Wednesday, May 27, 1992 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. At this time, we will proceed with Prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed with the Order Paper.
Introduction of Visitors.
Are there any Returns or Documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have for tabling a letter of response to Northern Denture Clinic Limited.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I have a legislative return for tabling.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Are there any Petitions?
Introduction of Bills.
Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Notices of Motion.
Statements by Ministers.
Family violence alarm system
Hon. Ms. Joe: I rise to inform Members of this House that the Department of Justice will soon be implementing a pilot project to distribute silent alarms to women and families at serious risk. This system will give victims of domestic violence an added measure of safety by helping to reduce their burden of fear and overcome their powerlessness. The system is unique to the Yukon in that it will be linked directly to the RCMP, giving women immediate access to police protection. The system also provides an important opportunity to enhance existing victim services and develop meaningful community-based policing initiatives.
As all Members are aware, domestic violence is something no woman and her children should ever have to live with - yet many of them live with it just the same. And sadly, their physical, mental and emotional pain is often endured in silence and shame. This situation, inflicted by abusive men, is unacceptable. Wives, mothers, sisters, girlfriends and children do not deserve to be victims of fear, violence or abuse.
I believe we can make a difference in some lives. Through our policy of reducing the incidence and tolerance of family violence in the territory, we can try to reach women and their children who are under special duress. For them, the threat of harm is so great that extraordinary measures need to be taken to prevent injury or death. The silent alarm program is such a measure.
Our program is based on a model developed just over a year ago by the Winnipeg police department and recently adopted by other cities in Canada and the United States. In these cities, silent alarms are installed in the homes of victims of domestic violence where the threat of imminent danger may result in a sudden life and death situation. The alarm system includes a small auto-dialer control unit and a portable panic-button that can be carried by the victim. When in danger, the victim pushes the button. That signals the control unit to dial the RCMP automatically. Once the alarm is sent, it cannot be cancelled until the RCMP arrive at the scene and assess the situation. After the threat that prompted the alarm has been dealt with, a volunteer from the RCMPs victim services unit will arrive to provide further assistance to the woman.
The system is credited with saving at least one life in Winnipeg. In that case, a husband broke into his wifes house, armed himself with a knife and hid in the basement, waiting for her to return home. Unknown to him, children in another part of the house activated the system, and police officers arrested him before he could do harm to his wife.
This is the kind of situation the silent alarm program is designed to address. The women and their children would be identified, either by a court order or through a consultation process that takes into consideration situations where violence has occurred or where death threats may be involved. This process, coordinated by the RCMP, will also determine when a unit should be removed. Officials from the Winnipeg police department, the originators of the system, say false alarms are not a problem because its alarm coordinator speaks to all victims prior to installation. In this way, the victim understands the intent of the system and the seriousness with which the police respond to the alarm. To date, out of the 12 systems available to women in Winnipeg, only one has ever been removed for misuse.
Following an initial planning phase this summer, the Department of Justice intends to make approximately four alarms available for distribution by October 1, starting with the Whitehorse area. The pilot project will also be reviewed on a regular basis to determine its effect. If the evaluation is positive, the project can be extended to other communities.
It is a stated goal of our government to invest in healthy communities, but that health is compromised each time a woman and her children are made victims. That is why we must act clearly and decisively to get the message out that none of us will tolerate violence and abuse.
In short, the Department of Justice and the RCMP full support this community-based policing initiative in the Whitehorse area. The silent alarm pilot project is designed to give women a chance to take control of their lives by saying no to fear.
Mr. Phillips: We on this side support this particular initiative and applaud the government for the steps it is taking here today. I know that the system has functioned very well in Winnipeg; I am aware of the system in that area and I know it has proven very successful there, and they are talking about expanding it.
I have some concerns, though. The Minister talks about initiating it in the Whitehorse area, which is fine, because the telephone system is such here that it can be done; but in such remote communities as Old Crow and Upper Liard, where something like this is badly needed, there are party lines and limited telephone service, and it would be more cumbersome to install that system there. Does the Minister have any ideas on how the system could eventually be put in place Yukon-wide?
Mrs. Firth: I, too, think this is a positive initiative on behalf of the government. However, I find it difficult to assess how positive, because I do not think I know enough about the system.
Could the Minister give us more detail about a comparative system? Is this like the Line of Life initiative the senior citizens have? Does it operate on a similar basis? What connection would there be between this system and, perhaps, a 911 system?
How portable are the panic buttons, and how far can the person wearing the reactor go before they are considered to be out of range? Is that a concern?
We look forward to seeing how it is going to work.
Can the Minister give us some idea of the cost? If they are only looking at four, have they done an analysis to see how many they may need in the future? Obviously, four is not going to be enough to accommodate all the individuals who may need one. Does she have some idea about what we may be needing in the future to finalize the program?
If the Minister could provide us with more detail, we would appreciate it. We certainly think it is an initiative worth trying, and we hope it is successful.
Hon. Ms. Joe: The Member for Riverdale North asked about a Yukon-wide system and how effective that system would be in other communities, with the problems with the telephone lines. I think that is something that is yet to be determined.
We know for a fact that we can effectively set this system up in Whitehorse. The system is quite new in Canada and it is not widely used, but it is something that we have found that we could tap into because of the need for it. The need would have to be determined through further study for a Yukon-wide system.
We are looking at installing the system in some of the communities, but I think in Whitehorse we will find out how effective it is and how well it is used, and how we can depend on the system.
At this time, it is difficult to assess how positive the system is, but it appears to be very positive in some of the cases where it is used in other parts of Canada. It allows protection to those individuals who need the system. It was only last week, or the week before, that I was talking to one of the women who would love to see something like this, because she is being harassed and there is a court order with restrictions on the offender; however, the offender continues to follow her and do all sorts of things. This type of system would be very effective in this case and in other cases as well.
I have further information available regarding a system in Calgary, that sets out the use, portability and the range area, and how effective it is.
I cannot give the Members all of that information at this time, but I will make sure that the Members on the opposite side will receive that written information.
Initially, the program will cost us $7,000 to $8,000 dollars. This anticipated cost is for the four units. There is definitely a need. We will be looking at how great that need is and what the cost would be to do it territory-wide. For now we are planning on using only four units as a pilot project.
Speaker: This then brings us to Question Period.
Question re: Young Offenders Secure Custody Facility, escapees
Mr. Lang: Over the past month, the public witnessed a Minister breaking all the rules of protocol, and possibly even breaking the law, in her involvement with the escape of two young offenders.
The Minister went so far as to try to reassure the public that one of the escapees was a big Saint Bernard pup who was incarcerated only for property offences. We found out, via the media, that was not true, and that charges of assault are currently being considered by the court. Last evening we were informed that the Minister is now instigating a witch-hunt for the alleged leak of that information.
Where is the fair play? The Minister breaches the rules, errs drastically in judgment and pleads her case to the public on sincerity and good intentions; yet, when a public servant feels that the public was misinformed and should be told of the seriousness of the situation - as opposed to what the public was initially told - an investigation is launched.
How can the Minister justify this double standard and this action, when she, herself, broke every rule there was?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: First of all, I will correct some of the statements made in the preamble. I did not break the law - that has been made very clear - and there is no witch-hunt instigated by me or my office.
The Department of Health and Social Services, as does any other department, runs its own personnel matters. This is a personnel matter. The department is within its mandate to investigate a potential breach of confidentiality. It is doing so.
Mr. Lang: I beg to differ. There are two standards being set here. The Minister knows that she broke every rule there is in respect to what took place in that chain of events. She misinformed the public - not on one occasion, but on a number of occasions - about what took place. My concern is that we now have the Minister who broke all these rules saying that she is going to launch a witch-hunt into her department...
Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please get to the supplementary question.
Mr. Lang: ...and feels justified in doing it. I ask the Minister why she is setting a double standard and prepared to accept a double-standard principle?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: Whether the Member can accept it or not, I again reiterate that I did not break the law.
I did not instigate any kind of personnel investigation. Personnel is the mandate of any department. The Member knows that very well. It is within the departments responsibility to make those kinds of decisions. I did not make those decisions.
Mr. Lang: It is amazing how, when things get dicey on that side of the House, ministerial responsibility no longer plays a role, unless they are out cutting a cake.
Why is this witch-hunt investigation being launched when the deputy minister herself has indicated, and I quote: It looks like not enough information was released to fully identify the individual to proceed under the Young Offenders Act. In other words, she said the law was not broken.
Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please get to the supplementary question.
Mr. Lang: Why is the Minister launching and supporting this particular investigation when the deputy minister admits there is no grounds for it, under the Young Offenders Act?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: The Member seems to be hard of hearing. I am not launching an investigation. This is a personnel matter and it is the departments responsibility as to whether it is done or not.
While I am on my feet, may I correct the record on another matter? I wish to correct the record on my statement made during the supplementary debate on Yukon Housing Corporation, wherein I informed the Member that changes to the mortgage programs made two years ago included mobile homes in mobile home parks. To set the record straight -
Speaker: Order please. I would like to see this type of thing tabled, after which it could be discussed.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: Fine, I will do so, Mr. Speaker.
Question re: Young Offenders Secure Custody Facility, escapees
Mr. Lang: I want to pursue further the investigation launched by the Minister. Although she claims no responsibility for it, she is the Minister responsible for the department. I am concerned about the extent of this so-called investigation and would direct my question to the Minister of Justice. The newspaper reports indicate that the computer that provided the alleged leak of information is located in the justice building and, therefore, would also, I would imagine, come under the scrutiny of this personnel investigation - or what some people are referring to as a witch-hunt. Could the Minister of Justice tell us to what extent her department is being investigated by the Minister of Health and Social Services?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I am not aware that my department is being investigated by the Department of Health and Social Services. I am not entirely sure whether the kind of information the Member speaks of would be available in the computer at the court-house, which is available to the media. I do not know how the two would tie in.
If the Member wants to clarify his question a bit, I would be happy to answer it.
Mr. Lang: The public service has a right to know who is being investigated in this quest for truth the Minister is now so intent upon. She sometimes ignored it when she was informing the public on this matter.
In view of the fact that the information that was made public came, according to the newspaper report, from the media computer in the Andrew Philipsen Law Centre, could the Minister of Health and Social Services tell us who is under scrutiny and investigation by this open government?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I understand that the information was made available to the reporter through the computer at the court-house, which is made available by court services. I understood the information she received came from a computer. However, understanding that, if someone seeks information on a young offender, there is a display on the computer that says, Young offender file exists but cannot be displayed. I would question that reporter gathering that information through knowing the name of the offender and seeking information with regard to anything that pertains to that individual.
That is the kind of information that is made available. I understand that is the kind of information that was received. Despite that, there was further information released in the media with regard to all those offences attributed to that young offender long before the information appeared in the paper last night.
Mr. Lang: I do not think I got an answer to my question. What I wanted to know is: to what extent was this all-out probe within the government taking place? I understand that the information actually came from the justice building. I will ask the Minister of Health and Social Services: to what extent is this investigation taking place? Are the people within that particular branch of the Department of Justice under investigation, as well as all of the staff and personnel within the Department of Health and Social Services, as well as those in the secure facility?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I do not know how the reporter received the information that was in the Whitehorse Star last night. I cannot tell him that, but I do not think that is the kind of information that one would pick up from the computer in the court-house. It is there to accommodate the media with respect to obtaining other information, so that they do not have to go into the court services area to find information that is available to them; however, I do not think that that has anything to do with what the Member is talking about that was indicated in the article in the Whitehorse Star last night.
Question re: Emergency telephone number/911
Mrs. Firth: I want to follow up with the Minister for Community and Transportation Services on a similar issue to the announcement the Minister made today about alarm systems. It is about the 911 number. The Minister and I have been communicating for some time with respect to this issue. In his last communication, the Minister indicated to me that they would be making an announcement this spring about the 911 number. Since then, we have had the RCMP announce that they are going to have a standardized number system, and we have had the Minister make an announcement about a new alarm system that is going to require some sophisticated technology. I would like to ask the Minister when he will be making an announcement with respect to whether or not Yukoners are going to have a 911 emergency response system.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I expect to release publicly this governments position with respect to the 911 issue, very soon, and within the next few weeks.
As the Member knows, we have had a very broad-based committee of experts, technicians and public interest representatives reviewing the matter over the past year. The committee filed a report with me some time ago and there was some inconclusive information in the report, which we have been examining. That information has now been gathered, and I am now in the position of gathering as much information as I would like to have, and I will be making my position on behalf of this government known very soon.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister had also given me a commitment to provide me with a copy of the report, and I have not yet received a copy of the report. Will the Minister provide me with it?
My concern about the announcement that was made today is that I can perceive some overlapping technology requirements that would be consistent with the 911 number. Can the Minister enlighten us about that? Can the Minister tell us if he has discussed this new alarm system with the Minister of Justice, and is there some overlap with the technology? My final question is: has the decision been made?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The decision respecting 911 has not been made. The matter of the technology announced by the Minister of Justice is not going to affect a decision respecting 911. Representation on the committee that has addressed the issue of the possibility of a 911 service in the Yukon has examined many options and variations of service. I am quite comfortable, in respect of the announcement that the Minister made today, that it will not impact on the decision respecting 911, nor on the technology surrounding it.
Mrs. Firth: Will the Minister provide me with a copy of the report this afternoon?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have every intention of providing the Member with a copy of the report. Part of the reason that I have not, to date, is because of some of the inconclusive information in the report. We now have that information. In addition to the report, I will also provide the additional information that has been gathered about costs, the technology and procedures regarding emergency service. This information will be compiled within the next few days, in order that the Member will have a complete picture.
If, over the next couple of weeks, we announce a final decision about emergency response service, the public will be made aware of all information that we have gathered to support the decision we make.
Question re: Taga Ku convention centre project, hotel space requirement study
Mr. Phillips: I have a question for the Minister responsible for Yukon Development Corporation regarding the need for a new hotel complex in Whitehorse.
Yesterday the Minister tabled a document in this House entitled, The Taga Ku Hotel/Convention Centre Feasibility Studyies. He stated that this document clearly demonstrated a need for new hotel space in Whitehorse.
IToday I am tabling a letter sent to the Government Leader from the B.C.-Yukon Hotel Association. This letter expresses grave concerns over more hotel space in Whitehorse. It states that existing hotels average about 90-percent occupancy in June, July and August, but less than 30-percent during the remaining nine months.
The B.C.-Yukon Hotel Association points out that more hotel rooms in the Whitehorse area, at this point in time, will not create new jobs. On the contrary, it will be at the expense of existing jobs.
Is the Minister aware of the B.C.-Yukon Hotel Associations concern? Has he met with this organization since receiving a copy of the letter to discuss those concerns?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The question the Member raises is a very broad one. I believe the letter he has tabled is a very recent one from the hotel association, and the Member can confirm that. I have seen the letter and I understand the point made in it, but the report I filed with the Clerk yesterday makes the point emphatically that a particular hotel class is much needed in the Whitehorse area. It makes a second point: that the type of hotel being encouraged is going to create a new clientele of service and will not compete with the existing hotel services that are provided. I can further advise the Member, and the House, that I have sought permission from the proponents of Taga Ku to provide the House with additional studies that have been done since the report in 1988. There are some four or five additional documents and feasibility studies referring to the need for this particular type of hotel accommodation. I have just received that permission today and will be filing those documents tomorrow.
Mr. Phillips: I hope we are not creating a really high-class hotel here, in which we will place all the government consultants and government people who come up here to discuss things with the government at our expense.
The Minister did not really answer my question. I asked the Minister if he had seen the letter and he replied that he had. The letter was dated May 12, I believe, which is over two weeks ago. Since seeing the letter, has the Minister made any attempts to meet with and discuss this situation with the B.C.-Yukon Hotel Association? They are extremely concerned about the viability of not only this hotel but the effect of this hotel on their operations in the future, especially in the winter months, when there is quite a low occupancy.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The hotel association raises a concern that, in their view, is a valid one and I believe the issue ought to be discussed. My office has forwarded the letter to the proponents of the Taga Ku hotel/convention centre project with the suggestion that the proponents sit down with the industry to discuss what their intentions are in respect to the level of service, the type of clientele and the nature of the convention trade they hope to attract to Whitehorse and the Yukon with this particular project.
I think there is room for a balanced view on the issue. My understanding is that, with the convention centre and the Holiday Inn association, a certain clientele that has never come to Whitehorse will be coming here; so that ought not to be in competition but, in order to clarify that kind of thing, there is room for discussion and I have encouraged that discussion to occur.
Mr. Phillips: It sounds like we are talking about a whole new tourist trade that no one thought was around. It will be interesting to see if it actually happens.
I would like to ask the Minister if he could update us on the Taga Ku project. Does he have any new information to share with us on its status? It is still a vacant lot, although cleaned up a bit more, but there is still a messy dirt pile with torn poly over it. A lot of people would be happy if that was resolved. Does the Minister now know if the project is going to go ahead and if the Government of Yukon is going to commit more funds than it already has to the project?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I think the Member is aware that, through his efforts, my efforts and those of the Member for Mayo, some clean-up work was done. This was promptly followed by the proponents themselves, who sent in a contractor to tidy up the whole property. That has been done. I am sure the Member is pleased, as am I.
I can advise Members that this government has had a formal request from the proponents to support the project further in the amount of a $2 million loan guarantee. I can advise Members further that I have responded on behalf of the government that our conditions surrounding any further support remain the same. The original terms of the tender for space and our understanding of convention space, as well as our insistence that the necessary $43 million be irrevocably in place, still stand. What is beginning to occur now is an examination of the senior financing being assembled by the proponents.
Question re: Yukon Energy Corporation, Mayo-Dawson transmission line
Mr. Phelps: I also have some questions of the Minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation. Some people tell me that YDC stands for Yukon Damage Control. Rather than getting into the damage control aspect of the job, I am more concerned about development.
In particular, my questions have to do with the proposed Mayo-Dawson transmission line. We have been asking to have the feasibility study tabled here, and the Minister seems to be dragging his feet in that regard.
Is it true that the feasibility study shows that the proposed Mayo-Dawson transmission line is not economically feasible?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I can hardly support the Members preamble about damage control. For a corporation that does so many wonderful things in support of the Yukons economy, not to forget the excellent provision of electrical service, it becomes difficult for me to understand what the Member may be talking about.
On the Mayo-Dawson transmission line, I have now had an opportunity to review one of the feasibility studies that seems to have been supplied to the Member before I saw it. I can confirm that, in strict economic terms, the feasibility study does suggest that there could be an impact on rates or the need for some additional investment to make the project viable.
At the moment, we are examining that. Until the time the corporation makes its decision about whether it is going to proceed with that project, cancel it, defer it, or modify it, I cannot really comment. It is a decision that will be made by the corporation, and it will have a tremendous influence on the Utilities Board hearings. I can hardly comment further.
Mr. Phelps: It takes the Minister a long time to say yes, but I am rather curious about the fact that the answers the Minister received are not the answers that the government expected and wanted.
Is it the intention in this case, as it has been in the past when committees do not come forward with the conclusion that the government wants - I am referring to the wolf control situation; I am referring to the hazardous waste storage site situation - to form a new group, to go out and consult and come back with the right answer?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: No.
Mr. Phelps: The Minister is learning and I am pleased.
Does the feasibility study express the grave concern about power fluctuations due to the low amount of power available and the length of the transmission line from Mayo to Dawson? Due to fluctuation, the power would not be very good.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: One of the feasibility reports does speak to a lot of technical aspects about the transmission line. Clearly, the length of a line and the size of the line capacity are some of the items discussed at some length.
I am not sure what the Member is asking. I have every intention, when the corporation makes its decision, to share the information with Members. I will be quite prepared to provide another copy of the study to the Member, which he seems to already have.
Question re: Bison relocation
Mr. Brewster: My question is for the Minister of Renewable Resources. In a phone conversation and then by letter dated February 11, 1992, the Minister indicated to me that the Canyon Creek renegade buffalo would be moved this spring, as soon as the new buffalo for the Nisling area arrive. Today, I received a phone call from the Champagne-Mendenhall area advising me that these buffalo had, once again, knocked down a fence and that horses were now running loose as a result. Spring is past - what happened? Let us hear the sorry story.
Hon. Mr. Webster: As the Member well knows, spring has not yet arrived in the territory. On a more serious note, however, I did make the intention known that the bison, which have taken up residence along the Alaska Highway in the Canyon Creek area, would be moved this spring using the same form of transportation used to bring the bison up that were scheduled to be placed in the corral at the Nisling River. Unfortunately, that did not happen for a number of reasons. The primary reason was that another bison establishment program outside - one of the options we had considered at the time - was not in a position to receive our 15 renegade bison on the Alaska Highway.
Mr. Brewster: It appears that, once again, these buffalo have buffaloed this government. A corral was built for $9,000 at Canyon Creek. This corral was built on Champagne/Aishihik land. Who owns this corral now?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am not certain whether the corral was built on Champagne/Aishihik land, although the Champagne/Aishihik First Nation was provided with the contract to construct that corral, which will be used in the future to hold the captured bison for eventual removal.
Mr. Brewster: They might have to move the corral. The bison are about 40 miles away from it right now.
An Alaskan truck driver hit a buffalo last winter and damaged his truck. Did this government make a settlement with this gentleman?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, this government did not make a settlement with the gentleman who was driving on the highway at too great a speed and unfortunately hit one of these bison.
Question re: Sa Dena Hes mine, explosion
Mr. Nordling: I have a question for the Minister of Justice with respect to the bunk-house explosion at the Sa Dena Hes mine December 22, 1991.
Which government departments became involved? Were any reports made and have all investigations been finalized?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I did receive some information in regard to the explosion at Sa Dena Hes mine. I was advised that a decision was made not to investigate because they did not consider the bunk-house to be a work site. In addition, the explosion was being investigated by the fire marshal and the RCMP. After one of the employees came to the occupational health and safety branch with some concerns, the department did seek legal advice on whether or not they would consider the bunk-house to be a work site. I have not received any final reports. Legal advice is still being sought in regard to the matter.
Mr. Nordling: It is my understanding that the men who were injured in that explosion, and who lost possessions, are having difficulty in getting compensation for their losses. Is the government assisting those men in any way?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member has asked whether or not the personal possessions of people would be covered under workers compensation, I would guess. According to Workers Compensation Board policy, there is some limited access to board funds for compensating people for loss of personal possessions. I can get a copy of that board policy for the Member. I am not sure whether I can get a quick response to the kind of compensation that was paid to the workers, but I am assuming it would all be done according to board policy.
Mr. Nordling: My concern is that there is some difficulty in determining responsibility for the explosion. Northland Kaska Corporation and Curragh Inc. are involved, and there are men in the bunk-house who were injured personally and have been receiving some Workers Compensation Board compensation; but there is also the loss of possessions and I would like to know from the Minister of Justice whether the fire marshall reached a conclusion and prepared a final report, and whether all investigations have been completed - not just a legal investigation being done as to whether this government should have investigated the explosion or not.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I would have to bring that specific information back to the House. I have received only preliminary information to advise me of certain matters that we felt the Member might bring up in Question Period. If I have that information available, certainly I will provide it to the House tomorrow.
Question re: South Yukon Truckers Association
Mr. Devries: The Minister has had a little rest now - I have a question for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services. The South Yukon Truckers Association sent the Minister a letter in April regarding the formation of an association to deal with the problems surrounding the deregulation of the trucking industry in the Yukon. As the Minister is aware, the Yukon is now wide open and one of the concerns is that Yukon truckers do not have reciprocal privileges south of the Yukon border. Has the Minister discussed this matter with his department?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am aware of the communication from the trucking association in the Members riding on the subject. Part of the problem that exists and that the association raises questions about is the use of B.C. truckers hauling Yukon logs to Skagway. I cannot tell the Member that there is anything this government can do on that particular point, largely because it is clearly a federal matter, under the federal Motor Vehicle Transport Act. Any time truckers move across borders, there is absolutely no jurisdiction or authority in the territory or the adjoining province; it is governed as a federal matter. What we have influence over is the point-to-point haulage that occurs within our jurisdiction. That does not appear to be the specific problem in this case, but I can tell the Member that we have had a long history of dealing with the trucking association of the territory - not the newly formed one in the Members riding - in trying to address many of the problems and questions they have raised.
Mr. Devries: This problem will be coming up again shortly, as truckers will be hauling logs from Rancheria to Watson Lake. This is within the Yukon jurisdiction. There is a saying around town that they are here today and gone tomorrow, often leaving bills in town. Again, I ask the Minister if he is planning to do something about this problem of B.C. truckers hauling logs within the Yukon.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: That is a matter we can do something about and we have. I have spent a lot of time, as did my predecessor, working with the local truckers to address the concerns that have come out of the deregulatory process in transportation that has occurred since 1985. It is a complex problem, in that the deregulation that has occurred was done with a lot of consultation with the industry; in fact, at its request.
What we have done with some of their concerns is to require much tougher standards for outside truckers who do point-to-point haulage within the Yukon. We have revised the application forms for operating authority. We have required a local presence by the outside trucker to be part of the operating authority. We have gone as far as we can, short of throwing out deregulation. That is the complexity of the problem now.
Mr. Devries: I think the Minister has an ideal opportunity here to gain a few brownie points with the local truckers. I would like to ask him if he would be willing to arrange to come to Watson Lake to have a meeting with the truckers association to look into this. While he is down there, I would be happy to entertain him with some good Dutch food.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member will be pleased to know that I could easily reciprocate with other ethnic culinary treats.
I have no problem talking to the truckers and helping them to understand the complexity of the problem. What we have to recognize is that part of the regime that is in place now is one that went through all the consultation hoops before it was introduced. It was requested by the industry. We have responded quite generously in terms of trying to offset the local economic impact that has occurred as a result of deregulation.
The fact remains that a large part of it is still federal regulation, over which we have no influence, especially in cross-border transportation of goods.
Yes, I would be quite willing, at my earliest convenience, to spend time in the Members riding, talking to the association. I intend to have a very extensive response to the correspondence they have sent me.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now lapsed. We will now proceed with Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Speaker: Opposition Private Members Business.
Mr. Phillips: I would like to request unanimous consent for a change in the order of business that has been identified for this afternoon. The new order of business, agreed to by the House Leaders, is as follows: Motion No. 23, Second Reading of Bill No. 102, Motion No. 13, Motion No. 25.
Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?
All Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: Unanimous consent has been granted.
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS
Motion No. 23
Clerk: Motion No. 23, standing in the name of Mr. Phillips.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Member for Whitehorse Riverdale North
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Government of Yukon should not use taxpayers money to sponsor advertisements of a partisan, political nature.
Mr. Phillips: I believe that the motion brought forward today is a commonsense motion. It is a motion dealing with what Yukoners would expect of their government, and I think that it is a motion that has come forward today because of the circumstances that have happened over the past few weeks.
In the past weeks, we have been subjected to many government ads, both on the radio and in the print media. I might add that most of the newspaper ads are very large ads, utilizing big, bold print, with pictures of various individuals in them. The radio ads are very expensive, well-done ads produced by local businesses.
I have had several constituents call me in the last few weeks, and some constituents have raised this issue on the street with me, about the content of these particular ads. Some of the people have come up and asked me if the government has called an election, because the ads are so election oriented, people are assuming that is what has happened.
Most of these people appear to be reasonable, thinking people, and they are, quite frankly, absolutely convinced that the ads are political. I think that if the Members on the other side would look at the ads objectively for a moment, they would realize that the ads are quite political.
In fact, the acting manager of the local CBC radio station recently refused to run the radio ads, because he said that the ads did not describe the ways in which Yukoners could apply for new programs or advertise new programs, but they simply talked about and bragged about the success of the existing programs. These ads stressed how well the programs were working and how well the Government of the Yukon was working with the entrepreneurs.
Many of the people who have been featured in the ads only recently received funding, so we do not know how successful they eventually will be. These people received the funding less than six months ago and, in most cases, it takes a business a lot longer than that to establish itself in the business world.
I have to agree with the manager of the CBC radio station; the new series of ads are not announcements of new initiatives or information-type ads telling people what the benefits of various programs will be; they are an example of the government using the taxpayers dollars to blow its own horn.
It is interesting to note that these ads have recently appeared, and it may be a coincidence that it happens to be an election year, and that an election is just around the corner. This type of advertising did not take place two, three, four, five or six years ago.
The people to whom I have spoken are upset about this pre-election campaign. It is not appreciated by the public. The public is angry to see its tax dollars used in this manner. It seems that the government has mobilized and politicized its very large and growing public affairs bureau into an NDP propaganda machine. I find it somewhat ironic that this type of advertising is taking place at the very time that we have a bill before this House entitled, Public Government Act, an act that was originally to have been called The Good Government Act.
If the Public Government Act were to do the job the Government Leader tells us it would, then there would have been a section in that act dealing with this very type of blatant political advertising by government. It seems as if the Government Leader is telling Yukoners to do what I say, and not to do what I do.
Let us look at some of the ads. The NDP campaign ad states, Tony Penikett and the New Democrats will work with all Yukon men and women to build up new industries in tourism and in renewable resource industries such as forestry, tourism and agriculture. The Government of the Yukon ad states, The Yukon government is working with Yukon people creating jobs, training, spinoff benefits for local businesses and communities. There is very little difference between these two ads.
The Government of Yukon ad does not talk about any new programs. It talks about existing programs. One of the programs that it talks about was carried out a long time ago and was not necessarily the result of the Government of Yukons initiatives.
I am sure that the Government of the Yukon will be telling everybody in the next election that it helped the people and families in Watson Lake to build a shelter for women, and that it cares about women. I have no problem with that; but, all of a sudden we have that same kind of ad in one of the local newspapers. It is a very expensive ad, I might say. It is about three-quarters of a page. The ad must cost at least $300 to $400.
The government is abusing its power here. It is obvious that the government is over-stepping the bounds of informing the public about various programs and is stepping into the area of election campaigning with taxpayers dollars. I recall that the Premier of Saskatchewan, Allan Blakeney, had some concerns about government advertising and government programs. Allan Blakeney had some integrity - a lot more integrity than this government is demonstrating - because what he did was to say that there would be no advertising whatsoever during an election campaign, other than advertising for legal requirements and such things as emergencies, and there would be no advertising of new government programs during an election campaign.
Now, we are not in an election campaign, but that is my point. We are not far from being in an election campaign, so the government should not be campaigning now with the taxpayers dollars, and that is what it is doing.
There has to be a question about the type of ads the government should be running. These ads are more of a positive nature and telling individuals how wonderful government is and how much government has helped us in the past. My feeling is that government ads should more reflect what government is offering - what kinds of services government is offering people. It should also be more detailed in spelling out the criteria for applying for such programs and getting involved in them. I think it is very important that the government should stick more to that kind of advertising, rather than blowing its own horn.
If you read them, there is only one thing lacking in these ads. I have read several of the ads and I have listened to several of the ads on the radio. I will read this to you and you can tell me if this is not a campaign ad: The Yukon NDP government is working for the Yukon people, creating jobs, training and spinoff benefits for local businesses and communities. All I did to that government ad was to insert NDP behind Yukon and before government. If you do that on every one of these ads, it is obviously a blatant, political ad. It does not tell anyone anything about the program. In fact, if one wants to know anything about the program, one has to put on special reading glasses and go to the very bottom of the page. In the smallest print imaginable, it says Find out more about Yukon government economic programs... They did not really want you to read that part because that is not the important part. The important part was that the Yukon government is working together with you, and that is the campaign ad of the NDP government in the previous elections. The Government of the Yukon is abusing its public service budget; it is using the taxpayers dollars to run an election campaign long before it has ever called an election. It is unfair to the Yukon people. I would hope that the Government of the Yukon would cease to publish these ads forthwith.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am pleased to join in the debate a little earlier today, respecting this motion, as I think the issues that have been raised are issues that are worth a public airing. I believe the governments record and the Members allegations with respect to partisan advertising are quite at variance. I will attempt to demonstrate why that is the case.
I thought the speech just made by the Member was perhaps the most poorly or loosely argued case I can imagine for making a claim that this government is operating in a very highly partisan fashion. I am having trouble choosing my words here because I do not want to impugn any motive on another Member that is unparliamentary. Certainly, things were added to the wording of the ads, in the Members own case, which I believe would end up perhaps potentially misleading people. I will expand more on that in a few minutes.
I will say, from the outset, that this government has absolutely no problem agreeing with this motion. The motion is consistent with our policy. We have a policy on government advertising, passed in 1987, and on government advertising with particular respect to partisan, political advertising. I am certain the Members have investigated this, because they normally do homework or research. I think it is fascinating that they made no mention of the policy or of the fact that they believe we are in breach of the policy. The policy is very clear. In part, it says that no employee of the government shall adhere to any instructions to carry out any assignment for any partisan political purpose as part of his or her employment. That is the policy. We can state clearly and unequivocally that the government has stated a message, has stated its intention, through a directive with respect to all advertising of any sort whatsoever.
The government also has a communications policy - which I will elaborate on in a few minutes, because I think it is important to put some of the principles of that policy on the record - which also delineates precisely what the government intends to do with respect to its advertising - who is responsible for what kind of advertising, and what kind of advertising is appropriate.
The Member for Riverdale North mentioned the Hon. Allan Blakeney. In my opinion, he is an honourable person. He truly does live up to his parliamentary title, unlike some other parliamentarians - none in this House - just so I do not get into any trouble with you, Mr. Speaker, or with them. The restrictions that Premier Blakeney put on political advertising are restrictions that apply here, too, strangely enough. They apply here according to our own policy.
There is a restriction that there should be no advertising of any sort, certainly no partisan or political advertising, paid through public funding during an election campaign. There is even a further restriction on all kinds of advertising and communication messages that are sent to the public, so it is not mistaken for partisan advertising on behalf of the government in power.
We are in tune with Premier Blakeney on that particular score, I am happy to say. The Member proceeds to answer the obvious criticism by saying we are not in a campaign now and that we should not start campaigning now. According to this rather loopey logic, we are somehow at variance with Mr. Blakeney. Nothing could be further from the truth.
That is not the defence I am going to raise with respect to government advertising. I am going to make the argument that this is not partisan, political advertising at all of any sort. It is not an election campaign, and it is not partisan, political advertising, either.
The Member read out a portion of the ad and introduced the words NDP, standing for New Democratic Party, before every place where government was read. I would submit that putting the words NDP before government is misleading. It would certainly have a tendency to suggest that government was trying to be overtly partisan by reminding the people of the territory that the government in power, and the government that is doing so many things, is an NDP government.
There is a very conscious effort not to be partisan, to advertise programming and the services that are offered by this government to the public and not identify the government as being the NDP government.
The Member has made a grievous error in introducing the word NDP into his version of the ad, which, of course, is pure fiction. That, in my view, makes all the difference in the world.
The Member indicated that the ads appear to be election oriented because they are more upbeat than the crushingly oppressive, cynical messages that emanate from those who are self-fashioned critics of this government.
The government clearly has many programs and services that are quite popular with the Yukon public. There are many Yukoners - with some of those critics as exceptions - who have not only taken advantage of the programming, but have also supported it, irrespective of whether or not they have been clients of the programs.
It is that positive message that Members find so confusing. They are so used to dishing out the same old negative criticism, droning on and on about the minutiae of government actions. When there are positive messages being made public, the Members opposite insist that we must be in an election campaign.
I recall that virtually every time we have tabled a budget in this House, the Members opposite have accused us of passing election budgets, that somehow they are popular budgets. There are no tax increases, they are balanced, there are usually large capital expenditures and there are new programs and services being offered: all of these ingredients that are standard to our budgets are sufficient to cause the hyenas in the Opposition benches-
I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, I withdraw that remark.
Speaker: Order, please. I would like to remind the Member to please stick to parliamentary language.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I am sure if I looked in the code of parliamentary language under H, I would not find hyena. For the benefit of the Member for Porter Creek East, I do so with feeling.
Every budget that we have tabled has been a popular budget. Virtually, every time that we do something that is popular, the Members opposite feel that we are on the campaign trail.
If communicating and consulting with the public, as we promised to do, is considered simply to be a plot to get re-elected, then so is our annual budgeting process.
I will refer to a few examples in Education. The student/teacher ratio is the best in the country; so are the training programs; so is the training strategy, so is the Education Act, so is the College Act; so are special education services; so are all the new schools that we have been producing in this territory; so are the vastly improved school bus services that we are providing all around this territory; so is the new school-based programming that we are undertaking; so is the the wilderness program; so is the Achievement Culture Environment Service program; so is the REM programming; so are the curriculum projects that we have undertaken; and so is the new teen mom centre. All of these programs must be an election ploy and a cynical election plot to get re-elected. If this is true, than the new archives, the Arts Centre, the festival, the new storefront schools, the college endowment lands, the northern studies program, the college endowment fund, the BSW program, the teacher education programs, the Yukon Native Teacher Education program, the Whitehorse Library, the improved native language programming, are all election ploys and cynical plots to get re-elected. This is all part of an insidious campaign to be popular and to get re-elected with taxpayers money. So are all of the employer forms that we have undertaken as part of our campaign to be good employers of public servants, together with the public sector training strategy.
I am certain that re-starting Curragh Resources in 1985 was the most insidious kind of activity on the part of government. This re-opening actually improved the economy, it helped in getting the Skagway road open. It was the most insidious type of campaign just to get re-elected. We should be really nervous about being popular and about doing things that we promised to do, because these are clearly things that lead to being re-elected.
What about all of the improved highways and roads that we have undertaken, the improved social and staff housing, the home ownership programs, the community contracting policy, the business incentive policy, the community development fund and the business development fund: all of those projects that are currently being implemented in every single community of this territory, including Whitehorse.
Look at all of those businesses that we are supporting. The Member for Faro, the Minister of Economic Development, tabled a legislative return yesterday that listed over $4 million worth of projects to hotels alone in this territory.
I presume that improving that particular sector of the tourism economy is simply a cynical attempt at getting re-elected.
What about the new workers compensation legislation? We tabled that in the House, and it was popular. I suppose that is part of a campaign to get re-elected and we should feel concerned about that. We should not try to do anything except respond to the very negative criticism that the Members across the floor unfairly level at this government virtually on a daily basis.
What about the new squatters policy, the new agriculture policy, the Yukon Economic Strategy or the Yukon Conservation Strategy? The Yukon Economic Strategy and the Yukon Conservation Strategy were both the result of processes that were very thoroughly discussed with the public and communicated through a variety of mechanisms and means, both in print and other forms of media, such as pamphlets and other kinds of paid advertising. This resulted in a product - the Yukon Economic Strategy and the Yukon Conservation Strategy - that was generally supported by the public. I am assuming that, because it was popular, it is considered to be an insidious campaign, is something negative and something that government is not allowed to do. I do not accept that for one second.
This so-called insidious campaign to live up to our promises can be considered just a cynical attempt to get re-elected. Just because these are popular programs and activities, Members are saying that this government is well known for its very thorough consultation processes and its public communication processes. This government is well known for being an effective communicator. If Members opposite are considering that all these things are just providing a subliminal message that you should be voting NDP because the government is doing what it promised, then I would suggest that that is an unfair and typically negative characterization of what the government is doing.
Over and over again, people in this territory have wanted information about programs and services that are freely available to those people who happen to know what the programs are all about. People in rural communities will say, We just heard that so and so in another community got a particular project going with some government assistance. Why have we not been told about this program? You have a duty to tell us about this program.
We have received criticism from the Members opposite for not communicating the programs. I have been guilty myself, and I have admitted in this Legislature, in Question Period, not communicating about some of our programs well enough, and I have received criticism from Members opposite for not doing precisely that.
The fact that people have wanted more thorough information and have wanted information that explains our existing programs and services, is something that we have tried - and quite successfully in many cases - to provide.
If the Members across the floor make the argument that they did not provide information campaigns, it may be because the standards of consultation have changed dramatically since 1985. Consultation implies not only listening but also talking to and with the public, and there was precious little of that prior to 1985. Those of us who were in this Legislature know how little Members opposite did with respect to consultation and public communication. Quite typically, it was a process of speaking to party faithful in a particular community or simply speaking to some of their boards and committees, and in those days that was considered a sufficient test of public consultation to provide justification for coming into this Legislature with spending programs or legislation.
The Workers Compensation Act, as I mentioned earlier, passed in 1983, had no public consultation. Nothing came from the public; nothing went to the public - with the exception of what went on in this Legislature through a debate on the terms of that particular piece of legislation. It was the most remarkable change, since 1956, in workers compensation legislation in this territory. The basic principles upon which the workers compensation system was based were changed at that time; yet, the only so-called public consultation that went on at that time was some general analyses with the Workers Compensation Board members themselves. There was no public consultation. Nobody talked to the government, and the government did not talk to the public.
Clearly, standards have changed, and we have raised the ante quite dramatically with respect to what is appropriate for public communication. I am not surprised at all that Members opposite would feel somewhat surprised at some of the processes the government has undertaken in the past. In 1985, 1986 and 1987, I remember it was quite common to be criticized in this Legislature for not getting down to the task and getting the legislation into the House, never mind all this public consultation. In those days, they were saying that Members were elected to make decisions, to show what they called leadership. Leadership meant you did not care what the public said, you did not go to any great lengths either to let the public talk to you or to talk to them. You simply came in here and provided so-called leadership, basically meaning you dictated to people. If you were not prepared to dictate and take the consequences of that, then you were not doing your job.
I am happy to say that we have weaned some of those Members from that particular vision of what government is all about. I do not believe we have weaned them yet to the belief that the government owes it to the electorate - the citizenry of the territory - to make sure the programs and services are well known to all the people of the territory.
The Members will take some convincing, but we will have lots of time to do that.
In those days of pre-1985, I must admit one other thing. As a matter of policy, the government did not believe in doing much, because the government was never considered to be a legitimate player in public activity. Quite often, government action was not only illegitimate, but something you apologized for doing. Obviously, the fact that the government is doing so many things now and engaged in so many areas, providing so many services, indicates we clearly have to be communicating more than the previous government did. There is no question about that.
This is not partisan advertising. Partisan advertising would presumably mention the party that is promoting the message. There is no presentation of party symbols or logos in any of this advertising. In all the advertising the Members opposite have identified, there is not even a Ministers name in that particular documentation.
The advertising the Members opposite have identified advertises the highlights of programs that have been approved. There is nothing untoward about that. It advertises those programs through the showing of examples of how real Yukoners have done real things with government support - in this particular case, how they have improved the economy.
The Members opposite allege that they have heard it from lots of constituents. I am always fascinated by the particular allegation that they have had phone calls or heard it from lots and lots of constituents. I am always nervous about responding. We do not know if it was one phone call, a phone call from a friend, a message from the Members researchers or something else. I have had no negative comments expressed to me about the advertising this government has undertaken. I have heard a lot of positive comments, particularly about some work the Department of Education has done; I will talk about that in a moment. It is very similar to the advertising put out by the Department of Economic Development, which the Members opposite have criticized.
I will get to this right away, because it is more than relevant to the debate at hand. This government has been sponsoring advertising that includes real Yukon people doing real things in the community that have been, in part, sponsored by public funding, for years. Most of this advertising bears no relation to partisan, political advertising whatsoever. It bears none of the hallmarks or logos of what is typically partisan, political advertising. It is positive public comment about some of the things that are going on.
I do not apologize for that for one second because virtually everything that emanates from the opposite Members mouths is negative about virtually everything that the government does. There is very little recognition at all in this Legislature about the positive things that are done. I am almost convinced that when those Members leave the Legislature they do not say one darned good thing about what is happening in the public service of this territory, in the government, or anything else.
That message is unfair, and is simply not believable. Clearly, there is another message to send and that message is made in cooperation with real citizens, citizens who perform public functions every day, citizens who are running businesses, citizens who are working in businesses, citizens who are members of community clubs and religious organizations. Many of those people are quite interested in what is going on in terms of public policy and public programs, and they have been telling us, time after time, to start communicating better.
So, the Department of Education has picked up the gauntlet and has, I think, been communicating much better over the past one to one and one-half years. One of the typically bureaucratic ways to communicate is, for example, to say that this is a policy, it is objective, it is this, the principles are this, we will follow this very specific bureaucratic program, and if you want an application form for this project, you have to fill it out in the prescribed manner, and all that sort of thing. It does not communicate in that way at all, because that is not real communication. That is not plain language; that is not plain English; people do not talk that way. If the government intends to talk to the public, it is going to have to talk to the public in a way that the public understands. That sounds like common sense, but that is something - and I regret to say this - that is relatively new in public communications. So, the fact that the message is coming across is something that we should be promoting.
I have an insidious little piece here that is put out by the Department of Education. It is directed at the primary teachers and parents, and is actually written by primary teachers and parents. It has that same old partisan wordmark on the back here, according to Members of the Opposition, that Yukon Education. This particular March issue - the most recent, I think - is titled, Change is a Challenge. If you were to take the very negative and twisted approach that the Members opposite have been taking in terms of interpreting our advertising, one might be tempted to take this as that subliminal message meaning, You should not change the government because change is a challenge - this is a political message; what do we think we are doing?
I am sure that if any NDP candidate in the past used this particular slogan, Learning is a Journey, Not a Destination, I would be hauled onto the carpet of this Legislature to provide an explanation of what is going on. Is this simply another political ploy and another cynical attempt at getting re-elected?
The point of the matter is that cliches like Change is a Challenge or Working Together or anything else, are not owned by anybody and the cliches are used quite often. I must say that the Department of Education uses cliches as often as anybody, perhaps more often than most. There is nothing about the NDP in this particular document; there is not even a picture of the Minister on the document, which is good news for me, because I am not very photogenic. It is not unlike the document that the Member held up.
I am sure that if I went through this particular document, and every time that it said Department of Education I inserted the words the NDPs before Department of Education, this would be really a nasty document. This is not what this document says. The advertisements that the Members opposite have quoted do not say that either.
Here is a publication to note. It highlights the accomplishments of teachers, students, parents, activities, new people to the system - parents, teachers and administrators. There is that old wordmark you have to watch out for that; it says Yukon Education on it. In one of these documents it even has a message from the Minister, and I even signed it. This has to be an insidious little piece of work; here it is identifying people and I am sure that the Member is going to accuse us of only taking pictures of people who are going to be NDP candidates in the next election - I am sure that people in this particular publication would be pleased to hear that allegation. I hope that we do not hunt these citizens down and confront them.
You will see the word partners - I guess in some ways it is a tired cliche. I even have it on my Partners In Education pin, and I am sure that that is another thing that we have to be careful about. I do not know if any NDP candidate ever used the word partner in the past, but like many other cliches, they may well have because cliches are easy to remember.
If one were to take the rather twisted logic of the Members opposite, one might consider this to be a partisan document, too. This one is called the Computer Stuff News. I would not recommend this for reading, unless you are really interested in computers. However, if you took this document and turned it upside down, read it up against a mirror, you would probably pop out a nice, partisan message somewhere, and that message would be Vote NDP; it is the only way to go. It is all ludicrous and ridiculous.
Here is a document that has received a lot of good reaction from the public. This is a document called Yukon Education - Working to Help People Learn. I do not know if anybody used this slogan, working to help people learn, during the last campaign, because it contains the word working, and we have to watch out for that one. Virtually the whole case the Members opposite have made, saying these Economic Development ads are partisan, political advertising, surrounds our having used the word working in our campaign literature, and also slipping in that we are interested in people working while we are in government. For this grievous error, we are hauled out on the carpet for partisan, political advertising.
These documents have received nothing but positive comment from virtually everybody I have talked to. These three inserts have literally dozens of articles. They have profiled hundreds of people. I presume, in the Members eyes, they would be hundreds of candidates-in-waiting.
I am certain that Members opposite would also regard this as being an insidious attempt to be re-elected. Here is one where we are talking about the teen parent centre and how it responds to individual needs. It profiles a person and some children. I am certain this would also be considered awful stuff.
There it is again. It has that work mark on it again. We just cannot get away from that, because it is sponsored by the Government of the Yukon. I am certain that is sufficient to get us into trouble with Members opposite.
There are literally dozens of other publications this government produces that profile people, use cliches - unfortunately, but cliches do communicate messages. They profile real people doing real things. They use cliches; they talk about programs that already exist; they talk about people doing imaginative and innovative things; and it is all done in a publication that is sponsored by the Government of the Yukon.
If Members opposite are going to call that partisan, political advertising, they do not know what they are talking about. There is all kinds of other stuff - pamphlets about the Learning Resources Centre have the wordmark on them. Another pamphlet to watch out for is the Child Abuse Treatment Services - an insidious little document, which will get us re-elected and it is absolutely unfair political advertising. It talks about programs that exist. I apologize to the Minister of Health and Social Services for saying this, but there are a few cliches in here, too, well-used but unfortunately nobody has taken the time to corner the market on cliches or to have them patented. It would be impossible to do so, because everybody uses them.
I am certain, too, that my own opponent up in the Mayo riding - I only had the one this last time - used the words We have to work together; lets do something in partnership with the government. If I heard that once, I heard it a thousand times, from just about everybody who was operating - not only in that campaign but in virtually every campaign I have been involved in.
The irony is that people do believe in working together and people do believe in partnerships. Certainly, this government I think has practised partnership with the public. We have all kinds of other stuff - extended health care benefits for senior citizens: there is a document to watch out for. It, too, has its cliches; it talks about programs that already exist. It was published in October 1990, and I am sure, according to Members opposite, we were in the middle of an election campaign then. Here is another one to watch out for: it is called How to find a job - an employment handbook for Yukon women. I have not read it so I cannot pass any judgment on whether or not it contains many cliches. The document refers to jobs, which is a pretty common word in a lot of government documents.
When I look at the ad the Member quoted from - the NDP ad from some past campaign - when I read it, it brought back fond memories - memories of success; memories that will live again in our lives, I am sure.
The Members want to take issue with the words Lets work together, work or partnership and the idea that we want to rebuild the economy. I guess, because we put it in this campaign literature, we cannot ever say that we want to rebuild the economy again. We have to be very careful about our campaign literature. What I am certain Members opposite will say is that every time we use any of these terms or make reference to jobs, we will be accused of sloganeering and campaigning. We cannot talk about creating new jobs, either. That is in this thing too. We cannot talk about more self-sufficiency, because that is in here, too.
This is part of our government program. We do believe in working together with people and creating new jobs. We do believe in rebuilding the economy and becoming more self-sufficient. According to the standards the Members opposite have set, we cannot talk about it. We certainly cannot use any of those words: working, self-sufficiency, rebuilding economies, creating new jobs - we cannot use any of that stuff.
It is all the more aggravating when others are using the same slogans. Here is something from the Canadian government. It is called the Agenda for IProsperity. It is not something from the side opposite, because they are no longer politically affiliated with the federal government. Here is a document that, unfortunately, has the PC colours and logo on it. We will forget about that, because that is for them to explain. Here is something called Learning Competitiveness and Partnerships. They are using that word, partnership. They are taking one of our...
Speaker: Order please. A point of order to the Member for Riverdale North.
Mr. Phillips: I wonder if the Member would entertain a question. Could he explain the relevance of a federal party document that has nothing to do with the Yukon. The motion we are talking about today is about documents and advertising produced in the Yukon. This has no relevance to that.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am not going to respond to that point of order.
Speaker: I find there is no point of order. It is just a dispute between two Members.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am not going to respond to the point of order, but I will, however, respond to the Member who just rudely interrupted me with an answer.
The answer is that one of the cliches that these folks use - because we do not have a corner on the words working together, is the words working together. The way these folks talk about working together - look at Canadians can take on the world and win. Now there is a cliche. They have taken the working together cliche and compounded it with two more cliches: take on the world and win.
They are all standard phraseology, such as working, working together, partnerships, creating new jobs and working for self-sufficiency. We have traded the words creating self-sufficiency back and forth in the Legislature for years. Whenever we have used it, we have never been accused of electioneering, with the exception of our budgets, where the side opposite felt that they were so successful that they must have been election ploys. We are doing what governments typically do; we use language like this to communicate with the public.
I am completely at a loss, at this point, to know where the Members opposite are coming from with respect to the advertisements that have been provided recently by the public affairs bureau for supporting economic development projects.
One of the best ways to communicate is to show by example. One of the ways of showing by example is to demonstrate that there are Yukoners currently working in their own businesses who have received funding from Economic Development, who are diversifying the economy, creating jobs where otherwise there would not have been jobs, and doing imaginative and innovative things. This is not unlike many of the articles in the Yukon education publication, which described teachers doing innovative things in the workplace. It is also about teachers trying to use their imagination and trying out new programs. These teachers like this information because it helps them, and virtually everybody to whom I have spoken has liked these particular documents. These documents help them understand what other people are doing and if they have good ideas they can share them. I think that is the way to get the message across.
There is no mention of the good Minister of Education in this document; there is no mention of the word NDP; there is not even an announcement of any new programs. That is done either here or through separate means. These are all existing programs and Education uses the word working. They have their own brand of cliches, some of which may even have been used in the a campaign or two of the PCs, the NDPs or others, I do not know.
I am convinced at this point, given what Members opposite have said, that anything that we do now that is popular is seen to be simple electioneering, in their minds.
When we spoke about lowering fuel prices, there were howls of outrage from Members opposite that somehow we were looking to buy votes, that a public action being taken that leads to lower fuel prices somehow is evil and negative, because it is happening at a time when the electorate might remember the good things that the government is doing.
I cannot accept the Members logic at all. I do not think that he has proved his case; I do not think that he has made a case; I think that he has engaged in very partisan, political rhetoric, and that he is preparing for an election.
We promised many things and we delivered on many promises, and that may be what is galling the Members opposite; I do not know. However, we have included in our commitments better communications and better consultation, and we living up to that. I admit that we have set a high standard and there is no doubt about that. I think that we have proven that we can live up to that high standard and we should continue to do so. This is something that the public expects.
If one were to take a look at the word partisan for a moment, one would see that it makes reference to blind, unreasoning, fanatical adherence to a party doctrine. There is nothing in the ad that the Members opposite have shown and there is nothing in the documents that I have shown today in debate that bears any relevance to the charge that the Members opposite are laying; there is absolutely nothing.
I would think that the people who are featured in the Economic Development ads are probably offended by the Members accusations that they are potential candidates for the NDP. If I were one of these people, even if I supported the government, I would be offended by that allegation.
I am sure that those good Yukoners are not used to being criticized by political leaders and elected people in this Legislature, but I am more and more convinced, based not only this, but based on the attacks that the Members opposite have made on members of boards and committees, that they had better get used to it, because the Members opposite are not going to stop criticizing the public and the volunteers who show any kind of support for this government. It is the worst kind of intimidation that you can imagine, and I think and believe that it is wrong; it is absolutely wrong and unethical.
As I say, we can support this motion. This motion is consistent with our policy and practices, but we will continue to speak with the public. We cannot be frightened by the fear-mongering that the Members opposite are leveling at us.
That is what the public has been demanding of us for years. The public wants the consultation; they want communication, and they want it to be two-way communication. We will not be driven off from what we believe is appropriate and right.
Since 1985, YTG has acted on its commitments to involve people in the development of government policy and programs. More emphasis has been placed on public participation in the last seven years than probably at any other time in our legislative history. Public participation includes consultation; it includes public meetings and meetings with interest groups in the development of policies and programs. I have to say, however, that this participation is more than just listening and responding to public comment. It implies a responsibility - a responsibility that the Members opposite have been reminding us about, on occasion, in recent years, because they certainly did not practice it prior to 1985 - on the part of government for the delivery of information about what the government is doing to all corners of the territory.
For those of us from rural Yukon, a common refrain is that when programs and services are available, even when you try to deliver them through Outreach or through some mechanism, the problem is that the people who are closest to the program developers, the people who live closest to the implementers of the program get all the advantage; they know how to work the system, but those people who are out there on the fringes just cannot get the information in time and the same benefit from all of the programs that people in Whitehorse get. I believe that we have an obligation to speak to those people through our programs.
I do not believe that program advertising should stop at a press release, as the Members opposite seem to suggest it should. That was not exactly what was said this afternoon. What was said was that there is no place in government advertising for ongoing programs. He said that himself, Mr. Speaker.
There is a place for the ongoing advertising of government programs. I did not disagree with him 100 percent.
This consultation has to be an ongoing process, and it must happen daily. People have the right to be informed about the programs that are available. As you know, the government has developed a series of public information packages and other documentation that explain what the programs are about and what people are doing who are using them and who are operating under the auspices of the public service. That is the right thing to do.
If the message is a little too positive for the Members opposite, I cannot help that. I do not operate in that oppressively negative world that they live in. I live in the world of the government, and I live in the world that is frequented by the general public of the Yukon. It is not as negative as they portray it to be. If they are surprised at the tenure of the ads and that people are using the programming successfully and showing by example, there is nothing I can do about that.
I do believe that this is the beginning of an election campaign. Members are clearly trying to lay it out that way. Even though an election has not been called and probably will not be for some considerable time, the Members are going to try and set up the issues to be typically negative and destructive. My colleagues are ready for the election campaign, as am I. We will be prepared to fight and will obviously be using partisan, political advertising when the campaigning starts, because that is appropriate, and parties do use political advertising during campaigns. We will not forget to use the NDP logo on the documents, because we want to remind the people who is making the commitments to them. That will be partisan, political advertising, and it will be typically good and effective, as it has proven to be so far.
While I agree with the Members motion, I disagree with his argument. He has not made his case. As much as it pains me to have to disagree with many of the things the Member opposite has said, I am afraid I am going to have to do that in this instance. However, I will stand and be counted as supporting this motion, because it is consistent with our practice and policy.
Mr. Devries: This is going to be a hard act to follow. The Minister went on and on, and I am going to be very brief. Some of the things he said may have made a little bit of sense; however, I think he went way beyond what the argument is here today, and I think he knows it. He is not fooling anybody.
Lately, when I look in the paper, I do not think some of these full and half-page ads are necessary. One-quarter of a page should be fine.
Quite often, when a cliche, government slogan is stuck in there, I actually feel it sometimes undermines the project. When I see something being undermined by a little slogan of some type, I wonder if they are not 100-percent satisfied with the program and are wondering if they have to have some little cliche there to sell the program.
Quite often, I see people using subliminal advertising, and this is what I refer to this as. It is basically because the product is often not capable of selling itself; it has to work on the mind.
I listened to the Member for Riverdale North, and I never heard him say there was anything wrong with using the departmental wordmark on some of this advertising. I do not know what the Minister is getting at there. Perhaps he should have listened a little better. I used to get into trouble in school once in a while when I did not listen to my teacher properly and made some outrageous comment like that. I was surprised to hear something like that from the Minister of Education, who is actually responsible for the schools. I think he is out to lunch.
Another thing I learned in school was that, if one saw something often enough, one would suddenly be forced to believe it. I forget exactly how the teacher explained it, but perhaps this is what the government is doing. It does not have enough confidence in its own programs, so it flashes them in front of us in every newspaper every day. The government is trying to make us believe everything is great and that all these programs are wonderful just by flashing them in front of us every day, one after the other.
The other day, I was paging through some papers on my desk, and I noticed some new people employed in the public affairs bureau - I will not get into names; that is not my nature. When I saw who some of the people were, it made me wonder what was going on. Perhaps the public affairs bureau is getting a little political. My understanding is that public affairs duty is to provide information to the Yukon public and that information should be impartial. I do not feel this is being held to. I also feel sorry for some of the people in the bureau who may not be of the same political persuasion and may perhaps be struggling to put some of this information forward under the orders of various other people within the department. It would put pressure on them, and perhaps some of the stress leave we have been hearing about is associated with this.
Like the Minister of Education, I basically support this motion - perhaps for other reasons than he does. I thank the Member for Riverdale North for bringing the motion forward, and I look forward to hearing more debate from other people on it.
Hon. Ms. Joe: Unfortunately I did not have the privilege of sitting here and listening to the mover of the motion. I was gone for a short period of time because I had to deal with something important and, unfortunately, I missed it. I can only assume, from listening to the Member for Mayos remarks, that there were a lot of negative comments in his speech.
The motion on the floor is that we should not use taxpayers money to sponsor ads of a partisan, political nature. I agree with that, but I believe that Members on the side opposite are confusing political advertising with informing the people of the Yukon of the governments plans and activities.
I have met with a lot of people over the past 10 years since I have been an MLA and since I became a Cabinet Minister. One of the things that keeps coming up, over and over again, is the lack of information that the public has in regard to what this government is doing. I am speaking specifically about certain programs that are available to the public. Members of the public do not know about these programs because they have not received the proper kind of information. I know that that is the case right across the territory. There could be some very exciting programs that the government is responsible for implementing, and we want the general population to know what they are. It takes advertising to provide that kind of information to those individuals. The advertising that I have seen in the papers, and the kind of information that has come from my department, indicates that we are trying to make that kind of information available. We believe that we have a responsibility to inform citizens of our plans and activities, as well as respond to inquiries and suggestions made by the public about matters of public interest. The citizens have a right to know what is happening and they have a right to receive information that will affect them.
There are ways of doing that. One of the ways is by placing ads in the paper, because a lot of people read the papers. Another way of doing that is putting ads on the radio; people certainly do listen to the radio. Another way is to provide brochures within each department to announce the programs that different departments are responsible for, and I think that the Member for Mayo listed a number of things that his department was doing to educate the public.
We on this side of the House have acted on our commitment to involve people of the Yukon in the development of government policy and programs. In the Department of Justice alone, we have been working on many new programs and initiatives and these new programs have been developed with input and suggestions from various interest groups, and with input from the general public.
Sometimes these initiatives have been developed in response to various specific problems, such as outstanding fines or victim services. It is the responsibility of the various departments to promote the programs and services available to the public.
For example, during the fall session of the Legislature, I announced the electronic home monitoring program as an alternative to incarceration. I have had the department put together a little pamphlet to let people know about that program-
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Hon. Ms. Joe: Unfortunately, I was not in the Legislature when the Member for Riverdale North was speaking, so I did not have the opportunity to heckle him at that time, such as he is doing to me right now.
In order to educate the public about the availability of these programs and the impact that they have had on the public, ads were created, pamphlets were produced and information was relayed to the citizens.
I do not think that the ads that we talk about in Justice are of a partisan, political nature. These ads speak to the programs and to the activities that are available. Certainly, we do believe in educating the public, and some of the education, of course, is done through the media, whether it is the Do Not Drink and Drive slogan, or putting stickers on liquor bottles to warn pregnant women that alcohol could be dangerous to their health, or by putting those types of ads in the paper or putting the ads in places where liquor is sold.
It is very important that we spend money to do that kind of thing, and it is part of our job, as a government responsible to people. In Justice, we have produced many different information materials to announce that certain programs are available.
The kind of advertising we have done indicates to the public that we are working with people. There is no question in anyones mind that that is what government is supposed to be doing. It might not have been the case when the side opposite was in government, but it is certainly the case with this government. We intend to work with people; we are working with people. For us to ignore that would be very foolish. It may be unreal to the side opposite to even think that working with the people was something bad but, in the case of this government, it is not, and we do intend to work together. That has been our intention right from the start, and we have done that.
I have some information that has been put out by my department. I mentioned the home electronic monitoring system. That is going to be available to the public and to those individuals who may be required to spend some time in our jail system. We would like them to know that there is an alternative to that.
We have another brochure that is on a two-day course on the safe handling and use of explosives. It has the wordmark, and we want people to know that this two-day course on the safe handling and use of explosives is available. We also want them to know that this is being put on by the Yukon Chamber of Mines and the occupational health and safety branch, working together.
The whole concept of being a government is working together with the people the government is responsible for. There is another example of that in this brochure.
We have a very deep problem in our territory with people who are victims of violence. We have developed programs to help those individuals who come to my department and this government for help. We have developed those programs to try and assist those people in their time of need.
Unless we advertise and educate people about the programs that are available, they will not be aware of them. We have an ad that talks about what is available in the Department of Justice. Again, we work with the victims of violence to let the people who are responsible for helping them know that this kind of help is available.
In regard to the victim of crime compensation, when the administration was transferred from the Workers Compensation Board to Justice, we had to spend money to educate the people and let them know that had happened. If we did not tell them, they would not know.
Because of the paranoia among them, the Opposition is trying to make the case that we are doing political campaigning in our government ads. There are many programs that we have implemented and made available to the general public. We also had information available at a public meeting in Teslin. The critic for Justice was there. The information was about the proposed Teslin community correctional facility. I made that available to the media, the people who were there and to anyone else who wanted a copy. It also has the word mark on it. We felt it was very important that we work together to come up with something that will be of benefit to all Yukoners who could be affected by it. Once again, we are working together with the community of Teslin to try and make them knowledgeable about the facility we intend to build there.
Here is another one that talks about the fine enforcement program, and it has the wordmark on it. We want to educate the people about what we are going to do with respect to fines. The judges chose not to put conditions on it for jail sentences, so we are going to be letting them know that there are ways of paying the fines without getting into trouble.
In the Womens Directorate, we have a publication that has my picture on it, although I did not tell them to put my picture on the front of it. I hear from a lot of women out there who ask me what is happening in the Womens Directorate. A lot of people want to know why I am not doing certain things. The reason they do not have that information is because there is no way of letting them know unless material is sent out, it is advertised in the media, or public meetings are held.
We also have a great publication called You Make the Choice. It contains information for Yukon women to let them know that there are other choices in life, in terms of education. On the front of the publication, there are pictures of women who are biologists, painters, and scientists, and it is made available to the public, especially to the young girls in junior high, to let them know that there are choices other than the traditional jobs that women normally feel they have to be involved in.
There are many other things that we work toward in making sure that the general population gets our information. If we did not tell the people about the programs, they certainly would not know about them. We have a brand new publication that a lot of work has gone into. It is a leaflet on victim services. We try to educate the people that they do not have to do certain things. This brand new publication is going to tell people that there are problems in the field. It says being a victim of crime hurts. It tells them what services are available. Another publication is going to do the same thing.
I have no problem allowing my department to spend the money in order to get that kind of information out. If we do not tell the people, they are not going to know. It is unfortunate, at this time of the year, when everyone knows that we have to hold an election before March of next year, that there is such paranoia on the other side of the House that we are being political in our ads.
The only thing I can say is that it is very unfortunate they did not do it. The reason why they did not do it is because they had nothing to tell the public. I know that. I was in the Opposition for three years and heaven forbid that they would let the general public know anything, whether or not there was an upcoming election. I know for a fact that if we did not tell the public, we would be accused of not telling the public. The Member for Riverdale South over there is smiling, and she looks so beautiful when she smiles, but I think she is remembering and feeling badly about what they did not do when they were in government.
According to the side opposite, those were the good old days - the days that have long passed; the days their kind of people really, really liked. Do not tell them anything; do not do anything and they will not know. Unfortunately, it got them into trouble and that is why we are on this side of the House.
I have to defend the people we have working with us, the people who are responsible for getting that information out. I know we have very dedicated people in our departments. I have a communications person in the Department of Justice and the information being provided by the department is good information. It tells the people what is available to them. One Member on the other side of the House said that the first people to go would be the communications people, but they do that all the time. I wonder sometimes what the people working in this government think, because there is always some comment made about What are you using them for? What are they doing? We would not have them. If the government does not intend to inform the public of what it is doing, then those communications people are not necessary - and that is their intention; they do not intend to inform the general public about what they are doing if they ever were to sit in government again. If they do not intend to inform the public, then of course they will not need communications people.
I think the paranoia on the other side this time has gone a little too far, but it is nothing new. It is nothing new, because people notice it out there; they have people who support them and they pat them on the back and do all of these things and say certain things. Then they get a phone call from two people and they raise a question in the House, and say, Tons of people have called me. One has to wonder who those two people were.
We believe that we have to continue to keep the public informed and we have to continue to let the public know that the government has many things to offer. If we do not tell them, then certainly they will not know. I do not think that there is anything the matter with letting the public know that we are working with them, and that we are working together. That has always been the intention of this government, and it is still our intention.
If we were to take that wording out of any ads, because the side opposite thinks that it is political, we would be very stupid and as paranoid as they are right now. We will not stop using something that we intended to use just because the side opposite is accusing us of being political.
In regard to not spending taxpayers money on political advertising, I agree with that wholeheartedly. I do not think that any government should do that; we are not doing that; we do not intend to do that and, for that reason, we support the motion that is before us right now.
Mr. Brewster: I have heard two speeches today that did not say much about anything. They are spending all their time talking about in-house pamphlets that were put out and which should have been put out. I do not think anybody has any argument or disagreement with that. We are talking about ads, similar to this quarter-page ad, that cost an awful lot of taxpayers money.
Words can be taken and moved around. The side opposite has certainly moved these words into a political situation.
After eight years in government, they still refer to the poor, old government of 1984. This government cannot defend themselves. They have to go back eight years. I find it funny that they have a memory that goes back that far.
I see the Minister of Renewable Resources making faces. I did not bring up 1984. The Minister of Justice did.
They talk about this side bringing in figures. Well, at least this side can bring in figures to this Legislature. The Minister of Justice has brought a bill in to this House and yet, she cannot provide the figures to substantiate it. She wants to change the bill but, to date, the Minister still does not have those figures. I do not think she ever had those figures to start with. I do not think those figures exist.
The side opposite talks about the good old days - but you will recall, Madam Speaker, that we saved the goldpanner, and those were the good old days. We had to beat this government on the head in order to save the goldpanner. It looks like we may have to beat the government on the head once again in order to save the can-can girls. I understand that we are not allowed to have the can-can girls appear on our advertising any longer. The government is saying, We do not want them. They should not be here. The can-can girls are part of our history since 1898, and yet, they do not want them.
Mr. Speaker - Madam Chair - Madam Speaker, I am sorry, but the problem is that everybody moves around so much in this House. I am not sure where anybody is sitting. Pretty soon, Madam Chair, some of them will be sitting on this side of the House and we will be over there; then, Madam Chair, you will really be confused.
I have no problem at all... Madam Speaker, would the Minister of Justice like to talk?
I agree that the government should advertise its programs. I have no problem with this at all, but there are a number of ways of doing this. All these big bills that cost a lot of the taxpayers money have all appeared within a few weeks or so of an election call - the Minister of Education indicated it might be very soon. One never knows. The Minister of Justice said they tell us everything. Then she mentioned the election, but she did not tell us when it would be. She is keeping secrets, just like everyone else over there.
The thing that really bothers me is that, in my area last weekend, there was a two-page letter going around that is completely political. It is being circulated, so there are people working for government writing these things out in the districts. Do not tell me they are not political, because they are.
I would like to read a little news release. I think everyone in this Legislature will agree that the CBC is not especially friendly toward me. I do not think I am one of their favorite subjects, but what they say supports what we are saying here. Chuck Gregersen of CBC Yukon said the ads did not meet the corporation criteria for running government public service announcements. He said the CBC did consider the ads partisan in nature. They were partisan in the sense that the information they contained was about the success of government programs that already existed. Had they been announcements with information about new and upcoming programs, there would have been no problems.
Despite the many years that the CBC and I have fought, I have to agree with them here. There is no question that they are not my friends, but we have to agree on that one.
I really wonder, when I see some of these ads and pamphlets. Did the government obtain permission from the people who borrowed money to start their businesses to use their pictures in government advertisements? I think that this may have been a shock to quite a few of them.
Yesterday, a letter was tabled contradicting some of these things, saying that they were not true. I see a hasty letter in response was tabled today defending that position. This letter does not say anything at all, other than that the government is correct. The government is always correct and if they are not correct, they get another committee together to make it correct.
A good example of this would be the Fish and Wildlife Management Board. There was $181,000 spent by this board. It made a decision; it was shot down. The government formed another one that would do what the government told them to do: go the opposite way - look after things; that is the way they are.
This government is running scared, so they take taxpayers money and start the election ahead of time, before the whistle blows, so that they can get all of this propaganda out, and it looks just the same as the NDP advertising. All that you have to do is change the government advertising around a little bit, put the name of the NDP on it, and away it goes.
A government that does that ought to be afraid of itself. It should be able to run on its record and should not have to advertise. If new programs are advertised, that is no problem; we all agree with that. We all agree that they have to get the new programs out to people; there is no problem there, but when they turn around and keep puffing up their chest afterwards, especially just before an election, saying, we did this and we did that, it is wrong.
Look at the new airport signs. The government is making new airports. The territorial government has the Ministers name on the sign, but the poor little person down in Ottawa - who is not a good friend of mine - does not get his name up there. He is the one who put up the money. You would not want him to get any credit because he is not here for an election.
Mrs. Firth: I hope I am going to enjoy participating in this debate this afternoon. I have listened to the previous speakers and, as the Member for Whitehorse South Centre said, I was smiling; I had quite a big smile on my face and it was because many times the debate has been very humorous. Probably the funniest line in the debate this afternoon was when the Minister of Education tried to turn the whole story around and accuse the mover of this motion of having started the election campaign, and then accused him of politicizing things. I thought that was probably the funniest thing that was said this afternoon.
I am not so concerned about people who are complaining because, frankly, I have not heard a lot of complaints about the ads in the papers. What I am concerned about is that maybe the ads are doing the job they are intended to do. That gives me a great deal of concern because, face it, all these pamphlets and things that the government has been holding up today - workplace wellness and the pamphlet the Minister responsible for the Womens Bureau talked about - all provide information. We know that. They provide information about what the government is doing - I have lots of them. When we have literature that provides information and then the government puts an ad in the paper to tell people they can get the information, that is a different thing. There is an ad in the newspaper saying the Womens Directorate introduced its newsletter for the first time. That is an advertisement; this pamphlet is information. All this other information about the facts about the government and quality care is information.
We have disputed in this House the amount of information this government has provided, as opposed to previous governments, and how the opposition of the day criticized that government for the one publication, the Yukon Info publication, that it put out. The present Government Leader made a big production about how we were interfering with the business community and people were just trying to make a living and earn a buck. He was quite incensed and offended by the fact that the government of the day had one publication, so we have disputed with the government the numbers of publications. However, government can made a decision; they can give out as much information to the public as they want to give out and that they feel is necessary. I have no dispute with that.
These things that have been appearing in the newspaper are advertisements. These are advertisements. They are paid for by the government as advertisements. Advertisements have a specific purpose.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mrs. Firth: No, it is not to provide information, as the Minister of Renewable Resources says. If you ask anyone in the advertising business, any of the newspapers that do advertising, an advertisement is a way to publicly describe a view, a person or a thing, with the intention of increasing sales of that thing or promoting something. Promoting, selling - one soap powder versus another. People advertise to sell their product, to win people over, and sometimes to advertise a good cause. It has everything to do with imagery and vision and perception, and the best way to create an image or a vision or a perception is through advertising. That is what advertising is all about.
Key words are used in advertising to capture peoples attention. What did this government get criticized for when the throne speech was tabled? It got criticized for not having any vision, did it not? There was no vision in the throne speech, and the Government Leader got incensed about that. Now, every one of those ads talks about a vision. This is not information; this is a big sales pitch - a big sales pitch - that the government is promoting here.
Why does the Yukon government support businesses and communities with development funds? Because of its vision. What do Yukon businesses and communities have in common? Well, They have in common the business and community development funds - and the vision of Yukon people.
Impossible dreams? Maybe not. Seed money from the government community and business development Funds, and the vision of Yukon people...
After the government advertises on a regular basis from now until the election is called, then maybe they will get enough people actually thinking that they have some vision. That is what this government is doing. Let us not try to smoke-and-mirror it to say that it is something to do with giving information. It is a promotional advertising campaign. If the government was doing good things and doing a good job, it would not have to advertise to try to sell what they are doing.
Let us take a couple of examples of what has happened just recently with government when they received negative publicity because of newspaper articles. The government always seems to criticize the newspapers for not giving them positive coverage, and that this side does not raise positive things about them. When the government received criticism about rejecting the recommendations of the Wildlife Management Board with respect to the wolf management program, they spent close to $2,000 on ads. They bought full-page advertisements in both of the local newspapers, telling people what the real story was with respect to the Wildlife Management Board. That was an advertisement - not information - paid for as an advertisement to explain its position. It was all part of selling the product, trying to win people over or trying to create an image, an impression or a vision that something they had done was right and that was why they were so good. That is what the purpose of this advertisement was.
We have not seen any Totem fact sheet ads in the paper yet, but we probably will. The Minister has received public criticism about the Totem deal so he prepared a fact sheet. I do not know where this fact sheet was mailed. I have had principals of schools, businesses, and everybody under the sun telling me about this fact sheet. Perhaps, they dropped them out of an airplane because everybody in the whole Yukon seems to have received one of the Ministers fact sheets telling them what the real story is and giving the public the real facts about the issue.
We will wait and see how much heat the government gets. Perhaps there will be an ad in the paper saying that fuel prices are dropping now. That might be a bit closer to the election - something like: What the Yukon government has done for you; it has dropped your fuel prices.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mrs. Firth: The Minister responsible for the Totem deal is saying that that is a good line. I would not be the least bit surprised or shocked if an ad like that appeared in the paper. I really would not.
When I began, I said that I was concerned about not receiving complaints about the ads. No one has complained to me. I have had the odd person make a comment about how an certain individual or business got money from the government. People always find that quite interesting.
When I first saw these ads in the paper, it reminded me of the ads the Socreds had on television prior to the last election in British Columbia. If people closed their eyes and imagined it, the ads on TV were exactly like the ads in the paper. I am sure that if we had the ability to do ads on TV, the government would be doing so. They would be exactly like the Socred ads. One can almost hear that little jingle: You, me and the NDP - the one the NDP had during the last election campaign. The intention of it is to give people the warm fuzzy feeling that the government is really likeable and are really doing something for people.
I have heard the Minister of Education say this afternoon that we are talking about real people doing real things. When the Socreds received criticism about their ads on TV, that is exactly what they said. They said they have real business people working in cooperation with the government; real people doing real things. The same line is being spouted by the Minister. I remember that the NDP opposition of the day was absolutely ruthless in its criticism of the Socred government for those advertisements, judging them to be partisan, political and pre-election - everything that we are saying that this government is doing.
I really object to the side opposite thinking that they are somehow going to fool everybody or fool us, and that we are not smart enough to figure it out, or the public is not smart enough to figure it out. This government thinks that it is really going to convince people that it is doing a great job because of these advertisements in the papers.
I am completely convinced that these ads are going to continue to appear no matter what is said by us, the public or anybody. These ads are going to continue to appear on a regular basis, from now until the day the election is called. If the government does not continue to run these ads, I will be very surprised.
Some Members raised the issue about the radio spots. As soon as I saw these in the paper I checked to see if they were going to be radio ads. Of course, I found out the same information that the Official Opposition has raised, that the CBC had declined to put the ads on the air because they were considered to be advertising achievements and accomplishments of the government, as opposed to being strictly public announcements or information ads. If the other radio stations play these ads, they will do so for a fee; they will charge for these ads. These ads will not be put on the air as a public announcement. Again, we are talking about advertising.
If the government is doing such a good job - as the two Ministers who previously spoke indicated - about making information available, providing information to the public and letting people know what government programs are available, why does the government have to pay for advertisements that are really, in a sense, trying to win people over, trying to create a good image through advertising, at taxpayers expense. That is what is happening with these advertisements.
From talking to some people - I will not say who or how many, as much as I know the government likes to challenge how many people we talk to or who we talk to - I know that this government does not hesitate to have its communications people, whether out of the Government Leaders office or wherever, phone the local media and - what is a good word I can use? Well, they phone them up, sometimes in quite a brutal or rude way, and criticize or challenge the media for the coverage that this government is getting. I know that is happening; everyone knows that happens. It is a form of intimidation. Obviously, that has not been working, or the government would not be launching this big advertising campaign. I know that media have been called; they have been chastised; their information has been challenged as to whether or not it is accurate. The government complains about how unfair the coverage is and that they do not like the message that is getting out there - even to the point where, I know, within the public affairs bureau, an examination is going on with respect to the policies of the government. I wrote a letter to the Government Leader - almost two months ago now. I wrote this letter on March 19, asking the Government Leader about the policies with respect to public communication, local media relations and the distribution of advertising. I have not received a reply to my letter yet. I do not know if I ever will get a reply. Perhaps I will have the chance to ask the Government Leader about it when he is back next week. I know that there have been discussions going on within the public affairs bureau with respect to the advertising and how this government was going to do its advertising and where it should be advertising.
There have been comments passed on to me that give me a great deal of concern about this governments objectives when it comes to advertising. The comments are about the people who seem to be working in the advertising and public affairs bureau here, as to what abilities they have for determining who will and will not get advertising, and when they will and will not get it.
I am also concerned about the attitude the government has about the local media. They are constantly chastising and criticizing them openly in the Legislature. The Government Leader never hesitates to stand up and criticize them, nor does he hesitate to have his advisors phone and openly challenge them. I know the public affairs bureau individuals and some of the political advisors of this government have had discussions about the local media attacking the government and how they are going to address that issue.
I know they were having a lot of discussion about this upcoming session and how they were going to deal with the fact that they do not get positive coverage through the media. One of the suggestions they came up with was that they would just start the advertising campaign and put what they wanted in the paper, rather than leave it up to the media to give them the coverage.
I know there has also been some concern with respect to information being passed from government to Opposition Members, or to other Members. They had some discussion about how fluid some of the top secret confidential information the government deals with every day was, and whether it was being passed on to people it should not be, and that they would have to tighten up the lines of communication and the distribution of information.
I do not think it is any secret among any of the Opposition Members here and a lot of the members of the public that the government is very much concerned about their public image and whether it is a good one, or a positive one. I know the government has addressed that as a concern. The way they are going to deal with it is to launch this large, expensive advertising campaign at the expense of the taxpayer.
It does not have to say NDP on it, or have any NDP or political logos. You know, I am absolutely positive that when the election campaign does begin and the election literature does come out for the NDP, that they will, in their election literature, talk about vision, talk about how good the government was in supporting small business, and in supporting everyone. I know that all of the election campaign literature is going to talk about what a great vision this government has for the Yukon.
If anything, probably the greatest lack of direction that this government has shown is in the area of vision. This government has lots of vision - the Minister for Community and Transportation Services says that he has a lot of vision - they have lots of money to pay for lots of fancy ads, to tell people every week that they have vision so that after a year of this, people will start to say, Well, gee, you know, every time I see those ads in the paper, it talks about vision. Well, I think this government has some vision. That is what this advertising is all about, and all of the Members on the side opposite know that is what it is all about. They all know it and I guess, if they would be honest about it, it would not be so bad.
The Minister of Renewable Resources is scrunching his face up like he is all hurt and offended saying that he is honest about the advertising. If the government would stand up and say, Look, we are putting these ads in the paper; we want to get the message out the way we want our message to get out, then people would say, Okay, we know what you are doing. We know what the government is doing and that is fine, but they do not.
The Members opposite come into this House and try to pass off these ads, - they are trying to win people over; creating this image - as some kind of information brochure or a fact sheet, saying that they are consulting and giving people information. The public can see through that.
It is kind of a devious way of trying to take people for granted and push them some more. They are dipping their toes in the tub of hot water and, if it is not too hot, add more. By now, they are in that hot tub over their eyes. If they keep up this advertising, people are going to see through it, and it will backfire on them.
I want to make sure I have not missed any of the points I wanted to make. In conclusion, I will, of course, support the motion. I agree with it and think the Member was correct to bring it forward for debate.
I want to leave people with some final words: firstly, remember what the Socreds did in B.C. and how the NDP Opposition of the day reacted to that; secondly, if this government is doing such a good job, why do they have to advertise it? If they are doing such a great job, they would not have to - people would know it already. When they are not doing a good job, governments get frantic and try to control things. This is the time that they start to do things like this with our money. They buy advertisements and radio spots. If we had TV here, they would be buying TV spots. We would have Sidrock and the Chocolate Claim on TV talking about how great the government was to them and what vision the government has. I do not think we are going to hear one convincing argument from the side opposite that will make anyone believe that these are not paid ads for a specific purpose, as opposed to the information programs this government puts out.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I listened with a great deal of interest to the last speaker, the Member for Riverdale South. She seemed to focus on two themes: one was on the purpose of advertising and the other was about vision. Let me speak first about her comments on the vision.
I guess I perked up when she pleaded with Members of this side to be honest about the amount of vision that we have as a government. She really did ask us to be honest about it, and I found it quite odd for that plea to be coming from that Member, who, when she was in government, was associated with a party that had no visions, and the electorate knew that. They knew the party had no vision. I will say one thing - they never really purported to have any vision. As a consequence, the electorate did not see fit to return them to office. I think that, today, it is still running true, with at least some Members of the side opposite.
It is interesting to note that now the Member for Riverdale South is associated with a party that does not have a platform, and obviously does not have a vision for the future. It is pretty much making decisions based on input from constituents. I find it very odd that this individual, who is part of a no-platform party, and who was formerly part of a government with no vision, is really critical about this government which does, indeed, have some vision.
The reason we do have some vision, and one of the reasons I think the territory is doing very well overall, is the fact that we have consulted with the public. We have consulted with all Yukoners on a variety of subjects and they have given us some ideas about how we could improve situations. They have relayed to us their concerns, and we have responded to them in the appropriate manner with programs that will improve situations and alleviate concerns and, yes, we are letting them know about it. We are not keeping these programs that they have asked for a secret - these programs that all Yukoners can participate in, using their own taxpayers dollars, which are available and are benefiting Yukoners.
In response to her two questions that she signed off with - remember the Socreds of British Columbia and do not be like them - I do not think that we are being like them. The reason why the Socreds of British Columbia got into so much trouble is because they did not consult with the public. They pretty well directed all of their activities to a selected few, ignoring the concerns of a great many residents of British Columbia. They were soundly defeated for that reason.
Her second question concerned advertising. She asked: if we were doing such a good job, then why is this government doing so much advertising to notify people of this? The answer is quite obvious. We want the Yukon public to know that they are getting value for their taxpayers dollars and that there are a variety of programs that they can participate in to benefit, not only themselves, but the territory as a whole.
The debate started off today with some comments made by the Member for Riverdale North, who brought forward this motion, which pretty much reflected the comments made by the Member for Porter Creek East when this matter was first raised in the House yesterday. You may recall that Question Period started off with a question by the Leader of the Official Opposition regarding an advertising campaign by government. I found his comments very interesting, and I will quote here, I want to table for Members information a comparison of the ads that were being run last week and another ad run by the NDP during a previous election. I am speaking about the NDP political message for the purpose of getting elected, Lets work together and now, by pure coincidence, in this almost full-page ad, it says, Thats what Yukoners can do working together. I am sure that it is pure coincidence that these slogans are so much alike. I am wondering if the Minister responsible, I guess, for the Public Service Commission, or any other Minister who is prepared to attempt to answer this, can tell us when the government formally adopted the NDP political slogan working together for the purpose of conveying government messages.
The reason I was so interested and amused with that comment, which was articulated again today by the Member who introduced this motion, was because I remembered former election campaigns when it seemed like all parties were using the buzz words of the time: partnerships, working in cooperation with, and working together. I would now like to table a little campaign pamphlet from the Yukon Territorial Progressive Conservative Party. I know it is a long-defunct political party that went the way of the dinosaurs, but they were here in 1985. I would like to take a few comments from that campaign folder by PC Yukon: A Progressive Conservative government and you - working together. It is your choice. It is Yukons turn. Fact: there is a Progressive Conservative government in Yukon. Fact: there is a Progressive Conservative government in Ottawa. Fact: both Conservative governments are working together with the private sector to achieve Yukons tremendous economic potential for the benefit of all of our people. Fact: both conservative governments are working together now to transfer responsibilities for land, resources, fisheries and energy. Fact: both Conservative governments are working together to improve the quality of life in Yukon. Fact: both have demonstrated they are... - one would never guess - ...working together in Yukons best interest. And I left the best one until the end: There has never been a greater opportunity for cooperation and good government in Yukon; there is progress in partnership.
I think that proves quite conclusively that we, the Yukon NDP, do not have a stranglehold, nor have we cornered the market, on the slogan, working together, and managed to somehow sneak into all advertising some kind of subversive - or subliminal, as the Member for Watson Lake suggested - message to get across that we are the only ones who thought of the term working together.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, I will admit that it is a good slogan and that it is used by all political parties. I think the Member for Riverdale North is aware of that. All political parties use the slogan: Lets work together. For that reason, in his speech today, he injected the words NDP to convince everybody that what he was saying had some truth to it. I found it quite interesting that he would add some words to the ad to ensure that the point he was making did indeed have some validity.
Just as an update on the 1985 election campaign, I do not think that a lot of the people believed that they would be working together with the Yukon Party. Perhaps some of them did not even believe that the individuals running for the Yukon Progressive Conservative Party could be working together as a team, because that election brought forward a New Democratic government, as we all know. Since 1985, the Yukon government, which happens to be a New Democratic government, has acted on its commitment to involve the people of the Yukon in the development of government policies and programs. More emphasis has been placed on public participation in the last seven years than at any other time in the history of the Yukon. Public participation includes consultations, public meetings and meetings with interest groups in the development of policy and programs. But, participation is more than listening and responding to public comment. Participation implies a responsibility on the part of the government for the consistent delivery of information about government programs.
This is a daily and ongoing process. For some reason, the Members on the side opposite believe that we just started advertising. I want to assure them that that is not the case. We do not intend to develop new programs, bring new policies onstream and then keep them a secret from the people of the Yukon. One of the best ways to let people know about them is through advertisements, brochures, pamphlets and radio ads. We believe very strongly that the people of the Yukon have a right to be informed about programs and services that are available to them. They are paying for them and will obviously benefit from them because they asked for them.
This advertising is done through distribution of pamphlets and posters, one-on-one communication between government personnel and clients, public service advertising, including radio and television messages and, of course, advertisements that appear in newspapers.
I find it ironic in a sense that both the Member for Riverdale North and the Member for Porter East, who tried to link this working together slogan, implied that it is the exclusive right of the Yukon New Democratic Party to use it in our advertising. I find it ironic that Members opposite are criticizing us for carrying out what we promised to do.
In our election campaign, as the other parties did, we promised to work together with Yukon people, private business, individuals, First Nations and community governments to bring about a better Yukon, and that is what we are doing. Now, for some reason, the side opposite is criticizing us for actually fulfilling our election promises.
As I said, this government has made a commitment to consult with Yukon people, develop programs to meet their needs and to inform them of what we are doing. I find the comments made by the Member for Riverdale South about advertising and the purpose of advertising very interesting. She claims that ads are used to promote and sell, and that these advertisements are a sales pitch. That is exactly right, and we do that for a couple of reasons.
Obviously, one reason is for promotion. We are trying to promote economic development programs, for example. We are trying to let people know that these programs are there, and that people can take advantage of these programs. As a result, there is increased activity and interest in programs that are being offered. In this particular example, the Department of Economic Development and the Business Development Offices throughout the territory are, as a result of this advertising program, getting more inquiries. That is what we are supposed to be doing.
We have economic development officers working here in Whitehorse and in the rural communities. They offer a wide variety of programs, again, designed to assist Yukon businesses and individuals, and we are going to let people know this by promoting these programs.
Another reason we advertise a great deal in the media is to inform people. Through our advertisements, we provide a great deal of information. As I mentioned earlier, the purpose here is not to keep these programs a secret.
I would like to refer to the latest edition of the Klondike Sun, an excellent publication produced by a number of people in the City of Dawson. A great number of volunteers work quite diligently throughout the year to produce this publication on a monthly basis. In the May edition of the Klondike Sun, on page 3, the Department of Renewable Resources advertises a brand new program. The first opportunity that most people had - particularly in rural Yukon - to learn of this program was through this advertisement. This advertisement is promoting the Yukon Youth Conservation Corps. In addition to promoting it - yes, selling it - we are providing a great deal of information. The ad basically says to try the new Yukon Youth Conservation Corps.
The ad first addresses the question of who: Students between the ages of 16 and 22 can apply. What is it? The work will involve a variety of community projects like trail building, research surveys or education campaigns. On-the-job training will be provided. Where? To find out more, contact the Renewable Resources office, your high school guidance counsellor or the Yukon government job desk. The phone numbers are also listed. Why would you do this? To learn new skills, to meet new people, to help the Yukon environment and to make some money. When? The deadline for applications is May 20, so call soon.
That is information. It answers the five Ws right there, all in a nutshell. It is an excellent ad. Yes, we are selling the program. We think it is a good program. It was asked for by Yukon people, and we are telling people what it is all about.
Let us take a look at another advertisement in this paper.
There is another advertisement here that has vision, because our youth is one of our most important resources. On page 11, we have an advertisement that promotes our conservation action team, a summer adventure program. In addition to selling it, we provide a lot of information as to the dates for the people who are eligible, all the different age groups, what activities are included, who to see for an application form and where to get more information. This is not a new program, but one that has been in place for a couple of years previous to this. We ran the same ad last year, provided the same information, and no one criticized it. No one criticized the fact that it had no vision, that we were not trying to educate our young people to take more interest in our environment, so we can assure that we have a sustainable environment. No one made any comments like this last year. Perhaps these comments are being made because this is an election year.
Because this is an election year, even ads like this - which were not criticized in the past - are, for some reason, labelled as being partisan or political. I think that is nonsense. This advertisement says Yukon Renewable Resources on it. There is nothing else. Again, I think it is an example of an excellent advertisement.
On page 13 of the same publication, there is another advertisement. This is a very interesting one, because it addresses a couple of concerns raised by the Members opposite in their speeches. This one is again by Renewable Resources. The heading says, We may be able to help you turn your idea for a conservation project into reality.
We identified the program as the Yukon conservation strategy demonstration project fund, which encourages projects that combine conservation and economic development.
It discussed some recent examples of applications that have been approved: $14,000 to the Yukon Trappers Association for educational talks in Yukon campgrounds and $3,700 to the Yukon Conservation Society for public education on recycling.
In this particular program, we have created a grave error by providing some examples of successful projects. For some reason, this is wrong. Certainly in the opinion of CBC it must be wrong, because their position, as we all know, as articulated by the Member for Kluane here today, is that it is okay to advertise a new program on their radio but it is not appropriate to advertise an existing program that uses a successful example. I do not understand what the problem is in using an example, such as the one about the Yukon Conservation Society for public education on recycling, in which, incidentally, the Member for Whitehorse Riverdale North has a deep interest, and about which, on many occasions, he has said we are not doing enough as a government to promote recycling and provide more public education. Here is an example of real people doing a real project and having real success, but that is interpreted by the Member for Riverdale North as the government using taxpayers money to blow its own horn.
What we are doing here is informing people that there is a program out there that people want and that they can access and do it themselves; this advertising gives them credit for it, and basically shows everybody else that, yes, this is your neighbour and you, too, can get involved by applying and participating.
What I cannot understand is that, somehow, this could be interpreted as a blatant, political ad and that we are blowing our own horn by advertising and promoting this particular program.
There are other advertisements in this publication. Coincidentally, here is one, informing individuals, particularly those in the agricultural industry, about the policy review that this government has in place right now about game farming. Basically, it states what the situation is, the current status of game farming in the Yukon, that we do have an interim policy, that we know that it has to be reviewed and that we need some regulations for the industry. Basically, it informs people that a discussion paper has been made available and distributed. It tells people where they can pick up this discussion paper, and encourages them to provide their comments to this discussion paper, because we do want some thoughtful arguments presented by Yukon people on developing this policy because, obviously, this policy is going to affect them.
Before we go any further on this particular subject, I want to make it clear to the Members opposite that the large number of advertisements that appear in this particular edition of the Klondike Sun by the Department of Renewable Resources is simply because of the time of the year. Most of these activities take place over the summer - such as the game farming policy review, the Y2C2 program, Yukon conservation camp, et cetera - and it is necessary to advertise at this time. I do not want to leave the impression with the Members opposite that this is standard procedure for every edition of this newspaper.
There is another advertisement that talks about the Yukon Environment Act. Incidentally, since we started working on the Environment Act two years ago, we have adopted the motto, Yukon people working together for our common future. That has been in place now for two years and we have not had a single complaint - until the last couple of weeks - when someone on the side opposite took an objection to this governments use of the words working together.
Again, I find that strange and then again, strange things are done in an election year.
This particular ad that relates to the Yukon Environment Act promotes the regulations that are currently being considered with respect to the 10-cent deposit on aluminum drink cans. Basically, it informs the public that by doing this we can achieve two things: we can protect our environment because the deposit will go into a recycling fund, and the money from that fund will be used to support recycling, reusing and reducing our waste, and for cleaning up. A refund means that more people will return their cans, resulting in less litter.
Again, this advertisement requests public comments on these proposed beverage container and recycling fund regulations and provides information that the deadline for comments is June 10, 1992.
There is another example, as with the four previous examples, of the government advertising to sell a program or to inform people for the purposes of soliciting some comment.
I will provide one more example in this publication on page 31. There is an advertisement from the Department of Community and Transportation Services, that is promoting clean-up week. The promotion say, Do Your Bit For Clean-Up Week May 9-15". The message here - the political, partisan message here, if you can pick it out - is that a clean environment is everybodys business. The text of this advertisement emphasizes the importance of the environment to our community and it encourages us to take part in activities to clean it up and to improve our environment.
I want to stress this for the benefit of the Member for Riverdale North: it emphasizes throughout the year, very strongly, that we must remember to reduce. That is: generate less waste; reuse -perhaps through the use of refillable containers - recycle, return cans and bottles; and, recover - for example, organic waste for compost - and how to deal with our special wastes: oils, paint, solvent and chemicals.
I thought it would be interesting to bring this to the attention of the Member for Riverdale North, because I know it is one of his pet peeves that this government does not do enough to promote among Yukoners the idea that this is not just a one-day or one-week event; every day of the year, we should be conscious about preventing litter and further damage to the environment, and should encourage people to clean it up.
With these latest examples of advertisements in the recent publication of the Klondike Sun, I hope I have shown that the purpose of our advertising is to inform people about our programs. We are informing people that there are activities happening in the territory that they should be aware of, as they have some effect on them, and we encourage their participation. It is selling programs that we think are good ones. The reason we think they are good is because they have been brought forward to us by the Yukon public. The reason we are putting these ads in the paper and on radio and TV is because we want to improve the communication with Yukoners. We want to invite dialogue. We basically want to ensure that Yukoners are aware of all the programs available to them and that we are spending their money wisely and getting good value for it. For those reasons, this government will continue to use the resources available to it to promote its programs.
I obviously agree with the motion. I have pointed out rather conclusively that none of the advertisements I have brought to the attention of Members can be remotely considered partisan or political. I think you would find few people who would question these ads for being that. For that reason, I will certainly agree to this motion.
Mr. Lang: In view of the hour, and because I know that all House Leaders wanted to deal with the second item of business, which is the amendment to the Pounds Act, I move that debate be now adjourned.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Leader of the Official Opposition that the debate be now adjourned.
Motion to adjourn debate on Motion No. 23 agreed to
Speaker: Bills other than Government Bills.
BILLS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT BILLS
Bill No. 102: Second Reading
Assistant Clerk: Second reading, Bill No. 102, standing in the name of Mr. Brewster.
Mr. Brewster: I move that Bill No. 102, entitled An Act to Amend the Pounds Act, be now read a second time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Member for Kluane that Bill No. 102, entitled An Act to Amend the Pounds Act, be now read a second time.
Mr. Brewster: I would like to sincerely thank the Legislature for allowing this to happen. I appreciate it, because it is a touchy situation that should be dealt with in this Legislature.
In speaking to this bill, one only has to go back in Hansard. On April 16, 1987, I was very concerned that they were going on to tattooing. It was indicated by the so-called experts at that time that they had checked and this was being done in other areas.
It is critical to mark horses by tattooing. There are a number of reasons for this: firstly, it is very inhumane. No one here would like to have a needle driven into their lips just to get a number put on them. There is nothing to put them to sleep.
Before this speech is over, I will show that they are actually doing it, and permission for it is signed by the Minister. It also causes the animals to be very head-shy and very shaky around the mouth. I think Mr. Speaker realizes this as much as a number of other people here - the Member for Tatchun probably realizes it. When this is done to old pack horses, there is something wrong.
I went out to a group of eight that were done. I went out five days after they had been done, but we still could not open their mouths. They would throw their heads back. They were head-shy completely.
The argument the department puts up to me is that their lips are tough and that this does not bother them. Well, that is completely not true. Their lips may be a little black and a little tougher because they eat grass, but when needles are driven into them it certainly hurts. It does not matter how tough the lip is, there are nerves there.
Nothing is given to them to put them to sleep when they do this. They are simply tied to a post - as I will verify very shortly by this letter - and it is done to them. This is absolutely inhumane and impractical.
I have talked to vets, not only here in the Yukon, but also outside, and not one vet to whom I spoke would touch an animal this way without putting it to sleep. In fact, they went further than that and said they would not even do a dog or a cat without putting the animal to sleep.
Another issue they brought up that is very, very important is that these needles are being used on one horse and then on another horse. We all know that the germs in a human being or a horse are in the mouth. How do we know they are not transferring germs from one to the other? The needles are reaching the veins; how do we know the germs are not being transferred? The department replies that they wash the mouth with alcohol afterwards, but that is not the answer to this at all.
I am also completely amazed that very few people know that their horses were tattooed. In fact, I phoned five or six people who were completely unaware that their horses were tattooed at any time, but some are now going out to look. One person I phoned made it very clear that if his horses had been tattooed, there was going to be some serious trouble.
I will now go on to this letter, which was sent by the Minister to an individual. I have not received my copy yet, but I see that it is coming to me. I have the original letter here. Just to show you how inexperienced these people are, one horse is described as a big, black mare. Well, what is big? That is a great way to describe a horse: a big, black mare. Then we go on to a B23: a brown and a tan. I do not whether this horse stood out in the sun too long or what, but I have never heard of a tanned horse in my life. Maybe the horse stood out too long in the sun and got tanned. We go down to B25: a brown tan mare. I guess this mare stood out in the sun too long, anyway. I think that they are talking about a dun mare and a dun horse, but they do not know anything about horses, so they do not know what they are talking about.
The B23 did not get tattooed at all, but the B25, the brown tan mare, got done twice, so I guess they made a mistake and did not know whether they had the mare or the gelding when they were tied up.
This is the procedure. Now, anyone who has been around animals, just listen to this. This is the governments tattooing procedure, Horses are subdued by two people working in cooperation. Animals are haltered and the horses head is snugged tight into a post or object while the tattoo is applied. The tattoo is applied quickly, and experts claim that the use of a tattoo on the lip is not painful.
I have four veterinarians who say it is painful. I do not know where that expert came from. Can you imagine tying a horse up to a post so tightly that needles can be driven into its lip? That is absolutely ridiculous and inhumane. I suspect that on top of that, they use a twitch to quiet the horse down, and that is very inhumane, too.
Then they were asked what qualifications the pounds keeper had. The letter stated, The pounds keeper has tattooed or helped to tattoo numerous animals over the past six years. - in other words, he learned the business at the expense of somebody elses horses - However, even after years of experience, it can be difficult to apply a perfect tattoo, because even a slight movement by an animal may result in a blurred marking. Any time a horse is tied up that tightly to a post, he is going to be moving and fighting for his life. Horses are not used to treatment like that. I think it is absolutely ridiculous.
My next comment does not really have anything to do with the tattooing, but it shows the experience of this man. This man said that the horse had some of the hairs rubbed off between his thighs and on his back, and suggested that the veterinarian had better look at him. This is B23. This just shows how much this man knows about horses. These horses are put in a truck in the spring when the hair is coming off - a little bit of sweat would take the winter hair off a thigh. If the horse rubbed on the truck while it was warm, this could account for the hair falling off. Anyone who has handled horses would know that this is the way things are.
I am amazed. When we talked about this before, the government made it plain that it had spoken to people. I took the trouble of phoning the pounds people in B.C. and Alberta. Neither jurisdictions allows impounded animals to be marked in any way. After an animal is impounded, it is advertised by description and recorded by description.
I then phoned Manitoba to inquire about its policy. In Manitoba, an animal impounded is not marked, however, there is one qualification. A municipality has a different law and could mark a horse that is in that municipality, but it does not know of any municipality that has ever done so.
I also called Saskatchewan. Mr. Gordon Bowley is in charge of animal control there. Saskatchewan does not permit the marking of any animals that are impounded. Impounded animals are recorded by description.
I will record the phone numbers here, now. It will save the government some time in checking phone numbers; this government said it had checked with everybody. Here are the phone numbers for the various animal control offices: British Columbia, 1-604-828-4677; Alberta, 1-427-5098; Manitoba, 1-204-945-7690; Saskatchewan, 1-306-787-4697. I am not going to waste time indicating how I could do this. I hope that this bill gets into Committee of the Whole and then I can explain how people who handle horses do it. I am quite convinced that this type of thing has to stop immediately.
It states in this document that every animal that is captured is tattooed. It goes on to state that the owners must sign a paper stating they are aware that the animal had been tattooed before it is released from the pound. Yet, I have phoned six different people who had horses impounded and they were unaware that their horses were tattooed, and I will provide the Minister with their names if he wants them.
I am very concerned about the inhumane way that pounds keepers are treating the animals that are impounded. I think that it is a crime that we in the Yukon have to do this when not one of the western provinces, which have more horses than we will ever have, do not allow any of these things to go on. I feel very strongly that a lot of the people who are pounds keepers are there only for the $30,000, not that they have any ability to be pounds keepers.
I can go on to a couple of other things in this letter, but I would like to keep them until Committee of the Whole, so the Minister can reply to them. I hope that he checks with his department on that letter, because there are some false statements made in it that I can prove are false.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to thank the Member for bringing forward this bill. I am pleased that we have the opportunity to debate it today at second reading.
From the very beginning, I want to inform Members on the side opposite that I have not had a great deal of time to research information pertaining to this bill. Quite frankly, I have not had sufficient time in the last couple of days to contact anyone outside the Department of Renewable Resources. I will follow up on the suggestion made by the Member for Kluane to contact other jurisdictions to see what their practice is, prior to debate in Committee of the Whole.
As Members know, we require positive identification of an animal for future problems that the animal or its owner may have under the Pounds Act or the Highways Act. The act lays out a series of punitive conditions, such as first, second and third offenses, that make it extremely important for the owner to show positive identification.
How do we identify the horses? We do not take pictures, nor do we take down descriptions of them, because we have found that colour as confirmation of positive identification does not stand up well in court, especially, since all people recognize or identify their animals in a certain manner.
The Member for Kluane has already raised a couple of examples of descriptions of animals that I think would be difficult for another person to interpret in order to positively identify an animal.
Some livestock owners brand their cattle and horses for this reason; identifying by colour, size and natural markings are not always reliable.
In the Yukon, we tattoo the horse on the inside of the upper lip. There is virtually no blood, although there is some pain, as the Member has described. However, other methods of marking seem to be inappropriate, because of greater pain than that of tattooing, perhaps disfiguring an animal and perhaps causing bleeding. Those methods are by an acid brand which is painful for quite sometime. Of course that is not done here in the Yukon, but it is a practice in some places outside, as is ear tagging. I guess the most common practice, to some degree here in the Yukon and also in the neighboring jurisdiction, is that of branding an animal. This disfigures the animal to some degree, it is painful and it is not always easy to apply.
The Member for Kluane spoke of the difficulty of getting control of a horse when tattooing the lip. I think that the same problems arise when an animal is being branded.
In the minds of some people, branding a horse would be as inhumane as tattooing. In any case, a number of horses and cattle in the Yukon are not branded or marked for easy identification. If an owners animal is involved in an accident, causes damage, or is captured but not claimed because of the accident or damage, we cannot always positively identify the owner. As the Member knows, most of the problem animals are repeats with the same owner. Positive identification using a tattoo - which, incidentally, is not visible on the outside of the animal, as it is on the inside of the lip - and the registration system allows us to now positively identify the animals.
There have been a couple of suggestions made that would get around the requirement for tattooing the animals. One, of course, is simply to require all livestock owners to tattoo or brand their own livestock and register them.
Some would see this as a drastic measure to take, including those who do not always contain and look after their livestock. I find it curious that, in his remarks, the Member opposite has not come forward with a suggestion for an alternative to the tattooing of the horses, which is the method that is presently in use. I look forward to hearing some of the alternatives he may suggest when we debate this in greater detail in Committee of the Whole.
During his remarks, the Member for Kluane raised some criticisms about the way we tattoo horses. I want him to know that this is a concern to me - if there is, indeed, some inhumane treatment of the animals in question. I must tell him that it had not been brought to my attention before receiving a letter recently from a resident in the Tagish area. We have pounds keepers in some areas of the territory who are quite knowledgeable, with a number of years experience, and who have never been accused of treating animals inhumanely, so I would appreciate receiving further details on the matters raised. As I say, I am quite concerned about those allegations.
I look forward to debating this in Committee of the Whole.
Mrs. Firth: I rise today to support this initiative that the Member for Kluane has brought forward. However, before I do, I want to tell the Members opposite a horse story. It is a little exchange that I have with my horses when I am at my farm and I ask my horses if they want some oats. In reply, my horses lift their tails and say: a few. Some of the Members got it, Mr. Speaker. The Minister of Renewable Resources obviously has not been around very many horses.
I had this concern brought to my attention by some horse owners. Their horses had got out of the confined area, and there was a concern about whether the gate had been left open accidentally, by someone other than the owners, who were taking every care and precaution that they could to keep their horses confined. When the pounds keeper tattooed the animals lips and did not do a professional job, it damaged the quietness and calmness of the horse. It is very difficult to halter and bridle horses, and to be around them, once they have had a traumatic experience such as tattooing on their lip. It can almost ruin a good, quiet, calm horse - one that kids can go up to and that has ordinarily been a friendly horse.
We have some very valuable horses in this country, not only due to a personal attachment, but also because they are expensive livestock that people are bringing in for their own recreational purposes. I think it is a good idea that we examine how we keep track of horses that are having to be impounded. There are other ways that it can be done. I am sure the Member for Kluane has suggested that we could use descriptions. It is not like we are talking about thousands of horses, so that we could end up with 25 horses with the same description and identifying marks. I do not think it is an unreasonable request. Livestock owners, and horse owners in particular, would be extremely grateful for this kind of initiative. As a horse owner myself, if my horses got out and were tattooed, and my little nieces and nephews could no longer go near the horses because they had become head-shy, as the saying goes, due to the trauma they had undergone, I would be very concerned and distressed about it, just as these people are.
We support this initiative and thank the Member for bringing it forward.
Chair: The hon. Member will close debate if he now speaks. Does any other Member wish to be heard?
Mr. Brewster: I appreciate the fact that the Minister did not have much time to work on this; however, we can go back to when I protested in 1987 and everyone laughed at me. It is funny how things come around.
They make the statement that it will not stand up in court. It is funny how all the western provinces can make it stand up in court with a lot more horses than we have, and we cannot make it stand up here. He says branding is just as bad and just as cruel. That certainly is not true at all. One can do a light touch brand on a horse, and it is gone, as if one were to burn ones finger. It does not make him head shy; it does not affect him at all. The horse thinks only that it was bitten by something, and it jumps back. You can brand it standing up, holding him by the halter, and just put a hot iron there quick and pull it away, and it is all over.
I am really surprised that it has been brought to the Ministers attention before and he has never done anything about it. He says he did not have time now. I agree, but if it was brought to his attention before, surely he must have looked at it. I do not suppose that he did, but surely he must have. Before I close, I will just put one simple question to the Minister. How do you recognize your neighbour when you walk down the street?
He is not tattooed on the lip; he is recognized by his facial features, the colour of his hair and by the colour of his eyes. It is a natural description, and people use it all the time. I have used it twice in court, and it has worked both times, so it should work here. It is simple. All one has to do is look at the facial features; and horses are the same. No two horses are the same - not even two born one after the other, one a yearling and one a two-year-old. They are not the same. There are different markings on every horse. If the pounds keeper cannot do that, then they should not have that job.
Motion for second reading of Bill No. 102 agreed to
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS
Motion No. 13
Clerk: Motion No. 13, standing in the name of Mr. Phillips.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Member for Whitehorse Riverdale North
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Government of Yukon should establish an Ombudsperson office whose primary function would be to protect the individual against the power of the state.
Mr. Phillips: Next sitting day.
Speaker: Order please. This matter is already before the House. Is there unanimous consent to agree that the motion was not, in fact, put before the House from the Chair?
All Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: Unanimous consent has been granted.
Is there unanimous consent not to call any further private Members business?
All Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: Unanimous consent has been granted.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Minister of Community and Transportation Services that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I will now call the Committee of the Whole to order.
Motion re appearance of witnesses
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the chief electoral officer and assistant chief electoral officer be called as witnesses before Committee of the Whole on Wednesday, May 27, 1992, at 7:30 p.m., during debate on Bill No. 14, entitled An Act to Amend the Elections Act.
Motion agreed to
Chair: We will recess until 7:30 p.m.
Chair: I will call Committee of the Whole to order.
Bill No. 14 - An Act to Amend the Elections Act
Chair: We will go to An Act to Amend the Elections Act, and I would like to welcome the witnesses to the Committee.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I would like to welcome the chief electoral officer and the assistant chief electoral officer to the Legislature.
Before we start, I would like to pass around some information that had been requested by a Member, respecting the format of the application to vote by special ballot and a declaration at special revision. These are draft versions of the application forms so that Members can give some consideration to what the chief electoral officer has in mind in establishing these forms.
Perhaps we could delve immediately into the questioning the Members have of the chief electoral officer and his assistant, and then proceed with clause by clause debate.
Mr. Lang: I, from this side of the House, would like to welcome the witnesses. At the outset I want to say, from our perspective and I think all Members would share this view, that we feel our elections have, to date, been run fairly well and with very little inconvenience to those candidates and to the election process. I feel these people should be given credit for that, and I expect it to continue in the future.
I would like to ask for a further update and expansion on the importance of this special ballot. Perhaps from their perspective, they could give us an idea of how many people were disenfranchised, so to speak, and maybe give us an indication of how it is going to work.
Mr. Michael: The amendments in Bill No. 14 and the use of the special ballot referred to by the Member are primarily to assist people, who had previously been administratively disenfranchised, to have a vote. Those who are identified are those who are house-bound, those who, because of their work, will not be able to attend either an advance or regular poll, and students who are attending an educational institution, primarily Yukon College, which is in the Yukon, but which is outside the electoral district in which they permanently reside. I believe the Member asked about numbers. We are not aware of how many people this will necessarily cover. I am informed that we had 19 telephone calls in the elections office on the date of the last general election. That is about the best sense we have of it.
There may have been other people who did not get an opportunity to vote who would have fallen into these categories, but who would not have been in contact with us. I believe that there were many workers at the Ketza mine, near Ross River, who fell into this category, but who did not make a point to phone us on election day.
The other question asked was: what process was envisioned for running this? An application form would be made available to electors, either by the enumerator or the returning officer. The enumerators would be carrying the application form while enumerating. The enumerators are going to be required to inform electors at the door of this opportunity, as well as informing electors of the opportunity to vote by proxy. In the event that an application form was not requested from the enumerator, then the elector would get one from the returning officer. The application form could be given to the elector themselves, given to someone coming in to pick it up for them, or the elector could phone in and request that it be mailed out.
As Members can see from the draft application form that was distributed, the application form would have the applicant/elector specifying who they were, what polling division number they were in and what electoral district they live in. They would state on the form that they were applying to vote by special ballot because of one of the three reasons that were outlined in the act. Once the application is witnessed, it could be brought to the returning office by the elector, or the elector could send it in by mail or have it delivered by some representative.
Incidentally, the returning officer could witness the signature, if an elector came forward and said that he or she was not going to be here and wanted to make that application. The signature could be witnessed by the returning officer.
The returning officer would then confirm that the electors name was on the list for the polling division identified, and would cross that name off the lists to be used at the advance poll and the regular poll, and would enter across the name the description Special Ballot, so that we would know why that was done. The returning officer would also enter the name and address of the elector in a special poll book, for that polling division.
The elector will be given a regular ballot - this is one of the advantages; it will not be like the mail-in ballot where it is written. The elector will get the same ballot that is available on polling day to the elector who shows up at the poll. The elector will also be given a ballot paper envelope, which will have no identification on it other than ballot paper envelope. Another envelope - a certificate envelope - will be given to the voter, in which they will put down on the outside of the certificate envelope their name and the polling division. I am not sure of all of the information; that is primarily what is required.
Let us say that the elector decided to vote at that point; that is possible. The elector would take the ballot, mark it and refold it. The elector would put the ballot paper inside the ballot paper envelope, seal it, and then put the sealed ballot paper envelope inside a certificate envelope, and would then sign the certificate envelope and hand it over to the returning officer.
Primarily, this is the same envelope system that has been successfully used for the mail-in ballots. The returning officer would place that sealed certificate envelope in another envelope which is marked Special Ballot Papers where all of these would be kept, and then would enter the term voted, beside the electors name in the poll book that is being kept at the returning office.
What I have just described is a situation where the elector actually walked in and it was all done right on the spot.
If the application were received by mail, the returning officer would check the application to make sure that the signature had been witnessed and that the application was properly filled in. The returning officer, again, would confirm that the electors name is, in fact, on the list of electors for that polling division and would cross the name off the lists that are to be used at the advanced poll and the regular poll, and mark it with the term Special Ballot. Again, the returning officer would enter the name and address of the elector in the special poll book I described, and then would take a ballot paper, initial it and mail it, with the envelope I described earlier to the elector.
As you may have noted in the application to vote by special ballot, there actually is a spot for the electors themselves to identify how they would like to have those materials, including the ballot and envelopes, returned to them; whether it would be by mail, the returning officer or, if they are having it delivered by somebody else, they have to name who the representative will be who will do that. That will be right on the form.
In this case, the ballot would come back in the envelopes either by mail or delivered to the returning officer or assistant returning officer, who can act in this case.
The returning officers, again, would go through those steps. On receipt of the envelopes containing the sealed certificate envelopes, they would open them, confirm the name of the elector on the certificate envelope with the name in the special poll books, because they will have recorded that they have been sent out. Now that they have been mailed back, they will want to check that the two conform. They will keep the unopened certificate envelopes with all of the other special ballot papers in the envelope for that purpose, and they will enter voted in the special poll book across from the electors name.
Perhaps I will stop at this point to see if there are any questions.
Mr. Lang: I just want to pursue this a little further. Take the scenario where the enumeration is done; they come to my door and I say my spouse has gone, as of yesterday, and will not be back until after the election. How does the declaration of special revision form apply? The individual in question would not be in a position to present herself physically to the electoral officer. Is there another form for them to fill out, or do they just fill out the first form? How does it work? Let us assume we do not see the individual physically because he or she has gone for the 32 or 33 days?
Mr. Michael: We would not have to worry about that particular person coming to special revision because the person enumerating - assuming in this case that the Member is talking about his wife being away - could get her name put on the list of electors. She does not have to be present to do that.
Mrs. Firth: The witnesses indicated that the enumerators will be giving out the applications, but they do not give out proxy form applications - the witnesses are nodding that they do.
My next question, then, is: can people vote by proxy with a special ballot? Is there any way that can happen?
Mr. Michael: No. Proxies are used by people who are absent from the territory.
Mrs. Firth: My concern is that I know a lot of university students who are out of the territory. They used to vote by proxy and will now be voting by special mail-in ballot.
Mr. Michael: No.
Mrs. Firth: Okay, I understand now. I was concerned about students having the ability to vote with the mail ballot as well as proxy.
Mr. Lang: I want to pursue further the question of identifying who is going to vote. Of course, that is always very important to those who are seeking office.
My question is: when and how does one get the information about who has a special ballot and will be exercising that franchise during the course of an election?
Mr. Michael: Actually, clause 5, section 156.3 of the act does require that before the opening of the polls the returning officer is to transmit the names of electors added at a special revision to the candidates, but I believe the Member is talking about who has voted. The returning officers will be advising each candidate before polling day of the names, addresses and polling division number of every elector who has voted by special ballot paper.
Or, is the Member trying to find out how the candidate may know who has special ballot papers? It is the same provision as for mail-in polls; there will be just the one opportunity, and my guess right now is that it would be the Saturday, day 29, when the candidates will be made aware of who has special ballots.
Mr. Lang: One has to apply for these special ballots, and I cannot see why one could not, if one were interested, inquire of the returning officer. Why could it not be made mandatory that the returning officer has to tell the public that Mr. Lang has applied for a special ballot. At the stage that the application is made, I cannot see why we should not know who will not be in the riding to vote and will be elsewhere.
Mr. Michael: What I was doing was informing the Member when we would be giving an official notification. The question about the candidate or candidates agents perhaps contacting the returning office and requesting the information on an informal basis would be in order. It is just that the returning officer would not be calling up the candidates agent each day to say that a person has been added. The request for information could be responded to, yes.
Mr. Lang: I just want to further clarify that. It is not necessary to amend the legislation; it is just part of the administrative procedure. If one inquires about how many special ballots have been issued and to whom they have been issued, the returning officer would give that information out? Is that correct?
Mr. Michael: That is correct.
Mr. Devries: This is geared to people who know that they are going to be out of town, up to a week ahead of time, because they have to apply for this special ballot. The ballot has to be mailed back and forth. It would not address a situation that occurred in Watson Lake during the last election. During the last election, there was a couple who were in Whitehorse having a baby. There was also another couple who rushed off to the hospital several days prior to the election. Had these people been permitted to vote, I would have won by seven votes and I would have saved the NDP $7,000. This would have benefitted everybody, but it would not address that problem, would it?
Mr. Michael: There were a total of four people involved in Watson Lake, two of whom we could not have helped. I wonder whether they would have been asking for our help at that time if they were on their way to the hospital to have a baby. With respect to the other two whom the Member mentioned, the Member indicated that they were in the hospital approximately seven days beforehand. This act has a provision - clause 6 - where there is an attempt to deal with what the Member has referred to. Up until now, in the current law, if anyone in the hospital is to get a mail-in ballot, they would have had to have been there by the close of revision hearings, which is day 19. With the provision under clause 6, a mail-in ballot would be made available to persons who end up being hospitalized or who would be placed on remand in a correctional centre after the close of revision hearings.
This is a bit of an emergency section. We envision some initiative being taken by the electors to contact their returning officer in this type of situation. That returning officer would then contact the returning officer in the area the institution is located. Under the new boundaries, the returning officer for Riverside would make the point of having a deputy returning officer appointed who would go to the hospital with, in this case, a mail-in ballot. That would be the process in this instance.
Mr. Lang: Let us say that this happens on the third day before the election. Does this mean that the vote is not counted until it is received by the returning officer?
Mr. Michael: Any mail-in ballot has to be received by the close of the polls on election day, or it does not get counted at all.
Mr. Lang: Just to understand the mechanics of this, what a person could do in that particular case, as cited by the Member for Watson Lake, is have the two mail-in ballots cast. Then the elector could choose to have a friend drive it down to, say, Watson Lake. Is that correct?
Mr. Michael: That is correct.
Mr. Lang: I think we need a break so we can iron out this information.
Mr. Michael: I am sorry, I get caught in the middle of confusion myself on occasion. The mail-in ballots, in fact, are the responsibility of the returning officer for Riverside, who runs an institution poll and does the count here. The mail-in ballots are cast here and given to that returning officer. On polling day, after the close of the polls, they are counted by that returning officer, who informs the returning officer in Watson Lake of the numbers.
Mr. Lang: I want to pursue the question of the special ballot a little further.
Does a person have until the nineteenth day of the election to declare that they will require a special ballot? What day is the cut-off for the issuance of special ballots?
Mr. Michael: The cut-off day, effectively, would be day 30, the Sunday, or the day before. The person could discover that late in the game that they were going to be leaving town on day 30, so they could do it then.
Mr. Lang: As long as it is scrutinized, which it is obviously going to be, it seems to be a good addition to the process. There are quite a number of people who have been disenfranchised - probably many that we have never heard of. I am sure we could speak of cases in our own ridings of people who, for one reason or another, got called out. I see it as a positive move.
Mrs. Firth: I would like to ask the witness another question. I am looking at potential abuses of the system. Is there the potential, for example, for one of the agents or campaign workers of a candidate getting a group of special ballots on behalf of people, getting them to fill them in and then taking the ballots back themselves - in a sense, being there with the individuals as they are filling out their special ballots?
Mr. Michael: I am not absolutely sure how to answer that. The concern being raised is, could a candidates agent come in, gather up a handful of applications, and go off. We do not have absolute laws about this, but we very much try to keep away from any mass distribution of documents within the system.
The Member may recall, at one point, we had some difficulty where candidates agents were coming in at revision and adding a list of names. A few years back, the House dealt with that by saying that the maximum one representative could add at revision was two names.
We do not have any specific rules here. I am trying to imagine the difficulty and, if the Member could explain it a little further, I might be able to.
Mrs. Firth: I could see the potential for someone to be concerned about a group of people who are not going to go to the polls, and someone could say, We can make it easier for you to vote; you can vote by this new, special ballot.
The agent or the representative of a particular candidate could get these people lined up with special ballots, to the point where they are running back and forth, delivering the ballots, they get them to vote, seal them up and take them back.
If there is no restriction, like there is for the revision - I remember when great lists of names were wanted for the revision and now, instead of having one person with 10 names, there have to be five people each submitting two names. I can see the same thing happening with the special ballots.
I know that there are groups of people, or some people who would be quite happy to have the whole voting process made much easier for them. A candidate could go and get a group of people together, get special ballots for them and deliver them all in one block.
Mr. Michael: I guess it would take an assessment by Members as to whether that may be likely to happen. The electors are going to have to make a declaration under the statute as to why they want to vote by special ballot, and the reason must be because they are house-bound or unable to vote because of their work, or that they are a student at an educational institution that is not in their own electoral district.
The person has got to make that declaration; it would not be possible to say to all of the people on the street, I can make it a little easier for you; you do not have to make your way to the polling place on polling day. I cannot visualize this, but that could only happen if all of those people would be willing to proceed to fill out a declaration that was not accurate.
Mrs. Firth: Do other areas or jurisdictions that have provisions for special ballot have a limitation with respect to the numbers of special ballots that one individual can handle at any one time or at any time?
Mr. Michael: I am not aware of whether there is a restriction in other jurisdictions or not.
Mr. Lang: To follow up on the line of question preceding me here, could I ask the witnesses this: is there any other jurisdiction that has a special ballot, similar to what we are recommending here?
Mr. Michael: The closest provision probably exists in Manitoba. This is a fairly unique suggestion to be making, but in Manitoba, although they may be covering the same kinds of people, they do it through the mail-in, where the elector has to write in the name of the candidate for whom they are voting. Having looked at this, we feel that we would be able to actually provide these identified voters with the same kind of ballot everyone else has, where they mark an X beside the name.
I should mention that the procedure then for counting the special ballots would be set up in such a way that they would be delivered to the deputy returning officer on polling day. That is one of the reasons that the close for receiving them is two oclock p.m.; they would then be taken to the deputy returning officer for that polling division and there would be a process whereby those ballots would end up being put in with the rest of the ballot papers. This would greatly reduce the chances of there being any possible identification of how somebody voting by the special ballot might have voted.
I think some Members may be aware that on occasion we have had the awkward situation, in some polling divisions, where perhaps only one or two people have voted by mail-in; the danger then was that it might be possible to identify how those electors had voted. The advantage of this system, we feel, is that, if we do it properly, the odds of someone who has used a special ballot being identified would be greatly reduced.
Mr. Nordling: I would like to ask about the draft declaration at special revision. Is that for the people who are, for example, house-bound, in that they have to swear or affirm before the returning officer or assistant returning officer?
Mr. Michael: No. The reference is to clause 5, and the reference is to the special revision. We have run into situations in the past where the two normal revision days are days 18 and 19. We have had some situations where people had been away during the enumeration period, right through the revision period. Perhaps no one was aware they were away. They did not even have a representative who went to the revision hearings to get their names on the list. They have returned on day 20 or later and we simply had to say that the law did not permit us to add them to the list of electors. The law requires that in order to vote, they must be on the list of electors. What we are looking at here is called a special revision, in that it would be held in the returning office. The person themself must show up; not a representative. They must show up and swear that they are qualified to be an elector and they could be added during this limited period of time, the four-hour period on day 28.
Mr. Nordling: Where does the applicant/elector who is to vote by special ballot have to swear that would give us some comfort that they are taking an oath or doing this for reasons other than just convenience at the insistence, perhaps, of a candidates agent?
Mr. Michael: I think the Member has noted from the draft form that this has not been drafted in the form of being a statutory declaration. It is an application form. The signature of the applicant/elector is witnessed. It has not been made out in the form of a statutory declaration.
If I am understanding the Member correctly, there would be more comfort if that application had to be made in the form of a statutory declaration, where the person would have to swear or affirm.
Mr. Nordling: Normally, with a form like we have presented to us in draft form, where we have the signature of applicant elector and the witness, it is the witness who goes in and takes the oath that says he or she was present and did see so-and-so sign, and they are the full age of 18, and they were of sound mind when they signed it. Therefore, it would be the witness making the declaration, rather than the applicant elector.
Mr. Michael: Actually, on the proxy application it is not a statutory declaration. It is the same as the form that is before the Member. The elector signs it and it is witnessed.
Chair: Are there any further questions?
Mr. Lang: I have one other question on the number of application forms any one particular individual can have at any one particular time.
With proxy votes, my understanding is that the returning officer tries to keep some handle on how many are issued. I am trying to remember what happened in past elections. I think one is allowed a couple and then you have to keep coming back to justify to the elections office why you are asking for them. Is that the procedure that would be followed? Are we talking about a maximum of two or three at any given time? I realize there is no maximum, but you cannot just go in and grab a handful.
Mr. Michael: The Member has caught us in one of those situations. Suspicions are raised if one makes a large request, but we have been reluctant to say to our returning officers: thou shalt only issue two. If one sets a number, you will invariably find a situation in which it does not work.
Our training of them has been to be fairly tough about giving out too many of them. One of the things we try to avoid is handing them out in large numbers to candidates agents or representatives who might be going door-to-door. They may say to a returning officer: I would like to have a book of the proxy applications and a book of these new applications - vote by special ballot - so that when I am going door-to-door, I can be of service to the electors.
We try to discourage having the candidates or their agents do the work of the election administration. They are always attempting to be most helpful, and we certainly appreciate the thought, but on the whole we do try and keep the matter of election administration with the election officials.
Mr. Nordling: I would just like to confirm then that that can be done - a candidates agent can come and pick up a couple of these things and take them with them. I suppose it works virtually the same as a proxy, so the agent can say: Oh, if you are going to be away, I will help you out; my friend can take care of it and will assist you in this special ballot. What we are going to be doing, if we pass this bill as it is, is to open it to the same potential abuse that presently exists with the proxy system.
Mr. Michael: I guess the Member has accurately stated the case, although I wonder about the statement of opening it to the same abuse as with the proxy system. I was not aware that the proxy system was being abused.
Mr. Nordling: It is the wrong terminology, Madam Chair - that it would allow the same level of assistance by candidates agents as we have with proxy votes.
Mr. Michael: I would agree with that statement, yes.
Mr. Devries: Is there anything to stop a person from photocopying one if one runs short?
Mr. Michael: That is a good question. We have been thinking of ways to discourage that, one of which may be actually printing the form on a kind of paper that really does not photocopy - such as the colour may be very dark, or something like that. We will be taking some measures to discourage that kind of act.
Mr. Lang: What happens, for example in a riding of landslide Watson Lake, where there is a three-vote differential, and it is found that there are four special ballots that have been cast by individuals, who thought that they were going to be away from the electoral area, but found that they were not. Is that going to be another reason or justification for controverting an election?
Mr. Michael: I would think that the correct procedure would be that, if a person found themself in that situation, that person go to the returning officer and tell the returning officer that their situation had changed and make arrangements.
The Member is asking what would happen if they went ahead and voted by special ballot, even though they were present at the time of the election. The big question would be if the person voted twice. Of course, the paper trail and the documentation is such that we would have the information to identify the people who tried to vote twice.
Mr. Devries: That is in regard to the declaration at special revision and the application of special ballot, but a blank proxy could be faxed to a student at a school, and that student could fill it in and send it back. Would that still be allowed?
Mr. Michael: Yes, that question came up during the last election. We had not yet used fax machines, I guess. That technology had not struck the Yukon before 1989, so the question did come up at that time.
The policy that we followed was that the form could be faxed to the individual, but we required an original signature to come back on the form. I still feel that is the correct decision. It is something that election offices and, I suppose, a number of people across the land have had to look at.
Real estate agents - if you know any - might be able to inform you as to the use of fax signatures. I have a feeling that there are circumstances in which fax signatures are being treated as legally valid and binding. At the moment, on our proxies, we have the ability to fax the form, but we want to see an original signature coming back on it.
Mrs. Firth: Do the witnesses have any idea as to how many special ballots were used in this election due to complaints from people who were unable to vote in the last election?
Mr. Michael: As I stated earlier, at the last general election, we received 19 telephone calls at our elections office that would have fallen into this category. I also stated that we were not certain that that would have been everybody. I mentioned the Ketza mine as an example. We were quite certain that there were a number of people there who did not get a chance to vote.
Mr. Nordling: The draft application states that one of the reasons individuals cannot vote at the advance or regular poll is by reason of employment, business or profession. Is that going to be in any way restricted or defined more clearly, or will guidelines be given with respect to eliminating that? This definition seems quite broad. Someone who is working in their own business may not want to leave and go down to the polling station on polling day. They may just simply want to stay at the shop and work. Those who are working for wages get their four clear hours to vote. Does the chief electoral officer consider that situation as being a valid reason?
Mr. Michael: I would be reluctant to put forward a recommendation to the Executive Council for a regulation to create an application form that stated anything different from what is in this act. It is virtually a direct copy of paragraph 100.1(1)(b) of the act that is before the House. The direction here would be taken from the House. I think we might get into a dangerous area if we tried to describe employment, business or profession any further. In our description, we might end up making law. If we put forward a recommended regulation that did not describe these in the same fashion, we could end up with different people being covered.
Mr. Nordling: I will put it a different way. When the act was drafted, was there any effort to be more specific in paragraph 100.1(b), or was that as specific as could be achieved at the time?
Mr. Michael: It has been a while since it was drafted. I was looking at the report I gave to the Assembly in 1990. The reference there referred to it being only by reason of employment or occupation. I am not sure what other considerations might have gone into the drafting of the bill, which ended up before the Assembly.
Mr. Nordling: Perhaps we will save that question for the Minister who is sponsoring the bill.
Chair: Are there any further questions?
I would like to thank the witnesses for coming.
Chair: We are on general debate on the same bill.
Mr. Lang: I have two amendments I would like to distribute around, if I could. They are later on in the bill, but I think people should have them. They are basically housekeeping amendments to try and tidy up the act a bit, and we can deal with them accordingly.
Chair: If there is no general debate, we will move on to clause-by-clause debate.
On Clause 1
Clause 1 agreed to
On Clause 2
Clause 2 agreed to
On Clause 3
Mr. Lang: I move the following:
THAT Bill No. 14, entitled An Act to Amend the Elections Act, be amended in clause 3 at page 2 by in 100.1(2) adding after the words a returning officer the following: , upon receiving an application for a special ballot,.
This is to make it clear that there has to have been an application for the special ballot. It is a clarification, in view of what the witnesses have said to us.
Chair: Is there discussion on this amendment?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I believe this would be acceptable.
Amendment agreed to
Mr. Nordling: I have a question on clause 3, on 110.1(1)(b). I would like to ask the Minister whether any effort was made to make the requirements more specific to help guide electors as to who will qualify by reason of their employment, business or profession?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: To my knowledge, there was no effort to make it more specific, and there are no regulations planned to make it more specific. In my view, the chief electoral officer was correct in stating that this was left fairly general in nature. The definition would be left up to the individual and, presumably, the returning officer to determine whether or not there is a legitimate reason for issuing an application for special ballot.
It is a very difficult thing to define, and there are literally dozens and dozens, if not hundreds, of variations. Therefore, to my knowledge, there was no attempt to define it with more precision.
Mr. Nordling: The Minister says it is up to the returning officer. Will it be possible for the returning officer to tell the applicant, for example, that the fact that they want to stay and work in their shop on election day is not a good enough reason, and they will not receive a special ballot?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I do not think so. My reading of it is that it would be up to the elector. In the drafting of this, to the best of my recollection, there was no view that this would be something that would be abused by people.
Mr. Lang: I move
THAT Bill No. 14, entitled An Act to Amend the Elections Act, be amended in clause 3 at page 2 in 100.1(4) by deleting the word may and replacing it with the word shall.
This is important. It is very clearly spelled out that the chief electoral officer shall direct returning officers about how to distribute special ballot papers, how to receive and record receiving them. I do not think there should be any discretion. It should be very clear who is in charge.
Amendment agreed to
Clause 3 agreed to as amended
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. Mr. McDonald: I move that you report Bill No. 14 out of Committee, with amendment.
Motion agreed to
Chair: The next order of business is Bill No. 8, entitled An Act to Amend the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act.
The Committee will take a brief recess.
Chair: I will now call Committee to order.
Bill No. 8 -An Act to Amend the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act
Hon. Ms. Joe: This will allow us to set up a board under this act; we have previously used the Workers Compensation Board to adjudicate these claims.
As the Member is aware, we have some funding for compensation for victims of crime. The funding from the federal government, as I have mentioned in the House before, has been cut. We do not expect that it will be funded again by the federal government. They had previously paid 75 percent of this cost. We do have a problem in that there is not the kind of money available now that was available in the past.
These amendments will allow us to set up the board, allow us to take over the administration and a number of other things. I have provided information to the side opposite, which includes a chart that indicates the kinds of assaults and the amount of dollars in awards, along with a list of all of the claims the board has dealt with. The information is available in the public law library and available through these sheets of paper requested by the side opposite during second reading.
On Clause 1
Clause 1 agreed to
On Clause 2
Clause 2 agreed to
On Clause 3
Clause 3 agreed to
On Clause 4
Mr. Nordling: I would just like to put on the record my concern about clause 4(2)(5), where one member of the board constitutes a quorum and is sufficient for exercising all the jurisdiction and powers of the board. It seems unusual that we would appoint a board and then allow one person to do it.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I listened to the Members from the side opposite in second reading with regard to this. I move
THAT Bill No. 8, entitled An Act to Amend the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act, be amended in clause 4, at page 2 in 2(5) by deleting the words One member of the board and substituting for them: Two members of the board.
Chair: Is there any discussion on the amendment?
Amendment agreed to
Clause 4 agreed to as amended
On Clause 5
Clause 5 agreed to
On Clause 6
Clause 6 agreed to
On Clause 7
Clause 7 agreed to
On Clause 8
Clause 8 agreed to
On Clause 9
Clause 9 agreed to
On Clause 10
Clause 10 agreed to
On Clause 11
Clause 11 agreed to
On Clause 12
Clause 12 agreed to
On Clause 13
Clause 13 agreed to
Title agreed to
Hon. Ms. Joe: Madam Chair, I move that you report Bill No. 8, entitled An Act to Amend the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act, out of Committee with amendment
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 24 - International Sale of Goods Act
Hon. Ms. Joe: I was not really sure whether or not we were going to get into this act tonight. I have a copy of the act, but I have nothing else to go with it. I have no information.
I brought this bill forward to meet the need of Canada - and I am talking about the federal government - because we are the only jurisdiction in Canada that does not have an international sale of goods act.
It is uniform right across the country. I am told the act is similar to the others and that we are not a part of this agreement right now. If we pass this bill in the House this session, we can apply to Kim Campbell, and she will move to have us accepted, I think she said, within six months. I have provided that information to the side opposite and given them my reasons for bringing it forward.
Mr. Phillips: Could the Minister tell us how this act will affect the international sale of goods from the Yukon? How will it actually affect the Yukon?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I do not have my notes with me. I am a little vague about it. However, I am told that right now there are agreements in some countries - I think they were as a result of the Vienna Convention, but the lawyers over there will probably dispute anything I am saying right now. If we have a problem in regard to international sale of goods, we have no recourse right now to deal with it. Once we are included in this convention, we will have recourse through this act if we were included with the rest of Canada.
Mr. Phillips: I met and discussed this act privately with the Minister. We on this side of the House are prepared to accept the Ministers word that this act is the same as other acts that have been passed by other Legislatures and by the federal government. We do not see a great need to go through the act clause by clause; we are prepared to deem the act as read.
Chair: Is there unsnimous consent?
All Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: Unanimous consent has been granted.
On Clauses 1 to 5
Clauses 1 to 5 agreed to
Schedule agreed to
Title agreed to
Hon. Ms. Joe: I move that Bill No. 24, entitled International Sale of Goods Act, be reported out of Committee without amendment.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 13 -An Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act - continued
Hon. Ms. Joe: I do not have the amendment with me right now. To discuss An Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act, we sought advice today from the board...
Chair: Order please. Does Committee agree to continue with discussion on An Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
On Clause 46 - previously stood over
On Amendment - continued
Hon. Ms. Joe: I do not have my information with me, but we did seek some advice from the chair of the Employment Standards Board, and his advice to us is that they would rather have the Employment Standards Board increased to seven members from five members, with equal representation from employers and employees. The chairperson felt that there would be some difficulty if the two were alternates, because they would not be able to act in the same capacity as a regular board member.
I am told that the cost of our board is quite low. I do not have the exact cost, but I think that the figure given to me was around $10,000 or less. The board does not always meet as a group of five members. The chairperson has indicated to us that any time a meeting is held, three people will be used, including a representative of employee and a representative of the employer.
The chair of the board indicated to us that it would work much better to have seven regular members. He indicated that he would only require three members at a time to meet with him. He would not have proposed that we increase the number of members on the board unless there was good reason for it. That is the information that I am bringing back. We sought advice from a lawyer in our department in regard to the alternative. He indicated to Ms. McGowan - who was sitting here with me last night, and who is responsible for the act in that department - how we could change that if that were the case.
Mr. Lang: I guess I can accept to some degree the position put forward by the Minister. The Minister is telling the House that although there are seven members, in most cases there will only be three or four meeting on individual cases. I will accept that, but at the same time, I would like to have her transmit to all Members the information that we requested about the amount of money paid out for the committee, and how much each member received.
We have to get a handle on the expenditures of boards in general. When I see an expenditure of $181,000 for the Fish and Wildlife Management Board for one year of operation, I have to question what we are doing and why we are doing it. With that, I will accept her point.
The amendment to the second section is there to be primarily consistent with our point of view. Can I discuss that at this time, Madam Chair? It has been moved, has it not?
Chair: Yes, we have an amendment on the floor that had been stood over from before in clause 46, that Bill No. 13, entitled An Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act, be amended in clause 46 at page 19 in 85(2) by deleting the words Executive Council Member and substituting for them the following: Legislature.
Mr. Lang: I am just being consistent with other recommendations and decisions that have been put forward in this House by individual Members. I refer to the Member for Mayo. I would like to go back to the 1984 Hansard, on page 593, where Mr. McDonald stated as follows when they discussed the Employment Standards Act: I am wondering if the Minister is amenable to ensuring that the Legislative Assembly ratify the appointments of all members of the board?
We are only being consistent with that observation and that is the purpose of the amendment.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I know I said last night that I would bring the information back today, and I apologise. I saw it on my notes at the end of the afternoon so I will try and table the information tomorrow.
Clause 46 agreed to
Preamble agreed to
Title agreed to
Hon. Ms. Joe: I move that Bill No. 13, An Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act, be reported out of Committee with amendment.
Motion agreed to
Chair: We will now deal with Bill No. 52.
Bill No. 52 - Faro Mine Loan Act - continued
Chair: Is there discussion on this bill?
The amendment has not been moved yet.
Mr. Lang: We discontinued discussion on this when the Government Leader, in a snit, if you will recall, ended the debate. He then proceeded to tell everyone that he was going to take his ball and go home; he went home and never came back.
The point I want to make for the record, again, is that I was a little concerned, and I think there is some justification for that. I want to put the government on notice. We have a situation here where a loan for a substantial sum of money was made at prime plus one-half percent, on the strength of the governments ability to borrow and the fact that the government is taking some risk, although I have to accept the assurances of the Minister that our risk is minimal because of the security of the concentrate and the information he has provided to the House. We are going to have to take that at face value.
The concern I had was the fact that, at the same time, the government loaned to an American company $3.7 million Canadian, or $3 million U.S., at prime. For the life of me, I do not understand why we would have such a difference between lending to one company versus another. At the time, if you will recall, the Minister said that the Department of Finance did not know what the Yukon Development Corporation was doing - it was like the left hand did not know what the right hand was doing - and nor should they. He was quite surprised when I pointed out to him, if you will recall, that the man who was sitting beside him, the deputy minister of Finance, Mr. Sanderson, is not only the deputy minister of Finance, but is also on the board of directors of Yukon Development Corporation. Obviously, the left hand had to know what the right hand was doing. I just want to make representation to the side opposite that the next time this happens they give it serious consideration.
Chair: Is there further discussion on this bill?
Mrs. Firth: I want to put my position on the record again. In the event that Curragh comes back to the government for further assistance, we would like to have them appear as witnesses or for us to be involved in the decision prior to the commitment being made by the government to give them $5 million. In effect, as MLAs, we are just rubber stamping a commitment that has already been made by the Government Leader. Therefore, it is our desire to see this brought before the Legislative Assembly. If we have to call a special sitting of the Assembly, so be it. I am sure Curragh will be back for more money.
I would also like to ask the Government Leader to keep us up to date on what is happening at the Curragh mine, because we have been told that this will tide them over for three or four months. It will be getting pretty close to pre-election time. It is only fair that the government keep the Opposition Members informed on what Curraghs requests are.
I am particularly concerned that we not go through another exercise like the last time, where Curragh refused to discuss anything and the government refused to comment and, then, we find out from some other outside media that discussions are going on and commitments have been made with respect to financial assistance from this government.
All we are asking is that, as Members of the Legislature, we be included in some of the decision making the next time around, instead of just giving our stamp of approval in the House.
Mr. Devries: I was not here when the discussions took place with the people from Curragh. I read the Hansard, and I would like to go on record that I also vote in favour of this. However, I am concerned about the aspect of local hire. Some of this was mentioned during discussions with Curragh, and I will be monitoring it very closely. I have also had a few complaints about the Sa Dena Hes operation.
I do not know if this is the time to say this, but I would appreciate it if the Minister of Justice would keep me updated on the situation regarding safety at the Curragh mine.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: There is a slight technical problem we must face. Curragh Resources Inc. ought to be Curragh Inc. I would like to move an amendment.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move
THAT Bill No. 52, entitled Faro Mine Loan Act be amended in clause 1(1) at page 1 by deleting the words Curragh Resources Inc. and substituting for them the following: Curragh Inc..
Mr. Nordling: In moving the amendment in that fashion, does it include the amendment to the title of clause 1, which says Loans to Curragh Resources Inc.?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: According to the legislative drafters, the title does not have to be changed. The title has no force. The title would be changed to be consistent with the body of the text. This is not the title of the bill, but the title within the bill.
Amendment agreed to
Clause 1 agreed to as amended
Title agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Madam Chair, I move that you report Bill No. 52 out of Committee with amendment.
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 Committee of the Whole?
Ms. Kassi: The Committee of the Whole passed the following motion: that the chief electoral officer and assistant chief electoral officer be called as witnesses before Committee of the Whole on Wednesday, May 27, 1992, at 7:30 p.m., during debate on Bill No. 14, entitled An Act to Amend the Elections Act.
Further, Committee considered Bill No. 14, entitled An Act to Amend the Elections Act, Bill No. 8, entitled An Act to Amend the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act, Bill No. 13, entitled An Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act, and Bill No. 52, entitled Faro Mine Loan Act and directed me to report them with amendment.
Further, Committee considered Bill No. 24, entitled International Sale of Goods Act, and directed me to report it without amendment.
Speaker: You have heard the report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I move that House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.
The House adjourned at 9:16 p.m.
The following Legislative Return was tabled Wednesday, May 27, 1992:
Workplace Harassment Policy: Public Service Commission (McDonald)
Oral, Hansard, p. 452
The following Sessional Paper was tabled Wednesday, May 27, 1992:
Letter dated May 27, 1992, from Acting Deputy Minister of Economic Development to Northern Denture Clinic Limited re Business Development Fund advertising campaign (Byblow)
The following Filed Documents were filed Wednesday, May 27, 1992:
Letter dated May 12, 1992, from British Columbia and Yukon Hotel Association to Premier re opposition to loan guarantee to Taga Ku Convention Centre/Hotel Complex (Phillips)
Yukon Territorial Progressive Conservative Party election brochure, entitled Yukon ... on the Move (1985) (Webster)