Tuesday, December 18, 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. Ms. Joe: I have some responses to questions asked in the House.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I have for tabling a legislative return, the annual report of the Yukon Liquor Corporation and, for filing, a discussion draft of the proposed Yukon environment act.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have four returns for tabling.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have for tabling two annual reports, one for the Yukon Lottery Commission, year ending 1989-90 and one for the Motor Transport Board, year ending 1989-90.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Petition No. 4
Mrs. Firth: I have for tabling today a petition called We Want 911". There are over 4,000 names on this petition, urging the Government of Yukon to establish a 911 emergency service. In a very short time over 4,000 Yukoners signed this, indicating that they feel that is an essential service.
The two comments that I heard the most when I was collecting these petitions were, one, that people were shocked to find out that we did not already have a 911 number and, two, that they really wanted this service for their children.
Speaker: Introduction of Bills.
Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Are there any Notices of Motions?
Are there any Statements by Ministers?
Proposed Yukon Environment Act
Hon. Mr. Webster: A few minutes ago, I filed with the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly an 87-page document entitled A Discussion Draft for a Proposed Yukon Environment Act.
Although this document is not yet ready for widespread public circulation, it was filed today as testament to the significant amount of work that has been accomplished since September of this year, when I travelled throughout the territory to hear what people wanted in the Yukon environment act.
As I speak, the document that I filed is being edited, a readers guide is being written, and a brochure outlining the major features of the proposed act is being prepared for printing.
Early in the new year, the department will use both supporting documents to inform Yukon people about the contents of the proposed legislation, and to initiate the next stage of consultations on the act.
The aim of the consultations is to ensure that the final provisions of the act, which will be introduced to this Legislature in 1991 will, in fact, protect our environment - protect our common future - and respond to the concerns that people in Yukon communities expressed to me in September.
This act is by necessity a framework - a framework in more than one way.
It must allow for future changes and additions, because of the separate powers of the federal and territorial governments. Canada controls lands, waters, and forests. The Yukon so far controls only a small amount of land, wildlife, and fish other than salmon. Responsibility for air and wastes does not clearly rest with either government.
Therefore, where it is necessary, the act is worded to allow the two governments to work together. As the Yukon assumes more federal powers, this situation will, of course, evolve.
Similarly, the act must accommodate land claim agreements when they come into force, giving First Nations control over their lands. In fact, this environment act is similar to the land claims framework agreement. They both outline general plans, with sections to be filled in as they are negotiated.
The act is also general in that it provides a framework for detailed regulations. It does not define exactly what would be controlled, with amounts and times and penalties. These will be spelled out in specific regulations.
Having made those general observations about the framework character of the act, I would like to take a few moments to outline some of its major features.
The proposed act can be discussed in two sections. The first sets out public goals and citizens rights, and defines the roles of various agencies and departments. The second details what needs to be protected and how we propose to do that.
More specifically, the first section of the act defines a number of rights and responsibilities:
It states the environmental rights of Yukon citizens.
It provides a legal framework for partnerships with communities, First Nations, other governments, public interest groups and businesses, and allows for incentives to help achieve the goals of the act.
It outlines a formal legislative mandate for both the Yukon Conservation Strategy, our blueprint for a healthy environment, and the Yukon Council on the Economy and the Environment, the body which monitors this governments implementation of the conservation strategy.
It requires regular state-of-the-environment reporting and auditing of the governments work to protect the environment.
It entrenches in legislation the authorities and roles of the people who will administer the act.
Finally, it provides a strong mandate for public education, the key to encouraging positive changes in public attitudes toward the environment.
The second section of the act contains the features that Canadians have come to expect in environmental protection legislation:
It defines the areas that the act proposes to regulate: such as waste management, special wastes, pesticides and spills.
It details the resources that will be protected by the act: air, water, land, wilderness and forests.
It defines the tools - permits, dispute resolution measures, project review procedures, regulations and the enforcement procedures and penalties that will give teeth to the legislation.
In January, letters of invitation to municipalities, First Nations, groups, businesses and individuals will ask them to participate in workshops and consultation meetings to discuss the proposed legislation.
We need to hear from Yukon people how they feel the proposed legislation will affect them, and how it might be improved to make it more understandable, easier to comply with, and when necessary, effectively enforced.
Without doubt, the final Yukon environment act will require changes in the behavior of government, of business, and, in fact, of individuals like you and me.
The consultations in the new year will seek to make people aware of the proposed revisions of the act, and, perhaps more importantly, the reasons why they are proposed. Yukoners will have ample opportunity in January to March of 1991 to learn more about the act and to help determine its final shape.
By the time the final act is introduced to the Legislature in the spring of 1991, we hope to have achieved some form of public consensus on its contents.
I look forward to the new year and opportunities to discuss the details of this proposed legislation with all people of the Yukon.
Mr. Lang: I rise today to express my surprise at the poorly organized state in which the environment act has been presented to the Legislature. The government has promised the public an environment act for the past two years and has spent to date more than $500,000 and yet are so unprepared the Minister is presenting a document that is not ready for widespread public circulation. But we have been reassured that it is in the process of being edited, a readers guide is being written and a brochure outlining the major features of the proposed act is being prepared for printing.
The government has no excuse to present an act of such fundamental importance to the people of the Yukon in this manner. Yesterday, we were informed in the government estimates they will be spending over $1.2 million on preparing the legislation as well as on a public relations campaign. One cannot but question the credibility of the government when they are prepared to spend so much of the taxpayers money on public relations to make the government look good yet, to date, we have not budgeted $1.00 for the most damaging environmental problem facing Yukoners, and that is the sad condition of the Whitehorse sewage treatment plant.
I also have to question just how serious the Government of Yukon is about our environment when they have, to date, not appeared before the House of Commons Parliamentary Committee that is presently studying the implications of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, Bill C-78. This piece of federal legislation is of major importance to Yukon and our people since it will apply to all federal crown land and, I suspect, will override any legislation passed by our Legislature because of our territorial status.
In reading the ministerial statement, I have to express my concern that nowhere in this statement does the Minister accentuate the importance of this type of legislation and how it must work hand in hand with our economy. I hope the legislation that has been tabled today will ensure that a balance is found between the environmental and economic objectives of Yukoners, in order that we can ensure that our competitive station, as far as the international mining industry is concerned, is maintained.
In summary, all this government can do is improve on the environmental front. This past year we have witnessed 300,000 trees left to rot and continue to watch the pollution of the Yukon River on a daily basis. We look forward to the debate on the environment and we can only hope that the government is more sincere in the future to deal with the very real issues that face us.
Hon. Mr. Webster: There is a lot there to respond to. I want to begin by saying that we have accomplished a great deal in the last few months in bringing forward the discussion draft to this particular stage. There has been a great amount of work done, and it covers a very large area of the environment, we being much behind the times. The Yukon is the only jurisdiction in the country without an environment protection act, and we wanted to introduce a simple, straightforward piece of legislation that is all-encompassing.
Yes, it is going to cost a great deal of money. The Member says, over a two-year period, that it will cost $1.2 million for education, the consultation process, drafting the final piece of legislation, and all the 21 parts that are involved in this legislation.
The Member makes a reference to the Whitehorse sewage treatment project. It is of concern to him, and I want to assure him that it is also a concern to me, personally, as well as to all Members of this side. I want to reiterate that this government has made a commitment to provide some funds in this budget to help the City of Whitehorse to rectify its sewage treatment problem, as soon as the City of Whitehorse is prepared to budget something in their capital budget for this purpose.
He is concerned that we did not appear before the legislative committee about Bill C-78. That is true; we did not. We were not invited, although we did have some other opportunities. The Executive Council Office has extensively reviewed Bill C-78 and has passed along our comments to the Minister. Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity, at the environment ministers meeting in Victoria, to sit down with other environment ministers from across the country to make some changes to Bill C-78 that would recognize procedures that are already in place in the provinces for making detailed environmental assessments of proposed developments.
The Member opposite is wrong in his opening comments that Bill C-78 will override the legislation we will have in place here in the Yukon. If he studies Bill C-78 very closely, he will notice there is a clause in there that recognizes the development assessment process established here in the Yukon, generally by the territorial and federal governments, as created through the Yukon land claims agreement, will be equivalent to Bill C-78.
In terms of his comments on balancing the environment and the economy, I want to assure the Member - I realize he has not had a lot of time to review this discussion draft - that there is an entire section in there entitled, Balancing the Economy and Environment. Also in this discussion draft we legislate the creation and existence of the Yukon Council on the Economy and Environment. As the Member full well knows, this is one of the major roles of this council, a very important council in its work. It looks at all development in the territory, balancing or considering the environment in all development proposals, and makes sure there is a fine balance struck.
The Members final comments with respect to the concerns on forestry and water management, both of which are full responsibilities of the federal government, are our concerns as well. That is one of the many reasons we have introduced this piece of legislation at this particular time.
Speaker: This then brings us to Question Period.
Question re: Hydro demand
Mr. Phelps: I have some questions for the Minister for the Economic Development Corporation and the Yukon Energy Corporation regarding the electrical energy needs of the territory. As the demand for electrical energy grows, the Yukon Energy Corporation uses the dangerous band-aid solution of installing more and more environmentally harmful and economically expensive diesel generators. I have some questions about the growing demand for electricity, and I would first like to ask whether Curraghs electricity demand is expected to grow by about one-third over the next couple of years.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I cannot say, to deal with the last point, exactly the dimensions of Curraghs growth in demand in the next little while. I am having meetings with that company to discuss that very issue in January.
I would say, in terms of the general question of supply, as I indicated in the documents that were filed in this House last month, there is expected to be a significant increase in demand between now and the end of this decade, which will require us to, by the end of that decade, have an increase of 16 megawatts installed capacity by that time. The Member will know from the material that I provided him that the corporation is and has been, in the last couple of years, actively accessing the viable options, and is moving resolutely toward a decision as to the most economic, efficient and environmentally responsible options of the ones on the list and will be able to respond to the supply situation as it is developing in the Yukon economy.
Mr. Phelps: I am concerned about the material that was filed in the Legislature by the Minister recently because, as we know and as that material states, Curragh uses almost one-half of the main grid electrical energy, the Whitehorse/Aishihik/Faro grid power supply. Curragh, we understand, is going to increase its demand by one-third.
Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please get to the supplementary question.
Mr. Phelps: I would like to know, as I said, Mr. Speaker, why all these documents were prepared on the understanding that - on the basis that - Curraghs demand would not be increasing over the next five years?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The short answer is that the documents were prepared based on the information that was provided to us by our customers at the time they were put together. Among the items that will be discussed with Curragh in the next little while are conservation initiatives that will be mutually agreeable between the customer and us. We continually have to, because of the duty in a market that is so heavily dependent upon one customer, adjust and improve our plans as their needs evolve. The necessity is, of course, for us and our private managers to work with those customers in terms of not only meeting their needs but also to be able to do so in an affordable manner.
Mr. Phelps: I cannot understand why - and I would like an answer to this - the Minister would table this documentation, which in itself admits that they are not sure about the situation at Curragh, when every indication is that Curragh is going to increase its needs, and these documents and this five-year plan do not take that growth into account.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Merry Christmas to the Member opposite, as well. Huff, huff.
The information contained in the documents provided to the House is based on the information we have from our customers, including Curragh, at the time the information was put together. The ability to predict accurately, especially in the mining industry, from month to month or year to year, what their needs are going to be is very, very difficult. The meetings that we will be having with Curragh in the next little while will enable us to do the planning together that we need to do in order to meet their needs and ours.
Question re: Hydro demand
Mr. Phelps: What I am concerned about is that we are increasingly dependent on diesel generated power in the Yukon. Right now, more than 10 percent of the power on the main grid - the Whitehorse/Aisihik/Faro grid - is generated by diesel, and this is growing.
The forecast that the Energy Corporation has tabled in this House speaks to an additional requirement of 16 megawatts - that is half of the maximum capacity of Aisihik right there - and with Curragh factored in that will be an additional one-third, or an additional 15 megawatts, plus the 10 or so megawatts we are burning with diesel.
What I would like to know is why we are not, right now, moving quickly to produce more electricity through hydro generation?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Member opposite may have a different view about what are correct, sensible and socially acceptable procedures to follow in terms of developing hydro projects. Perhaps the Member opposite would be prepared to, as he suggested during his convention recently, end what he said was our mollycoddling to environmentalists. He may want to abandon the environmental reviews. But even if he did that, he would not be able to advance major hydro projects by very much.
The Energy Corporation, since it took over, has examined a number of hydro options, including some that have been demonstrated to be uneconomic in the short run, such as the North Fork project. It is now apparently looking at a number of others, listed in the documents the Member has. It is refining those options. It is actively working with our managers to refine those options in order to increase our supply.
We have, I think, a good handle on the needs for the next few years. The corporation is moving responsibly and aggressively to meet those needs.
Mr. Phelps: The materials that the Minister filed show that it would take at least six years to bring on any kind of significant hydro generation. Right now we are spending, I think it is, $8,000 on a publicity campaign to tell Yukoners that if they run their cars more efficiently they will save on gas and contribute to a cleaner environment, and that burning hydrocarbons is bad for the environment, and tut, tut, tut. Yet we have the Yukon Energy Corporation, which is totally out of control. Why is the Minister, on the one hand, spending money to tell Yukoners to cut back on their consumption of hydrocarbons for energy and, on the other hand, running a corporation that is going to be generating something in the order of 50 megawatts of electricity through new diesel capacity. Mr. Diesel over here is going to...
Speaker: Order please. I would like to remind the Member to please stick to parliamentary language.
Mr. Phelps: ...I will not call him Mr. Diesel ever again. The Minister is running...
Speaker: Order please. I would also ask the Member please to get to the supplementary question.
Mr. Phelps: I asked my question. I was just trying to add further illustration. Why is he spending $8,000 on the publicity campaign on the one hand, and on the other hand introducing a plan that is going to call for 50 megawatts of power being produced by diesel generation?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As usual, the Member has some of his numbers wrong, as he is often wont to do in this House, and has conveyed a convenient selection of numbers from the total picture in order to advance his own, not very well argued, case.
It is true that it takes a number of years to put some projects on stream, but I have to tell the Member that it is not going to be six years before there is new hydro capacity installed in the system. If he read the documents he is referring to more carefully, I think he would know that. But I want to argue with him very strongly about demand side management. He pooh-poohs demand side management. He says that we should not be spending $8,000 to talk to people about conservation initiatives. Let me tell him two things. The first is that every single utility in North America is finding that this is the most cost-efficient and effective and environmentally responsible way to respond to what the consumers are asking for - the owners of the system, the users of the system.
Rather than building new capacity to meet an ever-growing energy demand, we should, in every way, be trying to see if we can manage that demand in a way that reduces the need to put in a plant that may be unnecessary. From the point of view of the consumer and of the utility, of all the options we are looking at, we think the first option should be to maximize the possibilities for demand-side management, or conservation initiatives.
I can tell the Member opposite, who did not go to the meetings, that that was a repeated theme in every single one of the public meetings the Yukon Energy Corporation had this past year.
Mr. Phelps: We need an additional 40 to 45 megawatts on the main grid because of Curragh and the present diesel use, as well as because of the growth that even his corporation has forecast. He talks about hydro. Would he not agree that the one hydro project that is coming on - McIntyre Creek Hydro No. 3 - is three-quarters of one megawatt? That is the capacity of that hydro.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Once again, I got a preamble that is not connected to the question. I would agree with the McIntyre project, but that is not the only project that is in the works for us.
I do not think that the Member understands this. He says we need 40 to 45 megawatts of new capacity, but I do not believe that, and neither does anybody else who is responsible. Even if we did need 40 to 45 megawatts, it costs us $10 million a megawatt to build it, so we would have to raise $400 million. This is for a utility whose assets are worth about $100 million. If we were to add 40 to 45 megawatts to the system right now, the implications for consumers are massive, in terms of their power bills.
He might be prepared to defend that option in public, and he might be able to go to the people of the Yukon and say their power bills should be multiplied many times in order to pay that, but I am not going to do that, and I am not going to be proposing that.
Question re: Hydro demand
Mr. Phelps: So, the Minister is simply going to keep adding diesel generators to the system. That is obviously what is going to happen. The hydro options spoken about in this document are insignificant, in comparison to the required demand.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I think the Member is wrong again. I think the Member is not only wrong from an energy point of view; I think he is damn wrong from an environmental point of view.
What is needed...
Speaker: Order please. I would like to remind the Member to please stick to parliamentary language.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: When I spoke of dam, I was talking about hydro dams, Mr. Speaker, of course.
What we are talking about, and what the documents before the gentleman opposite talk about, is 16 megawatts of installed capacity, that being what is needed based on the current assessment of the demand in the territory. Steps are being taken - responsible steps - right now to see that increased hydro capacity installed in this next decade.
The Member talks about these projects being insignificant. Well, I think he has got a bit of an edifice complex because we have committed ourselves, as a matter of policy, as said here, to do small projects - small projects - not megaprojects, and we think those small projects can meet our energy needs, meet them in an environmentally responsible way and meet them in a way that is economically responsible, as well.
Question re: Yukon Housing Corporation, director of finance
Mr. Devries: I have a question for the Minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation. The Housing Corporation spent in excess of $107,000 in the last six months to pay for a temporary director of finance and administration. This side of the House would like an answer to the following: why did the previous incumbent quit?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The budget for the Housing Corporation was dealt with yesterday, at which time I provided considerable information in response to the general question. I would have thought that the Member would have raised those questions at that time, when I may have been able to provide answers from information that I carry with me during budget debate. Nevertheless, in answer to the question the Member raises, I do not know, specifically, why the incumbent left last November, but I will take the question as notice.
Mr. Devries: It was upon reviewing the answers the Minister gave me that I came up with the need for some more information.
The recruiting process has been going on for one year. How much has this process cost the Housing Corporation?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Let us be reasonable. That is not a question that the Member ought to be posing in Question Period if he honestly expects an answer. I have no problem with such a question being read into the record, and I will take notice and provide specific response. I have always provided, to Members opposite, full information on all the questions that they raise. I sincerely would appreciate either notice or some written form of that type of a question. I do not have the specific recruitment costs for a position in the Yukon Housing Corporation on my feet in Question Period today, but I will know in short order.
Mr. Devries: All the local accounting firms turned down the opportunity to work for the Yukon Housing Corporation, and none of the candidates that have been offered the job have accepted this position. Salary cannot be the only issue. I ask the Minister what are the other reasons that this position is being treated like it has the plague?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The question is provocative and it is also speculative. It assumes that there are more reasons than just the salary grid related to the position that are the cause of the position not being filled. The evidence I have provided to Members in budget debate yesterday is quite the contrary. The position has been offered on three occasions; on two of those occasions, the position has been turned down with the salary grid as the reason for turning down the job. In other words, the candidates who were offered the position turned down the job because the job did not pay enough.
The third offer is currently pending as the details in yesterdays information provided. I have no evidence that suggests there are reasons other than the salary grid as to why the position is not being filled. I can also speculate that any candidate who is looking at filling a position with the requirements of that particular job may well have additional reasons. Maybe the task is too onerous; the responsibility may be too great. Maybe the expertise level is not felt to be adequate by the candidate being offered the job. It could be a number of other reasons, but I am advised that the the reason is strictly the salary grid in relation to the job responsibility expected of the candidate.
Question re: Yukon Housing Corporation, director of finance
Mr. Lang: I would like to pursue this a little further. Since we started with the budget over two months ago we have identified missependitures of money again and again. The government continues to defend it by saying they are wise expenditures.
I find it amazing that we were told yesterday that in filling a financial administration officer position in the Yukon Housing Corporation we spent over $107,000 in six months. In a 12-month period it would be $214,000. It would be the most highly paid job in the Government of the Yukon Territory.
In view of the fact that the Minister has cut back the municipalities by over $1 million how can he, with any credibility, tell these municipalities they have to suffer these cuts and at the same time stand in this House and defend the decision to pay some individual $107,000 for six months work that is projected to cost $75,000 per year if you had a person in that position?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: There are really two parts to the question of the Member. One relates to municipalities and one relates to the Yukon Housing Corporation expenditure for the financial services being provided.
In the case of the Yukon Housing Corporation, the financial consulting firm retained to provide financial services was brought onstream this summer specifically to fill the requirement of handling the financial affairs of the corporation, which carry a fairly broad responsibility and require a fairly high standard of expertise. It was not expected that that financial consulting service would extend itself to this period in time. That is a problem. That is a problem I am dealing with as Minister responsible for the corporation. We are dealing with the recruitment issue. We are dealing with the reclassification issue. Last week I met with the Public Service Commissioner and the chair of the board of directors to deal specifically with reclassifying this position so we can fill it expeditiously. It is costly for the corporation to continue retaining these services.
The municipalities are not hurting.
Speaker: Order please. Would the Minister please conclude his answer.
Mr. Lang: We have paid $107,000 to fill a position that up until last year was always filled through the hiring by the Public Service Commission. In fact, the Yukon Housing Corporation did more work in the 1970s than they are even close to doing this coming year.
I want to ask the Minister how he can justify spending $107,000 in six months, and $214,000 in 12 months, for this position to be filled in this manner?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Let us get something clear and accurate on the record. The Yukon Housing Corporation did not come close in the 1970s to the responsibility or level of expenditure or volume of assets that they hold today. The Member opposite, who has just raised the question, was in charge of abolishing the corporation, because they did not believe in public housing. We restored the corporation to having a useful function in society on behalf of this government.
The fact is that we do not have a $200,000 cost for financial services to the corporation because we have not reached 12 months of operation using the consulting services. We have spent $80,000 in the past six months to provide this service. We have paid fees to the consulting service of $80,000 since last June. It is pricey. I agree with the Member on that. It is something I want to rectify; I am dealing with it. In addition to the meetings held last week on the reclassification and recruitment problems, I met with the board chair this morning on that very issue. We are attempting to fill the position with a regular employee as soon as possible.
Mr. Lang: This is really symbolic of the mismanagement of this government. How anyone could defend the fact that they have spent $107,000 in six months to fill one position within the Yukon Housing Corporation is a travesty.
I want to ask the Minister why it has taken him six months for the lights to go on to the fact that they have spent $107,000 on a position that should have been filled five months ago?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member has been in this House for 12 years and his lights have yet to come on. The fact is that we have a problem in filling the position. It has been identified as a classification problem due to the level of salary to be paid to a person expected to carry the financial responsibility of the corporation.
The position requires ability to handle mortgages in excess of $6 million, $10 million, $15 million and $20 million, responsibilities of fairly complicated and sophisticated mortgage arrangements...
Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please conclude his answer.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The fact is that we are addressing the problem. We are dealing with it. What the Member is suggesting is that we do not have anybody looking after the financial affairs of the corporation and should handle it the way he handled it when he was Minister.
Question re: Hazardous waste
Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Minister responsible for hazardous waste. My question is to complement the big green announcement we have had in this House today in respect to the environmental conscience of this government.
This government had a sheriffs sale and it sold a tanker and truck to a private businessman. The tanker contained contents the businessman was told were mainly wash water and some corrosive material but not to worry about it because he could dump it at Curragh. When he went to dump it at Curragh, they said: No, no, no. You are not dumping that stuff in our pit. Take that away. So the businessman did the responsible thing and he brought the truck back to Whitehorse, with its contents. He had the contents analyzed, and it was class 8 hazardous waste corrosive acid - a tanker full of acid. He confined it in the MacRae subdivision. The government is presently, through the Department of Justice, nickel and diming this businessman to death to get this tanker back before anybody in the public finds out about it. I would like to ask the Minister responsible for hazardous waste what they are going to do with the tanker when they get it back from this businessman.
Hon. Ms. Joe: The situation that the Member is speaking of is in regard to a truck and a tanker that was sold to a certain individual. The department has offered to buy back that tank at the price that was paid for both the truck and the tanker. The offer has not been accepted by that individual on the advice of the Member for Riverdale South. She apparently advised him to ask for further costs. We do not know whether or not this individual will allow us to buy back that tank. The individual was given information about the tank when it was sold, but whether or not it was the information that was relayed in this House, I do not know. I am aware of some of the information but not all of it.
Mrs. Firth: This information is absolutely accurate. The businessman did not screw up here; the government did. The businessman had to find out that a secondhand replacement tanker would cost a minimum of $8,000, minimum. All this government is prepared to offer is ...
Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please get to the supplementary question.
Mrs. Firth: If we do not want to haggle about cost, would one of the Ministers just stand up and tell us why they sold a tanker full of class 8 hazardous waste? Why did they do that?
Hon. Ms. Joe: There is information flying back and forth in this House. We are dealing with the situation as it arises right now. We recognize that there was a problem in regard to that tanker. The Department of Justice, occupational health and safety branch, recognized that there could be a problem and asked that they return the truck and get an analysis done on it. They found out that it did have some hazardous substance in it.
At that time, they offered to buy the tank back from the individual, at the price of the truck and the tanker.
Mrs. Firth: She just said they sold it to him and did not know what was in it. They sold a tank of acid to a businessman. Then, when they found out it was a tank of acid, they tried to get it back. They are two-bitting the businessman to death trying to get it back.
This person was told ...
Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please get to the supplementary question.
Mrs. Firth: ... at the sheriffs sale, which falls under this governments purview, that he could get rid of it and, now, he cannot. Why did they sell the tanker full of hazardous waste in the first place? When they do get it back, at the expense of this businessman and with his responsible action, what are they going to do with it?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The Member stands in this House and makes all kinds of allegations. She provides all kinds of information to this House. I do not know if that information is correct.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Hon. Ms. Joe: It appears that, if they do not know anything, they make it up. We are dealing with the situation as it arises.
Question re: Social Assistance Appeal Committee
Mr. Nordling: I have a question for the Minister of Health and Human Resources with respect to the Social Assistance Appeal Committee. A member of the Social Assistance Appeal Committee has recently pleaded guilty to defrauding the unemployment insurance program. I would like to ask the Minister if he has taken a position on whether or not this conviction will affect her ability to function as a member of that appeal committee.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Yes, and I can advise the Member that Cabinet has taken a position on that question.
Mr. Nordling: I would like to ask the Minister what the Cabinets position is.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Cabinets position is that it would be unacceptable for the individual to continue in that capacity.
Mr. Nordling: Does the government have a general policy with respect to employees or order-in-council appointments being convicted of criminal or quasi-criminal offences?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: No order-in-council employee has been convicted of any offence.
Question re: Bison pasture
Mr. Brewster: My question is to the Minister of Renewable Resources. On December 11, 1990, the government issued a news release regarding the development of a 58,000 green acres pasture for our roaming buffalo that have taken a particular liking to the Alaska Highway. It states in the news release that the same varieties of grasses that have attracted the bison to the sides of the highway will be seeded in the new pasture and I would like to know how the Minister communicated the news of this pasture to the 30 head of bison that are now in the Aishihik area and moving toward Canyon Creek.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am not quite certain if I heard the Member correctly. Did he ask me how we communicated that information to the bison? I do not think we have quite communicated that message yet to the bison. When the time comes when the new pasture is in place, we will communicate the message to the bison.
Mr. Brewster: It is quite apparent the Minister does not know what he is talking about. Will the pasture that is being developed sustain this added influx of buffalo, if they arrive, in addition to the 16 that are supposed to be already in the area? Will the pasture handle 46 buffalo?
Hon. Mr. Webster: In all probability, no, the new pasture that is being developed will not accommodate that many bison. It just does not have the grazing capacity, so it will be necessary for us to enlarge that area to accommodate all the bison.
Mr. Brewster: There is one thing about it, they are not scared to spend money.
Can the Minister advise the House how a two-rail wooden fence, erected by the Canyon Creek Horsemens Association, to contain domestic horses, will prevent a 2,000-pound buffalo from reaching the highway?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Member is quite right. The two-rail wooden fence erected by the Horsemens Association out there is intended to keep back the horses. It is hoped that once the bison are drawn to the new grazing area that they will remain in that area and will not require the fence to hold them back.
Question re: Environment Assessment Act
Mr. Lang: We have been informed that over this fall, the parliamentary committee has been dealing with the new Canadian environmental act, which the Minister admitted today is going to have some effect upon the Yukon. He also mentioned that there were some areas of concern to him and his government.
Why did the Minister not request to appear, himself, before that committee, when they were having hearings?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Member is referring to Bill C-78, the Environmental Assessment Act. As I mentioned in my remarks in the ministerial statement made today, we do have some input at the government-to-government level, as opposed to appearing before a legislative committee. I also mentioned that the Executive Council Office was involved in reviewing the proposed legislation and making some suggestions for changes.
I also personally had the opportunity to meet with the federal Minister of the Environment, along with the other environment ministers from all jurisdictions of this country, to deal with some items of concern contained in the proposed legislation. We, as a group, through our chairman, proposed those changes to the legislative committee in Ottawa.
Mr. Lang: As the Minister knows, this act is going to have more implications for the Yukon than for a province obviously.
Could the Minister table the position that his government has taken with respect to that legislation?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I would have to correct the assertion that this is going to have more far-reaching implications for the Yukon than any jurisdiction in the country. That is not the case at all.
Again the Member has to consider that there is a clause contained in Bill C-78 that recognizes that the Yukon will have a procedure put into place to do a detailed environmental assessment of all proposed developments that will be done in the Yukon by Yukoners. This piece of legislation and the development assessment process will be developed jointly by the federal and territorial governments.
For that particular reason, we do not have the same concerns as the provincial jurisdictions. That is the extent of it.
Mr. Lang: The reality is that it has cost the taxpayers over $500,000 to get where we are with the proposed environment act that the Minister has just tabled. I would point out to the Minister that the development process he has just tabled is dependent upon a land claim agreement being consummated and the time and effort that goes into that. It could be two years, three years or it could be five years.
Would the Minister table his position on the act that is presently before Parliament?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I will take the question as notice. I want to remind the Member that the Yukon does have input into this process. As the Member knows, the Yukon Mining Advisory Committee appeared before the legislative committee to review the proposed act. The Department of Renewable Resources and the Executive Council Office will also be involved in drafting the regulations.
Speaker: Time for Question Period has now lapsed.
Notice of Business
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order No. 14.1(1), I would request unanimous consent of the House to call the following motions: No. 20, No. 35, No. 33, No. 14, No. 24, under Motions Other Than Government Motions when that business is called on Wednesday, December 19, 1990.
Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?
All Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: Unanimous consent has been granted.
We will now proceed with Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I call the Committee to order. We will now take a break.
Chair: I will call Committee to order.
Department of Tourism - continued
Heritage - continued
Hon. Mr. Webster: Exhibits assistance in the amount of $450,000 breaks down as follows: The completion of the Kluane Museum mountain scene exhibit is based on their exhibit plan and is $250,000; the Transportation Museum accounts for $100,000 for exhibit development; the George Johnson Museum accounts for $100,000.
Mr. Phillips: The George Johnson Museum is in Teslin. That is phase 2. Does that complete the project or are there more funds to be spent in that area?
Hon. Mr. Webster: This was phase 2 of the project. It is not complete. There is another stage - eight further exhibit areas.
On Museums Assistance
Museums Assistance in the amount of $550,000 agreed to
Exhibits Assistance in the amount of $450,000 agreed to
On Artifact Inventory & Cataloguing
Artifact Inventory & Cataloguing in the amount of $50,000 agreed to
On Conservation & Security
Conservation & Security in the amount of $36,000 agreed to
On Historic Sites
On Historic Sites Maintenance
Mr. Phillips: That is a 40 percent increase. I wonder if the Minister could tell us what that is for.
Hon. Mr. Webster: It is the historic properties assistance contribution program that provides technical and financial assistance to individuals, community groups, societies, First Nations and businesses. It has been increased. The salaries for this are $18,000. The contributions program this year is $25,000, for a total of $44,000. The other $61,000 for this program, out of the $105,000 total, is for preservation and maintenance by the department of numerous historic structures throughout the Yukon. This year we are concentrating on the Forty Mile, the Miller house in Dawson, Montague House and the Robinson Roadhouse.
Mr. Phillips: Is there any plan at all to restore, or do some kind of work, on the old mill on the Skagway Road? I am not sure of the exact name of the mill. It is on the hillside by Venus Mines and is called the Venus mill, I think. It is on the hillside. Many people stop there. It is the old wooden mill that is almost hanging off the cliff, so to speak. It becomes quite a tourist attraction. I believe it has been there for 80 years or more. It is sort of an historic artifact. Things seem to be disappearing off it, like the tin, and some of the wood is starting to rot; the rain is getting at it. I just wonder if there is a plan to kind of make that a bit of an historic site. It is of historical significance in the Yukon.
Hon. Mr. Webster: There is nothing budgeted this next fiscal year for that particular project, but I will investigate the five-year capital plan for the Member and get back to him if that is in the plans for the next five years.
Mr. Phelps: I would just add to that representation. I think I have raised it in the past in the House during budget debate, perhaps with the previous Minister. The mill was built by Colonel Conrad; it was in operation and does contain what was state-of-the-art milling mechanical devices, for want of a better word. It is one of the very few stops that the buses make between Skagway and Carcross and if something is not done fairly soon to stabilize it, it will be falling down and floating into the lake.
Hon. Mr. Webster: As I mentioned earlier to the Member for Riverdale North, I will check with the department into the future plans for work on that site.
Historic Sites Maintenance in the amount of $105,000 agreed to
On Historic Sites Inventory
Mr. Phillips: Again, there is a 41 percent decrease in this line item. I wonder if the Minister could tell us why there is such a decrease here?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Under this item, we inventory and access significant historic sites in the Yukon that will aid evaluation and priorize our future historic sites. The funds are used primarily for travel and the salaries of researchers who do the field work. This year we have cut back, as the Member has noted, on our expenses in this area. As you can see, that is a further cutback from the year previous as well; it has been $85,000 for each of the last two years. I think it is an indication that our inventory of historic sites is not extensive and the work associated with it is not as great as it used to be now that we are identifying more and more sites.
Historic Sites Inventory in the amount of $50,000 agreed to
On Ft. Selkirk
Ft. Selkirk in the amount of $150,000 agreed to
On Herschel Island - IFA
Herschel Island - IFA in the amount of $1.00 agreed to
On Historic Sites Planning
Mr. Phillips: What type of planning are we doing here?
Hon. Mr. Webster: This project facilitates the preservation, reconstruction and restoration of significant Yukon historic sites. This year, we have planned research and recording at Dalton Post and the Thirty Mile.
Historic Sites Planning in the amount of $25,000 agreed to
On Visual Arts
On Visual Arts Acquisition
Mr. Phillips: Do we have anything in this line item that we are specifically looking at this year? For instance, do we have to do anything to add to the acquisition of equipment we have now? What is in this line item? Is there anything specifically planned?
Hon. Mr. Webster: This line item deals with the acquisition of art for the government art bank and, also, by the Friends of the Gallery. The $1.00 will give us spending authority.
Visual Arts Acquisition in the amount of $1.00 agreed to
On Yukon Archaeology
Yukon Archaeology in the amount of $100,000 agreed to
NOGAP in the amount of $1.00 agreed to
On Heritage Studies
Hon. Mr. Webster: The purpose of this project is to ensure that the heritage of the Yukon people is collected and preserved. Funds are provided to undertake one or two historic resources studies in selected areas of the Yukon on a selected research topic.
Last year, there was a study done on the traditional land use in the Champagne/Aishihik area.
Heritage Studies in the amount of $40,000 agreed to
Capital in the amount of $1,556,000 agreed to
Heritage in the amount of $2,109,000 agreed to
Chair: Are there any questions on allotments or person year establishment?
On Operation & Maintenance
Operations in the amount of $344,000 agreed to
On Destination, Regional & Community Planning
On Strategic Planning
Strategic Planning in the amount of $35,000 agreed to
On Wilderness Resource Assessment
Hon. Mr. Webster: This item has increased substantially. This project assesses the potential of wilderness resources for specific user groups andundertakes assessment by identifying opportunities for the private sector that maintain the principles of sustainable development.
What we plan to do this year is undertake phase 1 of the new wilderness adventure travel strategy. That will include a review and assessment of consumer demands, product and resource availability and capability. This will require a great deal of consultation with the private sector and user groups.
Wilderness Resource Assessment in the amount of $50,000 agreed to
On Regional Tourism Plans
Hon. Mr. Webster: Under this project, we undertake regional plans, as the Member is aware, that will provide direction for the development of tourism infrastructure throughout the Yukon. We are currently doing the Carcross Southern Lakes area, as the Member for Hootalinqua is aware.
This year we are looking at doing the regional plan for the Teslin area.
Mr. Phillips: Have we done the Kluane area?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes. The Kluane regional plan has been done. Parts of my Tourism and Renewable Resources budget reflect expenditures in that area, particularly in Renewable Resources this year.
Regional Tourism Plans in the amount of $50,000 agreed to
On Destination, Site or Product Assessment
Hon. Mr. Webster: There is an example of the development of a site that conforms to the recommendations of the Kluane regional tourism plan. We plan to introduce, with this money, a new activity known to the Kluane area. We also want to do some site assessment for some off-road wildlife viewing in cooperation with Renewable Resources.
If we have some funds left over, we would like to do some site assessment of one Campbell region activity area in the same year.
Mr. Phillips: I have a suggestion for the Minister and I have mentioned this briefly before in the House. Several years ago the Department of Renewable Resources relocated about a dozen goats to Mount White along the Alaska Highway near Jakes Corner. I have suggested several times that the Department of Tourism and the Department of Renewable Resources work together in creating an artificial salt lick in that area and a pull-off so tourists could go in and observe the goats because goats do tend to become relatively tame if they are in their proper habitat. You can get fairly close to them to observe them. That is right on the Alaska Highway and it would have people take an extra hour or two and stop to have a look at that kind of thing. With 1992 coming fairly shortly, it might be a project close to the Alaska Highway that might be relatively inexpensive to develop as soon as we can.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Member is right in that it would be an easy site to develop. That is one site that is being closely looked at this year, the first of two years of the wilderness viewing development project. I have some good news to report to the Member on the Mount White goat population. This July a survey was done of that area and it came across a group of goats. One other goat was added to the group. We hope they will begin to multiply and flourish so we can take advantage of that site for wilderness viewing.
Destination, Site or Product Assessment in the amount of $30,000 agreed to
On Product Development
On Signs and Interpretation
Hon. Mr. Webster: Here we are looking at the development of two or three major interpretive orientation sites. In addition, of course, as already noted in this House earlier, a great deal of work will be done here to erect signs at significant points along the Alaska Highway in time for the Alaska Highway celebrations in 1992.
Signs and Interpretation in the amount of $150,000 agreed to
On Regional Planning Implementation
Regional Planning Implementation in the amount of $50,000 agreed to
On Fed./Terr. Contribution Agreement
Mr. Phillips: Is this the agreement that we have a 70/30 split on the tourism subagreement? I see the Minister nodding his head in the affirmative. Have we reached an agreement? If so, for how long a term is the agreement and for how much?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Department of Economic Development is the lead agency on behalf of the Government of the Yukon in working with the federal government to hammer out and negotiate a new long-term economic development agreement.
As to the length of the agreement, we are looking at a minimum of three years, and as long as five, and hope it to be under the same cost-sharing agreement.
As for the status of those negotiations, they are not yet concluded. Perhaps my colleague, the Minister responsible for Economic Development, can inform you better as to the progress.
Fed./Terr. Contribution Agreement in the amount of $1.00 agreed to
Capital in the amount of $365,000 agreed to
Development in the amount of $709,000 agreed to
Chair: Are there any questions on the following pages?
On Operation & Maintenance
Operations in the amount of $860,000 agreed to
On Public Relations
Mr. Phillips: Why has that decreased?
Hon. Mr. Webster: There is a decrease in this program of approximately $18,000 for miscellaneous supplies, print jobs and the media familiarization tours that we do not see needed this year, as opposed to last year.
Mr. Phillips: Is the Minister saying we discontinued the media familiarization tour now?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No. Not at all. We will be undertaking a great number of familiarization tours. They are handled by the department staff.
Public Relations in the amount of $95,000 agreed to
Promotions in the amount of $867,000 agreed to
On Information Services
Hon. Mr. Webster: This is a major item that warrants some explanation. The bulk of this, after the personnel costs, is the inquiry fulfillment. We are proposing an expenditure here of $700,000. I mentioned in my opening remarks a reduction only in the cost of postage, considering the extra amounts that were called for in the supplementaries. There is also a decrease here of about $85,000 for literature. In the current fiscal year we spent a considerable amount of money to print road maps of the territory. We will not require those maps this year. There is enough of a supply for two years.
Information Services in the amount of $1,199,000 agreed to
Operation & Maintenance in the amount of $3,021,000 agreed to
On Visitor Reception Centres
On Low Frequency Radio Transmitters
Hon. Mr. Webster: This money will be used to revise, update, produce new radio programming, including the Alaska Highway anniversary events, and it is going to install FM transmission equipment at the new VRC in Whitehorse.
Low Frequency Radio Transmitters in the amount of $25,000 agreed to
On Television, Audio-Visual and Other Equipment
Hon. Mr. Webster: This money will be spent to update audio-visual equipment and also to produce some new laser discs to include information on the Alaska Highway anniversary celebrations.
Television, Audio-Visual and Other Equipment in the amount of $25,000 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Webster: This is for the Yukon visitor reception centre for Whitehorse, scheduled to be opened in April, 1992. I believe I have provided the breakdown of the total costs for the Member already.
Mr. Phillips: To comment on that again, we on this side feel that, although a visitor reception centre is needed, it seems to be a Cadillac of visitor reception centres. I want to express the concern that I have heard from the business community out there that it will be an attraction in itself and that people may not go and visit other parts of the Yukon. They may feel they have seen most of it at the new visitor reception centre and just continue on to Alaska. I just want to make that comment to the Minister and, I guess the only way we are going to find out is down the road two or three years when we start looking at the numbers of people that have actually stopped in there and our exit surveys that tell us how much time the people spent in the Yukon and what they found most interesting when they were here.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I do hope that the visitor reception centre is an attraction in and of itself. We have often stated in this House, and there is no disagreement here, that Whitehorse needs new attractions. In addition to the physical structure of the building being attractive, I hope the exhibits, films, and quality presentations of information to the tourists will also be attractions and encourage people to stay longer, spend more time in the Yukon, and be a benefit to all regions of all territory.
Development in the amount of $2,157,000 agreed to
On Travel Marketing Equipment, Displays & Productions
On Purchase and Maintenance of Displays
Hon. Mr. Webster: These funds will be used to produce new display cards for new attractions, including promotion of the Alaska Highway celebration.
Purchase and Maintenance of Displays in the amount of $15,000 agreed to
On Production of New Films, TV Vignettes, Distribution and Versioning
Hon. Mr. Webster: All three of these items involve funds to be spent primarily for the promotion of the Alaska Highway celebration.
Mr. Phillips: There will be some new audio-visual films or slide show films needed for the new visitor reception centre, along with the one we already have. Is there any money in the budget for those new types of films, or is that included in the $2,157,000 for the visitor reception centre?
Hon. Mr. Webster: That item will be included in the overall budget for the Yukon visitor reception centre.
Production of New Films, TV Vignettes, Distribution and Versioning in the amount of $25,000 agreed to
On Production of Audio Visual Shows
Production of Audio Visual Shows in the amount of $35,000 agreed to
Capital in the amount of $2,282,000 agreed to
Mr. Phillips: Before we clear this item I would like to mention an area I have talked about before in the House. The Minister did not mention it here. This is the promotion of tourism as a valuable business in the territory to Yukoners. Tourism is the number two industry.
I know that I have constantly reminded other jurisdictions that are in the tourism business how valuable it is to them. I think if you went out on the street right now and did some candid interviews, you would find that a lot of people do not think tourism is that important to the job they are doing. We are really lacking in the promotion of tourism as a viable industry in the Yukon. It is an industry that creates a lot of jobs and keeps a lot of people in the Yukon working year-round and not just in the tourism season. The government is remiss in not capitalizing on that and reminding us Yukoners that tourism is the number two industry in the territory.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I agree with the Member that more can be done to make Yukoners aware of the importance of the tourism industry and how it indirectly benefits Yukoners in their jobs in their communities. I am pleased to see that the good host program offered by the government is being taken up by more individuals, even those not directly involved in the tourism industry.
The role of informing Yukoners about the importance of tourism to the Yukon should be taken up more by the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon. With a strong industry association and the many businesses involved in tourism, besides promoting tourism collectively as an association, I think with more dedicated members involved, they themselves, individually, will promote the value of tourism to their friends and neighbors.
Mr. Phillips: I agree with the Minister that the good host program is reaching more people, but the good host program reaches people who are directly involved in tourism, who meet and greet the tourists every day. What I am talking about is something to help people have a general understanding that tourism is good for the Yukon: the welder, the guy working in the machine shop who does not meet the tourists, the guy working at the local pop plant or someone working somewhere else in the territory. These people are affected by the numbers of tourists who come to the territory and their job is partially dependent on that.
I think some ads in the local newspaper talking about that and a small TV vignette played on CBC television talking about tourism is important to living in the Yukon because those types of things would be seen as very positive for the tourism industry. I can agree with the Minister that TIA may be the agency that he may want to use to do this type of thing, but I think they are going to need some money to do it. It is not cheap to do this type of advertising but I think it is necessary because we are a tourism destination, or hope to become a tourism destination. We want everyone here to understand it is a valuable business and one we should be promoting.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Again, I cannot argue with the Member. More does need to be done to increase the awareness. I think, to a large degree, when you consider that the Yukon experiences an infusion of 180,000 over a four-month period - that is six times the population of the residents of the territory - I think most people are aware that indirectly, even if they are a welder, they do benefit from the tourism industry here in the Yukon. Anyway that we can get that message out promoting the value of the industry to all areas of the territory and to all people, that is what I think is required.
Marketing in the amount of $5,303,000 agreed to
Mr. Devries: On page 388, there is one math error there under the 1990-91 forecast that should be 189 instead of 183.
I have a concern in relation to the 1991-92 estimate where they oversee visitors. The projection is down to one percent from six percent. I know the businesses I have been involved in had overseas visitors as the main clientele. If there was a drastic decrease in the number of overseas visitors then several visitors I have been involved in would have to fold up. Does the Minister have an explanation as to why these projections are so low for overseas visitors in 1991-92?
Hon. Mr. Webster: It is a mistake. I want to thank the Member for pointing it out.
We are clearly increasing the number of overseas visitors every year. Not only is the estimate for 1991-92 wrong, but I would suggest that the forecast for 1990-91 is inaccurate as well.
As a result of the Yukon rendezvous program, in which we have brought European buyers of tourism products to the Yukon to meet with sellers of tourism products - Yukoners involved in the industry - we have noticed a marked increase in interest from European tourists, which are translating into actual visitors to the territory.
I would suggest to the Member that these estimates are inaccurate and I would not be surprised to see it increase to a level of about seven percent.
Mr. Brewster: I would like to point out another mistake on page 389. The Kluane Museum of Natural History is under Destruction Bay. I think the people of Burwash would be very upset about this. Believe me, they are only 10 miles apart, but they defend their rights. This is a definitely a mistake. It should not be there.
Hon. Mr. Webster: It is an inexcusable mistake.
Operation & Maintenance in the amount of $4,420,000 agreed to
Capital in the amount of $4,203,000 agreed to
Department of Tourism agreed to
Chair: Is there any general debate?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The budget for the Womens Directorate represents a total of $335,000 in operation and maintenance. This reflects only a minimal increase of one percent over the 1990-91 main estimates. Although small, this department has a huge mandate, that of advancing the status of all Yukon women in economic, social, legal and political spheres.
To do this, much of the work is done cooperatively within government departments, non-government agencies and with Yukon women. For a third year, the budget reflects the directorates major initiative of providing public awareness on family violence issues in the amount of $54,000. In particular, the issue of violence against women is recognized in Yukon communities, as well as nationally and internationally, as a major barrier to the advancement of women. The elimination of violence against women must be a priority in the Yukon, if women are to achieve equality.
The directorate will continue to support the information line for sexual assault and family violence, which was established in May 1990. The budget allows for $10,000 to go toward ongoing training, rental, and advertising. Advertising through radio spots and print ads on family violence scenarios will continue.
The six-week campaign is currently running, and $16,000 has been allotted over the next year to cover production and placement of radio spots and print ads, and for publications on treatment or prevention of family violence, we have allotted $3,000. That campaign is starting again.
Over the past year, the directorate produced a Yukon directory of services and resources in the area of family violence, which has been well-received throughout the territory and at the national level. An updated version of the directory is planned for the spring of 1992. A budget of $10,000 has been allotted for community public awareness grants. Many communities are taking the initiative in addressing this issue, and we believe we can assist by providing grant money.
An additional $15,000 has been set aside for the second annual conference on family violence. The first family violence conference, held in the spring of this year, drew over 70 rural delegates. As a direct result of the conference, a Canadian newsletter was produced by the Yukon Advisory Council on Womens Issues, with assistance from the directorate.
Women on Wheels has been allotted $1500 to travel to three Yukon communities in 1991-92 to focus on the issue of family violence. We have allotted $90,000 in contract services to assist in working with other departments or agencies to raise the status of women. Projects such as Women do Math promotes young high school women to maintain an interest in the maths and sciences.
The directorate is also looking at the possibility of a youth conference to deal with issues such as family violence, suicide, depression, teenage sexuality and attitudes. Both have received $5000. Another possible conference will deal with women and aging. Another $5000 is earmarked for the updating of the resource library.
One of the major activities of the directorate is to provide information on womens issues through publications but also through workshops or meetings with womens groups.
As in the past, the directorate will assist in bringing in speakers. For networking activities, we have allotted $12,000. We have allotted $3000 for womens studies, another $10,000 for power lunches and an additional $4000 for other speakers.
The directorate assisted in the establishment of the Womens Business Network by bringing women together at the first entrepreneurial conference back in 1988. In the new year, we plan to work with this group and jointly host a speaker.
We have assisted the Yukon Indian Womens Association in the development of the infrastructure program. As well, the directorate re-established the Women in Government group. This year we plan to establish closer links with homemakers and with women who are members of the Yukon French community.
We have budgeted $2000 for a newsletter and fact sheets for the directorate and $2000 for an entrepreneurial brochure.
The directorate will continue to assist organizations in their educational and special activities that promote the awareness of womens issues through financial contributions. For this purpose, we have allotted $12,000. We have budgeted $3,500 for the International Womens Day banquet and awards, which was a very successful event last year.
With the assistance of the directorate, the Yukon Advisory Council on Womens Issues has published a first Yukon womens day book, featuring over 70 nominees of last years awards. The Yukon Advisory Council on Womens Issues will receive $32,314 for travel and honoraria. There will be an additional $14,000 for administrative support and research.
Work continues for the directorate at the national and international level. This year, the budget reflects $12,000 for travel, not only to the federal, provincial and territorial meetings but for meetings such as the commonwealth conference of womens issues that we attended in October of this year.
Mr. Phelps: I would like to thank the Minister for the detailed breakdown that she gave us. I just have a few questions I would like to ask and three of them relate to some of the future goals that were outlined in the booklet, Yukon Women, Strength in our Past, Determination in our Future. I am rather interested in how some of these goals are progressing or are being achieved.
One of them, on page 22 of that document and again on page 24, has to do with promoting part-time and job-sharing positions as viable options to give employees more flexibility in planning work and home responsibilities. I am just wondering what progress, if any, has been made in encouraging part-time job sharing as employment options in government and in the private sector, if any. If little has been done, what is planned?
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is something that we have been promoting for a number of years, and to this day I do not think that there are an awful lot of individuals, none that I can name right here, who are taking advantage of it. I think that any time that a request does come to a department it is up to that department to decide whether or not that is a possibility. I do not think that it is quite as evident in numbers as I would like it to be but certainly the possibility is there and more promotion in that area, I suppose, through the Women in Government Group would be the route to go.
Mr. Phelps: It just seems to me that perhaps it is a policy that ought to be more actively pursued through the central agency, PSC, and in some of the line departments.
The next question, again arising from future goals, is that one of the goals, on page 22, under exploring ways to be supportive of women who choose to stay at home was an item researching the costs and options involved in the provision of homemakers pensions. I am just wondering what, if anything has been done on that score.
Hon. Ms. Joe: As indicated in the book on future goals, there has not been any strong move to work toward that. There is a plan to sit down with homemakers to discuss ways and means of dealing with the issue and how we can put something in the form of a plan to work toward. I suppose it is something that we are doing as a part of the government-wide plan of action. Certainly, it needs and requires further research and more work and more planning.
Mr. Phelps: Am I to understand that there will be plans in the fairly near future to have some kind of a meeting with homemakers on this issue?
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is correct. As the Member knows, I think that the Womens Directorate, with the small budget it has, has been involved in many different areas dealing with women; this is just one of them. It certainly is on our future agenda. I would hope that next year when we come back we will have some progress to report in that area or, I hope, before.
Mr. Phelps: My final question with regard to this document is again a future goal on page 24, stating exploring innovative approaches and innovative employment and family responsibilities, for example, a government program called TOTS. They thought it was introduced in Prince Edward Island a few years ago to reduce the high unemployment rate for students. By allowing parents to spend the summer months with their school-age children, summer students would obtain employment in challenging areas. That sounded to me like a worthwhile goal to pursue. I am just wondering if anything has been done on that score.
Hon. Ms. Joe: There has been nothing substantial at this point. I recall talking to some of the people from that province in regard to it. I remember that when they announced it and were telling us about, it sounded very exciting. It had only been a thought here at one time. Now it is included in our future goals and is a worthwhile program. I know, looking back at my years as a working mother most of my life, that I certainly would have benefited from something such as this. I am hoping again that we will have some progress to report on it prior to the next sitting dealing with our budget next year.
Mr. Phelps: Those are the four areas I am particularly interested in. Some of the other areas have been started on, I gather from what I have seen, read and heard today.
My final question has to do with the Victoria Faulkner Womens Centre and the funding for it. They were given a reprieve by the federal government for this year and my concern is whether this government knows anything about future funding from the federal government or, alternatively, if there have been discussions about the possibility of some core funding coming from this government?
Hon. Ms. Joe: One of the problems is with the core funding that the federal government has stopped. That has been a problem for us in a lot of areas. The federal government and Indian Affairs drop programs and the people involved want to take it over. We are supporting the concept of the continuation of funding for the Womens Centre. I had a meeting with Gerry Weiner in Ottawa the last time I was there. He indicated to us that funding would be forthcoming from the federal government and hoped we would cost share here in the Yukon. Along with other Members of this caucus, I have dealt with that issue. We offered the services of the Womens Directorate to the women from the Womens Centre in order to come up with some kind of a plan for the continuation of funding. The Womens Directorate has met with individuals from the Womens Centre in the past. I met today with one of the very active women in that area, and Bobbi Smith has just informed me that they will be meeting again tomorrow to talk about the kind of things they would like to see in the future for the Womens Centre. The commitment is there from this government that we would like to work toward something in order to keep the centre open.
Mr. Phelps: I feel that some contingency plans ought to be developed fairly soon, as it is obvious to me that we will be facing cutbacks, if not more severe measures like no funding from the federal government.
Those are all the questions I have.
Chair: We will proceed line by line.
On Public Information, Policy & Program Development
On Operation & Maintenance
On Policy & Program Development
Policy & Program Development in the amount of $226,000 agreed to
On Public Information
Public Information in the amount of $55,000 agreed to
On Family Violence
Family Violence in the amount of $54,000 agreed to
Public Information, Policy & Program Development in the amount of $335,000 agreed to
Womens Directorate agreed to
Yukon Development Corporation
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Yukon Development Corporation is asking for no money from the Legislature in this budget.
Mr. Phelps: I did not hear what the Minister had to say in his opening remarks.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I said that the Yukon Development Corporation is not requesting any money from the Yukon Legislature in this budget.
Mr. Phelps: We are permitted to ask questions, however.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I would like to let the Leader of the Official Opposition know that I take infinite delight and have infinite time for questions on this subject.
Mr. Phelps: We have covered a lot of ground in the weeks we have been in the House with regard to many of the issues, but there are a couple of areas I would like to ask a few questions on before we pass by this important item in the budget.
I got into it a bit in Question Period with the issue of electrical energy and the needs of the territory. I was raising a concern because the five-year plan is based on an assumption that I think is patently unfounded and that is that the demand from Curragh will remain the same - Curragh being the major consumer of electricity.
Curragh is a customer that gets a preferential rate because of negotiations many years ago, which occurred before the transfer of assets from NCPC to this government.
If Curragh is going to increase its energy consumption by one-third, my concern is that this means an approximate requirement of an additional 15 megawatts, which almost doubles the 16 megawatt forecast in the plan for all the 1990s. When is the corporation going to come to grips with this major and fundamental change in the demand?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I appreciate the Members question. I do not know the honourable gentlemans source of information. The subject has been the matter of recent discussion between officials of the Energy Corporation and the customer.
The Leader of the Official Opposition may be interested to know that, very early this morning, the head of the company in the Yukon and myself were in conversation about energy questions, and we are going to pursue discussions in the first week of January on these questions.
I have not heard from Curragh the kind of projections he has indicated today.
We are looking at the question of supply. There are a number of decisions pending in the very near future on the supply front, which will cause us to address them. The Member is correct in pointing out that it is quite possible, given the nature of the mining industry and world metal markets, that a forecast may change very quickly because of changing international circumstances, whether they happen as result of inputs like diesel fuel costs, or whether they happen as a result of other commodity price situations.
By the time the Yukon Energy Corporation goes before the Public Utilities Board, sometime in the next calendar year, we will have had to review and update the plans we have tabled here at the end of November, because the Leader of the Official Opposition is correct: they may have become seriously dated even in that short period of time.
Mr. Phelps: I want to have the concern of this side on the record. The use of diesel is costly and goes against the environmental priorities of this government and the people of the territory. Another concern I have has to do with the storage area for the Aishihik power dam and generator. We have heard representations about the levels in the reservoir at Aishihik Lake being drawn down at a fairly rapid pace, and we have heard the concern raised in the public domain about the impact that will have on the ecosystem that surrounds Aishihik Lake. What is the governments position with regard to protecting that ecological system? Is the government content that drawing down the levels to the minimum licensed requirement is consistent with sound environmental practice?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The first thing that must be said is that we are operating within the water licence, and I think the Leader of the Official Opposition conceded that at the end of his question. We do respect the concerns of people, particularly those living in the area, who have raised concerns about the ecology, fish and wildlife of the area.
In that capacity, the corporation is going to be cooperating with other agencies to see some studies done in the next season, in terms of looking at that question. Quite frankly, it comes down to whether the existing water licence is in need of an environmental review. I believe we are behaving responsibly in working with other agencies to see those studies done in the next year.
Mr. Phelps: Certainly, some of the information that has been provided to us we do not regard as necessarily the end in terms of being all that factual. There is concern that there was not sufficient attention paid to the environmental impact of the lake being drawn down to the minimum and the possibility in the future of lowering even that standard.
I would like to pass on to the next area that I want to touch briefly on and it has to do with the funding for restoring or rehabilitating, adding office space to, Old Yukon College. The cost has been set at approximately $6 million, just under that, and we are advised that the provision of those monies has been arranged from a lender, an institution. I am a bit concerned about the high cost of establishing the additional office space, some 32,000 to 33,000 square feet of office space, at a cost of $6 million. I say that because, in my view, given that the land is there, that kind of quantity of office space, brand-new, first class, could be provided for $3 million.
Now, I understand that there are some other additional repairs that are going to be done to other parts of the building. My concern is this: is Yukon Development going to draw down the entire amount of the loan, whether or not those monies are required for the repair and renovation of Old Yukon College? In other words, I am concerned about this whole move to Old Yukon College being used not only to provide some office space, at very high cost, but to provide funding to the corporation that would be paid back in future years under the terms of the lease. So, I want to know, in simple terms: will money only be borrowed that is required to be used in renovating and repairing Old Yukon College, or, if the real cost of that is a few million less, is the money going to be borrowed anyway and used by Yukon Development Corporation for other things, such as working capital?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I can give the Member opposite my absolute assurance that the arrangements with Confederation Life, the borrowing required, was entirely and only for the purpose described in this House and is provided as required for this project.
Mr. Phelps: The lease had a provision that in the event the cost was more than $6 million the lease could be negotiated upwards to reflect that additional cost. In the event that the money required to complete the renovations is less than the amount that has already been secured, will the lease payments then be reduced accordingly?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have to say to the Member that I think that is a hypothetical question because I do believe the project has been intelligently budgeted and the money that we draw down from the mortgage is going to be required to complete the project. I should also tell the Member though that it is a point aof pride to the officers of the corporation that they want to do everything they can to see this project come in on time and on budget. Therefore, any consequent adjustment upward in the leases is not any more likely than a downward adjustment.
Mr. Phelps: The next area I would like to briefly dwell on has to do with the convention centre. The proposed project was initiated under the name Dakwakada but is going to be completed under another numbered company that is going to have a new name, rather than just a number. The Yukon Development Corporation is committed to putting $2 million into that project. I am wondering if we can be enlightened as to why work has not begun, because we keep hearing rumours the financing has not come through and that there is difficulty with the financing aspect of the project. Does the Minister have anything he can tell us about that?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I apologize to the Member. I did not anticipate the question in exactly those terms. I cannot. I take the question seriously, and I am more than ready to give an undertaking to the Member that, in my capacity as Minister responsible for the Development Corporation, I will communicate with him in writing under the letterhead of the corporation my knowledge as to the progress of the project.
Mr. Phelps: I would appreciate receiving that information. The other thing that concerns me, and I have simply heard this as a rumour, but a fairly prevalent one, is that the convention centre may be downsized in order to make the complex viable enough to attract the money required to get it off the ground.
I would like to know whether this government will give us a commitment that the convention centre will not be downsized with the result of having to start over and put out proposals again.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have no personal knowledge of any such discussions about downsizing the convention centre. I will make inquiries on that point and respond perhaps in the same letter to the Member. I have to tell him that I have no knowledge of this. I understand the point of his question and can respond once I know what the facts are.
Mr. Phelps: It would clear the air if it was made clear that if a very key term of the proposal is varied significantly, the proposal would be retendered, or put out again, so everybody has a fair shot at it.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I understand the point being made by the Member and I will respond accordingly.
Mr. Phelps: Those are the questions that I have and I am ready to clear my part of the general debate, unless someone else has something.
On Operation & Maintenance
On Gross Advances
Gross Advances in the amount of $1.00 agreed to
Yukon Development Corporation in the amount of $1.00 agreed to
Yukon Liquor Corporation
Chair: We are on general debate.
Hon. Mr. Webster: At this time I will entertain any questions that the Members opposite may have on the Yukon Liquor Corporation, the fiscal year 1991-92.
Chair: Are there any questions?
Mr. Phillips: I only have questions in two areas. The first area I would like to deal with is the planned expenditure for the new liquor store in Dawson City. I want to express a concern from this side that although a new facility is needed in Dawson, and I am not arguing that, I am concerned about the cost of the new structure. I understand that it is to be in excess of $2 million. I am told that that this building is way over designed. This is a Cadillac of liquor stores.
I think this is a concern that the Minister should be addressing. If we can build a liquor store in Dawson City - with a false front and meet the requirements of the City of Dawson - for $600,000 or $700,000, then that is what we should be doing. If we are building another monument in Dawson City for $2 million, then I have a concern. As a Member of the Public Accounts Committee, I know that not only this committee but many other committees have addressed the issue of over building government projects, over designing government projects.
My understanding is that the government should look at the roof. I understand the roof is way over specified and is almost a super structure in design. I understand that there also could be a reduction in the cost of producing the walls and the ornate woodwork in the facility. I think we have to be conscious and practical in what we are doing in this particular case.
We just relocated the Whitehorse liquor store, and I will get into that in a few moments. The facility is there to allow people to purchase alcohol in the various communities in the territory from the Government of the Yukon, and we should not be building a monument. I am concerned that in Dawson, although we are conforming with the national historic sites requirements, that there is no need to build a Cadillac of buildings there. In a time of restraint, and a time when the government is asking everyone else to cut back and reduce spending, they are paying an exorbitant price to build a new liquor store in Dawson City.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I share the Members concern for the cost of this building. That is the reason the contract has not been awarded. I also agree with the Member that, while perhaps we cannot afford a Cadillac of buildings, as he describes this, it was not designed as a Cadillac. The building is very substantial. It is 7,600 square feet for the store, the office and storage area. Some additional expense comes in with the 900 square feet for the restoration of the Red Feather Saloon. This element has added considerably to the cost estimates of the project.
There were some redesigns of the original plan to meet the specifications of not only the City of Dawson but also Parks Canada. As you know, they are quite exacting in their demands. They want to faithfully reproduce all the details to turn-of-the-century standards and configurations. That has added to the cost: the risk of uncertainty in dealing with restoration work and some of the complexities of construction in Dawson City. I am aware of these through personal experience.
We are concerned about it and for that reason we have not awarded the contract. We are exploring other options, at this time, and a decision will not be made on this matter for at least another month. We will be looking at areas where we can possibly redesign. The Member has raised a couple of areas where there should be some redesign in the specifications of the roof and walls. These matters will be looked at to see if the price can be decreased somewhat.
Mr. Phillips: I am glad the government is going to be looking at reducing the cost of the facility. I would like the Minister to tell us what the bids were and how much was the successful bidders price for the liquor store. Then, I just want to make a comment that I have had an opportunity to talk to at least two architects on this matter, and I have talked to another couple of contractors who bid the project or were working on bidding the project and the comment from every single one of them is Boy, is this some kind of building. I mean, they have not seen this type of building in the Yukon for a long time. This is really, as I said before, the Cadillac of buildings. At a time of restraint, at a time when we are cutting back, we should not be trying to put in the very best. We can put in an adequate facility that serves its purpose but we do not have to, on one hand tell everyone else they have to cut back and on the other hand build a monument in Dawson City.
I am not begrudging Dawson at all for having a liquor store. They need a new liquor store and I do not deny that. I am just concerned that here we are again building a pretty fancy facility for what is really needed in that particular city.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I guess I need some clarification from the Member as to what he defines as a Cadillac building. Again, as far as I am aware, given the unique construction problems in Dawson City, the basic building itself - that is, the liquor store, the office, the storage area - is pretty much your run of the mill building. The Member says perhaps the specifications for the roof and the walls are not run of the mill. Again, I think the main reason for the cost is for the restoration of the Red Feather Saloon. There were only two bidders on this project and both contractors have very little experience in restoration work, which can be very costly, as the Member for Hootalinqua will confirm from the work that he has done on his own personal residence.
To answer the Members question, I only have the price of the low bidder and that was $2.4 million, and the Member for Riverdale South informs me that $2.9 million was the high bidder.
Mrs. Firth: I would like to follow up on this specific issue because I have the architectural drawings, which came with the information that I asked for from the government; I do make use of it.
I am very concerned about the cost of this project being in excess of $2 million. I recognize that a lot of it is for the restoration of the Red Feather Saloon. I have to ask about the appropriateness of doing that at this time, particularly in light of the fact that we are building this fancy facility in excess of $2 million - or the government is wanting to build it - in Dawson, and we have got the best brand-new space in the new strip mall for a liquor distribution outlet as well, with the new office space to sell liquor out of.
The kids out in Golden Horn are going to school in Atco trailers. I think the government has to give some very serious consideration to what its priorities are and how it looks to the public when we have these fancy brand-new outlets to distribute liquor and the kids are going to school in Atco trailers. Then the government pats itself on the back and tells the public what a great and generous gift it gave them because it allotted $1.4 million for the schools. It is allowing $2.6 million for the Catholic schools and the other schools up in Porter Creek.
It is not unreasonable when the public raises their eyebrows and says what is this government doing when we have these fancy outlets to sell liquor out of but the kids are going to school in trailers that require 19 maintenance visits to them.
I would like to ask the Minister to very strongly consider what it is doing and address the priorities of this government. Perhaps he could report back to us, in some form of written communication, when he makes a decision as to what he is going to do with respect to that particular contract. It is going to take another month for a decision. I do not think it should take that long. But I think he had better make a decision fast and keep in touch with what public opinion is.
I would like to ask the Minister some specific questions about the tendering of the contract for the liquor store space in the new strip mall.
The Minister wants to respond. Perhaps he could make a decision within the next week about downsizing the liquor store in Dawson.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I would like an opportunity to respond to the Red Feather Saloon liquor store project in Dawson City before I move on to the Whitehorse strip mall liquor store question.
I guess I did not say it strongly enough that I, too, am concerned with the high price of constructing the Red Feather Saloon, Dawson City liquor store. Should I say it again?
It is going to take a while. We are going to be exploring options. Perhaps there will be another site and another building will be constructed. Perhaps we will be reducing the overall cost requirements on this particular project. But I do want to make it clear that we do need a new liquor store in Dawson City. I guess when you go from a liquor store in a building that has been condemned for the last six years into anything, it may appear like a Cadillac to some people.
But I want to assure the Members that we are also dealing with restoration work here. The turn of the century saloon will be an additional tourist attraction for the community. I know Parks Canada bylaws in Dawson are quite stringent and we will want to take a close look at it. I do not think that will be done in the next week.
Mrs. Firth: We look forward to a written communication from the Minister when a decision is made. Otherwise, we will just ask when we are back in the Legislature.
I would like to ask some questions about the contract process that the liquor corporation went through to get the new office space in the strip mall. There were three bidders on that contract and I understand one of them was disqualified in the beginning because they did not have the costs or architectural designs available. When the contract was finally awarded, it was given to the same business that was originally disqualified. I would like to ask the Minister if he knew about this and, if so, why it happened?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Yukon Liquor Corporation issued a call for proposals for leasing space to the Yukon Liquor Corporation for the purpose of having its operations in downtown Whitehorse. I cannot recall right now, that being six months ago, if there were three or four proposals. One was the existing arrangement modified somewhat to increase the size; there was the Native Development Corporation, which was found to be inadequate, so there was a total of three.
The Member asked why one of the proposals was disqualified. I am not aware that the proposal that eventually won the contract was originally disqualified. Can the Member enlighten me as to the reason that might be?
Mrs. Firth: The information I have is that the original bid that the strip mall had submitted did not have the total cost included and did not have the architectural designs ready. The bids were opened and then the Liquor Corporation decided they wanted to go with the strip mall after all. The Minister is nodding his head so perhaps he would like to respond.
Hon. Mr. Webster: We received that proposal from this developer. At that time the individual was not in a situation to provide specific dollar figures, so we extended the time to the individual and notified the other developers who submitted a proposal on this that we were extending the time to review the proposals. That is what occurred. In the end, the developer provided us with all the necessary information and then we made a decision based on the information from all three bids.
Mrs. Firth: Is it not true that that did not happen until after the bids were opened? That creates kind of an unfair scenario because then the bidder who had not submitted any costs knew what the other bids were. Is it not in fact true that, according to the tendering procedures, if all of the bidders do not meet the criteria of the tender documents, then they are disqualified and that means just what it says: they are disqualified so they do not get to bid on that. That is the rule and it appears in this instance that that rule was overlooked and that raises the question, then, that the other two bidders, according to common law practice, may be in a position where they could recover the costs for preparing the bids from the Liquor Corporation.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to remind the Member that this is a call for proposals. There were other factors. It was not a bid on a set project. There are other factors to be considered besides the price per square foot in the proposals that were received, so I do not really think that had much bearing on the final submission of the third party.
Mrs. Firth: They did not submit the prices as the other two bidders did, nor did they have the architectural design ready, as the other bidders did. They were disqualified; then the bids were opened and everybody knew what everybody else was bidding, and then they ended up getting the contract when they had not submitted a bid that complied with the requirements of the tender documents in the first place.
The Minister should perhaps look into this matter because it has raised a lot of bad feeling within the business community. It is another one of those incidents where the tendering procedure has been perceived to be that the rules were not followed.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Clearly, one of the three proposals that was submitted was inadequate. Now, dealing with only one proposal by the deadline and with word that another one would be submitted later on, we extended the time of invitation for people to submit proposals.
I would imagine that the Member is quite right when she says that the time came up for opening the bids and at that time the Liquor Corporation realized that they really only had one bid that would qualify, so there was an extension of time for a call for proposals. I imagine that in that period of time, that extension of time, the developer who submitted the one proposal, which had been opened, was perhaps asked to resubmit another price.
Mrs. Firth: That is exactly the unfairness of it. When the contractor was disqualified for the Golden Horn Elementary School, he was disqualified; he was not given an opportunity to rebid. There is a set of rules: if you do not meet the criteria of the tender, you are disqualified. In this case, that did not happen. After all the bids were opened and everybody knew what everybody elses price was, this other company was allowed to rebid. That has created the unlevel playing field and that is what has created the dissension in the business community that the rules are not being following. I have had legal advice that there could be room here for the Native Development Corporation, that was the low bidder, in fact, to perhaps pursue a lawsuit to be compensated for the cost of preparing their bid.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to emphasize that this is a call for proposals. It is more than just a bid, the dollar per square footage, involved here in making a decision. Clearly, the lowest bidder, the location, the building itself, was inadequate for the purposes of conducting the Yukon Liquor Corporations business. What we were left with at the time the call for proposals had expired was basically one proposal, which incidentally had submitted all the prices. We had also received a proposal from another developer who clearly gave us the impression they were intending to proceed with this development but had not at that time submitted the prices. With that in mind, we extended the time for the call for proposals, and then we had something to compare with the one proposal that we had received by the original deadline. Then the decision was made based on the merits of the location of the facility itself and, of course, on the cost per square foot.
Mrs. Firth: Surely the Minister can see that that just is not an acceptable explanation. It looks like the government wanted to have the new liquor store in the strip mall; they put the tender out; that business, according to the requirements of the tender documents, was disqualified, so they retendered it so that it could qualify. So, what happens to the other two bidders? It looks like the government is manipulating the rules to do whatever they wanted to do in the first place. That is the accusation that is being made out in the business community. This is just a perfect example of it.
The Minister of Government Services says it is just me. It is not. The Chamber of Commerce raised concerns about the tendering process and the Contractors Association has. I do not care if it is just a call for proposals. Surely, the government realizes that by not applying the rules equally it creates the perception out there that there is not a level playing field and that the rules are simply being used to the advantage of the government. That is exactly what is happening.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I submit to you that if we had stuck firm with our time frame and received only one proposal of any merit that was completely feasible to operate the liquor store from, then we would have had complaints from the side opposite that we did not have any competition in the bid, and for the sake of two weeks, we should have allowed another developer some time to get together some prices so we could have a competitive bid and, maybe, get into a decent location.
Mr. Phillips: I have one last comment on that particular issue. Although it was a call for proposals, the government made a decision on where it was going to put the liquor store based on proposals. It accepted the proposal of the strip mall. I do not care whether you call it a tender or a call for proposals, to the business person, when bidding the project, they put in their best price. They figure that is as far as they have to go, that they are not going to go to a public bid afterwards. Their proposal is the bid they submit. That is their bid. So you can call it a proposal or call it a tender, but to them that is the final bid. Here they do not see the government playing fair with that issue.
On one hand, the government, with the Golden Horn Elementary School, rejected the one that did not meet the requirements and did not go back later and tell them to draw up another set of proposals. On the other hand, in this case, they said to the one that did not meet the requirements: go back and redraw it and then resubmit it and we will look at it again. That is not a fair playing field. That is all we are questioning.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mr. Phillips: The Minister of Government Services says the rules are different. The rules are not any different to the business community. The business community is bidding a project in the hope of winning the project. In this particular case the government did not play fair.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I think the government has played fair and told all developers who submitted bid proposals that the deadline was being extended. We were clearly not satisfied with the two we had received. We extended the deadline and reviewed all the proposals on a fair basis.
On Operation & Maintenance
Chair: Is the Committee ready to vote?
Question has been called.
Shall the Yukon Liquor Corporation for $1.00 carry?
Some Hon. Members: Disagree.
Chair: All those in favour rise.
All those opposed rise.
Chair: There are eight yea and seven nay.
Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $1.00 agreed to
Yukon Liquor Corporation agreed to
Loan Capital and Amortization
Chair: We are going on to go to Loan Capital and Loan Amortization.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Spending authority is being requested under this vote for $2 million in loan capital, and almost $1.9 million in loan amortization. Members will be aware that the purpose of the loan capital vote is to grant government the authority to make loans to third parties, in this case the municipalities. The $2 million is an outside estimate of the sum that may be required based on a survey of communities conducted by the Department of Community and Transportation Services. The recovery, a like amount, that is shown is simply to reflect the fact that the loaning of money to the municipalities does not affect our surplus/deficit position. In other words, when a loan is made to the municipality we are simply trading one balance sheet asset, cash, for another: loans receivable.
The loan amortization vote on the expenditure side simply represents the payment by this government of loans taken out in previous years for the purpose of reloaning the funds to the municipalities. Loan amortization recovery represents the repayments to us by municipalities of loans we have previously made to them. Members will note that the recovery does not exactly match the expenditure. As is usual, there are two reasons for this. The first, of course, is that many of the older loans to municipalities do not correspond in time, interest rate or amortization period with the loans taken out by the government for the purpose of reloaning them to the municipalities. Some loans to municipalities have been self-financed by the government, as we use our cash balances to make the loan rather than borrowing funds to reloan to the municipality.
On Loan Capital
On Loans to Third Parties
Loans to Third Parties in the amount of $2,000,000 agreed to
On Loan Amortization
Interest in the amount of $1,019,000 agreed to
Principal in the amount of $839,000 agreed to
Loan Amortization in the amount of $1,858,000 agreed to
On Schedule A
Schedule A in the amount of $359,545,000 agreed to
On Schedule B
Schedule B in the amount of $35,301,000 agreed to
On Schedule C
Schedule C agreed to
On Clause 1
Clause 1 agreed to
On Clause 2
Clause 2 agreed to
On Clause 3
Clause 3 agreed to
Title agreed to
Bill No. 16 - First Appropriation Act, 1991-92, agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move you report Bill No. 16, First Appropriation Act, 1991-92, out of Committee without amendment.
Motion agreed to
Chair: Committee will take a five-minute break.
Motion to extend sitting hours
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the Committee of the Whole and the Assembly be empowered to continue sitting after 5:30 p.m. today for the purpose of considering the bills before the Committee of the Whole and permitting the House to consider motions for the third reading of bills.
Motion agreed to
Chair: We will proceed to Bill No. 4, the Health Act
Bill No. 4 - Health Act
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Just at the outset in clause 1 debate, I would like to review briefly the purposes of this act, which is part of a larger health agenda that I have had an opportunity to describe before in debate. The act does the following things: it redirects health care to give emphasis to promotion and prevention rather than illness. It incorporates six principles into law: prevention, integration, partnership, accessibility, cultural sensibility and accountability. These six principles were then articulated by this government as a framework for all our social policy initiatives some time ago.
Three, it commits increasing dollars for health promotion and creates a health investment fund.
Four, it recognizes and respects aboriginal, traditional and nutritional healing practices.
Five, it requires health status reports be publicly released.
Six, it provides for the creation of health and social service districts and boards after consultation and referenda.
Seven, like the Education Act, the staff reporting to these new boards that may be created will remain employees of the department and of the government.
Eight, like the Mental Health Act, it protects clients rights.
Nine, it establishes in law the Health and Social Services Council.
Ten, it requires that all departments report on potential effects on health and social well-being when proposing new policy. This is a healthy public policy initiative or requirement that is now finding its way into law everywhere in the country.
Eleven, it establishes a new departmental name in law.
Twelve, it defines the duties of the Minister.
Thirteen, it amends the medical travel rules to permit the compassionate travel policy - an area where we have had some problems and criticism in the past, which I think we now have addressed in a major way.
I thought it would be useful to give that brief introduction of the objectives of the act, since it has been some time since second reading. I will now resume my place in order to receive questions from Members opposite.
Mr. Lang: We have spoken on second reading to the bill. I expressed some reservations in respect to the number of boards that were being created through the bill. I still do have some concerns. It is not our intention to hold up the bill over that. I am very concerned about the fragmentation of our health system and what will be the final outcome in respect to these boards as they are distributed throughout the territory. I really feel we are getting so many boards in these communities that we do not have enough people to sit on them. It is almost becoming a third industry for a lot of people; they become professional board-sitters and that is not the purpose of a lot of these boards, or at least I did not think it was in any event.
The area that concerns me is the question of the costs of our health care. I think all Members in the House support the efforts of the department and primarily the hospital workers and look forward to really emphasizing the preventive side of health, but that is not going to solve all our problems. It just might put us on hold. If anything, we will still see increasing costs unless some innovative measures are taken within the health system. What I mean by that is that the costs associated with health and how they are escalating can, in good part, be attributed to the fact that society, as a whole, is getting older.
Of course, with us living longer, the elderly have more ailments and, subsequently, there are more costs to our health care system.
The Minister has mentioned a number of times that he was going to be taking steps to curb the escalating costs in the health care system. What does he see happening in the health care system that will continue to provide us with a good quality health system and one that, at the same, we can afford?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I thank the Member for his questions. I have addressed his concerns about the proliferation of boards - at least I gave my views on the question - at the second reading debate, and I do not think there is much I can add to that.
I want to say a little bit about his concern about fragmentation before I move on to the question of costs. We should be perfectly clear that, in terms of the basic curative system - doctors, nurses, hospitals, drugs - that nothing in this act takes away from that or diminishes what we are doing now, nor will there be any reduction or elimination of services as a result of this act in any community as the result of the introduction of boards.
In addition to what is provided for in the system now, communities will likely be able to express some opinions about whether they want to add a social worker or whether they want an alcohol or drug prevention worker in the total staffing, or whether they want to have a counsellor rather than an extra probation officer - that kind of thing. They will have that kind of voice in a way that does not exist now, and I do not think that will diminish anything at all from the basic health services in the community. They may also decide that there is a particular health problem in their community that they want to address and they will have the ability to make some decisions that will enable them to address it - in much the same way that school councils will be able to in respect to the Education Act and the 20-percent optional curriculum.
On costs: we have talked before in this House about the costs being a problem that is Canada wide. In fact, it is interesting in that it is continent wide, and it is a problem in the western world. In the last few months that I have been Minister of this department, I have had the opportunity of reading the literature from Europe, the United States and Canada, and certainly it is a problem in Britain, with a very different kind of system than we have. Britain has long, long waiting lists for all kinds of procedures. In fact, the British health care system now, as a result of the present government in Britain, has decided that some treatments just will not be available to people over 60, for example; if you are 60, forget it.
They had to do what we call rationing health services.
In the United States, interestingly enough, the last place in the western world where they have a privatized system of health care, they have a problem with their system being much less efficient than ours. It is not just a problem of huge salaries for doctors. The claim is often made we are losing doctors to the United States because of the high salaries. The latest numbers are quite different. Ontario, which is alleged, because they have held down their health costs, to be losing doctors, in fact is a net importer of doctors from the United States. When you look at the numbers they are losing a few very high priced specialists, but they are also importing people, because the Canadian system is a relatively attractive system in which to operate. We have basically a very good system. It has some financial stresses, but is basically a good system. There is probably a more rational allocation of resources in our system than is in the United States.
There are some models emerging in the United States, though, to deal with the problem of costs. They come out of some ideas that are being followed to some extent in Canada, particularly in Quebec and Ontario, which we have to admit are further ahead in some respects than other jurisdictions. They have to do with looking at questions of health outcomes, looking at questions like hospital budgets and saying: we are going to reward you if you are successfully demonstrating that you are producing the kind of results you are supposed to produce. That kind of debate is quite familiar to us in this House as we talk about more and more modern management systems, performance evaluations, and so forth. They want to be able to measure health outcomes, health standards and whether the institutions, such as hospitals, are producing results they are intended to and then funding them according to whether or not they are doing a good job.
Another model that is developing in the United States, which is a very interesting one, is the health management organization model. It allows people in a private scheme to buy into the scheme, pay a fixed fee for health services and the doctors working in that system then have a vested interest in keeping you healthy. They do not have an interest in seeing you more frequently, because they do not get to bill more on that basis; they have an interest in seeing you less frequently. So they have an interest in keeping you healthy - an actuarial interest in keeping you healthy. So the system has a different kind of financial and economic mechanisms.
That model is probably the most advanced, in terms of experiment, on the west coast, and particularly California. There are experiments going on with that system now in Ontario and Quebec.
There are a number of other things about the technology. The Member mentioned age as one of the factors that is driving up costs; the other one is technology. Nowadays, people watch popular television programs, read popular magazines and newspapers, and they hear that there is a new wonder drug, or a new piece of technology, that produces wondrous results for someone. They hear about heart transplants; they hear about these medical miracles.
For most of the population, these things are not miracles. They are massively expensive, and are what the system calls heroic measures, which literally cost millions of dollars. In terms of the total health of the population, these do not produce much of an improvement.
It is interesting that, often, these most radical procedures and very expensive technology are used on people who are near the end of their life. They usually extend the life of the person, but do little in terms of improving the general health of the population.
The trouble is that the first time a community hears that, for example, some child has been saved by some new operation or by a CAT scan machine, we immediately get public pressure. Or perhaps someone alleges that somebody has died who did not have access to this new technology, and you get public pressure to add that technology to the system.
One of the biggest problems for legislators, public servants and politicians in the system, is this demand. I remember the recently-departed Premier of Ontario telling me at a meeting how horrified he was that a decision by a community hospital to add an orthopedic surgeon to the staff meant an increase in billings to the medicare system of $500,000. It was something they had absolutely no control over, whatsoever. It was just like that. If dozens of communities did that across the province, it was an implication of millions of dollars, and the people were supposed to be paying the bills. The province had no control at all.
The same goes for technology. A hospital decides to add a big new machine. I do not know if anyone saw the Monty Python film, The Meaning of Life, but one of the wonderful scenes in that was about a machine that goes ping. They hooked it up to a person. All you ever knew about it was that it went ping, but it was very expensive, and the hospital wanted to try it out. When you used that machine, it probably added huge costs to the health care system.
We are having to address that situation here, as some of the more sophisticated jurisdictions are doing, by saying rather than have just a political debate about whether you should get a new piece of equipment, because it is often an uninformed debate as very few legislators or public servants are equipped to make an objective evaluation on whether or not a piece of equipment or technology will improve the health of the population versus other ways of spending the money, we need the kind of advice that will come from having an objective look at the pros and cons of adding that piece of technology.
This bill allows us to create certain committees, some of which we are creating already, and it provides a foundation in law to do that. One of these is the technology committee. We have already been talking about setting it up. It allows some health care professionals, mainly doctors, to be on a committee in terms of evaluating proposals - whether it is CAT scans or new imaging equipment. The committee will evaluate proposals and decide whether it is rational or not to expend X million dollars. We are usually talking millions of dollars for these types of things. The committee will also decide if such expenditures would really improve the general health of the population.
I want to go back to the point the Member made regarding preventive initiatives having failed. I suspect we both grew up in households and cultural traditions where we heard the saying, An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It was certainly part of my Celtic heritage. I think it is a particularly Celtic idea, if I may say so.
As the Member says, it is true that we cannot reduce health care costs next year, or even the year after, by five or 10 percent by putting new money into prevention promotion. It is also true that, if we do not do that, as the population ages and the demands for technology increase, the health care budgets that, in Canada, have been running way ahead of increases in provincial budgets, are going to continue to bloom. The next government, or the government after that, is going to be suffering a financial situation they will be unable to accommodate.
Every Member of this House has heard about the announcements that have been made in Quebec in the last couple of weeks. Quebec, like Ontario, is now spending one-third of its provincial budget on health.
The Quebec Minister was quoted just last week as saying that their trendline showed them heading for 50 percent of the provincial budget on health alone - not health and social service; health. A lot of what they are talking about doing is similar to what we are talking about doing here, in terms of the preventive promotion initiatives. It is true that they are also trying to do some rationing and capitation and some control measures that are going to be harsh and controversial but also a lot of what they are doing is very consistent with what we are doing. Later on, when we get to the appropriate clauses, I will be able to describe for Members the numbers of other provinces, and it is now the majority, who are proceeding in exactly in the same way we are in terms of trying to force ourselves to spend a certain amount every year on the health-promotion/disease-prevention initiatives because if we do not put some money aside, it is like everything else. If the cost pressures keep on us, we will always be eating into that money, eating into the savings, if you like, the investment fund, which is what it is, and we will not have the results.
I want to say to the Member though, I understand what he is saying. There is no simple, good solution here. Even the initiatives we are taking now will take some time to pay off. My argument is that if we do not do it now we will create some horrible situations for people down the road, our successors in this House. I also will admit freely that this is not a magic solution. I am not going to be able to cut the health budget next year as a result of what we are doing here. I will not claim that and I will not predict that.
Mr. Lang: Nobody is arguing about the creation of the health investment fund. I am a little surprised at the generalities that the Minister is speaking of in respect to what steps can be taken within the framework of our health system to see where we can kind of curb our costs and keep them down to some manageable level. The Minister has spoken on a number of occasions about reviewing the area of health and coming forward with initiatives that are still going to provide a good quality care, at the same time taking costs into consideration. I am wondering if the Minister is going to be able to provide this House with anything more than what he just said, which is basically praising the concept of the health investment fund that we do not disagree with. On the other hand, there are ongoing costs here. I understand pharmacare and chronic care lists are under some review and that may have some savings, but I am just wondering if there is any other area or are we just going to be looking at a continuing escalation of costs and hoping that Mr. Penikett and Mr. Lang continue to go swimming and do not get sick.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Member is quite right. I did not go into detail, and part of the reason is because the proposals I have about specific cost control initiatives have not yet cleared Cabinet. I did indicate to a Member the other day that one of the things I am thinking about in terms of the cost control initiatives is in the chronic diseases program, which could save us several hundred thousand dollars a year without reducing the quality of the service to the people who need it. We are looking at the technological reviews. The question we talked about is an important one, and can produce real savings for the community over time.
I am also taking a look at residency. The way the Yukon Health Insurance Act was written way back is pretty muddy in terms of residency. I know for a fact there are people who are claiming under our system who do not live in the territory, and have not lived here for a long time. We are now in the process of removing several hundred people from the list whom we believe have no legal claim to the Yukon medicare system whatsoever. They do not live here and have not lived here for quite a while.
Mr. Lang: Can the Minister update us in respect to the payment of medicare fees to doctors? My understanding is that there was a case not too long ago where the judge made it very clear that the way the present legislation it is written is unclear and very gray, as far as the collection or the charging of doctor fees to the system. What are the Ministers comments on that, and what can we expect in respect to the results of that judgment?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I think the problem was with the regulations, rather than the legislation. We looked at both immediately following the decision. I asked for a copy of the decision, so that we could examine the regulations to see what was indicated there. We are in the process of doing that, and we will be tightening up to make sure that we address the judges observation.
Mr. Lang: Can the Minister update us in respect to where we are with the health transfer? Is there any more new information to add to what he stated here a number of weeks ago?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The only new thing that is happening in addition to what I told the Member the other day is that, perhaps even as we speak, we are in what we hope will be final discussions with the employees about the personnel package.
Mr. Nordling: I have no problem with the principles outlined this bill, nor with incorporating them into law. The intent of the act is admirable, and I hope it works. I hope we see a substantial improvement in the general health of our communities and, especially, among our young people.
I would like to see a comprehensive health program in our schools. We are working toward that and, with the political will that is being expressed by the side opposite to tackle this area, I am sure it will happen.
There is a specific question I would like to hear the Minister comment on. The act is going to set up a Health and Social Services Council, and the functions are outlined in one of the sections. There was a Health and Social Services Council formed on March 28, 1990. At that time, the exact role of that council was to evolve over time. How has that council been functioning? How many times has it met? What does the Minister think it has accomplished? It is a 16-member council, so it sounded a bit unwieldy.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The council has met a number of times, and I have been to at least part or all of every one of their meetings. The council is working very well. It is, in fact, a 14-member body, if you include the two ex officio Ministers. The citizen members number 12.
In that body, there is an attempt to make sure there is a range of interests represented, from justice to social services to health interests, as well as a range of community interests. There were many people who were proposed to be members, and many people who hoped to be members of it, but who were not.
This act has been extensively reviewed by that body - it is one of the groups with which there was consultation - including the terms of reference in this act.
The terms of reference in this bill are consistent with those originally established for the council, but we believe there is sufficient flexibility in there for it to evolve in the way the Member suggests.
Because it is taking an interest in a whole range of questions now - the health question, mental health question, community social service delivery, social development generally, juvenile justice - the council will evolve in terms of the subjects it intends to address. One of the things that this act provides is for is the automatic reference of health status reports to it. Those will provide an objective measure of how we are doing in terms of health and social development in our communities, and will provoke appropriate public debate about the directions, emphasis and the priorities of the government of the day.
As well, I think the focus of the council is likely to shift, depending upon the issues. For example, there has been much debate in this House over the last three or four years about alcohol and alcohol abuse, about ways of addressing the question and there has been some discussion in this session. We have also discussed the major study that had been done in cooperation with National Health and Welfare and our statistics branch about alcohol and drug use and abuse in this territory. That will provide an important foundation for research in this area. I see that report, as well, being referred to the Health and Social Service Council, so not just the government people, but some of the private sector, the non-government interests in this field will have an opportunity to publicly discuss, comment and reflect on a report like that.
The advisory nature of the council is the most important one. While they may hold conferences on various subjects, ultimately the advice they give to the government will be the ones they will publish. The government is always in a position where it accepts or rejects the advice, but we think it will be advice from a respected and diverse group, and whether or not we accept the advice, we will be at our peril if we ignore it.
Mr. Nordling: I am pleased that in this act we do have section 6, which is the report of the Minister to the Legislature, so we will get an update on what is happening. My concern is that with a large group, such as I consider the council to be, seeking public input and discussing things, it so often happens that nothing concrete gets done and the years seem to slip by. Council members change and we wind up reviewing what we reviewed before. With section 6, I think the government of the day will be held accountable in the Legislature and will have to report progress in this area.
Mr. Lang: I want to go to the area concerning doctors. Attracting doctors to a rural community is sometimes very difficult if not impossible. In some of the provinces, I believe in British Columbia, there is an added incentive for a doctor to set up a practice in a rural community outside the major centres. If you have a practice set up in a community such as Dawson City, Faro, Watson Lake or Haines Junction, your costs are quite a bit more when you do not have access to all the benefits of the doctors in Whitehorse. Is the Minister looking at that? I would like to hear his comments on it.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It has been a problem everywhere in northern Canada. It is increasingly so in rural Canada and even in provinces like Ontario, which is deemed by some people as having too many doctors in the cities.
We think this act will improve that situation considerably. There is a lot of debate as to how much, exactly, a doctor will contribute to the health status of the community, particularly a small northern community. There will be an ongoing debate, particularly between Whitehorse doctors and rural doctors, about how much value is added to the health of the people by having a resident doctor. I also know that, for some rural communities, it is almost a matter of their own sense of well-being in general to have a doctor there. I know from my own family experience when my father was practising in Dawson City, when we took a holiday, people grumbled. They worried about what they were going to do if they became ill.
There seems to be two problems in terms of doctors in rural Yukon that this act will help alleviate. One of them is the problem of income security. If it was just based on medicare billings in a rural community - though this would probably not be a problem in Watson Lake, Dawson City and perhaps even Faro - it would be very difficult to attract and keep a doctor. But even in a town the size of Watson Lake, Faro or Dawson City, if you have a fairly healthy young population, you may not have the billings that would meet the kind of income expectations of a physician who is often, from his point of view, practising in professional isolation without the rewards of professional contacts or professional associations.
The potential of the act is, with the health and social services boards, to provide not only a measure of greater income security in terms of the contractual arrangements that will be negotiated with people in that situation, but also facilities down the road that will be integrated into the health and social services delivery. Perhaps one may see a doctor, a nurse/practitioner and social worker and so forth in the same facility working together. Human problems do not present themselves neatly, as we discussed before, as health problems, social problems, or dental problems. They are often a complex of problems for people.
That delivery model is working very successfully in a number of places in Canada. There are very exciting prospects in terms of client community satisfaction, such as the James Bay Project in Victoria or the Riverdale Project in Toronto. There are a number of initiatives with that kind of integrated environment where health and social services professionals are working together with a community board, meeting community needs and providing a measure of professional satisfaction for the workers, even though there are no other doctors around. If you take Faro as an example, the doctor works in one little building in an office and the nurses are off in another building somewhere else. The doctor does not have any, except in the more traditional sense, supervisory role. The nurses are federal employees and he is a private practitioner. The kind of integration we are talking about will not only bring them together in a working relationship but also will bring things together in a way that we hope will have health, social and economic benefits for the community and for us.
Mr. Lang: I just want to explore that a little further. In the first part of the answer the Minister gave me, I got the impression that he was saying to the House that he was looking at giving some doctors the option of a salary versus medicare fees for being in an area. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am sorry. Did the Member ask me if I was quoted saying that? I do not remember saying that, anywhere.
Mr. Lang: I got the impression from the Minister that he talked about a guarantee or something. Is he talking about salary or what are we talking about?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Clearly, there are some doctors who have actually already said to us that if that option existed, they would certainly pursue it, because if you are going to be in a small community and you want to provide health services, in fact, if you wanted to focus on public health prevention, a much more attractive arrangement for you would be, potentially, for some doctors, in a salaried arrangement rather than a fee for service. That choice will always exist for doctors in the territory, whatever arrangements evolve in terms of health and social service boards.
Mr. Lang: This is the first time I have heard this idea of a salary for the doctors. To my knowledge, I do not think there are any presently in place. Is the Minister going to be looking at putting it in place?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: There are some in place. There are people who work in the medical services branch or work for the hospitals. There may be people who work for a community clinic. There are a lot of places where they work on salary. I think, though, that the doctors who are practicing say, in Whitehorse, that the majority of them here will continue to operate the way they do now in fee for service in private clinics.
Chair: We will continue with clause-by-clause debate.
On Clause 1
Mr. Lang: I would just like to go back to the whereas at the beginning of the act if I could: the preamble. It says that there should, wherever practicable, be an integration of health services and social services. I am wondering if the Minister is going to be able to provide us, probably not today but maybe in the spring, with a blueprint of what he sees happening in the integration of health and social services, so we fully comprehend and understand administratively what is going to take place here, not only in Whitehorse but within the communities? I would also like to know how this is going to relate to decentralization.
Chair: Order please. The preamble is usually dealt with toward the end of the bill, according to the act.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: If we can pretend this clause is in general debate, I will be happy to answer the Members question.
I would be more than pleased to provide the Member with a detailed answer to that question. I hope you will understand me when I say it will not be a, meaning one, blueprint because there are a number of possibilities that may emerge, but I can tell him the things that we are thinking about in terms of trying to get better integration within the department, at the community level, in the management of our operations, and at the top level between the different agencies. I will be happy to describe that in great detail, both philosophically and practically, to the Member. I will give an undertaking that the Ministry will, for the spring sitting, provide a written report of some of those possibilities.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister tell us what he means by collaborative health planning?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Yes, that could mean that, given the current stage of discussions, the territorial government and the federal government, for example, working together to discuss mental health services as they will be in the future, when we become responsible. It can mean, in a different way, at the community level, collaborative health planning between our health workers and people working in the health and social services field with the federal people and also with the First Nation people. A number of the First Nations have community health representatives who are very knowledgeable about the situation on the ground. Collaborative basically means inter-agency, intergovernmental, private/public sector planning.
Clause 1 agreed to
On Clause 2
Clause 2 agreed to
On Clause 3
Clause 3 agreed to
On Clause 4
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister give us an update in respect to the situation as far as the home that was going to be established here in Whitehorse for those who are suffering some mental problems, yet at the same time were capable of taking care of themselves? My understanding is that there were some negotiations with the Housing Corporation but since then we have heard nothing. I think there is common consensus on both sides of the House that we all feel that there is a need out there that should be met, especially in view of the economic situation that we have here. I am just wondering if the Minister can update us.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I will have to come back to the Member with a report either from the Minister of the Yukon Housing Corporation or myself. I do not have the report ready. I have not received anything from our staff. The best I can do, because I do not know any more than what I told the Member the other day, is undertake to get back to him in writing because unless the Minister of the Yukon Housing Corporation can now tell the Member more about it, I am not in a position at this moment to add to what I previously said, although I will find out the information that the Member has asked.
Mr. Lang: It is an important item and there are people presently on the street who would benefit from such a service. I want to impress upon the Minister that I would like to see a response very soon. It is an area in which the government has publicly stated its intentions and there does not seem to be anything physically happening.
I will accept the undertaking from the Minister, but want to impress upon him that I expect to hear from him very soon with respect to this particular issue.
Clause 4 agreed to
On Clause 5
Mr. Lang: How is clause 5(1) going to work? I have no problem with some of the foods that are eaten on a daily basis by people of aboriginal background, but I am curious how it is going to work within our health system. For example, a moose shot in the wild is much different than what is expected in a hospital, where meat must be inspected. How is that going to tie together to ensure that we meet the objective of this particular section and at the same time meet the safety requirements of those living within the institution?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Let me separate the two matters. I understand the question that the Member is asking, but let me first explain about clause 5(1). It is there as a result of extensive discussions with the Council for Yukon Indians and the First Nations. First of all, the Member must understand we are not going to be regulating, licensing or interfering in this act at all with these practices. We are not making them part of the health insurance system. We are simply recognizing them and recognizing that they exist, and respecting that. Essentially, we are saying we will not interfere.
On the purely practical question the Member asks, I can tell him the most obvious case is the question of the hospital. It has already come up and we have talked about it. It is about country food for people in those hospitals in those communities who want to have traditional diets. We have already said by policy that we intend to structure the arrangements in the new hospital so that people who wish to have that kind of dietary option may. We have a bit of a problem with meat inspection on things like moose, but there may be ways of doing that. Certainly with fish it will work. If people want to have bear root or spruce gum, nii klud - I cannot remember the other name for that - salmon egg soup, moose nose, it can be worked out.
The dietary option of country foods will be available to them and we intend to have the hospital nutritional arrangements administered in such a way that that option is there, protecting both the health of the people in terms of the quality of food and also the option for people to have it.
Mrs. Firth: I thought that was already being accommodated. I have not worked at the hospital for a long, long time now, but even way back when I was there, we tried our best to accommodate the Indian people and their traditional foods by having family bring it in, as well as healing practices. If there were people in the Indian community with special healing abilities, we, as medical staff, certainly allowed them to come in and practice their healing practices as well.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: In this respect, I think MSB has a good history. We are only recognizing that and respecting the wishes of the people in the consultation to have it put into this legislation, that is all.
Mrs. Firth: I want to follow up on something the Minister just said when the Member for Porter Creek East originally asked a question about how this clause was going to work. My concern were the words healing practices as a viable alternative for seekers of health and healing services. When I read that, I question as to whether those kinds of viable alternatives, should they be recognized, will be paid for by the health system. Did the Minister say that that was not going to be the case, so that someone cannot come in as a diagnostician, for example, and charge for services and then the health system would pay for those services. I think it is important that we make that clear.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I apologize for not making that more clear but I tried to say, in answer to the Member for Porter Creek East, that we were neither going to regulate, nor finance these practices. We recognize that they are outside of the established medicare program as it is now. We are going to recognize that they exist, respect that some people place great value on them, but we are not going to pay for them, nor are we going to regulate or interfere with them.
Mrs. Firth: Has the department considered the possibility of disputes? They have already arisen due to the choice of a family or family member for a traditional method of healing to be applied contrary to the advice of the more traditional medical practices. Is there going to be a change in the way that is handled? Perhaps the Minister could comment on that.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The additional instrument that is contemplated in this act, the Member may recall that in answers to the Member for Porter Creek East earlier when I talked about this act, is the authorization for the establishment of certain committees. I talked about a medical technology committee. The other one that will be established is a medical ethics committee, on which both health care professionals and others will be represented. It is the expectation of people with whom we consulted that those questions the Member just referred to will be directed to that committee.
Mrs. Firth: Does that mean that decision will be taken out of the hands of the individual and directed to the committee so that the individuals are no longer responsible for making that choice?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: No. There is, at the back of this bill, a very strong section on the clients rights which is consistent with the Mental Health Act. That decision will ultimately be the clients, but there are questions, as the Member will know, as a healing practitioner, that are not always nice and easy. These are the complex questions the medical ethics committee will consider.
Ultimately, what this act says is that the client, assuming he or she is competent, will make the decisions themselves.
Mrs. Firth: That is an area of concern to myself and most of the public because most people feel, when they go to see medical personnel, that they have lost control over themselves because they do not have the expertise. I used to be a nurse, but still, when I go to a doctor, I have a great deal of concern about my ability to make decisions. I know everyone else who goes to doctors also has that concern because they have expressed it to me.
I have read the section on the clients rights and who takes over in the event of their not being competent. It is important that we keep in mind that the control of the individual be preserved and maintained if the system is going to work in a positive fashion.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Absolutely. I grew up in a home where my parents spoke medical Latin to each other when they did not want the children to understand what they were talking about. I also had the experience of going into the hospital and having my own clothes taken away and having one of those wonderful green jamies given to me that exposed my rear end to the world. There is nothing more guaranteed to make you feel powerless than to wear one of those outfits.
Clause 5 agreed to
On Clause 6
Mr. Nordling: I would just like to ask the Minister when he envisions the first report from the Minister coming before the Legislature.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We will not be actually establishing the medical officer of health under this act until this act is actually passed and proclaimed. The Member will understand that. It is my expectation that in the new year I will have a report that will be very much like a health status report - the first of these - to make public. I cannot tell the Member exactly when but there will be such a report and subsequent reports will be written and authorized by the officer identified in this legislation. The regulations will have to be written and proclaimed before we can actually authorize the report being presented in exactly the form described in this bill.
Mr. Nordling: If I understand the Minister, we are aiming to have some sort of report on the health status of residents of the Yukon as early as the spring session of the Legislature.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: To the extent that it is humanly possible for me to guarantee that we will have such a report by the spring sitting, I will do it.
Clause 6 agreed to
On Clause 7
Clause 7 agreed to
On Clause 8
Clause 8 agreed to
On Clause 9
Mrs. Firth: I understand the principle we are dealing with, but I question exactly what the Minister intends to do with the health investment fund, in view of the fact that the parameters of this fund are so general. The expenditures may either pay for costs of programs or services provided by the government, or of programs or services provided by the persons. That money could be spent anywhere, under a section such as that.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It is not quite true that it could be spent in any way. Understand that we are talking about the health investment fund in terms of health promotion, and so forth. Excluded from all this, by definition, is anything that comes out of procured expenditures now: fee for service doctoring, the prescribing of drugs, the work done by nurses in a hospital setting, pretty well all the health workers.
If I am going to be creating this health fund and separating the curative budget from the prevention budget, I have to have a neat separation. I have to be able to account for what we are doing. If we have some staff who are involved in health - for example, many people here may know Fran Berry, who is a nurse, works for the department and in the schools doing family life education - that is classic health promotion work. In an ideal world, we should account for the kind of work that Fran Berry is doing as a health promotion activity.
I see the fund largely being used for things like where a school council comes to us and says they want to do a special program on nutritional health in their school, and would like to apply for some dollars to do that during the year. We want to make sure that those people can access this money. The openness to the fund will be very clear, but we intend to do very tight financial auditing, in terms of measuring what the money has be used for and whether it has been designed.
The Cancer Society, which is continually raising money and doing promotional activities around the cancer issue, may well access this to do certain activities. Something like the AIDS prevention program for adolescents may be something somebody, perhaps in a school setting, would like to talk about. I am talking about some things we have already heard about, such as a group that wants to take some initiatives for a support for pregnant mothers who want to stop smoking and drinking. They would have access to this fund.
I see the majority of people trying to access this program being what we call the NGOs, the non-government organizations. There will be some activities that would be legitimately and appropriately done within the department, and which we would want to account for as health promotional kinds of expenditures, and keep them separate from what most of the doctors, nurses and hospitals are doing.
Mrs. Firth: If a group wanted to make application for a fetal alcohol syndrome coordinator under the investment fund, and it was contrary to the policy or position of the government, would they be eligible?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have already been asked that question several times by groups. If you are talking about a fetal alcohol syndrome coordinator, and using the term coordinator in the same way it is used in connection with the AIDS coordinator that works out of Skookum Jim, then that is fine.
If a group, or several groups, want to get together and be a coordinator in the sense that they were a health promotion initiative doing prevention work in this field, and wanted to have a coordinator for that purpose, absolutely. In my view, there is no problem at all.
The concern we always had, and I do not want to repeat that in debate, is that having a coordinator is not the way to coordinate government services and responses which, in our case, have to be multi-departmental and even intergovernmental.
The short answer to the question of the Member is, yes.
Clause 9 agreed to
On Clause 10
Clause 10 agreed to
On Clause 11
Mr. Lang: On Clause 11(1), can the Minister can provide us with some sort of cost estimate with the fragmentation, or creation, of all these districts or boards? He must have some idea of what we are looking at. Can the Minister give us a breakdown of what these costs are going to be?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The only one that I would see coming into place in the following year, which is the first year of this act, is the Mayo pilot project. We have previously allocated $40,000 to get it going. We have some money in the budget just passed in Committee, where we talked about the facilities that will have to replace the Mayo Hospital, which the federal government is retiring. The community is looking at health and social service facilities. The group that is working in Mayo will spend some time focussing on that. Beyond that we do not intend to spend any additional money at all.
Let us assume the discussions and negotiations for that project will go with the people who are already there, and who are largely based in three power centres: the First Nation, the band and their staff; the village and their staff; and professionals who are working for all the governments and agencies there.
Some of them are being paid and a lot of the ongoing administrative work is done by people who are already on someones payroll - either the federal governments, ours or the bands - in some cases, maybe even the villages.
When we get into further negotiations with another area of the community, there will be the costs to us. Let us say, for the sake of argument, the negotiations are with the Town of Faro - a community that is fairly homogeneous. There is no First Nations there, but there is a town council, a union and a company. I do not think we are talking about complicated negotiations there. There is a physical plant there already. There is staff there. What we will be talking about is a negotiating arrangement where, like we do with municipalities - and let us face it, the board might end up being the town council - we would block fund for the delivery of the health and social services arrangements there. People would still, in law, be working for us, but, like with the school councils, they would take direction in terms of priorities with the local board.
We are not talking about huge amounts of money, but there will be some administrative costs. There will no doubt be somebody, and we have not got a person year identified for this, who will already have been working on this act and who will have to be devoted to those negotiations first with Mayo and then subsequently with other people and areas in subsequent years. I do not see these things happening all over the place all at once. It is a process that will take some time to work. The project that is furthest ahead is Mayo.
I have said that we, in the current year, have budgeted $40,000 for that project. The next stage will be funded out of that capital allocation that is for the development of the new services.
Mrs. Firth: I would like to ask the Minister if he could provide us with an organizational chart with the reporting authorities of all of the boards and committees and the present department right to the level of the Minister.
The concern I have is that I would like to see the governments plans for the structure to work together compatibly. I have a concern also about the ability of the boards or health investment fund to be independent, say, philosophically, of the government. That is a concern that has been expressed to me.
If the board wanted to do something that was inconsistent with the direction the Minister wanted to go - and it always seems with a piece of legislation that the Minister has the final say - could the Minister comment on how this is going to work? How are these boards going to have independence? Are they just going to have to toe the line of government policy?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I already answered a very similar question from the Member for Porter Creek earlier and I promised to come back with a description about how the boards will work and how integration will work in terms of organization charts and some of those things. So, I will fold that into the Members response and send a copy to the Member for Riverdale South as well as to the Member for Porter Creek East on that question.
In terms of the final authority, we are talking about these boards and about delegated power. Let us be clear that no board will be allowed to operate outside of the authority laid down in law by this Legislature, whether it is in the Health Insurance Act or the Hospital Act or any of those things.
They will not, for example, be allowed to pay, to pick up an example the Member asked, a reflexologist out of the health insurance system. We just will not allow that. The analogous situation may be with the school committees or school councils or school boards who, under the act, let us assume may be able to set 20 percent of the curriculum of a local school. They will have the control of the local budget in terms of the discretionary area. Now, to use the school analogy, it will not be permitted for the school council, for example, any more that it will in the health area, to decide they are going to cut teachers salaries because they will not be able to do that. They will still be, in law, our employees and they would be paid according to the negotiated arrangements with those employees.
What they will be able to do - and I did discuss this earlier - is make a decision in terms of the allocations. We hear a lot about this from the communities. Communities will say they have an extra social worker but they really do not want a social worker, they want a counsellor, or they have a nurse but what they really want is an alcohol worker. A lot of money is being spent on public health initiatives but they would have preferred more money be spent on mental health. It is that kind of range of option and discretionary power that is anticipated in this legislation. People will not be able to opt out of the law and, as with all these laws, whether you are talking about the Education Act or whether you are talking about this, there is some final authority for the Minister, and the powers that the boards will have is, clearly in law, delegated from the Minister.
Mrs. Firth: I do not want to go on and on about it; I simply want the Minister to appreciate the point that I am making. It is difficult to compare medicine and health to education. I am not asking about the boards being allowed decision-making authority outside of the law. It is only logical and practical that they would have to operate within the bounds of the law and we recognize that. There are certain policy directions that this government has pursued. Let us say that one of the boards wanted to move in a different direction than the policy that the government has moved. The Minister wants an example. Say that a community group wanted to be in charge of the health services they provided and they wanted to do exactly what Quebec is doing and they decided that maybe they wanted to charge a little fee for people who were coming to the nursing station, but were not coming there for medical purposes. Now perhaps that would be one of the things that would fall under the law and they would be unable to do that.
Another policy direction that this government has stated is that they do not want to hire the services of the Nursing Options. A certain board or organization or group in a community may decide that they wanted to pursue that avenue, or, say, they wanted to recognize midwifery and have more children delivered at home and have midwives do it or Indian people may want to have it done the traditional way. The question is: what happens if the governments policy is questioned - and that may change depending on who the government is - what independence and what decision-making authorities do those boards then have and what control do they really have?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It depends. The Member gave several examples. Let me just deal with a couple of them. If the Mayo health and social services board decided they wanted to hire Nursing Options to do certain things, then, as far as I am concerned, as long as they were not laying off our employees in order to do it, it would be no problem, if there was a project or some service they wanted to do as an add on. If, however, they wanted to go to the user fees such as Quebec is contemplating, I believe it is the position of the federal government - not us in this case, but I think we would agree - that it is a violation of the Canada Health Act and therefore we could not sanction it. We would have to be very clear about that.
If you are talking about policy, we lay overall policy but within that context they would be able to make policy. Let me try to contemplate a policy. Let me take an extreme example to try and illustrate to the Member how I think. If a communitys health and social services board decided they wanted to hire a psychic surgeon, we would make it very clear from day one that we would not accept billings under the health insurance system for that psychic surgeon. But if they wanted to hire the psychic surgeon to give lectures to people on the benefits of psychic surgery or how living right would make you be able to avoid certain kinds of things, then my view is, yes, they could spend their discretionary funds in that way if they want. We could not allow billings under the health insurance system for them to practice their occupation. I do not think any law in Canada would allow them to practice it. There are some dicey points.
Let us say a First Nation decided that their policy in the community board was they wanted to have the language option. One of their options was that they provide services in Gwichin or something. We would not interfere with that. It would be up to them to make a decision like that.
Mr. Lang: I think, and I am just going by memory, this is the first act I have seen the word referendum used in the body of legislation. Is the Minister indicating that the results of this particular vote is binding? Is that what the Minister is saying as opposed to using a plebiscite?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: If I remember my first year of political science correctly, the difference between a referendum and a plebiscite is that a referendum is an expression of public opinion on a matter, and a plebiscite involves a commitment to expend funds, or can involve spending or a binding commitment.
The referendum here is the test of the opinion. Of course, the real nuts and bolts here is a question of having worked out some kind of proposal and negotiated and agreed upon some kind of funding. It would be a referendum vote to find out if the people in the area are covered and want to be part of it or not, to approve it. So it is a final test that is contemplated here.
Mr. Lang: I have a question about prescribing who is eligible to vote in the referendum. Can the Minister give me assurance it will be based on those people who are residing in the area on a question of this kind?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Yes, I think that is basically it. We are just talking about the regulatory power to set that down here.
Clause 11 agreed to
On Clause 12
Clause 12 agreed to
On Clause 13
Clause 13 agreed to
On Clause 14
Clause 14 agreed to
On Clause 15
Clause 15 agreed to
On Clause 16
Mr. Lang: Can the Minister explain this section?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Let me explain the whole of section 16, because it is easier to do the whole thing. First of all, the health and social services board, like any such entity we are creating, is a corporation. That means that under the act it is recognized as a corporation for legal purposes. Under law that also means a legal person. That is conventional law.
One of the things we want to encourage, which is the modern theory of our hospital administration here, is for the corporation to operate efficiently. If they have a surplus, we want to allow them to capture it, keep it and to use it for the purposes for which they were created. If they have a small profit at the end of the year they can put it back into the operation.
We also want to make clear in law that this is a charitable organization so that if, in fact, say, the Mayo health and social services board has someone who wants to bequeath in their will an amount of money to this body to carry out its good work for any purposes, then it can be a charitable organization for that purpose and receive money for that purpose.
Clause 16 agreed to
On Clause 17
Clause 17 agreed to
On Clause 18
Clause 18 agreed to
On Clause 19
Clause 19 agreed to
On Clause 20
Clause 20 agreed to
On Clause 21
Clause 21 agreed to
On Clause 22
Clause 22 agreed to
On Clause 23
Clause 23 agreed to
On Clause 24
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister elaborate further on this section?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: For most of the people working in the health and social services field - nurses, social workers, and others - at the moment - let us take the Mayo case - they will be our employees. They have made it very clear to us during consultation on this bill that, as much as they may be willing to work for a community health and social services board, they want the protection their union agreement gives them of pension rights, benefits, and so forth.
The simplest way to allow them to work under the direction of a local board, while also having the protection of their employment status with YTG, is the secondment mechanism, and that is what we are proposing to do.
Mr. Nordling: Is this the same provision that Ross Findlater works under with the Family Services Association?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I do not know if it is identical, but it is the same idea. We can second them, and Mr. Findlater is, in law, still an employee of ours for the purpose of his pay and benefits, even though, in terms of his working relationship, he is actually on leave to another organization.
Clause 24 agreed to
On Clause 25
Clause 25 agreed to
On Clause 26
Mrs. Firth: In this clause, persons employed by the board are deemed to be employed in the public service for the purposes of the Public Service Commission Act, and so on. Do those people have to be hired under the same rules and guidelines that people applying for jobs would have to go through: the same competitions, and so on?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The same general rules will apply. It is contemplated by us that the local people on the board will be making the decision, rather than the Public Service Commission staff and the Ministers.
Mrs. Firth: If they are going to be deriving the same benefits, would it not be fair that they go through the same processes that employees of the government go through?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: They will essentially be going through the same process. It is the same as the Education Act, where school councils, instead of simply being advised as to who the new principal should be, will be recognized as having a final say. This is an analogous situation. The objectivity of the process, which is provided for in our law, will still exist.
Clause 26 agreed to
On Clause 27
Clause 27 agreed to
On Clause 28
Clause 28 agreed to
On Clause 29
Clause 29 agreed to
On Clause 30
Clause 30 agreed to
On Clause 31
Clause 31 agreed to
On Clause 32
Clause 32 agreed to
On Clause 33
Clause 33 agreed to
On Clause 34
Clause 34 agreed to
On Clause 35
Clause 35 agreed to
On Clause 36
Clause 36 agreed to
On Clause 37
Clause 37 agreed to
On Clause 38
Clause 38 agreed to
On Clause 39
Clause 39 agreed to
On Clause 40
Clause 40 agreed to
On Clause 41
Clause 41 agreed to
On Clause 42
Clause 42 agreed to
On Clause 43
Clause 43 agreed to
On Clause 44
Clause 44 agreed to
On Clause 45
Clause 45 agreed to
On Clause 46
Mrs. Firth: When will the regulations be ready?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: You will have to excuse me for a second. I will ask Ms. Hanson when she has drafted them.
The regulations for the health investment fund will be ready for April 1, the next fiscal year. We are aiming for the same date for the other regulations, but I cannot be as precise as to the target.
Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister provide us with the investment fund regulations on April 1 and, if the others are not ready, give us some time line as to when they will be ready?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I will give that undertaking.
Clause 46 agreed to
On Clause 47
Clause 47 agreed to
On Clause 48
Clause 48 agreed to
Mr. Nordling: Before we carry the title and finish, I would just like to ask the Minister a question I should have asked when we were back on clause 35.
Is there was any consideration to the Minister of Educations involvement in this act? We have the Minister of Health and Social Services and the Minister of Justice as ex officio members of the council. In my view, education is going to be very important in the health of our communities in the territory.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: In Cabinet, and with a number of people, we had extensive discussions on exactly that point when the council was first being established. After much discussion, it was decided that, since there was already an Education Council, which is a senior body like this one advising the Minister, we were in danger of duplicating the effort if we did that. What we have suggested instead, which is being pursued by both councils, is that on some questions such as special education, there might be joint meetings of the two councils from time to time to discuss matters of mutual interest and give a joint report to Cabinet, if that is what they conclude as desirable.
Title agreed to
Bill No. 4, Health Act agreed to
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move that you report Bill No. 4, entitled Health Act, out of Committee without amendment.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 22 - An Act to Amend the Liquor Act
Chair: Is there any general debate?
Hon. Mr. Webster: A brief introduction may be in order here.
As Members know, we had some debate on this matter in Question Period and following the second reading, when I tabled the amendment.
With the proposed amendment, the intent of this bill is to make it possible for the community of Old Crow to introduce the prohibition of alcohol. We recognize that Old Crow is a unique community and, thus, the bill applies specifically and exclusively to Old Crow.
It outlines the process by which the adult residents of Old Crow will decide on this matter: as is worded in the amendment, by casting a secret ballot in a plebiscite.
On Clause 1
Clause 1 agreed to
On Clause 2
Clause 2 agreed to
On Clause 3
Hon. Mr. Webster: I move
THAT Bill No. 22, entitled An Act to Amend the Liquor Act, be amended in clause 3 at page 1
1. by amending the proposed subsection 105.1(2) by substituting the expression:
if the majority of votes cast in a plebiscite by adults who reside in the band community are in favour of the system for the expression if satisfied that the Indian band supports the system;
2. by substituting the following heading for the heading that now appears immediately before the proposed section 105.2:
Plebiscite in band community;
3. by substituting the following section for the proposed section 105.2:
105.2 The Commissioner in Executive Council may make regulations
(a) to establish procedures for the conduct of a plebiscite in which the adults who reside in the band community may vote on a proposed system of prohibitions;
(b) to establish the question or questions to be voted on in the plebiscite.";
4. by adding the following heading immediately before the proposed section 105.3:
System of prohibition.
Chair: You have heard the amendment.
Mr. Phillips: I have just a point of clarification, so it is on the record. I believe the intent of this amendment is to allow each and every citizen over the age of 18 or 19 in Old Crow the opportunity to vote for or against prohibition in a secret ballot by way of a plebiscite because that is the express wish of the people of Old Crow. I want to make sure that it is on the record that it will be a secret ballot and that each and every resident of Old Crow over the age of 19 has the opportunity to vote on this.
Hon. Mr. Webster: That is the case. Every resident in the community of Old Crow over the age of 19, as that is the legal age for drinking in the territory, will be permitted to cast a secret ballot in the plebiscite.
Mr. Phillips: I have just a couple of comments before we clear this. We on this side are very pleased that the government has seen fit to listen to the wishes of the Old Crow people and change its position that it initially took. I have to say that I had an opportunity to talk to some of the people from Old Crow today, and yesterday as well, and they told me that when they heard about this change by the government last Thursday, many people were shaking hands in the street and hugging each other simply because the people of Old Crow felt like they had made the change, that they had effected the change, by speaking out, by signing the plebiscite and by expressing their wishes to the chief at a public meeting.
One elder who called me the other day said that it was the best Christmas present he could ever get: the right to vote, not necessarily just on this issue, but just the right to express an opinion or the right to have a vote on the issue. In a passing comment, I would just say to the Member for Old Crow, who raised this issue, that there is a lesson to be learned here and I think the Member for Old Crow has to realize that she belongs to the people and the people do not belong to her. This is an issue where the people from Old Crow have spoken out very clearly. They have sent a message that they want government to change its mind and the government has listened and the people of Old Crow are going to be the best beneficiaries of this particular change.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I think the Member opposite has put it correctly. The people of Old Crow have instigated the change. They changed their minds, as far as I read it. The wording of the bill in its original form clearly followed the direction of the people of Old Crow, with the vote in the general assembly, the resolution that was passed unanimously by the 40 members of the First Nation in attendance. That resolution, in turn, was endorsed by the band council and chief in council through another resolution.
As I say, the language in its original form in the bill reflected the wish of the people of Old Crow. That was the case right up to the day that we tabled the bill in the House for first reading, with a press conference attended by the leaders of the community to encourage us to proceed with the bill in its original form.
However, we all know what happened after that. The people of Old Crow met at a general meeting and expressed a desire for another process that they would like to follow, which, as we all know, according to amendment, is the casting of a secret vote in a plebiscite. The language of that amendment clearly reflects their wishes again.
In both cases we are following the direction of the people of Old Crow. Clearly, we did not at all try to dictate to those people which democratic process they would use. That is about the extent of the matter.
I would like to thank the Member for Old Crow for her efforts in bringing this matter forward over the years, and now finally giving the people of Old Crow an opportunity to vote on this matter that is very critical to all people.
Mrs. Firth: Perhaps the Minister can give us the rationale on basing the age requirement on the drinking age, as opposed to the voting age. They are voting. This is like a vote in an election where you vote for MLAs who are going to make decisions about drinking, driving and all other kinds of decisions. Perhaps he can give us the rationale of why they excluded that group of people who are between 18 and 19 years of age.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The rationale is fairly simple and straightforward. Clearly, it is not intended to give the privilege to vote to people it will not affect. People who are 18 years of age do not have the ability to consume alcohol legally as it is. Therefore, the theory goes that they should not be intended to have the privilege of voting.
Mrs. Firth: When 18-year-old people vote for MLAs or city councillors they vote for people who are going to make decisions with respect to drinking. Even though they do not have the right to drink yet, according to the law, they still have the right to vote. The point I am making is: why have those people been excluded from that right here? All we are asking for is a vote. It does not matter what the issue is on, it is a vote on a democratic right to make a decision about something that is going to happen in their community, whether it be the prohibition of alcohol in their community, or an MLA, or prime minister or member of parliament, or whatever. I would have thought that the decision would have been based on the voting age of 18 years as opposed to the drinking age. We are not saying to these people that they cannot have a drink yet because they are not 19. We are saying is that we are saying you cannot have a vote because you are not 19 and because we are talking about drinking. It does not make sense to me.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Again, I have offered my interpretation for why the age may be 19. It is interesting that the legal drinking age is 19. The voting age in the federal and territorial elections is 18. According to the constitution of the Vuntat Gwichin people, the voting age is 16. The wording of this amendment is to allow adults who reside in the band community to vote. It does not stipulate the age of the adult. It does say in the amendment that regulations will be made to establish procedures for the vote. If the people of Old Crow, following the direction, wish that the age be established as 18, they being considered an adult in the community, I have no problem with that.
Mrs. Firth: What if they say they want 16. There is no definition of adult.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Exactly, there you go. The Member for Riverdale South asks what if they suggest that the age be 16, well I will have to seriously consider that, if that is what they consider in their constitution as being an adult. If 18 is acceptable to the Members opposite then I would consider 19 being appropriate as well. It is obviously open to interpretation.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: May I suggest that I understand that the Interpretation Act of this jurisdiction does provide guidance as to the meaning of an adult for this purpose. If we could agree, we could be guided by the Interpretation Act on this question.
Amendment to Clause 3 agreed to
Clause 3 agreed to as amended
Title agreed to
Bill No. 22 - An Act to Amend the Liquor Act agreed to as amended
Hon. Mr. Webster: I move that you move Bill No. 22, entitled An Act to Amend the Liquor Act out of Committee with amendment.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Mr. Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I now call the House to order.
May the House have a report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole?
Ms. Kassi: The Committee of the Whole has considered the following bills and directed me to report same without amendment: Bill No. 16, First Appropriation Act, 1991-92, and Bill No. 4, Health Act.
Further, Committee has considered Bill No. 22, An Act to Amend the Liquor Act and directed me to report same with amendment.
Speaker: You have heard the report from Chair of Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: We will now proceed with the third reading of government Bills No. 4, 15 and 16. Before doing so I would request the unanimous consent of the House to also proceed with third reading of Bill No. 22, An Act to Amend the Liquor Act, as amended in Committee of the Whole this afternoon.
Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: Unanimous consent has been granted. Government Bills?
Bill No. 14: Third Reading
Clerk: Bill No. 14, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. McDonald.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Bill No. 14, entitled Fourth Appropriation Act, 1989-90, be read a third time and do pass.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Minister of Finance that Bill No. 14 be now read a third time and do pass.
Motion for third reading of Bill No. 14 agreed to
Speaker: I declare that Bill No. 14 has passed this House.
Bill No. 15: Third Reading
Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 15, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. McDonald.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Bill No. 15, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 1990-91, be now read a third time and do pass.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Minister of Finance that Bill No. 15, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 1990-91, be now read a third time and do pass.
Motion for third reading of Bill No. 15 agreed to
Speaker: I declare that Bill No. 15 has passed this House.
Bill No. 16: Third Reading
Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 16, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. McDonald.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Bill No. 16, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1991-92, be now read a third time and do pass.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Minister of Finance that Bill No. 16, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1991-92, be now read a third time and do pass.
Motion for third reading of Bill No. 16 agreed to
Speaker: I declare that Bill No. 16 has passed this House.
Bill No. 4: Third Reading
Clerk: Third Reading, Bill No. 4, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. Penikett.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move that Bill No. 4, entitled Health Act, be now read a third time and do pass.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Minister of Health and Human Resources that Bill No. 4, entitled Health Act, be now read a third time and do pass.
Motion for third reading of Bill No. 4 agreed to
Speaker: I declare that Bill No. 4 has passed this House.
Bill No. 22: Third Reading
Clerk: Third 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, as amended, be now read a third time and do pass.
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, as amended, be now read a third time and do pass.
Motion for third reading of Bill No. 22 agreed to
Speaker: I declare that Bill No. 22, as amended, has passed this House.
Speaker: We are now prepared to receive the Commissioner, acting in his capacity as Lieutenant Governor, to grant assent to the bills passed by this House.
Commissioner enters the Chamber announced by the Sergeant-at-Arms
ASSENT TO BILLS
Commissioner: Please be seated.
Speaker: Mr. Commissioner, the Assembly has, at its present session, passed certain bills to which, in the name and on behalf of the Assembly, I respectfully request your assent.
Clerk: Fourth Appropriation Act, 1989-90; Second Appropriation Act, 1990-91; First Appropriation Act, 1991-92; Health Act; An Act To Amend the Liquor Act.
Commissioner: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased to assent to the bills as enumerated by the Clerk.
I wish everyone a Merry Christmas.
Commissioner leaves the Chamber
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move
THAT the House, at its rising, do stand adjourned until it appears to the satisfaction of the Speaker, after consultation with the Premier, that the public interest requires that the House shall meet;
THAT the Speaker give notice that he is so satisfied, and thereupon the House shall meet at the time stated in such notice and shall transact its business as if it had been duly adjourned to that time; and
THAT, if the Speaker is unable to act owing to illness or other causes, the Deputy Speaker shall act in his stead for the purpose of this order.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government House Leader
THAT the House, at its rising, do stand adjourned until it appears to the satisfaction of the Speaker, after consultation with the Premier, that the public interest requires that the House shall meet;
THAT the Speaker give notice that he is so satisfied, and thereupon the House shall meet at the time stated in such notice and shall transact its business as if it had been duly adjourned to that time; and
THAT, if the Speaker is unable to act owing to illness or other causes, the Deputy Speaker shall act in his stead for the purpose of this order.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: On behalf of all Members in the House, I would like to wish all Hansard staff, the staff of both caucuses, the public service of the Yukon and all the Yukon people a merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.
I would 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.
The House adjourned at 6:23 p.m.
The following Legislative Returns were tabled December 18, 1990:
Tagish Kwan Corporation: RCMP investigation and audit of books (M. Joe)
Oral, Hansard, p. 534
Workers Compensation Board: New programs - audiometric testing and risk reduction (M. Joe)
Oral, Hansard, p. 618
Department of Justice: Supplemental budget re Victim of Crime Program (M. Joe)
Oral, Hansard, pp. 332 & 606
Workers Compensation Board: Occupational Disease Program and Raynauds phenomenon (white finger disease) (M. Joe)
Hansard, p. 565
Response to Written Question No. 3
Tourism: Consulting contracts re Historic Resources Act and Heritage Branch (Webster)
Oral, Hansard, p. 368
Payment to Barry Stuart for drafting services between April 1 and May 31, 1990 (Penikett)
Oral, Hansard, p. 143
Cost of sending individual to National Defence College Course (Penikett)
Oral, Hansard, p. 434
Bureau of Statistics: Alcohol and Drug Survey and Resident Travel Survey (Penikett)
Oral, Hansard, p. 435
Executive Council Office: Estimates re Land Claims and Interim Protection (Penikett)
Oral, Hansard, p. 422
The following Sessional Papers were tabled December 18, 1990:
Yukon Liquor Corporation 13th Annual Report, April 1, 1989 to March 31, 1990 (Webster)
Motor Transport Board Annual Report, 1989-90 (Byblow)
Lotteries Yukon, Annual Report of the Yukon Lottery Commission, 1989-90 (Byblow)
The following Document was filed December 18, 1990:
Discussion Draft of the Proposed Yukon Environment Act, December 1990 (Webster)