Monday, May 6, 1991 - 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
Speaker: Under introduction of visitors, I would like to introduce the grades 5 and 6 from the Teslin Elementary School in Teslin, accompanied by their teacher, Paul Nordahl, and I would ask all Members to welcome them to the Legislature.
Speaker: Are there any Returns or Documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I have a legislative return for tabling.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Petition No. 7
Mr. Lang: I have for tabling a petition with 1,647 names on it. The concern of the petitioners is that the new environmental act that is to be tabled in this House be given sufficient time for all various interest groups and interested parties to review and to bring forward their thoughts on what an environment act should contain, when it finally passes this House.
The petition states as follows: Whereas many individuals and groups support an environment act that will protect the environment, yet support sustainable economic development, therefore, the underssigned ask the Leader of the Government to delay the Yukon environment act until the spring of 1992 to ensure it is in keeping with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and that it strikes a proper balance between environmental protection and economic development.
Petition No. 4 and 5
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I would like to respond to a petition presented in the House by the Member for Riverdale South on the 911 emergency system. I am pleased to advise that the government is actively engaged in achieving what is being sought through the petition. This action was committed to during previous discussions and debate in the House, particularly a motion debated about a year ago.
To update Members, in November,1990 this government approved the establishment of a formal planning committee to advise on the feasibility of establishing a 911 system and its associated costs in the City of Whitehorse. The committee was also given the mandate to examine alternate methods for improving emergency-call systems in the communities. The committee is chaired by the program manager of the communications branch. It consists of representation from Health and Welfare Canada, who have two people on it. It has representation from the RCMP and three people on it from the Yukon Government. The City of Whitehorse, the Association of Yukon communities and Northwestel are represented. Two members are also appointed from the community at large, specifically from Teslin and Carcross.
They held their first meeting early this year. The terms of reference, planning tasks and a schedule of monthly meetings were agreed upon.
The committee is currently dealing with issues such as the number of response agencies to be included in the system, the location for a 911 answering bureau and the number of features for such a service.
The agencies involved are now conducting a month-long traffic study of the call volumes that are currently happening in emergency matters. This information will, no doubt, assist the committee in developing recommendations regarding the required lines, services and positions that may be required from such a system installation.
The committee is expected to report to me by sometime this fall.
Speaker: Are there any Introduction of Bills?
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill No. 27: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Ms. Joe: I move that Bill No. 27, entitled An Act to Amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Minister of Justice that Bill No. 27, entitled An Act to Amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 27 agreed to
Bill No. 79: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Webster: I move that Bill No. 79, entitled An Act to Amend the Pounds Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Minister of Renewable Resources that Bill No. 79, entitled An Act to Amend the Pounds Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 79 agreed to
Bill No. 20: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Webster: I move that Bill No. 20, entitled Environment Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Minister of Renewable Resources that Bill No. 20, entitled Environment Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 20 agreed to
Speaker: Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Are there any Notices of Motion?
NOTICES OF MOTION
Ms. Kassi: I give notice of motion
THAT, in the opinion of the Yukon Legislative Assembly, the people of the Yukon want:
(a) A voice in the constitutional consultations about Canadas future;
(b) Aboriginal self-government agreements constitutionally protected; and
(c) Quebec to remain in a unified Canada.
I give notice of motion
THAT it is the opinion of this House:
(1) THAT warning women not to drink alcohol during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects would greatly reduce the incidence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE);
(2) THAT the public has the right to be made aware of the potential risks of drinking while pregnant; and
(3) THAT labels stating this warning should be placed on all alcohol bottles sold in the Yukon.
Mr. Nordling: I give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the voting age in the Yukon should remain at 18 years.
I give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Government of Canada should be congratulated for its successful handling of Canadas role in the Persian Gulf crisis.
Mr. Joe: I give notice of the following motion
THAT it is the opinion of this House:
THAT education, specific to the historic and contemporary needs of women, recognizes the contribution of women in society; and
THAT womens studies courses will help develop a better understanding of that role and will reinforce the principle of gender equality.
Speaker: Statements by Ministers.
Community Health Status Assessment Report
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I rise today to inform Members of two initiatives undertaken by the Department of Health and Social Services in response to the Community Health Status Assessment of the Yukon, prepared by epidemiologist Dr. Paul Cappon and released in January of this year.
That report gave us a picture of the health status of the residents of the Yukon and pinpointed a number of areas where the health of Yukoners can be improved. The report was presented to the Council for Yukon Indians, the Yukon Medical Association, the Yukon Nurses Society and Medical Services Branch.
As part of our briefings following the release of the Health Status Report, we also met with representatives from other Yukon government departments for their response to the reports findings. As well, we discussed areas of health prevention and promotion that involve other departments and their legislation. We will meet with these participants again to involve them in the planning of health promotion and prevention initiatives.
All groups expressed concern about the high infant death rate in the Yukon. The Department of Health and Social Services has established a committee to review each and every infant death that has occurred over the last five years. We will be doing a similiar review of each suicide.
We will continue our discussions with the Yukon Medical Association, the Yukon Nurses Society and the Yukon Rehab Professionals Association, on aspects of the report of most concern to them. We have also committed to ongoing discussions with the Council for Yukon Indians. CYI will participate in the preparation of the health status report update, which will be completed within a year.
We have undertaken to provide more interdepartmental and public communications about health issues and concerns, initiatives and objectives.
This Health Status Report is the first in a series of health pictures of the Yukon. We anticipate annual updates with major reports being prepared at least once every three years.
We intend to use the Health Status reporting process as a base for future policy and program development which affect the health of Yukon people and Yukon communities.
Mr. Lang: I rise to express my disappointment with the report that the Minister is referring to. The Community Health Status Assessment Report of the Yukon, was done by a doctor from Quebec, Mr. Paul Cappon. I just want to make a couple of observations. I refer to the Yukon Medical Associations assessment of the Community Health Status Report. I will quote from their report to show how flat they feel this report is, This in itself introduces significant bias and even error. It goes on to say, The report reflects this political bias quite unashamedly and seriously detracts from its value as a scientific paper. The whole issue of health care expenditure in the Yukon is poorly handled in the report. It goes on, Mr. Speaker.
This assessment of our health needs in the territory is a travesty. I want to express my extreme disappointment, as a Member of this House, that we would go so far, and stoop so low, to have politics enter into a report that is supposed to do an objective assessment of our health needs. Why we have to go, as Yukoners, all the way to Quebec, to hire a known associate-president of the NDP to come to Yukon to do an evaluation of the health of the people of the territory, is a question that remains to be answered. Nobody has answered. All we have here, with this ministerial statement, is very poor damage control.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: First of all, I would like to say that there was no political interference in this report. Dr. Paul Kappon is an experienced statistical research epidemiologist and a sociologist. He has considerable experience in Arctic research. He has presented papers at the Circumpolar North Conference, and he is well known and respected in his field.
In light of the criticism leveled against the Community Health Status Assessment of the Yukon by the Yukon Medical Association, and questions and comments made in this House, it is incumbent upon me to set the record straight regarding the health status report.
The original intent behind the writing of the health status report was to establish a state of knowledge; to find out, healthwise, just where the Yukon and its people are. As with anything, you have to start somewhere, and this report was just that: the first in a series of health status updates that will be forthcoming over the years. It was based on existing data - financial, administrative and statistical records - that we had in house. No new data was collected.
We have found out a number of things as a result of this report. We have found inaccurate and incomplete data sources. We have found consensus on the concern over infant deaths.
A number of things have flowed from this report. We are beginning to build better data sources and are working out a process by which the next report will be done. This report will include input from the Council for Yukon Indians, the Yukon Medical Association and other interest groups.
Substantive information was reported in this health assessment, including a series of targets and recommendations. The intention of the report was to give us the background and opportunity to discuss our options and priorities. I view the current debate as healthy, in terms of helping us to refine the process. Our intent now is to respond to the concerns in the report where there is clear consensus through consultation.
One example is in the area of infant deaths and suicide. We need more detailed information to understand the factors involved. The current health status report helps us identify the need for better data in these two areas. We hope to discover, in a case-by-case review of each infant death and suicide, the determining factors; then we can act to influence those determining factors. We are not accepting, wholesale, the recommendations contained in the report. We will determine our own priorities and recommendations in consultation with others, but at the same time we are not going to cease action in the areas of consensus. I have already mentioned the reviews of infant deaths and suicide. We will also move ahead with a number of health promotion activities. Dr. Cappon has given us a humble starting point. He has given us the benefit of his expertise as a specialist in community medicine as an assistant professor of epidemiology at McGill University in Montreal.
Question re: Yukon Energy Corporation, Aishihik water licence
Mr. Phelps: I wanted to get away from the issue of the pork-barrel and political favoritism for a few minutes at least and move into an area of concern to a great many Yukoners: the pending application that Yukon Energy Corporation has regarding lowering the water flow over Otter Falls this summer.
As you know when the dam was first put in quite a few years ago, we were told that Otter Falls would be preserved and that the flow over the falls would be kept at certain minimum levels. We now find out, time and time again, Yukon Energy Corporation goes back and seeks permission to reduce the flow over Otter Falls so as to make it practically dry during the summer.
I would like to know if the Minister responsible recognizes that one of the key promises made years ago in order to get the current water licence, namely keeping up the flow over Otter Falls, has been broken so many times as to signify a fundamental breech of the original licence.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I take the Members question as representation. I will take the matter under advisement.
I would, by way of response to the issue the Member raises, tell him that the water licence amendment that is currently before the water board is a formalization of a practice that has been in effect over the past three years. The water flows have been reduced over Otter Falls, by permission from the water board, successively, for three years. This year, the water board has requested a formal hearing to review that permit. That is the matter being addressed now.
Mr. Phelps: If the water level in Aishihik Lake is declining every year, I wonder if the Minister agrees with those who are now saying that drawing the water level down may cause permanent damage to the ecosystems of Aishihik Lake.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member, again, is alleging information that is not accurate. The water levels in Aishihik Lake have held consistently within the water use licence over the period that has been granted. There are no consistent downward levels of the lake caused by the use of the water by the dam. It would not be accurate to say that the water levels are consistently decreasing. They are fluctuating on an annual basis; that is correct.
With respect to the environmental question, the Yukon Energy Corporation is acutely aware of the environmental concerns. It is working with Renewable Resources and residents of the area. It is ensuring that the water spill at Aishihik Lake will not cause unnecessary environmental damage.
Mr. Phelps: Does the Minister support those interveners in the present application who want the entire water licence process opened up so that there can be hearings about the entire water licence held by Yukon Energy Corporation?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have to assume that the Member supports the interveners to have the licence opened up and I suspect the Member may also support that the Aishihik plant should perhaps be shut down - I am not sure what the Member supports. The Energy Corporation has taken a responsible approach to energy development; it is cognizant of its environmental responsibility and any requirements for water usage on the hydro-grid system. The Member has to recognize that that responsible action allows for full public review of any matter before the Energy Corporation. An open and full public review on any hydro development, current or planned is part of the process.
The Member would probably have us build his 40 megawatt plant and wreak massive environmental damage to the community - not to mention incurring excessive costs to consumers. If that is what the Member is suggesting, then he should stand up and say so.
Question re: Yukon Energy Corporation, Aishihik water licence
Mr. Phelps: The Minister just does not seem to get it. Question Period is here and we are here trying to get some answers from the government. If he wants answers from me, he can write to me or talk to me after Question Period is through.
In the present situation with regard to Aishihik Lake, we have a public official, a person hired by Yukon Energy Corporation, telling the taxpayers that if permission to reduce the flow over Otter Falls is not granted, it is going to cost electrical consumers an additional $600,000 to purchase diesel. Does the Minister feel that it is appropriate for Yukon Energy Corporation to use this form of blackmail to try to get support for its water licence application?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: There we go again. The Leader of the Official Opposition is making broad-brushed allegations in the House. He is charging public officials with impropriety and at the same time he is the Member who, less than a couple of months ago, said we should build a 40 to 45 megawatt plant and spend $400 million and lay that burden on the consumer of the Yukon, who will see their power rates go up massively. He is the Member who is saying that he would be the 400-million-dollar man who would manage Yukon Energy Corporation properly.
We have managers in Yukon Energy Corporation who are doing the proper thing. Part of the proper thing is to put before the public the facts of the matter. Part of those facts include a potential savings of $600,000 worth of diesel fuel through the water licence amendment that is being requested. That is not blackmail. That is laying the facts, the true facts, that the Member of the Opposition does not have. He cannot present the facts. Mr. Mason did.
Mr. Phelps: Somebody has been reading the Minister nighttime stories and possibly in one of those stories was the old adage: in difficult circumstances, the best defence is an offence, no matter how malicious and untrue the offence might be.
Would the Minister agree that if Yukon Energy Corporation and Yukon Development Corporation had done their homework and developed additional hydro power before now, that the application to shut off Otter Falls would not be necessary?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Let me tell the Leader of the Official Opposition, with respect, that it is he who has not done his homework.
We have tabled in this House a strategic plan for the Yukon Energy Corporation. We have provided supply options, we have developed energy conservation demand-side management criteria and practices for the corporation. We have demonstrated through the Yukon Energy Corporation a planned, responsible approach to energy production in the territory to meet our needs into the 1990s. In those needs for the 1990s we recognize the need for 16 more megawatts in the system somewhere.
The Leader of the Official Opposition wants 40 megawatts without a consumer to buy it or a way of finding a capital sum to pay for it. Last week, I understand from reading the paper, he has changed his mind and has come down to 25 megawatts. If the Member would do his homework, he would know it is 16 megawatts. If he read the strategic plan, it clearly states what our plan is to bring that energy onstream.
Mr. Phelps: I did not get an answer that time. Perhaps, when the Minister is on his feet the next time, he could answer that question and this one.
Would the Minister agree that if Yukon Energy Corporation had done its homework and developed additional hydro power, the ecosystems of Aishihik Lake would not be threatened by the drastically reduced water levels that are now required in order to supply sufficient cheap energy for Yukons needs?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Again, with all due respect to the Leader of the Official Opposition, he is alleging that there are severe environmental problems relating to the water levels at Aishihik Lake. We are having hearings on that matter right now. We are assessing whether or not there are any environmental impacts of a negative nature.
We are engaged in a $125,000 fishery study right now, in cooperation with Renewable Resources. The Yukon Energy Corporation has contributed $100,000 toward it. We are taking steps in erosion control near the cemetery, which is also a problem and has been raised by people. We are examining every aspect of potential environmental impact on the water levels at Aishihik Lake.
At all times, in a thorough and open public review process, we have stayed within the water use licence. It is that licence that is being reviewed. It is those facts that are being publicly debated at the Water Board hearing now. The facts will prevail and continued good judgments will be made.
Question re: Environment Act
Mr. Phelps: It is not with a small amount of frustration that I now change the line of questioning for a moment. I would like to turn to the matter of the environmental bill that was tabled in the House today.
I, along with a good many other Yukoners, have noticed a mounting chorus of people who want to see passage of this bill delayed until they have had a chance to study the numerous amendments, consider the consequences of each and make their considerations known to the Minister.
We just had a petition tabled in this House with those 1,600 names making that request. Will the Minister now undertake to delay debate on this bill until the fall sitting?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I thank the Member for his question. In his preamble, he mentioned that there is a growing chorus of Yukoners suggesting that we delay this act. He went on to suggest in his question that perhaps we would give consideration to delaying it for debate in the fall session.
I have given some consideration to that. I have made the decision to proceed at this time, because I want to inform the Member, as well as other Members from that side, and members of the coalition, that there are a growing number of people who are calling for the introduction of this act now.
Mr. Phelps: The Ministers position seems somewhat weak from where I stand. That is evidenced by his apparent need to publish a big ad in the newspaper thanking people for all their input before this bill was even drawn up.
This is a Minister who continually talks about consultation. Why, in the face of these numerous amendments, will he not take the time to get a thorough understanding of the position of Yukoners about the new bill?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I think I made it clear to the Member that a lot of people do have a fairly good understanding of this bill. That is as a result of a very long and detailed consultation process that began last summer. People told me, when I visited from community to community, exactly what they wanted to see and be contained in an environment act for the Yukon. That opinion was reflected in a draft act, which was tabled in this Legislature last December. We have worked three months on stage two of the consultation process to get back again to all the communities - in individual meetings, meetings with special interest groups, concerned individuals, and affected groups - to find what their concerns were with the draft legislation.
Those concerns have been received, either orally or in the form of written submissions, by the April 5 deadline. The act that we introduced today reflects, to a large degree, many of those concerns.
With respect to the advertisement that appeared in the newspaper on Friday, I want to thank Yukoners for their involvement and their participation in helping bring forward an act that will be better accepted, better understood and better appreciated by most Yukoners.
Mr. Phelps: Is the Minister saying that the 1,600 people who have already signed the petition - all those people who make up the coalition against the bill - are not sincere? Can they make the request that this be delayed?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am not implying at all that the people who signed this petition are not sincere. I do believe though, that they do not as yet have a good understanding of the bill. They have misinterpreted it in places. For example, I did hear the Member, when he introduced the petition, mention that the people who signed this petition want to be assured that this act is consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I do not think that they are aware of the changes that have been made to the draft act. For example, a search of a private dwelling conducted under this act will require a warrant. I do not think a lot of people are aware of that fact.
I also want to bring to the attention of the Member opposite who raised this question, there are a great number of people in the territory - certainly in excess of the 1,600 people who signed this petition - who are urging me to proceed at this time. We do have support from associations with Yukon-wide interests and representations, such as the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon, the Yukon Conservation Society, the Yukon Fish and Game Association and the Association of Yukon Communities. This is why we are proceeding with this bill at this time.
Question re: Contracts
Mr. Lang: I would like to turn to another subject of interest, and I hope we can get some answers from the Minister of Health and Social Services.
Over the past number of weeks, it has been revealed that over $15 million of consultant contracts have been awarded by this government, in most part not by public tender. Names of some of the chosen few have surfaced, such as Mr. John Walsh, the ex-principal secretary to the Government Leader - who, incidentally, liked the Yukon so much he has, I understand, moved to Victoria; he was awarded $20,000 last year. Mr. Barry Stuart was awarded a $30,000 contract over and above the $65,000 he has been granted for the past year to go to Australia to write a book, I gather. There was also an additional $50,000 allocated to a Mr. Dave Vickers, a lawyer from Vancouver and an ex-NDP leadership candidate in B.C. Of course, he lives in Vancouver; he is not from the Yukon. Now it has become public that Dr. Cappon, an associate vice-president of the NDP in Quebec, has been granted his past dues over the past year and received a contract to do the Community Health Assessment Report we spoke of earlier.
My question to the Minister of Health and Social Services is: can she confirm that Dr. Cappon was granted $42,500 for consulting work over the past year?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I do not have a litany of responses about all of the other contracts the Members was speaking about, and I do not have the information here in front of me about Dr. Cappons contract, but I will bring it back to him in a legislative return.
Mr. Lang: The Minister was very well prepared for her reply to the ministerial statement that was given today, I am surprised she did not have this information. They must have read the local media here last Friday. I would further ask the Minister if she can confirm that Dr. Cappon was paid $5,000 in the year previous for consulting purposes as well?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: That was before my time as Minister in this department and I will have to take that question under advisement.
Mr. Lang: I sympathize with the Minister; she has been left with a lot of problems. As the Minister of Health and Social Services knows, the medical fraternity, as well as the Council for Yukon Indians, have condemned the Community Health Assessment Report as it has been written and presented. In fact, in media reports on Friday, both these organizations were very concerned about the obvious political patronage that was so evident in the making up of the report. I want to ask the Minister a fairly straightforward question. Why was it necessary for the Department of Health and Social Services to go all the way to Quebec to hire somebody for $42,500 to do a report on the health needs of Yukoners?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: During my response to the ministerial statement, I pointed out some of the talents of Dr. Cappon. Since the report has come out, I have certainly had discussions with both the Yukon Medical Association and the Council for Yukon Indians. We have discussed mutual concerns and talked about the next report and what they would like to see in it. During our discussions, the Yukon Medical Association conceded that there would no doubt be a need to bring in, from time to time, people with specific talents, skills or learning to help with the ongoing reports. Dr. Cappon is a very well respected epidemiologist and I see nothing wrong with having him do this report.
Question re: Contracts
Mr. Lang: I am not challenging the credibility of Mr. Cappons professional accreditation or skills. Neither am I here to question his political involvement. I am questioning a report that is very flawed. We paid this gentleman $42,500 this past year. Incidentally, we had a family of Yukoners leave last year because we could not afford a kidney dialysis machine for them. There are people who have to leave the territory because certain services are not provided, but we can spend $42,500 to bring somebody in from Quebec to do a health assessment of Yukoners.
Why did we go to Quebec to get somebody to do an assessment of our health needs, especially when the report is so terribly flawed?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: In this territory, we have known for a considerable length of time that there was data around, but no one was available, as far as we could determine, to pull that data together. We kept believing that we had to go out and have a full-fledged, door-to-door, new assessment done.
We discovered that there were a few people - in particular, Dr. Cappon - who had done considerable work in the high Arctic, and who was able to take existing data that we were not even aware could be pulled into place to give us a picture of Yukon health. That is the reason for doing it. It does have its limitations. We are not saying that it does not. We are saying it is a beginning.
This coming year, we will be putting together a broader health status report with all parts of the community, as we are required to do under the Health Act.
Mr. Lang: I have concerns with respect to the report and the fact that a lot of the information is erroneous. I want to refer to page 10 of the critique that was provided by the Yukon Medical Association.
The best use of this report will be to allow the quick beginning of a follow-up process involving more Yukoners and correcting some of the errors and omissions made in the first report, before these become entrenched in Yukon health care lore.
In view of the statements and observations made by the Yukon Medical Association, as well as others, and by a spokesman on behalf of her department, who stated that the department recognizes Cappons report is flawed, can the Minister assure this House that this is not going to provide the basis for the next assessment health review, in view of the erroneous statements in the report?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I have already assured the Member that this report is the beginning of a series of reports. Under the Health Act, we are required to bring in a major report every three years and an update in between. The report that will be done this coming year will be that major report.
This report provides the beginning or the basis of information and gives us some concept of what is not in it, what is left out, where we have to go and how we have to go about it. It certainly is not a waste of time or energy.
Question re: Community Health Assessment Report
Mrs. Firth: I want to follow-up with the Minister responsible for Health and Social Services regarding this report.
It is interesting that no one locally was asked to do the report. It was even more interesting to hear the Minister say today that there was no one available to pull the data together. The local people were not consulted; the report cost us $42,500. Essentially, it was to espouse some philosophy that the previous Minister was espousing and to pay an old NDP friend and to tell the Minister and Deputy Minister of the day how great and enlightened they were.
Since the medical community feels that the report cannot be accepted as a scientific document, I think that we have to take issue with the Minister saying that this is going to be the basis, or that they are going to use this report as the basis of ongoing reports.
Our position is that local people must determine the problems of Yukoners and how to address those problems. The Minister has said we are going to have a major review every three years. I would like to ask her how often we are going to do these reports and when the next one is due, and if she could also tell us who is going to do the next report.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: There was a considerable amount of stuff in that question. I am not sure I remember all of it.
First of all, I stated that it was my understanding that there was no one available. That comes from my discussions with the Yukon Medical Association. There is no epidemiologist in the Yukon Territory who could put that data together - certainly information that they knew previously.
I have had discussions with YMA and we agree that this report is a basis to go from for a new report. The YMA, the Member opposite and I agree that local people should be used as much as possible and as often as possible. We have no problem with that when there are local people available. YMA and I agree that when there is no one available and we need an outside expert, that person will be brought in for a day or two, or however long it takes to do the next report.
I believe there was also a question about when the next report would be available. There has been discussions with the Council for Yukon Indians about what they would like to get out of the report. There have been discussions with the Yukon Medical Association that will be put together this summer along with the needs of the department. It is my understanding that we can look for a new report early in the new year.
Mrs. Firth: We are not going to have another report for about seven months. Meanwhile the department is going to use this report.
Perhaps the Minister could answer the rest of my question. Who is going to do the next report if there is no one here to do it?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: My apologies. I missed that part of the Members question. The next report will be under the guidance of Dr. Sally MacDonald, who is the medical health officer in the territory.
Mrs. Firth: It says that the Yukon medical health officer is going to oversee the next report. It is going to be another one of those things where we do all the work and then we pay someone from somewhere else who used to know the Premier and was an old NDP friend to come in, take all the information, write a report, get $50,000, and then give it all back to us - and then it cannot be used as a scientific document. What are we doing? We are going around and around the mulberry bush and still not getting anywhere.
Could the Minister tell exactly who is going to do this report? It will have to be written by someone, and I do not think Dr. Sally MacDonald is going to be overseeing it, because she already has about three jobs.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: The report will be done under the auspices of the Yukon governments statistical bureau, which is now doing quantitative and qualitative research. It will be conducted by them, and the committee will be led by Dr. Sally MacDonald. As the YMA has indicated, if there is need for someone to come in and interpret, it will be under the advisement of both the department and the committee.
Question re: Animal Protection Act
Mr. Nordling: Speaking of going round the mulberry bush, I have a question for the Minister of Renewable Resources.
There are serious gaps in the existing Animal Protection Act. On February 27, 1990, a meeting was held involving a committee comprised of the Humane Society, field services, agriculture branch, and policy and planning. At that meeting, a decision was reached that it was necessary for a new act to be drafted and the existing act repealed.
On May 3, in the Legislature, I asked the Minister of Renewable Resources if he planned to draft a completely new act. His response was, I intend to introduce a new act. In December 1990, I asked for an update. The Minister said, We intend to introduce the act in the spring session of the Legislature.
On January 14, 1991, the Premier wrote to the Humane Society and said, The legislation is still under review, and I expect it to be put before the Legislature either in the spring or fall terms.
Then, on March 18, 1991, the deputy minister wrote to the Humane Society and said, I would like to see a very thorough and extensive public review regarding the issue of animal protection in the Yukon before a final decision is made on whether or not to proceed with drafting new legislation or amendments to the existing act. This process will require a lengthy and coordinated effort.
Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please get to the question.
Mr. Nordling: Yes. Can the Minister tell us what has become of his promise, supported by the Premier, to introduce a new Animal Protection Act in this session, or the fall session at the latest?
Hon. Mr. Webster: At the time I made a promise to bring in a new Animal Protection Act, it was a matter of making amendments to the existing act. However, further review indicated, as the Member has suggested in his question, that there are large gaps in the act that need to be corrected. A complete overhaul of that act is required. As such, we will be having consultations with the public at large, as it affects other organizations besides just the Humane Society of the Yukon.
Mr. Nordling: Last February, the Ministers department was talking about a new act and, last May, the Minister himself was talking about a new act.
What happened to the committee, comprised of the Humane Society, field services, agriculture branch, policy and planning and Whitehorse bylaw officers? How many times did that committee meet? What came of their meetings?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am not aware of the number of times that committee met. I do know that, as a result of their meetings, the recommendation has been made to proceed with an entirely different act. Pieces of legislation from neighbouring jurisdictions, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan are being reviewed at this time for that purpose.
Mr. Nordling: What new promise can the Minister make in May 1991 with respect to when a new act will be put into place? What assurance can he give the Humane Society and my constituents, who have been waiting for years for this?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Now that we know we are dealing with overhauling the act and introducing a brand new piece of legislation, it will take some time and it will involve consultation with the Yukon public, not just the Humane Society of the Yukon. Being a priority of this government, I would like to suggest to the Member opposite that it will be sometime in the next year.
Question re: Alaska Highway anniversary celebrations
Mr. Devries: I have a question for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services.
Last Thursday, the Minister informed the House that the operation and maintenance budget on the Alaska Highway had been cut by a $1 million of federal funding. Did the Minister know this cut was coming and does this government plan to make up for the shortfall as we get the highway prepared for the 1992 celebration?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: We did not know that the cut was coming. The first indications of the cut were at a staff level meeting in the last month and it was confirmed in writing, late last week.
The second part of the Members question related to whether we would make up the shortfall. No, we do not plan to make up the shortfall on the Alaska Highway maintenance portion that has been cut by the feds.
Mr. Devries: Where does the Ministers department plan to make the cuts, and will these cuts affect the level of safety and services on the Alaska Highway?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member implies that we are making the cuts. The fact of the matter is that we are under a service agreement with Public Works Canada to maintain the highway. We do the maintenance with the available funds.
With respect to how we are going to maintain the Alaska Highway with a million and one half dollars less than what we got last year, is clearly a most serious problem. My staff is working with the Public Works staff to determine precisely how we are going to address the issue.
There are tremendous implications, and I am sure the Member is aware that it may force us to not be able to hire the number of seasonal employees that we ordinarily do, over the summer, on the Alaska Highway portion. It will curtail the level of maintenance on portions of the highway. We are going to have to use our best engineering judgment to determine how we can still maintain a safe highway in light of the funding cuts.
Mr. Devries: Would the government take some of the funds that were diverted from the devolution fund for the engineering services agreement and use those funds to improve and maintain the Alaska Highway?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Let me make it clear to the Member the difference between the devolution of highways and the Alaska Highway. We negotiated, over a period of two to three years, the devolution of five highways in the territory. In that devolution agreement, we picked up the agreed upon costs that would flow to this government for the next 25 years in relation to the upgrading of those highways. We have just begun negotiations for the devolution of the Alaska Highway. In those opening negotiations, we are talking about levels of funding. We are not going to assume responsibility for the Alaska Highway unless we have the funds to be able to maintain and upgrade it. It is clearly untenable and unacceptable that, in the opening gambit of those discussions for devolution of the Alaska Highway, the funding gets struck. That is a very bad gesture of faith in negotiations. It would be most inappropriate for us to backstop the federal governments irresponsible action of cutting those funds.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now lapsed.
We will proceed to Orders of the Day and Government Motions.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Bill No. 44: Second Reading
Clerk: Second Reading, Bill No. 44, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. Byblow.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I move the Bill No. 44, entitled Highways Act, be now read a second time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Community and Transportation Services that Bill No. 44, entitled Highways Act, be now read a second time.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: May I say at the outset of second reading that the bill before the House is a complete new act to replace the existing act.
It is in recognition of the importance that transportation plays in our lives. There is no question that one of the most important modes of transportation is the highway system, whether we are talking about goods or people. Dependent on that, is the governments responsibility to ensure that the road system is protected and that there are safe highways for the travelling public.
To help achieve this goal, the government must ensure that we have legislation in place that will enable us to plan, to design, to construct and to maintain those highways. At the same time, we must ensure that there is a prohibition of damage to highways. At the same time, we must ensure that the ability to dispose of lands no longer used for highways is firmly in place.
In 1986, the government commenced a very ambitious undertaking to update three major road transportation acts. We undertook to streamline them and to address any conflicts that existed, to address omissions that, over time, were recognized, and some ambiguities that also became apparent as a refined interpretation of those acts began.
The affected acts that we undertook to review were Motor Transport Act, Highways Act and Motor Vehicles Act.
The Motor Transport Act, the act that regulates commercial transport, was the first to undergo extensive review. Through a period of consultation, the necessary changes were put in place in the 1988 session of the Legislature.
Since that time, the Highways Act, has been undergoing a review and public consultation. We undertook to try to determine what issues should be included in the new draft. We undertook to correct and rectify problems that were inherent in the old act. We addressed omissions and oversights that were found in the old act.
What we have here is a new act that essentially provides the necessary authority and the flexibility to carry out the governments responsibilities.
It provides a clear direction, in my mind, of the governments desire to control all highways. It is consistent with the Yukons continuing devolution of responsibility for highways in the Yukon, and it follows the transfer of the highways in 1990 the Member just raised in Question Period.
The act we have before the House is broken into seven main sections. The first part is the interpretation section. Throughout this section are definitions of key words that are used throughout the act so that there is a clear understanding of what is meant.
We have revised the definition section from the old act to ensure that there is a better understanding and consistency in the interpretation of key words in this act and in the Municipal Act, as well as in the Motor Vehicles Act, along with consistency with the umbrella final agreement.
The second part of the act deals with the administrative responsibilities of the government and, specifically, with the responsibilities of the Minister and Commissioner in Executive Council, or Cabinet. We address the matter of entering of authority. We address the matter of what authority there is to enter into agreements. We address the delegation of powers and the transference of highways to municipalities, where applicable.
In the third section of the act, we outline the responsibility of the government with respect to the construction, maintenance and closure of highways. In this section, we have included provision for compensation, in the event that private land is used for the public good, such as the construction of ditches that may have to go on private land, or the installation of snow fences with respect to winter maintenance.
In section 4, we detailed the offenses relating to the protection of highways, as well as the authority of the government to impose restrictions on classes of vehicles for specific periods of time. We just make the section a little more clear and in simpler language than is in the existing bill.
In section 5 of the bill, we address matters of public safety, particularly with respect to controlling access to highways. This section outlines the procedure, steps and process that would take place for compensation to be paid when we have to close off an access to a highway. This is particularly for persons who have land adjacent to the highway and requires access.
In section 6 we address the issue of acquiring property for the purpose of a highway and the disposal of land when a highway is no longer needed.
In the last section of the bill we address a number of general issues, such as penalties and regulatory powers of the government.
As I indicated earlier, the act before you is the second part of a three-act review, with one more yet to come.
In summary, the act before you has been in a stage of consultation since 1986. From that initial review and consultation evolved the principles of the bill that are established in the document in the House today.
Throughout the period 1986 to the present, there was considerable consultation with interest groups, municipal groups, band councils and individuals. The comments, concerns and recommendations we received, through that three-year period are part of what has been now built into the bill.
The bill establishes a number of principal features that will be enshrined in legislation. We state clearly the governments jurisdiction over roads and streets on public lands as defined in the Yukon Act, and we now clearly incorporate that interpretation into legislation.
Yukon highways will now include land that is used, surveyed or designated for use as a highway, including land that is designated as a road allowance or right-of-way.
In this bill, we undertake a major initiative to establish it to be a duty to maintain highways, limited of course to those highways that are designated in the legislation.
In the bill, we broaden the ability to close highways and we include the grounds for environmental closure. We also introduce the concept of a restricted-use highway and we also provide for the transfer of highways to municipalities and, as I mentioned earlier, for the sale or lease to third parties of highway lands that are no longer required.
We have also provided for access to private land but are ensuring that a compensation package is attached.
To recognize the impact of the current and the future rural and urban growth and development in the highway system, the procedures for providing access from a highway to property adjacent to the highway have been revamped. Individuals will now require prior authority to survey, construct or relocate accesses along controlled highways.
The regulatory powers have been expanded and we address an array of issues, such as type and class of vehicles to be operated on a highway and the terms and conditions for those permits and fees. We leave the powers flexible enough to address future operational changes and technological changes that may come about.
We have established a fine schedule on a multiple tiered system.
In closing, the principal features of the bill are, in short, that it is a complete up-to-date act that meets the requirements that will ensure a safe highway for public use.
We have undertaken to write this in everyday English, and have moved it away as much as possible from hard-to-understand legal jargon - the Member shakes his head.
We recognize the importance of the environment and we acknowledge the desire of Yukon communities for more control over lands in their jurisdiction. Of course, we provide for more flexibility in controlling the planning for highways, the maintenance and of course the regulations to ensure that the control over the roads is provided in accordance with the authority established in the Yukon Act. Of course, it is consistent with land claims agreements and with environmental legislation.
Mr. Brewster: I guess the one good thing that I can say about it is that it is an awful lot better and not nearly so dictatorial as the one given to me on February 21.
However, it seems to be consistent with every bill that this government brings in, that the taxpayers and the civilians are down below and the government is telling them what to do. The government is taking over private land and doing what it wants to with it. It does not really matter what people have to say about it.
The Minister made a remark about the language. Well, there are a couple of paragraphs in there, which I will show him in Committee of the Whole. If he can tell me that is straight language and that it makes sense, then I guess I do not even belong in this House, because it sure does not make sense to me and I have read it over about 10 times.
I have a problem with access to highways. I have gone through a few of those in the old act, and this act is making it tougher again for people. I am going to be very, very concerned with what happens to businesses if the highway is straightened so that right-of-ways are blocked off. They indicate that they may give compensation for the access to the highway, but not to the business and that is of much concern to me.
Another thing that comes to mind is the signs. I hope that we do not get back into what I have fought against for eight years in here: allowing businesses to put signs on the road. Now apparently, the government is going to take over and start regulating this again. It only took us eight years to get one straightened around, and surely we are not going to lose that one this fast.
It is also my understanding that municipalities give the okay for the signs, not this government. This will be very interesting.
We will be bringing up a number of other things in Committee of the Whole.
Motion for second reading of Bill No. 44 agreed to
Bill No. 33: Second Reading
Clerk: Second Reading, Bill No. 33, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. Webster.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I move that Bill No. 33, entitled Historic Resources Act, be read a second time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Renewable Resources that Bill No. 33, entitled Historic Resources Act, be now read a second time.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am pleased to table for second reading Bill No. 33, the Yukons Historic Resources Act.
The heritage branch of the Tourism department has prepared the Historic Resource Act to address a long overdue requirement to provide effective legislation for the protection and preservation of the Yukons non-renewable historic resources.
Since 1971, the Yukon government has been managing historic resources on Yukon lands outside of those under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Parks Service, or valid quartz or placer mining claims. This management has been based on authority delegated from the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. Once the Yukon Historic Resources Act is in place, we will be in a much better position to move to full devolution of this responsibility. However, applicability of this act to Yukon mining claims will have to await federal amendments to the respective mining acts.
The development of historic resources legislation has enjoyed a long history. Consultation in one form or another, through public workshops, policy papers and community consultations, has been ongoing since 1979.
A policy paper, prepared by the former Conservative government in September, 1983, was a major step on the way to this act. Some of the members opposite may remember this paper. It was entitled Preserving Our Past - Policy Recommendations for the Protection and Management of Yukons Heritage Resources.
It proposed a legislative framework to protect our historic resources with essentially the same scope as Bill No. 33. Preserving our Past advocated a similar approach to Bill No. 33, regarding the creation of an advisory board to the Minister and a similar approach for involving Yukon First Nations. The designation of privately owned historic sites and buildings was possible under the 1983 conservation policy as well.
The developer-pay approach to impact assessments and the right to issue stop-work orders were also features of that policy.
I am pleased to offer Members assurance that most of the principles and policies of the Historic Resources Act have evolved directly from this earlier document.
The work on the act under this government began in 1988, when an extensive two-stage process of consultation began. Stage one occurred in the fall of 1988 and involved meetings with representatives of the key umbrella organizations most affected by the proposed act. These organizations included the Council for Yukon Indians, the Yukon Historical Museums Association, the Association of Yukon Communities, the Klondike Placer Miners Association, the Tourism Industry Association of Yukon, the Klondike Visitors Association and the Dawson City Museum and Historical Society. Those meetings confirmed the basic structure of the act, as I have mentioned, which were built on the policy foundation established by the previous Conservative government.
The initialing of the Yukon land claims umbrella final agreement on March 31, 1990, identified the heritage concerns of the Yukon First Nations. With a heritage subagreement in hand, the act could be made more specific on subjects such as the ownership of historic resources on and off settlement lands. These provisions were incorporated into the Historic Resources Act.
Stage two consultation began in November, 1990, and continued until the spring. The scope of the stage two consultations were broader than stage one, and involved over 30 organizations. In addition to updating and hearing from the groups contacted in stage one, emphasis was placed on meeting with each Yukon First Nation and municipality. Specific meetings were held with the municipalities of Dawson City, Watson Lake, Teslin, Carmacks, Whitehorse, Haines Junction and Mayo, with all the First Nations and with the Association of Yukon Communities, Heritage North, Whitehorse and Yukon Chambers of Commerce, the Yukon Underwater Divers Association, the Yukon Rock and Gem Club, the Yukon Conservation Society, the Yukon Science Institute, the Yukon Chamber of Mines and the Klondike Placer Miners Association.
Although the process was a long one, for a variety of reasons, including the change of government, I am pleased to indicate that it was productive. Provisions for the protection of historic resources, outlined in Bill No. 33, respond to the input received during the consultation process. Overall, there is strong support for what is proposed, and unanimous support for intent of the bill.
Bill No. 33 establishes a comprehensive legislative framework for the Yukons historic resources in a context that reflects the Yukons unique circumstances. It puts into place the same kind of mechanisms to protect and preserve our historic resources that most provinces already enjoy.
It establishes a framework that will accommodate this governments obligations under the heritage chapter of the umbrella final agreement. It puts legislation in place that is both compatible with, and comparable to, provincial legislation. It also sets up a structure that the federal government will recognize as being equivalent to federal legislation. This means that the authority to manage the resources can be devolved to the Yukon.
Enacting this legislation honours this governments commitments to protect the territorys historic resources. These commitments have been made in the Yukon Economic Strategy, the Yukon Conservation Strategy, and in the 1990 Speech from the Throne. This legislation will compliment the initiatives outlined in the Yukon museums policy.
Two of the guiding principles of the Historic Resources Act, borrowed directly from the 1983 Conservative policy paper, are that historic resources legislation must achieve an effective and fair balance between the objectives of the community and the rights of the property owner, and measures to protect and preserve historic resources must be undertaken in a logical and orderly fashion, without unnecessary inconvenience to property owners and land developers.
A third principle, a guiding principle of this government, states that people must have ample opportunity for involvement in the processes of the act.
The main purposes of this act are to provide for designation of historic sites, ownership and custody of historic objects, a system for protection of historic resources through permits and impact assessments, to ensure public involvement in historic resource management and to protect individuals from abuses of authority.
A Yukon heritage resources board and a Yukon historic resources appeal board are established. As incentives for the protection of historic resources, the Yukon historic resources fund is set up, and the Minister is empowered to use property tax rebates to assist owners of designated sites to maintain their properties.
The goals of the proposed legislation are to provide adequate protection for all classes and types of historic resources and to increase public awareness of their significance. In order to do the latter, the act allows the Minister to establish programs to develop, interpret and enhance the territorys historic resources for the education and enjoyment of all.
The Historic Resources Act owes much to persistent and continuous lobbying by the Yukon Historical and Museums Association and other heritage societies, such as the Dawson Museum and Historical Society. Guidelines and mandates, for example, of the public advisory board, provide input to government for making decisions on the protection of Yukons historic resources, were suggested by the Yukon Historical Museums Association.
Bill No. 33 establishes the Yukon Historic Resources Board to provide this kind of effective public input to the Minister and the Yukon First Nations. It will also be able to provide advice on a wide variety of heritage issues. The Minister is required to consult with this board before making a designation of a proposed historic site. Individuals can ask this board to determine if an object should be considered an historical object - that is, an object abandoned for more than 45 years - an archaeological or paleontological specimen or object designated to be significant to the history of the territory
The bill will also establish a Yukon Historic Resources Appeal Board, which plays a strong role in advising the Minister on the publics objection to proposed designations of historic sites. Individuals who feel agrieved by actions taken against them by the Minister can ask the appeal board to conduct a public hearing into the matter.
The proposed Yukon Historic Resources Act indicates the governments recognition of the concerns of Yukons First Nations about their self-government rights and management responsibilities for their historic resources, as per the umbrella final agreement chapter on heritage.
Recognition of the value of oral history as a valid form of historic research is also acknowledged. The Minister will be able to assist efforts to repatriate historic objects. The ownership and management of Yukon First Nations historic sites will be addressed in each Yukon First Nations final agreement.
In response to concerns raised by developers, guidelines on the impact-assessment process will be prepared. Although the costs involved in conducting impact assessments are to be borne by the developer, these additional costs will be minimized as much as possible by means of site inspection and private approval before construction begins. This approach is consistent with historic resources legislation in the provinces. Developers can rest assured that permits and impact assessments required under the Historic Resources Act will be incorporated in the overall development assessment process which is now being prepared. This will ensure that a one-window approach is followed, thereby reducing time lost and the paper work required of developers.
Where appropriate, class exemptions will be provided to ease the burden of impact assessments on developers. For example, class exemptions are possible for areas with a long history of mining, and no impact assessments will be required to identify buried fossils in frozen ground. Ongoing consultation will be established between the heritage branch and the Klondike Placer Miners Association.
The regulations to the act will be prepared within one year of the act being passed. Bill No. 33 requires the Minister to consult with the public in drafting these regulations. The Heritage Resources Board will be able to review and make recommendations, to the Minister, on required policies, regulations and legislative amendments in the future. The regulations will govern the activities of professional archaeologists, paleontologists and - of special interest to placer miners, a control list will be developed to allow for the continued commercial use of mammoth/mastodon tusks. Regulations will also specify the processes involved when someone finds an object and reports it to the government.
Measures for the Minister to issue stop work orders will be issued only as a method of last resort to protect historic resources. I want to stress last resort: as an example, in Alberta, these powers have only been used twice in the last 15 years. Most provinces have never used their stop work order powers.
To further provide protection for the developer in this regard, the government has taken steps requiring the Minister to seek Cabinet approval to extend any stop work order he or she does issue, if they are to be in effect longer than 20 days.
With regard to the question of providing compensation to developers, should they be forced to delay their projects to accommodate efforts to preserve historic resources, under this act, the Minister is enabled to enter into agreements with individuals for the purpose of protecting historic resources. Thus, under extraordinary conditions, assistance - not compensation, but assistance - may be provided to deal with developer concerns in this regard.
I stress again that stop work orders are to be used only when all other attempts to achieve a cooperative approach have failed. I firmly believe that, with the types of pre-planning processes being put into place as a result of this act and others, this would be a rare occurrence.
The Government of Yukon wants to establish a good working relationship with all Yukoners in the administration of this act and in achieving the acts objectives. Our goals are to seek cooperation and to establish a good rapport with all developers, contractors and miners.
The Historic Resources Act recognizes that municipalities may want to designate their own historic sites on municipal lands. The process set out for municipalities in the proposed legislation is one they can opt into when they decide they want to take on the responsibility of designating historic sites that are of local importance. Since this is a voluntary process, municipalities should not feel pressured or compelled to take on the responsibilities, or to change what they already do. Some municipalities, such as Dawson City, with its historic control zone bylaw, have already put in place some provisions to achieve heritage preservation goals.
The Historic Resources Act will enable the Minister to provide assistance to the owners of historic sites to preserve and maintain those sites. The Yukons historic property assistance contribution plan, better known as HPAC is a major source of such assistance, providing up to 50 percent of the eligible cost for preserving historic properties.
There will be an increased emphasis on providing assistance to private property owners. This act will enable the establishment of a tax-incentive program, to provide grants-in-lieu of 50 percent of the taxes levied on private property that is designated as a territorial historic site.
All historic objects in an individuals possession prior to the proclamation of this act will remain his or her private property. After the act comes into force, however, any abandoned historic objects that are found on non-settlement lands will be owned by the Crown in trust for all residents of the territory.
A person owning an historic object before the act is passed must register these objects with the Yukon government within three years of the passage of the act for the purpose of establishing proof of ownership. The concept of the historic object register is one that a former MLA for Tatchun and former Minister, Howard Tracey, endorsed in 1980, when that government started the review for developing this act.
I want to highlight that these revisions do not mean that the government actually wants to physically hold all of these objects. In most cases, custody of these objects will remain with the finder, in trust on behalf of the Crown. I also want to emphasize that Bill No. 33 will ensure that private property rights of individuals already owning historic objects are protected. Bill No. 33 is not retroactive.
As I stated earlier, the legislation only applies to objects that have been abandoned. There will be no unnecessary intrusion into private-property rights with regard to designation of historic buildings. The public nature of the designation process and the public appeal process ensures this. Guidelines will be established to explain the designation process to explain how designation would affect private property owners.
With respect to the requirements to register their historic possessions, assistance in assessing what would be considered an historic object of significance to the history of the territory will be provided by the heritage branch. Only significant and historic objects would be required to be identified.
I should also point out that documentary, or archival resources, such as photos, letters, maps or other written documents are not dealt with in this act, as the existing Yukon Archives Act deals with these materials. These materials do not have to be registered.
There are important reasons for having such a register of objects. One benefit is to the owner who would have a formal list of their collection for insurance purposes; to provide protection to an owner who is selling or transporting historic objects outside of the Yukon or Canada; to assist the owner in meeting terms of the federal Cultural Export and Import Act; to register a concern to publicize endangered items and collections and act as a trigger for government funding for conservation assistance.
The basic intent of the register is to assist and support responsible private stewardship of Yukon historic resources, so all Yukoners can benefit from this legacy.
As I mentioned earlier, after the act is proclaimed, the Crown will own all abandoned historic objects found on non-settlement lands. Without a register of historic objects, a person could loot an historic site and, then, claim they had owned the objects before the act came into effect. This is not the type of protection for Yukons historic resources the government wants to provide on behalf of Yukoners.
Having this type of register is a common approach in other provinces. When the governments of Newfoundland, Manitoba and Saskatchewan put their historic resources acts into place, they required that historic objects be registered within a short time of the acts being passed, generally two years.
The Alberta government requires that private collections of fossils be registered within five years. The Ontario government is considering adding a similar provision regarding the register of historic objects to its proposed historic resources legislation.
Over two years, the implementation of the Historic Resources Act will require that 3.5 person years be added to the heritage branch staff, bringing onstream a historic sites archaeologist; an historic resources officer, who will be located in Haines Junction; a paleontologist in Dawson City; and a full-time secretary for the heritage branch.
As resources allow in the longer term, it is hoped that future historic resource officer positions can be placed in Dawson City and Watson Lake. Naturally, only qualified personnel who are well-trained will assume these new responsibilities.
In conclusion, I want to restate the basic goals of the proposed legislation. They are to provide adequate protection for all classes and types of historic resources, and to establish programs and develop, interpret and enhance the territorys historic resources for the education and enjoyment of all.
The cornerstone of an effective preservation program is an informed and involved public. Although the government can take the initiative in creating the atmosphere and programs for the proper treatment of our historic resources, it is only with the cooperation and support of the public and special interest groups that all resources can be adequately protected.
The Yukons historic resources are unique, irreplaceable examples of our cultural identity. They have a vital role in the development of an expanding tourism industry. These resources must be protected and managed to ensure their continued existence. Needless disturbance or destruction forecloses on the economic and cultural well-being of current and future generations of Yukoners.
The Historic Resources Act will meet the desires of Yukoners to be involved in the decisions being made to protect and preserve these resources. The notification and appeal processes for designation of historic sites will provide opportunities for public involvement. For the preservation, development and management of the unique heritage of Yukon Indian people, Yukon First Nations will be assured the lead role, as is reflected in the heritage chapter of the umbrella final agreement.
The activities of the Yukon Heritage Resources Board will provide opportunities for the views of a broad spectrum of Yukoners to be taken into account with regard to the protection and preservation of our historic resources.
Yukoners are becoming accustomed to assessing the environmental and social impacts of projects as part of the feasibility and planning processes for major developments. The proposed historic resources impact assessment and mitigation provisions will put the Yukon on par with other provinces requiring these measures. There is no substantive evidence anywhere to suggest that these measures jeopardize the existence or well-being of small business.
Overall, Bill No. 33 will help promote a greater appreciation and understanding of the Yukons past. It will enhance the efforts of individuals, Yukon First Nations, municipalities, the general public and heritage organizations throughout the Yukon, as well as the governments heritage agencies, in protecting and interpreting the Yukons historic resources. It will clarify the guidelines for developers on dealing with the impact their projects will have on historic resources. It will curb the illicit looting and trafficking of our historic resources.
Finally, I would like to say the Yukons historic resources deserve protection. They are a testimony to our past, the touchstone of our present and the foundation for our future. The Yukon Historic Resources Act is the tool with which to pass this legacy on to our descendants. These resources must be part of our common future.
Mr. Phillips: I have a few comments that I would like to make in second reading regarding this act that is before us today.
We, on this side, believe that heritage legislation in the territory is necessary legislation and that it protects and preserves our history. However, what we have before us today creates more questions than it answers. The philosophical gap between the parties in this House is glaringly evident in this act.
Let me elaborate on some of the quandaries we on this side feel will be created by this legislation. The first question I have to ask is: where are the regulations? The Ministers colleague, Mr. Kimmerly, emphasized and even boasted how this government would bring regulations forward with any legislation. To our surprise - or should I say, we are not surprised - this is the third act that has been brought before the House in recent days for which no regulations are attached. We are really just signing another blank cheque so the bureaucrats can create regulations afterwords.
There are several sections of the act that we on this side have to question. First of all, the Minister gets to appoint the chair and the vice-chair of the board. We wonder why the board itself does not have the opportunity again to elect its own chairperson.
Clause 6(8) says that the board only meets twice a year. The Minister knows of the potential impact that these board decisions could have on development projects in the territory. I wonder why they are only meeting twice a year?
There are also sections where ministerial discretion is allowed - in fact, too much ministerial discretion. For example, clauses 8(4) to 8(6) under educational programs and financial assistance, clause 25 under protection of sites, clause 28 under maintenance of historical sites, and clauses 65 and 66 under ownership and right to possession of historical objects, are all very critical sections of this legislation and all are left up to the discretion of the Minister.
Under clause 26(1), a 20-day stop-work order represents one-fifth of a placer miners working season. Surely, the Minister understands the need for a more expedient time frame in this section. In that particular area, I have some concerns. I understand the right of the government or the ability of the government to identify historical artifacts and objects, but what if we have an overzealous inspector who starts to harass the placer miners every time they find another ivory tusk. Pretty soon some of the placer miners may not be reporting them. They might be burying them in the back 40 and we will be losing some of these particular artifacts, because the government will be rushing in to put a stop-work order on some of these areas. I think the placer miners are concerned about that.
They are concerned about an overzealous inspector rushing in to protect the Yukons history.
Other sections lack time frames for many of the processes; this could seriously hamper development, particularly if one cannot work while waiting for the process to function - such as sections 21(1)(7), 27(1) and 72. In part 4, section 24(2), the onus is placed on the individual to submit an historic resources impact or developmental plan, or both. What are these plans? There are no regulations in place where one could sit down now, look at the act and determine how much it would cost and what is involved in producing one of these plans. It might be very costly to an individual to do something like this.
I mentioned earlier the philosophical differences that stand out here between the parties. Several sections remove civil liberties and property rights from the individual that could impose financial hardships on those who do not agree with the act. Section 34 says a person shall inform the government if they sell property designated or intended to be designated under this act. Section 60(1) contains definitions for historical objects and human remains: objects that are more than 45 years old and abandoned. Some of us in this House might qualify under that section before too long and I have to question the Minister on that.
A section in this act that bothers me probably more than any other is section 65, where it talks about the area where a person whose entitlement to possession and ownership of an historic object is based on the fact that the object was found before the coming into force of this act and does not register the object with the Minister within three years of the act coming into force. This talks about personal property and heirlooms that the individual has in their own home; I am sure even you, Mr. Speaker - your family having lived in the territory for many, many, many years - have many artifacts that are your own family possessions - possessions of your father and your mother and your great-grandfather and so on. Under this new legislation everyone is going to be forced to provide an inventory to the Government of Yukon and label all their own family personal possessions. I think that is a basic intrusion on an individuals right.
As an example of that, I have some furniture in my place that I know is over 45 years old. It did not come from the Yukon; I got it in southern Ontario, but if I decide one day to leave the territory and I am loading up the moving van and have not listed the item as an artifact, somebody could come by and question it.
People are prevented from removing that from the territory, unless they provide a list to the Government of the Yukon within three years. I bought this stuff in Ontario six or seven years ago, but I have no proof of that purchase any longer. To protect my own personal property, I had better make a list of anything that is over 45 years old in the house, or make a list of it to give to the government, so they know that I do have this personal property. Somehow, I had better be able to prove that I bought it in Ontario, and that it is not a Yukon artifact.
Some people are going to be quite concerned about that section. The Minister said that only significant items will be identified. Again, we have no regulations. What is a significant item? Is it a candelabra? Is it a special bed? What is a significant item in the Ministers eyes? I would be very curious to know what the Minister would identify as a significant item.
There are many people in the territory with family backgrounds and who have lived here for many years. These people have become historians and collected their own family heirlooms, as well as other artifacts of the territory, and they are preserving the Yukon history. Now, these people are going to be forced, at their own expense, to provide a great long list of inventory to the Government of the Yukon, so the government can keep track of what everyone owns in the territory. I think that is a bit of an abuse of the governments power, in this particular area.
Section 63 is unfortunate. If a person is unfortunate enough to own property that is designated under the draconian terms of this act, that person has to go to the government for permissions to do anything with the property, for example, if they want to sell it or just want to put storm windows in the historic site. It is important that people are now going to be subject to the governments will when it comes to changing or renovating their homes. The important thing to note here is that it does not include only the exterior of the building, but also the interior. The way this act now reads, if you are designated an historic site and want to renovate the house by doing something to a bathroom, for example, you would have to check with the government inspector first. That is significant.
We, on this side, are concerned about the cost of this act to Yukoners. Before I close, I want to go back to the area we have a strong concern about. We continually have acts that are broadly written before this House. The Minister interprets it his way. He tells us that we are going to have regulations following the act, yet we never see the regulations.
We all know regulations are easily changed and a lot of people do not have the opportunity to review the regulations as closely as they could review the clauses in the act. We, on this side, are extremely concerned that this act is not just an act to protect historic resources. This act is an intrusion on the publics right to own certain artifacts. We, on this side, are not going to support this act in second reading.
Mr. Phelps: We are here to discuss the bill in principle. I would be remiss if I did not enter into the debate at this stage.
While I, like all Members of this House, believe very strongly in preserving our heritage and historical resources, I find that aspects of this bill are extremely offensive to me and, I am sure, to many senior citizens and long-time Yukoners.
I was raised here. I have had the opportunity, over more years than I care to admit at times, to observe how people react with items that are of possible historic significance. The interest in artifacts and such vary extremely even within members of the same family. Fortunately, there are those who do attach significance to items. Often, this significance is not misplaced. Thanks to people of that persuasion, a lot of our history has already been preserved, often without any blessing, help or assistance from government, I am thankful to say.
What I have observed is that there are precious few who really take an interest in the preservation of history. One of the things that really concerns me about the bill, as written, is its tendency and its propensity to harm and penalize those elders, senior citizens and people who, through the years, because of their own interest and values, have done so much to preserve historical objects and our general history.
I think of the people who have significant collections of old objects - pictures, prints, furniture and Indian beadwork from various cultures the Yukon. I think of how much time has been spent by such people and how much affection for the history has been displayed by them. Then I read part 6 of this act that deals with the preservation, among other things, of something called historic objects. An historic object is said to be an object that is more than 45 years old and has been abandoned - whatever that means. I think about the people that I know who are still alive and have garages full of what could be deemed to be historic objects - stuff that is more than 45 years old, the value of which, to many of them, would be rather obscure. I wonder just exactly what kind of thinking leads us to a situation where these old people, who are going to be scared half to death, are going to be faced with, somehow or other, dancing to the Ministers tune and going through all this stuff - some of which they probably have not seen for years or decades. They must go through this stuff in order to protect themselves from an allegation that any of them might fall within this broad ill-thought-out - hopefully, ill-thought-out, I would say, as I would hate to think that this kind of intrusion on property rights was intentional - act.
I think particularly of the oldest of the people, those who are infirm now, and the kind of agony that this is going to bring to them. How many years will it take some of the pioneers who live in this city to go through what they and their families have collected over the years to determine whether or not those items ought to be registered?
How many years would it take a Charlie Taylor, or a G.I. Cameron, to go through their possessions and make that determination, or a person such as Jim Robb, the painter, who has spent most of his adult life collecting old things? How many years, and at what expense, will it take a person such as that to meet the draconian requirements of this legislation? What kind of reassurance do people like those have with regard to the good intentions of the government and its minions, the bureaucrats, who have all these rights of search and seizure within this bill?
We were told by the Minister just now, in his second reading speech, that the purpose of having the historic objects definition, and the requirements with regard to the registration of such, was to somehow or other ensure that some new person coming along, and finding something of value that is more than 45 years old, would declare it and make sure that Big Brother owns it, not that person.
In so many cases, to try to address what is such a narrow concern by draconian measures such as these leaves me almost dizzy with bewilderment. I have talked to a good many people, and made sure that this bill, in its present form, has gone out to a good many people, particularly oldtimers. The reaction is one of fear of the state. A lot of people, and particularly the oldtimers, never did like government much anyway, and never wanted to be dependent on Big Brother, or government. Thank God they were not, or we would have no historical objects to worry about.
I want to talk a little bit more from a personal perspective, since I happen to live in a place that may come under the ambit of this act.
It amazes me. A house may have been within a family for almost the entire lifetime of that dwelling, with the people who lived in it through the decades putting their own money into restoring their home. In many cases, the house would not be in existence otherwise. All of a sudden, this government wants to intrude, possibly over the objections of the owners themselves, on the property rights of the people who have looked after the house for many years and, in many cases, for decades. Just exactly what are we coming to?
I can understand why the NDP party, and many others, did not want to see property rights enshrined in our constitution. This is the kind of legislation that makes the answer to that pretty, bloody obvious.
I think about the kinds of restoration that I have personally observed in my short lifespan in the world. For example, there is the Watson Lake Hotel in Watson Lake. It has been restored. Private enterprise came up with the money to restore the place. It has been done in a way that I am sure any number of historical types would not have sanctioned, had they been empowered as a board, or to advise the Minister on the restorations. It was done in a way that makes sense commercially, and in a way that shows a great degree of sensitivity.
As to the attraction and spirituality of the buildings in question, I cannot imagine an entrepreneur wanting you to go to that expense, dancing through the hoops that we have seen imposed by, for example, the historic sites national group - board for board, nail for nail, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. At one hotel, they have wiped out a number of interior rooms and made them into comfortable suites with en suite bathroom facilities. They brought in masons and bricklayers to build fireplaces and that sort of thing. As I say, it is a good example and one that has been done with a great deal of sensitivity but, in my view, it probably would not have occurred under the auspices of a regime such as that envisaged by this bill.
As an example closer to home - the Caribou Hotel in Carcross - over the last 10 years I have heard of several plans that have not come to fruition by people who wanted to redevelop, rebuild and refurbish the Caribou Hotel. In almost every instance this would entail dramatic changes to the interior, depending on your point of view, and to do it successfully in a commercially viable way would probably mean that the developer would have to dance to the tune and jump through the hoops of the historical committee set up here, not to mention the various inspectors and other people employed by this make-work legislation. The sad thing is that to create a viable hotel in Carcross, which retains most of its sense of history - as occurred with the Watson Lake Hotel - is vital to the future of the town itself, yet I see that goal and objective becoming far more distant than closer as a result of this.
I feel rather strongly that we have to look at the definitions to take away the entirely punitive aspects of section 6, whether or not they are intentional, by restricting its provisions to archaeological objects and/or some of the other really old stuff. I think it fails abjectly, the way it is presently written, to do anything to encourage preservation, particularly of the our more recent history.
I firmly believe that we ought to have a pretty hard look at what kind of unwarranted, or unwanted, intrusions we want to make into the private property rights of those who own their own residences. If the government cannot come along and make a deal with people, freely - perhaps spending some of the money they might otherwise spend on training police to carry out the intent of the present bill - and achieve their ends voluntarily with, particularly private residences, they should forget it and leave private residences out of this bill.
I feel rather like a Christian Scientist with appendicitis over this bill. I really, in my own small way, have supported the protection of heritage in the Yukon. A good many of my friends and acquaintances, people whom I have known since I was a child, have spent thousands and thousands of hours in this pursuit. A good many of these people have, up until now, been more than generous of their time, of sharing their private property with government officials who were involved in protecting what they can of our history. They have been more than generous in sharing what they have with the museums that we have spread throughout the territory.
A bill such as this changes that point blank. I will be damned if I will have anybody around my place, looking at my stuff, without the necessary court order. I can tell you that there are people, some of them relatives of mine, who have donated all kinds of time and pictures to archives. I would bet that their reaction to this will be extremely similar to mine.
The bill as it stands needs a lot of thinking. It needs some changes. This crosses that fine line from goals and objectives that are for the good of the Yukon to goals and objectives that somehow or other go beyond that, intentionally or not, into political philosophy and intrusion of the state into the private lives of Yukoners.
Mr. Lang: I just want to add a few comments to the ones that were made on the invasion of privacy that is being proposed in the bill before us.
I have had the opportunity of speaking to a number of old-timers and families who have committed themselves and their offspring to the Yukon. These people have been here for 40 years or more. When a number of the sections of this bill were brought to their attention, they were very upset with the attitude and direction this government was taking with respect to artifacts and preserving the historical aspects of the Yukon.
I would have thought that we could have brought forward a bill with a positive approach to encourage people to bring historical artifacts forward to the governments attention and, subsequently, provide the necessary attention that should be given to them, once they have been forwarded to the public domain.
You are going to have the totally opposite effect with the measures taken by the government in the bill before us. People will resent the attitude that has been exhibited by the government in trying to procure these artifacts and, subsequently, they will go to whatever lengths to keep them away from the public domain. I think that is sad. I know people who have gone through the years collecting various artifacts. As citizens, they felt they were doing their utmost to preserve the little bit of Yukon that they knew. They preserved it not only for themselves, but for their children and for other people. They never intended the Legislature to pass laws that would require them to inventory and provide a list to the government, and where, if they did not, the government could move in and acquire those objects.
I do not think that anyone is opposed to a heritage act or to passing measures that will help preserve Yukons history. However, I do know the work that has been done over the past 10 years in this particular area. The Minister keeps hanging his hat on previous work that was done in the late 1970s and early 1980s. There were various proposals floated and brought forward. We are the final decision-makers on how we are going to preserve the Yukons history and its artifacts.
I do not believe that we, as legislators, should be pushing measures as outlined by the Member for Riverdale North and as outlined by the Leader of the Official Opposition. I think that the areas of concern should be examined during Committee of the Whole discussion and we should look for significant changes. Otherwise, I believe we are going to find that the majority of Yukoners are not going to accept the bill. The exact opposite effect will occur, and people will resent the governments involvement in any way, in the preservation of what they see as their effects. I think maybe if the Minister is not prepared to entertain some changes during Committee of the Whole debate, it really reflects on, as the previous Member talked about, the right of people to own property and the intrusions that have been made into peoples property over the last number of years.
This country was built by people having the right to own their own personal property and continually, session after session, we bring in sections in various acts that allow someone with a search warrant to come into your home for whatever reasons. It is like Chinese torture. You just become numb after a while. You get to the point of saying, Oh well, that does not really matter; that is only going to affect three of my neighbours.
It goes on and on and on and then all sides of this House wonder, when we come to this House with a budget, why we need this amount of civil service in order to do the everyday administration. We continually bring in bills with sections like this and somebody has to do it.
I was hoping that we could come up with an act that could be seen as basically non-partisan; it is an area of concern to all Members of this House. I think that it is safe to say that you, Mr. Speaker, and a number of other Members and their families have been here for years - hundreds of years. I find it difficult to understand how we could be supporting a bill of this kind that is going to affect Teslin and Dawson City, the old-timers in the communities. I just think that the Minister should rethink a number of the areas that the critic and the Leader of the Official Opposition have brought forward and give them very serious examination. Surely, the Minister is not going to come to this House and tell us because they did it in Alberta they have to do it here. That just does not wash. I think that we are getting too much of that.
My family did not move to the Yukon so that we could be like Alberta or British Columbia. If that is the case, we can disband this Legislature and just make ourselves subjected to the Alberta or British Columbia Legislature.
Speaker: The Hon. Minister will close debate if he now speaks. Does any other Member wish to be heard?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I will add a few comments to those of the Members opposite who have spoken to this bill in second reading.
Let me begin first with the Member for Riverdale North who concluded his remarks with the question: where are the regulations? He suggested that, without regulations, the bureaucrats are provided with a blank cheque to take over the world. I have made it clear in this bill, as with the Environment Act, that there are provisions to consult with the public in the drafting of regulations. That is what we plan to do. This is something the side opposite never did. We have made a commitment in the act to do this. As I said in my second reading speech, hopefully that process will take one year and all people who are concerned will be involved.
The Member for Riverdale North made a number of specific comments on small matters that we will deal with in clause-by-clause review of the bill, such as the requirement for the board to meet twice a year. I want to point out that it is a minimum of twice a year. If there is business for this board to conduct, it will be meeting more frequently.
He mentioned the stop-work order or 20 days being a large fraction of the placer miners working season. This will raise the concerns of placer miners. I want to bring it to the Members attention that that is a maximum amount of time. It is not necessary for stop-work orders to be in place for a period of 20 days if the concern has been addressed, but those time frames will be developed, as well, in regulations after consultation with the industry.
It is the same with his question regarding the impact assessment plans. These also will be developed in regulations, again in consultation with the respective parties.
The Member mentioned the designation of an historic object being one that is of significant historic value to the territory and is of 45 years of age. I want to assure the Member that there are good reasons for the 45-year stipulation and we will get to those reasons in clause-by-clause debate. Section 65 was another area of concern raised by the Member for Riverdale North; he was concerned about individuals who own but do not choose to register their historic objects. In my opening remarks I spoke on the reasons for the necessity for an inventory of historic objects. It is a practice that is followed in other jurisdictions of the country. He mentioned as an example that some of his furniture, purchased in Ontario, is certainly more than 45 years of age. I want to assure the Member that I, too, have some furniture from the turn-of-the-century, not purchased in the Yukon - purchased in Nova Scotia and in Ontario - but I do not consider it to be of significant historic value to the development of the territory and I do not think most other people would either, but I am sure we will deal with this at length in clause-by-clause debate.
He also referred to a problem created by the inventory, which would have to be at the owners expense. We are making an offer for the heritage branch personnel to work with owners to provide assistance in compiling inventories. He also mentioned the requirement for individuals - private home owners who are changing the historic character of their house - to require permission from government to do so. I do not think that putting storm windows on an historic building would constitute a requirement to get permission from government.
It certainly does not affect the renovations in ones bathroom, or the interior. The act only requires an historic resources permit for work that would change or alter the historic character of the exterior part of the building.
On the comments made by the Member for Hootalinqua, he was concerned with part 6, the preservation of historic objects. He wanted to know what abandonment was. I can assure him that it does not mean objects that are being stored in ones garage on private property, which was the example he cited. Those objects stored on private property or in garages are not abandoned. People will continue to own those objects once this act comes into place.
He is concerned about the time required to register items. I admit that some individuals he named, such as Charlie Taylor, who have spent a lifetime collecting artifacts of significance to the development of the territory or others who have put together collections, are examples of people who would suffer some hardship. I mentioned that there would be some assistance provided from the heritage branch staff for that purpose.
I want to mention also that a lot of these people have depended on government assistance in the past to conserve and preserve historic objects. Jim Robb, who is here today, is one of the individuals who has placed in the temperory custody of the government of Yukon some objects that need some restoration work. I am sure he has the understanding from the government that he still owns those objects. This is regular practice.
It was also mentioned by the Member from Hootalinqua about the private property historic sites being a house and this intruding on the property rights of the owners. This Minister will not be making designations himself when it comes to private property, however people could petition the Minister to suggest that a private house be designated as a territorial historic site.
As the bill clearly lays out, there is a process for that designation, some being put forward to the Yukon Heritage Resources Board. If there are objections to the designation of the site from the owner, the lessee, recommendation of the board or anyone else for that matter, that then would go to the appeal board. As well, this board will have the responsibility to review plans that will have to be provided in the Historic Resources Act for altering the historic character of a house.
The Member for Hootalinqua mentioned the example of the Watson Lake garage, the restoration of that garage was done with a great deal of sensitivity. He said that he could not imagine any entrepreneur dancing through the hoops to do that.
I want to inform the Member that Dawson City residents do this all of the time. An historic control bylaw was introduced in Dawson City five or six years ago, which requires people in all of Dawson City - not just the downtown commercial core, or the historic residential core - when they are altering an existing house or commercial building or when building anew, to submit plans to the planning board for review to ensure that they are faithful, at least in designs and materials, to the construction at the turn of the century.
I want to assure the Member from Hootalinqua that this has not caused the residents of Dawson City to throw up their hands and say here comes big government, in this case the municipal government, and leave town abandoning all of their houses or their businesses.
I guess if the Member interprets that as jumping through the hoops, people in Dawson City are quite willing to do that. I want to remind the Member, there has been a housing boom in Dawson City over the last two or three years. People I guess want to jump through the hoops. There is a lot of new business being established in Dawson City as well.
I want to give a lot of credit to these people, who have submitted their plans to the planning board for review, and perhaps with some minor alterations, have gone ahead in good faith and built their buildings or their houses according to the plans, as approved by the planning board as established under the bylaw.
I think the same example could be made of the Caribou Hotel. I am certain that the owner, who wanted to do a faithful restoration, who wanted to preserve the historic character of that building, would be quite willing to get some professional advice on to how best approach the job with guidelines that would be available to help that person make decisions.
That is why we have put in this act some provisions to provide some assistance to owners, to help them preserve, fix up, repair and enhance the historic facade of their buildings.
There were a few comments from the Member for Porter Creek East. I do not want to speak at length about his nonsense about this being an example of more legislation coming forward with search and seizure provisions. After all, he was part of the government that brought in the Childrens Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Wildlife Act, which all have similar provisions.
We know that the provisions of this act do not violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and is consistent with other pieces of legislation. A warrant is required for any search that may be conducted under this act.
I want to say, in a constructive way, to the Member for Porter Creek East, who suggested that changes will be required for acceptance of the bill, and feels that the majority of Yukoners will not accept this bill, that I do not believe that. Part of the reason is the point I alluded to in my opening remarks and that is that this has gone through an extensive consultation process over some 12 years. This bill does reflect the principles of the policy paper that was prepared and issued by the Conservative government in 1983. The consultation process over the last two years has also been extensive.
I will admit to the Member for Porter Creek East that there may be some areas where suggestions could come forward to make this bill more acceptable to a greater majority of Yukoners. I will be accepting those suggestions in the spirit they are given.
Motion for second reading of Bill No. 33 agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I will call Committee of the Whole to order and declare a brief a recess.
Ms. Kassi: I will call Committee back to order.
Bill No. 3 - Third Appropriation Act, 1990-91 - continued
Community and Transportation Services - continued
Mr. Brewster: I was going to make this short and not have too much debate on the start of this supplementary but the Ministers remark that he finally has permission from his Cabinet to do something about the Alaska Highway completely shocked me. He has been putting motions before this House ever since I have been here, going on over eight years, and all of a sudden we finally get permission from Cabinet, but it is of no value. We have lost 1992; it is going to be a farce. I remember the glory statements by the other side of the House as to what a great time we are going to have in 1992. We sure are - we have lost another $1.5 million; this was the last year we could put any capital work on it and there is no way we can do it now. The money has gone. Next year is the anniversary. I believe I suggested that, rather than have a big anniversary celebration, we should have taken the money and put it on the highway and get our infrastructure right, but everybody knew better. I have been in the lodge business long enough to know that for every tourist who goes back dissatisfied 10 or 15 more will not come. I can go right back to when the Canadian army used to have floods here and your whole business would die for two or three months and would not come back.
The way we work is really hypocritical. Ottawa has cut $1.5 million from the budget, yet this government has turned around and raised the wages 19 percent. So I presume this means - as I have already been told that there will not be any hiring for local people on the highway this year because there is no money - that possibly, theoretically, the people who want to work permanently and get this wage will be sitting idle because there will not be any fuel to maintain the highway.
I think we are in a really pitiful and stupid situation and I am very unhappy about it. I am very unhappy with the way the Alaska Highway has been treated since this government has been in power.
When we asked what plans they had, if there were any problems, he said no problem, we sent them all to Dawson. That is the continued attitude that goes on and I am very, very sick and tired of it.
I had hoped that when wrong-way Deputy Minister of Tourism got up here she might see the potential of a great thing for tourism, but apparently she was going too fast to even see signs, so I do not know how she would see anything else.
I am just completely disappointed in the whole situation. I think it stinks.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have to agree with most of what the Member is saying. The issue surrounding maintenance funding for the Alaska Highway, I find just as frustrating because the Member and I have, over the past couple of years anyway, gone to considerable lengths to make the case for the need of upgrading the highway, to make the case for its importance to tourism and for general transportation of goods and people within the Yukon.
To have now, at this eleventh hour, a withdrawal of federal funding is most disappointing indeed. In fact, I dare say that disappointment is not anywhere near a strong enough term to express my frustration at this turn of developments. We have done so many things that had positive inclinations over the past couple of years: various lobbies, letters, communications, meetings, petitions - you name them, all of that has been happening over the last couple of years on the Alaska Highway, and all for a very good cause. There is a recognition that the highway is poorly maintained and needs immediate and massive upgrading. We recognize that cannot be done overnight.
We recognize that the Alaska Highway is going to have to be rebuilt over the next 10 or 15 years, but we wanted to see it start happening. We saw a loss of funding to the B.C. section in the early and mid-1980s. We have restored nearly half of that, but in the meantime they cut that in half. We had $30 million for capital upgrading for the Alaska, B.C. and Yukon sections. We had the Yukon section funding diverted to B.C. and then they cut that funding in half, down to $15 million. So we have been hammered from all sides on the Alaska Highway.
As a government, we have undertaken to enter into negotiations, which have begun at a technical level. As a result, we have had the loss of this additional money for maintenance. It is unacceptable; it is unforgivable. I agree with the Member that it is a totally unacceptable situation, because the impact is going to be felt, and not just for 1992. It is going to be felt this summer.
I have had an opportunity, since Question Period, to double-check on the personnel impacts. We are going to be hiring 20 fewer auxiliary people on the Alaska Highway in the Yukon this year. Twenty people are not going to get jobs. We are still examining what we can do to mitigate that, but it is a horrendous impact.
We have now managed to restore some of the $15 million to the Yukon that still exists on capital upgrading of the Alaska Highway, which was diverted to B.C. in the mid-1980s. Some of that will go on this year. Public Works Canada is going to spend $6 million on upgrading portions of the Alaska Highway. However, it is not going to do much for any great portion of the Alaska Highway.
A majority of that $6 million is going to be spent on the Swift River section, and various other amounts of it are going to be spent on minor capital improvements like guardrails, culvert replacements and some survey work. The capital upgrading for this year is going to be $5 million. We are promised that it will be restored back to the 50-50 split between B.C. and the Yukon for next year. After what we have seen happen to our maintenance budget in the last couple of weeks, I do not know what is in the cards.
We are facing a real problem now. We will deal with it as best as we can.
Mr. Brewster: I am not going to carry this much further, but I made two trips into Burwash this weekend, both Saturday and Sunday. The road between Haines Junction and Burwash, which is usually the best part of the road, is a disgrace already. The frost has not even gone out of it yet. This is not the fault of the people. The road is just falling apart. It falls apart more and more every year because no one has given them any money to fix it. The wagon road is collapsing. I have never seen it this bad. I thought all the red flags were to keep the Deputy Minister of Tourism from going too far, but I think it was to signal everyone to slow down and watch where they were going. It is a disgrace.
Mr. Lang: I would like to get some information on this. I noticed there were a discussion paper done on green taxes, by Christine Pekarik. I wonder if we could be provided with those discussion papers since the Minister is in charge of taxation for the territory.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am at a loss, but I will undertake to find out whether or not my department was involved with those studies. My Deputy has no immediate knowledge, but I will undertake to get back to the Member with regard to the contract matter he raises.
Mr. Lang: Just to ensure this does not get lost, do any other Ministers have any knowledge of this discussion paper on green taxes? Are the other Ministers listening? Does it have something to do with the Environment Act? There was a discussion paper on green taxes. I am just wondering if the Minister of Renewable Resources knows about it.
There is a look of amazement on the faces of everyone here, but there was about $6,000 or $7,000 spent on this study. I would like to think someone has read it.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: On behalf of my colleagues and myself, I will undertake to examine what the specific study related to, what it may have been used for and, if at all possible, to provide it to the Member.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister provide us with the resource transport access program study that was done for $28,900 by a gentleman who is probably from outside the territory: Don Ference and Associates?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The study in question is available to Members of the House; I will provide it. I did review it. It was an evaluation of the five-year RTAP program. To a large extent, it guided our thinking in developing the new guidelines for the scaled-down version of the program in the current years budget.
I will provide it to the Member. I am sure we can get it to the Member by tomorrow.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister also provide us with the municipal land transfer study that was done for $20,175 by A.J. Hunt and Associates?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have a copy of it on my desk. I was looking at it over the weekend. It was provided to all the municipalities. There is nothing particularly sensitive in it. It is good general information. At worst, I could seek some advice from the AYC chair, but I have no problem providing it to the Member.
Mr. Lang: I would like a copy of that. Could the Minister give us a copy of the two reports that were done on municipal funding and how it is affected by the GST?
Mr. Lang: Municipal financing-GST - obviously there is some consequence as to how the GST is going to affect the municapility. I think all Members should be aware of that.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I personally do not recall reviewing them, but I will certainly undertake to provide them to the Member.
Mr. Lang: I just have a couple of areas of concern in the Whitehorse area, and that is about the land development. This is the third or fourth year in a row in which we have asked when the mobile home residential area is going to be developed in Granger. I want to tell the Minister that it is causing a very major problem for people who have that type of a home. They have no place to park it and subsequently we have no place to expand in Whitehorse for that type of home. I would like to ask the Minister when that is due for completion and can he give us a date for completion?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Granger mobile home subdivision is now referred to as the Arkell subdivision. That is the new reference coined by the city. We have had some reasonably good progress on the development of the subdivision. The Member may recall that the Yukon government, as land developer, was in some disagreement with the city over specific standards. The issue was that standards would impact on the cost of the lot under the principle of how we dispose of the property. All of that has now been sorted out.
There is agreement between the city and ourselves over the standards and over the anticipated costs of that. We have signed a development agreement. We have just put the subdivision development - the water, sewer and roadwork - out to tender. I do not know the closing date, but it should be in the papers now. If it is not in the papers, it has been released to go out for tender. I would expect that if the tender comes in reasonably soon we could see construction begin this year. It will likely not be finished. I would have to take notice of the specifics of what is being called for in the tender, whether it is the full installation of water and sewer and full road work and the curb and gutter work. I do not know the specific time line now, but we have all the agreements in place including the developing agreement. Standards have been set and it has gone to tender, but I believe only the first phase of it. I will check.
I am advised that indeed the tenders are out for the preliminary work on the grubbing and clearing of the road. A subsequent tender will be let for the road work and the utility work. We do not anticipate all of the project to be complete - that is, the final paving and curb and gutter work - until next spring.
The only way that we could have those lots go out prior to all development work being done is to get a special dispensation or release from the City to start releasing lots before we are finished with the final preparatory work. There is an outside chance that we could be releasing lots this winter if we get the utilities in.
Mr. Lang: I want to express my real concern here because there is a real need in our community, I think we all know, for more land that is zoned for this type of structure and we have been voting money. I believe this is the fourth year where we have had announcement after announcement that we have X dollars voted for land development, yet what have we accomplished? We have accomplished virtually nothing, other than reaching an agreement with the City of Whitehorse how we can pro-rate the costs.
I understood, and I was prepared to accept it a number of years ago, the delay between the two levels of government to work out an arrangement with the City of Whitehorse, but I just feel quite strongly that whatever has to be done should be done to expedite the actual construction of these lots. If the water and sewer are there and the road grade is acceptable or close to being acceptable for the next stage - which is the pavement and whatever the following year requires - then I think that some of these lots should be released early, because there is a demand out there and the demand is real.
I think that we are being remiss if we do not provide for that demand, because what it is doing is just really causing a problem within the community. There is no vacancy rate, and people are really in a bind.
I do not think that it is fair that because of administrative convenience perhaps these lots will be delayed in being put out for another year, and the Minister said winter. Surely, these particular lots will be available no later than September for water and sewer to be installed and the roads adequate to drive on.
I recognize that there is a bit of a concern. You probably would not know what the ultimate end cost would be unless you put the tender out this summer for pavement, asphalt and gutter, get a figure, and then put that into the selling price of the lots.
It is a real problem. I think that the government has been really remiss in this particular area. It is fine to have a subdivision where you can build $200,000 homes, but there is a real need out there for people to have affordable housing. We are just not meeting it with the land bank that is presently in place.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I accept the Members representation. The subdivision, as the Member knows, will provide for 203 mobile home lots. That is in a two-stage development - 105 in the first phase, which is what we are doing now, and the remaining 98 lots in a phase to follow.
I am advised by my Deputy that we have every reason to believe that we will have the utilities in place this year. To correct the record from my earlier statement, all the right-of-way clearing and grubbing is now done. All the legal surveys are completed. The tender that is going out is for the utility work.
I am advised that there should be no reason why the utilities could not be in this year and the lots serviceable late this fall. With special dispensation from the city to release them prior to finishing the surface development work, we could release some of them this fall, if, as the Member suggests, there is a high demand and pressure to have some released that soon. I will certainly take that as advice and will raise it with the city. We will monitor the development through the summer months and we could well have, by agreement with the city, some lots released this fall.
As a point of interest, our current development cost per lot is estimated at $25,000.
Mr. Devries: I would like to get back to the matter of the Alaska Highway. I am still having problems in understanding why YTG is so reluctant to put some money into this highway. My understanding is that in the agreement regarding the transfer last year of the five highways to YTG, approximately $8 million annually was designated to this program. I think they diverted $4 million into general revenue of this $8 million. Was half of this money diverted into general revenue and away from highways?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I recall the Members opposite raising a similar question during budget debate last fall. I remember tabling figures relating to the actual highway expenditure in the budget.
The point must be understood that with respect to the inter-territorial roads agreement the Member refers to the $8 million is part of a financing package that is going to flow for the next 25 years to our base funding to carry the responsibility for the adequate upgrading for those highways. We are talking about capital dollars, because we already maintain those roads. We already maintain funds for the maintenance portion of those five particular roads.
What we agreed on were the capital costs for upgrading those roads.
So even if, in one given year, we do not spend $8 million on the five roads, we still have an obligation to maintain the capital standards of those roads. It could well follow that in a subsequent year we would have to spend $12 million, or $10 million or $8 million. The point is that the responsibility is there.
With respect to what has happened just now on the Alaska Highway, where the maintenance funding has been reduced by a million dollars plus, it would be irresponsible for us to take money from our general revenue and plunk it into the Alaska Highway, which is a federal responsibility, and especially so at a time when we have begun devolution talks to take over the highway. In fact, as I think I indicated to the Member, I think it is most inappropriate as an opening negotiations ploy to reduce the base level from which you are going to start - but that is another matter.
On the one hand we are talking about a base level of capital money to five highways for which we are responsible over the long haul. The Alaska Highway is maintenance money for which we have no responsibility and no budgeted amounts. On top of this, if we start putting money into shortfalls of the feds responsibility, you can imagine the door that opens on all other programs. The feds will just bail out on everything if they can see that the Yukon government is going to fill in the gap to provide the reduced service. That would mean the death of the Yukon governments ability to meet its commitments and priorities.
Mr. Devries: I would agree that the devolution of the Alaska Highway should be given priority so that we do not get stuck between two levels of government all the time.
I still have one concern about the Campbell Highway. My understanding was that possibly the Minister was going to divert some more money toward the section between Watson Lake and the Mount Hundere turn-off, which would be the budget we are talking about, I believe. Are there any plans in that respect?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am not sure I understood what the Member was seeking. Could he restate what information he was seeking?
Mr. Devries: This is in regard to the Campbell Highway. My understanding is that there was $300,000 budgeted toward upgrading the section from Watson Lake to the Mount Hundere turnoff. I understood that the Minister was attempting to allocate more money for the upgrading of that section. With the increased traffic from the mine, we are naturally going to have problems. It is a narrow section of road, with soft shoulders in the spring.
Is the Minister contemplating allocating more money for the upgrading of that 30-mile section?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: With respect to the Mount Hundere section from Watson Lake, there were no capital dollars budgeted for that in the past years budget, to my recollection. The Member may be drawing reference to a discussion we may have had outside the House, where I indicated to him that we stepped up maintenance to that portion of the highway to ensure that, on the one hand, it got upgraded from the damage that was done, and that it was adequately ready to handle traffic to come.
In that respect, we increased the amount of maintenance work done on that section of the road by $435,000 in the past year.
Mr. Devries: With respect to the Alaska Highway, as the Minister is aware, there is a fair amount of work going on right now. The Department of Highways is widening a certain section by four or five metres. I am not certain whether that is coming out of the maintenance or capital budget. I would assume it has to be capital. At the Rancheria Bridge there is a major realignment, and there is work in the Swift River section.
With these cutbacks, as far as operation and maintenance goes, is it going to affect this project around the Rancheria area?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: We do not do the capital upgrading on the Alaska Highway. It does not flow through our budget, nor do we tender for it, and nor do we arrange for it to be done in any form. Public Works Canada looks after the capital side. If the work being done in the Rancheria area is capital upgrading, then it is being done by Public Works Canada. If it is maintenance, then we have to perform that. With the cutbacks from the feds, there is no question that we have to reassess and realign our priorities of maintenance of the entire length of the Alaska Highway.
The Member raised the question on the shoulder widening, and I am at a loss to know whether that is Public Works capital upgrading or whether it is to be done by our forces. I suspect that it is our forces doing that, in which case it would be strictly maintenance. We do not do capital upgrading work.
Mr. Devries: We see the Department of Highways trucks dumping the gravel alongside the roads and the Department of Highways graders pushing the gravel onto the shoulders, et cetera, and doing a slight realignment. It is considerably better than it used to be. There are also some outside contractors involved in this. The trucks delivering the gravel, et cetera, are put out to bid, and there are also a couple of earth movers doing a minor realignment by the second Rancheria bridge. It is unclear to me whether that is capital money or maintenance money or a combination of the two.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: To be fair to the Member, I best take notice and provide in writing what precisely is occurring. I repeat that we, as the Department of Highways, do not do capital upgrading work.
If the Member is describing some major maintenance reconstruction, it would clearly fall under the category of maintenance. In the case where there are outside contractors involved with highways forces, then that is a case of where we use our standard practice of seeking equipment rentals for work that we do not have the capability to do.
In summary, it would be strictly maintenance work; it sounds like equipment rentals, which is a standard practice and follows very set procedures and uses private sector support to our forces, but if our forces are involved, it definitely is not capital monies. Capital monies are directly budgeted by and delivered by Public Works Canada.
Mr. Phelps: I have some questions that relate to my constituency and they centre on the issue of the community well for Tagish.
I have been told by residents of Tagish that recently there was a meeting attended by officials from this department who stated that the community well - that has been in the budget now for at least three years - has been late in being constructed for various reasons outside of the powers of the people who live there. Suddenly, they are being told that they are going to have to pay for it in terms of a $30 yearly charge against the property taxes of each property owner.
The first point that I would like to make is that, to my knowledge - I have done some checking - this is the first time that a charge has been applied - certainly, in recent years or in a lot of years - to unorganized communities, save and except with regard to recreation facilities.
The second point I would like to make is that the department has already spent considerable funds, and had meetings, on locating the site of the well, and the well has been drilled. The pump has been ordered. Yet, not until this recent meeting has this charge been announced to the residents. This seems to me totally unfair. What I am getting from people in Tagish is that this is a political move done for nothing else than to penalize them for the way they voted in the last election.
I would like to know just where this has been applied, and just exactly what grounds this unwarranted charge is being made on, particularly as this has not been done before, anywhere else in the Yukon. This is just a warm-up. If we do not get some answers, we will be doing this under the full glare of Question Period.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Let me reassure the Member that, to my knowledge, there is no decision to charge people specifically for the use of the well. To provide some background to the issue, the Member has identified the issue correctly, but has failed to correctly identify the solution. One of the things we have been examining with respect to communities and services is how to address the issue of what level of service should be provided in a tax base. The Member is quite familiar with the taxation approach in the Yukon, particularly in the rural areas where there are different categories of communities, based on different levels of service provided to those communities, and which get charged a different rate of taxation.
The different services provided to communities affects the category those communities fit into and in turn, determines the tax rate they are charged.
With respect to the Tagish community well, it is indeed an additional service that is provided to a community. It has a cost associated with it. The question arises as to whether or not there should be a cost recovery for that service from the people who use it. That is the issue. Public meetings are being held with the residents to discuss that prospect. No decision has been made. Consultation is occurring and we are examining how to address the larger issue, meaning the provision of a service that has a cost associated to it and whether or not a recovery should be built into the tax base. It is a very reasonable discussion on a very basic issue.
Mr. Phelps: That is not the way it is coming back to me. It seems to me that, first of all, once again, this policy has never before been applied to unorganized communities, outside the area of recreation. This community well ought to have been completed several years ago. Also, it seems to me to be a particularly sleazy way of changing policy. The community decided on something three years ago and the government is at fault for being late. Suddenly, at the end of the process, the government says they have a little surprise for them.
I cannot, for the life of me, understand what is happening here. There are all kinds of people who live in the subdivision who will never use the well. They cannot understand why they are going to be penalized. It is an almost obscene way of unveiling a new application of a long-standing policy. The dance of the seven veils has nothing on this.
I make this submission to the Minister and ask that he come back with information or at least advise me of the situation. I want to know what is going on.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I take exception to some of the Members choice of language. To have a discussion with a community about a provision of a service and invite comment on whether or not there ought to be a recovery for the provision of that service does not constitute a sleazy approach to policy making.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The point is that all communities, organized or unorganized, remote or rural, or agricultural, all have a basis upon which a tax rate is set. That basis is the level of services provided to those regions of the territory.
Tagish happens to be in a tax rate that is the lowest in the territory. It is moving toward acquiring more and more services. It is a logical discussion to engage in, where you try to determine whether or not they should move away from that tax base because they have a higher level of services being provided, which occurs in the rest of the Yukon. There is no sleazy approach to policy making. It is a subject I also grapple with. What is a fair tax rate for property owners? What factors do you use to determine what that base should be? Should residents pay toward an increasing level of services in rural Yukon? That is what the discussion is about.
The well at Tagish is going to cost us nearly $100,000. There is no place in the policy that takes into account how you treat the provision of water well service. There is no place in the policy that addresses the provision of the service that Tagish is getting, or how you handle it in categorizing the level of a tax base that would be assigned to the property owners of the area.
That is simply all we are engaged in. Tagish happens to be the first community of the Yukon where, by request, a well is being provided. We are simply engaged in the discussion of whether or not some form of recovery should be assigned, be it a fee for service, tax base increase or some other innovative method, and fundamentally whether or not those residents should pay for this increased level of service. It is a reasonable question from a fair-minded government.
Mr. Phelps: I do not want to prolong this at this time any more than is necessary but, if I am to understand the Minister correctly, he is saying that there is not going to be a charge or on taxes for this well, that discussions are being held, presumably not only in Tagish but also at other unorganized communities throughout the Yukon, with regard to how best to deal with some fairly complex issues concerning fees for services. I have no difficulty with that kind of discussion taking place. I am sure the Minister would agree with me that it would have the appearance of sleaze to the nth degree, to quote somebody from the other side, if it were to appear that the government entered into community discussions about the provision of the well and never once mentioned the issue of its cost.
He came along after it was built or, at least, after the well was drilled, the site selected, and the land use permit or FTLAC process being behind the government. He said, Oh, by the way, there is a cost. I am sure that he understands the concern from this side. It is a concern that has been brought to my attention in no uncertain terms.
On the understanding that there was a misunderstanding, that the dialogue was one that was intended to be constructive with regard to future services in all the equivalent or unorganized communities, in that spirit, I will certainly end my part of the general debate on this department.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I accept the Members general interpretation and will seek out a more current status of those discussions. The Member should understand that, if those discussions bog down, I would seek his assistance in getting them on track and constructive as originally intended. I certainly would not want an issue to develop of a decision on recovery or no well to be the net result of discussions.
I will accept the Members point of view that the discussions were intended to be constructive. I will be provide him with a more current status of those discussions. Certainly, in the meantime I believe we have tendered the well. We are certainly not going to stop it pending those discussions.
Mr. Phelps: I thought we had an understanding here. I am prepared to accept the concept of discussions for future services for unorganized communities. I thought it was clearly understood that the people of Tagish were not going to suddenly be told they are to pay for this well as guinea pigs in a brand new application of policy or, in the absence of any previous policy, after the fact and long after the community well is completed.
Perhaps the Minister could address this. Is he clearly on the record as saying that there is no intention to tax or charge residents of Tagish with regard to this community well, but that there are discussions about the provision of future services to all unorganized communities, all to be treated globally with fairness and the same?
If he wants me to assist him in writing a policy, I am available.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I do not think the Leader of the Official Opposition and I are communicating extremely well on this point. Let me restate a couple of important points and try to conclude where it stands.
The issue of the provision of services to rural Yukon is a subject of some discussion that I have had with my department officials and that they have had correspondingly with various individuals and organizations, and, in particular, with the Tagish community association. In respect to the Tagish well, the point has been made in discussions leading up to the recent public meeting that it is the position of the department that there may be a cost associated with the well. That issue has not been put to rest. That is the subject of the discussion. I am not saying there will be a charge; I am also not saying there will not be a charge. I am allowing the discussion to complete its full process.
I will assess the issue at such time as I feel I have adequate information - adequate information in terms of the position of the residents, in terms of the budgeting process, in terms of revenue recovery from services in relation to other communities, and in the general matter of clarifying the policy.
Mr. Phelps: I am not clear whether this is a policy that is just being developed or an old policy that has been dusted off and suddenly used in a dramatically and drastically and draconian fashion. I will not use unparliamentary language. Is it being used as it has never been used before with regard to the application to unorganized communities?
What I would ask the Minister then is: can he get back to me within 10 days with regard to the decision?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Yes, I will get back to the Member within 10 days, at least with a status report and more detail than I can provide today.
I would only want the Member to appreciate that we currently do have different communities and areas of the Yukon in different categories of a tax rate. It is an existing policy. The issue that is being clarified is that, when you are at the lowest level of it and you start increasing your services, at what point do you move up to the next category; do you go strictly to a fee for service provided?
Those are the questions being addressed. Yes, I will get back to the Member, within a week or two, on just where we are in our consultation process.
Mr. Devries: I have one question on the subdivision in Watson Lake. As the Minister is aware, this has been going around and around. I want to make sure we are on the same wave length. My understanding is that, presently, there are 30 lots going up for auction in the Campbell subdivision.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I can confirm for the Member that there are 28 single-family residential and mobile home lots, and four country-residential lots, for a total of 32 that are currently available.
We plan to release them by lottery immediately. The only thing that could change that is if we get a request from the municipality to the contrary. This current policy calls for lottery distribution. The municipality did, at one point, indicate a desire not to do a lottery distribution, given the developments at Mount Hundere. I would not be prepared to do that, unless the municipality made the request and we made an exception to the policy. Actually, it is stronger than policy; it is regulation.
In addition, Francis Avenue, which the Member and I have discussed privately, represents 62 single-family and multi-residential lots. It is my understanding that, as of Friday, the municipality has requested to undertake the development, and we have agreed. If they have changed their mind over the weekend, it is news to me. This has been going back and forth for the last couple of weeks.
As the Member knows, in addition to Francis Avenue there are several multi-residential development lots that are being contemplated for apartment blocks. I know that we had a total of 126 lots that could be made available this summer.
We have 32 immediately available, and what looks like close to 70 within short order.
Mr. Devries: The latest information that I have is that on Friday the town decided not to proceed with the development and it is asking YTG to take it over as the joint venture people have backed out of having anything to do with it. The town had asked the joint venture to be involved in the funding of the project. I spoke with the town manager today and he advised that it is back in YTGs hands, and that it where it stands.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I take the Members word as accurate, given that he represents the area. We have not been formally advised by the town that it has changed its mind about development. There is a bigger issue, and that is in respect of whether the lots are going to be used and whether or not the Mt. Hundere operation is in fact going to move expeditiously to assist with the provision of housing for their employees in Watson Lake. That is another issue, but it is related to this. It will govern the speed with which we bring the lots onstream, beyond the 32 that we have right now.
Chair: The Committee of the Whole will recess until 7:30 p.m.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order.
We will continue with debate on Community and Transportation Services.
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
On Policy, Planning and Administration
Mr. Byblow: I would like to remind Members that the majority portion of the increases relates to wage increases. Aside from that, I can identify any specific amounts should Members so choose.
Policy, Planning and Administration in the amount of $18,000 agreed to
Communications in the amount of $35,000 agreed to
Transportation in the amount of $2,041,000 agreed to
Mr. Brewster: When everyone is hollering for land, including the city and everyone else, why is money going back and not being used to develop land?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: This is the operation and maintenance side of the budget, so this is not for land development. This is strictly operations and the entire $72,000 amount is the direct result of reduced costs for wages. In part, it is due to vacancies.
Lands in the amount of an under expenditure in the amount of $72,000 agreed to
On Community Services
Community Services in the amount of $647,000 agreed to
On Municipal Engineering
Municipal Engineering in the amount of $17,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $2,686,000 agreed to
On Capital Expenditures
On VHF Systems Replacement
VHF Systems Replacement in the amount of $514,000 agreed to
On Highway Construction
On Planning & Engineering
Planning and Engineering in the amount of $94,000 agreed to
On Klondike Highway #2
Klondike Highway #2 in the amount of $17,000 agreed to
On Campbell #4
Campbell #4 in the amount of $842,000 agreed to
On Silver Trail #11
Silver Trail #11 in the amount of $108,000 agreed to
On Bridges - Numbered Highways
Bridges - Numbered Highways in the amount of an under expenditure of $184,000 agreed to
On Mitchell #97
Mitchell #97 in the amount of $63,000 agreed to
On Other Roads
Mr. Brewster: Why do you turn money back? You had people sitting in here tonight screaming for other roads, and the Patnode Road, which was supposed to be on the list, has not had anything done with it this year. Also, apparently you own a road called the McIntosh Road on which nothing has been done either. Apparently you have title to it, unknown to me. I was informed this weekend.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The $34,000 in this line item just reflects a reduced scope of work on a number of roads - mostly survey and engineering work. I would note that this is a supplementary estimate for the end of December, 1990 so it is a best-guess calculation that the department made of its expenditures. At that point, there was an anticipated reduction in the amount of money to be spent on other roads in the amount of $34,000 - mostly engineering and survey work.
Other Roads in the amount of an under expenditure of $34,000 agreed to
On Resource Transportation Access Program
On Management and Control
Management and Control in the amount of $53,000 agreed to
On Evaluation and Inspection
Evaluation and Inspection in the amount of an under expenditure of $85,000 agreed to
On Project Funding Assistance
Project Funding Assistance in the amount of an under expenditure of $913,000 agreed to
On Facilities and Equipment
On Engineering and Design
Engineering and Design in the amount of an under expenditure of $26,000 agreed to
On Sundry Equipment
Sundry Equipment in the amount of an under expenditure of $7,000 agreed to
On Maintenance Camp Facilities
Mr. Brewster: Which camp required that much more money?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Just to clarify that item, it is not new money. It is money that was identified previously in the budget under the engineering services agreement money; it was money that was identified just below that line in the budget - if the Member would look, it was under engineering services agreement, South Klondike and other; the reduction of $600,000 reflects the conversion of $496,000 into the Klondike and Ogilvie maintenance camp facilities: $150,000 was for the Klondike camp and $150,000 for the Ogilvie camp. To repeat myself, that money was previously budgeted for under ESA; we are just moving it back into the line item now.
Maintenance Camp Facilities in the amount of $496,000 agreed to
On Miscellaneous Branch Facilities
Miscellaneous Branch Facilities in the amount of $111,000 agreed to
On Engineering Services Agreement
On South Klondike No. 2
South Klondike No. 2 in the amount of $94,000 agreed to
Other in the amount of an under expenditure of $600,000 agreed to
Airstrips in the amount of an under expenditure of $155,000 agreed to
Transportation in the amount of an under expenditure of $126,000 agreed to
Residential in the amount of $89,000 agreed to
On Rural Residential
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister update us as to what plans they have with the McPherson subdivision? Is there a plan to extend it? I know there has been money allocated in this past year to do a number of tests and various other things. Perhaps the Minister could update us with respect to that.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Unfortunately, I do not have the detail on McPherson in terms of its current status, but we are doing work. I will undertake for the Member to provide this, in writing or a briefing note, in the next day or two.
Rural Residential in the amount of an under expenditure of $50,000 agreed to
On Country Residential
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister update us on what his position is with respect to private contractors developing a country residential area. The one that comes to mind is the Pineridge Subdivision. Is the government still prepared to consider that as a viable option for development?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: As the Member knows, we did Pineridge as somewhat of a model development. We funneled it through the City, as that seemed to be the appropriate way to go. It seems to have been a success, and we are now talking to the City about Pineridge, phase two. That is not a go yet, but we are open to the approach with respect to this specific project.
I have every indication that we will probably go with it. They are ironing out some development wrinkles and some land tenure problems, but there is every reason to believe that, in the Pineridge case, we will see some agreement to proceed the same way for phase two as we did for phase one.
Beyond that, we have not taken any specific position, largely because no specific request has been made. It is certainly a matter we would take seriously and, given the success of Pineridge, we would be open to project suggestions and discussions with the appropriate developers, particularly and definitely through the municipal jurisdictions where the land is located.
Mr. Lang: On Pineridge, and more specifically to phase two, as you call it, do you expect that development to be started and completed this year? If so, how many lots would be developed in that subdivision?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The information that I can pass on to the Member is that should discussions conclude with the city, as they are expected to in the next month or two, we could easily see phase two of Pineridge go this year. The proposal calls for 20 additional country residential lots. Should the decision be made to go shortly, in the next month or two, we could see them up for sale this year.
There were 41 lots in the original phase one of Pineridge development. There are only two left at this time.
Country Residential in the amount of $4,000 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Byblow: This $150,000 anticipated reduction is the money earmarked for the past two successive years relating to the Hootalinqua North Plan. We do not have a full acceptance of that plan as we are in discussions with the Hamlet Council respecting how to finalize the plan. We clearly do not see this necessary in this fiscal year. It may possibly be re-voted next year.
Agricultural in the amount of an under expenditure of $150,000 agreed to
On Recoverable Administration
Recoverable Administration in the amount of $28,000 agreed to
On Central Services
Quarries in the amount of an under expenditure of $12,000 agreed to
On Non-Recoverable Central Services
Non-Recoverable Central Services in the amount of an under expenditure of $30,000 agreed to
On Community Planning
Community Planning in the amount of $26,000 agreed to
On Planning & Pre-Engineering
Planning & Pre-Engineering in the amount of $3,000 agreed to
Capital Expenditures in the amount of an under expenditure of $92,000 agreed to
On Community Services
On Public Health & Safety
On Planning and Pre-Engineering
Planning and Pre-Engineering in the amount of $48,000 agreed to
On Water Supply, Treatment and Storage
Mr. Lang: I would like to pursue the question of the sewage lagoon for Whitehorse. There has been a lot of fanfare with respect to the announcement that YTG is prepared to go as high as $8 million dollars for a one-third share. Sixteen million? Oh, I assumed that it was going to cost maybe around $30 million or something. Well, one-third of the cost, whatever that might be.
My concern is this: indications are if it is not an innovative approach to sewage treatment that brings in the question of just how good the treatment plant is going to be if it is an experiment.
My question to the Minister is this: if the federal government is not prepared to allocate dollars from the so-called Green Plan, where is the other third of the expenditure going to come from? It will come from public announcements made by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. He is very specific that the money is not supposed to be there for the purposes of strictly cleaning up sewage treatment facilities or providing dollars for sewage treatment facilities in the north. Rightly or wrongly.
What I want to ask the Minister is this: if the federal government is not prepared to come up with its third, what happens with the proposed sewage treatment facility?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I would like to be candid with the Member and say that should the federal monies not come through, we would clearly have to look at innovative financing between the city and this government, but there is no firm evidence that the feds will not come through. We expect the feds to come through.
Certainly, I had every positive indication from the meeting that we held with Mr. de Cotret, that he understood the dimension of the problem, that he recognized that it was an onerous burden for a single city to bear.
At the same time, the debate is taking place across the country on the problems major cities are facing in their collapsing infrastructure. The federal government is cognizant of that. There has been a considerable lobby, particularly through the FMCC, to the federal government to address some type of fund, innovation or support to capital cities that have major water and sewer deficiencies. The deficiencies are showing up in many of the major cities of the country, largely because many of those systems were put in place 20 and 30 years ago, with no provision made to build a bank account to replace them. Whitehorse is in the same boat. They have not built a bank account for replacement of major water and sewer works, nor has there been any fund put in place or development charge assigned to new projects, for example.
The city is now faced with having to increase their capacity in water and sewer services. They have to increase their capacity to move water across the city. Right now, they are in the middle of discussions on a cross-town water line. In discussions that I and my officials have had with city officials, there is a clear recognition that, 10 years ago, we ought to have been setting aside a development charge on every new development to, ultimately and eventually, address the need for upgrading systems to meet the growth that is going on.
This is a complex set of problems. The sewage lagoon upgrade, which is expected to be done for Whitehorse, is no less complex a problem than any other management problem that exists in the city.
To get back to the specific question, I have no justifiable reason to believe that the feds will not come through. I have every reason to believe that, even with the commitment that we have made to get the ball rolling, and to move into the area of putting something on the table to start moving the project forward, because nothing has been done to date, the city has not allocated one cent for this in its budget.
The primary responsibility rests with the city. We have taken our responsibilities seriously and have made our commitment in the absence of anyone else making a commitment. We cannot lose sight of the fact that this government has gone a considerable distance in providing municipal governments with substantial amounts of infrastructure money, capital and otherwise. As a government, to put our commitment forward, we have made the gesture to begin the structuring of some financing regime that will pay for the ultimate sewage system. The price of it ranges, I believe, anywhere from $30 to $48 million, so our commitment of one-third could be anywhere from $10 million to as high as $16 million-plus, and we are going to have to be innovative to put that money forward in cash. Let no Member misunderstand. This government does not have $15 million capital to plunk into a budget in any one given year for, specifically, the Whitehorse sewage lagoon. We are going to have to look at innovative financing to meet our commitment, but we have made the commitment and we will live up to it.
To conclude the answer, I have no reason to believe that the feds will not come through. Whether they do or not, it is still going to take some very imaginative financing to come up with the funding.
Mr. Lang: I want to make a couple of observations here. The Minister is referring to his provincial counterparts and the federal financing of communities across Canada and I caution him that he had better not get too carried away with his own importance in these discussions, because we are in a much-preferred position with the Government of Canada in the transfer of dollars than our provincial counterparts. The reason we have our budget from the Government of Canada was, in good part, because of the case that was put to the Government of Canada in the mid-1980s that we needed extra capital dollars for the purpose of upgrading our infrastructure. That is why we had such an influx of money in 1985.
I caution the Minister that, in agreeing with his counterparts, he had better be talking to the Minister of Finance in this government about how far we want to be compared to the provinces in the transfer of money for capital infrastructure. I see the Minister nodding his head, knowing I am right and that it will be something we will be monitoring.
Another concern I have, just as an observer watching events unfold on the sewage treatment issue, is that the Government of Yukon has come out with an almost hurried announcement. The Minister met with the city council the day before we came to the House, not to negotiate but to tell them the terms of what the government is prepared to do. It seems to me it was just to preempt what the Green Plan was going to do in order to try and get the Government of Canada to put forward a share of the cost of the sewage treatment facility.
If it is successful, fine. I am concerned, however, with the latest announcements that were made earlier by the Government of Canada with respect to whom they see as being responsible for the facility. I just want to put the Minister on notice that we are going to be monitoring this issue very closely. I would like to refer to those MLAs across the floor who represent ridings within the City of Whitehorse. If the city is going to be taking on more than what has already been indicated, the taxpayers are going to be in a difficult situation. I will caution the Minister on this.
The Minister talks about the largesse of this government. The largesse of this government, on the capital side, is, in good part, a transfer of federal dollars that have been directed to this government to do with what they will. It is discretionary money. The city fathers do not have this discretion to the extent that this government has. I am not going to belabour it, but I am very concerned about the fact that it may well appear to be a YTG/city responsibility, with the federal government making the rules that we have to abide by.
One can argue the merits of this, but the argument has been put forward thus far, publicly, by the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs that one cannot argue that great sums of dollars have been put in here, under our financial agreement, to cover the costs of infrastructure. I do not know how far an opposite argument is going to go, as far as the Green Plan is concerned.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I cannot speak with any great deal of knowledge with respect to 1985 and dollars that may have generated to the Yukon government and the cause. I can submit to the Member that this government has converted the vast amounts of monies that were transferred from the federal government, in part, to the municipalities. The Member will recall in 1985 the City of Whitehorse was lucky to receive $1 million in an average year on the capital side. Not very much more than that. In a couple of years there might have been more on a special project but, on average, for capital infrastructure development, it was around $1 million-plus. Just six years later, we are looking at $5 million. With capital block funding and comprehensive funding, we have converted what largess may have been shown us by the federal government to largess to the municipalities. I would stand any day in this Legislature and defend what this government has given to municipalities to upgrade those very infrastructure dollars that the Member suggests were part of the reason there was an improved financing arrangement in 1985.
The Member says we are still getting the money from the federal government and I say to the Member that we are still passing it on to the municipalities, and we have been over the past number of years. The City of Whitehorse has received over $20 million through that funding arrangement in the last six years. That is half of the cost of the more expensive variety of the sewage lagoon if you identified it exclusively for a single project. We recognize that that may be a difficult task so we have made a commitment. I also want to point out to the Member that we need not necessarily look at tax increases. The Member has made statements that if the city has to pay for any substantial portion of this lagoon or sewage upgrade, it is going to burden the taxpayers of the City of Whitehorse. I do not think that is the case. We have indicated to the city that we are quite prepared to put into place for the city, on behalf of the city, with the city, a financing arrangement to pay for their portion of costs for the lagoon.
We are talking to our finance people to see if we can give, as close as possible, an interest-free structure, so there are no carrying costs related to such financing support.
It takes no brilliance to recognize that if the city has to put up $10 million and there are no carrying costs, it is going to cost them $1 million a year for 10 years. They can easily take that out of their $5 million capital comprehensive block fund, thereby having no direct charge to taxpayers.
That kind of innovative financing has to be pursued among us, the city and the federal government to pull this off to minimize or eliminate the increase in cost to the taxpayer, and I believe it can be done. It is not going to be done until all parties make a firm commitment that they have an obligation to address the problem, deal with it and pay for it.
Water Supply, Treatment and Storage in the amount of $62,000 agreed to
On Water and Sewer Mains
Water and Sewer Mains in the amount of $8,000 agreed to
On Sewage Treatment and Disposal
Sewage Treatment and Disposal in the amount of $97,000 agreed to
On Solid Waste
Solid Waste in the amount of an under expenditure of $63,000 agreed to
On Emergency Measures
Emergency Measures in the amount of an under expenditure of $168,000 agreed to
On Fire Protection
Fire Protection in the amount of $11,000 agreed to
On Equipment Purchase
Equipment Purchase in the amount of an under expenditure of $5,000 agreed to
On Hazardous Waste
Mr. Brewster: As the Minister well knows, Haines Junction is probably far ahead of the other communities in cleaning up their garbage; however, it is sitting there. During the winter, it was scattered all over. What is the point of going through all that expense when we have no place to put it? It is just sitting there. Now, it is scattered all over by everybody, because they had no place to haul it to. What is the point of pushing cleaning up, which we all agree on, then we clean up and it sits there?
Consequently, we are going to have to start all over this spring, pick it all out of the brush and bring it all back in again, because it has just been sitting there. There are batteries sitting there, glass jars and barrels of it. Nobody has told them where it can go from there. What is the point?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I take it that the Member is talking about the efforts by Haines Junction to segregate their garbage, where they have developed an organized disposal area for the different varieties of garbage.
I am not aware of the problem that the Member raises. In fact, I believe I met with the mayor just recently and discussed other problems, but he did not raise that one.
I recognize the problem as a general one. As we move into the area of environmental consciousness, conservation efforts in relation to recycling and better disposal, we have a long distance to travel if we are going to try to tap into southern markets for the recycling side of a lot of these things.
I do not have the answer at my fingertips. I have directed the committee that was assigned to consult with the Yukon public to come up with a solution to a hazardous waste site and also look at a solid waste policy for the government. Now that they are getting down to the tail end of the issue of locating a hazardous waste site, they will be addressing more completely the solid waste disposal policy discussion on behalf of the government. I have assigned that committee to look at the various garbage disposal practices in those communities and come forward with some ideas and engage in some public discussion of the best way to deal with this. Landfill sites are becoming unacceptable. Certainly, locating new landfill sites is almost a way of the past. A case in point is trying to locate a landfill site in the Whitehorse periphery area. It is nearly impossible. The not-in-my-backyard syndrome has taken over and we are having difficulty finding a landfill. We have to look at things like transfer stations; we have to look at things like collecting garbage in specific categories; we have to try to find a way to recycle, to reuse or in some way to conserve continued use of it.
It is a major problem. The Environment Act will, in part, address it; my hazardous waste committee will also address it, but the Member raises what could be a problem with any community that undertakes to organize and process their garbage a little more diligently. Where do you take it when you have it packaged?
Mr. Lang: Perhaps the Minister could update us with respect to the hazardous waste facility proposed for the City of Whitehorse?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am almost positive I just signed off to all MLAs an update on the hazardous waste management plan. In any event, I will do what I can on my feet. I have taken a special effort to keep all Members of the House informed on the progress of the hazardous waste committee and their work throughout the communities and their work in educating the public, and in planning and refining the steps to come up with a suitable hazardous waste facility. They have released a number of discussion papers and, just recently - if the Member has not received it yet, he should be - within the last few days I signed a memo to all Members giving them a written update of where things were occurring, attaching two additional discussion papers. In practical terms, the committee has now refined its site selection to one remote area and two Whitehorse areas. What the committee will now be doing, I believe, is meeting with residents of those three general areas and coming up with a recommendation. I am expecting to receive that recommendation by this summer so that we can begin the construction plan. Whether or not we begin that this year, at this point, is still a question of finance, but I have to wait for the best recommendations out of the committee and I am told they will be to me within a month or two.
We are about a year behind, but it is being refined down to three sites.
Mr. Lang: This is going to be a very costly exercise; the easy part is right now. The difficult part is going to be to find capital money to build the building and to operate it, which I gather would be almost seven days a week.
I am wondering: has the Minister given any consideration to looking at, once the specifics and location have been agreed to, going for a tender, where someone builds the building and also runs it for a period of time as opposed to the concept of the government just wandering in, building the building and operating it on a seven-day a week basis.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: In this last round of consultations with the people in the neighbourhoods, if you will, of the three areas, the committee will also be looking at not only the construction of the site, but how it will be managed, who will manage it, what kind of recovery costs may be associated to the use of the facility. The question that the Member raises is clearly an option that they are examining and one that they will be publicly discussing. I am sure anyone would be more than welcome to provide input to that committee on that score.
Hazardous Waste in the amount of $112,000 agreed to
On Roads and Streets
On Road Upgrade
Road Upgrade in the amount of $8,000 agreed to
On Recreation & Community Facilities & Services
On Recreation Facilities
Recreation Facilities in the amount of an under expenditure of $5,000 agreed to
On Rural Electrification & Telephone
Rural Electrification & Telephone in the amount of $10,000 agreed to
Miscellaneous in the amount of $6,000 agreed to
On Block Funding Assistance
Block Funding Assistance in the amount of $18,000 agreed to
On Community Services
Community Services in the amount of $139,000 agreed to
Capital expenditures in the amount of $435,000 agreed to
Mr. Lang: I would like to ask the Minister about the community development fund. Does he have any idea how much money is left in that fund for this forthcoming year? There has been some money allocated from the fund for 1991 and 1992, and I am wondering how far along we are with the fund.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Is the fund the Member is referring to the community development fund?
That would be in Economic Development. The specific question the Member raised was the amount of money expended in the current fiscal year, which began on April 1. I am sure we are not very far into it. There have been at least a couple of allocation meetings, and some money would have moved in the new budget, but not very much.
Community and Transportation Services agreed to
Department of Economic Development: Mines and Small Business
Chair: Is there any general debate?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: In the Department of Economic Development, Members will note that the dollars requested are, on the operations side, $114,000 and, on the capital side, $20,000. The entire $114,000 relates to wage costs as a result of the collective agreement and, on the capital side, the money reflects a transfer from the northern oil and gas action program. There is a near identical reduction in the NOGAP and an increase in several items of capital expenditure, as noted in the budget book. On the operations side, it is strictly wages with some minor capital items.
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
Administration in the amount of $25,000 agreed to
On Energy and Mines
Mr. Lang: There was a financial study done of the Northern Accord for $37,000. I am assuming it was done in Economic Development. I wonder if the Minister could give us a copy of that study.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I wonder if the Member could be a bit more specific to help us research it.
Mr. Lang: The way I read it, Data Metrics Limited did a financial study of the proposed Northern Accord for $37,000.
While I am on my feet, there is another study we would like to see. It was done through a northern research group. It was socio-economic advice on the Mt. Hundere project. There was also a Garth Kramer who did a Northern Accord and Mt. Hundere study for $5,647. I am wondering if we could get copies of that as well.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: It is difficult to respond in detail at this time. As the Member has listed that material on record, I will undertake to ensure that the Member is provided with the information he requests.
Whether or not all of these studies can be provided is something I do not know. They may relate to some sensitive material; I do not know. I will undertake to use the list he has put on the record to ask my department to provide both of us details surrounding those particular contracts.
Mr. Lang: I would appreciate a response fairly quickly if he could. There was also a $ 75,000 study done to organize oil and gas administration agencies by a Govier Consulting Services Ltd. Perhaps the Minister has some comments on that perhaps he can bring back a copy of the study for us.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: As for the others, I will take notice of that one and provide the Member information.
Mr. Devries: Just one question, is the Kotaneelee Gasfield in production now in the south east or is it still in waiting?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I will have to take notice to provide the Member detail. I do know there was extensive activity on the field; a permit was issued. Whether the gas is flowing now I cannot tell the Member.
Mr. Lang: I would also like to get a copy of the strategic analysis done of the Yukon gas system. It was done for $ 7,500 by Michael Brandt Consulting Services. I was wondering if we can get a copy of that as well.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I make the same commitment to the Member as for the other items.
Mr. Phillips: I wonder whether the Minister could update us on the Windy Craggy project. Have there been any changes since last November when we discussed its status?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The project is currently before the mining steering group in British Columbia. A number of environmental aspects were being re-examined and a number of aspects of the projects operational expectations were being reassessed. It is still under that review process.
Mr. Devries: I have just one further question on the gasfield in southeast Yukon. I have here a document that states that the Kaska Dena Council has signed a deal with an oil and gas developer to develop the oil and gas potential of certain settlement lands in southeast Yukon. Has the Ministers department been working in conjunction with them on this, or are they entirely on their own?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am not aware of that specific item. Onshore and offshore gas matters are still matters of federal jurisdiction. I would expect that my economic development staff would be apprised of the matter, but the jurisdiction, administration and regulatory regime remain in federal hands.
Energy and Mines in the amount of $17,000 agreed to
On Economic Policy, Planning and Research
Economic Policy, Planning and Research in the amount of $48,000 agreed to
On Economic Programs
Economic Programs in the amount of $24,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures in the amount of $114,000 agreed to
On Capital Expenditures
On Energy and Mines
On Energy Conservation Fund (SEAL)
Mr. Phillips: Last November, the government was in the process of collecting bad debts in the saving energy action loan fund. Where is that now? Have we finally got a handle on the whole SEAL program? Do we now have a proper method to ensure that the payments are made, collected and the program is functioning properly? How much is outstanding in the SEAL program?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am advised that the progress on delinquent accounts is very good. Since last October, when we had 46 delinquent accounts, we have improved that to 20, as of this past month.
I can undertake to confirm with the Member in writing a status report on those accounts. I am apprised that, in general terms, the department has succeeded very well in improving the numbers of delinquent accounts.
Energy Conservation Fund (SEAL) in the amount of $1,000 agreed to
On Yukon Energy Alternative (YEAP)
Yukon Energy Alternative (YEAP) in the amount of $1,000 agreed to
On Internal Energy Management
Internal Energy Management in the amount of $1,000 agreed to
On Yukon Mining Incentives
Yukon Mining Incentives in the amount of $4,000 agreed to
On Economic Policy, Planning and Research
On Economic Development Agreement
Mr. Phillips: What is the status of the economic development agreements? Do we have signed agreements? I know we were negotiating agreements for the long term. When do we expect to sign them, if we have not already?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I expect to be advising the House very shortly on specific details relating to the Yukon development agreement. As the Member recalls, the economic development agreement that expired some two years ago was not renewed for any period of time. My predecessor was able to arrange to have a year-by-year agreement until such time as a full-fledged economic development agreement could be put in place. My predecessor was also able to negotiate such an agreement. It is in the final stages of readiness for signing. I will be advising my colleagues shortly when we have signed it.
Mrs. Firth: Why do you not tell us now?
Mr. Phillips: It sounds like it is almost a done deal. Is it going to happen in the spring sitting? That was the problem with the last agreement. We never seemed to get anything in place until about mid-August, then we would have to spend all this money before March 31. A lot of the programs were rushed, and I do not think we got good value for our dollar.
One of the arguments that the government made before was that it had to get the program in place quite early in the spring to take advantage of the short building season and get things underway for the summer.
Is the Minister going to tell us that this agreement is going to be in place prior to the end of May or the first part of June?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member makes a good point about getting the agreement off and running so that it takes full advantage of the particular summer season, where a lot of the money would flow under different components of the agreement.
We have been attempting to have the agreement finalized and signed as soon as possible. Whether we can achieve that in the next few weeks or the next month remains in some doubt but, nevertheless, I hope that I will share with my colleagues the results of the past extensive negotiations culminating in a signed agreement within the next month or so.
Economic Development Agreement in the amount of $2,000 agreed to
On Northern Oil & Gas Action Plan
Northern Oil & Gas Action Plan in the amount of an under expenditure of $26,000 agreed to
On Economic Programs
On Community Development Fund
Community Development Fund in the amount of $10,000 agreed to
On Business Development Fund
Business Development Fund in the amount of $9,000 agreed to
On Economic Development Agreement
Economic Development Agreement in the amount of $18,000 agreed to
Capital Expenditures in the amount of $20,000 agreed to
Economic Development: Mines and Small Business agreed to
Chair: The Committee of the Whole will now take a brief recess.
Chair: I will call Committee of the Whole back to order.
We will proceed with the Department of Education
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The expenditure requests contained in this supplementary incorporate the funding required for the wage settlement for the YGEU management staff as well as the Yukon Teachers Association. There is also an increase for two trades in wages. There is an increase of $100,000 for the professional development fund for the Yukon Teachers Association; an increase of $24,000 for native teacher training; an increase of $172,000 for the French bilateral agreement, which is fully recoverable from the federal government. There is an increase of $19,000 for the stay-in-school initiative, which is also a recoverable item from the federal government. In the branch of advanced education there is a request of $500,000 for the training trust fund for Mt. Hundere and an increase of $274,000 for the Yukon College.
Very little change is proposed for the capital side. If Members wish to ask questions about capital, I can accommodate them.
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
On Finance and Administration
Finance and Administration in the amount of $190,000 agreed to
On Public Schools
Mr. Lang: I would like to ask the Minister if he could update us on the situation with respect to the Porter Creek Elementary School. In view of the decision taken by the Whitehorse City Council recently, I would like to know where we are in looking for an alternate site. The school is obviously needed.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Department of Education shortly, on the heels of the city decision to disallow the construction of the school at the Holly Street site, met with the Catholic community to begin discussing options for an alternative.
It was agreed that the preference for the Catholic community was still to try to service Porter Creek as that is where the greatest need is. Nevertheless, it was also acknowledged that there was no preferred site remaining in Porter Creek to accommodate a Catholic school. A number of second and third choices were discussed.
I have not had a detailed briefing on this subject by the department since the meeting took place, but I have been able to glean from the preliminary discussions I have had that the two alternatives that have been most widely discussed at this stage include the construction of an addition to Christ the King Junior High School in Riverdale. This would then allow that school to accommodate kindergarten through to grade 8.
There was discussion about what the ramifications of that option might entail. The second option was to construct a two story school facility at Basswood and Wann site with a playing field half the normal size and a play ground area, again, half the normal size for a school of 150 students. The expectation now is that we have missed the window for opening a Catholic school in September, 1992. We do intend to move as quickly as we possibly can to find the alternatives so we do not allow another year beyond that to slip by.
We would like to begin formal construction of additional school facilities for the Catholic community this time next spring. It may require a redesign. The design for the anticipated Catholic school on the Holly Street site is to be used in its entirety for the north highway school. We are proposing to have it constructed at the entrance to McPherson subdivision. That should go to tender in July this year.
Public Schools in the amount of $1,744,000 agreed to
On Advanced Education
Mr. Devries: Would this be raises for all of the teachers? Is it all based strictly on the contract settlement, or is there some other monies in there?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: This includes the $500,000 training trust fund that I mentioned from the Mt. Hundere operation and $274,000 for Yukon College.
Yukon College has just finished an audit of the employee pension fund, so we have now been able to determine what the full funding of the pension will be. Of the $274,000, this amounts to $150,000.
There has also been an adjustment for some leases that they inherited for community campus facilities. We have agreed to pick up this difference this year, because the leases were considered to be low and coming to the end of their term. When the leases came in higher on renewal than they had been before, we agreed to pick up the difference.
We also agreed to provide $50,000 for the collective agreement negotiations for the future. At any given year, negotiating of a contract would be between $75,000 and $100,000. We have given them a base adjustment of $50,000 per year to handle that particular responsibility.
Mr. Devries: Has the Teslin campus moved into the band building?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: My understanding is that they have moved in for some months now and are up and running. They are housed in the upper left quarter of the building, as you walk in through the front door.
Mr. Nordling: Can the Minister tell us what is happening at the Carcross campus of Yukon College?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: My understanding is that the Carcross campus is housed in the band community centre, on the second floor. There has been some discussion about the community campus wanting to move, as an alternative, into an addition to be constructed at the school, but we have not accommodated that as we have not put that item in our budget. It would be a fairly significant item.
There has been some discussion about the community campus moving into the day care facility. Again, I am not privy to those discussions. They would be under the purview of Yukon College, which is the holder of the lease.
Mr. Nordling: I understand the community hall is undergoing renovations, and they are having difficulty in holding their classes in the community hall. Is the Minister aware of that problem?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I was aware the renovations were underway on the lower floor of the hall, but I was not aware they were having any difficulty with holding classes. If they are, then they should be talking to their landlord and indicating, if they are being disturbed, that it is unacceptable.
Mr. Nordling: Does the Minister happen to know what the renovations on the lower floor are for? Is the community hall being renovated for the Government of Yukon?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Yes, the lower floor is being renovated to house the offices of the communications branch of Community and Transportation Services. The owners of the building were the low bidders for the tender for office space in Carcross and are renovating the space to house Government of Yukon decentralized employees.
Advanced Education in the amount of $894,000 agreed to
On Libraries and Archives
Libraries and Archives in the amount of $55,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $2,883,000 agreed to
On Library and Archives
On Library Equipment
On Branch Library Equipment
Branch Library Equipment in the amount of an under expenditure of $7,000 agreed to
On Audio Visual Equipment
Audio Visual Equipment in the amount of an under expenditure of $2,000 agreed to
Mr. Devries: While we are on expenditures, has a contract been awarded for the Watson Lake High School.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I believe that the tender closes next week.
Capital Expenditures in the amount of an under expenditure of $9,000 agreed to
Education agreed to
Department of Finance
Hon. Mr. Penikett: There is $161,000 here, all of which is accounted for by the wage increase.
On Operation and Maintenance
Treasury in the amount of $161,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $161,000 agreed to
Department of Finance agreed to
Government of Services
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The bulk of the requirement for the operational side of Government Services is the result of the wage increases, for $538,000. The difference, $45,000, is the result of an increase in fuel prices as well as an extra cost for Hansard, as it was an extended sitting.
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
Administration in the amount of $63,000 agreed to
On Systems and Computing Services
Systems and Computing Services in the amount of $72,000 agreed to
On Supply Services
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The $232,000 is largely due to the collective agreement settlement, which accounts for $109,000. Twenty thousand dollars was due to the backfilling of the directors position while the incumbent, Sam Cawley, was on indeterminate leave. Twenty-two thousand dollars was due to classification upgrades and some overtime. There was also a $50,000 over expenditure on the Hansard contract because of increased sitting days for the House, and $46,000, as I mentioned earlier, was for fuel contracts due to price increases occurring after the 90-day protection clause in the contract. There was also a $50,000 under expenditure in various other areas.
Supply Services in the amount of $232,000 agreed to
On Property Management
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Two hundred and eighty-three thousand dollars was required for the collective agreement settlement. There was a $70,000 price tag due to reclassification and associated back-pay. This was a reclassification of 11 carpenter positions, which originated about three years ago. Eighty-one thousand dollars was due to overtime and extra auxiliary hours.
There was $172,000 less of a requirement for office space due to an over estimate in the first supplementary. There was a $113,000 reduction in materials for building maintenance and there was a requirement for $25,000 more for fuel and electricity than was budgeted. There was $25,000 extra required in other areas, primarily building maintenance contract services.
Property Management in the amount of $216,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures in the amount of $583,000 agreed to
On Capital Expenditures
On Systems and Computing Services
On Systems Development
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The decrease is as a result of systems projects that were to be recoverable from other departments of the federal government. There was an over estimate and, consequently, there is a reduction in the capital required and the capital recovery.
In the computer work stations there is an increase for additional work spaces in various departments. Members will have noted, through the other budgets, that there are transfers totalling $26,000 from other departments to account for the increase in computer work stations. Would you like a break down of the departments?
Systems Development in the amount of an under expenditure of $325,000 agreed to
On Computer Workstations
Computer Workstations in the amount of $226,000 agreed to
On Central Facility
Hon. Mr. McDonald: This is to provide for a dedicated data network for Yukon communities to support the decentralization initiatives. This allows the communities to have direct online access to the central computer, rather than through the phone system.
Central Facility in the amount of $43,000 agreed to
On Supply Services
On Office Equipment
Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister give us an explanation of what that is for?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I can give an explanation of what $38,000 is for, which is furniture for the WCB building. That will all be recovered from the Workers Compensation Board. There is $2,000 for miscellaneous items.
Office Equipment in the amount of $40,000 agreed to
On Pooled Vehicles
Hon. Mr. McDonald: This is to buy one van for the commissioning specialist and property management, and to replace another van for property management.
Pooled Vehicles in the amount of $33,000 agreed to
On Queens Printer Equipment
Hon. Mr. McDonald: This is to replace photocopier equipment in the Queens Printer.
Queens Printer Equipment in the amount of $27,000 agreed to
On Property Management
On Pre-Engineering Capital Projects
Pre-Engineering Capital Projects in the amount of an under expenditure of $36,000 agreed to
On Energy Conservation
Energy Conservation in the amount of an under expenditure of $9,000 agreed to
On Construction Overhead
Construction Overhead in the amount of $39,000 agreed to
On Renovations Public Buildings
Renovations Public Building in the amount of an under expenditure of $17,000 agreed to
On New Facilities
New Facilities in the amount of an under expenditure of $25,000 agreed to
Capital Expenditures in the amount of an under expenditure of $4,000 agreed to
Government Services agreed to
Health and Human Resources
Hon. Ms. Hayden: The Department of Health and Human Resources is requesting $2,790,000 in additional operating funds for the 1991-92 fiscal year. This request is offset by a $1,021,000 in additional expected recoveries. This resulted in a net cost to the government of $1,769,000.
Six hundred and eighty-two thousand dollars of additional O&M funds pertains directly to wage increases resulting from the collective bargaining process.
Of the additional $2,108,000 requested, 75 percent is required for social assistance
Using well established data sources produced by both federal and territorial government, a rate for each component of social assistance was developed, which, would enable recipients to maintain a minimum reasonable standard of living. The average family with two children will receives $997 plus utilities.
The rate increase was implemented effective November 1, 1989, based on [inaudible] resources. The average cost per case is also expected to rise due to increases in the health and welfare costs, increases in electricity rates, GST and utilities and [audible].
Even at the projected increase for a single person, their overall net income is $933 per month, versus social assistance of $646 per month.
Further impacting will be reflected in costs in 1990-91. The department has projected a 34 percent increase in the number of households assisted in Whitehorse, and an 11 percent increase in the number of households assisted in the outlying areas. The combined regional and Whitehorse request for social assistance is $1,613,500.
A significant increase in out-of-territory placements for children in care who require special services and resources has resulted in $162,970 in additional funds being requested in this supplementary.
In 1989-90, four children were placed in out-of-territory facilities, for a total of 456 days. In 1990-91, seven children have been placed for an expected total of 1,270 bed days. There is $101,266 being requested for professional services related to permanent wardship cases. In preparing permanent wardship cases before the courts, family and childrens services must prepare assessments of the child and family, and obtain professional legal advice. Assessments for children in care can include psychological assessments, tutoring, day care, support services provided by the Child Development Centre, medical, optical and psychiatric consultations.
The number of Yukon children taken into permanent care increased by 20 percent in 1990-91. Much of this increase is attributable to permanent orders granted for five children in one family. These increasingly complex situations are being dealt with by that department.
Operating costs for the 5030 Fifth Avenue group home have increased by $84,270. This group home is used to provide in-territory placement of selected children requiring a specialized program. This group home was closed following a crisis with one of the resident children. Subsequent to this event, a change in contract operator was required. The new contract was significantly greater than the previous one.
In 1991, the number of children in foster care in outlying regions has increased by 22 percent over the previous year. There could be many reasons for this, but we believe that the principal reason is an observed increase in childrens behavioral problems over the past two years. There is $147,047 in additional funds are required for the regional foster care families as a direct result of this increase.
The preceding list is intended to give a brief overview of the major items I am prepared to provide.
Mr. Lang: I am a little disturbed about some of the information the Minister has provided us with here. I appreciate her rundown of how things were this past year. The concern I have is the increase of 20 or 22 percent in the number of children in care. One can do anything with percentages, but perhaps you could give me actual numbers of young people who have been brought into care, both for foster care and group homes.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: At the present time, we have, I believe, 93 children in foster care. We are trying to find the exact number of children being brought into care throughout the year.
We do not have that information here, so I will bring that figure back to the Member.
Mr. Lang: I would appreciate that. The amount of the increase is kind of alarming, and I am not here to attach blame to any one particular individual or otherwise, but it would seem to me that obviously we have some significant problems with our overall social policy and social direction that have to be remedied.
I do hear stories; I do not know how true they are, of course. There are always two sides to any situation, but I hear stories where children are being taken from foster parents when allegations are being made. Subsequently, all of a sudden we have another child back in care.
I think we had better evaluate exactly what we are doing and what we are asking foster parents to do. It is becoming less and less attractive for anyone to take in any foster children.
With the various rights that we are bestowing upon children, either through law or by absentia as far as authority is concerned, it seems to me that no one has the ability to raise these kids with any sense of discipline.
I was talking to a child care worker the other day who is looking at discontinuing being a child care worker in one of the group homes because of the lack of discipline and the fact that there is no respect shown by these young teenagers, to the point that it is constant profanity anytime they are asked to do something.
I have no reason to doubt what this particular individual was telling me; I do not think that she has any axe to grind because she is leaving.
It perturbs me a great deal. If we are taking these young people into custody or into some sort of an institutional setting and we are permitting this type of day-to-day, minute-to-minute behaviour, then how can we expect them to have any respect for the system, any respect for themselves, or any respect for their counterparts - whether they be children or adults.
I would say to the Minister that it is incumbent upon her and her department to start assessing this to see how widespread this type of behaviour is, and if it is widespread, I think there has to be some sort of clear understanding regarding discipline. The situation is unacceptable.
If the people working in these situations are being told in no uncertain terms, in the worst profanity that can be found, what they think of these people, how can we expect them to grow up to be good citizens? We cannot. None of us as parents would tolerate that in our own homes, so why should we expect people who are basically guardians on behalf of you and me, and taking the place of the natural parents, to permit this type of thing?
I would like to hear the Ministers comments on that and what she is going to do about it?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: Certain children who are in care are damaged children and are not always the best behaved children. I certainly have empathy for workers who find themselves in the situation the Member describes.
What we do have in place in our facilities here is a behavioral management program. It certainly does not allow the kinds of behaviour that we talked about. That is part of the program in the open and the closed custody facilities.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move that you report progress on Bill No. 3.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
The Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
May the House have the report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole?
Ms. Kassi: The Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 3, entitled Third Appropriation Act, 1990-91, and directed me to report progress on same.
Speaker: You have heard the report from the Chair of the Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.
The House adjourned at 9:27 p.m.
The following Legislative Return was tabled May 6, 1991:
Foster care rate review process, draft report prepared in October/November 1990 (Hayden)
Oral, Hansard, p. 775