing Corporation sought an appraisal from Jim Yamada, and it came in at $37,000. The owner of the property got an appraisal from someone else who appraised it at $48,000. The agreement struck was that the house would be purchased for $39,525, which it was.
Mr. McLachlan: On the point of clarification, in the original Yukon Housing Corporation investment, Mr. King bought the unit from the Yukon Housing Corporation three or four years before he sold it back. The record stands that it is at $62,000.
Question re: Teslin senior citizens complex
Mr. Nordling: I would like to continue this tour around the Yukon. Has this government been successful in recruiting senior citizens in Teslin to fill the $500,000 seniors complex that stood empty from July to at least December 1987.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: There is one vacancy in the fourplex.
Mr. Nordling: Are the other three units occupied by senior citizens?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I do not believe so, but I can check.
Mr. Nordling: The Minister knows that they are not. Does he know the terms under which these units are being rented to other needy people? Will they be required to move out when a senior requests accommodation?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I do not know what the situation is in Teslin. I do not know what the projections are for seniors requesting accommodation. I will check on the Housing Corporations policy if the Member wishes.
Question re: Ross River staff housing
Mr. Lang: I have a question for the Minister responsible for housing with respect to the prudent financial management practised by himself and the infamous corporation he happens to be blessed with steering in whatever direction he wishes. Can the Minister confirm today that the appliances in all staff houses in Ross River are being replaced? Will any appliance two years old and older be replaced with new ones?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I do not know if an appliance is being replaced in the staff unit in Ross River. I will check the details because allegations are continually being made, and the government has to correct that. Cases are being made through these allegations from bogus questions in Question Period. The Member for Faro has proven himself quite capable of doing the same thing. The government has to check. I will check into the details for the Member, and I hope he will not make too many allegations without having the real facts on the record.
Mr. Lang: Just for the record, the so-called false statements made by the MLA for Faro have all been verified in the last 24 hours. I would ask the Minister to verify that there were seven sets of appliances made available to the staff houses in Ross River to replace appliances two years old and older, and that some of the appliances being replaced are still in good working order.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will check into the latest allegation by the Member for Porter Creek East. Clearly, the Member for Porter Creek East is under the misapprehension that the wrong allegations the Member for Faro had made have been cleared up in the last 24 hours. The Member is wrong. The allegations still are wrong. The information brought to the House is not true.
Mr. Lang: It is so untrue that the government is presently considering renting what was at one time a $60,000 house that went down to a $40,000 house and then down to a $4,000 house. They are now actively considering renting that particular shack for $900 a month, which he verified. That is how untrue it is.
Can the Minister verify that this particular policy to replace appliances two years and older is applied to other communities throughout the territory?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will take the question as notice. The information that the Member for Faro brought to the House with respect to the Department of Education offering to rent the King buy-back, now known as the Sooley house, for $900 a month is not true. I will not call it a lie, but it is not true.
The problem is that a lot of cases in Question Period have foundations through allegations and this is truly, truly unfortunate.
Question re: Yukon Family Services Association/executive director
Mrs. Firth: I have a new question for the Minister of Health and Human Resources.
The Yukon Family Services Association advertised a job for an executive director. The competition deadline was April 27, 1988. On April 26, 1988, the Ministers department issued a press release indicating that a secondment had taken place within the department of one of the personnel to the Yukon Family Services Association to fill this executive director position.
Why did the department issue the press release saying that the job had been filled by a person from the department when the applications could still be submitted?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: There was a decision made by the board of directors the night before the announcement was made. I suspect they felt that they had done everything they could in order to find someone to fill that position.
Mrs. Firth: Is the Minister saying she does not know whether they did everything they could or not? They took a very capable person from the Ministers department. She must have agreed for this individual to go. How many applications did the Family Services Association get?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: The Family Services Association is totally independent from me, and I am not sure why she is asking me questions about what they did and why they did it. I am not even sure whether I am obligated to bring that kind of information back, because it is a private organization.
Mrs. Firth: This private organization is very heavily funded by the Ministers department, as well as the secondment that has been given to them now. I expect the Minister to have that information.
Did the Minister not have any discussions with the association? Did she just agree to give them the individual without seeing whether simple and fair rules were being adhered to, when it comes to job applications? Did she agree with that unfairness?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I am not sure if the Member across the House knows something fine when she sees it. We have had something here we have been able to take part in. I was aware of the situation. I have had discussions with the Member and I have had discussions with the persons involved. I do not know the kind of information she is trying to get form me.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed. We will now proceed with Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
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.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chairman: Committee of the Whole will now come to order. We will recess for 15 minutes.
Chairman: Committee of the Whole will come to order now.
We will start with the Public Service Commission, general debate.
Bill No. 60 - Fourth Appropriation Act, 1987-88 - continued
Public Service Commission
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: As Members can plainly see, the Supplemental is approximately $2.25 million. It looks like a lot, but I can explain it all away. This consists of an increase to the leave accrual reserve - that is the $2 million. This is required by the Auditor General, and is there solely because of that fact. There is also an increase to the Workers Compensation Claims Fund, and as Members are aware, we budget $307,000 every year. We do not actually pay a premium, but the Workers Compensation Board bills for the actual expenses. This year, because of the particular accidents, there is an additional requirement for $161,000.
The increase in the commissions budget, which is controlled by the commission, at least to some extent, is $135,000. As I can explain on the various lines, this amount is split into $61,480 due to expenditures for the collective agreement, which is attributable to this department only, and to salary increases. The remaining $73,520 is for other over expenditures, which I can explain as we go through, line by line.
Mr. Phelps: Is the $2 million in addition to the block of money that was set aside a couple of years ago, which I think was $4 million? I guess what I am asking is how much is now in the leave accrual fund?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The short answer is yes. What we budgeted originally, I think it was in 1987, was $10 million, but as of March 31, 1987 it was $9.9 million. At the conclusion of this Supplementary Estimate and of the drawdown for 1987-88, the estimated liability as of March 31, 1988 is $11.2 million.
Mr. Phelps: I was looking at the service contracts last night, going through some of the last pages of the document given us by the Minister, and I noticed items such as $55,000 to Polaris Moving and Storage, chattel moves; another $55,000, same company, chattel moves; another $55,000, Northgate Terminals, chattel moves; $50,000 to Pacific Northwest Moving for moving personal effects; $50,000 to North American Van Lines for removal of personal effects; $20,416 to Northgate Terminals for chattel moves; $25,000 to Jensen Holdings, chattel moves; $75,000 to Northgate Terminals, chattel moves; $75,000 to Polaris Moving and Storage, chattel moves; $75,000 to Pacific Northwest Moving and Storage, chattel moves. I would like to have the Minister responsible detail how much money has been spent on bringing personnel in and moving personnel out of the Yukon; also, could he give us the policy under which they operate in that regard? There seems to be some rather huge amounts here, and I have missed a bunch of $50,000 figures. If now is not the right time to do this, then I would like the commitment for the Main Estimates that we receive each of the contracts referred to in the list given us, with an explanation of why there is apparently such a huge amount of money.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: We anticipated the question, and I will answer it. If additional information is required, we can provide it in the Main Estimates. The question was about outside hires. The total moving expense for outside hires in 1987-88 is $191,420. There are some additional advertising costs, additional interview costs and house hunting trips. The moving expenses, which were zeroed in on was the figure I gave.
The total expenditures are $561,936. It is broken down into these categories: advertising, $136,563 for an average of $3,902 per hire or per job; interview expenses, which is almost all travel costs, $126,010 for an average of $3,603 per case; house hunting trips, $22,127 for an average of $632 per case; moving expenses - chattel moves, $191,420 - travel costs for the employees and their families and real estate loses, which is the benefit of some hires. The total of all those amounts is $227,236 for an average of $6,492 per hire.
Of the total expenditures of $561,936, the average per case is $14,629. There were 35 outside hires in 1987-88, but four were employed from within the Yukon although they were outside hires. That was 29 permanent full-time and six term positions.
The amount of chattel moves is something that has been looked at very seriously by Government Services. We have a suspicion that we are paying too much. Those are the figures that we have. If there are additional figures required, I would be pleased to know of that request.
Mr. Phelps: I am glad the department is suspicious, because I certainly am. Too much is being paid.
In addition to the sums you have given us, would there be additional monies for sending people outside who have terminated their employment with this government? I see quite a few figures for $50,000 and a notation removal of personal effects. That indicates departing the Yukon, to me.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The policy is that for term employees we pay their way out at the end of the term. However, I have just been informed there were none of whom the Public Service Commissioner is aware in 1987-88.
Mr. Phelps: I do not know whether the Minister has the contract book in front of him, but I am looking at page 137. On that page alone, there are three separate situations where $50,000 on each occasion has been paid to moving companies, with a notation removal of personal effects. On page 138, there is an additional $50,000 figure, removal of personal effects. I am sure there are others I have not highlighted.
To the best of his knowledge at this time, these are not for moving people from Yukon outside after employment?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: To the best of my knowledge, no. It may be explained that those contracts are not for one individual move. They are not exactly purchase orders, but they are akin to one. It may encompass several moves with one company.
Mr. Phelps: Is there a limit on what this government will pay for moving expenses for someone who is coming up here to work?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: We can provide a copy of the policy. The total expenditures for moving for last year was the figure I gave, which amounts to an average per individual of $6,500.
Mr. Phelps: Averages are not very indicative of much. I am concerned as to whether or not there is a limit. We have had some horrendous situations brought forward in this House. I recall a human rights commissioner move that was mind boggling, in terms of the cost to the taxpayer of Yukon.
To go through these figures that were given me, there is a total of $561,936. Is that correct?
My figures are: advertising for $136,000, interviewing costs at $126,000, house hunting $23,000. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is $22,127.
Mr. Phelps: Okay, $22,000, to just to round it off. Moving expenses, $191,000. In addition to that, employee travel costs and real estate losses bundled together at $227,000. That is what I understood.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I am sorry. There is a misunderstanding. The $191,000 for moving expenses is included in the $227,000. I can explain it again. The figure $227,000, rounded off, includes travel costs for employees and family members of approximately $39,000. Moving expenses are approximately $191,000. Contract services, which is basically interim accommodation, is $30,000, and real estate losses, $16,000. All of those are rounded off and it totals $227,000.
Mr. Phelps: I have heard of a security blanket from the cradle to the grave, but are we now reimbursing people in the south who made bad real estate investments on their own and when they sell their house to come up here they lose money?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No, but there is a provision for some hires where we pay a loss up to $5,000 on a real estate sale consequent of the move. That is part of the benefits package. There is a clear policy about it. I will provide a copy of that policy.
Mr. Phelps: If somebody who lives in Toronto answers an advertisement from this government, and they had bought a house in Toronto for $100,000 and could only get $95,000 when they moved up here, this government reimburses them for that loss?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes. It is paid half after six months of employment and half after one year of employment.
Mr. Phelps: I wonder if the government could come up with a policy whereby employees who go to Las Vegas and get unlucky at the roulette wheels could be reimbursed for their costs? Have you thought about that?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No, but perhaps somebody ought to try it.
Mr. Phelps: On a serious note, I think there is a real need to have a look at these costs and what kind of maximum amounts are going to be paid to move people here. In some cases it seems outrageous to me and I am sure it would seem outrageous to most taxpayers up here.
Have any of the 35 outside hires left the employ of the Yukon since they were hired and paid all this money? They were paid, not only to move up here, but to move their families up here, and to cover any loss of investments that they might have made in the past that we feel sorry about.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Of the 35, 31 were actually moved up here. To the best of our knowledge, all of those are still here and still employed.
Mr. Phelps: What happened to the other four?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: They were hired as Yukon residents but hired outside of the locale for which they were employed. As an example, the manager of the Dawson liquor store was hired from Faro, and that is included as it is a moving expense.
Mr. Phelps: How many were there hired from outside?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There were 31 hired from outside of the Yukon.
Mr. Phelps: Does the policy of covering the losses on a home apply to people in the Yukon who apply for a government job for the first time and have to move from one community to another, i.e. if a person was working for the mine in Faro and then hired on with the YTG to move to Dawson, and there was a loss on the sale of the home, would this policy apply to the Yukon resident?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes.
Mr. Phelps: Can the Minister advise as to when the government is going to review the policy of moving people around at such tremendous expense?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: As acting Minister, I will take that concern to the permanent Minister, upon his return next week. I should say, for the record, that this policy of paying all of the expenses and the real estate losses, if any, up to a point, is a policy of all jurisdictions in the country.
I will take the comment of the Official Leader of the Opposition as a representation, and I will discuss it with the permanent Minister. Perhaps in the Main Estimates he can follow it up, if he wishes.
Mr. Phelps: Has the government checked into the policy of private enterprise in the Yukon, and does the government have a list of the companies that pay losses to people who come to work for private enterprise?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes. I will again make that a request to the permanent Minister. I do happen to know, just from my knowledge of the real estate market, that Curragh Resources moved a person out of the Yukon, to Toronto, and paid that person a very large amount under a policy similar to this. I will check into that in a more systematic way.
Mr. McLachlan: In follow-up to the Leader of the Oppositions question, I would like to ask the Minister if the government really feels it is necessary to have to pay for the loss on the real estate when moving a person from Toronto to the Yukon? It is a two-way street. Inasmuch as we want them to be here working for us, they - as I have discovered in my dealings with most people - want the experience of coming to the Yukon, and I really wonder why the government feels we have to pick up the tab for a $5,000 loss on the individuals home sale. It works two ways.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I could talk about the policy but I have already made a commitment to discuss it with a permanent minister and I will do that. We can check into the policy elsewhere, and I would suggest that a follow-up during the Main Estimates may be the best way to pursue this.
Mr. McLachlan: Is the Minister aware of a policy governing what happens or what we pay when the individual comes to the Yukon from out of the country? If we hire an engineer or someone from England, do we pay the whole shot for moving the household effects from there, or do we just give them an allowance? What happens in that case?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I am advised that there is only one such case in the memory of the Public Service Commissioner: an audiologist hired from the Bahamas. We paid the expense from the point of entry into Canada.
Mr. Nordling: I would like to ask the Minister if he would provide us with a list of the 31 positions that were filled from outside the territory?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes, I can. I have it here, with the individual names. I will provide it privately.
Mr. Phelps: Just on a point of clarification, regarding the private sector. I think the comparison would be the private sector hiring someone who did not previously work for a company, not a company transferring a person from one branch to another. That would the case if Curragh were moving a previous employee somewhere else. That is a little different from hiring somebody from outside the company - or the government.
Mr. Lang: I want to go a little further on the cost of the moves. I believe the Minister gave us a quote of $196,000 that was actually paid for the moving of personal effects of employees. Is that the figure?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Actually, is is $191,420.
Mr. Lang: I think the Minister should check. On page 137 of the contracts that were made available to us, there is a total of $315,000 that shows on that page that is paid out for chattel moves through the Public Service Commission, removal of personal effects, et cetera. It is a total of $315,000. Going further, on page 138, there is another $50,000 for removal of personal effects, so that brings it up to $365,000. Then, if we go further - and I do not know if I have them all - on page 140 there is a bill for $20,416 for chattel moves; also, $25,000 for chattel moves, and on page 141 we have moving expenses - just a small one - of $1,145.
There is also one for $25,000 and three more for $75,000. There are contracts for $225,000, $250,000 and $251,145 on page 141. This does not seem to add up. We have $196,000 versus the amount that we have been provided with in service contracts.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The amount of the service contracts should not be confused with the actual expenditure. If the actual expenditure is more, there would be an additional contract that would be listed. If the actual expenditure is less, it would not show in that book. We know the actual expenditures at the end of the year.
I am giving the House the actual expenditure for outside hire. That does not include the moves from points within the Yukon. For example, if a Whitehorse resident with a job in the government was transferred to Haines Junction, that would not be a new hire or an outside hire. It would be a chattel move. There are some, I am sure, in that category.
The largest gap is that those contracts are ones for services as required. They do not represent a firm price for a move or a collection of moves.
Mr. Phelps: The point is that we see the same company over and over again. That means that the government has gone over its limit for the previous bill. Pacific Northwest is for $55,000. Further down the page, we have $50,000 for the same company. Down the page a little more, we have further expenditures for the same company. There is a huge amount of money being spent here.
We were also given the figure of 35 for outside hire. That was divided into the various figures, so we got a per cost average. Now we are told that four of the 35 were not from outside the Yukon, so those figures would not be correct. The 35 figure should not be used to divided in to these figures when the correct one is 31. That is my point.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It depends what you want the figures for. I should explain again that the figures that I gave are the actual figures of the expenditures to the end of the year. It is conceivable that there are some expenditures that the billing has not got through to the department and that probably would not be a large amount. The four here are included as outside hires because they were expenses of the government in that we paid for the relocation on the point of hire.
One could take the four out and do the arithmetic. The numbers would be slightly higher on the average cost; however, it would be more appropriate to take the expenses of those four out as well as averaging over 31 as opposed to 35. We can do that if you like and provide another number. I do not know what it would prove, but we can do that.
Mr. Phelps: It may not prove a lot. I just pointed it out because we are mixing apples and oranges to some extent.
I would like the cost of all chattel moves for employees in this department for the year. I would like to know how much it is costing the taxpayer to bring people in from the outside, whether they are newly hired or not, and how much it is costing to move all their stuff around the Yukon. Just to make a very simple point, if you are paying for it out of your own pocket, it is amazing how many things you do not pack along with you. Lots of people do not take junk with them if it is going to cost them twice as much as it is worth to move it.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I have already given that figure. The total cost of the actual chattel moves is $191,420. That is the figure as of March 31, 1988 for the previous fiscal year. I do not know what other figure I can give.
Mr. Phelps: Perhaps it bears a little clarification because obviously someone is confused. Perhaps me. We were told first of all that $191,420 was the cost of moving people who had just hired on from outside of the Yukon into the Yukon. We were told there were other costs associated with moving people from point to point within the Yukon, presumably teachers from Whitehorse to Dawson, Dawson to Whitehorse or Pelly to Carcross. If those are additional expenses, we would like to know how much those moves cost and what the policy is with regard to those moves. Once again, having just gone through the trauma of trying to move someone, it is amazing how many things are not worth moving when you look at a household full of furniture and stuff.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I understand the request. We will immediately provide the policy concerning the moving expenses the government will cover. We will collect the figure for the cost of the point-to-point moves, and we will provide this when available.
Mr. Phelps: Once I get that information, I would like to ask questions. Presumably, that will be allowed in the Main Estimates, so we are not going to have to hold up this Supplementary Estimate.
Mr. Lang: I want to pursue the contracts we have before us. I do not understand why I am given a total figure of $196,000 being spent in 1987-88 when, in the service contracts I have reviewed, they total $265,000 on page 137; $50,000 on page 138; $45,000 on page 140; $251,000 on page 141. In rough calculations, that is over $600,000 that has been identified through the service contracts in the document we have been provided with, and that does not add up. How could we have these figures this high and, then, come back and say we only spent $196,000?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I understand the concern. I will look into all those contracts and bring back an explanation. That is all I can do.
Mr. Lang: I just want a further clarification. I do not want the names of the 35 positions. We would like to identify the cost of each move to fill those positions. That would give us a true reading of what the actual costs were. When we start averaging, we start playing accountant and everything looks fine. There is a big difference between dividing by 35, as opposed to 150.
Chairman: Any further general debate.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: This is increased salary costs, and is attributable to the coordinator of devolution.
Administration in the amount of $35,000 agreed to
On Recruitment and Training
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: This is a combination of increased salary costs and increased costs and volume of advertising and relocation and travel. I spoke about those costs in the general debate.
Mr. McLachlan: Regarding payment for interviews outside of the territory, is it a policy of the department to have a short list that is no greater than three or four, or at least a short list that requires that no more than three or four be brought into the territory from outside?
I am asking because the same thought that the Member for Porter Creek East referred to in moves also shows up in airline tickets when we are bringing people in to have a look at the place and to have the job interview.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is not a formal policy, but it is our rule of thumb. Sometimes we bring in one. It is very seldom that we would bring in more than three. It would depend on the qualifications of the particular individuals involved and that particular hire.
Mr. McLachlan: I am thinking of the worst possible case, where you would be looking for a senior deputy minister for a department, with no contender in the territory. You could wind up with all three applicants coming from New Brunswick, or Halifax, or something like that. I take it, from the Ministers answer, then, that there is no definite, finite policy. If the policy dictated that all four came from Halifax or Moncton, then we would pay the full shot for everyone. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes, there is no definite policy, but in practice, for deputy ministers the public service commissioner has no memory of ever bringing in more than three.
Mr. Lang: I want to change the focus of debate here. I asked some time ago about what the cost of the dental program was going to be, or projected to be, regarding the collective agreement. Would the Minister provide that figure for us now?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: This has nothing whatever to do with this Supplementary Budget, but the answer is: approximately $240,000.
Mr. Lang: Perhaps, for the Main Estimates, the Minister could undertake, in conjunction with the department, provide as accurate an accounting figure as he can, and a short explanation of exactly how the dental plan is going to work.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes.
Recruitment and Training, in the amount of $156,000 agreed to
On Employee Records & Pensions
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There were vacant positions during the year here, and the new recruits were filled at a lower pay within the scale than the departing employees, and there is a money lapse.
Employee Records & Pensions in the amount of a reduction of $17,000 agreed to
On Labour Relations
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The bargaining with the union took slightly longer than anticipated. The development of the negotiating positions was slightly more complex than anticipated.
Labour Relations in the amount of $20,000 agreed to
On Workers Compensation Claims Fund
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I have already explained that we pay what we are billed by the fund for actual expenses. This is what it is this year. In the last two years, we have had money lapse here, but this year we have not.
Workers Compensation Claims Fund in the amount of $161,000 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: A staff position was vacant from October to March.
Compensation in the amount of a reduction of $23,000 agreed to
On Positive Employment Program
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Several of the positions were vacant at various times in the year. This is for the lapsed salary dollars.
Mrs. Firth: How many employees are in this program as of today?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There are three staff and nine trainees.
Positive Employment Program in the amount of a reduction of $36,000 agreed to
On Leave Accruals
Leave Accruals in the amount of $2,000,000 agreed to
Public Service Commission Operation in the amount of $2,296,000 agreed to
Department of Renewable Resources
Hon. Mr. Porter: I will give some explanatory notes for the Members as they are presented in the Supplementary Estimates. The major reason for the increase in the operation and maintenance expenditures of $161,000 is a result of the wage settlement negotiated during the year. That added $145,000 to the departments salary expense, and together with the JES of $38,000, that more than covers the amount of that supplement.
Specifically, the $3,000 in Administration is due to wage increases. The over expenditure of $55,000 in the Policy and Planning Branch is largely the result of those wage adjustments that total $22,000, combined with additional funding of $32,000 for the Conservation Strategy Projects. The additional $32,000 is fully recoverable from DIAND as has been reflected in the recovery figures.
A Parks, Resources and Regional Planning over expenditure of $126,000 is partly attributed to a wage adjustment of $42,000, an increase of $35,000 to cover the cost of assessing applications for grazing the land and formulating the relevant graze management plans and an increase of $43,000 for the implementation of the Yukon Land Use Planning Agreement. This $43,000, as well, is fully recoverable from the federal government.
The Fish and Wildlife Branch under expenditure of $34,000 is due to the fact that the department got a late start in implementing various projects covered under the Wildlife Habitat Agreement.
We expect this will decrease the 1987-88 expenditures and recoveries by approximately $89,000.
In addition, some projects like the moose management project, the native harvest project and special investigations were not as costly as expected and had the net effect of further reducing costs by about $60,000.
These under expenditures total $149,000 and are offset by the additional expenditures of wage adjustments again, $84,000 coupled with the additional funding of $22,000 for trapper education, $9,000 on the Liard fur bearer study. Those are 100 percent recoverable from DIAND.
The increase of $11,000 in agriculture is attributed largely to the effect of wage settlements and the cost of filling the obligations under the Pounds Act.
The differences in operation and maintenance recoveries have been pretty well covered in this explanation of expenditures.
Turning now to capital expenditures there are two major reasons for the net over expenditure of $84,000. One of the main reasons for the turn back was that there were a number of projects in process which were not completed during the fiscal year and the net effect of all of this is an increase of $41,000 for the various parks and campground development projects in 1987-88. Specific movement of monies between projects is well detailed on page 52.
The amount of $45,000 reported opposite the game farm study covers the feasibility study that was done to assess the need for a renewable resource research centre.
With respect to capital recoveries, it should be noted that the numbers presented there are wrongly presented. We are talking about the Thirty Mile River and Yukon Heritage River. We should switch those. Thirty Mile should be $10,000 and the Yukon Heritage should be $25,000.
Mr. Brewster: First, I would like to thank the Minister for sending over the contracts that I had asked for. If it is acceptable with him, we will let these ride until the main Operation and Maintenance Budget. It is quite apparent that I have to go on a fishing trip, because some of them do not even belong to Renewable Resources, and it is quite apparent that you do not get what you are looking for sometimes in these contracts. If that is agreeable, I will let most of the contracts go.
Hon. Mr. Porter: Yes, I agree to discuss that in the Operation and Maintenance Budget.
Mr. Brewster: There is one I would like to ask about. If you cannot answer we will just drop that one.
I notice an awful lot of contracts for emergency use of conservation officers. Why would there be so many emergencies? Are these actually emergencies or ordinary trips?
Hon. Mr. Porter: These are broken down in locations and for the most part these are to carry out investigations of outfitter checks in the various camps. For example, if there is a reported poaching of a moose the conservation officers will use this money to go and check the details.
Mr. Brewster: I wonder if the total cost figure would be available now? If not, we can leave it for the Operation and Maintenance Budget.
Hon. Mr. Porter: We will undertake to provide the total costs, territory wide, for these expenditures to the Member in the Operation and Maintenance Main Estimates.
Mr. Brewster: In other words, I am giving advance notice of the other total cost I want. I would like the total cost of all the airplane trips for studying wildlife and tranquilizing bears and wolves and so on; and the total cost of the buffalo and bison project - the feed, the hay, and the cost of flying in and out of there; the total cost of the native harvest study program, and the cost of the harvest study for licensed hunters - in other words, what did it cost to get the information in from licensed hunters for comparison? If I could get all that for the next Operation and Maintenance, then I will let it go for the present time.
I would like to start out on the buffalo item. I would like to go back to last year when we asked for several things, which we did not get. On one of them, I asked for the ratio of bulls to cows that had been turned out. Your reply to that was, We do not have the information the Member requests but, prior to us releasing the buffalo to the wild, we will endeavour to make that information available to the Member. All I have seen is a press release which says that 23 bison were turned out; there is no information on how many bulls or how many cows. I would point out that a letter given to me on June 17 indicated that, as 11 calves had been born the previous year, the ratio would be four bulls to seven, yet we turned out 23 animals - we will get to that a little later. Also, a wood bison management plan would be developed - this was last year - but I have never seen that plan. Has it been developed and, if it has, can we get it?
Hon. Mr. Porter: No, the wood bison management plan has not been completed. With respect to the numbers regarding the ratio of bulls to cows that were turned out, I do not have the information with me now. Hopefully, maybe before we conclude our debates this afternoon, I can provide that information.
Mr. Brewster: I asked the same thing last year and thought we might have progressed somewhere, but I guess we did not.
Of the 23 turned out, 21 had radio collars; why were two left uncollared? Just out of curiosity, why would the Member pick the number two?
Hon. Mr. Porter: I do not know the specifics to answer as to why two were left uncollared. I suspect the yearling that was turned out was one of the animals uncollared, simply because it would be a growing animal, but that is supposition on my part. However, I will confirm that. The process of collaring them was to be able to monitor the movements of the herd.
Mr. Brewster: Last year, we asked if there would be just yearlings calves turned out. The Minister reported that only Yukon-grown products would be. The press release said that only nine were born here; the rest were the old animals that were turned out. Why would that be?
Hon. Mr. Porter: It was discussed, and it was decided it would be advisable to turn the larger bulls out, basically as a measure of protection against predators, and in terms of the ratio between the older and the younger animals, as well as because the older animals would serve to teach the younger animals.
Mr. Brewster: After 25 years, I guess we have not learned. We brought in seven or eight back in 1950, turned them loose, and the principle of any game management is not to turn loose the original animal, because he will try to go home. The first bunch we lost; they went back to Big Delta. I saw them the last time when we were down on the White River. They crossed and went home. These animals you have turned out will instinctively not stay in that area.
These are the same biologists who were here in those days, and you would think they would learn a lesson from this. In the elk program, I hope we are not going to do the same thing by turning out some of the animals that are not homers here, because they will not stay in one area.
Hon. Mr. Porter: We have not made a decision in terms of the release of the elk. There is an elk management committee that is structured. My understanding is that they are preparing a basic management plan and doing the costing with respect to the captive elk we have in the Yukon. As I stated in the House, our intentions are to do two things: to be able to replenish the wild herd with additional numbers and, as well, offer them for sale to individuals in the Yukon who want to get involved in that business. We have not yet decided some of the basic questions, such as the cost at which those animals should be made available for.
Mr. Brewster: I am not going to get into the elk right now. We still have a few things here. How many calves are going to be born this spring?
Hon. Mr. Porter: We do not know that. The first year, we had 11 calves. The next year, we only had one. One of the unique things about the one that was born in year two, is it quickly grew to the point where it was as large, if not larger, at a yearling stage than the two year olds that were procreated in Alberta.
I asked the biologists about that question. Their answer is that it is nothing unique. They have experienced this in other areas where they have transplanted animals, that the reproductive capacity of the transplanted animal is knocked out of kilter, and it takes some time to adjust to their new environment.
Mr. Brewster: I read in the press releases, and it is probably true, that he had quite a time with them to get them calmed down. Do you not think that it was a very bad time to turn out the cows as they should have been calving, and they could have lost their calves due to the stress that they were under. Would fall not be a better time to turn them out?
Hon. Mr. Porter: I do not have a biology degree. I cannot give the Member a technical answer as to the decision to turn it out. We hire the biologists under the assumption that they are qualified to do the job, and that is the recommendation that they brought forth.
Mr. Brewster: I have not got a biology degree, either, but I do understand a few things about animals, and you do not turn around and dump animals upside down when they are about to calve, and start pinning their ears, and then kick them out. The stress is tremendous. These are tremendously big animals, and the stress on them is tremendous. If you do not even know if they are having calves then you are not keeping very good track of them, because anybody who has been with these animals should be able to tell by now. If they do not have their calves by now then they are going to have them within the next three weeks.
How many of the animals that have been turned out are still staying around the compound?
Hon. Mr. Porter: I really do not know. I have not been up there so I do not know how many are at the compound. I suspect that most of them are probably not; they are probably in the bush.
Mr. Brewster: We are not getting answers. You go through these contracts and find that there are endless people flying into that camp. Surely you are keeping track of the animals that you have turned out. To sit here and say that you do not know and that you do not have a biologists report - you have got 15 or 20 biologists up there. If you cannot answer then they should be down here to answer. I am not a biologist but I want some answers to some of these things.
Hon. Mr. Porter: I have a report of about a week ago saying that some of them were seen grazing. A few bulls were up on the side of a mountain, and the cows were down in the valley. They were not right by the compound but were some distance away.
Mr. Brewster: Thank you. I do not know why he did not tell me that in the first place. Did any animals die in the compound last winter?
Hon. Mr. Porter: Two animals died: one bull and one cow.
Mr. Brewster: Do you not think that perhaps a press release should have gone out, considering that people are interested? We have a great interest in seeing that this thing is a success, but we would also like to know if these animals are dying. I have had to spend 10 minutes trying to find out if you have seen any animals since they have left. First, you were not going to answer me, and then you knew the answer. This is absolutely no good. There should be news releases when these animals die.
Mr. Phillips: How did the animals die? I understand one broke its back in the process of separating.
Hon. Mr. Porter: One of the larger bulls did apparently break its back in the shoot and one of the cows was gored by the other animals.
Mr. Brewster: Had this one never been turned out?
Hon. Mr. Porter: The bull was in the squeeze shoot in the process of being turned out.
Mr. Brewster: Was the gored cow one that was going to be turned out from the small corral?
Hon. Mr. Porter: I can check on that.
Mr. Brewster: I would like to go on to collaring of animals. Last year we were accused of wanting collars left on animals, which was not the truth at all, but I asked the Minister if the collars would be taken off the animals in Game Zone Nine and Seven and he said yes. I asked if there would be any monitoring of the radio collars before they were taken off and the Minister said yes. The last statement from the Minister was, My information is that the information will be available in final written form at the end of this month. That was April 15, 1987. Once I have reviewed it and have taken it to Cabinet I have no problem getting the information directly to the Member.
Could he explain why it never came to me or has it gone through Cabinet yet?
Hon. Mr. Porter: I have not received a written report with respect to the removal of collars. I did have some discussion with the department and was told that not all of the collars have been removed. Some of the animals could not be relocated.
Mr. Brewster: Do you know of any bear that has ever been choked to death because of a collar?
Hon. Mr. Porter: If it has happened, I have not been informed.
Mr. Brewster: I have a letter here from Alberta. They had to shoot a grizzly bear because it was being choked to death by a collar. Yet there are collars on that should not be on. The Minister said they would be off last year and now they have been on a year longer. It is irresponsible. I look at the contracts of all the other collars that are going on wolves and bears, and the Minister used to complain about the little bit we did. In nine contracts here there are $314,000. That is only half of those contracts. Has the department ever heard of the collars that they use in Alberta, which are a sophisticated collar that has a charge right in it. When they want that animal to go to sleep they simply push a button and it goes to sleep, instead of having to chase it around in a helicopter time after time.
Hon. Mr. Porter: I do not know about those collars. Maybe someone in the department has heard of them. Apparently the collars that are used on the wood bison are very small and are basically transmitters that are tagged on to the animals. With the improvement in technology, those collars are becoming more advanced.
Mr. Brewster: This concerns me a little. There is a province right next door to us that has become modern, but our people seem to prefer to fly around, chase the bison and knock them down every time they want to weigh or measure them instead of simply putting them down without a helicopter buzzing them. They then put the collar on them, push a button, the bison goes to sleep and they measure them.
You would think that with all the biologists that we have and all the studying they do that they would pick up things like this. Alberta is not that far away. You would think that they would know if a bear died.
Were there any wolves collared in the Haines Junction area last winter?
Hon. Mr. Porter: There were none to my knowledge. I can check on the specifics of that question with the department to see if they have collared any additional wolves. The only wolf program that I recall where collars were implemented last year were with the wolves on the north slope. There were 26 wolves collared.
Mr. Brewster: I would like these contracts back because there are a lot of wolf studying programs here where they are being collared. I would like an explanation of that. If that is the only way I can get information, we will have to write all that information up. I have no more to say on collaring.
Mr. Phillips: Could the Minister tell the House if there are any ongoing programs in Zone Seven? For many years, we did quite extensive studies in that zone on grizzly bears, wolves, predators and moose populations. What is taking place in Zone Seven now? Is there still a program ongoing? Are there any plans for one in the future?
Hon. Mr. Porter: This was put to the Wildlife Board yesterday. They should have discussed it yesterday. They will make their comments, and it will come back to me.
Mr. Phillips: Did they do any work last winter in Zone Seven at all?
Hon. Mr. Porter: There was continuing work in the Rose Lake area, as was indicated by the contracts. I have asked for the detailed backup to the contracts. That has not arrived in my office yet.
Mr. Phillips: I would like to move on to another area where we had a wolf program that was ongoing. That is the Finlayson Caribou Herd Management Plan. Can the Minister tell us what happened with that plan last winter?
Hon. Mr. Porter: The Finlayson program the Member speaks about is a program we have in effect regarding the Finlayson caribou herd in the Ross River area. We have been culling wolves in that particular area. In 1987, 45 wolves were taken, and 41 of them were taken by the department. In 1988, the department took the same amount, 41 wolves.
Mr. Phillips: Would it be safe to say that the management plan in the Finlayson area is probably almost totally responsible for the remarkable increase in the caribou herd, and the remarkable increase in the calf crop of moose in that area?
Hon. Mr. Porter: No, I would not say that. In addition to the wolf culling, we also culled mans ability to take the animals. I think that is as equally important with respect to the rate growth of the herd. For example, the number of caribou the Ross River people were taking from that herd went in one year from 225 to about 25 caribou. When there are 200 extra animals, it contributes significantly. This notion of going in and removing the predators, save and except man, to make things all right is not founded in fact. Any program that is done has to take into account peoples impact, as well. When you reduce predation, you have to reduce all predation to give the specific herd that is under management the ability to rebound.
Mr. Phillips: I guess the Minister did not hear me very well the last time I talked about the management plan for the Finlayson herd. I did not necessarily talk specifically about the predator control. I agree that it has to encompass more than just predator control.
I would like to publicly commend the people in Ross River, who observed the restrictions and who cut back on the hunting in that area. A lot of credit for that has to not only go to the people in that area, but to Rick Farnell and his employees of Renewable Resources who went into the area to talk to and involve the people. This has been an extremely successful program. I hope this type of thing can continue in other areas of the Yukon in the future. This one has actually shown glowing success. I am now hearing from people that they are seeing more caribou now than they have seen for a great many years in the area, and that is a result of the good work done by the department and the excellent cooperation they got from the people in Ross River.
Hon. Mr. Porter: It was key that the people in the area totally contributed to the program. They wanted it to work, and they made a lot of personal sacrifices to enable that particular program to work. There was a basic unanimity in the community that the program should go ahead. The program has been well supported by the people in the Ross River area.
Mr. Brewster: I would like to bring up one question on that. When the select committee filed its report, it stated that 25 percent of the moose calves were killed by wolves; 50 percent were killed by bears. That is 75 percent so the amount taken and killed by residents was very small. Although I agree we have to control residents, I think predators have also to be controlled to an extent. I also think, quite frankly, if you read some of the reports from Alaska, they have brought their game back tremendously by controlling wolves and bears.
I would like to go on to the raffle hunt the Minister gave out in the United States. What subzones in zones seven and nine will this hunter be hunting in?
Hon. Mr. Porter: I do not have the specific answer. My understanding is that the person would be able to hunt in game zone seven.
Mr. Brewster: Was this an extra permit put out or was it a permit that had been taken away from the residents draw?
Hon. Mr. Porter: No, this would be over and above residents permits.
Mr. Brewster: Will this hunter have a zone or a subzone that nobody else will be allowed in, or will he have to go in with the residents and hunt?
Hon. Mr. Porter: He would have to hunt the same as everybody else, beginning August 1.
Mr. Brewster: Was the hunter, when he spent $28,000, aware of that?
Hon. Mr. Porter: Yes, he was aware. He was told that there was no non-resident hunting carried out in this area since 1980, when it was shut down.
Mr. Brewster: Is that hunter coming in this year, or a few years from now?
Hon. Mr. Porter: As far as I know, Mr. Callison has been in touch with them and they have agreed to start on August 1.
Mr. Brewster: Now we get down to the breakdown of the expense of the $28,000. Do the expenses of Mr. Callison, Mr. Art Johns and the food and such things as that come out of the $28,000?
Hon. Mr. Porter: That is where the funds will be expended. I drafted a letter to Mr. Callison when he was discussing the issue with the Director of Game. I am sure the Member for Kluane will want to hear this: apparently, Mr. Callison has agreed to conduct the hunt gratis.
Mr. Brewster: I would have suspected that; if not, he would probably have had a few people talk to him. The thing that bothers me on this is what the total expenses will be. How much actually will be given back to study wildlife in Yukon, out of that $28,000?
Hon. Mr. Porter: We have not nailed down the final cost; negotiations are going on regarding the costing of the hunt. In talking to Mr. Drift, a Yukon outfitter who was present at the discussions with the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep, he stated that FNAWS have indicated that they will be giving to the Yukon funds in excess of $28,000.
Mr. Brewster: In excess of $20,000? The hunt was raffled for $28,000. We have to take food, horses and a few other things out of that, so where do we get an excess of $28,000?
Hon. Mr. Porter: The foundation itself now and then grants the Yukon government money to do specific wildlife work. I am only passing on second hand information. I was informed the foundation would look at giving the Yukon funds over and above the $28,000 to do wildlife work, but we have not got the number yet.
Mr. Brewster: If the foundation gives you this extra money, will they tell you where it is going and what type of wildlife study it is to be done?
Hon. Mr. Porter: Usually they do not direct the expenditures. The department makes applications to the foundation respecting wildlife work. Some of the expenditures in the past have been for enhancing sheep habitat through selective burning is some places in the Yukon.
Another project we are thinking of is in the Faro area. Curragh has decided to reopen the Van Gorda deposit and they are constructing a road to it. We are worried that Mount Mye sheep population might be affected as a result of that reconstruction and the movement or ore. We would like to spend some money to develop a management plan specifically for that sheep population.
Mr. Brewster: In other words, the department is making an application for more money. It was not put in on this hunt. This is an application for more money for a specific project?
Hon. Mr. Porter: That is right.
Mr. Brewster: There is still a $28,000 expense that comes out of that and what is left will go into some other project, not that one?
Hon. Mr. Porter: That is correct. If we do not receive further funding other than $28,000 from the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep, we will then be forced to take the money from the raffle hunt to spend on the Van Gorda project.
Mr. Brewster: Is the raffling off of a permit a new government policy? Is this going to be continued every year?
Hon. Mr. Porter: It is the first time it has ever been done by a Canadian government. I do not see it as a yearly thing. If you do it every year the hunters will get spoiled like everyone else. If it becomes an ordinary thing, the price will drop and it will not be a special hunt any longer.
I do not see this hunt taking place every year. We billed it as a once in a lifetime. I think you can look at an extraordinary hunt like this every few years. We have to be competitive. When I was there, hunts were offered by governors of California, Wisconsin and New Mexico. In fact, the Russians are now using this as a way in which to promote their area for attracting big game hunters.
It would have to be a decision that the government of the day evaluates on a specific basis, and uses it very infrequently but only to promote, not only big game hunting in the Yukon, but also directly to promote the various outfitters that operate in the Yukon to give them a boost and highlight their presence at these large hunter meetings.
Mr. Brewster: Will the Minister send me, when he finally gets the complete breakdown of that hunt, exactly how much is cleared, and where it is going?
Hon. Mr. Porter: Yes, once the figures are complete and we know them.
Mr. Phillips: I would like to ask a couple of questions about the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep hunt, but I would like to move ahead of the hunt and talk about the promotion for the hunt. My understanding is that a government photographer went into the area and took some photographs, and that they used those at the foundation convention. Is that right?
Hon. Mr. Porter: Yes, photographs taken by a government photographer were used.
Mr. Phillips: Did that photographer go in on a hunt with the Minister of Renewable Resources, and if he did, who paid for the hunt? Did the Minister pay for it or did the Government of the Yukon pay for it all?
Hon. Mr. Porter: What the Member is referring to is a personal decision, on my own, to contract a local outfitter to take a personal trip into the Rose Lake area. The Government of the Yukon, through the Department of Public Affairs, had booked a photographer to go in to take pictures of wildlife and horses and people in the bush. He had been wait-listed with Mr. Johns, and Mr. Johns had only two trips that summer. It so happened that he accompanied the trip that I was on.
Mr. Phillips: What was the cost to the Yukon government for the photographer to go in, and how long a trip was it?
Hon. Mr. Porter: It did not come out of my budget. It came out the budget of Public Affairs, so it would be the Minister responsible who can answer.
Mr. Phillips: Who do we ask for a copy of the contract? Who would we contact?
Hon. Mr. Porter: Mr. Peniketts department.
Mr. Brewster: Was the cost of the photographic trip going to be charged against this trip? Business-wise, it would be.
Hon. Mr. Porter: I do not really understand the question.
Mr. Brewster: You undoubtedly sent this person in to take the photographs to turn around and sell this auction trip, so that is a cost against this $28,000, is it not?
Hon. Mr. Porter: I have never thought about it, but maybe I will make the argument that we should perhaps recover some of those costs as well. The intent of sending the photographer into the area was not specifically to promote this hunt. The intent was for the photographer to get wildlife shots because there are apparently very few pictures of wildlife and wilderness operations in the government archives.
Mr. Brewster: It is a coincidence that you went on a hunt in the same area that you want to raffle out when you could have gone up to the Kluane area and stood right on the highway and shot pictures of bears and everything else, without even having to go into the bush. We have them so tame that we can walk right up and pat them. What I am trying to get at is that we go around and tell everyone that we have $28,000 for a game study, but we do not have $28,000 for a game study. We have quite a bit less, and I am very interested in seeing how much less we do have.
Hon. Mr. Porter: I have never said that we have $28,000 for wildlife studies. It was always intended that the costs of the actual hunt had to come out of what we received at the auction. It is a judgment call. The amount of public relations that we got out of this effort was worth it. Not only are we promoting the Yukon as a destination for big game hunters and promoting our own outfitters, but we are able to get a stage in front of 2,100 people at the banquet.
We can make a speech about wildlife matters and the importance of wildlife to the people of the Yukon. We can speak about the anti-fur movement that is afoot in the world. These are fairly influential people. The Member, being a former outfitter, would know that a lot of these people do come from high finance and powerful governments. The cost that we will incur is more than made up for with the kind of public relations effort that we have garnered from our decision to promote a raffled hunt.
Mr. Brewster: I have no problem with that. I also understand, from the grapevine, that the Minister made a very good speech and was well received. I am very grateful for that. The point is that this is not the first time an animal was raffled here. The North American Wild Sheep Foundation has been sending money up here for quite a while, and the outfitters were responsible for taking one out. If the outfitters are going to get the most benefit from these things, they should take over the raffle instead of the taxpayers of the Yukon paying for it.
I agree with the Minister attending the raffle and bringing the Yukon into the public eye. He should probably make a trip there every year. I question that the outfitters will make the money from this, and the taxpayers of the Yukon are footing the bill.
Hon. Mr. Porter: Some outfitters do offer hunts of their own.
Mr. Phillips: The Minister talks about the high profile that the Yukon government had there and the good things that it did for us for tourism. I could not let this matter go without mentioning the superb efforts that have been put in to offering hunts to the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep and the Safari Club and many others in the past few years.
The outfitters have donated their time, their money and their efforts, and the sheep foundation has responded tenfold. They have come back to the Yukon and put thousands of more dollars in to the Yukon and wildlife research, the work on dall sheep and other species of sheep in the Yukon. We have to specifically mention the efforts of the outfitters and the foundation. There is a lot of work that would not have been without the efforts of these two groups.
Hon. Mr. Porter: Yes. That is recognized. They were pleased with our decision to support them and speak to the conference about the kind of effort that they have put into wildlife management in the Yukon. I will go back to an earlier question that the Member asked about wolves in the Haines Junction area. There have been wolves collared but not in the last year. They were done in 1985 and 1986 when a local student who had returned from university outside and was involved in that Kluane study. The numbers of collared wolves at that time were nine in 1985 and five in 1986.
Mr. Brewster: Have those collars now been taken off?
Hon. Mr. Porter: I do not have that answer. All I have is the numbers in terms of indicating how many wolves were collared in what year.
Mr. Brewster: I know they are not taken off, because I had a wolf in my yard last July that stayed in that area for four or five days. He had a collar on. I talked to a person the other day who had caught one in a trap with a collar on. He did not mean to catch it. I have a problem. Here is someone making a study so he can go to university. When he gets through his study, he apparently leaves these animals and nobody does anything with them. What are we doing up here? Are we a great big workshop where these people can come in and do these things. Incidentally, the same individual who did that trapped and choked a horse to death. What are we doing having these students coming around and doing these things, and nobody has any responsibility for these animals?
While I am on the same subject, we should start looking at what the Arctic Institute is doing. We have little rabbits running around out there that have collars on, and nobody worries about them anyway. We have mink running around out there that nobody worries about. They put the collars on and, when they are through with them, they go back and write their papers in university, and we sponsor some of these. We are giving them money out of the EDA to do these things.
Hon. Mr. Porter: I am aware the Arctic Institute is involved in the study of small mammals in the area. I believe it is quite a long-term study. Before we get to the Operation and Maintenance Budget, I will get the details. I think it is done in conjunction with the University of British Columbia, and I will provide that at the Operation and Maintenance Budget debates.
Mr. Phillips: I would like to move into the area of fisheries for a few moments. What is the Ministers department doing with respect to fisheries - not necessarily the transfer, but more with respect to the announcement in the Throne Speech and several speeches made by the Minister they were going to get into enhancing and studies of various fish in the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Porter: We did announce that we are going to do an overview fishery study of the Yukon. We secured somewhere in the neighbourhood of $90,000, and I will double check on the number. I do not have the details here, but the money was from the EDA to do the fisheries study. That will be territory-wide to assess all the data that is available on the freshwater fishery and to suggest some management plans, in terms of stocking as one of the measures, and to develop a direction for the Yukon. It is our intention to secure freshwater fishery management from the Government of Canada. We feel that, prior to securing those management responsibilities, we should have a draft management plan before us. I anticipate that is going to happen, and to begin to develop the necessary background for a management plan.
There are other studies that have been announced in the EDA that are specifically fisheries related, where the federal Department of Fisheries has secured funds to do studies. There was a recent one in Dalton Post. It is ironic to see that they got a $30,000 amount to do studies in the McIntyre and Fortin Lakes area to determine the extent of the fishery there after they have issued licences.
Mr. Brewster: We have a little problem up at Kluane Lake and I have been keeping the Minister advised on this. I have been promised - although I am not too sure that promises mean too much - that the Department of Fisheries will be holding a hearing up there and I was wondering if this government will be defending the people up there on this wholesale commercial fishing project for shipping everything out to Alberta?
Hon. Mr. Porter: We do not support the proposal and we could, if invited, participate in that public meeting and make a statement if the Member is requesting our presence there.
Mr. Brewster: I learned one thing a long time ago - do not wait for invitations, or you will not get there. You are formally invited to be there.
Hon. Mr. Porter: I accept that as an invitation.
Chairman: Before we move to the first line item, we will recess for 15 minutes.
Chairman: The Committee of the Whole will now come to order.
Hon. Mr. Porter: As I explained in the opening statement, this is due to wage increases.
Administration in the amount of $3,000 agreed to
On Policy and Planning
Hon. Mr. Porter: The $55,000 is made up of $22,000 for JES adjustments and wage increases, and $32,000 was due to the increase to cover the funds required to complete work under the DIAND agreement for the conservation projects. This is fully recoverable from DIAND.
Policy and Planning in the amount of $55,000 agreed to
On Lands, Parks and Resources
Hon. Mr. Porter: The $126,000 is made up of increased costs for wage adjustments and the JES adjustments of $42,000, and an increase to cover the expenditures under the Yukon Land Use Planning Agreement of $43,000, which is recoverable from DIAND. Last year, we announced a graze management policy and we had to go back for additional funds to be able to commence those graze management plans. That cost us $35,000. There was also a transfer from administration to cover non-consumable assets such as small items like power tools and sleeping bags, of $6,000. This gives a total figure of $126,000.
Mr. Brewster: There is just one thing I would like to ask, and I think I have the right Minister. The Village of Haines Junction has written to the Government Leader a number of times on the land use situation where everybody has been invited to participate except the elected representatives of Haines Junction and area. They have not received any replies, and the letter was written well over a month ago. In fact, they phoned me today very upset about this. They have no input. Everybody else has, yet they are the elected officials in that area.
Hon. Mr. Porter: That letter came from the Government Leaders office to mine, and last week I instructed the deputy minister to contact the Village of Haines Junction and ask them to put forward nominations so that we can select a person from the village to sit on the panel.
Mr. Brewster: Thank you. Would the Minister see that the deputy minister does that? I had a telephone call at 9:00 a.m. this morning. Nobody had contacted them and they were very, very upset about it.
Hon. Mr. Porter: I will be talking to the deputy minister early in the week, and will ask him to call immediately. We will follow that up with a letter.
Lands, Parks & Resources in the amount of a reduction of $34,000 agreed to
On Fish & Wildlife
Hon. Mr. Porter: This is a bit complicated so I will try to go through it slowly. The total for wage adjustments - this was the biggest part of the budget - is $89,000, so that is an increase. We had a decrease in the Wildlife Habitat Canada project because it did not start early in the year. That offset the $89,000. We had a decrease of $12,000 from the late hiring of a habitat technician, who was not hired for about four months. We had a further decrease in funds in the campground budget. We had an increase to cover the expenditures for the trapper education program. We received additional funds for the trapper education program of $22,000, and are going to get all of that back from the Government of Canada. As well, we did a fur bearer study in the Liard area, where the logging was taking place, and that was a $9,400 increase. Again, we will receive that from Northern Land Use Planning. We had a decrease in the native harvest project. We did not spend all of the money that was budgeted, and the decrease was $15,000. There was a decrease in the expenditure on moose of $9,000, for a total decrease of $24,000. Safari Club International gave us an additional $5,000 for the wood bison project, so that is shown as an increase. That money was spent to send one of the biologists from the department and one of the members of the Carmacks band to Montana to participate in an international conference on wood bison management. We had a decrease in special investigations; we budgeted $31,000 to do a special investigation of the Yukon and only about $6,000 was spent, resulting in a decrease of $25,000. We budgeted funds in Administration for non-consumable assets, of $6,000.
The total, after you have gone through all of that, shows a $34,000 decrease.
Mr. Brewster: I noticed a decrease in investigations. Does the Minister feel that there is less need for investigations now? Are people obeying the rules now are is there quite a bit of poaching still going on?
Hon. Mr. Porter: Apparently there was some surveillance done in Kluane, where the money was spent. Outside of that, the only other expenditures were investigations of outfitter-related complaints. There have been a couple of charges laid with outfitters, but those have not yet come to court.
Mr. Brewster: I believe I brought this up and the Minister was going to look at it. Most people hunt on Saturday and Sunday and in most cases the conservation officers are not on duty. Has anything been done to change this so there would be a conservation officer during the time most people are hunting?
Hon. Mr. Porter: We have tried to stagger the weekends of the conservation officers so they are not off every weekend. We give them alternative days off to ensure they can be there during weekends.
Mr. Brewster: I presume you started that sometime last year. Do you feel that has brought any more investigations into such things as poaching and illegal hunting?
Hon. Mr. Porter: The complaints are basically the same as the previous year, and I think we can supply specific numbers in the Operation and Maintenance Budget.
Mr. Phillips: There are all kinds of rumours about a wildlife act. Can the Minister tell us if we are going to see a new wildlife act this spring session?
Hon. Mr. Porter: A draft wildlife act was delivered to the Wildlife Management Board the last two days they were meeting. Hopefully we will have a public consultation process over the summer and a draft available for the fall sitting of the Legislature.
Mr. Phillips: One other item is the Mount White goat project. Can the Minister give us an update? Does he have any idea how many goats are there now and how successful the program has been?
Hon. Mr. Porter: I saw a report on it, and I think we have only lost two animals. I can check. Apparently the herd is doing quite well. I believe an older billy and a younger goat were lost. I can get an additional copy of the report and make that available. I have just recently seen the completed report.
Mr. Phillips: The reason I am asking is that it has been four years since radio collars were put on the goats. Has there been any attempt to find out if the collars have fallen off? Has anyone gone into the area to check it out? Could the government provide a map of where the goats are located on the -mountain? It was set up as a tourist attraction so people could view them. It would be helpful to have a map to point out the relative areas because goats really do not move around that much. Once they get to one area they usually spend most of their life in a half mile or mile of that area. It would be interesting for the public to know where they are at.
Hon. Mr. Porter: Are you talking about a map right beside the road like some sort of sign where the location would be indicated?
Mr. Phillips: There is a sign there now, but if we developed a location map, it could go in some of the tourism brochures and tourists could look when they go by on the highway. I would also ask the Minister to consider a project that has been carried out before, and that is the establishment of an artificial salt lick. FNAWS have actually done this quite a bit. They go in and build a salt lick on the front of a mountain where the goats come to the lick the salt. We could set up a viewing point along the highway about a half a mile away, and possibly have a summer student there who could explain the whole project. Tourists, for the first time in many years, could see goats right along the Alaska Highway just out of Whitehorse.
Hon. Mr. Porter: Those are good ideas. The only thing I wonder about is the use of salt that is not naturally created. I do not know if there is some problem with using salt blocks, but I will make the report that has been done on the goat population available to the Member, and I will discuss with the deputy the idea of trying to make the information related to the location of the goats more available.
Mr. Phillips: The government should look at the area seriously for tourism and renewable. You may find there are some areas on the front of that mountain now that have natural salt right in the rocks. We might have to go in and develop them a little more and enhance it in some way. It is quite possible to do this without disturbing the look of the habitat in any way, and create an area where the goats would gather once or twice a day for the salt, and people could view them from the highway. I think that was the intent of the program. Right now, you go by that road and you rarely see a goat there. I have stopped there many times and looked all over the mountain and rarely seen one, except on the Atlin road side. Once in a while, you see one there.
It would be nice to establish that herd on a viewing side of the road, where people could actually see them. It may not cost a great deal of money. It might possibly be something for a summer student to spend part of a summer on a program that would establish the habitat of where they are at, and report back.
Mr. Brewster: That brings up another thing I would like to suggest with respect to where the sheep are on Sheep Mountain. I know you would probably have an argument with Parks, however, that road is in Yukon Territory and is controlled by the Yukon. The sheep are now coming right down for water, and they are digging around in that sand right close to the road. I would suggest we should have some signs up on those cliffs to slow people down, or someone is going to kill one of them. The other day, there were five of them crossing the road, and they went down and had a drink and came back up, and there are cars all over. I think the National Park is watching them closely, and they should be watched because, when they start coming down with nice horns like that, some of them may disappear. Some decent signs should be put up there. I am amazed the parks does not do it. They have their interpretive centre there to do all that, yet they do not put any signs or anything up. A couple of nice signs should be put up in that area, especially around that cliff, so people will slow down. If they get caught in there, they are going to hit one of them. There is one place where they can see animals right on the road all the time.
Hon. Mr. Porter: This should not be too difficult, because we do have a sign shop that could do the work.
Fish and Wildlife in the amount of a reduction of $34,000 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Porter: As I stated earlier, $72,000 is to deal with the increases to Job Evaluation Study adjustments and wage adjustments. The crops demonstrator was an increase of $9,000; the obligations of the Pounds Act, $35,000; decrease in travel, $10,000; funds budgeted for information and education, decrease $6,000; a decrease due to not expending funds that were originally approved, $20,000; funds budgeted for research and development, decrease $7,000; and from administration, nonconsumable assets, a transfer of $2,000; for a total of $11,000.
Mr. Brewster: I will not argue with any money that goes to agriculture, but I still think it is the little lost cousin down at the bottom. I sometimes wonder how those poor three people up there survive with all the biologists grabbing all the money. Does the Director of Agriculture have the same authority as the directors of the other departments when they have meetings?
Hon. Mr. Porter: Yes. The Director of Agriculture shares the same level of authority, and he acquits himself quite well.
Mr. Brewster: I am very glad to hear that. Maybe I can help him one of these days. When the money comes out, they are always low down. I realize this is a small, growing industry but there are other things that they could be doing. However, they do not have enough money. Do they get their fair say when the cookie jar is opened and the money is distributed?
Hon. Mr. Porter: Agriculture, in the last couple of years, has seen increases larger than most branches in the department. Usually we try and spread the money out as evenly as possible throughout the various branches. Agriculture has, on the whole, done better than any other branch.
They are starting from zero, from when there was no agriculture branch. There are other established branches that have been there for years, and they have built budgets that the agriculture branch cannot catch up to very quickly.
Mr. Brewster: I do not really expect it to catch up. However, it gets $269,000, whereas some of the others are into the millions. It has a long way to go to catch up. This is quite an important industry. We have elk here that we are now trying to study. We have reindeer that we are trying to study. They have not done everything that they can yet to study the different types of soil and what can be grown.
I remember talking with one expert who was an experienced university man, and he came here telling people where to grow. When he returned the next year, they had grown in other areas. Nothing had grown in the places where he told them to grow. He had to learn all over again when he came here. The studies have been done now, and this industry does need a boost.
If the Minister assures me that agriculture gets its hand in the cookie jar the same as the others, I expect that we will have more for this area than $11,000 next time.
How much of this amount is federal money that will be recovered?
Hon. Mr. Porter: These funds represent what we spend. None is recoverable from the federal government.
Mr. Brewster: Maybe we should clear the operation and maintenance expenditures first. I have a couple of questions on operation and maintenance recoveries.
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures in the amount of $161,000 agreed to
On Operation and Maintenance Recoveries
Mr. Brewster: Are the wolf pelts sold on the market? What do they average in price? I presume that this is the amount of money that was brought in.
Hon. Mr. Porter: I do not know what the average price is but we do, in fact, sell these on the open market; $125 apparently is what we received.
Mr. Brewster: With that figure, I could work it out but perhaps the Member knows the answer: how many wolves did you sell last year?
Hon. Mr. Porter: From the numbers given out last year, I believe there were 26 wolves.
Mr. Brewster: From our arithmetic here, that only comes up to $3,250.
Hon. Mr. Porter: Maybe they sold for $250?
Mr. Brewster: You have a recovery of three ... Mr. Chairman, do you want me to sit down?
Chairman: No. Go ahead.
Mr. Brewster: The $125 is just in the supplementary estimate, not part of the $9,000?
Hon. Mr. Porter: The number here is the additional expenditures we were going to receive - the 26 additional wolves that were sent out.
Mr. Brewster: What I am trying to find out is the number of wolves you sold in the year. The figure of $125 does not add up.
Hon. Mr. Porter: The 26 wolves were from last year. We have not sold this years wolf pelts yet. I believe the number is 23 that will be sold at this springs auction.
Mr. Brewster: Am I to take it that 26 wolves were not all you got in 12 months? A recovery of $9,000 is shown here, and 26 wolves x $125 only comes to $3,000, so there is a $6,000 difference.
Hon. Mr. Porter: I do not have the information for the $6,000 as to how many pelts were involved. All I have is for the $3,000, which represents 26 additional pelts.
Mr. Brewster: For the Main Operation and Maintenance debate, could we get the total amount for the year?
Hon. Mr. Porter: Yes, we can provide that.
Mr. Brewster: That $125 per wolf would be the average, would it not? Some of them would be pretty badly turned out?
Hon. Mr. Porter: That is correct; $125 is the average price.
Mr. Brewster: Another thing: are these mainly the wolves that you are killing in areas where they are predators and you want to cut down on the game? Are all these wolves from the Finlayson area and no other area?
Hon. Mr. Porter: They are all from the Finlayson area.
Mr. Phillips: Does the government run its exchange program? Trappers used to be able to bring in a wolf and get paid X number of dollars for the pelt. Does it still have that program?
Hon. Mr. Porter: No, we do not.
Mr. Brewster: One of the strong recommendations of the select committee was that, rather than go round and cost us a terrific amount of money - with that $125 and an airplane, we are not making very much money - each trapper be given $200 plus the wolf,. If he would be getting $325 for a wolf, he would go out and trap wolves, and the government would not have to be flying around at a great expense. Has the department ever looked at that?
Hon. Mr. Porter: That program did exist where the trappers were given a subsidy for the market price. They were given a flat rate per wolf. I know the Member probably would have some skepticism, but we find that the use of a chopper is much more effective and we are able to get the wolves out much quicker than waiting for people to go in and trap them. As you know wolves are some of the toughest animals in the bush to trap or snare. With choppers, they are easily located.
Mr. Brewster: I am not arguing that. It is not the point. You say it was done before, and I presume that was when our government was in, and they were giving them $100 and taking the wolf away from them. Then they were selling the wolf for $125, so trappers are not dumb, they are not making any money. We suggested very strongly that you give them something they could make some money on, you give them $200 and they get $125, so they make $325. The trappers with any ambition will go out and get them. I agree if you have something like the Finlayson caribou herd where you have to get rid of a bunch at once. There is going to be a time when that levels off, and if you give the trappers in that area $325 a wolf they will keep them down to medium range. The way it is now, you can kill off as many as you want with choppers, and it is a proven fact they will come back just about as fast as you kill them off. If the trappers are in there every winter we can cut our costs and the trappers are making good money.
Hon. Mr. Porter: Every spring, after the end of the program year, I sit down with the people involved and assess what had been carried out through the year and make a determination as to whether or not we should continue. I will raise this question with them this year. We will evaluate whether or not we will proceed that way.
Mr. Brewster: In all fairness to the people, it was either the Chairman of the Select Committee or myself who came up with this, although maybe we came up with the price. There are a lot of trappers who attended that and a lot of trappers wanted the program. This is not something that the chairman of the select committee dreamed up; it is something the people wanted.
Is the Safari Club International a different one? They have given you $5,000.
Hon. Mr. Porter: Yes, this is the one we explained earlier that was for the bison project.
On Kusawa Lake
Hon. Mr. Porter: These funds were to do a raptor survey, a geological survey, vegetation studies and map production for a total of $20,000.
Mr. Brewster: We have finally come to a conclusion as to whether that is just going to be a day time park because of the slide, or are we putting in a campground for overnight camping? It is quite a trip to go in there and back out in a day with a trailer is not too nice for tourists.
Hon. Mr. Porter: Later on when we go through this budget you will see where we have spent money to purchase six lots in the area for a new campground site.
Kusawa Lake in the amount of $20,000 agreed to
On Coal River Springs
Hon. Mr. Porter: We have covered this ground before. At one point, we thought we would be developing a large territorial park by Yukon standards but, since we have seen what it would cost, we have been cutting back. This represents a decrease of $59,000 from the $70,000 originally budgeted. We constructed a helicopter pad, and we also did some interpretive trail work around the site. We do not expect to do any further work on that particular site.
Mr. Brewster: The Minister and I see alike. It is just too bad it took us three years to get together on this one. Are we still using the road in there that was put in by the mines, so tourists can get in there?
Hon. Mr. Porter: No. I had the experience of flying over it and, at that time, the road was a goat trail with an awful lot of muskeg. We cannot encourage tourists to go in. The only way people would gain access at the present time is by helicopter or via the lake system. You can paddle right to the area, if you can pack a canoe and your packsack. It is a very difficult area, and a series of lakes must be portaged in order to get to the site. That is the only access that is in the park now.
Mr. Brewster: I hope the planning division smartens up after that one, because they were told that long time ago but went ahead and spent literally thousands of dollars in there. What we have here is another one like the Kluane National Park where it is only the rich people who can afford a helicopter out of Watson Lake can go in. The taxpayers money has been wasted there, and I am not going to just fault this government - I am going to fault them right from the time they started that project.
Mr. Phillips: At one time, there was a problem of beaver in there. They ruined some of the habitat by building their homes and dams. Did that problem get corrected?
Hon. Mr. Porter: Yes, the beavers were damming up the spring outflow, so the pools were not filling up. A beaver-proof culvert was devised, and the pools are expected to be full this spring.
The Member for Kluane looks at me skeptically. He may think that there is no such thing as a beaver-proof culvert, but they say that this one is going to work.
Mr. Brewster: I did not look at him skeptically. It might be something like those big garbage bear dumps they are going to put in, and not clean them out for two weeks, and then say the bears will not bother them after the smell is in there. Has anyone checked if the beavers have been back in there? They can go up above the culvert and dam it. Nothing stops them there. They might use the culvert as a basis to put their dam on, just above. These animals are a little rough on people. I have known highways that have had to be moved because they could not handle them. If we are only going to fly in there with helicopter - at $500 an hour - those beavers are going to have a pretty good time in there.
Hon. Mr. Porter: It is not a straight culvert. It is extended right into the pool, and is almost an upside-down L. The head of the culvert goes right down into the pool, so it is extended over and above the beaver dam. On the other side, it extends out of the beaver dams, so you have an outflow. The beaver would have to walk on top of that culvert and pack his wood to try to dam up the other end.
Mr. Brewster: We want to make wilderness parks so the tourists can see the way nature is and everything else; we run the beaver out and, now, we have some big road culverts in there to turn around and make it the most modern thing in the world. They spend $500 to fly in here, and what do they see? Man-made culverts, because the poor little beaver is going to be run out of it. That is one of our nature parks, I presume?
From what the Minister said, I gather we are going to stop spending there, although I see we still put some there. I really hope we would look at throwing money foolishly away like this and, then, we have to go in there and put in culverts and things to take away the nature, the things people want to see. The people want to see the little beaver much more than they want to see a culvert in there to catch some water that is running around. What is the total? Would the Minister bring back the complete total of what that springs has cost since we started playing around in that six or seven years ago? What have we got? We have some culvert that we are going to pay $500 to fly in and look at. That is a really nice park we have.
Hon. Mr. Porter: I will get the total numbers.
Coal River Springs in the amount of a reduction of $59,000 agreed to
On Thirty Mile River Plan
Hon. Mr. Porter: Originally, $20,000 was budgeted, with zero spent. The situation was due to the Minister of DIAND not signing the agreement during the year.
Mr. Brewster: I presume, with that statement, there will not be any public hearings on the Thirty Mile River?
Hon. Mr. Porter: That does not effectively kill the project. We intend to go ahead. My understanding is that the management plan will be prepared this year, and we will have public discussions on it.
Mr. Brewster: This is very unfair for an old man to have to keep jumping up and down, and the young Minister sits there without even getting up. I hope his back suffers pretty good for this.
I gather those hearings are to start this summer?
Hon. Mr. Porter: Prior to a management plan being undertaken, there will be public discussions of the draft plans, and that will probably take place this fall.
Thirty Mile River Plan in the amount of a reduction of $20,000 agreed to
On Heritage River System
Hon. Mr. Porter: The increase here is to do the mapping of the heritage rivers.
Mr. Brewster: Is this something else other than the Thirty Mile River?
Hon. Mr. Porter: That is right. This is a contract that we let to identify and rank all of the heritage rivers in the Yukon.
Mr. McLachlan: I would just like to make sure that the Minister has not added any more to the original list as a result of the $4,000. Does it take an additional $4,000 to complete the project? Which is he referring to?
Hon. Mr. Porter: It is for an increase from the original budget of 50.
Mr. McLachlan: Is there an increase in the number of rivers, or is there an increase in the amount to do the original list of rivers?
Hon. Mr. Porter: This is an increase in funding to map the original rivers.
Mr. McLachlan: How many is that?
Hon. Mr. Porter: There are 35 rivers, I believe. I can bring back the detail in the Operation and Maintenance Estimates.
Mr. Brewster: Are these 35 rivers just being studied? It has not been confirmed that they are long gone. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Porter: That is right. This is just a basic study.
Mr. McLachlan: How many are long gone?
Hon. Mr. Porter: None are long gone. They are all still there. We only have the Alsek, and we are working on the Thirty Mile River.
Chairman: It is almost 5:30 p.m. We only have 10 more minutes.
Heritage River System in the amount of $4,000 agreed to
On Parks System Inventory
Hon. Mr. Porter: This is a reduction in the original contract that was a four year program announced in the parks system inventory. It is an under expenditure of $15,000.
Mr. Brewster: I do not suppose that the Coal River Springs is in on that inventory is it? I hope that the government takes a lesson from that and do not get more like it. For the amount of money that they have, they may be going out in the timber and looking for places that we cannot get access to.
Hon. Mr. Porter: The Coal River is probably identified as one of the sites because this covers the whole bottom south of the Yukon that was mapped last year.
Mr. Brewster: I do not think he would have the answer to this and I would not expect him to, but how many more of those identified are in such a position as that where there is no road to get at them?
Hon. Mr. Porter: We can probably review the inventory and look at the sites. I suspect most of them would be off the highway system.
Operation and Maintenance Recoveries in the amount of $25,000 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Porter: I do not want to stop this roll so I would like to move that you report progress on Bill No. 60.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Porter: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. May the House have the report from the Chairman of the Committee of the Whole?
Mr. Webster: The Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 6, entitled Fourth Appropriation Act, 1987-88, and directed me to report progress on same.
Speaker: You have heard the report from the Chairman of Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
ASSENT TO BILLS
Speaker: I would like to inform the House that we are now prepared to receive the Commissioner in his capacity as Lieutenant Governor to give assent to a certain bill, which has passed this House.
Commissioner enters the Chamber, escorted by the Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms.
Commissioner: Please be seated.
Speaker: Mr. Commissioner, the Assembly at its present session has passed a certain Bill to which, in the name and on behalf of the Assembly, I respectfully request your Assent.
Clerk: Interim Supply Appropriation Act 1988-89 (No. 2)
Commissioner: I am pleased to assent to the Bill as enumerated by the Clerk.
Commissioner leaves the Chamber, escorted by the Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
Mr. Lang: I move that we do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. Monday next.
The House adjourned at 5:25 p.m.
The following Legislative Returns were tabled April 28, 1988:
Childrens Services Facilities Project objective (M. Joe)
Oral, Hansard, p. 297
New Programs in Department of Health and Human Resources (M. Joe)
Oral, Hansard, p. 294
The following Sessional Papers were tabled April 28, 1988:
Yukon Lottery Commission, Annual Report, 1986-87 (McDonald)
Annual Report, 1986-87, of the Yukon Motor Transport Board for the year ending March 31, 1987 (McDonald)