Thursday, December 13, 1990 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. At this time, we will proceed with Prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed with the Order Paper.
Introduction of Visitors.
Are there any Returns or Documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have for filing some documents in response to a question asked by a Member of the Opposition.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I have for tabling an amendment to Bill No. 22 that I intend to move during Committee of the Whole.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I have for tabling the annual report of the Department of Justice and also a legislative return with responses to questions in the House.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have for tabling a legislative return.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I have for tabling two legislative returns.
Mr. Phillips: I have for tabling copies of a petition that was sent to our office this morning from Old Crow, Yukon. The petition is We want a vote on alcohol prohibition. It is to the Legislative Assembly and it says, We are the residents of Old Crow who want to vote by secret ballot to decide if alcohol should not be allowed in Old Crow. It is signed by 85 residents of Old Crow, and I am advised that there are several other pages to arrive that will be tabled officially on Monday, but it is for the Members information. As well, two members of the band council also signed this petition.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Introduction of Bills.
Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Notices of Motion.
Are there any Statements by Ministers?
This then brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: Tagish Kwan Corporation/bankruptcy
Mr. Phelps: I would dearly love to continue yesterdays debate about democratic rights in Old Crow but of course the side opposite used the tactic of going ahead with second reading so that we could not pursue it today. Accordingly, I have some follow-up questions.
I would like to know if the Minister for Community and Transportation Services has finally obtained information regarding payments to the Kwanlin Dun Band to pay legal fees and other expenses relating to last summers failed bail-out plan, whereby this government was going to purchase lots in McIntyre for $2 million.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am still having the matter researched. I indicated to the Member previously that my deputy, who was closely involved in the administrative negotiations of the discussions, is in Ottawa. I have communicated with him. He has assured me that the information will be available no later than Monday and I will provide it to the House at that time.
Mr. Phelps: It is certainly indicative of the coverup mode of this government. Can the Minister not confirm that the legal fees of Kwanlin Dun were indeed paid for by this government?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: There were legal fees involved in the proceedings surrounding the preparation of the package for the land transaction. There were fees associated with the entire preparation for Treasury Board that this government and Kwanlin Dun were engaged in. What I cannot confirm are the specifics of those expenses and I will be providing them to the Member on Monday.
Mr. Phelps: It is interesting. Would the Minister also confirm, as Minister of Government Services, that this government does not make a practice of paying for the negotiating costs and tender preparation costs of independent contractors when they fail on a bid. Is that not true?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am not sure what the Member is getting at. If the Member is raising the issue from the point of view of contract procedures where contractors prepare bids and are unsuccessful, the answer is no, the government does not pay for the preparation of the bid.
But in relation to Kwanlin Dun, we were engaged, over a two-month period, putting together a complicated land transaction involving the federal government requiring certain documentation and analysis by Treasury Board. It is an entirely a different matter.
Question re: Lawsuit against Memberi
Mr. Phelps: We will have a chance to examine the extraordinary circumstances, just as we have been examining the extraordinary circumstances that relate to the $50,000 payoff to the bankrupt Tagish Kwan.
I would like to follow up on some questions that were asked of the Minister of the Executive Council last May. Members will recall that the Ministers favourite bureaucrat, the Deputy Minister of Education, threatened to bring a lawsuit against me and the government lawyer phoned the media and instructed them to save their tapes of news conferences given by myself and the Member for Riverdale South. The Minister promised to give me a written reply to the question as to who instructed the lawyer to make those phone calls to the media on behalf of the Deputy Minister for Education. When can I expect the written response?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am sorry that the Member has not got a reply, and I confess that I have not thought about the matter myself. Obviously the answer has not been received by me, otherwise the Member would have had it. I will make enquiries as to where we are with that question.
Mr. Phelps: I would like to ask the Minister of Justice whether or not the lawyer in her department has been reprimanded for using his office as director of legal services to advance a threatened lawsuit by the Deputy Minister of Education, in his personal capacity?
If the Minister did not hear the question, I will repeat it.
I asked whether or not the lawyer has been reprimanded for using his public office as director of legal services to advance a threatened law suit against myself by the Deputy Minister of Education, in his personal capacity?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I do apologize for not paying attention. Sometimes you are forced to do that when questions start getting unreasonable.
The Member has made another allegation. He has implied something was done in an improper manner. I have not reprimanded anyone in my department with regard to that issue.
Mr. Phelps: Are we to assume that we can avail ourselves of the services of lawyers in the department of the Minister to carry on our own personal lawsuits on government time using their titles in our cause? Is that the policy of this government?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The Premier has already indicated that he would come back to this House with a report in regard to that issue, and responses to that question, of course, will be included in that report.
Question re: Conflict of interest
Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Minister responsible for all of the government, the Government Leader. Last week we established that the conflict-of-interest guidelines that apply to employees of the government do not apply to contract employees working in an advisory capacity. At that time, the Minister made a commitment to the House that he would come back this week with a full report of the particular concern of conflict of interest within the Department of Tourism, and we have not heard anything from the Minister. Is he prepared to give us that full report now?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The report is being written up. I have just received the report from the official who was looking into the matter this morning. I will be tabling it as soon as I can. The Member will be interested to know that the examination of the facts have led to conclusions that there was no conflict of interest. The Member opposite says no charges. She is the one who wants to lynch people before we have even looked into the facts, ruin their reputations and make wild charges. I will table a report here that I think will make quite clear what the facts of the situation were, and I will make that available for the Member. If she wishes to pursue it from there, she can.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister continues on with his tactics. The conflict-of-interest guidelines do not apply to contract employees. That is the issue here. I would like to ask the Minister who did the report since he cannot fulfill his promise to table it this week.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: If the Member wants to talk about tactics, I have a very low opinion of the tactic she takes in repeatedly making wild charges with no foundation. She knows she will get a press headline for making the charge, and there will be nothing covering the retraction.
The answer to the question is that I asked the Cabinet secretary to look into it. The Cabinet secretary employed the assistance of the internal auditor to look into the matter.
Mrs. Firth: The internal auditor and the Cabinet secretary have investigated the matter. Is the government going to be coming forward with a policy that covers the contract employees who are working with the government in an advisory capacity? That is really the issue here.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It would be the issue if there were found to be a case of conflict of interest. When I was answering questions from the Member several days ago, she was making the same kind of representation then as she is now. I made it clear to her that, if there was a policy gap, some problem that needed to be addressed by the issue of a new interim policy between now and the time we bring new conflict-of-interest legislation to this House, we would do so.
Her allegation does not make something a fact. There are conventions around conflict of interest that apply in the commercial world, and in relations between the private and the public sectors. I am not sure anything new is required here, given that the indications to me are that there was no conflict of interest.
Question re: Conflict of interest
Mrs. Firth: Somehow, it does not surprise us on this side of the House. We ask about certain improprieties and instead of protecting the people whom this government is elected to protect, they choose to protect other individuals, particularly themselves. Those are foremost in the governments interests - covering their own backsides.
There was already identified a shortfall in the policies of this government and that shortfall was that the conflict of interest guidelines did not cover people who were contracted with the government to provide advisory services. The Minister himself stood up and said that there was a shortfall and he would be looking at either new legislation, a new policy or an interim memo. I would like to ask the Minister now, is he saying that he is going to do nothing about that potential conflict that can happen again and that can exist again and that can cause abuse of the taxpayers dollar?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I must say the line of the inquiry by the Member is quite unacceptable. I have just told her that there was no conflict of interest. She repeats then, on the record, that there were improprieties, on the basis of no evidence. She then talks about besmirching someones reputation on the basis of no evidence. I wonder what happened to the concept of being innocent until you are proven guilty.
We looked at the facts. I looked at the facts independently with the aid of an official, whose integrity the Member is now besmirching, and that official advised me there was no conflict of interest. Now, unless the Member opposite is prepared to call that official and me a liar and accuse us of doing something improper, I would ask her to withdraw her remark.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister, himself, stood up in this House, was very concerned about this and said there should be guidelines. The Minister of the Public Service Commission stood up and said there were no guidelines and he was going to do something about it. That is the line we always get from this government: they are going to do something about it. I am simply asking the Government Leader, is he going to do something about it or is he not? Has he changed his whole story now, and is he saying he is not going to do anything about it?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Member opposite is not simply asking; she has repeated charges again on the floor of this House that there were improprieties. She is not simply asking; she is making an accusation, an accusation that is unfounded. In terms of what we are going to do about it, I have already said that we intend to bring new conflict-of-interest legislation before this House: conflict-of interest-rules for governing people in the executive arm; conflict of interest rules governing political staff; conflict of interest rules governing public employees.
On the subject of the allegation made by the Member - again, with no evidence - that there has been some impropriety or some wrongdoing, I challenge her to withdraw that charge because she has no evidence of it.
Mrs. Firth: The Government Leader can stand up and yell and shout at me all he wants. I am not afraid of him one little bit. This issue has been public. The Minister himself said there was a shortfall in the guidelines.
I will ask the Minister, then: will the new legislation that is going to come in, the new conflict-of-interest guidelines legislation, provide guidelines for individuals who are working on a contract basis, in an advisory capacity, for this government?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It may well do, but I say to the Member: once again, she has not withdrawn her accusation. She does it knowing that she has immunity in this House. I challenge her: if she is going to make a charge of wrongdoing against certain individuals, who are not here to defend themselves, make it outside the House and let her suffer the consequences. Make it outside the House. She makes wild charges, irresponsibly. That is immoral.
Question re: Moose and caribou studies, game zones 7 and 9
Mr. Lang: I think it is safe to say that the Government Leader, having to face the public every day, has a very trying task. I am sure he is finding it very difficult. Once he takes the right of a secret vote away from us all, everything will be in order. Let us just appoint the MLAs the next time around, like the MLA for Old Crow.
I would like to ask the Minister of Renewable Resources about game zones 7 and 9. A couple of days ago, the Minister tabled a legislative return in this House with excerpts from a report prepared by the subcommittee to the Game Management Board and, in conjunction with that, tabled a report that was actually commissioned and completed in November of 1989 - one year old. This has caused a great deal of confusion in the publics mind to the point that the Game Management Board had a press conference this morning.
I would like to ask the Minister why he tabled a report that was made available to Members six months previously and led to the situation where there has been a great deal of confusion in the publics mind about the intentions of the Game Management Board now and in the future as to this very important issue of game zones 7, 9 and, more recently, game zone 5.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I will provide the same answer that I gave yesterday. The references were made in the report of the subcommittee that was made available by the fish and wildlife branch, in which it spoke at length about phase 1 and 2 of big game management strategies. That is the reason the report prepared by the fish and wildlife branch was tabled in conjunction with the recommendations of the report from the subcommittee.
Mr. Lang: That moves me to the next question. Why was it tabled? Is it not true there are statements made in the report of 1989 that are not contained and not recommended in the report brought forward by the subcommittee on the question of game zones 7 and 9 and now game zone 5?
Hon. Mr. Webster: That has nothing to do with the reason why I tabled that report prepared by the fish and wildlife branch. Again, I repeat, it was a reference point for the benefit of the public and the press to have some reference for the recommendations that were made by the subcommittee.
Mr. Lang: I think the events that have taken place in this respect are really unfortunate, because it has been very confusing for everybody involved. The final report does not contain a number of the statements that were made in the report of 1989. I want to ask the Minister of Renewable Resources if, in view of the controversy and confusion that the general public are witnessing in respect to the issuance of the recommendations by the game management board, could he provide us with the full text of the subcommittees report, which also contains the recommendations for what should be done in game zones 7, 9 and 5?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I have already indicated to the Member yesterday that if that is the advice or direction I receive from the Yukon Wildlife Management Board then I will be happy to release the full report.
Question re: Moose and caribou studies, game zones 7 and 9
Mr. Lang: I do not understand this about reports being made available to the Minister. The Minister, I understand, has had a copy of that full report. The board acts in an advisory capacity to the Minister. The one who makes the final determination for the release of that report is the Minister. Does he not feel that it is in the publics benefit to have that full report made available so that they can read the background of the recommendations for what should be done in game zones 7 and 9, and now 5?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Member is quite correct. The Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board is an advisory board. It makes recommendations to me. They advised me to release just the recommendation of the subcommittee report. The motives for doing that were many. I think it may be proper for you to ask the co-chairs of the Wildlife Management Board why they took that approach in recommending that I release just the recommendations as opposed to making it available in a press release.
As I say, this is the way they advised me. They are discussing the matter further today on the very question he raises: making the full contents of the report public.
Mr. Lang: I would like to have the Minister tell us the reasons for that report not being made public. He said a number of reasons were given to him. I think the public has a right to know why the full report has not been made available.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Again, the matter was raised a couple of weeks ago at which time I provided a reason to the Member as to why the board did not recommend full release of the report. The Member may be aware, from the material that was tabled, that the board plans to consult further with the public on this matter. In addition to meeting with the specific interest groups, which are listed in the report, they want to have some broader consultation with the public at large. The way in which they conduct those public meetings has some bearing on the manner in which they release the full contents of the report.
Mr. Lang: The Wildlife Management Board has been consulting for a year. Even in their recommendations they expressed very clearly and concisely how important an issue this is and that it is time for the government to make some decisions.
Are these further consultations of the Wildlife Management Board being done under the direction of the Minister of Renewable Resources?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No. The recommendations of the subcommittee were reviewed by the wildlife board as a whole. In the materials I tabled this week, there is an excerpt from the minutes of the last meeting of the full board. You have to appreciate the fact that there are 6 members on the board, who were reviewing this material for the first time.
In the minutes of that meeting, they suggested that, the co-chairs, plus one of the members of the subcommittee, visit the Minister, me, with the report and recommendations and advise him that the board is unanimous in acceptance of the report. They were prepared to give him a decision on phase 1 but, although they have a certain degree of confidence based on the traditional knowledge of ungulate population of the area, they are not prepared to go into phase 2 without the technical data.
That technical data is available and is being reviewed at todays meeting of the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board. When that material is reviewed, more recommendations will be made to me.
Question re: Moose and caribou studies, game zones 7 and 9
Mr. Lang: I want to pursue this further, because I was asking a question about further consultation. My understanding is that the Wildlife Management Board in past years have said they wonder why we have not done anything up to now.
Is the Minister of Renewable Resources the one who directed the Game Management Board to go out for further consultations, or is that a Game Management Board decision?
Hon. Mr. Webster: It is clear from the materials I tabled earlier this week that that is a decision of the board. That message is contained in their letter of December 4, signed by the chairman, Jim Rear.
Mr. Lang: Can the Minister assure us that the government will be making decisions in respect to implementing a game management plan no later than January or February of this coming year, so that it can take effect for this coming year?
Hon. Mr. Webster: According to the timetable that we have made that includes a review of all the information and the Wildlife Management Board doing some further consultation with the public at large, January would be optimistic but February is possible.
Question re: Government growth
Mr. Nordling: I have a question for the Minister of the Public Service Commission, or perhaps the Government Leader would like to respond. The question is with respect to government employment and growth.
I have just looked through the last batch of employment opportunities. In this little packet that I have, there are seven jobs advertised and five of the seven are term or part-time positions. I know that if I sent these over to the Minister I could get a written explanation of why each particular position was term but my question is more general than that. I would like to ask the Minister or the Government Leader if there is any overall policy with respect to term positions, as to the number of term positions there will be in the government or the percentage of total government employment that term positions will be?
Hon. Ms. Joe: We have had to use term positions in many cases to deal with a specific matter over a fixed period of time, as the Member knows. There is no policy that I am aware of within this government that states that we can only use a specified number of people in term positions. We do not have a policy in place that indicates that. Certainly, those positions do come about from time to time to deal with specific programs or other issues that we are dealing with at any time. I cannot give him a figure on how high or low that is right now.
Mr. Nordling: It is a concern, because five of the six social worker positions I asked about were also term positions. I would like to know if the government has set any limits on the growth in government employment over the next few years, especially in view of the concern expressed that the Yukon is getting only $10 million more from the federal government in the next year.
Hon. Ms. Joe: We can only live within what our financial resources allow. We cannot predict 10 years in the future. We may have to offer many different programs at that time. We do have a plan for the future, of course, but I would like to say that we are dealing with many important issues. We are being asked to provide many programs. Certainly there is a need out there and we will have to respond to that need.
Mr. Nordling: My advice to the Minister is just that she had better watch government growth because as cutbacks come and we have all these employees, we will end up with huge layoffs.
I know the majority of government employees are hard-working and dedicated individuals; however, I would like to know if anything specific is being done within government to maximize the efficiency and productivity of the employees. I have spoken to employees who are frustrated with what seems to be a general lack of efficiency.
Hon. Ms. Joe: There is an ongoing process through training that is offered by the government to every single employee that we have. That allows them to do many things, and it also allows them to deal with the stresses that occur on the job. We have hundreds of training programs available to them. We do have a problem, because some of the positions must deal with many stressful situations, such as the social workers. As a former Minister of Health and Human Resources, I know the kinds of things that they have to deal with and the stress-related problems that they have with that job. We certainly are not hiring more people than we need. It has been already told to this House that those new positions that this government has accumulated over the years were very valid positions, positions that were filled because of the need in the community.
Question re: Carcross/Skagway Road, sanding
Mr. Phelps: I would like to follow up on some questions I had in budget debate for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services. At that time, I raised the issue about the size of gravel being used to sand the Carcross/Skagway Road. I advised the Minister that the size of the rocks were too large. Many people have experienced blowouts in extremely dangerous situations. This unsafe situation affects many people, not just the residents who live along the road and in Tagish, but also all the people who travel the road for various reasons.
There is a need to replace the gravel that is full of arrowheads with half-inch crush. Has the Minister looked into this? What is being done?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I appreciate the Member giving me the opportunity to look into the matter. I have done so. It appears that the sanding material being used in the Carcross area is indeed three-quarter inch size crush. It originates from stockpiling that was put in place over two years ago.
Given the description of the problem by the Member, I had a discussion with department officials. They investigated further as to whether or not anything was contributing to the unsafe conditions besides the size of the gravel. We were not able to determine anything specific other than the possibility of shale having been mixed in with the gravel.
Nevertheless, I have directed department officials to prepare new crush of a reduced size and of a quality that will minimize the potential hazards to tires.
Question re: Workers Compensation Board office building
Mr. Brewster: The question is for the Minister responsible for the Workers Compensation Board. On Tuesday, the Workers Compensation Board announced plans to build a $2.6 million office building in Whitehorse to serve as its new home. In the architects design statement, it says the design will be in keeping with the Yukon Workers Compensation Board budgetary concerns, and their money will be wisely invested. I would like the Minister to explain to the House how the construction of a $2.6 million office building built with employers funds and effectively in competition with Yukon employers, is a wise investment of the Workers Compensation Boards funds from the perspective of the employer?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I was at the unveiling of the building on Tuesday. I believe that the $2.6 million is a wise investment into the economy of this territory. The money that the Workers Compensation Board has invested in the past has been invested very wisely. This is an investment in the economy of the Yukon. It was a very wise move, as far as I am concerned.
Mr. Brewster: I would also like the Minister to explain the reason why the number of WCB employees has increased by nine, from 21 to 30, and whether these nine positions are in addition to the 117 new government positions being created by the government in the current budget.
Hon. Ms. Joe: In the past, we have found that the services that are offered by the Workers Compensation Board were of value to workers in the Yukon. But we have also found that we have had to increase the efficiencies of the things that they were offering. Through this reorganization of the Workers Compensation Board, we have had to hire more people. We are in the process of hiring those additional people, but it is in order to be more effective.
Mr. Brewster: Could the Minister tell me what new services are being created by the WCB for delivery by these new people?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I would be happy to provide the Member for Kluane with a list of all the things the Workers Compensation Board is doing to improve the services offered. I cannot do it right at this time, but he will be given that information.
Question re: Yukon Pacific Forest Products, receivers lien
Mr. Devries: With reference to the question I asked last week regarding a local constituent from Watson Lake who had a lien placed on his home by the receiver for Yukon Pacific Forest Products, I thank the Minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation for the letter regarding this matter. However, the fundamental issue was not dealt with. This constituent is still owed $11,000 by Yukon Pacific, and the receiver has placed a lien against his familys home for $3,075.
Justice and business must be tempered by common sense. What options are available for this family?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: In the letter I sent to the Member, in my capacity as Minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation, I made it clear that the officials in the Development Corporation have contacted the receiver/manager and have determined that the receiver/manager had received, in court, a judgment against this constituent. The matter was dealt with in court; the constituent was represented by a lawyer; and the court rendered the judgment.
I do not think there is any prudent or appropriate initiative or action that I can take, following the court judgment on that matter. The representation made by the Member opposite, on behalf of his constituent, as to the facts of the situation, may well have been dealt with in court by interventions by his counsel, and I am assuming it was. Neither I nor the government is in a position to second-guess a decision of the court on the question.
Mr. Devries: This family has no other option. They have to have a garage sale and possibly sell off presents or whatever else they are planning for Christmas - even the kitchen table. I ask the Minister to demand that the receiver back off and approach this issue from a humanitarian perspective instead of a justice perspective.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I understand what the Member is saying and I understand the concern he is expressing for his constituent, but I am certain that I am not in a position to second-guess or rewrite the decision of the court. I am pretty certain that the receiver/manager, having gone to court and got a judgment, cannot now rewrite the courts decision. As I understand it, there was a dispute concerning the cement truck, which was an asset of Yukon Pacific Forest Products, that was in the possession of the gentleman, and an amount owing to Yukon Pacific Forest Products was at issue. The receiver/manager obtained a court order, ordering the gentleman to return the vehicle to the company and to pay an amount that the Member and I have discussed, because of damages that were apparently inflicted upon that equipment. The court rendered a judgment and I do not think I am in a position, and I do think the Development Corporation is in a position, to change that. Even if there were something...
Speaker: Order please. Will the Member please conclude his answer.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: .. that the receiver could do, I do not think I am in a position to do more than what we have already done, which is to communicate to the receiver and to make inquiries following the Members representation.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now lapsed. We will now proceed to Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Bill No. 22: Second Reading
Clerk: Second Reading, Bill No. 22, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. Webster.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I move that Bill No. 22, entitled An Act to Amend the Liquor Act, be now read a second time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Minister responsible for the Liquor Corporation that Bill No. 22, entitled An Act to Amend the Liquor Act, be now read a second time.
Hon. Mr. Webster: For some time now the people of Old Crow have been working to improve the health of their community. One of the major challenges to the health of people in the community is alcohol, or liquor, as our act calls it. Individual lives are wasted because of alcohol dependency and families are torn apart by alcohol abuse. Even the common courtesies of community life are threatened by alcohol-induced thefts and violence.
In an effort to end this cycle of waste and violence, the Member for Old Crow has sparked a number of discussions in this House on the need to provide people in communities, in particular in Old Crow, with the tools needed to stop the cycle.
Members may recall that this Legislature supported and passed a motion calling on this government to identify ways for communities in crisis to enact provisions for the prohibition of alcohol within their boundaries.
The bill before you is in response to that motion and to a clear call for help from the people of Old Crow. In September of this year at the general assembly of the Vuntat Gwichin a unanimous motion was passed calling for a complete ban of alcohol on tribal lands by January 1991. All Vuntat Gwichin aged 16 years and over were eligible to express their views.
The lifeskills courses, the positive experiences of the Gwichin villages in Alaska, a period of two months during the summer when liquor shipments to Old Crow were suspended at the request of the band, all combined to convince people that they are ready to take the step. Consequently, the government was prepared to develop legislation that would support the wishes of the community.
In doing so, we were very much aware that Old Crow presents a unique set of circumstances. It is an isolated community, accessible only by air.
It is an aboriginal community with a non-native population of fewer than 25. For the most part the non-native residents are school teachers, RCMP and social workers who reside in the community for their terms of employment, about two years on average.
It is a community without a licensed liquor outlet, that would be adversely affected by prohibition.
Finally, as I have already mentioned, it is a community that has made significant progress toward dealing with the problems that face it, many of which are complicated by alcohol.
Last week, when I was preparing this bill for introduction, we received the band council resolution from Old Crow that read as follows; That the people of Old Crow, subsequent to an unanimously passed resolution of the Vuntat Gwichin Tribal Council General Assembly, do request that the Government of Yukon Territory expedite amendments to the legislation allowing for the prohibition of alcohol in Old Crow, to be effective by January 1, 1991.
The major amendment in Bill No. 22 is totally consistent with this very specific and very clear request.
Two days ago, when this bill was introduced and read for a first time, representatives of the Vuntat Gwichin spoke in support of its provisions. I was confident that our government was responding to community wishes. This morning, however, I received the telephone call from Vuntat Gwichin Chief Roger Kaye. Chief Kaye advised me that at a public meeting in Old Crow last night, he was presented with a petition calling for a plebiscite on the question of prohibition. After some deliberation, he has determined that it would be appropriate to conduct such a plebiscite.
Consequently, I would like to advise Members that I will be moving an amendment to this bill during Committee debate, which I have already tabled this afternoon. This will enable the Commissioner of the Executive Council to conduct a plebiscite to determine the wishes of the community of Old Crow with regard to the prohibition of alcohol.
Before concluding my comments on the major features of this bill, I should emphasize to Members that the prohibition provision relates specifically and exclusively to Old Crow. The provisions laid out herein are not intended to constitute a precedent for any other community in the territory. The government recognizes that provisions that might be established in the future to enable other communities to come to terms with this question would have to be tailored to respect the condiditons that exist in those communities, whether they may be pre-existing licensed liquor outlets, significant cultural minorities or other complicating factors.
On the other amendment contained in this bill, the amendment to section 95 - the one not related to prohibition - I would say that this is simply a clarification of existing wording in the act. It is proposed to make it quite clear to a justice trying a case that he or she is free to infer that a beverage described as an alcoholic beverage is in fact one, even in the absence of a certificate from a chemist certifying to the actual volume of alcohol.
Ms. Kassi: ...(Member spoke in Gwichin, translation not available)
Mr. Speaker, I will do my best to give the history of my involvement of asking the government to change its laws so that we can try and salvage what is left of another indigenous nation, this one the Gwichin.
As a small child growing up in my village, at the time we had a one-room school, we lived very traditionally, when everyone cared for one another. Most of us spoke our mother tongue. In the springtime, about March, the whole community happily worked together to get out to the trapline at Old Crow flats. At four oclock in the mornings, all the dogs in town were barking and howling. People were hitching up their teams to head out to the land. We could hardly wait.
These were times without too much outside influence, yet. We lived traditionally, everyone lived by the natural laws of the land: cultural laws. Our beliefs were strong. There were times when my mother and I canoed around in a small canoe. It was only fit for one, but I had to go along, too. Under the midnight sun, it seemed that only her and I were alive with the animals and the birds around us. We paddled around the lakes for miles, stopped to circulate our legs and have some tea and bannock and skin as many muskrats as we could, so that our load would be lighter, so that our canoe would not sink on the way home and so that our back-packs would not be so heavy at the portages.
Those were special times, when my grandpa carried me on his back over many miles on the harsh terrain, trying to get to the river, talking to me, chanting to me, giving me advice about what is to come in the future and how to handle it.
My mom followed behind with our dogteam with a huge load of our spring harvest of muskrat pelts, dried caribou meat, dog food and a couple of children in the toboggan pulling on bare ground. This is after all the snow had gone in the month of June, moving to our final camp before we headed to town. The excitement drove us on. Our spring hunt was over and we would soon unite with the rest of the people coming down the river by canvas boats. Each family had their own canvas boat that they made. There would be one motor that was usually was Pete Lords. Everyone tied their boats on. The women had their own special boats on one side and the men on the other and all the dogs were in the head. It looked like a huge barge coming down the river. There was so much chatter and laughter and everyone was so happy to see each other and careful and grateful that we had gone through the spring harvest safely. We were heading to town.
We were called Crow Flat people, Vuntat Gwichin, people of the lakes. There was always a few of us who stayed in town. In our language, we called them town people or those who stayed behind. Those who stayed behind would all meet us at the river with sweets and food we had not had for about four or five months. It was an exciting and joyous time.
Then came the politics. A well-dressed young man with shiny shoes. I remember him very well. Something about him I did not like. Even though I was young, people talked about government coming to our village. I heard our old people talk at the time. Maybe they will help us, I heard the old men debating. Maybe they will help us. And I would hear them also say, I hope they do not bring Quon-chuh to our people. Firewater. My people trusted them. They were told how to vote democratically. Alcohol came more and more after that. I remember the sad faces, the loud talk beginning, the dissension among our people. Our people began to change very quickly. I and my peers began to feel scared and went off to residential school, far away from people we loved. We were afraid we would never see our mom or dad or grandparents again. No one seemed to listen when we cried. We would be gone for a whole year and finally come home to a community that became even colder; love and unity were dying.
Alcohol was rampant. We were helpless to the situation. People would fight everywhere, even at our dances. Women and children were getting beaten up. Every year, we lost a brother, a sister, an aunt or an uncle. People we loved would die by drowning, falling overboard, freezing to death or being murdered.
In the horrible 1970s, as we call them now, there were times when only three adults - Charlie Peter, Ellen Bruce and Auntie Ellen Able - and the old, old people and the very young were the only ones who were sober. Everyone was else was drunk, staggering around and fighting and yelling. The result of these years are many broken homes and fetal alcohol syndrome children. These children - our future - have grown up knowing only pain and have lost cultural knowledge; many of them cannot speak our language today.
Those were scary times in my village. If it were not for people like Father Mouchet and our elders, who cared a lot about us, we would not have turned out the way we did. So time went on. Many leaders tried to do something about the devastation taking place among our people. In the time the Conservatives were in power, they initiated another plebicite, when my people were screaming for help. Of course it failed, because the majority of voters 18 years and older, or 19 years and older, depended upon alcohol, and the people did not understand the question.
Again and again our people have tried and failed; very slowly, we begin to succeed. So, in 1985, I was called upon; it was my turn to assist in the circle. The chief at the time, Alice Frost, and myself, began bringing in resource programs of lifeskills and communication skills development to begin the healing. With these tools and by their own choice, many gained sobriety. Our elders directed us to begin to meet at our traditional meeting place, at Klo-kut where we made decisions and had lengthy discussions about our past and planned our future.
We all worked hard toward a better life for our people. We create a vision for our nation, a vision that one day we will have combated the evils of alcoholism and heal and become strong and united once again, that no one will ever come in and divide and conquer us. So we continued; our chiefs, our social development people struggled on. We held national gatherings of the Gwichin because of the threat of yet more heavy burdens, like oil development that would hurt our caribou and our people. Our leaders became strong and united, that we will stick together and do what we can to salvage the basis of our existence, our language, our culture, our tradition and our beliefs.
After the last gathering in one of our villages, we went back home to Old Crow with that vision and we proceeded to have to our own tribal assembly in September, this past fall in Old Crow. At that time, it was well attended. I was appointed to the resolutions committee along with three other people. After lengthy discussions all day, we broke and an elderly lady came to me and she said, Come to my house; I want to talk to you. So I went and with tears streaming down her face, she said to me, My grandchildren suffer too much and I am too old to look after them. You are our leaders. You have to do something about this drinking. I said to her, I will go back to the assembly and talk to the people. We were directed to draft a resolution that evening for a complete ban on alcohol, to put forward to the general assembly the next day. So we posted signs around town inviting people to come for the discussion. The next day the people came to the meeting. Elders got up and spoke from their hearts about the history of our people and what alcohol did to us. Young people spoke of their fears and the abuse they are experiencing. Many spoke with lots of emotion.
After a very lengthy and healthy discussion, then we called for a show of hands for the resolution. Every single person raised their hand. It was passed unanimously. We were relieved; we were supported by each other. There was lots of tears of joy. We hugged each other. We were happy. We were going to go on with the process of healing.
So, the next step was to bring it to the government, at which time I put forth a motion that we passed on this side of the House and the people on the other side had, I believe, voted against it at that time.
Our Members visited Old Crow and were encouraged to help us by changing legislation. It took awhile, but they listened.
Then we heard that the PCs were against it, so I called my chief and suggested that maybe if we talked to them they might listen. So we did. I talked to the Leader of the Official Opposition. I stated to him that we hoped for his caucus support without too many problems because we needed help.
Then I went to the critic for the Liquor Corporation, the Member for Riverdale North, and said the same thing to him, that we needed help. They both told me then that they wanted a plebiscite. I told them we did not want to go that route because it never worked before and it causes too much unnecessary pain and dissension for our people, and we hoped they would understand. We did everything according to our constitution and stressed how we were doing it for our future generations, for the young, and for the safety of our elders. They insisted on a vote.
Then the Gwichin leaders again encouraged the Minister to table the amendment. He did. Chief Roger Kaye, Grafton Njootli, Stanley Njootli, Dave Joe, our lawyer, and I held a press conference to let people know our direction and mandate. We were encouraged by the thought we were finally exercising our own way of doing things, that it is right for us. We were also relieved that finally we would start taking control and continue the healing process.
I had another meeting with the Member for Riverdale North, along with the Minister responsible. I asked the Member for Riverdale North at the time to please not to hurt my people any further by playing politics with their lives. He said, Oh, come on Norma, where is the democracy, we want a vote, we want a plebiscite.
The next thing they did was fax a petition sheet to the community. It was not long before I was told that the people were all disrupted running around town and collecting signatures without explaining what the petition was for, causing more pain, hurt and dissension among the people.
That was exactly what we wanted to avoid. The Members across the way screamed at us, What are you afraid of? What are you afraid of?. I do not want any more pain among my people: that is my fear.
What is so unforgivable is that the Opposition pressed a petition on my community. They are using my peoples misery, pain and lives solely to make their political point in this House. For what and for whose benefit? So the non-aboriginal people in the community can drink? Most of these people to whom I have spoken personally, and whom I have been very good friends with, have indicated that they understand they are guests of the band and abide by the tribal laws. The few white people who are there are there to serve the community. They understand that very well. We work very well together.
The people in the communities do not make decisions overnight. Traditional decisions require certainty. At tribal assemblies, they are given the chance to consider all aspects of the decision. Traditional decisions are not only made in English, either. English is a second language to my people and the elders speak it very well.
After many years of discussion on this issue, we decided in September, again, five months ago, to prohibit alcohol. It took a lot of careful thought and decision. This is such a serious problem. It is something you cannot change overnight, because those PCs - the term I use here because that is how they are known in the community - will never understand what it is like to hear your mom getting beaten up, a child feeling scared and helpless and growing up to blame himself or herself because he or she could not do anything to stop this. So they think: what the heck, I will drink too; it is easier. Or the little girl terrified, trying to hide from some child molester while her parents are passed out or gone. They will never understand what it is like to see half of the kids in the school tired, weary looking, hungry or scared because their parents drank and fought all night, every night, for so long. They think: why am I here? They are too tired to learn, so they quit. They are worried about their parents back home, so they leave.
Then you find your 90-year-old grandmother fallen on the floor and half frozen the next day because an addicted person beat her, left her there and stole her money.
They will never know what it feels like to haul two dead brothers out of the river after days of searching by the family and whole community. They will never understand what it feels like to find your auntie, mother and father frozen to death because they could not get up; they were too drunk.
They do not know what it is like when every year someone dies of cancer of the stomach from having drunk too much alcohol or hair spray in their lives. It goes on. They will never understand what it feels like to have the whole village standing around a grave crying, feeling helpless, when we could have done something to help that person to still be alive.
We do understand. Every day, we feel that pain in our village. Perhaps that is why people drink so much - there is so much pain. Is it not democracy when a race of people try to take control of their own lives, by having a long, healthy discussion, when a decision mandates the leaders to get help? The ones of good minds think so. The ones who care deeply about the children, who are getting the worst of the abuse but cannot vote. They are the ones who have to live in those conditions and know there is a better life. I think so.
My elders reminded me last night that no matter what we do or how close we get to our goal of the betterment of our people, evil will arise, the fight gets tougher and the trail gets rockier. No matter what happens, the Vuntat Gwichin is going to stick together. They are going to stand strong and fight until we are well as a nation. No one will use the white father tactics of divide and conquer ever again.
(Member spoke in Gwichin, translation not available)
Hon. Ms. Joe: As I stand here defending the right for a community to decide how they wish to rid themselves of a serious social problem caused by alcohol, I think of the many children in the Yukon who are suffering because of the effects. Some of these children will grow up, suffering from the effects on their bodies and thinking ability. Right now, we can look around the streets in Whitehorse and see what alcohol has done to many people.
Not very long ago, we debated the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome, and the side opposite fiercely demanded that we hire more people to deal with the serious problem. Not very long ago, we debated violence against women, knowing full well that much of the violence in the Yukon is alcohol-related.
People in the Yukon have died from alcohol; people have been terribly beaten because of alcohol; families have been torn apart; young people are in jails because of alcohol. The list goes on and on.
In the midst of all this misery, one little community wants to pull itself out of this mess. In this forum, we have people arguing for the right of people to drink alcohol, the right to continue on with this misery, the right to continue to destroy the lives of little children who live in broken family units. The side opposite justifies this by putting up a smokescreen of saying they are thinking of the democratic right of the individual.
Where were they during the annual assembly? Have they been to the community to discuss this? I doubt if they have, but they were sure quick to set up a petition to deliberately try to find a way to sell more alcohol and continue to find a way to contribute to the misery of small children.
The aboriginal people of Canada are working hard to find a way to ease the suffering of their people. One of the ways is to make their own decisions, to be responsible for their own community problems by getting rid of Indian agents and by building infrastructures that can allow them to make the changes they would wish.
By doing these things, they can achieve self-government, and the side opposite knows that. Yet, here we sit, degrading the system and attempting to undermine any attempt by aboriginal people to make their own decisions. They have made a great deal of profit from their idea of the treatment of aboriginal people. Unless they are making a profit, they will not support anything new or contribute to the well-being of aboriginal people.
The Members opposite support a plebiscite, because that is the forum of government that has long been imposed on the aboriginal people of this country. It is the white mans system and, if left up to the Members opposite, it will continue to be imposed on aboriginal people. The system has done nothing for aboriginal people, except to keep more of them in jails, to die at a younger age than the average Canadian and to suffer more disease than the average Canadian.
What resources will the Members opposite provide to victims of the effects of alcohol? Will they sit with the children and assure them that their future is as bright as that of their own children? The side opposite is claiming to be protectors of the non-aboriginal people in the community of Old Crow. Let me remind the Members opposite that the non-aboriginal people who live in this community are there for one reason only: to provide assistance to the aboriginal people of this community.
If the aboriginal people were to leave this community, the non-aboriginal people would be leaving ahead. When residents of Old Crow come into Whitehorse or any other large centre, they are required to abide by all of the laws of that community. So, too, when we, as non-residents, go into Old Crow, we should be required to abide by their bylaws. That is not an unreasonable request. We have no qualms about incarcerating any individual who breaks the bylaws of our community, particularly if they are aboriginal people. But, more important, we should allow the communities to have the opportunity to decide what is appropriate behaviour in their community, whether it pertains to speed limits or alcohol consumption and, further, to make laws pertaining to these decisions in their own fashion. That is what the people of Old Crow have requested.
We are familiar with the history of what happened as the result of that. We know the people who called up there. We know the people who ran around getting the names of people on the petition. As a result of that, the community has requested a change to this amendment, and we will support the wishes of the community.
The sad thing about this process is that those young children, many of whom are seriously affected by alcohol abuse, including physical and sexual abuse, will not have a voice in how it affects their lives. But of course that never entered the minds of the Members opposite because it does not affect their lives and they do not have to live with the result. I only hope that after promoting alcohol abuse in Old Crow, that the Members on the side opposite can live with themselves.
Mr. Phillips: I have a few comments on the bill as presented to the House and the amendment that the Minister is going to introduce here today.
First of all, I have to take extremely strong exception to the positions put forward by the Member for Old Crow and the Member for Whitehorse North Centre, when they accuse us of wanting to promote alcohol abuse in Old Crow. It is the furthest thing from the truth, and they know that. They know that. We have supported every alcohol and drug program that this government has ever put forward. In fact, we put many of them forward ourselves when we were in government.
What we are talking about in this particular case in Old Crow is the fundamental, democratic right of all residents of Old Crow to be respected. The government did not do that in this particular case. This has been a very embarrassing experience for the government, and especially for the Member for Old Crow, who has obviously lost the confidence of her people.
The Member for Old Crow and I have discussed this issue several times over the past few months and we have always disagreed. Neither one of us has ever changed our position. I maintained several months ago when I met with the Member that there should be a democratic vote in the village for one reason, and one reason only. Many people from Old Crow, many friends that I have in Old Crow, have said they would like an opportunity to vote on the issue by secret ballot - not just by show of hands, but by secret ballot.
These people are concerned. Many of these people, in a secret ballot, I know are going to vote for the prohibition of alcohol. The damage was done by the way the bill is presented in the House and the process that was brought in with the bill, where 25 people in a general assembly decided what was best for the whole community by a show of hands, and when many people objected to that.
The Minister should get her facts and figures right because about 50 people attended the meeting and about 25, or fewer, voted for the resolution. The rest were children and unable to vote.
All of this controversy could have been avoided in a meeting that we had earlier this week. I met with the Member for Old Crow and I met with the Member for Klondike, the Member who is responsible for the Liquor Corporation, and we discussed the bill in its proposed state. At that time, I pointed out again that the people of Old Crow do not support the bill the way it was presented. The Member for Old Crow argued that the democratic process was not her way. In fact, she shocked me, and I am sure she shocked the Member for Klondike, when I argued that the Member, herself, got elected democratically, and represents the people of Old Crow, and what is wrong with that? The Member from Old Crow replied, I want to be appointed. I should be appointed; that should change, too.
Some Hon. Member: Inaudible.
Mr. Phillips: The Member did say that and the Minister responsible for the Liquor Corporation was sitting right there when I said to the Member, Do you mean you want to be appointed?, and she said, Yes, and that should change, too. I will disagree with that as well as I will disagree with the process. She cannot disagree with it. The Member for Faro says Call a point of order. Well I challenge her to call a point of order because the Member for Klondike was sitting right there and heard the same thing I did, and he will not deny it.
I will vote against the proposal for the Member for Old Crow to be automatically appointed to this Legislature as I would vote against any Member being automatically appointed to this Legislature.
A couple of days ago, shortly after this became public, the Member for Old Crow was on the Whitehorse CBC radio and did an interview. Some people from Old Crow called us shortly after that interview. The very first thing in the morning, I had three calls from people from Old Crow, who were extremely concerned about what the Member for Old Crow had said. These people were shocked at what the Member for Old Crow had said and told me that the Member was not representing the views of the people of Old Crow. They wanted to get a petition together to allow a free vote, a secret vote, for every person in the village.
They asked us if we could help them. They asked how to present a petition to the government. We said that it has to be in a certain form and we gave them the form that it had to be presented in, as any MLA is required to do if someone comes to him and wants to present a petition to the House and asks what the proper form should be. That was our duty and that is what we did. We are not going to apologize for that one little bit.
I will call the attention of the Members to the petition. Many times here today we have heard the Member for Old Crow and the Member for Whitehorse South Centre, especially, talk about the rights of the non-aboriginal people in the community. I tabled a petition earlier today.
Speaker: Point of order to the Member for Whitehorse South Centre.
Ms. Hayden: I would be proud to stand and make the comments that the Member for Whitehorse North Centre makes but I would appreciate it if the Member for Riverdale North would get his constituencies right. It was the Member for Whitehorse North Centre who was speaking today.
Mr. Phillips: I apologize to the Member for Whitehorse South Centre. It is the Member for Whitehorse North Centre to whom I refer. If the Members look at the petition, there are 85 names. Eight-one of those names are band members, aboriginal people. Four of those names are the spouses of band members.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mr. Phillips: The Member asks how many are children. The Member should read through the list to see how many people are on it, and this is not the whole list.
The Member for Old Crow gave a very emotional speech, but it is unfortunate that her actions do not reflect her words. She says one thing and then she does another. That is what I am hearing from the people of Old Crow. The people of Old Crow feel that the Member for Old Crow, in this particular case, has imposed her will and her way on the people. That is why this petition arrived in this Legislature; that Member decided that it was my way or no way at all. That is not what we are elected to do in this Legislature. We are elected to represent the people in our ridings and the people of the Yukon. This Member did not do that. This Member said: Here is what we are going to do and you are going to like it or lump it.
The Member said she did not want to go the route of the plebiscite. She felt going that route was wrong. The people she represents do not think that. They say that is the route they want to go.
The people in Old Crow want to have the ability to make a decision on this. I talked to some people from Old Crow this morning. They told me that many of the people at the meeting last night - which I understand was a very good meeting, where people spoke from the heart - expressed the feeling that they signed the petition, but they are going to vote for prohibition because they felt before they were not given the opportunity to express their democratic right - to have the right to vote on this issue. The Member for Old Crow was again telling them what was good for them.
On the radio, the Member for Old Crow embarrassed her people when she said she has picked up people from Old Crow who had been drinking, gathers money together and sends them back to the village. I had an elder from Old Crow call me this morning, very disturbed...
Speaker: On a point of order.
Ms. Kassi: I did not say that. I very clearly said that we have a Gwichin committee in Whitehorse and if people were in distress here within the Nation, whether they are from Alaska, McPherson or wherever, we are able to help those people. That is what I said. We make a collection and help each other. We would even help the Member for Riverdale North if he needed it.
Speaker: On the point of order. I find there is no point of order, but a conflict between two Members.
Mr. Phillips: The Member should talk to the people of Old Crow about that particular incident. I did not hear it from just one person from Old Crow; I heard it from about four people.
The people from Old Crow do not think the Member helps them when they come to Whitehorse. In fact, one person said they do not even get a welcome from the Member. They are not very happy with the Members representation.
It is obvious that this government has made a major blunder in this particular issue and has decided now that it has to actually abide by the will of the people of Old Crow. It is a hard lesson to learn for the government. It is a hard lesson to learn for the Member for Old Crow: that she has now lost the confidence of the people of Old Crow. I hope that once this plebiscite comes into place, that the people in Old Crow will make the right decision and the people of Old Crow will solve their problems of alcohol abuse in their community; I am convinced of that.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I think this debate, as it has gone on not only today and yesterday but also over the last several months and, dare I say, years, is going to make very interesting reading for people in the future, because what is revealed are some very fundamentally different attitudes about life, cultures, respect for different traditions. I remember the Member across the way who has just spoken making, yesterday, one of these little insinuations that this government did not care about non-native hunters; this government was giving preference to Indians.
I will say this and I will say this and then shut up on the question: if the Member opposite, from Riverdale North, ever had the guts or the gall to stand for election in Old Crow and stand for election in Old Crow against the sitting Member for Old Crow...
Speaker: Order please. I would like to remind the Minister to please use parliamentary language.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: If the Member opposite ever had the courage to stand for election in Old Crow, against the sitting Member, the Member who has twice stood for election and twice been elected by that community, I have absolutely no doubt as to who that community would choose as their representative.
The Member opposite knows that he is not known for his veracity by Members on this side. I am not sure I believe some of the claims he has made today about the people from Old Crow questioning the representations by their elected representative here.
Let us cut right to the bone. We well remember the positions of the other side on the question of prohibition in this community and on the right of the community to decide in favour of prohibition. They are on record, and they have been very clear about that: they do not like the idea.
The position of this government has been stated by the Minister responsible for the Liquor Corporation on numerous occasions in this House. On the matter of prohibition in the community of Old Crow - a community without a liquor outlet, and a community wrestling with serious social problems as a result of alcohol - the position is that we will respect the wishes of the community. We have said that not once or twice, but many times.
The wishes of that community were conveyed to us by way of a decision of the general assembly, and we respect that decision. Subsequently, the wishes of that community were again conveyed to us by way of a band council resolution, and we respect that resolution. They were conveyed to us by representations from the MLA, the chief, and other members of the band council, and we respect those representations.
At a public meeting last night, the community decided that it was going to request a plebiscite. We will respect that representation. The Minister has indicated today that he intends to bring an amendment forward in Committee to provide for a plebiscite on this question.
So that there will be no misunderstanding, let me now say that this government will consult with the community about the wording and language of that plebiscite, so the language of the question is perfectly clear.
As a some-time student of political science, I want to say something to the Leader of the Official Opposition, who may be the one person opposite capable of understanding this point: it is axiomatic in political science that conclusions drawn from plebiscites are not easy. Every bit of writing on the subject of plebiscites indicates that. If you have 60 percent of a community, or population, voting on a question, and 50 percent plus one of the 60 percent who vote agree with a certain proposition, it may not prove much at all about the wishes of the community. Under some circumstances, it would be hard to argue that it is necessarily more democratic than some other ways that can be found to test the will of the community.
In the most celebrated question of this kind in this country, which was the referendum question in Quebec a few years ago, it was very hard to decide what it meant, in terms of interpreting public opinion. According to some analyses, it was possible to determine that, while the vast majority of English-speaking people in Quebec had voted to stay with Canada, the judgment of French-speaking people in that province was very much split on that question. This is likewise with the question on the vote in Britain a few years ago to join the European Common Market, or votes that may be held at the municipal level in the form of plebiscites or referendums on a number of questions. The clarity of the question and the size of the turnout in such matters is a difficult matter, especially if the vote is close and somebody has to make some decisions based on that vote.
I have had the privilege of being invited by the Vuntat Gwichin to attend meeting at Klo-kut, a place that is alive with memories going back hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of years. It is a place that echoes with the traditions of that First Nation. It is a place where at any time of the year it is possible to imagine the people of Old Crow continuing their pursuit of their traditional activities, whether it is taking fish from the river or caribou from the land or protecting their community from aggressors.
This has been an interesting debate and, as I said yesterday, perhaps a preview of some more we are going to have around the self-government issue. Because I have respect for the intellect of the Leader of the Opposition, I want to say that I look forward to debating some of these questions with him again, but I want to say also that I have enough respect for his point of view and for his logical powers to know and to accept that we are not dealing with easy questions. I hope he accepts that, too. And to recognize that even in a community like Old Crow, with all its uniqueness, we are going to have to face, no doubt in the future, some difficult questions for people who are citizens of the Yukon, who are citizens of Canada, who will be subject to the laws of general application, who will have all the rights of Yukoners and as Canadians but will not be members of that First Nation and in some respects on some matters will not be entitled to a say in questions that affect that community.
We will have a situation, as exists elsewhere in North America, following a land claims settlement, where First Nations on settlement land will have powers to make decisions outright in their community that will not necessarily include people who may be there who are not members of that band. I will concede to the Leader of the Opposition today that because we are venturing into unknown territory here, because there is not, I think, much constitutional law written about this, because there is no handbook on Indian self-government, there is no Bible on aboriginal rights written that we can refer to, that it is going to be a long time before the strict constitutionality of all the arrangements that we might be able to imagine, will be tested.
Having said that, having recognized the difficulty of the question and having recognized the fact that we are going to have some complex issues to address and face in the negotiations, I want to say that we are also going to have to recognize certain painful but historical truths. As we try and negotiate our way toward mutually acceptable arrangements, between the First Nations and the other people in this territory and this country, we are going to have to recognize that there are huge differences in our traditions.
Let me not deal with questions of language, culture, family life, but simply deal with the question of political traditions. Even between the Athabascans and between those of us who have descended from Europeans, there is a huge difference in the political traditions of our two peoples. Those of us who come from a European ancestry, come out of a long tradition of adversarial, conflict-based parliamentary life. Athabascans have a tradition of consensual politics.
I am not so arrogant, I am not so convinced that one is necessarily better than the others. I believe that I am a champion and a carrier of the best of the parliamentary tradition in our country and our English-speaking world. I am believe I am a defender of the best of those democratic traditions. But I cannot stand here and argue - and would not stand here and argue - that those traditions are necessarily better than the traditions of the Athabascan people here, nor would I argue that the European way of doing things is more democratic than the traditional methods of the Athabascan people, because I do not think that claim can be made.
In the Athabascan consensual tradition, the tradition is that everybody would talk and talk until nobody has anything else to say, and a consensus is reached. In that kind of environment, the formality of a vote is not required because there is agreement among the people in the village, in the community, as to the direction they wish to pursue on some matter.
It is important to recognize that we have different ways and traditions. In this day and age, it is dangerous to argue that one is necessarily always better in all circumstances.
In the last few decades in our country, whenever there has been a question of whether we do it our way or the aboriginal way, the question has always been decided in our favour. The majority in this country has always been able to impose its way of doing things, whether or not that meant an indignity to the First Nation, offending their traditions, or even violating their rights.
We are reaching a time in this country where sensitive people are saying that is wrong, unfair, undemocratic, and a violation of the rights of those First Nations. There are a lot of people in this country, including many in this territory, who think it is time we began to respect the wishes of the people in the community, as well as their traditions and their way of forming decisions. It is time we recognized that our way is not the only way.
As we move into a time of negotiating self-government, we must recognize that we cannot get into debates about the domination of one system over another. We have to get into dialogues about mutual respect for each others traditions, and look for a successful marrying of the best of our traditions in the society that is emerging in the Yukon.
I want to say to the Members opposite that there is more than one model of democracy: there are many models throughout the world. I happen to be someone who has grown up with one tradition and believe very strongly in it but, later in life, I have also been educated to understand that there are other ways of doing things. The way I learned in my parents home and in my schools is not the only way.
As I have said, this is a preview of debates to come.
I also suspect that it is a miniature of Canadian history in another way. It is about the misunderstandings that can exist between us. From my point of view, with the passage of this legislation, I intend to do everything I can to allow the community of Old Crow to express its will in the plebiscite that has now been called for, and to do everything I can to allow the wishes of that community to be expressed. If it is the wish of the community, in the plebiscite, to ban alcohol, I will do everything I can to see that ban implemented and respected, and allow that community to do what I believe it wants to do, which is to take the first steps down the long road to healing, recovery and salvation for its people.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Phelps: I had not determined whether or not I would enter into this debate until the Government Leader rose and spoke just now and I realized I must say a few words about the issue.
One of the things I think comes across to me very loud and clear is that when the side opposite is in trouble, the use of emotional arguments and emotion seems to predominate what we hear from the other side. That is not to say that the emotions are not felt and felt quite deeply by the individual speaking, nor is it to say that the emotions are necessarily wrong. It is very dangerous, in my view, to attempt to make rational decisions and decisions on behalf of everyone, ensuring that everyones rights and wishes are respected to the greatest extent possible, and to rely almost solely on personal emotion. That is not to say that emotions are bad or good or otherwise, but sometimes we have to reach beyond just that.
I was very perturbed, and remain very perturbed, by many of the answers given by the Government Leader in yesterdays Question Period. We have some extremely fundamental differences. I am sure these will become clear over the weeks and months to come. But before I get into those issues, I would like to speak if I may for a bit about the issue at hand and the people of Old Crow.
I can be very emotional about my friends in Old Crow. I have spent a lot of time with some of them, and we have gone through a good many battles together, social times together. I have been involved in various ways with various people, particularly elders, in Old Crow. I, too, have a great deal of emotional feeling when I go to that village, or meet people here in Whitehorse or elsewhere whom I know from that village.
It is interesting that one comment I keep hearing, one comment in my memory that has not gone away, occurred in 1985 after the side opposite had just won the election. On CBC television for all of the people to see, all the people from Old Crow among others, was the newly elected Government Leader of the Yukon speaking to his old buddy, Ed Broadbent. He told Ed, Ed, we now own Old Crow. I have been approached many times by people...
Speaker: Order please. Point of order to the Premier.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Point of order. I am absolutely certain I did not say the words attributed to me by the Leader of the Official Opposition.
Speaker: Order please. I find there is no point of order. It is a conflict between two Members.
Mr. Phelps: I have been approached by people on numerous occasions since about that quote, and it has not been raised by me. People said that he does not own Old Crow; it is not true.
What occurred over the course of the past 24 hours is quite remarkable in my view. We were told in no uncertain terms about the wishes of the people of Old Crow. One can look back, of course, to Hansard and see what has been stated by the Government Leader in his answers to questions. He seemed a bit overwrought but perhaps did not mean everything he said.
I recall, and it is in Hansard, him saying it was not he who had a dictatorial attitude toward the people from Old Crow, it was the Member opposite.
He is saying that he, Willard Phelps, knows better than the band council. He, Willard Phelps, knows better than the annual general assembly. Obviously, my concern had to do with the rights of each of the people of Old Crow, and they have spoken loud and clear as to what they see as their rights: the right to vote on an important issue such as this, by secret ballot. The side opposite can try all they like to convince people that this was something initiated from here. That is just not the case. I received phone calls from people in Old Crow who I know do not support our party politically. I received phone calls from people whose names I was surprised to see on the slip, asking me to call them back because I was not in the office when they called. This mood, this movement, this very clear cry for an effective voice came from the genuine will of the collective majority of the band members in Old Crow. Let there be no mistake about that.
We on this side do not stand here to try to pretend that alcohol has been a good thing for communities such as Old Crow. We have some idea of the terrible problems that the abuse of alcohol and other drugs has wrought upon people there and people in all communities. I live and grew up in a community that is largely native. I have a great number of friends that I grew up with. I know about the suffering. I know what occurred in their families, among their siblings with regard to elders and the abuse of elders by people under the influence of alcohol and drugs. I must say that I do take some exception to the manner in which the Member for Old Crow phrased her comments, that would indicate that somehow or other people such as I have no sensitivity to those issues or have not lived them and seen them, because that is simply incorrect.
Perhaps those remarks and the very strong inferences were driven by emotion. If that is the case, I understand and appreciate that, but that does not make it any the more factual or any the more correct.
I simply do not agree with the last speaker, the Government Leader, when it comes to issues surrounding democracy. There are, he said, more than one model of democracy. That is true; of course, there are, but there are certain things that are essential to the concept, certain things that are fundamental, without which one does not have a democratic model. That is something that has been wrestled with by political philosophers through the years. It is my view that there are some fundamental things that simply cannot be ignored. Otherwise, lacking those things, one simply does not have a model of democracy at all, whatever shape it may be.
When we speak about land claims and we talk about self-government, we have to be extremely careful because many of the issues being dealt with in the land claims forum have the capability, indeed the propensity, to fundamentally alter the social contract that we live under in the Yukon, to fundamentally and forever alter the very nature of obligations and responsibilities, concepts of equality and concepts of liberty that Canadians cherish, that Canadians have fought for and died for, be they Indian, white or others.
There is going to have to be some careful thought given to some fundamental issues and principles. These are principles that cannot be altered in any fair way, because it would be unethical to do so without the collective consent of citizens in this country to enter into an amended or brand new social contract.
I am not saying this because I do not have respect for the traditions of cultures other than the one I am from. I am not saying this because there is no value in most, if not all, cultures that we have in this world of ours. I am not saying that there is only one way or the highway, that it has to be this way or that way. However, it seems to be me that, in the latitude we have with regard to amending the way our model of democracy runs, there are certain fundamental principles that cannot be altered, amended or changed. That is the bottom line for me. It is a view that I hold very deeply, and one I am quite prepared to discuss, argue, and enter into dialogue about. There are fundamental rights that those negotiating land claims have no right to amend, take away or interfere with.
I listened to the Government Leader saying that, under land claims, there will be land belonging to First Nations on which their government will make decisions, and people are going to have live with those decisions. Well, that may be.
No one can say that all the land in Old Crow is band land. During my early days of travelling to Old Crow, in the early 1970s, approximately one-half of the community was band land. Non-status people owned their own lots.
There are government lots. There are people who live there on property belonging to the church and property belonging to the Government of Canada. To say that the notion of self-government extends to impact on people who do not choose to reside on band landis, to me, simply an untenable position to hold.
There is no question that there are a lot of intellectual issues that are going to have to be dealt with. There is going to have to be sensitivity displayed by all of those who are involved with or attempt to understand or are involved in the ratification mode of land claims when the final agreement is finally reached. But there are certain fundamental rights and freedoms that that process has no right to change. Those are rights and individual freedoms without which the model is not democracy, and for me and my colleagues and many, many Yukoners, that is the bottom line.
Motion for second reading of Bill No. 22 agreed
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Mr. 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 and we will take a break.
Chair: I call Committee of the Whole back to order.
Bill No. 16 - First Appropriation Act, 1991-92 - continued
Department of Justice - continued
On Solicitor General
Hon. Ms. Joe: I have some information from yesterday in regard to the meeting of the federal Minister of Justice and the two provincial Ministers. The meeting did not take place. The reason for that is because the federal Minister was stuck in a snow storm in Zurich and it has been postponed until January 15.
In regard to the sabbatical leave for Barry Stuart, the leave started on January 1, 1990 and until September 30 he was on leave without pay. From October 1, 1990 to September 30, 1991, he will be on a 12-month sabbatical.
In regard to the Porter Creek C litigation, this is an action by the Yukon government against a contractor and engineer who constructed in-ground services in the Porter Creek C area. The work had to all be redone, costing the Yukon government about $3.5 million extra. The action was started in 1982 by the firm of Anton and Campion for the Yukon government. Extensive engineering studies were done and the work was redone and completed around 1984. In 1985, the action was then pursued as it had been delayed until the work had been completed. Since that time, extensive research and discoveries have taken place. There are more than 3,000 documents involved. The lengthy discovery process has now been completed and application for trial has been made for May 1991. A pre-trial hearing has been set for 3 p.m. this afternoon. It appears that it is going to be a very lengthy trial, lasting between one and two months.
One more piece of information was in regard to the involvement of the lawyers for the compensation for the victim of crime awards. A number of lawyers were involved in each of the awards. I will go back to 1987/88 when there were six; in 1988/89, there were three; in 1989/90 there were three lawyers involved and in 1990 to September, there were five. So, there have always been lawyers involved and I have the cost here and I could provide that information to the Member. I have two copies here, and I will pass this information over to her. It includes the number of awards, the amount of the awards and the lawyers involved.
I think that is all of the information that she requested from yesterday.
Mrs. Firth: That answers the questions I had.
Hon. Ms. Joe: Could I just make a correction? The leave without pay for Mr. Stuart was not January, it was June 1.
Mrs. Firth: Perhaps the Minister could tell us about the increase of 42 percent.
Hon. Ms. Joe: The 42 percent increase in funding relates to the addition of a term person year as an aboriginal justice coordinator and other costs related to the aboriginal justice pilot project.
Program Director in the amount of $512,000 agreed to
On Community Corrections
Community Corrections in the amount of $547,000 agreed to
On Institutional Facilities
Institutional Facilities in the amount of $3,126,000 agreed to
On Community Residential Centre
Community Residential Centre in the amount of $232,000 agreed to
On Crime Prevention
Crime Prevention in the amount of $395,000 agreed to
On Police Services Agreement
Police Services Agreement in the amount of $7,514,000 agreed to
On Native Special Constable
Native Special Constable in the amount of $275,000 agreed to
On Yukon Work Camps
Yukon Work Camps in the amount of $268,000 agreed to
Operation & Maintenance in the amount of $12,869,000 agreed to
On Equipment Replacement - Existing Facility
Equipment Replacement - Existing Facility in the amount of $40,000 agreed to
On New Equipment - Existing Facility
New Equipment - Existing Facility in the amount of $34,000 agreed to
On Electronic Home Monitoring System
Mrs. Firth: Perhaps the Minister could tell us how this is going to work and why the government felt this was a good initiative to pursue.
Hon. Ms. Joe: The Member knows about the crowded facility that we have in existence right now. It has been a problem for a number of years and gets increasingly worse because of the number of people ending up there, especially in regard to sex offenders. In the last couple of weeks, we have reached a crisis. At a certain population in the jail a crisis arises, and we have reached and gone over that crisis number. We found that we had to have some options with regard to what we were going to do about that problem. As a result of that, we looked into the electronic home monitoring system. We started looking into it about three years ago, I think. This will allow us to have a less crowded facility and also allow the individuals who would want to take advantage of this to remain in a certain area during the period of time they have been sentenced. It could be in their homes or even allow them to continue to work.
It was estimated to cost in the area of $80,000.
Mrs. Firth: In the Ministers opening statements, she makes reference to some flexibility in dealing with non-violent offenders.
What kind of individual would that be? What kind of an offender would be included in that category?
Hon. Ms. Joe: In a lot of cases there are impaired drivers. I think we all know that impaired drivers, on a second offence, are sentenced to 14 days in jail. It is automatic. People who have committed those crimes who we feel would not be a danger to the public for that period of time would be one example. I am trying to think of some other cases. It would be someone we would not expect to cause any kinds of problems while under that situation.
Mrs. Firth: I do not know if that is a good example or not. My concern is that impaired drivers should not be out on the street when there is a risk of them drinking again and driving. The electronic device is not going to help in that instance.
I guess the concern I have is that we have people who have committed offences and have been sentenced to be withdrawn from society and to lose the privileges they would normally have. What we are going to do is take them out because of overcrowding and attach an electronic device to them and allow them to have all those freedoms. I know that maybe in some huge cities like New York, they have used this device quite effectively. I do not know how wide its use is in Canada. I could see there being some merit to it, but my recommendation would be to set a priority, address the problem and find a solution to the overcrowding and why the crime rate is going up. Why are there more offenders?
I recognize that the Minister does not have a lot of control over that. It is something that should be addressed and dealt with as opposed to this type of system. I am not totally convinced that this type of system is really going to be of service to the public or the offenders who are being punished for his or her offence to society.
Hon. Ms. Joe: There are some who have suggested that this might be an inhumane way of dealing with offenders but there are also other views on what this program will do. We are working toward the future and looking at the problems in the facility to find out how we can deal with them in the future. As I mentioned to the House, we do have a really big problem and there is some fear down the road that, when we reached our crisis population, there may be some problems that may happen that we may not have any control over.
So, in the meantime, while we are trying to put a plan together, we have done a facilities study and we are looking and working from that right now, to try to develop a plan on what we are going to do about our crowded facility. There is a possibility that a new facility will be built here in Whitehorse. There is also a possibility that we may build a facility out in some community. In the meantime, we have to deal with the situation as it is right now.
I understand the Members concern in regard to the sentence imposed on these people and the consequences of it, but we found that this system, although it has not been implemented in all of the jurisdictions in Canada, it has been in some provinces, and we have done a lot of research in trying to find out whether or not it would be a good thing to have here in the Yukon. Until we have something better, this is our next best thing and, we hope, will alleviate some of the crowding in the jail.
Mrs. Firth: Did the Minister have any consultation with groups involved in the justice system, such as the Association for the Prevention of Community and Family Violence or the Association for Community Living? What was their reaction to this method of dealing with offenders?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I myself did not have any consultation with any groups. I believe there was some discussion by people in this government but I cannot give her that information right now. This type of a program is similar to the adult residential program that is run by the Salvation Army, where individuals on the way to freedom have a chance to slowly get back into the system. Of course it is a little bit different but we have to have the criteria to allow us to put those individuals in those circumstances.
Mrs. Firth: Where will the monitoring system be operated from?
Hon. Ms. Joe: It will be monitored out of the correctional centre.
Mrs. Firth: I guess I just want to register a concern about the wisdom of the decision and the expenditure of the money. The $80,000 is a lot of money and perhaps could have been spent more wisely in some other area. I guess we will just have to wait to see whether it proves to be a workable system or not.
Electronic Home Monitoring System in the amount of $80,000 agreed to
On Correctional Facility Construction
Mrs. Firth: The Minister said they were looking at some facility planning and construction. Is the government planning to build a new corrections facility? What are the target dates for that?
Hon. Ms. Joe: We have the facility study that was done, and we have had a chance to go through it. There were some options indicated to us in regard to the manner in which we would like to go. As a Cabinet, we have had discussions with regard to the facility.
There is no definite plan right now, so I am unable to give the Member a date of any kind. I hope that, some time in the very near future, we will have a plan in place to deal with the crisis situation.
Mrs. Firth: Is that going to be the construction of a new facility, or renovations to the existing facility?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The Member opposite has been through the jail, and she has seen the condition of it. There may be a possibility that we will be building a new facility here in Whitehorse, but there is also the possibility, after much talk and lobbying from some of the communities, that we have a smaller facility in one of the communities. That would include inmates who do not have to make ongoing appearances in the court.
There are many options that have been presented to us. At the same time, there has been much discussion in regard to the kind of programming that could be available to help with the rehabilitation. We are trying to improve the programs we now have. We have a very high recidivism rate.
Correctional Facility Construction in the amount of $1.00 agreed to
Capital in the amount of $154,000 agreed to
Solicitor General in the amount of $13,023,000 agreed to
Chair: Any questions on the following pages?
On Policy and Planning
On Operation & Maintenance
Operations in the amount of $228,000 agreed to
On Information & Education
Mrs. Firth: I just want to ask the Minister a question with respect to the unpaid fines. I asked the Minister questions last session about a new collection system the department was working on. Could she tell us what that system is? Did they work in conjunction with the city to develop a system that is perhaps consistent with the municipal level of government as well?
Hon. Ms. Joe: A lot of the problems she is talking about were discussed with all people involved. A proposal was made to me in regard to how we were going to try to encourage individuals to pay their fines. Time in lieu of has not been a part of the sentence for a long time. It is not something that I have imposed, but we do have a problem. The plan has been given to me and we have had discussions about it. It will be going to Management Board for approval. Other than that, I cannot tell the Member any more, but I hope we will be able to deal with it in a very short time.
Mrs. Firth: When I asked the questions, I believe it was in April of 1990, the Minister said at the time that they would be making a decision in early summer. There has been a great deal of delay. The concern and talk at the time was the principle of linking unpaid fines to the renewal of drivers or hunting licences. Can the Minister tell us if that principle is being considered in that decision?
Hon. Ms. Joe: That was one of the plans proposed to us, and we were not in favour. We felt there had to be a different way to encourage those individuals to pay their fines and we are looking at other options that are not quite so startling.
Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister give me any indication of when that decision is going to be made?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I hope my answer right now has more meaning. I hope it is within the next couple of weeks.
Mrs. Firth: Would the Minister provide me in writing with the new policy when that decision is made, please?
Hon. Ms. Joe: Yes, I can do that.
Information & Education in the amount of $58,000 agreed to
Operation & Maintenance in the amount of $286,000 agreed to
Policy and Planning in the amount of $286,000 agreed to
On Human Rights
On Operation & Maintenance
On Human Rights Commission Grant
Human Rights Commission Grant in the amount of $253,000 agreed to
On Human Rights Adjudication Board
Human Rights Adjudication Board in the amount of $42,000 agreed to
Operation & Maintenance in the amount of $295,000 agreed to
Human Rights in the amount of $295,000 agreed to
Department of Justice agreed to
Public Service Commission
Hon. Ms. Joe: The Public Service Commission is responsible for human resource management for all employees of the Government of Yukon, including the following functions: recruitment training, compensation, classification, labour relations, employee assistance and health promotion, employee records and pensions and employment equity.
The Public Service Commission manages these programs under the authority of the Public Service Commission Act, the Public Service Staff Relations Act, the Labour Relations Act and the Education Act.
The staff complement is 35 full-time permanent positions, two half-time permanent positions and 11.5 term positions, 10 of which are associated with the employment equity branch. New initiatives in the training and development area will contribute to the achievement of human resource planning objectives.
During the fall of 1990, Yukoners will have the opportunity to study courses leading to a masters degree in public administration. The courses will be offered at Yukon College by the University of Alaska Southeast Juneau. The program is the result of extensive planning and cooperation among the Government of Yukon, Yukon College and the University of Alaska. The program will offer several prerequisites during the fall of 1990, with the graduate level courses starting in the spring of 1991.
The employee assistance and health promotion program is engaged in developing and promoting wellness in the workplace. The workplace wellness program emphasizes health promotion activities. A program model, purpose and structure have been developed and objectives for the remainder of the fiscal year have been established.
In the coming year program staff will work with specific employees groups such as correctional officers and youth service workers, to identify employee needs and mobilize existing resources. Other program activities include wellness courses for Whitehorse and rural areas, noon hour health information sessions, a health promotion library and a wellness newsletter.
The employment equity policy was approved and announced during July 1990. The policy goal is to ensure fairness and access to employment opportunities and to develop a public service that is representative of the Yukon population by the year 2000. Employment equitys primary focus for the coming year will be this policy initiative. In September 1990, a workforce survey was conducted and data collected will produce a statistical picture of the Yukon government workforce. The survey is a first step toward developing a representative workforce. Data will be analyzed to provide workforce profiles for individual departments and to identify government human resources needs on an ongoing basis.
The executives of the Yukon Government Employees Union and the Yukon Teachers Association were consulted regarding the survey and participated in survey-planning sessions. Both unions lent support to this project and encouraged their members to participate in the survey. At this time, I would like to bring to everyones attention that page 311 should reflect $30,000 under O&M expenditure recovery for fiscal year 1990-91. This makes it consistent with revenues recoveries listed on page 334.
Mrs. Firth: I just have some comments I would like to make in general debate and then we can proceed to the line-by-line items. On the workplace profile survey that was conducted, I would like to ask the Minister if she could tell us when we will get the information that is to be revealed in that survey?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I did table a legislative return with some information in regard to that. Has the Member had a chance to read it? Actually, I do not have the statistics in the information. The information I have in this return is that it should be completed by December 21, which is next week.
Mrs. Firth: If we could have the information sent to our offices if we are not in the Legislature and the Minister is not tabling the information here, I would appreciate that.
I have one observation to make about the way the workplace profile survey was done. I raised some concerns at the time about the fact that employees names were put on the questionnaire sheet that employees had to fill out. I spoke to the chair of the Human Rights Commission here in Whitehorse who was semi-informed about the incident but was not aware that many employees were raising a concern about the fact that their names had been put on the questionnaire. I took the liberty of phoning the Canadian Human Rights Commission and spoke to a gentleman there who indicated to me that it did seem somewhat unusual that the employees names would be put on the questionnaires themselves. He indicated it was not the way other governments or businesses, who had participated in this kind of a survey, had done it. They felt it was a political decision that this government had made to go in that direction. I would like to ask the Minister why they felt that it was necessary to put peoples names on the questionnaires. I think the same results and information that the government wanted could have been acquired in a much more positive way.
Have the employees been guaranteed some anonymity as opposed to confidentiality?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The issue that the Member raises was, of course, something taken into consideration when the planning of the workplace data-base survey was being done. There was a great deal of research done with regard to the very concern that it might be a problem. What will happen as a result of the information that we will be getting back is that the information will be going out to each and every employee who completed the questionnaire. One of the things we will be finding out at the end of the survey is whether or not the employees, and I am sure there were some, objected to the manner in which it was done and/or objected to their name being put on the list.
A lot of work went into trying to get the information we were seeking. Individuals from the department travelled to the communities to talk about it with the employees in the outlying areas and Whitehorse as well, so a lot of work did go into it. We felt in the end that we would not be infringing on anyones human rights, although there are questions and concerns, as the Member stated. We will have a better idea by the end of the month, when we have all of the information, whether or not there were a great number of people who took exception to that.
I would like to mention to the Member now that the information we will be getting back from that survey will be given to the employees in January or February. I can provide the Member with that information at the same time. It will be compiled at the end of December, or we will have that information, but we will have a little bit of work to do after that.
Mrs. Firth: I want to make a representation on behalf of many employees. I had a lot of employees call me to complain about the way the government was doing this. They felt they were in a Catch-22 situation. They did not want to fill out the questionnaire, because they did not feel that the government had a right to ask for that specific information. Yet, if they did not fill out the questionnaire, the government knew they had not filled it out.
It was a lose-lose situation for the employees, and I felt sorry for them being put into that kind of a position. If I had been the Minister doing this, my preference would have been that it be done anonymously, as opposed to the confidential way the government was doing it, and also that it be done on a voluntary basis, as opposed to the heavy-handed approach that it was almost compulsory. The employees name was on the questionnaire, and a certain period of time was set aside in the working day for the employees to sit down and fill out the questionnaire.
I would not have approached it in the same way the Minister did, although she says they went around to communities to tell people what was happening. By this time, even that was perceived to be intimidating and not a positive step, which I am sure the Minister intended it to be. It was perceived to be an intimidating thing: this is how you fill out the questionnaire, and the time is going to be set aside for you to do it; everyone put their pencils down and picked up their questionnaire-answering pencil.
That is the criticism I brought forward publicly at the time, and it still holds. We would not have done it that way. We would have preserved the anonymity and voluntary aspect of the questionnaire.
Hon. Ms. Joe: The information we will be receiving will be confidential. I agree that it would cause some of those individuals concern. The information will be confidential. We place a lot of confidence in the unions that represent those individuals. There was a great deal of consultation with them in regard to them, and they supported the project.
I thank the Member for her comments in regard to problems she has mentioned in the House.
Mr. Nordling: I have heard concerns that the hiring guidelines of the government are not always followed and that creative methods are used to get around these guidelines to ensure certain people get jobs, despite the outward appearance of open competition.
I have also heard of interference at the deputy minister level into the hiring process. I would like to hear a general comment from the Minister on this, then I would like to ask about a specific case. First, how does the Minister feel generally about the effectiveness of the hiring practices in the PSC?
Hon. Ms. Joe: We have realized there is a problem in regard to the hiring practices of this government and that is in regard to the strict process we have. Many individuals who feel they are qualified to do the job probably are, but we are dealing with a system that has been in place here for years and years.
We recognize that there is a problem because of all the complaints we are getting, such as the Member spoke about. We all know of instances where we feel that people are qualified to do the job but do not become certifiable because they could not answer certain questions.
We are looking at that problem very seriously. We will be dealing with it to try to find out how it can relate to the individuals who live here in the Yukon and how it would help them to be prepared to get employment with this government.
We are concerned about the hiring criteria and the kinds of things that are expected of the employees. We know of many individuals, who have not been short listed because of the manner in which they did their resume, who are well qualified to do a job. I think probably the Member and others in this Legislature know cases where they felt an individual was qualified for a job.
We are looking at the problem. We hope that we can come together on some better way of dealing with the hiring. We want to hire qualified people to do the job, but we also want to make sure that everything is fair and that Yukoners are able to take advantage of it in a different way.
Mr. Nordling: I hope that is done fairly soon. I know that sometimes these things get looked at and looked at and looked at and the years and years go by and we still have the same system to wrestle with. So I hope the Minister is successful in reviewing this and coming up with something more suitable that causes less concern and fewer complaints.
The specific question I want to ask about, and I do not know if the Minister has any information yet, is the process in the hiring of the director of archives. I mentioned it very recently to the Minister that I had understood, on a second hand basis, that the Deputy Minister of Education had his hand in the hiring for this position. I ask the Minister of the Public Service Commission is she would review the steps that were taken in the hiring of that individual and whether it was done pursuant to the guidelines.
Hon. Ms. Joe: One of the things that Ministers were made aware of five years ago when we became Ministers was not to interfere with the hiring process. That has been followed through by Ministers. I thank the Member for providing me with the circumstances in regard to the question he has just asked. There was a selection panel consisting of six people who conducted the interviews for that position. The person who was hired for that position was agreed to by all of the members. I have not heard any evidence of any other practices that might not have been in line with what occurred.
Mr. Nordling: The story I heard was not from the horses mouth. It was from someone else who was concerned about the way it was. I heard that this particular position was advertised and that there were only a couple of applicants. According to the story I got, one of the two applicants was qualified, but was not given the job. The Deputy Minister of Education required that it be put out for competition again and there were a couple of other individuals who applied. I think one was directly contacted by the Deputy Minister of Education, and apparently that individual got the job.
It sounds a little unusual that we would have a competition, not hire a qualified person, and then put it out to competition again.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I cannot tell this House why the people who applied for the position in March were not successful. I am not familiar with that information. If I were, I would not explain those reasons here in the House, because that is not fair to the individuals who applied. When the second ad went out for the position, it was September 12. There were two applicants who were short listed and interviewed. The person who was selected was agreed upon by all members of that committee. I have the names of the people who were on the committee at that time and who did the interviewing. I am not familiar with any of the people who applied for the position, only the person who was successful.
On that committee, we had an assistant deputy minister from Government Services, Miriam McTiernan; the Deputy Minister of Education, Shakir Alwarid; the president of the Yukon Historical Museums Association, Dave Newfeldt; the director of the McBride Museum, Joanne Meehan; the director of Education of CYI, Sharon Jacobs; and the recruitment officer for the Public Service Commission, Marina Pope. Those are the individuals who were on that selection panel.
Mr. Nordling: I do not want the reasons why or why not anyone was hired, just the steps that took place: when this job was first advertised, when applications were closed, what happened with the first competition and, when it was readvertised, what happened. We are being told that there was a panel of six people on the board. Did these six people interview the first time, and interview both applicants? Did they then take part in the second series of interviews?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The competition first went out on March 9 and 16, and it closed on March 30. It was short listed, and applicants were interviewed. The selection panel did not appoint any of the applicants, and the position was filled on an acting basis until December 1, 1990.
On September 12, this position was advertised again, with a closing date of September 26. Two applicants were short listed and interviewed by the selection panel on October 26. I mentioned who was on the panel. The offer was accepted on November 14.
I do not have information on whether or not this was the same committee that went through the applications for the first competition. I can find that out.
Mr. Nordling: I would appreciate that. It is not clear to me how many applicants were short listed in the first competition, and how many were interviewed by the panel before they decided that none would be given the job.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I do not have that information, but it is available and will be made available to the Member.
Mrs. Firth: I will follow up on the issue the Member has raised, because I heard the same concern. I do not believe the panel interviewed the first individual. I do not believe the panel was formed until after the deputy minister decided the job was going to go out to another competition.
The other information I have that the Member for Porter Creek West did not raise was that, when it was decided the job was to go to competition, there was a long delay. The individual the Member for Porter Creek West said had been contacted by the Department of Education was away on holiday at the time, and they had to delay the whole interview process until that individual came back and could participate.
I think when two Members are hearing the same story about a particular job, it should raise a red flag with the Minister that perhaps there is some interference going on. It will be up to the Minister to make that decision but I do not think we can have even the perception of that type of interference going on. I can appreciate the Minister of Educations reaction when it was the Minister who was named, but the deputy minister should not be interfering. There should not even be the perception that they could be accused of it either.
I think the Minister should take the issue very seriously and come back with a chronological order of events so that we can be reassured that there was no interference with the awarding of this particular job, which is what we hear within the halls of this building.
Hon. Ms. Joe: As I indicated, I hear a great deal of concerns from individuals who have applied for positions with this government. My response is that we realize we would not be getting these complaints and concerns if they were not serious. We all know of circumstances where this has happened, and there may or may not have been any kind of interference from anywhere else. I cannot tell the House that.
But I would just like to point out that, when the competition first went out, there was a short list and there were people interviewed. I do not know who they were. I will provide that information.
In every case that is brought forward, I will bring those concerns to those people who are responsible for putting out the competition and the hiring. We are dealing with a very strict process that has been in place for many years, prior to even us being the government, and I think it is rigid. I would like to be able to come up with something that is more acceptable to Yukon people.
Mr. Nordling: I would just like to make it clear that my concern is, generally, with interference by senior departmental officials with the normal Public Service Commission procedures. This particular job that we have raised is just one example of that. It is a very recent example, but there have been numerous complaints along the same line. I do not think the Minister should concentrate specifically on this particular job because it is a problem that should be looked at as a whole.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I do take those comments very seriously. We will look at all of the problems as they are registered to us here. We would like to be able to know that everything is done in a fair manner. That is my hope.
On Systems Administration
On Operation & Maintenance
Administration in the amount of $326,000 agreed to
Devolution in the amount of $129,000 agreed to
Systems Administration in the amount of $455,000 agreed to
On Recruitment & Training
On Operation & Maintenance
On Recruitment Administration
Recruitment Administration in the amount of $452,000 agreed to
On Recruitment Operations
Recruitment Operations in the amount of $672,000 agreed to
On Training Administration
Training Administration in the amount of $120,000 agreed to
On Training Operations
Training Operations in the amount of $248,000 agreed to
On On-The-Job Training
On-The-Job Training in the amount of $67,000 agreed to
On Human Resource Planning
Human Resource Planning in the amount of $345,000 agreed to
Recruitment & Training in the amount of $1,904,000 agreed to
On Employee Records and Pensions
On Operation & Maintenance
Administration in the amount of $411,000 agreed to
Employee Records and Pensions in the amount of $411,000 agreed to
On Labour Relations
On Operation & Maintenance
On Labour Relations Administration
Labour Relations Administration in the amount of $210,000 agreed to
On Yukon Government Employees Union/Public Service Alliance of Canada
Mrs. Firth: I have just one question about the negotiations; where are we with those? The conciliator was supposed to meet and the blackout was supposed to be lifted. Has that happened yet? If not, what is the time line?
Hon. Ms. Joe: In regard to the Public Service Alliance of Canada negotiations, the conciliation has been scheduled to continue on January 19 and January 20 and the parties at that time have agreed that there would be no further comments made in regard to that, so the media blackout still applies.
Yukon Government Employees Union/Public Service Alliance of Canada in the amount of $113,000 agreed to
On Yukon Teachers Association
Yukon Teachers Association in the amount of $11,000 agreed to
On Managerial/Confidential Exclusion
Managerial/Confidential Exclusion in the amount of $5,000 agreed to
On Employee Assistance & Health Promotion
Employee Assistance & Health Promotion in the amount of $134,000 agreed to
On Long Service Awards
Long Service Awards in the amount of $39,000 agreed to
Indemnification in the amount of $10,000 agreed to
Operation & Maintenance in the amount of $522,000 agreed to
Labour Relations in the amount of $522,000 agreed to
On Workers Compensation Fund
On Operation & Maintenance
On Workers Compensation Payments
Workers Compensation Payments in the amount of $307,000 agreed to
Operation & Maintenance in the amount of $307,000 agreed to
Workers Compensation Fund in the amount of $307,000 agreed to
On Operation & Maintenance
Operations in the amount of $508,000 agreed to
On Classification Appeals
Classification Appeals in the amount of $22,000 agreed to
Operation & Maintenance in the amount of $530,000 agreed to
Compensation in the amount of $530,000 agreed to
On Employment Equity
On Operation & Maintenance
Administration in the amount of $163,000 agreed to
On Native Training
Native Training in the amount of $359,000 agreed to
On PEP Training
PEP Training in the amount of $20,000 agreed to
On Disabled Job Entry
Disabled Job Entry in the amount of $45,000 agreed to
Operation & Maintenance in the amount of $587,000 agreed to
Employment Equity in the amount of $587,000 agreed to
Chair: Are there no questions on the following pages?
Mrs. Firth: Just before we break, I would like to thank the Minister for providing me with the specific budget information for each branch of her department. It makes the debate go a lot quicker when I know ahead of time what the increases are for.
Chair: The Committee will take a break.
Chair: I call Committee of the Whole back to order.
Hon. Ms. Joe on a point of order.
Hon. Ms. Joe: During the budget debate, we did miss a line item. That was the leave accruals.
On Leave Accruals
Leave Accruals in the amount of $3,100,000 agreed to
Public Service Commission agreed to
Department of Renewable Resources
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am pleased to outline the operation and maintenance estimates for the Department of Renewable Resources for the 1990-91 fiscal year. These estimates call for the department to spend just over $12 million in the coming year. This is 11 percent more than the spending forecasted for the current year. This increase reflects my governments commitment to the completion of the Yukon Indian land claims agreement and our resolve to protect the Yukon environment. To support this governments land claims commitments, we are planning to spend more than $2.3 million for the negotiation and implementation of land claims agreements in the Yukon, most of which we expect will be covered by the federal government. An amount of $1.3 million will be spent on the negotiations toward the Yukon Indian comprehensive claim and related implementation tasks. Approximately has been allotted for the implementation of the Inuvialuit final agreement.
In the area of land claims, $500,000 has been set aside to help compensate outfitters for an anticipated loss of access to certain lands as a result of the Yukon claim.
The department will also be contributing $250,000 to the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Trust. This is the first installment toward a $1 million contribution to this fund to be paid by 1994.
A total of $244,000 has been allocated for the departments involvement in the negotiations. We will also be paying $200,000 for preimplementation tasks by various committees and boards. An additional $150,000 has been set aside to support related preimplementation work.
In reviewing the estimates, Members will notice the creation of a new program that includes all land claims expenditures. As a result, the previous IFA program is now a line activity under the land claims program. Also, estimates for Herschel Island Territorial Park, which is funded under the IFA, have been moved to the land claims program from parks, resources and regional planning. This format change will better reflect land claims costs to government and, coincidentally, responds well to the recent comments on the subject by the Auditor General of Canada in his annual report to Parliament.
To help meet the Yukon governments decentralization goals, the Department of Renewable Resources has allocated additional funding of $40,000 and a half-time clerk position for the Dawson field office. This will provide necessary secretarial support to the biologist position that has been decentralized to Dawson. It will also allow the office to be open for longer hours in that community.
With the generous contribution of $261,000 from Wildlife Habitat Canada, the department will be carrying out several projects to protect critical wildlife habitats in the Yukon. There is $42,000 proposed to continue the Faro sheep project, which is designed to avoid the disruption of traditional sheep migration routes in the Mt. Mye area. The department is continuing to work cooperatively with Curragh Resources and others on this mitigation project.
There is $74,000 for further work on a forestry related study on moose and caribou habitat in the Liard Valley.
We are also planning to spend $140,000 for a Yukon-wide wildlife habitat assessment and protection exercise. These projects will help this government support development that takes into account the environment around us.
One of our continuing important objectives for the next year will be the development of the Yukon environment act. The department will be providing funding of $612,000 in 1991-92 for environmental protection.
This will include $330,000 for the preparation of the act, and funding for publication and awareness programs.
Within the parks, resources and regional planning branch, a new unit has been created to allow us to take advantage of the technology transfer program offered by the Canadian Centre of Remote Sensing. In the area of wildlife research, we plan to spend an additional $22,000 for the more intensive work of monitoring radio-collared wolves. This project funding will help us to better understand the role of this predator in the Finlayson Lake area, and it will be helpful to us in the development of game management programs throughout the territory.
The estimates also contain new funding of $15,000 to support the establishment and development of an institute of wildlife resources. Funding for this project will be shared with the provinces and the Northwest Territories.
This coming fiscal year, we will be increasing our direct assistance to the Yukon Trappers Association by $10,000, to help deliver trapper education workshops. This will partially offset the impact of the federal governments decision to withdraw their financial support from this valuable and needed program.
The Fur Institute of Canada will receive a total of $20,000 this year as our contribution to the national public education programs in support of Canadas fur industry. With regard to the deputy conservation officer program, Members may be interested to know that we have increased our funding for this program to $14,000. Last year, we invested $11,000 in developing this program. The deputy conservation officer program currently involves 10 participants in nine Yukon communities.
I am also pleased to outline the capital initiatives proposed for the Department of Renewable Resources for the upcoming fiscal year. In the area of parks and campgrounds, we will be funding a number of new initiatives and site improvements. The department plans to prepare management options for two new parks at the Carcross dunes and Kusawa Lake. A total of $70,000 has been earmarked for the preparation of these plans. They include the necessary public reviews and consultations with Yukon First Nations.
In preparation for the coming anniversary of the Alaska Highway, an additional $100,000 has been identified for consultation, planning and design work respecting the selection of two recreation sites along the highway. This will be one of the first steps in the implementation of the departments outdoor recreation sites and corridor systems plan, which we anticipate will have lasting benefits for our residents, visitors and tourism industry.
The estimates also contain $214,000 for planning and developing new campgrounds in the Yukon.
Specifically, we will be spending $31,000 to finalize the plans for the campground at Conrad, which is located on the South Klondike Highway near Windy Arm, and to continue planning work for the campground on the Houle Canyon on the Campbell Highway. The balance of $183,000 is budgeted for construction of a 20-site campground at Conrad.
Major rehabilitation work is also planned for three campgrounds in the Kluane area and one campground in the Dawson area. For these improvements $331,000 has been earmarked for Lake Creek, Congdon Creek, Dezadeash Lake and the Klondike River campgrounds. These will include the construction of new roads and loops, the installation of bear-proof garbage containers, wells, painting and other improvements. There will also be 13 new sites be built at the Lake Creek campground near White River.
We also plan to spend $75,000 on a program aimed at identifying and correcting natural hazards in or near campground or recreational site facilities.
In our ongoing facility replacement program, the department has allocated $131,000 to replace or repair damaged or obsolete equipment such as picnic tables, outhouses, garbage bins, wood boxes and signs. Through cooperation with the Inuvialuit and other groups, we will also be starting work on a management plan for the lazulite deposits located in northern Yukon.
Funding of $260,000 will allow the government to manage and protect Herschel Island Territorial Park. Working jointly with the Department of Tourism heritage branch and with close consultation with the Inuvialuit the department will be finalizing and implementing plans to manage and protect the park and its resources.
As I mentioned in the comments about the operation and maintenance estimates, land claim expenditures related to the Inuvialuit final agreement have been moved from the parks resources and regional planning program to the newly created land claims program. Funding related to Herschel Island Territorial Park is fully recoverable under the IFA.
In support of public education activities this year we will be providing new funding for the production of the popular fact sheets on Yukon mammals. For the production of the series, $90,000 has been allocated. It describes the Yukons 61 mammal species.
In the area of wildlife management we will be continuing to support the wise use and conservation of our wildlife populations. The increasing non-consumptive value of our wildlife is being recognized this year through the development of a wildlife viewing program. The department will be investing $131,000 next year in creating one new term position to develop this program.
The department has also earmarked $325,000 for the preparation of regional big game wildlife management plans. This year plans have been developed for three areas: Ross River, Teslin and Pelly Crossing. We are planning to invest $10,000 in the planning and development of a new compound facility in Faro in 1991-92. This will involve architectural designs and possibly some land assembling and pre-engineering work.
In total, the capital estimates for the Department of Renewable Resources call for an expenditure of almost $2 million. These expenditures will help us to take action to implement the Yukon conservation strategy to promote the wise use of our resources. They are an investment in our communities, our environment and our economy.
Mr. Lang: I want to go through a number of issues individually, and I will hear what the Ministers comments are, if that is okay with the Minister. I hope that will facilitate debate on the principles of what we are discussing and the budget should go through fairly quickly, once we establish some parameters.
I want to begin by just making an observation on the parks and campgrounds. At the outset, I want to say I think the Government of the Yukon Territory does a good job. I think that we can be proud of our parks system; the campgrounds are what I am referring to. I want to make an observation in respect to the Minister making the announcement of $180,000 plus, I gather, $30,000 to plan the campground at Conrad. The reason I raise this is that I feel that we should be maybe looking at our campground policy over the long term. At the same time, the Minister of Renewable Resources is the Minister of Tourism. The reality of the situation is, if the tourists stay at Conrad, either coming from Skagway to Whitehorse and overnighting at Conrad, or vice versa, they will be bypassing, in most part, the community of Carcross.
I think serious consideration must be given to this. If we are going to be assisting in new campgrounds being built, we should be doing them in very close proximity, if not within, the boundaries of communities, for a number of reasons. First of all, the small communities will get the economic benefits and, just as important, it will provide jobs for our local people.
The other aspect of this is from an environmental point of view. If we have these types of facilities in our existing communities, we already have a method and mechanism to take care of problems associated with running a campground, such as garbage and all the other things that come in when you have a large influx of people.
The other aspect, I would suggest, before we go ahead and spend $200,000, would be to recommend the Minister, maybe in conjunction with the Minister of Economic Development, see what can be put into place to encourage somebody to invest through the loans program in a campground in close proximity to Carcross. Then you have a business started. You have somebody taking care of that business. We are not, as legislators, then saddled with the ongoing operation and maintenance costs associated with a $200,000 campground, which is going to be the next aspect the Minister is going to call for in the next year. I think, and I am using this as an example, there are other areas that we should be looking at as well.
Let us take the situation of Wolf Creek as an example. Wolf Creek is in close proximity to Whitehorse, which is in direct competition with private entrepreneurs who are in the same type of business. I am sure the Minister has had some observations made by people in the business. Similarly, when we were on the other side of the House, those observations were made and they were quite valid. I just think we should be taking a second look at what we are doing. I have no problem, in the area of Conrad, perhaps making a day-use area or a recreational stopping area. But I really think that perhaps we could have a wiser use of our funds with a longer-term benefit to us as Yukoners. I am just wondering if the Minister would re-evaluate what he is asking the House, take a look seriously at what I am offering him as another option and see whether there is any possibility of going in that direction as opposed to what he has indicated to the House today.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to thank the Member for his comment. There is quite a lot there to comment on. I want to start off by acknowledging his favourable comments about the condition of our campground system in the territory. I have to agree with him. We have an excellent campground system, and it is because it has followed a policy that has been in place for a number of years, far before this government took office. That policy has been continued by this government, and it states that we should be establishing campgrounds every 200 kilometres for the enjoyment, benefit and education of our visitors.
At the same time, we are making an attempt to encourage tourists, in addition to visiting the communities, to travel around the Yukon and to accommodate their needs by introducing some day-use areas, as well as campgrounds, that are enroute between major centres - such as Whitehorse and Dawson, and Whitehorse and Watson Lake, for example - at regular intervals of about 200 kilometres. This is why we have positioned campgrounds at such places as Moose Creek or Lake Creek.
As a rule, we have not changed the long-standing policy of developing many campgrounds around communities, for the very reason cited by the Member for Porter Creek East, because they would introduce competition to local businesses that have established, in some cases, campgrounds, although they are usually more elaborate recreational vehicle facilities that provide services like electrical hookups and dumping facilities, which we do not offer in our campgrounds.
With respect to the issue of the campground at Carcross, it should be noted that we do not have a campground in the area south of Carcross. In the past, the Opposition has called for us to establish a campground in that area. This particular budget addresses that concern with the allotment of approximately $200,000.
The facility that many tourists enroute from Skagway to Carcross now use is Lake Tutshi, which is actually in British Columbia and is inadequate. We centreed on Conrad because it is already used by a number of people. We want to create an established campground there, so we do not create any additional environmental damage. It also has the added attraction of the remnants of the mining activity that took place there many years ago.
More correctly, it could be defined as a campground/mining historic park. We feel that this will be an attraction in itself. I believe that the long-term economic stability for the tourism industry in Carcross and the surrounding area depends on the provision of a diversity of natural, historical and recreational attractions.
If a region - in this case, the Carcross/Southern Lakes region - can offer a variety of things to see and do, and places to go, it will draw tourists to that whole region, as well as having Carcross serve as the focal point for these activities.
Mr. Lang: I am just trying to put more ideas on the table to be considered. In the Conrad and Tutshi area, I think a good-sized day-use area would be ideal. There could be a combination and we should take a hard look at our new campgrounds and what we are doing with our tourism industry. We cannot ignore the two.
I am recommending that the Minister look at that as a day use area, and encourage some entrepreneur to go to Carcross to make an overnight campground there of some significant size. It would be of benefit to that community from a number of points of view. I am sure the Minister would not argue with that. I think we are sometimes missing the opportunity to maximize the economic potential with some of the things we do, although our intentions are good. I do not think a campground 10 or 20 miles outside of a community pays that many benefits to the community right next door to it.
As a person with a travel trailer, when I get up in the morning I am gone. Once I am hooked up, I am gone. I am not going to stop 10 miles down the road. I have a destination in mind and it is probably going to be 150 miles or so, depending on what I am doing.
I make that observation and perhaps the Minister can review that.
Another area I would like to talk about is the new parks policy. Representations have been made to me by people who are very concerned with some of the elements that the Department of Renewable Resources has been pursuing for its parks program. The comments are from a number of recreational people within the community who use, as an example, a snowmobile as their main recreation. They see these as areas that will be set aside and will no longer be available to them for those type of pursuits. I would like the Minister to assure me that in the future territorial parks he is looking at that the ability for hunting, under regulation of course, will be continued for non-native hunters, and also recreational snowmobiling will be included as a matter of principle for these sites as they are identified and put into place.
Hon. Mr. Webster: As the Member knows, we had public input earlier this year, comments to our proposed outdoor parks and recreation plan. In that, we very strongly indicated that in establishing new territorial parks, a management plan will be put in place that reflects the wishes of all users. Management plans will be drawn up with input from all potential users of the area. I think that should give an assurance to the Member opposite that it will not be government dictating what the uses of a proposed territorial park will be. It will be dictated by the people who use that park.
Mr. Lang: So much is done under the pretext of public consultation. At the same time, we have the situation of the national historic park on the Chilkoot Trail where the recreational snowmobilers had no idea that their access to that park was going to infringed upon.
There are certain principles the government has to enunciate on how they see these parks being utilized. I am asking the Minister to assure me, as a Member of the House, that the question of hunting privileges - and I say non-native hunters in this case, because native hunters can hunt anywhere - and those of the recreational snowmobilers will be principles you will permit in these particular areas, as they are identified.
The Minister is telling me that if, as they develop a management plan, a group of people may not know this type of thing is going on they are not considered. Some people do not have the time to go to these public meetings, believe it or not. People have private lives and their own things they want to do, and they do not want to go to a public meeting. The Minister can attest to that. He goes to a lot of these meetings, and there are not many people there. If you go to the same communities, it is almost always the same people coming to the meetings. It is not the whole community. There are some people who are prepared to be active; others are not.
I just want these assurances from the Minister of Renewable Resources. These are two critical areas to the people of the territory and he, as Minister, must ensure that those principles are upheld. It must be ensured that these rights and privileges remain, although they maybe limited in some cases. People must have access to these particular areas, otherwise it is going to be seen as another restricted area. I do not think that is the intention of the park plan.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I see I only have a few minutes left. I want to assure the Member that every opportunity will be given for people to add their comments to this. I think it is the responsibility of people to take the time to attend a public meeting or to write a submission. In the case of the Chilkoot Trail Historic National Park, there were opportunities. Yes, a large group of users were not aware of it but, I can assure you that Canada Parks Service is now trying to accommodate their wishes. Assuming, of course, that conditions warrant it and, for example, if there is a healthy fish population in a proposed territorial park area, I see no problem continuing to allow fishing in those areas.
I know my colleague was fishing in the North Yukon Park, for example. It is the same with hunting.
The time now being 5:30 p.m., with some direction from the Member for Riverdale South, I move that we report progress on Bill No. 16.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
May the House have the report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole?
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 Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. Monday next.
The House adjourned at 5:29 p.m.
The following Sessional Papers were tabled December 13, 1990:
Proposed Amendment to Bill No. 22 (An Act to Amend the Liquor Act) (Webster)
Annual Report, Department of Justice, 1989-90 (M. Joe)
Petition from residents of Old Crow: We Want a Vote on Alcohol Prohibition (December 1990) (Phillips)
The following Legislative Returns were tabled December 13, 1990:
Public Service Commission, with Bureau of Statistics: Status of Workforce Profile Survey (M. Joe)
Oral, Hansard, p. 346
Government Services: Well and water system at Golden Horn Elementary School (Byblow)
Oral, Hansard, p. 484
Education: French as a Second Language (FSL) in Yukon schools (McDonald)
Oral, Hansard, p. 546
Education: Capital expenditures for Community Library Development (McDonald)
Oral, Hansard, p. 549
The following Document was filed December 13, 1990:
Yukon Development Corporation: Contract information re Old Yukon College (Penikett)