Thursday, November 21, 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.
Are there any Returns or Documents for Tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have two documents for tabling: one, the annual report for the Yukon Development Corporation, year ended March 31, 1991, and two, the financial year-end report for the Yukon Energy Corporation, year ended December 31, 1990.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Introduction of Bills.
Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers.
Notices of Motion.
Statements by Ministers.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome/Fetal Alcohol Effects Action Plan
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I rise today to inform Members of the Government of the Yukon Fetal Alcohol Syndrome/Fetal Alcohol Effects Action Plan.
This action plan was developed jointly by the Departments of Health and Social Services, Education and Justice after extensive research of the scientific literature, contact with other jurisdictions in Canada and abroad, and consultations with more than 85 interested Yukon organizations and individuals.
The research provides us with more knowledge of the extent of alcohol-related birth defects in the Yukon and a better understanding of the impact FAS/FAE has on individuals, families and society.
Consultations with foster parents, professionals, First Nations organizations, non-government organizations, and employees of the Yukon and federal governments, formed the basis for the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome/Fetal Alcohol Effects Action Plan. Also considered were recommendations from an October conference on FAS/FAE for medical, legal, social and educational professionals. It is interesting to note that many of these recommendations were similar to those identified through the governments own research.
The action plan includes five elements: prevention programs, services to people affected by FAS/FAE, community involvement, integration of services, and further research.
FAS/FAE are totally preventable birth defects. A high priority will be to ensure that education, intervention and treatment programs are available for high risk groups such as women who drink during pregnancy. Such programs will be delivered through established resources and refined according to the needs of communities. Alcohol and Drug Services will be available to respond to community requests for education and prevention information.
Public education campaigns about FAS/FAE will broaden public knowledge about the harmful effects of drinking during pregnancy. Although most Yukon people are aware that the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy is harmful, they need information about the debilitating effects on individuals with FAS/FAE and their families, and the important role families and communities have in eliminating this birth defect. Warning labels on alcohol containers are already in place, and we will work with the Yukon Liquor Corporation to develop public awareness materials.
Information about the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy will be integrated into the school curriculum.
Employees of the Government of the Yukon who work with high-risk groups or people with FAS/FAE will be given additional training in intervention opportunities and remedial activities. Other governments, professional associations and non-government social agencies will be encouraged to provide similar training to their employees. Many health and social services courses at Yukon College include units on FAS/FAE. The government will offer additional assistance to Yukon College in the development of training programs.
The debilitating effects of FAS/FAE on individuals and families can be reduced through early diagnosis. A formal system of identifying high-risk infants will be recommended to Whitehorse General Hospital. This will permit children to be tracked so that parents or guardians are made aware of the special opportunities for their children. A system of tracking is already in place in the school system, and a continuation of tracking through adulthood will result in people receiving services they require.
The government will continue to make services available to people with FAS/FAE, and their families. These include support for families and early intervention programs, such as those offered by the Child Development Centre. Special education opportunities will be enhanced through increasing the number of school psychologists and consultants with knowledge of mental disabilities. Vocational training, independent living arrangements and residential care are available for people with FAS/FAE. The special needs of individuals involved with the justice system will also be addressed. Correctional programs within the community and the Whitehorse Correctional Centre will be designed to address the needs of individual offenders with FAS/FAE.
A large majority of Yukon people consulted have not recommended a fetal alcohol syndrome coordinator position; therefore, the government will not support the creation of such a position. In order to ensure that children and adults with FAS/FAE are served both efficiently and effectively, a system of case management will be developed, which permits integration of services. The responsibility for managing this program must rest with the whole community and no particular individual.
Government has made a commitment to provide a contact person who will be a director of health programs from the Department of Health and Social Services, to ensure that individuals and families have access to government programs and services. The Council for Yukon Indians has been consulted and supports this position. Government and community groups will continue to consult on a regular basis.
The government recognizes that it cannot and should not be expected to do everything. We must work in partnership with many organizations and with the communities.
The government will assist communities to plan flexible strategies which permit approaches unique to individual needs. This is an initial action plan that will be refined through on-going research and evaluation and through regular consultation with communities and the people most affected. Research materials will be located in the Department of Education Resource Library and will be available to the public with prior notification.
The Government of the Yukon is prepared to invest in a healthy future for Yukon people by working together now to eliminate this totally preventable birth defect.
I have the Ministerial Statement for tabling and copies of the report for filing.
Mr. Lang: I will be brief in respect to my response to the ministerial statement, just to note that the time for the ministerial statement is supposed to be a very short and factual presentation of government policy. I would say to the side opposite that they are getting a little lengthy.
As you know, over the last number of years, this has been a matter of debate raised in the House. It has been good for all Members, and the public, to highlight the seriousness of fetal alcohol syndrome and its effects. Issues of this kind deserve serious deliberation by us.
This side asked for the appointment of a coordinator to take care of this serious situation. Obviously, the Minister has discussed it with other organizations and, for one reason or another, some of them have taken the position that it is not necessary to have someone particularly in charge of this area.
It is our position that we do not agree with that. We feel it is serious enough that there should be a coordinator hired for the purpose of taking care of this serious problem in our society. I, for one, would expect that the director of health programs in the Department of Health and Social Services should have a lengthy term of reference already, without including something of this magnitude for them to do on a day-to-day basis.
That does not satisfy us, as far as the position taken by the government. As far as the position itself, we know there are other positions in government, even in other departments, that could be transferred into the department and their terms of reference changed so a coordinator could be hired from within government, rather than increasing the staff complement within the government.
I think this is an issue we, as Members, should continue to question. Where are we going? In time, I think there will be a requirement for a coordinator position.
We will continue to pursue that over the course of the sessions ahead.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I thank the Member for his comments. I agree it was a very long speech.
To respond to the comments about a coordinator: certainly, the FAS committee recommendations resulting from the workshops held with medical, legal, social and educational professions did not include a coordinator. The groups who met and reviewed the report also did not ask for a coordinator; in fact, there were some very strong feelings about it. They felt that, if there was to be money spent, they wanted it spent on organizations that were already doing coordinating work, such as the Association for Community Living, to just name one. That group is doing a tremendous amount of coordinating, and there were others who felt the same way.
Like the Member, we will certainly be following this issue. It is an area where we seem to be out in front in many ways, so we are learning as we go. We are trying to listen to the people most involved.
With that, I will just say thank you to the Member for his comment?
Yukon College, bachelor of social work program
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It gives me pleasure to announce to the House that a bachelor of social work program is being developed and will be offered at Yukon College beginning in September of 1992. The program is being developed with, and will be accredited by, the University of Regina. The program will accommodate 20 to 25 students per year; $300,000 per year of new funds will be made available to the college for the program.
The two-year program will build on the existing northern studies and arts and science transfer programs. The program is an enhancement to the existing social work diploma program at Yukon College, not an alternative to it. It will allow Yukon people who have completed the college social worker diploma, or who have equivalent attainment, to further their qualifications.
A bi-cultural philosophy and approach will be used in developing the program that will build on existing programs wherever possible. A needs assessment and feasibility study is underway in partnership with the aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities. A process of consultation will facilitate cooperative decision making between all parties involved.
A steering committee with representation from Yukon College, the University of Regina, and the Government of the Yukon will oversee the consultation process and program development.
The program will be designed with flexible admission policies and student support services to facilitate accessibility. Faculty and staff will be drawn from the local community as far as possible.
The program will be relevant to Yukon cultural, social, educational, health, and justice needs and perspectives. It will contain an increased practical experience component that will better prepare individuals to work in the Yukon than other programs might, and thereby reduce turnover. This will imrpove the quality of social services in the territory.
Making this training available here in the Yukon will provide an opportunity for many Yukon people who otherwise could not manage to undertake training outside the territory to enter the field or to further their training. This is in keeping with an objective of the Yukon Training Strategy - to train Yukon people in the Yukon, for employment in the Yukon and to contribute to the social development of the Yukon.
Mr. Devries: The Yukon Party agrees with the training of Yukoners for Yukon jobs, as was evident by our reply to yesterdays training announcements. This program falls under the same endorsement. However, I do question the need for 20 to 25 new social workers coming into the Yukon work force every two years. This brings forward the question of whether these graduates would find employment. Does this government have a massive increase plan and for their social service budget in two years?
Another concern is that it is not clear to me as to whether or not these graduates would receive a degree that would be recognized in other jurisdictions in Canada. The Minister did mention that it was accredited by the University of Regina. Does this mean that it would be recognized across Canada or is this program so finely tuned to Yukon issues that, in four or five years, we could have 40 to 50 trained people here with nowhere for them to go?
My other question would be is there space available at Yukon College? I understand there are some concerns regarding classroom space.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I thank the Member for his endorsement of the program on behalf of his colleagues. I would say, at the outset, that there will be space available for the program, even though the Yukon College is facing massive successes in terms of the numbers of students who are attending this year. There will be space made available for this program.
I think it is important to point out that, like the Yukon teachers education program and native teacher program, we will be assessing the need as the program matures. It may not be a necessity for the teacher education program in a few years, based on the numbers of teachers who are recruited locally, the turnover rate of teachers and the intake that the program can bear. Clearly, this program falls into that category as well. We will be financially supporting only those initiatives that indicate the greatest need in the Yukon. We feel that this is one area where there is a significant intake of new professionals that are recruited outside the Yukon; we are relying on social agencies outside to hire our professional workers.
The advanced students are entering more into the field of social work and taking responsibility from DIAND for certain services and they will recruit people from this field. The bachelor of social work is deemed to be a minimum entry-level qualification for a fully effective social worker position.
The degree that will be granted to the graduates of this program will be like the degree from the University of Regina. It will be a degree from the University of Regina.
The graduates will have all of the credibility that comes with the degree, and all the credibility that comes with a degree from the University of Regina. I think the program is well-timed. I trust that the college and the people who will be putting the program together will do as fine a job as they have with the other programs. I look forward to the graduation day of the first entrants.
Speaker: This then brings us to Question Period.
Question re: Land claims, overlapping
Mr. Lang: I would like to ask the House to return to the question of transboundary land claims in the Yukon, specifically in northern Yukon, which I referred to in Question Period yesterday, where over 600 square miles have been allocated by the Government of Canada to settle the land claim in the Northwest Territories with people who are not resident here in the Yukon. It is interesting to note that the amount of land is almost equivalent to the amount of land that YTG presently has control over, which I understand is 660 square miles.
I want to refresh Members memories. In the early 1970s, you will recall that we faced the same issue with the Committee of Original Peoples Entitlement land claim where a federal Minister signed a document allocating 1,000 square miles to the Inuvialuit of the Northwest Territories. Members will recall that the government-of-the-day took a very public position and fought it along with developing a local public relations campaign in the Yukon. As well, it spoke out about the issue in southern Canada. It was similar, I might add, to the campaign that was fought by the present government against Meech Lake. I am a little concerned that the government seems quiet on this issue, and I would like to ask the Government Leader to outline what kind of public relations campaign he is planning to combat this very major injustice that is being put upon the people of the Yukon.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Let me say that I should make a couple of points clear, because they are relevant, about where we disagree with the Members position on this question.
In the last set of questions that he asked me, reference was made to land claims agreements in the Yukon Territory that were described as Balkanization of the territory. We do not regard the settling of rights of First Nation people and reaching agreements on which title is retained on traditional territory as Balkanization, so we reject that view, in the same way that we rejected the previously stated view of the Member opposite likening self-government to apartheid. We do have some philosophical differences here.
Likewise, we have differed with the Member opposites view that we should walk away from the Yukon land claims table in order to protest what happened in the northern Yukon.
The situation is this: there are some differences between the situation with the Inuvialuit and the COPE agreement. Firstly, we recognize that the Tetlit Gwichin have aboriginal rights in the Peel River area. I believe the former Leader of the Opposition - the former land claims negotiator - did recognize that fact and certainly was willing to recognize the usufructuary rights of that First Nation in that area.
Our position was that we were prepared to negotiate with those people and with the federal government. Our position was, inconsistent with federal policy, that any agreements would be negotiated with us, and consistent with federal policy, no significant blocks of land, and I believe...
Speaker: Will the Minister please answer the question.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I will try, Mr. Speaker, but the question is extremely complex and I think it is important. I will try to answer it as quickly and as effectively as I can.
We were prepared to negotiate. It is our view that, since the Prime Minister has now written, on behalf of the government, that the decision is final, there is not much opportunity, with the present government, to change that decision about that land quantum. We do hope, however, - and we are going to fight very hard to make sure - that it does not become a precedent.
Mr. Lang: I want to make it very clear that we recognize the usufructuary rights of the Indian people of the Tetlit Gwichin. In fact, we recognize the fact they have a trapline and the right to hunt in that area, but there is an overriding issue here. What I want to know from the Government Leader is, as he dances around answering the question, why are we not being much more public in exposing this injustice to the people of the territory in southern Canada - similar to the approach he took with the Meech Lake Accord? It sounds to me like he is just lying down and giving up on the issue.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It is quite the opposite. I would, with the greatest of respect, suggest that the methods proposed by the Member would have absolutely no effect and have had absolutely no effect. The Prime Minister, in his letter to me, argued that the federal government would have given 2,000 square miles to the Tetlit Gwichin, if we had not protested very loudly in advance. We objected, of course, very strenuously to the amount that they did give. There is no doubt whatsoever in the minds of, I think, any party in the House of Commons, or any interested body in Canada, of what our position is on this question. Our issue is not with the Tetlit Gwichin; our issue is with federal policy.
The federal government said, going into these negotiations, it would not make any such arrangement without negotiation, and, secondly, there would be no large quantums of land used to settle transboundary claims.
In both of those respects, the federal government changed its policy without consultation with us.
The federal government is continuing to negotiate with the Tetlit Gwichin on matters affecting Yukon interests. We are not returning to the table - and have not returned to the table - until our grievance on this score is settled.
I could give press conferences every day; I could give speeches every day, in this House and elsewhere, but that would not change the basic reality that we are having to negotiate this question. Our grievance is with the federal government, and that is how we are addressing it. That is how we are dealing with it.
I doubt very much, the federal Cabinet and the Prime Minister, having stated that their view on the land question is final, that there would be much use in my going across the country giving speeches on this question. We have a job to do here in the Yukon, settling our land claim. Meanwhile, we also have to deal with our grievance with the federal government about the way they dealt with that one.
Mr. Lang: I do not think the Minister can have it both ways. He knows and I know the direction the government took in the late 1970s with respect to the COPE claim, and that government was successful in getting that particular agreement turned around - primarily because there was an intensive public relations campaign, both at home and across Canada, so that people understood the injustice. We are not telling anybody what has happened, except that we had an emergency session in the middle of July, but we have not heard another word from the government.
Has there been any public relations campaign developed within the government regarding this particular issue?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We do have different strategies and different policies on this question. Let me repeat: the Member opposite says he respects the usufructuary rights of the Tetlit Gwichin. Yet, the Member opposite is opposed to them owning trapline cabins in the Yukon Territory. In my view, that is inconsistent with the idea of respecting usufructuary rights, so we have a fundamental difference there.
Let me say another way in which we have a fundamental difference. The public relations campaign the Member refers to with regard to the Inuvialuit managed to create the impression publicly that the Yukon government-of-the-day was hostile to aboriginal rights, that it was anti-native. The last thing in the world this government wants to do, at a time when we are trying to conclude historic agreements with Yukon First Nations, is to send any messages beyond our borders that we are anti-aboriginal or anti-aboriginal rights.
We have to be very careful about how we communicate on this question. We do not want to repeat the kind of communications that went on with respect to the Inuvialuit question.
Question re: Land claims, overlapping
Mr. Lang: The Minister should remember who he is representing. He is representing the public interest of the Yukon Territory. He was the one who called this House into an emergency session, the first one in recent history. At the time, the Minister was outraged about the decision taken by the federal government. We have not heard a word from that side since July on this issue. Until today, I did not realize that this was an issue we could not speak to or have raised in a public forum because it happens to deal with a native land claim.
Yesterday, I asked the Minister if he had sought any outside legal opinions as far as the legality of the Government of Canada taking the steps they did. In view of the fact that the Minister even called an emergency session on this subject, why has he not asked for a legal opinion on whether or not the Government of Canada has the legal authority to do what they have done, without the consent of the Government of Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I really wish the Member opposite would not attempt to twist my words - and I say attempt because he does it unsuccessfully most of the time.
The Member and I have been in this House a long time and many times have had disputes over the question of aboriginal rights and land claims. Unlike the Member, I believe it is in the public interest of the Yukon Territory - not the short-term political interest of anyone - to settle the land claims of the people here. I have believed that since the days of 1974 when the Member was protesting against it. I strongly believe it, and we differ on that point.
Let me make a second point. We disagree with federal policy, not aboriginal rights. We differ with the Member on that.
The Member says that he has not heard a word from us. I do not know what the Member was doing this summer, but he obviously was not listening. We have had a lot to say about this question, but we do not say everything on the question in public.
The Member then protested, in great umbrage, that he cannot raise the question in the House. It is not a surprise at all to us that he raised this question in the House. I am glad that he did. I am not at all afraid to talk about it. It is an extremely difficult question. It was a great wrong done to the Yukon by the federal government.
Now on the precise question of legal opinion, I told him yesterday that we had already had internal legal opinions about what the federal government did. There is not a lot, we understand, in law that would inhibit the federal government from doing it. I understand that the federal government has confirmed that view itself.
I told the Member yesterday, in answer to his question about an outside legal opinion, No, we have not sought an outside legal opinion on that precise point. I also indicated yesterday that I am sufficiently interested, since the Member raised it, in finding out whether or not we should get another legal opinion.
I am pretty certain from our inside legal opinion about the federal government. But whether they were morally correct, whether they were ethically correct and whether they were correct in terms of their own policy, they were probably legally able to do what they did.
Mr. Lang: It sure is interesting to see how much interest the Minister has taken in this particular issue, and the fact that he has not even sought an outside legal opinion, but he is prepared to do so now because I have raised it on the floor of the House.
In 1979 there was a memorandum of understanding signed between the Government of Yukon and the Government of Canada in respect to the full participation of the Government of Yukon in the land claim process. Why has the Minister not sought a legal opinion about the authority of that document, especially in view of the seriousness of the situation?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Member asks why we have not sought a legal opinion. First of all, again, we did seek a legal opinion. Our lawyers advised us that, yes, the federal government could do what it did, whether we liked it or not. Since the Member is raising the concern, I will be interested in seeking another legal opinion to confirm the fact. But the lawyers that we have inside of the government have no doubt on the fact.
Let me explain, in terms of the protest in his preamble, the fundamental difference between us. He has recently described the settlement of the Yukon land claims and the federal land claims as somehow done as a political inconvenience to undermine him and his party politically at the time of the last election. We do not see the settling of land claims as a partisan political issue. We see the settlement of the Yukon claims as our absolute number one political priority and we are determined to complete those negotiations. They take greater priority for us than the bad policy that was implemented in the Tetlit Gwichin claim. We will continue to deal, protest and negotiate with the federal government about the way in which that was done.
Unlike the Member opposite, we have a greater overriding obligation to complete the agreements with the Yukon First Nations as soon as we can.
Mr. Lang: I want to make a comment on that. The Minister has a duty to the public of the territory as a whole. To put this particular precedent on the back burner is irresponsible. Would the Minister undertake to table in the House the memorandum of understanding with any amendments since it was signed in 1979?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am not sure whether there is any amendment to the 1979 memorandum of understanding that would have particular application to this case. In his question, the Member also suggested that, somehow, we are allowing the precedent to stand. Nothing could be further from the truth. If the Member had listened to my answers he would know that we are working very hard to make sure the precedent is not established.
The Member shakes his head. He does not agree, nor does he agree with our approach on claims. He has previously indicated that, perhaps, he does not agree with claims. However, that is irrelevant. We do not agree with the way the federal government conducted itself with respect to the Tetlit Gwichin.
As the Member mentioned, we called the session this summer. We have communicated with people in the federal Cabinet, with all parties, and the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister has come back and confirmed the view, notwithstanding our protests, that the decision, as far as the federal Conservative government is concerned, is final.
We have to deal with that reality and make sure that what happened there does not become a precedent in southern Yukon. That is our task.
Question re: Education leave pay
Mr. Phillips: My question is if for the Minister responsible for the Public Service Commission. It is regarding the special treatment that was given to the Deputy Minister of Community and Transportation Services with respect to his education leave. The Deputy Minister received his full $92,000 salary and another $20,000 in benefits to attend one year in university. It has come to our attention that the Deputy Minister may have also received some other benefits that Yukoners have not been told about. I would like to ask the Minister if he could confirm that we purchased a laptop computer so that we could loan it to the individual, with the necessary programs, for his year at university?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Off the top of my head, I cannot confirm or deny that allegation. I do realize the Member wants to dissect this particular mans life to the last letter. I will be more than happy to provide the information to the House with respect to the leave provisions that have been extended to this individual.
The Member, in his preamble, stated that the special treatment that was afforded to Mr. Graham was the leave itself. That, of course, is not true. The only application of the policy that was different in this case from other cases of education leave was the area of salary, where the person was paid beyond the normal limit. All other provisions with respect to the leave are standard policy for the government and have been so for at least 10 years.
I will have to take notice on the question with respect to the laptop computer. I have no knowledge of such an item.
Mr. Phillips: I want to make it perfectly clear that this issue here is not the individual involved. The issue is the policy of the Government of Yukon regarding education leave and the fact that some individuals, regardless of who they are, get special treatment from this government.
A laptop computer of this nature, with the program, costs approximately $4,000. I am sure it is not available to all other Yukon students who attend university. I would like to ask the Minister if he could tell us how much that computer actually cost. Can he return with that information to the House?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I disagree entirely with the Member as to what the issue is here. The issue here, for the Member, is the dissection of this mans life in front of the public, and that is what he is attempting to do. The policy, itself, has never been discussed in this Legislature. We have not yet once discussed the policy and, in fact, I do not think the Member has even expressed any interest in what the policy actually says. The interest is in whether or not this person has been accorded special benefit beyond that which exists in the policy. I have already indicated once, twice and three times that the only difference between what is accorded in the policy and what this particular individual received was the additional salary to 100 percent of the salary. I have also indicated that that will be the last time that that exception would be made.
Mr. Phillips: I did not get an answer to my question but I hope the Minister will bring it back. There are not too many people in the Yukon who feel sorry for the individual involved. After all, the $92,000 and all the other perks received by him from the government, as government policy or new government policy, is the question being asked out there.
I would like to ask the Minister another question: are computers going to be made available, on loan, to all other civil servants who are going on education leave in the future?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member has just confirmed my suggestion that it is the dissection of this persons life that is before the public and is what the Member is taking some glee in exposing. I am sure that every detail will be reported, just as the Member expects it will be.
I will repeat one last time that the only special accommodation that has been made for this individual, to my knowledge, is the addition of salary to the full 100 percent of his salary, because he had been asked to undertake the education leave. The other elements of the policy have been applied consistently for years prior to this government coming into office, with respect to the other benefits associated with education leave. We have operated consistently in that respect.
Question re: Education leave pay
Mr. Phillips: When Deputy Ministers are hired on with the Government of the Yukon, they sign a contract laying out all conditions of employment and all benefits they receive. Could the Minister tell us if this Deputy Minister, or any other Deputy Ministers, have an education benefits component in their employment agreements?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am not aware of provisions in hiring packages for Deputy Ministers that have an educational component. In this particular case, this individual was hired out of Watson Lake, where he was the bank manager. He was hired into an entry level position with this government, and he ascended through the ranks of government, gaining qualifications through experience to the rank of Deputy Minister. That is obviously a very successful local-hire story, when the majority of recruitments for senior civil servants in the past has been through external recruitment.
There are times when we must do a great deal to encourage local hire, and to encourage our citizenry to take advantage of the opportunities that are available with this government. We do that through education provisions in our policies. We will continue to do that because we believe in our citizenry and their ability to take on senior, as well as other technical, positions in the public service.
Mr. Phillips: I do not think anyone in the Yukon would have a problem with that, but we do not have someone here who is a junior civil servant, going to university at the governments cost. This is the highest senior civil servant job in the Government of the Yukon: Deputy Minister. Yukoners would expect the government to hire competent, well-trained people with the ability to do the job, without on-the-job training.
Could the Minister bring back the information on how many Deputy Ministers have a special education component in their contracts? Could he give us a list of Deputy Ministers who have that?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: In the course of the last couple of questions, we have really been able to expose the most significant disagreement between the Member and myself with respect to policy. I for one do very strenuously believe that Yukon citizens, through the proper combination of on-the-job training and education, can assume even the highest posts within our government, and it does not necessarily have to be the case that those senior positions in government are the exclusive domain of someone other than a Yukoner. Consequently, we fundamentally disagree in that respect, and I am sure that we will have more to say on it later.
The Member asked a question with respect to educational leave provisions for Deputy Ministers. I have already indicated to the Member that I will bring that information back to the House, if it is available to me.
Mr. Phillips: I am surprised the Minister does not have the answer. He is the Minister responsible for that department, and this has been a rather hot topic in the last few days. I would have thought that he would have the answers with him.
If the Minister finds that there is an educational component assigned within the Deputy Minister employment contracts, would he table that document in the House?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I was not unaware that the real issue here was the dissection of the particular individual, and I did put some energies into learning more about the case at hand. I knew that we would not be finished with this individual until every last cell in his body had been exposed before the public. I have spent some time with that particular case, although I have not considered the matter that the Member mentioned. However, I will put some energy into his request.
Question re: Education leave pay
Mr. Phelps: I have some questions of the same Minister regarding the same issue. I am primarily interested in a different aspect of this issue.
Today, that Minister gave a ministerial statement in this House with regard to a new program for Bachelor of Social Work. In the text of the statement, he stated that this program is in keeping with an objective of the Yukon Training Strategy to train Yukon people in the Yukon.
I am aware, as everyone here is, that the government has a program available now with Yukon College, in conjunction with the University of Alaska, for a Masters of Public Administration.
If this Deputy Minister wanted to get further education, why was he not required to take advantage of that particular program in the same manner as a large number of other employees of this government are? We understand the program is relatively inexpensive.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I will answer the question for the Minister. The Masters of Public Administration program, which we are very proud to have introduced here, is a program that cannot be completed in one year at this stage. The most outstanding Master of Public Administration course in the country at the moment, we are told, is at Queens University. The deputy minister in question gained admission to that program, and the government supported his application.
Over time, the Master of Public Administration program, as it operates here, will avail many people in the public service - who may want to take a course or two at a time, or even a full load - the opportunity to acquire a similar degree. However, for someone managing a department that has an operating and capital budget approaching $100 million, it is not reasonable to suggest that they could be a full-time student while actively carrying out those duties.
In previous government, a number of people - some of whom have now become Deputy Ministers - were sent out for Masters degree courses, including Masters of Public Administration at the very same university. Some were sent out to schools as far away as Yale in the United States, at public expense. The training needs of any senior employee will, of course, have to be addressed in particular, because I am not sure one can always provide or meet every training need or opportunity in a territory this small with a college system as it is developing here.
As the Minister of Education has indicated, I think that we are making great strides in making more and more of that kind of education available to the people here, including our own public employees.
Mr. Phelps: That does not answer my concern. We have this new, rather expensive program that a large number of employees of this government are taking. Some of these employees are very busy people as well. These employees are upgrading their education on a part-time basis. They are continuing to earn their wage while they work for the government.
Why is this particular individual being given elitist treatment? He is allowed to go out at full pay, with all the extra perks and benefits - the $6,000 over and above the $92,000 for travel, the other money for shipping furniture, and so on and so forth - when other people, the commoners in this government, while working and earning their wages, are taking the local program that is offered by this government. As the Minister himself said, this is in keeping with an objective Yukon training strategy - to train Yukon people in the Yukon.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Member put the question in the why form. Let me answer it in the simplest way that I can.
It is being done for exactly the same reason the previous Conservative government sent people to school full-time for a year, or for two years on some occasions at public expense. It is in order for them to obtain particular qualifications that were available from a particular school, which met not only the career development needs of that individual but also enabled that person to better serve the people of this territory in general, and the government in particular.
Mr. Phelps: Does either Minister think that this is not seen by people as an elitist policy? We have ordinary students going to Yukon College barely able to get by, having a hard time feeding themselves and finding a place to stay. We have employees who are working and being paid and taking the Masters course that is offered here, and then we have this one indivual who gets full pay, plus travel for his family, plus Christmas travel for his family, plus his furniture shipped. Is that not an elitist policy? Would the Minister be surprised if most people in the Yukon do not view it as that, or do view it as that?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: There are several questions there. Let me begin with two of them: the reaction of the public and the question of elitism. First of all, it does not surprise me at all about the public reaction. I understand that. But, let us also be clear that what we inherited in this government, from the Members opposite, was a total elitist policy, whereby the only training that was available for people in the public service involved training outside of our borders for a very small number of people to go to certain kinds of elite institutions. The other dimension of that elite policy - the policy followed by the present Leader of the Official Opposition - was that only people who went to high school here got any funding for university or post-secondary education.
Mr. Lang: On a point of order.
Speaker: On a point of order.
Mr. Lang: I just want the Government Leader to correct the record. The legislation he has referred to is one all Members of the House voted for. As I recall, no Member of the House voted against it.
Speaker: I find that there is no point of order.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The point is that the Minister of Education has done an excellent job of developing alternatives here in terms of college-based education programs, including university level programs. A great number of people here can now benefit from these. It remains the case that it will be many years...
Speaker: Order please. Will the Member please conclude his answer.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It will be many years before all the training needs of people in this territory can be met by locally-based educational institutions.
Question re: Education leave pay
Mrs. Firth: I have been dying to get involved in this Question Period. I want to follow up on the same line of questioning to the same Minister.
The real story, as I have it, is that this Deputy Minister was registered in the Yukon College, in the MPA program there. He did not have the minimum requirements to be in that program, which was a bachelors degree. He dropped out of the program and then went to Queens University. I am curious as to how he got into the program at Queens, since we have seen in all the publications about how it is the best university in Canada and that everyone needs top qualifications to get in there.
The Government Leader said something interesting today, which raises a question we have to put to the government. He indicated that Mr. Graham wanted to go to Queens University and that the government supported that application.
He did not even have the minimum requirements to get into the program. I guess the question has to be raised: exactly how did this government support that application? What is the Government Leader referring to when he says we supported him?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It is not my practice, nor has it been the practice of any of my predecessors, to get into individual personnel matters here, but let me simply explain to the Member what she may not know. There are some excellent schools in Canada that will admit mature students with some valuable life experience or work experience to graduate programs, without the formal undergraduate degree. There are a number of colleges and universities and a number of faculties within Canadian universities that will do that and that is probably the best way I can give a general answer to the question asked by the Member.
Mrs. Firth: Well, I knew that, because I took the time to telephone Queens University, and I spoke to the admissions office there, to find out what the requirements were. The Government Leader still has not answered my question. My question is: what does he mean by his statement that they supported Mr. Grahams application to go to the MBA program at Queens? What did the government do to support his application?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I cannot answer the question in precise terms. If the Member is asking: did the applicant include references from fellow workers or supervisors, on any occasion, which were checked out by the university, I cannot answer the question. In any case, at a certain level, it is a private matter, and I do not intend to get into discussions about a private personnel matter on the floor of the House.
Mrs. Firth: So what the Minister is saying is that he is just going to hide this from the public, as a personnel matter.
He very specifically stood up in this House and said that the government supported the application. I want to know: did he write a letter? Did he intervene? Did they buy a space? What did they do to support Mr. Graham getting into that university, because it is extremely difficult to get into that university program, particularly when you do not have the minimum qualifications. What did the Government Leader mean by supporting his application?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It may be difficult for the Member opposite, but there are a lot of people in this government, in this administration, who went to that university. It is not an impossibility.
If the Member opposite were to apply to go to a university and used my name as a reference, and somebody in this House subsequently asked me questions about whether I had given a reference or not, I would regard that as a private matter and not something for discussion on the floor of this House.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now lapsed. We will proceed to Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the 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
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I will call Committee of the Whole to order. We will take a short recess.
Chair: I will call Committee of the Whole to order.
We are on Bill No. 18, Second Appropriation Act, 1991-92
Bill No. 18 - Second Appropriation Act, 1991-92
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have one question outstanding from the Member for Porter Creek East last night about a breakdown of the lapse in capital from the supplementary past. I have one copy here; I will just send it to that Member.
Mr. Lang: I have some general questions here, with respect to the revenues by sources that we discussed here in the main estimates. In the breakdown in the revenues by sources we have the federal transfers on page 29 - 61 cents for every dollar from federal transfers and 25 cents for other revenues. I would like to know if the Minister would be prepared to break down that side of the graph for us so that we can understand where that money came from. This is in the main estimates and I am wondering if the Minister could have that prepared from the main estimates.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: To be clear, the Member is asking for a breakdown of the locally generated revenue sources, which is 13 cents for local revenues. Yes, we can do that. I am looking at the chart on page 29, the chart at the top, which describes 25 cents in other revenues. Yes, we can do that, I can tell the Member that one way of doing it, if he is interested, because this provides him with a better picture, is we do have material handy that will break down the whole of the chart that is not the federal portion.
We can get the information to the Member either way; it may just take a little number crunching.
Mr. Lang: I would appreciate having that information for the main estimates.
Basically, I just want a breakdown of where the 25 cents in other revenues are coming from - whether they are cost-shared agreements or things of that nature.
I would like to turn Members attention to the question of the financial formula. The financial formula is now signed, is it not, and for how long does it run?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It is a five year formula; we are in the second year now but, consistent with the first agreement we had, we begin the - let us not call them negotiations - talks about the next formula at about year 3.
So, it is a five-year agreement. We are in the second year now. Next year we will actually begin to start talking to the federal government about the one that goes beyond that.
It is signed, yes, but understand: this was not the negotiated agreement. The previous Minister did explain this, but let me just summarize what happened. At a certain stage in the negotiations with us and the Northwest Territories, the federal government said, look, we are not prepared to discuss any of these things any more; here is the deal, sign it. Michael Wilson has said that this is all there is. At that point we made a decision to sign. I am over-simplifying but we decided to sign. We continued discussions on some of the issues about which we had concerns - the perversity element - and I had a subsequent meeting with Mr. Wilson, in which he agreed to have another look at it but not in the life of this formula.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister tell us whether or not he has the projected amounts for the next three years of this agreement that would be coming in through this formula?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Yes. The Member will understand that they are rough projections. There is a population factor, a provincial, local escalator factor, there is the three-year moving average we talked about, but yes, we can estimate the amounts and I believe we can do so fairly accurately now, in terms of our estimates and where we are going.
Mr. Lang: Could that information be provided to us during the main estimates? I am interested in what we are looking for in 1994 when it is concluded and we have to begin renegotiating.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We can provide the information in any number of ways. We can actually express it in terms of the amounts that we would have less than we would under the old formula. That is one good indication. For example, in the year just passed, it was a fairly small amount of approximately $1 million. In the current year, I think it was $2 million. Next year, it was something like $5 million; the year following that, it was $12 million and the year following it was something like $13 million. The cumulative effect in the life of this five-year agreement is for something between $50 and $60 million less than we would have had under the old formula. I can get, in written form for the Member, the projections that we have.
Mr. Lang: I am not all that interested in comparing the numbers to the old formula. What I want to do is deal with the formula that we have. I want to know the long-term effect for the territory by projecting our budgets for a couple of years hence. That is what I would like to know.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We will provide that information.
On Schedule A
On Operation and Maintenance
On Legislative Services
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I always rise in defence of this estimate in fear and trepidation. As all Members know, we have very little to do with it. It is all in the control of the people at the table.
The total requirement identified to the supplementary for vote under Yukon Legislative Assembly is $114,000. On a program basis, this is broken down as follows: Legislative Services $30,000, $25,000 of which are required to cover the salary and fringe benefits of an additional Cabinet Member. The Members will know that a sixth Minister was added to the Cabinet after the last main estimates were approved; $5,000 was required for MLA pay. Members indemnities, expenses and allowances were adjusted in accordance with Section 39 of the Legislative Assembly Act. The final figures for this formula are slightly higher than those available at the time that the main estimates were prepared.
Legislative Assembly Office has an addition of $39,000. This is all due to the impact of the new collective agreement.
In Elections, there is an allocation of $10,000, all due to the impact of the new collective agreement.
Retirement Allowances and Death Benefits total $35,000. These funds are required for the hiring of a pension fund consultant to review the Legislative Assembly Retirement Allowances Act. Federal pension tax reform has led to the requirement for review. Given the experience of other jurisdictions, it would appear that we may need a total rewrite of our pension legislation.
Legislative Services in the amount of $30,000 agreed to
On Legislative Assembly Office
Legislative Assembly Office in the amount of $39,000 agreed to
Elections in the amount of $10,000 agreed to
On Retirement Allowances and Death Benefits
Retirement Allowances and Death Benefits in the amount of $35,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $114,000 agreed to
Executive Council Office
Chair: Is there any general debate?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: By consent of the House, would Members wish me to spend a few minutes describing the results of the Old Crow land claim negotiations at this time, or would they rather I wait until a later date? It is not really directly related to the supplementary, but it is under this vote line, and Members may wish for me to report in that manner.
Okay, I will do it by mentioning that we have some major tasks underway in the Executive Council Office. Obviously, completing the claims is the most important one we have responsibility for coordinating. As I mentioned in my ministerial statement at the opening of the session, at that point we had completed three of the first four band final agreements. We now have completed negotiations in Old Crow.
As I have mentioned before, these bring the umbrella final agreement provisions down to the ground in a practical way. We are now moving to focus on the self-government questions of jurisdiction and financing. Those negotiations will take place in Ottawa next week, at the request of the other parties, not at ours.
As I mentioned, there is a CYI General Assembly in December to review the agreements in detail and to deal with ratification.
The most recent Old Crow First Nation final agreement provides, I think, some examples of how the land claim becomes concrete at the community level. I know the Member for Hootalinqua and the Member for Old Crow both will have knowledge of this, perhaps beyond mine, but I will attempt, for other Members of the House, to just explain some of the provisions.
Negotiations have been completed for community land selections and other site specifics. We believe the selections, particularly in and around the community of Old Crow, allow for both the First Nation and the other governments to function in the area. The Yukon government, for example, retains key lands for infrastructure facilities, such as the airport.
We have been, consistent with the UFA provisions, taking into account the Sparrow decision, which talks about priority and subsistence needs of aboriginal people, and have negotiated a sharing arrangement on the moose harvest.
There is proposed to be established in this agreement a new territorial park west of the Fishing Branch River, near Bear Cave Mountain. I do not know how well all Members on the other side are acquainted with that unique ecological site; it is a stretch of river that remains open all year-round and has salmon in it all year-round. It is a place where grizzly bear harvest salmon all year-round and is a very interesting site, geologically, archaeologically and biologically. The First Nation, of course, selected land in that area, as well, but they have agreed to provisions to allow wildlife viewing in that area for certain limited periods in the year.
There is a provision for a special management regime for Old Crow Flats, as a whole, including management principles to protect the ecological integrity of the flats.
There are some heritage sites created under the Historic Resources Act and, off the top of my head, I think that they include Lapierre House and Rampart House.
There is a new national park proposed, which is separate from, but adjacent to the North Yukon National Park. Of course, some benefits will flow to the Old Crow First Nation from the establishment of that park. It will be adjacent, but legally distinct from the present North Yukon National Park.
There are provisions pertaining to economic planning and opportunities in the area, as well.
The negotiators have been asked - although I do not know if the letters have been received yet - to communicate, following a request from the Opposition, to provide an opportunity, at an early date, for a briefing of the Members in the House. I expect they will communicate directly with the federal negotiators for that purpose.
I would mention, as well, that we are proceeding with decentralization. I expect there will be questions about that. The year 2 decentralization initiative - this is really in next years budget - adds 37 more jobs in that procedure, which will bring it to a total of 76 jobs for years 1 and 2 combined. We have had a lot of meetings with the communities, in the last few months, about this question. In the next years proposals, which we will be discussing in the mains, there will be nine communities receiving at least one new job in the year 2. Year 1 is proceeding reasonably well. The Member for Hootalinqua will be fully acquainted with some unique challenges we have had in that community. We had a problem in Haines Junction, which has now been resolved as well.
The Aboriginal Language Interpretive Service is being implemented now in seven rural communities and Whitehorse. Public services are now available in Gwichin and Northern Tutchone. Kaska, Tanana, Tlingit and Southern Tutchone will be coming soon.
To be consistent with the Languages Act, we are proceeding with planning for the delivery of French language services. The priority sectors for the Francophone community are in health, social services, justice and education. The principles consistent with the debate that we had in this House are toward practical, accessible and quality services. The model is based on a central bureau of interpreters, translators, plus some direct person-to-person services in courts, social services and education. This is being done in cooperation with representatives of the Francophone community and departments through an advisory committee that helps coordinate this activity.
I would like to summarize by saying that the budget request for 1991-92 totals $1,055,000. One million and forty thousand of those dollars are in operation and maintenance expenditures; $15,000 is in capital and six factors account for the changes reported, and these are not in financial order of importance, but I will list them as they are presented in the estimates book.
There is $140,000 and two new person years for support staff for the sixth Minister. As Members opposite will know from the days when they were six Ministers in Cabinet, each Minister needs an executive assistant, and we also have the workload to justify the need for them to have secretarial and support staff. The decision to go to six Ministers was, we thought, entirely justified at this point, in terms of the work load and the demands on the government. The support staff is the same that is available to other Ministers, basically as I said, an executive assistant and a secretary.
As you know, Mr. Byers returned from the National Defence College to assume a very important post as special counsel for constitutional affairs for us, and we have $175,000 and 1.75 new person years for the advisor and support staff in this budget. As all Members know we are at an extremely critical time in terms of national constitutional development.
It is also the case that we are involved in interesting times ourselves, in terms of the land claims negotiations and self-government issues, which have become an important national issue as well.
We believe we have to work hard to protect the Yukon interests in national processes in the post-Meech environment. The new federal proposals for constitutional reform require detailed analysis and substantive responses, and we are working through those proposals in detail now. The contribution is enhanced for us by special legal expertise and we often, I think, feel a bit daunted by this task, given the relative resources we have, compared to some of the larger jurisdictions who have whole departments of people to work on nothing but this issue, but we have to be as prepared as we can for these discussions.
Consistent with discussions I had with the Leader of the Official Opposition and others in his party, our Cabinet has indicated, in advance of certain other questions being resolved by this House, to constitute a necessary task force composed of representatives of all groups in this Legislature for the purpose of meeting with commissions such as the Dobbie-Castongay Parliamentary committee. That committee has been the subject of some public debate recently and the committee had originally intended to visit Whitehorse and to meet with us next week. We have not heard officially, but I am assuming that schedule is completely off because of their own internal discussions about their purpose.
As well, the national Royal Commission on aboriginal questions, co-chaired by George Erasmus, and including a number of eminent Canadians, is coming to Whitehorse in December. I am not sure of the precise date. I do not know with whom they will want to meet here. They will almost certainly want to meet with representatives of the First Nations and with the Council for Yukon Indians; I do not know whether they will wish to meet with the Legislature, with the government or with the parties separately. In any case, if they do wish to meet with the Legislature, the task force model we talked about could serve us for that purpose as well.
It is almost certainly the case that there will be other occasions when other legislative groups come here. You may recall that one came here from Ontario earlier this year and took us somewhat by surprise. They had not told the government they were coming. We are not sure who they told, but they certainly did arrive.
According to Mr. Clarks latest proposals to Mr. Chretien and Ms. McLaughlin, there are going to be six discreet conferences on a number of constitutional questions that may be based on the constituent-assembly model. They may be constituent assemblies in everything but name. In other words, the government may include representatives of legislatures, not just governments, as well as certain representative public bodies in Canada.
I do not know how that will work, but it is not at all unlikely that we may be asked, either as a government, a legislature, or on some other basis, to participate in those in the coming months.
As we are constantly reminded, time is running short, because the federal government wanted to get its position clear and do its consultation by February in order to meet Quebecs agenda. If I may be permitted to express a personal opinion, I am coming closer to the view that we may not get into really serious discussions about this stuff in Canada until such time as Quebec actually has a referendum.
That may be like a bucket of cold water on the country, especially if the referendum decides that Quebeckers want to leave the country. I suspect we will be into some very fast scrambling once that happens, but perhaps not until then will people really get focussed on the survival of the nation.
Nonetheless, we could not ignore all this, even if we wanted to. We have to proceed to advance our own positions. I happen to believe - there is no point in saying confidentially in here - that there are some opportunities for us in this next round, given that we were granted full participation at the last Western Premiers Conference, a conference we had not even been invited to before as observers, and given that we participated fully in the last Premiers conference. I think there is now a new willingness in this group of Premiers to see us participate, and to guarantee our participation, and perhaps even - I do not want to say it any stronger than this - the opportunity during this next constitutional round to deal with the amending formula, and to correct the wrong that was done in 1981-82, in terms of the section 37(1)(e) or (f) - I forget the number, but Mr. Phelps would know - whereby the provincial veto was applied to the creation of new provinces, and the extension of provincial boundaries north of 60.
We believe that, unless it becomes a bargaining chip with Quebec - which in the end it may have done, last time, in some funny way that we did not completely understand - there is now a willingness among the present group of Premiers to understand more completely our anxiety on that score and to consider that question again.
I want to be frank, though, in saying that Quebec has been fairly rigid on this question. I know that the Premier of Quebec did communicate to one of the Premiers - I will not mention who - that it was his view that Confederation was, in this sense, like a law firm: that partners chose partners; that the frat man or the black-ball fraternity rules were quite an acceptable method, in terms of dealing with admission of new partners - especially English-speaking partners - into Confederation. Their next anxiety, and their perception of the world, is that they joined as one of two, and then saw themselves become one of four, and then eventually one of 10 and they do not want to become one of 12 or one of 13. I think that we have to be sensitive to that. We have, at least in our dealings with Quebec, tried to indicate that we were sensitive and understanding of their position, in the hope that they would not continue to be hostile to ours. But, to be frank, we are not very big fish in their universe and they have a different agenda than do we.
I will say no more at this point about the constitutional theme except that it will require more of our time than it would if we were simply in complete command of our own agenda. We probably would not wish to spend the amount of time on these questions as we will have to in the next year.
In this supplementary there is a fully recoverable amount for statistics surveys, for $119,000, which is the completion of the labour force survey and medical services survey.
There is $79,000 for the implementation of the national labour force survey in the territory - for the first time - and I previously told the Members that it is a very important breakthrough; we will now and in the future become a part of the official unemployment counts for Canada. I think I advised the House of that plan to complete the arrangements with Statistics Canada, when the main estimates were presented last fall. This survey will of course contain important information on employment and unemployment and it actually creates about 15 part-time jobs for people in the territory who will be involved in collecting the data, from time to time.
As I mentioned, it is 100 percent recoverable, including the $15,000 capital, that I am going to mention in a minute, associated with the survey equipment.
The $40,000 for the medical services survey is for compiling community health information in connection with the Health Act commitment for health status reporting and for analysis of health services at the community level. This is a cooperative venture with the Department of Health and Social Services. Again, this is 100 percent recoverable from the Department of Health and Welfare Canada.
The new collective agreement creates a need for $606,000 for increases in salaries and benefits for all positions. About two-thirds of the total supplementary reflects the two year value of wage increases due to this collective agreement. As Members know, the agreement was negotiated after the main estimates for this year were presented to the House. The collective agreement is also retroactive to April 1, 1990.
There is a small reduction due to the retirement of a staff person in the audit area. We have saved $15,000 as a result of that. As Members will also note, there is a vote authority for the Electoral Boundaries Commission of $1. The commission is scheduled to complete its work in December. The supplementary funding will come forward at period 9. As far as I know, we do not know what the final cost of that will be. That is by way of introduction to the departments supplementary estimate.
Mr. Lang: I am wondering if the Minister could undertake to provide for us a list of all of the contracts that have been entered into under the supplementary that we were not aware of when the budget was passed, up until last month, say.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I can undertake to supply the information about the contracts that were entered into and completed as a result of this supplementary, or is the Member asking about previous to this point in the year? Could the Member clarify his question?
Mr. Lang: I would like a full disclosure of any contracts of any significance that have been entered into, so we are aware of where the money is being spent, because, without that information, it is very difficult to be able to really quiz the government, because we do not know where the money is being spent.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I will come back with that information.
Mr. Lang: I want to comment on the constitutional issue facing the country. I think that all Members share a very deep concern about what is going on across the country, and I do not think that some quarters of the general public realize how serious the situation is.
I am just hoping that Canada can get its act together enough to put this together with some semblance of consensus across the country. It is a tragedy to see what is taking place with respect to the committee that was set up. I am not blaming any particular individual or political party. All of us were injured, to some degree, by the public display that took place.
Could the Minister tell us when the government is going to have its position clearly outlined with respect to the constitutional proposals that have been presented? They have been out for some time. I wonder, also, if the Minister could tell us when it is going to be concluded. Time, obviously, is passing by. When will we be provided with a copy of the governments position?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Without terrifying the people in the Executive Council Office, I can undertake to give a ministerial statement during this sitting on our position on the proposals. I would indicate one caution right now, though. There are a number of particulars with respect to the constitutional package presented by Mr. Clark, which are very confusing. It is not clear what role would be contemplated for us, for example, in the Council of the Federation or the economic union proposals. We are not clear how likely it is that the provinces that have proposed, for example, constituent assembly models or social charter ideas, will get seriously discussed.
The Member will understand that this is different from Meech Lake, if we are to take Mr. Clark at his word. We are not dealing with a seamless web - an untouchable, sacred document - that cannot be tinkered with. We are dealing with proposals that will be booted around quite a bit. This would happen especially if the Joint Parliamentary Committee is to do what it said it would do. It will be considering amendments, changes, improvement, deletions and so forth as it goes. We will be having a moving target to deal with. As long as there can be an understanding in the House that we will be tentative about some of the positions we will take on some of the questions, I am quite willing to try and use the occasion of ministerial statements, or some other occasion in the House during the course of this sitting, to make a preliminary statement on behalf of the government as to our position on the Clark proposals.
Mr. Lang: I am aware there is some confusion within the document, but it is a working document that was put out some time ago. What kind of time frame are we looking at? The Minister indicated the committee might be here this following week but obviously that is not going to be the case, I suspect. What time frame is the government under with respect to arriving at a preliminary position?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I do not know how long this sitting is going to last - whether we will be sitting through January into February - but the more time we have, the more complete our response will be. If there is a wish in the House, I would be more than ready to commit myself to a ministerial statement during the month of December on the constitutional package.
Let me explain to the Member why I would be hesitant about doing this beforehand. One of the things I hoped to get out of the Dobbie-Castonguay committee, when they were here, was a dialogue about some of these questions and an opportunity to improve our understanding of exactly what the federal government had in mind about some of these things. The Member will appreciate that I have actually talked many times to Mr. Clark, but there are some questions about which we note there have been differing or contradictory statements by different Ministers and different Members of government about the meaning or intentions of certain provisions. I think one of the advantages of meetings between parliamentary groups or between government-to-government groups on a question like the Constitution is that it helps us to clarify the intentions of the federal government. Often, I think it is the experience of the territories that, in discussing these matters, we will find that our point of view or the impact on us has not been anticipated at all, and that dialogue may help clarify the thinking of the federal representatives as well.
Hypothetically, if we met next week, I would have been prepared, for example, on behalf of the government, to say we like this or we do not like that, and this is how we think about the provisions affecting the north in particular. There are a number of issues here that are frankly question marks for us because we do not understand where things are going; therefore, in dialogue with the committee, they could tell us what their intentions are about this. So, from Dobbie or from Castonguay or from other members of the committee we might have gotten some insight or better understanding that would have allowed us to have discussions here in advance of making a position.
I cannot explain it better than that - simply to say that the more time we have to debate and talk about these things, the clearer our positions will become. We are not going to jump to take positions on some of the questions because, frankly, we think that would be unwise, given past experience.
Mr. Lang: I am confused about the process here. Perhaps the Member could expand further about the task force he talks about.
From the inference of his comments, I take it that he would see Members of this House, with no fixed agenda or fixed position of any kind, meeting with the members of the committee informally, either in camera or in public, to interchange ideas, and at a later date there would be a forum for the purposes of putting forward a firm position. Is this correct?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As all Members know, there are certain questions of our party standings and committee structures that are not yet resolved in this House. At the time when we began to have dealings with Mrs. Dobbie, Mr. Castonguay and the federal people, we could not say to them that there is a legislative committee existing that has been mandated by this House.
I raised the question with Mr. Clark. Would it be possible for us to use the Manitoba model or a variance of the Manitoba model, where essentially the government has appointed an all-party committee for the purpose of dealing with some constitution questions.
As I mentioned to the Leader of the Official Opposition, what we proposed is something similar to that. We propose to set up a task force composed of three Members of the government party, two Members of the Yukon Party and a representative of the independent group - perhaps with me chairing the committee - to meet with any group, such as the Dobbie-Castonguay committee, not to express a view on behalf of the Legislature or the government, but simply as a mechanism to allow the formality of a dialogue between us, which would be representative of all parties, but would not be sanctioned by the Legislature. If a committee such as the First Nations Aboriginal Royal Commission, the Dobbie-Castonguay group or any other group came to the territory, we would have this vehicle in place that would allow us to meet together, not to have the whole committee state government positions or to claim to state anything on behalf of the Legislature, but as a vehicle to meet and have the views of all the groups in the House represented.
In our Cabinet we have always assumed that as soon as this Legislature resolves by some other means to establish a legislative committee, with a mandate to carry out this work, the task force, as I call it, would die. It is simply an interim measure. We propose that if we do get an official announcement that the Dobbie-Castonguay or the joint Parliamentary committee were to come to Yukon say, two weeks hence, then I would communicate with the other leadership in this House and ask if we could agree to meet at this time and to have representatives provided.
Mr. Lang: I want to go through another step here. I was not quite clear on this. So, it is at least the initial intent of the government, during this particular debate on the question on the Constitution, to set up a formal constitutional committee. I was not clear on that when we had the discussions about the task force.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We have not made a formal intent to do that. To some extent, if we resolve to do that, there will be discussions between the House Leaders. At the time I was in discussions with Mr. Clark, I was mindful of the fact that there was an unresolved question in this House, which I could not speak for the House about. That is why we proposed the task force as an interim arrangement.
The Cabinet has approved that structure, and it is entirely for the parties in this House to name their representatives, when the time comes. They are not committing themselves to any policy or position by doing that. It will be done simply as a formality to meet with a visiting parliamentary group.
It may well be that, at some point, we are able to prepare some position on behalf of the government that we may want to put before the House, or before a committee. We have not yet reached that day, and I have not even discussed with my colleagues what kind of possibilities may exist, should that event occur and we need to do that.
Mr. Lang: I am wondering about the process, respecting the Dobbie-Castonguay Parliamentary committee. Let us assume they come within the next two weeks, because of the time frame in the proposal they have put forward. Is it the thought of the Government Leader that this particular Parliamentary committee would be coming back here? At what stage would the actual proposals for change be put forward to that committee, and where?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have two separate questions here. First of all, the mandate of the Parliamentary committee recently changed. Originally, they had planned to come here, go out into the communities, and meet with citizens, First Nations and business groups. Their experience with that model in Manitoba did not prove very fruitful, and they are now much more willing to spend time with legislative groups who may have some knowledge and interest in these questions, rather than going to town hall meetings and having no one show up. They may come back to us and say they would like to come on a particular date with a different idea. Previously, they may have spent some time with us, but spent more time going out to the communities. They may now want to spend several hours with us. I do not know that, but let us assume it.
This meeting is not for an exchange of government positions. It is for the purpose of discussing their proposals together, with an all-party group of this Legislature. The government party may be able to respond tentatively to some of the questions, and we may have some questions of our own. That may be the case for the other Members of the committee, and we will give everybody a chance to do that.
We do not intend to use the task force as a vehicle for mounting a formal government position at this stage. In any case, that would not be proper for us, as a Legislature, to make our or the governments views known to another legislative committee. If the government has something to say at some stage, we will have an opportunity to communicate government-to-government.
It may be that the Dobbie committee may want to come back. It may be that Mr. Clark or the Prime Minister may want to invite us to some conferences that may be like constituent assemblies, in which there would be all-party representation. It is possible that the Prime Minister may constitute a First Ministers Conference, although I think that is less likely, given that he has said that he will not have one unless Quebec attends. Since Quebec has indicated that it will not attend, then my guess is that will not happen until we get to the crunch.
This task force is simply an interim step. We are not proposing to present our positions to it, and we are not proposing to take final positions on all of these questions. The task force is simply a vehicle for meeting with the federal joint committee to discuss their proposals and to have an opportunity to exchange views.
Mr. Lang: I want to move on to another area. The Minister spoke about the Indian land claims to some degree, and I would ask him a number of questions on that.
The Minister referred to the Old Crow decision. In respect to that, he mentioned the Sparrow case and the negotiation of the moose harvest and the sharing of it. Could the Minister clarify the position of the government? Is it the governments position that, once the land claim is decided upon, then there is an agreement that there will not be the requirement to meet the seasons, as far as hunting is concerned? In other words, the native people throughout the territory will have the right of subsistence hunting, up to the maximum amount of their allocation? Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: If the Member will forgive me, I do not have the advantage of having the actual documents in front me, so I cannot respond in precise detail. Let me try and explain it in a general way.
When we were negotiating the umbrella final agreement, we recognized that we were doing that in the context of a certain kind of legal environment. To over-simplify it, the legal environment was that, side by side, there were two separate systems of wildlife management, or wildlife game law. On the one hand, flowing from the Royal Proclamation of 1763, the Ruperts Land Transfer, and so forth, you had expressed in the Yukon Act - I think it used to be section 73, but I am not quite sure any more - the unfettered right of aboriginal people to fish and hunt for food on what is called unoccupied Crown land. That was the one traditional harvest for food. On the other hand, the Yukon Act also gave the Yukon government the right to manage game, to regulate hunting and to do all those other things. In some sense, it has always been in legal conflict, and that conflict between the principles has been sharpened by recent court decisions.
We recognize that having those two competing value systems was, in the end, very bad for conservation in the territory. The land claims agreement we were negotiating tried to say that, in exchange for the surrender of the unfettered right, First Nations would receive half the seats on local resource councils, which would deal with allocation issues on a traditional territory basis, and for half the seats on wildlife management boards at the territorial level. Both aboriginal and non-aboriginal people in the territory would agree that no one would fish or hunt below sustainable levels. I am told that our land claim agreement would have been the first treaty anywhere that had conservation as its first principle.
The allocations of the harvest would have been done on the basis of conservation being the first claim on the resource. We would protect the resource at conservation levels. Beyond that, subsistence users would have the next claim on the resource, with licensed sport hunters coming next. Commercial users would have the last claim.
Since we negotiated that, the Sparrow case went to the Supreme Court of Canada. The decision in that case was confirmed. The lawyers in the House will forgive me, as I am not quoting it exactly, but the essence of that case was that the aboriginal right to harvest salmon for food was confirmed, and government regulation of that harvest could only be justified on grounds of conservation or public health and safety, if I remember the decision correctly.
In the decision of the Angie Joseph case in Dawson, the Chief Judge of the Territorial Court confirmed the application of that decision in the Yukon and said that YTG, for example, could not regulate the aboriginal harvest of grayling in the territory unless we could demonstrate that our rules, regulations and licensing were justified on the basis of conservation.
As we approach the negotiations with each First Nation, we have had to recognize the priority allocation that they could claim consistent with court decisions I mentioned, as well as the widespread desire of the non-aboriginal community - hunters and fishermen in this territory - to have a share of the allocation, if conservation measures have to be brought into effect to protect the resource.
Without getting into much more detail, that is the approach we have taken in terms of trying to negotiate these settlements. That is the basis by which we have reached agreement with the four First Nations we now have agreements with.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister tell me if the ratio for the sharing, if that is the terminology, for example, of the moose harvest is 75 percent for the beneficiaries of the land claim and 25 percent for others? Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The ratio is actually a bit more complex than that. In Old Crow, once the conservation measures come into force, there is a small number of moose for which the First Nation has exclusive harvest - this is off the top of my head, as I do not have the documents in front of me. The sharing formula comes into effect after that number. The details of these can be provided to the Member when we get into the briefings I have offered. I apologize to the Member. I have not yet seen the documents, so I do not have them, only the precise numbers.
The short answer is that the formula is a little more complex than the Members question asks.
Mr. Lang: There was one thing I was not clear on. I take it the briefing on the information is not confidential. Is that correct? We did have a time set up, and there was a problem with the Executive Council Office. I am not worried about the timing, but the information that is going to be provided to us.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: There are obviously two briefings. If the Member wants to have the briefing on the basis that we would not divulge any confidences on any matters still before federal cabinet or us and so forth, we will understand and undertake to brief the Member on that basis.
If, however - and this goes back to my days with Mr. Pearson - the Member wants to be briefed in confidence on matters under negotiation - and I can well understand why a Member of the Legislature would not want to be, but if they do want that confidential briefing, yes, that can be made available too.
The Member has to decide what he wants. If he wants the briefing to be on the basis that he can freely discuss the information he obtains with anybody and everybody, then that is fair enough, as long as we know.
Mr. Lang: The information we want, we feel we should be able to discuss and we are not prepared to have a confidential briefing per se, because I do not think that is our role in the House nor are we prepared to compromise it.
The Minister has referred to the Sparrow court case and I want to explore that further. I take it that it is the governments position - falling back on the Sparrow decision - that, in the area of hunting, as long as the beneficiaries of a land claim meet the allocation quota the Minister referred to, they will be able to do it on a 12 month basis. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Again, I do not want to get into the complexities here, for fear of over-simplifying it. These refer to the basic needs level of the community and the formula is complicated. This may not be the best opportunity to discuss this; if the Member wants to get into it in greater detail, either the Minister of Renewable Resources or I could do so; or the Member may wish to deal with those questions at the briefing table. Either way, we can document it if the Member likes.
Mr. Lang: It is just a very basic principle. I am not talking about the complications of the allocation or anything like that. I am prepared to discuss that in detail. I am asking the Minister if his position emanates from land claims, as it appears to be, and this goes back to questions I asked in the House last session - about the right to hunt and fish 12 months of the year, without the seasonal requirements. I understand that the beneficiaries will be allowed to do that. Is that correct? I just want to know.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Obviously, if First Nations are exercising the right to hunt and fish for food to meet the basic needs of living in the community, it is not possible to restrict that harvest to a certain season. The subsistence users of the resources will have the first claim and they will not be limited by seasons. However, the harvest will be managed when it is necessary to do so for the purposes of conservation.
Mr. Lang: I raise this question because there is some concern in some quarters with respect to the need for seasons to preserve the conservation of wildlife. I think that is an area that will probably be pursued by other individuals, perhaps me, when we receive some further information on this.
The Minister talked about a new territorial park. Could the Minister elaborate further as what size he is talking about? Could he also tell us if that is over and above the 3,000 square miles allocated through the land claim process for the purposes of the Old Crow land claim.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: First of all, the territorial park is not part of the land selection of the Vuntut Gwichin First Nation. It is separate and apart; it is proposed to be a territorial park.
The area in question lies between the area north of Dawson City and south of Old Crow. This area has a unique geological feature. Perhaps I could describe it this way to the Member. There is a mountain called Bear Cave Mountain. On one side of this mountain there are a number of caves that are the dwellings of grizzly bears. There is a unique feature in that this is a river that flows into the Porcupine River, Fishing Branch River. There are a number of tributaries of the Porcupine River. Only one of these rivers is a salmon-bearing river and it is a very interesting spot, because that is the river flows around the mountain - I am not sure if I understand it geologically - because of limestone activity or the water goes underground at some point. It never freezes, it is open all year round. There are salmon there all year round, or most of the year; certainly there are salmon there in the winter. Therefore, it is a very important feeding place for large numbers of grizzly bears and it is a very important biological site.
Let me switch gears for a second. In British Columbia, there is a public consultation, and in Alaska there has been a public consultation, about how governments might manage wildlife-viewing opportunities of this kind, such as giving access to grizzly bears in the wild. For reasons the Members will well understand, this is not an easy thing to manage, but there are certain places where they fish, which give unique viewing opportunities. It so happens that the Fishing Branch River, at the Bear Cave Mountain, has a rocky outcropping, which provides reasonably secure opportunities for viewing. You cannot just get in there by car. You have to helicopter in, so you are talking about pretty top-end-of-the-market tourism. In Alaska, there are places where you can do this and which are managed by the state. They are very unique and protected locations.
British Columbia is now, as I understand it, going through a public consultation about how it manages such sites: what time of the year people should have access; how many people should come, and so forth. We obviously, in this agreement, want to be working with the Old Crow people on how such a thing should be managed and how those viewing opportunities shall be arrived at. The territorial park proposal in the area is geared not only to those unique viewing opportunities but also to the unique ecological features of the area.
Mr. Lang: What the Minister has said is interesting and I am aware of what is happening in Alaska. I think it is the ONeil River, if I am not mistaken, where one of those viewing areas is made available to the public, for the purpose of watching grizzly bears.
I guess my question to the Minister is: what kind of square mileage are we talking about for this territorial park? I am also wondering about the process. In at least three agreements we have heard about, there has been a national wildlife refuge agreed to in Teslin; the Tatshenshini has been agreed to as a Canadian heritage river, and now we have a territorial park. I am not making an observation one way or another, as to whether it is the right thing to do. It seems to me that the situation in Old Crow is a logical one, from what you have described.
I always had the impression that, for example, there was a public process through which things such as Care of Canadian Heritage Rivers would go through so that all members of the public could participate. It seems to me that there are a lot of agreements and decisions being made behind closed doors and then presented to the public as a fait accompli.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: No. That is not correct. Both are special management areas. The Nisutlin Delta is an important bird breeding area. In the case of the territorial park, they are proposals - and I use the word advisedly. Having reached the negotiating point at the table, they will then be subject, under the territorial Parks Act, to a public review process, which is contemplated under the act, before they would become finalized.
Mr. Lang: The National Wildlife Refuge was, I believe, the terminology used for the area around Teslin. Is that under federal legislation?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I would have to check the facts on that. As I recall, the purpose of the arrangement for the Nisutlin Delta was so that, rather than the First Nation having to claim the land to protect the water fowl nesting area, there was agreement by the governments there to talk about the special management area in either eventuality. I will check the facts on this. There is, I believe, a public process by which the parameters of that proposal go to public review.
Mr. Lang: When the Minister checks that, could he also return with information on the rights to harvest birds? Would it be restricted to the beneficiaries or be as it is now, where it is available to the general public as long as they abide by the general laws of application?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I will return with that answer.
Chair: Committee will take a break.
Chair: I will now call the Committee of the Whole to order.
Mr. Lang: I would like further information with respect to the Old Crow agreement. The Minister referred to a national park. Can the Minister tell us what size of area we are looking at and are we speaking of the area, as a consequence of the COPE agreement, where there was the ability for extension if the people of Old Crow asked for it? Is this the area in question?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: That is basically the case. It abuts the present national park that is in the Old Crow Flats. As to the precise area, I will have to come back to the Member with that number.
Mr. Lang: That area in northern Yukon is where there is prospective port facilities. Is that area still open?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: That is not included in this claim.
Mr. Lang: I would like to continue. Does anyone else have any questions in this particular area?
I would like some clarification for the record. When the land claim is settled, is it the position of the government that the beneficiaries will have the right to hunt in the national parks?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I believe it has been established, either by the courts or by federal government policy, that with respect to their food harvest, aboriginal people have the right to hunt in national parks.
Mr. Lang: I want to clarify the position of the government. Through the course of their land claim negotiations, the government is agreeing with that principle. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We have made absolutely no effort to change that principle.
Mr. Lang: Does anyone have any questions in this area? If not, I am going to move on to another area.
I would like to move on to the question of decentralization. Could the Minister tell us how many of the 39 positions of the first year implementation have been moved out and are functioning in the communities?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As of this moment, which is seven months into the first year implementation, 24 of the 39 positions are in place in the target communities.
Mr. Lang: Can the Minister provide us with a list of the positions that have been moved into the communities and a list of the number of employees who have decided not to move out into the communities and, subsequently, what positions those particular people have taken within the government, whether they are additional positions or otherwise?
For the main estimates, could the Minister also provide us with an indication of the updated actual capital cost of the program, in view of the situation in Carcross, for example, and the debacle that has taken place there? Could he also provide us with an example of the costs relating to accommodation and other costs in Haines Junction, and give us an overall view and update on that?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Yes. When the Member is using words like debacle, I hope he is not suggesting in any way that the Yukon government was responsible for the occupation of the band facility in the community of Carcross.
Mr. Lang: I am just going by what the media said. I know the media is never wrong, and they called it the Doris and Maurice show. I am assuming the government was just as involved as anyone else in that situation. I do not think we can shirk all responsibility, as far as the decisions that were made.
I will move over to another area, if I could.
Excuse me. My colleague, the MLA for Kluane, has a question.
Mr. Brewster: The mayor and town council in Haines Junction has often tried to get the government to move its offices into the community, instead of starting another community out at the airport. Can the Minister tell me whether anything has been done about this?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Member will no doubt wish to pursue this matter in great detail with the Minister of Community and Transportation Services, when we get to his estimates, but let me give the Member the short answer, because I was part of some conversations with the mayor and council on this question.
In the end, having had discussions with the town council and the Government of the Yukon about the alternative of locating office space downtown or at the airport, it became clear that, were we to contemplate office space in town, it would not be covered by the money provided under the agreement with the federal government. Therefore, we came to an agreement with the community that it was better for us to proceed now with the offices at the airport, consistent with the transfer agreement on the airports and marine branch, take under advisement their very earnest wish to see office space in the downtown area in the future, and for us to be sensitive and cognizant of that when other opportunities emerge in the future.
Mr. Brewster: I will not carry that on any further right now. I will deal with my favourite Minister on that one. There is one other thing I would like to ask. Of those positions at the airport, how many of them are going to be new positions, with people hired from the Haines Junction area?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I cannot, off the top of my head, tell the Member, although I would parenthetically say that I am terribly disappointed to discover that I am not the Members favourite Minister.
I believe I know the manager of the operation in the airports. I have, at least, heard he is someone who will be moving from Whitehorse to that position. The other positions will not move there until the facilities are available. I would, on behalf of the Minister of Community and Transportation Services, take notice on who is going to occupy those positions at that time.
Mr. Lang: I want to turn back to the question of land claims. I meant to ask this question before. Are the discussions on self-government the Minister spoke about going on in Ottawa?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The negotiations on the self-government questions will carry on in Ottawa next week.
Mr. Lang: Where do the individual municipalities fit in with those discussions?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The municipalities, as you know, have been able to attend the negotiations in the communities with the consent of the First Nations. Even where that has not been the case - although I think that in every case we have dealt with they have been present - we have briefed the municipality regularly on the progress of negotiations and have dealt with their concerns about land selections or other matters.
On the precise question of the self-government arrangements, the negotiations are now going on among the four First Nations - together, dealing as a group - the federal government and the territorial government.
The briefings or discussions on that question have been provided, using the vehicle of the Association of Yukon Communities, by our negotiators, not only at their recent AGM, but I think there was also a special briefing for them to talk about the issues, hear about their concerns and to respond.
The Member, in the past, has asked questions about the application of self-government powers in the communities within municipal boundaries. Let me try to explain the way in which we contemplate that question being resolved.
For small land selections - site specifics - the laws of general application of the municipality will apply. For large land selections over a certain size - such as, for example, an area including the whole of the Kwanlin Dun site at McIntyre - there will be the exercise of self-government powers by that First Nation. In the communities in which we have now completed negotiations - Champagne/Aishihik, for example - there is agreement that, where the First Nation land and municipal boundaries abut, they will attempt to have cooperative arrangements about compatible planning and zoning. There will be built into the agreement a dispute resolution mechanism that will allow an expeditious resolution of any disputes among either individual property owners or between the two separate governing authorities.
I do not know if that answers the kind of question the Member had.
Mr. Lang: From what the Minister has said, does the Association of Yukon Communities agree with that?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am not acquainted with a resolution that passed in this case, but I was regularly briefed when the negotiations were going on in the case of Champagne/Aishihik. Even though the council has since changed, the mayor is still the same and I know that the mayor and the town manager were intimately involved in the closing stages of those discussions. I believe that they are agreeable to the arrangements that we have made.
Mr. Lang: There was a poll taken with respect to the question of self-government, paid for in part, if not in full, by the government. Could the Minister provide us with the detailed results of that particular poll? What questions were asked in the poll?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have already made that information public. I am quite happy to table it in the House if the Member wishes me to do so.
Mr. Lang: I would appreciate that. I know that there was a press release on some of the results, but the actual questions that were asked, to my knowledge, were not made available.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I think we gave the information about the questions in the complete package. To make sure that the Member is satisfied on that question, I will table the information in the House.
On Executive Council Office
On Operation & Maintenance Expenditures
Mr. Lang: I know that he has given us a general overview, but could he give us an overview of the expenditure? It is well over 10 percent, and I understand that we will get the contracts that were handed in also, so that we have an idea of what this money was for, or at least it would give us an outline of how the money was used.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The $139,000 provided in the line for the administration secretariat is the $114,000 salary adjustments for the nine indeterminate person years provided for in this line, plus $25,000 for supplies, communications and other support costs. This includes $15,000 for the six Ministers staff and $10,000 for special counsel support.
Mr. Lang: Can the Minister tell us what he is talking about when he refers to special counsel support?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I spent some time in my opening remarks describing Mr. Byers role in the work that he was doing; that is the position we are talking about. This is not to cover the salary position, but rather the communications, telephone, mail and all of the materials associated with the position.
Mrs. Firth: Could we get a job description for that special counsel position? Could we also get some indication of what category or level that job is now at?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Certainly. The Member will understand that the incumbent is still paid according to the classification in which he came into the service of the Yukon Government.
Mrs. Firth: So the person employed in the special counsel position is still at the Deputy Minister level so, in effect, it is another Deputy Minister.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Yes.
Administration/Secretariat in the amount of $139,000 agreed to
On Land Claims Secretariat
Hon. Mr. Penikett: This $124,000 is, again, for salary adjustments for the 12 people who are employees in this secretariat, under this line.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister tell us exactly what the situation is with the northern land claim negotiator? I understand he is an individual from Manitoba. Could the Minister tell us if he is under contract and, if so, is it on a per diem or an annual basis?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: No, the person is doing other tasks in the Executive Council Office right now, not being needed at that table. It is a salaried position, locally hired.
Mr. Lang: I want to express a concern here. I know that the land claims are now being directed, at least administratively, by two gentlemen who really have not been in the Yukon all that long. To be frank, that is of some concern to me, as far as them recognizing what is going on in the territory and understanding our communities. I just want to put that on the record.
Could the Minister tell us if the northern land claim negotiator position is a political appointment, or is it a normal administrative appointment?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The position the Member is talking about is a public competition position.
Land Claims Secretariat in the amount of $124,000 agreed to
On Public Affairs Bureau
Hon. Mr. Penikett: This represents salary adjustments for the employees of the Public Affairs Bureau.
Mr. Lang: I want to know about the hiring. Is the communications advisor to the Cabinet included in the Public Affairs Bureau?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: That is part of the political staff complement. It has always been this way except for one occasion when a director was brought into the Government Leaders office and was, therefore, made political staff in an attempt to combine the roles. It was not during our time, but was during the previous administration.
While we have been in office, the Cabinet communications advisor has been an OIC appointment.
Public Affairs Bureau in the amount of $65,000 agreed to
On Policy & Planning
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Again, this line is for salary adjustment for the person years in this unit.
Policy & Planning in the amount of $39,000 agreed to
On Constitutional Development, Devolution & Intergovernmental Relations
Hon. Mr. Penikett: This money is to provide for salary benefits for the Special Constitutional Council and the secretary and the salary adjustments for the collective agreement for other people in this line, amounting to $8,000. There is an offset here of $25,000 in specialized contract services.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister give us a breakdown of the constitutional personnel versus that of the secretary?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The dollar figure I have here combine the two amounts. I can bring that information back tomorrow.
Mr. Lang: Have any significant contracts involving studies emanated out of here?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Not that I know of.
Constitutional Development, Devolution and Intergovernmental Relations in the amount of $148,000 agreed to
On French and Aboriginal Language Services
Hon. Mr. Penikett: This $108,000 is for the salary adjustments for the people involved in the French and Aboriginal Language Services program.
French and Aboriginal Language Services in the amount of $108,000 agreed to
On Bureau of Management Improvement
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As I explained earlier, this reduction results from the retirement of the encumbent.
Bureau of Management Improvement in the amount of an under expenditure of $15,000 agreed to
On Bureau of Statistics
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The increase overall is $181,000 and, if the Member will bear with me for a second, I will break it down. There is $62,000 for salary adjustments for the people in this branch. There is $79,000, as I mentioned in my opening speech, for the national labour force survey, which is 100 percent recoverable from Statistics Canada. There is $40,000 for the medical services survey, which is also 100 percent recoverable from Health and Welfare Canada.
Mr. Lang: Am I to assume that the medical services survey is completed?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I believe the Minister of Health and Social Services advised me that it is not completed yet; it is ongoing. I will take the question as notice in the interim.
Mr. Lang: Once it is completed, could we have the results of that medical survey?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I do not know any reason why not, but I will consult with the Minister.
Bureau of Statistics in the amount of $181,000 agreed to
On Office of the Commissioner
Hon. Mr. Penikett: This $7,000 is for salary adjustments for one indeterminate person year in the Commissioners office and I assume it is not the Commissioners salary.
Office of the Commissioner in the amount of $7,000 agreed to
On Cabinet Support
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As I indicated, there is an increase of two person years here for an executive assistant and executive support for the sixth Minister. There is also $119,000 for salary adjustments for the other political staff, and $15,000 for direct costs of the sixth Minister, including travel and communications.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister provide us with a list of travel by all of the Ministers, including where they travelled, the amount of money spent and when the travel took place?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I can do that. I want to clarify if the Member is asking for travel so far in this calendar year, or is he asking for what is budgeted so far in this year?
Mr. Lang: I would like to know what is budgeted so far in this year.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Yes, Madame Chair.
Cabinet Support in the amount of $244,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $1,040,000 agreed to
On Capital Expenditures
On Bureau of Statistics
On Labour Force Survey Equipment
Labour Force Survey Equipment in the amount of $15,000 agreed to
Capital Expenditures in the amount of $15,000 agreed to
Community and Transportation Services
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Perhaps by way of some opening remarks I can outline the highlights pertaining to this supplementary. As Members will note, the operation and maintenance expenditures have increased by $10.6 million, which may seem a significant amount. However, because there has been a major realignment of the budget - and I have spoken to the subject in a ministerial statement earlier this week wherein the amount is explained - the most significant component is the implementation of the new municipal finance regime that has been put in place this past year. This alone results in an addition of some $6.5 million dollars to the operation and maintenance budget. This of course is offset by capital block funding. In short, what has occurred is that we have taken the capital block fund, and by rolling up all of the grants that were part of capital block funding and operating grants, we have created a new item, comprehensive block funding. That accounts for a significant part of the budget.
Additionally, the collective agreement has had a substantial impact on the increase before Members. Operation and maintenance personnel expenditures increased by approximately $2.8 million as a result of contract obligations.
Operation and maintenance expenditures also increased in several programs, which are fully recoverable from the federal government. I can note them as we go into line-by-line items. A couple of examples should assist us. For example, the National Safety Code has increased by $150,000, but it is entirely recoverable.
Another area of recoverable money that has reflected an increase is the Old Crow emergency response this past year. That has added $860,000 to the budget. Ninety percent of this amount is recoverable from the Government of Canada.
Capital expenditures have decreased by $3 million. I have already explained, in part, some of that decrease; that is the reflection of the capital block fund that was consolidated with other payments previously made to municipalities. That decrease is offset by $6.3 million that was not spent in 1990-91. This amount was brought forward by a revote.
Additionally, we have brought forward from next year in this supplementary, an $810,000 figure for the City of Dawson. This has to do with their piped sewer main replacement project. The City of Dawson accelerated the project and we simply accelerated the funding by moving money we anticipated to spend next year into this supplementary. This was done so that we could meet our share of the obligation.
Another similar example reflected in here is the moving forward of $150,000 from next years main estimates, for the purposes of providing our contribution this year, in the Whitehorse sewer and water project.
Additionally, we moved $200,000 forward to speed up the capital work on the Pelly Crossing bridge walkway. Another item we moved forward from next year and initiated a tender this year was for the Tuchitua Bridge on the Robert Campbell Highway. We advanced $500,000 from an anticipated $1 million dollar expenditure next year, to start the project this year.
These are fairly well the substantive items of the supplementary. I will be pleased to respond to any items of general interest or specific information.
Mr. Phelps: The first thing I wanted to do was ask for some information - not for today but for the purpose of debate, when we are in Committee on the main estimates. What I would like from the department, if I could, is a list of project lapses, budget by budget, for the last four years - specifically, for Carcross and Tagish. I would like to know what monies have lapsed each year for those two places.
Another request I have - and tell me if it is too difficult to get - is that I would like a global figure for each of the following communities or areas, with regard to property tax revenues: I would like to know, first of all, the tax revenues for Tagish, including the river properties and the subdivision. I would like a figure for the property tax revenues, just for the current year or the most recent one. I would like the figures for Marsh Lake - specifically Judas Creek, New Constabulary Beach and Old Constabulary Beach. I would like to know the property taxes that the government collects for Stewart Crossing, for Pelly Crossing, for Beaver Creek and for Keno City.
If that is not a problem, I would like them for debate later on in the session. I do not need them right away.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I do not think there is much of a problem in itemizing the property tax revenues. That should be readily available from the existing tax rolls and data base. What may be a bit more of a difficult exercise is the project-by-project lapses for communities.
Just to clarify that request, I am advised by very competent staff that that could take some time. Could the Member clarify which communities he is requesting that information for?
Mr. Phelps: Only for Carcross. The Minister probably even knows why.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am quite certain we can have the property tax revenues well in advance of the mains. On the subject of the project-by-project lapses over the past several years, we will make every effort to provide at least some skeleton, if not a detailed breakdown, of that information in time for the mains.
Mr. Phelps: I do not think there is an awful lot of work involved in just doing Carcross and the tax revenues for those few communities.
I am just a little curious about the issue of the change in the way the money is being granted to the communities. The capital block funding lapses are $8.8 million. I want to get this right, but the $6.5 million shows up in the O&M. Is there any significance to that? I see that almost $9 million is deleted on page 22 and we are told that $6.5 million of that shows up in the municipal and community affairs revision. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The simple explanation and the shortest answer is that the apparent variance is the result of the school tax component that has been taken out of the formula, if you will. Members may recall that in the comprehensive fund we effectively eliminated, as a category of collectable revenue that portion referred to as school tax; but in the case of municipalities we essentially did not eliminate it by reducing taxation but, rather, eliminated it by categorization. In effect, we created tax room for municipalities to fill in. On the grant side, of course, we took up that slack and did not give them the money they ordinarily would have collected for school tax. That is the $2.5 million variance.
Mr. Phelps: I understand that. One of my colleagues asked an interesting question: given that adjustment, had we remained with the old system for the 1992-93 year, the gross revenues of the budget would have been an extra two and one-half to three million dollars. That shrinks the overall expenditure of the Yukon Territorial government, does it not?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I think I understand what the Member is seeking, and let me try to explain it the way I understand his question. Effectively, what has occurred in terms of the Yukon government budget is a reduced expenditure of a couple of million dollars but, at the same time, we have reduced our collectable revenue. So, technically, it is a net-zero difference. On the municipalities side, the same thing happens. They get a couple of million dollars less in grants from the Yukon government, but they have tax room, as we call it, in order to raise the $2 million that they were previously getting in grants. It is net-zero to both the municipalities and to us. I think that was the Members question.
Mr. Phelps: Well, sort of. If one compares the previous budget to the one in which this change occurs, the effect of that is that there is $2 million less collected and spent.
Perhaps this is not appropriate for general debate, but in the general opening comments for operation and maintenance, I note that the transportation division operation and maintenance is way up. Is this mostly for wages?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I take it that the Member is referring to what appears to be the global figure of $2.2 million. The Member is quite correct. The majority portion of this amount is due to increased personnel costs as a result of the collective agreement. That alone, for that very large personnel division, accounts for $2.1 million of the adjusted figures. There are some additional increases in costs in that vote for the other $100,000, not to mention a couple of reductions at the same time. $2.1 million of the $2.2 million can be ascribed to personnel costs.
Mr. Phelps: Those are all the questions that I have. I understand that the Member for Watson Lake has some questions.
Mr. Devries: My question is rather general. It has to do with bridge tendering.
I was driving home once last fall in miserable, rotten weather. There were people trying to paint a bridge. The gentleman who was in charge of the project said to me that he came up in June in beautiful weather, looked at the bridge and put in a bid. Then he came up here in late August or September to work in the rain, sleet and snow to do the painting. He felt that he could have done the job much more economically if he could have driven up in the rain, sleet and snow in the spring and looked at the bridge, and then do the work when the weather was nice.
Does the government have any plans to put out the bridge improvement tenders at an earlier date? We could get more value for our dollar.
It was on the Alaska Highway, but I understand it is administered by YTG.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I will undertake to find out more accurately what bridge tenders were awarded on the Alaska Highway. I do not have that information available to me. Would the Member share with me which bridge he is referring to?
On non-Alaska Highway work, and within the government at large, we attempt to stagger work projects from early spring through the season into the fall as much as is possible. That is by virtue of communications with the contracting community, which prefers it that way.
We tend to try to stagger the jobs throughout the season, so contractors have maximum efficiency, and not a situation where a lot of jobs are happening at one time. Members have raised that with me in the past.
In the case of the Alaska Highway, we are often faced with being governed by Public Works Canada, which is doing the capital tendering. We may not be involved, other than in an advisory capacity. I am not suggesting it is the fault of Public Works, but it is a case of us not being tied into the system where we award the contracts on the capital side. We provide the maintenance under the maintenance agreement but, at this point in time, Public Works still does the capital tendering.
I do not know if that is part of the reason, but I will undertake to explore the nature of the capital works on the Alaska Highway portion.
Mr. Brewster: I can bring another example of the same thing happening. I can certainly understand why the contractors want to run it out. They get more money because their costs are higher. An example is the bridge in Carmacks. We came down from Mayo some time in October and they were trying to sandblast and paint it. The road was in a terrible state. One could hardly stay on it, it was so slippery. There is a turn in the road at the bridge, coming from the Dawson range. There is no signal until one is right on the bridge. They had all these vehicles there and we were dodging through them to try and get through.
I suspect, knowing a bit about contractors, they were making a great deal more money there than if they had to do it in July, when it would have been sensible to paint it. There were trucks scattered all over the bridge. I can understand why the contractor would want to scatter. It makes sense to do this and spread out the business. At the same time, in the Yukon, there are 110 days in which to do this type of work. If it is not done then, the costs go up because of the weather. Once October 1 is passed, things freeze up and the snow comes. It is a fact of life. The contracts should be out well before that so that they do not get into these messes.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Again, I will undertake to provide a little more detail relating to the timing of road contracts for both Members, by the time we get to the mains.
I recall the bridge work at Carmacks being done late in the season. I recall the strengthening of the bridge that was being done and the requirement to travel across the bridge on a single lane. There was all sorts of equipment lined up along there while they were doing the contract job. I do not have an answer, and I do not know why it was done so late in the season, but I will undertake to provide some additional information during the mains.
Perhaps while I am on my feet, I could respond to the Member for Kluane, who raised the question with the Premier in debate earlier today, about the status of the personnel at the Haines Junction airport. I believe the Member made an inquiry about the status of the people who are expected to be employed and stationed there. Does the Member wish to clarify the question?
Mr. Brewster: I do not want to clarify the question. Rest assured, the Member will not get off that easy. I wanted to have that in as a line-by-line item, rather than now. Therefore, I did not go ahead with my excitement over what you were going to tell me. I thought I would wait.
Mr. Devries: I have one more question, basically regarding a government blunder. As the Minister is aware, some work was done on the Campbell Highway at Watson Lake this year, and several nice big fancy signs were put up indicating a construction project funded by the Government of Yukon, signed by Mr. Byblow. The sign shows $60,000 as the total cost of the project, but there was a couple of million dollars worth of equipment there for six weeks. A lot of people were questioning me on how anyone could possibly do all that work for $60,000. Upon checking into it, apparently the government left a zero off the sign.
Mr. Brewster: Not to tell government how to run things, but as I understood it, the reason we combined our budgets on these contracts was to get them in now so they can get off to a quick start in the spring. I would suggest, as usual, that we do not hold the budget up but put it through very fast for the government, and we have no problems doing that.
Immediately, as the Member for Watson Lake said, a man came up and looked at it. Why are the tenders not started right after January, so the contractors can put bids in? The government knows what money it has. We put it through here very quickly, because we do not want to hinder the government, so why are we waiting until spring to put the contracts out?
My understanding was that that was why the budgets are all combined, so that the work can get going early in the spring, which I agree with. It is a great idea, but a lot of the people looking at these contracts come up and look at them during the winter.
It is just a suggestion, but it may save a lot of trouble and it will get them working in the summer, instead of in the fall.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: To a large extent, the Member is describing exactly what happens. When we put forward the capital budget in the fall, it allows the contracting community to spend time in the winter reviewing the anticipated projects. I know this for a fact, because I have attended, and I suspect that Members opposite have attended, information sessions where Government Services, the Department of Education and highway people provide information to the contracting and business community on the budget after it is passed.
These usually happen around December and January, and there are visits conducted by Government Services to the communities, advising them of some of the budget details and information. That allows precisely what the Member is talking about: for the contracting community to review what the jobs are and what the specifications may be. It allows the department to finalize the specifications so that, when the first of the new fiscal year comes forward, you can begin tendering. As I pointed out earlier, we deliberately stagger things in order to prevent that bottle-necking of jobs.
I will be more completely versed in respect to jobs that appear to have been started late. At the same time, we may have a couple of cases where it appears the jobs began late and ought to have started sooner, we also have many jobs that have been long since completed, because they were tendered early in the fiscal year. A number of road jobs wrapped up ahead of schedule this year because they were tendered early.
I would only conclude by saying to the Members that, by the time we reach the main estimates, I will attempt to determine what projects were tendered late and why.
Mr. Brewster: I think the problem is, and I agree with the Minister, that they meet with the contractors and tell them what to do. If you really watch the papers, the tenders never come out until July or August. They should be out in May and June.
They know the budget. They will probably know this budget by the first week in January. Some of those tenders should be put out very soon after that. I suspect, from the way governments work, that this money was budgeted for, so they must know what those contracts are going to cost; therefore, the tenders should be out pretty soon. They should not be coming out in July or August so that they have to work in the winter. Then they charge the government more, because it costs more to work during the freeze-up. They have more problems.
Just look at the paper. All the big tenders start coming out in July and August. That means they will be done in the fall.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I respect the Members statements. I would not take it as an article of faith that all jobs come out in June and July. I was previously involved in the Department of Government Services and am aware that, immediately after the beginning of the fiscal year, jobs are tendered on a systematic and regular basis. This is done in consultation with the contracting community. It may only appear that there are an abundance of jobs in mid-summer. That is understandable, as it is the best construction portion of the season.
What I heard the Member raising concern about - and is of some concern to me - is that some jobs get tendered late in the fall. This may not be the most appropriate time. I would only throw in this point respecting late contracts; sometimes there is considerable advantage to tendering late for the purpose of providing work for those slower seasons. They may have some additional costs associated with them, because it is a more difficult season in which to do construction work, but it provides enormous benefit to a community, region or area because it provides that winter work in an otherwise poor season.
We discussed this when I was in my previous ministerial capacity. There is some benefit and some deliberate intention, on occasion, to have a winter contract, but I cannot be specific at this point. I just raise that as a point of fact and a factor in the argument of staggering contracts. As I said earlier, I will investigate and I would appreciate any specifics of late tenders, so that I could respond on a case-by-case basis.
Mr. Brewster: After listening to the Minister, I guess this is where our philosophies differ. I have been in business and cash counts. Any time you are doing a job like that, you are not doing a perfect job, especially if you are painting. Let us face it: if you are painting in October, with freezing at night, then you do not have a perfect job. It is costing a lot more to the taxpayers. Somewhere along the line, governments all over Canada are going to have to smarten up and realize that the costs do cost. You would not find a private contractor doing a thing like that and if they did, they would know it would cost them an awful lot, and they would have to account to their shareholders for blowing that money - which the government did blow. There is no question about that because a nicer job can be done during the summer.
A good example of that is the new hotel that is going up. Of all the times to start a new hotel, when the ground is frozen, and all that frozen ground had to be moved. There are lumps half the size of these things sitting there. That cost alone has already started to rise way above what was budgeted for. Things such as this must be done in the summer when it is practical.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I do not disagree with the Member. In the interests of efficiency and prudent expenditure, yes, we, as a government, ought to address all aspects of cost in any decision. I only launched that thought as an expression that there may be some justification. I am not saying that is the case. I want to research the late tenders.
Mr. Phillips: I would like to make a couple of comments about that, specifically with respect to the painting contracts that are out. I had an opportunity this summer to talk to a few of the painters who are carrying out various jobs on houses, as well as on bridges. It was a complaint. I want to stress that the government has very stringent controls and regulations on moisture content and temperature of the air at the time the painting is being done. When something is tendered in September, which is into a critical time, just a of couple days of rain, or a couple of cool days, can cause the loss of a week or 10 days.
It does not take long to get into some very tough times. As the Member indicated, once it drops below 50 degrees, you are not supposed to apply paint. Almost every night in September the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. We are running into this problem all the time. Perhaps the government should look at jobs, such as bridge construction jobs, that require that type of work, and give it some kind of time line. Perhaps you could get an estimate from your own people of the time line that it is going to take to finish the job. Those jobs should be priorized and should go first. A road contract that is not quite as critical and can stand a little cooler temperature, could be worked a little later in the year. At least sit down and look at all the jobs and priorize them a little better than they have been in the past.
I know that the inspectors jump all over the painters and the contractors for not getting the job done. The contractors are held accountable to all the regulations that they have to live by in addition to when they can and cannot apply the paint. It is a problem out there. In the end, in order to get the whole job done, you are getting a half-done job because they have to take some risks in the weather, and the jobs probably have not been completed according to the specs. In the long run we would be far better off if we took a little bit of time in the beginning of the year, because you have lots of time, and priorize the jobs.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Members observations are duly noted. I was not aware that there was a problem in the bridge painting contracts and I will investigate the matter. I suspect part of what may have happened, but I am being speculative and I ought not to be. When you do a bridge repair job, what you are doing is considerable steel fabrication and strengthening. That is done in the early part of the season when it is tendered and the painting, obviously, falls at the tail end of the job. That may or may not be an explanation, but I take the Members observations and concerns seriously and I will duly investigate these concerns.
Mr. Phelps: There may possibly be time for one more answer. Today, since my friend for Riverdale North mentioned half-done jobs, I was wondering what has been accomplished in regard to the two homestead areas. I would like to know what has been done with regard to access roads in the Robinson and Mendenhall Subdivisions.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Madam Chair, I think you should report progress.
Mr. Phelps: For the two road situations or for the Committee?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I can report progress on the Mendenhall Roads, also. Perhaps I could advise the Member at the beginning of the next days discussion. There are a series of occurances that occurred throughout the summer with respect to those roads.
We, as Members will recall from the spring session, undertook to upgrade the roads. It required the consent of the land owners at Mendenhall. We got that approval. We began the job through the tender process. The job is not complete, however. I would prefer to check my facts on that remaining detail and report when we return.
Madam Chair, I would move that you report progress.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. May the House now have a report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole?
Ms. Kassi: The Committee of the Whole considered Bill No. 18, Second Appropriation Act, 1991-92, and directed me to report progress on it.
Speaker: You have heard the report of the Chair of Committee of the Whole.
Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the House close for the day.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. Monday next.
The House adjourned at 5:26 p.m.
The following Sessional Papers were tabled November 21, 1991:
Yukon Development Corporation Report for the year ended March 31, 1991 (Byblow)
Yukon Energy Corporation Report for the year ended December 31, 1990 (Byblow)
The following Document was filed November 21, 1991:
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome/Fetal Alcohol Effects - Action Plan, November 1991 (Hayden)