Monday, January 29, 1990 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. At this time, we will proceed with Prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed with the Order Paper.
Introduction of Visitors.
Greetings to new Governor General
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I wish to offer my congratulations and best wishes today to his Excellency, the Right Hon. Ray Hnatyshyn, Governor General of Canada, who was sworn in this morning at an historic ceremony in Ottawa. Mr. Hnatyshyn follows in what now has become a distinguished group of Canadians who have held this important office.
His predecessor, Jeanne Sauve, brought dignity and presence to the office, and demonstrated a fondness for the north that we all appreciate. Members of this Assembly will know that Mr. Hnatyshyn comes from a family background that prepares him well for the office he now fills. His western Canadian roots provide him with an appreciation of the needs and aspirations of the regions outside of central Canada. Coming from a Saskatchewan family active in the Ukrainian-Canadian community for many years, he has a unique insight into the cultural diversity of our country. With a father who was a long-time senator, he knows and understands the value of public service.
As for those distinguished Canadians who have preceded him, our new Governor General has himself made an important contribution to Canadian public life. He was a Member of Parliament from 1974 to 1988. During that time he held a number of senior positions in government, including Minister of Energy in Mr. Clarks government, and Government House Leader and Minister of Justice in Mr. Mulroneys government.
Active as well in numerous parliamentary committees, he was a respected Member of Parliament, highly regarded by Members on all side of the House. He was also very well liked and known for his sense of humour and easy going manner. Mr. Hnatyshyns family background and contribution to the public service has prepared him well for the duties of the office that he now fills. I know that all Members of the Assembly join with me in offering him our best wishes in extending to him an invitation to visit the Yukon at his earliest convenience.
Speaker: Are there any Returns or Documents for tabling?
Reports of Committees.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I would like to respond to the numerous license plate petitions that have been tabled in this House. I want to express my appreciation to the many Yukon people who made their views known on this subject. This government listened to what people had to say, and accordingly a new plate was announced that features the goldpanner, a five-character numbering system, the words The Klondike and an attractive colour scheme for which many people express support.
I want to thank all the people who took the time to make their views known.
Speaker: Introduction of Bills?
Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Are there any Notices of Motion?
NOTICES OF MOTION
Ms. Kassi: I wish to give notice of motion
THAT it is the opinion of this House:
THAT cruise missile testing is another example of the indifference with which the Government of Canada regards the lifestyle of northern and aboriginal peoples;
THAT the current world trend towards the thawing of the cold war shows that cruise missile testing is even less necessary than its supporters could once have claimed;
THAT continued cruise missile testing is a symptom of the federal governments abandonment of sovereignty in international relationships and ever closer identification of Canadian external affairs positions with those of the government of the United States; and
THAT this House strongly urges the Government of Canada to stop all cruise missile testing in the Canadian north.
I give notice of motion
THAT this House commend the Yukon Conservation Society in their efforts towards public education efforts to encourage individuals to be more environmentally conscious and to adopt environmentally friendly behavior.
Ms. Hayden: I give notice of motion
THAT it is the opinion of this House that illiteracy in the Yukon is a serious problem; and
THAT in recognition of International Literacy Year, this House commends the efforts of Project Wordpower in its work to increase literacy in the Yukon.
I give notice of motion
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the proposed changes to the Unemployment Insurance Program through Bill C-21 will have serious adverse effects on many Yukon working people; and
THAT this House urges the Federal Minister of Employment and Immigration to reconsider those changes so that the UI Program and Canadian Job Strategy will benefit all employees fairly.
Mr. Joe: I give notice of motion:
THAT this House urges the Government of Canada to increase the Northern Residents Tax deduction to compensate for the anticipated higher cost of living which will result from the implementation of the federal Goods and Services Tax.
Speaker: Are there any Statements by Ministers?
This then brings us to Question Period.
Question re: Old Yukon College
Mr. Phelps: I have a question for the Minister of Government Services regarding his ministerial statement last week on government office space and, in particular, about Yukon Development taking over old Yukon College for $1.00 and converting it to office space to be leased back to the YTG. The government has already spent a lot of money upgrading the college - over $1 million to date - and I am wondering why this facility is being turned over to Yukon Development Corporation for $1.00?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Yukon Development Corporation is acquiring the facility for $1.00 and the government, 20 years hence, will repossessing the facility for $1.00, which will include the improvements that will have taken place in the interim.
The reason Yukon Development Corporation is undertaking the renovations of the facility and, at the same time, acquiring title to the property is essentially twofold: we do not have the money and the corporation needs the title to secure financing.
Mr. Phelps: I am wondering who is going to pay for the renovations. Are the ratepayers of electrical bills in Yukon going to be paying for the renovations through higher electrical rates?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have indicated in the previous answer to the Member that YDC will be financing the improvements. They will be borrowing the money to pay for the upgrading. We, in turn, will be leasing the facility and that is how they will be repaying their financing. There are no subsidies involved; there is no public taxpayer money going into it directly.
Mr. Phelps: Of course, the taxpayer will be putting money into it by way of the lease arrangements. I am wondering, in view of Yukon Development Corporations total failure at running the Watson Lake sawmill, what makes the Minister think it will do any better renovating, and acting as landlord for, Yukon College?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Department of Government Services has entered into an agreement with YDC for the renovations. It is currently at the lawyers office, for a review; it is expected to be signed shortly. That lease arrangement secures for the public of the Yukon a protection that there will be the renovations undertaken; those renovations will be undertaken according to the requirements of the client - that is, the Department of Education - and those are our flat arrangements. We are simply going to be leasing back the facility; YDC is renovating and owning it for that interim period.
Question re: Old Yukon College
Mr. Phelps: Has the government and Yukon Development Corporation agreed to any firm figures with regard to the projected cost to upgrade the old Yukon College to meet the requirements of the Yukon government?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: As has been indicated in the House previously, the anticipated renovation costs for the old Yukon College are in the magnitude of $5 million. I believe $5.5 million was one of the estimated costs cited in previous discussions; those are still the costs involved. The additional point should be made that we have established a firm price per square foot that it will cost the government for the duration of that lease for the 20-year period. That rate is, I believe, $16.50 per square foot and it is constant for the duration of the 20 years, which in effect is a pretty good deal for the government. At the same time, under the financing arrangements for YDC, it will allow it to finance that upgrading and provide a small measure of return.
Mr. Phelps: We have got a lot of questions about those statements, but first of all, about the actual cost that the Minister has placed at $5.5 million: is there an agreement that that is going to be the cost of the improvements that will go into Yukon College? Can he table the background for those costs?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I believe the Member had from me, last spring, quite a number of documents tabled that referred to the issue of upgrading the old college. As the Member knows, there were some previous tenants anticipated to move in there; Education is the latest client to be moving in under this current arrangement. I can only advise the Member that the $5.5 million of anticipated cost for renovations are still the anticipated costs. That is what YDC is expecting to finance. That is what Government Services is expecting YDC to spend. We are now in discussions with Education to refine the detailed space plan for the building. The refinement of that space plan will more accurately determine the actual cost of the renovation. I guess the short answer to the Members question is: yes, $5.5 million is the anticipated renovations and upgrading cost for the Department of Education to move in, and that is the guideline we are working under.
Mr. Phelps: So, is the Minister telling us that the government will be signing a deal - an iron-clad deal - with the Yukon Development Corporation, that will place the rent per square foot for the next 20 years at $16.50 per square foot? Is that what he is telling us?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Yes, I am telling the Members that we are ready, or just about ready, to sign an iron-clad arrangement where we will be paying $16.50 per square foot, at old Yukon College, at no cost to the government, on a turn-key basis. The building will be ready for Education to move in into in August 1991.
Question re: Old Yukon College
Mr. Phelps: Will the Minister table that agreement in the House when it is signed?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I see no reason why I could not table it when it is signed and that could well be within the next few days to the next week.
Mr. Phelps: Given the rather appalling lack of financial management ability displayed by Yukon Development Corporation in Watson Lake with the Hyland sawmill, if the renovations cost far more than the $5.5 million, where is the Yukon Development Corporation going to get its money - from the electrical subscribers throughout Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am not in a position to answer the question on behalf of Yukon Development Corporation, but I can assure the Member there are no subsidies involved. There is no money being taken from the public taxpayer at large. YDC proposes to finance the development, and that is what it will do. I am also not prepared to offer any major comment on the Members allegations about the corporations financial management capabilities. Watson Lake was a high-risk operation. This is a lease operation, and certainly not a very risky business.
If the hon. Member is implying that the fact that I pumped considerable -
I leave the question answered now.
Mr. Phelps: We have not been told what happens if we have to face up to another disaster with cost overruns, which seems to be the penchant of management of Yukon Development Corporation. Who is going to pay for it? I take it all the Minister is saying is the government will not be paying for it in its lease arrangements. That leaves the question of where the money would come from. Do you not agree?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am not sure I understand the Members question. YDC is financing. I suspect they are going to a third-party lender. We are paying lease costs for the space. I suspect our lease payments are going to meet their financial obligations to repay and provide them a small measure of return.
Question re: Old Yukon College
Mr. Phelps: Surely, the Minister understands that is true if they come in on budget with the renovations. I am suggesting that likelihood is far from a certainty.
Does the lease arrangement take into account who is to pay for the operation and maintenance costs of the old Yukon college? For example, who is going to be paying for the taxes on that property?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The lease cost of $16.50 a square foot is net cost for the space. That is the price for the space. Operation and maintenance is above that, so, there will be additional costs. It is not unusual in any leasing arrangements for the tenant to pay heat and electricity.
Mr. Phelps: In additional to light and electricity, there will be taxes. I think that has been admitted by the answer. There will be janitorial and depreciation costs, in addition to what is being paid to Yukon Development.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member is correct. Heat, electricity and janitorial will be the responsibility of the tenant, meaning the government.
With respect to taxes, I would prefer to take notice on that, given the implications on grants-in-lieu for government properties. I will have to get back on that aspect of the cost item.
Mr. Phelps: Mr. Alex Raider, the Yukon Development Corporation president, is on record as saying the corporation is putting some of its own capital into the project and borrowing other monies. How much of its own capital is Yukon Development Corporation putting into this project?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I cannot answer that. I do not know the answer. It is something YDC would have to provide. I am certain I can procure that, but so can he.
Question re: Old Yukon College
Mr. Phelps: In the event of an overrun with regard to the money of its own that YDC is putting into this operation, what assurances have we got that these monies are not going to be coming out of the pocket of ratepayers who pay their electrical rates to a subsidiary of YDC every month?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have already indicated quite emphatically to the Member that there is not going to be any cost borne by the ratepayers of Yukon Electrical for the development. That is an assurance I have received from the corporation and is an assurance I expect them to honour. Given they will be financing through third-party sources, and we will be leasing, those are the financial arrangements. There are no subsidies involved, and there will be no drain on the taxpayer.
Mr. Phelps: The Minister is going to have to forgive this side for a large degree of skepticism with regard to the financial projections of the Yukon Development Corporation, particularly when one looks at the Watson Lake sawmill fiasco.
I am curious as to who is going to pay for what is normally known as leasehold improvements, the interior improvements, that tenants are often responsible for placing in offices they lease. Is the Department of Education going to be paying additional monies for the interior decoration, rugs and wall board at Yukon College?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I will take notice on detail for the Members question. As I indicated, we are in the final stages of signing the agreement. I do not know what the final arrangement on leasehold improvements are. I can remind the Member this is a turn-key operation in its first stage, meaning that the entire renovations will be done by YDC at their cost and financing. It is a turn-key operation, which means that it is ready for client use, ready for the client to move in to. In the initial stage, all the improvements are being done by the contractor, YDC. In subsequent years of leasehold improvements, I reserve response until I review the final documents.
Mr. Phelps: Will the YDC tender the contracting that will be necessary to do the $5.5 million worth of work on old Yukon College in the same manner that government does? Will they be utilizing the same rules so there will be a fair chance for all contractors to bid on the job?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Again, I am unable to provide the Member a firm and final answer on that question. That is a decision of the Yukon Development Corporation. Certainly it is our policy and a matter of regulatory law that we tender our construction projects of this size. Whether YDC will use that approach in its entirety is something I cannot answer.
Question re: Old Yukon College
Mr. Phelps: Maybe the Minister could find out because Yukon Development Corporation does not do a very good job of looking after the taxpayers money, and I think a fair tender might go some distance toward reassuring people in the Yukon.
Why exactly is the government going through this little bit of fancy footwork? It seems all they are doing is somehow getting the Yukon Development Corporation to borrow some money for them. The YDC is doing precious little except running down to the bank and using their name instead of the name of the Government of Yukon in terms of borrowing some money. Why can the government not borrow the money itself and perform this task?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The answer is quite simple. The government is not prepared to borrow money for the reconstruction of a facility for public use. Yukon Development Corporation is in a better position to seek good interest rates in financing arrangements. It can provide the service to the government and we can continue with our capital projects program. We are not prepared to cut back on any capital projects; we are not prepared to stop building schools or to stop building highways. Yukon Development Corporation is in a good position as a development tool to provide this service and that is the long and the short of it.
Mr. Phelps: The deal as it is being explained here is really that the Government of Yukon is using Yukon Development Corporation to borrow some money and it is going to pay the mortgage payments to Yukon Development Corporation. Why could it not bypass the middle man and deal directly with the banks itself?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Again, the answer is repetitious. We are not prepared to borrow money to finance construction projects. We have a pressing problem facing the government in terms of space. We have to deal with it. Yukon Development Corporation is available to provide good financing terms for itself and get a modest return on its investment. As part of the arrangement, the Yukon Government acquires a turn-key facility, ready for occupancy in the fall of 1991. What kind of a better deal could be sought?
Question re: Old Yukon College
Mr. Lang: It is so refreshing to hear the other side all of a sudden become so concerned about the public purse. After the past five years exhibited by the side opposite, it is almost like somebody just woke up.
That is the question I would like to raise: it is a question of government and the size of government. Back in 1985 and 1986, the government owned and leased approximately 220,000 square feet of space for offices. Today, with the addition of the Yukon College, the government by 1991 will have rented and owned approximately 510,000 square feet of space. That is over double what the government needed for office space in 1985-86.
I would like to ask the Minister of Finance a question: can he tell us and the general taxpayer and the public at large why the size of government is expanding so much when we know, and it is on public record, that the financial formula with the transfer of payments from Canada has been curtailed?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Members opposite certainly have had something to say about the size of the financial grant that the Yukon Government is going to be receiving over the next five years, much to our dismay. The Member did mention the fact that the responsibilities of government have increased since the time we took office and, when the Minister of Government Services announced the office space strategy last week, he indicated, or at least cited a number of examples of ongoing devolution that have increased the size of the civil service. The Member also mentioned the introduction of Yukon College, which has also introduced a whole new level of expectations with respect to public programming for education services. The list goes on.
When we first came to office, as well - and the Member for Faro explained this better - there were numerous grievances and concerns about the occupational health and safety standards of government office space and the government moved to address that; so I think it would be unfair to simply to try to roll it all up into one simple-minded statistic and claim a quick fix victory. Clearly, there are good explanations for what we have done and we are happy to have resolved many of the concerns that we have faced, not only by the government internally, but by the needs of the public as well.
Mr. Lang: He did not answer my question, but we are getting used to that. Back in 1986, at a great cost to the Yukon taxpayer, Touche Ross and partners from Vancouver did a very thorough study of space needs for the Yukon territorial government projected as far as 1992. At that time, it was recognized there would be the need for approximately 13,000 square feet more in order to meet the needs of the public service by 1992.
It is 1990, and the Minister of Government Services has come forward to ask the general public ...
Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please get to his supplementary question.
Mr. Lang: ... to pay for an additional 41,000 square feet over and above the 13,000 square feet recognized in this report.
Could the Minister of Government Services tell this House why the government needs an additional 40,000 square feet of space when the Touche Ross report, that the government paid for, recommended they would need 13,000 square feet, that it has already rented?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Touche Ross report the Member cites was done a number of years ago and did not address some of the devolution aspects of program growth this government has undertaken. I have previously cited to the Member some of these that have taken place, such as airports programs, lands administration transfers, national safety code inspectors, mine safety, French language legislation, the anticipated Crown Attorneys office, and so on.
The Member must also recognize that, in the fall of 1988, as the Minister of Finance indicated, we addressed a number of grievances related to occupational health and safety standards. We established the needs for the government and government employees. The numbers fell out of this study, and the space strategy we have developed is the outgrowth of that.
In addition to the federal devolution programs that are taking place, we also have a number of program developments and initiatives we are taking. I simply cite, for example, the creation of the hazardous waste unit. I cite ...
Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please conclude his answer.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The short answer to the Member is the space requirements have been identified. They have been methodically and carefully calculated. The strategy I announced last week speaks to the next three-year period. Nothing is happening overnight. It is phasing into reality.
Mr. Lang: We are phasing into reality. We started with the old Yukon College. Our illustrious ex-colleague, Mr. Kimmerly, told this House it was going to cost us $13 million to renovate the Yukon College. We were then told it was going to cost $8 million. The other day, we were told it is going to cost $6 million. Now, we have the Minister of Government Services standing up and saying it is going to cost $5.5 million.
Let us start talking a bit about reality. When any question of responsibility comes forward to the government, they blame someone else. In view of the fact the governments Yukon Development Corporation is suing Carroll-Hatch for what they believe to be ...
Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please get to the supplementary question.
Mr. Lang: In view of the fact the government, through the Yukon Development Corporation, has made the decision to sue Carroll-Hatch for advice given to them with respect to the running of the Hyland Forest Products sawmill, are they going to lay suit against Touche Ross and partners for these very impressive documents that were provided to the government, that were to provide them with the necessary strategic plan to meet their office space needs to 1992?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member knows the question is ridiculous. The Member knows that the Touche Ross report has been updated. The Member knows that we have addressed the very serious question of space needs for government. The Member knows that his side, as well, has lobbied me for better space arrangements for their offices. The Member knows that I am under contractual breach with the Hansard recorders, for the conditions they work under, and the list goes on. As a good employer, we are addressing the space needs of this government, and last weeks announcement is the three-year plan to do it.
Question re: Office space
Mr. Phillips: I have a question for the Minister for Government Services and it also deals with the acquisition of more government office space. Last week the Minister tabled a paper, entitled The Strategy for Acquisition of Government Office Space. I understand the study cost the Yukon taxpayer about $18,000. The document tabled is three and a half pages long. I would just like to ask the Minister: is this the whole study, that cost us $18,000, or is there a document that the Minister would be prepared to table in this House?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The three-page document that I tabled last week is indeed the strategy, and it speaks to those principles that we are going to observe in addressing further acquisition of space for government. That is what all seven points of the strategy talk about. It is the outgrowth of the work done since last winter until just recently, which includes a number of efforts on the part of the government and on the part of departments of government, on the part of some consulting assistance provided. This three-page document is not the $18,000 study, in and of itself, but it is the set of principles that we developed after we did our needs analysis for government space.
Mr. Phillips: Why would the Government of the Yukon have to pay $18,000 to a consultant to look at the Touche Ross studies and any other studies? Why would the Government of the Yukon have to pay $18,000 to a consultant to come up with a document like this? Does the Government of the Yukon not have talent, now, within its Department of Government Services, to look at these studies and analyze the studies and update them as they go on, or do we just contract all of this stuff out to consultants?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I find the question interesting. A short answer is: no, we did not have the ability to do the work that was required to be done to address this very serious question, so additional help was needed. Government Services personnel worked very closely and were intimately involved through the entire period with the development of this strategy and in assisting with the research and the work required. A considerable amount of work went into reviewing the various space reports that have gone on in the past, speaking to all the departments, analyzing the marketplace impact that would happen with any kind of an approach to space acquisition. Meetings were held with the Chamber of Commerce. I was involved in a number of these exercises; the job was quite exhaustive and lasted for a year.
Mr. Phillips: In 1986, we paid $62,000 to Touche Ross for a five-year office accommodation plan; we also paid them, in the same year, $12,650 for an office space allocation plan; we paid Patti NGRAO Architects $5,800; we paid Robert Mason $3,850; a total of $84,350 in 1986 for a five-year plan. We now have a new study by A.J. Hunt, which looks at a three-year study of government use that covers...
Speaker: Will the Member please get to the supplementary question.
Mr. Phillips: ...I will. It covers the same period of time in which this big, thick Touche Ross study and all of these other studies were done. Why cannot the government have its own people analyze the studies that they do, and act on those studies and update them? Why do we have to keep going out to more and more consultants, paying more and more money, for this type of work?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member has actually answered his own question. The work by Hunt & Associates was done to review some of the background data that had been prepared. The Member has answered the question of space-needs research by pointing out that every document that was produced in the past requires updating. That is what was done. The Members have the strategy that I tabled before them. They have heard my response to this governments approach to meet and deal with space needs over a long period of time. We are a good employer. We are serious about providing adequate space for our employees, and meeting the needs of the public in the process.
Question re: Old Yukon College
Mr. Lang: I am amazed. This figures out to be about $6,000 a page that the taxpayers money paid for this update on documents that the government already had. On top of that, any Member in this House could have written this if we spent two or three days thinking about it. I cannot believe it.
The Minister talked about $16.50 per square foot for Yukon College. Could the Minister tell us what the actual projected costs for the O&M for Yukon College is going to be, over and above the square footage cost?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member asked what the additional costs would be over the net rate for the lease, such as for the heat and electricity. The Member can do a quick calculation if he knows the numbers involved. It will cost approximately $700,000 per year to pay the lease on old Yukon College once we move into it. That is after August 1991. In addition, there will be O&M tenant costs, which would be heat and electricity. Those are projected at $500,000 above that. Total costs would be about $1.2 million per year.
Mr. Lang: The taxpayer is getting a real deal here. Over 20 years, the taxpayer will pay $14 million to the Yukon Development Corporation, which will initially borrow $5.5 million. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: That is one way to put it.
Mr. Lang: Is the Minister telling the House that this is a good deal for the taxpayers of the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Yes. I am telling the Member that. We have a lease rate of $16.50. That is the going market rate for lease space in the community of Whitehorse. We have a $16.50 per square foot rate that is going to remain constant for 20 years. That has to be a good deal. It is not costing us anything to move into there. We are not providing any financing to pay for the renovations and upgrading. We are getting a fixed lease rate for 20 years. We will repossess the building for the same $1.00 that we got when we gave it away, with the improvements included, in 20 years time. Try to tell me that is not a good deal.
Question re: Old Yukon College
Mr. Lang: The irony of the situation is that we still have a building that is 25 years old and all we have is an old renovated building. Talking about voodoo economics, can the Minister tell us who is going to be moving into that building besides the Department of Education?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The detailed space plan in the overall three-year plan is still being worked out. The Department of Education is going to be moving in there. The Child Development Centre is already there. In the immediate first year of occupancy there will be some additional space available for some small branch or unit to work in there. There are a number of options being looked at.
Mr. Lang: Small branch? How much square footage will be in excess of the needs of the Department of Education?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I stand to be corrected. I do not have all the detailed numbers at my fingertips. It would appear that there will be approximately 1,000 square feet available.
Mr. Lang: With the grand strategic plan we have developed with that three-page document that cost approximately $6,000 per page, can the Minister tell this House if there will be any leases in private accommodation terminated in view of the planned moves the Minister outlined?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: In the three-year plan of anticipated relocations of departments after the old Yukon College becomes available, a couple of minor leases will be affected in the City of Whitehorse. I raised this with the Chamber and it does not appear to be a problem because there is considerable demand for that type of space in the community.
I would point out to the Member - and I believe it is indicated in the strategy - our intention would be to vacate first those premises where standards of health and safety are not adequate. This is part of our committed policy.
Speaker: Time for Question Period has now lapsed.
Question of Privilege
Mrs. Firth: I rise today on a question of privilege. I raise this question of privilege at this time for the following reason: At the time of the personal attack by the Member opposite, the Minister of Education, I was unable to produce proof in my defence, rather than just to say I did not take the action he accused me of. I knew that would not satisfy the Member opposite, as the Minister continued in what appeared to be an intentional personal attack, casting aspersions on myself as a Member of the Legislative Assembly. I believe he made reference to it again today in response to one of the questions.
Today, which is the earliest opportunity, I wish to read into the record and table for public information a letter I received by facimile, dated Friday, Jan 26, 1990. The letter reads as follows,
Dear Mrs. Firth,
I would like to take this opportunity to state that at no time did you make representations to me on the subject of the territorial financing arrangements between the Government of Canada and the Yukon. Specifically, at no time did you make representations to me that this transfer be reduced in future years.
On December 21, 1989, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and I announced a new five-year formula Financing arrangement that will improve the durability and integrity of the formula. This program has been, and will continue to be, of great benefit to the residents of Yukon.
Yours sincerely, Michael H. Wilson.
The Minister demonstrated his disrespect for me as a Member. Of more concern to me is the disrespect he demonstrated for the Legislative Assembly.
To bring street gossip into this House as fact will call into question future comments by this Minister. Yukoners are entitled to more responsible representation.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: In response to the question of privilege raised by the Member for Riverdale South, I will start off my brief remark by saying that it was very cooperative of Mr. Wilson to respond so quickly to what may well have been a request by the Member for Riverdale South for such a communication.
Let me just say this: I will admit quite candidly that, in response to the very considerable provocation by the Member for Porter Creek East, I did say things that normally, whether I believed them or not, I would not say. Nevertheless, if the Member is prepared to stand in her place and state that she did not call or tell anybody in this territory that she called Mr. Wilsons office to seek a reduction in the territorial transfer, then I will take her word for it.
Speaker: Order please. Pursuant to Standing Order No. 7, the Member for Whitehorse Riverdale South has provided the Chair with written notice of the matter she has raised this afternoon. Although the Member has raised a serious complaint, it is clear from both our Standing Orders and Beauchesne that she has raised a point of order rather than a question of privilege. Annotation 316 of Beauchesne states that [A] Member, while speaking, must not impute bad motives or motives different from those acknowledged to a Member [nor may a Member] make a personal charge against a Member.
When a Member does either of these things, that Member is using unparliamentary language and may be called to order.
Annotation 323 in Beauchesne states: Unparliamentary words may be brought to the attention of the House either by the Speaker or by any Member. When the question is raised by a Member it must be as a point of order and not as a question of privilege. A point of order, of course, should be raised at the time the unparliamentary language is used and not afterwards.
I must, therefore, find that, although the Member for Whitehorse Riverdale South has raised for the House the very important matter of the language used in these Chambers, she has not raised a prima facie case of privilege. I would urge all Members not to use unparliamentary language nor to make any personal charges against other Members.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: No matter how provoked they are.
Mr. Speaker, I move that you do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: We will have a break at this point.
Bill No. 13 - Second Appropriation Act, 1989-90 - continued
Justice - continued
Chair: Two items were stood over: the Attorney General, $499,000 and the Solicitor General, $165,000. We will proceed with debate on Attorney General.
On Attorney General
Hon. Ms. Joe: The Member for Riverdale South made some comments on the Human Rights Commission, and I would like to respond to those comments. Would this be a good time to do that?
Chair: Is the Committee agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Hon. Ms. Joe: The additional funds given to the Human Rights Commission do not show as a line item in this supplementary because there is no change in the progress total. The human rights program is comprised of two separate elements, the Human Rights Commission grant and the Human Rights adjudication costs. The grant is given to the commission for operational expenses. The adjudication costs remain with the Department of Justice and are used to fund any adjudications held in the fiscal year.
These costs are budgeted at $42,000. Since there have been no adjudications this year, some money was available to give to the Human Rights Commission for a specific purpose. Under the Second Appropriation Act, 1989-90, in schedule B, it talks about the grants on page three. Schedule B says, The sums in this schedule have been included in the sums of schedule A. They are extracted from schedule A and are noted here only to show that they have been appropriated for grants rather than for some other purpose. They are not appropriations in addition to the sums of schedule A.
I am not sure what information the Member for Riverdale South wants. The main estimates will indicate that the $10,000 is for the coordination of the conference of Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies, known as CASHRA, to be held here.
Mrs. Firth: That explanation still does not completely satisfy my curiosity, and I will explain why. Last year, the operating and maintenance budget for the Human Rights Commission included the $249,000 that has been shown in this years budget as $249,000. When I asked questions about the particular supplementary for Justice in the budget lockup, we were told that the Human Rights Commission was given an additional $10,000. We were not told anything about it being for a conference.
In the new main estimates for 1990-91, I notice the extra $10,000 is built into the new budget, as well as the total of $42,000 from the adjudication money. I am saying that this additional $10,000 for the conference the Minister is talking about is built into the supplementaries, as well as it being in next years main operating and maintenance budget.
By the percentage increase, I see the Human Rights Commission grant is going up by 18 percent. That is overall, and it includes the grant as well as the adjudication board. Perhaps the Minister could explain why there is that discrepancy, and why the adjudication board does not show $10,000 less. I guess she is saying that, in the bill, they are allowed to do that. They are allowed to move the money back and forth, because the bill gives them that ability.
However, I remember the Minister saying in the House that the adjudication money was not supposed to be moved back and forth from the adjudication function to the Human Rights Commission. I do not totally accept the explanation. Why is the amount built into the new budget? Are they spending that $10,000 now, or is it going to be spent next year?
Hon. Ms. Joe: It is my understanding that it is included in the mains for 1990-91 to coordinate a conference that has been in the planning stages since last year. I am not exactly sure whether or not they have retained anybody to do that coordination, but it is for a conference that will be held.
I feel at a bit of a loss right now, dealing with the operation and maintenance for 1991, when I do not have the information before me. I have given her the information I have been able to get in regard to the question she asked me on Thursday.
I am sure the information I have given her did not satisfy her, because she has indicated that. If we are going to be talking about the budget for 1990-91, I would like to discuss it at that time. It is in the budget in the operation and maintenance mains, and we should discuss it at the time we have that before us. I do not think I can give her any more information than I already have in regard to the question she has asked me.
Mrs. Firth: I am not asking the Minister to discuss next years O&M budget; I am simply raising the issue to get a clarification. The Minister has just contradicted herself because she said the $10,000 was in this supplementary for the conference, but then she said it was in the main budget because it was not going to be held until next year, which I assume her to mean the next fiscal year. I was told that the Human Rights Commission got $10,000 extra in the supplementary estimates. All I want to know is what that money is for. The Minister has not cleared it up by saying that it was in this supplementary but is also in the main budget as well. What was the $10,000 for in the supplementary?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I have already indicated to her that the $10,000 she speaks of, that is listed on schedule B, is for a conference that is to be held in Whitehorse. There is an annual conference for the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies and it was decided to have it here this year. Since there was no additional money to do that, they have requested that money be provided for it.
Mrs. Firth: Is that money going to be spent in 1990-91? Why is it in the 1990-81 budget, if they are asking for it for the 1989-90 supplementary? I may not be making myself clear; perhaps this is why we should have the Human Rights Commission here, then they could be responding instead of the Minister and I could be getting the information from them. I do not follow the Ministers explanation.
Hon. Ms. Joe: Since the Member has been asking different questions in regard to the money that has been allocated for the Human Rights Commission, I have just been informed that the $10,000 that she has been talking about has been included in this years 1989-90 budget.
Mrs. Firth: Is this conference then going to cost $20,000 because the Minister has said that it is in the supplementaries and now she has said that it is in this years budget, too. What does she mean by this years budget? Maybe I am misinterpreting that.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I do not have the O&M budget for next year here before me. The information that I have received - and that I thought I had - was a little bit different than what I am getting now. The cost of the conference to this government, to the Yukon, next year, would be $10,000. I am not able to give any more information on the O&M budget for 1990-91 at this time.
Mrs. Firth: I do not want any information on the 1990-91 budget. All I want to know is if the $10,000 is going to be spent in this supplementary budget? The Minister has told me it is in both budgets. I am not prepared to pass the item on the forthcoming information. I would like to hear from the Human Rights Commission where they spent the money. I find the Ministers answers unsatisfactory.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I will read the information word-for-word I hope the Member is looking for. On September 6, 1989, the Human Rights Commission requested the minimum of $10,000 to hire a part-time coordinator to assist the commission in carrying out the task of planning for CASHRA. This conference is a major annual national event that commences on June 3, and is of three-and-one-half days duration. The planning of such a large event is beyond the current resources of the commission. The $10,000 is independent from the ongoing O&M of the Human Rights Commission and will be dedicated solely toward the coordination of the CASHRA conference.
Mrs. Firth: So the Minister is saying this $10,000 extra in the supplementary budget was to hire someone to plan the conference, and that it was beyond current resources that they had within their budget. They were also in a deficit position. They had about a $14,000 deficit that the Human Rights Commission chairperson assured the Legislative Assembly they would find within their finances. However, the new executive director of the Human Rights Commission indicated publicly they were unable to do that and were even more short of finances and was recommending quite a substantial increase be given to the Human Rights Commission.
What is the total cost of this conference going to be?
Hon. Ms. Joe: Ten thousand dollars is all we agreed to. Apparently there has been somebody contracted to start working on this conference.
Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell us who has been contracted to do this work and when the contract started?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I cannot give the date of when she started, but the name of the person is Catherine Read.
Mrs. Firth: I will follow up on this Human Rights Commission issue when we move to the O&M and capital budget. Some of my colleagues have questions.
Mr. Lang: I understand it is a $10,000 contract. Did it go for public tender, or did someone who knew the commission get the contract?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I am not aware of whether it was tendered or not. I do not have that information. If the Member wants it, we can get it. They will appear before us in the O&M estimates. At that time they can let the House and all of the Yukon know whether or not it was tendered.
Mr. Lang: In deference to the concept of fairness and equity that this particular commission is supposed to represent, you would have thought they would have automatically gone to public tender when they are talking about $10,000, and possibly more by the time it is finished. I would appreciate the Minister following up on that to find out if it was a case of a friend meeting a friend and giving the contract.
Secondly, if it did not go to public tender, I would like to know why.
Thirdly, I would like to know the necessary qualifications for doing such a job.
When the Commission comes before the House, I want to know exactly how much this conference is going to cost the territory. I want assurances from the Minister that we are not going to be paying money from our overall budget over and above what has been granted to the commission for such an event. I would assume that would be the responsibility of the commission, not ours. I would like a full projection of costs and where those dollars are coming from.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I will make sure that those requests are given to the Human Rights Commission and that they have that information when they appear before this House.
There was an outstanding item in regard to the Yukon College and some work that was under question there. They had asked me to bring back some information; I was not able to bring back all of the information they wanted, and I think she would recognize that actions such as this are done without a lot of public input. The information I can give this House is that, to date, a firm has been retained to deal with the situation and there has already been $88,000 spent; $56,000 of that amount was used to engage experts in the field to provide the research and investigation necessary to have expert witnesses available to present the case against the design engineers and the project managers and contractors with regard to the claim for damages with respect to that system. At present, the engineering studies have been completed by an expert, a process which took approximately four months, and their report has recently been received by Government Services; it is being reviewed with a view to proposing the next course of action, which might include a formal demand prior to commencing suit. That is the information I have, and it is up-to-date.
Mrs. Firth: What the Minister is saying is that they have spent $88,000 just to get the information together to present the case; it has not actually gone before the courts? Is the architect aware that there is a lawsuit being launched against him?
Hon. Ms. Joe: In order to get the information and proceed with this, it was necessary to bring certain people in to look at the design and to do an investigation, in order to get the kind of information we needed. At present, there has not been an actual suit. We would hope that there would be an out-of-court settlement, which would make a court case unnecessary.
Mr. Lang: I just want to pursue this a little further; perhaps I missed something in the debate previously on this. I gather there were some major problems with that particular contract or resulting from that contract and I am questioning just how much money we are talking about with respect to what damages we would be seeking. Are we looking at a half-million dollars in damages, or a million, or are we looking at a million and one-half? I do not quite understanding this spending of $88,000 already, and looking at perhaps $140,000. What is the ballpark figure we are looking at in damages incurred through the contract?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I cannot give you the exact figure, but when we made the decision to spend this $150,000 there was an indication that the figure we were looking at would have been in the area of about $2 million. That is not an exact figure but it is a ballpark figure.
Mr. Lang: Let me get this clear. Did we pay an extra $2 million to get this work done? Perhaps the Minister could enlighten us as to how we came to be in this situation?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I cannot give the House the exact figures, but there was a certain amount of work done that, I am told, was in the area of $2 million or more. We are looking at a problem that has now surfaced in regard to the work that was done. As I have said, we have had to make a decision on spending $150,000 on work that was done that exceeded $2 million. We are looking at a problem that may have to go to court. We are hoping it will not, and there will be some sort of out-of-court settlement.
Mr. Lang: What are we talking about for $2 million? What went wrong?
Hon. Ms. Joe: As I said, because of the nature of the problem, I do not think it is very fair for me to talk about the specific problems at this time. We are looking at improper installation of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and other related mechanical equipment. That is about all the information I can give the House at this time. It is a very delicate situation. We are hoping we will be able to come to some kind of an agreement about it without having to go to court.
Mr. Lang: I can appreciate the Ministers concern from that point of view. I would like to ask the Minister to give us an undertaking. First of all, when is a decision going to be made on whether or not it goes to court?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I cannot give him that information right now. I would hope I would be able to come back and say we are looking at a period of time within a month or two, but I cannot do that. I will endeavour to get that information.
Mr. Lang: In conjunction with that information, could the Minister give the undertaking, once a final decision has been made, to communicate to all Members in this House as to whether or not they have gone to court? If they have, what the particulars are on it or, if they have had an out-of-court settlement, if she could outline the stipulations of that settlement, and be more specific in respect to exactly what the problems were that were associated with the construction that the Minister indicated?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I can bring back the information when I am able to get it.
Attorney General in the amount of $449,000 agreed to
On Solicitor General
Hon. Ms. Joe: The Solicitor Generals line item of $165,000 was held over because the Member for Riverdale South wanted a breakdown of that $165,000. I will let the Member know the kind of things that were included in this amount. The forecasted expenditure for the policing contract is comprised of the following items. I do not have a figure for each one, but I will give the information as I have it here.
The public servant salaries have increased by four percent, with an additional four percent effective January 1, 1990. Member salaries have increased by five percent, with an additional five percent effective January 1, 1990. With the salary increases, pension benefits were impacted, which raises the indirect costs charged to the Yukon. Isolated post allowance has increased by three percent, effective August 1989. Overtime has increased due to the pay raise and also due to the Dawson City incident. If you will recall, they had to bring in extra people in regard to the attempted murder where a helicopter was shot at. That added to the cost in the area of about $30,000 or $40,000. The emergency response team was called out, as well as members from Terrace, B.C., which is the area where they get these specific people.
Transfer costs have increased due to the retirement of several long-service members and their relocation costs. The corresponding recruitment and relocation costs of replacement members has had a major impact on this budget item. The Department of Justice officials are working very closely with the RCMP in Whitehorse to obtain more accurate and timely financial forecasts.
I believe, each October, the RCMP provide an estimate of the forthcoming years costs of the policing contract. The estimate has gone well beyond that with all the things I have just indicated.
Mrs. Firth: Have all these increases been built into the new budget or do I have to wait to see if that will happen?
Hon. Ms. Joe: They have already been built into next years budget. There is still a possibility that some unexpected expenses may occur, such as what has happened in the Dawson City incident where the cost was much larger than they expected it to be. I hope that the increases that we have provided in next years budget will be adequate.
Mrs. Firth: The RCMP agreement with the federal government is presently being renegotiated. When is the Minister expecting that negotiation to be final? It has to be signed in April 1991 I believe.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I think it expires in 1991 but there have been ongoing negotiations between Department of Justice officials and the RCMP for a number of months. There will be a meeting in Whitehorse soon of officials from the Northwest Territories. I have also met with the chief superintendent regarding the new contract. There are a number of issues that have arisen afrom that. I am hoping that by the middle of the year we will have been able to sign an agreement.
Solicitor General in the amount of $165,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures in the amount of $955,000 agreed to
Public Service Commission
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
Chair: Public Service Commission is now open for debate on Operation and Maintenance Expenditures.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I can briefly run through what the $55,000 is for and then we can proceed with questions that Members opposite might have.
Under Recruitment and Training, an over expenditure of $45,000 resulted from an increase in outside recruitment. From April 1, 1989 to December 1, 1989, outside hires and removals totaled $28,000 as compared to $21,000 for the total fiscal year 1989-90. Another nine competitions have been advertised outside and are currently in progress. There is $9,000 for educational leave assistance.
A $46,000 supplementary under Employees Records and Pensions represents 1.17 person year. This is a proration for the fiscal year 1988-89. There was a request for funding for two additional years: one pay and benefit clerk and one assistant pension insurance administrator for 1990-91. That was due to the unionization of auxiliary employees.
There is $65,000 under labour relations: a $10,000 over expenditure for audio metric testing. This is a new form of testing conducted by occupational health and safety and Workers Compensation Board. The commission as an employer is responsible for costs incurred for testing. There is a $20,000 over expenditure resulting from increased usage of the employee assistance and health promotion program for non-smoking courses and bulletins. The policy was implemented January 1, 1989 to proceed with the no smoking policy. There was a $35,000 over expenditure resulting from lengthy appeal processes that have gone to adjudication and lengthy bargaining that has gone to mediation and/or arbitration. The Positive Employment Program $110,000 under expenditure resulted from native training course position vacancies. This will offset over expenditures and labour relations and recruitment.
Mr. Lang: Will the Minister table whatever contracts this department entered into with consultants and any other contracts outside the department? Can they run off copies for all Members?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I do not have a copy for everyone. I will send one copy over to the Member and will have some made if that is the wish.
Mr. Lang: I have a question on the principle of local hire. What is the government policy on local hire?
Hon. Ms. Joe: For employment in the territory we advertise within the Yukon. If we find that we are unable to fill a position within the Yukon we go to each Minister in each department to get approval for any outside hiring.
Mr. Lang: The Minister is telling us that any outside hire is approved by the Ministers? Is that correct?
Hon. Ms. Joe: Yes.
Mr. Lang: When an individual has applied for a job with the Public Service Commission and is certified to do the job, what kind of points are given for being a local resident as opposed to an outside resident applying for the same job?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I am not entirely sure there are points that are recognized for Yukon people. I am told that is not the case. They do not have specific points they award for local hire.
Mr. Lang: Is the Minister telling this House that in a Public Service Commission interview, a local person who is qualified to do the job is given at least a bit of an edge to receive that job, everything else being equal?
Hon. Ms. Joe: We do, of course, have a local hire policy. That policy is in place. The only time we would go out of the territory is when we cannot find a qualified person here. In most cases, qualified persons are found and are hired. In specific positions where we have not been able to find a local person to fill a position, we will go out of the Yukon.
Mr. Lang: I would just like to go back because my question was not answered. I find it confusing that there would not be a point system in evaluating individuals when they apply for a job, just in order to be able to keep track of how each candidate fared throughout an interview. My question is this: is there an edge, point, or however you want to say it, given to a resident here if he or she meets all other criteria of certification? Or is it a question of whom you know?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I do not think it is a case of whom you know. As the Member knows, there is a very sophisticated way of dealing with interviews and certifying certain people. Those things do apply in the cases of people who are applying for jobs in the territory; all the qualifications that person has, including the fact that that person might live here in the Yukon, are taken into consideration, and only after it has been identified that the person needs further qualifications or experience or whatever, do we go outside.
Mr. Lang: Do these same principles apply to all the corporations and commissions of the government as well?
Hon. Ms. Joe: Yes, they do.
Mr. Lang: I would like to move on to another area in general debate here. It is a question about the negotiations on the health transfer. The Public Service Commission is involved in that, are they not?
Hon. Ms. Joe: Yes, they are.
Mr. Lang: What costs have been incurred by the Public Service Commission over and above the Health and Human Resources budget, for the purposes of the classification and things like that? How much is contained in the budget?
Hon. Ms. Joe: It has not cost PSC an additional amount of money, but they have hired a devolution coordinator who has been dealing strictly with the devolution of employees of the health services.
Mr. Lang: Who hired the devolution employee? The Public Service Commission?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The Public Service Commission, yes.
Mr. Lang: Who would that be, and at what cost?
Hon. Ms. Joe: That person is Pat Herbert, and she has been doing that job for the last two years.
Mr. Lang: Have there been any employees on casual or contract with that office who are dealing with the negotiations?
Hon. Ms. Joe: We have not hired anybody else in the Public Service Commission to do any of that.
Mr. Lang: I wonder if the Minister could tell us: I have been told that Mr. John Walsh, the ex-chief of staff for the Government Leader, was involved in these negotiations. I would like to know if that is true and, if so, where would we find his salary?
Hon. Ms. Joe: John Walsh, I believe, was involved in some kind of discussions, but he was not on contract with PSC, so I cannot tell you any more than that.
Mr. Lang: Is it not true that he was part of the negotiating team between the union representatives and the Government of Yukon Territory?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I believe that is the case.
Mr. Lang: I thought that the Public Service Commission had the mandate for the negotiations with labour regarding outstanding issues. The transfer of the hospital and health care to the Yukon is an important issue. Why has the Public Service Commission not taken a lead role in this case? Is the direction for the total transfer going through the Government Leaders office?
Hon. Ms. Joe: Health and Human Resources and the Public Service Commission have been involved in negotiations. I cannot tell the House the terms of the contract or about what John Walsh was doing. The three departments have been involved in negotiations for the employees.
Mr. Lang: Can the Minister verify that the ex-chief of staff, Mr. Walsh, who left the Yukon, is still on contract to the Government of Yukon for these negotiations over and above the fringe benefits he receives from B.C.?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The Public Service Commission does not have that information. I do not believe that he was, but I am not positive. I would have to bring that information back to the House.
Mr. Lang: I would appreciate a legislative return on that.
There is also another individual who has been quite politically active and was and maybe still is involved in the negotiations of the health transfer. Could the Public Service Commission verify that Mr. Doug Rody is also involved in classification or in some other aspects of the negotiations?
Hon. Ms. Joe: Doug Rody has been employed as the executive assistant to the Minister of Community and Transportation Services.
Mr. Lang: I am not talking about the hiring and firing in the last couple of weeks. I am talking about six months ago. Was Mr. Doug Rody, the Ministers good friend and campaign manager, involved in negotiations regarding the health transfer? Who would pay him if the Public Service Commission knows nothing about it?
Hon. Ms. Joe: Doug Rody was not my campaign manager, but he is a friend of mine. He was on contract with Health and Human Resources. That is all I can tell the Member.
Mr. Lang: It certainly gives a clean bill of health to the Public Service Commission. These contracts go through Health and Human Resources instead of through the Public Service Commission. The people of the territory, through this House, asks the Public Service Commission to negotiate labour relations and the transfer of employees. It is very disconcerting that there is a politicization within the negotiating process in that people who have not been trained with this kind of expertise get involved. I wonder what the outcome will be.
Could the Minister provide the House with the contract and the amount of money paid to Mr. Rody in conjunction with the information that she has committed to give this House on Mr. Walsh, who keeps coming back to haunt us?
Hon. Ms. Joe: It is in our best interest to hire the people who are qualified to do the work with a great deal of expertise. That is what happened in this case. I will take the Members question as notice only because it does not concern my department, and I cannot speak for another Minister. It will be recorded.
Mr. Lang: I assume that, on behalf of the government, she is making a commitment that that information is going to be made available; it is the taxpayers money. Is that not correct?
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is the case and I did say I would take that question as notice. I believe it is proper for me to let the Minister responsible know of the request from the Member for Porter Creek East; it is only the proper thing to do, and I will do that. I cannot imagine why he would not make that information available.
Mr. Lang: I appreciate that. I just want to make an apology on the record here that I thought Mr. Rody was your campaign manager. Perhaps it was the other riding. I know it was in close proximity to where the Minister resides.
I would like to go to another area, unless somebody has any other questions on the infamous health transfer and how well we are doing.
I would like to move on to the question of the smoking policy. Can the Minister tell this House what exactly the smoking policy is as it applies to the jail?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The same thing applies to the jail as it does to the other place where we have residents, and that is Macaulay Lodge. The residents of those two places are allowed to smoke because that is where they live.
Mr. Lang: I would like to get into an area of some concern that has been raised by a number of constituents of mine - the Yukon Government Employees Union benefits handbook that the Minister sent to some 1,500 employees, the way I understand it. First of all, could the Minister tell us how much it cost to print this very elaborate book?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I am prepared to have all kinds of information available in the O&Ms. I do not know how much that cost and I would certainly have to come back with the exact figure; I can bring it back.
Mr. Lang: I would appreciate that. I have just been prompted by one of my colleagues and I would like to go back to the question of the smoking policy, particularly in the correctional institute. Does the smoking policy apply to the guards as well? Are they allowed to smoke along with the inmates throughout the jail?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The smoking policy applies to the people who work at the correctional centre as it does to all other employees. They are not allowed to smoke in the building.
Mr. Lang: I just want to get this clear in the record. The inmates can smoke but those who are in charge, the guards, are not allowed to smoke, and that is the policy of the government. Is that correct?
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is the policy and in regard to that I have asked for information from right across Canada and from other governments that have a no-smoking policy, and how they have done it in other correctional centres. The majority of jurisdictions across Canada that have a no-smoking policy allow the inmates to smoke because that is where they live - such as we have done at Macaulay Lodge.
Mr. Lang: I notice the Minister is now saying she is trying to get some information from across Canada. My question of the Minister, on the matter of smoking, is: does she believe that to be a fair and reasonable policy?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I can say specifically that, if I had my way, there would not be any smoking anywhere in any government building. In the case of people who live in buildings, we have made a decision to allow those people to smoke.
Mr. Lang: My question to the Minister is this: with respect to the guards, does she feel that is a fair and reasonable policy decision to take, considering the inmates?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The policy, as we are complying with it, is that employees who work in government buildings are not allowed to smoke - and the same thing applies to the guards. I am aware of the situation as he is discussing it. I have received the petition from the guards so I am aware of the situation. There would have been an uproar from the rest of the employees who smoke if we allowed the employees at the jail to smoke.
Mr. Lang: I take it, then, that the decision of the government is that inmates are allowed to smoke in the correctional institute, but the guards are not. Is that correct?
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is correct. As I have said, we allow people who live in buildings to smoke, such as we have done with Macaulay Lodge.
Mr. Brewster: Why would you allow inmates to smoke when you do not allow people to smoke who are in the hospital and confined there, who have no choice and are living in those hospitals?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I have no control over the no-smoking policy of the federal government.
Mr. Brewster: Do you not have control over the nursing centres, which you issue things to, even though the federal government is still involved?
Hon. Ms. Joe: No, I do not. That is the responsibility of the federal government.
Mr. Phillips: I would hope the government might have another look at this. I know it is creating some difficulties at the correctional institute. From speaking to several of the guards at the institute, my understanding is the inmates know the guards cannot smoke and relish in blowing smoke in the guards faces and rubbing it in. It creates a very hostile atmosphere at that institute. It could lead to some difficulties down the road. Although I am not condoning smoking in any institution, I am saying there are some fairly high tensions in correctional institutes. When you get inmates mocking the guards in such a fashion, it can create problems down the road for everybody involved. I would ask that the government seriously look at the situation.
I know the federal corrections department is examining it. I know that several institutes across Canada allow designated areas where the guards may smoke. We have a list of those that we can make available to the Minister, because we have checked into it. It might be a consideration we give. It is a stressful job. I am not saying that smoking necessarily relieves stress, but it becomes much more stressful when an inmate blows smoke in a guards face and makes fun of him. It creates a lot more difficulties, and it is something we should examine before it literally blows up in our face. That is what is going to happen one of these days.
Hon. Ms. Joe: There are many instances in the jail that could blow up in anybodys face. I am not ignoring the problem. The Member has stated things that have already been stated to me. I am aware of the situation. We are not ignoring the petition. We understand the seriousness of the policy between the two peoples up in the jail, the inmates and the people who work there. We do have information that I have asked for from across Canada in regard to smoking policies within other jurisdictions. I have the petition on my desk. I will take all the things into consideration that have been mentioned here in the House.
Mr. Phelps: I am rather concerned about the rights of non-smokers among the inmates and what is being done to protect their rights. Is the government not concerned about the rights of those people, the ones who do not smoke that also happen to live there?
Hon. Ms. Joe: Yes, we are. It is a serious situation. We have asked for input from the health and safety committee in regard to that. We are looking at the very thing that he is talking about: the rights of those non-smokers who are inmates. One of the things we have found out is it is very hard to have designated areas, especially because of the guard-inmate ratio. It is a very difficult thing.
We were trying to have the whole thing in place by the time January 1 came along. The only indication I had was, Let us all smoke. We are looking at the situation. I do have the petition. I am aware of the problems that could occur. I am aware of the problems that are already occurring as a result of it. I am not ignoring it. I will report back to the House or to the Members opposite when I have been able to come to some kind of agreement or decision.
Mr. Lang: Can the Minister tell us when she received the petition?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I happened to get very behind in the mail on my desk. I read it for the first time one day last week.
Mr. Lang: I got the impression from my earlier question that the Minister had already made up her mind. Is the Minister telling us she still has not made up her mind, and that there will be a final decision on this matter? Can the Minister indicate the time frame we are looking at?
Hon. Ms. Joe: A lot has to be taken into consideration in any decision or agreement that is made regarding the smoking. I cannot say that I will have that information back next week. Certainly when I get the information I need, I will. There is the problem of how the jail is situated and the different rooms there and what could be available to inmates who smoke and inmates who do not smoke. The same would apply to the guards. There was talk about designating the staff room for a smoke room, but the problem is still there: you have non-smokers and smokers. It is not as easy to deal with as in this building.
Mr. Lang: I do not understand this. The government announced their policy one year ago. Why was this not taken into account prior to January 1, 1990? Why was there such a void in the policy? Did this particular issue come up suddenly and nobody was aware of it?
Hon. Ms. Joe: We anticipated there would be problems anywhere with regard to the no-smoking policy. We were aware there was going to be a petition circulated and prepared for the policy to come into effect on the first of this year by making many other things available that this government could pay for. Some individuals took advantage of it. Some people tried to stop smoking. It is not the easiest thing to do. I have gone through the experience and know the great difficulty of trying to quit. We did know there would be a problem, and we looked at other jurisdictions to see what they were doing. At that time it was decided the no-smoking policy would apply to the guards and not the inmates because it was their place of residence. We knew there would be a problem.
Mr. Lang: That still does not answer the question. The fact is you had a year to plan the policy, and we are sitting here in February of 1990 talking about what you are going to do in regard to policy. It is a hell of a way to make policy. You have had a years lead time, you know there are going to be problems, and you have to make a definitive decision.
My question has not been answered. When did she receive the petition? She received observations from this side of the floor. When can we expect a decision on this situation? I expect a time frame. Are we talking about a couple of weeks, or three weeks?
Hon. Ms. Joe: If I gave him a figure of six weeks down the road and was not able to meet that deadline, I would be criticized. I want to assure the Member that I am looking at the problem. I am not ignoring the petition. I have been told by the union, by the management, that there is a problem there. It is not the easiest one to deal with. What do we do about Macaulay Lodge? Is there still going to be a problem for the people who live there, and the people who work there?
Mr. Lang: Yes, I am trying to lock you into a certain time frame because I do not want to be sitting here talking about it to you 12 months from now. I think that those people who have handed you a petition deserve an answer. You have had that petition, at least from my understanding, for two weeks, although you may be getting a little behind getting to things at your desk - Madam Chair, I will address the Chair because you know I always love addressing the Chair; you know that.
I would say to the Minister that, from my point of view, she has a responsibility on the floor of the House, and to those people interested in this issue, to tell them that it is her intention to give them a response in two weeks, three weeks, four days - but at least to give us some kind of a time frame. I respect the fact that maybe the Minister had some other things to deal with and I do not have a problem with that, but I think that she does owe to us, and to the general public, some idea of a time frame, of when we can expect a decision so that we can then check back with her and say, okay, if you have not made a decision, I would like to know why. This is not a new issue. All you have to do is go back to all of the provinces and territories and see what their policies are, and then you have to make a decision as to your own policy; it is pretty simple.
I would ask again a direct question: could she undertake to give us an approximate time frame of when she might see herself in the position of making a final, definitive decision on this matter? It is an issue that is affecting quite a number of people.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I said that I would get the information back, that I would try to come to some kind of decision in the very near future. I am not about to say two months from now at this time. I will do it as soon as I can. You have to understand, as I said, that I only saw the petition last week for the first time. Certainly, there have been a lot of other things that I have been dealing with; there is a lot more to Justice and PSC than the no-smoking policy; there are many things that I have to deal with; that is just one of them. I am not ignoring the issue; it has been told to me by many people and I am not ignoring it; that is all I can say.
Mr. Lang: It is so nice to hear that she is not ignoring it but when is the Minister just going to stand up in the House and say that this is not a high priority and we are going to put it on the bottom of the basket? She is getting paid a fairly good annual salary and I would say to the Minister that these people do deserve an answer. I do not think that she should try to trivialize it and try to make it more complicated than it is because it is not that complicated. A little common sense and a little logic will go a long way, I think, to solving the problem. All I can say is that I see the Minister sitting in her place saying, I am not going to give a time frame - that is fine but I just want to forewarn the Minister that she is going to get a lot of questions on this and then she will have to come forward with a response, one way or another.
I have a further question on the no-smoking policy and how it applies to young offenders. Now that we have gone through the charade of a secure facility up the hill, is it still the smoking policy of the government that the young offenders get to go out and roam around outside the building to smoke?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The young offenders did have to go outside to smoke and I understand that that policy still applies.
Mr. Lang: Is this in conjunction with the overall review of the young offenders facility, as far as security is concerned?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I cannot respond to the evaluation that was done on the young offenders facility. I responded to the policy of young offenders and the policy was that they could not smoke indoors.
Mr. Lang: Does the Minister think that that is a fair and reasonable policy, as far as the general public is concerned?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I am not exactly sure what he is getting at. I do not believe that anybody should smoke but I do not know what he is getting at.
Mr. Lang: I have to take umbrage to the Ministers response in respect to all she knows about the smoking policy. I would like to point out two things to House and for the record. The Minister is not only the Minister of the Public Service Commission, but she is also the Minister of Justice. She also has the notorious reputation of being the one who brought in the secure facility to the territory. She has a great deal of background from many other facets of her government experience, past and present. She is in a good position to be able to speak to it from any place she stands, no matter what the budget is.
In respect to the facility and the no-smoking policy, is that going to be the policy, as stated earlier, in view of this review, that the inmates will be allowed to go out and smoke outside the building?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The policy for the young offenders has not changed. They have to smoke outdoors.
Chair: Is there further general debate?
Mr. Phelps: I have a couple of questions relating to the so-called affirmative action policy of the government with regard to employment for women in senior management.
Does this government have any comprehensive policy that purports to ensure equal opportunity for women in the civil service, particularly at senior management levels?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The policy of this government is to work toward equality within this government in regard to employment. At this time, we realize that is not a very easy thing to achieve. As has been told to us many times, our policy is that we have to have some kind of equality to offset the imbalance right now within this government, and we are working toward that.
Mr. Phelps: I understand what the Minister is saying but, unfortunately over the past number of years, the actions of government have not met those standards in any way. Why does the government not have a comprehensive policy that will ensure that women in the civil service will have equal opportunity to men with regard to training and senior jobs? Can we expect a comprehensive policy in this regard to come forward? If the Minister is saying she has one, could she table it?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The written policy for affirmative action is in the final stages of being approved. A number of dedicated individuals have worked on it for a number of months. We are looking at some kind of written policy that will be used throughout the Yukon. When that policy is ready and has received final approval by Cabinet, it will be made available to anyone who wants it.
Mr. Phelps: Now, after being in office for almost five years, the government is going to be coming forward with a policy on equal opportunity for women within its civil service. Is that what the Minister is saying?
Hon. Ms. Joe: When I was in the Opposition, I asked many times about the affirmative action policy of his government. I was told in no uncertain terms that we did have an affirmative action policy. We in this government decided to put that affirmative action policy into action, and we have done that.
In order to develop such a policy, it takes a lot of time. You want it to be done the right way, and you want to involve those individuals who are going to be a part of it. That is exactly what we have done. It has taken longer than we wanted, but we do have a policy. We have been working toward equal opportunity for women in this government. We have done it through training. The training we provide to women, as well as to all employees, is very good. There are many courses that are offered on underfills to women who are in acting positions, and many women are taking advantage of that. If we look at our record right now in regard to women in senior management, that figure has gone up. There are more women now in my department than there have been, and more are being appointed all the time. I see it happening in other departments as well.
Although the affirmative action policy is not written, as such, we do have a policy of this government to proceed with it.
Mr. Phelps: The record of the government has not been satisfactory; it has been deplorable. I understand that they have recently addressed the problem and are coming forward with a policy. I look forward to seeing that policy. I submit that it is nothing short of ludicrous for the Minister to try and pretend that there has been a comprehensive policy and that they have been doing very much about the deplorable situation over the last four years. They obviously have not.
I look forward to receiving a complete copy of the comprehensive policy as soon as it is available. When can I expect to receive that document?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I would like to be able to table it in the House in this session. If it is ready then, I will do that.
Our record for women in management speaks for itself. That has risen by 28 percent. We can be very proud of that in regard to promoting equal opportunity. It is not the easiest thing to do, although each department has worked toward it. I am very pleased with what we have been able to do so far. We would like to do much better, but that does take time.
Mr. Lang: I would like something clarified on the contracts that were handed out. An extra column reads committed. Another column reads decommitted. Then there is a balance column. Is the balance what is left over or what has been spent? Could the Minister give me an explanation?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The balance is what has not been spent.
Mr. Lang: That is what I thought. Could the Minister tell us what management contract was for developing and implementing executive leadership survey? That was $17,800. Who are they? Where are they from?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I am trying to find the information, if it is here. I can bring that information back later today.
Mr. Lang: We have had a total of $425,000 allotted for moving costs for bringing candidates to the Yukon. Could the Minister also provide, maybe in the main estimates, a list of all the positions that have been filled by outside candidates? Could she also provide the cost to move them here? From where did they move? Could the cost be put beside each position?
Hon. Ms. Joe: That will take time, but I can provide the House with that information.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister also table in the House the report called Decentralization Options?
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is also not my contract. I would have to let the responsible Minister give that information. I will take the question under advisement, and I will let the Minister know.
Mr. Lang: I have to take exception to that. That is a contract through the Public Service Commission and the Minister cannot pass the buck. There was a total of $2,863 spent for an ex-long-time employee of the government, Mr. Koken, to do a report on decentralization options. I would like that report tabled.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I need some clarification. Did he want a copy of the report or a copy of the contract?
Mr. Lang: I would like a copy of the report.
Hon. Ms. Joe: The report is not complete. It has not gone through the proper channels. I will take that question as notice.
Mr. Lang: Another one that comes to mind is the writing of the YTA benefit books by Northern writes. Who is Northern writes? I notice we have contracts for over $3,000 as well as another $5,000, for a total of $8,000, that has to do with the benefits book I mentioned earlier that the Minister said she did not have the information on.
Hon. Ms. Joe: He is asking who these people are? I cannot provide that information right now but will certainly bring it back.
Mr. Lang: I would like all direct and indirect costs associated with this particular document. I want to know what the cost of mailing this particular document to employees was, and the total number of employees it was mailed to.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I can provide that information and will bring it back.
Mr. Lang: I will be satisfied to get that when we get into the main estimates.
Why was it mailed? Why was it just not delivered at the work place?
Hon. Ms. Joe: It is my understanding that was the best way to do it. I am not sure how it would have been different if we did deliver them because all our employees are not in this building. I understand there was a problem because they did not fit some mail slots, and what not. There are also employees who live outside of Whitehorse.
Chair: We shall now proceed with line-by-line?
On Recruitment and Training
Hon. Ms. Joe: I can go through this again. I have already done it in my opening remarks.
The $54,000 breaks down to $45,000 over expenditure, resulting from an increase in outside recruitment. From April 1, 1989 to December 31, 1989, outside hires and removals totalled 28 as compared to 21 for the fiscal year 1988-89. Another nine competitions had been advertised outside and are currently in progress. There is $9,000 for training for educational leave assistance.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister explain this educational training assistance and who was the beneficiary of it?
Hon. Ms. Joe: That was for a person by the name of Mary Carlson. It was used for the purpose of attending the city university of New York at which studies are credited toward a Masters in public administration and criminal justice. We paid money towards tuition and travel.
Mr. Lang: Just exactly what position does she have with the government? Does this benefit apply to all employees, and how does one get a benefit of this kind?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The departments would make a decision about it. We do have a policy that I could make available to the Member.
Mr. Lang: I would appreciate that. So, the department makes the decision; neither Cabinet nor Management Board make the decision with respect to such leave?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The department makes a recommendation to a committee of deputy ministers and from that group, it goes to Management Board.
Mr. Lang: I just want to get this clear on the record: the final decision is made by a group of Ministers. Is that correct?
Hon. Ms. Joe: Yes, the final decision is to Management Board to fund that leave.
Mr. Lang: How many other employees are out on educational leave?
Hon. Ms. Joe: This is the only one.
Mr. Lang: I would like to move on to another area, the question of compensation. It is directed to the Public Service Commission. I did have a discussion at one time with the Minister of Education, and this has to do with the number of people leaving, primarily the Department of Education, but other departments as well. I asked the Minister of Education about compensation packages, where there has been a mutual agreement reached for an individual leaving the government. In other words, if you are on a construction site you would say you were fired and in the government they say there is a mutual agreement to part. It always seems to cost the taxpayers money. I would like to know, considering all the various individuals who have moved, whether it be direct or indirect - for example, the president of the college, and there is at least one DM who has severed relationships with this government in this past year, and there may be more - is money contained in this budget for any of these compensation packages? If not, where are the monies paid out, and I would like to know the amount of money being paid out.
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is not included in this budget. It would come from the individual departments.
Mr. Lang: Is it not correct that the Public Service Commission is involved in negotiating these so-called compensation packages?
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is correct.
Mr. Lang: Well then, perhaps the Minister could tell us how many packages of this kind the government has negotiated over this past year through the Public Service Commission?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I can bring that information back. I would be prepared to have that kind of information for discussion in the O&M.
Mr. Lang: I will wait until the operation and maintenance budget.
Recruitment and Training in the amount of $54,000 agreed to
On Employee Records and Pensions
Hon. Ms. Joe: This $46,000 supplementary represents 1.17 person years. This is a proration for fiscal year 1989-90 in response to the request for funding for two additional person years, one pay and benefits clerk and one assistant pensions insurance administrator for 1990-91 due to the unionization of auxiliary employees.
Mr. Lang: Are these permanent positions?
Hon. Ms. Joe: Yes, they are.
Mr. Lang: Is it not correct that the benefits and various other aspects of the employees for the Yukon College will now be done through Yukon College and not through the government?
Hon. Ms. Joe: Yes, that is true.
Mr. Lang: Therefore, in view of the fact they are no longer responsible for all the college employees, how many auxiliary personnel are we speaking of?
Hon. Ms. Joe: Throughout the year, I am informed it is between 600 and 800.
Mr. Lang: I have to question this. Once again, we are increasing the size of the civil service. I am making the point that, on one hand, we have lost some responsibilities that used to be in the Public Service Commission. On the other hand, we have gained some. I understand that.
My concern is that we keep adding to this particular department. If one compares the person years over the last 10 years to now, we keep increasing the size of the department. At the same time, we go out for consultants - i.e., we had Mr. Walsh and Mr. Rody negotiating the health transfer on our behalf. If you go through here, there are numerous contracts being let for people coming up for various duties and outside costs. At the same time, I would like to register an observation. It has to be scrutinized closely in respect to what the staff should be in this particular area of government.
It seems that some of the front bench could take a leaf from the new Minister of Finances reawakening, where he asked the enlightening question, Where is the money going to come from? It is a valid question. Where is the money going to come from if we are going to continue this all the way through the budgets?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The Public Service Commission does have a good record with regard to increasing the person years. This was the first increase in two or three years. It is not our intention to increase the person years.
Employee Records and Pensions in the amount of $46,000 agreed to
On Labour Relations
Hon. Ms. Joe: There is a $10,000 over expenditure for audio metric testing. This is a new form of testing conducted by Occupational Health and Safety and Workers Compensation. As an employer, the commission is responsible for costs incurred for testing. There was a $20,000 over expenditure resulting from increased usage of the employee assistance and health promotion program for no-smoking courses and bulletins. The policy has been implemented.
There was a $35,000 over expenditure resulting from lengthy appeal processes that have gone to adjudication, and to lengthy bargaining that has gone to mediation and/or arbitration.
Mr. Lang: I would like to ask a question about how the teacher negotiations went. I want to pass on that there seems to be a fair amount of dissatisfaction among the teaching staff, in view of the decisions that went through arbitration. I would just like to ask the Minister this - and I do not have the information here so perhaps the Minister could verify it for us - the point that has been made to me is that the salaries are becoming less and less advantageous in comparison to the provinces. Could the Minister comment about whether our relationship is competitive for recruiting teachers?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I have to say that I am not familiar with all of the teachers salaries in other parts of Canada, but I understand that, in comparison with B.C., there was a salary freeze there that lasted for three years and when they did increase the salaries there was a big bump from what it was, three years prior to that, to the present. I am also informed that, compared to some of the other jurisdictions, our salaries are very good. I understand that we are a little bit farther north and that there are certain conditions that we have to live under here but there are a lot of things that are taken into consideration during negotiations in regard to this and I am hoping that a decision will be made that is agreeable to all.
Mr. Lang: I just want to make this observation - and I guess it comes down to the credibility of the government again - that the impression that was left in the minds of some teachers was that the government never intended to negotiate a package, that the government knew all the way along that it was going to arbitration. The concern that was expressed to me was that they felt there was a breech of trust, that there were issues that should have been negotiated, as opposed to going to, almost immediately, the arbitration route. I just want to make that observation; I think it should be made on the record because it has not come to me from but one source, but from a number, and, whether it be true or not, it is a perception out there. They feel that the whole negotiation process was a sham and now they are in a situation where they feel they got a package that is going to eventually result in us being in a position where recruiting teachers may be more and more difficult, especially in view of what is happening across the country.
I see the Public Service Commissioner shaking his head. Only time will tell, but the point is that other parts of Canada are starting to experience that sort of a situation and I would not like to see it here. I just point it out to the Minister to take it for what it is worth.
Labour Relations in the amount of $65,000 agreed to
On Positive Employment Program
Hon. Ms. Joe: The $110,000 under expenditure in the Positive Employment Program, resulting from native training corp positions vacancies, will offset over expenditures in Labour Relations and Recruitment, bringing the total to $55,000.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister just update us as to where the government is with respect to the Positive Employment Program? How many employees are we dealing with? What success has there been? Have some of these people become permanent employees?
Hon. Ms. Joe: We have at present 11 graduates and those positions are: fire inspector, conservation officer, economist, recruit officer, native program officer, alcohol probation officer, deputy court clerk, mobile enforcement officer, community operations advisor, classification analyst and social worker. At present, the positions in training now are: deputy court clerk, campus instructor, recreation consultant, project manager, alcohol probation officer, computer operator - and we are looking at recruitment for social worker, campus instructor and policy analyst.
Mr. Lang: Are the 11 graduates included in this $501,000? Am I to assume that these 11 people graduated prior to this budget? Is that the success of the program prior to the inception of the 1989-90 year?
Hon. Ms. Joe: Those individuals graduated at different times throughout the year. They are not included in this budget.
Mr. Lang: There are six individuals who are in the program with a possible two or three more starting. If I divide six into $501,000, it costs about $80,000 per position. Could the Minister enlighten us about how the money is being spent?
Hon. Ms. Joe: That not only includes the positions, it includes the people who work within the Positive Employment Program. It includes the things that are occurring as a result of the people with disabilities and training for women. It takes in a wide variety of things in regard to positive employement. It is not only the native training corp.
Positive Employment Program in the amount of an under expenditure of $110,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures in the amount of $55,000 agreed to
Chair: We will take a break at this time.
Chair: I will call Committee of the Whole back to order.
We will continue with the Department of Renewable Resources.
Hon. Mr. Webster: A supplementary of $234,000 is being sought for O&M and $117,000 for capital. These increases are partially offset by increased recoveries of $156,000 in O&M and $58,000 in capital.
The recently announced retroactive salary range changes for managerial positions have a total effect of $26,000 on our salary expenses: $7,000 in administration, $6,000 in policy and planning, $6,000 in parks, $4,000 in fish and wildlife and $3,000 in agriculture. The major reason for the increase of $111,000 in policy and planning is the added expense for land claims, consisting of band-to-band negotiations and implementation costs. Expenses involved salaries for two additional staff, support costs and the costs of establishment and operation of local renewable resource councils.
The Parks, Resources and Regional Planning increase is largely attributed to an additional $41,000 being contributed to the Yukon land use planning process from the federal office for research work in conjunction with the Kluane and north Yukon plans.
There are four additions or deletions in the fish and wildlife branch. We have been successful in negotiating an agreement with the Fur Institute of Canada for $90,000 to cover research work to be undertaken with respect to humane trapping of lynx. The Foundation of North American Wild Sheep has agreed to contribute a further $17,000 for mitigation work on the Mount Mye Sheep Project in Faro.
We have arranged for a revote of $32,000 in unexpended funds from Wildlife Habitat Canada to be used for conservation lands planning. These additional funds are offset by a surplus of $53,000 in the fisheries section, which is being transferred to the capital budget to cover the purchase of some additional equipment to support the fisheries functions.
The only other major change is the transfer of $24,000 from O&M to capital in the IFA program to allow for continuation of consultation with Inuvialuit to establish a Herschell Island park management plan. Out of capital, an additional $87,000 for departmental equipment consists of the transfer of $53,000 from Fisheries O&M for additional equipment together with a transfer of $34,000 from campground rehabilitation to cover the costs of purchasing a bobcat for site work.
The major change in Information, Interpretation and Public Education involves a postponement of the film video project in order to continue with the Yukon large mammals pamphlet project.
In Parks, Resources and Regional Planning, I have already commented concerning the transfer of $24,000 from O&M to capital in conjunction with the Herschell Island park project and the transfer of $34,000 to departmental equipment. The amount of $15,000 for the Dempster corridor is a revote from 1988-89 because the project was not completed in that year. The work to complete the project largely involves the completion of cultural wildlife studies. This will complete the management strategy phase of the study.
The additional funding of $34,000 for Yukon land use planning is fully recoverable and will allow the purchase of some needed additional computer hardware and software for this project.
In conclusion, the net additional funds requestion is for a total of $137,000, and is a result of the additional funding requirements for land claims, management salary range changes and revote of the Dempster corridor study funds.
All other changes either involve moving money around or adjustments to accommodate additions that are fully recoverable. I hope that these opening remarks will provide some clarification and assist in expediting debate on the supplementaries.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister provide us with the document we have asked for from all other departments, and that is any contracts for consultants or otherwise?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I do not have that information with me at this time.
Mr. Lang: All Ministers were made aware we were going to be asking for that information. Why is it not here?
Hon. Mr. Webster: It is because I just realized this afternoon that some Ministers are providing this information. Although some of the information is not complete at this time, I am going through a list of my contracts to see which ones have been concluded up until the end of the period we are discussing. In other words, some of the contracts are not ongoing. I expect to have that information available soon.
Mr. Lang: Can the Minister be a little bit more definite? What is the definition of soon?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Tomorrow.
Mr. Lang: I will accept tomorrow. I want to go on the record. All the Ministers have been giving us that information, so it should not come as a surprise to the Minister. I am prepared to let it go by now, but the requests were made quite vocally in this House on numerous occasions until we started going through the budget and received the information. We are dealing with the money now. I want a clear understanding that if we get that document after we have dealt with this budget, we can raise issues in the course of the operation and maintenance mains in order to get to where some of this money has been spent.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to emphasize that I have no difficulty providing information to the Member on the contracts that have been completed up to the date we are looking at. I want to ensure they are not ongoing or continuing.
Mr. Lang: I want to move to another area, and it must be in this budget somewhere. That is the cost of the infamous hunting trip the previous Minister of Renewable Resources had given away to the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep.
Could the Minister report to us all direct and indirect costs for the hunt?
Hon. Mr. Webster: If the Member will give me one minute to find that information, I know I have it here.
We are discussing the costs of the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep hunt. The total cost of that hunt was $11,900. That was conducted in the fall of 1989.
Mr. Lang: Does that include the cost of all the employees time involved in that hunt?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The breakdown is the contract with the guide and the outfitter for the trip, in and out, services for a two week hunt: horses, gear, $8,000; food and materials, under $1,500; aircraft charter, $2,400.
Mr. Lang: Obviously this does not include the time and effort that was put in by personnel within the game department. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Webster: That is true.
Mr. Lang: Was it not true there were departmental staff involved in this hunt from beginning to end? In fact, were there not individuals flown in from the department prior to the hunt to get an idea of the lay of the land and do a reconnaissance prior to the hunt being initiated?
Hon. Mr. Webster: According to my information, the crew consisted of Art Johns, who provided the guiding and outfitting services, horses and gear; Dan Drummond worked as a guide and wrangler, assistant to Mr. Johns; David Porter, who volunteered his time to be base camp cook; and another staff member, who was in the area on foot for a brief time. That may include some reconnaissance work just prior to the hunt.
Mr. Lang: Does this include all flights by other departmental officials who went in there during the course of the hunt? If not, I would like to know how many other flights were in there, with a cost breakdown as well.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The figure I provide of $2,400 for aircraft charter includes all those flights.
Mr. Phillips: Can we get a further breakdown on those flights. I was in the area at the same time that the ministerial hunt was going on. I flew into that area and out again. My cost of chartering a Cessna 185 was the standard cost that everyone pays and was around $385 or $400 return. This indicates that they made approximately six trips in a Cessna 185. If they took a Beaver, they could take all the gear they needed for an eight- or 10-day hunt. I would be interested in the breakdown of flights. It seems to be a lot of cost for air time for an area that is only 35 minutes by air from Whitehorse.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I do not have the information with me on the breakdown of those charters, but I will bring that information back.
Mr. Lang: We have heard stories about this hunt and it is time to publicly air how reasonably government can do things. In the outline of this $11,900, are the wages for the government-paid wrangler included? Or is that over and above the $11,900?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Those costs would not be included in that figure.
Mr. Lang: Can he bring back the amount of the salary paid to this individual for the period of time he spent on this hunt?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Certainly.
Mr. Lang: Can the Minister verify to the House that the sheep that was taken was a legal sheep?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I can confirm to the House it was, indeed, a legal sheep.
Mr. Lang: Is it true that it was just barely legal?
Hon. Mr. Webster: That is true. It was certainly not of trophy dimensions, but was legal.
Mr. Lang: For the record, is it true that the individual who had paid for the hunt wound up shooting the wrong sheep that was next to the trophy sheep that was supposed to be shot?
Hon. Mr. Webster: As I hear it, that is indeed what happened.
Mr. Lang: The hunt was raffled off. What were the proceeds from that raffle?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The successful bid was $28,000 U.S. by a Mr. Skaggs of Dallas, Texas. It was roughly equivalent at the time to $35,000 Canadian.
Mr. Brewster: Did I misunderstand that the conservation officer was the guide on this trip?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No. He was the wrangler to the guide on the trip.
Mr. Phelps: I understand the Director of Wildlife flew in on more than one occasion during the course of this hunt. Why would he be flying in, and who paid for the plane?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I would be equally anxious to find the answer to that and the reasons for it, but I imagine that possibly they are part of the total costs for the aircraft charter during the period.
Mr. Phelps: I am sorry, I did not get the reason that he would have to fly in on more than one occasion. Was it curiosity or some kind of duty?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, I said I would be curious as to the reason as well, why the Director of Wildlife had to fly in there. Bear in mind that this is a special hunt being offered at a national convention as a very unique experience for someone to take part in; so I think we went out of our way in this case to show the individual who had successfully bid $28,000 American dollars a really good trip so that he could take home with him some good experiences to relate to his friends, who are also associated of course with this national association. As we all know, word-of-mouth advertising is the best form of advertising, and this individual apparently was very happy with his experience on this particular hunting trip.
Mr. Brewster: Just out of curiosity, why would an outfitter and a guide hire a conservation officer to be the horse wrangler?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The assumption there is that Mr. Johns, the outfitter, would hire a conservation officer as his assistant. That is not the case.
Mr. Brewster: I just got through asking if the conservation officer was the guide. They said no, he was the horse wrangler. Now he stands up and says that the outfitter did not hire him. I find it very peculiar that this conservation officer would be in there during the full hunting season when he should be out patrolling his own area.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I will find out the reason why this conservation officer was performing these duties on behalf of Mr. Johns.
Mr. Phillips: I think it is a rather interesting question; it was in the peak of the hunting season, and this conservation officer did have some responsibilities in the Haines Junction area, the area he patrols. Who carried out this conservation officers function in that period of time, and how much extra money did it cost us to have another individual patrol the Haines Junction area?
Hon. Mr. Webster: In response to the Members question, there was an auxiliary conservation officer on staff at the time who was assigned to that Haines Junction area to cover that period of time, August 1 to August 10, when the hunt was being conducted, and to cover the work of the conservation officer who was a wrangler for Mr. Johns.
Mr. Brewster: Now we have got him back to a wrangler, which a little while ago he was not. Would the Minister repeat what he said?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Initially, when the question of the role of the conservation officer came up, I mentioned that this conservation officer worked as a wrangler assistant to Mr. Johns. Was that the understanding of everyone opposite, or was I mumbling again?
One Hon. Member: Pretty soon he is going to be the chief fire lighter.
Mr. Brewster: If he was in my organization and he kept getting demoted like that, he would be doing dishes pretty soon. How did he become the assistant wrangler?
Hon. Mr. Webster: It is amazing how things can be misconstrued. I will repeat: Mr. Drummond, the conservation officer we are talking about here, worked as a guide and wrangler assistant to Mr. Johns - a guiding assistant to Mr. Johns.
Mr. Brewster: Did he have a legal licence that all the rest of us little peasants have to buy when we go out and guide and assist in guiding? Did he buy a licence, or did the territorial government buy him a licence as an assistant guide?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I will have to bring that information back to the House.
Mr. Brewster: I wish he would produce that in the Legislature.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I will be pleased to table that information in the House.
Mr. Lang: How many various organizations or individuals were approached to give prices in respect to providing the guiding services that Mr. Art Johns provided for $8,000?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No other outfitter was asked. The person who made the successful bid on this trip apparently specifically asked for Art Johns as a guide.
Mr. Lang: Is the Minister telling us the individual who won the trip knew of Mr. Johns and asked for Mr. Johns?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Apparently, the hunt was advertised to be conducted by a particular outfitter, Dennis Callison. Art Johns worked for that individual at one time. When Mr. Callison could not come through with his commitment to guide this particular hunt, Art Johns was the next in line.
Mr. Lang: The amount of money we are dealing with here concerns me. I do know you can get a very good hunt with a very good outfitter in the neighbourhood of a total of $8,000. I am talking a mixed bag. I am not talking going strictly for a sheep hunt.
We have a figure here of $11,900, plus the wages put in by the conservation officer who was acting as a guide and assistant wrangler. All of a sudden, if you add that together, we are up to about $14,000 or $15,000 for the hunt. I am sure there are also hidden costs here as well. It does not include staff time and various other things required in having this organized.
What concerns me is the fact we paid over $8,000 for the guide and horses, and all other costs occurred over and above that. It seems to be substantially higher than it should have been. Perhaps the Minister has a comment on that. I do know there are a lot of outfitters out there who would like to take somebody out for $14,000 or $15,000. They would think they were doing really well. Two or three hunts like that, and they might be able to just sit back and relax.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to make it clear that I think it is a fairly high expense for a hunting trip. I also want to make it clear that this is a very special trip. We do not offer a hunt for an auction at a national association convention every year.
Mr. Phillips: We cannot afford to.
Hon. Mr. Webster: We cannot afford to. A lot of the money that was bid, the $28,000 American, is being returned to the Yukon for us to conduct some research for the benefit of sheep. It was a very special occasion, and we wanted to show this individual a really good time. As I say, he took back with him a really good feeling about his experience, which I am sure he has transmitted to other members of his association.
Mr. Brewster: I am not going to carry this on but will question a few things that have been said here.
Mr. Dennis Callison, who is a very good friend of mine, was removed from that area about four to five years before that so he did not have an outfitters licence. Does Mr. Johns have an outfitters licence? If he has, what is his area?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Mr. Johns apparently does not have a licence to guide.
Mr. Brewster: What you are saying is that this whole hunt was run illegally by the government and did not come under the regulations that are required for all other outfitters in the Yukon. They ran an illegal hunt. Is this not correct?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I do not know if the allegation is true or not. I will have to research that. I want to make sure that Mr. Johns does not have an outfitting licence.
Mr. Phillips: Can the Minister also bring other information back to the House. I have been told that prior to the hunt several members of the wildlife branch were in the Zone 7 area and travelled to many other sub-zones there looking for sheep and the most appropriate area for this fellow to hunt. Did that happen? Did they have a scouting trip for the sheep? If they did, did we pay for that or did the hunters do that on their own?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I will provide that information, to be tabled in the House.
Mr. Brewster: Was the cost of the extra flying to spot game included in the cost of the hunt?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I think that information will come out with the aircraft charter information.
Mr. Phillips: Is the government going to offer this type of hunt in the future to the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep? What are the future plans for these types of specialty hunts that took place last year at Rose Lake?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Let me say that it has not been actively considered. As far as I am concerned, that is still the case. I am not pursuing the idea of conducting another hunt under the same conditions.
Mr. Lang: I notice the Minister was very shrewd in the choosing of his words when he said under the same conditions. I recommend strongly that he evaluate just exactly what has taken place here because it sure brings into question the credibility of all the individuals involved. That is too bad. It does not have to if it is done properly. It does concern me when I see the price tags involved. The Minister himself said it seemed quite high in comparison to what other real outfitters charged. When you get into this type of situation I do not think it does anyone any good.
I want to say for the record that we do not enjoy raising this in the House, but there have been a number of people who have approached us as MLAs asking specifically about this. They feel, as residents, there has been preferred steps taken in some cases. There is some questioning as to whether it was done properly. The list goes on.
I feel it is in the best interest of no one that this type of thing occur in this way. It is safe to say that this side of the House supports quite strongly the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep. There are ways of doing it with accredited outfitters where you can get the product and provide the service at a very minimal cost.
Once again, this shows how when government gets involved and starts thinking they can do it better than somebody else who is actually in the business, the bottom line is when you look at it in financial terms, not only from the point of view of credibility, but on the political side.
I hope the government takes this as a lesson. I do not think you can justify this because we took in $28,000 American on the other side of the ledger. That is not the point. We could have done this much better than the way it was obviously done.
That is too bad, because I am sure everyone is well intentioned. Surely, one must take a hard look at what they are doing and have a look at the ramifications of it. For example, to put the conservation officer in a position where he is guiding as well as being a conservation officer speaks for itself; there was not a lot of thinking going on. This is an area that has been depleted of game, and we are lacking the necessary enforcement in the height of hunting season. That is another variable involved. We say that we are concerned about the game population in the Kluane area, but it is a sad commentary when we know that game zones 7 and 9 have a moose population that is almost nonexistent. That is because we have not managed it properly.
I am sick and tired of having people from the game branch and the Minister telling us that only the people have to be managed. There is habitat out there, and there has to be some sort of control put on the predators if we want to see a growing animal population again. However, I do agree with the Minister in that there is no point in having a mixed hunt. One species would be enough.
We look forward to the information being provided on this issue. I hope the Minister can get it here expeditiously.
Two elk kills occurred over the past year. Could the Minister report to this House on whether or not there has been any success in finding individuals who may have been involved in either one of the kills that took place this past year?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The investigation of the one case involving poaching where the bull elk was found beside the Alaska Highway is continuing. There is a suspect. That is all I can say at this point. I am not aware of another elk kill. The Member mentioned two.
Mr. Lang: I do not want to get involved in the investigation, but when can we expect some conclusions to the investigation? It has been said that someone has been found with some elk meat. If that is true, will some conclusion be reached soon in regard to charges?
Hon. Mr. Webster: That is purely a matter of speculation as to when the investigation would conclude. I would hate to guess on it. The Member opposite knows as much about the details of the investigation as I do.
Mr. Brewster: Since elk is a protected species, will charges be laid regardless of who did the poaching?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes.
Mr. Phillips: I would like to pursue the area of elk. A year or two ago, the Yukon Fish and Game Association launched a study under one of the Economic Development Agreements. In the study, he was to look at the elk in the Hutshi area as well as the elk of the Takhini River herd and establish the elk populations, what they were feeding on and exactly where they were feeding in that area. It has come to light that those studies are complete although they are not public knowledge.
I would like some clarification from the Minister. The Yukon Fish and Game Association contributed financially to the studies. The studies were carried out under the name of the Yukon Fish and Game Association with the EDA program. Why was the Takhini River study given to the Champagne Aishihik Indian band for their perusal prior to the directors of the Fish and Game Association knowing that the study was complete?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I was not aware that the proposal had been shown to the Champagne Aishihik Band members before it was brought to the attention of the Fish and Game Association. The reasons for bringing it to the attention of the Champagne Aishihik Band are fairly obvious, in that they were selecting lands in that area under land claims agreement.
I will check for the Member to verify his suggestion that that was the case.
Mr. Phillips: I am not as concerned about that, either. The concern I have is that, first of all, the Champagne-Aishihik Indian band has claimed land in the area. There are also land owners in the area who also have titled land in the area the elk live on right now.
My concern is: why did the government give the study to the Champagne Aishihik Band and not to the other land owners in the area? They have an obligation to consult all individuals who may have difficulties or problems, or have some conflicts with, the elk in that area, and that was part of the study.
Why was the study given to anyone, regardless of who they are, prior to giving it to the group or individual who actually paid for or sponsored the study?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am not absolutely certain about the chronology of events relating to making people aware of details of the project. I do know, however, that the land owners were consulted. Again, I will have to check to see if the Fish and Game Association was consulted prior to information being made available to the Champagne Aishihik Band.
Mr. Phillips: I am not disputing the fact the land owners were or were not consulted, or that the Champagne Aishihik Band was or was not consulted. I am concerned that if a group or individual sponsors a study through EDA, does the Minister not agree that, once the study is in a complete form, in a booklet or in a draft form, it should be presented to the association, group or individuals who put money up to sponsor it before the study is actually given to anyone else for their approval?
We are talking about a procedure here under EDA. Under this particular study and program, that procedure was violated, unless there is not a procedure in place. I would hope there would be. Is there a policy in place that will prevent this from happening in the future? There are studies ongoing right now with the elk. Can the Minister assure us the Fish and Game Association will see that completed study, and be part of the draft of that completed study, prior to any other group seeing it?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I agree with the Member. It is absolutely essential. It should be more than just a matter of courtesy, it should be a matter of procedure and policy to inform groups that are working jointly in a partner relationship with this government, for the fact that our department cannot do all the work itself on the great number of programs and projects we are undertaking. From that standpoint, and wanting to keep all partners involved in a project, I agree with him. We should keep them notified and consulted as our first priority.
The Member probably knows that, right now, we are in partnership on several projects with at least half a dozen major organizations - the Federation for North American Wild Sheep, Habitat Canada, the Fur Institute of Canada, the Wildlife Service of Canada, in addition to the Yukon Fish and Game Association - and I think we have a good record working with these groups. I, for one, would certainly hate to see something like this - not notifying one of our partners about a project - jeopardize that good relationship.
I do agree with the Member, and I will find out, if that did happen, why it did.
Mr. Phillips: I wonder if the Minister could also give us assurances that, prior to making either one of these two studies public, he will consult with the group that proposed the study, the Yukon Fish and Game Association. Would he consult with those groups prior to making either one of those two studies public?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Certainly. Already, just last week, I made it known to a Member opposite that, prior to making public the bison management plan, we would indeed notify all the partners involved in it first, to get their concurrence before releasing it to the public.
Chair: The time being 5:30, we will break until 7:30.
Chair: The Committee of the Whole will now come to order.
We will continue debate.
Mr. Brewster: I would like to get onto another issue: buffalo. A lot of people probably think that, because we ask these questions we are against the transplant of buffalo. That is not completely true. Anyone who is very sincere about this will admit that the whole thing was goofed up. The original plan was not followed, and I know a little about that. The Conservatives were in government at that time, and there has been nothing but trouble since.
The Minister said that the government will bring in more buffalo. Will they be put into the compound that is there now, which I understand has hardly any feed?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes. They will be put into the compound.
Mr. Brewster: Will the ones that are now in there be turned into the wild? These are the original breeding stock. They were not supposed to come out of that compound.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The ones that are there now will be released into the wild.
Mr. Brewster: The government goofed, and they are continuing to goof. Are the buffalo that are now in the compound being fed a supplement or hay to keep them alive in the summer?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The bison in the enclosure are being fed in the winter but not in the summer.
Mr. Brewster: Can the Minister assure this House that there is enough feed in the compound for more buffalo? Could the Minister explain why the government had only one calf in the compound last year? Was it because the animals were not getting enough food?
Hon. Mr. Webster: There will be enough feed this winter for the new bison. I am not quite sure if there was only one calf born in the enclosure. There were six to eight born in the wild this past year.
Mr. Brewster: That demonstrates what I am trying to tell the Minister. If there is enough food, the animals will raise more calves. Those in the wild had all kinds of food, and there is lots of food in the Yukon. I am concerned that more buffalo will be put into a compound that cannot handle even the few that are left there now because they turned a number of the original bison out when they turned the young ones out.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I will say again, in response to that, that there will be ample feed there for the bison in the enclosure.
Mr. Brewster: Who would give the Minister an indication that this is so. Anyone who has lived any time in the Yukon realizes, when you confine animals to an area, it is not what they eat, it is what they destroy by walking around. That compound is not very big and they have been in there for four years, now. Is he prepared to assure me that someone has told him that the grass will grow back with the animals still in there?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I have been assured by the biologists in our department that there will be enough feed in that enclosure area for the bison that will be placed in it.
Mr. Brewster: I presume that is the same biologist who said if you shoot the bull that leads the herd, the rest of them will not travel around - which, of course, is not true. Anybody who knows anything about animals could have told him that. Who was the one who issued orders for that bull to be shot because he was leading the herd, which is a false statement?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The individual who issued the order to have the bull shot was the Director of Wildlife.
Mr. Brewster: I know they talked to a few people about it, and it was recommended that they not shoot the bull. The bull did not lead the herd, but they went ahead on their own, and it is quite apparent that they were proved wrong. So why should we necessarily take their word that there is enough grass in there because, as I have said, they have goofed this whole thing up from the start. The original stock was supposed to remain in there until their death. That was the original agreement.
Hon. Mr. Webster: We are talking about two different individuals here. It was the Manfred Hoefs who assured us that the grazing capability would sustain that number of bison in the enclosure, not the Director of Wildlife.
Mr. Lang: I want to go back to a question my colleague from Kluane asked and I would like to get some verification on it. Would the Minister report back to this House to verify whether or not only one calf was born in that enclosure?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes.
Mr. Lang: I am not too clear on that. Are we supplementing the feed in that enclosure?
Hon. Mr. Webster: We are, in the winter only.
Mr. Lang: At what cost to the taxpayer is this, and where are we getting the feed?
Hon. Mr. Webster: This is a question that was raised last week and I intend to include that information in a return to be tabled tomorrow.
Mr. Lang: I just want to follow up a little further. We are trying to be helpful on this side, and I just want to say to the Minister that we are finding it very difficult to understand why we are expanding this program, at least at this time. We have the question of disease, and it is a question mark out there. The Minister the other day could not give me a guarantee in the House that that would not happen here. There was a situation where we have had these animals turn into very much of a traffic hazard to the point when we had that head-on collision where the driver was very fortunate he was not killed. We have had the situation where the game department has looked absolutely foolish, absolutely foolish, when they went to shoot the lead bull. There is a comedy of errors here, and I just want to say to the Minister that there are a lot of people out there who are really wondering why we are doing this and what we are going to get out of this when it is all finished.
I just want to ask the Minister, as far as the shooting of the head honcho was concerned, when the decision was made - the Minister indicated it was the Director of Wildlife who directed it be done - was the Minister aware that this was going to be done prior to the order being issued?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I was not made aware of that course of action that the Director of Wildlife directed before it happened.
It is quite true I could not give 100 percent assurance or a complete guarantee that these bison are completely disease free. Again I addressed that matter in the House last week when I said these bison are from a stock with a long history of being very healthy animals.
We have recognized that the bison do pose a threat to motorists on the road. That is partly addressed in the management plan. As a consequence, six bison have been removed from that breakaway herd, reducing the risk considerably. Although we are quite concerned about the potential for more accidents, again the plan also addresses what we plan to do to make the travelling public better notified of the whereabouts and the pattern of herd movements.
In a general sense, the hazard is there but in some respects they do not present greater hazards than other wild animals are presumed to present to our travelling public. We have had a couple of encounters with elk. We have had probably four encounters this year with deer. Again, that is a protected animal that likes to herd along roadsides.
All I can say is the management plan for this breakaway bison herd is being put into place to mitigate some of these effects.
Mr. Brewster: I have never seen deer month after month lay in the ditch by the road and wink at every car that went by. I have never seen elk do that. They cross the road or they do not. There are signs to warn people there are buffalo there. Correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding of the road is that the speed limit is 90 kilometres an hour. I think that is correct. I wonder why they put the buffalo sign right below it. It would indicate to a stranger seeing the buffalo underneath the 90 kilometre sign that he could drive 90 kilometres an hour. They are both on the same post. I am a little dumb but I would take that to mean you could go 90 kilometres. The buffalo sign is on the same post. I would like the Minister to answer that for me.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Indeed, one of the recommendations in the bison management plan is to reduce the speed limit along that 15 mile stretch that the bison frequent.
Mr. Brewster: He is either not catching on or he does not want to answer me. They have already stated the 90 kilometre per hour speed limit, and then they put the buffalo sign right underneath it on the same post. That means you can go 90 kilometres an hour in the buffalo zone.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I have to agree with the Member opposite again. I do not think it is reasonable to travel at 90 kilometres an hour and also try to bring attention to the travelling public that there are possibly bison on the road that they should be aware of. That is why we made the suggestion in the management plan to reduce the speed limit. I am very surprised to hear that Community and Transportation Services, who erect the signs, would put two signs on one post.
Mr. Brewster: That is an example of bureaucrats and government. That 90 kilometre per hour sign has probably been there for four years, but the conservationists and biologists do not have the time to put a post in because the ground is frozen and they might have to work so they put it on the 90 kilometre post. It is another example of stupidity that has been going on with this buffalo thing ever since it started. It is a comedy of errors since the word go. They do not know what they are doing.
I am amazed. We have spent Question Period after Question Period in here. The Minister stood over there and smiled. The biologists made statements in the paper that tourists like them there when there is no tourist on the road in the winter. They make all these statements. Now all of a sudden they change their mind and after a month-and-one-half of arguing in this House they admit the buffalo are a hazard and have to move off the highway.
I am not going to say any more about it. It is a comedy of errors, and it will continue the same way.
Mr. Devries: I have one question regarding the buffalo. Have any blood tests ever been conducted on the mature animals since they arrived in the Yukon, to see if they do have brucellosis?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The answer is no. No blood tests have been done on the adult animals since they arrived in the territory.
Mr. Devries: I have some understanding of the disease. When we were in Ontario, one of our neighbours had to have a herd of cattle destroyed. My understanding is it can remain hidden similar to AIDS for about eight years, and then it shows up. I would think that if the department consistently carried out annual blood tests on the animals that are in the enclosure, if it existed they could catch it in that manner.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I have already indicated on at least two occasions that these animals from Elk National Park have had a long history of being disease free. They were tested again before they were transported to the Yukon.
Mr. Lang: In defense of my colleague, is there nothing in the secretive management plan that says we might check these animals every once in a while, or will the Minister read it before he tables it?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I have read the management plan. I can assure him taking blood samples of adult bison is not in there.
Mr. Lang: What happens? Do we wait until the disease hits, and then we will bring it up in the House when somebody tells us they feel there is a disease, and then it will be checked out? Is there going to be any system of keeping a check on it, like my colleague said, such as taking a blood test every once in a while? It seems like a reasonable request.
Maybe we can get the Minister of Community and Transportation Services to do that when he is out changing signs.
Mr. Brewster: I could do it in the morning when the bison are lying there sleeping.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Again, the bison were tested for disease before they left the park, and certified disease free. There is no tuberculosis or brucellosis in the Yukon, therefore there is no risk of them contacting it here. This is why we have not taken any blood samples of the adult bison since they have been here.
Mr. Devries: Have any random tests been done on the cattle herds in the Yukon to determine if any of them are brucellosis carriers?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Agricultural Canada veterinarians come up on an annual basis to do a strata check of cattle in the Yukon.
Mr. Devries: Could the Minister check on when the last time Agriculture Canada was up here to do a check and report his findings to the House?
Hon. Mr. Webster: One such test was conducted this past summer, but I will provide the exact date and information for you.
Mr. Lang: Are we finished with the buffalo? I want to turn to another area, now that we are on the subject of disease, or the possibility of disease. The question that has been raised with me is the bringing in of various animals to the territory and through the territory and the requirement that these animals be checked for disease. Could the Minister tell us what exactly is required now if, for example, one brings in sheep? Is there a test required to prove they are disease free?
Hon. Mr. Webster: It is normal procedure for animals to be checked to see if they are disease free before they are imported to the territory.
Mr. Lang: Under what legislation is it required that the animals are ensured to be disease free? For example, what is to stop an individual from purchasing some sheep, for example, in British Columbia, bringing them up through our border and putting them on their 10-acre parcel of land?
Hon. Mr. Webster: With the case of wildlife, that is a requirement. We do not have the legislative ability to test domesticated animals, such as the Member was referring to, domesticated sheep.
Mr. Lang: I guess it is of significant concern and should be of very major concern to the government. You have been vested with the authority, as the Minister, to bring the necessary changes in if they are required. I would ask the government: will necessary legislation be brought in this spring so that people bringing in animals are forced to have them examined to ensure that they are disease free?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am informed that it is under consideration by the department, but there is no commitment to bring forward such legislation this spring.
Mr. Lang: I can see the Minister is getting a crash course on his department here as we ask questions. All I can say to the Minister is this: would this not be part of the agricultural policy?
Hon. Mr. Webster: This has not been referred to specifically in the agricultural policy.
Mr. Lang: I do not think that this should be cast off lightly. Concern has also come up about livestock just passing through the territory, not only animals coming into the territory but those that are going up to Alaska or that are going down south. We do not monitor the animals that are coming through. It is fine for you, standing up in this House, to say, Well, I have got a herd of buffalo and they are all disease free. It is great and wonderful, but what happens if some cattle or sheep come through and are let out in an area close by the buffalo, which could happen, and all of a sudden we get into a situation where they are exposed to the very serious prospects of tuberculosis and things like that? What is the Minister going to do? Stand up in this House and say that he did not know? I think that it is a very serious question, and I am quite surprised that the agricultural policy, that the government has said that it has been working on for the past two and a half years, does not contain this. When are we going to get the elusive agricultural policy?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The agricultural policy will be tabled on Monday next. The Member raised some good points about having legislation and policies in place to ensure that animals imported to the Yukon are disease free. I do not know why it has not been addressed earlier. Since the last decade, or perhaps much longer than that, people have been bringing cattle into the territory, outfitters are buying horses outside and bringing them up here to work. I agree with the Member that it is a serious matter that needs to be addressed.
Mr. Brewster: I do not imagine that we will need an answer to this, but I would like to give the Minister a crash course on what goes on. Alaskans bring their horses, cattle and sheep here and dump them off any place they want and leave them overnight. My colleague from Porter Creek is quite correct that they could be around the Canyon Creek area where these sheep are. That is where they dump a lot of them.
There is no brand registration, and we know of cases where horses have been picked up in the Yukon and taken into Alaska. No one checks them as they go through the border. The last check that is ever made is in B.C. Animals have been taken right off the highway. There is no doubt that they have been taken to Alaska. There is not one person on the highway or anywhere in the government who ever reads a brand on horses going through here.
In Alberta and B.C., a person cannot go 25 miles without a permit and having the brands read. We are a long way behind those provinces. There are very few cattle left here. Because of the road laws, most of them were shipped outside. This whole business of the brand registration is very serious. I am not even sure if Americans who bring stock in are required to have health certificates in Alberta or B.C. when they go through there. They probably get one at the border and that would be it. They dump and unload horses, cattle and sheep along the highway, especially at night when the animals need to eat. I know of horses that were made sick. Those that are raised here are not used to the diseases. The animals that are turned out into the same areas pass the disease on, and the local horses get very sick.
This is not just a laughing matter. Something should have been done a long time ago. Maybe, because we have Opposition Members jumping on this, we could get the government to do something.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I would like to thank the Member for the lesson he has provided. I have not been in this portfolio for very long, but this matter has not once been brought to my attention. It could possibly have been the case with my predecessor. In all the consultation that has been going on over the last year and one-half, it has not been raised. Consequently, it is not found in the agricultural policy. So I am at a loss, and I want to thank the Member for his comments.
Chair: Shall we proceed line-by-line?
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
Hon. Mr. Webster: The cost increase to $7,000 is strictly for management salary range increases.
Administration in the amount of $7,000 agreed to
On Policy and Planning
Hon. Mr. Webster: The breakdown here is: $6,000 for management salary range increases, $5,000 for a transfer from the capital to cover expenses for publication of wilderness ethics pamphlet and $100,000 is for land claims negotiation costs. That further breaks downs to: $40,000 for personnel, $20,000 for travel costs and $40,000 for pre-implementation costs.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister give us a further breakdown of the land claim cost of $40,000 for personnel?
Hon. Mr. Webster: That was for two positions: habitat land selection specialist and a land claims analyst. They have been created as short term positions, to the end of this fiscal year.
Mr. Lang: Habitat specialist was one and a land specialist was the other?
Hon. Mr. Webster: A land claims analyst.
Mr. Lang: Can the Minister maybe explain exactly what a habitat specialist is? Was he or she going out to check all the land? Is that what they were doing? And what was the land claim analyst doing?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The position of the analyst is to take a look at the subagreements of the agreements in principle as they pertain to the selection of land, band to band.
Mr. Lang: On the question of the $40,000 for pre-implementation, exactly what went on there?
Hon. Mr. Webster: That is what we have budgeted for implementation costs for the regional resource councils. For example, in the Mayo area, the band members went through an orientation course and some briefing seminars to acquaint them with their responsibilities just to get the various resource councils started to deal with issues in their area.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister tell us how many regional councils have actually been oriented to this point, for $40,000?
Hon. Mr. Webster: At this point, Mayo is the only region that has a resource council actually established and ongoing. There are another four or five in the works at this time.
Mr. Lang: Just to get it clear, has it cost us $40,000 to do the one regional council?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, that $40,000 is in anticipation of four or five regional councils being established from this period to the end of the fiscal year. Certainly, not all that $40,000 is earmarked just for the one.
Mr. Lang: Perhaps the Minister could tell us how much it did cost us to do Mayo?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I do not have a precise figure on that cost, but it would be in the neighbourhood of about $8,000.
Mr. Lang: In view of the fact that they made the decision to go this way with the game management - with the regional resource councils - what are the projected ongoing costs once this is all implemented, for operation and maintenance of all the regional councils once they are in place?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I assume the Member means once we get them all established. Taking a look at the example of the Yukon fish and wildlife management board right now, it is costing us an annual amount of about $20,000. If we had similar costs for all regional resource councils, we are looking in the neighbourhood of possibly $250,000. That figure will have to be negotiated with the federal government and the CYI in the final agreement.
Mr. Lang: I want to express a concern once again, and I hope the Minister of Finance is listening: where is the money coming from? Is the Minister telling us they have agreed to this concept, are putting it in place, yet he sits here and cannot give us an accurate estimate of what it is going to cost?
I see the Minister there with his second-in-command guessing - because we have the fish and wildlife board costing maybe $100,000, if we multiply through, or we might come up to $250,000. I have to take exception to that. My understanding is the negotiations are a long way down the garden path. I would have thought, by now, that anybody on the front bench directly involved in the portfolio areas would have a pretty good grasp on how much these things are going to cost. They are ongoing costs, and somebody is going to have to pay for it. With $250,000 for the various resource regional councils to function, will it cost an additional $100,000 for the overall wildlife advisory board?
Hon. Mr. Webster: That would be the maximum total cost I would anticipate in the first year, because it does involve a lot of orientation and training seminars for the local resource councils if, for example, you require people from our department to travel throughout the territory.
Once they become established and the resource councils are competently acting on their own, the costs would be much reduced. You do not have the same costs involved as the Yukon wildlife management board, because you are not conducting the same number of meetings per year, which require a lot of people to travel from all over the Yukon. We am just talking about people in a very small concentrated area getting together for meetings to deal with local matters and, as I say, much less frequently than the major Yukon-wide boards.
After that first year of getting established, I would anticipate those costs would be reduced dramatically.
Mr. Lang: This is like Alice in Wonderland. I hope next year does not cost me any money either, as far as fuel is concerned, if we have a warm winter. All I am asking is for projections by the Minister in respect to what these costs are going to be. If you are going to have a regional resource council in the community of Mayo, and there are going to be certain legislative authorities vested in them, you cannot tell me that the central staff in your department in Whitehorse is not going to have to go and see them on a regular basis.
That does not add up. If they are involved, obviously your department is going to be involved and your costs are going to be ongoing.
I have to express some concern that there does not seem to be any projections on what our costs are going to be. That should be a major concern to the government, with the financial situation we are all facing. I would think that would be of some concern.
Could the Minister give us a list of the four or five regional councils he expects to have in place prior to April 1.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The other ones we anticipate some progress on in this area are Burwash, Teslin, Haines Junction and Mayo. That is all.
Mr. Lang: I want to make a point here. Earlier the Minister said there were going to be four or five of the regional councils besides Mayo. Now we are down to a total of four including Mayo. We are now down to four, so it is $10,000 a piece, not $8,000 apiece, if you want to pro rate how much it costs each regional council to be orientated and the cost associated thereto. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Webster: That is correct assuming that our estimate is correct. That is the maximum amount we budgeted for that. It is quite possible we could come under that $40,000 request.
The Member is right. We are talking about a total of four.
Mr. Lang: I would like to correct the record and the Minister, because I am quite sure he would not want to mislead the House.
We have an extra $20,000 for staff to travel around. I assume it is for staff. What exactly are we spending the $40,000 on?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The additional $20,000 for travel cost is not only associated with establishing the renewable resource councils; some of it is for travelling to Yukon communities for band-to-band negotiation.
The $40,000 is set aside for the pre-implementation cost does include travel for our people to go to rural Yukon communities, put on training seminars, and provide per diems for the members to take off work for a couple of days to go through the orientation sessions.
Mr. Lang: Eight thousand dollars is a lot of money for a woodcutter. Believe me, it is a lot of money. One or two staff members go up to Mayo and you have a two or three orientation day period and you tell me we just spent $8,000 and, poof, it is gone?
Can the Minister give me a breakdown of how the money was actually spent for organizing Mayo, for example? I would like to see how those dollars were allocated. Can he provide them when we get to the O&M mains?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I will provide that information breakdown on establishing the first regional resource council prior to getting to the mains.
Mr. Lang: I want to go on the record saying, Thank you very much, because I am sure it is going to be an education for the Minister as well.
Policy and Planning in the amount of $111,000 agreed to
On Parks, Resources and Regional Planning
Mr. Devries: Several times last spring I brought up the matter of the Rancheria campground where the Rancheria Lodge would like to have the government move off this campground.
The last time I stopped there, he communicated that he had talked to some of the parks planners, and that he would be willing to contribute toward the relocation of this campground at the Rancheria Falls site. He actually said he would build it, but I think that after he realized how much there was to it, he may have had second thoughts about that because the government seemed to indicate that it would take $300,000 to $400,000.
Have any more discussions been held with the people at Rancheria pertaining to this, that the Minister is aware of?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, there have been no further negotiations with the people at Rancheria in regard to selling the territorial campground to them. That land and Rancheria Falls will continue to be a day-use site only.
Mr. Devries: Also, last summer apparently there was a cook shack at the Rancheria campsite, and I guess it had outlived its usefulness as far as the parks branch was concerned. Also, there were cook shacks prior to that at Big Creek and Swift River. These had been tendered, and, over the years, Rancheria Lodge had acquired them. They would have also been interested in this cook shack if the parks people had not come and cut it up with chainsaws before they had a chance to get it. Apparently they had missed the tenders in the newspaper, but they just thought the department should have been aware that they had gotten the other two cook shacks. It certainly did not make much sense for the departments officials to cut this cook shack all up with a chainsaw. They spent three days doing this. They spent three nights at the Rancheria Lodge, whereas Rancheria Lodge would have been happy to go in there with a tractor, hook onto the cook shack, and tow it over to their campground, or whatever they wanted to do with it. It would not have cost the department anything. We could have had possibly $40,000 instead of $47,000 there.
Mr. Lang: The Minister looks at me in dismay as if to say, What should I say? Maybe he should lean over and talk to his deputy minister. Is it true that we spent three days with a chainsaw cutting up a building and then burning it? If we did, did we get a permit?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Not surprisingly, my associate here does not have the details of this issue, but I could provide the answer to the Members question as to why we spent three days chainsawing a building and then burning it, and whether we had a permit for it.
Mr. Lang: I will be looking forward to the response to that one. I want to say at the outset that I have had the opportunity to stay at a number of the campgrounds and I want to say that I was very impressed with the campgrounds I stayed in. They are very nicely done and very well taken care of.
Talking about parks: an area that is of concern is the designated conservation area in the Rose Lake area, under the auspices of the land claim agreement; 7-3, I believe it is called. When I asked the question that I raised in Question Period, prior to last December, the Government Leader did not know anything more about it other than it had been designated. I was told, at the public forum, that no guidelines had been developed for it but everybody agreed that it should be a conservation area. That seems to be putting the horse behind the cart, or the cart before the horse, in some respects, because I think that before you designate something, and agree upon something, that you have an idea of what you would do in the area and how it would work.
Now that the Minister has had a month and a half since that decision was made, could he now table the guidelines that are going to pertain to such an area as designated in the land claim agreement, so that the general public is aware of what the implications are?
Hon. Mr. Webster: It seems that everyone can agree that it is a special area that deserves such designation. What we have to do now, through a public consultation process, is decide what criteria should be considered in devising a special management plan for that area. So that is the next course we will take.
Mr. Lang: I think the Minister should watch his words in the House; he said everybody agreed. To my knowledge, organizations such as the fish and game and other organizations were never consulted about such a designation. There are a lot of members of, for example, fish and game who are very, very much concerned about that area and have contributed a lot of time and effort and money to ensure that there is a harvest of animals. Here we go back to Alice in Wonderland and apple pie and motherhood - we all agree it is a great but we do not know what it is. We talk about public consultation. Well, my question to the Minister is: does he have a draft proposal that he could table today or tomorrow, or maybe Monday, in conjunction with the agricultural policy, so that he can say to the people, this is the way it could be operated and then see what kind of feedback he gets?
Hon. Mr. Webster: It is my understanding that, considering the number of possible competing uses in that area, most were in agreement that it deserves some special designation and a specific management plan to enable the users to continue using it. As I said earlier, there will be a public consultation process to identify certain criteria under which a management plan should be established in this area.
Mr. Lang: The Minister has not answered my question. Is the Minister in a position to table a draft of a proposal of guidelines that would provide the criteria for managing that area? If not, why not?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, we have not yet devised a tentative plan for review by the public, but what we are about to do is release a policy pertaining to parks and other such special designated areas like this and will formulate some criteria that could be used for setting aside these areas with special management regimes.
Mr. Lang: It seems to me that we are going to need more space so we had better talk to the Minister of Government Services. I think probably the projection of 40,000 square feet for more civil servants is probably going to be a lot less than what we need in the next number of years if every area we are going to look at is going to need a special management zone and special plans and special regulations and we will need people to enforce this. My question to the Minister, then, is this: when is that particular draft proposal on parks and these new designated management areas going to be made public?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The parks policy will be dealt with tomorrow.
Mr. Lang: I take it that it will be tabled tomorrow. I would like to follow up further in respect to the question of the wildlife advisory committee.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Could I make a correction, please? That plan will be tabled on Wednesday.
Mr. Lang: It is nice to see we are getting all the press releases ahead of time. At least we know when they are going to be tabled.
I would like to go a little bit further on the question of the wildlife advisory board. I would ask the Minister if he would take an undertaking - and I hope his deputy minister is listening very closely - to provide the recommendations the wildlife advisory committee makes to the Minister. Once the Minister has made a decision, I would also like a letter outlining what steps the government is taking as far as those recommendations are concerned, out of courtesy to the Legislature and my responsibilities as a critic.
I have written a letter to the wildlife advisory committee, vis-a-vis the commitment you made last session in respect to the wildlife advisory committee recommendations being made available to me the same time they are being made available to you. I received a letter back saying, no, it is just going to the Minister and that is it. I feel these are public forums. I feel it is information that is vital to the community. I think there is an obligation for me to receive those recommendations when they are being made. I would ask the Minister to undertake to ensure that, in the future, I receive that information so that, if I have an observation to make that might help in formulating some policy, I am in a position to give it to you in ample time prior to a decision being made.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The wildlife management advisory board makes recommendations to me regarding changes and regulations, or whatever. I write the chair of the management board with my response to the recommendations. At that particular time, I have no problem whatsoever making the Member opposite aware of my response to the recommendations.
Mr. Lang: I appreciate that, and I hope the department follows up and ensures those copies are made to me.
I would like to further follow up on the wildlife advisory board. In respect to the question of recommendations for zones 7 and 9, is the Minister going to be taking any steps this year on predator control?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I would think that it would be highly unlikely that we would take any steps this year with respect to predator control in those areas. As the Member is aware, there is a subcommittee right now of the wildlife management board contacting concerned associations and members of the public and getting their response to the management plan for game zones 7 and 9. I do not expect the results from that input to be presented to me until probably April of this year.
Mr. Devries: Regarding the Liard logging block, there is a study released, and I believe in the next two weeks they are supposed to start collaring moose. Is that still going ahead as scheduled?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, that is still planned to go ahead on schedule.
Parks, Resources and Regional Planning in the amount of $47,000 agreed to
On Fish and Wildlife
Hon. Mr. Webster: This breaks down as follows: again, the management salary range increases, $4,000; fur trap research for the humane trapping of lynx, which study is fully recoverable from the Fur Institute of Canada, $90,000; additional funding for the mitigation work, fully recoverable from the Mount Mye sheep project, $17,000; Wildlife Habitat Canada, $32,000; and a reduction of $53,000 transferred over to capital for the purchase of fisheries equipment. That totals $90,000.
Mr. Phillips: I have a question regarding fur and the use of furs. The City of Aspen, Colorado is having a referendum that takes place either now or in the first part of February. It is to ban the sale of furs in Aspen, Colorado. That is the first city in the U.S. that has brought that issue onto the ballot.
Is the Government of the Yukon aware of that? Did the government make any representations to Aspen? Did it send someone like Alex van Bibber down there? Did the government contemplate doing anything like that? Did it plan anything to combat that type of activity? Once it goes to Aspen, Colorado, it will go to many cities in the U.S.
I hear on As It Happens that there is some strong concern that the referendum will pass. Many, many people in Aspen, Colorado wear fur coats. There is a real hype there. The animal rights people are there, and there is a possibility that this may pass. Is the government aware of this? Did the government do anything about it? If the government is not aware of it, will the Minister make himself aware of the situation and try and do something about it? I do not know how we can make representations known to that city, but the other side of the story could be told.
Hon. Mr. Webster: We are not aware of this situation as it is unfolding in Aspen, Colorado. I would imagine that the Fur Institute of Canada is aware of it or another organization such as Indigenous Survival International. We will contact them to see what representations they have made or if we can offer any assistance.
Fish and Wildlife in the amount of $90,000 agreed to
Chair: We will take a break.
Chair: I will call Committee to order.
Hon. Mr. Webster: This $3,000 was required for management salary range increases.
Mr. Lang: Can the Minister explain why there has been such a delay in the agricultural policy coming forward in this House?
Hon. Mr. Webster: One of the reasons is that during the course of consultation with the various agencies involved in the industry, different concerns seemed to be arising that had to be addressed. That is a major reason.
The recent delay is in the publication of a handbook to accompany the agricultural policy. We want as much public input as possible to this interim policy by April 30. We thought that the communication strategy in the handbook would be of great assistance in helping people to understand the policy more fully.
Mr. Devries: Last year I asked a question about farm plates. Has any interprovincial recognition of the Yukon farm plate been established by Community Services? Is the Minister aware of that? He was going to look into it when I mentioned it last spring.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I know what the Member is referring to, but I am not aware of the status at this time.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Perhaps I can shed some light on the matter. There has been communication between the B.C. ministry and my department on the subject to put a reciprocal arrangement in place for licence plates for farmers. I communicated with the new Minister recently, and it appears quite likely we will have some arrangement in place this year.
Agriculture in the amount of $3,000 agreed to
On Inuvialuit Final Agreement (IFA)
Hon. Mr. Webster: Here we have Inuvialuit Final Agreement funding transferred to the capital budget. All the funds budgeted here were not required as the actual costs were less than expected.
Mr. Lang: Can the Minister provide us with an outline on exactly how the $663,000 was spent, and what it was spent on?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Member is referring to the revised vote of $663,000 for the year. I do not have the definite details on that, but I can tell him in a general sense. It was for interpreter purposes such as pamphlets, displays and travel. It was also for consultation with the Inuvialuit on management plans for the park.
If he wants me to provide that information, I can.
Mr. Lang: I would like to know if we got anything for the $663,000. Did we do anything? Did we perhaps preserve some buildings, or restore some buildings? What did we get for $663,000? It is a lot of money.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Certainly some of those things were accomplished and we will provide a breakdown of that $663,000 for the Member.
Inuvialuit Final Agreement in the amount of an under expenditure of $24,000 agreed to
On O&M Recoveries
O&M Recoveries in the amount of $156,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures in the amount of $234,000 agreed to
On Capital Expenditures
On Departmental Services
On Departmental Equipment
Hon. Mr. Webster: The $87,000 breaks down as follows: purchase of a bobcat for $34,000; $53,000 for fisheries equipment, which includes $25,000 for a large boat, motor and trailer; the balance of $28,000 is the value of small equipment.
Mr. Lang: I just want to make an observation here. Why are we buying our own bobcat when there are people in private enterprise who do have them for rent? I know it is easier if you have one parked in your backyard and somebody else has paid for it but, on the other hand, I really question the government getting more and more equipment. Perhaps the Minister could tell us why we spent $34,000 when there are people out there who are prepared to rent such equipment?
Hon. Mr. Webster: This is a replacement for a bobcat that is worn out; we have had it for a number of years. It has been a long-standing policy of the department to have its own bobcat because, whenever it needs the work done, especially to work on its campgrounds throughout the territory, the equipment just is not available from the private sector on such short notice.
Mr. Lang: I just want to make an observation. It is easy to say it is not available on short notice. I am sure that if some lead time was given to an operator and they are aware that they are going to have a customer such as the government that would be coming back on a continuous basis, they would have equipment available. I mean, we can make and fabricate whatever stories we want and say it is not available, but I do know it is available if time is given - if you do not phone up at the last hour and say you need it. If you give a week or a couple of days notice, I am sure there are a number of people out there who would be more than happy to provide the equipment and do the necessary work for the government. I realize it is easier to have one, as you say, parked in your backyard if you do not have to pay for it, but the government could certainly help the little guy out there, struggling with his small business trying to pay for one of these pieces of equipment, if they rented this type of equipment as opposed to getting into competition.
Departmental Equipment in the amount of $87,000 agreed to
On Information/Interpretation/Public Education
On DRR - Strategic Plan Publications
Hon. Mr. Webster: This reduction of $5,000 is a reduction of $50,000 for the film video vignettes booklet; we are postponing that project for the time being to finish off the Yukon Large Mammals project, which will cost us $46,000.
Mr. Lang: Maybe the Minister can tell us what the Yukon Large Mammals project is?
Hon. Mr. Webster: We have just completed the first stage of that project. It involves getting some art work and preparing it in an 8-1/2" x 11" inch brochure format. The first one deals with - I am trying to find the number of mammals we dealt with in the first brochure - 40 of the 61 Yukon mammal species. The final part will cover 20 species in this leaflet.
Mr. Lang: How are we spending the $46,000?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The $46,000 will be spent for the art work, the content, the writing, the design, the layout and the actual printing. The additional cost, overall, will be in the neighbourhood of about $75,000 for the complete package. We are trying to market this series as an attractive package of publications to retailers for in the neighbourhood of $10 to $12 a set.
Mr. Lang: I do not quite understand this. What are we doing? Are we providing them with the idea of selling them?
Hon. Mr. Webster: That is additional, of course, to making them available to Yukoners for their education. I am surprised that the Member has not been made aware of them. We have produced these to, in part, complement the Project Wild program in our school system. It is a very attractive series of pamphlets and got a lot of attention outside. Right now we are in the process of contacting government agencies and education departments to see if they are interested in acquiring this series.
Mr. Lang: We have not voted any money for this project up to now. They are asking for $46,000. The Minister looks surprised. I am just looking at Yukon Large Mammals: voted to date, 0; supplementary, $46,000. Perhaps the Minister could provide me with a copy; maybe I missed something along the line here. Perhaps he could tell us who the artist is.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I would be pleased to provide the Member with a copy of the cassette and further details. I believe the artist is Ms. Deer, a local Yukon artist.
Mr. Phillips: I would like to pursue this whole area of strategic plan publications and I would like to ask the Minister if, in the future, something like an anti-litter program or an educational program to encourage people not to litter would come under a line like this where they produce film videos and brochures and this type of thing on littering?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, that is quite the case. One example under this category is the publication we have planned on wilderness ethics.
Mr. Phillips: I would like to ask the Minister why then, since we passed a motion here in April of last year asking the government to do this type of thing - some television advertising or some kind of publications to make people more aware of the litter problem in the Yukon - nothing is really started. We are almost at the end of the fiscal year; it has been a full year and it certainly does not take that long to develop this kind of thing. There was some criticism that these things are only done one week a year and here we are again, probably 12 weeks or 10 weeks away from Anti-Litter Week again, and we have not done a thing this year on it, other than some minor things in the schools that are, in my view, more initiatives of certain teachers in certain classrooms than they have been of the government doing anything. It has just been specific teachers who have a concern who have their classes going out and doing something; and yet, as far as I know, there is no memo to Yukon schools saying please do more of this type of anti-litter education in the classroom. There has been no public program that I know of other than the Conservation Society and the can recycling depot that has recently been set up, but there has been no program, which was the intent of the motion. The Minister spoke to the motion and so did many other people in this House, but the government has not acted on that at all. I see here under film videos that we are turning back $50,000, which could have gone into a valuable program like that. I think it is something we should give serious consideration to, as the Minister gave serious consideration to the motion.
They should look at proceeding with this type of program in the near future. I hope he does not drag his heels on it any longer, because it is long overdue.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I agree with the Member it is an important area for consideration. I must point out to him, though, that we do have it right in the budget for this purpose. Our priority this year is the brochure on wilderness ethics, which includes the importance of leaving our environment in a clean condition, in our efforts to educate Yukoners as well as visitors. It also includes a section on litter, in addition to things like low impact camping.
In response to the other matters the Member has raised, I have to say there has been some progress made. There was a legislative return tabled by the Minister of Education informing the House what the Department of Education was doing with respect to schools to make students aware of keeping the Yukon litter free. The wilderness guides have started an adopt-a-river program to clean up some of the rivers around the territory. We include this information in a lot of our brochures. Information on campgrounds in the territory, angling, hunting synopsis is included in there as well. You say there is nothing happening at all. The Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce has a Whitehorse Pride annual anti-litter campaign going. Our department has made $100,000 available in a conservation fund for just such purposes. If an organization, such as the Fish and Game Association or the Conservation Society, would want to consider developing a brochure to make the Yukon public more conscious of our environment, that is what that program has been established for. The Yukon government is doing more than its share, in addition to what they are already doing, to encourage others to get involved as well.
Mr. Phillips: I would disagree that the Yukon government is doing more than its share. I know many of the programs that were documented in that ministerial statement and, quite frankly, those programs have been ongoing in Yukon schools for 20 years in some cases. They are just things some people have been doing. It is nothing specific that was initiated out of that motion.
The intent of the motion was that we really get the ball rolling, so to speak, with anti-litter campaigns, that we attack the problem year-round. I would like to ask if any single Member heard one announcement on the Whitehorse radio, or saw one ad in any local newspaper, from litter week to now, that talked about clean-up in the Yukon. It just did not happen, other than an announcement of something about recycling cans, and that is about it. We talked about a year-round anti-littering program where people would be made much more aware of the problems littering causes and be more prepared to clean up the Yukon and keep it clean in the future. That was the intent of the motion.
The Minister is just playing with words and paying lip service when he says they are doing great things. I would be the first to applaud when this government finally announces a program, finally makes some vignettes, finally runs some ads in the local newspapers to make people aware year-round, finally go to the schools and classrooms to explain to the kids about clean up. It is disgraceful that this government will stand up in the House, like the Minister has, and take credit for certain classrooms that have gone and cleaned up around the school. The credit should goes to the kids and the school teacher. That initiative was not one of this government. No one told them to do that. It was just the people who were involved in the classrooms and concerned about it themselves.
The government has a responsibility in this particular issue to follow the direction of the motion that was voted on unanimously by this House. To date, they have not done it. I will be watching closely, and I hope the Minister will finally get something done on this in the very near future.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Could the Member please listen when I give an answer? I gave credit to a lot of different people, and I cited specifically some of the things that our department has done over the last year. We made $100,000 available in a fund so that groups could get involved and do some of the things that the Member is suggesting.
Mr. Devries: This weekend, at the Association of Yukon Communities meeting, tourism was discussed at fair length. In private discussions with our mayor, he said that the problem seems to be that people are not aware of where the different dumping stations are for their RVs. He suggested that maybe a garbage bag with a map drawn on it showing all the RV sites could be used by tourists. Would the money about which the Minister is talking be available for such a project? These garbage bags could be given to tourists as they come into the Yukon in an effort to keep people from dumping their sewage in gravel pits and along the highways.
Hon. Mr. Webster: That could be considered as being eligible for funding from the conservation fund money that the Government of Yukon has made available for such purposes. A lot of that information, however, is already contained in the Alaska Highway travel guide. It is also on the maps that we distribute free through the Department of Tourism.
Mr. Devries: I realize that it is contained in that literature. The mayors feeling was that if it was on a garbage bag, people might be a little more prone to think of their sewage as garbage and dispose of it properly instead of trying to grow grass with it.
DRR - Strategic Plan Publications in the amount of an under expenditure of $5,000 agreed to
On Film/Video, Video Vignettes Booklet
Film/Video, Video Vignettes Booklet in the amount of an under expenditure of $50,000 agreed to
On Yukon Large Mammals
Yukon Large Mammals in the amount of $46,000 agreed
On Parks, Resources and Regional Planning
On Herschel Island Park (IFA)
Hon. Mr. Webster: This is the $24,000 that has been transferred from the O&M to continue consultation with the Inuvialuit to come up with some management plans for the park.
Mr. Lang: We have a total of $663,000 plus $311,000. That is approximately $975,000 for the park this past year. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Webster: That is correct. There are two programs managed here with the O&M combined with the capital.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister give us a breakdown of how we spent this $311,000 similar to that of the $663,000?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I do not have that information at this time, but I can provide the breakdown of that $311,000.
Herschel Island Park (IFA) in the amount of $24,000 agreed to
On Campground Rehabilitation
Campground Rehabilitation in the amount of an under expenditure of $34,000 agreed to
On Dempster Corridor Study
Hon. Mr. Webster: This is a revote of funds to complete the Dempster Corridor study that was not completed in 1988-89.
Mr. Lang: There were a number of recommendations respecting the Dempster corridor put forward to the Minister this fall. Can the Minister tell us if any decisions have been made for the forthcoming year on the various recommendations?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Member is referring to the recommendations put forward by the Porcupine caribou herd Management Board. Those recommendations will be considered by the Yukon Wildlife Management Board.
Mr. Lang: When does the Minister expect to get those recommendations and have a decision finally made?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The next meeting of the board is February 20 and 21, at which time this matter, among others, will be considered. Sometime after that, they will be making the recommendations to me.
Dempster Corridor Study in the amount of $15,000 agreed to
On Yukon Land Use Planning
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yukon land use planning is a capital section. The additional equipment is for the upgrading of the computer capabilities of the Yukon land use planning office.
Yukon Land Use Planning in the amount of $34,000 agreed to
On Capital Recoveries
Chair: Are there any questions on Capital Recoveries?
Capital Recoveries in the amount of 58,000 agreed to
Capital Expenditures in the total amount of $117,000 agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that you report progress on Bill No. 13.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
May the House have a report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole?
Ms. Kassi: The Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 13, Second Appropriation Act, 1989-90, and directed me to report progress on same.
Speaker: You have heard the report from the Chair of the Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.
The House adjourned at 9:15 p.m.
The following Sessional Paper was tabled January 29, 1990:
Letter dated January 26, 1990, from Michael Wilson, Federal Minister of Finance, to Bea Firth, MLA, denying all allegations re representations made by her on the subject of financing arrangements between Government of Canada and the Yukon. (Firth)