Thursday, December 6, 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.
Recognition of Womens Remembrance Day
Hon. Ms. Joe: I rise today to recognize December 6 as Womens Remembrance Day, a day of commemoration for the 14 women massacred in Montreal and for all victims of male violence against women. It is hard to talk in terms of economic, social and political equality for women when a basic human right is being denied. As long as a woman cannot feel safe from harm in her own home or walk down a street after dark without fear of assault or speak freely without fear of retaliation or do a job without suffering sexual harassment, she will not have achieved equality.
As long as there is fear, women face a major barrier to full and equal participation in all aspects and at all levels of society. I urge the Members in this Legislative Assembly to declare their support in working toward eradicating violence against women. At this time I ask that the Members of this Assembly observe a moments silence in commemoration of the 14 women slain.
Moment of silence observed
Speaker: Are there any Documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Ms. Joe: I have for tabling responses to questions in the House.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Petition No. 3
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have for tabling a response to a petition filed in this House.
Speaker: Are there any Introductions of Bills?
Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers.
Notices of Motion.
NOTICES OF MOTION
Mrs. Firth: I give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that there were serious irregularities and improprieties in the awarding of the contract for the Golden Horn Elementary School as well as for the trailer units for the Takhini Elementary School and
THAT this House urges the Auditor General of Canada to conduct an investigation into the awarding of these contracts.
Speaker: Are there any Statements by Ministers?
This then brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: Yukon College employee negotiations
Mr. Phelps: I have some questions for the Minister of Education regarding the looming strike at Yukon College. Can the Minister confirm whether the main issue in those negotiations is money?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I cannot confirm that. I have not been apprised of the details of the negotiations at the college. After all, it is a matter between the employees and their employer, the college board, to settle a collective agreement.
Mr. Phelps: Back when the new president was hired, there was a storm of protest from the union. They referred to his previous job at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George that was plagued by numerous labour problems and they claimed that the president was responsible for most of them. Does the current problem have anything to do with the president situation at the college?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Again, I am not familiar with the details of the negotiations or the machinations surrounding the negotiations. As I indicated to anyone interested, in January 1990, the decision to hire the president of the Yukon College rested with the board of governors and the board of governors made a choice that they saw fit. It is my understanding, however, that the board of governors has indicated publicly that the president of Yukon College is one step back from the actual negotiating process and consequently is not as close as the president would otherwise be; nevertheless, it remains the purview of both the union and the employer to decide upon the collective agreement. I have been, quite properly, according to legislation, removed from the equation.
Mr. Phelps: If the choice of president was entirely up to the board of the college, why was the deputy minister present at the some of the meetings to choose a president?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I indicated earlier in 1990, to the union spokesperson who had made the allegation that the deputy minister was involved in hiring the president, that the deputy minister had been present at all interim board meetings, from the time the interim board was appointed, and tried to make a practice of attending as an observer.
That practice continued through most of the period between the time that the competition for a new president was initiated and when the competition ended. I do not believe the deputy minister was there for all the discussions the board had with respect to the decision of who would be the next president, but the deputy minister was present at least at one meeting where the competition was discussed.
Question re: Public Service Alliance
Mr. Phelps: I have some similar questions for the Minister responsible for the Public Service Commission about the other negotiations. Are we looking at the strong possibility of a strike by the Public Service Alliance?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The Leader of the Official Opposition knows there is a media blackout in regard to negotiations. There has been rumour of a strike, and we hear those rumours all the time. I cannot report to the House anything more than that.
Mr. Phelps: Surely the Minister can confirm whether or not money is one of the main issues in the talks.
Hon. Ms. Joe: There is a media blackout, and I am not prepared to report to the House any knowledge that I have about the negotiations as they are going on.
Mr. Phelps: The public has the right to know at least something about what is happening with regard to the largest labour union and largest labour force in the Yukon. Surely the Minister could tell us just when the union will be in a position to strike.
Hon. Ms. Joe: There is a matter of trust in these negotiations and I intend to live up to my obligation.
Question re: Destination Yukon
Mr. Phillips: My question is to the Minister of Tourism regarding misinformation supplied to the House. The Minister has a special duty and obligation to ensure that the information he gives in this House is accurate and in accordance with the facts. The House may recall that on December 3 the Minister was forced to admit that statements he made regarding the Destination Yukon marketing program were at variance with the facts. Now I have found out that other statements made by the Minister were untrue as well.
I would like to ask the Minister if he still stands by his statement that in the awarding of the Destination Yukon contract all the partners in the program were involved in the selection of the contractor when the spokesman for Canadian Airlines International and the Tourism Industry Association, who were major partners in this venture, have stated publicly the selection was purely a Tourism decision. Is this not true?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am always pleased to correct the record when I have made a mistake. In the particular example that the Member raises, he says, as was stated in an article that appeared recently in the paper, that TIA claims to have made no decision or to have played no part in the decision of the person who received the contract. I find that quite puzzling because we just received from TIA a press release this week that states that the previous executive director of TIA was a participant in the selection of professional services and the awarding of the contract for Destination Yukon.
Mr. Phillips: Just for the Ministers information, on page 366 of Hansard on November 26, the Minister said, There are 13 partners involved with TIA and the Department of Tourism who are also involved in making these decisions. One of the major partners, in this particular case, has said they were not asked in any way, shape or form about the making of the decision to award the contract for Destination Yukon. I would ask the Minister to correct the misinformation that he gave us several weeks ago.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The dispute here is a matter for interpretation. The Tourism Industry Association of Yukon, together with the Department of Tourism, made a decision on which bidders on the contract would be recommended to the partners for their consideration.
Following that, it was up to the individual partners involved in Destination Yukon. If they wanted to become involved in participating in the decision on the recommendation of the winning consultant, that was up to them.
Mr. Phillips: That is not what the Minister said on November 26.
Will the Minister confirm that the previous statements he has made in this House about his department not contracting out any of its services were also untrue in view of the fact that TIA has been now asked to represent Tourism Yukon at the Tourism Canada Collaboree being held in Australia. The Minister emphatically stated that his department was going to do that. This statement was made in this House on that same date. It is on page 366 of Hansard.
Hon. Mr. Webster: It has been a policy in the department to alternate from year to year, whether or not to have a representative of TIA involved in that program, or to have a representative of the department. Last year, it was a representative from the department; the Member opposite is quite right. This year, it will be a representative from TIA who will be involved in that program.
The Member was correct that it was incorrect information I gave a couple of weeks ago, and I apologize for it.
Question re: Tourism Minister travel
Mr. Phillips: My question is again for the Minister responsible for misinformation, the Minister of Tourism. In a ball game, three strikes and you are out. This particular Minister has just struck out.
In view of the fact that he has one of the highest travel expense accounts of all the Ministers, would he forego his expensive travel so he could stay at home and learn something about the department he is supposed to be responsible for?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I will continue to represent the Yukon at ministerial meetings.
Mr. Phillips: It is a serious concern. The Minister comes into this House to defend his budget and, three consecutive times, he misrepresents the facts. What are we to believe? If the Minister knows so much about his department, why does he continue to bring wrong information into this House?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I do admit that, from time to time, I do provide some wrong information, but part of the reason for that is that I am confused by the wrong information the Member opposite, my critic, brings into the House.
Question re: Conflict of interest
Mrs. Firth: I asked a question on Monday of the Minister responsible for the Public Service Commission, about conflict of interest guidelines and whether or not the conflict of interest guidelines that apply to government employees also apply to individuals contracted by the government to provide advisory services. The Minister said she was going to review the circumstances and come back to me with an answer. I would like to ask her if she has done that and can she answer that question now?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I did review the policy and the policy indicated, as the Member stated in the House, that it applies to employees. There is nothing in the policy that applies to people other than employees, and there is nothing there that gives the government any kind of assurances that they can be protected in some way after they leave the employ of the government. I did not check into the circumstances that she mentioned; that would require a little bit more information. I only had the information that she told to this House. I think I would require a lot more than that. The Government Leader had indicated to her his position on the conflict of interest act, as was being proposed.
Mrs. Firth: I was very specific when I asked the question. I was not asking about employees after they have left their employment. I asked about individuals contracted by the government to provide advisory services. Is the Minister saying that the conflict of interest guidelines do not apply to people contracted with the government?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: That is indeed what the Minister just said. I have had a chance to have a preliminary look at the Public Service Commission conflict rules. They do apply particularly and directly to employees. There are other conventions in the government around the contracting situation.
I can tell the Member that, following her allegations made earlier in the House, I have asked for a statement of all of the facts connected with the situation. I am currently looking into it and it is my intention to provide a formal response next week to the Members question and complaints.
Mrs. Firth: If I am dealing with a new Minister, I will start with a new question.
Question re: Conflict of interest
Mrs. Firth: I realize that the Government Leader said he would come back next week with a full report; however, he did make a commitment to look at the details this week. I think we would like to know what he has found out so far. Our concern was whether there was going to be an interim policy statement issued so that there is some direction given right now so that this kind of situation does not happen again. Perhaps the Government Leader could tell us what he has discovered so far and whether he will be issuing some kind of direction in the interim.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: First of all, the Member is leaping a little too far ahead. What I said to the Members is that I would take a look at the facts and the allegations she has made. Upon examination of the facts, some conclusions will have to be drawn about whether the allegations, the charges she has made, had any basis. If they had any basis and if we concluded there was a gap in the policy, then I did indicate to her that we would consider some interim policy measure between now and the time when we intend to bring the legislation. I want to assert quite clearly now that at this point, I have not accepted the veracity of her allegations and no examination of the facts has concluded that she is right on the question, yet.
Mrs. Firth: With all due respect to the Minister, there is an appearance of an existence of a conflict of interest, at least. That is something that is contrary to the policy for all the other employees, that there not be a conflict nor the appearance of one. There is an appearance of one. I would like to ask the Minister if he can tell us, at least, if there is going to be a new policy needed in light of what has been discovered in the Public Service Commission?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have to tell the Member I reject absolutely the fetch the rope, Zeke, there is going to be a trial approach to these kind of things. The Member has made a charge. She has made serious charges. I said I would take a look at them. I will see if the facts, the charges she was making had any basis in fact, to see if there was any legitimacy to the complaint, to see if there were any serious concerns about the appearances in this case, that caused us to review or to put in place an interim policy between now and the time that we will bring forward - as we have said we will do - new legislation dealing with conflict of interest, not only for employees, but perhaps also for people in the executive and legislative branches.
Mrs. Firth: I am being patient and I am just asking the Minister if there is going to be a new policy developed and what is going to be done in the interim to protect the taxpayer from this situation happening again?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Once again the Member is trying to convict people before we even know what the facts are. There will not be a new policy unless there is a need for one. The Member has not gone even part of the way toward persuading us that there is a need. I have said I will look at it. I will look at the facts. We will look at the circumstances. We will look at the problem of appearances. We will decide if there was a conflict of interest, as opposed to simply an interest. If that is the case, we will address it. It will not be done overnight. There will no lynch party. There will be no mob rule, no instant trial. This will be done carefully and reflectively. If there is a problem in policy, we will address it.
Question re: Non-profit society funding
Mr. Nordling: I have a question for the Minister of Health and Human Resources with respect to non-profit societies funding. As we have already observed, today is the first anniversary of the killing of 14 women in Quebec, simply because they were women. There have been radio programs on all day with respect to violence against women. Yesterday this House debated a motion with respect to violence against women and all Members declared their support for working toward the prevention of violence against women.
One of the statistics quoted yesterday was that over 800 women a year are assaulted in the Yukon. The demand for services at the Whitehorse Transition Home have gone up 20 percent in the past year and we are encouraging more women to come forward and seek help. In view of this increasing need, I would like to ask the Minister of Health and Human Resources why he has decided to freeze the funding to the Whitehorse Transition Home at the same level as it was last year.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: They all have to deal with the problem caused by the Members federal Conservative friends, which is cutbacks in our funding. It is a painful fact. The commitments made by the federal Conservatives to put money into this field, to put money into day care, have all been broken. All those promises have been broken. We are suffering under those budgetary limitations.
Any fair-minded observer of the situation will look at the new programs this government has introduced since 1985, and look at the fact that a new shelter facility is going in in Whitehorse, which we contributed to. There is $200,000 in my budget this year that was not there a couple of years ago, and this is to provide for a new facility.
There are new facilities going into place in other communities in this territory, which were not there before. I have had meetings with the representatives of the Transition Home. We will be meeting again shortly after they have had further discussions and we will be trying to work out the problem of the limitation of dollars and the growing demand of services. We are trying to work it out cooperatively, together.
I will stand here and defend our record, in terms of improving services, dealing with the problem of family violence, new programs ...
Speaker: Order please. Will the Minister please conclude his answer.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: ... and new dollars against the fatuous and silly comments of the Member yesterday that this government has done nothing. As compared with the previous government ...
Speaker: Order please. Will the Minister please conclude his answer.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: ... we have done a great deal.
Mr. Nordling: As I have said before in this House, the Minister can take all the cheap shots at me he wants, but it is not going to stop me from standing up and forcing him to do his job.
I have not denied that this government has considerably improved services. The Minister of Justice sent over a glossy booklet on all the family violence initiatives that have been taken.
In view of the problem and the increasing need for services, because of violence toward women, which is a terrible problem in the territory - it is tearing apart the very fabric of our society - why did the Minister take it upon himself to freeze the funding of the Whitehorse Transition Home?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Member opposite takes cheap shots, and he thinks he is the only one who can do it. It was not the Minister of Justice who sent over the book, and it was not a glossy book. It was printed on recycled paper, and it contains an excellent record of the programs that this government has introduced.
Yesterday, the Member said we had not done anything. That is not true.
Faced with the funding cuts from the federal government, faced with the difficulties that presents to this government, and recognizing, as any fair-minded person will, that we have considerably increased - by hundreds of thousands of dollars - the money available to address this problem in the last few years that we have been in office, I have said I am going to meet with that group again to talk about how, together, we can work out the problem of finite resources and increasing demands. It is a problem that is not unique to that group. It is a problem we face in the entire social services field.
Every day, the Members opposite are asking for new services, but they are also the people who belong to a party that is advocating social service cuts, not only here but everywhere in the country.
Mr. Nordling: It is a bit of a mystery to me why the Government Leader and the Minister of Health and Human Resources is only now sitting down with the Transition Home to work out their budgetary needs, months after he has made the decision to freeze them. I would like to know if the Minister is saying that funding to the Whitehorse Womens Transition Home is sufficient? Is he saying his government has higher priorities, such as ensuring orderly bankruptcy proceedings or maintaining a $15 million surplus in his budget?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Members preamble again was misinformed. I am not only now meeting with the group. I have already met with them and will be doing so again.
This is hardly a late-day event since we are talking about funding for the next fiscal year in the context of federal cuts. The federal government has savagely cut social spending in this country.
The Member says BS. The Member is guilty of that, not me. We are dealing with that problem.
The situation that faces all social services, including this one, is very serious. There are new demands; there are more revelations about the problem of violence every day, more problems that need addressing and we are doing so. We are not addressing them as fast as everybody wants, but we have added considerable new resources to this field, far in excess of the rate of growth in the budget. Hundreds of thousands of new dollars, in the last several years, have been added.
This year, we have faced the problem of having to open the negotiations with limited funds. I am going to be meeting with those groups and discussing with them the problem of trying to find the resources. There are demands in every single part of the social service field. We are going to have a hard time meeting all those demands. But we are going to try. We are not going to do what Tory governments everywhere have done, which has been to cut social services spending.
Question re: Ross River Community Centre
Mr. Lang: It is sad that non one on the side opposite will take responsibility for their decisions. It is really sad; the government on the other side got an extra $19 million from the federal government over what they got last year - over $300 million transferred by the Government of Canada to the people of the territory, but the Government Leader stands in his place and criticizes the Government of Canada for their largesse. Here we have situations where this government blows $11 million down in Watson Lake - blows $2.2 million on an arena in Ross River that was supposed to cost $.5 million, but they do not take responsibility for those decisions; it is always somebody elses fault.
I would like to ask a question to the Minister of Government Services with respect to the Ross River arena, which was estimated to cost $500,000, but has now cost over $2.2 million. Now it has come to our attention that it has frozen up four times in the past year. Yesterday, the Minister told the House the reason that the most recent freeze up took place was because the thermostat froze, yet there was a letter transmitted to him on December 3, which stated as follows: Each time the building is frozen, the heating system has been the cause.
Can the Minister tell this House whether or not the heating system is the cause of the freeze up or was it the fact that the thermostat had been turned down - four times?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Let me gently correct the record for the Member. The Ross River Community Centre consists of a multitude of facilities in a single facility. It is not the Ross River arena; it is the Ross River Community Centre, which contains a community campus, a library, a community hall, an arena, changing rooms and it is a facility that the community is quite pleased with and is using to the maximum that they can. We have had two freeze ups this winter: one freeze up related to the turning down of a thermostat that controlled the heating blankets for the propane tanks; the second freeze up occurred because somebody turned a switch off that controlled the electricity to service the propane tanks. I want to know why those incidents occurred, and I am having that investigated.
Mr. Lang: It is always somebody elses fault. I am surprised he did not blame Ottawa for this one as well.
Can the Minister verify that the freeze up that just took place is going to cost between $15,000 and $20,000 to repair?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I indicated to the Member yesterday that I have no confirmation of the figures and I will not have confirmation of figures until the entire repair work is complete. There is some plumbing to repair at the moment. The heat is turned on. The security has been reinforced regarding the thermostats and switches that affected these two freeze ups. I am addressing with the community the issue of full-time maintenance. Today an advertisement is going out for the hiring of a community director whose duties will include the full-time monitoring and maintenance of the building.
Mr. Lang: This goes back to the Public Accounts Committees report, where all Members expressed concerns about the lack of planning of some of these facilities and the operation and maintenance costs that were going to be incurred by the taxpayers once they were completed. Here is a situation where the operation and maintenance obviously has not been contemplated. I want to ask the Minister if he will provide to this House a total breakdown of the operation and maintenance costs of this building for this past year and, in view of what he is proposing now to do, the full cost to the territorial government in respect to the running of this facility in the coming year.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have already tabled, earlier in the spring, the entire break-out respecting anticipated expenditures and the revenue that would be generated from the building. We have calculated the revenue from the building in terms of leases and other revenues that the residents are procuring. It will generate $61,000 a year in revenue. Our expenses are $37,000. With respect to the Ross River arena, it is generating revenue in terms of the operation and maintenance of the building. That information has already been tabled.
Question re: Ross River Community Centre
Mr. Brewster: My question is to the Minister of Government Services. Is it true that in 1989, the Ross River Community Centre froze up, and if so, how many times?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have already indicated in the answer to the previous questioner that there were two freeze ups. One occurred on the weekend of November 24 and one occurred on the weekend of December 1. In each case, they were the result of switches and electrical energy being turned off to the propane tanks that heat the building. The freeze up that occurred earlier in the year occurred last January when the power was off to the community for an extended period of time. That, I could not control. Sorry.
Mr. Brewster: He did not really answer my question. I asked whether it froze up once, or how many times, in 1989. Is it true that the Ross River Community Centre, worth over $2.5 million, was without the daily service of a full-time custodian for 11 months?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have already answered that question as well. The issue of full-time maintenance is one that my department is addressing with the community association. We currently have adequate funds to hire a full-time community director whose duties would include the maintenance and the monitoring of the building. The building has just been brought into use this year. I am sure the Member would not want a full-time monitoring of a building while it is not in use. The fact remains that the community has taken the initiative to provide for full-time surveillance. In the interim, people were under training by my department and there was ongoing supervision from the Government Services worker out of Faro during that period.
Mr. Brewster: I think the answer was yes, but I am not sure. Exactly who is in charge of the Ross River Community Centre, or is this an example of bureaucratic red tape with no overall authority designated to any person or department to maintain the building to satisfactory standards?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Let us get it straight on the record. The building is being maintained. The building froze up due to malfunctioning of electrical support for the building on all three occasions, over the course of the entire year. We have put in place provision for full-time maintenance. In the interim, we had the building supervised by the Government Services worker out of Faro, who, at the same time, had a number of people from Faro who were trained to monitor the building. There was ongoing regular maintenance and regular monitoring. Unfortunately, on two weekends, the monitoring was not close enough and, yes, the building did freeze up and, yes, we have the heat back on and, yes, we are bringing the building back into full operation, and it should be fully functional within a week or two.
Question re: Ross River Community Centre
Mr. Lang: I want to pursue the subject of this $2.5 million building a little further. This is a brand new building. We are not talking about a building that is 10 or 15 years old. I am concerned about where we are, as far as the actual structure is concerned.
Following up on the MLA for Kluanes concern, we have received correspondence that indicates that that particular facility froze up four times, not twice. Is the Minister telling this House that the people in Ross River are wrong and he is right, that it only froze up twice, as opposed to the four times, as stated in the documentation we have seen?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Neither of the two Members who have raised questions on this issue are listening to the answers. The building froze up on the weekend of November 24, and it froze up on the weekend of December 3.
In the first instance, it was the result of a thermostat being unexplainedly turned down, which affected the heat source to the propane tanks. Propane does not flow at minus 50. The boilers went out; the building froze. Subsequent to that, on the December 1 weekend, again unexplained, somebody turned the switch off for the power that services the blankets for the propane tanks. On both occasions, we have had what appears to be someone tampering with the operations of the heating system for the propane tanks.
The third time the building was down was about 11 months ago, when power was off to the community for an extended period of time. Those are the three known freeze ups to the building that I am aware of.
Question re: Ross River Community Centre
Mr. Lang: I am just referring to the correspondence the Minister has and had a few days ago. He obviously has not read it as we raised the question yesterday. The fact is that the people of Ross River said it froze up four times - not twice or three times. Who are they to say, I guess, they just live there.
I would like to ask a question of the Minister with respect to the ongoing operations and maintenance costs. The Minister referred to the fact that there was $62,000 in revenue from that facility. It should be known to anyone who was listening that the $62,000 we were talking about is rental paid by the Department of Education, the Department of Government Services and on and on. We have this budget for last year, but we do not know what the actual costs of running that facility are because it froze up four times and had to be fixed each time.
Will the Minister provide us with the full accounting of what it cost to run and continually fix this brand new, $2.5 million building over this past year?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have never hesitated to provide Members opposite information relating to the operating costs of any facility in the government if they provide me with the question. This is the first time the Member has asked me for an accounting for any costs we may have incurred with the Ross River Community Centre. I do not know those costs. I do not always bring them into the House with me. But I can certainly provide them.
What I can tell him is that we spent over $1 million to fix the Faro school that he built.
Mr. Lang: I want to follow up on that. The concern I have is with the ongoing operation and maintenance of these and other facilities in the territory. Going back to the Public Accounts Committee, all Members, Conservative and NDP, agreed there had been a lack of planning. This was back in 1988.
We have $62,000 projected in the budget provided to us one year ago. Now the Minister is telling us he is looking for a director to run this facility. Will the Minister provide us with the full projected O&M costs, including the costs for the new individual who will have to be hired to prevent this building from freezing up again?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The short answer is yes. I have already indicated to him in a previous question that the projected expenditures for the operations of the facility are currently estimated at $37,000. We will provide to him a more detailed breakdown that will include the cost of the recreation director.
Question re: Extended care facility, Watson Lake
Mr. Devries: I have a question for the Minister of Health and Human Resources. In April 1989, this House passed a motion unanimously regarding the study of a need for an extended care facility in the Watson Lake area and this includes the area of Upper Liard. My understanding is that a need was proven. My question is: what has the Ministers department done since the inter-agency meeting in the fall of 1989, when this important topic was discussed?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: There have been a number of discussions on this topic. I hope the Member will understand, though, that they are not proceeding further at this point while we are trying to conclude a transfer of health services. I am sure the Member will understand that as we try to conclude the negotiations about the hospital transfer and if the money is provided on schedule by April 1 for the new hospital, an offer is made to the employees at the same time, and the hospital becomes part of this service on October 1, we will then be moving into discussion of the transfer of the remaining community health services. I do not think it is the wish of the federal government to commit any more capital to new projects of any significance during the negotiations.
I would think that further discussions about extended care facilities in Watson Lake will probably continue after the conclusion of this present stage of the health transfer negotiations and following the budgetary discussions that will go on in this Cabinet about the completion of the extended care facility we are building in Whitehorse and then the decisions about where such facilities might be located in the future.
Mr. Devries: Watson Lake also has a vacancy in the alcohol addition worker position for the past six months. When is the Minister going to rectify that serious matter?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I do not personally hire the staff in the department; I think the Member knows that. It had not been brought to my attention before now that there was a vacancy for six months in the alcohol worker position in Watson Lake. I will certainly make inquiries of the officials in the department about the recruitment process for that position, because I do recognize the importance of staffing positions like that in the communities, where they are doing very important work. I will report back to the Member upon the completion of my enquiries.
Mr. Devries: Watson Lake lost its south regional superintendent position six months ago with a promise of a counsellor of some type to replace that position. When is the Minister going to look after that situation?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We are proceeding to meet our commitments in that area. I was just today in the position of being able to announce arrangements for the provision of counsellor services in Faro, which are being provided through an arrangement with Yukon Family Services and a resident counsellor in that community, a highly qualified person.
One of the things that has become clear as we have had discussions with communities about the need for a counsellor is that there is a preference in some communities to have counsellors who are not direct employees of the Yukon government. There is a feeling in some places that it is a privacy issue. The model that had been developed over the years of us funding Family Services to provide the services, such as we do through the employee assistance program, gives enough distance between the client...
Speaker: Order please. Will the Minister please conclude his answer.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: ... and the department that is funding the service. We are looking at that question now, so that we can meet the needs of those people in the communities.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now lapsed. We will now proceed with Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order.
Notice of Business
Hon. Mr. McDonald: As the House Leaders know, we discussed the attendance of representatives from Yukon College appearing this afternoon at 4:30. I would ask unanimous consent to move a motion, as we are not on Education estimates, that involves requesting representatives to come before Committee of the Whole at 4:30 p.m.
I move that at 4:30 p.m., December 6, 1990, Jim Holt and Charles McCaffray appear as witnesses before Committee of the Whole during debate on Bill No. 16, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1991-92, regarding the main estimates of Yukon College.
Motion agreed to unanimously
Chair: The Committee will have a 15-minute break.
Chair: I will call Committee back to order.
Bill No. 16 - First Appropriation Act, 1991-92 - continued
Economic Development: Mines and Small Business - continued
Chair: We are on general debate.
Mr. Devries: I do not know whether this is happening or not but some people are going to ask the Minister to look into this - the lumbermens association from Watson Lake - and it is regarding the 15 percent tariff that has to be paid on lumber going to Alaska. When it was checked into, they found that when the lumber was cut down in B.C. and processed in the Yukon, they would still have to pay the 15 percent tariff, which seems kind of unfair because they have to pay higher stumpage costs in B.C. and lumber produced in B.C. now is no longer subject to tariffs unless it is processed in a highly subsidized mill. Has the Minister looked into this at all?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: At a meeting with Harry Holmquist from the First Lumber Employees Association - I believe the Economic Development officer for Watson Lake was present as well as the Deputy Minister of Economic Development - that request was made to the department to determine if there was anything that might be done. I understand that after that further discussions were held between the First Lumber Employees Association and the deputy minister. My recollection is that the request was to pursue the issue through a route other than Economic Development.
I have not been informed or given any further updates on that matter. I will try to determine from the department what precisely happened and when. That is my understanding right now.
Mr. Devries: The other question I had is in regard to the Mt. Hundere water licence application. Has any information been forthcoming on that? When can we expect a decision?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Well, as the Member, I am certain, is aware, the Department of Economic Development and the Government of Yukon do not control the agenda with respect to when those matters are heard. I do know that it is the companys wish to pursue its regulatory responsibilities very quickly and conduct all its obligations through the environmental review process as expeditiously as possible. There has been some word from some of their aboriginal partners in Watson Lake that the review should not have to be particularly extensive and that may have some impact on the decision making at Range Road. I cannot tell much more than that, although I do know that the water licence has been applied for and there was a public meeting held but when the final decision comes out, I cannot tell the Member.
Mr. Devries: I just found one of the comments the Minister made interesting, and that was in regard to the aboriginal partners. Does that mean that, if someone does not have an aboriginal partner, the process could take much longer? Would having an aboriginal partner give one an opportunity to take some short cuts in ERP?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I sure hope it does not mean that. The position of people in Watson Lake sometimes has an impact, but, one would hope that the decisions made are on the basis of objective data, presented by the company and perhaps challenged by various experts in the public or agencies that govern Indian and northern development.
I would hope the sentiments of anyone, and particularly business partners in any venture, should not play any special role in determining when an objective regulatory process proceeds.
Mr. Phillips: I would like to move to the area of business development loans and the contributions government has made. Earlier this year, the government made some contributions to the Dakwakada project, which is the new hotel/convention centre complex scheduled to be built on Second Avenue, down by the river. Our caucus had the opportunity to meet with the principals of that group and had some interesting discussions with them a couple of months ago. They indicated, at that time, that they would be breaking ground any day.
I wonder if the Minister has any new information on that. There have been various announcements saying it is going ahead. The government is involved in it on various levels. Is there some kind of difficulty obtaining funding? Has there been a change in the scope of the project? Does the Minister have any information as to why the project has not yet been started?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am afraid I cannot help the Member on that particular subject. I am not privy to any information at all that would indicate when the project might proceed, when tenders may be let or when an architect may be selected. Perhaps an architect has been selected, but I do not know.
I have recently asked the department to query the principals of Dakwakada to ascertain exactly when it is they are planning to proceed, but I have not received any information and cannot help the Member on that matter.
Mr. Phillips: I would appreciate it if, when the Minister gets that information, he could forward it on to us. If it is public information, I would be interested in knowing what is going on down there and when they are going to start that particular project.
There is the other area of interest under business development loans and that is the recent grant to the Kwanlin Dun and Tagish Kwan Corporation, and the Ministers explanation in the House of the fact that it is different than just bailing out a business that is going bankrupt. In this particular case, they are dealing government to government, and were not bailing out the business.
Not for a moment do I think that anyone in the business community, or anybody in their right mind, believes what the Minister said that day. Everyone knows that money went to the Tagish Kwan Corporation, regardless of who they gave it to in the first place. That is where it was directed to go. It is an extremely dangerous precedent for this government to be setting. There are lots of businesses that are in trouble every day in this country and they are going to be knocking at the door of the Government of the Yukon. It could be a costly process, because this government is obligated to treat each and every Yukoner fairly and equally.
In this particular case, they are treating one group as more equal than others. Yukoners are seeing that. My phone has been ringing off the hook from people who have lost their homes, lost their businesses, sacrificed their own personal family lives and everything else to try and stay afloat and go through the proper procedures, like everyone who goes into business is required to do.
These people now see that a government is showing favouritism for one particular group over another. It is intolerable. It is unfortunate that the government has chosen to go this route, and I think it is going to pay the price in the long run. People are upset. I spoke to the Minister privately this morning on this issue, and I can tell the Minister that people are very upset over this particular issue.
I do not think the Minister can fool anybody by describing the contribution the way he did in the House the other day. Quite simply, one particular group is getting preference over another. That is not the way this government should be treating people. This is the government that professes to treat all people equally, and it is not doing that in this case. I think it is disgraceful.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member and I did discuss that this morning and the Member will acknowledge that I disagreed with him on his assessment of what has happened. Nevertheless, I acknowledged there are issues surrounding aboriginal involvement in businesses - certainly aboriginal governments that are involved in businesses - that will have an impact on the small business sector or any business sector or even its relationship with government if those issues are not resolved. That is one thing that has transpired from the impending demise of Tagish Kwan.
The issue of operating in a business environment where there is proper security for goods delivered and services provided is an issue that ought to be addressed by the native community and by the business community, perhaps with the assistance of the government acting as a catalyst. Obviously, in the long term, the aboriginal people, through business corporations, are going to have to participate in the economy. They are going to have to participate through relations with businesses that are not operated by Indian governments. To that extent, I agree there is a problem. While I accept that that problem exists, I do see a difference that the Member does not see or does not accept. With respect to the contribution being provided to the Kwanlin Dun Band as being distinct from the Tagish Kwan Corporation, I think it is sometimes overlooked that the practical effect of the contribution will be to, in essence, help the creditors because the lawyers and accountants will always be paid. I feel this was an extraordinary circumstance. It has exposed some significant problems with respect to aboriginal participation in the economy. It will be an interesting and very difficult task resolving those problems.
Mr. Phillips: With this new precedent, is the Minister saying now that this government is prepared to assist in the bankruptcy of any First Nations Band that has problems in the future? They have helped the Tagish Kwan in this particular case, or the Kwanlin Dun, so if any other band that is in a venture has some financial difficulties, will this government participate just as it has with this particular project?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I can say that if it were exactly the same circumstances the chances may be positive that the government may help an Indian government facing difficulties. It is an impossible question to answer if one wants to change those circumstances or alter those circumstances, because it is obvious that the situation here is, and has been, unique. The government has assisted local government before and has assisted municipal government before. In this particular case the circumstances were unique and there was an extraordinary action taken. That is as much as I can tell the Member.
Mr. Phillips: The Tagish Kwan Corporation was a business. It was an entity on its own: it was a business. I would like to ask the Minister what the difference is between the Tagish Kwan Corporation, a business, going bankrupt and X business in Whitehorse, a privately owned, non-native business going bankrupt. What is the difference? Why would the Minister lend this corporation, a business, money - give them a grant - why would it not give another business a grant? I wonder if the Minister could explain that.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The government did not give the business a grant. It also did not loan the business $50,000. The government provided the grant to the Kwanlin Dun Indian Band government. That is the difference.
Mr. Phillips: The Minister cannot deny for one second that the $50,000 grant it gave to the Kwanlin Dun Band went directly to solve the problems created by the Tagish Kwan Corporation: a business.
The Minister is splitting hairs. He will help one business but not others. This is preferential treatment.
The Minister cannot stand there and make those airy-fairy arguments about how he is helping out an Indian band. He bailed out a business, not a band.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member is losing control. That is unfortunate. The Member is not being civil either. That is unfortunate too.
The $50,000 was not there to solve the problems of the Tagish Kwan Corporation. It was provided to the Kwanlin Dun Indian Band to help ascertain what assets were available so that these assets could be divided up fairly among the creditors. That was the primary purpose of the contribution.
The practical effect will be that because the Tagish Kwan Corporation is like other businesses in this respect, that the creditors will not have to face the problem of paying lawyers and accountants out of funding that would otherwise have to be provided by them. They will have access to that funding themselves.
Mr. Phillips: Tell that to the many businesses in town who are owed hundreds of thousands of dollars by the Tagish Kwan Corporation and had to make many personal sacrifices to try to survive. I do not think they would believe that for a minute.
I would like to turn to another area of grants and loans. I would like to ask the Minister responsible for economic development if he has ever overturned a decision made by the board that recommends a business loan or a grant? If he has made a change, either for or against the giving of a grant or a loan, would he tell the House which particular ones he made changes to?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: There have been a number of occasions where the recommendation of the business loans advisory board has not been followed. I can think of a few, but I will get a list and provide it to the Member.
Mr. Phillips: If the Member can remember some, could he tell us some of the ones he remembers now? When can he provide a list to us? It is important for the debate to have such a list.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: When I come back, I can provide a list. With respect to ones that have been approved, one would be the purchase of land in Granger for a co-op development. There is a motel project in Mayo, the principals being Ronaghans. I will have to get the list.
Mr. Phillips: I would appreciate that information. Did the Minister make the change in granting the funds to the individuals or businesses, or did he make the change that said they should not get them? I would like that information, also, on all the loans.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: In every case, the decision was made to proceed with the loan, rather than reject it.
Chair: Is there any further general debate?
Mr. Phillips: There are a couple of things from the supplementaries. The Minister said he was going to get back to me on the $7,834.72 for recording animal sounds that was contracted. He was going to tell me about that.
Another question I had was respecting the oil and gas royalties. We talked briefly about that in the supplementaries. The Member for Watson Lake mentioned the Kotaneelee gas fields down near Watson Lake. Is there a possibility we will receive royalties from this particular gas field, if and when it goes into production?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I believe that I indicated to the Member that we had not yet transferred responsibility for on-shore oil and gas to the Yukon. I may have been vague in my answer, but certainly I thought that that was obvious. Consequently, we cannot receive royalties from any oil and gas development in the Yukon until such time as we receive responsibility for oil and gas. As I indicated to the Member, the Kotaneelee field is now delayed in its production decision in any case to February. It is now the responsibility of the federal government even though they have taken great effort to consult with us about various decisions like rights issuance and local benefits. As I indicated to the Member, a request has been made that we would receive employment, and I believe we have a commitment to have one of the two jobs coming out of the Watson Lake area.
We have asked that the Town of Watson Lake be informed on any other issues that may be of interest. I understand they have subsequently been in contact with the town and discussed their operations with the town. At the same time, of course, we are negotiating a Northern Accord that will openly transfer the entire responsibility to this Legislature.
With respect to the Daniel Janke Scratch Records company, I did suggest to the department that it might be simpler and cheaper to record wildlife sounds in this Legislature because the atmosphere in here is pretty much the same year-round. But I have been informed that the project is to record a collection of sounds of wildlife that is indigenous to the territory and to do so at various times of the year for the purposes of developing what is called in the recording industry a sample recording. They apparently want to target three different audiences. One is the general public or the home listener who wants to listen to recordings. I cannot claim to have any wildlife recordings myself, but I do have three children who make up the difference. The second audience is what they refer to as professional user groups - film, television, radio production industries. The third target group are educational institutions across Canada. It was felt that when I put the question to the department about the alternative of simply going and buying wildlife sounds off the rack in Whitehorse that there is a benefit perceived in recording actual Yukon sounds from Yukon animals in Yukon conditions.
This has to be done at various times of the year. The reason this is coming forward now, apparently, is that the application was made well over a year ago but because there were logistical problems in getting off into the field and recording the sounds, it had to be extended into this year. I understand that this is not the whole amount, in any case. The whole cost of the project is probably in the $50,000 range and the total cost of our contribution will be $10,000.
Mr. Phillips: I am not going to make an awful lot of comments on that except that it seems to be that we are reinventing the wheel. There are virtually thousands of tapes out there and someone, somewhere, has virtually recorded every single animal that has ever been in the Yukon or ever will be in the Yukon. It just seems to me that it is not the wisest expenditure of funds. I will be very interested in getting a copy of these tapes once they come out and seeing if they are similar to the sounds we hear here in the Legislature sometimes. It would be an interesting comparison.
I have just one other question to the Minister on general debate, then we can move into line by line. The Minister indicated in the supplementaries that he has been talking to officials in Elsa and he indicated in the House here the other day to the Member from Kluane that there are now 30 people working in Elsa and that there is some work going on. Since the time we debated the supplementaries, the price of silver is still not doing anything worthwhile and I just wonder if there has been any more changes since then. Has the company re-evaluated what it plans to do there and is it still planning to go in with a small crew and, basically, high-grade or at least do that type of mining for awhile with a reduced crew? I just wonder if that is still the plan. Does the Minister still anticipate that early in January or February there will be some more intensive work going on at that mine in Elsa?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: First of all, just to wrap up the Daniel Janke professional sound recordings, I believe the intent of the recordings was to provide professional-quality and accurate sound recordings. It will be interesting to see the quality of sound recordings through Hansard. Maybe they are providing professional-class quality as well. There may be some real competition for what might be most worthwhile in terms of consumer preference for wildlife recordings.
What has transpired about Elsa since we went through the final supplementaries is that I had a meeting with one vice-president of United Keno Hill Mines, the chairman of the board and the manager. We discussed the aspirations of the company. They currently employ approximately 30 people and they are anticipating, even with the low silver prices, to continue at their current level for the foreseeable future.
They feel the silver and zinc values are enough to continue the rehabilitation work they are pursuing now with Bell Keno and the de-watering and rehabilitation of Bell Keno and Lucky Queen. They feel that work should continue to get the mill ready for action.
They intend to proceed. We discussed a number of outstanding issues, such as land, environmental control and town-site issues. The common thread throughout the discussions was that they do intend to proceed and feel that they can weather the low silver prices in anticipation that they will rise.
They do not intend to operate in the same manner as the previous owners, as they feel some significant cost cutting can be done and some targeting of various mines can be undertaken to allow for some production even at very low silver prices. But they do not believe that silver prices, as they currently stand, will be maintained over the long term. They have indicated they are in for the long term. Who am I to criticize them?
Mr. Phillips: All we can really do is cross our fingers. We know the silver is there; we know the ore is in that particular mine. All we can do is hope the world price for silver does increase. It would be nice to have the economy in that part of the Yukon back on its feet again.
The Minister said they are not going to operate the way they operated before. I think he said there were about 30 people in the camp. Are they doing a fly-in, fly-out operation? I understand that is what they were planning to do, if they got the mine operating again. Are they doing that presently? What is the rotation? Where are the people coming from who are working at the mine right now?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The transfer of employees operation is not quite so glamorous as fly-in, fly-out. It is more like bus-in, bus-out. They currently operate primarily out of Whitehorse, so there are employees who live in the area and work on a two-week on, two-week off schedule. The plans are to ultimately move housing to Mayo and Keno City from Elsa, starting next year, to accommodate employees and encourage them to live full time in the district, which is a high priority for the government.
Mr. Phillips: If no other Members have any questions in general debate, I am prepared to move into line by line.
Chair: Are there any further questions?
We will proceed with line by line on page 120.
On Operation & Maintenance
Hon. Mr. McDonald: First of all, before we get deeply into any of the line items, I would like to reiterate to the Members that there is substantially very little change in this budget from the current year.
The budget increase is about $15,000 or $16,000. There is an increase in the personnel allotment as a result of merit and performance pay increments. There was an additional Yukon bonus cost from changes in the family status of some employees.
There was an increase in the travel costs for the deputy ministers office in response to increased need for travel related to the Northern Accord negotiations and the ongoing negotiations with respect to the EDA and that accounts for three percent.
Administration in the amount of $497,000 agreed to
On Equipment Replacement
Hon. Mr. McDonald: This is capital for offices that the department operates around the territory and includes furniture, bookcases, photocopiers, et cetera.
Equipment Replacement in the amount of $5,000 agreed to
Operation & Maintenance in the amount of $502,000 agreed to
Chair: Any questions on the allotments or person year establishment?
On Energy and Mines
On Operation & Maintenance
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I presume we are on Energy and Mines, Operation & Maintenance. The reduction here reflects the end of the woodsmoke control program. The current year is the final year. As well, it reflects the end of the two-year placer studies that were done and were to be completed by March of 1991.
Mr. Phillips: With respect to the woodsmoke control, like the Minister said, this is the last year, but I understand they have had to move the tower or they are going to move the tower. Are we involved in that at all? That was the tower we initially put up several years ago behind the Yukon Indian Centre. I understand it is going to be moved soon, or has to be moved soon. I just wonder if the government is involved in that in any way.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The governments involvement was relegated to the status of providing funding only. It is not involved in the administration of the program.
Administration in the amount of $118,000 agreed to
On Energy Policy
Energy Policy in the amount of $75,000 agreed to
On Mining Policy
Mr. Phillips: That is a 29 percent decrease in that. I just wonder if the Minister could tell us what that is.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Could you please repeat the question?
Mr. Phillips: There is a decrease there from $182,000 to $130,000 - a 29 percent decrease. Can the Minister tell us what that is about?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The placer studies cost $50,000 a year. Under transfer payments, this is where the budget would be shown. Because we are no longer doing the placer studies - they are being completed this year - this is simply a reflection of that.
Mining Policy in the amount of $130,000 agreed to
Operation & Maintenance in the amount of $323,000 agreed to
On Energy Conservation Fund (SEAL)
Mr. Phillips: This particular program is one I have always had an interest in. I have raised it with the Minister several times.
There is a problem of collections and scrutinizing the program. I know the Minister is giving us some information on that so I am not going to ask any questions. I will wait until next spring, look at it again and see where that program is at.
I also have some concerns when I see a 13 percent decrease in that program. Currently, the Yukon Energy Corporation subsidiary of the Yukon Development Corporation is carrying on an extensive program of public awareness and ways one can save energy in the home to reduce the consumption of electricity and fossil fuels. My concern here is that, at a time when one department is increasing awareness on how one can make a home more energy efficient and cut down on the usage of electrical energy, we see a program that is doing that very job having its funding cut back.
It seems like the two departments did not talk to each other. One is telling people what they can do to insulate their home and the other is telling people that there is less money for it this year. I would have thought that the program the Yukon Energy Corporation has embarked upon would work very closely with the SEAL fund. I would like to ask the Minister if he has any comments on that. They are sending out mixed messages in both these cases.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Firstly, it is important to note that the branch that is doing the public advocacy work is the same branch that administers the SEAL program, so they are basically the same people.
I indicated to the Member before that, when one looks at the forecast estimates, one has to consider the fact that we have just recently approved revotes from the previous year, through the supplementaries. If one were to look at the actual budgeted amounts associated with the main estimates, one would see there is actually a $50,000 increase in the SEAL program, not a decrease. When you have revotes folded into the forecast, these are commitments from the previous fiscal year, not the current fiscal year we are in right now. We have commitments from that year rolling into this year. We show it as a forecast of this year, but they are really commitments from that prior year.
When one looks at the estimates, one has to understand that it is showing an increase, rather than a decrease.
Energy Conservation Fund (SEAL) in the amount of $600,000 agreed to
On Yukon Energy Alternatives (YEAP)
Mr. Devries: Did the Minister ever send a letter of congratulations to Rancheria for getting their Yukon energy alternatives program onstream, as far as generating all their electricity?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: No, I have not, but the record should show that I indicate that if the people at Rancheria could proceed, or wanted to proceed with a micro-hydro project that was ultimately turned down by the Yukon energy alternatives program, then ultimately I would be more than pleased. If Rancheria is now proceeding with an alternative energy source and they are having success with it and it is done well technically and they are going to be receiving savings, then that makes me personally happy.
Yukon Energy Alternatives (YEAP) in the amount of $450,000 agreed to
On Internal Energy Management
Internal Energy Management in the amount of $80,000 agreed to
On Yukon Mining Incentives Program (YMIP)
Mr. Phillips: Why did this go down six percent?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The revotes in this particular case were $42,000 from the previous year so the $700,000 commitment is basically remaining, in terms of actual funds for this year and for next.
Yukon Mining Incentives Program (YMIP) in the amount of $700,000 agreed to
Capital in the amount of $1,830,000 agreed to
Energy and Mines in the amount of $2,153,000 agreed to
Chair: Are there any questions on allotments or person year establishment?
On Economic Policy, Planning and Research
On Operation & Maintenance
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Maybe I should start by giving a general statement about the reason for the change. Again, there is very little change. The only change reflected is the fact that a special one-time expenditure we made for Northern Accord negotiations is not in the budget. The reason for that is we anticipate that all necessary studies and reviews will be completed prior to the end of the fiscal year. Secondly there is a whopping good chance that there may be a Northern Accord negotiated by that time as well.
Administration in the amount of $303,000 agreed to
On Research & Analysis
Research & Analysis in the amount of $231,000 agreed to
On Economic Policy and Planning
Mr. Phillips: I just have a general question for the Minister and I raised it in my reply to the Speech from the Throne. The government has talked about economic diversification in the past. We all know that economic diversification is extremely important to all areas of the Yukon.
In the last six years we have seen very little economic diversification other than the Faro mine opening up and some better tourism opportunities in Dawson and some things like that. But we have not seen any real major economic diversification in any other communities such as Old Crow or Pelly or Carmacks or Teslin. There are a lot of communities along the Alaska Highway and throughout the Yukon, such as Ross River, that have not seen any economic diversification. The only economies they are starting to see now are in the possibility of the governments decentralization policy, but there really has not been any new economic endeavors undertaken in some of these small communities. That concerns me that we really still are a single-horse economy. I think we should try to get away from that. I just would like to hear some comments from the Minister on what he plans in the future for economic diversification for some of these other communities.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: As much as I am proud that the mine at Faro is proceeding, I would not necessarily characterize that as economic diversification. The theme of diversification is to move from the traditional industries into new industries. It is obvious that what the Yukon Economic Strategy was talking about was moving into such things as renewable resource industries, some new elements of tourism and, in some respects, even expanding the minerals we produce and expanding the benefits we can achieve from the mining industry, rather than simply one mining company with one base metal acting as the mainstay of the private sector economy, or as the largest participant in private sector economy.
Projects such as fish processing, including caviar production, Polar Seas, the Ice House, et cetera, are all projects that assist in diversification. These are industries that were not as mature before and are more mature now.
Efforts in the mining industry to encourage exploration of various other metals, in various other regions by various other companies, also helps diversification within that particular sector. Support for small renewable resources and cottage industries, such as everything from doll making to wild berry processing, are projects that aid in diversification.
The very many different projects taken in tourism do provide some assistance, even when one considers hotel rooms as being of some benefit to increase the effectiveness of the tourism industry. One might characterize that as diversification, if it took place in other communities. I believe that is what has happened, in some instances.
Even the collection of wildlife sounds might count as a diversification into the record industry.
In any case, I think there are some gains being made. I am not as pessimistic as the Member. While the territory, as a whole, has done a fairly good job of continuing the health of the traditional industries, they are now branching out into other areas, especially the tourism industry. Through the CDF, BDF and EDA, we have the vehicles to accept applications where there is a private sector interest.
It is a very difficult venture to diversify a community economy if there is the expectation that there is a private sector proponent to risk their own funds, and the one who has entrepreneurial experience will make a go of a project. We cannot invent those people; they must come forward of their own free will. We do have people in the field in most communities now to encourage economic activity. We have well-managed funds available for people seeking assistance. There have been some successes.
Diversifying the economy is a long-term process. That was anticipated in the Yukon Economic Strategy. The work done has been very productive and interesting, but there will continue to be dependence on some of the major industries for the time being, as they are well capitalized, have entrepreneurial experience and have well-honed markets to sell their goods. Consequently, they can compete anywhere.
So we will continue to depend on those industries but we are making efforts to expand on what we are doing now.
Mr. Phillips: I was not trying to be pessimistic. What I was asking the Minister is: what plans did he have to diversify the economy? I was just pointing out facts. There has not been a lot of change in all of the communities I mentioned. In fact, we really are sort of a single-engine economy here, where we have government, mining and tourism. Look at mining, for instance, in the case of Faro. If, heaven forbid, the mine at Faro shut down again, how long would Faro last? Is there any other diversification taking place in Faro? I think the answer right now is: no, there is not. If we had some difficulties in the near future with tourism as a result of high gas and oil prices and transportation costs, and a downturn in the economy, or whatever, would we be able to survive that in some of the communities that depend entirely on tourism? For example, what would Dawson City do if tourism took a big downturn?
Those are the kinds of things I am talking about. The Minister raised a few examples and some of them are very good examples. I have been out to the char farm several times myself. I think they have done an excellent job out there, but we are looking at three or four jobs at the char farm. I had an opportunity to try their product and I can tell you that the product is excellent. They are now to the stage where they are starting to put their product on the market.
The Minister also mentioned the caviar done by another entrepreneur in the Yukon. I can tell you that I do not believe that is happening any more. The markets are gone for that or they had some difficulty in obtaining the markets, so that example that the Minister used is not a real good one, because I understand that is not taking place right now.
Some of these companies are experiencing some difficulties. We have expanded in some areas of agriculture. Some of the people who got involved in agriculture are experiencing some difficulties. I know there are risks you take when you get involved in these things.
There has been a lot of development in Whitehorse. We have seen a lot of building going on in the last little while and a lot of it as a result of government growth and businesses expanding to support the government growth. When you look at some of the small communities that really need it, for example, Old Crow, how much development do they really want there? Without government funding, what other economy is in Old Crow to support Old Crow? What other economy is in Teslin to support Teslin, and this goes on down the line. That is the concern I have. What are we doing to promote long-term employment for people living in the communities, not just in Whitehorse?
That is what I meant when I was explaining to the Minister about the concerns I have over their economic diversification policy for the future.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am afraid I am going to have to press the Member to be more specific still. I have agonized over the economies of many small communities over the past year, and I think it is fair that if the Member is going to press the government to do something, the Member should explain what he has in mind for the government to do.
I have told the Member that we provide support for industries through a whole variety of means: everything from trade shows, to marketing efforts, to technical support. We have financial assistance available, with very attractive terms, on the table for anyone who wants to proceed with a business enterprise. We support various industries in various ways. There are some very sophisticated tourism and marketing programs available.
Even though the Government of Yukon does not have support for mining, there is hardly a mining venture, including the ones that are currently operating now, that has not received substantial support from the government, in terms of infrastructure development, technical support and guidance and financial support through various programs. There is hardly a mineral showing that has not received some attention by the government.
I hope all this is getting through. There is support for mining ventures in terms of infrastructure, and power availability, in some instances.
There has been a massive amount of support given already. Given that we have programs that can provide a 15 percent equity, or grant, in rural Yukon; the balance of the portion can be no-interest; the programs are available; the one thing they require is some entrepreneur who has funding of their own, as equity, and an entrepreneur with an idea.
We try to excite ideas. There are a whole series of examples of the government providing suggestions, both formally and officially, to the informal encouragement that the Economic Development offices provide. Given that we have all of that available, the Member might want to tell me where the gaps are.
The Member says there is no activity in Teslin, or there is no activity in Mayo, or there is not enough in Teslin, or not enough in Mayo, or not enough in Old Crow. We have provided all the essential ingredients that can be available to a business enterprise, everything from technical support to financial support to marketing support: the works. The simple statement that it is not happening and, therefore, something is wrong with government programs and the government should be doing something just does not compute with me. I do not understand what the Member is talking about.
Mr. Phillips: The Minister wanted me to be more specific. This is the government and the Minister on the other side of the House who has risen in his place many times - as well as the Government Leader - in Speeches from the Throne and budget speeches, and said things like, this budget addresses the balance of refocusing resources. It recognizes the governments priority initiatives: investing in healthy communities and building a sustainable economy.
What has the Minister done in some of these communities to build sustainable economies? That is the question. If the government has done all these things that he has said it has done, and no one has taken him up on it, maybe he is taking the wrong approach. I do not know. He is the Minister responsible for Economic Development. He has been the Minister responsible for quite some time. We have not seen any economic development, other than Yukon Housing houses or government growth in these communities. If any new business has started up in some of these communities, it is to service the government growth, and not a new industry. That is what diversified economy is.
To the Minister, I surely hope diversified economy does not mean just another business to service the government in the community.
There are fledgling industries that could start up in other areas of the territory and I was just asking the Minister what he had in mind in the future for some of these communities. In some communities, nothing has changed for six years, other than a few more Yukon Housing houses and a few more government people working and living in the community. What is different?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member has now presented an actually impossible equation and expects the government to respond; that is not honest. The other day we heard the Member for Hootalinqua stand up and say to put the record straight.
What they would do to improve to the economy would be to provide infrastructure: highways, transportation and power. Mayo is a classic example of a paved road from Whitehorse right through to Mayo, right into downtown Mayo - all paved road. While the Member is talking about introducing light rapid transit, we have provided transportation - good transportation - to that community. Mayo has been living on the hydro circuit for 35 years, so there is power available. The cheapest power that we can provide is available in that community. The infrastructure in that community is there. There is a water and sewer system is in place and it is something that we, as a government, have done. We improved the water-sewer system. The quality of life in Mayo has obviously improved, without any shadow of a doubt, from what it was before. In that respect, we have invested in healthy communities.
We have improved the transportation infrastructure. We have ensured that there is long-term hydro in the district. We have done all of the things that were prescribed by the Members opposite in setting the record straight.
When we talk about investing in healthy communities, we talk about having funds available to assist the private sector in providing some of the initiative to get business enterprises going. We have programs that are as good as you can get anywhere to assist the private sector in that community or in any other communities of this territory.
Now, the Members do not want us to hand out grants. They have said that repeatedly: do not hand out grants. Well, we have a program that has a small grant portion to it, to make it even more attractive in those environments where the cost of doing business and the risk factors are substantial. We still have that portion.
We have a loan program where loans can be repaid on as good a rate as zero percent interest. We have seasoned, experienced small business operators in most communities who are now working in positions in almost every community to provide assistance to any entrepreneur who wants to make a move, invest some money and get into business.
In terms of industries, if anyone wants to ask what this government has done since it came to office in 1985, let us look to Faro. It went from 70 to a couple of thousands of people, with substantial assistance being provided.
In Watson Lake, there has been one very successful operation that has been greatly encouraged by this government. Interesting enough, in terms of Mt. Hundere, there has been the comment that the government has been a late entry into the question of that mine. The business incentives program, three or four years ago, provided funding to Canamax to delineate reserves at the Mt. Hundere property. That made it very attractive for Curragh Resources to purchase it at $10 million.
Soon after that property was purchased, I was at that property in the same drilling season with the vice-president of Curragh Resources, and I was making it clear that we definitely wanted the mine to proceed if it passed the environmental standards. I got a long lecture on how environmentally sound this project was. We indicated that we would be providing assistance to the mine operator. We wanted the mine operator to talk to the Town of Watson Lake, the Chamber of Commerce in Watson Lake and the Liard Indian Band. We encouraged, on the record, this discussion to take place one year before they even came to an agreement with the Liard Indian Band on a training package.
There is no doubt at all in anybodys mind, and certainly not in Watson Lake, that the government has been involved in that particular project to encourage it to happen and to improve the economy of the Watson Lake area.
The situation in Dawson is that the infrastructure has improved in Dawson. The first thing that was happening was that Parks Canada had made the announcement, in 1983 or 1984, that they were not putting any more money into Dawson City, because they were too worried about flood damage. So, in terms of providing infrastructure, one of the first things the government did was to invest $3 million, which was probably better than 90 percent of the project, in providing flood protection for the community.
Then, there was the development of expansion of water/sewer; there was expansion of land development; there was improvement of the various tourist sites in Dawson; and literally millions of dollars went into everything from the Old Territorial Administration Building to any number of businesses, all of which received support to expand their operations to accept more tourists and improve the economy.
Banking services is another element of the infrastructure. The government has contracted with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce to provide banking services to communities: in the Member for Kluanes riding, Mayo, Faro, and Ross River. We are now moving into Old Crow and Carmacks. That element of the infrastructure has been covered off, if anyone was concerned about being unable to bank. This provides for normal banking services in those communities.
The community development fund and the old LEOP program supported literally hundreds of projects that improved the tourism infrastructure, museum development, tourist sites, and community facilities. Literally millions and millions of dollars have been provided to support community development.
What has the government done to invest in a healthy economy? Well, all those things, and more. Now, we have provided the infrastructure. We have the funds available. The one new stricture the Member has put on his watch out - do not do this list is not to necessarily count support to businesses that are supporting government growth as being a reflection of diversified economy.
The Member did say we should not be counting any businesses that provide services to government because that is not real growth. Even with that new restriction, the government has still done a tremendous amount. In many communities, the only thing that is not available currently is the entrepreneur with their own funds to invest in a particular project in that community. Next to nothing is left out. I would tell the Member that I would resist the government simply going in and saying: Look, in order to satisfy Doug Phillips, we are going to have to go in there and get some industry going, and we will do it ourselves even if there is no entrepreneur. I just do not think that would be right. We have provided all the infrastructure that we can. We have got all the funds available; everybody is sitting waiting to support entrepreneurial activity. We are providing ideas and we are providing marketing support. We have even taken some of the Members suggestions to heart and actually done some things in terms of enhancing activities such as international marketing, trade shows and enhancing relations with Alaska. We have provided infrastructure support or general support for anything at all that counts as infrastructure that would normally be the purview of the government.
Economic Policy and Planning in the amount of $389,000 agreed to
Operation & Maintenance in the amount of $923,000 agreed to
On Economic Development Agreement
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The funds for the economic development agreement are what we project may be offered by the federal government in the first year of the new agreement.
I would like to point out that there is an actual increase of $320,000, as one must factor in revotes from the current year. That is approximately a 13 percent increase over the main estimates for this year.
As I indicated to Members in the supplementaries, we were given to believe there would be a five-year commitment available to the Government of Yukon. We do not know the precise funding levels for each year. The terms of the agreement, as we discussed before, have yet to be negotiated.
I have given direction with respect to the role that the government side believes the government should play in accessing EDA funds. I have already indicated to the Members that the negotiations may or may not bear that out. In any case, we feel fairly optimistic that we will have an agreement in place. It is my hope to do so as soon after the new year as possible so that all persons interested in accessing the EDA will know well in advance of the onset of the new fiscal year that the funding is available.
Mr. Phillips: I would like to support the Minister in negotiating the EDA. I think the Minister is right when he talks about a multi-year agreement. It is the only way the EDA is going to work properly. In the past, it has just been done one year at a time. It is not the best way to run the program: getting the funds at the very last minute or part way through the year and then attempting to contact all the people involved to try to come up with proposals. The Minister can add our voice to the idea that the agreement should be multi-year. I am pleased to hear the Minister hopes to conclude something on this new agreement early in January.
Economic Development Agreement in the amount of $2,766,000 agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It is 100 percent recoverable. As Members know, this is to prepare for oil and gas development in the Beaufort Sea, to provide the necessary wildlife surveys, economic surveys and environmental surveys. There has even been funding given to the libraries and archives branch of the Department of Education, in the past, to do proper bibliographies of available material. We know that this funding will be available to us in 1991. It supplements the $156,000 that we passed in the supplementary in the last few weeks. It supplements that funding for the two-year extension to the NOGAP agreement.
NOGAP in the amount of $212,000 agreed to
Operation & Maintenance in the amount of $2,978,000 agreed to
Economic Policy, Planning and Research in the amount of $3,901,000 agreed to
Chair: Are there any questions on allotments or person year establishment?
Mr. Phillips: On the O&M Other, there is a 63 percent reduction, on page 127. Can the Minister explain that?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: That was the funding we had made available to the Northern Accord. As I indicated to Members, this Northern Accord is expected to wrap up in this fiscal year.
On Economic Programs
On Operation & Maintenance
On General Administration
General Administration in the amount of $89,000 agreed to
On Industry and Program Development
Industry and Program Development in the amount of $92,000 agreed to
On Business and Community Development
Business and Community Development in the amount of $322,000 agreed to
Operation & Maintenance in the amount of $503,000 agreed to
On Community Development Fund
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The reduction is primarily due to revotes being factored into the current year. We feel that $3,600,000 is a sufficient commitment to this particular fund. Virtually the same is true for the business development fund.
Community Development Fund in the amount of $3,600,000 agreed to
On Business Development Fund
Mr. Nordling: I would like to ask the Minister if there are new guidelines available for the business development fund?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: There are guidelines available. If the Member wants to make clear what he means by new guidelines, maybe I could answer the question.
Mr. Nordling: What I see under program objectives is that they are to aid the administration of the business development fund by encouraging and supporting viable and expanding private sector; encouraging and supporting the diversification and growth of the Yukon economy with emphasis on the development of the manufacturing, agriculture, forestry and tourism industries, and, encouraging and supporting the development of business involved in exports, import replacement or that will result in increased Yukon value added to products.
That is clear to me but from the answers to my questions in Question Period, I understand from the Minister that this fund has also been used for a government-to-government transfer of funds, that being the contribution made by the Yukon government to the Kwanlin Dun Indian Band government. In answer to my question, the Minister said, If a municipal or any junior level of government were in trouble, I am sure, depending on the circumstances, the Government of the Yukon would determine whether or not it would provide assistance. He went on to say, If in the future there are governments in trouble there may be circumstances where the Government of the Yukon would provide, through an extraordinary measure, some support. This business development fund was used to fund an extraordinary measure. I wondered if the Minister could tell us why this particular route was taken rather than the monies from accumulated surplus or something else being used to make that particular contribution.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Well, we have been through this quite extensively while the Member was doing other things and I understand the Member is...
Mr. Nordling: Point of order, Madam Chair.
Chair: On a point of order.
Mr. Nordling: I was in the House listening when the Minister claims that he went through this quite extensively in general debate. It just did not come across very clearly, so, I do not think that the Member should imply that I was out of the House when he attempted to explain this earlier.
Chair: There is no point of order.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member appears to be particularly sensitive about that point.
As I indicated to Members in the past, this extraordinary contribution was made under the business development fund because this was a government-related business and we provided the assistance for the purpose of a wind-down under extraordinary circumstances of the Tagish Kwan Corporation. We provided the assistance to the government of the Kwanlin Dun Band. The references made to supporting governments in extraordinary circumstances in municipalities were not meant to imply that the business development fund would be used to support a municipality that had gone bankrupt, with the required administration. The Member should not take it that way. Nevertheless, I have explained all I can. There is no more to be exposed with respect to the contribution and we feel that it was in keeping with, albeit under extraordinary circumstances, the general purpose of the business development fund and consequently felt comfortable providing the funds through that vehicle.
Mr. Nordling: The Minister made it clear that the money was not to support a corporation that went bankrupt. Is the Minister now saying that the Kwanlin Dun government was bankrupt and therefore received the money?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: No. We provided the funds for the purpose of the winding down of the Tagish Kwan Corporation; that is what we have indicated publicly to the Members. I believe the Members got the information from myself that this action had been done, in our disclosure of what we were doing through the business development fund. The distinction that I had been making is that the funds were provided to the Kwanlin Dun government to wind down the business arm of that government. There are very few examples like it anywhere else in the territory, because there are very few governments with business arms. Nevertheless, we felt that this extraordinary circumstance justified the expenditure through the fund, and we feel that, under those circumstances, it was justified.
Mr. Nordling: When Kwanlin Dun was in need of assistance for accounting and legal fees, who decided that they should fill out an application for money from the business development fund? Did the Kwanlin Dun Band do that themselves, or was that a negotiation between the two governments, and the two governments then came up with the solution that Kwanlin Dun would apply and the Yukon government would approve it?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I do not understand what the Member is talking about. I was not present at the discussions between the band and the Department of Economic Development. As to whom suggested what and when, the bottom line is the contribution was made under the business development fund.
Mr. Nordling: In the words of the Minister, we are talking about a transfer of monies from one government, the Yukon government, to another government, the Kwanlin Dun Band government. Is the Minister saying that transfer was negotiated solely by the officials in the Department of Economic Development, and he was not in on it at all, nor were any other representatives of the Yukon government?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I did not say anything of the kind. I said I was not aware of who generated what interest first, which is the point of the Members question.
In terms of the responsibility for the contribution, that rests with me. I will not divulge any discussions I have had with the department with respect to their recommendations to me or otherwise.
Mr. Nordling: I do not know what the secret is. What is the Minister trying to keep secret from the public on this transfer?
Obviously, the Minister of Economic Development decided to give $50,000 to the Kwanlin Dun Band government. I would like to know how it was negotiated. The results of those negotiations were that Kwanlin Dun filled out an application form for money out of the business development fund. It was approved.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I do not understand the point the Member is making. I have tried to tell all I know about the contribution. The Member is trying to make some esoteric point about who made the request first. I do not know, because I was not present during the discussions. The Member then inferred from my comments that somehow I was not taking responsibility for the contribution. I was not saying that.
Unless I hear more from the Member about what exactly he is trying to say, I cannot speak on this subject further. Anything I say now is going to be misinterpreted, perhaps willfully, by the Member. He will have to explain in detail what he wants to know and why he wants to know it.
Mr. Nordling: I hope the Minister will bear with me on this. I want to know about this because it is an extraordinary occurence when a government applies for and receives money out of the business development fund.
If we are speaking of governments in need, perhaps the Minister can tell us if the federal government, which is in tremendous need, staggering under the burden of a hundreds of billions dollar deficit, can access the business development fund in the same way.
What I specifically want to know is: if Kwanlin Dun was in need of cash to wind down its Tagish Kwan Corporation arm, was the bands application the first the Minister heard of its request for monies from the business development fund?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: First of all, we agree that this is an extraordinary occurrence. With respect to the federal government tapping this government for funds, the answer is yes, they have tapped this government for considerable funds, though they did not necessarily pay much attention to program guidelines to do so and did not make application; they simply did it. So we have contributed significantly to the federal governments request for funds - another government in trouble - not entirely willingly, but nevertheless we have done our share - more than our share.
With respect with the request for funds, I can check, but I cannot recall whether or not I heard it first through a business development fund application or if a business development application existed or whether there was a request for funds and people were encouraged to apply. I cannot recall the sequence of events. I do not even understand the significance of the sequence of events.
Mr. Nordling: The significance of my questioning and my wanting to know is that the $50,000 that was used out of the business development fund as a contribution from one government to another is now not available to meet the objectives of the business development fund as outlined in the budget. So we have reduced the availability of money in that fund by $50,000. What I am trying to find out from the Minister is why that was done. It was a government-to-government transfer. This is what the Minister is hanging his hat on now. When we started out, the contribution was to assist the creditors of the Tagish Kwan Corporation and to bolster the image of the Kwanlin Dun. Now it is simply a government-to-government transfer of monies. I think it is important how the government handles our money and where they get it from for such things as these. If he does not know now, I would like him to come back and tell us the sequence of events and the negotiations that lead up to the approval of monies for the Kwanlin Dun Band government out of the business development fund.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am still confused. I am going to go back to Hansard and read every word the Member spoke this afternoon. I am desperately trying to understand what the Member is driving at. The Member is trying to make the point that Kwanlin Dun, as a government, is unable to apply for funds under the business development fund for business purposes. I take issue with that, and perhaps that is what the Member is trying to drive at, in the end.
Apart from that, I will go through his remarks and try to understand what he is saying and provide any information I can.
Chair: The Committee of the Whole will take a 15-minute break.
Chair: I will call the House to order.
Department of Education
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I would like to welcome Jim Holt, Chairperson of the Yukon College Board of Governors and Charles McCaffray, President of Yukon College. They are here this afternoon to answer questions and respond to any comments Members wish to make with respect to the operations of Yukon College. I will also be of any assistance I can to Members and respond to any questions they may have.
We do not have a lot of time with our witnesses, so I will keep my comments to a minimum, being the person of few words that I am.
I would like to begin the proceedings by asking Mr. Holt to provide a brief explanation of the colleges plans for the coming year and perhaps indicate some of the boards thinking on the direction of the college in order to set the stage for further questions.
Mr. Holt: It is a pleasure to be here today to try to update the House on the goings on of the college and the board and include the activities that we have been involved in since January 1 of this year, when we were made into an autonomous operating college.
Some of the things that I would just like to highlight the activities that we have been involved in, which involve the policies that we have put in place and programs that we have also helped to initiate.
Being a new college, just getting a policy manual together is one of the big tasks of the board and so far this year, we have been able to do some of that work. Eventually, we will be putting all of our policies together and publishing a manual that will be available for everybody to peruse. This year, so far, we have put in personnel policies, student academic policies, hiring practice policies and student-to-college relationship policies.
Under the program areas, we have been working on a strategic plan and it will, in the near future, be released. There has been a lot of input to this plan from a lot of corners of the Yukon, including our staff, our community campuses, external constituents of the college and other interested parties around the territory regarding the college activities. The plan has been collated and the priorities will be spelled out when we release this document.
As well, we have initiated our part in the Television Northern Canada system, which will be coming onstream in the next couple of years.
We are involved in the Master of Public Administration program with the University of Alaska. We have also started an agreement with an electronic education consortium that involves the University of Alaska and Northwest Community College in Terrace, B.C. We have commenced a formal program review and evaluation procedures. We have started co-op business education in Whitehorse. We have also been involved in ad hoc program review as the need arises. This year we have also approved an electronic communications program that the college now has going, as well as a human service worker program that is also up and running at the college.
As well as these program and policy involvements, another thing that we have been involved with, as you have heard recently, are negotiations with our union. These have been going on since the end of the last contract, which was March 31. We have developed guidelines for the community campus committees and the program advisory council, which is part of the act that is still yet to be brought into place, but will be soon.
We have hired a new president, who is here with me today, and vice-presidents. The board has been involved in the hiring of vice-presidents, as well as the restructuring of the college that brought these positions into being. We have been able to keep a good collegial atmosphere although, in the last couple of days, it might seem that is not the case. We have a good working relationship with our staff. They have been key in bringing about many of the good things that the college has done, as well as all the input they gave us for the strategic plan.
We have been trying to tidy up the loose ends of the conversion process. Even though it happens on one particular date, there are always loose ends that have to be brought together. Just recently, we were able to get a memorandum of agreement for a program and budget reporting with YTG.
As well, we have set up a pension committee and have a process for handling our pension that was divested to us from the government pension plan.
Probably, one of the biggest achievements we are proud of, as a board, is that we have visited and held our meetings in three outlying communities: Dawson, Haines Junction and Watson Lake.
I think the accomplishments of the college and board in its first year are good. There is lots of room for improvement. We are a new board. We are learning on the job. While we are gaining good experience, we feel there is a big job still ahead for us. We are looking forward to what that entails for the Yukon.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I invite Members to ask any questions of the witnesses. I would draw Members attention to the fact that we have passed out a package of materials regarding Yukon College, including comparative organization charts, statistics, financial statements, the annual report - which includes the Auditor Generals report as of June 30, 1990 - and also the calendar for those persons wishing to perhaps take a course at the college or who simply want to know what is available.
I invite Members to ask any questions they may have.
Mr. Devries: I have a question for the other member of the college. Looking at the calendar I got a little while ago, I see that less than 15 pages of the 100-page document have been dedicated to the trades. It was my understanding that, originally, Yukon College started out as a vocational school. I see it now slowly being developed into a school that is designed to pump out government employees.
The Minister mentioned a joint venture with Northwestel. Are there any other plans to upgrade the trades area of the college?
Mr. Holt: Mr. McCaffray would probably like to add something to my answer. Generally, we have been in close communications with a number of industries around the territory: the mining industry, the tourism industry, and the forestry sector. We are trying to find out what they would wish for education.
Part of our reason for going out to the communities is that there are ideas for curriculum out there that people want. We have been trying to take all that information in.
Between getting a request for a program, and actually having it carried out, there are some needs that need to be looked into. A lot of that is happening right now. We have had numerous requests for programs that do not pan out, because there is really not enough of a demand in the territory to have a full-fledged program.
There is a trend happening across North America in the college sector toward a continuing education, part-time, type of venue. We are also experiencing that here. Whereas we may not be getting into full-time programs in a specific sector, we will be addressing some educational needs there with short courses, weekend seminars, and things of that nature, so people who are in those industries can still maintain their jobs while getting their education.
Mr. Devries: So, if I understand it correctly, some specific rural community campuses will be used to conduct some of these courses and expertise from within the community will be used, drawn from local industry, as a way for the college to decentralize some of the studies.
Mr. Holt: Of all the institutions in the Yukon - maybe I am stepping a little overboard here - I think the college is one of the most decentralized. We have 13 community campuses throughout the territory and what Mr. Devries has asked is already taking place. We have many continuing education courses that utilize local instructors and are trying to address the needs of each individual community and what they need for education. As for larger programs, we are looking at utilizing other campuses and decentralizing further.
Mr. Devries: If governments are forced into a position where they have to effect cutbacks, does the college have a strategy of seeking a higher percentage of its funding from private sources?
Mr. Holt: We do have a strategy. It is not as complete as we would like to see right now. You may have noticed that we did increase our fees this last year. It is a source of getting money. We are establishing a Yukon College Foundation to handle scholarships and endowments. We have commenced linkages with private industry to help fund part of the education that is needed to contribute technical equipment for the program. We are realizing that the purse that can be given to us is only so big, and in order for us to grow, we need to reach out to other sources of income.
Mr. Devries: I understand the college is doing a certain amount of research with the northern building up there. Would the college be working along with the forestry branch in the area of silviculture research and stuff if and when the forestry transfer takes place? Would they be interested in that - working along with both industry and government?
Mr. Holt: Yes, we are, and any other sector also that needs an educational component or a training component, and there are not many industries that do not need training components. We are interested in a pro-active way of getting out there and finding out what we can do.
Mr. Devries: I understand that four board of governor members went to a small college conference in Georgia. I just wonder if they went golfing when they were there. Would it not make more sense just to send one board member and have that person report back rather than have all the extra travel expenses, especially in light of the tight money situation they are attempting to portray to the union?
Mr. Holt: The conference you are referring to was not a small one. It was the largest gathering of community college trustees in North America. It was in Baltimore in October.
When we first became an interim board, we began casting our eyes about for what linkages we could make to help strengthen the board and help us to understand what it means to run a college. We looked at organizations in Canada and the United States. The organization that stresses education for board members the most is the Association of Community College Trustees, which is both Canadian and American.
Their annual convention is the prime source of education for a lot of community college trustees in North America. We highlighted that convention as a place where our board members can go and receive not only information on how other board members around North America deal with issues - and it is surprising how similar issues in other jurisdictions are to ours - but it provides a basic understanding of what a board member is and how the board can function to accomplish the task that has been given us. We have encouraged our board members to participate in these kinds of educational conventions. We did not participate in the golfing.
Mr. Devries: I just have one more question and then I will give some other Members a chance. I would like Mr. Holt to be brief on this.
Is YTG giving the board enough money to meet its objectives? If it is given more, what would be done with it?
Mr. Holt: I am not going to say we have not been given enough. It is a generous allotment, considering the overall budget of the government.
If they were to give us more, we would be more pro-active in trying to meet educational needs in the territory. We are not hitting all of them. There is such a broad spectrum of needs, I am hesitant to pinpoint any specific ones.
You noted that, originally, we were a vocational school. It was changed to a college because we have a broader mandate now. As I have become involved in community colleges across North America, I find ours is one of the broadest.
We not only have university and career-oriented training, but we also take on a lot of academic development and a lot of personal skills development in the territory that many community colleges do not.
Our offerings are broad. The money we receive would have to be spread over them all.
Mrs. Firth: I would like to welcome the president of the college and the chair of the board. I have several questions I would like to ask. In view of the time, I will be as brief as I can.
The college budget is $9.036 million. I would like to ask the college chair: what portion of that budget goes to wages and benefits and what is left over for programs?
Mr. Holt: Our approximate wage expense is in the $5 million range.
Mrs. Firth: So, if it is in the $5 million range, it leaves approximately $4 million for programming. The Yukon College statement of revenue and expenditures that we received for the six-month period that ended June 30, 1990, indicates a deficit of $67,127. I would like to ask the responsible person, or whoever could answer, what is going to happen with respect to that deficit? I have a concern that if there is a deficit this early in the year, how are they going to recover it by the end of the year, or is it just going to grow?
Mr. McCaffray: The procedure is that a deficit in one year is the colleges responsibility to look after in the following years budget.
Mrs. Firth: How does the college propose to look after this deficit?
Mr. McCaffray: The normal procedure is that in the course of this current year, we are on a monthly basis, checking expenditures against revenues. Bear in mind that our fiscal year ends at the end of June, not the end of March, so we are fairly early in the year now. It has been flagged to all of the senior administration and financial people that, as we go through the piece this year, we have to make sure that that money is covered, and that is happening. I cannot give you details on each individual account or each individual division, but we are very much aware of it and I am confident that, come year-end, you will find the matter has been dealt with.
Mrs. Firth: The concern I have is that, with the deficit now, and the negotiations that are presently going on that are going to cause an increase in wages, is the college expecting then that they will get an additional allotment of money from the government to cover the wage increase that is going to be negotiated with the union contracts, or are they going to have to add that to their deficit?
Mr. Holt: I am a little reluctant to talk about the negotiations.
Mrs. Firth: I am not asking for the specifics of the negotiations. I am asking about a balancing of the budget. There is presently a deficit of $67,000. The negotiations are going to create an increase in salaries, which is going to add to the deficit, so to speak. You do not have the money in your present budget to pay the increases.
Not only does the college board have to look after the deficit, but they also have to look after the additional cost for the salary increases. Is the college anticipating that they are going to get an allotment of money from the government to cover the salary increases, or are they going to find it out of their own budget?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Before the chair of the board answers, I believe that the question was asked of me during supplementaries as to whether or not the Government of Yukon would provide an incremental increase to cover the cost of negotiations. I did indicate to Members that the government would be providing a sum equivalent to that which is the governments mandate for bargaining with its employees. Anything beyond that, the college would have to bear through its programs. I believe I have put that on the record already.
Mrs. Firth: I want to hear from the college how it is going to do its budget. I gather from what the Minister is saying is that this government is prepared to give a certain portion of the money that is going to be needed as a result of the union negotiations. It will only give X dollars. If Y dollars are also needed to provide X plus Y dollars after the negotiations, then the college has to make up the difference. Am I interpreting that correctly now?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Yes. It is bang on.
Mrs. Firth: That answers my question. Depending on the negotiations, there may be more than $67,000 of a deficit to pick up and that is a concern I have.
I would like to move on to another area. I understand that the day care is in dire financial condition at the college. Could the board perhaps comment on that and what the plan is to get it out of its disastrous fiscal position.
Mr. Holt: We have become aware of the situation for the day care up at the college. They have had one meeting with us. There is another meeting scheduled with them in the new year. There have been no decisions so far to change anything. They are a private organization that deals with their own affairs and we will be interested to see what they want to talk to us about in the new year.
Mrs. Firth: Is the board going to be considering providing some kind of subsidized funding? Has that been discussed at the board meetings?
Mr. Holt: We did discuss that at one of our board meetings. There was no decision to change the status quo. Things are still the way they have been for a couple of years now, and there has been no further discussion by the board to make any changes.
Mrs. Firth: We will have to wait and see what happens. I would be interested to know what the boards position is with respect to that particular issue. There are not a lot of choices. You either close down the day care, or you provide some subsidized funding for it. That would create an unfair subsidized day care service, compared to some of the other day cares, or child care services, in town.
Could the board keep us apprised of what the decisions are with respect to that issue? As soon as the board has a position on that child care service, could they let us know in writing?
Mr. Holt: Yes.
Mrs. Firth: There was some discussion a year and one-half ago, when all the transfers were taking place, about the pension plan. I see the report on the examination of the accounts and financial statements of Yukon College, as at June 30, by the Auditor General. I interpreted that the college is running the pension plan now. Is that correct? It was not put out to the private sector to have a private investment firm provide the pension funds for the employees? Am I reading the report incorrectly? Could the board tell us exactly what the status of that is? Could they also tell us if the board is doing the supplementary benefits package itself, or if someone in the private sector is doing that?
Mr. McCaffray: There is a pension committee that is comprised of two representatives of the board and two representatives of the union. That committee, at this point, has had only one meeting. It was struck just about one month ago.
That committee is already looking at potential sources to invest the pension plan but, of course, that has to be done under very careful legislation, but that is now being looked at.
Mrs. Firth: Then the pension committee will be making a decision with respect to what company or business they will be going with.
Could the board tell us if this is going to be tendered out in the form of a contract or are they going to ask for written proposals? How are they going to decide which company will deal with this?
Mr. McCaffray: That is one of the issues the committee will be looking at in the next few weeks. The committee will make a recommendation to the board as to how that is handled. We have already had submissions, as a committee, from individual corporations. The recommendation will go from the committee to the board and be considered at that time.
I think it would be dangerous for me to predict either what the recommendation will be or what the board will accept, but it is being actively considered.
Mrs. Firth: Does the board have any position with respect to being consistent with the governments local-purchase/local-hire policy? Are they looking at local businesses?
Mr. Holt: We, as a college, have adopted policies in the relationship we have with what we call external constituents, but it has to do with buying. We do not have all those policies in place, but we have started that process. We have not followed right in step with the government all the way. We simply have not yet finalized all our policies in that regard.
Mrs. Firth: Will the supplementary benefits package also be included in that?
Mr. Holt: Yes.
Mrs. Firth: I would like to move on to the policy manual now and ask if we could have a copy of the policies that are currently in effect at the college that have been approved. I would particularly like the policy that the board chair just mentioned: the external constituents, the relationship. I would also like to ask the board if they have a policy on the use of the college by public groups, political groups or community groups? Could they tell us what that policy is, and if rents are charged, perhaps they could indicate that.
Mr. McCaffray: Policies, as Chairman Holt has indicated, are in preparation and are being considered on a monthly basis by the board. There is a lot of work and so they do it each month. The intent is that by the month of May all the policies for the major areas will be complete. Then a booklet will be produced that will be available to the general public and to students, and so on. I do not see any problem in giving you a copy of those policies that have been approved to this date in their current form. There will be no problem with that. They are not confidential documents. It is just that they are not printed up professionally with an index, the way we would like them to be.
With regard to the use of college facilities, there is a board policy that gives the primacy of use to the instructional process, but attaches considerable importance to the use of the facilities by community groups. At the same time that that policy was passed, a mechanism was passed for charging for the use of those facilities, because there are real costs involved in using gymnasiums and using classrooms, and so on.
That has also been approved by the board and again is a public document we would be happy to share with anyone who is interested. I should say in that regard that the policy leaves some measure of discretionary power. If there are non-profit agencies in the community that are in difficulty and need the use of space but cannot afford the $30 a night or the $50 for a half day, or whatever, I have discretionary power to then bill them and then waive the fee. We have done that for a number of agencies in the community over the last month or two.
Generally there is a fee and generally we are finding people are quite willing to pay the $10 or $20, and that goes back to an earlier question about raising funds for the institution. Although it is not enormous, it creates a mindset that says we have to pay for things.
Mrs. Firth: I do not have any objection to a fee. I would prefer that approach, as opposed to being in competition with some of the local hotels and other operators who have facilities.
I would like to see some information with respect to the policy and the fee schedule, with perhaps an example of some of the fees that have been waived for particular organizations. I would also appreciate the copies of the policies, as has been committed.
The career services program has been in question lately. We have been told by the Minister that the college is going to be picking up the overflow. We have been told by the Canada Employment Centre that they only provide counselling for unemployed people, not career counselling. I understood the college only provided academic counselling.
When did the college board make the decision that they would enter into this career counselling program, to compensate for the career services program, which has been decentralized to the communities?
Mr. McCaffray: In the first place, let me observe that the job descriptions of counsellors at the college have included career counselling as part of the task for quite some number of years. It has become a general misconception that our counsellors only advise on academic matters. They do not. They have always done a certain amount of career counselling, depending on volumes of business at any one time in the year.
There have been having ongoing discussions with the ministry in regard to the career counselling downtown. I do not know the precise dates yet; discussions are still in process. We would see the career counselling function of the college as continuing, but perhaps having a higher level of priority in view of the decision with regard to the downtown centre.
Mrs. Firth: Was Yukon College using career services as a referral agency? Were they sending people to career services for career services counselling?
Mr. Holt: Yes, we were, in some measure. I come from Watson Lake, and we probably do more direct career counselling in the communities because access to career counselling is limited there. We have only been doing that because of the needs of the students that keep cropping up. They need some advice, and we have set up career and school calendar corners in every community campus so students can advise themselves, as well as what the instructors can advise them on with respect to the appropriate paths that they can take.
Mrs. Firth: Could the board indicate to us what they mean by using it somewhat? There were a tremendous number of people who went through the career services offices. Would the college have referred frequently, occasionally, or very occasionally? I am trying to get some idea of how often they would have used that service.
Mr. Holt: You might get two answers on this. On a cross-Yukon basis, it is difficult to tell you what those statistics are. It really varies in each community, depending upon the needs of the students. When hearkening back to my days of working for Yukon College, I would talk to 25 a month, either over the phone or they would come in individually and talk to me. As far as campus-wide, maybe Charles can talk a little bit about that.
Mr. McCaffray: It is very difficult because it fluctuates enormously between one month and the next. A major upset in an industry, for example, can produce a huge surge of people coming in, and there may be nothing at all for the next month or so. That is my first observation.
My second is that we do not, as yet, have in the college - although we are working on it and hope to have it in place fairly soon - a very detailed statistical tracking of, and monitoring of, the work in counselling. By and large, the counsellors have worked very hard and have concentrated on doing their counselling job rather than monitoring the number of phone calls a week, consultations a week and the nature of those consultations. That will come, but we have not had that at this point. I would hate to hazard a number.
I will simply observe that our counsellors work very hard. They are very competent people. I believe that the community and territory is well served by the people working in that area.
Mrs. Firth: I was not looking for specific numbers, but in light of the comments that have been made by the president and chair of the board, it would be fair to say that the service is used regularly. In the event of a closure of a business or something, it would be used a lot.
Now that the college is going to pick up those extra counselling activities, what impact is that going to have on the college budget, in person years and in dollars?
Mr. McCaffray: The precise impact will yet be measured. The strategic plan, which has not yet been finalized by the college board, but which was considered in some detail two weeks ago, does envisage additions to the counselling complement of the college. That is already being actively examined, but has not yet been approved.
Mrs. Firth: So, there could be some additional costs associated with that. I would like to put that in a form that describes my concern. There is a $67,000 deficit, the perhaps-increased wage costs and, now, the career services program. I will be following that to see how the college manages with their budget with respect to those extra costs.
I only have one or two more questions, and then some other Members will have the opportunity to ask questions.
With respect to full-time equivalent students - FTE is the lingo that is used in colleges and universities - on the 1990-91 statistical sheet we were given for Yukon College, it is indicated that there are 840 full-time students. If I wanted to make a comparison with other provinces, for example British Columbia or Alberta, I would have to look at what college people refer to as FTEs. Could I say that this 840 represented our FTEs? I have a feeling it does not but perhaps the board could clarify that for me.
Mr. McCaffray: That is a very difficult question to answer. Let me start by saying that the definition of full-time equivalent student and the definition of full-time student and the definition of part-time student is not consistent across Canada. You will find that the definitions in British Columbia are different than those in Alberta and different yet again from those at Arctic College. In some institutions, you will find the definitions even vary between one department of an institution and another; that is not uncommon. It can put people in positions such as mine in a very difficult quandary as to what the numbers really are.
For the last six to eight weeks we have been working in the college administration to put together a system of definitions and a system for the collection of data that will be clear, consistent and will enable serious longitudinal analysis of the institution from one year to another.
We have complicated that problem for ourselves by instructing the planning department, as they meet with the deans and produce definitions, to check the definitions used by Arctic College, in Yellowknife, Labrador College, in Labrador, as the priorities, and, secondly, the definitions currently being used in northern B.C. and northern Alberta. The intent is that we want to have decisions and definitions that everyone can understand and that the numbers then mean something. At the same time, we want to give bodies, such as this House, the capacity to compare how we are doing relative to Yellowknife or Labrador.
Our decision to try and make that comparability possible has slowed the process down a bit. It would be relatively easy to make unilateral decisions and say that is the way we are going and find out one year hence that comparisons cannot really be made. I was speaking, as recently as two hours ago, to the president of Arctic College to ensure that his staff is giving our staff really accurate data and that we are not being flim-flammed. That can happen with numbers, as you know.
Mrs. Firth: I understand what the president is saying. However, I am interested in the definitions, if they could provide those for us. I need the information so I can do just that - make comparisons as to costs and so on.
I am through with my questioning. I thank the witnesses for their time.
Mr. Lang: I have a couple of questions I want to ask the chairman or the president.
My understanding is that either the dean or vice-president has been told that part of their job description is to raise approximately $50,000 outside the college for the purposes of running various programs. Could you perhaps elaborate further on that?
Mr. McCaffray: There is some measure of truth and some misunderstanding in the observation.
There is the attitude sometimes, in some academic institutions, that senior levels of administration are responsible for spending public money. That attitude can be harmful in the long run.
It was clear to the deans early in the budget process that we expected administrators to not only be able to spend wisely the public funds with which they are entrusted, but also to be able to go out to either other agencies of government, other levels of government or private companies and arrange contracts for training. If a mining company wants heavy equipment operators trained, for example, they can pay for it. They can perhaps get assistance from the federal government. It was made clear to the administration, early in the process, that we see that as an ongoing part of their responsibility and we expect them to contribute, if they are successful in obtaining a sizable contract, a measure of funding toward the overhead operating costs of the college. They are putting time into the project and secretaries are putting time into the project, so it is not enough just to pay the teacher, but they should also pay other costs. So, that was the first thrust.
Secondly, it was made clear to the deans that, if indeed you have a budget of $1 million and there is some way you can save the public purse $50,000, we expect you, as a manager, to find some way to save it without necessarily cutting the program. That is the message they were given, that they have a bottom line responsibility that can be discharged in two ways: either by generating additional funds or by saving funds already assigned. There was some measure of misunderstanding. I would suggest to you an outstanding example in recent weeks of the work of a couple of deans producing additional funds, being the grant of $220,000 from the Donner Foundation to the college, a three-year grant of $220,000; that is, money coming into the Yukon as a result of the work of the college. That is part of their role and that is the point that we are trying to make, but it takes a while to change things around.
Mr. Lang: I just want to follow up on a question from the MLA for Watson Lake, and that is the observation about the technical trades being provided in the college and that of the academics. I guess I want to make an observation and express a very major concern that I have, to the chair and the board and the president. I feel very strongly that we cannot let our trades and our responsibility to the trades take a back seat to the academics.
In some cases, I am concerned that the message we are getting is that has happened. If that is true, it is very unfortunate, in view of the fact of our major mining and heavy construction industries in the territory. I do not think those can take a back seat.
I have one other observation to make, and I am just conveying it as an MLA who moves in various circles throughout the day. I sense a major dissatisfaction among the employees of the college at the present time. I recognize you are involved in some serious negotiations, but I hope we can come to some conclusion for those people who are working in the college, and that there can be some peace wrought between labour and management.
I have never seen it like this before, in all the days I have been involved in the Legislature. You do have a responsibility, and I hope you make your decisions wisely. It is a very serious situation that a lot of these people face. I am disappointed with some of the comments I am hearing from old-time Yukoners who are working at the college, and the dissatisfaction that is being expressed in some quarters. I guess it is labour relations.
Ms. Hayden: My question concerns the status of the early childhood development program. I would like to put the question to either the chair or the president.
The early childhood development program, presently provided at the college in conjunction with Grant MacEwan College, seems to be meeting the needs of the Yukon child care community to upgrade qualifications of child care workers. I hear people are quite happy with this program. Can either the chair or the president tell us what plans are in place for the continuance of an early childhood development program, once the contract with Grant MacEwan College ends?
Mr. McCaffray: The strategic plan that the board considered two weeks ago shows the continuance of the early childhood program for the next two years. That does not mean to say it will terminate in the third year. It simply means the firm decisions on year 3 have not been made but there was no recommendation to discontinue it in year 3. Further to that, I would add we are hoping, in the coming year, to discontinue our dependence on Grant MacEwan. Frankly, it is a very expensive process and we would just as soon spend that money here in the Yukon on the program as spending it at Grant MacEwan College. Thirdly, I am very pleased that in the last several months the college is taking components of that program out into smaller communities. I know that part of the program is offered in Dawson and there have been considerations of Pelly, Mayo and some other communities getting early childhood training as well. I would have to say that, if anything, that means the program is expanding and being taken to a wider community within the Yukon than was possible in the past.
Ms. Hayden: I just will conclude by saying that I am really pleased to hear there are plans to continue the program for an additional two years and that it is being expanded into the communities and that the college is looking to continue the program. I hope that will continue.
Mr. Devries: I have one more question. This is in regard to the level of education of the graduates. What is being done to monitor the performance of the graduates once they leave the college to see if they received a level comparable to other colleges?
Mr. McCaffray: The first thing is that the college board has approved a program review process whereby every program will be reviewed in detail every three, four or five years, depending on the length of the program. That process that was approved includes surveys of the employers the graduates went to where the program leads to employment. That is one of the strongest measures of the effectiveness of a career-oriented program.
Two weeks ago, the planning department also took to the board a proposed plan for the development of information systems on issues such as the one that has been raised. There will be a mechanism in place for surveys of both student satisfaction, with regard to a program, as well as employer satisfaction. Where the program leads to a university, and the student then goes on to university for year three, there will be a mechanism whereby we will attempt to track the students performance at that university.
These are complicated things to do. There is at least one university that would not cooperate with that kind of thing in the past. They may do it in the future. Our anticipation is that, within a period of a year to 18 months, there will be mechanisms in place that will routinely do these things. It will not take a special motion of the board to say: how is the early childhood program doing, how are graduates being placed, or how are they satisfying their employers? It would routinely happen, as part of the normal conduct of the college business. We do not have that yet, but the overall plan has been approved by the board, and we are now going to put the mechanisms in place.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I realize that there are interesting subjects for discussion here, and I would like to thank both Mr. Holt and Mr. McCaffray for appearing before us this afternoon. As time is getting short for us, we will have to bid adieu to them and hope to see them again. Madam Chair, I would move that you report progress on Bill No. 16.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Mr. Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. May the House have the report from the Chair of Committee of the While.
Ms. Kassi: The Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 16, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1991-92, and directed me to report progress on same.
Speaker: You have heard the report from the Chair of Committee of the While. 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. Monday next.
The House adjourned at 5:30 p.m.
The following Legislative Returns were tabled December 6, 1990:
Workers Compensation Board: Worker claims re industrial diseases and adjudication (M. Joe)
Oral, Hansard, p. 329
Workers Compensation Board: Need to address the issue of occupationally-induced diseases (M. Joe)
Oral, Hansard, p. 329
Further information on the supplementary budget for Solicitor General re RCMP (M. Joe)
Oral, Hansard, p. 343
Alternate nursing services and the governments home care program (Penikett)
Oral, Hansard, p. 335 (Response to Petition No. 3)