Monday, March 15, 1993 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. At this time, we will proceed with Prayers. I would ask all Members to bow their heads in silent prayer.
Speaker: As Members of this Legislative Assembly, we rededicate ourselves to the valued traditions of parliamentary democracy as a means of serving our territory and our country. Amen.
INTRODUCTION OF PAGES
Speaker: It gives me great pleasure to announce that the following students will be serving the House as legislative Pages for the spring sitting; they are: Evangeline Billy, Erin Briemon, Todd Cathers, Hannah Jickling, Ria Kisoun, Patrick McGovern, Heidi Meister and Corinne Woods from G.A. Jeckell Junior Secondary School in Whitehorse. As well, Kimberly Clark and Claire Dulac from the St. Elias Community School in Haines Junction will be serving.
We have with us Heidi Meister and Corrine Woods. I would ask you to welcome them to the House at this time.
Speaker: We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.
Introduction of Visitors.
Tabling of Returns and Documents.
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Speaker: I have for tabling the following documents: The Report of the Auditor General of Canada, entitled Report on Other Matters for the year ended March 31, 1992; the Annual Report of the Yukon Human Rights Commission for the year ended March 31, 1992; the Report of the Clerk of the Assembly on deductions from the indemnities of Members of the Legislative Assembly, pursuant to subsection 39(6) of the Legislative Assembly Act.
Are there any other Returns or Documents for tabling?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I have two legislative returns for tabling.
Speaker: Reports of Committees.
REPORTS OF COMMITTEES
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I have the honour to present the report of the Special Committee on Land Claims and Self-Government.
Introduction of Bills.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill No. 4: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I move that Bill No. 4, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 1992-93, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved that Bill No. 4, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 1992-93, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 4 agreed to
Bill No. 5: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I move that Bill No. 5, entitled Fourth Appropriation Act, 1991-92, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved that Bill No. 5, entitled Fourth Appropriation Act, 1991-92, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for the introduction and first reading of Bill No. 4 agreed to
Speaker: Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Notices of Motion?
NOTICES OF MOTION
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I give notice of the following motion:
THAT the House urges the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs to introduce, at the earliest opportunity, legislation in the Parliament of Canada giving effect to completed Yukon First Nations Final Agreements and Yukon First Nations Self-Government Agreements; and
THAT this House urges all Members of the Parliament of Canada to support this legislation so that it may become law prior to the next federal election.
Ms. Moorcroft: I give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the residents of the Yukon who are in need of extended palliative, dementia, rehabilitation and respite care deserve adequate housing and appropriate health services; and
THAT the extended care facility should be immediately staffed and open to provide these essential services.
Mr. Penikett: I would like to give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the government of Yukon conditions for the Curragh loan guarantee must be tough but realistic, and
THAT the Government of Yukon must show fiscal and economic leadership when they negotiate these conditions with Curragh in order to protect the taxpayers and ensure the security of the jobs in Faro.
Ms. Moorcroft: I give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is of the opinion of this House that the proposed North American Free Trade Agreement will seriously erode Canadas economic and political sovereignty;
THAT both the Yukon and Canadian economy will suffer because of the further loss of jobs and employment opportunities to a low wage American and Mexican labour force;
THAT the North American Free Trade Agreement will cause the deterioration of the living standards of working people, the erosion of Canadian social programs and curtail the ability of the Yukon Legislative Assembly to enact improved environmental and health and safety standards; and
THAT this House urge the Federal Government to abandon its plans to endorse the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Mr. Penikett: I would like to give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Yukon publics desire for a government which is open, honest and accountable should be met with action, not just words, and that the Public Government Act passed by this House on June 2, 1992, should be proclaimed.
Speaker: Are there any Statements by Ministers?
This then brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: Curragh lnc., financial assistance
Mr. Penikett: In the Taga Ku case, the government strung developers along until their financing was in place and then killed the project. What assurances can the Government Leader give that the government is not playing the same game with the people of Watson Lake and Faro, and that the conditions he has published for the loan guarantee with Curragh Resources will be negotiated in good faith?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I would like to respond to the Member for Whitehorse West on the first part of his question. The Taga Ku project is not dead. We did not string the Taga Ku people along. If the Taga Ku people decide to go ahead with the project, we would still be in a position to rent that space, providing they meet the original tender specifications.
I can assure the Leader of the Official Opposition that we are not leading the people of Faro and Watson Lake on, that the conditions we have attached to the Curragh loan are in the best interests of all Yukon people, which includes the people of Faro and Watson Lake.
Mr. Penikett: I would like to direct my supplementary to the Minister of Finance. Based on what conversations with Curraghs bankers does he believe that the lenders owed hundreds of millions of dollars are willing to back off in favour of a Government of Yukon guarantee for $30 million? In other words, what specific indications, from which bank officials, make him think this condition is realistic and attainable?
Mr. Ostashek: As the hon. Member is fully aware, to support the Curragh operation with the $29 million loan guarantee by the Government of Yukon was a very serious decision this administration had to make. We realize the importance of the Faro operation to the economy of the Yukon and know the burden that would be placed on all Yukoners if this operation were not to survive. By the same token, we had to take every precaution so that the taxpayers of the Yukon would have some good security in the unfortunate event this loan was ever called. I would like to further point out to the Member opposite that this is a tremendous undertaking by the Government of the Yukon and we have to go it alone, with no help from the federal government.
Mr. Penikett: With respect, the Minister did not answer my question. All Members of this House, I am sure, want to see conditions that are tough but realistic. I would like the Government Leader, in his capacity as Minister of Finance, to tell me if he is aware of any instance, since the beginning of Canadian Confederation, where a Canadian chartered bank, accommodating a financially troubled client with short-term borrowings, has ever voluntarily relinquished its collateral position to another party.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: On the best information we have available to us, the terms and conditions we put forward for the Curragh loan guarantee are normal business practices. On many occasions, when new money is being asked for by a troubled company, one of the conditions put forward is that their security take prior position to the security that is already in place.
If the Curragh operation was to go down, the bankers and the note holders have a tremendous amount of money at stake that they would lose. The Government of Yukon has said that it believes in this operation and is prepared to put forward $30 million of the taxpayers money, but that money has to be protected.
Question re: Curragh Inc., financial assistance
Mr. Penikett: I am very interested in seeing our money protected, as I am interested in seeing our economy protected and the jobs of people in Faro and Watson Lake. For the record, since the Government Leader has implied that some of his 14 conditions are negotiable and some may not be, could he tell the House exactly which conditions are negotiable or, if he prefers, which ones are not?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: If I had wanted to make that information public, I would have done so when I held the press conference. The 14 conditions were put on for very specific reasons. The terms on that loan were well thought out. Now, it is in the process of negotiation between our negotiators, Burns Fry Ltd., and the Curragh people.
Some conditions are negotiable to some extent; some are not. I do not want to get into the detail of each one, because that is what the negotiation is all about.
Mr. Penikett: I am not sure how a company is supposed to negotiate with the government when they do not know which ones are negotiable and which are not. They should be beware of the Ides of March, as should we all.
Given the full dimensions of the Curragh crises, and given that they were known well before Christmas, and given that hundreds of workers and their families have suffered great hardship and uncertainty in the meantime, why did the Government Leader wait until last week, the beginning of March, to being negotiating with Curragh in earnest?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Mr. Speaker, I guess I could refer that question back to the Hon. Leader of the Official Opposition. The former administration knew a year ago that Curragh was in trouble. Mr. Speaker, they also knew at that time that $5 million would not save that operation, yet felt well-justified in providing a $5 million loan guarantee so that Curragh could keep on working until after the general election that was called in October and would not have to face the music.
Mr. Speaker, we started negotiations in December. At that time we were working on the same basis as the previous administration in trying to get the federal government in on it. The federal government came back to us in early January and said they wanted to do some studies prior to making a commitment. We went along with that and cost shared those studies with the federal gvernment. Along with that, we were waiting for information from Curraghs year-end report. That. Mr. Speaker is why it took so long to get this deal together.
Mr. Penikett: Neither in 1985 nor in 1982 did the previous government hesitate for a minute to begin negotiations, but I would like to ask the Minister of Finance, given what is at stake for the Yukon in these delicate negotiations, why did he refer to Curraghs potential bankruptcy in an interview with the Globe and Mail last week, a remark so careless that is was bound to cause Curragh problems in financial markets just as it seeks private sector solutions to its problems?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Well, Mr Speaker, I would disagree with the Hon. Leader of the Opposition that the remark was careless when the fact that Curragh was on the verge of bankruptcy has been published in financial journals all winter. We just stated the case as to why we had to have security. We want to see that operation survive, Mr. Speaker. It is a known fact, by Curraghs own year-end books, that $29 million will not save that company. They have to be able to raise equity from some other sources.
Question re: Taga Ku project, arbitration
Mr. Cable: My question is for the Government Leader. This week the House will debate historic legislation giving effect to the Yukon land claim agreement. This agreement will help forge a new relationship between aboriginal and non-aboriginal persons. The agreement includes mechanisms for dispute resolutions, such as mediation and arbitration. In the spirit of this agreement, can the Government Leader tell us if he is willing to approach the proponents of the Taga Ku project with a view to submitting this disagreement to mediation or commercial arbitration, thus avoiding an acrimonious court battle?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I would say to the Member opposite that the Taga Ku situation was a commercial venture. It has nothing to do with the land claims process.
Mr. Cable: I am quite aware of that. I was using the analogy. Both of those procedures are available.
My second question is that, in view of the fact that Mr. Penikett asserted to this House in December of last year that the governments interpretation of the Taga Ku commitments was wrong in fact, has the government taken evidence from those Members of the previous government involved in the Taga Ku negotiations?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: As the Member opposite is fully aware, the controversy over the Taga Ku corporation is before the courts right now. As the Member opposite is also aware, I took exception to the statement made by the Member of the Opposition as to the terms and conditions that were attached to the Taga Ku project. We were fully aware of what those terms and conditions were and we have abided by what was set out in the documents.
Mr. Cable: In order to work toward an amicable resolution of this unpleasant fight with the Champagne/Aishihik First Nation, is the government prepared to take this evidence and consider it?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I am not certain what evidence the hon. Member is talking about; but as I said, it is before the courts now and we will be acting on the advice of our attorneys.
Question re: Curragh Inc., financial assistance
Mr. Harding: I have a question for the Government Leader or his designate.
I first wrote the government requesting action on the Curragh situation in November of 1992. The Government Leader subsequently committed to my community, on January 21, that he would have an agreement in principle ready to sign with Curragh once the Burns Fry report came in. Yet, the government did not even make its offer known to Curragh until March 4. My community has been in turmoil for months.
Could the Government Leader please tell the House why he has taken so long to act with any kind of economic leadership.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I would like to thank the Member for Faro for his question. As he very well knows, we had to await the results of the Burns Fry report. We had to negotiate with Curragh; Curragh was very slow in coming forward with information on which we could develop some basis for negotiation. Basically, that is what it boiled down to; we were not getting the cooperation from Curragh that we needed. We had to wait for the Burns Fry report and, subsequently, as soon as we had the opportunity to get something together properly, we presented it to the Faro people.
Mr. Harding: From my point of view, there is no reason that the Burns Fry favourable response could not have been condition number 15. Anyway, given that my community has waited for months to see if this problem could be resolved, could the Government Leader please tell me when he will establish his bottom line on the negotiable and non-negotiable conditions so that Faro can have some idea whether or not they are realistic conditions.
Hon. Mr. Devries: The Member for Faro very well knows that when one is negotiating, one does not indicate to the company one is negotiating with what is negotiable and what is not, because that is used as a tactic to try to resolve the matter. We cannot disclose that at this time, because it is part of the overall game plan to play the same game with them that they have been playing with us all along.
Mr. Harding: The Government Leader has stated that Curragh must solve their working capital deficiency problems to remain viable. How can Curragh do this when there is consideration of a 33 percent rise in their electrical costs, as well as cost increases to consumers? Where does the government stand on these proposed increases in power rates to businesses and consumers?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Firstly, it is important to point out that the government has taken an arms-length relationship in respect to the Public Utilities Board recommendation that came down some time ago, and with respect to the response of the Yukon Energy Corporation. The Utilities Board was the body that recommended that Curragh should be paying the actual cost. The Energy Corporation responded to the decision of the Utilities Board.
This government does intend to review the whole situation surrounding industrial users of electricity and the rates and/or, at the same time, review the possibility of subsidies to certain classes of rate payers. This will take some time to do and would require, in the natural course of events, some direction to be given to both the board and the Yukon Energy Corporation.
It is under active review, and it will take some time to resolve.
Question re: Education review
Mr. McDonald: As the Minister of Education is aware, on February 9, he announced a major review of the education system at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon here in Whitehorse. He indicated that it was desirable to, in his words, move away from physical education, multiculturalism and life skills, and move to what he called the three Rs.
Can the Minister tell us whether he discussed this review, or explored the reasons for the review with the Teachers Association, the Education Council or First Nations Education Commission prior to making the announcement of the review?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I thank the Member for McIntyre-Takhini for his question. We had actually discussed the possibility of the review with all the people of the Yukon. We did that in the last election campaign when, in our four-year plan, we talked about a review of the curriculum and the mainstreaming issue. The statement I made to the Chamber of Commerce luncheon was a reiteration of that announcement way back in October/November. At that time, I did not feel that we were necessarily making a new announcement. I thought we were just re-announcing an old announcement. Since that time, I have had many conversations and meetings with the stakeholders, and I feel more confident now that those who were initially concerned about the review are now prepared to work with us to conduct a review of our Yukons education system to make the students of the Yukon more prepared for the 21st century.
Mr. McDonald: I am aware that the Minister is attempting now to pick up the pieces and salvage something of a reasonable, realistic and fair review of the education system after having caused some alienation of those bodies I mentioned in my first question. Believing now that the campaign literature counts as consultative documents, could the Minister commit or indicate whether or not he is prepared to go ahead with the review only on condition that the people who are most affected by education - namely, parents, First Nations people and teachers - participate in the review?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I do not think it would be very worthwhile doing a review if we did not have the participation of the stakeholders. It is absolutely essential that they become involved. I should tell all Members of the House that there have been some concerns over the announcement of the review, but I can also tell Members that hundreds of phone calls and letters have come to our office in support of a review of the education system. I do not think there is anyone out there, especially parents, who feel that we are meeting the grade now and that we cannot do better. Many of those people feel we can do better and that is the purpose of the review.
Mr. McDonald: To say that there are concerns about the way the announcement was made is certainly an understatement, given particularly that the organizations I mentioned in my preamble represent literally thousands of Yukoners and many different organizations.
The Minister mentioned during his speech that the system was, in effect, failing - he made a general condemnation of the system. Can he indicate to us what statistical analysis or what presentations were made to him after becoming government that would justify such a general critique of the system that would obviously warrant a measured review of the system?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: There is a concern not only in Yukon but all across this country as to whether our education systems are meeting the grade. In Canada, we pay probably the most among countries in the world for our education system and we should be delivering an adequate system. In the Yukon, I received many, many comments at the door during the election campaign; prior to that, many parents had commented on the issue of Yukons education system and whether we are meeting the grade. Since then, as I said, I have heard from hundreds of individuals, including teachers, and there is a strong concern from those out there that we should look at our system, find out what we are doing right and find out what we are doing wrong, and possibly fix it. Not anyone, especially the Member opposite who developed the Education Act, should be afraid of a review of the education system in an effort to make it better.
Mr. McDonald: I do not think that anyone who is involved in the education system today, or was even remotely connected with the education system, would be afraid of a review, as long as the review was carried out in an unbiased, fair and evenhanded manner. So far, the Minister, in his rationale for undertaking what he has already characterized as a major review, has indicated that he has received anecdotal evidence of a need for a review at the doorstep. Has he received anything else, anything more systematic from the organizations such as the Education Council, such as the Yukon Teachers Association, such as the First Nations Education Commission, or other community groups that justify calling for a review? Has he received any information of that nature?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I sure have. I have travelled up the north highway to Dawson City. I stopped and met with the Indian bands on the way up north. There were strong concerns expressed by them about the quality of education in some of the outlying communities. I have met with probably a dozen or so school councils so far and raised the question of the review with each and every school council. Each and every school council has indicated to me that they have concerns about the system.
I have talked to individuals and stakeholders, and in this education review, it is going to be the stakeholders who will be doing the review. It is going to be the parents, the First Nations, the teachers, the principals - the people involved in the delivery of the education system - who are going to be involved in the review, and they will be the ones who will come back to tell us how we can fix our education system to make it a little better.
Mr. McDonald: I can tell the Minister for a fact that it will be very refreshing for those people he mentioned to hear that they will be intricately involved with the review. I think that is something we have been waiting to hear for some considerable time and we are all happy the Minister has seen the light in that respect.
These organizations that the Minister met with up north, the Indian bands - did they indicate that there was a need for a review because we had to move away from multiculturalism and life skills in education?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I have assured those groups that those are very valid programs in our schools and we should be concerned about them. I think the issue in the general publics mind is that people are concerned about some of the language basics, the math basics, some of the sciences, and whether or not these are areas we should be concentrating on and whether there are problems in those areas and what we should do to solve those problems. That is what I am hearing from parents. I do not apologize for that for one moment, because I am hearing from many, many parents who are concerned about their childrens education in Yukon schools and I hope that this education review will address that.
Mr. McDonald: I, for one, would not ask the Minister to apologize for mentioning some of the anecdotal evidence that he has heard at the doorstep. He has indicated that, on a number of occasions, he has already listened to some petitioners at the doorstep. I am trying to focus here on the precise reasons for the review. It is not that I am opposed to reviews, but I want to understand the biases that the government is entering, legitimate or otherwise, into this process.
The Minister has mentioned that he met primarily with First Nations and education councils up north. Then he indicated in his speech that it was important to move away from life skills, multiculturalism and physical education. Did he hear those messages - that we need to move away from those three areas - from the school councils and the First Nations?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The Minister seems to think that I am basing the whole review on anecdotal reports. Is he suggesting that we should do a million dollar study to find out if there is something wrong with the system? If he is, I think he is wrong.
I am hearing from all kinds of parents, teachers, principals and others out there, since we announced that we wanted to do a review of the curriculum to find out what we are doing right and wrong and how we can improve it. As well as the mainstream issues, I am hearing from all kinds of people - stakeholders in the education system - that they want to be involved and that they think that the education system needs to be looked at.
I do not think the Member across the floor should be afraid of that. In fact, I would encourage him, as a parent, to make a submission to the education review. It would be well worth listening to.
Question re: Deputy Minister of Justice severance package
Ms. Joe: Since October of this last year, this government has tried to convince the Yukon public that future cutbacks are due to NDP government spending. In the same breath, they announce the termination of three deputy ministers with a severance package, I am told, of close to one million dollars - that may or may not be true.
I have been out and about in my riding and people are very concerned about the message that this government is delivering. One of the questions was in regard to the severance pay to one deputy minister. I would like to ask the Minister responsible for Finance and the Public Service Commission if the rumored almost one-quarter of a million dollars severance package to the former Deputy Minister of Justice is true.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I would suggest to the Member opposite that she ask her party leader, the Leader of the Official Opposition. He is the one who entered into the contract.
Ms. Joe: Once again, the NDP government is getting the blame for something this government has done. Right now, we are speaking in terms of money being spent by this government. Certainly, the severance package to these DMs is important.
Because there are going to be cutbacks, I would like to know the amount of cutbacks we can expect in Justice over the next fiscal year. Will that have a big effect on cutbacks in Justice in the next fiscal year?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I would like to answer that question by again stating that we were not happy with some of the severance packages that were put together by the previous administration, and that is why we have undertaken a review to come up with something that is fair and equitable for deputy ministers in this government.
As to what cuts will be in whatever department, the Member opposite will just have to wait for the budget to come down.
Ms. Joe: I am going to be asking further questions in regard to this. I am talking about how it affects other programs in this government, and I am told that the term position for the aboriginal justice coordinator is not going to be renewed. I would like to be able to tell the aboriginal people of the Yukon if, in fact, the position is not going to be renewed, if the priority for aboriginal justice in this government is changing. If it is not a priority any more, they have to know.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Let me firstly state that the priority is not changing, and that we intend to place a very top priority on aboriginal justice. We are working with First Nations, particularly in looking at the methods of achieving, in a cost-effective way, community-based justice.
With respect to a specific question relating to a new budget, like everyone else in the Yukon, the Member will have to wait until the budget is tabled.
Question re: Energy cost increases
Mrs. Firth: Yukoners are again facing increased costs for electrical power. I know many people who have come to me with concerns understand that this is partly due to the equalization costs, which will make it effective that all customers will pay for the cost of service. A lot of Yukoners are finding that their bills have been increasing by as much as 30, 40 or 50 percent over the last couple of years.
Since neither the Yukon Energy Corporation nor the Yukon Electrical Company Ltd. have undertaken any major new additions or upgrades, such as the development of a new hydro project, could the Minister responsible for the Yukon Energy Corporation tell us why the costs have increased so much?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I am told that there are two main reasons for the increase. One has to do with the fact that last year was a bonus year in terms of water, and this year they anticipate the draw down, particularly Aishihik Lake, to continue as it was before last years plenitude of rain and snow. Therefore, there is going to be more cost attributed to diesel.
The second reason has to do with a lot of the upgrading that the corporations have been doing to existing equipment. The cost of upgrading equipment already on the line - for example, the Whitehorse Hydro Dam - has been considerable. It is foreseen that this cost will continue in the future. These announced rate increases will have to be defended before the Public Utilities Board, we will be taking a keen interest in the validity of the proposals. I am assured that they were necessary.
Mrs. Firth: We heard that explanation on the radio this morning. Have the costs to operate and manage the Yukon Energy Corporation and the Yukon Electrical Company been examined with the potential of cost-cutting measures, such as the government may be pursuing to give some relief to Yukon electrical consumers?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Certainly, those issues are under review. The hon. Member must recognize that the bulk of the cost is the cost of service supplied to the Yukon Energy Corporation by the Yukon Electrical Company Ltd. under an existing contract.
Mrs. Firth: I am aware of that. Since the Minister again mentions a review, could he give us some detail as to exactly how he is reviewing the performance and the function of the Yukon Energy Corporation and the Yukon Electrical Company? When will the review, regarding the industrial users and potential subsidies to classes of certain users, be completed? Will it be in time for the deadline that Curragh is facing?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: With respect to the Cabinet reviewing and looking at implementing a new policy with respect to special treatment for industrial users such as Curragh, I am not exactly sure when that will be ready for release. It is a fairly high priority, given the stated agenda of this government, made public by the Government Leader in recent speeches - for example, to the Rotary Club on Friday.
I think Yukon consumers must realize that Curragh was heavily subsidized by other electrical consumers over the previous years, and the announced increase is intended to bring them up reasonably close to paying for their actual cost of energy. That was something that was in the works before we took office; it was a decision rendered by the Public Utilities Board, and it was a decision to announce these increases made by the board of directors of the YDC and the YEC, which, again, was independent of government.
I anticipate that, within the next three months, we will be able to announce something that will be of benefit to all new industrial users who might be thinking of coming to the Yukon.
Question re: Golden Horn rezoning
Ms. Moorcroft: I address my question to the Minister of Community and Transportation Services on behalf of my constituents. A proposed rezoning in Golden Horn of lots 101 and 102 from industrial to commercial concerns many people in Mount Lorne. They understood that such a zoning change would not be recommended to Cabinet by the lands branch. New information indicates that you have received a recommendation in favour of this change. Will you be supporting this rezoning, despite the opposition of my constituents?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I believe they are talking about a lot in the Golden Horn subdivision and, in fact, I have not been given a recommendation by the department, as of yet. My understanding is that there has been a public meeting and that many residents in the Golden Horn area supported the rezoning and the subdivision of this lot. However, I have not been given a recommendation by the department, as of this date.
Ms. Moorcroft: That is not my recollection of the substance of that meeting. However, will the Minister meet with the Golden Horn school council before a decision is made and address their concerns, which were expressed in a letter of October 17, 1992, and which have never been answered?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I am not aware of any letter from the school council in Golden Horn. Again, depending on what recommendation I get from the department, that will determine whether I will need to meet with not just the school council, but also with the residents of the Golden Horn area.
Ms. Moorcroft: I hope the Minister is going to accept that request on behalf of the school council and residents. Will the Minister support the subdivision of lots 125, 101 and 102 parcel, contrary to the Area Development Act, which prohibits subdividing?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: The hon. Member opposite should be aware that, although it does state in the area development regulations for Golden Horn that no lot will be subdivided, in fact, the area development regulations that are the supporting legislation for the regulations do not speak at all about subdivision. In fact, therefore, that particular section in the area development regulations is what they consider ultra virus.
Question re: Curragh Inc., financial assistance
Mr. Penikett: I am glad there is time, because I have many more questions I want to ask the Minister of Finance about the Curragh loan guarantee conditions.
Point 12 in the governments list of conditions suggests that Sa Dena Hes has to be re-opened on terms satisfactory to the government. It is an excellent idea, but I am curious as to how Curragh can possibly negotiate this condition if they do not know what the governments terms are.
Can the Government Leader advise the House what the satisfactory terms might be?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: As we said, there is some negotiation to go on with Curragh. To answer the Member opposites question, we have fully briefed Burns Fry on what we are looking for. They will be conducting negotiations on behalf of the government, and they are in touch with our officials on a daily basis.
Mr. Penikett: I would like to ask a question, also, about another condition, that the government wishes to have two observers, not board members, at Curraghs meetings of its directors. since, of course, if the government had such representation, we would want to ask questions in this House. I am wondering if the government has had any legal advice about potential liabilities accruing to the Government of Yukon in respect to persons present at board meetings and their limitations with respect to dissemination of insider information as spelled out in various security laws of Ontario and Canada.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Certainly, we have had legal advice about having observers on Curraghs board of directors. It is based on that legal advice that we did not ask Curragh about our appointing two members to their board because of certain liabilities that are incurred by board members.
The governments position is that we just want to be assured that we know what is going on. We felt that the best way to do that was to have a couple of observers sit on the board.
It does not seem that Curragh has any difficulty with that request.
Mr. Penikett: Of course, the Opposition shares the governments desire to know what is going on.
I would like to ask the government about one of the other conditions that requires Curragh Resources to violate a legal contract with its own employees. I would like to ask if it is now the policy of this government to require a company to break a contract with one supplier of goods and services or labour if the government dictates that another party must benefit, or if this will only happen when there is some crass political advantage for the government.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: It is interesting to have the Leader of the Official Opposition finally declare his colours on this one. This is an issue that, of course, has to do with social justice and whether or not the local First Nations people, who were devastated by the mine and the exploration activities that took place in the 1960s, should obtain some benefit from the mine. It is something that I understand was given lip service by the previous administration, although nothing was finalized.
The issue has to do, as well, with the union, backing off a little bit in this case over their jurisdiction and little else, because jobs could be found in the mine for the people who presently work on that road. It seems to me that in the spirit of making sacrifices to try and ensure that this mine stays alive, that it is very little to ask of that particular union.
This is a very serious condition. It is something that was not put in on a last-minute basis. It was not put in with any intention of political advantage. It was put in because those people deserve some economic benefit from the mine. To date, they have had very little.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now lapsed. We will proceed to Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the 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 2:22 p.m.
The following Sessional Papers were tabled March 15, 1993:
Report of the Auditor General of Canada entitled, Report on Other Matters for the year ended March 31, 1992 (Speaker)
Annual report of the Yukon Human Rights Commission for the year ended March 31, 1992 (Speaker)
Report of the Clerk of the Assembly on deductions from the indemnities of Members of the Legislative Assembly pursuant to subsection 39(6) of the Legislative Assembly Act (Speaker)
Report of the Special Committee on Land Claims and Self-Government (Ostashek, Chair of the Special Committee)
The following Legislative Returns were tabled March 15, 1993:
Vacant positions and other expired term positions list for each department (Ostashek)
Oral, Hansard, p. 29
Land claims re: self-government within Whitehorse (Ostashek)
Oral, Hansard, p. 30