Tuesday, May 10, 1988 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. We will proceed with Prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed with the Order Paper. Are there any Introductions of Visitors?
Are there any Returns or Documents for Tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I have for tabling an information kit entitled Yukon Home Owner Initiative, which outlines the Yukon Housing Corporation programs being announced today.
Speaker: Reports of Committees?
Introduction of Bills?
Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Notices of Motion?
Statements by Ministers?
Yukon Home Owner Initiative Programs
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I rise today to inform the House of a major new homeowner initiative for working people in the Yukon. This program - based on a partnership between government and the private sector - will bring more private land and housing onto the market, will enable more Yukoners to purchase their own home, will increase the availability of mortgage money in the Yukon, will provide financing for do-it-yourself home builders and will even help first-time house buyers to become wiser consumers.
Our Yukon home owner initiative continues a commitment to housing which began the day this government was elected. Since that time we have responded to a backlog of unmet social housing needs in the Yukon - and I can point with pride to our participation in the new seniors project one block from this chamber as an outstanding example of our commitment.
A year ago we began expanding this commitment. We began by consulting the community about the need for families to own an adequate home of their own. We consulted community leaders, we consulted business people and we consulted the grass roots - both in Whitehorse and in the communities. The concerns expressed by Yukoners during these consultations have shaped the Yukon home owner initiative I am about to announce today.
In developing this initiative, we recognized that the Yukon housing market differs from other parts of Canada. The laws of supply and demand do not work as effectively here because we have smaller concentrations of capital, of population, of builders and of available land than in other parts of the country. This creates gaps in our private housing sector - gaps that frustrate both the industry and the family looking to buy a home. Our housing initiative bridges these gaps by helping the private sector to mobilize itself more effectively.
Three years ago this government bridged an economic gap in Faro, and this enabled the private sector to reopen the mine in that community. The new home owner initiative bridges its own set of gaps, enabling our capable private sector to respond - this time to the need for more home ownership in the Yukon.
The Yukon home owner initiative consists of several programs.
A new lease-purchase plan will enable moderate-income families to lease their new home until they have saved enough for a down payment.
A new mortgage guarantee program will reduce down payments on new rural housing from over thirty percent to as low as ten percent.
In a program which begins next year, we will provide do-it-yourself builders with interim mortgage money, construction training and technical advice.
A new joint venture fund will enable private sector builders and developers to increase the supply of housing for sale in the Yukon.
We are also enhancing the programs we began last year to help home owners upgrade their existing homes.
Finally, a new education program - cosponsored by the private sector - will help consumers learn more about home purchase and mortgage financing.
This initiative is not only good news for families who want to buy a home, and for communities which need more housing, but also for our private housing industry. It is also good news for the taxpayers: all of the funds for this program are reallocated from existing budgets - no spending increases are required. In fact, the joint venture funding and construction mortgages should be fully recoverable to the government and the taxpayers.
This new initiative will stimulate private sector economic activity - not displace it. Government is not making a new entry into the housing sector, it is simply bridging some of the gaps.
We carefully avoid market distortions by addressing both the supply of housing and the demand. When our efforts to make home purchase more accessible with mortgage guarantees and lease-purchase succeed, the demand for housing will certainly increase. That is why we are also making it easier for the private sector to meet the demand - with increased supply - through our new joint venture fund.
All of this creates a balanced housing market with more demand, more supply, more economic activity in the private sector and more Yukon families living under an adequate, affordable roof of their own.
Mr. Lang: We are pleased to see the government taking some initiatives in this area. It has been one and a half years ago that the MLA for Faro put forward a motion that was unanimously adopted in the House that some initiative be instituted to assist the private sector in purchasing homes. This has been a major area of concern for us. It was heartening to see that some of the principles contained in the announcement today are very similar to those made in the PC Yukon Party policy statement released on March 15.
I would like to speak to two initiatives. One is the new mortgage guaranteed program that will reduce down payments on new rural housing from over 30 percent to as low as 10 percent. We are very pleased to see that initiative in place because there has been an inequity in the system vis a via home ownership in Dawson City as opposed to Whitehorse or Watson Lake.
The other area that is of concern, primarily to Whitehorse, but to other communities as well, is the question of financing being made available for apartment or condominium construction. We are pleased to see that the principle of a new joint venture fund will enable private sector builders and developers to increase the supply of housing in the Yukon.
Those, on the surface, look like very good policies. We are going to be discussing the practicality of implementation during this session as well as in later sessions.
However, there is still the question of the supply of land. One of the problems in the City of Whitehorse and in the City of Dawson with building a home today is for the potential home owner to get a lot to build on at a price that is acceptable.
I have to take exception to the Ministers statement that the laws of supply and demand do not work here. The law of supply and demand does work. We have a situation in Whitehorse where lots were selling at prices of less than half the going rate now in the market place. It is governments responsibility to supply land in the communities. It has been a longstanding obligations of the government. My recommendation to the government is that they should be proceeding with both phases of the Granger Subdivision in the City of Whitehorse as well as with a mobile home lot area to expand housing in the City of Whitehorse.
The same principle applies in the other communities throughout the territory where there is a shortage of land. If we do not proceed now, we will have the situation where a good portion of this statement will not be of any assistance to anybody if lots are not available. There is no point in having a mortgage assistance program for new home builders if there is no land to build on. Overall, we find some of the principles very compatible with our way of thinking, and we look forward to discussing these in greater detail as time goes on.
Mr. McLachlan: I felt that after two portions of the initiatives, we could have done without the announcement about the drum banging the Minister has done for his side. We have now opened the mine at Faro a seventh time and, I suppose, by the time of the election we will be up to number ten.
With respect to some of the details on the mortgage plan, the Minister may have addressed some of them in the document he has just tabled, but the mortgage guarantee program for rural Yukon appears to be quite good, because it will reduce the down payment required. It appears to have a guarantee against the principal amount of the mortgage. Interim mortgage money is a good start, because a do-it-yourself builder does have problems, and a joint venture will supposedly let builders get off the ground on easier terms than they could now have done it through a builders mortgage at conventional bank financing.
Unless there is something in between the lines I have not read, I do not believe it addresses all the problem if you do not want to build a home, own one or buy one. There are a number of people in the territory who simply want clean, decent, affordable housing for rent.
The Minister has addressed it in the opening statement by saying a home owner initiative. That is why I believe they are only targeted at the home owners themselves. Most of the population in the Yukon is in the age range of 27 to 28. That is 45 percent to 50 percent of the territory. The Minister appears to have looked at that need and turned away from it. Although I could be convinced differently by further detail, I feel that this part of the program has not been addressed well enough in the Ministers statement.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am heartened to hear the Conservative Opposition feels the programs we have announced today more or less hit the nail on the head. I am perfectly prepared to discuss detail with them at this point. The Yukon Housing Corporation Main Estimates are coming up, and we will have all kinds of opportunity to do that.
I think the Member for Porter Creek East misinterpreted my remarks with respect to the laws of supply and demand. I do not think they work the same way in the north as they do in the south. I think they do work in some respects, and that is why we are showing the faith in the private sector that we are showing now.
There is a government role in developing private residential land. We are not shirking that. In fact, we are doing considerably well in ensuring that private lots are going to be on the market this year. However, we also say the private sector can also perform some of that task, and that is the reason why the joint venture fund has a fairly large component that is development of private land.
We have discussed the issue of the Granger Subdivision at great length in the Legislature, and I have already indicated several times before that parts of Granger phase two have already been tendered. They were tendered when the Member asked the questions.
The Member for Faro does not like to have the public reminded that the government played a very significant role in opening up his community and providing a riding for the Member to represent. That was a significant initiative by this government, and it demonstrated the partnership that government and industry can have to get the economy rolling. That is the kind of initiative that we are demonstrating here to meet the housing needs of the territory.
The Member for Faro did not express much approval of the balance of the home ownership program, which is unfortunate, given he is only on the record for having advocated a fairly large, bureaucratic mortgage corporation to parallel the Yukon Housing Corporation. I would invite him to comment further before people are left with the resounding feeling that the Member has not gotten an understanding of the issues in front of us.
The government is interested in meeting housing demands of various sorts in the territory, including rental housing. The joint venture capital program the Minister for Economic Development announced identifies the construction of rental accommodation as being a priority under that program.
The more houses that are built, the more rental accommodation will be available for others in the community. Having said that, I look forward to a useful discussion and perhaps a spirited debate with the Member for Faro on the question of home ownership, rental accommodation and social housing.
Speaker: This then brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: Northwestel
Mr. Phelps: I see that the Minister of Community and Transportation Services has not been taking his vitamin C. I have a number of questions to ask about Northwestel. Since we are getting closer and closer to the bidding deadline, I am wondering whether or not the Government of the Yukon, or the Yukon Development Corporation is going to enter a bid for the takeover of Northwestel?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Discussions are going on at this moment in Vancouver with the view to finalizing discussions about a bid with a group of potential parties, which I previously identified in the House. Yesterday morning, I had a discussion with one of the principals about the public announcement concerning such a bid, should a formal agreement be reached this week. I have indicated to the group that, should a decision be made this week to proceed with a bid, it would be my intention, at the first possible opportunity, to make a ministerial statement in this House outlining the make up of the group and the principal objectives of the bid.
Mr. Phelps: Surely we can be told at least who the partners are in the consortium that is putting together the bid. For example, are the employees of Northwestel involved?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I hope that the employees will be involved, but I must say to the Leader of the Official Opposition, and I hope he will understand, that until such time as agreement is reached between the parties as to all the particulars, we cannot know with absolute confidence if some prospective parties will be joining the bid or not. Until such time as a final agreement is reached on that point, I do not feel that I am at liberty to announce participation by those parties or not. In any case, as yet unresolved is the question of who will be responsible for making such an announcement. One issue in the discussions in Vancouver is the question of public announcements. It may be that each of the parties to the bid, should we reach a conclusion of the make up of the group this week, will want to make their own announcement to their own constituents first, prior to some third party such as myself making a public announcement.
Mr. Phelps: Is there any possibility that any of the groups that are involved in these discussions might be bidding against the consortium?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I think it is more likely that one or two other potential parties to the group may decide, after consulting with their financial agents, not to participate after all. In that eventuality, I would not want to be in a position to announce it for that part of the group when, by the end of this week, they may decide otherwise.
Question re: Northwestel
Mr. Phelps: My question must have been misunderstood. Are there people being treated as though they may be part of the syndicate who could be joining a bid against the syndicate?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: No, I do not believe that would be the case. As to the leadership on this question I think I would be able to say that the leadership of the group which we are discussing joining, or coming to a conclusion about joining, will probably be more properly ascribed to Mr. Hougen.
Mr. Phelps: Are any of the other parties going to be funded directly or indirectly by this government?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I cannot make any announcement on that score. Suffice it to say, we would be very keen to see groups such as the employees and the Yukon-based native development corporations involved. If we can help facilitate that membership, we shall.
Mr. Phelps: What is the deadline that this group has imposed on itself for the final yes or no to a bid? When is the final day the bid might be prepared?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am reasonably confident that final decisions by all parties will be made this week.
Question re:Social workers
Mr. McLachlan: I have a question for the Minister of Health and Human Resources.
Currently the positions for six social worker are being advertised in the territory. Can the Minister advise why we are having to replace one quarter of the workforce all at the same time? Is it true that a number of our social workers have been hired from outside and some of those do have problems dealing with cross-cultural settings, and are taking it upon themselves to leave at one time thereby causing great disruptions to the labour force within the department?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I cannot say why the people who are leaving our department are leaving. I do not know whether it is personal or if there are special reasons with regard to cross-cultural activities. If I did know that, I do not know whether I would be able to divulge that kind of confidential information.
Mr. McLachlan: It is a normal practice among employers to seek reasons why people are leaving their positions so that they may do better next time when they try to replace them. Is it not true that of the 17 social service workers last year who completed the courses of instruction at the college, only three got work with this government?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I do not know if the Member is speaking about my department or the government as a whole.
Mr. McLachlan: Only three were given work with the Ministers department after finishing the course at the college. There are 20 people currently enrolled in this years class. Does the Minister have any indication of how many of those are going to be placed successfully in employment with this government in the social service field?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: It is very difficult to answer the type of question the Member is asking in terms of who is going to be working where. I am not sure if any of those people have applied to my department. I do not have that information. If the Member requires it, I can see if it is available and bring it back.
Question re: Yukon Housing Corporation/Ross River/new homes
Mr. Lang: To refresh your memory, we were informed that the Housing Corporation built two prefab houses in Ross River, one for $114,000 and one for $115,000. On May 5, the Member for Faro asked the Minister about the allegations made by people in Ross River that these houses were in the process of sinking. On May 9, the Minister said, While I am on my feet, the Member for Faro also asked a question last week about the stability of foundations for the two Ross River units and suggested they were both sinking. I am informed neither is sinking, both are stable and solid. There is essentially no truth to the allegation that they are sinking.
I have since been in contact with people in the community. One person put a level on the houses, and they were two inches off level. Doors are not closing, and various other things are happening. Could the Minister tell this House why he brought back the information that does not appear to be true?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Housing Corporation did a deficiencies inspection on May 4. The building inspection people viewed the unit at that time and detected no sinking whatsoever.
Mr. Lang: Perhaps this is where the concern is. Who checked the building out for deficiencies? Was it members of the Housing Corporation?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: That is correct.
Mr. Lang: Does the Minister not see a conflict of interest at times? If the Housing Corporation is going to act as a general contractor, it also has the responsibility of checking out their own work. Would the Minister not say that this puts the Housing Corporation officials in a very untenable position? If that is the case, why can the general public not check out their own deficiencies instead of having building inspectors do it?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: These two units are both Yukon Housing Corporation units, and they are specifically responsible for ensuring that the construction is undertaken according to design specifications. When the deficiency inspections are undertaken, it is ultimately the responsibility of the Yukon Housing Corporation to ensure that all is well with the units when the corporation formally takes the front door key. I am told that the Yukon Housing Corporation officials visited the unit on May 4, detected and reported no problems with respect to sinking, and that the allegations made by the Member for Faro, and now by the Member for Porter Creek East, were both wrong.
Question re: Lottery regulations
Mrs. Firth: Before I begin my question to the Minister of Justice on the lottery licensing rules that the department has, I would like to have the page deliver to him a picture of a small house that is now up for sale. This small house was contributed to the Lake Laberge Lions Club who came to the Ministers department to get a licence to hold a raffle. They came the second week of April to get a license so they could sell raffle tickets at the Trade Show. The Ministers department sent them away saying they were too late to apply for the licence for that month and to come back next month. The Trade Show was over by then, so this group missed out on this raffle, with unlimited potential to raise revenue, as a result of the ridiculous rules of the lottery licensing.
I would like to ask the Minister again if he will now meet with the board and give the direction to withdraw this ridiculous rule before other volunteer groups are affected this way.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I thank the Member opposite for the picture. I know the building very well, because when I was at the Trade Show, I inspected it closely. There was a conversation discussing the issues that the Member opposite is raising. The specific answer to the question is that I will meet again with the chairperson of the board, as I had already planned to do, to discuss the situation she is talking about. I intend to keep a close watch on the situation and to follow up with meetings as required.
Mrs. Firth: That answer from the Minister is no longer acceptable by the public or by the Members of this Legislature. We have had promises from this Minister, and he has not fulfilled the promises. I would like a commitment this afternoon from this government. Do they agree or do they disagree with the principle that is being forced upon these volunteer organizations?
The Minister stood up yesterday and said that there is a possibility in the future for deserving cases. He is trying to make it sound like they think that the rule is no good, but they will not change it.
Speaker: Order, please. Will the Member please get to the supplementary question?
Mrs. Firth: Yes, I will. I want to know whether or not this government agrees that volunteer organizations should be put under these kind of time lines, or not?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: We can have a repeat of the Question Period yesterday, I suppose. The difficulty I have is that I cannot seem to explain the situation within the time parameters of Question Period, to get the Members opposite to understand. The matter is a matter that is under the jurisdiction of a board. The government is discussing the matter with the authority that does have power to make those rules. Those discussions are continuing, as I have said.
Mrs. Firth: I would like a new question, please.
Speaker: New question to the Member for Whitehorse Riverdale South.
Question re: Lottery regulations
Mrs. Firth: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This rule is not in the act; it is not in the regulations; it is a rule that nobody knew about before the board sent out the memorandum. It is a brand new rule, and none of us in this House knew about this new rule, either, until the volunteer and charitable organizations came to see us. Surely, this government has the responsibility to say to the board, We do not feel that this is right, and we want it to go back to the way that it was before; we want it changed.
It is the governments responsibility. We are not going to have a repeat of yesterdays Question Period. I simply want to know if this government agrees that the groups are only allowed to apply during the first week of every month, or if they disagree with that. I simply want to know what the governments position is.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Member opposite stated a situation and asked if the government agreed. Specifically, in answer to that question: the answer is no, the government does not agree. However, the Member may be misled by that simple assertion. She appears to want a yes or no answer, but the situation is, in fact, not as she has stated it. Voluntary associations can make application at any time for licences. Her preamble to the question was wrong.
Mrs. Firth: Surely, that is not the case from reading the memo, and the Minister knows that. The concern here is that the public may be misled by this.
The Minister obviously recognizes the problem, because he said there is a possibility in the future for deserving cases. I can think of no more deserving case than the Lake Laberge Lions Club.
Is the Minister going to give the direction that his government is not in agreement with this rule and that it be immediately removed?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I have already answered that. The situation is that I have had a discussion with the chairperson of the board, who has the power to change this. We have discussed the problem and, yes, I certainly agree there are problems. We have discussed how to solve the problems that do exist. The process of solving the problems is continuing.
Question re: Pound skeepers/livestock control officers
Mr. Brewster: I asked a question to the Minister of Community and Transportation Services with respect to pounds keepers and livestock control officers but, as usual, I did not get any real answers. Can the Minister tell me if it is true that the monthly retainer for the pounds keepers/livestock control officers is $1,500 per month, for a total of $18,000 per year?
Hon. Mr. Porter: No, the retainer fees we have for the pounds keepers are not in the $1,500 range the Member has quoted. The retainer fees for pounds keepers are $450 to $475 per month.
Mr. Brewster: At least we are getting somewhere now. Is it also true that, in addition to this basic rate, the pounds keeper/livestock control officer will be paid a pick-up fee and a daily service charge fee for impounding animals, plus a mileage charge?
Hon. Mr. Porter: The pounds program works as follows. There are capture fees that are different for the different species of animals. In other words, the fee for capturing a horse is going to be different from the fee you pay to capture a goose. That is called for under the Pounds Act. Also, goats, jackasses and swine are accommodated in that legislation.
As well, there is a mileage rate that is paid to the pounds keeper and the livestock control officer. For the livestock control officer, the rate is 90 cents per kilometre and, for the pounds keeper, that rate is 26 cents per kilometre. That is not for picking animals up, but for posting notices that are required by the legislation.
Mr. Brewster: I have a little rabbit in my front yard. I hope he does not get picked up, too. Would the Minister be more specific about exactly what charges are going to be laid against individuals when an animal is caught?
Hon. Mr. Porter: He can rest assured there are no provisions for the capture of Peter the bunny rabbit under the new legislation. The charges are laid out in the legislation that was passed. I do not recall the specific fine structure, but it was an escalating fine structure for the animals that were caught.
Question re: Capital project management
Mr. Nordling: I have a question for the Government Leader with respect to capital project management.
Concern with this governments management of money caused the all party Public Accounts Committee to depart from its usual approach and examine capital project management. The conclusion of the 1988 report is that this government has been managing by omission or managing by dilemma. In April 1985 a procedures manual on project management was approved and I understand that this manual has been under revision for quite some time now. Because financial mismanagement is of concern to all Yukoners I would like to ask the Government Leader when the revision of this manual will be complete?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have to take the question as notice. I am sure that the matter of capital project management has certainly been a concern of this government for a long time, and certainly was during the time I was Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee. I am sure the debate on the Public Accounts Committee report will find ample opportunity to not only respond to the specific question of the Member, but also to make comments on the history of capital project management in the territory for the last several years.
Mr. Nordling: It was admitted to the Public Accounts Committee that there was no comprehensive project planning process in place for the government as a whole. What instructions has the Government Leader, as the Minister of Finance, has given to all departments with respect to goals and time lines for completion of this manual?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Of course, the Government Leader, as Minister of Finance, does not operate in isolation in these matters. I think the situation, in terms of capital project management, has been improving in recent years. In fact, I think there was no capital project management of any modern kind at all four or five years ago. I would concede that we still have a significant distance to go and that steps are being taken on the instructions of Cabinet and Management Board to put proper procedures in place.
Mr. Nordling: Financial mismanagement of capital projects is more serious now than ever before. The Capital Budget in 1984 was less than $35 million. In 1987-88 it will be over $143 million. I would like to know what this government is doing in the interim to prevent these things from happening and whether the government will be doing post evaluations of projects in order to learn from its past mistakes?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I do not spend a lot of time disputing the Members preamble, but the need for post project evaluation was first identified by the Public Accounts Committee of which I was the Chair. In fact, steps have been coming into place in the last few years to deal with that to prevent massive capital project screw-ups like the Dawson sewer and water system and the gym and school in Faro, which cracked in half before it was ever used. It is that kind of screw-up we want to prevent. Believe me, the Cabinet on this side of the House is very committed to trying to make sure that the public gets value for money and that the repetition of those kind of multi million dollar mistakes does not happen.
Question re: Value added policy
Mr. Phillips: I have a question for the Minister of Government Services. During the Operation and Maintenance debate of the Department of Government Services I asked the Minister is he would look at amending the value added policy to include a grandfather clause, to permit two longstanding Yukon companies, who act as agents, to participate in the value added policy. At that time I stated that 40 or 50 percent of the income of these businesses could be affected by this policy, and that their exclusion from the policy could lead to these companies going out of business. Because a great many Yukon tenders are let in the spring, it is critical for these companies that a decision be made shortly. Would the Minister instruct his officials to come up with a policy respecting this matter by the end of next week?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No, because that would be an unreasonable instruction to make. The instruction that I have made is that the department should seriously consider all of the implications, on a priority basis, and develop alternative courses of action, or possibilities and options, as soon as is possible.
Mr. Phillips: I would like a new question.
Speaker: New question to the Member for Whitehorse Riverdale North.
Question re: Value added policy
Mr. Phillips: The deadline of next week may be unrealistic in the Ministers mind, but that is the only place where it is unrealistic. In the minds of the businesspeople involved, it is very important that the government make a decision immediately. The Minister has been aware of this since January of this year, and I do not think that giving him a week to come up with something is pushing the line too much; he has had lots of time.
It has come to my attention that a supplier to one of these Yukon companies has now elected to bypass this Yukon company, because of the value added policy. This supplier will bid the same jobs, on the same basis, but will no longer use this Yukoner as his agent, and this cuts out $10,000 to $15,000 of income to this Yukon company.
Before other companies make the decision to deal direct, and we end up putting these Yukon companies out of business, I would like to ask the Minister again if he would act now to rectify this situation.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is a somewhat unusual situation to be essentially debating matters of substantial private interest to private individuals, on the floor of the House, and I am sensitive to that issue. The policy is developed to be fair and open to all bidders of all kinds, and the value added policy as a general policy is designed to increase the expenditure of dollars within the Yukon economy. I am investigating the circumstances of particular bids, as the bids require.
Mr. Phillips: Every one of us in this House has a responsibility to bring these issues to the Ministers attention. The Minister refuses to act on them. The Minister has had this on his desk since January of this year, and that is five months ago. He is now starting to put a family business out of business in the Yukon that has been here for 20 years. I am asking the Minister to get off his backside and do something about it and help protect the interests of this local business.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I fear the Member opposite is very substantially over-stating his case. I am sensitive to a situation where the profits of a particular company is debated publicly in this House.
Question re: Carcross Road
Mr. Phelps: With respect to the deplorable state of the road to Carcross, the first nine miles is, once again, breaking up this year. Are steps going to be taken to patch that road in the near future?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The short answer is: yes. The slightly longer answer is that the tenders close May 26, and I will spare Members the really long answer.
Mr. Phelps: When is construction anticipated to start?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: We anticipate the construction to start within weeks of the decision date on the successful bid. There will only be the mobilization involved and, as it is fairly close to Whitehorse, we do not anticipate any unreasonable delays on that front.
Question re: Assessment and Taxation Act
Mr. Lang: Approximately a week ago, I raised the question of why there was a study done of the property tax regime for a total of $32,000. Two days previously, the Minister informed this House he was quite satisfied with the Assessment and Taxation Act and the way it was being enforced. At that time, I had raised the issue because I felt the left hand did not know what the right hand was doing, and it seems to be the case.
Could the Minister now table the study that was done on the property tax regime for $32,000 that he committed himself to doing approximately a week to 10 days ago.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Firstly, the question the Member raised in Committee debate with respect to assessment and taxation and review of the act was a question regarding the assessment procedures under the act. The study that was undertaken was to review property tax rates around the territory. Since the time the Member asked the question last week, I have asked for a copy of the report. The report is complete, and it is considered by me to be a report I would like to discuss with Cabinet, because it does discuss the issue of property tax rates in the territory in some detail, and I would like to discuss further the approach the government will take to reviewing property tax rates in the future.
Mr. Lang: It is kind of a startling revelation. The Minister, about a week ago, did not seem to think that there was any problem tabling a document. Obviously, he was not aware of what was in it or why he had spent $32,000 on it. When will that document be made public now that it is so highly confidential and in a red file?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I was confused as to what the Member was asking. First, he was talking about a review of the Assessment and Taxation Act and the assessment procedures under the act. Hopefully, the Member will forgive me if I did not understand exactly what he was talking about. I now know that he is referring to a review of the property tax rates.
The report is something that I consider to be advice to Cabinet at this stage. At this point, the report will not be made public, but when it is the Member will be the first to get a copy.
Mr. Lang: Why is this such a top secret document? Approximately one year ago in Committee of the Whole, I asked what studies the government was going to undertake. The Minister did not inform the House that he was going to do a property tax regime study, nor did he give any indication to anyone in this House that he was going to spend $32,000 of property taxpayers money...
Speaker: Order, please. Would you please get to the supplementary question?
Mr. Lang: ...on a study. I would like to know why the Minister did not inform us when he told about all the other studies that the government was undertaking? Why is this such a secret study?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member is making an allegation that is simply not true. Again, in committee debate well over a year ago, I indicated to the Legislature, and in particular to the Member for Hootalinqua who asked the question on property tax rates outside municipalities, that we were going to be doing a review of property tax rates outside of municipalities. This is the review. It provides various options for taxation property outside the communities and is a Cabinet document. For that reason, it will not be released yet.
The allegation that the Members of the House were not told is not true. They were told well over a year ago that the review would be done and why it was being done. We even discussed the reasons.
Mr. Lang: I asked for a total inventory of studies that were being done and the Minister did not inform the House. The people in the rural areas are looking for a little shock in about a year from now once the results of the study are available, I am sure.
The cost of drafting the Motor Vehicles Act and the Motor Transport Act was well over $100,000. I asked the Minister if that contract was publicly advertised, and he was going to report back to the House. I would like to have his response. That question was put a week ago, and that is ample notice.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I indicated to the Members that I would be providing a report on the inventory of studies that had been undertaken. I am going to be delivering that report. There was a full discussion of the report long before last year.
I do not have the information on the Motor Transport Act right now, but I will bring it back to the Legislature.
Mr. Lang: What day and what year are we talking about? Are we talking about tomorrow, or are we talking about next fall?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It will not be next fall. It very likely could be tomorrow, and it will certainly be this week.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed. We will proceed with Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. Porter: I move that the Speaker do 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 that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chairman: The Committee of the Whole will come to order. We will recess for 15 minutes.
Bill No. 50 - Second Appropriation Act, 1988-89 - continued
Chairman: Committee of the Whole will now come to order. We will continue with general debate, Department of Justice.
Department of Justice - continued
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I was asked some questions last night, and I promised to get back with answers. I was asked about the cost of the Teslin crime prevention officer, and I said $17,000. The full answer is that that cost $17,000 last year in 1987-88, and it is projected to be $18,000 in 1988-89. That is the total approval for the project, and it is divided into those two years, for a total of $35,000 over the two years. In Old Crow, the projected amount is $32,000, all in this year.
I was asked about the total number of native special constables in the rural Yukon; that number is nine. I was also asked about special constables in Teslin and Old Crow. I made a guess as to the actual presence and I believe that I was accurate, but I still have not confirmed that. The RCMP assigns the positions to the communities, and on that basis, both of those communities have a position for a special constable. Whether it is actually filled or not, I will check.
Mr. Phillips: I would like to move on to the area of judges. We recently learned we are losing the chief Territorial Court judge. In July, when Judge Woodrow leaves, we will not have any sitting territorial judges at all. What is happening? When can we expect to have new judges appointed?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Right now, we have three permanent judges. They are Barry Stuart, who is on a leave of absence and is the land claims negotiator for the territorial government, we have Heino Lilles, who is not precisely on a leave of absence in that he is doing judicial work as well as the Fuel Prices Inquiry and is actually taking cases from time to time when time permits, but the projected date he will be back sitting permanently is Labour Day, or the beginning of September, and Chief Judge Ilnicki, whose last day of work is June 3.
I was in telephone communication with the chief judge immediately after I received her resignation to ascertain her time periods and the availability of judges. I was advised by the chief judge that we are covered for the summer. For most of the summer, there are two judges here for two periods of approximately one week each. There is presently one judge scheduled here, and the chief judge was still in the process of filling the gaps. We agreed to be in further communication and we will, I imagine, this week or next.
The situation is that we require a judge as soon as possible. I am very concerned about this issue. The process of recruiting a judge the last time was in excess of 12 months. I believe it was approximately 13 months. That period of time is simply too long to be manageable. It is my intention to fill that position as soon as possible. The process has been started; an ad has been placed in the newspapers locally, and the closing date is May 20. That is the end of next week. On May 20 or very shortly thereafter, we will assess the candidates who applied and determine if there should be a national advertising campaign or not.
After the result of that determination, I will send the names to the Judicial Council. The Judicial Council has a statutory duty to make recommendations.
I am hoping that that process will result in a recruitment over the summer.
Mr. Phillips: Is the Minister saying that the names will come to him prior to going to the Judicial Council?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The applications should go, according to the ad, to the Public Service Commissioner. I will have a conversation with the Commissioner concerning the advisability of a national advertisement. We will determine if that is necessary. It is my present intention to submit all names of people who apply to the Judicial Council.
Mr. Phillips: Why does the Minister not let the Judicial Council decide whether or not it should advertise nationally? Why is the Minister politically interfering with the process? Why does he just not let the PSC advertise, and when the applicants come in the Judicial Council can decide if they wish to advertise nationally.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I would take issue with Mr. Phillips statement that such an action is political interference; it is patently not political interference. The process is designed to recruit as soon as possible. I remind him that on the last request of the council, it too in excess of a year. That is too long.
Mr. Phillips: I understand that, and I agree with the Minister. It is a long process, and the process should be speeded up. If the Minister has the first look at all the applicants from Whitehorse, and he decides that he does not like any of those applicants and that he should advertise nationally, that is political interference.
The Judicial Council should look at the list of local applicants and send the list immediately to the Minister or make the decision then if they will advertise nationally. Another alternative is to send the list to the interview people, short list them and send the list of the respective applicants to the Minister. He could then appoint, from that list, any of the four or five that the Judicial Council recommends.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is an interesting definition of political interference. I do not agree at all. The process of appointing judges has a political component. It should have a political component. It should not have a partisan political component. The whole process is an Order-in-Council appointment which, by its very nature, is a political process. That is the way it is done federally and in every single province. That is not political interference; it is not for this reason: the judiciary should be independent, but should not be self-perpetuating without a political input or, to put it another way, an input by persons responsible to the voter. That is our system of freedom and democracy in this country. The process of judicial council recommendations is designed, in part, to ensure the process does not become partisan, as we have had appointments in this country of individuals who are unsuitable.
The process of federal appointments of judges is in a period of transition. The Member opposite will know that, on Law Day this year, the federal Minister of Justice proposed a procedure of a recommending body for judicial appointments. The process that we are following here is similar to the process the federal Minister is following, although there is not the added dimension of the Meech Lake agreement, which complicates federal appointments.
As I understand it, the Canadian Bar Association has long had a practice of looking at recommendations for appointments in the federal sphere. They look at names submitted to them by the government and they make a categorization of individuals into either highly suitable, suitable or unsuitable. It is that kind of process that I would wish the Judicial Council here would follow.
Mr. Phillips: That has been done in part, in the past. The names of the people who have applied are run by members of the bar association, who are asked for their recommendations. The Minister appears to be consistently inconsistent because he has stood up in the House hundreds of times and told us that the judiciary should not be politicized and that he must remain independent from it, and all of this stuff that he tells us, time and time again, and here he has an opportunity.
I understand that the Minister makes the ultimate decision on who he appoints for a judge; it is his decision, and the political decision comes there, when he appoints one of the five people. I do not see, however, why the Minister has to have his fingers in the pie before then. If the Judicial Council receives five or six or ten applications from Whitehorse and decides, in its wisdom, that there may not be enough suitable candidates there to choose from, then they can ask the Public Service Commission to advertise outside. I think that can be done just as fast as the Minister sitting down and making that decision. That way he would stay out of it politically.
The Minister should not be deciding whether or not there is someone here in Whitehorse who can or cannot do the job. Let the Judicial Council do it; that is what they are there for. That was my only concern.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I appreciate that concern. I should point out that it is incorrect to say that the decision is mine to make; it is not. The decision is Cabinets.
Mr. McLachlan: At the start of general debate the Minister rose with some answers to questions from yesterday, but I am wondering if he has more answers to questions from yesterday. A question was asked about the size of the rural RCMP force, not only about native police constables.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I understood the question to be about special constables, but I do have that information. The total person years for the Yukon force is 151 - that includes civilian members and public servants, special constables, and the regular members. The total in the Whitehorse detachment is 39. There are also others in telecommunications, et cetera. I do not have here a rural total, but I can add it up, because the total in Beaver Creek is two, Carcross is two, Carmacks is three, Dawson is eight, Faro is three, Haines Junction is four, Mayo is three, Old Crow is three, Pelly Crossing is three, Ross River is three, Teslin is three, and Watson Lake is ten. That adds up to 46.
Mr. Phillips: There is only $1.00 for recruitment of judges. What do we expect the total cost to be?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Last years actual was $22,000, but the moving expenses were $16,000-odd of that. If it is a local hire, I would expect the cost to be minimal - certainly substantially under $5,000. If it is a non-local hire, the cost of the advertising would be $5,000 or perhaps more. The practice is to vote $1.00 every year, and if there is a recruitment to vote the actual or near actual as it is known in a Supplementary. If it is a local hire, I would not expect a Supplementary.
Mr. Phillips: We can hope it would be a local hire then. There are some very qualified lawyers in Whitehorse who, should they apply, could probably do the job.
I have a question on the cost of bringing in deputy judges rather than having judges sitting here. The Minister has advised us it really does not cost any more money. I am a bit confused, because it seems to me it would cost more. You have to pay the deputy judge, his or her transportation to the Yukon and his or her accommodation while they are here. I would like to know the forecast for this summer? How much more is it going to cost us because we do not have a sitting Territorial Court judge?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I do not have specific figures about this summer. One of the concerns is that because of the concept of judicial independence, the people who are actually hired and scheduled are under the control of the chief judge. What we do have is the total budget. The chief judge has the authority to make arrangements as are appropriate within the budgeted amount. When we get to the line, I can explain the budgeted amount in detail.
Mr. Phillips: Before I leave the area, I would like to express a concern that I think it is extremely important that we hire a judge quickly. I think the Minister would agree that it is not only important to have a local judge but to have one on staff as soon as possible because deputy judges from outside are not familiar with Yukon problems. Although some of the deputy judges who come have been coming for several years, it is still better to have a judge who has lived in the Yukon and understands the native and non-native people and problems associated with life in the Yukon. It is important that we expedite this as quickly as possible and get a sitting judge.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I could not agree more.
Mr. McLachlan: I would like to go back to the numbers that the Minister has read because I do not get a check. The total person years is 151. The Minister has quoted 85. Is the Minister saying that there are as many as 65 non-uniform members of the police in the Yukon? Was the number 85 only uniformed types? What accounts for the difference between 85 and 151?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I will give a total breakdown, and that will add up to 151. Under the Criminal Investigation Branch, which is a part of division headquarters, there are two. There are two division criminal investigation readers, who are inspectors, although not of the rank of inspectors. There is one native policing coordinator. Telecommunications section has two. Telecommunications centre has seven. Commercial crime has one. General investigation section has six. Police dog section has one. Identification section has two. Air detachment has three. Section non-commissioned officer has one.
I have read all the detachments. Whitehorse has 39. Whitehorse Detachment - GIS, that is general investigation, has two. Whitehorse highway patrol has five. Division of administration and federal policing has 31. These add up to 151.
Mr. McLachlan: Are they any members in the force involved in federal law enforcement in rural communities? Are all of them based in Whitehorse?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: They are all based in Whitehorse. The only members in the rural communities, as I read out earlier, add up to 46.
Mr. McLachlan: Does Whitehorse have two GIS divisions? The Minister read out numbers six and five. What is the reason for that?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The titles are criminal investigation and general investigation services. These are internal organizations within the RCMP that are determined by national policy.
Mr. McLachlan: Watson Lake has 10 members. That might be understandable from the point of view of the amount of highway they must cover, the sections of the Alaska Highway and the Robert Campbell Highway. Dawson City has eight. Why is that so high? Is it also due to the amount of highway that must be covered, or is there some special policing done from that division?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I do not know about special policing, but I do know that the detachment characteristically has more numbers working in the summer time than in the winter. That probably accounts for it. The situation at Dawson is there is one sergeant, one corporal, four constables, one native special constable and one public servant, which is undoubtedly a secretarial position. As to the specific allocations, the RCMP has a federal policy guideline as to the numbers associated with population, geographical area and occurrences. It is primarily occurrences they look at.
The determinations are made, by and large, by a policy that is national.
Mr. McLachlan: Is Dawson City bilingual?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The city is. I know there are French-speaking individuals in Dawson, but they are not unilingual. As to the RCMP, which I am sure the Member meant, I do not specifically know. I can find out, but I do know there is a national policy within the RCMP to deliver services at all points in both official languages. That policy is expressed as a goal. The official languages commissioner has expressed a concern about the speed at which the RCMP is achieving its goal.
Mr. McLachlan: When the force wants more members, for whatever reasons they believe they should have or need them, does the NCO in charge of a division make that decision? If so, does he then approach the Minister for funding? Does the Minister then say no, because he does not have enough money in the budget? What is the process by which the force increases its size?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The NCOs undoubtedly communicate with their superior officers. The way it works is that the chief superintendent here communicates with me. There is a duel process. In order to get approval the approvals must come from both the territorial government and the federal government, specifically through the federal Treasury Board. So the process is: the chief superintendent makes a request for more members to the territorial government; if the territorial government says no we will not pay for them, it ends there; if we say yes, we will pay for them, it proceeds to Ottawa. There is a similar yes/no process in Ottawa.
Mr. McLachlan: Is the former what usually happens; the territory says no?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I cannot speak about long term. I believe that the situation in the long term is that the territorial government has consented, but there undoubtedly have been situations where there were discussions, perhaps in both directions, for example, the territorial government asking for a member in a certain community and the RCMP saying no. In the three years that I have been Minister I have been asked for increases in the civilian personnel for the computer programs and I have said yes. Those people were hired. I was asked for more Members for Whitehorse for this year, and I said no.
Mr. McLachlan: If, in the opinion of the RCMP, the population of Whitehorse is increasing and they feel they need more members, what is the basis upon which the Minister denies that request?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There is an overall concern about the growth of government. We discuss this ad nauseum on occasion. The situation as I see it is that the major issue facing the RCMP in the territory is not the number of members. We have 151 staff here for a population of 26,000 or 27,000. The police per capita ratio is the highest in the country, along with the Northwest Territories.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I see the issue as the redeployment of resources, away from administration, and into practical on-the-street policing, towards more culturally-sensitive policing. I have encouraged the RCMP to adopt those same priorities.
Mr. Johnston: I would like to go back to tribal justice, if I may? Yesterday and today I listened with interest when tribal justice was talked about before this House. Tribal justice has been reintroduced to our Tlingit people of Teslin but it is not something new that has been introduced to our people. Tribal justice has been among the Tlingit people of Teslin for a long, long time, and it was practiced, as far as I can remember, when I was a little boy - and that was a long, long time ago. It was practiced right up until after the Alaska Highway came through. At that time it started to disappear.
The Tlingit law, the law makers - who are the clan leaders - were the law and order in the village. Everything that they did, they did while respecting the wishes of the people. They were the leaders and everyone looked up to them for advice. After a while the elders started noticing and wondering why it was that they could remember the days when, for any little infractions, even small children were brought before the elders if they had done something wrong.
With the new law system and with Teslin becoming a reserve, the RCMP can no longer come in without the permission of chief-in-council. In the meantime, there was a lot of vandalism and petty crimes, right in the reserve. The older people wanted the tribal justice system brought back. We should try to bring back the tribal justice system.
I have some old pictures at home of the Tlingit people, who, when on the coast, had their own police - like the special constables of today. These people, though, were in different kinds of uniforms. As well, the chief back then was one of the law makers, too. He was the head man, besides the clan leaders.
Yesterday we discussed why Teslin started their justice system and then, before it was completed, another one was started in Old Crow. It is because of the different customs of different Indian nations.
The Teslin people are the Tlingit people and Old Crow are the Loucheaux. Their customs are a little different and their laws differ a bit. Everything was ruled by the laws in the village, from juvenile delinquency to marriages. These laws were very highly respected by the people. The dos and do nots of everyday living were taught to you right from when you were born. Even when two children - a raven child and a wolf child - were playing together in the village, and one of them got hurt, that was an offence. The other side had to pay for damages. If there was a death, it was even more. If the other side could not pay up, you could pick one of them to be your servant until the other side paid up. They used to pay with anything of value back in those days.
Today, when it is brought back, we are trying to use it as a crime prevention in our village. So far, we have already noticed there is a change. Vandalism and the petty crimes in our village have declined. There is no more calling the RCMP even for minor infractions. It is handled right there in the village. Hopefully, by the end of June, when more of our customs are introduced and our new leadership has taken place, and when we are practicing our new constitution among our people, all these kinds of things will come back to our people.
With these few words, I hope I have cleared up a little bit of the way this system is working among our people.
Chairman: Is there any further general debate?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There is essentially no difference here from last year. The only difference, as identified, is Judicial Recruitment, which is a substantial unknown at the present time.
The Training and Development is a fund of money that we hope to use to develop the cross-cultural sensitivity of the department and, also, to pay for specific training initiatives for specific individuals. I do not want to talk about individual people on the floor of the House, but we are beginning to look at training people to fill the positions in which the incumbents will be retiring soon. There may be training involving the Whitehorse Correctional Centre.
On Deputy Minister
Deputy Minister in the amount of $182,000 agreed to
On Finance and Administration
Finance and Administration in the amount of $378,000 agreed to
On Compensation for Victims of Crime.
Mr. McLachlan: Could the Minister tell us the high end of these awards, and what is the usual crime that is compensated in that high end? Is it $5,000, $4,000, $1,500 or what?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The maximum under the legislation is $15,000. That is the high end. I will collect that information in terms of the averages. It might be even possible to give the amounts of all of the awards. I will supply that information when I get it.
Mr. McLachlan: I am also interested in the number of people who applied. Is everyone who applies rewarded? Are some people turned down? What are the reasons for the turn down?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Some are definitely turned down. I cannot give the Member the percentages, but it is not the case that it is only occasionally that one is turned down. A significant percentage of applications is turned down. The board is the Workers Compensation Board. They have a dual appointment; they look at the cases and decide. I can supply the number of applications and awards. The Member can then figure out an average.
Mr. Phillips: Recently we have seen in the newspaper several advertisements about compensation for victims of crime and that type of thing. There is also an ongoing program on the radio that talks about that as well. I am wondering why last year we had a fair increase in that budget and this year we are expecting it to go down. Why is the government making people more aware of it? Does it feel that people will use it less or do they expect crime to go down considerably?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The big jump occurred in late 1985 and early 1986. We used to budget $25,000 here, and it went up very significantly with some changed policies of the quasi-judicial board and particularly because of an advertising campaign, which I am proud to say that I had something to do with initiating.
It is expected that this estimate is very accurate. Since the increase, the awards per year have been stable, and we are anticipating that this is a very good estimate.
Compensation for Victims of Crime in the amount of $141,000 agreed to
On Judicial Recruitment
Judicial Recruitment in the amount of one dollar agreed to
On Training and Development
Training and Development in the amount of $46,000 agreed to
Mr. Phillips: In all the other departments, we were told there were increases in the personnel. In this department, we see a decrease with the same number of personnel. Is there a reason for that?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There was a substantial pay-out last year. Last years forecast is unusually high.
Mr. Phillips: Is that the pay-out to the judge who left?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No, it was the personnel officer.
Administration in the amount of $747,000 agreed to
On Court Services
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There are some significant percentage increases here, and I will explain them briefly. The Yukon Public Law Library librarian in the Philipsen Building was transferred from the first line to the second line, that is, from Program Director to Supreme Court, and that accounts for $40,000. Under Sheriff, the increases in witness fees account for that substantial increase. I explained those in the Supplementary Estimates.
The Native Courtworker line represents a stand-pat budget for the courtworkers, per se, and an increase of the Prison Liaison Program, for an increase of $50,000. The Maintenance Enforcement money is the maintenance enforcement officer, which position was in the Territorial Court last year. The Victim/Witness Administration change is solely because there was a contract last year, which I identified in the Supplementary Estimates, with the Salvation Army for counselling for these people that is not renewed.
I believe I said witness fees under Sheriff. I misspoke myself; that is jury fees.
On Program Director
Program Director in the amount of $52,000 agreed to
On Supreme Court
Mr. Phillips: Is some of this increase attributed to the trend that seems to have developed that people are electing to go to Supreme Court as opposed to the Territorial Court?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No.
Supreme Court in the amount of $303,000 agreed to
On Territorial Court
Mr. Phillips: Is this the area where I deal with the justices of the peace?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes, it is.
Mr. Phillips: There are some areas in the Yukon that have some fairly severe problems with the justices of the peace. In the community of Old Crow there are no JPs sitting at the present time. What does it cost to fly one in, or for the RCMP to carry out their work in Old Crow?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There is no cost, just an inconvenience. The present practice is to have other JPs provide the signatures that are asked for in the judicial sense. That process is working other. There used to be native JPs in Old Crow. I personally have caused suggestions for some people to go to the Judicial Council for consideration and the Judicial Council has not seen fit to act on those recommendations. We are waiting to find suitable candidates who are acceptable to the Judicial Council and the Order-in-Council process.
Mr. Phillips: I find it hard to believe that there is no cost. If you have someone who has committed a crime in Old Crow surely they must be afforded the same opportunities of appearing before a JP or a judge in the same period of time the average citizen is. In that case you would have to fly them to Dawson City or fly a JP from Dawson City to Old Crow. That would be an added cost, would it not?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes it would, if it occurred. There are certainly possibilities of it occurring. The Members point is that it is desirable to have a JP in Old Crow, and I totally agree with that.
Mr. Phillips: Does the Minister have on his desk now, from the Judicial Council, any recommendations of any justices of the peace who could be appointed in Old Crow? Has he had any in the last six months?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No, not in well over a year.
Mr. Phillips: What is the Minister going to do in some of the other communities? I understand that he does have a list on his desk that was made almost a year ago, from the Judicial Council, containing recommendations for appointments. He has this standing policy that they have to meet certain criteria, namely, a native person or a woman, and it is creating some problems in some of the other communities. Has he decided, in his great wisdom, to appoint some of these people now, so that we can clear up some of the problems in the communities, or is he going to stick by his guns and say, No, unless you meet my criteria, there is not going to be anybody appointed in that community?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There would be a difference in the way that I phrased the description of the situation and the way that the Member opposite phrases it. There is no change in the policy, which I explained last year. We do not have a consideration about particular individuals, or, indeed, particular communities. The policy that I am following is one that I continue to maintain, so, if the question is, Am I sticking by my guns? then the answer is yes.
The policy is that we wish the justices of the peace, especially the rural justices of the peace, to reflect the gender and racial make up of the community, especially the rural community.
Mr. Phillips: That is a good idea, in theory, but I think that history speaks for itself. There are no names coming forward that reflect that mix in these communities that have problems. All that I am saying to the Minister is that he is creating problems in these communities.
The JP Council that the Minister himself appointed - the Ministers appointees - have made these recommendations to him, yet he still refuses to appoint these people as justices of the peace. It is costing the taxpayer a lot of money and a lot of inconvenience in many of these communities. In some cases, we are burning out the existing justices of the peace, because they are called upon all of the time as there is no one else in the community available. I suggest to the Minister that these people give a very good service to the people of the territory. They have gone through the course, and they are willing to sit as justices of the peace and do a good job in serving their community. The Minister should respect that and continue on with his policy, trying to get other people involved, but he should at least appoint the people that we have. It has been an ongoing problem for years and the Minister has just made it much worse.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I have a motto that I follow. Failure is when a person gives up trying, and I have not given up trying. The justice system will benefit immeasurably. It will improve substantially in the eyes of the community, especially the rural community, especially the native community, when the justice of the peace court bench communicates well cross-culturally and is made up of an appropriate racial and gender balance. We will achieve that. We will keep trying until that is achieved.
Territorial Court in the amount of $1,144,000 agreed to
Mr. Phillips: Are we expecting that many more jury trials this year?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No. We are expecting the same level of jury activity as last year. It is as a result of the increase in jury fees that have slightly more than tripled.
Sheriff in the amount of $304,000
On Native Courtworkers
Native Courtworkers in the amount of $290,000 agreed to
On Maintenance Enforcement
Mr. McLachlan: I am looking for some explanation from the Minister because the statistical figures do not seem to balance. It says that 98 percent successful enforcement on 160 orders cost only $3,000. It says that 95 percent successful enforcement on 250 court orders cost $49,000. Does that mean that some of them were particularly expensive to chase down, like in South America? What is the reason for the $46,000 increase, yet the success rates are about the same?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Last year the operation and maintenance incidental expenses for this program were budgeted at $3,000. This year they are budgeted at $4,500. The major difference is the salary. With the salary and benefits, the budget is $44,500. Last year, that salary was in the Territorial Court line, and this year it is in its own line.
Mr. McLachlan: Has it been the Ministers experience that most of the court orders filed for enforcement are out of the territory? Do we have some filed within the territory?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly:The vast majority are within the territory.
Mr. McLachlan: Are they all one-way enforcement orders: filed by females?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I do not know specifically, but the Yukon picture is exactly the same as the national picture, which is that, in excess of 97 percent are filed by women, most of them mothers.
Mr. McLachlan: The Minister said the majority of them were in the territory. For those that are out of the territory, to what extent and expense will the department go in trying to enforce the order or trying to track the individual? Will we go out of continental North America, and how much is spent?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes, we will. We have reciprocal agreements with a number of countries, including many in Europe. We enforce here some orders that were originally made in other countries and, especially, in other provinces. Where the non-paying party leaves the jurisdiction or goes to a province or another country, we communicate with the government in that jurisdiction. There is a reciprocal arrangement and the government where the person lives incurs most of the expense.
Mr. McLachlan: Will the department monitor the success rates of the court-enforced order to the extent that we can tell if an individual may then be able to go off social assistance if the court order is successful and there are support payments made?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I guess the way to answer that is to determine who of the receiving parties are on social assistance and who are not. I do not specifically know. There are certainly individuals in both categories. I will see what information we have that will be useful to know, and I will supply that information.
Mr. McLachlan: I ask it because we talked about social assistance yesterday. I believe this was one of the reasons for the passage of that legislation. If it is having an effect, let us hear about it and, if it is not, let us also hear about it.
Maintenance Enforcement in the amount of $49,000 agreed to
On Victim/Witness Administration
Victim/Witness Administration in the amount of $46,000 agreed to
Mr. Phillips: Before we clear this, can the Minister tell us what the one term position is?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is the victim/witness administrator.
Mr. Phillips: How long has that been a term position?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It will be for a total of 20 months, and then there will be an evaluation. I forget precisely when it started, but it was more than a year ago.
Mr. Phillips: When will it become a permanent position? That is a long time for it to be a term position.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: When and if Management Board makes a decision to that effect, I would expect that I would be taking a report and a consequent recommendation to Management Board within this fiscal year.
Victim/Witness Administration in the amount of $46,000 agreed to
Chairman: Before we go on to the next program, is it the wish of the Committee to take a brief recess?
Some Members: Yes.
Chairman: We will recess for 15 minutes.
Chairman: Committee of the Whole will come to order.
On Attorney General
Chairman: Any general debate?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: This is again an essentially stand-pat budget. The Solicitors Branch increase is because of that term position that I identified in general debate. That is essentially the only change. The 47 percent increase under Program Director is attributable to an articling student which I forget if that was identified in the Supplemental or not. I am told it was not, but that is what it is.
Mr. Phillips: Can the Minister tell us the current status of the reopening of the inquest into the Blasdell incident?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The chief coroner asked the erstwhile chief coroner of BC to do an investigation. That investigation report was going to the chief coroner. I have not heard from the chief coroner as a result of that process.
The chief coroner may very well make the decision public before I hear, I do not know precisely how that will occur as it is a quasi-judicial function, but that is the status. Essentially I have no further information from what I have already given. I can assure Members that after that determination is made, the government will consider its role, or its proper function after the coroner does whatever it is that the coroner decides to do.
On Program Director
Program Director in the amount of $129,000 agreed to
On Solicitors Branch
Solicitors Branch in the amount of $484,000 agreed to
On Public Administrator/Chief Coroner
Mr. McLachlan: A fatal highway accident occurred outside of Faro in October 1987. Even though it happened on Yukon highways, it happened under federal jurisdiction. Can the chief coroner of the Yukon government call an inquest of a highway-related death that is under federal legislation?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: He is asking for a legal opinion, I think, but off the top of my head I would say yes; I would be very surprised if they cannot. It is certainly my belief - and this is a general interpretation of the Coroners Act, without looking at it - that the coroner can call an inquest into any death that occurs in the Yukon.
Mr. McLachlan: When it does not happen, what does that mean? Does that then mean that the coroner has no reason to call it, because she has no reason to feel that there are any suspicious circumstances surrounding the death? Does it mean that someone has overruled her?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No one overrules the coroner. That has never occurred, to my knowledge, and could not occur. The coroner does make a decision of whether or not to call an inquest in certain cases. There are some other cases where there is a mandatory inquest. It may have been that there were criminal charges; I do not know. That generally puts a stop to the inquest. I do not know the particular circumstances of that particular accident.
Public Administrator/Chief Coroner in the amount of $287,000 agreed to
On Legislative Counsel
Mr. Lang: Could we hear a description from the Minister?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I could give the same description as I gave previously. This is a unit of the government. There are two legislative counsel and clerical support. The program objectives are at the top of the page, and it is the same situation that we have had ever since I have been Minister. They research and write proposed legislation and regulations.
Mr. Lang: Other departments have had expenditures for drafting legislation, for example, the Motor Vehicles Act, the Motor Transport Act and other pieces of legislation coming to the House at considerable expense. There are hundreds of thousands of dollars, yet at the same time, there are two positions in the government to carry out that responsibility. We have paid $150,000 for that drafting. In view of that fact, if we take a look at our legislative calendar for this year, we have to shake our heads.
Legislative Counsel in the amount of $189,000 agreed to
On Land Titles
Mr. McLachlan: Could the Minister tell us how fireproof the vault is being made in the Land Titles office?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It follows the building code. I have been made aware that the federal government has concerns about the vault. The nature of the concern is the number of hours of burn that the documents inside would withstand. In that virtually fireproof building, in that fireproof vault, I am satisfied that there is no practical danger.
Mr. McLachlan: I am not. It is paper, and it will burn quite easily. Some of the documents in there go back to the year 1900 and are from Mr. Chairmans riding. They are historical documents. Why are they not in a safe? Why are they all open?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: They are in a fireproof vault. The controversy, if there is one, is about the degree of fireproofing that could occur. It is essentially the degree of insulation of the layers of fireproofing, but they are in a fireproof vault. The best practical backup is microfilm. That is a far better security blanket than more insulation in the vault.
Mr. McLachlan: Are there plans to put them on microfilm?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It should be completed by the fall.
Land Titles in the amount of $161,000 agreed to
On Legal Aid
Mr. Phillips: This is a big day for the Minister of Justice. He made us a promise three years ago when he became the Minister of Justice that he was going to reduce legal aid costs dramatically in the Yukon. I see today that he has taken the first step. Could the Minister explain to us how he has achieved this fantastic $2,000 reduction in the Legal Aid line?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Main Estimates last year were $759,000. The $2,000 was a staff pay-out, which accounts for the forecast. The program is on budget.
Mr. Phillips: It is on budget and holding. It has not moved down an iota.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Not so. The 1986-87 actual was $877,000. That is a decrease of $118,000, by my arithmetic.
Mr. Phillips: It should also go on the record that the Minister made some significant changes. In last years budget, he told us this was going to make a world of difference this year. Here we are with a $761,000 budget last year dramatically reduced to $759,000 this year. I hope the Minister is not on budget or on his plan, because his plan is failing.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Member opposite has the year of my promise mixed up. It was between 1986-87 and 1987-88.
Mr. Phillips: Have you ever tried to nail jelly to the wall? There is not much point in pursuing this much further.
Mr. Lang: The one area that was requested from this side was to look at the eligibility for people applying for this particular program. As Members, we have all had people at one time or another approach us who feel they have been unfairly done by because of the open-door policy of the eligibility for this particular fund. You get a situation where, because a private citizen is in such a financial situation, they can go in and take somebody to court under whatever terms and conditions and at great expense to the individual involved, and there is no recourse to the individual if it is found to be totally unfounded. I believe the eligibility should be looked at. This is the type of thing that, where if it is abused and taken advantage of, you get into a situation where there is no respect for the court system and no justice. The ultimate end is that we all suffer and the whole integrity of the system goes down.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There is no disagreement among the various parties in the House as to the objective. The statement about an open-door policy is not accurate. There are regulations that have been adopted now that involve a degree of discretion in assessing individual cases. It will always be that way, by the nature of the program. That is why the program is administered by an independent board, to decide those very sensitive issues.
The board is dealing with that issue far better than it was dealt with approximately three years ago, or even two years ago.
I agree that it is a matter of continuing concern and I am not standing here saying all the problems are solved, but we are making substantial progress.
Mr. Phillips: The last time we debated this area we talked about the recoveries in legal aid. How successful have we been in recovering legal aid costs from individuals?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is more than doubled. The actual two years ago was about $13,000. The actual will probably be $28,000 for 1987-88. Again I would say that although we are making progress I am not saying the situation is entirely solved.
Mr. Phillips: I agree with the Minister in that we have a long way to go in legal aid recoveries. Is it explained to each person who receives legal aid that there is a requirement to pay it back?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes.
Mr. Phillips: Do they sign a form that they will pay it back or their wages will be garnisheed if they do get a job?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes. I should elaborate. That is not the case on every certificate, but on those certificates where there is a requirement to repay that commitment is made in writing and signed by the recipient.
Legal Aid in the amount of $759,000 agreed to
On Costs and Judgments
Costs and Judgments in the amount of one dollar agreed to
On Litigation Costs
Litigation Costs in the amount of one dollar agreed to
Mr. McLachlan: Are the statistics under the public administrators office on page 179 under actual calendar years or are they fiscal years?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes.
Mr. McLachlan: The Minister of Health and Human Resources also compiles death totals in the Yukon and they are never the same as the Department of Justice. Why do we show discrepancies between these two departments?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There are some deaths that occur that do not become statistics for the coroner. The bulk of them would be natural deaths where the estate is looked after privately.
Mr. McLachlan: Is the Minister saying that the 109 deaths that are recorded on page 179 are all under the public administrators jurisdiction?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes.
Attorney General in the amount of $2,009,000 agreed to
On Consumer, Corporate and Labour Affairs
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: This is essentially a stand-pat budget. The changes are due, essentially, to vacancies in personnel.
On Program Director
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There was a vacancy last year in a secretarial position, and that accounts for the increase to this years budget.
Program Director in the amount of $161,000 agreed to
On Consumer Services
Consumer Services in the amount of $275,000 agreed to
On Corporate Affairs
Corporate Affairs in the amount of $206,000 agreed to
On Labour Services
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I should explain this. One position was moved from the Corporate line into the Labour line. Other than that, the numbers are essentially the same over the two years.
Labour Services in the amount of $244,000 agreed to
On Occupational Health and Safety
Mr. McLachlan: Have new employees been hired in this area to administer the new and expanded Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System legislation?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No, WHMIS is using existing personnel.
Occupational Health and Safety in the amount of $314,000 agreed to
Mr. McLachlan: In the statistics for the Consumer Services, how does the department estimate the amount of money that is wagered in bingos, raffles, sports pools?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: We know, because the people applying for licences identify on the applications the price of the tickets and number of tickets printed, and they submit a return as to the number actually sold. You add up the prices of all the tickets, and you get the total.
Mr. McLachlan: With respect to the figures from Diamond Tooth Gerties for the poker time, is the $25,000 an actual figure?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That is the figure reported by Diamond Tooth Gerties to the licensing agency.
Consumer, Corporate and Labour Affairs in the amount of $1,200,000 agreed to
On Solicitor General
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I will explain the differences here. Under program director, the substantial increase is because it is under this line that the Teslin crime prevention program and the Old Crow program are included. Under crime prevention, there is an increase of $20,000, which is enhancement for grants available for community programs. That is an enhancement under that program.
There are two person years that are not new person years but were transferred from Community Corrections to Institutional Facilities. This is around the family violence unit, which was announced by press release some time ago.
On Program Director
Mr. Phillips: Could the Minister break down the cost for the Old Crow and Teslin programs?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Teslin is $18,000, and Old Crow is $32,000. I explained that Teslin was $17,000 last year and $18,000 this year.
Program Director in the amount of $128,000 agreed to
On Community Corrections
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I explained the changes. It is the Family Violence Unit where two person years were transferred from this line to the Crime Prevention line. There are no additional person years for the branch.
Community Corrections in the amount of $557,000.
On Institutional Facilities
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The work camp is included here. It was a separate item in previous years.
Mr. Phillips: I have a question for the Government Leader. The Minister met with three guards from the Correctional Centre, and they asked for an inquiry into the problems at the centre. Could he give us an update on what is happening?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Briefly, the chief coroner is looking into the questions surrounding the suicide there. There are a number of issues arising in the area of Occupational Health and Safety that are being dealt with in the normal industrial relations model. There is a question that was identified by the Member opposite that is being investigated by the Human Rights Commission.
Other questions around the administration of the jail have been the subject of conversation since I met with the three former employees, between myself and officials of the Department of Justice, including the Minister, and other employees at the centre. My colleague, the Minister of Justice, and I have had a number of ministerial conversations about the appropriate way to assess the situation at the facility.
Those conversations are continuing as are, time permitting, my conversations with employees there. I hope that shortly we will be able to agree upon a description of outstanding problems or issues at the facility and what appropriate course of action should be taken by this government in dealing with them.
Institutional Facilities in the amount of $3,210,000 agreed to
On Community Residential Centre
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I should remind Members that the 1987-88 number was a partial year, and this year is a full year.
Mr. McLachlan: Is the Minister accepting applications for 1990 yet for the mobile work camp?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That is under the previous line, but I would be pleased to receive any and all applications, at any time.
Mr. McLachlan: Where is the camp going in 1989?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The plan is for Teslin in 1988 and Carmacks in 1989. There is a possibility that it may be two years in Teslin. I have promised to meet with the local authorities, the band, and the Local Improvement District in the fall, and assess the situation then.
Community Residential Centre in the amount of $177,000 agreed to
On Crime Prevention
Crime Prevention in the amount of $144,000 agreed to
On Police Services Agreement
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: In previous years we have identified the Special Constables and Police Services in conjunction with each other. This, of course, is an increase of almost $400,000, and six percent. It is partially due to the escalating share of cost under the federal territorial agreement, and partially due to increased costs. We have already debated the general situation. I see the two lines, Police Services Agreement and Native Special Constables, as related, and we have already talked about the various considerations.
Mr. McLachlan: I am still not sure why there is a $391,000 increase, if the Minister told the force that they could not have any more people.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The members received a pay raise, the same as the civil servants - not exactly the same amount, but they received a raise. There are increased operating costs, and, as the Member will recall, the territorial share of the total cost goes up two percent a year.
Mr. McLachlan: This figure of $6,695,000 represents 68 percent or 66 percent?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It represents 66 percent.
Police Services Agreement in the amount of $6,695,000 agreed to
On Native Special Constable
Native Special Constable in the amount of $275,000 agreed to
Solicitor General in the amount of $11,186,000 agreed to
On Policy and Planning
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The situation is similar to last year. There are no costs this year for the implementation of human rights as there were last year in a supplemental, and we will deal with that on the next page. That is the reason for the change essentially. The grant to YPLEA, Yukon Public Legal Education Association, is here under Information and Education.
Operations in the amount of $161,000 agreed to
On Information and Education
Information and Education in the amount of $227,000 agreed to
On Human Rights
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: This is the first year that we can estimate a full years operation and this is the budgeted amount. There is money for training for the adjudicators. Last year the adjudicators received a weekend of training that which occurred here in the Yukon. This year we are planning the same, but perhaps a little longer period, which will occur in mid June.
Mr. McLachlan: Most of the Legislatures concerns would be answered if the Minister would table the annual report of the Human Rights Commission, which was to be due by April 15 or 30. Does he have the report yet?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I anticipated the question and during a telephone conversation between myself and the executive director, which occurred this morning, I was able to ascertain the report is at the printers. The Member knows there is a statutory obligation that the report go to Mr. Speaker and he will table it. I am anticipating it either this week or next.
Mrs. Firth: Unless the Minister is prepared to give us an accounting of where all the approximately $300,000 went last year before he comes and asks us to approve another $242,000 for the Human Rights Commission, we may have to stand this section aside until we can get some financial accountability.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I explained the money for last year in previous budgets. The annual report will have an audited statement and a report on the actual activities. That will be available when it is tabled. I can answer questions about the budget for this year now. For last year, I have already given the information I have.
If Members wish to stand it aside, I have no objection to that.
Mrs. Firth: I agree to stand it aside. I wanted to ask the Minister a question about another matter dealing with the Human Rights Commission. Where are the regulations? Why have we not seen the regulations for the Human Rights Commission?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The status of that is negotiation has occurred sporadically over the last year, and various drafts have been made. We are at the point of substantial agreement between the commission and the government. I am expecting the regulations to be proposed to the Cabinet quite soon. They are not in a final form at this moment.
Mrs. Firth: What the Minister is saying is that the executive director has been merrily going about his business without any regulations in place. Proposed to go to Cabinet soon, with all due respect, coming from this Minister could mean a long time. It means nothing, really.
What are the problems, that there has to be this big negotiation between the executive director of the Human Rights Commission and the government to reach substantial agreement regarding the regulations?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Member is assuming that there is negotiation between the executive director and myself. That is not accurate. The negotiation is between the commission and myself. The regulation-making power in the act is very restricted and deals essentially with procedures. There is a requirement in the act to consult with the commission about the regulations. That consultation has been very fruitful in that we are achieving a meeting of the minds as to what is appropriate. I have no hesitation in saying that when the regulations are eventually passed by Cabinet, they should not be controversial.
Mrs. Firth: If that is the case, why is the government taking so long. The Minister tells us that they are technical, that they will not take long and that he does not see any problem with it being approved by Cabinet. Who is drafting the regulations? Why is it taking over a year for these regulations to come forward if everything is so cut and dried as the Minister would like us to think?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The drafter for the government is the Legislative Drafting Branch, specifically the chief of that branch. The reason for the delay is mostly because the communications occurred several months apart. The negotiation has only occurred on three or four exchanges of information. There have been gaps of periods of months between the exchanges of information to allow for the drafter to do his work.
Mrs. Firth: Maybe the Minister could tell us what the process is? Did the government drafter draft a set of regulations and present them to the Human Rights Commission who was unhappy with some of the areas? Did they then send them back? Is that how the negotiations are proceeding? Could the Minister give us some indication of the process? How many times have they been back to the Human Rights Commission for its input and for redrafting? It has been over a year, and I expect that they have been back and forth a few times by now.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The process was that the government asked the commission to suggest regulations. The commission suggested a set of draft regulations. The government had concerns about the specific provisions, and there was a communication relaying that concern. That was resolved by it being decided that the government would draft a new set, which took sometime. That occurred, and we then had the two sets of proposed regulations. There have been two meetings involving me discussing the differences and perhaps three or four more involving the officials.
Mrs. Firth: So we have determined that the commission presented the original recommendations, then the government draftsperson made regulations. I am of the opinion that the executive director probably wrote those regulations on behalf of the commission, is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I do not know specifically. I would be very surprised if it is correct. The commission received advice from around the country as well as from a local solicitor, so I am sure it is not entirely accurate if it is accurate at all. I will ask the executive director and relay the information.
Mrs. Firth: In light of the great length of time it takes to get regulations in place, and all along the executive director of the Human Rights Commission has been very actively pursuing his objective of equality, human rights causes, and he has been very active and high profile in the community, has the Minister given some direction to the Human Rights Commission that the government wants regulations now, they are no longer going to be able to operate under this basis. Have they given them a date when these regulations have to be in place and approved by Cabinet? How much longer are we going to tolerate this?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The answer is no. The urgency is felt by the commission. The Member is expecting policy direction in the regulations by the content of her question and that is impossible under the statute. The regulations will govern procedures and most importantly the procedures for adjudications. I am not surprised that the act can be implemented without the regulations. I believe that three quarters of the regulations that we have under all of the acts are completely unnecessary, and I am not surprised at all.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister of Justice now wants to throw out all the regulations, because half of them are unnecessary. This is the Minister who brings in every piece of legislation that anywhere else in Canada has that we do not have - every law, every rule. This is the man who regulates and makes rules for volunteers for no problem at all. This is the man who makes the law in the Yukon for private investigators, of whom we have zero. Now, he stands up in the House at 5:10 p.m. in the afternoon to tell us he thinks three quarters of the regulations are useless in this government.
It is not even silly. The Minister knows very well I am not asking him to give the commission policy direction, I am simply asking how long this government is going to allow the public to have this act in place. He promised. I have all the debates from the 1987 debates in February, where the Minister reassured us that regulations would be forthcoming and that they would be simple, technical regulations. It has been over a year.
Chairman: Order, please.
Mrs. Firth: When is the Minister going to tell the Human Rights Commission we had better get some regulations now, and that it is a priority, and before you go around talking to any more people in the Yukon, you better have your own house in order and have all your regulations in order. I think the public has a right to know there are going to be some regulations in place, but not soon, because that does not mean anything, like I said before, coming from this government. There should be a time limit set.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I hope that the regulations are in place by the end of June.
Mrs. Firth: Maybe the Minister had better take another look at the regulations that have been proposed and take out the three quarters he thinks should be thrown out before we start debating the regulations.
Will the Minister be presenting those regulations to the Legislature - we will not be sitting until the end of June, I do not think - once the Order-in-Council is signed?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: They are public documents and published in the Gazette but, as a matter of courtesy, I will send a copy over to Members after they become regulations.
Mr. McLachlan: Perhaps the Minister could use his influence at Government Services and speed up the printing at the Queens Printer?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That was a representation that I will take under advisement. I do not know if it is at the Queens Printer or not, but I will take that under advisement.
Mr. McLachlan: Is it true that the Human Rights Commission asked for more money than we see here, and the Minister said, No, you cannot have it, and he cut it from the $350,000 requested to $242,000? Is the background behind that story correct?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I would ask the Member for Faro his position on that score. The situation is that the commission asked for more money than they got, but it was not $350,000 that they asked for. I forget precisely, but their original request was in the nature of $250,000. Management Board allocated, on my recommendation, $200,000.
Mr. Phelps: Where does inflation come in? What happened to the original figures that the Minister was bandying about the territory - I think that it was $60,000 or $75,000, at the outside. What particular aspect of his accounting went haywire?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I gave predictions under the old act, under the proposed Bill No. 58, I recall, at a public meeting in Mayo. During the debate in 1987 we in fact estimated $200,000, and that is what it is.
Mrs. Firth: If I may just follow up on this, because I recall this budget debate very clearly. I was not in Mayo, I was here in the House asking the Minister how much the commissions budget was going to be. The most that we got out of the Minister was that it was going to be between $70,000 and $200,000, but he did not, in his wildest dreams, imagine that it would go as high as $200,000. Well, after that daytime nightmare that the Minister had -
Mrs. Firth: - it was well in excess of $300,000 when we took into account that it was $275,000. Then they purchased a house for the Human Rights Commission for $80,000, or $82,000. The house then had $20,000 of renovations done to it, and it was at considerable cost that an individual was hired from outside to be the executive director. I have to mention that there were several applicants from within the Yukon.
After we questioned the cost of the Human Rights Commission in the House, the Minister stood up and said, Oh well, the Members have to appreciate that this is the first year. They had start-up costs, educational programs, the public and the business community had to be educated; we all had to be educated. He said that the commission would not be requiring those amounts in subsequent years. It would be the first initial cost that would be so much.
The Minister now is saying that this is what they consider to be less. Obviously the commission came forward with the budget for $250,000, so they were prepared to settle for $25,000 less. I see that the government has given them $50,000 less than their original request.
Mrs. Firth: Is this what the government feels this commission needs to effectively operate in the Yukon Territory? Are we so inundated with complaints that they require a substantial portion of money to operate?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Obviously, the government has approved this proposal for $200,000 as an operating grant.
Mrs. Firth: With respect to the way the government has given the money to the Human Rights Commission in the form of a grant, does the commission have to abide by the regular rules that other government departments abide by when it comes to tendering contracts, or can they just do whatever they want with the money?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: They are not part of the government. They are an independent agency. The short answer is no, they do not.
Mrs. Firth: Does the Financial Administration Act not state that all agencies of the government have to abide? I know it does. It states that all agencies of the government have to operate under the guidelines of the contract tendering procedures of this government. Therefore, they should have to abide by that, as well as the Yukon Housing Corporation and the other agencies of the government.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The commission is not an agency, as the Liquor Corporation and the Yukon Housing Corporation are.
Mrs. Firth: What is it then? It is like the Joint Commission on Indian Education and Training. It is taxpayers dollars. That was a temporary arrangement where the commission could spend their own money. This is different. The Human Rights Commission is an agency of the government, and they should have to abide by the laws of the Financial Administration Act, as well.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Member is wrong. As a matter of law, the commission reports not to the government, but to the Legislature. It is clear in the act that if there is any agency at all, the commission is an agency of the Legislature, not of the government.
Mrs. Firth: The commission is an agency of the government. It reports to the Legislature like the other agencies of the government. They report to us with an annual report. Is the Minister saying they just give the Human Rights Commission a grant of $200,000, and the chairperson of the commission and the executive director sign the cheques, and they do not have to go through any normal bidding procedures or tendering procedures for any work that is done through that agency?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Essentially, the same question was asked before. The commission is not an agency of the government. It was clearly explained at the time of the passage of the bill, and it is clear under the bill. The substantial reason for that is that, frequently, the commission deals with the government about complaints and about other matters. The commission has independence from the executive arm of government, similar to but not exactly the same as the judiciary.
Mrs. Firth: What the Minister is essentially saying is that this commission is given just about $250,000 of the taxpayers money, and that they have the ability to go and spend it any way they want. The commission can award a contract for $30,000 or more without having to go through any tendering procedures or following any rules. They can do whatever they want, and we have to stand aside the budget because there is no annual report to show us where the money is being spent, whether it is being spent properly like the other government agencies and government departments spend their money. I do not feel that is satisfactory on behalf of the Yukon taxpayer. I do not think the accountability process is adequate. I would like to see that changed.
Mr. Lang: It is nice to know we have Jack the Ripper here cutting down the budget. We have the poor Lone Ranger out there trying to defend himself.
When we discussed this during the Supplementary Estimates, the Minister gave us little, if any, information at that time, because he did not have any. Of course, this is outside the government, and we should not even be asking questions of this particular commission.
Can the Minister report to us exactly what the expense accounts are for this particular commission for the past year? He was going to report back.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: In response to the various requests made earlier, substantially in the debate on the Supplementary Estimates, I have communicated with the commission, and they will be making the contracts and the like available with their annual report. It will all be made available and public at the same time.
Mr. Lang: I want to echo some comments made previously. This is totally unacceptable. We are dealing with a budget that was presented on April 1. I almost get the impression that the Minister is grovelling to get the information from this commission that is out and beyond this Legislature and beyond questioning. Like my colleague from the Member for Riverdale North, I want to see this information prior to passing this budget.
Maybe you could tell the Queens Printer to get this information to us, because that should have been together a month ago. There is no reason for this delay. Everybody knew the budget was coming in March. To have the legislators sitting here waiting for that information, forget partisanship, is unacceptable. It should be here, and it should be tabled with no questions asked about it.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is not been necessary to grovel. I do not remember grovelling in the last several years in fact. The commission has not had a full year of operation. This is its first report, and it will be for a partial year. Because of that, one can understand a delay. In any event, the line or program can certainly be stood over.
In view of the time I would move that you report progress on Bill No. 50.
Motion agreed to
Mrs. Firth: May I ask a question before we leave.
Hon. Mr. Porter: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
May the House have a report from the Chairman of Committee of the Whole?
Mr. Webster: The Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 50, Second Appropriation Act, 1988-89 and directed me to report progress on the 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.
Hon. Mr. Porter: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.
The House adjourned at 5:27 p.m.
The following Sessional Paper was tabled May 10, 1988:
Yukon Homeowner Initiative, Yukon Housing Corporation (McDonald)