Thursday, April 13, 1989 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
We will proceed at this time with Prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Speaker: Under Tabling Returns and Documents I have for tabling a report of the Chief Electoral Officer on contributions to political parties in 1988.
Are there any other Returns and Documents for Tabling?
Are there any Reports of Committees?
Introduction of Bills?
Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Notices of Motion?
Statements by Ministers?
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS
Appointment of Territorial Court Chief Judge
Hon. Mrs. Joe: It is with pleasure that I rise in the House today to announce the appointment by Cabinet of Mr. Heino Lilles as Chief Judge of the Territorial Court of the Yukon effective April 7, 1989 and to inform the Legislature of a new recruitment process for the position of Territorial Court Judge.
I have met with the Judicial Council and after careful and extensive deliberations, the Council and I have agreed the following:
1. The position of Territorial Court Judge will be advertised in the immediate future.
2. The advertisement will be circulated to every resident member of the bar association in the Yukon and in the Northwest Territories.
3. The advertisement will be placed in local and national publications.
4. The Council will do the advertising and in due course will make its recommendations known to me.
5. Preference will be given to the appointment of a candidate with northern experience.
It is my hope that the new recruitment process will result in the speedy appointment of an experienced judge for the territory.
Mrs. Firth: I rise today to respond to the Ministerial Statement with some general comments and also with some specific comments. This is not a new policy or process that the government is stating, it is just an announcement that the government is going back to the old recruitment policy that worked for years before the previous Minister got hold of it.
In a specific sense, the announcement does raise some questions. The first question is about the appointment of the chief judge. I would like to get a response from the Minister as to whether this is a temporary situation or if Judge Heino Lilles is the chief judge and that position is no longer being held for the land claims negotiator.
I would like to comment about the position being advertised again. We will want to know whether the position that was being held for the chief land claims negotiator is being freed up now? The advertisements being placed in the local and the national newspapers is not a new procedure. It is consistent with the old policy. The council doing the advertising is not new. That is the way it was done before. It is just that the previous Minister interfered, or would not let the council do the advertising.
Regarding preference for a candidate with northern experience, again, this is not new. It is simply a relaxation of the rigid policy of the previous Minister. We do not disagree that there should be preference given to a candidate with northern experience, but not at the expense of no judge at all.
From this statement, I believe that I am correct in saying that the Minister is not adopting the position the previous Minister did with respect to a local judge. I want to emphasize that our position is that we want to see the best qualified candidates chosen as judges for the Yukon.
Hon. Ms. Joe: The Member has asked for clarification on a number of items. The first one was in regard to the appointment of Heino Lilles as chief judge. The former chief judge, Barry Stuart, did resign as chief judge of the territory. The position he is on leave from is that of judge, not chief judge. Judge Lilles was appointed on a temporary basis prior to this as the associate judge.
I think the fact that we are taking the step to readvertise this position is a positive move. We are seriously looking for a new judge because we know what the problems are without one. Up until now, everything was at a standstill. The ads will go out quickly.
We feel we have to advertise on a national basis simply because there may be judges out there who do have the kind of experience that we are looking for. We do not know who is going to apply locally. There may be someone who is not in the Yukon now who may be interested in this position. The council, as we know, is advertising, which was a prior responsibility that they took. That has been turned back to them.
We still feel that the preference for a person with northern experience is essential in a job such as this. We are hoping that we will get someone who does have northern experience to apply because we feel it is essential that the person recognize the north and what the people are like. That is what we would like to see.
The land claims negotiator is on leave from the position as a territorial judge from the Territorial Court but not as the chief judge. He has resigned from that position and it has been left vacant.
Speaker: This, then, brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: Hyland Forest Products joint venture
Mr. Phelps: With respect to the sale of Hyland Forest Products, yesterday the Government Leader tabled a Legislative Return showing that Shieldings Incorporated and the Yukon Indian Development Corporation will not give him permission to table the sale documents and records in this House.
Is the Yukon Development Corporation going to register any of the documents relating to the sale, such as debentures and preferred debentures, in the normal way so the public will have access to them?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am not exactly sure what steps they will be following that are required by conventional accounting or legal practices, but I am sure they will be doing what they are required to do by convention and by law.
Mr. Phelps: Will the Government Leader make inquiries of Yukon Development Corporation so he can come back to the House and tell us what documents making up the sale agreement will be registered and, thus, made public in the normal way, and what documents will not be registered?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Certainly.
Mr. Phelps: In the event some documents are not registered and, thus, not made public, will the Government Leader consider tabling those documents, with any clauses containing commercial confidences of concern to Shieldings and the Yukon Indian Development Corporation deleted?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I will have to take that question under advisement. I will discuss the proposition presented by the Leader of the Official Opposition with the officers of the corporation.
Question re: Hyland Forest Products, joint venture
Mr. Phelps: I thank the Government Leader for that, but I wonder whether he can be more specific than the legislative return and tell us what information is contained in the agreement that Shieldings Inc. does not want the public to know about?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Forgive me, but I was trying to listen carefully to the question as the Member phrased it and it had a Kafkaesque touch to it, but I will take the question as notice as I understand it. I think the Member is asking us to define what commercial confidences the third party, which is the normal practice in the commercial world, want protected.
Mr. Phelps: I thank the Government Leader. The issue we are concerned about is accountability. I want to know how the Opposition of this government and the public can ensure that our corporation, the Yukon Development Corporation, is accountable if we are not provided with the information surrounding a sale of public assets such as this?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As I have said before, and I believe the Leader of the Official Opposition has heard me say this, there are three ways in which the public need to know, which we satisfied. The first is by the publication of the audited financial statements, audited by the Auditor General and to be made public by the corporation later this year.
The second thing the public needs to know is the contemplated appearance by officials of the corporation before the Committee of the Whole at the time of that vote during the discussion of the Main Estimates.
The third way in which there will be public accountability is by the appearance of representatives of the corporation before the Public Accounts Committee, which will no doubt occur after the publication of the audited financial statements.
Mr. Phelps: What concerns me is that none of those processes will be dealing with the actual terms of the sale of these assets to Shieldings and the Yukon Indian Development Corporation. I would like to know how the public can ensure accountability of the Yukon Development Corporation if they are not to be given the actual terms of the agreements involved in the sale?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: During questions that will no doubt be directed to the officers of the corporation in both the forums I previously mentioned, some of the needs of the Member opposite will be satisfied. I am sure also the Member understands there are two fine principles that must be observed here. One is the principle of public accountability and the other is the principle of the right of privacy of third parties in commercial transactions.
You will remember that we spent some time in the last Legislature discussing an identical issue around some particulars of the transaction involving the reopening of the mine at Faro. Again, at the request of the third parties, there were some documents that could not be made public, because the parties to some of those agreements would not consent to it.
Question re: Hyland Forest Products, joint venture
Mr. Phelps: The principles the Government Leader speaks of are valid, but they require a bit of refinement. The public has a right to know; that has to be the overriding principle. If any information is going to be withheld from a sale of public assets, as the government is allowing in this case, there ought to be good, sound reasons for withholding any information.
Those reasons ought to relate solely to valid concerns of the private company about its competitive position, and not information that relates to the way the government handles the taxpayers money. Would the Government Leader agree with that principle?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am not sure that I would agree with the exact phrasing of the proposition, as articulated by the Leader of the Official Opposition. He is quite correct that there are two principles that are well-founded in law and in custom in this country. One is the right to privacy or confidentiality in terms of the commercial confidences of third parties, but the right to privacy is a principle embodied in the Freedom to Information Act in Canada and in the Access to Information Act in the Yukon, where there is the right for public access to information, and there is also the protection of the privacy of private parties from confidences or information about them that they do not wish to have made public.
I am confident that, in addition to the information that has already been provided, that the audited financial statements and the appearances by officials in this House will be able to provide the relevant information about the sale and about the operations of Hyland Forest Products during the years under consideration, and that the publics need to know about these matters will be satisfied.
Mr. Phelps: What concerns me about none of the agreements, or even part of the agreements, being made available is that it makes the situation dramatically different from the Curragh Mines situation. In that case, some documents were tabled in this house and others were withheld for reasons that, at the time, we all felt were valid, because they related to the competitiveness of the mine on the market. We accepted that.
Why, in this situation, is the government not tabling any documents or portions thereof that would not in any way affect the competitiveness of Shieldings?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Let me again address what I think is an inaccuracy in the description of history by the Member. The Member opposite, in describing the Curragh situation, says that all Members in this House at the time felt it valid that some of the commercial confidences in that transaction should be protected. I do not think I would have to do a very assiduous search of Hansard to demonstrate that not all Members of the House felt that way, notwithstanding the well-established practice in regard to that.
The Member is asking why this government will not table documents that the third parties will not consent to have tabled. As the Member opposite knows, we require the consent of those third parties to table documents that reveal commercial confidences or information about their business.
Mr. Phelps: That is the very point. Would the Government Leader not agree that withholding selective information from the public, which owns the assets and has a right to know, is all of it.
? Is that not the very nature of the problem?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I completely disagree. The terms of the sale, the nature of the shareholding in the new company, the evaluation of the assets including the inventory, and other questions that will no doubt arise in terms of elaborating on those facts, have already been provided. Further elaboration will be provided in the appearances before public bodies that I have already described. When the audited financial statements of the corporation become public, and the officials appear before the Public Accounts Committee, it will lead to further questions, which I hope officials of the corporation will be able to fully respond to, with the only constraint being the one that I have previously talked about, the one of their need to respect the commercial confidences of third parties.
Question re: Hyland Forest Products joint venture
Mr. Phelps: I am not satisfied with the explanations given here because in the Curragh case we were provided with documentation. For example, we were provided with the actual mortgages. It would appear that some of the documents would become public anyway if normal commercial practice is followed and documents are registered. I hope the Government Leader will understand that we will have to proceed under the Access to Information Act and hope that the courts can pry some of this information out.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I say to the honourable Member opposite - as someone who wants to move under that bill on that subject in this House, and who, in fact, I think made the first application under the very same act in respect to a piece of information the previous government would not give me - I understand that he might want to pursue that information. I am naturally sorry that he is so uncharitable in terms of his attitude toward us, in terms of the information that we have already provided and the information we have indicated that would be available in the future from the public appearances of officials, but he will have to make his own judgments about those questions.
Question re: Nurses, wages and benefits
Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Minister of Health and Human Resources regarding the nurses again. Yesterday, in response to the questions with respect to nurses wages and benefits, the Minister made a comment in his response that when we know whether or not we have a transfer agreement and when we know who is subject to transfer, the people who will be offered jobs at YTG will know what they will be paid. Can the Minister tell us what he meant by this statement because we understood that all federal health employees would be offered jobs with the Government of Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I meant what I said. Obviously, if we transfer the hospital as it is as a separate entity, which is what we now contemplate, from the rest of the health employees, we will be talking about the employees who now work for the hospital.
Mrs. Firth: The interpretation of this comment could indicate that they would be selective in their choice of employees. Can the Minister give us a guarantee that that is not the case and that all the employees are going to be offered positions?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I expect so. The Member may be quibbling, but of course in the end we want the employees who want to come to work for us rather than those who do not.
Mrs. Firth: I guess in the end we are going to hope to have some employees here who can come to work for the government. I would like to ask the Minister when the employees are going to be given this information.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I understand the employees have been given much more information than the Member opposite was alleging. Yesterday I was advised there were meetings as recently as March 22 with the Public Service Commission officials and Health and Human Resources and with the representatives of the union about the whole range of concerns involving accommodation. At a previous meeting that I think was on February 23 with the union representatives and officials of this government, we provided some information to them and we are still waiting for a formal response from the union. Those were two meetings that followed 22 previous meetings.
Mrs. Firth: I guess that is why the nurses have so much information.
Question re: Nurses, wages and benefits
Mrs. Firth: I would like my new question to go to the Minister of Health and Human Resources, regarding the nurses again. On the operations of the Whitehorse General Hospital post-transfer, what is the policy of this government with respect to the operations of the hospital, and can the Minister tell whether it will be by the Government of Yukon or whether there will be a hospital board of governors?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am now apprised of that issue. We are preparing a submission that will go into Cabinet shortly on exactly that issue. When a decision is made as to the model of governance of the hospital, we will make that decision public.
Mrs. Firth: When would the Minister expect this decision will be made?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Within the next three months, I expect.
Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell us whether or not this decision will be communicated to the nurses in advance of being communicated to the public?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Well, I do not know why it would be, but if the nurses felt that they wanted to know in advance of the rest of the public - not only the nurses, but the other health care workers who the Member opposite seems to forget - then I would certainly consider a representation of that kind.
Question re: Nurses, wages and benefits
Mrs. Firth: I just want to make it clear for the public record so that we all understand the situation. From the Ministers responses today, we have established a certain number of facts. Number one, the nurses do not know whether or not they have a job because of the Ministers statements. Number two, they do not know who their boss will be, whether it will be a board or YTG. Number three, they do not know the status of their benefits. Number four, they do not know what their salary will be.
Yet, they are expected to trust this government that everything will be fair and equitable. I would like to ask the Minister if he can tell this House one specific thing that he has told the nurses to reassure them so that they will not leave the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am sorry the Member is repeating all that tired old rhetoric again. There was not a single fact in her list of alleged facts. First of all, the health care workers here, including the nurses, will be offered jobs as a logical consequence of the agreement to transfer the hospital, and subsequently the other health services, to the Yukon Territory. Secondly, as to whether or not they know who their boss will be: their boss now is the federal government; their new boss will be the territorial government or some manifestation of it. Thirdly, in terms of the wages and salaries, I am sure the Member knows that we are already undertaking work in terms of the classification and evaluation of the positions and that, prior to the time that the people are offered jobs with YTG, they will know the salaries of the positions that are proposed for them to occupy.
Mrs. Firth: In the interim, these people are making decisions about their lives, and they are going to leave the territory.
I would like to put my question to the Minister of Health again. Besides promises and platitudes at election time, what is one specific thing that the nurses know? Do they know their salaries? One specific thing? They do not know anything.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I will give several specific things they know. One, they know that we are committed, unlike the federal Minister, that consultation with the employees will take place prior to the transfer. Two, we are absolutely opposed, unlike the federal government, to contracting out, privatization, or the downgrading of health services. Three, they know that the benefits and salaries that they will have in this government will be comparable to the package they have now. Four, they know that this government will not take the health transfer until we are satisfied that the employees who come with it are going to be content with the arrangements.
Mrs. Firth: It is obvious that the Minister has done nothing to encourage the nurses to stay here. There are decisions being made now by these people to leave the Yukon Territory. What is this government doing to encourage these capable people to stay here in the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am afraid the Member opposite is leaving the regrettable impression in Question Period that what she is interested in doing here is talking, not listening, making inflamatory statements but not listening to responses that are given.
This government has been consulting and talking to the employees in a way that is unprecedented in this territory. In terms of our attitude toward labour relations and our willingness to see a satisfactory personnel employment package, I will stack our record against the federal governments record, or the record of the previous government, any day of the week. The transfer will be done right. It will be done in justice and fairness to the employees.
Question re: Nurses, wages and benefits
Mr. Lang: All of the Members from both sides of the House have nurses living in our constituencies. What concerns me is that so little information has been made available to them. The Minister has outlined for us, with great fanfare to the camera and the media, that 22 meetings took place. If there were 22 meetings, why were the nurses not told what they were going to be paid and what their benefits were going to be? What did they discuss in 22 meetings, if those were not the topics of discussion or at least to give a general idea of what these people would be looking at?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Only someone with the most appalling ignorance of labour relations and personnel matters could even ask that question. We do not yet operate a hospital. We do not have a collective agreement where we pay nurses who work in a hospital environment, operating theatres, intensive care units.
The nurses salaries that we pay now - those who work for Macaulay Lodge and others - are doing qualitatively different jobs. We have not had, in the past, any reason to classify the positions that are in the federal employ.
We have to first have an agreement about the transfer. While we are seeking that agreement of transfer, we are now doing work to classify the positions that are in the federal public service. They are not in this public service yet. We are going to be making some decisions about how the hospital will be managed under our responsibility. That, too, leads to certain kinds of decisions.
Once we have reached an agreement with the federal government, we are preparing ourselves to make an offer to the employees that will be satisfactory to them. We are preparing ourselves to make that offer on the basis of ongoing consultation with those workers.
Mr. Lang: I have a question for the Minister, and I do not appreciate his spiteful attacks every time we ask a question. I do not think it does his position any good, nor this Legislatures.
If we have had 22 meetings between the parties, what was being discussed, if you were unable to discuss the most important elements that should be discussed, which are pay and benefits?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The pay and benefits are not the only issues, but they are important questions. The fact of the matter is that right now we have various different collective agreements. Some particulars in the collective agreement of the Government of Yukon employees are superior to the federal ones. There are some particulars in the federal government collective agreement with PIPS that are superior to the Government of Yukon. This is also the case with the PSAC members who also are health care workers. All three of those collective agreements are different. If one engages in labour relations cherry picking, one can say in this particular agreement, the federal employees benefits are better than ours. There are other particulars where our employees are better off than theirs. These are matters of complex negotiations.
In our communications, we have been establishing the issues of concern. We have been proceeding with the work of classifying the positions that are subject to transfer. We have been dealing with questions and we have been making proposals to the unions - I do not know if they have reported them to the Members - about housing and other issues.
Speaker: Would the Member please conclude his answer.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have, Mr. Speaker.
Question re: Nurses, wages and benefits
Mrs. Firth: I will direct this question to the Minister of the Public Service Commission, who is also responsible for the transfer process. I asked the Minister yesterday about the correspondence from her department to the employees at the Whitehorse General Hospital and about the time line they were looking at. They were aiming for a transfer date of June 1990. Is the government on target with that date? Can it realistically be met?
Hon. Ms. Joe: My response to that question was that I would get back to the Member with a response. What I can tell her is that meetings have been ongoing. The information that she brings to this House is not what we are hearing. There is a process in place whereby the information that is getting to the people who work in the hospital is being dealt with by the unions. They represent the workers in the hospital. They are the ones we are dealing with at this point. There is a process in place. Our process is on time.
Mrs. Firth: If the process is on time and it is going to happen in 1990, how long are the nurses going to be given to make a decision as to whether they are going to stay here with the offer that the Public Service Commission is going to give them or whether they should look for other employment? There is not going to be a lot of time.
Hon. Ms. Joe: As the Minister of Health mentioned, there are existing positions that this government does not have. There are positions that we have to take into consideration when that transfer is made. There is a tender out now to hire someone to do a job description of those positions. That process closes on April 26. We have to have that information before we can let the nurses and all other health care workers know what their salaries are going to be and can make them an offer. There will be a process where they will have the time to decide if they are going to accept the position.
Speaker: Would the Member please conclude her answer.
Question re: Trucking industry deregulation
Mr. Lang: About three years ago, there was a common consensus among the trucking industry, the consumers and all levels of government that the trucking industry should be deregulated. The Yukons position was consistent with that, under the proviso that they would not lead the implementation of deregulation, but would either go simultaneously or follow behind because of the smallness of our jurisdiction and the effect it could well have on our trucking industry if we were to lead in the area of licensing.
In the past couple of months, I have had a number of representations made to me by people involved in the trucking industry who claim the Yukon truckers are coming up against a great deal of difficulty in applying for licensing in British Columbia. Can the Minister of Community and Transportation Services confirm if that is the case?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member is quite correct that there are a number of concerns being raised by the transport industry that operating authorities in other jurisdictions do not appear to be the same as the ones being applied here. My department is currently in the process of confirming that with the other jurisdictions. The Member may be pleased to know that, when I met with the local Yukon Transportation Association recently, we discussed the issue at some length and undertook a number of initiatives in respect to confirmation of what operating authorities the other jurisdictions are applying. That is currently in progress, and I will continue to pursue that confirmation.
Mr. Lang: The concern is time. As you know, this past week there were some public comments made in respect to the licensing of a point-to-point application from outside the Yukon. It is a question of time, because I am sure there will be other applicants as well. How long is this investigation going to take before the Minister will be in a position to evaluate the situation of how deregulation in the Yukon is being adversely affected because of licensing requirements in other jurisdictions?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The length of time required to achieve that confirmation should not be long. I would expect some confirmations are being received already. I undertook with the Transport Association to meet with them within approximately a month, which is another couple of weeks, and I expect to have the confirmation of information concluded by that time.
I should point out to the Member that the Motor Transport Board is the authority under which the deregulation rules are being applied. It would be incumbent upon me to respect the deregulation principle that was established.
Mr. Lang: The comments made by the Minister are correct. He has to respect that authority unless that policy is changed or revised. That is our job in this Legislature. I want to ask the Minister if, upon the results of the investigation underway at the present time, if he would make the results of that investigation available to this House. Could he provide this House with a description of how the application for licenses, particularly in BC, has changed since deregulation supposedly was implemented in that province.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I certainly have no problem with providing any information to the House on the operating authority regulations being applied in other jurisdictions. I should point out to the Member, also, that I am in communication with the federal Minister on the subject because, as the Member is aware, the deregulation rules are also applied by the federal government on the inter-territorial jurisdiction transport.
Question re: Watson Lake High School heating system
Mr. Devries: My question is for the Minister of Education. We discussed this during the budget debate and, as the Watson Lake High School plans are in the final stage, can the Minister tell the House if the plans include the option of using waste heat from the Yukon Electrical generating station across the street?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: To my knowledge that option is still a live one depending very much on some of the arrangements that had been anticipated between Energy Mines and Resources and YTG coming to fruition. I have asked the department to press the situation with the other partners who have been participating in the original project to demonstrate that the Yukon Government does still show support for the use of waste heat, and even to determine whether or not it is appropriate for us to encourage the new owners of Hyland to continue with a project that had been anticipated would take place with respect to the generation of energy to the Hyland mill. Both those projects are still being promoted, to my knowledge.
Mr. Devries: Do the high school plans still give us the two options as far as heating goes? I mean the present plans that are almost completed.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: To my knowledge, the direction has been to encourage the purchase of energy from waste heat. The specifics of the Members question with respect to the detailed design I would have to take as notice. But certainly the general indication that has been provided to the department is clearly that waste heat from the diesel generators in Watson Lake should be utilized if at all possible.
Question re: Rancheria Lodge, energy alternatives
Mr. Devries: If the Minister is so keen about the Energy Alternative Program, why has Rancheria Lodge consistently been denied assistance on the hydro project on Canyon Creek?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I do not think there is necessarily a logical connection between the two. It is true that I personally am gung-ho on energy alternatives, as I believe the government, in terms of its orientation, is gung-ho on energy production alternatives. However, it has to be the case that those alternatives are on balance and are objectively worthwhile and feasible options. To my knowledge, the Rancheria project did not satisfy those conditions when the applications came in.
Mr. Devries: If the Minister has any reasons in writing for refusing this project, would he be prepared to table this information in the House?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: If people at Rancheria are amenable to divulging the information they provided to us, then I would have no hesitancy in providing the information to the Member opposite.
Mr. Devries: Would the Minister be willing to review the documentation regarding this application and reconsider government support for this project?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am always prepare to reconsider decisions made, if there is justification for it. In the case of the Rancheria project, as I understand it, information that was provided on the initial application did not lend credibility to the project, given that there was no information about alternatives or about even providing for alternatives to the diesel generating capability they had. If the Member or the owners of Rancheria have new information they think would be worthwhile in any reconsideration of the application, I would be more than happy to have it reconsidered.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now lapsed. We will now proceed with Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Bill No. 28: Third Reading
Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 28, standing in the name of the hon. Ms. Joe.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I move that Bill No. 28, entitled Day of Mourning for Victims of Workplace Injuries Act, be now read a third time and do pass.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Minister of Justice that Bill No. 28, entitled Day of Mourning for Victims of Workplace Injuries Act, be now read a third time and do pass.
Hon. Ms. Joe: For the past two years, this government has supported this day as a special day for Yukoners to pay their respects to friends, family members and co-workers who have been injured, or have lost their lives, in the course of employment. This House has supported that day, and I am pleased we are in the process of making that day official.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: I declare the motion carried and that Bill No. 28 has passed this House.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I will call the Committee of the Whole to order. At this time we will have a 15 minute recess.
Bill No. 51 - First Appropriation Act, 1989-90 - continued
On Executive Council Office - continued
Chair: I will now call the Committee of the Whole to order. We will continue with debate on Bill 51, First Appropriation Act, 1989-90. Is there general debate? We are on Executive Council Office, page 32.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I wonder if I could begin by responding to a couple of questions that were asked by Mrs. Firth last night.
The first was about the organization of the French and Aboriginal Languages Services Program. I will circulate a return that will describe that.
Secondly, a question was asked about the salary range of the deputy minister of the Executive Council Office. The salary range there is $78,034 up to $91,805 and that range is effective January 1, 1988.
I was asked about the competition for the assistant deputy minister position. That competition was canceled by the department and the secondment to the Executive Council Office of the individual previously employed as the ADM, Policy and Administration, in the Department of Health and Human Resources is for a two-year term.
I have just circulated the return that describes the organization of the French and Aboriginal Languages Services Program and if Members have more questions on that I can answer them, or if Members would permit me now, since there were questions about it last night, I have a brief statement elaborating on the implementation.
The first thing I would like to say is that in fulfillment of the spirit and the intent of the legislation passed by this House last year and the agreement signed with Canada, this government has initiated a community-by-community assessment of the seven aboriginal languages in the territory. The languages involved include Kaska, Han, Northern Tutchone, Southern Tutchone, Gwichin, Tlingit and Tagish.
I think most of us know the tragic fate of the Tagish language, since there is really one speaker left alive. I should tell the House that five aboriginal Yukoners, most of them fluent in, and committed to, their language, have been contracted to conduct assessments. The results of the community consultations with these individuals will be a thorough appraisal of language use for each of the seven languages - really, six. Local interest in language preservation enhancement and those areas of government service where translation or interpretive services or the employment of employees fluent in an aboriginal language could be desirable.
I think, as the Members know, we are breaking new ground here and making serious efforts to coordinate what we are doing with the Yukon Native Language Centre and the Council for Yukon Indians and the Indian bands and other aboriginal organizations.
Our priorities for the upcoming year are to complete the language assessments at the community level, to prepare a four-year work plan to outline the key objectives and priorities and to examine the language service requirements of specific government services to begin implementing the new measures and to establish an aboriginal languages services unit, which we will be initially doing in the Executive Council Office.
Our approach for the development of services for Yukons French-speaking community has been different, building on the experience gained elsewhere in Canada and addressing the specific commitments in the Canada/Yukon Languages Agreement. A major review of the requirements for public services provided by departments throughout the Yukon is in progress and this review will identify services that should be made available in French. An advisory committee consisting of three senior public servants and three representatives from the francophone community will review proposed action plans and make recommendations to the Minister and ultimately to Cabinet.
We are now examining how best to meet the translation requirements of statutes and regulations enacted up to December 31, 1989 by the January 1, 1994 deadline. For the new legislation, which must be translated in accordance with the Language Act next year and the development of translator and interpretive services for Yukons court system is in progress. Our priorities for this coming fiscal year are to complete and begin implementation of an action plan to establish French language services in those areas of government activity where there is sufficient demand and to begin the translation of existing legislation and regulations, to establish a translator/interpretive service in the Yukon court system and to formally establish a French language services unit initially in the Executive Council Office.
Our progress will rely, to a significant degree, on the continuing interest and participation of the francophone community. I am pleased to announce the signing of two five-year Canada/Yukon funding agreements on the development and enhancement of aboriginal languages and the development and enhancement and implementation of French language rights and services. These agreements provide federal funding to meet the objectives of the Yukon Languages Act and the Canada/Yukon languages agreement. Members will know that it is customary that these agreements be signed and executed with the Department of the Secretary of State, whereas the initial agreement was made with the federal Minister of Justice.
Finally, I should mention that the people working on the aboriginal and French languages services are located at the offices at 211 Hawkins Street, just across the road from this Legislature. I wanted to just take this minute to report briefly to the House on what steps we are taking to implement the policies and legislation enacted by this House and make this short statement by way of a progress report.
Mr. Phelps: Well, we thank the Minister for the report and we look forward to when the four-year work plan will be pulled together. We will get an update in the fall.
Let us proceed line by line.
Mr. Brewster: I am rather disappointed with the Public Affairs Bureau. A young boy that I have known since he was small designed the flag for the Yukon and this is how much they knew about it, The flag was designed by Lynn Lambert of Haines Junction for a student flag design. Lynn Lambert never at any time lived in Haines Junction. He went to school at Destruction Bay and then moved here. I think it is disgraceful that a young student does not have his history put in here.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I apologize on behalf of the department for the error, and I appreciate the Member calling it to our attention. I hope the person will be somewhat mollified by a letter of apology, which I would be happy to send to them.
Mrs. Firth: Have there been any discussion papers done within his department for public discussion or otherwise? In particular, I am thinking about potential revisions to the Yukon Act, or anything to do with Senate reform or Meech Lake, or any of the major issues that seem to be in discussion in the provinces at present.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Senate reform is not something we have spent a lot of time on. In a general way, consistent with my partys national policy and some regional perspectives, we have been prepared to respond to the Alberta initiative in respect to Senate reform, since that province was good enough to invite us to respond. Had the two elections not been called in the Yukon and, subsequently, in Alberta, I believe it was the intention of that provinces committee on Senate reform to come here to discuss that item with us.
In respect to the overall constitutional question and direction of the Yukon, several times I have been chided by the Leader of the Official Opposition for promising to bring a green paper before this House. It is my hope that we will be able to do that within a matter of days. As I have indicated before, it is my hope to bring the green paper forward and, with the Houses approval, have a select committee established to deal with some of those major questions about our constitutional future.
Yes, work that has gone on with respect to the questions the Member asked will be public within a few days, we hope.
Mrs. Firth: Was that work done in-house, or was it contracted out? If it was, who got the contract?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It was almost entirely done in-house, although we have had consultations with a number of constitutional experts in the country. Off the top of my head, I cannot say whether that advice we received from them has been gratis, as a kindness, as professors will sometimes comment on a paper. We have not retained anybody. Any consultation we have done with constitutional experts outside the territory has been by way of comment.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We did talk about this a little bit last night. I am not sure I have anything I can add.
Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister tell us what the 15 percent increase is for the personnel?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The basic fact is that we had staff vacancies last year that reduced the forecasted personnel costs by some $46,000. The budgeting this year is based on a full complement, plus an additional $25,000 for collective agreement and merit increases.
Mrs. Firth: Last year there was a 39 percent increase. Could the Minister explain the relevance of the comments he just made? There was a large increase last year and then again this year, although this 15 percent is combined for the administration and the Executive Council Secretariat. What vacancies had occurred caused this surplus of money?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am advised that the Member may be misreading the numbers. The administrative personnel actual number for 1987-88 was $372,000. The forecast for 1988-89 was $472,000, which was a 27 percent increase in that year. The 1988-89 forecast to the estimates of 1989-90 is 15 percent. We were talking about a 27 percent increase in that year. Off the top of my head, I do not know what the reasons are for that increase last year. I would be prepared to check back and find out the reason for this substantial increase.
The one increase was for a new assistant deputy minister position in this budget last year. This may be the largest single item causing the increase.
Mrs. Firth: The figures I am reading are from last years operating and maintenance budget, where the 1987-88 forecast was $227,000. The 1988-89 estimates were $315,000, which reflected a 39 percent change. I think the explanation of the new assistant deputy minister position probably partially justifies that. I am not clear about the Ministers explanation about us not having a full complement last year so the figures were less than this year where we have a full complement of staff, therefore we have a 15 percent increase. It does not seem to mesh.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have the document being referred to by the Member. I point out that $75,000 of the $88,000 increase last year was the new assistant deputy minister position.
Mrs. Firth: Under allotments there is a 24 percent increase. What is that for?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As I mentioned last night, the largest single component of that is due almost entirely to the transfer from Government Services of funding responsibilities for the photocopying services in the executive wing of the Executive Council Office.
Administration/Secretariat in the amount of $773,000 agreed to
On Land Claims Secretariat
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As I mentioned last night, when we were putting this budget together it was difficult to estimate this accurately, since we did not know when the ratification of the framework agreement and, therefore, the community negotiations would proceed.
The staff establishment remains at four permanent person years. There is $7,000 provided for collective bargaining increases and Yukon bonuses, and so forth.
The remaining discrepancy between the 1989-90 estimate and the 1988-89 forecast is that the salary was provided last year for the secondment of the senior negotiator from Economic Development for six months. On the non-salary side, there was a lot of activity leading up to the framework agreement last November. Since most of the travel in the stage ahead of us will be within the Yukon and, because we were able to provide most of the resources the land claims community negotiations would need from within the Government of Yukon, we think we will not need to make the same demands consulting and professional services, lawyers and so forth, as we did in the last year.
Mr. Phelps: I am amazed at the decrease, given the facts as we know them, with the ratification a fait accompli and moving into community negotiations. Does that throw these estimates out of whack, or is this to be spent?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Member is quite right, and I apologize. At the time we put together the budget, we had no way of knowing when ratification would occur, and there were some indications the federal government might take many months to do it, in which case we would have a lot of down-time, or whether it would happen as quickly as it did with the new Minister. I shared the concern that we might have to wait a long time with a new Minister before we got ratification. I understood from Mr. McKnight that there would be some effort for him to ratify it on his way out. That did not happen.
This is a conservative estimate. If negotiations proceed well following ratification, I may have to come back to the House for a supplementary. I assume all Members hope they do go well. The estimate here was made at a time when we had no certainty about ratification and, therefore, no basis for making an accurate prediction about this years round of negotiations.
Mr. Phelps: Would the department now have a better estimate of the forecast? It seems to be unrealistically low at this point in time. I would be interested in having a more up-to-date understanding of the level of commitment the government has, in terms of person years and money.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We are only now trying to work out the substance of community negotiations for this fiscal year, which has a profound bearing on the actual costs. I indicated earlier that, since this is the number one priority, we will be making unusual demands, in some cases, on some senior officials in town and some departments. Some of the increased cost of intense activity in the communities in the next year will be borne indirectly by departments, rather than by this vote. If things proceed at a very quick pace, I may have to come back with a supplementary.
Mr. Phelps: I guess I am getting too deeply into the details of the negotiations. I was given to understand that the scheduling of the next rounds are simply not complete and that we do not have a very accurate picture of what the next steps will be.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am advised that it is not complete in all details but to the extent that we know in which communities we will be in during which weeks, or plan to be, if that information is reasonably firm now, I have no hesitation about sharing it with the House. Even if the House is not sitting by the time it does confirm, I am quite prepared to have the Executive Council Office convey it to the Leader of the Official Opposition.
Mr. Phelps: I would appreciate that because we often get questions from constituents about what is happening in our various communities and what the anticipated time table is. That kind of information would certainly be welcome, especially if we could have it before the end of the session.
Land Claims Secretariat in the amount of $652,000 agreed to
On Public Affairs Bureau
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Following the intervention by the Member for Kluane, I would like to defend this item, but I want to say that the Public Affairs Bureau has continued to assist departments and agencies in delivering public information and they have been involved in a number of major projects in the last year, including the Child Care Panel, the help in the Housing Corporation in the promotion of their new programs, the Department of Justice in the development of a new impaired driver awareness program and the Department of Tourism in terms of photographing material for its marketing campaigns, the Department of Health and Human Resources in the promotion of its AIDS hotline and the Department of Renewable Resources in the development of public communications initiatives for the Land Use Planning Committees, as well as helping departments provide information for the public, such as the public bureau inquiries services that help citizens get in touch with government officials and offices in Whitehorse.
The bureaus proposed operating budget will increase by $68,000 over its forecast for 1988-89, of which $38,000 is attributed to personnel costs. The other $27,000 is a result again of the transfer of photocopying costs from Government Services to various departments. Apart from personnel, the bulk of the other increased costs above previous years is the result of inflation for paper-printing services and photographic supplies.
Mr. Phelps: I just have one line of questioning. I am not sure if we are in the right spot, but I will start here. I am a little concerned about some of the costs of some of the reports we are getting from some of the departments in terms of the glossiness, and the photographs and the three colors, and so on. To what extent is the Public Affairs Bureau involved in preparing these for, say, the Department of Community and Transportation Services?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Perhaps the situation is analogous to an advertising agency. A client department makes known its wishes and its plans for publication and then the bureau responds accordingly. I am very interested in the Leader of the Official Oppositions comment because I am shortly about to make public a document that I feared I would have criticism over because it is in fact less elaborate and less glossy than its predecessors, for reasons of economy. I am not going to share the source, but I was, in fact, at a Chamber of Commerce meeting just a couple of days ago and the person who happens to be involved in the printing of this document was highly critical of me for the fact that it is less elaborate and less colourful than the previous versions were.
I think the fact is that there are competing demands. Departments want to look good and put on a good face and have a presentable and appealing document, and they are, I think, sometimes advised that items are more likely to be read and they are more likely to be used by the public if they are attractive and presentable than if they are on, I suppose, low-grade paper and mimeograph sheets, xeroxed with some kind of pastel-coloured paper cover. But, the truth of the matter is that if you do colour printing and you do a lot of programs in publications, if you have art work in them, it does cost quite a lot.
Mr. Phelps: I am a little dismayed by the obvious expense of some of the reports from some of the departments. Community and Transportation Services is one. It sticks out in my mind, perhaps because I was just looking at one recently. I know that there was a recommendation in Public Accounts that Health and Human Resources publish a report annually, which was thought to be a good thing to do, but the reservation was expressed at the time, if I remember correctly, that it not become a very expensive, glossy document. It was useful to legislators and some of the civil service and some of the public to have some information pulled together, but I just do not see that the object is to go out and try to obtain a high circulation because we are not selling books here, we are simply providing some information to people.
I guess all I am saying is, without trying to be overly critical and trying to understand the pressures placed on those who prepare these documents, that they should come up with something that is attractive and readable. I guess that I would respectfully submit is that the government ought - and perhaps this is the area to discuss it - to come up with a policy that would try to curtail some of the expenditures on some of the reports that are really there to pull together some succinct information for those who would truly be interested in it. Otherwise, these books come out and people love to flip through the photographs, but I do not think that ought to be an end in itself. I really feel that the government could provide a service in terms of trying to keep the glossiness down and perhaps use the savings to provide some more information where it may be required.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I thank the Member for his representation and take that under advisement. I wonder if I could just use two examples myself though to talk about the kind of debate we often have. There was a publication put out last year by Renewable Resources on hunting practices in the Yukon. I heard one negative comment about the cost and the graphics and the art work in it from a couple of people, but, in subsequent weeks and months, I have heard much praise from around the territory. The Leader of the Opposition will recall the document because it had some excellent colour graphics about hunting practices near highways and pictorial representations of information about who was hunting what.
On one hand, we had negative comments about the cost, but I also heard, in the ensuing period, a lot of positive comments from people who might not have bothered to read black-and-white text containing the same information. We felt that having the information presented by the department on glossy paper made it very readable and accessible. In fact, it improved considerably peoples understanding of some of the problems of wildlife management.
I will use another example. In the olden days, when I was responsible for the Department of Finance, we had a great debate about the cover of these estimates books. I confess that Mr. Sanderson is occasionally interested in chasing some of the animals pictured on the cover of these things - not successfully, I understand, but he does do that quite often - and he is fond of wanting to put pictures of caribou or sheep on them. He has been intellectually honest enough to worry about whether the Minister thought they had anything to do with the estimates. One of the largest audiences of these documents is southern libraries, academic institutions and government departments. This is not a huge cost to put a cover on these, but it is significant. It does increase the attractiveness and the appeal and it does convey some information and messages about the Yukon, in an indirect way. I would guess that during a time of acute restraint I would probably argue against having an attractive cover such as this. I think there is some public relations value in normal times to have a cover like this on a budget book, especially to outside audiences.
Mr. Phelps: What it speaks to is a policy that could be established to take into account times of restraint. There are situations when you want to encourage people to read the document, such as the hunting paper. It may have been that kind of a document, with certain objectives to try to explain certain things to the general public, in anticipation of a land claims agreement or in anticipation of new conservation regulations in renewable resources. If the objective is to try to encourage more people to read it, that should be taken into consideration.
There is the issue of whether there is a broad distribution of a book, such as last years budget. I did notice that there was one time where I did not hear any objections emanating from the hon. Member for Kluane, because he, at one time or another, aside from coming from the area in question, spent considerable time assisting people like Mr. Sanderson to run around and chase these animals, with some success, because he made a living at it.
The point I am trying to make is that there are also documents or information that are drawn together so that it is a source for the Public Accounts Committee, the House or various other officials, and the pictures and the glossy covers are not enhancing anything in the public interest. I feel that the Community and Transportation Services policy book is more in the category of what we asked for and received from the Department of Health and Human Resources.
It is in the nature of either this budget or in the nature of something where you are trying to encourage the general public to read it, because you want them to have an understanding of some new policy you are going to be putting in. It is in the public interest. The hunting booklet is part of selling a conservation strategy in renewable resources. That is entirely different.
The comments raised by the Government Leader and others point to the need for some kind of general policy to be put in place.
Mr. Phelps: The increase is 31 percent. Because it is fairly large, could we hear the reason why?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am going to have to get back with a breakdown of that information. I do not know whether it is because of a vacancy in the past year, or whether there is some other good reason. I have talked about the global reasons why the bureau has an increase. Apart from the photocopying, which I talked about being a $27,000 item, I am not sure what the likely reason is.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister was going to get back to me with some information about the capital purchase of the colour photography unit and the capability of the department to process their own colour film. Could he give us that information at this time? Is there anything in this budget for that?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am advised the reply is coming, and I apologize to the Member for not having it now. Informally, I am advised that, as a result of that expenditure, there will be a saving. Almost all the work we were previously doing was going outside, and the ability to do it in-house will save us money.
Mrs. Firth: By going outside, does the Minister mean it was being sent outside directly by the government, or was it going through one of the local photography businesses?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: This is extreme quality colour, and I believe it was being sent directly outside. I am advised by having the capacity in-house, there will be increased purchases in the private sector, as we will be buying chemicals and so forth from local photographic supply stores.
Mr. Phelps: Perhaps we could set it aside until we get the explanation for the 31 percent increase.
Administration stood over
On Information Services
Information Services in the amount of $244,000 agreed to
Photography in the amount of $158,000 agreed to
On Inquiry Centre
Inquiry Centre in the amount of $142,000 agreed to
Chair: Are there questions on the allotments or person year establishment or the information in pages 37-39? Is there general debate on French and Aboriginal languages?
On French and Aboriginal Languages
Hon. Mr. Penikett: At the outset of todays discussion, I provided a document of the organization and an oral presentation on the implementation of the agreement. I really do not have a lot to add.
On French Language Program
French Language Program in the amount of $329,000 agreed to
On Aboriginal Language Program
Aboriginal Language Program in the amount of $239,000 agreed to
French and Aboriginal Languages in the amount of $568,000 agreed to
Chair: Any questions on allotments or person years?
Is there general debate on Executive Council Office Policy and Intergovernmental Relations?
On Policy & Intergovernmental Relations
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As the Member knows, this branch is two activity centres. Policy and intergovernmental relations in Whitehorse, which provides central policy review analysis to the Policy Review Committee, Deputy Ministers Review Committee, Cabinet Committees and Cabinet analysis. The secondary function is of maintaining relations with other governments such as the federal government and especially the neighboring provinces but also maintains relations with First Ministers conferences and Premiers conferences and so forth and also coordinates projects among departments or in new areas such as languages, science and policy.
The second activity centre, of course, is the federal relations office in Ottawa, which is our principal point of contact with federal agencies and the federal government. We have a lot of traffic there involving issues like finances and land claims and other Indian and northern affairs issues. The staff establishment remains seven, five in the territory and two in Ottawa. Our personnel costs have increased by $45,000 over the forecast for 1988-89, due largely to vacancies in the federal relations offices last year and to merit increases.
The policy and intergovernmental relations budget has increased by $9,000, mostly due to budgetary allowances for travel and honoraria. The budget for the federal relations office has increased by $18,000 reflecting a return to full staffing. So, there is a net increase of $27,000 under the line item, other.
On Policy and Intergovernmental
Policy and Intergovernmental in the amount of $370,000 agreed to
On Federal Relations
Mrs. Firth: Perhaps the Minister could just update us on the Ottawa office. Who is there right now? Are we still have secondments going there from this government? What is the status of this?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As consistent with the policy I previously announced in the House, rather than having one person there as a career, we intend to have senior people from this government spend a contract period in that office and, then, return to the public service here, close to this government and close to the policy of this government. Mr. John Lawson, who was formerly the deputy minister of Tourism and the acting deputy minister of the Executive Council Office, is there on a two-year assignment now, following which time he will plan to return here. Mr. Raghu Raghunathan, senior fiscal relations officer, is still an employee of the Department of Finance, and also has an office in this facility in Ottawa. There is one secretarial person, who has been there for a number of years.
Mrs. Firth: When does Mr. Lawsons two-year appointment expire?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It expires at the end of 1990. He took office over the Christmas period. He moved there over this past Christmas period.
Federal Relations in the amount of $202,000 agreed to
Chair: Are there any questions on allotments or person year establishment?
Policy and Intergovernmental Relations in the amount of $572,000 agreed to
On Office of Devolution
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The devolution office coordinates the overall planning for the transfer of certain programs from the federal government to the Yukon government. In looking at the estimates on page 42, Members will note that funds have been allotted for two full-time positions in the sum of $139,000. The difference of $35,000 between the figure and the 1988-89 forecast on page 42 reflects the fact that the salaries were required for both positions for only part of the year in 1988-89. The reason for that was that Mr. Lawson, who was in the devolution coordinator position, was acting as the deputy for part of the year, and filling in for Mr. Lawson was a person on contract.
In the non-salary area, the figure of $73,000 represents the same level of funding approved in the 1988-89 estimates, and the economies reflected in the 1988-89 forecast were made possible by a slight reduction in travel as a result of staffing vacancies.
Mrs. Firth: Are these two positions presently filled?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The senior position formerly filled by Mr. Lawson is still being filled by a contract with Mr. Woodhouse. There is an incumbent in the other one.
Mrs. Firth: How long is that position going to be filled on a temporary basis by Mr. Woodhouse?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am advised by the deputy that he expects the position will be filled this year, but he could not tell me exactly when.
Mrs. Firth: Is Mr. Woodhouse on secondment from some other area of government, or is he on contract?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: No, he is on contract.
Mrs. Firth: In some of the other departments, such as the Public Service Commission, there are devolution coordinators. What kind of relationship is there between this office of devolution and other departments that have their own person years for devolution coordination?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As Members know, there were in the Department of Finance, the Public Service Commission and I believe in Government Services, additional positions created to deal with devolution, and land claims matters too, because they were related. For example, the Department of Finance - Mr. Fingland is with me and was in the Department Finance at the time - had extra demands to do financial analyses of various proposals and positions taken at the table, both in the devolution negotiations, and land claims negotiations and we did not have the capacity with the existing staff to carry out the duty.
All the positions created were term positions. In the Public Service Commission, I am not sure about the staffing of them, but the idea was that, as we know with a matter we were discussing earlier, there are personnel matters that cannot be adequately handled by any other central agency than the Public Service Commission. The same is true with Government Services and devolution matters. With large programs especially there are significant space and office accommodation problems that it is within the mandate of the Government Services to deal with.
Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister tell us what the positions here for devolution are?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I could report to the House. I am not sure that I have not done so previously, but I could report to the House on the ranges of both the positions. We do not have that information available, but I would mention that on the previous question that we stood over an item for, I now have that information available, so when we are ready we can go back to that.
Chair: Shall we clear this item?
Office of Devolution in the amount of $212,000 agreed to
On Internal Audit
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As I think all Members know, for our purposes, internal audit and evaluation serves to provide an independent internal audit function within the government and to manage the program of evaluation process for the government. The establishment for internal audit and evaluation remains at four person years as a result of staff vacancies that forecast expenditures for personnel is reduced by $17,000 in 1988-89 and replaced in 1989-90 in anticipation of full staffing levels.
The increment for collective bargaining increases, merit increases and so on is $14,000 for a net increase over the forecast for 1988-89 of $31,000. The non-salary allocation is $12,000 in excess of the 1988-89 forecast to augment the hiring of auditors under contract for specific program evaluation functions. As the Members know, up to now the program evaluation function has been contracted and it has been an open question for us as to whether it was desirable to staff that activity or to continue to do it through contractors.
Internal Audit in the amount of $357,000 agreed to
On Bureau of Statistics
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The overall personnel establishment in the Bureau of Statistics has remained the same: one term and six indeterminate positions. The Bureau of Statistics total budget of $524,000 was increased by $53,000 from the 1988-89 forecast and this is largely accounted for by increases in the cost of personnel, amounting to $45,000. An increase of $7,000 is recorded in the line item other. This is made up of small increases in program materials, communications and contract services. Program material increases represent minor costs for survey activities. Communication increases are associated with anticipated computer and staff communication expenses and contract increases are related to projected data entry requirements.
Mrs. Firth: Are there are any new surveys proposed for this year?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As far as I know, there are only the ongoing program activities that we do in conjunction with Statistics Canada. The information collection and analysis is done at the request of other departments to meet the ongoing needs of the government. There may be some project that is being developed in some department for which they may come to Statistics, but I know nothing about it yet. The only one that is over and above the original, intended program is the one connected with the south highway school, which, in any case, is not a large project in statistical terms.
On Administration and Support
Administration and Support in the amount of $133,000 agreed to
On Statistical Information Services
Statistical Information Services in the amount of $141,000 agreed to
On Statistical Support Services
Statistical Support Services in the amount of $258,000 agreed to
Chair: Are there any questions on allotments or person year establishment?
Bureau of Statistics in the amount of $532,000 agreed to
On Office of the Commissioner
Chair: Is there general debate on Office of the Commissioner?
Office of the Commissioner in the amount of $115,000 agreed to
Chair: Are there any questions on allotments or person year establishment?
On Cabinet Support
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As in previous years, this allotment deals with the travel expenses for five Ministers and 13 Order in Council support staff and Cabinet outside the capitol. The figures on page 46 show that while the number of support staff remains constant, the 13 personnel costs have increased by $25,000 from $632,000 to $657,000 due to merit increases, salary increases and slight increases in the Yukon bonuses.
Under other, Members will note a minor increase of $1,000, for a total increase of $26,000. That is basically it.
Mrs. Firth: What is the salary range now of the Government Leaders principal secretary?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I will have to come back with that. I do not have the range here.
Ministers in the amount of $140,000 agreed to
On OIC Personnel
Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister give us a listing of the OIC salaries, as he did last year?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Does the Member want the salary ranges or the individual salaries?
Mrs. Firth: Last year, on the five executive assistant salaries, $42,006 to $46,246 was the last figure we had; the secretaries were $30,070 to $33,259; special assistant, $26,138. That is the comparable range I am looking for this year.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Is the Member asking for the ranges or the salaries?
I will come back with that information.
Mrs. Firth: Could we stand that over until we get the answer?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As a courtesy, would the Opposition be prepared to table the salaries of their staff, as well?
OIC Personnel stood over
On Cabinet Tours
Cabinet Tours in the amount of $7,000 agreed to
On Public Inquiries
Chair: Is there any general debate?
Public Inquiries in the amount of one dollar agreed to
Plebiscites in the amount of one dollar agreed to
Executive Council Office - stood over items
On Public Affairs Bureau
On Administration, stood over
Hon. Mr. Penikett: There are two questions the Members asked. The Member was asking about the $30,000-some increase in the administrative line. The largest single item there is for the photocopier services, which are now being paid for under this line. They were previously paid for under Government Services. That includes a range of things, such as postage, advertising, program material, telephone and travel.
Mr. Phelps: I see that we are contributing once again to the Asia Pacific Foundation. Does the Government Leader have any comments as to how helpful the foundation has been to Yukon and its tourism and economic development?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The reason we are contributing again this year is because when the commitment was first made, it was a five-year commitment to give $25,000 per year. I will confess that I think there is great doubt in Cabinet, given the many demands we have for contributions of this kind from many organizations, most of them local, about whether we have value for money. In furtherance of a discussion of that question, the board of the Asia Pacific Foundation is intending to have a meeting in Whitehorse in the near future and has invited communication with a representative of this government to discuss, among other things, exactly that point.
Mr. Phelps: I am not saying that I am against our making contributions to the foundation, but I do think that we should be making use of it. I am curious if there are various avenues that we might be taking advantage of as a result of the work done by the foundation. I would be rather encouraged if the government, in meeting with the directors, explored that avenue. If we can justify it, I think we should support it. In order to justify it, we have to make use of it.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We have met with officials of the foundation. I have had meetings with the previous president in an effort to find a way to get some return for our investment. Many of the programs of the foundation are not accessible to Yukoners. For example, they have a scholarship program for senior journalists. There have been journalists from the Yukon who have applied to this program, for study tours in certain Asian counties. I am certain that no Yukon journalist has been able to take advantage of that. We have talked to them about whether there was any role for the foundation in assisting our penetration of Japanese or Korean markets. In a general way, things like briefing about Asian cultures or customs in the Japanese business community, they can provide some theoretical help to us.
For our needs, in terms of the sales this community now makes to Japanese and Korean outlets of lead/zinc or the small, speciality products that have found a recent market in Japan of arts and crafts or items like that, there has not been any service identified that the Asia Pacific Foundation can provide that is not already available through External Affairs, the embassies in those countries, or in some case the representatives of the destination nations.
For example, a number of Japanese consul-generals have taken a great interest in the territory and have made a number of visits and have made themselves available to any Yukoners who want to go to that country. I think it has been recognized that there was nothing particular that the Asia Pacific Foundation, through its offices in Vancouver, could offer us that those other sources could not.
Some of their programs and publications are designed to increase awareness of major countries like Indonesia, which I am sure the Leader of the Opposition knows, is a heavily-populated country with a burgeoning economy, have been of, I guess, intellectual interest to us but of no commercial interest at this moment, because we have practically no traffic with that nation, or with some of the other smaller Asian communities. I think, however, until such time as the current five-year commitment runs out, that we want to continue the dialogue in an open-minded way to see if we can have value for the money.
Quite obviously, and I suppose that it is still a surprise to some Yukoners, we have a substantial interest in that part of the world and a very large part of the product of this community, in dollar terms, finds its way to Soeul and to Tokyo or to smelters nearby to those countries. I do not believe at this moment in time that the Asia Pacific Foundation, for example, could offer much in the way of practical assistance to Curragh Resources, for example, or to any public officials or private citizens who may be planning a visit to, say, Ushiku, the sister city of Whitehorse, or Korea Zinc in Seoul that is not available already from some other source.
Mr. Phelps: The Government Leader has covered some of the areas - the sale of product from Yukon - and I am wondering now about tourism?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: From my own experience on that score, the initiatives we have made in the Japanese tourism market have not been facilitated by the Asia Pacific Foundation. I would say that when I was there the representatives, the tourism consul in the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, and the CP Air - as it then was, now the Canadian Airlines - representative in Tokyo were not only extremely aware of the Yukon and extremely helpful for me, for example, in setting up a lunch meeting with tourism representatives there, but both of them were in fact proteges of the gentleman of the name Mr. George Tawse-Smith, who happens to be an employee of this government, which I found was remarkable. So, we had a contact there right in the country, and information and access, which was probably superior in terms of the quality of the information, than anything that could come to us from the Vancouver offices of the Asia Pacific Foundation.
I think that it is interesting as well what one discovers about Japanese tourism while there. It is a highly specialized field, knowing how to market and promote the Yukon to that particular audience in that country, because it is a country where a knowledge and facility of the Japanese language is necessary to do business - unlike Korea, ironically, where you can business very well in English; most Korean business people, certainly the professional classes, seem to have been trained in American universities and therefore speak English very well. Of course the problem with Korea is that tourism there is not a reality. They do not encourage their nationals to travel in the same way that the Japanese do, even though there has been considerable movement toward democratization in South Korea, particularly in the period leading up to the Olympic Games, Korea is not yet have what we would call an open society, nor is it in the state of development as it is in Japan, which has the numbers of people who have the income to be able to travel abroad.
Administration in the amount of $179,000 agreed to
Public Affairs Bureau in the amount of $723,000 agreed to
Chair: Is it the wish of the committee to have a brief recess?
Chair: I now call the Committee of the Whole to order. Is there any general debate on Economic Development?
Mr. Phelps: Perhaps before we move on to that, with regard to the outstanding issue on Executive Council Office, I have had a discussion with the Member for Riverdale South. We are looking for the salary ranges, not the exact salaries of the OICs on page 46.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: That is duly noted on our side.
Chair: Is there general debate on Economic Development?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I would like to make a few remarks about the estimates here. The activities in the Department of Economic Development are, in essence, stabilizing after a period of growth. It is a period of consolidation and simplification for the departmental programs. The programs that it does deliver will continue and will be broadened in their application but will not seek an increase, as was made clear in the Capital Estimates.
Much of the programming in the capital program, with the exception of the cost-sharing arrangements with the federal government, will now, as Members will have noted in the Capital Estimates, be delivered under the Business Development Fund and the Community Development Fund and will be continued and funded at similar levels to the past year.
However, there are three new and necessary activities that are put in the Operation and Maintenance Estimates that I would like to explain. The first is placer support, which accounts for $50,000 of the mining programs transfer payments. New placer mining guidelines were established this last year that provide a more stable regime for the industry and which will enhance the environment. All operators will bear responsibility for limiting water discharge and for reclamation. There is a need, therefore, for research to identify fish stocks and appropriate discharge levels in the placer mining areas.
The two-year cost-shared federal/territorial program is being established in 1989-90 and Yukon will contribute $50,000 for this research. The program will not only assist placer miners to fulfill their obligations under the new regime, but will also help establish environmental protection measures that will undoubtedly provide valuable information on the fishery resources that will be of great value as the territory takes over responsibility for fresh-water fisheries. This program is expected to do much to help the government accomplish the three goals of the Yukon Economic Strategy, which is to conduct research, to ensure the long-term viability of the fisheries, and to develop a fair and streamlined regulatory process for the mining industry
The Yukon Economic Strategy also identified a number of initiatives that were necessary to assist the manufacturing sector. Some of them were already in effect, such as the trade show assistance program and support of business directories through the economic organization support program. This sort of support will continue to be available through the Business Development Fund.
Marketing is critical to industrial development so the small, local market with high operating costs in the Yukon will make it essential that export records are fully exploited if the manufacturers are to achieve the economies of scale necessary to compete, especially in the free trade environment.
As stated in the Yukon Economic Strategy an export strategy is now being developed and a trade and investment officer is being recruited.
In addition to that, $50,000 is allocated for manufacturing promotion. This will provide for some required initiatives in marketing Yukon products until such a time as the export strategy is completed. The initiatives include Yukon representation at major trade or investment shows where new markets for potential investors can be identified. This responds to the point that was made by the Member for Riverdale North respecting the need to acquire access to Alaska markets.
The second is the support for promotional activities, working with industry and associations, such as the Chamber of Commerce, to develop a Buy Yukon campaign with events like the Buyers Trade Show and preparing promotional literature and pamphlets that will showcase local products and provide marketing information.
Thirdly, it will enable research to be undertaken related to export barriers to local firms in Canada, whether or not they access new markets such as Alaska. They will circulate information on how to deal with customs regulations and the like.
This $50,000 commitment represents only a start toward meeting marketing and promotional assistance requirements. A more comprehensive program will be developed at the completion of the export strategy.
A new item I would like to address is the $155,000 in the Budget for major projects under the policy, planning and research branch for the purpose of furthering the Northern Accord and an energy strategy. Last September, as Members know, the federal government concluded an agreement in principle with the Governments of the Yukon and the Northwest Territories identifying the principles under which a Northern Accord regarding oil and gas resource management and revenues could be negotiated.
The principles agreed to between the Yukon and federal government provide for the phased transfer to the territorial government of legislative responsibility for managing and regulating on-shore oil and gas resources, immediate consultation with the territorial government on all significant decisions affecting oil and gas in the Yukon and the Beaufort Sea and a commitment to future sharing between the federal and territorial governments on the regulation and management of off-shore northern oil and gas resources in the Beaufort Sea and a sharing of the revenues.
The negotiating of the accord is expected to be driven at a fairly quick pace. As current Beaufort leases expire in 1989-90, the companies are starting to press the federal government for renewals. It is clear that the response time by the government will be quick in addressing these issues.
Another issue that is immediate is the issue of the rights issuance, which could involve the collection of lease and licence fees, a portion of which could accrue to the territory under a revenue-sharing agreement.
The Yukon will move quickly in developing the accord and the Beaufort Sea revenue-sharing arrangements. Our involvement with a strong presence is necessary not only to secure revenue sharing but, also, to ensure Yukon business and employment benefits are realized in the development of northern oil and gas, and to take an active role in the management of these resources.
The Yukon Economic Strategy identified this as a priority area. Control of the resources is an important step on the road to self-sufficiency. The money devoted here will allow us to develop a negotiating position and to work cooperatively with the Northwest Territories toward a Northern Accord and Beaufort Sea benefit sharing.
The strategy also called for the development of an energy policy, which will also be developed with these funds. This policy will be even more necessary as we take a more active role in managing energy resources. I highlight these areas not only because they are important, but because they capture some of the new directions for the department, which is otherwise dedicated to consolidating their programming and stabilizing their operations.
If Members would like to discuss these matters further, perhaps we could do it now.
Mr. Phillips: The Minister said the activities in the Economic Development department are stabilizing. Recently, I was in the Small Business Development Office in the Main Street building. It appears to be far from stabilizing. That office is quite jammed and full of all kinds of people. Are there any plans for the department to be renting more office space, or expanding into other buildings in the near future?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Perhaps the Member was referring to all the public up there seeking assistance and interfacing with the civil servants in the top floor of that building. The only activity I am aware of that may involve a change is a plan that is currently within the department to try and secure a storefront operation for the BDO. It is the view that, as accessible as the current office space is, it is not accessible enough in some peoples minds. There will be a review of the situation in the coming year. There is no plan to relocate or expand the required office space for this department. As the Member will note, there is no projected increase in the person year establishment of this department. There is a desire to find more accessible space for people off the street than the fourth floor of that particular building.
Mr. Phillips: I would like to go into the area of the flow-through shares program. The federal government is looking at changing that concept. Has our government looked at the scenarios if the federal government stops that program? Are we looking at any alternatives or assistance? Could we put a program in place that would assist in more development?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The federal government is considering alternatives to the flow-through share system at this time. They do have interim arrangements. Until the federal governments tax plans are made clear, it is impossible to determine exactly what the final arrangements will be. On the tax expenditure side, the government, at this point, has not considered trying to make up for federal programs that might be axed in any round of budget review. We have committed ourselves to the exploration assistance, which is the capital program that we recently discussed in the Legislature. This has been quite popular with the medium-sized and larger companies. In many respects, it was meant to capture the same general market that the federal government tax expenditure programs did. As I am sure the Member knows, the flow-through shares were dedicated primarily toward encouraging exploration development in the mining industry. The capital program that Economic Development and Small Business has captures that market, though in a slightly different way.
The value of the flow-through shares scheme is, in itself, well beyond the means of the Government of Yukon. A number of the companies took advantage of it to the tune of $15 million or $20 million each. We could not match that. Once the federal governments tax plans become clearer, we will have an opportunity to discuss the situation with the department. We have already made a commitment to discuss, with the Chamber of Mines, how federal and territorial government programs can match up to meet the needs of the mining industry. The federal government liked our exploration assistance program so much that they are planning a program like that for themselves. I think it is incumbent upon us that we do not overlap, but that we meet the actual needs. Those discussions will be taking place in the near future, and we will roll in any information that we may receive from federal Finance with respect to their tax expenditure plans.
Mr. Phillips: I would like to go briefly to the three new programs that the Minister talked about. The first one is the placer support. He mentioned that we are contributing $50,000 to the cost. What is going to be the total cost of this program and who else is contributing to the program?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I believe the federal government is contributing $50,000 as well. I do not know whether or not this program is cost-shared with industry as well. We are cost-sharing this with the federal government. I can bring back more specific information with respect to the responsibilities of industry and government.
Mr. Phillips: Is the Department of Economic Development carrying out this specific program, or is it going to work closely with the new Renewable Resources department of fisheries and dovetail some of the research and studies it is going to be doing this summer? If we have people in the area who are biologists and are doing studies, we could combine both and get the best value for our dollar in those areas.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Yes, on the Yukon government side, the initiative will be coordinated with the Department of Renewable Resources. One of the reasons we wanted to get in this far was because we knew the information would be valuable to our new fisheries section.
Mr. Phillips: I am extremely pleased to hear that. It must be a new first for government: one department doing a study and actually relaying the information over to the other ones so we do not have to reinvent the wheel somewhere down the road.
Another area I would like to move into is the trade show participation. I would like to make a suggestion to the Minister. When we made a recent visit to Alaska, I had an opportunity to talk to several of the Alaskans in economic development and tourism. They are currently developing a made-in-Alaskan catalogue. It is a very good program. I had an opportunity to look at some of the layouts they were doing. I think they are going to break it down into various areas and sectors, such as tourism. For instance, all the people who have various arts and crafts in the territory would have a picture of some of their crafts in this catalogue. It was a colourful little catalogue that would be available to tourists up and down the highway and in various places tourists would stop. People could come in and look at the products, for instance in the Yukon Native Products Store and, when they left, they could take this catalogue along, which would have addresses they could write to for various things at Christmas if they wanted to buy gifts.
All Alaskan products were in there. There were the various types of canned fish, native products, and carvings. When it gets to economic development, it refers to various types of special buildings Alaskans are building that conform to the northern climate. I think it would be a good idea for us to look at this type of catalogue. In the spirit of free trade, a catalogue like this could identify the various goods and services that are available in the Yukon. It could be distributed throughout Alaska, as well as to the tourism market.
I think we should seriously look at developing a program such as this. We could look at what the Alaskans were doing, rather than starting from scratch. They might tell us without a great deal of cost and give us a copy of their catalogue. We could take some ideas from their format and see how it works.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I think the Members suggestion is useful, and I will ask the department to see to what extent we can pursue that activity here to determine, with the Alaska officials, to what extent the activity can be blended with their initiative, should we decide to promote it. The Member has made the obvious point that if we shared resources, clearly, we would get a bigger bang for the buck. Even though Alaska is much bigger than we are in many respects, they are still, in the broad scheme of things, a small jurisdiction. I am sure that our objectives can be mutually adopted through joint action.
I think it is a good idea. I have always wondered why the marketing did not include catalogues of Yukon products, because, in the north, we are very practiced at using catalogues. It is just such an usual event to go shopping in the pages of a book. It is fairly obvious that, because of the numbers of the products we produce, sometimes quite unique and individualized, they are not always available over the counter during the summer. It would be appropriate that they get access to the producers of these products at a time when they may not be in the Yukon but can do it through the mail. The idea is a sound one, and I will pursue it and let the Member know how things go.
Mr. Phillips: One of the reasons I found their catalogue so interesting is because it did exactly what the Minister said. It contained the small and unique businesses, such as a person up by Dawson that makes special jams and jellies and has little opportunity to market them. They would have a little picture in the corner and a place where you could actually order this stuff. People would, say, pull into Moose Creek and get a sample of it there and there could be a catalogue they could take with them. Then at Christmas, or whatever, when these things were probably more readily available, they could order this kind of thing. I believe they have done some testing in Alaska with a catalogue and it has been very successful. They are inundated by people wanting to get their things through the catalogue to the point it is almost a problem. I think that it is a good idea, especially for the small entrepreneurs out there who want to get their products better known and it is something we could do as a government to facilitate this.
I think we could move line by line, if no one else has any more general questions.
Mrs. Firth: I just have one question for the Minister. We used to get minutes of the Economic Council meetings and then all of a sudden they just dried up. We stopped getting them. I wonder if we could get a commitment from this Minister to continue getting the minutes from the Economic Council meetings.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I would suspect that one of the reasons they dried up is because the council stopped meeting. I think. But I will check on that matter, I do not know specifically why the minutes dried up. I do not see why a commitment from the previous administration cannot be carried into this administration. Sure.
Administration in the amount of $578,000 agreed to
Chair: Are there any questions on allotments and person year establishment?
On Energy and Mines
Chair: Is there any general debate on page 106?
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister give us an outline of what he sees happening in the area of energy this coming year?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: On the energy side, the department is recognized to have done very well in terms of encouraging energy alternatives and energy conservation. In the coming year, the department will tool-up to become more practiced and knowledgeable about oil and gas. We anticipate a great deal of activity in this field over the coming years. It is essential that we acquire and develop expertise in this area in order to negotiate and discuss the agreements competently with the federal government and the various suppliers, including the Government of the Northwest Territories, that will be necessary for us to encourage our sovereignty in the north.
There are big issues coming up with respect to pipelines and transportation of oil and gas. This is an area where we will be improving our capability.
On the mines side, we have committed with the Chamber of Mines and its various subgroups to deal with everything from mine training to a rationalization of mine programs. We do not know what is available from the federal government, or what will happen with respect to the tax breaks. That will come out of the federal budget. We will have to see what the environment is with respect to federal activity in this field, and work with the Chamber of Mines and the mine operators, prospectors and the placer miners to ensure that our programs are appropriate, do not overlap and hit the nail on the head.
We will be doing some joint research with the industry. At the last meeting we had with the Chamber of Mines executive, we briefly discussed the desirability of improving public relations around the mining industry in the Yukon, not only for internal purposes but, also, to encourage mining investment in Canadian circles. Those public relations can take a number of forms. It is not yet established how far we want to go, but it will be joint government/industry action.
Those are the major directions this branch will pursue.
Mr. Lang: I thought there would have been some comment in the area of hydro. I am thinking of how this department dovetails with the Yukon Development Corporation when it comes to the North Fork possibility and other energy sources in Watson Lake. This is a major concern to that community.
There have been numerous studies done to see what can be done to replace the diesel generation there. I do not think this can be discounted in other areas of the Yukon. At one time, there was a study done about the possibility of us providing hydro to Alaska. I do not know where this study is at present. Discussions have been off and on over the past number of years. It would primarily be distributed out of Juneau through an underwater cable that could be put in place, if it was economically viable. I would like to hear the Ministers comments in that area.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I had hoped that I had made it clear at the beginning of my comments that I was referring to new initiatives for this branch. Through the Yukon Energy Alternatives Program, the branch has encouraged the development of alternate energy supplies and a more efficient use of energy power plants that are used, whether it is in the making of a more efficient diesel plant, or whether it is pursuing micro-hydro, or whether it is determining whether or not a woodchip fire boiler is appropriate for a particular operation. I know there are a number of projects in the works, and there are a number of projects that have been approved primarily for study. Also, loans have been provided for various projects to undertake alternative energy supply projects.
With respect to the major power development projects the Member mentioned, I would think the major capacity to deal with those emanates from the Yukon Energy Corporation. I would be hesitant to discuss that at this point, not being the Minister responsible for the corporation. Issues such as a long-term power supply are very current. They are of interest to the mining industry, which we are specifically talking about here. There are attempts to anticipate power needs by the mining industry and to respond to them responsibly. Every project that is anticipated to supply the major users is a costly thing and appropriate planning has to take place.
That is something I know the Yukon Development Corporation is considering. As far as the Department of Economic Development: Mines and Small Business energy mines branch, they can provide advice on a case-by-case basis with respect to how a particular operation uses its power. It has a mandate to encourage the use of alternative power, if it is more cost efficient and, also, to encourage more energy-efficient construction through such things as the SEAL program.
That is primarily the mandate of this branch. It is pursuing that mandate as aggressively as it did before. There has been no change in personnel in those fields; there has been no change in the program levels, as the Member noted from the Capital Budget. Those things are still being pursued. There is no change there. In my opening remarks, I was primarily referring to the new initiatives that I regard as being important ones for the energy and mining fields.
Mr. Lang: Is the Minister in a position to comment on the North Fork and where that project is at? There were some studies going on with respect to the possibility of supplying energy to southeast Alaska. If the Minister does not have it with him, could he provide us with a list of these studies that are underway for alternate energy uses? I would also like to know what is being studied, and where.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I should preface my remarks by saying firstly that I understand that there are reviews of the future energy supply requirements. The Minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation will have to respond to the Members request for information for those major projects because clearly, as far as the government is concerned, he would be within the mandate of Yukon Energy Corporation, particularly to respond to, not only major energy requirements, but certainly anything that would involve energy export.
Mr. Lang: Just to follow up for a minute, can he give us the studies that he referred to in his remarks, as far as alternate energy was concerned? He said there was a number underway; I would like to know where they are and what they are?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I could provide a list of what all of the studies in the last year say and the things that are being contemplated.
Chair: Shall we proceed with line by line?
Administration in the amount of $117,000 agreed to
Energy in the amount of $111,000 agreed to
Mining in the amount of $132,000 agreed to
Energy and Mines in the amount of $360,000 agreed to
Mr. Phillips: The Minister was going to bring back the study on the SEAL program. Has that been completed yet? He said it would be the middle or end of April. I was wondering if it is ready yet.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It is not completed yet, but certainly when it is completed, I will make sure the Member has a copy.
On Economic Policy, Planning and Research
Chair: Is there general debate on Economic Policy, Planning and Research?
We will proceed with line by line.
Administration in the amount of $266,000 agreed to
Research in the amount of $189,000 agreed to
On Economic Planning
Economic Planning in the amount of $213,000 agreed to
On Major Projects
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The $266,000 represents a full-year budget for the manager, the major projects, personnel benefits, offices, salaries and related program costs, plus the consultant services contracts for the work that I mentioned at the beginning with respect to the Northern Accord.
Major Projects in the amount of $266,000 agreed to
Economic Policy, Planning and Research in the amount of $934,000 agreed to
Mr. Phillips: I wonder if I could ask the Minister what the position is of the Government of Yukon on oil and gas exploration in the Beaufort Sea off Yukons coast? I know we do not legally have that right as yet, but what is the position of the government if we are successful in our challenge that that land above the north coast of Yukon, in fact, belongs to the people of the Yukon.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member is talking about off-shore development. I think it would be manifestly inconsistent of the Government of Yukon to encourage off-shore development in the Northwest Territories and not permit it in the Yukon. All the caveats in regards to environmental factors would have to be rigidly scrutinized by us, as would be expected, and we would have to be clear on the resolutions of the Northern Accord, but our position on the Yukons off-shore would be essentially the same as our position on the NWTs off-shore.
Mr. Phillips: I guess what I am left wondering is what exactly our position is when we speak out so strongly against ANWR. I understand and support that, but then on the other hand we support the NWTs development of oil and gas, and some of that land is just as fragile. I agree with the Minister that maybe under some cases there can be some development in the area but I think Yukoners are a bit confused about how we can fight so hard against any development on the Alaskan side and then we stand up and say it is now time to develop oil and gas reserves on Yukons side. It is a legitimate question a lot of Yukoners are asking.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: For me there is no intellectual inconsistency at all. We have never commented negatively to my knowledge with respect to development in Prudhoe Bay. We have not commented negatively, I believe, with respect to development off-shore in the NWT. We have expressed very serious reservations about development on the ANWR, and the reasons for that are that the government has serious concerns about the safety of the Porcupine caribou herd.
We would clearly, with respect to off-shore development, be very concerned about environmental impacts and we would want to be assured of the safety of that kind of development in the off-shore. However, we are consistent with respect to our position on Prudhoe Bay and off-shore NWT and I would say that there ought to be no concern expressed by people who understand our position about any kind of inconsistency. I do not see it. I do not believe there is one. I feel quite comfortable with the position we have taken here.
Mr. Phillips: I am pleased to hear the Minister lay it out in a much clearer manner. I think there are a lot of Yukoners out there who are a bit confused about the position. It is sometimes difficult to understand when you hear so many arguments about the ANWR development. I stood up with the Member for Old Crow and many other Members in this House and supported our position on that and I still do. I think that Yukoners now understand more clearly that the position of this government is yes to development with proper environmental safeguards. I think we all stress that and I think there must be an enormous number of hearings and whatever impact studies they have to go through to determine whether or not there is oil and gas there, whether or not it is feasible to develop and whether or not we could get any of it out without harming the environment. It has to be a number one priority and I am glad to hear the Ministers position on that.
Chair: If there are no questions on page 112, we will go on to page 114.
Mr. Phillips: Could I go back to page 112 for a minute on the economic development agreements? With respect to the tourism agreement, there were many more applications this year, but a lower percentage of applicants approved. At the same time, we have $2 million left over. What happened?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will have to take the question as notice and lay out the reasons for the various changes there. I do not have the specific answer.
On Small Business
On General Administration
General Administration in the amount of $121,000 agreed to
On Business Assistance
Business Assistance in the amount of $350,000 agreed to
Small Business in the amount of $471,000 agreed to
Department of Economic Development: Mines and Small Business in the amount of $2,343,000 agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move you report progress on Bill No. 51.
Chair: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader that we report progress on Bill No. 51.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Chair: 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 a report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole?
Ms. Kassi: Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 51, First Appropriation Act, 1989-90 and directed me to report progress on same.
Speaker: You have heard the report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
We are now prepared to receive the Administrator, acting in her capacity as Lieutenant Governor, to grant assent to the bills which have passed this House.
Administrator enters the Chambers
Assent to Bills
Administrator: Please be seated.
Speaker: The Assembly has, at its present session, passed certain bills to which, in the name and on behalf of the Assembly, I respectfully request your assent.
Clerk: Third Appropriation Act, 1988-89
Day of Mourning for Victims of Workplace Injuries Act
Administrator: I hereby assent to the bills as enumerated by the Clerk.
Administrator leaves the Chamber
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
Mr. Phillips: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Opposition House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. Monday next.
The House adjourned at 5:10 p.m.
The following Sessional Paper was tabled April 13, 1989:
Report of the Chief Electoral Officer on Contributions to Political Parties, 1988 (Speaker - Johnston)
The following Legislative Return was tabled April 13, 1989:
Organization chart and related information re French and Aboriginal Languages Program (Penikett)
Oral, Hansard, p. 50