Tuesday, November 12, 1991 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. At this time, we will proceed with Prayers.
RESIGNATION OF DEPUTY SERGEANT-AT-ARMS AND INTRODUCTION OF NEW SERGEANT-AT-ARMS
Speaker: Before proceeding to the Order Paper, I wish to formally inform the House that during the recess, the Chair received notification that Max Ayers had decided to resign his position as Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms.
Max has joined us in the visitors gallery today. I am sure all Members will join me in thanking Max for the service he has provided to this Assembly and in wishing him the very best in his retirement years.
Speaker: Members will be aware that the resignation of Mr. Ayers, combined with the earlier retirement of Frank Ursich, left us with vacancies in both the Sergeant-at-Arms and Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms positions.
All Members will know from the letter I sent out last week that Mr. Emery Shilleto has been appointed to our Sergeant-at-Arms position.
Mr. Shilleto arrived in the Yukon in 1944. He spent most of his life in Mayo where he was the territorial agent since 1965 until his retirement earlier this year.
Emery and his wife, Eileen, have since moved to Whitehorse, which is also the home of their two children and three grandchildren. I ask all Members to join me in welcoming Emery Shilleto to the Legislative Assembly as our new Sergeant-at-Arms.
INTRODUCTION OF PAGES
Speaker: I also wish to inform the House that the pages during this sitting will come from two schools. On Monday afternoons, we will have Kelson Bastien and Ryan Osborne from St. Elias School in Haines Junction. The pages for the rest of the week will come from Porter Creek Jr. Secondary School. Their names are Jamie Ayers, Karen Ballantyne, Michelle Callander, Tashia Duchesne, Emily Harris, Nadia Joe, Kevin McGovern and Benita Sarana. Todays pages are Michelle Callander and Tashia Duchesne. I would ask the pages to join us at this time.
Speaker: We will now proceed to the Order Paper and Daily Routine. The Hon. Premier.
Eulogy to Elijah Smith
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I rise this afternoon to express, on behalf of my colleagues, our sadness and sense of loss at the recent death of respected elder, Elijah Smith. Mr. Smith can be truly called the father of Yukon Indian land claim and, as president of the Yukon Native Brotherhood, he organized his people to begin work on a settlement of their long outstanding claims.
In 1973, he presented to then Prime Minister Trudeau the document that has been the basis for negotiations in the Yukon, Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow. Mr. Smith was also instrumental in organizing the Council for Yukon Indians and served as its first chair. In setting up the Council for Yukon Indians, he brought together aboriginal people - status and non-status people - who, in his words, were divided by the Indian Act.
It is largely through his early efforts that we are working today toward a land claim settlement for all Yukon people. His work, on behalf of this territory and its aboriginal citizens, was recognized in 1976 when he was awarded the Order of Canada. Mr. Smith was present in Ottawa last year when the umbrella final agreement on the Yukon Indian land claim was initialed.
I know I speak for others in the House when I say that it is truly regrettable that he will not be with us for the final settlement. When the settlement is reached, it will be a fitting tribute to a man who has worked so hard for its achievement.
Mr. Smith loved the Yukon. He spent his whole life here, apart from the period in which he served his country overseas. We owe much to him, for the Yukon is indeed a better place because of him. Today I express my sympathies and those of my colleagues to his family and friends. Yukon people will remember the enormous contribution Mr. Smith has made to this territory, and I hope we can continue his dream of building together a society that respects all of its citizens - aboriginal and non-aboriginal. This is what he wanted and we want for our children tomorrow. Thank you.
Mr. Phelps: I would like to add a few words to what has been said.
It is certainly true that all Yukoners lost a great person with the demise of Elijah Smith. I am sure he will go down in history as a giant figure in the Yukon for this century.
His key role in reversing aboriginal rights policy in Canada has already been spoken about. He was a larger-than-life figure internationally as well.
I could not help but notice that at his funeral there was a large attendance by so many people from all over the Yukon and from all walks of life. Like all great people, Elijah was down to earth, approachable and a person who genuinely liked people. He spent a large part of his life assisting and fighting for the underdog. We will all miss him very greatly.
Mrs. Firth: We, too, want to extend our condolences to the family members of Elijah Smith in his passing.
As the Premier has already enunciated his accomplishments, followed by the Leader of the Official Opposition, I would like to present some personal stories about time I spent with Elijah Smith.
He is a person who knew a great deal of stories. One of the great loves of his life was, of course, his horses. I want to pass on a couple of stories told to me by Elijah.
We spent an evening together moving horses and went late into the morning doing this at Elijahs ranch out on the highway. We had to load a horse up into the truck in the darkness and then Elijah and I spent some considerable time driving to where we were transporting this horse.
I never before had the opportunity to work with Elijah in any kind of official capacity, although I knew of the gentleman and of his greatness in the Yukon. We had some hours to pass telling stories. There was nothing better to tell than horse stories. Every time Elijah told another story it indicated to me that, not only was he passing on a story of interest to him, but he was also passing on interesting historical things about the Yukon.
One of the first stories was about a time in Whitehorse when, on Baxter Street, a gentlemen named, I think, Mr. Baxter, used to have corrals in his yard. Elijah was responsible for breaking the horses. He told me that the best and most effective way he ever broke a horse was to get on it and ride up the clay cliffs and then down again.
You, Mr. Speaker, have experience with horses and I am sure you can relate to that. He also related an interesting story about the numbers of horses that were kept right here in the city and were used not only for outfitting but also for the dominion land surveys. He spoke of how they would ride them across the river to Riverdale where they would be pastured for the winter. It was interesting to know that Riverdale used to be just a pasturing ground for the horses.
One of the most interesting stories was Elijahs dream to make a trip again that he had made some 30 or 40 years ago several times. It was to follow the Dalton Trail. Elijah talked about that and wanted to utilize that route for trail rides. It was the trip from Rainy Hollow to Klukshu and then to Dezadeash, Champagne and Hutshi Lake, and eventually end up in Braeburn.
It is interesting to know that, as a gentleman of 79 years old, he was still interested in saddling up horses, packing them and riding, and fulfilling his dream.
I want to share some of the interesting stories I was fortunate to get from Elijah that night we were moving the horses. Every time the horse banged its feet in the back of the truck, Elijah had another story; it reminded him of another story about a horse experience. I think all Yukoners are going to miss him. The whole community felt the impact of his death and we, on this side, wish to express our grief at his passing.
Speaker: We will now proceed to the Order Paper.
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Ms. Kassi: It gives me a great honour to introduce to you and the Members of this House, our son Yudii Gwahtlati. His English name is Nathan Albert Mercredi. He carries the name of my ancestral grandfathers and he was born at ten minutes to twelve on August 19, 1991.
Speaker: Are there any Returns or Documents for Tabling?
Are there any Reports of Committees?
Petition No. 9
Clerk: Mr. Speaker and hon. Members of the Assembly, I have had the honour to review a petition, being Petition No. 9 of the second session of the Twenty-seventh Legislative Assembly, as presented by the Hon. Member for Whitehorse Porter Creek West on May 29, 1991. This petition meets the requirements as to form for Standing Orders of the Yukon Legislative Assembly.
Speaker: Pursuant to Standing Order 66, Petition No. 9 is deemed to be read and received.
Introduction of Bills?
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill No. 17: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move that Bill No. 17, entitled Fourth Appropriation Act, 1990-91, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Premier that Bill No. 17, entitled Fourth Appropriation Act, 1990-91, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 17 agreed to
Bill No. 18: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move that Bill No. 18, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 1991-92, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Premier that Bill No. 18, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 1991-92, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 18 agreed to
Bill No. 19: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move that Bill No. 19, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1992-93, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Premier that Bill No. 19, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1992-93, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for the introduction and first reading of Bill No. 19 agreed to
Speaker: Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
NOTICE OF MOTION FOR THE PRODUCTION OF PAPERS
Mr. Nordling: I give notice of motion
THAT the House do issue an order for a return of all financial analyses and forecasts completed in relation to the Yukon governments decentralization program.
Speaker: Are there any Notices of Motion?
NOTICES OF MOTION
Mr. Lang: I would like to give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the decentralization policy and initiatives be referred to the Public Accounts Committee and that the Public Accounts Committee report any findings and recommendations to the Assembly in its next report.
Further, I would like to give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the government table a proposed five-year capital plan at the beginning of each budget year in order that all interested parties can give the government advice on: one, local hire and how it will be affected; two, how to allocate proposed budgets in order that the various sectors of the construction industry and business community can make long term plans; and, three, how projects should be phased in, in order to ensure that Yukon business and construction companies can bid competitively on capital projects.
Mrs. Firth: I would like to give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that in the next territorial general election, two referendum questions should accompany the ballot. The first, to entitle the voter to recall legislators and cause the call of a by-election, and the second, to give the voters the power to propose their own policy initiatives through referendums.
I would also like to give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Government of Yukon, Department of Health and Social Services, establish a position for a fetal alcohol syndrome/fetal alcohol effects coordinator.
I give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the appointments of the three deputy ministers to the interim hospital board be revoked and replaced with three individuals from the community.
Finally, I give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Government of Yukon, Department of Justice, consider establishing a specialized family violence court using the pilot project established in Winnipeg, Manitoba, as a model.
Mr. Nordling: I give notice of motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Department of Health and Social Services should reverse its decision to request names of all clients using the services of non-profit organizations.
Speaker: Are there any Statements by Ministers?
Teslin Tlingit final land claims agreement and status of land claims in general
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As you know, it is our policy to regularly inform the House of the progress on land claims. Over the weekend negotiators for the Yukon government, the federal government and the Teslin Tlinglit First Nation reached an understanding on a First Nation final agreement.
As you will remember, final agreements with each of the 14 First Nations are provided for under the umbrella final agreement. These final agreements allow specific agreements to be made with each First Nation in a number of areas, including land selections, fish and wildlife.
It should be noted that self-government is to be negotiated separately from the band final agreements. I plan to say more about the self-government negotiations in a minute.
First, however, I would like to inform the House on some aspects of the Teslin Tlinglit Final Agreement. Key features of the agreement include a finalization of land selections amounting to 937 square miles, an agreement on fish and wildlife harvest, provisions that will increase the opportunities for Teslin Tlingit people to participate in the Yukon economy, community land selections that will permit the needs of both the community and the First Nations to be met in the future, and the creation of a national wildlife area in the Nisutlin Delta.
This agreement marks the third final agreement to be reached and represents one more step toward the certainty that land claims will provide for all Yukon people.
I would also like to take this opportunity to report to this House on the status of land claim negotiations generally.
Negotiations on First Nation final agreements are proceeding with the target of having four of these agreements completed in time for the Council for Yukon Indians General Assembly, in the first week of December. With the completion of four First Nation final agreements, we will have met the federal government requirement enabling us to proceed with ratification and implementation of the Yukon land claim and with settlement legislation.
It is expected that at the General Assembly the Council for Yukon Indians will address the completed umbrella final agreement.
Self-government negotiations are continuing. We have been working out these agreements at a joint table with all four of the First Nations now involved in final agreement negotiations. We anticipate the completion of this joint agreement in time for the Council for Yukon Indians General Assembly. This will make it possible to proceed with ratification by these four First Nations.
Both governments will also be able to proceed with the ratification and with drafting of legislation to enable the self-government agreements to have the force of law.
I expect that in 1992 the Parliament of Canada and this Assembly will have both settlement legislation and self-government-enabling legislation presented to them. At that time, Members will be given a full opportunity to review the land claim agreements and to vote in support of a completed land claim in the Yukon.
I know that all Members will be keenly interested in reviewing the details of the agreements that have been negotiated. However, though final agreements have been reached, the written forms of these agreements have not be consolidated, nor have they been seen by the First Nation members or by Cabinet. I am sure Members realize that release of these documents depends upon agreement by all three parties. However, once they have been reviewed and all parties have agreed to their release, I will be pleased to forward them to all Members of the Assembly.
Mr. Brewster: I am very pleased to see that at least there looks like there is a light at the end of the tunnel, that the land claim will finally get settled and that we can get on with our work. However, after reading the news release, most of which was on CHON/FM radio, we pretty well knew what was coming before it even got here.
I am a little amazed at the first sentence of the ministerial statement where he says that the policy is to inform us regularly. We have written two letters. One was written on August 22 and one on October 17, asking for copies or a review of what is in these negotiations. We have not received any answer of any kind.
However, after reading the last page of the agreement, what he is saying is reasonable, that the other parties have not agreed and it is not yet signed. I must point out that if the government wants cooperation from this side of the House, they had better keep us a little better informed than they are now.
I hope the government does not feel that they are going to come in here at the last minute to spring the legislation, without us knowing about it and having plenty of time to study these agreements before the legislation comes forward. If that is the case, there will be some problems.
I am rather concerned that the self-government issue was not in this settlement because this brings up a rather large question. If you are not able to get self-government with the Indian people of the Yukon, does this mean that all of these other agreements are null and void?
These are things that the people of the Yukon and anybody else have a right to know, particularly those people in this Legislature. I think the Legislature should be aware of what is going on and what can happen during these things.
Mrs. Firth: Mr. Speaker, on a Point of Privilege.
Speaker: Point of privilege, to the Member for Whitehorse Riverdale South.
Point of Order
Mrs. Firth: I rise on a point of privilege regarding the ministerial statement. The record should show that the Independent Alliance would have liked to respond to this statement dealing with an issue of great importance to all Yukoners; however, we are unable to, because the Members Services Board refused to recognize our party status.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: On the question of privilege that has been raised by the Member for Riverdale South, I would like to inform the House that I have consulted Members on both sides of the House to determine whether two independent MLAs should be accorded special privileges in this Legislature. Members have reported back that, first, they have drawn a distinction between the minimum qualifications required to establish a party for the purposes of the Election Act, and the commonsense definition of a party for the purposes of according House privileges.
There is perceived to be two different processes: one rooted in the statute, and the other in the parliamentary traditions of this Legislature.
Some have questioned the publicly-enunciated motives for establishing the party and have had trouble reconciling the independent members definition of party status with the commonsense definition of what a party is.
To my knowledge, no Member has expressed concern or interest in this matter out of a simple desire to be obstructionist or obstreperous about it, but simply to clarify the nature and extent that this precedent might create.
Many Members have expressed a desire to debate this matter in public on the floor of the House and in the Standing Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges. Consequently, I have filed a motion with the Clerk this afternoon to refer the matter to the Standing Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges, whose mandate it is to discuss exactly this kind of issue.
As we know, any Member may participate in the discussions in the committee, and the conduct of the meeting is usually open to the public.
I trust that the matter will be dealt with by all Members in due course and we will have a resolution to this issue shortly.
Mr. Phillips: On the question of privilege, we would like to support the position taken by the Government House Leader respecting this very important and complicated matter.
This issue is one that the Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges should deal with as their mandate. It raises some very serious questions about what constitutes a political party and will not be a simple decision or one that should be taken lightly.
Mr. Speaker, if you rule to disallow this question of privilege, or reserve judgment on the question of privilege, I can give you our assurance from this side that we will urge the committee to give this immediate consideration and deal with this matter forthwith.
Speaker: Order please. The Chair must rule that the Member for Whitehorse Riverdale South does not have a point of order or question of privilege.
The Member for Whitehorse Riverdale South and the Member for Whitehorse Porter Creek West have said that they have been denied status as a third party of this House. This House does not have any rules or practices that authorize the Speaker to recognize third parties.
Also, it must be noted that neither the Standing Orders nor the Legislative Assembly Act contain any provisions that define a third party; therefore, it is the House, not the Chair, that must decide upon the recognition of a third party.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Member for Kluane raised a couple of important points in response to the ministerial statement and I want to attempt to put his mind to rest on those questions.
It is true that the Leader of the Official Opposition has written me requesting copies of the agreements referred to in the statement. In accordance with the policy indicated in the final paragraph of my statement today, we do intend to make those documents available as soon as we can. I have recently written to the Leader of the Official Opposition in response to his letter, offering in advance of the receipt of those documents, a briefing by the head of land claims for Members - opposition caucuses or otherwise. That will be made available to them. I understand the concern about not being rushed to judgment on these questions. Our hope is that the Member opposite will feel fully informed and fully briefed and will be able to make carefully considered decisions on the legislation, well in advance of the time it appears before this House next spring.
Speaker: This brings us to Question Period.
Question re: Mental Health Act
Mr. Lang: I was intending to lead off with another issue this afternoon but events over the weekend have forced this side of the House to ask Members to give some scrutiny to the implementation of the Mental Health Act.
This act is probably one of the most far-reaching pieces of legislation that has ever been passed in this House since it deals with the fundamental rights of an individual, and protection of society as well as that of the mentally ill who are unable to help themselves.
We learned a month ago that the act that was passed on May 14, 1990, had not been proclaimed as of last month. At that time, on May 14, 1990, the minister of the day, Mr. Penikett, stated: We do not see the regulations taking a great length of time. Many of the regulations we will be talking about will be the forms for application and review, which will be new procedures contemplated under the act. I assume that the work will proceed and conclude within a few short months after the passage of the act and then the bill will be proclaimed.
I have a question for the previous Minister of Health and the Government Leader. Could he tell us why this act has not been implemented when he made that commitment to the House on May 14, 1990?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As the Member will know, it is not possible under the rules of any parliament anywhere to ask questions of a minister about a previous ministerial capacity. When he directs his supplementaries to the proper minister, the Minister of Health, she will, I am sure, describe the complexities of the process she and her officials experienced in completing the drafting of the regulations and the training of people who were to manage the responsibilities under the act. I am sure the minister responsible will give the Member opposite a satisfactory explanation.
Mr. Lang: I am surprised at the Government Leader passing the buck on this particular issue when he made the commitment to the Legislature, as the Minister of Health, and as the Government Leader in his capacity as chair of Cabinet, to pass the necessary regulations in order to bring it into effect.
In view of the seriousness of this situation, I would ask the Minister of Health why it has taken so long for this act to be implemented, in view of the commitments made by all Members of this House almost two years ago.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: It has certainly taken longer to implement the new Mental Health Act than we originally anticipated, as the Member may have heard, through my discussions with various members of the media. In late June of this year, we heard that similar sections of the Ontario act were thrown out because of Charter challenges. At that point, the question was whether or not we could implement the new act as it stood, or leave out the controversial sections.
At that time, it appeared that we could leave out the sections. Later, it appeared that was not possible. The advice that was given at a later date was that we would have to leave the sections in, or bring the act back to the House for major changes.
At that point, it was the decision to implement, with the suggestion to board members and local physicians that they not use those two sections of the act. We cannot tell them not to, but we can advise that those two sections not be used.
Mr. Lang: There seems to be a great deal of confusion surrounding this bill. I recall that there were dollars spent on consultants in order to have this bill drafted and presented to the House. That was two years ago. The Minister was just talking about last June. This should have been implemented a year and one-half ago. It was passed by the House.
In view of the Government Leaders excuses of why it was not implemented, and passing the buck on to the Minister of Health, could that Minister tell us how much consultation has taken place with the Yukon Medical Association and the legal fraternity, as well as with anyone else affected, regarding the new act and regulations?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I can only speak for the actions taken since my appointment in January of this year. Certainly, we hired a person to draft a manual. The manual has been available to physicians and to the professional people - lawyers and such. There have been ongoing training sessions, and some of them have been happening this week. There has been a considerable amount of training.
Question re: Mental Health Act
Mr. Lang: We have one minister who was prepared to talk about the act until last January. The previous minister, of course, was not prepared to speak because he said it is against the rules as far as going back in history, which I do not personally agree with, in view of his position as Government Leader. I would ask the Minister of Health and Social Services if the Minister of Health and Social Services could table in this House the regulations that are required to accompany this act?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I will take that as notice.
Mr. Lang: My information is that there are no regulations under the new act and that was causing one of the problems. I am also further informed that the Yukon Medical Association termed this situation as a debacle as far as management and implementation of legislation is concerned. In fact, I am told that an individual who was caught in the middle of this unfortunate situation as a patient, was caught in the middle of the transition, as far as legislation was concerned.
I want to ask the Minister of Health and Social Services how come the new act was proclaimed without any new regulations, when the previous Minister of Health said that the reason that there was going to be a two month delay back in 1990 for the new Mental Health Act to come into place was that they were going to have to take that time to process new regulations and policies?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I suppose the Member is referring to the meeting of the Yukon Medical Association this weekend. The new Mental Health Act has been proclaimed and is in force. The Member is asking about the regulations. These are done and are awaiting Cabinet approval. The act itself is in force and operational.
I would prefer not to speak specifically about clients, other than to say that there is no client not receiving services because of any act.
Mr. Lang: This goes back to a very fundamental question. Why would you proclaim an act without implementing the new regulations at the same time?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: The advice I have is that the old regulations are legal and useable, along with the new act. For whatever reason, I chose to announce the implementation and proclamation of the act at what seemed to me to be an appropriate time, which was at a meeting with the physicians here in Whitehorse. There is certainly no problem with the patients.
Question re: Educational leave pay
Mr. Phillips: My question is for the minister responsible for the Public Service Commission. Yukoners are now discovering that there are certain individuals who are receiving special and preferential treatment by this government, in comparison to other government employees. An example is the paid holiday of the former Yukon government land claims negotiator, for the sum of $62,500. Now, we have a $92,000 paid educational leave for the Deputy Minister of Community and Transportation Services, Roger Graham.
Could the Minister advise the House why Mr. Graham was given special treatment over and above what is provided to other government employees?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will be making a statement tomorrow with respect to public service training and the educational leave policy. The original rationale for providing the particular employee that the Member mentioned with 100 percent of his wages while on education leave was, firstly, that it was felt that the education leave in that particular case would be a valuable resource to the government and, secondly, that the education leave was requested of the employee. It was not the employee requesting it of the government.
I have had an opportunity to review the education leave policy and its applicability to all public servants. In the future, all personnel will be treated in the same manner under the terms of our policies and procedures with respect to employee benefits or training. In the future, we will ensure that all persons who take education leave with the government will be judged on the same considerations as every other employee.
Mr. Phillips: That is very nice. We just closed the barn door after the horse is out. We are now going to deal with the issue.
Could the minister please advise the House if the government is also paying for the airfares of Mr. Graham and his family to and from Ottawa as part of his education leave and, if so, what is the cost to the taxpayer?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am not aware of that detail. I will have to take notice of the question. With respect to the preamble, the government, upon reflection, has determined that the policies should apply equally to all employees and there should be no exceptions.
Mr. Phillips: We will be interested in hearing what that is. I wonder if the Minister is saying that everybody who takes educational leave now will receive full pay. It will be interesting to know and maybe I will ask the Minister that question right now.
Is that going to be part of the policy? Is every member of the territorial civil service going to receive full pay during educational leave?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: No, that is not the appropriate interpretation of my remarks though it is an understandable interpretation, given the Members orientation with respect to this issue.
The policy will be flexible, as it has always been flexible, with respect to the amount of the percentage that a person would receive if they are on educational leave, but it would be to a maximum of 85 percent and would apply to all employees who take educational leave, including deputy ministers.
Speaker: The Hon. Member for Whitehorse Riverdale North.
Question re: Educational leave pay
Mr. Phillips: I wonder if the Minister could provide some more information to the House about Mr. Graham and advise the House if they are paying for any further costs for his family while on educational leave, such as accommodation costs and tuition fees. What cost is that going to be to the taxpayer of the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will secure that information, as with the information respecting travel, for the Member. I do not have those details at my fingertips but I will return to the Legislature with what the Member requests.
Mr. Phillips: Can the Minister advise the House if it is true that other senior positions within the Department of Community and Transportation Services have had to be elevated to help cover the responsibilities left by this individual, Mr. Graham, and what cost has that been to the taxpayer of the territory?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I do not have a working knowledge of the administrative arrangements within the Department of Community and Transportation Services. I can only tell the Member, by way of a generic answer, that whenever anyone takes leave, for whatever purposes - including disabled leave, or whether it be vacation leave, or leave without pay for any particular purpose, or educational leave - there is always some backfilling of a respective employees duties and responsibilities. I am certain that, given the importance of Mr. Grahams job, somebody will be backfilling there as well.
Mr. Phillips: I will be interested in receiving that information from the Minister shortly, so we can get a real cost accounting on how much this is going to cost the taxpayers of the territory.
If we elevate these other individuals to senior positions, at an increased cost to the taxpayer, once Mr. Graham returns, will these people be returned to their original jobs at their original salaries, or will they keep their new increased salaries?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The assumption the Member is delivering to us is that there is an automatic increased cost associated with backfilling a persons position. That is not an assumption I can share, based on the evidence I have. The Member has presented no evidence to the Legislature to show that would be the case. I am afraid I will have to take the general question with respect to the cost accounting back to the department and ask for a response, and return to the Legislature with that response.
I can also indicate that, on the positive side, there is the feature that our employees will become more knowledgeable, more efficient, more effective and, consequently, provide a better service to the public.
Question re: Yukon Energy Corporation/requests for information
Mr. Phelps: I have a couple of questions for the Minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation regarding the manner in which the Yukon Energy Corporation has been responding to requests by intervenors for information used at the Yukon Public Utility Board hearings.
Can the Minister tell us why the Yukon Energy Corporation has been so slow in responding to the requests for information from the intervenors?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: A good afternoon to the Member for Hootalinqua.
I cannot share with the Member his assertion that Yukon Energy Corporation officials have been particularly slow, or withholding, in respect to information in preparation for the general rate application.
The information that has been sought is being provided. My understanding of affairs, in terms of preparation for the hearing, is that the Yukon Energy Corporation has been called upon to provide vast amounts of information. The entire staff of the corporation is preoccupied in preparation for the hearings, and is doing the best job it can.
As such, they are observing due diligence in carrying out the corporations responsibilities, responsibly and adequately.
Mr. Phelps: It certainly knows no bounds in terms of the money it will spend in preparing itself for the hearings, but I am concerned about the quality of the information being provided by the Energy Corporation to the intervenors. Can the Minister explain why the corporation failed to provide a separate breakdown of Yukon Energys costs and Yukon Electricals costs on a community-by-community basis when that was asked for by some of the intervenors?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am not aware of the matters in that specific question. It is my understanding that a substantial amount of information has been provided to intervenors. Substantial background information is available and, if the Member is raising the issue of additional preparatory work to be provided by corporation officials, there may be some question of whether or not it can be done. I do not know the details of the question the Member raises; I can only offer to him to take it as notice.
Mr. Phelps: With respect to the one issue, will the Minister instruct the Yukon Energy Corporation officials to supply the intervenors with a separate breakdown of the costs for each community for Yukon Energy Corporation and Yukon Electrical Company?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I cannot tell the Member that I will instruct on a matter that may already be adequately provided for. It seems to me, in the area of costs related to electrical generation, that that type of community-by-community breakdown is readily available and can be provided. I will seek advice on the question the Member raises and will respond back to him directly.
Question re: Department of Government Services mandate review
Mr. Nordling: I have a question for the Government Leader with respect to the Department of Government Services.
The mandate review of the Department of Government Services seeks to dismantle that department. This will involve over 220 employees in the Department of Government Services and will affect all other government departments. I would like to ask the Government Leader what the time frame is for the dismantling of the Department of Government Services?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As far as I know, the Government of Yukon has no plans whatsoever to dismantle the Department of Government Services.
Mr. Nordling: Let us come clean here. A consultant has been hired and I am sure the consultant was given specific instructions by Cabinet Members. The objective of the review is not to leave things as they are; the objective is to dismantle the department. I would like to ask the Government Leader again, or perhaps he will defer to the Minister of Government Services who is dying to answer, when the review will be complete and when these proposed changes will be implemented.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The news that the Member brings forward, that the Department of Government Services for which I am responsible to this Legislature is about to be dismantled, comes as a shock to me. I will have to immediately get back to departmental officials to see if they have some plan in mind to do themselves out of a job.
As far as I am concerned, they have a valuable service to perform for the public and they will continue to do that. However, in reviewing their mission statement, as a department, they have been given direction, and have taken it on wholeheartedly, to become more service oriented within government and less controlling. The fact that they are more service oriented does not translate into the dismantling of the department and the service no longer being provided.
Perhaps the Member was just presenting his case in a provocative and somewhat inappropriate manner. Perhaps the Member simply did not know. I can tell the Member that the Department of Government Services is being challenged, and, I am sure, will always be challenged, to provide a better, more efficient and more effective service to the public. That will entail constant review of its own mission and, it is hoped, they will be getting better all the time.
Mr. Nordling: Obviously, there is something going on, so it cannot be the shock that the Minister claims. It is not a shock to the Members of the government or to the public. The word is out.
I would like to ask the Minister whom he envisions as acting as a check and balance on departments and departmental spending, when the functions of Government Services are dismantled and devolved to individual departments - in the Ministers own words, when the Department of Government Services becomes less controlling.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member will have to appreciate that he characterized the review of the departments mission statement as the dismantling of the Department of Government Services. Consequently, I was quite shocked, given the alarmist vocabulary being used by the Member. I was hoping that I could put the general matter to rest with respect to the future of this particular, valuable department. I should also point out - the Member has not been in government but for those who have been in government - it is a fairly common practice for departments to review their mission statement. In fact, since I have been in government, which is the last six years, the Department of Education, Community and Transportation Services, Government Services and the corporations for which I have been responsible have done a review of their mission statement every single year.
This brand new occurrence that the Member is bringing forward in the Legislature is not new at all. In fact, to answer the Members question directly, I am certain that we will be discussing in main estimates debate where the Department of Government Services is providing a more service oriented and less controlling function. I would be more than happy to explain those areas where they occur when we deal with the budget in the near future.
Question re: Department of Government Services mandate review
Mrs. Firth: I love it when we have the Minister of Government Services running around in circles.
In this less controlling, more efficient dismantling of the Department of Government Services, there is going to be an effect on the people who work within the department, on the people who do business with the government and, eventually, on the people who pay the bills of the government - the taxpayer.
Has the government examined the impact that this dismantling is going to have on Yukoners, specifically in the areas that I have mentioned?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I have not yet had an opportunity to explain what changes to the mission statement the Department of Government Services has taken. I cannot call the Member dishonest at this stage for having repeated the allegation that the department is being dismantled. My time yet may come.
In explaining the mandate of the department, and in improving on the mission statement of the department, the efficiency and effectiveness of the service to the public is foremost in our minds. Consequently, in reviewing the mission statement - which I know the department has been undergoing, as well as other departments for which I am responsible - the department has kept this in mind, in order to ensure that the public services are better delivered than they have been in the past.
Mrs. Firth: Part of the mission statement is to ensure fair and equitable treatment of people and of the private sector. Managers have been asked for their input, yet it seems that this information is being kept from the people who are going to be most affected.
The Minister did not answer the question. When is the government going to examine the impact of the people who are directly involved? When will that be done?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member has made the allegation that the Department of Government Services desire to provide a better service to the public has been kept from the public. That is not true. We are undergoing a number of policy review processes right now directly with the affected public, and they are well aware of what we are doing.
With respect to the goal of providing fair and equitable treatment to the public, that is a goal that Government Services shares with all other departments of this government. If a particular responsibility is transferred to another department, the assumption that it will consequently no longer be a fair and equitable treatment for the public is a slanderous statement to make on all the rest of the public servants who work for this government. I do not share the Members vision or thoughts about the public service. Consequently, I am having a hard time responding in the spirit that she requests.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister is having a hard time responding. The Government Leader talks about being a model employer, yet we find out that, in this mission statement, they are going to be dismantling a whole department without asking the opinions of the people who have the most to lose.
Is the Minister prepared to make a commitment today to seek the opinions of the people in the department and the contractors who are going to be affected before he makes decisions, not after all the decisions have been made?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Again, I can only respond by saying there is no intention of dismantling the Department of Government Services. It provides a valuable service to the public. As I have already indicated, there is some reorientation of some responsibilities the department currently has. It is not uncommon to review the services of the government to make sure they are more efficient and effective.
There are ongoing discussions with a number of interest groups the department has some responsibility in dealing with. Those discussions will continue. However, there is no plan afoot to dismantle the Department of Government Services. The Members are quite wrong. They have repeated their allegations and, consequently, they are totally wrong on this point.
Question re: Watson Lake extended care facility
Mr. Devries: I have a question for the Minister of Health and Social Services. Almost three years ago, this House agreed to a feasibility study for an extended care facility for Watson Lake. This facility is a critical issue to the people of Watson Lake. I would like to ask the Minister if this study has been done. If so, may I get a copy of it?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: If, indeed, there is a study, I am not familiar with it. I will have to get back to the Member on that part of his question.
Recently, when I was in Watson Lake, I met with members of the community, including public health nurses and hospital nurses and discussed the issue of extended care for the community. The information I got at that time was that what they believed was needed in the community was some form of continued care so that people would be able to stay in their own homes for as long as possible, progressing with more care such as home care and, perhaps, eventually, extended care.
To this end, one of the positions that will be filled in Watson Lake will be that of a home care rehabilitation worker. I am told that that person will be recruited for Watson Lake soon and will continue this work.
Mr. Devries: The Minister had mentioned this worker as early as last spring. It is six months later already. There are still many people who feel that an extended care facility is essential. Is this all we are getting? Are we just getting a worker or are we getting a facility?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: It certainly is not in our immediate plans to build extended care facilities all around the territory. In questioning people in Watson Lake who were ready to go into an extended care facility or would be very shortly, the response I got was that there were people there who were in their fifties, sixties and seventies. I think that is not ordinarily the age one expects to enter a care facility.
Mr. Devries: I tend to disagree with the Minister in that there are several people on the verge of needing some extended care. Recently we had to send someone to Dawson City and I am asking the Minister again when the government, which claims it has a social conscience, is going to give us the extended care facility?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I will simply reiterate that the goal of my department is to keep people in their homes as long as possible. I understand that there was one gentleman who had to go from Watson Lake to an extended care facility; he chose to go to Dawson City. At the present time, that is where we are. I do not make decisions on my feet in this House as to where a new facility is going to be built.
Question re: Haines road, beaver dam
Mr. Brewster: My question is for the Minister of Renewable Resources. I would like to talk about a famous beaver dam. I wrote to the Minister on June 3 about a complaint from one of my constituents who owns the hay ranch on the Haines Road, concerning a beaver dam that was flooding the property and destroying his crop.
Could the Minister advise the House why he stated, in his letter to me on July 12, that The dam would be removed and a beaver-proof culvert installed to prevent future flooding, when, in fact, nothing has been done?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I thank the Member for his question on the matter he raised in his letter. I recall the response, promising that we would install such a culvert, and I will check why this has not been done.
Mr. Brewster: We would also like to know why the Minister failed to respond to my letter of September 19 requesting the number of animals trapped by the registered trapper who holds the trapline in that area.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am not familiar with the letter the Member speaks of. I will have to research that further and provide an answer at a later time.
Mr. Brewster: The letter was sent on September 19. I would like a commitment from the Minister that, in future, when the Minister says that something will be done, he will follow through and see that it is done.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, I will.
Question re: Ore trucks on South Klondike Highway
Mr. Phelps: I have a question or two for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services with regard to the ore trucks that travel the South Klondike Highway. At this time of year, they are quite dangerous to pass, with the snow that they kick up in their wake. I have been receiving numerous complaints from people who live between here and Carcross, and in Carcross itself, that the trucks have been bunching up, one right after the other. The result is extremely dangerous.
In view of the fact that these trucks are operating under a special permit, for which certain terms and conditions have been laid down, including the condition that they not bunch up in their travel to and from Skagway, I am wondering what the Minister will do to try and alleviate the problem.
Mr. Phelps: I have to express some concern at the allegations raised by the Member. I say this because, over the course of the last five years that these ore trucks have been on the road, we have engaged ourselves in close monitoring and observation of the activities of the drivers of the ore trucks, specifically for the purpose stated by the Member. We have a special agreement that lays out certain criteria regarding how the trucks travel.
I am concerned about his observations that there is bunching up because that is one of the criteria not allowed in the agreement.
I would tell the Member that I will be following up immediately, if it has not already taken place - by virtue of the technology of this House - on the matter that he raises. It is a concern of ours and it should not occur.
So I take it then, Mr. Speaker, that at the very least we can expect some action on this by tomorrow. We are very concerned about the safety of the Minister who is travelling to a very important meeting at Carcross tomorrow night and we want to make sure that he arrives there safely.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member can be assured that I will arrive quite safely and in fine form. I trust that he will be there at the same time. Perhaps we can travel together.
The general matter that the Member raises is one that we do indeed monitor on a regular basis. We have an on-going series of meetings that occur with the Yukon Alaska Transport officials. I, too, on occasion have received complaints that are immediately fired off to the transportation agency and to the transportation branch of the department. They are dealt with on a case-by-case basis as best that can be if we have identifying numbers of the trucks that have been in violation. We have had a very good record of following up on complaints. I would encourage the Member to advise us of any specific complaints immediately.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now lapsed. We will proceed to Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Unanimous consent requested for withdrawal of motions and notice of business
Mr. Phillips: I almost forgot that it was my turn.
Following consultation with the Government House Leader I would like to request unanimous consent of the House, pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order 34, to have the motions numbered 43, 53, 56 and 44 withdrawn from the Order Paper.
Also, pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order 14(5), I would request unanimous consent for the Motions for the Production of Papers not to be called, and for motions under the heading Motions other than Government Motions to be called in the following order when that business is reached on Wednesday, November 13, 1991. The motions that we would like to call are numbers 8, 48, 51 and 7.
Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Some Hon. Members: Disagreed.
Speaker: Unanimous consent has been denied.
Speaker: We will now proceed to Government Bills.
Bill No 19: Second Reading
Clerk: Second Reading, Bill No. 19, standing in the name of the Hon. Minister of Finance.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I move that Bill No. 19, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1992-93, be now read a second time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Minister of Finance that Bill No. 19, entitled First Appropriation Act 1992-93, be now read a second time.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am pleased today to present the 1992-93 Capital and Operation and Maintenance Budget. At the beginning of our new mandate in 1989, our government made commitments to building a sustainable economy, promoting healthy communities and settling aboriginal land claims.
Despite a national recession, federal restraint and constantly changing political circumstances, we have kept our promises. The budget I propose today will further the goals we share with our citizens and represents a major investment in the Yukons future.
Throughout the Yukon 2000 consultations that moulded the Economic Strategy, the Yukon Training Strategy, and the Yukon Conservation Strategy, our citizens argued forcefully for a sustainable economy. As do Canadians everywhere, they wanted more jobs and better services, but they also demanded action to protect the unique beauties of the Yukon environment.
During our time in office, we have helped create over 3,000 jobs in the private and public sectors, and improved many social services. We have also responded to environmental problems, such as litter, special wastes, and the need for clean water.
The Community Development Fund enabled every town and village to finance local projects. Since 1988, through the Business Loans Program, we have assisted 67 businesses to create 244 new jobs. We developed 645 hectares of service land, or 574 building lots, in the same period. The Yukon Housing Corporation built 118 housing units, and supported citizens in the construction or acquisition of 70 others. Recently, this government provided $8.7 million for various sewer, water and solid waste projects in communities.
Our ideal of healthy communities inspired new laws, such as the Education Act, the Child Care Act and the Health Act. We built new schools, provided additional teachers and new programs for young Yukoners everywhere. Additional funds, higher standards and new spaces improved the quality of the child care services in the territory. Community control, client-sensitive services and active health promotion became possible, for the first time, with the new legislation adopted in this House.
Final agreements on land claims and self-government with Yukon First Nations are in sight and departments are working toward implementing these agreements.
Much has been done in the past three years to build on the strengths of our communities. The 1992-93 budget will continue this strategy of investing in Yukon people and our communities.
This fall, Department of Finance officials, my staff and I met with many citizens to review the governments financial options for the coming fiscal year. At these meetings, we provided summary information about formula financing, programming demands and our record of balanced budgets and accumulated surpluses. We then invited questions and suggestions. Yukoners generally appreciated the importance of formula financing, but were concerned about the cuts in our grant from Ottawa. Many felt our tax burden could not be increased - as the federal government has proposed - without great harm to our economy and our standard of living. People everywhere had suggestions for program improvements in education, environment, health, housing, social services, child care and culture but they were also sensitive to the limits on our financial resources. Some people suggested cuts in schools, staff accommodation, roads or administration. Others confirmed the need to distinguish clearly between investment and expenditure when analyzing government spending and most were pleased to learn that the Yukon devotes a far larger portion of its budget to capital projects than does any other Canadian jurisdiction.
Transfer of responsibility for the Alaska Highway was mentioned numerous times during the recent budget consultation process. I am pleased to be able to say, now, that detailed negotiations are underway. Devolution of responsibility for the highway would let the Yukon government develop an economical and efficient transportation system for the territory.
Everywhere, citizens recognized that money invested in children produce long-term benefits for society. Most people recognized, also, the necessity of funding programs such as internal audits or transient social assistance, but agreed that good schools, quality child care and family support represents a different kind of commitment. Programs like schools and child care constitute an investment rather than an expenditure. They amount to an act of faith in our future. Many citizens spoke of the need to clarify our priorities and place such investments at the top of the list.
When discussing how to finance programs and initiatives, some people proposed new taxes on fossil fuels, disposable diapers and high incomes; others promoted higher user fees, but most argued that, with formula cuts and the pain of the goods and services tax, no additional burden could be absorbed by Yukon families. Several citizens offered proposals for internal economies as a way to pay for necessary program enhancements.
We found the consultation process useful and, in one way or another, many of the ideas are incorporated in the budget.
I would like to say a few words about the economic climate for 1992. Nationally, the recession, which began in the spring of 1990, may be coming to an end. Declining interest rates and an increase in consumer spending helped stimulate the economy toward recovery. However, a slow recovery is expected. Restrictive fiscal and monetary policies, the high value of the Canadian dollar and the sluggish U.S. economy will inhibit economic growth in Canada. On the positive side, forecasters anticipate the national rate of inflation will drop to below four percent next year.
In the Yukon, we expect, on the strength of tourism, a stable performance in the mining sector and higher levels of consumer spending, further economic growth. Our rate of inflation is forecast to drop sharply from a level of nearly seven percent this year to about four percent next year. The level of employment is predicted to increase faster than the growth of the labour force, resulting in a decrease in the unemployment rate to about 10 percent. This means seven years of declining unemployment in the Yukon.
In the mining industry, zinc prices are expected to firm up as consumer demand for automobiles increases, but we remain concerned about the effect of an artificially high Canadian dollar. Several mining properties in the Yukon - the copper deposit at Williams Creek and the gold deposits at Brewery Creek and Mount Skukum - show significant promise for the near future. Construction activity should continue at a strong pace next year, as evidenced by numerous projects now underway.
Overall, another year of growth and prosperity is expected.
The budget I bring to the House today represents new investments - in the economy, in the environment, in our children, in all Yukon citizens. It projects increased expenditures for the 1992-93 fiscal year of 15.9 million dollars over the current fiscal year forecast.
The capital budget is $103 million, approximately. Among the significant capital projects are: a new high school in Watson Lake; new elementary schools in Whitehorse; non-profit housing in Carmacks, Haines Junction, Mayo and Watson Lake; an extended care facility in Whitehorse; a correctional facility; reconstruction of the Klondike Highway near Flat Creek outside Dawson, and the Campbell Highway; sewage treatment facilities in Mayo, Ross River and Old Crow; and airstrips in Beaver Creek, Haines Junction and Teslin.
Members will know that some of these projects are already substantially underway.
In addition to capital projects, we will provide money for four endowment funds: the arts acquisition endowment fund, the historic resources trust fund, the environment fund and the health investment fund to meet the future needs of our population. The operating budget for 1992-93 amounts to $315 million. Included in this sum is an increase of well over $1 million in funding for municipalities and non-profit organizations.
The operations budget also reflects $23 million for the new collective agreements. Fifteen million dollars of this is provided for in the 1991-92 supplementary estimates that I am tabling today and combined with our normal revotes and the acceleration of several capital projects for 1992-93 accounts for the bulk of the funds sought in the supplementary along with some forced growth.
As well as the items just mentioned, approximately 19 million new dollars for economic, environmental and social programs are included in the budget.
I will now take a few moments to describe some of the new programs and enhancements included in the supplementary and main estimates.
A healthy community rests on a sound economic base. We are committing 8.9 million new dollars for economic initiatives, of which $7 million is provided for in the supplementary.
The most significant items in the supplementary estimates are the Visitor Reception Centres, the Whitehorse waterfront development and the Economic Development Agreement.
As I mentioned earlier, this government has put a lot of money into the community and business development funds because they are important investment tools. That work will continue with 400,000 new dollars for the community development fund and another 700,000 new dollars for the business development fund.
Negotiations continue on the transfer of responsibility for hydrocarbon resources in the territory. A total of $300,000 is earmarked for the Department of Economic Development: Mines and Small Business to provide for further negotiations and for the anticipated finalization of a Northern Accord.
The department will also complete a comprehensive energy strategy encompassing oil and gas resources, electricity, non-hydrocarbon resources and refined fuels. One hundred twenty-five thousand dollars is allocated for this initiative.
As well, the department gets $100,000 for an energy demonstration project promoting cost effective local energy sources in order to reduce our dependence on outside sources for our energy needs.
In the coming year, the Department of Tourism will, in addition to its support of the Alaska Highway commemoration, begin a native tourism program supporting development of native products and greater aboriginal participation in tourism. Fifty thousand dollars is allocated for 1992-93.
The Visitor Attraction Passports Program is designed to encourage visitors to stay in the territory longer and enjoy our museums, historic sites and other attractions. The Department of Tourism will receive $150,000 for this program over the next several years.
An additional $246,000 goes to the Department of Tourism for the new arts branch. This branch will develop, over the next few months, a comprehensive program for the support of arts in the territory. During consultation with the arts community, the need to consolidate programs delivered by four departments became clear. Establishing the branch meets the commitment we made in the Yukon Economic Strategy.
An Arts Acquisition Endowment Fund will receive one percent of the capital expenditure on specific public buildings. This fund will purchase works from Yukon artists to display in the foyers and public areas of schools and offices. Another endowment - the Historic Resources Trust fund - is for the preservation of the Yukons historic resources. It will get $250,000 a year for the next four years.
In 1992-93, the Yukon Council on the Economy and the Environment will receive an additional $70,000 to assist in the councils work monitoring the Yukons economic and conservation strategies.
This government is committed to creating a sustainable economy, one that will encourage economic development, but, at the same time, protect our environment for future generations. Including the supplementary and main estimates, we will invest $1.5 million in new dollars in conservation strategy initiatives. One half of the amount is included in the supplementary.
The Saving Energy Action Loan Program, for which there is great demand, receives an additional $360,000 in the supplementary estimates, as well as an increase in funding for 1992-93.
In 1992, the Department of Renewable Resources will create a Youth Conservation Corps to work on conservation-related projects. A total of $165,000 is set aside to support 25 summer youth positions in the communities. The program is intended to increase public awareness for the environment, help to establish community-based conservation projects and to provide educational and career opportunities for our young people.
Passage of the Environment Act marked the beginning of a new era in environmental awareness and action in the Yukon. The Environment fund is provided $500,000 for each of the next four years for sustainable development and cooperative environmental protection projects.
Including the supplementary and main estimates, approximately $9 million in new operating dollars will be used to promote healthy communities in the Yukon. Of this total, $6.3 million is provided for in the supplementary.
In the past year, the Department of Health and Social Services reviewed its foster care programs. On the basis of this review, we introduced significant increases to the foster care rates, and in 1992-93, the department will start new programs designed to enhance our foster care system.
A new Foster Care Residential Treatment Program provides for the establishment of a residential treatment facility, satellite therapeutic foster homes, in-territory treatment for special needs foster children, and training for therapeutic foster parents. Funding for this program totals $773,000. As well, the base rate funding increases for foster care total $299,000 this year and next.
With these changes, we are better able to provide comprehensive foster care services within our community and to establish an integrated system of foster care.
Another $1.7 million goes to child care initiatives, such as increasing subsidy rates for parents, increasing the income ceiling for subsidy, and changing the formula funding arrangement.
Through the Department of Health and Social Services, we will also increase funding for community organizations by $600,000. During the budget consultation, some citizens expressed concern that certain community organizations received inadequate funding. We hope this increase will alleviate many of those concerns.
Last year, a new Health Act was passed by the Legislature. That act includes a health investment fund, for which an additional $100,000 is budgeted this year.
The government is committed to the reduction of family violence. To strengthen our efforts, the Department of Justice will receive an additional $75,000 for family violence prevention programs, such as assaultive husbands, sex offenders, and support for victims. By preventing these crimes, we can create a safer social environment for all Yukoners.
With our growing population, and with more people in school each year, demands for additional schools and education programs continue. Often, during the budget consultation, people told us to maintain current funding levels for education.
Over the past six years, we spent $87 million on our schools, including construction of three new schools and the new Ayamdigut Campus of Yukon College. In the coming year, we will address the most urgent needs by allocating $12 million for new construction, expansion, and renovation of educational facilities throughout the territory.
To ensure that special education needs are met, a further $207,000 is designated for a special education treatment centre to improve the assessment of these students.
The Department of Education will receive an additional $100,000 for adult literacy programs. With the help of the Literacy Council, Yukon College, the Council for Yukon Indians, and others, we will expand computer-assisted and community-based literacy training. By investing in these programs, we can ensure that the Yukon labour force is better skilled to meet the needs of private sector employers.
A further $500,000 is given to the department to establish a new Bachelor of Social Work program, and to improve wilderness guide training and the rural wilderness program.
The budget allocates funds for completing land claims and self-government agreements. In many ways, development of a sustainable economy and healthy communities depends upon a fair and equitable settlement for Yukon First Nations. We have achieved major progress on land claims, and the money allocated to negotiations should enable band final agreements to be completed with all First Nations. A final settlement means a fulfillment of our commitment to justice for aboriginal peoples in the Yukon.
During the budget consultation process, we heard suggestions about how, where and why we should be investing in the future of the Yukon. I am happy to say that many of the proposals had already been included in the 1992-93 budget. We look forward to continuing the consultation process in the future.
The Yukon government has, and will continue to have, an accumulated surplus. This budget projects an annual deficit but, as always, because most departments under spend, we expect to lapse money at the end of the year, leaving our revenues and expenditures in approximate balance.
Several internal economies were identified to help finance our new initiatives. For the coming year, outside travel, entertainment and the use of policy consultants have been reduced by 25 percent.
There are no new taxes in this budget. The proposed 1992-93 budget continues to meet our commitments to a sustainable economy, healthy communities and a settlement of land claims. We continue to have an accumulated surplus sufficient to weather hard times.
I believe this budget is a sound investment in the Yukons future.
Mr. Lang: I move that debate do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Leader of the Official Opposition that debate be now adjourned.
Motion to adjourn debate agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move 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 3:05 p.m.