Tuesday, May 5, 1992 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. At this time, we will proceed with Prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed with the Order Paper.
Introduction of Visitors.
Are there any Returns or Documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I have a legislative return for tabling.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I, too, have a legislative return for tabling.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Are there any Petitions?
Introduction of Bills.
Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Are there any Notices of Motion?
Statements by Ministers.
Ministerial meeting on the Constitution
Hon. Mr. Penikett: As I committed last week, I rise to report to the House on last weeks constitutional discussions and on the meeting with the Premier of Quebec specifically dealing with the Constitution.
As I indicated to Members last week, the agenda for the Edmonton meeting covered various topics: the reform of the Senate and the Supreme Court; constitutional provisions related to economic disparities; equalization; regional development and a common market clause; the proposal for a social covenant and declaration of economic unity; matters related to the division of powers; the Canada clause; aboriginal issues such as mechanisms for exercising and implementing the inherent right to self-government; and the constitutional amending formula.
In reporting to the House, I am bound by the commitment made by all Ministers and the aboriginal leaders not to refer to specific details about the contents of the meetings or the agreements reached. However, I do want to indicate where progress has been made, particularly with respect to the constitutional amending formula.
There was a thorough discussion in Edmonton of our position that the entry of new provinces should be subject to rules that existed before 1982 and not to the so-called 7 and 50" requirement. I am very pleased to report that there is a consensus among the provinces represented in Edmonton that we should return to the pre-1982 rule and leave the decision on the creation of new provinces to the federal government and the territory concerned.
As hon. Members are aware, I have since met with Premier Bourassa of Quebec, and we had a full and frank discussion about our respective positions on the constitutional amending formula. Although there was no agreement on our positions, I remain optimistic that a resolution can be achieved.
Yukon and Quebec officials will meet later this month to review our proposals on the amending formula as it relates to the creation of new provinces.
Work is also now under way at the officials level to resolve concerns about the impact the pre-1982 rule for the creation of new provinces would have on the amending formula as it affects federal institutions such as the House of Commons, Senate and Supreme Court.
Our officials, in conjunction with the Government of the Northwest Territories, will be working on specific legal language to address the concerns of which we are now fully aware.
Discussion on the amending formula will continue at the ministerial level, in Vancouver, next week. I am reasonably confident that we can resolve, in our favour, an issue of vital concern to the government and people of the Yukon.
On other matters, progress has been made in several areas on aboriginal issues and a significant portion of this weeks agenda will be devoted to discussions on these issues.
Discussion will also continue on whether there will be equitable or equal representation among provinces in a reformed Senate. It should be noted that none of the proposals on a Triple E Senate advocates equality for the territories. The Yukon is, however, supporting an elected, more equitable Senate.
With respect to reforms of the Supreme Court, as we requested, the current proposals allow the Yukon, along with other jurisdictions, to nominate judges to the highest court.
As well, there is now general agreement on including a statement of social and economic values in the Constitution. There is also an agreement to examine the inclusion of northern territories in section 36(1) of the Constitution, which currently commits the federal and provincial governments to efforts to reduce economic disparities and promote equal opportunities for the well-being of Canadians.
As I have indicated to hon. Members, it is of critical importance, as full participants in these discussions, for us to attend. The progress made on the constitutional amending formula is evidence of what we can achieve by being at the constitutional negotiating table. We will continue to have our concerns understood and accounted for through active participation.
Therefore, I will be attending meetings scheduled for Vancouver next week and will again report back to this House on their outcome.
Mr. Lang: First of all, I would like to welcome the Government Leader back to the House. I appreciate the time and the effort that has to go in to meetings of this kind. I can see from the statement that there is commonality in many areas and common purpose in seeking some constitutional changes, not only on behalf of Yukon, but on behalf of Canada as we know it today.
There are a number of observations I would make. First of all, we are very pleased to see the progress that has been made toward the pre-1982 amending formula. That, of course, is most advantageous for Yukon and, for that matter, the Northwest Territories. I hope that we are successful in that end. The way it has been put to us is that we have nine out of 10 provinces in agreement. As we all know, if one province, like the province of Quebec, does not support it, we cannot get the necessary changes through. However, we want to encourage the government to do everything it can in its efforts to continue the pressure to see whether or not we can get that amended.
The other area that I just want to touch on is the question of the Senate and Senate reform. It is not clear to us what position the Government of Yukon is taking on behalf of the people of the territory. We would ask the government to table its position in this House.
I do not view it as violating any trust or confidentiality. The Province of Alberta has made its position very clear, both privately and publicly, and I think that the people of the territory have a right to know what exactly is meant by the Yukon is supporting an elected, more equitable settlement, and we would like to know what that entails.
I note that the Minister refers to further meetings taking place next week to deal with areas of concern to the aboriginal people of the Yukon. I want to encourage the Minister to bring forward, through that particular constitutional meeting, the question of the trans-boundary claim policy and its implication to the Yukon.
There is no question that, in view of the lack of an agreement with the Government of Canada, either constitutionally or otherwise, the Yukon has witnessed the loss of 600 square miles and, more importantly, the precedent has been set where the southern part of the Yukon is very vulnerable in terms of non-residential claims broaching the Yukons borders.
I should point out that the talk for provincial status is wasted talk, if the bulk of the land in the territory is given into private hands. The people of the territory, through their Legislature and elected representatives, will not have the authority and control over their land and resources as most of the provinces have.
I want to impress upon the Minister to strongly convey the message that there has to be a resolution of some kind on behalf of the Yukon, as well as other jurisdictions, to ensure that the breach that has taken place in the Yukon never occurs again.
I want to conclude by wishing the Minister good luck in his deliberations and in the meetings in the forthcoming weeks. We know how difficult it is, and we are prepared to make our offices available to him, at any given time, if we can be of some assistance.
Mr. Nordling: I am also pleased to see that the Government Leader has decided that he should speak up on behalf of Yukoners with respect to their right to determine their own future.
The one concern that I have with the ministerial statement is on the second page where the Government Leader said, In reporting to the House I am bound by the commitment made by all Ministers and the aboriginal leaders not to refer to specific details about the contents of the meetings or the agreements reached. I know that the Government Leader found it offensive that 11 first ministers met at Meech Lake and came up with an agreement that the Legislatures of the provinces were to approve. Now it appears that the same thing may be happening, only this time we, as the territories and the aboriginal leaders, are included.
I would like to have some assurance from the Government Leader that it was the method of the Meech Lake Accord that the Minister found offensive, not just the fact that we were not included. I would also like some assurance that this is not going to happen to us in the current negotiations and talks. By that I mean that the first ministers and the aboriginal leaders are not going to keep the agreements a secret until they are presented to the people of Canada and say: this is it; take it or leave it.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I thank both Members for their observations and comments.
The Leader of the Official Opposition posed a question about Quebec. Let me say to him that the issue of a veto is not a new one for them. They have been advocating for a veto over the creation of new provinces since 1976. That, however, is not their only concern. They are also concerned about the dilution of the amending formula and the potential for a group of very small provinces to outvote the larger provinces in terms of amendments to the Constitution. That is a real concern for them that we have to deal with.
On Senate, I would be happy to - either by way of debate or motion - talk further about our position on the Senate to the Member. My partys position has been for a long time that the present Senate, as it is now composed, should be abolished. That is not to say that we are adverse to the idea of a democratically elected second chamber, but personally, I am not a fan of all the Triple E proposals as they were originally conceived. I think the debate is now resolving to whether we are going to have a choice between equal or effective, because it is fairly clear that we are not going to get seven provinces, much less 10 provinces, to agree to something that does both. I would be prepared to elaborate on that issue to the Member, either in private or at some other occasion in this House.
I appreciate the representation about the trans-boundary claims, and I will certainly make mention of it in the discussions next week. I appreciate also the offer of assistance from the Leader of the Official Opposition.
Let me say to the serious point raised by the Member for Porter Creek West that I appreciate that we do not want to have the repetition of 11 men in a locked room, but it is also, as he knows, enormously difficult to negotiate effectively in public. When they do televise sessions, there is always a certain amount of grandstanding rather than real negotiations. Mr. Clark has tried to structure these meetings in such a way that there is a balance between the publics need to know and get progress reports from Ministers and the desire to continue negotiations until there is some text that can be made public. I believe that these ministerial meetings are leading to a First Ministers Conference, most of which, I am sure, will be televised.
I hope that as the drafting of various proposals and political commitments that are being made is completed, we will be in a position to table them in bodies like this Legislature and therefore fully inform citizens about what is evolving.
Speaker: Before proceeding to Question Period, the Chair would like to make a statement regarding Question Period yesterday, May 4, 1992.
The Leader of the Official Opposition asked the Minister of Health and Social Services a number of questions about events in which she was involved concerning two young offenders who had escaped from the young offenders facility. There is no doubt that the questions concerning the Ministers involvement in this matter are in order. Rather, the concern which the Chair wishes to raise has to do with the following statement made by the Leader of the Official Opposition: I want to go on to another area, in view of the fact that the Minister has admitted that she aided and abetted the young people in question, which is contrary to the Criminal Code.
Only courts of law make decisions as to whether or not someone has broken the law. It is not the place of Members of this House to make such judgments. Allegations or accusations that a Member is guilty of breaking the law, therefore, must be viewed as being unparliamentary until such time as a court has reached a verdict finding that the law has been broken or a Member has openly admitted to breaking the law.
In conclusion, the Chair would once again ask that Members be careful to ensure that they respect the rules concerning parliamentary language and that they be particularly careful about not making allegations or accusations about other Members.
This brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: Young Offenders Secure Custody Facility, escapees
Mr. Lang: I would like refer a question again to the Minister of Health and Social Services, who was directly involved in the events leading up to the capture of the escaped youths from the young offenders facility. I should point out that there were two young offenders who escaped, one of whom had escaped four times and was described by the Minister as a big St. Bernard pup, a young man who is not dangerous to others. But that particular young offender was involved in the breakout in 1990 when a staff member, if I recall correctly, was tied up; the facility was vandalized; a vehicle was taken, and a number of events took place that were very much at odds with the statements the Minister has given here.
The Minister was very vague on what took place during the course of that day, and her involvement, as well as the involvement of her office and her staff with respect to the situation surrounding the chain of events. I want to ask a number of questions directly to the Minister, and I hope she will give us a direct answer.
My first question: is it true that the two escapees met with a social worker at that social workers home in the morning and that the social worker provided the two fugitives with a change of clothing and then permitted them to leave?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: As I told the Member yesterday, he is asking questions about which I have no direct knowledge. This was not a government social worker; I could get information, had it been. This was not someone whom this government employs. I cannot answer the question. The Member seems to have some source of information, which may or may not be true, that I do not have.
Mr. Lang: I am surprised that the Minister would not have tried to find the information in view of the fact that the question was also asked yesterday.
I want to ask the Minister if she can confirm that the social worker in question did not contact the RCMP at the earliest possible moment, when it came to her attention that these two fugitives were in her home?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I can neither confirm or deny that; I would think that the RCMP might be able to do that, or the person herself, but I certainly can neither confirm nor deny that.
Mr. Lang: It was stated in the Yukon News, and I quote, The pair [which refers to the Minister and her deputy minister] met with the youths and the person who had been counselling them, and they all drove back together to the secure custody facility.
Can the Minister tell this House whether or not the individual who met with them in conjunction with the two fugitives is the person who was with the two escapees earlier in the morning?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: For clarification: is the person who met the young offenders in the afternoon, when we picked up the young offenders, the same person with whom I met earlier in the day? Is that the question?
Mr. Lang: If I may, I am going to repeat my supplementary question. It states that the pair met with the youths and the person who had been counselling them. I want to know if the person who had been counselling the two youths over the course of that day was the same individual who met with those two fugitives in the morning. Can the Minister answer this?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I am aware of who met with me, and who brought the kids to the parking lot and then drove them up to the young offenders facility. The deputy minister and I proceeded to the facility, and we then took the kids back into the facility.
I am not quite sure what the Member is trying to prove here. I cannot confirm or deny what someone else did, when that person was not in my presence.
Question re: Young Offenders Secure Custody Facility, escapees
Mr. Lang: I want to get clear on the record the chain of events, as well as the involvement of the Minister and deputy minister with respect to that. Could the Minister tell this House at approximately what time she was contacted about the whereabouts of the two fugitives?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: As close as I can recall, it would have been perhaps 11:00 a.m. - or mid-morning. I was not checking my watch, so I am guessing that it was about that time.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister tell this House at what time of the day she and her deputy minister first met with the two fugitives, and where?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: As I said yesterday, at lunch time. I asked the deputy minister to drive me because, as the Member knows, I do not drive. I do not have enough sight to drive myself. I asked to be driven to a local restaurant, where I did in fact meet with the young offenders.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister tell us if it is true that after she had lunch with the two fugitives they left for the balance of the day, until the Minister met with them around 5:30 or 6:00 p.m. to take them to the young offenders facility?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: At that time - it was about 1:15 p.m. - I did come back to the Legislature. It was my understanding that the concern the kids had - remember, we are talking about kids - was that they were fearful of going back by themselves. They wanted to wait until I was free to go there with them. Therefore, they said they would let me know where I could meet them at 5:45 p.m., after we were out of session. They did that, and that is what happened.
We left the session. The Member for Riverdale North will know that he had asked to meet me over some casework, and I had said that I had a call and was not able to meet with him then, but would talk to him the next morning.
I left and went to a school yard, met the kids, took them back to the young offenders facility and took them into it.
Question re: Young Offenders Secure Custody Facility, escapees
Mr. Lang: I want to emphasize that the Minister feels that these are young people who have done nothing wrong and are of no threat to society. These are two young people who have committed certain serious offences and have been sentenced by the courts to what is referred to as a secure facility. I would like the Minister to answer if it is not true that, during the course of that whole day, the RCMP were out actively searching for the two escapees.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I have never said, at any time, that these kids have done nothing wrong. They certainly have committed property offences, and they would not be in the young offenders facility if they had not. My concern, and the concern of the community - their community - is that they receive some healing and some support so that they will not graduate to the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, and from there to God knows where.
The second part of the question had to do with whether the RCMP were searching for them all through that day. I believe that question would be better directed to the Minister of Justice. The reality of the matter is that the kids were wandering around downtown, in full view, all day long. At least, I am told they were, and I certainly did not have them locked up anywhere. I could not tell you whether the RCMP were searching for them or not. You may wish to ask the Minister of Justice.
Mr. Lang: It seems rather funny that the Minister did not know the answer to that question in view of the fact that her officials were the ones who called the RCMP the evening before. I guess my next question to the Minister is: could the Minister tell this House if, during the course of that day and prior to taking the two escapees back to the secure facility, she made any effort to contact the RCMP or to discuss it in any way with any of her Cabinet colleagues?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I previously have said that, throughout that day, my concern and my thoughts were entirely around what was happening to the kids and my concern and thoughts were around getting them back to the facility safely. In answer to the Members question, no, I did not discuss it with my colleagues. I told the Member yesterday that I had ensured that the RCMP were called when the youths were back. They had been out and around town for many days and there was no doubt in my mind, when I thought of it, that if the RCMP were called, those kids would run and they would be gone - whether they would run to the river or whether they would run to the bush seemed to be the question. Neither would have been of any benefit to anyone, including the RCMP.
Mr. Lang: We all know that it is every citizens responsibility to notify the RCMP if they come into contact or know the whereabouts of any fugitives from justice. The Minister knows that, as well. I want to ask the Minister why she did not contact the RCMP when it first came to her attention and she found out their whereabouts. Why did she not follow the laws of the land?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: Perhaps, if it had occurred to me right at the moment that I was breaking the law of the land, I might have thought differently; but, as I have said over and over and over again, the position I took was a moral one. My concern and thoughts were for the kids and for their safety.
These are our own Yukon children, whether we like it or not, whether they have broken our laws or not. My concern was and still is for the people involved: the kids. I wanted to see them safely back within the facility so that the people who care about them could begin some of the healing processes that needed to happen before they could begin to move toward an assessment and perhaps greater healing.
Question re: Young Offenders Secure Custody Facility, escapees
Mr. Lang: This is a very serious situation. As I said yesterday, and I will say today, I do not question the sincerity of the Minister nor the motives. I question whether or not her office and her position was brought into a situation by her actions that brings into question the integrity of the government.
It is very clear that if any citizen has knowledge of the whereabouts of a fugitive of justice, it is their responsibility to contact the authorities at the earliest possible time. We have a Minister of this government who has admitted that she knew for a full day the whereabouts of these young offenders and did not notify the RCMP, who were searching for them -
Speaker: Order please. Will the Member please get to the question.
Mr. Lang: In view of the fact that there obviously have been some very serious allegations confirmed, to some degree, by the Minister, I want to know if the Minister is going to do the honourable thing and step down from her office?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I would hope that anyone in this Legislature, in this community, would have the guts to help kids who are in trouble.
The decision I took was a moral one. I guess that is all I have to say.
Mr. Lang: I find this very difficult. It is not the question of assisting or helping our young people. I am assuming we all feel that way. I am questioning the propriety and the actions of the Minister in what took place that day, contrary to...
Speaker: Order please. Will the Member please get to the supplementary question.
Mr. Lang: ...what is expected of a Minister in office. I want to ask the Government Leader about this. I realize he has been absent, but this is a very serious situation. In view of the statements of fact that have been provided to this House by the Minister of Health and Social Services, I would like to know if he is going to ask her to step down until this situation is cleared up.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: No, Mr. Speaker.
Question re: Young Offenders Secure Custody Facility, escapees
Mr. Lang: Over the course of the past 12 months in the Province of Ontario, there have been a series of resignations by Ministers. Ms. Gigantes resigned because she inadvertently leaked a name of a patient while she was in the Legislature. Another Minister resigned because it was alleged that she had violated the rental control guidelines and another Minister resigned because she wrote a letter to the College of Physicians and Surgeons about the actions of a physician in the Province of Ontario. That was called ministerial accountability.
In view of the fact that the Minister has admitted not notifying the authorities as soon as she found out about the whereabouts of the two fugitives, should she not be stepping down in view of the fact of what she stated she did on that day?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I believe the name of the Minister in Ontario that the Member was referring to is Ms. Gigantes, who was the former Minister of Health.
Clearly, the Member on that side of the House has a different view of the facts than do Members on this side. It is my understanding that the Minister of Health and Social Services facilitated a return of the young offenders to custody and that her actions throughout, were motivated by a highly appropriate moral concern for the public interest as well as the welfare of the young offenders. Whatever reflections the Member or anyone else may make on her judgment, I think it was thoroughly well motivated and she has tried to do what she is sworn to do, which is to serve the public interest and the welfare of the young offenders involved.
Mr. Lang: As I said earlier, I do not doubt the intentions of any of the individuals involved, but the fact is that the authorities were not notified at the proper time.
I want to ask the Government Leader if he is advocating that any citizen who feels that they are doing the right thing should not have to notify the authorities at the earliest possible opportunity if they know the whereabouts of fugitives who have escaped from custody?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I would advocate quite the opposite. My view of the facts is again different from that of the Members.
In my view, the Minister of Health and Social Services is indeed one of the authorities involved, and she facilitated the return of the young offenders to another one of the authorities involved; namely, the people in charge of the correctional facility.
Question re: Old Crow Community Learning Centre, contract
Mrs. Firth: Again, my question is with respect to the same kind of issue, a trend that seems to be developing within this government, and that is ministerial and political interference, and Ministers taking matters into their own hands.
My question is directed to the Minister of Education about the Old Crow Community Learning Centre.
I would like to establish how the contractor was notified that he had lost that contract, and I have this information from the contractor who, unlike the government, has nothing to hide and therefore has no reason to misrepresent the facts as they happen.
There was a public meeting in Old Crow, the contractor was told by the official not to worry, he was not going to lose the contract. After the meeting was over, the contractor overheard the Member for Old Crow calling to her friends outside the meeting, we got it, we got it.
That was the first indication that the contractor had that there was something amiss with his contract.
The contractor was later approached by the official and asked-
Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please get to the question.
Mrs. Firth: I am getting to the question. He was approached by the official and told that he had lost the contract and was asked what he was going to do about it, such as taking any action against the government.
I would like to ask the Minister if he will confirm that this is what happened.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will confirm no such thing, because it is completely at variance with everything I have said so far. What I have said so far is what I know to be the truth. The government has nothing to hide in this matter at all.
As I indicated yesterday and the day before, the Old Crow band, the community learning centre committee, and a number of other individuals made it very clear at the public meeting that they wished for the community of Old Crow to manage the construction of the Old Crow Community Learning Centre, in order to seek the maximum number of jobs, training opportunities and economic benefits.
Following that meeting, I had discussions with department officials who, in turn, had discussions with the contractor. I indicated yesterday that, whatever the participation of the Member for Old Crow with respect to her own conversations with community persons, it had no bearing on the decision to request that the project be given to the Old Crow band.
As I also indicated yesterday, indicate today, and will probably be indicating tomorrow, it is my understanding that there was no problem expressed by the contractor with respect to the request to allow the project to be managed by the Old Crow band.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister constantly tries to justify this political interference, based on who the contract was given to. It does not wash. If it was a personal friend of the Ministers, he would not have been able to justify it. He is trying to justify it based on it being given to the people of Old Crow.
The issue here is to find out -
Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please get to the supplementary question.
Mrs. Firth: I am about two words away from it. The issue here is to find out how this government treats people. Does the Minister think the contractor really had a choice and could say no to the government, whom he is dependent on for his livelihood?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: To answer the last part of the question first, the contractor absolutely did have a choice to indicate whether or not he wanted to allow the community to manage the contract, or whether the contractor was going to manage the contract himself. He absolutely did have a choice.
I take issue with the way the Member is characterizing it as political interference.
Let me put it this way. If she is asking whether or not it is worthwhile to make an effort to allow a community to manage its own project, after the community resoundingly had made the request to manage the project itself, the answer would be yes, it is worthwhile to try to see to it that the community gets full benefit from projects that are undertaken in that community. Any intention to try to allow the Old Crow band, in this particular instance, to manage the project could only be done with the agreement of the contractor.
Mrs. Firth: The community had lost the contract in the tendering process. Then the Minister interfered politically - he had his officials take the contract away from the contractor and give it to the community. That is what happened. That is the political interference. The letter confirms -
Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please get to the supplementary question.
Mrs. Firth: I will, Mr. Speaker. The letter from the official confirms that he was unaware that the community would have the final word on this. That was the excuse or the reason given. I would like to ask the Minister: is it not true that the decision to take the contract away was made at that public meeting, and when that contractor was standing outside the door of that meeting room he heard what had happened and the official approached him right at that time to tell him he had lost the contract - that that is exactly where it happened, and there was no further negotiation or any meeting or -
Speaker: Order please. Order please. I have asked the Member to please get to her question.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The answer is no, it is not true. It is absolutely, categorically, not true. The situation as I remember it is as I have stated. The community did not have the final word as to who gets the contract. But the band did request that the project be allocated to them so that they had a chance to undertake it themselves. That is what happened. That is how I recall it, and that is the sum total of my understanding of the reasons for the decision to make an attempt to try to get the Old Crow band to manage the project.
Question re: Yukon economy
Mr. Nordling: I have a question for the Government Leader. Statistics Canada reported that, of all the provinces and territories in Canada, the Yukon economy showed the least life last year, posting a 5.5 percent drop in growth rate, while at the same time the Yukon led all provinces and territories with a 4.4 percent increase in spending. How does the Government Leader reconcile this drop in growth rate with his statements regarding the health of the Yukon economy and the success of his governments economic programs and policies?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am glad the Member for Porter Creek West asked this question; I happen to have those figures in front of me and I was actually just looking at the Statistics Canada report, although I cannot find the quote attributed by the Member to Statistics Canada. It may well be that that was some reporters observation, not Statistics Canadas, because Statistics Canada itself says that the decrease in GDP in the Yukon, which is a preliminary report, is almost entirely accounted for by a drop in corporate profits before taxes, from $166 million to $87 million - a loss of 45.6 percent, and the effect of GST. I happen to know that those corporate losses are a function of the losses recorded by Curragh Resources last year, which lost, I think, $98.3 million, including $35 million on its mining operations. The Member may be interested to know that the same Statistics Canada report shows that, in terms as measured by final domestic demand, there was an increase in the Yukon economy last year of 6.9 percent, which, it may interest him to know, was the highest in the country.
Mr. Nordling: Since 1985-86, the transfer payment from the Government of Canada has almost doubled, from $153 million to $229 million. Will the Government Leader agree that the growth in the economy of the Yukon is directly and simply tied to the amount of money transferred to us from Ottawa?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Not at all. I think even the numbers the Member gave himself would give a different definition of doubling than mine. The largest single contributor to the growth in the gross domestic product has been the increased productivity of the mining sector from something like $60 million in 1985 to something like $500 million or $600 million in terms of final value this year. This is a very significant increase.
The transfers from the federal government as a percentage of our budgetary revenue have been going down at the rate of about one percent a year for the last several years.
Obviously, the formula financing arrangements with the federal government have helped us to do some good things in the Yukon economy, but the growth in the mineral sector and the shrinkage in the transfers indicate that, in the long run, our economy is becoming stronger and more self-reliant, as opposed to what the Member opposite suggests.
Mr. Nordling: We could get everyones eyes glazing over if we start to talk about the statistics. The Government Leader has talked about growth in the mineral sector and the shrinkage in the transfer payments. I have just said that the transfer payments have gone up $75 million or $80 million and he says that corporate profits -
Speaker: Order please. Will the Member please get to the supplementary question.
Mr. Nordling: I would like to ask the Government Leader what has gone wrong with his policies and programs that has resulted in a 5.5 percent drop in the growth of the economy while the government has increased its spending 4.4 percent?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Again, I am afraid to report again that the Member has his facts wrong. According to the statistics here, the 4.4 percent increase he refers to is an increase in spending in the territory as a whole, not an increase in spending by the territory - according to the statistics here.
The Member may know that there was a new mine opened in the Yukon last year. That shows that the increase in investment that occurred last year resulted in something like 128 percent.
If I may say so, with respect, the Member has every significant allegation in his question wrong. All of his facts are wrong and therefore, all of his conclusions are, too. I am afraid, in fact, that he has totally misread the report from Statistics Canada, which is a pity.
Question re: Wolf reduction in game zone 5
Mr. Brewster: My question is for the Minister of Renewable Resources. It is my understanding that the Minister of Renewable Resources has to reply in writing to the Wildlife Management Board within 30 or 60 days the reasons why he has refused the recommendation of the Wildlife Management Board. Has the Minister replied in writing to the Wildlife Management Board his reasons for holding up the recommendation on wolf control on behalf of the Aishihik caribou herd?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, I have not written to the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board as I have accepted the recommendation of the board on that matter.
Mr. Brewster: Could the Minister then table for me exactly what he did accept in the recommendations?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, I can do that, but I want to reiterate, as I did last week in response to a similar question from the same Member, that I did accept the recommendation of the Wildlife Management Board, which was to implement a wolf reduction program - which we are doing - in the context of a wolf management plan for the entire territory. I also pointed out that, with respect to the recommendation, we will provide some incentive and assistance for trappers to do more trapping of wolves in that area. I would be pleased to table that information.
Mr. Brewster: Did the wildlife biologist in the Department of Renewable Resources send reports to the Minister on the Aishihik caribou study and, if so, would the Minister table the results of these reports?
Hon. Mr. Webster: As the Member knows, I have received reports on the condition of that herd from biologists in the department. I would be pleased to provide the information to the Member.
Question re: Wolf reduction in game zone 5
Mr. Brewster: The wildlife management report on the wolf cull in the Aishihik area stated that although trapping should be part of the program, it is understood that trappers alone will not effect an immediate reduction in game zone 5.
Did the Minister instruct his officials when he received this report from the Wildlife Management Board to begin planning a wolf reduction plan in the area?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Again, we will be planning a wolf reduction program in the context of a wolf management plan.
Mr. Brewster: Did the Ministers department bring in an expert on wolf trapping to instruct trappers in the Aishihik area?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Brewster: How many wolves were taken on this project?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I will come back with that information for the Member.
Question re: Deputy minister of Community and Transportation Services, educational leave
Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Government Leader with respect to the deputy minister of Community and Transportation Services who is currently on education leave.
This individual is due to be back from his leave fairly soon, and I would like to ask the Government Leader if he will be resuming his former position as deputy minister of Community and Transportation Services?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I think that I should properly talk about that with the deputy minister first before I discuss this topic with the Member opposite and that is what I will be doing.
Mrs. Firth: When the deputy minister left on his education leave, we were told that he was going to be coming back to that position. Obviously, there has been some change of plan.
I would like to again ask the Government Leader, why he cannot tell us whether he will be returning to that position or not. What has happened in the interim to change the Government Leaders mind?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Quite honestly, nothing.
The Member asked me about the future employment of the deputy minister, currently on leave. The Member knows that from time to time, deputies can be reassigned.
No such decision has been made, but deputies can be reassigned according to either the request of the deputy or the wish of Cabinet. There has been no discussion as yet, and out of normal courtesy in personnel matters, before any public discussion of such a question, I would talk about it with the person involved.
With the greatest respect, I say to the Member that I am not going to be making announcements about the future of some senior official, prior to discussions with that official.
There has been no contemplation of that yet, in advance of the discussion with the individual.
Mrs. Firth: Perhaps the Government Leader could tell us a few things. Could he tell us when he is going to have discussions with that individual and when that individual is coming back? This deputy minister was already in the DM-1 category, which is the top category of deputy ministers. Could the Minister share with the public what salary range this individual is going to be in? I am not asking the Government Leader to tell us exactly what his salary is going to be; just tell us how much of a raise he is going to get. I would appreciate it if he would share this information with the public.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I take it that the Member opposite is recommending a raise for this individual. Again, I have not talked about that with the person. He will be returning to the Yukon this summer after the completion of his school year, and I am sure that I will be meeting with him when they return. I do not plan any meeting before he has completed his course of studies.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now lapsed.
Notice of government private Members business
Hon. Mr. Webster: Pursuant to Standing Order 14(2)(7), I would like to inform the House that the Government Private Members do not wish to identify any items standing at the heading of Government Private Members Business, to be called on Wednesday, May 6, 1992. The House will, therefore, proceed directly to government designated business when Orders of the Day are called on Wednesday.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Speaker: We will proceed to Orders of the Day, Government Bills.
Bill No. 93: Second Reading
Clerk: Second reading, Bill No. 93, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. Webster.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I move that Bill No. 93, entitled Electoral District Boundaries Act, be now read a second time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Renewable Resources that Bill No. 93, entitled Electoral District Boundaries Act, be now read a second time.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I have the honour, as Government House Leader, to present this bill for second reading. This act is based on the recommendations of the Electoral District Boundaries Commission, established by this Assembly last spring.
The report from the Hon. Justice, Mr. Kenneth Lysyk, was submitted to the Speaker of the Assembly in December 1991, and has since been made public.
As the recommendations were made by an independent commission created by the Legislative Assembly, the government has an obligation to ask the Assembly to deal with them.
To facilitate a full discussion of the recommendations by Members of the Assembly and amendments proposed to the electoral district boundaries, the government is tabling legislation based on the commissions report.
It is critical that matters of this nature are dealt with - and are seen to be dealt with - in an open and fair manner. This is best accomplished by allowing all parties represented in this Assembly to address them directly.
As Members are aware, the commission is the fourth in the Yukons history and the first since court rulings have established that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms imposes limits on the extent to which electoral districts may differ in voting power.
The commission recommended an increase in the number of seats in the Yukon Legislative Assembly, from 16 to 17. The commission further recommended a number of important changes in the electoral district boundaries. For example, the existing districts of Mayo and Tatchun are merged and Ross River is joined with Carcross and Teslin in a new electoral district.
The act before you provides for eight urban ridings, seven rural ridings and two urban/rural split ridings. Necessary consequential changes to the Legislative Assembly Act are also detailed.
The provisions in the Legislative Assembly Act, which are amended, are those that identify, for pay and expense reimbursement purposes, the names of the new electoral districts. These changes would take effect on the polling day of the next general election.
The electoral districts approved by the Assembly during this sitting will apply to the next general election in the territory. These are important matters of concern to Yukon people. I expect that all Members have received comments from the public that should be fully aired and discussed.
I look forward to exploring matters of concern to Members and the public when the bill is referred to Committee for review.
I would like to emphasize that the bill before us, reflecting the agreement of all parties as expressed by House leaders, does not deviate from the boundaries recommended by the commission.
Before concluding, and to assist Members, I would like to briefly summarize the essence of the minor changes that resulted when the wording provided in the commissioners report was translated into legal drafting language. I want to thank the office of the chief electoral officer for its assistance, particularly in ensuring that the descriptions of boundaries are accurate and usable.
In general terms, note that the electoral boundaries are provided in alphabetical order, consistent with the existing legislation. With the exception of Kluane, Lake Laberge and Riverdale South, the descriptions begin in the lower left-hand corner of the electoral district. Unnecessary references to the boundaries of the Northwest Territories and British Columbia have been removed.
Where there are two intersections for one road, such as McIntyre Drive and Tamarack Drive in Whitehorse, they are described by direction to make the descriptions more precise. There are some grammatical changes, such as western rather than west, et cetera. Unnecessary details in some of the descriptions have also been removed.
Specifically, for each electoral district, there are no changes for the following: Faro, Klondike, Lake Laberge, Riverdale North, Riverdale South, Riverside, Watson Lake, Whitehorse Centre.
For Kluane, the reference to the eastern prolongation of the point of intersection of Judas Creek and the Alaska Highway is deleted and is now the part of the description that includes latitude 60 degrees, 25 minutes north.
For McIntyre-Takhini, the name has been changed from McIntyre to McIntyre-Takhini to encompass the major neighbourhoods in this district. For Mayo-Tatchun, the description has been amended so as not to include the electoral district of Faro.
For Mount Lorne, the reference to the unnamed stream in the description has been changed to latitude 60 degrees, 37 minutes north. This is the point of intersection of the western limit of the City of Whitehorse. Also, the reference to the point of intersection of the Alaska Highway and Judas Creek has been changed to latitude 60 degrees, 25 minutes north.
For Old Crow, the commission report referred to the Yukons offshore, presumably with the intent to include Herschel Island. The description has been revised to keep it consistent with the description of the Yukon given by the Yukon Act, and a reference to Herschel has been included as a courtesy for the user.
In addition, the reference to the Arctic Circle has been changed to 66 degrees, 30 minutes north.
For the electoral districts of Porter Creek North and Porter Creek South, the common boundary between 1 Juniper and 78 Tamarack is described more precisely.
Ross River-Southern Lakes: the reference to the point of intersection of the Alaska Highway and Judas Creek has been changed to latitude six degrees, 25 minutes north.
Whitehorse West: the name has been changed from Granger back to Whitehorse West to reflect the history of the district.
The reference to the unnamed stream in the description has been changed to latitude 60 degrees, 37 minutes north. This is the point of intersection of the western limit of the City of Whitehorse. The description has also been revised to reflect that the north boundary of Whitehorse West is intended to be the same as the south boundary of McIntyre-Takhini in this area.
Mr. Phillips: I am pleased to be able to speak to this bill today. Changes to the electoral boundaries are long overdue. The Yukon has been one of the fastest growing regions of Canada over the past several years and the Yukons population distribution has been dramatically altered since the last electoral boundary change in 1977.
The recommended changes proposed by the Electoral Boundaries Commission suggest that there now be seven rural ridings, two country-residential districts and eight urban districts. We believe these new boundaries follow, for the most part, our recommendations for an equitable distribution of voters. The only exception to this is the riding of Old Crow and we, on this side, support the distinctiveness of that riding to be the exception to the rule.
The Electoral District Boundaries Act before us is the most significant piece of legislation we will be asked to deal with this session. A fair and equitable distribution of voters in Yukon, or any other area, is one of the basic foundations of democracy. Not all Members are satisfied with the new boundaries as they alter some ridings dramatically and do away with others. For that reason, each member of the Yukon Party will express their views and vote according to their conscience.
I would like to make one interesting comment on the bill that is before us today. The House Leaders agreed that we would all deal with this bill as presented by the Lysyk Commission. When we first looked at the bill, I felt it was exactly how Mr. Justice Lysyk had laid it out in his report but, after a second look, the bill does not match the report exactly. There are two rather significant changes and they both involve the names of new ridings. In the Lysyk report, we have a new riding called McIntyre. The governments bill now has changed the name of that riding to McIntyre-Takhini. I can only guess, and the Member has confirmed it today, that the rationale for that is that this new riding encompasses those significant areas of Whitehorse. If one follows that rationale, and the rationale the Member used earlier, it becomes rather confusing when one looks at the second riding name change.
In the Lysyk report, the recommendation was to name the riding Granger. In this case the name of Granger has been dropped for a new name, or you might say an old name: Whitehorse West.
One would have thought that if you were to be consistent with the first change in the new riding and it was going to be changed at all, it would be called Granger-Hillcrest, because those are the significant areas that riding encompasses.
It also is very important to note that as House Leaders we agreed to accept the report as presented without any changes unless agreed upon by all three parties.
In fact, as the Opposition House Leader, I clearly remember that the Government House Leader told the other House Leader that the Government Leader, the Member from Whitehorse West, insisted that there would be no changes unless there was a three-party agreement. There never was a three-party agreement on name changes.
It is also interesting to note that the Government Leader, the Member for Whitehorse West, currently sits in this House representing the riding of Whitehorse West. It seems that the Government Leader has used his influence, contrary to agreement, to change the name of this riding.
One wants to ask why? I suppose that we can all presume that the Government Leader just plain likes the name, plans to run in that riding in the next election, and if you do not keep the same name, he is going to take his ball and go home. If the Government Leader does not get his way, he is not going to be happy.
This is a game; it is the elite of this government, one particular individual, no one else - there are a lot of us in this House and we have had the names of our ridings changed, but we have not asked for a particular name change. Only the Government Leader, His Royal Highness, has asked for a name change in his riding to be the same as it was before.
The Government Leader is being awful presumptuous that he might be the Member for that riding in the next election.
This could open up a real can of worms. There are other Members here who have had their ridings name changed. In fact, the Member for Hootalinqua had his riding chopped into many, many pieces into all kinds of different ridings, as did the Whitehorse West riding.
I guess that we have to ask ourselves why the Government Leader is getting special treatment over any other Yukoner and any other Member of this Legislature, again. I guess that Yukoners are starting to see the light that he is the number one Yukoner and he is going to remind us of that at every opportunity, including the new electoral boundaries change.
The Government Leader should remember that this is not his bill. This report is supposed to be an independent realigning of the ridings that all House Leaders have accepted and agreed upon.
I, for one, feel that the Government Leader should leave well enough alone and accept, as all other Members have, what Mr. Lysyk recommended to us in the report.
I will be looking forward to hearing the views of all other Members in this very significant and important bill that is before us today.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I had not planned to speak on this bill at this stage, but I am fascinated by the rather petulant address of the Member opposite who simultaneously said that we should accept Judge Lysyks recommendations in total and then that every single Member of his party would be free to speak or vote according to the wishes of his constituents, whether or not they agreed with Judge Lysyk. I suggest that this is a fundamental contradiction.
The point of this debate is to consider Judge Lysyks recommendations, express our judgment on those recommendations and to recommend changes. If the Member opposite does not like the proposed name of the constituency he now represents, he is perfectly free to move amendments. In fact, if he does not like the particular proposals made by the government in this bill - because this is now a government proposal before the House - then he can express those too.
There are technically three different versions of the Lysyk report, depending on whether you look at the maps, the legal text or whether you look at the actual text of the report. One can decide which version one is going to support, and each will get different results. The Member for Riverdale North - as a careful reader of that report - may wish to tell us later in the debate which one of those three versions of the Lysyk report he prefers.
I would like to address the rather emotional and, may I say, childish attack on me that he has just made. The Member asked why these recommendations are being made. It is quite possible that this bill could have been debated entirely in my absence while I was away at Constitution meetings. It is secondly the case that, contrary to what he said, the Cabinet of this government agreed to my recommendations that if that happened I would be able to make some recommendations in the consideration of the fact that I might not be here. Thirdly, as to why the recommendations are made, it is very simply that I have had a lot of public meetings in my constituency, which now encompasses a large part of three constituencies as a result of this bill.
The people in my constituency did not like the names proposed by Judge Lysyk. They felt very strongly that they should be changed. The Member asks what he can do about the people in his constituency who do not like the name Riverside. Well, when this bill goes into Committee, he can make a representation there. An invitation was made some time ago, by House Leaders, where there could have been discussion among the parties about other changes.
In any case, the Member asks why I am representing the views of my constituency. That is certainly not our view. In fact, it was quite the contrary. If there were some errors or some problems, we should discuss them, not only on the floor of the House, but also in any other forum available to us as parties.
Let us remind ourselves that the commission was established by this Assembly, to bring recommendations to us and for us to ultimately decide the fate of the recommendations.
The Member for Riverdale North may not know this, but, in the House of Commons, for example, a Member who represents a constituency can sponsor a name change to a constituency simply by way of a House resolution. I believe the custom now is that if there is no objection, even between redistributions, that can happen simply when there is no dissenting vote in the House. When I worked at the House of Commons, I saw a number of such changes happen. The person who had the obligation and the right to make such a proposal was the person representing that constituency.
The commission was established by the Assembly and had a fairly difficult mandate to review the existing electoral districts, taking into account a number of the considerations mentioned by the House Leader: the principle of equality of voting power, geographic and democratic considerations and any community or diversity of interests of the residents in any part of the Yukon, including traditional territories of Yukon First Nations.
Members are asked now to consider legislation based on those recommendations. I say based on because, as the Leader of the Official Opposition indicated a moment ago, and which the Member for Riverdale North does not seem to understand, one can take the recommendations three different ways because there are significant differences between the maps, the legal text and the body of the report. We consulted with the chief electoral officer and there was some discussion among the House Leaders on which version to base the draft.
We will now have the opportunity - and I suspect that in Committee this should be a very extensive discussion - to discuss the merits of the recommended increase in ridings from 16 to 17, the extent to which the commissions recommendations adequately provide for effective representation of the Yukon people in the Legislative Assembly, and specific questions and concerns about individual electoral districts. The changes recommended to this Assembly by the independent commission are significant, and they involve a delicate balancing of objectives and interests.
I have to report to Members, both as Premier and as an MLA, that I have spoken to a great many people and have received many letters and calls from electors who are concerned with, and indeed opposed to, certain aspects of the proposed new boundaries.
The Member for Hootalinqua will not mind my saying that I have had literally dozens of letters from his constituency. I have had very strong petitions from the people in Tatchun and Mayo about the proposed amalgamation of those two districts. We have heard from chiefs and band councils about the Ross River-Southern Lakes proposed district, and I have had very, very strong representations from my own electoral district about the name and the drawing of the boundaries.
If I may make a personal observation, I have great respect for Judge Lysyk and his work, but I think it is a great pity that the lines were drawn in Whitehorse with so little respect for neighbourhoods. After many years of wanting a new school to be built in what is now my district - which is a natural community centre for that neighbourhood - we now have a proposed boundary that draws a line right through the middle of the neighbourhood. Frankly, I think that is a pity.
Consistent with the principles and objectives laid out in this bill, I wish we could have some frank discussion about whether some of the recommendations by Judge Lysyk make sense. I say that as a private Member as well, and I say that as an MLA for a district.
It is not improper for legislators to have frank discussions about that and to talk about whether the particular ridings, in terms of the grouping of communities in rural Yukon or the boundaries between neighbourhoods, really make sense.
I am not talking about gerrymandering, I am talking about exercising political judgment, which is what we are put here to do - not what a judge is asked to do, but what we are asked and put here to do.
I have heard concerns about some of these things that I have mentioned and whether this bill passes unamended, or whether it passes after amendments or discussions in the House, we will be making major changes in some ways as a result of this Electoral Boundaries Commission and the electoral map of the territory will be fundamentally changed.
The historic situation of rural constituencies having a majority in this House will be changed for the first time ever in our history. The balance of power will shift more toward the city, which has always been well-represented in Cabinet and government and many people in rural Yukon are concerned about the concentration of, if you like, power in one centre.
I look at the constituencies of Tatchun and Mayo, for example, represented incredibly ably by the two Members who now sit in this House. One cannot help feel some poignancy about the prospect of not death at the hands of the electors, but political death at the hands of the Boundaries Commission. Mr. Lysyk is a wonderful person, an excellent judge, but someone who lives in Vancouver.
My own constituency, over the last few years, has become the largest in the territory. There are three parts of the constituency, as I said to the Member for Riverdale North, that I could run in, but all three of them will be among the smaller constituencies now, rather than one of the largest.
The communities of Ross River and Teslin are joined in the electoral district and I happen to know from hearing from people in that area that this is a controversial proposal.
The Member for Klondike, in opening second reading, noted the technical changes in the legal drafting of the legislation, which were made to properly reflect the commissions recommendations, and also noted the changes in the two ridings, which have been commented upon by the Member for Riverdale North.
If the Member for Riverdale North sincerely believes I have done the wrong thing in this respect, I would urge him to move an amendment to restore them to what Judge Lysyk has suggested. I would be happy to invite him to a public meeting in my constituency to discuss his recommendation.
Let me personally go on the record right now. If the Member for Riverdale North brings a sensible proposal before this House about changing the name of the proposed constituency in which, I understand, he is intending to run, I will be happy to support that proposal in Committee, voting freely as a private Member in the same way he has suggested all Members of the Yukon Party can do.
I am sure we will have lots of opportunity to do this in Committee. The Member for Riverdale South is yelling across the floor that we agreed not to do that. She may have agreed not to do that; I did not. I was not part of any discussion like that.
What our House Leader agreed to, and what has been respected, is no changes to the boundaries, as proposed by Judge Lysyk.
The Members are quibbling. Let me suggest that there are more important issues here. If the Member wants to talk about name changes, or even boundary changes, in Committee, we should do it. That is our responsibility. The Leader of the Official Opposition and I know that boundary commissions can make mistakes. He will recall that a boundary commission report came to this House during our time, which drew a line right through the middle of a neighbourhood in his constituency, as well as a neighbourhood in mine. As legislators on two different sides of the House, who have occasionally disagreed on issues, we agreed and jointly recommended to the House the sensible thing to do, which was to draw the boundary to respect those two neighbourhoods.
In fact, I believe that almost every time a boundary commission report has come to this House, there have been changes. There is one occasion I can recall when there were none, but there were also almost no changes recommended by the boundary commission. If I recall history, there have been some minor changes made to the report in most cases.
Perhaps I am wrong on that point, and I stand to be corrected, but I understand it is not at all uncommon, in the history of this House and in other legislatures.
It has been mentioned that there are two new rural/urban ridings, and other rural ridings remain for the purposes of Member pay and expenses, and I think that is a reasonable suggestion. It was the governments obligation to bring forward the recommendations of the independent commission about the boundaries; frankly, I think there is a lot of parliamentary tradition about names of constituencies, and I think there is a special responsibility for the incumbent Member on that score. I want to say, with respect to the Member for Riverdale North, if he wants to propose a change to the constituency there, I am not going to stand in the way. As the representative of the people in the area, they should make the ultimate decision and he, as their representative, should make the ultimate recommendation about that to this House because that is the practice in the House of Commons in Ottawa and I believe it is the practice elsewhere in the country. I do not think any Member should have a problem with that.
I very much support the view - once we get past the second reading, and I will be supporting this bill in second reading - that we should have as frank a discussion as possible, not on a partisan basis but as constituency representatives, about the wisdom of the recommended changes, the wisdom of the recommended names, the divisions in rural Yukon and the divisions between neighbourhoods. I believe that is our job, and it is our job, not as partisans, but as people who understand and represent those neighbourhoods and those communities.
I have no problem whatsoever with the idea that it is our responsibility to discuss it. I have a considerable problem with the idea, which I think is unparliamentary, that we are simply here to rubber stamp a judges recommendations, no matter how sensible or insensible they are. That will not be my view in Committee.
Mr. Phelps: I would like to say a few things in second reading with regard to the principle of this bill. I will be voting against the bill in principle and am disappointed to be placed in this position.
Certain of the recommendations of the commission came as a rather rude shock to me. I am particularly concerned with respect to the proposed riding of Ross River-Southern Lakes. It is my view that the commission erred in principle by coming up with this particular riding. The commission ignored representation and facts made known to them during the hearings. Coming up with this particular riding went against the main provisions in section 3(2), save and except for the principle under 2(a), taking into account the principle of equality of voting power among electoral districts and of course the provisions of the Yukon Act.
It was no secret to the commission that people in my riding were strongly opposed to having the remote - at least to Carcross-Southern Lakes - community of Ross River included in a riding with them. It is no secret that the Ross River Dena Council and many people in Ross River were equally adamant that they did not wish to be included in a riding with the good community of Teslin, and presumably of Carcross and Tagish as well. The grouping of Carcross and Tagish with Ross River was so illogical and unlikely that I am sure that few people addressed that possibility.
On September 27, the Ross River Dena Council, in a communication to the Electoral District Boundaries Commission, made it very clear that they did not wish to be included in a riding with the community of Teslin. They said in point 2 of their submission, The Campbell riding does not work for us to voice our concerns. Teslin and Ross River does not have anything in common.
They went on to say that some of the areas in the current riding of Faro should be included in the Kaska area, especially those areas that are used by their members for traditional purposes.
When I attended the hearings held in Carcross by the commission, I was asked a question about what I thought of having Ross River in with the new proposed riding of southern lakes, which would include Teslin, Marsh Lake, Tagish and Carcross. I was taken completely by surprise and made it, I thought, abundantly clear that I thought the idea was not only impractical and against the principles of the act that created the commission as I understood them, but so far-fetched as to be almost humorous in concept.
It is my view that this flies in the face of the principles prepared and set forth in section 3(2)(c), which speaks to the commission taking into account geographic and demographic considerations, including the sparsity, density or rate of growth of the population in any part of the Yukon and the accessibility and size of physical configuration of any part of the Yukon. There is very little doubt in anyones mind that Ross River is about as remote from Carcross, Tagish or Teslin or any two communities in the Yukon are remote, one from the other. In fact, it is a further drive from Carcross to Ross River during most months of the year than from Carcross to Dawson.
Section 3(2)(d) discusses the availability of means of communication and transportation between the various parts of the Yukon. That is the same point. Section 3(2)(e) refers to any community or diversity of interests of the residents of any part of the Yukon including the traditional territories of Yukon First Nations and aboriginal communities as identified in the Yukon land claims negotiation. The letter sent by the Ross River Dena Council made it clear that, in their view, they have little in common with the First Nation people of Teslin, Carcross or Tagish.
I can tell you, as a matter of fact, that very few people whom I have spoken to, who reside in my part of the proposed new riding, Carcross and Tagish, have ever been to Ross River. There is literally nothing in common among these communities.
The final clause 3(2)(f) speaks to the special circumstances of the Yukon including, but not limited to, the right of members of Yukon First Nations to have an effective voice in the Legislative Assembly. Again, the letter I have from the Ross River Dena Council, addressed to the Government of the Yukon Territory, attention Premier Tony Penikett, would make it very clear that they felt that this configuration would not enhance, but detract from, their having an effective voice in the Legislature.
At this time, I want to go on the record as saying this suggestion was raised in hearings in Carcross and was strongly opposed at the public meeting. I also want to go on the record as saying that I have spoken to a good many people who reside in the Carcross-Tagish area, part of the proposed new riding. Of all the people I have spoken to in the months since this report was made public, I have yet to speak to one individual who supports this new riding, or even expresses a feeling of neutrality toward it. Everyone I have spoken to has been opposed to it.
Because of the level of feeling I encountered whenever and wherever the subject arose in that part of my riding, I did hold a public meeting on the issue a couple of months ago. At that meeting, we discussed this report and the proposed new riding. I advised people at that meeting to whom they ought to write if they wished to write either supporting or criticizing the proposed boundaries. I offered to speak to anyone who was not at the meeting, should they know people who wanted to talk to me about the situation and what they could do.
One of the interesting comments that keeps arising over and over again is, of course, that the commissioner and the people working for him are not from the Yukon and, indeed, have very little knowledge of the Yukon, in the sense of having lived here for any period of time in the past. It was felt by some of the people at the public meeting I had that it would have been appropriate, surely, for these people to have conducted their hearings, come out with some draft proposals and then gone back to the communities - or, at least, given the people within the communities the chance to respond to the proposals. This has been done in the past, by at least one former commission. The people were rather appalled, and I could only agree with them, that this opportunity was not given to the residents, particularly in the proposed riding of Ross River-Southern Lakes, given the fact that, to my knowledge, there was not one utterance in support of this proposed riding during the original hearings of the commission.
I go on record as saying that I am opposed in principle to this bill. I say this because I am personally opposed. I feel that it is contrary to the instructions that were set out to the commission contained in the motion passed here last fall and, in my view, I am supported by virtually every resident I have spoken to in my part of the riding. I want to add that I have spoken to others who live in the Teslin area and I get the same reaction from the few people with whom I have spoken to there, and I know of no one in Ross River who supports this riding. I will be voting against this bill.
Mr. Lang: I will be very brief with respect to the bill before us. I know it is not perfect, and all Members could stand and make observations on their own particular ridings, and perhaps in a broader context. I have been through this exercise once before, and I realize how difficult it is to bring forward electoral boundary changes satisfactory to everyone.
I think the major reason for the electoral boundaries review, and the results we have before us today, is the principle of equality of voting power among electoral districts. Quite frankly, it was a major principle that was raised by this side of the House first, because we recognized the constitutional and legal position the next election could be put in if changes were not made to meet the requirements as per our Canadian Constitution. That, in most part, is why the Electoral Boundaries Commission was called for and agreed to by all Members of the House.
I want to make it very clear that I do have some reservations as far as some of the ridings are concerned. I can see the real problem with the Ross River situation, as far as the new alignment of boundaries is concerned. On the other hand, what do we do to meet the principles we know are required with respect to the legislation that is going to be required to form these ridings, so they can sustain and withstand a legal challenge, if that were to happen - and it could conceivably happen. If possible, that has to be avoided at all costs.
In many ways, the report has met the balance that we called for between urban and rural, which is of concern to all of us. I am on record many times in this House for stating that there has to be recognition of our sparsely populated rural area versus that of the more populated urban area. Take my riding, for example. It is one that has been carved up. In the past 15 years, it has gone from one riding, to two ridings and, now, three ridings - and I understand why.
It is a combination of an urban riding and a country-residential riding. I am sure that it was very difficult for the Boundaries Commission to draw those lines. I understand that the principle of equality of voting power among electoral districts has to maintained, except in the case of Old Crow.
I take for example the situation in Ross River. Where can Ross River be put if it is not included in the riding that the MLA for Hootalinqua referred to?
As I said, I have some reservations, but I feel it is very important that we not seem to be gerrymandering these ridings. I do not have any problems with technical change, if there is one, and it is brought to our attention. In the broadest principle, I think that we should stand by the report as presented and I will be voting in principle on the bill.
Mr. Nordling: This bill has taken an interesting turn. It was my understanding that as a Legislature we were either going to accept or reject the suggestions of the commission, because we did not want to be seen to be gerrymandering or manipulating what the independent commission had done.
I know that there was a meeting between the House Leaders and there was some talk of changing a few little things in the Boundaries Commission Report because they did not make sense. Some of the areas that were being referred to were divisions between the electoral districts that went between lots, as opposed to between streets. Perhaps, we can all agree on a little change to clarify this and it would make more sense.
It was my position at that time, if we want to change and clarify the things that do not make sense in this Boundaries Commission Report, then we should throw the whole thing out and start again because there are a lot of things that do not make sense.
The understanding at that time was that we would not do that. We would not make these little changes in boundaries to make more sense in the neighbourhood because we were going to accept the report as it was. There was one concession, though, in writing up the descriptions, and that was that it would be done in a more consistent fashion with past practice.
Now we come before the Legislature and the Government House Leader says it is sort of like that but not really. They took the opportunity to do a few little things on our own, like change a couple of names - insignificant little changes like in the Government Leaders riding. Now it would not be Granger as was suggested. It would not be hyphenated to be Granger-Hillcrest to reflect the neighborhood, such as this McIntyre-Takhini change.
I am shocked at the behavior of the Government Leader. He attacked the Member for Riverdale North personally, calling him emotional and childish. I know that the Member for Riverdale North or any other Member of the Opposition have hit home when the Government Leader personally attacks them. That is what has happened in this case. The Government Leader, the Member for Whitehorse West, wanted his way. He wanted his riding, where he lives and will run, left the same. He was prepared to take some flak and make that change on behalf of himself and for his own convenience and the convenience of his constituents. But he would not take the flak or do anything on behalf of the people of Carcross who wrote to him or from Mayo or anywhere else. I do not believe we should be doing that.
If there was some agreement between the House Leaders, it is obviously void for uncertainty. I think every Member of this House should vote on this piece of legislation, introduced by the government and tailored a tiny bit by the Government Leader to suit himself. In other ways, he felt free to get up and be critical of Mr. Justice Lysyk, who did the report. He was from Vancouver and did not really understand the Yukon. Obviously, we have made a big mistake.
Although I will concede that the redistribution in this proposal is better than the present electoral boundaries, it still does not make sense and could be done a lot better.
Perhaps the solution is to get someone who is not from Vancouver, and someone who understands the Yukon a little bit better, and give them more explicit instructions as to what we wish to accomplish. Obviously, that was not done in this case and, now, for some reason, we all feel bound to vote for this.
I know the Member for Tatchun cannot be happy with the redrawn boundaries for his riding, which will be combined with Mayo. The Member for Mayos riding will disappear. There has been strong representation, as the Member for Hootalinqua has said with respect to his riding. There is not a lot of happiness with respect to what has happened in that case.
With respect to my own riding, the people who live across the Alaska Highway in Porter Creek, on Alder and Birch, and the people in the MacKenzie Trailer Park and Crestview, and even in the MacPherson subdivision, are not happy that they have been, in their words, thrown into Lake Laberge.
If I was going to vote on this bill for my constituents alone, I would vote against it. The thing that was holding me back was the decision that was made among House Leaders of all parties in this House that we would have a meeting, discuss it and, if we could come to an agreement, we would support the bill. We would not make any little changes.
The government has done that, and I do not feel bound by the agreement that was made to support the Electoral Boundaries Act as it is. It makes no sense, from a lot of points of view. It can be done again and, in my submission, it can be done better. For those reasons, I will be voting against this bill on second reading. I expect that every Member in this House should do the same - vote their conscience - and if their constituents like this, they should vote for it; if it makes no sense to their constituents, or to Yukoners, they should vote against it. Then, we should get on with doing another electoral boundaries commission report that makes sense and have someone do it who is not from Vancouver and who understands the territory, the population distribution, the grouping of neighbourhoods and the common interests of people in different parts of the territory.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister of Renewable Resources said that he wants to be entertained. I do not think that I will be entertaining him, but rather stating my case for the record.
The way that I understand this issue, we as Member of the Legislative Assembly gave some direction to a commission to review the electoral boundaries of the Yukon and to make voting generally more equitable in the Yukon Territory. That was the direction that was given.
All of the Members of this Legislature had an opportunity to make a representation to that commission at the time of the public hearings. I know that I made a presentation, some of the other Members went as a party group, some went as individual MLAs and we made presentations to the commission.
When the commission published the report and gave it to the government and it became public, all Members at that time had an opportunity to state whether they agreed, disagreed, had some concerns, what their concerns were and had an opportunity to publicly express those concerns. We took advantage of that opportunity to indicate that we felt that you either accepted the report or you did not, but the last thing that we wanted perceived was that the politicians were in any way interfering and manipulating the report and trying to gerrymander it for their own special constituencies or their own special interests. Those were the comments we made publicly at that time.
We were waiting, as the government was, to see what kind of reaction there was going to be from the public with respect to the new boundaries.
We heard a lot of concerns about the new boundaries and they were major concerns. We heard from the people in Mayo when we were in Mayo knocking on doors. They were very upset about losing their riding. We had representations made to us by the chiefs of some of the First Nations bands with respect to the changes in boundaries and that they were very concerned about the changes.
These were major concerns that people were bringing forward with respect to the change of their whole constituency, the whole riding, the makeup and interests of the riding.
As House leaders of this Legislative Assembly, the Minister of Renewable Resources, the Member for Riverdale North and I met with some of the government staff, who have some measure of experience with electoral boundaries, running elections and that sort of thing - the people who are knowledgeable about that here within the government. At that meeting, I thought we had all come to a consensus that there would be no changes - not only no boundary changes. The Government Leader is trying to say, Well, you know, the House Leader was not representing my point of view. We said no boundary changes; we did not say anything about name changes. We did not say anything about this; we did not say anything about that.
That is the sort of thing that the Government Leader is always standing up in this House about, ranting and raving on about how we do not deal with them fairly, and we do not understand the issues, and we try to manipulate things, and we try to make it something that it is not. Well, I very distinctly remember - and I believe the Member for Riverdale North has also stated this in the Assembly this afternoon - us saying that because we did not want to be perceived to be interfering, firstly, politically and, secondly, we did not want to be perceived to be trivializing the greater issues and the greater concerns of people in areas who were losing their ridings and having major changes made to their ridings.
Because we did not want to trivialize the importance of those areas, we did not think that it was appropriate to start making little changes to streets and back alleys and names - to the whole report. That included the whole report and we all agreed with that. Everyone nodded and sat back quite comfortably in their chairs and nodded and agreed. So, I thought we were all bound by the consensus that we had arrived at on behalf of all the Members that we represented in our caucuses. We also agreed that no one would be coming in and making any amendments in the Legislature. That was an agreement of that meeting.
No amendments would be proposed; we would either accept or reject this report. The only change, as expressed by my colleague, the Member for Porter Creek West, was that the language be put in a context that was more consistent with past practice. That was the only change we agreed to.
Now the Government Leader stands up in this House today and is offended and incensed because he has been attacked and whatever other feelings he seems to have about what goes on in this House, and has challenged everyone to bring amendments forward.
Another Member is disagreeing with the bill in principle. This was brought forward to us about half an hour before we came into the Legislative Assembly. Then we get the contents of the bill and we see the changes that have been made, which may be important to the people in the area; they may be very important to them, but I am sure they are no more critical than the issue of the Mayo riding disappearing or the issues the Member for Hootalinqua raised this afternoon. One cannot compare and one cannot trivialize the concerns of those people who are losing their ridings or who are being combined in a riding they did not want to be put in - the Lake Laberge area, the Ross River area, the Ibex Valley, the Kluane riding is changing. One cannot trivialize the concerns of the people involved in those areas by merely saying the Government Leader wants to keep his districts name, Whitehorse West, and McIntyre has changed to Takhini, or something else. It just does not make common sense. It just does not sound logical. I cannot understand why the government would want to do that and open themselves up to this kind of criticism. It is beyond me, it really is.
As a Member of this Legislative Assembly, I have been subjected to two boundary changes as the MLA for one area. Both times, I have lost constituents. I did not like that, and the constituents were concerned why that kind of thing had to happen, but we were prepared to live with it. We were prepared to accept it. When it comes to the riding I represent, Riverdale South, people were upset they were not going to be in the area any more and that the area of Riverdale was being made part of downtown. They did not think that was right or fair but they were prepared to live with it if the voting was considered to be more equitable as a result.
People in Riverdale South did feel that there were other concerns that were more important than their concerns about just being moved out of a riding or the boundaries being changed.
They said to me that if everyone is going to agree with it and there will be change, we will go with it. If it does not work, we will have another commission and address the issues another way.
That was what we were prepared to do. I made that very clear at the House Leaders meeting. I was preparing to come into the Legislature this afternoon and support this bill in principle. That was the agreement we had made. I find that is all off now. The agreement that was made in the House Leaders meeting has, for some reason, become null and void. It now means nothing and the Government Leader was the one who spoke the most passionately about that now. Why did we bother meeting in the first place if it was just going to be a free for all and everyone could bring in amendments, saying they do not want the ridings like they are. We could spend three months here in the Legislature redefining the boundaries, doing what we paid Mr. Lysyk almost $40,000 to do for us.
If the Government Leader does not like the fact that he came from Vancouver and does not know the Yukon that well, why did the Government Leader not get someone from the Yukon to do it? It does not make sense. I am not being fancy worded, talking over peoples heads or trying to be complicated by talking about changes that happened in the House of Commons while the Government Leader was working for someone there of some current or past prominence.
We had made an agreement that we were either going to support this and deal with it later if it did not work out or we would not support it. That was the agreement.
That agreement no longer exists, because of what has taken place in this Legislative Assembly today. Personally, I feel sorry for the Government Leader to have come forward with trivial amendments.
I know that the Government Leaders constituents may not think that they are trivial amendments, and the Government Leader will say that the Member for Riverdale South thinks that you are all trivial and he will put a newsletter out tomorrow to that effect.
Surely, the Government Leader clearly cannot come into this House, stand in his place and think that he has in any way made any argument or justified any reason for us doing this when there are constituencies like Mayo, Ross River, Hootalinqua and the Ibex Valley. I do not think that the public is going to believe the sincerity of the Government Leader, if it is there.
Because of what has happened here today, I am no longer prepared to support the principle of this bill, because I think that there has been breach of an agreement that we made and if the other Members feel that strongly about it, I think that we have time to do something prior to the next election, unless the Government Leader wants to go out and call an election as soon as he gets his Whitehorse West riding. Maybe the Government Leader has his literature printed up already, I do not know, but that would not be the first time that has happened.
I think that the government has to carefully examine what it is doing here and examine the impression that is being left on the public.
I am going to go back to my constituents and tell them what has happened here today and tell them why I have had to take this position with respect to this bill.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member can refer to me as the Member for Mayo who may not last long, but certainly, it will be music to my ears for the next little while.
Quite honestly, I had not intended to speak either, because it was my impression that it would be appropriate to either accept the Lysyk report in its total essential elements and to consider some amendments that would be freely and openly debated in this Legislature - if that was the wish of individual Members - or to simply reject the report outright.
After hearing some of the Members speak so far today, I am compelled to comment briefly. I feel that some of the Members comments deserve some rebuttal.
I entirely respect the position that the Member for Hootalinqua has taken to decide to vote against the bill on principle, based on a fairly cogently argued case that this would, in effect, harm the future political prospects of the constituents in his district. While I will ultimately disagree about what to do about this particular bill, I must say that my respect for the Member has not subsided at all; in fact, it has probably been enhanced somewhat.
I also respect the comments made by the Member for Riverdale North who has indicated that he will be supporting the bill even though he objects to what he considers to be name changes. I cannot recall how he characterized it, but certainly some items of the bill that were not contained in the Lysyk report.
While I would disagree with the Member as to the importance of those changes, I respect that Members position as well, because I think he has been able to capture the essential or important elements of the bill, understand them and has decided, overall, that the bill is worth supporting.
I have really enjoyed the marvellous little political dance being played by the Members of the Independent Alliance, who have suddenly, almost on the spur of the moment, found a mechanism to try to please everyone - the people who are opposed to the boundary configurations and those people who support the boundary configurations. I did not think people would go to those lengths to try to avoid a difficult but important subject, and I am really quite amazed by the logic proposed in the arguments made by the two Members, one from Porter Creek West and one from Riverdale South.
I, for my part, feel that there are some problems contained in the Lysyk proposals. I think a good argument could be made that, as the Member for Porter Creek East has said, this proposal is better than the previous proposals; but in accepting that general proposition, we have to acknowledge and we owe it to our constituents to acknowledge, that there will be, and there are, some rather significant consequences to perhaps a small number of people in the territory but certainly important nevertheless. It is true that the people of the Mayo district are not going to take kindly to the dilution of their representation in this Legislature, even though, despite the comments from some Members who said they were door-knocking in the Mayo riding, they are, in general, understanding of the fact that something had to change - that the demise of the community of Elsa, the drop in population and the growth in Whitehorse, meant that something had to change. As much as they do not want, as I say, the dilution of their representation, they are prepared, psychologically, to accept some d
Having said that, I must say at the same time that they have had and continue to have - and this is something that I share with them - an increased anxiety about the predominance of Whitehorse representation in this Legislature, versus rural representation.
It is very easy for Members of this Legislature, particularly while we are sitting, to respond to the needs and the urgencies of issues in the Whitehorse district. The media resides in Whitehorse; the media predominantly reports out of Whitehorse. The major community and territorial organizations are based in Whitehorse. The spokespeople for most of the organizations that are territory-wide in nature, live in Whitehorse and are primarily concerned about the issues in and around the place where they live.
Consequently, one who represents a rural riding in this Legislature is sometimes amazed at how prominent Whitehorse issues become.
Quite frankly, I think that the most significant change recommended by the Lysyk report, which is the riding boundaries and the support for the principle for more equal representation among the voters in the Legislature, is that this balance between the urban and rural MLAs in the Legislature is going to be altered. Despite the fact that I think that Judge Lysyk attempted to address this particular issue, I do not think that he has addressed it to the extent that would satisfy most rural voters.
I would like to say that, despite the fact that this change is taking place, I think that it is now an inevitability. What it is going to mean for a riding such as the Tatchun-Mayo riding, is that the representative who will be standing in this House and speaking on behalf of his or her constituents is going to be representing six or seven communities, three First Nations, two municipalities and representing communities as diverse as Little Salmon and Keno City, the Elsa district, the Mayo district and Carmacks. The distances among the communities is rather astounding, especially when one considers that on a good day, it would take four or five hours of hard driving to get from one end to the other.
For most urban or Whitehorse district MLAs, this is not something that is common to their experience. Keno City is not like just another neighbourhood in Whitehorse. Keno City has a different character, a different history and different aspirations than virtually any other community in the proposed Tatchun-Mayo riding. To represent adequately the interests of those constituents in this Legislature, along with the interests of six or seven communities - I say six or seven because I am still not sure whether Elsa is continuing to exist - when it requires tremendous travel and constant attention to do so, is a prospect that is quite daunting. It is certainly a different circumstance in comparison to that of a person who represents a large neighbourhood district with the same population in Whitehorse.
I would put this on the record. For the next sitting Member for the Mayo-Tatchun riding, I wish him or her the best of luck. To represent a rural riding where there is probably a greater requirement to be seen on a regular basis, to attend community meetings, take an interest in community affairs, as well as perform the responsibilities in this Legislature, will take a person with tremendous energy and commitment. I wish him or her the best.
There are other little problems I would like to draw to Members attention. I will explain this more carefully in Committee of the Whole debate, so people may be aware of some of the pitfalls associated with the proposals.
One proposal is that the placer miners who live in the Potato Hills just east of Elsa, and who have always been part of the Mayo history and have voted in Mayo district ridings since 1926, when the riding was first created, will now be voting in the Klondike riding. They will be voting in the Dawson election. To these people, this makes no sense whatsoever.
To get a loaf of bread or fill up a gas tank, they go to Mayo. To go to Dawson would require a four-hour trip, once they arrived in Mayo. It makes no sense.
As much as I would like to, and will, support the bill in principle, I would like to test the will of other Members with respect to identifying some problem areas. If there is the will, I would like to see if there is a possibility for some minor amendments. If there is not, I am not going to force it, or try to make significant changes, because I do not think that would be right. Any changes that are made in this Legislature ought to be through a general consensus. Ultimately, when this bill leaves this Legislature, I would like to see the vast majority of people supporting it, not because it is perfect, but because it is the best we can do at the present time.
It is for that reason that I will be supporting it in principle. I will be looking forward to Committee debate to see if some of the minor problems might be rectified. If they cannot, we will all have to live with that.
Mr. Brewster: I had not intended to get up and speak on this motion, but everyone has been having their say so perhaps I should. I had understood that the bill would come into this Legislature and go through without any changes. Apparently, that is not true.
The bill is not perfect. We do not live in a perfect world. I do not think we ever will. I also think that the average person on the street would rather have a commission decide this than have us gerrymandering this in here. We have gone right back. We have not learned our lesson. We cannot manipulate our own areas for our own sake. The commission was neutral, even though it was from Vancouver. I travelled with them. They had more meetings in my area than in any other area. They tried valiantly to get to everybody. They drew out maps and called people to ask them to show them maps. They did everything they could. It never would come out perfect, but this is not a perfect world. It is one step ahead in the Yukon. There are a lot of old people like me - and I will not include you, Mr. Speaker - who resist change. Change has to come. I am not completely happy with it.
I am happy with the one situation that was put into this and quite rightly so; it was the one-person, one-vote concept. I made that very plain at the meeting in White River. We spent two and one-half years in France and Germany ducking bullets so everyone could have one vote, one right and all be equal. I will die with that belief. I guess I will have to vote for this bill, because I am not backing away from that. I made that plain to the people in my area who disagree with this. I personally think some of the people disagreed for selfish reasons, not thinking of the good of the Yukon, but I made it plain that my vote was not going to change.
We got the Ibex area in my riding, and I agree that some of the residents are not happy, but it is the job of the MLA and the people in the area to get together.
Already, in my riding, I have asked my constituency delegation to not vote in a president until this bill has cleared the House or has been cancelled, so that we can meet with those people and get together so that they are represented, the same as everyone else. It is a rural riding and, as the Member for Mayo says, you have to go a long way in these ridings to meet people.
The MLAs have to solve that problem and make these people feel at home. It may come out better in that it may pull people in the Yukon out of their community standard where they only look at their community and not at the rest of the Yukon, because the Yukon was strong and if we keep pitting community against community we will not be getting anywhere. I see this all of the time in my area. Every one of the communities that I go to is knocking the other community, because one community has something that the other community does not. We cannot have everything that we want, but somewhere along the line we are going to have to come together on these issues.
Another concern that someone brought forward, and I agree with this one, that Whitehorse has the majority of control. I have a very simple answer for that. We have to make sure that there are MLAs like me, who jump up and down, pound their fists and get red ears, but by God they will stand up for the people. It is up to the people to vote that type of person in and I hope that everybody in this Legislature will go out of here tonight, take a good look and think about this situation before they come in and start voting on this act, section by section.
I do not like the petty politics that went on, but I expected that. Certainly, the rest of us can grow up and be adults and worry about the people in the Yukon and quit trying to look after our own interests.
Ms. Kassi: I would like to stress that I will be voting for this bill. The people whom I represent - the Vuntut Gwichin - are very, very grateful for the changes that have taken place within our constituency.
We were represented by the Member for Dawson for many years. The area that we wanted to take care of, and continue to take care of as a nation, we now have and we are very grateful for that. Our people are also very grateful that the Yukon Party supported us in our position that this specific area be enlarged.
There are not very many of us in numbers but our issues are large. To the Gwichin, the land is most important to us. Even our language is different. We are the only people in the Yukon who speak the Gwichin language. Decisions that our people make come from elders. We value our elders in our community and the decision that we took came from them with respect to the recommendation to the Lysyk commission.
Our community is very isolated and far away. Travel is often difficult. It costs approximately $700.00 to fly to Old Crow. Things are very expensive in Old Crow. We are very isolated and we have very unique concerns with respect to our land and our area.
We have taken care of the northern Yukon for thousands and thousands of years. We share that land with the Inuit and we would like to continue to do so and be able to have a voice about what happens on the North Slope and around Herschel Island. We are the people closest to that land and we would like to continue to be able to voice our concerns with respect to that land.
Our economy is very poor. We have no municipal status, nor do we want one. The only non-aboriginal people who service the community as resource people are the airport maintenance crews, the school teachers, nurses and the RCMP.
We are very grateful for the changes that the commission made for our people.
Mr. Devries: I will be brief. As I am sure you, Mr. Speaker, are aware, I will be taking in some of the riding you have been representing. I always find it interesting that the Upper Liard people quite often refer to me as their MLA. I get many calls asking me to do things for them as their MLA. I certainly do not wish to make it appear that I am saying you, Mr. Speaker, are not representing them; it is just partly the geographic location. A lot of people cannot believe that six miles outside of Watson Lake there is actually a line and that Upper Liard was not a portion of the Watson Lake riding.
I agree with the Lysyk commission in that Upper Liard is, in a sense, part of the Watson Lake community, in that they do all of their shopping there and it is only logical that all this be considered one area.
To go a little further, the people at the Cassiar Junction also do the majority of their business in Watson Lake and they seem to be quite pleased with what is taking place, as well as the people in Rancheria and Swift River. I have only had one letter of objection to the whole Lysyk commission report - this was basically the concern the Ross River-Kaska people had, in that they would like to have seen a Kaska riding formed. I have not had anyone from the Liard Band office talk to me on the subject, but I did receive that letter from the Ross River Dena Council.
Basically, I feel the majority of the people in the Watson Lake area are quite pleased with what is taking place and I will be voting in favour of the Lysyk commissions report in its present form. If there are a lot of changes, I may have to check with my people to see if they still wish me to support it.
Speaker: The hon. Member will close debate if he now speaks. Does any other Member wish to be heard?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I would like to say a few words in closing debate here. I will begin with some comments that were made by the other two House Leaders concerning the changes to the bill that were not reflected in the commissioners report.
Both expressed a concern that such action, i.e. a change of name to two proposed ridings, breaks an agreement among the House leaders to make no changes to the report in bringing forward this bill. That is not quite my interpretation of the situation. It was very clear that House Leaders had an agreement not to change any of the boundaries, for the very reasons already provided - that we did not want to be seen to be tinkering or meddling with the recommendations of the report. I think that that should very obviously be emphasized because when you get right down to it, there are only two aspects to this report in terms of recommendations: the boundaries of the ridings and the names of the boundaries. What is very important here is that this bill does not make any changes to the boundaries, which was an agreement by the House Leaders.
I also want to say that when the House Leaders first met, there was some discussion about making some changes - most of them were minor, as has already been stated; a laneway here or a road or two over - however, I want to make it clear that some of the changes were not minor in nature. For example, I raised the matter about Mount Lorne. It was very clear in the text of the commissioners report that Mount Lorne should be one little community, all voting in the same electoral district. However, when it came time to translate that into a description of a boundary, the boundary line went right through Mount Lorne, so, it was not only minor changes involving a laneway here or a road there. It involves communities and, as has already been stated by other Members, may be perceived to be minor changes to people living in major centres such as Whitehorse, but it could be perceived as a major change to people living in, for example, Ross River, who would want to make some major adjustments.
In his speech, the Member for Riverdale North stated that the role of the commission was to conduct an independent realignment of the ridings. That is what Justice Lysyk did. The report is in, and his recommendations have been incorporated in this bill. I repeat, again, that there are no changes to the boundaries of the electoral districts, as agreed to by the House Leaders.
Generally speaking, but on the principle of the bill itself, a number of Members have expressed valid concerns with the final definition of the boundaries. The Member for Hootalinqua began by expressing his concern with the proposed riding of Ross River-Southern Lakes, referring to the problem of the size of the riding, the demographic differences of the people who live in that area, and those points are well taken. Similar comments have been made by the Member for Kluane and the Member for Mayo - or the soon-to-be defunct Mayo riding.
We have to look at reality here. Given the recommendations of the Yukon Party in its submission to Justice Lysyk to establish either 17 or 19 ridings, with as much as possible an equal number of voters in each riding - the principle expressed so succinctly by the Member for Kluane - and given the fact that the Yukon Party also recommended that the riding of Old Crow should be an exception to that; given the constraints laid out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms respecting acceptable deviations in voting power; the population growth here in Whitehorse and the increasing percentage of the Yukon population residing here, I do not know what else we could expect the good judge to recommend. It was a very difficult task he was presented with and, under those constraints and given those circumstances, he has done a fine job.
There are many people in this Legislature who are dissatisfied, and those concerns and dissatisfactions have been brought forward by their constituents. I can understand why people of Carcross and Ross River are upset and unhappy with the recommendation. The same could be true, as expressed by the Member for Mayo, of residents in Keno, Elsa, Mayo, Stewart Crossing, Pelly and Little Salmon, which were all grouped into one riding.
The riding of Kluane is another good example. There are probably some people in that riding who are quite disturbed by the recommendations.
However, when I made my submission in Dawson City, I clearly stated my concern that most of the power, or control, as the Members for Kluane and Mayo said in their submissions, is being concentrated in Whitehorse. Obviously, it is a concern, because representation from rural Yukon will not, I feel, be as strong. I stated in my presentation that I thought this would be especially true in Cabinet. When I mentioned to the commission the job involved as an MLA for a rural community, as well as the job of a Cabinet Minister, I made it very clear that it was very difficult to do. As expressed at that time, my fear was that fewer people representing rural Yukon ridings would be willing or able to serve in the Cabinet, thereby, again, putting more control into the hands of the people from Whitehorse.
I gave myself as an example. In the last calendar year of 1991, I made 24 return trips between my Dawson home and my Whitehorse office and Legislature, 18 of which were by vehicle. For one reason or another, I found it necessary to travel by vehicle. I pointed out to the commission that a 12-hour return trip added up to being in my truck for five weeks of the year, at a normal 40-hour work week. That was just getting home and to work, in addition to performing the job of a Cabinet Minister and representing my constituents as an MLA.
Equality representation is a very important principle. Also very important, but which is unfortunately being neglected here, is the principle of equality of representation from elected Members. At that time, I stated that I did not feel a rural Member representing, for example, the new riding of Ross River-Southern Lakes, or the new riding of Kluane, or the new proposed riding of Mayo-Tatchun, could possibly do a good job of providing quality representation to his or her constituents while also being in Cabinet. That is a real concern of mine.
Obviously, when Justice Lysyk reviewed all the evidence in the case and, no doubt, weighed my concern rather heavily, it all came down to how many legislators is appropriate for the Yukon Territory, how many of those legislators should come from the Whitehorse area, given the fact that more than two-thirds of our population reside in this area, and the other principles we talked about. This proposal is the balancing of all the factors - quite a juggling act. No, it is not perfect; no, we are not all happy. However, I think we should accept the recommendations and the principle of this bill, which I will repeat again: this bill honours the recommendations of all the boundaries in that report.
Motion for second reading of Bill No. 93 agreed to
Speaker: May I have your further pleasure.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. We will have a brief recess.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. We will be discussing Bill No. 4, Victim Services Act.
Bill No. 4 - Victim Services Act
Hon. Ms. Joe: Last evening, during debate on this bill, the Member for Porter Creek West asked some questions in regard to whether or not, under the fine options program, the person would be able to work off their victim fine surcharge. The answer to that, of course, is yes.
The Member also asked when the judge imposes a client surcharge under this act, will the judge impose a default time? The Member knows that the judge will do whatever he chooses to do, and I think that it differs with each judge, but in some cases there has been default time imposed. This is not the case all of time, so it depends on what the judge determines at that time.
The Member also asked about calculations and what we would expect to collect over a period of time. It is very difficult to determine that. We know what we collected last year and we can calculate the surcharge that was added to the fines, but we also have to look at the amount of money that has been collected through the fine enforcement program and how much is still owing, so a lot of work has to go into that.
I provided the Member with the figures from last year last night. We could look at those figures and determine if our figures would be similar to those. It is not that easy to do.
The Member suggested that if the majority of people did not pay their fines, we could end up with a lot of individuals in our corrections facility. We have found that, as a result of our fine enforcement program, a lot of people are coming forward and paying their fines. This is happening more frequently now than it had in the past. People sometimes tend to let something go for as long as they can before they decide that they have to do the right thing and pay their fines. It is my hope that we will not end up with an influx of new clients in our facility, but I cannot tell the Member whether or not that will happen because I do not know; nor does he.
Mr. Nordling: There are two things arising from that. Under the Fine Option Act, the Minister said these surcharges would apply. How would they apply under the act? Under what definition does it fall, because it is not a fine? In 1987, under the Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act, we added to the definition of fine to include court costs. This surcharge is neither a fine nor a court cost. Do we need another addition to the definition of fine that will be dealt with under the Fine Option Act, in order to bring in the surcharge?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The Member is familiar with the changes to the Criminal Code that allowed courts to add a surcharge to the fines that are imposed under the Criminal Code. Clause 727.9(1) determines the surcharge. I do not know if he has a copy of that section before him. The acts that have been developed and passed in other jurisdictions apply to the changes that were made in the Criminal Code and have been put in the form of jurisdictional acts in the Northwest Territories and elsewhere.
Mr. Nordling: My understanding of what the Minister is saying is that we were unable to add the surcharge. What I am asking the Minister about is the Yukon legislation called the Fine Option Act and whether the surcharge can be worked off. In my view, the surcharge does not come under the definition of a fine or a court cost.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I apologize. I misunderstood the question. We feel that the Fine Option Act would apply to this, but we would have to get that information and bring it back. If that is correct, we will let him know, but I will have to bring that information back.
Mr. Nordling: I will wait for that information because my concern is that if it does not apply then we should take care of it right away by adding it to the Miscellaneous Statutes Law Amendment Act that we are going to be talking about. I think it would be helpful to the people to whom this surcharge applied if they were able to go out and work in the public. If anyone asked why they were doing that, they could reply that it was their victim fine surcharge arising out of the offence.
The other question I had about the Minister bringing back information is: I would like to know if she has information on the number of people who have done default time in the last year with respect to territorial offences.
Hon. Ms. Joe: Since the fine enforcement program became active, I do not recall whether or not we had individuals in the facility for not paying their fine. The default had not been added to those fines. The fine enforcement program does allow us the opportunity to take some individuals back to court if they have not followed through on any of the things that were required of them to get them to pay their fines.
The fine enforcement program is so new, I am not sure whether or not it has come to that yet. When the judges stopped adding default time to some of the fines, some of the JPs also did the same thing, but others did not. They did not all do it at once.
Our facility has fewer people in it. Before the judges added default time to sentences, throughout the whole year, we had 183 people in our facility for not paying fines. I would have to double-check to find out whether or not we have had people in there in the last year for failing to pay their fine.
One of the things that I understand judges have been doing in regard to fines and adding a surcharge to them is to add a default time of one day in jail, but they have been using that day in court as the day they might have spent in jail. In 19 cases where a surcharge has been added to a fine, that has happened. That is the information I have right now.
In regard to people spending time in our facility for failing to pay a fine, I would have to find out if there are any people who have been jailed in the last few months. If there have been, I would bring that back to the Member.
Mr. Nordling: From a policy point of view: do we want default time added to these surcharges. If people do not pay the surcharge on their territorial fine or as a result of committing an offence territorially, do we want them to receive default time and spend that time in jail?
Hon. Ms. Joe: For me to even suggest something like that would, I think, be very inappropriate as the Minister responsible for Justice and the independence of the judiciary. I do not think the judges would want to hear what I think they should do, so I am not prepared to tell the Member what my personal opinion is.
On Clause 1
Mr. Nordling: I would like to hear a little more about the fund and whether the Minister envisions that money will be appropriated to the fund by the Legislature. It appears, from what we have heard so far, that this act may not generate a lot of money over and above its administration costs that can be used for victim services. What does the Minister envision when she adds clause 1(c), which provides for money appropriated by the Legislature to the fund?
Hon. Ms. Joe: Appropriated to the fund would be the money we voted in the last budget for this fiscal year, which would be $120,000. As regards the money in the fund already and the money that will be put into the fund, there have been a lot of requests from groups asking for the money ever since the surcharge was added to the fines. Some organizations have asked for small amounts of money to do certain things and, because we had no mechanism in place, and still do not, to determine how to spend that money, we have not granted any money to anyone. We know the kind of things people are asking for. We can certainly use this money for compensation for victims of crime, but it is not a large amount. We would look at a request for money, for instance, to hold a workshop, for a speaker, for perhaps somebody to do some research, or whatever; the committee that will be struck will determine what it feels is an appropriate use for this fund.
Mr. Nordling: Perhaps I have not clearly heard the Minister. Is the Minister saying that the money collected for the victim services fund that we are establishing with this act is going to be amalgamated with the victim fine surcharge money that is received as a result of criminal offences that we are now collecting, and that the fund is already established, or are we creating a new and separate fund?
Hon. Ms. Joe: We are creating a separate fund and putting in place a legal groundwork for our victim services fund. We already have that fund in place, but, as I said, we do not have any legal mechanism through which to disburse the funds.
We would be adding any monies collected in the future to the surcharge fees, because we have not been able to spend the money; it is in a trust fund. I am not exactly sure what the fund is called; it may not even be called the victim services fund, but there is a fund that we will be adding to money from surcharge fees already.
Mr. Nordling: Is the Minister saying that all of these thousands of dollars that have been collected through the victim fine surcharge under the Criminal Code will be deposited in this new fund that we are creating with this act, called the victim services fund?
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is correct. Up to this point, since the fine surcharge was added to the fines, we have been able to collect a little over $40,000 over a number of years, and the low amount is the result of people not paying fines because of the decision by judges not to add a fine default.
Mr. Nordling: Has the Minister sneaked her policy opinion through the back door here, saying that judges should add default time in order to encourage people to pay their fines?
I am prepared to go on to the next clause.
Clause 1 agreed to
On Clause 2
Mr. Nordling: I would like to ask about clause 2(2), where it says The victim services fund shall not be used to pay financial compensation to victims of offences, except to the extent prescribed by the Commissioner in Executive Council. What does the Minister see being prescribed by the Commissioner in Executive Council with respect to financial compensation?
Hon. Ms. Joe: This section allows it to be used for compensation to victims of crime if the Commissioner in Executive Council allows that to happen.
Our reasoning for setting up this fund was to permit us to use it for certain purposes and to, of course, add a fine surcharge to territorial fines. Because of the decision by the federal Minister to cut off federal funding, we felt that we should have some provision in here to allow us to spend some of that money, if that was the decision, for victims of crime compensation. We are not saying that all of that money will go for compensation for victims of crime. It could be used for many other things. However, it would include that purpose if it is the decision of Cabinet to do so.
Mr. Phillips: I would like to go back to some of the questions the Minister did not completely answer yesterday. I would like to get some more clarification. I am concerned about the administration of the fund. Yesterday, the Minister said that many people in the Department of Justice are already overloaded and we asked if there would be a specific person required to administer the fund. The Minister did not really say whether or not that would be the case. Have we gone this far without anyone in mind to actually administer the fund? Who does the Minister envision actually doing the work to administer this program?
Yesterday, I mentioned some of the other resources that we had in our department. There was some discussion with regard to us hiring a new person year to do this. Due to the fact that the fund is not going to be large, we have looked at the possibility of which resources we would be using within our department.
The fine enforcement officer is already collecting fines, and she has a job that would tie into this very well. She also has the kind of knowledge that would tie in very easily with this program. Through this act, we intend to establish a body to make decisions on how this money will be disbursed. It is just a matter of somebody being responsible for the fund and for somebody to collect the money and make sure that it is deposited. The workload for that individual will probably be a little bit more than it already is.
Yesterday, I talked about the person who was responsible for the victim impact statements and the compensation for victims of crime as having a very heavy workload. It would not be reasonable to ask that this responsibility be imposed on her. At this time, the most logical person to fill the position would be the fine enforcement officer.
Mr. Phillips: The Minister has just said that there will be no new position required and that the fine enforcement officer will do the work; however, there is still a cost to doing the administrative work. The person does have to take time to do it.
Including the cost of the new committee that is going to be set up, does the Minister have an overall cost of the administration of the whole program versus the estimated income of the whole program?
Hon. Ms. Joe: Due to the small amount of the fund and the administration that is attached to that, we do not feel that it is going to be a great addition to the fine enforcement officers responsibilities. It will require a little more work, but there will be no added administration costs. There will be a small cost to the committee, if that is the way that we choose to set it up. Because of the proposed responsibilities of the committee, I am almost positive that there will be no large per diem cost added to it. I am looking at the possibility of committee members meeting at least four times per year. If you have a committee of three members, I do not imagine that any meetings will last more than one-half day or a day, at the most. If you are looking at the smallest honorarium to committee members, which is $75 - $75 times three members times four meetings per year amounts to about $1,000 per year per committee member.
That is looking at it as it is now. We are developing the terms of reference and the other necessary things that we have to do. For instance, the surcharge will have to be added to speeding tickets that the RCMP members issue. Some time down the road, there may be a change in the tickets that are given out to add the amount of the fine and the surcharge added to it. That is something that has to be worked out between our department and the RCMP prior to it being implemented.
Mr. Nordling: Would the Minister agree that the use of the fund is going to be very broad? When we talk about conducting research and publishing information as being purposes of the fund, much of it may be spent on consultants fees and such, and needs for victims. Would a donation out of this fund for furniture for Kaushees Place, for example, be included in this fund?
It seems to me that the Minister is going to appoint three people to the victim services committee who will have a lot of discretion as to how this money is going to be spent. The effectiveness of the fund will really be dependent upon the quality of the people who are appointed by the Minister to sit on that committee.
Hon. Ms. Joe: The amount of money that will be collected is, of course, minimal. I do not know exactly how much it is going to be, but any time that you have a fund, you have to be responsible. In being responsible, you have to look at setting a criteria to determine which applications would be acceptable. I do not think it would be very responsible of us to just say, Here, we have money - ask me for some of it. You have to set a criteria so that you have something in place that the committee can use as a guideline in determining how the money will be spent. Many things are being developed right now. In the department, we have a draft of all of those things that we are working on - a draft of the terms of reference, a draft of any application forms and that sort of thing. That is all taking place right now.
Clause 2 agreed to
On Clause 3
Mr. Nordling: Does the Minister envision appointing three people from outside, for example, government employees, as members of the victim services committee, or does she envision having the person who is administering the fund, or collecting fines and working for the territorial government in the capacity of looking after victims, serving as a member of that committee?
Hon. Ms. Joe: We talked about how that committee would be struck and from where we would choose the members. We talked about striking an interdepartmental committee to deal with this. We also talked about seeking nominations from some of those organizations from whom we have been hearing. From those recommendations, we would choose three people.
We are looking a little more favourably on asking for recommendations from some of those groups, and possibly using one person from the department as a committee member. That has not all been determined. We will make a decision in the next little while. I would like to see, as members of the board, some of those individuals who understand the victim situation, so we can use their expertise.
Clause 3 agreed to
On Clause 4
Clause 4 agreed to
On Clause 5
Mr. Nordling: With respect to clause 5(3), If no fine is imposed upon the convicted person, the fine surcharge shall be the greater of the amount the court orders be paid or the amount prescribed by the Commissioner in Executive Council for that offence.
What does the Minister envision with respect to that clause? Is the Commissioner in Executive Council going to sit down and determine prescribed amounts for the surcharge for all territorial offences that do not involve fines?
Hon. Ms. Joe: It sounds a bit confusing. When I was discussing this with the department yesterday, I had the very same question that the Member for Porter Creek West had. For instance, we are looking at a person being sentenced to a probation order or asking for restitution.
This section allows a surcharge to be imposed together with the sentence. I am told that where no fine is imposed, we would have to develop in our regulations, which will be attached to this act, the manner in which we intend to add that surcharge. This would require a regulation to be included in the regulations attached to the fine.
Mr. Nordling: With respect to the regulations, that is a concern that I was going to address when we reached clause 7. It seems that a lot of this act and a lot of the powers given by it - how and when - will form part of the regulations and I will be looking forward to receiving a copy of the regulations as soon as they become available.
For the Ministers benefit, although she would not stand up and say it, I think clause 5(5) gives some direction to the judges with respect to imprisonment for failure to pay the surcharge.
Hon. Ms. Joe: The Member is speaking for me in this sense and I will not make any comment on that. In regard to the regulations, they are being drafted right now. Of course, with all of the legislation coming before the House right now, there is quite a workload on those individuals who put those regulations together.
I have no problem with talking to the Member if he is interested in having some input into what we include in the regulations. He is a lawyer and he is well-versed on this kind of thing and we would hope to develop regulations that would be suitable to this act.
Clause 5 agreed to
On Clause 6
Clause 6 agreed to
On Clause 7
Mr. Phillips: I share with the Member for Porter Creek West some of the concerns over the regulations. Again, we go back to the many times in this House we have asked that regulations accompany bills being brought into this House. There are a lot of questions here, such as what offences will be exempt from the fine surcharge. There is nothing here to tell us what those offences would be. Again, as we mentioned earlier and as the Minister mentioned earlier, prescribing the amount of the fine surcharge for cases where no fine is imposed - what are we talking about? It would be much better if we had those types of regulations before us when we are dealing with these bills.
I would like to put that on the record, because it is almost like giving the Minister a blank cheque to redraft all the regulations and put in them whatever she wants, and we read about it in the Gazette after they are law. I do not think that is the proper way for us to be making laws. I think laws should be scrutinized by Members of this House; after all, that is supposed to be why we are here.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I am not an underhanded person, and I do not think anybody would ever presume that I am, but I understand what the Members are saying with regard to regulations. I am familiar with the call from the other side to have such regulations attached. I have no problem coming to Members opposite with draft regulations, and if that is what they would like me to do, I will.
Mr. Phillips: I would be pleased to receive those draft regulations whenever they are ready.
Mr. Nordling: So would I.
Clause 7 agreed to
On Clause 8
Clause 8 agreed to
Title agreed to
Hon. Ms. Joe: I move that Bill No. 4 be reported out of Committee without amendment.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Mr. Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
May the House have a report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole?
Ms. Kassi: The Committee of the Whole considered Bill No. 4, entitled Victim Services Act, and directed me to report it without amendment.
Speaker: You have heard the report of the Chair of the Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.
The House adjourned at 5:17 p.m.
The following Legislative Returns were tabled Tuesday, May 5, 1992:
Stress leave related to work (McDonald)
Oral, Hansard, p. 116
Rural residential lots development of Flat Creek subdivision and development of country residential lots within the City of Whitehorse (Byblow)
Oral, Hansard, p. 96