Monday, May 16, 1988 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I now call the House to order. We will proceed with Prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.
Introduction of Visitors?
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I would like to draw the attention of the House to John Bilawich, who is in the gallery. He will be working with the government caucus.
Mr. Nordling: I would like to introduce Claudette McCowan, who will be working with the Official Opposition as a legislative intern this summer.
Speaker: Are there any Returns or Documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have for tabling some correspondence concerning the invasion of BC tax auditors.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I have for tabling a Legislative Return relating to Yukon College capital costs, answers to questions regarding the consulting contracts for drafting the Motor Transport Act, the Annual Report of the Protective Services Branch for 1987 and an information package entitled Broadcasting and Telecommunications outlining the governments policy on communications.
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I have for tabling answers to questions asked in the House during debate.
Mr. Phillips: I have for tabling a discussion summary of a meeting of the Yukon owned and operated tourist oriented businesses within the City of Whitehorse.
As well, I have for tabling a petition with over 200 names on it that discusses the location of a new tourism information centre in Whitehorse.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Are there any Petitions?
Introduction of Bills?
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill No. 7: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have for introduction Bill No. 7, entitled Languages Act, and I move that it be now read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government Leader that Bill No. 7, entitled Languages Act be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 81: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I move that Bill No. 81, entitled Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act, 1988 be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Justice that Bill No. 81, entitled Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act, 1988 be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: Are there any Notices of Motion for the production of Papers?
Are there any Notices of Motion?
NOTICES OF MOTION
Mr. Phillips: I give notice of motion THAT
this House urges the Minister of Community and Transportation Services to establish a 24 hour a day, seven day a week, telephone information service regarding Yukon road conditions.
Speaker: Are there any Statements by Ministers?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It is with great pleasure that I rise in the Legislature today to announce the governments comprehensive communications policy.
This policy is the result of an extensive public consultation process conducted last spring and summer throughout the Yukon. It culminated in a Communications Symposium on the 12th and 13th of June, 1987. The symposium brought together government, industry, business and consumers to provide advice on the shape and direction of a communications policy for the Yukon.
We heard from many Yukoners throughout this process and the overriding concern was the need for the government to take on a more active role in communications matters affecting the territory. This is no surprise when you realize that decisions on the costs for and level of broadcasting and telecommunication services are made several thousand miles away in Ottawa by federal policy makers and regulatory bodies.
I am pleased to say that the new policy meets this concern directly, specifically providing for Yukon government participation in all national policy-making and federal regulatory forums that affect service levels and costs for communications in the Yukon.
Another major concern was the inequity in service levels in the territory. We know that Yukoners want improved CBC television service in those communities where quality of reception is a problem. I am pleased to say that under the new policy, the government will replace the mountain-top rebroadcast translator equipment with satellite receive antenna. This means that all Yukon communities serviced under the Community Radio and Television System will have the same quality of service and opportunity to share the system to deliver a second TV channel.
We all know that the availability, quality and costs for basic telephone service is of particular concern for rural Yukoners. This is a key area in which this government will represent Yukon interests before regulator bodies. Communications staff will also work closely with the telephone company to identify methods for extending service. In fact, the government has already taken steps to include telephone service under the Rural Electrification Program and, as you know, the new VHF system will facilitate extension of basic telephone service to a number of rural areas not now serviced.
These are just a few of the key elements in our new policy. I think that the essential point is that this government recognizes communications as an essential tool in creating a modern infrastructure for the continuing development of the territory. It helps bridge distances between our communities and between us and the rest of Canada. It can bolster the competitiveness of our businesses and industries and allows us to interact with one another.
For these reasons, we have made accessibility, reliability and affordability the by-words of our policy.
I want to thank everyone who participated in helping to develop this policy. I am sure you will agree with me that it gives the Yukon a sound foundation on which to build for the future as technology develops and needs change.
Mr. McLachlan: I am pleased to see the government moving in a number of these areas. The ministerial statement is accented towards television and telephone service. There is very little mention of radio. Some communities receive one, or no radio services now, and because the government hon. as made no mention of radio services, may we then assume that it is the governments opinion that it is up to the private sector or CBC to extend the radio services into some of these communities that have one station or none at all? Will the government also be playing a part in extending radio services into these communities?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: For reasons of time alone, the ministerial statement dealt with the major areas of concern that were expressed by Yukoners in the consultative exercise we undertook to develop the comprehensive communication policy. The radio services have not been ignored by the government. In fact, they have been steadily increased as a result, in part, of private sector activity but, also, shared activity with the government itself. Over the course of the last few years, the government has moved to extend radio service coverage to those areas that do not currently have it and, also, to encourage the shared use of equipment for the private sector to increase the selection of radio coverage that any particular community or rural district might receive.
Speaker: This, then, brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: Territorial Court Act
Mr. Phelps: I have some follow-up questions on the matter of the Judicial Council not being able to satisfactorily resolve the dispute between the Minister of Justice and the chief justice of the territory with regard to who is telling the truth about the firing of Mr. Thomson as justice of the peace last year. Has Cabinet made a decision yet about invoking hearings whereby witnesses will be cross-examined under oath?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is just a small detail, but I know the Member opposite would want his questions to be accurate. We are not dealing with the chief justice, who is Mr. Nemetz, who lives in Vancouver. We are speaking of the chief judge of the Territorial Court. The issue is not who is telling the truth. The issue is ascertaining the facts of the matter.
The short answer to the question is: no.
Mr. Phelps: When can we expect such a decision, because we are not going to let this die?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: After the Cabinet decides the question, the Members opposite will know about it.
Mr. Phelps: The Cabinet knew that the inquiry invoked last December would not be adequate. They were told that by the Judicial Council. I want to know what more information the Cabinet needs before it makes a decision.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is not accurate to say that the Cabinet knew the situation would not be adequate. Our expectation was entirely the other way, and that is simply not an accurate statement. The position of the Cabinet was, and is, that we wished to ascertain the facts and the particular way that the Judicial Council chose to go about that was their decision.
Question re: Territorial Court Act
Mr. Phelps: On Thursday last I asked the Minister of Justice when he started the inquiry whether the council had expressed its concern to him that it does not have the power to secure examination and cross examination under the section of the Territorial Court Act used to initiate the inquiry, and the Minister said yes.
How can the Minister stand there now and say that he had no idea there would be a problem with the inquiry?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Member opposite is changing the words around in his questions in a most contorted way. The Cabinet had an objective and asked the Judicial Council to inquire into the fact with certain powers. We expected that to achieve its objective to find the facts. The situation is now different and the Cabinet will deal with the question as it is today in light of the new information.
Mr. Phelps: They were told back then that there was going to be problems with this process. There are problems. The Judicial Council cannot come down with a finding of fact because there are conflicting stories about what went on back then.
Does the Cabinet want to get to the truth of this matter?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes.
Mr. Phelps: Then will the Minister invoke a process that will involve the cross examination of the witnesses under oath?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I have already answered that. First of all, it is not a decision for me to make; it is a decision for the Cabinet to take collectively. The Member opposite ought to know that we are talking about Orders-in-Councils here and it is a question for the entire Cabinet. The question has been asked and answered several times. The Cabinet is considering it and will make a decision.
Question re: Territorial Court Act
Mr. Phelps: Would the Minister of Justice agree that if a procedure is not invoked that involves the cross-examination of the witnesses under oath, that the truth will never get out?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: As a bold and simple statement, no, I do not agree with that.
Mr. Phelps: Then how is the public going to know what the truth is about who fired Mr. Thomson?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That will be the essence of the question that is under consideration by the Cabinet presently.
Mr. Phelps: Will the Minister not agree that the question will be a very simply one? It will either be by cross-examination under oath of all the witnesses or cover up.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I definitely do not agree at all. There should never be an assumption made that cross-examination under oath will ascertain the facts in any event. It may or it may not. The proper statement is, it could, but I would make no statement about the probability of that. There are various options, and the Cabinet is considering them. A decision will be made after considering those options.
Question re: Home Owner Initiative Program
Mr. McLachlan: I have a question for the Minister responsible for housing. The two-year interim financing program for owner-builders contains a qualifier that luxury homes will not be considered for financing under this program. Will be an established upper limit on the cost of the home builders housing program beyond which the corporation will not be able to participate? Exactly what will the corporation define as a luxury home?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am sure that the Housing Corporation will determine the appropriate definition for housing under this element of the program. The proposal would be that the home would be of such a quality, size, type and design that would meet the needs of the owner-builder. These characteristics would be considered modest or average housing for homes in a community. They would be within the financial means of the owner/builder to maintain the mortgage.
Mr. McLachlan: When the Minister was questioned by myself, as well as by the Member for Porter Creek East, about what was taking so long for the housing program to start, the Minister said that as soon as the program was announced, the corporation would be out of the starting gate, all the forms would be ready, and people would be able to apply right away for help. Why does the program for the do-it-yourself builder not start until 1989 when this is the month that the plans should be ready and the basement dug?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The preamble, in my view, is highly unfair. The Yukon Housing Corporation has moved to implement an extended mortgage guarantee program, a lease purchase program, a joint venture program. These are three major elements of the home ownership program. The one element that we have yet to finalize details on is the mortgage financing program for owner-builder houses.
In the past, with other kinds of owner-builder programs, we have experienced difficulties. The Rural Native Demonstration Program is an example of where administrative difficulties have been faced. It is the Yukon Housing Corporations view, and my view, that while the major components of the program are highly desirable, it is absolutely essential that the administrative arrangements be undertaken, and that the program be designed so that it not fail. We have enough experience now to know where we need to make those improvements, and we are going to make sure that things are in place so that when the program comes forward, it will be guaranteed success.
Mr. McLachlan: My apologies; I was unaware until now that some parts of it were selected. We were relying on what the Minister said in this Legislature. There are, of course, some vacancies at the moment in the corporation, which are due to natural attrition. Could the Minister advise whether additional people will be hired by the corporation to administer these programs, or whether they will be administered by existing staff?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I did explain exactly what features of the program we are going to be proceeding with when the program was announced, and which features of the program would be delayed until the administrative arrangements would be in place. I put that on the record a number of times, both in Question Period and during the announcement itself.
Regarding the staffing for the corporation, no new staff will be required as a result of the development and implementation of this program.
Question re: Territorial Court Act
Mr. Phelps: I would like to go back to what is know as the Thomson affair. The press release issued by the Judicial Council states as follows: The study shows an irreconcilable factual conflict on fundamental points. Council has concluded that the conflict can only be satisfactorily resolved by the examination of witnesses under oath.
My question of the Government Leader is whether he can give us one good reason why we cannot have this issue satisfactorily resolved by the examination of witnesses under oath?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I believe that the question is hypothetical. The Member is presuming a conclusion by Cabinet, which has not been reached. He is also then asking me to debate in advance a conclusion that he is predicting, which I have no reason to believe will be the consequence, whatsoever. He is making - I guess - a representation or an argument for one course of action. I think that we would want to take his representation into account when we make a decision.
Mr. Phelps: My question, of course, has not been answered. I am trying to search in my mind, and to ask people, as to what one good reason could be for not proceeding in a way that would resolve this matter, once and for all - one good reason for not invoking a procedure that would result in the examination of witnesses under oath.
Can the Government Leader just give me one good reason why Cabinet might not proceed in a just and fair manner?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Again, the Leader of the Official Opposition is inviting me to speculate, which I will not do. The best way I can answer his question is to say that when the original request was made of the Judicial Council, Cabinet clearly believed this would be sufficient to establish the facts. It clearly was not in the Councils opinion sufficient. We now have to deal with that conclusion.
Mr. Phelps: How can the Government Leader stand in this place and say that when he has already admitted last Thursday that Cabinet was aware of the misgivings of Council about the whole procedure because of the lack of ability to cross-examine witnesses under oath.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: All I can tell him is that we did believe it would be sufficient to establish facts, and that is why we proceeded as we did. The Member is asking me, in essence, to share with him the reasons why a collective judgment was made on that score. I think that the Minister of Justice has provided the House with enough of the relevant information on that question.
Question re: Territorial Court Act
Mr. Phelps: I would like to follow up and add a little bit. I would like to know whether the Government Leader is simply saying that he and the Members of Cabinet did not believe the representation made by the Judicial Council last December when they said they could not get to the facts without that power?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Member chooses to use a verb that has, I suppose, particularly in the context of this question, the most odious connotations. It is not a question of belief or not. We considered that information along with other information provided to us, and we made a decision.
Question re: Landlord and Tenant Act/Kimmerly/tenant deposit
Mrs. Firth: I have a policy question regarding the administration of the Landlord and Tenant Act for the Minister of Justice.
Is it the policy that when the department does not receive a reply to its correspondence or recommendation that they follow up on such disregard of correspondence?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That question is phrased in such a general way that I can only answer it very, very generally. I think it is the policy of all branches of the government that when they send a communication and there is no response within a reasonable time - and reasonable time would be variously defined in various circumstances - they send a follow-up communication. The question was so general I can only answer it in that general kind of way.
Mrs. Firth: To be more specific then, can the Minister tell us what the policy would be in the instance where correspondence is disregarded under the Landlord and Tenant Act? Can he tell us what the departments policy is for the follow-up?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I am unaware of any situation where correspondence was disregarded.
Mrs. Firth: Is the Minister saying that there have been no instances of correspondence being disregarded within the Consumer and Corporate Affairs Branch when it comes to the administration of the Landlord and Tenant Act?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That is essentially the same question. I will give the same answer. I am unaware of any circumstances.
Question re: Landlord and Tenant Act/Kimmerly/tenant deposit
Mrs. Firth: Again, my question is to the Minister of Justice regarding policy questions and the administration of the Landlord and Tenant Act. Can the Minister tell us of how many instances the department would have had where they would not be able to mediate disputes within that department?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is a very general question again. I guess the question is, how many complaints have been made, and of those, how many were not mediated. I do not know the numbers, but I will inquire into that.
Mrs. Firth: In the event of disputes, are mediators appointed?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That is a very general question again. That could occur. The rentals person is engaged in mediation-type efforts herself. In the light of that general type of question, that is about the best answer that I can give.
Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell us when the decision would be made to go to court? He mentioned something last week about legal opinions and such, so I am not looking for information after legal opinions are obtained. When would the decision be made as to whether or not they are to go to court?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Member is asking about general policy questions. In that context, the question makes absolutely no sense, and I cannot answer it.
Question re: Clean-up program
Mr. Phillips: Last week I asked the Minister of Justice if his department would participate in clean-up week and doing their bit by having inmates from the Correctional Centre participate in the clean-up program, particularly to clean up the winters accumulation of litter on the highways near Whitehorse. The Minister said that he would take that under advisement. Would he announce in the House this week that they are initiating such a program and will start it immediately?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It would be inaccurate for me to announce such a program because it already exists. The work crew at the centre has been involved for several years in various clean-up efforts, different ones in different years. Last year they cleaned up the area under the escarpment in Whitehorse and the riverbank. The work crew in the Junction was also involved in the clean-up.
I do not know anything about specific highways, but that is a part of the program now, and any announcement would be probably eight or ten years late.
Mr. Phillips: I would suggest to the Minister that it should be an ongoing program. Whenever they have time available, they should be doing that kind of public service.
Would the Minister of Health and Human Resources direct her people in charge of the young offenders facilities to institute such a program there, so they would, in their spare time, on a year-round basis, also go out and clean up the communities?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I am glad the Member has asked me the question. That has already been directed. For the information of the House, the young offenders have, in the past, done cleaning up in the area in which they live along the railroad. That takes place whether it is clean-up week or not.
Mr. Phillips: I am not just suggesting that both the Corrections people and the young offenders do it in their own area. I am suggesting they do it on an annual basis, as a policy, that whenever they have spare time, they are taken out by the supervisors and work various areas of the Yukon. Will the Minister give me the commitment that that will be done?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: Yes.
Question re: Trails and back country roads
Mr. Brewster: On March 31, 1987, in Hansard, on page 8, I asked the Minister of Renewable Resources a question regarding trails and back country roads. The Minister responded by saying, That is a very specific question in nature and what I will do is seek a response for that question and bring the answer back to the Member.
I am still waiting for an answer. When will I get it?
Hon. Mr. Porter: I will review that particular question with the department and see if that information has not already been put forward. If it is available within the department, I will make it available to the Member as soon as possible.
Mr. Brewster: In the same vein, when will the Minister fulfill his promise to me to return an answer to my question on calf mortality, which I asked in Hansard on page 169 on April 14, 1987?
Hon. Mr. Porter: If the information relative to calf mortality pertains to game zones seven and nine, that data is available from the studies that were conducted there. If that has not been received by the Member, I will make sure that he gets it.
Mr. Brewster: Similarly, when is the Minister going to finish his research on a question I asked him on April 15, 1987, on page 195 of Hansard, regarding his departments policy on towing private vehicles on the highways?
Hon. Mr. Porter: As I recall, that was a particular incident respecting government vehicles being used to tow individuals out of the ditch. I think my response at that time, for the most part, would be sufficient to govern any particular situation. It would depend on the situation. For example, if it was an extreme situation, where it was absolutely cold and someone was in the ditch, the operator of the vehicle would use common sense and lend what assistance he or she could. If it was a situation where it was not judged to be a danger to the individuals involved, the course of action would be that the conservation officer, whomever that may be, would contact the nearest private operator with wrecking services.
Question re: Education/Yukon College/Faro
Mr. McLachlan: Earlier this month, I asked about funding approvals for the community campus coordinator at Faro. The answer was that a decision would be made shortly. That may be where the problem lies: his opinion of shortly is different from mine. Can the Minister of Education confirm if a decision has been made about where to put the campus coordinator?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member may have hit the nail on the head with the definition of shortly. To my knowledge a final decision has not been made. Certainly a long term solution has not been found with respect to the relocation of the community campus coordinator.
I have asked the department to seek space within the school to see if office space can be found in the short term for the community campus coordinator. I do know that there have been some discussions respecting the use of the day care centre in Faro, but there are apparently some concerns with the use of the basement area in that house, and some desire of the day care people to expand into that space.
In the short term, the answer is that space will be found one way or another. In the long term, if there is other office space available at the right price then that will be considered as well.
Mr. McLachlan: There is a concern on the part of the staff - since one portion of the school is shut down and cannot be used - that moving someone else into the school will exacerbate an already crowded situation. Can the Minister advise if the decision to use the school is still on the drawing board or if that possibility has been eliminated?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The possibility is not absolutely eliminated. Certainly the school administration will be consulted about available space. Obviously, the old new section is no longer usable and cannot be considered as a candidate for office space. After all, we are looking at the need for an office. One way or another it appears to me it should not be difficult to find an office in Faro.
Mr. McLachlan: Perhaps I am asking the wrong Minister. It should be directed to the Minister of Government Services, who is in charge of finding space for programs such as this. Could I direct the question to the Minister. Is Government Services actively looking for space to house the community campus coordinator?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes.
Question re: Lottery regulations
Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Minister who is responsible for lotteries.
Is the Minister prepared to announce that the new lottery rule regarding application for licence system will change back to best serve the charitable organizations and volunteer groups that it was made for?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That is an interesting wording for the question. Recently, that same Member asked me about the situation and specifically the sale by option or by bid of a Lions Club house. I am informed that the Member opposite misinformed the House about that issue and that the Lions Club in fact was always interested in sealed bids for the cottage, and no license is required. That process is continuing now.
Mrs. Firth: I would suggest that the Minister had better get his facts, because I spoke with the Lions Club. I called the Lions Club members. I believe that the individual that I talked to is with the RCMP and I am sure is not going to give me the incorrect information. He spoke...
Speaker: Order, please. Would the Member please get to the supplementary question?
Mrs. Firth: Mr. Chairman, I will get to the supplementary, because the Minister stood up and made a very serious charge. He said that I had misinformed the House. I have to have some ability to say that I had called the Lake Laberge Lions Club and I was told that that information was absolutely accurate after a telephone call had been made. That was why the issue was raised here, so the Minister had better get his facts right. I do not know who he has been talking to, but he had better get his facts correct and correct the record.
I would like to ask the Minister when he is going to announce that the system will be changed so that it will best serve charitable organizations and volunteer groups, or is he waiting for the first week of the next month to make the decision? What is the hold-up here?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That question has been asked in various perverse forms over the last two weeks. I can only repeat the answers that I have given. The system that is set up is designed with the purpose of best serving the agencies - especially charitable, educational, and recreation agencies - that apply for lottery licences. That system is governed firstly by the Criminal Code, which is essentially enabling legislation, and secondly, by our Lottery Licensing Act. The government follows the policy in that act.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister is in very serious trouble this afternoon. Could he perhaps, for the House and for the public, tell us, since he has made this promise to us several times - and it has been broken - when this change is going to be made, or if it is going to be made? The people want to know when the change will be made.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That question has been asked several times and I can repeat the answers ad nauseum, I suppose, but the situation is that that matter is under the control of the Lottery Licensing Board, which acts pursuant to the Lottery Licensing Act, which is empowered by the Criminal Code of Canada. The administrative provisions under that act are to best service the charitable organization that apply.
Question re: Lottery regulations
Mrs. Firth: With respect to the issue of the lottery licensing regulations, the Minister came in this House and said he would meet with the board and review it. I met with the board. I came back, and the Minister indicated he was not prepared to change his mind. We raised the issue of the Lake Laberge Lions Club missing out on its ability to get a licence to sell tickets.
The Minister stood up and again promised in this House that he would meet with the board and review it. When is he going to meet with the board again to review this issue?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The preamble of the question unfortunately misinformed the House about two issues. The Member stated that I said here that I was not prepared to change my mind. That is an inaccurate statement. The Member again stated that the Lake Laberge Lions Club applied for a lottery licence for a cabin. It is my information that that information is not accurate, and I would ask the Member opposite to check the facts with the people who actually performed the various duties.
Mrs. Firth: So as not to confuse the Minister, I will forego my preamble and simply ask him: when he is going to meet with the board to discuss this issue again?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I do not know, specifically.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister told us in this House that he would meet with the board to discuss the issue. Is he still going to meet with the board to discuss the issue?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes.
Question re: Mine safety program
Mr. Nordling: On April 11, I asked the Government Leader when the transfer of the federal mine safety program to the Yukon government would take place. The Government Leader said it was in negotiation at that time. How are the negotiations going? When does the Government Leader hope to complete the transfer?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I do not believe I have been given a briefing since the Member asked the question, so I do not know if there have been any developments in the last few days. I do believe there is a significant difference of opinion between the parties in negotiation about the resources to be transferred, but I can give no further details than that.
Mr. Nordling: On the same subject, my understanding is that, based on problems and the experiences of other jurisdictions, the Chamber of Mines, the Mine Operators Association and the Yukon Federation of Labour all want the program transferred to the Department of Economic Development: Mines and Small Business. Is the government reconsidering its decision to transfer this program to the Department of Justice?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We would want to pay very careful attention to the views of those organizations, but the Member will understand that there is still another body of opinion that argues it is no more logical to have mine safety being the responsibility of the mining department than it is to have occupational health and safety in the tourism area being the responsibility of the Tourism department, for example. We still have the matter under consideration, and we will be taking full consideration of the views of the interested organizations.
Mr. Nordling: On April 25, the Government Leader said, My colleague, the Minister of Justice and I will discuss the matter, and at some appropriate point we may take it before Cabinet. Will the issue go before Cabinet? If it will, when will the Government Leader expect to take it before Cabinet?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: In one form or another, Cabinet has already discussed it, but we have not made any decision that would constitute a new policy. Therefore, I have not made any announcements in that area.
Speaker: Time for Question Period has now elapsed. We will now proceed with Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. Porter: I would like to give notice pursuant to Standing Order No. 13(1) that the motion to concur on the Report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts will be called as government business on Tuesday, May 17, 1988.
Bill No. 31: Second Reading
Clerk: Second reading, Bill No. 31, standing in the name of the hon. Mr. Penikett.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move that Bill No. 31, entitled Cabinet and Caucus Employees Act, be now read a second time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government Leader that Bill No. 31, entitled Cabinet and Caucus Employees Act be now read a second time.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It is my sincere hope that this is fairly straight forward piece of legislation from the point of view of all Members of the House. Members who have been consulted about this draft, principally the leaders of the opposition parties know that it has two central objects.
The first is to provide a solid statutory base for the employment of those persons who work for Cabinet Ministers and MLAs, but who are not members of the public service and two, to regularize the procedures by which the duties, renumeration, benefits and conditions of employment are determined for such employees.
In reference to the first object, it has been the experience of both the current and past Government Leaders and party leaders in the Assembly that procedures for appointing and hiring such people as ministerial secretaries, caucus research staff and executive assistants has not always been clear. Nagging questions have, from time to time, popped up about exactly how and by whom these things could be done.
Anomalies exist, for example, the Clerk of the Assembly who has absolutely nothing to do with the supervising of caucus staff, at least not to my knowledge, is the person who makes contracts with those employees. This bill will hopefully remedy this situation, providing a clear statement as to where the authorities lie or sit and as the procedures that are to be followed.
The second object is centered on the principles of fairness and equity. All full-time staff who work for the Members of the Executive Council or caucuses of the Assembly will, with the establishment of positions, have access to pay and benefits equal to those that they would receive if they were in the public service. That is what this bill does.
It is probably equally important to state what it does not do. It does not, in any way, contemplate any growth in the numbers of those employees who are often referred to as political aides or political assistants. Those numbers may increase or decrease in the future, but neither of those happenings would be as a consequence of this bill. Also, this bill does not lead to a requirement for substantial increases in the budgets of the Executive Council Office or the Legislative Assembly.
Present Estimates indicate that the Executive Council Office will be able to meet any demands occasioned by this bill through this current budget, and an increase in the rough order of $20,000 may be required in the Legislative Assembly budget to cover increased benefits principally for the staff of the opposition parties.
I would be remiss if I did not recognize the assistance and support provided by the Leader of the Official Opposition and the Acting Leader of the Liberal Party, the Member for Faro, in getting this bill finalized in Committee and brought before the House. As much as this bill contains Assembly-related matters, it has quite appropriately received all party agreement prior to being introduced.
In conclusion, I believe this bill is a most worthwhile piece of legislation and commend its passage to the House.
Motion agreed to
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 the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chairman: Committee of the Whole will now come to order. We will recess for 15 minutes.
Bill No. 50, Second Appropriation Act, 1988-89 - continued
Department of Tourism - continued
Chairman: We will continue with general debate. There being no further general debate we will turn to the first program, Administration.
Administration in the amount $459,000 agreed to
Mr. Lang: There has been a significant increase in this area and I would appreciate it if the Minister would outline the reasons for the increase.
Hon. Mr. Porter: Yes, I am just wrestling with a reluctant briefing book. I will shortly get to the summary of the Heritage section.
In Heritage there has been a $11,000 decrease in Other, and a total increase in personnel costs of $68,000. The total increase is $72,000. The changes in the personnel costs portion of Heritage relate to the conservator position that we have in the department that was not filled last year. That position was filled this year. I believe a conservator was hired on May 2, so it will show up as an expenditure that we did not incur last year. The $22,300 is for merit increases and salary adjustments, $7,000 is for a conservator recruited at mid-range, based on recruitment process. There was a $2,500 increase in overtime, based on 1987-88 forecasts. The casual assistance that we required was $4,500 last year but is not anticipated to be spent this year.
The $11,000 decrease in other costs is made of a decrease in travel in the Yukon, to $4,900, while travel outside of the Yukon decreased by $6,000. Entertainment decreased $3,400. Postage and freight decreased $130. Honoraria paid to a participant to represent the government in the opening of the Museum of Man is a decrease of $1,000, and increase of contract services was $2,000. Increase of other expenditures was $2,000, and miscellaneous was $1,600.
Mr. Lang: Some of the grave sites in various cemeteries around Dawson are getting into a state of disrepair. This pertains to the old grave sites above Dawson as well as the ones to the south of Dawson. This is an area that should be looked at in conjunction with the municipality to ensure that these are kept up. If we cannot take care of these things, why do we have a Heritage Branch? This would probably require some financing, but at the same time, something could be worked out with the municipalities. This may apply to other communities as well.
Hon. Mr. Porter: We will follow through with this representation and meet with the municipality. I know that in some communities the situation of the grave sites are of concern, and some of them have taken steps, through the LEOP, to obtain funding to do that work. I suspect that this is one avenue where, if funds are necessary, an organization in the community could look at. We would, however, be prepared to look at the situation and talk to the municipality of Dawson about this question.
Mr. Lang: It may not just affect the municipality of Dawson. The observation was made by one member of the Tourism Industry Association, and I felt that it required following up of. It is not just a question of capital works. It is a question of ongoing operation and maintenance costs. Those things have to be kept up on an annual basis. It is not just a question of restoring a headstone and forgetting about it for another 20 years; there is ongoing maintenance.
Is the Minister in a position to update the House on the renovations and capital works for Silver City?
Hon. Mr. Porter: We do not have any recent news on Silver City. The Department of Community and Transportation Services contacted the owners, the Victors, in Alaska and notified them of our intentions to enter into negotiations with them. They responded negatively. Furthermore, when we put in the Heritage Property Assistance Program last year, we sent them a copy of the program so that, if they wanted to do the work themselves as a private company, they could begin restoration work. Again, we received no response to that query.
It seems that the initial response, that they had no intentions of selling it, continues to be the response of the private owners of the site.
Mr. Lang: Is it the position of the government that it all falls apart and that Silver City goes into the last stages of decay?
Hon. Mr. Porter: The only avenue that would seem to be possible, and we certainly do not have the legislative power to do so, would be to expropriate the site, given the situation as I have indicated it to the Member. We continue to view it as an important historic site to the Yukon and the historic sites inventory that we are conducting in the Yukon did do a survey of Silver City. It is included in the inventory of historic sites.
Mr. Lang: It is nice it is going to be included because if things continue as they are it is only going to be a memory. It better be written down. When are they going to make a decision on expropriation? Is the government considering this, and if so when will a decision be made?
Hon. Mr. Porter: The question of expropriation is one we cannot perform because we simply do not have the legislative power to expropriate it.
Mr. Lang: I want to refresh the Ministers memory. There is an expropriation act on the books. I agree that you may have to go to Community and Transportation Services to put it into effect, but let us not mix words here. Is the Department of Tourism recommending any further steps than they have taken now?
Hon. Mr. Porter: What I was speaking about was the Department of Tourism or Heritage specifically having the authority to expropriate. We are examining heritage legislation in the Yukon. I will not commit that the power of expropriation would be one aspect of it.
As to whether or not we would be prepared to utilize the current laws as they are in the books by another department of government, no we have not had that discussion. It would be a discussion I would be prepared to direct the department to undertake with the Department of Community and Transportation Services.
Mr. Lang: As of today, will the Department of Tourism will be sitting down with the Department of Community and Transportation Services to discuss what other steps can be taken to ensuring these particular grounds and buildings can be preserved?
Hon. Mr. Porter: For the record, as of today the department will be instructed to investigate the question of expropriation.
Mr. McLachlan: I have a question on locally-found ivory in the northern Yukon. Is it true that there is no legislation on the books of the Yukon that prohibits locally-found ivory, that artisans outside of the territory may wish to carve or work on, from being exported from this territory, and that the only legislation respecting that is the federal Customs and Exise Tax Act?
Hon. Mr. Porter: That is correct. We do not have any legislation on the books that is legislation that flows from the territorial Crown. The only legislation applicable flows from the federal Crown.
Mr. McLachlan: Does that answer apply only to the question I asked about ivory or does that apply to any heritage items?
Hon. Mr. Porter: Basically that applies to throughout the heritage area.
Mr. McLachlan: Is that wise? Are any thoughts given by the department to prohibit export of those heritage type items from this territory?
Hon. Mr. Porter: This is an issue that has been before the government for sometime. The only way which that question can be dealt with would be to bring forward specific heritage legislation. It is our intent to have by the fall a draft bill for the consideration of the Legislature.
Operations in the amount of $193,000 agreed to
Museums in the amount of $191,000 agreed to
On Historic Sites
Historic Sites in the amount of $76,000 agreed to
On Art Gallery
Art Gallery in the amount of $65,000 agreed to
Heritage in the amount of $525,000 agreed to
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister tell why there is a 22 percent increase over and above salary increases?
Hon. Mr. Porter: The increase is $70,000 in Development and the major reason for this increase is that Special Events is a program that was in the Capital Estimates section. We have moved it from Capital Estimate to Operation and Maintenance.
Development in the total amount of $7,075,000 agreed to
Speaker: General debate?
Mr. Lang: I know that a decision was made to make less of a contribution to the Alaska and Canadas Yukon marketing. Where is the money going to be redirected to now?
Hon. Mr. Porter: It is our intention to develop a specific marketing effort directed at the largest part of our tourism market, which is the travelling public, and specifically the recreational vehicle market. We have begun to work with former partners of the Canada West consortium: British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and Alaska. We put a proposal to each of those jurisdictions that they become involved in a multi-funded campaign. We have received a positive response from the British Columbia government and we have also received inquiries from a private operator in British Columbia, which is tentatively discussing putting $100,000 into the program, as well. I think this is Chevron oil and gas company, hoping to market their gas stations along the corridor. We have also received a positive response from the Government of the Northwest Territories.
The Alaskan government has delivered a formal response to the deputy minister in which they do not close the door completely, but there is not very much space left open, in that they reject the notion of becoming involved in this consortium. However, they did leave the door open, and it is our intention to discuss our ideas further with Alaska. There will be meeting soon with the consortium participants.
We have also indicated to Canadian Airlines International that we would like to involve them, as well as the federal Department of Tourism. Canadian Airlines International, as the Member knows, was a partner in Canada West. We hope that we can receive some further response from Alaska. It may mean that we go directly to Juneau or to Anchorage to meet with them. We have not completely given up on the Alaskans on this particular question, and we will put the issue before them and meet further on this.
Mr. Lang: I want to express my concern that we do not get too far away from the partnership with the Alaskans, regarding our marketing and other aspects of tourism that have been established over the years. From one government to another government, tourism has been a major tie, and if we start going our own way I think that we might bear some negative results in our tourism industry. I can stand up and say this today without argument, because no Member can say with certainty what will happen. In the past, prior to undertaking marketing with the Alaskans, we experienced a decline in tourism - that is many years ago now. I do not think that there was an official representative from the Alaska Visitors Association at the convention this past weekend. I think that it is important that the contacts with Alaska be maintained. Their marketing skills are well beyond those established in many parts of Canada.
Hon. Mr. Porter: Like the Member opposite, we would like to continue to foster good relations with Alaska generally. Specifically, there are projects we would like their involvement with - for example, the centenary celebrations for the Alaska Highway. We would like to discuss that specific project with them and have them be involved in the marketing of that celebration.
On the specific question of the dollars we put into the Alaskan marketing effort, over the years we have seen a steady increase of how much is required from the Yukon to enter that program. At the same time, the inquiry responses from the U.S. specifically dedicated to coming to the Yukon for information has dropped drastically. The Canadian response to the joint Yukon-Alaska ad has climbed dramatically. For example, in 1986, we had an inquiry listing of 20,000 for the Canadian campaign that Alaska and ourselves conducted in the past. That has now gone to 37,000 inquiries last year. There has been a dramatic increase in the Canadian response, but a decrease in the overall U.S. response.
It would suggest that for us to capitalize on the Canadian interests in the north, we should undertake a Yukon image advertising campaign specifically dedicated to the Canadian market. Over the years, Alaska has successfully been able to market themselves to the lower 48 and have represented themselves as the last free, northern wilderness area, and have worked on the emotion of that particular countrys view of the north. In the Yukon, we would have to begin to examine to try to duplicate what Alaska has done in the lower 48 with southern Canada. So far, the responses we have received from southern Canadians interests in the Yukon have been encouraging, and that is what we would like to build on.
Mr. McLachlan: How much advance notice does the department need to change its publications when you get new campgrounds, or discontinued campgrounds such as the one in the area of Faro? I notice the 1988 booklets still have the old site as not totally abandoned. They do not mention the new site, which is not totally ready yet. How much lead time does the department need?
Hon. Mr. Porter: Basically, the marketing program for 1989 is in the works now. The end of May is usually seen as the deadline for which any of the specifics of the marketing program should be nailed down, so we are able to publish the Vacation Planner and distribute it in the fall. That is when the marketing activity takes place.
On the question of the new campground in Faro, we know its location. It is just a matter of completing the work toward finishing that campground specifically. It would not be difficult to include the location of that campground in the 1989 materials.
Mr. McLachlan: Is that a mechanical change where the originating department would simply specify it to Tourism?
Hon. Mr. Porter: Usually, it is a specific change that would have to be indicated on the maps that are provided.
Mr. McLachlan: Does the department that is responsible for creating the change, advise Tourism who must do it in their books? Is that the procedure?
Hon. Mr. Porter: That is correct. There are some maps in brochures published by the private sector that we do not have a responsibility for. On the maps that we are responsible for, the changes will not be made until 1990. When we originally printed those maps, we printed enough copies to last until that time.
Mr. McLachlan: On the publications that are done outside the country, who does those changes to campgrounds, closed highways, et cetera? Is that not also a function of the Department of Tourism to advise the Milepost, Wheelers and RVs that originate in the U.S?
Hon. Mr. Porter: The department responsible for causing the change would also bear the responsibility to ensure that corrective measures are taken to advise the U.S. magazines. In this instance, I have no knowledge as to whether or not Milepost has been contacted by the Department of Renewable Resources. I would have to check on it.
Mr. McLachlan: Has the vacant position of the Director of Marketing been filled?
Hon. Mr. Porter: No. It has not been filled. We did fill the Director of Development position.
Mr. McLachlan: Does the Minister expect to fill the position soon? We are right in that season where it is important to have that individual on stream.
Hon. Mr. Porter: Yes. There is a short list of candidates. The interviews will be conducted before the end of May.
Operations in the amount of $588,000 agreed to
On Public Relations
Public Relations in the amount of $84,000 agreed to
Promotions in the amount of $542,000 agreed to
On Information Services
Information Services in the amount of $1,014,000 agreed to
Marketing in the amount of $2,228,000 agreed to
Chairman: Are there any comments on Revenue and Recoveries, page 248?
Grants, Contributions, page 249?
Mr. McLachlan: The department has themselves in a bit of a bind on the marketing promotions in some areas. They have a certain amount of money to put out and then find themselves in the embarrassing position of having too many people subscribe for too little funds. Somebody has to be told no.
One of those who was told no was an individual at Kookatsoon, which in the riding of the Leader of the Official Opposition. This individual has done an excellent job of putting on the rodeo over the past two or three years. Now he finds himself out in left field. Does the department plan to do anything to rectify that situation?
Hon. Mr. Porter: The Member is referring specifically to the Special Events program we have in the Department of Tourism. We had budgeted $70,000 for that program in this fiscal year. Unfortunately, the program was over-subscribed to the expenditure level of $250,000. Obviously, there was a lot of people who did not receive funding. Yes, I can confirm that the Kookatsoon Rodeo activity, which had been funded three previous times, was not recommended for funding by the committee this year.
Mr. McLachlan: What is the department doing, if anything, to address this problem of over-subscription?
Hon. Mr. Porter: The only way you can address a problem of over-subscription to a particular program is to go back to Management Board and ask for more money. At the present time, the budget has been fixed. I suspect Management Board would not take kindly to a further proposal to increase budgets shortly after they have been presented to the House. I suspect the only time we can address that question is when we build our budgets for the next coming fiscal year, and then we can make our case to Management Board. We can say that it is a popular program, does a good job in promoting tourism and it should be increased.
Mr. McLachlan: The Minister said the Kookatsoon Rodeo was funded on three previous occasions. Do I interpret from that answer, then, that if there is an over-subscription of funds, and you had the good fortune to have been helped two or three previous times, it means one could be in jeopardy for subsequent funding? Is it significant that they were funded three previous times, or is it just the rotten luck of the draw?
The Minister has not provided any clear direction in his answer.
Hon. Mr. Porter: There are clear directions set down in the guidelines that have to be followed. Usually, what is taken into consideration when they review the guidelines is section 3(e) of that particular set of guidelines, which states that any previous events that were funded may not be looked at again for future funding. Furthermore, there is another guideline - I believe it is guideline 5 - which states that, if a specific project is applied for, the Special Events funding would only be made available to ensure that that event breaks even. My information on this with respect to the specific proposal we are talking about today is that there was an element of providing salary dollars over and above for this years event, which was not something that had occurred before.
So, the Special Events program is not designed to be an ongoing operation and maintenance fund for specific events, nor is it a fund that encourages events to realize a profit as a result of the injection of funds from the Special Events program.
Mr. McLachlan: I have heard a lot of what it is not. It leaves one wondering what it is. Does the department have any further thoughts about the advertising program it puts on to inform the general public that this amount of money available. In this case they have found that it is over- subscribed by almost four times the amount that is available. Will this cause the department to hold back in its advertising of money available for Special Events promotion, which it really does not have in the end, as we have seen? What will the department do now in future for advertising this sort of program?
Hon. Mr. Porter: Over subscription is something that has happened over time. The increased awareness of the program is probably one result of it and the increased awareness in tourism generally. As I stated to the Member, the only way in which we can rectify that situation is that the next time we establish our budget we will have to seek further funds for the program. That is something that will have to be done when we begin to prepare our next Operation and Maintenance request.
Mr. McLachlan: Does the department have any anticipatory feelings for the level to which a promotion like this will be subscribed? It seems to me that ads are put out for a certain amount of money made available by Management Board so that interested groups will apply, and we find we have nowhere near the amount of money that is required for competing interest groups. Some thinking ahead of time as to what the level of subscription might be would go a long way toward avoiding the problem. I have no indication that the department has any idea as to the level to which a program will be subscribed to when they advertise for people to apply.
Hon. Mr. Porter: If we did anticipate it would be a method of budgeting in government that would cause people elsewhere to shake their heads. There is no way we can guarantee applicants that they will be funded. All we can do is put the guidelines out so people know what the application process consists of, and allow people to apply for the funding that is available. Once we receive the applications, we go through them to discern which ones will be funded. There are other programs in government that are treated the same way.
There may be an over-subscription for the housing program because it is so popular, but we still have to live within the confines of the budget we are given.
Tourism in the amount of $3,607,000 agreed to
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I am pleased once again to present the 1988-89 Operation and Maintenance Budget for the Womens Directorate. This total of $242,000, up from $209,000, represents a 16 percent increase over last years Main Estimates.
The Womens Directorate remains committed to the specific mandate of improving the economic, social and legal status of Yukon women to achieve general equality. The budget demonstrates a very moderate increase for the initiatives to be undertaken by the Womens Directorate in the coming year.
Apart from the annual increase in salary and benefits, there has been only slight increases under the one program of public information, policy and program development.
In February 1987, the Yukon Advisory Council on the Status of Women was established. This years budget continues to provide for travel expenses and honoraria for the eight council members and an additional $4,000 has been required to allow for the council representatives to travel to provincial-territorial annual meetings.
Furthermore, the budget introduces an additional $5,000 over last years $5,000 for independent research for the council. This total of $10,000 from transfer payments will provide sufficient funds for the council to conduct meaningful research on issues that they determine to be of necessity to further advance the status of Yukon women.
The remaining $8,000 will go towards contributions to womens groups for activities such as conferences and special meetings on issues that are also here to help advance the status of all Yukon women. The Womens Directorate continues its objective of increasing the participation of women in the decision-making process.
Through Women On Wheels, a very successful venture, the Directorate, in cooperation with other government departments and womens groups, will continue its travels into the communities to consult with women. The budget shows a minimal cost of $1,500 for a successful, ongoing project.
The government-wide plan of action is one step closer to completion, with a draft copy going to womens groups and unions for their input. The document will be brought back to the department for review and then will go to the final stage of preparation, before being forwarded by the subcommittee to the Cabinet.
The budget further contains $16,000 for research on issues identified by the Directorate. Statistical fact sheets on Yukon women and income, education, and employment are presently being researched and will be published and distributed soon. The successful career fair for young women is scheduled to be held again in the new year. Also under consideration is the development of a handbook on women employment rights. Under Public Information, $4,000 is earmarked to continue the promotion of a talent bank, which continues to encourage Yukon women to register for boards, committees, and commissions. The other area that the Directorate will continue to promote is another successful venture, the publication of the employment handbook, How To Get A Job, Women on Wheels and the Career Fair for Young Women.
The Womens Directorate continues its work in cooperation with other government departments on issues such as child care, pay equity, education equity, labour, health and family violence. For instance, in cooperation with two other womens groups and the Department of Economic Development, a research study is underway on Yukon women entrepreneurs.
Another commitment of the Directorate is working with other jurisdictions on issues affecting all women, through the endorsement by First Ministers of the Labour Force Strategy. Joint meetings with other ministries are necessary and scheduling these meetings with regular status meetings has allowed for the travel costs to remain the same. The Ministers responsible met with the Labour Ministers and will this year meet with Education Ministers to deal with equity education for women, which is contained in the labour force strategy.
In presenting this budget, I continue to be impressed with the Directorates ability to work at the community, territorial, provincial, and federal level, to advance the status of women in the Yukon.
Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell us something about the survey that is going on at present? I do not know if it is finished. The last time inquiries were made to me, it was still carrying on. Is the survey regarding women entrepreneurs finished yet, and how much money are we spending on it?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: The research is not completed. It will cost in the amount of $20,000. It comes under the Economic Development subagreement.
Mrs. Firth: I have heard that some business women are less than cooperative with the survey. They have declined to answer questions and have just made comments that they consider themselves business people within the community. Has the Minister heard the same concerns expressed?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I have not heard those complaints, but I would be interested if some of those were relayed to me. It has not been relayed to me through the Womens Directorate.
Mrs. Firth: I just wanted to bring the Ministers attention to it, because it will not make for very reliable survey statistics if women are not participating in the survey. I have had at least four women tell me that they are not participating in the survey. I gather it is exclusive to women who are owners or part-owners of businesses. Other businesses are not being asked any of the questions. When the survey is finished, I will be looking at it very dubiously. I cannot see how the results are going to be very accurate considering the numbers that we are dealing with here in the Yukon.
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I would be happy to keep the Member informed. In general, the research and the questions asked of women in business have been quite positive. If there are some problems, we will certainly take those into consideration.
Chairman: Is there any debate on Public Information and Program Development?
On Policy and Program Development
Policy and Program Development in the amount of $206,000 agreed to
On Public Information
Public Information in the amount of $36,000 agreed to
Public Information and Program Development in the amount of $242,000 agreed to
Mr. McLachlan: Some statistics are presented on page 255. Is the number of people specified in the community visits, 90, 50, and 100, the number that the Minister is hoping to get in the 1988-89 season or are these the figures from previous visits to the communities?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: The Women on Wheels have visited Carcross already, and those are the actual figures. They have also gone to Carmacks. We are anticipating going to Teslin because of the interest shown. The estimate will be approximately 100.
Mr. McLachlan: That is not clear because the Budget Book was printed in January. Does the Minister mean that the figures here are from 1987-88 year or the 1988-89 year?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: They are from the 1987-88 year. Those visits have already taken place.
Mr. McLachlan: Does the Minister expect an increase in the current year over the numbers we see hear in the community visits?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: We intended to visit Teslin. They had asked to have that postponed because of other things that were happening. It is our intention, at the request of those communities, to visit Haines Junction and Mayo, so far. There has been an interest in the Women on Wheels visits to the communities.
Mr. McLachlan: That is two additional communities to the ones we see here. What about the rest of them? What about Dawson City? What about Watson Lake and Old Crow?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: Watson Lake has already been visited, and so has Ross River. Dawson has shown an interest and, as I said, there is a great deal of interest because the visits by the Women on Wheels takes in a number of workshops of interest to the communities. There is full participation from those involved.
Chairman: Are there any comments on the grants?
Mr. McLachlan: With respect to the transfer payments, was the $18,000 for one womens group?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: Grants have been allocated to the Yukon Womens Conference, the Yukon Indian Womens Association, the Yukon Womens Day Celebrations, the Child Care Annual Conference, Yukon 2000 and $5,000 to the Yukon Advisory Council and Status of Women.
Mr. McLachlan: How much went to the womens section of Yukon 2000?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: That did not come under the transfer section. It came out of the contract, which was $1,157.
Mr. McLachlan: Is the Minister saying it did not come out of the transfer payments, but out of the contracts? Is she then referring to another line item in this budget? I am still uncertain where the $1,100 came from.
Hon. Mrs. Joe: Apparently it came out of the 1987-88 budget.
Mr. McLachlan: What particular area in the Yukon 2000 discussions were we talking about that required the $1,100? Was that in preparation for a special paper or a special discussion section?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: There was a special conference held in Haines Junction, and that included a number of women from as many communities as we could get there. That money went to pay for the accommodations of the women who were there.
Mr. McLachlan: What particular work, discussion paper, et cetera was being prepared for Yukon 2000 that was a result of that Haines Junction meeting?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: That was done under Yukon 2000 to get a womens point of view toward the economy. It involved many women.
Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell us how much money the Womens Directorate gave for the child care conference? Was that the most recent one that was held?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: We do not have actual figures. We feel it was in the area of $2,000, but I would like to be perfectly sure before I can give you that figure.
Mrs. Firth: That was the most recent child care conference, and it was in the form of a direct grant?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: Yes, it was.
Mrs. Firth: Would other child care organizations be eligible for a similar grant to put on a conference?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: We would take each application under consideration. I do not believe we have been asked by any other day care association to make a contribution.
Mrs. Firth: If it has been made available once, and if the Family Day Home Association decided that it wanted to hold a conference or information session, would they be eligible for funding?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: That would depend on the application, what is included in the application, and what the purpose of it is? I cannot give an answer right now. I would certainly consider any application that comes to the Womens Directorate.
Mrs. Firth: Is there an official application form?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: No.
Mrs. Firth: How do people know they can apply, and what is the process to apply? I am sure the Family Day Home Association would not even know this type of funding could be available.
Hon. Mrs. Joe: We do not advertise all of these contributions that may be available. We get requests from many organizations in both my departments to do certain things. If an organization meets the criteria and everything is in order then we do consider a small grant. We do not advertise that certain money is available because we do not have a lot of money available.
Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister tell me the criteria for applying for this assistance so I can pass the information along?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: We do not have written criteria but we take certain things into consideration. We have to first of all consider whether or not a society is registered, and I believe that the one she speaks of is. We would have to consider whether or not it was of benefit to whomever was holding the conference. We would have to take into consideration our policies and then take it from there.
Mrs. Firth: What are those policies, then?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: The policies are listed under the objectives of the Womens Directorate. It states in a long paragraph what the Womens Directorate is here for, which includes the economic, social, and legal status of Yukon women to achieve gender equality. It includes many things.
Mrs. Firth: Policies are not objectives; objectives are not policies. I would like the Minister to give me some information about that. I want to know where applications can be made and what the criteria are. The Minister said that they would have to be a registered society. If an organization such as Real Women were to make application for assistance from her department, would it be eligible for funding, as is the Status of Women group?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: Most people, when they want to apply for money from any government department, would usually come and sit down and speak to us in regard to the kind of thing that they are going to do. I think that that is the best way to operate. If there is a reasonable request, then we would take that into consideration. Very often, if there is a conference or some request that somebody has of the department, we go over that request very thoroughly. Sometimes they seek help in putting together a proposal for funding for something such as a conference, and then the people in the department would sit down with that group and help them do it.
We do not have a lot of money, however. I think that the figure is only $18,000 and that has to last a year.
Mrs. Firth: I just want to make one more comment about this area. Perhaps if the Ministers department had some policies, and if they had some forms for applications, or whatever you have to do to get this assistance, and if they made them public, then the small resources could be shared equitably among all groups. It just sounds as if one group of people knows enough to go to the Minister for this assistance, while the other half of the world does not even know that it exists. I think that it is a valid point. I think that it is a valid point to raise, even though the budget is small. I think that it should be distributed fairly and that there should be a fair chance for everyone to have access to it. Obviously it is not, because part of the population does not even know that it is available.
Hon. Mrs. Joe: I would like to thank the Member for her suggestions. As I said, we do not have application forms. They write us letters and they put together their proposals. There was some question from the Member for Porter Creek East on the side, but that is what we do. There are no application forms in regard to requests for contributions. If there is a better way of doing it, we will certainly look at it.
Mr. McLachlan: Could the Minister again detail the $18,000 total: who it went to and how much the amounts were?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: There was $10,000 for the Advisory Council and $7,500 for the womens groups. That $7,500 is given to those individuals who apply and we agree we would spend the money on them. So, there is only $7,500 for that. The other is for the Advisory Council. They meet four times a year, or more often if necessary.
Mr. McLachlan: I assume this is the Advisory Council on the Status of Women. If it is, we are talking about the local group and not the national group.
Hon. Mrs. Joe: That is correct.
Mr. McLachlan: Is there no funding for the Status of Women under this line item? If there is not, do they not get funding from the Womens Directorate?
Hon. Mrs. Joe: The Status of Women get their funding from the Secretary of State.
Womens Directorate in the amount of 242,000 agreed to
Yukon Housing Corporation
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The budget before you shows a net request for $2,074,000 under recoveries. The total expenditure is projected to be $6,047,000, and recoveries are expected to be $3,973,000. The major single reason for the increase in that expenditure is a result of debt servicing, taxes and maintenance for capital projects to be done in the coming year.
Approximately $250,000 is slated for this purpose. Scheduled salary increases of $120,000, and additional staff of $201,000 account for the major portions of the net expenditure increase over last years Main Estimates.
Chairman: Could the Minister repeat that a little slower, please?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Scheduled salary increases of $120,000, additional staff of $201,000 account for the major portions of the expenditure increase over last years Main Estimates. Other smaller amounts include $82,000 for office space of which $46,000 has been transferred from Government Services. Increased activity in the housing programs this past year and the next has necessitated the timely development of a management information system to improve its reporting and accounting procedures, and $42,000 has been dedicated for this purpose.
The government has placed a high priority on its housing programs and the revitalization of the Yukon Housing Corporation. We do recognize that a healthy housing market and affordable accommodations play an important role in the territorial economy. We are also mindful of the need for adequate housing for low-income persons, whether they live on pensions, work or receive social assistance. We have placed increased emphasis on repairing and increasing the rental stock, and we have initiated such programs as the Home Improvement Initiative to encourage persons to repair their own dwellings.
I am particularly pleased that the Yukon Housing Corporation Board has undertaken the direction of the Yukon Housing Corporation, while simultaneously meeting the greatly increased demand for service of both the provision of affordable accommodation for low-income, working people and also encouraging home ownership through the programs that I announced last week.
I am prepared to discuss the general expenditures after we get through general debate, and I can perhaps explain some the issues that will be undertaken by the corporation during the coming year.
Mr. Lang: We had better know where the money is coming from for the new program out of the existing budget. The budget was tabled in this House well before any announcements being made on the three or four programs that were announced. Could the Minister give us some detail as to where the money is coming from?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Is the Member talking about the Home Owner Initiative Program?
Mr. Lang: Yes.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The funding for the Home Owner Initiative comes from two budgets, the first being the Capital Budget, land banking, which had been allocated to the Capital Program in Novembers Capital Budget. It has now been dedicated to the Joint Venture Fund. The balance comes from the Lands Branch funding.
The Lease Purchase Program is funded through borrowing from a bank and involves debt servicing, a major portion of which is recovered through lease fees. The mortgage guarantee program is a guarantee. Starting next year, we will be budgeting approximately three percent of the anticipated total of generated activity as a result of the take-up under the program. That depends upon how much, in the way of mortgages, are taken up. The program is completely flexible in that respect.
The conservative projections show that there will be about five units for the territory for the extended mortgage guarantee. The character of the inquiries the Yukon Housing Corporation suggest that it may be much more than that.
Mr. Lang: If I recall correctly, there was $300,000 for land banking. Then the Minister talked about the balance for the other programs - lease purchasing as a borrowing mechanism. They talked about the balance for the remainder of the other programs coming from the development of land. What land are we not going ahead with?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am going on memory, but a portion of Flat Creek agricultural land development was one we rededicated resources from for this Joint Venture Fund.
Another was the Upper Liard agricultural land development in the Watson Lake area.
Thirdly, the Kopper King commercial land development was projected to come in at a lesser amount of actual expenditures than we anticipated this particular year, given the discussions that have been undertaken with the City of Whitehorse, so even though we are going ahead with the Kopper King development there are lesser expenditures projected there.
Those are the three areas where the balance of the land development portion comes from.
Mr. Lang: Do I take it that the Flat Creek Subdivision is not going ahead?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I cannot give any solid guarantees largely because I have not heard from the Hootalinqua North Steering Committee on its recommendations with respect to the planning process in the Hootalinqua North District. If they suggest strongly that no development of that sort go ahead in that particular location, I will do everything I can to respect their advice. If, however, they suggest that some kind of agricultural land development goes in place in Flat Creek, maybe not the same as was originally intended but some other development, we will take that into consideration as well. Maybe development costs may be borne in future years as a result of that recommendation.
Mr. Lang: That is a long way of saying you do not know. I see the Minister nodding his head.
The new housing construction that was announced last fall brought a considerable amount of debate when it was found that in many of the communities where the Minister was going ahead with these units there were vacant units. Is it still the Ministers intention to go ahead with the 37 new units throughout the territory as well as the 15 new housing units for low income residents around the territory as outlined on the list that was tabled in December? Have there been any revisions to that at all?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The units that are fairly certainly proceeding include 14 private non-profit units in Dawson City, 4 private non-profit in Old Crow, 15 private non-profit in Whitehorse, and the 15 social housing units for the balance.
Mr. Lang: It is the first time that I have heard that 14 new units were going into Dawson City. The information on the Capital Budget was provided to us in December, and it said that, under the low income and single parents, there would be four units in Dawson City, and there would be two new units going in under the other program, for a total of six.
I do not know if tabling the Main Estimates in this House is a joke and we are supposed to sit here and look like a bunch of fools. When was the decision to go from six to 14 made? Who made it?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Ultimately, the Yukon Housing Corporation has to bear the responsibility for making a decision like that, or reallocating the funds. In the consultations that I indicated would take place prior to this years construction program being undertaken, it indicated that there was a significant need for apartments in Dawson City, and the city make a request that apartments go ahead. The local housing association made the request, in recognition of the needs of that particular community. The Yukon Housing Corporation feels that, with the expressed demand, they can accede to this fairly recent request within the parameters of the program they initially undertook.
As I indicated many times before, the Yukon Housing Corporation has been directed to build units that are going to be used and meet an identifiable need and low vacancies. Those are the marching orders they have been operating under for the past many months. They have been designing the construction program in that light.
Mr. Lang: I just find it amazing that the Minister would come in here, and without even having announced it, say that there have been some significant changes in the budget that was provided to the House in December. We are talking about three months, not a year.
What housing units have been deleted that are not going up in the other communities, in order to offset the cost? How much is this going to cost?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Firstly, there is an expectation that, when Members in the Legislature ask a question, that I provide the answers. However, there is also the expectation with our major partner in this matter - Central Mortgage Housing Corporation - that there be joint announcements.
I can simply state that there are no plans until announcements are made jointly with CMHC, or I could indicate where the Yukon Housing Corporation, at least as far as this is concerned, is going.
In this particular case, there has been no announcement, because the announcement would have been joint. Nevertheless, I have indicated candidly where the Yukon Housing Corporation feels it can meet the most significant demand in this particular community.
With respect to housing construction in other communities, I have already indicated that there has to be necessary consultation with community groups and, primarily, with municipal councils, as I have promised there would be to the Association of Yukon Communities, to ensure that the housing programs in those communities meet the community needs and are also supported by the community.
Quite simply, with respect to the proposed plans for this coming year, the consultations have not been complete, and I would not venture to identify specifically, with any kind of certainty, where the capital work will be undertaken until the community consultation is finished.
Mr. Lang: Where is the Minister getting the money with which to go ahead with the 14 units in Dawson City, considering the Capital Budget that was presented to this House? Obviously you had to take the money from somewhere, in order to proceed - or is the money for this project over and above what was provided to the House in December?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The answer is no. It is not over and above, it is part of the 57 units that were initially projected as being planned for construction.
Mr. Lang: Then what got dropped? The information provided in this House was that they were going ahead with six units for the community of Dawson City. Obviously something got dropped and I would like to know what it is. I think that these communities should be made aware that certain things are not going ahead, if that is what has been decided.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I do not really take very seriously the Members concern about the need for building more housing in the communities, or the need to respond to those communities that may be disappointed that the housing units are not going ahead. The Member probably perceives this equation from a different direction altogether.
The allocation that I provided to the House, as I indicated when the Capital Budget was tabled, was a tentative allocation. I have tried to encourage Members to recognize that the figures were not firm, that they were only based on what the Yukon Housing Corporation, in its budget estimates, projected as being a need. The consultation with the communities is going to produce the exact figures but will not exceed 57 units. In the case of Dawson city, and after the community consultations had been undertaken, it was agreed that in order to meet an identifiable need in response to the written expressions from the community, including the municipal government, 14 units could be accommodated to meet that significant need in Dawson.
The final decision with respect to whether or not any project is going to be done will be determined by whether to not there is community support for the project. If community support does not materialize, then the project will not be undertaken at all.
Mr. Lang: I do not want to harangue, but could the Minister tell us what the 14-unit apartment block is projected to cost?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I can tell the Member that the cost will not likely exceed the maximum unit price. Discussions have not been undertaken regarding the specific design with the local housing association or the municipality, so it would be premature to indicate what the exact cost would be.
Mr. Lang: What is the projected maximum cost that could be spent on any apartment?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will ask officials what the maximum unit cost would be.
Mr. Lang: The second in command is right there. I see that he has his pen out and I am sure that he can provide the information. I would like to know it now.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will ask officials to provide the maximum unit price, and when I have it, I will provide it to the House.
Mr. Lang: Is the Minister telling me that he does not know how much this facility is going to cost? Does he have no projections? He has made the decision that he is going ahead with a 14-apartment block, and he does not know what the projected costs are. Is that what he is trying to tell the people of the territory? The President of the Housing Corporation, who is in attendance here can surely tell us what that projected cost is.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I resent the Members tone of voice, which is insulting, to say the least.
Mr. Lang: Insulting?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: If the Member could take hold of himself for a moment and deport himself in a manner that respects this Legislature, I would appreciate it.
The maximum unit price is established through CMHC, and the upper limit for an apartment complex in Dawson City would be determined by the maximum unit price. It is generally understood, when we do pass Capital Budgets and Operation and Maintenance Budgets, to be within this ballpark figure. That has always been the case as long as I have ever known it to be in this Legislature.
That was even the case when the Member sat on this side, although he did not undertake a lot of building. The housing allocations and the budget amounts were always set in the same manner. The maximum unit price was quoted as the upper limit of expenditures as determined by CMHC. The budgets were determined and based upon those figures. Some units, depending upon the location and the design, may vary a little above or a little below the maximum unit price. In terms of the global budget, the maximum unit price is our limit. That price in Dawson would depend upon a variety of figures set by CMHC. When I have the maximum unit price for apartments, I will communicate it to the House.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister tell us if the Housing Corporation made the decision to go ahead with a 14-unit apartment block in Dawson City with no knowledge of what the maximum cost could be? Did it put a maximum dollar figure on it?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Housing Corporation would know the range that they could work within for any Capital Project. The maximum unit price will vary depending upon the price of the land and the isolation of the community. These are set according to guidelines established by CMHC.
Mr. Lang: My question was not answered. Did the Housing Corporation, in conjunction with the second in command who is sitting right beside the Minister, make a decision to go ahead with the 14-unit apartment block without any maximum amount of dollars being allocated for the project?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Like every housing project, the Yukon Housing Corporation Board has indicated they are prepared to proceed, pending the construction price and bid prices being within budget, the budget being the maximum unit prices established for projects of this sort.
If the Member is suggesting the project will proceed, irrespective of what the price is, the answer is that that was never the intention of the Yukon Housing Corporation. It has to come in within the maximum allowable limit that is permitted by CMHC.
Mr. Lang: What is the maximum allowable limit? What are we hiding here? Is it just a charade? Surely, the people of the territory have a right to know what they are investing in or not investing in. All I want is a projected estimate cost. I will give the Minister the leeway of saying $300,000 either way, but at least there should be some estimated cost of going ahead with such a project. Were no tentative projections of estimates provided to the Yukon Housing Corporation board of directors when they made the decision?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: As I have already indicated, I will be seeking out the exact maximum unit price. I am told the range is in the $85,000 range per unit. I will have to come back with the specific maximum unit price. For this particular community, and for this kind of construction, the Yukon Housing Corporation has the figures. I just do not have them in front of me.
Mr. Lang: It is safe to say we are talking in the neighbourhood of a $1.2 million project in the City of Dawson. If that is the projected cost of that project, has the Yukon Housing Corporation made a definitive decision that they are not going ahead with 10 of the units that were indicated in December? Is that the decision that has been made?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Fourteen times $85,000 is approximately in the ballpark. As I indicated, I do not have the maximum unit price in front of me. When I get it, I will transmit it. It is in the neighbourhood of $85,000 a unit. The Yukon Housing Corporation knows it has to live within the maximum number of units that are allocated to it, and will have to adjust its building demands as a result of any building project, including this one.
Mr. Lang: With respect to renovations, I have asked the Minister on numerous occasions what the renovations are going to cost in moving into the new accommodation. Does he have those figures?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It will be approximately $40,000.
Mr. Lang: I guess we have to live in the manner we would like to.
With respect to market value land, on the Joint Venture Program, is it the Ministers position still that a developer has to pay a market value for the land? If that is the case, in view of the fact it is not surveyed or any of the other things done to it, how are they going to determine the market value?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: This is a lands matter, but I do know the answer. The lands regulations stipulate very clearly that lands sold for commercial purposes will be sold at market value. That is clearly enunciated in the regulations pursuant to the Lands Act. Any sale of land for purposes of resale would be considered lands sold for commercial purposes, so the procedure is to sell them for market value, if it is not currently held in private hands.
In order to maintain the integrity of the system, the procedure for selling Crown land of any sort for commercial purposes is to sell it at market value.
Mr. Lang: I do not understand how you are going to set the market for land that is strictly raw land? The way I understand the Joint Venture Program is that it will be raw land and the developer will come in and provide whatever has to be provided, power, survey, road, telephone and all those things that have to be figured in the cost. I do not understand how you are going to encourage people to go on such a program when the government is going to go ahead on their own through contracting and developing land to put on the market and charging nothing for the value of the land. How can anybody in private business think that is a good idea? I do know people were looking at the prospects of going into this type of development, but if they know that the government is doing it as well and charging nothing for the land after it has been developed it puts these people in a precarious position if the economy goes down.
I want to move on to the lease purchase. I am not sure how this is going to work. Would the Minister go through the stages of an application and outline what is going to be financed through a lease purchase program?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Firstly, if Crown land is going to be sold, it is considered raw land with no improvements, and that has an impact on the market value of that land. If there are simply rocks and trees with no roads or anything, it has an impact on its market value, and, therefore, it would certainly be less.
The government sells residential land at market value. There has been a good deal of discussion over the last few years about development costs. Certainly, the government is also interested in recovering development costs where they exceed market value. We still do sell land at market value.
The situation with respect to the lease purchase program is that families that are interested in the program will receive an initial screening from the local housing association. If their income is too high, then the family will be encouraged to move to a private home purchase, through the banks. If it is too low, and is not expected to increase at all, then the family will not be in a position to assume any mortgage in the future, and therefore would not qualify there either. If it is, however, in the $30,000 to $45,000 range, then the application will be made and the applicant will then have to select either an existing house or lot or plan, for lease purchase. They will have to research all the listing information, if the property is listed with a realtor, and the legal description of the property. That is the initial stage. If approved, the Yukon Housing Corporation then steps in and secures the mortgage from the bank.
Mr. Lang: I want to go through one step here. If the house costs $80,000, let us assume that the applicant meets the required wage earnings of between $30,000 and $45,000, and makes an offer on a house for $80,000 and it is accepted. Does the government then go in and pay the vendor the $80,000 or do they guarantee the bank that they will pay the $80,000 to the bank if it defaults? Who pays the interest?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Yukon Housing Corporation will secure the mortgage. The house will be in the name of the Yukon Housing Corporation until such time as the agreement is struck and the person leasing the house assumes the mortgage from the bank.
Mr. Lang: How many families do they project taking advantage of the program in the first year?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Our initial estimates were that we would have approximately 20.
Mr. Lang: Is there a three-year or a five-year projection for this program?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: At this time, the program is scheduled for review on an annual basis, depending upon the character of the housing market and the projected demand. We will know about the demand from our first years experience. I would hesitate to put the program in place for any specified period of time because market conditions could fluctuate enough to cause the Yukon Housing Corporation and the government to review its participation.
Mr. Lang: Has this particular program ever been tried anywhere else?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Yes, in Nova Scotia.
Mr. Lang: The Yukon Housing Corporation will have the outstanding mortgages. I want to put on the record a concern that I have about this program. I think that the intention is good but I really believe that the Yukon Housing Corporation is going to find that it may well have a lot of units on their hands, down the road. The question of lease purchase sounds good. I have talked with a number of people who have managed what they call lease purchases, and they say that it is very, very difficult, as time changes. Sometimes the vendor ends up with the home again. I really do not think that this is going to meet the objectives of the Yukon Housing Corporation.
I noticed the Ministers hesitation over how long the program is going to last. It would seem to me that if you are going to have a program of this kind it should be an absolute requirement that there be x amount of dollars set up, non-refundable, so that there is a commitment to that home and that it does not just turn into another social rental situation.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: That is something we would want to avoid in this particular instance. The purpose of the program is to fix the price of a unit when it is initially purchased and make ownership affordable for a person whose income may increase only marginally, so that in year five, they will not have to face the vagaries of the housing market, and how things change in the interim between the initial transaction and the time they actually assume the mortgage themselves.
It is impossible to undertake a program such as this where the government avoids any risk whatsoever. Like the extended mortgage guarantee, there is a risk. Otherwise, if there were no risk at all, I would think it very likely the private sector would be there already. Clearly, there is a risk, and we can do what we can to minimize that risk. We have a responsibility to do everything we can to minimize the risk and make sure the client selection for this is done in a responsible way.
The difference between a rental purchase program, which I know has been tried in the Yukon in the past, and a lease purchase program is that the commitment to purchase is made by the person leasing the unit right up front. It is fairly certain that, if the value of the units continue to rise, and do not drop sharply - and that may change within specific communities - it will make it much easier and much more practical and affordable for people leasing the units to assume the mortgage themselves.
With the review that was taken, we know the incomes are such that, without some assistance and helping hands of this nature, it would be virtually unrealistic to expect them to assume a home ownership on their own. That is why we set up the program in this particular way. We will encourage people, if they have property, to put it up for sale in this way. In most cases, I think the people will be purchasing either an existing house or building a new house and purchasing the property along with it.
Mr. Lang: I want to express our reservations with some of the new initiatives that were announced. I can foresee some very major problems with this. I have already had one person come up to me and say there goes the Yukon Housing Corporation indirectly exerting their authority and getting new housing stock through the back door. I am just giving the perception that is also on the street in some quarters.
I can see some major problems down the road here where the government can wind up with a lot more housing than they already have now. The rental purchase program the Minister refers to was specifically designed for social housing and to allow those particular homes to be purchased.
I asked a question some time ago with respect to the purchase of stoves and fridges specifically for Ross River, where I believe seven sets were sent. Those in staff houses were told they would all be replaced, regardless of what shape they were in. Could the Minister explain what has happened there, as well as throughout the rest of the territory?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I do see the interpretation of this purchase program as being a backdoor way of increasing the housing starts. It is unfortunate. That is not the intention, and it is unfortunate if a person holds that view. Only the experience of the program will determine one way or another if this constituent will be satisfied.
There is no policy on replacing the units after two years. The policy is to replace the units when the appliances, fridges and stoves, can no longer be economically repaired. The Housing Corporation has ceased supplying washers and dryers. If anyone was given the impression that they were going to be given new appliances after two years, they were misinformed. That is not the policy.
The situation is that units were taken to Ross River, some were taken to install into the new social and staff units in Ross River. The decision was made in the community to replace some appliances in the staff units, then to take those that were removed from the staff units and put them in the social units. No. There is no policy to replace appliances after two years.
Mr. Lang: Is it true that orders went out from the Housing Corporation that any fridge or stove in staff housing in Ross River and Faro that is two years or older would be replaced by new appliances?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The policy of the corporation is as I indicated. There is no direction, whatsoever, to replace appliances after two years.
Mr. Lang: Is it true that orders were issued by the Yukon Housing Corporation to Ross River and other communities that the fridges and stoves in the staff units that were two years old and older were to be replaced with new ones? That is my question.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: My investigation into the matter shows that there was a Housing Corporation employee who thought that was the case. He was wrong. There was not a policy before, and there is not a policy now to replace units after two years.
Mr. Lang: Is it true that fridges and stoves were sent to Ross River to replace appliances in seven of the twenty-one units?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I do not know whether or not there were seven units but I do know that any unit that was replaced was a minimum of seven years, or older.
Chairman: Does the Committee wish to take a brief recess at this time?
We will recess for 15 minutes.
Chairman: Committee of the Whole will come to order. We will continue with general debate on the Yukon Housing Corporation.
Mr. McLachlan: Is the 14-unit apartment block in Dawson City intended to be family apartments for three or two persons, or they are just one-bedroom apartments?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: They are projected to be two-bedroom apartments. I took the opportunity to find out the maximum unit price for the 14 apartments. The maximum unit price allowable for Dawson would be $86,500 for the construction, plus up to $8,000 per unit for the land. There might need to be flexibility regarding any extras.
Mr. McLachlan: If we are getting up toward $94,000 or $94,500 per unit, is there an advantage to going to an apartment block, rather than to three buildings of four units each, such as the structure built at Stewart Crossing last year for government employees?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The maximum unit price for the construction of a house would be more than $86,000. This is the maximum unit price for an apartment block, and it is projected to be a cheaper form of construction. For example, the same kind of construction in Whitehorse would allow $69,000 per unit for apartment construction, plus up to $8,000 per unit for the land. That indicates that there is expected to be a fairly significantly higher construction cost in Dawson than in Whitehorse.
Mr. McLachlan: I understand that, but is the Minister saying that the allowable price for the land, at $8,000, is the same in Dawson City as it is in Whitehorse, per unit?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Yes, there is no guarantee that it will be $8,000. It has to be up to a maximum of $8,000, whatever the actual price of the land happens to be.
Mr. McLachlan: The Minister indicated earlier to the Member for Porter Creek East that, under the extended mortgage plan, they anticipated about five units getting off the ground. They were not sure because a lot of inquiries were coming in. Did the corporation have some projection as to where those units were to go? Was there one in Mayo, two in Haines Junction, one in Dawson? Where did they get the number of five?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The conservative estimate was statistically driven. There was a determination of what they thought might be the increase given the kind of discussion that was held in the public with respect to the home ownership program. It is merely a best guess. No specific community was targeted. It was entirely dependent upon the actual take up.
Mr. Lang: How is the difference between the required 10 percent down payment and as high as the additional 20 percent that may be required going to be done by the government? Is that by second mortgage or grant? How does the recipient go about applying for it and how does the government view it in order to get their money back?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It is a mortgage guarantee. The vehicle is still that the bank will lend the money to the individual, and the money will be secured through a CMHC mortgage guarantee. The difference between the actual construction price and the appraisal of market value would determine the level of the Yukon Housing Corporations guarantee. It is a guarantee, not a mortgage.
Mr. McLachlan: If, for a $100,000 all-found house with the land included, the individual puts up $10,000 and the bank will only go for $65,000, is the corporations liability only a maximum exposure of $25,000?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The banks will loan up to $90,000 in the particular example that the Member mentions. The individual needs a $10,000 down payment. Under normal circumstances, CMHC would guarantee up to $63,000, so the difference between $90,000 and the $63,000 - $27,000 - would be the extent of the mortgage for the Yukon Housing Corporation.
Mr. McLachlan: In the case where the owner defaults and cannot repay, the maximum exposure that the corporation is liable for is $27,000? Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: That is correct.
Mr. McLachlan: Did the Minister say there was a projection of 16 under the lease purchase program in the initial year, or did he give a figure?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: There is a ballpark figure of 20 and probably loan money of approximately $1.62 million.
Mr. McLachlan: Is there no projection whatsoever under the do-it-yourself program since those guidelines are not developed and will not be until 1989?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: That is correct.
Mr. McLachlan: The extended mortgage plan relies on the participation of CMHC a great deal. What happens if they will not help?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: If CMHC indicated its unwillingness to help, it would be reneging on a commitment.
Mr. McLachlan: Will CMHC finance homes in the community of Elsa?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Yes. I am a little puzzled because that is one community where I would not see much in the way of private land available for any kind of construction. I doubt if there would be much opportunity to do it, but the CMHC commitment extends into communities. If the Member is going to be asking me about Faro, I would have to find out specifically from the Housing Corporation what they anticipate there.
The federal housing Minister has indicated his reluctance to get involved in towns that are deemed to have a life that is solely due to the existence of one employer. We have not had any more firm discussions on that matter. The Yukon has indicated that it has an abiding interest in it. CMHC has indicated that, if it is to get involved any more in communities like Faro, it would like to see territorial government participation. How that actually shakes down has yet to be determined, because we have not had any sense of consultation at the ministerial level to determine what is expected of the Yukon or of any province.
Mr. McLachlan: That was precisely why the question was asked, since Elsa is in the single industry category the same as Faro. They will not participate in Faro. When the corporation went into discussions with CMHC on this program, did the question of Faro come up? What happens if people want to buy under the extended mortgage plan in Faro where CMHC will not participate?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Faro is considered to be unique by being a high-risk community. In actuality, Elsa would be considered in the same light. We have been addressing the Faro situation through a different vehicle, through federal/provincial/territorial consultations on how to deal with high-risk communities.
As the Member knows, CMHC has expressed extreme reluctance to get any deeper into communities like Faro than it is currently. Under direction from the federal government, it has pulled in its horns dramatically, in terms of how much they are prepared to move in communities like Faro. As a result, there have been discussions between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments with respect to what is going to happen in the future.
The Yukon has indicated its willingness to participate, to ensure that, in the final analysis, there will be mortgage funding available to Faro, like any other community. At this point, the agreement will be negotiated on a national level. It will not be negotiated uniquely to the Yukon. We know that with certainty.
I am sure, at the same time, that CMHC is going to be interested in private sector participation in situations like this. They have indicated that where there is a private sector interest, like the mine, they will expect negotiations for mortgage assurance be shared jointly among the mine, the provincial government and CMHC.
Apparently, there are about 34 communities in Faros situation. I know the federal Minister wants to come forward with a national policy and would not be prepared to make any changes on a community-specific basis.
Mr. McLachlan: The Minister spent a lot of time talking about the vehicle of mortgage insurance. In the example previously quoted, where we used the example of a $27,000 second mortgage, we had decided that the simple vehicle of mortgage insurance - like one and one quarter percent on the $27,000 second mortgage - would be far cheaper to the coffers of the government than carrying the second mortgage would.
Did any discussions take place about the mortgage insurance idea with CMHC, or banks, or private insurers, rather than government carrying a second mortgage?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: We are not talking about a second mortgage. We are talking about a mortgage guarantee. There have been discussions with the banks with respect to what they are prepared to do and under under what conditions they are prepared to operate. There have been discussions with CMHC about the extent of the limit they are prepared to go.
We have had discussions with private members and with CMHC to determine what the barrier to home ownership is outside of Whitehorse. Our objective in the discussions was to extend to the limit the private sector and CMHC participation, and see what slack there is left to pick up. It is into that area that we have introduced a program to meet the real need of the person who wants to construct new, and the construction price is well above the market value of the house.
As I indicated at the beginning, the money is lent to the individual, the CMHC mortgage insurance guarantees an amount and the Yukon government provides a mortgage guarantee to CMHC for the difference between the value of the mortgage and the market value.
Mr. McLachlan: Is the government paying a higher interest rate on this second mortgage guarantee debt, over and above the interest rate asked for on the first one, and how much?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The government would not be paying any interest at all. The only time that the government would be paying any money would be when there would be a default, and we would be held accountable for our portion of the guarantee. In terms of ongoing carrying costs, however, there would be no expenditures by the Yukon Housing Corporation to pay interest or anything else. That would be up to the individual who assumes the mortgage.
Mr. McLachlan: My previous question still goes unanswered. What about the idea of mortgage insurance? Did the corporation deem that it was not required, that this was a better deal, or, if you initiated discussions on mortgage insurance, did it come to naught?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I do not understand the Members question. This is clearly not a second mortgage. The program is mortgage insurance. It insures the CHMCs participation, the portion between the purchase price and the mortgage itself. It is an insurance. The Government of the Yukon expends no money, loans no money itself. The Yukon Housing Corporation lends no money to any individual or to a bank. It merely guarantees CHMCs participation, to a limited extent.
Mr. McLachlan: Is any money being transferred from the Yukon Housing Corporations budget to Economic Development to run the Venture Capital Program, or is that solely going to be contained within Economic Development?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Venture Capital Program is solely within the Department of Economic Development and has budget limits as per previously announced. The Joint Venture Fund of the Yukon Housing Corporation is a separate entity and is specifically for the purposes that I have mentioned already. The two are separate. One will be operated by Economic Development and the Joint Venture Fund will be operated with a review committee.
Mr. McLachlan: When a private land developer, who is trying to develop a block of land within the confines of the City of Whitehorses jurisdiction, comes to the Yukon Housing Corporation to investigate the Joint Venture Program for land development, will the corporation simply sell the land to the city, for $100 or one dollar, and let the individual deal with the city, or will the applicant be dealing, until the project is completed, with the Yukon Housing Corporation under the Joint Venture Program?
What I am trying to guard against is the situation that will lead to the escalation of the land price, from one dollar to $100,000.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I understand that the Yukon Housing Corporation owns no undeveloped land in Whitehorse. The lots that the corporation owns are considered developed. I would not anticipate that the corporation would be asked to sell land in Whitehorse.
Mr. McLachlan: If the corporation provides business financing for land developers, do you not take first mortgage on that block of private land being developed and retain it?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: A fair amount would depend on the proposal - who was coming in with the land, whether or not the land had to be transferred from government. There are a variety of things that would have to be taken into consideration. If the Member could provide a more detailed scenario perhaps I could respond.
Mr. McLachlan: The Minister previously said one of the reasons the lots are so high in Granger is because of the insistence of the city to meet the terms regarding pavement, water, sewer, underground services, et cetera. I am trying to guard against the fact where a block of land may be developed in a rural situation within the City of Whitehorse, but which would be subject to their conditions of development. It is unclear who the individual is to be dealing with: the Yukon Housing Corporation under the Land Development Joint Venture Program, or the City of Whitehorse.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: If you want to do business within the City of Whitehorse you have to follow their rules. That is the way things are. In fairness to the city, the city had certain aspirations for the Granger Subdivision for fully services lots. They would not insist on fully serviced lots in all situations. In fact, when the Yukon government develops land within the city for the city in other country residential lots there are varying levels of services provided up front.
Clearly, a private developer will have the opportunity to deal with a variety of situations if they develop in the city. If they want to develop land in Riverdale or Porter Creek they will have to abide by the community standards provided by the municipality for those areas. If they want to develop outside Wolf Creek the city would not exact the same standards in an area such as that and require less in terms of development. So the city is sensitive to the Members concern and would take that into consideration if it were a territorial government land development project or private sector land development project.
Mr. McLachlan: Under the assistance for upgrading existing homes programs, what was the reason behind separating federal government involvement and the RAPP from Yukon Housing Corporation involvement in RAPP?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Under the Capital Program, the Housing Corporation initially tied approvals to the RAPP because the guidelines were already fairly well known to people, and for that reason the administration would be more simple. The Housing Corporation has found that there are restrictions to RAPP funding that are onerous in some communities, for example, the inability to provide home improvement funds where they have been provided in the past. I cannot remember the exact year limit, but in some cases, for example, a few years ago, a home might have received a small retrofit.
If it had been approved at that point, and it came back to the Housing Corporation and CMHC with a request to improve the municipal services or to provide municipal services, they would be turned down because they had already received funds under that program. It is a fairly arbitrary guideline, and it was a real barrier to rehabilitation to some units that were very much in need of repair.
Mr. McLachlan: Does a person get as much now under the Yukon Housing Corporation as they do under the CMHC program, which was funding units as high as $8,250.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: There are a number of components to the home improvement initiative. One was the municipal services component, which was raised from $5,000 to $7,500. There is a component of the home improvement program of $2,500 that is for external renovations. There is also a component for homes to accommodate the disabled that is $5,000 as well.
Mr. McLachlan: Is there a limit to the number of RAPP applications that the corporation will approve in Whitehorse and a limit to the number that are approved in the communities?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The CMHC budget has not come forth yet, but I would not tell the Member with any certain detail what limits have been put on their participation in rural communities or in Whitehorse.
Mr. McLachlan: I have had questions from constituents who wanted to get in on the RAPP and found that CMHC had a grand total of five in the City of Whitehorse for the whole year. That is gone already for the current fiscal year. That is of no help in Whitehorse, if that is the case. In the separation of the Yukon Housing Corporation from CMHC, have we gotten any better or worse?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I have been aware that the budget allocation for renovations is far outstripped by demand, and we have discussed the matter with Stewart McInnes.
With respect to funding renovations we, in the territory, have put a lot more emphasis in the last couple of years on renovations to improve the existing housing stock. It is certainly much cheaper than building new, if it is practical. In our discussions with them with respect to a partnership, we have indicated that we would like to see that enhanced. We will not know whether or not they have been listening until such time as their budget comes down.
On Gross Expenditures
Mr. McLachlan: Did the Ministers introductory remarks in the general debate explain the 42 percent increase, or is there more to come when we consider this line item?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I thought I explained the increase. I laid out what the increase was for by dollar amounts. Is there more detail on a particular item the Member would like to know about?
Mr. McLachlan: We have salary increases, staff increases, office space increases, but I am looking for something major in the neighbourhood of $1 million or so. We have the small ones, but I cannot recall the big items.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The biggest single item was the projected operation and maintenance increase for debt servicing for the social housing program, including taxes, et cetera, of $255,000. I indicated there was $120,000 in salary increases, $201,000 for staff, and $82,000 for office space. The computer system was $42,000, and there are a few other minor ones. Cleaning and development for program staff in the communities is $14,000; telephone, $15,000; and miscellaneous other items for $8,000.
Mr. McLachlan: That does not even total $1 million.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: That totals $482,000. As I indicated, there is the increased funding for the program costs, $1,314,000; just over $1 million of that is mortgage payments; $145,000 is for taxes; the balance is for preventative maintenance. The $482,000 increase for the administration is for the amounts I mentioned: the $321,000 for salaries; $82,000 for office space; $42,000 for the computer; $14,000 for the training and development; $15,000 for communications; and $8,000 for the other.
Yukon Housing Corporation in the amount of $6,047,000 agreed to
Yukon Liquor Corporation
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There is very little to say. The operation and maintenance is expected to continue as it has in previous years. I will simply answer questions as they come.
Mr. McLachlan: Is the corporation considering building any new outlets in the territory in the next short while?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Not in the next short while. We have already identified the Red Feather in Dawson. There is the possibility of a building in Watson Lake to provide for a larger liquor store facility and to expand the government offices from the present building, which also includes government offices and the post office. No decisions have been made; it is simply a long-term possibility.
Mr. McLachlan: What happened to the South African wine? Is it still held on the shelves at inventory costs, or did it get poured down the drain? Where is it?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It was all sold. We took it off the shelves and stored it in the warehouses for a couple of months and later made a decision to sell the stock and donate all of the profits - not all the proceeds, all of the profits - to African famine relief. That was done; we have no more product left and we are not buying any.
Mr. McLachlan: Was it sold back to South Africa? Was it sold on sale? Was it sold by private bid or tender? What was the process?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It was sold in the liquor stores of the territory with a special sign beside it saying that the profits were going to famine relief.
Mr. McLachlan: Could the Minister explain why those off sale outlets do not have to tag the liquor and whisky bottles with a 25 cent return on the bottles sold?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That is a policy that is under review now. We had always hoped to not have to tag the bottles with this 25 cent tag. The present policy is that, if liquor is sold to a licensed outlet, we do not put the tags on and do not charge the fee. We sell tags to the licensed outlets as tags and, if they sell the bottles as off sales, they put the tags on. That alleviates the handling problem and, also, what would be a slightly increased inventory cost for businesses.
It was seen originally as an interim measure to avoid the cost of the Yukon Liquor Corporation paying for bottles that were not purchased here. It very well may be that we can discontinue that in the future. If we do, the only cost is that the bottles are now not broken. The tag is removed and the bottles are taken to the dump. If the bottles are broken, there is no problem of a recycling and a continual deposit being paid. We are also investigating stockpiling the glass in an out of the way outdoor place because, if it is in sufficient quantities, it has some commercial value.
Mr. McLachlan: I asked the question because I do not believe all the outlets that may buy the tags are using them to put on the bottles. That is where you are getting the compounded litter problem. What is the reason for not doing it at the Liquor Corporation but, instead, selling them to the outlets and telling them to do it? I do not believe it is being done, and we are ending up with a hassle that is a cost to someone somewhere down the line.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The reason was that the licensees objected to the extra handling costs, and the extra inventory costs. It was done as an accommodation of the industry. I accept the point. The motive of the whole program is, firstly, litter control. If it is not achieving that, we will adapt the returnable policy to achieve that.
Mr. Phillips: I suggest to the Minister he take all the 25 cent tags off every bottle, and he offer a 25 cent refund on any bottle in the territory. The problem of people bringing in bottles from other jurisdictions to refund them is almost cost-prohibitive. If we are trying to tackle the problem of litter, then let us tackle the problem of litter and offer it for every bottle. I heard somebody today on an open-line show mention that they go along the road once in a while and collect them. In fact, sometimes he picks these bottles up that do not have the tags on only because he is litter conscious, but he knows a lot of other people just bypass them because they have no value.
Let us let the program do what it is supposed to do, and let us stop all this labour-intensive work of putting the tags on them, and stop it immediately. Will the Minister do that this week? That would be a great move in alleviating the litter problem in the territory.
Chairman: The time now being 5:30 p.m., we will recess until 7:30 p.m.
Chairman: Committee of the Whole will come to order.
Motion to extend sitting hours
Hon. Mr. Porter: I move that the Committee of the Whole be empowered to sit from 7:30 p.m. until such time as the Committee of the Whole has completed consideration to Bill No. 50, Second Appropriation Act, 1988-89
Chairman: Unanimous consent is not required.
Motion agreed to
Chairman: We will continue with the Yukon Liquor Corporation.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I received a representation about litter and deposits on bottles. I think it is a good one and I will take it under advisement.
Mr. Phillips: That is the second time the Minister has done that. I would like more of a commitment from the Minister. He has an opportunity here today, in litter week, to make a major move. He could tell us that the policy of the government is to discontinue that and it would save a great deal of money, time and help the litter problem in the territory. Would he consider taking those stickers off all those bottles so that every bottle returned to the Liquor Corporation would be worth 25 cents.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: An announcement will not be made this week, and I make no commitment to make an announcement this week. The procedure is that policy changes are discussed with the liquor board and that has not happened as of now.
Yukon Liquor Corporation in the amount of one dollar agreed to
Yukon Development Corporation
Hon. Mr. Penikett: This is a one dollar amount. This corporation is set up basically the same way the Yukon Liquor Corporation is. There is an estimate here of revenue for the year that basically reflects an increase that is due to four years of operations for the Development Corporation. The figure is a net revenue amount, net including the payments paid out for subsidies in this year.
Mr. McLachlan: Can you tell us when the Annual Report of the Yukon Development Corporation might be available?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It will not be ready until the same time it was last year, which is in the fall. When I checked today, the accountants were still doing the number crunching for the year end for submission to the auditors. So, they do not even have that information yet.
Mr. Nordling: Are we talking about the Annual Report for the Yukon Development Corporation? Is that what the Minister is talking about?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We are talking about the one dollar vote here. I was responding to a question from the Member about the Yukon Development Corporation Annual Report.
Mr. Nordling: I thought the Yukon Development Corporation Act required the report be prepared and submitted to the Executive Member responsible by June 30.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: That may be the case, but it will not be tabled until the fall session.
Mr. Nordling: Obviously. If the report has to be done by June 30, and may not be tabled until 10 days after we start sitting in the fall, there must still be some figures available that the Member should be able to tell us something about. The year ended March 31. We are six weeks from that, and there are only six weeks left until the completion of the report. Surely, there have been figures sent to the auditors.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I just finished saying they have not been sent to the auditor yet. The accountants are still doing the year end, and I have received no report yet. I did indicate to the Member, in answer to a previous question, that when I had some information about the year I would be making it available to him in his capacity as critic by private communication.
Mr. Nordling: Are there any figures at all available for either the Yukon Energy Corporation or Hyland Forest Products?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have received no accounting yet.
Mr. McLachlan: Could the Minister tell us if electrical consumption, i.e. the kilowatt hours or megawatt hours, is showing significant increases at the Whitehorse generating plant, or anything that indicates a growth in the territory?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I do not have it handy, but I could certainly report back on the consumption figures. They are up very high as a result of the improving condition of our economy. I believe they are ahead of the projected consumption figures.
Mr. McLachlan: Will the Minister be able to bring back that information to the Chamber as early as tomorrow?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I could probably give some consumption figures by tomorrow. I do not know how recent or how accurate they will be but I know that I have seen some quarterly figures. I could give some information.
Mr. Nordling: Last year the Minister gave us a few opinions and offered his assumptions as to what would happen with respect to the utilities operations. We were given specific figures to arrive at $4.3 million and he said that he hoped that with the management in place that we would do even better. I noticed the forecast for revenue is still $4.3 million. Is the Minister willing to speculate this year as to whether or not they will do any better than that, or is $4.3 million accurate?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The forecast for revenue is $6.9 million.
Mr. Nordling: We may be here a while. I will start at the beginning to discuss the specific line. Last year the Minister said that, The utility operations of the Yukon Development Corporation is forecasted to be earning a net income of $5.4 million in 1987-88, resulting from revenues of $21.2 million and expenses of $15.8 million.
There was going to be $1.1 million in subsidies, leaving a net income of $4.3 million. The Minister then said, I hope with the management regime that we have put in place we will be able to improve upon their projections, but we do not know that yet.
My question is: with the management regime that the government has put in place, does he expect to improve upon the $4.3 million net income projection, or not?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Yes, as the Main Estimate book shows, on page 268, the estimated net revenue for this year 1988-89 is $6.873 million, net.
Mr. Nordling: It has not been explained - and I am sure it will - how much of that will be from the Yukon Development Corporation, and how much will be from the Watson Lake sawmill, Hyland Forest Products.
The 1987-88 forecast in this budget, which was prepared long after the Minister made those statements, still says $4.3 million for the forecast. Is the Minister now saying that the 1987-88 income from the Yukon Development Corporation, which is essentially the utilities, the energy corporation, will be $4.3 million?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Until I get an accounting for 1987-88, I do not know with accuracy what it is. Given the activities of the power corporation, which is the principal part of the asset, I have no reason to believe that there is a major error in the estimate. The figure that I have given in the estimate, on page 268, for the current years net revenue, is based on an estimate of a full years operation, and that is the net figure that we are projecting here.
Mr. Nordling: Now that we are on that figure, can the Minister break down that $6,873,000 figure into what the earnings from the Power Corporation will be and what will be from the operation of the Hyland Forest Products?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The net revenue from the power company, even after the subsidy payments is $7.3 million, and Hyland Forest Products is estimated to show a loss of $300,000 for the year.
Mr. Nordling: Last year, the Minister said that the worst-case scenario for the sawmill operation in Watson Lake was $18,700. He went on to say that he hoped it would break even, given the startup costs. I would like to know if the Minister has an estimate of what it will do in 1987-88, and if he has the startup costs with him tonight.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I do not. As I previously explained, until the accountants give me a report, I cannot tell for the year. I believe it will not break even this year, but how the accountants will take into account the substantial inventories of the corporation and what they will allow in terms of the investments this year for replacing equipment and the depreciation and so forth, I cannot say until the accountants have given me that information.
Mr. Nordling: As I said, it is six weeks after their year end. Can the Minister give us any indication whatsoever? We are here talking about the budget for that, and I would expect that the Minister would have some indication, subject to any special accountanting maneouvers, as to how the Hyland Forest Products mill is doing. Obviously, there must be some idea, because we are budgeting for 1988-89. I understand from the budgeting that it will lose $300,000.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: That is the estimate of the budgeted losses, but the Member will also know that one of the major revenue projections in the original study of Hyland Forest Products was the potential for sale of power from the plant, which was not realized in the last fiscal year. I am hoping that the report I am now waiting for will give us the answer as to whether the power potential of the plant is realizable. Once we have established that, we can make some decisions about the sale of the assets of the corporation, with or without the power plant. If the power potential is to be realized for the sale of power in Watson Lake, it will thereby reduce their power costs, but until I receive that report and the Development Corporation then acts upon it, I do not think we can give a more precise projection than that.
In general terms, I think I could say that the Power Corporation has probably done better than we projected, and the forest products company has not done as well.
Mr. McLachlan: Can the Government Leader advise who is handling negotiations on the part of the government or the Development Corporation towards the sale of the plant? Who is heading those for our side?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I know of no negotiations at this point except for some inquiries. The Development Corporation officers will, no doubt, discuss with me, as representative of the shareholders, at some point if they have some serious proposals they want to entertain.
Mr. McLachlan: Have some of those inquiries been from out of the territory?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I do not know that there have been any serious inquiries yet, but suffice it to say that we would not want to sell it to an outside owner and leave the future of the plant and the town up in the air. Our preferred option would be to sell to a combination of interests, including local, who would have a powerful incentive to keep the plant operating for the good of the community and the good of the territory.
Mr. McLachlan: Can the Government Leader define his term outside interests?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The usual use of the term outside interests is outside the territory. I think perhaps we have had some discussions with people about people in the community who may be interested, about the potential from employees who may be interested in acquiring shares in the company, other local groups perhaps, in a purely speculative way, and I hesitate to do this, but perhaps an ideal arrangement might be a combination of an outside interest with expertise in the area and some local interests who would have an incentive to keep the jobs, the plant and the business opportunities in the Watson Lake area.
Mr. McLachlan: When I asked a question about outside interest I was wondering about a purchaser who is outside the country, be they U.S., European or otherwise.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: There may have been inquiries from people outside the country but I do not know of anybody who has indicated a serious interest yet who is a non-Canadian or a non-resident.
Mr. McLachlan: The Minister expressed some displeasure in the efforts by the Liard Indian Band to log raw logs and send that outside the country rather than processing them at the mill in Watson Lake. Has there been any resolution of this problem?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The best resolution has been the most recent proposal by the Liard Indian Band, and that is to export some logs that have been processed to some extent, cants, and from our point of view that does provide some local value added, does create some local jobs, does constitute processing and, therefore, we have no objection to that.
Mr. McLachlan: Does the Minister have any indication of what percentage of the product, cut and finished at the mill, is sold outside the Yukon, that is, sold to another country or export market through the port of Skagway?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I would have to make distinctions between what I regard as chess markets and established markets. There have been shipments sold as far away as Turkey and England. Whether they are long term buyers or just a one-time sale, I do not know. I believe if the Member will permit me to communicate with him after the House is out I could probably provide some information about who the major customers have been or the breakdown between the Yukon and outside interests, but I am not sure if they have been operating long enough to have any really well established patterns that would be meaningful and tell us much about the long term market prospects for the mill.
Mr. Phillips: I would like to go back for a moment to the export of logs. Would the Minister not agree that, even allowing the export of cant logs is allowing the export of jobs out of the territory? In fact, very little work goes into the canting of the logs. Hyland Forest Products could use that Yukon timber in the future.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Let me turn the question around, if I can, without being combative. Obviously, we would prefer as much processing as we can of our resources. That is desirable as a general proposition. I would agree that the processing we are talking about here is probably the minimal acceptable level of processing. Yes, of course, the more processing, the more value added we can get here, the better it is for the Yukon economy in the long run. This is true with a renewable resource, as much as it is with a non-renewable resource.
Mr. Phillips: How much timber is being exported through this contract?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am sorry, I do not have that number available to me. If the Member will permit me to take the question as notice, I can bring back the information, either in the House or by letter.
Mr. Phillips: In the industry, they claim that for every export of 10,000 metres of timber, it exports 12 jobs.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have heard a number that may be very close to that, but I do not know if it is exactly that. I will check and find out what the industry standard is.
Mr. Nordling: If you will bear with me for just a moment, I never caught the Ministers explanation of the $1.00 vote. Last year, he said the expeditures here are $1.00 because the Yukon Development Corporation will operate on advances until it is decided how the finances are going to be structured, the financial relationship between the Government of the Yukon Territory and the Yukon Development Corporation.
Would I be correct in saying the financial relationship between the Government of Yukon and the Yukon Development Corporation has not been worked out yet?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: No, as I explained in fairly lengthy remarks in the Supplementary Estimates, the government, in the last year, having advanced certain monies to the Yukon Development Corporation, decided to convert those into an equity grant, leaving remaining to be decided a $10 million amount, which will either be converted into equity or into loan. The $1.00 amount is the necessary minimum to have a line in the budget. It is not our intention to advance money to the Yukon Development Corporation for its existing operations, nor is it our intention, at this point, to vote a capital to the Yukon Development Corporation, unless it is necessary for some capital project.
Mr. Nordling: Last year, one of the corporate objectives was to facilitate the realization of the economic goals of the government. I see that has been taken out, and what we have this year is, among others, to own the assets of the Yukon Energy Corporation and any other operation to the benefit of the Yukons economy. Other than Northwestel, which the Government Leader has told us about, and the Hyland Forest Products, are there any other operations this government is looking at owning?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The only one we had contemplated participating in - and it does not seem to be a live option at the moment - is the railroad.
Mr. Nordling: Could the Minister give us an update on what is happening with Northwestel? My recollection is that April 18 was the first day for the preliminary round of bidding that was to go on for a month. We are two days away from the end of that month, now.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am hoping, either tomorrow or the next day, to make a Ministerial Statement about the result of the conclusion of negotiations which have been going on in Vancouver. Unfortunately, I cannot make a statement in advance of the conclusion of those negotiations. I understand the interest in this question. If it would facilitate matters and there is some arrangement reached by, say, 3:00 tomorrow afternoon, if the Members will permit me, in the middle of debate on some other item, to brief them, formally or informally, on the matter, I will do so. I am not in a position to make an announcement before there is in fact a deal struck.
Mr. Nordling: From my point of view, I would welcome a briefing as soon as it can be given to us. Regarding the operations of the Hyland Forest Products and the Yukon Energy Corporation, I just hope that the Minister will be forthcoming, even though that information will come to him when we are out of the House, and send it to me, as critic for this area.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I previously indicated that I would do that.
Mr. McLachlan: Was the contract that was signed with Yukon Electrical to manage the assets on behalf of the Yukon Energy Corporation for a five-year period?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I think so, but now that the Member has asked me, I have to be absolutely sure. Can I take that question as notice so that I can be absolutely sure how long the term was?
Mr. McLachlan: Of course. If that fact is true, then we are just beginning of the second year. On the matter of rates and rate equalization, in my riding there is at least one major industrial consumer of the Yukon Energy Corporation that is watching and waiting and wondering if they are still going to be able to get power at 4.96 cents per kilowatt hour. The Minister of Justice does not seem to be moving to fill the vacancies on the Public Utilities Board and there are a lot of big question marks there as far as the industry is concerned. Can the Minister add anything knowledgeable about what is going to happen in the area of power rates in the territory in the next year?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: In terms of the major customer referred to by the Member, I believe that if the Member checks the record, he will discover that the master agreement, which that customer signed with the former NCPC and the Government of Yukon, and the Government of Canada, provides for power rates for a longer term than the freeze provided for in the NCPC transfer agreement. The situation on rates is as I have previously told the Members. We are now waiting for a report from the Yukon Development Corporation, which we have not yet received as a government, which will make recommendations to us about the structuring of subsidies and of rates.
Once Cabinet has adopted policy on that, there will submissions made to the proper authorities in respect to rates. Subsidies will be entirely a question for us and the corporation to deal with. Almost certainly, the corporation will be the instrument through which we deliver or make subsidy arrangements. I would have to check the record as to the precise arrangements in regard to the euphemistic major customer in the Members constituency, but I am pretty sure that they have some long-term security on that score.
Mr. McLachlan: I would appreciate the Minister checking because it was my understanding that the agreement was signed for three years, and that takes up all of 1986-87 and 1988. It may be on a different scale come January 1, 1989. It is that context that the question was asked.
Yukon Development Corporation in the amount of one dollar agreed to
On Loan Capital and Loan Amortization
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Just briefly, Members who have been here some time will know that this is a standard item. This is the appropriation authority to make loans to third parties, basically municipalities. We are requesting $2.5 million in loan capital authority that the municipalities have indicated they intend to borrow from us in 1988-89. The loan capital recovery, the Members will see here, is a similar amount. This is merely to show we borrow the amount required to loan to the municipalities, although the option does exist to simply finance the loans out of our own cash reserves. Traditionally it is borrowed.
Members will note that we are requesting $2,197,000 in loan amortization authority. This is merely the repayment of loans and is largely paid to the federal government. The $1,882,000 is the amount received by us from the municipalities as repayment on the loans by them to us. The amount, as Members will note, is different from the loan amortization requirement because some of the old loans made to us do not match exactly the loans we have made to the municipalities.
Loan Capital in the amount of $2,500,000 agreed to
Loan Amortization in the amount of $2,197,000 agreed to
Department of Justice - continued
Chairman: We will return to the Department of Justice and the item that was stood over, Human Rights, page 200.
On Human Rights
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: We have had a debate of sorts already on this line in the budget. Today I understand the commission circulated the audited financial statement and, I believe, also a list of the contracts in the last year that the Members opposite were asking for. I think I will answer the questions that come.
Mr. Lang: Was it true the reason we never got the report is that it is outside somewhere down south being printed?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The phrasing of the question is problematic, but I believe the question is: Is the report being printed somewhere else? The answer is yes, it is being printed in Vancouver, and it will be here by Thursday I am informed.
Mr. Lang: How does that particular decision to get it printed down in Vancouver adhere to the principle of local hire and local purchase?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I am unaware as to the particular process the Human Rights Commission went through. The Members opposite are aware that the Queens Printer frequently lets contracts in Vancouver for some kinds of services.
Mr. Lang: Is this part of the policy for local hire and local purchase? You are the Minister.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Obviously not. The Human Rights Commission has made a decision as a Human Rights Commission, which is independent of the government, which is an issue that we seem to constantly face here. The situation is that the Human Rights Commission is not a department of the government, and it acts quite independently.
Mr. Lang: I want to voice my concern. Every time there seems to be a problem with one of the corporations or commissions, it seems to be that they are totally independent. If the government, whether it be the Minister responsible for housing or the Human Rights Commission, sees something good being done by the agency they are responsible for, they are the first one to stand up and take credit for it.
I am a little concerned by the fact that this kind of contracting and tendering is allowed to proceed. I do not know about this particular situation, but I do know of another that I will be raising. I understand that no one in town had the opportunity to tender on the printing for one particular report. They did not even know it was being done.
I want to register my concern because, in part, you are the Member of Government Services, as well. If you had the authority, as well as the responsibility, to direct your various agencies, as well as your civil servants, that people locally will get the opportunity to tender, I have no problem if they cannot do the job or cannot provide the service, and I will be the first to stand up and defend the government, if that is the case.
I do not understand how we are going to get a local industry, in the particular area of printing, if we get a situation where people are automatically going outside because they can get better service there. If that is the case, why do we not just go and hire the Human Rights Commission out of Vancouver? The same principle applies.
Mr. Phillips: As well, I would like to register a concern I have about not having the Annual Report here today. We received a letter today from the chairperson of the Human Rights Commission and it states they have been advised the Legislature will be closing earlier than what was anticipated and that is the reason we will not have the report. For the information of the Human Rights Commission in the future, this is one of the later times the Legislature has been sitting. A great many times, the Legislature is complete in late April or early May. I think it is extremely important for us to have all these reports on our desks so we can deal with them properly.
I would suggest to the Human Rights Commission and to the Minister that he makes that recommendation to the Human Rights Commission and that this does not happen again. The next time we have a report from the Human Rights Commission, we should get it on time and in this House before we adjourn.
Mrs. Firth: I would like to make some determinations about the authority of the Human Rights Commission to be independent from the government. I read the Ministers explanation the last time that we debated this issue about how they were independent because they reported to the Legislature, and there was some other gibberish that the Minister was giving us about the independence of the Commission.
I understand the independence of the Commission when it comes to determining whether or not there has been a case of discrimination, or a violation against the Human Rights Act, but I want to talk for a few minutes about the financial accountability. Both the Government Leader and the Minister of Justice have said that the Human Rights Commission does not have to abide by the Financial Administration Act. However, when you read the Financial Administration Act, and you read the definition of the word department, it means any department or agency of the government and includes any corporation, board, commission, or committee established under any act. Government means the Government of the Yukon and includes every department of the government."
The Financial Administration Act also specifies in Application of the Act, clause 2(1), if there is a conflict between this act and any other act of the Legislature enacted before or after this section comes into force, this act prevails unless the other act contains an expressed provision that it or the relevant provision of it applies, not withstanding the Financial Administration Act.
When you go back to the Human Rights Act, there is nothing in the Human Rights Act that exempts it from the Financial Administration Act. The Minister of Education just tabled the College Act, which states specifically in it that it is exempt from the Financial Administration Act. So, all that rhetoric that the Minister gave us about the independence of the Commission just is not true. According to the laws of this government, and the present legislation, the Human Rights Commission has to abide by the same principles when it comes to financial management and the expenditure of money as every other agency, crown corporation, commission, or department of the government.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Mrs. Firth stated that both I and the Government Leader have stated in the past that the Financial Administration Act did not apply. I do not believe that that was an accurate statement. Aside from that, the Member did not ask a question, but gave a legal interpretation, which will stand for itself on the record. There is no question to answer.
Mrs. Firth: Perhaps the Minister could explain to us why the Human Rights Commission does not have to abide by the Financial Administration Act? He did say in the House on May 10 that the Human Rights Commission was exempt, that it reported to the Legislature and did not have to come under the rules of the Financial Administration Act. Perhaps he could tell us why not?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I would give the same answer. The Member opposite gave a long speech indicating that the commission is subject to the Financial Administration Act. That is a matter of legal interpretation, or it is a matter of law. The law is as it is, and anything I say, or she says here, is not going to change that. It either is the law or it is not, and if it is, the act does apply.
Mrs. Firth: What is the policy of the government then? The Minister is going to say that I am giving a legal interpretation. This is how I read it in the present act; that is how the members of the public read it. The Minister stands up in this House with the attitude that everybody else is wrong and he is right. He tells us that the commission does not have to abide by the laws that all of the departments abide by when it comes to spending money, and he gives us some reason about it reporting to Legislature. It accounts to the Legislature, not to the government. I am simply reading what is here in law and telling the Minister that what he has said is wrong; it does have to abide by the Financial Administration Act; therefore they should have to abide by the procedures when it comes to contracting and tendering. Will the Minister agree with that?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I will take that representation, or that interpretation of the law under advisement. It is not for me, as a single Member of the Legislature, to determine what the law is in any particular case.
Mrs. Firth: All of a sudden, we have a lawyer, the Minister of Justice, a former Crown attorney, saying, Well, I really do not know what the law is in this circumstance. Stretching it is not the word for it, but I cannot use the word that it is.
Can the Minister answer this question? I will give him an easy question to answer. Does the Minister admit that there is no exemption clause in the Human Rights Act exempting it from coming under the jurisdiction of the Financial Administration Act?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That is a silly question. It is a matter of public record.
Mrs. Firth: The answer to that silly question - and it is not a silly question - is that there is no exemption clause. Just to stress the point, in the College Act, there is an exemption clause. It says very specifically that the Financial Administration Act does not apply to the college. There is no such thing in the Human Rights Act; therefore, the financial administration of the Human Rights Act must come under the jurisdiction of the Financial Administration Act. The way they are spending money, and if they are not abiding by tendering procedures and so on, then the legality of the financial procedures of the Human Rights Commission are being called into question.
This not a new issue I am raising. I raised this with the Minister when we debated the legislation. He has the same attitude now as he did then. I would like to know what the Minister is going to do about this obvious difficulty and deficiency, and what is he going to do so that the Human Rights Commission is not perceived as being treated differently from other departments in government in terms of its financial accountability.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Member is right in saying that we have discussed this before, several times. The question can be determined by the actions of such bodies as the Internal Audit Committee or Public Accounts. The Member is stating that the Financial Administration Act applies as a matter of law, and the consequences that flow from that are those auditing procedures are relevant. That is the way to resolve that question.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister knows very well that does not resolve the question. The Minister has had this issue raised before. He got up and gave us all these pacifying placating comments about how it was not going to be a problem, and obviously it is a problem. We have a commission that is being treated differently from all other departments within the government. They are being exempted from the Financial Administration Act and they should not be. They should come under the same guidelines, the same laws and regulations as the Financial Administration Act.
The government cannot do that. It cannot be both ways, it cannot say that one department does not have to abide by the laws of their government, of the Financial Administration Act.
I am bringing it forward and the government had better do something about it. I would like to see the government treat the Human Rights Commission in the same manner as all other agencies, corporations, commissions are treated, as the Financial Administration Act says, that it applies to all departments or agencies of the government, and includes any corporation, board, commission or committee established under the act. Everyone else has to do it so the Human Rights Commission should have to do it too.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am not entering a dispute with the Member in terms of her concerns about the issue of contracts. The only point I would make is that she continues to refer to the commission as a department, which it is not. I believe it is qualitively different in terms of its reporting relationship, or ought to be, in terms of its reporting to the House.
It is quite clear to me, and this is a matter that has been raised and decided in both the internal audit committee and the Management Board, that the Human Rights Committee is subject to the internal audit. As it is expressly in the act, it is subject to the internal auditor, or the auditor general. Therefore, there can be reports and findings on such questions as whether or not a contract or financial procedure was correctly observed, or whether correct financial procedures were observed, and the commissioner and its officers would be accountable to the House or its committees, including the Public Accounts Committee in terms of issues such as the one the Member raised. I am not saying that it cannot be raised now, but I do believe that the checks and balances provided for in the system of financial accountability are provided for, and a question such as the one the Member has raised is subject to audit, both internal and external, and subject to report to the House on same.
Mrs. Firth: Why do we have the Financial Administration Act? The Yukon Development Corporation and the Yukon Housing Corporation are subject to the tabling of reports in this House and the Financial Administration Act. The government has to take responsibility for this. They cannot just refer it to the Public Accounts Committee. The Government Leader is shaking his head.
In the definition of the Financial Administration Act, department includes commission or committee established under any act. That is the Human Rights Commission. It should be treated the same as any other department when it comes to the financial accountability aspect of it being accountable to the public.
They are audited, as well as the other ones but, right now, the Human Rights Commission does not have to abide by any of the rules of the Financial Administration Act. They can tender contracts the way they want to, the executive director and the chairperson of the commission signs the cheques, and that is not right. That is not how all the other government agencies and departments are working.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I do not think the Member is hearing me. Just to deal with the last point first, there are agencies that sign their own cheques and operate their own bank accounts. The Member is missing the point I made about audits. The audits that are done on the departments and agencies are done as a matter of sequence. An agency can be scheduled for an audit, internal or external, if there are issues the government, or the House, may wish to have examined for its own benefit.
I am not trying to escape responsibility for the government. I am simply trying to point out that, in the assessments, the audit procedures, those procedures that look into questions of financial accountability, will deal with the Human Rights Commission, as much as any other agency.
Mrs. Firth: The other areas we are talking about have legislative authority to do what they do. I am saying the Human Rights Commission does not have any legislative authority to operate the way it is. Surely the Government Leader can see that.
I am not raising something just to be confrontative. I would have expected that the Government Leader, as a former Member of the Public Accounts Committee, could see that. I hear it as a concern all the time from other government agencies who have to comply with the Financial Administration Act. Yet this commission, that has a $250,000 budget, does not. When it comes to the public accountability of the taxpayers dollars, I am very concerned. When it comes to financial management, I think the Commission should have to not be independent of government, but be just as accountable as all the other government agencies, because they have no other legislative authority.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Perhaps I am being excessively subtle. The point I am trying to make to the Member is that she is making an argument about a point of law. She may be right; I do not know whether there is any other interpretation possible, but I am indicating to her that she has raised the concern; I have taken note of the concern. One of my capacities is chairman of the Audit Committee, which can schedule audits of such questions as these and look into the proper legal authority, in terms of spending powers and the responsibilities and exercise of those spending powers. If there is an issue here that needs to be referred to the auditors, I have taken note of the Members representation on that score.
Mrs. Firth: I will be following this up with the Government Leader, and I am sure that he knows I will. I am not a lawyer. I am just looking at it from a very practical, common sense, what it says in black and white point of view.
I would like to ask some questions about the regulations if I could. The Minister was going to tell us who drafted the original regulations that were presented by Human Rights Commission. I would like to ask the Minister if he can answer that question now, and if he can also answer when the regulations are going to be ready for us to see?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I do not know the names of the specific individuals, but the status of the consultations on the regulations is that in fact a meeting occurred just recently about the last remaining issue. We are expecting to have regulations, I would suggest, in the month of June or, at the very latest, the month of July.
Mrs. Firth: Was it the executive director who had drafted the regulations that came forward from the Commission?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I do know that it was not the work of an individual, and that the draft of the regulations was made initially by the Commission and came from the Commission, not from a staff member. I do know that they consulted with lawyers about it. It was not the work of an individual.
Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell us what some of the governments concerns were regarding the regulations, for example, the last outstanding issue that had to be resolved? I would like some idea of what is contained in the regulations.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Specifically, as to the points that were discussed, no. There were many points discussed, about all sorts of issues, probably issues in the hundreds - if not the hundreds, at least approaching 100. Such discussions are clearly internal kinds of discussions, and there will be a Cabinet document coming forward very soon now, as I indicated. The Cabinet will, in due course, pass a set of regulations. It would be improper to discuss specific issues or specific positions. This is a Cabinet process in the final analysis, and when the Cabinet has passed a set of regulations, it will made public, and debate should properly occur on the regulations, as they are.
Mrs. Firth: It is quite interesting. I recall the Ministers words in the debate on the Human Rights Commission back in December of 1986, particularly in regard to regulations, when he tried to have us all believe that the regulations were just a simple little matter, two or three pages of technical things, and now we have gone to hundreds of issues within the regulations that had to be discussed and negotiated, which I believe was the term the Minister used when we spoke about it during this sitting of the Legislature. The Minister goes on about how independent the Human Rights Commission is, yet there are so many problems the government has negotiating the regulations. There are so many inconsistencies.
Are the regulations going to contain definitions?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Member opposite tries to make it appear that there are inconsistencies. There are no inconsistencies. The regulations will be passed in due course and will be made public when they are passed. The regulations as of today do not exist because they have not been passed by Cabinet. It would be improper as I have said to talk about what is in the regulations. At the present time it is a Cabinet document.
Mrs. Firth: That is just another inconsistency. I remember the Minister telling us upon questioning what the Human Rights Commission members were going to make in honouraria. He said they were all going to be volunteers and there probably would not be any honourarium, yet in the statement of revenues and expenses we get the commissioner honourariums totalled $11,700. That is an inconsistency. That is not an appearance, it is an inconsistency.
We have a cost inconsistency to operate the Human Rights Commission: from $70,000 to as high as almost $400,000.
The Minister went on about how he would provide regulations with the act. We have no regulations. They were going to be simple technical regulations and now we find out there were hundreds of differences, the regulations are more complex than what he had thought. Another inconsistency.
I do not have to make them up or even dig for them, they are all right there. The Minister is doing a great job. Then to top it all off the inconsistency of the Financial Administration Act applying to this Commission.
It really questions the credibility of the Minister when he says this side is trying to make the appearance of inconsistencies.
What is the cost of the annual report going to be? It is not itemized in the statement of revenues, expenses and surpluses in the annual report that is being printed outside of the Yukon.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I do not specifically know about last year. The costs are in the administration of the commission. The discernible fixed figure we could get are the printing costs and the specific preparations in terms of photographs and the like. I will find out what is available and give that to the Member when I have it.
Mrs. Firth: I would like that. I want to make a note to add to the total cost of the commission last year. I had raised the fact that the $275,000 had been spent, and another $82,000 for the purpose of a house, $20,000 for renovations, $26,000 to move the new Human Rights Commission executive director here. In this statement of revenues, expenses and surpluses, I see we have another added item for the purchase of furniture and equipment. I believe the Minister told us at the time it was all furniture they had acquired through government, but the purchase of furniture and equipment here is another $15,820, so, we can add that to the total cost, which brings us well over the $400,000.
There is also the landscaping cost for $2,500 for the new commission. In administration expenses, the cost of the annual report is not broken out. There are consulting services and wages and employee deductions, which brings me to the question about where the salary is for the executive director of the Human Rights Commission. If the Minister refers to page 200 of his budget, under the allotments, we do not have any identification for personnel. We simply have the $42,000 for the Human Rights Adjudication Board. Where are the salary dollars for the Human Rights Commission executive director will be found? I believe the latest salary, starting January 1, was $60,297. That is what was quoted the last time we discussed this.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Mrs. Firth gave the wrong information to the House about the furniture and equipment. That is not additional. That money is found within the last years grant. The salary dollars are all contained within the annual grant, which is $200,000.
Mr. Lang: What is the salary scale for this particular director?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I had previously given to the House the salary scale. The budget for the salary for the director for this year is $50,000. There is also a figure for employer contributions for the entire Commission for $3,963.
Mr. Lang: When we debated the bill, the Minister told us that the directors position would be no more than $30,000 to $40,000, that it would be a different type of position than was normally in the government. I wanted to point that out, for the record, in comparison to what was told to us when the legislation was being passed. Many things seem to be coming to the fore now regarding the consequences to the legislation, which were not told to us previously. Here is another prime example. I am not going to belabour that.
I asked the Minister about travel and moving expenses. Could he respond? I did give him the question in writing, and gave him adequate notice.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I say, for the record, that many of the alleged facts that are stated by Members opposite are, in fact, not accurate. It is not accurate to describe the statements that I made earlier the way they were described. The Member for Porter Creek East asked about the relocation expenses for the executive director. I assume he thinks that this is a matter of great policy importance. However, he asked about the actual weight of the move and thought it was in the range of 15,000 pounds or so. The actual weight of the move was 13,199 pounds and the total bill for the move was $18,591.70. The contract allowed for a total of $20,416. That was a contract issued by the Community and Transportation Services, as I have stated. The actual expenditure was less; it was $18,591.70.
Mr. Lang: Is the Minister telling us that this particular move was within the allowable amount of poundage, under the present policy?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There are two questions. One is, does that policy specifically apply? The other one is, if you look at section 22(1) of that policy, there is a provision to cover the situation that has actually occurred here. As I understand it now, the situation is that that policy did cover the facts that actually occurred.
Mr. Lang: Is the Minister telling us that, in this particular move, the amount of poundage was over and above what was generally allowable under the policy, and Management Board made the decision to increase the amount that would be allowed for this particular move?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No, I am not. This situation was never discussed by Management Board. That section I read out does not call for it to go to Management Board.
Mr. Lang: I want to get this clear in my head, and that is why I put it in writing to the Minister, because I expected an answer. What was the amount he gave the House just a few minutes ago, with respect to the total amount of poundage or kilograms that were charged to this particular move?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It was 13,199 pounds.
Mr. Lang: This is what makes this very difficult. I am told that the transportation was 13,911. I expect information to be accurate when I ask for it. I did not write that letter just to be flippant, because I have better things to do with my time.
In view of the fact that the information thus far given to me is misinformation, as far as I am concerned, I would ask the Minister this: in view of the fact the allowable poundage was over the amount governed by policy of the government, was the employee in question charged the overage?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No.
Mr. Lang: Why not? We are talking about approximately $1,000, according to existing government policy.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I have given the Member the information that we have, which he asked for late last week. I have supplied that information. That is as far as the matter has gone to date.
Mr. Lang: I am at a little bit of a loss, because I do not want to pursue this forever. I have information that was provided to me that the transportation poundage was 13,911. It infuriates me when I find that misinformation has been given to me in this House. I have an exact copy of what was charged. If the idea is to come in here with misinformation, then tell us. I am raising this because it has come to my attention that, not only on this occasion but possibly on other occasions, the policy of poundage that is allowable by the Government Services and under the Department of Finance is being extended in some cases to a privileged few who do not have to repay the amount of money, because they have gone over the maximum amount, which is 13,228 pounds - or kilograms; I am confusing them.
I specifically asked the Government Leader the other day if there were any cases where Management Board, under the policy, had exempted individuals, and he said no. I would not have any problems if he had said yes, there were certain circumstances and I know what they were. It concerns me when the information I have is at odds with the governments information.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I am looking at my briefing note, and it says 13,199 pounds, but I also have a photocopy of the moving contract. It is done in kilograms, and the Member obviously has it, but in the bottom left hand corner it translates into pounds at 13,911, so that may have been wrong information. The kilograms here are 6,310 according to the bill from North American Van Lines.
Mr. Lang: The point is that the allowable policy is 13,228 by the government. The employee is then supposed to pay the difference. Why, in this particular case, has he not paid the difference?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Because he has not been asked to.
Mr. Lang: Perhaps the Government Leader could tell me why.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Member obviously has better access to these contracts than I do, but the Member asked me the other day if any question had come to Management Board about payment or asking for payment from anybody who had incurred excess moving charges, and if my memory stands absolutely correct, no question had come to Management Board.
In the case of this particular contract, when I asked the Public Service Commission who deal with it, not the Department of Finance in my area, they had nothing to do with it whatsoever. It was handled between the Department of Justice and the Department of Government Services. Because the person is not an employee of the government, it was not handled by the Public Service Commission. He is not a government employee; he is not a civil servant within the meaning of the law.
I am not saying it does not apply; I am saying it did not come to Management Board, and it was not handled by the Public Service Commission. The first knowledge I had of the matter was when the Member raised it with me on Thursday.
Mr. Lang: Quite frankly, I did this privately for a reason. I wanted the Minister to get all the facts and if necessary come back to me privately. Obviously, this is well and beyond any policy or anything else. I am really concerned with the initiation of this discussion. Initially, misinformation was given to me on the floor of the House. I do not know where that is emanating from but that is very poor, because the only reason we are carrying on this information is because I have some information I have made myself available to. That is one element that I am sure the Government Leader would share with me. It is very interesting that the Minister of Justice would give me an amount that comes within 30 pounds of the allowable amount.
The other aspect of this is that I do not believe that any employee within the government, I do not care who it is, - I do not care if it is God himself, the Minister of Justice - the policies apply throughout the government unless they are exempted by the Management Board. If they are exempted through Management Board, we should be informed that they have been.
Is this particular employee going to pay for that then? Other employees have had to. Have we got two classes of employees?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Just before the Minister of Justice answers, first of all, the Member should know that, as a matter of fact, no request came to Management Board and no request was asked of this Minister. Okay?
The second matter is that the Member has said that the information implied that there may have been someone deliberately misleading the House. The information that provided to the House, because the question was originally put to me, was shown to me by the Minister of Justice earlier today, and he showed me exactly the information as it came from the department and exactly as it was tabled in the House. There appears to be a discrepancy between figures here. My rough calculation of the conversion between pounds and kilograms seems to suggest that there may be another discrepancy, which is unexplained, which obviously means that we are going to have to have a look at it. That is, by my arithmetic.
Mr. Lang: My only question now is this: is the employee in question going to have to pay the difference?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: First of all, the discrepancies will be looked at. The short answer is that we will look at it and decide. I have not made a decision, one way or another, if the decision is in my power. This came to our attention this morning and I simply do not know.
Mr. Lang: It really, really bothers me. All that I want to know from the Minister is, assuming that my facts are correct - which I assume they are, because the Minister is looking at the fine print - it is 13,911 pounds, which relates to 9500 pounds plus two cars - that is a separate issue in itself. My question is, and I think that it is a very basic question: if this employee, or any other employee in the government, has gone over the government limit of goods allowed to be brought into the territory, will the employee be required to pay the extra amount? That is all my question is. I do not need a I do not know.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That has been the practice of the Public Service Commission, I believe, but I would also point out that in applying that policy, the policy has within it a provision that allows for payments in exceptional circumstances. This is something that we will take up.
Mr. McLachlan: I want to ask the Government Leader, or the Minister of Justice, why is the executive director not an employee of the government?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is because he is an employee of the Commission, specifically by a term of the act.
Mr. McLachlan: When the Minister gave the figures for the budget, he used the figure of $3,326 to be submitted as employer overhead, which I presume to be the statutory deductions for Canada Pension, unemployment insurance, and such, for all people in the Commission. If that went to a test of law, it is certainly my opinion that the government would lose that in an appeal with Revenue Canada. They would rule that the individual is, in fact, an employee of the government. The government has added credence to that argument by budgeting a statutory deduction figure for statutory for CCP and UIC. Is that not the case? Is that not what the $3,326 is for?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No, there is a misunderstanding here. The government budgets only one figure. That is the annual grant to the commission.
Mrs. Firth: I wanted to follow up on something the Minister said about wrong information coming from this side of the House. I have identified this $15,820 for furniture over and above what I had previously identified. The comment still stands that the commission spent over $400,000 because, if this is included in the total amount, all it does is make it $403,000, as opposed to $418,000. The comment I gave regarding spending the $400,000 still stands.
I would like to follow up on an issue that has just been raised by the Government Leader and taken up by the Member for Faro about the fact that the executive director of the Human Rights Commission is not a civil servant within the meaning of the law. I believe that is how the Government Leader put it. Therefore, we can take that he is not a civil servant and would not be protected under the Public Service Commission when it came to dismissal, union benefits, protection, job guarantees, and so on? Would it then be the case that the executive director simply serves the commission at their pleasure? Is that the way it works?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: From the governments perspective, yes, that is the way it works. The individual is an employee of the commission, and the commission may have a contract of employment, which is something I would expect would be the case.
Mrs. Firth: Does the Minister know whether it is a contract, and how long it is? We were given the job description. We were never given the contract of the individual. Is it a term position? Could we have some details about the contract?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: On behalf of the Member, I will inquire of the commission about that. The legislation is absolutely clear that it is not a term position. It is not a position within the government. It is a position established by statute, which reports to the commission.
Mrs. Firth: In the position description, the only cause for dismissal that is cited is breach of confidentiality. If the position is not that of a government employee, or a civil servant within the meaning of the law, one in the public would only conclude there is not a lot of security associated with that position because, legislatively, I do not see where the commission would be able to give that kind of assurance.
Can the Minister verify that we are correct in drawing that conclusion?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That is a conclusion that the Member draws as a consequence of the legislation. I think it is accurate to say that there is no job tenure or protection of the tenure of that job in the legislation. That is a matter of public record. The only place where any tenure could be found would be in a contract of employment.
Mr. Lang: Could the Chairman tell us who Rosewood Consulting is? Interim Director?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That is a company. I believe the primary proprietor is the individual who was on staff with the government and the previous government for in excess of five years in developing the legislation. The act was coming into force after it was passed. An interim staff member was hired on an employment contract and the contract was with a company.
Mr. Lang: Does that mean in two months we paid $9,170? You better read your stuff; this is in the information provided to us.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The information is as it is. I can inquire into the specifics of that contract and inform the Member.
Mr. Lang: Can the Minister tell us how many complaints have been filed with the Human Rights Commission, and how many have been acted on?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No, I cannot, but I am sure we will know on Thursday when the annual report is tabled.
Mr. Lang: The Minister has not been briefed with respect to what is going on or what is proposed to be going on to justify the $242,000? Was he not told how many complaints there were so he could give us some idea of where we were going or why?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The commission, by statute, reports to the Legislature. The Members opposite appear not to want to understand the meaning of that. I had been most interested in the responsibility of the government to justify to the Legislature the amounts of money we are asking for the future. I have had discussions with the commission about the budgeted amounts of money for the future.
The concern about the past will be addressed with the Annual Report, I am sure. I know the attitude of the commission, that they are not only willing, they are eager to discuss the operations of the commission with any Member of the Legislature. It is unfortunate that Members opposite appear not to want to do that.
Mr. Lang: Our position is well known, and I do not have to reiterate that to the Minister. I see it was announced that, in 1990, we are going to have the privilege of hosting the Human Rights Commissioners across the territory. What is the projected cost of hosting such an event?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I thank the Member for asking the question, because it affords an opportunity to explain what CASHRA is. CASHRA is an organization that consists of all the commissions around the country. I am pleased to say that there is a federal commission, one in every single province and, now, the Yukon. There is representation in the Northwest Territories, although it is not as formal a commission as we have here.
CASHRA meets regularly. There is a large annual conference, and it meets in the various jurisdictions, much like the meetings of the federal, provincial, territorial ministers of almost all the departments. This year, as an example, the meetings have just occurred. They occurred last week or the week before, and occurred in Newfoundland. It will occur in Newfoundland approximately one year out of 12, and in the Yukon one year out of 12. I am proud to say that our commission is forward looking and extremely open, and has insisted the meetings that occur here be entirely open to the public.
It will be a minor improvement or development in the CASHRA history. The costs are not in the budget here, of course, but will be in the 1989-90 budget. The attendance at the conference is in the neighbourhood of approximately 40 or 50 people from around the country. There are some additional costs. The host government generally puts on a dinner, as we do for various kinds of events of this kind. I was asked about this conference and I indicated that I would be pleased to sponsor a dinner.
The projected costs of the entire conference are not specifically known and will be a matter of discussion between the government and the Commission, closer to when the event occurs. I would expect that the entire costs for the commission and the government will be somewhere in the neighbourhood of approximately $20,000.
Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell us if there have been any complaints that have been settled? I am sure there are some that have been dismissed, but have there been some that have been dealt with and settled? Have any financial penalties been paid to people?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Member should appreciate, because I have said it a number of times, that the commission is independent, and especially in the matter of handling complaints the commission it is independent. The tradition around the country is that these matters is reported in the annual report. In fact, if you look at the annual reports of the commissions around the country, you find information about the policies of the various commissions and the frequency of complaints, and the kinds of resolutions that occur. I am expecting that that same process will occur here. I am expecting that it will occur on Thursday.
Mrs. Firth: Surely the Minister is not saying that he knows absolutely nothing about the contents of the annual report; I would hope that that is not what he is saying. He is the Minister, and is he trying to tell us that some printer out in Vancouver somewhere knows more about the annual report and its contents than he does? He must have some idea if there were settlements made, and if there were financial penalties paid. That is what the question is. I am not asking for every one and every detail. This whole process that we are going through right now is the Commission reporting to the Legislature. Surely the Minister has some information he can tell us, of whether or not there have been any settlements. If there have been settlements, have there been financial pay-outs made? That is a standard question.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That information will be contained in the annual report. When it is available we can have a discussion about it.
Mrs. Firth: We could stay here until Thursday. That is another option. Or we could come back. It is up to the Minister. I do not believe for a minute that the Minister cannot answer that question. I would believe that maybe the Minister does not want to answer that question.
The executive director surely must have presented something to the Minister, some information so he could come into the Legislature. The Minister told us he would bring any information we wanted into the Legislature to answer our questions regarding the annual report. That is why I am asking that question. Has any money been paid in the form of settling complaints?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Again the Member is misinforming the House. I did not say I would bring any information that they wanted. In fact, today I have said I will not give information that they have asked for. I have frequently said that I will relay a request for information from the Members to the commission.
The answer is around the issue that Mrs. Firth either does not understand or does not want to understand. This commission is truly an independent commission - especially about the issue of specific complaints. Indeed when the act went through the Legislature, that particular Member wanted restrictive clauses and achieved an amendment on the publicity about complaints. The government will not, as long as I am Minister, be discussing particular complaints on the floor of the House.
Mrs. Firth: I have not asked the Minister for one specific complaint. I am not discussing any particular complaints. For this Minister to jump up and yell irresponsible all the time and reprehensible, his two favourite words in this Legislature, he has just been irresponsible and reprehensible. I asked a very simple question and the Minister should be able to answer it. Has the commission settled any complaints and paid out any financial compensation for those complaints.
The Minister should know that as the Minister. It is not a specific detailed question about any one single complaint. He should be able to give us that information. When we asked for the annual report he did stand up in this House and say that he had given the financial accounting before and would be prepared to bring back the information for the Members and give it to them.
I would like an answer to that question.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: There have been complaints made; there have been complaints settled. The commission itself has not paid out any award or damages, or anything like that, which was the specific question. The publicity about complaints will occur in the responsible forum in the annual report and discussions arising out of the annual report.
Mrs. Firth: Obviously, the Minister does not want to answer the question for the House. That will be noted on the record.
With respect to the fines or penalties that are going to be paid out, are they included in the regulations? Maybe this is why he does not want to answer the question. If we have no regulations, and there have been payments made, I would like to know on what basis they were made, but the Minister is refusing to answer. He is refusing to give information to the Members and, yet, he is going to ask us very shortly to approve this $250,000. I do not think we can do that, on the basis of the kind of cooperation we are getting from the Minister.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The question that came out of that representation was are there provisions for fines in the regulations? The answer is: no.
Mrs. Firth: Is the government generally satisfied with the performance of the commission and with the atmosphere that has been created here in the Yukon Territory around the activities of the commission, and with the image the commission has created, not only for themselves, but for the government, and whether we are getting value for the money we are spending on the operation for the Human Rights Commission?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is an interesting question. I love to talk about human rights, and I could talk for a very long time after a question like that. The role of a Minister is not to express personal opinions, but to express a position of the government. The question was not only about that. It was about the situation in the Yukon. I would like to say, not to go on to a long speech, because I believe the appetite of all Members would be somewhat weak for that, on the passage of the act I said in the third reading speech that it is now time that we look forward and not backward. We had a very serious debate about a number of issues, in the community and the Legislature. The most serious one in terms of publicity was probably sexual orientation.
The very serious ones, in terms of the practical importance to individuals, were probably the provisions around the handicapped, and the provisions around the special needs people, and the provisions around pay equity. The step that we have made, albeit a fairly large step, is about the improvement of the pay equity situation in the Yukon. It would be most appropriate, and it has occurred for the most part in the community, that the community has put behind it the acrimonious and confrontation debate about the principles of human rights. We now have a good bill. The Legislature has spoken and has provided the community with a set of principles about human rights. We are now into an implementation phase.
It is a bloody shame that the dinosaurs on the other side cannot look forward, and only look backwards.
Mrs. Firth: I listened very carefully to what the Minister said. He repeated some old remarks, some of his old statements and phrases that we have heard over and over again about human rights. He repeated his old dinosaur story, which I do not have to respond to. My reputation regarding human rights will stand with the public. I did not hear one word of endorsement from the Minister, not one. I did not hear one comment about the question that I asked, about the Yukon today, and the atmosphere, the image, and whether this commission was doing a good job or not. I did not hear one comment about that. I did not hear one comment about what a good job they had done, and that the Yukon is a better place today because of the Ministers human rights bill. There was no answer to the question, just a few stale old comments that the Minister likes to stand up and make about human rights. I guess that I do not have to say anything further. The chairperson of the Human Rights Commission and the executive director of the Human Rights Commission heard it themselves.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: After an invitation like that, I guess that I have to give my speech. The fact that there is a commission is a very substantial step forward for the territory. The question of, especially, racial prejudice in the Yukon - I would suggest in both directions, between the aboriginal and the non-aboriginal people here - is the most serious social question that is before us.
The fact that the commission is operating under enlightened guidelines, which are contained in the act, is of substantial benefit to this community. This community is and is becoming a far better place because of the dedicated work of the commissioners and the staff.
I could go on, but the debate here has obviously been so picayune and partisan that the atmosphere is one of confrontation. The question was asked in the context of a closing question and then an interpretation was given. I would be pleased to debate at length the effect on the community and the benefits to the community of the commission and its work. If I knew the Member for Riverdale South, Bea Firth, had an open mind on the question and was genuinely interested, I would do so. However, the context of the debate is clear to anyone who reads it, and it would be a waste of time to rehash the old debates of 1986 and 1987.
Mrs. Firth: The Member for Whitehorse South Centre, Roger Kimmerly, can talk about being picayune and partisan all he wants. We have been open minded. We have been trying to get information from the Minister. It is not a question of partisan politics. It is not a question of being open minded. It is a question of financial responsibility. It is a question of getting information from the Minister. It is a question of getting accurate information from the Minister.
The Minister is selective as to what he brings back to the Legislature. He makes excuses. He has now been inconsistent. I think we have cited five or six inconsistencies. It is not picayune and it is not partisan. It is just that the Members on this side of the Legislature get extremely frustrated with the Ministers constant attempts not to present information to people who have open minds, but to baffle and side track and lead astray and skirt the issue and smoke screen the problem and smoke screen the issue. That is not open debate. It is frustration, and I think the Ministers reputation for doing this kind of thing stands well, and we are not telling anything new. It is not going to change.
Mr. McLachlan: The amount of the contracts total some $51,000 in eight months, if you take it from August 1. That seems like an unusually high amount, given the short life of the commission in the year 1987-88. One might put this down to the commission being in its first year of operation, running hard, and trying to get a number of policies in place to do with equal pay, public relations brochures, et cetera. Does the Minister believe that amount to be high? When you are forced into a position where you must develop policies on such controversial subjects as drug testing and AIDS, I do not believe that you could do them in-house, and must recruit outside help, to aid in the development of those policies. That could result in more contractual obligations on the part of the commission.
My question to the Minister is, $51,000 is high, is it not, and if it is not, how do we budget for consultant studies on the basis of future work that the commission will be doing in the current year?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I would expect that that amount is a little high and that next year the figure will be closer to about $40,000. The major differences are that here there was $9,000-odd for an interim director, as a contract, and the artwork and the set-up work about stationery and the like will not occur every year. The question of contracts in future years will largely depend upon what projects the commission identifies for work and the government in future years is able to fund. Presently, there is a statutory provision around research into pay equity, and those pay equity contracts will continue for some time. Last year it was approximately $15,000, and in this current budget, it will be approximately $20,000.
Mr. McLachlan: Does the Minister have a projected statement of revenues-expenses for the year beginning April 1, 1988 that he can table with this Legislature?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: At last, a sensible question. Yes, I do, and I am sure that Members opposite are interested. The expenses for the commissioners, which include travel inside and outside the territory, and honorariums, are $19,300. Staff, including travel and employer contributions and the like amounts to almost exactly $100,000. The operation of the building, the heat, hydro and some repairs comes to some $4,680 for the administration expenses.
These include all the office administration expenses of approximately $26,000; for legal advocacy and research, lawyers fees, $10,000; for the equal pay project, $20,000, which is a continuation from last year; for a process for community grants, which is largely a public education measure and is designed to maintain a presence in rural Yukon, $3,000; for research into equal pay in the private sector, $1,000; for advisory committee expenses, $1,000; for equality in education to design the future efforts and policies and initiatives of the commission, $10,000; for the annual report for next year, $1,000; the expenses for International Human Rights Day, $2,500; and for International Womens Day, approximately $1,600.
I thank the Member for the question.
Mr. McLachlan: It looks so different from the one we just had tabled today. That is why I asked. Does the commission retain a local firm of lawyers for legal advice? If so, who is that?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: Yes. It is Paul OBrien.
Mr. Phillips: I would like to go back to the statement that was given to us earlier today. There is one there for landscaping for $2,500. It is about 100 square feet of lawn in front of the Human Rights Commission. What was this landscaping for?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I will inquire into the specifics of that contract. There is not only the lawn. I believe that was probably around parking spaces. I believe I am right.
Mr. Lang: I gather the renovations to the house were in the neighbourhood of $20,000 plus the moving expenses; those were taken out of other budgets and not included in this one. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: For the third or fourth time, yes. I have answered that and supplied it in writing. It was out of the Government Services budget last year, and I have provided it previously.
Mr. Lang: Were there any other expenses incurred over the past year with the commission, where money was taken out of other departments, as opposed to being identified in the report we have today?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No, I believe every penny has been identified, even for services. I believe that everything has been identified.
Mr. Lang: I want to turn to the position of the executive director, because it is not clear in my mind. Does that position get all the benefits that a public servant gets?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No.
Mr. Lang: The employee in question, and the position in question, does not have anything to do with the Public Service Commission, does not pay into any pension fund, or anything of this nature?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: That is right.
Chairman: Is it the wish of the Committee members to take a brief recess at this time?
We will recess for 10 minutes.
Chairman: Committee of the Whole will come to order.
We will continue with general debate on Human Rights.
Mr. McLachlan: Since the Minister so capably provided the projections for the statement of revenues and expenses from the period April 1, 1988 on, I wonder if he could also check the notes and data prepared for him, and see if he does not have any answers to the question that have been asked previously about the number of complaints and the Commission things that are in the Ministers briefing notes. Since he has this information for the current year, has he not also other information on the past year about the complaints?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No, I do not, specifically. I have not asked for that kind of information. I explained earlier that it would be a very dangerous practice for the executive arm of the government and the Commission to be talking about complaints. There is certainly a role to talk about the expense of the complaints, and if the complaints are going up or down, or those sorts of things, but we are in the beginning stages of the Commission here, and I have left that kind of discussion to the annual report, and the discussion following that. If this debate occurred after the publication of the annual report, which I would expect it will in future years, then we can talk about the trends and the overall numbers. The activities of the Commission, in terms of the expense and the time involved on complaints, I am expecting to be similar to last year.
I am expecting that the staff expenses and the various expenses will be similar. What is unknown is the expense of adjudications. There will undoubtedly be adjudications in the future, and it will be hard to budget. I would expect that some will be very expensive and some not expensive at all, in dollar terms.
Mr. McLachlan: Who on the government side told the commission the Legislature would be closing earlier than anticipated? The date provided for the Annual Report is not even this Thursday, but next Thursday, well after the long weekend. Who is calling the shots on when we would finish and not finish?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I did, and I did this morning after a discussion with our House Leader.
Chairman: Is there any further general debate?
Mr. McLachlan: So, the date of Thursday, May 26, is the earliest date the printer could have them done and freighted to the Yukon. Is that how May 26 was arrived at?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I was asked about the Annual Report probably a month ago by the Member for Porter Creek East. I communicated with the commission, and they were extremely cooperative in speeding up that process as much as they could. The commission was not aware of the schedule of the Legislature. The schedule of the Legislature changes daily, according to the discussions of the House Leaders. I would expect that, after this experience, the commission will plan to release its Annual Report as soon as possible.
It must contain audited statements after the year end, so it is not going to be on April 1. It could be in late April or early May. I expect it will be, characteristically.
Mr. McLachlan: Will they be able to do it in 12 days, not the end of April or the beginning of May? That part gives me no problem.
The only conclusion I could add for consideration is that the Minister and the commission adopt the procedure that other committees do in reporting and simply provide the Members with a working copy and leave the fancy bindings for later for public distribution. That is the only conclusion I could suggest.
Mr. Lang: Why could we not have draft copies, similar to what we have here for Management Board directives. At least, just table it tomorrow as a matter of business and, if we want to discuss it, give us the assurances and we could then discuss it if we find something we feel should be pursued. I think that is fair. You obviously must have copies in the office.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: I will pursue that with the commission, both in the context of this year and future years.
Mr. Lang: Does that mean that we will have a definitive decision tomorrow?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No, it does not. A representation was made, and I said I would pursue that with the commission. That is all I can do.
Mr. Lang: It irritates me so much when people are being played the fool. The chairman and the executive director are sitting over there. The question has been put, and I will put the question loud enough so the executive director and the chairman can hear me. Would it be all right if the Members of the House had copies made of the copy that was being sent outside to be printed? The Minister makes it sound like we have to go 500 miles to another city to even see the people involved. I do not see anybody saying no.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The question has been asked three times now; I have given the answer twice. I will pursue that.
Mr. Phillips: Maybe we should recess for five minutes so that the Minister can confer with the officials who are here, or maybe we should stand this matter over until tomorrow so the Minister can bring it back to the House.
Chairman: What is the wish of Committee? I am looking for some direction?
We will recess for five minutes.
Chairman: Committee of the Whole will come to order - again.
Human Rights, general debate, continued.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The Commission does not have a chairman, the Commission has a chairperson. It is the chairperson who is here. I have had a discussion with the chairperson of the Commission. There is not a draft in a presentable form and the report will be here Thursday morning, not on May 26, as was indicated by the Member for Faro, but on May 19, this Thursday coming. That is when the report is available.
Mr. Lang: The intentions of the House in its discussion was that sometime this week we would be able to adjourn the Session. The difficulty that the Minister is putting us in is over whether or not we will stay here until Thursday; that is the question. I feel, as a Member, that I cannot sit here and give you approval on this amount of money, especially in view of all the inconsistencies that have been pointed out, whether the Minister agrees with them or not. They have been pointed out during the course of even this short debate on the item.
Will the Minister ask the chairperson, along with the executive director, whether or not they will give us the notes, and then we will get our people to type it, and then we can go through it and ask questions? I find it absolutely incredible - it stretches the imagination of anybody in this House that the report is not typed and is not in a three or four-page format, and that a printer from outside can understand what it is. Are you trying to tell me what was sent down to the printer in Victoria, Vancouver, Winnipeg, or wherever it is getting printed, was not typed? It was just little notes, in shorthand? Is that what the Minister is telling us?
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: No, that is not. I could repeat the words that I used but it would only be repetition. I am perfectly content to stay here until Thursday, and beyond.
Mr. McLachlan: Is the Minister saying then that this letter that we received from the chairperson is in fact an error, or has he been able to move it up one week, from May 26 to May 19? The letter did say next Thursday, not this Thursday.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: The letter must be in error because it was anticipated in the last week or so that the report would be available this Thursday, that is, May 19.
Mr. McLachlan: That is why I asked. We had done well in one five minute conversation and moved it up one week. I was going to ask for one more day, May 18.
Mr. Phillips: Just so I get this straight, the Human Rights Commission sent its report to Vancouver to get printed and, yet, it did not keep one copy in its Whitehorse office in case something gets lost or something happens to it. It has no record whatsoever left in Whitehorse, other than some handwritten notes that would not be any use to us - nothing we can use.
Hon. Mr. Kimmerly: It is truly amazing we can spend so much time on such trivial issues, especially when the issues surrounding human rights are so important in this territory. The report will be available this week, and the timing of the Legislature is up to the House Leaders. That is not in my control. I am sure there will be opportunities to have full debates on the content of the annual report, either this Thursday or a later time, as the House chooses.
Mr. Lang: We are trying to get through the business of the House, and I find it absolutely amazing that, because it has not got a bound cover and has not been printed by an outside firm, we cannot get the draft that was sent out that is going to be verbatim, other than how it is going to be presented, of the context of the report.
Would the House Leader give an undertaking to meet with his colleagues and see if a draft copy could be tabled in the Committee of the Whole tomorrow, to sort this out? This is absolutely ridiculous that we cannot get some information.
Hon. Mr. Porter: I will give such an undertaking.
Chairman: Is it the wish of the Committee to stand this over?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Human Rights Commission stood over
Hon. Mr. Porter: I move that you report progress on Bill No. 50.
Chairman: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader that I report progress on Bill No. 50.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Porter: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Chairman: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. May the House have the report from the Chairman of Committee of the Whole?
Mr. Webster: Committee of the Whole passed at 7:30 p.m. the following motion:
THAT the Assembly be empowered to sit from 7:30 p.m. until such time as the Committee of the Whole has completed consideration of Bill No. 50, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 1988-89.
Further, Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 50, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 1988-89, not completed, and directed me to report progress on same.
Speaker: You have heard the report from the Chairman of Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried. May I have your further pleasure?
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 10:20 p.m.
The following Sessional Papers were tabled May 16, 1988:
Correspondence between hon. Tony Penikett and hon. Mel Couvelier, Minister of Finance and Corporate Relations of BC re BC audits on businesses based in Whitehorse (Penikett)
Government of Yukon, Protective Services, Annual Report 1987 (McDonald)
Broadcasting and Telecommunications, Yukon 2000 (McDonald)
Tourist information facilities in the Whitehorse area (Phillips)
Petition re location of tourist information centre on Alaska Highway (Phillips)
The following Legislative Returns were tabled May 16, 1988:
(1) Construction costs for Yukon Place (May 4, 1988 estimate); (2) Furniture and equipment costs (McDonald)
Oral, Hansard, p. 458
Expenditures on Motor Transport Act studies (McDonald)
Oral, Hansard, p. 481
Community and Family Services personnel budget (M. Joe)
Oral, Hansard, p. 468
Yukon Family Services Association financial arrangements (M. Joe)
Oral, Hansard, p. 468
Yukon Family Services strategic plan (M. Joe)
Oral, Hansard, p. 465
Expenditures on Young Offenders Facility Project (M. Joe)
Oral, Hansard, p. 355
Expenditure on extended care facility (M. Joe)
Oral, Hansard, p. 354
Person-years (M. Joe)
Oral, Hansard, p. 472
Number of term, auxiliary and casual positions (M. Joe)
Oral, Hansard, p. 464