Monday, December 2, 1991 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. At this time, we will proceed with Prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed with the Order Paper.
Introduction of Visitors.
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am very pleased to ask all Members to welcome a distinguished visitor who is in the gallery today. Marilyn Waring was a Member of the New Zealand Parliament for nine years until 1984, and is recently famous for her book If Women Counted. I would like to point out that Ms. Waring is here for a few days to talk to Yukoners about how and what is measured and valued in our economy and the environment and will be giving a public lecture at Yukon College tonight.
Recognition of World AIDS Day
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I want to take this opportunity to recognize that December 1 was World AIDS Day. By the year 2000 it has been estimated that 90 percent of the people infected by the HIV virus will contract this virus through heterosexual intercourse.
The spread of HIV is preventable. It takes knowledge and common sense to keep our communities healthy. That is the challenge for us in the Yukon as it is for the peoples around the world. This is a challenge that we must meet. Our lives and our childrens lives depend on it.
Speaker: Tabling Returns and Documents.
Reports of Committees.
REPORTS OF COMMITTEES
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I have for presentation to the House the second report of the Standing Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges dated today.
Introduction of Bills.
Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers.
Notices of Motion.
NOTICES OF MOTION.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I would like to give notice of the following motion:
THAT the second report of the Standing Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges presented to the House on December 2, 1991 be concurred in; and
THAT the amendments recommended by the Committee to Standing Orders 11 through 14 inclusive be adopted.
Speaker: Are there any Statements by Ministers?
Agreement on self-government reached on November 29, 1991
Hon. Mr. Penikett: According to our policy, I wish to inform Members of the Assembly that on Friday in Ottawa, negotiators for the federal government, the First Nations of Teslin, Na-cho Nyak Dun, Old Crow and Champagne and Aishihik, Council for Yukon Indians, and the Yukon government reached a self-government agreement.
This is an important accomplishment for a number of reasons. First, this agreement recognizes and affirms the existence of First Nations governments in the Yukon, with unique powers and responsibilities, making them a new type of government in Canada. This is something that First Nations in the Yukon have aspired to for many years. They have experienced many frustrations as they have pursued that goal. Our government has supported them and shares the pride the Yukon First Nations must feel in their accomplishment.
Second, this has been done as part of land claims negotiations. This is, I believe, a first. The linking of self-government to land claims is a recognition that land and self-government are inseparable. The two must go hand in hand if the injustices of the past are to be righted, and if First Nations and their people are to take control of their own futures, and shape their own political, economic and social development.
I know that all Members of this Assembly share the view that this kind of self-determination is the only workable approach to addressing the needs of First Nations and their communities.
Third, this constitutes a major milestone toward the conclusion of the Yukon land claim. Let me briefly explain. Some time ago, agreement was reached that the legislation implementing the Yukon land claim could proceed in Parliament and this Assembly if band final agreements were reached with a core group of First Nations. The number targeted by all parties was four.
In agreeing to this, the First Nations involved took the position that they could not proceed with the ratification of the band final agreements unless self-government agreements were also concluded. This was accepted by both governments and we all set to the task of concluding the four band final and self-government agreements by December 1. This deadline has now been met.
Assuming that ratification of the agreement by all parties will occur in the near future, it will be possible for this government to proceed with legislation finalizing the land claim in the spring sitting of 1992. The self-government agreement negotiated last week will, of course, have to go to all of the parties for ratification.
Members of the Assembly will understand that, under these circumstances, I am not free to speak of the details today.
However, let me say a few words, in general, about what self-government would look like when this agreement comes into effect. First Nations will be free to exercise self-government within a defined list of powers agreed to. These cover two basic areas: management and governance of activities on settlement lands, and the provision of specific services and programs to their citizens. However, First Nations will not take on these responsibilities unless they choose to, and then only at a time when they decide they are prepared to do so. They may also negotiate arrangements with government to administer parts or all of the services and programs that they take responsibility for, if that is their choice.
The key here is flexibility. There is lots of room for each First Nation to tailor the use of these new powers to meet their own unique circumstances. The agreements are also structured to encourage coordination and cooperation with governments, and particularly the Yukon government. This is important, to ensure that things works smoothly and well.
I have been deeply impressed with the practical way that Yukon First Nations have approached self-government. They have all said that what they want is something made in Yukon, that works in the Yukon and that permits all of us to live and work together for the betterment of the whole of the Yukon. That, in my mind, is what self-government agreements will do.
All of us are concerned about the cost of self-government and the impact on Yukon taxpayers. The agreement negotiated ensures that, in keeping with its fiduciary responsibilities, financing will be a federal responsibility. Yukon taxpayers, and the quality of general Yukon programs and services, will not be negatively affected.
I believe that what has been achieved in these negotiations is remarkable. It is another first for Yukon First Nations and for the Yukon. We can all be proud of it. But the primary recognition must go to the Yukon First Nations and the Council for Yukon Indians, who set out many years ago to get to where we are today. I know that all Members of the Assembly will join with me in offering them our sincere and heartfelt congratulations.
Mr. Brewster: Once again, the Government Leader stands in this House and announces a landmark decision, which will affect all Yukoners. Once again, no information is available to let all Yukoners know what their future is. All this is behind closed doors, yet this is supposedly an open government.
I might also add that the promised briefing on the band settlement has never been held with the Yukon Party. In fact, if they give us as little information as they did for the transboundary claims, it is a waste of time. At that briefing, the negotiators were as much in the dark as we were.
All Yukoners have a right to know what these agreements are, as it involves the future for all of us.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I want to thank the Member for Kluane for his intervention. Nothing he said surprises me, but let me repeat again, for the Members benefit, that it would be very difficult for us, having negotiated agreements late Friday, to provide him with documents today that the lawyers are still working on; I think he knows that.
In the same way, it would have been difficult for us to have briefed his caucus last week, while the people were in Ottawa and still negotiating. The offer of the briefing still stands. Members of the negotiating staff will be available to brief his caucus on both the land claims settlement and self-government agreements.
Let me say that we agree completely that all Yukoners are entitled to know this information. As soon as it is in a form that we can make available to all citizens, we will be happy to provide it and spend whatever time is necessary to explain the particulars to any group or individuals in the Yukon community who wish to be briefed.
Speaker: This then brings us to Question Period.
Question re: Yukon Energy Corporation/Watson Lake sawmill
Mr. Lang: I want to turn Members attention to a matter that I deem to be very serious. This is the basis for our political system and our Legislature, and that is what is spoken in this House. The foundation of our Legislature is built on Members stating the truth, as they know it, to questions being raised by the Opposition, so that the public is adequately informed about issues that directly affect them.
I want to turn Members attention to an issue that has been ongoing for the last number of years. That is the question of the Yukon Development Corporation and what happened at the Watson Lake sawmill fiasco, where many millions of dollars were spent with no legislative authority from this House.
On November 13, 1990, almost one year ago, Mr. Phelps, the Member for Hootalinqua, asked the following question; Is it true that the Yukon Development Corporation stripped $16.2 million in cash from the power corporation in order to pay for losses incurred by the Watson Lake sawmill?
The Government Leaders answer on November 13, 1990, was, No, that is not true. No matter how many times the Member makes that allegation, he cannot support it.
In view of the revelations that have been made public over this past week by statements by the Minister of Economic Development: Mines and Small Business, and officials of the Yukon Development Corporation, could the Government Leader tell this House why he mislead the public at that time?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Member opposite is making an accusation that is unfounded and I think he knows it is unfounded. The fact that his accusation was reprinted as if it were fact, in a local newspaper last week, does not make it any more true.
The record will show, and as I have explained in debate in this House many times, this government injected in excess of $30 million - I think, in total, the number came to $43 million - into the Yukon Development Corporation, for it to carry out its work. The fact that some of the money we put into the corporation was used to help the people of Watson Lake in their time of great economic need has been discussed many times before in this House. It remains a fact that nothing we did cost the rate payers or the electrical consumers of this territory anything at all. The money we provided the corporation was more than sufficient to carry out the activities involved in the sawmill. The Member has been told that many, many times before and the fact that he repeats it again today in the form of an accusation does not make it any more true than it was the last several times that he made the accusation.
Mr. Lang: I want to repeat this. Back on November 13, 1990, the Member for Hootalinqua asked the following: Is it true that the Yukon Development Corporation stripped $16.2 million in cash from the power corporation, in order to pay for losses incurred by the Watson Lake sawmill?
The Government Leader stated as follows: No, that is not true. No matter how many times the Member makes that allegation, he cannot support it.
Could the Government Leader tell this House, if what he said is true, why would his Minister of Economic Development state the following: The funds used on the sawmill clearly seem to be provided by the Yukon Development Corporation. These funds would have come from the dividend issue, mostly from Yukon Development Corporation and other investments.
That statement was made by the Minister of Economic Development: Mines and Small Business. Why would the Minister of Economic Development: Mines and Small Business make that statement, in view of the comments just made by the Government Leader?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Once again, the Member opposite seems to be capable of only reading one side of a ledger. The statement made by the Minister of Economic Development is perfectly consistent with the very detailed statements I have previously made in this House, in my previous capacity.
One of those statements was quoted last Wednesday, in part, by the Member for Hootalinqua. It gave a very detailed description of all the transactions involving the Yukon Development Corporation and the Yukon Energy Corporation. As I heard the Member for Hootalinqua, he conceded there was considerable veracity in those statements.
Mr. Lang: The track record is complete. You ask a question, you never get an answer. If you get an answer, it is definitely not going to be one that answers the question in full.
Mr. Chris Dray, spokesman for the Yukon Development Corporation, stated that $10.9 million of the Yukon Energy Corporation dividends was used to finance the Watson Lake sawmill.
Why would a spokesman for the Yukon Development Corporation make such a statement, in view of the fact that the Government Leader continues to try to tell the public that some-odd-$11 million was not paid by the electrical consumers of the territory?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Once again, the Member opposite tries to bootleg all sorts of false assertions on to the record. First of all, his original question involved the use of the word strip, implying the government was stripping the assets of the Yukon Energy Corporation, which is not the case. A complete picture of this matter always has to include the considerable sums of money, in excess of $30 million, that this government, not the rate payers, put into the corporation in order for it to carry out its work.
Any Member who continues to ignore that fundamentally important fact is attempting to deceive the public. The Member opposite continues to ignore that fundamentally important fact. That investment enabled the corporations to carry out the work on the electrical side, as well as to assist the community of Watson Lake when it was in economic trouble.
The full financial facts of those transactions are already a matter of public record, and have been for a long time.
Question re: Yukon Energy Corporation/Watson Lake sawmill
Mr. Lang: The approach the Government Leader is taking, in my judgment, is totally inappropriate and violates all of the principles for which this House stands. The very basic foundation of the Legislature is truth, and the responsibility of the front bench is to answer questions as honestly as they possibly can. That has not occurred in this case.
We have a Minister of Economic Development who has stated publicly, that almost $11 million dollars was used by the Yukon Development Corporation to pay for the Watson Lake fiasco through electrical rates. We have a spokesman from the Yukon Development Corporation verifying the statement that the Minister of Economic Development made.
I want to ask the Government Leader, my good friend and colleague, who has been a parliamentarian for many, many years: in view of the fact that the whole integrity of this government is being questioned, why is he not resigning today in view of the fact that the public of the territory has been misled.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I would say to the Member opposite that he will know, as a sometime observer of the rules of this House, that an attempt to deliberately mislead the public, as I believe he is doing now, carries a very serious penalty.
The Member opposite can continue to inject half truths on to the record, to put only part of the picture on the record and attempt to say that somehow Members opposite are being scallywags because they attempt to complete the picture, that is, of course, nonsense.
There is not time in Question Period, Mr. Speaker, and you would not permit me to go into the detail that is already contained on the record, in Hansard, about the some-$40 million dollars that this government put into the corporation. The Public Utilities Board allowed a certain rate of return - the $16 million which the Members in the past have alleged was improperly used because they did not believe that anything should be done to help the community of Watson Lake.
I have previously put on the record, something that the Member continually chooses to ignore, and that is that the $16 million happened to be the amount that the government was able to provide for capital investment in the Energy Corporation. Up until the time last fall, during the last session, when we debated this, this figure was totally ignored by Members opposite.
The fact remains that the government has taken nothing out of the Development Corporation. Rather, they have put very large sums of money into the corporation, to facilitate the work of the corporation that would have come from the rate payers if we had not done so. To suggest that there has been any impact on rates as a result of the investment in Watson Lakes is an entirely false assertion.
Mr. Lang: I do not think anybody in the public is fooled one iota. The Yukon Development Corporation received over $16 million in dividends from the electrical consumers of the Yukon. Now, the same electrical consumers are facing major, major electrical rate increases.
Why does the Minister continue to try and deceive the public when his Minister of Economic Development, and the spokesman for the Yukon Development Corporation, both verify that almost $11 million of electrical rate payers money was used to pay for the Watson Lake sawmill fiasco?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Member can huff and puff as many times as he wants but what he is saying still makes a lot of nonsense. I have said before that the public company is allowed rate returns just as much as the private electrical company, Yukon Electrical. They allowed a rate of return on the authority of the Yukon Public Utilities Board. How the parent company uses that money to invest in the Yukon Territory is quite properly their business, according to law and according to mandates established in this House. The public company is allowed a rate of return. The Member opposite may disagree with that and may believe that the public company is not allowed to have an acceptable rate of return and that it is not allowed to invest those dividends as it sees fit. We disagree.
Mr. Lang: I realize that the Government Leader views his time in this House as wasted time but he does have a responsibility to answer questions.
I want to know why his Minister of Economic Development and the spokesman for Yukon Development Corporation both verified last week that $10.9 million was used to pay for the Watson Lake sawmill fiasco. Why does the Government Leader continue to deny that?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As I have said many times before, and if the Member had listened to my answer - he talks very well but he does not listen very often - as I explained in my first answer, what the Minister of Economic Development said was, of course, perfectly consistent with what I have said in this House all along. If anyone wants to take a look at the financial operations in the corporation, one must take into account the more than $30 million plus that this government put into the Corporation to facilitate its work - both in respect to its work as an electrical utility and in respect to its work as a development corporation.
Question re: Yukon Energy Corporation/administration fees
Mr. Phelps: I am going to try and get a few answers here. I will direct my questions to a different Minister, the Minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation. I doubt that I will get an answer but I will try.
I am concerned because the publics attention has focused on the fact that $16.2 million were stripped from the Yukon Energy Corporation as dividends and paid into the Yukon Development Corporation. I am concerned because there seems to be much more money that was taken from Yukon Energy Corporation by Yukon Development Corporation.
The Energy Corporation pays Yukon Electric a fee each year to manage all the assets of Yukon Energy. Last year, in the calendar year, that fee amounted to slightly less than $700,000. Yet, Yukon Development Corporation, which shares office space with Yukon Energy Corporation, has charged an administration fee for that year of $1.7 million.
Why is that administration fee so high, in view of the fact that all of the working assets of Yukon Energy Corporation and the buildings and so on are handled, for most intents and purposes, by Yukon Electric for a fee of only $700,000 each year?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: As the Member is no doubt aware, a management agreement exists between Yukon Energy Corporation and Yukon Electric Company Limited. That management agreement prescribes the management fee that is assigned for services that are provided.
That is a normal practice in a business relationship. It is the practice undertaken in this particular arrangement, which was struck some years ago, and, I believe, has been recently renewed.
Mr. Phelps: The Minister pretends he does not understand the question. My concern is that if all the assets of the Yukon Energy Corporation are being managed by a different company for $700,000 in the year 1990, and less in the previous year, then why is it that the Yukon Development Corporation is charging its junior company $1,776,000 for administration expenses, which, presumably, go to pay part of the office space they rent in town here. Why is it so exhorbitant?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member will have to explain more precisely what he is expecting me to explain in any form of detail while I am on my feet. It would appear to me, from my recollection of the numbers - and I do not have the financial statement in front of me - that the approximate $700,000 management fee is part of the $1.7 million figure cited by the Member. I stand to be corrected, but given my lack of knowledge about the specific numbers the Member is quoting, I can only undertake to ask for notice on the question and provide more detail later.
Mr. Phelps: Even if it were, the fact is that the management of all the assets was being performed for $695,000 in the last calendar year and there is still this administration cost of $1,776,000. Why is the administration cost that they share with the Yukon Development Corporation in a little office downtown here so much more expensive than the fee charged by Yukon Energy Corporation for doing all the management of the corporations assets?
Is it not true that this is just another way of milking the cow, and getting more money into the pockets of the Yukon Development Corporation to spend on such things as the Watson Lake sawmill and advances to the convention centre?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have already indicated to the Member that I will provide him with a full accounting of the administration fees he cites. For the record, I should make it clear to the Member that the funds that are provided, or costed out in the financial statement for administrative purposes, are strictly that, and the financial accounting I will provide the Member will substantiate it.
Question re: Yukon Energy Corporation/Watson Lake sawmill
Mr. Phelps: This has the appearance of the Yukon Development Corporation attempting, in whatever way it can, to bleed the profits away from the Yukon Energy Corporation. In fact, this year, the administration costs were as noted, almost $1.8 million. Interest on the loan from the Yukon Development Corporation was $629,000, which just happened to be some of the money they had already scooped with the other hand as dividends, for a total of $2.4 million going to the Yukon Development Corporation.
I am rather concerned about the role of the board of directors in all this. We have a president resigning on principle; we have this board of directors sitting by. Are they being idle? Are they complaining about the way in which the Yukon Energy Corporation and Yukon Development Corporation are being interfered with and used by this government?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I should point out to the Member something he already knows. The fees that are charged, the costs that are anticipated, all matters of financial concern, are presented to the Yukon Public Utilities Board for approval, and are thereby endorsed for the Yukon Energy Corporation to apply. It is not as if financial figures are pulled out of the air at the whim of the corporation and applied at liberty. Everything the corporation does goes before the utilities board, and its books are open.
It is certainly not appropriate to suggest that there was something sinister in the financial management of the corporation.
With respect to the question surrounding the board, I have quite frequent communication with the chair of the board. I quite frequently also meet with the board and I certainly have had no questions raised regarding the matter that the Member raises. I believe he attributed it to interference.
Mr. Phelps: This gets back to the whole issue of why the president recently resigned and the timing of that resignation. I am really concerned about whether the board of directors is merely a figurehead, content to sit by while the government uses the Yukon Development Corporation as a political tool.
This week we had the chairman of the board of directors - a person whom I personally like - attend, at the request of the board, to answer questions with regard to the financial activities of Yukon Energy Corporation and he was unable to answer the questions. I received numerous complaints about this from people who were involved in the hearings and watching the hearings.
I want to know whether or not the Minister truly believes that the board of directors is exercising its responsibility to maintain the independence of the day-to-day workings of the two corporations concerns from the government.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I believe that implicitly, and it is substantiated by the current structure under which the two corporations function. Members opposite were in the House at the time the legislation that set that structure into place was passed. It is clear that the affairs of the corporation are to be conducted by the board of directors, who are, in turn responsible to the Executive Council Member. Those are the words of the legislation and, in practice, that is also what occurs. This government gives direction in policy matters of the corporation.
It is quite clear that the Yukon Development Corporation has within its mandate the responsibility for economic development, job creation and energy policy development. Those are the policy directions under which the Yukon Development Corporation operates. It is clearly independent, in terms of day-to-day decision making, from this government. The board of directors acts as the advising agency to the administration of the Yukon Development Corporation. That is how it works; there is no interference.
Mr. Phelps: I hope that the Minister understands that I find no comfort in his answer or his assertions about the independence and how the government does not interfere.
Will the Minister come forward with a clear policy outlining the relationship between the government, on one hand, and the Yukon Development Corporation and Yukon Energy Corporation, on the other?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: In the first instance, much of that has already been tabled through debates in the House at the time of the legislation implementation. At the same time, it is clearly stated in the financial statements that have been tabled in this House; the relationship is articulated quite clearly.
I also indicated to the Member - last week I believe - that the Yukon Development Corporation board of directors, myself and the senior administration of the Yukon Development Corporation have for the past couple of months been spending time refining the role, mandate and direction of the Yukon Development Corporation. When we conclude that refinement beyond what is already tabled, articulated and documented, I would be more than happy to table that in the House.
Question re: Russian Red Army hockey team appearance
Mr. Phillips: My question is directed to the Minister responsible for Sports and Recreation.
For the past two nights, Yukoners have been treated to an outstanding display of hockey put on by the Russian Red Army Hockey Team and it was, indeed, a pleasure to have this calibre of entertainment in Whitehorse. Unfortunately, the superb efforts of many Yukoners have been marred by the actions of a Canada Customs official. The Red Army team cleared customs last Friday, when they arrived, and on Saturday they were signing autographs and selling goods they had brought from Russia, in a local mall. A Canada Customs official, who was evidently shopping in the mall, took it on herself to reinspect the goods being sold. I understand the official made some comments to our Russian visitors about deportation unless they complied with the rules.
This overzealous approach by this official was totally uncalled for, in my opinion, and I would certainly like to apologize to the Russian Red Army team and their officials for this unfortunate incident. Yukoners are embarrassed by the actions of the official and wonder what has happened to the concept of discretion and common sense.
I would like to ask the Minister if he would convey our apologies to the Russian Red Army team and their officials, and at the same time express our concern to the federal Minister responsible.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I thank the Member for his question, because the matter he raised is a matter that we, on this side, are quite concerned about as well. It was clear, from the events that occurred over the weekend by Customs officials, that the treatment of the visitors from Russia was less than complimentary.
I took note of the incident when it was brought to my attention yesterday and I have spoken to officials of the Russian delegation about the matter.
This morning, I wrote to the federal Minister responsible for Employment and Immigration, Mr. Valcourt, expressing Yukons concern about the treatment of the officials and players over the weekend. I believe the concern that we have suggests that the officials acted in a most confrontational and unconciliatory manner, and I have requested of the federal Minister an apology to the Russian delegation.
Mr. Phillips: Last night we were informed that a Customs official charged the Russian Red Army $2,500 in duty plus $300 for overtime for this over-zealous Customs official. Yukoners at the game last night contributed over $1,700 toward helping our Russian friends. I commend those Yukoners who made those donations.
The tactics used by this official were rather heavy handed. In fact, one constituent of mine called me this morning and commented that this was the sort of thing one might have expected in Russia itself, not in Canada.
I would like to ask if the Minister will be meeting with the local Customs officials and express our strong concerns?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I did forward a copy of the letter that was sent to federal Minister, Bernard Valcourt, to the local office as well. In that respect, local officials have been advised of the concern of this government on behalf of all Yukon people.
The Member is correct that the participants at the game last night undertook a collection to help pay for the fine - also an embarrassing act, but nevertheless, a very worthy and considerate one. I have every expectation that the full amount of the fines will probably be collected tonight.
I will take under advisement the Members suggestion to meet with the local officials. Perhaps he could join with me at that meeting.
Mr. Phillips: I would be more than pleased to attend that meeting with the Minister.
I find the situation rather ironic. On one hand, the Canadian government is currently talking about giving hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Russia then, on the other hand, we have officials on this side trying to collect $2,500 in fines.
Arctic Winter Games are fast approaching. We will see many international friends crossing our borders to participate in the near future. I would like to ask the Minister if he can seek assurances from local Customs officials that they will not be roving the events when the Arctic Winter Games are here, harassing our international visitors when they are visiting our fine country? Would he convey that to our local officials here when he meets with them?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have already flagged that potential this morning with my officials, in anticipation of the Arctic Winter Games. Perhaps the same undertaking is in the last question. Perhaps the Member and I, in our anticipated meeting with local officials, can raise that point as well.
Question re: Conflict-of-interest legislation
Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Government Leader. The Destination Yukon contract award came under scrutiny for conflict of interest and other issues of conflict of interest, with government employees quitting their jobs and getting lucrative government consulting contracts, have been raised over the past few years in this House.
The Government Leader was to bring conflict-of-interest legislation into this House. I would like to ask him if it will be tabled this session.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As I have indicated, in answer to a previous question from the Member, the legislation I will be bringing is scheduled for the spring sitting, not for this fall.
Mrs. Firth: We have lawyers, political appointees, a judge and Deputy Ministers leaving their government jobs, with inside information, and getting consulting contracts with this government at an unfair advantage over other consultants.
The Government Leader also said that they would have an interim policy in place until the new legislation was tabled. I would like to ask the Minister if the new interim policy is in place.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I believe that we said that we may have a new interim policy in place. We do not have a new policy in place that has any dimensions that are different from the normal standards of ethical conduct required of our officials.
The Member, in her preamble, seems to be, as she often does, making some specific charge of wrongdoing against some officials or a certain official. If that is what she is doing, I wish she would be specific about the matter she is bringing up. Then, we can address it.
Mrs. Firth: The matter I am addressing is the fact this government still has no conflict-of-interest interim or legislation policy in place. We have another Deputy Minister who is leaving a $100,000 a year job to go into the business of consulting.
Can the Government Leader tell us when we are going to have some guidelines in place, with a cooling-off period, or whatever, like other provinces have, so these kinds of abuses to the taxpayers money and privileged treatment to special people cannot continue? It has to stop.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: First of all, let me suggest that what has to stop is bald-faced, wild accusations by Members opposite, with no substance or facts. She suggested, in a previous preamble, that someone was doing something wrong, perhaps involving criminal wrongdoing, made no specifics, and immediately goes on to her next charge that some Deputy Minister is earning $100,000 - who I know for a fact is not earning $100,000 - and lips on to the next one and suggests that, somehow, there has been massive wrongdoing and great evil going on here and, if it were not for her, it would continue.
I have to tell the Member opposite that the vast majority of officials in this government, past and present, are thoroughly ethical human beings who understand perfectly their duties and the responsibilities of the public interest. They certainly do not need the Member opposite making wild and irresponsible charges, which she then does not even dignify with any specifics or facts. She just makes the wild accusation.
There will be legislation coming in the spring, as I have indicated in the past.
Question re: Conflict-of-interest legislation
Mr. Nordling: I will go further for the Government Leader. Not only are there no conflict-of-interest guidelines, the government has no code of conduct for its Deputy Ministers. This has caused some concern, for example, with the present Deputy Minister of Education. The Government Leader has said that that DM exercised poor judgment in writing a character reference for an admitted child molester, but there would be no consequences.
The Deputy Minister of Education also exercised poor judgment in accepting gifts in exchange for real estate referrals, in his choice of words to a flight attendant on Canadian Airlines, in ordering Atco trailers without proper procedures being followed, in his insensitive treatment of Department of Education staff, and in authorizing a Carcross school bus without having all the bases covered.
Can the Government Leader tell us when there is going to be a code of conduct for Deputy Ministers? When will the exercise of poor judgment by these DMs bring consequences?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Well, it does not surprise us at all that the Member opposite continues his cowardly attack on people who cannot defend themselves. He has done that to the Clerk. He has done that to the Speaker. As a matter of fact, let me say that the attribution of a comment to me about the judgment on the particular matter is wrong because, in fact, I believe it was the Minister of Education who made the observation about the judgment in respect to the letter - not that I dispute it.
Once again, this is an official who the Members opposite, for whatever reasons - I have some great doubt about their reasons - regularly ask be dismissed. As is the usual case in their procedure to justice, it is the Fetch-the-rope-Zeke,-there-is-going-to-be-a-trial approach that they have to dealing with complaints.
They have now recently alleged that the Deputy Minister in question was responsible for an arrangement to take care of the transportation needs of children attending Carcross school. I am advised by the Minister responsible that that is, in fact, false. We will have another occasion to debate the merits of the particular arrangement.
So, once again, we have another cowardly, personal attack on someone who cannot reply, from a Member who has now made a custom of doing that, even to attacking the Clerk and the Speaker in this House - a despicable act, which I think, if he had any courage or decency, he would have apologized for in this House.
Mr. Nordling: The Government Leader can make all the personal attacks on me that he wants, but he will not stop me from asking him tough questions.
I would like to ask the Government Leader when the double standard will stop, whereby friends of the government suffer no consequences for poor judgment and others suffer immediate consequences?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Is that a tough question? There is no double standard. The government does not treat people in different manners. I can well recall the lynch party, lead by the Member for Riverdale South, in respect to a very unfortunate incident some months ago, but that is something we have come to expect.
If an official in this government does extraordinary work, if they are talented, if they achieve work that is notable, if they manage to perform or negotiate or deliver public services in an outstanding way, one of the things that we have come to expect - whether they are a land claims negotiator or somebody else - is personal vilification from people opposite, people who I do not believe are entitled to stand in those peoples shoes.
Mr. Nordling: Let me help the Government Leader. The former Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services was fired because the Government Leader did not like his judgment. A conservation officer in Haines Junction was immediately suspended when a criminal charge was laid. The Deputy Minister of Education has not been fired for his poor judgment, nor was he suspended when a criminal charge was laid against him. I would like to ask the Government Leader when we are going to have a code of conduct.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The question has already been answered before. There are well established codes of conduct for officials in public office and I have indicated that there will be legislation coming in the spring.
Of course, as is often the case with Members opposite, in their wish to besmirch the name of certain people, they will make a careful selection of the facts and in fact compare situations which are not comparative at all.
Let me try to explain to the Member, and I will be helpful to him - he is a lawyer and he probably should know this, but perhaps he did not ever pass this course when he was in law school, I do not know - in matters of labour law there is a very different test applied to the requirements for someone to be able to continue work or otherwise while there is a prosecution going on. Members may know that, in a matter that is unrelated to the duties of an official, there are different questions that are in operation, but I do not believe that this government has acted unfairly at all in the treatment of its officials. Let me say that I believe our standards of conduct and fairness are far superior to the Members opposite. They have their own quite unsavory reasons for their personal attacks on certain individuals.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now lapsed. We will now proceed to Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Committee Report Motion No. 2
Hon. Mr. Webster: I would request and ask consent for the House to deal with the motion of concurrence on the Second Report of the Standing Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges, of which notice was given earlier by the Chair of the Committee.
Speaker: Is there unanimous consent.
All Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: Unanimous consent has been granted.
It has been moved by the Chair of the Standing Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges
THAT the Second Report of the Standing Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges, presented to the House on December 2, 1991, be concurred in; and
THAT the amendments recommended by the Committee to Standing Orders 11 through 14 inclusive be adopted.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: As Members will know, on November 19 we debated and passed a motion charging the Standing Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges with the responsibility of considering, and making recommendations to, the Legislature regarding two matters. The first was the grounds by which any group of Members should be accorded recognition in the Legislature as a party, and the second dealt with the order of precedence of Private Members business on Wednesday afternoons.
The committee met three times - November 25, 29 and today - to consider the matters and the research that was presented by the Clerks office. I regret to inform the House that the committee was unable to come to a conclusion on deciding on a definition of party status for the purposes of according House privileges.
While the majority expressed skepticism about the status of the Independent Alliance as a party for the purposes of receiving House privileges, the majority also expressed the belief that the public will ultimately determine whether they are a party, in fact. In the interim, between now and the next general election, the majority of the committee recommended that the Independent Alliance be accorded House privileges as if they were a third party.
The committee also considered the standing orders for Wednesday afternoon and have made it a recommendation that the order of business be conducted in accordance with the traditions of the House that were in effect up until about three weeks ago. Private government Members and private opposition Members will each determine the order of business on their respective Wednesday afternoons.
I sincerely regret the committee could not reach a general consensus on the matter respecting party status. However, all Members appeared to apply themselves sincerely to the questions at hand and did their best to resolve the dilemmas that the Legislature faced.
I recommend adoption of the report.
Mr. Brewster: I notice our friends beside me here would like to have questions so they would not get some of the truth given to them, I guess.
In speaking to this motion, I realize just how weak the government really is, and just how fast MLAs will sell their souls for political advantage. Imagine a motion like this - just think of it - that the Standing Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges recommend to the House that the Members take no position on the status for the Independent Alliance but would grant them House privileges as if they were third party. That is one reason why politicians are so popular all over the world. They do not have guts enough to make a decision, one way or the other. They turn around and pass it off to people in the future years. That is pure political balderdash.
This says nothing, except to give the Independent Alliance the firm decision they can go ahead as a party. It is like an ostrich sticking his head in the sand so he cannot hear what is going on around him, because he really does not want to.
They left it up to somebody else. Instead of making a decision for this House, which we are all in here to make, they left it up to somebody else in the future to make. Nobody had the guts to do it.
How anyone can look in the mirror tomorrow morning and not have a guilty conscience, I will never know. At least, the Yukon Party came out with its dignity. It may have lost the battle, but it won the war.
In the motion I put forward, amended by Mr. Lang, the Independent Alliance could have had a party within a short period of time, and even one government Member agreed with us on that. The rest of the government voted as a party, not as individual Members, and did this only to try to save votes and to save face, because there was a little bit of pressure from the newspapers. Anytime people run around trying to get the newspapers on-side, they have made a big mistake, because they will never be there.
The fact that the Government House Leader resigned after the meeting indicates he was not comfortable and took the best way out. This is actually too bad, because the House Leader worked very hard and was a good House Leader. He was available to almost anybody at any time. He was always cheerful about it, and he tried to help to keep the House going.
One good thing about it is that he will be able to sleep at night. He has recovered his conscience. I think he will feel a lot better by doing what he did. I wonder if the other government Members will be able to sleep at night. Perhaps they have no consciences.
This week, the government has the fate of the Yukon in its hands. God help the Yukon. The first question asked by the Independent Alliance after the vote was will they get the extra money? They do not want to be a party; they just want the extra money. This is what the issue was. It was not a party, it never could be a party. They just wanted to get extra money.
I have not been convinced by anyone I have talked to anywhere that these people, who were elected and came into this House under another party platform, and then decided to go on their own, had the right to declare themselves a party without going back to their electorate first.
They now say they have two leaders. One talks one time and the other talks another time. That is a new one. We are getting old-fashioned, so they tell us. I guess that is the way it is.
In closing, I would like to bring up a very serious concern I have with the way in which this government handles the committees of this Legislature. Firstly, we had the ruckus that the Leader of the Official Opposition could not sit on Public Accounts, because he made one little political statement. It had been the normal practice. I sat there one time, and the now Government Leader sat there as the Chair of that committee. To make sure that they got him scrapped, they passed a motion to get another Member on to vote. That nearly backfired. One Member did have some conscience and actually voted to help us to start. I guess then the big iron sword came down, because in the next vote, the one who says absolutely nothing, he voted for.
This is an insult to all Members of this Legislature. We are supposed to make the rules in this House, not the political parties. We are supposed to go in there as non-partisans and make the rules we work under in this House. This is not happening.
Finally, I can say how times have changed. I recall when I first came into this House, the Government Leader was then Chair of the Public Accounts. He was very concerned that these committees not be involved in any politics, that they do things that the Legislature and the Members said. I respected him for that. My, once he became Government Leader, how things changed.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I am speaking in support of this motion. Mr. Nordling and myself were put on the committee at the last moment. We were dealing with a very important and serious issue, one that we could not leave due to the amount of disruption happening in this House and due to a lack of knowledge on what it was that the party was trying to do.
I sat and listened with great interest to a lot of the arguments. It was a bit confusing at times, because we were not getting the kind of information that we needed in order to come to the kind of decision that we had to with regard to the issue.
The Member for Kluane has talked about weak governments. He has criticized us for doing many things. The decision we made was based on the arguments we heard. The decisions we made were based on the information that was provided to us.
With respect to this issue, the Yukon Party saw everything as black and white. Unfortunately, there are many other colours and many other things involved. Sometimes when you make a decision, you also have to use common sense. That certainly plays a role in a lot of the things that we do on this side of the House, including all the other information that was available to us.
It was not a very easy decision. We had great concern with regard to the fact that the Independent Alliance was not providing us with the kind of information we needed in order to convince us that they were a party. I had a great deal of difficulty wondering how two people could lead a party, wondering how it would affect this House, and wondering how things might change next week if there were no structures in place, such as a constitution and all the other things that traditionally form a party and tells the party how to run. Those things were lacking in the evidence that was provided to us and in the arguments that were coming from all sides of the table.
I had felt, with a very clear conscience, that it was not for us to sit around the table to decide whether or not the two Members - one from Porter Creek West and the other from Riverdale South - really were a party. It was not a decision that I felt that I could make with a great amount of sincerity. I felt that it was up to the electorate to decide. I hope that if they choose to run in the next election, they will have something formal in place that may permit them to be a party in this House. That, to me, would make a lot more sense, rather than the loose party that they appear to have right now - if in fact they do call it a party.
In regard to allowing them the privileges that they have in the House, I think that sometimes you compromise and allow certain things to happen. It was in the best interests of the individuals and of those people who did elect them - although the two were elected from another party that neither now has allegiance to. They did have that support and they should be allowed to have certain privileges in the House. That is what we decided at that time and I stand in support of this motion.
Mr. Phillips: I feel somewhat compelled, as an individual Member of this House, to speak to this issue. The issue that is before the House is a very complicated and serious one. The Standing Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges was asked to deal with two issues, actually, and I want to spend most of my time talking about the issue of the third-party status or party status.
From the onset, I must say that what we should be dealing with here is what a political party is, not who the political party is. The individuals in this case are irrelevant. What we are really talking about, for the sake of the Legislature, is what a political party is. I felt, from the beginning, that the group who claimed political party status had a responsibility to make their point as well as answer some questions from other Members in the Legislature regarding the workings of this new concept, so that we could clearly understand where they were actually coming from.
Unfortunately, the independent group chose not to answer any questions of clarification, and this made it quite difficult for Members to come to a clear conclusion about their status. It is my view that it was up to the independents to prove that they were a party and not for other Members to prove they were not.
I have spoken to many people on this issue and several points keep cropping up. One of the questions that people have raised is: how can they be a new party when they were elected as Yukon PCs? Most felt that if they stood the test of the electorate under this new banner then all the more power to them and they should be granted political status based on that. Some ask what would happen if two or more Members of our party separated now and demanded the same privileges as the new Independent Alliance party, telling the public that they did so to access more money and had no real party structure. The question is would they qualify for the same privileges that the Independent Alliance Party is asking for or going to receive now?
The Standing Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges, in my opinion, decided that it would not deal with this issue. All Members, except one, said that they do not meet the requirements that most of us feel constitute a political party. On the other hand, the committee gave them all of the benefits of a third party - of a political party. They said that they are a horse, but for the time being we will call them a cow.
Mr. Brewster proposed a motion during the meeting that would set down some very basic criteria in establishing the definition of a political party. I did not think that the criteria - a constitution, a membership and an elected leader - were very difficult for anyone to comply with. In fact, I would think that it would take no time at all for the independent group to meet those criteria.
The debate and the vote that took place was interesting, to say the least. I listened with great interest when Mr. McDonald, the Member for Mayo and the Chair of the committee, begrudgingly spoke, and he voted to break the tie on the motion put forth by Mr. Brewster.
He began with strong comments about the basic criteria of a political party and there, for the most part, he agreed with Mr. Brewster. He then proceeded to talk about what he perceived to be the public will for a new concept. It is interesting that he did not mention that the public will have a clear opportunity to express its will in the next election.
The Chairman, the Member for Mayo, proceeded to talk about that will in a very unconvincing manner. I have been in this House for almost seven years but have never seen that Member speak in that way. I cannot help but think of the video tapes we used to see of the prisoners of war who were forced at gun point to express views contrary to their own.
It is interesting to note that, today, when I attended the House Leaders meeting, I was told that Mr. McDonald resigned that position shortly after the meeting of the standing committee on Friday. There is no doubt in my mind that these two events are directly connected. The governments side has shot the messenger and the messenger has expressed his feelings by resigning.
Before I go on in the motion, I want to say a few words about the last several years I have worked with Mr. McDonald as the House Leader. I very much enjoyed working with him. He has been extremely cooperative. I have learned a great deal from Mr. McDonald in the House Leaders meetings and I hope he has learned as well; we have had our agreements and we have had our disagreements but we have had an excellent working relationship. I would like to thank the Member for Mayo for that relationship.
The question we had to deal with in the Standing Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges was a question of legislative principle. A precedent would be set. This was not an issue we should be dealing with politically.
Several weeks ago, we had a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference here in this very Chamber, and we discussed the issue of the credibility of legislators. When are we going to learn? When are we going to learn? If we ever hope to gain the trust of the public again, we have to first be honest with ourselves.
We sat in that meeting the other day and listened to every single Member, one after the other, tell us that, based on principle, they had not heard any sound arguments from the independent party why they should become a party; then they turned around and gave the independent Members all the necessary things that a political party would get. It does not make an awful lot of sense.
The onus was on the third party, or the Independent Alliance, to make their point and convince us they were a legitimate party. The criteria set out by Mr. Brewster and others was not very heavy duty. It was very simple for them to meet.
We are deciding a very important issue in the House today. I am concerned that the decision has gone from being one of principle to one that is politically motivated. I am convinced, in my mind, that the political advisors of the NDP - the No Damn Principle party - gathered in the room last week and said to their people, as Mrs. Firth said in the media last Friday, We would be better off in the next election with two opposition parties running against us, instead of just one. That would split the vote, and we would get re-elected.
Therefore, all the rules that govern what goes on in the Legislature do not matter anymore. What really matters is being re-elected. It is much more important to have the power than to have the proper rules in the House, or the rules that are set down by the Members in the Legislative Assembly.
We pass those rules on to the political powers upstairs by making the decision we made the other day.
There are some serious questions out there as to what constitutes a political party. The Standing Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges is the committee that had to deal with it; everyone agreed with that. The Standing Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges passed the ball, but no one knows who we passed the ball to, because there is nowhere else to pass it.
We made no decision. We sat down and said that they are not a third party, nor a political party, but we are going to give them all the rights of a political party. We have a decision to make. Somewhere along the line, we have to decide what constitutes a political party. This is not going to be the first time this will come up in the House.
We are going to have to face the issue, right now, politically, before the next election. It is expedient for the side opposite to make the decision they did. They are going to have to live with that.
As the Member for Kluane said the other day, I am going to go home tonight and be able to sleep.
I know that the decision I am going to make today, in voting against this motion, is one that is based strictly on principle, not on the individuals or on anything else, but strictly on the information we were given. The fact is there was not enough proof there to decide on what constitutes a political party. My decision will be based on that. Until we lay out some criteria, we should all be voting in that manner.
I urge all Members to not support the motion in front of us today. This motion is politically motivated and is not based on principle.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to voice my approval to adopt the report and its recommendations as, I believe, it will ensure that the work of this House will be conducted in a more orderly and efficient manner.
Speaker: Are you prepared for the question?
Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agree.
Some Hon. Members: Disagree.
Speaker: Division has been called. Mr. Clerk, would you kindly poll the House.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Agree.
Hon. Ms. Joe: Agree.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Agree.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Agree.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: Agree.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Agree.
Ms. Kassi: Agree.
Mr. Joe: Agree.
Mr. Lang: Disagree.
Mr. Phillips: Disagree.
Mr. Phelps: Disagree.
Mr. Devries: Disagree.
Mr. Brewster: Disagree.
Mrs. Firth: Agree.
Mr. Nordling: Agree.
Clerk: Mr. Speaker, the results are ten yea, five nay.
Speaker: The yeas have it. I declare the motion carried.
Committee Report Motion No. 2 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Webster: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order and declare a brief recess.
Chair: I will call Committee of the Whole to order.
Bill No. 18, Second Appropriation Act, 1991-92 - continued
Department of Justice - continued
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
Hon. Ms. Joe: I would like to a introduce to the House the Deputy Minister for Justice, Lorenne Clark.
When we finished up on Thursday, we were talking about administration. We were asking for an additional $99,000. Of that, $19,000 was as a result of the YGEU collective agreement. The other $80,000 was for the victims of crime.
At that time, the Member for Riverdale South had asked me for information with regard to the victims of crime program and what we were going to be doing about it. There appeared to be some problems with regard to the high cost of awards. I told her I would bring back some information. I am doing that right now.
The decisions regarding these awards are made by the Workers Compensation Board. In order to tighten up the program a bit more we have, in the Department of Justice, hired a victims of crime officer. That person will be in charge of dealing with the applications when they come in. They will not make the final decisions, but they will deal with the applications at that time. She is already on staff. Her name is Barbara Schan, I believe. She will also be responsible for dealing with the victim impact statements. That will happen. I believe there has to be a change in the legislation to comply with the change in the Criminal Code. I might be wrong on that, but I believe that to be so.
We will be dealing with this administratively. It was done by the Workers Compensation Board before that staff was accepting the applications. I think we are looking at 43 claims that the Workers Compensation Board have dealt with. When the transfer takes place, we will be looking at 78 current and active files. There has been a great deal of interest in the last year.
We are also looking at changing the legislation to allow us to look at the program, possibly setting up another committee to deal with the awards that the Workers Compensation Board is presently dealing with and also to tighten up the definition of a crime. Right now, it does not necessarily have to be a crime that somebody has been convicted of. We are looking at making that kind of changes to the act. These changes are on the legislative agenda for the spring sitting.
Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister tell us if other jurisdictions depart from the Workers Compensation Board doing the awards? Do other jurisdictions have their own committees? Do other jurisdictions have legislation with respect to defining what crimes are? Is the government looking at any particular jurisdiction to fashion their legislation after?
Hon. Ms. Joe: It differs in different jurisdictions. In some cases there is a committee that has been struck under the act but they are not all set up in the same manner.
As you know, this was done during the time of the previous Minister of Justice. We are finding that there are some problems in dealing with this. Justice is responsible for the money and the Workers Compensation Board is responsible for giving out the awards. Sometimes they do not always agree.
Mrs. Firth: Is the government going to be using precedents from other jurisdictions to use as an example, or are they going to establish their own legislation and set of criteria for who will be compensated for crimes?
Hon. Ms. Joe: At this time, we are looking at all other jurisdictions and reviewing ones that we feel might be more effective here. We are facing a problem right now. The biggest problem that I see now is that we have a lot of complaints that are being dealt with. They are on the increase and we have such a small amount of money. If you look at some of the awards from other jurisdictions, they are not quite as high as the ones that are being awarded here and there appears to be some restrictions in many of the other jurisdictions. There are a lot of different ways that this program is being administered in other jurisdictions. Research is being done now in order to put together draft legislation to change things here in the Yukon to be a little more effective.
Chair: On Administration
Administration in the amount of $99,000 agreed to
On Court Services
Mrs. Firth: I am not sure if this is the appropriate place to ask the Minister an outstanding question with respect to legal aid for mental health clients if they should need it. Can the Minister provide us with an update on that question?
Hon. Ms. Joe: That would come under the Attorney General branch, but I can give her an update on that. We have had a bit of a problem since the change of the Mental Health Act in regard to legal services being provided to those individuals who need it.
There was some concern registered by the people who deal with those individuals and there was some controversy as to whether or not legal aid would be responsible for those services. I would like to say that legal aid will be looking at those applications for assistance and they will include that in the services to those individuals.
Court Services in the amount of an under expenditure of $72,000 agreed to
On Attorney General
Hon. Ms. Joe: We have $662,000 here and that includes $132,000 for the YGEU collective bargaining. We have $89,000 for the aboriginal justice conference and, as Members know, there was a cost to this government in regard to that conference. What we are asking for and what we have spent and what has been decided by Management Board is that $89,000 has been approved. That went into the cost for facilities: rental, transportation, communications and a number of areas. There is a $6,000 under expenditure for the French language computer system. The Legal Services Society received $134,000 - you might remember the controversy just around Christmas time last year, when there was some concern that a lot of services were not going to be covered because legal services had been over expended; they had many more awards than they thought that they would have.
Each year, we budget a dollar for costs for legal assistance or litigation costs, because we never know from one year to the next what it is going to cost. We are looking at a cost of $293,000 and, for anyone who wants to know, I think I have a list of where some of those expenses have gone. The list is quite long - there is $20,000 here and $17,000 and $2,000 - the list just covers it. I can either read them out or I can give a copy to Members, if they would like. Would the Member for Riverdale South like a copy? Okay, I will provide that information in regard to those costs.
I am not sure whether or not that added up to $662,000, but I hope it did.
Mr. Phillips: Could the Minister provide us with that same list of the breakdown of the litigation costs? Was the total cost of the Aboriginal Justice Conference $89,000, or did the Minister say that was just the Department of Justices share of the cost of it? What was the total cost of the conference?
Could the Minister bring us a breakdown of that $89,000? I do not expect it right now, but we would like it before the main estimates.
Hon. Ms. Joe: Some costs were paid for by the federal government, and there were some that were 50-50 cost shared. So far, we have paid most of our bills - those we have been billed for. Those we shared 50-50, we have paid in full and will be reimbursed 50 percent from the federal government. They will also be paying their own costs, if they have not already.
I can provide that information to both Members, if they want it.
Mrs. Firth: I wanted to ask the Minister some questions about the judges. Does that come under this program or under justice services? I am prepared to clear this one, unless it comes under it.
It is the next one? I will clear this one and raise it at the next line.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I am sorry. Judges come under court services, which is a line item we have already done, but I will be prepared to find out what she wants and see if I can provide that information.
Mrs. Firth: I wanted to ask the Minister a question about Barry Stuart and the time he was on secondment to the land claims department. I wanted to know if annual leave would have been owed to him and whether that would have come out of the Justice department or whether he would have taken annual leave as the land claims negotiator. If it does come out of the Ministers department, could she tell me if that leave was accumulated and then was given to Mr. Stuart, either in the form of time compensation or financial compensation?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I do not have that information, but I can certainly get that information and provide it to the Member.
Mrs. Firth: I guess I would like to ask the Minister to bring back a couple of answers then, if she does not have the information with her. I would like to know whether he did take his annual leave, whether there was any annual leave that accrued to him, on account of his almost five years as the land claims negotiator. If he did not take it as time, then did he take it as money and how much would it be? Would it come out of the Justice budget or out of land claims or was it part of his contract - how was that issue addressed? I do not recall him taking a holiday while he was on land claims.
Hon. Ms. Joe: The information that the Member is seeking could possibly be information that could be provided by the Government Leader, regarding the land claim negotiator position. If, in fact, he did accumulate any holidays, certainly it would not be the responsibility of Justice. I can give the Member any information that I have in regard to Judge Stuart while he was with the Justice department. I can find out whether or not that other information can be made available, but I am not responsible for anything that happened to him while he was land claims negotiator.
Mrs. Firth: My question is whether he had any annual leave or not, and whether the Justice budget would pay for it. Perhaps I could ask the Government Leader to address the question later on, to find out who was paying for it or whether there was leave, or whatever?
Mr. Phillips: I wonder if I might ask a question here of the Minister about justices of the peace. Do we now have a full complement of JPs in all the communities?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The only community, I believe, that does not have a justice of the peace is Ross River.
Mr. Phillips: It is fine to say that the only community that does not have one is Ross River, but what I am asking is do they have a full complement? I know that in some of the communities, to function properly, they need two or three JPs. Is any community right now short of JPs and has the Judicial Council made recommendations to the Minister to fill those positions in those communities?
Hon. Ms. Joe: There is no set number of JPs - the Member knows this, because he sat on the Judicial Council. For instance, we do not say we need five JPs in Whitehorse or three JPs in Haines Junction or that we need three somewhere else. There is no set number. What they would normally do is to find out what kind of JP services are needed in those communities and try to make sure there are sufficient JPs to accommodate the needs there, for search warrants or to sit on the bench.
One of the things I am not seeing a lot of is the number of people who have been JPs for a number of years who are not sitting JPs.
When I was a JP and had that responsibility, it would have been part of my responsibility to make sure that some of those people were actually sitting.
The only community where I have had a concern is Ross River. In my travels around the territory last year, it was stated to me that we did not have a JP there. I have not received any complaints from any of the other communities or from any Judicial Council that there was a need for JPs in any other place except for Ross River. The Member may have other information, but that is the information that I have.
Mr. Phillips: The Minister said that we would like to have a sufficient number of JPs in each community to handle the workload, and other than Ross River, she feels that we have sufficient numbers. I would like to ask about one specific community, and that is Carmacks.
I understand that there is quite a workload in Carmacks and that there may be a concern over the workload in that community. Does the Minister have any recommendations from the Judicial Council regarding JPs in Carmacks? How many JPs do we have in Carmacks now? Does the Minister plan to appoint new JPs in Carmacks? If the Minister does plan to appoint new JPs, when is she going to appoint them?
Hon. Ms. Joe: As the Member is aware, I receive recommendations from the Judicial Council and I appoint those people from that list. The recommendations are not automatic. The Judicial Council makes recommendations and Cabinet makes the final decision on whether or not those people can be appointed. I have not had any recommendations for a long time, and certainly not from Carmacks. My office had discussions with a member of the Judicial Council just a few weeks ago with regard to whether or not they were going to be providing me with a list of recommendations.
I am told that the workload has been very heavy and we are waiting for the judge to return, so that concern can be dealt with when there is another judge here full-time to deal with all the other things, besides sitting on the bench. That was one of them.
Mr. Phillips: The reason I raised the issue of Carmacks is because it has been brought to my attention that Carmacks has been short for some time. It does not sound like the Minister has recently appointed someone. It does not even sound like the Minister has a list of recommendations of people from Carmacks for her to take to Cabinet. Is the Minister saying that she has not had recommendations from the Judicial Council on the shortfall in Carmacks? When was the last time she heard that Carmacks needed JPs, and when was the last time the Minister appointed individuals from Carmacks to be JPs?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I do not think I have had any recommendations from the Judicial Council, although I would have to check that. I do not think I have had any recommendations from them for appointments in Carmacks. As I said, I have not had a list from them for months with regard to new appointments. It is not for me to go out and find those individuals. That is something that is done by the Judicial Council and whomever is responsible for that under them.
Attorney General in the amount of $662,000 agreed to
On Justice Services
Hon. Ms. Joe: The cost of the YGU collective agreement was $174,000; of that, $100,000 is for consumer services activity. That is for the expenses incurred for a number of boards, including the Yukon Utilities Board, the Yukon Medical Council, Professional Board of Inquiry, Insurance Licencing Appeal Board, Medical Profession Board, certified nursing, lottery licencing and real estate licences. What we do in regard to that - we do not know how often it is going to be used - is vote a dollar and we are now asking for $100,000.
The additional $50,000 is for the chief coroners activity. These costs include expenditures for honorariums and fees for investigations and transportation of bodies and containers.
In addition, the chief coroner activity has experienced an increase in the complexity, number and cost of autopsies. Since April 1991, 25 autopsies have been performed. The $50,000 takes care of mostly the coroners activities. From one year to the next, we never know how much of that is going to be needed.
Mrs. Firth: I want to follow up on a position in the department. I believe it was called an investigative coroners job. It had been advertised.
Is it still an investigative job? Could the Minister tell us who was successful in getting that job?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I will have to bring that information back. I do not recall it.
Justice Services in the amount of $324,000 agreed to
On Solicitor General
Hon. Ms. Joe: The reduction here is a result of transfers after the restructuring of the department. The RCMP program was transferred to policy and community programs. Other than that, I am trying to find out what else may have been transferred. There have been a number of transfers. Members will remember when we reported to the House the restructuring of this department and when things were moved around. We moved the aboriginal justice program, the crime prevention program, the RCMP and the native special constable. That is about it.
Solicitor General in the amount of an under expenditure of $7,207,000 agreed to
On Policy and Community Programs
Hon. Ms. Joe: The $47,000 reflects the YGEU new collective agreement. We are looking for an increase here for the native courtworker activity. As the Member knows, we are cost shared by the federal government in this, and there was no increase in the funding to native courtworkers last year. We are looking for $22,000 in that area.
The $1.6 million is an increase in the cost of services for the R CMP As Members know, we run across unexpected activities in the RCMP, and we are negotiating a new contract we hope will be signed early in the new calendar year. Negotiations have been going on. As close as just last week, some of our people were out and had some very positive discussions with regard to that contract.
The other transfers that we have, as I mentioned, are $248,000 for native court workers, $93,000 for aboriginal justice, $61,000 for crime prevention, $7,500 for the police services, and $275,000 for the native special constable program.
Chair: Order please. I understand that the Committee has agreed to take a 15-minute break so that the Members can attend the ceremonial Lights Across Canada function that will be taking place in the lobby.
Policy and Community Programs in the amount of $9,946,000 agreed to
Mr. Nordling: I would like the Minister to tell us about it. I am sure that she has all of these lines written out with a little detail for us, and I would like to hear it.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I already did that.
Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $3,752,000 agreed to
On Court Services
On Court Facilities Renovations
Court Facilities Renovations in the amount of $6,000 agreed to
On Justice Services
On Mine Safety Equipment
Mine Safety Equipment in the amount of $18,000 agreed to
On Solicitor General
On Correction Facility Planning
Correction Facility Planning in the amount of $120,000 agreed to
Capital in the amount of $144,000 agreed to
Justice agreed to
Public Service Commission
Chair: Is there general debate on Public Service Commission?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The expenditure requested here is almost entirely attributable to the economic salary increases for the department. Members will note that there are a number of other changes in the budget that I will briefly explain.
First of all, the recruitment and training branch that had been a feature of the department has now been split into two branches, one entitled staffing and the other entitled staff development. There has been some transfers of funds between the two branches to reflect new responsibilities. Consequently, the old recruitment and training branch, at $1.9 million, has been split into two branches: staffing and staff development.
There has also been some transfers of responsibilities that I will explain when we get to each line item.
They are relatively minor in nature, but they do reflect a reorganization within the Public Service Commission, to better meet the needs of the government.
While the overall explanation is fairly simple for the additional funding, there have been some changes within the Public Service Commission that have seen transfers between branches, as different branches pick up certain new responsibilities.
Mr. Lang: I want to raise one issue that I pursued from a constituency point of view; it was one that the Minister knows well. He and I have worked fairly closely together since last May. I think it is safe to say that, due to the intervention of the Minister, we finally came to a conclusion with respect to one individual who, for one reason or another, got into a situation where he was handicapped and in a dispute with Workers Compensation. There was an endless series of impediments to providing this individual with an opportunity to get into some other area of the workforce, while his Workers Compensation situation could be resolved.
I have to say that I did not pursue this from a political point of view. I felt, in deference to the Minister, that he was very sincerely pursuing a solution as to how we could approach the situation in order to give this individual an option of getting into another working environment or into some training, which would be more suited to his situation.
I am wondering if the Minister will be in the position, in the very near future, to bring forward a policy in this area. We were in a situation where there was a policy vacuum. I think the efforts by him and me were being stonewalled, because people who were elected were involved in a very human way to try to resolve something. My observation would be that because it was not an idea within the civil service, it did not have merit.
I am just wondering if the Minister could outline where we are going with regard to general policy in this area? I do not want to see any other individual put through what this particular constituent was put through. It was, in part, due to the lack of policy. What do we do with a case of this kind? There would be very few in a year, or even five years, who would meet the criteria of the situation the Minister and I are talking about. I wonder if the Minister could elaborate on that.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: There has been, as the Member knows, efforts made to develop a disability policy within the public service. The short answer to the question is that I would be expecting to take a new policy to Cabinet and Management Board in the next month or so. The reason for the delay has been, in part, the result of the fact that some work had to be done to outline the parameters of such a policy and to work on an administrative arrangement with the Workers Compensation Board, which I hope would be responsible for an agreement with them and some elements of the policy, because it is their business to handle people who are hurt.
They have experience in offering counselling and other things that are required, from time to time, for people who are hurt. In many cases, the claims of a disabled worker would be going before the board.
It is true that, in the past, the Public Service Commission and the government, overall, have probably spent more effort in bringing disabled employees into the public service to meet employment equity initiatives - and be a properly representative employer of the total population - with less emphasis on adequately responding to government employees who are hurt on the job and who need ongoing comprehensive support.
To be fair, we do have insurance programs, and there have been attempts to ensure that any insurance pay out is handled expeditiously. However, it is also fair to say, and the PSC employees agree, that we need a comprehensive policy to handle the kind of case the Member has cited.
We agree there is a need for this policy. A lot of effort has been put into it up to now to develop one. It is going through the final stages of internal departmental consultation at the present time, and should be going to Cabinet and Management Board shortly.
Mr. Lang: I appreciate the comments the Minister has made. I wonder if he would send me a copy once it has been finalized?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will do that.
Mr. Lang: I want to move on to another subject, which concerns the collective agreement. I understand from the present collective agreement that, as part of the benefits, a family of up to a maximum of three can get their fare paid to either Vancouver or Edmonton, I believe, based on the family fare that was, at one time, provided by Canadian Airlines. My understanding is that that fare is no longer available. Could the Minister provide to me, for the main estimates, a comparison between projected utilization of that vehicle by employees: what costs were incurred, say, in the past two previous years and what is projected in this forthcoming year in view of the policy decision taken by Canadian Airlines?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I do not have the information with me now, but I will undertake to bring it forward during the mains discussion.
Mr. Lang: The Minister is aware of the policy change by Canadian Airlines, is he - the fact that family fares are not available and therefore they would have to pay regular fare?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am not aware of the policy change, but if there is one I am certain the Public Service Commission would be aware of it. I will ask them to bring forward some information to answer the Members question.
Mrs. Firth: I would like to ask the Minister some questions about the reorganization within the department. Could the Minister tell us exactly what has happened, and does he have any document he could provide to us in respect to how they have reorganized the department, what the objectives are and what the government hopes to achieve by doing this?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I can. I do not have the documentation now, but if the Member would like a chart that shows the current organization of the department, I can provide that. They can compare that organization with charts that I presume have been provided to them in the past.
One of the main reasons for change in this department has been the separation of staffing and staff development, which previously was accommodated in recruitment and training. As Members will note in the Yukon Training Strategy, which I recently tabled in the Legislature, a chapter is devoted to public service training. As a consequence of initiatives in this particular area, it was decided that the Public Service Commission should focus more on training and development of our staff than we had before to accomplish essentially two tasks, but there are other benefits.
The first task is to reduce our dependency on outside recruitment in the long term, and secondly, to improve our record with respect to employment equity initiatives. There were some pointed questions exposed during the workforce profile survey by employees that there are some job categories within the government that offer very little in the way of promotional opportunities for people who occupy those positions.
Ultimately, the method for resolving that was considered to be training through either formal course work, new job assignments, secondment or essentially through some training plan. That training plan would accomplish the objective of allowing persons who work in certain jobs to seek promotions that may not have otherwise been available to them.
Consequently, there was a desire to put a great deal more effort into this particular area. One of the consequences of the decision that was made was that funding that had normally been provided to departments to provide for outside-of-territory recruitment, has now been formally assigned to the departments themselves. The funding that had been there, housed in the Public Service Commission, has now mostly been formally dedicated to training development, establishing training programs and training opportunities for employees. Much of the work that has been done so far is by way of establishing, essentially, a new mission for the Public Service Commission to improve career opportunities, training and staff development generally throughout the government. Under this new arrangement the Public Service Commission is not expected to perform all of the staff training but it is expected to coordinate and encourage more training within departments.
One of the objectives of the Public Service Commission under the new training strategy would be to encourage the use of government training programs by non-government organizations, whether they be municipalities, Indian bands, social service agencies, et cetera. All of these organizations have expressed a clear desire to have more training opportunities available to them in the public administration area. One of the goals of the Public Service Commission now will be to ensure or to encourage, through the various mechanisms, the use by non-government organizations of government training.
There has also been a transfer of the employee assistance and health promotion portion of labour relations. I can check.
Yes, it is the transfer of responsibilities for employee assistance, to help promotion from labour relations to staff development. It was thought that that would be a better location for the provision of that service. There was also, finally, a transfer of the devolution positions that had been in the finance and administration branch to the corporate services and employment equity branch. That is to provide general policy services, including devolution, to that branch, rather than housing them in the finance and administration branch.
That is a precis of the changes in the department and something of an explanation as to why it is happening.
Mrs. Firth: If the Minister could provide me with the changes in the form of organization charts and objectives, I would appreciate that.
I want to ask a question about the training programs. The Minister has said that one of the goals is to encourage the use of these programs by non-government organizations. Are these programs going to be provided by the Public Service Commission? Are these non-government organizations going to have to pay for any of it, or is it just going to be made available and taken out of the resources of the Public Service Commission?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: First of all, I will provide the organization charts. Secondly, the exact design of the general initiative has not been finalized. I would hope that in the next month or two we will have a clear definition as to precisely where we are going. We have a draft training strategy document that will be going to non-government organizations and government organizations to seek input on the general principles. They will be responding, and I will be reporting back to the House as to what the final design of the training strategy will be, in the spring. There exists, right now, an opportunity for some course work to be taken by non-government organizations, without any additional cost to the government.
They have essentially done that by offering most of the course work through Yukon College, and the college charges only those fees that are normally ascribed to courses of that sort to provide or offer additional seats.
I do not know if there is any direct relationship between the costs of delivering the program and the tuition fee at this point. Certainly, a bit of that kind of opportunity exists already. We want to do more than we are presently doing. We want to design into our programs the possibility that non-government organizations and junior governments may take advantage of the training opportunities so that they can meet some of their own training requirements.
I think, too, there are a number of objectives that would be achieved through this new thrust in training activity. The first is that the training credentials of people who work outside government and who work inside government will be better known to all employers. That way, when recruitment takes place from outside government, the training credentials will be known to prospective employers and they would have a better idea of what kind of trained employees they are receiving.
Secondly, it will help, I believe, to break down some of the barriers between the organizations that currently exist if the training opportunities are done in common. Right now, at the administrative level, there is sometimes a mistrust of other administrative organizations. Through this mechanism, people will come to understand each others organizations better and will learn to work together better and more smoothly. That is another minor, less significant objective, but is nevertheless an important one.
Mrs. Firth: How did they come up with the figures, if the exact design is not finalized? How do they know exactly how much money they are going to need for this program?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: This is not a program. This is a general policy thrust. A number of activities are currently underway in the Public Service Commission: the sponsorship of MPA program and the management development program are two. There is also other coursework provided by the PSC, and these will continue and be enhanced. Over time, there will be a focusing of the training opportunities that are available to the public service. I hope the Public Service Commission remains exclusively interested in generic training, and that departments take on departmental-specific training responsibilities.
A number of things are happening within the PSC now to encourage departmental administrators to understand the value of career planning within their organization, as well as to undertake some responsibility for developing training programs that are useful for their departments. The Public Service Commission will be responsible for providing assistance to those departments, through the staff development branch.
The staff development branch has just hired a director, and that director will be helping to guide our training strategy in this particular area. To my knowledge, we have not undertaken any new training program initiatives, per se, until such time as the general policy thrusts have been reviewed and approved by the public and the government. However, we will continue on with various training initiatives that have either been in the works for some time, or are perceived to meet immediate needs.
Mrs. Firth: I assume the Minister is saying that the program is not focused yet, that it will get focused later on?
The new director who has been hired - how many other people have been hired with respect to this reorganization and change within the Public Service Commission?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am not aware of anyone else having been hired in the area of staff development. The person year used for this has been transferred out of the training branch. I am not aware of any new person years that have been approved for this particular initiative.
Mrs. Firth: I would like to ask the Minister some questions about delegated jobs. The Public Service Commission is now delegating jobs to the departments and the departments are doing their own hiring for some jobs in consultation with the Public Service Commission. I believe, before, it was the Public Service Commission that took the lead role in conducting the interviews and so on for the departments.
I would like to ask the Minister if that is part of this total reorganization and what the objective is?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I have to answer this way: it is and it is not part of the reorganization. It is not, in the sense that the delegation of recruitment responsibilities has been going on for a considerable period of time - for the past number of years. It is, in the sense that delegation of recruitment continues under this reorganization of the Public Service Commission.
One of the things the Public Service Commission has had to face in the last few months is to assume more responsibilities for recruitment than even existed before as a result of an offloading of what had been a federal program thrust to Canada Employment and Immigration Commission. Previously, the review of job applications for most entry level positions within departments was handled by Canada Employment; they did the initial interviews and the initial screening.
They had informed us late last spring that they were no longer going to be providing that particular service. They indicated that they would simply provide a job posting-board service. The Public Service Commission had to pick up the responsibilities for providing all screening for jobs that were previously handled by CEIC. That screening is done by the Public Service Commission now.
Certainly, recruitment for some job categories have been transferred to line departments, and departments have been delegated the responsibility for recruiting those positions themselves.
Mrs. Firth: I have some concern about that because I have noticed that the number of constituency complaints, as well as complaints from other people who are trying to get jobs with the government, seems to be growing. In particular, I have noticed over the last six months to a year that it is becoming more frequent that we have concerns brought to our attention about people who cannot get jobs in the government.
The most recent examples have been with respect to these delegated jobs; the jobs that have been delegated to the department for recruiting. The unsuccessful applicants who wish to appeal do not know whether they should phone the department or not. There have been instances where there has been a less than cordial response about it and then they phone the Public Service Commission and the PSC talks in terms of taking the details down and acting like an investigative body to investigate to see whether the recruitment process followed the proper procedures, and so on.
It seems that there has been more work created by this delegated job process and it is demanding more time of the PSC and more time within the departments that are supposed to be doing the hiring.
I would like to bring that to the Ministers attention and ask him if they notice that as a concern and if the Minister is going to be dealing with it.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: That concern has not been brought to my attention by the Public Service Commission. I have not noticed, nor detected, any increase in activity in the Public Service Commission; nor has it been transmitted to me in that manner, that there has been an increase in - how shall we call it? - complaints or appeals of recruitment actions. Certainly there was, as a result of the collective agreement - not this past collective agreement, but the one before that - an appeal mechanism installed in the agreement, which did offer an opportunity for appeals, for the first time.
I am not aware of an increase in complaints respecting those actions that have been delegated to departments. I will certainly ask the Public Service Commission if they have detected such an increase in activity. If they have, I am certain they will tell me, but I personally have not noticed it.
Mrs. Firth: I would appreciate hearing back from the Minister, when he checks that out.
I wanted to ask another question about secondments and jobs that are not advertised, yet the job is filled. I believe that, many times, it is being filled with a secondment. Going through that process, the department does not have to go through the normal process of advertising the job and holding interviews, and so on. One or two jobs that come to mind were in the Department of Government Services. There was an assistant deputy minister job open - it was vacated, I believe, by the assistant deputy mminister who moved to the assistant deputy minister position in Economic Development: Mines and Small Business. That job had been advertised in the paper. The ADM position for Government Services was never advertised in the paper, yet it was filled. Do the Deputy Ministers have the ability to second people from other departments or just to make a decision not to advertise that kind of job and perhaps offer that job to someone else from another department, so that they come over and fill the position?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I believe the secondments require the approval of the Public Service Commissioner. That certainly sticks in my memory as a requirement. I will make sure that if I am wrong, I will come back and say so.
I am not aware of the situation the Member raises, incidentally. The information I have is that there are relatively few secondments either to or from other governments or within the branches of government. This suggests that the general policy has not been abused, in my mind.
It has been considered, at times, a useful training initiative to acclimatize employees with other responsibilities in government and allow them career development opportunities that could not be had if it was done on a standard recruitment and appointment basis. Again, I am not aware of this situation. I am not aware of what would be regarded as a general abuse of the situation either.
Mrs. Firth: Perhaps I can make it more specific for the Minister. The ADM position in Government Services became vacant because the female ADM who had the job moved over to the Economic Development position. Then, the ADM position that was vacated in Government Services was never advertised, although I know that the job has been filled. I am trying to figure out how the job got filled without it ever being advertised and going out to competition. I think there was another job in property management in Government Services, also, at the ADM level as well, that was not advertised and yet was filled by an individual from the Department of Community and Transportation Services or somewhere.
I guess what I am trying to find out is how these jobs, which are not put out to competition, get filled? Is secondment one of the ways it is being done? If so, is it kind of a loophole to avoid the jobs going out to competition and being filled by the normal process? Perhaps the Minister could look into that situation for me and bring the information back. I have had a couple of people mention to me that they do not think the proper procedures were followed.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will look into those items. I had not been aware of either of the two situations that the Member has provided. I understand, at least, some of the reasons for her comments in that they do provide training opportunities for employees. They must be approved by the Public Service Commissioner as well as by the deputies of the two departments. There is also a requirement that the employee actually return to the department from whence they came. Generally speaking, that is an accepted practice; certainly it is between governments. When there is a secondment from another government to the Yukon, there is an understanding, or it may be more explicit than that, that job offers are made to the employee while they are here.
Mrs. Firth: I do not want the Minister to get side-tracked on the secondment issue. I want to know why the job was not advertised and filled. In order to justify filling the job without advertising it properly, I think the reason they will give is that it was a secondment. That is what I am raising to the Minister as the premier question. Secondly, if they do use the secondment as rationalization, perhaps the Minister could check and see that the proper procedures were followed as well.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I have definitely caught the drift of what the Member has been asking for. I will come back with information.
Mr. Lang: I wish to follow up on the secondments. I asked a question at the beginning of the session with respect to secondments to and from the government. I received a response outlining that there had been five people who had been seconded to the Yukon government from other governments, and three people who had been seconded from the Yukon government to other governments outside the Yukon.
I wonder if the Minister could bring back a breakdown of the positions that have been filled here by secondment and vice versa, those that have been filled outside of Yukon, outlining with what governments and what positions. I am also wondering if the Minister could provide us with information about the new way of filling ADMs positions? Is it as the Member for Riverdale South described? How many secondments have been filled within the government and from what positions to what positions?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will get back to the Member.
Mr. Lang: Quite some time ago, at the beginning of the session, we asked questions with respect to educational leave - the number of civil servants on educational leave, and other information. Does the Minister have that information now?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: There were a number of questions asked. I am preparing a legislative return that will answer the outstanding questions. There was one question that requested actual employment contracts, and I will not be tabling those - I believe that was a motion for the production of papers - because that is confidential, personnel information.
The other questions that were asked will be answered in the legislative return, which will be coming forthwith.
Mr. Lang: Can the Minister tell us if he is referring to the Deputy Minister contracts requested?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am referring to any employment contract at all. The Members are asking for the specific employment contracts, which include all the confidential and personnel information. I will give none of those.
Mr. Lang: Can the Minister verify that there is provision for educational leave on a number of Deputy Minister employment contracts?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I have asked that question, and I will come back if I am mistaken, but I can verify that no Deputy Ministers have educational leave components in their contracts or terms of employment, to my knowledge. I will check that, but I am pretty certain that is the case.
Mr. Lang: When he does come back, so we are not discussing semantics, will he double-check to see if, anywhere, there have been provisions, negotiated or otherwise, for certain Deputy Ministers, in the terms of their employment, for educational leave?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I understand exactly what the Member is saying. I am not splitting hairs or trying to speak half-truths. I have asked the question and I have been assured that there are no educational leave components in any employment agreements between this government and Deputy Ministers. This is as comprehensive and as clear as I can make it.
Mrs. Firth: I want to clarify the second position I was asking the Minister about - it is the ADM position in property management. The person who filled the position came from Government Services not Community and Transportation Services - just so that I am not confused as to which job it is.
On Operation and Maintenance
On Finance and Administration
Finance and Administration in the amount of an under expenditure of $90,000 agreed to
Staffing in the amount of an under expenditure of $973,000 agreed to
On Employee Records and Pensions
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The $70,000 increase requirement breaks down as follows: $46,000 is for economic salary increases; $19,000 was required for overtime payments for the purposes of putting into the computer systems the government-wide wage increases, as well as the need for funding for the reclassification payment for one position within the branch. There was also a requirement for extra telephone and supply costs for a total of $5,000. That should add up to $70,000.
Employee Records and Pensions in the amount of $70,000 agreed to
On Labour Relations
Mrs. Firth: I would like to ask the Minister what the policy is regarding petitions being given to employees during working hours and petitions being put into departments and left there for the employees to sign. Is there a policy?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Judging from my experience in this government, there is usually a policy on absolutely everything. Whether it is up to date or not is another question. I am assuming that there is a policy, but I will have to check. I have not heard of this issue; it has not been brought to my attention during my six years with this government. I do know that people do sign things from time to time. Generally, political activity is encouraged and is, in fact, discouraged. If it is a petition to get a hockey game shown or played in Whitehorse, or something else, I do not know if that has been frowned upon or not. Personally, I would not frown upon that kind of activity. If it is under the general rubric of political activity - a petition of political activity - that is discouraged.
Mrs. Firth: I will tell the Minister what petition I am specifically referring to. There is a petition that was circulated to employees by the Yukon Federation of Labour and the petition dealt with the undersigned residents of Yukon demanding that the government be granted full status in all further discussions and negotiations dealing with amendments to the Constitution, as are the provincial governments. It is somewhat political. It also says that, ... we find it contrary to all concepts of democratic decision-making that Yukoners are to have their future decided without full participation and recognition of our elected Yukon Government in the decision-making process.
The dispute is not with the content of the petition, but employees did find it intimidating to have this petition dropped off at their offices during work hours. They were asked to sign it and return the petition to the Federation of Labour by no later than November 25. I thought a petition of this nature would be contrary to policy in two areas: one, that it should not have been circulated among the employees, and, two, with it being circulated by the Federation of Labour, it would be somewhat intimidating to the employees who felt that they were expected to sign this whether they really had any thoughts or feelings about it or not, because it had been initiated by the Federation of Labour.
I can certainly give the Minister a copy of the petition. I have two copies here and perhaps he could make some comments as to whether he feels the policy has been breached or not.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: As I indicated, I will have to find out, first of all, whether or not there is a policy. I have always assumed that there is a policy for everything, but I will certainly find out.
As a matter of clarification, I certainly do not find anything coming out of the Yukon Federation of Labour necessarily threatening or intimidating; nor do I find the subject of the petition necessarily objectionable, at all. Nevertheless, political activity is generally discouraged during government working hours - certainly political activity of a partisan sort. I do not know what the situation is here or whether or not this would be officially sanctioned. I will check it out.
Mr. Nordling: Speaking of political activity being discouraged, was the Minister aware that the Deputy Minister of Education was wearing a mayoralty candidate button to work? Would the Minister consider that a political activity?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: No, to the first question and in a way, yes, as far as political activity goes - in a way. I do not know how the policy would read with respect to wearing an Irwin Armstrong button, but I can find that out, if the Member wants me to investigate further.
Mr. Nordling: I would appreciate if the Minister would investigate this further. We are talking about a Deputy Minister.
Labour Relations in the amount of an under expenditure of $12,000 agreed to
On Workers Compensation Fund
Workers Compensation Fund in the amount of an under expenditure of $100,000 agreed to
Compensation in the amount of $45,000 agreed to
On Corporate Services and Employment Equity
Corporate Services and Employment Equity in the amount of $132,000 agreed to
On Staff Development
Staff Development in the amount of $1,139,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $211,000 agreed to
Public Service Commission agreed to
Department of Renewable Resources
Hon. Mr. Webster: The supplementary budget reflects a decrease in operation and maintenance costs of $347,000 and a reduction in capital of $124,000. There are increases to operation and maintenance costs of $792,000 due to the effects of the collective agreement. However, $750,000 is offset by reductions in funding for outfitter compensation and for the Fish and Wildlife Fund.
This will not be required until the land claims legislation is in place.
The additional decreases are mainly due to reductions in federally funded programs, such as Yukon land use planning and the Inuvialuit final agreement.
On a program-by-program basis, administration has a net increase of $91,000, mainly due to the effect of the collective agreement. In policy and planning, the net increase is also mainly due to the effect of the collective agreement. Parks, resources and regional planning has a net decrease of $250,000, due mainly to a decrease of $457,000 for the reduction of Yukon land use planning funding, offset by collective agreement increases. For fish and wildlife, there is an increase of $711,000. Included in this are fisheries projects that have recoveries. They are the Aishihik Lake study, fish sampling contaminant study for $60,000, and additional funding allowed under the freshwater fisheries agreement, of which we will be spending $125,000. There is also additional Wildlife Habitat Canada funding of $20,000 for the Liard Basin habitat study.
Agriculture has a net increase of $29,000, due largely to the effect of the collective agreement. In land claims, there is a large reduction of approximately $1 million. This is due largely to a reduction of $287,000 in the Inuvialuit final agreement funding resulting from finalization of the contribution agreement.
The total of $750,000 had been set aside for the fish and wildlife fund and outfitter compensation.
The decrease in capital of $124,000 is due largely to projects that have been deferred.
On a program-by-program basis, administration has an overall increase of $68,000, due to revoted funds of $32,000 for the trap exchange program, and an addition of equipment required by fisheries totalling $25,000, which is recoverable under the freshwater fisheries agreement. There has also been $11,000 contributed by Wildlife Habitat Canada toward the purchase of a vehicle.
In policy and planning, there is a reduction of $90,000, as reprinting of the Yukon mammal series has been deferred.
There is an overall increase of $72,000 in parks, resources and regional planning. A decrease of $100,000 is due to unforeseen delays in the planning of the site at Conrad. In anticipation of the Alaska Highway anniversary, we have accelerated some of our facility replacement, liability reduction and recreation access projects to this year, increasing required funding by $118,000.
In fish and wildlife, there is a decrease of $113,000. This is mainly due to rescheduling of phases of the wildlife management plan and wildlife viewing projects.
There is a reduction of $61,000 in land claims, due to the negotiated Inuvialuit final agreement.
I trust these comments will help clarify any questions arising from this supplementary.
Mr. Brewster: I have a quite a few general questions. Would the Minister prefer that these are asked during the O&M main budget, or would he prefer them now? Whichever he wants, I can do.
Hon. Mr. Webster: If the questions pertain specifically to this supplementary budget, that would be fine. I could take them now, and I will take the other ones at the main estimates.
Mr. Brewster: They are something to do with this budget and they are something to do with the O&M mains, too, when it comes. Would you prefer them during the O&M main estimates?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Perhaps he could try me now and, then, if I do not have the answer the Member is looking for now, I will bring them back then.
Mr. Brewster: The first question is a really simple one, although I have been three weeks trying to figure it out and cannot. Just what is a beaver-proof culvert for $100? To me, that is absolutely ridiculous. You cannot buy a piece of tin for $100.
Hon. Mr. Webster: According to the legislative return that we prepared for the Member, we said that we would provide the design for this culvert. It was designed in Alberta, and the materials cost $100. The Member is disputing the figure of $100 and is suggesting that I might be too low, I assume.
Mr. Brewster: Well, I still have not found out what the design is, and I would like to know. I still really question the sum of $100. I do not know if that is to pay for the design or what. I cannot figure it out, and I have tried.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I will provide the Member with a copy of the design of the culvert along with a breakdown of the anticipated costs to provide that culvert.
Mr. Brewster: The other question that I would like to ask is with respect to the culvert installed at Coal River. Has the installation of this culvert been successful?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to assure the Member that this has been a success. When I was at the official declaration of Coal River Springs being an ecological reserve, there was no sign of beavers in the area at all.
Mr. Brewster: I am glad to hear that. I understand that Coal River Springs was dry this spring, is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Coal River Springs were not dry, but they have considerably less water than they did three or four years ago, but they are not dry.
Mr. Brewster: Who are we blaming this on? The beavers that got through your beaver-proof culvert or is nature getting in the way and we will have to design something to beat nature now?
Hon. Mr. Webster: It is the latter. Somehow, conditions have changed in the area, and, as a consequence, not as much water is getting to the formation area.
Mr. Brewster: I have one more question on that subject. Is this something that occurs every so many years or did the department check this before they put thousands of dollars in there, or are they only discovering this now?
Hon. Mr. Webster: In response to the Members question, we do not have any long-range records of activity in that area, so it is very difficult to predict what effect natural forces will have on the area.
Mr. Brewster: We will go on to another subject, that of the wolves of Champagne/Aishihik that killed six young colts and injured one mare. The people there now have to keep their dogs locked in at night because of the wolves coming around. I believe one or two dogs have been killed. I have a letter from the Minister but, quite frankly, it does not make sense.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The letter I received from the Member explained the problem in the Champagne area about wolves taking colts. I wrote back to the Member, suggesting that we have established a policy in our department of removing animals we know were definitely the culprits. In this particular case, we have no evidence of the fact that it was indeed a pack of wolves that took down the animals and, therefore, we did not act on it.
Mr. Brewster: There was one mare, in addition to the five or six colts. Was that one mare hamstrung?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am sorry, but I will have to ask the Member to repeat the question. I did not hear it.
Mr. Brewster: Besides the six or seven young foals that were injured, there was one mare. Was she hamstrung?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am not aware of the nature of the injuries to the mare. We know the mare was injured, but we do not have any evidence as to what predator caused that injury, if it was one at all.
Mr. Brewster: Well, I would suggest that they should have known if it was hamstrung or not. If it was, it would have to be a wolf. Bears do not hamstring. If it has been knocked over the head, it was a grizzly bear. I suspect that the conservation officer should know this much and should be able to report this.
I would also point out about the six colts that were destroyed that there would be no evidence left. Those bones are soft and the wolf would chew it all, including the hoofs. Of course there would be no evidence. We keep talking about how we are listening to the people who live in the country. These people are reporting something that is a true fact, and we keep saying that we do not know and cannot do anything.
I guess I am not going to get any answers. That is all right. I can go on to another one. I notice that when they were bringing elk in here, one of their legislative returns said that they will not protect these animals from the wolves. What is the point of bringing elk in at great cost to the taxpayers and then let the wolves have them? That is pretty expensive feed. It has definitely been proven that the elk in that area have not multiplied in the last 25 years to any extent at all. Very few calves have ever been seen. Therefore, they are being killed by either grizzly bears or wolves. Why do we keep transporting animals in when they are being killed like that?
Hon. Mr. Webster: What the Member says is quite true in that there has been no substantial growth in that herd. It has remained stable. I would suggest to him that it is the result of other reasons, as well as predators taking numbers. It has been suggested that their habitat is really not all that suitable for a herd of more than 100 animals.
I would suspect that in some years they have had some pretty tough times - that elk herd - getting enough food to live on from the habitat.
I want to remind the Member that the question of predator control in that area - game zones 7 and 5 - is under review at this time. Contrary to what he suggested in his last statement, the people of the area are being consulted on the matter of predator control. In fact, there was a very good meeting held in Haines Junction on November 8 that I assume the Member would have attended.
Mr. Brewster: No.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Unfortunately, the Member could not attend. Certainly the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board is seeking some comments from the public about this problem.
Mr. Brewster: I can remember when this government first came to power. We went around the territory listening to the people, at a cost of $60,000. We listened to them; we made a good report. The people told you what to do.
I did not attend the meeting that you mentioned but I might as well have, as I had 10 or 12 people down in my home this weekend, very, very furious about what is going on. They are very unhappy. In fact, they pretty well told three of the members of that organization where they could go. There is nobody, whom I know of, who was happy with that meeting.
This indicates that there is something wrong. Do the biologists really believe there should be no predator control? I should point out that they said there should be in the Finlayson caribou herd; we increased it from 2,000 animals to around 6,000 or 7,000 by simply taking out a certain percentage of wolves. That is a proven fact, and nobody can argue it. Yet, we are losing our moose, people are losing their young colts, but everybody says, Well, we are going to study predator control. We have been doing it ever since this government has been in power. This was the first one where the people said that something had to be done, and here we are, six years later, about to study it again. The government has lots of money, keep on studying - there will not be any game left by the time it is through.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The meeting was held November 6 not November 8.
To answer the Members allegations, I think we have completed all the studies that are necessary - certainly in game zones 5, 7 and 9, which are under question. As well, the studies are related to the area around Ross River where we took a look at the recovery of the Finlayson caribou herd. The task at hand now is for the Fish and Wildlife Management Board to get some public input. I notice they are doing that in a variety of ways.
Perhaps they can come to some conclusion on this matter at their next meeting, which is scheduled for mid-December, and make a recommendation to myself regarding the use of predator control in game zones 5 and 7.
Mr. Brewster: Is it true that the Champagne/Aishihik Band has asked for predator control for some time now?
Hon. Mr. Webster: That is correct. The Champagne/Aishihik Band has suggested for a long time that we implement predator control measures.
Mr. Brewster: Well, half of the people in the area have asked. From what I gathered at the meeting the other day, pretty close to 50 people were there and they were all asking for it. That should be a pretty good indication. I asked if the biologists agreed with this. I asked because it says here that the department is aware that wolves occur naturally throughout the released area. This is where it is talking about the elk, that it is inappropriate and contrary to government policy to undertake any predator control measures in the areas, specifically to support the elk release in the area. Is it the government policy not to protect wild animals?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I suggest to the Member that we are following the procedures laid out in the big game management policy. We have taken a variety of steps in the past. As the Member knows, we have liberalized hunting of the predator species.
We have restricted hunting; we have introduced other measures and we have had some success with that procedure, particularly in game zone 9. If those measures fail, the last step in the management policy is to implement control measures. That is what the Fish and Wildlife Management Board is considering at this time.
Chair: Order please. The time is 5:30 p.m. We will now recess until 7:30 p.m.
Chair: I will now call the House to order. We are on Renewable Resources
Mr. Brewster: I checked with a couple of my colleagues, because I thought that maybe I missed it. I have asked a simple question: do the biologists completely agree with the policy of this government? I might point out that biologists are usually defenders of game and they know that they have a problem and maybe they are afraid to speak up. I would like to know if they are afraid to speak out or do they completely agree with the policy of this government about no predator control?
Ms. Kassi: The first question is who won the hockey game?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I do not know the score of the hockey game. However, in response to the Members question, the members of the staff, as far as I am aware, are in complete agreement of the policy of this government with respect to management of game as it relates to the predator control program.
Mr. Brewster: How many biologists have left in the past two and one-half years?
Hon. Mr. Webster: In response to the Member for Kluane, I suggest that the answer is one.
Mr. Brewster: What was his reason for leaving?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The reason he left his position was to pursue a business opportunity.
Mr. Brewster: I find this really strange. The same biologist was there when we were in government. We spent in the vicinity of $500,000 and produced studies and reports indicating the percentage of wolves and grizzly bears that were killing the calves. With the change in government, all of a sudden these biologists, who are well trained and smart people, changed their tune and have gone the other way.
As for studying, it is absolutely ridiculous. We spent about 10 years, all the time that I have been in government, studying the issue of predator control. We are no closer and the game is getting thinner and thinner since we started. Quite frankly, I do not know why we even need another study. The Finlayson caribou herd proved out. I recall the arguments with respect to predator control along the northern British Columbia border. People went ahead and cleaned the wolves out and you now see caribou in there. My sister was in that area less than three weeks ago and spotted 100 caribou in one area on the road. I have seen elk up at Coal River that I had never seen before, and I have travelled that road a lot. This is all due to predator control.
Alaska instituted predator control and it has been proven that it works. Why do we have to keep going through studies when we know that predator control works?
Hon. Mr. Webster: As I mentioned earlier, we have completed all of the studies that are necessary in the troubled game zones of 5 and 7, with the exception of one study that is in progress right now, concerning the caribou in game zone 5 - of the Aishihik herd. That study is basically to confirm or to assess what the success rate is for the birth of new animals in that herd. That information will be compiled in the next couple of weeks and will be available for the board to review in time for its meeting later this month. So, again I say that all of the studies, with that one exception, have been done.
Mr. Brewster: I would hope to get at it. I would like to point out that this is going to be a very, very serious year. The rabbits are all gone, which means that the wolves are going to have to hunt something else. The rabbits were dying off this spring and that is why the wolves are starting to attack other things. It is going to be a very serious year because of the wolves, if something is not done about it.
You turn around and say that you have made all these studies. Will the Minister file all of these studies so that we can see what they have done?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I do not doubt for a moment that, as the Member says, it is going to be a difficult year. We know that, but I want to reiterate that there is one study being done at this time that we feel is necessary. It has the support of the outfitters in that area. The results of that study will be made available at the end of this month, in time for the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board to review. Then we will receive a recommendation from the board and proceed from there.
Mr. Phillips: I wonder if the Minister could tell us what the study is, first of all. I guess this is a bit of a hypothetical question, but it is highly probable: if the Wildlife Advisory Board recommends predator control in any of these areas, is this Minister prepared to take that recommendation to Cabinet? If so, and they approve it, are they prepared to carry out any of the predator control that needs to be carried out this winter, or are we looking at action being taken next year?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I apologize for not being too clear on the purpose of the study I was discussing for the Aishihik caribou herd. Basically, we are, in the next weeks, doing a survey to determine what the pregnancy rates are for the animals in that herd.
With respect to the Members question about my willingness or my desire to take this matter forward to Cabinet for consideration, I want to inform the Member that, if that is a recommendation of the Wildlife Management Board, as a result of reviewing the problem and discussing this situation in meetings in December, yes, I am prepared to take it forward to Cabinet, and yes, there is an opportunity in the early spring of next year, in March, to conduct a predator control program if that is the recommendation.
Mr. Phillips: I have one last question about that area. In the last several weeks, I have had reports of many small predators, mainly coyotes and fox, that are coming into residential areas in Whitehorse. In fact, many people are seeing them at night now on the fringe areas of Whitehorse. Cab drivers are reporting seeing them quite frequently all around town. As the Member for Kluane has said, this is partly as a result of the low rabbit population.
A few years ago, we had a similar problem where we had a few dogs and cats that were hauled off by some of these critters. Is the wildlife branch aware of this problem that seems to be developing this early in the winter? Are we doing anything about it now, or do we have any plans to do anything about it?
Hon. Mr. Webster: All I can say at this time is that we are aware of it. It is not just unique to Whitehorse. It is happening in Dawson City, as well. On a regular basis, the fox are coming into town, but we will have to deal with it if the problem gets worse over the course of the winter, as we have in the past.
Mr. Brewster: I have another long one, but I think I will leave that one. I have talked quite a bit tonight. I will leave it for the main budget. The Minister can probably guess what that is about. We have a few problems to solve with buffalo. I will leave that and give him a bit of a rest tonight, because that is going to be a good hour and one-half to two hour debate.
Unless anyone else has anything general on it, I am prepared to go into line-by-line.
Chair: We shall proceed with line by line.
On Operation and Maintenance
Hon. Mr. Webster: The $91,000 is almost exclusively for salary increases due to the effects of the collective agreement.
Administration in the amount of $91,000 agreed to
On Policy and Planning
Policy and Planning in the amount of $91,000 agreed to
On Parks, Resources and Regional Planning
Hon. Mr. Webster: There is a significant reduction here in the amount of $457,000 as a result of the reduction in the Yukon land use planning funding. Of course, that is offset by salary increases again due to the collective agreement.
Mr. Devries: I want to know if the Minister is aware that, at the Coal River Springs, a grizzly bear did not like the Ministers sign and tore it down and ate half of it. Are there any plans to put up a bear-proof sign?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Thank you for bringing that to our attention. I do not think we have had a case such as that before. Perhaps it has something to do with the colour scheme, but again, thanks for bringing it to our attention; we will look into providing something else.
Parks, Resources and Regional Planning in the amount of an under expenditure of $250,000 agreed to
On Fish and Wildlife
Hon. Mr. Webster: I will give some round figures here. Salary increases, again, are $350,000. There have been a number of projects for which we have also recovered money: $100,000 in the Aishihik Lake study, freshwater fisheries agreement, $125,000, the Liard study, Wildlife Habitat Canada funding in the amount of $20,000. As I said, we have also received some recoveries for a variety of programs.
Mr. Phillips: When will the Aishihik Lake study be complete?
Hon. Mr. Webster: We have done all the work this past summer and, over the course of the winter, we will analyze the results. The report should be ready some time in late winter.
Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell us what the Aishihik Lake study is all about?
Hon. Mr. Webster: This study is commissioned, if you will, by the Yukon Development Corporation, to take a look at the effects of the different levels of water at Aishihik Lake on the health of the fish population and fish habitat.
Mrs. Firth: Who is doing that study again?
Hon. Mr. Webster: We are doing the study internally, although I think that we have contracted out some of the work with regard to the fish populations.
Mrs. Firth: Perhaps the Minister could give us copies of the contracts that have gone out with respect to that particular study, together with some terms of reference or the mandate within the department for the purpose of the study.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I stand corrected by my good Deputy Minister; on that particular project we did not contract out any of the work, we hired casuals internally, through the department, to get the information for us.
Mrs. Firth: Perhaps the Minister could tell us what the Yukon Development Corporation has to do with it and what exactly it is that they are studying. Could the Minister provide us with the mandate and let us know what information it is that they are trying to find out. Is it levels of the water or what is it exactly that they are looking for?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Yukon Energy Corporation is taking a look at the effects of the different levels of water in the lake and what effect it has on the fish stock as well as the fish habitat.
Mr. Nordling: I would like to know from the Minister if they have taken into account, or if they are aware of what we understood was the Yukon Energy Corporations plans to draw the lake down about seven feet below its present level and keep it there for a one-time usage of that water for power supply. Is that the problem that led to this study, or is it simply bank erosion?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Right now they have, as you know, a temporary approval for the water level to be at its current level. This is why the test that we have done this year is to see if there are any ill-effects on the health of the fish stocks of that area before they apply for a permanent level of water for that lake.
Mr. Devries: I just have a question in regard to the Liard game population study, in regard to logging and how logging would affect it. As the Minister is aware, there has been no logging in that particular area in the last three years. My understanding is that that program was coming to an end this year. I have heard rumours that it was being extended. Does the Minister know anything about that? If there is any data available on it, it would be interesting if the Minister could table it. I read some of the data that the biologist had accumulated and some of it was quite interesting. Some moose stay in the same general area of five square miles all of their lives and yet the next one might wander for 50 to 100 miles away.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Habitat Canada recently decided to extend that program for another year to do a similar kind of work in that area and take a look at different areas. They are actually taking a look at the different types of habitat resulting from logging and what kind of an effect it has on moose populations.
Mr. Phillips: I wonder if the Minister could tell us if there is still ongoing work or studies involved with the Finlayson Lake caribou herd. I was there last fall again and in the last couple of years I have seen increasing numbers of wolves in the area. Last year we came across a couple of wolf kills in the area, in the fall, and I have seen more wolves there than I have ever seen in the past. Are we now in the monitoring stage of that program and, if we are, does the Minister have any kind of results from last winter, when we monitored it? Are we monitoring it again this year, as well?
Hon. Mr. Webster: We are continuing to monitor the situation with respect to the recovery of the wolf population. This time we will probably have some data. I would guess the wolf population is experiencing almost total recovery.
Mr. Phillips: That program was an outstanding success. A lot of credit goes to the biologist who worked on it and the many people who contributed to the program, including the Ross River Indian Band and local hunters who all did their part to try to build that herd back up. In fact, I have been there a couple of years in a row. I had the opportunity to see hundreds of caribou virtually every day. I think it is a credit to that program as well.
This year and, I believe, even last year, the outfitter from Teslin, Doug Smarch, was in that area. He hunts in that area. Both years, he has taken the largest mountain caribou taken by a Yukon outfitter. That bodes well for the outfitting industry, as far as their efforts to try to promote their industry is concerned. He has certainly benefited from that particular program, as well.
I would like to move onto a little different program. It is regarding the char transplant they did in Cantlie Lake, I believe, which is just up behind Grey Mountain. It is certainly inaccessible, but I heard it is soon to be accessible. I am wondering if we put fish there for the last two years. Did we do any kinds of tests to determine whether or not the fish actually survived or what size they are? I am not asking if the Minister crept up there on the government hook and went fishing, I am just asking if some of the officials have gone up there and determined whether or not the char are alive.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am sure it is quite by coincidence that the Member raised that question, but I have it on good authority that the transplanted fish stocks are doing quite well in that lake. Perhaps he should continue to spread the rumour that the lake is inaccessible, so my few friends can continue to enjoy fishing success in that lake for a few years to come, anyway.
Fish and Wildlife in the amount of $711,000 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Webster: This amount is all due to the salary increase.
Mr. Brewster: When I first saw that, I was really pleased that, finally, the agriculture branch was going to be recognized a little bit. Then I found out it was all for wages, and the poor people are still back where they were.
This is one of the most important things in the Yukon. Just compare the amount of money they get with the other branches. It is time this branch was raised up to where it had a little bit of authority and could protect itself, so it gets some money, instead of having everybody else grab the money, and they get what is left in the cookie jar.
They have done more, and got more people working, than most of these other items here. It is just starting to produce results in the farming, yet they are still down on the same lousy little budget they had four years ago. They are just at the bottom of the cookie jar all the time. It is about time they were moved up a little bit. They are one branch that is working very hard.
I would like to hear the Ministers comment on that.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am quite certain that members of the branch will be pleased to hear the Members comments.
Over the years, you have seen the agriculture branch grow with the number of people involved and the amount of responsibilities they have, and the amount of dollars they have to do a variety of programs designed to assist the farmers, especially their research and extension programs.
You will see that continue, especially now that we have introduced the agricultural policy. This spring, when we introduce the animal health protection act, you will see added responsibilities in the area of regulation and inspection. I am quite confident that, when you see other developments in the industry, such as improved infrastructure, perhaps in the form of an abattoir or a cold storage facility, you will see this sector get a lot more attention.
Mr. Brewster: I was going to leave that until the main budget, however, I got the answer.
I would like to ask the Minister whether he really thinks it is practical that the individual who goes around advising the farmers is also the individual who has to pick up their horses and arrest them. One day he is supposed to be going around offering goodwill and the next day they are going to shoot him. How does anybody feel that one man can handle both jobs, which conflict with each other completely?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The answer is: not very effectively. We recognize the problem that exists there. As I say, I think that once we introduce the new animal health protection act, with new responsibilities and an added burden, then we will be in a situation to justify bringing onstream another person who will just be involved in regulation inspection duties.
Mr. Brewster: I am very pleased to see that, after two or three years of lobbying on this, maybe we are going to get something going on it. I think it is very, very hard for an individual to come around one day and try to be a friend, to come in and have coffee and help with the farm, and the next day you are waiting for him with a club because he is taking your horses after the buffalo knocked the fence down.
They will not take it to court because the court will not accept it. So, they say, we did not do anything. But the poor person has to pay $75 or $100 to get the horse back. Even though he is innocent, because the court never proved him guilty, he is still paying $75 to $100 to get his horse back. When we get into the main estimates dealing with buffalo, I will be arguing very violently about what goes on.
Agriculture in the amount of $29,000 agreed to
On Land Claims
Hon. Mr. Webster: As I mentioned in my opening remarks, the majority of this money is the result of not implementing the fish and wildlife fund according to the UFA, as well as the outfitter compensation fund. We thought the land claims process would not take as long as it did; that is why it was included in this current years fiscal budget. Therefore, we are not using that money this year, and that accounts for the large amount of money that will not be used under land claims in this budget.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister explain exactly what the outfitters compensation fund is? Is there an agreement with respect to the land claim process for compensation to outfitters in those areas where they will no longer be able to work? How is it going to work and what kind of agreement do you have with the outfitters?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I would like to make a correction. It is not exactly a fund. We have made an agreement with the federal government to share in a variety of ratios, the cost of compensation to outfitters who have lost part of their concession for use.
What was the second part of the question?
Mr. Lang: Perhaps the Minister could provide us with a copy of the policy with respect to this outfitters compensation fund, outlining how it is going to be paid out, who is going to pay it out and what the projected costs are.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Guidelines are still being worked on in consultation with the Yukon Outfitters Association. As to what party or what government will be responsible for actually handing out the compensation and making a decision, we are coming very close to establishing those guidelines and those principles. I would expect it to be in place early in the new year.
Mr. Lang: Does it appear that there are a number of outfitters going out of business? Is that what the Minister is telling us?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No. As a result of negotiations with the various First Nations, who have not selected settlement lands in the outfitters concessions, we do not foresee a great deal of compensation taking place as a result of land lost to an outfitter.
Mr. Lang: What about in the four final land claims agreements that have had a fair amount of publicity, but nobody has seen yet?
Hon. Mr. Webster: With respect to the four First Nations who have settled, no large sections of land have been selected as settlement lands that are part of any outfitters concession at this time.
Mr. Phillips: Even though it is not large selections of land, in some cases, it could be a certain valley or mountain range that could be very important to the outfitter with respect to their sheep, moose or caribou. Is the outfitter involved when discussing the land claims issues or is the outfitter notified after the decisions are all made? Is the outfitter then contacted and told that there is going to be some compensation? How does that work and when does the outfitter become involved when he or she knows that their land has been claimed and it will be affected by the land claim?
Hon. Mr. Webster: To begin with of course, any third party interests have been respected by First Nations selecting settlement lands. Even when it comes to site specific selections, the outfitters base camps and cabins are protected. We do, of course, have information that the outfitter has supplied us as to their main hunting grounds - their favourite areas - which we have taken into the land claims negotiations and informed the First Nations of whose traditional area it is, that we would like to see this land remain as it is; in other words, not selected as settlement lands.
Mr. Lang: I would like to follow up on the allocation of game. I am lead to believe that the basic principle is that 75 percent of game is to be allocated to the beneficiaries of the land claim and 25 percent is to be shared between the outfitting/commercial use of game and the resident hunter? Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Webster: That is correct.
Mr. Lang: How is it going to affect the resident hunter? My understanding is that we have something like 6,000 resident hunters in the territory. How is that going to affect their rights to hunt, in view of whatever game information they have?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Clearly, in some areas of the territory, where there is not enough game to go around for everyone, those areas will not be available for resident hunters to hunt.
Mr. Lang: Given the information that the game branch has now, can they project which areas in the Yukon will not be open to the 6,000 resident hunters?
Hon. Mr. Webster: At this time, nowhere, but we are aware that there are some problems in game zones 5 and 7, in particular, where we know there is not sufficient game to even meet the needs of the First Nations people. That is why, at the meeting held November 6 in Haines Junction, for example, some ideas were presented as to how resident hunters, particularly residents in the area of Haines Junction, could be the first to benefit from hunting opportunities in that particular area.
Mr. Lang: Do I take it from the Ministers tone, and the way he responded to that question, that there is going to be a priority for people within the immediate community and then for other people from outside of the community? Is that the way the Minister is going to run this?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, that is not the way we intend to run it. I am just giving that as an example of the one area in the territory right now where there is severe pressure on the game. We may have to continue with a small harvest of game for the resident hunter. What has been suggested for consideration by the Wildlife Management Board, as recently as the November 6 meeting at Haines Junction, is a system whereby the local people in the Haines Junction area would be able to take advantage of the number of permits available for that area, on an equal basis with other people in the territory.
At the present time, of course, it is wide open. Quite conceivably, all the people hunting in that area who have permits for the ten moose could all be, say, for example, not from the Haines Junction area.
Mr. Lang: There is no question that the way the Minister is managing the department regarding the lack of a predator control program, I submit that we will be lucky if there are ten moose a year for the next ten years for a non-beneficiary of the land claims. Subsequently, what that does is put more pressure on the Ross River area and other areas of the territory by resident hunters, specifically those who live in Whitehorse and travel outside of town to go hunting for their recreation.
The government, through its inaction, has more than compounded the problems, as far as the game population is concerned. All of a sudden, we are going to see - and this has already started - in the smaller communities, an antipathy to those resident hunters who do not happen to live in the area of the smaller communities. This is true whether you come from Mayo and go to Dawson or are from Whitehorse and go to Dawson, or whatever. That is too bad. The ultimate end of this is going to be that perhaps the people are not going to care very much for their neighbours. That does not need to happen in a small community.
I want to ask the Minister a question with respect to the 75/25 split the Minister talks about. Has that been discussed with the Fish and Game Association? Do they agree with that kind of a breakdown with regard to the resident, non-resident and land claim policy beneficiaries?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, there have been ongoing discussions with the Fish and Game Association executive on this matter.
Mr. Lang: Does the Fish and Game Association executive agree with that kind of a split?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, they accept that, recognizing, of course, that as a result of the Sparrow decision, they could be in a situation where there would be no game to hunt at all.
Mr. Lang: Before we leave this, can the Minister provide us with information about the hunting projection, in view of the knowledge that the Minister has received through his various studies, and in view of the fact that we are now going to an allocation of 75 percent-25 percent, as far as the territory is concerned. It would be advantageous for people of the territory, especially the resident hunters who will not be beneficiaries of a land claim, to give them an indication of the areas they will be eligible to hunt in, and whether or not there will be quotas that put them on a permit basis. If that does happen, does that put them in a situation where long-term Yukon residents, who have normally had the right to go out to hunt a moose, will now have that right taken away from them?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I do not mind making available information, as it becomes available. I want to point out that we have only really concentrated on three areas in doing management plans on a regional basis. There is some overlap among the various First Nations of the territory. When that information becomes available, we can supply that to the Member.
Mr. Lang: A good start would be on the three areas the Minister referred to. I do not see how the government could come to a decision without some idea of what effects it was going to have. I would assume projections have been made in those three areas. Could he provide us with that information?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Right now, we are in the process of completing the management plans for the Teslin, Pelly Crossing and Ross River areas. We will be starting on the Mayo, Dawson and Watson Lake areas next year.
As I said, there is not a great deal of information available at this time but, as we continue with these management plans, there will be more in the next few years.
Mr. Lang: Surely, the department has some take-off figures or some projections with respect to coming up with an established allocation of 75/25. I am sure that the government would want to know what effect it would have on the beneficiaries as well as the non-beneficiaries.
With respect to the statistical background on the three management plans that we have voted money for over the past three years, I would like to request that the Minister give us at least some indication or some understanding of how that is going to affect the hunting rights of the beneficiaries as well as the non-beneficiaries.
Hon. Mr. Webster: That is true. As a result of the surveys we have taken on the big game in those areas, as well as the traditional knowledge that we have collected, we have been able to establish a management plan in those three areas. We can make that information available.
Mr. Lang: Will the Minister make this information available to all Members?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, I will.
Land Claims in the amount of an under expenditure of $1,019,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance in the amount of an under expenditure of $347,000 agreed to
On Capital Expenditures
On Departmental Equipment
Departmental Equipment in the amount of $24,000 agreed to
On Trap Exchange
Mr. Brewster: This program has been going on for quite awhile. How much longer is it expected to continue? Are they bringing in traps from British Columbia and getting rid of them here? Surely, the traps have all been turned in by now. This is the third year.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am pleased to report that this is the last year.
Trap Exchange in the amount of $32,000 agreed to
On Renovations - No. 10 Burns Road
Hon. Mr. Webster: The renovations for No. 10 Burns Road is the construction of an arctic entry to conserve energy.
Renovations - No. 10 Burns Road in the amount of $12,000 agreed to
Administration in the amount of $68,000 agreed to
On Policy & Planning
On Publications (Yukon Large Mammals)
Hon. Mr. Webster: We deferred spending for the publication of the Yukon large mammal project - which has been very successful incidentally - because we are trying to find a publisher that we can work with and from whom we can derive some profit for this. It is our intention to eventually sell this publication, because it is very high calibre, top quality material, and we want to market it with other education boards and departments in other jurisdictions. We hope to see this as a way that we can earn some money to pay for reprinting other materials that are priorities of the department.
Publications (Yukon Large Mammals) in the amount of an under expenditure of $90,000 agreed to
Policy and Planning in the amount of an under expenditure of $90,000 agreed to
On Parks, Resources and Regional Planning
On Territorial Campgrounds and Day Use Areas
Hon. Mr. Webster: Concerning rehabilitation, in addition to salary increases, there is $50,000 for projects that have been moved forward from 1992-93. In this area of campground rehabilitation, we are talking about doing work this summer on items, including kitchen shelters, flip bins, picnic tables, et cetera, and putting them in place early next spring in time for that season.
Rehabilitation in the amount of $62,000 agreed to
Relocation in the amount of an under expenditure of $94,000 agreed to
On Facility Replacement
Facility Replacement in the amount of $33,000 agreed to
On Facility Inventory
Facility Inventory in the amount of $3,000 agreed to
On Liability Reduction
Liability Reduction in the amount of $28,000 agreed to
On Outdoor Recreation Sites and Corridors
On Systems Plan Implementation
Systems Plan Implementation in the amount of $4,000 agreed to
On Recreation Access
Mr. Brewster: This is a new program that just started. What is it and where is it?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I do not know if it is a new program as much as a new name. It is another one of these projects we have advanced from 1992-93 in the amount of $18,000. We are constructing an interpretive trail at Congdon Creek campground.
Mr. Brewster: They are constructing a trail there. That would not be going back into the national park land with us paying for it, would it? There is not very much room to move in there and there is a great big lake.
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, I do not believe so. This $18,000 is primarily spent on materials for a viewing platform, a foot bridge and signage in the area, but it is not going into the national park area at all.
Mr. Brewster: I presume it is going into the Kluane game sanctuary.
Hon. Mr. Webster: It is on the same side of the highway; I will admit that. It is basically a campground that we have operated in that area for a number of years. We think that it could better serve the tourist by having an interpretive trail.
Mr. Brewster: As the Government Leader once said at a meeting I was at, you turn around while you are fishing and all of a sudden you get a whale. The Congdon campground is right smack on the lake and you have not a half of a mile between the lake and the road, so the trail cannot be on that side, or at least I cannot see where it would be going. If you go on the Kluane National Park or the reserve, the national park already has roads up all of those creeks already.
Hon. Mr. Webster: All this is is an interpretive trail within the campground that goes around the perimeter of the campground itself.
Mr. Brewster: It appears amazing to me that to go around that place that has about 100 outlets is going to cost $18,000. Maybe I should go into contracting, instead of playing around here and getting nowhere. That is worth something. Would they send me the exact information of where this trail is and what it is doing?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The plans and the design for this interpretive trail have been completed and I will be only too happy to provide the Member with a copy.
Recreation Access in the amount of $18,000 agreed to
On Dempster Corridor Study
Hon. Mr. Webster: That is a revote. This is the last monies that will be required for the study.
Mr. Brewster: I guess my arithmetic is not very good. I do not see anything from before. Where is the revote from, two or three years ago? There was nothing in last years budget for that. It is a new program, as far as I can see.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I will have to check on that for the Member and get back to him.
Mr. Brewster: While you are doing that, we seem to be studying the Dempster Corridor - which we have to do as I know how precious the tundra is there and I agree with that one hundred percent - but this seems to be a different study from the others. Are we finally going to get this studying done - like the wolf studies - and actually take some action?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am pleased to report that this is the last money required for this study. It will be complete, and then we can implement it.
Dempster Corridor Study in the amount of $18,000 agreed to
Parks, Resources and Regional Planning in the amount of $72,000 agreed to
On Fish and Wildlife
On Wildlife Management Plan
Hon. Mr. Webster: This project will be rescheduled this year. It was one I mentioned earlier with respect to the management plans for the Mayo, Dawson, Burwash and Watson Lake areas.
Wildlife Management Plan in the amount of an under expenditure of $75,000 agreed to
On Wildlife Viewing Infrastructure
Hon. Mr. Webster: This $38,000 is a reduction of $50,000, due to delays in recruitment of the position of wildlife viewing officer. With the other person in place, there were also some salary increases.
Wildlife Viewing Infrastructure in the amount of an under expenditure of $38,000 agreed to
Fish and Wildlife in the amount of an under expenditure of $113,000 agreed to
On Land Claims
On IFA - Herschel Island Territorial Park
Hon. Mr. Webster: This reduction is simply as a result of the new agreement we signed with the federal government.
IFA - Hershel Island Territorial Park in the amount of an under expenditure of $61,000 agreed to
Land Claims in the amount of an under expenditure of $124,000 agreed to
Mr. Phillips: I have one last question before we clear this item. In the operation and maintenance recoveries, there is $250,000 for fresh water fisheries and I believe that is part of the agreement that we had with the federal government that will reduce every year over a period of years. I believe that this reduction is the same every year or does it stay the same?
I would also like to know when the final payment will end and when we will see new funds available from the Government of Yukon, to pick up the cost of the freshwater fisheries department.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I believe the funds were to flow over a three-year period and this is just finishing the second year. I believe that we are going into our third year now. I will check on that and come back with that information for the Member.
Mr. Phillips: If the Minister could find that information, I would be interested to know when exactly it runs out and how we intend to fund it in the future, because I imagine that they are not going to reduce the budget of freshwater fisheries by $250,000, or else we are going to have to find the money somewhere in the Department of Renewable Resources.
Mr. Brewster: Did you clear capital recoveries?
Chair: I asked if there were any questions on capital recoveries.
Mr. Brewster: Okay. I want to ask one on operation maintenance. Yukon Energy Corporation: $100,000 - what is that for?
Hon. Mr. Webster: That $100,000 for Yukon Energy Corporation relates to the study we spoke of earlier, dealing with the Aishihik Lake water levels.
Capital in the amount of an under expenditure of $124,000 agreed to
Renewable Resources agreed to
Chair: We will take a short break.
Chair: I call Committee of the Whole back to order. We will start with Department of Tourism.
Chair: We are now on general debate for the Department of Tourism.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Department of Tourism is requesting supplementary funding in the amount of $569,000 for operation and maintenance and $1.4 million for capital.
On a branch-to-branch basis, the following details comprise the operation and maintenance supplementary request. The administration branch includes: $180,000 as a transfer payment for the Yukon Anniversaries Commission to assist in preparations for the 1992 Highway Anniversary; $27,000 due to the collective agreement and $30,000 from Community and Transportation Services for a policy employee effective October 1, 1991.
Heritage branch includes: $50,000 advance from 1992-93 to prerepare the passport program; $7,000 transferred from the capital budget to provide O&M funding for the transportation museum; and $35,000 due to the effect of the collective agreement.
The development branch supplementary in the amount of $22,000 is solely due to the impact of the collective agreement.
The marketing branch requires increases in the postage, freight and mail-house line item, totalling $193,000. However, internal offsets from the contribution agreements with Tourism North and the Alaska Tourism Marketing Council decrease the net requirement to $90,000. This increase is required to cover the Canada Post increase of January, 1991, the anticipated increase in inquiries due to the upcoming anniversary year and a recontact program for the 1992 year.
Also, in marketing, an addition $56,000 is required to meet the increased costs of producing the vacation guide publication. The impact of the collective agreement is $72,000.
For the capital budget, the heritage branch requires $48,000, due to the collective agreement impact. The sum of $21,000 is revoted from 1990-91 for a federally-funded position. There are three projects, totalling $150,000, that were advanced from 1992-93: the Fort Selkirk preservation plan, for $25,000; the Kluane museum exhibit 1992, for $80,000; and the Dawson storage facility planning, for $45,000.
The development branch requires $16,000 in capital personnel funds to meet the impact of the collective agreement. The marketing branch requires $338,000 toward the Carcross visitor reception centre development and $817,000 for the Yukon visitor reception centre development.
The $817,000 is comprised of $156,000 revoted from 1990-91 for highway access development, $461,000 for changes to the project and $200,000 to cover the lowest bid received, being over the architects estimated development cost.
I am pleased to answer any questions.
Mr. Phillips: I thank the Minister for that information. I will be asking the Minister a few more questions as we go through the items. There are a lot of figures there to write down in a short period of time, so I will ask the Minister to repeat some of those areas of concern.
I just have a few questions. First of all, I would like to start out with the visitor reception centre, the beautiful building we have on the hill. I would like to ask the Minister if we are able to use that building in the winter, as well as in the summer. Is it being constructed for year-round use?
Hon. Mr. Webster: It is definitely going to be used year round.
Mr. Phillips: When we were given the original budget for that specific building, we were told that parts of the funds, part of the $3.1 million was for the displays in the building. Did that include the audio-visual presentation and the audio-visual equipment as well?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, there is $250,000 ear-marked for exhibits, which does not include the audio-visual part of the building.
Mr. Phillips: Is the audio-visual contract for the actual presentation and the equipment or is it for the presentation only?
Hon. Mr. Webster: By presentation, does the Member mean the production of videos?
Mr. Phillips: I understand that we are having a Yukon presentation done for showing inside of the audio-visual room. What type of presentations are we doing? We do have the one we used at Expo, which we spent thousands and thousands of dollars on, that we were supposed to be able to use for years to come. I know that video is in storage somewhere and not being used. Is that video going to be used in the new facility? Is that the audio-visual presentation that is going to be used or are we producing new ones? I would like to know what is being used.
Hon. Mr. Webster: In addition to the presentation the Member speaks of that was used at Expo 86, we will be using a variety of materials - some existing and some that will be created. Most importantly, Parks Canada will be creating a new audio-visual presentation for that building in time for next year.
Mr. Phillips: That is a Yukon government visitors reception centre. Why would Parks Canada be creating an audio-visual for it? They have one in Kluane and others. Why are they doing this one?
Hon. Mr. Webster: In keeping with the principle that if we work together to market a similar product - that is, the Yukon - we may be more effective in promoting that product at a cheaper price.
The Government of Yukon Department of Tourism has established a good working relationship with Parks Canada over the years, working together in the visitor reception centres in both Haines Junction and Dawson City. Audio-visual presentations is just another area where we can work together and do more with our money.
Mr. Phillips: What type of control do we have over the content of the audio-visual presentation?
Before that, though, who tendered the proposal for the Parks Canada video? Who got the contract? Were local people allowed to bid? Were all the local people who could do that kind of thing here contacted? Who was awarded the contract and how much was the contract? Could the Minister give us the details surrounding that whole contract?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, as it is a production of Parks Canada, I have no idea about the process they used to tender it out and seek bids. I will attempt to get that information from Parks Canada for the Member.
Mr. Phillips: The concern I have is that local people who are involved in this business - photographers and people in the video business - have an opportunity to compete or be involved in projects such as this in the Yukon. After all, they spend their lives here, raise their families here, and should have an opportunity to be involved in these projects.
When the government was working with Parks Canada, did it have any agreement with Parks Canada that they would at least tender locally? Did they tender locally? The Minister has not answered that question. Who got the contract? Does the Minister not know who got the contract?
If we are working with Parks Canada, and we are trying to develop a cooperative working relationship - they are doing a video for us that is going to go in our visitor reception centre - what involvement do we have? Can we have a say about what is in the video? Are we involved in who gets the tender? Do we sit on a committee that decided who got the tender? Those types of things are what we want to know.
Hon. Mr. Webster: As to the content of this production, Parks Canada does have editorial control, bearing in mind that the goal of Parks Canada is for the tourists to get around and see all their attractions, from the Chilkoot Trail to the Kluane National Park to the park on the North Slope and Dawson City.
With respect to procedures they use to put out the tender, I confess I do not know. As I have said, I will offer to get that information on behalf of the Member.
Mr. Phillips: We have the candy man making his rounds here. Now that he is no longer the Government House Leader, he is the candy man.
Chair: Thanks to Missy.
Mr. Phillips: I am a little concerned about our ability to be involved in the editing of this particular video. Is the video going to be the feature video of the VRC or are there going to be other ones? Are we going to use the one we used at Expo as the feature video and this one is just going to be a continuing presentation? Will there be presentations all day and this is one of many, or is this the main audio-visual feature of the centre?
Hon. Mr. Webster: We will be using a variety of audio-visual materials for that structure. I think the effort Parks Canada is putting into this one and the money they are putting into it and the fact that it is a new one, obviously it will be played more than some of the others, but there will be, considering the number of hours, quite a variety of Yukon audio-visuals played there.
Mr. Phillips: What the Minister is telling us, just so I am clear, is that the main audio-visual presentation - the biggest or the best audio-visual presentation that we are going to have in the Yukons visitor reception centre - is going to be the audio-visual presentation provided by Parks Canada. The Minister is saying that is going to be the main presentation and that the Yukon Government is not doing a presentation, did not have any editorial control over what was happening, that the Yukon Government said to Parks Canada Look you guys got the bucks, you know what the Yukon is all about, you put it all together and we will just go with what your presentation is and we will put it in as the main feature at our new visitor reception centre. Is that what has happened here?
Hon. Mr. Webster: When it came time to talk to Parks Canada about its involvement at the new visitor reception centre, this is one of the suggestions that they made - that they would put together a film to promote the territory. Obviously, there will be a heavy emphasis on their park system and their historic sites in the territory.
As I keep mentioning, that will not be the only production shown in that theatre, and of course, over the years, we will be developing our own. However, for the next year that will be one of the feature films shown at the theatre and that is Parks Canadas contribution to that attraction.
Mr. Phillips: I would have thought that the Yukon Government would have developed the main presentation for that facility, but I suppose that the budget is so high already for that facility, at $3.1 million, that they wanted to try to get everyone else to pay for everything else in the facility so that they could try to keep the numbers down a little bit.
I am concerned about who got the contract and I am concerned about how many Yukon people are involved in the contract with the Parks Canada people. This is, after all, an audio-video presentation for the Yukons visitor reception centre and this government does have a policy of local hire and local purchase as much as possible. If the Minister does not know the information now, could the Minister search out the information on who got the contract, how many local people are involved in the contract, whether it was tendered locally, whether local people had an opportunity or were invited to participate and if Parks Canada encouraged local people to become involved. I would like to know if there was an attempt to try to involve some of the excellent, local photographers in this territory that, I hope, are involved in one way or another, and I would be interested to know if that is the case.
As well, I would like to know from the Minister if the Yukon Department of Tourism, or any department in this government, is providing photographs or any kind of information for the Parks Canada people in putting together the presentation. Are we giving them some photographs and pictures, or are they finding other sources for that information?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I see no difficulty in getting that information together next week, in time to have it available for the Member for the mains.
Chair: Line by line?
On Operation and Maintenance
Hon. Mr. Webster: The increases here were, as I stated in my opening remarks, $180,000 for the Yukon Anniversaries Commission and salary increases due to the collective agreement.
Administration in the amount of $237,000 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Webster: In addition to $35,000 for the collective agreement, the biggest expenditure is a $50,000 advance for the passport program. The passport program, which you may recall, will be a two-year program: 1992-93 and 1993-94. We found it necessary to spend this $50,000 in advance to do some promotion and also to prepare the actual passports themselves.
Mr. Phillips: Could the Minister tell me if the Tourism Industry Association and the Tourism Marketing Council are in support of the passport program? Perhaps the Minister could also tell us whose idea it was and where the money came from initially to get the program started?
Hon. Mr. Webster: TIA is aware of this marketing program. It has been discussed a great deal in the fine tuning of the program. As the Member may recall, the program is basically trying to encourage our tourists to visit all of our visitor reception centres and museums. When tourists do so, they will be rewarded with a gift as well as a chance to win a larger prize.
There is an anticipated increase in seasonal traffic for the 1992 anniversaries celebration, and the idea was to encourage people to travel through the entire Yukon. In order words, if they travel to Alaska via the Alaska Highway they are encouraged to come back through Dawson and visit these centres. In that way, more communities may be able to benefit from the extra traffic that will be travelling our highways next year. The more places tourists travel, the more they learn about the Yukon through our visitor reception centres. As they learn of our heritage, the more encouraged they are to stay longer in our territory and spend more money.
As I said, it is a two-year program. It is a pilot project to see how well it does. If it goes well - and there should be lots of reasons for success - it will be expanded from there.
Mr. Phillips: It is an interesting concept. All we can do is wait and see what happens with the program and see how successful it is.
The Minister did not exactly answer my question. He said that TIA is aware of the program. Was TIA in full support of the program? Is the Tourism Marketing Council in full support of the program as a program they feel is a good tool? Who came up with the program? Who developed the program and who had the idea in the first place? Has it been tried anywhere else before?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Member asks three questions. TIA is in support of the program, but I want to tell the Member that they did not initiate the program at all. The purpose of this, as I have already mentioned, is to get people to travel around the territory and to tour more. Our department did it, in cooperation with the museums.
It is very important to point out here, as I neglected to do so in my first response, that this is a way to obviously increase visitation to the museums, in addition to our visitor reception centres. That way, people will get their passport book stamped with their admission to a museum. This way, we will hopefully have more people going to the museums, paying more money, spending more money, hopefully, in the gift shops in museums, which will provide museums with more money for their basic operation and maintenance costs.
That is how the idea originated. As opposed to TIA, the organization that started off in planning this program was basically the Yukon Historical Museum Association.
Mr. Phillips: Is the program restricted to museums and visitor reception centres? From your nod, I take it that you are going to restrict it to those and those alone.
I do not have too many other questions on this matter.
Heritage in the amount of $92,000 agreed to
Development in the amount of $22,000 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Webster: There are a number of line items making up this increase. In the marketing branch, there is $72,000 for salary increases due to the collective agreement. As I mentioned in my opening remarks, $193,000 is for the postage, freight and mail-house contract so we can mail out more of the vacation guides. There is an increase of $56,000 for the production of the vacation guides, as we expect to have more requests.
There is a reduction in the Tourism North contribution, as well as a reduction in the Alaska Tourism Marketing Council contribution, which brings the total to $218,000.
Mr. Phillips: Can the Minister explain the reductions in the contribution programs? Is there any special reason?
Hon. Mr. Webster: With respect to the Tourism North contribution of $23,000, that was the amount by which all three jurisdictions agreed to reduce the agreement. The Alaska tourism marketing council contribution is a larger one, in the amount of $94,000, which is basically an offset for postage. We had some money set aside in that agreement for postage and obviously it was not enough.
Marketing in the amount of $218,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $569,000 agreed to
On Museum Assistance
Hon. Mr. Webster: About the $38,000 for Museum Assistance, I still do not have the cost over run for one project; I am having difficulty identifying what that project was. I will have to get back to the Member as to what project that was. I just do not have that information. I am sorry.
Mr. Phillips: Could we have that prior to the mains?
Museum Assistance in the amount of $38,000 agreed to
On Exhibits Assistance
Hon. Mr. Webster: That is one of the projects that has been moved forward from 1992-93, and that is dealing with the Kluane Museum Exhibit.
Hon. Mr. Webster: That is a revote from 1991 of a federally funded position.
Exhibits Assistance in the amount of $80,000 agreed to
On Artifact Inventory and Cataloguing
Artifact Inventory and Cataloguing in the amount of $21,000 agreed to
On Historic Sites
On Historic Sites Maintenance
Historic Sites Maintenance in the amount of an under expenditure of $3,000 agreed to
On Historic Sites Inventory
Historic Sites Inventory in the amount of an under expenditure of $7,000 agreed to
On Ft. Selkirk
Mr. Phillips: How much is left to do at Ft. Selkirk? What exactly is being done with the $22,000?
Hon. Mr. Webster: We are continuing to do some restoration of the buildings at Ft. Selkirk. I will have a better idea of how much work is left on that project when we deal with the mains.
Ft. Selkirk in the amount of $22,000 agreed to
On Historic Sites Planning
Mr. Phillips: This is quite an increase over the amount that we voted before. I wonder if the Minister can tell us what it is for?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I will have to come back with that information, as well. The Member is quite correct. It is a substantial increase. However, it is over a variety of projects, not just one, and I will have to come back with that.
Historic Sites Planning in the amount of $30,000 agreed to
On Visual Arts
On Visual Arts Acquisition
Visual Arts Acquisition in the amount of $13,000 agreed to
On Yukon Archaeology
Yukon Archaeology in the amount of $14,000 agreed to
On Heritage Studies
Heritage Studies in the amount of an under expenditure of $8,000 agreed to
Heritage in the amount of $200,000 agreed to
On Destination, Regional and Community Planning
On Strategic Planning
Strategic Planning in the amount of $3,000 agreed to
On Wilderness Resource Assessment
Wilderness Resource Assessment in the amount of $3,000 agreed to
On Regional Tourism Plans
Regional Tourism Plans in the amount of an under expenditure of $7,000 agreed to
On Destination, Site or Product Assessment
Destination, Site or Product Assessment in the amount of an under expenditure of $30,000 agreed to
On Product Development
On Signs and Interpretation
Signs and Interpretation in the amount of $19,000 agreed to
On Regional Planning Implementation
Hon. Mr. Webster: This is the extra money that was required for the final engineering plans for the Alsek Pass road development.
Regional Planning Implementation in the amount of $33,000 agreed to
Product Development in the amount of $21,000 agreed to
On Visitor Reception Centres
On Yukon VRC Development
Hon. Mr. Webster: As I mentioned in my opening remarks, this money is comprised of a $156,000 revote for highway access development and $461,000 for changes to the project, plus another $200,000 for the over bid.
Mr. Phillips: Can the Minister tell us when the expected opening date is of the new visitor reception centre? When do we hope to have the doors open to the public?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Yukon visitor reception centre will be opened in mid-May next year. It is possible that, in future years, the season for that particular reception centre will be extended. For example, it will be open two or three weeks earlier in the year and two or three weeks later than all the other ones.
Yukon VRC Development in the amount of $817,000 agreed to
On Carcross VRC Development
Hon. Mr. Webster: The extra expenditure here is to ensure that the work will be completed in time to have the visitor reception centre in Carcross completely ready for next season.
Mr. Phelps: I take it that this money was primarily to upgrade the depot in Carcross. How long is the lease with White Pass?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The lease is for a 25-year period. I believe there are options for extensions thereafter.
Mr. Phelps: I am trying to get a handle on why it costs so much money to do some renovations. We have a brand new office building going up in Carcross that is being leased by the government. It is going to cost probably not much more than $200,000. It is going to be a brand new, all-weather building, utilized both summer and winter. Here, we have some repairs, including some plumbing, a little electrical work and some roofing being done to an existing building and it is costing $366,000. Am I correct in assuming that this building will not be utilized in winter months?
Hon. Mr. Webster: With the renovations that we are putting in that building, it certainly could be used year-round. The Member is quite correct in that some plumbing and wiring was done. Actually, the place was completely rewired and the plumbing was redone and a sprinkler system was put in, as part of the plumbing. Of course, asbestos had to be removed from the walls. It was quite a considerable undertaking to bring that building up to a code that would permit safety for workers in the building, and to bring it up to a standard that would be considered a national railway site.
Mr. Phelps: Who was responsible for overseeing the work and the plans? Was that this department or Government Services?
Hon. Mr. Webster: It was the responsibility of the heritage branch.
Mr. Phelps: Was the work done through contracting out to construction companies? Exactly how was it determined that this price was appropriate?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I know that the plumbing and electrical work was contracted out. I am not aware of anything else that was contracted out, but I can check that out for the Member and get back to him on that.
Mr. Phelps: I would just like to leave my concern on the record. A brand-new, year-round building of about 3500 square feet is being built for something like $200,000. It really involves some repairs to a building to bring it up to a standard that can be used in the summertime by tourists, so I am just concerned about the overall cost.
Carcross VRC Development in the amount of $366,000 agreed to
On Travel Marketing Equipment, Displays and Productions
On Production of New Films, TV Vignettes, Distribution and Versioning
Production of New Films, TV Vignettes, Distribution and Versioning in the amount of an under expenditure of $5,000 agreed to
Marketing in the amount of $1,178,000 agreed to
Capital Expenditures in the amount of $1,399,000 agreed to
Chair: Are there any questions on recoveries?
Tourism agreed to
Hon. Mr. Webster: I move that you report progress on Bill No. 18.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Webster: 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.
Ms. Kassi: The Committee of the Whole has considered bill No.18, Second Appropriation Act, 1991-92 and directed me to report progress.
Speaker: You have heard the report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn. Are you agreed?
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.
The House adjourned at 9:29 p.m.
The following Sessional Paper was tabled December 2, 1991:
Second Report of the Standing Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges (McDonald)