Tuesday, December 5, 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.
Are there any Introduction of Visitors?
Returns or 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.
Economic Program Delivery in Yukon Communities
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I rise today to inform the House of changes to the delivery of economic programs in Yukon communities. Theses changes build on the streamlined approach we believe to be most effective in providing services to rural Yukon residents.
As this House is aware, our government is committed to encouraging economic and community development throughout the Yukon. We recognize that this essential goal is one that must be accomplished in communities. During the Yukon 2000 consultations, which resulted in the development of the Yukon economic strategy, rural residents asked for more direct access to programs. The community and business development funds were created to provide a flexible one-window approach to program delivery in our communities.
During the past three years, there have been other improvements in rural program delivery. In 1986, business development offices were opened in Watson Lake and Dawson City, which provide services as well to Elsa, Mayo, Teslin, Lower Post, and Upper Liard. In 1987, a business development office was opened in Ross River, also servicing Faro.
Today, I am pleased to announce that we are combining business development office and community development office services in Yukon communities, improving program delivery to further meet the needs of Yukon people.
These changes, which build on a team approach, and work toward achieving decentralization of government programs, will provide more direct access to Yukon communities. I am proud to say that we can accomplish this goal of making effective use of already existing resources, without increasing our budget or adding additional positions.
A community development officer position has been transferred to the Haines Junction area. This position will deliver both the community development fund and the business development fund, providing direct and accessible services to communities along the North Alaska Highway.
The community development fund will be delivered in Watson Lake, Dawson City, and Faro through the expanded mandate of economic development officers.
Mr. Speaker, combining rural delivery of the community and business development funds reinforces the streamlined one-window approach that we feel is most appropriate for use in Yukon communities.
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, we are pleased to inform you of the efforts we are making to ensure equitable and effective program delivery to Yukon communities.
Motion of Urgent and Pressing Necessity No. 1
Mrs. Firth: Thank you. I rise under the provision of Standing Order No. 28 to request the unanimous consent of the House to move a motion without notice. In three weeks the land claims negotiator will be on a paid special leave. The House will be sitting only one more week and be in a six-week Christmas break, beginning next week. We feel this would set an unacceptable precedent and be unfair to all public servants, as well as the taxpayers. The motion I propose to move, if unanimous consent is granted, reads as follows:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Government of Yukon should not provide any paid special leave to Land Claims Negotiator Barry Stuart prior to his return to the position of Territorial Court Judge.
Speaker: To proceed with such a motion requires the unanimous consent of the House. Is there unanimous consent.
Some hon. Members: Agree.
Some hon. Members: Disagree.
Speaker: There is not unanimous consent. We will proceed with Question Period.
Question re: Licence plates
Mr. Phelps: Since we cannot call a petition, we will proceed with some questions on a topic of great interest to Yukoners right now, namely that of the new licence plates.
Many Yukoners are upset and outraged by this governments decision to change this licence plate without any consultation with Yukoners. My question to the Minister for Tourism is: can he tell us if the new licence plates have been manufactured yet?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, the licence plates have not yet been manufactured. I want to make it clear, as I tried to do yesterday, that although it is true we did not consult with any specific group on this matter whose views were raised by the Member opposite, we did in a very general sense have a lot of public consultation in the establishment of the tourism action plan, in which it was very strongly stated that we wanted to promote the wilderness character of the Yukon. That is reflected in the new licence plate design.
Mr. Phelps: I am terrified that if I ask a question on the licence plates I am liable to get a speech about the S.S. Tutshi and its rehabilitation.
I am wondering if the Minister - or perhaps the Premier would like to comment. No? He is going to give me a chance to ask a question, that is very nice of him.
Is there any chance that this government, in the face of the extreme outrage being expressed by many long-time Yukoners, might reverse its decision and go with the gold panner and the Klondike theme instead of the pot plant and the The Magic... The Mystery?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to indicate to the Member opposite that if he is going to introduce his question with a preamble, it would only be fair for me to provide some comment to that preamble. He said that a lot of Yukoners were upset and outraged with the decision to introduce this new licence plate design. I know just as many people who are very pleased with this new design and welcome it openly. As a result, in response to his question, I think no, it is not possible.
Mr. Phelps: I can only gather that the hon. Minister has not been home lately to his riding of Klondike. If representations were made to him by groups such as the Klondike Visitors Association or the Tourist Industry Association to reverse this decision and go to the old theme, will he advocate this position to his Cabinet?
Hon. Mr. Webster: As I tried to indicate again yesterday, it is not just a simple process of consulting with one organization, such as the Klondike Visitors Association. We consulted with a lot of people during the formation of the tourism action plan. There was a lot of input provided by many organizations, not solely by the Klondike Visitors Association.
Question re: Licence plates
Mr. Phelps: It sounds to me like the only place he consulted about this may have been Winnipeg, and that being after the fact.
I have a question to the Minister of Economic Development regarding the manufacture of the new plates. I would like to know whether or not his department has given any consideration to having the licence plates manufactured in Yukon by a small business.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I cannot speak in terms of my responsibility for Economic Development, because the question has not been put to that department, to my knowledge. I can speak with some experience from the perspective of Community and Transportation Services. That department did a cost analysis some time ago of the possibility of printing the plates in the Yukon. At that time, it was determined that the costs would be prohibitive. There are established shops that produce licence plates in bulk for jurisdictions across North America. The cost effectiveness of producing only a very small number of licence plates for the Yukon, in relative terms, would necessitate having the plates printed in a bulk plant.
Mr. Phelps: Was small business consulted in the Yukon? Or groups such as the Yukon Chamber of Commerce?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Obviously, there is currently no licence plate printing business in the Yukon to consult with. The cost of establishing a printing plant has not come forward from the private sector, and we respond to the proposals from the private sector in this regard. Clearly, the consideration of small scale printing of the required licence plates for the Yukon would be an extremely expensive proposition for this government. Consequently, we have not considered printing them in the Yukon, but instead have appealed to the bulk plants that have traditionally printed plates for us.
Mr. Phelps: This is a serious issue. This is a government that talked about trying to prevent the leakage of dollars outside the territory. This is a government that started very questionable enterprises such as the manufacture of furniture in the Yukon using outside materials.
In light of all this, would the Minister of Economic Development at least undertake to have his department consult with small business to see whether or not there might be people interested in bidding on the manufacture of licence plates in the Yukon every five years?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I would like to point out to the Member that while the governments clear intention is to prevent as much leakage as possible from the local economy, we have to have a pragmatic view of the kinds of initiatives we do undertake. I can think of numerous examples of the necessity of continuing to seek supply for the Yukon outside of the Yukon boundaries, simply because it is not cost effective for us to undertake the work locally.
For example, in Highways and Transportation, we do not look for the securing of bulk supplies of tar and other materials locally as it would not be cost effective to secure them locally. We do try to take advantage of whatever opportunities we do have.
Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please get to the answer.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: We had studied it before in Community and Transportation Services and considered it not to be practical. I think it would be a useless exercise to do it again.
Question re: Licence plates
Mr. Phelps: So to summarize the answer to the last question, is the answer no?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I thank the Member for giving me the opportunity to repeat. Community and Transportation Services did undertake a review of the supply of licence plates and the potential for supplying them locally and determined that it was not cost effective, nor was it cost effective to try to do it, or to initiate the industry from scratch to try to do it locally.
Consequently, it would not be a practical approach to seek local printing of the plates. We would do what the previous Conservative government had done for many, many years. We would continue to seek the printing of the plates outside of the territory.
Mr. Phelps: The answer was no. Will the Minister then undertake to send me any correspondence or memoranda relating to this issue that might be in existence in the department?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: If the Member wishes, I will undertake to provide the Member with a written explanation of the reasons for which Community and Transportation Services has sought the services of the printers for the licence plates and an appropriate analysis so the Member can perhaps better understand the necessity of doing what we are doing.
Mr. Phelps: I think the answer was yes.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The answer was exactly as I stated it.
Question re: Judge/land claims negotiator
Mrs. Firth: In three weeks, the land claims negotiator will be taking a holiday, where he has said he is going to relax, catch up to himself and write a book about Johnny Johns. I think he received a grant of $10,000 from the federal government to write that book.
I have a clear and simple question for the Minister of Justice. Could she tell us how much money this government is going to pay the land claims negotiator while he is away?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The person the Member for Riverdale South is speaking about will be paid 70 percent of the salary allowed judges under the regulations for sabbatical leave for judges.
Mrs. Firth: The judges have had an increase in their salary. Is that 70 percent of his old salary, which would be approximately $56,000, or is it 70 percent of the new salary, which would be about $62,000? We would like to get an exact figure. She should know; she is the Minister.
Hon. Ms. Joe: It is my understanding it will be 70 percent of the existing salary.
Mrs. Firth: Is that not wonderful? Now, we know the judge has not been on the bench for four years but has just managed to benefit from the increase in the judges salary. The land claims negotiator has not been on the bench so now he is going to get over $62,000 for the holiday. Does the Minister agree with the statement that he is going to get in excess of $62,000 for this holiday?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The Member has asked the question many times, over and over again, in a different manner each time. The individual will be taking leave as a judge of the Territorial Court. He will be receiving the amount of money that will be allocated under the regulations for sabbaticals for judges, which is 70 percent of a judges salary.
Question re: Jack London film
Mr. Lang: I would like to follow up on some news we heard this morning that was very unwelcomen. That was the fact that the Jack London film, based on White Fang, is going to be filmed in Haines, Alaska, rather than Dawson City. Further, we were told the production was in the neighbourhood of $8 million, which is a substantial amount of money.
I have a question for the Minister of Tourism. Since this House votes dollars for the purpose of attracting film production to the Yukon on an annual basis, were there any discussions with this organization about having this production done in the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Discussions have been going on for more than one year with the company involved, a subsidiary of Disney Studios, to woo them to the Yukon to at least film parts of their production here.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister tell us why the City of Dawson and the Klondike Visitors Association were not aware of this production company and the interest it may have had in filming in Dawson City or the surrounding areas?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am certain that the Klondike Visitors Association was made aware of the fact that there were individuals from the film industry scouting the Yukon as a possible site. It was brought to my attention by Dick North in the spring. We met in my office with Kevin Shackell, who was the publicity director at that time, to go over strategy to attempt to get them to scout the Yukon more thoroughly. I am sure that Dick North, who works for the Klondike Visitors Association, made the association aware of that fact.
Mr. Lang: Did the Minister hear the news at noon hour? We were told that the Klondike Visitors Association and the City of Dawson had no knowledge that a production of this magnitude was being considered for the north. What offer did the Minister make to accommodate this production in the Yukon so that it could be more attractive than Haines, Alaska or some other area?
Hon. Mr. Webster: We made the same offer to this film company as we do to all others. We offer them our assistance in any way possible in touring them around the Yukon to take a look at possible locations that fit the scenery they are looking for. All this was communicated to them on at least two separate occasions, once early this spring by Kevin Shackell at a symposium, which is a major convention for the film industry. They were approached on a personal basis to come to the Yukon. We would provide assistance in any way possible to help them come to a favourable decision.
Question re: Jack London film
Mr. Lang: I want to follow this up further. I find what the Minister just told us to be very disturbing. The Minister says it is not disturbing. It is very disturbing, particularly to the people in Dawson who lost out on a major production. Did we, as a government, tour these individuals around or go down south to visit other productions they were having in order to see what we could do to encourage them to come up here?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I have already indicated that we made that offer available to the individuals of the film company. They did not take us up on it. They privately toured sites in Colorado, Montana, Alaska and the Yukon themselves. They did not take us up on our offer for any assistance.
Mr. Lang: Are you trying to say that the government did not ensure that these individuals went to Dawson to meet with the various organizations and the municipality and other people there who could offer them incentives to come to Dawson as opposed to looking elsewhere? Did we just let them go on their own and do whatever they wanted without trying to be around to see what we could do to encourage them to set up in the Yukon and film a northern film that should have been filmed in the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I already indicated that we did make the offer to assist in any way and to introduce them to people. They preferred to scout on their own, as is quite common in this particular industry.
Question re: Chronic disease and disability program
Mr. Nordling: I have a question for the Minister of Health and Human Resources with respect to the chronic disease and disability program. In a ministerial statement on January 13, 1987, the former Minister of Health and Human Resources announced the decision to implement a comprehensive chronic disease and disability program, effective February 1, 1987, which would add $120,000 to the cost of health services. Yesterday, the present Minister told us that for the year 1988-89, $866,000 was needed. What research was done and what did that research tell the government about the potential costs of the program before it was implemented?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I suspect that not only does the Member not seriously expect me to have research available to me in Question Period, but also I am sure that you know, Mr. Speaker, that a question of that kind, if the Member wanted an answer, would require notice.
There was research done by the Department and Health and Human Resources at the time before the program was implemented. Clearly, whatever analysis was done as to the cost implications was incomplete. We now have the empirical evidence, which is the best research we can have on the actual costs of that program, and, in common with every other jurisdiction in the country that has programs of this kind, the costs have been rising extraordinarily. We are now looking at the experience of other jurisdictions in this country to see what we can learn from them about effectively dealing with those rising costs without doing damage to the purpose of the program, which is to provide assistance to people in need of this kind of program, which is of great benefit to a large number of people in the territory.
Mr. Nordling: What a poor excuse for not being able to answer the question. Last night we were told by the Minister that he was taking this very seriously and investigating it at the present time, and now he cannot answer questions about it? When did this government know that it was becoming an insurer of first resort, rather than an insurer of last resort, as was the hope of this government?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have to respond to the preamble because, as usual, the question from Member opposite has nothing to do with the question. The Member has not been here that long, but he would know that he might as well have asked me what I was doing on February 13, 1953 between 10 and 12 oclock. If he seriously wants an answer to a question like that, he will give notice; if he just wants to make his point in Question Period, he will not.
I became aware in the last few months while doing the analysis of the rising health care costs - and we have been looking at every element of our program - of some of the factors that have led to very high costs in some of our programs. Some of the factors result from the analysis I described yesterday in the beginning of the estimates debates, which I am sure we will continue today; we are not fully sure that we have defined other factors properly. I mentioned yesterday one dimension of the chronic disease program that had come to my attention recently, in the last few weeks, which would require, if it were to be dealt with, some substantive changes, perhaps even a change in legislation. I have indicated to the House that when we have completed our deliberations on this - I assume that will happen this winter - I will be coming forward to the House with some proposals.
Mr. Nordling: I think the Government Leader should take a look at the rules for ministerial statements and Question Period, so that he knows what is required of him. He obviously does not.
Why did what was happening with this program only become obvious in the past few months? It has been going on for three years, and the Minister stands up and says that in the last few months he has discovered that the government has become an insurer of first resort, not last resort. What has been going on for the last three years?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: For the past three years, we have been providing excellent assistance to a great number of people in the territory who need it with an extremely popular program, but also one that is extremely expensive. In looking at the costs, we have had reason to do some analysis as to why those costs were as high as they were. I shared one of those reasons for the costs with the House yesterday. I am now in the course of looking at remedies to that situation and, as I said earlier, I hope to be announcing them this winter.
Question re: Chronic disease and disability program
Mr. Nordling: We told the Minister exactly that the day the former Minister announced the program. Now the picture is becoming very clear.
The Department of Health and Human Resources has gone without political direction for too long. I am not going to let this Minister get away with this political rhetoric while his deputy runs the department.
There are serious political decisions to be made, and the Minister has to start making them. Now that he has raised the expectations and taken political credit for this program and continues to do it, I want to know who he is going to say no to.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The first person I will say no to is the Member opposite, since he does not know what he is talking about. If I went through Hansard, I am sure I could talk about all the predictions made by the Members opposite that have proven false and have a field day. I will do him the kindness of not doing that.
We have here a program that is meeting a real human need. It is, nonetheless, an expensive program. There may be people who are taking advantage of the program who have other options available to them. We will be exploring those options. I will be reporting to the House and making recommendations about them.
I want to say that the decisions in the department will be made by the Minister and the Cabinet, except administrative decisions, which are properly those of the public service. The record of innovation, program development and assistance developed in this government by my predecessor, and by this government that sits now, will compare - I believe history will judge - favourably with the years of neglect presided over by the Members opposite.
Mr. Nordling: Obviously, the Minister has big problems making decisions. He can carry on with his personal attacks, but it is not going to stop me from asking questions and embarrassing him into doing his job.
I would like to know if letters have gone out to other jurisdictions and if replies have been received with respect to their chronic care programs, and, if so, will the Minister make them available to the House?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: No, I am not going to be tabling all the correspondence in the department in the House. I am sure the Member will be pleased to know that I have raised this issue and discussed it with my fellow health ministers most recently at a meeting in Toronto, but also previously in other health minister meetings during the time I have had this portfolio.
I know the Member across the floor continues to make chippy little personal attacks himself. We will ignore those. He can be rest assured that we will do the job. We will implement the policies we were elected to implement and the mandate the people of the Yukon gave us in February.
Mr. Nordling: I am encouraged that the Minister has committed himself to doing something. Now I would like to know when a decision will be made with respect to the chronic disease and disability program.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I believe I have answered that question four times now. Just in case the Member has forgotten, I will repeat that I will be making an announcement this winter.
Question re: Chronic disease and disability program
Mrs. Firth: I want to follow up on the expansion of the chronic disease list with the Minister of Health. You cannot treat people the way this government is treating people. When we responded to the governments new initiative, we brought forward all the concerns that the Minister is now looking at four years later. We raised them all.
Four years later, the new Minister of Health and Human Resources, after having the departmental responsibility for a year, stands up in this House and says he has to review the chronic disease list program. You do not give something to people and then take it away from them. You just do not treat people like that. He cannot have it both ways.
Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please get to the question.
Mrs. Firth: I am, Mr. Speaker. The Minister is going to have to say no to some people on the chronic disease list.
Have the people who have presently been benefiting from the chronic disease program been sent correspondence and notified that the program is under review and that their benefits may be changed, that they may be losing some benefits?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: No. Let us get serious. Until some decisions are made about what we are going to do, the course proposed by the Member opposite would have been entirely unprecedented during her time in government. It is not going to happen.
She says we cannot treat people the way we are. I will stack up the way this government treats people in need against her record and the record of her government any day of the week.
Mrs. Firth: That is not a new line. That is the same tired old rhetoric and the same tired old stuff we get from that Member all the time.
Let us discuss the issue here. The chronic disease list program is going to be changed. I am simply asking on behalf of participants of that program if this government has notified them or has any intention of notifying them that there is going to be some change in their benefits?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am very, very sorry that the Member is tired of the truth. I am sure that when it comes to making a decision on this matter, we will do it with far greater sensitivity to the needs of those people than the previous government, who had no such program.
Mrs. Firth: The answer is obviously no. He has not notified people about it, and obviously has no intention of doing it. No consultation - nothing. Irresponsible.
Question re: Northern pipeline
Mr. Phillips: I have a question for the Minister of Economic Development: Mines and Small Business.
On November 27, 1989, the MLA for Old Crow made a presentation to the Marine Tanker Safety Review Panel in which she came out against any pipeline in northern Yukon, including the Dempster lateral, whether or not the pipeline is environmentally sound or not.
Does the Minister support the position of the MLA for Old Crow?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The governments position with respect to pipeline development and oil and gas development in the Beaufort has been put on record a number of times in this Legislature, even recently. That is the governments position. I understand very well the concerns of the Member for Old Crow about the potential impacts of any development and her sensitivities to the issues about the environment in the north. She has undertaken to state her position very forcefully to have the greatest impact in the appropriate forums.
The governments position with respect to these matters has not changed.
Mr. Phillips: I agree with the Member when he says that the Member for Old Crow stated her position very forcefully. I understand and respect that. There is some confusion out there about the real position of the Government of the Yukon. It did not make a presentation to that same tanker panel restating its position, as far as I know. For the record, I would like to ask the Minister if he would now restate publicly that they are in favour, as he said earlier, of a pipeline down the Dempster lateral if it is environmentally sound.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Every time this Member stands up and makes an assertion that is not true I have been very kind about letting him off.
This happened with the Belvedere Hotel accusation; it happened with the accusation with respect to the Esso Isserk drilling program, and now it is the assertion that the government did not make a presentation before the Marine Tanker Safety Review Panel. The government did make a representation before the panel. I made it myself before the panel and I stated exactly the governments position. I reiterated the governments position with respect to these matters before the panel.
The Member is wrong again and should be taken to task for it.
Mr. Phillips: Will the Minister tell us today what the position of the government is with respect to the Dempster lateral pipeline? Is it the governments position that if the Dempster lateral pipeline is environmentally sound then this government is in support of that position?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am not going to do the Members homework for him. He has obviously made a mistake with respect to the accusations he has made. Now, he wants me to reiterate statements I have made in this House only very recently, not only last spring but also a couple of weeks ago. I am not going to repeat them for the Members information, and do his homework for him. He should be doing his own homework, and he should be doing it a lot better.
Question re: Shooting of bison bull
Mr. Brewster: I believe the Minister for Renewable Resources is from Klondike, but I am not sure about that. On page 642 of Hansard, December 4, the Minister was asked twice why the bull buffalo that was executed was not donated to the game farm.
Does the Minister wish to change or clarify that answer?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I would be pleased to clarify my answer. Both bulls that were in Tok, Alaska, were offered to the Yukon Game Farm in May before they were transported back to the Yukon. At that time, the offer was declined. The reason given was that the owner of Yukon Game Farm did not want to have two bulls without any cows. The situation had not changed prior to the bull being shot on the Alaska Highway in the Yukon. There is still no offer to provide that bull with some cows. As the owner of the game farm was not in the Yukon at that time and could not be reached, the action that was taken was taken.
Mr. Brewster: Is it not a fact that the game farm was offered these animals on loan - two bulls with no cows - when they were in Tok, but he was never offered a chance when they were to be shot?
Hon. Mr. Webster: As far as I am aware, it was not a situation where they would be on loan. They would be given to the owner of Yukon Game Farm. Yes, I can confirm that offer was not extended just before the bull was shot.
Mr. Brewster: The Minister is liable to have to clarify some more answers before this is over. What does the Minister intend to do to protect the farmers in that area who have been there since 1950 from these buffalo that are running around in the area. They are transplanted animals.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I assume the Member is asking me what we plan to do to remove the animals from that particular area?
Mr. Brewster: Yes, to protect the farmers.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I was not aware the bison were causing a problem for the farmers in that area. As I mentioned yesterday, the department does not have any plans to remove the animals from their location on the Alaska Highway. We are making every attempt to notify the travelling public of the whereabouts and behaviour of the bison.
Question re: Shooting of bison bull
Mr. Brewster: The Minister stated in Hansard that more of these buffalo would be brought into the country. What type of buffalo are they bringing in?
Hon. Mr. Webster: This is a project to establish another free-ranging herd of wood bison in the country. Obviously, they will be of the same variety.
Mr. Brewster: I would like the Minister to tell me what his answer to this is, and this is from Barry Hughson, who is the national park warden and biologist in Wood National Park. Hutchinson believes ...there may be little or no generic difference between the different types of buffalo. A study approved by the Environment Department will attempt to confirm whether there are any pure wood buffalo, he said. Why is that study being made if you are transplanting pure buffalo?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I cannot answer that but I will get a response for the Member from the department.
Mr. Brewster: Is the Minister prepared to assure this House that any more of these transplanted animals will be pure wood buffalo?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am not prepared to make that guarantee at this time. I will rely on the information provided me by the officials of my department.
Question re: Shooting of bison bull
Mr. Brewster: The following quotation was made in the same article: Weve known for years that these buffalo are diseased and we want to see them treated the same way we treat our cattle when they are diseased.
The highly contagious brucellosis causes pregnant cows to abort and threatens healthy bison, according to Agriculture Canada. Its also a threat to veterinarians and farmers.
While there is no evidence afflicted bison have passed it on, the disease can lay dormant for seven years. Can the Minister assure us that the buffalo here now do not have this disease that has been laying dormant?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I cannot give my absolute assurance that this is the case. Again, I will consult with members of my department to determine an answer.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now lapsed. We will proceed to Orders of the Day.
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 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 now call Committee of the Whole to order and declare a brief recess.
Chair: I will now call the Committee of the Whole to order.
We will proceed with Bill No. 45, Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act.
Bill No. 45 - Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act - continued
Chair: Is there any general debate?
On Clause 11
Hon. Ms. Joe: We were on clause 11, as you mentioned, when we adjourned. I do not know whether or not the Member has any more questions in regard to that section.
Mrs. Firth: I wonder if the Minister could explain to us how quickly the director may issue the certificate once the complaint has been lodged with her department?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The director, first of all, has to have some kind of evidence that the complaint does have some validity. That can be done in a variety of ways. I do not think there is a specific period - for example, one week - in which that has to be done.
Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister not tell us how long it is before the particulars of the complaint are served on the employer and the certificate is issued by the director?
Hon. Ms. Joe: There is nothing in the act that says the complaint has to be investigated and the work required on it be done in a certain period of time.
The information has to be gathered through the normal process of finding out whether or not the complaint by the employee has any truth to it. That could be done in many ways. It could be done through payroll records, or whatever, but the Member knows there is no provision in the act that says it has to be done within a certain period of time.
Mrs. Firth: If that is the case, why did the Minister send out in the information sheet about the amendments to the Employment Standards Act chart describing the present Employment Standards Act flow sheet and then the proposed amendments where she has given an indication in the flow chart that the time between the particulars of the complaint served on the employer and the certificate issued by the director would be approximately five days.
That indicates to people that they have five days but the legislation says nothing about it. It could go from point a to point b very quickly, which was the last point I raised when we were in the Legislature. The information that has been sent out by the department then is misleading to people. There is nothing stipulated in legislation to say that they would have five days.
Hon. Ms. Joe: The five days was listed as an approximate time that it would take for all of those things to be done. Prior to that, it was - not required by law, I believe - 14 days and that would be cut down to five days. Without having to sign a statutory declaration, less time would be required to proceed with a complaint and do the investigation. In the chart that was sent out to the companies and individuals, it was mentioned that it was an approximate time and that it was not required under the act that that would be the time.
Mrs. Firth: What the Minister says may be sound but when we look at the schematic drawing that was given, it gives people the impression that there is going to be a long period of time before the certificate will be issued. Perhaps I can bring to the Ministers attention that next time they do a schematic drawing, and so that it is a little more accurate in the visual sense, they should not make it appear to be what it is not. That is a concern that has been raised by quite a few people, that the information that is being given out has been drawn in the best interests of the government and really does not present the fact until you read the article. I raise that as a constructive criticism. I do not know who is responsible for pulling this together; I would assume it is the Ministers responsibility. She sent it out and she brought it forward in the Legislature; she obviously approved of it. I would like to request that she not approve of these things that leave it open to the more positive interpretation than what the act really says.
Hon. Ms. Joe: That point is well taken and I would just like to mention that individuals and agencies that received copies of the information that I have sent out made some points regarding some of the changes that were going to be proposed in this new act. This was not one of them but certainly her criticism is well taken.
Clause 11 agreed to
On Clause 12
Clause 12 agreed to
On Clause 13
Clause 13 agreed to
On Clause 14
Mrs. Firth: Just for the record, I would indicate that clause 14, Associated corporations, firms, or partnerships is a new section that has been added and we do not have any concerns with that section on this side.
Clause 14 agreed to
On Clause 15
Clause 15 agreed to
On Clause 16
Clause 16 agreed to
On Clause 17
Clause 17 agreed to
On Clause 18
Mrs. Firth: About the $10,000 fine increase from $1,000, I know that the Minister said that was to indicate the seriousness of the offence. I would like to know if she has had any response from groups or businesses or organizations. I have had quite a concern expressed that that seems to be a very big jump in the fine.
Hon. Ms. Joe: That was not one of the concerns that was registered. The fine was raised from $1,000 to $10,000. I believe that $1,000 was the figure set in the 1960s and it has not been changed since. We looked at other jurisdictions where fines have been increased in the last while and we felt we had to change this one. I do not feel we should do things simply because other jurisdictions do.
In the Northwest Territories and British Columbia the fine is now $10,000. In Alberta the fine is $10,000 for a corporation and $5,000 for an individual. There is a $200 fine for first offence and $500 for a second offence in Saskatchewan. That is one of the low ones. In Manitoba it is $500 per day for an employer and $100 per day for an individual. In Ontario it is $100 per day for some offences and $10,000 for others. We do not have anything for Quebec. In New Brunswick it is $1,000 per day, and so on. It varies in different jurisdictions.
We put a lot of consideration into what we would do with this. It has been increased because of the seriousness of some of the charges. I would expect that in the past fines have been low, in the range of $200 to $400.
Mrs. Firth: Before we clear this bill I would like to draw the Ministers attention to section 8.(1) and 8.(2). I understand that it is the Ministers intention that new legislation have gender neutrality and his is there twice, that should be his/her. The Minister can address that whatever way she wants. I am in favour of any new legislation having the gender correctly stated.
Hon. Ms. Joe: When it comes time to review the bill those changes that she has mentioned will be made at that time. It was not felt we should make the necessary changes for the whole bill so we left it to be consistent with the rest of the act.
Clause 18 agreed to
Title agreed to
Hon. Ms. Joe: I move
THAT Bill No. 45, entitled Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act, be reported without amendment.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 13 - Second Appropriation Act, 1989-90
Chair: We will proceed with Bill No. 13, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 1989-90.
Mr. Lang: I would like to ask some questions with respect to the revenue summary for this past year. I am very pleased to see the decline in the revenues for tobacco tax. It is a fairly sizable sum of $200,000. Do we have any idea as to how many people have quit smoking? I hope that society is changing and that fewer people are smoking.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I can tell the Member that there are no reliable specific Yukon statistics on that. There is data from national studies. The simplest description of what is happening is that smokers have gone from being a majority in society to a decided minority, which is why the airlines have been able to have non-smoking carriers. A large number of restaurants and business operations can now have smoke-free environments. National Health and Welfare has continued to have anti-smoking campaigns as there is still the disturbing trend of young people to starting to smoke. As a preventive health measure, some of the advocacy programs and some of the lifestyle changes that have been happening in society appear to have had a good effect in terms of reducing the numbers of people smoking cigarettes. There is a Yukon anomaly, which is interesting from the health care point of view, about the use of snuff in the terms of its effect on lip and throat and other cancers. From talking to the cancer people, I understand that the Yukon still has higher than national instances of that kind of problem.
Mr. Lang: This brings in a concern that I have with the younger people. Statistics show that we are selling fewer cigarettes but my understanding is that in the younger age group of 12 to 17 years there are still a number of younger people starting to smoke. Along with the message that the Minister has been giving us about preventive health, what steps are going to be taken in the forthcoming year to see what we can do to dovetail with other federal programs to encourage these young people not to smoke?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: That is an excellent point. I think the federal break-free program is an excellent one and seems to communicate successfully to kids judging by the observation of my own children. I will take the question as notice. I am sure that some of the things we are doing in the schools touch on this question. I am not absolutely sure I can report adequately on those things. I will take the question as notice for my own estimates, and I will try to report more adequately to the Member about what is actually being done, either in the Department of Education or in the Department of Health and Human Resources.
Mr. Lang: I notice we are estimating $150,000 less in the fuel oil revenue, and I would like to know why. The reason I ask why is because, this past winter, we have experienced one of the coldest winters in a long time. If anything, I would have thought the revenue would have been up.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The budget before us projects expenditures for the period from April 1, 1989, onward. It would be the current years cold weather that would have an impact on the fuel oil tax we might collect for home heating oil.
Mr. Lang: I have to check that figure from the previous year. I guess you are correct. You are saying the harsh winter was mostly reflected in the previous budget, is that correct? Yes.
I notice there is an increase in insurance. We have gone up $50,000 over what we have budgeted for: $500,000. Why do we have an increase?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The budget estimate was obviously low. With the increased population and employment incomes for the current year, we believe an estimated $30,000 higher would be more accurate. That is the only reason we are projecting an increase in this particular item.
Mr. Lang: Licence fees, registrations and permits are down substantially as well, by almost $200,000. Could the Minister explain why the estimate was so far off?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: This is the most difficult one to explain. It is a conglomeration, or a hodge-podge, of a whole series of licence fees, permit fees, et cetera, from all the departments. It is really the sum total of all those things that causes us to be out. The largest single decline is for commercial vehicle licences, and that is $157,000, where the volume was a lot lower than originally anticipated when the main estimates were first established.
Chair: Is there any further general debate?
Mr. Lang: I do not know who to direct this to, but we are going to be going into the votes line-by-line. I would ask the Minister of Community and Transportation Services and Government Services, but he is not here this week. I would like to ask when we could expect the vote-by-vote information in respect to the various service contracts that were not publicly tendered but were money expended over the course of this year so that, in examining the various votes, we have that information available to us.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: As the Member mentioned, the Minister is not present, but I am aware that the government intends to table the contracts, as we have in previous years. I am not aware of any change in the procedure for that particular request. I have not had a chance to speak to the Minister of Government Services with respect to this matter, because he had not been intending to be away, but I am not aware of any change in terms of the promise to table the contracts at year-end.
Mr. Lang: I want to pursue this a little further. The Premier had indicated to us that whatever information we requested we could have for the purpose of studying the budget. Obviously, anyone who believes in this institution is going to say that.
I would point out that I had both asked the Minister a question in the House and I spoke to him privately, because of the change in format of the budget and the way it is being presented, and had recommended that consideration be given to at least giving us the information, say, up to the end of October or mid-November so that we had something to go on. It is very difficult for us to be asked to vote for money and finalize a budget where money is being spent but we are being denied information, obviously with the hope that on April 1 we may not even be in the House. It just does not add up. The information is on computer. We do not need it in a booklet form. We can just do it department by department. We are here to accommodate the side opposite as best as we can in expediting the work, but I think it is a legitimate request that the information be provided to the House and the public at large.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It goes without saying that when the Members ask a question with respect to any particulars, whether it be how much money is being requested or how many person years there are or who is doing a particular piece of work or under what conditions are they doing the work for us, the government will do what it can to get the information. The Minister will go through hoops to ensure that the information is rightfully provided to the Members of this House.
With respect to the issue of collating the information and providing it in book form as the Member is requesting, as I have indicated before, I have not spoken to the Minister of Government Services about this and have only heard from him that such things require a tremendous amount of work. It is not simply a matter of punching a button. Also, it requires a thorough checking by all the responsible departments for all the contracts. There are a number of contracts that are underway and every detail has to be provided to the Department of Government Services to ensure they provide accurate information. We would not release information in the House that had not been checked by departmental administrators. That requires a tremendous amount of work.
As I have said, it is unfortunate that the Minister of Government Services is not here and I have not had a chance to speak to him.
Mr. Lang: I appreciate the cooperation being exhibited by the Minister to us. We will be asking for the information on the various service contracts and to whom they have been awarded by the various departments. If necessary, we are prepared to stand it aside while the work is being provided for us. We are not here to hold up business, but at the same time, I believe the information is required, especially when we are being asked to vote on money that has already been spent in most cases. I just want to let the Minister know that. We are taking a break soon for Christmas, so there is time to make that information available. This is important as I sincerely doubt, unless there is further legislation coming in, that we will be in this House April 15. I may be wrong, but I would just like to let the Minister know and understand our position.
Chair: Shall we proceed line-by-line?
Yukon Legislative Assembly
Mrs. Firth: I know we passed general debate, but I found a question on person years. How many new person years are represented in this supplementary estimate?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I do not believe there is any change in person years. The information I have before me, which is information provided to me by the Clerks office, indicates no...
Mrs. Firth: I was not asking about the whole budget.
Chair: We are into line-by-line now.
Mrs. Firth: Perhaps the Minister could answer that question for us.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I just received a person year reconciliation and have not had a chance to check through it. If I provide it to Members, they have to understand that the information has not been approved by me. Generally speaking, the expectation is that the Ministers who table information in the House are responsible for that information. If Members wish to receive this information on the understanding that I have not checked it for accuracy, then I am certainly prepared to turn the information over. I have not gone through to check for accuracy. It is a comprehensive document I requested and it goes by department. It is a person year reconciliation for the 1990-91 main estimates, but it also incorporates the actual person years for 1988-89, both indeterminate and term, and the original main estimate of person years for 1989-90, the forecast person years for 1989-90 and the estimates for 1990-91. Further to that, it restates the budget incorporating the loss of person years with respect to Yukon College, for example. I will be reading it for the first time along with the Members. So Members will have to be patient if they want to ask questions. Is that acceptable?
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
Hon. Mr. Penikett: On this annual occasion I have been handed my script by the Clerk, and I will be happy to tell you everything I know.
The amendments to reduce research budgets by some parties in the House can be entertained during the estimates, but we will require money messages for such amendments.
If the Member for Riverdale North wishes to move same, the government will entertain his motion.
In this supplementary an additional $15,000 is requested. The reasons are broken down as follows:
In the Legislative Services there is a requirement of $4,000 additional funding which is due to the following:
First of all there is $12,000 required to cover the cost of employee fringe benefits at 12 per cent for three caucus employees appointed on April 20, 1989, to positions established by the Member Services Board pursuant to the Cabinet and Caucus Employees Act.
The Leader of the Official Opposition and I were thrilled to be a part of those decisions.
Offsetting that $12,000 is an $8,000 surplus, which was created when the preliminary figures for the cost-of-living increases and MLA indemnity expense allowances were higher than the final figures that were available in March. We required $12,000 for fringe benefits for the new employees. We did not require $8,000 for cost of living increases for MLAs. This left a net requirement of an additional $4,000 in Legislative Services.
In the second program, the Legislative Assembly Office, there is a requirement for $13,000. This is comprised of $8,000 required to cover the costs of management pay increases that were set in September of 1989 and were retroactive to April 1, 1989. The beneficiaries of this bounty were the Clerk, the Clerk Assistant and the Clerk Assistant Administrative. These people comprise the management of this program. There was $4,000 required to cover the costs of office supplies, paper and such, which of course the Legislative Assembly is required to provide for Members. The efforts by the Clerks office to exercise cost control in this area have proved wanting. There was $1,000 required to cover the cost of telephone installation charges related to the recent office move in the Legislative Assembly Office area. That is a move that was recently made and is a preliminary stage of some evolution in the Legislative precincts, which will take place in the near future.
The third program is the program called Elections. This program shows a $2,000 surplus that can be broken down in the following way. The surplus was created from the conversion of a position of Administrator of Elections to a 0.6 indeterminate person year from a full term person year. There is a $3,000 surplus as the result of a reduction of the scope of a training workshop for returning officers. There was $9,000 required to cover the costs of the general election, which I understand happened on February 20 of this year. The costs we are dealing with here are costs that were incurred in this current year with respect to that election. I would assume that involves final reports or matters like that from the the Chief Returning Officer.
I am now embarrassed to say that this is everything I know about this supplementary. I will be happy to take any questions as notice or, if it please the house, have the Clerk called to the bar of the House to answer any questions directly.
Mrs. Firth: At this time, I would like to express our happiness and satisfaction at the excellent and good-natured assistance that we receive from the staff in this department. We appreciate the absolute respect given to the nonpartisanship role of their job, the excellent advice they give us and the fact that they are always there to assist us. They give us their best and I want to say thank you.
Operation and Maintenance for Yukon Legislative Assembly in the amount of $15,000 agreed to
Executive Council Office
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Last spring, the Legislature approved an operation and maintenance budget of $5,308,000 for the Executive Council Office. Setting aside for the moment the fund included in this figure for the French and Aboriginal Languages program, which is fully recoverable from the federal government, I would like to provide an overview of the program activity that is projected to result in a contemplated net increase in expenditures of $201,000, or 3.8 percent of the estimate.
The 1989-90 allocation for the Land Claims Secretariat of $652,000 was based on known factors in early 1989. I had indicated at the time that in the event an agreement in principle was ratified and negotiations proceeded at the pace that was desirable, I would come back to this House for additional funding necessary to carry out this vital function, and I am now doing so.
There has been significant progress in the land claims process, and the secretariat is forecast to require a total of $998,000 in 1989-90, which I will describe more fully in a few minutes.
In Cabinet support, the decision was taken to add three new positions in this year to provide one secretary for each Minister, rather than shared staff, and to establish a community liaison coordinator to assist us in our communication with groups in the communities and the appointments and reappointments, nominations process to boards and committees. When these positions were approved, funding was provided from within the departmental budget for 1989-90. Moreover, by provision of offsetting funds, the estimated over expenditures of land claims of $346,000 has been reduced to the $201,000 I mentioned earlier.
I would like to now provide an overview of the positive and negative variances by program.
In the Administration/Secretariat, because of the transfer of the regulations clerk position to the Department of Justice, there is a net reduction in expenditures of $32,000.
In the Land Claims Secretariat, the personnel allotment increased by $130,000 to provide for additional staff seconded from other departments for a specified term and an assistant deputy minister of land claims from November 1, 1989.
I can explain that in greater detail. We are moving into a stage of land claims beyond negotiations, which would appropriately be operated through a secretariat, to an implementation stage, which is going to require some permanent establishment within this government. That is what has led to the creation of an assistant deputy minister position, effective November 1, 1989, as well as one other position, which is involved in financial administration questions that surround the implementation of the land claims questions.
The other allotment increase for travel, consultant service contracts, and other support for the accelerated pace of activities during the land claims, including preparation for implementation, amounts to $216,000.
In the Public Affairs Bureau, an offset of $93,000 has been provided from this program, largely by a staff vacancy and through a reduction in photocopying and printing costs.
In Policy and Intergovernmental Relations, an offset of $35,000 has been effected as a result of staff vacancies, reduced travel and contract services.
In the Office of Devolution, an offset of $55,000 has been made available as a result of not filling the coordinator position. This function had been covered by a contractor up until now.
I would like to come back to the French and Aboriginal Language services in a moment because I can provide more detail there.
In Internal Audit and Evaluation, there is an offset of $25,000 as a result of staff vacancies and the way odd costs are billed.
The Bureau of Statistics shows a surplus of $1,600 being forecast and in the Commissioners Office there is a zero variance either way.
Cabinet Support has an additional expenditure of $106,000 for three new positions.
The net supplementary required for all these things is $201,000.
To get back to the language program, as Members know, the French and Aboriginal Languages Services program was initiated in late 1988-89 and the fiscal year 1989-90 marks the first full year of its operation. As a result, the estimates formulated early in 1989 were somewhat tentative and subject to staffing, recruitment action, confirmation of the level of funding available for the year from the federal government and program definition.
The net additional spending authority required is $276,000, made up for the two language programs as follows: in French language services, an increase of $133,000 is predicted due to staff recruitment costs and the the provision of $90,000 to the lAssociation des Franco-Yukonnais for contract work. In the aboriginal language services, there was an increase of $144,000 due to the recruitment of a term position and an increase in contract services associated with the aboriginal language needs assessment process, which is now approaching completion.
This summarizes the re-allocation between programs within the Executive Council Office and includes the net request for $201,000, plus the additional monies required for the French and Aboriginal Language Services program.
Mr. Phelps: I guess we could start with the issue of service contracts. The Minister mentioned that in the Office of Devolution the decrease was due to a person year not being filled. I am wondering who is working there under contract and whether we see that contract here.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Mr. Woodhouse, who I believe is known to the Leader of the Official Opposition, has been working there on contract. I believe we are contemplating recruitment action to have someone in the public service in that position effective early in the new year.
Mr. Phelps: Looking at Land Claims, I am wondering if the Premier could tell us what stage we are in with regard to land claims. We hear the date of March 31 as being significant. I am wondering what the goal is at that time and if there is some kind of constraint or target date imposed by the federal government.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I believe the Leader of the Official Opposition knows better than perhaps anybody in this House of the strategic difficulty of moving such negotiations apace in the Yukon in the absence of deadlines. Everywhere else in the country, where a settlement has been achieved, there was an externally-imposed deadline by some major development being contemplated, which concentrated the minds of all the negotiators.
Rather than having a deadline imposed here by a party, there has been a desire to have mutually agreed upon deadlines in order to focus the efforts of the negotiators.
The situation at the moment is that discussions in the communities are continuing. There are discussions with one set of negotiators around land issues and with other negotiators involving regional people who will be described at the stage when we involve the final band negotiators with regional negotiators.
I believe I may have shared a preliminary negotiating schedule in the communities with the Leader of the Official Opposition at his request, if I remember correctly, and the idea that we would be negotiating one set of issues in one community while at the same time we would be negotiating another set of issues in another community with different negotiators.
The third, and fundamentally important element, is the negotiations that are moving to convert the agreement in principle into an umbrella agreement that gets turned into legislation - that will be enacted in the federal parliament - that provides the statutory framework for each of the then final agreements to be appended for what is essentially framework for the final agreements. In a legal sense, each of the final agreements, upon ratification, will be appended to that legislation or that umbrella agreement and become part of it upon completion.
To summarize, we are in the communities moving toward a resolution of the particular land and money issues. Negotiations are also going on about the umbrella agreement. I think the Leader of the Official Opposition knows better than anyone that it involves very precise negotiating and legal work because the attention to detail that is required for each clause of that agreement is enormous, because this is designed to be an enduring agreement, and, therefore, one that is very, very important. Issues like implementation funding are issues about which we have enormous concern and have to make sure we are fully protected. We have to be very concerned about language in questions like that.
Agreements have to be more detailed and given more concrete or finite expression in law in the umbrella agreement, than in the framework agreement. That work is going on as the work is going on in the communities.
Mr. Phelps: Of course the agreement in principle was extremely vague and iffy on a whole host of fundamental issues to land claims. I thought that was why it was called a framework agreement. Is there a target date for completion of the umbrella agreement, at least in principle?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I forgot to answer the original question asked by the Leader of the Official Opposition; the answer is yes. I think, as he knows, March 31, 1990, is the target for completing that work. We had originally believed it could be done well before that, but we are not so optimistic at this point. That is the target toward which we have been trying to work. I would remind the Member that when we previously set targets, and we had a July 1 deadline a year ago and another target for last fall, we missed the deadline in both cases by a few days. That was not a matter of any consequence, but the deadline forced people to concentrate on the issues before them and come to some conclusions.
Mr. Phelps: Is the government actually going to be changing negotiators in mid-stream, or is the negotiator now going to stay longer, as is rumored?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Subject to some personnel work that we are still concluding, in the next week I am hoping to be in a position to announce the appointment of a new chief negotiator. In the period immediately before us, it is hoped that Mr. Stuart will be able to concentrate his energies exclusively on the umbrella agreement with a view that he may be able to complete that prior to his departure from the post.
Mr. Phelps: Is there someone in mind to take on the work of the current chief negotiator for the government?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Yes. There are some personnel steps that have not been completed. We hope to be in a position to make that announcement next week. I will explain this, because it is relevant. At this stage, when we are moving into band final negotiation stage, we will not only require more people in the field in the communities, but we also have to begin establishing in the public service the capacity to be able to implement the claim. We not only have to coordinate the implementation of it from a management point of view, but also in terms of tracking and monitoring all the financial implications of the claim. We are beginning to develop that capacity this year inside the Executive Council Office. There are two personnel streams that I would draw the Members attention to. The first are the people who will be negotiating in the field. The second are the people inside the Executive Council Office who are working on coordinating the negotiations and beginning to develop the capacity to do implementation.
Mr. Phelps: I am not clear on the answer. I do not expect the Minister to divulge any confidences. Is he telling us that when he gets into the government personnel that this will be a person from government who will become the negotiator?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Let me describe it this way: there is a person in the government who has been appointed, effective November 1, as the assistant deputy minister responsible for land claims. I believe the Leader of the Official Opposition may know who that is. That person is Mr. Tim McTiernan, who was formerly the assistant deputy minister in the Department of Renewable Resources and a person who has been very close to the land claims negotiations for the past several years because of the obvious importance of renewable resources issues. That person will have overall coordination of the land claims activities inside the government. A person has been seconded from the Department of Finance to the Executive Council Office to begin dealing with financial implementation questions of the agreement. Those are public servants. The people in the field, who are the community negotiators, will be largely contracted. I believe the Leader of the Official Opposition is acquainted with those people. I can provide a list of the people who are now on staff if he wishes. I must reserve on who the chief negotiator is at this point.
Mr. Phelps: Will the new negotiator be a contract position as in the past?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am not telling that to the Leader of the Official Opposition yet. There are some personnel questions that are not complete. The Leader of the Official Opposition may well understand that I am certain that we know who it is going to be. I would like to make an announcement next week while the House is sitting, assuming we can complete certain steps that have to be gone through. The person who will be the chief negotiator will have direct access to me. The administrative chain of command will deal through the assistant deputy minister, who will be responsible for what is going on in the field and for progress on implementation and pre-implementation.
Mr. Phelps: I am trying to get a handle on the nature of the positions being created. Is the position of new chief negotiator going to be temporary, in the sense that it will disappear once the agreement has been completed?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: What is clearly contemplated is that the position of chief negotiator will disappear at the conclusion of negotiations. What will remain will be such positions as have been established in this government to coordinate the implementation of the settlement, because we will be dealing with a matter of considerable scale and complexity, and will require some people in the public service who are permanently assigned to that task for some years to come.
Mr. Phelps: The creation of these permanent positions indicates a good deal of optimism on the part of government with regard to moving into the stages of implementation in the near future. If I heard correctly, that position is intended to be staffed by November 1, 1990. What are we anticipating with regard to the implementation aspects of land claims that will be taking place shortly after November 1?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: When I said November 1, I was talking about 1989, not 1990. That person is in place now. As the Leader of the Official Opposition knows, we are already giving pre-implementation in a number of areas. Some of the boards and committees in the resources area that are to be established as a result of land claims are already underway. In terms of the area of training, for example, we have a commitment, and that commitment to money is reflected in the main estimates for the next year. That is money that, according to our framework agreement, the territorial government will spend prior to a final agreement. If you like, that is pre-implementation in the training area, which is one of the areas; the boards is another one.
As we come to conclusions in the umbrella agreement about the way things are going to be done, we need to make sure the financial arrangements, as well as the legal arrangements, are proper from our point of view. That will require the attention of a senior official in the government, Mr. McTiernan, as I mentioned, and the person who comes from Finance is a very able officer. I believe he is also known to the Leader of the Official Opposition, and he will be responsible for the implementation of the financial, or fiscal, side of all the agreements.
Mr. Phelps: With respect to the person being seconded from Finance, is that a permanent position or is it a secondment?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: They are seconded from Finance to this position. They are permanent public servants.
Mr. Phelps: How many contract positions are there in land claims? Do we have a tally of that?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: There is a chief negotiator, one regional negotiator, a communications adviser, three lands negotiators, a contract person involved in drafting and maps, a legal adviser - although, as the Leader of the Official Opposition knows, there can be several of those - a self-government negotiator and various research contracts. At one point, we also had a workshop coordinator. We were doing workshops in a number of areas, on self-government and other issues, which were involving us and the other parties.
Mr. Phelps: With regard to the target date of March 31 for the final umbrella agreement, is there any kind of sanction carried with that time frame, or is it merely a target date?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The only express sanction I know that is provided for is one contained in the framework agreement, to the effect that the indexing of the settlement monies falls away two years after the period provided for reaching band final agreements. So, if you like, it is a financial incentive for a First Nation to reach a final agreement within that two-year period, which is triggered by our agreement among the three parties.
Mr. Phelps: Aside from what we can call the penalty occurring, there is nothing else that would happen should the umbrella agreement be a long way from complete on March 31, 1990.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Yes. To state the obvious - we have no James Bay Dam about to be built; we have no pipeline that has to be built, and in some sense negotiating under a gun has led to agreements in the past, but not always to satisfactory agreements from the point of view of all parties.
The kind of deadlines and the discipline of deadlines and timetables in this case has been largely self-imposed by the will of all three parties to reach an agreement. I cannot speak for the federal Minister, but I suspect that if there are a finite number of comprehensive claims with which the national government will deal at any moment, that the real hammer for them comes with the possibility of the federal government saying, We are not making sufficient progress; we are not getting anywhere here; we will now drop this matter and begin to deal with another one with the groups of First Nations who wish to proceed with a comprehensive claim. Again, I cannot speak for the federal Minister, and I do not wish to cause any unnecessary alarm, but I was aware, as were all people who heard the media reports earlier this year, that the federal Minister, Mr. Cadieux, sounded a warning to the Dene/Metis negotiators that unless something happened very soon to make progress he would recommend radical action by the federal government.
Mr. Phelps: That happened with regard to this claim. That is what we are leading to. A similar warning has not occurred here?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I did not hear the question precisely. Because we are in a different state of negotiations than the Dene/Metis, no similar warning has been required here. I believe I am able to share with Members here an understanding we have with the federal government. Both the federal and territorial government will strive to be in a position to introduce legislation to implement this claim in the fall of 1990.
Mr. Phelps: That legislation would obviously require the finalization of at least an agreement in principle regarding an umbrella agreement if not the legal work that would carry on after that. Really it seems to me what is happening now is that the parties are trying to get an agreement in principle on the umbrella agreement, and the final legal drafting will take place after that.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I think the Member is partly right. I do not want to provoke a furious argument at this point. The work being done toward an umbrella agreement is being done with the view to converting it readily into legislation. That is why there is such precision being brought to the process by the lawyers involved. I understand from the federal point of view there are a very large number of them on the job.
Mr. Phelps: Perhaps we could move along. I would like to ask a couple of questions about this fairly large and significant increase in Cabinet support in terms of person years.
As I understand it, the Minister is saying there are three new secretaries being hired, one for each Minister.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As you know, going back quite some time now, Ministers have shared secretaries. The situation has evolved in terms of the volume of work to the point where I think that was untenable. I did not intend initially to share with the Leader of the Official Opposition exactly what the overtime bill has been in our office, particularly with my secretary and some of the others, but I think the Member would find it persuasive.
We are now moving to a situation where each Minister will have his own secretary in the same sense as every deputy minister has his own secretary. This was a Cabinet decision we did not make without considerable thought. It was absolutely necessary in light of the amount of work the Ministers offices now carry.
Mr. Phelps: In addition, there was another position that is going to be responsible for liaising with the communities. Can the Minister give us more detail about that job?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We, as I think all Members know, have something like 90 or so boards and committees with over 500 members. The Leader of the Official Opposition knows that we have been striving to achieve not only a gender balance but also a racial, regional and even political balance in terms of appointments to boards and committees. We have not yet succeeded in doing that. A considerable amount of work is required, particularly in terms of trying to recruit people from rural Yukon and from smaller communities to participate in the boards and committees of the government lest they be dominated entirely by Whitehorse folks or experienced board and committee members.
We are also in the process of developing a number of new boards and committees that will come into place as a result of land claims. We talked about that, and there was a lot of liaising with nominating bodies. We are trying to promote the use of the public access to the secretariats talent bank that we are building. As the Member may know, we have been putting some ads in the paper about inviting people who may wish to be on boards and committees much the same way as the City of Whitehorse does. I confess that we have not yet achieved the level of gender parity in all the boards and committees that we want and are still working on that.
This person is involved not only with communicating with nominating groups, organizations and individuals but is also maintaining the lists and records with the 500 or so nominations and members names. We go through quite a few of them a year. We have, similar to the previous government, a process by which we bring such nominations to Cabinet for approval and an ongoing process by which we solicit nominations from various bodies in the territory.
Mr. Phelps: From the description, it sounds like this person will be in charge of patronage. In view of what last nights Journal program had to say, you might consider offering the job to Simon de Jong.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: If the Journal is to believed, he is not reliable on that score. I cannot speak on that subject myself. Simon is a wonderfully engaging and entertaining human being. I can tell the Member, honestly, that we are not contemplating him for this position.
Mr. Phelps: Perhaps he should be advised that he ought not speak because he may be bugged by the media.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I cannot comment on the use of that kind of technology. The idea that the media now has microphones that can hear through walls is positively terrifying.
Mr. Lang: I would like to follow up on this. Has the community liaison individual been appointed?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: All three positions here have been appointed and are in place and working.
Mr. Lang: Who is the community liaison person?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It is Miss Janeane MacGillivray.
Mr. Lang: Is this an order-in-council appointment or did it go through the Public Service Commission?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I believe that all the positions, including the secretaries, are order-in-council appointments in this area.
Mr. Lang: I wanted to clarify for the record that it was a political appointment. I want to voice my concern about the appointment. It think it is a legitimate one. When the Minister is trying to justify the position to the Legislature and to the public, it sounds as though this individual is going to be appointing 500 people per year and will have the responsibility of recruiting 500 people per year. Most boards are struck and there may be a number of resignations over the course of the year, but it is not in the magnitude of justifying a political appointment. Over and above this, the frontbench has executive assistants who are to assist the Ministers. The Government Leader has a political appointment, the chief of staff, and the list goes on. I want to share with the Government Leader my very serious concern about the politicization of what is going on. To say that we specifically need somebody to appoint people to boards in ludicrous. There is no justification for it. I cannot see how the Minister can stand up there and justify another political appointment on the payroll.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The appointments will be made as they have been made in the past by Ministers and by Cabinet. The process of communicating with groups in the community and with individuals as to their willingness to be nominated or be appointed to boards is an extremely time-consuming one, especially when this government is trying strenuously to attract to the participation in the activities of government, in both administrative tribunals, policy advisory bodies and various other boards and committees, people from rural Yukon, aboriginal people in numbers that have never been on boards and committees before. We are trying to see that 50 percent of the people on the boards and committees are women. We are also trying to get aboriginal people who are representative of the population. We are also trying to get people from all over the territory and from every community in the territory. This is time-consuming work. We are also trying to get a political balance on the boards and committees. These are very useful and constructive reforms. It is work that needs doing. It is real work. It is not something that I, as a Minister, or any of the other Ministers, can do in their spare time.
Mr. Lang: Can the Minister tell us what this political appointment pays per year, plus benefits?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The salary range is in the MG-4 category, and the range is between $42,000 and $54,000.
Mr. Lang: In anybodys language, that is a pretty broad scope of pay. What is the position being paid?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We have been through this debate before. If the Member is going to ask for the precise salaries of everybody in the public service, then I have a problem with that. We had a practice before of communicating the ranges. If we are going to get into what every single person is being paid, then we are going to do it on both sides of the House, and we have not done that heretofore. The last time this question came up, I discussed it with the Leader of the Official Opposition, and he was content to be satisfied with the ranges, and that is what I am proposing to give here.
Mr. Lang: I am not going to pursue that further, then.
What is the contract for Mr. Woodhouse, the one he referred to earlier? Is that an annual contract? If so, for how much?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: He has a contract in the devolution area at this moment. I indicated we are planning to staff that position in the new year. In other words, the contract on devolution will end in this fiscal year.
Mr. Lang: That does not answer the question I asked. I asked how much the contract was for.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It is on a legal-fee basis, and the amount so far has been $32,000.
Mr. Lang: Is that going to be the amount that will be paid out for this particular contract?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am advised by the deputy minister that we will probably run to less than that.
Mr. Lang: To follow that a little further, is this the same individual who has a contract with the Yukon Development Corporation as well?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: That is correct.
Mr. Lang: The Minister probably does not have it with him, but maybe he does. What would that contract be for with the Yukon Development Corporation?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I do not have that with me, but I would be happy to find out.
Mrs. Firth: That contract with that particular individual has gone on for some time, has it not? Has he not been there since September 8, 1988?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I cannot vouch for the date on which he started to do this work, but he has been doing it for some time, yes.
Mr. Lang: I would like to move to another area. Do you have a breakdown of what the ministerial travel for this past year has been, by Minister and by trip? If so, I wonder if he could table it in the House.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Member is not asking what the budget is for this year. The Member is asking what the actual is to date, or is he asking what the actual was for last year?
Mr. Lang: For this year, 1989.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: That means, how much has been spent so far this year? I would have to take that question as notice and come back with it, but I am happy to do that.
Mr. Lang: I would also like a breakdown. We know what the chief negotiators salary is. He named a number of other positions in the Land Claims Secretariat: regional negotiator, communicator and various other positions. Could the Minister give us a breakdown of each one of those positions and what kind of contract we have entered into?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I can get the Member a list of the amounts we have budgeted for contracts in those areas. I can file that by legislative return.
Mr. Lang: Could you also provide us with a list of who has what position, because some of these people are new, I believe. Some of the positions I was not too sure I had heard of before.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am not sure that there are that many people who are new, but I can certainly provide a list; yes.
Mr. Lang: Have there have been any new initiatives going through this office, either for contract or for consultant purposes, for projects that have been entered into through the department? Have there been contract initiatives in the area for the purposes of devolution or various things like that? I am just curious as to whether there have been any new initiatives that the department has undertaken and, if so, what are they?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The only new initiative that I can think of by way of contract is that we have retained some professional services in Ottawa in the area of strategic advice from a firm, the name of which I forget, but the person with whom we have specifically contracted is a consultant by the name of Jodi White, who was, at one time, the principal secretary of Mr. Clark during the time that he was in office. She has a consultancy providing strategic advice to people dealing with the national government.
We are dealing with the national government on a whole range of issues: everything from formula financing to Meech Lake constitutional questions. We have recently retained her services in order to assist us in making effective representations to the federal government.
I am sorry; I still do not know the name of her firm, but we have a specific contract with her. She has been assisting us in trying to communicate effectively with the federal government on a whole range of issues; I said formula financing, Meech Lake, constitutional development, land claims, the Alaska Highway, regional development and other issues. Her work, of course, does not duplicate the work of the intergovernmental relations office in Ottawa, with whom she works most closely, but it supplements their work.
The cost estimate on this contract is $25,000 for this year, and I would note for Members, because I think this is important, that there is new lobbying legislation coming into place. It may or may not come into place, but it has been promised in Ottawa, and by agreement with Ms. White it is our intention to have her registered according to that law as a lobbyist on behalf of the Yukon government; I would emphasize for the most part, though, that she would not be directly lobbying. She is providing us with strategic advice, support and assistance in the lobbying that we do as Ministers and as officials.
Mr. Lang: There has been some discussion over the past year or year and a half on the question of constitutional development here in the Yukon on where we will be going. Perhaps the Minister could update us with where we are at with that and if any reports have been done in the last year or two years that he could table.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I hesitate to get into trouble with the House again by once again promising a Green Paper on constitutional development. It is my intention - touch wood - to bring it before the House early in the new year. As some Members know, the Leader of the Opposition and I have had discussions with a number of people about how that consultation could proceed. I am now persuaded that we are not likely to get agreement from all of the interested parties, and I include in that the Opposition in this Legislature, to any single method of consultation about a Green Paper on constitutional questions.
That being the case, I am in a position to propose shortly to my Cabinet a particular method that I hope, since I cannot get agreement from everybody on any single model, will propose method that will give the minimum dissatisfaction to all people who would be interested: the central organizations of the aboriginal community, the opposition, and other groups. I do not think the Leader of the Official Opposition would mind me saying that he and I have discussed the participation of such groups as the Association of Yukon Communities, and so forth.
My intention is that as soon as we reconvene in the new year, assuming that nothing else changes radically on the constitutional front - because that is one of the problems, things that keep changing: every time we think we know where we are something else happens, particularly around Meech Lake - I will bring in a Green Paper and then propose at that time to the House some method by which we can hear from the public or obtain a public opinion on some of the questions before us.
Mr. Lang: The Minister did not answer the other part of my question. I understand there have been a number of reports done on constitutional processes and what could be done. There was one done at least one year ago. Could any reports that have been done through the Cabinet office could be made available to the general public?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I do not know to what the Member is referring. All we have done, to my knowledge, is to go through several drafts - some might say many drafts - on the Green Paper. I do not believe we have done any other report. We have of course studied reports done by others: the task force in Manitoba, the New Brunswick committee report, the Ontario committee report, the committee report that came out of the Senate, the committee report that came out of the joint committee on Meech Lake. However, we have not commissioned any other report ourselves. We have talked to a number of constitutional lawyers and experts in the course of the last many months, but there is nothing in the way of a formal report we could table or make public, other than the Green Paper that I hope to make public soon.
Mrs. Firth: Did Eloise Spitzer return to work in October of 1988 and do a lot of work on constitutions, including the preparation of the Green Paper, for public discussion? I think she worked on Yukon Act revisions, Meech Lake opposition, and the pending Senate reform discussions. Were there a report as a result of that?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The report was done for Cabinet, and I believe Ms. Spitzer did the very first draft of the green paper we have talked about doing. There was no report intended for public consumption other than the Green Paper report that I mentioned.
Mrs. Firth: So the Minister is saying is they were simply Cabinet documents. How much did she receive for that contract?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I will take the question as notice. I will have to get back to the Member.
Mrs. Firth: I will wait to receive that information.
How many assistant deputy ministers are in this department as of this supplementary estimate?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Two.
Mrs. Firth: Two assistant deputy ministers?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Two assistant deputy ministers.
Mrs. Firth: That would be the one added on November 1 for the land claims position, Tim McTiernan, and one was the existing one where Duncan Sinclair had been seconded. Is he still in that assistant deputy minister position?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Yes.
Mrs. Firth: I know that in the 1990-91 budget there is another assistant deputy minister identified for the Executive Council Office. Could he tell me if all three of the positions are going to be within the same salary range as the one that was advertised and filled on a secondment basis by Duncan Sinclair the last time we were sitting in this Legislature?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I assume it would broadly be in the same range, although I have to tell him the one that is contemplated for the new budget next year is not classified yet, so I cannot answer that question with finality. I am assuming that, in general terms, assistant deputy ministers are paid in the same general range.
Chair: We will now have a short recess.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. We will proceed with line-by-line on operation and maintenance expenditures on Executive Council Office.
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
Hon. Mr. Penikett: This provides administrative and financial support to the Executive Council Office and to Cabinet and Management Board. The reason for this reduction is that, during this year, the position of regulations clerk was transferred to the Department of Justice. The program would, therefore, be under spent by $32,000 in personnel as a result of the transfer. There were other miscellaneous increases and decreases in expenditure, but the $32,000 will show up in the estimates of the Department of Justice.
Administration/Secretariat in the amount of an underexpenditure of $32,000 agreed to
On Land Claims Secretariat
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We have spent some time talking about this. We are looking toward a resolution of the aboriginal claims in the Yukon. We talked about the progress toward the final umbrella agreement, the implementation, planning and funding of the interim protected lands as a basis for moving toward the final land selections, and workshops on self-government. We believe negotiations are advanced to the point that more than one band final agreement is achievable in the near future, as well as the umbrella agreement early in the new year.
We did discuss the pending announcement of the new chief negotiator and the change in the revised structure of the negotiations as a result of us moving into the community negotiations toward band final agreements and beginning to develop a capacity inside the public service to implement the agreement. Those are things I described earlier in our discussions.
Land Claims Secretariat in the amount of $346,000 agreed to
On Public Affairs Bureau
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As Members know, this is an essential agency providing media relations, public relations, advertising and marketing and photographic support to departments and agencies. Most of the reductions in the bureaus operations can be attributed to internal economies. There is a decrease in personnel costs reflecting a vacant position within the bureau. The reduction also reflects the decision to reduce spending to provide offsets in the reduction in photocopier costs. The offsetting of contract services activities, which might have been assigned to freelance photographers and writers, and the $31,000 offset in publications, occurred with reduced printing costs that came about in this year.
Mr. Phelps: Are the positions each department seems to be obtaining with regard to press relations covered under the Public Affairs Bureau, or are they in the departments, the new people who are on staff in Education, for example.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The larger departments that now have a capacity of their own are reported under those departments. The establishment in this department has not changed except that, at this moment, I believe two of the positions are vacant.
Public Affairs Bureau in the amount of an underexpenditure of $93,000 agreed to
On Policy and Intergovernmental Relations
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As the Members know, in Policy and Intergovernmental Relations we have the federal relations office, which has been restaffed and has been very active in a whole range of issues. Also, because of staff vacancies in Policy and Intergovernmental Relations, for a few months the personnel budget was slightly under spent. We have a decrease here of $35,000 largely due to those vacancies.
Mr. Phelps: I am curious about the palatial offices in Ottawa. Are they still in the same place? Are they still as sumptuous as ever?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Somewhat less sumptuous since we subdivided the larger one, which Members know so well, in order to provide an office for people who are working in Ottawa holding meetings.
I know the Leader of the Official Opposition knows that for meetings for such matters as land claims this space is used quite a lot. Also, as I know the Member knows, Mr. Lawson, the former Deputy Minister of Tourism, is in the office there as the senior officer. Miss Debbie Kelly is still there on staff and Mr. Ragu Raganathan, the senior fiscal relations officer, who is really with the Department of Finance, also operates out of that office.
Policy and Intergovernmental Relations in the amount of an underexpenditure of $35,000 agreed to
On Office of Devolution
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The devolution office is responsible for the transfer of programs from the federal government. It is staffed by one person year, and has been filled by a contract position. The offset identified in personnel is due to the vacancy of devolution coordinator filled by contract. The program decrease is $55,000.
Mr. Lang: Just exactly what contract are we talking about; how much money does it entail and for whom?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: This is Mr. Woodhouse, about whom the previous questions were asked. It is a $32,000 contract.
Mr. Lang: Where is the balance of the money being spent: roughly $115,000?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Member is asking how the $157,000 is being spent?
There is $83,000, which is personnel, including the staffing for the position we intend to make in the new year plus the other position in devolution. It is a two person unit. The other amount provided for is the contract we talked about. That is most of the money there.
Between Mr. Woodhouses contract, the person who is now on full time and the person who will be staffed for the new year in this position are $83,000. So, there are two positions. One is the temporary contract position, which will shortly be replaced by a permanent position, which would explain the $83,000 in personnel dollars. The other amount is for that contract and other contracts that we may have in terms of research.
Mr. Lang: My figures show me that leaves us with about $70,000 worth of contract money. What kind of work are we contracting, to whom, and what for?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I can provide a list. On the other line the Member is asking about, Mr. Woodhouses contract for $32,000, we also have materials and supplies and other items like telephone and travel that normally come under Other. I can provide a breakdown if the Member would like that.
Mr. Lang: I am not particularly worried about that. The Premier talked about contract research and I would like to know what research, for how much and for what purpose.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I thought I was referring to the previous contract. Remember I talked about one with Ms. White. That is in fact a contract that is in the federal policy and intergovernmental relations line. We estimated that contract at $25,000. That is provided for in the contracts under that line, not under this one. I was mistaken when I said that.
Mr. Lang: Obviously the two lines got mixed up. Can the Minister tell me in policy and intergovernmental relations, other than for Jodi Whites contract, what other research contracts are we doing, with whom, and for how much?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The only other significant contract in that area is with James Smith, former Commissioner of the Yukon, to do some work for us on decentralization. A report we have just received has not yet been dealt with by Cabinet, so there are no announcements following. There was a committee established by the government that he chaired and has made to us a number of proposals for decentralization, which we will be looking at soon.
That contract was for almost $4,000. It was a little less: $3,996.
Mr. Lang: There are no other research contracts that have been undertaken within these two line items?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: There is no other contract of significance in that line item.
Mr. Lang: On the question of decentralization, my understanding is that the report was tabled with the government as early as September. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: That is not correct. I received a final report a few days ago. Cabinet has not had a chance to deal with it at all yet.
Mr. Lang: Did the committee give a draft report and then gave a final report? Is that what the process was?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We had a preliminary report. I met with the chair, the author. There were subsequent meetings, I cannot remember how many, with the committee head. There is now a formal report in my hands as of a few days ago and we have not had a chance to deal with it.
Mr. Lang: When can we expect some definitive decision, or non-decision, with respect to the report, and when will it be made public?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I do not anticipate publishing the report. We will be dealing with it in Cabinet as soon as we can. The report contains a number of recommendations that we will want to consider and will take advice on; some we may want to accept and some we may not. I cannot say at this point. When we make some decisions from that report we will, of course, announce them. I cannot commit myself to a deadline. I would think we would want to move fairly expeditiously. When we are talking about people and jobs and moving people and jobs it is not something we can make overnight decisions about. I expect my colleagues will want to have a lot of input. I think in the course of the next few months, early in the new year, we will make some announcements - probably in this fiscal year, but I cannot commit myself definitively to having a program of action arising from this report because I do not even know if my colleagues will accept it yet.
Mr. Lang: I appreciate that fact and I defend the governments right to do that. When will we be able to see a copy of the report so that we can decide for ourselves if it has merit?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Since the document is prepared for Cabinet, I would have to discuss with my colleagues whether we will make it public or not or whether we would share it with Members of this House. I cannot make that decision on my feet right now.
Mr. Lang: I am not letting this go by. I want to make representation. It is public money that has paid for this. It was a public committee. I cannot see any reason why the report cannot be made available to Members within the next month or so to enable the public to have some idea about what the government is considering in this very crucial area of decentralization. I would have thought that it would be in the purview of the government to want to have some method of public consultation on a report of this kind to see what kind of response it would receive.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I hear the Members representation and I will take it as notice. My colleagues will have to see the report before I can make any decisions as to what will be done with it. Some of them have not seen it yet. It is a report done for Cabinet and I want to make sure that my colleagues have a chance to see it and discuss it before we make decisions. As for me, I have no apprehension about the report being made public, but I do not want to make that decision in isolation from my colleagues.
Mr. Lang: I am prepared to accept that. As the Minister knows, I will follow up at a later date. Who is on the committee?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We had representatives from the Yukon Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Yukon Communities, Council for Yukon Indians and the Yukon Federation of Labour. There were also two deputy ministers from this government and the committee chair, Mr. James Smith, the former commissioner. We were receiving radically different advice from each of the four groups included on the committee as to how we should proceed with decentralization or devolution to communities. All of them have different interests and different perspectives on the situation. The purpose of the committee was to bring these people together to look at some of the issues. Under the able chairmanship of a retired, but successful, private-sector person and a successful public servant, it was hoped that they might have an airing of the issues and come to some consensus about how we might proceed.
Politically, this government is committed to the objective of decentralization. These were among the interests who have some voice. The actual people who were represented on the committee included Mr. Besier, as the Public Service Commissioner, and Mr. Roger Graham as the deputy minister of a large line department, Community and Transportation Services, which has a huge presence already in rural Yukon. Mr. Graham has some experience with recruiting locally and employing people in rural Yukon. Dayle MacDonald represented the Council for Yukon Indians. There may have been a change of membership for the Yukon Federation of Labour during the process. I am embarrassed to admit that I cannot remember who was on the committee at the end. I can come back with that information. Mr. Murray Hampton, who was the Mayor of Faro for many years, represented the Association for Yukon Communities. I believe the representative from the Yukon Chamber of Commerce was Mr. Bill Bowie from Dawson City.
Office of Devolution in the amount of an underexpenditure of $55,000 agreed to
On French & Aboriginal Languages
Hon. Mr. Penikett: This is the first full year of activity under the languages agreement that was reached with the federal government and approved in this Legislature. As I have described before in the House, we go through a period of consultation with the language communities, as well as internal consultation with departments in our government from whom services will be granted. Those are funded at the level of our activity according to - I cannot remember the exact federal language. There is a subsidiary agreement under our original agreement that provides for 100 percent funding on an ongoing basis from the federal government to achieve these objectives.
We have been working with a coordinator designated in each department, gathering data used in developing a French language services action plan. There is staffing for a secretary and a translator/adviser in this budget. There are draft action plans completed for the various departments in this government. An advisory committee is reviewing them, and a report on these recommendations will soon be forwarded to the Minister, which is myself, prior to my reporting to Cabinet.
In the aboriginal languages area, there is a completion of an aboriginal language assessment throughout the Yukon. We have begun development of a public/community/government consultation process to define the aboriginal language program needs, that is, the service needs from this government to the aboriginal language community. We have begun development of programs for the aboriginal language heritage preservation.
The program increase is $276,000, which is consistent with the level of activity that is going on and which is being fully funded by the federal government, according to their approval of the rate of progress we are making in this area.
Mr. Phelps: So, it is fair to say everything is still at the planning stage, that there are no practical services implemented at this time?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Except at the level where we have been able to prove our capacity to do such things as, when we receive letters from the Government of Quebec in French, being able to expeditiously translate those, or when we wish to communicate with another government in French, or with a federal Minister who happens to prefer to deal with French, and that is diplomatically important at times, as the Leader of the Official Opposition will understand. We now have a much better capacity to do that, just with the staffing we have already achieved.
Mr. Phelps: Aside from that, there is nothing on the practical scale for these language groups in Yukon.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We are not delivering any services as yet, per se. We are still involved in some very long and detailed meetings with them and their representatives about exactly what we are going to be doing. We have a very high level group of deputy ministers who are involved in dealing with them. Mr. Byers from Justice, Mr. Besier from the Public Service Commission, and Mr. Fingland, and the group lead by Jeanne Beaudoin from lAssociation des Franco-Yukonnais. They have had very detailed and very constructive dialogue about where we are going.
At this moment, I want to express my appreciation for the deputy minister of the Executive Council Office for filling in for me recently at an important occasion for the francophone community, and completely overwhelming and charming the entire francophone community by his address to them in French, which I think surprised a great many people, who assumed Frank was only fluent in the Scottish language.
French & Aboriginal Languages in the amount of $276,000 agreed to
On Internal Audit and Evaluation
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Here we have a situation where the staff vacancies have created a surplus of $25,000 that we are not going to spend.
Internal Audit and Evaluation in the amount of an underexpenditure of $25,000 agreed to
On Bureau of Statistics
Bureau of Statistics in the amount of an underexpenditure of $2,000 agreed to
On Cabinet Support
Cabinet Support in the amount of $106,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance for Executive Council Office in the amount of $486,000 agreed to
Chair: We will now go on to the Department of Economic Development, Mines and Small Business on page 25.
Department of Economic Development: Mines and Small Business
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will provide some brief explanations for both the zero variance in the O&M and the capital variance of $3,505,000.
Obviously, with the O&M estimates, there are a number of reductions and additions that net out to the variance of zero. I am sure we can get into some discussion on that momentarily.
The total expenditure items previously debated in the House reflect the mil variance and no supplementary is required. However, there are two major requests in the capital budget that total $3,505,000 reflected in the supplementary. They are a revote of $2,385,000, as well as an underexpenditure of $1,761,000 from cost-shared agreements with the federal government for an under expenditure of $624,000. And, there is $1,120,000 additional capital funding, which is 100 percent recoverable from the federal government for the Economic Development Agreement and off-sets some program expenditures of $626,000 from within the departmental capital budget. That is a brief explanation of what is happening. I am now prepared to answer questions Members may have.
Chair: Is there any general debate?
Mr. Phillips: I wonder if I might take this opportunity to ask the Minister to prepare some items for us in the O&M mains. I would like to have the service contracts issued this year for this department.
Also, the Minister indicated in April 1989 that he would provide me with the evaluation of the SEAL program. I do not recall receiving that. I wonder if I could now get a copy.
Another area I would like some information on is the Economic Development Agreement and the economic development program, and a status report on those. I would like to know how many of the projects are still operating. Some have failed. The M.V. Anna Maria is one example where we got involved with the EDA, and it is no longer operating. The famous Belvedere Hotel, which the Minister mentioned today, is another one that failed.
I would like to know how wisely we are spending this money, how many of these programs are in place and whether or not the individuals or organizations that received the money for the various programs used the money in the way in which it was intended. I would like an update on the whole economic development program and the EDA, because I have some suspicions that some of them, though not all of them, have not done as well as one would hope. I would like to know where we are. I am sure there must be some evaluation of the program that determines whether or not the business or group is successful in what they want to do once they receive the money from the government.
As well, I would like to know if the government has done an evaluation of the business development fund and the community development fund. If they have done that, could they bring that evaluation to the House so we can see how successful those two programs have been?
One of the criticisms of the One-Stop Business Shop was that there seemed to be quite a long turnaround time between the application and the time they received their money or a negative answer on their request. The Minister said he was going to address that issue. He said he recognized that it was a problem. What are the results of that?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Yes, I will provide a list of the service contracts that are currently underway.
I believe I sent the Member a couple of program evaluations. I do not remember which ones they were. Perhaps it was the mining program evaluations, but I do not see any problem with sending him the SEAL program evaluation.
Program updates and summary information can be secured fairly easily, and I believe I sent it on the request of the Member for Riverdale South. If I did not, I will make sure the Member opposite has a copy. It is in summary information form so if the Member has requests for information about a particular contract and whether or not a particular proponent has been meeting the specifications, then the Member can ask.
The business development fund and the community development fund have only been in existence for less than a year. It is normal practice to allow one year before we do an evaluation of the programs. When an evaluation is done, I will be happy to report on the success of these two ventures.
It is very difficult to generalize on the long turnarounds from the One-Stop Business Shop. What generally happens is a proponent comes to the office and, once they present an idea to a business development officer and request funding, sometimes verbally, they regard that as the application formally going in. Quite often the officer talks to the proponent about the project proposal and, if elements are wanting, then the officer encourages the proponent to secure that information, whether it is a business plan or market information that would be of interest to the business loans board that makes recommendations with respect to the approval of these funds. It is a fairly fluid process and varies with the experience of the entrepreneur who comes forward. Entrepreneurs who are generally well experienced will know what would interest a bank or business loans board and what information they require, whether it be market information or a proper business plan, whether or not they have sought support from the banking institutions. They are expected to touch base with the banks before they come to the government, because the government programs are last-resort funding.
For the experienced entrepreneur it is not a problem. If the application form is filled out quickly and all bases are covered, the application will go forward immediately before the board. I have seen turnaround times that are quite positive. If the information is not secured, then the business loans board cannot make a rational, reasonable, responsible and judicious decision with respect to the application. The business loans board expect that the business loans officer will provide applications that have got the bases covered.
All I can say is that I have met with the business loans board. I have indicated to them the concern I have heard with respect to the turnaround time. I have also met and discussed the matter with the department on a number of occasions last year to indicate that the turnaround time is quite important, in terms of the need to be expeditious. They have taken that into account. Nevertheless, there will be times when proposals that are not fully fleshed out will take some more time to process than those proposals that come in from, sometimes, very experienced entrepreneurs who have all the bases covered.
Mr. Phillips: I will give the Minister the benefit of the doubt on his answer for the turnaround time. As MLAs, we usually hear from the people who have to have the long wait for the turnaround, and the ones who get through right away, of course, rarely call us and tell us they were successful. I will give the Minister the benefit of the doubt and will hope that in the next few months my phone will not ring quite as often as it has in the past, so I will not have to raise this issue again.
With respect to the business development and community development fund, there is a great deal of money in that fund right now. The Minister said he has not done an evaluation and that he is going to wait for a year to do one. I do have a concern. Today, we had an announcement, and it is the third time we have restructured that group in one way or another, either adding something to it or taking something away from it. I am concerned that we do not have to wait for a year from today before we get an evaluation done, that you will do an evaluation on your announcement last year to see how effectively it is working. We can keep changing these things. As the Member for Porter Creek West says, it gives an impression something is being done, but we never really see the real results.
Since the program has now been in place for several months, what kind of uptake have you had on the community development fund and the business development fund?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: With respect to the first point the Member mentioned, the long wait of all those people applying to the business loan program, the business development fund, I can only say that the best efforts are being made, to my knowledge. If there is any particular proponent that has expressed concern that they are not being given service expeditiously enough, I will be more than happy to hear about it and act on that persons behalf.
With respect to the evaluation of the program, there are two things that we are saying. The first is that the programs are the direct result of comments from the public during the Yukon Economic Strategy review. The single thing that people were most concerned about was the desire for a single-window approach to government. When you come into an office, you do not want to be referred to another office. The community development fund and the business development fund were both created as a result of those direct requests from the vast majority of the people who commented on government programs.
With respect to the announcement that was made today, I believe it is fairly obvious no new programs are being created, but a new approach within the framework of business development and community development funds only enhances what the original intent of the one-window approach has been. They should not, in any way, affect the need for, and the results from, a program evaluation of the business development fund and the community development fund.
With respect to the takeup of the community development fund, the fund has been accessed by a number of community groups. The majority of applications still come from those people who are thinking LEOP and capital construction in rural communities and Whitehorse. The intent is to encourage training activities and some of the activities that are anticipated on the community development fund beyond the simple construction are not being taken up as quickly as one might hope.
The communities are now understanding what the parameters of the fund are and are starting to make application for more than simple building construction. The program funds this year incorporated a number of commitments that were made last year under the streetscape development program. Those commitments made by the Department of Tourism to communities respecting streetscape were adhered to in respect to the community development fund, which assumed the funding for streetscape. That was one element that was taken up. The revotes from the previous year were also items that were respected under the community development fund.
With respect to the general takeup, I can give a list of projects along with the other lists I have promised to provide of other program takeup. The takeup is across the board. There are a couple of communities that have not taken advantage of the program. It has been considered in the mains. The takeup is pretty broad across the board.
Mr. Phillips: According to the Ministers explanation, there seems to be a bit of confusion amongst the communities as to what the community development fund is all about. What action has the government taken? He just stated that some communities have not even applied for the program. What is the government doing to inform these communities as to what the program is all about and what is involved, other than just the brochure that is handed out? I know some people looked at the brochure but did not find it to be clear. Have you done anything else besides the initial explanation booklet that you put out when you announced the program?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The community development office and the business development officers have been charged with the responsibility of communicating the program guidelines to the communities. The officers have been going to communities that have not made application, and to those communities that have, to provide an explanation of the program. They conduct regular tours of the projects underway to reassure the community development office that the program projects are going as was contracted. They take that opportunity to go into communities, community halls, band offices, town council offices and any other organizations that may be enroute and make a special effort to communicate these program guidelines. The community services personnel are also encouraged to provide information with respect to the guidelines of this program and other programs to societies and community groups in rural Yukon and in Whitehorse. The information is getting out beyond the simple pamphlets that few people read anyway.
Mr. Phillips: Before we proceed to line-by-line discussion, I will take the Minister up on his offer of providing a list of people who have applied for community development program assistance, and some of the projects that have been applied for and approved. I am prepared to go to line-by-line discussion unless some of my colleagues have questions.
Mr. Lang: Once one has been successful in either applying for a grant or loan, or both, what follow-up is done to ensure the money is being spent where it is supposed to be, and also to tell the department exactly how successful or not successful the project is?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The initial step is to have the client, or group sponsoring organization, sign a contract with the government respecting the terms and conditions expected of the client by the government.
Either through the business development office or the community development fund the department makes periodic contact with the client, whether it is regarding a loan or project. Quite often it will be a personal visit by an officer from either organization to ensure that what is expected in the contract is being fulfilled. The business loans officers and the community development officers are charged with the responsibility and are told to follow up and ensure that the terms of the contract, as signed, are adhered to. If they note any change in the specifications they tell the proponent that the board requires approval for that change and encourages the proponent to make a change, if warranted, in the budget proposal.
Generally speaking, all they do is monitor it to make sure that the loan is paid, if it is a project in the community development fund that is in the main grants and the work being done by the society or community group is being done as the schedule states, and to the specifications that they have contracted.
Mr. Lang: What happens after the contract has been agreed to and the client meets the terms and conditions and the contract is completed? Is there any follow-up to see how successful the business is? It is one thing to say we spent $30,000 to invest in a hot dog stand and everybody meets their obligations, but is there a follow-up six months or a year down the road to see if that business is still operating, and if it is not, why not?
It would seem to me that it is a long-term situation. It is not just the spending of the initial capitalization, but a follow through to see whether or not what we, the taxpayers, are helping to invest in is successful. Is there a follow-up?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: If the Member is asking if there is a formal follow-up for each application, I would have to say no, not to my knowledge. I do know the business development officers do keep in contact with old clients. Sometimes old clients become current clients again, and they do try to keep in contact with the business community beyond simply the loan application stage. For example, the business development officer in Watson Lake will be responsible for keeping on top of all business activity in the community and keeping close liaison with the Chamber of Commerce and any business organization, tourism association, or whatever in that community. They are expected to understand the basic business environment in which they are operating.
With respect to the specific loan and formal follow-up, I do not believe there is such a formal follow-up beyond the completion of the contract. Once the loan is fully repaid according to the terms and conditions of the agreement, there is no business development officer hanging around to see whether or not everything is going okay in the opinion of the business development officer. As far as I am aware, there is just an informal arrangement that the business development officers are supposed to understand and know and have a feeling for the business climate in the communities in which they operate.
Mr. Lang: I want to go to another area: the question of consultants plans that are paid for by the government, or cost-shared with individuals or organizations for the purpose of looking at possible business ventures.
Are the results of those business plans available to the public, once they have been completed and decisions have been made in respect of whether or not they are going to proceed?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will check this, because it is a detail I am only partially aware of. A jointly funded study to determine the viability of a particular project is considered to be the private domain of the proponent for a certain specified period of time. I do not know exactly how long that is. That information is then released to the public. So, there is a period of time when the proponent is expected to take the information they have paid for themselves and use it for the advantage to which they are seeking, in terms of the development of a business, but after that period is over it is considered to be public information.
I will check on that detail for the Member. When we come back tomorrow night, I will provide the information.
Given the time, I move that you report progress on Bill No. 13
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Mr. Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
May the House have the report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole.
Ms. Kassi: Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 45, entitled Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act, and directed me to report the same without amendment. Further, Committee has considered Bill No. 13, entitled Second 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.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.
The House adjourned at 5:25 p.m.