Tuesday, May 12, 1992 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. We will proceed with Prayers.
Introduction of Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms
Speaker: I would like to welcome Ronald Bill as our new Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms.
Speaker: We will proceed with the Order Paper.
Introduction of Visitors.
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I would like to call the Members attention to the presence in the gallery of two principals of Totem Oil of Haines, Alaska: Tom Hall and Linda Walker. Also in the gallery is their joint-venture partner, Roger Schnabel and financial officer of the joint venture, Gregg Richmond. With our guests today is Michael Brandt, Totem Oils Yukon agent.
In addition, we have with us today, Nancy Schnabel and Bobbie Richmond. I ask all Members to make them feel welcome.
Speaker: Are there any Returns or Documents for tabling?
Are there any Reports of Committees?
Are there any Petitions?
Introduction of Bills.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill No. 13: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Ms. Joe: I move that Bill No. 13, entitled An Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Justice that Bill No. 13, entitled An Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 13 agreed to
Speaker: Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Notices of Motion.
Are there any Statements by Ministers?
Increasing competition in the Yukon petroleum market
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I rise today as Minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation to inform the Legislature of a decision by the board of the corporation that will increase competition in the fuel supply market in the Yukon and will lower the cost of gas and home heating fuel for Yukon citizens.
The board has agreed to lend Totem Oil of Haines, Alaska, $3 million U.S. to enable that company to purchase the fuel terminal that has been newly constructed in Haines and is presently owned by Delta Western of Seattle.
The loan agreement between Yukon Development Corporation and Totem will provide strong benefits for the Yukon economy and Yukon fuel consumers.
In 1988, Judge Heino Lilles conducted the Public Inquiry into Petroleum Fuel Pricing in the Yukon Territory. In general, he found that fuel prices in the Yukon were unnecessarily high because of a lack of competition in the fuel market and a particular lack of competition in supply.
I quote from page 17 of the report of the inquiry: The board concluded that the wide gap between the actual pump price ... and its estimates of optimum price are a measure of the lack of competition in Whitehorse and Yukon marketplaces. This difference represents a cost to the consumer for the lack of competition among suppliers who serve the territory. Unlike many southern locations, the Yukon does not have an aggressive independent supplier and dealer network bringing in product from the cheapest available source, such as Seattle. The board has concluded that the absence of effective competition is the single most important factor affecting petroleum prices in the Yukon.
Judge Lilles attributed this lack of competition to the bottleneck monopoly at the Port of Skagway and the pipeline from there to Whitehorse. The Skagway route is the cheapest way to get fuel to the Yukon. The lack of public fuel facilities at this port has made competition from other suppliers very difficult.
That has now changed with the building of a new fuel terminal in Haines. At Judge Lilles says, the Haines route offers a competitive alternative, which can serve to drive down prices for products transported through Skagway.
Since the majority of its business will be in the Yukon, Totem Oil approached the Yukon government to see if it would be interested in lending Totem the money necessary for them to buy this terminal and provide competition to the Skagway route.
In exchange for the loan, Yukon Development Corporation has negotiated two major benefits for the Yukon public. First, Totem Oil agrees to operate the fuel terminal as a public facility. This means that anybody who wishes to import fuel to the Yukon through Haines can pay a publicly posted price and have equal access to the fuel terminal. It will not be operated as a private facility, as is the terminal at Skagway.
The posted price for using the Haines terminal will be based on Totems costs and a reasonable return rather than being set at the highest price the market will bear. This cost-based public access to a terminal will provide suppliers with various options. For example, a supplier can buy fuel from Totem and have Totem deliver it to its retail outlet in the Yukon; or a supplier can purchase fuel from Totem and transport it in the suppliers own trucks; or a supplier can purchase fuel directly from a refinery, transport it with its own barges and trucks, and pay Totem only for the use of the terminal. This is very much in contrast to the arrangement in Skagway, which does not provide equal public access to fuel terminal facilities, much less at a publicly posted cost-base price.
The second public benefit of the Yukon Development Corporation loan to Totem Oil will be felt directly by Yukon fuel consumers. Totem Oil has agreed to open a retail outlet for gas and home-heating fuel in Whitehorse. As with the fuel terminal, this station will also reflect Totems pricing philosophy, which is based on covering its costs and making a reasonable return rather than on charging the highest price the market will bear. Based on current exchange rates and world oil prices, Totem expects the gas price at its retail outlet to be in the low 50 cents per litre by the end of one year. It will drop its prices gradually over that year to minimize the disruption to the existing fuel market. That kind of drop in fuel prices translates into huge savings on the energy costs in the Yukon economy. For example, an eight-cent drop in the price of gas for one year would save about $4.5 million; an eight-cent drop in gas, diesel and home-heating fuel would save about $13.5 million in energy costs in one year. The $13 million that the Yukon public does not spend on imported fuel can be spent on other goods and services and in other Yukon businesses.
That lower pump price for gas will be a boost for our tourism industry. The more money that we can keep in the Yukon, rather than spending it on imported fuel, the more money will be invested in the growth of our economy.
Given our dependence on fuel in the territory, the lower fuel prices are, the lower our cost of living and doing business will be.
In addition to the concrete benefits for the public that result from this loan agreement, namely a competitive route for supply of fuel to the Yukon and lower fuel prices, I want to emphasize that this is a very sound and secure loan.
Totem Oil is a well-established locally owned business in Haines, Alaska, with a proven history of entrepreneurial success.
In the unlikely event that Totem does not live up to the requirements of the loan agreement, the Yukon Development Corporation has first rights to the state-of-the-art and environmentally sound new terminal in Haines. This is a very marketable asset.
In addition, the loan is for two years only. After that time, the Yukon Development Corporation can choose to either extend or withdraw from the loan agreement for any reason. The loan is at a commercial rate of interest.
In conclusion, this loan to Totem Oil is very much in the spirit and intent of the role envisaged for the Yukon Development Corporation, using investment to develop and stabilize the Yukon economy.
In addition, the loan brings two benefits to the Yukon public that were major recommendations from the Lilles report. It will ensure that there is a competitive route for the supply of fuel to the Yukon, and it will deliver lower retail fuel prices to Yukon consumers.
Thousands of our energy dollars being spent in the Yukon rather than on imported fuel will be a boost to our entire economy and a sound investment in our future.
Mr. Phelps: Other Members on this side and I have a great deal of trouble with the announcement just made by the Minister. It is rather ironic that this announcement was made just one day before my private Members bill will be debated in these chambers with respect to changes to the Yukon Development Corporation Act.
We are concerned with the way in which this government is utilizing the Yukon Development Corporation as an economic and political tool. We have debated many times in this House about whether or not it is appropriate for Yukon Development Corporation to be bleeding off the profits of the Yukon Energy Corporation and putting them into hare-brained schemes or even using those monies in this way.
It is our firm position that this type of policy ought to be done under the governments Department of Economic Development, and that the monies should be voted appropriately in this House, as are other items in the governments budget. The government should not be reaching into the piggy bank of Yukon Energy Corporation.
I applaud the fact that at least with the Curragh, Inc. $5 million loan, the government has come to the House to debate the actual money vote in these Chambers.
Secondly, I think that the economic track record of Yukon Development Corporation speaks for itself. I do not think that I really had the pleasure of reading anywhere in the financial pages of such a dismal track record.
We have here a situation where a gift, in effect, was made to the people of the Yukon by the federal government of the NCPC assets. Those assets were to be managed by private enterprise, but Yukon Development Corporation has thrown away $11 million plus in the Watson Lake sawmill investment. It looks like another $2 million has gone down the drain in the Taga Ku convention centre complex, largely because private enterprise will not invest in the convention centre or in the hotel part of that proposed complex.
We are also facing the Chateau Jomini complex investment. Yukon Development Corporation has made an investment in the new office space in the old Yukon College, and that is very uneconomical.
For all of these reasons, the track record was something that we all ought to examine, and we all ought to insist, as private members and guardians of the public purse, that this type of arrangement come from a government department, not from the pockets of the electrical consumers.
Thirdly, I am concerned about the political interference that we see here. We have all kinds of evidence pointing to interference by the government in the day-to-day running of the Yukon Development Corporation and in the political appointments recently made to the board of directors. It seems to us, that what this really is, is a government that is running around on its horse tilting at windmills, trying to create the image of its favourite bogeyman.
Speaker: Order please. The Member has one minute to conclude.
Mr. Phelps: I am concerned about the loss of jobs in the territory. I doubt very much that there is good economic reason for doing this - and I am sorry I am running out of time - but, just last year I pointed out that Petro-Canada is charging eight cents more for gasoline in this town than they ought to be. I drew this to the attention of the competition tribunal in Ottawa. The price here ought to be within one cent of the price in Fort St. John after it has been trucked up the highway. Petro-Canada, the NDPs favourite Crown corporation, is as guilty of gouging the consumers in the Yukon as any other company.
I will end on that note. I think that perhaps this government ought to...
Speaker: Order please. I would ask the Member to conclude.
Mr. Phelps: ...hire an economist and find out the difference between monopolies and oligopolies and competition.
Mr. Nordling: This is an interesting statement of government policy. This is perhaps a change or a new policy of a government that was absolutely opposed to a freer trade agreement with the United States, but it is now lending $3 million U.S. to a U.S. company to come in and compete in Canada and perhaps make it difficult for Canadian firms to do business.
This ministerial statement is long on justification, but there is no information or background provided. It certainly raises a lot more questions than it answers. The ministerial statement says that the loan is at a commercial rate. There is no indication of what that rate is and how it would compare to this loan being given to Totem by a U.S. or Canadian bank or other lending institution. The statement says that it is a very sound and secure loan, but we do not know if we are buying real estate, chattels, or whether we are loaning money to simply have a guarantee.
We were told that it is secured by a brand new, state of the art, environmentally sound fuel terminal, and that is it? My question is: why is the loan necessary? If there is such good security and the company is very successful, why do they have to come to the Yukon Development Corporation for this loan?
Another question that arises is: what is the relationship between Totem Oil and Delta Western of Seattle? It seems strange that Delta Western would build a brand new, state-of-the-art terminal for some reason in Haines, Alaska, and then want to sell it to Totem Oil. Why do they want to sell it? We do not even know whether the $3 million is the total price. Are they making a huge profit on the sale of the terminal?
The government takes great credit for wringing concessions out of Totem Oil in exchange for this loan at a commercial rate - the concessions being that it be, in essence, a public facility. There is no indication from the government as to how that facility is being operated at the present time. My understanding is that Totem Oil uses it right now, and so does Petro-Can. I would like some explanation of the relationship between Totem and Delta, and who is buying whom out.
Totem has announced that they are shortly going to open an outlet for their fuel products on Industrial Road. Would all this come to a screeching halt if the $3 million loan was not made from Yukon Development Corporation? I would like to know what the government is giving up in order to get these concessions from Totem Oil.
I would like an explanation of what, to me, appears to be a nonsensical statement that Totem will drop its prices gradually...
Speaker: Order please. The Member has one minute to conclude.
Mr. Nordling: ...over that year to minimize the disruption to the existing fuel market. Well, I thought the whole purpose of this loan was to disrupt the existing fuel market and to lower prices. I think a lot of smoke is being blown around here.
I do not understand the objective of this government - whether or not it is to put Petro-Can out of business. We certainly do not understand what is happening. Is Delta Western gouging Totem and Petro-Can at the present time? Why would the Yukon government choose an American company over a Canadian one? I would like to know which members of the Yukon Development Corporation board were present when this decision was made.
As the Member for Hootalinqua said, it is interesting to see that ...
Speaker: Order please. I would ask the Member to conclude.
Mr. Nordling: ... the Yukon Development Corporation seems to have money to burn. With electrical rates going up, they have had over $11 million to blow at the Watson Lake sawmill; $3.5 million is earmarked for Chateau Jomini and $2 million for the Taga Ku project. There are a lot of -
Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please conclude.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I guess that I am not surprised by the Oppositions reaction. It seems to me that if the people over at Yukon Development Corporation walked on water, the Opposition would still criticize them for not being able to swim.
I guess what does surprise me is that the coalition across the floor, which bills itself as the party of free enterprise, does not support greater competition in the fuel supply market - competition that will lower fuel prices to consumers in the Yukon. Members are suggesting that somehow a strategic investment by the Yukon Development Corporation to improve the competitive marketplace in the Yukon, and also to reduce the fuel prices to consumers, is somehow a bad investment. The mandate of the corporation is specifically geared to economic development, and is specifically targeted to ensure that strategic investments are made for the benefit of Yukon consumers. This is specifically that. This is a loan to a company that is prepared to do business in the Yukon and provide benefits to Yukon consumers - to each and every Member across the floor.
The conditions of the deal are a loan to Totem Oil for $3 million, secured against a very marketable asset. Members say, Well, why did they not go to the banks? The fact of the matter is, the banks would not have created the conditions that we were able to - the conditions of ensuring that prices go down, that the competitive marketplace is opened up, and that we have a retail outlet here in Whitehorse. Those kinds of conditions would not have been ensured by banking finance. We want to be in this deal because we have seen, through our studies and our analysis, that we do not have a competitive marketplace; that we do not have normal rates for fuel in the Yukon.
There is every assurance from this deal that we are going to have those kind of conditions and benefits to Yukon consumers.
I will concede to Members opposite that there are quite a number of specifics surrounding the deal that Members deserve to get. I will be providing written specific information surrounding other elements of the deal to Members. Members have to recognize that we have provided a loan to a company - a private sector entrepreneurial company - that is going to be doing the business. We are not involved in the business. We are the banker providing the loan and ensuring that conditions we have asked for to benefit Yukon consumers are met.
The long and the short of it is that, since Judge Lilles report in 1988, which specifically recommended certain actions should be taken by a Yukon government, we have been operating in an effort to ...
Speaker: Order please. The Member has one minute to conclude.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: We attempted, as recommended in the judges report, to access the port at Skagway. On several occasions, we tried to make that a more competitive and open public facility. We could not do it. Judge Lilles suggested that the next best alternative is through Haines, Alaska. We have delivered on that commitment, and we have announced it today.
National Tourism Awareness Week and the Yukon Gold Explorers Passport
Hon. Mr. Webster: I rise today during Tourism Awareness Week in Canada to officially announce the details of a new program developed by Tourism Yukon, in cooperation with the Yukon Historical and Museums Association, which will help spread the benefits of tourism around the territory and support our goal of fostering healthy communities.
The Yukons Gold Explorers Passport program offers opportunities to win four ounces of Klondike gold and either a Yukon model GMC four-wheel drive vehicle or a Yukon package tour for four, which includes a cruise from Vancouver to Skagway and a five-day motorcoach trip.
To be eligible for the September 20 grand prize draw for the truck or package tour, holders of Gold Explorers Passports must visit at least eight Yukon communities and have their passports stamped at all 13 participating Yukon community museums and visitor reception centres.
Passports will be available at any of these 13 locations.
Explorers who have passports stamped at nine or more of the 13 sites will be eligible for monthly draws of one troy ounce of Klondike gold. Draws will be held on June 20, July 18, August 15 and September 12.
All travellers who visit nine or more passports sites will receive a high-quality commemorative poster by Yukon artist Anne Doyle.
The Yukon Gold Explorers Passport program is designed to encourage visitors and residents to take some time off the main highway to experience a variety of Yukon communities and to learn more about our history as well as our natural and cultural heritage. We believe that the additional economic activity that this will generate around the Yukon will support this governments goal of supporting healthy communities.
Community museums and the visitor reception centres are well-equipped to inform people about attractions in their area, and to help them develop local itineraries that will extend their stay in the various regions of the territory.
Incidentally, I would like to take this opportunity to applaud the timely initiative of my colleague, the Minister of Economic Development, whose efforts to create a more competitive fuel supply market, in conjunction with gas taxes, which are already the lowest in the country, will certainly encourage people to take more side trips and drive a little farther while they are exploring the Yukon.
In closing, I would like to note that visitor reception centres will open this Friday, May 15, with the exception of the new Whitehorse visitor reception centre in Whitehorse, which will open the following Friday, May 22. Between Friday, May 15 and Friday, May 22, Yukon visitor reception centre passport stamps can be obtained at the Yukon Transportation Museum next door.
Since some museums will open on May 15, arrangements have been made to have passports stamped at other locations in those communities until June 1, when all museums will be open for business.
Mr. Phillips: We on this side support the initiative as put forward by the Minister of Tourism. I think that it is an innovative way to get tourists to travel to various parts of the Yukon. I think that it is also important to note that I believe that this program is open to Yukoners as well, which might help promote inter-community travel and give many Yukoners an opportunity to see parts of the Yukon that they have never seen before.
I think that this is a good program overall. I do have a couple of minor complaints about the program. One of these complaints would be that the Klukshu Indian Village was not included as one of the places of attraction. I think that our native culture is something that many people come to the Yukon to see, and that would have been an interesting stop for a lot of people. Also, the second most visited attraction in the territory, the Whitehorse fish way, is not included on that particular list. I have a personal interest in that, but I thought I would throw that in. There are other attractions that could have also been included in this particular program.
I think the fact that people have to stop at these centres means they will be provided with a lot more information on where they can go and what they can see and do. I think that if there were stops included in this particular program, people would spend more time in the Yukon. Of course, if they spent more time, they would spend more money and it would help the tourism industry in the territory.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I would like to thank the Member opposite for his favourable comments on the program. He is quite right that there are many other attractions in the territory, such as the Klukshu Indian Village, the fish hatchery in Whitehorse and many others. To be realistic in this program, we thought that, for this year, we would only include the 13 sites of the museums and the visitor reception centres. Depending on the success we have this year of this program, we will, in the future, consider other programs to encourage people to travel more of the Yukon and to learn more about our history and our heritage.
Speaker: This then brings us to Question Period.
Question re: Unemployment statistics
Mr. Lang: I would just like to make an observation. If $3 million was made available to the Super A store in my constituency, I am sure that they could provide the food at a much better price than they are today.
The issue that the Minister has raised today is obviously going to have to be examined. We will be pursuing that tomorrow and through the forum of the Yukon Development Corporation.
I would like to go back to an issue that we were discussing yesterday, and that is the high increase in the number of people, as well as the amount of money being asked for in this House for social assistance. There are over 3,000 Yukoners on unemployment and social assistance in the Yukon.
Yesterday, I asked the Minister what steps she was taking to see what we could do within the policies of her department to try to redirect some of our efforts to see if we can get people away from and off welfare. We have gone from 600 welfare recipients to just under 2,000 in less than six years.
Can the Minister tell the House what steps she is taking, in conjunction with her departmental staff, to confront this very real problem facing these people and the taxpayers?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: As I indicated yesterday, there have been a number of initiatives begun within government, not the least of which is the Department of Educations response to the need for training of very young people in our system who, for one reason or another, decide to drop out of school and find themselves without skills with which to enter the labour force.
There is another initiative that, it seems to me, is of considerable importance to the people who are involved, as well as to the program. As I mentioned yesterday, I am talking about the social assistance recipients agreement, which is a negotiation with the federal government regarding an agreement to enhance the employability of social assistance recipients.
Those negotiations continue. It is my hope and belief that, within a very short time, an agreement will be signed that will assist social assistance recipients to improve their employability.
The Departments of Education and Health and Social Services are jointly conducting the discussions with the federal Departments of Health and Welfare, Indian Affairs and Canada Employment and Immigration. Under the Canada Job Strategy, matching federal funds are available to the Yukon to enhance programming aimed at improving the employablility of social assistance recipients. There is much more I could say about that program.
That is some of the work we are doing. The other, although it may not seem to the Member that it is directly related to this, is the ongoing concern and work toward teaching our young, non-native men in this territory about alcohol. I am sorry to say-
Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please conclude her answer.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Lang: If I look confused, you cannot blame me. I think anyone who listened to that response, as well-prepared and typed as it was, would walk away totally confused and wonder why she did not answer the question.
She feels sorry for them and is getting an agreement with the Government of Canada for some training. The fact is, 44...
Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please get to the supplementary question.
Mr. Lang: ...percent of those on social assistance are referred to as single and employable. What I want to know from the Minister is what step is she taking immediately, within her policy directives, to see what we can do to encourage these people to enter the work force and not to remain affected by the welfare syndrome.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I find the Members question very odd. I told him about the training programs, about the lack of employability of some of our young men in this territory, and he wants to know what I am going to do. Is he asking if I am going to kick them off social assistance? The reality is that, in order to be employable, they must have skills that are required and needed within this territory. That was the question I responded to.
Mr. Lang: We have just under 2,000 people - and the Member refers specifically to young people, in many cases - who are presently on social assistance in this territory. That number has quadrupled in less than six years, and that is not counting the unemployed. What I want to know, with reference to the training the Member is talking about, is what projections have department have come up with, in conjunction perhaps with the Bureau of Statistics, of how many people are going to be affected by this - so that we will have some idea of how effective these programs are.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: As I told the Member yesterday, we are working with the Department of Finance and the Bureau of Statistics to look at some of these figures and to look at the hard data so that we can know enough to begin to determine specific kinds of training programs that will be needed and whether or not any other programs will be needed. I do not have that detail yet, though; I hope to have a bit of the information by the time we come into the supplementary for the Member. I certainly will try to have it.
Question re: Unemployment statistics
Mr. Lang: I want to make it very clear that this side is very concerned, not just about the costs - the astronomical increases the Minister is asking for: well over a 35 percent increase over her budget that we voted - but also for each and every one of the individuals who are caught in what is sometimes a vicious welfare circle.
I want to ask the Minister this: she indicated yesterday that one of the reasons the statistics had increased so much was the fact that either people were not getting unemployment insurance when they were supposed to, or their benefits had run out. Could the Minister indicate to us how many people in the statistics you gave to us are affected by this particular situation?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: If the Member will give me just a moment - I do not carry those figures around in my head. Certainly, there are a large number of people who have been applying for unemployment insurance and - I may not have the figures here, but I will bring them back for the Member - I remember reading it in some of my notes for the supplementary estimates.
What happens, of course is that - if the Member will cast his mind back to people picketing in front of the unemployment insurance office last winter - there are at least several hundred people caught in the conundrum of not being able to get the unemployment insurance that they have paid into for many, many years, and finding themselves in the very uncomfortable position of having to apply for social assistance in order to feed their families and pay their rent. It is not a happy situation and does not seem to be one that we can convince the federal government to change.
Mr. Lang: That goes back to the concern that I raised yesterday - the fact that the Government Leader has been going across the country and telling everyone how good our employment situation is in the Yukon and how good the economy in the Yukon is. He has been quoting our unemployment rate as 11.1 percent. If what the Minister has told the House is true, then our unemployment rate is actually much higher and is hidden to some degree by the social assistance -
Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please get to the supplementary question.
Mr. Lang: I ask the Minister this: is it true that our unemployment rate is much higher than the 11.1 percent that the side opposite continues to stand up and applaud?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: The Member is asking me to stand up and respond for the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Economic Development, and goodness knows who else. I have told him over and over again that I have asked for the assistance of both departments and the Bureau of Statistics to go over some of these figures and to have a very serious look at it. No, I cannot confirm anything. The Member is asking questions that should rightfully be asked elsewhere.
Mr. Lang: The last time I checked, the Minister was drawing her cheque every two weeks. She has a responsibility to acknowledge and explain to the public the significance of the high increases. She told us yesterday that one of the reasons was because people who are unemployed cannot find work and, subsequently, have to go on social assistance.
Conversely, is it really true that our unemployment rate is not 11.1 percent, but quite a bit higher than what the side opposite is telling us? These people are actually looking for work, but they have no other choice but to take social assistance. Is that not true?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: Not necessarily. I am not a statistician, and I do not know how the stats are pulled together. Yes, I do draw a cheque from this government, which is less than the Member opposites. If the Member has all the stats, perhaps he would be prepared to share them with us. He knows how to do it.
I think the Member is playing games with peoples lives, and I do not think that is particularly funny.
Question re: Totem Oil, competition in petroleum market
Mrs. Firth: With respect to the announcement the Minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation made today about the corporation board lending Totem Oil $3 million U.S. to enable the company to purchase the fuel terminal in Haines, Alaska, can the Minister tell Yukoners when they are going to be paying less for gas at the pumps? How much less will they be paying?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: As I explained in my ministerial statement, the entire purpose of this loan is to precipitate a more competitive marketplace for fuel supply and to reduce prices. The understanding established through the loan with the proponents of Totem Oil is that we will effectively see a price reduction of two cents on the day the fuel station opens on Copper Road. It is anticipated that we will be seeing quarterly downward adjustments for the duration of the year.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister has not really answered the question. I want Yukoners to know when they are going to be paying less for gas and how much they are going to be paying when they drive up to the gas station to fuel up their vehicle.
I would also like to know, so I can tell Yukoners and my constituents, when they will be paying less for home-heating fuel and how much less they are going to be paying for that as well?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The specific questions relating to timing and amounts of rate decreases pertaining to fuel supply are more properly put to the proponents of the deal. What I can provide to the Member is the general understanding in this arrangement.
The gas station is expected to open sometime within the next week or two. The fuel rate will be immediately reduced by two cents per litre. It is expected to continue downwards on a quarterly basis for the rest of the year.
With respect to home-heating fuel, that will be a strategic decision by the proponents. It, too, is expected to occur by this summer.
Mrs. Firth: I find it interesting that the Minister is making an announcement today telling everyone that their fuel costs are going to go down. On the other hand, my constituents know how much their electricity bills have gone up. I have constituents whose electricity bills have...
Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please get to the supplementary question.
Mrs. Firth: ...gone up by $50 to $100 per month. They know that.
I would like the Minister to tell us very specifically why he cannot answer the questions with respect to the reduction of these fuel costs in order that we might tell people exactly what is going to happen in light of this announcement he has just made.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I think the Member realizes that people are paying less for their electricity than they would be paying if NCPC had retained the utility. The increase of cost to consumers for electricity today, is less than the rate of inflation since 1987. In effect, people are paying less for their electricity than they were in 1987.
There is absolutely no connection with respect to increasing electricity rates from this deal. In fact, the opposite would be more accurate. If anything, electricity rates are going to be lowered by this particular deal, simply because of the diesel consumed by Yukon Electrical and the Yukon Energy Corporation. We are going to have reduced fuel prices, so the fuel that is consumed by the energy utility is going to be built into the rate base and it is effectively going to reduce electricity rates - not in the sense that they will come down tomorrow, but they are clearly going to go up more slowly because of this deal.
Question re: Whitehorse visitor reception centre
Mr. Phillips: If we were to believe that, I am sure the Minister has a bridge he would like to sell Yukoners, as well. It is incredible what comes out of that Ministers mouth at times.
My question for the Minister of Tourism regarding the eighth wonder of the world, the new Whitehorse visitors reception centre. Last week, at the tourism conference in Watson Lake, the Minister addressed the issue of describing the new visitor reception centre. When it was initially announced by the architect, the structure was to symbolize a beached whale or a beluga whale. After it was discovered that whales left the southern Yukon several million years ago, the description was changed to one of an overturned canoe.
In Watson Lake last week, the Minister asked all Yukoners to use their imagination when they look at this new facility. He said if you look at the inside of the building, the canvas on the roof could represent a tent. When you look at the curved design of the outside of the building, it would flow with the Alaska Highway 50th anniversary celebration and resemble a quonset hut. Last but not least...
Speaker: Order, please. Would the Member please get to the question.
Mr. Phillips: ...he said that the circular coliseum of washrooms represents the ore pods on the ore trucks that rumble up and down the highway. This is almost unbelievable.
I would like to ask the Minister to confirm in the House that he does believe that the canvas on the inside of the building now represents the tent of the days gone by.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Certainly, with a little imagination, it could be interpreted as a tent.
Mr. Phillips: It is important to get this information on the record because it changes from day to day. Yukoners do want to know what this is actually supposed to represent.
Could the Minister tell us then, if he figures the curved design of the structure now represents a 1942 quonset hut, as opposed to an overturned canoe? Is that what the Minister says his imagination is telling him now?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I can see there is not much substance to this question period. I just want to set the record straight. The information has not changed from day to day on this building. I made an appeal to the people who attended the Tourism Industry Association convention in Watson Lake last week that, if they did use their imagination, there are some elements of Yukon architecture in that building. Even though the Member opposite likes to make reference to the beached whale, which was used in a humorous context by the architect, I think it is unfortunate that the Member opposite still tends to take that comment seriously.
Mr. Phillips: I care a great deal about the Minister for Tourism and I worry about him. I would make the suggestion to the Minister that he tell his doctor to change his medication, because it is affecting him.
I would like to ask the Minister if he honestly believes that if you use your imagination that this circular coliseum of washrooms is now turned into an ore pod on an ore truck. Is that what the Minister really believes Yukoners will think when they see that particular facility?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am delighted to see that the Member for Riverdale North is using his imagination. The power of his imagination has a far greater power than mine, because I did not say any such thing.
Question re: Whitehorse visitor reception centre
Mr. Phillips: There were about 60 people attending a banquet who heard the Minister say all three things. It is unusual that the Minister would stand up in the House and deny that he said those particular things.
I would like to ask the Minister a question about another area in the same facility. The visitor reception centre was to originally open in the middle of May and the Minister told us in a speech today that it will not now open until May 22, with the official opening, from what I understand, around mid-June.
Can the Minister confirm that one of the reasons for the site delay is that the facility was built on a swamp and that some extensive ground work has to be done, which cannot be done this early in the spring, so that they can renovate the trails so that tourists can actually access the facility?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, that is not the reason at all. The reason is because it is a new building, and being a new building it requires inspections before we can clear the contractor of its obligations. There also has to be some more work done with respect to safety and security; for example, installing the telephone lines, which are hooked up with the fire alarm. There are some last minute preparations required to install some of the exhibits.
Mr. Phillips: There is a trail from the parking lot facility to the showcase of washrooms. It is a dirt trail and it is in pretty poor shape right now. I would like to ask the Minister if he can assure us that, by the opening date, which is the May 22, the trail will be upgraded and that wheelchair and handicap access are available.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I do not want to leave Members with a false impression about the quality of that trail. The trail is in fine condition. It does require some work to enable people in wheelchairs to get to the building, but I have been assured that the work will be complete by Friday, May 22.
Question re: Rural-residential building lots
Mr. Phelps: I have a couple of questions for the Minister of Community Affairs and Transportation Services, concerning the shortage of residential lots in the rural areas around Whitehorse. I am sure everyone can recall that recently, when three lots were put up for sale by the government, more than 130 applicants were seeking those lots. I am sure the people in Whitehorse are also aware that land applications for rural lots will not be accepted in the north end of town and the north Hootalinqua area until the land use plan is completed. That land use planning process started back in 1986; it is now 1992, and there is no end in sight.
When is the Minister going to have the steering committee, or the appropriate people, moving again to complete this planning exercise, which has been ongoing and has had the impact of tying up the land north of Whitehorse for approximately six years?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I trust the Member is speaking of rural lands outside the Whitehorse municipality, because he raised the same question about a week ago, both on the matter of land within the municipality and outside the municipality.
On the matter of the Hootalinqua planning region, the Member is correct: the planning exercise has been ongoing for some time. The Member knows that a planning document has been tabled, circulated and reviewed, and is currently used in some measure as a technical document. It is my intention to incorporate the hamlet council and two other area planning regions into a planning review exercise that should begin at any time. The Member will also recall that, at one time, when we were attempting to finalize the Hootalinqua planning document, the formation of the hamlet began. That created some delay because it was believed that the hamlet council ought to come into existence before we created any -
Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please conclude his answer.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The short answer is that we are expecting to continue that planning exercise later on this spring.
Mr. Phelps: It is interesting that we are speaking about intentions, because one often wonders what the intention of the side opposite really is. Some people say the NDP stands for No Development Party. They have managed to effect a freeze on land development in the area north of town.
Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please get to his supplementary question.
Mr. Phelps: In view of the fact that, when this started, it was only supposed to take a little more than a year to complete, and six years have gone by and they are just starting up again, can the Minister tell us approximately when we can expect to have the process complete, so we can once again start looking at developing some land in the area for people who need it?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: It is interesting that the Member would speak about development, when his party presided over a period of no development in the Yukon in the early 1980s and late 1970s. The development that has occurred in the last half-dozen years has virtually doubled. That is evidenced by the gross domestic product that has doubled in that period. It is evidenced by the investment that is occurring in this community, part of which was even announced today.
The activity of development in the territory has never been better. In the Hootalinqua planning exercise, I have indicated to the Member that it is our intention to establish the umbrella group, consisting of two regional planning areas and the hamlet council, to review the document and specify what aspects of the document are unacceptable. Many parts of the document are fully acceptable. That kind of regional planning is expected to occur immediately.
Mr. Phelps: He shut down the development north of town for over six years now and recently started the same process in the south end with the Mount Lorne planning commission, which was supposed to be up and started about seven months ago. It has not even had its first real meeting yet.
Yesterday, the Minister said that -
Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please get to his supplementary question.
Mr. Phelps: Yesterday, the Minister said the process would be completed within a year. Given the history of the twin exercise north of town, how can any Yukoner really have any faith in that prediction by the Minister?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I challenge the Member to advise the House just what development has been shut down? What development has been prevented from occurring? What activity has not taken place because of any particular planning exercise that is going on?
Nevertheless, we do expect to have the Mount Lorne planning exercise concluded within the year, as stated. The Member has to also recognize that it is the will of the people in those areas to conclude those exercises, prior to any major changes occurring in those regions. It is a simple case of democracy at work.
Question re: Totem Oil, competition in petroleum market
Mr. Nordling: I have a question for the Minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation with respect to the Totem Oil loan.
It is my understanding that both Totem Oil and Petro-Canada presently use the fuel terminal and storage tanks in Haines, Alaska that are owned by Delta Western of Seattle.
How does the $3 million U.S. loan, at a commercial rate of interest, result in an eight-cent per litre saving to Yukon gasoline consumers?
Is Delta Western gouging Totem Oil and Petro-Canada to the tune of eight cents per litre for the use of that facility?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have to tell the Member that he probably did not listen to my ministerial statement or any explanations up to this point, because the question would well have been answered.
I might also note that I offered, this morning, to provide that Member with a detailed briefing on the ministerial statement when I delivered it and they declined it. During their responses, they took time to list out a thousand questions and they are continuing that line of questioning, when they had the full opportunity to receive a personal briefing from me. I do not object to any legitimate questions that they do raise.
The deal has been explained. It consists of a loan to Totem Oil, who are purchasing the facility that is currently owned by Delta Western. They are going to be operating on a cost-based approach in their business. In other words, the use of that facility by Totem Oil is going to be based on exactly what it costs to move fuel through it, and it is going to be translated directly to consumers. That is the basis on which prices will be moved downward over the next year.
Mr. Nordling: That did not answer the question, but because I only have two supplementary questions, I will go on to ask what the relationship is between Totem Oil and Delta Western. Will the Minister table a copy of the loan agreement if he is so anxious to make the details known to us?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I can advise the Member that I am prepared to table the loan agreement; however, we cannot do it today. Totem Oil has agreed to permit the loan agreement to be circulated. There are some elements of the loan agreement that have to be removed for the purpose of confidentiality in relation to the marketplace, but the agreement will be tabled once we have finished going through it and clarifing what is available for public disclosure.
Mr. Nordling: I read the ministerial statement very carefully and listened to all the Ministers explanations. I want to know why he wants to minimize the disruption to the existing fuel market. I thought that was the whole point of this $3 million U.S. loan. Why can Yukoners not enjoy the full benefit of the $3 million U.S. loan and have lower fuel prices immediately?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Let me make it clear. It is entirely possible to effect the whole benefit of the downward movement of fuel prices immediately. It is possible, but that would have quite a dramatic immediate impact on the marketplace. It is not our desire to do that.
We want to ensure that this new, competitive entry into the market occurs on a gradual basis, so that all other suppliers, retailers and wholesalers can adjust to it with no negative impact on the marketplace. It also affords the opportunity, during that period, for the proponents to get on their feet so that the full benefits do flow as we have assured people they would.
Question re: Wolf reduction in game zone 5
Mr. Brewster: I have a question for the Minister of Renewable Resources. In the Ministers letter of February 7, 1992, to the co-chair of the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board, the Minister admitted that the game management in game zone 5 is a failure. The reason it is a failure is because of government inaction. How can the Minister justify no predator control when, in a recent legislative return, we see a calf survival rate drop to nine calves per 100 cows in the fall of 1989, which is a decline of more than 50 percent in one year.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I could talk at length about the Members false assertion that our game management plans have been a failure in that game management zone, but I think I will just address the question at hand. As the Member well knows, we are developing a wolf reduction program in the context of a wolf management plan and, despite the declining numbers of the caribou herd in that area, we do feel that they are not threatened and will not face extinction before this plan is developed and we implement a reduction program.
Mr. Brewster: I hope the wolves do not get those nine calves, or we could have trouble. How can the Minister of Renewable Resources, whose job - above all else - is to protect wildlife, turn his back on the Aishihik caribou herd when the conclusions reached by his own department are that the rapid decline of that herd is due to the wolves and not humans?
Hon. Mr. Webster: It is not simply a case of me turning my back on the Aishihik caribou herd. As the Member knows, this wildlife management plan will address interactions of the prey and predator species, and will not look at only this one isolated area of the territory. Indeed, a wolf management plan will be developed for the entire territory - as we are doing for other species.
Mr. Brewster: I am getting tired of the same old answer all the time. If the calves are not being hunted by humans, can the Minister tell this House what is causing the rapid decline in the Aishihik caribou calf population?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The answer is provided on the legislative return that I provided to the Member yesterday.
Question re: Watson Lake High School salvage
Mr. Devries: I have a question for the Minister of Education, who does not get an opportunity to answer questions very often.
Less than a month ago, the old Watson Lake High School was demolished, including cedar siding, windows, plywood, beams, shelving, light fixtures, et cetera, and I would like to ask the Minister why the Watson Lake people were not given more time to salvage more materials from the building. They were given a couple of days but they could have salvaged much more in a week. Why were they not given this opportunity?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I thank the Member for the question, I think. I was waiting for a question about the future of education in the territory, but the future of the junk pile in Watson Lake will suffice, I guess. The contractor felt he had a deadline to meet to provide the new college campus facilities in short order. He indicated he could meet the deadlines that had been imposed by the government and, at the same time, felt he could provide for salvage, to the extent the Member mentioned, of the old Watson Lake school to anybody in the community, free of charge. That was generous on the part of the contractor.
As the Member knows, the tender for the demolition of the school and construction of the new school was all part of the same package. The salvage of materials would have factored into the bid. This particular contractor did what he felt was a community service by providing at least two days of salvage rights to the community. He did not have to do that, but he did it anyway and I think he should be thanked. While I was in Watson Lake, I was given to understand that many people did take advantage of that opportunity.
Mr. Devries: I disagree with the Minister on one aspect: this could have been a wonderful opportunity for the government to show the kids and the students an example of conservation. I would like to know, with regard to the tendering process, who was responsible for making the decision of putting such a short time limit on the project that there was not enough time to salvage some more of the school.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: As I indicated before, the contractor did not have to provide any salvage rights to anybody in Watson Lake. The demolition and the salvage were part of the original contract, and certainly it was an opportunity for the government to see to it that the new construction project and the demolition were done efficiently.
The proposition was made to the contractor that salvage opportunities could be provided to the public of Watson Lake, if the contractor wished. The contractor did in fact provide those salvage opportunities. For anyone who was interested in removing windows or taking any materials that they felt that they could use, that opportunity was made available to them. I understand that many people in Watson Lake did take advantage of that opportunity.
Mr. Devries: I agree that some people did take advantage of the opportunity, but they needed more time to get what they could. This casual disregard for recycling and salvage bothers me. This government should be acting as a role model for the students and residents alike.
As the Minister is also responsible for Government Services, I ask the Minister what he will do to ensure that in the future when a Yukon Government building is demolished, people will have ample time to salvage what they can.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The primary purpose of the project in Watson Lake was clearly to build a new high school and a new community campus. That was the primary purpose. Clearly, there are some salvageable goods in the old building that was to be demolished. That was obviously taken into account by any contractor who was going to be undertaking the demolition.
Most contractors who undertake demolition understand that there are materials that can be salvaged, saved and reused. Most contractors, as a practice, do that.
Any contractor who bid on the Watson Lake High School project would have known that and taken that into account, so the government was very well assured that usable materials would continue to be used by the successful bidder in the demolition contract.
What was different in this situation was that the people of Watson Lake, who had no part in bidding on the project itself, were also given the opportunity by the contractor to take whatever materials that they wanted. The contractor did a community service in Watson Lake. The government was interested in salvaging materials and offered that possibility through the demolition contract - which is part of the general contract - to everyone who bid on the project.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now lapsed.
Notice of Opposition private Members business
Mr. Phillips: Pursuant to Standing Order 14.2(3), I would like to identify the order in which items standing in the name of the Official Opposition are to be called on Wednesday, May 13, 1992. They are Bill No. 101, standing in the name of the Member for Hootalinqua; Motion No. 10 and Motion No. 23.
Mrs. Firth: Pursuant to Standing Order 14.2(3), I would like to identify the item standing in the name of the Independent Alliance that is to be called on Wednesday, May 13, 1992. It is Motion No. 7, standing in the name of the Member for Porter Creek West.
Speaker: We will now proceed with Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Speaker: Government Bills.
Bill No. 8: Second Reading
Clerk: Second reading, Bill No. 8, standing in the name of the Hon. Ms. Joe.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I move that Bill No. 8, entitled An Act to Amend the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act, be now read a second time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Justice that Bill No. 8, entitled An Act to Amend the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act, be now read a second time.
Hon. Ms. Joe: These amendments are intended to provide a more efficient and cost-effective administration of the compensation for victims of crime program.
As Members opposite are well aware, award amounts and associated program costs have rapidly escalated in recent years. Program costs for compensation for victims of crime are expected to exceed $400,000 in the 1991-92 fiscal year alone.
These rising costs are of an even greater concern now that the federal Justice Minister has advised that the federal government is withdrawing its funding support for the compensation for victims of crime program. This program was funded under a 75/25 cost-sharing arrangement.
As I informed Members during debate on the Victim Services Act, the federal Minister has advised that the territory may be required to fund the compensation for victims of crime program from the victim fine surcharge fund, or any other means of its choice. A provision has been included in the Victim Services Act that will allow at least some of the monies collected from the victim fine surcharge to be used to provide financial compensation to victims of crime, to the extent prescribed by the Commissioner in Executive Council.
The compensation for victims of crime program provides invaluable support to victims of crime in the territory.
The amendments before you are expected to help control the excessive costs that have been incurred to date. Included in this amendment is the creation of an independent criminal injuries compensation board to adjudicate the claims. The new board will be composed of three members, one of whom shall be appointed as the chair. The act provides that only one person need hear an application. This board removes the Workers Compensation Board as the body that will adjudicate claims.
In our review of the program, it was felt that the original reasons for assigning the adjudication process to the Workers Compensation Board were no longer valid. The needs of victims of crime are quite different from those of injured workers. Different skills are required to deal with victims of crime and this governments orientation toward crimes of violence has changed to a more comprehensive approach.
To assist the new board, the department is developing regulations that clearly outline guidelines for the adjudication process and the granting of awards and claims.
Another provision that has been included in the act is a requirement for victims of crime to report the offence to police. Under the previous legislation there was no requirement to demonstrate that victimization had actually occurred. This provision will help narrow the number of complaints that come to the board by providing clear guidelines.
A provision has also been included in the act which permits the victim services officer to make awards for loss or damage to prescribed property without the need for a hearing. This provision is expected to reduce the number of claims for which the board would have had to provide a hearing. Prescribed property will be defined under regulations and will include such items as dentures and eyeglasses. The department is currently developing these regulations.
In summary, it is my hope that the adjudication of awards by a separate compensation for victims of crime board, together with guidelines for claims coming before the board, and stricter regulations governing the quantum of awards, will go a long way toward reducing the costs of this program.
Mr. Phillips: I just have a few brief comments on the bill before us today. I get a bit concerned when I hear the Minister tell us that the costs of the compensation for victims of crime is rising to some $400,000 and will be increasing in the future. I wonder if some of this money would not be better spent in preventing the crimes in the first place. We would not have to worry about compensating all the victims if we did a better job at that.
The other thing the Minister mentioned was that part of the fund would be used for eyeglasses or dentures. In the past, I know in some cases, the judges would rule that the offender would have to pay for those kinds of costs, such as broken cameras, eyeglasses or anything that was broken during an assault. Now the taxpayer has to pay for these kinds of things. I hope that we are not getting away from requiring the offender to pay some compensation for the crime they committed, and not just put him in a nice little institution or on probation and have the taxpayer pick up the tab for the crimes. I am sure that people do not want to see that happen.
I have some concerns about the rising costs of the program. We will be looking at the act clause by clause when we get into Committee of the Whole.
Mr. Nordling: I agree with the principle of this bill. My only concern is exactly how it is going to operate. I will have questions in that regard when we deal with it in Committee of the Whole.
To give the Minister advance notice of my concern, it is that we are dealing with a large amount of money and it is certainly going to get even larger in the future. The victims compensation board is made up of three members. One member of the board constitutes a quorum and is sufficient for the exercise of all the jurisdictions and powers of the board. Under this act, we will have one member who can hand out substantial compensation awards. I do not know if that is the way it will be done.
We have the creation of a victim services officer position, and my reading is that that person may also be able to hand out awards. My concern is that person may also be appointed to that board. I am worried about having one victim services officer handling the fund and distributing money on that persons own, then having the other two members of the board coming in later and rubber stamping it, objecting to it, or discussing it. My concern with this is that we should have a real board doing it, rather than an individual. The Minister pointed out that it will take considerable expertise to determine the amounts, and there are not a lot of precedents, such as the Workers Compensation Board has. I think it could be dangerous to have one person doing it, or even two.
Mrs. Firth: I, too, have some questions I would like to address to the Minister at second reading speech - specifically in the form of a request for more information. I know the Minister responded publicly to a newspaper article regarding a comment I had made about not having information provided. The Minister did provide me with information on the lists of the awards and the amounts, but that was not what I had asked for. I had asked the Minister, in the House, for an evaluation that had been done of the victims of crime compensation fund program; for the suggested changes that were going to be coming forward; whether any follow-up was being done with respect to the awards that were being given; how they were being utilized; and whether they were being utilized for appropriate purposes.
It is that kind of information the Minister did not provide me with. Could she give us that information prior to our going into Committee, so we can have a better idea of what direction the government is heading with respect to this program?
I, too, share the concerns of the Member for Porter Creek West regarding the amounts of money that are given out and who is going to determine what the awards should be. I believe it is going to stay the same - that the amount on a maximum award can be as much as $15,000. If that is not correct, perhaps the Minister could clarify that this afternoon.
It is fairly important to know who is going to be making the decision, and on what basis. I also agree and prefer that it is a genuine committee, and not an individual without the proper experience and qualifications that will be handling the determination of the awards.
I would also be interested in the Minister bringing back some information with respect to projected costs for this upcoming year, and whether she feels this change to the system is going to result in less cost to the taxpayer, or whether it will be more. I would also be interested in knowing whether or not the government is going to pick up the 75 percent cost-share that used to be provided by the federal government.
I look forward to raising more specific questions in Committee of the Whole, but I would certainly appreciate a bit more information from the Minister prior to that time.
Speaker: The hon. Member will close debate if she now speaks. Does any other Member wish to be heard?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I appreciate the comments from the side opposite in regard to this bill. One of the reasons we are introducing this bill at this time is because, over the last few years, we have recognized that there has been a rise in cost in compensation for victims of crime. There are many reasons for that, one being that this program has become quite readily available. People are hearing more about it, as other people are being compensated. It is being promoted in the transition home and with the advocates for those individuals who have been victimized in some way.
The problem we had is that some of the sections in the existing act were not as good as they should have been. One of the problems we had was in the area of reporting. We are changing this act so that one of the criteria to be eligible for this fund is that the crime has to be reported to the RCMP. In the past, that was not a part of the criteria. We have given awards to those individuals in a case where there were no charges laid, or it had not even been reported to the RCMP.
The act dealt with situations where there was evidence from a doctor or someone else of physical abuse. Now it is a little bit more restrictive.
There was some controversy a while ago, and there will still be, about how far back a crime may have occurred in order to be eligible under this act. We have had to turn down many requests because many of the crimes occurred before this act came into effect. There has been a lot of controversy from individuals who were victimized prior to the act coming into effect. We have not been very positive in dealing with those situations because of the amount of money that we have available.
The Member for Riverdale North talked about how this money would be better spent in preventing crimes. We are conducting a lot of public education in regard to family violence and sexual, physical abuse. That is an ongoing item that we are responsible for, but there are certain ways of dealing with those situations and also offering programs to the individuals who offend.
There was some question in regard to offenders getting away with paying the costs of broken glasses, dentures and other things. I agree with the Member that individuals should be accountable and that in some cases restitution is asked for in the courts. Certainly, this will be taken into consideration when an award is being dealt with. I think that is a very important comment.
The Member for Porter Creek West spoke about the board, how it will operate and a victim services person in the program. We intend to set up a board and ask for recommendations from different sources in the public. Understanding the problems that we have had in the past, we will be a little bit more careful to make them understand that we certainly do not have the kind of money that we had in the past.
The Member for Riverdale South has asked for much information. Some of it I may be able to provide on the follow-up of the awards and how that money was spent. It will take a great deal of work, because a lot of individuals have been able to be compensated. I am not exactly certain what she wants to know; maybe it is where that money has been spent or where the money went after the victim received the money.
I will certainly look into all of these requests and I hope that I will be able to make as much as possible available before the act is dealt with in Committee of the Whole.
Motion on second reading of Bill No. 8 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Webster: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I will now call the Committee of the Whole to order and declare a brief recess.
Chair: I will call Committee of the Whole to order.
We are on Bill No. 93, on the amendment for the Electoral District of Kluane.
Bill No. 93: - Electoral District Boundaries Act - continued
On Clause 1 - continued
Hon. Mr. Webster: Before we move on to dealing with the riding of Kluane, I just want to address a question that was raised last night regarding the procedure for changing the name of an electoral district. Reference was made to the House of Commons.
In the House of Commons, it was common practice for Members of Parliament to change names of the ridings by a private Members bill. About every two years, House Leaders of the various parties of the commons would notify members of their respective caucuses of the time to proceed with these changes. The parties agreed to group the changes together so that they are dealt with expeditiously.
In general, these are not numerous and one can expect to see this at least once in the life of every federal parliament. Private Members bills are then drafted to amend the name of an electoral district, as found in the Canada Elections Act.
In the House of Commons, it is considered to be an individual MPs right to put forward and advocate a change of name of their constituency, and these amendments are commonly passed without controversy.
In the Yukon, we have an opportunity as Members to amend the Electoral District Boundaries Act, where the names of the ridings are presented as the law of the Yukon. Of course, this bill is before us now.
For example, the Member for Riverdale North is free - and I would argue for his right as a Member of this House - to advocate a change of name for his riding. If he wanted to name the riding Grey Mountain or something else, we, as Members, would certainly listen most carefully to his arguments and be disposed in the first instance to agree with his proposal. We note that his party has given him liberty to vote freely on any matter on this bill, including the names. Surely, the Member can claim to be a person most in touch with the wishes of his constituents and is in the best position of any Member of the House to advocate changes desired by his constituents.
Members of the Independent Alliance can agree with this, as they are the ones who are championing most the concept that the primary responsibility of an MLA is to their constituents and to reflect their wishes in debates of this House.
If the Member for Porter Creek South had representations from his constituents to change the name of that riding to, perhaps, Mountainview, then we would all have to respect his right to put forward such a suggestion. Similarly, a Member for Old Crow should be free to advocate a change in the name of her riding. The proper place to discuss these changes is in this House at this time as we have the bill before us.
Last night I proposed an amendment to the Electoral District of Kluane. I substituted the words in that amendment to refer to latitude 60 degrees, 23 and one-half minutes north. While that is accurate, I have been advised that we use different language in describing boundary lines. With that, I am asking for the indulgence of all Members of this House to permit me to substitute that amendment with another one. This basically changes that wording to, latitude 60 degrees 23 minutes 30 seconds north. This is, of course, the same thing, but as I say, it is more consistent with the language used throughout the bill.
For clarification, I should read that into the record.
THAT Bill No. 93, entitled Electoral District Boundaries Act, be amended in clause 1 at page 2 under the title Electoral District of Kluane by deleting the words latitude 60 degrees 25 minutes north and substituting the following:
latitude 60 degrees 23 minutes 30 seconds north.
Amendment agreed to
For the purposes of being consistent with the text of Judge Lysyks report, I propose an amendment that will incorporate all the Hamlet of Mount Lorne into the Electoral District of Mount Lorne.
THAT Bill No. 93, entitled Electoral District Boundaries Act, be amended in clause 1 at page 4 under the title Electoral District of Mount Lorne by deleting the description of the Electoral District of Mount Lorne and substituting the following:
The Electoral District of Mount Lorne consists of that part of the Yukon bounded by a line commencing at the point of intersection of latitude 60 degrees 15 minutes north and longitude 135 degrees five minutes west, thence due north to latitude 60 degrees 23 minutes 30 seconds north, thence due east to longitude 135 degrees north, thence due north to the southern limit of the City of Whitehorse, thence westerly and northerly along that limit to latitude 60 degrees 37 minutes north, thence due east to the centre line of the Yukon River, thence southwardly and eastwardly along that centre line to the eastern limit of the City of Whitehorse, thence northwardly along that limit to the northern limit of the City of Whitehorse, thence due east along the eastern extension of that northern limit to longitude 134 degrees; thence due south to latitude 60 degrees 23 minutes 30 seconds north, thence due west to longitude 134 degrees 53 minutes west, thence due southwest to the point of intersection of latitude 60 degrees 15 minutes north and longitude 135 degrees west, thence due west to the point of commencement.
Amendment agreed to
Chair: I would like to ask the Deputy Chair to take the Chair at this point so that I can propose an amendment to the Electoral District of Old Crow.
Ms. Kassi: I move
THAT Bill No. 93, entitled Electoral District Boundaries Act, be amended at clause 1 by deleting the words Old Crow wherever they appear and replacing them with the following words:
Vuntut Gwichin; and at clause 3 by deleting the words Old Crow and replacing them with the following words:
Mr. Chairman, this is very important to the Vuntut Gwichin because we live in and represent this area. It is also important for the resource people who live in our community because we are the reason they are there. We have lived there for 30,000 years - long before there was ever any electoral district, and we have learned to accept most of the changes that are taking place with our people, and these changes have meant that we have opened up our culture, our lives and our ways so that we can be understood by people outside.
We believe that proper representation in governments of this country, and our own self-government initiatives are important ways that we can directly affect the changes that will make our community a better place for us all.
The findings of the recent Electoral Boundaries Commission included the recommendation that the boundaries of Old Crow be expanded to include all of our traditional lands in the north Yukon, including the north shore and Herschel Island. This is an important step for the Vuntut Gwichin, and we have long believed that these lands should be under our jurisdiction. Part of this process is to name parts of our land, as it is important for us to be able to name our heritage sites, our mountains, our rivers; it is also important that the name of our village and our electoral district be that of our choosing.
A change to the name was suggested at the hearings that were conducted by Judge Lysyk when he came to our village. We told him that it was important for the Vuntut Gwichin to have a name that had meaning for them.
When the possibility arose allowing us to change the name of the riding, our elders were very happy. They realized that this is one of the first indications that we are starting to gain control over our lands. They support the name being changed from Old Crow to Vuntut Gwichin; also a band council resolution was passed on May 6, 1992, stating that the chief and council approved of the name change.
Therefore, I would like this Committee to approve this amendment.
Mr. Phillips: I attended the meeting in Old Crow with Mr. Justice Lysyk and I do not believe that the Member for Old Crow attended that particular meeting. The name change from Old Crow to Vuntut Gwichin was never mentioned at the meeting by any individual that I can recall. I am willing to accept the change now, if that is the band resolution; I have no problem with that.
Another clarification is that the Member for Old Crow stated that they wanted to include Herschel Island and all of their traditional land in the north and on the north coast. Again, I attended the meeting held in Old Crow, and I distinctly heard the chief and several others speak out at that meeting that they were quite concerned about including the north coast of the Yukon in their riding. Their reasoning was that if it was ever developed, the area could have the voting power that could out vote Old Crow. There was a strong representation made by the chief and many people who spoke to that meeting, that they were concerned about that part being included in the actual final boundaries.
If one wants to get a copy of the text of what was said then, it was clear that Judge Lysyk heard what the people said. Unfortunately, he drew the boundaries differently afterwards, and maybe there was another band resolution that changed their minds later.
I think that it is important to note that at the meeting that was held, and the presentations that were made, that was one item that was asked to be left off; that is extending the boundaries up to Stokes and King Point, for fear of future development, and those people in Stokes and King Point actually out voting the people of Old Crow when electing a representative. That was a strong concern expressed by the people at the meeting, and not exactly how the Member for Old Crow described it a few minutes ago, unless the Member has had some motion or resolution come forward since that date and I am not aware of it.
Ms. Kassi: I would like to thank the Member for his comments. I was not at the meeting in Old Crow; however, I did make a representation to the chief prior to those meetings and had concluded that these were what we were going to ask for. I had made a representation to Judge Lysyk here in Whitehorse and could not attend the meeting in Old Crow due to health reasons. In speaking with the band manager, we had agreed that we would include Herschel Island in our recommendations to the Lysyk inquiry. Due to the fact that Herschel Island has always been the trading point between our people and the Inuit, and that that place is now a park within the Yukon Territory, we would like to have a say in taking care of that area as well. That was one of the reasons why we had recommended that Herschel Island be within our boundaries.
With respect to the developments that may take place in Stokes Point or King Point, we were very strongly advised by our elders during one of our previous general assemblies that we take control of that area and be able to speak about that area. Because there is potential development for that area, we want to be able to have a voice in it; therefore, our voices have been heard through the Lysyk inquiry again. I would like to thank the Members for their support and their support for this amendment as well.
Mr. Phillips: The Member for Old Crow mentioned that they wanted to include Herschel Island there because they wanted to retain control over their land. Electoral boundaries do not give control over land; it really just includes the people living there, making them eligible to vote in that riding in the next election. Several people at the meeting, including the chief and several of the elders, expressed a concern over the development of Stokes Point and King Point. If the Member has a band resolution that supports that, I have no problem with it at all. What the Member is now saying is contrary to what I heard at the Lysyk inquiry and what was put on the record at the meetings in Old Crow, which I attended.
Ms. Kassi: The Member has stated that there has always been a concern with respect to our people. I have that concern, too. If there was ever development taking place in the North Slope, they could out vote the community of Old Crow because we only have about 170 voters. However, in terms of being able to speak in government and represent that area, we feel also that we would have a voice and be able to do that, whereas before, we did not. It was up to the Member for Klondike to do that. Now that we have that, it is much more beneficial to us.
In terms of controlling - perhaps that is not the right word - it gives us the ability to have a much stronger voice in the North Slope. That is basically what we are trying to say here.
I do have a band council resolution here. I believe the Member has a copy of it. I could table it as well, but I would like to read it into the record: Whereas presently the traditional territory of the Vuntut Gwichin is called the Old Crow riding; therefore be it resolved that the Vuntut Gwichin Tribal Council supports the riding name change from the Old Crow riding to the Vuntut Gwichin riding. It is signed by our chief and councillors.
Amendment agreed to
Ms. Kassi: I move
THAT Bill No. 93, entitled, Electoral District Boundaries Act, be amended in clauses 3.2(g), 3.4(g), and 3.5(g) by deleting the words Old Crow wherever they appear and replacing them with the following words:
Amendment agreed to
Mr. Lang: I would like to clarify that in accepting this we are not altering the boundaries as recommended by the chief electoral officer. I am satisfied with the property line between Juniper Drive and Tamarack Drive.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I have an amendment to the Electoral District of Ross River-Southern Lakes that results from the change of the boundary adjoining the Mount Lorne riding.
THAT Bill No. 93, entitled Electoral District Boundaries Act be amended in clause 1 at page 8 under the title Electoral District of Ross River-Southern Lakes by deleting the words latitude 60 degrees 25 minutes north and substituting the following:
latitude 60 degrees 23 minutes 30 seconds north, thence due east to longitude 135 degrees 05 minutes west, thence due south to latitude 60 degrees 15 minutes north, thence due east to longitude 135 degrees west, thence due northeast to the point of intersection of latitude 60 degrees 23 minutes 30 seconds north and longitude 134 degrees 53 minutes west.
Chair: Is there discussion on this amendment?
Mr. Nordling: How many voters are affected by the change that is being proposed to include the whole of the Mount Lorne hamlet in the Mount Lorne riding? How many voters have been moved through these amendments?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I have been advised by the Member for Hootalinqua - which encompasses, at this particular time, the Hamlet of Mount Lorne - that this would affect about six families, and potentially as many as 12 voters.
Amendment agreed to
Mr. Phelps: I did not want to let this particular riding go by with just the one amendment. I have expressed my personal displeasure with regard to this riding as it has been recommended by the Electoral Boundaries Commission. I have received copies of some 18 or 19 letters from residents in the Hootalinqua part of that proposed new riding, all of which have objected to this riding coming into being.
I do not want to go on at length, but I certainly made my concerns felt at the hearing held in my riding with respect to the Electoral Boundaries Commission and its recommendations. I do not feel that the manner in which we are dealing with this bill does justice to the people who live in the proposed new riding.
I am pleased that Members have seen fit to go along with the very minor amendment that has passed through Committee. I go on record as supporting that particular minor change to the boundaries, so the people of Mount Lorne will form one unit with respect to voting and who represents them.
I agonized somewhat over the possibilities of coming forward with some major amendment. In our debate on second reading of this bill, I made it very clear that I did not think that was the place to make major changes to recommendations of a commission. I made the heartfelt plea at that time that the best course of action would have been to treat the Electoral District Boundaries Commission report, which was completed in 1991, as a draft, and then hold hearings to see what the reaction to this commission report would be.
In that struggle, I did not enjoy the support of many Members in the House. I do regret that, but I did not think I would let this moment pass without, once again, expressing my concern. I do not want to go on and on about it, because I realize that I am not about to change the minds of the majority of the Members here with regard to this very important issue.
Mr. Lang: With respect to the Electoral District of Whitehorse West, I would like to make one point concerning the observation made. Perhaps I should have also made it with respect to McIntyre-Takhini. I do not really care what the constituencies are called and I will subscribe to the Ministers comment that names can be changed by the Members, and that the Members do have certain authorities. My observation is that, in the bill before us, it was not presented to the Members as a change, in consultation with Members, prior to the tabling of the document; it was included in the bill we have before us. More than anything else, I am concerned about the procedure and the way it was done. It seemed rather arbitrary that, all of a sudden, one particular Member would put his stamp of approval on certain portions of the bill, contrary to the Lysyk report, when, initially, it had been agreed would be supported with no changes. I should note that the only changes occurring here are the result of the representation by the MLA for Hootalinqua concerning a very small area. Other than that, every aspect of the Lysyk report is being accepted.
I just want to put that on the record because the procedure the Member outlined that the House of Commons follows and other precedents I asked about yesterday were not entirely followed the way they were elsewhere.
Clause 1 agreed to as amended
On Clause 2
Clause 2 agreed to
On Clause 3
Ms. Kassi: I move
THAT Bill No. 93, entitled Electoral District Boundaries Act, be amended in clauses 3.2(g), 3.4(g) and 3.5(g), by deleting the words Old Crow wherever they appear and replacing them with the following words: Vuntut Gwichin.
Amendment agreed to
Clause 3 agreed to as amended
On Clause 4
Clause 4 agreed to
Title agreed to
Hon. Mr. Webster: Madam Chair, I move that you report Bill No. 93, entitled Electoral District Boundaries Act, out of committee with amendment.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 44 - An Act to Amend the Liquor Act
Chair: We will proceed now to Bill No. 44, entitled An Act to Amend the Liquor Act.
Chair: Is there any general debate?
If not, we will proceed with clause-by-clause reading of the bill.
On Clause 1
Clause 1 agreed to
On Clause 2
Clause 2 agreed to
On Clause 3
Clause 3 agreed to
On Clause 4
Clause 4 agreed to
On Clause 5
Clause 5 agreed to
On Clause 6
Clause 6 agreed to
Title agreed to
Hon. Ms. Joe: I move that Bill No. 44, entitled An Act to Amend the Liquor Act, be moved out of Committee without amendment.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 7 -An Act to Amend the Wildlife Act
Chair: The Committee of the Whole will take a brief recess.
Chair: Is there general debate on Bill No. 7, An Act to Amend the Wildlife Act?
Hon. Mr. Webster: You may recall that yesterday we gave second reading to this bill. There were a number of questions posed by the Member for Kluane, the critic of Renewable Resources for the Yukon Party, as well as the Member for Riverdale South. I would just like to respond briefly to those concerns. This may be helpful to the Members opposite.
The Member for Kluane requested that we table the habitat regulations that accompany this amendment. I want to table them at this time. In doing so, I want to stress to Members that it is a preliminary working draft. Through the regulation development process, it will be subject to public review and consultation in a manner consistent with provisions of the Environment Act.
It is also important to emphasize that, as part of our public review, I have offered to have officials meet with key stakeholders, such as the Chamber of Mines and the Yukon Mining Advisory Committee, to provide a special briefing on the impact of the amendments and the proposed regulations. I will be extending similar offers to other groups, such as the Yukon Council on the Economy and the Environment, the Fish and Wildlife Management Board and the Yukon Conservation Society.
Although it is only a working draft, these regulations will provide additional clarification regarding our intentions relating to habitat protection. I hope it is perfectly clear that we do not intend to apply our jurisdiction in a manner that will unduly hamper or frustrate Yukoners in their efforts to access and utilize Yukon wildlife and other natural resources, in a legal way, of course. I believe the draft regulations are clear on that point.
With regard to administration, we are continuing our efforts, both in-house and with the federal government, to ensure a one-window application allocation process that will incorporate our habitat permitting provisions. We are confident that this will be achieved as the regulation development process proceeds.
I think we would all agree that it is necessary for all Yukoners to understand the importance of respecting and preserving our wildlife habitat to ensure a healthy and viable wildlife population for the enjoyment of future generations. Obviously, the proposed amendments to the Wildlife Act and associated regulations are intended to support this objective.
Through this legislation and regulations, we intend to establish a reasonable balance whereby our habitat protection objectives are achieved without adversely impacting upon economic development opportunities. This was called for in the Yukon Economic Strategy and the Yukon Conservation Strategy. I believe we have achieved this with the proposed amendments to regulations.
The Member for Kluane indicated his concerns about the impact of this act on the person living on the land. As I mentioned in my response to Mr. Brewsters comments yesterday, people living on the land and pursuing activities such as trapping, outfitting or any subsistence harvesting will not be affected by any provisions of this bill before us. The underlying principle is that our intention is only to have habitat protection apply where damage has or is likely to occur. In that sense, our objective is consistent with the general principles of environmental protection as you find practiced in most jurisdictions.
Another concern raised by the Member for Kluane was regarding the membership on the Fish and Wildlife Management Board.
As I indicated yesterday, I would be pleased to provide the Member with an explanation for this section relating to the composition of the Fish and Wildlife Management Board.
The reference to possible appointments to the Fish and Wildlife Management Board of non-Yukoners is taken from chapter 16.7(4) of the umbrella final agreement.
The reason this qualifier was incorporated into the claims settlement, was to ensure that Yukon fish and wildlife resources continue to be managed by Yukoners and not by outsiders. The contrary has certainly not, nor has it ever been, part of our thinking in this regard.
Having said that, there may be some extraordinary circumstances where the additional flexibility allowed by this provision might be useful. For example, a situation might arise where a new Yukoner, who has much to contribute to wildlife management, but does not technically qualify as a resident, is nominated. The other situation may be where there is a qualified Yukoner temporarily living outside of the Yukon, sitting as a contributing member of the board. Under such circumstances it may be in the best interest of the Yukon to appoint that person. At present, we are unaware of any such circumstances, nor do we consider the likelihood of these circumstances arising in the future.
With regard to the broader question of appointment of outsiders to the board, the Yukon government has no intention to nominate or appoint non-Yukoners.
If we did receive such a nomination from First Nations, we would accord that nomination its due under the umbrella final agreement. This does not necessarily mean that we would automatically appoint such a person, however, appointments to the board remain within the jurisdiction of the Yukon government.
Given that this provision parallels chapter 16.7(4) of the umbrella final agreement, I think that all Members will appreciate that, at the present time, we are not in a position to revisit this matter with First Nations.
There was a question raised by the Member for Riverdale South with respect to further restrictions beyond the Environment Act and the Parks Act.
Proposed amendments to the Wildlife Act are intended to complement the provisions of the Environment Act and the Parks Act, not to exceed them.
With regard to the Environment Act, proposed amendments are fully consistent and simply provide additional clarification regarding our objectives to protect, preserve and enhance wildlife habitat.
Another use of the Wildlife Act is to legislate and regulate habitat, as opposed to the Environment Act, due to the fact that our jurisdiction in this area flows from the Yukon Act.
The Parks Act is slightly different, as it deals with different types of uses, for example, recreational, and affording park lands with a higher degree of protection than will be the case under proposed amendments to the Wildlife Act before us.
I would like to point out to the Member that all these acts provide for the permitting of an economic or development activity that may have an impact upon the environment. We simply require that such development proceeds in a responsible manner.
The Member for Riverdale South also talked about the power to designate habitat protection areas being too broad. While the Member is correct about the government having the power to designate habitat protection areas, this is not a new provision. The existing provisions of the act have exactly the same effect - that restraint has been, and will remain, common sense.
As stated yesterday, we have currently established two protected areas under land claims and expect that negotiations may require the establishment of more prior to the completion of all First Nation final agreements. While the designation will remain available to government as a habitat management tool, we can assure Members that it will not be applied recklessly or without full public consultation with interested stakeholders on a case-by-case basis.
With regard to the Members concern that habitat protection areas may interfere with either private, state or land claims settlement lands, I can reassure the Member that such lands are not subject to our proposed amendments under clause 35(1) or to the definition of development land.
With regard to the Commissioner in Executive Council purchasing land for the purpose of incorporation into a habitat protection area, this would only occur from a willing seller. In this regard, it is worth noting that designation as a habitat protection area does not preclude environmentally responsible development or other use of land or resources within such an area.
Finally, another concern was raised by the Member for Porter Creek South dealing with protected wildlife and the population revisions being too broad. I see this as a very modest change to what is currently in the act. The only effect this will have is to provide the legislative authority to declare a particular wildlife population be protected. We do not intend to apply this designation in any broad or exhaustive manner. Our principal concern is to have the legislative tool to protect a specific wildlife population whose survival may be threatened - for example, a woodland caribou herd, rather than all caribou in the Yukon.
This objective is supported by the language of the specially protected wildlife divisions, the stated intention being to make regulations to be observed and implemented for the protection or survival of the population, species or type.
Further to the Members request, I am not able to table any regulations relating to these provisions, because we are not currently intending to designate any population as protected. That designation will be applied as required. At such time as this is deemed necessary, a specific regulation will be drafted addressing the particular circumstance of the population and what measures will be taken for its protection.
This amendment is more or less a housekeeping measure, which will give specific legislative authority to government to permit more proactive and responsive management of wildlife resources.
I hope this response provides some answers to the Members inquiries of yesterday.
Mr. Phillips: As land claims are going on now, the Ministers department must have some idea of areas where they are going to protect the habitat. Could he give us an example of a specific area and what activities would be allowed or not allowed in that area to give us some idea of how this is going to work?
Hon. Mr. Webster: A good example of what the Member is requesting is Bear Cave Mountain in the north Yukon region which, as a Member who is supportive of the salmon treaty negotiations knows, is a critical habitat for spawning salmon. It would fall under the agreement with the Vuntut Gwichin First Nation. Any activity that would take place in that particular area could, of course, proceed if it had the proper authorization.
Mr. Brewster: I would like to thank the Minister for providing these draft changes. However, I have to listen to the Ministers charming voice and I cannot do that and read at the same time. I will have to read those later, probably after the debate.
I notice he talks about the people and land that will not be affected by this. Unfortunately, he did not mention the placer miners. We have a lot of small placer mining families whose very existence depends on this. They are people who live in the wilderness, too.
I must point out that they are continually accused of destroying property and land. I was fortunate enough, when I first came into government, during a placer mining hearing, to fly over most of those that were operated in the gold rush days. The Minister will be quite aware of this, as it is his area. Although there are a lot of rocks piled up in one area, they certainly have not destroyed things. There are poplar trees and willow trees and moose, where before there was nothing but a braided stream. In many cases, there is now a nice running stream that is banked by the windrows of rock put there by miners. Therefore, the fish have come to where there was not enough water for fish before. They have done some good.
The main concern I have is that a majority of Yukoners be on the board. I find it rather interesting, when I look back on the umbrella final agreement that was produced in 1990. In clause 16.74, on page 161, I find it very strange. It states that we follow this procedure. The Tetlit Gwichin come along right after that. Having a suspicious mind, this makes me think that the government knew all along they were going to get that land and that this is a provision for them to be able to put somebody on the board.
I also ask if the people from Lower Post get some land will they get a seat on the board? Will the Atlin First Nation put a person on the board? I have no problem with it being equal representation of First Nations and other Yukoners, as long as they are Yukoners. I object violently when people who do not live here - I know First Nations say that they do not accept boundaries; I do, they are surveyed and have been legal in law for many years - can come in and make laws for us, especially the Tetlit Gwichin, who received 600 square miles at the Bonnetplume and Peel Rivers. They can sit on that board and influence our laws here in the Yukon, but do not even live here. I have a real problem with that. I will be producing an amendment later that I suspect will be shot down, but I will try anyway.
I am very concerned. If we are going to live together, we must have a ball field that is plain and level. I hope the Minister got that one. It was a big bunch of words for me to say.
Right now, we are doing well with the Yukon people and the First Nations working together, but if we start bringing in people from other areas, regardless of whether the First Nation agrees on boundaries or not - which is another argument - we are going to turn a lot of people against this. We would be having non-Yukoners dictating to us on these boards.
If two or three representatives were put there by the First Nations from outside the Yukon, this board would not be a true Yukon board anymore. The Minister can stand up and say that is not going to happen. I want to see that in black and white, with the Ministers nice name written on the bottom, before I will believe it.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I cannot give any more assurances to the Member than I have already provided that the intent here is to have Yukon residents on the board - as all members of the board are at this time. I also want to remind the Member that the six nominees will come from Yukon First Nations, not from First Nations who are resident outside the territory. Again, that improves the chances of all Yukon residents being nominated as board members.
Mr. Brewster: I would point out that it is quite simple, and my amendment should be good. We should just change the majority to all, making all members residents of the Yukon. I think the Minister even agrees with me, unless he is talking politically and not presenting the facts.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I will take the suggestion of the Member for Kluane and deal with this at the appropriate time.
Mrs. Firth: I have some questions for the Minister, so that I can better understand how this is going to work.
The Minister said yesterday that it did not apply to private land. I see the Minister nodding his head yes, that it does not apply to private land. But, should the Minister want to designate a specific area that is owned privately as a habitat area, he can do that by acquiring, either through purchase or agreement, any property or interest therein for the purpose of habitat protection. Can we establish that fact first? If there was a private land owner and the Minister wanted to designate that particular land as a habitat area, that person could be expropriated - from the way I read that.
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, that is not the case. The government would have to acquire the land first before we would be in a position to declare that a protected habitat area site.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, we would have to acquire the land first. In other words, we would not be expropriating.
Mrs. Firth: I do not know what the difference is. The Member for Kluane asks what the difference is?
If the government wants a piece of land and the land is privately owned, you have to buy the land. Is that not the same as expropriating it? There may be a legal difference with respect to whether it is expropriating or just buying the land.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mrs. Firth: The difference depends on the price you pay. The Minister has agreed that if there is privately owned land, and the government wishes to designate it as a habitat area, the government has to purchase the land from the private owner before they can do that; is that the correct fact?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, that is the correct situation.
Mrs. Firth: I will let the Member for Kluane follow up with that question; it is a good question.
I would like to ask the Minister about that when we are talking about private land being designated as habitat areas as well. Where is that covered with respect to how much would be paid for the land, who makes the decisions, and how it is negotiated? Can the Minister tell me what the process is for acquiring that land?
Hon. Mr. Webster: If the Government of Yukon was interested in acquiring a piece of private property for the purpose of protecting some critical habitat, it would enter into negotiations with the owner of that land and try to negotiate a fair price for everyone. I believe that a private owner of the land would act in good faith and with a desire to see us accomplish our objective of protecting critical habitat that would benefit our fish and wildlife, and would enter those negotiations in good faith.
Mr. Brewster: The Minister is really being a politician today as he is going around in circles.
Let us suppose that this individual would not sell their land. The government would then expropriate, which means a judge would take it away from him. It is the same thing, except if it is expropriated, the poor individual is going to end up having to pay lawyers and fight and fight and fight.
I see the Minister is getting all shook up over this.
How much land has been expropriated in the Yukon in the past, or is this going to be a new law here?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I do not know where in this act we included the powers of expropriation, but it is certainly not our intent.
I would like to remind the Member for Kluane, in particular, that there are other examples in other acts where the government is trying to achieve other goals.
Situations have arisen similar to the one the Member described, whereby the government was interested in a piece of property for a certain purpose, but we have made no attempt to expropriate. One example that comes readily to mind is that of Silver City. We would like to have this property dedicated as a heritage site for the Yukon and do some work on it; however, it is in the hands of private owners. Despite our attempts to acquire that privately held land through negotiations with the owner, we made no attempts to expropriate when we received the refusal. I think that is an unfortunate consequence.
I see this as the same situation. It is not the intent of the Government of Yukon to simply say, Negotiations have failed to acquire this land, so we are going to expropriate.
Mr. Brewster: At least we have that on record, now. Supposing, for instance, I have 26 geese; they belong in Old Crow but have come down to stay because they like my bromegrass, just like the buffalo do, and they are eating in my front yard. Sometimes there are 300 to 400 ducks on the place. If the government wanted that, there is no way I would sell it to them. So they have a choice: either get off my back and leave me alone, or expropriate it.
I want to know: can they step in and force an individual to give away something? In my case, I have been trying to get title since 1953, and I am only just getting it, so I do not think I really scared people on this. They had lots of warning. There are lots of places like that. Does the Member mean to say that the government, if they want a place, can expropriate? I brought the lake back from being dry.
The reason I am saying this is because, number one, all the national park conservation officers and everybody else are down there all the time taking pictures and saying what a nice place it would be if Ducks Unlimited had been there. I frankly do not trust any of them. I have also been threatened with being dragged off from there with handcuffs, but I stayed and they have not got me yet.
I want to know that people who refuse to sell to government are going to be left alone by government.
Hon. Mr. Webster: For the third time, people who refuse to sell their property to the government will be left alone.
Mrs. Firth: I think the Minister is a great guy and he is really a nice person and all the rest of it, but I am not prepared to just say that, because there is such a great guy there right now and he is not going to expropriate anybody, it is not going to happen. This act gives the Minister the ability to do that. Clause 138.3(5) - the designated habitat protection areas - says The Commissioner in Executive Council may acquire by purchase or agreement any property or interest therein for the purpose of habitat protection.
With that clause will be attached regulations or a process. What we are talking about here is the process and how far the government of the day would be prepared to push it. This Minister is standing up and saying that, if there is an area the government wants to designate as a habitat area, they must feel very strongly about it if they enter into negotiations with an individual to purchase private land.
They must be committed to it being designated as a habitat area. Should that individual refuse, then the government has the ability to push it, according to regulation or how strong the lobby is, with respect to it being designated as a habitat area. Through a court process, that individual can be forced to sell for the market value of the land, and land may mean a lot more to the person than whatever the market value would be, as in the case of the Member for Kluane. The government has the ability to do that, according to this legislation. Unless the Minister can categorically say that that is not going to be allowed, that it is not true and demonstrate why it is not true, then we have to say that it can happen.
The Minister can say, Well, I am not going to do that, but he is not going to be the Minister of Renewable Resources forever and ever. He may not even be elected forever, so do not be shocked, Mr. Minister, that you may not be the Minister forever. Where is the safety net for individual private land owners that the government will not push it to the extent of taking it to court and expropriating?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Member opposite asked where the safety net is to prevent the government from pushing a private owner into selling the land or the government acquiring it through expropriation. I think that the safety net is in clause 138.3(5), which says, The Commissioner in Executive Council may acquire by purchase or agreement any property or interest therein for the purpose of habitat protection. That clause does not read The Commissioner in Executive Council may acquire by purchase or agreement or by expropriation any property or interest therein for the purpose of habitat protection.
Mrs. Firth: It is the word purchase. When you expropriate land, you still purchase that land; you pay for it. The difference is this: say the people do not want to sell the land, which is worth $200,000, so the individual landowner says, No way. I have been on that land for 50 years. My heart and soul are in that earth. I think that it is worth $300,000. The government takes it to court and the judge rules that the market value of the land is $200,000. The government can then expropriate and purchase the land for $200,000, and that individual has to stand by that ruling. So, the word purchase gives the government the ability to do that. Although this Minister may not have that intention in mind, the legislation still allows future Ministers that ability.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I must admit that the Member has me on a legal point I am not too familiar with. She is suggesting that, if the government expropriates land in exchange for a fair price of the land, even against the objections of the owner, that is a form of purchasing. I would see that as a form of fair compensation at a just value. Again, not being a lawyer, I do not know if the argument I am putting forth has any legal validity, but that is the way I interpret it.
Regardless of the legalities and the words used in this phrase, it is obviously quite clear that there is no mention at all that the Commissioner in Executive Council can acquire by expropriation.
Mrs. Firth: That is always the interesting thing about legislation and new laws: what the governments intention is and what the law and clause actually say. Those are the questions I always pose to people who are drafting legislation and bringing it forward. When I read it, I ask what it really means and what it gives the government the ability to do.
I would like to make a suggestion to the Minister. If it is not the intention of this government to push to the extent of expropriation in their process of acquiring privately owned land to be designated as habitat areas, the legislation should specify that, so the intention is made very clear. Otherwise, the ability is there just because of the term purchase.
If the Minister would like to discuss it with his officials, we could stand the clause aside. If it can be worded in such a way that it specifically says it is not the governments intention to push the process to expropriation, then I would have some comfort - as would a lot of other people - that that was not the governments intention, because it would be so stated.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I will certainly consider the Members suggestion on that particular clause.
Mr. Brewster: Before we go, when the Hon. Mr. Porter was in this House, and I was trying to get Silver City turned over to the government, the Hon. Mr. Porter suggested to me on two occasions that I bring into the House a piece of legislation or a motion that we should expropriate it. I said, No way, I do not do those things. At the same time, I know that this government believes in these things, because the present government in power believes that land belongs to the government and not to the people.
At that time, my understanding was that there was no law to expropriate anything in the Yukon. That is one reason why I would not even look at it or touch it. I am now wondering if someone has put something through in regulations so this can be done and we are unaware of it.
Let me put it this way: is there an expropriation law in the Yukon, either by regulations or by law, right now?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, there has been an Expropriation Act in the Yukon for years. I really cannot recall off the top of my head if it has ever been used.
But, if the government very seriously wanted to acquire Silver City, for example, as a heritage site, which all Yukoners thought was important, and the only way that the government could acquire that land - the owners having refused to sell that property - would be through expropriation, that tool is already available to us. We have not used this option.
Mr. Brewster: I would suggest that the Minister go back to what the Hon. Dave Porter said in Hansard. If I submitted a bill or motion to expropriate Silver City he would go with it.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister may want to consider an amendment to that clause, including but not by expropriation after the word agreement.
I know we have sort of moved from general debate and this is dealing with a specific area. I would like to go back to the general debate now. Perhaps when we come back to that specific clause, we will have some further suggestions or the Minister can make more comment about it.
Can the Minister give us some general examples of when a permit would be needed in a designated habitat area? I do not want to bring it down to too common a level for the Minister, but I am sure that he will understand the concern. Let us say that there is a designated habitat area, similar to a park, and people want to go in that area on four-wheelers or skidoos, and there is going to be some damage to the ground. I know four-wheelers damage the ground and I know skidoos can as well. Are people like that going to be required to have a habitat alteration permit?
Hon. Mr. Webster: According to the draft regulations that have been tabled today, people will be required to get a habitat alteration permit, if it is considered that the activity that they want to take part in will alter the habitat in that site.
Mrs. Firth: I conclude from what the Minister has just said that, yes, they will. If there is a designated habitat area and a group of people wanted to go in on four-wheelers or if people were camping and going out for some extra-curricular activity, they would have to have a habitat alteration permit to travel in that area on their four-wheeler.
Hon. Mr. Webster: It would depend to a great degree on what we were managing that particular area for - for example, if it was a sensitive critical habitat area for a waterfall.
Using the example of the Member opposite of four-wheeled activity, according to the management plan for that specific site, they may be required to fill out a permit and follow the conditions as specified in that permit.
Mrs. Firth: Hunting may be allowed in some of these habitat protection areas. I see the Minister nodding his head yes.
If we have a circumstance of the regulations and the act saying that one does not need a habitat alteration permit unless one has no other permits, does that apply to something like a hunting licence? For example, if someone has a four-wheeler, is going hunting in a specific area and has their hunting licence and tags, do they also need a habitat alteration permit? I am not being picky. These are real-life circumstances that are going to happen, and I would like to know how this legislation will affect those circumstances.
Hon. Mr. Webster: A hunting licence is not site specific. Obviously, having a hunting licence would not necessarily restrict one from hunting in any particular habitat protection area.
Mrs. Firth: The point is the other way around. The Minister has interpreted my point in a backward sort of way. I can see the point the Minister makes about it not being specific. The regulations essentially say that if someone goes into a habitat protected area to mine, or whatever, they require certain permits. If they already have those permits, they do not also need a habitat alteration permit. The ones they already have will accommodate them.
However, is a hunting licence so specific that, when one has it and the tags and so on and is going into a habitat protected area, is another permit required?
That brings me to the point I made to the Minister. The Minister said this piece of legislation just helps all the other pieces of legislation. I asked what further restrictions it may put on people. To me, that would be another permit that people would have to obtain to hunt in an area like that.
Hon. Mr. Webster: In reviewing the question, it really depends on what we are managing that specific area for, and we are not talking about a great number of areas that will be given such protection.
Mrs. Firth: That does not prevent the potential problem from arising. For the Minister just to say he does not have any yet and they do not plan on having a lot of those areas and so on, this can still become cumbersome to people who may want to use habitat areas. Perhaps not tomorrow, but in the future, I can see where people will be required to have more and more permits to enjoy the outdoors, which is what we always say is the great attraction about the north where we have the ability to go out into the bush and do our thing. We are not saying it should be wide open, where anybody can go out and chop down whatever tree they want and dig a hole wherever they want, but we either want to encourage people to get out there or we want to make it cumbersome for them. I have a concern this might be getting a bit cumbersome. Because we have a parks act, because we have an environment act, because we have other licensing procedures: this to me is just another permit requirement/licensing procedure and I cannot really say that I am convinced it is necessary.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I agree with the Member. We do want people to get out there and do their thing, but we also want them to do it in a very responsible manner. It is necessary to protect sensitive habitat and critical habitat areas in some parts of the territory, and perhaps some provisions and conditions should be put in place for people to follow just in case they do not possess sufficient common sense.
Mrs. Firth: With all due respect, no law is ever going to replace common sense.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I could not agree with the Member more completely; I know that common sense is not very common.
Chair: Is there any further general debate?
If not, we will proceed with clause-by-clause reading of the bill.
On Clause 1
Clause 1 agreed to
On Clause 2
Mrs. Firth: Perhaps I could ask a question where it states, authorization means a permit or disposition. Do we have permits already made up and processes for people to come and make applications?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, Madam Chair. The word permit is a generic term that government uses all the time. For example, land use permits, water use permits.
Mrs. Firth: (Inaudible).
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, it is a real permit.
Mrs. Firth: Do you have any made up yet?
Hon. Mr. Webster: They are already in existence now - a person receives an authorization, for example, to do mining and use water.
Mrs. Firth: So it is just a standard form?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes.
Mrs. Firth: I would like to ask one more question. If it is just a standard form for the permit, in the application there is quite a long list - (a) to (g) - of requirements, as well as supporting information that may be required. Does the government have the ability to collect all that information on that blank permit?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Is the Member referring to the draft regulations?
Mrs. Firth: Yes.
Hon. Mr. Webster: These only deal with applications for permits where no other act applies; in other words, when we have no information whatsoever on the nature of the activity.
Mrs. Firth: So this is another form that people would have to fill out: the application to get the permit, and then they get the permit?
Hon. Mr. Webster: We assume that most activities would already have a permit under some other piece of legislation. However, in the event that there is no permit provided for that activity to be allowed to proceed, you would require a permit under the regulations. That is right.
Mrs. Firth: I do not mean to upset you, Madam Chair, by asking questions; I hope that I am not upsetting you because I am asking another question. I think that I am entitled to that in here. I am simply trying to illustrate to the Minister the fact that, again, the government is creating all of this process for people to go through and it does sound quite cumbersome.
Chair: I would like to say to the Member that I am not upset when she asks questions; it is just that we have passed that section and cleared it and then she went back to it. This confuses Hansard, so that is probably why you are getting the look.
I am concerned about Hansard as well. Maybe the Member could just follow the proceedings and speak when you need to.
Mrs. Firth: With all due respect, we were moving quite quickly, with your leadership, Madam Chair, through the clauses and that is why I wanted to go back to it. Perhaps if we proceed a bit slower, Madam Chair, we will not get behind.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I think the point has to be made that we want to protect habitat areas that are critical; right now they have no protection whatsoever. Yes, unfortunately, we are going to have to have some permits in place, just as there are in many other statutes, requiring people to take out permits to give them authorization to proceed with their activity.
Clause 2 agreed to
On Clause 3
Clause 3 agreed to
On Clause 4
Clause 4 agreed to
On Clause 5
Clause 5 agreed to
On Clause 6
Mr. Brewster: I have a little problem when I read that. The old act refers to clause 32(2). I am presuming that that is the clause in the new act, is it? There is no such subclause in the old act, or is that a typographical error?
Chair: Are you referring to clause 6? It says 35(2) - is that the one?
Mr. Brewster: This is an example of where we forgot to make our legislation readable to the average person. We have gone back to the bureaucratic writing. I would just like it explained to me. I cannot find it in the old act. Does that mean clause 35(2) in the new act? There is no such clause in the old act.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Madam Chair, are we dealing with clause 35(2), which states, No person shall cause the wanton damage or destruction of habitat.? Is that where the Member is?
Mr. Brewster: I am not sure where the Minister is - did he go out for lunch or something?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Just as the Member for Riverdale South did, maybe I should also complain that we are moving too quickly. If I understand the Member correctly, we are on clause 6, which begins with paragraph 81(2)(b), right? Okay, now that I know where we are, what was the Members question again, please?
Mr. Brewster: I quit clearing things because they squawk that I go too fast, but I am always the slow one, so I do not understand what is going on here at all. I will try to explain to the Minister again: we are on clause 6, and I am asking what it means when it takes out clause 35(2). Is that trying to take it out of the old act where it does not exist, or is it a typo, or am I reading it wrong?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Clause 35(2) is a reference to wanton destruction or damage. There was a similar clause in the old act, but it has now been renumbered.
Mr. Brewster: I have no problem, except that there is no clause 35(2) in the old act. There is only one line, so I am presuming that the Minister turned around and wrote all these lines when he made the new one up, which is quite a bit longer than the old one was. Is that correct?
What I am trying to find out is if (2) was just put into this new act, or was it taken out of the other one?
Chair: Can I ask the Member what the date on that book is?
Mr. Brewster: I am not very old, so it cannot be very old.
It is 1986. I would say that is when the government gave it to me, so I know we are up to date. The government would not give me something that is not up to date.
Mr. Nordling: Perhaps I can help the Member. If the Member for Kluane looks at paragraph 5, which we just cleared, right up above paragraph 6, what we have done is to do away with clause 35 in the 1986 book and replaced it with this new section. Then we revised paragraph 81(2) to be consistent with the new clause 35. Just this instant, we have created a new clause 35. In 81(2)(b), we mentioned the new clause 35(2). That is why it does not appear in the old book. We just made a new clause 35 a moment ago.
Mr. Brewster: I would like to thank the lawyer on my left. It is a good thing he was here because we were getting into quite a mess. Apparently, to go through these, I need a lawyer to help me. I did not realize I was that dumb.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I, too, would like to thank the Member for Porter Creek West for his explanation. Obviously, it was more succinct than mine.
Clause 6 agreed to
On Clause 7
Mr. Nordling: Clause 7 refers to an amendment to clause 138.3(5). I wonder if we could stand that over for the Minister to bring back an opinion on whether it would do any harm to add the words but not by expropriation after the word agreement, so the clause would read, The Commissioner in Executive Council may acquire by purchase or agreement, but not by expropriation, any property or interest therein for the purpose of habitat protection. Otherwise, the Minister can come back and say that a legal interpretation says that purchase or agreement does not include expropriation and that could not be done, in which case it can be left the way it is.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I would prefer to stand this clause over to obtain a legal interpretation to see if any changes are indeed necessary.
Chair: We are going to go through this one by one anyway.
Mr. Brewster: I move
THAT Bill No. 7, entitled An Act to Amend the Wildlife Act, be amended in clause 7 at page 3 at 138.1(2) by deleting the subclause and substituting for it the following:
(2) That members of the Board shall be Yukon residents.
Chair: It has been moved by the Member for Kluane
THAT Bill No. 7, entitled An Act to Amend the Wildlife Act, be amended in clause 7 at page 3 at 138.1(2) by deleting the subclause and substituting for it the following:
(2) The members of the Board shall be Yukon residents.
Is there any debate on this amendment?
Mr. Brewster: I brought this up because, as I said in general debate, I just do not think it is fair for people outside the Yukon to be sitting on a board and telling Yukon people what to do. The Ministers example is a little weak. I do not think we need any experts from outside telling Yukoners how to look after their game. In fact, if they had listened to the First Nations and a few other people, including the Yukon Wildlife Management Board, we would not have the problem we now have with wolves. Instead of that, we brought in an expert who is going to start all over; he is going to be a big hero and go all over the Yukon, while we have nine little calves left in one area.
Another example is the $13,000 put out for a trapping instructor. We have people like Alex Van Bibber, who know more about trapping than any of us in this building or anywhere else, and who is used all the time by the Yukon Trappers Association and the Renewable Resources people. However, we bring this outside expert in for $13,000, and we do not get one wolf. I think we had better get back to the people in the Yukon.
I have no problem with the First Nations having equal representation on the board, as long as they are Yukoners. I will never accept bringing people in from other places by saying there are no boundaries there. There is a boundary there, and it is there for a number of reasons. There is a boundary there because the laws made by the legislators in each area are different, taxes are different, and so on. The boundary is there, and it is a legal boundary. It is surveyed in most places, it cost Canadian taxpayers a lot of money, and I do not accept bringing people in from other areas to sit on these boards.
Theoretically - although I do not think the First Nations would recommend it - we could end up with three or four people from nations outside the Yukon sitting on that board, and I think that is plumb ridiculous. As I said, the thing that scares me is that this clause was put in the umbrella agreement of March 1990 to protect the Tetlit Gwichin when they took over the 600 square miles. If I could prove that, I would be a very upset man, because that means that the government knew what the settlement was going to be up there all along.
I just want everything to belong to Yukoners.
I was not born in the Yukon, but the Yukon has been good to me and I will go down fighting for the Yukon and being left out of everybody elses land grabbing.
I have had enough of experts coming from outside the territory, taking our money and leaving.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mr. Brewster: I can remember many years ago when Mr. Fitzgerald was the game commissioner and they brought in an expert. I was talking to Mr. Fitzgerald and asked him where the expert came from. He said, All you have to do is cross the border at Watson Lake and there are experts on the Yukon. They know the Yukon completely. You can also take, for example, the so-called experts that wrote about wolf control. These same people are the ones who squawked when we managed the Finlayson caribou herd. We proved we were right and as a result we now have 7,000 animals in the herd, compared to less than 2,000 then. They are the same people; I can show you their letters. They are the so-called experts. They have never been up here and they do not intend to come. I do not want some person being appointed to the board just because he has a great big university diploma. I want Yukoners sitting on that board.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to assure the Member that we, too, want Yukoners sitting on the board. The present status of all members of that board is that they are resident Yukoners; however, in some cases there may be exceptions to the rule and that is what this clause does. This clause provides us with some flexibility to appoint people who may temporarily, for one reason or another, have lost their status as Yukon residents. For example, a renewable resource management person may have been out of territory to attend school for two years or to take a course. This would result in them temporarily losing their Yukon-resident status. We may know that that person is returning in a month or two, or within a short period of time, and we would like to make use of that Yukoners expertise on the board.
Mr. Brewster: Here we go again. When you go out to school, or you are a government employee and you go to Ottawa, or you are a teacher who goes out for training and comes back, you do not lose your status as a resident - not even to vote. Do not hand me that malarkey. You had better come up with a better excuse than that.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Perhaps I did use the wrong example. Perhaps it was just a work experience outside, which may not have anything to do with the government.
I am getting some hints that it is time to call an end to the day. Madam Chair, I move that you report progress on Bill No. 7.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Webster: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
May the House have a report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole?
Ms. Kassi: The Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 93, entitled Electoral District Boundaries Act, and directed me to report it with amendment. Further, Committee considered Bill No. 44, entitled An Act to Amend the Liquor Act, and directed me to report it without amendment. Further, Committee considered Bill No. 7, entitled An Act to Amend the Wildlife Act, and directed me to report progress on it.
Speaker: You have heard the report of the Chair of Committee of the Whole.
Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Mrs. Firth: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Member for Riverdale South 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 5:29 p.m.