Monday, May 13, 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.
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Speaker: I would like to introduce a family friend: Deanna Ratscliff who is up visiting from Delta, B.C., accompanied by my wife Kelly. I ask all Members to welcome them to the Legislature.
Are there any further introductions?
Mrs. Firth: I would like to introduce today some very special visitors: Mr. Clarke Ashley and his wife, Yvette Ashley. Mr. Ashley was the former Member of the Legislative Assembly for the Klondike riding and also the Minister of Justice. Yvette Ashley is well known within this government also for her service in the Executive Council Office and the support she gave the government of the day then. They are here visiting for the graduation of Clarkes daughter and I would like to ask all the Members of the Legislature to help me make Clarke and Yvette welcome in the Yukon.
Speaker: Are there any Returns or Documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I have a legislative return for tabling.
Speaker: Reports of Committees.
Petition No. 8
Mr. Devries: I have a petition here to table with 274 signatures that reads We support the establishment of an extended care facility for the town of Watson Lake and surrounding communities; therefore the undersigned ask the Yukon Legislative Assembly to urge the Government of Yukon to act on the recommendations of community organizations to alleviate this pressing problem and to construct this facility by the summer of 1992.
Speaker: Introduction of Bills.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Hon. Mr. Webster: I move
THAT Bill No. 46, entitled An Act to Amend the Parks Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Minister of Renewable Resources
THAT Bill No. 46, entitled An Act to Amend the Parks Act, be now read a first time.
Motion for the introduction and first reading of Bill No. 46 agreed to
Speaker: Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Are there any Notices of Motion?
NOTICES OF MOTION
Mr. Lang: I give notice of motion
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Government of Yukon should take all necessary steps to ensure that the foot clinic for senior citizens be continued.
Speaker: Are there any Statements by Ministers?
Recycle Organics Together Society joint initiative with Whitehorse Correctional Centre
Hon. Ms. Joe: I am pleased to announce that the Whitehorse Correctional Centre will be joining the ranks of the green revolution. The Centre will help the Recycle Organics Together Society, or ROTS as they call themselves, to expand its community composting projects. ROTS members say that, to the best of their knowledge, they are the only year-round community composting project north of 60.
You may recall that the members of ROTS provided the energy, enthusiasm and hard work behind the community composting project in the Hillcrest area. The project was initiated last year. Inmates from the Correctional Centre provided help with carpentry and making signs.
This year, the Recycle Organics Together Society want to expand their sources to organic material for composting. This led to discussions between the Correctional Centre and the Society, and the result is that the Correctional Centre will recycle its grass clippings and kitchen waste with the help of the Society. The Correctional Centre will use some of the compost on its lawns and flower-beds and in an organic-gardening experiment that will be both educational and edible.
Experimental garden plots will be planted at the Correctional Centre. For comparison purposes, some of the plots will contain topsoil and compost and some will contain topsoil only.
If the weather cooperates, the resulting harvest will be put to good use. Most of the produce will be distributed to local community agencies. Some will be used at the correctional centre. The composting and organic gardening project is a natural addition to the type of work the correctional centre inmates contribute to the community. Much of their community work in Whitehorse, and in rural work camps, involves local improvement projects. The inmates take pride in their work, and the communities appreciate the results of local beautification projects.
In closing, I would like to thank the members of the Recycle Organics Together Society, and the inmates at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, for their valuable volunteer work to improve our community and enhance the environment. This joint initiative will benefit both the correctional centre and the community.
Speaker: This then brings us to Question Period
Question re: Hootalinqua North Plan
Mr. Phelps: I have some questions for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services with regard to what is happening with the Hootalinqua North Plan. This was a process that was put in place almost five years ago by his predecessor, and has been stalled several times along the way.
Could the Minister tell us where we are with the Hootalinqua North Plan?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The current status of the Hootalinqua plan is one of a tentative report that was provided to myself. This report called for a number of recommendations, which were not fully endorsed by the government or myself.
The Member is also aware that, shortly after that, the Ibex Valley hamlet began to take shape. It was my recommendation to the people who were proposing the hamlet status that we essentially shelve the Hootalinqua North Plan, and any further activity, until the development of the hamlet. The hamlet has now been formed, and it is my proposal to take the Hootalinqua North Plan to the hamlet and, at the same time, establish two additional satellite representative bodies to review those recommendations. I hope to do that over the course of this summer and fall.
Mr. Phelps: Is the Minister saying then that we are going to have something starting up again with these three bodies, including the hamlet, starting sometime this summer or fall, or completed by then?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The short answer is yes. I have a commitment to the residents of the area to address the issue of land use planning and the control of development in the area. The residents have indicated that they do have a desire to see some firm rules, however, they did not agree with some of the rules that were put forward in the Hootalinqua North Plan.
Essentially, my position was that the plan should reflect the wishes of the people of the area. My position was that what we saw in the Hootalinqua North Plan was generally a framework for how things should be addressed relative to development, planning and decision making. I would now like to see that brought to fruition. Either we have a plan that is adopted in its full form or modified in response to the residents of the area. So, yes, I want to resume the completion of that task and I am looking forward to completing the exercise this year.
Mr. Phelps: Can the Minister confirm that the draft document received by him some time ago is not being used by officials in the lands branch for any purposes, nefarious or otherwise?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I will try to give the Member a correct answer. While the plan is accepted as a working document for general policy guidelines of the area, it has not been adopted as it stands. I believe I have corresponded with members of the steering committee, who were involved in drafting it, and I have corresponded with people in the Members riding on the subject.
Many aspects of the plan can be used as guidelines for decision making. At the same time, there was a lot of work done in the preparations for the plan, in terms of research material, data base and general information about the entire Hootalinqua plan area. In that respect, the document is being used and it is useful, but it has not been fully adopted, nor is it being used as the Bible for decision making.
Question re: Hootalinqua North Plan
Mr. Phelps: My next question might be more properly addressed to the Minister for Renewable Resources, although it is intertwined with the previous subject matter. It has to do with the plan to build an abattoir in Hootalinqua North on the Mayo Road. Some time ago I did write the Minister asking what was going to happen with respect to zoning and whether or not any application to change the zoning in the area would be in accordance with process established under the Hootalinqua North Plan.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am addressing the question largely because the matter of the abattoir is currently before the lands branch for site selection. My understanding is that we are currently in a review process to determine if the location that is designated is acceptable to the residents. I am not sure if it has gone through Lands Application Review Committee or not, but I can certainly take notice on it.
Mr. Phelps: My concern has to do with how the process is carried out. It seems to me that surely whatever process is established with regard to allowing the abattoir to go ahead in that part of Hootalinqua North ought to go before ....
Speaker: Would the Member please get to the supplementary question.
Mr. Phelps: Will the Minister ensure that this goes before the committee established to review the Hootalinqua North Plan so that the local residents will have democratic input, given that there is no zoning in place for the area.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I can give the Member assurances that there will be appropriate public consultation on the site selection for the facility. It is my understanding that the site currently being sought is on the Mayo Road and it is zoned rural residential.
The public consultation that is occurring is considering the rezoning to restricted industrial agricultural. I understand that there has been limited objection to the site. The Member may recall that there were advertisements in the local newspapers seeking input into the site selection.
I believe I can accurately say that the application has not reached Lands Application Review Commission yet. The consultation process currently in place will be, in part, the preparation of the data to LARC.
Mr. Phelps: I want to make my point as clear as I can.
Will the Minister agree to bring this application before the subcommittee that will be established for the Mayo Road/Hotsprings Road area and will be dealing with the Hootalinqua North Plan? Will he bring the rezoning application for the abattoir to that group of people who will be appointed to democratically look after zoning issues in that part of Hootalinqua North?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member makes a reasonable suggestion. Any assurances with respect to the subcommittee that will be struck to conclude the Hootalinqua North planning exercise will be contingent on whether or not it is in place in time to deal with this. The public review exercise that is going on now is achieving, in part, what the Member is seeking assurances about.
However, I accept his suggestion. If we have the subcommittee that will be addressing the Hootalinqua plan in place prior to the application going to LARC, I would be more than pleased to have that committee review the application.
Question re: Hootalinqua North Plan
Mr. Phelps: Can the Minister not take steps to ensure that the subcommittee will be in place prior to the application going to LARC?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have to appreciate the Members tenacity.
I can give the Member every assurance that, as soon as we conclude this sitting of the House, I will take immediate steps to set up the appropriate committees to address and conclude the Hootalinqua North planning exercise.
Mr. Phelps: I am very pleased.
Will the Minister also assure us that the application for the zoning change for the abattoir will not go ahead before it meets the approval of that committee?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: This is not tenacity. This is persistence.
The Member recognizes that the application for the land on which the abattoir is to be located is currently undergoing a review process. The Yukon Livestock and Agricultural Association is involved. We are addressing a number of aspects surrounding the potential of locating the abattoir on that location. Residents are being consulted. The application is being refined in preparation for LARC. I cannot predict when that information accumulation will be concluded.
The Member has my every assurance that, if the area residents have been formed into the appropriate committee to review the Hootalinqua North land use planning proposals put forward in the previous report, then they will certainly be permitted and encouraged to review this application.
Mr. Phelps: Will the Minister agree that the proposed use is non-conforming and fairly substantial for that area of Hootalinqua, and that it would be in the best interests of the residents that it go before the new committee prior to going to LARC?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I can certainly agree with the Member that the proposed new land use in that area by the construction of the abattoir is indeed a new industrial use for the area.
I can agree with the Member that residents ought to have input into that kind of a decision, but I want to remind the Member that that is occurring. Residents are being asked for their input on the location of that facility.
At the same time, a number of other factors are being addressed by my branch, the agricultural association and by staff engaged in preparation of that application. While we can agree on the need for local input into such an important decision, I simply want to make it clear for the record that that input is occurring.
Question re: Contract regulations
Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Minister responsible for Government Services with respect to abuses to the contract regulations.
I submitted an access to information request for documentation regarding contracts entered into without proper authority, and specifically in violation of regulation 10(1). The House will be finished sitting before I receive a response from the Minister and I would like to ask the Minister if I will be receiving this information and will I receive a positive response?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am aware of the fact that the Member has submitted a request to Government Services for a list of all confirmation purchase orders, and I will ensure that the Department of Government Services provides her with the information that she has requested.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister has previously continued to maintain that there were no general abuses and he was assuming that the regulations were being respected.
My question to the Minister is this: could he tell us why, if this is the case, that purchase order contracts states right on them that tems on these purchase orders were not tendered and were purchased without the authorization of supply services; and some even make reference to 10(1). Can the Minister tell us why?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: No, I cannot. I have asked the Department of Government Services to provide information to me with respect to the issue the Member raises. I have indicated in the past that I do not believe that the tendering regulations have been broken, and I have been reassured that that is the case. With respect to the issuance of purchase orders without authorization, which is the issue the Member is addressing, they are commonly referred to as confirmation purchase orders. I have asked for that information to come forward and any information pursuant to that, which may be relevant to the issue at hand.
Mrs. Firth: The issue here is the process of entering into contracts without authority and the further issue now is the contradiction between the Ministers comments and what is actually happening.
Could I ask the Minister if I will be receiving that information in time for us to debate the issue in the public forum here in the Legislature?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I cannot tell when the Legislature will complete the business we have in front of us; that is not for me to decide, in any case. I do plan to be here in the fall, in any case, to answer any questions the Member may have with respect to this or other issues.
The Member has made the suggestion that my previous remarks were at variance with the facts. I do not believe that is the case. The purchase orders we are talking about are not contracts in the classic sense; they are the purchase of goods without authorization and the seeking of a purchase order form for those goods after the purchase has been made. It is not the same as the contract regulations the Member was making reference to previously in the Legislature.
I have indicated, and will indicate once again, that all relevant information the Member requests will be provided to the Member and if the Member wishes to pursue the matter further in the Legislature I will be more than happy to respond.
Question re: Na Dli Youth Centre
Mr. Lang: I would like to address a question to the Minister of Health and Social Services, concerning the Na Dli Youth Centre and the information that was provided to the public this morning.
If you will recall, just over a year ago we had a massive breakout of juveniles held in the maximum security facility and, after that, the then Minister, Mr. Penikett, took steps to further ensure that the security of the building was beefed up, vis-a-vis the Legislative Return that was tabled in February of 1990, where over $62,000 worth of work was done to the facility.
There were also thousands of dollars spent on fencing around that particular facility. Could the Minister tell us how the juveniles escaped from the facility, in view of the fact that the previous Minister assured us that the security steps he took would prevent any further breakouts from the facility?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: First of all, it would seem that this is a very agile young person. The young offenders were in the outside exercise area and were winding up their activity, which was a game of soccer in the fenced-in area. Two staff were outside, one by the west door, as is required by policy; and one in the centre of the yard. One staff person was in the control room, as is required.
The staff person in the yard was distracted when another youth kicked a soccer ball in his direction, and he turned just in time to see the youth in question on the outside of the east fence. He had to go up and over the fence, over the barbed wire and down the other side.
The police were called immediately, and I understand the youth was picked up by the RCMP several hours after the escape. He was held in cells by the RCMP both Saturday and Sunday nights. I believe he goes to court this afternoon.
Mr. Lang: We have a combination of an agile youth and a very poor facility, or else we can recommend they quit playing soccer.
We generally have four, five, six or eight juveniles in that facility at any given time. It is not as if we are dealing with a crowd. In fact, they probably do not have enough for two teams to play soccer. Why did it happen? She listed at least three staff members watching this small game of soccer.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: The staff were in their place doing their job. It seems we had a very quick youth who was able to get to the outside of the fence.
I will tell the Member that, after the last escape, one of the recommendations was that a perimeter fence be built around Na Dli. The materials were delivered in the winter, and that fence is now being built. The design of this fence is such that people will not be able to climb over it to get out, I am told.
It is called a candy cane fence. The curve of the cane goes inside so that, presumably, it is not possible to climb over it. I gather that fence will be put in place very soon.
Mr. Lang: Can the Minister confirm if this is the third fence around the facility? I believe we already have two fences. Is this the second or the third fence we are building around the facility? I would like to know how many fences we are going to have around this building when we are finished.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: There is a small courtyard that is fenced-in. The exercise area I spoke of is fenced and is the fence the youth climbed over. That has been seen not to be a large enough area for adequate exercise for teenage people. So, a larger area will be fenced, so that there will more activities that will wear off some of this excess energy.
That fence will be going in this spring. The fence they climbed over is a small fence. I am not sure if it will stay or go. I can find out, if the Member wants to know.
Question re: Na Dli Youth Centre
Mr. Lang: Now, we have established it is a small fence. We have established that we cut out a cage, that the youth is quite agile, and that we are building another fence.
Is the Minister prepared to assure this House that, once the candy cane fence is completed, we are not going to see break-outs of this nature again?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I am not an expert on break-out free fences. I have been told that this is the latest type of fence used to enclose facilities. I would like to remind the Member that we are talking about young teenagers here, not hardened criminals who are going to do terrible damage to our community.
Mr. Lang: This is a closed custody facility, but the Minister gives the impression that it is a group home. I am here to tell her differently. I have toured that facility, and I was with the Minister approximately six months ago when we did go through that facility. We had a very good look at the total facility.
With the thousands of dollars that the taxpayer is being asked to put into that facility, and with the steps she is now taking, is the Minister prepared to assure us that we will not be witnessing this every six months to a year, when some kid seems to wander off, any time they feel like it?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I am not quite sure what it is that the Member would like me to do to ensure this. We are not going to set gun towers up above the facility, and we are not going to have dogs staked out around it. We are putting in the most secure fence that we can determine is available, and that is the best we can do at the present time.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister provide us with a full accounting of how much this fence is going to cost?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: This was the fence that was in a previous budget. It has been budgeted for, and I believe it was held over. I will have to check that. I can bring that information back to the Member. It has certainly been budgeted for all along.
Question re: RCMP contract
Mr. Nordling: I think the amount budgeted for was $100,000. What the final cost will be is anyones guess.
I would like to ask the Minister if she can provide us with an update with respect to RCMP funding. What is happening with the negotiations with the federal government over the funding for the RCMP? Are we bound by the provincial government strategy in dealing with the federal government or are we free to negotiate our own agreement?
Hon. Ms. Joe: We are definitely free to negotiate our own contract. In this case, we have decided as a group that we would do it with the other jurisdictions. It has worked out quite well.
I have reported to the House during debate on the budget on the contracts and how they were proceeding.
The latest information that I can provide the House is that the Solicitor-Generals for British Columbia and Manitoba met with the new federal Solicitor-General. We feel a little bit more optimistic now than we did in the past with regard to the matter we are negotiating. I cannot say whether or not things will turn out the way we would like them to but certainly there are new discussions going on. That was as a result of a meeting one week ago today.
Mr. Nordling: Can the Minister tell us what we are talking about in the negotiations? Is it the dollar formula or are we talking about having more accountability from the RCMP to the provincial and territorial governments, as a result of the increase in the amount we have been asked to pay?
Hon. Ms. Joe: We are looking at different aspects of the contracts. We are looking at the cost that it will be to this government. We are not prepared to pay the additional five percent that the federal government is asking us for at this time.
We are also talking about the other parts of the agreement. That includes the public civil servants, for whom they are asking us to pay 100 percent. That is their position and we are not prepared to go along with that.
There are other things that we have to take into consideration and that is the threat to take away some of the programs that they are offering right now. So, there are many parts of the contract that we are negotiating.
Mr. Nordling: We discussed and debated tribal justice and aboriginal justice systems here in the House. We have supported them in concept, and I wondered if the introduction of tribal justice or a different system than we have now will reduce our dependency on the RCMP, or the need for the same ratio of RCMP officers to population as we have now.
Hon. Ms. Joe: There have been many discussions with regard to some kind of tribal policing here in the Yukon. I think that basically what the bands are looking at are more programs in regard to prevention, which would lessen the need for the police-type of policing that some of the bands are proposing.
A lot of that is in the discussion stage and I cannot let the Member know whether or not that kind of a setup would lessen what the RCMP are offering.
Question re: Keno City firehall
Mr. Brewster: On May 9, 1991, I asked the Minister about the current status of the new $404,000 firehall in Keno City. Can the Minister now advise the House if there are enough people left in Keno City to warrant that community having a firehall?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member raised the issue during the supplementary budget debate a few days ago. I have not had the information returned to me about the specific numbers that the Member sought during budget debate. I do know however, that Keno City does have far in excess of the number of people required to meet the fire-protection services policy. My recollection is that under the policy you need a minimum of seven people to operate a volunteer fire-protection service; Keno City certainly has that. I believe that the population of Keno City is in the order of 50 people, well in excess of the numbers required to initiate such a policy.
Mr. Brewster: I find that rather strange, because in Hansard he said he could probably get back to me that afternoon. That was May 9. If the firehall is not being used, is it the intention of the government to move the firehall to another community?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member, in his question, made an assumption that the firehall is not being used. That is certainly not my information. The firehall is in use. It is manned by a volunteer fire brigade, the equipment is available for use, and the premise to the Members question is erroneous.
Mr. Brewster: If I had received the information in the first place I would not be back here asking for it again.
The other question I asked on May 9 was how many fires have they had in Keno City?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I will have that information to the Member in writing this afternoon.
Question re: Economic diversification
Mr. Phillips: I have a question for the Minister of Economic Development. Last week on CBC the Minister stated that we had made massive inroads in small-scale diversification over the past few years. In the past six years, this government has spent over $1.5 billion and, as well, we have signed several EDA agreements and have received millions of dollars more in those agreements. The Yukon is no more diversified now than it was in 1985 when this government first took power.
Let me first deal with the Members own riding of Faro. I wonder if the Minister could tell us what new industry is established in Faro today that would support the economy of Faro without the mine?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member knows the answer to the specific question. Faro is currently in a labour dispute. There is no new industry being developed. The community, however, is addressing that question in the long term. Going back as far as two and three years ago, an economic-diversification committee spent considerable time and energy addressing the issue of broadening the economic base of the community. That document is a matter of public record and the community, in the past few months, has indicated a desire to re-activate that exercise and to address the long-term problem the community faces from its reliance on a single industry.
Mr. Phillips: I just used the Ministers own words, when he described the economic diversification this government had done as massive. No diversification in Faro is far from being massive.
Let us look at a couple of other communities. What diversification of the economy have we achieved in Carmacks or Pelly over the past five years? I would like to know from the Minister what is different now that can support the people of those communities, other than simply government growth.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: One of the achievements of this government over the past few years has been a diversification of the Yukon economy.
There is no question that there is a tremendous reliance on three principal industries, if you will; that is, tourism, mining and government work. Those are the principal features of the economic base of the Yukon. However, programs that have been introduced by this government, that have been developed as a result of a broad public consultation through the Yukon 2000 process in the late 1980s, are serving to provide for a broadening of that economic base.
The Leader of the Official Opposition raised one of those in one of his questions a moment ago - that being the introduction of an abattoir, which is funded by this government. We have the development of an Arctic char factory. There is the development of concrete products in the Yukon, again supported by initiatives of this government. We also have the development of local rock material for facing and building stone.
I could go on ad infinitum, in addition to those four that I mentioned, about the broadening of the Yukon economy.
I would be the first to admit that we still have a narrow economic base. Steps are being taken, however, and they are good steps. The are steps I am proud of.
Mr. Phillips: Almost $2 billion and six years later, and the Minister describes a dozen jobs in the whole Yukon economy. This is a far cry from economic diversification.
The economy of Watson Lake is so diversified today that Central Mortgage and Housing will no longer loan money for private home purchases. That is how diversified that economy is.
Could the Minister tell the House if he has the same policy as the previous Minister and supports the principle of financing business wind-downs or bankruptcies with EDA money? Are those the same principles this Minister is going to maintain? Is that economic diversification to him?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member has obviously not been around the territory much in the last few years, because he has no clue what diversification projects have taken place. In addition to the several I have mentioned, there are countless others, and they are tabled in this House. They have been reported by the government through Economic Development over the years.
We have projects that have broadened the economic base of the Yukon and created dozens of new jobs. The Member talks about Watson Lake. He has not been around the Yukon to learn that Watson Lake is no longer considered a risk community, and that CMHC will back mortgages for housing in Watson Lake. That is how ill-informed the Member is.
Yes, the EDA will fund projects with a priority on broadening and developing the Yukons economic base by reducing the import substitution that we have historically become accustomed to.
This government stands on its record for reducing...
Speaker: Order please. Would the Minister please conclude his answer.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I must be getting to the Members opposite, also. Economic diversification is a fundamental plank of this governments economic strategy. We will continue with the initiatives that we have demonstrated in the past and that we will see in the future.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now lapsed. We will now proceed with Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair, and the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: The Committee of the Whole will now come to order. We will take a short recess.
Chair: I will now call the Committee to order. We are debating Bill No. 44 Highways Act. There was a clause that was stood over.
Bill No. 44: Highways Act - continued
On Clause 34 - stood over
Mr. Phelps: We were dealing with an amendment I put forward respecting clause 34 when we were last speaking about the clause that was set aside. At that time I introduced a motion to amend because of the concern on this side about the erosion of the property rights that might be taking place because of the way in which the clause in question would have abrogated the common-law rights of owners of lodges and other properties beside a highway when a highway was being moved.
The Minister and I have had subsequent discussions regarding my amendment and on the understanding that he is going to be coming forward with an amendment to deal with the concern that was raised here in debate. I, at this time, would like to seek permission to withdraw my amendment.
Chair: Is there unanimous consent to withdraw the amendment?
All Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: Unanimous consent has been granted.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I would like to express my appreciation to the Leader of the Official Opposition for withdrawing his amendment and permitting me to put forward a new proposal to Members. With respect to section 34 that we are dealing with, the Members opposite expressed concern about subsection (3). This deals with the business of providing compensation for people who are affected by relocation of the highway and I will be proposing that we simply delete that entire section. The Members argument was premised on the principle that common law ought to prevail in matters of compensation to property owners. What subsection (3) addressed was the elimination of compensation.
So I have accepted the Members point on that score; however, the Members amendment would have deleted all of subsection (1) and (2) that speak to matters also relating to access, but not compensation. The matters of access in subsections (1) and (2) do not abrogate any particular rights. They are not rights that are enshrined or established in law now. The matter of providing access to a person who is adjacent to a road will be premised on other factors, such as the number of accesses within a certain distance on a road. It will be premised by matters of safety; accesses will not be permitted in certain sections of the road.
All of subsections (1) and (2) speak to access provisions to property, and subsection (3) speaks to compensation. I accept the Leader of the Official Oppositions argument that, should the government not be able to achieve settlement for compensation in matters relating to a relocated road, obviously the courts will prevail and rule on the basis of precedent and past practice, in essence, common law.
I would seek the approval of Committee to put forward an amendment that essentially calls for the removal of subsection (3) altogether. That will leave those matters for a court to decide.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I move
THAT Bill No. 44, entitled Highways Act be amended in clause 34, at page 17 by deleting subclause (3).
Chair: Is there unanimous consent?
All Hon. Members: Agreed
Unanimous consent agreed to
Amendment agreed to
Clause 34 agreed to as amended
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I request unanimous consent of the Committee to re-examine one clause of the bill already passed. Clause 44, the last clause of the bill, speaks to the making of regulations.
During the debate in that clause, the Member for Kluane raised the very legitimate concern about the very poor English. It is for that purpose that I would like to re-examine clause 44. I request unanimous consent.
Chair: Is there unanimous consent?
All Hon. Members: Agreed.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I would propose that there be a revision to clause 44(1)(f). That was the clause the Member for Kluane correctly pointed out as being very poorly worded. I recognize that it has misplaced modifiers, dangling participles and too many prepositions. I am proposing an amendment to clause 44(1)(f).
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I move
THAT Bill No. 44, entitled Highways Act be amended in Clause 44(1) at page 23 by substituting the following paragraph paragraph 44(1)(f) to read:
(f) respecting the design, location, and construction of any means of access to or from a controlled highway;.
This, in my opinion, is a far better example of good English, compared with what existing in the previous clause.
Mr. Brewster: The Minister just made my day. That is the first time in eight years that my day has been made in this way. I finally got something in language that the man on the street can understand.
I will not read the other one. The Minister could not explain it to me before. It is a tongue-twister and I do not think I could handle it again.
I am all for this amendment. I hope the draftsman and the bureaucrats in this building are listening. We are to get back into a decent, common language. We have changed something from six lines and four words to three lines and one word, so we have certainly improved the legislation.
Amendment agreed to
Clause 44 agreed to as amended
Title agreed to
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I move that you report Bill No. 44, entitled Highways Act out of Committee with amendments.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 33 - Historic Resources Act
Hon. Mr. Webster: I would like to start off with a few remarks before we get into general debate on Bill No. 33.
A number of issues have been raised since the second reading debate, the first being in regard to historic objects.
As you may be aware, there was a clause in the original act dealing with the necessity for people to register their historic objects. This registration was proposed primarily as a protection for the owners of historic objects. That registration would firmly establish ones ownership and protect owners against any future allegations from anyone that objects had been found after the act came into force and were not reported. Registration would also have established an inventory of historic objects, which would have provided Yukoners with an idea of the nature and extent of articles of significant historic interest to the territory, that were being held in private and public collections.
I want to emphasize for the benefit of Mr. Jim Robb, who is here in our gallery today. Mr. Robb has put forward some concerns about this particular section of the act. I guess what we should talk about is what this act does not deal with in regard to historic objects.
It does not deal with many of the items Mr. Robb has in his collection - being paper items, such as documents, parchments, manuscripts, records, books, pamphlets, song sheets, photographs, letters, copies of letters, the list goes on and on - that Mr. Robb has managed to collect over the last 20 years for the eventual benefit of all people of the Yukon.
I would like to point out at this time that all those items that are paper in nature are not covered under this act. They are not considered historic objects; they are covered under the Archives Act. I want to give that reassurance to Mr. Robb.
Having heard the concerns expressed by Members of the House, I will be bringing forth an amendment, which clearly makes the registration of historic objects, but not paleontological or archaeological objects, completely voluntary. To make sure that the registry of historic objects is not used as a directory for thieves, as has been suggested by some as a possibility, I will also be moving an amendment that will delete the names and addresses of owners from the registry that is available to the public.
Although this bill already makes provisions for individuals to keep this information free from access by the public, I believe this amendment will state the matter of confidentiality in much clearer language, and give more assurances to people. These amendments, I believe, will address all existing concerns about the historic objects provisions of the act.
With respect to the section on designations of historic sites, the whole intent of this act is to protect our common historical heritage: those things in the physical world that remind us of our roots, things that help us to confirm our identity as Yukon people. As we have discovered in the case of Dawson City, the miners of yesteryear can also attract other people, namely tourists, to learn about us and learn about our past. A building that has been standing since the goldrush is far more than a piece of real estate. It is a cultural artifact - something that has meaning not only for the hundreds of people who grew up with that building as a landmark but also for its association with almost a hundred years of Yukon history.
This is about the past and the values of the people of the past. We believe that the best examples of such buildings deserve protection. That is primarily the purpose of the designation section of the act.
I believe the designation process outlined in the act is clear, open, well defined and fair. Anyone who takes issue with a proposed historic sites designation has ample opportunity to state his or her views. A public board is established to consider the comments and make recommendations to the Minister. An appeals process and a public board to hear appeals are also established by the act.
Designations will not be arbitrary, secret or unfair, but will be proposed and considered in a very open and public process, where all points of view can be heard.
An act without provisions for designations would be an empty shell. It would perpetuate the situation of the last 50 years, which has seen the destruction of one significant site after another.
However, having said that, and to address the concerns raised by some members of the public and the Opposition, to balance the rights of the owner with that of society to designate a residence as a territorial historic site, I will be proposing an amendment to the designation section of the bill, which will make provisions for compensation in the event that that designation adversely affects the value of a designated territorial property.
Before we go any further, I would like to table the proposed amendments dealing with these two sections, as well as a couple of minor amendments to other sections of the bill - very minor in nature - which I have already discussed with the Opposition critic for this act.
It will take a moment for the distribution of those amendments, to give all Members an opportunity to review them before we get into the general debate of the bill.
Chair: Is there any further general debate?
Mr. Phillips: I have a few brief comments on the bill that is before us today. I have to say, at the beginning, that we on this side do support the need to protect our Yukon historic resources. We support the bill in principle, although we do have some difficulties with some clauses in the act, and will be dealing with them as we go through it.
We have expressed these concerns to the Minister, privately, and the Minister has agreed to accept some amendments. I have 10 amendments that I will be introducing to the bill for Members consideration. While I am talking, I might as well table my amendments and allow the Page to distribute them. There are quite a few of them, and other Members may want to have the opportunity of looking at them.
Most of them apply to areas of the act where we felt clarification, or cleaning up, was needed. Some of them are minor amendments that we felt were necessary to make the act a little more readable, so that members of the public could understand it clearly.
I will table these now. There are 10 in all.
As preliminary comment, I would like to restate for the record our concern about bills that are tabled in this Legislature - it has become a bad habit lately - without accompanying regulations. It makes one rather nervous to find out that so much of the bill is going to be dealt with in regulations down the road by nameless and faceless bureaucrats within the department. We will have some questions for the Minister on how much involvement the public will have in developing these regulations.
The Minister has told us that the bill will cost us about $240,000. I would like to know if the Minister has a more accurate figure. Does he know exactly what the bill is going to cost? Can the Minister give that to us?
We are pleased to see that the Minister has brought in some amendments to the designation of historic sites. As he said, the intention is to protect our heritage. We cannot disagree with that. The side opposite, however, seems too eager, sometimes, to bring in bill after bill to the House that uses a club to kill a mosquito.
We do not have the same types of problems they have in other parts of Canada. For example, in this particular case, when we are designating historical sites or its effect on personal property, we are seeing the exact opposite of what we see in southern Canada. Ninety-five percent of the land in southern Canada is usually privately owned. In the Yukon, it is the opposite case. Ninety-nine percent, probably, is Crown owned. We are probably looking at less than one-half of one percent of the land that this particular clause would affect here in the territory.
The people who would be affected by this clause are the very Yukoners who have been concerned about Yukons heritage over the past number of years and have taken steps on their own, without any government interference or help, to protect Yukons historical resources. These are the type of people who we want to encourage to continue to do just that. They are the type of people who have made extra efforts to gather Yukon artifacts. They are the same people, if you look at museums throughout the territory, who have made major contributions to them.
A cooperative approach is a much better approach than having government coming in and designating something as an historic artifact or historic site. If one cooperates with people like this, things will work out far better in the future for the historic resources of the territory.
I do not have a lot of other things I want to say about the act at present. We will be dealing with a lot of issues during clause-by-clause debate. If there are any other Members on this side who wish to say a few words, I welcome it.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I wish to say a few words in response to the comments made by the Member for Riverdale North on the development of the regulations.
As the Member knows, the regulations do not accompany this bill. There is good reason for this. There are specific provisions, in at least two different sections of the bill, written into this act to encourage the involvement of the public in the drafting of regulations: one of these by the public, directly, and the other one is through the Yukon Heritage Resources Board.
I personally believe that that is what Yukoners want. Yukoners want to become involved in the process of drafting, amending or revoking regulations. This way, Yukoners have some ownership, take on some responsibility and become involved. The act is written to encourage participation.
With respect to incentives, I agree with the Member opposite as well. If we want to encourage cooperation from Yukoners to preserve historic sites or to preserve historic objects, the actions and the programs of the branch over the years has demonstrated such cooperation.
We have people bring to us, on a regular basis, artifacts that need attention and need some preservation or conservation work. The staff of the heritage branch have been more than willing to provide that necessary attention, on behalf of the individual, to preserve those artifacts, making it very clear all along that the custody continues to remain with the owner.
We have also had in place for a number of years our historic properties assistance program. Many individuals have taken advantage of this program to restore their properties and to repair them on a cost-shared basis to a maximum amount.
There are some new incentives contained in this act, particularly the one on tax remissions for historic sites that have been designated as having territorial significance. We are proposing to provide as much as 50 percent tax in lieu for those owners with such designation.
In addition, as you heard in my opening remarks, we are including a clause, by way of amendment, whereby we may provide compensation if there is clear proof that the designation of a site has in some way devalued the property.
I think that with the programs and the activities of the heritage branch, we have, over the years managed to establish a good sense of cooperation with Yukoners in order to protect and preserve our heritage.
Mr. Phillips: I would like to follow up on some of the Ministers comments.
When I said that the Members on this side would like to see the regulations with the bill, the Minister answered that there is a process for developing the regulations within that bill, a public process in which people can be involved. I would argue that the bill was not needed in order to have that kind of process in place.
Prior to the bill coming before this House, the Minister could have met with the public and discussed the issue. The Minister could have come to the House with the bill and attached regulations. It would have been much clearer for the legislators and the public to understand what was going to happen with the legislation. I think that there is a genuine fear out there of the drafting - in other words promises or no promises from the Minister, people are concerned that many things can happen in regulations.
We had a promise from the Minister the other day during second reading of the Environment Act that people will have input into that act as well, and yet when the Minister was presented with a petition of 1,600-plus names, he ignored it. He said that he did not ignore it, but the petition asked for more time and the Minister said, I am sorry; there are more people in the Yukon who are concerned about going ahead than you 1,600, so we just are not going to worry about you.
I think people are developing a mistrust in government. There is mistrust already, but this is the type of thing that develops that mistrust. I think that is a concern that we have. If the regulations were done through that public process in the beginning, prior to this act being tabled in the House, any changes would have to go through that new process. We would feel much more competent as legislators dealing with the act, and I am sure that the public would feel better if they knew exactly what the nuts and bolts of the act are going to be once it comes into place. It is like signing a blank cheque, and taking a trust me approach to the Minister.
I think a lot of people are a little skeptical of politicians and bureaucrats these days and we would be well served in the future if we were to bring acts into this House, to take the advice of - Heaven forbid, I hate to quote or give recommendations to this person - the Hon. Mr. Kimmerly, who stated in this House that no acts would be put before this Legislature unless they had the regulations attached.
He has long since gone off the scene and now we are seeing act after act after act arrive with no regulations. A process is in place, but the same process could be put in place before the act even gets here. I am suggesting to the Minister that they should maybe slow it down a bit, develop the regulations and come in with a total package so we are dealing with a total package in the Legislature.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to thank the Member for his comments and his concern, which I believe is genuine. I want to remind the Member that it has taken us a great deal of time and public consultation just to deal with the act. This process started back in 1979 and that was just dealing with the act itself. In the act, it spells out what regulations will be required and also spells out, I again want to remind the Member, the involvement of the public, which is guaranteed. That has never been done before.
When the side opposite was in government, regulations did not accompany the bills. We all know that. There was also no commitment to involve the public. That was one of the reasons why, as the Member properly puts it, there is a mistrust for government. As he puts it, they are signing a blank cheque and that is not the case. This act and the Environment Act, both of which I am responsible for, clearly spell out an obligation of the government to consult the public in the drafting of new regulations or the revoking or amending of regulations. It is clear simply because there is a mistrust in government, as the Member says, and they wanted that assurance written right in the act.
Mr. Phelps: There are a number of issues that I feel obliged to raise at this time in general debate. I think it is important that the public understands that there have been some negotiations take place in order to try to achieve some amendments that would alleviate some of the concerns that have been expressed in these chambers during second reading. I think it is important that the public understands that this process has been going on and that neverless we, on this side, feel fairly strongly and would have liked to see even further progress made in certain areas of the act. We will certainly be discussing our concerns as we go through it clause by clause.
I would first like to discuss some of our overall concerns about this piece of legislation. One of the points I would like to make, and I am sure I will make again and again in the future with other pieces of legislation, is that one thing always concerns me, and that is what seems to be the bureaucratic need for us to have legislation that might be appropriate in other jurisdictions of Canada just and only because other areas and jurisdictions may have a certain type of legislation.
I want to make a few points right now, as gently and as clearly as I can, about the Yukon, its uniqueness, how it does differ, and how that uniqueness is magnified when one considers the need, if there is a need at all, for a piece of legislation such as this. When you think about it, most of the southern provinces are largely under private ownership. The very nature of places like Saskatchewan, Alberta, B.C. and Ontario is that a very considerable percentage of the lands are privately held.
In the Yukon, at the present time, we have a situation where something like one-tenth of one percent of the entire Yukon area is under private ownership. We have a situation where, of that private property, a very small percentage is property that would fall under the purview of a piece of legislation such as this.
During second reading, I discussed at some length one of the ironies of a piece of legislation such as this, which is that the few people who have done so much to preserve our history and heritage, who have given freely of their time, who have paid for the restoration of their homes, and of buildings other than their homes, are the very people who come under the thumb of the heavy aspects of this legislation, the search and seizure, and all the various police state type provisions.
When one looks at Yukoners, one can count and pick out those who do have collections of historic or archaeological objects, and one probably quickly knows those few people whose homes are of historical significance, and who have maintained them over the years. One could very quickly research the private property that might qualify as an historic site, particularly of a commercial nature.
So, one wonders why we need the sweeping powers of designation, as set forth in section 14 of the bill, or the sweeping powers of search and seizure, or the huge fines set forth in the penalty provisions of the act - the police state type powers. For a small fraction of less than one tenth of one percent of the entire Yukons area, why have we had to come forward with an act that has caused such considerable controversy and fear, particularly among long-time Yukoners and, particularly and unfortunately, among the elderly? It is the elderly, of course, who are most likely to be affected by the provisions of this bill.
We do not really have a demonstrated need for many of the things that were initially set out. I can think of one truly historic site that is under private ownership, and which has really been the subject of controversy. It has been subject to controversy because it has been allowed to deteriorate, and is actually owned by a private party, and that is Silver City.
On the other hand, I can think of all kinds of historic sites owned by the Crown: Crown lands that have been allowed to deteriorate and vanish, fall down, or whatever, simply because of neglect on the part of the government.
It is certainly not because any ownership ever stood in the way.
I also know that the kind of areas in which historic objects might be found, again, would be almost completely, rationally speaking, on Crown lands, not on the less than one tenth of one percent of privately owned lands in the Yukon. Most of those are easily determined, particularly when one thinks of the written history in place from the early 1800s. We know where the Hudson Bay and RCMP posts were. There is very little knowledge about those kinds of areas that we do not presently have.
All of these things set us apart, in my view, from a province such as Ontario, Alberta or B.C., where there are so many more people and where so much more of the land is privately owned.
This brings us to another issue. It is one of concern to me. We have in this act a situation where land claims land will only be impacted with the consent of the First Nations, yet land claims land will be many thousands of times greater than the privately owned land at this time. That is clearly, in my view, a double standard.
This is magnified when one considers the actual square miles of band or First Nation property that we are looking at, compared to privately owned land. The double standard aspect is magnified by that.
I am not saying this because I feel that the police powers that are contained in this Historic Resources Act ought to be extended to band land in order to make it fair. Quite the contrary. I am saying that they ought not to be levied against the almost insignificant proportion of private land that is now held by individuals. Some of those individuals are, of course, land claims beneficiaries, as we know.
The Minister mentioned that many of Jim Robbs possessions, because they are paper, would not be affected by this act. I disagree. The actual scope of the act is such, and the definitions so broad, that there is very good reason for the concern we have all been made aware of in the media. An historic object is an historic thing. Many of these items are, in my view, historic objects by the unfortunate definition of the act under section 60(a).
I want to talk a little bit about the reaction I, and I am sure other Members in this House, have been receiving from Yukoners as they became aware of the full impact, bureaucratic powers, powers of search and seizure, and the wide scope of the act. I have received reactions of fear and bewilderment. I have had people, who have extensive collections, swear they would rather burn their stuff than put up with this. I have had all kinds of people, in the context of history buffs in the Yukon, say they would never consider allowing government to have any of their stuff, should this bill go through in its present form.
In the Yukon, until recently, the concept of private property was a highly cherished concept. I can recall, in my former life as a criminal lawyer, representing people in court. I can recall the Dalziel case in Watson Lake, where the judge of the day, in dismissing the charge, did so on the basis of the unfair way in which search and seizure under the criminal act itself was exercised by the investigating officers. He dismissed the charge, largely because of the ignorant way in which the officers approached the issue of private property and, particularly, private residences.
In his judgment he said that in the Yukon, perhaps more than any other place in Canada, it is held that a mans home is his castle. That is partly because of the very frontier aspect of this part of the country.
I have spoken with individuals who have worked with people from this government and with the federal government. These people worked in full cooperation trying to ensure that any knowledge and records they had would be passed on. When I think of these people and go and talk with them, they are shocked by the jack-boot mentality that seems to accompany some of the most offensive clauses within this bill.
I feel a certain amount of harm has already been done to the trust of old, long-time Yukoners. Many people here will know that in trying to obtain items of historic interest for museums one has to approach old-timers carefully and sensitively to try to get them to warm to the idea of perhaps leaving some of their historical objects to museums. If they are approached in the wrong way - if one does not join them several times for cups of coffee and ease them into the whole notion of allowing people to have and preserve their possessions - and once they say no, generally that is it. That is the way Yukoners are. This whole sensitive approach has been developed over the years, not just by some government officials but by all the people who are responsible. The creation of museums, such as the ones in Teslin and Whitehorse, was not done by government. This was done by individuals who took the time to try to convince people of the worthwhile objectives of saving history for future generations.
Those people certainly had a strong, firm understanding and grasp of how Yukoners reacted when it was suggested that they should be forced to give things that they had built, saved and worked on to a museum or to the government. It was understood, clearly and still is by many, that a person should approach these people and afford them the dignity and respect and the chance to support the objectives and not in any way suggest that by right they should be deprived of the ownership of their private property.
I want to make these comments at the outset with regard to the way the historic objects definition clause reads - getting back to the Ministers earlier point. Clearly, under part 6 the scope of the definition is indeed, extremely broad, for example, where it reads that each of the following is an historic object: an object that is more than 45 years old and has been abandoned. It refers to virtually any type of thing, in my view.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to thank the Member for his comments. He has contributed much to the debate. There is too much to respond to all at one time, but I am looking forward to getting to various sections of the bill in the clause-by-clause debate so that we can get further into it.
I wanted to address the premise of the Members speech. He tried to point out that the Yukon is somehow different from other jurisdictions in this country. He says that in most jurisdictions a large percentage of the lands are privately held and that that is not the case in the Yukon, where less than one percent of the land is in private hands.
To me it matters not what percentage of the land of the Yukon is held in private hands. What does matter, when talking of preservation of historic sites and objects, is whether or not we have sites of such significance that we should designate them such. I think this is where the Member opposite and I part company because he firmly believes that there really is only one site in the territory right now on Crown land - or perhaps just period - that is worthy of such designation. I do not think that is true; I know it is not true. I think in the minds of many people in this community, not just the heritage community, there are many sites worthy of designation, because they had played a significant role at one time or other in the history and development of our territory. People have recognized that and have asked for legislation such as this to come forward to protect sites such as Dalton Post and to do whatever we can to encourage the owner of Silver City to become involved, through some financial assistance through the Historic Property Assistance Contribution program, and to stop the deterioration of that historic site by becoming involved.
It matters not how much land is in private hands. What really counts is if whether or not there are sites worthy of protection and preservation. I believe there are and I believe there are a few in this community on municipal lands: the MacBride Museum and the Yukon Museum Historical Society.
He has also spoken about the draconian measures and the heavy handedness of some parts of this act regarding the search and seizure for example, which I would like to speak to in the clause-by-clause debate when that comes up. Obviously we want the ability, when someone has stolen an historic object - for example, Skookum Jims watch and chain, which unfortunately were stolen from the MacBride Museum a few years ago - and we had a good idea of who took them. we would want the power, in those rare cases to, with a warrant provided by a judge, conduct a search on the premises. If the search showed up what we were looking for I would want that power to seize, so we would have those objects for the benefit of all Yukoners.
In terms of the huge fines he speaks about, Yukon legislation is no different than any other legislation. If someone in the Yukon is willfully going to destroy an historic site, they are going to be penalized with a fine the same as anywhere else in the country.
It is very important that we recognize that we are no different from other places in the country, and our legislation must provide measures to protect historic sites. It must be equitable with federal legislation, if we ever hope to get the federal government to devolve responsibilities for historic resources to us, which is our goal. In that way, I think the federal government also recognizes that we are no different and are not unique, and they want to treat us the same way as they do the provinces, for good reasons.
At this time, I prefer to continue general debate, if that is the wish of the Members opposite, and deal with the concerns raised by the Member opposite, as they come up in clause-by-clause debate.
Mr. Phelps: I can understand the Ministers wish to get off general debate, but I would like to pursue this a bit more, if I may. The point being made about historic sites, and the need for this kind of legislation, is directed at my comments about historic sites, if they are on private property, and the need to designate those kinds of sites under this act over the objections of the owner. I mentioned Silver City as being one problem area we are aware of. The Minister spoke of Dalton Post, which is not under private ownership. Examples of where this kind of power would be needed would, in my view, be very, very few and far between, when one deals with ownership of buildings that might be designated historic sites. Then, one gets into the ancillary issue of just exactly what we are talking about when we talk about the preservation of a building from the perspective of an historic site. I can think of very few commercial buildings now in existence where, if the approach of government were reasonable, there would be any need to designate the properties as historic sites over the objection of the owners. I cannot think of any.
That is one of the concerns I have.
Do we need all this designation when we all probably know who owns each structure on private properties that might be designated under this act? That is one of the points.
I discussed this with one long-time Yukoner on the street today who said that what alarmed him about this bill was that it represents a framework for abuse. I thought that phrase was apropos this act, as it was produced and presented in this Legislature.
For people to say to Jim Robb not to worry because the government is not interested in his papers, under this act at least, or to say that the government would never do this or that to a person with an historic home is simply not enough. If you do not need the sweeping powers vested in officials for as long as this bill will be in existence once passed, then why the hell ask for them? What is here is a framework for abuse. It could, in the wrong hands, abuse the rights and privileges of Yukoners.
I say, again, I am convinced that the side opposite just does not truly appreciate the kind of alarm and emotional upset that this bill has brought people in the Yukon. I know of people who have not been able to sleep because of this bill. I say this sincerely. I know of people who are seriously thinking of burning what they have because of this bill. I can give you names.
The reaction to this has been as defiant and bitter as any reaction I have seen against any proposed legislation since I have been in the House.
I say this genuinely. I, myself, share some of the concerns, as the Minister well knows. It is very important that we understand both sides of the coin. It is very important that we understand that, when a bill such as this is brought forward to deal with such a handful of people and a handful of situations, it seems to me very unfortunate that the sensitivity I alluded to earlier, with regard to long-time Yukoners and their pride of possession and ownership of what they have, was not paid homage to in the way this bill was brought forward.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Member made some comments that this bill represents a framework for abuse of rights of Yukoners who may be opposed to the designation of their residence as an historic site.
I can buy that argument to a large degree and, as a result, I introduced the amendment to the designation part of the bill, which states that we could not designate a residence occupied by the owner without the written consent of the owner.
I think it goes back to the fiercely guarded theory of the Leader of the Official Opposition that a mans home is his castle, and that person should be able to do whatever he or she wants to do with it: rip it down, take it away, and who cares if it is an historic site.
I want to point out to the Member, who may not have had the benefit of reading his partys 1983 discussion paper, entitled Preserving our Past, that there was some recognition of the value of historic properties to society at large.
I want to quote from the 1983 Conservative policy. Remember, this has been in the works now since 1979. As a result of consultation with the public in 1979, 1980 and 1981, stated by the Conservative government at the time that Heritage resources, both privately and publicly owned require proper recognition and protection that they are being maintained for the present and future benefit of all. Privately owned heritage resources - the following has recently been noted that aesthetically and historically viable private buildings - Canadian law now implicitly concedes, stand partly in the public domain and the public has the right to enjoy them in perpetuity, like clean water, parks and roadways. Heritage buildings are now widely regarded as an essential element of a workable urban environment.
I think the foregoing clearly sets out the principle that sites of historic importance to an area, territory or province should be protected. There is a right of the public - and we also respect the right of an individual who owns a house, in this case the way it is written in our bill, an owner who is a resident in that house - to say no to the designation, but eventually if we are to preserve our heritage, it becomes necessary to designate it and give it the attention and protection that it deserves. That is the case across this country and the United States; it is an accepted fact now. I do not quite honestly think with the safeguard of obtaining the consent of the owner-resident, there is anything draconian about it.
Mr. Phelps: The point made and the general principle contained in the paper of the Conservative government under the previous administration is not a principle that I take issue with at all.
I do take issue with the extent of the powers that are necessary in Yukon and the extent of the infringement on private property that is necessary, particularly with historic sites. There are a very small number of privately owned historic sites in existence, and, of those, will it ever be necessary to impose what was in this bill, the section 14 powers or the equivalent under municipal powers upon an unwilling owner?
I still will be disagreeing, although ultimately I am sure I will be accepting, the Ministers proposed amendment. In his defence of his position on the issue of designation of historic sites the Minister is saying that, with the proposed amendment, a lot of the sting will be taken away from the problems in that part of the act, which I spoke to during second reading. He is quite right, but the point I was making at second reading was about the reaction of the public to this bill at the time they got it; I think it is very unfortunate because it has caused a good deal of anguish.
Chair: If there is no further general debate, we will move to clause by clause.
On Clause 1
Clause 1 agreed to
On Clause 2
Clause 2 agreed to
On Clause 3
Mr. Phillips: Are we going to clear it all the way down? I do have another clause I would like to add into that.
Mr. Phillips: The amendment I passed around was labelled clause 3(h). It should be clause 3(g.1); that way, we do not have to change clause 3(h).
In this particular clause, the government has established a Heritage Resources Board. We feel, on this side, that it would greatly assist the Minister if the board had better communication with the Minister, his department and the heritage branch. This clause asks the board to advise the Minister on the objectives of the policies and programs of the heritage branch. That way, they would be a little more involved in the planning of the heritage resources of the territory. We feel this would be a positive move.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to thank the Member for bringing forward this amendment, which we welcome.
Amendment agreed to
Clause 3 agreed to as amended
On Clause 4
Clause 4 agreed to
On Clause 5
Clause 5 agreed to
On Clause 6
Mr. Phillips: We would like to propose another amendment to Clause 6(2). The way it reads now is that, The chair and the vice-chair may be the persons designated by the Minister.
There are many other boards in the Government of Yukon that the chair and the vice-chair are chosen in a different way. We think that it is a better way if the board itself chooses its chair and vice-chair.
The amendment that we are proposing here today allows the board to choose its own chair. In fact, it also goes a little further and is consistent with the land claims agreement.
The amendment reads, The board shall choose its chair and vice-chair from its membership, one of whom shall be chosen from the people nominated by the governing bodies of the Yukon First Nations or by the coordinating body for the Yukon First Nations.
This allows the board the ability to choose their own chair from among the members of that board.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The amendment is quite acceptable, but I do want to point out that the wording of the original clause states, The chair and the vice-chair may be the persons designated by the Minister. That would be a last resort. The first option is as the Member has pointed out quite correctly. As for the case of the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board, the first option is for the members to choose chairs from among themselves. In the event that they could not select a chair or vice-chair from among themselves, then the clause as it is originally written would apply. I accept this amendment.
Amendment agreed to
Chair: Clause 6(2) has been amended to read, The Board shall choose its chair and vice-chair from its membership, one of whom shall be chosen from the people nominated by governing bodies of Yukon First Nations or by the coordinating body for Yukon First Nations.
Mr. Phillips: I would like some clarification on clause 6(7). It appears that when a board does an annual report or, upon request, the board will provide to the Minister and the Yukon First Nations, records of its hearing and deliberations and will do this annually on May 31 of each year.
Does this mean the board report will go first to the First Nations and the Government of the Yukon before it comes to the Legislature? I understand it going to the government and then to the Legislature and then to others, but are we considering the First Nations a government within themselves and that for all appeals, whether on First Nation land or not, the report would be sent to the First Nations before we see it here in the Legislature?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The way the clause is written at this time, it appears that there is an option for the report to be first filed with me and the Yukon First Nations prior to it coming to the Legislature.
Once it is in the hands of the Minister, then I will be in a position to table the annual report in the Legislature. This does not necessarily mean it will be made public before it is tabled in the Legislature.
Mr. Phillips: I can understand it, in the case of it being on First Nation land, and if there were an appeal there but, if it is on other land, 50 percent of the board is made up of First Nations. The appeal board will make the decision. Why would the report go to the First Nations, rather than to the Minister? If it was on non-band lands, why would you send them a copy of the report? What is the reason for that?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to remind the Member that this is a joint board that includes members of the First Nations. They would have an interest in matters on both settlement and non-settlement lands. For this reason, they would always be provided with a copy of the report with a summary of its operations.
Mr. Phillips: I have another amendment here I would like to put into the act. The way it is now written, there is not a lot of communication between the director of the heritage branch and the board. We have proposed another amendment that would ask the director of the heritage branch, upon request of the board, to attend meetings of the board and participate in board deliberations, but the director would have no vote in decisions made by that board.
It allows more communication between the branch and the Heritage Resources Board.
THAT Bill No. 33, entitled Historic Resources Act, be amended in clause 6 at page 6 by adding the following new subclause:
(8.1) The Director, Heritage Branch, upon request of the Board shall attend meetings of the Board and may participate in Board deliberations but shall have no vote in decisions made by the Board.
Chair: Is there any debate on the amendment?
Amendment agreed to
Mr. Phillips: In subclause 6(9) it says that the Minister may supply services to the board and appropriate funds for the purposes of carrying out the job. We feel that if the Minister is going to set up a board, he should be a little more committed to supporting it.
In that light, we have asked that the word may be changed to shall. Therefore, I move
THAT Bill No. 33, entitled Historic Resources Act, be amended in clause 6(9) at page 6 by deleting the word may and substituting for it the word: shall.
Amendment agreed to
Clause 6 agreed to as amended.
On Clause 7
Clause 7 agreed to
On Clause 8
Mr. Phillips: In subsection (5), why would the Minister interfere here? Why would he not let this go to the appeal board and let them deal with it?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Subsection (5) provides another option for dealing with the appeal. Basically, I just refer the matter to the Yukon Heritage Resources Appeal Board for their consideration and recommendation to me.
Mr. Phillips: If the Minister plans to refer them all to the board, why would he have it come to him in the first place? If they cannot reach an agreement, why does he not just have the board deal with it? Why would he refer it to the board?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I think that is what subsection (4) deals with - where the two parties get together for mediation to solve the dispute and, failing that, the Minister will refer it to the appeal board. It is another option.
Clause 8 agreed to
On Clause 9
Clause 9 agreed to
On Clause 10
Clause 10 agreed to
On Clause 11
Clause 11 agreed to
On Clause 12
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am proposing an amendment to clause 12, subsection (2) for the purposes of making the language much clearer, that this will apply only to historic sites designated by the Minister.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I move
THAT Bill No. 33 entitled Historic Resources Act be amended in subclause 12(2) at page 9, by substituting the expression historic sites designated by the Minister with the expression historic sites.
Mr. Phelps: That is too broad. It should be corrected to read all historic sites as designated by the Minister.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Right, it would tighten it up as a matter of fact, because it does not deal with those sites that have been designated by municipality.
Amendment agreed to
Clause 12 agreed to as amended
On Clause 13
Clause 13 agreed to
On Clause 14
Mr. Phelps: I have some difficulties with clause 14(2). I would like to discuss them at this time. It seems to me that it is a recipe for mischief. Here we have a situation where we are talking about the designation of historic sites. Any person or a group of persons under 14(2) can come along and petition the Minister to designate a site as an historic site. That is fine where you have very sincere people; however, the misguided might come along. I am more concerned about the potential for mischief, because then under the following subclause, the Minister shall refer each petition to the Yukon Heritage Resources Board, and of course an action could be triggered by someone who is not acting in good faith and a tremendous amount of work may be required by the owner of the site in question.
I am wondering if the Minister would entertain a motion or an amendment in subclause (3) to overcome that?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I would like to add a comment to alleviate the Members concern, which I can see is a real concern. Perhaps it is a frivolous action brought forth by an individual, or a few individuals, by way of a petition.
I want to assure the Member that if any person, or group of persons, did petition the Minister to designate a site as an historic site, it would be referred to the community at large, or to an association, such as the Yukon Historical and Museums Association, or the local museum association, for their recommendations on the designation. That would be a requirement I would be calling for before I referred the matter to the Heritage Resources Board for their consideration.
Mr. Phelps: Is there some method of dealing with that concern in law? Under section 3, if it read the Minister may refer each petition, and shall refer each of the Ministers own proposals for designation, then there would be discretion vested in the Minister with regard to a petition that may or may not be sincere. It may be frivolous.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to thank the Member for that point to clarify the position. I do not think you want to put the Minister in the position where there is too much discretion. We do have a very set and established process for the designation of sites which, upon petition, is first reviewed by the Heritage Resources Board. They would review all the reasons for designation being put forth to support this petition. Following that, there is an appeal process.
Subclause (3), where the Minister shall refer each petition to the Yukon Heritage Resources Board eliminates the ability of the Minister to have that discretion. I think that would be quite acceptable, considering the very public process involved here for such designations.
Mr. Phelps: I wish to get my concern clear. I do not have a problem with the Ministers proposals. I just have a problem with a situation where there is a proposal that comes to the Minister and appears, on the face of it, to be frivolous.
Now, if it says shall, in every case, go to the Heritage Resources Board, it seems to me that triggers a whole series of events, including notice to the owner or lessee that they have 60 days in which to respond. All of this would perhaps be unnecessary if this would just read, The Minister may refer each petition and shall refer each of the debtors to the board.
If it is a sincere petition, it has to go to the board. If it does not, there will be all hell to pay. If it is a frivolous petition by a few people who want to make somebodys life difficult in a small community, then it seems to me that it need not go to the board and need not trigger the notice provision and the need for a response.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I think that the risk you run by amending subclause (3), shall refer to may refer is that people may wonder why they should go through the petition process.
I think the onus should be on the Minister in subclause (2) to ensure that the petition is not a frivolous one, as the Member mentioned could well happen. The Minister does require the person or the group of persons to get the sanction of the local historical community before the Minister shall acknowledge and honour the petition and send it on to the public board.
Mrs. Firth: It is fine for the Minister to stand up and say that this is how the act will be interpreted by the Minister of the day and this is how petitions will be reviewed and this is what the intention of it is. That is not what is stated in legislation.
There is going to be a new Minister some day. What we are looking at is that the Minister be allowed some discretion in subclause (3) and that that be stated in the legislation. That way, the Minister is bound by what is put in the law and given the direction to use discretion.
Just because this Minister says he is going to use discretion does not mean that the next one will. The next one may interpret it to the exact letter of the law, which is far different from the explanation and the intention that the Minister is giving us this afternoon.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Let me ask the Members opposite if they think people may interpret the whole petition process as being useless, given the following subclause (3): the Minister has a discretion perhaps of referring the petition on for consideration by the board.
Mrs. Firth: That is not the issue here. The issue is not whether the petition process is necessary or whether it is a waste of time. The Minister has said that they are concerned about the person or group of persons who can petition the Minister; he stood up and said he, as the Minister today, will look at those petitions and will use some discretion when it comes time to evaluate petitions. But the next clause does not give him that discretion; the next clause just says he is going to take the petitions and give them to the board. Otherwise he breaks the law. We are saying that there may one day be another Minister who will read this and say: okay, I have to accept petitions; I have to send them along; it does not say anything here about whether I have to apply any common sense or discretion to the wording of the petitions or to the intention of the petitions, and so on.
I think the intention is to give direction and state in law to the Minister of the day, and to following Ministers, exactly what the direction is and what the law states and therefore what happens when this person or group of persons petition the Minister.
Mr. Phelps: I want to move the following amendment, namely
THAT Bill No. 33, entitled Historic Resources Act, be amended in clause 14(3) at page 10 by deleting 14(3) and replacing it with the following:
14(3). The Minister may refer each petition and shall refer each of the Ministers own proposals for designation of a historic site to the Yukon Heritage Resources Board and may not designate a site as an historic site before receiving and considering the boards report.
I am quite concerned, particularly about the potential for mischief in the small communities, where an owner of a piece of property is away and some people who may not like that person go ahead with a petition that is frivolous and malicious, and the kind of grief that could cause. For example, in a small town like Carcross where people leave for more than a month at a time in wintertime, if somebody has it in for someone else, something like this could really cause unnecessary anguish because the time for filing a notice of objection has passed, and so on and so forth.
It seems to me, on the other hand, that with serious petitions, it would be politically imperative that the Minister take them to the board.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I accept the Members argument and the amendment he has put forward.
Amendment agreed to
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am proposing an amendment to clause 14, which will add a new subsection, making it clause 14(5).
Mr. Phelps: This is an area that has been one of the key areas of dispute with regard to the bill. It is one of the more important ones. I have had discussions with regard to an amendment. Before we decide that it is necessary to entertain the Ministers amendment, I would like to propose an amendment to clause 14. I move
THAT Bill No. 33, entitled Historic Resources Act, be amended in clause 14 at page 11 by adding the following:
(5) If the site is on privately owned land, the Minister may not designate the site as an historic site without the written consent of the owner and lessee(s) of the site.
This is an area we will be discussing at greater length than we have for the parts of the bill we have gone through so far. Perhaps now would be an appropriate time to adjourn, if that is the wish of the Chair.
Chair: We will have a break.
Clerk: I call Committee back to order.
Mr. Phelps: We are on the proposed amendment that I moved just before we recessed.
The position the proposed amendment reflects is, as I said earlier, that there are so few situations at present in Yukon that might be appropriately designated an historic site located on privately owned land, that it just seems to me that the rather heavy powers triggered by section 14 are basically unnecessary with regard to privately owned land. I referred to that in general debate and I referred to it, I believe, in second reading. Going one step further, the concern I have is the uncertainty a clause such as this places on people such as the present owners of the Caribou Hotel - not really knowing where they stand and not knowing what the designation historic sites implies.
It is my view that if historic sites means that the kind of stewardship imposed upon the site is similar to that imposed by Parks Canada on national historic sites, that designation on most of even those few old structures I can think of on privately owned land would be impractical, unnecessary and almost silly.
In most of these buildings, the situation is that they have been built in a certain period of time since 1900, renovated, changed over and over again. To say with any authority to which period that building belongs is difficulty in the extreme.
I raised the example of the Watson Lake Hotel earlier in debate. It seems to me that the work done to preserve it is valuable, commercially viable, attractive, and it still has the ambiance of the original building, at least as far back as I can remember.
If the owner had been forced to maintain a certain standard of strict guidelines, such a renovation would have been impractical - indeed impossible - and much would have been lost. If today a step were made to say it is an historic site - after all, it was built during the construction of the Alaska Highway through Yukon - one can just see how silly such a designation would be. So much of it is modern construction and so much of it has been changed, and yet the possibility, however slim, remains that it could be so designated.
In my view, when one considers the ambiance and the character of a city such as Dawson or the historic portion of a village, town or place such as Carcross, most people would want to see zoning that would require certain types of construction to take place - zoning that would not ruin the character of the area that people are concerned about. It would not be necessary to designate Carcross, for example, a historic site. In my view, historic sites could be preserved and achieved through zoning.
It would be difficult, on the one hand, to retain the current historic flavor of the Carcross area and deter - in fact render impossible - the kind of absurd possibility of ripping down some of the commercial buildings and putting in something completely uncharacteristic in their place.
The main concern I have regarding privately owned land is finding any more than one or two examples where designating structures as historic sites would be necessary, and from a practical point of view achieve the goals of many regional governments.
For those reasons I commend this amendment to all Members and I would certainly like to hear the Ministers views on it.
Hon. Mr. Webster: So much for negotiations on this particular clause. The Member says that the amendment he is proposing reflects his position that there are too few sites in the territory worthy of such designation on private property. I guess it is not really not worth it, in his opinion, to have these heavy handed powers - as he calls them - in this act. I do not care how few sites there are; there are some sites that need protection.
In Dawson City, the Klondike Visitors Association has asked for that historic designation for the Bank of Commerce, which, as the Member is aware, is privately owned. The fact that the owner has not agreed to designate the Bank of Commerce as an historic site has caused the KVA to ask the government what can be done to save it.
The Member speaks of the uncertainty for owners. I will cite the example of the Caribou Hotel. That individual would not know what is implied or what standards the person would have to meet when altering or doing repair work on the buildings. He suggests that, perhaps, the same standards required by Parks Canada would be in place for his establishment. I do not think that is true. We all know that Parks Canada has very stringent standards that cost a great deal of money. In Dawson City, where there are guidelines in place and have been established by a public planning board, the situation is working.
The Member suggests that the ambiance and character of Dawson has been achieved by historic control zoning. That is true. I submit, however, that guidelines are still needed in order to show people how to make alterations and repairs to ensure that the historic flavour and nature of the building is retained. It is essential that we do that.
It has been working in Dawson City, to a large degree of success. I would argue with the Member that, regardless of how few sites we have, we do have some that require protection through designation.
Chair: Division has been called.
There are six who agree and seven who disagree.
Amendment to clause 14 negatived
Hon. Mr. Webster: As I mentioned in my opening remarks, I am bringing forth an amendment for this particular section of the bill, which addresses a number of the concerns raised by the Leader of the Official Opposition, and somewhat tenuously agreed to in our negotiations of the last few days.
THAT Bill No. 33, entitled Historic Resources Act, be amended in clause 14 at page 10 by adding the following:
(5) If the site proposed for designation is a residence in which its owner resides, the Minister may not designate the site as an historic site without the written consent of the owner.
Chair: Is there debate on the amendment?
Mr. Phelps: There are several issues that I want to discuss. The first issue is that of clarification. I take it that it is the understanding of Members that, in this situation, resides does not necessarily mean the main residence of the owner. For example, in Carcross, there are several people whose main residence is in Whitehorse, and who use a cabin as their alternate residence.
Also, there are several situations where people have retired because of their age, but they are the only people who reside in their homes in Carcross - the Watsons, and Mrs. Simmons, and so on.
May I take it that this resides will include those people who may, because of circumstance, have a main residence elsewhere where they spend more time?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I can only assume from the example the Member has provided that he is talking about a dwelling involving seasonal occupation. Yes, that would be true.
Mr. Phelps: The next concern is one that covers a narrower band of people. There is the situation where a person has a long-standing lease on a residence, and lives there and wants to keep it as an historic site. For example, Jim Robb is in that situation. He leases an old house in Whitehorse.
Under the current proposed amendment, his situation would not be covered. Would the Minister entertain broadening it to its owner or lessee resides and written consent of the owner or the lessee. Does he want time to consider that combination of events, where a person who has leased the place and has lived there for a long period of time, is the main resident. That place could be designated by virtue of the wording of this proposal.
Hon. Mr. Webster: That is true. The wording of the proposed amendment would only require the written consent of the owner, and not the lessee. In my opinion, that is the way it should remain, as that is the only way we can ensure that buildings owned by one individual, leased out to many, would escape being designated and, therefore, being demolished.
The amendment I am proposing right now takes into consideration the individual who actually resides at the site being proposed for designation, and requires their consent.
Mr. Phelps: To take that a bit further - I am trying to think of an example of a situation where the site is a residence first of all, but it is leased out and the blessing of the owner and the lessee or of whoever lives there is required. It is interesting that, for any petition under section 14, notice has to be given to the owner or the lessee. That is a recognition of the kind of ownership that a lease really conveys upon somebody. In other words, a 20 or 30 year lease is considered to be almost complete ownership by many people for development purposes and so on. I am wondering if the Minister, upon reflection, really thinks that this could be used as a loophole, or is likely to be. The other side of the coin is that, in the Jim Robb case, the landlord would not be able to prevent this from becoming an historic site, nor would Jim - under the present proposed amendment.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The reason that the amendment is written the way that it is is because it prevents a situation where one individual owns a number of residences in a particular area of town and leases out those residences to whomever, with the idea of eventually razing all of those historic buildings proposed for designation for the construction of some new building. Therefore, if that was the intent of the owner of all of these properties that have been leased out as residences to other people, simply by the lessees refusing to give the consent for the designation, we would lose those historic properties.
Amendment agreed to
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am proposing another amendment as I mentioned in my opening remarks following subclause 5. I move
THAT Bill No. 33, Historic Resources Act be amended in clause 14 on page 11, by adding the following subclause: (6) If the Minister designates a site as an historic site, the Minister may, with the approval of the Commissioner in Executive Council, pay compensation to the owner of the site if the owner establishes that the property has depreciated in value as a result of the designation. The compensation shall not exceed the established depreciation in value.
This matter has been discussed with the critic in the official opposition and agreed to.
Amendment agreed to
Clause 14 agreed to as amended
On Clause 15
Mr. Phillips: I wonder if the Minister could give us some examples of this particular clause.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The purpose of this clause is to enable the Minister to create a buffer zone of controlled development around an historic site by designating the area adjacent to the site. A good example of this would be Fort Selkirk. The main area is the town site, and there is a buffer zone surrounding the town site to give some protection to the designated historic site, be it for fire protection or just to protect the viewscape.
Clause 15 agreed to
On Clause 16
Mr. Phillips: On clause 16(d), I believe that there is a typo at the bottom of page 16. The last sentence reads ...the governing body The Yukon First Nations. It should be ...the governing body of the Yukon First Nations.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes. It is the only typo in the bill.
Chair: We will add the word of to read; ...the governing body of the Yukon First Nations.
Clause 16 agreed to
On Clause 17
Clause 17 agreed to
On Clause 18
Clause 18 agreed to
On Clause 19
Clause 19 agreed to
On Clause 20
Clause 20 agreed to
On Clause 21
Mr. Phillips: I have discussed subclause (2) briefly with the Minister, but I would like him to put on the record what he would interpret as a ministerial hearing. This is the only place in the act that it really talks about a ministerial hearing. What would the purpose of a ministerial hearing be, rather than having an appeal board do the hearing?
Hon. Mr. Webster: In response to the Members question, it may be one of a matter of expedience, if the appeal being made is not a serious one, but a frivolous one. It may also be a situation where it may happen outside of Whitehorse, where the community may suggest having a body perform the functions of the appeal board.
This offers another option for hearing appeals. I imagine it would be very rare indeed.
Mr. Phillips: The Minister said this would not be used very often, if at all. I am a little concerned because he said they would set up a body. What kind of body would they set up to hear the appeal? The act says the Minister will hear the appeal, so the Minister will be the body. He will go to the place in the outside community. It will be the Minister who will hear this particular appeal.
I do not know if the Minister wants to put himself in that kind of a position. After all, he has appointed an appeal board specifically for that and he is going to bypass them and sit down and make the judgment himself.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Again, I suggest it is another alternative to referring it to the appeal board. That does not necessarily say that the Minister himself or herself will hold the hearing.
Mr. Phillips: I think subclause (2) does say that the Minister will hold the hearing. It says the Minister shall either refer the appeal to the Yukon Historic Resources Appeal Board or hold a hearing. The Minister shall hold a hearing. The are several options for the Minister to deal with it, but there is no provision for anyone else to hold the special ministerial hearing; it strictly sets out that it is the Minister who will hold that hearing.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Again, I thought the Member was interpreting hold to mean chair, that the Minister was to chair a meeting himself. That is not necessarily the case. Clearly, the option here is that it may not be necessary to go to the extent of calling the appeal board, involving time and money, to hear this case. It gives the Minister the option of either one or the other, and I would think that in most cases if this should ever come up, it would be referred to the appeal board. I would imagine it would be a very serious matter.
Clause 21 agreed to
On Clause 22
Clause 22 agreed to
On Clause 23
Mr. Phillips: I have a comment on this section. I thought the Minister was going to amend this, so it would not be specific to the location of the site. In this particular section, it says, The Minister shall maintain an inventory of all historic sites in the Yukon showing, in respect of each site, (a) the location of the site and a description sufficient to identify its boundaries ... I thought that, in some cases, we did not want that type of information to become public.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The example I referred to earlier was that of historic objects, where they may be in someones personal possession in their residence. This, of course, refers to historic sites.
The Member is right that this requirement is subject to an amendment made in this act that revised the Access to Information Act, where we do not have to disclose the location of some of these historic sites, in order to prevent the potential looting of that site. It is covered.
Clause 23 agreed to
On Clause 24
Mr. Phillips: In this section, the act talks about historic resources impact assessment and development plans, and requires someone who is going to carry out an activity at an historic site to produce this type of information.
Can the Minister give us some examples of what he would see as this type of historic resource impact assessment and development plan? For the average individual, this would sound like a rather large requirement that might cost an awful lot of money and take an awful lot of time. They may not have the resources to do that kind of thing.
Hon. Mr. Webster: There are guidelines that will be established and will be published to assist owners. The information required will be determined by the regulations, which of course will be developed by public consultation. It will contain all the information that will be needed for an historical resources permit.
Mr. Phillips: This is just another good example of why it is important to have the regulations prior to debating the bill in the House. You may not have had to answer that question. In fact, there may be even more questions that will arise once we do have regulations. We probably will not get to see those regulations until they are published in the Yukon Gazette. It is a little after the fact.
There are some people out there who have some very strong concerns about this area of the act. They feel that if they were asked to do a fairly extensive resource-impact assessment they just do not have the wherewithal to do that kind of thing. If it was laid out more clearly and we had the regulations in front of us, there probably would not be a problem with that section.
Chair: The Committee of the Whole will recess until 7:30 p.m.
Chair: I will call Committee to order.
Clause 24 agreed to
On Clause 25
Mr. Phillips: I wonder if the Minister could elaborate on what he believes are unreasonable grounds? Part of that states that the Minister has to have reasonable grounds. I wonder if the Minister can tell us what he considers to be reasonable grounds?
Hon. Mr. Webster: We are on clause 25 dealing with stop-work orders. The reasonable grounds are that the Minister believes, on the advice of his staff, that there is a good possibility for damage to the historic resources at that site. Then a stop-work order may be required.
Clause 25 agreed to
On Clause 26
Mr. Phillips: This is another area where we feel that we had to propose an amendment. This particular clause gives 20 days for the department to react to a stop-work order by the Minister, and we believe that it is rather excessive and we would like to reduce that to 10 days. I move
THAT Bill No. 33 an act entitled Historic Resources Act be amended in clause 26(1) at page 19 by deleting the word twentieth and substituting for it the word tenth.
Amendment agreed to
Clause 26 agreed to as amended
On Clause 27
Mr. Phillips: Here again, we would like to propose another amendment to the act. It is one that we have discussed with the Minister responsible. All we are asking for in the amendment on Clause 27(1)(a), is to add that the Minister has to provide the reasons for refusal in writing.
THAT the Historic Resources Act be amended in Clause 27(1)(a) on page 19 by adding the following words, and shall provide reasons in writing for the refusal.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Is the phrase that the Member would like to see added to this clause to follow the word site?
Mr. Phillips: No. It follows the word activity in Clause 27(1)(a).
Amendment agreed to
Clause 27 agreed to as amended
On Clause 28
Mr. Phillips: Again, in this particular clause the Minister can require the owner to take measures to undertake some repair and maintenance of the building. What we are asking for is if the Minister is going to the individual to upgrade the historic site or improve the historic site, the Minister should assist the owner of lessee to pay for such improvements or at least assist him in some of these improvements. I move
THAT Bill No. 33 entitled Historic Resources Act be amended in clause 28 page 20 by adding the following: subject to the Minister providing grants, loans, professional or technical or other services to assist the owner or lessee of a historic site pay for such improvements.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I have no difficulties with this suggestion. It does refer back to section 12, which enables the Minister to provide some kind of assistance as the Member has mentioned to owners of historic sites to assist them in restoring and repairing their property.
Amendment agreed to
Clause 28 agreed to as amended
On Clause 29
Clause 29 agreed to
On Clause 30
Clause 30 agreed to
On Clause 31
Clause 31 agreed to
On Clause 32
Clause 32 agreed to
On Clause 33
Clause 33 agreed to
On Clause 34
Mr. Phillips: In clause 34(a), we would like to add a couple of words. In this particular clause, we suggested to the Minister that they add: advise the transferee or purchaser in writing so that it would be done in writing rather than it just being a verbal communication. The person would be required to put it in writing so that the purchaser understood all aspects of the sale.
I would like to amend the Historic Resources Act in clause 34(a) at page 24 by adding after the word purchaser the words in writing.
Amendment agreed to
Clause 34 agreed to as amended
On Clause 35
Clause 35 agreed to
On Clause 36
Hon. Mr. Webster: As I mentioned in my opening remark, I am bringing forth an amendment to clause 36. It is quite similar to an amendment that appeared earlier regarding territorial designated sites.
In this particular case, now that we have moved into Part 5 of the bill, concerning designation of historic sites by municipalities, this amendment would virtually mirror the amendment made earlier in clause 14. I move
THAT Bill No. 33, entitled Historic Resources Act, be amended in clause 36 at page 25 by adding the following subclause:
(2) If the site proposed for designation is a residence in which its owner resides, the municipal council may not designate the site as an historic site without the written consent of the owner.
Amendment agreed to
Clause 36 agreed to as amended
On Clause 37
Clause 37 agreed to
On Clause 38
Clause 38 agreed to
On Clause 39
Clause 39 agreed to
On Clause 40
Clause 40 agreed to
On Clause 41
Clause 41 agreed to
On Clause 42
Clause 42 agreed to
On Clause 43
Clause 43 agreed to
On Clause 44
Clause 44 agreed to
On Clause 45
Clause 45 agreed to
On Clause 46
Clause 46 agreed to
On Clause 47
Clause 47 agreed to
On Clause 48
Clause 48 agreed to
On Clause 49
Clause 49 agreed to
On Clause 50
Mr. Phillips: This is consistent with the clause for the individual. This is with respect to the area of municipal jurisdiction. Again, this adds in writing so that it reads, shall, prior to the transfer or sale, advise the transferee or purchaser in writing that the municipal site is a municipal historic site ...
THAT Bill No. 33, entitled Historic Resources Act, be amended in clause 50(a) at page 35 by adding after the word purchasers the words in writing.
Chair: Is there any debate on the amendment?
Amendment agreed to
Clause 50 agreed to as amended
On Clause 51
Clause 51 agreed to
On Clause 52
Clause 52 agreed to
On Clause 53
Clause 53 agreed to
On Clause 54
Clause 54 agreed to
On Clause 55
Clause 55 agreed to
On Clause 56
Clause 56 agreed to
On Clause 57
Clause 57 agreed to
On Clause 58
Clause 58 agreed to
On Clause 59
Clause 59 agreed to
On Clause 60
Mr. Phelps: This has been the subject of some of the debate that we have had in the past, but in anticipation of the amendment that is going to be made by the Minister to section 65(2), I will clear section 60(1).
Mr. Phillips: With respect to section 60(2), this is another area that requires clarification. The way it reads now the Commissioner in Executive Council or Cabinet may make regulation? We would like to change that, upon recommendation by the Yukon Heritage Resources Board, the Council may make regulation so the board is involved in the making of the regulations. I move
THAT Bill No. 33, entitled Historic Resources Act, be amended in clause 60(2) at page 39, by adding after the word Council where it first appears the following: Upon a recommendation by the Yukon Heritage Resources Board.
Amendment agreed to
Clause 60 agreed to as amended (Later reopened and stood)
On Clause 61
Clause 61 agreed to
On Clause 62
Clause 62 agreed to
On Clause 63
Mr. Phillips: I wonder if the Minister could tell us how this particular section would apply to placer miners.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Until revisions are made to the Placer Mining Act, this act will not apply.
Some Hon. Member: When the revisions are made to the Placer Mining Act, how will it apply?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Lands leased for placer mining purposes would also have to require an historic resources permit in order to do any work, if in the opinion of the Minister work in that area would somehow pose a threat to the historic resources on that site.
Mr. Phillips: Would the placer miners be required to get an historic resources permits at the beginning of the season or would they get a historic resources permit each time they found something? Perhaps the Minister could elaborate a little bit as to how that would work, if perhaps placer miners came across some mastodon tusks or whatever in their work in the summer?
Hon. Mr. Webster: An historic resources permit would be required at the start of the season, as it is now. It would be blended in as part of the development assessment process so that consideration for protection of historically significant objects or sites would be considered in that review and subjected to that process.
Mr. Phelps: I hope that the Minister will recognize that this generates a fair number of problems in practice because of the wording that I mentioned in section 60 for historic objects. Does the Minister not think that this is a bit impractical? Every time somebody wants to destroy something that is 45 years old or more, they are going to have to get a permit. As the Minister himself stated, you may have a class of objects that are not necessarily very valuable. There are going to be lots of them, and the definition travels, with time.
I feel that this is an illustration of what is wrong with section 60(1) under the definition of an historic object. That definition is so wide in scope that something like section 63 is going to prove to be practically a burdensome clause.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to remind the Member that the 45-year age designation is only one criteria of many in considering whether or not an object is historic. Many objects that are 45 years of age would not be listed or considered as historic objects if they did not really have any significance involving the territory. I can think of many objects 45 years of age - we possibly already have hundreds in existence - that I do not think we would mind having destroyed in the course of doing ones work.
Mr. Phelps: Does the Minister not see that in years to come, because of the definition of 45 years, section 63 could prove to be rather a burdensome nuisance for placer miners and other people who might, in the course of their business, be destroying or altering objects, some of which may be historic and some may not be?
Hon. Mr. Webster: We already take that into account in our existing situation. If you read the clause, it says except in accordance with an historic resources permit. The permit itself may permit this, in consideration that the historic objects one may be altering or destroying are not really significant to the territory. I do not see how the inclusion of this clause can really affect the way we are doing business right now.
Mr. Phelps: Let me give you an example. Any time you dig a ditch of any size at all within the townsite of Carcross, you bump into historic objects. In fact, almost the entire downtown area is littered with old bottles and things; it was always used really as a dump for that kind of object. So everybody who is going to dig is going to be destroying or altering historic objects.
When the Community and Transportation people, for example, put the storm sewage system in to allow them to pave the streets in downtown Carcross, they uncovered hundreds and hundreds of historic objects, which were altered or destroyed.
What this means is that anybody doing anything that involves digging in Carcross is going to have to get a permit, because all those things are historic objects by the definition in this act.
All those things are historic objects by the definition in this act.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to say that not everything that is 45 years of age is classed as an historic object. I have an entire bottle collection I managed to amass during my early days in the territory. All of those bottles, I can assure the Member, are more than 45 years of age; however, just because I have a ketchup bottle that is 70 or 80 years old, it is a ketchup bottle of a type available throughout North America. I do not think it has any particular significance to the development of the territory; however, I do have two bottles in my collection that I would consider to be historic objects. A good example is one that is stamped the Eldorado Bottling Works or, the other one, stamped Bonanza Bottling Works, Dawson, NWT. Most people would consider those historic objects, not any old bottle that is dug up.
Mr. Phelps: With respect, the Minister is putting a subjective value on a definition that is not really clear. If it is 45 years old and has been abandoned, it is an historic object. That is what the definition says in clause 60(1): historic object.
In this particular case, when that ditch was being dug, everyone did grab on to the beer bottles that were there, because they were the old tall ones. I copped a couple myself. The point I am making is that simply because the Minister, in his judgment, says one thing is junk - and another is not because it has the Eldorado Bottling Company stamped on it - does not make the person who is destroying the historic object any happier. He is going to have to get a permit every time something like this occurs; otherwise, he is breaking the law.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I see the point the Member is making. I want to again bring to his attention what I said at the onset of debate on these clauses: 45 years is pretty much an arbitrary number. Just anything that is abandoned is not an historic object. The running shoe a person left behind is obviously not an historic object. We put 45 years in there as a guideline, just like the federal act, which is 50 years.
One of the reasons for 45 years is to claim all those objects that are part of our history during World War II, the building of the Alaska Highway, the airplane, et cetera. If you look at the section 60(1) definition of historic objects, it certainly says more than 65 years, not everything necessarily 45 years or more. It also says, (d) an object designated under subsection (2) as an historic object. If we take a look at that, we are talking about sufficient historic significance, of which age is only one of many factors.
Mr. Phelps: It is an historic object, if it is 45 years old and abandoned, or if it is an archaeological object, or if it is a paleontological object, or if it is designated under subsection (2).
If I was operating equipment in the town of Carcross, for whatever job it might be, and I am going to be destroying a whole bunch of stuff that was left abandoned - because there are virtually thousands of things under the sand there - it gives me small comfort to know it might not be very valuable to the government. I am breaking the law unless I get the permit, no matter what is there. That is the point, and I am submitting and suggesting with respect that that is the problem with having subclause (a) as a guideline. It is more than that.
If I was worried about the government stepping on me, because there was some inspector who did not like me very much, I would be really concerned about anything that was 45 years old, because it is an historic object, and I could be breaking the law unless I get a permit. That is one hell of a hassle for a guy who is working on a large construction site.
Chair: Which clause are you discussing?
Hon. Mr. Webster: We are discussing clause 63, and referring back to clause 60.
Chair: So, we are still on clause 63.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I take the Members argument that it would be highly subjective of the Minister to just rule out some things over 45 years of age, and not other things in determining if an object is historic and does have some significance in the history of the territory.
Mr. Phelps: A lot is historic.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Remember, anything over 45 years of age [unintelligible] yes, it is. On the advice of the Heritage Resources Board, Cabinet will, by regulation, designate a true historic object as such if it is one with a lot of significance to the territory.
The Member is quite right. I did not know it was such a common occurrence in Carcross. It certainly is not in Dawson City that, when anyone goes to dig a new culvert, they come across caches of old bottles.
We would be interested in learning about that, because there is a possibility that some of those bottles are of significance, and we would want to know. Yes, that would require a permit so that we could ensure that the work is carried out in a proper way so as not to destroy those three bottles in 100 that might be of significance.
Clause 63 agreed to
On Clause 64
Mr. Phelps: I do not want to let this go by, yet. I am really concerned about the vague concept of historic objects, which simply says it is anything that is more than 45 years old. The government has to be more specific than that.
What is an object? Does it have to be man-made?
Such a wide and loose term is going to cause grief down the road, particularly for placer miners.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I would welcome a suggestion from the Member opposite as to what kind of a guideline one would use.
Certainly I have offered a reason why 45 years has been submitted here as a guideline to capture those objects that were part of our natural history here in the territory.
Mr. Phelps: I keep coming back to the way that it is done in Alberta, where there has to be a positive act and regulations established saying what classes of objects are historic objects. This is just too loose, if you are going to have sections such as 63.
We are going back to the definition section. I do not think that you need eight. I realize that the government is going to have to sit down and do a bit of work and put together some meaningful regulations about what classes of objects they want. I would hope that there would not be anything less historic than 45 years old. It is okay that I fall in there but I do not want my kids to fall in there, at least not yet. Going back to 60(1), I feel that there is a need to get rid of (a) entirely and to set this up in the regulations. All that I can say is that is how it is done in some other acts.
Hon. Mr. Webster: It is indeed done that way in other places and you do, by regulation, establish a time frame for each class of objects. For example you would start with 45 years of age for airplanes. Where you would start with bottles, I do not know: 75 or 80? That would take a lot of work and that is why we have included here the fact that Cabinet can designate, on the recommendation of the Board, certain objects as being historic.
As I say, the main purpose of it is to serve as a guideline for someone who comes across something out in the land that someone abandoned, with no intention of recovering it, to see that it might be of interest to the people of the Yukon. Later on in the Act there is a clause requiring the person to report an historic object that clearly, I think, gives some guidelines to the individual to say this is not what they are interested in - this may be more than 45 years of age, that is all.
Mr. Phelps: That could be done in a far more concise way than by leaving section 60(1) under historic object - - the age. If you amend it by removing (a), you can do a much better job by getting a far more precise set of definitions in the regulations. Nobody is against that; but I think leaving it as wide open as it is now would be to invite a lack of certainty for a lot of people who may be bumping up against this act in the future.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Member made a suggestion about 60(1)(a) under historic object. He suggested taking out an object that is more than 45 years old and has been abandoned. I think he is not really arguing that the clause be taken out but just the reference to 45 years. Clearly, we want the clause in there, because once this act comes into effect, anyone who finds an historic object will have the 45 year guideline. Do we really want that? No, of course not. The Member says to take it out completely. In other words, he is saying that anything found abandoned after this act comes into effect still becomes the property of the person who found it, as opposed to becoming the property of the people of the Yukon.
Clause 64 agreed to
On Clause 60
Hon. Mr. Webster: How do we know what is going to be in the regulations before they find it?
I would suggest that we stand over clause 60, Definitions.
Clause 60 stood over
On Clause 65
Hon. Mr. Webster: I move
THAT Bill No. 33, entitled Historic Resources Act, be amended in clause 65(2) by:
substituting the expression archaeological object or palaeontological object with the expression historic object, wherever the latter expression appears.
Mr. Phelps: I just want to speak in support of this. This is one of the two most important areas of the bill and about which the most expressions of fear have been received from the public. I am very pleased with this amendment. I certainly will be supporting it.
Amendment agreed to
Mr. Phillips: On clause 65(4)(b), what are the circumstances that would require the object be delivered to the Minister? Could he give us some examples of that?
Hon. Mr. Webster: This subclause attempts to clarify the ownership or right of possession of all abandoned historical objects. They belong to the Yukon government.
This refers back to this guideline of the 45 years. We certainly do not want everything reported to the government. Basically, it says that the abandoned historical objects belong to the Yukon government. It provides opportunities for the finder to have custody of the object. Anything that is more than 45 years old qualifies. For example, if someone comes across an old boiler or pump in the bush from the old mining days that is about 90 years old, and if it is not on an active placer claim, but on some Crown land, obviously it will have some historic value. If it is obviously abandoned, and no one has any intention of coming back for it, this is an example of an object found in this clause here.
Mr. Phelps: Again we get back to the very problem of the definition in Section 60(1). I can assure the Minister that we probably have several hundred thousand such objects buried in Carcross that I would be pleased to deliver to his office.
Clause 65 agreed to as amended
On Clause 66
Clause 66 agreed to
On Clause 67
Hon. Mr. Webster: I move
THAT Bill No. 33, entitled Historic Resources Act, be amended in clause 67(2) at page 43 by: adding the following expression immediately after the words public inspection: but if the historic object is owned by or is in the custody of any person other than the Government of the Yukon then the Minister shall not disclose the location of the object or the name or address of the person except with that persons consent or for the enforcement of this Act.
Mr. Phillips: Does the Minister have that in writing?
Chair: We have a copy for Mr. Phillips.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I tabled this proposed amendment right at the beginning of todays debate. This was the one that we agreed to in negotiations about confidentiality.
Mr. Phelps: I have no difficulty with that particular amendment, although I do not think it deals with both issues. There are two issues we are speaking to, and the other issue had to do with clause 67(1)(a). The issue with regard to this clause was the danger of disclosing the present location and the place where it was discovered if you were trying to keep that place secret. You have not dealt with that in this amendment.
It seems to me that this amendment does not deal with the situation of protecting the secret caves found around Old Crow, or something like that. Another amendment would be required to deal with that issue.
Speaking to the amendment at hand, we agree with it, although there is another amendment required. Perhaps, we could deal with the question on this amendment, and stand it over for further amendment.
Amendment agreed to
Clause 67 stood over as amended
On Clause 68
Clause 68 agreed to
On Clause 69
Clause 69 agreed to
On Clause 70
Mr. Phillips: Is clause 70(1) the area that will affect the placer miners and their particular claims when we have jurisdiction over that area?
Hon. Mr. Webster: It would affect placer miners if they uncovered a paleontological object, because you would want to notify the officials. However, this also deals with persons finding any abandoned object that is likely an historic object, using that guideline of 45 years.
Mr. Phillips: I would suggest we stand this clause aside until we deal with the definition of an historic object.
Clause 70 stood over
On Clause 71
Clause 71 agreed to
On Clause 72
Clause 72 agreed to
On Clause 73
Clause 73 agreed to
On Clause 74
Clause 74 agreed to
On Clause 75
Mr. Phelps: What does section 75 do to your favourite hotel that is historic? Under section 75, if there is a question in anybodys mind, especially the bank, that the commercial building - let us say it is a hotel - may someday be designated an historic site.
If you were the proud owner of the Caribou Hotel or the hotel in Keno City, and you were going to the bank and borrowing money to finance your business, and the bank was made aware of section 75, do you not think that they would feel that it would be almost impossible to lend you money, because something could happen to put their mortgage at risk by taking priority over the mortgage? Banks do not lend you money unless it is registered against the title, and it is the first mortgage, and that is going to be it.
I see a great deal of problems in obtaining financing arising for people with old buildings, because of the wording of section 75.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Perhaps I misinterpreted the intent of this clause. I thought the intent of this clause was to set some priority of filings made under this act, in the appropriate land titles office.
In other words, if a site has been designated as a territorial historic site, that would be required to be filed in the land titles office. Any prospective buyer of that piece of property would know. This refers back to the amendment the Member made earlier to provide a prospective buyer with notice, in writing, that the site has been designated as an historic site. That is all that I read this to mean.
Mr. Phelps: Notice that is filed under this act in the land registry takes priority over documents filed registered against the property that were already filed there. This states that if you have a fairly complicated instrument because you lent money to the hotel in Keno City, and much later something is filed under this act, that this act takes precedence. Is is not clear then that this will probably pose an obstacle to people being able to go to the bank and raise money on a business involving a building that may come under the purvue of this act in the future?
You have all kinds of older buildings where people are going to be trying to raise money to carry on business in them and make improvements to them on the strengths of mortgages and other documents. Yet, things filed under this act are going to rank ahead of the mortgage that could have been in place for 10 years. I could lend money as a bank to Geordie up in Keno City, register my mortgage and then have documents rank ahead of them five years later. Banks will not do that; they do not like any chance of anything undermining their first charge against property when they reluctantly, in the case of out of town, other than Whitehorse, lend money for any kind of commercial venture. I just wonder whether or not the implications of section 75 have been looked at closely by Justice and by those in the legal profession who are involved in those kinds of transactions. I am concerned that it may prove to be a burden to people trying to carry on business in and with old commercial buildings.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I request that we stand over clause 75 to give myself some time to consider the concerns raised by the Member and report back.
Clause 75 stood over
On clause 76
Clause 76 agreed to
On Clause 77
Clause 77 agreed to
On Clause 78
Clause 78 agreed to
On Clause 79
Clause 79 agreed to
On Clause 80
Clause 80 agreed to
On Clause 81
Clause 81 agreed to
On Clause 82
Clause 82 agreed to
On Clause 83
Clause 83 agreed to
On Clause 84
Clause 84 agreed to
On Clause 85
Mr. Phelps: Is the Minister convinced, in his own mind, that $50,000 each day is enough under this section?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I would consider that adequate, as do most other jurisdictions.
Mrs. Firth: How could we amend the Access to Information Act through the Historic Resources Act? Should we not be bringing in an amendment to the Access to Information Act?
Hon. Mr. Webster: This certainly refers back to the situation where we are giving protection to the site where an historic object was discovered, as was just raised a few minutes ago.
Mrs. Firth: I do not understand how one act can be amended through another act. Why is an amendment to the Access to Information Act not being brought in?
How can the Access to Information Act be amended through the Historic Resources Act?
Mr. Phelps: I notice in the Alberta Act, a copy of which I have here, that it is a $50,000 maximum fine or to imprisonment in that act. In section 65 of this act, the fine is $50,000 per day. I would seriously ask the Minister to reconsider the amount of the fine. There is a big difference between a maximum fine of $50,000 and a fine of $50,000 per day. The maximum fine of $50,000 per day seems to me to be a little extraordinary.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mr. Phelps: The colleague of the Minister says that the judge will decide. But, this certainly, of itself, speaks to the seriousness of the nature of any offense. This is an extraordinary level in terms of fines. It would seem to me that the judge, in imposing a fine, would certainly take notice of the unusual significance of this. Fifty thousand dollars per day is extraordinarily different from a maximum fine of $50,000 per offense, as set out in the Alberta Act.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I guess it is similar in the sense that the maximum amount of the fine is $50,000. Like the Alberta Act, we do not expect that a person would knowingly carry on the activity for a second day, to incur another possible $50,000 fine.
I would suggest to you that the Alberta Act is probably inadequate in the sense that it does not provide a penalty for continued willful negligence or for carrying on the violation for more than one day.
Mr. Phelps: Perhaps we could stand that aside for discussion, because we are coming back on the most important issue that is left: definition of historic objects. I would say to the Minister and to the side opposite that the issue of the $50,000 per day makes it extremely important that we know what we are talking about, with a great deal of specificity as to what is an historic object. That is the kind of fine that is being sought over destruction, failing to report a finding, of virtually any piece of junk one can find in any old dump. Without a great deal of specificity about what constitutes an historic object, I think this penalty of $50,000 a day maximum is way out of line.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I will accept the Members suggestion to stand this over for further consideration.
Clause 85 stood over
On Clause 86
Clause 86 agreed to
On Clause 87
Clause 87 agreed to
On Clause 88
Chair: Mr. Webster, are you going to bring this bill back after the break?
You are going to have to report progress if you are not going to bring it back. We will have a break.
Chair: Committee of the Whole will now come to order.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Madam Chair, I move that you report progress on Bill No. 33.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 79 - An Act to Amend the Pounds Act
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to begin my remarks tonight by addressing two concerns or questions raised by the Member for Porter Creek East in the second reading debate. He raised the question about whether or not administrators in this department had any influence on any of the charges that were being laid under this act.
Department officials are not, of course, involved in the processing of charges under the Pounds Act. That is the responsibility of the RCMP or a Justice of the Peace, based on the information provided by the pound keeper. The department is not aware of any exceptions that have been made to this procedure. It is a function of the RCMP and they are left alone to do their job.
What may occur, however, is that someone may have complained to the RCMP about an animal that is on the highway or on someones private property and the RCMP may have reviewed the nature of the complaint and dismissed it. That may be what the Member is referring to.
The Member asked about statistics on how many charges have been laid over the past two years and how many were successful. In the municipal pounds area, six charges have been laid since April 1, 1989, under the Pounds Act, pertaining mostly to animals at large on the highways. Three charges were successful and three were not.
I can give the Member a further breakdown by pounds area if he likes. At the Minto pound in 1989-90, 12 horses were captured; there were no convictions and $510 in sales. In 1990-91, 11 horses were captured; there were no convictions and $2935 in sales.
At the Takhini pound in 1989-90, 18 horses were captured; there were no convictions and no sales. In 1990-91, 42 horses and seven cows were captured with five convictions.
In Haines Junction, in 1989-90, 10 horses were captured; there were no convictions and no sales. In 1990-91, 14 horses were captured, with $350 in sales. On the Carcross Road in 1989-90, five horses were captured; there were no sales. In 1990-91, there were two horse charges, with no sales and no convictions.
The summary over those two years for all four areas that I just described is as follows: in 1989-90, there were a total of 45 animals captured and no convictions; in 1990-91 there were 69 horses and seven cows captured; there were only seven convictions and three dismissals.
Mr. Lang: It does beg the question: why would there not be any convictions? Are you saying that you were unsuccessful in court when they seized a number of these horses? What I do not understand is, if you have the horses in your possession and they have been at large, it would seem to me that there are two options. The owner either pays the fine to the court or the animals are sold. From what the Member has just told me, we had 45 horses, with no sales and no convictions. Where are the horses?
Hon. Mr. Webster: In most cases, the person paid the fine. That would not result in the sale of the animal of course.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Hon. Mr. Webster: If they pay the fine they are not convicted.
Mr. Lang: What the Minister is saying is that there was a fine levied and he does not call that a conviction.
I would like to move very briefly into a number of areas in this act. I would like to ask the Minister what kind of training these pound keepers receive once they have applied for and received the position. It seems to me that people are hired with very little background in enforcement, which basically this act is. I am wondering what the department provides for them to ensure they can do their job properly as well as recognize their responsibility to the public.
Hon. Mr. Webster: This has only been in effect for two years. During the first two years, not a great deal of experience was requested of people in competition for these contracts. Once they were successful in securing the contract, they were given some basic training involved in identifying pounds and working with animals. Now with this ability to issue summary conviction tickets, they will be given a great deal more training.
Mr. Lang: Is the Minister telling us that an actual program is to be made available to them, or is a program in the process of being written up?
Hon. Mr. Webster: There is nothing currently in place that we can use. We are going to have to develop training for these individuals. Some of our conservation officers have expertise in that area as do some of the RCMP. We will be calling upon their talents to give the necessary training to these individuals.
Mr. Lang: It is easy to stand up in the House and say there is training. When asked what training is available, the Minister tells us that there are a couple of officers who have had previous experience catching horses, so they therefore could conduct a course.
I guess my concern is this. The people who have these contracts are very good, well-meaning, solid citizens, but in many cases they do not have any enforcement background at all. Primarily, they have had some experience in dealing with animals, but that is basically their only credentials in some cases.
I feel that there has to be a program developed that will give these individuals a two- or three-day course, in order that they establish a basic understanding of what they are supposed to be doing and how they are supposed to be doing it. I would like the Ministers assurances that something like this will be developed over the course of the next three months or so and then provided to them. I think that it is absolutely essential from their point of view, from the publics point of view and also from the point of view of the livestock, animals and owners that we are dealing with.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Obviously, these people will require some training for the enforcement responsibilities that they now acquire with this revision in the act. They will get it.
With respect to catching horses and recognizing brands, et cetera, obviously their talents have been improving for the last couple of years. They are doing a good job of catching the horses and cows that have been wandering onto the highways or wandering loose.
Mr. Lang: That is debatable. It depends on what day you are going down the highway.
The other point that could be made is that maybe there are more horses out there. It is an area that I will be pursuing in the main estimates. I may want something tabled to give an idea exactly what is going to be done about a training program. There are things such as the Brands Act. These individuals should be familiar with that. There should be some time spent with them so that they understand it.
I would like to move over to one other area regarding enforcement. I understand that just recently there was a court case that took place here with a deputy judge presiding. Apparently, the animals were out loose but the pound keeper or conservation officer was not in a position to be able to prove that these animals were intentionally let out. In other words, the animals could conceivable have got out on their own.
The court case was thrown out. Is the Minister familiar with this?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Is the Member referring to the recent case in the Haines Junction-Champagne area, where evidence was brought forward that horses escaped as a result of the bison knocking down the fence? Or is the Member referring to another case where the owner perhaps did not shut the gate, unintentionally?
Mr. Lang: It was just brought to my attention. I am not too sure which specific case it was, but it was the one where the government did not prove intent so subsequently the case was thrown out. That is all I know about it - just in very general terms. I cannot say whether it had to do with the bison or the fence being left open or whatever. I am just curious as to whether the Minister knew anything about it and, if he did, how was it going to affect the present Pounds Act? If precedent is set that we have to prove intent for animals being outside their normal place of residence, which is the fenced-in area, then obviously it is a whole different ball game than what is intended in the Pounds Act.
Hon. Mr. Webster: No. I am certain the Member is referring to the case recently in the Champagne area where the evidence presented was that the horses were let loose as a result of bison knocking down the fence; the judge had reason to believe that was a justifiable reason for the horses being loose on the highway and he dismissed the case.
Mr. Lang: If an owner of animals in a fenced-in area can somehow indicate to the court that somebody else left the fence open, then obviously - with the precedent set by that case - they would not be in the wrong. Is that correct? The cause does not necessarily have to be bison.
Hon. Mr. Webster: In the particular case the Member cites, the onus would of course be on the owner to prove that someone else did cause an action that caused his horses to get out of the compound and get onto the highway area.
Mr. Brewster: As I understand the judge, who is from horse country, Williams Lake, none of those charges will stick. Number one, the moose could tear the fence down, and that is not your fault. He happens to come from an area where these things happen. I understand he has indicated to the police that it does little good to bring these cases back into court.
Hon. Mr. Webster: That could be true, if it could be proven by the owner that a bison or moose did break down the fence and cause his horses to escape. I would not say that would be the case every time. I think it would be pretty difficult to prove.
Mr. Brewster: I would like to point out another case. While I was coming to town today, I saw the fence the Champagne/Aishihik Band put up that is supposed to hold these famous buffalo. It is all lying down in two sections. Something went through it and knocked it down. I would not think it would be the buffalo. Why would they go into the fence, when they are outside of it? However, it was all knocked down.
They have put their horses back there, and they have an association to pay for it. Something knocks that fence down, and they come out on the road, that is not their fault. If it is a case of the buffalo, then it is the governments fault. There is no question there. They put the buffalo there, where they do not belong.
Mr. Lang: I think it is an area that should be monitored. If the precedent has been set where, indirectly, the government has to prove intent, or vice versa, where legitimate excuse could be used that the buffalo or moose went through the fence, or someone else got in and opened the gate, and if the courts are prepared to believe that, then I think we have a serious problem in our legislation. That leaves it pretty wide open.
The bottom line is that people are supposed to be taking care of their animals. I think all of us are concerned about the safety of the travelling public and what effect that is going to have. To some degree, the problem along the highways has been remedied in good part, except for the infamous buffalo, which I am sure will come back to haunt the Minister.
It is an area we should be aware of. If there are major problems with it, the Minister should let us know. Trying to solve real safety problems, I think, is non-partisan.
With those comments, I am prepared to go on with the line-by-line debate.
On Clause 1
Mr. Lang: If the owner is found guilty of a third or subsequent offence within three years, obviously he loses one of his animals - the last, or third, one that was picked up. I am just curious if this is how it works in B.C. and Alberta. Is this type of action taken?
Hon. Mr. Webster: This is quite common, except that in other jurisdictions I believe the time period is much shorter than three years.
Mr. Lang: I did not quite understand that. Are you saying that in most jurisdictions there has to be three offenses in a year? Is that the time frame?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I do not know the specific length of time. I know they are less than three years.
Mr. Lang: I just want to look at one other aspect: the question of auctions. I notice the Minister talked about the sale of a number of animals with the statistics he quoted during general debate.
Are we getting into the situation where we have animals that are not bought and must be kept in our possession?
Hon. Mr. Webster: This last year we had more difficulty selling the animals. The introduction of this amendment will ensure that we get the best price at an auction for the animals. We have no problems selling the animals. This will give us the best price and provide everyone with a fair opportunity to bid on the animal.
Mr. Lang: When the Minister talks about three public places in the pounds district - for instance, the Takhini and Mayo Road area - is the Minister considering making some public announcement via radio or that type of communication?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am sorry, I did not understand the Members question. Are we going to make a public announcement about the auction? Yes. As well as radio, we are going to have it posted in three different places in the pounds district.
Clause 1 agreed to
On Clause 2
Clause 2 agreed to
Title agreed to
Hon. Mr. Webster: I move that you report Bill No. 79, without amendment.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that 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. 44, entitled Highways Act, and directed me to report the same with amendment. Further, the Committee has considered Bill No. 33, entitled Historic Resources Act, and directed me to report progress on same. Further, Committee has considered Bill No.79, entitled An Act To Amend the Pounds Act, and directed me to report the same without amendment.
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 would request unanimous consent to return to the Daily Routine for the purposes of responding to a Petition.
Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?
All Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: Unanimous consent has been granted.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Petition No. 6
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I appreciate the return to routine. I have for filing with the Clerk a response to Petition No. 6, regarding Mendenhall roads.
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 9:16 p.m.
The following Legislative Return was tabled May 13, 1991:
Na Dli Youth Centre: job description of persons responsible for Na Dli, statement of qualifications and hiring procedures
Oral, Hansard, p. 800-801